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/

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Blogs – http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/
http://www.hhhistory.com/
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Life in Chapel Springs by Ane Mulligan

While a floppy straw hat is her favorite, my friend, award-winning author Ane Mulligan has worn many: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), CEO of a Community Theatre, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups.

Ane resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband. You can find her on her website, Amazon Author page, Novel Rocket, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. Today we’ll talk about her new book, Life in Chapel Springs.

First, tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Ane:  I’ve always been a reader … and a drama enthusiast. I came out of the womb reading. My mother loved to read, so she instilled that in me at an early age. I can’t ever remember a time when I didn’t have a book in my hands.

When I was four or five, my parents took me to see Peter Pan, live on stage with Mary Martin. I was hooked! When Peter asks, “Do you believe?”, I was ready to jump off the balcony. My daddy’s  swift grab for my skirt is all that saved me. Peter even mentioned it, saying, “That kid will be on stage one day.” Prophetic, to say the least.

While I once had hoped I would be on Broadway, an MRS degree sidetracked my dreams. However, I stayed involved in my two passions all my life. I served as my church’s Creative Arts director for 11 years, I’m now a multi published novelist, and I’m the founder and Managing Director of a local Community Theatre. I’m living my dream, albeit in Sugar Hill and not on Broadway. lol

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

Ane:   My books are women’s fiction, although one slides closer to the edge of romantic suspense, it still lives in WF. I’ve always loved my girlfriends. I can’t imagine doing life without them. So I’ve always enjoyed books about those friendships. When I began writing novels, it was a natural fit.

My Chapel Springs series deals with an entire town, but my main character, Claire, is like me in that she loves her friends. She relies on them, especially Patsy, to keep her out of trouble, while she tries to help keep them out of trouble, which seems to get everyone into trouble.

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

Ane:   Both. I’m a Planster. I need plan … an outline to get me going. Without one, I stare at a blank screen or write in circles. After I know my characters, I write down the main plot points I need to move the story forward and in the direction I think it needs to go.

However, once I have that and know my characters well, I let them take over … which usually sends the story off in a different direction. At least, that’s my desire, because when the characters take over and I am, as Dan Walsh puts it, “an unseen scribe,” the story becomes theirs and not mine. At that point, I return to the outline, rewriting it to fit where the story is headed. That repeats itself until we hit the end.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Ane:  The first draft. Right now I’m working on a story I started a few years back and laid aside. When I picked it back up, I had to renew my acquaintance with the main character. It took time to get to know her and her friends again. And then, when I did know her again, she kept changing the story!

I’ve never stopped learning my craft, which made it a bit difficult to pick up an old work in progress and revive it. I’m pleased to say my critique partners say it’s my strongest work. That’s very gratifying when you put your heart and soul into your work. Be watching for In High Cotton.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Ane: Doubling the number of books I have out now, turning one of those into a play, and being in the new performing arts theatre our town is building. That last one will happen in late spring or early summer of 2018.

I thank God I get to spend my life in the two passions He built into me. When we can take those gifts of God-given talent, put in the required assembly, and use them to reach hearts, life doesn’t get any better!

I’m glad. I love your books. Thanks for dropping by, Ane!


Life in Chapel Springs

Is it a midlife pregnancy or … cancer? Claire will keep her secret until she’s sure but it isn’t easy. Neither is trying to buy a home pregnancy test without anyone finding out. Between her twins double wedding, the caterer canceling, a looming nationwide art tour and her health, Claire’s life is upside down.

Shy Lacey Dawson was happily writing murder mysteries for the community theater with her eye on Broadway. Then, a freak accident causes her traumatic injuries requiring facial reconstruction. When the bandages come off, Lacey s world is turned inside out. Will Chapel Springs rally behind its own … or will life unravel?

When the mayor announces he has found quartz on his land, the local TV station reports: Where there’s quartz, there’s gold. Then Mayor Riley discovers Howie Newlander has bought the mineral rights to his land. Howie and his nefarious investors are struck with gold fever and set out to buy all the homes in Chapel Springs and mine the gold. Will life in Chapel Springs become the tailings of a gold mine?

Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery

I’m so happy to welcome back to the blog, my good friend, author/editor/ministry leader, Jennifer Slattery. She has helped and encouraged me so often!  So what’s she up to these days? Her sixth novel, Healing Love

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Jennifer:  Oh, my. This could take a while. Let’s see. When  I was three … Just kidding. I live in Papillion, a fun suburb of Omaha, but I’m originally from the west coast. I miss the mountains, ocean, and evergreen trees, but I’ve fallen in love with snowy winters and all the colors that come in fall. I’ve been married for … (I always have to stop and think. Terrible, right?) 22 years??? My husband and I had a bit of a rocky beginning, but God turned everything around and has been drawing us closer to one another (and to Him!) ever since. Love my man! Love my God!

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

Jennifer:  My books fall in between two genres—women’s fiction and romance. I’ve been told they’re similar to Nicholas Sparks books. I’m not sure what draws me to this genre. I just write the stories I feel God has laid on my heart. Sometimes, those are pure fun and silly, other times they go deeper. Really, I just love writing and losing myself in a world of my own creating.

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

Jennifer:  I feel this is changing somewhat, and I’m not sure what I’ve landed on. Originally, I just wrote and let the story take me wherever. But then I got myself into a mess. My timeline was totally off, things unfolded too quickly, and others not quickly enough. I figured I’d save a lot of headache if I started writing by outline.

I wrote six novels that way, but recently, I decided I just wanted to have fun. I didn’t want to worry so much about where my story was going; I just wanted to enjoy the process. The result—a book that was a hybrid between plotting and pantsing. 🙂 We’ll see if it ever makes it to print.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Jennifer:    Hmm … I think sometimes the pressure; I worry that I’ll let people down. This is something I have to fight, and remind myself that I write for Christ and am enough in Him, regardless of what I produce. I’m also usually convinced whatever story I’m working on stinks, so then I have to push through the desire to toss it and my computer in the trash. Haha! So I guess I would answer, how it can trigger one’s insecurities and bring them to the surface.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Jennifer: I have no idea. I try not to presume on my future. So much of my life has not gone as I “planned” and in the unplanned, so much good has happened. I may shift to more nonfiction, I may write lighter, fun stories. I’m six classes away from a ministry degree, so I may seek employment in a church somewhere. Ultimately, I want to be in tune with whatever God desires and however He leads, because He knows best.

Thanks for dropping by, Jennifer!


Healing Love

A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out-education-and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?


Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture.

Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.

Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com.

Marriage: Make It or Break It by Andrea Merrell

Today I’d like to introduce my friend, author and editor, Andrea Merrell.  She’s an associate editor with Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also a professional freelance editor and was a finalist for the 2016 Editor of the Year Award at BRMCWC. Her latest book is Marriage: Make It or Break It.

Hi, Andrea! Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Andrea: I’m a Southern gal who considers herself a bit of a late bloomer. Even though I’ve always loved to write, I didn’t begin to pursue my passion until about twenty years ago when the speaker at a marriage retreat told me it was time to get busy. “After all,” he said as he leaned in close, “you’re not getting any younger, you know.” That little statement lit a fire in me and set me on a path of writing for God that gets better and more fulfilling as the years go by. As an editor, I also love encouraging other writers, helping them grow and polish their skills as they learn to create clean, professional manuscripts. I LOVE what I do. 😊

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

Andrea:  People ask this question quite often, and sometimes they’re surprised by my answer: a little bit of everything. In the beginning of my writing journey, God gave me a series of poems. Then I moved into writing nonfiction, especially funny anecdotes about getting older. I soon found myself writing devotions and a few articles. Over the past few years, I’ve written hundreds of devotions, a few short stories, and three nonfiction books (Murder of a Manuscript, Praying for the Prodigal, and Marriage: Make It or Break It). But I’m also passionate about writing fiction and have several novels in progress at various stages that are begging to be finished. Some say you should find your niche and stay there, writing either fiction or nonfiction. But my philosophy is that I should write whatever God gives me … whatever He lays on my heart. As we write for Him, we never know how our words can touch someone else, whatever the genre. And the more transparent we are, the more impact our words can have.

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

Andrea:  Outlines don’t work for me. I’m a panster (seat-of-the-pants writer), not a plotter. Early in my career I sat in a class at a writers’ conference about plotting where the speaker was using charts and graphs. I was completely lost. Sometimes when I sit down to write, it’s like transcribing dictation as the words flow. For me, it’s a matter of getting my words on paper (or I guess I should say on my computer screen), then the proofing, editing, and rewriting begin.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Andrea:  For me, as an editor, the hardest thing is making time for my own writing.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Andrea:  Probably doing the same things I’m doing now: writing, editing, and teaching at writers’ conferences—unless God has other plans. Hopefully, by then I will have at least a couple of published novels.

We hope so too! Thanks for stopping in for a visit, Andrea!


Andrea Merrell is an associate editor with Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also a professional freelance editor and was a finalist for the 2016 Editor of the Year Award at BRMCWC. She teaches workshops at writers’ conferences and has been published in numerous anthologies and online venues.

Andrea is a graduate of Christian Communicators and a finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards. She is the author of Murder of a Manuscript and Praying for the Prodigal. Her newest book, Marriage: Make It or Break It, is now available on Amazon. For more information visit www.AndreaMerrell.com or www.TheWriteEditing.com.

Amazon link for Marriage: Make It or Break Ithttp://amzn.to/2qxucJ7

Amazon link for Murder of a Manuscripthttp://amzn.to/1HlRLmy

Amazon link for Praying for the Prodigalhttp://amzn.to/1BFOhK9

www.AndreaMerrell.com

http://www.TheWriteEditing.com


Marriage: Make It or Break It

Some say marriage is a dying institution. Others say, “Stop the bus and let me get off.” But Andrea Merrell after forty-plus years of marriage believes this God-ordained institution is one of His greatest gifts to men and women. Marriage: Make It or Break It is a result of a lifetime of trial and error, keen observation, and years of studying God’s Word. With her signature dash of humor, she takes a candid look at attitudes and behavior that can make or break a relationship, the difference in how men and women think and approach life, and the importance of honest communication. You’ll find danger signs, roadblocks to bypass, and Scriptures to personalize and pray on a daily basis. 

This journey won’t be perfect, and the road is guaranteed to be full of potholes. But if you’re ready to learn a few truths that will make marriage strong and a lot of things that will destroy it, buckle your seat belt and let’s get this bus moving.

Spark:The Firebrand Chronicles, Book One by J.M. Hackman

Today I’d like to introduce author, J.M. Hackman.  In 2015, she won the Editor’s Choice Award in the Realm Makers Short Story Contest for her story, “The Escort,” published in RealmScapes: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Anthology. Her debut novel, Spark, has released and I’ve asked her a few questions…

Hi, J.M.! Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

J.M.: I grew up in the mountains of Pennsylvania. An only child, my imagination was what prevented me from being too lonely. After graduating from Penn State, I married my boyfriend of five years and settled in the same town I grew up in. My mechanical engineer husband and I have been married for twenty-two years (this June), and we have two fantastic girls (ages 11 and 17).

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

J.M.: In 1995, I began writing Christian romance, then took a break to have children. During that break, I read many of the YA series: Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Lord of the Rings. But none of them had any female protagonists. So I began writing Spark, a YA Christian fantasy with a courageous heroine. Although my stories are speculative, a strong thread of romance twines through each one. This genre is the perfect vehicle to show the fight between good and evil. Readers who would never read a Christian story might be more likely to pick up a fantasy novel. And I love YA because it’s such a fantastic age for discovering what your True North is and who you want to become.

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

J.M.: I have a very rough outline (I use index cards) of where I want my story to start and end, with a few key events in between. Everything else is open. It makes things interesting. Right now, I’m fighting some of my characters because they’re not following orders. I’ll have to do some re-writing to make them fall in line!

What is the hardest thing about writing?

J.M.: Writing a synopsis. For me, trying to fit an entire narrative on a single piece of paper is a ridiculous exercise in futility.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

J.M.: Hopefully, I’ll still be writing stories! I’d like to be finishing up my series The Firebrand Chronicles and starting a fairy tale retelling that’s been simmering on the “back burner” for a while. I’d also like to have the opportunity to meet more speculative fiction authors and teach at a conference or two.

Thanks for stopping in for a visit, J.M.!


Spark:The Firebrand Chronicles, Book One

Brenna James wants three things for her sixteenth birthday: to find her history notes before the test, to have her mother return from her business trip, and to stop creating fire with her bare hands. Yeah, that’s so not happening. Unfortunately.

When Brenna learns her mother is missing in an alternate reality called Linneah, she travels through a portal to find her. Against her will. Who knew portals even existed? But Brenna’s arrival in Linneah begins the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, including a royal murder and the theft of Linneah’s most powerful relic: the Sacred Veil. Hold up. Can everything just slow down for a sec?

Unwilling yet left with no other choice, Brenna and her new friend Baldwin (Um, hello, Hottie!) pursue the thief into the dangerous woods of Silvastamen and beyond. Exactly what Brenna wanted to do for her sixteenth birthday. Exactly. When they spy an army marching toward Linneah, Brenna is horrified. Can she find the veil, save her mother, and warn Linneah in time? And more importantly, why on earth doesn’t this alternity have Belgian waffles?


J.M. Hackman has held many positions: assistant librarian, office assistant, office manager, substitute teacher, writer, wife, and mother. She still holds the last three. And loves it. She received a degree in Elementary Education from Pennsylvania State University and now spends her days writing stories, consuming massive quantities of chocolate, and looking for portals to other worlds.

You can find her at www.jmhackman.com.

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