A Plain Malice Gives Back in a Big Way

Handing over the check to the Landing!
Handing over the check to the Landing!

Friday, December 5, 2014, I had the joy and privilege of delivering a check to the Landing Food Pantry in Akron, Ohio because of YOU, my readers. In September, I published A Plain Malice, the fourth and final novel in the Appleseed Creek Mystery Series and decided to donate 100% of my royalties I earned through Thanksgiving Day to the Landing. The support and excitement from my readers was amazing, and because so many of you bought the novel and shared news about it with your friends and family, I gave the Landing a check totaling $4,420.81!!

My brother and sister-in-law, Andrew and Nicole Flower, manage the Landing in the basement of Akron Christian Reformed Church with a group of dedicated volunteers. The food pantry feeds over sixty families in the church’s neighborhood on $200 per week. You can learn more about the Landing in this article and video recently published in the Akronist. You can read the original post about the giveback plan here.

Thank you and God bless you! I’m truly humbled by the outpouring of support for the Landing and for my writing.

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Buy A Plain Malice And Give Back To Those In Need

Finally, it’s here! The book you’ve been waiting for! After months of ups and downs, A Plain Malice, the fourth and final novel in the Appleseed Creek Mystery Series is set to release. It’s been quite a journey to see this book in print, and I would have given up if it hadn’t been for the encouragement of you, the readers.
sleigh- www.discoverlancasterpa.com / Terry Ross

Since I’ve always considered this novel a gift to my readers, I have decided to donate all of my royalties for the novel that I earn through Thanksgiving Day to charity.

Preorder or purchase any edition of A Plain Malice between now and Thursday, November 27, 2014, and 100% of my royalties will go to a local food pantry, The Landing, located in Akron, Ohio. My brother and sister-in-law, Andrew and Nicole Flower, manage the Landing in the basement of Akron Christian Reformed Church with a group of dedicated volunteers. The food pantry feeds over sixty families in the church’s neighborhood on $200 per week. You can learn more about the Landing in this article and video recently published in the Akronist.
The Kindle and Nook edition released on September 16th. September 16th is a special day for me because it’s my mother’s birthday, and I can’t think of a better way to honor her memory than to release A Plain Malice on her birthday. She read it before she passed away and said it was her favorite of all of my books.

Order Kindle edition HERE!

Order Nook edition HERE!

Order Paperback edition HERE!

Buy a mystery and help feed a community! And as always thank you for reading! I hope A Plain Malice brings a smile to your face.

Follow Amanda on Social Media at: Facebook Twitter Goodreads Pinterest

Ask an Amish author about books and such…

Yes, it’s time once again for “Everything you wanted to know about Amish authors but were afraid to ask.” Of course, maybe you aren’t afraid to ask but just haven’t known whom to ask. Well, wonder no further. Jennifer Beckstrand has gathered eight Amish authors together to ask them the burning questions. If you have a question for our authors, please send leave it in the comment and I will forward it to Jennifer.

jw_smith_pix_bookcoverWe all have childhood memories of special books. What are some of the books that inspired you as a child?

Mary Ellis: I adored Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I got the impetus to become a writer “when I grew up” from Jo March. I received my first copy around 8 (a highly abridged illustrated edition.) I now own several editions, my favorite being a 1904 copy published by Little, Brown, and Company of Boston. On my bucket list is to find a first edition released by the University Press in Cambridge, Mass. I have been to her childhood home, Orchard House, where she penned her lovely tale in Concord, Mass. Okay, now you know I’m a Louisa groupie!

Vannetta Chapman: My grandmother was a writer, and I can remember sitting with her books in my lap. They were home economics books that had been translated into many different languages. I couldn’t actually read them, but I’d hold them and flip through the pictures. It was very special knowing my grandmother had written them.

Kelly Irvin: All the Little House on the Prairie books, A Wrinkle in Time, Little Women, The Changling, Harriet the Spy, The Oregon Trail. Nancy Drew mysteries. LOL. I read everything I could get my hands on as a kid. I lived at the public library, going to story hour every week and working as a volunteer shelving books when I was old enough. I think I read every book at the Robert Louis Stevens children’s section of the Abilene Public Library!

Shelley Shepard Gray: I mainly remember reading all of the Nancy Drew books, followed by all of the Agatha Christie novels. I don’t really write mysteries, but those books definitely inspired me to want to create characters that people want to get to know. Those books also spurred an interest in collecting books. At one time I had all the Agatha Christie books lined up in chronological order. That’s kind of a big deal for me, since I don’t even put soup on the same shelf in our pantry.

Amanda Flower: Charlotte’s Web, The Baby-sitters Club, Anything by Beverly Cleary, James and Giant Peach

Amy Clipston: My favorite book when I was a little girl was Elizabeth by Liesel Moak Skorpen. It’s out of print now, but I have a copy that I cherish. I also knew Good Night Moon by heart. My mother would turn the page, and I would recite it. When I was in junior high I read The Outsiders until the book fell apart. I also knew the movie by heart. I recently bought a set of S.E. Hinton books for my older son. He hasn’t opened one yet, but I’m not giving up hope yet!

Jennifer Beckstrand: Where the Red Fern Grows was one of those life-changing books for me. I remember sitting on the rug in Mrs. Hershey’s fourth grade class enthralled as she read to us. I think I have read that book to every one of my children. One of my favorite memories is sitting on the bed with my boys reading the last pages of the story, all three of us crying like babies when the dogs died.

Charlotte’s Web and The Outsiders are other tear-jerkers that really had an impact on me.

Amy Lillard: I think I had a lot of different reading material than most. I loved the Hardy Boys Mysteries (Not Nancy Drew but the Hardy Boys). I also loved the Miss Pickerell series, about a little old lady who manages to get into all sorts of trouble. But my favorite of all was a book called Shadow Castle.

What are your 4 or 5 favorite classic novels?

Mary Ellis: Gone With the Wind, Cold Mountain, Killer Angels, Great Expectations, The Stand

Vannetta Chapman: Jane Eyre, Little Women, Anna Karenina, Grapes of Wrath

Kelly Irvin: That is so hard! To Kill a Mocking Bird. Gone with the Wind. Anna Karenina, Doctor Zhivago, The Count of Monte Cristo, Gaudy Night

Shelley Shepard Gray: Gone with the Wind, To Kill A Mockingbird, Little Women, Murder on the Orient Express, Cannery Row

Amanda Flower: Charlotte’s Web, To Kill a Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Stuart Little

Amy Clipston: The Outsiders, Farewell to Arms, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and Falling Up

Jennifer Beckstrand: Pride and Prejudice–my all-time favorite book, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Help, My Name is Asher Lev, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Ender’s Game, Ella Enchanted

Sorry, I can’t choose just 5!

Amy Lillard: I love To Kill A Mockingbird. That’s my all time favorite. I read it every year or so. I also love 1984, Of Mice and Men, and Lord of the Flies. All very different from what I write.

I love seeing what we all have in common as well as our differing tastes. To Kill a Mockingbird and Little Women show up quite a bit.

Have you ever used a personal experience in one of your books? Would you like to tell us about it? 

Mary Ellis: I use personal experiences in just about all my books. The trick for the reader is to figure out what’s fact and what’s fiction in my stories.

Vannetta Chapman: Oh, golly yes! Whenever my mind draws a blank — I just put in something from life! In my new release, Murder Simply Brewed, the romance is very similar to the story of me and my husband. :)

Kelly Irvin: Yes. My March release, Love Redeemed, draws on a personal experience. Without revealing too much of the story, I can share that I lost a brother who drowned in a boating accident in 1991. It’s taken that many years, but I was able to drawn on those emotions and the experience of what my parents went through to help my characters as they struggle through a similar loss. I do think, however, that we draw on all our experiences when we write, even if it’s not readily apparent. Who we are and what we’ve done throughout our lives colors everything we write, even if it’s subconsciously. My writing voice is mine because of everything that has happened to me in my life.

Shelley Shepard Gray: I’ve added all kinds of little ‘Shelley’ things to my books. I’ve had badly behaved dogs (our beagle once pulled a ham from a table two minutes before a dinner party), kitchen mishaps, characters enjoying pie and donuts. (I really love donuts) I’ve also had most of my characters be voracious readers because I am.

Amanda Flower: Well, my first protagonist India Hayes is an academic librarian at a small liberal arts college near Cleveland, and I’m an academic librarian at a small liberal arts college near Cleveland. Strange, right? And in the Appleseed Creek Mysteries, Chloe Humphrey is twenty-four and moves with her cat to Amish Country. Oddly, I moved to Amish Country with my cat when I was twenty-four. How weird are those coincidences?

Amy Clipston: Since my husband has had two kidney transplants, I featured a liver transplant in my book A Place of Peace. My memoir, A Gift of Love, which details my husband’s kidney transplants and my kidney donation, will be available in March. Also, my father had a massive stroke, and I feature a character who is a stroke victim in my novella A Spoonful of Love.

Jennifer Beckstrand: They say that art imitates life, which in my case means: I’ve never been shy about putting my most embarrassing moments on paper.

Anna Helmuth, the feisty eighty-two-year-old Amish grandmother in Huckleberry Hill, loves to knit and cook. Even after sixty years of cooking for her family, Anna likes to pull out her new recipe book and experiment with a recipe she’s never tried before. Anna has many talents, but cooking is not one of them. In fact, she has a well-earned reputation for being the worst cook in Bonduel, Wisconsin. I’m not saying that I am as bad a cook as Anna, but my life definitely provided some inspiration for the character.

Several months ago, my husband and I hosted some friends for dinner, and I broke the first rule of entertaining: Never try out a new recipe on dinner guests. I wanted to make something new and exciting to serve my guests, and the reviews for “Sweet and Sour Meatballs” sounded positively delicious. Trouble came with the cryptic ingredient called “chili sauce.” I bought a quart of the most likely chili sauce I could find and dumped it into the crockpot with my meatballs. As dinnertime approached, I tested my bright orange meatballs and realized that my concoction was going to be a tad spicy. Okay, mouth-on-fire spicy. Inedibly spicy. In desperation, I poured a pint of whipping cream into the crockpot because dairy is supposed to cool spicy food. It didn’t even make a dent and added about a thousand calories to my shame. I was forced to serve the meatballs-from-heck to my friends, who didn’t complain but didn’t eat much either. I take comfort in the fact that those meatballs certainly looked lovely served over noodles. A version of this story appears in Huckleberry Hill. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Amy Lillard: My latest release, Gabriel’s Bride, has several personal experiences in it, though I borrowed them from other people. What does that make them…? Second hand personal experiences? J Though I have to admit Rachel Yoder is more like me than I care to examine.

You can learn more about these great authors on their websites. We would all love it if you would like our Facebook pages too!

Vannetta Chapman: http://vannettachapman.com/

https://www.facebook.com/VannettaChapmanBooks

Amanda Flower: http://www.amandaflower.com/

https://www.facebook.com/authoramandaflower
https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaAlanAuthor

Amy Clipston: http://www.amyclipston.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks

Mary Ellis: http://www.maryellis.net/

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236

Shelley Shepard Gray: http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ShelleyShepardGray

Kelly Irvin: http://www.kellyirvin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Kelly.Irvin.Author

Jennifer Beckstrand: JenniferBeckstrand.com

https://www.facebook.com/jenniferbeckstrandfans

Amy Lillard: http://amywritesromance.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Lillard-Author/177732292332322

Birthday Book Giveaway!

It’s my birthday this week, and to celebrate, I’m giving away copies of my mystery novels written under my own name and my pen name Isabella Alan!!

There will be three winners. Winners can choose one novel from the following:

bkgiv

To Enter CLICK HERE to visit the GIVEAWAY page on my website.

Giveaway is limited to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

Guest post: Scent of Mystery and Giveaway

I am happy to welcome Kathleen Kaminski to the blog today.  I know Kathy through the cozy mystery community. She be a book reviewer and blogger. You may know her as Katreader, a commenter on many mystery blogs, or as Cozy Up With Kathy, the cozy mystery blog she writes (http://cozyupwithkathy.blogspot.com/) and it’s corresponding Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CozyUpWithKathy). Kathy interviews mystery authors, writes reviews and posts her own literary musings. She’s also started a new business that mixes well with her love of mysteries. I’ll let her tell you about it…

Scent of Mystery

by Kathleen J. Kaminski

I love bringing fragrance into my home. That’s one of the reasons I became an independent consultant for Pink Zebra. Pink Zebra is a direct sales company for home fragrance products.  We make Sprinkles, a unique scented wax melt. The wonderful thing about Sprinkles is that because of their small size, they blend really well. So, even though we have over 50 scents, you can mix and combine to create your own personalized fragrances!

Pink Zebra Amish Festival Prize Pack

As I was reading Isabella Alan’s Murder, Plain and Simple I could imagine myself walking around Rolling Brook, Ohio. To make it even more real I began to smell…apples, and to help celebrate Watermelon Fest-watermelon! I was inspired by the book to create a scent that would always remind me of it, and I can do that because I’m a Pink Zebra! I got my Sprinkles and mixed.  Equal parts of Red Delicious Apple and I Love Watermelon became Amish Festival, my Pink Zebra recipe inspired by Murder, Plain and Simple.

I came up with that recipe for the whole book, but you could create recipes for individual characters as well. For Rachel, what about mixing Blueberry Muffin with Mom’s Lemon Bars? Or perhaps Chocolate Whoopie Pie and Vanilla Crème?

When thinking about Amanda Flower’s Appleseed Creek Mystery series I came up with a blend inspired by the whole series thus far. Red Delicious Apple (of course, it is Appleseed Creek) and Citrus and Herbs. I call that recipe Amish Countryside.

It’s wonderful to be able to combine my love of mysteries with my love of home fragrance-and my new business.

GIVEAWAY

I’d like to share Pink Zebra with you. One winner will receive a light green simmering pot and 2 jars of Sprinkles, Red Delicious Apple and I Love Watermelon in celebration of the release of the Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries. I trust that melting these scents will transport you to the Amish Countryside.

How to enter:

Leave a comment on this post telling us what we like about Amish mysteries or novels with your email address. Amanda will chose a winner from the comments.

Contest ends Tuesday, September 24 at 4pm EDT. Winner will be announced in the comments to this post on Wednesday, September 25.

Restrictions:

Contest is only open to US and Puerto Rico residents

I hope I’ve piqued your interest in Pink Zebra. Let me tempt you to create scents for your favorite mysteries and characters. Come check out my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CricketHollowSprinkles ) and website (http://www.pinkzebrahome.com/crickethollowsprinkles) where you can order any time you’d like. If you have any questions about Pink Zebra, please e-mail me at CricketHollowSprinkles@aol.com.

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Don’t forget to enter my Amish Quilt Giveaway!

It’s SUPER SEPTEMBER! Amanda Flower (also writing as Isabella Alan) has three novels releasing in September 2013. To celebrate, she is giving away an authentic Amish Quilt hand-stitched by Amish in Holmes County, Ohio.

Enter to Win an Authentic Amish Quilt from author Amanda Flower! Click here to Enter!

Follow Amanda on Social Media at: Facebook Twitter Goodreads Pinterest

Follow Amanda’s alter ego Isabella on Facebook

Appleseed Creek Ebook Sale! Limited Time!

Facebook Skin-2

My publisher is hosting a HUGE Appleseed Creek Ebook Sale to celebrate the release of A Plain Disappearance, the third Appleseed Creek Mystery. Kindle and Nook versions are on sale from $2.99-$4.99. This is a limited time only! Ends September 10, 2013. Tell your friends!

A Plain Disappearance, book three- $4.99

Kindle http://tinyurl.com/m2loypp
Nook sale coming soon! — B&N is experiencing some technical difficulties and they are working with my publisher to correct the problem.

“The third installment of the outstanding Appleseed Creek series is a mystery with twists and turns and an unexpected ending that will keep readers up until the wee hours of the morning. Readers are reunited with characters from the first two books and will meet some new ones. Flower has hit it out of the ballpark with this series and continues to amaze with her knowledge of the Amish way of life.“- 4 1/2 stars Top Pick RT Book Reviews

A Plain Scandal, book two- $3.99

Kindle http://tinyurl.com/mylxvb2
Nook http://tinyurl.com/lavpl48

“A Plain Scandal lives up to last year’s A Plain Death… with no fear of suffering the dreaded “sophomore slump.” In fact, I found this installment of Chloe’s quirky and dangerous life even more enjoyable than the first! And the romance? Oh, yeah. It’s cranked up a couple of notches, too. I can hardly wait to see what trouble Chloe, Timothy, and crew will find in the next Appleseed Creek Mystery!”-Serena Chase, USA TODAY

A Plain Death, book one-$2.99

Kindle http://tinyurl.com/k897bna
Nook http://tinyurl.com/ltub6h6

An unlikely friendship between a high-tech woman and a runaway Amish girl leads to murder. Her first day in Appleseed Creek, Ohio, Chloe Humphrey, befriends Becky, an ex-Amish teenager looking for a new home. While driving Chloe’s car, Becky collides with a buggy, killing an Amish bishop in the process. The case moves from accident to murder when police reveal a cut brake line. Now, Chloe and Becky’s handsome brother, Timothy, must discover who the real intended victim is before the murderer makes a second attempt.

Award Finalist Lists
Inspys Awards – Mystery/ Thriller Category
ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year– Religious Fiction
Christian Retailing’s Best Awards – Amish Fiction

 

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Don’t forget to enter my Amish Quilt Giveaway!

It’s SUPER SEPTEMBER! Amanda Flower (also writing as Isabella Alan) has three novels releasing in September 2013. To celebrate, she is giving away an authentic Amish Quilt hand-stitched by Amish in Holmes County, Ohio.

Enter to Win an Authentic Amish Quilt from author Amanda Flower! Click here to Enter!

Follow Amanda on Social Media at: Facebook Twitter Goodreads Pinterest

Follow Amanda’s alter ego Isabella on Facebook

Super September Events and Beyond

superseptemberfinalCome meet me at a Book Talk or Signing this Fall!

Super September 2013
A Plain Disappearance by Amanda Flower Release
September 1

Murder, Plain and Simple Release
September 3

American Christian Fiction Writers Annual Conference
Indianapolis, IN
September 12-16

Annual Conference of Northern Ohio Chapter of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
Cleveland, OH
September 21

Andi Unexpected by Amanda Flower Release
September 24

Twitter Chat about ANDI UNEXPECTED
September 24, 2-3pm

SUPER SEPTEMBER LAUNCH PARTY
Goodyear Heights Presbyterian Church, Akron, OH
September 28, 2-4pm

October 2013
Westerville Public Library
Amish Fiction Panel & Signing
Westerville, OH
October 3, 7pm

Danville Public Library, Book Talk
Danville, OH
October 5, TBA

Tallmadge Branch Library, Book Talk
Tallmadge, OH
October 7, 7pm

Granville Public Library, Book Talk
Granville, OH
October 26, 2pm

Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library, Book Talk
Stow, OH
October 28, 7pm

November 2013
Buckeye Book Fair
Wooster, OH
November 2, 10-4

Plain Community Branch Library, Book Talk
Canton, OH
November 16, 2pm

McKinley Memorial Library
event with Mary Ellis and Kathy Fuller
Niles, OH
November 23, 1pm

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P1030606-quiltDon’t forget to enter my Amish Quilt Giveaway!

It’s SUPER SEPTEMBER! Amanda Flower (also writing as Isabella Alan) has three novels releasing in September 2013. To celebrate, she is giving away an authentic Amish Quilt hand-stitched by Amish in Holmes County, Ohio.

Enter to Win an Authentic Amish Quilt from author Amanda Flower! Click here to Enter!

Follow Amanda on Social Media at: Facebook Twitter Goodreads Pinterest

Follow Amanda’s alter ego Isabella on Facebook