Brightest and Best Is Almost Here

B&B Love or Duty?

Five days until release day for Brightest and Best! Here’s the skinny on what it’s about. The collapse of a schoolhouse puts pressure on Amish families and their long-held educational values. Ella Hilty anticipates marrying Gideon Wittmer and becoming a mother to his children. In a whirling clash of values, Ella seeks the solid ground […]

Lazy Days of Summer

bird group

I’ve been working on a new manuscript this summer that will release in the spring. I haven’t had a go-lie-on-the-beach kind of vacation, but I try to take time to appreciate the beauty of the moments around me. Here are a few I’ve enjoyed, some in my own yard, and some on nearby outings. Whether […]

Drawing Winner

Annie’s note

Congratulations to Linda Chudej, who won my first author copy of Brightest and Best. Linda, it’s on the way to you—while I’m still waiting for copies to keep. Release day is August 1. It won’t be long now!

You Can Have My First Copy

Brightest and Best cover low res

A few weeks before a new book releases, I get my hands on my first just-off-the-press copy. The awesomeness that is Annie Tipton, my editor at Barbour/Shiloh Press, grabs a copy as soon as they arrive from the printer and sends it my way with a sweet note. Later I get more copies, but that […]

New Release Sneak Peek

Necaise school bus in 1918-1919, Kiln High School

We’re six weeks out from the release of Brightest and Best! Here’s a sneak peek from the middle of the book that highlights one of the essential questions of the plot. *** In the eleven months since Rachel and her boys entered the Hilty household, Ella had become accustomed to the sound of an automobile […]

“I’ve Had a Good Life.”


“I’ve had a good life.” Would you say that—and mean it? Whatever your age, can you look back and reflect and feel satisfaction, even blessing? Most of us spend a lot of time looking ahead and wanting something more, something different, something other than what life carries at a particular phase. The reason the sentence […]

“Slam the Door on Guilt!”


My mother has a quirky sense of humor. I live a thousand miles away from the assistant living community where she lives, but most days we have a brief conversation. Of sorts. She still cracks me up. Even as her dementia takes her farther from the people who love her, and whom she loves, she […]

“Be Not Afraid!”

Be Not Afraid

She was a little girl in Mexico whose mother left her and her brother in the care of their grandmother. Her mother went to the U.S. What the woman that girl grew into remembers about those years was how unloved she felt by her grandmother, who preferred the girl’s brother and also had her hands […]

Heads Up: New Books

Brightest and Best cover

This is just a quick post to be sure my new book is on your radar. This is the third in the Amish Turns of Time series. (The others are Wonderful Lonesome and Meek and Mild.) Here’s the skinny: Title: Brightest and Best Release date: August 1, 2015 Back cover: Ella Hilty’s deepest desire is […]

What I Get for Thinking I’m So Smart


I thought I was being so smart. I had multiple books to mail out to contest winners. By Monday evening I had everything packaged up and addressed. But here’s where the smarts come in. I live fairly close to a post office, but it’s always crowded. Seriously. It has such a reputation. A couple of […]