11 February 2016

Blog Tour & Giveaway: A Son's Vow (The Charmed Amish Life #1) by Shelley Shepard Gray

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A Son's Vow (The Charmed Amish Life #1)
by Shelley Shepard Gray.
Audience/Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Romance.
Publication: January 26th 2016 by Avon Inspire.
Shelley Shepard Gray’s first book in her Charmed Amish Life series is set in the quaint Amish village of Charm, Ohio, and tells the stories of the Kinsinger siblings who are each struggling to find both forgiveness and love in the face of tragedy.

Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family. Darla’s father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm’s lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn’t looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger—with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.

Now her brother’s anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn’t change soon, Darla fears it will cost her—and her family—even more.

Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father’s lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he’s feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone—especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can’t simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.

As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla’s love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?

Guest Post: A Little Bit About Researching the Amish, aka, Amish 101 

One question I’m often asked when I talk to people about my writing is the research I do for my books. People are often intrigued by the Amish and wonder how I find out enough information to make the characters seem authentic.
A Son’s Vow is the thirtieth Amish novel I’ve written for Avon books. Nowadays, I simply have done enough research that many of the things about the Amish lifestyle-such as their lack of electricity-isn’t something I really think about anymore. Now, much of my research is centered around locations and setting, trying to help my readers feel as if they, too, are part of an Amish community.
Back when I first started, however, things were very different! I questioned everything and often spent hours reading books, doing research on the Internet, and writing letters to my Amish friend. I would usually ask her five or six questions, mail off the letter, and then impatiently watch the mailbox for her reply.
Over time, as I got to know her better, I would simply give her a call. Most Amish have a phone shanty of sorts near their house or on their street. If I ever need to talk to my friend about something that’s kind of important, I’ll call her and leave a message on their recorder. Then, when she checks her messages, she’ll call me back.
Actually, that phone shanty was one of my first ‘big’ surprises about the Amish. Before I started doing research, I just assumed that most Amish would never use the telephone. I never imagined they would have an answering machine.
I must admit that my Amish friends have had a lot of fun with my questions over the years. They tease me good naturedly, and I appreciate their sense of humor!
Because of that, I thought I’d share a couple of little things that I’ve learned about the Amish that might be new to you, too.
1-The Amish don’t wear jewelry or watches. Not even wedding rings. If you ever see the Amish portrayed in a TV movie and they have rings on, you know that someone made a mistake.
2-Their buggies have brakes in them. It sounds obvious now but I used to assume that the horse controlled everything. Oops.
3-Clotheslines are hung in the basement during the winter.
4-Amish preachers are not paid and have that job for life. Therefore, an Amish preacher usually either farms or has a regular job, then administers to his community in his extra time. Being an Amish preacher is a stressful, tiring calling.
5-Each Amish community is divided into ‘church districts’. The elders in each district decide what is allowed in the community and what isn’t. It’s very common for one community to be allowed to do something (such as riding bikes) while other communities prohibit it.
6-The Amish grow up playing a lot of sports together. Not organized or anything, but boys and girls like to play volleyball, kickball, baseball and basketball as much as any other kids.
7-Finally, the Amish I’ve met like to travel. They take bus trips or trains to all sorts of places, even to New York City or to Florida for spring break.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading A Son’s Vow! If there is something more you’d like to learn about the Amish, I hope you’ll ask. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll do my best to find it for you. By now, I’ve gotten pretty good at doing that!

Chapter 1

March 20
It was another picture-perfect day in Charm.
The sky was pale blue, quietly complementing the acres of vibrant green farmland as far as the eye could see. Spring lambs had arrived. They were frolicking in the fields, their eager bleats echoing through the valley. The morning air was not too chilly or too damp. Instead, a hint of warmth teased, bringing with it as much hope as the crocus buds that peeked through the dark dirt of the numerous clay pots decorating cleanly swept front porches.
It was the type of morning that encouraged a person to go out walking, to smile. The type of day that reminded one and all that God was present and did, indeed, bestow gifts.
In short, it was the type of day that used to give Darletta Kurtz hope. A day like this should have made her happy, revitalized her. It should have made her want to pull out a pencil and one of her many notebooks and record the images she saw and list activities she wanted to do.
It was the kind of day she used to love and maybe, just maybe, take for granted.
But now, as she rested her elbows on the worn wooden countertop that had no doubt supported generations of postal workers before her, Darla could only silently acknowledge that another day had come. It was sure to feel as endless as the one before it, and would no doubt be exactly like the rest of the week.
It was another day to get through. A way to pass ten hours of expected productivity before she could retreat to her bedroom and collapse on her bed. Only then would she feel any sense of peace. Because only then would she be able to wait for oblivion. She’d close her eyes, fall into a peaceful slumber, and, hopefully, forget her reality for eight hours.

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Three (3) complete sets of THE AMISH BRIDES OF PINECRAFT series books 1-4)
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Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Hold Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

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  1. Thanks for the great chance! I've only read one Amish romance, about five years ago, and I've always wanted to read more, but not sure which series to start. I've heard great things about Shelley, too. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for hosting A SON'S VOW today!

    Crystal, Tasty Book Tours