Park Perks in When Love Calls

aviary2At the turn of the century, a city’s park system was of upmost importance. Our country begun a move toward an urban society, but people still craved open spaces. New technologies had given families more free time, and a favorite place to spend that time time was at a park.

Des Moines, the setting for When Love Calls, had a beautiful park system. I wanted to highlight that in the book. Today, I’d like to share a few photos of some of the things I discovered in the city’s parks and mentioned in my book.

I’ve been asked if there really was an Amerian Circle Swing Company. Indeed there was! Below is photo of the swing in Des Moines’ Union Park.

Circle Swing

Besides the swing, the park also boasted an aviary. One of the oldest aviaries, the Raven Cage, is at the London Zoo. It’s dated 1829, but it was the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair that sparked a national interest in aviaries.

The St. Louis Zoo is still home to this aviary. In 1904, it was the largest aviary every build at 84 feet wide, 228 feet long, and 50 feet high.

The aviary in Des Moines’ Union Park (pictured below and at the top of this post) was considerably smaller.


Since I live near Omaha, Nebraska, I’ve had the opportunity to visit Henry Doorly Zoo’s Simmons Aviary. Opened in 1983, it’s one of the world’s largerst free-flight aviaries. Wouldn’t Hannah Gregory have loved that!

Another Des Moines park mentioned in When Love Calls was Ingersoll Park. Below is a picture of the bridge mentioned in the story.

ingersollpark bridge

And here’s the scene that happens on that bridge.

A look that gave Lincoln goose bumps crossed Hannah’s face. She moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue, and he could no more keep from kissing her than keep her from taking chances. His lips claimed hers in a hot, velvety moment. Could she feel his love? Did she realize he’d do anything to protect her? Would she ever trust him with that corner of her heart just beyond his grasp?

He wrapped his hands around her waist, drawing her closer, letting his lips say what his words could not. He dotted kisses on her jawline, and she tipped her head, giving him access to her neck. His lips moved restlessly across her neck, and he felt her body shudder against him.

Drawing on every ounce of self-control, he cupped her face in his hands and pulled away. Her flushed face and swollen lips made him want to take her in his arms all over again, every day, for the rest of his life.

She looked bewildered at the loss of his kisses. Lincoln smiled. Hannah had no idea what she stirred in him.

He touched his lips to her forehead and drew her against his chest. The almond scent of her maple-syrup-colored hair reached him. Gently moving his thumb, he drew circles on the back of her neck.

When had she won his heart? That first day they met, when she so bravely spoke to him? When she came to ask for help for her friend? When she pulled him into the lake?

It wasn’t one moment. It was a hundred little ones. And he hoped there’d be a lifetime more to come.

One of my favorite parts of writing is imagining the things I find in these old photos alive once again with people enjoying them. Times may change, but people will always find time to laugh, love, and play outdoors.

What are you doing this summer to enjoy the outdoors? What’s your favorite way to “play” outside in the summer?

Scavenger Hunt Stop #19

Welcome to the 2013 Summer Scavenger Hunt! This hunt has 32 stops and runs May 17 through May 19, 2013. You can make the loop, reading unique content from 31 different authors, and if you complete the loop, and fill out the Rafflecopter form at Stop #32, you’ll be in the running for an iPad Mini (loaded with all our books), or one of two runner-up prizes—all 31 of our new releases in paperback.

Also, some authors are offering additional prizes, so be sure to read each post thoroughly to be in the running for all that are available. The contest is open internationally.

If you’ve JUST discovered the hunt, I recommend you begin at the beginning, Stop #1, found at But you can also begin here, and keep on rolling. Just be aware that you have to have the COMPLETED phrase in order, which you construct gathering the clue at each stop, within 24 hours of email notification from Lisa Bergren that you won. If Lisa doesn’t hear back from you with the correct phrase within the time limit, she will move on to the next winner Rafflecopter draws.

Take your time and enjoy the journey. This is not a race, and there is no special prize for being the first to finish in this one. Enter the bonus contests on various sites if you like and have fun!

Ready? Here we go…





It is my honor to host Marta Perry, author of more than 50 novels, half of which have have been awarded special recognition.

She says she wanted to be a writer since she read her first Nancy Drew novel. While that dream wasn’t realized until later in life, it eventually surfaced again and she began to write.

She started with children’s short stories for Sunday school take home papers and then went on to have hundreds of stores published in a variety of magazines. Today, with over 50 novels under her pen, she still feels the excitement when she begins a new book.

Want to know more about this special lady? Here’s her official bio:

Marta Perry has spent a lifetime in rural Pennsylvania and her own Pennsylvania Dutch roots led her to write about the Plain People to add to the rich heritage of her home state. She is the author of more than 50 novels and lives with her husband in an 1860s farmhouse in central Pennsylvania.

Today, we are blessed to have Marta share a scene from her newest release, Lydia’s Hope, the first book in the Lost Sisters of Pleasant Valley series.

And now for an exclusive scavenger hunt scene from Marta’s newest release, Lydia’s Hope by Marta Perry

Do you have a sister? If so, you know the special bond that exists between sisters, even when you’re fighting with each other! There’s no one else who knows you quite so well or understands the family you came from. Now imagine discovering, as an adult, that you have two younger sisters you’ve never known. That’s what happens to Amish wife and mother Lydia Beachy in Lydia’s Hope, the first book in my new series from Berkley Books, The Lost Sisters of Pleasant Valley, coming in June.

Lydia longs to be united with the two younger sisters she’s never met, but her quest will put her marriage in jeopardy as well as turning upside down the lives of two strangers. Will coming together cause them untold grief…or bring them unimaginable joy? Here’s a brief excerpt:

“It’s true?” The question came out in a whisper, because something that might have been grief or panic had a hard grip on Lydia’s throat. “It is true.”

Mamm’s face seemed to crumple like a blossom torn from a branch. “Lydia, I’m sorry.”

“But…” The familiar kitchen was suddenly as strange as if she’d never seen it before. She grasped the top of the closest ladder-back chair. “I had sisters? Two little sisters?”

Mamm nodded, her eyes shining with tears. “I’m sorry,” she said again. “You didn’t remember, and so we thought it best not to say anything. We didn’t want you to be hurt any more than you already were.”

Hurt. Lydia grasped the word. She’d been hurt in the accident that killed her parents. She knew that. She’d always known it. Her earliest memories were of the hospital…blurry images of Mamm and Daad always there, one on either side of the bed each time she woke up.

Her breath seemed to catch in her throat. She had relied on Mamm and Daad always, just as Daniel and David relied on her and Adam. Now it seemed she couldn’t trust them at all.

The urge to flee nearly overwhelmed her. She had to get out of this house that had always been her sanctuary.

Tears nearly blinded her, but her feet knew the way to the back door without the need to look. She was vaguely aware of Mamm’s voice, protesting, urging her to stay, but she couldn’t. She had to think this through. She had to talk to someone she knew she could trust.

She had to go home to Adam. Adam was her rock. He would know what to do.


Marta and grandkidsDoesn’t Marta’s book sound great?  After Lydia learns of the two sisters, she first seeks out Susanna but stops short of telling her the truth. To track down Chloe, the other sister, she enlists the help of a neighbor who has spent some years in the Englisch world. Meanwhile, Lydia’s husband, Adam, is keeping a secret of his own.

I know you have to be itching to read this book now. You can get a copy of Lydia’s Hope at, Barnes &, and

If you’d like to learn more about Marta, visit with her at



Write down this clue: inspire. Have it written down? Great! Now head over to Marta Perry’s blog Stop #20 for the next clue! Thanks for stopping by!


Bonus Drawing!

Since both Marta and I have series releasing about sisters, and in celebration of  my May release of When Love Calls,  one lucky reader is going to receive a book for themselves and one for their sister (or a person who’s been like a sister).

You have three chances to win:

#1 –Leave a comment below telling us about your sisters or someone who’s been like a sister to you. (Required to be entered)

#2 — Sign up for my newsletter here. –1 additional chance

#3 “Like” Facebook Page here and leave a note with your sister comment below that you “liked” it. If you’ve already “liked” my page, leave a note in the comments, too. –1 additional chance

And thank you for stopping by!

A Capitol Setting in Iowa’s Capital

On May 1, When Love Calls officially releases. I’m so excited! This is the first book in the Gregory Sisters Series and it’s set in 1908 in my home state of Iowa. It’s also set in Iowa’s capital, Des Moines.

Researching a city’s history is always so much fun for me. I find most cities and towns have a rich history burried somewhere. One of my favorite things to talk about in this book was the state capitol building.

With its stunning gold dome, it’s been recognized as one of the most beautiful captiol’s in the country. It was built in between 1871 and 1886 at a cost of $2,873,294.59 at a time when the captol building of a state was a matter of state pride.

If you look closely at the picture on the right, you’ll notice the huge capitol is surrounded by small, wood frame houses and buildings. Can you imagine what some people where thinking while it was being built?

The dome is covered in 100 troy ounces of 23.75 karat gold (nearly pure). If you rolled that much gold up, it would only be the size of a ball  you could hold in your hand, less than 7 pounds. The gold orignially cost $8,800. When it was re-gilded in 1998-99, the bill came to $400,000.

One of my favorite parts of the book was being able to share abou the State Law Library contained inside the capitol. It regularly appears on lists of the most beautiful libraries in the world. And from the photo, I think you can see why.

Next Friday, I want to take you up into the capitol’s dome. So don’t miss this step back in time.

Have you visited your state capitol? Are there any unusual things about it? Please share, I’d love to hear about it.