Archive for the ‘5 Things’ Category

Five Things about Eric Landfried of “Solitary Man”

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Learn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” series. Author Eric Landfried wrote adventure-packed Solitary Man. Here are Eric’s “five things”:

Solitary ManI grew up in Charleston, WV. Charleston is a sprawling city, and I lived in one of the more rural areas along Davis Creek. While I attended and eventually graduated from a Christian school in Cross Lanes, WV, I did attend public school during my junior year at George Washington High, the same school Jennifer Garner, the actress, graduated from. But since she graduated the year before I was there, I never got to meet her. Oh well.

I have four siblings due to a blended family. My parents divorced when I was an infant, primarily due to my dad’s alcoholism, but don’t worry. God saved him a few years later, and he’s been clean and sober for decades. Both my parents remarried, so I have a step sibling, and three half siblings. Of course adjectives like “half” and “step” are meaningless to me. They’re just my siblings. I love my brother, and I love my three sisters.

I’ve broken my left arm three different times. Yes, my left arm probably doesn’t like me very much. The first time happened when I was five, the next time when I was six, and the third later on when I was fifteen. The last time was the worst break, as it had a 45 degree angle and looked like I had two elbows. Nearly 30 years later, I still have the bone callous that healed around the break. It happened playing basketball in gym glass and a kid named Chris was so grossed out by it, he ran away from it. Later, he felt bad about his reaction and drew a get well card and had our class sign it. Thirty years later, we’re still best friends.

I spent the 90’s playing drums in various punk and indie rock bands. As my friends and I got into the punk scene, a few of them played guitar, so I taught myself to play drums so we could start a band. It didn’t quite work out that way, but I still ended up playing with a handful of different other bands. A few of the bands in the scene were actually pretty talented, but none of them ever went anywhere because no one at a record label expects to find a viable punk act in West Virginia of all places! Nowadays, I use my drumming talent to bring glory to God by playing in my church’s worship band. Of course, I still love to rock out now and then!

Eric LandfriedI love baseball. I grew up watching the Atlanta Braves games broadcast on TBS in the 80’s, and my favorite player was the center fielder, Dale Murphy. I used to play mock baseball games by myself in my mom’s front yard, knocking the ball around and running bases I’d marked out in the grass. During my punk phase, I lost track of it all, but after moving to New Hampshire, I started paying attention to the Boston Red Sox in 2003 when they missed the World Series by one bad pitch (heartbreaking loss!) and went on the next year to win it all, breaking an 86 year “curse.” I’m an avid Sox fan now, and I still keep an eye on the Braves, enjoying when they do well.

 

Learn more about Eric Landfried and Solitary Man by visiting www.ericlandfried.com.

Five Things About Daphne Self of “The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog”

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Learn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” series. Author Daphne Self wrote entertaining The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog, which has subtle hints of important life lessons to be learned for young children. Here are Daphne’s “five things”:

The Case of the Missing Firehouse DogThroughout my childhood I wanted to be an astronaut. When I was about 3 or 4, my father took me to the theater to see Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Perched on his shoulder I was swept into my first movie theater experience. From that time forward I watched anything space related. I read Disney’s The Black Hole in second grade. That led to more books about space. When the Challenger exploded, in 1986 I wrote NASA inquiring about o-rings and asked for a space shuttle schematic. I didn’t receive a schematic, but they sent me a detailed diagram (and apparently they wondered how a 12 year old knew about the o-rings). I learned and studied the universe . . . until that fateful day I learned I was terrified of flying and petrified of the cold vacuum of space.

Instead of pursuing an astronaut career, I decided that I would become my other dream—an author. And yes, I still keep up to date on all things space related.

Years ago I drove for the first time down the side of a mountain. After my children and I experienced personal trauma, I thought a road trip was in order. We needed an adventure, time together, and time to heal. What better way than to see new places? Idaho was our destination. After 3 days of travel, we arrived at Pocatello, ID. The next day took us to the mountains outside of St. Regis, Montana on our roundabout way to Coeur d’Alene, ID. We’ve never seen snow like that before. White and shades of gray colored everything as I drove our Tahoe down a steep decline on a mountain road. Snow had begun to blow to almost white-out conditions. I passed vehicle after vehicle in a SUV that wasn’t a 4×4. I clung to curves and be-bopped along the road wondering why people were white knuckling the steering wheel. I didn’t realize until later how serious the weather condition was. Never again will I drive down a mountain in a blizzard.

Deep water and high cliffs scare me. I may not show it. I probably never hint at it; but I cannot stand on a cliff. It is a sad thing to say, but I swoon. I have no head for heights. The idea of standing on the walkway at the Grand Canyon terrifies me! I cannot ever peer out a full length window in a high-rise without being on the verge of collapse. As for deep water, I am talking about ocean deep or Kentucky Lake deep. After witnessing a gargantuan arise from the depths of Kentucky Lake, I’ve determined that I truly don’t know what is beneath me—ready to bite my legs off. Some monster lies in the deep and sees me as a plump, chewy morsel to feast upon.

I’m a Star Trek fan aka Trekkie and a sci-fi geek. As I mentioned above, the first movie I can remember was Star Trek. This led to Star Wars, and not just the movies, but the books in both franchises. Not to mention when I was little each afternoon my sister and I would race to the TV to watch Tom Baker portray Dr. Who. By the way, he’s my favorite Doctor, with Peter Capaldi my second favorite, and David Tennant rounds out my third. Soon Firefly, Halo, Gears of War, and a host of others joined in my obsession. Sci-fi movies and books filled my mind with wonder. As for my favorite Star Trek captain: Jean-Luc Picard. My favorite series: Star Trek Voyager. My favorite Star Trek character: Data. I do admit that I enjoyed Star Trek’s alternate reality reboot, although it seemed too cinematically fast-paced. The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog

I’ve never traveled outside the USA. I’ve seen many authors share photos and memories of their travels to other countries. I have to admit that it caused envy to rise within me (of course through God’s grace that envy was short-lived). It’s been a dream to see more of the world, to experience more beyond the borders of the USA. Since I’ve never had the means to do so, I live my travels through books: travel guides, history books, books from the countries, photos, etc. If I have to choose, I only have a small list: Scotland, the land of my ancestors; Japan, a fascinating culture; Australia, I have a friend who lives there; and Paris, France, because I want to see if the city of romance lives up to its name. I may also throw Northern Ireland in there, too. And then there is the ultimate adventure: Antarctica, which is definitely more of a dream.

Learn more about Daphne Self and The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog by visiting www.authordaphneself.blogspot.com.

Five Things About Heather Norman Smith of “Grace & Lavender”

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Learn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” series. Author Heather Norman Smith wrote heartwarming Grace & Lavender, her debut southern fiction which encourages fostering and adoption, a cause near to her heart. Here are Heather’s “five things”:

Heather Norman SmithAlong with writing, I love music. I’ve sung in church most of my life—as a soloist, with the choir, and with different groups—and I love music that honors God, especially the old hymns. And I enjoy writing songs. Also, I own the same alto saxophone that I first learned to play in the sixth grade, but now I only play it every once-in-a-while.

I’ve attended the same church since I was two years old. My father started pastoring there. He’s still the pastor and now my husband is the youth pastor. I’m thankful for a foundation of faith in my life and for a loving church family.

Throughout my teens and into early adulthood, I was obsessed with Gone With The Wind and collected lots of movie-related items. I read the book in eighth grade, then saw the movie for the first time when I was probably fifteen. My husband and I honeymooned in Atlanta back in 2006, where we visited the Margaret Mitchell House & Museum.

One of the greatest dreams of my life was fulfilled when I became a mother. I am blessed with two daughters and a son, and my husband and I hope to expand our family through foster care/adoption in the future.Heather Norman Smith

As a child I dreamed about traveling the world but, so far, I haven’t made it west of the Mississippi. I believe there’s still time for grand adventures down the road, but I’ve decided I’m content and that my home state of North Carolina is the best place in the world to be. I enjoy writing stories set in different parts of the state, to showcase the beauty of the region and its people.

Learn more about Heather Norman Smith and Grace & Lavender by visiting www.heathernormansmith.com.

Five Things about LeAnne Blackmore of “God’s Name is a Tower”

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Learn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” series. Author LeAnne Blackmore wrote the adorable “God’s Name is a Tower” which parents can use to teach their child about the gospel and who God is. Here are LeAnne’s Five Things:

 

God's Name is a TowerI grew up on an island in the Detroit River in Michigan. We could stand at the end our driveway and see Canada. When out-of-town guests would come to visit, a standard outing involved taking them over the Ambassador Bridge to Windsor, Canada, where we’d eat at McDonald’s. After eating our fancy fare, we’d head back to Michigan via the Windsor Tunnel—a route which takes you under the river.

My husband and I were both raised in strong Christian families. Each set of parents were married more than 60 years. My siblings and their spouses share a similar godly heritage. In fact, over 240 years of marriage are accounted for among all four sets of parents.

I’ve traveled to 24 different countries. Some trips were more missions oriented, while others were just for fun. I’d be hard-pressed to pick a favorite because each place exhibited its own charm, but the grandeur of the Swiss Alps literally brought me to tears.

I’m frequently stopped and told I have “epic” hair. While traveling in Brazil, people stopped me in the street to take their picture with me—because of my hair. I was like a rockstar! (An old one, but a rockstar nonetheless!)

I make great cookies—chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, oatmeal, sugar, peanut butter! I’m not much of a cook, but if you want some fantastic baked goods, I’m your girl. Truth be told, cookie dough is my favorite food.

 

LeAnne Blackmore

LeAnne’s whimsically-illustrated children’s book is now available for preorder!

Learn more about God’s Name is a Tower by visiting HERE and LeAnne by visiting www.leanneblackmore.com.

Five Things about Sheila Ingle of “Tales of a Cosmic Possum”

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Learn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” series. Author Sheila Ingle wrote the memorable Tales of a Cosmic Possum” which shares the long-forgotten stories of eight hard-working Appalachian women. Here are Sheila’s Five Things: 

 

Sheila Ingle

I love movies! Whether it is Disney, James Bond, a romance, a musical, a mystery, or a history, movies entertain me. Going to a theater or watching on TV, I become mesmerized into the story. There have been times that I have wanted to become part of the fantasy, because it deeply touched my emotions. My preference is for happy endings, but the reality check of those with unresolved conflicts or some form of estrangement is also thought-provoking. Though identifying with the characters is fun, movies also stretch my mind/world view to see life through someone else’s lens.

When I was around four, I met President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In a long line of people, my parents and I were outside a church in Augusta, Georgia. (Since then, I have found out that it was the Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church, where the President attended in that city.) I can still remember that it was Daddy, then Mother, then me. As the President walked by, he shook Daddy’s hand and then smiled and patted me on the head. It makes no sense that I can still visualize this occasion, but I do. I guess I am supposed to have this one in my memory bank.

My grandmother Lulu used to regale my brother and me with stories of our relatives, both the unknown and the infamous. Over and over, we would ask for her version of our cousin, Jesse James. He was the son of a Baptist minister, but he robbed banks and trains. Supposedly, his crimes were payback for the way he and his family were treated during the Civil War. (Perhaps this scenario was similar to the legends of Robin Hood.) Jesse James had staunch friends and family that protected him during his life of crime. So interesting now as an adult that I was enamored with the romanticized thoughts of a cousin that chose to be a thief, so he could provide for his impoverished family.

Both my grandmothers and mother made jelly and preserves every year. They started the spring season with strawberry preserves, following that with peach and blackberry preserves, and ending with apple jelly in the fall. It saw that it was hot work, as they all dealt with the steam from the jars boiling and the fruit being brought to a boil. But it wasn’t long after I married that I chose to follow in their footsteps. There really isn’t much enjoyment from the process, but there certainly is in eating the finished product. I, also, enjoy sharing them with friends and watching their eyes light up with anticipated pleasure. If I could only bake biscuits, like those three ladies, to go with those preserves, I would be truly following in their footsteps.

Tales of a Cosmic Possum

Crime or mystery novels have always been a favorite of mine. Patricia Cornwell, Louise Penny, Ken Follett, Robert Ludlum, John Grisham, John Hart, and Tom Clancy are some of my favored authors through the years. To go along with this choice of reading, one of my uncles worked for the CIA. Somewhere it became part of my outlook that I would make a worthy agent. In my imaginings, I would capture Russian spies, save America, and never be taken prisoner. Traveling from one exotic place to another, I would make friends on every continent, but remain savvy as I found traitors and enemies. No, this never happened. In real life, I research to find truth about my characters and and use my creativity to construct and shape the worlds they live in, that I will never see.

 

Learn more about Sheila Ingle and Tales of a Cosmic Possum by visiting sheilaingle.com.

Five Things about Abby Banks of “Love Him Anyway”

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Learn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” series. Abby Banks is the author of “Love Him Anyway” a powerful memoir about her son, Wyatt’s battle with a rare autoimmune disease. Here are Abby’s “five things”:

I love family movie night. Friday night is special at my house. It’s family movie night, and I look forward to it all week. We rent a movie, pop popcorn, shut all the lights off, and curl up under quilts on the couch. Each week a different family member gets to pick a movie. We don’t worry about cleaning up the kitchen or finishing the laundry. Friday is the one night of the week that is reserved for family time only. I’m trying to soak in every second of it before my kids figure out that I’m not as cool as they think I am. I’m expecting them to invite their dates to our family movie night when they get older. My ten-year-old currently agrees.

DSC_6298 copyI love minivans. I love driving a minivan. I realize that probably classifies me as being old and boring, but seriously, there is nothing I would rather drive. They’re comfy, convenient, and fit all my favorite people. All my son’s medical equipment fits easily in the back, and it’s the perfect height. I don’t have to hurt my back or strain to lift the kids in and out. I love that I only have to push a button to open and close the doors, and I can still open the sunroof and turn up the music to pretend like I’m young and trendy.

I was a liver donor. If you’ve already read Love Him Anyway, you know this about me already, but it’s worth repeating. At the age of 21, I became a liver donor for an amazing 9-year-old boy named Austin. God orchestrated the neatest series of events that allowed me to be an organ donor. It was none of my own doing. I had graduated from college a semester early. I had a job that allowed me the flexibility to make a quick decision. I was the right blood type, and I was young enough to hop in a car and head to Charleston, SC without fully understanding what I was getting myself into.

Becoming a little part of Austin was one of the greatest experiences of my life. That precious, redheaded boy gave me far more than I could have ever given him. God called Austin home not long after I donated my liver to him, and it was an honor for me to give my daughter his name. She was born exactly 9 years and one day after he celebrated his first day in Heaven. Her birth date is no coincidence, and I know she was meant to bear his name.

Hockey is my favorite sport. I’m a total sports junkie. As a little girl, I dreamed of being a sportscaster for ESPN. I watched it every day and soaked in as much trivia as I could. I was drawn into anything competitive, but hockey stole my heart. I love the speed, agility, and toughness of it. I was able to get an internship with the Greenville Grrrowl hockey team during college. I ended up spending six seasons working in media relations for the team. I loved every second of it, but the best part was when the Grrrowl won the 2002 Kelley Cup, the ECHL equivalent to the Stanley Cup. I even got my own championship ring.

I hate scary movies and medical dramas. I don’t understand the allure of scary movies and haunted houses. Fear is an emotion that I want to avoid at all cost. I certainly am not going to pay and willingly sit through something that’s sole purpose is to scare me. My husband, Jason, likes to say that people who love scary movies don’t spend enough time alone in the dark.Love Him Anyway

I can’t watch medical dramas either. I’ve spent too much time in a hospital, and they hit too close to home. My heart just can’t handle the stress. Instead of relaxing on the couch in front of the television, I find myself exhausted and mentally drained from medical dramas. I want entertainment to be as escape from reality, not a reminder of how difficult it can be. My television viewing primarily consists of sports, Disney movies, and comedies. Actually, that would be a lie. My television view currently consists of whatever the kids are watching. Currently, Mickey and the Roadster Racers is on repeat at our house.

Five Things about Randy Blankenship, Sr., of “The Mystery and the Masterpiece”

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Learn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” series. Randy Blankenship, Sr. is the author of “The Mystery and the Masterpiece,” an encouraging and convicting study of marriage and relationships.  Here are Randy’s “five things”:

New_Life_Staff_2015-108I am married to a triplet. This is my claim to fame. My wife comes from a very large family in our area. When she was born, triplets at the time were like sextuplets today. On her first birthday, people sent her pictures from a newspaper article featuring her and her sisters in the Los Angeles Times. For years they were featured as children in local fashion shows, school programs, etc. Everyone knows “The Fivecoate Triplets.” For a number of years they travelled and sang in ministry as “One in the Spirit.” And yes, on one occasion for each sister-in-law, I happened to put my arm around the wrong one! 

I am a Floridian living on the mission field in Indiana. When I was 2 years old, my parents moved me from Florida to Indiana. I suppose my dad did need work, but I’m still not sure I’ve forgiven them for this momentous life-changing event. However, like the salmon swimming upstream, I still have to return to the place of my birth at least once a year. As I type this, I have returned for my annual trek to Florida. The Mystery and the Masterpiece

I began formally teaching the Bible at age 15. Shortly after I felt led to full-time ministry, I had the opportunity to accept a number of speaking engagements at a very young age. By the time I graduated high school at age 17, I had already ministered in a number of special events over much of Northern Indiana.  I am now in the fifth generation in my family to be in ministry. 

The call to full-time vocational ministry is not hereditary, but God often leads families through generations. Now we have ministers serving in various capacities all over the world. My children are in the sixth generation, and they are all also involved in devoting their lives to ministry. 

Still single, at the age of 20, I planted a church in Ohio. After 4 1/2 years, felt led to pursue foreign missionary work, and met my wife on the way. We were in the Philippines in time for our first wedding anniversary. After returning, we planted a church together in Indianapolis before leading a state-wide church planting ministry, then returning to our hometown to pastor. 

I wanted to be a dentist. Hearing my parents regularly discuss the high price of dental care, I figured becoming a dentist would be a profitable occupation. I had my entire college and career life planned out, until I felt the direction of the Lord to pursue ministry . . . well, at least I didn’t have to take calculus, trigonometry, analytic geometry, chemistry, physics, etc. 

I met Ronald Reagan. In September of 1980, two months before being elected president, Ronald Reagan visited Kokomo, Indiana, which had been adversely affected in the automobile industry. I had the opportunity to shake his hand. I’m not saying that had anything to do with his election . . . but there is no way of knowing what might have happened had that encounter not occurred! 

Five Things About Sherry Matthews Plaster of “The Divine Deal”

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Learn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” Series. Author Sherry Matthews Plaster is the author of The Divine Deal, a great salvational resource for young adults. Here are Sherry’s five things:

The Divine DealI was six years old the first time the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. I remember getting out of bed to tell my mother. She tried to dismiss it at first; surely at six I didn’t understand what I was saying. After a few questions, we prayed together and I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. I was baptized shortly thereafter.

I had absolutely no desire to be a mother. I awoke one morning changed. Just like that. I wanted to be a mother more than I had ever wanted anything in my life. I was 25 years old. Without a husband and no prospects in sight, I began to pray. By 30 I thought that maybe it just wasn’t in God’s plans for my life. More than 10 years later, at 36 years old, my first child was born. My children are my greatest blessings.

I am not a writer; I never aspired to be. This book was solely written for my children. Or so I thought. Before having it bound into a book, a hired an editor to look it over for errors. It was she who told me it should be published. “It would be a shame if your children were the only ones to read this. Put it out there” she said. More than a year later I sought a second opinion and it was in seeking the second opinion that led to being published.20160903_175808

I am an aquaphile. Whether a lake, river, stream or ocean I absolutely adore being there. There was a small running creek behind the house where I grew up and I spent much of my time outdoors there as a child. The ocean is my favorite. The majestic beauty is calming and reminds me of the wonder of our Creator.

I am a night owl. Going to bed at a decent hour has always been a struggle for me. Whether it’s reading, watching television, doing laundry, praying or meditation, I enjoy the peace of night time.

Learn more about Sherry Matthews Plaster and The Divine Deal by visiting www.sherrymatthewsplaster.com.

Five Things About Author Rosie Williams

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Learn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” series. Author Rosie Williams wrote the introspective devotional Repurposed Faith. Here are Rosie’s five things:

I once worked at the state fire marshal’s office, overseeing a program aimed at reducing juvenile firesetting. Having three little boys at the time and a husband who is a self-proclaimed fire bug, made doing my job interesting and challenging. You see, one of these three little darlings of mine somehow got ahold of the matches and unbeknownst (is that really a word?) to me, would set little fires in the backyard to entertain his younger brothers. One day, the fire got away from them, and it was only after the fact that I learned how they used their jackets to put out the flames which were inching ever so close to our garage, filled with all kinds of flammable stuff. Needless to say, I didn’t last that long at that job!

 

I love vintage anything…especially if it is red. That is why my husband and I are restoring a 1974 camper that will be painted…you guessed it…red and white, complete with an “I Love Lucy” sign in the window. You see, I am trying to become a “glamper”, which is a combination of glamour and camper. Glampers like to sleep in the comfort of a restored vintage camper that reflects his/her style and taste. For example, instead of stirring up instant coffee, a glamper may come prepared to fix up an expresso. Instead of a sleeping bag, a glamper would want a comfortable mattress with a feather pillow and a pretty quilt. Just think Pinterest. I plan to take my pretty little camper with me when I do book signings. Just as my husband and I like to restore and repurpose things, God likes to restore and repurpose people which goes perfectly with the book I wrote, Repurposed Faith.

Repurposed Faith: Breathing New Life into Your Quiet Time - Rosie Williams

My parents owned the Christian Bookstore in our town. Because of my parents’ business, they had some unique opportunities. One year, back in the 50’s, my parents hosted Roy and Dale Rogers who came to the state fair to promote some of their books. I will never forget the wonder of meeting in person my Saturday morning heroes! Another time, Billy Graham and his team came to town. Mom invited them over to the house for pie and coffee. I always loved going to the Christian Booksellers Convention with my parents. Often, the local Youth for Christ leaders would load all of the teenagers on a bus and off we would go to do some sightseeing or attend a Christian concert. All of these things had a lasting impression on me and contributed to my dream of one day being an author.

 

RosieJWilliams

My high school debate classes paid off! I was in debate in high school and for a while in college. I guess I like arguing…I mean talking people into stuff, as in motivating them to action. Years ago, when I was working at a job as an eldercare case manager, a bill was introduced to our state legislature regarding a screening that would be required for people going into nursing homes. There were some things written into the bill, highly supported by one of the major universities in our state, that I disagreed with. I decided to lobby for the changes that I wanted to see. Turns out they actually listened to me and wrote my suggestions into the law. Now if I can only get that power of persuasion to work with my family members!

 

I have some family history with the Hallmark movie trilogy, Sarah, Plain and TallSarah, Plain and Tall was filmed in the same rural community outside of Osage City, Kansas that my mom was raised in. The church in the movie was the same one my mom attended growing up. My aunt and uncle lived down the road from the church when the movie was being filmed. They would often invite one of the stars, Glenn Close, and her family to stop by for lunch, coffee and pie. Sadly, a few years ago, the church burned down, but I have a replica of the Hallmark church that I display alongside a family picture of the church back in the 1920’s.