With December, comes BIG NEWS for this author!!!

It’s almost time for Christmas!

Can you believe it?

As this season unfolds around us, we have so many things to be thankful for. I am thankful for family and friends, for being able to spend so much time with my family, not having to go work in an office or business away from home. I pray this is always the case.

I am also thankful for the reason this season exists . . .

Did you know that we serve such an amazing God, a loving God, and a forgiving God. As humans, we build things, write things, draw or shape things – and then when something goes wrong with it, we toss it away and start fresh.

I thank God that he did not simply discard his flawed creation – instead sending his son down to Earth as a babe so that He could walk among us and then one day . . . save us from our own flaws, our own weaknesses and frailty, our very humanity; which caused so many to reject Him and crucify Him. He knew all of these things ahead of time, but He still came.

And there is no better story than His!

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

~ Luke 2 (KJV)

 

Before you go, I have some exciting news…

Since the day I first created my fan page on Facebook, I have had messages, posts, and comments posted – asking me where my books can be bought… or when they will be available.

Of course, each one of these posts thrilled me because it showed me that readers were interested in what I had to say.

I watched as the number of “likes” on that page steadily climbed and I debated on whether or not I wanted to go with traditional publishing or if I should Indie publish.

Many of you know that I had a disheartening experience earlier this year with an agent… who told me my work was ready to sell, but ultimately decided not to represent me. I was hurt – and decided to throw in the towel (figuratively) for a bit… but I’m thankful to say that GOD is not finished with my work yet!

HE has much better plans for me…

Following HIS leading, I was moved to try again, and…

I am pleased to announce that I officially have an agent – a fantastic, talented, successful agent. And she believes in my work. We have met once and spoken twice over the phone and I am pleased to say that we get along famously!

DA DA DA…DA

I am now represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube agency! WHOO HOO!

Here I am, grinning as I prepare to sign the contract…

Here I am, signing the contract!

And here I am, being silly while I prepare to sign the contract! I love out-takes so much, I just had to share some with you!

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I can’t imagine a better day! Well, except maybe the day Tamela calls to tell me she has a publisher who wants to work with me… or the day I sign that contract… maybe the day I get to hold the first copy of my book… or perhaps the day I see it in a book store…

You get the idea…

If you’re interested in keeping up with all of this, think about signing up for my NEWSLETTER! YAY!

Merry CHRISTmas to you and yours!

GOD Bless!

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I finally get it… sort of

Writing Amish Fiction Meme

 

FAIR WARNING – the following blog is a long, drawn out, complicated story… but if you skim, you’ll miss things.

you have been warned.

 

Nearly two years ago, it was suggested to me that I give a try to writing Amish fiction…

Since I had read nearly a hundred Amish fiction novels at that point, visited our local Amish community and had a deep love for the Plain communities, it seemed like a good idea.

So I started writing. I wrote and I edited and then I put the manuscript away (as is suggested). Then I pulled it back out and edited again. Then I sent it to a friend who does NOT write Amish fiction (thinking that she would be able to look at the story and the writing better that way). She was a tremendous help to me, giving me wonderful tips to make the writing better and when I sent it back to her, her comment was – “Is this the same author?? LOL. Great job!” – so I thought I was doing pretty well.

The next obvious task was to finish editing and then query… but I had been burned pretty badly with my speculative (written under my pen name) fiction so I was very hesitant about that part.

Ironically enough, an agent actually sent me a message via my Facebook author page asking if I had anything ready for submission. I did and I hastily rushed out to buy a printer because she preferred printed submissions and all the books & articles say to do as the agent prefers!

About eight weeks later she sent me an e-mail saying that I needed to tackle several things in the three chapters I had sent her before resubmitting.

Since it was only a few weeks before the ACFW conference, I edited and took the chapters with me… just in case I got the chance to meet with the agent. Amazingly enough, I did get a meeting with her, where she informed me that I would need to knock the first eight chapter off my story and rewrite yet again.

Certain that she knew exactly what she was talking about, I headed home and got to work.

When I was almost ready to submit, a friend informed me that her agent was looking to acquire more authors who wrote Amish fiction. Well… since she had told me on multiple occasions that her agent was the best in the business, I was thrilled.

And she was happy with e-mail submissions so I sent it right over.

Less than a month later, I had a reply and an appointment for a phone call.

However… after a ninety minute phone call, I was more confused than ever. I kept feeling that she was not interested but everyone assured me that no agent is going to talk to you for 90 minutes unless they’re VERY interested so I waited… and waited… and waited… and waited.

My friend suggested I send the agent an e-mail gently reminding her that she had said she would get back to me in 3 weeks (8 weeks later), so I did.

The response I got was less than desirable but, being the timid, sweet mercy that I am, I apologized and retracted everything I had said… was then told that she would have time to talk to me in another week.

Six weeks later I received an e-mail that confirmed my earlier fears. She was not interested and she essentially suggested that I go back to the drawing board.

 

OK…

Deep breath…

Calm the panic attack that still makes me want to curl up into a ball of misery…

I told you that story to tell you this one.

They say you write what you know…

Well, you also write what you love…

I started my experience with Amish fiction by reading Vannetta Chapman’s A Simple Amish Christmas. Of course, I was hooked after that! I read every book of Vannetta’s I could get my hands on! From there I moved to Cindy Woodsmall, Beverly Lewis, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shelley Shepard Gray, Ruth Reid, Rosalind Lauer, Tricia Goyer, Amy Lillard and Serena B Miller and then my mother suggested I read Amy Clipston and Jennifer Beckstrand.

WOW! Just WOW! …not just the amount of heavy hitters in that list but the amazing, wonderful, powerful, heart-warming, heart-wrenching stories!

Is it any wonder when I decided to begin writing Amish fiction, that I molded my stories after the styles I loved so much?

 

I started out with a heart-wrenching scene (like Vannetta, Shelley and Cindy).

I had lots of introspection (like Beverly, Suzanne and Ruth)

I tried to keep the story close to home, giving my reader a chance to feel like they were being immersed in the characters’ lives (like Amy, Rosalind, Serena)

Anyone seeing a pattern here?

Perhaps the problem is that I have combined too many styles…

Perhaps the problem is that those authors’ agents “get” their writing, and I don’t have one of those…

Perhaps the problem is that I am an unknown… Of course, all of the writers mentioned above were, at one point, unknowns too.

Or perhaps it is simply that it has not been God’s time yet…

Yes, I’m going to go with that one…

And now I’m going to go back to my speculative, because someone is actually interested in that one. Maybe one day I can find the time to come back and continue working on the Amish fiction…

Or maybe it will only ever interest my mother…

 

© Rachel L Miller 2015

My newest project!

 

OK…here we go.

We (and when I say “we”- I mean mom) have decided that I need to take my writing to the “next level”. Since we are currently in limbo regarding the status of my Novel – “A Mother for Leah” – we have decided to do something a bit different.

While we wait, and I write more on book 2 of the original series, I am also writing a novella from the companion series – Hearts of Hope Springs – which we will be self-publishing.

Won’t you come along on the journey…

 

Tonight, I have added a grand total of 2,040 words to “A Choice For Karen”.

YAY!

 

Pop back over Monday for an update and a look at what “A Choice For Karen” is all about.

Then stop in on Friday for more updates and a special character interview with Karen herself.

 

My current plan is to work on both novels at the same time, and I plan to have “A Choice For Karen” ready for release by July!

Happy Birthday to me!

I may even offer the eBook free at some point as a special birthday gift FROM me!

Good evening and God Bless!

 

P.S. Pray for me please… I’m just the tiniest bit trepidatious about this step but I’m determined to put my work out there so it seems the logical conclusion!

 

© Rachel L. Miller 2015

A Look at the Amish of Windy Gap through the eyes of an English orphan…

Isn’t it amazing how a minor character can sometimes take on a whole new life you never had planned for them…

Yes, by the way… That is what has happened here.

Margaretta is a friend of Leah’s and she has decided to start a blog. She talks about life among the Amish – through the eyes of an English orphan. Yes, she’s an orphan – but could you really think of a better place for an orphan?

The people of Windy Gap (two sisters in particular) have taken her under their wing and everyone just loves her!

Windy Gap Wishes Header

 

So… pop over to Windy Gap Wishes on November 15th to meet Margaretta ???

I’ve got a few more days to come up with a last name for her huh…

(Be forewarned. The link above isn’t going to work yet. It will be active on the 15th though so pop over and check it out then.)

2014 ACFW pre-conference mix and mingle!

It’s that time again!

This is my first year to attend an ACFW conference and the pre-conference mix and mingle sounds great so I decided to participate. I hope it will help me learn new faces and get to know people for my first year at conference :)

If you would like to participate, click the link above and join in! There’s even a link-up at the bottom of the informational post with links to the different people who are participating.

Here’s what to do:

– Copy/paste and fill out your own answers (you don’t have to answer all of them!) in a post on your own website and paste the URL to that post (not your home page) using the handy link-up tool.

– Click through the links below to get to know other conference attendees before St. Louis!

Here are the questions and my answers!

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Name: Rachel L. Miller

Location: Nashville, TN

What you write: Amish fiction

Your tagline: “Inspirational Fiction Straight From Heaven”

Place in the book world: Pre-published (I love this phrase!) author not yet represented. Editing book 1 and writing book 2 of my Windy Gap series.

On a scale of hugger to 10-foot-pole, please rate your personal space: LOVE hugs!

The unique talking point that will get you going for hours: Books! Starbucks! My kiddos!

Loved ones at home you’ll be missing: I’ll still be missing them but they’re coming with!

Conference goals we can pray for? That I follow God’s path during conference and for general calm. I’ve been to two other small conferences but nothing on this scale.

One or two ways we can help you build your platform? Yes! You can like my author page on Facebook, follow me on twitter and of course I always love having new followers on my blog as well!

 

GOD BLESS and hope to see you all soon!

Have a GREAT Day!

©Rachel L Miller 2014