Category Archives: Shipshewana Series

MW, Contest #5

Amish fiction, Contest, Shipshewana Series Comments: 90

Material Witness is HERE!

That’s right. Book 3 of my Shipshewana series has released this week. So if you’re purchasing from an on-line vendor, they are in stock. Ebooks are downloadable. Audio book is available. And if you’re shopping at your local bookstore, they should arrive any day.

What fun! Can you tell I’m excited? I’m ready to bake a CELEBRATION CAKE!

I thought this week we’d have 5 winners for our contest. Each person will receive:

Five books and five winners. Does that sound good? I also wanted to let you know that I’ll be in Shipshewana, Middlebury and Grand Rapids signing books next week.

09.10.12 Book signing at Middlebury Community Library 6-8.

09.12.12 Book signing at J. Farvres, Shipshewana, IN 2-4.

09.13.12 Book signing at Byron Center Library, Byron Township Branch, Grand Rapids, MI 6:30-8:00.

If you’re in the area, I would love to meet you.  I realize that many of you do live in different areas. So for this week’s contest, I thought it would be fun to comment with your email address and where you’d like to see me have a book signing.

As always, you have the opportunity to enter the contest more than once by sharing the information from this blog with your friends. If you do, leave me a 2nd comment stating that you shared.

The contest deadline is next Tuesday evening (CST), September 11th. The winner will not be announced until the following Saturday, September 15th.

Our winner from last week was CATHY McGUIRE, and I’ve contacted her by email. If your name is similar to Cathy’s, but you didn’t receive an email then it’s not you. Please try again! I’ll continue having contests for another couple of weeks, and we have a big surprise give away planned for Facebook. Stay tuned to this blog and facebook for details.

Blessings,

V~

p.s. — You can order your copy of Material Witness from CBDB&N, or Amazon. It is also available at your local bookstore. You may purchase all 3 books in this series for a special discount price from CBD. Why not purchase your own copy, then if/when you win a copy you can give one away to a friend!

John Wayne

Amish fiction, Shipshewana Series Comments: 15

Material Witness and John Wayne

Photo courtesy of @iStockphoto.com/PictureLake

On this week’s give-a-way the prize is a copy of  Material Witness and a photo of John Wayne. So what is up with that? How can John Wayne have anything to do with an Amish book?

I’m glad you asked! Writers find ideas in all sorts of places. When I was writing Material Witness, a movie had recently been filmed near our town — True Grit. We were all very excited, as some of our local people were “extras.” What fun! Matt Damon even stopped by to purchase flowers at our local florist.

So I started watching old John Wayne movies, and the one that caught my attention was The Cowboys. What a great movie! The boys who help John Wayne move a herd of cattle are young, impressionable, and hard workers. They’re not strong, not when the movie begins. And they don’t have any experience. But they are hard workers.

All of which reminded me of my main character, Aaron, who is the “material witness.” It seemed natural to include this movie as part of my plot, but you’ll have to read the book to see how I did it.

John Wayne … he’s something of a national treasure. I hope you enjoy his role in my new novel.

Blessings,

V

p.s. — Material Witness will release on September 4th! It is now available for pre-order from CBDB&N, and Amazon, in paperback and e-book. You may also purchase all 3 for a special discount price from CBD. I would LOVE for you to purchase a copy, then if/when you win a copy you can give one away to a friend!

MW, Contest #4

Amish fiction, Contest, Shipshewana Series Comments: 159

Win a John Wayne photo, Material Witness, and more

Are you ready for a new contest? ONE WINNER will receive the following items:

Why John Wayne? I don’t want to give anything away. Order a copy of Material Witness and find out! And maybe we’ll talk about it this Saturday.

In order to enter this contest, you need to leave a comment below on this blog.

As always, you have the opportunity to enter the contest more than once if you do at least one of the following:

  • Promote this contest on your Facebook wall by posting a link
  • Click the Pin-it button to the right (posts on your Pinterest board)
  • Click the Tell-a-friend button to the right.
  • Write a review for one of my books on Amazon.com
  • “Like” one of my books on Amazon.com
  • Encourage your friends to enter this contest

If you choose to do one of the following tasks listed above, please leave more than one comment below and tell me which task you completed.

The contest deadline is next Tuesday evening (CST), September 4th. The winner will be announced on my Wednesday blog, September 5th.

Our winner from last week was DARLENE KEITH, and I’ve contacted her by email. If your name is similar to Darlene’s, but you didn’t receive an email then it’s not you. Please try again! More contests coming soon. Stay tuned to this blog and facebook for details, and thank you for supporting Amish fiction.

Blessings,

V~

p.s. — Material Witness is now available on audio book. The ebook and paperback will release on September 4th. You can pre-order from CBDB&N, and Amazon. You may also purchase all 3 books in this series for a special discount price from CBD. I would LOVE for you to purchase a copy, then if/when you win a copy you can give one away to a friend!

Story Quilts

Amish fiction, Shipshewana Series Comments: 36

Material Witness, Story Quilts

Photo courtesy of @iStockphoto.com/ancestral

Do you love a mystery? Material Witness begins with a tragic event on the night before the fall festival opens.  Who did it? Why would they? And why would Callie, Deborah, Melissa and Esther become involved?

I won’t answer those questions for you, but I WILL tell you that the opening scene is very important–the scene where the girls receive 3 antique quilts.

Can quilts tell a story? Can they hide a secret message? Wikipedia says maybe. Most often story quilts refer to the Underground Railroad.

Some abolitionists were active in the Underground Railroad helping runaway slaves get to safety. There are stories that certain quilts were used as signals to help the slaves in their flight to freedom. The idea that a log cabin quilt would be hung on the line of a safe house was one. More recent stories tell of certain quilts being used to tell the slaves what they needed to do to get to safety. This all sounds quite romantic but historians are divided on the theory and legend. (from Wikipedia)

I did a lot of researching on this topic. I visited the pages for the National Quilting Association and The International Quilting Association. I read several books on the subject, and I still can’t give you a definitive answer.

I like the idea though, and it does seem probable that anyone COULD hide a message in a quilt. So the story of Material Witness took at turn I didn’t quite expect. I hope you enjoy it.

Remember, you can still put your name in the hat to win Wednesday’s give-a-way, which includes a small quilt.

What do you think? Do story quilts exist?

Blessings,

V

p.s. — Material Witness is now available for pre-order from CBDB&N, and Amazon, in paperback and e-book. You may also purchase all 3 for a special discount price from CBD. I would LOVE for you to purchase a copy, then if/when you win a copy you can give one away to a friend!

Handicapped

Amish fiction, Shipshewana Series Comments: 15

Material Witness, Handicapped

Photo courtesy of @iStockphoto.com/timsa

My newest release features the young boy AARON as a main character, the Material Witness to a murder. I’ve known many handicapped children through the years, and I’ve always been amazed by their courage.

Today I thought we’d hear some thoughts from one of my readers, Jen, who has worked with special needs Amish children.

Describe your experience for us. I had 16 years of experience with the public school system before I taught in the Amish school. I taught at Borkholder Amish School from August 2000 to May of 2004.  I had worked with a young Amish student during summer school at Bremen Public Schools.  This was right after the special education laws changed and mandated the students with severe/profound disabilities come back to their home schools as opposed to being housed all together.  The student I worked with was profoundly disabled and needed total care.  I fell in love with the little guy and visited his home during the summer. His father was on the school board at Borkholder.  That’s how I established my first contact with the Amish community.

Where is Bremen?
It’s in nothern Indiana in Marshall County.  It borders Elkhart county.  Amish were a daily sight in town.  I had had some Amish students when I taught first grade at Bremen also.

How many students did you have?
I had four students enrolled in my class.  They were all in the Bremen Public School system and were counted by Bremen schools.  Bremen provided bus transportation and I had the services of an OT, PT, and the special ed teacher.   I had one girl and three boys. The girl was from a neighboring church district as was one of the boys. The other two boys were brothers. They ranged in age from 5 to 10. The youngest had just turned 5 the previous March.

What were some of their needs?
  The youngest stayed all day since bus transportation wasn’t provided for half a day. He was a sweetheart.  He was total care; feeding him and changing him.  He has Dandy/Walker syndrome which is a brain tumor.  Sometimes I could tell he was in pain and I worked to keep him comfortable.  He did walk and loved to eat. He also always took a nap in the morning.  I actually brought a twin bed into the classroom. As he became more familiar with everything, he’d walk over to the bed and get on by himself.  He really shocked me the day he took his blanket and covered himself up. He tested at only 9 months cognitively but sometimes I know he was higher than that. Because he was nonverbal he was hard to test.

Did you have students who had trouble adjusting to school?
Another little boy was just 7 and this was his first year in school. He hated it at first.  He cried and he wanted to go home. I thought about having him come only half days but I knew he needed to get used to being away from Mom.  He had Klinefellter’s Syndrome which is a genetic condition in males only.  He also took a nap right after noon recess. That’s when I read a story and he often fell asleep against me during the story.  He learned a lot.  He began talking more, learned to read a little and was able to add simple math problems.  After months of work he learned to tie his shoes!!  He was a beautiful child and very sweet.  Boy, could he hit a softball too!  He lived close enough to school that we all walked down to see his puppies.

What about older children?
My oldest scholar was 10 when school started in 2000.  He was usually in a wheelchair but he also could pull himself to standing on anything that didn’t more.  He also was total care.  He had a seizure disorder and he would sometimes have 2 or 3 in a day.  He always fell asleep after them.  He had CP and was developmentally disabled also. I fed him and he was much harder to feed than his brother was.  He loved lying on the floor in the sunshine looking at his lunchbox or a toy.  He really struggled staying well and was hospitalized several times during those four years.

He quickly went downhill.  He is totally wheelchair bound now and tube fed.  He could really get to case of the giggles; sometimes at the worse times too.  He was getting fitted for a new wheelchair and really just wanted to hug and be hugged by the salesman. I knew there was more locked up in that brain but his health issues really affected his ability to learn.  If someone was lucky enough he’d hug you anytime you were close enough to him to reach.


Any girls?
There was a little girl I knew from public school.   She had Down Syndrome.  She talked, boy did she talk. She was independent.  She kept me sane as I could carry on a conversation with her.  She was on a low first grade level. She could read, add and subtract and was a great helper in the classroom.
~~
I’ll post more of Jen’s interview next week.

Material Witness has begun shipping from the warehouse and the ebook will deliver in 10 days, on August 28th. I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into special needs children within the Amish community.

Blessings,

V

p.s. — Material Witness is now available for pre-order from CBDB&N, and Amazon, in paperback and e-book. You may also purchase all 3 for a special discount price from CBD. I would LOVE for you to purchase a copy, then if/when you win a copy you can give one away to a friend!

MW, contest #2

Amish fiction, Contest, Shipshewana Series Comments: 208

Contest #2, Material Witness

In exactly 2 weeks  Material Witness, book 3 in my Shipshewana series, will deliver on Kindle and Nook. And this week it will begin releasing from warehouses. Yes!

The kind folks at Zondervan are replenishing my personal supply of all three books so that I’ll have the new covers. Which means … I have some of the old covers to give away. Ten copies to be exact! Whoah. The mailman is going to love me.

If you’d like to win both book 1 and book 2 (old covers), leave a comment below WITH your email address.

For a second entry, you can go to Amazon and LIKE the paperback or the ebook of Material Witness. I’m assuming since you’d like to win a copy, you do like them. : )  Comment AGAIN if you have LIKED the title on amazon. (Each person can have 2 entries! In your second entry, again put your name, email and that you visited Amazon and clicked the LIKE button to the right of the title.)

We’ll allow this contest to go until SUNDAY evening, and I’ll announce all 10 winners on Monday morning at the bottom of my inspirational post. Thank you so much for being such avid readers and supporters of Amish fiction.

Blessings,

V

p.s. — Material Witness is now available for pre-order from CBDB&N, and Amazon, in paperback and e-book. You may also purchase all 3 for a special discount price from CBD. I would LOVE for you to purchase a copy, then if/when you win a copy you can give one away to a friend!

Fall Festival

Amish fiction, Shipshewana Series Comments: 26

Material Witness, Fall Festival

Photo courtesy of @iStockphoto.com/rafalkrakow

Where and when you begin a story is very important.

For Material Witness, book 3 in my Shipshewana series, I knew that I wanted the action to happen during the fall. Book 1 takes place at the beginning of summer. Book 2? As Callie is facing her first Indiana winter.

For book 3 I wanted the colors and sights and sounds of fall.

I also wanted the action to be somewhat faster–so the entire story takes place over 4 days. Fun. Right? From opening scene to the exciting conclusion . . . just 4 days. But life is like that sometimes. It limps along slowly, or has a gently rhythm of warm summer days. Then suddenly, without warning, it can become a roller coaster ride.

This story was fun to write! If you’re reading this post on Saturday or Sunday, there’s still time to enter the drawing for one of 4 advanced copies I’m giving away. Click here. I’ll pull my winners first thing Monday morning.

Shipshewana has a fall festival. I hope to see it in person some time soon. Have you ever been to a fall festival? And if so, what was your favorite part?

 

Blessings,

V

p.s. — Material Witness is now available for pre-order from CBDB&N, and Amazon, in paperback and e-book. You may also purchase all 3 for a special discount price from CBD. I would LOVE for you to purchase a copy, then if/when you win a copy you can give one away to a friend!

Kristy

inspiration, Shipshewana Series Comments: 11

Monday Inspiration – Kristy

As I mentioned on Saturday, my new book Material Witness will be in stores soon. Which always causes me to pause and think of the people who help me do what I do. So today, I thought I’d introduce you to my “assistant” – Kristy.

Makes me feel old to admit it, but I was at Kristy’s house the day her momma brought her home from the hospital. We were neighbors, and I was Kristy’s babysitter–and her sister’s and brother’s for the next few years. Her family has been an important part of my life since I was 14.

Kristy is a social worker now, and I’m so proud of her! She also spends a few hours each week, helping me tackle my gigantic to-do list. We don’t live in the same town anymore, but we’re still able to communicate just fine.
 
With 9 more books coming out in the next 3 years, I have learned that it’s better to ask for help than to go crazy trying to do it all myself. I have my pre-readers who are fantastic. And I have Kristy. She’s a huge help and a real inspiration to me–social worker, mom, wife, and virtual assistant!

Hugs,

V

Material Witness

Amish fiction, Shipshewana Series Comments: 13

Shipshewana Amish Mystery – Material Witness


In just 2 weeks, book 3 of my Shipshewana series–Material Witness will begin shipping from the Zondervan warehouse. I wanted to share with you the new covers, which the art department at Zondervan did a wonderful job of creating. If you’ve already read books 1 and 2, no worries — the story is the same and only the cover has changed. If you’ve been waiting for book 3 to come out to order the series all at once, now’s the time to do so! On some sites you may see the old covers, but I’m told that those will all switch over by September 1.

Tragedy strikes on the opening night of the Fall Crafters Fair when a woman is killed in the parking lot of Daisy’s Quilt Shop, and the only material witness is one of Melinda Byer’s boys. The investigation takes a more bizarre turn when detective Shane Black becomes convinced the killer was actually after Callie.
This time it’s a madman loose in the largest crowd of the year, and he’s looking for something or someone. If they can’t figure out what, one of Deborah and Callie’s close circle of friends may be next.

Masked identities, antique quilts with hidden messages, an Amish boy whose handicap makes him stronger, one brave dog, and a possible hidden treasure … this time it’s nonstop action, danger, and a dash of romance.

Most of all, it’s a story of God’s grace and how he never ever gives up on us. Interested? You can pre-order from Amazon, B&N, CBD or your local bookstore. And Christian Book Distributors is offering a special price for all 3 books  of just 27.99.

I’m looking forward to this month, to sharing with you the story behind the story, and of course–having more contests. Thank you for being such loyal readers.

Blessings,

V

 

Day 1 of A Perfect Square Celebration

Amish fiction, Shipshewana Series Comments: 183

A Perfect Square Celebration, Day 1

We’re celebrating the release of my book, A Perfect Square!

Thank you to everyone who was able to come out to the party at Lifeway book store in Hurst, TX on Saturday. I so enjoyed meeting you.

HOWEVER, so many of you live in other towns and states! So let’s celebrate this way. I’m going to give away something Amish–today a copy of Quilts Among the Plain People, and a copy  of my first book, A Simple Amish Christmas. All you have to do is:

  1. Leave a comment below telling where you would go visit the Amish if you could.
  2. Leave your email too.
  3. And if you leave another comment saying you shared on facebook or via email, you’ll be entered twice! Thanks!

We’ll do this all week. And remember, A Perfect Square is now available on B&N, Amazon, CBD, and hopefully in whatever bookstore is near you. WooHoo!

Hugs,

Vannetta