Back-to-School Reflections

by Kristina Ludwig
Sep 16
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: September 16, 2015 at 12:54 pm

The back-to-school season always brings a big smile to my face–and not only because our neighborhood pool is blissfully empty for quiet daytime swims with my baby girl. ;)

I adore seeing cute little kids with freshly-pressed clothes and large, earnest eyes, clutching brand-new backpacks and notebooks as they head off for a day full of learning. I also get a kick out of the middle- and high-schoolers, many of whom are trying out new looks and identities. To many of them, the beginning of the school year is a blank slate, one in which they can be anything they want to be–and to me, that’s both endearing and inspiring.

This post might seem a bit late, considering that the kids have been back for a few weeks now, but the school year is still fresh and new. Throughout September, I often find myself reminiscing about first days of school past, and I also feel more inclined to learn new things and teach others as well. And just today, I had a weird craving for an apple, just like one you’d find on the stereotypical teacher’s desk! I guess there are worse foods to crave. ;)

I guess these are enough books to last me through my September learning renaissance. ;)

I guess these are enough books to last me through my September learning renaissance. ;)

This September, I’ve been visiting the library frequently, not only to expose Xaviana to new books and fun activities like Baby Rhyme Time, but also to quest for new reading material of my own. In the process, I discovered two authors that I loooove. Suzanne Woods Fisher writes Amish fiction that combines everything I look for in a good book: excitement, adventure, romance, and faith. I also fell in love with The Lost Girls of Rome by Italian author Donato Carrisi, because I’m a huge fan of suspenseful crime dramas.

I’ve also been playing teacher for Xaviana, who is almost 11 months old and has entered this amazing phase in which she seems to learn something new every day. When we’re not playing, exercising, and climbing on everything, we do a lot of reading. I read all her books in our at home “library” every day–about 15 board books throughout the day and 3 bedtime stories at night. We also have the Bright Baby board book with colors, numbers, ABC’s, shapes, and opposites, and we go through it daily. She’s an eager little pupil, and can now tell me what cows, cats, and sheep say, show me “up” and “down” with her arms, differentiate between her “small” and “big” toy balls, and fit the elusive shapes in the correct holes of her puzzle. She loves reading time, and smiles at her favorite books, especially I Love You Through and Through, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and If Animals Kissed Good Night. Playing school has never been so much fun!

Readers out there, do you find yourself going through your own personal renaissance during the back-to-school season, even if you’re not heading back to the classroom? I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections!

They’re Here: Cover Teasers for The Mermaid’s Wedding!

by Kristina Ludwig
Dec 11
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: December 11, 2014 at 9:30 am

I’m excited to announce that the cover teasers for my new eBook, The Mermaid’s Wedding (California Mermaids #2) are ready, so of course I’m sharing them with you. :) The book will be released next week, and I can’t wait for you to read about Oceania’s adventures as she and Xavier plan their wedding on land!

Now, I need your help… Which of these cover concepts do you like better, left or right? Let me know by commenting below, and thanks in advance for your feedback!

 

Which of these rough draft cover designs do you like... Left of Right?

Which of these rough draft cover designs do you like… Left or Right?

My Version of NaNoWriMo

by Kristina Ludwig
Nov 3
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: November 3, 2014 at 9:00 am

It’s that time of year again: NaNoWriMo. Love it or hate it, we writers must admit that it’s an interesting–and motivating–challenge.

nanowrimo

I have never actually participated in NaNoWriMo. Last year, I was just beginning my career as an indie author, and I was so caught up in writing and promoting my new Amish novellas that the thought didn’t even cross my mind. And in previous years, I was working full-time as a pharmacist and wasn’t ready for the challenge.

This year, however, I’m doing my own, slightly modified version of NaNoWriMo, just so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on the fun yet again. :) I will be working on Book 2 of the California Mermaids series, tentatively titled The Mermaid’s Wedding. The awesome thing is that I have a head-start; I completed the first six chapters of the book before I gave birth to my daughter, Xaviana Rose. The hurdle will be juggling my writing and my newborn–not literally, of course–with my parents visiting and my hubby going back to work. It sounds crazy, but you only live once, so why shy away from a challenge? ;)

As NaNoWriMo progresses, I’ll keep you posted with my progress–and I’d love to hear how you’re doing, too! Writers, are you participating in NaNoWriMo, or a modified version thereof? If so, what project are you focusing on? I always welcome your comments and feedback!

We’re Never Too Old to be Read to: Reflections on a Book Reading

by Kristina Ludwig
Jul 24
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: July 24, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of speaking on a writers’ panel at the Hera Hub Authors’ Salon. I also read an excerpt from my upcoming eBook, “Amish Baby: Jakob and Hannah’s Book.” It’s been a while since I’ve read aloud to an audience, and the experience was so much fun! The rapt crowd really seemed to enjoy the characters, dialogue, and the Pennsylvania Dutch words I’d sprinkled in. I was reminded of the many times during my childhood when I’d told my younger brother stories in our backyard tent or spun elaborate tales around the campfire.

Here I am reading "Amish Baby: Jakob and Hannah's Book."

Here I am reading “Amish Baby: Jakob and Hannah’s Book.”

This started me thinking about how awesome public book readings are. Whether it’s a poetry reading in a coffee house or a reading circle at the local library, there’s something magical about reading–or hearing–a book aloud. It harkens back to ancient times, when oral storytelling was the main way that bards reached their audiences. How amazing must it have been to hear these stories, told in their most raw and elemental forms, right from the hearts of the bards?  And how equally incredible must it have been for the storytellers, gazing out over the enthralled faces of the villagers as their epic tales of intrigue unfolded? If you’d asked these storytellers about the most rewarding part of their  jobs, they’d probably have said it was the knowledge that their stories would outlive them, and be passed on from generation to generation. Today, we writers have this same opportunity with our literature; such is the power of stories.

If you’re an author, I would totally recommend reading your work in public. Not only is it amazing exposure for you, but hearing the rhythm and cadence of your own prose  is a great way to evaluate your writing techniques and the overall flow of your work. Book readings are fun for the audience, too, since your characters come alive through your voice modulation and dialogue. Reading with expression and even body language allows you to hold the audience’s attention, absorbing them entirely into the world you’ve created.

Before you do a public reading, however, I’d strongly advise attending a reading first. Not only will you pick up on important dos and don’ts , you’ll also realize the same thing I did the other day: that we’re never too old to be read to. Listening to an author read his or her work brings you beyond the page and into a totally new dimension.

Writers out there, when was the last time you read your work aloud to an audience? How did it make you feel, and how did your listeners respond? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 Reasons Why Becoming a Successful Author is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

by Kristina Ludwig
May 1
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: May 1, 2014 at 10:16 am

If you’re a runner or know someone who is, you’re well aware that we’re in the height of marathon season. We just had the Boston Marathon of course, and it seems like every time I turn around I’m hearing about a different marathon, half-marathon, or 5 K race in my area. Antonio is even planning to run a 5 K with obstacles!

Marathons are not just for runners, though. I think that the writing life is a marathon–we writers have a burning desire to get our work out there, but first we have to train for it, and then work hard every day. And just as unexpected obstacles might pop up when running a marathon on unfamiliar turf, the same thing happens as we discover our voices, move towards publication, build our platforms, and promote our work. So many writers give up their dreams at some step along the way, but persistence is key. A marathon runner is not going to drop out in the middle of the race, and we writers can’t drop out either.

We writers can take some hints from these guys!

Writers can take some hints from these guys! Image courtesy of fansided.com 

 

With that in mind, I’ve devised 5 reasons why succeeding as an author is a marathon, not a sprint. Enjoy!

  1. It’s a full-time job - Marathon runners train for months so they can crush it in the race. Even if they’re working full-time jobs, they wake up earlier, train in the evening, and do whatever it takes to come out ahead on race day. We writers can take a lesson from this. I worked full-time as a pharmacist, but dreamed of being a writer. So for about a year, I dedicated most of my free time to learning all about self-publishing, taking advanced writing courses, attending conferences, and, of course, practicing my writing! I treated writing as my other full-time job, and soon I was able to make it my only full-time job.
  2. You have to be in for the long haul - Sprints are quick and intense, and runners have to expend maximum energy in a short period of time. But marathons require endurance. A successful career as an author is pretty much the same. Very few authors will write one book and live off its royalties for the rest of their lives. Most of us have to write many books and keep them coming regularly. As soon as we finish one, we have to start writing another. This is not only because of how the creative process works, but also because more books=more discoverability.
  3. It requires discipline - Marathon runners are some of the most disciplined people out there, and they have to be. They must build their strength and endurance to almost superhuman levels, and this can only happen by living a structured life. Writers have to be disciplined, too. It’s very easy in a creative field, especially one in which we’re self-employed and determine our own hours, to just put off writing to go to the beach or go shopping. It’s also easy to get carried away running errands, or even doing something mundane like cleaning the house. But the fact of the matter is, we have to discipline ourselves to put distractions aside and write every day. Which brings me to my next reason…
  4. It’s all about setting goals - When training for a marathon, a runner must set daily and weekly goals: distances covered, running paces, and healthy eating goals. Writers can do the same thing. Weekly writing quotas keep me in line with my bigger goal of releasing one eBook per month. And it’s not only about writing quotas: the goals of successful authors also include ones related to social media and networking, timelines for speaking events, blogging, and platform building. Writing a list of goals for the day or week is one of the best ways to become more productive–and more prolific.
  5. It’s a growing process - Many runners have told me that, when they’re training for and running a marathon, they feel as though they grow not only in strength and endurance, but spiritually and mentally as well. Being an author is a constantly evolving process; we as writers are growing every day as we experience new things, find new inspiration, and hone our craft. And our reward for growing as writers is much the same as the reward for a marathon runner: not only having fans “cheering” for us, but feeling a sense of accomplishment as we grow. The mental and spiritual rewards are rich for us as well.

Writers, have you had similar experiences? Can you think of any more reasons why becoming a successful author is like a marathon? As always, I welcome your feedback!

On Location: 5 Writing Locations to Stimulate Creativity

by Kristina Ludwig
Apr 9
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: April 9, 2014 at 10:15 am

As writers, we all have goals–writing quotas, so to speak. We want to write x number of words by y timeframe, or x number of chapters in said timeframe. I’m no different. When I’m writing my Amish novellas, my goal is a hard and fast two chapters per day. This gives me enough time to work on my other projects, social media, and promotions, and it also ensures that I’ll finish one Amish novella per month. It’s especially important when I’m writing the Amish in College series, because these novellas have a good twenty pages on the Amish Hearts books.

Last week, however, I crushed this goal–but it wasn’t by accident. One of my birthday presents from Antonio was a membership to Hera Hub, an organization for female entrepreneurs who usually work from home. Hera Hub is a physical location where business owners in various industries can network with each other and attend events such as writing workshops and business boosters. The work space is open and inviting, decorated like a spa, and encourages community and productivity.

I went to Hera Hub three times last week, and each time, I got a ton of writing done. I wrote one extra chapter per day on my Hera Hub days. True, I was exhausted by Friday–I’d basically tired out my brain. But even taking the entire day Friday off from writing, I’d still written an extra chapter above and beyond my weekly goals.

This got me thinking…first of all about how great of a work environment Hera Hub is, but also about how writing from other locations besides the home office can stimulate creativity. Don’t get me wrong, it’s possible to be super creative from the home office, and that’s still where I do the majority of my work. But it’s also ah-mazing to work from different locations, since newness makes you more innovative.

So many ways to increase creativity...so little time! Picture courtesy of ljsilentg.com

So many ways to increase creativity…so little time! Picture courtesy of ljsilentg.com

Here are 5 away-from-home writing environments that have sparked my creativity. I hope they work for you!

  1. Local workspaces – Office-style workspaces, such as Hera Hub, are the perfect places to get out of your writing doldrums. The environment, the people, and events such as writing workshops jack up creativity and productivity. Being surrounded by other entrepreneurs, some of them writers, fuels your spirit and your writing. So far, Hera Hub is found in the San Diego area, but there is talk of expanding and franchising. Check out your area for similar workspaces–you’ll be glad you did.
  2. Libraries – They’re free, and they’re full of books–what could be better?! Libraries are the perfect place to write. Any resource you can imagine is right there at your fingertips. Plus, if writer’s block strikes, you can exercise your mind and get back on track by picking a book from the seemingly infinite wall of books and reading it. Another awesome thing about the library is that it’s the perfect place to meet other authors in your neighborhood. Antonio and I went to the library on a random Saturday afternoon, and stumbled upon a writer’s organization that holds meetings there once a month! Needless to say, we’ll be attending the next meeting, and have found a whole new group of writers to network with!
  3. Coffee shops – It may sound cliche, but I’ve gotten some good writing done at Starbuck’s over a tall blonde roast. Not only does the coffee wake up brain cells, cafes are prime people-watching havens. Need to find a character for your next story? Just listen in on some convos at a coffee shop, study some patrons and their mannerisms, and you’re halfway there.
  4. Airplanes – Flights, especially moderately lengthy ones, are the optimal places to do some serious writing. Looking out at the clouds does wonders for creativity. So does the fact that you’re locked into an enclosed space, so you’re almost forced to work. Bonus points if you spend part of your flight reading, too.
  5. Parks – When I was in elementary school, having class outside in the courtyard was a special treat. I felt like I learned so much more in the fresh, open air than I did in the stuffy, old classroom. Writing outside at a park can work much the same way. Like the coffee shop, there’s plenty of people-watching (and therefore, character inspiration). Go there on a nice day, and there’s also sunshine, which increases your creativity through its actions on your brain neurotransmitters. (More about that in this recent blog post.) There’s something magical about sitting on the grass in the breeze crafting a story. Try it this spring, and you’ll be a believer!

What other locations do you enjoy writing from? I’d love to hear what works for you.

Creative Multi-Tasking: 5 Tips to Write Two Books at Once

by Kristina Ludwig
Feb 27
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: February 27, 2014 at 10:55 am

I am currently in the midst of writing two books at the same time, something I have not attempted since I was a kid. Back then, I would write and illustrate several “books” simultaneously because the story ideas just wouldn’t stop popping into my fertile young imagination. Now, I’m working on two books at once for much the same reason: I had two very different story premises that I just couldn’t ignore, and both begged to be written so stridently that it was impossible to neglect one in favor of the other.

One of my projects is Book 1 of a new Amish series. It’s weird that I’ve now released five Amish books and am working on more, because my original intent was to only write a short series and move on to something totally different. But my Amish books have become best sellers on Amazon, and I’ve become fairly addicted to writing them!

My next Amish series will feature the characters of the Amish Hearts books as they face adult life. Rebekah and Samuel are in college, Jakob is contemplating marriage, and Mercy is straddling both worlds, preparing to start her own Amish bakery but still spending time with Rebekah and Samuel in the worldly “English” college scene. There will be four books in this series, one for each of the main characters, and right now I’m writing Rebekah’s Book: Amish Faith.

My other project is a contemporary teen fiction novel based on the characters of my teen novel Winner. Aubree’s bestie Quentyn becomes an overnight celebrity when she is mistaken for Gemma Haley, the hottest teen pop star out there. The ensuing fame and glamour is every girl’s dream–until it starts disrupting her relationships with her family, friends, and smoky Latino love-interest.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been writing two chapters of my Amish novella every day (target release date mid-March) and one chapter of my contemporary novel every day (target release date some time in May), and both projects are blossoming like spring flowers!

Literary multi-tasking is hard work! Photo courtesy of www.thejanedough.com

Literary multi-tasking is hard work! Image courtesy of www.thejanedough.com

 

Here are 5 tips for writing two books at once:

  1. Recharge Before You Start – Make sure you’re feeling like your most imaginative self before you attempt to write two books at once. It’s imperative that you’re feeling fresh and inspired before you start this literary marathon. I started both projects in depth after I returned from a long weekend in Mexico City, and found that I was refueled, energized, and raring to go.
  2. Be Passionate About Both Projects – If you’re more excited about one project than the other, it’s going to show up in your writing. This strategy will only work if you’re feeling equally fiery about both books. If you find that you’re favoring one project, put the other on temporary hiatus. In writing, as in relationships, absence can make the heart grow fonder; you will return to the project later with an undeniable spark.
  3. Know Your Direction – It’s easy to lose enthusiasm for your project(s) if you feel like you’re lost at sea without a compass. That’s why, before I even start writing a new book, I write a “description,” similar to the back cover synopsis of a print book, or the Amazon description of an eBook. Once I’ve written my description, the plot unfolds more easily. And as you write, feel free to draft periodic chapter outlines. Sometimes, the events of the stories will flow smoothly and organically, while other times you’ll appreciate the structure and direction an outline will provide.
  4. Have a Timeline – If you set goals, your projects will succeed–it’s as simple as that. After my first week of working on both projects, I was able to set editor deadlines and release dates. My timeline has allowed me to pace my writing, completing the chapters accordingly.
  5. Compartmentalize – Sometimes, despite our best efforts, working on two projects simultaneously can just get mind-boggling. That’s why I always compartmentalize my books. The schedule that works for me is writing the Amish book in the morning, breaking for lunch and / or workout, and writing my contemporary book in the afternoon. It’s all about setting a routine that works for you!

So, ambitious and prolific writers out there, have you ever worked on multiple projects at once? What worked best for you? Feel free to share your experiences!

The Beauty of Box Sets: 5 Reasons to Combine Your Series into a Box Set

by Kristina Ludwig
Jan 30
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: January 30, 2014 at 9:54 am

Yesterday, I released my first-ever box set on Amazon! It contains the first three novellas of the Amish Hearts series: Rumspringa Break, Amish Summer, and Mercy’s Fall.

Here's the book cover of the new Amish Hearts boxed set!

Here’s the book cover of the new Amish Hearts boxed set!

Naturally, before I released my box set, I did some market research–and couldn’t believe how many box sets are out there in the Amish fiction genre alone! Box sets might contain anywhere from three to 45 stories (in the case of the prolific Becca Fisher). Some are priced near $10.00, while others are only 99 cents.

In such a diverse market, it’s often difficult to decide how to price, design, and promote a box set, and I’m learning more about those things every day. I decided to price my box set at $2.99–low enough to be appealing but high enough to reap the rewards of the 70% royalty, and I’m using word-of-mouth (and social media) promotion during the launching period, much as I did for my other eBooks.

Why do authors like box sets so much? And why do readers love them? If you’re writing a series, should you jump on the bandwagon? Here are 5 reasons to combine your series into a box set.

  1. There’s more likelihood fans will read all the books in order - Many times, fans will read the eBooks of a series in no particular order, especially when they’re discovering a new author. But let’s face it: it’s always a better experience to read the books of a series in order, and box sets ensure that will happen.
  2. It’s one more product for your list of books - The best way for authors to build more fans is by putting out new material; your discoverability as an author will increase with each new book released.
  3. You can release a new revenue-generating book without actually writing new material - You’ve already done the hard stuff: written the books, had them edited, commissioned the covers. Creating a box set is quick, easy, and profitable. It’s really the only time an indie author can be lazy. :) That’s why everything from books to music to movies is available in box sets.
  4. It gets fans pumped for the next book of the series - If your fans read and liked the first books of your series in the box set, they’ll be hanging–and eagerly awaiting the next one. Or, if you’ve included your entire series as a box set, make sure to attach an excerpt from one of your other new books at the end. Reading is addictive, and you should always give your readers their fix.
  5. Fans see bundles as cost-effective - Fans like box sets for the same reason shoppers like BOGO deals or buying in bulk at Costco: they see them as economical!

So there you have it…5 reasons to combine your books into a box set. Authors out there, have you ever released a box set? How were the sales of your box set compared to the stand-alone books? Can you think of any other reasons to love box sets? As always, I welcome your feedback!

Gearing Up for a Book Launch: 5 Things to Do

by Kristina Ludwig
Oct 3
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: October 3, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I’m excited to announce that I will be launching the Kindle version of my new Amish YA fiction novella, Rumspringa Break, on October 10th. Long-time followers of my blog may recall this title in short story form. Since then, I’ve tweaked the storyline, added more drama, conflict, and intrigue, and changed the ending. (And the middle, for that matter — the beginning is the only part that’s somewhat similar to the original version.) The short story ran about 11 pages, and the novella is a whopping 54 — hopefully the ideal length for YA readers and adults looking for a relatively quick but satisfying read with crossover appeal.

Gearing up to launch an indie eBook is both energizing and exhausting. There’s so much that goes into it: promotion and marketing on the endless stream of social media, attending networking events to spread the word in person, putting together the book description, and editing and formatting the book. I recommend checking out this article by Nick Thacker about launching a book in three easy steps.

The cover of Rumspringa Break

The cover of Rumspringa Break, coming to you on 10/10/13!

Here are 5 things I’ve done to prepare for the book launch on 10/10, in no particular order. I hope it helps any writers out there who may be gearing up for their own book launches.

  1. Attended a Network After Work event, where I distributed flyers for the new book and met professionals in various areas of employment. I even connected with another author, who’d just published a book on Amazon.
  2. Signed up for a writing conference in LA. It’s called the Digital Author and Self-Publishing conference, and it will be the perfect place to connect with other authors and promote the new book, especially because it’s happening 2 days after my launch. There’s still time to sign up by the way, so any writers looking to hobnob with other indies should check it out!
  3. Prepared to launch my author website. The developers are still working a few kinks out of it, but my author website is officially up and running. As soon as it passes my test, I will post all the information on this blog, as well as my other social media accounts. Soon, this blog will be running from my author website! The website will have fun features like Free Book Fridays, where I will host giveaways for all my eBooks, especially Rumspringa Break. 
  4. Maintained social media presence. Authors’ platforms are important all the time, but especially before launching a book. I have been focusing on increasing my Twitter followers, posting regularly to Facebook and Google+, and blogging twice a week. I love these activities anyway, so it’s as much fun as it is work.
  5. Put together the most professional product possible. I enlisted the services of Katrina Joyner at Premade Covers 4U, and purchased the perfect book cover. And, of course, there’s editing, formatting, etc. It may seem tedious, but it’s so important for self-published authors to put their best work out there!

 

 

You Are What You Read: Reading and Its Influence on Writing

by Kristina Ludwig
Sep 30
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: September 30, 2013 at 12:53 pm

I’ve been reading YA fiction, in some form, since elementary school. As I reached age 20, I began closet-reading it, because I figured I was “too old” for the stuff. However, at some point in my early 20′s, I realized it was actually okay for adults to read YA novels, and, in fact, many people were doing exactly the same thing. As a result, I’ve shamelessly devoured these juicy literary concoctions ever since.

When I was growing up, I wrote voraciously, illustrating my stories and stapling them together into “books.” The heroines were always exactly my age, perhaps a year or two older. But when I reached my twenties, I found that I no longer wrote about people “just my age.” While I grew older, my heroines stayed in the YA age group.

I always thought this phenomenon occurred simply because I loved my teen years and found the activities, interpersonal relationships, and daily dramas to be so vivid and ripe with storyline possibilities.

But I’ve realized that there’s another factor at play as well: I am what I read.

It’s a well-known fact that writers are a product of not only their training, but what kind of literature they prefer to read. In essence, we are what we read. That’s why one writer can incorporate such an eclectic mix of elements into his or her fiction. It’s also why certain authors in the paranormal genres mix some contemporary elements with others that are pure magic. We learn by reading, and the things we read show up in our writing…sometimes entirely unbeknownst to us!

I adore contemporary YA fiction, but I also frequently indulge in the classics, especially the literature of Jane Austen. Emma  is one of my favorite books, and the movie Clueless, which was based on Emma’s classic storyline, was a fave of mine growing up. That’s why I was blown away when my writing instructor, MG and YA author Nancy Butts, told me that Aubree, the heroine in my upcoming novel, reminded her of a Jane Austen character with her relentless honesty and endearing blind spots, and that I reminded her of Jane Austen in the ability to capture the dynamics of a “small, encapsulated society such as high school.” I’d never realized I incorporated these elements into my writing. Yet, because of what I read, they showed up.

I subconsciously incorporated elements of the beloved classic Emma while writing my new novel, because I am what I read.

I subconsciously incorporated elements of Jane Austen’s beloved classic, Emma, into my upcoming novel…because I am what I read!

Now that I’m working hard on my Amish YA fiction novella, I’ve been peering into a new genre, the wonderful world of Amish fiction. I just downloaded several Amish fiction works on my Kindle, and have already dove into one! If anyone has recently read some great Amish fiction, please let me know. :)

Writers out there, how are you what you read? Who are some of the most influential authors you’ve read, and how have elements of their writing shown up in yours?