Into the Amish

IntotheAmish_Ebook1 (1)

Cover courtesy of Littera Designs

Did you ever feel an overwhelming urge to escape?  To disappear somewhere and, along with you, all of your worries?  I have … many, many times, in fact.  I have always pictured my escape this way: I’d walk right out of my office at work, down the elevator, onto the sidewalk, hail a cab, head for the airport and take the next flight to a remote island; an island with plenty of sun, a warm breeze, a soft, long beach lined with palm trees and no Wi-Fi (well, maybe Wi-Fi. I do need to read and follow my favorite celebrity tweets, after all!).  Or, better yet, I’d fly over to Scotland and find a circle of standing stones, twirl at its center and hopefully land somewhere in the 18th century with a handsome Highlander (can you tell I’ve been watching too many episodes of Outlander?).  Of course, the urge will pass quickly and I’ll realize what a blessed life I have and I won’t catch that flight (sigh … Jaime will have to exist only in my dreams), but you get the idea. 

Sometimes, life can be so overwhelming that you feel the need to get away from it all, if only for five minutes, an hour, a day or sometimes, even longer. 

That is exactly the predicament the main character of my latest novel, “Into the Amish,” finds herself in.  On the surface, Emily Lawson seems to have it all: the perfect job, the perfect apartment and of course, the perfect boyfriend.  But, as we know all too well (especially if you’ve read or seen enough romantic comedies), not everything is ever as it seems.  For Emily, life takes an unexpected turn and it throws her into turmoil.  Gone is the perfect world she thought she was living in. She feels lost and confused.  If only she could find a quiet place to gather her thoughts and work out her problems?  Cue in a very helpful mother, a trip to Lancaster, some long-lost Amish cousins and voila: you have a story.  A story I hope you’ll enjoy because, in all honesty, this book was incredibly fun to write and for so many reasons! 

First, I really was able to identify with Emily’s predicaments.  Life is messy and, sometimes, we need a time out from it.   And yes, it’s okay to not always know where we are  heading. After all, we don’t always have everything figured out and sometimes, the voyage is more important than the final destination. Second, while I may be a city girl, I do have a little bit of country in me. Perhaps even more than just a little bit. In fact, didn’t I grow up spending most of my summers living among the cows and the chickens and absolutely loving it?  These are the fondest memories of my childhood.  So, the fact that I was able to go back to my happy place while writing this book was an added bonus! 

Thirdly, I was able to find out so much about the Amish and learned such a great deal about these people, which I came to appreciate and admire through the eyes and life experiences of my co-author, that I had to share their story with you. Like me, you will love the closeness of the community and the strong ties of faith and family that are the core values they abide by in their daily lives. So much so that, just like me, you’ll be soon planning a visit  to Lancaster County yourself. 

But lastly, and most importantly, I had the opportunity to write this book with my good friend, Sarah Price, whom I adore. I’m not sure whether or not many of her fans realize what a wonderful sense of humor Sarah has.  She’s funny in a “laugh-out-loud, belly laugh” kind of way.  She has great comedic timing; so much so that bringing this story to life came much easier than any other book I’ve ever written.  We laughed so much in the months we spent collaborating with each other that I miss it now.  Hint, hint, Sarah … do I hear a sequel?

The book is available now on pre-order at Amazon.  I hope you check it out:

Into the Amish

All I Want for Christmas . . .

Yes, you heard me.  After weeks of running around in preparation of Christmas, I am bone-tired. I don’t have any energy left, and sigh, I still have one more day to go before the actual holiday!

I think I’ve logged in more hours than the elves who are making toys for the “big day” in the North Pole.  I’m definitely running on empty and I don’t have time for refueling.  You see, there are just too many things yet left to do (I seriously don’t know how Santa does it!)

It all starts right after Thanksgiving with the purchase of the Christmas tree.  From the moment I have it set up in my living room, it’s a non-stop flurry of activity.  It’s a frenzy of “to-do” lists.  From stringing up the lights (both in and out), to gathering my wayward children in their Sunday best to capture the “perfect” picture that screams Christmas (after hundred shots of silly faces and fidgety bodies, I give up), my day never ends. My nights are filled holiday parties, squeezing in as many “feel-good” Christmas movies to watch on television and the singing of the carols blaring on the radio 24/7.  And let’s not forget the buying of the Christmas presents.  Oh, how can I forget!  It haunts my dreams!

Every year, I promise I will be organized.  Every year, I put together a detailed list.  Every year, I am confident that I will buy my loved ones the ultimate gift that will make them shout out in glee, cry with happiness, and smother me in kisses.  And every year, I fail miserably.  I spend weeks ordering gifts on the internet, waiting patiently on those long lines at the mall, rushing out during my lunch hour at work to quickly pop into a store.   It’s a lot of pressure and I usually wind up taking two aspirins to keep the migraine headaches at bay.

Christmas is exhausting . . . and I’m not so sure I’m going to make it this year.  If I do, I will certainly be limping towards the finished line.  And after all of the presents are opened, and the tree is set out to the curb.  After all the cards are mailed and the caroling stops.  I will be looking forward to only one thing and it’s not my relatives popping in to say hello either. I’ll give you a hint.  It involves a pillow and a blanket and my eyes closed shut.  Yes, that’s right.  I will look forward to crawling into my warm, cozy bed and sleeping.  It’s all I want for Christmas.  Wake me up for the New Year!

Happy Holidays.

Erin

Confessions of a Chick-Lit-Aholic. Erin Brady is my first guest author!

Thank you, Meredith, for allowing me to be part of your blog tour. For those of you who aren’t already a big fan of Meredith Schorr, like I am, check her books out on Amazon. You won’t be disappointed!

I’m so pleased to have author Erin Brady participate in my Celebration of Chick Lit tour as my inaugural guest author. Erin’s novel The Shopping Swap is one of my favorites and I love her writing so much that I asked her to be one of the first readers of Novelista Girl. Find out why she loves chick lit so much below. 

I have a serious confession to make and here it is: I have an uncontrollable obsession. Some even call it an addiction.  It’s like trying to ignore a craving for chocolate or fighting an insatiable need to binge watch a favorite television show (Downton Abbey anyone?) or even resisting the strong urge to shop (ever wandered aimlessly down the aisles of Target?  I know I have).

My addiction is insatiable and always leaves me wanting more.  It keeps me up late into the wee hours of the…

View original post 1,000 more words

Hooked On Hallmark

Shhhh . . . I have a little secret to tell you.  Promise not to tell anyone?  Okay, there goes.  You see, it’s almost that time of the year again and I’m giddy with anticipation.  It’s when I get to hang up the twinkling holiday lights and when I trim the tree and adorn it with decorations.  It’s also when I log onto my computer to hunt for Christmas gifts like a trained professional shopper, tracking all of the sales and free shipping offers on the internet.  If only I could make a living from it.  Sigh.

But that’s not why I’m soooo excited for the holiday season!  It’s not why I’m jumping up and down with glee.  Those things are all good- don’t get me wrong- and I look forward to doing all of them after Thanksgiving has come and gone.  But the real reason why I get warm feelings coursing through my body and why my heart skips a happy beat has nothing to do with shopping or tree trimming or twinkling lights but everything to do with the… Hallmark Channel.  Yes, you heard me right: the Hallmark Channel!  It’s the greatest place on this earth to binge watch all of those fabulously corny made-for-TV holiday movies that I can’t seem to get enough of.  It’s like my drug of choice for Christmas.  Forget eggnog or chestnut lattes.  Forget Christmas carols and making snow angels in the snow.  I’m all about snuggling with a blanket on my sofa, switching on my television set and settling in for a series of wonderful love stories, all taking place in a town decorated to the hilt with holiday spirit!  Add in a secret Santa and you’ve got the formula for a perfect Christmas story.

It makes me glad to see a down-and-out heroine with a heart of gold who has lost any hope for a Christmas miracle-life circumstances, you know- be rescued by a dashingly handsome (and equally good-hearted) knight-in-shining-armor.  I know it’s predictable and I know it’s sappy, but I happen to LOVE sappy.  I LOOK for sappy throughout the entire month of December!    I think we all need a bit of sappy in our lives.  And what better place to look for it than on the Hallmark Channel?   Soon enough, January will roll around and there will be enough time for a reality check as I will break my New Year’s resolutions for the umpteenth time. 

But that’s still over a month away and I’ll think about it (and my diet) when I get there.  For now, I’m going to enjoy the Hallmark lineup and watch each and every single movie with the words “Christmas” or “Holiday” or “Santa” or “Candy Cane” or “Mistletoe” in the title.  I can’t wait!  Yay!

Erin   

Hallmark Christmas Movie

Throwback Songs

DBYDOD6O96

I’m a huge 80s fan; as in big, even colossal!  I love the movies (Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Flashdance, even the Goonies).  I love the television shows (Golden Girls and Miami Vice, I miss you!)  I love the fashion . . .  OK, well maybe, I can do without big hair, neon shirts, and leg warmers.  But still, I love the 80s!  If I could go back in time (like Michael J. Fox did with his car or John Cusack with a hot tub), I would do it in a heartbeat.  And you know what I love most about the 80s (besides Cabbage Patch dolls and Pac-man?):  I love the music!  I simply adore the “Only In My Dreams, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Like a Virgin, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” kind of music that gets my toes tapping and my hips swaying.

I don’t know what it is about that decade, but somehow it always brings me back to the sweet memories I have growing up (am I showing my age?)  In fact, if I were to make a slideshow of my life, it would be set to the Casy Kasem Top 40 hit songs of the 80s!

It’s amazing. I will be shopping at the mall, minding my own business, when all of a sudden I will hear a familiar melody: Madonna will be singing “Crazy for You” and I’ll stop dead in my tracks.  I’ll smile and have the sudden urge to buy myself a polka dot miniskirt, “Boytoy” belt and fishnet gloves. It never fails. 

And then it hits me; the reason why I love 80s songs so much; the reason why these songs have such a hypnotic effect on me: It’s because songs are just as powerful as books.

Songs are nostalgic, reminding me of places I’ve been to and people I’ve met (I can’t listen to “Is This Love?” without remembering my first boyfriend).  Songs uplift me when I’m feeling down (I’ve been known to belt out “All By Myself” after a bad breakup).   Songs inspire me (I can definitely climb several flights of stairs to the “Rocky” theme song).  Songs have marked important events in my life (my first slow dance, my wedding song, the songs I sang to my children at bedtime).

And as a writer, I’ve come to understand that songs are just like short stories, essays or novellas; truly literary works of art.  Like the books that I read or write, songs paint a vivid picture, tell a riveting story, and transport us to another time and place.

Like the favorite books I love to read time and time again, I also have favorite songs: these, I play over and over and never get tired of hearing.  I’ve memorized verses and can hum melodies absentmindedly.  I sing along to the radio with my friends (while driving to a party) or I sing by myself in the shower (when I think no one else can hear me).

So tonight, instead of curling up in my bed with a good book (as I’m known to do most nights), I am going to put on my headsets, turn to the playlist on my cell phone and drift off to sleep to the soothing voice of Phil Collins singing “Against All Odds.”

Ah, the 80s!  I suddenly miss my Sony Walkman for some strange reason . . .

Erin

Independence Day and Writing

JINKK2YWK4

As we head into the fourth of July holiday weekend, here in New York, I am struck with how much, as a writer, I can relate to this celebration.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my holidays.  I love Christmas (who doesn’t love presents . .  especially if the wrapping is light blue and says “Tiffany” on it !)  I love New Year’s Eve with all its promises of resolutions which I know I will never keep (new year = clean slate).  I love Memorial Day and the start of summer (especially being able to wear white pants with flip flops).    But the Fourth of July! Well, the Fourth of July holds a very special place in my heart (and that’s not just because of the sales . . . although that is a big perk!). 

For Americans, it marks day-long festivities of delicious barbeques (I love my hamburger and corn on the cob), cold glasses of beer (yum) and fireworks.  It’s spending quality time with friends and family and wearing red, white and blue.

But, more importantly, it marks my country’s independence. 

As with most authors I know, I think I was born with the innate desire to write (if I could have had a pen and paper in the womb, I would have started on my first novel much sooner than I did!)  But before the birth of electronic readers and the availability of platforms for writers such as myself to showcase their books, the dream of being an author was just that  . . . a dream. 

Now, this Fourth of July, three years after my first book hit Amazon, I am celebrating my own independence of sorts.  I am celebrating the release five books (I still can’t believe it!)  I am celebrating being a part of a wonderful community of writers and readers.  I am celebrating the freedom of sharing my stories with my wonderful and faithful readers.  I am celebrating the joy of calling myself an indie author.  And, more importantly, I’m celebrating the future and what’s yet to come.  I’m currently working on two books (one with an author I truly admire) and I’m sooo excited for the second half of this year to begin!

So, as I will drive down my street and observe the multitude of red white and blue flags flying in the wind, as I will share a drink with my family and friends and cheer on the sidelines of my town’s parade, as we will all enjoy a fun  afternoon around a great BBQ, I will smile, content in knowing that I have a lot to be grateful for.   

Happy Fourth everybody!

Erin

Sweet Vacation

7WN9X2ZD1A

Whoever thought of vacations should really get a medal.  I’m being serious.  The person should win the Nobel Peace Prize because I think it’s the greatest invention on earth, next to scrumptious bread (drizzled in oil and garlic) and a corkscrew (to open up bottles of wine, of course!)

I mean, who doesn’t love time off away from the worries of everyday life?  Who doesn’t love not being tied down to a clock, where every minute is accounted.  While I’m on vacation, I don’t have to worry about sleeping through my alarm clock (I can sleep until noon) or making sure I get to the train station on time, praying I’ll get a seat on my ride into work (no schedules here and I get my own beach lounger).  I don’t have to worry about bills or deadlines or laundry or cooking or making a run to the grocery store (that can certainly wait until I return which might never happen!)

Vacation is the happiest place I know.  It’s the magical place where I don’t have to worry about anything other than what to drink (strawberry daiquiri, please), what to eat (forget the diet!) and what to wear (bathing suit, sunglasses and flip flops).  Vacation is my fairytale, where anything and anything can happen.  It’s like having a glass slipper fit or finding gold at the end of the rainbow except in my fairytale, it’s open bar, karaoke nights and sunbathing by the beach!

Vacation gives me time to decompress and focus on the important things in life, such as spending time with my loved ones and enjoying the little joys in life, like swimming in the ocean, feeling the warm sun on my face and enjoying cold fruity drinks with the best of friends. 

And just like all fairytales, I know there must be an ending to a vacation.  I know I must eventually get back to reality (sigh) and that my carriage will inevitably turn into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight (can I get another three wishes or am I confusing this with another fairytale?)   But that’s OK, because like any good fairy godmother will tell you, it all works out at the end and I know that in another year, I get to do this all over again (yay!) 

So for now, I’ll enjoy my vacation, silently thank whoever it was that invented the concept (maybe even raise a glass to him or her) and smile, knowing that when I go back to my life, I’ll be refreshed and ready to take on the world . . .  Of course, the feeling will last only a week until I’m frazzled and stressed again and I’ll feel like I’ve never left and I’ll soon long for the next vacation looming over the horizon. 

But I’ll be patient until then because, after all, dont all good things come to those who wait?

In the meantime, I hope you all enjoy your summer vacations!  Have a drink for me!

Erin