Pickles are comforting

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I love a good dill pickle. I blame my Russian Mennonite heritage for that. I even make my own refrigerator pickles that are absolutely delicious. And they’re strong. I believe in lots of garlic and salt.

So I’ve been writing hard the last while, and I just sent a completed manuscript off to my agent. While I was finishing it up and taking some of those incredibly necessary brain breaks, I whipped up a nice big batch of new pickles.

They’re actually really quick! You know, before you’re overly impressed with me. πŸ˜‰ I’ve posted my recipe for pickles before right here, if you’re interested in trying your own. My family will work through those at a pretty steady rate.

And now, I’m starting a new Amish manuscript–this one for Love Inspired. And can I just say… writing Amish makes me hungry! All that food, all those desserts, all that time for cooking… It brings out my appetite! πŸ™‚

I hope you’ll pick up my newest release, A PRECIOUS CHRISTMAS GIFT, that will be hitting the shelves in a matter of weeks here! By mid-November, you should be able to find it everywhere Harlequin novels are sold!

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A girl only turns 42 once

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This last week, I celebrated my birthday. I begged and pleaded with Mr. Johns to let me post pictures of us all masked up, but he’s very stubborn about these things. (No family photos posted, even if we’re in masks.) So you’re out of luck there, BUT, you should know that I argued for you very eloquently saying how nice it would be to show my dear readers what my guy looks like. Maybe it could even be proof to old acquaintances that after fifteen years, we are indeed still married! πŸ˜‰ He didn’t fall for any of it, unfortunately. But I feel it’s important for you to know that I did try.

Having a birthday during Covid is a bit difficult. We normally get together with my parents for my birthday, and this year, we opted out of a meal, and just had cake–with my parents on one side of the room, and me, Mr. Johns and our son on the other. Then we all masked up again. So it was a very Covid-conscious event.

My father always makes me a gluten-free birthday cake, and this year he made a delicious cake!

No candle to blow, of course. And it tasted as good as it looked!

Then we watched the live action Beauty and the Beast, which has been a favorite all the way back to the Disney animated version. I mean, really, who doesn’t fall for the gruff and beefy beast? And yes, I recognize that I did marry my very own. πŸ˜‰

It was a very nice birthday, and I’m thrilled to move forward in a brand new turn around the sun. There are books to write, and books to read, and books to buy! ❀

And speaking of writing books, don’t forget about my newest releases! A PRECIOUS CHRISTMAS GIFT will be on the shelves soon, and JEB’S WIFE is already there!

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Dollhouse pop-up book

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Along my theme of dollhouse collectibles, I came across this gorgeous Three-Dimensional Victorian Dolls House pop-up book that I just couldn’t pass up! It’s just stunning–the detail is amazing!–and the whole book turns into an eight-roomed Victorian dollhouse.

The whole book folds back, and the purple strings tie together to hold it open.

The detail inside is just amazing! All of the doors open between rooms so that you can peek into the room beyond. And each room has all sorts of adorable little items to catch your eye.

The tiny bathroom toilet even opens!
A peek into closets…
The dining room complete with hanging chandelier
A baby grand piano!
The base of the staircase….
…which leads all the way up to the second floor!

And of course, there are a few paper dolls and little extra details to be used throughout the house, too.

Adorable, isn’t it? I just love it! So many tiny things to look at! I would have LOVED this as a girl! I also probably would have ruined it… These things happen. πŸ˜‰

So this has absolutely nothing to do with my writing… but this is my stress-release. We all need one, don’t we?

I hope that my books can be a part of your happy escapes, too!

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My dollhouse reading nook

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I absolutely love all things miniature, and recently I have taken the dive into dollhouse furniture. I’m doing my best not to go overboard, but it’s harder than you’d think to keep these things in check. πŸ˜‰

I’ve added to my little dollhouse reading nook–a little cushy chair!

Isn’t it adorable? It’s just perfect for the space. I have a few other little pieces I want to buy for the nook, but I’m trying to pace myself, and when I do an Amazon order when I need to bump it up over $35 for free shipping, I know what to add on! πŸ˜‰

Isn’t it the cutest little nook? I’ll keep you updated as I add little things to the scene. πŸ™‚

What is it about tiny things that hooks me in like this? ❀

We all need something that sparks some joy, don’t we? πŸ™‚ And I hope you’ll keep my latest releases in mind when you’re out treating yourself to something cozy to enjoy!

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Fall at my place

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I love when the weather gets cooler. When I was little, I used to look forward to Fall because it meant we got to go back to school. I loved new running shoes and fresh pencil crayons, and back to school clothes.

And I still love it! There is just something about when the weather turns, and the trees change, and the sky gets gloomy that I absolutely adore.

I’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately, too. Now that it’s cooler I can cook things that take a lot of time in the oven, and all my favorite foods take a lot of time in the oven!

Honey garlic chicken wings–I can’t get enough of them!

Add to that, I’m making my own personal reading more of a priority lately. Maybe it’s the cooler weather, but I’m tuning out everything else on my evenings and weekends and catching up on old favourites as well as those classic novels I always meant to read, but never got to. This is an older picture, but do you know how hard it is to take a selfie and NOT drop your phone while doing this? I got a hand cramp taking this picture. So you get to see the book I was reading last month. This month, it’s The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grosssmith.

You’ll notice that I read books that are VERY different from the books that I write. I need the separation between work and weekend. It gives me new things to think about… like the fact that The Phantom of the Opera got way darker than I anticipated! I mean, it resurfaced at the end in the way you expect from Victorian literature, but still…

Not the point! πŸ™‚

I’m loving the fall and I hope you are, too! Stay safe, everyone! πŸ™‚

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Don’t forget about my newest Amish releases! Jeb’s Wife is on the shelves at Walmart and Target now, and A Precious Christmas Gift is coming soon!

A sneak peek on that giveaway…

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As you might know, I hold a lot of giveaways on my Facebook page! I love to team up with other authors from my publishers to get the word out about our books. We have a lot of fun over there, so if you’re on Facebook, definitely come by and give me a like! You’ll always find my latest giveaway pinned to the top of the page.

I thought I’d give you a sneak peek today at an upcoming giveaway that starts on Saturday…

My next giveaway is with Angel Moore who writes for Love Inspired. The book in this giveaway is from Love Inspired Historical, but her next release coming up this spring will be with the regular Love Inspired line. It’s called THEIR FAMILY ARRANGEMENT. So keep an eye out for that one!

This giveaway includes my two newest releases! I write for both Harlequin’s Love Inspired line as well as for Kensington Books. So don’t miss out on these two Amish stories!

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Watch for these!

This holiday season, I will have three books on the shelves! I love the holiday season, I love writing holiday books, and I love it even more to see them on the shelves. πŸ™‚

Mountain Mistletoe Christmas released October 6, 2020! This is the second book in my Second Chance Club miniseries featuring mature heroes and heroines, a rugged mountain resort, and a dinner club of supportive friends who make second chances seem possible again…

I’m really excited about my Love Inspired December release, A Precious Christmas Gift, as well! This is a heartwarming Amish story about a heavily pregnant single mother who arrives in Redemption, Pennsylvania to have her baby and give it up for adoption to another Amish family. But what happens when she falls in love with her baby’s uncle-to-be? There couldn’t possibly be a future for them with her baby in her arms… could there?

And to cap it all off, I have a book re-released with the wonderful Cathy McDavid! A Boy’s Christmas Wish is paired with Cathy’s The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby. Country Christmas Magic is hitting the shelves in December 2020.

If you spot these this holiday season, I do hope you’ll pick them up! They’re all available online as well, of course!

As the weather cools off, and we all start moving indoors, let’s stay safe, everyone. These crazy times won’t last forever. ❀

Just a little love…

Yesterday, I finished the rough draft of an Amish novel. I’ve been working so hard on this book for the last few weeks, and with Covid still going strong, it’s been different around here. Our son is doing school online, so he’s home, and I’m enjoying having him around, but it does change my writing rhythms.

So while I would have been able to write the last few chapters of this book in a couple of whirlwind writing sessions in the past, this one took longer. So, I was extra-relieved to pull my hero and heroine together at long last.

Love really is the root of all of our longings, isn’t it? It is for me.

I was following a story on Humans of New York on Facebook this last week or so–the story of a woman named Stephanie who was a burlesque dancer in the 70s. She lived a hard, hard life, and she moved in circles I’d personally avoid at all costs… but her way of telling a story draws you in and opens you up to the humanity all around us. She’s funny, insightful, and has the wildest stories about the powerful men who she danced for. The thing that touched me the most about her story was her constant longing to be seen and loved. She was known as Tanqueray, but she longed for someone to see her as herself, and love her.

I’m not sure she ever really found that– in a lasting way, at least–and I wish she had. I wish she’d been able to find that stability and contentment that she’d wanted so badly.

Stephanie, who worked as a burlesque dancer in New York in the 70s

So today, I just want to put that out there. We’ve got so much turmoil in the world right now, but it doesn’t change the basics–we all just long to be seen and loved.

Stephanie was reunited with her son after a long estrangement, and this is what he had to say about what he’d learned through his life and his tumultuous relationship with his birth mother:

Let’s be kind to each other. We need it!

NetGalley!

For those of you who are book reviewers, I’m pleased to let you know that THE PREACHER’S SON is now on NetGalley!

This is the first book in my INFAMOUS AMISH miniseries, and I really think you’ll love it!

When Abe Yoder, a popular Amish preacher, is arrested for fraud, the entire community is rocked, but none quite so much as his adult children. The Yoder name used to be one that was trusted, but no more. Now, Isaiah, Elizabeth and Lovina Yoder must find their way without the benefit of their family reputation, or even the family money, which has been taken to help pay back some of the victims.

But how are any of them supposed to find love and marriage with the burden of their father’s crime on their shoulders?

THE PREACHER’S SON hits the shelves February 2021!

A little bit of maturity

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I’m so thrilled to remind you about the second book in my Second Chance Club miniseries… Mountain Mistletoe Christmas is officially releasing October 6, 2020.

And I love this story!

Love is a whole lot more complicated when you’ve already been married once and you’ve got kids in the mix. Gone are the days of simple dates and seeing if there’s chemistry.

Nick Bryant knows from experience that trying to change yourself for a relationship doesn’t work. And his new client, Jen Taylor, is the kind of woman who is way above him on the social ladder.

He’s done this before… it doesn’t end well.

So why can’t he manage to keep business and pleasure separate?

I love writing heroes and heroines who are old enough to know what they want… and how to get it. πŸ˜‰ With a little bit of life experience comes a new, toe-curling level of attraction. And it takes a whole lot more to get these two world-weary souls together.

Mountain Mistletoe Christmas can be found in all your favourite e-tailers. I hope you’ll pick up a copy!

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