Archive for October, 2012


A New Perspective

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 5 Comments

I’m writing this blog early because I’m assuming we won’t have power on Monday. So, instead of bemoaning the storm and my worries for a repeat of last year’s damage, I figured I’d tell you more about my research trip to Amish country.

One of the evenings I was there, I took a special behind-the-scenes tour that allowed me to get up-close and personal with three separate Amish families.

The first family runs a dairy farm and my group arrived during milking time. Because there is no electricity used on an Old Order Amish farm, the cows are hooked up to a hose that runs by a diesel powered vaccuum. The milk is collected from each cow and added to a huge container. A big truck picks it up from the farm every other day and takes it to the company who has purchased the milk for pasteurization.  In addition to seeing the milking process, I got to meet the family–grandfather/grandmother, son/daughter, and five of the children. I got to watch the Amish boys feed the calves and help with the milking, and the little girls raking leaves in the yard.

Earlier that morning, this calf was born. He was rather awkward on his feet and had a really precious (and funny) sounding “moo.”  Because it is a dairy farm and he is a boy, he’ll be sold in the near future.


These scooters parked in front of the farmhouse are what the kids (and parents) use to get to the places they need to go–like school or a store. When they want to get somewhere quickly, taking a scooter or using roller blades is far quicker than hitching the horse up to the buggy. 

Don’t they just look happy parked there?

The second house on my tour was to meet an Amish woman who makes soaps and candles for a living.  We stood in her kitchen while she talked about how she makes soap (she was very knowledgeable about the process). She even crafted her own soap cutter from an old lawn chair and some guitar string (which was utterly genius). My aunt, who came along with me, purchased some soaps before we left, while I purchased the most perfect-smelling lilac candle ever!

The third house was all about visiting. We got to sit with an Amish family in the room they use for church service when it’s there turn to host (which, coincidentally, was yesterday). They told us about their life and their way of doing things. It was night time when we were there, so we were able to see the simple propane-powered cabinet lamp the Amish use in action. They spoke to us in English but old us that once we left, they’d speak Pennsylvania Dutch to their children as is the custom. They also showed us their Bible and hymnal. I wish I could have taken pictures of the wonderful families I met, but the Amish do not like their pictures to be taken and so I’m inclined to respect their wishes.

All in all it was a fabulous experience and I’m more excited than ever to start working on the next book in my Amish Mysteries.



Quilted Beauties

Posted under odds and ends 5 Comments

I’m back and I had a wonderful time on  my research trip. Absolutely, positively wonderful.

During the course of my trip, my aunt (who accompanied me for part of it) and I stepped into a quilt museum in Intercourse, PA. Seeing the talents of the women who made these quilts is truly inspiring and I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you…


This particular quilt on your left hung from the ceiling in one room. I wasn’t able to quite capture the true “wow” of the dimensions in this with my camera, but, suffice it to say, it was very, very cool! Standing under it, looking up, it was like those boxes were popping down at you, independent of the fabric.




The quilt on your right stuck me from a pattern stand-point. So precise, so perfect. Can you imagine the time that went into these???





Now, there were probably a dozen quilts in this museum, each one different from the next.  My favorite of the group–as in the one I’d have loved to take home with me–was this one here on the left. Again, my camera and the lighting (and the fact I was taking it while holding packages in my other hand) doesn’t quite do this justice. But the color combination was so pretty!

And then finally, this particular sign, really spoke to me. It was hanging in one of the rooms. I’ve never quilted but I’ve written. And I know that this holds true for probably anyone who takes on a creative and time-consuming project such as a quilt…or a book. 

Hope you enjoyed your peek at the quilt museum. I’ll talk more about the Amish part next week (and boy, did I learn some neat things)!



On The Go

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 1 Comment

Yesterday, on my research trip, I had an opportunity to go to a large farmer’s market where folks were selling meats, produce, crafts, etc. There were a few Mennonites, but not the “old world” Amish I write in my Amish Mysteries. Yet, despite that, I found my wheels turning about possible future plots (love when that happens).

This morning, I’m off to the Amish tour house I visited in the spring with a list of questions. One such question pertains to the typical length of an Amish engagement. It’s a fact I need in order to build a subplot I’m considering.

Then, in the evening, I’m taking a special tour that will have me up close and personal with three different Amish families (so excited).

I brought my camera (but not the computer link, of course), so I’ll post any cool pictures I take on Friday.

If there’s anything you’d like to know about the Amish, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.




Posted under Dreamer Mondays No Comments

While I’m still working on that women’s fiction proposal for the remainder of October, I’m needing to turn some of my attention to the next contracted book in the line-up. Book #3 in my Amish Mysteries (written as Laura Bradford) is just days away from claiming the top spot on my daily writing to-do list.

So, in preparation for the transition back into the Amish way of life, I’m delving back into research mode (which I adore). This time, I’ll be going to an Amish farmer’s market on one day, and taking a behind-the-scenes tour of Amish life on another.

My notebook is ready. My thinking cap firmly in place. And I am ready to go!



Autumn Bits

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 4 Comments

We’ll be entertaining some friends and their families over a backyard fire this weekend. The kids will play flashlight tag and the like, and the adults will hang out and talk. I’ve got recipes for hot cider, a special apple dip, and bone breadsticks, at the ready. And, of course, I’ll be making desserts (that’s my favorite part).

So, needless to say, I’m in an fall-like mood for this week’s Bits & Pieces.

1) Do you prefer happy fall-like decorations (scarecrows and such) or more halloween/scary ones (ghosts, gravestones, etc)?

2) Do you dress up? If so, what are your plans for this year?

3) Best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?

4) Best Halloween costume you’ve ever seen?




Posted under Writing Thursdays 3 Comments

Today’s post is fairly straightforward.

I’ve always been fascinated by those who keep a journal, whether on life in general or a particular subject (like a hobby). I’ve often thought of starting one but never actually do it.

So how about all of you? Does anyone keep a journal? Is it on life or something more specific? Do you simply write ideas/events in it or do you also put clipping and pictures inside?



The List

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 5 Comments

I’m a list maker. Always have been. I guess I like to see everything I need to do, right there in front of me.

Sometimes, when I’m on a roll and accomplishing lots of stuff, I’ll put things on the list that weren’t already on it, just so I can see another check mark. 🙂  Weird, I know…

When I lived in my condo, I had a specific place for my list. Every night I disposed of the old one and replaced it with the next day’s list. And, every day, I almost always got everything on the list done (staying up extra late on some nights just because it bothered me to see something left unchecked).

Lately, I’ve not been so good about making lists (which might be why I’m feeling rather kite-like lately). So I’m going to try and get back to them on a daily basis. For my sanity…and the oddly motivating feel that comes from sticking a check mark next to each item.

Are you a list maker?




Next Up

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 2 Comments

Thanks to my friend, Maggie, who purchased a book at the airport only to realize she’d already read it, the next book on my To Be Read pile is SUMMER PEOPLE by Elin Hilderbrand.

What’s the next book on your TBR pile?



Behind The Scenes…of Me

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 2 Comments

Sorry for the late post today. I got locked out of my websites over the weekend (messed up a password) and was unable to get on here until just now.

So today, I’m going to send you here: .  It’s an interview post with me about lots of things–my favorite books, my favorite bookstore, my bucket list, my favorite places to go, etc. Cathy did an amazing job on layout, even showing pictures to coincide with some of my answers. It’s a fun read.

I hope you enjoy it!



Bits, Pieces, and Some Travel

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 6 Comments

First, the Bits & Pieces…

1) Where is your favorite place to be/favorite thing to do when it’s raining?

2) Where is your favorite place to be/favorite thing to do with it’s snowing?

3) Favorite autumn treat?

4) Favorite article of clothing?


Oh, and now the travel… The Harlequin company asked me to write a special blog for them today. If you’d like to check it out, grab your  mouse and take a trip by CLICKING HERE.

Finally, all my 31 day counts are still good in terms of food/exercise. The writing could be going better, though…