$1.99 SALE: One Day Only!

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For 24 Hours we’re offering a powerful non-fiction title for just $1.99! Pick up Jim Albright’s book Uncareful Lives: Walking Where Feet May Fail at a discounted rate for the Kindle during our one-day sale event. After Thursday the price will go up to $2.99 through the weekend, and then it will return to regular price. So don’t wait- pick up this book right now for just $1.99 on Kindle!

UncarefulLivesSynopsis:  “Come!” —Jesus Christ
Matthew 14:29

It’s God’s invitation into the uncareful life – a life of courageous faith. Come, and see how awesome He is! Come, and see who you’re supposed to be!

Christian, our God is God! You can do all He says because He will do all He says. He is your license to live your faith as big as you dare. He is your liberty to embrace a life big with God-pleasing, God-encountering faith. He is your freedom to wholeheartedly engage in fully-persuaded, never-look-back, no-risk-is-too-great, glad-fearless-joy obedience!
Come on, you know you want to! You know you’ve always wanted to—ever since you heard Him whisper, “Follow Me.” What are you waiting for? Whatever it is, it’s a lie. BUY NOW

TED Talks Every Writer Should Watch: Mac Barnett “Why a Good Book is a Secret Door”

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TED talks are “ideas worth spreading” in the areas of Technology, Entertainment and Design. In this five-part series, Nicole Bell shares TED talks every writer should watch. Part one featured Elizabeth Gilbert on Your Elusive Genius, part two featured Andrew Stanton’s talk, Clues to a Great Story and part three featured Brené Brown on The Power of Vulnerability.

This week I’ve chosen a TED Talk that I hope makes you at least a little nostalgic for your favorite childhood bedtime stories. Mac Barnett is a children’s author who offers a humorous and whimsical discussion on the Art of fiction.

 

I want to focus on what he calls,“that place in the middle, that place which you could call art or fiction.” There is a rather intelligent sounding word to describe this phenomenon: verisimilitude, which Merriam-Webster defines as “the quality of seeming real”.  Seeming real. On the one hand, we know fiction stories are not real because we’ve been taught since we were young that fiction stories aren’t true. They didn’t happen historically, they include fantastical elements outside the realm of known physics, and they have whatever other reasons you give to define fiction from non-fiction. But, like Barnett says, at the same time they also are real in their own strange way.  He explains, “We know these characters aren’t real, but we have real feelings about them, and we’re able to do that. We know these characters aren’t real, and yet we also know that they are.”

I think an important observation Barnett makes is that we feel real emotions for non-real characters. We experience the anxiety and excitement of Frodo and Sam just before they leave the Shire in The Lord of the Rings, we cry when Aslan dies in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (well, I do, at least), And these are not fake or insincere feelings. Some people like to call fiction an “escape” from reality, but I would disagree. It’s perhaps an exaggeration of reality, but definitely not an escape. A good book according to Barnett is, “A secret door that opens and lets the stories out into reality.” Stories into reality—not the other way around. We let the stories enter and consume our lives; our lives do not interrupt the stories we read. My grandmother once told me about overhearing a conversation between two of her friends about another person. She didn’t realize until the conversation was almost over that the women were talking about a character on a TV show and not a “real” friend of theirs. So, in one sense, fiction is a world of “honest lies.”

Barnett had the incredible experience of working at 826 Valencia where this phenomenon of fiction is more tangibly in the physical world. Notice I used the word “physical” rather than “real.” JK Rowling has a brilliant quote from Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” I think this might help us understand this “middle” ground of fiction where truth and lies are allowed to co-exist.

Whether you write children’s fiction or something geared for older audiences, it is equally important to remember how real your characters truly are. They don’t exist as mere letters on pages in a book; they become personalities in the minds of your readers right alongside the personalities of their friends and family. We should all want our fiction be a safe place where reality meets exaggerated reality. Work to have a strong, tangible verisimilitude in your writing. Let your stories become secret doors for readers of all ages to truly enjoy and experience.

The ABC’s of Summer Reading 99¢ Sale: The Letter M

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Summer is a GREAT season for encouraging your little ones to read. That’s why Ambassador is launching the ABC’s of Summer Reading 99¢ Sale! We’ll be highlighting a different letter each week, all summer long. We’re moving right along this week with the letter M!

For one week only we’re offering two exciting children’s literature titles for just 99¢ each on iTunes! Pick up C. M. Needham’s ebook My Dad’s Birthday Surprise and Becky Hunt’s ebook My Grandma’s Crazy! for a discounted price for ebook during our one-week sale event. This special iTunes pricing will remain through July 26th, and then it will return to regular price.

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My Dad’s Birthday Surprise

Synopsis: Jacob isn’t quite ten years old but he has a BIG problem.

His dad’s birthday is only a few days away and Jacob has only  $1.38 to contribute towards Dad’s birthday party.

To make matters worse, his dad won’t let him mow yards until after he turns ten, so he can‘t make any money! It’s a tight spot. How is he going to solve it?

Skateboard down Jacob’s street and knock on some doors with him as he uses his head to work out the problem. He learns a few things and even manages to teach his dad something as well. BUY NOW

My Grandma’s Crazy!

Synopsis: Grandma isn’t like other grandmas, she’s CRAZY! She zip lines through the jungles of Borneo, leads conga lines at weddings, and drives a sports car. And that’s not the half of it!

Grandma’s unconventional approach raises an eyebrow or two, but nothing will stop Grandma from having fun with her grandson and being his friend. BUY NOW

Pastor Encourages Christians to Live Bold, Daring, Courageous Lives of Faith

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New Book Challenges Christians to Live Uncareful Lives

For immediate release: Whether you realize it or not, you’ve been called to be a go-with-Jesus disciple. Your life has an intricate and extraordianry plan, and the only thing standing in the way is you. Jim Albright’s Uncareful Lives: Walking Where Feet May Fail (Ambassador International; July 2015; $12.99, paperback) is a rallying cry for Christians to boldly step out in their faith to live “uncarefully” for the Lord.

Uncareful LivesIn Uncareful Lives, author Jim Albright exhorts Christians to step out of their comfort zones in obedience to Jesus Christ. After spending two decades in corporate business as a CPA, Albright answered God’s call to preach. “Sadly, unlike what we see on the pages of Scripture, many who call themselves Christians today forgo nothing, venture nothing, risk nothing, and sacrifice nothing,” writes Albright.

Uncareful Lives is a contemporary walkthrough of some of the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Albright begins with a description of who God is and works from this truth to encourage readers to live boldly in their faith. He uses the story of Peter walking on water to meet Jesus as a metaphor for our own need to meet Jesus despite the ever-present obstacles. Riddled with Scripture and quotes from some of Christianity’s most influential writers, Albright’s book can be a first step out onto the water of a radical life of truly walking with Christ.

Albright warns that the uncareful life is not necessarily a comfortable life or an easy one, though it is by far the most thrilling. He cautions the Christian who follows God’s call that we may have to make hard, costly, and risky decisions, but, because our God is God, we can trust His sovereignty in the uncareful-ness. “I wrote this book with the specific intent of lovingly destroying your present way of life if you call yourself a Christian but have not truly given yourself away to Jesus Christ.” Uncareful Lives emphatically reminds readers to perform “exploits of faith” for the glory of God.

About the Author: At the age of 42, Jim left a 20-year business career to answer God’s call to preach. Since early 2004, he and his wife, Karen, have lived in Milan, Italy, where Jim is the pastor of the International Church of Milan, a non-denominational, Bible-believing, and Bible-teaching church ministering to internationals from every corner of the globe.

Child with One Leg Beats the Odds and Kicks Cancer, Too

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Miracle Daughter Challenges Parents’ Faith in New Book

For immediate release: After years of trying to get pregnant, Wendy and Scott Duke were finally going to have their first child. But when a dangerous pre-natal diagnosis followed by an even more lethal disease after their daughter’s birth threatened to immediately take their newborn away, the Dukes turned to their only hope: God. In Grace in the Middle (Ambassador International; July 2015; $13.99, paperback) Duke encourages readers through the amazing story of her young daughter’s victory over some of life’s most perilous afflictions.

Grace in the MiddleWendy and Scott Duke were your typical young married couple who had met in Fellowship of Christian Athletes while in college. But when it came time to grow their family, things became anything but typical. After three miscarriages, the Dukes were hesitant when Wendy conceived a third time. Just when they thought God had given them the green light at an early doctor’s appointment, their excitement was shattered by a simple sentence: “Baby only has one leg.”

Anxious, frustrated, and scared, Wendy and Scott braced themselves for the unknown. In Grace in the Middle, Wendy recounts how her faith was rattled throughout the pregnancy. “I had never had to flesh out this flimsy faith I’d claimed,” Duke writes. “It had no meat, no muscles, no substance. I just kept asking, ‘What kind of God would let this happen?’” Her book reveals exactly what kind of God He is. When little Savannah was born, the Dukes breathed a sigh of relief; they believed the worst had passed. But another battle was rearing its menacing head: cancer. Wendy writes about her anger toward God after this new development, “I turned to look at Scott, and I screamed as loud as I could—choking on every word—‘WHERE…IS…GOD?!’

Grace in the Middle details the physical, emotional, and spiritual struggles Wendy and Scott faced during the pregnancy and the treatments for their daughter Savannah’s cancer. Duke reminds us that God was always there for her even when she might not have felt His presence. She continually emphasizes the importance of having the love and support of family and a church, highlighting the richness in spiritual growth that takes place through such difficult trials. The first few years of Savannah’s life were difficult—there’s no denying that. But, as Duke is attentive to remind, God is stronger and more powerful than any curveballs thrown at a believer. Grace in the Middle even includes a chapter written by Savannah, who is now almost 15 and living a normal, busy, teenage life.

About the Author: Wendy Duke lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. She works with her husband in international sports development, using their backgrounds in coaching and telling their story throughout the world. When she’s not traveling, she is a Bible teacher, speaker, blogger, sports junkie, and middle school chauffeur. Grace in the Middle is Wendy’s first book. She writes on her blog at www.wendyduke.net.

To connect with the author or request a review copy of Grace in the Middle, please contact publicist Alison Storm at media@emeraldhouse.com.

Bloggers! Join the Grace in the Middle Book Tour

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From August 23rd through August 29th,  Ambassador International will be hosting a Book Tour for one of our new releases, Grace in the Middle, by Wendy Duke. We’re looking for bloggers to join in! Approved bloggers who sign up for a specific day on the tour will also be entered to win a bundle of four lovely scripture prints from Naptime Diaries!

Grace in the MiddleSo, what is Grace in the Middle? It is “an imperfect journey to God’s perfect plan” for the Duke family. After overcoming a traumatic pregnancy with their daughter Savannah—who was born with only one leg—the Dukes then faced conquering the cancer that threatened the life of their little girl.

Grace in the Middle is a memoir recounting a young couple’s struggle to hold on to an unraveling faith during the greatest crisis of their lives. Heartbreaking, triumphant, and funny in just the right places, this inspiring story is an authentic reflection on battling and overcoming physical illness and disability, resisting the dark doubts that plague us in the midst of tragedy, and trusting the faithfulness of God through the deep twists and turns of life.Grace Giveaway 2

If you are interested, please let us know which day works best for you to post your review and whether you prefer a paperback or digital copy of the book. When you sign up for a specific day on the tour, we’ll also enter you to win FOUR beautiful Naptime Diaries scripture prints of your choice!

If interested, please send Nicole an email at nicole.ambassadorinternational@gmail.com

New Children’s Book Champions Creativity and Imagination

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Author edifies childhood creativity to educate and delight readers

For immediate release: Children are some of the most imaginative and creative individuals; their imaginations seem to be limitless. Creative Christopher (Ambassador International; July 2015; $14.99, hardcover) is the story of one boy who exercises his creative muscles when he gets snowbound at his grandparents’ house. In her latest book, author Kate Hanscom emboldens children to tap into their creative potentials while educating them on some of the more creative features of language.

Creative ChristopherCreative Christopher takes readers through Christopher’s day when he is trapped inside without many of his toys. Christopher, along with his Papa and Nana, spend the day imagining themselves in different scenarios by using everyday objects around the house. The trio enjoys exploring and playing in all different parts of the world without ever leaving the warmth and safety of Nana and Papa’s house thanks to Christopher’s imagination.

The book also includes a resource page to help teach children about synonyms, referencing sentences that appear in the story. In addition, Hanscom includes pages to inspire the creative minds of her readers, challenging them to get creative with just a limited supply of everyday materials.

Hanscom is also the author of Literal Lily and Fickle Fiona, two stories that educate young readers on language and decision making, respectively. In her third book, Hanscom draws from her own family and experiences to help foster a creative spirit in children while entertaining them with Christopher’s fun adventures.

About the Author: Kate Hanscom grew up in Utica, New York. A graduate of Stonehill College, she currently lives in Auburn, Massachusetts, with her husband Chris and family.

Since the publication of her first book, Literal Lily, Kate has found such joy and fulfillment in sharing her stories with those who will learn from and be delighted by them most: children! In her third book, Creative Christopher, she hopes to share not only her love of words but also the fun of imagination! She hopes that when readers meet Christopher, they are encouraged to dream, explore, and have a ball with the ideas that pop into their heads!

About the Illustrator: Lynda Hanscom is originally from Long Island, New York. She holds a BFA from St. John’s University and an MAT from the Rhode Island School of Design. As an art teacher, she guided hundreds of budding student artists from kindergarten through high school to be creative through drawing, painting, and sculpting.

In this, her fourth book, Lynda is happy to lend her own son’s face and name to Creative Christopher! Also the illustrator for Tough Tommy (a children’s bereavement book), Literal Lily, and Fickle Fiona, Lynda lives in Northern Connecticut with her loving and supportive husband, Doug.

To connect with the author or request a review copy of Creative Christopher please contact publicist Alison Storm at media@emeraldhouse.com

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National Pet Fire Safety Day: Author Provides Expert Tips

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Did you know that National Pet Fire Safety Day is in July? Today author Maria Bostian  (What Should Daisy Do?) has put together a collection of tips for families to keep their pets and homes safe from threat of fire.

Did you know that an estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by home fires and that nearly 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners’ pets? While difficult to think about, these are true statistics released by the National Fire Protection Association.

What Should Daisy DoWhat can be done to keep your pets safe from the devastating effects of fire? Raise awareness? Begin conversations with pet owners? The National Volunteer Fire Council, the American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services did just that! They joined forces in the late 2000s to make July 15th National Pet Fire Safety Day.  Their goal was to spread awareness about how pets can start home fires, but more importantly, how to prevent them.

I would have never even thought about the need for a pet fire safety day, however, as the Public Information Officer for my fire department, I’ve been to several fires where pets were the cause of the fire (One was caused by pets moving knobs on the stove.) and have witnessed the terrible loss of pets from unintentional fires started by humans (some of these incidents I’ll never forget!).

Often times, fire safety is an afterthought. But let’s change that! Starting today, let’s make it a priority – for us and for our pets!

What poses safety concerns for your pets? Both my husband and I teach fire safety though our work in local fire departments so we make every effort to be fire safe. But even our house poses some dangers. We do light candles, but try to keep them out of reach of our indoor cats. Long gone is the coffee table with an array of candles. We learned years ago that was a disaster waiting to happen. Now days, we use far more battery-operated candles and when we do have open flame candles we keep them out of reach of the cats (and their swishy tails).

METADATA-STARTOur outdoor pets need consideration, too. The hubby loves his fire pit and so do our animals! Jeff has been really good to build it up off the ground and with a rocky base to prevent any grass fires. He keeps the seating area away from the pit and has taught our animals to back away from the flames. Still, we have a couple curious cats seem drawn to the light and heat sometimes and he’s there to shoo them away before they too close!

What about the pets in your care? Do you use open flamed candles in the home? What about cigarettes? Need deep-dish ash trays? Do you have a home escape plan and when’s the last time you practiced it? Are your pets familiar with the sound of your working smoke alarms? WOW! These seem like so many things to consider. While it seems like a lot to take in – take baby steps! Start by taking time to talk about fire safety with your family and proceed from there. Your family (and your pets) will be glad that you did! Neela sure did!

METADATA-START

Below are several tips on how to prevent your beloved pet from starting a fire, as well as, how to keep your pets safe. For more pet fire safety information, feel free to contact me or your local fire department.

Prevent your pet from starting fires:

  • Extinguish open flames – Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
  • Remove stove knobs – Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a stove or cook top is the number one piece of equipment involved in pet-started fires.
  • Invest in flameless candles – These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
  • Beware of water bowls on wooden decks – Do not leave a glass water bowl for your pet outside on a wooden deck. The sun’s rays when filtered through the glass and water can actually heat up and ignite the wooden deck beneath it. Choose stainless steel or ceramic bowls instead.

Keep your pets safe:

  • Keep Pets Near Entrances When Away From Home – Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet. When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
  • Secure Young Pets – Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.
  • Since Pets Left Alone Can’t Escape a Burning Home – Consider using monitored smoke alarms which are connected to a monitoring center so emergency responders can be contacted when you’re not home. These systems provide an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.
  • Use a Pet Finder Sticker – Consider using a pet finder sticker on or near the front door so that emergency workers will know that there are pets inside. Include names if possible so that crews can call pets by name when searching for them. Don’t have a fancy sticker? That’s ok! Simply write the information on piece of paper and secure it to a window.

Include Your Pets in Your Disaster Plan:

  • Determine Which Adult Family Member will be Responsible for Each Pet.
  • Know Where Your Pets Hide! – This may be the first place they go if there is fire or smoke.
  • IF you are safe from topic smoke and flames, plan on bringing your pet carriers with you when you evacuate the home.
  • In the event of a fire, you may have to stay in a shelter or hotel for several days. – If this happens, chances are that you may not be able to bring your pets with you. Talk to a friend or family member in advance to secure lodging/care for your pets in the event of an emergency. 

 

99¢ SALE: One Day Only!

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For 24 Hours we’re offering a powerful non-fiction title for just 99¢! Pick up John Murray’s book Real Faith: What’s at the Heart of the Gospel? for less than a buck for the Kindle during our one-day sale event. After Thursday the price will go up to $2.99 through the weekend, and then it will return to regular price. So don’t wait- pick up this book right now for just 99¢ on Kindle!

RealFaithSynopsis: Have you ever wished for a book which explores the Christian Faith in an uncomplicated way, using understandable language? Real Faithis just such a book. It covers questions from the initial “Why do we believe?” to “What is expected of us?” Along with contemplating who God is; the book considers “What is Christian conversion?” and “Why is it so difficult to live the Christian life?” The book faces the struggles within the Christian life with honesty and realism. All Christians, whether young or old, new or mature, will be spiritually strengthened and encouraged as they read Real faith. BUY NOW