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


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




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 …






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?


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.



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!



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!


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!


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 all and Have a GREAT week!

Author Spotlight: Amy Clipston


Today we welcome Bestselling Author:

Blue Jeans N Polaroid Amy Clipston


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

Thank You Amy!

God Bless You!



– Many authors say their first novel will never see the light of day. Was “A Gift of Grace” the first novel you completed?

Oh, my very first novels will never see the light of day! I wrote approximately seven or ten sweet romance novels before A Gift of Grace. I’d be too embarrassed to share them with my readers. They weren’t very good at all!


– You continue to work a full-time job aside from your writing career. How do you manage to find time to be a mother, a wife and a writer – not to mention traveling to research and promote your books?

It’s not easy to balance two jobs, but my mother is a tremendous help. She takes care of the house so I can work. I work four 10-hour days, so I can have Fridays off to write and also spend time with my two boys. My family and I make it work. My mother and my husband are very supportive of my crazy schedule.


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

I signed with my first agent in 2005, and I believe we received approximately a dozen or so rejections with my romance novels. However, when I wrote A Gift of Grace, I finally received the YES!


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

To be honest, I sold on proposal, meaning that A Gift of Grace wasn’t even complete when I signed the contract. I had written the first three chapters and blurbs for two more books when Zondervan signed me. I was very fortunate, and I’m thankful that Sue Brower took a chance of me since I was unpublished.


– Do you have any special tips or hints you would like to share with struggling or novice authors out there? Any special marketing techniques you feel may have been contributing factors to your success?

My tip is to keep writing. Don’t give up! Join a writer’s group and find a critique partner who you can trust to give you constructive criticism. I learned so much from my local RWA chapter, Chesapeake Romance Writers, when I was first starting out. As for marketing, I rely on Facebook and Twitter. I also maintain a presence on Goodreads.


Please join me in thanking Amy 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 Amy and her wonderful books


I got this straight from Amy but you can find more on her WEBSITE.

About Amy Clipston


Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember.

Her fiction writing “career” began in elementary school when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories.

She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America.

She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery series and Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series with Zondervan, which is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing.

Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats.

You can find Amy at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter at @AmyClipston.



And now about her books:


A Mother’s Secret

Second in the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series


A Hopeful Heart by Amy Clipston
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?



Amy mentions above that she was contracted for six books in her Kauffman Bakery series and I was really hoping we would get ONE more (No. I haven’t read them yet but I finally have all five plus the two Christmas novellas so I can now), but I’m guessing the extra Christmas books and the Young Adult book she wrote fulfilled that.

Hey. You can always go back and read them again…  or for the first time with me!


A Season of Love

Fifth and Final Book in the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series

A Season of Love by Amy Clipston


In the fifth and final novel of the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series, three young women are about to change their lives. Lizzie Anne and Samuel have decided to get married, and Lindsay is about to be baptized in the Amish faith and is courting Matthew. While Katie Kauffman is happy for her friends who seem to have settled their futures, she is also finding herself something of a fifth wheel. When Lindsay’s sister Jessica returns to Bird-in-Hand, she finds that Jake Miller has moved on with his life. He lost hope that Jessica would ever be satisfied to settle in rural Pennsylvania and takes comfort in becoming close friends with Katie. However, it’s not an easy road as Jake is Mennonite and Katie has just been baptized in the Amish faith. Her father forbids them to see each other, adamant that his daughter marry an Amish man. A Season of Love is filled with surprising twists that will grip you to the very last words. As the stories of your favorite Amish community draw to a close, join Lindsay, her friends, and all the people of Bird-In-Hand for one last volume.



No profile of Amy would be complete without a mention
of her amazing journey as an organ donor.

The Gift of Love:
One Woman’s Journey to Save a Life.

A Hopeful Heart by Amy ClipstonIn The Gift of Love, bestselling author Amy Clipston inspires a generation with her true story of the fight against her husband’s kidney disease. In a selfless act that eventually led to the Johns Hopkins paired donor program, Amy donated her kidney so that Joe would receive one from a matching donor.

The Making of A Gift of Love:

In The Gift of Love, bestselling author Amy Clipston shares her journey to becoming a kidney donor in the paired donor program through Johns Hopkins Hospital. The gift of life she was able to give to a woman suffering from kidney disease provided a kidney for Amy’s husband, Joe, in return.

Early on in her marriage Amy developed strength through hardship and tragedy. But when her husband developed kidney disease shortly before the birth of their first son, she couldn’t imagine how hard it would be to watch the man she loved suffer from transplants, a rejected kidney, and interminable dialysis. With nearly 100,000 people needing kidney transplants, Joe was on a long list of recipients waiting for a match. In the meantime, he went through dialysis three times each week, leaving him weak and in fragile health. Amy’s story will give hope and strength to anyone who finds themselves waiting on God. There were times when Amy hit rock bottom, wondering why Joe had to suffer and why she had to carry the load for the family. However, through faith, they made it through, stronger than they were when they began their journey. The Gift of Love is an encouraging story of strength in adversity, determination, and of one woman’s faith in God.




Amy Clipston is an inspiration to more than just the writing community! She is an inspiration to wives everywhere – proving once and for all that a woman who truly loves her husband will do whatever it takes to keep him by her side! She is also an inspiration and an advocate for the organ donation community – taking special time out of her schedule regularly to make appearances and participate in events all over, in her support of this noble cause!

She is a personal inspiration to me as well. Not just because she has had such a successful writing career but because she has a heart for her readers and I consider her a mentor. She has personally encouraged me in my own writing journey and I thank her for that!



 God Bless You all and Have a GREAT week!

Author Spotlight: Mary Ellis

Today we welcome Bestselling Author:

last-mint-gift-BANNER Mary Ellis

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

Thank You Mary!

God Bless You!



– Many authors say their first novel will never see the light of day but I remember reading that you recently pulled out the first novel you wrote and gave it a “face-lift”. Would you mind sharing a bit about why you put it away to begin with and what prompted you to bring it back out?

That’s an easy one. I put it away because neither I nor my agent were able to sell this novel. I was told, “no one’s buying historical fiction, especially not the Civil War.” So I waited a dozen years for it’s “day” to come. Historical fiction has enjoyed a resurgence and the 150th anniversary has triggered some interest in the Civil War. However, I soon discovered my “baby” needed a full rewrite since I’d learned much since my early days as a novelist.


– Aside from regular posting on Facebook, are there any special marketing techniques you suggest or recommend – especially to unpublished authors?

Goodness, you’re asking the wrong person. Facebook is the only social media I do–not Twitter or Pinterest or Instagram or Linked-in or anything else. Not because I see no value in those, but because I don’t have enough hours in the day. I try to have a “real” life too, in addition to spending 9 hours a day at my computer. I personally know many fine authors who can juggle more “balls in the air” than me and still have normal lives. But we all have to make choices. In my humble opinion, a new writer should spend the majority of his/her time learning the basics of fiction writing and polishing their work.


– Would you mind sharing with us how many rounds of querying you went through before getting that first “YES!”? And how much (if any) of your second book did you have completed before you signed a contract for the first one?

I queried every agent and publisher in the book who published or represented my genre for several years, before landing my current agent. She sold not the first full manuscript I completed, or even the second. I believe it was the fifth book that finally garnered some publisher interest. When I finally burned my early rejection letters, I did so outdoors, not in the fireplace!


– How difficult has it been for you to go from one genre to another? Do you write simultaneously in both or do you have to close one out and take a break before diving into the other?

For me, it would have been difficult to remain in my chosen genre (Amish). After a dozen published books, I had run out of steam…and plot twists! I need to change directions or I would be trotting out the same tired themes. I was writing two genres at the same time for a while, but I had no trouble keeping stories separate. Time management….it all comes down to finding enough time for everything you want to do.


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

The world of publishing is changing at lightning speed. Keep up with what’s going on in the marketplace. And don’t be too quick to self-publish your book before its been sufficiently edited. Whether your seeking a traditional publisher or not, a manuscript needs to be letter-perfect or your career will suffer.

Good luck to you all!  Mary Ellis


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


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


And now for some other info about Mary and her wonderful books

From Mary’s website:

Mary EllisMary Ellis grew up close to the eastern Ohio Amish, where her parents took her to farmer’s markets and woodworking fairs. She loved their peaceful lifestyle, respect for the land, and strong sense of Christian community. She met her husband in college and they married six days after graduation. They now live close to the largest population of Amish in the country—a four-county area in central Ohio. They often take weekend trips to purchase produce, research her best-selling books, and enjoy a simpler way of life. She was re-baptized by emersion four years ago and committed her life to Christ.

Mary enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught Middle School and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate for twenty years—a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits.

All three of her Miller Family series, A Widow’s Hope, Never Far from Home, and The Way to a Man’s Heart made the Christian bestseller lists. A Widow’s Hope was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards for 2010 in the long contemporary category, and a runner-up in the 2010 Holt Medallion Awards. An Amish Family Reunion released in Feb. 2012 and made the CBA & EPCA bestseller lists. She is currently working on the New Beginning series. The first, Living in Harmony, will be available in August.



And now for a look at her books:


Have you read the first book (the one I referenced above) in Mary Civil War Heroines series:
“The Quaker and The Rebel”? 

The Quaker and the Rebel
What Happens When an Underground Railroad Conductor
Falls in Love with a Man Loyal to the Confederacy?


Emily Harrison’s life has turned upside down. At the beginning of the Civil War, she bravely attempts to continue her parents’ work in the Underground Railroad until their Ohio farm is sold in foreclosure. Now alone and without a home, she accepts a position as a governess with a doctor’s family in slave-holding Virginia. Though it’s dangerous, she decides to continue her rescue efforts from there.

Alexander Hunt, the doctor’s handsome nephew, does not deny a growing attraction to his uncle’s newest employee. But he cannot take time to pursue Emily, for Alexander isn’t what he seems—rich, spoiled, and indolent. He has a secret identity. He is the elusive Gray Wraith, a fearless man who fights the war from the shadows, stealing Union supplies and diverting them to the Southern cause.

The path before Alexander and Emily is complicated. The war brings betrayal, entrapment, and danger. Amid their growing feelings for each other, can they trust God with the challenges they face to provide them with a bright future?



And her most recent Amish fiction: “A Plain Man”
A Plain Man


Though Caleb Beachy lived in theEnglisch world for some years, he is a Plain man at heart. When he decides to return to the Amish lifestyle, he moves back home and goes to work for his father. Soon these two strong-willed men find themselves at odds. Caleb discovers there’s more to embracing his faith and reconnecting with the community than merely driving a horse and buggy and giving up Levis.

Josie Yoder was just a girl when he left. All grown up now, she gives Caleb hope for the future. She soothes his frayed temper and is determined to remind him that while his faith may have wavered, God never left his side. Caleb is tempted to return Josie’s feelings, but the choices he made while away are a heavy burden on his conscience. Will past mistakes end up destroying their fledgling romance? Or will she be able to break through the wall around his heart?

A Plain Man is more than just a sweet romance centered in Amish beliefs. It’s the ever-fresh story of a wounded heart finding joy, health, and healing in God’s infinite grace.



Mary Ellis is a tremendous inspiration to me.

Not only has she written eleven successful Amish fiction novels and at least one novella but she has pulled me into a new genre that I never thought I would enjoy reading about.

This is just one more reason we have created this community of friends. As much as we need to support each other and reach out to each other and remind each other that God has a plan for every one of us! We also need to have the constant reminder that each one of us has a very different journey ahead of us.


God Bless You and Have a GREAT week!