Monday, September 17, 2012

Don't Get Lost

That is important to me. It really is.

When you have a child, that is something you think about a lot. As a parent, we have to plan, prepare and teach our children everything we can to protect them. Sometimes, that is all we can do and sometimes that is not enough.

I have probably always known this, but becoming a father has reinforced it. There is one thing more, and it should be the first thing. Trust God.

I could put bars on the windows and my daughter on one of those child leashes, but the main thing is to believe God will be all the protection I need. In my writing, I refer to His plan. I could hire armed guards, but if that is not His plan, then it would not matter.

That brings me to the latest story in my series “An Amish Home”. This story is called “The Lost Sheep” and, by now, you probably can guess the premise. I thought when I wrote the first two “Amish Home” stories that they were not connected. Maybe they would be some nice stand-alone short stories. What I realize now is that they are Ruth’s stories.

Ruth is the five-year-old daughter of Allan and Mary Howarth, the main characters of “Set Free: An Amish Journey”. In my new story, we get to look back at the first two stories and see the events through her eyes. That will bring us up to the point of “The Lost Sheep”. It is going to be a little scary for me to write that part of the story. We don’t want to think about something bad happening to our children, but sometimes we can’t help it. 

As a storyteller, I have the opportunity to deal with thoughts and feelings through my characters. I can explore those ideas and find peace in imagining what God has in store for me. Instead of wasting time thinking about the negative, I can devote myself to the positive.

With God as my shield, I am a happy man.

Now, if you haven’t already, I invite you to come meet young Ruth –
An Amish Home – Volume 1 - The Flood -
An Amish Home – Volume 2 – Attainable -
An Amish Home – Volume 3 – The Lost Sheep is coming soon

Also, I would love to hear from readers on my Facebook page –

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reading and Inspiration

Recently, I received an email asking me what I read and what influences me?
With a full time job in the wonderful world of retail sales and a beautiful daughter growing faster than a weed in the spring, I feel like I barely have time for anything else.
These days, I try to squeeze in a story from some of the very talented authors here at Trestle Press: Karen Vogel, Sarah Price, Crystal Linn & Roger Rheinheimer (sorry for not listing them all – there’s too many). Other than that, most of what goes in front of me does not have more than a fourth grade reading level. So, lately, I’m inspired by children’s Bible stories and Disney fairies.

I grew up on American classics. As you can tell from my work-in-progress, Amish Wonder, one of my favorites is The Wizard of Oz. I also have a nice collection of James Bond stories. Not the originals, the ones by John Gardner. Thus far, most have not been mangled into movies.
They say a writer has to read. Maybe that’s why I call myself a storyteller?
If I win the lottery, I would spend some time at the library playing catch up. There is a growing market of Christian fantasy that intrigues me.
My true inspiration comes from God and the stories about my grandfather. I try to blend that with what is happening in my own life and in the world today.
I tend to stay a little on the private side, but I hope this gives you some insight into me!

Your friend,
Laughing George

Please visit me at
or read my blog at

Monday, September 10, 2012

Gothic Cathedrals and the Art of Melodrama by Mark Carver

As the seeds for The Age of Apollyon were taking root in my imagination, I read Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In addition to being a fantastic story, that book opened my eyes to the breathtaking marvels of Gothic architecture. I’d always been a casual fan of cathedrals (who isn’t?) but after finishing Hugo’s masterpiece, I was determined to incorporate the Gothic church and all of its accompanying melodramatics into my own writing.

 The Age of Apollyon doesn’t aim for the same heights as The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I never intended to write a massive, sweeping epic to ring throughout the ages – I just wanted to create a rip-roaring horror/action novel with all of the creepy, gothic-y goodness I could muster. So I chartered the Good Ship Google and set out on a virtual journey through dozens of cathedrals and churches, searching for the proper settings for my scenes. It was quite an endeavour, because I had to find several churches that fit descriptions I had already written. But with the power of Google Images and Wikipedia at my fingertips, I was able to find everything I was looking for.

A total of seven churches are featured in The Age of Apollyon. Not all of them fall under the umbrella of Gothic architecture, but they all contain rich history and dramatic atmosphere. Three of them, St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and the Milan Cathedral, are quite famous, while the others are less well-known. And, I must confess, not all of them emerge from the book unscathed. Yet each church plays an important role in the story, and though I’ve never visited them personally, I strove to capture what I imagined their unique personalities to be like. It was a tiring ordeal that devoured countless hours, but it was the most fun I’ve ever had doing research. Sometimes just staring (and drooling) over photos of these architectural masterworks was enough to inspire entire passages of writing.

My love affair with historic churches continues in the sequel to The Age of Apollyon entitled Black Sun, which I am currently writing at a feverish pace. These books aren’t only about churches and cathedrals of course, but for my money, it doesn’t get any better than a ferocious gun battle in a soaring candlelit sanctuary.

Or maybe I’ve just watched too many movies.

The Age of Apollyon will be available from Trestle Press in October. In the meantime, check out the official website, and “Like” The Age of Apollyon on Facebook.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Triangle of Blessings: Amish, Writing, and Readers

A guest post from Sarah Price

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. 

Follow Sarah Price on Facebook at or on her blog at