Guest Blog – Lessons from a Teenage Entrepreneur

This morning, 18-year-old Katie Schisler, would like to share what she has learned by running her own business. I’m sure you will enjoy the wit, wisdom, and advice.


When I was 13 years old, I started working as an employee at my family’s snow cone stand in the resort town of St. Michael’s, Maryland. I am now 18, and for the last two years, I have been running the stand as my own business. I handle all of the financials and hire my own employees. I also still work at the stand myself. Here are 5 things that I have learned as a young, small business owner.

1. Conversation skills.

Tips are a huge deal. That is the only money that you make that goes straight into your pocket (I do pay myself and my employees, but tips are walk-away-with cash). So how do you maximize your tip amounts? You talk to your customers! With a smile that says, “I’m happy to help you,” it’s always nice to ask where they’re from and what brings them to the area. And if someone happens to say that they are a local, encourage them to come back, and tell them that you can’t wait to see them next time. Customers are much less likely to give a good tip to someone who is unfriendly, or acts like that is the last place they want to be. Extra tip: it also helps to wear a hat or t-shirt with the name of the college you plan to attend. It’s a real conversation starter, and you’d be amazed at how many people say they or their relatives went there.

2. The value of a dollar.

Everything costs money, and at the beginning of the season there is a good chance that you are going to be in debt. Whether you owe your grandfather money for buying you flavors and spoons, or you owe your only employee $8 an hour for a weekend where she only sold $30 worth of product, you are going to have expenses that you need to pay off. This is when you need to learn not to panic because some weekends will earn you a lot more than that. Also, everything adds up. If I were to sit here every weekend eating snow cone after snow cone, eventually I am going to run out of flavoring that no one was paying for.

3. Patience is a virtue.

As I write this, it’s already noon, and I have not made a single sale. Town had so many people in it while I was driving to work, so where is everyone and why don’t they want snow cones? I might as well close early. But then, as 1:30 rolls around, my first customer approaches me. He was eating lunch at noon and had decided to wait until after lunch to come get snow cones for dessert. By the time that customer is finished paying, I have another customer waiting in line behind them. Before I know it, the line is halfway down the sidewalk. After that, it begins to slow down a bit, but customers still trickle in until closing time. Closing early is only worth it on days when it is raining no matter how bored you are.

4. You form relationships.

I live in a tourist town, so a good amount of my customers are tourists. However, ever since we opened all those years ago, we have had a small amount of locals who have followed us from Talbot Street to the Maritime Museum to our current location on Willow Street. Whether it’s “The Chocolate Guy” or “The Egg Custard Lady,” I can always count on seeing a familiar face during my day at work. Other than occasionally seeing them at Church, I really didn’t know these people before I started this business. This kind of support is what encourages me to keep coming to work every weekend.

5. It’s really not THAT bad.

Yes, on days that I have work, it is very hard to get me out of bed. But with an occasional groan and grumble about how much I don’t want to go, I get up and go to work. In all honesty, there is nothing bad about working during the day; I actually really enjoy it. The dread, however, comes from the before and after of the job. Every morning I have to lift heavy coolers full of Ice into my car, put the full flavor bottles in my car, drive to work, drag out the stand, move the coolers and flavors onto the stand, and do the tedious job of making the counter look presentable. Then, at the end of the day, I have to put the coolers back in the car, put everything that was on the counter away, make sure everything is clean, put the flavors in the car, drag the stand back to where we keep it, go home, then then refill all of the flavor bottles. THAT is what I dread every morning when I wake up for work. Like I said, working here is actually kind of nice once everything is set up. I thoroughly enjoy interacting with the customers, and when I have no customers it’s nice to sit in the sun and read a book. I just have to push through the annoying jobs that come before and after working.

So, if you or your child is thinking of starting a serious, worth-while and sustainable business, go ahead! Encourage your kids to get out of bed and go to work. There’s nothing like being your own boss, and the responsibility they will learn from it will help them for the rest of their lives.


What I was writing about one year ago this week: To All the Muses in My Life.

Things I’ve read this week that are worth sharing:  Had a Job Interview but No Callback? Here’s What to Do Next Time;  Interview: The husband of Chiara Corbella on his wife’s sacrifice and possible canonization.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages.  She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me  and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy’s most recent novel, Island of Miracles, is now on sale.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at and at

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me(2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)

Meet Author, Alexa Jacobs

A dinosaur.That’s what my first book was about. At least, I think. I close my eyes and I vividly remember this paper book in my hands, cut out in the shape of a dinosaur head. Along the back of his head was a line of hole punches with purple yarn holding the entire book together.

I don’t remember what the book was about or what elementary grade I was in when I created it. I know it passed through my hands when I moved out of my childhood home and unearthed the boxes in my grandparents basement. You know the one, full of the things that seem to get held onto for a lifetime. I love boxes like that. Everything that makes us US is represented. I’ve tried so hard to put at least one thing, big or small into a box for my own children every year to have one day. When they grow up, and they move out and they unearth those boxes they will see; this was the best of them. Pieces and parts of personality while they were still forming. Magic, mid-creation.

I had no idea what the dinosaur book was about, my immediate memory was of something completely different than the story. I remembered the typewriter.

I think it belonged to my great-grandparents because I simply cannot imagine my grandmother making use of one. She had the most amazing penmanship I’ve ever seen. I used to stare at the mail, or a check she had written, or even a grocery list and wonder how I could get my handwriting to look anything like hers. Time and practice, she’d say. But that’s a post for another day…she had this typewriter collecting dust in the basement. Black, shiny metal with small round circle buttons standing on skinny tall typing keys. It made this glorious old fashioned sound that my little brain could not get enough of. I loved the click, clack, click as my fingers chose the right letters. I loved the way the words appeared on the crisp white paper in their slightly worn looking patterns. I specifically remember stopping many times and running my fingers along the top where the little metal typebars laid perfectly aligned until a key was selected and it would fly up and hit the ink ribbon in front of the paper.

I think I was the only ten-year-old girl who was thrilled with a stack of clean white paper. I can still feel it in my hands as I carefully rolled it into the platen and sat back for that second before I would begin typing.

Once upon a time…

That’s where my story began; in my grandparents basement writing a multitude of amazingly forgettable stories (which they kept) on an unforgettable piece of machinery (which they did not keep).

I’m still obsessed with the memory of this old typewriter. Recently I was paroozing the isles at TJ Maxx (I know, I wish it was somewhere more bohemian for you, but TJ Maxx is pretty amazing) I came across a silver framed black and white print of an old fashioned Underwood typewriter. It looks exactly like the memory in my mind, so now it hangs in my office and I smile every time I see it. The memory of sentences and sentences, paragraphs and pages of what was no doubt the pure nonsense of a child still lays fresh in my mind.

You never know what is going to introduce you to your passions of life, and you certainly never know when. I look at my oldest child and think that I knew I wanted to be a writer at his age, deep down. It wasn’t loud enough yet, but it was there. I look at my youngest child and think at his age, I had no idea. The magic, for me, happened somewhere in the middle. Everything they get excited about these days, I wonder, is this their passion?

Becoming a writer was one of the most natural experiences in my life. The click, clack, click of the keyboard under my fingers is a lullaby to me. There was nothing hard, nothing challenging. For the first time in my life, I was able to turn that part of my personality all the way up. Becoming an author…now that was hard work.

Enter the plotlines, and formulas, and grammar rules, and genres, and the classes and the marketing, and blogging and the metadata (seriously, what the hell is metadata?) and…oh, for the love of an oxford comma. Sixteen different times I have thought that the book I am currently working on is absolute crap.

But then something amazing happened. I walked into a room of writers who I have spent years admiring. I’ve read some of their book, and can only dream of having stories as richly told as theirs. From the minute I entered the room, I started backpedaling in my own career. I found it very hard to stare a writer in face, a writer who I know has sold hundreds of thousands of books, and say to them that I am a writer too. I’m not a writer, you’re a writer. I’m just….a dreamer.

The amazing part that I mentioned, happened when they admitted that they are just dreamers too. Every single writer I met that night asked me what my book was about, and what I want out of writing. They asked me what my passions were, and were happy to share moments of similarity. I was thrilled beyond belief to hear an award winning novelist admit she had been up all night because the last 2700 words she wrote were absolute trash and she just couldn’t figure out how to get from point A to point B in her plotting wheel, noting she may just kill everyone off in chapter nine and open a bottle of wine.

What I took away that evening, besides an amazingly ugly little stuffed Santa from the “re-gifted” exchange, was to always be a dreamer. Always remember that writing is a passion I chose. Don’t think abut the plotlines, and formulas, and grammar rules. All of that can be worked out. All of that can be learned. What can’t be learned, or faked, is what I hear when I hear the click, clack, click of the keyboard. This is my song.

Sing it loud, sing it proud.

…and the award winning Authors cheered me on. ME. Because they know the words to that song, they hear it too.

My passion is writing, but what’s yours? Do you find yourself in love with an old trunk full of travel stickers? Does it make you want to see the world? Do you find yourself flipping through your grandmother’s tattered and torn recipe book, stopping to study splatter marks from a sauce that boiled over twenty years before you were born? Does it make you want to feed your soul? Do you find yourself seeing the world one captured moment at a time through your camera? Does it make want to freeze time, if only for a second, so you can have THAT feeling forever? Do you dance, do you sing? Do you count your dollar bills over and over, organizing and planning on charts for the future not because you need to but because you love the way the numbers come together?

Sing it loud, sing it proud and remember that we are all dreamers. Think back in your life, and you’ll find it. What would I find if I opened up the childhood box that represents the best of you? I was a child when I first heard my calling…but it took me three decades to listen.

What would you hear if you stopped and listened? What is the click, clack, click sound of your heart?


Alexa Jacobs was born and raised in the suburban outskirts of Baltimore, and now lives with her husband and sons in central Maryland. Her debut novel, Rising Ridge, has been hailed by critics as a relatable tale of a young woman’s journey into first love and new adulthood. She is an active member in both the Maryland Romance Writers and the Romance Writers of America.

In her second novel, The Dreamer, Jacobs explores Contemporary Romance with Suspense. The Dreamer will be available in September 2016.

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Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

DSC09019It’s almost funny, the things we will do to spend just a small amount of special time with the ones we love, and how we truly come to appreciate those times over the years.  Christmas is one of those times.  Christmas in our house was always special, always a wonderful get-together with our large, extended family.  When I was very young, my parents and I would spend the entire Christmas holiday with my grandparents on the Wicomico River in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.  We always attended the Christmas Eve vigil at the church where my parents were married (which was built by my grandfather).  While it was just the five of us there on Christmas morning, throughout the day, family would arrive until the tiny house was bursting at the seams with all of the people, presents, and holiday cheer.  Dinner was a festive event with family from all over Southern Maryland popping in and out to exchange gifts and greetings.

Once my brothers arrived, and there were more cousins on the scene than just my cousin, Terri, and myself, we all stayed home for Christmas.  All of us, that is, except for my grandparents.  They spent Christmas Eve with my Uncle Gene and Aunt Joan, had breakfast on Christmas morning with my Aunt Debbie and Uncle Karl, arrived at our house for lunch and an afternoon of egg nog and present opening, and then traveled to my Uncle Butch and Aunt Pinky’s house for dinner.  We all lived an hour or more apart, and I can only imagine how exhausting that was for them; but I don’t think they would have traded it for the world.  After my grandfather went to his eternal Christmas dinner at the Lord’s table, my grandmother would come to our house, arriving just before Thanksgiving and staying through New Year’s.  My aunts took turns hosting a family dinner on Christmas Day.

After I got married, things changed again.  Ken and I go to Mom and Dad’s and spend Christmas Eve with my parents and my brothers’ families, going to Mass and then enjoying dinner and exchanging gifts.  We return home late that night, and still today, the girls run up to bed while Ken and I visit with Santa.  On Christmas Day, Ken’s family comes here for Christmas dinner and presents.  We take lots of pictures (of course), and enjoy our time with family.

Christmas in our family is kind of like Max’s experience with the Wild Things.  We travel across the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, just as I did as a child and my grandparents did later.  And in my mind today, as we go, I travel through night and day and in and out of weeks and over a year through all of my memories of Christmases past.  Every year, when the gift exchange begins, it’s definitely like being surrounded by wild things!  Sometimes, amidst all of that togetherness, they even roar their terrible roars and gnash their terrible teeth, but then we remember who the King of all things is, and a hush falls over all of us as we contemplate the true meaning of Christmas.

It’s a lot of work, planning and traveling for Christmas, making sure we have all of the presents, and remembering, while at Mass, to be present for the Lord.  But I wouldn’t change any of it.  After all, at Christmas, we all want to be where someone loves us best of all and where we smell good things to eat, so we give up whatever seemingly important things we are doing to head home.  We sail back over a year, and in and out of weeks, and through a day and into the night of our very own Christmas where we find the comforts of home and family waiting for us, and it’s always worth the trip.



Amy Schisler is the author of two mystery / suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores and online.  Amy’s newest mystery, Picture Me, was released in August of 2015 and is available in stores, at Amazon, and at Barnes & Noble.  Both novels are also available for Kindle, Nook, and iBooks.  Amy’s children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad, may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at and on her web site

A Shore Thing

DSC02536Is it just me, or is there something special about this time of year?  The days are still warm, but the nights are crisp and cool.  Routines are being established (or re-established), bedtimes are earlier, my favorite shows are coming back on TV, the holidays are just around the corner; here on the Shore, the crabs are fatter and tastier, and I could go on and on.  Spring might be the time that the world renews itself, but fall is my time to renew and reflect.  It’s when I start thinking about and writing my newest novel.  Truthfully, it’s when I do my best writing.  It’s when my head seems to be clearer, and my mind is ready to focus.  I think a lot of it has to do with the girls returning to school.  We are all ready to get back to business.  But there’s no question that a good part of it has to do with living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland at this most beautiful time of year.

I think that’s why I set Picture Me here on the Shore in the fall.  It’s the time and place for new beginnings, a time to experience beauty that is awe-inspiring.  We may not have mountains and famous fall foliage, but we have sunrises over the Chesapeake and its tributaries that catch the autumn colors and reflect back hues of orange and red that set the water on fire. There’s no doubt that the Eastern Shore sunrise in the fall can’t be beat; and I meant it when I said the crabs are fatter and tastier.  Those who have only had their share of the “beautiful swimmer” on Memorial Day just don’t know what they’re missing.

Julie Lawson spent a lot of time photographing the Shore in the fall, and I’m having fun re-tracing her steps as I try to capture with my lens the scenes that were described in the book as she captured them with hers.  The companion Facebook page will highlight the pictures that I feel do her and this area justice.  Stop by and take a look, and you will agree that there is no place like this anywhere else in the world.

So I as settle back today and write about Italy in my new novel, I will do so sitting in my sunroom looking out at the trees in my Eastern Shore backyard.  They haven’t started changing colors yet, but they will soon, and I will enjoy the show as I spend my days gazing at the ever-changing kaleidoscope at my backdoor.

We should be able to get in at least one more boat ride before the air turns too cold.  It won’t be just the end of one season for us, it will be the beginning of the next season and all of the promise that it holds.  It’s a sure thing and a shore thing that we won’t want to miss.  Life here on the Shore is more than good, and I challenge you to find any place better.  Yeah, good luck with that.

Amy Schisler is the author of two mystery / suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks. Amy’s newest mystery, Picture Me, was released in August of 2015 and is available in stores and online.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad, may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at and on her web site

My Best Friend

1016935_10152444890701349_6188218071191815940_nI consider myself an extremely lucky person.  I have a wonderful husband, Ken, to whom I can talk about anything.  I have a remarkable group of women on whom I can count without question – Debbie, Anne, Ann, Julie, Linda, Angie, Alix, Kimberly, Trissy, Judy, and my sister-in-law, Lisa.  As my daughters grow and mature, we are developing that wonderful kind of friendship that I know will keep us close forever.  But above all of this, I am so lucky that my best friend truly is my mother.

From the time I was a little girl, my mother and I had a special kind of relationship.  Maybe it’s because I was the only girl, and we banded together amid the high level of testosterone in our home.  Maybe it’s because my mother, grandmother, aunt, and I were all just very close.  Mom’s friends always said I was very mature and treated me like one of the gals, so maybe that part of it.  Whatever the reason, I have always seen my mother as both my mother and my friend.

This was especially so after I got married.  Moving two hours from home and living in an area where I had no relatives and no friends was very hard on me.  It was the winter of 1993-1994 when the entire Eastern Shore was covered with ice and snow and all normal life came to a screeching halt.  Ken was stuck in Annapolis and unable to get home for almost a week.  I was in our new home with our new puppy, and I was miserable.  It was my mother who talked me off of the ledge, so to speak.  I don’t know how many long-distance fees we racked up that month, but Ken never complained.  Even he could see that Mom is my lifeline – the person who keeps me holding on and inspires me.  When Rebecca was born, my mother spent two weeks with me helping me get settled.  I don’t know what I would have done without her.  I firmly believe that is why Mom and Rebecca have such a strong bond today.  Actually the same can be said for all of my girls – Mom was there when they came into the world and was there for their first two weeks of life, and she’s still there for them today.

Over the years, Mom and I have always tried to spend some special time together.  We’ve taken trips with just the two of us to Williamsburg, Lancaster, Asheville, Niagara, and other places where we could just relax and have fun together.  Now that Mom works as my assistant, we have even more reason to travel together.  This past weekend, we drove from Maryland to Georgia for the Decatur Book Festival.  It was a great weekend where we met other authors, sold my books, and gained more knowledge about promoting my craft.  But the best parts of the trip were the times we spent just talking.  There’s a lot of road between St. Michaels and Atlanta, but we never found ourselves with a lack of conversation.  Whether we were talking politics, religion, family matters, or pop culture nonsense, we enjoyed every minute that we were together.

Someday I hope that I can have the same type of relationship with my own daughters.  They already know that they can come to me with anything, and they usually do.  Sometimes they preface what they have to say with something like “I need to talk to you as a Mom,” or “I need advice from a friend.”  I like to think that they have watched my mother and me over the years and understand how someone can be both a mother and friend.  I hope that I can be whatever they need me to be for them.  I don’t think I will have a problem.  I’ve had a great teacher.

Amy Schisler is the author of two mystery / suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks. Amy’s newest mystery, Picture Me, was released in August of 2015 and is available in stores and online.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad, may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at and on her web site

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

IMG_1878-1What a great night we had last night!  Yesterday evening, the Carpenter Street Saloon in St, Michaels, Maryland held a book launch party for my latest mystery, Picture Me.  What a success it was!  We had non-stop action for the entire two hours, and I sold an entire case of my new book plus several copies of my previously published works.  How blessed I am to live in such a great community!  And that has me thinking about how wonderful it is here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Remember the old Cheers theme song?

Sometimes you want to go

 Where everybody knows your name,

And they’re always glad you came;

You want to be where you can see,

Our troubles are all the same;

You want to be where everybody knows your name.

That’s what it’s like living here on the Shore, and while there are times when everyone knows everybody else’s business, I’ve decided that can be a good thing.  When somebody has something to celebrate, their neighbors are there with bells on.  When the community is stricken with grief, somebody always shows up with a pie, or a cake, or a casserole… whatever is needed to help with the situation.  The point is, we always have somebody to lean on, somebody to care for us, and somebody to help out when needed.

Having never lived in the city, I can’t speak for everyone, but I have a very strong feeling that things are just different when people are living high in their glass towers without the time or the desire to look out the window and see what’s going on in the world around them.  Whenever I’m in DC or NYC, I can’t help but notice that everyone is always looking down – at their phone or their newspaper or just their shoes.  There aren’t friendly smiles and waves to those they pass (my hand gets tired just driving down my street from all of the waves back and forth between myself and other drivers – even if we don’t know each other).  There just seems to be a disconnect between everyone in the city that you don’t find in small towns.

So those in the big cities can keep their flats and ritzy restaurants and high class stores.  I’ll take my favorite little shop, the Preppy Redneck, and the Carpenter Street Saloon any day.  And the next time I’m walking down the street, I’ll smile and wave and say hello to everyone.  That’s what we do here where everybody knows your name.

Amy Schisler is the author of two mystery / suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks. Amy’s next mystery, Picture Me, was released in August of 2015 and is available in stores and online.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site

My Favorite Story

Ken and Amy's Wedding33-001Recently, a friend of Morgan’s asked me to tell her the story of how Ken and I met.  I laughed when she said “It’s my favorite story.”  Apparently the girls have told the story to their friends, and they all find it so romantic.  I guess it is romantic, but to me, it’s just “our story.”  In honor of Ken’s birthday this coming Friday, I thought I’d share the tale with you.

The summer after I graduated from college, I was an attendee at a national political convention.  The very first day, the Maryland Delegation boarded a bus to the convention center.  I was alone and did not know a soul other than my mother’s dear friend, Joyce, who helped me gain a spot within the group.  I boarded the bus and watched the delegates and guests climb onto the bus and take their seats.  When a nice-looking young man started down the aisle, someone from the back called his name, and I recognized the young man – he attended the same college I had and was well-known on the Shore as the youngest person to ever be elected to the Maryland Legislature.  He happened to sit in front me, and never one to be shy, I tapped him on the shoulder and introduced myself as a fellow student at SU.  Though he laughs at it now and likes to deny it, Ken told me later that he knew that very instant that he was going to marry me.

For the rest of the week, every time I turned around, Ken was there.  He boarded the bus after I did, went to the same tourist attractions I visited, and was always waiting at the entrance of the convention center to “guide” me through security and onto the floor of the convention (of course, this was long before 9-11, and security was not what it is today).  Ken’s campaign manager, his former high school government teacher, was his guest at the convention.  Mr. Kleen (yes, that was his name, and he was tall and bald) has passed on since that week many years ago, but he loved to tell the tale of how he finally caught on to Ken’s “hurry up and wait” behavior that had the two of them arriving early each morning, only to sit and wait until Ken said it was time to board the bus.  Eventually Mr. Kleen realized what was going on and became part of the game to seek me out.

On the very last day of our trip, the three of us shared a taxi to the airport.  We were on different flights, but Ken had already come up with a plan to stay in touch.  In those days, there were no digital cameras, of course, so Ken suggested that we exchange addresses in order to share our pictures from the convention.  That began a period of letter writing in which we got to know each other from opposite sides of the state.  The first time my mother met Ken, she was sure that he was going to be some old man who had the hots for her daughter.  I guess I forgot to tell her that he was just a year older than I was.

Within three months, I knew I was in love.  On the night before Valentine’s Day, just seven months later, Ken proposed.  We were married just eight months later with special permission from my Priest to skip the one year wait period usually required by the Church.  After all, the election season would be in full swing soon, and we had to take advantage of the time we had.

This October, we will have been married for twenty-two years.  My, how time flies!  Soon our oldest daughter will graduate from college, and we will watch as some young man sweeps her off of her feet the way her father swept me off of mine.  Our beginning was every girl’s fantasy, our wedding was a true fairy tale kind of event, and our marriage has been what dreams are made of.  I can only imagine what the next fifty years will bring, but I know that we will happily share them together.

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks. Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.  Amy’s next mystery, Picture Me, will be released in August of 2015 and will be available in stores and online.

You may follow Amy at on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site

Is It Worth It?

snowconesThe dog days of summer are upon us, and in our family, that usually means one thing – snowcones!   For several years now, our family has owned and operated a snowcone business in the tiny, tourist town of St. Michaels on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  Ken and I support the business by maintaining the stand, ordering product, and financing the equipment; but the daily operations, inventory, record-keeping, etc. are all done by the girls.

I am often amazed by the number of children these days who do not have a summer job.  Our girls have been working the stand since Morgan was about nine years old.  And while it sounds like fun, it’s hard work.  The daily set-up itself is a real chore, and there’s no respite from the sun or heat.  On some days, the line of families stretches down the whole block, and whichever girl is working needs to keep moving hand over fist as quickly as she can to satisfy her waiting customers.  It’s demanding, boring on slow days, but overall, very rewarding.

Recently a girl in Morgan’s class called her spoiled because she owns both an iPad and iPhone.  Morgan rebuked her saying she paid for both items and pays the monthly fee with her own hard earned money.  When we travel, any and all souvenirs that the girls want, they have to buy.  The number one question they have to ask before making any purchase is “is it worth it?”

That’s the same question that Ken and I ask ourselves every spring when we dig out the machine and assess the shape of the cart.  The answer has always been a resounding yes.  Every time the girls deposit their money into the bank, they do so with the great satisfaction that they earned every penny of that money.  Every purchase is carefully thought out, and big items are saved for only by dividing up their earnings into savings and spending so that they are always putting at least half of the money away.

As with most things, the girls have grown up and are starting to move on.  This summer, Morgan does more babysitting than making snowballs, but she’s our backup when Katie can’t work.  Rebecca has worked for the past two summers at a law firm, gaining the experience she will need in her future career, but she, too, jumps in and works the stand when needed.  So while many of the other teens my girls know will be sitting by the pool this 4th of July weekend, my girls will be working hard.  Is it worth it?  Ask Rebecca tonight after she finalizes the purchase of her very first brand new car.  We think it’s worth every hard earned penny. But more importantly, it’s worth every lesson learned, every hot, sweaty day in the sun when not wanting to be there isn’t an option, and every time someone remarks on what the girls have and they can be satisfied in knowing that they earned it.  In a world where young people spend most of their time lazily lying around, playing video games, and doing things that get them into trouble, at least I know that my girls are learning the value of a dollar.  Yes, it’s worth it.

Larger Than Life

10-pics 5This Sunday is Father’s Day here in the States; and all over the nation, families will gather around the grill to celebrate their dear old dads.  For some, this will be a joyous first time celebration, and for others, it will be a bittersweet day of remembrance.  Mother’s Day has become such a commercial event with flowers, chocolates, and cards, but for many girls and women, there’s nobody in the world like our daddies.

I was so blessed to have two father figures to look up to when I was growing up.  One was my wonderful, supportive father, and the other was my larger than life grandfather.  A big man with piercing blue eyes and a hug for everyone, Granddad literally and figuratively stood above all the rest.  He was everyone’s friend, the one everyone counted on for help and guidance, and with only an 8th grade education, one of the smartest men I’ve ever known.  In my book, Crabbing With Granddad, I described him as “a large man, tall and muscular…. [with] skin the color of an old copper penny…. His hands were hard and calloused…. [but] to me, they were the gentlest hands in the whole world.”

We lost my grandfather to cancer when I was 18, but he will forever live on in my heart (and in my daughter, Morgan, who had his eyes and his name).  He was the life and breath of our family, and he will always be missed.  I know that my own father, when he reads this, will not ask why I have said all of these wonderful things about Granddad and not about him.  He will just nod with a smile and tears in his eyes and agree that Granddad touched his life, too, and became his best friend from the day he and Mom said “I do.”

Amy and Dad

But in saying that, I have to pause and tell you that my dad is quite special as well.  He is a man of deep and abiding faith, unfailing love, and endless support.  As I told him on my wedding day, he is the wind beneath my wings.

So to my grandfather in Heaven, my wonderful father, and my loving husband, I say happy Father’s Day.  May you always know how much you all are loved.

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site