• Books

    Amish Romance: A Boy’s Amish Christmas, by Patricia Johns

    I just finished reading Patricia Johns’ third installment in her Butternut Amish B&B series, “A Boy’s Amish Christmas”.

    I’m giving it five stars for pure enjoyment, because not only do the hero and heroine get a happy ending, but another couple does as well!

    Brett and Emeline’s story had me at the edge of my seat as I wondered how they could possibly work through their significant differences . . . he comes from a political family; she’s a journalist. You do the math!

    Add in a special little boy who has been having a tough time and needs extra love, and a fuzzy escape artist of a donkey, and you’ve got a winner!

    Meanwhile, Belinda and Eli, featured in the previous two Butternut books, come to the crisis point in their relationship…which has been puttering along for decades!
    And good old Eli the Donkey escapes again!
    This third installment in Patricia John’s Butternut Amish B&B series continues the fun; looking forward to the next!

  • Books

    It’s Cover Reveal Day for “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise”, my new Amish Romance from Barbour Publishing!

    Here it is! My brand new cover for my very first published book, “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise,” available soon from Barbour Publishing.

    As a first time author, I wasn’t sure what to expect in a book cover. We’ve all seen covers we love . . . and some that aren’t so great. My editors at Barbour Publishing chose the artist for my cover, and a few months ago I sent them all the information I could about my characters and their situations to help the artist design something that would work with my vision. Since I had no further input, I resigned myself to accepting with grace whatever I might get in the great cover lottery.

    So imagine how thrilled I was to open my email and find this beautiful cover waiting for me! I couldn’t have imagined anything more perfect. The artist has perfectly captured Ruth’s joy and the comfort she gains from her fluffy pal, Ginger Snap.

    I can’t wait to hold my book in my hands! It will release widely on December 1, and will be available in Christian book stores and mainstream book stores such as Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble, as well as through online outlets such as Amazon.com.

    “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise” is already available for pre-order in paperback from Amazon.com. Soon I’ll have a link for the Kindle version. Here is the Amazon.com link for the paperback, should anyone wish to own it.

    I can’t wait for you to meet Ruth and Jonas in person, and find out how they overcome the roadblocks standing in the way of finding a second chance at romance! You’ll love them, and Jonas’s sweet daughter, Abigail, along with a cast of relatable characters including their elderly friend Lydia and Ruth’s fluffy pal, Ginger Snap!


    Official release date: December 1, 2023

  • Uncategorized

    Friday is THE Day!

    My debut novel, Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise, launches this Friday, December 1!

    What am I doing about it? Well, to be honest, Friday I’ll be going to work at the newspaper I manage. Hey, gotta keep the lights on, right?

    But Saturday is another thing! On Saturday, I have an author event at Kerns Home & Garden Christian Bookstore Christmas Open House & Book Signing! My book will be available for sale, and I’ll be signing copies. (This seems very strange; I haven’t been asked for an autograph since I played Ursula the Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid!)

    Kern’s is located at 2438 Canton Rd., Akron, Ohio. I’ll be there from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., so if you’re in the area, please stop by and say hello! There will be five other terrific Christian authors signing their books as well! We’d all love to meet you.

    I’m not entirely sure what to expect this first time, but I’m feeling optimistic!

    And for an extra measure of fun, I’ll be holding a drawing for a tiny painting of the sweet orange kitty from my book, Ginger Snap! All you have to do is sign my notebook and leave me your email. Eventually, I plan to launch a newsletter, and the folks who give me their emails will be the first to get that.

    Just remember, I’m a writer, not a painter, Jim! (Extra points if you get the Star Trek reference!)

    Here is the painting I’ll be giving away at Saturday’s event! I hope to see you Saturday at Kern’s in Akron! And if you can’t make it, please consider going to Amazon.com, or Books a Million.com, or Barnes & Noble.com, or Barbour.com (possibly the best deal!), and purchasing Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise. And if you love it, please leave me a review at Amazon.com, or Good Reads.com. Thanks! Hope to meet you Saturday!

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    Book Review of: The Quilt Room Secret

    by Lisa Jones Baker

    I recommend it!

    Here’s Why:

    This is Trini and Jacob’s story, and it is the story of a really long second chance at love!
    Jacob asked Trini to marry him when he was five and she was nine. She told him she’d consider his proposal when they were older…
    Years later, Jacob and his brothers are back in town, heirs to their beloved aunt’s property.
    Trini lives right next door, and is now the confident owner of a prosperous quilt shop.
    And Jacob wants to readdress that proposal.

    The problem is, Trini is facing a personal crisis, of faith, of destiny, of identity…
    She isn’t sure what she wants any more…
    But when that sweet boy from her past reappears as a handsome man, something about his strength and solidity draws her soul.

    Will it be enough to offset years of uncertainty? And years of planning a different life?
    Read this great book by Lisa Jones Baker to find out how Trini and Jacob find true love again after all those years. (You knew they would!)

    This is a story of family ties, and how they loosen, but don’t, in a loving family, break irrevocably. The ending left me with a heart filled with hope.

    NOTE: I especially like the fact that Trini’s two besties, Serenity and Abby, have their eyes on Jacob’s brothers. Will they have their happy-ever-afters, too?

    By the way, I received a free copy of this book, but the opinions are very much my own! Lisa is the third author in the Barbour series, “Heart of the Amish”, and I’ve read some of her other books, and enjoyed them. I enjoyed this one most of all! I hope you do, too. Remember, if you love it, please leave a review…oh, and it won’t be out until Feb. 1. But you can preorder it now! Happy reading, fellow book lovers!

  • Books,  My Writing Journey

    Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise Releases Three Weeks from Friday!

    From the “Heart of the Amish” series, published by Barbour Publishing, comes Book Two of the series, which launched in September with Mindy Steele’s wonderful book, “The Flower Quilter”, which is set in Shipshewana, Indiana.

    “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise” is the second book in the series, and takes place in the fictional town of Willow Creek, in the real Holmes County, Ohio.

    This is my first published book, and I couldn’t be more excited. It seems as if every day I get more thrilling information from my publisher about this amazing journey.

    Most recently, I learned that my book will be part of a blog tour in a partnership between Barbour Publishing and Celebrate Lit!

    “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise” will be featured by a different Celebrate Lit blogger every day from December 9 to December 22! I’ll post the blog post from the previous day each day during that period here, on my blog.

    I’m so honored that all these people are going to read my book, and then take the time to post about it. Hopefully, they’ll all like it!

    Here is a list of the bloggers who will feature my book on their popular blogs for a day:

    Blog Stops

    Vicky Sluiter, December 9

    Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 10

    Mary Hake, December 10

    Texas Book-aholic, December 11

    The Avid Reader, December 12

    lakesidelivingsite, December 12

    Girls in White Dresses, December 13

    Locks, Hooks and Books, December 13

    Lighthouse Academy Blog, December 14 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

    Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 15

    Hannahbandanarama, December 15

    Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 16

    She Lives To Read, December 17

    Cover Lover Book Review, December 18

    Splashes of Joy, December 18

    For Him and My Family, December 19

    Holly’s Book Corner, December 19

    JESUS in the EVERYDAY, December 20

    Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 20

    Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 21 (Author Interview)

    Life on Chickadee Lane, December 21

    Little Homeschool on the prairie, December 22

    You can read more about this very cool, online book tour, at https://www.celebratelit.com/ruths-ginger-snap-surprise-celebration-tour/

    Ouch! (That was just me, pinching myself again to make sure this is all real!)

    Have you pre-ordered your copy of “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise” yet? It’s available from a number of places, including Amazon.com, Barbour Publishing, Books-a-Million.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and in Christian bookstores! And I just discovered that my second book in the series, “Mary’s Calico Hope”, is ALSO available for pre-order. I’d be honored if you picked up a copy.

    I’m doing a happy dance! 🙂

  • My Writing Journey

    Ohio Author Festival; a Great Opportunity to Meet Fellow Authors and Try Out my Author Table Set-up!

    Last weekend I was privileged to be invited to participate in an Ohio Author’s Festival at my local library branch. Here I am, pictured with my author table and my stuffed Ginger Snap kitty! I honestly did not realize the photo was mimicking the cover painting! I’ll bet my good friend, who took the picture, did that on purpose! Most of the other authors at the event came from a couple hours away, and were much better known than I am.

    Of course, being better-known-than-I-am is not hard to do; my first book doesn’t come out until December 1! So I was quite happy to be included in this illustrious group, even though I had no actual, physical books to sell that day.

    The event also gave me a chance to set up my table display, which I will use for future author signing events, for the first time.

    This was a good thing, as I found out my banner is way too big to hang from a standard table! I guess I should have asked other authors how big their banners are before ordering mine! I’ll look at this as a humorous learning opportunity.

    I think my stuffed orange kitty was a big hit, though, and people seemed to like the cat stickers I was giving away.

    I’m not as certain about my original painting of Ginger Snap. You can see it in the bottom left corner of the attached photo. It’s a bit cartoonish, but I like it. I am giving it as a gift to one of the people who attended the event and signed their name and email in my pretty, little notebook. I need to pull a winner’s name and mail it off! I’ll do that later this weekend.

    Two of the authors attending spoke to the group, and both were amazing. One woman was a fellow Amish romance author; although she had us all in stitches explaining how she writes Amish murder mysteries, and apologizing for “killing off Amish folks right and left”.

    The other spoke about how some of her books have been banned, and why. She really got me thinking about this disturbing topic.

    There was a wide range of genres represented at the event, and I looked over all the work of my fellow authors, and made some notes about books I wish to purchase.

    Several of my friends attended the event and come over to wish me well after hearing the speakers. That made me feel great!

    Next time, I’ll be prepared with a banner that fits my table, and I’ll actually have books available for purchase!

    This little shake-down was good for me, and fun. I hope to see you at a future event! Maybe you’ll win an original, Anne Blackburne, painting! I plan to do them for all the kitties in my books.

    My next event will be at the Christmas Open House at Kerns Christian book store in Akron, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 2. That’s the day after my book releases! It’s really getting close! Drop in and say hi if you are from the Akron/Canton area. I’d love to meet you!

  • Uncategorized

    Publishers Weekly Review of Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise!

    I’m a happy author today, as yesterday something unexpected happened; something I didn’t even know was a thing until I received an email telling me it was!

    One of the amazing folks at Barbour Publishing emailed me yesterday to tell me my debut novel, “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise”, which comes out December 1 from Barbour (have I told you this before – maybe 10 times??) had received a very good review from Publishers Weekly.

    I was thrilled to learn I’d received a good review, but I didn’t understand the significance of this particular review. Of course, I’ve heard of Publishers Weekly. But I wasn’t certain how important their good review of my novel was.

    So I Googled them!

    Here is the result: “A Publishers Weekly review is the most highly regarded review in the publishing industry. It is a capsule book review of about 200 words. PW reviews are primarily geared toward helping booksellers and librarians decide which books to purchase.”

    Hold the phone: I received a very good review from the most highly regarded source in the publishing industry? May I just say, wowsers!

    I’ll copy the link to the review at the end of this blog post. It made me feel very good, saying things like,

    “Blackburne debuts with a stirring second-chance Amish romance featuring a 33-year-old widow who struggles to start over with the help of a mischievous pet kitten—and possibly a new beau.”

    And . . .

    “Blackburne delicately weaves Ruth’s and Jonas’s tenuous hopes for happiness with their conflicted feelings about moving on from their first marriages, lending the narrative depth and resonance. Readers will look forward to the next outing from this promising new voice.”

    Oh boy, oh boy!

    It’s as if I hadn’t realized yesterday was Christmas, and woke up to a lovely gift I didn’t expect.

    Whomever the anonymous review at Publishers Weekly is, God bless you! You’ve made me very, very happy!

    Read the review here! https://link.edgepilot.com/s/711a936c/4O7o3Kj9hkeNOaoZqBtZfg?u=http://www.publishersweekly.com/9781636096896

  • Uncategorized

    New Amish Romance, “Ruth’s Gingersnap Surprise”, Releases December 1 from Barbour Publishing!

    Countdown to Book Release Day Has Begun!

    Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise, book two in the new Heart of the Amish series from Barbour Publishing, Releases Digitally Nov. 15; and in Print December 1!

    As a brand new author looking forward to the release of my debut novel, “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise”, everything is new to me! I keep hearing other authors, my agent, my editors and the wonderful folks I’ve met on various reading sites talk about terms that are unfamiliar to me.

    Getting a book published involves a steep learning curve.

    One of the things I recently learned about was the author’s street team.

    Don’t know what that is? Neither did I until recently! An author’s street team is a group of lovely people willing to take the risk of reading a book by an author – in this case, a totally unknown author, me! – and then going online to various sites and reviewing the book.

    It’s one thing if you’re reviewing the latest from your favorite author; but in this case, for all these folks know, it could be terrible! (I promise, it’s NOT!)

    Exciting developments! The wonderful Connie Spradling Lynch from the Keeping Up With The Amish group on Facebook, has helped me put together my very first “street team”.

    To these brave, selfless souls, I say THANK YOU! Because getting reviews (hopefully positive) out into the world as a book releases is essential to the success of that book.

    It motivates Amazon and other such sites to keep that book in front of the public eye. It may influence readers who have never, ever heard of an author to take a risk on their book.

    The Street Team doesn’t pay for the book; and when they review it, they say so clearly – that they’ve been given a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

    That being said, if you are someone who, despite never having read anything I’ve ever written before, decides to purchase my book, and you love it? Please go leave a nice review at Amazon.com, and maybe a few other places.

    If you hate it – say nothing! (Hee hee!)

    Hopefully the fact that my agent and editors liked my book means most of you will, too. But you never know! Right?

    Do you think I may have a case of first-time-author jitters? I really think I do!

    Only nine more weeks until my book releases online, and 11 until it releases in print! Oh boy oh boy! The Countdown has BEGUN!

  • Uncategorized

    I Loved Mindy Steele’s new Amish Romance!

    “The Flower Quilter” is just wonderful; and it releases in just a few days!

    Mindy Steele’s new book, “The Flower Quilter”, the first book in Barbour Publishing’s new series, “The Heart of the Amish”, releases in a few days! I just finished reading it last night. And I loved it! Here’s why: Barbara Schwartz is an Amish woman who hates to sew. She always seems to have tape on her fingers, to keep the blood from needle sticks from staining the fabric she’s trying to turn into a quilt. Why does she keep sewing? Because everyone expects an Amish woman to sew and quilt, especially her family of gifted quilters!
    What would Barbara rather be doing? Gardening! Her gift is with flowers and plants of all kinds.
    It takes Melvin Bontrager, a grumpy Amish man worried about supporting his sister and niece with his landscaping business, to point out the obvious to Barbara; she is a quilter, but not with fabric – with flowers!
    That’s the Moment of Realization, when Barbara starts to believe maybe she has an important place in the world, and that her gift and work can make a difference, just as much as if she were creating her art with fabric and thread.
    Now all she has to do is convince her parents!
    Meanwhile, she and Melvin are falling in love. But can there be a future for the couple, when Barbara’s home is back in Kentucky with her large, beloved family, and Melvin has to stay in Indiana and support his sister and niece?
    Meanwhile, Melvin is secretly harboring grief and guilt over the death of his parents. Until he allows his faith to bloom and grow like the flowers he loves, he can’t offer his whole heart to Barbara.
    Of course, love will find a way. To see how, read Mindy Steele’s wonderful new book about overcoming obstacles, “The Flower Quilter”.

    This book is the first in the series in which my own very first book, “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise”, releases in December. I’m so thrilled to be part of a series including such wonderful authors as Mindy Steele and Lisa Jones Baker. Lisa’s book comes out this winter/spring. Then we each have a second book in the series! In fact, I see that Mindy is revealing her second cover very soon! Oh, boy, this is such fun.
    Take my word for it, “The Flower Quilter” needs to be on your reading list!

  • Uncategorized

    I Found a New Amish Romance Author I love!

    Canadian Author of Sweet Romance, Cozy Mysteries and Amish Romance, Patricia Johns, Didn’t Disappoint!

    “The Amish Marriage Arrangement”, the third book in Patricia Johns’ “Amish Country Matches” series, was my first by this author. I was immediately captivated by Patricia’s main characters, Sarai Peachy and Arden Stoltzfus.
    The couple have a history…

    Okay, not a personal history…they were not previously romantically involved. But Sarai knew several friends who were attracted to Arden years ago when he’d lived in their town while visiting his grandfather. He’d let them believe they were special to him, and broken all their hearts, playing fast and loose with their feelings. As far as Sarai was concerned, Arden was not a man to be trusted.

    How could she know that while she’d been living with her elderly grandmother, raising chickens and helping to care for their home, the four years Arden spent in Ohio helping to establish a new Amish community had matured him?

    All she knew was that he was back to talk his grandfather into returning to Ohio with him. Sarai didn’t want that to happen, because her grandmother Ellen was sweet on the old man, and it was Sarai’s hope that the two elders would marry and care for each other, freeing her to leave Pennsylvania to travel to Indiana, where she hoped to find new adventure, and possibly the man God had been saving just for her.
    Yet she couldn’t deny the attraction she felt for the handsome young Amish man – a man she simply couldn’t bring herself to trust.

    As for Arden, he had no time for love, because he had a big secret; one that wouldn’t allow him to marry – not until he confessed his biggest regret, and paid back the man he’d wronged years ago.
    Sarai Peachy was the last woman he wanted to fall for – because the man he’d wronged was Sarai’s father. How could that have a happy ending?

    Read “The Amish Marriage Arrangement” to find out! Meanwhile, I’m off to buy the first two books in the series! Happy reading!

  • Uncategorized

    Amish Country Adventure Meet & Greet

    Warm Welcome from Admins, Authors and Readers!

    Recently I was fortunate to be invited to join a wonderful group of people in a group called Keeping up with the Amish. They are made up of authors and readers of Amish romance, and people who are simply interested in the Amish way of life.

    What a happy bit of luck or serendipity it was that I joined the group right before their annual Amish Country Adventure Week! This year’s adventure happened to take place in Berlin, Ohio – less than an hour from where I live!

    I don’t have any books out yet (my very first Amish romance releases from Barbour on December 1!), and it was too late to take three days off work. So I shrugged and thought, oh, well, too bad I can’t go this year; I’ll plan to attend next year.

    But the lovely Connie Lynch, an admin of the group, invited me to attend their Thursday evening Author/Reader Meet & Greet. I was able to go! So my buddy Linda and I hopped in the car and headed for Ohio’s beautiful Amish Country! About an hour later, we arrived at the well-appointed Berlin Grand Hotel, and parked in a lot filled with colorful three-wheeled motorcycles.

    Chit-chatting at the Meet & Greet! We sat with lovely ladies from around the country. Photo by Connie Lynch

    Inside, we found the gathering of authors and readers of Amish romance, and they immediately made us feel welcome, giving us swag bags filled with fun items donated by participants in the event.

    There were beautiful items for sale and auction, and I bought a chance on a lovely wall-hanging and table runner made by an Amish woman from the western part of the U.S.

    Linda and I checked out the auction and sale tables, and then found a place to sit with some really nice people, all avid readers of Amish romance!

    We got cold iced tea, and settled down to enjoy an evening making new friends, playing games and feeling most welcome.

    I brought along some very pretty bookmarks made for me by the folks I work with in our print shop, and people seemed genuinely happy to get them. Some even said they’d pre-ordered my book! What a thrill!

    This lovely, Amish-made wall hanging was won by a lucky woman this week!

    At the end of the evening, Linda and I hated to go. Now we’re making plans to attend next year’s Amish Adventure in Shipshewana, Indiana – the third largest Amish community in the U.S. I’ve never been there, and I can’t wait to go!

    I’m booking my AirBnb so I’ll have all year to look forward to the fun. If you’re an author or reader of Amish romance, I highly recommend that you join the group Keeping Up With The Amish on Facebook, and that you consider attending next year’s adventure week in Shipshewana in June. If you do, I’ll look forward to meeting you in person!