Friday, October 13, 2017

Guest Post with Laura V. Hilton

Glass Blowing and The Christmas Admirer
 By Laura V. Hilton


Right before my youngest son joined the Coast Guard we went on a short mini-vacation to Springfield, Missouri, actually going farther north almost to Kansas City to see another Amish community near there in Osceola. There is a cheese factory there and my son wanted to try some of their cheeses – such as a ghost pepper cheese. Too spicy for me.

But upon the return to Springfield, Steve read about a glass blowers shop in the downtown area. We found the address and went to visit it. It is owned by an older gentleman and his son. They had a display area set up where people could see their wares and buy them and then a work area where the son mostly worked, and talked about how the fire needed to be so hot, and showed us how he worked and made things. As we watched, he made a lovely flower, a lily, in different colors of glass, green, white, pinks.

It was fascinating.

And I got to thinking what if… 

So I did some more research. Asked questions. Probably drove them nuts. But when Whitaker House indicated they’d be interested in a Christmas novel, I proposed one about a glass blower.

The story is set in Jamesport, Missouri, and while completely stand alone, it does have some continuing characters from other books I’ve written set in Jamesport. If you are interested, the books set there are:

Amish Books set in Jamesport, Missouri:

The Snow Globe
The Postcard
The Birdhouse
The Amish Firefighter
The Amish Wanderer
The Kissing Bridge (part of Springs of Love collection)
The Christmas Admirer
Gingerbread Wishes (part of A Plain Thanksgiving collection--November 2018)
Love by the Numbers (February 2018)

I haven’t read any books about an Amish glass blower, but that’s not to say they aren’t out there. I haven’t read all the Amish books available. Jamesport is an area that is more tourist-oriented than the books set in Seymour / Webster County Missouri. They give buggy tours, have bed and breakfasts, open their homes for visitors to eat supper with them, and have businesses.

All Amish districts are different and the rules vary depending on the bishop and preachers. Some are more liberal and some more conservative. Some keep themselves distant and don’t welcome attention from non-Amish and some embrace it. While Jamesport is not as touristy as some districts in Lancaster Pennsylvania or in Ohio, it is much more so than others.




The Christmas Admirer

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to go to Amazon
Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but other than a lone summer filled with romantic buggy rides, marrying her remains an elusive dream. When his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, they left him as the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters and his grandparents. What woman wants to step into a ready-made family like his? Still, he leaves her monthly gifts from “A Secret Admirer,” hoping she’ll know that someone loves her, even though he isn’t free to step forward.

Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, and hopes he’s her secret admirer, but now the clock is ticking. Susanna’s father is remarrying in January and his wife-to-be doesn’t want to leave her Amish community and family in Iowa. So when Susanna’s daed sells his glass-blowing business to his right-hand man, Benaiah, she’s left with three options: 1) Go with Daed to his new home with a new frau and step-kinner, 2) Flush out her mysterious secret admirer, or 3) Resign herself to life as an old maid. She doesn’t want to follow Daed where his new frau is leading him. And number three isn’t happening. Marrying Benaiah is her greatest desire—but he broke her heart, and now he treats her like a pesky younger sister. Can she make him see her as a woman, one who could stand by his side as he cares for his family?

As Christmas approaches, Susanna and her friends start making gingerbread houses for select members of the community. Susanna plans for hers to go to Benaiah’s family. But while her gingerbread may find a home—will her heart?




Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with almost twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write and Putting on the New.

Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.

When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.


twitter: @Laura_V_Hilton

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Guest Post with Lillian Duncan


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to go to Amazon
A Different Sort of Book

My usual books are fast-paced suspense and mystery novels but my newest release, Puzzle House is a different sort of book than I usually write. However, that makes sense. I’ve been living a different sort of life for more than five years. My life was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with brain tumors and a genetic condition known as Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) in 2012.

During these past several years, I’ve come to understand that nothing can be taken for granted. Except for God and his faithfulness. God has been there with me—every step of the way on this journey I didn’t want to take.

After all who wants to get brain tumors? 

In many ways PUZZLE HOUSE is the book I never wanted to write because I know had I never been diagnosed with the brain tumors, I would never have written this particular story.

Like me the main character, Rachel, has NF2 but that’s not the main point of the story. The focus is that Rachel stepped up in obedience to what God wanted from her. And just like many of us, she thought that because it was what God wanted her journey would be an easy one.

Wrong!

Instead Rachel had many lessons to learn on her way to becoming all that God created her to be—as do all of us. As the story proceeds she shares her experiences and those lessons with Nia, a young African-American girl who is dying as they work on a puzzle together.

Why did I choose a puzzle theme? Because in many ways life is like a puzzle—not a box of candy! There’s lot of pieces that have to be put together before you can see the whole picture. Many times we don’t understand why we need a particular piece but God always does.

It’s not easy to keep trusting when we are suffering, whether it be from a physical condition like brain tumors or it be some other difficulty like losing a loved one. But when we trust God with all the puzzle pieces of our life, He will use them to create a thing of beauty, such as a book called Puzzle House.

After all I’ve written about NF 2 you might think it’s a sad and depressing story, but you’d be wrong. The tagline for Puzzle House is a novel of healing and hope and that’s what I want people to take away from the story—that no matter what circumstances they find themselves in God promises that he will work all things out for the good of those who love him (Romans 8: 28). 


Maybe not the way we want it to work out as Rachel discovers in Puzzle House but then again God’s ways are not our ways. Puzzle House is a good example of that. I hate my brain tumors but I would never have written Puzzle House without them. So God took my difficult circumstances and worked them out for my good by inspiring me to write a different sort of book than my usual suspense and mystery.

GIVEAWAY INFO: To celebrate the release of Puzzle House, I’m having a very special giveaway on my blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com. Leave a comment on one of my Puzzle House posts and you’ll be entered to win. 

Thanks!

PUZZLE HOUSE BLURB:

Life isn’t a box of candy—it’s a puzzle!

Rachel Summers is all about Rachel Summers…until the day she crashes headlong into a semi-truck. As her life hangs in the balance, she has a visitor who asks a very simple question.

Does she want to be healed or to be a healer?

She makes her choice, but the journey doesn’t go quite the way she expected.

And so Rachel now runs Puzzle House. Every guest is different and yet the same. They all come to the Puzzle House for one reason and one reason only—to be healed, usually from a life-threatening illness. Sometimes they receive their miracle, and sometimes they discover there’s more than one kind of healing.

Nia is a fifteen-year-old African-American girl who is dying. The doctors have told her there is nothing else to be done. No more treatments. No more hope. No more life. And she’s angry about that. Very angry. Against her wishes, Nia’s aunt brings her to The Puzzle House.

Together, Nia and Rachel will take a journey that will change both their lives.


Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband and a menagerie of pets. After more than 30 years working as a speech pathologist for children, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian, you may visit her at www.lillianduncan.net or www.lillian-duncan.com. She also has a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com.