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Introducing the Main Characters from The Courtship Basket by Amy Clipston

Courtship BasketThe Courtship Basket, which is the second in my Amish Heirloom series, will release on June 28.

In this story, readers will get to know Rachel, who is twenty-two and the middle sister in the Fisher family. Rachel is devastated when she finds out her boyfriend and best friend have been seeing each other behind her back. She takes a position as a teacher in an Amish school to help heal her heart. She’s impulsive and quick-tempered, but she has a good heart. She doesn’t trust men, pours all of her energy into being a good teacher, and is certain that she’ll never find love again. Rachel has dark hair and eyes and is approximately five-foot-seven. I imagine her as looking like American actress Hayley Orrantia.

Michael “Mike” Lantz is 24 and works at his father’s lawn ornament business with his cousin and uncle. He has the responsibility of caring for his sickly father and 6-year-old brother, John. His stepmother died while giving birth to John. Mike is a loner. He’s hardworking and focused. He’s also steadfast in his Amish faith. He doesn’t think he’ll ever find a woman to love him since he has the responsibility of caring for his father and brother. He has a difficult time asking for help, but he will accept help from his cousins who come to the house to cook, clean, and tend to his father while he’s at work. He’s six-foot-two with blond hair and blue eyes. I imagine him as looking like Australian actor Chris Hemsworth.

Although all of my books are very special to me, this book is particularly close to my heart because it touches on the topic of kidney disease. My husband, Joe, has had two kidney transplants. Five years ago, Joe received his second transplant through a swap, where I donated to someone and Joe received a kidney in exchange. I dedicated this book to Nyeisha and Eric, who were part of our kidney donation swap. Both Joe and Nyeisha struggled with kidney disease similar to how Raymond Lantz does in the story.

I hope you enjoy The Courtship Basket!


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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. An advocate for organ and blood donation, Amy donated a kidney in 2011 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Through her donation, her husband received a second kidney transplant.

Amy and her husband matched another couple and swapped kidneys with them. Amy’s memoir, A Gift of Love, will be available in early 2014. She hopes her story inspires others to become organ and blood donors. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats. You can find her on the web at www.AmyClipston.com or on Facebook.

The Christmas Season in Amish Country by Laura Bradford

It doesn’t matter how many times I visit Amish country in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, I learn something new every single time. Very often, that new-to-me thing finds itself into the plot of the next book in my Amish Mystery series.

Take for example the Christmas season. During one of my research trips, I learned that many one-room schoolhouses inside the Amish community host an annual Christmas program. In the days leading up to the program, the children learn poems, songs, and skits that they will perform in front of their families. The majority of the content is religious in nature, but it’s also not out of the realm of possibility to hear Santa Claus mentioned in a song or two. The classroom is also spruced up for the big event with simple paperchains and homemade snowflakes.

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Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Sure enough, as I drove home to New York, thinking about everything I’d learned, I knew I wanted to visit the notion of an Amish school’s Christmas program via my series’ characters. And how better to explore it than through the eyes of Detective Jakob Fisher and his memories of growing up inside the Amish community…

A Christmas Mourning, my brand new E-short story, is now available wherever you buy E-books. It’s a mystery, of course, but this time it involves a missing heirloom and an enduring truth about family, love, and the power of forgiveness.

Thank you, Destination Amish, for letting me visit with you today. And I wish all of you reading this, a very Merry Christmas!

~Laura Bradford


Laura is giving one lucky reader the chance to win an ebook copy of A Christmas Mourning!

To enter, leave a comment. For an EXTRA chance share this post and leave a comment if you do.

Giveaway starts today, Monday, December 7th and ends Monday, December 14th.

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Laura Bradford is the national bestselling author of the Amish Mysteries and the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey) with Penguin Random House. The Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries will be added to the mix in 2016. Laura is a former Agatha Award nominee, and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, playing games, and catching up with friends. To learn more, visit her website: www.laurabradford.com and/or her author page on Facebook.

The Alpine Hills Museum

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Photo by Dutch Valley Tech

The Alpine Hills Museum by Kelly Kuhn, Museum Curator and Director

The Alpine Hills Museum and Sugarcreek Information Center should be the first stop on any visitors list of “to-dos” in Amish Country. Our quaint village is set off of State Route 39 down in what feels like a valley from a Grimm Brothers fairytale. As soon as a guest makes the turn off of SR 39 it’s like being transported back in time where the pace instantly slows down, the greetings are warmer, and the food is always the best.

Our main street is lined with beautiful Swiss style buildings that will have you wondering when you traveled to Switzerland. In the heart of this dreamlike village is the Alpine Hills Museum. The bright blue building decorated in Edelweiss, Alpenrose, and Eucin flowers is irresistible and begs to be explored. When you step inside one of our outstanding volunteers greets you and invites you to tour the three floors, at no cost of course. Browse the gift shop for items sure to please those that love the Amish and/or the Swiss heritage of our area. A 12 minute video is your first stop on the self-guided tour. The video explains the Amish lifestyle, Swiss cheese making, our Swiss heritage, and our annual Ohio Swiss Festival.

After viewing the video head back the hall to begin touring. Our first floor features multiple displays such as an Amish Kitchen, a cheese house, a woodworking shop, and a recreation of the 1890-mid 1900’s Budget Newspaper display. All of these displays feature audio/visual options. Don’t miss the Swiss costumes; lederhosen, dirndls, and trachtens.

After seeing everything on the first floor make your way to the basement. Farming equipment, an antique buggy, a rare photographer’s carriage, a black smith shop, a firehouse display and much more await you. From the basement continue all the way up the staircase to the second floor. This floor has something for everyone. Stunning Victorian dresses and accessories are displayed delicately amongst Victorian Era furniture. An authentic Shoe-Shine Station sits beside and early 1900’s barbershop display. Our tribute to America’s Armed Forces is sure to make any veteran proud. Uniforms from many American wars are proudly displayed. Antique guns, doctor’s house-call bags, embalming equipment, and arrowheads are sure to entertain young boys. The music room features stunning Alphorns as well as movie props from “Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio”.

Be sure to watch the video of our greatest benefactor, Ranson Andreas, playing the Alphorns and Dulcimer. Before leaving our lobby to explore the rest of the enticing village try playing the Alphorn we have at the front desk. We would be more than happy to get it down for you. Also, make sure to ask our volunteers any and all questions you have about the area, the museum, the Amish, the Swiss, and our rich history.

If the volunteer can’t answer the question they will find someone who can. Pick up helpful brochures and get directions to any local locations then enjoy the rest of your visit to the endearing “Little Switzerland of Ohio”.

Visit The Alpine Hills Museum on Facebook!