Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Christmas Book Giveaway with Mary Alford

        Christmas blessings, my fellow readers! So many exciting things
happening around the Diamond Mine. As I write, snow is flurrying through my glass doors. Heehee, shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but I LOVE snow!

And, I love giving things away! Mary O. won my last interview's book giveaway with Ann H. Gabhart on Sept. 9th. Also, our $25 B&N Gift Card has found a home with a lucky reader, Roxanne C., and I personally am deep in the midst of planning SO MANY BOOK SWAG giveaways on my own website, I can’t begin to name them! And you are definitely invited to be a part of that. See details below the interview.

But, I digress. Yet I don’t. Because our guest this week, author Mary Alford, is giving away not just a book, but a Christmas book! How fitting is that? Covert Amish Christmas is this week's giveaway. Check it out:


Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas! So, without further ado, lets turn our sleighs toward Mary Alford’s interview.

PT:  Season greetings, Mary! So happy to have you this week. I have my fireplace DVD on. Come settle by the fake fire and tell us the basics, your background and your genre.

MA: I write Christian and Amish Suspense for Love Inspired Suspense. I was a bookworm for as long as I can remember. I devoured every book that interested me at our public library. Growing up on Nancy Drew, Little House on the Prairie and Hardy Boys to name a few. From there, I graduated to Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney’s tales of suspense and romance. When I was a “tween”, I decided to write my own story because I was so sure I knew exactly how to do it. Wrong! It was filled with cliches and sappy romance, but it lit a fire in me that did not die through my teenage years and into adulthood. I tried my hand at different genres, but what I loved reading the most were Christian and Amish suspense. And so, I found my home there.

In 2012, I entered a contest through Love Inspired Suspense entitled, Speed Writing. I was chosen to pitch, then Emily Rodmell requested a partial, then a full, and in December of 2012, I received my first contract with Love Inspired Suspense. Forgotten Past was published in 2014. Since then, I’ve published 10 books through Love Inspired Suspense. The last 3 have been Amish Suspense. In addition, I am an Indie author of several Christian suspense novels. And in 2022, my first Amish Suspense will be published through Revell. 

PT: Wow! Amazing. What a way to begin. I’m sure being chosen was like a gift. Such a fitting story in this gift-giving season. So, do you have a main reason/theme/mantra of writing? Include both Amish/Contemporary if you can.

MA: I think my love for both Christian Suspense and Amish drives me to write in these two genres. I learned early on to write what I loved to read, and it has served me well.

 PT: Are there any characters in your books that resemble you most in personality? What about in Covert Amish Christmas? Or are there any scenes in the book that are taken from reality?

MA: I put a little of myself into every character I write. I cannot say it is one particular trait, but more like how they react to situations they are thrown into. Victoria Kauffman, in Covert Amish Christmas, in particular. And I find my characters usually share my love for coffee and cooking.

 PT: Where did you get the idea for your Covert Amish Christmas?

MA: I love stories involving spies. There is just something about the danger they face that makes for a great book. Covert Amish Christmas is about a former CIA agent who is being hunted by the people she once worked for because of something they believe she knows about a failed mission in Afghanistan. What better contrast for the dangerous world of espionage, than the peaceful Amish community of West Kootenai, Montana, right? And a hero that doesn’t come from a military or intelligence background. Aaron Shetler is a simple Amish furnituremaker who refuses to let bad guys take Victoria’s life. And because of his willingness to help, a love story is born.     

PT: Ah, sounds like the perfect novel to curl up with under a fuzzy, snowflake blanket. What’s the next project you are working on?

MA: Covert Amish Christmas introduces the reader to Aaron Shetler, the oldest of 5 Amish brothers who will be featured in additional upcoming Love Inspired books. The next book, Shielding the Amish Witness, comes out in April of 2021 and features Eli Shetler’s story. And in 2022, my first book from Revell will be released. It is an Amish Suspense, and I am extremely excited to get it into the hands of my readers.   

PT: Exciting! Any special plans you yourself have for this year’s Christmas/or a gift your planning?

MA: As I’m writing this, I’m preparing to decorate the house for the holiday. Usually, I am struggling with a deadline around the Christmas holiday, so it sometimes feels like I miss out on some of the beauty of the season. But not this year. I plan to enjoy every moment of the season. That, to me, is a gift.  

PT: Yes. That is one thing this year has taught me. Time to enjoy every moment of life. Now, my favorite. It's like yanking down your stocking and finding all the little surprise trinkets inside! Tell 5 things quick about you that have nothing to do with writing.

MA: I am a grandmother of three, a pianist, a HUGE coffee drinker, a want-to-be crafter, and a sometimes-successful gardener. 

PT: Let me ask you a very important question. Do you have a Bible verse that is your current favorite, one that speaks to you right now?

MA: My favorite verse of the Bible is John 14:1-3

 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

What an amazing promise that Jesus Himself is preparing a place for us in heaven. I love that.

PT: I love that verse too, Mary. It speaks peace to my heart in this turbulent time. Thank you so much for stopping by the Mine and sharing your news and exciting giveaway!

To enter the contest, please leave a comment AND your email address. If you don't leave an email address, you will be not have a chance to win.

Also: please go to peggytrotter.com and sign up for my newsletters and automatically be entered for all my 2021 Book Swag Giveaways!


Want to know more about author Mary Alford? You've come to the right place:


2-time USA Today Bestselling Author, Mary Alford, loves giving her readers the un-expected, whether it be in a rugged mountain setting or a peaceful Amish community.  

Her titles have appeared on the USA Today Bestselling List, Publisher’s Weekly Bestselling List, and have been finalists in the Daphne Du Maurier award of excellence, The Beverly, The Maggie, and The Selah Awards.  

Mary lives in Texas with her husband, two very spoiled cats, and a sweet rescue dog name Cody. Mary is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Face-book and Twitter or any social platforms listed at www.maryalford.net.


Covert Amish Christmas:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Covert-Amish-Christmas-Inspired-Suspense-ebook/dp/B086XFR3SS/ref=sr_1_2?crid=32OGNHWSCDJL1&dchild=1&keywords=covert+amish+christmas+by+mary+alford&qid=1606576343&s=books&sprefix=covert+amish+christmas%2Cstripbooks%2C844&sr=1-2

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/covert-amish-christmas-mary-alford/1136826763?ean=9781335403155

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/covert-amish-christmas


Mary’s Website: https://maryalford.net 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaryAlfordAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/maryalford13

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7235798

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mary-alford

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/maryjalfordauth/_created/

Wednesday, November 25, 2020


Because of these crazy times, I got to meet today's guest in an online writing group. Tabitha Bouldin is a delight to visit with online. One day we may get to visit face to face. In the meantime please welcome her on The Diamond Mine.

Mishaps Off the Mainland

All Mel wants is to run the business of her dreams

Tabitha Bouldin has a bachelor's degree in creative writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has been writing since 2015. When she's not homeschooling her kids, you'll find her curled up with a book. Tabitha's genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart.

Tabitha: I'm so excited to be on the Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction today! Thank you for inviting me. Renette I'm always curious about other authors, and reading interviews is something of a hobby, so it feels a bit weird to be on this side of the computer screen.

Renette: I'm so blessed you could join me today Tabitha. Sit back and relax, just like on our zoom calls. I know you will bless us all here today. I'm already blessed by you joining me. Life is a journey, so is our writing. What personal journey did you take while writing Mishaps Off the Mainland?

Tabitha: My personal journey was the realization of a dream, joining a team of authors, and having a book contract (okay, maybe two dreams). I learned that I had shifted focus from my main goal (writing for God) and had started chasing that elusive feeling of validation. I’ll be honest, I love being told I’ve done a good job. Doesn’t everyone? And there’s nothing wrong with a little validation. But I had reached a point where I needed it. I wanted praise and all the ‘atta girl’ accolades. Through the journey of writing Mishaps off the Mainland I realized that my desires for more were in contrast with God’s order to WAIT.

Renette: I think we all like getting those accolades. But being in tune with GOD is the best validation we can have.  Tough lessons. Do you have a life verse?


Tabitha: This verse chose me this year, and I’ve since then made it my life verse. I love the constant reminder that God is with us and He will never fail us.



 Renette: A powerful verse indeed. Other than GOD, who has had the biggest influence on your life?

 Tabitha: I have amazing parents, so I have to say they’ve both been great life influencers. My dad’s also my pastor, and he’s been a preacher since I was eight. Both my parents live a godly life and have done so since my early years. Their influence and seeing them overcome life’s obstacles with God by their side, helped me to seek out God for myself.

 Renette: I love to hear stories about wonderful Godly parents.  Along the same line who has had the biggest influence on your writing? 

Tabitha: Writing has been a God-driven gift since day one. There are plenty of authors I love and many people who cheer me on during this journey, but without that constant nudge from above, I never would have penned the first story, much less all the ones that came after. I never sought out writing, and honestly, the idea of being a writer never crossed my mind until God put the desire in my heart and a story at my fingertips.

 Renette: GOD reminded me once I retired of the dream to write.  It is all for Him. I am so glad you followed His leading and can’t wait to read Mishaps off the Mainland. It sounds so fun. Speaking of fun what and where is your favorite way to relax?

Tabitha: I love going for a drive to our state park. If my husband is with me, he drives so I can take pictures along the way. If it’s just me, I usually head over to the waterfalls and spend a few hours snapping photos. There’s something so peaceful and relaxing in photography, especially when I’m working with landscapes. The colors, the motion, everything about it is soothing and helps me unwind. This is one I took last fall. 

 Renette: Beautiful photo. Waterfalls are my favorite. Think of the stories they could tell. The sound is so relaxing. Watching the water flow over the rocks reminds me of how we are molded and shaped. Did this story surprise you in any way?

Tabitha: As a pantser (a writer who doesn’t plan but writes by the seat of their pants) my stories often throw a curveball or two at some point during the writing. And while I can’t tell you exactly how this story surprised me (cause who wants spoilers?!) I will say that Mel’s journey took her down a path I didn’t expect. Through her journey, I learned that sometimes God says WAIT when we ask a question that seems to only need a YES or NO. I am not a patient person. It’s one of my many flaws. And those moments of WAIT are the equivalent of holding back a thoroughbred after you’ve already opened the gate.

 Renette: Wait is a hard one. I like your comparison of a racehorse at the gate. Wait, when is your most productive brainstorming time?

Tabitha: Early mornings are when the house is quiet, but I’ll be honest, I do love my sleep. If it wasn’t for the alarm going off to wake up my husband for work, there’s no doubt I would miss out on my best brainstorming. Just hand over a cup of coffee—or two—stick an ink pen and notebook in my hands and I’m ready to go…most of the time. Maybe another cup of coffee first.

 Renette: I’m more of a night owl. God makes us all so different. It is amazing. This has been so fun. I’m excited to get your book, Mishap off the Mainland. Hope everyone here will grab a copy.

Tabitha: Thank you again for having me today. It’s a blessing to look back and answer these questions since they refresh all those wonderful emotions and thrills that come from writing.

Thank You again for joining me at The Diamond Mine.

May you be blessed with His SONshine.

Renette Steele

Lady SONshine

 You can find Tabitha Bouldin here.







 All Mel wants is to run the business of her dreams.

Melody Carmichael’s mobile pet grooming business might sink before it can sail when a favorite pet escapes her care. Doggie escape-artist, Daphne, got a taste of freedom, and the Afghan hound refuses to be found.

Enter Zeke Solomon. Desperate to bring the dog home for his grandmother, Zeke steps in to save the day.

And working together with Zeke would be a snap—if they could just find the dumb dog.

Zeke is desperate to prove himself worthy of the Solomon name and step out from his father's shadow. With his father breathing down his neck and demanding he return to the company business; Zeke must decide whether confronting the man he admires most is worth the risk of alienation.

Everything’s falling apart, and Mel’s dream transforms into a nightmare. She thought this was what God wanted for her life, but can you blame her for second-guessing everything?

Was it all just a mistake?

Mishaps off the Mainland is the fifth “Merriweather book” in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

 Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle: https://amzn.to/3pgh3yR

For signed paperbacks, contact me directly.