Seasons of Tomorrow by Cindy Woodsmall Giveaway

New from best selling Christian fiction author

Today is a great day for many reasons!  First, we’re halfway through a short work week for most.  Praise!  Secondly, we have author Cindy Woodsmall here today to share about her new novel, Seasons of Tomorrow, which released yesterday.  And thirdly, we’re giving some of her new books away TODAY!

Seasons of TomorrowGiveaway Scoop!
For your chance to win one of three copies of Seasons of Tomorrow, simply leave your name in the comments section of this post.  And for fun, tell us what state you live in.

You have until midnight tonight (Wednesday, April 16) to enter.  We’ll announce our 3 winners on Thursday morning.

(Giveaway rules listed at the end of post)

And now, let’s hear from Cindy about what lead her to write this novel which, come to find out, wasn’t in her original plans!

 

Welcome, Cindy!

Cindy WoodsmallThe Amish Vines and Orchards series has been well received by readers, but when you began writing it, you had intended to make it a three-book series. Book four, Seasons of Tomorrow, released yesterday. So what happened to cause you to write this fourth novel?

Love! Love for what readers would want from this series. Love for the characters, who are warmly based on real people. Love for my own broken heart, because by the end of book two, I was in tears. Could readers’ hearts and my own be mended through me writing only one more novel in the series? —not that I get passionately invested in the stories or anything.

When I began writing book one of Amish Vines and Orchards, I was overcome with fervor and excitement. While doing my research in preparation for writing Seasons of Tomorrowthis new series, I became intrigued with the beauty, trials, and victories of apple orchard farming in the Woodsmall family (http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/woodsmall-apple-orchard/). I also spent time with Old Order Amish friends and came in contact with a woman who struggled with forewarnings and insights. Were they of God or not? Should she embrace them or stand against them?

As I continued my research, I stumbled onto the most fascinating Amish settlement I’d come across in years, one that had moved to Maine only a couple of years earlier. I asked some of my Amish friends in Pennsylvania if they were familiar with the Maine group. As it turned out, one of my Old Order Amish friends was related to and spoke to those in the Maine settlement regularly.

With my imagination racing, my research in hand, and connections to knowledgeable resources for each aspect of the story, I began writing the series that became Amish Vines and Orchards. But the more I wrote, the larger the story became. Apparently there are times when an author shouldn’t have such great resources that help enrich her stories.

Season for TendingAs I finished writing book one, A Season for Tending, I felt it ended in a good place. I had a few minor concerns as to how I would manage to wrap up all the story lines by the end of book three, but not too many.

When I finished writing book two, The Winnowing Season, I was teary-eyed and torn. What would happen next? Two brothers who were best friends were in love Winnowing Seasonwith the same woman, and unbeknownst to her, she wasn’t in love only with the one who’d been courting her.

Could I finish their story with only one novel left to write in the series?

As I stared at the screen through teary eyes, I had to admit that I wasn’t even sure who Rhoda should end up with. I dried my tears and rushed out the door with my husband to meet friends. It was time for our every-other-month dinner with four other couples that we’ve known for well over a decade. I love this diverse group. They’re clever, faithful, loving, and very down-to-earth. I entered the restaurant flustered, running late because I’d taken the time to write the last line of book two and my heart was pounding over the ending. With the story churning inside me like a storm, I was honest when one girlfriend asked how the writing was going.

“Confusing and heartbreaking!”

I’d never really talked shop with these friends before. They would ask, and I would talk for a few minutes before shifting the topic to how work or stay-at-home mom life was going for one of them. But this time, I needed their help, and soon the girls were fully engaged in a discussion of their personal pasts that led them to their right spouses. We discussed men they’d dated, who they’d almost married, and why they ended up with the ones they did. By the time we finished dessert and coffee, I knew who Rhoda would end up with and why. But my heart was still broken. Couldn’t I clone her? One Rhoda for each man? After all, despite my research and the situations that are “warmly based on real people,” I am writing fiction.

But the integrity of the story wouldn’t allow me to ponder that question for very long. The next natural question was what would happen to the man Rhoda didn’t end up with?

For Every SeasonIf Rhoda was going to handle herself in For Every Season in a manner that respected each man, herself, and God’s beautiful ethics about relationships, the journey would take time. A lot of time. There were also numerous other storylines that would take time to finish—all important aspects readers would want resolved in an emotionally satisfying way—which meant each facet would take a lot of pages. Would there be any room in book three to find healing and maybe even romance for the brother she didn’t end up with?

And what about Leah, the younger sister of the two brothers? She’s just a teen, healing from years of low self-esteem and making poor decisions. Will she have enough time in book three to go from rebellious teen who thinks God hates her into a mature young woman who’s ready to make decisions she can’t turn back from? What about the brothers? They had been best friends until Rhoda came along. Would there be time to heal that relationship?

With those questions pounding in my heart, I sat down to pen book three.

Months later, I was pleased with what had taken place in For Every Season. It was true to the original story, the research, and to the writer’s and readers’ hearts.

Still, I hadn’t finished the journey for the “other brother,” so I faced the dilemma I’d been concerned with—to either write an extra five to seven thousand words rushing the reader through what happens to all the characters in the future through added chapters and an epilogue, or ask my publisher to allow all of us to go on one more journey with Samuel, Jacob, Rhoda, Leah, Landon, Iva, Phoebe, and Steven.

I decided to turn in my manuscript to my editor and not say anything about a fourth book. I’ve had this same editor for every book I’ve written, and like my relationship with my girlfriends, I may not always agree with all of her opinions, but I trust her and the conclusions she comes to.

I wasn’t surprised when she called me about six weeks later and said, “You know what I think readers would enjoy the most? For you to restructure Leah’s journey in book three and give her time to mature, and for you to show the healing in the life of the brother who doesn’t face the future with Rhoda by his side. How would you feel about writing a fourth book?”

Um, this is how I felt: “THANK YOU!”

So, for readers who love family sagas, and these characters in particular, book four—Seasons of Tomorrow—is now available.

——————–

By entering today’s giveaway, you affirm and acknowledge LifeWay Christian Resources’ official promotion rules here.

Today’s giveaway starts at the posting time of this blog and ends Wednesday (4/16/14) at 11:59 p.m. central time.  You must be 18 years old to enter and you may only enter once.  The winner will be selected at random.  For questions about the rules and regulations of this giveaway, please contact Rachel McRae  at One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234.

 

 

 

The Last Bride by Beverly Lewis

Last Bride
New release from best selling Christian fiction author

Today is the release day for The Last Bride from best selling novelist Beverly Lewis!  If you pre-ordered your book, come on in this week to pick it up.

Last BrideNineteen-year-old Tessie Miller is the youngest of her Old Order parents’ five daughters – and the only one yet to marry.  She has her heart set on Amishman Marcus Smucker, and come wedding season, they plan to tie the knot and start a family together.  But Tessie’s father disapproves.  Ammon Miller has his reasons, and he has to put his foot down.  The marriage will not go forward.

Impetuously, Tessie and Marcus take matters into their own hands, eloping to exchange their vows in the fancy, English world.  After a secret honeymoon, they return to their Plain community to live as singles, hoping that in time, they can convince the Millers to give their love a chance.  But when the unthinkable happens, Tessie faces the biggest challenge of her life – and the almost-certain censure of the People.

Will Tessie find a reason for hope in spite of her desperate plight?

Murder Simply Brewed by Vannetta Chapman

New cozy Amish mystery release

Cozy Amish mystery?  Um, what?!

Yes!  Cozy mystery novels are super popular in the general market and thanks to Vannetta Chapman, we’re starting to see some great offerings in the inspiriational market as well (thanks, Vannetta!).   This genre of novels can be defined as:

Cozy mysteries, also referred to simply as “cozies,” are a subgenre of crime fiction in which elements such as violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.

I’m happy to have Vannetta here today to share about her latest release, Murder Simply Brewed (don’t you love that title?).  Here’s look at the story…

Murder Simply BrewedWhen the coffee shop manager is murdered in Middlebury’s Amish Artisan Village, two women from different walks of life must join together to solve the mystery. Spring has arrived in Middlebury, Indiana, and Amber Wright is optimistic about the growing profit from her collection of Amish shops—until she receives a call that Ethan Gray is dead. Hurrying over to A Simple Blend, she finds a solitary hole in the front window and the store manager lying next to the espresso machine, dead from an apparent heart attack. All the money is still in his register. When Amber hires a young Amish woman, Hannah Troyer, to take over the shop’s duties, the two women become fast friends—as well as amateur sleuths. The police believe Gray’s death is a by-product of vandalism, but Amber and Hannah aren’t convinced. Clues that don’t add up, a neighbor who is pulled into the midst of the investigation, a town with secrets to hide, and a blossoming romance—all will combine to push Amber and Hannah into unfamiliar roles in order to reveal answers to the mysteries around them.

Welcome, Vannetta!
Vannetta Chapman“3 Things You Should Know”

I am thrilled to be releasing Murder Simply Brewed, book one in my Amish Village Mystery series. This book takes place in Middlebury, Indiana—a place filled with people I have come to love. The gently rolling hills of northern Indiana, dotted with Amish communities, is an area of peace and abundance. The Amish farms sit beside the Englisch homes. The Amish work in the Englisch stores. The Englisch purchase the Amish goods. Together these two groups share their work, their families, and their faith.

Once again, I am describing that slice of life where Amish and Englisch intersect, and the story takes place after an employee is found dead on the grounds of the Amish Village.

There are three things I think readers should know about this book. The first is that my own life is present throughout the story. The relationship between Amber and Tate? It’s very close to the story of my husband and me, right down to the chicken he offers her for supper. The friendship between Amber and Hannah? It’s similar to the friendship I share with a young woman who taught with me for many years. Even Amber’s red car and yellow cat are my own! So why would I do that? Why would I make this story about me? The main reason is that God has shown tremendous grace and mercy in my life … and I wanted to share that through the life of my characters.

The second thing I want you to know is that cozy mysteries—murder mysteries—and inspirational fiction can go hand in hand. When times are tough and when we’re working to understand a difficult situation, we often turn to each other and to God. This is a wonderful place to set a story! It’s an ideal situation for God’s grace to shine through, and for us—as believers—to learn to trust one another. Of course, the mystery is rather fun to puzzle out as well.

The third thing I want to share is that I decided to include something in the story line that I am afraid of! Yes, I did enjoy my research. Yes, I probably am still afraid of this thing, but with knowledge comes wisdom. I’m pretty sure I could survive it. My editor’s response was “Oh no, you didn’t,” but I think you’re going to enjoy it. Trust me!

Murder Simply Brewed is a story of faith—faith in God’s provision, His care, and His plan for each of us all wrapped up in a cozy mystery. I hope you’ll pick up a copy, and let me know what you think about that cat. Leo will patiently wait to hear from you.

Blessings,

Vannetta

——–

Vannetta Chapman is author of the best-selling novel A Simple Amish Christmas. She has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over 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. Twitter: @VannettaChapman      Facebook: VannettaChapmanBooks

The Last Bride by Beverly Lewis

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Upcoming release from best selling novelist

We’re gearing up for a new book from Beverly Lewis!  She’ll be releasing The Last Bride on April 1.  LifeWay Christian Stores is currently pre-selling the novel for just $9.99.  This is a great time to go ahead and claim your copy so you can be one of the first ones to have it when it releases.  Just pop into your local LifeWay or visit us at lifeway.com to pre-order your copy before to releases on April 1.

Here’s a look at The Last Bride:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANineteen-year-old Tessie Miller is the youngest of her Old Order parents’ five daughters – and the only one yet to marry.  She has her heart set on Amishman Marcus Smucker, and come wedding season, they plan to tie the knot and start a family together.  But Tessie’s father disapproves.  Ammon Miller has his reasons, and he has to put his foot down.  The marriage will not go forward.

Impetuously, Tessie and Marcus take matters into their own hands, eloping to exchange their vows in the fancy, English world.  After a secret honeymoon, they return to their Plain community to live as singles, hoping that in time, they can convince the Millers to give their love a chance.  But when the unthinkable happens, Tessie faces the biggest challenge of her life – and the almost-certain censure of the People.

Will Tessie find a reason for hope in spite of her desperate plight?

Suzanne Woods Fisher and a Giveaway

New Amish Christian fiction and a giveaway!

Today I’m happy to have Suzanne Woods Fisher stopping by.  She just released The Calling which is the second book in The Inn at Eagle Hill series.  If you haven’t had your daily devotional yet today, you’ll be blessed by her words!  Oh, and thanks to Suzanne and her publisher (thanks, Revell!) we have 3 copies of The Calling to give away today!  All of the scoop is at the bottom of the post so see you there in a minute!

 

Can One Person Make a Difference?

 “Don’t worry what you could do if you lived your life over; get busy with what’s left.” Amish proverb

Suzanne FisherCan one person make a difference? Even a woman who might be, say, considered a wee bit elderly?

Consider Victoria Williams of Richmond, California. Eleven years ago, when Victoria was 77 (did you catch that? She was seventy-seven years old!), she saw a need in her community for a weekly soup kitchen. She knew she was a good cook, but she would need some qualifications to serve others. So she took the required courses for food safety and preparation and got to work.

On Thursday mornings, Victoria—known in her community as Mother Williams—prepares food in her church’s kitchen that she has gathered from the local Food Bank and from donations. On Fridays, she serves lunch.

“For a very long time, Mother Williams worked in the soup kitchen alone,” volunteer Becky Blakey said. “She had a creative system. First she would use her cane to prop open the door, then she would pull the boxes of food into the kitchen with her cane.”

After a video was made about Mother Williams, it was shown at my church. Mother Williams was in attendance that morning and received a standing ovation from the congregation. Becky Blakey went up to meet Mother Williams to ask if she could come and help prep food on Thursdays. Of course! Mother Williams told her.

Becky started to volunteer regularly. Soon, her friends joined her. “Mother Williams has a couple of rules,” Becky said. “She wants those who come for lunch to be served so they don’t stand in a cafeteria-like line. They have a place to sit at a table and are served a plate of food. And before everyone eats, she insists they hear a word from the Lord. ‘Jesus gave you this day,’ she says. ‘He didn’t have to do that, but He did. So now we are going to hear His words.’ And then she’ll read a few verses of Scripture.”

Currently, at age 88 (!), Mother Williams and her team of volunteers serve over one hundred lunches every Friday.

The Calling, book 2 in the ‘Inn at Eagle Hill’ series (Revell), was inspired by Mother Williams. In the novel, though, it took five Amish sisters to do the work of one Mother Williams. It’s a story about a young woman, Bethany Schrock, who feels lost and derailed and not at all sure she wants to remain Amish. Those five sisters scoop her under their wing and get her busy in the soup kitchen. Reluctant at first, Bethany starts to discover that amazing mystery: we find ourselves by losing ourselves.

Can one person make a difference? Yes.

At any age? Absolutely!

——–

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling, award-winning author of ‘The Stoney Ridge Seasons’ series and ‘The Lancaster County Secrets’ series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She has a free downloadable app, Amish Wisdom, that delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone. Suzanne lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area but can be found on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com. She loves to connect with readers!

If you live in Florida, Georgia or South Carolina you can meet Suzanne on her book tour next week! Here are her three LifeWay signings and a link to more info on the tour:

January 17 – Sarasota LifeWay with special guest Sherry Gore

January 18 – Orlando LifeWay with special guest Dan Walsh

January 20 – Warner Robbins LifeWay

http://suzannewoodsfisher.com/blog/2013/12/tour-announced/

CallingBook Giveaway!
For your chance to be win a copy of The Calling, leave your name in the comments section of today’s post.  Just for fun, tell us about a way that you or your family likes to serve others.  Is it by making cookies for a neighbor?  Writing notes of encouragement?  Visiting those in the hospital?  I look forward to hearing from you all!

You have until midnight tonight (Thursday,  January 16) to enter.  We’ll announce our three winners on Friday.

 

By entering today’s giveaway, you affirm and acknowledge LifeWay Christian Resources’ official promotion rules here.

Today’s giveaway starts at the posting time of this blog and ends Thursday (1/15/14) at 11:59 p.m. central time.  You must be 18 years old to enter and you may only enter once.  The winner will be selected at random.  For questions about the rules and regulations of this giveaway, please contact Rachel McRae  at One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234.