Monday, October 23, 2017

And the Winner Is...

The winner of my drawing for a Reader's Gift Basket is:
The prize, a Reader's Gift Basket

Sabrina Templin!

Congratulations, Sabrina, and thanks to everyone for playing!

Even If You Didn't Win This One

If you enjoy giveaways, you'll want to keep up with this blog and/or my Facebook, because I LOVE giving stuff away and I hold drawings frequently.  In fact, I've got two going on right now:

• I'm currently collecting votes on my blog to determine everyone's favorite book cover.  Each person who votes gets entered in a drawing, and the person who wins the drawing will receive a free, signed copy of the winning book!  You can find all the info and cast your vote here through Oct. 31st.
• There's always a book up for grabs on the home page of my website, just scroll down, look for the GIVEAWAY box, and click on the ENTER TO WIN button. Currently, the prize is my book Plain Answers About the Amish Life, and you can sign up for the drawing through Nov. 30th. 

Sounds like fun? Feel free to enter both giveaways, and do stick around, because there will always be more! I guess "gifting" must be one of my Love Languages, because I love my readers, and I truly enjoy showing it by offering fun prizes whenever I can.

Free Goodies for the Asking

Some examples of the types of promo freebies you may receive, based on availability

Speaking of giving stuff away, did you know that you can order "promo freebies" from my website anytime? I've got all sorts of fun items available–postcards, bookmarks, pens, keychains, and much more–which I'm happy to provide, free of charge, to help you spread the word about my books. To order, simply visit the "Extras" page of my website, or click here to fill out a request form.

Or, if you'd just like a free list of all of my books, visit the "Books" page of my website for a downloadable booklist or click here to request the newly-designed printed version, which doubles as an oversized bookmark:

Scavenger Hunt Wrap-Up

I have to say that I had a really fun time with this past weekend's Scavenger Hunt. I'd never done one before and wasn't sure what I was in for! But it ended up being fast-paced, exciting, and very rewarding. Thanks again to ALL who participated!

On my entry form for the Scavenger Hunt, I asked, "Have you ever participated in one of these Online Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunts before?"  If you're curious about the answers, the percentages came out as follows:
  • 42.3% said this was their first time
  • 32.5% said they'd done it multiple times before
  • 23.1% said they'd done it once before, and 
  • 2.1% said "Other."
Wherever you might fall on that list, I'm so glad you came! Thanks again for playing, and now that the Hunt is over, don't be a stranger.  :)  

Congrats again to Sabrina, and enjoy your prize!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #11

Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! If you've just discovered the hunt, be sure to start at Stop #1, and collect the clues through all 25 stops, in order, so you can enter to win one of our top 3 grand prizes!

  • The hunt BEGINS with Stop #1 at Lisa Bergren's site.
  • Hunt through our loop using Chrome or Firefox as your browser (not Explorer).
  • There is NO RUSH to complete the hunt—you have all weekend (until Sunday, 10/22 at midnight MST)! So take your time, reading the unique posts along the way; our hope is that you discover new authors/new books.
  • Navigating from site to site should be super simple, but just in case you get lost along the way, you can go here to see the full list of all the stops, in order, with links.
  • Submit your entry for the grand prizes by collecting the clue on each author’s scavenger hunt post and submitting your answer in the Rafflecopter form at Stop #25. Many authors are offering additional prizes along the way!

I'm thrilled to host Melanie Dobson as part of the Scavenger Hunt. Melanie is a prolific author who writes historical, timeslip, and suspense novels. She has a wonderful heart and a compelling voice. Here is a bit about her book, Enchanted Isle:

In the spring of 1958, Jenny Winter embarks on a two-month adventure to one of the most enchanting places on earth, a quaint village in England's magical Lake District. When Adrian Kemp, a handsome and enigmatic local, shows Jenny his late father's abandoned dream, a deserted island amusement park, she glimpses a kindred spirit in this reckless, haunted young man. Yet as she opens her heart to Adrian, the two stumble into a labyrinth of mystery leading back a generation to an unforgettable romance and an unsolved murder that still casts a shadow over the lakes. As long-held secrets come to light, it's left to Jenny and Adrian to put the past to rest and restore a lost dream.

Take it away, Melanie!

If These Walls Could Talk ...

by Melanie Dobson

The house in Virginia hadn’t been occupied in decades, but someone left clothes hanging in the bedroom closet, plates on the kitchen table, the rusty hood of a Chevy buried in what was once a yard. I was twenty-five at the time, exploring this clapboard home for a newspaper article about forgotten places, and I wished, more than anything, that its crumbling walls could tell me what had happened here.

The house kept its secrets, but this experience changed my life. Abandoned places, I discovered, fueled my imagination. I wanted to know who had lived there, why they left, and where they had gone. When I couldn’t find the answers, I began to create stories of my own.

In the two decades since I trekked through that forgotten house, I’ve written novels inspired by a number of deserted places—a manor home, lighthouse, English cottage and medieval French chateau—but for Enchanted Isle, my latest historical novel, I wanted to write the story of a different sort of place. An amusement park that harbored its secrets well like the abandoned park called Geauga Lake that I visited often as a child.

My main character in Enchanted Isle is an aspiring photographer named Jenny who sees beauty in unexpected places. With pencil and paper, I started building an amusement park from the 1930s for her to explore, set on an island in England’s magical Lake District with a dozen old rides inspired by the sea—a wooden roller coaster that once surfed through the trees, a boat excursion around sunken ships in an ocean cave, and the Magic Lagoon, a merry-go-round with brightly colored sea creatures instead of horses, the eaves of the carousel plated with gold leaf and stained glass.

In the novel, Jenny and a British man named Adrian search together for ancient coins his father purportedly hid on the island. As she learns the legends in this district, Jenny begins to discover beauty among the ruins of the park and she ultimately determines to restore all that’s been lost—the hidden treasure, shattered dreams, and relationships broken in years past after one of the park’s owners disappeared.

Abandoned spaces continue to inspire me today. Because of their secrets, but also because I think of them now in terms of restoration, symbols of hope that God can rebuild the broken walls in all of our stories.

Writing fiction is Melanie Dobson's excuse to explore abandoned houses, travel to unique places, and spend hours reading old books and journals. She enjoys stitching together time-slip stories, and her novels have won awards for historical romance, romantic suspense, and historical fiction. Melanie loves connecting with readers—the best places to find her online are on her website and on Facebook.

Thank you, Melanie, for sharing what inspires you!

Here’s the Stop #11 Skinny:    

You can order Melanie's book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD or at your local bookstore! 

Clue to Write Down: authors

Link to Stop #12, the Next Stop on the Loop: Melanie Dobson's own site!


But wait–before you go, as a fun addition to the Scavenger Hunt, I'm hosting my own giveaway! Enter to win a Reader's Gift Basket (pictured below), which includes a Reader's Journal, two of my signed books–My Brother's Crown and A Pocket Guide to Amish Life–Amish stationery, an inspirational necklace, a candleholder, an Echoes of Titanic keychain, a Don't Take Any Wooden Nickels wooden nickel, a My Daughter's Legacy porcelain box, and more!

To enter:

1) Like me on Facebook 

2) Click on the button below and complete the entry form. 

Deadline to enter is 11:59 pm on October 22, 2017, so don't delay. Thanks for participating, and best wishes on completing the Scavenger Hunt!


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fun with Book Covers (and a Book Cover Reveal!)

They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but we do it all the time–or at least I do. Whenever I browse for something new to read, I'm always drawn toward the books that are the most visually appealing.

Cover Appeal

Did you know, however, that traditionally-published authors don't design or choose their own book covers? That job is handled by the publishing houses–which is probably a good thing, considering the amount of expertise and experience they have. We authors do provide some input, especially in the beginning of the process, when we supply them with all sorts of visual details to work with, but then the cover creation is outside of our hands. Of course, a kind publisher will keep their authors in the loop along the way and even work with them to try and correct any serious objections, but that's just a courtesy. Ultimately, cover decisions lie solely with the publisher.

My New Cover

Now that I've been given a peek at the cover for my next novel, The Amish Quilter (coming 2018), I'm relieved to say that I'm pleased with it. Yay! Keep reading to the end of this blog and you'll get to see it as well.

Fortunately, I have liked most of my publishers' final cover choices for my books, though I do have a few favorites. Which got me thinking...

Time for a Vote

What book covers of mine are your favorites?  I'd really love to know! That's why I've decided to take a poll and give away one free copy of whichever book wins as the reader favorite.  Sounds like fun?

To participate, simply check out all of the images below, and then fill in the simple form at the end. Poll closes at midnight on Oct. 31st, after which I'll determine two winners:
• the winning cover, based on the number of votes, and   
• the winning person, based on a random drawing from those who participated.
Then, the winning person will get a free copy of the winning book.  Guess you could call that a real win-win situation!

For Your Consideration

So let's get started. Look through the covers below, decide on your favorite book cover, your favorite overall series "look", and your least favorite book cover, then click on the button to place your votes today!





ORIGINAL                    RERELEASE







And finally, drum roll please, the newest book in the Women of Lancaster County series...

Have you picked your favorites?

If so, cast your votes now...

and be sure to come back Nov. 1st to see if your a winner!