Christmas anthology of novellas available now

Amish Christmas MemoriesHappy Monday, Readers. I’m afraid I’ve been MIA of late due to putting the finishing touches on book 2 of the Secrets of the South mysteries, What Happened on Beale Street. But I’m happy to announce the release of an anthology of Christmas novellas with two friends of mine, Jerry Eicher and Murray Pura. Here’s what the back cover has to say:  Three delightful Christmas Amish novellas are now combined into one charming ebook! Amish Christmas Memories contains heartwarming holiday tales from three beloved authors.

From author Jerry Eicher comes the inspiring novella, Susanna’s Christmas


Jerry Eicher

Wish. Susanna Byler wants to spend the holidays with the man of her dreams. But is that the plain Amishman she married for convenience, or her Englisha first love who recently reappeared in her life?

Sarah’s Christmas Miracle by Mary Ellis will add joy to the Christmas season. As Christmas approaches, Sarah Beachy searches for her brother who left the Order years ago. Sarah’s mother has been missing her son for so long…will she also lose her daughter to the English? Or will this family receive an unexpected miracle?

Murray PuraAuthor Murray Pura brings a tender story of reconciliation in An Amish Family Christmas. Naomi Miller’s friend Rebecca tries to help her recover from tragedy. Then Rebecca’s brother–Naomi’s husband–returns from the military and is shunned. An unexpected turn of events sets things right, bringing this Amish family and their community a truly joyous celebration.

Join Susanna, Sarah, and the Millers in these warm and tender Amish Christmas memories. Available now in all electronic formats, including Sony Reader, Kobo, Nook and Amazon.

Sleighride in Ohio's Amish CountryPhoto taken in Ohio’s beautiful Amish country at Christmastime. Hope you put Amish Christmas Memories on your holiday reading list.

See you next week,  Mary

I’m back from my travels at long last

Happy Monday, readers!

The Peabody Hotel

The Peabody Hotel

Those who follow me on Facebook know I’ve been on a month long research trip and overdue family vacation. For those of you not on Facebook, I recently visited the settings I used in What Happened on Beale Street, namely Memphis and the Mississippi delta. Since blues music comes front and center in my March release, I especially enjoyed the Ground Zero Blues Club, owned by actor Morgan Freeman, in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

2015-09-22 14.50.42Then I researched in Natchez, Mississippi and Bay St. Louis, along the Gulf Coast. 2015-09-21 14.21.39Both settings are used in my current book in progress, Magnolia Moonlight, book 3 of Secrets of the South Mysteries from Harvest House Publishers. I fell in love with the Gulf of Mexico, especially Ship Island and Bay St. Louis, a small town hard hit by Hurricane Katrina, but almost fully restored. Next we visited the French Quarter of New Orleans, setting for Midnight on the Mississippi, just for fun. Finally we finished up with a week in the beautiful Smokey Mountains of North Carolina, including Balsam and Hendersonville.

Amish Christmas MemoriesWhile I was gone my publisher released a novella collection with Murray Pura and Jerry Eicher called Amish Christmas Memories. It’s available only in electronic versions at CBD, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.

As much as I love researching and travel, it’s good to be back. They don’t call it home, sweet home for nothing. I hope you’re enjoying autumn wherever you live. And keep on reading! ~ Mary

We’ve a winner…and new contest on Home Thoughts

Happy Monday, Readers,

Jorie–you’re our lucky winner of Carolina Reckoning by Lisa Carter. Congrats! I will contact you privately for your address. Today we welcome Tamera Kraft who’s debut novella releases tomorrow (October 1st) on Amazon, Kobo & B&N Nook. I found her story set during the Civil War to be right up my alley. We’ve all heard of PTS syndrome in regards to the Gulf War or Iraq, but did you know it can be traced back to mid-nineteenth century? Soldier's Heart

Here’s a blurb about Soldier’s Heart. Noah Andrews, a soldier with the Ohio Seventh Regiment can’t wait to get home now that his three year enlistment is coming to an end. He plans to start a new life with his young wife. Molly was only sixteen when she married her hero husband. She prayed every day for him to return home safe and take over the burden of running a farm. But they can’t keep the war from following Noah home. Can they build a life together when his soldier’s heart comes between them?

Bio: Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction because there are so many stories in history. Tamera has recently celebrated her thirty-fourth anniversary with her loving husband. She has two grown and married children and two grandchildren. Tamera has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire For Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist. She is also a writer and has curriculum published including Kid Konnection 5: Kids Entering the Presence of God published by Pathway Press. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry. You can contact Tamera online at these sites.

Website: Word Sharpeners Blog:

Facebook: Tamera Kraft


What was your motivation to write Soldier’s Heart? I researched the Ohio 7th Regiment from the Civil War for another novel and was fascinated by them. The Ohio 7th fought in most major battles during the war and was considered by most historians to be the most heroic regiment. Although they had many losses throughout the war, their most devastating losses were during the last battle they fought. Because they signed up for three years, they came home before the war was over. I started thinking about what these men went through returning to civilian life. For the town setting, I chose my hometown, Ravenna. I grew up there. Ravenna and surrounding Portage County had two companies in the Ohio 7th Regiment, so it seemed like a good choice. It was fun finding out that most of the buildings I was familiar with had been around since before the Civil War.

What are you working on now? I have a few projects in the works. I’m editing the second novel of a Civil War series, the one where I originally researched the Ohio 7th. I’m also co-writing a post World War 2 novel about a war widow in West Virginia who gets mixed up in Cold War espionage called Alice’s Notions. I just finished a novel about a couple affected by a tornado that hit Western Ohio on Palm Sunday, 1920. It will be part of an anthology called Made in Ohio. The anthology will be out later this year. And I have a Christmas novella, A Christmas Promise, coming out Dec. 1 about a family of Moravian missionaries at Schoenbrunn Village, Ohio, circa 1773.

Question for Drawing: I’m giving away a digital copy of Soldier’s Heart to one person who can answer this question. The Ohio 7th Regiment had a nickname because of a noise they made when they charged into battle. What was it? If you have the answer email me at tkrafty [at] I’ll choose one person with the right answer as the winner.

 Have a great week, readers! I’m so glad it’s officially fall and yet still 70 degrees! Mary


We have a winner folks!!

Happy Saturday, readers. Sorry this took so long to pick a winner of Murray’s book, but my to-do list escapes me whenever far from home! Thanks to Jorie for reminding me to pick a winner! We pulled a number out of a hat….and Cheryl Baranski was our winner of The Face of Heaven by Murray Pura. This is one lovely book about the Amish during the American Civil War. Cheryl, if you would contact me at I will see that you get a copy of Murray’s book.

We are completing our second week on the barrier island of Jekyll Island GA. My dear husband is on vacation, but alas I must write here to meet my deadline for book 3 of the New Beginnings series, A Little Bit of Charm. It has been wild here lately. The surf is very high, as is the tide. The naturalist said these are the highest tides in the US. and this is the highest tide time of the year. The difference between high tide and low is a full 9 feet! For someone who lives closes to fresh-water Lake Erie, this is hard to contemplate until you see it for yourself.

I hope you enjoy these photos, and are happily preparing for a blessed Thanksgiving! Have a lovely weekend, readers. and Cheryl, sorry I took so long to honor my promise.

Help me welcome author Murray Pura to Home Thoughts

Good afternoon, readers….

I’m posting a tad later today due to the Frankenstorm. You would think Ohio would be far enough inland to avoid the brunt of Hurricane Sandy, but we just had a huge tree fall in front of our home, totally blocking the highway. The police and Highway Patrol have their hands full. The winds are howling, and it hasn’t stopped raining in 3 days. But today Home Thoughts welcomes Canadian author, Murray Pura. I just finished his book, The Face of Heaven, and I absolutely adored it! Murray combined my three personal favorites in one lovely book that I could not put down: the Amish, American History (namely, the Civil War) and a yummy romance. Here’s a blurb about the book:

Following on the heels of The Wings of Morning, the first book in Murray Pura’s Snapshots in History series, comes this compelling saga of the Civil War. In April 1861, Lyndel Keim discovers two runaway slaves in her family’s barn. When the men are captured and returned to their plantation, Lyndel and her young Amish beau, Nathaniel King, find themselves at odds with their pacifist Amish colony. Nathaniel enlists in what will become the famous Iron Brigade of the Union Army. Lyndel enters the fray as a Brigade nurse on the battlefield, sticking close to Nathaniel as they both witness the horrors of war–including the battles at Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, and Antietam. Despite the pair’s heroic sacrifices, the Amish only see that Lyndel and Nathaniel have become part of the war effort, and both are banished.And a severe battle wound at Gettysburg threatens Nathaniel’s life. Lyndel must call upon her faith in God to endure the savage conflict and to face its painful aftermath, not knowing if Nathaniel is alive or dead. Will the momentous battle change her life forever, just as it will change the course of the war and the history of her country.

If you love a good story, one set in a turbulent time in America’s past, I recommend you get a copy of The Face of Heaven. This book has something to appeal to everyone! Murray has graciously agreed to give away a copy of his latest to one of my readers. Please post an answer to this question: How would you deal with the possibility of killing someone during wartime?

I will draw a random winner of The Face of Heaven in one week. Stay warm, stay dry, and stay away from down powerlines, my dear readers!   Mary

ps. If you have a little time, please click on this link to check out a new free magazine for booklovers. If you click on my book cover, Living in Harmony, I might win some free advertising. thanks bunches!