WE HAVE A WINNER! | Who has won a book of their choice by Vannetta Chapman? | COME SEE!



Donna Butler Simmons

You have won a book of your choice by Vannetta Chapman!

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

God Bless!


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

Watch for more Giveaways COMING SOON!

And don’t miss our wonderful series:

Conference Countdown | Tips and Advice

…running now and until the 2014 ACFW Annual Writer’s Conference!

God Bless and good night!

SPECIAL POST – REMEMBER | Conference Countdown | Tips and Advice | 14 Days to go





In honor of the tragedy that took place thirteen years ago today, I am doing this post a little differently.


Today I want you to take a moment to REMEMBER with me.

Remember why we write Christian fiction.

I don’t know about you but I write Christian fiction to help shine God’s light into a hurting and lost world. It’s not just about showing lost people the way to God, it’s about lifting up His children and helping them to hold onto Him as we make our way through this world.


Remember Who is inspiring our writing.

One of our favorite pastors has a motto that I just love. “Our number one job in life is to make Jesus look good.” – David Gibbs Jr.

In this life, we have a job as followers of Christ. We are to show the world the light of Jesus that shines through us. For writers, that means that our words should reflect that light. They should show the world how wonderful God is and not dwell in the darkness of the world.

And it is possible to write about that darkness while still showing the light of God through it!

It’s not easy but it is possible. If it were easy, every writer would do it.


Remember what our message is!

Our message ultimately, whether you write Amish fiction or speculative is LOVE – God’s love.

Remember that and you will be just fine.


And lastly…


REMEMBER the sacrifice!

Remember the sacrifice that so many men and women made willingly on that fateful day thirteen years ago in the effort to save as many as they could and remember the sacrifice that so many men and women make every day on the battlefields, fighting for our freedom.


But most of all, remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for you and for me on that day more than two-thousand years ago on a cross! Remember that sacrifice when you write, when you promote, when you are on social media, when you attend conferences and when you speak to people in everyday life.

Remember that Jesus wants to shine through your life and do everything you can to make Him look good, every day, in every thing!



Good Day and GOD Bless!

~ Rachel

Conference Countdown | Tips and Advice | 16 Days to go

What NOT to bring?



We briefly touched on this in the original post about what to bring to conference HERE but this really needs it’s own post!


Remember when we pointed out that many editors and agents are going paperless and even those that aren’t… might not want to drag home reams and reams of paper. That is still very true.

Even if you have an agent who has been looking over your work, they may not want to lug 300 pages home with them.

And it’s just possible that YOU don’t want to lug it around either… so don’t go running over to Kinkos and run off three copies of the MS to bring with you. Most hotels have a copy center…and if they don’t, the conference is in a Hyatt and they do have a copy center.


I learned the hard way for the last conference I attended…

DO NOT BRING BOOKMARKS unless you have a book to go with them. If you have a contract or you are already in the process of self-publishing, bring bookmarks…scads of them, buckets of them and hand them out like crazy.

But if you don’t have a book that is in the process of  being published, a bookmark is just a long business card and it’s not worth the extra money you will have to spend when you have to order a second run with all of the info about who and when… and the name may change… and the cover may change…

So be safe and thrifty and wait for the bookmarks.



I know the post says we’re talking about what NOT to bring but while I’m here…


I PLAN to bring a few favorite books that I want signed. Don’t go crazy and bring your whole library with you but a few favorites would not be a bad idea…

You never know who you might sit next to at breakfast or lunch or bump into on your way to a session. And if you happen to have their book with you… well you get the drift.

I have not yet discovered a way to find out exactly who IS attending but I’m betting you can figure out most of them by watching Facebook, Twitter and Websites. A lot of authors talk about events coming up and ACFW is a big one for most of us.


I still say it’s still a good idea to at least bring your laptop with you. It’s no big deal to leave it in your hotel room. And they have so many great rolling bags now that you can use if you don’t want to carry a bag or a briefcase or a backpack.

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.



OK. SO we’ve already talked about what to wear. Now we’ve talked a bit about what to bring…and what NOT to bring.

And while we are talking about what to bring… YES! You still have 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. Vistaprint still has some REALLY great deals going on!


Good Day and GOD Bless!

~ Rachel

Author Spotlight: Vannetta Chapman | And a SURPRISE GIVEAWAY!


Today we welcome Bestselling Author:

FLowers N Butterflies Polaroid


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

Thank You Vannetta!

God Bless You!


OK, first – questions:


– Many authors say their first novel will never see the light of day. Was “A Simple Amish Christmas” your first completed novel? (And let me just say here – if it was… WOW! Because it is AMAZING!)

Actually A Simple Amish Christmas was the 9th book I wrote and the first book published – so take heart! I still think those other 8 novels are good books, and in fact I am publishing one of them as an indie book this month.


– Can you tell us a bit about what inspires you to write both Cozy Amish mysteries and such wonderful Amish Romances?

I do enjoy writing about the Amish. I think their lifestyle is very close to that of our grandparents, and also they remind me of simple country folk that can be found all over our country.


– Would you mind sharing with us how many rounds of querying you went through before getting that “YES!” or if you went about it a little differently…?

Oh my. I sent out a LOT of queries. I could have easily wallpapered a room with my rejections, and I am NOT exaggerating. Honestly, I think it was a matter of hitting the right agent and the right publisher at the right moment–which has to be a God thing. OUR PART, in my opinion, is to keep the faith, keep writing, keep learning, and keep submitting.


– You released “A Simple Amish Christmas in 2010, “Falling to Pieces” in 2011 then “A Perfect Square”, “A Promise For Miriam” and “Material Witness” in 2012. That sounds like a bit of a roller-coaster ride. Is there an interesting story in there or just interesting timing on the publishers part?

Yes, I was writing for 3 publishers at once, and it was a bit of a roller-coaster. Fortunately my agent helps to work out the coordination of those contracts, and the publishers are very understanding about my timelines as far as when I can get a book in to them. I do enjoy writing in two different sub-genres and now I’ve added inspirational romantic suspense to the mix!


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

Absolutely. Keep writing! (I might have mentioned that before.) The biggest mistake I see is when writers finish their first book they stop and tinker with it, or simply wait for a publisher to pop up and offer them a contract. With each book we write, we learn new skills. It’s important to attend classes, workshops, critique groups–whatever helps you to grow as an author. And above all–keep writing.
Thank you for having me. I’d be happy to answer questions if anyone has a question. Feel free to post them in the comment section.


Please join me in thanking Vannetta 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!

Keep reading for details on the giveaway.



Now for some other info about Vannetta and her wonderful books


And you can find more on her WEBSITE.

Vannetta Chapman Headshot

The first thing you need to know about me is that I write Fiction full of GRACE.  Every plot is different. The characters change. Some of my books are mysteries, others are novellas, and some are romances. But they all are stories of light, hope, and truth. Stories that at least for a moment touch the deepest places in our heart.

Tales that whisper hope. That speak of family and community. That remind us of God and His love.

What do I write? If I had to reduce it to four words, I suppose I’d say I write Fiction full of GRACE.

I hold a BA and MA degree in English, and I am proud to be represented by Mary Sue Seymour, AAR. I have published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, and have received over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups.  I am honored to be a member of Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Faith Hope and Love.

I live and teach in the Texas hill country with my husband, cats, and a rather large herd of deer. Our four children have flown the nest; however, we are fortunate that they all live close enough to visit.

I have always felt that my faith was at the very center of who and what I am, and I am thrilled beyond words to be able to now write about something that is so near to my heart. At various times I have served as a pianist, teacher, church secretary, and worship team member. While living in the Dallas area, I served as an adjunct professor of English Literature at Dallas Baptist University. When we moved to a small town in Central Texas, I continued teaching for a few years, but I now write full-time and I play the keyboard in our church’s praise band.

My grandfather was born in Albion, Pennsylvania, and I am currently researching whether I might have Amish roots.

December 2013, I was honored to be featured on the ACFW page. In that interview I discuss how I came to write Amish fiction, and why I continue to do so. You can read that interview here. I was also featured on the ACFW page when I first began writing. That piece speaks to the amount of grace in my life. I’m enormously grateful that God is so willing to give each and every one of us more than one chance, more than two chances, but in fact a multitude of chances …

ACFW Feature


Vannetta Chapman
by Tiffany Amber Stockton

“Finding a good balance is always a challenge. I want to live in the present that God has given me, live with intention, and be appreciative of what I have now.”
—Vannetta Chapman

After graduating from college, launching into a teaching career, re-establishing a family after a painful divorce, and writing nine novels, Vannetta Chapman knows the meaning of a challenge. However, since so many others also face the challenge of balance, she sees herself as like everyone else.

God used the pain to help shape her life and her writing.

Thankfully, Vannetta Chapman’s parents have always been supportive of her in all she’s pursued. During her years as a single mom, God used the pain to help shape her life and her writing. He showed her His grace and love, and confirmed to her His plan and purpose. Eleven years ago, she met and married her husband, and she wouldn’t be the author she is today without his love and support.

Click here for rest of feature…

Vannetta is a proud member of the following writing organizations:

American Christian Fiction Writers

Faith, Hope and Love (Inspirational Chapter of RWA)

Romance Writers of America



Vannetta Chapman has so many wonderful books, it’s hard to know which ones to highlight so I will just tell you about what is coming up! Exciting! (Keep reading – we’ll get to the giveaway I promise)



HIDDEN is an inspirational romantic suspense scheduled for release on September 30th.

Home is where our story begins …

DANA JACOBS would rather forget the night of tragedy and violence that marred her childhood. She is now supervisor in charge of the Department of Homeland Security in Taos, New Mexico. Her team is prepared to handle any threat—biological, chemical, conventional, cyber, even nuclear. BENJAMIN MARSHALL is newly assigned to Dana’s office. Straight from a six year military deployment, he is not what Dana wants or needs.

Ben knows God has a reason for putting him in this place at this time—to help Dana. When a local school is threatened, they open a case which leads them on a chase through the Enchanted Circle and Carson National Forest, pursuing a man filled with a bitterness Dana can understand. But her anger is different. It’s justified, it remains hidden inside, and it hurts no one.

Can Dana face her own mortality? And when she does, can she truly understand what it means to forgive and to be forgiven?

**This book will be available in print and ebook format through all standard vendors.

(I’m betting  this is the book Vannetta Refers to above)


Don’t forget the next installment of her new Amish Village Mysteries!

Murder Tightly Knit

This next installment is scheduled for release December 16th! I know I can hardly wait!

When a local Amish man is found dead, the Middlebury Amish Artisan Village comes under suspicion. Two amateur sleuths—one Amish, one English—will have to work quickly to keep fear from dividing their community.

As fall blankets the Pumpkinvine Trail with leaves of brown, gold, and orange, a local Amish man is found dead on the path. The only clues to the murderer’s identity point in two very different directions—toward the local survivalist group and toward the Amish Village—specifically the village’s knitting shop, The Cat’s Meow. The police call in a federal investigator, and he quickly puts everyone on the suspect list. Amber Bowman and Hannah Troyer know who isn’t guilty—they know this community down to the last buggy, but can find the guilty party before someone else is in danger?

While Hannah helps Amber solve the mystery, she and Jesse Miller continue courting. But when Jesse’s prodigal brother returns to their farm, Jesse becomes distracted by family troubles. He and Hannah will have to overcome the tension in order to keep their relationship alive. And Amber and Hannah will need to work quickly to solve the murder mystery and bring harmony back to the Amish community.



Vannetta recently announced that her 3 Shipshewana Mystery Novels are being compiled into 1 volume! Don’t we all just love having three books we LOVE in one place!


A Perfect Square        Falling to Pieces         Material Witness

The eBook version is already available for Pre-Order at Amazon HERE!


And… we don’t have much information yet but I know I’m excited about this series to come!

Plain and Simple Miracles Series (set in Oklahoma, romance)

  • Anna’s Healing (Book 1 – October 2015)
  • Joshua’s Mission (Book 2 – February 2016)
  • Sarah’s Orphans (Book 3 – October 2016)






Where will you start reading?


Vannetta Chapman is a particular inspiration to me for a couple of reasons.

She was a single mom during much of her writing career and I personally relate to that as, I’m sure, do many of our readers!

And… she was another author who was presented with the idea to write Amish fiction – a genre she had no real experience with – but her wonderful agent convinced her it was a good fit for her so she went right to work researching and writing.

And I don’t know about you but I think her stories are just AMAZING!

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





Vannetta has graciously offered to give away ONE of her books
to ONE of our readers!

ONE of our readers will win a book (of their choice) of Vannetta’s

Click HERE for a complete list of her books!


What do you have to do?

First you have to SHARE this post!

You can share it on the social media site of your choice!

Then come back here and post a comment below with the link!



Click HERE and share our Facebook Post.

EDIT: Apparently Facebook will NOT let me see all of the shares due to privacy settings so…

You can chose whether to post a comment HERE with the link
or on the FB post itself.


The contest will run from today until September 14th.

Winner will be announced no later than September 15th

rules and regulations for all contests can be found HERE.

You will get one extra entry if you LIKE our post
and another if you FOLLOW our blog!


God Bless You all and Have a GREAT week!

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…





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