Meet the Books (PST)

3:40 PM

Join the latest linkup HERE!

Yes, yes, I'm well aware that this is now the third Meet the Books post in a row. I'm sure you poor readers are heartily sick of this linkup right now. But a promise is a promise, and I'll keep my word or perish in the attempt. I promise I shall have a somewhat real post next time.....

Reader's reactions^^^^

*Catherine ignores the doubters and pulls up her notes*

Today's book in question is, ironically, the one that I chose for the first of 3 Meet the Books linkups that I missed this past summer. Why I'm doing this one last doesn't quite make sense....but oh well. Hardly anything about me makes sense some days.

This is my crossover novel - the one that, I think, changed me from being a poor baby writer to becoming a serious authoress. This novel, while it barely got anything written for it, was the very first story that....

I created original characters for, with their own unique personalities and everything. (Anything previous to this was either caricatures of real people or TV heroes....I told you I was a poor baby writer).

I created a somewhat decent plot (at least, it had a clear beginning, a middle and an end.) And, most importantly.....I spent hours researching to get the details right.

Yep. Research was the game changer for me. Everything else before (and even a little afterwards) was for funsies only. Any novel/novella that I have attempted since has had some element of research in it - which I think has improved the quality of the writing.

What is the genre?

It's technically contemporary, even though there is an Amish subplot in it. It originally was an Amish story, but it's kind of, well, morphing. (And thank heavens, the original story was horrible.)

What is the title? Time period?

As I find these old WIPs and re-look at them with improved writer eyes, I usually wind up changing the title too. I have said before that I hope that it's the last time it happens, but considering what happened with SOI last week, I'm going to keep my mouth shut.

This work was formerly known as:

It's A Matter of Faith, My Girl 

Yeesh, what a long title. For the record, it did come from an old quote of one of my characters - one that I hope to keep in there. Also, it was supposed to be indicative of it being a "conversion" story - which, to be frank, it was. A conversion from Amish to Catholic, to be exact.

Since then, I've added a character's POV - which has added a whole new contemporary spin. Hence, I decided to blend the old and new elements into this new title:

Originally I wanted to title it just "Plain and Simple" but then I found out that title was also shared by a popular book written by an Amish writer. Oops. Then I got another plotting idea of adding the element of lying in there, so that fixed it.

Oh yes, and the time period is in the present day - maybe a little earlier (like 2010, maybe?).

How is it written (Point of view, MC, etc.)?

So, like many of my works, it's in an omniscent view. It follows two POVs - my main Amish character and her English friend/love interest.

This is probably my first dual POV work ever, but I really don't think that either one of these characters has enough of a story to make a full novel. And their stories intersect so much anyway, it's easier.

Who are the characters?

Katherine Albrecht - A 17 year old Amish girl, the oldest daughter of her family. She is tall (5'7"), has brown hair and an average figure. Her temperament is a melancholy phlegmatic. She tends to dress in purple or green dresses - her favorite being a lavender. She lives on a farm in Lancaster County, PA and her favorite job is feeding calves (in addition to her domestic chores of cooking, gardening and hanging up the laundry). She is studying under her mother to become a model Amish housewife and studying her Amish faith in preparation for her Amish baptism. Katherine has 7 siblings: Elizabeth, 15; Thomas, 13; James, 11; Sarah, 10; Faith, 6; Stephen, 3; Elias, infant.

John Stratford - a 22 year old Catholic man. He is also tall (6'2"), has dark brown hair, and has a muscular/rugged appearance. He has a dual degree in agronomy and animal science from a top university, and is a volunteer fireman. His interests include blacksmithing (from a reenactor job he did over a few summers), hunting, fishing and music. His temperament is a melancholy choleric. John has two sisters: Anna, 17; and Maria, 23; as well as one brother, Peter, who is 19. His grandfather, Noah Callahan, owns and operates a dairy farm (Clothilde Farm). His uncle, Keith Callahan, is a big dairy farmer - he owns and manages two separate farms.

Jacob Weaver - An Amishman in his early 20s. Has been pursuing Katherine for the past year (they spend a lot of Rumspringa time together). He is a definite melancholy. He has blond hair, blue eyes, and is more of a medium height (5'8").

Camelia (Cammy) Andrews: A teenage girl who lives on her family's dairy farm, but is just starting to learn how to work it. She is a typical, entitled millennial. Has black hair, brown eyes, piercings in her ears. She is about 5'2", and has a little weight she could lose.

Marco Ramirez: A legal immigrant from Colombia, Central America. Is short (5'5"), black hair, brown eyes, tanned skin color. Is fluent in English, but does speak with a noticeable accent. He's a hired hand on the Andrew's farm.

Bruce Andrews: The manager of the Andrew's dairy farm. He's around 40 years of age, with many tan lines and a hard choleric temperament. He constantly feels rushed and cuts corners in order to get stuff done faster. Though he champions safety, he does several things that are not safe. He's of medium height (5'7"). brown eyes, and brown hair.

What does the plot consist of?

.....can I get back to you on that?

Right now, the plot is a mess of interactions between characters. Besides the bit at the beginning where there is a barn fire. *sigh*

When I originally plotted it, the main plot was a conversion story of Katherine to Catholicism. After looking at it again, I'll probably keep it - but it will only be half of the story. The other half will center around John and his struggles with the dairy, quarter-life crisis, and other stuff. It will definitely be a dual POV book, which I'm kinda excited about.

What is the setting?

Currently, it's Lancaster County, PA. There is a possibility I may change it to Cumberland County, PA, but it's unlikely with my research notes.

What gave you the idea?

I live in an area with a decent Amish/Mennonite population, so it started as a curious obsession with learning about them and their culture (not so much the religious aspect of it) in late middle school/early high school.

Right about the time of my "reversion" is when I started to explore the "conversion" aspect of it. And then recently with my job at the dairy, I decided to explore the "contemporary dairy" angle.

Like I said, it's morphing.

Who are the favorite characters so far?

Ummm....John, Cammy and Marco are my current favorites. Maybe because I'm spending the most time with them right now...LOL.

Katherine is being a bit of a brat at the moment, so I'll reserve judgement until I've had a chance to actually work with her.

What is the favorite scene so far?

*coughs nervously*

I have less than 1k I can't answer that question.

*coughs again*

Any themes of music for this work?

Yes, indeed! I have a theme song for John Stratford, which is also one of my favorite new country hits:

(And I totally didn't borrow the "simple" element of the title from this song, oh no....*giggles*)

Any drawings?

I typically don't do drawings for my writing projects and I don't think I did any for this one (unless I happen to find some stashed away somewhere....)

However, I did do two avatars - one for Cammy and one for Katherine. I haven't been able to create ones for my guys yet....

Katherine Albrecht

I created Katherine's avatar with Azalea Doll's French Folklore creator. I was super impressed that I was able to create an avatar that even resembled the Amish style of clothing. It works!

Cammy Andrews

Doesn't she look like she's stepped out of the barn? I created Cammy's avatar with the Casual Style Dress up game from Azalea's Dolls. This one had a lot of options to choose from in terms of clothing, colors and style. The only thing that I really don't like is how the avatar has her arms raised. To me, it just looks odd. However, it's too good of a creator to pass up on, and I think I shall be using this one for when I create characters for my other contemporary work, Shattered Chandelier.

Any snippets?

Well, here are two.

The first is the one and only snippet that I wrote in high school:

“Grandmother, please tell a story.”

A simple plea. Easy to fulfill, too. I went to the bookshelf and peered at the fairy tales that my grandchildren enjoyed. Suddenly my oldest granddaughter, Anna Lucia, piped up.

“Grandmother, don’t tell us one of those fairy tales! Tell us a new story!”

I turned from the bookcase and looked at the inquiring little faces. “A new story? What other stories could I tell? I have no new books, and I’m not that good at making up stories.”

My husband wandered quietly into the room. “What about your story, Katherine?” “Yeah, Grandmother, what about you, and your family?”

I suddenly started. My story! Oh goodness! “Should I, John? It would mean a lot of unanswered questions....”“But why should the knowledge of their family be kept a secret much longer, Katherine? They are old enough to know.” I yielded to my husband’s reasoning.

“All right, children, I’ll tell you my story,” the children cheered, “but you may be surprised by the outcome. Let me get my old diary....”

Ouch. Apparently in high school, I never knew how to break dialogue. For the record, the diary is disappearing from the story henceforth. It really has no place, as I'm not writing an epistolary book.

The second one was written during this past summer:

It was universally agreed upon later that John Stratford should have stayed in bed on Thursday the 11th.

Having woken up 15 minutes past his alarm, he made a mad dash around the house – grabbing barn clothes from the dryer (tripping over the laundry), forgot to close his water bottle and thus spilled half of it on the floor, and managed to forget his breakfast entirely.

When he dashed through the milk house at 10 minutes to 5 (of course he would hit every single red light in downtown Lancaster) he managed to step at least two kittens tails and almost tripped over their mother, all of whom yowled in protest. It upset him so much that he ran into the office door without opening it first.

Thoroughly wishing that God had created humans with the ability to melt through solid objects, John rammed his time card into the machine. 

 He marched his way out to the parlor floor, where 6 newly sprayed cow udders awaited him. He noticed that the white scraper and Marco were missing, and Cammy was at the opposite end slowly working her way down. John snatched up a paper towel, only to find that half a dozen were suddenly on the floor. Grumbling, he picked them up and stuffed them in his jeans pocket. At least they would be used for his hands if not for a cow.

Marco knew something was off with John the moment that he came back into the barn and noticed that John had sprayed his hands with teat dip and was reaching for the water hose to spray the cow. Marco did him a favor and sprayed him instead.

Holy moly, what a difference 6 years makes.....

Strong point in story?

There isn't enough of the story to determine a strong point at this period of time. Maybe after I actually get a draft of this put together, I'll have a better idea.

If y'all have any opinions from what the snippets reveal, feel free to tell me - I'm clueless over here.

Weak point in story?

Without a doubt, it is the all of my stories apparently. After looking at some of the notes in readiness for Camp NaNo, I quickly realized that it badly needs restructuring - especially taking in mind the new direction of the story. Since it was originally plotted as a single omnipotent POV, taking it to a dual POV is going to be interesting....

What are your plans for it?

If this work is ever published, it will be indie-published. I highly doubt that any publishing house in their right mind would ever pick up this book.
It definitely is a more personal project from my heart than a novel with a defined audience. So, I'll leave it in the indie market so people can grab at will. I doubt that it would give many good reviews anyway....

Any particular writing habits for it?

I like to write or plot this work while I'm watching Amish documentaries. Something about the American Experience documentaries about the Amish puts me in the mood to work on the story. Maybe because I got some of the ideas and story research from said documentaries.....

If it were made into a movie, what would be your ideal cast?

Katherine Albrecht - Melissa Gilbert (Little House on the Prairie) as a young 20-something woman? That sounds like a great choice to me! Laura Ingalls and Katherine are spunky and stubborn, so it's a great fit.

John Stratford - Taylor Kinney, who plays Kelly Severide in Chicago Fire may actually be a good fit. He's one of the physical inspirations for John, and what do you know - its another firefighter character! Personality wise, it's a close match too.

Jacob Weaver - Dean Butler (Little House on the Prairie) actually would be good. His version of Almanzo got a lot of flak from the book purists and I can totally understand why. But, that character is an almost perfect fit for Jacob - slightly arrogant, stupid, and can get very jealous. And the look is great - imagine Butler in a straw hat and simple clothes and it is a spitting image!

Camelia (Cammy) Andrews - A very young version of Sigrid Thornton is perfect for this role. Jessica Harrison (Snowy River) and Cammy have a lot of personality similarities and the look is almost perfect (just need a few ear piercings to help).

Marco Ramirez - A younger version of Michael Peña (who plays Luis in Ant-Man) would be fabulous for the role. I know that Peña is of Mexican descent and not Colombian, but hey, it's somewhat close, right? (Maybe if someone found a Colombian actor, that would be swell....)

Bruce Andrews - uhhhhh...for some reason, Hank Pym (Ant-Man) is coming to mind. Don't know why. He just is.

And with that, my debt of honor has been paid. And so, I believe I shall close.

Now I pass the mic to you! In your opinions, what IS the strong point of this story? Have you any stories that are "morphing"? Is this work even remotely interesting to a reading audience? Chat with me in the comments below! 

Scribbingly yours,


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  1. Replies
    1. This story actually sounds really fun. So; do you and I have the same problem with plots? They don't like our stories??? XD

  2. Ooh ooh ooh I think it's quite interesting! I so love the snippet of John being late for work...universal experience for a young adult, eh? And that hook about how he should have stayed in bed is, ah me, intriguing.

    I love the dairy aspect. :)

  3. TWO Ant-Man actors??? Interesting.... XD

    It sounds so intriguing! I’ve never known a lot about the Amish lifestyle, but it still sounds cool!

    And congratulations on your debt of honor being fulfilled! *runs through the halls yelling “HONOOOOOR!*

  4. This sounds fascinating! I adore the snippet about John running late--very snappy and exciting and it makes me want to read more. :D

  5. Haha, thanks for the posts, Catherine - they were all quite entertaining, and it's always nice to have someone in the linkup! Good luck with this story - hope it turns out as you like!

  6. Is John me? lol I felt that snippet very deep in me XD


  7. Hmmm...interesting idea! I've never been to an Amish farm; however, there's a HUGE horse auction close to my house that runs twice a year, and I always go to that, and there are lots and lots of Amish folk selling horses there. One of my horses was bought there from them. :)

    And I love cows, too. Seems like such a cute book!


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