Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Encouraging others to let GOD heal. Plus a Giveaway.

 Help me welcome Sondra Umberger to the Diamond Mine.

Be sure to enter the giveaway for an E-copy of this great trilogy.

Sondra is a new author to me. Let’s learn about her together.

Renette: Welcome Sondra, before we jump into your books. Tell us a bit about yourself. What kind of things do you enjoy for fun?

Sondra: Great to be here. My first passion is fun. I love to have fun even when I am working. My second passion is travel. I arrived home yesterday after exploring the treasure of God’s creations in the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Cave exploration takes you into a world of imagination. I was amazed at the beauty of the stalactites, stalagmites, columns, popcorn, pearls, chandeliers, and what is called bacon formations. It is called bacon, because it looks just like bacon hanging from the walls of caves. This cave was exceptional because, in the past, it was an ancient underwater reef. Talk about a kaleidoscope of design and formations; I was in constant motion pointing out all imaginary characters coming into focus, similar to cloud watching.

Renette: Wow, how awesome to see GOD’s creativity and beauty. He shows Himself everywhere, doesn’t He? Traveling to see new things is such fun. Where else have you been?

Sondra: I love to travel and have traveled the world. I have explored over 60 countries and hope to continue with travel as I have a new book brewing in my mind that takes place in Jerusalem. I would love to return to the Holy Land to explore and do some research on an upcoming book.

Renette: Speaking of books I understand you have a few to share with us today.

Sondra: Yes, I am excited for the opportunity to share with you and the audience about my trilogy, UNRAVELED-REWOVEN. Below is the description of the trilogy. Each book stands alone, but it is very connected to the following book in the series. The titles themselves give you a hint at what the books entail—just a quick sneak preview. I can’t resist. Book One: ROBBED, Book Two: RIPPED, and Book Three: RESTORED. The three-book series is a story of trauma to triumph, victim to victor, and regret to restoration. Hopefully, I have wet your appetite for more.       

UNRAVELED-REWOVEN

                                                        A trilogy based on true events.

                 Author: Sondra Umberger

 

CATHERINE—must face her suppressed childhood memories, secrets hidden for decades, from when her family called her CATIE. Fragments of haunting images creep out of her subconscious and merge into one recurring nightmare.

 Determined to unlock the mysteries of her past, Catherine seeks Christian counseling with MARION. Together they reopen terrifying windows in time Catherine nailed shut nearly thirty years ago. A time she refers to as her lost years.  

 Catherine fights to remember the horrific abuse of her dreadful, deceiving stepmother. She battles to save herself, and her baby brother, CHARLEY, from the evils of the Satanic occult, a world that few people realize exists; a diabolical can of worms.


A time—meant to be forgotten.

 When HUNTER enters her life, spawning an unexpected relationship, Catherine’s pursuit of truth takes new twists and turns. While Catherine unearths her youth, digging for the truth, new perils arise as her husband; HUNTER’s dark secrets are exposed. 


 Secrets—meant to be concealed. 


Frightened and fragmented, only seeing pieces to the puzzle, Catherine perseveres. Images appear. Secrets revealed. Questions are answered as the recollections unravel. Catherine experiences God’s provision, protection, and exercises the unique gifts he gave her as a child.

· As darkness is uncloaked, a spiritual battle erupts. Is it all too much?

· Will Catherine overcome the formidable odds stacked against her?

· Will she trust an invisible God and a husband whose betrayal amplifies her brokenness?                   

 

          The unspoken—is exposed.

          When all feels lost, discover hope, healing, and redemption.   

          What was once unraveled is now rewoven.

            www.ConnectingToChrist.com ConectingtoChristwebsite@gmail.com                                   

                  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08L4KLKT2

                  Books2Read E-books https://books2read.com/rl/Wjmbd0


Renette: Tell us more. Which character will we love?

Sondra: The books are novels based on a true story written from the three main characters’ point of view, which are: Catherine, the adult, Catie, who is Catherine as a child, and Marion, the Christian counselor.

I believe each character offers something unique to the reader. CATHERINE is open and raw about her struggles. She speaks out of the things, so many women are thinking and feeling but are too afraid to say. She takes the reader through the process of finding the courage to address her fears in order to find healing and wholeness.

CATIE is Catherine as a child. She is a spunky little kid that will capture your heart. She gives a child’s perspective and shows how lies and beliefs are introduced and reinforced or built upon through life’s experience. Catie’s pure childlike faith inspires others to cling to the truths of the Bible as Catie did---as her very life depended upon it for survival.

MARION, the Christian counselor, plays a vital and powerful role. She tackles the struggles by asking probing questions that assist Catherine, Catie, and the reader to search their hearts for answers. Marion equips the characters and the reading audience with the word of God and encourages the application of Biblical principles in order to overcome the many battles we all face. The books are written as novels but they address the real issue with real solutions. Regardless of the character’s circumstances, my books offer hope, the truth, and the answer through JESUS!

Renette: Can you tell us why you chose these stories and this subject?

Sondra: The key point in writing the trilogy UNRAVELED-REWOVEN was to emphasizes the redemptive and healing powers of Jesus Christ and how the scars and pain from the past and devastating sins of the present need not be permanent. The books are a great testimony of how God can use everything in our lives, even evil deeds, to accomplish His ultimate purposes TO SET US FREE. I want to give others hope through my books, showing that healing comes in and through God. The Lord himself proclaimed that it is the truth that sets us free.

Renette: Writing this kind of trilogy must take a lot of energy and inspiration. How and where do you find them and the time to write?

Sondra: Many women have a shoe collection, but I seem to have a hat collection, as I wear many hats; as a Christian counselor, a wife, ordained minister, author, sister, friend…you get the idea. So, I had to make the time. At first, I just starting writing, letting the story pour out of me. I would write in between appointments, and if I had a client cancellation, the keys would sound loud, tap, tap, tap, for the whole duration.

Once the books were written, I knew I needed more time and took a sabbatical to do the editing and fine-tuning. The inspiration was from God. I was obedient to give a voice to the story he asked me to tell.

Energy, I’m not sure. I was dancing as fast as I could and still was burning the candle at both ends. Coffee was definitely my friend during some long sessions, but I admit writing captivates me.

Renette: It is so interesting to learn how each author writes. We all are facing obstacles, trials, and unique issues in today’s way of life. What is one piece of advice you would like to leave us with?

Sondra: What I have learned as a faith-based counselor for almost 20 years is that false perceptions and lies can be seared into our minds through a tragedy or a significant emotional event. Examine your thoughts for truth. Examine your problems through becoming a truth seeker. The storyline in my books help others learn about the battle for the mind and how trauma, abuse, betrayal, misspoken words, and various other circumstances can be used to distort our views of God, ourselves, and others. Most problems are rooted in our identity. If you don’t know who you are, you set yourself up to let someone else define your identity. I’m not talking about what you do; I am talking about a much deeper sense of how you identify yourself. As a child of God, I know who I am. I understand that I will continue to face struggles, disappointments, and an onslaught of challenges, but I also know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I hope my words bring you hope and encouragement.

Renette: I love that you want to share and encourage others in how to let GOD heal them. Anything else you‘d like to tell us before we go?

Sondra: I’d love to give away an E-copy of the entire trilogy. God is our great physician and is gracious to bring us healing in various ways. I’ll choose one winner who briefly shares an experience where the Lord brought them hope and healing.


Renette: Thank you, Sondra, so kind of you. Folks jump right in with your comments to be entered in the drawing. Be sure and leave your email address so we can contact you.

Thank you, Sondra, for the wonderful interview. It has been a blessing having you with us.

Sondra: Thank you for having me. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my story. You have been awesome, and I’ve enjoyed our interaction. I hope your audience is blown away by my books and that they find hope and healing as they cruise the pages of UNRAVELED—REWOVEN. Blessing to you all, Sondra


Sondra Umberger 
www.connectingtochrist.com

Sondra Umberger, Christian counselor, an ordained minister, and President of Healing Hearts Ministry, Inc., and Connecting to Christ, offers faith-based materials and counsel on how to prevail

through the challenges and struggles of life. Sondra instructs on a variety of topics, including confronting and overcoming abuse.

Sondra loves to laugh and enjoy outdoor activities and adventures with her husband in the vast playgroundUSA. 

                                   

                                     www.connectingtochrist.com


Thank you for joining us today. May you be blessed by HIs SONshine.

Renette Steele

Lady SONshine






Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Author Interview and Giveaway with Janalyn Voigt

 Hi, guys! V. Joy Palmer here! Since we are all friends here, you guys can call me Joy. ;-) And one of my favorite things to do is talk with my friends at coffee shops then head to the bookstores. Yes, plural. After all, books and yummy drinks are the perfect combination! So consider this our virtual coffee shop. I'll wait a second for you to get your warm drink and a fuzzy blanket before we chat with today's guest. <3

Today we are going to pry into the private life of CHAT with author Janalyn Voigt!


Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read chapters from classics as bedtime stories. When Janalyn grew older, she put herself to sleep with the tales "written" in her head.

Today Janalyn is a storyteller who writes in several genres. The same elements -- romance, mystery, adventure, history, and whimsy -- appear in all her novels, no matter what the genre.

Learn more about Janalyn Voigt and the books she writes at http://janalynvoigt.com!

Connect with Janalyn Voigt 🠆 Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, BookBub, Mailing List, and Website for Authors!

Interview ~ 

This may be the most important question I ask -- no pressure or anything, LOL! 

*drum roll*

What are you drinking in our virtual coffee house? Coffee? Tea? Hot chocolate? Something else altogether?

Mocha! It’s my favorite hot drink. I don’t indulge often, but today is special since we’re having this chat.

I usually start the day with several cups of Greek coffee. It’s strong, sweet, and good for you. The Greek Island of Ikaria is one of the world’s ‘blue zones,’ places where a large percentage of the population lives longer than average. Scientists suspect that the coffee they drink has something to do with it. Greek coffee is ground to a fine powder, then brewed in small pots until it almost boils. This process creates a creamy layer on top that makes the coffee go down smoothly.

For writing sessions, I favor a nice cup of Earl Grey tea. In my book (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun), the flavor is synonymous with creativity.

LOL! That pun was GOLD! ;-) And that sounds delicious! If you could order anything in the world to eat (we can dream, can't we?), what would it be? 

I can’t resist pineapple-upside-down cake made with fresh pineapple. After I arrived in Hawaii, where my serviceman husband served a tour of duty, I discovered that I only hated canned pineapple. I only use fresh pineapple when I make this cake, which isn’t often since I can’t resist it.

YUM! Where is your favorite place to write, and why is that your favorite place?

For a long time, I wrote in a closet beneath the stairs that I converted into an office. That was by choice rather than necessity. My family tended to forget my whereabouts, or else it was too much trouble to hunt me down. I didn’t inquire. It was the most productive I’ve ever been. After a while, I started feeling cramped, so I moved into the guest bedroom. I plan to add a murphy bed against one wall so I don’t dispossess house-guests entirely. My office is on the second floor and offers a better view for procrastinating daydreaming than a closet ever could.

Love that you had a writing closet even if it didn't have a view! Do you have an odd habit that is only explained by your bookish, writer tendencies?

No. Next question, please.

Okay, well maybe, yes. About those cups of tea…I sometimes discover a full cup of tea at my elbow, completely cold, and wonder how it got there. I glance around but never discover the little elf that spirited it there. This only occurs while I’m writing, so I must be an easy target while I’m lost in a storyworld...

Man, those elves strike again! ;-) What inspired you to write The Promise Tree?

I wanted to continue the Irish-American family saga I started in the Montana Gold series. Those books were well received, so I knew my readers would enjoy more stories about the family. The Montana Treasure series, of which The Promise Tree is book one, picks up ten years later. Some of the children have reached marriageable age, and I continue with their love stories.    


A preacher’s daughter shouldn’t encourage a troublemaker, no matter what her wayward heart desires.

Liberty has always believed she should marry a man of God, but Jake doesn’t qualify. The promises they’d made at age twelve can’t change that. If only Jake would stop pursuing her, she might keep from falling in love with him.

Jake fears he’ll lose Liberty to Beau, the new man in town. He doesn’t trust the smooth-talker—and certainly not with Liberty. Expressing his opinion sounds jealous and pushes Liberty further away. Jake’s efforts to forget the woman he loves lands him in jail for a crime he didn’t commit.

A bounty hunter on the trail of a notorious outlaw gallops into town, and Liberty finds herself in unexpected peril. When Jake rides after her, he faces a test of faith. Jake and Liberty must each overcome their own false beliefs. Only then can they experience the truth of God’s redeeming love.

Set during a troubled time in America, the Montana Treasure series explores faith, courage, and love in the Wild West. Read this heartwarming story to affirm your faith in love.


Purchase The Promise Tree HERE!


Love that concept! What led you to write in this genre?

I blame my father. If it wasn’t for him, I’d have gone outside to play on a Sunday morning rather than watching vintage westerns. They were habit-forming. My father brought me up in parts of California where the wind would whistle while tumbleweeds rolled across the road. Add a love of history and an active imagination into the mix, and I didn’t have a chance.

What great memories! What message do you hope to convey to your readers?

I write mainly to entertain but also to inspire. The Promise Tree explores the meaning of love in many contexts. The story explores expectations within romance, friendship, the bond between a mother and daughter, and the love of a father for his child. I anticipate that readers will examine their own expectations of love and come away with a greater appreciation for its complexity and beauty. 

That's beautiful! Can you tell us a little about your next project(s)?

The second book in the Montana Treasure series, as yet untitled, tells the story of a beautiful, vivacious, intelligent spinster. Phoebe has turned down her share of suitors. Why marry for the sake of it? There has to be more to life than courtship. When Phoebe learns her cattle baron uncle is seeking ranch hands, Phoebe persuades her uncle to hire her. That puts her in close contact with Will, her uncle’s ranch manager—the only man who ever swayed her decision to avoid marriage.

Phoebe's story sounds wonderful! Do you have a favorite Bible verse or story that inspires you on a soul level?

There’s a poem that I remember when I’m afraid to strive for something new:

 

George Gray

by Edgar Lee Masters

 

I have studied many times

The marble which was chiseled for me—

A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.

In truth it pictures not my destination

But my life.

For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;

Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;

Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.

Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.

And now I know that we must lift the sail

And catch the winds of destiny

Wherever they drive the boat.

To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness,

But life without meaning is the torture

Of restlessness and vague desire—

It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.


What are you currently reading? Inquiring minds -- mine! -- want to know. ;-)

I discovered Daphne du Maurier when I read Jamaica Inn. It’s amazing what vintage authors could get away with. Pages of description would be frowned upon now. I’m so glad she was able to write freely. I’ve never read her Rebecca—an omission I’m currently correcting. 

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again.” What is it about the first line of Rebecca that captivates me? The words are simple, and yet they hold depths of drama. I don’t even know what sort of place Manderlay is, but I’m already perceiving it through the veil of a dream.

Besides enriching my life, reading (and being humbled by) great literature improves my own writing. 

I completely agree with you! 

Thank you so much for hanging with us and for answering all of my prying questions, Janalyn! 

Giveaway ~

Janalyn has generously offered to giveaway one print or digital copy of ANY book in the Montana Gold Series!



Learn more about Janalyn Voigt's Montana Gold Series HERE!


Rules, Info, and Such ~

The author is giving away one print or digital copy of ANY book in the author's Montana Gold Series!

This giveaway is open to the US! 

This giveaway will close on 05/12/2021 at 12:00 A.M. for all the night owls.

A winner will be drawn within four days of close of giveaway. If the winner does not respond to our e-mails within one week of notification, then a new winner will be drawn in their place. This will only be done once. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

May the odds be ever in your favor. ;-)


See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!

Hugs!

~V. Joy Palmer


V. Joy Palmer loves to write romantic and comedic stories that proclaim God’s deep love for us. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and an avid blogger. In her spare time, Joy loves to sing (especially Disney songs), drink large quantities of coffee, and take flowery photos for Bookstagram. When Joy isn’t fighting with fictional people, she’s hanging out with her husband and their adorable little girl. Connect with Joy via www.vjoypalmer.com!