Stormy Moors

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Thursday's Bride MM

Last weekend was a working weekend—I had page proofs to go over for my next release for Kensington Books.

Thursday’s Bride comes out in April 2020, and for those of you who have read The Bishop’s Daughter, this is the story of Sadie’s rebellious younger sister, Rosmanda.

Page proofs are basically what the page will look like once it’s printed out, and I have to go over each page looking for typos. It’s a big job, and I like to do this kind of work when my family is around, because looking for typos doesn’t require any creativity–something that I find difficult to get at when I’ve got my family at home with me.

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And there is just something official-feeling about handling a ream of pages like this. It makes the whole experience that much more physical than working on a screen. I feel like I should have a quill, and stormy moors outside my window.

In reality, when I spread all this out on my kitchen table, and instead of stormy moors, I had a rainy street outside my window. Life is much more dramatic in my head. 😉

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Until Rosmanda’s story releases, have you read my Christmas story in AN AMISH SECOND CHRISTMAS?

It’s 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 . . .

 

 

25 book pin!

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Look what arrived! ❤

I got my Harlequin 25 book pin! I’m very excited to have it–such a milestone to achieve, and it’s so thoughtful of Harlequin to give us something tangible to remember it by. ❤

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Here it is, in all its glory! Twenty-five books seem to have flown by, and I’ve loved writing all of them. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to write books for a living, and I never take it for granted.

So thank you to all my readers who make this amazing life possible! I couldn’t do it without out!

Moody authors

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I’m currently finishing the first book in my INFAMOUS AMISH miniseries for Kensington Books. (That title is subject to change.) But I’m just loving this story!

You know how when you finish reading a book that really grabbed you, there is this kind of pleasant melancholy that it’s over, and that you have to move on to a different story, or worse still, real life? 😉 Well, it’s the same for the author, but maybe worse. I get a little moody after finishing a book and sending it off to my agent. Writing the book is an even more immersive experience than reading it, because you create all of these characters inside of you, and you carry them around with you.

The other day, I was talking to my friend, and I starting thinking about the epilogue for this particular story, and she laughed and said, “You’re plotting, aren’t you? I can tell.”

Every book I write takes me over, so when the book is finished, I’m both relieved because it’s one heck of a lot of work, but I’m also a little sad to be done with it. This book was a real pleasure to write, and I can’t wait for the day that it releases and I get to share it with all of you in 2021!

In the meantime, the cure for my gloomy mood will be to move on to the next book I’m writing for Harlequin’s Love Inspired line. It’s is another Amish story, and on these dreary, chilly fall days, it brings some warmth back.

That, and turkey soup!

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Photo by Ergosumm88

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In the meantime, have you read my Christmas story in AN AMISH SECOND CHRISTMAS?

It’s 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 . . .

 

It’s on the shelves!

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It’s always a thrill to see one of my books on physical bookstore shelves, but my Kensington Amish books don’t make it to my local area Walmarts. In our neck of the woods of Alberta, it’s all cowboys, apparently, so I don’t get to see my Amish books out there in person.

It’s a little disappointing not to be able to stalk AN AMISH SECOND CHRISTMAS in public, but I do have my own copies.

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However, a reader was kind enough to send me this picture of AN AMISH SECOND CHRISTMAS on the shelves!

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This novella anthology has been getting great, 5 star reviews from readers!

Quite a lovely book. I enjoyed it immensely. I recommend it highly.”

For ppl who love short novellas in the same book this is for you. Each story in it’s own right is delightful and highly recommended. There’s something for everyone in here.

My favorite sentence in the entire book, “married people realize what they have to lose and it is only then that they choose to bend for each other.” I find this beautiful and so true.” —That was from mine! 😉

If you see one of my books in the wild, I’m always tickled to see a picture of it on the shelves. Especially my Amish books–I don’t see them personally, so this is as close as I get to sneaking up on them in the wild!

Happy Birthday to Me!

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Do you ever wonder how Betty Boop would have aged? What would she have been like in her forties?

250px-Betty_Boop_patent_fig1In the cartoons, we see her when she’s young and very aware of her nubile sexuality, but that’s a short stage in life–a very short one. After that realization that your feminine wiles have power, comes the realization that your feminine wiles also draw some very unwelcome attention, too. And after that, you learn that you have to fight back (sometimes) and that you have to be cautious.

In her forties, I imagine her very differently. She’s still beautiful, she’s still sexy, but she now has a law degree and hefty bank account. No one dares to whistle at her now, and the man to slap her heinie will find himself slapped with a lawsuit. She might even offer to represent his wife in the divorce. She strikes me as the type to get even.

She’s married, I think. For the second time–because the first one was probably a dud. She learned hard lessons from that marriage, but she chose better the second time. He’s smart, and he’s wildly attracted to both her body and her mind. She’s got daughters, and she sits them down and tells them the honest truth about the dangers out there, and about what they bring to the table.

“Don’t waste it,” she says. “You’re so much smarter than you think.”

“And if those boys try anything, I’ll deal with them,” her husband says. He’s very protective of his daughters.

“Don’t be silly, that’s assault,” she said with a her trademark wink. “You let me take care of it.”

~~~

sleeping-beautyWhat about Sleeping Beauty? She was so willing to please, so eager to be loved, so trusting. Youth is like that, but what would she have been like twenty-five years after that fateful kiss?

I think she would still have been kind, but that kindness would have sunk deeper. She’d have a better understanding of men now, a better understanding of evil, too. That would have turned her into a compassionate woman, but also a demanding one. She knows that magic is real, and that it has a dark side she’d rather not tangle with again. She hates apples now–won’t even touch them. I imagine her with sons, and the advice she gives them is different: “Find the right woman, but get to know her. Your dad was bloody lucky I wasn’t a witch, myself.”

She doesn’t become queen and not grow into her power, as well. Her prince, now a king, will love her not for her beauty and innocence any longer, but for her mind and insight. And her beauty, too, of course. But he’ll have grown into a deep respect for her, too. He can’t imagine ruling without her.

~~~

I turned 41 this week, and I was wondering what I would write about. I like this decade–it’s a satisfying one so far. All too often, our books and movies revolve around the young. Of course, it doesn’t feel all that long ago that I was 21, pretty and still rather naive about the world around me, but twenty years fly by.

I’m different than I was in my youth. I’m stronger, I’m wiser, I love more deeply now than I was ever capable of before. I’m more flexible. I married the right guy, and we’re growing together. We bring out the best in each other–compassion, thoughtfulness, more patience than I come by naturally. And we have a son who forces us to grow in whole new ways together as a family. Kids do that.

There is so much to enjoy on this side of 40, and I’m settling in nicely.  Youth is wonderful, memorable, magical… but I think I prefer experience.

 

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!

 

 

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?

Harlequin

Amazon