Restless and adventurous, Ruthie Stoltzfus is right on the cusp of leaving her Amish home. Secretly, she’s earned her GED, saved her money—but she can’t quite set her journey into motion. Just as everything falls into place, along comes Patrick Kelly.
Patrick is a young man on a journey of his own. He’s come to Stoney Ridge to convert to the Amish and has given himself thirty days to learn the language, drive a buggy, and adapt to “everything Plain.” Time is of the essence and every moment is to be cherished—especially the hours he spends with Ruthie, his Penn Dutch tutor.
Ruthie’s next-door neighbor and cunning ex-boyfriend, Luke Schrock, is drawn to trouble like a moth to a flame. Rebellious, headstrong, defiant, Luke will do anything to win Ruthie back—and Patrick Kelly is in his way.
Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Stoney Ridge for a story of dreams deferred—and the promise of hopes fulfilled.
About the Author
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author whose most recent novels include Anna’s Crossing and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.
Victoria Sponge – a well-known cake? Maybe, but also a wife and mother of four children. Disorganized and chaotic, with obligations galore, sweet Victoria clings to God, her best friend who shares His amazing love with her. From tripping over a hoover left in the hallway to discovering her son’s desire to die because he is different, she journeys through her own Lent. Giving up is not an option, but saying ‘yes’ to God each day is. Tragedy and comical events follow Vicki through her week. Does Victoria Sponge rise through all the messiness that life offers or does she sink?
My Two Cents
I had the wonderful opportunity to review this book. Let me just say that it has become one of my favorite books. As I was reading this, I found myself laughing and crying alongside Victoria. Her characters are easy to relate to, and they feel so realistic (this is one feature I always look for in fiction). One of my favorite things about this book is how Victoria prays as various trials or joys come her way. She is no way perfect, but she strives look to God in everything she does. If you haven’t purchased a copy of this book yet, I highly suggest you go out and purchase a copy right now!
Thank you to Celebrate Lit and the author for providing me with a free copy of this book. I was given this book in exchange for my fair and honest review. No monetary compensation was given.
About the Author
Born in England, Margaret Kazmierczak loves storytelling, but dyslexia made writing difficult. After marrying and birthing three children, she finally got around to it. She and husband Peter live in Dorset, United Kingdom with two daughters.
Guest Post from Margaret Kazmierczak
For those that know me cooking is not a talent that I am famous for. I follow the recipes, but for some unknown reason my cakes remain flat, albeit cleverly disguised with chocolate. My friends were, quite understandably, shocked that I appeared to have written a cookery book.
My friends let me introduce the Baker who inspired me to write, ‘How to Make Victoria Sponge’. His name is God the Father. This cook needs all the help she can get.
In 2010 God literally took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to become vulnerable. He took away my health and job. An active middle aged woman reduced to a shell. For two years I struggled to come to terms with my condition. Then one night I prayed and asked what I was supposed to do now? The message was simple, “write a book”. Well I could think up a million and one reasons why not to write a book. I declared them one by one but God the Father was having none of it. He reminded me of WHO was commissioning me.
To say that my reading and writing skills were on a par with my cooking skills was an understatement. So I stopped questioning and listened to His answer. “I shall give you the ingredients and you provide the humour and story outline with your life experiences.” So Victoria Sponge was born. Not a cookery book per se but a recipe for a closer relationship with God the Father through story and petition.
This journey took two years, a long time to wait for a cake to rise! The proof, however, was in the tasting which for some time was bitter due to rejection. Then a sequence of events happened one after the other and ‘How to Make Victoria Sponge’ was cooked, oops, birthed. I have been blown away with the face to face reviews in England of the book. A Methodist minister used it to empower her congregation, to show them how even the simplest things in life can lead to a prayerful response.
Victoria known as Vicki, married to Bob, is a normal woman with four children. The book looks at a week in her life and compares it to Jesus’ Lent week. Many issues are explored through the pages. Vicki Sponge could be you or me and the response to each situation, a solution to your own challenges.
Without the Baker this book would end up like my cakes! The writing of it helped me to begin a new life and I hope it helps you to do so too if you read and journey through its pages.
To celebrate her tour, Margaret is giving away a themed gift bag containing an apron, whisk, Bible, and a limited 1st edition paperback copy of How to Make Victoria Sponge! Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/a416
What if Abel had killed Cain? But there was no jury of his peers….
In 1928 Georgia, a black man who kills a white man is automatically guilty, but the bedwarmer’s son, an ex-slave, is no normal black man. Once his lily-white lawyer lady learns the truth, everything changes. Can she save him from swinging?
Will the bedwarmer murder the one she’s been bought to serve?
From the antebellum South, come travel the dusty trails of Jim Crowe Dalton, Georgia with slave and master, saint and sinner. See if God is really big enough, if He truly cares about His children. McAdoo has done it again, this time in a brand new way. A delightful morsel for the palates of Christian readers world round.
About the Author
Caryl, praying her story gives God glory, loves writing for Christian genres–historical and contemporary romance, Biblical fiction, and mid-grade especially. In 2014, Simon and Schuster debuted VOW UNBROKEN, a historical Christian romance set in 1832 Texas, and Caryl followed with three additional novels. In April, LADY LUCK’S A LOSER (contemporary, mature, inspirational romance); September’s debut, HEARTS STOLEN (set in 1839-1844), book two of her historical Christian Texas Romances–a #1 Amazon Best-seller; and in November, A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS, volume one of her new Biblical fiction series, The Generations–also an Amazon #1 Best-seller.
In 2008, her high school sweetheart-husband Ron moved her to the woods of Red River County. Caryl counts four children and sixteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings believing all good things come from God. Praying her story gives God glory, she hopes each one ministers His love, mercy, and grace to its readers. She and Ron live in Clarksville, Texas with two grandsons, Christian and Benjamen.
Guest Post from Caryl McAdoo
The Bedwarmer’s Son, my twenty-eighth title to be published, is different from any of my books to date, offering two complete love stories from two eras a generation apart.
How I came to write it is a very different story, too!
You see, I have a contemporary book in progress based loosely on the television show The Voice, but instead of the big new singer, my imagined program The Pitch is looking for the next big author! I started it in November 2013, but abandoned its 35,000 words shortly after Vow Unbroken debuted in March from Simon and Schuster.
My characters in The Pitch—three teams of authors and agents—attend writers’ conferences all over the country looking for the next great American novel with the voters being the readers across the country. For my story, I needed lots of titles, a few with skeleton story premises to make it work.
The Bedwarmer’s Son was one of those God gave me.
But it refused to be left there as just a title. The intriguing title demanded to be written.
And so, now I’m blessed that CelebrateLit is hosting a blog tour to celebrate its September release!
Though definitely a historical, this novel is not in my Texas Romance family saga series, but is a ‘companion’ book to it. My readers will remember four-year-old Charley from Hearts Stolen, book two…then him grown up and the hero of book six Just Kin. Well, in The Bedwarmer’s Son, readers meet Charley’s son and grandson, minor characters in a chapter or two.
The story opens in 1928 where the title character, William “Billy” Sinclair II is on trial for the murder of his white half-brother Jamison. Alice Parmalee, his lawyer, finds the old man’s grandson, William “Will” Robert Sinclair IV quite handsome, good-hearted and generous.
In explaining to Alice why he killed his brother, Billy goes back to the story of his mother, the ‘owned’ bedwarmer, Jasmine. Of course, every time he starts, I break into the young slave girl’s point of view, and readers find themselves back in the mid-1800’s. I love her spunk and think you will, too.
I especially love The Bedwarmer’s Son’s opening line: “He sold us right before he married that fancy lady from England, then bought us back the next Spring.” It’s set on the fictitious Three Springs plantation near Dalton, Georgia.
In my story, I used a word that in my growing up was considered on the same level as a cuss word. I would have had my mouth washed out for saying it. So conflicted, I asked for much counsel, and everyone agreed that for the story’s time period—to portray it correctly—it was necessary…but still hard for this lady.
On the other hand, I so enjoyed going back and forth between the two stories. There’s plenty of period racial tension—so common to the day—with the KKK unhappy about the pretty white attorney defending the old black man who’s guilty simply because his victim’s skin was white.
Of course, being a Christian novel, he and his grandson trust God and believe the Almighty sent Alice—an atheist who’s been taught putting any faith in an invisible being is nothing more than a fool’s errand. She’s been reared by a famous black attorney who volunteered to take Billy’s case.
At the end of the story, when Billy’s trial is over, I think readers may be cheering. I hope so.
I pray Jasmine’s and Alice’s journey will cause readers to draw closer to the Lord, while others might reconsider a few of the things they’ve been comfortable believing. That Holy Spirit will use this story to draw them deeper into their own relationship with our Awesome God.
Looking back, I can see God’s hand all over this story and its creation and cover…the whole nine yards. I can’t begin to imagine all the ways He will used it, but am convinced that use it, He will! I always say I am blessed and highly favored, and He keeps on creating the fruit of my lips!
I love story and the cover of The Bedwarmer’s Son (designed by Ruthie Madison Derby) that displays both dejection and hope, and melds the two historic periods. God has indeed blessed me and showered His favor over me. I pray it will touch your hearts.
Oh, and as an aside I spoke with Sandy Barela about over a coffee chat, I wrote Lady Luck’s A Loser back in 2001 long before The Batchelor ever hit TV. My story is a mature inspirational romance about a wealthy man inviting nine women to come live at his bed and breakfast—under the guise of hiring a manager for it—in order to choose a wife.
Hopefully if The Pitch becomes a TV reality show, I’ll get proper credit, considering this idea is published here and copyrighted in my doing it!🙂 Laaaa!
A collection of delicious honey recipes from the Honeybee Sisters book series, featuring quotes and recipes from Sweet as Honey, A Bee in her Bonnet, and Like a Bee to Honey–Amish romances by Jennifer Beckstrand.
Lily, Poppy, and Rose Christner, known as the Honeybee Sisters in their Amish community, are smart, inseparable, and all grown up. Orphaned when they were very young, the girls were raised by their eccentric Aunt Bitsy, who doesn’t behave like a proper Amish spinster. The Honeybee Sisters have blossomed into rare beauties, and the boys in the community have begun to take notice. But Aunt Bitsy is determined to scare off all comers with her brusque manner and her handy shotgun. None but the most worthy will make it past Bitsy’s defenses. It’s going to be a rowdy and romantic summer–harvesting honey from their many beehives and fighting off the boys right and left.
Note from Aunt Bitsy: When my girls told me they wanted to write a cookbook, I wasn’t too keen on the idea. Food attracts boys like honey attracts bees. I warned them that if they didn’t want the boys hanging around the house, they shouldn’t make the cakes and pies and cookies that are sure to bring them running. My nieces didn’t seem to be alarmed about the prospect of boys all over the place, so I suppose they’ll have to learn the hard way.
My problem is that smart, feisty, pretty girls attract boys even better than honey does. So even if my girls stopped cooking altogether, I have a sneaking suspicion that the boys would still find excuses to come over.
Some of the recipes in this book, like Honey Glazed Pretzels and Whole Wheat Bread, are very traditional Amish dishes. Others, like Salmon Tacos and Coconut Lime Chicken, are less traditional but still wunderbarr. I lived as an Englischer for twenty years before coming back to the Amish to raise my three nieces, and as a dental hygienist, I collected a lot of recipes.
Here’s my final warning: Boys are like stray cats. If you feed them, they’ll keep coming back. Buy this cookbook at your own risk.
About the Author
Jennifer Beckstrand is the bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in Examiner.com list of top ten inspirational books for 2014.
Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.
Guest Post from Jennifer Beckstrand
Nothing brings family and friends together like a home-cooked meal. When I think of Amish food and cooking, I think of the way my mother used to cook and the way her mother cooked before her.
Both my parents grew up on farms, and hard work was a way of life. So were homemade meals and food that stuck to your ribs and gave you fuel for a hard day’s work in the fields. Cooking was more of an art than a burden, a way to sustain life, but also a labor of love for your family, day in and day out.
I joke with my husband that I have forgotten how to cook now that we’re empty nesters and I’d rather eat cold cereal that fire up the stove, but creating a nutritious meal for my family or baking a delicious dessert still brings me satisfaction and is a gift of the heart to my loved ones.
The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook began to take shape when I came up with the idea for a series about three sisters who keep bees and make delicious honey treats. In the Honeybee Sisters Cookbook, you’ll find some traditional Amish favorites as well as some not-so-Amish dishes—recipes that Aendi Bitsy collected from her years living with the Englisch. The pages are filled with mouth-watering photos, and I’ve included quotes from the Honeybee Sisters books. I hope you enjoy trying out the recipes as much as we enjoyed creating them for you.
My father in-law, who was also raised on a farm, passed away very recently. His mother made him a bowl of oatmeal every morning, which he hated, and it would be waiting for him after school if he didn’t eat it at breakfast. In honor of him, I would like to share a rhubarb recipe. Rhubarb was one of his favorite treats.
This recipe is authentically Amish from my friend Priscilla Stoltzfus in Pennsylvania.
Rhubarb Upside-down Cake
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 cups rhubarb, diced
Pour rhubarb mixture into an 8×8 pan.
¼ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
Pour the flour mixture over rhubarb mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Turn upside-down on a plate to serve. Serve warm, if you wish.
Politics is no game when a stalker nears and there’s nowhere to hide.
A run for the senate is just a step on the road to the White House for Congressman Lucas McMann. But his public profile has put him in the middle of a crazed gunman’s twisted game of stalking. If he wants to win the election and reclaim his life, he’ll need the help of the one person who’d rather leave their past behind them.
Private Investigator Nikki Kent knows how to dig up secrets and discover those who exist in the shadows. She should. She’s good at hiding secrets of her own. Can she risk her own discovery for someone so desperate for her help? For the first man who broke her heart?
With new-found faith, she’ll help Lucas search for the answers. But with the truth comes a danger they must face together.
About the Author
Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.
Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in Ohio Amish country with her husband. After being diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors and Neurofibromatosis Type 2 in 2012, Lillian retired as a school speech pathologist after more than thirty years.. She believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.
Congressman, Lucas McMann wants to throw his hat into the political arena once again, this time for the U.S. Senate. It’s the next step on his journey to the White House, but he believes he’s the victim of an elaborate stalking game.
The problem is no one else believes him.
He can’t move forward until he stops the game. He can’t stop the game until he discovers who’s behind it. To do that he needs someone who will believe in him enough to help him get the proof he so desperately wants.
And he knows just the person.
If only she’s put their past behind her.
Private Investigator, Nikki Kent makes a living finding out other people’s secrets, but she has one of her own. When Lucas shows up asking for her help, she refuses. She can’t take the chance of her secret coming to light. But her new-found faith won’t let her turn her back on someone who is desperate for her help—even if he was the first man to break her heart
Game On is filled with enough twists and turns that will keep you turning those pages late into the night. I really had fun writing it and hope readers will have fun reading it. My publisher outdid herself with the book trailer for GAME ON so I hope you’ll check it out at: https://youtu.be/t6MK2UGB1P0.
To celebrate the release of GAME ON, Lilian is giving away a virtual basket of goodies. One lucky winner will win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and their choice of an e-copy, Nook, or Kindle copy of one of my previously published books—sorry not GAME On. Five other people will be given a $5 Amazon Gift Card. And finally five more winners will get their choice of an e-copy of one of my previously published books.
That’s LOTS of winners!
All you have to do is leave a comment under one of the GAME ON posts at www.lillian-duncan.com , and you’ll be entered. Contest will end on October 1! Winners will be announced on October 2. Be sure to check back to see if you’re a winner! Thanks.
Jazz is being forced to move and her mom has given her a major task to accomplish. She has to pack up the attic. What Jazz finds in the attic changes her life in ways she never imagined, and opens her up to life altering possibilities.
Ethan’s father was a piece of work, to put it mildly. His father managed to become quite wealthy before he died, yet he left Ethan deeply damaged in more ways than one. Can the love and care of a strange young woman with a past of her own free him, or is he doomed to never change?
About the Author
Carol E. Keen currently resides in Alabama with her husband and family. She spends her time writing, reading, working on photography, and working with her much loved critters. She started creating stories to share with others at the age of two years old. She was published for several years in FAMA magazine (Freshwater And Marine Aquarium) as a contributing editor. She published her first book on CD, called Simply Seahorses. She is overjoyed to be publishing her fiction to share with you now. Carol currently has more books in the “works”. Please feel free to follow her for updates.
On a personal note: Carol really enjoys coffee and a good book.
Guest Post from Carol E. Keen
Can you believe it? I’m on my second tour with Celebrate Lit! Wow! I’m floored and happy and close to tears too. I have to say a HUGE thank you to Sandy and Denise for their encouragement and patience and help.
Today we are talking about my first series, The Beauty Series. The first book, Beauty For Ashes is the very first published fiction book that I have released. It started out as a contest entry. When it didn’t make the winning selection, I expanded it and had several trusted people read it. It was well received over all, and so I braved the scary world of navigation Amazon and published it.
Beauty For Ashes is based on Cinderella, and it was a challenge to write. I had always had some questions about why certain things weren’t covered in that story, so in my version, I added them. I answered my unanswered questions. I also have always felt that Cinderella had to be Christian to survive what she did and still be who she was.
My third published book is the second book in this series, and one of my favorite fairytales of all time. Monstrous Beauty is based on Beauty and the Beast. As with Beauty For Ashes, I always felt a “back story” to what drove the Beast was missing. In this version I have added all that, as well as having other answers to why “Beauty” was in this situation to start with. How would either of them relied on God to get through their situations?
I had a lot of fun writing Monstrous Beauty, and I’m looking forward to the next book I plan to write in this series.
Thank you so much for joining me on this adventure, and please feel free to ask questions!
Isolated on a Maui mountaintop, Cassandra has only her imagination to keep her company. Shut in due to her heart condition and shut out emotionally by her father, she meets the Menehune in a dream. Their “Gift” enables her to take the first step away from her loneliness. Along the way she finds an amazing woman in the grandmother she never knew and experiences true friendship with a new classmate. Eventually she learns that to love another she must open her heart, even if it means it may break.
About the Author
In 2015, Barbara Bras left her career to pursue her dream of serving God. She believed that her first step would be to share the amazing ways God had blessed her. As she wrote of her son’s miraculous adoption and the challenging years that followed, it led to the rediscovery of her entire life, including the history of her grandparents’ remarkable survival in Armenia and her search for purpose and love. Her memoir led to her first novel, which she hopes readers will find engaging and memorable.
Guest Post from Barbara Bras
An interviewer asked what inspired me to write and publish two books within a year. It’s a long story. Unlike many authors, I didn’t always write, nor did I yearn to write. In fact, the opposite was true for me; fear of judgement discouraged me from writing. Judgement from my mother, an English teacher and a strict perfectionist who demanded excellence in everything, especially writing.
In spite of the circumstances, my love of reading led to my first profession, teaching English at the high school level. Teaching laid the foundation for my career, which ultimately resulted in twenty-five plus years in various corporate environments as an Human Resources leader. Naturally, during my career I wrote a great deal, including proposals, papers, and communications of all kinds. But never anything creative, I never even journaled.
Almost two years ago, our Pastor handed out little pieces of paper during his sermon that said, “ENOUGH”. He questioned our inane desire to accumulate things when we already have the one thing that is needful. Just as Mary choose to worship at the feet of Jesus rather than be distracted by the world, so must we choose what is most important. (Luke 10:42) It struck a nerve.
Shortly thereafter, I made the decision to leave my position of ten years. Unsure of my next move, I focused my energy on a burning desire. Ever since the Lord provided a son for us through a miraculous adoption, I believed He wanted me to share it as an encouragement to others. I had tried to write the story many times without success. I signed up for retreat that promised, “Write your book in a weekend!”
The three-day retreat required nonstop writing, first in long hand, then on the pc. Amazingly, at the end of the third day I had not only finally written the story of the miraculous adoption, I had shared the incredible disappointment and heartache of the years that followed, all captured within the context of my life and the life of my ancestors. Wrapped in God’s Grace, a Life Rediscovered had materialized. I felt a great release and I thought that would be the end of my writing.
Over the next few months as I edited the book, I followed the system of editing for 45 minutes, and writing new material for 15. What emerged during those 15 minute segments became Cassandra’s story, or She Who Knows, a Tale of the Heart. The story unfolded in front of me, inspired by the woman who supervised my student teaching in Honolulu back in 1977.
Barbara Robinson was an inspiration to me both as a teacher and as a person. As we worked together that semester, she shared many stories and took me under her wing. She told me the story of how her grandmother, a musician, had come to islands and married her seafaring grandfather. She spent a great deal of her childhood isolated in the mountains on Maui, presumably to recover from an illness. When finally allowed to return to school years later, her years of isolation and her archaic English made for a lonely life. She also believed she that she had an usual gift, which she decided was better left unused.
So what began as an effort to share my story and encourage others has developed into a love of writing and a desire to serve the Lord through my new passion.