Thursday, September 29, 2016

Did You Enter Yet?

Don't forget about the big Harvest Bounty Amish Wisdom Giveaway.  The contest is open until midnight tonight, so it's not too late!   Click here for more info and to enter for the chance to win a set of 14 books, plus autumn-inspired goodies handpicked by some of the contributors.

 *Only U.S. addresses are eligible to win.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Giveaway on Amish Wisdom

Happiness is not perfect until it is shared.

Fall is officially here, and Suzanne Woods Fisher and the Amish Wisdom contributors want to celebrate the changing of seasons with a special Harvest Bounty giveaway! Click here for more info and to enter for the chance to win a set of 14 books, plus autumn-inspired goodies handpicked by some of the contributors. See below for a list of participating authors and prizes. One entrant will win, and he or she will be announced next Friday, September 30th, on the Amish Wisdom blog.

Suzanne Woods Fisher:

The Devoted and an Amish potholder set

Kate Lloyd:

Signed copy of Leaving Lancaster and folding tote-bag

Laura Hilton:

Winner’s choice of book, a dishtowel, potholders, a prayer journal and an adult coloring book

Jennifer Beckstrand:

Honeybee Sisters Cookbook and mini beeswax candle

Melodie Davis:

Whatever Happened to Dinner?

Amy Clipston:

An Amish Harvest, The Courtship Basket, and Amish goodies

Shelley Shepard Gray:

Signed copy of Snowfall and an Amish-made potholder

Emma Miller:

The Amish Bride and a fall-themed item

Adina Senft:

The Longest Road and an Amish-made pot holder from Lancaster county

Ruth Reid:

Signed copy of A Dream of Miracles and a Starbucks giftcard

Mindy Starns Clark:

The Amish Clockmaker, an autumn table runner and fall-themed decorative container

Molly Jebber:

Grace’s Forgiveness and potholders

Jan Drexler:

Mattie’s Pledge and a fruit of the Spirit coffee mug

 *Only U.S. addresses are eligible to win.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Top Tip Thursday: Solving the Lint Wars

A magnetic pencil holder designed to go in school lockers

Now that the store shelves are lined with school supplies, you might want to try this handy tip for eliminating mess in the laundry room. What do school supplies have to do with laundry?

What to Buy

Well, there's a category of items made for school lockers–mirrors, hooks, holders, etc.–all of which attach to the metal lockers' interiors via magnet. You want to choose one that's designed to serve as a small receptacle. (It might be labeled as a magnetic pencil holder, hairbrush holder, locker bin, locker box, or similar.)

How to Use It 

Bring one home, and attach it magnetically to a convenient spot on your dryer. Put it somewhere that you won't be bumping into it but where it's still within reach of the place you stand when you clear out the lint trap.

Note: Some appliances include plastic on their exteriors. If the magnet doesn't stick, try it somewhere else on the same machine until you find a place that's metal rather than plastic. Then it should stick fine.

Here's an example of a magnetic "locker box" that has been put on the side of a dryer, between it and a washer, near the top.

Why is it there? Because if you are housekeeping impaired, there's a good chance you're not always getting the lint from the dryer trap into the trash can.  Instead, you're allowing little wads of lint to pile up here and there on top of and around your dryer.

It's easy to see why that happens. You're changing out the laundry, part of which involves scooping the lint from the lint trap, but there never seems to be a trash can close enough at the moment, and it's too much trouble to walk over to one to drop in the wad of lint while you're still in the middle of loading and starting the dryer. So you end up tossing the lint somewhere handy to throw away once you're done. But then you forget.

My solution to this fuzzy problem?  

By putting this teeny tiny receptacle within reach, to be used only for dryer lint, you give yourself a temporary trash can for something that would otherwise end up causing mess. You do have to dump the tiny receptacle into a larger trash can now and then, but not nearly as often as you might think. And it's a whole lot easier to carry a small bin full of lint over to the trash can once in a while than it is to carry individual wads of lint over to the trash can every single time you do a load of laundry.

Are you a little nuts, Mindy?

Nope, I'm just housekeeping impaired and always thinking outside the box to find solutions for the kinds of messes that tend to repeat themselves in people's homes. If this post makes no sense to you, then you're simply not housekeeping impaired.

But if you "get it", then you're a kindred spirit for sure. If there's dryer lint in your laundry room where it shouldn't be–on top of the dryer, on the floor near the dryer, etc.–then you'll want to try this handy tip for solving the lint wars.

Hope you find this helpful! Here's a link to an inexpensive locker bin on amazon:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Q&A About Cousins of the Dove

Now that My Sister's Prayer is out, these are the questions I'm hearing... 

QUESTION: “What's the order of the books in the series?”

1. My Brother’s Crown
2. My Sister’s Prayer
3. My Daughter’s Legacy (releasing May 2017)
4. My Cousin’s Song (releasing March 2018)

QUESTION: “Do I need to read the books in this series in order?”

         Yes and no.  Each book stands on its own and can be fully understood and enjoyed without having read the previous books. On the other hand, reading the books in order should make the whole experience more fun, for several reasons. First, if you read them out of order, you risk learning spoilers about the previous books. Second, some parts of the storyline do carry through the entire series, so reading the books in order will give you a deeper understanding of those parts. Finally, although the characters in the historical portions are different with each book, the primary characters in the modern-day portions remain consistent. Thus, reading the books in order will give you more insight into those characters as you progress.

         Bottom line, the books can be read in order or out of order, it’s up to you and your reading preferences.

        Hope you find this helpful!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Join Me for a Facebook Party

Well friends, the last author on earth who wasn't on Facebook is now on Facebook! That's right, you can find me at I'm still trying to figure it all out, but so far it's been a lot of fun.

I'm especially excited about the upcoming author chat party with my co-author, Leslie Gould, which will be on September 27th at 8pm ET. She and I will be talking about our newest book, My Sister's Prayer, answering your questions, and giving away fun prizes. Click here to RSVP.

Can't wait to see you there!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Writing Wednesday: Editing with Your Ears

Recently, a writer friend was collecting tips on self-editing, and I happily obliged. Later it struck me that the tip I sent her might be of interest here as well.  So, for what it's worth, the following is a little advice on how to edit your own writing...

Hearing What's Right and What's Wrong 

Often the ear can pick up on the things the eye doesn’t see. That’s why it’s always important during the editing process to listen to what you’ve written.

I’m not sure about PCs, but if you’re on a Mac, this is super easy to do. Simply highlight the portion you’d like to hear then press Option-6 and the computer will begin reading it to you. 

If that doesn’t work, no problem, it just means that your computer is set to something other than Option-6 as the correct key combination. All you need to do is this:
  • Go into System Preferences>>Dictation and Speech>>Text to Speech
  • Work your way through the choices presented. Pick the voice you like best, set the rate at which you’d like to hear it speak, and then determine which key combination you want to use in order to get the computer to read to you.  
In this example, I have chosen Alex for the voice, set him to speak at a slightly-faster-than-normal rate, and made my key combination Option-6:

That’s it. Once you’re back in your document, simply highlight the portion you need to hear out loud, press the key combination you’ve chosen, and you’re good to go. Press the same key combination to make it stop reading, if necessary.  (Note that this works in all applications, not just Word. I often use it to read important emails back to myself before sending–not to mention blog posts before posting.)

Listening vs. Looking

The automated voice does take a little getting used to, but if you persist beyond the first 10 minutes or so, it really does stop being an issue. It helps that you can adjust the speed and voice whenever you want. 

And it's worth it. Listening to your story can make a big difference during the editing process in numerous ways, such as alerting you to typos and repeated words, revealing passages that are confusing or boring or in the wrong places, and highlighting problems with pacing, dialogue, descriptions, rhythm, voice, and much more.  I highly recommend it, to beginners and pros alike. 

Hope you find this helpful!