Conference Countdown | Tips and Advice | 26 Days to go

If you have not registered and you do want to go to the 2014 ACFW conference…

GO REGISTER NOW!

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Registration gets more expensive as we get closer to the big event! And spots in hotels close by are filling up FAST! So you don’t want to wait too long!

Obviously if you have to wait, to be sure you actually can go, that’s smart because the cutoff date for getting any money back if you have to cancel has already passed!

 

But make sure you register as soon as you possibly can! And make sure you get your hotel the same time!

You can do this online or over the phone and a reputable hotel will never charge your card until you actually check in. Actually, most of them don’t charge your card until you check out!

 

Yes that’s really all you have to read today. Don’t worry! I’ll be back tomorrow with more!

Conference Countdown | Tips and Advice | 28 Days to go

What to bring?

 

 

This is a BIG question – huge really, even more important than what to wear when thinking about attending the ACFW 2014 Conference (or any conference really)

 

Why you may ask…

 

Well there are a couple of reasons

 

1) ACFW is a very big organization! This is considered the most important conference to attend – if you write Inspirational fiction or non-fiction anyway. 

And being the important organization it is, it encompasses so much more than the small local conferences we all attend.

There are more authors to connect with – simply because there are three or four times the attendees. There are more editors – because they know that this conference is an excellent way to discover new talent. And there are more agents there – for the same reason – they know this conference is an excellent place to find new talent and there is no lack of potential new clients!

 

2) Going along with the reasoning above, this is your BEST opportunity all year to make connections! If you’re unpublished, this is THE PLACE to be!

Not only could you meet your agent, publisher, editor or even all three! You could also meet your next critique partner, prayer partner, best friend, mentor or even a collaborator!

 

 

So knowing what to bring is important – very important!

 

There has been a lot of information and a lot of suggestions flying around the ACFW loops and I thought I would share a bit of it here with you.

 

Business Cards – The general consensus is that you need A LOT of business cards to hand out. Some say you should have your photo on it so that anyone who you hand it to will remember you better. Some say you should make sure your phone number is on it so that agents or editors or friends can get in touch with you. Some say you should NOT put your phone number on it to be safe in this crazy world we live in.

I actually have two business cards – 1 with my phone # and 1 without…NEITHER has my picture though. I got them from Vistaprint for a FABULOUS price and YOU can too! They have some wonderful deals! They even offer some FREE designs – all you pay is shipping!

The bottom line is this – be happy with your design. If you don’t like it, you won’t want to hand it to anyone! But don’t spend so much $$ that you are hesitant to let go of any of them.

 

Proposals –  Many editors and agents are going paperless and even those that aren’t, might not want to drag home reams and reams of paper. So you might want to leave the full proposal to an E-mail for the conference.

My suggestion is to go with a One-Sheet instead.

 

One-Sheet – This is the new, most popular pitch tool it seems!

The typical one-sheet has your contact information, the book cover if you have one, a blurb for your book – what you might expect to find on the back cover, a brief bio and your head-shot.

Obviously you don’t have to have every single one of these. Not all of us are digital artists or are able to afford cover art before we’re published. And, while the head-shot is very important, I don’t think an agent would toss it back at you if you don’t have one on it.

But you MUST have your contact info and a blurb on the book!

I actually came up with a half one-sheet that I plan to hand out. It’s kind of like a big business card. It has the short blurb (sometimes called an elevator pitch), my head-shot and contact info. It won’t take up as much room as a full sheet and perhaps the unique size of it will help grab their attention – I’m willing to try just about anything

 

Laptop – While you may not want to drag your laptop everywhere with you during the conference, it would be a good idea to at least bring it with you and leave it in your hotel room.

You never know when someone will ask you to e-mail your first three chapter or a proposal or even the whole book to them.

And while some people might prefer to wait until they’re home or at least back in the office on Monday, some of them just might want to take a look at it while they’re there and won’t you feel silly if you can’t send it to them?

 

OK. SO we’ve already talked about what to wear. No we’ve talked a bit about what to bring. I’m sure we will re-visit this subject again because there has to be more.But you have enough to get started with.

 

YES! There is still time to order business cards! GO find some you like and order them. They’ll usually get to you within a week or ten days.

 

Good Day and GOD Bless!

~ Rachel

Conference Countdown | Tips and Advice | 30 Days to go

 

There are several things to consider when packing what you plan to wear for the ACFW 2014 Conference (or any conference really)

 

1) Consider the time of year – Check the weather forecast where you will be before you pack. The weather where you live might not be a big help…

You wouldn’t want to get there and discover you’ve got three days of rain to deal with an no umbrella. Or a scorching heat wave and you packed sweaters and boots.

Having said that…

2) Even if the weather is going to be hot where you are, think about other contributing factors… If you are staying in the same hotel where the conference is being held, you may not go outside much during the actual sessions – and meeting rooms often over air-condition so bring a light sweater or jacket… just in case.

Think about how often you will be in the hotel though. Don’t count on being inside the whole time and only pack warm clothes. You will have some free time and you’ll want to go out and explore!

If Cindy Woodsmall invites you out of the hotel  for coffee (make note that there is a Starbucks right there in the hotel – smart on ACFW’s part I think!), you don’t want to say no because you know you’ll be a puddle before you finish the first cup.

 

 

3) Think about the events of the conference. For example: the ACFW conference kicks off on Thursday evening with a Genre dinner. This is where attendees can dress according to their genre if they wish. It’s fun but the business-casual attire you bring for the regular sessions may or may not fit into your particular theme… Also, the business-casual attire you would want to wear for the rest of the conference might be a little too casual for the big awards dinner on Saturday night so keep that in mind as well.

On this note, I will say that it is clearly stated in the conference general info that dressing up for your genre is 100% optional. And if you choose not to dress up, don’t skip the dinner – there will be plenty of other authors who choose not to dress in costume or whose genre doesn’t really lend itself to a costume.

Also I should note that, while the Gala dinner is a fancy affair, ACFW has specified that they do not want ANYONE to miss it because they don’t have a fancy evening gown or tux so the dress code is anything from Sunday dressy – Evening wear.

I’m thinking that means no jeans, no shorts, no flip-flops but a nice dress or blouse and skirt (or a nice polo and khakis for the guys) should be good enough.

Also, there is A LOT you can do to dress up an outfit. Wear a sparkly scarf or a bedazzled belt (sorry guys – no idea how to suggest you dress up your outfits but then…guys usually look pretty dressy if they wear loafers – penny or no – so go with that).

 

4) Be kind to your feet. Other than the Awards Gala – where you will want to dress to impress, you are probably looking at quite a bit of walking. You want to give your feet as much of a break as you can because you can’t listen effectively to Steve Laube tell you about how to get past the slush pile if your arches are screaming at you…

So bring the fancy heels but save them for the Awards Gala and wear the comfy shoes to your sessions!

Last but not least…

5) Remember where you are! Yes, quite a few of the authors in ACFW write Amish fiction. No, we don’t expect you to show up in Plain dress.

But… everyone should keep in mind that this is the American Christian Writers of America and dress accordingly. Plus it’s just good business sense to look smart… not slouchy or inappropriate. Might want to nix the skinny jeans…

And you know… even if you’re applying this information to a future conference you attend, it’s never a good idea to show up to a meeting with an agent sporting a plunging neckline – you’re trying to sell a book after all and if the agent is distracted by your charms, how can you dazzle him with your fabulous book idea? 

 

There they are. I hope these tips help with your packing. No excuses like “I have nothing to wear…” will do. You have a month to shop. Get to it!

 

Good Day and GOD Bless!

~ Rachel

Countdown to conference…

 Today marks the start of my countdown to the 2014 ACFW conference.

Exactly one month from today, we newbies will be walking into the special session for first-time attendees! Thank you so much for knowing how much we need that – ACFW! Only an organization started and run by Authors can know how terrifying it is to walk into your first conference and have no idea what you are supposed to do.

What if I missed something?
What if I’m dressed wrong?
What if I don’t know where to go?

All of these things and thousands more are running through your mind (because we’re writers, we can do that) and you’re terrified one of your heroes is going to walk by any moment and you will trip and fall on your face right there in front of them – at which point they will rush quickly and quietly in the opposite direction. Or if they’re not easily embarrassed, you might actually succeed in getting their attention that way

Yes these are just a few of the nightmares that plague me. I have been to several small conferences but absolutely nothing on the scale of ACFW and nothing where I actually had the opportunity to walk by or sit next to any one of absolutely dozens of authors I simply adore at every single session/ meal (unless you count the AWESOME Melanie Dickerson – who sat next to me at several sessions and meals at the small conference I went to in Mississippi last month… but, to be fair, she kind of knew me already and she didn’t know anyone else so that was just a huge blessing!). As a matter of fact, there were a couple of big names at my first conference – just not dozens of them everywhere I turned.

 

At any rate, we will be posting regularly over the next month with tips and ideas for anyone attending the 2014 ACFW conference. And anyone who isn’t attending can always use the tips for future conferences they do attend.

 

GOD BLESS!

 

~ Rachel

Author Spotlight: Jennifer Beckstrand

 

Today we welcome Bestselling Author:

Flower Wreath Flat Oval

 

 She has come to share with us – a little of her own writing journey
and some of that much-needed encouragement.

Thank You Jennifer!

God Bless You!

 

OK, first – questions:

– Many authors say their first novel will never see the light of day. Was that the case with you… is there a “first” book you’ve written but not published?

My first book was a Western historical romance that hasn’t been published yet. I would really like to publish it because I think it’s really good! However, knowing what I know now – especially about the craft of writing – I can see that the book would need extensive rewrites before I would even consider sending it to someone.

 

– What major differences could you tell us about in regards to Kensington and Summerside Press?

Kensington is a lot bigger publisher so they have a very specific and time-tested process to get from first edits to publication. Every editor is different. My editor at Kensington believes in less editing, more letting the author tell the story the way she wants to. My editor at Summerside was more hands-on, which was a very good thing because my first book needed a lot of rewriting!

 

– Would you mind sharing with us how many rounds of querying you went through before getting that all-important “YES!”?

I probably queried 15 agents about my Western historical and got rejections from all of them. I connected with my agent through another agent at a writers conference. It was a serendipitous match.

 

– How much (if any) of your second book did you have completed before you signed a contract for the first?

My agent, Mary Sue Seymour, asked me to write an Amish book. A few weeks after I had finished it, she sold it to Summerside. So my second Amish book wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye. 🙂

 

– Do you have any special tips or hints you would like to share with struggling or novice authors out there?

The biggest mistake I see new authors make is not learning their craft. You must learn how to write well or it doesn’t matter how many Facebook likes you have. Learn your craft. Read with the intent to study how good writers write. Practice your writing every day. And don’t give up!

 

Please join me in thanking Jennifer for taking time
out of a very busy schedule to answer these questions for us.

 And I hope all of you have found this as inspiring as I have!

 

 

Now for some other info about Jennifer and her wonderful books

 

And you can find more on her WEBSITE.

I grew up with a steady diet of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. After all that literary immersion, I naturally decided to get a degree in mathematics, which came in handy when one of my six children needed help with homework. After my fourth daughter was born, I started writing. By juggling diaper changes, soccer games, music lessons, laundry, and two more children, I finished my first manuscript—a Western—in just under fourteen years.

I have always been fascinated by the Amish way of life and now write Inspirational Amish Romance. I am drawn to the strong faith of the Plain people and admire the importance they put on enduring family ties. I have visited and studied Amish communities in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where I met with a bishop and a minister as well as several Amish mamms, dats, and children. It has always impressed me at what salt-of-the-earth people they are. My interactions with these kind people have been some of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have a dear Amish friend with whom I correspond in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She helps me keep my facts straight and gives me inspiration for my stories.

My goal is to write uplifting, inspiring stories with happy endings and hopeful messages. If my books make readers want to give themselves a big hug or jump up and down for joy, I’ve done my job. I am a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers and am represented by Mary Sue Seymour of The Seymour Agency.

There are three Amish romances in the Forever After in Apple Lake Series (Summerside/Guideposts). Kate’s Song, Rebecca’s Rose, and Miriam’s Quilt are all now available.

I have six Amish Romances in the works with Kensington Books. The first and second books, Huckleberry Hill and HuckleberrySummer, are now available in stores and online. The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill is set in northern Wisconsin Amish country.

The series, The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill, is about an elderly Amish couple who try to find suitable mates for their grandchildren. What could be more fun than throwing two young people together to see if sparks ignite? No one would ever suspect two octogenarian Amish folks of mischief.

Romantic Times gave Huckleberry Hill 4 1/2 stars and chose Huckleberry Summer as a TOP PICK.

 

And now about her books:

 

Huckleberry Christmas

Second in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series

COMING OCTOBER 2014!

Huckleberry Christmas CoverYoung widow Beth Hostetler has come to Huckleberry Hill to start afresh and make her own way without the interference of her late husband’s family. In addition to a feisty toddler, Beth has dresses to sew, cows to milk, and great-grandparents to care for. She doesn’t have the time or the inclination to entertain thoughts of a husband, even if every widower and bachelor in Wisconsin seeks her hand. Her first marriage to a harsh, demanding man was hard enough. She is perfectly happy being alone, not answering to anyone but God. Tyler Yoder is no different than the rest. With his infuriating sense of duty, he sees Beth as a woman in need of rescuing. His offer of marriage doesn’t tempt her in the least, but his handsome face and kind heart just might. Will this be the Christmas that she finally finds love?

After having been burned by love once, Tyler Yoder has given up on the whole idea of romance. He simply wants a godly wife with whom he can share companionship and the load of daily living. Beth Hostetler comes along at just the right time. She’s a hard worker, an excellent mother, and a beauty, to boot. And, with a son to raise, she needs a man’s protection. But when Beth spurns Tyler’s marriage proposal and offers to help him find a proper Amish wife, Tyler realizes where his affections really lie. Will he be able to convince Beth that love is at the heart of his persistence? And will she accept his heart for Christmas?

Don’t miss the first two books in this series: Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Summer!

And watch for Huckleberry Spring and Huckleberry Harvest – COMING SOON!

 

 

Kate’s Song

The first book in Jennifer’s Forever After in Apple Lake Series

 

The expected course of Kate Weaver’s life is baptism into the Amish church and strict observance of the Ordnung. But Kate is blessed with a beautiful singing voice, and when another path leads her to the academy for vocal training, she struggles to understand God’s will for her life. She returns home after a violent encounter with a fellow student, and though she is drawn to the peace and devotion of the Amish lifestyle, could her calling forever separate her from the people and the way of life she holds so dear?

Nathaniel King has never wavered in his commitment to the community and the Old Order Amish Church into which he is baptized. Secretly in love with Kate, he is devastated when she leaves the community to attend the academy. When Kate returns, will she finally make his most profound hopes a reality, or will she break his heart all over again?

Now available from Summerside Press

Book 2: Rebecca’s Rose

Book 3: Miriam’s Quilt

 

 

And DON’T MISS this wonderful collection of stories from our favorite authors!

An Amish Christmas Quilt

 

an-amish-christmas-quilt_sm

 

A collection of short novellas from three of your favorite Amish authors to get you in the Christmas spirit. Available in October!

 

A bit about Jennifer’s contribution:

Anna and Felty Helmuth’s grandson, Gideon, plans to spend Christmas on a beach in sunny Mexico. But Anna is quite sure he’d rather be with them, snowshoeing, ice fishing—falling in love. And she knows the perfect girl. Not only is Dottie Schrock an excellent quilter and baker, she’s having a party. There’s just one complication—Gideon is not invited. Dottie has her reasons, but Anna trusts that the spirit of Christmas—and true love-will change her mind, and her future …

 

 

 WOW!

SO MANY GREAT BOOKS COMING SOON!

 

Jennifer Beckstrand is a true inspiration to me and I consider her a valued mentor!

She could have balked when her agent presented the idea of writing Amish fiction but she didn’t. She dug in her heels and got started! I admire her so much for that!

GOD BLESS YOU JENNIFER! And may you continue writing for years and years to come!

 

 God Bless You all and Have a GREAT week!

Ask An Author Part 1 | Answers from Jennifer Beckstrand & Vannetta Chapman!

For this part of “Ask An Author”, I asked 5 questions to different authors.

Here are their answers:

 

Answers from Jennifer Beckstrand:
(You can read more about Jennifer on her website: HERE or by clicking on her picture > > >)

On your business cards (if you have them), do you put your phone # or just e-mail, Facebook, twitter, etc…?

Just email and Facebook. I still have some older ones left, but my next business cards will include my Twitter account.

If you have another “business” – such as editing services or book reviewing, do you have separate cards for that or list everything on one card?

I don’t have another business, except for mom and grandma.

When preparing for a conference, what do you typically take with you as far as your current WIP (work-in-progress) – just a proposal, a one sheet, the first 3 chapters printed, the full MS, synopsis, etc…? All of the above?

Just a proposal.

How important do you think it is to have an agent? Do you consider them to be more a representative of you… or your work?

I think it’s extremely important to have an agent. She represents me and my work equally.

With social media taking over so much of promotion, how much of your appearances or book-signings are done through your publisher and how much is completely on your own?

Book signings are on my own. My publisher arranges guest posts on blogs. I will occasionally arrange to do a post on a blog on my own.

Be sure to watch NEXT Saturday for Jennifer’s Author Spotlight
– where she will answer even more questions for us.

 

 

 

 

Answers from Vannetta Chapman:
(You can read more about Vannetta on her website: HERE or by clicking on her picture >>>)

On your business cards (if you have them), do you put your phone # or just e-mail, Facebook, twitter, etc…?

My business cards list my webpage, Facebook, twitter and pinterest on the BACK.

On the front is a small picture I had designed which also has my webpage, and what types of books I write. I never put my phone number or physical address on a business card.

If you have another “business” – such as editing services or book reviewing, do you have separate cards for that or list everything on one card?

N/A

When preparing for a conference, what do you typically take with you as far as your current WIP – just a proposal, a one sheet, the first 3 chapters printed, the full MS, synopsis, etc…? All of the above?

If it’s a Christian conference (like ACFW), then the one sheet will do just fine. If they want more, they’ll ask you to mail it to them.

How important do you think it is to have an agent? Do you consider them to be more a representative of you… or your work?

I think it’s very important. I write in several genres and for several publishers, so it has been very helpful for me.

With social media taking over so much of promotion, how much of your appearances or book-signings are done through your publisher and how much is completely on your own?

Very few of my book signings are done through my publisher. They take care of store placement, ads, etc. But anything I set up with libraries, reading groups, etc. I do myself. I have done book-signing tours through my publisher, and also have gone to ALA through my publisher.

 

 

THANK YOU SO MUCH
to both of you for taking time out of your busy schedules to answer questions for us!

And may God Bless You Both!

I hope you have all found this as helpful as I have!

WE HAVE A WINNER! | Who has won “A Mother’s Secret” by Amy Clipston? | COME SEE!

 

CONGRATULATIONS!

Carolyn Lewis

You have won a copy of “A Mother’s Secret” by Amy Clipston!

I will be contacting you by e-mail with instructions on how to claim your prize!

God Bless!

Enjoy!

And thank you all for making the giveaway such a wonderful success!

Watch for more in the days to come!

SPECIAL Author Spotlight! Cindy Loven and Laura V. Hilton

Today we welcome the writing team:

Floral Banner w Lines Cindy & Laura

 They have collaborated on a book in the wonderful Quilts of Love series: “Swept Away”

And they have come to share with us – a little of their own writing journey…
to give us a glimpse into how they collaborated on this book
and to offer some of that much-needed encouragement.

Thank You Cindy!

Thank You Laura

God Bless You both!

 

 

– What brought the two of you together to work on “Swept Away”?

Cindy: Laura and I have been good friends for years, meeting online in a pastor’s wives group over ten years ago. She asked if I was interested in doing a proposal together, and so the idea was hatched.

Laura: I remember it a tiny bit differently. I mentioned to Cindy I was trying to come up with an idea for it and zap she had one. And not one, but three. I was completely impressed how quickly she came up with them. I told her since the book was her idea, she gets credit for it – name on the cover and 50/50 if it sold.

 

– Is there any advice you can give us about the pros and/or cons of co-authoring a book?

Cindy: My advice is check any ego, or pride at the door – it can easily get bruised. You have to work through the differences of opinions.

Pros you become closer friends, cons, you can get your feelings hurt easily. One more pro, when you’re finished with the book, you are much closer than before. Or at least we were.

Laura: What Cindy said. Neither Cindy nor I knew anything about co-writing a book and it showed. It also hurt us both when a mutual “friend” quizzed both about our parts in the book and went running to the other with comments (usually twisted) so I would suggest keeping quiet about it with others.

We did it a bit differently too. Cindy came up with the idea. I am a multi-published author, she very much a beginning author. We agreed that I’d write and she’d research. I ran everything by her that I wrote before it went to the critique group.

We also negotiated on the original idea she came up with as it was women’s fiction and I write romance. So I added a male lead and his complete story to her female lead characters and her story idea. Cindy also tried her hand at writing several scenes and I included each of them in the story – with a few exceptions. Most of the scenes in Grandma’s point of view in the story are Cindy’s. Also, all of the quilt descriptions are hers.

 

– How do you coordinate with each other’s agent/editor/publicist teams?

Cindy: I didn’t have an agent, so Laura’s agent agreed to rep me for this project. As far as editors, we worked together with the team at Abingdon, and we worked with Laura’s critique group solely to avoid any confusion. We have a Facebook page for Swept Away, where we will be posting about any promos and giveaways going on. Also interviews (like this one) can be linked THERE.

Laura: I have nothing more to add here. My street team is promoting this book currently.

 

– Is there a plan for more? Would you co-author another book anytime soon?

Cindy: We did submit two other short blurbs/proposals, so we can’t say no that we would never co-author together, but at this time, there is no plan for that. I am concentrating on my children’s books and Laura is working hard on her Amish books.

Laura: What Cindy said here too. With Cindy, it totally depends on if the publisher decides to buy either of her other ideas. With anyone else… I don’t know. I would have to ask how other authors who co-author do it, so it isn’t wrong.

 

– Do you have any special tips or hints you would like to share with struggling or novice authors out there?

Cindy: Keep writing, you never know when your next idea, project, or book will catch the eye of an editor or publisher.

Laura: Persevere. Write, write, write, and read, read, read. Join a critique group. Learn from your mistakes, and keep writing and rewriting.

 

 

Please join me in thanking Cindy & Laura for taking time
out of their very busy schedules to answer questions for us.

 

And I hope all of you have found this as helpful as I have!

 

 

“Swept Away”
by Laura V. Hilton & Cindy Loven

Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother.

When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don t always go as planned.

Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but also as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between him and his new employer’s granddaughter. Still, it doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts online researching him.

What she discovers could change her life and her heart forever.

 

 

“Swept Away” will be available for purchase on November 18th. It is already available for Pre-order at several book-sellers!

CHRISTIANBOOKS   AMAZON   BARNES & NOBLE   BOOKSAMILLION

You can find more about “Swept Away” at GOODREADS & ABINGDON PRESS

 

 

About Cindy:

Who am I?

I am a pastor’s wife, with many interests. Frugality and saving are part of my life, Stamping is an outlet for my “artsy” side, Reading books and writing reviews are a passion for me. Writing a book is something I dream of doing… That is me.

You can follow Cindy’s book reviews HERE and read more about upcoming books HERE.

 

 

About Laura V. Hilton and her wonderful books

Laura is an award winning author, a pastor’s wife, married over twenty-five years and has five children. She home-schools, reviews favorite books and writes books herself.

Her books include Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, Promised to Another, Healing Love, Surrendered Love and Awakened Love.

The Snow Globe will release in Sept. 2014 – and Swept Away in Nov. 2014.

 

You can follow Laura’s book reviews HERE and read more about upcoming books HERE.

I’m especially excited about Laura’s Christmas books!

A White Christmas is Webster County releases in September of 2014! 

A Mother’s Helper

Mercy Lapp is ready for a fresh start. Having lost her beloved fiance in a fishing accident during his rumschpringe, she escapes the painful memories by moving from her community in Shipshewana, Indiana, to Seymour, Missouri, where she takes a job as a mother’s helper. She isn’t exactly shy, but she’s hesitant to get involved with the youth in the community because she isn’t going to stay. She especially doesn’t want a new romance.

An Adventurous Hero

Abner Hilty is excited to see his twin brother, Abram, for the first time in years. The two fled their hometown of Shipshewana when their witness of a murder put their lives in danger, Abner heading to Montana to work on a ranch and hunt big game, Abram meeting a girl in Missouri, marrying, and settling down there. Abner decides to spend the holidays with them in Seymour, but he has every intention of returning to Montana, maybe even for good.

An Unexpected Snowstorm

At a chance encounter, Abner is immediately drawn to Mercy, and even more so when he realizes that they’ve met before, back in Shipshewana. Initially alarmed, Mercy soon warms to his attentions, even though she keeps him at arm’s length. She also branches out and begins attending youth functions, forming new friendships that are solidified during a rare snowstorm. Just when Mercy and Abner are beginning to think about a long-term relationship, Mercy gets a phone call that changes everything. The information would have been welcome months ago, but now that she knows Abner, she’s torn, and she will have to do some serious soul-searching to decide how to act on it.

 

The Snow Globe releases in November of 2014

 A Compassionate Young Woman.

Esther Beachy enjoys working for an elderly woman who is wheelchair bound. Her client, Anna Petersheim, is pleasant and tells captivating stories. Plus, her home is quiet and far more peaceful than Esther’s, with so many siblings. She only dreads the day when Anna’s grandson, Viktor, will return from the river to take over the farm. She and Viktor were classmates years ago, and he’d been an obnoxious flirt who paid attention to every girl but her.

A toughened riverboat captain

A seasoned riverboat captain, Viktor Petersheim has seen his share of trials. He left the Amish after the death of his parents and siblings in a house fire for which he still feels responsible. Now, after years of working on the Mississippi River, he returns home to claim the farm he inherited from his grandparents and, hopefully, to repair some of the damaged relationships and broken hearts he left in his wake.

Love off the river.

When Viktor arrives home, it doesn’t take long for him and Esther to realize their mutual attraction. Even so, their relationship remains as tumultuous as a shaken snow globe, like the one Esther finds at a garage sale and gives to Viktor’s grandmother as a token of affection. Viktor isn’t the only man with an eye on Esther, and soon it looks as if she’s ready to make a future with someone else. Will the two go their separate ways again? Or will the hand of God work something beautiful out of their angst and agitation.

 

 

I confess I have not read all of Laura’s books yet but I am working it. I look forward to reading Cindy’s work as well.

Both if these women are a prime example of how God works in our lives – moving us ever forward along the path he’s laid out for us. All we have to do is obey and follow.

 

GOD BLESS YOU CINDY & LAURA!

 

 God Bless You all and Have a GREAT week!

Giveaway! “A Mother’s Secret” by Amy Clipston!

WE ARE RE-POSTING THIS BECAUSE AMY IS TOO GOOD AN AUTHOR TO MISS THIS CHANCE

WE ARE GIVING AWAY “A MOTHER’S SECRET” BY AMY CLIPSTON!

(Well…not today, but the giveaway STARTS today)

 

 

WE ARE GIVING AWAY ONE COPY

OF THE NEW BOOK IN AMY CLIPSTON’S

HEARTS OF THE LANCASTER GRAND HOTEL SERIES:

“A MOTHER’S SECRET”

 A mothers Secret SM

What do you have to do?

 

Well, you have to…

FOLLOW OUR BLOG!

or

LIKE THIS POST!

or

SHARE THIS POST!

Then…

COMMENT BELOW (Post a URL) AND TELL US ABOUT IT!

 

You get 1 entry for each thing you do!
(make sure you post a comment about it below)

You can share the post on at least 1 social media site per day for 1 more entry EVERY day!

The contest will last until august 11th!

Go forth and share!

Tell your friends!

Spread the word!

 

 

If we get enough NEW followers,
we might be able to make the giveaways a more regular event!

 

GOD BLESS!

 

Here’s a bit more about the book we are giving away!

 

In A Mother’s Secret – the second book in a new Amish series by bestselling author Amy Clipston – Carolyn Lapp dreams of marrying for love. But will the errors of her past destroy this dream forever?

Carolyn Lapp longs to have a traditional Amish family. But she lives on her brother’s farm with her parents and her 15-year old son, Benjamin. Carolyn has never revealed the identity of Benjamin’s father and lives daily with the guilt and shame of her youthful indiscretion. Her brother simply will not forgive her.

His answer is to arrange a practical marriage for Carolyn to Saul, a widower with a little girl. But Carolyn isn’t convinced that Saul really loves her and believes he is simply looking for someone to help raise his daughter.

When Benjamin causes trouble at a local horse auction, horse breeder Joshua Glick decides that he must be taught a lesson.

Carolyn and Joshua are unmistakably drawn to each other, but Joshua mistakenly assumes that Benjamin is Carolyn’s brother. Carolyn fears that if he discovers the truth, her past will destroy their budding romance.

After years of shame and loneliness, Carolyn suddenly has two men vying for her attention. But which of them will give her the family—and the unconditional love—she’s longed for?

 

Here are some other links where you can get more information about “A Mother’s Secret” …or buy it:

Christianbook.com
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million

AND BE SURE TO READ AMY’S AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!

Valuable tips on Writing/Publishing by FABULOUS authors via MWG Conference 2014

2014 Conference in Ocean Springs, MS

This past weekend several of our authors attended the Mississippi Writer’s Guild 2014 conference and they wanted to share some of the things they learned from authors Melanie Dickerson, Jane Nickerson, Sandra Beasley & Terry Kennedy

 

Jane Nickerson opened the conference with her speech about the importance of accuracy in researching and writing. Jane writes historical fiction but we feel this information is just as valuable to the sci-fi writer as it is to the inspirational writer or the historical writer. Later in the evening, in a personal conversation, Jane made the point that even if you are making up almost all of your story (people, places and events), there has to be some element of truth to it or the reader will not engage with your characters – they won’t be drawn in to your world and the book will be boring to them.

Melanie Dickerson told a delightful story in her speech about an opportunity she was presented with to “Save the cat”. There is a book by the same name written by Blake Snyder and it tells us of the importance in making our characters likable! Melanie shared how adding just one scene in her book changed her hero from being brusque and unlikable to wonderful and lovable! What a wonderful tip. Not only does it show us that some things do not  require a complete rewrite, it shows us that sometimes the problem is in what we don’t have rather than what we do!

Sandra Beasley shared humorous anecdotes and curious trivia about writing her memoir and how surreal an experience it was to quit her “job” and get serious about being a full-time writer. She brought to light the struggles and comedic internal debates writers have with themselves about writing, working and procrastination. She also shared some very valuable tips on everything from developing a thicker skin to how to introduce yourself and your work to people in general.

Terry Kennedy made some very good points about the way our world views online publications and the writers who work for them. He offered a peek into this world that I admit, I knew nothing about and after hearing about the difficulties and stresses associate with it, I’m not so sure I want to. He shared facts and figures that gave a clear overview of the industry and how it has changed over the years – and is still in fact changing, every day.

 

Overall, an educational and enjoyable experience!

Thank You to Donna Mynatt, Rachel L. Miller & J.C. Morrows for sharing a bit about your experience!

 

Our recommendation to you all as writers, whether aspiring or published, is to attend as many writer’s conferences as possible. Even if you do nothing but pick up a few helpful tips, it is well worth the time. And every writer or agent or publishing professional that you meet will simply be a bonus. Whether you realize it or not, you will be making connections that may well carry you to your goals one day. Many writers will tell you that they met their agent at a conference, or they met their editor at a conference, or they were given valuable advice on how to edit their work and make it better from someone at a conference.

Bottom line – they are worth every minute and dollar.

God Bless and keep up the good work!

Now go write!