posted on August 15, 2019 by Mariah Ankenman

Send in the Clowns

I love my mother, but that woman has some serious shoes to fill. Big, squeaky, oversized shoes. Oh, did I mention my mother used to be a professional clown? No? Well, put on those red noses, everyone, because no matter how weird you think your family is, I’m about to share with you the life of a child who was raised by a professional clown.

My mother started clowning through a church group. They were putting on a show and my mom came dressed up in full clown costume complete with makeup, because we’re a family of overachievers. They made her “Head Clown” since no one else had makeup on and it was love at first facepaint. At one point she even auditioned for Barnum and Bailey circus, but decided to pass on continuing the application process as she still had three of us kiddos at home. To which my inner child whines, “Mom, I could have been a circus kid!” Of course, then instead of threating to run away and join the circus I would have run away to the suburbs. Doesn’t really have the same ring to it.

For most of my childhood I lived in a very small Rocky Mountain town where everyone knew my mom as “Mom the Clown” and still does. This was before the Internet was used for promoting small businesses so all her gigs were booked by word of mouth. A large, red painted mouth (get it? Because she was a clown). On many of these bookings, my sisters and I would go along in, yup you guessed it, our very own clown costumes. We even had our own clown names. What was mine you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you….“Little One the Clown” (I was and still am very tiny so that’s where the name came from).

Through books and old TV shows (no Youtube back then) my mother taught herself facepainting, balloon twisting, juggling, mime, and good old clowning around. She then in turn taught the art of making people laugh to her daughters. We each had our preferred skills. I loved the mime and facepainting. Two things that lost me many dates. Something about a woman pretending to be trapped in a box with a giant butterfly on her face really doesn’t do it for guys, I guess.

We would perform at birthday parties, church groups, work retreats, and children’s hospitals. Every year the city booked our clown family for the town’s Fourth of July party in the park. One year we were even invited to the small circus that was traveling through our town and we went…In. Full. Clown. It was a bit odd because everyone in the audience kept staring at us, expecting us to join in. The circus clowns did pull us into a few gags, which I thought was the greatest thing ever! Definitely in the top 5 favorite childhood memories for me.

Being raised by a clown isn’t all laughs though. Like any creative outlet we had to hone our craft. We would write and practice our own skits for hours (I can still perform the Bubble Gum skit to this day), our ears would ring from all the popped balloons when we twisted the poodles’ legs too far, the itchy facepaint, ooooo the itchy facepaint, do not forget the powder. Am I right, my fellow clowns? Getting smacked in the face with a juggling ball is no joke, but on the plus side of things being able to hit your annoying sister with a very large fake hammer time and time again is a perk to all that practice.

Most families have lovely family portraits in a picturesque field or in front of a charming studio backdrop. We, I kid you not, have a clown family portrait. Yup, all of us in our clown get ups. My mom even got her husband at the time to join in the fun, because you can’t say no to that face. No, seriously, you try saying no to a full-face clown.

Being raised by a clown taught me a very important life lesson. No matter how much life tries to get you down you can always find joy in bringing a smile to other people’s faces. That’s why I write Romance. Because giving readers a happily ever after is a comfort. And if I can bring to my readers even a fraction of the smiles my mother’s clowning did, then I’d say I’m pretty close to filling those big, squeaky shoes.

Comment below with what your clown name would be and I’ll pick a random winner to receive a $20 Amazon e-gift card. And if you like laugh out loud romance with a guaranteed HEA then check out The Best Friend Problem and get your happy giggles on.


Prudence Carlson has been lucky in life. A fulfilling wedding-planning business run with her girlfriends in Colorado, plus the best guy friend ever in her firefighter bestie Finn. All that’s missing from it is a baby. Luckily, it’s the twenty-first century—Pru can take matters into her own hands. She doesn’t need to find true love to create the future love of her life.

Except all this talk of babies and insemination and…Pru and Finn cross a line they never expected to. Sure, one night of passion won’t change their close friendship. Until Pru goes in for a fertility check-up to find… she’s already pregnant.

As best friends, Pru and Finn have survived college, new jobs, and bad breakups, but can they survive crib shopping, birth classes, and late-night cravings? Especially when Finn has never considered himself even remotely Daddy material?

Mariah Ankenman

Mariah Ankenman

Bestselling author Mariah Ankenman lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her two rambunctious daughters and loving husband who provides ample inspiration for her heart-stopping heroes. Her books have been nominated for the prestigious RWA Golden Heart and CRW Stiletto awards. Whether she's writing hometown heroes or sexy supernaturals, Mariah loves to lose herself in a world of words. Her favorite thing about writing is when she can make someone's day a little brighter with one of her books.

4 thoughts on “Send in the Clowns”

  1. Thanks for having me on today!

  2. Avatar bn100 says:

    Trixie Tubs

    1. That name is a barrel of laughs! Congratulations bn100. Please message this page:
      with the email address you’d like the gift card sent to.

  3. Avatar Hope Wooten says:

    Klutzy the clown. This sounds great!

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