Archives for posts with tag: Amish mystery

covered bridge 3

In my last blog post, I wrote about making a quick trip to Pennsylvania to see my Amish friend Ruth (fictional name to protect her privacy). I first met Ruth when I was researching A Gift of Grace, the first in my Kauffman Amish Bakery Series.

Ruth lives on a dairy farm in Lancaster County and has seven children. She periodically hosts dinners for Englishers (non-Amish) as a way to make extra income. It gives Englishers an opportunity to experience an Amish home and meal. She invited me to attend a meal while I visited.

During the meal, Ruth served fruit salad, barbecue meatloaf, green beans from her garden, and homemade chicken and noodles. The meal was serve family style. For dessert, we served coffee, chocolate, and coffee flavored pudding. The food was delicious!

I asked her to send me her recipe for the meatloaf, and I thought I would share it in this blog post.

Ruth’s Barbecued Meatloaf

 

1 ½ lb. ground beef

Mix the following ingredients well and then add to ground beef and mix thoroughly:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. chili powder
  • ¾ tsp. pepper

Topping:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp. vinegar

Mix toping ingredients and spread over meatloaf. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees

Enjoy!

 

Amy Clipston
Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember. 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 and the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel 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.Readers can find Amy at AmyClipston.com, as well as on Facebook at:https://www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks and on Twitter: @AmyClipston.

Advertisements

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’s finally warming up in Charlotte, NC, and I’m relishing the first days of spring. It’s such a beautiful time of year as we enjoy hearing the birds sing again, and the earth is renewed. I always look forward to seeing the daffodils sprout up in our yard. Daffodils are special to me since they remind me of the huge backyard behind the house where I grew up in New Jersey. My father once told me that the squirrels moved the daffodil bulbs, explaining why the flowers would poke up in random locations throughout the yard.

This year spring is even more special because the next book in my Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel series is set to release June 3. A Mother’s Secret is my favorite book in the series. Carolyn Lapp, the heroine of the book, is different from the other Amish women I’ve featured in my previous books. Due to her painful past, she’s more outspoken and less traditional than any other Amish character I have created. I also enjoyed giving Joshua Glick his own story since he had his heart broken in A Hopeful Heart.

 

MothersSecret3

 

Readers can pre-order the e-book version of A Mother’s Secret for $4.99 until June 2. Just follow this link to pre-order the book. Below is more information about the book.

Book Description

In A Mother’s Secret Carolyn Lapp dreams of marrying for love. But will the errors of her past destroy this dream forever? 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. Carolyn has never revealed the identity of Benjamin’s father and lives daily with the guilt and shame of her youthful indiscretion. Her brother simply will not forgive her. His answer is to arrange a practical marriage for Carolyn to Saul, a widower with a little girl. But Carolyn isn’t convinced that Saul really loves her and believes he is simply looking for someone to help raise his daughter. 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 brother. 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?

The Making of A Mother’s Secret

A Mother’s Secret was inspired while I was writing A Hopeful Heart. I felt Joshua Glick needed his own story. This book is dedicated to my amazing editor and dear friend, Becky Philpott.

I plan to give away advance copies of A Mother’s Secret beginning in May. You can check my Facebook page for contests.

I hope readers enjoy A Mother’s Secret. Book three in the series, A Dream of Home, will follow in December.

 

msb webI’m so pleased to share with you my newest release, Murder Simply Brewed.

This new series, an Amish Village Mystery, takes place in Middlebury, IN. Some of you are familiar with the area because you’ve read about it, or maybe you’ve visited Shipshewana which is just up the road. Some of you may have read my earlier series, which begins with Falling to Pieces and is set in Shipshe. For Murder Simply Brewed I travelled west 7 miles. Like Shipshe, Middlebury is a town where the Amish and the Englisch work, live, and worship side by side.

This is a book about a young woman, Hannah, as her journey into adulthood is beginning. It’s also the story of Amber, who is middle-aged and still not quite sure what God has in store for her. And lastly it’s the story of Tate, a man of faith who has perhaps lost the certainty that God still has plans for him.

And in the midst of all of that we have a murder mystery. WHY, some people ask, do I write murder mysteries? I have found that cozy mysteries are a wonderful way to highlight the workings of a small town, how people interact with one another, and how their faith is present in every circumstance. As with all my books, my desire is to show you that God’s grace is always sufficient and that you can trust Him.

This book will be available on March 25th, everywhere books are sold. You can access vendor links from here. It will be available in print, ebook and audio. I hope that it is a story that blessed your heart.

Sincerely,

Vannetta

 

My first book about the Amish was released in 2010–almost 3 and 1/2 years ago. Next month books 9 and 10 will release. It’s been a busy few years. While I would nevermurdersimplybrewed_fb_banner claim to be an expert on the Amish, I’ve done my share of research and visiting. Today I thought I’d share with you some of the most Frequently Asked Questions that I receive. My answers are not the ONLY answers, as Amish communities differ, much like Texas towns do. So I’d love for you to chime in under COMMENTs and let me know if your experience is similar to or different from mine. (To leave a comment, look for the title of the blog, then click on the number next to the date.)

  • Can someone who wants to change their life move into their area and live simple life without becoming Amish? If there is land for sale, you can move anywhere you want! And of course, you can simplify your life. As far as “becoming Amish” it is extremely difficult to do. It’s not that the Amish are exclusive, as much as it is that the two lifestyles are VERY different. Think about no car, no electricity, and following the rules of the Ordnung. What the Amish I have met suggest is that you apply the principals you admire to the lifestyle you are currently living.
  • How do the Amish keep their homes warm during the winter? They use heating stoves which are usually placed between the sitting room and the kitchen. These can be wood or coal burning, and some are even propane or natural gas heaters. Some Amish have coal heaters in the basement, with ducts extending to the various rooms – but remember, there is no blower so its not exactly central heating. And there are no ducts on the second floor.
  • Is it true or false that when the Amish want to leave the fold, that you can come back into the fold only one time, if you leave again you are no longer Amish? This is not true in the communities I’ve visited. You are welcome back if you’re committed to joining the church and following the local rules (Ordnung).
  • Why do the Amish men grow  beards but no mustaches? In most groups, the beards are worn by married men only. There are no mustaches, probably because of their historical association with the military–back when they were persecuted for being Anabaptist in the 1500s.

These are just a few of the questions that I receive regularly. If you have a question, feel free to leave it in the comment section. I’ll be addressing more on my blog the next 2 Saturdays.

blessings,

v

 

 

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! My family and I enjoyed the holiday very much. My husband took our boys to see his family, and they returned Christmas Eve. We have the presents waiting for them under the tree and enjoyed unwrapping gifts. The boys were very happy with their surprises, and I enjoyed their excitement while they played with their goodies.

ChristmasTree2013b

I hope you and your family had a wonderful 2013. It’s difficult to believe the year is coming to a close. It’s been a chaotic year for my family, and we have a lot to celebrate. A Hopeful Heart, the first book in my Hearts of the Lancaster Grand series, debuted in June. My mother and I stuck to our exercise program and successfully made it back to our goal weights. In June, my family and I celebrated the two year anniversary of my husband’s second kidney transplant. We’re so very thankful for his good health; it’s truly a blessing.
My family and I will have a lot to celebrate in 2014. My next young adult book, Destination Unknown, will hit bookshelves in February, followed by my memoir, A Gift of Love, in March and A Mother’s Secret, my second book in my new Amish series, in June.
I pray you and your family have a happy and healthy New Year. What are your 2013 reflections and what will you plan for 2014?

Blessings,
Amy

Amy Clipston is the award-winning author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple best-seller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Her new novel, A Hopeful Heart, released June 2013. She holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled rotten cats.

It’s difficult to believe that December is nearly half over, but I’m happy to announce I’m almost done with my “To Do” list. My Christmas cards are written out and mailed, packages are also mailed, the inside of the house is decorated, and almost all of my family’s gifts are purchased. This coming weekend I hope to help my husband decorate outside, and I also plan to finish my shopping. I’ll have time to wrap in the coming week.

This time of year is chaotic and sometimes stressful, but I try my best to enjoy the season. I enjoy watching our four cats play in the Christmas tree, and I love to wrap and mail packages and gifts. I also enjoy seeing Christmas movies and specials on television. I love seeing the old favorites, such as “A Christmas Story,” “Frosty,” and “The Night Before Christmas.” I also Christmas books. In the spirit of old favorites, I thought I’d share my Kauffman Amish Christmas Collection, which includes two novellas based on my Kauffman Amish Bakery series.

Kauffman_Xmas2

A Plain and Simple Christmas centers around Anna Mae, who doesn’t receive the welcome she expects when she visits her family for Christmas, and Naomi’s Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children.

The Making of Naomi’s Gift

My dear friend Lauran deserves the credit for this book! Lauran loved the character of Naomi King in A Promise of Hope and A Place of Peace. When I began brainstorming a concept for the book, Lauran insisted more than once that Naomi needed her own story so that she could find her true love. I’m so thankful for Lauran’s input that I dedicated the book to her.

Here’s an excerpt from Naomi’s Gift:

“Cookies!” Sylvia yelled, trotting toward the steps.

“Yay!” Levina chimed in.

“Wait!” Lizzie Anne called. “You can carry something.” She pulled the covered dishes from the back of the buggy. “Here. Take these.”

The girls took the serving platters and hurried toward the bakery.

“Slow down!” Lizzie Anne called. Shaking her head, she hefted the bucket up from the buggy floor.

Danki,” Naomi said while she and Lilly unhitched the horse. “You take the empty buckets, and I’ll bring the cookies.”

Lizzie Anne started toward the door, carrying the empty buckets that they would fill with cookies. “I’m going to see if Lindsay is here.”

While Lilly led the horse to the pasture to join the other horses, Naomi grabbed the bucket of cookies and started toward the stairs. A sign on the door said, “Bakery Closed at 4 p.m. for Private Party.”

Lilly fell in step beside her. “Smile, Naomi,” she said as they approached the door. “It’s Christmas.”

Plastering a smile on her face, Naomi yanked the door open and stepped into the bakery. The room was rearranged with a long line of tables placed in the center of the room with piles of cookies lined up from one end to the other. The counter was filled with a variety of covered dishes, which Naomi assumed were desserts other than cookies. Women and girls of all ages were gathered around the table while chatting. Naomi inhaled the delicious scents of cookies, cakes, breads, and casseroles.

“Naomi!” Susie yelled as she ran over and reached for the bucket. “Can I help you?”

Naomi couldn’t stop the smile forming on her lips. “Hello, Susie.” She handed the little girl the bucket. “Are you certain you can lift this? It’s sort of heavy.”

“I got it.” Susie huffed and puffed, but she couldn’t lift it.

Grinning, Naomi grabbed the handle. “Let me help you.”

“That’s a good idea. We’ll work together.” Susie put her little hand on the handle next to Naomi’s, and they lifted it together. Walking slowly, they moved over to the table.

“On three, we’ll dump the cookies,” Naomi said. “One, two, three!”

They dumped the cookies onto an empty spot on the table.

“Team work,” Susie said with a smile.

Elizabeth Kauffman stepped to the center of the room and clapped her hands. “Hello everyone!” she said. “I’m so glad you all could come to our cookie exchange. I’m sure you all remember the rules. We’ll file around the table and fill our buckets until all of the cookies are gone.” She motioned toward the counter behind her. “And then we’ll enjoy our delicious desserts. Frehlicher Grischtdaag!

Chattering and laughing, the women and girls lined up around the table.

Susie looked up at Naomi. “Can I help you get cookies?”

Naomi’s heart warmed. “I would love it,” she said.

Susie beamed and held up the bucket. “I’ll get us the best cookies.”

Touching Susie’s shoulder, Naomi smiled. “That sounds wunderbaar gut.”

As they moved around the table grabbing cookies, Naomi wondered why Susie had latched onto her when there were a host of other women and Susie’s cousins in the room. And would Susie’s father approve if he saw Susie with her? Her thoughts turned to Susie’s father and she wondered what he was doing while they filled buckets with cookies.

The Making of A Plain & Simple Christmas

The idea for A Plain & Simple Christmas came to life during a visit to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Sue Brower, my editor at Zondervan, and I were sitting in her room at the Creekside Inn, located in Paradise, and we were talking about my upcoming book projects and deadlines. Sue suggested that I write a story about a shunned Amish woman who wants to come back to Lancaster to visit her family for Christmas. The story grew from there, and I’m very thankful to Sue for suggesting the concept. The story is dedicated to my godparents, Joe and Trudy Janitz, whom I miss dearly.

Here’s an excerpt from A Plain & Simple Christmas

Anna Mae and Kellan walked up the front path toward David and Kathryn’s farmhouse that evening.  She grasped his hand and stopped him before they reached the door.  “Let’s wait a minute before we go in.”

“You look beautiful.”  He brushed a lock of hair back from her face.  “You have nothing to be nervous about, Annie.  They’re your family, and Kathryn invited you to come.”

“Thank you,” she said.  “Now, you remember that Amish Christmases are different from English Christmases.  They don’t put up a tree or include Santa.  They may do a little bit of decorating with poinsettias and candles, but you won’t see any Christmas lights.  To the Amish, it’s more about family and the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth, not Santa and gifts.”

Kellan nodded toward the house.  “I remember that.  You’ve explained it to me before.”

“And they have First Christmas and Second Christmas,” she continued, ignoring his grin.  “In our family, we received our gifts on Christmas morning.  My mother set up the table especially for the kids, and it was called the Christmas table.  She put our names by each place setting and placed our gifts on the plate.  We visited our extended family on Second Christmas, which was the twenty-sixth, and shared a huge meal,” she said.  “It was so much fun playing with all of our cousins.  My grandparents would give each of us a little gift, like candy.  But each Amish family has its own traditions.  Since the families are so large, they have to plan when to get together and some have their Christmas dinners as early as Thanksgiving.  Others get together on Christmas Eve and others wait until after Christmas.”

“You’ve told me all of this already, Annie.”  He kissed her forehead.  “You’re so nervous that you’re babbling.”

Sticking out her chin, she pouted.  “I don’t babble.”

“Yes, you do, and I think it’s adorable.”  He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close.

Smiling, she swiped a snow flake that had landed on his nose.  “I’m sure visiting with my family won’t be the most exciting way for you to spend a week off work, but it means a lot to me.  Thank you.  Or maybe I should say danki.”

“How do you say you’re welcome?” he asked.

Anna Mae smiled.  “Gern gschehne.”

He pulled her into his arms.  “Gern gschehne.”  He brushed his lips against hers, and courage surged through her.

Danki,” she said.  “I needed that.  Now let’s go see my brother and his family.”  Taking his hand in hers, Anna Mae climbed the porch steps and knocked on the door.

Voices sounded on the other side of the door before it opened, revealing four children, two boys and two girls, staring wide-eyed at Anna Mae and Kellan.  All four were blond like Kathryn.  The girls were miniature versions of Amanda, and the boys reminded Anna Mae of her brother as a child.

“You’re our English aunt!” a little girl said.

Aenti Anna Mae,” the other girl said.

Amanda marched toward them, frowning at her siblings.  “Lizzie, Ruthie, Junior, and Manny,” she snapped.  “Please step back and let Aenti Anna Mae and Onkel Kellan come into the house.”  After the children backed away from the door, she turned to Anna Mae.  “They’re excited to see you.  Please come in.”

Kellan held the door and Anna Mae stepped in.  The warmth from the fireplace seeped beneath her wrap while the aroma of roasted turkey and potatoes caused her stomach to growl.

The children swarmed around her, asking questions and rattling off their names.  Tears filled Anna Mae’s eyes as she spoke with them.  It warmed her heart to be with her family again.

“Anna Mae,” a voice bellowed above the chorus of children’s voices.

Glancing up, Anna Mae found her brother David studying her, his brown eyes glistening.  He looked just as she remembered: he was tall but stocky with his sandy blond hair cut in a traditional Amish “bowl” cut.  His beard had grown longer during the past few years.  Although a few lines around his eyes revealed he was closing in on forty, he still wore youthfulness in his face.

“David,” she whispered, stepping over to him.  “How are you?”

He nodded and gave a little smile.  “I’m gut.  How are you?”

Tears spilled from her eyes.  “It’s so good to see you.”

Ya,” he said, his voice thick.  “It’s gut to see you too.”

Enjoy the season! Merry Christmas!

Amy Clipston is the award-winning author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple best-seller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Her new novel, A Hopeful Heart, released June 2013. She holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled rotten cats.