Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Author PJ Gover Steps into Fiction


Good morning to the Diamond Mine. Terry here. Hope each of you are busy with shovel and pick, bringing to life the gem which God has given to you. I’m so pleased to introduce you to my friend and new author, PJ Gover! Our Texas gal has a story to tell which will give our readers a peek into the life of PJ Gover as wife, mother, and writer for our Lord – and maybe an update on her picture mascot, Moo COW!

TP:  PJ Gover, our readers and fellow authors want to know about your call to writing. How did that happen? When did you know you wanted to write and why?

PJG: I sensed God’s calling to teach His Word when I was in College. I am a long-time Bible teacher and never viewed myself as a writer even though I researched and wrote out my own lessons. Due to health concerns, I was unable to continue weekly teaching, although I occasionally substitute for other teachers. Eight years ago, my husband suggested I do my teaching through writing. Two years prior to that, a friend asked me to write weekly devotionals for a group at church. That started my email devotional ministry which led to a Christian book and gift store hiring me to write their one-year devotional book. A spiritual ministry website asked me to serve as their guest devotional writer for about a year. The Secret Place Devotional Magazine and my 10,000 member church’s newsletter and grief ministry website also published my devotionals.
Five years ago, I felt God’s leading to write a novel based on my father and his secret work as a rocket scientist during the Cold War of the 1960s. He was a devout Christian who died under mysterious circumstances. I wanted to honor God and my father with a Christian novel. It turned into a thriller. I have since written a sequel and my literary agent is shopping both to publishers.



TP: Can you share with us when you came to faith and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ?

PJG: I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior as a child. My faith growth is a journey. 2 Corinthians 5:7, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”

TP:  Many of us are busy in other pursuits, other than editing and writing, or your Wednesday update post? For you, it’s more than the next picture of MOO COW. When you’re not in pounding the keyboard, what occupies your time?

PJG: Family, of course, especially our two-year-old grandson. My husband and I are leaders with college students at our church. We host retreats at our ranch for our church’s college and singles groups. We’ve had more than one couple contemplate marriage while at our ranch! It’s a special feeling pouring into the next generation.
Moo Cow


TP: You have something else to offer to our readers and that is about life on a Texas ranch. Can you offer a story which highlights life in the rugged Texas outdoors?

PJG: No specific stories, but all aspects of the ranch offer inspiration for my writing––devotionals and novels. My devotionals can be found on my website www.PJGover.com. The well-worn trail to the big pond made by generations of Black Angus cattle leads me to consider the Christian legacy I am leaving for generations to follow. The time we accidently left the barn door open and the cows deposited their ‘leavings’ throughout makes me think how we open the door to sin and the residual mess may take months or even years to deal with. Only God can lead us out of sin and into newness of life.  And when the calves get to a certain size they’re shipped to market. The way mama cows ‘cry’ for their babies must be how God grieves when we wander from Him. The ranch also makes an appearance in both of my thrillers.
Please share with us a little bit about your family. Are they often an inspiration for your writing? My husband and I will celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary this October! I do find inspiration from him and our daughter (even her dog) for my novels. My main character shares my daughter’s career and looks a bit like her too. I utilize some of their same mannerisms. Neither my son-in-law nor the two-year-old has found a place in my stories. Yet! But I’ve written two books just for the little one!

TP: In our day and time, our country is a mess, the distractions are high for an author. What advice would you give to a new author who is just beginning to write their perfect baby?

PJG: Learn the craft. Read, read, read. Take a course. I took Jerry B. Jenkins Your Novel Blueprint online course. There are many out there to help guide. I knew nothing about plot, structure, and dialogue and needed all the help I could get. But writing devotionals helped me learn to convey my message in a tight and efficient way. Above all, trust God.

TP: Can you share a definitive moment when the Spirit of God spoke, led, or placed you in a life-changing situation?

PJG: When I was a senior in high school I was coming out of a devastating situation. As a high school senior, one night I was in my bedroom sobbing out of deep emotional pain. I had come out of a traumatic situation lasting years. My father had died when I was eleven-years-old. After being raised in the church, my family basically dropped out after his death. I was not praying, reading scripture, or even contemplating godly things that night. God was the furthest thing from my thoughts, and yet, the words of John 3:16 burst into my mind. God’s Spirit brought it back. I immediately looked up and stopped crying. The verse is a salvation verse and one I had memorized in Sunday School as a child, but in that moment, God brought special meaning. He touched my heart in a way I will never forget. The words of the verse, “…shall not perish…” jumped out. In that moment, under the situation, I was perishing. As a child of God, I realized I would neither perish eternally nor in that situation. God was real, His Spirit all powerful. I would survive.

TP: Now I’m more than sure, our readers want to know about your writing journey—what genre? You’ll soon have a new book out? Can you give us sneak peak to what it is about? Do you offer other books? Where can we find them?

PJG: My one-year devotional book, Celebrate Thee Date, is available at https://4homestore.com/devotional-books. My agent is shopping my Long Shadow Series, Christian thrillers based on my father whose life informs the novels. In the first one, in present day his granddaughter searches for clues to clear his name and solve his fifty-year-old murder. The Vice President of the United States, the mafia, and the Russians make an appearance. The second book in the Series involves a woman in present day trying to reconnect with her sons she was forced to abandon during World War II. In the granddaughter’s quest to help the woman, she encounters a German arms dealer and a secret international consortium bent on destroying the nation of Israel. The granddaughter’s faith journey grows from little interest to full reliance on the power of God and prayer. Stay tuned!

TP: And finally, do you have words of encouragement and hope for some of the new writers among us… Words of wisdom from a Biblical Christian and student of the Word?

PJG: We don’t know the plans for our writing, but choose to walk in faith and trust anyway. No matter what happens on our journey, God is still in control. I am not. You are not. He is sovereign and worthy to be trusted and praised. We are to be obedient to His Word, His leading, His wisdom.

TP: Do you have a special or favorite verse of scripture that carries you through the rough times? What about a favorite one you breathe when you’re just thanking and praising God for life’s journey?

PJG: I believe in Scripture memory, so I have a number of verses memorized. It gives me instant access to His Word and allows God another avenue to reach my heart, as evidenced with my John 3:16 experience. A favorite one is Psalm 34:4, “I sought the Lord and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Claim a favorite verse and memorize it now.
For praising God, I love Revelation 4:8, 11. “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come.” V11 “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory, honor, and power. Thou didst create all things and because of Thy will they existed and were created.”

As a celebration of PJ's new fiction career starting, she is giving away a copy of her devotional book, Celebrate Thee Date. Please leave a comment below with your email to be entered for a chance to win her book! Thanks, PJ for being with us this week.


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

JULIE COSGROVE'S NEW RELEASE "FALLEN LEAF"


GOOD MORNING EVERYONE! We are so blessed to have my friend, my extra set of eyes sometimes on my manuscripts, and super author JULIE COSGROVE with us today.





 Goodness girl, I know this has been a difficult year or so with health issues, Julie. Will you share with us how the Lord Jesus has carried and strengthened you during the writing of not only this book, but the other ministry work He has called you to?

Writing is one thing I could do even when I could not walk. Whether living vicariously through my characters or writing and editing devotionals in my digital missionary work for CRU, I felt useful and used by my Lord. That gave me purpose. No matter our condition, age, or circumstances, we can always be an example of faithfulness and be servants to His glory.

Also, having health issues made me more sensitive to others as well as giving me more time to pray for them. That has kept me positive.

One thing I learned when our daughter died is grief makes you more sensitive to others and certifies what God called us to do and be…comforters! When He comforts us, we, in turn are to comfort others with the comfort we’ve received.



Through the years I’ve been a “Julie Cosgrove” fan, and have read every one of your books, girlfriend. How in the world do you fill your cast of characters? The gals in this new series…ONE LEAF TOO MANY and FALLEN LEAF jumped right off the page and into my heart. Are they random or do you use people you know as patterns?




Ah, you are so sweet. You are such an encourager, too. The characters are totally made up. To know they jumped off the page for you excites me. I want my novels to be character-driven as well as action-driven. If my readers can empathize with them, I have done my job.

 For the Relatively Seeking Mysteries, which are cozy mysteries with a genealogical twist, my publisher wanted me to write about thirty-something aged women as the main characters. Three gals from different backgrounds, races and experiences who are bound by church friendships seemed like a great place to start. It demonstrated how God’s love unites us despite of our differences and quirks.



Since I had a three-book contract, it made sense to “star” one of the ladies in each book as they seek to discover more about some relatives of the past and present. One Leaf Too Many featured Bailey, a wealthy socialite turned accounting clerk with a strong stubborn streak and huge heart. Fallen Leaf features adopted Jessica, a petite blonde freelance writer who could fade into the background if it weren’t for her sweet disposition and determination to right wrongs. The third, Leaf Me Alone, which is in the works, features feisty Shannon, a young married entrepreneur black woman who has learned to do for herself since her husband travels for his job. She can be a bit bossy and opinionated, but her loyalty and wisdom shines through. And she deeply loves her hubby, Jayden.


Oh wow! I’m all in for feisty Shannon. Love her personality. And I guess I relate to her with all the years my husband worked out-of-town…makes a girl put on her big girl boots to tromp through the days. Can’t wait for Leaf Me Alone!



Will you share with us about the doors God has opened in your writing ministry?

At times I think perhaps He has only cracked a window or two. Some doors have definitely closed.

Since I have always supported missionaries, I thought raising money to support my missionary salary would be easy. It is not! It is still a struggle. I thought I would be fully funded by now, but three years in, and I am only half-way there. Not being able to meet-and-greet and travel has been a deterrent, but God seems to always provide one way or another.

As far as my fiction, there is not enough time or space to tell of all the ways His hand has moved over my keystrokes. I have been blessed to find publishers who think my books are worth taking a risk on. And He has laid out the steppingstones each time.

And I’m so delighted He laid those stepping stones for you. Your fiction (based on facts) have opened my eyes and thrilled my heart over and over again. If you folks haven’t read any of Julie’s books, just close your eyes and pick one. They’re all super reading! Psst, and they make perfect gifts. I have a Florida friend who’s as big a fan as I am of Julie, ‘cause she knows part of her Christmas and birthday gifts are going to be Julie’s latest…she loves ‘em too!



During the course of this past year, is there one particular verse or a combination of verses that God has given to carry you through?

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name, make known among the nations what He has done.” I Chronicles 18:8

This verse says it all! In all things, I have learned to give thanks that He is right there with me and patiently loves me. I have definitely called on His name…a lot! Sometimes with clenched teeth, but I’ve called. I have never doubted His presence.

And through my digital ministry, I am a small part of fulfilling the Great Commission to go into the nations via the internet. The Life.com has readerships in the hundred-thousands in many languages. Our devotionals and articles touch more lives than we ever could if we were boots on the ground. So many people turn to the internet for community and information. Our tag line is, The world is on the Internet. We help them find Jesus.

My own seven-year-old devotional blog, Where Did You Find God Today?, now has readers in over 50 countries.

I know many reading this interview would like the opportunity to hold you up in prayer…how can we help your ministry? How can we best pray for you?

If anyone would like to support me financially, I am in the midst of my 20/20 vision. I am seeking twenty people to offer $20 a month. My link is  https://thelifeproject.com/team/julie/. Since we are international, I am “US Editorial”.

Of course, buying any one of my 14 novels would be nice. You can preview them on my website,  www.juliecosgrove.com
But prayer is the most important thing anyone can provide. Satan wants to thwart wholesome, faith-based writing from being published. Christian authors face much more than writer’s block!

Pray that I may continue to be used to His glory in whatever He has planned and that I will continue to trust that He will whether it is editing devotionals, writing them, writing clean novels with a message of hope, or helping other Christian writers master the craft.

And as usual, I must ask you to give new writers your best piece of writerly counsel.

First and foremost, find a critique group online or in your area that has seasoned, published authors. Learn from them and develop a tough skin. Take their advice and critiques to heart. They want your success, too. Like any art, talent will only take you so far. You have to develop your talent.  If you can afford it, attend a writers’ conference. Read books on writing. DiAn Mills has a great one called The Dance of Character and Plot. Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas is informative as well. You are writing for one person, God. Don’t you want to do your best?



Second, take your time. He will tell you when your book or article is ready for the world. Don’t rush it. Get good, professional editors to look over your work in progress (WIP). Again, take their suggestions to heart. Then have a fresh pair of eyes proofread it once it is edited. Computers breed typos like rabbits!


Did I understand correctly…is there another LEAF in the process? Do you have a release date yet?



Yes’m. Leaf Me Alone is set for release in February 2020. I don’t have an exact date yet. I have turned in my manuscript and it is in the hands of two editors as we speak. My publisher wants me to continue the series, so God willing, there may be a few more Relatively Seeking Mysteries down the road.

Let me be the first to say I loved the prologue into FALLEN LEAF and the way your publisher sent small segments to pique our interest. Can we expect more of this approach in the future? Sure worked for me!


It was fun to do the short mystery story, “The Leaf that Fell”, in nine segments that were sent out one by one over two weeks prior to the release of Fallen Leaf. My publisher was so pro-active in getting the word out. Bless you Marji with Write Integrity Press!

She was very pleased with the response. So, yes. We will do something similar. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me over the summer in writing another short mystery story as a prequel to Leaf Me Alone.



I am featuring “A Leaf That Fell” as a freebie on my website if people sign up for my newsletter. Just click on one of the “Leaf” book covers on the home page.

It’s been a pleasure having you visit with us today, Julie.  If you folks haven’t read Julie’s new series, I urge you to grab both books and catch up…they are wonderful!