Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Christmas Gift for You!

I'm happy to be able to offer you a special Christmas Gift during this holiday season. Nicole O'Dell, founder of the Choose NOW Ministries to young people, has put together a unique cook book with recipes from sixty-five Christian authors. Each author chose a recipe to include that was somehow linked to his or her novel, so the book is called NOVEL MORSELS.

I contributed a recipe for Apple Crumble Pie, a favorite family recipe of mine which also appears in my latest book, KATIE'S WAY. I'm so intrigued to read through all the recipes in this e-book, and I can't wait to try them for myself.

Best of all, I can offer the whole e-book to you free as a Christmas gift! All you have to do is follow the link to order the book, and in the appropriate box enter my code, which is martaperry. Be sure you put it in as a single word. That will drop your cost to zero, and the cookbook will be available to you as a pdf download.

I hope you'll enjoy this unique collection of recipes from some of your favorite authors. To order the book, just follow this link: http://nicoleodell.com/parent-side/nonfiction/novel-morsels/?openstorepage=product_det:49324

Novel Morsels is also available for Kindle and Nook at a cost of $2.99.

Here’s a taste of what you’ll find inside:

Served warm, the melt in your mouth goodness of scones is part of British tea-time ritual—one my Irish and English characters in Promise Me This crave, no matter how far from home they travel. Scones were served at their London and Southampton tables and aboard Titanic. But when WWI rations essential ingredients like butter, sugar, eggs—almost everything—Annie and Michael will surely miss the memories this recipe conjures.

~Novel Morsels, page 121, recipe contributed by Cathy Gohlke

Bon appetit! And Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Work of Our Hands

Last week I went to a women's association mission event at my church, where we learned about the work of Root International, a Christian organization that sends help wherever and whenever it's needed, although it has continuing operations with children's schools with Native Americans and in Mexico. It proved to be an especially meaningful event, because our town was a direct beneficiary of their work in September, when massive flooding hit our area. It was amazing to see that big trailer from Root International pull up in town, jammed full with mattresses and food and equipment to help with the losses right here.

Part of our program was to make small teddy bears to send with Root to children in need of a bit of comfort as well as more material help. For us, with the memory of our own disaster still fresh in our minds, doing so was particularly poignant. But as we sat around tables stuffing bears and sewing seams while we talked and laughed together, I was also reminded of the role handwork plays in women's lives. For generations, women have used the work of their hands not only to create necessary things for their families and others, but also to express their artistry and creative urges.

I don't have to go any farther than my cedar chest to see that expression of love and artistry. Looking at the Double Wedding Ring quilt created from postage-stamp-size patches by a Depression-era great-aunt or the Autumn Leaf quilt my mother made for me or the dresser scarves embroidered by my grandmother, I am reminded again of how precious the work of our hands can be. Each item seems to come with a memory attached, carrying love from previous generations. I've tried to express that appreciation often in my books, especially in my Amish stories. In Katie's Way, my latest book, I was able to express those feelings in the characters, both Englisch and Amish, who gather at Katie's quilt shop to work together, sharing their lives as they quilt.

So when I make doll clothes with one granddaughter and Christmas ornaments with another, I hope I'm doing my part to carry on that tradition. What hand work do you do? Do you find particular satisfaction in it? I hope so.


Friday, October 28, 2011

KATIE'S WAY by Marta Perry

Katie's Way, Book 5 in the Pleasant Valley Amish series, will be in stores on Tuesday, November 1. I hope you've been looking forward to a return visit to Pleasant Valley.

Here's a sample for you to taste:

By Marta Perry

Chapter One

Fast-paced chatter in Pennsylvania Dutch, followed by a ripple of women’s laughter, floated through the archway from what used to be a hardware store. Caleb Brand forced himself to focus on the rocking chair he was waxing, trying to ignore the sounds of change.
He didn’t like change. This building, with its two connected shops, had been a male enclave for years. Now all that was different, because Bishop Mose had decided to rent the other side to Katie Miller for a quilt shop.
Caleb gritted his teeth and rubbed a little harder, trying to concentrate on the grain of the hickory. Rocking chairs were among his best sellers, and this one had turned out to his satisfaction. He’d never let anything go out of his shop that he wouldn’t be happy to have in his own home.
Another peal of female laughter. How many women were over there, anyway, helping to set up for the opening tomorrow? It sounded as if half the sisters in the church district.
No reason why Katie Miller, newly komm to Pleasant Valley from Columbia County, shouldn’t open a quilt shop. He wished her well. Just not next door to him.
The bell on his own front door jingled, and he looked up. Bishop Mose, his white beard fluttering in the mild May breeze that swept down the main street of the village, ducked into the shop.
“Bishop Mose.” He half-rose, showing the man where he was behind the counter at the rear of the show room.
“Ach, Caleb, I thought you’d be tucked away in your workshop at this hour.” The bishop, his years seeming to sit lightly on him, wound his way through the handmade wooden furniture that filled the room.
“Nobody’s here to help out today, so I have to mind the shop.” He put the lid on the furniture wax, tapping it down tight. “Can I do something for you today?”
“Ach, no.” The bishop’s blue eyes, wise with a lifetime of service to the Amish of Pleasant Valley, crinkled a little. “Chust thought I should see for myself how you’re dealing with your new neighbor.”
Caleb glanced down at the rocker to avoid meeting the bishop’s gaze. “Fine. Everything’s fine, I think.”
Maybe he didn’t understand why Bishop Mose had seen fit to install a quilt shop next to him, but he wouldn’t complain. He’d never forget that when it seemed every person in the valley had turned against him, Bishop Mose had accepted his word.
It was eight years since then, and Caleb supposed folks still talked. But thanks to Bishop Mose, he had his place here.
In the brief silence between them, the sound of women’s voices came through clearly, talking about how best to display some quilts, it seemed.
“That’s gut,” Bishop Mose said. “I thought maybe it would be a bother to you, having a quilt shop next door instead of a hardware store.”
Caleb caressed the curved spindle of the rocker absently, the wood warm and smooth under his hand. Could he drop a hint in the bishop’s ear?
“Well, I did think a hardware store was a better fit with my shop.” He said the words as cautiously as if he walked on eggs. “We shared more of the same customers, ain’t so?”
“You don’t think the folks who buy Katie’s quilts will be interested in your fine rocking chairs and chests?” Bishop Mose lifted white eyebrows.
Another burst of laughter scraped at his nerves. “No. I don’t think a bunch of quilting women are likely to want what—“
He stopped, a little too late, he supposed. Katie Miller stood in the archway, and he didn’t doubt she’d heard him.
He cleared his throat, trying to think what to say, but she beat him to it.
“Ach, Bishop Mose, I thought I heard your voice.” The warm smile she directed toward the bishop probably didn’t include Caleb. “Would you like to see what we’ve done with the shop?”
“We would like nothing better.” He reached across the counter to clap Caleb’s shoulder. “Komm, Caleb. We’ll have a look at your new neighbor, ain’t so?”
Caleb hesitated, glancing at Katie. Her blue eyes were guarded, it seemed to him, and her strong jaw set. Katie Miller looked like a determined woman, one bent on doing things her way.
Which was maybe how she’d reached her mid-twenties without marrying, unusual for an Amish woman. And at the moment her way most likely didn’t include showing him her shop.
But in the next instant her expression had melted into a smile. She smoothed back a strand of light brown hair under the white kapp on the back of her head and nodded. “Komm. I’d like fine to show you what we’ve done.”
With the bishop’s hand on his shoulder Caleb couldn’t very well pull away. He walked through the archway, feeling as if he was moving into the foreign land.
It looked that way, too. Harvey Schmidt’s barrels of nails and coils of wire were long gone, of course. The shop had been stripped down to the bare shelves during Harvey’s closing sale. But now—
The walls and shelves had been painted white, as had the counters. Against the white, every color possible glowed in bolts of fabric and spools of thread. It looked like a huge flowerbed in full bloom.
And that was saying nothing of the quilts, draped on a four-poster maple bed that had been placed in the center of the space. Another quilt, in shades of blue and yellow and white, sagged dangerously between Molly, Katie’s cousin and the reason Katie had come to the valley in the first place, and Sarah Mast, Pleasant Valley’s midwife. Both were up on chairs, obviously trying to hang the quilt from a rod that Harvey had used to support coils of rope.
“That looks like a dangerous thing to be doing.” Bishop Mose was quick to steady the chair on which Molly teetered. “Especially for a new maami.”
Dimples appeared in Molly’s cheeks. “Ach, you sound just like my Aaron. Anyone would think I was made of glass to hear him. After all, our little boy is nearly three months old now.”
“Ja, well, komm down, anyway.” Katie went quickly to grasp the quilt from them. “This I’ll put on the bed, and I have some quilted table runners that can hang from the rod instead.”
Molly and Sarah climbed down, looking a little relieved, he thought. Sarah took the quilt from Katie.
“We’ll take care of it. You have guests to show around.”
Katie surrendered the quilt and spread her arms wide in a gesture that took in the whole of the small shop. “Here it is, as you can see.” A smile blossomed on her face, touching her eyes and bringing a glow to her cheeks.
Happiness. Hope. They radiated from Katie like heat from a stove. Caleb couldn’t help but be touched.
But that didn’t change anything, he reminded himself. Having the woman’s business right next door was going to be a nuisance, at the very least.
And if she’d heard what folks said about him, he could only wonder why she’d want to be here at all.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


If you enjoy contests and like the idea of winning a free book, I want to draw your attention to www.Goodreads.com. You may have already found this site, but if you haven't, be sure to stop by. It's a great place for booklovers! It gives you opportunities to connect with people who enjoy the kind of books you do, a way to keep track of the books you read, and a chance to post your comments on books, which helps others choose what to read.

One of the neat things about Goodreads is the opportunity to sign up for contests with books as prizes. Just click on the giveaways link, and it will lead you to a page where all the current contests are listed. Publishers and authors list giveaways, sometimes for upcoming books, sometimes for earlier books that are part of a series. It's a nice way for authors to remind readers of their books.

I currently have two contests running, both of which finish the end of October. I'm giving away copies of VANISH IN PLAIN SIGHT, book 2 in my Amish suspense series, and also copies of KATIE'S WAY, book 5 in my Pleasant Valley Amish series. KATIE'S WAY releases the first of November, and I'm delighted that my publisher was willing to make some books available for the contest. So stop by Goodreads for a chance to win a free book--or maybe two!


Sunday, October 2, 2011


Today I'm delighted to welcome author and good friend Lyn Cote, with her October Love Inspired release. Lyn is one busy, vibrant lady. Here's a bit about her:

When Lyn Cote became a mother, she gave up teaching, and while raising a son and a daughter, she began working on her first novel. Rejection followed. Finally in 1997, Lyn got "the call." Her first book, Never Alone, was chosen for the brand new Love Inspired romance line. Since then, Lyn has had over thirty-five novels published. In 2006 Lyn's book, Chloe, was a finalist for the RITA, and her book Her Patchwork Family and Her Healing Ways were finalists for the Carol Award in 2010 & 2011,, two of the highest awards in romance. Lyn also features stories of strong women both from real life and true to life fiction on her blog http://BooksbyLynCote.com Writing books at her lake cottage in northern Wisconsin, Lyn hopes her books show the power of divine and human love.

Lyn's latest book is BUILDING A FAMILY, a Love Inspired novel that will be in stores this week.

In BUILDING A FAMILY, lawyer Eleanor Washburn defends wayward teenagers and supervises volunteers for Habitat for Humanity without missing a beat. But she is unnerved by fascinating single dad Pete Beck—especially since his chaotic life includes a little girl wishing for a mother. Sweet Cassie has Eleanor yearning for what's been missing from her lonely existence. Soon, both dad and daughter are chipping away at Eleanor's defenses. Can she find the courage to risk losing her heart to this ready-made family?

A message from Lyn:

Have you ever seen a hodag?
Probably not. The hodag is the mascot of a town I live near in Wisconsin. According to Wikipedia, and I quote: "The Hodag is a folkloric animal of the American state of Wisconsin. Its history is focused mainly around the city of Rhinelander in northern Wisconsin, where it was said to have been discovered."

Rhinelander sits just to the south of the northwoods or Lakeland area where I live. Within a 50 mile radius of my home are 2300 lakes. If you fly over this area, you see more water than land. That explains part of the area's allure. Most of Chicago and Milwaukee head north to escape the heat and humidity of summer. My latest Love Inspired romance is set in a fictitious town near Rhinelander and the hodag makes its romantic debut in BUILDING A FAMILY.

You'll find Lyn's new book in stores this week. Happy Reading!


Monday, September 26, 2011


My good friend Valerie Hansen has a new book out this month, and I want to urge you to buy this one. Val writes great romantic suspense, and I'm sure NIGHTWATCH is going to be one of her most popular yet.

Here's a message from Val:

NIGHTWATCH is the first book I've done about a group of volunteers that helps defenseless children by representing them in court and speaking the words they may be too frightened to say. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates and is now a nationwide organization. I will have other books about the same organization but each will stand alone, so the books won't have to be read in sequence or saved until all are published to be enjoyed.

NIGHTWATCH begins with an arson fire that leaves three youngsters orphaned. The foster mother who takes them in and a firefighter friend of their late parents are called upon to defend these little ones against the same evil that stole their parents lives. The CASA worker who is assigned to this case will be back with her own story in June of 2012 when THREAT OF DARKNESS is published. In September of 2012 the children's uncle, an ex-Marine, is the hero of STANDING GUARD. All three books are published by Love Inspired Suspense.

From Marta: I promise you'll enjoy it!

Monday, September 19, 2011


On Saturday, September 24th, I'll be running down to Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania to participate in Murder as You Like It, a mystery conference sponsored by Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop. Since we all know how rare independent bookstores are becoming, I'm delighted to participate when I hear of an interesting event like this one. The store has assembled a group of fifteen mystery authors to present a day-long event for fans of mystery, spy, thriller and horror novels.

Among the participants are Cordelia Frances Biddle, author of the critically-aclaimed Martha Beale historical series; Chris Grabenstein, who writes the popular "Haunted Mystery Series" for kids; mystery authors Valerie and Paul Malmont; and a number of others.

I'll be particpating on a panel called Reluctant Sleuths, and I'll focus on my Amish suspense novels, including the upcoming Danger in Plain Sight.

If you're anywhere in the Mechanicsburg area and you'd like to have a great day of chatting with mystery authors and fans, do join us. The event will be held at the Mount Olivet United Methodist Church, 5000 Simpson Ferry Road, Mechanicsburg, PA. You can find a brochure online at www.MysteryBooksOnline.com

Happy Reading,
Marta Perry

Saturday, September 10, 2011


The perfect storm, they're calling it--that odd combination of the jet stream, the remnants of a tropical storm, the hurricane out in the Atlantic. All we know here is that it sent a steady trail of rain running right up the Susquehanna River Valley this week. In the past, we old-timers measured everything by Hurricane Agnes, back in '72. "Well, if you'd been through Agnes..." we'd say whenever the subject of floods came up.

But the river has made such comments obsolete, setting new, painful records which put over a quarter of Bloomsburg, our town, under water. Out here in the country we went through our own creek flooding on Wednesday, coming out with nothing worse than a couple of feet of water in the barn, ground water in the springhouse, and a lot of worry. I discovered myself baking muffins while checking the water rise, and I remembered that on that Thursday when Agnes hit, I'd baked a cherry pie. Apparently my default action to disaster is to start baking.

Now all we can do is watch and wait for the river to go down in town, praying for our friends who have been evacuated but unable even to go and help them. In the midst of the water and mud and misery, small stories of hope and heroism keep surfacing, reminding us that sometimes when conditions are at their worst, people are at their best.

Our community radio station, a dying breed, has stayed on air and on flood coverage 24/7, keeping people informed, bringing families together, directing help where it's needed. This despite the fact that the station didn't have electricity and many of its personnel had homes in the danger zone. Individuals and groups have sprung into action without being asked, putting on meals for any who need it, no questions asked, while local restaurants ferried food to the Red Cross evacuation centers as long as they had power and water.

It will be a long time before Bloomsburg and the other river towns are back to normal, but it will happen. Lives will be rebuilt along with homes, the park and the fairgrounds will once again be our community's pride. But we won't forget the flood of September 2011 in a hurry.

If you're of a mind to help, check out the website of the American Red Cross. They're doing their usual wonderful job with the aid of local volunteers, and they can always use your support.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Every year around this time, we have our annual tomato squeezing. Someone I mentioned that to laughed and said it sounded like a taffy pull. Well, not quite, but really, it's almost as much fun. Take eight friends, lots of tomatoes fresh from the garden, add one large Squeezo, and have at it. Each September, we invite some friends to come bringing their tomatoes, and we have a pleasant and amazingly productive evening.

For the uninitiated, a Squeezo is an ingenious hand-operated machine. It clamps to a table (our picnic table, in this case) and has a large hopper on top into which you put the washed tomatoes fresh from the garden. Press down with a wooden mallet, turn the crank, and the skins and seeds come out one side while the lovely tomato puree pours out the other. A tedious job if you're doing it all alone, it becomes a party when friends are invited! We end the work part of the evening with each couple having quarts of sauce ready to take home and be made into juice or soup or spaghetti sauce. And then supper is on the table--by tradition, I never serve anything made with tomatoes!

Gardens being sometimes unpredictable, each year we wonder what the harvest will bring. Sometimes one person supplies most of the tomatoes, sometimes another. Our particular tomato patch suffered this year: the ground was too wet to get the plants in on time, and then a long, hot, dry spell hit just when we were out of town and unable to water. As a result, our contribution will be sparse, but I understand our friends are more bountifully supplied, so I think there will be tomatoes for all. One community in our neighborhood has an annual tomato battle this time of year. All I can think is what a waste, when it can be turned into lovely homemade spaghetti sauce.

My spaghetti sauce recipe comes from my father, who always made the sauce in our house when I was growing up. There's nothing exact about it, since spaghetti sauce is as much by taste as by measuring. Here's how we do it:

Take one 12-quart kettle filled with fresh squeezed tomato puree. Add one cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of salt, one large onion, chopped, 4 large cloves of garlic, pressed, stir together thoroughly, then turn the heat on to medium high. As the sauce begins to heat, add a generous handful each of chopped fresh basil leaves and chopped fresh oregano. (I grow both of these in pots outside the kitchen door, but oregano seems to be trying to take over one of my flowerbeds, as well.) Add 2 bay leaves. (Don't chop the bay leaves, as you'll want to remove them when the cooking is finished.) If you don't have fresh basil and oregano, you can use dried, and be generous with the amounts. Add a pinch of red pepper. Stir thoroughly and taste, adding more spices as needed to bring it to your taste. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 4-5 hours. You want to let it cook down and thicken a bit. When it's finished simmering, I can mine in jars, using a pressure canner. You can also put it in plastic containers and freeze. I prefer canning, as I feel the flavors meld as it sits. This amount makes about 8 quarts of sauce. When you're ready to use the sauce, it's time to taste again. You can add a few diced fresh tomatoes, if you like that in your sauce. If the sauce seems too acid, add a tiny pinch of baking soda. If you prefer it a bit thicker, add a small can of Italian tomato paste. As I say, it's all in the tasting!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Introducing Sandra Orchard

It's my pleasure from time to time to intoduce you to one of my author friends. This time it's new author Sandra Orchard, with her Love Inspired suspense novel. Be sure to check out her great new book!

Sandra Orchard lives in rural Ontario, Canada where inspiration abounds for her romantic suspense novels set in the fictional Niagara town she's created as their backdrop. Married with three grown children, when not writing, she enjoys hanging out with family, brainstorming new stories with fellow writers, and hiking or kayaking in God's beautiful creation. Her debut novel Deep Cover is now available on eHarlequin and hits bookstore shelves in September. You can buy it now at http://bit.ly/DeepCover

Maintaining his cover cost undercover cop Rick Gray the woman he loved. Sweet Ginny Bryson never really knew Rick. He never gave her the chance. Not then, and not now, when he's back with a new alias to gather evidence against Ginny's uncle. The man's crimes led to Rick's partner's death, and Rick wants justice to be served. But his investigation is stirring up trouble, and Ginny is smack-dab in the middle. Someone wants Ginny to pay the price for what her uncle has done. But how can Rick protect her without blowing his cover, jeopardizing his assignment...and risking both their lives?

Deep Cover is the first book in the series, Undercover Cops: Fighting for justice puts their lives—and hearts—on the line.

Book 2 ~ Shades of Truth ~ March 2012
A compassionate youth worker fighting to preserve her dying father’s legacy battles the justice-driven detective who threatens her mission and her heart.

Book 3 ~ Dose of Deception ~ TBA (title tentative)
A nurse. An undercover cop. A killer who’ll stop at nothing to avoid being caught.

What reviewers are saying about Deep Cover:
“4 Stars. Great job…a good mystery, interesting characters and a satisfying ending.” ~ Romantic Times

“A great debut novel that will steal your breath away.” ~ Kav at Best Reads.

Visit Sandra Online at:
her website ~ www.SandraOrchard.com
her personal blog ~ http://www.SandraOrchard.blogspot.com
On Facebook ~ www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard

Friday, August 19, 2011

On Being A Writer

Recently I gave a talk at an area library. Most of the participants were there because they were interested in Amish fiction, but there were a few who are aspiring writers. I always include a bit about how I started writing for those folks, hoping they will find encouragement from my story. Here's a little of what I said.

I began my career in fiction writing in a very small way, writing 3 or 4-page stories for church school take-home papers. Since I didn’t have anyone to tell me I was doing it the wrong way, I simply analyzed as many published stories as I could find to figure out what made them tick, and then tried to write my own.

The first story I wrote, called, I believe, “Kathy’s Bedtime,” was rejected its first time out. I figured I’d give it another try, so sent it out once more. It came back again, but this time the editor had taken the trouble to scribble at the bottom of the printed rejection slip, “Nice story.” Bless that anonymous editor. That response made me brave enough to try again, and that time it sold, to Story Friends magazine for the magnificent sum of $16. I took my husband out to dinner with the proceeds and told him I was a writer.

I’m telling you this not because I think it’s a remarkable story, but to show that writing careers, especially fiction careers, begin in all sorts of ways, some of them very small. If I had been discouraged by that first rejection slip, or if I had decided that the struggle wasn’t worth it for $16, I wouldn’t have reached the point of having published over 300 short stories and 43 novels.

I’ve known, over the past 30 years, so many very talented writers—some much more talented than I—who couldn’t keep going through the rejections, the slow pay, the no pay, the magazines that fold before your story comes out, the book lines that die inexplicably. If you ask me what the major ingredients are in success as a fiction writer, I’d have to say persistence and desire. Without those, writers don’t succeed, no matter how talented.

One of the participants at the library got in touch with me after the event, asking about writers' groups in the area, and I was able to refer her to a great local group. I think she's on the right track!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Country Mouse in the Big City

Wow, was last week ever amazing! Romance Writers of America's annual conference is always an exciting time, but the conference in New York City last week topped them all, in my opinion. New York lived up to its reputation for being the brightest, glitziest, busiest, and loudest city in the country.

Not that I haven't been to the city before--and many other cities as well. But from the moment the shuttle bus rounded the corner and Broadway spread out ahead of us, I was hooked. I happened to ride into the city from the airport with a family of German tourists who were on their first holiday in the US, and their reaction of awe and amazement just made my own even better.

The conference was held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, and it was busy, busy, busy, with the publishing companies who have their homes in the city eager to show their authors a good time and scout the many unpublished writers for the next talent.

For me, the best part was the chance to see all the writing buddies I see only once a year at the national conference. Squeals punctuated the air in the lobby, and hugs were the order of the day. If you haven't heard two thousand excited women all talking at the same time, you might still have your hearing intact!

The Booksigning for Literacy topped all expectations, as authors and fans jammed the ballroom, raising over $47,000 in two hours for literacy programs. But I must confess, by the time I'd signed books and then gone out to dinner with one of my editors, I was more than ready to crash. I'm far more used to hearing the call of birds than the wail of sirens.

After four crowded days, lots of meeting and greeting, workshops, lunches with editors, booksignings, brainstorming, bull sessions, and a couple of glitzy parties, I was ready to come home. This country mouse had had her fill of excitement--until next year, of course!

Monday, May 30, 2011


I'm pleased to announce that VANISH IN PLAIN SIGHT, Book 2 in the Amish Suspense series, will be out in bookstores June 1st. I hope you'll look for it.

Here's a bit about the story:

Since she was a little girl, Marisa Angelo has been haunted by the image of her mother walking away, suitcase in hand, to return to her Amish roots. Marisa and her Englischer father never saw or heard from her again. Now Marisa has received a shocking call from police. Her mother's bloodstained suitcase was found hidden inside the wall of a Pennsylvania Dutch farmhouse.

Desperate for answers, Marisa heads to Lancaster County. But no one—not the police or Marisa's tight-lipped Amish relatives—can explain what happened to her mother. Only one man is as determined as Marisa to unravel the mystery—Link Morgan, the handsome ex-military loner who found the suitcase in the house he inherited from his uncle. Now both Link's and Marisa's family member are implicated in the decades-old disappearance.

The secret lies somewhere in the quaint Amish settlement. But someone will do anything to ensure the truth remains hidden forever.

HQN Books, June, 2011

Please let me know what you think of it!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer Salads from Marta Perry

Greetings from Marta Perry!

Despite the fact that it’s rained every day for the past ten days, my thoughts are turning to summertime food. Even if picnics are moved inside because of rain, it’s still all about the food!

Most of my recipes for summertime salads come from by Pennsylvania Dutch background, and we use mayonnaise—boy, do we ever use mayonnaise. Maybe I shouldn’t even think about the amount of calories in some of our popular dishes. At a typical church picnic around here, you’re likely to find an array of salads to suit every possible taste.

My two favorites to take to events are potato salad and tuna and shells salad, both of which I make with my mother’s recipe. My husband is usually so happy to see me making the potato salad that he offers to chop all the onions and celery for me!

I thought you might enjoy my recipe for Tuna and Shells salad, so I’ve included it below. I make potato salad in exactly the same way, except substitute six to eight large cooked potatoes to the pasta and delete the tuna.

Do you have favorite foods that say ‘summer’ to you?


¾ box of pasta: elbows, shells, or rotelli, cooked and drained
2 cans tuna, drained
5-6 eggs, hard-cooked and chopped
¾ cup chopped celery
¾ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped bread and butter pickles


1 cup mayonnaise
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T pickle liquid
1 t sugar

Combine salad ingredients. Combine dressing ingredients and adjust to taste. Combine dressing and ingredients, mix. Add more mayo as needed. Salt and pepper.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Memories in the China Cabinet

No good deed goes unpunished, so the cynics say. Last week I decided that the glass doors of my china cabinet looked a bit streaked, so I decided to clean them. Unfortunately, that led to my actually looking into the china cabinet! Dust, dust, and more dust! Where did it all come from in a cabinet that's always kept closed?

Well, you know what happened. One job always leads to another, and before I had even made a decision to do it, I started taking things out. Three days and many, many dishwasher loads later, I finally finished!

But this isn't about a job that I clearly should have done sooner. It's about the precious memories that were lurking, nearly forgotten, inside that cabinet.

My mother's clear hobnail glass pitcher, for example. I washed that by hand, remembering hot summer Sundays, my parents' friends gathered on the lawn, the murmur of the adult conversation forming a reassuring background to the children at play. The glass pitcher was always filled with homemade iced tea, slices of lemon floating in it. For some reason, that was fascinating to a child. We kids didn't get iced tea, of course. There was lemonade for us, also homemade, served in paper cups. We scurried off, carrying our cups under the huge weeping willow in the backyard. The branches swept to the ground, and inside it was cool and shady. That willow tree cave was by turns a fort, a castle, or even a pirate ship, and willow switches made fine swords. I'd nearly forgotten those days, until a glass pitcher reminded me.

My mother-in-law has a place in the cabinet, too. She collected the amber depression glass, piece by piece, at a time when the economic future looked worse than it does today. She cherished those pieces, and I like to think each one gave her an extra bit of pleasure when she passed them on to her children.

The silver baby spoons aren't in my cabinet any longer, much as I loved them, especially the older ones that had been given to me by my mother and aunts. But when my grandchildren began to arrive, I knew it was my turn to pass on a memory. Fortunately there were enough...one for each grandchild as he or she arrived.

Are there memories stashed away in your china cabinet, too? I hope so. Our grandchildren are moving into a future that changes so quickly it seems impossible to keep up with. Family treasures, even small ones, can form a link, connecting them and us to our pasts.

If this inspires you to take a look, let me know what you find!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Free Novella!

I'm so excited to announce the release of an ebook novella in my Amish Suspense series. Even better, the novella is available free for a limited period of time!

LOST IN PLAIN SIGHT is set in the same community as MURDER IN PLAIN SIGHT and features an appearance by Geneva Morgan, a favorite character from the series. Here's a little about the story:

Leah Miller's peaceful life as a member of the Spring Township Amish church shatters when she's accused of theft from an Englisch home in which she works. Even if she is not charged, if the crime is never solved, she will live under the taint of the theft and may never be able to participate fully in her Amish community. Josiah King, friend of Leah's brother, is drawn into helping Leah—and discovers the ‘little sister' he'd always tolerated has grown into a strong, appealing woman.

But what future can they have together if suspicion makes Leah an outcast? As they attempt to learn the facts behind the accusation, danger grows around them. It's only through their trust in each other and the support of a faithful Englisch friend that Leah and Josiah can find their way through a tangled, dangerous maze to the truth.

An ebook exclusive novella from Marta Perry's The Brotherhood of the Raven series. FIND IT ONLINE STARTING MAY 2 AT WWW.EHARLEQUIN.COM

And here's a direct link to the story:


If you have trouble with the link for any reason, go to www.eharlequin.com, click on ebooks, and enter Lost in Plain Sight into the search box.

Let me know what you think!


Sunday, April 10, 2011


Remember the old saying, "Bloom where you are planted?" Right now, I'm thinking of something that's the exact opposite. Some twenty years ago or so, our local 4-H club was selling flower bulbs for a fundraiser, so of course I bought some to help out. Among the bulbs was a bag of tiny ones called Siberian Squills, which I popped into my flower bed along the stone wall and promptly forgot about.

Now, after all these years, the squills are still blooming beautifully beside the wall. But they've also become scattered throughout the side yard of the house and are rapidly advancing toward the front, as well! On these gray early April days, I can't tell you the joy I feel when I glance out and see the lovely little patches of bright blue here and there throughout the yard. They're a reminder that in spite of the gloomy wet days we've been having, spring really is coming!

The wandering squills link up with something else that happened to me recently, in that odd way that the writer's mind connects things. Recently I happened to exchange e-mails with a writer friend I seldom see except occasionally at a statewide writers' event. And she thanked me for an encouraging word I'd spoken to her many years ago, saying how much it meant to her. I didn't remember, to be honest. But something I'd said that day and as quickly forgotten had been just the word she needed to hear at that particular moment.

I can't help but believe, when something like this happens, that it's a little piece of God's plan. A casual word took root and grew for another person, spreading encouragement like the tiny blossoms of the squills. It humbles me, but in a way it frightens me, too. What about the words I haven't spoken? What about the fleeting impulses to extend sympathy or trust or encouragement that I didn't act upon?

So maybe this is about blooming where you're planted after all. Each day, there's surely a chance for each of us to say a kind word to someone. Isn't there? It's not important to know the result of that word. It's enough to do it.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Where are the bookstores?

Where are bookstores going? Does anyone know? I realized over the winter that several of my favorite booksellers in Hilton Head, where we spend the cold months, have closed. In fact, Barnes and Noble seems to be the only one left thriving. Don't get me wrong--I love Barnes and Noble! I can go in, browse to my heart's content through the mystery and religion sections, check out the latest juvenile books for my grandkids, and have a Chai Latte and an orange scone and eavesdrop on the latest comments from the quartet of older gentlemen who seem to spend all their time there, setting the world to rights.

But I love bookstores, and I hate to see any of them perish. The independent bookstores, in particular, have an atmosphere I cherish. Each one seems to reflect the personality of the store owner, and often the books have been hand-chosen to appeal to his or her clientele. Like B's Books in Punxsutawney, for instance. Punxsutawney is known for its famous groundhog, but the delightful small bookshop across from the park is a treasure, as well.

Or my own favorite hometown bookstore, Cloak and Dragon Bookshop in Bloomsburg. Right on Main Street, it allows you to take up a table in the front window, sip a cup of coffee or tea, read, and watch the world go by on the sidewalk outside. Cloak and Dragon is also "my" bookstore in another sense. Every author needs a hometown bookshop which will keep his or her books in stock, promote him or her at every opportunity, and handsell books. Here I am, with my eyes closed as so often happens when someone points a camera in my direction, with Sharon, the proprietor of Cloak and Dragon, at my most recent signing. This was such a lovely event, and I am always grateful for her support.

Of course I love online booksellers, too. Where would I be without Amazon? In need of a reference book for the work-in-progress? It's only a click away. Want to see the backlist of an author I've just discovered? That's there as well. And since I live in the country, there's a lot to be said for finding the books I ordered on my doorstep in a couple of days!

And then there's the e-reader. We now have a Kindle, and I've fallen in love with it, as well. When I'm sitting in my favorite chair in the evening, can't find anything worth watching on television, don't sense an appeal from the books in my "to be read" pile, a new read is just seconds away with the Kindle. Obviously I'm a devoted reader, and I'm sure you are, too. As far as I'm concerned, the more places I have to buy and borrow books, in whatever format, the better. And I don't want to lose a single one of them! How about you?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


And the winner of the signed copy of SARAH'S GIFT is.......Kristie Donelson!

I'll e-mail you separately, Kristie, so that you can send me your mailing address.

If you weren't a winner, I hope you'll go out and buy your copy soon! If you'd like a signed bookplate for it, just e-mail me with your address at marta@martaperry.com and I'll be happy to send you one.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Giveaway

The latest book in my Pleasant Valley Amish series from Berkley Books, SARAH’S GIFT, will be in stores on March 1st, and I’m so excited about its release that I’d like to give someone the sole copy I have at the moment! (More should be on their way, I trust.)

SARAH’S GIFT is the story of Sarah Mast, a widowed midwife who comes to Pleasant Valley to join her aunt’s midwife practice. But things start to go wrong the moment Sarah arrives. Her aunt, the strongest woman Sarah has ever known, has become forgetful, and the birthing center which was supposed to be finished is barely started. Instead of the thriving practice Sarah remembers, her aunt is seeing only a few clients. With the choice of forging ahead or retreating to her former life, Sarah takes a step in faith, offering to pay for finishing the birthing center.

Aaron Miller, Aunt Emma’s neighbor, was glad when he heard the midwife practice might close. At least that would force women to go to the hospital for births, instead of dying at home the way his mother had.

Aaron’s emotions take a swing the other direction when he meets Sarah and learns she plans to expand the practice. He wants to stay as far away as possible from this disturbing influence in their lives, but when Bishop Mose asks him to take on the job of finishing the carpentry at the birthing center, he finds it difficult to refuse.

Thrown together with Sarah on a daily basis, Aaron can’t help but come to admire her strength and caring, even while he wishes she were anything other than a midwife.

The practice begins to thrive as the birthing center goes up, and Sarah’s hopes for its future rise, as well. With Aaron and his brothers a daily part of her life, she begins to care about them, but especially for Aaron. She has to deny, even to herself, that she feels anything more than friendship. Her marriage had faltered even before her husband’s death, when she’d been unable to conceive, and she won’t risk going through that pain again.

But life has a way of interfering with people’s plans. When an Englisch doctor tries to put the midwife practice out of business and Aaron’s sister goes into labor with no one but Sarah to help, both Aaron and Sarah are forced to confront their secret pain and longing. As trouble thickens around her, will Sarah’s confidence in God’s gift to her be enough to see her through?

I hope you’ll want to visit Pleasant Valley again. You’ll have a chance to revisit old friends and meet new ones, and I pray that SARAH’S GIFT will touch your heart.

If you’re interested in winning a copy, just comment below, leaving your e-mail address so that I can reach you. I’ll pick a winner on March 1st.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hexel and Mummix and Pennsylvania Dutch

Ever heard of hexel? Or mummix? If so, I'd guess there's some Pennsylvania Dutch in your family tree, as there is in mine. And if you checked first thing on Grundsou Day to find out what Punxsutawney Phil said about Spring, I'm sure of it!

Hexel and mummix are used to describe what most of us would call leftovers--or rather, the dishes that are concocted from them. Being a thrifty people, the Amish and other Pennsylvania Dutch don't like to let good food go to waste, so they find different ways to get one more meal from leftovers.

The main staple of hexel and mummix is leftover meat--beef, ground beef, creamed beef, pork or ham. To the meat is added a variety of ingredients, according to the cook's taste. In other words, Hash!

Here's a simple and easy recipe to start you off:


1 lb ground beef or turkey or venison
1 cup of boiled potatoes, cubed
1 egg
1 small onion, chopped
2 T vinegar
1 T butter
1 T vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper

Heat the butter and cooking oil in a hot frying pan. Mix the other ingredients and add to the pan. Cook and stir until the meat is browned. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Enjoy for breakfast or supper.

Happy eating,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Amish Wisdom Radio Interview

Amish author Suzanne Woods Fisher is, in addition to writing wonderful books, the host of a web radio show called Amish Wisdom, airing every Thursday at 5:00 Eastern Time. I was delighted to be asked to be her guest, and we taped the show last week. My radio interview on Amish Wisdom will air today at 5 Eastern time at http://toginet.com/shows/amishwisdom/articles/1266

The interview will continue to be available after the initial airing, so if you'd like to hear it, stop by anytime. I had an hour-long discussion with Suzanne about Amish fiction and my books. I was very nervous, but Suzanne made the process easy. I was just getting over strep, so my voice and energy were flagging by the end, but I hope it turned out all right. We discussed both of my series, Pleasant Valley and the Amish Suspense series.

I hope you'll give it a listen!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Post-Christmas Catch-Up

Are you still trying to catch up after the holidays? If so, you're not alone! We spend so much time and energy preparing for Christmas and New Year's, that we're bound to let something else go, aren't we?

I don't know what you're working on, but I've been playing catch-up with my writing. Currently I'm writing Book 3 in my Amish suspense series, Judgment in Plain Sight. I'm also starting to write a suspense novella that my publisher will make available at eHarlequin.com as a lead-in to the second book in the suspense series, Vanish in Plain Sight, coming in June. And I'm expecting the edits on the fifth book in the Pleasant Valley Amish series, Katie's Way, to arrive on my desk shortly. It's no wonder I get confused at times!

However, the beautiful holidays made the work very worthwhile. We had all six grandchildren and their parents here for Christmas. The four girls were angels in the Christmas pageant on Christmas Eve, and the three-year-old was almost an angel. Unfortunately, his mother says he reverted to his normal personality too quickly, shedding his halo even before he reached the pew! Still, the pageant was a lovely reminder of what we were celebrating. Each year we visit Bethlehem anew in the form of precious old carols, well-loved scripture, and a fresh crop of angels with crooked halos and shepherds in bathrobes. Small wonder that I had tears in my eyes.

Christmas morning was total chaos, as might be expected with six children ten and under. It seems each one got his or her heart's desire, and no one had a meltdown, which is always a surprise! As for the adults, I think most of our pleasure came from seeing the children's delight. When we have the grandkids around at the holidays, it's such a sweet reminder of when our own children were small.
That happens at Christmas, doesn't it? No matter what the present situation is, those memories of Christmases Past come to the surface, bringing both joy and perhaps a few tears.
Whatever the memories you had at Christmas, no matter how stressed and busy you were, I hope that you found moments of peace and joy in the celebration of our Savior's birth.