Friday, October 24, 2014

Interview - Amber Schamel, author of The Messiah's Sign

Today we're interviewing historical author Amber Schamel.
Bestselling author 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. Between ministry, family and working in their family businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites.  

Amber, can you tell us about your new release, The Messiah's Sign?
Dreams…they shouldn’t bother him, but when Tyrus’ worst nightmare is vindicated, he has no choice but to face reality. His wife has been unfaithful, and God has punished her with the most feared disease in the land: leprosy. Banishing her to the leper colony, Tyrus struggles to raise their son alone and protect him from a merciless outlaw. But when Malon begins following the teacher from Nazareth, what remains of their business and reputation is at stake. Can Tyrus save his son from the beguiling lies of a false Messiah before he loses the only thing he has left?

What sparked this story?
Book one started as a short story, but a lot of people told me I should expand it. I picked up the story and began thinking about what the entire story would be like, and that's when the Lord drew back the curtain to show me not only Aaliyah's story at the leper colony, but also the story of her husband and son. Tyrus—as the heartless husband that banishes Aaliyah to the leper colony—is the villain of book one, so I wanted to show readers his side of the story. 

What do you want readers to take away from The Messiah's Sign?
As hard as you try, you will never be sufficient on your own. It takes Christ working in you.
For those that have read volume one, I want them to realize that you cannot hate someone until you de-humanize them. The villain of book one becomes the hero of book two, and we see the motivations behind his 'heartless' acts. In truth, Tyrus was doing the best he could. If we can empathize with people in our lives, it will go a LONG way in keeping the roots of bitterness at bay.

What's your favorite genre in which to read?
The same one I write, Christian Historical. But I recently read a Christian cozy mystery that I enjoyed very much. It was The Jane Austen Encounter by Donna F. Crow. It's the first cozy mystery I've read. I might have found a new genre! Actually, I might have found two...cozy mysteries and Jane Austen based fiction. Lol.

You grew up in a large family, how has that effected your writing?
Obviously growing up in a big family, with a job and a ministry, puts limits on the time I have to spend writing. But honestly, growing up in a big family has benefited me in many, many ways.  I have had lots of experience telling stories, I have TONS of story fodder, a lot more people to base characters on, lots of people to observe, emotions to learn from, and on and on. Growing up in a large family has also helped me with public speaking, because it's public speaking every time I ask "please pass the salt."

Do you have a favorite writer?
I really enjoy Susan J. Reinhardt, Max Lucado, Julie Klassen and Francine Rivers.

If you had to come up with a book title to describe your life, what would it be?
Wow, that is a great question! I'm going to start using that one too. ;)
It would either be "But for the Grace of God" or "The Only Thing That's Good in Me is Jesus."

What are you working on next?
I am finishing up a really fun series with three other historical authors on the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
I'm also setting to work on a Christmas story set during the Civil War entitled The Christmas Pardon.
In the aftermath of the Civil War, a young lawyer battles with the U.S. Supreme court. In what seemed to be a Christmas miracle, he had secured a pardon for his friend from Lincoln himself. The army executed the boy anyway. On the fifteenth anniversary of his death, will the lawyer finally clear his friends name and bring justice to his memory?

 I'm running a giveaway for a fan to pick the name of my two main characters! You can enter the giveaway here:

Thank you for joining us today, Amber.
Thank you for hosting me! It's been a pleasure. I'd like to invite each of you to join me in celebrating my new release with the Name-A-Character Giveaway! Enter to for a chance to pick the name of a main character in Amber's upcoming book The Christmas Pardon. Terms and conditions apply.
In the aftermath of the Civil War, a young lawyer battles with the U.S. Supreme court. In what seemed to be a Christmas miracle, he had secured a pardon for his friend from Lincoln himself. The army executed the boy anyway. On the fifteenth anniversary of his death, will the lawyer finally clear his friends name and bring justice to his memory?

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Book Review - Helsinki Sunrise by Marion Ueckermann

by Marion Ueckermann

Helsinki Sunrise, a Passport to Romance, blog tour follows on from yesterday’s stop in Budapest, Hungary, at Go Hungry Go Home where I showed you the sweeter, tempting side of Helsinki Sunrise.
Today I’m posting another book review of Helsinki Sunrise, but one with a difference. It’s been compiled from comments made by my critiquers as they journeyed with me—reading, giving feedback, advice, suggestions and praise—to ensure the Helsinki Sunrise manuscript was publication-worthy. Thank you Nancy Kimball, Diane Tatum, Heidi Blankenship, Sondra Kraak, Mary McCay, Mary Cheatham, Ophelia Sellars, Emily Rogers, Julie Fugate, Janine Islam, Jennifer Rodewald, and Jackie Laytonwithout the help of each one of you, I would not have been published.

Fun, humorous, interesting and highly entertaining!
A well-written story with great tension!
Magnificent! A good book!
Fireworks ahead—readers will turn the page!

Marion Ueckermann is an entertaining story teller with a natural talent for writing. With a limited word count for Helsinki Sunrise, Marion paired down and got to the heart of the story and the characters quickly so there wasn’t anything that wasn’t essential. She did something I don’t think I could ever do unless the fate of the free world depended on it—write a novella.
I really loved reading Helsinki Sunrise. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. This funny, romantic comedy is a delightful and cute story—like ‘How to Lose a Guy in 14 Days’. It’s been a pleasure to see this manuscript in my inbox.
Excellent characterization, Marion has a great way of conveying emotions. Two completely opposite characters about to collide… A heroine you’ll love to hate; an extremely likeable and intriguing, yet not perfect, hero which makes him so human. I couldn’t wait to see what happened when Eveliina encountered Adam. The way the characters try to wear down on each other was so enjoyable. I loved Adam’s character and the voice Marion has given him—he’s intriguing but I’m glad he had God on his side otherwise he wouldn’t stand a chance.
Normally I’m telling authors “too soon, too much,” but this story was well-crafted with great end of chapter hooks. As a reader I loved the conflict which works because often I was tired and needed to go to bed but I had to see the next sub to know what happened.
I love Marion’s writing! She has nailed delivering sexual tension in the subtext without blatantly flaunting it in an inappropriate way, and that’s what great CBA writers do. I could think of nothing that would improve this story. It kept getting better, and I couldn’t stop reading to crit.
The beautiful descriptions of Finland make me want to visit this country. And several times I found myself popping to the grocery store to whip up what Eveliina had cooked.

This wonderful story has a beautiful and fulfilling ending. I hated to see the end…it was hard to let go. My thanks to God for Marion writing this. She’s done a fantastic job and can be proud of her accomplishment with this debut novelette.

He needed the island to himself. So did she.
Three weeks alone at a friend’s summer cottage on a Finnish lake to fast and pray. That was Adam Carter's plan.  But sometimes plans go awry.

On an impromptu trip to her family's secluded summer cottage, the last thing Eveliina Mikkola expected to find was a missionary from the other side of the world—in her sauna.

Determined to stay, Eveliina will do whatever it takes—from shortcrust pastry to shorts—to send the man of God packing. This island’s too small for them both.

Adam Carter, however, is not about to leave. 

Will he be able to resist her temptations? 

Can she withstand his prayers?

Be sure to follow this blog tomorrow at Zoe McCarthy in Southwestern Virginia, USA where we’ll look at Marion’s formula to keep readers turning the pages.

There will be an eBook of Helsinki Sunrise up for grabs today. To be entered into the draw, please leave a comment with your email address before September 19th.

Numerous eBooks of Helsinki Sunrise will be given away on the blog tour, so take a journey to each of the stops and leave a comment. Don’t forget to include your email address.

Helsinki Sunrise will be available to purchase from Pelican Book Group,, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.

Watch the Helsinki Sunrise book trailer on YouTube.
Watch the Passport to Romance book trailer on YouTube.

Marion Ueckermann’s passion for writing was sparked in 2001 when she moved to Ireland with her husband and two sons. Since then she has published devotional articles and stories in Winners, The One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter (Tyndale House Publishers), and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven, and her debut novelette, Helsinki Sunrise (White Rose Publishing, a Pelican Book Group imprint, Passport to Romance series).
Marion blogs for International Christian Fiction Writers and Beauty for Ashes. She belongs to Christian Writers of South Africa and American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives in Pretoria East, South Africa in an empty nest with her husband and their crazy black Scottie, Wally.

Connect with Marion Ueckermann:

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Permission to use images obtained.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer

A fascinating history, the power of love, the gripping reality of all that is good and evil in the human condition. This book has it all.

I intended to skim this novel, just to do a quick review, then go back and read it later, but, as usual with Sigmund Brouwer’s books, I found I couldn’t do that. The characters gripped me and drew me into the story from the first page. I know the beautiful prose and skilful story-telling in this story will stay with me long after I’ve stayed up into the wee hours tonight savouring it. My only complaint – those final two words, The End.