Countdown to Book Release Day Has Begun!
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!
“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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
Mindy Steel’s “The Flower Quilter” Available now for Pre-order!
I know I’ve mentioned – a few times, lol! – that my very first published book, “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise”, is part of a brand new Amish romance series soon to release from Barbour Publishing – right?
Well, if you’ve missed that fact, tune in! I’m one of three lucky authors of Amish romance to be chosen to write two books each (so far – we’re all hoping for more!) in this series, which is called “Heart of the Amish”.
My sister authors are both well-known Amish romance writers, with a number of published books to their credit. They are Mindy Steele and Lisa Jones Baker.
Mindy has the first book in the series, which will be released in paperback on September 1. Here is the link to her book, “The Flower Quilter”, on Amazon.com. https://a.co/d/7UuK1kO
I’m reading the book now, and will soon do a review of it here, and in other useful places!
Here is a synopsis of Mindy’s book:
“Barbara Schwartz was born into a family of quilters, but she would rather eat dirt than partake in another quilting frolic or sew on another binding. When her parents send her to Indiana to help her grandmother in her quilting shop, she finds herself amongst a very different community. It’s only one summer and then she will be back in Kentucky where she belongs.
Melvin Bontrager’s world stopped six years ago when his parents died. Now when his only means of providing for his widowed sister and niece is threatened, Melvin finds his landscaping business disappearing too. When spring delivers a newcomer who is immune to his salty moods, Melvin does something he has never done before, accepts help.
What blooms is the last thing Barbara ever expected, and everything Melvin could ever want.”
Go pre-order your copy today so you won’t miss out on the first book in this fun new Amish series! Then you’ll be all ready to read mine in November!
My own book releases in paperback on Dec. 1, but I see it is coming out on Kindle in mid-November! You can find it on Amazon.com, too.
The third book in the series, “The Quilt Room Secret”, by Lisa Jones Baker, releases in the spring. More on that soon! And then we each get to do a second book! Blessings on blessings.
To see images of the real Quilt Gardens in Indiana, part of the inspiration for Mindy’s book, check out https://visitshipshewana.org/quilt-garden-trail/. This image is from that site.
Each Step in the Publishing Process is a Revelation!
What a month!
The musical I directed and acted in, “Sister Amnesia’s Country Western Nunsense Jamboree,” closed a week ago after two full weekend’s and six shows. It was so much fun playing Sister Robert Anne again! But I can’t say I’m sorry to have my evenings back so I can focus on my writing.
Just as the show was closing, my editor from Barbour Publishing sent me the first round edits for my first book, “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise,” which will release from Barbour on December 1! I had a week to complete those, and I made the deadline. It was a challenge at first, because I’m such a rookie. I had no idea how to use Track Changes in Word, for example.
Now I know a little bit more about this publishing journey. Each step is a new revelation. I’m waiting now to hear back from the editor to see if she needs me to make any more changes.
She made me feel great though, by telling me she loved my book and my characters! It was her first Amish romance, and I was pleased that she found herself caught up in Ruth and Jonas’s story.
I’ll be honest: I was secretly afraid she would send me a manuscript full of red ink indicating it was a hot mess! Okay, okay, I knew it wasn’t, but my brain wasn’t being logical. New writer’s terror, I guess!
I’m finishing up another project currently, an original Sherlock Holmes murder mystery I write every other year as part of a murder mystery weekend sponsored by my area VCB. I’ll direct it this fall, (and play Dr. Joan Watson!) and it will finish up right before “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise” is released.
After I finish writing the play, I’ll have time to go through the second book in the “Heart of the Amish” series. I’m one of three authors writing for this series. We each have two books contracted so far. If the series is a success, we could be asked to write more! Fingers crossed on that.
The first draft of my second book in the series, “Mary’s Calico Hope,” is finished. I completed it at the end of February, and it’s been “cooking” on a back burner since then.
I’m about ready to dive in for a second look at the manuscript, to find all the things that made sense the first time through, but need to be tweaked now!
I’ll let you know when “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise” is available for preorder in the Kindle edition.
The Heart of the Amish is a new series coming out soon from Barbour Publishing. The initial six books will be written by three authors, although one of them is still a mystery to me! Hint hint: I’m one of the remaining two!
My book, “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise“, will be published second in the series, releasing on December 1, 2023. I’m also fifth, with my second book, tentatively titled “Mary’s Calico Hope”, releasing in the late summer of 2024. I just signed the contract with Barbour for that one!
The first author whose book will be released in this series is Mindy Steele, who is already the author of a number of sweet Amish romances. You can find her on Amazon.com.
Mindy’s first book in this series, titled “The Flower Quilter”, promises to be a fun read! It’s about a young woman who is just sick of quilting – and finds herself heading off to – you guessed it! – do more quilting! It will release in September, so be sure to look for it. It promises to be the first book in what I believe will become a popular new Amish series.
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
My long-held dream of becoming a traditionally-published author is close to becoming a reality. But the journey has been a long, arduous one. Here’s how I did it.
Several years ago I started working on a new manuscript. It wasn’t my first attempt at publishing a novel, but it is about to become my first successful attempt! This experience has convinced me that in addition to the obvious requirements of talent and having a good story to tell, two additional items factor into any success story: luck and perseverance.
I’ve written in several genres over the years, ranging from urban fantasy to middle reader to humor to script-writing to sweet mystery to sweet romance. A few years ago I asked myself what was selling, and one of the answers was Christian romance.
Since I’m a Christian and I love a good romance, I decided to give it a try. I’ve always enjoyed reading Amish romances, and since I live in Amish country, it seemed like a good fit. So I gave it a shot during Nanowrimo one November and finished about two thirds of the manuscript. After that, it was simply a matter of sticking to the project, and before long I had a completed first draft.
It’s important to understand that a first draft is not a finished book. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone through that novel and re-written, revised and revamped it! But it is a lot.
When I was satisfied, I started querying agents. Another very important thing a writer must understand is how very important it is to follow the directions clearly stated by literary agents as to whom they represent and how to submit to them.
If you’ve written a steamy romance, don’t submit it to a Christian literary agent. If you’ve written a work of fiction, don’t submit it to an agent who only deals with non-fiction. Seems obvious, right? But apparently, agents are swamped daily with emails and snail mail submissions containing work they have clearly stated on their websites they do not represent. By submitting to them, an author wastes her own time and money, and the agent’s, as well as looking unprofessional.
That’s not the way to get a literary agent. The way to get one is to have your very best work ready to go, free of errors, and submitted in exactly the way requested by each agent. Then you have to be patient. It can take weeks or even months to hear back. You’ll collect an impressive assortment of rejections. But remember, each rejection gets you closer to an acceptance.
Conventional wisdom in the industry suggests that an author will probably have around 10,000 hours of writing and editing in before selling that first book. Of course, some people get really lucky and sell a book faster, while for others it will take even longer.
But I’m convinced that if you spend that much time practicing your craft and polishing your work, eventually you’ll sell it.
I wrote my first manuscript, a middle reader, in 1994. It was pretty good. I secured an agent . . . but unfortunately, another similar series was just about to be released, so I was out of luck!
A couple of years ago, an editor at Harlequin was interested in my Amish romance. But it hadn’t been written with Harlequin’s publishing requirements in mind. The editor worked with me, teaching me a great deal in the process, for a couple revisions before deciding the book wasn’t going to be able to be hammered into a Harlequin book. But she told me she liked my voice and my characters, and would welcome another submission later. That was both a thrill and a disappointment rolled into one!
I knew the book was good; almost good enough — so I revised it again, and tried querying agents again. All that hard work finally paid off when I received an offer for representation by an agent in early 2022. She loved the book, and believed it would sell. She believed in me!
I wrote that first middle reader in 1994, and wrote steadily, book after book, until I finally sold the manuscript in 2022. You do the math.
Securing agent representation is not the last step in your journey to traditional publication. After you get that thrilling offer, you wait longer while your agent tries to sell the book to a publisher. For me, that took about five months. Was I afraid the book wouldn’t sell? Oh, yeah. But it did, and now I’ve entered into the next phase of waiting; I’ve submitted the completed manuscript, as polished as I could make it, to the publisher’s editor, and now I’m waiting for her to tell me what needs to be cleaned up.
My book, Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise, will be released on December 1. It will be the second book in a new series from Barbour Publishing called Heart of the Amish. The first book by a more experienced author, Mindy Steele, will be released in September. Her book is called “The Flower Quilter”. I can’t wait to read it! There is a third author as well, though I don’t know his or her name yet. And most excitingly, we each have a two-book deal! My second book in the series, “Mary’s Calico Hope”, will be published in the spring or summer of 2024.
My dream is coming true. And all it took was nearly 30 years of hard work to make it happen.
So don’t give up on your own dreams. I may not be 30 any more, but success still feels just as good as it did then. And maybe it’s all the sweeter for having taken so darned much work to achieve!
Watch for my cover reveal on April 1. I can’t wait for you to see it – I LOVE it!