Shannon here: Patrick E. Craig shares an excerpt from his latest Historical Amish Fiction, A Light In The Window, which is included in A Christmas Collection by the Men of Amish Fiction. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for a signed print copy. Deadline: Feb 6th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Patrick:
Lifelong loves start in the strangest places but they always find their way home…
(From A Christmas Collection by The Men of Amish Fiction)
Hi. I’m Patrick Craig and I’m a romantic at heart, and though I am not a traditional “happily-ever-after” kind of writer, I always have romance in my books. That’s one of the reasons I love posting on Shannon’s blog. I can expose my romantic side and everyone who reads this blog understands.
In my last post here I told the story of Gerd, an Amish Farmer living in 1936 pre-war Germany and Emily, a Jewish girl who is hiding from the Gestapo in Gerd’s barn and their love affair. When Gerd decides to help Emily, he risks everything. They fall in love, face danger and death together and in the end, escape to America where they raise horses in the San Juan Valley of Colorado.
In 1941, America goes to war with Germany and Gerd, now a citizen, joins the army and is sent back to Germany with a military intelligence unit. Now it is 1945, the war is over, but Gerd has not come home. He has been detained in Germany and the mission God has for him will change his and Emily’s life forever.
Their little girl, Adina, is praying for her Papa to come home by Christmas. She decides that she will put her mother’s beautiful golden Menorah in the window to light Gerd’s way home. Here’s a little bit from the continuing story of Gerd and Emily. If you are wondering, it gets very romantic by the end of the story. (P.S. If you want to know more about Gerd and Emily read my post from August here on Shannon’s Blog.)
Excerpt from A Light In The Window by Patrick E. Craig:
Whenever I see snow, I remember the miracle.
I remember the white flakes falling like tiny angels outside the window. I remember the flickering lamps, the wonder on my mama’s face and my grandmother’s whispered prayers of thanks. Yes, I remember the miracle.
I know we all have small miracles every day, because the hand of Gott guides each of us, and he is always doing wonderful things if only our eyes are open to see them. But this was a big miracle, and though I am old now and my failing memory hides many things from me, this miracle has never left me, shining through all the days of my life, like the Hanukkah Menorah that burned in our window in the winter of 1945, tended by a little girl who was hoping and praying her papa would come home for Christmas.
In those days, I lived in Colorado with my mama, Emily, my grandmother, Magda, and my papa, Gerd. We all came to America from Germany in 1940—to the beautiful San Luis Valley. My papa bought a ranch and raised Mustang horses. After we were there for a year, Papa, Mama, and my grandmother became citizens. Then the war came to America. Because my Papa was German, he knew he could help the American cause, so he enlisted. Mama said joining up was hard for him because he was raised in the Amish faith, and he always believed violence toward other men was wrong. But he also believed he needed to help defend America from the evil that was Hitler—an evil he had seen firsthand. He became an officer and left us to go with the army. The day he went away—oh, he was so handsome in his uniform, and my mama cried.
Now the war in Europe was over, but my Papa was not home, and we had not heard from him for several months. My mama was so anxious, and I remember hearing her cry at night when she thought I could not hear her.
Back in 1936, there were bad times in Germany. My Papa was an Amish man who owned a farm in the tiny village of Ixheim, right on the border with France. He lived there with my grandmother. That was before I was born. My mother was a Jewish girl who was being hunted by the Nazis. She was trying to escape to France, but she only got as far as my Papa’s barn. When my Papa found her hiding there, he fell in love with her and she fell in love with him. He married her, but the Nazis found them and sent them to the Dachau concentration camp. On the way there, they met a Jewish man who helped them escape. He also helped them to discover their Messiah, Yeshua Hamaschiach, Jesus Christ, but though that’s another story. That is why we always had Christmas and Hanukkah at the same time in our house in Colorado. And that is where the miracle began.
When my papa and mama left Germany in 1936, my papa also left the Amish Church. The Nazis had convinced the Amish to turn in Jews and Communists to the Gestapo, and there were other things the church did my papa could not agree with. Papa sold his farm to his friend, and my parents and my grandmother escaped over the border to France. I was born there, in the village of Épernay, outside of Paris in 1937. Papa found work in the vineyards, and mama taught in a school for Jewish refugee children. My Mütti, that’s what I called my grandmother, stayed at home and took care of me. Though I don’t remember it, Mütti said we lived in a little cottage in the middle of a large vineyard where they grew grapes to make French Champagne. It was very long ago, but sometimes I see a picture in my mind of a rock wall with purple and yellow flowers spilling over it and my Mütti sitting in the sun in an old chair.
Then things got bad in France and the French Army moved to the border to keep the Germans from getting in. My papa was very smart, and he knew all the Jewish people in France were in danger if the Germans came, so with the money he got from selling his farm, he bought tickets to America. And so, when I was three years old, we came to Colorado and bought our ranch. Then my papa went away to the war. And that’s where this story begins.
About Patrick: Amazon Best-Selling author Patrick E. Craig, is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful music career to become a pastor in 1986. In 2007 he retired to concentrate on writing and publishing fiction books. In 2011, Patrick signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish his Apple Creek Dreams series, which included A Quilt For Jenna, The Road Home, and Jenny’s Choice. His self-published books, The Amish Heiress, The Amish Princess, and The Mennonite Queen, as well as the reprinted Apple Creek Dreams are now published by Patrick’s imprint, P&J Publishing. In 2017, Harlequin Publishing purchased The Amish Heiress for their Walmart Amish series and released it in April 2019.
Patrick and co-author Murray Pura have recently released Far On The Ringing Plains, Book 1 in a nine book series that will take in the whole sweep of men and women at war from WW II to the current Desert Campaigns.
He has also collaborated on an anthology of realistic Amish stories written with the five other men who write Amish fiction: Murray Pura, Willard Carpenter, Jerry Eicher, Thomas Nye and Amos Wyse. The Amish Menorah and Other Stories was published by Elk Lake Publishing in May of 2020, and A Christmas Collection followed in November, 2020.
Patrick has also recently released two books in his YA mystery series, The Adventures of Punkin and Boo, with Elk Lake Publishing. They are The Mystery of Ghost Dancer Ranch and The Lost Coast.
His most recent book is a creative non-fiction memoir titled Say Goodbye To The River: Stories From The Vanishing Wilderness. Patrick and his wife Judy live in Idaho. They have two daughters and five grandchildren. Learn more & connect:
About the book – A Christmas Collection by the Men of Amish Fiction: These stories are about Amish women and men making their way through hard time and good times during the Christmas season. Each story is unique, as unique as each of the six authors, as unique as every person who reads the stories. The hope is everyone will find something that encourages and blesses, something that gives fresh life, renewed faith and good cheer. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never been able to put it out” (John 1:5).
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win? Interested in Patrick’s other titles? Get your copies now!
Question for Readers: If you find real love, is it worth risking your life and everything that means anything in your life to keep it?
Come back on Feb 2nd for Debbi Migit!