Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's All About 'Love, Amish Style,' with Author Diane Craver

Today I'm so thrilled to have the wonderful author and my fabulous friend Diane Craver posting! On a day that celebrates love, Diane knows all about love, sacrifice and happiness. She's one of the most fantastic people I've ever been blessed enough to know and I am sure you'll love meeting her and you'll LOVE LOVE LOVE her books!  Leave a comment and be eligible to win the drawing for a $10 Amazon GC and a PDF copy of A Joyful Break.  Welcome, Diane!

Amish Courtship & Excerpt of A JOYFUL BREAK

Thank you, Regina, for featuring me here on your wonderful blog!

Before I wrote my first Amish romance, A JOYFUL BREAK (Dreams of Plain Daughters, Book One), I did a lot of research so thought it might be fun to share the courtship traditions among the Plain people.

When a boy turns 16, he’s given an open-topped courting buggy so he can attend chaperoned social gatherings and meet an appropriate girl. The main event for meeting a potential partner is the Sunday evening hymn singing, when Amish teenagers from several districts get together. The boy and girl who are courting usually ride in the buggy back to the girl’s home for a chance to talk. Other structured social events provide ways for young Amish men and women to meet partners and spend time together. There are Sunday afternoon gathering and evening youth get-togethers, along with barn raisings, frolics, sports activities (sledding, volleyball) and picnics. The boy is allowed to escort the girl he is courting in his buggy to these events.

About A Joyful Break:
After her mother’s untimely death, a twenty-year-old Amish woman has a difficult decision to make: Choose to break from the Plain community and her boyfriend to live in the English world permanently...or join the Amish church.


Samuel’s blue eyes widened. “So you’re going to Kentucky, then to the beach. We can go to         the beach for our honeymoon. I’ve always wanted to see the ocean.”

Interesting. She didn’t recall him ever saying he wanted to go to the beach. “We won’t go. Something will happen. Besides few Amish couples go on a honeymoon. We’ll be busy cleaning up after the wedding for several days. Judith would kill me if we didn’t spend our honeymoon weekend at home to help clean up. And have you forgotten how newlyweds travel to relatives’ homes each weekend? That takes months to visit everyone. I guess you’ve been around too many English folk in your shop and heard about their honeymoons.”

“That’s true. We don’t want to miss out on collecting our wedding gifts. Of course, a lot of these gifts are furniture and quilts. I plan on making all our furniture.” He rubbed his chin. “I’d like to go to the beach before my beard gets too long so it’d have to be soon after we marry.”

She smiled at him. “Then I can go to the beach again, but right now I need to go before I’m baptized. I want to do my rumschpringe.”

He raised his eyebrows in disbelief. “You did your running around with me when you were eighteen. We experienced the English world together then.”

She sighed. “I went to one baseball game with you to see the Cincinnati Reds. That was all I did for my rumschpringe.”

“Did you forget Kings Island when I kissed you for the first time?”

“I guess I did.” She’d been shocked when he’d kissed her at the amusement park. The Amish stressed to their young people that the courting couple shouldn’t have any physical contact. Not even kissing or holding hands. Although it wasn’t proper, she’d liked his kiss. She decided to tease him a bit. “Your kiss at the baseball game must have been better. I remember it the best.”

He took a big drink of pop. “I bet my kisses would be sweeter on the beach.”

“I have to tell you the truth. I’ve taken care of my siblings for a year since my mamm died. I love them but need to take a break and experience different things before I commit to our way of life. I want to feel the sand between my toes and see the blue ocean. And I can’t wait to see the dolphins play in the water.” She lifted her arm and waved her hand across the rolling fields. “I love our country scenery but at the same time, I’m tired of the green grass and hills. I want to see something different.”

Review snippets for A JOYFUL BREAK:
“ I am a big fan of Amish romance. The struggles Rachel goes through make this story well worth reading, allowing the reader to connect with Rachel and others, as if it was their own life. Definitely a to-buy book.” Coffee Time Romance
“ Diane Craver’s book transports you to the world of an Amish Girl - her dreams and her conflicts. ” M. Beaugrand
“ Thank you Diane Craver for this wonderful book. ” Rebaka
A JOYFUL BREAK is available in paperback and ebook!

Thank you for visiting, Diane and Happy Valentine's Day. Friends, remember to leave a comment and be eligible to win the drawing for a $10 Amazon GC and a PDF copy of "A Joyful Break"

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day Ideas and Delights with Author Christine London

Today I am so delighted to have the wonderful romance author Christine London visiting my blog. 

My blog is called "Gina's World of Good", as you know, and I can honestly say that Christine London is someone who brings a world of good into the world. Not only is she an incredibly talented and successful writer, but she's also one of the nicest, most intelligent and empathetic people I've ever been lucky enough to meet. She's inspiring! Love you, Christine!  

Christine will be talking about romantic moments and what might be an inspiration to you this Valentine Time of year. And I'm delighted to be visiting with Christine at her blog and talking about a special bond of love that lasts forever - the bond between my father and me. Please join me over there at

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Are you the type that doesn't like a holiday to dictate what to do or say?  Valentine's Day is such a holiday for many. Often thought to be a creation of card companies of the twentieth century, more than a true chance to reflect the depths of the heart, the day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other. It is an official feast day in both Anglican and Lutheran traditions hearkening back to Saint Valentinus (270 A.D.) the martyr who ministered to early persecuted Christians of the Roman Empire and performed wedding ceremonies for those otherwise forbidden to marry.

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That bit of history aside, it IS a reminder, even an opportunity to remember not only those close to you, but that special loved one. Whether he or she is a new love interest or one with whom you have celebrated many anniversaries, Valentine's Day gives those who are not normally demonstrative an opportunity to pop a real or virtual champagne cork to celebrate that special love. A good demonstration of affection can be a huge deposit in your sweetheart's emotional bank account, so why not set aside reticence and doubts to have a bit of fun?

What gestures have you either given or received that particularly touched you? What is the one 'something' that was the best gesture or thing you have ever received? What would be your dream Valentine gift/gesture? 

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Here's a few ideas to warm you up:

- Ask a friend to be 'waiter' for the evening. Choose a special local. Beach, forested glen, seaside vista or your own dining room can all serve as romantic venue. Simple as a picnic or extravagant as a full five course catered, the charm is you and your imaginative effort. The 'waiter', white linen cloth over forearm, can open the first bottle of champagne, bring out the meal (from kitchen or picnic basket/cooler). Table to be set beautifully by the 'waiter' ahead of time and he/she to disappear before desert. Music compliment via I-tunes. Candle light. A string of twinkling white lights. Magic.

- Pack a special lunch for your beloved. Small containers of out-of-the-ordinary tasty treats. Deli prepared or by your own hand matters not. Include a pretty napkin, plastic cutlery tied with a ribbon, a single rose atop. Use your imagination. Maybe an invitation to coffee and 'dessert' for that evening?

- Tie a 'promise' around a few cherries in a bowl of cherries set on the breakfast table or on her/his doorstep. (either wrap a few in tissue paper with promise written upon or punch a hole in small paper note tied to a few stems).

*Good for a week of picking up the kids from daycare

*I clean the bathrooms all of February

*two nights of babysitting so you can go out with the girls/guys.

*Gift certificate for a pedicure
*Tickets for two games of bowling
*Two tickets and babysitter provided for going to the cinema to see Academy Award Nominated flick.(Will make for more fun Academy Awards Ceremony viewing in late February)
*Terrarium of succulents - "I find you succulent" — on attached tag. ' Let's go to _____ on the weekend of _____. (All reservations made)
*Show up at his or her workplace in silly or sexy costume (Clown, gorilla, French maid, Chippendale, full tuxedo, short dress and stilettos) with a bouquet on bended knee. (Don't you just adore someone willing to make a spectacle of her/himself for you?)

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*Notes left about the house--one leading to another scavenger hunt style. The last is the 'golden ticket' of a surprise.(A vacation, a dinner out, a concert, to tickets to a sporting event.)

*Huge bowl of popped corn and two DVD's rented/bought for the evening. Classic romance flick for your gal (Nottinghill, Something's Gotta Give, Last of the Mohicans, Under the Tuscan Sun), guy flick (James Bond, Die Hard, Terminator, Mission Impossible) for your guy. You watch the double feature together! No complaining allowed by the opposite sex during opposite sex movie!

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Okay readers--What are your ideas for a fab Valentine or 'Just because' evening/gift? DO SHARE!!

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Christine London's latest in the 55 Portobello Road series--

Digital Artist Alex Kent
Valentine Huntsman - now only 99 cents at
They say opposites attract. Lou's an American cabbie in London who definitely disapproves anything resembling animal cruelty. When she meets a Huntsman as fare, he seems an intriguing mix of California meets Britain in spite of his line of work. Will his invitation to a  romantic Valentine's dinner turn to tragedy or is it Brant that poses the real danger?
   Down the curb just emerging from baggage reclaim stepped an unlikely vision. Tommy Bahama shirt, putty colored knee length shorts and a smile; the tall golden haired man now heading for the cab queue, looked about as likely as an Eskimo in Miami.
   He had a rucksack with a California Houndsman Association emblem emblazoned on it. "Damn." She peered into her rear view mirror, smooshing her lips together to smear what remained of glossy balm over too-dry lips. She'd never have bothered otherwise. Her countrymen might be many things, but generous tippers was not generally on the short list of positives. Flat hand raised to brow, he jumped noticeably as his gaze caught her advert doused cab. Not the usual classic black, she'd been forced to borrow one from a mate while hers was in the shop. Seems a stuck door took a bit more than ten minutes fix.
   He waved at her with more gusto than the chilly day or relative sparseness of clients required. Pulling to the curb, she sighed and opened her window.
   "Mister Arryn?"
   "That's me." He hoisted the bag to his shoulder and reached for the door.
   Was that a Brit twist she heard?
   "Sutherland Hotel, please." Lord. He was a Brit.
   "Houndsman Convention?" She stared into his gold-flecked green eyes.
   Man of few words? She would be too, arriving in an outfit like that. What part of English mid-winter-dress-in-no-way-resembling-California-beachwear did he not understand?
   As he slid onto the leather bench seat he pulled in air between clenched teeth. Resisting the urge to chuckle, she set the meter and put the cab in gear.
   "Now this is a turnabout," he said. "I look like you sound."
   Odd way of commenting on her being a Yank, but two points for creativity. Silence the best commentary, she kept her eyes on the road.
   "I rather think you are tired of hearing that, " he added.
   She remained silent.
   "I'll take that for a yes." The cab shifted and bumped. She looked in the rear view mirror. He was digging in his bag, pulling something out. Half a kilometer down the motorway, she snatched a glimpse of him bare-chested. Moments later he'd popped on an undershirt and jumper. Perhaps he wasn't completely mad. Certainly not hard on the eyes. Damn if the odd ones weren't always the hunks.
   "I apologise for my previous assumptions." He continued to contort. Good Lord. He was changing into trousers too? "You might well be an aspiring actress practicing your dialects.'re one of a cabbie exchange scheme. Two of ours for one of yours." He gazed in the rear view mirror, his eyes meeting hers.
   "Sorry. Silence must be your CIA training."
   A small percussive chuckled escaped her. She gripped the wheel, digging fingernails into palms.
   "Ah, so you are listening." He settled into the seat and peered out the window.



Author of 100 Romance's Best of the Year -  When We Were Amazing


Christine At Amazon Author Central 


Christine, thank you so much for your fun and inspiring post! I'm sure there are a lot of 'significant others' who will be very grateful to you, too!!!