Category Archives: fiction spotlight

Lynn Austin

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Everything Amish — and Lynn Austin

No, she doesn’t write Amish, but there’s a reason that I’m blogging about Lynn Austin today. I had read that Lynn was an award-winning author, and I wanted to know more about her. So I picked up Wonderland Creek. What a lovely novel. You know a book is good when you immediately call your close friends and say, “Read this! You’ll love it.”

As I was reading the story, it did occur to me that this is just the type of book Amish folks would enjoy. It’s set in a simpler time, centers around normal people, and describes how the main characters overcome unusual obstacles. I know when one of the main characters is a horse that I’m going to love the story!

Yes, the Amish do read contemporary stories. But they are choosy about what they read, and perhaps they should be. Perhaps we all should be.

By the way, I also read Hidden Places by Lynn, and adored the story. She is one of the best authors I’ve read (Christian or secular) in a long time. I hope you will check her writings out. They are sometimes free in ebook format, and should be at your local library as well.

Blessings,

V

p.s. – the winner from last Saturday’s blog, “Giving” is ALYSON JENKINS. I’ve sent Alyson an email, so if your name sounds like this but you did not receive an email — then it’s not you. No worries, we’ll have more give aways soon. Thanks everyone for entering!

Oregon Outback

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Fiction Spotlight – Oregon Outback

Today I’m featuring my friend and award-winning author, Elizabeth Goddard. Beth’s new book is Oregon Outback, and I think you’ll agree it sounds like a fun read.

The harsh, yet peaceful Oregon Outback molds the lives of four rugged brothers who stumble into love. FBI agent Jonas Love has brought trouble back home, endangering his life and that of an old flame. Cattle rancher Carver Love finds himself falling for the sheriff in the midst of chasing down modern-day rustlers. Thrill-seeker Lucas Love fears nothing—until he meets a beautiful bookkeeper. Justin Love is trailing a fugitive who’s heading too close to home—and one particular lodge keeper. How will God protect these men as they risk their lives to defend the ones they love?

This is actually a novella collection of 4 stories. I hope you’ll check it out! Beth is a Texas girl but she has lived in Oregon, and I’m sure that added a lot to the details of this story.

Blessings,

V~

Award Winning Fiction

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Fiction Spotlight – The Carol Awards

This week I wanted to share with you a list of excellent books. These are the finalists for the Carol Awards. (Winners will be revealed at the ACFW conference in September.) According to American Chrisitian Fiction Writer’s site “The Carol Awards are ACFW’s recognition for the best Christian fiction published by traditional publishing houses in the previous calendar year.”

I am completely humbled that my first Shipshewana mystery, Falling to Pieces, is included in this year’s finalists–in the mystery category.

If you’re looking for a summer read, this list is a great place to start.

Debut Novel:

  • Fairer Than Morning  by Rosslyn Elliott (Thomas Nelson – Ami McConnell, Editor)
  • The Loom by Shella Gillus (Guideposts – Beth Adams, Editor)
  • Give the Lady a Ride by Linda W. Yezak (Sky Sail [Port Yonder Press] – Chila Woychik, Editor)

 

Long Contemporary:

  • Lost Melody by Lori Copeland/Virginia Smith (Zondervan – Sue Brower, Editor)
  • The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Revell – Andrea Doering, Editor)
  • Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate (Bethany House Publishers – Sarah Long/Dave Long, Editors)

 

Long Contemporary Romance:

  • Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones (Thomas Nelson – Jamie Chavez/Natalie Hanemann, Editors)
  • Lilly’s Wedding Quilt by Kelly M. Long (Thomas Nelson – Natalie Hanemann, Editor)
  • My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren (Tyndale – Karen Watson, Editor)

 

Long Historical:

  • Captive Trail by Susan Page Davis (Moody Publishers/River North – Deborah Keiser, Editor)
  • Fairer Than Morning  by Rosslyn Elliott (Thomas Nelson – Ami McConnell, Editor)
  • Mine Is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs (WaterBrook Press – Laura Barker, Editor)

 

Long Historical Romance:

  • The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen (Bethany House Publishers – Karen Schurrer, Editor)
  • Lilies in Moonlight by Allison Pittman (Multnomah Publishers – Alice Crider, Editor)
  • To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House Publishers – Karen Schurrer, Editor)

 

Mystery:

  • Falling to Pieces: A Shipshewana Amish Mystery by Vannetta Chapman (Zondervan – Sue Brower, Editor)
  • Died in the Wool by Elizabeth Ludwig/Janelle Mowery (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany, Editor)
  • Yesterday’s Secrets by Kelly Ann Riley (Guideposts – Beth Adams, Editor)

 

Novella:

  • An Accidental Christmas from A Biltmore Christmas by Diane T. Ashley/Aaron McCarver (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany, Editor)
  • Reese: All Along from Smitten by Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson – Ami McConnell/LB Norton, Editors)
  • A Star in the Night from A Log Cabin Christmas by Liz Johnson (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany, Editor)

 

Romantic Suspense:

  • Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson – Ami McConnell, Editor)
  • Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon (Revell – Jennifer Leep, Editor)
  • Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany/Julee Schwarzburg, Editor)

 

Short Contemporary:

  • The Protector by Shelley Shepard Gray (Avon Inspire/Harper Collins – Cindy DiTiberio)
  • Lakeside Reunion by Lisa Jordan (Love Inspired – Melissa Endlich, Editor)
  • Oklahoma Reunion by Tina Radcliffe (Love Inspired – Rachel Burkot/Melissa Endlich, Editor)

 

Short Contemporary Suspense:

  • Double Identity by Diane Burke (Love Inspired Suspense – Sarah McDaniel-Dyer, Editor)
  • Nightwatch by Valerie Hansen (Love Inspired Suspense – Melissa Endlich, Editor)
  • A Deadly Game by Virginia Smith (Love Inspired Suspense – Tina James, Editor)

 

Short Historical (four finalists due to a tie):

  • Promise of Time by S. Dionne Moore (Heartsong Presents – JoAnne Simmons, Editor)
  • Revealing Fire by Connie Stevens (Heartsong Presents – Rebecca Germany, Editor)
  • Light to My Path by Erica Vetsch (Heartsong Presents – JoAnne Simmons, Editor)
  • The Deepest Waters by Dan Walsh (Revell – Andrea Doering, Editor)

 

Speculative Fiction:

  • The Story in the Stars by Yvonne Anderson (Risen Books – Reagan Reed, Editor)
  • The Chair by James L. Rubart (B & H Fiction – Julee Schwarzburg, Editor)
  • Broken Sight by Steve Rzasa (Marcher Lord Press – Jeff Gerke, Editor)

 

Suspense/Thriller:

  • Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins (B & H Fiction – Karen Ball, Editor)
  • Fallen Angel by Major Jeff Struecker/Alton Gansky (B & H Fiction – Julie Gwinn, Editor)
  • Freedom’s Stand by Jeanette (J.M.) Windle (Tyndale – Jan Stob, Editor)

 

Women’s Fiction:

  • A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner (WaterBrook Press – Shannon Marchese, Editor)
  • When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley (Multnomah Publishers – Jessica Barnes/Shannon Marchese, Editors)
  • Dandelion Summer by Lisa Wingate (Penguin Praise/Berkley – Ellen Edwards, Editor)

 

Young Adult:

  • Wreath by Judy Christie (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany/Jamie Chavez, Editors)
  • The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson (Zondervan – Jacque Alberta, Editor)
  • There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones (Thomas Nelson – Natalie Hanemann/Becky Monds/Jamie Chavez, Editors)

Happy reading!

~V

 

 

Jordyn Redwood

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Fiction Spotlight — Jordyn Redwood
I’m happy to have Jordyn guest-blogging with me today.  Jordyn Redwood is a pediatric ER nurse by day, suspense novelist by night. She hosts Redwood’s Medical Edge, a blog devoted to helping contemporary and historical authors write medically accurate fiction. You can connect with Jordyn via her website. She writes for the Christian publisher, Kregel and wanted to talk with us today about STITCHING SUSPENSE. Jordyn is giving away a copy of her book, just answer her question at the end of the post by leaving a comment. Be sure and leave your email address too.

~~

As an author, I will admit it’s difficult for me not to let my real life bleed into my books. After all, the more realistic a fiction novel is—the more relatable it is for people. I know, crazy right?

My mother began to teach me quilting shortly after I was married in 1998. She had always done garment sewing but when clothing prices made it cheaper to buy than to sew from scratch she stopped. During my high school years—she began to quilt.

Of course, my husband says my mother’s motive to get me quilting was so that I would have the same fabric obsession she does. Fellow quilters know all about the fabric stash! I merely reply that this is genetic as my paternal grandmother knits and has boxes upon boxes of yarn. I’ve been doubly hit from both sides of the family.

He just doesn’t get it.

That’s okay.

My first quilt was a simple log cabin design. Then a pattern called woven ribbons that I promised to give away to someone but just couldn’t after it was completed. Does anyone else have this problem?

Since then, I’ve done dozens of quilts for friends and family and probably have enough fabric to make dozens more. I originally loved Thimbleberries designs and fabrics but have since then gravitated toward Nancy HalvorsenWhimsical Quilts, and Crabapple Hill. Now that I’ve embarked on a writing career, I don’t have nearly as much time to quilt as I’d like and I love the more labor intensive pieces that are appliquéd or embroidered.

So how do you fulfill a love for quilting while writing a suspense novel? Well, include it as a clue of course!

Working as a pediatric nurse, I’ve seen hundreds of homemade blankets donated to our unit. Some of these are given out of grief for a child once lost. In Proof, one of my male leads, Kadin Daughtry, is an OB/GYN. His sister, Ellie, lost a baby and was unable to conceive another child. To work through her grief, she sews these beautiful quilts to cover the babies’ isolettes as they sleep in the NICU. This is done, in real life, to decrease the amount of stimulation the babies receive.

This fact, of Ellie making these quilts, is mentioned a few times throughout the book and is an excellent technique to use in fiction writing as a path of clues for the reader. One particular quilt in the novel becomes pivotal for the heroine, Lilly, to accomplish her goal in saving someone’s life and putting a guilty man in jail.

Do you have a love of quilting? What patterns do you like? What designers? Do you like novels that have a quilting element?

~Jordyn

Missing

Amish fiction, fiction spotlight, Uncategorized Comments: 18

Fiction Spotlight – Missing

I’m just happy as a peach on a tree to highlight Shelley Shepard Gray’s new book, MISSING. Just the cover makes me want to take it to my back patio, cancel all the things on my to-do list, and READ.

Shelley is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author, and she’s also my friend. She’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. And I think you will adore her book. Here’s the blurb.

Can two young people survive the suspicions of their friends and neighbors when tragedy strikes a close-knit Amish community?

Perry Borntrager had been missing for months from the quiet Amish community of Crittenden, Kentucky, when his body is discovered at the bottom of an abandoned well. The first death from mysterious circumstances in more than two decades brings the scrutiny of the outside world: A police detective arrives to help the local sheriff with the investigation. His questioning begins with Lydia Plank, Perry’s former girlfriend, and Perry’s best friend, the Englischer Walker Anderson.

Lydia and Walker know they didn’t have anything to do with Perry’s death, but they both hold secrets about his final days. Do they dare open up about the kind of man Perry had become? In the oppressive shadow of these dark times, they discover strength in a most unlikely companionship: one that offers solace, understanding, and the promise of something more.

I’ve mentioned before, if you can’t afford to purchase all these fabulous books, please request them at your library. This is a GREAT help to authors.  

Blessings,
 
~V
 

The Fiddler

Amish fiction, fiction spotlight Comments: 19

Fiction Spotlight – The Fiddler

I’m wondering. How many of you have read Beverly Lewis’ newest book? I play the piano, but one of my favorite instruments to listen to is a violine–a fiddle. This book sound intriguing.

Amelia “Amy” DeVries, a 24-year-old violinist, is disillusioned with life and love after the collapse of her long-running romance. Weary of endless rehearsals and performances, Amy sets out on a road trip through the Pennsylvania mountains. She leaves her cell phone behind so life’s demands can’t intrude on her solitude. She doesn’t know, nor care, where she will end up.

When her car breaks down deep in the mountains, Amy realizes the flaw in her “no cell phone” plan. She abandons her car and walks the winding roads, searching for help. Following the smell of woodsmoke and the sound of music, she finds a rustic log cabin. There she meets a young Amishman–and through him a community–that will change her life forever.

 
Beverly Lewis certainly opened the door of Amish fiction. I consider her a real mentor and blessing. So have you read this book? It’s been on the bestseller list for some time. : )
 
Blessings,
 
~V
 
 
 

The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club

Amish fiction, fiction spotlight Comments: 31

Fiction Spotlight – The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club

I have to admit, I’m intrigued by Wanda Brunstetter’s newest release. It’s selling like crazy and the description is so catchy:

Join the club of unlikely quilters who show up for Amish widow Emma Yoder’s quilting classes. A troubled young woman, a struggling couple, a widower, a rough and tough biker, and a preacher s wife make up the mismatched lot. But as their problems begin to bind them together like the scraps of fabric stitched together in a quilt, they learn to open up and lend a helping hand. Is this what God had in mind to heal hurting hearts and create beauty from fragments?
 
 
What a great story idea! I’m going to give this one a try. If anyone has read it already, please leave a comment. I’d love to know what you think.
 
Blessings,
 
~V
 
p.s. – We’re giving away that Kindle Fire on Friday. Remember, if you don’t feel “creative” you can leave your name and you’re still entered. Click on the Facebook tab, and then go to my contest link. Thanks for entering!
 

ACFW – Part 2 of April Releases

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Fiction Spotlight – ACFW, Part 2 of April Releases

I owe you the rest of April’s releases from American Christian Fiction Writers. Remember, if something looks good, you can find out more at ACFW, your local bookstore, or by contacting your local library.

The Chase by DiAnn Mills — To FBI Special Agent Tigo Harris, it’s a cold case, but to writer Kariss Walker it’s a story that she has to write despite the danger. (Romantic Suspense from Zondervan).

A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island by Cara Putman — Mackinac Island is accessible only by ferry or small plane. Its laid back pace, sans cars, is the perfect place to recover from hurt—unless the injury occurred there. As Alanna Stone tries to reconcile past to present she discovers her future lies in learning to listen to God. (Romantic Mystery from Barbour).

Brush of Angel’s Wing by Ruth Reid — Rachel and Jordan’s feelings for each other are hostile at first, but angelic intervention helps the two discover peace . . . and perhaps love. (Contemporary Romance from Thomas Nelson).

The Quakers of New Garden byJennifer Hudson Taylor, Claire Sanders, Anne E. Shrock, Sussette Williams — Four Quaker women face challenges of the heart. Ruth hesitates to give her bridegroom a third chance at love. Underground Railroad worker Deborah meets a bounty hunter. Leah tries to turn a marriage of convenience into a marriage of love. Christian Jaidon falls for Quaker Catherine. Will love endure in their hearts and lives? (Historical Romance from Barbour).

The Discovery by Dan Walsh — The Discovery is a richly woven novel filled with romance, suspense and intrigue that explores the incredible sacrifices that must be made to forge the love of a lifetime. (Historical from Revell).

Need You Now by Beth Wiseman — Experience a family’s triumphant defeat over lies, betrayal, and loss while still clinging to the One who matters most. (Women’s Fiction from Thomas Nelson).

Her Family Wish by Betsy St. Amant — Taking pictures of other people’s happiest moments is the perfect job for Hannah Hart. Secretly fearing that she won’t ever have a family of her own, Hannah prefers to hide behind the camera. Until she meets assistant principal Jude Bradley, whose twelve-year-old daughter instantly bonds with Hannah. Jude might just be the man to give Hannah a reason to smile-if he can let go of the past. The more Hannah and Jude discover they have in common, the more Hannah wonders if there’s a family in her future after all…. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

V~

ps – We are nearing the end of our Kindle give-away. It will be pre-loaded with all of Amy Clipston’s Amish fiction as well as the books in my Shipshewana series, so go to this link and leave your name to be entered. You can enter each week!

ACFW – April Releases

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Fiction Spotlight – ACFW, April Releases

Once again, I’d like to share with you this month’s releases from American Christian Fiction Writers. If you see something that interests you, you can find out more at ACFW, your local bookstore, or by contacting your local library.

The Mother Road by Jennifer AlLee — Sometimes, the end of the road is just the beginning… (Women’s Fiction from Abingdon Press).

Race Against Time by Christy Barritt — Were it not for her cop neighbor, widowed mother Madison Jacobs would be dead. Thankfully, Detective Brody Philips interrupts an attempt on her life in the nick of time. But the would-be killer hasn’t given up, and each tick of the clock brings the madman closer to finishing what he started. Brady vows to catch the serial killer plaguing the sleepy Virginia town…especially when he realizes the danger has followed him from the big city. With everyone around him at risk, it’ll take everything Brody’s got to do his duty and keep Madison and her son safe. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Always the Designer, Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker — It’s taken Audrey Regan years to establish herself as a wedding dress designer, and to date she’s been roped into creating dresses for nine of her girlfriends. Request #10 follows her vow to “Just say no!” and comes from her very best friend. She can hardly turn Carly down! Audrey arrives in Atlanta early to perform all of her maid-of-honor duties along with final fittings for a one-of-a-kind dress. But Carly’s wedding is nothing short of an event, complete with Prince Charming, and the festivities make Audrey question whether there’s a prince of her own anywhere in her future (Contemporary Romance from Abingdon Press).

A Love Rekindled by Margaret Daley — Zane Davidson and Kim Walters were sweethearts years ago, but he betrayed her love. Now he’s the only one who can help Kim rebuild her family. Can their love be rekindled? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

Cowgirl Trail by Susan Page Davis — When a rancher’s cowboys go on strike, his daughter enlists her girlfriends to help her finish the roundup and cattle drive. (Historical from River North (Moody)).

Lady Anne’s Quest by Susan Page Davis — Lady Anne must give her uncle important news–but somebody wants to stop her. (Historical from Barbour).

Enjoy!

V~

ps – Remember, we’re nearing the end of our Kindle give-away. It will be pre-loaded with all of Amy Clipston’s Amish fiction as well as the books in my Shipshewana series, so go to this link and leave your name to be entered. You can enter each week!

ACFW March Releases

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Fiction Spotlight: ACFW March Releases

I wanted to share with you the following releases by authors associated with American Christian Fiction Writers. This is the 1st half of the list. I’ll post the other half next Wednesday. More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Love’s Sacred Song by Mesu Andrews — Young King Solomon marries a Shulamite shepherdess to quell the unrest of Israel’s northern tribes, but will this marriage become a love that sings for the ages? (Historical from Revell).

Dawn Comes Early (The Brides of Last Chance Ranch Series) by Margaret Brownley — It’s 1895 and 29-year-old dime novelist Kate Tenney finds herself without a publisher or other means of support when her novel is banned. When she agrees to try her hand at ranching, trouble begins. The West is nothing like she wrote about in her books. (Historical Romance from Thomas Nelson).

A Perfect Square by Vannetta Chapman — Amish-English sleuthing duo Deborah Yoder and Callie Harper set out to solve a murder. But more than an innocent man’s future is at stake. In book two of the Shipshewana Amish Mystery series, God’s grace touches the long-lost past as well as lives shaken by current tragedy. (Cozy Mystery from Zondervan).

Saving Hope by Margaret Daley — A 16-year-old girl is kidnapped from Beacon of Hope School. With the help of Texas Ranger Wyatt Sheridan, Kate Winslow is determined to find her student, but someone doesn’t want her to succeed. (Contemporary Romance from Abingdon Press).

I Am Ocilla by Diane M. Graham — I know only my name. Beyond that is confusion, a void where fantasy and reality swirl together. A dark soul threatens the Five Kingdoms, but I am powerless to stand against him, overwhelmed by phantom memories, broken and lost. Somehow I must live.(Speculative Fiction/Fantasy from Splashdown Books).

Highland Hearts by Eva Maria Hamilton — In Scotland 1748, the Battle of Culloden is over, but one Highlander’s fight has just begun. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired).

Journey’s Edge by Dora Hiers — When your daughter is kidnapped, can you trust her safety to the one man you swore to never trust again? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing).

Promised to Another by Laura V. Hilton — She’s promised to one, but in love with another. He has secrets that could destroy the relationship before it begins. (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House).

And You Call Yourself a Christian by E.N. Joy — What’s a single Christian woman to do when she finds herself being charged for the death of three people? Her own sons? (Women’s Fiction from Urban Christian).

Gypsy’s Game byDelia Latham — She wants a temporary husband. He wants a forever love. Can these two hearts find a common path? (Romance from White Rose Publishing).

Happy reading!

~V