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Poignant Mennonite Tales: Stories from an Old Town Published by Outskirts Press

Outskirts Press announces the latest highly anticipated Christian fiction short stories from Fresno, CA, author Phyllis Martens.

Fresno, CA, December 12, 2012 --( Outskirts Press, Inc. has published Stories from an Old Town: Grace, Grief, and Gossip in a Rural Minnesota Town by Phyllis Martens. The author's most recent book to date is a 6 x 9 paperback in the Christian fiction short stories category and is available worldwide on book retailer websites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The webpage at was launched simultaneously with the book's publication.

Below the surface of ordinary daily life in this 1930’s Minnesota town runs a hidden struggle between the unforgiving conservatism of church and town and the desire of certain of its citizens to find another way to live.

A deeply confused Eva finds her identity in the discovery that her grandfather was a scholar. Townsfolk rally when the churches deny services to a suicide. Grace Krahn fights the town council for the right to build a public library. Then there are those looked down on: the simple woman who will never find a husband, the scrawny son dominated by his rigidly conservative mother, the little-noticed worker in the Old Folks Home. The most highly regarded in the town’s social structure are successful businessmen like Johann Jungas and, perhaps, ministers.

In spite of inner tensions, the town holds together. One cohesive force is the compassion of ordinary folk who, aware of all that’s going on, give immediate support to those in trouble. The other is the general belief that above them all is God keeping an eye on the town -- on those receiving small reward in this life, but also those who, hard-working and upright, rise to the top.

Several stories are based on actual events and persons in old Windamer: Tante Lieze and her troublesome daughters, Taunte Joht who lived by the swamp and brought bags of vegetables to people, the young girl tricked into a disastrous marriage, the cold January day the Jungas hardware store burned down. Some stories were inspired by life in other Mennonite towns. Most names have been changed, including the name of the town itself.

“Phyllis Martens’ vivid story-telling is propelled by her search for the truth of ourselves. Her characters, set in the small town of my own childhood, come alive in the ethos of an earlier immigrant generation. Yet, with elegant writing and subtle humor, Martens draws us into a clearer vision of struggle and grace in the wider human community.” - Jean Janzen, poet, author of Paper House, Piano in the Vineyard, Entering the Wild

“This collection of stories provides the setting for families who are part of the Low-German community in the small Minnesota town of Windamer. In a town of many churches and a few businesses, some persons struggle to be accepted, others to break free of the web of cultural and religious rules and traditions. These are fascinating stories with unique and memorable characters.” – Wilfred Martens, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Fresno Pacific University, author of a novel, River of Glass

236 pages in length, Stories from an Old Town: Grace, Grief, and Gossip in a Rural Minnesota Town is being aggressively promoted to appropriate markets with a focus on the Christian fiction short stories category. With U.S. wholesale distribution through Ingram and Baker & Taylor, and pervasive online availability through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and elsewhere, Stories from an Old Town meets consumer demand through both retail and library markets with a suggested retail price of $17.95.

Additionally, Stories from an Old Town can be ordered by retailers or wholesalers for the maximum trade discount price set by the author in quantities of ten or more from the Outskirts Press Direct bookstore at

ISBN: 9781432795320 Format: 6 x 9 paperback white SRP: $17.95

For more information or to contact the author, visit

About the author:

Phyllis Hiebert Martens was born in Minnesota but grew up in India, the daughter of missionary parents. She returned to Kansas to attend college, spending summers with her grandmother, Helena Jungas, in a small Minnesota town, where she worked in the town hospital, heard Low German spoken, and attended a conservative Mennonite church. She listened to her grandmother’s stories about old times and met Jungas family members, including the gossipy Frieda. Phyllis has master’s degrees in English and counseling. She taught English and ESL and has published four English teaching games. She is married to Dr. Elmer Martens, whose writings she edits. They reside in central California.

About Outskirts Press, Inc.

Outskirts Press, Inc. offers full-service, custom self-publishing and book marketing services for authors seeking a cost-effective, fast, and flexible way to publish and distribute their books worldwide while retaining all their rights and full creative control. Available for authors globally at and located on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado, Outskirts Press represents the future of book publishing, today.

Outskirts Press, Inc., 10940 S. Parker Rd - 515, Parker, Colorado 80134 1-888-OP-BOOKS
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