Utility Turkeys

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I learned a couple of years ago that the United States doesn’t have utility turkeys. This is purely a Canadian thing, but it’s a really wonderful Canadian thing!

When turkeys get damaged in processing (the skin gets nicked, a wing gets lopped off), then those turkeys are sold cheaper than the perfect turkeys, and they are sold under the term “utility grade turkey.” Basically, it’s not going to be picture perfect, but you’ve got yourself an entire turkey for cheap! (This year, they were .97/lb.) So each of those turkeys were about $13 each.

Perfect turkeys are called Grade A turkeys, and they sell for considerably more.

I LOVE the utility turkey time of the year that comes just before Canadian Thanksgiving, which happened to be this weekend. It only happens once, so if you want to stock up, this is your time.

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This is my current freezer situation. Yes, those are four turkeys. I always get the smallest ones because our family is only three, so even with guests, we’ll never eat a whole turkey! But four turkeys will last us a whole winter. There is the Thanksgiving turkey, the Christmas turkey, and then two more for afterwards, when you’re cold and hungry, and hankering for another turkey dinner.

But slightly imperfect or not, the utility turkey makes for a delicious family dinner. 🙂

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9781335510914

Can a marriage of convenience…

…really last a lifetime?

Single mom Gabby Rogers needs help raising her newborn triplets, so when her best friend, Seth, proposes a marriage of convenience, she cautiously agrees—on the condition it doesn’t ruin their friendship. As far as the town of Eagle’s Rest knows, Gabby and Seth are the perfect couple, but the imaginary romance soon feels surprisingly real. With the triplets’ first Christmas drawing closer, will Gabby risk showing Seth how she truly feels?

Available for Pre-order now!

Coming November 2019!

 

 

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Autumn boating

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A friend of ours bought himself a boat, and invited us to go out on the lake with them. We had a great time! So my husband, our son, and their family went out for an afternoon in the boat.

From the place we launched out, which was at a beach in a provincial park, we went across the lake to the little town and we parked (docked?) there and went for a walk around town, then came back in the boat again. It was a lot of fun!

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Our son even got to fish for the first time! He didn’t catch anything, but he did collect all sorts of fresh water snail shells.

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There were more people than me there, but out of respect for their privacy, I don’t post pictures of everyone else. But it was a great time! We’re hoping they invite us out again soon.

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On the shelves now!

 

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For the Amish, the day after Christmas is for family, feasting, and exchanging simple gifts. And for three different couples, it will bring another precious chance for love . . .
 
THEIR SECOND CHANCE
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Shelley Shepard Gray
Amish nanny Hannah Eicher never thought she’d ever see Rob Prince again. There was no way a relationship between her and the handsome English fireman could overcome her family’s objections—and their personal differences. But when he saves her from a sudden blaze, Hannah longs to see if they can turn holiday hope into a lifetime of happiness . . .
 
HIS AMISH ANGEL * Patricia Johns
She’s too outspoken to be a proper Amish wife. So as advice columnist “Miss Amish,” Maggie Lapp helps Amish and English with their romantic problems. But when her tradition-minded former fiancé accidentally reveals her secret, Maggie will need more than a miracle to make things right—and find a perfect love for all the Christmases to come . . .
 
AN HEIRLOOM CHRISTMAS * Virginia Wise
Rachel Miller won’t let her disability keep her from selling heirloom plants and proving she can be independent. She certainly doesn’t need reckless Joseph Webber working at her greenhouse to pay off a disastrous Rumspringa stunt. But she and Joseph have more in common than they think—and their surprising holiday partnership might just blossom into forever joy . . .

 

 

The Second Chance Club

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I have some new titles!

When you write a book, get it accepted, and even begin the editing process, you don’t know the title that the book will be published under. You have a working title, but as for the one that will be on the shelves? Complete surprise!

So I was finally given the title for my new miniseries that starts this May with Harlequin Heartwarming: THE SECOND CHANCE CLUB.

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The lodge that inspired the setting. This is the real life Cathedral Mountain Lodge. 

Angelina Cunningham has been through a brutal divorce, but she’s fared well! And she’s determined to help her friends in a similar situation. So she begins a dinner club at her mountain lodge called The Second Chance Club, and the women who meet there are an emotional support for each other as well as a source of advice for women who are still overwhelmed by all the changes and heartbreak that divorce brings.

The first book, THEIR MOUNTAIN REUNION, comes out May 2020.

This is a special book… When my agent read it, she said that it was the best book I’d written to date and she just gushed about how much she loved it! And I love it, too! I think what made this particular book resonate with me so much was that my heroine is 40. This is the first time I’ve written a heroine my age, and I just loved the experience! This whole miniseries will feature women in their forties hashing through life’s issues and finding love.

And I can’t wait for the miniseries to start! 🙂

A complete stranger’s opinion

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I’ve blogged before about my advice to less experienced writers. I tend to let other people give writing advice, mostly because it’s all been said before. But every once in a while I come across a piece of advice that I don’t think has been covered… like this one:

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You are going to get a lot of unasked for advice. Writing a book is a lot like parenting in that respect. And when your first book hits the shelves and you start to get a few reviews, you aren’t going to be able to stop yourself from reading them.

And the criticism? It gets under your skin in the weirdest ways. You’ll start second guessing everything you write after reading a complete stranger’s opinion on your book. You’ll have had editors who believed in your book, possibly an agent who believed in it, a publishing house who was willing to financially back that book, all sorts of readers who thoroughly enjoyed that book… and one stranger who says something critical about your execution.

I’m not saying there is nothing to learn from reviews. If you hear the same thing often enough, it might be worth looking at… but even so, there are hugely successful authors who I don’t personally like to read. One author, who I won’t name, just seems to ramble for 600 pages and then end. There is no climax to the story, no real point to it. It drives me crazy, but there are obviously a million readers or more who disagree with me. Should she get bent out of shape because of my opinion? Obviously not!

And you shouldn’t question yourself because of someone else’s opinion, either. There are plenty of reasons you might get a mediocre or downright bad review:

  • they don’t like your type of fiction
  • they were tired
  • they just couldn’t connect with your story, for some reason or other
  • they were expecting something different and felt disappointed instead of pleasantly surprised

Just like you can’t be everyone’s best friend, you can’t be everyone’s favourite author. You’re writing for your audience, not for the whole world. And that said, reviewers are incredibly important in the writing community! They need to do their job without author meddling.

So how do you decide if you should take criticism to heart? By asking yourself: Would I go to this person for career advice? Would I seek them out? 

If the answer is no, then move on and do your best to put it out of your mind. Because you don’t need any more blocks in your brain as you work on your next manuscript. You might not be everyone’s favourite author, but you will be someone’s!

And as you gain more experience, you’ll probably read fewer of those reviews. Just a hunch. 😉  And that is MY unrequested advice. Take it for what it’s worth.

 

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On the shelves now!

 

149671783x

For the Amish, the day after Christmas is for family, feasting, and exchanging simple gifts. And for three different couples, it will bring another precious chance for love . . .
 
THEIR SECOND CHANCE
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Shelley Shepard Gray
Amish nanny Hannah Eicher never thought she’d ever see Rob Prince again. There was no way a relationship between her and the handsome English fireman could overcome her family’s objections—and their personal differences. But when he saves her from a sudden blaze, Hannah longs to see if they can turn holiday hope into a lifetime of happiness . . .
 
HIS AMISH ANGEL * Patricia Johns
She’s too outspoken to be a proper Amish wife. So as advice columnist “Miss Amish,” Maggie Lapp helps Amish and English with their romantic problems. But when her tradition-minded former fiancé accidentally reveals her secret, Maggie will need more than a miracle to make things right—and find a perfect love for all the Christmases to come . . .
 
AN HEIRLOOM CHRISTMAS * Virginia Wise
Rachel Miller won’t let her disability keep her from selling heirloom plants and proving she can be independent. She certainly doesn’t need reckless Joseph Webber working at her greenhouse to pay off a disastrous Rumspringa stunt. But she and Joseph have more in common than they think—and their surprising holiday partnership might just blossom into forever joy . . .

 

 

Across the pond

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I do love seeing the difference in the covers between the North American version and UK version of the book.

And I’ve gotten a peek at the UK version for HER TRIPLETS’ MISTLETOE DAD! And can I just say that I love it ever more than I love the North American version this time around?

 

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This is the North American cover

 

 

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This is the UK cover

 

Isn’t it adorable? I love it even more! I like the crisper, cleaner image, and the brilliance of the red. I feel like I could just scoop those little guys and give them a snuggle… ❤

 

How about you? Which cover do you prefer? And have you ordered your copy yet?

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Amazon

 

This is what the magic looks like

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Mr. Johns snapped some pictures of me while I was writing the other day. I kind of wish he’d given me some warning so I could have posed, at least, or swiped some of the mess off my desk, or floofed up my hair, but I guess this is what the magic actually looks like.

In fact, this is what “hmmm” looks like. LOL!

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I’m currently writing an Amish romance, the first of my Infamous Amish miniseries. (That miniseries title might change–I’m still waiting to find out!) I’ve gotten into the story, and I’m thoroughly enjoy this one! I’ll give more information when I’m allowed to say more… In the meantime, just trust me that this is going to be a good one!

I know I say this often, but I feel so lucky to be able to write books for a living. This is the dream–it really is! And I’ll never take it for granted.

 

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Coming to a bookstore near you any day now!

 

149671783x

For the Amish, the day after Christmas is for family, feasting, and exchanging simple gifts. And for three different couples, it will bring another precious chance for love . . .
 
THEIR SECOND CHANCE
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Shelley Shepard Gray
Amish nanny Hannah Eicher never thought she’d ever see Rob Prince again. There was no way a relationship between her and the handsome English fireman could overcome her family’s objections—and their personal differences. But when he saves her from a sudden blaze, Hannah longs to see if they can turn holiday hope into a lifetime of happiness . . .
 
HIS AMISH ANGEL * Patricia Johns
She’s too outspoken to be a proper Amish wife. So as advice columnist “Miss Amish,” Maggie Lapp helps Amish and English with their romantic problems. But when her tradition-minded former fiancé accidentally reveals her secret, Maggie will need more than a miracle to make things right—and find a perfect love for all the Christmases to come . . .
 
AN HEIRLOOM CHRISTMAS * Virginia Wise
Rachel Miller won’t let her disability keep her from selling heirloom plants and proving she can be independent. She certainly doesn’t need reckless Joseph Webber working at her greenhouse to pay off a disastrous Rumspringa stunt. But she and Joseph have more in common than they think—and their surprising holiday partnership might just blossom into forever joy . . .

Cover Proofs

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I love receiving my cover proofs from Kensington Books, because I get a peek at what the book is going to look like once it hits the shelves. These are used by the publisher when they meet buyers for various accounts: Barnes and Noble, Walmart, or Target, for example. It gives them a physical representation of the book they’re selling before they’re printed.

Thursdays Bride doesn’t come out until April 2020, but I have a peek at what the book will look like now! 🙂

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I can’t wait for this one to come out! And you can pre-order now, if you want to make sure you don’t miss it. 🙂

 

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Pre-Order now! 

 

Thursday's Bride MM

For a proper young Amish widow struggling to begin again, encountering her reckless first love will test her forgiveness, resolve—and heart . . .

Overwhelmed by grief and tending twin baby daughters, Rosmanda Lapp is without options. She still blames her brother-in-law, Levi, for her husband’s accidental death—but she and her aging in-laws need him to keep their farm going. Yet as Levi takes on his responsibilities with a new determination and steadiness, she can’t help but regret that she chose his serious-minded brother over him. For Levi is still very much the passionate man she loved—and Rosmanda now has even more reasons to keep him at arm’s length . . .

Levi can’t blame Rosmanda for staying clear of him. He has mistakes to make up for and must finally do right by his parents. Still, he never got over his brother stealing Rosmanda away. And he can’t  deny the feelings that even now tempt them back to each other. And when a mistake from her past threatens her reputation, Levi will do whatever it takes to help her—and trust that faith and courage will at last help them claim a future together . . .

Cold tea

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I drink a lot of cold tea. Not iced tea, cold tea. I make a nice hot pot in the morning and have a cup, and then my day starts. By the time I get back to my teapot, the tea is luke-warm and I have another cup…

Then, by time I get to it again, it’s cold. And somehow, I’ve gotten used to drinking cold tea. Never old, cold tea, because that’s disgusting. Just cold. So I guzzle the last couple of cups in the pot, and start a new kettle.

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I think it started when my son was little and I’d get so distracted that I’d never find my tea in time to drink it hot. And somehow, my son grew bigger and I still stayed distracted, but with different things. Over time, I started to just prefer it this way–a nice, comforting cup of hour-old tea. It was either that or no tea at all, because I never came back for it in time.

I wonder if that will end up being something my son remembers–Mom’s cold tea. Maybe he’ll even tell his kids that their grandmother always drank her tea luke-warm, and when I come to visit, they’ll say, “Start the tea, it has to cool off for Grandma,” and they’ll think I can’t be trusted with hot beverages.  We’ll go to visit a grandchild, and they’ll offer us tea, but say, “It isn’t ready yet, Grandma.” There will be a pot of hot tea sitting on the counter, and one cup of Orange Pekoe dutifully cooling down to tepid. They’ll give Mr. Johns a nice mug, piping hot, and hand me a pretty little tea cup… almost cold.

It’s not very glamorous, is it? But this is the fuel of novels! Pot after pot after pot of tea. At various temperatures.

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Have you ordered my latest Amish release? This one will be in the stores starting September 24th! You can also order it online. 🙂 However you like to shop…

149671783x

 

For the Amish, the day after Christmas is for family, feasting, and exchanging simple gifts. And for three different couples, it will bring another precious chance for love . . .
 
THEIR SECOND CHANCE
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Shelley Shepard Gray
Amish nanny Hannah Eicher never thought she’d ever see Rob Prince again. There was no way a relationship between her and the handsome English fireman could overcome her family’s objections—and their personal differences. But when he saves her from a sudden blaze, Hannah longs to see if they can turn holiday hope into a lifetime of happiness . . .
 
HIS AMISH ANGEL * Patricia Johns
She’s too outspoken to be a proper Amish wife. So as advice columnist “Miss Amish,” Maggie Lapp helps Amish and English with their romantic problems. But when her tradition-minded former fiancé accidentally reveals her secret, Maggie will need more than a miracle to make things right—and find a perfect love for all the Christmases to come . . .
 
AN HEIRLOOM CHRISTMAS * Virginia Wise
Rachel Miller won’t let her disability keep her from selling heirloom plants and proving she can be independent. She certainly doesn’t need reckless Joseph Webber working at her greenhouse to pay off a disastrous Rumspringa stunt. But she and Joseph have more in common than they think—and their surprising holiday partnership might just blossom into forever joy . . .

Have you read my Free Read yet?

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If you haven’t, you can now read it in its complete form on the Harlequin website.

In order to read the Free Reads, you need to sign up with an email address, but that’s all. There are no other requirements, and then the full library of Free Reads–not just mine!–is yours!

You’ll find short reads that span everything from sweet (like mine) to sexy, and you can get a taste for different book lines to see what you like. I hope you’ll take a look!

If you’d like to read mine, this is the link.

Home For the Fourth of July

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Megan Davis has always wanted to leave her small Colorado hometown for life in the city. So when she finds herself back in Eagle’s Rest, brokenhearted, she tells herself it’s a temporary setback.

Determined to enjoy the Fourth of July weekend, Megan accepts Liam Scott’s invitation to his family’s holiday celebration at Blue Fish Lake. It doesn’t matter that Liam’s parents have been waging a decades-long matchmaking campaign—Megan and Liam are just friends. Megan’s life is in Denver, and Liam is committed to his job protecting Eagle’s Rest as a police officer.

But spending time with Liam reminds Megan of all she’s been missing—laughter, friendship and the natural beauty of Eagle’s Rest. Will Megan keep ignoring the deep emotions sparking between her and Liam, or is she finally ready to embrace a future that’s more than she could ever have imagined?

The woods are lovely…

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I’m the mother of a sixth grader, and I’m determined to expose him to literature. I have a degree in English Lit, and I love the classics. I’ve read him countless classics from novels to poetry, and I’m not expecting him to remember it all or appreciate it the way I do, I just want him to know that it’s there.

So there are always a few classic poems stuck to our fridge, and from time to time, when my son asks for TV time, or whatnot, I’ll say, “First go read some poems on the fridge.” Then we’ll talk about which ones he likes, which ones he doesn’t, what he thinks about when he reads them…

We have a ratty little paper on our fridge right now–a Robert Frost poem that is probably familiar to you. I love this poem because of the way it makes me feel, and since it was rattling around in my head for several months, it made its way into my Christmas release, HER TRIPLETS’  MISTLETOE DAD.

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Poetry isn’t about understanding the rhyme or rhythm, or even the deeper meanings. It isn’t about important poets, or the cannon of English Literature. Poetry is about feeling, and being able to stop for a moment, like in a winter wood, and feel the cold and quiet. It’s a very basic human experience to be able to feel some words.

I hope my newest novel will make you feel, too! I hope it will make you stop and breathe and draw in a moment. I hope it will remind you that love is real and powerful and possible.

And then I hope that some of you will take a moment to let me know about it! Because I do love hearing from readers.

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9781335510914

Can a marriage of convenience…

…really last a lifetime?

Single mom Gabby Rogers needs help raising her newborn triplets, so when her best friend, Seth, proposes a marriage of convenience, she cautiously agrees—on the condition it doesn’t ruin their friendship. As far as the town of Eagle’s Rest knows, Gabby and Seth are the perfect couple, but the imaginary romance soon feels surprisingly real. With the triplets’ first Christmas drawing closer, will Gabby risk showing Seth how she truly feels?

Available for Pre-order now!