Archives for posts with tag: inspirational romance

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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.

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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!

 

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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

 

 

On March 5, I traveled to South Bend, Indiana, for a live television interview on The Harvest Show to launch my memoir, A Gift of Love. My literary agent, Susan Brower, drove to South Bend and met me at the airport, and we had a wonderful time visiting together. I had never traveled to South Bend, and I didn’t realize we were staying right by Notre Dame. Sue and I took a windshield tour of the campus, enjoying the beautiful architecture, along with the piles of snow.

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Sue and I had dinner at Legends, a restaurant located on the Notre Dame campus. Above is a photo of Sue posing outside of the restaurant.

Amy_Legends

The restaurant was decorated with Fighting Irish sports memorabilia, and the food was delicious. Sue and I shared a delectable piece of carrot cake as a special treat for dessert. Above is a photo of me with examples of the memorabilia in the background.

On Thursday, March 6, Sue and I had breakfast in the hotel and then took a shuffle to the Harvest Show studio. I was nervous, but I felt at ease when I met the friendly members of the Harvest Show staff. My interview was scheduled for 9:17, and I waited on the set until my time came to join the host and hostess. I quickly felt comfortable and enjoyed discussing my book with them.

Here is a link to my interview.

After the interview, Sue and I traveled back to the hotel, and we packed up our things. Sue took me to the airport, and I started my journey home to Charlotte. I hope to have the opportunity to travel back to South Bend sometime soon.

Amy Clipston is the best-selling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple best-seller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. In addition to her passion for writing, Amy is incredibly passionate about blood and organ donation. Her memoir, A Gift of Love, which details her journey as a kidney donor, released in March 2014. She and her family live in North Carolina and are so grateful for their health and time together as a family. 

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Many authors use real life experiences in their books. Oftentimes a character’s name or even a pet’s name has special significance to the author, but the reader would have no way of knowing that just by reading the book.

Most readers know that I write Amish fiction, but they may not know that I also write contemporary young adult novels. My newest contemporary young adult book, Destination Unknown, hit bookstores in February. I poured a lot of myself in this novel series, and I used many significant names and references in that book.

Book Blurb

In Destination Unknown, the sequel to Roadside Assistance, it’s senior year, and Whitney Richards is tired of the constant pressures to be perfect. When she gets a D in Calculus, her mother immediately hires a tutor, worried Whitney won’t get into the “right” college—her alma mater—with imperfect grades. Her tutor, Taylor, is a quiet, mysterious boy who is unlike anyone Whitney has met before. But Taylor’s rougher upbringing has her mother and friends discouraging any type of relationship.

Tired of having to play a part for everyone else, Whitney quits the cheerleading squad that once defined her social identity, and begins spending more time with Taylor. Her mom and friends worry Whitney is making a huge mistake, and even Taylor begins to show concern for some of her choices. But for the first time, Whitney is in the driver’s seat.

Behind-the-Scenes

The neighborhood names in Roadside Assistance and Destination Unknown are significant to me.  Rock Creek, which is where Whitney’s friend Chelsea’s lives, is the name of the neighborhood where my husband and I bought our first house in Virginia Beach. Whitney lives in Castleton, which is the neighborhood where we lived before me moved to North Carolina.

There are streets named after streets from Virginia Beach and also Ridgewood, NJ, where I grew up, including: Glen Avenue, Rock Lake Loop, Holland Road, and Radcliff Road.

Whitney is a cheerleader, and her school’s colors, maroon and white, are the same colors as my high school’s colors in New Jersey.  Her cheerleading uniform is maroon, white, and yellow, which are the colors the cheerleaders at my school wore.

Chelsea’s car, a sliver 1985 Nissan Sentra, is same as my first car, and Emily’s father’s Suburban is modeled after my husband’s first Suburban. Also, Zander has a green Jeep Wrangler, similar to one we once owned. And Emily’s dream car, from Roadside Assistance, a 1969 Camaro, is actually my dream car. (I’m hoping my husband will build one for me someday.)

Emily, Whitney’s cousin, is named after my grandmother.

The hair stylist who has to fix Whitney’s hair after she dyes it is named after my awesome hair stylist, Casey. My hair stylist was thrilled when I featured her in my new book.

I have really enjoyed writing the books in the Roadside Assistance series. I hope readers enjoy reading them too!

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I became a blood donor when I was sixteen. I remember my mother coming home with “Be nice to me, I gave blood today” stickers on her shirt. She donated blood for the boy who lived next door to us. His name was Jimmy, and he was diagnosed with leukemia when he was little. Tragically, Jimmy passed away in 1977, when he was only ten years old. I began to give blood in memory of him as soon as I was old enough to donate. I’m also registered to donate bone marrow in memory of Jimmy, and I hope someday I can help someone like him by giving my bone marrow.

I am a member of the blood drive committee at where I work, and I run blood drives at my church. My desire to promote blood donation goes beyond my memories of Jimmy; it’s also because my husband, Joe, has received two kidney transplants. In fact, I donated a kidney through a swap to help him receive his second transplant. On June 14, 2011, I donated a kidney to a woman, who was a stranger, and in exchange, her husband gave a kidney to Joe. We met the other couple after our transplants, and we’re now close friends.

Kidney disease has been a black cloud over our lives since Joe was first diagnosed in 2000. He spent a year on dialysis before receiving his first kidney transplant from his brother in 2004. Unfortunately, his first transplanted kidney only lasted four years, and Joe went back on dialysis in July 2008. Since he had rejected a kidney, his body had built up antibodies, making him difficult to match. My donating a kidney was his best chance of receiving one from a matching donor.

Joe’s illness was difficult for our sons, who are 13 and 8. There were days when Joe was too ill to spend time with them. Aside from the emotional toll of Joe’s illness, we also suffered from financial worries. Since Joe was only well enough to work part-time, I carried the financial burden by working full-time and also writing novels.

Donating a kidney was rewarding for me. Not only did I save Joe’s life and my recipient’s life, but it made an impact on our children. Once the surgery was over, the most exhilarating moment for me was when I spoke to my younger son on the phone, and without any prompting he said, “Mommy, I’m proud of you.”

While Joe was on dialysis and awaiting his second transplant, he was very ill, and he received six units of blood within six months. After his transfusions, I was inspired to share our story. I contacted a member of the blood drive committee at my job and asked if I could compose an email to share with all employees to recruit more people for the bi-monthly blood drives. Not only did I send out the email, but I also joined the blood drive committee.

Blood donation is one of my passions, along with organ donation. I’ve experience first-hand how blood donation can save a life, and I’m determined to encourage others to donate blood. I’m also sharing our kidney transplant journey in my memoir, A Gift of Love, which will be available in March 2014.

By advocating for blood and organ donation, I feel I’m illustrating one of my favorite scripture verses, Matthew 5:16–“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.

Did you know:

  • The primary users of blood products are:  Cancer, Cardiac and transplant patients
  • Cancer patients may use up to 16 units platelets each week
  • Heart transplant patients may use 2-4 units of red blood cells
  • Automobile accident victims may use 4-40 units red blood cells
  • 37% percent of the population is able to give blood, but only 6% do!
  • One pint of whole blood can help save as many as 3 lives
  • There is NO substitute for life-saving blood; it cannot be manufactured or recreated
  • Donating blood takes 30-45 minutes and saves at least 3 patients lives

Amy Clipston is the best-selling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple best-seller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. In addition to her passion for writing, Amy is incredibly passionate about blood and organ donation. Her memoir, A Gift of Love, which details her journey as a kidney donor, will release in March 2014. She and her family live in North Carolina and are so grateful for their health and time together as a family. 

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.

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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.