Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Today I’m delighted to have Julie Cosgrove with us on the Rough Diamond Mine. However, this special diamond is neither rough nor unknown to many of us and she ranks in my five top-

favorite-must-read authors. I hope after today you’ll place her on your list of favorites too! Julie and I met at North Texas Christian Writers and became part of the roll call of DiAnn Mills Ripplers Authors. That was quite a few years ago.

Julie, in case someone has not read any of the Bunco Biddies Mysteries, tell us a little about them.

Thanks for the glowing introduction, DiAne. Yes, it was a few million words ago, wasn’t it? But let me give a brief summary of the Bunco Biddies Mysteries.

A group of twelve active, sort of quirky, senior citizens living in a senior community get together every Thursday for a pot luck dinner and to play Bunco, a dice game. When their quiet, rural retirement plans are invaded by crime, the ladies decide to help the police find out whodunnit. After all, they know their community better than anyone else.

Janie, the ring leader, is the widow of a renowned Austin, Texas police detective. Her son-in-law is the chief detective of Alamoville, the nearby town which is growing by leaps and bounds. Her power walking buddies, Ethel and Betsy Ann, also bring their sleuthing skills to the table.

Criminals beware. These gray-haired ladies are sharp, funny, and deadly serious about preserving their way of life.

I’ll second the motion for these off-the-charts comical ladies. Gives me hope that retirement life can be a blast. But how in the world did you come up with this idea? These mysteries are nothing like your other books. I love ‘em and so does my Florida life-long BFF who will read this interview and wonder where her book is.

My older sister, who knows I am a mystery buff, asked me why I didn’t write mysteries instead of suspense and romance. At a writer’s conference, I cornered an editor and asked her the formula for a cozy mystery. She said they involved amateur sleuths and are usually in a small town where everyone knows each other.

I’d recently had a book booth at a festival in a senior community in Texas with a little over two-thousand residents. Most lived independently in condos or garden homes, but others resided in assisted and full nursing care faculties on the property. Theses 55 plus communities are springing up all over the country. I asked the editor if that would suffice as the setting for a cozy and I couldn’t miss the twinkle in her eye
So, I went home, wrote up some synopses and the first few chapters of the first one, Dumpster Dicing, and sent it to her. Unfortunately, her publishing house didn’t contract with me, but my current publisher decided to step outside of the romance genre box and give me a contract for all three.

And Dumpster Dicing won an award, right?  

Yes, it did — Best Cozy Mystery set in Texas for 2017 by the Texas Association of Authors.

Woo Hoo! Congrats! But how did you come up with the titles?

I wanted each title to have something to do with the dice game, Bunco. Dumpster Dicing of course is a play on words. I hoped the title would clue the reader into the fact it is a mystery but also humorous. The title also describes the first murder.

Baby Bunco is one of ways to score in the game. Each table is given three dice, and each person at the table takes turns rolling them. The object is to roll as many of one particular number as you can. If you roll three ones in the first round, that’s a Bunco. If you roll three of any other number while rolling for ones, that is a Baby Bunco. In this book, a baby is found abandoned in a vacant condo’s bathtub. Not an everyday occurrence in a 55 plus community.

The third one, Threes, Sixes, & Thieves, derived from the fact that a roll of three sixes ends the Bunco game. But to title a faith-based novel, (Ahem) Three Sixes? Well… So, my publisher came up with this name. It continues the theme, gives a clue to the crime, and also contains alliteration like the other two titles.

I’ve read both and absolutely love ‘em! They’re all you say and so much more. I feel like I know each one of your characters personally.  Now, tell us about the third book, Threes, Sixes & Thieves.

Condos and apartments in Sunset Acres with three and six in their house numbers are targeted by burglars. Janie sees a pattern, though her son-in-law Chief Detective Blake Johnson isn’t convinced. Besides he is on administrative leave after his involvement in one of Janie’s unauthorized sleuths. Janie and the Bunco Biddies decide to watch their friend’s house who they believe might be next one to be robbed. It is, and there is a shootout, resulting in a manhunt. Throngs of outlying communities send in their forces to help, and they catch one of the thieves.

However, he is found hanged in his jail cell. And no one can identify exactly who the arresting officer was. Blake’s partner, Mitch, who is back from medical leave, is put in charge. Janie isn’t so sure he is doing a good job tracking down the other thieves, or that the one they caught really hung himself.

All can be found in paperback and eBook on Amazon. 

To make sense of your series, does the reader have to read the books in order?

Not at all. Each is a story unto itself. There is a development of characters and their ongoing lives, but clues to that is revealed in summary in each book. However, I hope they will be like potato chips—the reader isn’t satisfied with reading just one.

I can’t wait to get a copy and send to my Florida BFF. If it’s not in her Christmas package, I’ll be in big trouble. Anything else on the horizon?

I am contracted for Bunco Biddies #4, Until Dice Do Us Part. It will be out later in 2018, though I have not been given a date as of yet.

I am also starting a new contemporary cozy mystery series about three thirty-something ladies who become interested in researching their genealogies after studying who begat whom in the first Chapter of Matthew. In the process, they discover a few skeletons in the familial closet. The synopses for the first three books in the Begat Buddies Mysteries are being reviewed by a publishing house that showed great interest in them, and I am hopeful they will be contracted soon.

I have written the first in a crime mystery series set in the 1970’s in Austin after interviewing some retired APD detectives from that era. However, the publisher and I agreed to cancel my three-book contract, because writing about that era involved a plot with sex, alcohol and drugs. It didn’t fit her company’s guidelines, even though it is a redemptive story and the main detective is a believer. She has encouraged me to seek publication with someone else because she thinks they are sellable, and I respect her decision. So, The Case Files of Gabe McGammon have been shifted to the back burner for now.

And of course, I continue my day job as a digital missionary with Cru Canada editing and writing for their two websites, Issues I Face and The Life. With half the world now on the internet, it is the new mission field. It is exciting, and humbling to be a part of this ministry that right now reaches over a half-million people each month. To find out more, you can visit my website

Because it's Christmas, Julie is giving away an ebook of Threes, Sixes, and Thieves to one lucky responder to this interview. We'll be announcing the winner this coming Sunday afternoon. So be sure to leave Julie a comment and stay tuned to see if you've won!

Julie, as always, it’s been a pleasure to visit with you today and receive an update on what God’s doing in your life. My husband and I pray for you each day—and I’m delighted to hear there’s going to be a Book 4 in this series—and Book Five--Maybe? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

                                                                                         See y'all next time...Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Hi Diamond Mine fans. Julie B Cosgrove here. Today I have the privilege of introducing you to a multi-published author named Shellie Arnold.  

So tell us -  Who is Shellie Arnold (inquiring readers want to know)?

Hi Julie. Thanks for having me. I’m a wife, home school mother of three, mother-in-law to Kate (whom I adore), and a lover of movies, Chili Cheese Fritos, power tools, and cuddly critters. We have one dog, two cats, and three bunnies.

Chili Cheese Fritos takes me back to hosting the snack stand as a band parent at football games. 
Good for you for homeschooling. So, tell us, with all you have on your plate, why do you write Christian fiction?

Actually, writing Christian fiction wasn’t on my radar until 2006. Prior to 2002, writing non-fiction about marriage was my goal. I hoped to share everything I was learning the hard way about marriage. From August 2002 to May 2005, I faced a near-debilitating illness that halted all my writing dreams. After God healed me, my husband and I both prayed for eleven months before I began writing anything. I tell people God healed my brain, then turned my head to fiction. I said to God, “That’s not what we were doing.” His response, “That’s what we’re doing now.” So, I write novels about the perfect storms in marriage—what happens when my weaknesses hit yours head-on, and we’re both left wondering if anything can be salvaged. Then I speak and write other non-fiction works about marriage, too.

 Do you write anything else?

I have a blog that I’m sort of re-starting now. Right now, I’m finishing my fourth novel, then I hope to buckle down to write some romances. I also hope to pursue publishing my first non-fiction work next year, as well as launching online courses for those who want to strengthen their marriage.

Tell us briefly about these three novels  you have written and if they stand alone or are sequels you have to read in order?

My first three novels are the first three books in The Barn Church series, a series that focuses on couples who attend The Barn Church in Rowe City, Alabama. Each story highlights a specific couple within that church body. 

My first novel, The Spindle Chair, is the story of Pierce and Laurie Crane. They’re a youngcouple who is desperate to have a child, but they have no idea how their marriage will be threatened when God grants that request.

 Book two is Sticks and Stones, about Rick and Julie Matthews. They’ve been married almost twenty years and have a special needs child. But coping with that unexpected blessing had some negative effects on their relationship that won’t be ignored after Julie is injured in an accident. 

Abide With Me is book three and looks at Nicholas and Angelina Rousseau, a couple who lacks no material thing, but their marriage is emotionally bankrupt. Each of these couples comes to a crossroad where choices must be made, and hopefully I’ve realistically portrayed the various challenges and struggles they face. While it’s not critical they are read in order, a reader might enjoy them better in order, simply because each consecutive book highlights a couple the reader meets in a previous story.

What do you hope your readers will take away from the third book we are featuring today?

First, that no marriage is beyond saving. I believe that with all my heart. It’s why my tagline is “Live Happily Even After.” I truly believe despite baggage, or past mistakes, any marriage can thrive if both parties obey God. God can heal, redeem, and restore anything. I’m living proof.

Second, that God is always there, always trying to speak to us, lead us, teach us, and grow us into becoming more like Jesus and stronger in His love. It’s only when we are growing in God’s love and in relationship with Him, that we can truly grow love in our marriage and our relationship with each other. It’s a win-win that so often gets overlooked when we stare at our problems.

What else is on your to-be-written list?

As I said, I’m completing my fourth novel. It’s my first stand alone. It’s not part of The Barn Church series, although I don’t think I’m finished writing the series. And my non-fiction projects include a book on sexuality in marriage. I think I have a different perspective than most, since I’m not a psychologist or pastor’s wife or even a counselor. I’m a kid from a broken home, as well as a sexual abuse survivor, as is my husband, so I approach the subject from a different place.

When you aren't writing, what do you like to do?

I wasn’t kidding that I love power tools. Home improvement projects are fun to me. Last weekend we hung new drywall in my kitchen ceiling. If I had my way, I’d be renovating and remodeling houses on a regular basis, but so far that hasn’t been God’s path. I enjoy reading and I really do LOVE watching movies. I enjoy watching sports—football, tennis, world cup soccer, the Olympics. Dates with my husband. Shopping with my youngest, my daughter. Writing or working at my desk with the dog or a cat on my lap.

Maybe I'll see you on HGTV? But for now, where can people find you? (Website, FaceBook, blog, etc).

I maintain a web site at and my blog is there, as well.
On Twitter I’m @ShellieArnold1

Thanks, Shellie, for reaching out to the Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction. Please let others know about our blog!