Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Contract is a Job-don't get run over

by double RITA Nominee Elizabeth Byler Younts

I’d like to thank the great writers behind Seekerville. It’s a pleasure being here!

I wanted to start out with a bit of fun…

I’m not going to assume that Seekerville readers are Amish Fiction readers…so I decided I’m going to give you a few reasons why YOU must need should read my Amish Historical Fiction series.

1-A direct celebrity connection with Weird Al Yankovich and Harrison Ford.
2-Getting closer to this kind of fiction involves homemade pie and pastries.
3-Learning all about “sewing your wild oats” without getting into trouble.
4-Imagine being just one step away from the crazy cool pop culture references like Amish Mafia and Breaking Amish.
5-Learn the important Amish secrets like how women wear a dresses entirely held together by straight pins.

And, last, but not least, the reason you should read Promise to Return and the other books on deck in my series is…

6-The first scene involves kissing and romance. oooolala

Yes, Amish kiss. They are passionate people and my books reflect this truth.
After a list like that, who wouldn’t want to read Amish Historical Fiction, right?
Okay, okay…with that silliness behind us, I wanted to share a bit about my journey to publication…
My journey to publication was a whirlwind…but it didn’t start that way. I was merely an eleven-year-old girl when I wrote my first novel. The handwritten manuscript was titled Randi’s Will.
This story had it all!

…2 girls orphaned due to a car accident (a horrifically written hospital death scene)
…the 2 girls run away from their evil aunt and uncle
…foster parents that had names reminiscent of Anne of Green Gables characters
…and romance! This time the hero’s name was reminiscent of a soap opera character

Okay, so I wasn’t very creative, but I started it and finished it.

The same year I wrote Randi’s Will I also promised my grandmother that I would write her memoir some day. My great-great grandma’s memoir was written by a family member and I wanted to do the same.

Twenty-three years later my words went from a long-ago promise to paperback (and ebook). Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl was self-published in 2011 and became a #1 Amazon bestseller in two categories. My dear Amish grandma’s story is all over the world and she has become a celebrity in her local community in rural Michigan. It was a wonderful experience.

This ushered in my next project and my return to fiction. I began writing in the WW2 era but from an Amish perspective. My grandpa had been drafted during WW2 and as a non-resistant was sent into the Civilian Public Service (CPS) system where he worked for several years. You can learn more about the CPS on my website and in my fictional series The Promise of Sunrise.

I retained an agent and publication contract very quickly. It seemed from one day to the next my life was shaken like a snow globe and I was face-to-face with my dream that at times even felt nightmarish because of the pressure and stress.

Here are a few things that I learned and found that making a good habit before the contract came will make it much better after the contract is signed.

Just three little tips…
1. When writing became my job a brand new form a stress encompassed me. Even though I’d been writing seriously for several years and making it a priority, suddenly with the contract signed I felt beyond overwhelmed with the idea that I could not create yet another book…let alone two more to satisfy the contract.

***Yes, I can (yes, I’m letting you into my brain here) I had to remind myself that MANY writers (new and seasoned) feel this way when they sit and stare at a new screen. Writing is not merely being gifted and/or inspired… usually it involves a lot of grit, perspiration, motivation, the backspace button along with forcing yourself not to use the backspace button, M&Ms (replace with your chocolate snack of choice), and a lot of coffee. Oh, did I mention grit! You’re going to need a lot of grit.

2As a stay-at-home-mom and homeschooler I suddenly had a job with crazy hours. Sure, I’d treated my writing like work for several years…but this was different. This time, I had a boss.

***A LOT of mom’s work a variety of jobs in and out of the home and raise a family…I’d venture to say that most do! Choose your priorities wisely then build your schedule around your priorities and remember—writing time is sacred! While it is not more sacred than my spiritual life or family…but it my work and it is important. Don’t get run over.

When I get invited out on a day I know I need to be in front of my lappy writing, I do my best to simply respond with “I have to work.” Some of my friends know I write and some don’t. I am a homeschooling mom and with my two daughters (7 & 3) all day every day…so my evenings and weekends are wildly sacred. This means I need to do as much housework during the day as possible so that when the girls go to bed…my workday can start. I take extra care before committing to anything new, especially if it’s going to be a long-term commitment (ie: weeks or months in a row of an evening away). I must treat this contract like a job…because that is exactly what it is.

3. Relationships with other writers are more important than ever! You. Are. Not. An. Island.

***I’m not talking about just a writing critique partner, though that is a wonderful thing. I am talking about a writing friend (or a few) that you can vent to or unload on…this might be the same person that you critique with. I don’t mean vent in a complainy, whiney way, I’d never do that, but sincerely when you are in need of someone who is just willing to listen and provide some guidance and wisdom. The publishing world is a tough industry and ever changing. Having positive friendships with people who are walking the same path isn’t just extremely helpful but I think it’s vital. ALSO, if you are unloading on them make sure you are available for them to unload on you, too! This is a two-way street.

These are just a few things I’m learning along the way. By the grace of God, He will continue sustaining me as I continue walk this dream journey. I’m so thankful for where He has me!

My book Promise to Return is RITA nominated in two categories: Inspirational and Best First Book. This nomination is such an honor and I’m thrilled to share with you a little insight to the behind the scenes on writing an Amish Historical Fiction series.

            For as long as I can remember I heard that my grandparents, “Mammie” and “Daudy”, met while he served in the Civilian Public Service (CPS) during WW2. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I realized how few Americans knew of the CPS and that over 12,000 conscientious objectors (C.O.s) served during WW2.

            Promise to Return will take you back in time and put you in the middle of not just the Second World War but also a raging battle in the heart of a young Amish woman, Miriam. Henry’s decision to enlist puts her at a fork in the road where two pathways both lead to great sacrifice. She fights against the clamor of the world around her in order to hear God’s voice and make the most difficult decision of her life.

            In this series I want to give you pieces of the unique history of this special group of people that I call my own. Even though I’m the child of two shunned parents, my life has been enmeshed with the Amish from the inside out and this story comes from the front lines. I’m thrilled to share Miriam and Henry’s journey with you.

My Amish Exercise Video:  

Elizabeth Byler Younts is an Air Force officer's wife and a homeschooling mom with two young daughters, currently living in central Pennsylvania. Elizabeth was Amish as a child and after her parents left the church she still grew up among her Amish family and continues to speak Pennsylvania Dutch. Elizabeth is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Elizabeth's first book SEASONS: A REAL STORY OF AN AMISH GIRL, her Amish grandmother's memoir, was an #1 Amazon Bestseller and winner of a BRAG Medallion. PROMISE TO RETURN, her first novel in the Promise of Sunrise series through Howard Books (Simon & Schuster), is a finalist for a 2014 RITA Award. Through her love for storytelling and her Amish heritage, Elizabeth shares with readers worldwide authentic stories filled with little known Amish history, faith, and romance.

Today Elizabeth will be giving away one copy of her double RITA nominated book  Promise To Return. leave a comment for a chance to win. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.


Marianne Barkman said...

Many of my uncles and their friends went to CO camps ...some were lumber camps, some worked I. Hospitals, and one worked on a farm. Not much is written about this history, and I would love to win your novel. I will also look for the memoir of your grandma, it sounds fascinating! Loved your post, though I'm not a writer!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome, Elizabeth and congratulations!! This is so huge.

I thought about bringing breakfast but not sure what the Amish eat for breakfast and I wanted to stay in character.


Cindy W. said...

What a great post Elizabeth! I do enjoy reading Amish books already but loved your reasons for reading them.

I love the cover of your book, Promise To Return and would love to win a copy. Thank you for the opportunity.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

*waving to another homeschooling writer* *extra wave for being a fellow redhead*

These look great! Gorgeous covers! And I love that your great grandmother's is being enjoyed all over the world.

Don't we share an editor? I think I saw Beth's name when I looked at the RITAs and her response to my congratulatory email was something like "she worked VERY hard".

I just love Beth Adams. She's so supportive and fun to work with; I couldn't have asked for a better editor for my Austen Takes the South series. She really restored my faith in the trade publishing editorial process.

I know what you mean about the contract deadline stress, though. No matter how nice the person is on the other side, it's different when you're bound by a legal contract. That's when all those late night pep talks come in... and lots of dark chocolate M&Ms. (At least, for me.)

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

LOL, sorry. Your great grandmother's STORY is being enjoyed. :)

This is what happens when I visit Seekerville AFTER writing, rather than before. My brain is fried. Bed time before kids get up and start the school day!

Kav said...

Oooohh -- this Seekerville vistor LOVEs Amish fiction so I don't need any convincing. Congratulations on your RITA nominations. That's awesome! And your Amish exercise video? Priceless!!! Enjoyed your book talking too. What a great way to do a book review!

Audra Harders said...

Elizabeth, welcome to Seekerville!

You had me hooked when you mentioned Weird Al Yankovich and Harrison Ford in the same sentence, LOL!! AND it's good to know the Amish KISS!! In the first scene, no less!!

My goodness, your entire writing jouney is a wonderful blending of truth, life and fiction. I'm so impressed that you wrote your grandmother's memoirs. God bless you.

Your plate is so full, it's a wonder you can balance it all. I'm so in awe of writers who homeschool their children, too. I applaud each and every one of you!

I'm so glad you joined us today and we have a chance to learn the story behind your stories. Good luck in the RITAs!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, this is a lovely look at the insider view of Amish historical fiction!

Thank you for being here today, Elizabeth, and congrats on the RITA nominations. What a wonderful tribute.

And the books sound soul-stirring, and saying that, you can tell that I'm new to Amish Historical Fiction (thank you, Jan Drexler!!!) but I'd love to grab hold of these for my Kindle... and then read them when I steal it back from my daughter.


Amish food, Tina? First rule by Ruthy is NO SCRAPPLE.

The rest o' youse can have it, but it's not my favorite, but if we could do pancakes with real maple syrup and the Amish version of Latkes, I'd be happy!


Mary Connealy said...

I just love the thought of Amish Historical.

There's honestly not much of that out there.

What's that book? Wow, it's fading in and out of my head.
Tim Daly plays and outlaw and he's shot and nursed back to health by an Amish woman.

Penelope someone is the author. Anyway, it's historical Amish.

Okay I couldn't resist and I went to look it up.

The Outsider. Penelope Williamson.

I considered having an Amish heroine in one of my books, Swept Away. Have her (instead of losing a loathsome family, lose a beloved Amish family)
But I searched quite a while and found very little historical Amish.

And I was running out of time so I gave it up.
But it's so intriguing, I mean when did the Amish stop progressing.....
How did they pick the era they live in to stay frozen in?
Why not also eschew fire and the wheel, you know?
Pretty convenient honestly to pick an era as 'plain' after a few major modern conveniences existed.

Pretty annoying right? Where are the fig leaves and animal skins people. Stop pretending like you're so old fashioned.

btw, The Outsider....I checked....Mennonite not Amish. point holds. Get rid of the wheel and then maybe I'll take you seriously.

Mary Connealy said...

Tina, the Amish eat at McDonald's like everyone else.

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Elizabeth! Love that you brought your grandparents' story to life on the page. Your books sound wonderful. Congratulations on the Rita nomination. Exciting!

I think any pubbed writer understands both the blessings and the pressures of a contract. Any tips on how you organize yourself to make your deadlines?

Do you still have your first novel? If so, must be fun to see an eleven-year-old's idea of romance.


Mary Connealy said...

But they look silly with their buggies in the drive through.

Myra Johnson said...

Elizabeth, it's delightful to have you as our guest today!

My favorite line from your post: "forcing yourself not to use the backspace button."

I can easily get distracted by continually editing my words as I write. It's so hard to move forward until each sentence is crafted to my satisfaction. Sometimes I just need to let it go and move on.

Congratulations on your RITA finals!!! What a thrill!!!

Wilani Wahl said...

I love reading Amish fiction. I will be looking for your books. Have a great day everyone!

Mia Ross said...

Great points all the way through, whether you're published or not. Best of luck in the RITA, Elizabeth!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

That is true about the Amish and McDonalds..... :) Having shared space at McDonalds and at the Golisano Children's Hospital with many Amish and Mennonite families over the years...

Mary, when I was researching my Amish series (Yes, Ruthy has an Amish series that didn't get bought yet, and might become an indie someday....!!!! How fun would that be??? Can there be snarky Amish???? :) ) it's so interesting that the wave of Amish came en masse in a short period of time...

And then separated and then the NY Amish movement rejoined the Pennsylvania group or joined forces with the Mennonites here...

And they kind of just stayed in their quiet migratory pattern for a long time.

There is a lick of sense in the era they picked, because celery is almost as exciting as a wagon...

And life was still simple enough to manage without as much temptation.

But I've always wondered why there is so little evangelization into the Amish churches, that they effectively close ranks and how that flies in the face of Biblical teaching. So is that the Swiss or German mindset of closing ranks?

I don't know.

But it's interesting.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I am guessing Tina has few Amish in AZ.


Preslaysa Williams said...

Great post. I am just starting the homeschooling journey and juggling it with writing is often overwhelming. (And we haven't even started the real academic stuff yet!!) Congrats on those RITA nominations!

Julie Lessman said...

ELIZABETH!!! You had me at #6 -- "The first scene involves kissing and romance." ;)


But first things first -- LOVE the red hair!! I think you had blonde hair when I saw you at ACFW the first time, right?

Secondly, SUPER CONGRATS on the double Rita fina, my friend -- that ROCKS!!! And, WHOO-HOO on the series through Howard, too -- no surprise there!!

I'm not typically an Amish reader, but your #6 may have changed all that ... ;)


Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

So glad to be on Seekerville!

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Marianne---That's awesome that you have family who participated in the CPS. I haven't met many people who had even heard of it, let alone had a connection with it. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Hi, Tina! Breakfast? Hm, toast, eggs, pancakes...they are pretty simply and tasty eaters! ;)

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Cindy W--Thank you! I thought that my publisher did a great job with the cover also! So glad you stopped by!

Pam Hillman said...

Elizabeth, what a rich, varied history you have. Wonderful that you're writing it down for future generations. I know your grandmother is so proud! :)

My husband's great-uncle was a CO, and ended up serving as a medic. Tragically, he was killed overseas, and his young childless wife remained a widow the rest of her life.

Hmmm, so now I'm curious. :) Your bio says you are the child of shunned parents, but the re-telling of your grandparents love story has made her a celebrity in her Amish (correct?) community.

So, have her friends read your story of her life? And, do they read other Amish fiction? If so, do they feel that their lifestyle is portrayed accurately?

Thanks for being here. Your writing journey sounds fascinating! :)

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Virginia, {waves back!} We actually did our first math lesson today for the 14-15 school year. ;-) So far so good. lol

yes, Beth is AMAZING. I love her and my other editor Amanda. They have been amazing. They definitely did NOT contribute to the insanity of the first contract...they were lifesavers. I think any new job or commitment just has some growing pains and mine were PAINFUL. haha But now, over 18 mos in I am definitely learning how to handle the stress a little better. I'm not perfect at juggling all the priorities but I'm learning!!!! ;-) Thanks so much for stopping by and introducing yourself!

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Virginia---you had it right...SEasons is about my Grandma. ;-) I mentioned my great great grandmother b/c another family member (I think my great aunt) wrote her story many years ago and it was an inspiration to me. ;-)

Mary Connealy said...

RUTHY! The Amish can't live in Arizona, those long sleeves would KILL them in that heat.

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Kav...yay, you watched A90x! I slipped that little gem in the links and I'm so glad you found it!

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Audra---Thanks so much for stopping by. Please, don't be in awe...haha...I mess up all the time and it's only by God's grace that our family is thriving.

I love sharing how romantic Amish people can be. Not all...but not all non-Amish are romantic either. My parents met, dated, and were married in the Amish church and their story is very romantic. ;-)

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Ruth---I'm so glad you've been introduced to Amish Historical. I love writing them and I hope you get the chance to read them! ;-) husband loves Scrapple...haha!

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Mary---you made me laugh...could you imagine the Amish wearing fig leaves! I TOTALLY get your meaning with this. Why then, right? It's because of when they became a "church" in the late 1600s. They were very plain at the time as well. They broke away from the church in Switzerland and were exiled. That's just the "gist" I think b/c that's the era they were in at the time of their formation...that's where they are "frozen."

I love my Amish heritage and family...but I see a lot of double standards in their lifestyle and beliefs. BUT...I see double standards in my own life there's that. LOL I hope my life can be a blessing to the Amish as many do not grasp the complete concepts of grace and salvation that are so beautifully highlighted in Ephesians.

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Mary...McDonalds!!!!! LOL YES! And so many of them call it... MAC DONALDS.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Elizabeth and welcome to Seekerville. Thank you for such sage wisdom. Our business is unique and does truly require grit. Great reminder.

Have fun today.

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Janet---thanks for commenting.

Tips on organizing? Hm, clone yourself? Okay, I guess that's not exactly what you meant. I'm not sure I have anything set in motion for those periods of time. I think that communicating with your family (especially the hubby, if there is one) is key. And, when I'm not working, just simply do whatever it takes to focus on my kids and husband. I feel like I'm still soooooo new to all of this, I am not sure I have real "tips" on organizing for deadlines except just do your best not to go insane. LOL

I do have "Randi's Will" and it's so funny. It will never see the light of day!

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Myra---BACKSPACE!!!! Yes, I am bad about instant-editing and it gets me into soooo much trouble! I've had to add XXXXX in the text to remind me to fill in the blanks...or even notes to myself reminding me that this scene might be in the right place but the pacing leading up to it is down right atrocious. If i write these notes to myself then I am better about that ridiculous and awesome backspace button!

THANK YOU so much for having me.

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Mia-thanks so much for commenting!

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Preslaysa---yes, it can be overwhelming. I am still a beginner in HSing as well as novel writing! My oldest is only going into the 2nd grade. You didn't ask for it...but I'm going to share anyway...for me having a strong philosophy of what HSing is for us has made a difference in our home. We are fairly eclectic and very nontraditional...we lean heavy on the Charlotte Mason method. We are surrounded with high quality books that we LOVE to read together. This makes school exciting and pulls in emotions when we learn b/c that's what good writing does...even with science and math (see: Life of Fred!). hhehehe Okay, that was totally unsolicited! LOL

It's all a balance but HIS strength is with us!

Piper Huguley said...

Even as a little girl growing up in Pittsburgh, I was fascinated by the Amish. We would "go out to the country" some weekends and buy up all of the pastry we could, so I know the pastry well...maybe too well..
Thank you for the great column Elizabeth and I hope to be able to meet you at the reception on Friday. :)

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Julie...I seriously thought of YOU when I wrote #6! True story. I have your Romanceology book...that's not how it's spelled is it! haha

They kiss...and, well, that's all I will say right now......

I had red hair then...but it was probably lighter. My red hair is it's own master! haha

YOU introduced me to NATASHA...and a year later she was my agent. I am indebted to you and your offer to introduce me to the most amazing agent EVER!

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Pam---so cool about your CO connection but a sad story still.

My parents left the church when I was a they are shunned, I am not (b/c I wasn't a member). My grandma's community and the surrounding English community has embraced Seasons so much. The Red Hat Society stops by my grandma's home on their tours and listen to more stories that aren't in the book. She has probably signed more books than I have! ;-)

The local amish stores will carry Seasons also. It is perfectly accurate to my grandma's memories through the depression and WW2. The fiction on the other hand I hear less "excitement" over. Many Amish do not like the whole idea of amish romance for a variety of reasons...and some LOVE it and read it. So it really depends. My family has read book 1 and enjoyed it. I have tried to write it with grace and not point fingers at things I find wrong about the church and also not glamorize what the world thinks is so right about them either. I tried simply to tell as accurate of a FICTIONAL story as I could. EVERYONE has drama and dysfunction...if I'd written it about a Baptist family or a Catholic family there would equally be the dysfunction. No "religion" or faithful lifestyle is perfect. There are bad and good people everywhere.

Missy Tippens said...

Elizabeth, welcome! We're so glad you're here with us sharing your story and wisdom. Congrats on the RITA nominations!!

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Pam---I hope that answers your question.

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Piper...make sure to introduce yourself to me b/c I know I'll be a crazy mess. I have a TERRIBLE memory and I'm awful with names...and I know I'll be a ball of nerves the whole weekend!

Piper Huguley said...

I sure will Elizabeth. No need to be nervous. I found it fun to meet up with people I had befriended online. So cool! And if you are a teetotaler like me, there will be sparkling apple cider. :)

Meghan Carver said...

Good morning, Elizabeth! Waving to the other homeschooling writers and sighing with relief that I'm not the only one who gets overwhelmed. :-) It's God's calling -- homeschooling and writing. He's there every step of the day.

Love Amish fiction and the cover of your book, Elizabeth!

Courtney Phillips said...

My fascination with the Amish has caused me to be teased by certain members of my family and friends. ;)
Last weekend, I went out of town and saw an Amish man on a buggy! I was soooo excited. My BF thought I was crazy, especially when I wanted him to slow down so I could take a picture.
So yeah... I sort of like the Amish. Ha!

CatMom said...

Welcome Elizabeth!
Thank you for sharing your journey with us today (AND your tips) and a HUGE CONGRATS on being a double Rita Finalist!!

Please enjoy the Peach Cobbler I just took out of the oven--extra cinnamon and sugar on the crust. ;)

Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

Mary Connealy said...

Courtney I was in Ohio in the heart of Amish Country for a trip and it was just so fascinating.

I stared and stared and stared.

Then I started to feel bad about staring so much.

Then I decided they had to be used to it....and stared some more.

Mary Connealy said...

We saw an Amish buggy with an electric light on it, a blinker. Not sure about headlights. But I was with someone from Ohio and she said, "I've seen Amish people all my life and I've NEVER seen that before.

Mary Connealy said...

And I talked to five separate people who lived there, including a woman who grew up Amish and each and every one of them told me all about the Amish.
And not a one of them agreed on 'how they are'.

Which I found amusing.

Lyndee H said...

HI Elizabeth,
Congratulations on the double RITA nods! Wow, how exciting is that?

I have a dirty little Amish secret - one of my favorite television shows is the reality show Return to Amish. I'm sure that it's scripted and only half real, but every week they provide Amish Proverbs and give us a taste of Amish life and customs. This year the storyline included shunning and more of every day family life and less of the soap opera aspect required in reality TV.

The book about your grandmother has me intrigued. Going to try to find it for Kindle. Again, Congratulations!

Jennifer Smith said...

I love Amish fiction. :) Thanks for sharing some of your journey, Elizabeth!

Courtney Phillips said...

Mary- You're right! They must be used to it. I didn't get my picture...but one day, maybe I will. Of course, I would have to do it from inside a car or something because I would truly feel stupid for taking a picture of a stranger.
I don't agree with all the Amish rules, of course, but their simple life seems so...fascinating.
Except for the no air-conditioning thing. That would be torture.

Jan Drexler said...

Hi Elizabeth! So good to see you here :)

I also write Amish historicals - my stories have come out of researching my family history.

And your advice about the writing contract is timely - I just signed a three book contract and I'm trying not to feel overwhelmed!

I love your other two points of advice, too: crazy hours that other people don't understand and YES! relationships with other authors are a MUST!

I'm looking forward to reading your books :)

DebH said...

Your tips are awesome. Congrats on the Rita noms. That is amazing.

Your heritage is unique, to say the least. I am curious about the story that brought two shunned people together to create your family dynamic. That seems to be a story waiting to be told. I think the subject of your book about the service of COs during WW2 is awesome. I believe more people these days need to be educated on that. Especially with the wars in Iraq and Afganistan. I've got your book tagged for my 'to buy' list that keeps getting longer (thanks Seekerville...). Would like to have my name in the draw to win it.

Thanks for sharing with Seekerville. I hope the Rita noms turn into wins.

DebH said...

Oh, I forgot to say, my favorite reason for people to read your Amish Historicals is number one. (while Harrison Ford has been somewhat replaced by Hugh Jackman for swoon purposes, he still makes my heartbeat a bit faster in certain roles he's played).

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Wow, I love all the conversation here! I just met with my writing buddy that happens to also be an Amish writer (I moved within 10 mins of her last October!)...and we are agented by agent also...Kelly Long...and now I'm off to the farmers market. Isn't that so Amish of me. ;-) I buy from a mennonite farmer out his produce.

So, don't stop the party yet, when I come back I'm petty sure I'll have pie. ;-)

Sandy Smith said...

Elizabeth, I found this very interesting to hear how you came about to be a writer and to read about your background. It was helpful to be reminded of the priorities required for writing. I am currently trying to prioritize my life a bit better and move writing toward the top.

Pam Hillman said...

Elizabeth, you are so correct. No religion is perfect...maybe because religion is man-made while grace is not. :)

I chatted with a Mennonite friend a few years ago about Amish fiction, and she said the same thing about how some Amish and Mennonites embraced it and some didn't and wouldn't read it.

Love it that your grandmother's friends are embracing her story and your books. What fun for her!

Loves To Read said...

Please enter me in the drawing - your book sounds very interesting.

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Hi Elizabeth! I must admit, I have never read any Amish fiction (*ducks head from flying objects*) but I'm willing to give them a try, especially since you have a WWII perspective, one of my favorite eras to read. Thank you for sharing about your stories, and your life as a writer. Now, to Barnes and Noble this weekend!

Have a great day!

Chill N said...

Elizabeth, this is a delightful post. And now you have me very interested in the COs during WWII -- something new to learn about. It sounds like you handle all aspects with sensitivity.

" .. usually it involves a lot of grit, perspiration, motivation, the backspace button along with forcing yourself not to use the backspace button ..." Ah that backspace button (although it's 'delete' on my Macs). My best friend and my biggest setback at the same time :-)

Congrats on the RITA nominations! Have fun in San Antonio.

Nancy C

Tanya Agler said...

Hello, Elizabeth. I recently vacationed in your part of the country and loved central Pennsylvania (we visited Lititz, Harrisburg, Hershey, York, and other towns). Driving around there was a wonderful treat.

Thanks for talking about your books. I'm going to San Antonio and will know something about your book when they announce your category.

Thanks for the post. (Also loved that your first book had characters with some names from Anne of Green Gables).

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Lyndee---I love your Amish confession! What fun. I don't have satellite anymore so I haven't seen any of the shows that are currently popular...but I am often asked questions about them.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Meghan, waving back! HSing is a big job no matter what...and to do it along with writing takes a lot of balance. ;-) Not sure I'm getting it right at all...but I'm working on it! ;-)

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Courtney, I love your enthusiasm! ;-)

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Hi CatMom...Thanks so much for stopping by and for your encouraging words!

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Jan---So fun that we both write Amish historical! There aren't many of us! ;-) And huge congrats on your 3 book contract!!! {cyber high-five}

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Tanya, Yes, this area is so fun to drive around in. The landscape is simply breathtaking!!!! I have to be careful and keep my eyes on the road b/c I love looking at all the scenery.

Please make sure to find me in San Antonio and introduce yourself! ;-)

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Chill N-I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I have a MAC too...I guess I never noticed that it's actually "delete"...I always think of it as backspacing. Haha Maybe I need to be more observant. I do struggle with using that crazy key way too much!

Elizabeth Byler Younts said... ducking necessary! I don't read a lot of Amish fiction either...I read a lot more historical fiction. I hope you do give Promise to Return a chance...and let me know! ;-)

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Sandy--yes, there is a lot of balance required. You'll find your balance in time...keep trusting! God's guidance will not fail. ;-) Blessings to you!

Elizabeth Byler Younts said... parents met in the Amish church...really they grew up together. Started dating after they both joined the church and were married by 18...parents by 19 and shunned from the church by 25. They have a great story...and it's full of God's grace and continuously teaching them that leaving to seek a deeper relationship with HIM was the best reason possible!

Debby Giusti said...

Sorry I arrived so late. Loved reading about your Amish roots! I'm an Army wife and lived in the Carlisle, Pa area. We had Amish there and a weekly farmer's market. Also know the Amish from living in Ohio.

My last book was an Amish suspense, which I loved writing. My next one takes place near an Amish community.

Congrats on your RITA finals! Hope to see you at RWA!

Sara Ella said...

Hi Elizabeth,your post really encouraged me today. I'm also a homeschool mom with 2 young girls. I'm just finishing revisions on my first MS with plans to pitch at the ACFW conference in September. Eek! You're right that relationships with other authors are vital. They've not only help motivate and encourage me, they've made me feel like I'm not alone. Thanks for taking time to share your journey! I'd love a copy of your book:

Mary Preston said...

Live & learn. So much I did not know of the history. Count me in thank you.

Megan Besing said...

Good article! When the time comes I must remember not 'to get run over' :)!!

Julie Lessman said...

ELIZABETH SAID: "Julie...I seriously thought of YOU when I wrote #6! True story."

LOL ... SOOOOO glad I am an influence for you ... whether good OR bad ... ;)

I am SO thrilled that I was the one who led you to Natasha ... and I'm pretty sure she is too ... ;)


Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Debbie---we don't live very far apart at all! We must have coffee!

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Sara Ella! I'll be at ACFW also! We must meet! Let's connect!

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Mary...yes, I think it's so important to be intentional about learning every day! ;-) Thanks for stopping in!

Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

Megan...and when your time comes, I'll be cheering for you!

Patsy said...

I love reading anything Amish! I really think it's my favorite reading.