Monday, December 14, 2009

The 12 Books of Christmas - Cindy Woodsmall

This week, I'm thrilled to introduce you to Cindy Woodsmall, who is giving away a copy of her newly released Christmas novel, The Sound of Sleigh Bells. Be sure to leave a comment on this blog post to be automatically entered to win. The deadline to enter is midnight on Friday, December 17. Winner will be announced on Saturday.

Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store, and serving as contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to sell the Plain people’s wares. But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart everyday as she still wears the dark garb, indicating mourning of her fiancé. When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work–including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving or deem it idolatry.

Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art. But it’s not that simple–will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?

The Sound of Sleigh Bells is a heartwarming Christmas novella where lack and abundance inside an Amish community has power for good when it’s tucked inside love. Romantic Times gave The Sound of Sleigh Bells 4 ½ stars, saying ~ This is a wonderfully written, transformative story of two Amish families at Christmastime. It will bring sleigh-riding memories to life as readers vicariously join in this jolly and exciting holiday tradition.

To read the first chapter of The Sound of Sleigh Bells, click HERE.

Cindy's favorite Christmas craft
From the time my boys were little, I loved doing craft times with them during the holidays. I’d pull out all sorts of items I’d picked up from yard sales or bought discounted throughout the year and let them create. The mess was well worth their excitement as they held up their “masterpieces.” As they grew older, their desire to do crafts began to fade, but I held on to my Christmastime tradition for as long as I could.

One Christmas craft they enjoyed for a long time was making dough ornaments. (I’ve shared the recipe below.) After the holidays, you can pack them away with the rest of the ornaments, and every year when you pull out that box of decorations, you’ll have a delightful trip down memory lane.

When my sons were teens, they no longer looked forward to Christmas craft time. Gathering teenagers together to make memories takes an extra bit of creative thinking. My solution to extending their joy of making something Christmassy was to use food as the craft time. I allowed them to decorate their own gingerbread-men ornaments—one year it was a demolition gingerbread man with a jackhammer in its hand. Other years I let them create gingerbread houses…then let them munch on their little homes as the holidays progressed.

Whatever your kids’ ages, be imaginative and free spirited in your holiday plans. They’ll love you for it…eventually.

Dough ornament recipe:

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup salt
1½ cups warm water

Mix flour and salt. Slowly add warm water. Press dough to about an eighth of an inch thick and use cookie cutters. Add ornament hooks into the top before baking. Bake at 325º until cookies are hardened. Cool. Decorate using acrylic paints. You may wish to use shellac as a final coat to help preserve them. (If your kids are going to eat the decorations, use frosting instead of paint and skip the shellac.)

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish has been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Her ability to authentically capture the heart of her characters comes from her real-life connections with Plain Mennonite and Old Order Amish families.

Cindy is the mother of three sons and two daughters-in-law, and she and her husband reside in Georgia. Visit her Web site at

**Contest disclaimer: Void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents. Odds of winning depend on number of entrants. Only one book allowed per person throughout the duration of the event.


Kate said...

Looks like a great one for the holidays. -Cari

Hope said...

I'd like to read this book.

Angie Vik said...

The dough ornaments idea looks great. Might need to try that.

Andrea Schultz said...

Love Amish stories! Please enter me in the draw!

Thanks - Andrea


Please visit my new blog at:

I'm pleased to be participating in the 12 Pearls of Christmas tour. Come on over and comment to the post to be entered to win a three strand pearl necklace!

And please follow or subscribe to this newbie! Book reviews will be coming shortly!

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a very interesting and entertaining book to read.

Sandee61 said...

I've enjoyed all of Cindy's books, and would love to read her newest one. Please enter me in your giveaway. Thank you!

Christmas Blessings,


Anonymous said...

This looks like a good read!

SarahA said...

I love Cindy's books! Thanks for a chance to win this one : )

Wendy said...

Thanks for the chance to win - I am looking forward to reading this book.

Casey said...

I really want to read this book. Cindy's novels are wonderful and I am sure this one is no exception. Thanks for the chance.


Unknown said...

I am a fellow Georgian too. I would like to read her book. Thanks.


Cheryl said...

Sounds like a great book. Please enter me in the contest. My email address is shryackmom[@]charter[.]net

Elaine said...

I'm sure I'd love reading this book. I enjoy reading about the Amish.

Anonymous said...

I have been anxious to get my hands on this book and read it!
Please enter me. Thanks from a fellow Georgian.

Di Smith said...

(Not commenting for the contest!) This book does sound so nice and I LOVE the recipe for dough ornaments. That sounds like a craft idea I may just be able to do (maybe it's because she said you could eat it LOL). Thanks for the recommendation Lynda.

stephanie said...

I want a chance to win too

Laury said...

This looks like a great book. Would love to read it.

Anonymous said...

LOVE the sisters of the quilt books..cant wait to read any of her books