Archives for posts with tag: Kauffman Amish Bakery Series

Bakery

 

Recently I was able to make 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 and has seven children. Our first encounter consisted with sitting in her kitchen for two hours and talking, and I found that she was soft-spoken, warm, and patient person I’d ever met. She never lost her patience with her children. And, since she has seven children, I was impressed. I have two boys, and I find myself constantly raising my voice. I knew when I met Ruth that I could learn to be a better person by following her example.

My friendship with Ruth has grown tremendously during the past five years. We’ve moved from occasional phone calls and visits to more regular calls. She and one of her daughters read my manuscripts and help me with the details and accuracy of my books.

During my most recent visit, Ruth invited me to come to a dinner that she was hosting in her home. Some Amish women host dinners for Englishers (non-Amish) as a way to make extra income. It gives Englishers an opportunity to experience an Amish home and meal. While I had visited Ruth many times, I had never had the opportunity to attend a meal like this.

There are approximately two dozen visitors who attended the meal. Ruth had a small table and also one long table set up in her kitchen. She invited the guests to come into the kitchen, and she asked me to sit at the head of the long table. Before the meal began, she said a prayer, thanking God for the beautiful day and the opportunity to host her new friends in her home.

She then began to serve the meal. Normally, Ruth hires two fifteen-year-old girls to help her since her daughters are busy working and her sons help with the farm. This evening her helpers were busy, so I did what I could assist her with her meal, which included 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!

After we ate, Ruth sat on a stool and asked the group where they were from. There were visitors from as close by as New Jersey and as far away as Europe. Ruth answered questions about the Amish culture, and she and her youngest daughter sang a beautiful song for us. She then led us in a verse of Amazing Grace.

I stayed after the guests had left and helped her wash dishes and clean up the kitchen. We talked about our families while we worked.

It was a blessing and an honor to experience a meal in Ruth’s home. I look forward to visiting Ruth again soon.

If you are able to visit Amish Country, I highly recommend that you have a meal in an Amish home. I’m certain you’ll have a wonderful time!

Blessings,

Amy Clipston

 

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.

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of speaking at the University City Regional Library. Not only was I able to meet a special reader, but I also enjoyed talking with an aspiring author. I enjoy speaking events because I am able to share the story of my husband’s kidney transplants and also my journey as a kidney donor.

On Monday, July 28, I am speaking at Rocky River Presbyterian Church, located at 7940 Rocky River Rd, Concord, NC 28025, at 7 p.m.  If you’re in the area, please stop by. I hope to see you there.

Below are photos from my event at the University City Library. I hope to see you at an event soon!

 

Amy Clipston

 Here I am posing during the presentation.

 

 

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Above I’m signing books after the presentation.

 

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My mom always comes to the events with me. I enjoy spending time with her and also taking her to lunch after the book signing.

 

Blessings,

Amy

 

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.

 

 

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.

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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. 

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.

A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed Ashley, the model for Hannah Glick on the cover my book A Hopeful Heart. The interview appeared in a column on the Not Quite Amish Living blog. Since I had limited space on that blog, I thought I’d post Part 2 here on the Amish Fiction Blog. I hope you enjoy finding out more about Ashley!

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Hi Ashley! Thank you for joining me at the Amish Fiction Blog. How long have you been modeling?  How did you get started?

I have been modeling on and off since 1999.  I was in my 1st year of college when this funny adventure began. One weekend my friends and I decided to take a mini road trip to a mall about an hour from campus, belting out to Celine Dion the entire drive, complete with fake microphones. We arrived and wandered like poor college students wishing we could afford clothes and not just top ramen. After hours of trying on clothes and playing runway we decided to head home. On our way out of the mall this guy came up to me and handed me a flyer, which was promoting a model-scouting event. Upon landing safely in my dorm room, I called my Mom with a great deal of skepticism, and asked her if I should do it? It just sounded like a scam to me. In most cases these things are a total scam, but we researched the people that would be there, and there were a handful of legit agencies so we thought, what the heck, why not?! I sewed my own clothes for the event to make sure I stood out (insert my laugh and eyes rolling now). After the runway portion of the event we were invited to meet with agents, hand them a snapshot of ourselves, and hopefully sign with an agency. I met with Kristy from SMG and she said she liked my look and would be interested in signing me, (insert my 19 year old heart skipping a beat). Then there was a long pause and some looks between her and the other agent present. She then said, “How would you feel about plus size modeling…” I think my jaw may have dropped, and I’m sure the excitement that was there a minute ago had visibly left my face. I said “of course, anything!” with as much enthusiasm as I could muster. I signed, shook their hands, left the building, and cried. I laugh now because I know the industry is totally whack, and in no way shape or form was I overweight. I was a size 10-12, and 6’ tall. I looked normal and healthy. What I didn’t know was that being a plus size model is where it’s at! They would ask me to eat Twinkies (joking, but implying that I was too thin), encouraged me to wear clothes that made me look bigger, and never suck it in. It was GREAT! I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, which was perfect for my fragile college age self esteem. I got to fly to New York, sign with Wilhelmina (another incredible agency), have two amazing photo-shoots in the city, and buy some great clothes. I was so excited to work both as a photographer and model and to be a part of this fascinating industry. Because I love watching people, I soaked everything in: how they lit me, the make-up, hair, styling, etc.  I had my bootstraps pulled up, Twinkie in hand and ready to work, but then there was… nothing. I waited, I went on “go sees”, castings, and wasn’t booking jobs. They said I was too small on top, which was true. My body looks like it was mismatched in some cruel carnival mirror. As much as I tried I would only gain weight in my butt and thighs. I did book the occasional fitting job (fitting: when a model gets paid to try on clothes for the real model before a photo-shoot). I love fittings. It’s fun without any pressure. This is actually my ideal line of work. After I finished school, I decided to put all my heart and energy into my photography business and I’m so glad I did. My career as a photographer has blown my expectations out of the water. We have traveled the world photographing weddings, adventuring and experiencing things I would never be a part of unless a camera were around my neck. I feel beyond blessed to be a part of such intimate moments, and to capture them beautifully. My business now is mostly portraits, and weddings. I love this line of work and preserving my clients family history. My goal is that the grandchildren of my clients would look at these pictures and get an honest sense of who their grandparents were as children, young adults, adults, etc. I love real moments, moments that tell a story and say something in addition to “cheese”. I miss traveling, but I’m hoping that will return once my kids are a little older.

Ok, so flash forward to after I had my kids. I lost a lot of weight. I wasn’t trying (don’t hate me), but it just fell off. I should mention that I also started eating a mostly vegan diet and began running to maintain my sanity, so perhaps it didn’t just fall off. I had to buy all new clothes and this got me thinking. I called SMG to see if they needed a 31-year-old model (not likely) that was a size 8. They said come on in and lets take a look. They decided to give it another go with me as an adult model, in the SMG2 category. I did some test shoots, and then to my total shock and surprise began booking jobs. I have been at it for the last two years and have had some really fun experiences. My favorite job so far was my Amish book cover. No, I’m not sucking up, I truly loved this job.

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Here’s a photo of Ashley.

What are your favorite types of photo shoots/modeling jobs?

I like unrecognizable work and fitting jobs. It’s actually really hard for me to model my face when it comes to emotions other than joy. I have such natural smile and laugh, but am hopeless when it comes to a serious, or sultry face. I dread hearing “ok now give me a serious, contemplative, or sexy look.” I recoil from the inside and pray that I don’t look constipated or like a tree trunk.

 When you did the photo shoot for the cover, what did you know about the book? Were you interested in finding out more about the book?

I guess I knew enough to get the job done but not much. The information I had was the title A Hopeful Heart, and the basic plot line. I knew just enough to convey the motivation behind my characters emotion (again my face wasn’t really in it so it wasn’t that hard). I was so fascinated and excited to learn more and read the book. All my friends/family are reading it as well.

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Here Ashley poses with her beautiful family.

How did you feel the first time you saw your photo in an advertisement? How did you feel when you saw the cover of A Hopeful Heart?

It’s just surreal to see yourself in an ad or on a book cover. I just feel so lucky to have such incredible experiences, yet I feel as though I’m looking as someone else. As much as I know that it is “me,” it never really feels like me because so much post-production goes into the final product. Nobody actually looks like the images you see in magazines, book covers, etc, so rest assured that nobody is perfect. Not even close. It’s all smoke and mirrors. : )

Do you have any other photo shoots coming up soon?

Not that I know of… although I am usually given about a weeks notice when I book a job. I then have to rearrange my entire life around it. It’s a bit of a circus whenever I book something because I have kids and just a few jobs, but I always do my best to make it happen because the trouble is always worth it.

What are your favorite hobbies?  Do you like to read? If so, what type of books?

My favorite hobbies often involve working with my hands doing some form of tactile art. I love all forms of art, and doing little projects fill my soul. I also LOVE reading. I am always reading a minimum of 3 books at a time. Currently I’m reading A Hopeful Heart, by yours truly Amy Clipston, Quiet by Susan Cain, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, Blue like Jazz, by Donald Miller, and Help, Thanks, Wow, by Anne Lamott. I often have fantasies of going on weekend retreats to just read, write, drink tea and be in total solitude. This has yet to happen but I’m looking forward to such a time, perhaps when my kids are older and don’t want me around. I’m not sure this is a hobby but I love being with my family. Going on hikes, swimming, camping and just existing away from technology with my kids and husband make my life whole. I pinch myself and thank God that I have two children. My husband and I were told our chances of having a family were slim to none, and are thrilled they were wrong.

Thank you, Ashley for joining me for another blog post. I’m so glad we connected over Facebook!

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.

Last week I had the pleasure to travel to Indianapolis for the American Christian Fiction Writers’ annual conference. Not only did I enjoy seeing the city, but I also had a great time seeing my friends. Here are a few photos I’d like to share with you.

Monument

Indianapolis is a beautiful city! I worked around the downtown area and enjoyed the historic buildings and also this gorgeous monument.

MarySue_and_Me

I spent time with my wonderful literary agent, Mary Sue Seymour. I always enjoy having time to sit and talk with her.

Becky_and_Me    SueBrower_and_Me

I also hung out with my editors, Becky Philpott (left) and Sue Brower (right).

Four_of_Us

I was honored to participate in a book signing at Family Christian Store with my friends Shelley Shepard Gray, Beth Wiseman, and Vannetta Chapman.

MarySue_Dinner

My literary agent, Mary Sue Seymour, treated all of her writers to a wonderful meal at P.F. Changs. I had some delicious Pad Thai with shrimp!

ChildrensMuseum3  Childrens_Museum1

Amanda Flower, Amy Lillard, and I enjoyed an afternoon at the Children’s Museum. Check out the cool building!

ChildrensMuseum2

There’s Bumble Bee from Transformers!  My boys were envious that they couldn’t go to the museum with me.

Shelley_Ruth_me

Shelley Shepard Gray, Ruth Reid, and I ate dinner at the Eagles Nest, a rotating restaurant located at the top of the Hyatt Regency.

ViewfromEaglesNest

Check out the view from the Eagle’s Nest!

I had a wonderful time in Indy. I look forward to seeing my friends again soon!

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.