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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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?

3 Questions Wednesday with Lindsey Brackett

Lindsey, welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday.

Award-winning writer Lindsey P. Brackett once taught middle grades literature, but now she writes her own works in the midst of motherhood.

Still Waters, influenced by her family ties to the South Carolina Lowcountry, is her debut novel. A story about the power of family and forgiveness, it’s been called “a brilliant debut” with “exquisite writing.”

Please leave a comment at the end of the post and you’ll be entered to win a Kindle edition of Still Waters.

First question:

What inspires you?

Lindsey: When it comes to writing, I’m inspired by all the little things. A sunset on the water, the pasture grass waving in the breeze, a little house on a little road outside a little town, or a perfect moment of perfect contentment on an ordinary mundane Monday. I see story everywhere—and in every one. It’s probably cliché to say life inspires me, but it does—not the big, brassy loud moments playing out on our social media feeds. I like the small, the simple, the overlooked seconds, that strung together, make us all who we are.

The overlooked seconds. I like that. 

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

Lindsey: I’d like to believe I’m goldenrod yellow—coloring a little sunshine color wherever I go. But truth is, sometimes I’m a stormy gray because I let all those little things I love to write about get to me in the most stressful ways. Good news is, yellow peeps through the gray every time.

I love this analogy. Yellow is the color of sunshine, hope, and happiness.  🙂

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

Lindsey: Laura Ingalls—seriously. My dad built me a little cabin playhouse in our woods and my grandmother made me a dress. For a long time I was convinced I was born 100 years too late. But then I got a little older and realized what I wanted to be was a writer, because if I wrote stories I could live and re-live any time I wanted. That’s really why I wanted to be Laura, I wanted to tell stories that would live long after me.

I feel the same way, except I like all the modern conveniences…Thank you, Lindsey, for visiting 3 Questions Wednesday. She’d also like to take this opportunity to invite you to a party!


Still Waters

Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan—avoid her own past despite being waitlisted for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests—and her dispassionate mother insists—she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach.

Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts her with loss. Here her grandfather died, her parents’ marriage disintegrated, and as a child, she caused a tragic drowning. But lingering among the oak canopies and gentle tides, this place also tempts her with forgiveness—especially since Nan hired Tennessee Watson to oversee cottage repairs. A local contractor, but dedicated to the Island’s preservation from development, Tennessee offers her friendship and more, if she can move beyond her guilt over his father’s death.

When the family reunion brings to light Nan’s failing health, Cora Anne discovers how far Tennessee will go to protect her—and Edisto—from more desolation. Now she must choose between a life driven by guilt, or one washed clean by the tides of grace.


Award-winning writer Lindsey P. Brackett once taught middle grades literature, but now she writes her own works in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has published articles and short stories in a variety of print and online publications including Thriving Family, Country Extra, HomeLife, Northeast Georgia Living, Splickety Magazine, Spark Magazine, and Southern Writers Magazine.

In both 2015 and 2017, she placed in the top ten for Southern Writers Magazine Best Short Fiction. Previously, Lindsey served as Editor of Web Content for the Splickety Publishing Group, and currently she is a general editor with Firefly Southern Fiction, an imprint of LPC Books. In addition, she writes a popular column for several North Georgia newspapers.

Still Waters, influenced by her family ties to the South Carolina Lowcountry, is her debut novel. A story about the power of family and forgiveness, it’s been called “a brilliant debut” with “exquisite writing.” A Georgia native, Lindsey makes her home—full of wet towels, lost library books, and strong coffee—at the foothills of Appalachia with her patient husband and their four rowdy children.

Connect with her at www.lindseypbrackett.com, where she Just Writes Life, on Facebook as Lindsey P. Brackett, on Instagram @lindseypbrackett, or on Twitter @lindsbrac.


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Alabama Football: NFL Ready

By Jennifer Hallmark

Alabama versus Florida State. The game of the year. The decade. The century. By the time you read this, it will be just another statistic in the history books. Hopefully, Alabama was the victor.

But whether or not Alabama scored the most points, its players are NFL ready. How do they get this way? What’s the secret?

If you ask Nick Saban, it’s the Process, a name he’s given to his style of coaching. Saturday Down South asked Ronnie Harrison and he said, “The Process is like a transformation, I would call it, from going from a young man in high school to a grown man in college,” he told me. “Off the field, with education and all the meetings and stuff that we have, all the player-development stuff that we have, that develops your mind mentally for it. And then on the field, all the workouts, all the hard work and stuff that we do, that’s The Process. If you trust The Process and trust the hard work and be dedicated to it, you’ll come out on top.” Check out Saturday Down South’s website for more on the Process.

No matter how you explain it, it works. The players are expected to play for the team, not their individual glory. They don’t try to beat their opponent each week. Instead, they try to better themselves each game. You don’t want to be the weak link if you play for “Bama.” Unless you want to watch the game from the bench.

The quarterback position seems to be the one exception. Starting in 2007, when Saban took over the team, John Parker Wilson, Greg McElroy, AJ McCarron, Blake Sims, and Jake Coker have all played quarterback for Alabama. McCarron is the only one still on an active roster.

Click to tweet: Alabama players. How do they get NFL ready? #SEC #NFL

Could Jalen Hurts be the one to take it to the next level? He runs and he throws. Far. He’s young but the best hope for a true NFL career that we’ve seen in a while. Bama fans hope he stays in school a long time before going to the bigger stage.

The most NFL ready players may be the cornerbacks and safeties, who are coached by Saban himself. Other coaches think Saban is unsurpassed as a secondary authority. His detailed coaching on DB technique stands alone.

Marlon Humphrey and safety Eddie Jackson were the 13th and 14th defensive backs drafted since Saban has been in Tuscaloosa. And the other defensive players are no slouches either. Jonathan Allen, Reuben Foster, Ryan Anderson, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Tim Williams were all drafted in 2017. Ten players totaled, the most in school history.

And the new season has just begun. I wonder how the draft on April 26-28, 2018 will go? I’ll have my DVR set so I won’t miss a moment. Which school will have the most players drafted?

I don’t know, but I bet you’ll see a lot of Crimson.

And if you like Alabama football, make sure and check out my “Roll Tide” Pinterest board at https://www.pinterest.com/jenlhallmark989/roll-tide/

Writing Prompt: “Roll Tide?” The woman in orange squared her shoulders and faced the elephant mascot. She then proceeded to…

And do you like tailgating? Then try this hearty recipe for goulash that you can make ahead…

Danny’s Goulash

Ingredients

2 pounds lean ground beef
2 large onions, chopped
1 or 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
3 cups water
2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 (15-ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Nature Seasoning
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 or 2 cans of whole kernel corn, drained (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste at end

Directions

In a skillet, sauté the ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium-high heat until no pink remains. Break up the meat while sautéing. Drain on paper towels. Place in large Dutch oven and add 3 cups water, along with the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, soy sauce, Nature Seasoning, and seasoned salt. Add corn. Stir well. Place a lid on the pot and allow this to cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the elbow macaroni, stir well, return the lid to the pot, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste, adding salt and pepper if needed. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to sit about 30 minutes more before serving.

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