Michelle Griep at Bleakly Manor

Michelle Griep is an author, blogger, and occasional super-hero when her cape is clean.

Dare I be so bold as to call myself an author? Being that I’m one of those freaks who attended poetry workshops instead of summer camp during my formative years, yes, I will. While other teens busied themselves throwing parties when their parents weren’t home, I was the nerd holed up in my room with pen and paper.

And a princess–No, I’m not currently on medication for delusions of grandeur. I am a daughter of a King. Seriously. I take the Bible as inspired truth and that’s what it says (Romans 8:16, 17). [from MichelleGriep.com]

Michelle, welcome back to the Writing Prompts blog. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Michelle: I’m a reformed chocoholic who lives with my husband, psychotic dog, and the last of my birdie’s that hasn’t yet flown the nest. I teach at a local high school homeschool co-op once a week, three classes: civics, creative writing, and U.S. History & Literature. Way back when dinosaurs roamed the face of the earth and I worked full-time outside the home, I was a typesetter. Yeah. Those jobs pretty much don’t exist anymore. Good thing I took up writing, eh?

Right. I remember that one. But for those who are too young to remember–here’s the definition: “the process of setting material in type or into a form to be used in printing; also :  the process of producing graphic matter (as through a computer system).” [Webster’s Online Dictionary]

What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?

Michelle: I write historical romance with a healthy dose of action and adventure tossed in. Why? Because those are my favorite sorts to read!

Mine too!

Do you work to an outline or prefer to see where an idea takes you?

Michelle: When I first started writing, I totally winged it, not knowing where the story would go or how it would end. That’s a great way to write . . . if you don’t have a deadline! Now that I have contracts lined up in a row, I need to create an outline for each story just to save time and keep on track.

That’s good advice, too, for those who may be working under the same time constraints.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Michelle: It depends on the day. Sometimes it’s hard to “feel” creative, but yet I still need to create words that will grab people by the throat. I wouldn’t call that writer’s block, per se, but more like sluggish writer syndrome. Hey, there’s a blog post, hmm?

Oh yes, I’m a little too familiar with sluggish writer syndrome.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Michelle: I’ll still be writing stories. I can’t stop. I love it too much. And if my dreams come true, I’d be doing that writing while living in England.manorhouse, English, countryside

What a wonderful dream! Well, I love the cover of this book (see below). And I’m very curious about Bleakly Manor. I have to confess, I picked up a copy of your book, Captive Heart in our local Lifeway, and I had to be dragged out of the store. The story captured me from the start. Big fan, here! So, I’m definitely going to take a look at this one.

Readers, you can find Michelle’s books on Amazon for easy purchase, or you can find them in stores. Here’s the link to her Amazon author page: Michelle Griep on Amazon

Thanks so much for being our guest for a Saturday Interview. I hope you’ll stop back in next year, or any time you have a new book out.


12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep

When CLARA CHAPMAN receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of one thousand pounds. That’s enough money to bring her brother back from America and reinstate their stolen family fortune. But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, BENJAMIN LANE.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar.

Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

Click to Tweet: Getting to know #histfic #author Michelle Griep http://wp.me/p2YFil-35w #romance 12 Days At Bleakly Manor

Want to know more about Michelle’s books? Check out these reviews!

Trisha Robertson’s Joy of Reading
Amanda Geaney’s Christian Shelf Esteem
Beth Erin’s Faithfully Bookish

Where to find Michelle:

Writer Off The Leash (blog)

Michelle Griep (Website)

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3 Questions Wednesday with Brenda S. Anderson

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday, Brenda!

Brenda S. Anderson writes gritty and authentic, life-affirming fiction. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and is Past-President of the ACFW Minnesota chapter, MN-NICE, the 2016 ACFW Chapter of the Year. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, theater, roller coasters, and baseball, and she loves watching movies with her family. She resides in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area with her husband of 30 years, their three children, and one sassy cat.

Question:  What inspires you?

Brenda:  Being out in God’s creation always inspires me. When I see the lands He’s sculpted and the unending palette of colors He uses, when I hear the complicated and beautiful outdoor choir and symphony He’s conducting and breathe in the diverse scents in nature, I’m awed by His artistry. How can it not inspire you?! As an author, I’m honored and privileged to have the gift of creating my own little worlds.

I love that, Brenda. There is so much beauty all around us.

Next question–You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Brenda: I’d probably be a very neutral, normal color at the tip, as I excel at blending in. But when you pulled the crayon from the box, you’d see that it’s a rainbow swirl of colors in one crayon. Once people get to know me, they discover there’s so much more to me than what is first seen.

Good answer. Sometimes those neutral colors surprise you, and there are actually many tones of neutral. I’m reminded of a chameleon, and how they change with their environment.

Final Question–As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Brenda: Honestly, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Back in grade school, I was writing stories that impressed my teachers. I even wrote a couple of plays that our class put on for other grades. That was marvelous encouragement for me, and kindled my passion for storytelling.

Wonderful. Teachers have such an important role in our lives. Through encouragement, they can send us down the right path.

Readers, Brenda is giving away an e-book copy of her brand-new book, Planting Hope. Leave a comment for a chance to win! Here are more details about the book:

Planting Hope – Where the Heart Is, Book 3

Planting Hope by Brenda S. Anderson

When flowers and chocolate collide, romance is sure to bloom

Family has always been the one constant in Jess Beaumont’s messy life, so when her parents separate, she puts “Operation: Planting Hope” into action. All she has to do is recreate the circumstances that helped her parents fall in love. Unfortunately, that includes the daunting task of restoring the family cabin’s gardens. When the handsome candy store owner shows up to help, she’s certain she has all the elements required for her parents’ love to bloom again. After all, flowers and chocolate are the perfect ingredients for romance.

Luke Harrison has spent his life trying to win his father’s approval, and a promotion in the family land development business would be a step in that direction. But when he inherits Gran’s candy store, his dreams of being promoted start melting away. Then his dad dangles a Vice President position in front of Luke, with one caveat—acquire the land on both sides of Gran’s store within five months, including the Beaumont cabin, and the promotion is his.

What at first seemed a simple challenge for Luke becomes a tangled mess. Buying the Beaumont cabin and land will nip his blossoming romance with Jess in the bud. Even worse, it could end her parents’ marriage. But if he doesn’t succeed, he could be trading in his corner office for the corner candy store.


I hope you enjoyed getting to know Brenda S. Anderson, and will visit her online in the following places ~


Connect with Brenda ~

Click to Tweet: Getting to know Brenda S. Anderson, author of #NewRelease #Romance, Planting Hope

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Memories of “Canes” Football

By Steve Connolly

Having spent my early years in Miami, I have many fond memories of the city. I found Miami  an ideal city for a boy to grow up in. We lived on the edge of the Everglades, in a then small suburb, only a short bike ride to the wilds of the Everglades.

They were filled with dense trees and inviting canals. It was years before the exotic snakes and other wild things began to encroach on the landscape. Gator populations were lower, too.  Occasionally, we would come across a snapping turtle. Having no fear at that age, we would sneak up on them, touch their backside with our foot, and watch them jump into the canal. We would spend hours exploring, climbing trees and digging under rocks. To a kid, it was like heaven. I hated that we soon left Miami and moved to northern New Hampshire.

Before I knew it, I was grown and in college. Seeking a less expensive way to pay for college, I left New Hampshire briefly and was living back in Miami. Being a student, there was always a shortage of funds for gas and entertainment for a young fella. I found myself working a part-time job at a large bank in South Miami. Because they had a drive-in facility with extended hours, I found it worked perfectly for students.

During this time, I bonded with my coworkers, also students.  What I soon learned was that everyone was “into” football games at the University of Miami.  I had always been a Dolphins fan and had not paid much attention to college ball.  But the enthusiasm among everyone was at such a high pitch it soon rubbed off on me.

Everyone planned to attend the Saturday afternoon games at the Orange Bowl to watch the Hurricanes challenge their weekly teams. At first, I did not want to think about driving west of downtown to see the games, not the best part of the city.

And parking? I remember going to Dolphin games. Besides the dolphin tanks at the end of the field, one thing that stuck in my mind was the nightmare of parking. Hey, at the time I owned a classic Mustang and I was quite fussy about it getting banged up. You know how the priorities of a young teenage male run.

However, with a bit of prodding, I soon gave in and found myself volunteered to drive a bunch of us to a Saturday afternoon game. I found a spot in the surrounding neighborhood where I could safely park my car. I was never much on parallel parking and the spot I’d chosen would require skills in driving I had not yet obtained. It would have been easier to slide my car in sideways if that were even possible. But after a lot of biting my tongue to keep from cursing I got the car parked.

It didn’t take long for the infectious atmosphere to catch me. Everywhere I turned there were hordes of laughing students all hyped up and ready for the game to begin. Climbing into the stands, our gang became just like the rest of the fanatical fans. Yelling Go Canes! Soon I was filing the names of the players in my memory banks so it would seem I was totally engaged in this game. And you know what happened? I got bit by the college football bug. All these years later you’ll find me on a Saturday looking at schedules to see who’s playing and what time the games begin.

What further ingrained this fanatical love of the college football was our move to Alabama a few years back.  I tell all my out-of-state friends that before you can officially become a citizen of Alabama, you must sign a declaration of what team you will support, Alabama or Auburn. I have often thought of making up such a document to further emphasize this point to my friends. Of course, I declared my support to the Alabama Crimson Tide. My son, however, declared his loyalty to the Auburn Tigers. But that’s another story!

Last year, I went to my first Alabama Crimson Tide game in Tuscaloosa. As I stood in the crowd waiting for the players to take the field I was overcome with excitement. I guess the infectious cheers of the crowd took me back to those days at the Orange Bowl. Except for sitting in the nose bleed seats (which I did not budge from), I had a great time.

Recently, I decided that I needed to go back to my roots and support the team of my younger years, the Miami Hurricanes. Part of my justification is that it would drive my friends crazy, and would separate me from the never-ending feud between Tide and Tiger fans. By supporting the Canes, I can harass them all. It is all in good fun.

What about the professional teams? Yes, I still enjoy them as much as the college teams. And love to see the college players who get booted up to the Pros do a great job. What team do I support you may ask?

Go New England Patriots! Go figure… 

Click to tweet: I now support the team of my younger years, the Miami Hurricanes. #ncaaFootball #NFL 

Writing Prompt: I ran to the middle of the football field, clutching my Miami flag, when suddenly…

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Solve by Christmas by Amber Schamel

I’m so happy to welcome author, Amber Schamel, to our blog. She writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. So what’s she up to these days? Her newest novel, Solve by Christmas

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Amber: I am a homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children. Today I am a bookkeeper and office manager by day and an author after ducking into the nearest telephone booth. Haha, only sorta kidding.

I spend about half of my time volunteering in the Ozarks at a Christian Family Bootcamp, and I also travel a lot with my family. This affords lots of story fodder.

What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?

Amber: Growing up, I always loved history and books. I’d check out stacks of books every time we went to the library and read about American history. This evolved rather naturally into historical fiction stories. 😊

I started writing seriously after high-school and my first book was published when I was 21 years old. No sense in wasting any time. Lol.

Do you work to an outline or prefer to see where an idea takes you?

Amber: A little of both. I do outline, and I create pretty detailed character profiles and I map out the settings. But I don’t always know what happens between the main points on my outline. So that part just comes as I write.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Amber: For me, it’s probably transitioning between projects. Once I have a project finished, I’m so happy to have completed it. I take some time to celebrate. But figuring out which story God wants me to write next….or if I should even continue  in this endeavor is something I seem to question and battle with between every project.  Once I get engrossed in the next project, I do just fine. Except then comes the second most difficult part. Sticking to it and getting the project finished. That can take a LOT of self-discipline.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Amber: Hopefully at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. 😊

If not, I have no idea! LOL.

My greatest desire is to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He would have for me. Right now, I’m not entirely sure what that will mean five years down the road. I’m at a bit of a crossroads and so it will be fun to see where the Lord takes us.

Thanks for dropping by, Amber!

Click to tweet: Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. #InspiredPrompt #amreading 


Solve by Christmas 

Solve by Christmas Historical Mystery

When sabotage threatens the Rudin Sugar Factory, Detective Jasper Hollock believes this will be his first real case. But dear Mr. Rudin—the only father Jasper has ever known—holds a different assignment for his private investigator.

“I’ve struck a deal with God, Jasper, and you’re my angel.”

Mr. Rudin charges Jasper to build a “case” of reasons for his employer to continue his life. If he fails, Mr. Rudin will end it in suicide on Christmas night.

As the incidents at the factory become life threatening, Jasper’s attempts at dissuading Mr. Rudin prove futile, and Jasper is left staring at the stark reality of his own soul. Time is ticking. Jasper must solve both cases by Christmas before Mr. Rudin, the company, and Jasper’s faith, are dragged to perdition. Will this be the Christmas Jasper truly discovers what makes life worth living?

 “Amber Schamel’s engaging prose weaves together not one, but two edge-of-your-seat threads in this historical mystery. With the hero racing against time to solve the two cases readers will be kept guessing as they attempt to crack the case. “  ~ Laura V. Hilton author of Christmas Admirer (Whitaker House)


 Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”. A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life.

First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft and has been awarded the 2017 CSPA Book of the Year Award in Historical Fiction. Between ministry, family and working in their family-owned businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites.  Amber is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

http://amberschamel.com/

Newsletter & updates: http://www.amberschamel.com/newsletter-signup.html
Blogs – http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/
http://www.hhhistory.com/
http://amberschamel.blogspot.com/

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Atmosphere is Everything

by Carlton Hughes

football, sports, kids, gamesWhen I was a young lad in the dark ages of the 1970s, I enjoyed NFL Football. Back then you only got a handful of television channels, so there wasn’t much choice. The Puppy Bowl and the Kitten Bowl didn’t exist, so what else was there to do? I watched the NFL with my dad. My favorite teams were the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins.

Those were glory days for the Cowboys, with Coach Tom Landry (who, in his impeccable suit and nifty hat, looked like he should have been running a bank instead of a football team) and Quarterback Roger Staubach, not to mention the cheerleaders. I even had a Cowboys duffel bag I carried with me on overnight trips to my cousin’s house.

I had no choice but to like the Redskins, as, living in Eastern Kentucky, our local television channels came from nearby Virginia and Tennessee. Being in that market, we were treated to Redskins games every Sunday evening throughout the season. I couldn’t name the coach or any players if my life depended on it, but I do remember the uniforms and the logo because I’m observant that way.

football, sports, gameMy attention to the NFL faded over the years, and, especially since my own college experience, I now prefer the college game. I love the gameday atmosphere—the band, the cheerleaders, the student cheering sections, the alumni fans. Even though my alma mater has traditionally been a basketball school and doesn’t quite burn it up on the gridiron, I enjoy returning to campus on fall Saturdays to take in a game, to visit with old friends, and to relive the sights and sounds of my college days.

Beyond my visits to my old campus, I would rather watch a college game on television than a pro one any day. Many college players will never see pro action and give their all for their schools. The traditions, the rivalries, and the pageantry make it an easy choice for me.

[Click to tweet:] Carlton Hughes prefers the traditions, the rivalries, and the pageantry of college games.

WRITING PROMPT: Imagine you’re attending a college football game, maybe at your alma mater. Describe the sights and sounds you witness as you enter the stadium.

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