Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt—fall edition! This time around, the hunt has 25 stops and runs from 10/18 (noon MDT)–10/20 (midnight MDT). It’s a great way to discover new books from some of your favorite authors (and maybe meet some new authors you haven’t yet heard of). The grand prize is an iPad Mini, plus two chances at a 25-book prize pack. AND some individual stops have an additional prize, so read each post carefully!
There will be a red clue at the bottom of each post that you’ll need to write down, and that clue will guide you to the next stop. It’s best to begin the scavenger hunt at stop #1, Lisa Bergren’s site. Then after you’ve gone through all 25 stops and collected all the clues, fill out the Rafflecopter form on Lisa’s site. Be ready to provide the completed clue quote within 24 hours of email notification from Lisa, or another will be drawn randomly. No need to email or submit it unless you’re notified on 10/21. The contest is open internationally, so everyone is welcome to participate! Let’s get started!
I’d like to welcome my friend and fellow Amish-fiction author Suzanne Woods Fisher to my blog today! Suzanne is an award-winning, bestselling author of Amish fiction and non-fiction. The Waiting was a finalist for a 2011 Christy Award, The Search won a 2012 Carol Award, The Choice was a finalist for a 2011 Carol Award. Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World and Amish Proverbs: Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life were both finalists for the ECPA Book of the Year (2010, 2011). Find out more at her website or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Suzanne’s latest novel, The Letters, is the first in the Inn at Eagle Hill series. Here’s a bit about the book: “Rose Schrock is a plain woman with a simple plan. Determined to find a way to support her family and pay off her late husband’s debts, she sets to work to convert the basement of her Amish farmhouse into an inn. While her family, especially her cranky mother-in-law, is unhappy with Rose’s big idea, her friend and neighbor, Galen King, supports the decision and he helps with the conversion. As Rose finalizes preparations for visitors, she prays. She asks God to bless each guest who stays at the Inn at Eagle Hill. As the first guest arrives and settles in, Rose is surprised to discover that her entire family is the one who receives the blessings, in the most unexpected ways. And she’s even more surprised when that guest decides to play matchmaker for Galen King.”
A Grandmother’s Influence
“You will always leave something behind. Your influence.” Amish proverb
My grandmother, Marion Woods, was a bundle of high energy. After her five children were raised, she decided to start a tearoom on the sun porch of her large country home called Eagle Hill, on Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts. When my dad brought his future bride home to meet the family, my grandmother handed her a knife and a bowl of tomatoes and told her to start slicing. After all, the tearoom was booked with lunch reservations and Marion needed extra hands. My mother, who came from an oh-so-proper home, was appalled. My grandmother didn’t even blink.
The tearoom was so well received that my grandmother decided to expand Eagle Hill and build cottages that surrounded the lake. She planned to rent out the cottages to vacationing families during the warmer months. In a rare moment of reflection, she decided to first visit with her friend, Ruke Wakefield, who ran the nearby Toll House Inn, also in Plymouth County, to glean some tips about inn keeping.
The name of Ruth Wakefield may not be familiar to you, but I can guarantee you have benefited from her influence in the kitchen. Ruth had a delicious family cookie recipe, Butter Drop Cookies, with melted chocolate stirred into the cookie batter. One day, Ruth was out of baker’s chocolate so she substituted broken pieces of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate, expecting the chocolate to melt and absorb into the dough. (I’d like to think that might have been the very day my grandmother paid a call, but I think that’s just the fiction writer in me.) Ruth chopped up the semi-sweet chocolate and tossed the diced pieces into the batter instead of melting them first. When she removed the pan from the oven, Ruth was surprised to discover the chocolate pieces hadn’t melted but were intact, soft, and creamy. Accidentally, she had invented the world’s first “chocolate chip cookie.”
At the time, Ruth called her creation “Toll House Crunch Cookies.” As the popularity of Toll House Crunch Cookies increased, sales of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate bars also spiked. Soon, Nestle started to sell chocolate chips as a product. Nestle and Ruth Wakefield came up with an agreement: Nestle would print the “Toll House Cookie” recipe on its package and Ruth would be given a lifetime supply of Nestle chocolate. The Toll House Cookie is still the most popular cookie in America. Talk about a woman’s influence!
Back to the meeting between my grandmother and Ruth Wakefield. My grandmother left Ruth filled with encouragement and enthusiasm and ideas about how to expand Eagle Hill as an inn, which she promptly did. The 17-acre farm transitioned into a delightful, sought after destination. Fifty years later, I wrote a three-book series, starting with The Letters, about a strong, determined woman who started an inn called Eagle Hill.
My grandmother passed away when I was very young, but her “can do” influence remained. It’s encouraging to realize your example as a parent or grandparent goes deep into your children’s development. Such awareness is a motivation, too, to be our best self at all times. Be it cookies or innkeeping, you have a lasting impact on the next generation.
The Scavenger Hunt Skinny
Before you go, write down stop #12 clue: TO AMISH.
Your next stop is Suzanne’s own blog! Make sure you make the rounds to all 25 stops and then enter the Rafflecopter form at stop #26 back at Lisa Bergren’s site to be in the running for all the big prizes!
I’ll also be giving away FIVE sets of The Big Sky series! Use the widget below to enter!