Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Jennifer Beckstrand | Amish Christmas Traditions
Author Guest / November 10, 2020

I write inspirational Amish fiction laced with humor and romance. My newest book, Amish Christmas Miracles, is a collection of 14 Amish Christmas romances by 14 of your favorite Amish romance authors. It’s available for only 99¢ until November 15! To celebrate, I’m giving away three copies of The Amish Christmas Candle to three random commenters below. As you can probably guess, writing Amish romantic fiction requires a lot of research, but you might be surprised at some of the research I’ve done to make my books more authentic. Here are my top five most memorable research adventures. 1. Buying an Amish quilt (or two), an Amish doll, and an Amish-built table. My research trips have taken me to Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana in search of Amish communities. I love Amish-made furniture, quilts, and handicrafts. Probably my favorite purchase is the kitchen table I bought in Indiana. I ordered the table, the Amish built it, and a few weeks later, a driver (ex-Amish) delivered it to my home and put it together. 2. Baking huckleberry pie, asparagus casserole, and yummasetti. Food plays an important role in Amish life and most definitely in my books. In Huckleberry Hill, the first…

Jan Drexler | 20 Questions: SOFTLY BLOWS THE BUGLE
Author Guest / October 23, 2020

1—What’s the name of your latest release?  Softly Blows the Bugle is the third book in my Amish of Weaver’s Creek series. 2–What is it about? When Elizabeth Kaufman received the news of her husband’s death at the Battle of Vicksburg in 1863, she felt only relief. She determined that she would never be at the mercy of any man again, even if it meant she would never have a family of her own. Then Aaron Zook comes home with her brother when the war ends two years later. Despite the severity of his injuries, Aaron resolves to move West and leave the pain of the past behind him. He never imagined that the Amish way of life his grandfather had rejected long ago would be so enticing. That, and a certain widow he can’t get out of his mind. Yet, even in a simple community, life has a way of getting complicated. Aaron soon finds that while he may have left the battlefield behind, there is another fight he must win–the one for the heart of the woman he loves.  3–What word best describes your main character(s)?  Elizabeth is determined, but fragile. Aaron is steadfast. 4–What makes your story…

Fall Recipe Potluck | AN AMISH COOKIE COURTSHIP by Sarah Price
Author Guest / September 11, 2020

It’s the final day of our Fall Recipe Potluck–we hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have, and you’ve learned about some great new books and collected all of these delicious recipes. Don’t forget! You can check back on the week’s posts for chances to win books by these awesome authors. Thanks for joining our potluck! We’ll be back with another recipe round-up soon. . . Day 1: SECOND CHANCE ON CYPRESS LAND by Reese Ryan Day 2: THE SECRET FRENCH RECIPES OF SOPHIE VALROUX by Samantha Verant Day 3: SIMMER DOWN by Sarah Smith Day 4: THE SECRET INGREDIENT by K.D. Fisher Day 5: AN AMISH COOKIE CLUB COURTSHIP by Sarah Price — The Sentimental Nostalgia of Amish Sweets! For most of us, September marks the end of summer. In general, life slows down from the chaotic schedule of shuffling children to camp, arranging family vacations, and coordinating neighborhood barbeques. Community pools close, local schools reopen (typically…although COVID has thrown us all for a loop), and the warm days give way to cooler nights. For the Amish, however, September brings a different change and faster pace of life into their daily routine. The advent of autumn brings…

Ophelia London | How NEVER AN AMISH BRIDE Came About
Author Guest / July 3, 2020

Hello, Fresh Fiction! It’s been so long since I’ve been here. And I cannot tell you how great it feels to be back! Some of you may know me as the author of several sweet rom-coms, all contemporary settings. So then, how in the world did I end up writing an Amish romance novel? Did I go all “inspie” on my readers? (Which wouldn’t be a bad thing, of course!) Nope. The real story behind why I chose this path isn’t what most people expect. . . It all goes back to my sister. She moved from Tennessee to Hershey, PA about ten years ago. I was dying to go there, of course, because that is where all the chocolate lives! I mean, talk about my mecca. 😉 The first time I went out there for a visit, we did the whole Hershey thing–which was dang awesome. (PS: I have a whole series that takes place in and around Hershey, called “Sugar City.”) Anyway…what I didn’t realize then, was Hershey practically butts up to Lancaster County, one of the largest Amish settlements in the country. My sister had only been out there once, so we searched the internet and made…

Patricia Davids | 20 Questions: THE AMISH TEACHER’S DILEMMA
Author Guest / February 21, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release? The Amish Teacher’s Secret 2–What is it about? It’s the story of Amish spinster Eva Coblentz and her decision to leave her extended family back in the Midwest and take a job as an Amish schoolteacher in northern Maine. Her family doesn’t approve, but Eva is determined to work. Willis Gingrich is the local blacksmith coping with the arrival of his three orphaned half-siblings. He’s delighted school is about to start so the new teacher can look after the mischievous kids during the day while he can concentrate on his work. 3–What word best describes your heroine? Bookworm. Eva loves to read and has a large collection of books that she can’t wait to share with her new students. 4–What makes your hero irresistible? His inability to cope with his instant family, especially seven-year-old Maddie and her imaginary friend Bubble and his closely guarded secret. Willis can’t read. 5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help? Because they are both new to the community, Willis and Eva turned to each other for support. She sees how he is struggling with the children and offers to watch them during…

Suzanne Woods Fisher | Exclusive Excerpt: TWO STEPS FORWARD
Author Guest / February 7, 2020

Jimmy led Prince back into his stall for supper and smiled when he saw Joey slip into the barn to follow along as he did the evening chores. It was becoming a habit, this shadowing by the boy, and Jimmy loved it. They had a little game they played together. Jimmy called it “Did you know?” Joey always started it off. “Did you know horse’s teeth never stop growing?” “Like a beaver?” “Yup. Did you know that horses have the biggest eyes of any animal?” “Hmm,” Jimmy said. “They do seem bigger than a whale’s eyes, I’ll grant you that.” When Joey had run out of the day’s newest horse facts, it was Jimmy’s turn. “Did you know that a horse’s whiskers are sensitive?” Joey peered at him. “Are yours?” Jimmy rubbed his chin, feeling the roughness of a five o’clock shadow. “Nope. But for a horse, those whiskers detect what eyes can’t see.” Joey rubbed his chin too. “Here’s another one for you. Did you know that a horse’s lips are loaded with nerve endings?” The boy wiggled his lips, pondering that fact. “Last one for the day. Did you know that a horse’s hooves are shock absorbers?” Joey…

Jan Drexler | Exclusive Excerpt: THE ROLL OF THE DRUMS
Author Guest / October 18, 2019

Footsteps on the porch reminded him that he was not alone. Ruby stepped to his side, her eyes searching his face. “What did the doctor say? Lovinia is going to recover, isn’t she?” Gideon shook his head, not trusting his voice. He swallowed. “He said her heart is weak.” Ruby pressed her fingers to her lips. “It can’t be. He could be wrong.” “I would like to believe that, but I know she is suffering–” His voice broke. She had been ill for years, and he hadn’t noticed. He had been too wrapped up in his own work, believing that her tiredness was a passing thing. “I don’t know how to tell the children.” “You should go to her, first.” Ruby said. “I’ll care for the children, but you need to be with her.” Ruby wiped away a tear that trickled down her cheek, pulling her bottom lip in between her teeth. The corners of her mouth quivered, but she gave him a smile. “Lovinia needs you now. She needs you to be strong. Let her know that you and the children will be all right after she’s gone. She worries about you.” Gideon glanced toward the upstairs window. The…

Fall Slow Cooker Recipe Potluck | A CHRISTMAS HOME by Marta Perry + Giveaway!
Author Guest , Potluck / October 11, 2019

It’s the final day of our Fall Slow Cooker Recipe Potluck! We’ve enjoyed following along with all of these great authors, their new books, and delicious slow cooker recipes. Comment below for a chance to win yet another book! And be sure to take a look back at all of the fun we’ve had all week:  Day 1 with Elizabeth Goddard  Day 2 with Soraya Lane Day 3 with Laura Lee Guhrke Day 4 with Jenn Burke  *** Autumn: Time for Comfort Food The mornings are crisp now in central Pennsylvania, and the mist hangs in the valleys for an hour or so after the sun makes its way over the mountain ridges. Leaves have begun to turn, orange pumpkins fill the roadside stands, and we bring in the last few tomatoes and winter squash from the garden. At a time like this, with winter not far off, my thoughts turn to comfort food. And for comfort food, what could be better than a slow cooker? Comfort food forms a large part of any collection of Pennsylvania Dutch recipes. The farmers, both Amish and English, who settled in these fertile valleys felt the need for plenty of carbohydrates to keep…

Suzanne Woods Fisher | How I Come Up With My Ideas
Author Guest / October 4, 2019

The question I get asked more than any other is: How do you come up with ideas? The answer is through interesting news stories that I’ve tucked away. After all, truth is always stranger—or more memorable–than fiction, right? Here’s an example: Years ago, I heard an amazing story about a pastor and a church in Texas. On a Sunday morning, Bishop Aaron Blake challenged his small congregation with a powerful question. “Brothers and sisters,” he said, “there are about 30,000 children in the foster care system in Texas and nearly a half a million in the U.S. Who will stand with me to defend, care, and support abused, abandon, and neglected children in our community?” After a brief moment of silence, one lady rose to her feet. “Pastor,” she said, “I will.” Then another family stood up, and another, and another. Twelve years later, their Texas county has more than enough foster families to meet the need. That story inspired the plot for my novel Stitches in Time. The new and improved Luke Schrock, now a deacon, poses the same question to the Amish church of Stoney Ridge. Schoolteacher Mollie Graber is the first to raise her hand. Weeks later,…

Cindy Woodsmall | Clearing a Little Space
Author Guest / October 1, 2019

Against the odds, the oak sapling took root in our backyard that was filled with scrub pine trees and overrun with bramble. Despite the strong growth of the underbrush, the oak sapling, with its tiny trunk and even tinier branches, pushed upward, reaching for sunlight from high above. It was a decent height, maybe five feet, but scraggly and skinny. A canopy of other trees and thicket kept the sapling in the shade and depleted its soil of nutrients. Vines of various kinds wrapped around it, using it to gain a height of its own. But it didn’t die. It also didn’t thrive. It reminded me of a vine of poison oak more than an oak tree. Its sickly trunk bent and twisted, always jetting out and then reaching up, clearly trying to find a way to reach life-sustaining sunlight. At the time our backyard had a blind fence enclosing a half-acre of mostly scrub pines and thicket. We’d left it that way for over ten years because our youngest son asked us to. He loved being outdoors as well as the feel of “deep woods.” It seems he spent half of his childhood in that space. As children do,…