This week I had the thrill of finding out that my new book, A Mother’s Secret, made it to the ECPA bestseller list.  It has been quite a while since one my books have made it to this list, so I’m positively over the moon!

 

MothersSecret3

 

I’m so thrilled by all of the interest in A Mother’s Secret and excited to share a little preview of the next book in the series, A Dream of Home, which is coming in December. I recently finished the editing process for this book and I’d love to share a sneak peek!  Click here to view the cover and a few pages.

Thank you for reading!

Blessings,

Amy

 

Amy Clipston
Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her fiction writing “career” began in elementary school when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Baker  series with Zondervan, which is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Amy works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. She lives with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats

 

 

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Here in Texas, we’re coming to the end of home grown tomatoes.  It’s getting too hot for the plants to set fruit.  If you are lucky enough to have some beautiful ripe tomatoes, here’s a great way to serve them as a meatless main dish.  

Marian Petersheim’s Tomato Pie

1.  Mix until consistency is right to press into bottom of pie dish:

     2 cups Bisquick

     1/2 cup milk

2.  Slice 2 medium tomatoes and line the crust.

3.  Sprinkle evenly with:

     1 tsp basil

      1 tsp parsley flakes

     1/2 tsp thyme leaves

     1/2 tsp oregano

      1/2 tsp onion powder

      1 tsp brown sugar

      salt and pepper to taste

4.  Mix together and spread over tomatoes and spices:

     1 cup mayonnaise

     3/4 cup shredded American cheese

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes until golden brown.

 

Marian Petersheim is the mother of the main character, Leah, in the novella, A Change of Heart.  Leah tries to make this tomato pie for her friend, Aaron, because it’s his favorite, but poor Leah struggles with all domestic tasks. She messes up everything she tries to cook or sew.  Leah would much rather be writing inspirational stories, an endeavor her family and community feels is frivolous.

From A Change of Heart by Beth Wiseman, 2009,

http://www.bethwiseman.com  

 

Phoebe, V's dog

Phoebe, V’s dog

Writing Amish Fiction

Sometimes readers ask me, “Was this story true? Did it actually happen?” You would think that would be a pretty easy question to answer, but not always. Parts of my stories are true. For example, in my Shipshewana Series, the quilt shop that Callie inherits is very much patterned after Lolly’s Fabrics. Have you been there? Once I stepped inside, I knew that it was the perfect setting for a story!

Other things, like the mystery which takes place, are completely fictional. For me, it’s a balance of rooting my stories in our actual lives, but then allowing my characters to have unusual and challenging things happen to them. Of course, the most important part of each of my stories is the focus on God’s grace–something available to each of us.

Leo, Vannetta's cat

Leo, Vannetta’s cat

For my newest mystery, Murder Simply Brewed, I borrowed a lot from my life. Amber drives a little red car (yes, I do), meets someone older than her who becomes a romantic interest (that’s my husband), and she has a hello cat named Leo (I happened to be cleaning out that cabinet and he jumped inside).

What surprises me is when something I’ve written about turns into FACT in my life. When I started writing Falling to Pieces, I knew that I had to give Callie a dog–she was so lost, without friends, and lonely. She needed the unconditional love of a pet, but of course she had no idea how to take care of one! Through the entire Shipshewana series, we see Callie mature in her faith, her relationships, and even her role as a pet-owner. At the end of writing those books, I was sad to say goodbye to everyone. Imagine my surprise when two years later, we received a call from a friend saying the animal shelter had a dog that we needed to go and take a look at. My husband and I had never owned a dog, though we both grew up with them. Our reasoning was that we travelled too much, and it wouldn’t be fair to a dog. One look at Phoebe, and there was no turning back though. We’ve learned to manage our travel and our dog (and cats) at the same time. And in my mind, she is exactly like Callie’s dog. I even put bandanas on her the way Callie did.

I am thankful each day, when I sit down at my computer, that God has allowed me to write the stories of my heart–incorporating facts, fiction, and God’s grace. And I want to thank each of you for taking the time to read them.

Blessings,

Vannetta

 

 

Giveaway_Kindle_Fire

Amy Clipston’s new book, A Mother’s Secret, debuted in June. To celebrate with Amy, enter to win a copy of the book and also a Kindle Fire! Enter to win here: http://prmo.me/zfvE7z #giveaway

 

What is A Mother’s Secret about?

My new book, A Mother’s Secret, is the second in my Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series. In this book, Carolyn Lapp dreams of marrying for love. Carolyn Lapp longs to have a traditional Amish family. But she lives on her brother’s farm with her parents and her 15-year old son, Benjamin. When Benjamin causes trouble at a local horse auction, horse breeder Joshua Glick decides that he must be taught a lesson. Carolyn and Joshua are unmistakably drawn to each other, but Joshua mistakenly assumes that Benjamin is Carolyn’s nephew. Carolyn fears that if he discovers the truth, her past will destroy their budding romance. After years of shame and loneliness, Carolyn suddenly has two men vying for her attention. But which of them will give her the family—and the unconditional love—she’s longed for?

I think readers will enjoy seeing Joshua Glick in this book since he was a minor character in book 1, A Hopeful Heart. Readers will also have the opportunity to find out what happened to Hannah, the main character in the first book.

 

Where did you find your inspiration for writing A Mother’s Secret?

The Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series was inspired during the Amish Country Holiday Book Tour in November 2011. Alicia Mey, Senior Marketing Director at Zondervan, suggested I create a series about Amish women who work in an upscale hotel. She was intrigued with the idea of the Amish and “English” (non-Amish) clashing in such a unique environment. A Mother’s Secret was inspired while I was writing the first book in the series, A Hopeful Heart. I felt Joshua Glick needed his own story. This book is dedicated to my amazing editor and dear friend, Becky Philpott.

 

What inspired you to write Amish fiction?

While my ancestors weren’t Amish, my father was a German immigrant, who came to the United States along with his parents and siblings in 1929. He once told me the Amish speak a dialect that is similar his German relatives. That connection resonated with me, and after visiting Lancaster County as a child, I felt that loose connection strengthen. I love the culture and the people.

 

How do you research your Amish books?

I have a dear Amish friend who helps me with my novels. She reads my manuscripts before they are published, and she also answers my questions.

 

Why do you think Amish fiction continues to be popular?

Our modern world is full of distractions. Each day our time is ruled by cellular phones and email messages. Most of us rush off to work in the morning and find ourselves trapped in traffic jams. When we get home at night, we again hurry through the motions of the daily routine before going to bed. Many of us are not able to spend much time with our families due to the demands of our careers.

I believe most of us secretly crave the romanticized view we have of the Amish life since their lives are focused on their families and faith. They chose to live simply and without the conveniences that have taken over our modern lives. The Amish have more time to spend with their families, and their lives revolve around their children, not stressful jobs. The Amish novels are an escape from our crazy lives, and the stories transport us to a simpler way of life. By reading about the Amish, we feel a closer connection to God and we refocus our lives toward what really matters.

 

When will the next book in the series debut?

Dream of Home, which is the third book in the series, will debut in December 2014.

 

Where can readers find you online?

Readers can find me on my website at AmyClipston.com, as well as on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks and on Twitter: @AmyClipston.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

I am an advocate for organ and blood donation since I donated a kidney on June 14, 2011, at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Through my donation, my husband, Joe, received a second kidney transplant. My husband and matched another couple and swapped kidneys with them. My memoir, A Gift of Love, details our journey with Joe’s kidney disease and his two kidney transplants.   You can find my memoir here: http://amyclipston.com/giftoflove.html

 

 

Amy Clipston
Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her fiction writing “career” began in elementary school when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery  series with Zondervan, which is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Amy works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. She lives with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats.

It is traditional Amish custom for the invited wedding guests to bring along a dessert to share.  The bride and groom inspect all the offerings, then pass them around for guests to sample.  Here is a popular blueberry recipe originally published in An Amish Wedding by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller and Kelly Long.

 

Amish Blueberry Cobbler

1 stick butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

3 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cloves

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup blueberry juice

4 Tbsp. vinegar

1 1/2 cups blueberries

1.  Cream butter and sugar together.

2. Add eggs and beat until fluffy.

3.  Sift flour and measure.  Sift dry ingredients and add juice and vinegar.  Beat thoroughly after each addition.

4.  Add berries and stir just enough to blend into dough.

5. Bake  in rectangular baking pan for about 40 minutes in 350 degree F oven.

 

And speaking of weddings…. (shameless plug here)…… my latest release, A July Bride comes out this week in digital format.  It is the 7th in a series of twelve novellas from inspirational romance authors.  This was a FUN story to write! Set in La Grange, Texas….with romance, cowboys, big trucks….and a runaway groom!   Contemporary fiction, not Amish.

A July Bride cover

http://amzn.to/1jHNTii

Peace and Blessings,

Beth Wiseman

 

us soldiers & flagHappy Memorial Day!  We honor and remember the men and women who died while serving in the United States armed forces.  

Although not a holiday that would be observed by the Amish, many American families gather to enjoy food and fellowship.  Here’s a great dessert that might be brought and shared at one of these gatherings.

lemon pieLemon Pie

1 8-inch pie shell, cooled

1 1/3 cup (15 oz.) Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 tsp. grated lemon rind or 1/4 tsp. lemon extract

2 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)

Put condensed milk, lemon juice, lemon rind or extract and egg yolks into mixing bowl; stir until mixture thickens.  Pour into cooled pie shell.

Meringue

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

2 egg whites

4 tablespoons sugar

Add cream of tartar to egg whites and beat until almost stiff enough to hold a peak.  Add sugar gradually, beating until stiff and glossy but not dry.  Pile lightly on pie filling and seal to pie crust all around.  Bake at 325 degrees until top is lightly browned, about 15 minutes.  Cool.

This recipe is from His Love Endures Forever, book # 3 in the Land of Canaan series by Beth Wiseman.  2012

http://www.bethwiseman.com/

shipshe 1-3, rev and webAmish, Quilt and Retreats

There are many things to admire about the Amish way of life. One of the things that I am fascinated by is their quilting skill. Amish ladies seem to raise this to an art level. And to think they do it by hand or with a treadle machine is pretty amazing. I know women have been quilting by hand for many, many years – but in our day and age it’s become a rare thing. I admire the humble way Amish women will show you their quilts, how they pass this skill down to the next generation, and how quilts are used to raise money for benefit auctions.

My Shipshewana Series is set in a quilt shop called Lolly’s in Shipshewana. It only took one trip to Lolly’s and I was hooked. I bought a few kits, thinking that I could borrow my mom’s machine–which I did. But soon I was wanting my own sewing machine. Quilting is like that. It becomes something that you enjoy doing and want to do more of. I found a simple little Brothers Machine at my local Walmart for under $100. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a great machine for a beginner like myself.

photo-17     photo-18   photo-19

This past week I attended my first quilting retreat. What fun! It reminded me of the Amish sew-ins, where women gather to work on a quilt. In this case, we were all working on different projects, but it was a lot of fun to sew in a room with 20 other women. Everyone was a lot of help too. If you had a question or needed a certain color fabric, people pitched right in. The first quilt I made had rather large blocks. Remember, I’m a beginner. I love the bright colors though. The second quilt I made was a rag quilt. I liked this idea because it was very easy to “quilt” each block on my little machine. The  third quilt I made was the hardest, but I like the way it came together. I especially like that there was someone there to teach me how to get those little blocks to line up correctly.

Not everyone enjoys sewing, but whether you do or you don’t there are still many things about the Amish life that we can respect and emulate in our own lives–their focus on family, the way they live their faith out day-to-day, and the strong community bond between families. My prayer is that as you read Amish fiction, you will be blessed and find ways to incorporate these things into your life.

Blessings,

Vannetta