Posts Tagged ‘Five Things’

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 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.

5 Things About Author Kathy Howard

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Learn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” series. Author Kathy Howard wrote the upcoming novel, From Dishes to Snow. Here are Kathy’s “five things”:

I ran from books until I was in my thirties. Growing up, I wanted nothing to do with reading. I truly despised any book of any topic. Even the idea of reading was hard to swallow. Now, give me a good movie and I was in, but a book – you couldn’t pay me enough. I come from a long line of readers and it pained my mother to see a love she cherished skipping the next generation. Years later, after I had completed my schooling and was no longer told what to read, I finally learned to enjoy the subject. In fact, I can honestly say, reading is now a passion of mine. It took years for my mother to adjust to my new hobby, and I can still see her shaking her head saying, “I never thought I’d see the day.”

From Dishes to SnowI am an extremely picky eater. My parents tried, to no avail, to encourage my taste buds in a normal direction. The fact of the matter is, I am and always will be a picky eater. I can count on one hand the essential foods I prefer to eat. I try to venture outside of that number for the sake of my family, but I don’t go far. Because of my lack of food interests, I don’t know how or what to cook. So, when writing about the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals in From Dishes to Snow, I had to turn to others for help. If I hadn’t, the main characters might have had boxed mac-n-cheese, deli sliced turkey, and store bought cookies.

My grandparents mean the world to me. I am blessed to still have three living grandparents at my age. And I’m even more blessed to have the ones I have. All three of them have had an enormous positive impact on my life. Their walk with the Lord and their constant love and encouragement have been a guiding light, an example to follow. I wanted to bring them into the book. Several of the characters’ names are theirs, whether in exact form or a slightly altered form. The descriptions of the elderly neighbors fit each of my grandparents in some way or another. I will always picture my beloved Granddaddy, Granny, and Grandma each time I read my first novel.

The mountain house in the book is based on my family’s actual mountain cabin. My grandfather built our red mountain cabin when my father was just a child. It was a simple house with no hot water or connection to the outside world. Not much changed throughout the years as my family made dozens of trips to the higher elevations each year. We had to boil water for baths or hot cocoa, just like it says in the book. Because there were no phone or television, I dreaded going as a teenager, not wanting to miss out on weekends with my friends. However, once we arrived, we did nothing but hike, play cards, grill hamburgers, dance in the kitchen, and laugh. My fondest memories are from my time in those mountains and in that little red house. I can still remember hearing oldies music play in the next room as my brother and I made shadow puppets from our bunk beds at night. My father knew it was important to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of our busy schedules and reconnect with each other without the distractions. We were and still are a close-knit family and I am grateful to God and my father for giving us that mountain get-away.

I prayed every time I sat down to write. While writing From Dishes to Snow, I tried to put aside myself, though unsuccessfully at times. I gave the book and its direction to God. Before a writing day began, the words were prayed over. I did not have an outline because I had no idea where the story would go. I just sat down, prayed, and trusted that God would take it where He wanted it. It was an incredible experience, not knowing what was going to happen, and then suddenly realizing I was writing the last chapter – the story had found an ending. My prayer today is that I heard God correctly and did not write anything I shouldn’t have. God may take this book and reach hundreds of individuals or He may take this experience and reach just me. Either way, From Dishes to Snow is not mine, it is God’s and I have already been blessed by what He has taught me on this journey.

Five Things About Author Amy Fleming

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pic of me lightLearn more about your favorite Ambassador authors with our “Five Things” series. Author Amy Fleming wrote the recently released book A Little Irish Love Story, available now. Here are Amy’s “five things”:

Maybe I write so many scenes with people eating or preparing foods because I have a hole in my heart that microwaved tofu created. Kitchens are my favorite settings in my books even though no one in my family ever entered them. I grew up in a health-nut family, but no one knew how to cook!  In fact, I had to delete about 25 references to strawberry muffins in my last book. I should probably not write on an empty stomach…

I often dream stories before writing them. I have always been a very vivid dreamer and even dream sequentially- sometimes for months on end with the same storyline! I remember things vividly when I wake up. The hero of my book is also a dreamer like me.

The crazy people in my family became a rich resource for my characters. From Aunt Mim’s love of “bluing” her hair to Grandpa’s obsession with the “Little People” who constantly took his glasses, there was always something to laugh about. When writing a serious story like A Little Irish Love Story, I like to pump in those quirky, adorable moments that have amused me.

An angel took my mom’s picture in Rome. She was walking around the ruins at midday and a band of men surrounded her! Just as they were about to attack her, a man in all white appeared out of no where. He calmly asked to take my mother’s picture. He took her picture, handed her back her camera and vanished! The men were so scared they ran away. We still have that picture. If you look closely, a very similar scene is in my book.

My great-grandparent’s love story inspired my new book. My Great Grandpa became my hero very early on in life. He helped build the Titanic in Belfast! His wife had a stroke right after they got married and he had to care for her his entire life. He told me one day, “Taking care of her was the greatest honor God has ever given me.” I wanted to honor him by making him the hero of A Little Irish Love Story so I used his name and his personality for the main character.

Learn more about Amy and enjoy her new book A Little Irish love Story. Thank you Amy for sharing your “five things” with us!