Crime of Fashion

Her unexpected and unwilling entrance into the world of “true crime” showed mystercofsmy author Alexa Hartfield an uglier side of life—one she would have been thrilled to avoid. Relieved that the horror is over, she settles back into her quiet life in Fairbury and begins work on her next novel, confident that the Fairbury police force—and Officer Joe Friedan—can and will keep any other crime far from her doorstep.
And they do.
However, life is full of change, and if Alexa thought everything would go back to normal, she’ll be disappointed! Her life just got a makeover—new house, new and changing friendships, new business venture—and with it, a new murder to rock her world.
When things start going wrong with the new business, Alexa grows concerned. When someone dies and others are threatened, Joe and Alexa begin to wonder if her life isn’t in danger as well. As they race to discover who could possibly want to hurt the new fashion line and her business partners, Alexa begins to fear for the safety of her heart as well.

Crime of Fashion is Book 2 in The Hartfield Mysteries, and right now its price has been lowered to just .99 for a limited time. (Book 1 is Manuscript For Murder, and Ashley has kept its price at .99 as well!  Not sure how long, it will last, but if you haven’t read it, both books would be less than the full price of one.)

So, here’s a chance to get the book (or books) at a great low price and the opportunity to win one of a couple of Amazon Gift Cards that I give away with every promo.  How do you win you ask?  I’ll tell you!

We have lots of options.  We like to try to make it easy for everyone to get at least two entries.  We use PromoSimple widgets as our giveaway manager.  Just enter your email address and name into the widget and that’s one entry!  Answer the question in the comments below, and there’s another entry!  Then, for those who like social media (and more entries into the giveaways) here are more entry options!

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The book is available at .99 for a limited time (subject to change at Ashley’s whim) on
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Comment Request: Are you looking forward to Front Window?

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Episode 19… For Real!

 

**Assistant  note: Ahem, Christy here. My apologies for last week’s fiasco. I was in a groove, and the next number up was just calling my name, apparently. Chautona’s internet was dicey and I just went with what I thought I knew, which, in this case, was a whole lot o’ nothin. BUT, today marks us a week in the future, and here we are at Episode 19, for real this time. :) **

Wedding plans have taken over HearthLand, and it seems almost everyone is getting into the spirit of things–to the delight of some and disapproval of others. Ralph has an idea to solve Annie’s problems, but she isn’t convinced. But just as everything seems right with the world, everything goes wrong.

These episodes are my gift to you. It’s kind of a side “hobby” of mine, if you will. I enjoy bringing these characters to life, and you get to enjoy them for free on a weekly basis. I truly hope you enjoy them.

This week’s episode is, HearthLand Episode 19: Faith, Hope & Love.  So please, step on over to Amazon and download it!  For those who are Kobo or Nook readers, email me.  I’ve got you covered.

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HearthLand Volume Three *Episodes 13-18*

I really want to thank you all for lifting me, my family and my dear friend up in your prayers this week. While my friend’s illness is ongoing and terminal, barring an act of God, (please keep praying) she did get some much-needed relief this week. We thank you for your prayers.  They were effectual.

As for HearthLand, here we are on VOLUME 3!!  (For those who missed one or more of the previous ones, episodes 13-18 are included in Volume 3.  :)

Wedding plans have taken over HearthLand, and it seems almost everyone is getting into the spirit of things–to the delight of some and disapproval of others. Ralph has an idea to solve Annie’s problems, but she isn’t convinced. But just as everything seems right with the world, everything goes wrong.

I love to give—truly, nothing makes me happier than to buy a gift, hand over something of mine that will bless or encourage someone, or meet a need.  Ashley indulges my love of giving with these serial novels.  I write like the wind, and each week, we offer one episode free for 48 hours. It makes me happy.  This week’s episode: HearthLand Volume III.  So please, step on over to Amazon and download it!  For those who are Kobo or Nook readers, email me.  I’ve got you covered.

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Sarah Price’s “The Matchmaker”: New Release

matchmaker-blog-tour

I’m excited to share Sarah Price’s latest release, The Matchmaker! And a PERFECT day for it since today happens to be my wedding anniversary (not to be mistaken for my marriage anniversary.  hee hee)! I just finished the book and I really think she did a fabulous job of combining Austen’s Emma with the Amish.  To read my review, click HERE.  Sarah graciously wrote a guest post for us today, so without further ado… Sarah Price !  (who, by the way, is one of the most interesting and engaging people I’ve ever met!)

Hi Chautona, my Writing Sister! Thank you so much for inviting me to share a little bit about myself on your blog.

There is something that has been on my mind for the past few days…weeks…months. As some of your readers will know, I write Amish fiction. What they may not know is the depth of my experience with the Amish and Mennonites and my commitment to writing as a craft, not just a profession or even a hobby.

You see, there is often a misconception by non-Amish fiction readers and reviewers that Amish fiction books are poorly written and strictly formula romance. And then there is often a problem concerning many authors’ accuracy of the portrayal of Amish. Many authors do not have first-hand experience with the Amish or readers are basing what they know on “reality” shows. I’ve read some of these books and it concerns me how a few bad apples can spoil the bunch. With so many great authors in the genre, it’s sad that many people dismiss Amish fiction as simply being “bonnet books.”

My books, however, do bring authentic experiences to the readers as I’ve been directly involved for my entire life with Mennonites (my father’s side of the family) and the Amish (I even lived on a farm!). In regard to my writing style, I focus on methods of absorbing the reader into the story to make them feel as if they are actually there. And character development is my favorite part of the writing process.

That is one of the main reasons that I continue to challenge myself as both a writer and an author. Retelling the Jane Austen classics raised the bar for me as well as for my readers. So far, most of my readers have responded positively to the gentle shift, an elevation of storytelling technique.

Earlier this month, The Matchmaker, the second book in my Amish Classics series, was released. It is the retelling of Jane Austen’s classic book, Emma. Based in an Amish setting, my Emma follows the same trials and tribulations of Jane Austen’s Emma. She thinks a little too highly of herself and those around her. She is quite happy to express her opinions, often when she shouldn’t. Personally, I love Emma as a character because she is so real. Let’s face it…she’s flawed. Aren’t we all? But her flaws get her into a few situations that will make the reader chuckle. That’s the best part of retelling Jane Austen’s novels: She had the greatest characters!

Many of my regular readers tend to stick to just the Amish genre. I often hear that it’s because these books are clean and godly. However, so are the classics. By combining the Amish genre with classic storylines, I’m hoping to enlighten readers so that they might consider other genres, such as the classics, for their TBR pile! I want to reassure them that it’s all right to explore Christian books, too. There are so many great books outside of the Amish genre that will open up an entire world to readers, and also might help them differentiate between well-written books and those that are not.

I know that reading classic literature—such as Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters, Charles Dickens, and Victor Hugo, to name a few—can be a daunting task. Many of us were forced to read one of these authors’ books in English class during our high school years. As adults, many of us prefer lighter reads to balance our stressful lives as we juggle home, family, and work. Picking up a classic book might not be at the top of our TBR pile.

Yet, there is something intellectually stimulating about the classics that is missing in many of these lighter reads. Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors. Her writing style is brilliant, her attention to detail is amazing, and her character development is second to none. So I decided to challenge myself and retell Jane Austin’s book in an Amish setting, combining the Amish culture and religion with a Jane Austen style of writing and story-telling.

A lot of people loved First Impressions, the first book in this series. I suspect that they will also love Emma since she is not the quintessential female character in an Amish book. But she is real…perfect only in the fact that she is flawed and, most likely, quite similar to people we encounter in our daily lives. Perhaps even a little bit like ourselves. ;-)

If you would like to learn more about The Matchmaker and visit other tour stops here is the link to take you to the Blog Tour List.

thematchmaker-bioThe Preiss family emigrated from Europe in 1705, settling in Pennsylvania as the area’s first wave of Mennonite families. Sarah Price has always respected and honored her ancestors through exploration and research about her family history and their religion. At nineteen, she befriended an Amish family and lived on their farm throughout the years.

As a masterful storyteller, Sarah Price prides herself on presenting an authentic Amish experience for her readers. Many of her stories are based on actual people she has met and her own experiences living among the Amish over the years. Sarah now resides in Morris County, New Jersey with her family.

While she started out as an Indie author, she signed on with Realms, an imprint of Charisma House and Waterfall Press, an imprint of Brilliance Publishing. Her first book, First Impressions: An Amish Adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was released in May 2014.

Get the latest news about Sarah Price on Facebook, Twitter, and sarahpriceauthor.com.

The Matchmaker is available on:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Christian Books

as well as other retailers.

I’m giving away three Kindle copies of “The Matchmaker.”  Please leave a comment below and tell me which is your favorite Amish OR Austen book… or both!  I’ll try to draw on Sunday night.

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HearthLand Episode 18 ~ Fair Play

You know, this has been a rough week for me. Not in regards to my writing, so much. That’s actually gone very well, and I’m right on track with the goals I’ve set for myself. But we’ve received more than one piece of news this week that are life changers, and not likely in a good way. My head is reeling, honestly, but I’m grounding myself in the one thing that I can hang onto. And that is this: God is still sovereign. He has this. There’s nothing I can do in my own power to control any of these situations, but He can. And I know I can trust Him.

Pray for us, would you? And pray for my dear friend. It would mean the world to me.

As for HearthLand, here we are on Episode 18!

Births and birthdays; strange, late night visitors; and new buildings in HearthLand keep Ralph and crew hopping. But when people keep making comments about the state of his heart, will he be able to keep it under good regulation?

I love to give—truly, nothing makes me happier than to buy a gift, hand over something of mine that will bless or encourage someone, or meet a need.  Ashley indulges my love of giving with these serial novels.  I write like the wind, and each week, we offer one episode free for 48 hours. It makes me happy.  This week’s episode: HearthLand Episode 18: Fair Play.  So please, step on over to Amazon and download it!  For those who are Kobo or Nook readers, email me.  I’ve got you covered.

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Lizards in Holland? WHAT?

lizardgardensmI don’t know about you, but as a desert dweller, when I hear “lizard garden” and Amsterdam in the same sentence, it seems a little… incongruous.  So, when author Anne Siglin (who happens to be a dear friend of mine) wrote a children’s novel, The Lizard Garden,  that takes place in The Netherlands and involves, among several things, this not-famous-enough-in-my-opinion Lizard Garden, well… I wanted to know more.

Anne’s book is told from the perspective of twelve-year-old Charlotte.  One of the best things about this book is Anne’s characters.  She writes with a crisp, clean authenticity that makes the story come alive in a fresh, inviting way.  You immediately connect with Charlotte, Milo, and Alice and their family.

But what I love most about this book is how, as an American, I am immersed in Dutch culture in a way I can relate to.  Rather than reading a guidebook to “living in Holland,” I’m living in Holland with another American family.  It’s a learning experience that doesn’t feel like a lesson.  Anne draws you into another world, sets you on an adventure, teaches you things you didn’t know about Dutch culture, art, and travel, and all in a way that makes you feel like you’re experiencing them rather than sitting in a classroom.

It’s hard to write this review–not because I have any criticism that I want to downplay, but rather the opposite.  I have so much I want to say about the book, but in doing so, I’ll spoil it.  And as we all know, River Song would never approve of “Spoilers!”

So, I’ll just say this.  I loved it.  It is a well-written, engaging story that, while written for the youth market, is actually ageless.  Younger children will love to have the book read to them and adults will enjoy it because it is simply a good story.  I’m dying to read her next art-inspired youth novel–rumor has it that it takes place in Prague!

I’d like to give away a few copies–let’s do three.  So, feel free to share this release.  Tell your friends, and let’s spread the word about, The Lizard Garden by Anne Siglin.

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Comment Request: Have you ever heard of the Lizard Garden?

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Meet Ella

nonesoblindcoversm

**From my assistant**

I did the editing for None So Blind, so for that reason alone,  it holds a special place in my heart. For me, seeing the cover again is kind of like seeing a long lost friend. But even beyond all of that, None So Blind, or “Ella” as we lovingly called it while we were working on it, was one of those stories that grabbed a hold of me as I was reading it, and didn’t let go for a long time after. It’s not JUST a fictional story that’s completely lighthearted and feel-good.  It has those elements, but interspersed in the story are some very real and challenging themes that women struggle with. As you read None So Blind, I encourage you to take a hard look at yourself and ask the Lord to show you what you might learn from this thought provoking novel.
— Christy

Dani and Ella Weeks–two women who share one thing in common–the same life, the same family, and the same body.
When Dani wakes with no knowledge of who or where she is–no memories of her life at all–David and Dani Weeks discover that “til death do us part” takes on an entirely unexpected meaning. Practically speaking, Dani died. But she didn’t.
In a desperate attempt to separate the old life from the new, Dani insists on a new name–Ella.
Ella’s doctors can’t explain what happened. Her children can’t understand why she doesn’t know them, and her husband finds himself torn between admiration for the “new” version of his wife and missing the woman he’s known for over fifteen years.
Will Ella ever regain her memory? Why does their pastor suspect it’s one great hoax?

Ashley has dropped the price of None So Blind for a limited time (at least 24 hours) so here’s a chance to get the book at a great low price and the opportunity to win one of a couple of Amazon Gift Cards that I give away with every promo.  How do you win you ask?  I’ll tell you!

We have lots of options.  We like to try to make it easy for everyone to get at least two entries.  We use PromoSimple widgets as our giveaway manager.  Just enter your email address and name into the widget and that’s one entry!  Answer the question in the comments below, and there’s another entry!  Then, for those who like social media (and more entries into the giveaways) here are more entry options!

Like our Facebook Page/Post
Tweet
this giveaway
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The book is available at .99 for a limited time (subject to change at Ashley’s whim) on
Amazon
Kobo
Nook

Comment Request: What fiction book have you read that’s left the biggest impact on your life?

 

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Mix-it-Up Interview Winners!!!

A couple more anyway.  First…

A Cliché Christmas

Betty and Amy (or maybe Emily?)!  (I’ve already sent them.  Check out your emails!  Amazon will be sending you one soon.)

Dubiosity

Emily G
Carol
Lynn
Pat
LL

Thanks everyone!  Hope you enjoy these books as much as I did!  Stay tuned for another give away or three.

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Romance: What’s the Point?

160885177People who know me personally, know that I’m not much of a romantic.  In fact, as much as I don’t like to admit it, in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I am probably most akin to Charlotte Lucas who said in the 1995 A&E film adaptation, “I’m not romantic, you know.  I  never was.”

In fact, I tend to skip the sappy parts of books to get to the rest of the story. 

So why does a self-professed unromantic author write books with romance in them?  Well, if you had told me in 2000 that the book I was starting would end up having romance in it, I would have laughed.  I was determined not to “go there.”  Why?  Because my favorite books–most of them anyway–were my favorites because of the non-romantic elements.  I loved Isabella Alden (Otherwise known as “Pansy”) because when she did put romance in her books, she faded to black before it had a chance to move at ALL into the gray.  (Can’t imagine what she’d think of the current “grey phenomena”).  In fact, in one of her books, Eighty-Seven, a couple is going to have a romantic discussion–just a discussion!  And in omniscient narrative she says something to the effect of, “Well, this is none of our business, so let’s go see what’s happening over here.”  LOVED it.

Imagine my surprise when romance entered Aggie’s life in Ready or Not (that first book in 2000 that I mentioned).  I wanted to leave it out. But when it refused to go, I then tried making it comic relief–and something Aggie didn’t want to mess with.  I didn’t blame her.  I mean, seriously, she’s busy enough with eight children.  Who needs or has time to sort out entanglements of the heart?

But something happened as I tried to write my idea of a fun Christian novel.  I learned a little about why authors like me put romance in books–authors who don’t read books for the romance (unlike certain daughters of mine who won’t touch a book without romance–and who don’t consider my books romantic enough for their tastes.  Hee hee!)

Romance belongs in Christian fiction and not just because Scripture paints the picture of Christ’s love for us with a romantic brush. 

See, I knew you thought I’d go there.  And while there is truth to that, it’s not why it worms its way into the heart of my books.  No, romance belongs in Christian fiction–really almost any fiction–because it’s a part of life.  And if you try to remove any core element of life from any book, you remove life itself from that book.

See, I have romance in my life.  I’m a romantic in my own way–just not the way  most people envision it.  So, I always say I’m not.  No, my husband doesn’t bring me flowers.  He doesn’t tell me I’m beautiful or arrange for dates with candlelight dinners.  It’s probably a good thing.  I’ve often joked if he ever came home with flowers or a gift, I’d tell him to tell the other woman that it’s over.

But my husband loves me.  He shows it by going to work every day–when he’d rather be here.  Yeah.  Here with me. That’s romantic in my book.  He used to do it with what I called the “Three Ds.”  Dinner, dishes, and diapers.  He’d come home after a ten-hour day at work, make dinner, do the dishes, be on call for diaperectomies, and I’d get to go read a book, go make porcelain dolls, or go laugh at Denny’s with a friend while we waited for the servers to finally remember to serve us.  Today, he does it by indulging my love of writing and ensuring the kids don’t forget to take out the trash or folding the laundry–things I should do while he’s at work and forget.  Because I’m lost in an imaginary world where I make characters do things I wouldn’t know how to handle.  Things like having a man just look at her or touch her face just because.  Things like having a woman cry over the beauty of something or because her feelings are hurt–things we just don’t do around here.

My men compliment their women sometimes.  I’d take my husband into the doctor if he did that.  My men arrange for dates.  My husband and I never dated.  We went from best friends to engaged in the turn of what I fear may have been a rhetorical question.  My husband loves me enough not to tell me if it was.  My women dress up and try to be attractive, attentive, and engaging when the time is right. They do it because this is normal.  It’s not their fault that I’m not.

Aggie would have been a fun book without her falling in love.  Luke could have been a best friend forever.  But it would have been lacking.  It would eventually have fallen flat.  Why? Because God designed us to have multifaceted lives.  And if you neglect to cut one of those facets, that life doesn’t shine and reflect His light fully.

And isn’t that the point of everything we Christians do?  Try to help others see the light of God shining through a dark and unloving world?

It’s a lesson I learned in writing.  I learned that romance, even for its own sake (cannot believe I am typing this) has a purpose in our lives.  Whether we’re living it as a participant or observing it from afar, it enriches us.  Sure, classic or traditional norms of romance make some of us miserable. But despite that “misery” we’re blessed by it.

So, I’ll keep writing my “Christian romance” and try not to wince at the words every time I see them.

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HearthLand Episode 17 ~ Turnabout

It’s been a great week of writing for me, here at Just the Write Escape! I’m excited! It feels so good to be at or ahead of my goals! Maybe it’s better when Ashley puts the whip down and snuggles a baby instead… *Did I say that out loud?* ;)

In the mean time, it’s time for HearthLand Episode 17: Turnabout, free on Kindle for a limited time.

I love to give—truly, nothing makes me happier than to buy a gift, hand over something of mine that will bless or encourage someone, or meet a need.  Ashley indulges my love of giving with these serial novels.  I write like the wind, and each week, we offer one episode free for 48 hours. It makes me happy.  This week’s episode: HearthLand Episode 17: Turnabout.  So please, step on over to Amazon and download it!  For those who are Kobo or Nook readers, email me.  I’ve got you covered.

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