Making a scene

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I measure my life out in scenes written. How did my day go? “I wrote two scenes today, and started a third. So good!” or “I just couldn’t get into it today. I wrote one scene, but it was like pulling teeth. There’s always tomorrow, right?”

I realize that makes me seem like a workaholic, and I very likely am! It’s just socially acceptable to be a workaholic author. We’re expected to walk around with stories rattling around in our heads all the time. So the fact that I never really stop thinking about books and stories doesn’t surprise anyone.

When I graduated from university, I applied for a job as a store manager. I had already been working part time at a camera store, and I thought that management would give me more flexibility for my writing. (It didn’t turn out that way–no shock, right?)

Anyway, while I was managing a small store in a wealthy part of Toronto, a lady came into the store pushing a stroller. She threw a pile of negatives down onto the counter and said, “Just print the ones from the birthday party.”

“One of each of all of these?” I asked.

“No! The ones from the party!”

She continued to escalate, shouting at me that I should just do as she said, stomping around. I couldn’t possibly know which photos to print without her help in choosing them.

“I can’t deal with this!” she yelled. “My husband is on a business trip! I do not have the energy for this!”

She went out of the store for a minute, and then came back in and ranted some more. Finally, she took her negatives and left, and I just sort of stood there, stunned. There was a lady in the shop, and she said,

“That wasn’t about you. Don’t take it personally. I know who she is. Do you want to know what that was about?”

“Sure,” I said.

“Her husband was on a business trip,” the woman said, using air quotes. “With the secretary. He’s cheating on her right now, and there’s nothing she can do about it. So maybe that will make you feel a bit better.”

In a way it did–not for vengeance, just for perspective. And ever after, whenever I see someone melting down in public, I remember that poor lady who didn’t know what to do when her marriage was imploding, so she yelled at the manager of the camera shop.

It made me a more empathic person. It also made me a better writer. I didn’t take that outburst personally. I used it for writing fodder, instead. Because whenever I look around and see confusing outbursts, or behaviour that doesn’t make sense to me, my novelist brain kicks into gear and I start making up backstory to make the behaviour make emotional sense.

And all of that goes into writing my scenes day in and day out. It’s never wasted!

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Don’t forget–you can find my bestselling Amish romance at Harlequin’s Love Inspired as well as Kensington Books! And all of them are sold at Walmart, Target, and at booksellers everywhere. 

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Top shelf!

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A reader sent me this picture of my book, THURSDAY’S BRIDE, on the top shelf of the Bestselling Authors shelf in a Meijer’s store in Michigan. How cool is that? I might have squealed when I saw that!

top shelf

 

Do you see it? Top shelf, third from the left. 🙂 I’m in such stellar company as Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts, Marta Perry… It’s such a thrill to just be on the same shelves as the big girls!

On a different topic, there is a giveaway going on my Facebook page  right now with the lovely Virginia Wise. She writes historical Amish novels about the Amish families who settled in North America, and follows their lives and loves.

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Come by my FB page and enter to win the prize pack! I’ll be choosing a winner bright and early on the morning of July 11, 2020. We’d love to see you!

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Don’t forget–you can find my bestselling Amish romance at Harlequin’s Love Inspired as well as Kensington Books! And all of them are sold at Walmart, Target, and at booksellers everywhere. 

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Summer solstice this far north

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I live in northern Alberta, and this time of year is really interesting! First of all, our sunsets happen at 10 pm, and our sky never actually get all the way dark. We stay at twilight all night long.

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This is a picture of the western horizon at 11 pm, and that red smudge will stay there for a long while. I don’t actually know what happens between midnight and four or five when the sun starts to rise again, because I’m in bed then. 😉 But I don’t sleep very well this time of year.

I have an author friend who lives in Alaska who has an even longer day than we do. They have sunset at midnight and the sun comes back up at 3 or 4 am. Even farther north in Alaska, and it’s 2 hours between sunset and sunrise!

Living this far north is neat in that we get to experience such huge fluctuations in the length of the days. In winter solstice, it flips and we have incredibly late sunrises and very early sunsets. When I used to walk my son to school, we’d walk in darkness to school, and the sun would be just about setting when I walked him back home again.

So this is where I live! I do love it. It’s a beautiful part of the world to live in, and I thoroughly enjoy those prairie skies.

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Coming to stores September 2020!

Pre-Order now!

thumbnail_Jeb's WifePatricia Johns’ sensitive storytelling brings depth and heart to this tender story of second chances, as an Amish woman embarks on marriage with the gruff farmer next door . . .

Once, Leah Riehl prayed for a husband. The man she loved chose another, wanting the children that Leah can’t provide. But she’s found a measure of peace, keeping house for her brother, Simon, and teaching in a nearby town. Now though, Simon’s debts to an Englisher gambling ring have left Leah with a desperate dilemma—and a surprising offer from her scarred, reclusive neighbor. Jebadiah King needs to marry in order to claim his family farm. A union, for appearances only, will help them both.

Jeb knows his scars make him a less than ideal husband, but he can be a useful one. It’s the least that Leah deserves. But despite the promises he made to himself, Jeb can’t help longing for his lovely, warmhearted new wife. His first marriage brought heartbreak, but Leah’s gentle smiles spark hope again. Are they willing to take the leap that love requires—and open themselves to all the challenges and joy a true marriage could bring?

 

Jeb’s Wife

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JEB’S WIFEis the story of a marriage of convenience–a young woman desperate for the money she needs to rescue her brother, and her scarred, reclusive neighbour.

A legal marriage will help them both, but Leah won’t share his bed. He’s older than her, much stronger than her, and a little frightening… Besides, with his injuries, he can’t be wanting a full marriage, can he?

But Jeb can’t help but yearn for his kindhearted wife. He knows he frightens her… but maybe, if she saw the man he truly is, she might change her mind and become a wife not just in his home, but in his arms.

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It’s now available for pre-order anywhere you buy your books! It will be hitting the physical shelves in bookstores, Walmarts and Targets September 2020!

I hope you’ll pre-order it now!

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Kensington

Amazon

A long awaited shelf

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I’ve been wanting to get another bookshelf for the longest time. As an author who releases approximately six books a year, I have a lot boxes of books delivered to our home, and I don’t give away every single copy that I receive. I keep a few for later giveaways, or to give to friends, etc. So I end up with literally boxes of books piled up with nowhere to put them.

Well, this quarantine, Mr. Johns finally got sick of staring at book boxes, and we ordered another shelf from Wayfair. I was so thrilled! It’s very pretty, and it matches my desk so nicely.

shelf 1

Our son and I worked for a couple of hours putting it together, and then Mr. Johns came home from work with a his drill, and that sped up the process considerably.

I emptied out some boxes of books into the selves on the bottom, and I have more space still for when more boxes arrive. (My next release will be in September, so that’s coming up!) I stacked the books all two deep in the cupboard below, and there is still space in there, so I was so happy with how spacious it is!

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And just so you can see how well it matches my desk, this is a quick picture of my desk where I work.

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Have you picked up my latest release? It might still be on the shelves still, and if it’s already gone, you can pick it up online anywhere books are sold.

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On the shelves now! 

3.295427.512.9781335488183They need her help. She needs them

An Amish bachelor. A motherless child.

Can she turn them into a real family?

Schoolteacher Patience Flaud longs for a family of her own—but knows it can never happen. At least she can help Amish bachelor Thomas Wiebe with his small Englisher daughter. As she settles the child into Amish life, Patience begins falling for the bewildered new father and his heartbroken little girl. But is love enough to make them a permanent family?

Harlequin

Barnes and Noble

 

 

Facebook Giveaway!

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I have a new giveaway posted on my Facebook page, so if you’re on FB, click on over and check it out! This one is for three fantastic books–two are mine, and one is Belle Calhoune’s newest release, An Alaskan Twin Surprise.

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If you’d like a chance to win this prize pack of three books, go over and like/follow my page. The giveaway is pinned to the top, and I’ll be doing a draw for the winer June 30. 2020!

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On the shelves now! 

3.295427.512.9781335488183They need her help. She needs them

An Amish bachelor. A motherless child.

Can she turn them into a real family?

Schoolteacher Patience Flaud longs for a family of her own—but knows it can never happen. At least she can help Amish bachelor Thomas Wiebe with his small Englisher daughter. As she settles the child into Amish life, Patience begins falling for the bewildered new father and his heartbroken little girl. But is love enough to make them a permanent family?

Harlequin

Barnes and Noble

 

 

Spot the Difference!

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I love it when Harlequin uses my book cover for a Spot the Difference. 🙂 And this month, they did!

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Do you see it? I spotted this one right away. A lot of times I really struggle to find these, but either this one was easy, or just because I know this cover like the back of my hand, it jumped out at me. 😉 You can tell me if it did the same for you.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy if you haven’t grabbed one yet!

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On the shelves now! 

3.295427.512.9781335488183They need her help. She needs them

An Amish bachelor. A motherless child.

Can she turn them into a real family?

Schoolteacher Patience Flaud longs for a family of her own—but knows it can never happen. At least she can help Amish bachelor Thomas Wiebe with his small Englisher daughter. As she settles the child into Amish life, Patience begins falling for the bewildered new father and his heartbroken little girl. But is love enough to make them a permanent family?

Harlequin

Barnes and Noble

 

 

Don’t hate me, but…

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I’m kind of liking quarantine. Is that crazy? It might become crazy over time, but I’m such a home body that this really isn’t bothering me too much.

Like many people I worry about staying clear of the virus. I take precautions and do my best to be as responsible as possible. I wear my mask when I go out on essential errands, and use sanitizer on my hands.

And at home? I write books. I read books. I do basic yoga that is probably not very pretty to look at, but it keeps me limber.  I cook a lot… and I tend to my little balcony garden. I hang out with my son who is homeschooling until my husband comes home and we eat together.

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It’s rather peaceful, actually! I mean, I do have deadlines to meet and a living to make, but I can do all of that from right here in my home, and taking away any obligation to leave the home for anything but groceries or the post office, I’m gone from stressed out (stage one of quarantine?) to kind of mellow.

It makes me think of ladies back in the 1800s, taking their strolls through the garden, doing a little painting by some trees, and then reading in the sitting room. I used to wonder how they didn’t die of boredom, but I think I’m starting to understand what happens to you when you’re cooped up over a long period of time. You kind of give in to it!

I think an 1800s life of leisure would suit me, so long as I was allowed to write books, wasn’t squeezed into a corset, and didn’t have anyone patronizing me. Oh, and no balls! I couldn’t survive a hot, stuffy social obligation rife with airborne pathogens. (I would have been difficult to marry off, wouldn’t I? 😉 )

So maybe what I want is just a gorgeous country house with lots of beautifully kept land surrounding it, and to be left alone at it. Too much to ask? Probably.

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On the shelves now! 

3.295427.512.9781335488183They need her help. She needs them

An Amish bachelor. A motherless child.

Can she turn them into a real family?

Schoolteacher Patience Flaud longs for a family of her own—but knows it can never happen. At least she can help Amish bachelor Thomas Wiebe with his small Englisher daughter. As she settles the child into Amish life, Patience begins falling for the bewildered new father and his heartbroken little girl. But is love enough to make them a permanent family?

Harlequin

Barnes and Noble

 

Facebook Giveaway!

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This week, and running until June 20, 2020, I have a giveaway on my Facebook page. For any Amy Lillard fans out there, you’ll be excited at the chance to win her newest book, Loving Jenna.

Amy Lillard writes for Kensington Books, too, and we teamed up for this giveaway. She’s an award winning author with more than forty novels and novellas in print. She’s a Mississippi native living in Oklahoma with her deputy husband–talk about real life romance novel right there! 🙂

Come by my Facebook page for a chance to win three books by myself and Amy Lillard!

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The giveaway ends June 20, 2020.

If you’d like to skip the line and buy these books, they are all on the shelves right now! 🙂

lillard giveaway

 

Pretty little pleasures

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I love when the sun is shining and the rain clouds are coming up behind… It’s beautiful. It give me a rush of sublime awe–where I feel very small and the forces of nature feel very, very big.

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I’ve been enjoying this spring–the rain storms, the blasts of heat, the sudden chilly days that take you by surprise. Somehow, all of us being asked to stay indoors makes the view outside my window that much more meaningful. When this is all over, I don’t think we’ll be taking some of our common pleasures for granted anymore!

But these days, I’ve been watching my little balcony garden grow. My potted strawberry plant is a real little go-getter. There are at least twenty-five blooms and tiny green strawberries, and I’m so proud of her effort.

strawberries

I hope you’re finding the small pleasures in your days, too! 

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On the shelves now! 

3.295427.512.9781335488183They need her help. She needs them

An Amish bachelor. A motherless child.

Can she turn them into a real family?

Schoolteacher Patience Flaud longs for a family of her own—but knows it can never happen. At least she can help Amish bachelor Thomas Wiebe with his small Englisher daughter. As she settles the child into Amish life, Patience begins falling for the bewildered new father and his heartbroken little girl. But is love enough to make them a permanent family?

Harlequin

Barnes and Noble