Random Inspirations

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It’s Here: Amish in College #3 is Out!

on May 21, 2014

Today is a very exciting day–my latest Amish in College novella, Amish Scholar: Samuel’s Book, has launched!

Here’s the Amazon descriptionMercy’s boyfriend Samuel has accomplished a feat that he always thought was impossible: He’s won a full scholarship to a local university where he’s studying agriculture and business! He’s sure that his newfound knowledge will help him to save his family’s failing farm. 

As classes and demands on the farm intensify, Samuel finds himself struggling to balance the dual tasks of school and work. His brother John suddenly abandons his duties on the farm, opting instead for a higher-paying job at a factory. Meanwhile, both his father and Mercy pressure him to quit college. His father needs his help full-time, while Mercy thinks that college is taking too much time away from their relationship. 

As conflicts heat up, Samuel learns about an innovative new farming niche that might be the answer to his family’s woes. Can he apply what he’s learning in school to save his family’s farm, or will he succumb to the pressure and give up on college? Will his brother John return to the farm he once loved, or is he lost forever? And will Samuel and Mercy survive their relationship challenges?

Those of you who follow my blog may remember the post about channeling a male protagonist. It was definitely a challenge to get into an 18 year-old guy’s head, considering that I’ve always written from a female perspective. I think you’ll enjoy the way Samuel looks at things, especially the way our favorite Amish twins, Rebekah and Mercy, appear through his eyes!

Amish Scholar Cover

I also loooove the new cover above, courtesy of Antonio, man of many talents. 🙂 He surprised me with an incredible mock-up of this design, which we tweaked one evening. What do you think of the new design? I think we’ll definitely be doing our own covers from now on!

And finally, here’s a free excerpt of the book, so you can try it before you buy it. Enjoy!

It turns out that we are able to repair the wheel ourselves, which makes my father very happy. I wince at the knowledge that the bounce in his step doesn’t only come from accomplishing a difficult task; it comes from saving a few extra dollars.

 And when I see my father’s books, I can completely understand why he’s worried about money.

“Wow,” I say without even thinking, as we sit in the living room poring over the farm’s numbers after dinner that night. “We definitely need to do something different.”

My father sighs. “That’s all you have to say? I was hoping some of that book learning would come in handy right now.”

I rub my left temple, feeling a headache coming on. “I’m thinking, Vadder.”

John passes through the living room. “Looking at the farm numbers?” He cranes his neck, peering over our shoulders. “Ooh-wee. You should just give up now.”

This comment doesn’t help my budding headache any. Nor does the way my father’s eyebrows draw together, his face etched with lines.

 I frown at my younger brother. “We can never give up, John. Just because you have doesn’t mean everyone else has to.” I turn to my father. “Don’t listen to him. We’ll figure out a way to keep the farm alive. I know our income is low right now, but I also know that things will look up in the spring. Farmer’s Almanac says it will be a favorable year for crops.”

“Hopeless,” John mutters under his breath, lumbering up the stairs.

“There’s not a lot we can do right now,” I continue. “But we have enough money to get through the winter. What we need is a new business niche, some kind of market that’s in demand, but not as competitive as organic. That should be our project this winter: coming up with a new business plan that will save our farm come spring. In school, we’ll be starting a unit about today’s trends in farmers’ markets. Maybe I’ll learn something there.”

“I hope you’re right, son,” my father says, but his voice sounds flat and lifeless, as though he’s given up already.

I drape my arm around my father’s shoulder. I can’t bear the thought of him letting go of everything he’s worked so hard for. I know, at that moment, that there’s no way I’m giving up. I will find some way to keep our farm afloat, and I can’t help but think that school will be the answer.

***

 The next day, I sit in the very front of all my classes, ready to soak up helpful information like a sponge. But all the agriculture professors seem to know is new farm technology, and all the business professors seem to know is how to make more money once you’ve already amassed a small fortune.

At least it’s Friday, and Mercy and I have planned a buggy ride for the evening. I pick her up at her house, chat with her parents for a few minutes, and then we drive around the empty, moonlit roads together. It’s chilly, so I’ve closed the top of the buggy and brought extra blankets; I know Mercy gets cold easily.

Mercy grins at me. She’s snuggled up in a blanket, with one small hand resting in mine. She looks so beautiful, and so womanly.

“You’re awfully quiet tonight, Samuel,” she says with a flirty smile, the same one that won the hearts of practically every Amish boy in our community, and many Englischers as well. But now, it’s reserved only for me, which makes me feel special. “You must be thinking hard, planning the next surprise for me, right?”

I laugh. “You know it.”

But a moment later, Mercy’s face becomes serious. “All joking aside, Samuel, I think something is bothering you.” She studies my face closely.

I take a deep breath. I don’t want to tell her what’s wrong. A man should never tell the girl he’s courting that he’s having money problems. Even though worldly wealth is not important to us Amish, we need a modest, comfortable income to live on. If Mercy knew that my family was counting dimes and even pennies to buy basic necessities, she’d probably run the other way like a spooked horse. After all, she can have any man she wants. I know she loves me, but I don’t want to risk losing her, either.

So I tell her what any self-respecting Amish man would say. “Everything is fine. I just had a long week.”

But Mercy is a smart girl. From the way she raises her eyebrows, I know she doesn’t believe me. 

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2 responses to “It’s Here: Amish in College #3 is Out!

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