John Armistead, an ordained minister, is an award-winning author, artist, and journalist. "I have been writing fiction since high school," Armistead says, "and painting since childhood."

A former kindergarten and high school teacher, Armistead has pastored churches in California, Hawaii and Mississippi and was the religion editor for the Northeast Daily Journal in Tupelo. Currently, he is pastor of Unity Presbyterian Church in Plantersville, Miss.

"I have always loved stories," Armistead says. "Like every Southern writer of my generation, I remember sitting on the front porch and hearing my great-aunts and grandmother talk of people and events from long past days. I can also remember beginning to make up my own stories, daydreaming, as it were, when I was in grammar school. That's still the way I make up stories today."

Armistead is the author of three mystery novels, "A Legacy of Vengeance," "A Homecoming for Murder," and "Cruel as the Grave." His novel for young people, "The $66 Summer," was named by the New York Public Library as one of the best books for teenagers published in 2000. His novel, "The Return of Gabriel," is used in many schools throughout the nation in teaching about the civil rights era.

He holds degrees from Mississippi College (BA, English), the University of Mississippi (MA, Classics), Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv), and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (DMin). He has also studied at the Graduate Theological Union of Berkeley, Sorrento Linque International Language Institute in Sorrento, Italy, and the Art Students League of New York.

Armistead is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the Authors Guild, the Portrait Society of America, and the Mississippi Art Colony. He lives with his family in Tupelo, Mississippi.

"There is a quote from Pliny cherished by both artists and writers, 'Nulla dies sine linea,'" said Armistead. "It means, 'Never a day without a line.' That's my credo too. For me, it applies to both writing and art."

You can learn more about John Armistead on his website www.johnarmistead.com.