• Life Outside the Pages

    Is it Christmas without a Christmas Tree?

    If you read my post about battling the washing machine, you know I’m living in a bit of a construction zone. My goal – between editing my next book and preparing a proposal for a new one, oh, and working full time! – has been to have my house “back together” before Christmas, put up a tree and enjoy some peace and quiet!

    Well, that hasn’t exactly happened. There are still a few “construction” items to cross off the list before we call it a job, and there are still unopened boxes of new furniture lying around waiting to be assembled.

    Will it all get done by Monday? Doubtful. What if we don’t put up a Christmas tree this year?

    Will it still be Christmas if we open our gifts without the usual trimmings?

    Will our spirits be able to soar without the dazzle we’re accustomed to?

    I say, yes! Christmas, as the Grinch found out, isn’t about boxes and bows and bling; it’s about the birth of Jesus. I hope we can put up a tree, but even if we don’t feel like it after painting and polishing and putting together furniture, Christmas will still come.

    We’ll go to church, and sing with the congregation. We’ll sit down to a special family dinner together.

    We’ll open some gifts, but the biggest gift will be that we’ll be together, celebrating this very important day.

    So Merry Christmas, a few days early, from my house to yours. Whether or not you have the trimmings, Christmas will come. There’s no stopping it!

  • Reviews

    “The Quintessential Sweet Amish Romance”

    So says Celebrate Lit Blogger Erin from the blog “For Him and My Family” in her review of “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise.” In addition to being a popular blogger, Erin is a homeschooling mom of 12, and a homesteader, along with her husband and children. I enjoyed her take on my book! Thanks for taking the time, Erin.

    Be sure to click through to her blog in the link below so you can enter to win a print copy of the book and a $25 Amazon e-gift card!

    Erin’s Review:

  • Reviews

    CelebrateLit Blog Tour of “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise” Continues with a review by Gina Holder of StoriesbyGina

    Today’s blog is actually an interview with me! I’m author Anne Blackburne, and this is my very first book, an Amish romance with a very Happy Ever After ending. Be sure to click through to Gina’s blog post, below, for a chance to win a print edition of my book, and a $25 Amazon e-gift card.

    Gina Holder, Author and Blogger


    Thanks, Gina!

    Be sure to come back tomorrow for more reviews from bloggers. The Celebrate Lit Virtual Tour of Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise ends in a couple days. But you’ve still got time to enter to win a book and e-gift card!

  • Reviews

    Celebrate Lit Tour Continues!

    Today, Cheryl from Cover Lovers Book Reviews, reviewed my book. I’ll post her review here, but be sure to click her link so you can enter to win a print copy of the book, and a $25 Amazon e-gift card.

    Cheryl freely admits she is often drawn to a book by its cover – and aren’t we all? And she LOVES the cover of Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise! Hooray!

    Here’s what Cheryl has to say about my book!

    MY REVIEW: Cheryl from Cover Lover Book Reviews!

    Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise” by debut author Anne Blackburne is a sweet, heartwarming story with elements of love, resilience, and faith within an Amish community. The story revolves around Ruth and Jonas, both widowed and facing challenges in their lives. 
    Ruth is independent and resilient. As she strives to maintain her farm, she is determined to defy the community’s expectations. Jonas is running a business and raising his daughter, Abigail after his own loss. As they navigate grief, opportunities arise and lead them to solace and love in each other.
    There is a balance of joy and sadness, so I appreciate the inclusion of humor and sentimentality. Most of all, I love the central themes of overcoming grief, finding love, and trusting in God’s plan in this story of second chances.

    First Line: “Just stop blowing for one minute and I’ll be done!” Ruth Helmuth spoke around a wooden clothespin clenched in her teeth, the wind nearly whipping the damp, snowy-white apron out of her hands as she secured it to the line. 
    Series: The Heart of the Amish book 2
    Genre: Amish Romance
    Author: Anne Blackburne
    Page Count: 256

    #CoverLoverBookReview received a complimentary copy of this book. 

    Opinions are 100% mine. Cover Like ❤❤❤❤

    Thanks, Cheryl!

  • Life Outside the Pages

    Battling the Washing Machine!

    What could go wrong when using a brand new washer and dryer for the first time? Read on!

    Life is about more than books – sometimes it’s about new appliances and doing righteous battle!

    Here’s a story about that. I haven’t bothered to change the names, because I’m the criminal and the name was mine! (Criminally ignorant, that is.) So there is nobody innocent to protect!

    For the past 18 months, my home has been a construction zone as an underused, former TV room was turned into a half-bath/laundry room.

    I could bore you with tales of hard-to-get plumbers and handymen, fluctuating funding, etc. But I’ll fast forward to this past month, when the whole project seemed to be nearing completion.

    My toilet was installed in time for Thanksgiving. With family in town, this, alone, was very exciting! The sink went in the next week due to the fact that I didn’t realize it didn’t come with a faucet. Oops.

    Then there was another delay when the faucet I ordered came with a broken drain, and water seeped across my floor.

    Finally, the stackable washer and dryer that has been sitting in the room for more than a year, blocking the view out my back window, was installed and proclaimed ready to use!

    I have this odd aversion to using new appliances. Seriously, I usually place a new appliance on my kitchen counter and eye it with suspicion for weeks or months before trying it out. I have no excuse.

    But with the old washer and dryer disconnected in the basement I had no choice but to try out the new set a mere week after it was proclaimed ready to go – crazy fast for me.

    My basket of dirty laundry sat on the floor next to the unit, and I opened the lid of the machine with great optimism; only to be greeted by the sight of a foot-thick wedge of Styrofoam blocking my way.

    Hmm, I guess my guy didn’t look inside before calling it done. Or maybe he was just smart enough to think, “Nah”, and quietly close it before driving away. Who could blame him?

    I could not budge it, and resolved myself to having to saw it out of there. But with what? Rejecting manly tools that I didn’t think I could fit into the space, I went to work with my serrated bread knife. It took about 15 minutes of hard labor, but finally I had the thing out.

    Inside the drum were the water hoses my guy couldn’t find – cleverly hidden indeed! I felt like I do when I’m washing out the Thanksgiving turkey and dig out the baggie of innards from the chest cavity.

    I’m telling you, this new appliance thing it NOT for the faint of heart!

    After a hot-chocolate break, I returned with the shop vac and sucked out all the little Styrofoam pellets. Then it was time to load in the clothes and laundry soap and figure out the dials and buttons.

    Smugly I thought, yeah. I’ve got this.

    Finally the machine was running! And then it was thumping. And squealing. And jumping and running into the wall behind it, gouging the new drywall and paint! The dog was barking and my daughter was calling for help.

    I turned it off. I scratched my head. I looked down. What was that red caution sticker down low on the machine near the wall? I squatted down for a look – “Remove packing rod before use!!!”

    Oh-oh. I jockeyed the machine around a bit so I could remove the sticker over a piece of protruding metal I hadn’t noticed before, and then pulled the metal out – and out – and out! It was a couple feet long!

    Offering up a prayer that in my ignorance I hadn’t destroyed my brand new washing machine, I tried again. It ran nice and smooth, with no imitation of a bucking bronc fighting off a cougar.

    Thank you, God!

    Now if I can just get my lights installed, hang up the towel bars and toilet paper holder, and maybe some curtains so I don’t have to use my wonderful new room in the dark, I’ll be ready to call the job done! (Well, after I patch the drywall and repaint, that is!)

  • Reviews

    Celebrate Lit Tour Continues!

    Today’s Blog Post comes from “She Lives to Read

    Here is the link to her blog; remember to click through to enter for another chance to win a print copy of the book and a $25 Amazon e-gift card! There are still nine more bloggers who will review Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise by December 22. If you read my book and enjoy it, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave comments on my Facebook page.

    And remember, leaving a positive review, even just a few words long, on Amazon.com or Goodreads, is so helpful to an author! It’s the gift of your time, and we authors really appreciate it!

    My review:

    “This story is filled with faith, hope, and love!  Ruth Helmuth is a faithful and  resourceful young Amish widow who has worked hard to maintain her family farm after the death of her husband.   When her bishop begins to pressure her to sell the farm to another Amish family, Ruth becomes determined to find ways to keep her family home.

    Ruth never stopped looking for ways to help others, and she also kept a great balance of faith and hope as she allowed God to direct her in the right way.  There’s also a very sweet romance that blooms for Ruth between her and widower Jonas Hershberger.  This storyline flows so well, and it was a fun to see how Ruth’s life takes a turn that she could never have imagined.

    This is the first book that I’ve read by this author, and I love her writing style.  She created a beautiful Amish community in this book, and I’m hoping that I’ll be reading more from her soon.

    I voluntarily received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit.  All opinions are my own.”

  • Reviews

    Days 5 & 6, Celebrate Lit Virtual Tour!

    I got a little behind on telling you all about Days 5 and 6 of the Celebrate Lit virtual book tour of Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise. I had a book signing yesterday, and movie night with my daughter. But here we go with two days worth, and three amazing bloggers’ opinions/reviews of my book!

    First is Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy. Be sure to click on all the links below for three chances to win a print edition of my book, and a $25 Amazon e-gift card!


    Scroll down, as my book’s review is not the first you’ll see.

    Here is what Patti Pierce of Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy has to say!

     “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise by Anne Blackburne is a work of Amish Christian fiction. A widow, Ruth tends her goats and makes a living by selling their milk and fiber. But the bishop believes she should sell her family’s farm to a family who can fill the rooms and marry again. Enter widower Jonas Hershberger, who has an adorable daughter, a basket-making business, and a pair of dimples that grab Ruth’s attention.

    Truly, this book will draw you in and keep you reading. I found myself unable to put the book down. Oh yes, read this book to learn about some adorable kittens and the bishop’s pushy granddaughter add to this story. The Amish typically do not keep house kittens or cats, but you need to read this book to find out who Ginger Snap is and its role in the story.

    So, if you enjoy Amish/Christian fiction, check out  Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise by Anne Blackburne for yourself.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book, but this in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own.”

    Thanks, Patti!

    Next is Hannahbandanarama, who said this on her Instagram blog:

    Next up on the winter reads: I had the opportunity to read Anne Blackburne’s debut novel, Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise. As a true labor of love – a dream the author describes as being 30 years in the waiting – this book is a great read if you’re looking for a happily-ever-after story to get lost in on a long winter’s night. Not to mention two big dogs, a cat, and a few goats (clearly you see why I loved it now!). It is the first novel in a series she is working on, and I can’t wait to read the rest of them!

    What is even better is that to celebrate, Anne is giving away the grand prize of a print copy of the book and a $25 Amazon eGift card!! Click the link below to enter (also found in my bio!) – and comment on the blog stops below for nine extra entries!

    Thanks, Hannah!

    Finally today is a lovely post from Kendra at her blog, Happily Managing a Household of Boys.

    Here is what Kendra has to say:

    “Amish Fiction is my favorite Genre of books.  Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise by Anne Blackburne is Book 2 in The Heart of the Amish Series. The series is written by various authors and they can be stand alone books. I read Book 1 in the series and was excited to read Book 2. 

    WOW, Jonas and Ruth’s story is hearbreaking yet heartwarming . I am glad I had an afternoon to sit and read, as I read until I was done, about 3hrs. Ruth and Jonas have been lost their spouses in recent years. Jonas has a daughter, Abigail, and runs a business. Ruth never had children and she focuses her time keeping up with tasks at her Farm. I really LOVE how both, Jonas and Ruth, live life day by day, even through the difficulties of life. Ruth is a very independent woman and her strength and determination throughout the book is awe inspiring.  The 2 begin a working relationship and they realize they have feelings for one another. I truly enjoyed watching Ruth and Jonas keep their faith and realize God’s plan is greater then their own plans. A VERY Sweet Romance blossoms! This is a WONDERFUL Story and anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction will enjoy this book! FANTASTIC BOOK!”

    And she gave it five stars! Thanks so much, Kendra!

  • Book Signings

    Dayspring Christian Bookstore Signing Tomorrow!

    Tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 16, I’ll be at Dayspring Christian Bookstore in New Philadelphia, Ohio signing copies of my book, Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise. I hope you’ll come out and say hello, and maybe buy a book!

    Dayspring has many lovely books, as well as beautiful gifts and all sorts of Christian-related merchandise.

    And New Philadelphia is a sweet little town with beautiful murals painted all over the place! There are some fabulous shopping opportunities, too.

    Plenty of good places to eat, too. Oh, and you might win a little painting I’m doing of Ginger Snap!

    So come on out and say hello! I’ll be there from noon to 2 p.m.

    The store is located at 143 West High Ave. in New Philadelphia. Hope to see you tomorrow! And if not, you have a Merry Christmas!

  • Reviews

    Dave Five Celebrate Lit Tour: But Wait, There’s More! Today’s Bonus Second blogger, Locks, Hooks and Books!

    Be sure to click through to their post and enter to win a print copy of the book, and a $25 Amazon e-gift card!

    Here’s what they have to say about my book!

    My Review: By Amy C. of Locks, Hooks and Books

    Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise is the second installment from the multi author series, The Heart of the Amish. This contribution is from new to me author, Anne Blackburne. I enjoyed this sweet and delightful romance. I loved getting to know Ruth and Jonas and seeing the two interact with one another. I wanted to see what would become of them and sweet little Abigail. A good and entertaining book to read. 

    I am giving Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise four and a half stars. I recommend it for readers who enjoy reading clean Amish romance. I am looking forward to continuing The Heart of the Amish series, Lisa Jones Baker’s The Quilt Room Secret. I would, also, would love to read more from the talented Anne Blackburne. 

    I received a paperback copy of Anne Blackburne’s Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise from the publisher, but was not required to write a positive review. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion. 

  • Reviews

    Day Five: Celebrate Lit Tour!

    Today is Day Five of the Celebrate Lit virtual tour of “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise”, and two great bloggers posted about my book!

    Here’s what the first one, Roxanne C. from Girls in White Dresses Blog has to say about my book: (Be sure to click through to the post so you can enter to win a print copy of the book, and a $25 Amazon e-gift card!

    My Thoughts: By Roxanne C. from Girls in White Dresses

    This was a well-done debut novel for the author; I liked reading about how excited she was to find an agent and a publisher. I’ve read several Amish fiction books and a few things I enjoyed about this one were 1) the emphasis that the Amish have of dealing with life’s disappointments by reminding themselves that all things are God’s will (“Holding tightly to the living hope of salvation while accepting whatever came as God’s will, as was the Amish way, had helped her through some very hard times”). This thought has been emphasized many times in the weekly Amish columns I read. I also found it interesting that 2) the Amish feel it’s strange to have pet cats in the house, rather than outside. I was heartened, as an animal lover, to see that all the cats in this book were safely indoors 🙂

    If you enjoy Amish fiction with a bit of romance, give “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise” a try.