Archive for the ‘5 Things’ Category

Five Things: Allen Steadham

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Learn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” series. Author Allen Steadham is the author of Christian speculative fiction novels. Here are Allen’s five things:

My wife and I are interracial. Angel is African-American and I’m Caucasian. We have two adult sons and a younger daughter.

My wife and I have been in a Christian band called “First Light” since 1997. First Light plays both contemporary Christian and traditional Gospel styles, cover tunes as well as originals. We perform songs in other languages, including Spanish and Hebrew. Angel and I were asked to join the band by its leader, who is a guitarist, singer and songwriter for many of our original songs. First Light has been like a second family to us. We are also one of two interracial married couples in the band.Allen Steadham

From 1997 to 2015, I ran a not-for-profit organization called the International Size Acceptance Association (ISAA). I created ISAA with the help of some very dedicated people. The organization’s purpose was to educate the public about size/weight-related issues (self-esteem, positive body imagery, fitness at any size and how to make healthy food choices) and to alert the public about weight-based discrimination. ISAA even created a holiday called “International Size Acceptance Day” and had it proclaimed by the City of Atlanta, Georgia on April 25, 1998 and 1999 and in Austin, Texas in 2003. ISAA educated the public through its website, email lists, an e-zine and two different podcast shows between 2002 and 2010. And though ISAA was non-political and not overtly religious, I did run the organization as a Christian man. The Lord put that cause on my heart and helped me run the organization. With His help, ISAA reached people all over the globe and offered kindness and hope. I shut down ISAA in 2015 for two reasons: the internet had changed with the rise of various social media, so people became less inclined to rally to a cause; and my own health had begun to suffer (not weight-related), eventually requiring surgery. I am doing well now and continue a more subtle message of size acceptance even now in my books.Allen Steadham

I began writing and drawing my own comics by hand at age ten (in 1980). Specifically, I created a superhero team comic called “The AR-MEN.” I continued creating those stories for twenty years, even scanning those pages and putting them on the internet as early as 1994. Many characters and certain story elements from the AR-MEN comics were adapted into what became my debut novel “Mindfire” with Ambassador International. In 2003, my wife helped me co-write an original Christian webcomic called “Due East,” which we continued until 2009. “Due East” won two webcomic awards in 2008: Best Spiritual Comic and Most Profound Comic.

I am a Star Trek nerd. I grew up loving the stories and characters in the Original Series and watched all of the movies and series that followed. Between 2005 and 2016, I only read Star Trek novels. And in 2009, I had the opportunity to interview Leonard Nimoy for one of ISAA’s podcasts. I do not do cosplay.

Learn more about Allen Steadham and Jordan’s Arrow, book two of the Jordan of Algoran series, by visiting www.allensteadham.com.

Five Things: Andrew Stone

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Learn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” series. Author Andrew Stone wrote Son of the Father, a creative storytelling of Barabbas, the man released in the hours leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. Here are Andrew’s Five Things:

Son of the FatherI think there must be a gene passed on within my family that encourages many of us to tell other people about Jesus. My grandfather sold Bibles door-to-door before becoming an ordained  church minister; my dad gave up a lucrative career in insurance so that he could successfully train for the ministry; my sister is an ordained minister as are both my wife and I. Meanwhile two of our children are leaders at the churches they attend.

When I was at school the only job I wanted to do was to work on a radio station. I did that for five years and during that time I asked what I believe must rate as the longest, most long-winded, verbose question ever broadcast. What the listeners wouldn’t have realised was that my interviewee was an elderly man whose dentures fell out live on air. My long question was to give him time to pick them up, dust them off and pop them back in again.

Nearly all of the significant things that have happened in my life have happened because my parents brought me up to be a Christian. For example, my first job on the radio was on the Christian Sunday morning breakfast show, the two magazines I have edited have both been Christian publications and, of course, the first book I’ve had published is a Christian novel. Most importantly of all, I met my wife, Alison, after I was invited to an event at her church.Son of the Father

Alison and I waited 25 years to go on honeymoon. When we first got married we couldn’t afford to go away and by the time we could afford to have holidays we had three children! But after 25 years of marriage the boys were all old enough to leave behind and so Alison and I celebrated our silver wedding anniversary and had our honeymoon at exactly the same time on one of the Canary Islands.

Apart from the importance of faith and family, the other significant issue my family have passed on to me is football (as an Englishman that would be soccer, not American). While one of my sons works for a London Premier League football club, it is the love of our home-town football team, Brighton and Hove Albion, that has been ingrained within the DNA of many generations of the Stone family. We all follow the Seagulls, as the side is affectionately known, although if we’ve just lost our last match it’s probably not the best time to call round for coffee!

Learn more about Son of the Father by visiting HERE and Andrew by visiting www.facebook.com/author.andrewstone.

Five Things about Jarm Del Boccio of “The Heart Changer”

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Learn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” series. Author Jarm Del Boccio wrote The Heart Changer, a historical biblical middle grade fiction. Here are Jarm’s Five Things:

 

I love to travel, and am passionate about visiting new places. My motto is: never visit the same location twice. Well—I’ve disregarded my own rule a few times, but otherwise, I stick to it as best I can. I’m slowly checking off destinations on my bucket list, and have journeyed to six of seven continents. I’ll let you decide which one I have yet to step foot on . . .

I was accidentally hit in the head with a baseball bat and sported black and blue eyes for eight grade graduation. A well-meaning elderly man thought I had applied my makeup incorrectly. The ironic thing is—I am not a sports fan!

 

When I was a junior in high school my first job was — no joke — in a Chinese laundromat.
The Heart Changer

My secret desire? To get caught up in a flash mob singing a tune from a favorite musical.
When I was in elementary school, I begged my Mom for a baby alligator from Florida, trying to convince her we could keep it in our bathtub. She gently asked me what I would do once it grew to full-size. I pondered the question for a minute or two, and reluctantly backed down.
Learn more about The Heart Changer by visiting HERE and Jarm by visiting www.jarmdelboccio.com.

Five Things about Allison Wells of “When Waves Break

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Learn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” series. Author Allison Wells  wrote When Waves Break, which sheds light on the equality and redemption we all have in Christ.

 

I can hear Clemson football games from my house. My husband and I both attended Clemson University and have lived in the area for the past 20 years. Yes, we’re virtually held hostage at home on game days, but hearing the roar of the crowd and Tiger Band from our yard is so much fun! Go Tigers!

Speaking of band . . . I play the trombone! I started in 5th grade and played through college (at Clemson). Why the trombone? It was the only instrument I could get a sound out of when I tried instruments. It must have been a God thing, because being in band and playing trombone completely defined my growing up years. Fun fact: my husband also played trombone and now our daughter is playing!

I hate cheese. I know. I’m weird. But I can’t stAllison Wellsand the texture or taste of cheese unless it’s on a pizza. Cheese truly grosses me out and I don’t see what the appeal is at all.

My favorite author is Liz Curtis Higgs. Not only does she weave an amazing story (and Bible study!), she is also deeply invested in her readers. She has personally emailed me encouragement on several occasions and I pray I can be just like her one day.

My favorite name for God is one I have only heard once several years ago. Baal-perazim, which means “the Lord who bursts through.” In 1 Chronicles 14:8-16, it describes an attack King David led against the Philistines. Verse 11 reads, “So David and his troops went up to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. ‘God did it!’ David exclaimed. ‘He used me to burst through my enemies like a raging flood!’ So they named that place Baal-perazim (which means ‘the Lord who bursts through’).” I can only pray that God will burst through my life. Isn’t that a captivating picture—God, strong and mighty, bursting through in you and through you!

 

Learn more about When Waves Break by visiting HERE and Allison by visiting www.allisonwellswrites.com.

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/.

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.