Wednesday, June 27, 2018


It's time for some pillow talk! Literary-inspired pillows are so much fun. They bring a pop of bookishness (and color) to any room, couch, or bed. 

I love them so much that I decided to give away a pillow inspired by my author tagline: Read Now, Sleep Later.

To enter, head over to my website's home page, scroll down until you see the Giveaway box, then click on the Enter to Win button and complete the quick form. But be sure to hurry! You only have until midnight on June 30th to enter. One winner will be chosen by a random number generator and announced July 3rd.

And be sure to check my website on a regular basis—I'm always giving something away on the home page.

Since we're on the topic of fun literary pillows, here is a list of some pillows and pillow covers worth checking out!

Top 10 Pillows for Book Lovers!

Pillow: My Weekend Is All Booked

Pillow: Cat and Books

A Quick Heads Up
Note that most of the above are pillow covers and don’t include the actual pillow. Fortunately, you can order those too! Here's a great link that offers pillows in a variety of sizes.

For a Different Kind of Pillow…

…check these out as well:

Which pillow is your favorite? Let us know in comments below.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Free Downloadable Coloring Pages for The Amish Quilter

Now that word of my latest release, The Amish Quilter, is really spreading, I decided to offer not one but two FREE downloadable coloring pages as a big "thank you" to all who are helping share the news. Hopefully you'll have as much fun coloring these as I did creating them!

To download your copies, simply click on each image below and Save or Print.

Please feel free to pass these images along, whether electronically by sending the link, or manually by making duplicates. Either method is fine with me. :)

Show Us Your Work

If you get a chance, snap a photo of your finished page(s) and share on my author Facebook page. I'd love to see yours!

Enjoy, and thanks again.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

10 Random Things I Love About the Amish

My husband and I just spent a long weekend in Lancaster County, and as usual we’ve come back with a renewed appreciation for the place and its people. Springtime in Lancaster County is uniquely beautiful, with many fields still being plowed and planted, corn only about knee-high, and flowers just starting to reach their full bloom. Making the idyllic scene even more delightful are the sights of the Amish going about their days, working, playing, and most of all enjoying one another. 

Now that we're back home, I’ve been going through the photos I took while there, and that in turn inspired this list. 

1. ...the way they farm, which turns all of Lancaster county into a beautiful patchwork of fields and crops. Because the Amish don't use modern farming equipment, their fields are smaller and more varied, making for a beautiful and unique agrarian landscape that looks rather like a quilt.

2. Speaking of quits, I love seeing their beautiful handiwork on display!

3. …the fact that they’re almost always barefoot. As an often-shoeless person myself, I totally get why they like to go around that way whenever they can—though this particular sight, which we spotted numerous times during the day, might be pushing it a little too far. Even I wear shoes when I drive!

4. …the way they’re always adding on to their houses as families grow and needs change. This photo shows a perfect example of this practice in action.

From what I can tell, what started here as a single stone house (#1) has slowly evolved into a sprawling 5 (or maybe even 6)-part structure, one that likely houses a wide range of generations all living together. How cool is that?

5. ...the various ways they bring in extra income, especially via roadside stands. You can find these sorts of stands all over the county, some manned and some on the honor system. There they sell not just produce or jams or home-baked goods, as you might expect, but also things like tote bags, potholders, bird houses, and whatever else might catch the tourist's eye.

Handy travel tip: One of the best ways to interact with the Amish in a friendly, nonintrusive manner is

to visit one of their manned roadstead stands, where you can chat with Amish kids and adults alike. Just be sure to buy something while you're there! You'll almost always find them to be polite and friendly, especially the kids, who are extremely comfortable interacting with adults and can deftly handle the business side of things, making change, answering questions, restocking goods, and more. Enjoy!

7. ...what incredibly good cooks they are. Speaking of roadside stands, that's where we got this mini whoopie pie, which was so delicious that we talked with the owner about having a whole bunch made for our daughter's upcoming wedding. (She's thinking about including a "Pennsylvania-centric" snack table at the reception, so whoopie pies should fit right in.) In response to our question, the owner retrieved his own daughter who makes the pies herself–in oatmeal, chocolate, pumpkin, and other flavors–so we could discuss price, timing, etc. Of course we bought a small pack to bring home to our bride-to-be for her to try, and she was on board after the first amazing bite. Yum!

7. ...the German influence of their heritage, which shows up not just in their names but in the names of their businesses and even their roads.

8. ...the many ways they are in the world but not of the world. I try not to be intrusive when taking photos, but when I saw this Amish man waiting to make a left turn, I simply couldn't resist. Here he is surrounded by modern America in all its glory–cars, power lines, traffic rules, etc.–quietly making his way home with just a horse, a buggy, and a good old fashioned left turn hand signal. Love it!

9. ...the ingenious ways they power their devices without using electricity–not to mention the ways they still continue to surprise me at every turn. Take, for example, this humble phone shanty. It sits aside the road and likely serves as the only telephone for several neighboring farms. It probably houses nothing more than a phone, an answering machine, a pad and pen, and perhaps a stool. As with all Amish phone shanties, it seems totally low tech...

...until you spot the other side of the building and realize that the answering machine runs on solar power! 

10. ...the way they work hard...

...and play hard.  

I'm always astounded at the incredible amount of energy the Amish have at the end of a long work day! I guess it just goes to show how physically fit all that activity keeps them.

Any Questions?

If you'd like to learn more about the Amish lifestyle, be sure to check out my nonfiction books, including A Pocket Guide to Amish Life and Simple Joys of the Amish Life (both available through my website) and Plain Answers about the Amish Life (available wherever books are sold). There's so much to learn about their unique beliefs, ways, and lives. And though there are a few elements I'm not crazy about, overall I can't help feeling that there is SO MUCH TO LOVE about the Amish life. I hope you agree!


Support a Great Cause

Did you know that a portion of the proceeds from all of my Amish nonfiction goes to the Caring Fund of Philhaven, which provides mental health care services to the Amish? Here's a brief video about the program:

You can learn more about Philhaven and Green Pastures here.

What's On Your List?

That's it for my list of 10 Random Things I Love About the Amish. How about you? What do you love about the Amish? Tell us in the comments, below!