Monday, October 22, 2012

Jan's One Hundred Words

My friend Jan Ackerson writes great flash fiction. One hundred word stories, in fact. She dropped by to leave us a tasty bite. If you'd like to read more of her stories, take a look at her blog, One Hundred Words. Thanks, Jan!

Still Running

Now that Elise was alone, she stopped cooking, relying instead on Lean Cuisine. She stopped reading, too, and spent long hours with the television on, deftly clicking the remote without looking at the buttons.

But she didn’t stop running; every morning she headed out, covering the same route as always, not thinking. Today, however, she slowed to a jog, then stopped, trying to remember why she ran. What was the point, really?

Perhaps this unexpected color on the sidewalk is what made her stop. She looked down, aware of her lips forming an awkward smile. She searched for a pebble.




Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pieces of my Heart Went with Them


I was thirty-eight and my husband was thirty-five, when he lost his valiant fight against cancer. Yes, he was too young to go. Our little boy was only three, and our family just right for us. But life has a way of moving on, whether we're ready or not. 

On to heaven my love went before me...
and a piece of my heart went with him.




While watching the movie Driving Miss Daisy, the part at the end, when Hoke is feeding Miss Daisy  her Thanksgiving pie, snatches my soul every time. I flash back to my dad in a nursing home. How he loved his pie!  Feeding him, combing his soft white hair, tucking him into his bed before I left for home, were rituals I feared were nearing an end. I was right to fear. The rituals did end.
One day, Dad slipped on to heaven before me...
and a piece of my heart went with him.



When death calls, I tremble at its audacity and its brusque rudeness. It doesn't care what it interrupts or how many pieces of our hearts it carries away with it. Death nibbles at our relationships like an insatiable predator, and pretends it doesn't know it has already been defeated a long time ago.

When sighs escape me, when a longing for my loved ones brings tears, I read this:


So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, 
and this mortal shall have put on immortality, 
then shall be brought to pass 
the saying that is written, 
Death is swallowed up in victory.


O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 
(1 Corinthians 15: 54-55, KJV)



I wipe my tears, my world rights itself, and the balance tips toward life once again. We were not made for death, but for living. And, someday...heaven.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Update on My Book Status

It's been a crazy busy summer! And my dearth of blog posts shows it. Some of my readers have asked about my Amish novel and when it will be published. Here are a few updates:

I've been contracted by Kregel Publishing for publication sometime next year--possibly summer or fall. That's exciting and I'm looking forward to working with Kregel!

I should have an assigned editor from Kregel soon. I'm also looking forward to this part of the publishing journey, though it can be difficult. Still, there's nothing like seeing your work polished to a high shine by an awesome editor. Worth every moment of angst, let me tell you.

My first novel is an amalgamation into one character the experiences of three former Amish young people who left their communities. Most of the situations described in the book are based on true accounts I've been told or read about, but are fictionalized.

I've also been contracted to provide two sequels which will be continued stories of some of the characters introduced in the first book.

I have a novel, Boomer or coming-of-age genre, being edited soon, too. I hope to offer that manuscript in a book proposal in the coming months. And there's a semblance of a prairie themed manuscript lying dusty in the drawer that's caught my attention again. Perhaps I may do a bit of work on that one from time to time.

So there's much work planned for me over the coming year and I'm anxious to dig into it! I'll keep you posted as things progress.

Thanks for your encouragement and support. I appreciate your faithful following!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Crazy Do-Not-Call Lady

My friends and acquaintances often remark about my sweet temperament. (Notice, I left out "family"--they know the truth, sadly.) I have moments of sweetness, to be sure, but there is a side to my personality that more closely resembles Dr. Jekyll's alter-ego, Mr. Hyde. It comes out when the phone rings.

If I answer, and find a telemarketer or a survey taker speaking to me from the other end of the line, something happens to me. I feel my face distort. My voice lowers to a snarl, and even worse, I suddenly find myself channeling crazy characters along the lines of Sybil.

After every call, I chastise myself and promise never to scare away--er--dissuade--callers in the nutty manner ever again, but, alas, I can't control the monster within. It breaks its chains and rattles its cage as soon as the chirpy greeting "Hello! May I speak to the lady of the house?" makes its way down the line and out the phone receiver into my ear.

One day, a telemarketer asked to speak to my, then, 17 year old son. How dare she! He wasn't even of age!

The fur sprouted along the back of my hands and a growl ensued. But something about the sweet-voiced woman, simply trying to do her job, made me hesitate to roar and rattle and snarl. So I tried to be nice. I really did.

It was her question, though, after I managed a terse "No, you may not speak to him", that brought about the hideous change in me.

"Is there any other minor in the home I may speak with then?" She asked this with great confidence.

The monster in my head clicked over and allowed Sybil, the woman of multiple personalities, to come out.

"Oh, yesssss. There does happen to be another minor in the house."

Caller person perked up. "Oh, wonderful! May I know the age and sex?"

"Surely. He is, um, about...hmmm...two times seven...that would be fourteen."

"Fourteen? Well, I think I have good news for your son."

"He's not exactly my son."

"Oh?"

"No. But he does live here."

She paused. "May I ask his name?"

"Surely. Its Jipper."

"Jipper? Can Jipper come to the phone?"

"Well, he would, but as he is now having his toenails clipped and his ears trimmed, I think you'll have to call back later."

"What? He's...having his..."

"Toenails clipped and his ears trimmed."

"Oh. Um...is Jipper a...a...person?"

"We like to think of him as one, but I guess you could really call him a canine."

"A...canine? You mean..a DOG?!"

"Yes, but he's very clever and understands every word we say to him, so--"

CLICK.

Sybil and Mr. Hyde high-fived one another in my brain.

The phone conversation that got me written down, I'm sure, in all call centers as the crazy do-not-call lady, though, came one day when I was already trying to figure out how to get something fixed on my laptop. You know how that unleashes the madman in all of us, right? I was in NO mood for telemarketers.

"Hello?"

"Dis is (gobbly gook) (gobbly gook) ant I like to spick wid (gobbly gook) (gobbly gook)."

"Huh? I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I can't understand you. (I was feeling some left-over shame from the doggie call so I was trying, again, to be nice.)

"I sed, dis is (gobbly gook)(gobbly gook) calding frohm (gobbly gook) and I nid to spik to (gobbly gook) (gobbly gook)."

Steam blew out both ears...fur grew...chains rattled and snarls formed. I could not control the monster much longer. "Listen! I. Do. Not. Understand. You."

"Vell, I am calding to teld you a bout a new (gobbly gook). It id a vunderful (gobbly gook)."

In my brain, Sybil calmed down Mr. Hyde and came out sporting a strange language.

"Vell, gurgling in the veldy voss and huber so dee tillyness. Versehen du?"

Looong pause..."Pahden mee, mahm?"

"I said, crimmerest bitner joose in the glopper muddlehouse. Okay?"

"I...sorry..I no understand joo--"

"Vell, good, because I no understand joo, either! Pliss to not call me iver agin. Jabberwocky?"

CLICK.

Sybil preened while Mr. Hyde rolled on the floor of my head, laughing his crazy brains out.

Capice? Telemarketers...you have been warned.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Recommended Amish Reading

The plethora of Amish fiction books flooding the reading markets are often light and romanticized versions of the Amish sects. For readers with more discriminatory tastes, there are Amish autobiographies, better-than-formula fiction, and a new soon-to-be released fiction book based on a former Amish man, which offer honest interpretations of being Amish.


My philosophy about Amish reading? I prefer Amish books which offer deeper characterizations, better insight, and less romanticized stories about the Amish. In these books I find greater satisfaction involving complex human dilemmas and honest questions about being Amish.


If you're looking for Amish reads like that, too, here a few books I can recommend:

Growing Up Amish by Ira Wagler



A Basketful of Broken Dishes by Naomi
Stutzman




Why I Left the Amish by Saloma Furlong










I haven't read these next two books yet, but they are on my future reading lists:

The Greater Inheritance by Mary Schrock



My Journey to Freedom by Mattie Mullet





As for fiction, I find many of Dale Cramer's Amish themed books better reads than most standard formula Amish fiction.



One little known, but unforgettable, historical Amish novel really captured my interest: Eyes at the Window by Evie Yoder Miller.




Coming in August from River North is a novel from Alice Jay Wisler, Still Life in Shadows. Her novel is based on the life story of Mose Gingerich, who has been featured in several National Geographic television documentaries.







So if Amish is your preferred genre, but you're looking for reads that stray from the typical bonnet books, try some of the books listed above. Freelich lesen!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Loving Support for William and Jenica Keim

Please continue to pray for William and Jenica Keim. Consider also going to the link and sending your words of loving support to them. God only knows how much they need their friends and fellow believers to lift them up right now.




Thursday, April 5, 2012

National Geographic: Amish Out of Order

The National Geographic series, Amish Out of Order, will start airing on April 17th on the National Geographic channel. A small part of the filming for this series was filmed at our house. I have no idea how much will be shown that was filmed here, but I have been told episode 5 will contain part of that filming and episode 10 will contain something about MAP (Mission to Amish People).

I hope you get the chance to view it! Click here to go to National Geographic's website.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Amish and Bed Courtship

For a few years now I've been hearing conflicting stories about the Amish and bed courtship. Some said it didn't exist anymore and some said it was still being used. Finally, I went to the former Amish and asked them. I'm posting the many comments I received on Facebook about this topic. I will only use the first names of those who commented.


Read through all the comments below to discover what it is and who is doing it. Some of the comments are surprising, but they do answer the main question: Does bed courtship still exist among the Amish?


Dee
Quick question: Have you ever heard of bed courtship? Does it still exist, if you know about it?
It's a controversial subject among Amish and former Amish. Some say it still is used and some say it isn't. Some Amish disagree with it, some disagree in word only. I sure would like to know if it does still go on! (But this kind has no board down the middle like the bundling of old.)

Rebecca
I never heard of it, so I decided to look it up. What I found was quite interesting, although I am unsure if it coincides exactly with what you were talking about. They call it "bundling" where there is a separation between the couple so that they each have their own side of the bed where they can talk and become close through conversation (when times throughout the day is limited to speak with one another, due to work and such).

Barbara
Unfortunately Dee the answer to your question is "yes"

Dee
Rebecca, the Amish do not use a bundling board. Nope. They are in the bed with no board. Another name is "bed date". Usually, from what I've read and been told, it is a first date, too. (Is that right, Barbara?). The bundling of early America used a board...somehow, the Amish lost that part of the tradition. I also read kissing and cuddling are part of it--for some couples. Not what we expect from the Amish, I'm thinking.

Barbara
Yes, Dee, you are correct...definitely no board involved!

Dee
Barbara, I'm curious: if an English person were to ask an Amish person (who still bed courts) if they DO bed court, would the person admit it? It seems the former Amish are the only ones who will talk or admit it is still used. Hard to pin down!

Barbara
It depends on the person whether you get an honest answer or not

Dee
Okay. Thanks! I'm still trying to figure out if it is a thing of the past--LOL. Some say yes and some say no. I guess it depends on the church, too. (Old Order, maybe? Swartzentruber, maybe?)

Carol W.
Seems so unwise.

Dee
I think that's why it so controversial, even among the Amish, Carol. And not talked about much...

Lizzy
It is still practiced among the Swartentruber Amish, at least it was when I left 4 yrs. ago and I haven't heard anything that it changed.

Naomi
I heard from a former Amish, that it still goes on, that is why they left so that their children wouldn't get pregnant and then have to get married, then have to join the church and then make the VOW and then the religion has them. I've heard the parents don't really like it, but they look the other way, because they really want their children to stay Amish. How sad, but true.

Dee
Lizzie, were you Swartzentruber? Naomi, did you know if the former Amish was Swartzentruber or Old Order? Thanks for your input, Lizzie, Barbara and Naomi. ( :

Naomi
Old Order

Minerva
Dee my family is old order, and yes it is still the way of dating in the community "Danville,Ohio"

LeRoy
Ya, it is basically a rule in the Swartzentruber church where we grew up and if anybody didn't do it because of conviction they were considered strange! It is one of the many acts of deceit they think is ok because the higher up Amish do something different! How Ungodly!!

Lynn
Yeah, I've heard of it as bundling. A classmate did a report on it in our English class in college.

Dee
Thanks, Minerva. I heard the Amish in Lancaster PA no longer bed court. I wonder if it is just some Amish and not all? LeRoy, I wondered if it is still going on around here. Wow. Lynn, the Amish bed court without a board--just teens in a bed together--often on the first "date"--in fact, that IS the date.

Carol E.
It seems that a porch swing might have been better.

Dee
I'm still trying to figure out why parents don't stop it. It seems to go against all that the Amish would consider moral. Another Amish conundrum. I think LeRoy is right: tradition wins out over common sense and moral standards.

Marvin
Yes it still exists where I come from.

Naomi
Dee, the reason the parents don't do anything about it is, they are losing their children to the world, so if they get pregnant then they have them because they make them get married. then they have to join the church. I heard of a case where a girl got pregnant on her first date ever and had to get married.


Dena
Yes, it exists under the Swartzentruber Amish

Barbara
Dee, the differences you will find are as vast as the communities out there...the truth is it still exists all throughout especially Old Order which is where I come from.

Dee
I'm thinking it is very much a practice that is alive and well. Do you think it would exist in Old Order churches in the more touristy areas--like Lancaster or Holmes County? I'm guessing it is NOT a practice among the New Orders or higher churches--right?

Barbara
Again in Lancaster and Holmes and Geauga all I can say is it depends on the sect...and I can't really speak for the New Order or higher because I don't know that many people from those sects but from what I do know your assumptions are correct...it is less likely to be a practice among the New Order churches. Definitely very much alive, though, because unfortunately, I now have nieces who are old enough according to their standards to date, & sadly that is the practice.

Dee
Wow. You know, in the English world we also deal with teens who become active too soon sexually, but I can't think of any parents who would go to bed and let their teen daughter close her bedroom door, knowing there is a teen guy in there. We deal with the same troubles, but it seems like mixed messages to Amish teens would be SO troubling!

Barbara
The craziest thing in the world is they expect them even in dating this way to refrain from sex!

Dee
That's the most troubling part, Barbara. And from what I gather from Saloma's book, there is a certain amount of ...can't think of the Dutch word...cuddling and kissing expected from the girls, too. Even if it is their first "date", I would think, if she is naive, that could lead to some very sad situations for a teen girl.


Barbara
Dee, I promise if you continue to delve into this topic you will be appalled!! You will not like the truth....I have a feeling 'troubling' will be a very mild description compared to what you will feel.

Dee
I know you're right, Barbara. Sadly, many don't want to know there are these kinds of troubles among the Amish.

Thank you for being patient with my curiosity! This discussion leads me to another question: do you think the parents ever worry about what is going on "up there" when they are in their beds and know there is a young man in their daughter's bedroom? Would they ever say anything to their girls or would they keep silent? I read once about an Amish dad who wanted his "old maid" daughter married so badly, he encouraged her to bed court in hopes of a pregnancy. Oh wow.

Dena
Yes, my parents were concerned about us girls, but all mom would say was to keep our dress in place, and never mentioned anything about sex, so…guess how clueless I was, uneducated, and I really feel sorry for those girls that don't get any teaching,.

Mary
On the New Order and more progressive churches like Mennonites and Beachy, they do not have the practice of bed courtship. I have heard that this is one reason some families leave the Old Order and join the N.O. or Beachy, etc. because they don't want to be faced with this issue when their children join the youth. On the contrary, a lot of New Order have pretty high standards for dating.

Barbara
Dee, what I had tried to say earlier today is that this has been the custom for many years so there is most likely little if any wondering going on because the parents dated the same way, and know exactly what is going on.

Barbara
Unfortunately they are expected to date this way but refrain from sex...can you imagine most mothers and fathers never talk about sex with their daughters and sons! So it is discovered by experimentation, not to mention these kids are 16-17 when they start & most of the time alcohol has been consumed prior to the date or sleeping together occurring.

Dee
Dena, that is amazing. No other advice but to keep your dress in place. Wow. (I wish I could meet you, but my driving is limited because of health issues. Is there a weekend day so my hubby could help drive?) You're right: with no education, the young people are set up for mistakes in situations like this.

Mary, it's no wonder families leave the Old Order before their children have to be involved in bed courting. It seems amazing there are any who would want to keep this tradition going.

Barbara, it is SO hard to think about allowing this, especially when the parents know what could happen. Does anyone know why they continue this tradition? Or is it another one of these "Because we've always done it that way" things?

Elizabeth
Wow...just wow. Blows the popular conception of (some) Amish communities out of the water, doesn't it? Imagine the social workers who would immediately get involved if we discovered this going on in some English suburb!

Dee
That's the strange thing, Elizabeth. For some reason, many things within in the Amish communities that would raise eyebrows, and get a social worker knocking on your door outside of the Amish, are tolerated, or maybe just well-hidden. I think it is worse in areas like ours where the Amish live in large groups: you will often find public officials reluctant to get involved and will mostly defer to the church officials to take care of issues that come up.

Lizzy
Yes, I grew up in the Swartzentruber Amish setting.

Emanuel
I was Swartzentruber Amish I left after my first experience of bed courtship, I thought it was a strange way of dating, and most of my family left but the Swartzentruber Amish still practice that, many have broke away because of that. It’s an Ordnung that needs to cease to exist, Amish or English, you can have bed courtship after you promise to live with each other for the rest of your lives.

Vernon
We both grew up in an old order church {Fredericktown Ohio} and fortunately we did not have "BED COURTSHIP" but our morals were no different than those that have it. And yes it does still exist in most old order churches. As for the new order that I know in Pa., they would definitely consider it a SIN to allow bed courtship. Lots of differences when we make church rules based on preferences instead of following GODS word!!!!

Henry
I grew up in the Delaware Amish community and bed courtship was not observed there. However, the way dating was done would not be something I would want my kids, especially my daughter to be part of. It was basically in the living room on the couch, parents in bed, lights out, no supervision or anything. Usually there from 11:00-12:00 to 3:30-4:00 in the morning. A lot of time for a couple teenagers to be together in a situation like that.

Henry
If you can imagine this; when I left the Amish (I was the oldest) within a year or so, my folks took the whole family and moved to Lawrence County, PA, a very strict Old Order Amish community, where bed courtship still is practiced. And my parents took the family there, because they said it was better for my siblings who were all getting to the dating age at the time. ???

Dee
You're right, Vernon: following tradition only is a sure way to get off track if the Word is not applied first. Henry, that is astounding! Such a different way of looking at dating. Wow. I wonder why this topic has been swept under the rug for so many years.

Dee
Emmanuel, I wondered if any left because of the bed courtship. I would guess there are many who didn't want to do that or want their children to be doing that.

Henry
Dee, among the Amish, I don't think it is swept under the rug, it is just another one of their "ways of life" that they are all aware of. I'm sure there are some that wonder why it is that way, especially when their own children

Dee
It's so funny that this is not something that is commonly known among English! I'll have to ask some of the young people around here what they think of it. Thanks, Henry, for all the info!

Laura
Dee, some Old Order do it but not all. The Swartzentruber does, but they stress that they both are fully dressed, the girl under the covers and the boy on top..... but well. :)

Dee
Laura, the comments made above were by those who were Swartzentruber or Old Order Amish before they left the Amish. I'd be curious to know if any of them were told instructions as to how to bed court.

Mary
It's like Henry said, "It's not swept under the rug". It just is. Parents don't approve of it, but they don't grieve and worry like they do if one of their children starts attending a non-Amish church. That's the time to get all stressed out. Joining a car church is a very dangerous, risky thing to do! To them, the danger & wrongness is much, much, much worse and more cause of worry than plain old bed courtship that has been around for as long as anyone can remember.

Dee
I know, Mary. Seems odd to be worried over a car and not about bed courtship, but like you said, one has been around forever. Great discussion, everyone. Thank you.


What are your thoughts about Amish bed courtship? Do the comments you read above surprise you? Had you heard of this Amish courtship tradition before? Thanks for taking the time to leave your feedback about this topic!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Just for Fun: How Fast Do You Read?



A writing friend, Dara Sorenson, posted this little gadget quiz (below) on Facebook. It was fun to take! Want to see how fast you can read? Give it a go! It can be addicting.



ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department








Friday, March 2, 2012

I'm Attached to Annie

Two or three years ago, I started writing my second novel, The Powerful Odor of Mendacity. The story setting is the turbulent mid-sixties in a suburban Midwest neighborhood. The main character is feisty 10 year-old Annie. Though she sometimes takes on characteristics similar to me at that age, she embodies more of my inner secret desire to be like her than the real me.

Annie is not afraid to try things, where as I was pretty much a scaredy cat to new things.

Annie is more than willing to step up to the plate for dramas and solos. I loved both, but struggled to hide my knocking knees whenever I was to perform in front of an audience.

Annie is feisty, and I was feisty...inside. Outside, I was too quick to comply to authority to be feisty.

But I sure did dream of being like Annie. Much of my middle school years were spent with my nose in books. I was more alive in my dream world than I ever hoped to be in my real world.

One thing I did share with Annie is my distaste for bullies. In fact, bullying was one ugly human tendency that could bring me quickly out of my dream world. And I have to admit: Annie's whipping of a neighborhood bully with a keen switch really was something I did.

I don't want to give the plot away in my book, though. Suffice it to say I drummed up enough righteous anger to take on a mini-terrorist who had ruled my street. And it sure felt good.

All these years later, I'm still shocked at how I was able to quell that roaming beast. He never terrorized anyone again after I got through with him.

How's that for feisty? I guess I had my moments of being like Annie. I can't wait to have her story read. Stay tuned!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Amish Descendant Scholarship Fund

Emma Miller announced the development of the first ever Amish Descendant Scholarship Fund. Emma reports: “I thought about it many times during the years I was studying and I'd mention it and people were very encouraging. On my graduation day I vowed I would do my best to get it started and I reached out to two other former-Amish who are in college and the three of us put it together. I kept a blog of the process so you can see it took us very long to get this far! www.adsfund.blogspot.com/ .

The Scholarship is called Amish Descendant Scholarship Fund and the money would be deposited directly through the student's financial aid at the university. Usually they apply that to tuition first and if there is any left over, it can go towards books etc. The majority would likely to tuition. We don't know how much the scholarship will be yet. We have to raise the money. Hopefully we'll have an estimate by May. We would like to first help those who came directly from an Amish background and have Amish parents who are not supportive of their decision to study. We feel like those are the ones who need the most support and encouragement.

The money will be kept at The Mennonite Foundation in Goshen Indiana and the scholarship winner will be chosen based on grades, need, and a written essay. The money will come from donations, which we are still working on. There has been some interest from sponsors, but we haven't locked in a large amount yet. We have faith that we can at least raise enough money to give one scholarship by June and then lock in some sponsors who can donate annually so we're not starting from scratch each year. I am planning on donating as well, especially once I'm working full time again. (I'm finishing up a Masters degree in May)

Our plans are to award the first one around June/July of this year which would go towards the fall semester. Potential applicants should keep an eye on the website at http://adsfund.weebly.com/scholarship-application-information.html. We will update the information as soon as we're ready to take applications. They will have to fill out a form and write a short essay and supply copies of their grades (either GED or college grades) and their proof of acceptance or enrolment at a college. There is a form to fill out on the website which will go to me or they can email me directly at emmamiller.adsfund@gmail.com

Our website is : http://adsfund.weebly.com/index.html
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amish-Descendant-Scholarship-Fund-ADSFund/132258213452458 .”


If you’d like more information about how to donate to the fund or how to apply for the scholarship, please contact Emma at: emmamiller.adsfund@gmail.com



Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Letter F: Fun, Fun, Fun!

I've missed the last two weeks of Patty Wysong's A to Z: Take 2 meme. But I'm excited about the letter F!

I was chatting with my husband recently how I've dropped the fun things I used to do to relax. I love paper crafts, and card making was one of my favorite things to do. But when I started to write, a little less than 5 years ago, I slowly dropped those fun crafts. But I now realize I miss having a little fun in my life.

I decided fun is going to make a comeback in my world. With that in mind, I'm looking forward to browsing the craft stores soon. I hope I can find inspiration for something new to make with my hands.

I don't envision as much crafting as I used to have time to tackle, but I hope to set aside a few minutes every week or so to create something besides words and tales and outlines.

What are some of your favorite fun things to do to relax? It is never a bad idea to schedule down time when we can disengage the brain and just enjoy creating something new!



Friday, February 3, 2012

My Three-Book Amish Series




I finally have three working titles for my Amish novel series! Whew. I had vague ideas about where I wanted the third book to go, but coming up with a title was killing me. Writing the synopsis was futile, too, because I wasn't sure what I wanted to include. Then tonight, it fell into place: title and direction for the characters.

As it stands now, barring the titles change as per my publishers request, the series will include:

Book One: The Miting
Book Two: The Way Out
Book Three: Falling Off the Belief

The last book's title was inspired by something my former-Amish "adopted" daughter said while we were chatting one evening. She told me the Amish in her strict sect didn't encourage Bible reading on one's own for fear the person will "fall off the belief". That was her nearest translation in English from the Pennsylvania-Dutch. I think that describes quite clearly what my main characters will face in the third book.

So now I can breath a bit easier and look forward to the actual writing. It's going to be a busy year for me, but I'm excited to meet the challenge!

Stay tuned.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jumping into the Meme: Letter C

I've decided to jump into Patty Wysong's meme, a 2 z: Take 2. The meme works like this: we post a topic that begins with C and then link back to our posts at Patty's place. If you'd like to join in, feel free!

I have the perfect word for the letter C this week: Contract! I signed my Contract with Kregel Publishers this past weekend! Kregel signed me to write a three book Amish fiction series. I am very excited, but I have to admit, I'm a bit scared, too.

The responsibility of writing well, and on time, is a Challenge, but I know I can rely on the Lord to aid me. What a Comfort to know He will guide me and provide me with all I need to accomplish the goals. Psalm 37:5 says this:

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

So...for the next three years, I will have projects to work on, standards to meet, and deadlines to reach. I'm up for the Challenge and looking forward to fulfilling the terms of the Contract. And even more than that, I'm praying my books will reach hearts and inspire prayers for the Amish.

I'm holding on to God's coat tails as He takes me on this adventurous journey! Can't wait to get started!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

We Have a Winner for A Basketful of Broken Dishes Book Giveaway!

We have a winner for A Basketful of Broken Dishes! Congratulations, Amber! Enjoy the book! Naomi graciously signed it on the inside page, too.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the book giveaway. If you want to purchase a copy of this wonderful book, just click on this link!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book Giveaway: Naomi Stutzman's A Basketful of Broken Dishes

If you'd like an inside look at how the Amish react when one of their own leaves the Amish community, this book will give that to you. Naomi includes powerful insights into her account of her parents' life as Amish and what happened to them after they left.

About "A Basketful of Broken Dishes" (Published by AMBASSADOR INTERNATIONAL):

This true story demonstrates God's faithfulness to an Amish couple. Simon's refusal to submit to the Amish rules stresses their marriage. The bishops demand that Susan, his wife, must obey the rules she promised to keep and to shun her rebel husband. Who was she to obey, God or man? Together they become a perfect team to set their family free from the bondage of "religion". The story is told ...by their daughter, Naomi, born to them after they leave this close-knit community. These heartbreaking and joyous stories are life-changing and proclaim the mighty truth that God continues to care for and work in the lives of the simple, the wounded, and the brokenhearted. Naomi shares how she came to see the rich, deep, powerful beauty and value in the "silent years" of her mother's life, who courageously lived a broken life for the sake of her divine inheritance, hidden in her earthly inheritance, a basket full of broken dishes.

About Naomi Stutzman:

Growing up with an Amish background, Naomi experienced "shunning" first-hand and saw the devastating effects of leaving this close-knit community. After sharing her powerful story at speaking engagements for over 16 years, Naomi finally responds to the ongoing pleas to write a book. Naomi and her husband of 40 years live in Twinsburg, Ohio. They have four children and ten grandchildren.

Want to contact Naomi? She can be reached here:

Email NaomiMulletStutzman@gmail.com
Website: Naomi Stutzman


To be in the running to win a copy of A Basketful of Broken Dishes, be sure leave a comment on this post. I'll draw a name from the comments next Tuesday, January 10th (which happens to be my birthday, too!). You will truly enjoy this book and will learn much about the Amish and their relationships with those who have left the Amish community.