Monday, September 18, 2017

We're NOT Farmers - Not By Any Stretch Of The Imagination

I begged. I pleaded. "Please, don't make me do it," I said. "Anything but that." I made the man a huge plate of bacon. (I hate cooking bacon.) I made him coffee. (I can't drink coffee). Then I smiled while he ate, hoping he was joking.

Hours later, darkness came. I finally finished my five thousand word quota for the day on my new Swiss Amish Christmas story. We settle in to watch American Ninja Warrior when he says, "After this goes off, we'll go cut the rooster's spurs."
My mouth drops open. He wasn't kidding. "Can't we just eat him?" (I don't eat meat.)
"It won't be so bad."
"No." I shake my head. "Get your dad to help you."
"Dad's already in bed."
"He is not!" He just got a new TV for his bedroom last weekend at a garage sale for $5. I know he's not sleeping, even though you can't see the lights on in his house across the road.
"It'll just take a minute."

My husband gets the pliers, my good pair of garden snippers, and a flimsy cardboard nailfile. (Again, mine). I tell my daughter we'll be right back, but of course she wants to come watch. We take a flashlight to the henhouse and I hold the light while he goes in and picks the rooster up by the feet off the roost. Needless to say, the rooster is not happy about being so rudely awakened, but you have to do it at night or you'll never catch him. He's been tearing up the hens pretty bad lately and my husband fears for the oldest ones.

We're not farmers. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Farmers make money with their livestock. We pay for feed every month and beg people to help relieve us from a fridge overflowing with eggs. I'm a vegetarian. One who doesn't even eat eggs or dairy, but I'm not Vegan. Vegan is some strange religion people around here are especially leery of.

I pull the pliers from my husband's pocket and hand them to him. We know how to do this because we watched two youtube videos on it before we walked out of the house.

"I need another hand," he says. "Take his other foot."
I cringe and reach for his huge, yellow foot but draw my hand back quickly before I touch it. "Do I have to?"
"Yes."
My daughter laughs hysterically.
The Bible verse about submitting to your husband comes to mind. I whimper as I make contact with the leg this time, holding onto it firmly. "Oh, please hurry," I say in a high-pitched voice.

My husband takes hold of the spur and gently rocks it just like in the video. It slips off easily and he spends the next minute and a half examining it because he's completely fascinated.
"We're going to get eat up," I say. (I'm not getting bit by mosquitoes and haven't seen one tonight but I want him to hurry.)

He pulls the other one off and he finally takes the other leg from me and sets the rooster down gently on the nest box. Still stunned, it doesn't even try to move.
"He's just been upside down too long. He'll be fine," I say.
"You think?"
"Yeah, you don't want him floppin' around in the dirt anyway. He's fine. Let's go inside."

My husband doesn't let us go inside yet. There could be snakes out (we know a guy who got bit by a copperhead this summer) and we only brought one flashlight so we all have to go together. (Our yard is pitch black without it.) He watches the rooster a few more minutes until he finally lets us come back in the house.

"That was a really good idea," he says. "I never would have thought to do that."
"Youtube, Dear. It's the wave of the future." I wash my hands twice and head back to my computer, thankful once again to be getting some use out my overpriced internet package. "But next time," I call out from the bedroom, "ask your dad."

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Morning Before Church

"It's Sunday, ain't so?" I ask. Most days I don't know what world I'm in, much less the day.
"Yeah," my husband says. "Did you wash my overhauls?"
I roll my eyes at his word for overalls, then I cringe when he pulls them out of his closet. He's going to wear them again. He disappears into the bathroom with clanking of heavy metal buckles. I wonder what age men should start wearing overalls, but I'm sure it's not forty.

I try to wake my daughter for the third time, but she still won't rise. Acorns sound like rocks hitting the tin roof. Sometimes it's so loud it sends the dog hiding in my daughter's closet.

I'm glad for Sundays. Sunday means rest and my brain feels overheated. On Sundays I can read the Bible, visit family between churches, and practice my ukulele. Jim will be expecting a song. Jim's a long, toothpick of a man with a crooked grin you can't help but smile along with. He lets me watch his fingers when he plays guitar or dobro and I do my best to follow along on the ukulele. He calls it my little guitar. I love Jim and when he tells me to sing, I sing, whether I've practiced or not.

The first fall leaves sail down in the breeze outside the sliding glass window. It's dreary looking. If it rains I won't be able to take my ukulele to church with me tonight. My husband said he'd buy me a case for my birthday, but that was months ago. This year has gone by so fast. Ever since I started writing Amish books in January it's flew by. I've recently lost count of how many I've written, but I know I just published number nine.

I put on my headcover, a wide band of black, stretchy cloth, and slip on my sandals. It's time to go and I can't wait to get my day of rest started. I warn myself not to speak to any of my Amish characters today, but I doubt that's possible. In my mind another story's already swimming.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Who Are The Swiss Amish And Why Haven't I Heard Of Them?

As popularity for my books grow, I'm getting this question a lot. Just today I answered this on Facebook and decided it was time for a blog post. 

Who are the Swiss Amish? Well, you have to sit through a little history lesson if you want to know. When the Amish and Mennonites first settled here, they came in two waves. The first wave settled in Pennsylvania and along with other German speaking immigrants at the time they eventually formed their own language, Pennsylvania Dutch, a mixture of their German and English. (The other immigrants eventually dropped it and today it's only the Amish that speak it.) They eventually moved to different places, including Indiana. 

Then there was a second wave of immigrants from Switzerland and other places. They moved directly to Indiana and named their settlement Berne (with an E) after their native homeland of Bern, Switzerland. The two groups didn't intermingle. Some time had passed, maybe 100 years or more, but there's a mutual respect between them. They speak different languages and have different customs. 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075JSQJ8FThe Swiss Amish speak a Swiss German dialect so different than that of the Pennsylvania Dutch that when they do get together they speak English to understand one another. The Swiss Amish drive only open top buggies and don't use headstones to mark graves. They also yodel like in the Swiss Alps. Most are more closed off to the world than the Pennsylvania Dutch, and so less is known about them. 

Many authors who write about the Amish of Seymour (a Swiss Amish settlement in Missouri, where I'm from) and other Swiss Amish settlements, they write as if they are Pennsylvania Dutch living in Missouri. Completely false. Some states like Indiana have both Amish groups.

I worked for over two months to find the exact dialect they speak. It's not a written language, only a spoken one, and there is no Swiss Amish to English dictionary you can order from Amazon. The only way is to form friendships with someone who speaks it. 

I've learned so much about the Swiss Amish this year and I share a lot of that knowledge in my newest book, A Christmas Courtship, where three generations of Swiss Amish courtship practices come together to make a touching, yet humorous romance. It's only $0.99 for Kindle, free with Kindle Unlimited, and also available in paperback.
 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Rural Missouri Baptism

It's September and the creeks are nearly dry now. While other parts of the country face flooding in record amounts, we watch as Swan Creek struggles to cross the slab just down from the house.

It's Sunday, and a girl who had been considering it since Bible school this summer has finally come to a decision for Christ. There's a big dinner after services and an hour just to visit. Then we all go down to the creek. A long line of cars park on the side of a one-lane dirt road. I'm on the passenger side and have to exit the car in weeds waist high, hoping not to surprise a snake.

Picture of Swan Creek, down by my house.
It feels twenty degrees cooler in the shade, so a group forms under the sycamore trees. Some of the women have on dresses or skirts with slick blouses while others wear jeans. The men wear western shirts, and some (including my husband) are dressed in overalls. We wait a few minutes for people from neighboring churches to arrive. Soon songbooks are passed out and we have a prayer before we all sing, "Shall We Gather At The River."

The preacher says a few words, hands his cell phone and Bible to his wife, then wades with the girl to the deepest part he can find. He states the girl's full name and says, "I baptize you, my sister, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. I hold my breath, hoping there's enough water to fully submerge her. She goes under and comes back up a church member. She pushes back wet hair and everyone claps. They walk back to the shore and a line is formed for everyone to shake her hand.

My daughter, who is painfully shy, clings to my side, and as I take her hand to leave, I hope in my heart that the next baptism we attend might be hers. She's eight, with a strong belief in God, but hasn't yet asked Him into her heart. I smile at my husband, remembering the first day of spring when I was twelve and he and I were baptized in Swan Creek. Suddenly my worry dissolves into thankfulness that God's timing is nothing like ours and I have faith that my daughter will answer when He calls her.

Tattie Maggard is the best selling author of The Amish of Swan Creek series, where she combines her own Missouri heritage with that of the local Swiss Amish community. Her books are available for Kindle or in paperback exclusively on amazon.com.

Monday, September 4, 2017

New Release - A Swiss Amish Christmas Series


What’s more important—what everyone else thinks, or what you hear from your heart?


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075CJHCGHJoy Schwartz has always loved to sing, ever since she was little and her teacher taught her to yodel. She’s thrilled when she’s asked to help with the Christmas program the Amish school is putting on—even more so when she finds Lucas Wickey has also volunteered to help.

Despite being “slow,” Lucas can sing better than anyone in Swan Creek Settlement. As her feelings for him grow, she must decide what’s more important—what everyone else thinks, or what she’s hearing from her heart.

Approximately 22,000 words, this is a stand-alone story.

I Hear Christmas (A Swiss Amish Christmas Book 1)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Amish of Swan Creek Collection $0.99 For A Limited Time Only

For a limited time, get all four books in The Amish of Swan Creek series for only $0.99.
Check it out!
https://www.amazon.com/Amish-Swan-Creek-Collection-ebook/dp/B074FSSH2F/ref=sr_1_171?ie=UTF8&qid=1503002109&sr=8-171&keywords=amish+romance

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Broken by Christian Fiction Author, Tattie Maggard


Two broken hearts. One forbidden romance.

Amish school teacher, Emily Graber, is falling for a man who's been married before. The rules of the Swiss Amish community say he's forbidden to remarry, only someone forgot to tell Emily's heart.
https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Forbidden-Amish-Love-Book-ebook/dp/B07517D4BW/ref=sr_1_213?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1504037119&sr=1-213&keywords=amish+romance 
"A compelling, compassionate story of love"
-Donna's Bookshelf

"Such a great story and so well written. You can feel the pain and love between Silas and Emily."
 -Leslee Brown, Amazon Reviewer

"Captivating Read"
-Becky Pool, Amazon Reviewer

Get your copy of The Broken (Book 1 Forbidden Amish Love Series) for only $0.99 on Amazon.com.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

New Amish Release - Forbidden Amish Love Series $0.99 Each For A Limited Time

So excited to release my new Forbidden Amish Love series! Each book is only $0.99 but not for long. Get it now!

Two broken hearts. One forbidden romance.

Amish school teacher, Emily Graber, is falling for a man who's been married before. The rules of the Swiss Amish community say he's forbidden to remarry, only someone forgot to tell Emily's heart.


https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Forbidden-Amish-Love-Book-ebook/dp/B07517D4BW/ref=sr_1_126?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1503755302&sr=1-126&keywords=amish+romance

Book one of the Forbidden Amish Love series. The story continues in book two, The Forbidden. Watch for the dramatic conclusion in book three, The Secret.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Anna May's Favorite Bible Verses

As promised in the book, The Long Way Home, I've compiled a list of Anna May's most treasured Bible verses. These are what brought her through the darkest times in her life. I pray they do the same for you. All these scriptures are from the King James Version of the Bible.
 
“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Galatians 2:21 KJV

"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." Romans 3:28

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." Galatians 2:16

"For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God." Galatians 2:19

"Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" Galatians 3:3

"But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." Galatians 3:25

"Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." Galatians 4:7

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Galatians 5:1

16 "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." Galatians 5:16-18

8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
Ephesians 2:8-10

5 "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:5-7

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

4 "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." Hebrews 6:4-6

13 "For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Hebrews 9:13-14

"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." Hebrews 10:22

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." 1 Peter 2:24

 

 
 

 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sweet Competition - Why I'm Writing Amish Romances

I never dreamed a year ago I'd be writing Amish romances. In my work with www.ChristianBookFinds.com (The website I founded five years ago) I have seen many authors throw together manuscripts with Amish characters trying to make a quick buck. Never in a million years did I think I'd be one of them. But when I was invited to write an Amish novella for a collection with four other authors I accepted. I wanted to write again, and I wanted to make a job of it. I've struggled for many years about the decision to write for a living, and I finally realized that dedicating my time to it would be the only way to make me any better at it. And I believe God wants me to write. So I said yes. I wrote Sweet Competition surprisingly easily.

Previously I'd considered myself a Missouri fiction author, and I found that the Amish genre wasn't far from it. We have an Old Order Amish community just down the road, and as I began to think about how they must live, I realized it couldn't be that much different from how we grew up, or at least how our parents grew up.

I remember my grandfather having an outhouse, and also the one we used for years at church. My husband grew up here as well, and his family didn't have running water until he was twelve. They carried water from the nearby spring. So living simply is part of our Missouri heritage, something I'd like to pass on to my daughter.

I was disappointed when the set got cancelled. Two of the authors decided they couldn't write Amish, and another couldn't make the deadline, so I was left with one book to publish on my own. I decided right then it wouldn't be that hard to write three more and have a collection of my own. I started the ninth of January, and now it is almost August and I've written eight stories, with plans for several more.

I've since learned so much about the Swiss Amish. I was able to visit the Amish country store and speak with the woman who ran it. It was disappointing when she told me that many authors had visited and asked questions, and then "wrote up a bunch of lies they put on the internet". I told her I'd seen the books with the community's name on it and I agreed, even with my limited knowledge of them, that they were lies. The Swiss Amish are very different, and it seems little is known about them. I knew right then I would do my very best to write about the Amish in the most respectful way. I've made friends with some people who grew up Amish and they answer questions for me, and I've began reading the Bible with sort of an Amish lens. How do they see these verses? How is it different than the way we view them? The Christian Amish books we all like to read aren't exactly the way the Amish believe. Some Amish people have actually been shunned for proclaiming salvation through Jesus Christ. Amish groups vary, and so do the rules in each community, so it would be wrong to say all Amish believe a certain way. So my books are as realistic as they can be toward their religion, while still maintaining my own.

Sweet Competition is about how the Bible says we should treat our enemies. I consider this one my "hillbilly romance". The Amish people around here speak just like we do, except their English may be a little better, and some do it so well they don't have any accent at all. But I'm sure some are just as hillbilly as we are, so I created two families that are a little more "down home" than the others. I hope you enjoy it, and follow me on my writing journey.
God Bless.
Tattie Maggard

Check out The Amish of Swan Creek Series on Amazon.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

What Is A Romance?

What does it take to be considered a romance in the Christian fiction genre? Is it young love? A man who at the end proposes marriage? Is romance not for the middle-aged or already married?

I've considered all these things as I begin to write my new Amish Romance series and I've come to think that romance can (or should be) defined as when a couple comes together in unity in both mind, spirit and, (if they're married) body. I believe this is independent of age and marital status.

Can a dead marriage be made alive again? Through Christ I believe it can. I would consider that a romance, wouldn't you? But what if the couple didn't obey God's Word and came together anyway, in marriage or in body? Will we cast their problem out for secular audiences only, not willing to consider a Christian character who is less than perfect? Nay, there is redemption for them, too. That is both a romance and a realistic portrayal of what life is actually like.

And that's why you may find a book or two here and there in my series with characters who marry long before the happy ending.