Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Interview and Book Giveaway with Julie Cosgrove!

Will Jen dare to reveal the truth and risk losing the man she loves, or will she live the lie, like everyone else in her life?

I’d like to welcome Julie Cosgrove to The Diamond Mine. She’s written a suspense trilogy , and the first two books are out, the third to be released this fall, all from Prism Book Group.
Welcome, Julie! I’ve read the first two books, and you’re a talented writer. The story is rich with characters, action, and keeps the reader guessing what will happen next.
Do you and the heroine Jen, share any qualities?

We share an Anglican heritage and the fact we are both from the Texas Hill Country. But, she is a great deal younger!

Your plots are full of twists and turns. Do you map out the plot before you write, or develop it as you go?

develop it as I go.

What got you started on writing novels?

It has always been a deep passion of mine to write a novel. I wrote short stories in high school and won a few wards, but then life got in the way. Just before my husband passed away, I got the “burn” again. So I wrote my first one, Focused. It was only 22,000 words, but my sister sent it to an literary professor at a renown college who told me I had potential and to join a critique group. I did, and also went to workshops, read books on how to write novels, etc.

Do you prefer writing a series, or stand alone novels?

Series, I guess, since that is all I have written so far.  Legitimate Lies is the second of three, and Focused was the first of three. I want to dabble in a mystery series featuring Bunco playing widow sleuths in an urban apartment complex.

That sounds incredibly entertaining! I'll look forward to that! What do you like most about being a writer?

Writing, and helping others learn the craft as well.

What do you like least?

What all writers like least-  the endless editing. Well, then there is also that chasm of angst between the time it is sent to the publishers, and is now no longer in your control,  and your author copies arrive at your door.

Has becoming a published author lived up to your expectations?

Actually it is even better. I really feel so blessed to not only be published and have 5 star reviews, but to also become acquainted with so many wonderful authors, you included, who all help each other out. It’s like a family.

I agree. It's so great to be connected to such supportive fellow authors. I love it! Did you always want to be a writer, or was it something that developed over time?

A little of both. I guess it was a desire that smoldered for several decades after  I finished school and then reignited when God decided it was time/

What message or messages do you want the reader to be left with after reading your books?

Whether fiction or my non-fiction devotional and Bible studies, it is one message: God is right there and wants to guide you.

That's a powerful message, simple and so true. I think we often forget how immediate God is, and how ready He is to help us in our daily lives and decisions. So, Julie, what are you working on now?

I just finished  the drafts to Freed to Forgive, the third in the same series as Hush in the Storm and Legitimate Lies, a a romance novella, Navy Blues. Now I am going back to finish Grounded, the second in a trilogy after my first novel Focused.  In the meantime, I write bi-monthly devotionals for two websites, Power to Change and Thoughts About God,  monthly articles for Faith-filled Family Magazine, and also write yearly for three  other devotional publications.  I also have a weekly inspirational blog, Where Did You Find God Today.

Julie, it's been a delight to interview you. Thank you! 
Readers, remember to leave a comment to be automatically entered in the drawing for a free copy!
And now I'll include an excerpt from your book, Legitimate Lies:

Tom stood inside my living room, straddle-legged in those tight, casual trousers. A hunter-green, collared knit shirt emphasized his lean, sculptured chest. A myriad of emotions danced inside of me as our eyes locked. Not shock though. The fact he'd broken into my house didn't surprise me at all. Simple CIA 101 skills he'd probably learned long before we met…
I slammed the water glass down in front of him, leaned in and threw several daggers into his deep blue eyes, the ones I almost drowned in another identity ago. “You had my business card.”
His eyes twinkled. “Not too hard to snatch.”
“Exactly how long have you been watching me?”
He pushed his shoulders into the chair's spindles and took a deep swallow. After he set the tumbler down, he ran a finger around the rim. “Is it important?”
I wanted to slap the smirk from his face. I wanted to plant kisses all over it. I wanted to smash the water glass and shove its broken shards into his chiseled cheekbones. Instead, I slumped into the chair across from him. My emotions with this man had never been crystal clear.

Here's more info about Julie:
 Freelance writer, multi-published author and professional speaker, Julie B Cosgrove has written hundreds of web content and articles with secular and Christian themes. She leads retreats, workshops, and Bible studies, and writes regularly for several Christian websites and publications. Her articles have been featured in Upper Room Magazines, Chicken Soup for the Soul and six international devotional periodicals such as The Secret Place, Light from the Word, Good News Daily, and The Journey.  She has authored four nonfiction books and five novels, four contracted with Prism Book Group.
She is a member of the Christian Writers Fellowship International,  DiAnn Mill’s Rippler Group, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and North Texas Christian Writers. Julie has received the highest communication level in Toastmasters, International—the Advanced Communicator Gold.  Julie lives in Fort Worth, Texas. Contact her at and follow her blog – Where Did You Find God Today?

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Scribbling Through Life with Darlene Franklin on the Mine

Darlene Franklin
Scribbling through Life with Darlene Franklin
with a Special Giveaway
(details after the interview)

RB: Welcome back to the Diamond Mine, Darlene. Long time no see. When you visited our blog a couple of months ago, I was fascinated by your story. For those who may not remember, could you tell the readers a little about yourself?

DF: I live in a nursing home and still manage to write! I almost think it helps me keep my priorities in order. Writing used to knock me off balance.
I’ve been writing for 23 years, although my first book didn’t come out until 2005. Since then, I have 36 books published or contracted (several are repackaged) and contributed nonfiction pieces to 23 more. It’s been a long, uphill climb.
Let’s see. I lost my daughter and my mother a couple of years apart, which turned my life upside down and moved me from Denver to Oklahoma. Here I get to enjoy life with my son, my delightful daughter-in-law, and my precious grandbabies.

RB: You’ve had your share of bumps along the road. I’m so glad you have some family close to you now. And you get to write! Valentine’s Day’s around the corner. If there was one pearl of wisdom you could bestow on all the lovebirds out there, what would it be?

DF: Love is a verb, not a feeling. It means taking the initiative to show love even when the other person is being unlovable. That’s true for all relationships.

RB: Well said, Darlene. What about you? What’s on the horizon for Darlene Franklin, the author? The Christian?

DF: I love the way you phrased the question! Darlene, the author is scrambling to figure out “what next?” now that the Heartsong book club has closed down. So far, God is leading me into more indie publishing, of e-books. So far I am part of a Christmas novella series with a dozen authors; several holiday-themed books; and at least one devotional book. More on that later in this article.
As far as Darlene, the Christian, I am seeking to live each day intentionally. I am called to write, but also to love, to encourage, to seek thee Lord’s face. To keep my priorities straighter than I have before.

RB: God’s unconditional love is a gift to be treasured. How did the Lord reveal Himself to you? How does He continue to do so?

DF: God reveals Himself to me through His people. I live with many people whose minds are gone. But one lady sings “Jesus is here and it’s all right” when she thinks the building is on fire. Another lady cries when she sings “The Old Rugged Cross.” Another manages to say grace in between tears because of pain. Oh, to have that kind of unshakeable faith!
God also reveals Himself to me through His word. What can I say? I am sharing some of those insights in my upcoming devotional, A Writer’s Journey through Matthew: A Reader’s Perspective.
In reading this question again, I realize that you’re probably asking me about my salvation experience. I was a child, interested in belonging, and church was the one place I felt at home. During Vacation Bible School when I was nine, I invited Jesus into my life. A simple story, but one that shaped my life and opened me to God’s love.

RB: Where does your writing fit in God’s scheme for your life?

DF: It’s central, at least for now. I keep asking God, do You still want me to write? When your publisher closes down, you have to ask yourself that question. Before I could breath, God inundated me with opportunities for self-publishing. For instance, I put out a feeler for a 12-author Christmas series for 2015 and have authors super excited about our project!
My first two indie books, both Christmas stories, made more money than I expected.
Not only that, but I have been offered a contract for another novella. I can’t give you details yet, but a great blessing with everything that’s gone on.

RB: 2015 is here! (Believe it or not…) What do you have planned? Any books released soon or on the horizon?

DF: Readers not overrun by Christmas might be interested in my stories, An Apple for Christmas ( and Christmas Visitors (
To be released soon (February 4 or earlier) for Valentine’s Day: my second Holidays of the Heart story, My Candy Valentine. Candy maker Catrina Jensen is immediately drawn to Gilbert Williams arrives in town (1916 Loveland, Oklahoma). But when she learns he has less than honorable reasons for his visit, they both have choices to make.
To be released soon (around February 4) for the beginning of Lent: my second devotional book, A Reader’s Journey through Matthew. It consists of seven week, forty-two devotional readings from Matthew, written from the perspective of an enthusiastic reader/writer.

Excerpt: This is Day One from A Reader’s Journey Through Matthew

Daily Bible Portion: Matthew 1:1-17


Josiah had Jehoiachin and his brothers, and then the people were taken into the Babylonian exile. When the Babylonian exile ended, Jeconiah had Shealtiel.
(Matthew 1:11-12)

Today’s portion reads like a prologue titled “Then,” followed by the “Now,” the birth of Jesus Christ. Matthew lists Jesus’ human lineage from the first Hebrew, Abraham, through King David all the way to Jesus’ grandfather Jacob.
But if you’re like me, you’d skip this prologue if it wasn’t in the Bible. I find genealogies boring. Since God includes them in His Word, I avoid skimming over the names and instead look for the unexpected, details I have overlooked before. Today’s surprise offers me hope in dark times.
The list reads father and son, father and son, through forty-two generations. Each man’s name is repeated, first as son, then as father—except for verses 11 and 12. Josiah had Jehoiachin, but we’re not told about Jehoiachin’s sons. Instead, the genealogy picks up again with Jeconiah, “when the Babylonian exile ended.” What happened between Jehoiachin and Jeconiah? How were they related?
Since The Message is a paraphrase, I checked more exact translations. They all agreed that the counting began again “after the exile.” At least seventy years passed when fathers and sons weren’t recorded. Perhaps more, if Jeconiah didn’t return with the first wave of returnees.
Did the princes in exile do something to prevent their mention? I doubt it. After all, the kings before the exile excelled at doing evil. If anything, the exiles played an important role in keeping the Jewish faith and identity intact. Not all the Jews chose to return, but Jesus’ ancestors did, more committed to keeping the law than their ancestors.
Josiah and his sons were the last of Israel’s kings. When Jeconiah returned to Judah, he didn’t claim his right to kingship. Neither did any of his descendants. At the time of Jesus’ birth, Joseph wasn’t honored as a direct descendant of Judah’s last kings.
While he may not have been a prince, Joseph did live the faith of his fathers. With Jeconiah’s return, the pause button was turned off, and the story started again.
Do you ever feel like your life is on pause? Living in a nursing home as I do, I struggle with that sense of treading water. The time will come when God will hit the “play” button. Our lives will take a new direction.
There will always be an “after the exile.” You can count on it.

RB: I love your devotional! I may have to pick that one up. Thanks for joining us at the Mine, Darlene. It’s been a pleasure seeing you again.


Comment now for your chance to win My Candy Valentine or The Homestead Brides Collection
Release Date: (Homestead Brides Collection) February 1, 2015
(awarded upon release)

ONE E-COPY of My Candy Valentine awarded for every 10 comments


ONE PRINT COPY of The Homestead Brides Collection awarded to one lucky winner.

...a minimum of five comments validates the giveaway...

About the Book:

My Candy Valentine:
Gilbert Williams sweeps Catrina Jensen off her feet when he arrives in Loveland, Oklahoma, shortly after New Year’s Day 1916. When the reason for his interest in her delicious candies is revealed, her affection turns to fear. Is her hero a traitor in disguise?

The Homestead Brides Collection:
Promises of free land lured thousands to venture into the vast American plains. They built make-do homes and put all they had into improving the land. Very often romantic thoughts took a back burner to priorities having to do with the land. Travel along through the Great Plains on romantic adventures as God helps each land prospector find someone with whom to share the dream—the work—and the love.

About the Author(s):

Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over thirty books and has written more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont. You can find Darlene online elsewhere at

The Homestead Brides Collection features these authors: Mary Connealy, DiAnn Mills, Erica Vetsch, Carla Olson Gade, Kathleen Y'Barbo, Ruth Logan Herne, Pam Hillman, Darlene Franklin, and Becca Whitman.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Strong Alaskan Woman by Author Lynn Lovegreen

Strong Alaskan Women 
by Lynn Lovegreen

I am sometimes asked why I write young adult historical romance set in Alaska. It is a small niche, or an odd subgenre, depending on your point of view. But for me, it ties all of my passions into one vocation.  I love young people, romance, and Alaska history. And in my mind, there’s no better way to show the capability of the human spirit than by writing about strong Alaskan women.

Our history is full of strong women. The tough landscape provided challenges, but also opportunities to make their own way in the world. They did what needed to be done, regardless of the traditional gender roles followed in more “civilized” places. That isn’t to say they weren’t feminine, just that they defined that word for themselves. Many of my characters are based on specific Alaskan women or are a composite of women in that time and place. In my latest book Golden Days, the character Elena is based loosely on a real person named Erinia Pavaloff Cherosky Callahan. Like Elena’s, Callahan’s heritage was Russian and Native Alaskan. She also worked in trading and skin-sewing, and she was a survivor of tough times. Another character in Golden Days is Mrs. Thompson. She is not based on one real person but on many of the founding mothers of Fairbanks such as Nellie Cashman and Jessie Bloom who made improvements including the hospital and Girl Scout program that helped make Fairbanks the family-friendly town that it is today. (If you want to read more nonfiction about women in this time period, I recommend Gold Rush Women by Claire Rudolph Murphy and Jane G. Haigh,

We continue to have strong women in Alaska, from women in the arts such as Sonya Kelliher-Combs, Dana Stabenow, and Eowyn Ivey, to culture bearers like Rita Blumenstein and Nora Dauenhauer. I'm honored to know some of these women and to be inspired by them to be the best person I can be. My hope is that sharing these stories will inspire my readers to live the best life they can. Role models are a good way for us to think, “If she could do that, then I can do what I need to do with my life.” Maybe a young reader will say to herself, “If Elizabeth can become an artist, then I can live my dream too.” I would say to her, “Yes, you can!

Lynn Lovegreen grew up in Alaska, and still lives there. She taught for twenty years before retiring to make more time for writing. She enjoys her friends and family, reading, and hitting targets with a cowboy action shooting club. Her young adult/new adult historical romances are set in the Alaska Gold Rush, a great time for drama, romance, and independent characters. See her website at You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.

-interview by Erin Unger

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Set Sail with Author, Stephanie Prichard

Stephanie Prichard has just navigated into the Diamond Mine harbor! Ahoy! Some of you may think she's here to open a treasure trove of grammar pointers, which she is well versed in. But no, my friends. She's here to share the news of her debut novel, Stranded. So settle back in first class and enjoy the cruise! 'Tis a fine day at sea!

PT:  Hello, Stephanie! Welcome to the Diamond Mine. Let's get everyone on board and start with the basics. Could you tell us a little about yourself and the genre you write in?

SP:  Sure, Peggy. I’m an “army brat” and have lived in many parts of the world and US. I met my husband, Don, an Iowa farm boy, in college, where I majored in English and he in architecture. Although our backgrounds were different—sorta like the city mouse marrying the country mouse—we had a lot in common, including our taste for action and adventure in entertainment. Because of that and Don’s serving in the USMC Reserves for over thirty years, our debut novel easily fell into the suspense genre.

PT:  So you both wrote it together. That voyage must be interesting indeed! What was it like to collaborate with your husband for your debut novel?

SP:  Don wrote the original draft, worked on it for several years, then asked me to help him. I was going to simply correct the grammar and spelling, but I fell in love with the story and eventually became his co-author due to all the changes we made. The “surgery on his baby” was a little hard on him at first, but as we read how-to books together and attended writers conferences, we came together on the same page. His strength is plot and details while mine is characterization and writing skills, so we melded into a complementary partnership we just love.

PT:  I noticed Stranded, is set in the Philippines. Have you ever had the chance to visit there?

SP: As an army officer’s daughter, I lived in several places outside the US but not the Philippines. The closest I got was Okinawa shortly after I was born, and Japan when I was in elementary school. Asian life and culture have always held a fascination for me, perhaps because of that early influence. It would be fun to visit the Philippines, but right now it’s only a dream.

PT:  So let's dig deeper. Really deepto the hull of the structure. Give us a snapshot of the spiritual backdrop of your story. Just a tiny peek.

SP:  It's not just the jungle that the poor castaways have to survive.  It's also God.  The island is sorta like the stomping grounds of the Holy Spirit (and symbolically it is), who pokes and prods the four characters into confronting the obstacles they've put between themselves and God.

PT:  What a awesome visual! And so real in all our lives. Now, let's step out on the plank and have you tell us something that people would not expect to know about you.

SP:  Hmmm, fear of arachnids and love of everything chocolate wouldn’t be unexpected, so I suppose a good answer is that I’ve studied five foreign languages—Spanish, Italian, French, German, and Latin. I was fluent in Italian since I lived in Italy for two years during high school, but now I can’t remember anything but the word ciao!

 PT:  What is the next novel you are working on?

SP:  Our next novel is a sequel to Stranded, which we intend to make into a series. Don is working on the draft of the sixth book, while I will start in on rewriting the second in February. Working with him is sort of like the tortoise being hitched to the hare!

 Let's get a little snippet of suspense from Stranded:

All Marine Corps reservist Jake Chalmers wants is to give his dying wife a last, romantic cruise to the Philippines. Unable to save her in a mass murder aboard ship, he washes ashore a jungle island, where he discovers three other survivors. Heartbroken that he failed to save his wife, he is determined not to fail these helpless castaways.

Federal prosecutor Eve Eriksson rescues a young girl and her elderly great-aunt from the same ship. They badly need Jake's survival skills, but why is he so maddeningly careful? She needs to hurry home to nail a significant career trial. And, please, before Jake learns her secret that she's responsible for his wife's death.

PT:  Wow, what a powerful storyline! Indeed, it sounds like a catamaran of white-knuckled mystery. I can't thank you enough for visiting with us, Stephanie!  Bon Voyage!

SP:  Thanks for inviting me to share on the Diamond Mine, Peggy!

Here's where you can get Stranded and where you can find out more about this writing team!


Do you feel lucky, matey? Stephanie is giving out a free copy to one very blessed person who leaves a comment.  We here at the Mine, LOVE the folks who take the time to let us know how they appreciate these wonderful authors.  So don't get, ahem, "stranded" without a chance to enter. Leave a comment and you may be the next winner!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Big Howdy to Texas Author Martha Rogers!

I'm thrilled to introduce Author Martha Rogers!! She is a real inspiration, and I'm so fortunate to have met her face to face at the St. Louis ACFW Conference!

PT: Welcome, Martha! We're so glad to get to learn more about you! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

MR: The main thing I like for people to know is that I never gave up on the dream I had for writing that began when I was a child.  I wrote my first novel in college at Baylor University in 1954 then marriage, three sons, teaching, earning a Master's Degree in Education, and grandchildren ate of my time, and I had no idea how to do anything with my writing.  Now, with thirteen novels published, I've learned to balance the time I spend on writing and enjoying my life as a grandparent and great-grandparent.

PT: That is so awesome! I, too, encourage people not to forget or give up on their dreams. Some dreams get put on hold because life gets in the way. Not only are you an inspiration to holding out on your dreams, in a world of disposable marriages, you stayed faithfully married for a long time! Congratulations! Any inspiring marital advice?

MR:  After fifty-five years my best advice is not to sweat the small stuff.  I had lots of arguments with husband in my head over little things.  Only when a major disagreement occurred did I say anything and then it must be said with love and not anger even though the anger is there.

PT:  You've been blessed to receive many prestigious awards. I actually witnessed you winning the Volunteer of the Year Award in September at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in St. Louis this past year.  Can you tell us one of your most exciting volunteer jobs?

MR:  Writing the Verse of the Week devotional on the main loop of ACFW may not be the most exciting, but it's the most rewarding as I find verses that have meant so much to me and share them with my fellow writers.  The most exciting would most likely be serving as a greeter at meal times during the conference.  I get to see so many more people that way.

PT:  I don't know how you find time with so many things to do. But I love to keep life full of blessings, and I see you do too. What's the greatest challenge at this point in your life?

MR: My greatest challenge right now is caring for my husband as we fight the melanoma that is taking over his body.  He's always been a strong man who took care of our home and me with love.  Now his strength is ebbing and he can't do all the things he once did.  Our faith is strong, but it's a challenge for me to stay upbeat and encourage him when he feels so lousy.  We keep trusting in God and know he will give us everything we need to make this journey.

PT: I know you have a very positive spirit, but it can lag with so much stress. I encourage any reader to add both of you to their prayer list. Prayer, indeed changes lives and keeps families strong. Speaking of family, you wrote about your direct family line in Love Stays True. How did you find fodder to fill the empty gaps in your family's history?

MR:  I have eleven cousins plus my brother and sister, and we meet at "Cousin Camp" once a year with as many of us as possible in attendance.  When I told them what I had discovered, they begged me to write it down.  I did and then wrote a story around the information.  After that we brainstormed to come up with ideas to make it into a novel.  I've never had so much fun writing a novel as I did with Love Stays True and getting their ideas.

PT: Yes, it take a village to actually see a novel come to print, from the idea starters, the brainstormers, the agents, the editors and everyone else in between.  I believe you have Tamela Hancock Murray as your agent. How does she enhance your writing experience?

MR:  She believes in me and is willing to do whateer it takes to get my writing where it needs to be.  If she's not sure about a manuscript idea, she lets me know and makes suggestions for making a plot stronger.  Most important to me is the fact that she is always available and never puts me off.  She truly has the best interests of her clients at heart.

PT: Martha, thanks for being with us at the Diamond Mine. I'm so thankful to have met you and had a chance to know you better.  Before I sign off, one last question. What are you working on now?

MR:  I'm working on a Christmas novella with eleven other writers for a series of e-books to be released one at a time for twelve weeks before Christmas 2015. The series is Mail Order Angels and is about a group of mail-order brides who travel west to find true love. I also have a contract for a Christmas book that will follow the characters of Love Never Fails, and it will be released in the fall of 2016.

PT: I can't wait and I know the readers can't either! Here's Martha's book that she's giving away this week FOR FREE for some blessed reader who leaves comment. 

Martha Rogers is a freelance author of both fiction and non-fiction and a speaker. Her stories and articles have appeared in a number of compilations and magazines. Her first fiction novella released in 2007.

Her experiences as a public school teacher, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, First Place leader, Mom and Grandmother give Martha a unique field of ministry. You can lean more about Martha at these websites:

Twitter: #martharogers2