I absolutely LOVE doing cover reveals, because the day an author gets her cover is incredibly exciting! I never know exactly what I’ll get, but the cover artists never disappoint.
This time, I get to share the brand new cover for LOVING LOVINA, the third book in my INFAMOUS AMISH miniseries. So many readers have been asking me about Lovina’s story, and this is it! 🙂 LOVING LOVINA hits the shelves March 2022.
I don’t want to say too much about this story yet, because if you haven’t read THE PREACHER’S SON or THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER yet, I don’t want to ruin anything for you! 😉 But I will definitely be giving you more info closer to the release!
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
Mr. Johns had some vacation time, and we got out as a family to do a few things. One of our favourite places, which is now open again, is called Fort Edmonton Park. We took our son with us and went for a wander through it. It’s a historic park that takes you through almost 500 years of history from our area.
We got some pictures! Our son took this one, and I love it!
And this one was taken by my husband–which you might be able to guess by the way I’m smiling. 🙂
I hope you are all enjoying your summer as much as I’m enjoying mine! 🙂
I’m just thrilled that WIFE ON HIS DOORSTEP hit the Publisher’s Weekly bestsellers list for a second time in a row this week! This is the first time that one of my books has hit the list two weeks in a row, and I’m feeling pretty excited! Last week, I came in at #18, and this week I made the list at #22.
I’m ever so grateful for each and every one of you who ran out and picked up a copy. It will be on the shelves all month, so if you haven’t gotten yours yet, you still have some time!
Have you tried…
For those of you who have already picked up a copy of WIFE ON HIS DOORSTEP and loved it, have you tried my Infamous Amish miniseries published by Kensington Books?
THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER is the second book in my Infamous Amish miniseries, where an Amish family has their faith in their community tested when their father is arrested for fraud. Is there any way to find love and marriage when your family name is ruined?
THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER is on the shelves in Walmart and wherever books are sold! If your local bookstore doesn’t stock Amish, order it in! The more a bookstore sees a particular genre requested, the more likely they are to start stocking it for you. 🙂
On a personal note…
I’ve been determined to figure out how to make some beautiful knitted bookmarks…but it did take a few tries! So in my spare time, I’ve been doing a lot of knitting and visiting the local Michael’s craft store for supplies.
We’ve had some cool weather this week with lots of rain, so it has been been the perfect rainy day activity after my writing is done.
And I finally figured out some knitted bookmarks that I’m really happy with! I’ll be including them in giveaways. 🙂 They are made with really thin yarn, and they flatten very nicely. I’m using one in the book I’m reading right now, and it’s just such a pretty way to keep my place. And I thought my readers might feel the same!
So they are coming to you soon in giveaway form–for the lucky ones who win on my Facebook giveaways! You can find them on my Facebook page. The newest giveaway is always pinned to the top of the page. If you don’t see one pinned to the top, give me a Like and wait two or three days. Another one will be posted soon. 🙂
(The next giveaway I post will be on June 18, 2021.)
On Facebook where I interact with some of my readers, I’ve been asked quite often about my own family history, and if it has affected my choice to write Amish stories. So today, I thought I’d give you a little view into the family I come from.
My father’s side of the family is Russian Mennonite. They came to Canada in 1925 from Russia. They were German speaking, and starting farming almost immediately–it was a life they already knew. In fact, their first house was a sod house (by the looks of some old pictures) and it was one room. My grandfather was 16 when he arrived in Canada, and had to start learning English by going to Grade One in school.
This is a picture from my grandfather and grandmother’s wedding in 1933. They’d upgraded to a wooden farm house–two stories! In eight short years, they’d worked their way up, and my grandfather had found a woman he loved.
My grandmother came from an incredibly conservative Mennonite community, while my grandfather was less so. They did end up buying a truck in later years (after my grandparents were married for a little while, I believe), and then eventually a car. A tractor was acquired for my grandfather’s farm, so they weren’t Amish or Old Order Mennnonite, but they did live very simply. There was no running water or electricity when they first started out.
My aunt who is in her eighties now tells stories about how her parents used to refer to the neighbours as the “English neighbours.” She’d assumed back then that they must have been from England, but I highly suspect they were called English in the same way that the Amish use the term–to describe their native language spoken at home. They were English speaking, while my grandfather’s home was German speaking.
By the time my dad was born (he was #11 out of 12 kids), his parents used low German as the language they spoke to each other, and the language they could use to keep secrets from the younger kids. My aunt who was #5 out of 12, spoke a lot more German.
My dad grew up on a farm. His father was multi-talented. He built their houses himself, kept a flourishing garden, and ran his own dairy farm. My grandmother, who took care of the kids and the house, was a tremendous cook, I’ve been told.
My father graduated from high school, and he was going on to become a computer technician. He’d certainly moved on to very modern goals. He even married a Catholic girl (my mother.) This was very shocking to his conservative mother. My grandmother wouldn’t attend the wedding–that was just a shade too far in her eyes. My mother would end up taking care of my grandmother for a few years before her death, though, which just goes to prove that it all worked out rather nicely after all.
There is still a great sense of respect for our family’s humble beginnings on Canadian soil, and for the communities of Anabaptist believers who keep to a strict, Plain faith. We still have some Russian money that was smuggled out of Russia when they left. It was absolutely worthless by the time it arrived in Canada, but it was preserved for the memories, and at first, possibly out of a loathing to literally throw money away. I’m glad they did keep it, though, because it is a part of our story.
So when you read my Amish stories, you’ll notice a theme of outsiders versus insiders, keeping a community safe by preserving tradition, and the curious gaze of the Amish, looking at the outside world around them. This all comes from my own family’s experience of preserving their Mennonite faith on the Canadian prairies. ❤
This Spring Break, my husband took some time off of work, and we did a bunch of home renovations as a family. I’d been dying to fix things up a bit, but I tended to get voted down. No one really wanted to do it. So when I marched out to Home Depot and came home with a can of paint, I figured I could paint one wall a weekend, and get it all done myself in a couple of months. Luckily, Mr. Johns thought I was painting wrong, and decided to show me how to do it, which sped the process up considerably. 😉
We really got into it! We painted the entire apartment, including closet doors. We replaced another set of closet doors, and fixed up our kitchen a little, too. We definitely stayed busy, and the end result is just so nice and fresh! Don’t you love crawling into bed at night and smelling that faint, fresh paint smell? Heavenly!
My favourite little addition to our home is actually the cheapest. I bought some faux stained glass removable window film, and not only does it give me that little bit more privacy (because who wants to see me in my bathrobe if I forget to close the blinds?), but I love the colour, too! It just makes me feel happy, and being cooped up as we are in Canada right now with Covid regulations, that little extra bit of cheer inside is necessary.
And that is what we were up to! We’ve spruced up our home, and I’m just so pleased with it!
Here in Alberta, Canada, we are going back into a lockdown now, though, which means we’ll be spending a whole lot more time at home. I’m glad it’s a little cheerier here, because we’ll need it.
Don’t forget about my new releases hitting the shelves soon!
On the front door of our apartment, I have a grape vine wreath that I like to redecorate for every season. It’s much easier than buying fully made wreaths that use up a lot of storage space when not on your door, and it’s fun to go shopping for my newest wreath foliage.
It was time to change the wreath up for spring! I thought the tulips were pretty.
And this is the finished product!
It’s not perfect, but this is what will greet the UPS and Amazon delivery people. And Mr. Johns when he gets home from work… 😉
Is anyone else sprucing things up for spring? It really does boost my spirits to get some color around here again!
Don’t forget about my newest release, on the shelves now!
Spring is here! I think… Spring can shifty. You can think you have spring, get a blizzard, and then think you have spring again, only to get a big deep freeze. These things happen, so I’m afraid to actually call it “spring.” But look at this wonderful, melty mess!
Since we are officially in March now, at least we know we’ll see more of this and less of winter now! And it has me SO READY for some warmer weather.
Last fall, I swore I’d never use these planters again. They’re such a mess to clean up, especially when you’re working from a balcony, but I just might use them again… we’ll see!
At the very least, they have me thinking about what plants I’ll have on my balcony this year. I haven’t fully decided yet whether I will go for fruits and veggies like last year, or just do flowers. Or a mix of both! But I’m ready for some greenery. It does my heart good.
Are you all as ready for spring as I am? Is anyone starting their gardening yet in warmer areas?
Don’t forget about my newest release, THE PREACHER’S SON, that’s on the shelves now! This is a brand new miniseries, and I’m seeing such positive reviews! You can read a sample of the book on Kensington Books website, too. 🙂
Our son loves to write, and I couldn’t be prouder of him. He’s just about thirteen now, and with Covid raging, and school happening from home, he’s had a lot more time to devote to his writing. He’s at that age where hanging out with his mom and dad isn’t quite the draw it used to be, and often Mr. Johns and I will look at each other and say, “Where is our son?” Then we go knock on his bedroom door, and where is he? At his desk, hunkered over his computer, typing away on his newest story. He’s a boy after his mom’s own heart.
Over the last year or so, his stories have been getting longer. At first, his books would be about twenty pages or so. Now, they’re closer to fifty pages long, and stapling them together had gotten to be a feat of stapling sections, and then paper clipping the sections together. Staples just wouldn’t go through all the way. Until now…
May I introduce you to our new stapler! This is a heavy duty monster of a stapler that can staple up to 130 sheets at once–given that you use the right staples, of course. So I bought two sizes of staples, both larger than regular staples, and I am set for the publishing duties of a proud mother. The next book that gets printed out is going to be stapled all the way through the first time. I can’t wait!
And speaking of books, I have a new release available now! Have you picked up your copy yet?
As you may know, I’ve been learning to knit, and it’s much harder than I had anticipated. However, I’d promised Mr. Johns a scarf, and I was determined to make him one.
Well… this is the end result!
What this picture doesn’t show terribly well is the fact that the bottom of my scarf is a lot wider than the top of my scarf. For you knitters out there, I think I was somehow adding stitches as I went, and I can’t fully explain how! But here it is, anyway. 🙂
Mr. Johns is very happy with it, and he’ll wait until Valentines Day before I hand it over. He says he doesn’t mind at all that it isn’t perfect. He just likes that it’s made by me. How sweet is that? 🙂
I asked our just about 13-year-old son if he felt the same way and wanted me to knit him a scarf, and he very politely declined. He does care if it looks homemade. 😉 And I don’t blame him a bit.
So there you have it–my completed project. I’m very proud of it, and I’m completely tickled that Mr. Johns is so enthusiastic to wear it.
And just a quick reminder that my newest release is officially available January 26! That’s right around the corner!
In our town, the Christmas lights stay up all winter. In Alberta, Canada, the winter days are very short, and the nights are long and dark. But when you have an entire park filled with twinkling lights, something wakes up inside of you, and you feel cheerier. Every single tree in this particular park is festooned with lights. No exceptions!
I was out early one morning, on my way home again, and I stopped to snap a few pictures. This particularly park also has a circular running track that they flood every winter to turn into a circular skating path. And yes, I risked my life walking across some freshly watered ice to get these pictures for you! 😉
I love this park, I make excuses to drive past it after dark whenever possible. It just makes me happy. 🙂
I hope you find something beautiful out there in your corner of the world, too. And may your 2021 have sparkle!
I have regular (read: continual!) giveaways over on my Facebook page, and if you pop by, you can enter for free books!
The giveaway to kick off the new year is with a sister writing team, Sadie and Sophie Cuffe. I got to know them years ago, and can I tell you? They are FANTASTIC! It’s possible you have not run across them before, but they are a really terrific writing team, and you’ll thank me for the introduction–I promise!
This writing team also runs a small farm in Maine, and they take care of it all. If you follow them on Facebook, you’ll find their pictures of life out there on their little farm with their 92-year-old mama.
So if you like giveaways, come on by to enter! I’m including an ARC of my newest book, The Preacher’s Son, that will hit the shelves in February, so you can get a chance to read the first book in my Infamous Amish miniseries a little early! Plus, I’m including my VERY LAST copy of Jeb’s Wife!
The giveaway is always pinned to the top of my page, so you’ll see it right away. Give my page a like and come back often, because there’s always another giveaway posted!