A public life

For the most part, a writer’s life is spent in solitude at the keyboard, at the desk, with a pad and pen (or in my case, out in the garden with the chickens, typing madly on my trusty Alphasmart Neo). But of necessity, we have to come out of our private spaces into the public eye and talk about our books. Most of the time we can hang out on Facebook or on our blogs, but once in a while events dictate that we get dressed up (what? no yoga pants and T-shirt?) and go public.

Yesterday was one such event: the first-ever Los Gatos Library Literary Fair. Thirty authors on the lawn at city hall, talking about our books and meeting readers. And I got to meet Laurie R. King (the dignified one without the balloons)! :: insert fangirl squee! :: For more pictures, see book enabler Lloyd Russell’s blog, The Book Sage.

LGLLF 2014 - Shelley Adina LF5

This morning, I had the absolute pleasure of recording a podcast for Realm of Books, a science fiction producer, with Fiona Hardingham, who as you know, performs the audiobooks for the Magnificent Devices series. It was so much fun! Who snacks on a green apple before she works? Who was so shy as a child she hid behind the couch and read books instead of talking to people? And who scripted and acted out plays for siblings and neighborhood kids? (Hint: both of us.) The podcast will be up in a couple of weeks and both Fiona and I hope you’ll listen in and enjoy.

Finally, I’m off into the wide world next month. I’ll be going to Italy to speak at the Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, along with my writing friends Bella Andre, Tina Folsom, Sharon Hamilton, Linda McGinnis, and Nancy Warren. I don’t think Italy is ready for this! After the conference, we’ll travel north through Siena and Florence, to wind up in Venice, where I’ll be photographing, painting, and doing research for A Lady of Integrity. Jake is in prison there, you know, for running guns, and Alice and the Lady have to figure out how to get him out!


Herb of Grace by Adina Senft

Some of you probably know that I write under two different names–Shelley Adina for the steampunk, of course, and Adina Senft for women’s fiction set in Amish country, with Amish characters. Some of you may also know that I grew up “plain,” so while I wasn’t Amish, writing about them isn’t the stretch it might be otherwise.

On August 5, my fourth Amish novel comes out, so I wanted to tell you about it in case it might interest you! These are quiet, gentle stories in which nothing blows up and everything takes place in about two square miles of Pennsylvania countryside. Jane Austen once famously said that her books were a two-inch bit of ivory on which she “paints with so fine a brush.” I’m no Austen, but writing these books feels a little like that.

For lots more information about these books, visit my other self’s website.

Herb of Grace by Adina SenftAmish widow Sarah Yoder has been struggling to raise her two teenaged sons and provide a home where family and members of her Old Order Amish church can find fellowship and friendship. Though she is close to her in-laws, lately it feels like her relationship with her boys is splintering. Her stepson Simon wants to move out west to find work. And her youngest, Caleb, is spending far too much time over at the tumbledown home of a man who left the church long ago. Henry Byler only returned recently to Willow Creek when he inherited the family farm—under protest—and now seems caught in a struggle between the faith of his childhood and the world he’s come to know.

Ruth Lehman, the local Dokterfraa, believes Sarah should use her gift for growing plants to become an herbal healer, too. Sarah is reluctant, however, uncertain if caring for others will take her away from her family—the place where she believes God wants her. But when she feels called to help members of her community, she soon discovers that the heart can be scarred as deeply as the body. As she compiles her herbs, she waits for God to do his healing work in a man who rues a harsh decision, in a lonely prodigal who has lost everything, and maybe even in a herbalist-in-training who firmly believes she will never love again.

“Senft is a talented author and her research on various herbs is a welcome surprise to readers. The story incorporates facts about herbs, what each of them can be used for and what will happen if used incorrectly. This sweet romance has a believable storyline with a lot of heart.”
—4-star review from RT Book Reviews magazine


Behind the book

Medicinal herbs have been part of the human experience for thousands of years, as evidenced by the multitude of folk names some of them have collected. When I was researching the Healing Grace novels, I realized that people often summed up some spiritual property in certain herbs through the names they gave them, and the idea for this series was born.

In each novel, the folk name reflects a healing property in the herb itself. But going a little further, God can effect a similar healing process in the spirit. So, in Book 1, “herb of grace” is the folk name for rue, a bitter and astringent herb used in small quantities for ailments of the digestive system. And as we know, rue is also a verb meaning to be sorry for something one has done in the past … but there is a world of difference between ruing one’s mistake and coming to that place of repentance where God’s grace can begin its healing work …

Brilliant Devices: audiobook status

Since Audible.com put Lady of Devices on sale back in the spring, many, many listeners have been introduced to the Magnificent Devices world. They’ve raced through books two and three, and I’ve had lots of reader mail asking for book four.

Fiona Hardingham and I are just going into production on the audiobook for Brilliant Devices, and we hope to have it completed by summer’s end. Thanks so much for your messages—it’s really encouraging to both of us that the audiobooks are being so well received!


Alice Chalmers, cover girl

We turn our attention now to the socially awkward but fiendishly talented Alice Chalmers, who seems to have got herself into a bit of trouble that just might interfere slightly with Lady Claire’s wedding plans. While I figure out what this entails, noodling away in the back of my mind while I finish the Amish novel and the Kindle Worlds novella that come ahead of A Lady of Integrity in the queue, I have a question for you.

Notice how I turn to you folks for advice? You seem to be a very smart group of people with decided opinions, and that’s more valuable to me than Klondike gold.

Squirrel! The Klondike Gold Rush begins only two years hence in story time! Squirrel!

::smacks head:: Where was I? Right. Alice. I’m getting ready to do the cover for Book 7, which is going to have Alice on it. Which of these two girls looks most like she ought to have the part? Top or bottom?









Bit of a poser, innit?


Jay Lake, June 6, 1964 – June 1, 2014


Sincere condolences to Jay’s family and friends. The grandeur of his imagination was staggering and he will be missed.

Originally posted on Et in arcaedia, ego.:

I was away from the internet much of yesterday but news of the passing of my dear friend and talented client, Jay Lake, reached me regardless. I always kept thinking and hoping it would be tomorrow or tomorrow or tomorrow, and never today, that there would be a world with no Jay Lake.

The first time I met Jay Lake was at Worldcon in Toronto in 2003. It sure seems like I’ve known him longer than that. We sat in the lobby of the Fairmont Royal York and talked for a really long time. The first thing he sent me to read was a draft of MAINSPRING. The first cheese he ever bought me was Sottocenere al tartufo. At the time, it was the fanciest cheese I had ever eaten. Last night, in his honor, I bought a cheese I have never tried before.

When it comes to his…

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Love is a Mystery: On sale today!

Love is a Mystery: Six Novels of Love, Laughter and Lawbreaking

Love is a Mystery: Six Novels of Love, Laughter and LawbreakingSix best-selling authors’ romantic mystery novels in one boxed set, featuring heroes and heroines who are fearless, funny, and very good at sleuthing out crimes. Get yours today for only 99 cents for 90 days—over 1,400 pages of summer reading at a 90% savings! The boxed set includes

  • Frosted Shadow by Nancy Warren
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  • Caught You Looking by Shelley Adina

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