Random Inspirations

Welcome to my blog, full of fun inspirations and insights on writing, self-publishing, and more!

20 Fun Amish Words and Phrases

With each Amish book I write, I incorporate a little more Pennsylvania Dutch into the story. This is partially by design; Amish words make the dialogue seem more authentic and animated. However, I also find that the more I research the Amish, the more Pennsylvania Dutch words I learn.

Some PA Dutch words are easy to figure out, since they’re so close to their English counterparts. Others are a little trickier. Here are 20 Amish words I used in my last book, Amish Gossip. Hope you enjoy expanding your PA Dutch vocabulary!

In one of my fave cartoons, Family Guy, Meg chats with an Amish guy.. Think she picked up a few of these words?

In one of my fave cartoons, Family Guy, Meg chats with an Amish guy… Think she picked up a few of these words?

ach jah – oh yeah

Ausbund – the Amish hymnal used in worship services

baremlich – terrible

bobbel / boppli – baby

bobblin – babies

daed – dad

fraa – wife

Grundsatzen – affirmations of beliefs in the Amish church

gut – good

gute mariye – good morning

haus – house

Herr Gott – God

liebchen – term of endearment, my love

maemm – mom

mammi – mommy

mann – husband

redd up – “ready up,” get ready

rutsching around – fooling around

schmunzla – kissing and cuddling

wunderbar / wunderlich – wonderful

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KDP Self-Publishing Glitches–And How to Fix Them

Let me preface this post by saying, I absolutely love Amazon, and I’d be willing to bet that most indie authors feel the same way. IMHO, Kindle Direct Publishing is the best way to self-publish and distribute eBooks around the world. However, KDP is not without its glitches, and, unfortunately, our chances of encountering them increase with every eBook we publish.

I’ve published 22 eBooks, so I’ve encountered some rather interesting–and irritating–glitches. The good news: I’ve learned more trouble-shooting tips to share with you! Here are two glitches I faced, and how I overcame them.


Problem #1: The Amazon description of my book was showing html code!

When I published Amish Awakening, I was appalled to find that the html code had shown up in the description. My first thought was, OMG, did I mess something up? But a quick and frantic check confirmed that the problem wasn’t on my end; a glitch in the system had caused all of the eBooks published between certain hours to show up with the html code in the description.

How I Fixed It: Naturally, I contacted Amazon support right away, and the representative emailed me that technical support was working on the problem and should be fixing it “soon.” However, I didn’t want my book description to show up looking unprofessional and sloppy for some indeterminate amount of time, so I took all the html code out of my description and republished the book. There may have been no bolds or headings, but at least my description didn’t look like some type of “Coding 101” project. When the representative emailed me the next day to inform me that the glitch was fixed, I re-inserted the html code and republished the book once again–a lot of work, but the best alternative. There’s nothing worse than seeing a funky description under your book on your launch day!

Problem #2: It took forever for my book to become available in the Kindle store!

Last week, I hit the publish button on my newest creation, Amish Gossip, and checked to make sure it was available in the store the following day. I was shocked to find that it was not, since the usual turnaround time for a book to become available in the Kindle store is usually 12 hours or less. In my author dashboard, it showed up as “in review.”

How I Fixed It: I emailed the help center after 24 hours, and was told that the book was being reviewed and a representative would let me know when the problem was fixed. Imagine my surprise when the problem was pending for a week! I replied to the same email thread periodically, and would get a different representative every time. The responses were very vague, and no one ever told me what the exact problem was. Finally, one week after the intended release date, I started wondering whether I should just try republishing the book. I replied once again to the pending email, and the representative suggested republishing the book. I did, and the book became available about 12 hours later. The original publication, however, was still stuck in review. I wished that the representative had told me this sooner. If this happens to you, I would recommend republishing your book right away instead of waiting for a satisfactory answer from customer support.

Writers out there, have you encountered similar glitches when self-publishing? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

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It’s Here at Last–Amish Gossip Has Launched!

My apologies… I promised that my new Kindle eBook, Amish Gossipwould be available on Friday, March 6th, but it took a bit longer than that. 😦

This was not actually my fault; I hit the “publish” button on the evening of March 5th, but the book itself did not become available in the Kindle store until today because of a weird glitch. This is the 22nd Kindle eBook I’ve self-published, and I must say, I’ve never seen it take so long for a book to go live. But more about that in a later blog post. For now, let’s bask in the glory of the new release!

Amish Gossip - Final Cover

In honor of the launch, I will be offering free copies of the book to the first ten fans who are interested in giving me an honest review. If you like to make your opinions known on Amazon and Goodreads, comment below!

Have a great weekend!

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How the Amish Choose their Ministers and Bishops

Awesome news! I now have a title and a release date for the upcoming Amish book that I mentioned last blog post. The book will be titled Amish Gossip, and will be released this Friday, March 6th!


I decided upon the title because of all the various gossip that circulates throughout the story. Between Mercy’s secret, the new elder’s mysterious history, and his crazy proposed changes to the Ordnung (the set of rules governing Amish living), the rumor mill is churning out of control.

The story centers largely upon the selection and ordination of a new bishop and minister, which is an interesting process in Amish culture. The Amish have no concept of the separation of church and state; their church is their governing body, and the elders (ministers, bishop, and deacon) are their leaders.

While researching my story, I delved into the intriguing methods that the Amish use to choose their holy leaders. One of my favorite books was The Amish by Donald Kraybill–it’s a must-read for anyone interested in the multi-faceted life of the plain people.

In Amish Gossip, the old and esteemed Bishop Zook has a stroke, and must be replaced. Bishops are at the top of the pecking order for Amish elders, and like all other elders, they serve for life. When a bishop is unable to serve, one of the three ministers will take over–generally the most senior one. Once this happens, another minister must be chosen.

Church services on the day of the ordination are lengthy and solemn; in addition to the normal three hours of hymns and sermons, there is communion, after which the elders retreat into a private room for the nomination process. During this time, all baptized members of the congregation, male and female, pass by the cracked-open door in turn, whispering the name of the candidate they wish to nominate. Then, the elders tally the votes and return to the congregation to announce the names of the chosen lot. In order to be considered, each nominee must receive at least three votes.

The acting bishop calls the nominees forward, and each man grabs a copy of the Ausbund, the Amish hymnal. However, these are special Ausbund; they’re all sealed shut with rubber bands, and one of them holds a slip of paper with a biblical reading. One by one, each candidate hands his copy to the bishop; the man whose Ausbund holds the reading has been chosen by Herr Gott to be the next minister!

In Amish Gossip, Jakob and Samuel are both nominated, and the men have mixed feelings when they consider how their lives will change if Herr Gott chooses them. Ministers have no formal training, yet they must speak before the entire congregation. Also, being a minister is like a full-time job without the pay, so many of them struggle to perform their duties to their church, community, and family.

Did you know about these peculiar customs? It was all new to me, and I was stunned by what I learned. It was so much fun to incorporate these themes into my novella, and I’ll keep you posted on upcoming promos as the release date approaches!

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