Five Things about Michael Gryboski of “A Spiral Into Marvelous Light”

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Learn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” series. Author Michael Gryboski wrote the thought-provoking A Spiral Into Marvelous Light, a novel in which a liberal reporter writes an in-depth obituary about a controversial conservative pastor. Here are Michael’s Five Things:

Michael GryboskiI ran a half marathon in 2016. I started jogging in my early twenties in my spare time. However, it was not until I turned 30 that I finally did an official race, a half marathon in Richmond, Virginia. That was 13.1 miles, which took me a little over 2 hours. Since then, I have done several smaller races, including multiple 10k’s and 8k’s, and one 5k. Last November, I ran in the VCU Health 8k, averaging 7 minutes, 12 seconds a mile.

I have had other novels published before this one. “A Spiral Into Marvelous Light” is not my first published book. From August 2014 until September 2017, I had seven novels published via Inknbeans Press, a small California-based publication that sadly closed down by the start of 2018. I had a couple of those books re-released last year. BOCH Publishing re-released my science fiction novel “Thoughtreal” last September and Jan-Carol Publishing re-released my suspense novel “Carla” last October.

For work, I have interviewed people including Roma Downey, Andy Garcia, the Rev. Franklin Graham, and Timothy Keller for news stories. When I am not writing novels, I am writing articles for The Christian Post, a Washington, DC-based online news publication. Over the years, I have gotten to interview some notable folks in-person and over-the-phone. Others of worth included former U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, former Congresswoman Karen Handel, radio host Eric Metaxas, and famed evangelist Tony Campolo. If you include times when I was in a group of journalists, then I can add U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to the list of notables.A Spiral Into Marvelous Light

I have two famous cousins, one a professional baseball player, the other a professional actor. Fame runs in the family? On my father’s side, I have former Major League Baseball player Kevin Gryboski. He was a relief pitcher for the Atlanta Braves; he once struck out Ken Griffey, Jr. On my mother’s side, I have actor Darin Cooper. He was in films like “The Social Network” and “Gone Girl,” as well as episodes of TV shows like the original “Charmed,” “Monk,” the TV series version of “Shooter,” and “The Resident.”

I have contributed hymns and liturgy to worship services. When I am neither writing novels nor news articles, I occasionally write works of a sacred nature. I composed a few hymns, a couple of which have been used by a few churches here and there. My home church has used two of my hymns and also some liturgy that I wrote up. If you are interested in learning more, might want to use my music, feel free to reach out!

Keep up with Michael’s novelist career and learn more about A Spiral Into Marvelous Light by liking and/or following him at https://www.facebook.com/MichaelCGryboski/.

The Real Saint Patrick 🍀

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Saint Patrick

From our Publisher

With it being St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to write a little something about the man who inspired the holiday. Although there is much speculation about who St. Patrick was and what he did, there are some indisputable facts that many people do not know.

Ambassador author John Holmes describes the life of St. Patrick and explains the many trials and triumphs that St. Patrick faced throughout his life in his book, Saint Patrick: The Man and His Mission. In the opening preface of his book, he explains:

“St. Patrick is among the most famous figures in history. He is forever linked, and rightly so, with Ireland and the Irish people. Around the world innumerable places, churches, colleges and institutions carry his name and yet surprisingly few individuals have anything more than a slight knowledge or understanding of the man himself. You would be hard pressed, for example, to find anyone, even in our halls of learning, who could quote something that Patrick has said. It is true that in recent years some well researched books on Ireland’s patron saint have been published but it would appear that most of these have a limited circulation and are not widely read.

Patrick belongs to the fifth century; to times and conditions far distant from ours. Our knowledge of society in Ireland in those days is limited indeed, for virtually nothing remains of the materials needed to construct some kind of detailed history. By nature of the case it must also be admitted that there is a multitude of questions about Patrick which cannot be answered with complete confidence. There is a multitude of questions which can never be answered – at least not in this life.

We can, however, be reasonably certain about many things and there are areas where the scholars are in general agreement. The historical basis of this little book rests on such material.”

In one of the first chapters of his book, Holmes explains how it is almost impossible to give an exact date for St. Patrick’s birth due to the rarity of records during the time; however, it is widely assumed that he was born in England around 390 AD. He was born into an aristocratic and religious family. Around the age of 16, he is believed to have been captured by Irish raiders and taken across the sea to Ireland as a slave. According to legend, Patrick worked as a shepherd near Slemish Mount while in captivity. After six years of slavery, he escaped confinement, obtained his freedom, and returned home to England and his family. Little did he know (upon his return home) that one day, he would be called back to the land of his captivity to preach the gospel of salvation to the people of Ireland. Today, many remember him as the man who used the shamrock (clover) to explain the holy trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I believe it is only fitting to share the writing of St. Patrick entitled, The Confession of Patrick, which can be found within Holmes’ book.

“I pray those who believe and fear God, whosoever deigns to look at or receive this writing which Patrick, a sinner, unlearned, has composed in Ireland, that no one should ever say that it was my ignorance if I did or showed forth anything however small according to God’s good pleasure; but let this be your conclusion and let it so be thought, that – as is the perfect truth – it was the gift of God. This is my confession before I die.”

As we enter St. Patrick’s Day this year, let us remember the love that he had for the Lord and the vision he sought to fulfill by ministering in Ireland. In closing, let us remember the words (so similar to the feelings of St. Patrick that they could have been sung by him) from the old Irish hymn, Be Thou My Vision:

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun.
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

 

To learn more about Holmes and Saint Patrick: The Man and His Mission, visit HERE.

 

And learn more about some of Ambassador’s other Irish titles including:

A Little Irish Love Story

The Titanic’s Last Hero

A Shiver of Wonder

Favorite Flavors of Ireland

Flavors of Ireland

The Shamrock and Peach

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.

Our book is a Selah Awards finalist!

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Blood Moon Redemption

Ambassador International’s book Blood Moon Redemption by Judy DuCharme, published in October 2018, has finaled in the Selah Award for mystery/suspense fiction. These prestigious awards are given out for a variety of genres by the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference each year.

We’re thrilled to be a part of bringing our readers quality Christian fiction that magnifies Jesus while promoting His gospel through the written word.

Congratulations, Judy!

Shop for Greenville Presented by The Junior League of Greenville

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Junior League of Greenville

Ambassador International is pleased to participate in Shop for Greenville presented by the Junior League of Greenville. Proceeds from the 2019 Shop for Greenville discount shopping card benefit the community projects, programs and grants of the Junior League of Greenville.

Shop for Greenville discount cards and guide books can be purchased at the Junior League’s Nearly New Shop as well as several other participating businesses. A full listing of locations and more information can be found at www.shopforGreenville.org. The cut-off to buy the shopping discount books to be mailed is Monday, March 11 s0 don’t wait!

The Shop For Greenville Shopping Card will be honored from 3/15/19 – 3/24/19 and does not apply to any purchases made prior to the event dates.

Learn more at www.JLGreenville.org/Join or email Join@JLGreenville.org.

 

For card holders, to shop Ambassador’s catalogue, visit our online store HERE.

 

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.

Boldly Walking in the Miraculous

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Matthew J. Romano

Devotional from Matthew J. Romano, author of The Call: An Invitation to Revival and Transformation and complementary study guide, The Call: A Study Guide to Revival and Transformation

Have you ever had a miraculous encounter that changed your life? Each of us will have divine appointments in God’s presence that can potentially catapult us into a glorious destiny. Like crossroads along the journey of life they invite us down a path less traveled. They take us from the ordinary to the extraordinary, the commonplace to the miraculous. They beckon us to take action into God’s purpose and shape who we would become.
These divine appointments can come to us through many different ways and forms. To Moses, it came by a burning bush. To the apostle Paul, it came by an open vision of the risen Lord Jesus Christ. One such appointment that God had ordained for me was to speak to Smith Wigglesworth in a dream. Even though I was aware that we spoke the entirety of the night, I was only permitted by the Lord to recall the end of our discussion. I remember complimenting him for being such an awesome man of faith just as the early apostles were. But what he said in reply shocked me. He said, “Not even I lived up to my full potential in the Lord.” In other words, the Lord had greater power and authority available for him to walk in.  The message that God was giving me is that we haven’t even begun to see what God could do through us if we only believed. “…the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action” (Daniel 11:32b) ESV.
The apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers that they would comprehend “the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Eph 1:19) ESV. That power resides in us by the Holy Spirit but it can only be released through action! Faith is confidence in God’s promises and goodness. It acts in agreement with His written word, the Bible. Faith takes risks to accept the challenge of our divine appointments to walk boldly in the miraculous.
One way the Lord has challenged me to answer this call is to believe in Him to bring healing to others. One of the signs that accompanies the believer is that they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover (Mark 16:17-18). Often, I’ve been paralyzed by such thoughts as, “What if nothing happens? I may look foolish and discredit the name of the Lord.” What I’ve discovered is that the Lord is looking for those who will act according to His word. Jesus himself made the promise. My only responsibility is to trust in Him enough to place my hands on the sick and pray for their complete healing. He is responsible for the results. But if I don’t act, I will never see the power of the miraculous.
As I’m learning to step out in faith, I’ve seen God heal instantly, and at other times slowly, until months later the person has made a full recovery. Perhaps not all will be healed, but some will be. Let’s not allow thoughts of potential failure deter us from taking action. Wouldn’t it be foolish if we never told anyone the good news that Jesus saves because they may not believe? The fact is many will not, but some will. The gospel is still the power of God to save (Ro 1:16).
God gives miraculous power only to those who boldly act in faith.

Consider this week, how can you walk boldly in the miraculous?

To learn more about Matthew J. Romano and his books, visit HERE.

The Race Parallels Christian Faith and Running

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The Race by Sammy Tippit The Race is Written by Sammy Tippit with Foreword by Gov. Mike Huckabee

For immediate release: Sammy Tippit started out his ministry walking across America, handing out Bibles from a wheelbarrow. Forty years later he found himself running his first marathon, collapsing at the finish line. Paramedics rushed him to the hospital where he learned he was the second man that day to have the same thing happen—only the other man died. “If I had called the shots, I would have said run when I was young and walk when I was old. But God’s ways are not our ways,” says Tippit, a resident of San Antonio.

The 60-something cancer survivor is not your typical runner. Once 60 pounds overweight, Tippit decided to share his story of transformation in a new book along with the stories of Ryan Hall, American record-holder for the half marathon, Charles Austin, the Olympic and American record-holder for the high jump and others. Tippit’s book The Race: Run Like a Champion, chronicles his journey into a healthy lifestyle, using God’s word as his source of inspiration. The Race highlights metaphors and wisdom for athletes from the Bible including:

  • The endurance metaphor isn’t in the Bible to say you need more hardships– it shows us how to live by God’s grace and power in the midst of adversities.
  • When you run according to your gifting, you may encounter problems along the way, but you feel a sense of joy and peace in the midst of the race.
  • A runner doesn’t become a champion overnight, and neither does a Christian become a spiritual giant instantly. We begin weak and grow strong. We start slow and develop speed.
  • Hills display God’s glory at a distance. But for a runner, those same hills produce a need for God.
  • God wants us to finish life’s race as winners, not losers. He longs to award us the crown of victory at the end of our lives.

 

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee wrote the foreword for The Race. As longtime friends, Tippit watched Huckabee lose nearly 100 pounds and was inspired by his commitment to get in shape through running and healthy living. “It showed me the roadmap of how I could do the same thing,” explains Tippit. “So when it came time to write a book I knew there was no one better than Governor Huckabee to write the foreword.”

To learn more about Tippit and The Race, visit HERE.

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.