Author Archives: vannettachapman

About vannettachapman

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her novel, Falling to Pieces, was a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist. A Promise for Miriam earned a spot on the June 2012 Christian Retailing Top Ten Fiction list. Chapman was a teacher for 15 years and currently writes full time. She lives in the Texas hill country with her husband. For more information, visit her at www.VannettaChapman.com

Why Cozy Mysteries

Amish Bishop Mysteries, Amish fiction, Amish Village Mystery series, Author life, Christian fiction Comments: 2

Sometimes I’m asked, “Why do you write cozy mysteries?” Occasionally the question is a bit more pointed. “How can you combine murder and Amish? That’s terrible!” Since my new Amish cozy mystery, Dead Wrong, just released, I thought I’d share with you how I happened to become a cozy mystery writer.

In early 2010 I was a new writer who had one book contracted. It wouldn’t be published until October of that year. It was a one book contract. It was my only Amish book. I wasn’t sure what was next for me, but I was excited to have one book “hitting the shelves” in the fall.

Then I received a phone call from Sue Bower at Harper Collins Christian Publishing. I thought it was a prank call, and I almost hung up on her. (My friends have a strange sense of humor so I have to stay on my toes.) The conversation went something like this:

Sue: “We like your writing, but we don’t need another Amish romance writer.”

Me: “Okay.” ((awkward pause))

Sue: “Could you write an Amish cozy?”

Me: “I guess. Can we do that in Christian fiction? Have a murder mystery?”

Sue: “Sure. Just keep it clean. I’m thinking something like Murder She Wrote.”

Me: “Okay. Ummm…do you have a setting in mind?”

Sue clicks around on her keyboard: “How about Shipshewana?”

Me: “Shipshe-who?”

I really had no idea how to write a cozy mystery. I went to the library and sat there all morning reading the first chapters of cozies. (There was a big section of them too.) Halfway through writing Falling to Pieces, I realized I’d done it wrong. I didn’t have a dead body until a hundred pages into the story. Apparently you need that in the first chapter. I was still teaching, and I did not have the time to rewrite the entire story. Instead I added a prologue and had a second dead body pop up there. Needless to say, I was a little nervous about the reception for this book, but it went on to win ACFW’s Carol Award for best mystery. (They’ve since combined mystery into the suspense genre.)

I went on to write 9 Amish cozy mysteries–my new release Dead Wrong raises that number to 10. I like to think of them as stories that are fun “who-done-its.” They keep your brain going trying to figure out the mystery, while your heart is falling for the characters. They always have an amateur sleuth, a small town setting, and a close-knit community. There’s a little humor and usually a cat. Perhaps a bit of romance. For me, cozy mysteries are a place to show that God’s grace is present and sufficient, even in the most unlikely of situations.

Have a question about cozies? Leave it in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you. And if you’d like to check out my cozy mysteries, you can view them all here. 

~Vannetta

Announcements for this week

  • Amish Christmas Matchmaker is still available through on-line outlets if you missed it in stores.
  • Dead Wrong is now available in print and ebook. Autographed copies are now available in my on-line store. You can purchase only the book or pair it with a Texas package and shipping is always free. Check it out here.
  • I have 2 novellas releasing soon. Fading Into the Night (57 pages) first appeared in the Summer of Suspense anthology. If you didn’t read it there, you can pre-order it as a standalone for only 99c. Available for pre-order at Amazon, and other retailers. Midnight Strike (approximately 80 pages) will continue Nora’s story in the Cyber Crime division. This time it isn’t an Amish setting, but I believe you’ll enjoy the suspense. You can pre-order for $2.99 at Amazon and other retailers. Once I have all 4 stories done, I’ll release it in print as well.
  • My entire Plain & Simple Miracles is on sale in ebook format. Brian’s Choice is free for a limited time. Anna’s Healing is 99c, Joshua’s Mission and Sarah’s Orphans are both $1.99.
  • Lots of new stuff in my on-line store just in time for your Christmas shopping. Check it our here.

Story Ideas

Amish fiction, Author life, Christian fiction, inspiration, Writing research Comments: 2

VC’s not-so-messy desk

We’ve been following a “get to know one another” theme here on the blog. So far we’ve covered–

Today I wanted to answer a question I get a lot–Where do you get your ideas? That’s a great question, though of course it’s not an easy answer. Story ideas come from many different places. Personally, I’ll have something in my mind, think about it, chew on it for a few weeks or months while Continue reading

Deciding to Be a Writer

Author life, The Writing Life Comments: 15

VC at the college where she teaches

Another question I’m asked a lot is “Did you always want to be a writer?”

The quick answer to that question is a resounding NO. I never even thought of being a writer. I’ve always been an avid reader. True story: when I was very young (probably 10), my mom had to go to the the library so she could sign a special form. The special form allowed me into the ADULT section. I’d already read all of the books in the children’s section.

When I went back to school for my college degree at the ripe-old-age of 34 Continue reading

Shipshe Hot Spots & a New Release

Shipshewana Series, Special Sale Price Comments: 2

Our 16 book anthology, Summer of Suspense is now available. So today I thought I’d share a little about the setting–Shipshewana Hot Spots.

No, I’m not talking about places you can find Wi-Fi in Shipshewana, Indiana. I’m talking about fun places to see. I recently visited the area, and I wanted to share some pictures and thoughts.

  • Shipshewana is a small town – see the flowers above? Not quite 700 residents (during market days that swells to as much as 30,000).
  • We stayed at the Bluegate, which is convenient, close, and lovely. There are a lot of places to stay in the area.
  • Keep your eyes open for phone shacks.
  • Yoder’s Department store is a fun place to visit.
  • Lolly’s Fabrics (in the Davis Mercantile) is also a favorite of mine.
  • You can have dinner in an Amish home.
  • The Pumpkinvine Trail is lovely. You can walk all the way to Middlebury, or you can walk a little and turn back.
  • Keep an eye out for Amish schools. You’ll know them by the playgrounds.
  • Howie’s ice cream is a real treat, and you’ll probably see some Amish families there.
  • Watch for produce signs. This one simply had a jar where you left your money, and the blueberries were delicious.
  • Essenhaus in Middlebury is also a fun stop.

I love visiting the areas I write about. Amish communities offer a special kind of peace and quiet–it really is like stepping back in time. If you have any questions about Shipshe, let me know. I’ll be happy to try and answer them. And remember, you can download your copy of Summer of Suspense now. My contribution to this collection is Fading Into the Night, an Amish suspense set in Shipshewana. The price for the entire collection will remain 99c until Sunday, August 11th, at which point it goes up to regular price. At this point it’s only offered in ebook format, but I hope to release mine with 3 other stories–in print and ebook–next spring.

Blessings,

Vannetta

 

Announcements for this week

  • I have new items in my VC Boutique Store. Check it out here
  • All 5 of my Wisconsin amish stories are for sale in one bundle for $3.99. That’s 2 novellas and 3 full novels for $3.99.
  • Dead Wrong is now at my editor’s. This new Amish cozy mystery series will release in September. I’ll provide buy links soon.
  • The Amish Christmas Matchmaker will be in stores the end of September. If you are a blogger/reviewer it is now available on Netgalley.

Texas Beaches

Healthy living, Texas, The Writing Life Comments: 9

 

Texas is a big state. We have mountains, desert, forests, hill country, plains, and beaches! Hubby and I recently spent a few days at the Texas coast with his family. Yes, it was hot! But it was a nice time of relaxing and recharging. I thought I’d share a few facts with you about Texas beaches.

  1. Padre Island is the world’s largest barrier island–more than 200 square miles.
  2. There are several lighthouses to visit including Port Isabel and Lydia Ann. You can see the entire list here.
  3. Sea turtle rescue is a big thing on Padre Island.
  4. The Texas State Aquarium is right across the bay in Corpus Christi.
  5. You can also visit the USS Lexington which is now a floating museum.
  6. Moody Gardens are located in Galveston, which is only 60 miles south of Houston.
  7. Both Galveston and Port Aransas have been hit by hurricanes in recent years. Hurricane Harvey hit Port A in 2017 and Hurricane Ike hit Galveston in 2008. Galveston was also the site of the deadliest hurricane in US history which made landfall in 1900 and killed between 6,000 and 12,000 people.

So while you might not want to visit the Texas coast during hurricane season, it is a nice spot the rest of the year. I think you’ll find the people friendly, the food delicious, and the views spectacular. What about you? What’s your favorite spot to visit in your state?  Leave a comment below, and we’ll pull one winner to receive an autographed book from yours truly. Last week’s winner was Judy S. (Judy, you should have received an email from me today.)

Blessings,

VC

Announcements for this week

  • Paperback copies of Sarah’s Orphans and Joshua’s Mission are available in my online store for only $6 (which includes an autograph and free shipping). This special is good through 7-24.
  • The anthology I’m participating in, Summer of Suspense, is releasing in 3 weeks. You can preorder at BN and Apple and Amazon. Pre-order price is 99c for 16 awesome inspirational romantic suspense novellas. These are all original stories.
  • I’ll be in Shipshewana in August and signing books at the Empress Room in the Blue Gate Inn on Friday, August 2 from 12:30-4:30. Some fantastic authors of Amish fiction are going to be joining me, so if you’re in the area please do stop by!

Amish gardens

Amish facts/history, Amish view, Gardening Comments: 16

Today I thought we’d talk about Amish gardens. Raise your hand if you’ve seen one.

I live in Texas, so I’m well acquainted with gardens. My husband’s Uncle Joe had a very large vegetable garden even after he’d gone blind. Uncle Joe was Continue reading

What’s Wrong With Shopping

Love Inspired Books, New Release, The Writing Life Comments: 34

There’s nothing wrong with shopping, of course. In fact, if you have the urge, feel free to purchase my new release, A Perfect Amish Match. It’s available in ebook and print. (You can find it at most Walmart stores as well as online retailers).

Some of you might remember that I decided to try a shopping ban for 2019, so I thought I’d update you on how it’s going. So far, so good. Of course I still purchase consumables (food, paper goods, etc.). For me, I found that my biggest tempations were books (surprise), fabric for quilting, yarn for knitting, and clothes! Those are my big 4. Apparently today is day 104, and to tell you the truth I think Continue reading