Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of a copy of Abandon the Dark, my June Amish romantic suspense novel. They are: Patti Bond, Kim Sanford, Toni Walker, Donna Forker, Linda McFarland, Sandy Larivee, Susan Copeland, Meredith Briski, Elizabeth Dent, and Sharon McCloud.

Thanks for entering, everyone. If you didn't win this time, I hope you will the next!

Blessings,
Marta

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

My latest Amish romantic suspense novel, Abandon the Dark, will be available in stores and online on June 24th. For a chance to win a free copy, check out the contest page on Goodreads. For an additional chance to win, either comment here or e-mail me at marta@martaperry.com. Just be sure to include your e-mail address so I can reach you. Contest ends on June 24, so get your entry in soon! I'll be giving away ten copies on Goodreads and ten copies here, so that's lots of chances to win!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Scavenger Hunt Winners!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Spring Scavenger Hunt! It was fun for all the authors, and we hope readers had a great time, too!

You have probably already seen that the grand prize winner is Jamie G. Congrats to Jamie. Enjoy your new Kindle. The two runners-up are Melanie S and Jean F. Your books will be arriving shortly.

The winner of the set of Amish suspense novels on my blog is Britney Adams. As soon as I receive Britney's address, her books will be on the way to her.

My apologies for the problem with my e-mail account, which went down in the midst of the hunt. Thanks to all of you who got in touch with me. No matter how you communicated, your name was entered in the drawing!

Best wishes again to the winners, and thanks to everyone. We hope you'll join us again the next time!

Blessings,
Marta

Thursday, April 3, 2014

SPRING SCAVENGER HUNT

Welcome to Stop 25 in the Spring Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! If you've happened upon this stop out of order, you may want to go back to Stop 1 at http://www.robinleehatcher.com/scavenger-hunt-stop-1 to begin. That's also where the hunt will end. If you get lost along the way, check in at http://www.robinleehatcher.com/scavenger-hunt-participating-authors-stops/


At each stop, you'll collect a clue, printed in red. Write them down as you go. The hunt ends on April 6th at Midnight, Mountain Time, so you have all weekend to finish. No need to race!

First prize is a Kindle Fire HDX plus $100 gift certificate. Two runners-up will receive all 31 of the books featured in the Scavenger Hunt. Individual authors will also be giving prizes at their stops, so don't forget to look for that at the bottom of each post.

It's my great pleasure to introduce Judy Miller to you. Judy and I first met at a Christian Writers Retreat many years ago, and we had great fun brainstorming together. I'm honored to have her guest on my site. Judith Miller is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than 30 historical romance novels. She is known for her unique settings and love of history. Learn more at www.judithmccoymiller.com.

You won't want to miss Judith's latest book. Here's a bit about it: A Shining Light is the third book in the Home to Amana historical series. A young widow returns home to Iowa after the devastating loss of her husband, but when she arrives, she finds the family farm destroyed. She finds refuge with the kind people of the Amana village, where she is drawn to tinsmith, Dirk Knefler. But is the simple, cloistered life what she wants for herself and her son?
 


You can purchase A Shining Light at  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-shining-light-judith-miller/1115664287?ean=9781441263599&itm=1&usri=9781441263599&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-GwEz7vxblVU-_-10:1&r=1,%201, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DWA6BD0/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1A46EWNSQ0SFWA3KABZX&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846
or at http://www.christianbook.com/a-shining-light-home-to-amana/judith-miller/9780764210020/pd/210025?product_redirect=1&Ntt=210025&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP

Judy has sent me a mouth-watering exclusive post to share with you!
 
The Amana Wedding Cake by Judith Miller:

 In A Shining Light, I feature a tinsmith, a craftsman who made everything from buckets and kitchen utensils to rain gutters for the Amana homes. One of the very special items made by the tinsmith was what has become known as the Amana Wedding Cake Tin. Sternkutchen, a marble cake, was baked in the large star-shaped tin.

 

As you can see from the pictures, the cake is very large which would allow for thin, yet filling slices of cake. The cake recipe used for weddings was made in four different colors, yellow, pink, white, and chocolate, but today there is disagreement in the Colonies whether the Sternkutchen should be frosted. While some prefer no frosting, others dust it with powdered sugar and still others prefer to drizzle the cake with a simple sugar glaze. There are even a few who frost the Stern with a butter-cream frosting. The cake may be baked in a large bundt pan (half the recipe) if you don’t have a prized Amana star-shaped tin.

 

The recipe and directions follow:

 

Sternkuchen (Marbled Star Cake)

 

If using a bundt pan instead of star pan, cut recipe in half.

For white cake batter                                                            For pink cake batter

½ cup butter                                                                 1/2 white cake batter

2 cups sugar                                                                 2 to 4 drops red food coloring

3 cups flour

1 cup milk

2 tsp. baking powder

8 egg whites, beaten stiff

 

For yellow cake batter                                               For chocolate cake batter

½ cup butter                                                                 ½ yellow cake batter

1 ½ cups sugar                                                             ½ cup cocoa

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ cup milk

8 egg yolks

2 tsps. Vanilla

 

Preheat oven to 325º.

For the white cake, cream first two ingredients of white cake recipe. Stir in flour alternately with milk. Add baking powder. Mix well then fold in stiff-beaten egg whites.

            For pink batter, take ½ of white cake batter and pour into a bowl. Add 2 to 4 drops red food coloring. Set aside white and pink batters.

            For yellow batter, cream butter and sugar for yellow cake batter. Stir in flour, baking powder, and milk. Add egg yolks, and beat well. Blend in vanilla.

            For chocolate batter, take ½ of yellow cake batter and pour into a bowl—beat in cocoa.

            If using the star-shaped cake tin, trace form on waxed or parchment paper, and line tin. Then grease and flour tin. Carefully pour yellow batter into pan, then add white batter, chocolate batter, and finally the pink batter. Do not fill pan to the top—leave one inch headroom. Excess batter may be poured into a greased and floured cake pan or cupcake pan.

            Bake 40-50 minutes. Remember, less time is required for a smaller pan. When cool, carefully remove the cake from pan and frost or sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Note: I had to bake this an additional 15 minutes, so be sure to test before removing from the oven!!
 
 
THE SCAVENGER HUNT SKINNY
Thanks for stopping by my blog! Before you move onto Stop 26, http://judithmccoymiller.com/scavenger-hunt-stop-26/ , be sure to write down this Stop 25 clue: "but a bad".
 
BONUS PRIZE! Enter to win an additional prize--a complete set of three of my Amish Romantic Suspense novels. Just send your name and e-mail address to me at marta@martaperry.com.
 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

SPRING SCAVENGER HUNT


The Christian Fiction Spring Scavenger Hunt is coming soon! You won't want to miss this opportunity to visit many of your favorite authors, collect clues, and have a chance to win a terrific prize. Prizes include a Kindle Fire HDX plus $100 gift certificate. Two runners-up will receive all 31 of the books featured on the hunt.

So mark your calendars for April 4, Noon Mountain Time, and go to http://www.robinleehatcher.com to begin the hunt. Remember--the Hunt will not begin until Noon Mountain Time that day.

I hope to see you then!


Friday, January 17, 2014

SUSANNA'S DREAM out soon!


SUSANNA'S DREAM, the second book in the Lost Sisters of Pleasant Valley, will be in stores on February 4th. You can pre-order it now at most online booksellers.
 
Here is an excerpt to whet your appetite!


Susanna’s Dream 

Chapter One

 
    The shop was too quiet. Susanna Bitler straightened one of the paintings she had on consignment from an Englisch artist and moved on to the display of quilted placemats. Her partner in Plain Gifts, Dora Gaus, might return from her doctor’s appointment in time to close, but Susanna certain sure didn’t need help.

A rainy weekday in September always meant few customers in the shop. Still, it didn’t normally feel lonely, crowded as it was with baskets and candles, placemats and wall hangings, hooked rugs and table runners, all of them handmade by local craftspeople. The bright colors and myriad of textures would cheer anyone, wouldn’t they?

Unfortunately, being alone gave her too much time to think. Susanna smoothed the skirt of her black dress, a reminder of her mother’s death less than a month ago. She must stop feeling sorry for herself. Her mother would be the first one to tell her so. Mamm’s death had been God’s will, and she wouldn’t have wanted her mother to linger in pain. Still…

The sound of footsteps on the shop’s small porch ended the stream of thoughts that might well have her in tears if she wasn’t careful. Susanna turned toward the door, arranging a welcoming smile on her face.

The bell tinkled as the door opened, and the smile froze despite her efforts. It wasn’t a customer. Her visitor was Nathaniel Gaus, Dora’s son. A nice enough man, from all Susanna knew of him, except that he always seemed to regard his mother’s young partner with a vague disapproval that Susanna found unsettling.

“Nathaniel.” She moved toward him, more than usually aware under his observant eyes of the limp that was the remnant of a childhood accident. “Wilkom. I’m sorry, but your mother isn’t here this afternoon.”

Odd, that he wouldn’t have known. He must have forgotten, occupied as he was with his own business. Dora had lived with her son since the death of his wife several years earlier.

Nathaniel slapped his black hat against his leg to shake off the raindrops that clung to it. With his fair hair and beard, blue eyes, ruddy skin, and broad shoulders, Nathaniel probably looked like the popular Englisch image of an Amish man, but he wasn’t a typical farmer. He owned Gaus’s Bulk Foods, a thriving store in here in Oyersburg.

“Ja, I know.” Nate came closer, so that she had to tilt her head to see his face. “I don’t think I’ve talked to you since your mamm’s funeral, Susanna. I hope you are doing well.”

“Denke. It’s been…a difficult time.” She blinked, taken aback by the tears that seemed to come too readily when someone spoke of Mamm. “May I take a message for your mother?”

A slight frown wrinkled his forehead. “No, that’s not necessary. Actually, I came to speak to you.”

Susanna stiffened, thoughts jostling in her mind. “Was ist letz?” She couldn’t imagine Nate seeking her out unless something was wrong.

“Nothing’s wrong.” But his tone seemed to argue with the words.

He glanced around the shop, his gaze skimming the pottery, the hooked rugs, and all the other things that she’d just been thinking made Plain Gifts so cozy and welcoming. Nate’s look was assessing instead of admiring, she thought.

“The shop isn’t busy,” he observed.

Susanna tried to quell the defensive feeling that sprang up at what she felt was the criticism in his tone. “Now that school is in session, many of our shoppers come on Saturdays. And I’m certain sure business will pick up again as we get closer to Christmas.”

As a businessman, he should understand that, but probably Nate didn’t have such cycles in his bulk foods business. Folks always had to eat, but they weren’t always looking for gifts and crafts.

“I suppose.” The frown settled between his straight brows. “That’s why Mamm is always so tired around the holidays.”

Susanna wasn’t sure whether that was a complaint or not. What was he driving at?

“Ja, I suppose we both work extra hard then. We could always get a girl in to help out if needed.”

His frown seemed to deepen. “Mamm has family to keep her busy, especially at the holidays. It’s different for you.” He stopped, the color deepening in his ruddy cheeks as he seemed to hear what he’d just said. “I didn’t mean—“

“It’s true that I don’t have any kin here in Oyersburg now that my mother has passed. And that certainly gives me more time for the shop.” She kept her normal, quiet tone, but Nate’s attitude was beginning to bother her. Why didn’t he just come out and say whatever he wanted to say? “What is it you wanted to talk with me about?”

He blinked, as if startled that she would be so blunt. “Ja, well, the point is that my mamm isn’t getting any younger.”

She could imagine Dora’s reaction at hearing her son imply she was getting old. “None of us are doing that.”

A flash of exasperation crossed his face, but he reined it in quickly. Nate was a man who didn’t let his feelings show. He always had a pleasant smile for his customers, but his eyes seemed constantly on guard.

“True enough. I didn’t come here to argue with you, Susanna. I want to ask for your help.”

My help?” That was surprising. Nate didn’t seem to need anyone’s assistance, as far as she could tell. He’d built up his successful business on his own, and he controlled every aspect of it, no matter how small, according to his mother.

His face relaxed into a smile, his usually cautious blue eyes warming in an expression Susanna had never seen before…one that gave her a funny, prickling feeling along her skin. “Ja. I apologize. I shouldn’t beat around the bush, ain’t so?”

Most women would have trouble resisting the genuine smile that appeared so rarely on his face, and she didn’t seem to be an exception. “What do you need?”

He hesitated for a moment. “I would like your help with my mother.”

“With Dora?” Her breath caught. “Is something wrong with her?”

“No, no.” He touched her sleeve lightly in reassurance, and his warmth penetrated the fabric, startling her. “She is getting older, that’s all, and I fear she’s working too hard. She ought to be able to take it easy now that her kinder are grown.”

Susanna tried to imagine the ever-busy Dora sitting in a rocking chair with her knitting instead of being up and doing. She couldn’t. How best to convey that to Nate?

“Maybe your mamm doesn’t want to take it easy.”

“Sometimes people aren’t the best judge of what’s good for them,” he countered.

“True enough.” A frown wrinkled her forehead. “If you think Dora should take more time off, I am happy to work longer hours in the shop.” Probably everyone in Oyersburg’s Amish community knew she had little else in her life just now.

“Ach, we both know how she is.” His smile invited her to agree with him. “She’d be in here every day anyway just to make sure things were running fine.”

Susanna realized she was staring at him, studying the strong lines of his face for any clues as to what he was really saying. “You know I would do anything for Dora, but I’m not sure what you want from me.”

His gaze sharpened as if he’d finally reached the heart of the matter. “It’s simple, Susanna. I want you to persuade my mother to give up the shop.”

The words fell with such stunning swiftness that they shocked her into immobility. Nate went on talking, but his voice was only a background to the panic that swept in as she realized the impact of his proposal.

“…you might buy my mother out if you wanted to run the shop on your own, of course. Or I thought maybe since your mother is gone, you’d want to move back to Ohio, where you grew up. You’d have friends and kinfolk there. I’m sure the shop was a good solution when you had your mamm to take care of, but now you’re free to—“

“No.” The word came out with explosive force.

For a moment Nate didn’t speak. “No what?” His brows gathered like thunderclouds forming.

“No, I will not try to talk Dora into doing something I don’t think she wants to do.” A few other words crowded her lips, words about bossy men and people who thought they had all the answers, but she held them back. It was not in her nature to start a quarrel.

“I think I know what is best for my mother.” Nate’s voice had hardened.

She hesitated, but she had to say what she felt. “And I think your mother knows what’s best for her.”

Nate’s shoulders stiffened. “Then I guess we don’t have anything more to say to each other.” He settled his hat squarely on his head and stalked out, disapproval conveyed in every line of his body.

The door closed hard enough to make the bell nearly jangle off its hook. Susanna stood immobile until Nate had passed the shop window and disappeared. Then she clasped her hand over her lips.

She would not cry. She would not give in to despair.

But if Nate had his way…

The money she had left after her mother’s final illness was nowhere near enough to buy out Dora’s half of the business. What was she going to do? She couldn’t lose the shop. She didn’t have anything else.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

SEARCH THE DARK available now!

SEARCH THE DARK, my latest Amish suspense novel, is available today in stores and online. Here's an excerpt to whet your appetite!


SEARCH THE DARK

By Marta Perry

Prologue

 

A thin shaft of moonlight penetrated the shadows under the trees, turning the surface of the pond to silver. Strange, that the place should look so serene. No one knew; no one even imagined that murder happened here.

A shadow stirred within the densest shadows. Foolish to come here, but on sleepless nights the lure was too great. Stand here for a few moments, that was all that was needed. Remember.

It was safe enough. No one knew, no one watched. The darkness hid everything, just as it had hidden what had been done here twenty years ago.

Accident, they’d all said. The locals knew how dangerous the dam was where the stream emptied into the pond below. Only a few feet high, but in times of heavy rain the dam could produce a current as strong as any riptide.

The boy had been careless, people had said. An Amish kid, maybe drinking, maybe showing off, trapped by the dangerous water and drowned. The Englisch spoke of putting up a fence; the Amish said it was God’s will. Tragic, but understandable.

The secret lay forgotten for twenty years, until those two stupid women had come together again. They’d been children when Aaron Mast died, but they’d loved him. They talked, they wondered, they asked questions.

Well, for all their questioning, what they’d found was a good reason to call Aaron’s death a suicide. Tragic, wasn’t it? The village had buzzed about it again for weeks, but now even the talk slipped away like a leaf on the current.

No one thought of murder. No one would. But if the unthinkable happened…well, there might have to be another death at Parsons Dam.

The shadow stirred, stepping toward the water for an instant, and then slid back into the darkness and melted away in the night.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

“You are the only one who can find the truth, Meredith. You must do it.”

Meredith King stared in dismay across the small café table at her cousin Sarah. With her hair drawn tightly back under her kapp and her simple Amish dress, Sarah seemed an unlikely person to be urging her cousin to investigate a death that had occurred twenty years ago. But worry had driven lines around Sarah’s normally placid blue eyes, and she reached one hand across the table in pleading.

“I’m not sure what I can do.” That came out sounding much less definite than Meredith had hoped. “Aaron drowned twenty years ago. There’s probably nothing left to learn.”

And a small-town accountant shouldn’t be anyone’s idea of a crusader. Her weekly coffee klatch with her Amish cousin had turned in a direction Meredith had never anticipated.

“But it was your looking into what happened that summer that brought about this talk of Aaron killing himself. Yours and Rachel’s,” Sarah added. “You’ve already found out so much—surely you can discover the rest of it.”

Meredith couldn’t argue that she’d resurrected the talk about Aaron Mast’s death, no matter how she might want to. When her childhood friend, Rachel Weaver Mason, had come back to Deer Run several months earlier, they’d started reminiscing about the events of that summer when they’d been ten and had shared a childish crush on the Amish teenager.

Aaron had been the hero of the imaginary world they’d created that summer. But the world had come crashing down when Aaron died in the pond below Parsons Dam. What started as harmless wondering about the events of that summer had also ended in uncovering the probability that Aaron had committed suicide.

“I’m sorry we ever started poking into it,” Meredith said, guilt settling across her shoulders like a heavy blanket. “We certainly didn’t intend to cause grief to his family.”

“Please, Meredith. I can’t go asking questions among the Englisch, but you can.” Sarah gestured to her Amish dress as if in explanation.

True enough. An action that would be unthinkable for an Amish matron was possible for Meredith.

“Besides, you know as much as anybody about that summer, following Aaron around like you did.” Sarah must have sensed her hesitation and pressed on. “I know you were just a girl, but you didn’t forget our Aaron, ain’t so?” The possessive way Sarah spoke suggested that Aaron had meant something special to her.

“Aaron was a friend of yours, then?” She should have realized that Sarah, ten years older than Meredith, would have been about Aaron’s age.

“Friend, ja.” Sarah’s gaze seemed to lose focus, as if she looked into the past. “More than friends, once.” She shook her head, becoming again the mature Amish wife and mother. “But this talk of suicide hurts so many people. The Aaron I knew would not do such a thing.”

“Sometimes we don’t know others as well as we think.” For example, she’d never guessed that there had been any love in Sarah’s life other than her husband, Jonah. “Even if I can think of a way to find out more, you might not be happy with the result.”

“If Aaron really did this thing, I will bear it.” Sarah’s voice was firm. “We all will. But we must know for certain sure.”

Meredith was silent for a moment, trying to find a way to refuse. She didn’t want to bring still more heartache to people who’d already suffered so much.

But Sarah was the closest link she had to her father and the Amish side of her family. For their sake, she couldn’t refuse to do as Sarah asked, could she?

“I’ll try,” she said at last. “I don’t know if I can help, but I’ll try.”

“Denke, Meredith.” Tears shone in Sarah’s blue eyes as she clasped Meredith’s hand. “Da Herr sie mit du.”

The Lord be with you. She’d certainly need the help if she were to solve a twenty-year-old mystery.