• 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.

    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!

    Aren’t the giant, blue corner tassles fun?

    I simply couldn’t leave this nuanced blue beauty behind when I discovered it in an area Goodwill!
    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.
  • Reviews by Anne Blackburne

    Courting an Amish Bishop

    Mindy Steele’s latest book, “Courting an Amish Bishop“, which is book number four in Barbour Publishing’s “Heart of the Amish” series, released April 1. I got my copy in the mail shortly thereafter, and gobbled it up in just a couple reading sessions!

    It was that good!

    The book features Stella, an herbal healer living her independent life on a hillside in the woods with her silver lab. She’s doing very well, treating the people in her Amish community and delivering the occasional baby.

    Then influenza hits the nearby Amish community, and her help is needed there. She goes without hesitation to do what she can.

    That’s when she meets Simon, a very attractive widower with a teenage son Stella falls for right away. In fact, she falls for Simon’s whole family — and maybe for Simon, too. Then she finds out he’s the bishop.

    Why is that a problem? Read on to find out!

    I highly recommend this book.

    If you’ve missed the other books in The Heart of the Amish series, they are: “The Flower Quilter”, by Mindy Steele; “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise”, by Anne Blackburne; “The Quilt Room Secret” by Lisa Jones Baker; and coming soon, “Mary’s Calico Hope” by Anne Blackburne, and “Serenity’s Secret”, by Lisa Jones Baker.

    I’m having so much fun being part of this wonderful series of stand-alone stories. I hope you’re enjoying them, too.

  • Books

    Courting an Amish Bishop Releases Monday!

    No fooling: Mindy Steele’s new book from Barbour’s “Heart of the Amish” series comes out on Monday, April 1!

    I just ordered my copy, and am eagerly waiting for it to arrive in the mail. This is another wonderful story from popular author Mindy Steele; her second in the Heart of the Amish series.

    Brief synopsis: Meet Stella Schmucker who faithfully uses her herbal knowledge to help her Amish community while neglecting her own desire for romance—until she meets the bishop.

    The cover is so sweet! I can’t wait to read my copy, and then I’ll go review it, because good book reviews help authors, and I know from Mindy’s previous stories that the review will be good! Mindy doesn’t disappoint.

    The other books in this series include: The Flower Quilter, by Mindy Steele (September, 2023); Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise, by Anne Blackburne (December, 2023); The Quilt Room Secret, by Lisa Jones Baker (February, 2024); and coming June 1 by Anne Blackburne, Mary’s Calico Hope! And September 1, Serenity’s Secret, by Lisa Jones Baker.

  • Reviews

    Publisher’s Weekly Lauds “Mary’s Calico Hope”

    When my first book, “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise”, was released, it received a very favorable review from the industry’s leading reviewer of new releases, Publishers Weekly. I was over the moon!

    With my second book releasing on June 1, again from Barbour, and in the same “Heart of the Amish” series as my first book, I asked my publisher whether I was likely to get another review from the industry giant, whose opinion is sought and valued by all sorts of industry pros, including booksellers looking for likely titles to sell.

    She warned me that it was possible, but unlikely that I’d be reviewed twice in row.

    Well, bless me, they reviewed “Mary’s Calico Hope“, and they loved it! I’m beyond thrilled.


    Here is the review from Publishers Weekly:

    Mary’s Calico Hope

    Anne Blackburne. Barbour, $14.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-63609-855-5

    Mary's Calico Hope

    “Blackburne’s latest Heart of the Amish romance (after Ruth’s Gingersnap Surprise) unspools a tender love story between an injured Amish woman and the Mennonite doctor who wants to help her heal. Since a buggy accident more than 25 years ago killed her father and left her badly hurt, Mary Yoder has spent her days in near-constant pain, though she keeps busy breeding chickens, weaving and selling baskets, and caring for her younger brothers. When Reuben King, the handsome new doctor for the nearby Willow Creek community, takes an informal interest in Mary’s case and suggests she undergo a surgical procedure (performed by another doctor) that might improve her mobility, Mary’s resistant. Eventually, she warms to the idea as she spends more time with Reuben, sparking an attraction that’s forbidden by her community. Mary turns to prayer to sort out her thoughts about her health and love life, but when advice arrives from an unlikely source, she’ll have to trust herself to follow it, and to take a few risks along the way. The chemistry between the two leads is palpable, and it’s easy to root for the spunky, independent, and dauntless Mary as she fights to carve out a life of her own choosing. Blackburne’s fans and series newcomers alike will delight in this sweet and energetic tale. (June)DETAILSshare”


    Isn’t that wonderful? I wish I could personally tell the reviewer how much I appreciate his or her take on my book! Publishers Weekly reviewers are anonymous, though, to encourage honesty, so that’s not possible. But if he or she happens to read this . . . thank you thank you thank you! You made my day!

    Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise (which was just named a best seller for March by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) in new releases for March) also received an excellent Publishers Weekly review. It’s available for purchase wherever fine books are sold online and in book stores nationwide. If your book store doesn’t have it, please request it. They shouldn’t have any trouble ordering it for you!

  • Life Outside the Pages

    Winner of a Ginger Snap Original Painting!

    I am a major procrastinator. I apologize to all the people who came to my book signing for “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise” at Bookology a few weeks ago, and signed up to win this painting I did of Ginger Snap. All the people whose names I collected will eventually receive my newsletter; I say eventually, because I still don’t have a newsletter! One thing at a time, right?

    We had a marvelous turnout that day, despite frigid temperatures and fresh snow in the morning. So many friends, old and new, braved the weather to come to Bookology in Cambridge to say hello. Many of you purchased a copy of my book, “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise”. It was a wonderful day. You all made me feel so very, very special and blessed!

    So now, without further delay, I’ll announce the winner (chosen at random by my daughter using the old-fashioned pick-a-number-any-number method) of this painting! Drum roll please! And the winner is — well, ARE, in this case — Les and Betty Hoffmann! I’ll email you and you can give me your mailing address so I can send you your painting. Thank you so much for coming out to support me in the cold!

    As you may be aware, the next book in the Heart of the Amish series, “The Quilt Room Secret”, by Lisa Jones Baker, is on shelves now. And on or around April 1, the fourth book in the Heart of the Amish series from Barbour Publishing, Mindy Steele’s “Courting an Amish Bishop”, will be out. (Mindy also had book one, “The Flower Quilter”, which I absolutely loved. I want to make my own flower quilt now!)

    After that, it’s only a little while until my next book, “Mary’s Calico Hope”, book five in the Barbour series, will release on May 15 in e-books and on June 1 in print! Here is something else you may not know. The story takes place in the same story world as Ruth’s story! In fact, if you read my first book, you met Mary Yoder. She works for Ruth’s love, Jonas, in his basket shop, and uses crutches to help her walk due to a childhood accident.

    And here is more exciting news! Around this time next year, I’ll have a third story in that story world, which I’m calling my Willow Creek Amish world, even though it is part of Barbour’s Heart of the Amish. Are you confused? I hope not! I signed a contract a couple weeks ago to write “Lizzie’s Little Mouse”, about Elizabeth Miller, whom you met in Ruth’s story (she got the little gray kitten from Lydia Coblentz), and who you’ll see again in Mary’s story. I’m pretty excited! I’ll tell you more about Lizzie another day. For now, it’s Mary’s turn.

    Soon I’ll start telling you all about Mary Yoder, and her wishes and her fears. But today is for celebration! Congratulations again, Les and Betty Hoffman!

  • Reviews by Anne Blackburne

    Time for some Amish Book Reviews!

    I’ve read a number of good Amish romances and sweet Amish mysteries lately, but I haven’t had time to review them for a few weeks. So here is a catch-up post!

    Amish Snowbirds by Barbara Cameron

    I recently read “Amish Snowbirds” by Barbara Cameron, a novella that takes place in the Sarasota, Florida area in the Amish town of Pinecraft. Lots of Amish folks head there every winter to get a break from the northern cold. I’ve now read two books set there; “Amish Snowbirds” and Wanda Brunstetter’s collection, written with three of her family members, “Sisters by the Sea”.

    I enjoyed both books a lot! But I digress. “Amish Snowbirds” deals with a young Amish woman who is running away from an unpleasant situation back home, and a young man who lives year-round in Pinecrest with his grandfather. They meet, and love blooms. But Lizzie must find the courage to tell Eli what it is that haunts her back home. Will her trust issues end their promising relationship before it really begins? By the way, now that I’ve read these two books, I’ve added Pinecraft to my bucket list places to visit! I’m hoping to get there next winter. Maybe after that I’ll set a story of my own there!


    Wife on His Doorstep, by Patricia Johns

    I just finished reading Patricia Johns’ book, “Wife on His Doorstep,” from Love Inspired. In this story, Mirium Lapp and her estranged husband, Amos, must figure out whether it is a lack of love keeping them from living together happily, or simply a lack of understanding.

    At the beginning of the story, Mirium, who was raised by her successful, businessman father to be able to run a business empire, arrives unannounced on her husband’s doorstep, in search of some documents which she needs to claim the one business left to her by her father. It seems that after spending years teaching Mirium to be a businesswoman, her father decided she shouldn’t be one after all, and left everything else to his son.

    Determined to have something of her own, she goes home, where she finds her husband caring for his dying grandmother; a woman Mirium loves dearly. She agrees to stay and help care for the elderly lady, fully understanding that matchmaking is in the plan; a plan to reunite a husband and wife who have more in common than they both think. This is a very good book — no surprise from Patricia Johns. And the ending is really satisfying!


    Agatha’s Amish B&B Series, Books One – Three, by Vanetta Chapman

    One of my favorites recently was Vanetta Chapman’s cozy mystery series set in Texas, “Agatha’s Amish B&B” stories. First up was “Dead Wrong” in which we meet Agatha and her neighbor, ex-detective Tony Vargas. The two work together, along with Agatha’s housekeeper and friend, to solve the murder of a guest. The second book, The second and third books are “Dead Broke” and “Dead Set”. This is a really good series, and for fans of Chapman who have read her other Amish mysteries, you’ll get to reconnect with an old friend – a character from a previous series! I highly recommend this series. I hope she writes more books in it. Vannetta’s sweet Amish mysteries have given me ideas about writing sweet Amish mysteries of my own! Watch for more on that in the future!


    The Courtship Basket, by Amy Clipston

    Finally, I read “The Courtship Basket” by Amy Clipston. This book is part of a series, but can be read as a stand-alone. Rachel has been dumped by her boyfriend for her best friend! A double betrayal that is twice as hard to take. Meanwhile, Mike is struggling to raise his much younger brother as their father has become too infirm to do so. They meet when Rachel becomes the child’s teacher…and the attraction is instant. But they struggle against it! A family heirloom picnic basket brings them together. I loved this story, and plan to read the other books in the series.


    In fact, Amy Clipston may just be a new favorite author for me! This is a happy thing, as we are included together with authors Mindy Steele and Amy Lillard in a collection of Christmas novellas coming out September 1 called “A Lancaster Amish Christmas“! What an honor for me! And isn’t the cover stunning? I’m nearly finished editing my story. Here’s a hint; it’s about Lucy, a young Amish woman raising her little sister, who has Down Syndrome. When she made the decision to do so, her “almost fiancée”, John Zook, dumped her like a hot brick and married someone else. That’s fine with Lucy; why would she want a man who thought she would give up her beloved sister just to get married? She’s perfectly happy on her own, thank you very much. Then along comes handsome, compassionate and accepting hardware store owner Amos Fisher. And Lucy might just be ready to consider taking another chance on love!


    So if you’re looking for a new Amish romance or mystery author, look no further. These books are all good, and I think you’ll be happy with any of them.

  • Reviews by Anne Blackburne

    Happy Release Day for “A Quilt Room Secret” by Lisa Jones Baker!

    From Barbour Publishing’s Heart of the Amish series, comes book #3 in the series, “A Quilt Room Secret“, by Lisa Jones Baker. This is the third book in the series in which my debut novel, “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise” is book #2. Book #1, in case you missed it, is “The Flower Quilter” by Mindy Steele.

    This is a delightful book about two people who have been best friends . . . and maybe more? . . . all their lives. Except for that unfortunate period of time when one of them moved away.

    “As they took turns pushing each other on the swing that hung from a large tree, the mature—for a five-year-old—Jacob Lantz asked Trini Sutter to marry him. The nine-year-old thoughtfully responded that she’d consider his proposal when they were older.
     
    Nearly two decades later, the Amish farmer returns to the beautiful countryside of Arthur, Illinois, to take the independent owner of The Quilt Room up on her promise. Quiet, handsome Jacob is truly in love with the spirited list maker, and Trini finds herself falling in love with Jacob, but the youngest of eleven has big plans of her own.
     
    Jacob’s long-held aspirations are put to the test when he learns that Trini has been holding a secret. He prays for a turnaround of events; however, when Trini moves away from her tight-knit community, he begins to realize that his dream of them being Mr. and Mrs. most likely won’t happen. 
     
    Will Trini forfeit her own well-laid plan for the man of her dreams?”

    Don’t miss out on this wonderful story by a wonderful story-teller!

    You’ll find it wherever fine books are sold! Available now in print and e-edition.

  • Life Outside the Pages

    What’s Next in Amish Romance from Anne Blackburne?

    It’s an exciting time to be me! After 35 years of trying to achieve my goal of becoming a published author, anyone who reads this blog knows my dream became reality in December.

    “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise” released on December 1. This is the second book in Barbour Publishing’s new Amish romance series, “The Heart of the Amish”, featuring three authors, of which I’m one!

    What an honor to be included in a series that also includes well-known authors Mindy Steele and Lisa Jones Baker!


    Mindy’s book, “The Flower Quilter” released first in September. And Lisa’s book releases officially February 1.

    My second book in the series, “Mary’s Calico Hope“, which focuses on Mary Yoder, who was introduced in “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise“, will release on June 1.

    Mindy’s second book, “Courting an Amish Bishop“, releases in April.


    And my wonderful literary agent, Tamela, just told me I’ll be getting a contract for a third book in the series this week! I’m on Cloud Nine! That book is tentatively titled “Lizzie’s Little Mouse”, and features another character introduced in my first book. Lizzie has a little gray kitten she named Little Mouse. Her dream is to own a bakery; but not just any bakery – ever since she visited New Orleans, she has dreamed of opening up a French bakery in the heart of Ohio’s Amish country! This will be her story. I’m not sure when it will be released. More on that as I find out more!


    In September, my first novella (a story that is longer than a short story, but shorter than a novel) releases from Barbour in a collection called, “A Lancaster Amish Christmas“. This book features four authors of Amish romance, and I am definitely the rookie of the group!

    The other three authors are Amy Clipston, Amy Lillard, and Mindy Steele. I’m thrilled to be included in the collection with these three beloved authors of Amish romance.

    My story is about Lucy, who is raising her tiny little sister, Millie. Their mother died in childbirth, and Lucy is determined to give Millie the very best life she can, despite some disapproval from people who don’t think a single woman should be raising a child by herself. More on this story as we get closer to the release date!


    So that’s what’s next for me. I’m done with the first draft of my novella, tentatively titled “Christmas Sunbeam”. I’m proofreading and cutting words right now. Do you know what they call it when an author is over her word count and has to cut a lot of words from her document?

    They call it killing your darlings! And it’s truly hard. But I’ll say this; I learned in the newspaper business that pretty much any time you edit down your word count, your story ends up being tighter and overall better for it. This book is due to the publisher on Valentine’s Day. And it’s a work of love, so that is quite appropriate!

    If you haven’t read Ruth’s story yet, it’s available on Amazon.com, and wherever fine books are sold! If you have read it and loved it, please leave me a review on Amazon.com, Goodreads, Barbour.com, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, or anywhere else you like. It doesn’t need to be long or complex. A simple, “I read it and I loved it!” will do the trick.

    Thanks so much for being here!

  • Reviews by Anne Blackburne

    Coming Soon: The Quilt Room Secret by Lisa Jones Baker

    One of my sister authors in Barbour Publishing’s “Heart of the Amish” series, Lisa Jones Baker, is up next in the series with the February 1 release of “The Quilt Room Secret“.

    Here’s a little taste of what to expect!

    Trini Holds Secret Dreams for Her Future: As they took turns pushing each other on the swing that hung from a large tree, the mature–for a five-year-old–Jacob Lantz asked Trini Sutter to marry him. The nine-year-old thoughtfully responded that she’d consider his proposal when they were older. Nearly two decades later, the Amish farmer returns to the beautiful countryside of Arthur, Illinois, to take the independent owner of The Quilt Room up on her promise. Quiet, handsome Jacob is truly in love with the spirited list maker, and Trini finds herself falling in love with Jacob, but the youngest of eleven has big plans of her own. Jacob’s long-held aspirations are put to the test when he learns that Trini has been holding a secret. He prays for a turnaround of events; however, when Trini moves away from her tight-knit community, he begins to realize that his dream of them being Mr. and Mrs. most likely won’t happen. Will Trini forfeit her own well-laid plan for the man of her dreams?

    Find out by reading this wonderful book by a seasoned writer of wonderful Amish romances!

    Note: I loved this book, and think you will, too.

    The Heart of the Amish Series Also Includes:
    The Flower Quilter by Mindy Steele
    Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise by Anne Blackburne
    Courting the Amish Bishop by Mindy Steele
    Mary’s Calico Hope by Anne Blackburne

  • Life Outside the Pages

    Celebrate Lit Tour for Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise!

    December 9 – 22, Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise will be on a “virtual” tour with Celebrate Lit! Each day during this time, one or more blogger will post about my book. I’ll share the blog posts the following day. There is also a fun giveaway. Check it out!

    To celebrate my tour, I’m giving away the grand prize package of a print copy of the book and a $25 Amazon eGift card!!

    Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

    https://promosimple.com/ps/2924b/ruth-s-ginger-snap-surprise-celebration-tour-giveaway

    The first blogger celebrating “Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise” is Vicky Sluiter. Here is what she has to say!

    About the Book

    Book: Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise

    Author: Anne Blackburne

    Genre: Amish/Christian Fiction

    Release Date: December, 2023

    Ruth Defies Authority to Hold on to her Family Farm
    Full of faith, hope, and romance, this new series takes you into the Heart of Amish country.

    Ruth Helmuth has never been rude in her life; trust her to choose the bishop of her Amish community for her first time!

    Ruth has worked hard to keep body and soul together since her husband, Levi’s, death. She tends her herd of goats, making her living from the milk and fiber she gets from them, all while running a farm and household by herself—and very competently, thank you! How could she imagine the bishop suggesting she should give it all up to another family, who will “make better use of the space”?

    Enter widower Jonas Hershberger, owner of a pair of adorable dimples and father of a charming 4-year-old daughter. Jonas is in need of a larger place to house his growing business. Ruth’s big red barn may be just the ticket. Little Abigail is in need of a new mother. Ruth might be just the ticket there, too!

    Can two independent souls learn to work together for their mutual good? And will they be willing to explore what grows between them?  Or will Ruth’s fear over her “big secret” and Jonas’s caution about allowing someone new to get close to his young daughter, kill their love before it has a chance to grow?

    Luckily for both of them, God’s plan involves the stubborn pair getting a little help in the form of a wise, elderly friend; a quirky orange kitten; and a smart little girl who takes one look at Ruth and decides she would make her the perfect new mother! Click here to get your copy!

    About the Author

    Anne Blackburne lives and works in Southeast Ohio as a newspaper editor and writer. She is the mother of five grown children, has one wonderful grandchild, and a spoiled poodle named Millie. For fun, when she isn’t working on Amish romance or sweet mysteries, Anne directs and acts in community theater productions and writes and directs original plays. She also enjoys reading, kayaking, swimming, searching for beach glass, and just sitting with a cup of coffee looking at large bodies of water. Her idea of the perfect vacation is cruising and seeing amazing new places with people she loves.

    More from Anne

    I’m so excited that my debut novel, Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise, will release soon from Barbour Publishing! This is the realization of a long-held dream; 30 years long!

    About 30 years ago I wrote my first book, a middle reader about a group of tweens who wanted to start a pet sitting business. I found an agent who worked hard to sell my series. Unfortunately, someone else came up with the same basic idea and beat me to the bookshelves!

    Of course, I was crushed – I’d been so close!

    I wondered if it was a sign that I wasn’t meant to become a published author. Maybe I just wasn’t good enough?

    Being the tenacious sort, I rejected that idea and buckled down. I looked at each subsequent rejection as proof that I’d been hard at work practicing my craft, and would inevitably, eventually, succeed.

    I read somewhere that it takes 10,000 hours of toiling away at the computer before a new author sells a book. That would be about right!

    Of course, it isn’t the same for everyone. Some authors are lucky – or just that good – and hit a home run their first at bat. Others simply can’t seem to break in.

    For me, the big break came nearly two years ago. I’d been working and polishing my Amish romance for a couple years. I also had a couple of other projects in the works, but I didn’t want to give up on Ruth and Jonas’ story. I queried many agents, being very careful to follow their individual guidelines. And finally – finally! – I got that phone call new authors dream about, offering representation. I’m proud to be represented by the wonderful Tamela Hancock Murray from the Steve Laube Agency. And Tamela quickly sold my story to Barbour Publishing, Inc.

    What a blessing! All those years of work and hope and yes, faith, had finally paid off. I was going to be a published author. I still have to pinch myself from time to time.

    And here I am. I hope you love Ruth and Jonas – and of course, Ginger Snap! – as much as I do. I have another book from their make-believe town of Willow Creek coming out next summer, also from Barbour. Both books are part of a new series called “Heart of the Amish”, and feature three authors. The other two, Mindy Steele and Lisa Jones Baker, are both seasoned veterans with a number of Amish and other Christian books under their belts. It’s such an honor to be included with them in this project!

    Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise is available now for pre-order on Amazon. And my second book, tentatively titled Mary’s Calico Hope, will be available late this winter.

    Be sure to look for Mindy Steele’s wonderful book, The Flower Quilter, which kicks off the series. It is also available on Amazon. I read an early release and boy, was I impressed. I can’t wait to read Lisa Jones Baker’s story!

    My Review!

    by Vicky Sluiter

    “Part of the Heart of the Amish series, each book is a standalone by some of our favorite authors of Amish fiction. Ruth’s Ginger Snap Surprise happens to be author Anne Blackburne’s debut novel and she is definitely going to become a favorite.

    I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know spunky Ruth Helmuth, who is dealing with loss and struggling to keep her family farm. And then there’s our hero, Jonas Hershberger who is also dealing with loss, and his adorable daughter, Abigail. Add in Ruth’s elderly friend and lots of kittens and you have the makings of a fun, heartwarming story. I highly recommend it! 

    I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.”