Christmas novella Q&A and Giveaway!

Update: This giveaway is over. The winner is Jan Metivier. Congratulations, Jan, you have won an autographed copy of each of the Christmas novellas: The Sound of Sleigh Bells, The Christmas Singing, and The Dawn of Christmas!

For today’s blog post, I wanted to feature a recent Q&A I did about my Christmas novellas. I hope you enjoy it! Then afterwards, I am giving away a copy of each of my hardcover Christmas novellas in the Christmas in Apple Ridge Series! *Please find the asterisk below the book cover image for The Dawn of Christmas for important information about this book. Thank you!

Also, for those of you who live in or close to North Georgia, I have an upcoming appearance at the Hall County Read-a-thon. This is a literacy benefit for the Gainesville/Hall County Alliance for literacy. I, and several other Georgia authors will be speaking on Friday, October 25. My speaking time is 8pm. The address for this event is 1854 Thompson Bridge Rd. Gainesville, GA 30501. Here is a link to the event’s webpage: http://hallbookexchange.com/index.php?page=read-a-thon

And here is a link to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AnnualAllianceforLiteracyReadAThon

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1. Main characters Sadie Yoder and Levi Fisher have no desire to settle down and marry anyone, much to the frustration of their Old Order Amish parents. Why are they both resistant to romance?

As an awkward older teen, Sadie experiences the most embarrassing heartbreak that can happen to an Amish woman. Because of the depth of her humiliation, her ministers and district give her a kind of independence that’s very unusual—and unheard of for females. As the years progress, Sadie thrives in this freedom, loving her life and not wanting anything or anyone to interfere with it. She knows her liberty to live as she does is as easily broken as a pie crust, and she won’t let any man take it from her.

In a different region of Pennsylvania, Levi Fisher deals with wounds too, but not from losing a girl, fiancée, or wife. At twenty-four, he’s never had any of those. He’s never even been in love. But he cared for his sister-in-law as much as he did his own sisters, and when she left his brother and son, Levi was broken. He moved in with his brother and nephew, and the three of them work hard to make that house a home. If his sister-in-law, whom he’d known well and trusted, could leave her husband and baby, Levi has no interest in putting his life in any woman’s hands.

2. Sadie and Levi devise a plan to keep their families from meddling in their lives. Is it common for Amish young adults to delay marriage?

Although it’s not as scandalous now to wait an extra year or two as it was a few years back, Amish are taught from infanthood onward that life is all about family, and to start your own is a sign of adulthood. Their core values begin in Genesis chapter 1, when God says to be fruitful and multiply. Their ideal life plan is not to get an education, become established financially, build equity, and then find someone to marry. Their sole goal is to find someone to share life with, believing that is the most godly path a person can follow. So for someone to delay marriage while living a committed Amish life is unusual.

 

3. How do Sadie and Levi learn to let go of the past and embrace God’s new plan for their lives?

I think they learn it the way most of us do. Levi and Sadie have good relationships with loved ones who tenderly dare to hold up a mirror in front of each of them. What they see is startling to them, and they have to reassess who they are and who they want to be. Whether it’s in a parent-child relationship or with siblings or cousins or friends or couples, when we see our own hearts through the eyes of love, we change.

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4. How do the Amish celebrate Christmas? Are there any unique traditions you found in your research?

I’m sure it won’t surprise you when I say that the Amish use almost no decorations. Most Amish consider such “trappings” a distraction from the story of Christ’s birth.

But for many decades they’ve been making or buying Christmas cards, and they enjoy sending and receiving them. They often hang up the cards throughout their homes as a form of simple holiday trimming. Also, many Amish traditionally put candles in a window and light them after dark, giving the house a warm, homey feel during Christmastime.

Most Amish are comfortable putting candles surrounded by wreaths on surfaces throughout the house. But you won’t find a Christmas tree or stockings hanging inside an Amish home. Based on the second commandment, which says not to make any graven image, there are no Nativity scenes or angel figurines, and definitely no traces of Santa.

Some Amish wrap Christmas presents in beautiful, shiny paper and set them in a special place, like near the hearth, while waiting for Christmas to arrive.

I think the most unique aspect I’ve come across concerning the Amish and Christmas is that the Amish celebrate what they call ZweddeGrischtdaag, which means Second Christmas. Second Christmas is usually celebrated the day after Christmas. Both days are holidays for the Amish. Unlike in our public or private schools, Amish children don’t get a whole week off. The teacher may dismiss them after a half day of school on Christmas Eve, or she/he may not. But they always get Christmas Day and Second Christmas off before school resumes.

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5. What characteristic of the Amish faith and lifestyle do you most admire? What modern convenience would you find hardest to give up?

I admire that, even in the midst of tragedy, Amish men and women know how to grab hold of the peace that passes understanding. As Scripture says in Philippians 4:5-7, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

For over a decade, I’ve seen a lot of turmoil in individual lives and for the Amish community as a whole. But their ability to find peace and refuse to let it go is admirable. Their determination to be a strong and steady support for one another is undeniable.

The second part of your question is really hard to answer. Our lives are built around hundreds of modern conveniences. And truth be told, many Old Order Amish now have some of them, like running water and gas powered stoves, refrigerators, and lights.

Until we’re tested, I don’t think we really know where our true priorities would lie. But it seems to me the most valuable conveniences are the ones that make it possible to spend more time with and communicate with loved ones, so transportation and cell phones are very important to me. Then again, if all technology were suddenly stripped away, I might have a different answer.

Frustrated Woman
~~~

5-Dawn of Christmas*PLEASE be aware that The Dawn of Christmas is a re-release.
It was the new story in last year’s paperback three-in-one Christmas omnibus.
This year’s format is a thinner hardback those who requested this for their
collection and to give as Christmas gifts.

~~~

ciar_lgIf you own a Kindle, you can purchase Christmas in Apple Ridge,
which is all three of my Christmas novellas together, for the price of $7.99.
The omnibus is available on other e-readers for $9.99.

Book Giveaway:

Today I am giving away a signed copy of each hardcover novella in the Christmas in Apple Ridge trilogy, including my latest release, The Dawn of Christmas! To enter to win, simply comment at the end of this post.

If you are reading about this giveaway anywhere other than my website, such as on Facebook, in an email, or on Goodreads, please hop on over to my website by clicking here: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/2013/10/23/christmas-novella-qa-and-giveaway and then leave a comment at the bottom of the post under the words “Leave a Reply.”
Blog Giveaway for 10-22-13 Three Hardback C-novellas take two

Only comments left on my website will be entered into the giveaway.

The deadline for this contest is Tuesday, October 29, at noon Eastern Time. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be contacted privately, as well as announced on next week’s post.

As always, please remember that all of my giveaways are limited to US residents only. For a complete explanation of the terms and conditions of this giveaway, please go to http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/giveaway-rules/

Helpful info for first time commenters:

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  • Please be aware that I aim to get the items sent as quickly as possible, but at really busy times it can take up to six weeks. (I don’t have a staff. But I do have two daughters-in-law who help when they can. But they each have a life and professions not connected to my writing and giveaways. What?! <big grin>

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