Wednesday, August 5, 2020


Good morning everyone, I'm so pleased to introduce y'all to my friend and author, Jim Stow. Jim is a member of our Life Savers Edit Group here in Dallas, Texas, and I've had the privilege of living the exciting journey of Jim's first book THORN with he and the other writers in our group. It's exciting to watch a story from first draft to completion...especially exciting when it's not my book! LOL

Q. Jim, when, why, and how did you begin writing?

A. Other than writing essays in school (Ugh!), my first shot at writing was in fifth grade. It was my grandmother’s birthday. We bought her a little plastic man in chef’s garb who had basic grocery items printed on his chest. There were holes beside each item and red pegs to stick in the holes for needed items. My folks encouraged me to write a poem to accompany my grandma’s “little man.” I don’t remember writing anything before this other than school assignments.

I have written several poems since then and they seem to come at various times.

Thorn is the first story I have written and the first prose I have written longer than a couple of pages.

          Q. Tell us about your family, your church, and your favorite scripture passage.

A. I grew up with both parents and a sister who is eight years older than me. She was my protector and idol, when I wasn’t being an irritating little brother. 

I am now married to Sue. We have two sons, who are married. One son has a wife, son (fourteen) and daughter (thirteen), and a dog and cat. They are currently staying with us. Our other son has immigrated to Scotland. He lives there with his wife and twin sons (eleven) and they just acquired a German Shepherd puppy.

As I grew up, I considered extended family, almost as close as my immediate family. My cousins were my playmates and were like brothers and sisters.

My wife and I attend a small church in Plano, Texas. We have just over thirty adult regular attenders. We are a very active body and support and orphanage and other ministries in Uganda, Africa. I enjoy being a part of this church because every member is involved and the Lord is active with us and in our lives.

Regarding favorite scripture verses, I have difficulty narrowing to one. I can at least narrow to three, all from the NIV.

The first, which gives me hope and confidence, is Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

The second, which gives me guidance in uncertain times, is 2 Chronicles 20: 12b - We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

The third, which shows me the heart of God and how He cares, is John 11:35 - Jesus wept.
          Q. What motivated you to write “Thorn?”

A. Thorn had an interesting beginning, I would say an “urging.” I woke one morning with the name, Tommy John Rose, in my head. I don’t know anyone by that name. I thought, “I believe I’m supposed to write a story about this character.” So, I began tapping my laptop keys to see what might come out whether anyone else might be interested in reading my work, perhaps some family members. The characters began to “speak to me” and guide me as I wrote. Tommy John Rose gained the nickname, Thorn, from a fourth-grade tough guy. This became the title of the book.

I discovered a Christian edit group and joined to improved the quality of my story. When that first group disbanded, I joined another group. I have grown as an author and the quality of my work greatly improved. I began to believe that the circle would widen of those who would want to read my story. As a matter of fact, people in other edit groups have expressed an interest in reading my story.

The story has gone through several iterations and the current version bears little relation to the initial attempt. It doesn’t even take place in the same location.

          Q. What is your heart’s desire for the reader to understand from this first book in the series?

A. First and most important, I want this story to be enjoyable to the reader, as enjoyable to them as it has been to me writing it. Second, I hope that Thorn may give hope and understanding, if a person is struggling with unforgiveness. They may relate to Thorn and walk with him as he gains a better grasp of God’s love.

Q. Do you have any advice for new writers or those folks who think they want to write?

A. The main thing for both new writers and those who have written many things it to Write, Write, Write. Each time they write to read, re-read and re-read what they have written, making changes and corrections each time.
Also, join an edit group if one is available in their location. If one is not available, seek out other writers and join together. Be kind as you correct others and be open to receive corrections from others.

Q. Where and when will this first book be available?

A. My book will be available on Amazon in the very near future! You all know all the hoops KDP makes a writer jump through. We're in that process.


Jim lives with his wife in Richardson, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. He has two sons and four grandchildren. He served in the Navy for four years. He gained a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Counseling. For over thirty years, he wrote computer programs including an involvement with Mariner Mars shots both 1969 and 1971. He enjoys writing both prose and poetry, carving wood, reading and sailing. Providing counsel as a pastor gives Jim fulfillment. Growing up on a farm a few miles outside of St. Charles, Missouri has provided considerable influence on Thorn’s story. His close relationship with his immediate and extended family (uncles, aunts and cousins) have impacted his writing.

A word from the author.
I hope you enjoy reading Thorn. I certainly had fun writing the story, in spite the many times I took criticism from my edit groups and the many re-writes that entailed. I want to give you a caution. I take no responsibility (although I am likely responsible) if you get lost in the story and miss doing the dishes or get to sleep too late. I also take no responsibility if the characters start “speaking to you” as you read. They are very real to me even though they are completely made up. I borrowed many names from my family, friends and acquaintances. However, I did not intend to reflect their actual character, action and speech.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

An Interview with Debut Author Kathleen Denly

Hi friend! It's time for a cup of tea and another debut author interview, so pull up a chair, grab a scone, and settle in.

Today, I have the wonderful Kathleen Denly to introduce you to as well as a GIVEAWAY to brighten your day. (Check it out all the way at the bottom!)

Kathleen Denly writes stories to entertain, encourage, and inspire readers toward a better understanding of our amazing God and how He sees us. She enjoys finding the lesser-known pockets of history and bringing them to life through the joys and struggles of her characters.
Sunny southern California, a favorite setting in her stories, is also her home. She lives there with her loving husband, four young children, and two cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. Always happy to hear from her readers, you can email Kathleen and follow her on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. You might also consider joining Kathleen’s Readers’ Club to learn the latest updates, receive exclusive content, and be eligible for KRC exclusive giveaways!

Let's dive right into talking about your debut novel, Waltz in the Wilderness.

CC: Who was the most challenging character to create and what made them so challenging?

KD: Alice was by far my most difficult character to write because her outward personality and external goals are so similar to Cecilia’s. On the surface they could seem the same but, their maturity levels and who they are at their core is very different. They have always been two distinct people in my mind but, figuring out how to show their differences on paper was tricky. Since Alice appeared after Cecilia, she bore the burden of distinguishing herself. I’ve been assured by readers that I did manage the task, however.

CC: I agree, you did make both Cecilia and Alice distinct characters. I never once felt they were remotely the same.

What was some of your favorite research you discovered while writing this story?

KD: When researching the way mail was handled in 1854 San Francisco, I discovered a fascinating etiquette rule. To receive one’s mail most people had to stand in line for several hours. There were windows assigned to various sections of the alphabet at which men stood to receive their mail. Then there was the “ladies’ window” where the ladies waited to receive their mail. However, if the lady didn’t wish to stand in line, she could send a male to wait in her place. The trouble with this was that any gentleman standing in line at the ladies’ window was expected to give up his place to any lady arriving after him. So he was constantly moving to the back of the line. Can you imagine how long a man might wind up standing there, waiting for the very last lady to arrive before he finally reached the window? I couldn’t resist writing this into my story.

CC: That is really fascinating, and it makes me so glad I don't live in that time. I'm rather a fan of having things delivered.

What about writing in general? Does it exhaust you or invigorate you?

KD: I find writing both invigorating and exhausting. By the time I reach my word count goal each day, my mind is mush and my sentences start looking like my nine-year-old wrote them, BUT my mood is somewhere in the clouds and I feel an incredible peace that makes handling the rest of life’s struggles slightly easier. I think this is because when I write I am in constant communication with God. I begin each session with Bible study and regularly pause to ask God to show me where the next scene should lead or how a particular character should react and what Truth He wants me to shine a light on through my story.

CC: I LOVE that routine. Anytime we commune with God, whether writing or otherwise, it is so refreshing. 

What is your writing Kryptonite?

KD: Arguing with my husband. If my husband and I have had a big blowout and haven’t completely resolved things yet (because he had to go to work or I had to go somewhere before we could finish our “healthy discussion”), then I am useless. I can’t sleep, don’t want to eat and definitely cannot write until he and I are good again.

CC: As much as that stinks, I am glad that it leads you to always resolve your "healthy discussions." It's good for your marriage and for our TBR piles. ;-)

Thank you so much for joining me today and providing all of us with a wonderful distraction. For all our Diamond Mine Readers, if we have five or more commenters, an e-book copy of a Waltz in the Wilderness will be given out to a random commenter. Be sure to comment by Tuesday midnight (July 28th).

Answer: What is your favorite period of time to read about? (And don't forget to leave us with your email!)

More about Waltz in the Wilderness:

She's desperate to find her missing father. His conscience demands he risk all to help. 

Eliza Brooks is haunted by her role in her mother's death, so she'll do anything to find her missing pa—even if it means sneaking aboard a southbound ship. When those meant to protect her abandon and betray her instead, a family friend's unexpected assistance is a blessing she can't refuse.

Daniel Clarke came to California to make his fortune, and a stable job as a San Francisco carpenter has earned him more than most have scraped from the local goldfields. But it's been four years since he left Massachusetts and his fiancée is impatient for his return. Bound for home at last, Daniel Clarke finds his heart and plans challenged by a tenacious young woman with haunted eyes. Though every word he utters seems to offend her, he is determined to see her safely returned to her father. Even if that means risking his fragile engagement.

When disaster befalls them in the remote wilderness of the Southern California mountains, true feelings are revealed, and both must face heart-rending decisions. But how to decide when every choice before them leads to someone getting hurt?