Life Outside the Pages

These stories are about my everyday life, which can be as ridiculous from time to time as anyone else's.

  • Life Outside the Pages

    I’m Taking over the KUWTA Page Saturday!

    Saturday, July 6, I’ll be running the Keeping up with the Amish Facebook page, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    It’s going to be a day full of fun!~ Here’s what you can expect:

    1. Mini-Muffin Book Promos of other Amish authors, by Miss Muffet, my rescued former-dog-toy cinnamon roll, throughout the day! She’ll be sharing current or soon-to-release books by some of your (and mine!) favorite authors of Amish romance!
    2. A give-away of a brand new tiny painting of the kitty from my next book in The Heart of the Amish, “Lizzie’s Little Mouse”, which will release from Barbour on April 1, 2025! To win, you just need to give me your email so I can include you in my monthly newsletters. If you’re already done that, just do it again and tell me so. 🙂
    3. Information on where I’ll be doing book signings and author events in the coming months.
    4. I’ll share one of my favorite recipes – my summer go-to! And it will be featured in my next book! Hint: It involves cherry pie filling!
    5. I’ll tell you a little about my novella, “Lucy’s Christmas Sunbeam”, which will be releasing in September as part of a collection with some of your – and my! – favorite Amish authors!
    6. I’ll share a scene from my new release, “Mary’s Calico Hope”, book five from Barbour’s Heart of the Amish series.
    7. I’ll answer reader questions throughout the day. Ask me anything within reason. 🙂
    8. At the end of the day, I’ll reveal the gorgeous new cover for “Lizzie’s Little Mouse” and choose the winner of the tiny painting of Little Mouse, Lizzie’s cat!
    9. Other fun things as they occur to me. See you tomorrow!
    Cinnamon Roll
  • Life Outside the Pages

    Mary’s Calico Hope Featured in Bookstagram Mini-Tour!

    Do you know what Bookstagram is? I didn’t either; in fact, when my publisher said my book would be featured in a Bookstagram tour, I thought initially she’d said Boojstagram. It sounded very funky and hip. But it’s Bookstagram, and it’s part of Instagram.

    So for several days this week, a number of bloggers of Christian fiction and such will be featuring Mary’s Calico Hope in their blogs! The idea is that they presumably have lots of followers, many of whom will be motivated to buy my book. (Rubs hands together in glee and laughs maniacally)

    Actually, I looked at one of today’s blogposts, which I’ll post a link to here, and was amused by several comments from people who do NOT like cats. Okay so they won’t be buying my book. Oh, well!

    Here’s the link. You can check out all the bloggers by scrolling down on this one’s post and finding the rest. Like and etc. on them for a chance to win a print copy of the book and a $15 Amazon gift card!

    https://www.instagram.com/niks.bookshelf/p/C8rxe18gW_t/?img_index=1

  • Life Outside the Pages

    Stephanie Wraps up her Three Day Interview!

    Stephanie, the wonderful blogger behind Stephanies Ninth Suitcase (I have to remember to ask her where that name came from!) did a three day interview with me, discussing my writing process, inspiration, career and advice for aspiring writers.

    It all started Monday with Part One – Faith and Fiction. Yesterday we had Part Two – Heart of the Amish. And today Stephanie wraps it all up with Part Three – A Day in the Life!

    Many thanks to Stephanie for her thought-provoking questions. I really had to delve to come up with honest, thoughtful answers. I may have gotten to know myself a bit better through this in-depth process!

    Here’s the link to today’s blogpost. And it’ll take you to the page, where you can find the other two posts as well if you missed them.

  • Life Outside the Pages

    Stephanie’s Interview Continues Today! Part 2

    Part Two of Stephanie’s interview from StephaniesNinthSuitcase.com, about me and my new release, “Mary’s Calico Hope” is out today!

    In it she asks me about my inspiration for writing Amish romance, and my thoughts about Mary, an older-than-the-typical-romance-heroine, disabled Amish woman, as a hero.

    I really liked her thoughtful questions. And her favorite quote from the book was, “Difficulty is a miracle in its first stage”, which is an Amish saying. I love it!

    Check it out!

    Author Interview with Anne Blackburne: Heart of the Amish

  • Life Outside the Pages

    Do you read Library Books?

    I’ve had people tell me, apologetically, that they didn’t buy my book; they borrowed it from the library.

    Well, I can’t speak for all authors, but I’m completely okay with that!

    I support public libraries, and the important position they hold in our society. Without libraries, many people would have no access to books, periodicals, reference materials, newspapers, information, computers and the internet, you name it!

    The library bought my book, and now it can spread the joy! So if you read library books instead of buying books, don’t feel guilty on my account.

    I’m just glad you’re reading my book at all!

    Want to do something to help me out? If you liked my book, please leave a review – or several! It really helps authors out to receive positive reviews on Amazon.com, on Goodreads, on Bookbub, and on any website where their books are sold.

    My books are available in many places, including Books a Million, Barnes & Noble, Walmart.com, Target.com, from many Christian book stores, and of course on Amazon.com and from my publisher’s website, Barbour.com.

    Here’s a secret; the cheapest place to buy my book is from my publisher! I guess they don’t have those middleman expenses.

    So don’t worry if you borrowed my book. But do leave a good review if you feel moved.

    Thanks for reading! Thanks for reading me!

  • Life Outside the Pages

    Thanks to the Oakwood Register!

    For printing this article on the front page of today’s newspaper! Excellent timing, as “Mary’s Calico Hope” released today for Kindle! It comes out in print on June 1 – just in case you were wondering.

    This is the weekly independent newspaper in the town where I grew up, just south of Dayton, Ohio!

  • Life Outside the Pages

    Those who can’t: Collect!

    I have a little problem; I rescue afghans from thrift stores.

    Not Afghan Hounds…though they are very pretty! But I don’t think my house could hold very many of them; they’re biggish.

    I’m talking about small blankets made for cuddling under on the couch while reading a book or watching television. Traditionally made of wool, they now come in more affordable options, such as acrylic and cotton. The debate rages on about which is better when it comes to making afghans: knitting or crocheting. I say either produces a cozy throw you can snuggle under while enjoying some down time.

    I can’t stand to see a pretty one in a thrift store. This may be because I have never made one, so am somewhat in awe of the time and skill it takes to do so.

    In a household with two people and one undersized sofa, how many of these things do you need?

    So I regularly resolve not to buy any more; but then inevitably I find myself standing in a thrift store, gazing in wonder and, yes, pity at a gorgeous, discarded piece of handmade folk art.

    I imagine the time and effort that went into creating each lovely throw, and wonder why it ended up tossed into the donation bag.

    The time consideration, and even the cost of materials, is daunting. But it’s the love that goes into making an afghan that gets me right in the feels. I look at a colorful, intricately-designed little blanket and picture some old auntie or grandma – or hey, a devoted granddad or papa – spending many a winter’s evening, yarn running over her fingers, cat grabbing the ends by her feet, as she creates a cozy bit of comfort for someone she loves.

    How does such a thing get tossed away?

    Maybe there are just too many of them. A prolific crocheter could make a couple dozen a year. I suppose after a while, all her loved-ones are up to their eyeballs in afghans.

    Or maybe the gift went to someone who just isn’t into country kitsch in the first place and it quickly found its way to Goodwill.

    Or maybe the creative lady in question just kept making them as personal therapy long after all her friends, relatives and church charities had all the throws they could use. So she hoarded them lovingly in boxes and bags and bins until she died. Imagine the treasure trove someone discovered upon cleaning out her home! I am grateful that her heirs donated them instead of simply tossing them in a dumpster.

    I have one my grandmother made for my wedding, nearly 40 years ago. It was fashioned from cream yarn, knitted with intricate Swiss dots and cross-hatching in the pattern. I used and displayed it for many years, but now it is old and yellowed. Of course, I’ll never discard it; I wonder if I could dye it a lovely sage green to give it a new lease on life?

    So, back to me standing in the thrift store looking at another beautiful bit of discarded folk art. You know I’m buying it, right?

    Just last weekend I added to my collection. I was at a lovely Christian thrift store in Strasburg, Ohio, when the colorful geometric blanket complete with fringes caught my eye.

    I picked it up and examined it, expecting stains or holes. Nope. It was perfect. I took it up front and asked the price, thinking it had to be at least $50.

    The two young Mennonite women manning the counter looked at each other questioningly. “No price tag?” one asked. I shook my head. They consulted silently again, and the other turned to me and said, “It’ll be $4.”

    I hope my mouth didn’t drop open. “Sold” I said, placing it on the counter.

    And I brought it home, where it will be appreciated and loved for another generation.

    If I get too many, I guess I could rehome them like one does with kittens and doggies.

    But for now, I’ll cherish each one, and wonder who made them and to whom they were originally given.

    I hope they know their art is appreciated and cherished. As one who can’t (or doesn’t have time to lean, honestly) create these handstitched works of art, I’ll collect them! And no apologies.

    Aren’t the giant, blue corner tassles fun?
    My newest “rescue”, from the thrift store in Strasburg, Ohio.
    So cozy! And it pairs well with the ginger cat pillow my son gave me for Christmas!
    The work that went into this piece of art steals my breath! Who made it? Where? When? Why did it end up discarded? I’ll never know, but I love it as if it had been given to me by a favorite friend.
    I simply couldn’t leave this nuanced blue beauty behind when I discovered it in an area Goodwill!
  • Life Outside the Pages

    And the winner is….

    Congratulations to the winner of the Name the Cinnamon Roll Dog Toy Contest! The winner’s name is announced in the video!

    Her name will become a character name in my third “Heart of the Amish” book, “Lizzie’s Little Mouse”, which will release from Barbour Publishing next winter.

    And it occurs to me that some of the other sweet suggestions from readers might make really fun names for baked goods in Lizzie’s bakery! So don’t be surprised to see your suggestion for a name turned into a yummy baked good! Thanks to everyone who entered. And if you haven’t signed up for my monthly newsletter yet, you can do that on this website! Or by messaging me on Facebook.

    Cinnamon Roll

  • Life Outside the Pages

    Could You Let Your Dog Eat This Cutie?

    Millie

    Short story long…

    I have a rescue poodle named Millie. She’s a big (around 65 pounds), happy girl who started life making puppies for a living, and is now spending all her time hanging out with me (I take her to the newspaper every day, where she shares the job of official greeter with our cat, Arthur), figuring out ways to get treats, and playing with a ridiculous variety of toys.

    I subscribe to one of those monthly boxes of doggie toys and treats – don’t judge me; my kids are raised and I don’t spend my extra money on vices for myself. Well, not all of it! Does chocolate count? I don’t think chocolate counts.

    Anyway, each month when the box arrives, it’s hard to tell who is more excited, me or Millie. Well, last month, one of the toys that arrived was just way too cute to become a chew toy. Plus, it really seemed to fit in with my Amish romance writing vibe.

    So I liberated it. Now it’s going to be an inspiration for my writing. I mean, look at it! A cinnamon roll, with a happy, smiling face! How could I let Millie, much as I love her, chew the little cutie up?

    So now that I’ve rescued the bun from the rescue dog, it needs a name. I decided to come to you guys to help me choose one!

    Let’s have a little contest. Give me your ideas, and at the end of March I’ll hold a random drawing to choose the new name for my tasty-looking little friend. Please go to my Facebook page, and suggest a name or two.

    The person who submits the winning name will get their own first name in my next book!
    Your name will become a minor character name in my next “Heart of the Amish” story, “Lizzie’s Little Mouse”, which will release from Barbour next winter. You can tell everybody that character is named after you!

    So start brainstorming those names! You can submit more than one, but don’t inundate me, please. 😉Obviously, keep them family friendly. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!