From author Susan Reinhardt:
Lots of Decor, but No Context
Photo Credit: suzz86
We hear a lot about generics these days. Everything from prescription drugs to clothing has a no-name brand. The big draw is the lower price tag.
I’ve discovered another kind of generic: the generic holiday. Decorations adorn stores without the context of its meaning. In one store, the decorations were linked with the word, “dream.” Ah yes, dream of those clothes and household items, and put them in your cart.
I’m sad today. I miss the Christmas Carols playing, the Merry Christmas greetings, the warmth of society celebrating one of the singular events in history – the birth of Jesus. We’re left with the trappings of a holy-day, stripped bare of its meaning.
As a believer, I’ve committed to keep things in context. While I enjoy the decor and the fun, I’m in awe of the greatest gift I’ve ever received: forgiveness and a relationship with the One who created heaven and earth, Jesus Christ.
Writers and Readers: Has “generic holiday” sprung up among your retailers? What are some of the things you miss from past celebrations?
A WORD FROM HELPING HANDS PRESS, THE PUBLISHERS OF Amazon Top 100 AUTHORS SARAH PRICE AND WHOOPIE PIE PAM JARRELL’S #1 BEST-SELLING STORY- “The Divine Sisterhood of the Whoopie Pie Sisters Trilogy”.
We would like to thank all of the wonderful readers that have purchased, read and reviewed Book I and Book II of the #1 Best–Selling Trilogy “The Divine Sisterhood of The Whoopee Pie Sisters” by Amazon Top 100 authors Sarah Price and Whoopie Pie Pam Jarrell.
Good news about the Trilogy!
The price of Book II was originally $1.99 but has just been lowered to $.99.
Here is the Amazon Kindle link:
Anyone that has purchased Book II at the $1.99 price is welcome to come to the Helping Hands Press Facebook page, message us there, and we will be happy to send you some amazing stories to compensate you for the price reduction.
The Helping Hands Press Facebook Page link is : https://www.facebook.com/HelpingHandsPress
Remember: there is only one dynamic author duo named Sarah Price and Whoopie Pie Pam Jarrell and there is only one original series named “The Divine Sisterhood of The Whoopie Pie Sisters”. Except no imitations!
October 16, eight words into the great Paperwhite giveaway. The word for today to solve the riddle is timeless. If you don’t have the other seven words, please leave a comment here and I’ll send you the links. GOOD LUCK!!!
Free Kindle Paperwhite
Starting Weds Oct 2nd and continuing till Thursday Oct 24th, the Helping Hands Press authors will be hosting a “Road Rally” contest.
What does that entail? What is the Grand Prize? How do you participate?
Each week there will be two to three blogs of HHP authors to stop by on the journey to the Grand Prize- a Kindle Paperwhite. Each author will have a word to give you as you stop by and leave a comment on their blog or message them on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
There will be 14 words in all to gather to complete one phrase. Along the way there will be other prizes as adventurers on the Road Rally gather points as well as words for doing a variety of things. Each author stop along the Rally will have its own fun stuff to do, see and explore.
Some of the other authors that are participating in the Road Rally are: Linda Rondeau, Murray Pura, Jen Cudmore, George Michael Loughmueller, Kathy Bruins, Susan J. Reinhardt, J. Smith, Roger Rheinheimer, Amber Schamel, Randall K. Harp, Marsha Hubler, Sarah Price.
For two of the words, go to Mark Miller’s Facebook – www.FB.com/MarkMillerAuthor
and Linda Wood Rondeau’s blog at http://lindarondeau.blogspot.com/
Author Marsha Hubler Writes Amish/Mennonite Fiction
Since July of this past year, best-selling author Marsha Hubler has joined the ranks of the Helping Hands division of Trestle Press, focusing on Amish/Mennonite fiction for ladies.
With the third novel, LOVE SONG FOR LOUELLEN in her LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY SERIES to be posted any day now, Marsha has also launched out in another brand new genre in her writing career.
At the request of her publisher, she has begun writing twelve volumes, or “shorts,” of Amish/Mennonite fiction, featuring the characters from her LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY SERIES. The short stories will be published over the next year in a compilation entitled THE SNYDER COUNTY QUILTING BEE.
Story one, NANETTE’S NEEDLE AND THREAD, was posted as an e-book several weeks ago, which “stars” Nanette Peachey, a rough-n-tough tomboy of a Mennonite gal who makes her first appearance in BACHELOR’S CHOICE, volume one in the novel series. Nanette hates quilting but finds that her God-given talent of sewing can be used to be a blessing not only to others but to herself as well.
Marsha is presently writing her second short, SADIE BLETCHLER’S TRIP OUT WEST. Sadie, a Mennonite widow in her sixties, is a secondary character from the first two novels and has quite the unique personality. She’s known for her zest for life and a giggle that sounds like a chipmunk with its tail caught in a trap.
“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write about my own recent ten-day trip out West to the canyons, Salt Lake City, Jackson Hole, Mt. Rushmore, and the Crazy Horse Monument,” Marsha says. “I went with my best friend, who has a unique talent for finding herself in the middle of humorous situations. She resembles Sadie Bletchler in my Snyder County series so much that I had no trouble planning this second story and starting to write it. This story is a stray from the romance theme on which I’ve focused. I think it will be a nice change for our readers and one that they will thoroughly enjoy.”
Living in central Pennsylvania in an area heavily populated by Mennonites lends itself well to Marsha’s writing. With her recent excursions not only to the West but to Charleston, SC as well, she has enlarged her world view, thus enhancing her own life experiences from which to center her plots.
Visit Marsha at
From Best Selling Author Sarah Price
A Triangle of Blessings: Amish, Writing, and Readers
I was first introduced to the Amish when I was only eight years old. It was my grandparents who took me to Lancaster County, PA. I sat between them on the front seat of their Cadillac, bouncing up and down with excitement as we passed each horse and buggy.
My grandparents came from a long line of strict Old Order Mennonites. Back in the early 1700s, our ancestors escaped persecution and travelled across the ocean to accept William Penn’s offer for free land in Pennsylvania. I often think about that journey and how terrified they must have been. Seeing the shores of Europe disappear over the horizon, facing an uncertain future in an unknown land…how courageous they were and how unfaltering in their faith in God.
There is something magical about the Amish. In today’s world of technology, information overload and crazy schedules, there is something to be said for a people who manages to maintain a simpler way of life. A people who takes care of each other. A people who lives for honoring God through their daily routines. How can you not fall in love with such people? They are truly blessed.
Likewise, I consider myself a blessed person. For almost twenty-five years, I have been staying among the Amish. In the beginning, I found an Amish family that rented out an apartment over their mule shed. For several years, I would rent the apartment and travel back and forth from my home to their farm. In later years, I was introduced to an Amish woman who rented me a room in her home. Through these connections, I have been permitted the rare opportunity to straddle the fence between my current world and this of my ancestors.
There is another blessing in my life (and I believe we all have many). I have been blessed with the desire to write. Since I was a child, I wrote books. It was my passion, my dream. I love writing, telling stories that entertain and inform. It’s in my blood. I believe that a true author writes for that reason: they have a passion to write. That’s it. It’s as plain and simple as the Amish.
The beautiful thing is that I have been blessed to combine the two: my passion for writing and my passion for the Amish. It’s a marriage made in heaven, as far as I’m concerned. Like my friend, colleague, and fellow author, Karen Anna Vogel, my knowledge of the Amish comes from first-hand experience. It allows me to write authentic books, books that are rich in true knowledge of the Amish, a special knowledge that I love to share with my readers.
That brings me to my final blessing, one that is so important to me: the readers. How fortunate it is that so many wonderful people desire to know the Amish and to learn about their faith! These readers are faced with so much stress: busy lives, illness, uncertainty, and hardship in a time of economic distress. It is such a blessing to know that, even if only for a few hours, they can slip away from this stress through the stories that I love to write.
I invite you into my world, to pick up one of the many Amish books written by wonderful authors that are available in bookstores and online, and to sit back in order to escape, even if just for a few pages. Who knows? Maybe you, too, will find some relief from the everyday stress in your own life as you explore the world of the Amish through our eyes.
From Author Amanda Ward
Thank you for having me on your blog today. I really appreciate it.
I guess when it comes to promoting myself, I am the woman in the corner of a room with a glass of fizz holding a bookmark, hoping someone will notice.
So here’s my bookmark, and I’m drinking a mug of tea!
My name is Amanda J Ward and I am the author of The Thrilling Adventures of Pann Haggerty; a short story series about an Englishwoman of a ‘certain’ age who takes a year off to travel around America in an RV in search of new experiences and perhaps love. They are fun and quirky, and the best compliments I have had is that my mother, mother in law and daughter have read them. Which is really amazing.
I have a full length novel out in September called Without Saying A Word.
‘The good guy gets his girl! After being in love with his older neighbour Laura since they met a year ago, Rhean Tate, Viscount Kirkleigh seizes his chance to make her his, when her past reappears threatening her and her children’s safety. This thirty-four year old male virgin, whisks her into marriage vowing to protect and cherish Laura and her family, with his name and noble family connections.
Will Laura feel overwhelmed by Rhean and run away. Her abusive marriage left her with scars on the inside as well as on the outside, or will she allow her barriers to crumble and be the woman and wife they both deserve’
I live in England with my husband, our three young children and two mad cats called Arthur and Merlin. I write mostly romance, but am dipping my toes in a few uncertain waters such as a regency time-shift which is all planned out. This is the first story in the Fitzroyal novels set around three siblings and their widowed mother.
A couple of years ago I entered New Voices run by M&B. I also entered last year with Her Reverend Majesty, about a vicar who marries a king of a foreign country and has to choose between her vocation or love. Unfortunately although a lot of people were complimentary. It didn’t make the final. So, later on that year I joined NANO where Laura and Rhean’s story was being written. I managed to finish it early this year and I had an R&R from one publisher. However, when I was asked by Trestle to submit, I got an immediate response to could they have it. Roll on September when Bonkers in Boston and Without Saying A Word come out.
I’m by no means a regular writer. I don’t have a set time of day when I can write. Each day in my home is completely different as to how, when and if I can get anything done. The past few weeks have been manic as the kids have been off school. It’s only now in the week before they go back, that I am able to catch up and do reviews etc.
I am a HUGE reader. I have been reading since I can remember, and there were times when I am sure my mother despaired at me for hoarding books under my bed. Before my father died, we used to go to the library together every Saturday, with me trotting after him pulling the shopping trolley. He would fill it up with war books. My grandmother was a reader of romantic fiction. I found some in her spare room one day when I was eight and snooping. Since then I have been hooked. My favourite series is still the Temptation line of Harlequin books, but there are authors I am exceptionally loyal to. I adore historical fiction and royalty books. I have dvds about them and biographies lining my bookcase. Phillippa Gregory, Anne O’Brien, Marguerite Kaye, Michelle Willingham and Sophie Perinot top my list there.
My influences writing wise come from my friends, and also what I like to read and watch. I am a HUGE Gilmore Girls, Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Sci Fi and Big Bang Theory fan.
When I write Pann, for some reason, I see it as a sitcom. I think that’s the best way to describe the series, and I like working to a deadline for some reason. The worst thing about me is that I procrastinate like mad. It is really dreadful. Finding other things to do rather than sit in front of the screen and get words to appear on it from my head. For some reason I love working in peace and quiet. I guess it’s because I talk to myself when I type and the looks I get from my children and husband, and the cats too are very offputting. Yes there are days when I feel I have no talent for writing and that what I do is absolute rubbish. How do I cope? I walk away from what I’m doing for a time.
Any advice? Don’t give up.
Here is an teaser from Pann Haggerty Volume three Bonkers In Boston.
Hope you enjoy it!.
When Joe came back to the meeting house for her less than half an hour later. He was laden down with bags. Hoping he got the right things for her, upon seeing the sight before him, stopped dead, lifted his face to the sky and whispered
“Oh Jeez not this. Not here. Not now”
For standing on the steps was Pann. She had a union jack cap on her head and and a frilly apron around her. She was handing out slices of cake and plastic cups of tea to anyone that would take it. A broad smile lit up her pixie like face and she was obviously having a fantastic time. Laughing and chatting to tourists and residents alike.
“What do you think you are doing Crazy Lady?” Joe said slowly.
“Well, duh” Pann mocked him. “What does it look like. I’m having a tea party. Where better to have one. Than here!” She announced taking a bow. Cutting a piece of sunken, lopsided cake, Pann put it on a napkin and handed it to Joe.
“I knew you were up to something” Joe muttered taking a bite of the cake. It tasted much better than it looked.
“You can’t have a tea party without cake” Pann said stubbornly.
Joe took a deep breath.
“Wrong revolution darlin. That was the French one” He informed her.
“And the tea party?” asked Pann, totally confused by all the history being thrown at her.
“To do with taxing of tea. Crates of it were thrown overboard and into the river”
“What an absolute waste of perfectly good tea” Pann sniffed. She sat down with her own cup and munched on her cake.
Joe couldn’t resist taking a photograph of her.
“Say Tea Party” he teased. Pann stuck her tongue out at him. Joe continued taking photographs anyway. She pulled up her jeans at one point exposing red socks.
“Pann what are you wearing?”
“Red socks. You said Boston was the home of the red socks. So I am wearing them because I’m in Boston”.
“Pann, you crazy Englishlady. When I said Boston was home to the red socks, I meant the Red Sox. A baseball team” Joe said slowly and carefully so she would understand.
“Baseball” Pann thought for a moment. “Is that like rounders?”
“You have to be kidding me! You’ve never heard of baseball?” Joe’s voice was incredulous.
“Of course I have. You hit a ball with a round stick. Then run around the field and touch bases. That’s rounders” The tone of her voice dared him to argue the toss.
“What about football?” Joe decided to open the can all the way.
“Rugby” Pann countered
“Football” Pann was evidently enjoying her banter with him.
He sat down on the steps and put his head in his hands.
“Save me from crazy Englishwomen” He pleaded to no-one in particular.
“Sorry pal. You’re on your own” Came a retort from a passer by.
Pann sat down beside him and snuggled up. She gave a sigh of happiness.
“That was fun” She giggled girlishly sipping another cup of tea.
Well there you. A sneak peek at what Pann is like. If you want to read more, you can catch up with Pann on.
in the US
im on facebook at
and my website
and of course email me at
Thanks for having me and hope to hear from readers soon!
Ten Equals One
By Mark Miller
See, that’s a misleading way to start. There are actually eleven of us and twelve stories. I’m talking about a group I fondly refer to as the Authors of One and our series, simply called One. The Authors of One consist of ten authors, plus me. Ten equals one. I think we have the math straight now.
In the synopsis, I call it “a spiritual anthology examining True-Life experiences of Authors and their Faith. As the series evolves expect to discover what it means to have faith, no matter what that faith is and no matter where they live. Remember that we are all part of this One World.”
I think it has grown beyond that. What’s more, it has really taught me a lot.
We are nearing the end of the series. Story Eleven, by well-known Amish author Sarah Price, is available now. After that, I am going to put the bookends on it with Story Twelve.
In between my first story, Meant To Be, and the last, which I am calling Choices, a myriad of talented authors opened my eyes. I felt like they stuck out their hand and when I grabbed hold, they carried me around the world. Along the way, I watched them learn, live, fall in love, and even confront death. We shared more than one out-of-body experience and time-travelled.
The best part is that it is all true. These experiences are honest and emotional. Time and again, they bared deeply personal parts of themselves, taking risks that allowed we readers to become that much richer for looking into their lives.
Another thing that should be said is these are generous people. They are not preaching from some obscure pulpit. They each have a message and want to give something more. Each author in this series is giving at least half, some all, of their proceeds to charity. These stories support a variety of worthy causes.
Why not enrich your life and help someone else too? Each story is ONLY 99 Cents and the Amazon Kindle links are here:
Visit my official site at www.MillerWords.com – or – Check me out on Facebook:
The fantasy adventure Empyrical Tales – http://www.facebook.com/EmpyricalTales
A spiritual anthology featuring best-selling and award-winning authors – http://www.facebook.com/MarkMillersOne
Sons of the King, a Christian sci-fantasy co-written with my daughter – http://www.facebook.com/Mysstira
Small World Global Protection Agency, an educational action-packed junior spy adventure – http://www.facebook.com/SWGPA
Please connect with the Authors of One on Facebook – www.fb.com/MarkMillersOne
Meet Best-Selling Author Marsha Hubler and
THE LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY SERIES published by Trestle Press
With “horse blood in her veins,” what else could Marsha Hubler write about but stories with horses?
“From the time I knew what horses were, I loved them,” Marsha says. “Although I collected horse models, wrote stories about horses, colored horse pictures, and had my own Annie Oakley outfit as a child, it wasn’t until I was married and had a place of my own that I owned horses. The only time I was near horses as a child was when my mother took me to a riding stable once in a while, where I always asked to ride a pony named Sugar. As I rode, I rubbed my hands on the horse real hard, and then for the rest of the day at home, I could smell the horse anytime I wanted (until Mother made me wash my hands for supper!) Now an ouchy back prohibits me from riding anymore, so I write books that have horses in them so I can ride vicariously. I have many fond memories from which I can base my plots.”
Marsha has had eleven juvenile fiction books published about kids and horses, including the best-selling Keystone Stables Series by Zonderkidz. Her latest project, though, has shifted her attention from kids’ books to the red-hot Amish/Mennonite fiction genre for ladies.
Marsha had owned horses over a twenty-year period, therefore knows her horse facts in and out. She also lives in central PA, “Dutch” country, highly populated by the Amish and Mennonites, who have been a valuable first-hand resource for her series about the Amish and Mennonite folk in the beautiful Susquehanna Valley in central PA.
BACHELOR’S CHOICE, volume one in THE LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY, was released on July 1st, and TEACHER’S PET, volume two, just came out. LOVE SONG FOR LOUELLEN will be out in September, and over the next year, Marsha is also writing twelve short stories based on the characters in her Amish/Mennonite books. All her latest books and short stories have elements of romance interwoven with Christian principles and … horses, of course! That compilation of short stories is called THE SNYDER COUNTY QUILTING BEE.
Marsha has had a background conducive to effective writing. She has a master’s degree in education from Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA, and has been an educator for over forty years. She had co-founded two private schools, Kreamer Christian Academy, Kreamer, PA, and the Bethesda Prep School, Milton, PA, and had served as teacher/administrator in each. She is presently a PA certified homeschool consultant, working out of her office in her Middleburg home, where she lives with her husband and two dogs.
Marsha is getting very favorable reviews on Amazon for her LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY SERIES. She also hears from her Keystone Stables fans on a regular basis. Several said they have started to seriously think about God, and one gal wrote that she was thinking of killing herself until she read one of Marsha’s books.
“That’s the best pay any writer could ever get,” Marsha says. “I write not only to entertain but also to encourage my readers. Every one of my books has a positive outlook on life with solutions to every problem with God’s help.”
Her life verse is 1 Corinthians 15:10a: “But by the grace of God I am what I am….”
She loves to hear from her readers of all ages. Visit her at
Hear Marsha interviewed by her Trestle Press publisher at:
From inspirational author George Michael Loughmueller.
An Amish Home. That’s what Allan has now. He found his path and so much goodness came into his life. My new stories are set in Karsten Field about eight to ten years after An Amish Journey. Allan is happily married with two young children. His oldest daughter, Alice, even has a family of her own. Life is good.
That doesn’t mean they don’t face any challenges. Sometimes, when life is that good, we need reminders. An Amish Home – Attainable is one of those reminders.
Karsten Field is suffering from a severe drought, something to which many readers can relate. However, having an independent, simple life could mean the end of Karsten Field. Without modern technology to save their crops, Allan and Ben Abrim worry about winter food shortages. They are in the presence of a metaphorical Goliath.
The story of David and Goliath inspired Attainable. A small Amish community is only as strong as its faith. A natural disaster could destroy everything they have. Escaping the drought seems to be unattainable. Although Allan has been set free, he still has plenty to learn and God is always teaching.
The big questions: If the people of Karsten Field are so faithful, why would God let them experience a drought? Why would He not send rain?
The answer is simple: No matter what comes before you, God will see you through it. That does not mean He will change weather patterns, mainly because His reward is not on earth. It doesn’t matter what happens to us here. Cancer, war, poverty are all people problems, not God problems. Bad things can and will happen to us in this life. God is not going to solve all of our problems for us, but He will be there to see us through them, as he did with David. God could have struck down Goliath or sent a flood. Instead, David had to stand up and face the giant. He was never alone, God was always with him.
God is in Karsten Field. Allan has to stand up and face his own giant.
If things seem impossible or insurmountable, Allan has to learn that everything is Attainable with God.
An Amish Home – The Flood is available now – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008OAFO04
An Amish Home – Attainable will be coming very soon!
Get Set Free – An Amish Journey from the beginning – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006K8U7CW
You can also find me on BN Nook and Apple iTunes!
Please have a look at my blog – LaughingGeorge.blogspot.com
And visit me on Facebook – Facebook.com/LaughingGeorge
Here is a recent Q&A with my friend and fellow author Karen Anna Vogel. If you haven’t read any of her heartwarming stories you really must!
Karen Anna Vogel talks about Amish friends who inspire her writing.
What is your connection to the Amish?
I live ½ hour away from Smicksburg, PA, a large Old Order Amish settlement. I shop at their stores and we hired Amish men to help remodel our century old farmhouse. It’s been fifteen years of remodeling, (still not done…) so we got to know many men and their families. On their breaks, they love to talk and swap stories, and I always have 1001 questions, ranging from “Do you grow celery for weddings?”(They had no idea what I was talking about) to “Do you read the Bible?” (Yes, they do, KJV)
I became good friends with Lydia, (Katie Byler in Knit Together) after buying so many plants from her greenhouses, and “Granny” while taking lots of people to her quilt shop. (Granny wishes to be completely anonymous) She is Granny Weaver in Amish Knitting Circle, Amish Friends Knitting Circle, Amish Doll and Knit Together.
When did your fascination with Amish culture start?
In my mid-20’s my husband and I moved to Upstate New York. There are many Amish in rural New York, and we became friends with a handicapped man, Harry Hershberger, and his wife, Katie. (Eli and Lottie Hershberger in Knit Together) His buggy was hit as a young man, after the birth of their daughter and the Amish build a variety store on the side of his house. My four kids loved to go in and get coloring books, and we all got to know Harry from our regular visits. He had some use of his hands and made quilts, and I took them to festivals.
One day he told me I was a trusted English friend, and invited me into their food co-op. When I moved back home to Pennsylvania fourteen years later, the Amish in Smicksburg knew Harry & Katie. Since I was a trusted friend to them, they trusted me. Once you’re a trusted friend, it’s like having an all access pass into their lives it seems. They readily open up, and if you’re one of them. Once I was chatting with a woman and her husband came home from work, and he never met me before. He looked at her sternly, and she said, “Friends with Harry Hershberger in NY” and he smiled at me and nodded in approval.
Tell us about your novels and continuing short stories.
My novels out now are stand-alone stories, but are all called Amish Knitting Novels. Knit Together and The Amish Doll are set in different locations, but they both focus on healing through knitting and faith in Christ.
Continuing shorts have made quite a comeback. Anne of Green Gables, Pickwick Papers, and Jan Karon’s At Home in Mitford series were all weekly serials in newspapers. My shorts come out every 3 weeks. Amish Knitting Circle started with Granny inviting five women from her church district to a knitting circle to knit shawls for tornado victims in Joplin, MO. She invites women she has inkling are hiding problems. Granny spins yarn and feels women are stronger spun together, and by the end of 10 episodes, you see how much they needed each other.
Amish Friends Knitting Circle is about Granny and her girls having a knitting circle with friends from the Smicksburg Baptist Church. It’s been lots of fun to write, since I take lines right out of my own conversations with the Amish.
What are your readers saying about your books?
Since I deal with cancer, infertility, spousal abuse and other women’s issues, women tell me they are finding help and comfort, especially through Amish Knitting Circle and Amish Friends Knitting Circle. Some women are starting knitting or craft circles, spreading the message that we’re stronger as women, spun together. Also, Knit Together is semi-autobiographical. I wrote if after losing my mom and two cousins in 13 months. So it deals with grief and it seems to be ministering to people. The complete Serenity Prayer is in the book, and different parts of the prayer are prayed by different characters. It helped bring healing to me, and I hope it does the same for my readers.
Where can readers find your books and connect with you?
You can contact me at www.karenannavogel.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/karen.a.vogel.9 My blog, Amish Crossings, is meant to be a place to cross paths with others interested in the Amish or simple living. Please join me there at www.karenannavogel.blogspot.com I also share my Amish photography on Pinterest, and you can follow me on Twitter @karenannavogel.
My eBooks can be found on Amazon, B&N, Sony, and anywhere eBooks are sold. My paperback, Knit Together and The Amish Doll, are on Amazon for now, but soon to be distributed to brick and mortar stores and other websites. Our family store, Thrifty Christian Shopper, www.thriftychristian.com (Also on EBay and Amazon) will carry the paperbacks as well. You also might find them in your local library. Ask the librarian to get a copy if they don’t have one.
Q&A with Roger Rheinheimer on his latest book “Yield Spread – A Novel”
How did you come up with the idea for this book?
Subprime mortgages, and the mortgage brokers that originated them, have been widely blamed for the meltdown in the economy and devaluation of real estate over the last several years. As with most sound bites, there is a grain of truth to that, but at last look, subprime loans in default represented less than 5% of the total value of residential real estate in the US, hardly the only or even main culprit in this severe recession. The more likely cause was the bad behavior of Wall Street, specifically burying those subprime loans, the so-called toxic assets, in bundles of other mortgages without disclosing them to the buyers of those large pools of loans.
And then there was the practice of leveraging mortgages, historically one of the most reliable sources of security for other debt.
On average, holders of mortgages could leverage them ten times. In other words, you could put up a $100,000 mortgage as collateral for $1,000,000 of credit or other debt. Beginning earlier this century, that leverage crept up and up, until at its peak was one hundred to one! Now, a $100,000 mortgage will securitize up to $10,000,000 in other debt. My Uncle Fred doesn’t understand the math. No one else does, either. If the holders of the debt secured by that little $100,000 mortgage start to get nervous and ask for their money back, the entity that borrowed the money and pledged the $100,000 loan is in trouble. Now that will trigger a major bubble burst, enough to get soap suds, or something, all over everyone.
Of course, none of this could have happened without our complicity. Greed is alive and well. When is the last time you heard someone talk about the “right thing to do”?
The chapter in Yield Spread that shows the birth (origination) of both a subprime loan and a stated income loan was fun to write. I thought it was a balanced portrayal of both the lax, greedy loan process AND the greed on the borrowers’ side that made it possible. Yet when the other writers in my writers group critiqued that chapter, they soundly and singly blamed the mortgage company. When I asked if the borrowers didn’t have some responsibility, after all, they came in and asked for the loans, they all shook their heads and said no. So, more regulation and oversight, I asked. They weren’t too sure about that.
What is your writing process like? Where do you like to be when you are writing?
My favorite writing time is first thing in the morning. I usually have headphones on listening to music. I wonder if the pace of the plot is influenced by the type of music I’m listening to. I should probably test that.
What do you hope readers will get from this book?
I hope the readers of Yield Spread will occasionally put the book down and wander over to the closest mirror, and ask who they see. The only way Wall Street can continue its greedy ways is if we allow them to. We all want steady increases to our stock portfolio and home equity, and as long as that occurs, we really don’t care all that much what’s going on “with those guys.” I also hope readers will wonder if a complete meltdown really can occur. In this day when everything is computer managed, can the lights really go out? I wonder, I really do.