Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Baggin' Info on Author, Susan Baganz!

I'm just in the neighborhood with Susan Baganz, author, editor, and teacher, with her new book, Pesto & Potholes.  You gotta admit, that title alone makes you go, whaaaa??!! I'm picturing hitting a giant asphalt break while chomping on linguine covered in pesto. Oooh. I think the swimming pool is not the only thing that could turn my hair green! Should probably save that take-out meal until I arrive home. Kudos on the name, though. And the cover is gorgeous! But with that aside, I want to load you up with more information about Susan. So, get your shopping carts, readers, and we'll begin our information spree!

PT:  Welcome, Susan, to the Mine!

SB:  I'm thrilled to be here!

PT: I've had the extreme pleasure of working with you the last year or so, but our readers are wandering the aisles for a glimpse of you. I'll start with my favorite question. How long have you been writing and which genre do you prefer to write in?

SB:  I first started writing historicals in 2009 during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.org), I wrote Regency-era romances (time period of Jane Austen), since that was a genre I’ve always loved to read. (I’ve written all 5 of my Regencies this way)
I’ve also enjoyed writing contemporary inspirational romances. It is fun to go from writing with no phones or cars to people who text and go check Facebook! I’ve dabbled a little with romantic suspense as well.
As for preference—I love them all! Which is probably why, as an editor, I enjoy working on both historical and contemporary romances. I’m a prolific writer. I have 11 full manuscripts written in six years, in various stages of revision. Two are under contract with Prism Book Group and another being shopped by my agent.

PT: I see. Do you like to center your novels on a theme/Bible verse? Is there one for Pesto and Potholes?

SB:  I don’t center on a Biblical theme per se. Pesto and Potholes came out of an attempt to illustrate
something I learned in undergrad psychology (I have my Masters in Counseling Psychology). My instructor had drawn this pit-like diagram on the board and talked about the road to healing was not a straight trajectory. I had piped up in class and said “Pothole theory!” Totally baffled my prof! I still call it that though!
The road to healing, emotionally or physically, is often jagged and has ups and downs. I’ve seen this similar image in my chiropractor’s office as well. So I thought, how could I illustrate this in a story form? How could a woman who has been emotionally, spiritually and yes, physically wounded, recover with the help of a loving, caring, faith community (aka: Church). So that’s how I got Pesto and Potholes. That, and Antonio is Italian.

PT:  Hmmm. Can't hate a gorgeous Italian! LOL And God is definitely in the healing business. What Bible Character would  you say your hero would be most like? What about your heroine?

SB:  Renata Blake might be somewhat like Job in that she’s lost everything. Not that she had things great to begin with, but holds on to her faith in the midst of tragedy and little support.
Antonio DeLuca, in a way I wanted him to be a real life example of Christ’s love and care for someone, patience, protection, respect for boundaries and humility. The difference is, Tony is a romantic love interest where as it feels odd to think of Jesus that way. Oh, and Tony is far from perfect.

PT: I love imperfect characters! I can so relate to them. Wow, you've got several WIP’s (unfinished stories-Works In Progress)  right now. Do you write on all of them at the same time or plot and do one at a time?

SB:  I’m a panster when it comes to writing fiction so other than the names and some basic backstory for my two main characters along with an initial inciting incident, I don’t always know where it’s going to go. It’s a wild roller-coaster ride and I love the rush of a first draft. After that, while I enjoy the process, it definitely becomes harder.
With all the rough drafts though, it is sometimes hard to prioritize where I should focus next. Just hoping no new characters emerge to start me on that journey any time soon!

PT: All righty. Tell us quick, 5 things not related to writing that you enjoy.

SB:      Spiced chai latte 
             My dog, Spatzle (a maltese mix)
·                                   Rubber stamping/card making
·                                  Watching the birds outside my window
·                                  Gardening (flowers, not interested in food much to my husband’s dismay)

PT:  So let's talk about where Potholes and Pesto is set.

SB: Northwest suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 2009-2010. Tony is a huge Green Bay Packer’s fan.

PT:  An Italian football buff. Niccccce!  So what’s next for Susan Baganz?

SB:  Along with writing and editing, I teach at writer’s conferences. The next big thing on my “to do” list is to write a 90 minute workshop on “Writing your Past into Your Fiction”. Kind of scary because with Pesto & Potholes, I think there is more of “me” in there than any other book I’ve written. So I have a little experience with this topic. Should be fun.

PT:  Well, it's time to close the registers, shoppers, but you can still find Susan all over.  Check out these links.

PT:  BONUS! Susan has a book trailer!!! (Mouths agape! Now, shut.) Click this link and head on over to learn more about Susan's new release, Pestos & Potholes!

PLEASE, PRETTY, PRETTY PLEASE leave a comment for Susan!  She would love to hear from you.  And she's giving away a free copy of her book, Pesto & Potholes, to one blessed person. Thanks for joining us. J
Susan M. Baganz chases after three Hobbits and is a native of Wisconsin. She is an Acquisitions Editor with Prism Book Group specializing in bringing great romance novels and novellas to publication. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical world-view.
She has been published in Splickety Magazine and in the I Choose You anthology with OakTara Press. Pesto and Potholes is her first contemporary romance novel in the Orchard Hill Series, the second, Salsa and Speedbumps will follow. She is represented by Mary Sue Seymour for her adventurous Regency Romances.
Susan speaks, teaches and encourages others to follow God in being all He has created them to be. With her seminary degree in counseling psychology, a background in the field of mental health, and years serving in church ministry, she understands the complexities and pain of life as well as its craziness. She serves behind-the-scenes in various capacities at her church. Her favorite pastimes are lazy ones—snuggling with her dog while reading a good book, or sitting with a friend chatting over a cup of spiced chai latte.
You can learn more by following her blog www.susanbaganz.com, her twitter feed @susanbaganz or her fan page, www.facebook.com/susanmbaganz

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Valerie Comer joins us this week!!

Let’s give a warm welcome to Valerie Comer. J


Thanks so much for inviting me over, Misty. I like mining for diamonds almost as well as growing food. But, you know, food tastes better!

Thanks for joining us this week Valerie. We’re pleased to have you.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?

I'm a gardener and farmer from western Canada and the delighted grandmother of three little girls. They say to write what you know, so I decided to set a contemporary romance series around the local food and sustainability movement. Knowing where our food comes from is important to my family and me. We grow a lot of it ourselves and buy as much as we can locally. But yes, we also support the supermarket for the remainder!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer, and did you pick the genre, or did it pick you?

I dabbled in writing for many years, but began to get serious in 2002. I started out writing speculative fiction — you'll find one fantasy novel on my Amazon profile. About 2008 I decided to try my hand at contemporary romance and was immediately hooked when I latched onto the idea for the Farm Fresh Romance series. I'd finally found my niche.
What book are you planning to giveaway this week, and can you give us a little sneak peek of what it’s about?

The book I'm giving away is Dandelions for Dinner, the fourth book in the Farm Fresh Romance series. Don't worry; you don't have to read them in order, though you'll probably want to.

She hates him. He loves her not.

Men are weeds. Allison Hart doesn't need them in her carefully tended life, though her friends at Green Acres seem happy with their guys. Why can't Allison open her heart to anyone but her young nephew? Then again, he'll be a man one day, too. If only the irritating contractor in charge of building her home and farm school wasn't the boy's favorite person.

Fireworks with Brent Callahan's newest client shift from antagonism to the rocky possibility of a relationship. When he comes face to face with a history he'd much rather forget, he realizes hiding his failures isn't the best option for finding forgiveness, let alone love.

Can a little boy help weed out the past before it chokes their future together?
I see that you inject food into your books. Other than being a farmer, what made you decide to do that?

My son and daughter-in-law attended university about ten years ago. I was amazed to learn how jealous many of their friends were, that they had a place where they could grow food and live a more sustainable life. There's been a wide shift in the last decade or so toward gourmet cooking with locally-sourced ingredients, and I've been happy to provide some of that flavor in story form, based on many years of farming experience as well as watching our kids when they returned to the farm and dug in after graduation.
I'm also a past board member of our local food society and still act as webmaster. My daughter-in-law now manages our valley's farmers' market. Our family life is rooted in this issue.

I also see you’re a beekeeper. J What’s that like and what does it entail? I must admit I’m interested in the process.

We started out with 2 beehives about 7 years ago. For a few seasons we kept nearly 80 hives, but sold off the majority two years back. My husband and son do most of the labor, suiting up, checking the hives, and adding empty supers as required — boxes with frames for the bees to fill with honey. In late summer, the whole family spends a few days extracting all the honey and filling jars and buckets. We still sell to a few customers who've stuck with us through ups and downs, but most now is for family use.
Interestingly, honeybees depend on dandelion nectar as one of the first major crops of the season. Fields covered in dandelions will help keep our bees healthy.

The third Farm Fresh Romance book, Sweetened with Honey, features beekeeping.

How hard was it for you to get published and is there a story that sticks out in your mind about your journey?

This would be a really long post if I detailed my journey, so I'll try to hit the highlights. I wrote with an eye to traditional publication for a number of years, and landed that elusive contract for a novella with Barbour in 2011 (Rainbow's End, 2012). This snagged me an agent, and I thought I was on my way. Although there was quite a bit of interest in what is now the Farm Fresh Romance series, it was a bit too far out of the box. After two years, disillusioned, I let my agent go.

I contracted the first two books in the series to a small publisher, but they didn't do well, and I regained the rights in July 2014. I released them both plus Snowflake Tiara (a few weeks later), a collaborative project with Angela Breidenbach. In November I released the third Farm Fresh, and in March, the fourth. I've also released a novella (Secretly Yours) in a new series and have the second novella (Pinky Promise) up for pre-order.

What sticks out in my mind? Honestly, an absolute gratefulness to God for the entire journey. My stories have gained a wide readership, and I can't begin to tell you how happy I am today as an indie author/publisher. God has blessed my socks off in the past eight months to the point where I am unbelievably relieved that no one contracted this series when it was first offered.

Is your family supportive of your writing?

They are. My husband always believed in me and, when my job and I parted ways in the fall of 2012, encouraged me to write fulltime. It's certainly paid off. I'm also thrilled that my very talented daughter does all my covers, as well as some for other authors.

Are the characters in your books totally fictional or do they have a little of the people you know in them?

There's always a bit of myself and people I know in every character, but by the time I've given the character a different family history, situation, and story problem, there's nothing recognizable left!

I always ask everyone I interview what their favorite work is, so what’s yours? Your favorite character? J

That changes with every new release, I think. I really do love Dandelions for Dinner. Many reviewers tell me that the series keeps getting better. I hope I can keep building on that with two more books to go before starting another full-length series.

Meanwhile, I'm having a ton of fun with my novellas. Pinky Promise, which releases April 7, was a riot because it features two single parents whose six-year-old daughters decide they should all be one happy family.

That would make Kelly Bryant of Pinky Promise my current favorite character. She's a no-nonsense single mom who is playing out the hand she's been dealt. She's not looking for love, but it's hard to resist both a handsome Christian man and two mini-matchmakers.

If you're interested in learning more about my passion for the intersection of food and faith, come on by my website at http://valeriecomer.com. You'll also find my blog, links to all my social media sites, and a signup to my email list where I give away a Farm Fresh Romance short story to subscribers.
You can also find the links to the first Farm Fresh Romance, Raspberries and Vinegar, which is free on all e-book platforms. Prefer a paperback or audiobook? I've got those options covered, too, but not for free!

Thank you for being our guest today, Valerie. It’s been awesome getting to know you.

I appreciate the invitation, Misty! Thanks for spending time with me today. Blessings on you and the Diamond Mine.





Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Interview and Book Giveaway with Amber Schamel!!


Today we welcome author Amber Schamel to The Diamond Mine. If you leave a comment for her, you'll be entered for a chance to win a copy of volume 2 in her wonderful series Days of Messiah. Here's a little about volume 2: The Messiah's sign:
Dreams…they shouldn’t bother him, but when Tyrus’ worst nightmare is vindicated, he has no choice but to face reality. His wife has been unfaithful, and God has punished her with the most feared disease in the land: leprosy. Banishing her to the leper colony, Tyrus struggles to raise and protect their son. But when Malon begins following the teacher from Nazareth, what remains of their business and reputation is at stake. Can Tyrus save his son from the beguiling lies of a false Messiah before he loses the only thing he has left?

Ir's a wonderful series, Amber! Welcome to The Diamond Mine. Let's get started with the interview!
What was the first story you remember writing?

Yikes, that was a long time ago. The first story I remember actually writing and finishing ended up being the first story I ever had published entitled The Foolish Princess. It is a medieval short story, but really it is an allegory, or testimony of how Jesus has saved us.

Sounds intriguing. What type of stories do you write, and why?

I write historical fiction with a goal of bringing HIStory to life. I’ve always had a love for history, and a love of stories, so those two naturally combined. Historical Fiction is my favorite genre. It’s what I like to read, so it’s also what I like to write. These two quotes sum up my passion for the genre:
 “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” ~Santayana
“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” ~Rudyard Kipling
Great quotes! Do you make an outline first, or write as you go?

A little bit of both. I make a rough outline, but it will morph and change as I write. My original outline is real basic, with just the highlights of the story, then I write progressively, discovering the details as I go.

How much research do you do for a story?

It varies with each story, but I probably do a lot more research than I need to. I'm a history lover, so I really enjoy research. I do basic research before I start writing, but I always run into something I have to go back and research as I go along. For example, I'll be writing a scene and suddenly realize I need to know what someone would have used to repair a torn piece of paper during the 1800s. Then I get off on a goose chase. LOL.

I know what you mean! Research can really pull you in and send you in interesting directions! What’s your favorite part about writing?

Wow, that's a hard question. I really enjoy the research. I also really enjoy the plotting and that first excitement that comes with the story idea. Then there's the thrill of actually writing, and hearing how your stories have impacted readers.
But I think the best part is when you're writing a scene, and you can really tell that the Lord is leading you, whispering ideas in your ear. There is no feeling like when you are creating with The Creator.

Wonderfully said, Amber. I think that's the best part, too!
How much of yourself is in your characters?

There's at least a little piece of me in each of them, I think. When you write a character, you're stepping into their mindset, and your experiences and emotions will play out, because ultimately, you're the one behind the mask.

Right! How has your own life experience contributed to your writing?

In more ways than I can count. For example, the Days of Messiah series focuses around a woman who contracts leprosy, but is later healed by Jesus. I fought arthritis for 9 years of my life before the Lord healed me, so I drew a lot from my experience there. I have also struggled with bitterness in my life, and that is a central theme in the series as well.

As writers, we can bring into our characters some of the experiences that have deepened our own lives, and taught us many lessons. I can see that in your writing.
What work of fiction made the biggest impression on you?

That is a REALLY hard question. For me, it has been a lot of books making a small impression rather than one book making a big one. But I'd have to say that it would be the Refiner's Fire series by Lynn Austin, specifically Candle in the Darkness. That book changed the way I saw the Rebel cause.

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

Boy, I don't know. I'm just intent of following the Lord's leading, so wherever He takes me, that's where I'll be. He likes to throw me some curve balls, so there's no telling where He'll take me!

I hear you, and that's the best way for a believer to live. Following His lead! What are you working on now?

I'm currently working on a Christmas novel set during the Civil War. Caleb Satch is a would-be attorney who flees his failure by joining the ranks of the Union army. But when his closest friend is court-martialed for desertion, he begs Caleb to plead his case. Caleb stands against all odds, and his greatest fear, for his friend's life, but when justice is ignored, he vows to clear his friend's name. On the fifteenth anniversary of Toby's death, will Caleb finally find victory and restore honor to Toby's memory, or will Caleb end his life in failure?

Wow. That sounds really interesting! It's been wonderful sharing this time with you, and learning about you and your writing. I'm going to include a short bio now, for our readers to learn more. Thanks again, Amber. God bless you!

Multi-published author Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest". A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life. First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft and is now the author of over half a dozen books. Between ministry, family and working in their family-owned businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites.  Amber is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.

Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win. For those of you who want to buy a copy, here are the buy links: 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Interview and Book Giveaway with Renee Blare!

This week's interview and giveaway is with one of our own here at the Diamond Mine!
It's release day for Renee's book, The Beast of Stratton!

Leave a comment after the interview for a chance to win a free copy!

Hi Renee! Bet this is quite a day for you. Congratulations on a milestone. Release Day for The Beast of Stratton. Here's a little about the book. We'll have an excerpt later!

He appears the beast but she sees his heart.
Architect Aimee Hart, determined to locate her father, infiltrates Miles Stratton’s engineering firm as a secretary. Her presence wrenches the shaggy, wounded man from his penthouse, and the quest begins.
He’s been betrayed by his best friend. Miles would rather hide than help, especially his daughter. But it isnt over. Someone’s trying to destroy Stratton Industrial. A war veteran, he knows how to defend his own, the Beast of Stratton can do it again.

Let's get to the interview and find out more about you.

Describe how you feel about seeing your book published.

I guess I’m still in shock. I think when I hold the book in my hands, it will become real. I’ve seen the e-book on Amazon and the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) on my Kindle, but it’s still a dream for me. LOL God’s so good and He’s made all this possible. Right now, all I can do is praise His name and wait for reality to set in.

I hear you! What got you started on writing fiction novels?

The truth? My husband. I’ve written poetry since I was a teenager, but a novel? I’d never even thought about it! One day, I bought a Christian romance off Amazon…or so I’d thought…and wasn’t very happy. James—that’s my husband’s name—took the brunt of my frustration for almost an hour. I ranted about everything from the sex scenes to the profanity (and I hadn’t even made through half of the book before it landed in the cybernetic trash bin!) He nodded and grunted. The usual male response to a wifely tantrum, I guess. He looked up from his prone position in his recliner (he was watching football), and said the words that changed my life, “If you don’t like it, do something about it. Write your own.” So I did. That was almost five years ago.

A big thanks to James for getting you started! What’s your favorite genre to read and to write?

What a question! Well, let’s see…I love to read almost anything. I’m pretty eclectic. Science fiction, mystery, romance, you name it. The only thing I don’t have in my library? Horror (shudder), and you won’t find me with very many children’s novels. That’s not saying I haven’t read them. I used to when my son was young. I just don’t anymore. ;) My favorite? I love a good suspense and Scottish romance. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a tall highlander.
Although I like to read everything from historical to sci-fi, including dystopian, I write Contemporary Romantic Suspense sometimes with a touch of mystery.

What do you want to convey through your stories?

All of my stories contain a spiritual message….a simple one. Life’s real and it’s hard, but we aren’t alone.
With trial comes baggage…and every person clings to something. Sooner or later, we must face it. We can choose to face it alone or with the Almighty at our side. Either way, He’s waiting for us to ask for Him. However, the choice to hope and trust? That begins with us—yes, even the Christian.

Very true. Did you find it easy or difficult to let other people read your work when you first began writing?

I needed people to read my work. I’d never written a book in my life. Reading wasn’t writing… at least, as far as I was concerned. I wanted advice, feedback, HELP! I approached writing the way I did pharmacy school. Fail, learn, fail, learn…the best part of this learning process was that when I screwed up, no one could get hurt!
I handled the rejections and cruel comments like I always do, shrugged them off and kept going. Wondering what I’m talking about? My skin’s thick. I’m a pharmacist, remember? Need to learn how to take some crap, work in a pharmacy for a day.

My daughter-in-law would heartily agree. She was a pharmacy assistant for a while. Lots of paperwork and grumpy folks to deal with. Rough work! 
What does the process of writing do for you personally?

Writing has brought me closer to the Lord in so many ways, Nancy. The spiritual messages in my books aren’t just for the readers. They’re for me too. Hope, faith, love, trust…God is speaking to me while I’m writing these stories. The struggles my characters are facing and overcoming lift me high into the heavens. It’s a wonderful experience.

I agree completely! Do your characters ever surprise you?

Oh yes. I’m not a plotter in the sense of the word. I have a rough idea as to where the story is going at the beginning but the twists and turns of the book are a complete surprise to me. The characters and their changes throughout the story sometimes hit me upside the head. I have to praise God for those moments because they are purely His doing.

It's fun, isn't it? What work of fiction would you say affected you the most? And what was the effect?

You may not have heard of this one…but then again…I read this book a long time ago. I wouldn't proclaim it for a rendition of Scripture. It’s not. The author wrote this book to portray a vision he claims he had from the Lord. It changed the way I thought of the spiritual realm. It was Rick Joyner’s The Final Quest.

I'll have to read that one. Sound interesting. What are you working on now?

I’m finishing a novella for Prism Book Group called Racing Hearts. It’s very dear to my heart. I’m almost done with it and I’ll be shooting it off to my editor soon. When I’m done with that, I’ll start editing the second book in the Snowy Range Chronicles. The first book, To Soar on Eagles’ Wings is due to be released in July.

Busy lady! What are your plans for future writing?

As soon as I finish editing the second book in my series, I start researching the third! I’m really excited about this one. I may need to plan a trip to Montana or Idaho for the research project though. We’ll see. I’d also like to write a Christmas story. I attempted it during NaNoWriMo this last year, but alas, other things reared their heads. We’ll see…we’ll see!

I know you'll do well with whatever is in store. Congratulations again on your release day! Now here's an excerpt from The Beast of Stratton:

He’d vanished. 
She’d called his friends, the family. She’d even tried her stepmother who’d hung up on her. Well, okay, maybe that wasn’t the brightest idea. 
A red rose rolled across her father’s tattered note, caught in the breeze from the open window. Sliding the pane down, she picked up the flower. The words on the page blurred as she buried her nose in the soft petals. 
Instead of saying goodbye to his wife in his last letter, he’d simply left explicit instructions not to follow him. Aimee snorted. Like the woman would care. He’d sent it with the rose and an antique necklace. She held the thick chain aloft and peered at the golden key spinning in the light. The jewelry had probably cost a fortune. 
And her stepmother was nowhere to be found. Scratch that. According to her, she wanted to be left alone. It didn’t make a difference to Aimee what the letter said and to whom, she’d follow. A small smile worked its way to her lips as she fastened the necklace around her neck. 
The zipper stuck on the edge of the suitcase and she gave it a hard jerk. Dragging the bulging bag off the bed, it hit the floor with a thunk. She slid her arms into her jacket and looped her purse over the handle. She dropped the rose, and it landed beside her plane ticket next to her wallet. Before latching her fingers around her bag, she tucked the key under her shirt out of sight. “Stratton Industrial, here I come.”

Here's the purchase link for this exciting story:
Available for purchase: Amazon

Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy! Now here's a little bit about Renee:
Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, Renee started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to Laramie and she’s been counting pills ever since. While writing’s her first love, well, after the Lord and her husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.
Nestled against the Black Hills with her husband, crazy old dog and ornery cat, she serves the community of northeastern Wyoming as a pharmacist and pens her Christian stories, keeping them interesting with action and intrigue, of course. She loves to interact with readers and invites you to check out her website, blog, and social media.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Second Chances with Ada Brownell

Second Chances: Ada Brownell on the Diamond Mine

Please join me and welcome Ada Brownell to the Diamond Mine! She's giving away a copy of her latest release, The Lady Fugitive. See details following the interview. Well, come on, everyone...gather round. I have coffee and cookies...somewhere. Oh, well, let's get started!

Welcome to the Mine, Ada. I’m so glad you’re here. I hear you have a new book? Can you tell us a little about it?

The book is The Lady Fugitive. Jenny Parks, my main character materialized from memories of my maternal grandmother, whom some relatives say had to run from an abusive uncle, a judge.

Grandma, as is Jenny, was a talented orphan who graduated from high school at 16 in about 1896 with a teaching certificate.  She was an elocutionist and performed her poems and songs on stage in Pueblo, Colo.

The leading man, William O’Casey, has similarities to Grandpa. Grandpa died before I was born, but I heard how he used to travel around the country showing one of the first Passion of the Christ picture shows. My brother has the reel. Grandpa’s father was murdered, as William’s was.

That’s so amazing. What a cool story! Well, not the murdered part…although it makes for great drama. In the plot, Ada! I’ll take my foot out of my mouth now.
Back to the book, what inspired you to write it?

I’ve wanted to write this novel for decades. I spent a big chunk of my life as a newspaper reporter, and wrote for Christian publications since my teens. After I retired from The Pueblo Chieftian I joined American Christian Fiction Writers. I took the courses that come with membership. I joined critique groups. I was active on the loop where seasoned writers share vital information and tricks of the trade. I wrote a teen novel, The Castle and the Catapult.

Then I joined ACFW’s Novel Track where you write as fast as you can without stopping to change anything or edit.  You keep going until you reach the end. I had about 7,000 words to begin with, and in five weeks I had 80,000 words and The End. It took another year or more to edit it.

The book now has more than 30 reviews, a majority 5-star.

Now that’s quite the accomplishment. Do you have a favorite scene or part of the book? If so, can we get a glimpse?

After peeking in a dirty window and seeing an empty room, Jenny opened the rickety door. Her footsteps echoed on the crude wood floors. Emptiness, dust, and cobwebs filled the place. She took a stick and tore webs away as she walked.
A rumpled blanket wiggled on the bed. “Perhaps we have a kitty here.” She lifted the corner. A soft rattling noise erupted and a snake shot toward her. It grazed her sleeve as she jumped back, the blanket still in her hand. The reptile flopped on the dirty floor where it coiled. She threw the blanket on it.
Jumping on top of the bed, screams came from Jenny’s mouth like blasts of dynamite from a mine. Over and over she screamed. Then the snake’s head emerged at the edge of the blanket.
"Oh, God, help me!” The prayer pulsed through her as her thumping heart made her head ache.
The reptile slithered out from under the cloth. The head hovered first this way and that, its tail jiggling the rattles. She gasped for breath and shrieked again. She’d seen snakes climb poles. He might be up the bedpost any minute.
Loud footsteps shook the old house. Jenny’s scream died in her mouth. An explosion and flash of fire caused Jenny to almost jump out of her boots. Pain pierced her ears. For a moment, everything went black. She leaned against the wall, and then her vision returned.
The rattlesnake was dead—shot through the head.
The man hovered beside her. Curly reddish-brown hair stuck out beneath his cowboy hat.
Still dizzy and shaking so much she could barely stand, she started to fall.
He grabbed her, pulled her off the bed into his arms, and stepped away from the rattler. “Are you all right, ma’am? I heard you screaming clear up on the road.”

Ohhh…wow. Can you tell me more? No, wait…let’s get back to the interview first. What made you want to write books?

The Lord set my soul on fire. I was the youth leader and started writing youth ideas for a leaders’ magazine at age 15, and soon sold articles to Christian publications. I went into the news business about five years later.  My first book, Confessions of a Pentecostal, was published in 1978 by the Assemblies of God. My first journalist work was in the 1960s, I took out nearly 20 years to stay home with children and then earned my journalism degree and was hired again. All the while I freelanced for Christian publications.

That’s amazing. I don’t know if I could write for a newspaper. It has to be hard. I’m glad you’re in the novel writing business now, though. Do you have a pearl of wisdom for those just starting out? What about those struggling along the way?

My advice to a Christian writer is to draw close to God, study the Word, and pray for wisdom and guidance. Then learn writing techniques and THINK. Look at everything from a different angle. Write down your ideas, study people, make a plan and write.

If one word could describe you, what would it be? Why?

Worker. I take seriously the scripture, “Whatever you hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no work or device, or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

Jesus said, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” (John 9:4) Scripture repeatedly warns sluggards.

Writers or any Christian should work to support himself and family, but also do the work that doesn’t pay in money, such as at home. Go the second mile for others, and be a witness through words and actions.

Whoa, that hit home for me. It seems as if there’s not enough time in a day. Not so much laziness as poor time management. I definitely need to work on that. My husband would appreciate it, I’m sure. Thanks for the reminder, Ada. We need it.
Back to writing and reading…if you could pick three authors from the crowd, who would they be and why?

There are so many authors that I’ve reviewed books for that are superb writers that I love, but if I must share here are a few.

Josh McDowell
Non-fiction: Josh McDowell author of Evidence that Demands a Verdict; Ralph Riggs, theologian; Dr. Donald F. Johns, author of the Sunday school youth teachers quarterly, “The Bible and Science,” that I taught in 1963. He was way ahead of his time, and I’ve used what I learned from him many times. I love the truths and solid doctrine presented by all these authors.

Frank Peretti

Fiction: Frank Peretti and the The Nightmare Academy (an unusual YA book on truth); Catherine Palmer and her Prairie Rose Trilogy, Melanie Dickerson, author of The Merchant’s Daughter; and there are many other fiction authors I love. My favorite genre is inspirational historical romance in a story with substance.

Rebecca McClanahan
On Writing: Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan. I should also mention Terri Main, an ACFW member, who has wonderful writing courses for $5.

For many, writing’s a lonely trek…for a short time. Soon, you realize the path’s far easier with a little bit of help. Who do you give the most credit in your writing journey and why?

Dick Champion who edited youth magazines and Robert C. Cunningham who edited The Pentecostal Evangel for years. They showed me respect, even when I was in my teens, and if I had an article or story that almost fit, they’d write and tell me to shorten it, add another illustration, or that sort of thing. I did the work the same day and sent it back and they bought it. Editors don’t have time for that now.

They sound like a couple of great men. In some ways, your writing life's been a story of second chances and hard work. Although times have changed, writing's stayed the same. Maybe not styles, or even form, but the words get on the page the same way. From a writer.

I can't help it. I need to know more about your story. Do you have a funny part of The Lady Fugitive to share with the readers before you leave? (Stop it, everyone. I can hear the giggling. I can always unplug the coffee pot. Better yet, no more chocolate chip cookies for you.)

Maude stood on the edge of the pasture, bellowing so loud her belly convulsed with the exertion. Jenny grabbed a bucket. After three years singing, reciting poetry, and performing on stage along with her studies, she hadn’t done much milking. But surely she didn’t forget how.
She rinsed the milk bucket by the windmill. She was ready.
Jenny herded Maude into the homemade stanchion that kept the cow’s head immobile, but allowed her to eat. After forking more hay into the feeding trough, Jenny found a little stool and placed it beside the black-and-white spotted cow.
To relax the animal, she rubbed the bristly hair on her neck and along the backbone. Then she positioned the stool. In response, the cow lifted her tail and splat! A big cow pie landed behind Maude, splattering up her legs.
Jenny nearly gagged. Her dizziness and nausea didn’t need that smell! She held her nose and considered holding her breath
Adjusting the three-legged stool a little, she sat and promptly toppled backward. How could a man sit on a seat so dinky? Certainly, her backside wasn’t that big.
She replaced the stool and milk bucket and tried again. With the seat finally firm and settled, she reached for two of the four teats. Maude raised her hind foot and kicked. There went the milk bucket. The thing, banging into posts along the way, rolled and rattled halfway across the barn floor.
Hold your temper, Maude. Just for that, you can be uncomfortable a little longer. I’m not going to drink dirty milk. Jenny stomped to the windmill to rewash the bucket.

How adorable! I’ve never milked a cow before, but I can see it now. I can’t stop laughing. Thanks for another glance into your book. That was great. Now that you’ve blessed us, can you tell how the Lord blessed you with this book?

I have a good publisher (Elk Lake, a division of Book Club Network). I’ve had super reviews, amazing feedback from readers, and satisfaction that I finally wrote it. The greatest contentment is that it’s squeaky clean and spiritually uplifting.

Thank you for being a part of the Diamond Mine, Ada. You are a true blessing. Oh, one last question! Do you have anything in the works?

I have over 10,000 words on a sequel that has interesting characters, too, and I’m working on a non-fiction book, Common Sense, Propaganda (Spin) and Faith, almost ready to be published.

Well then, I can’t wait for what comes next! Come and get the rest of the cookies!


DRAWING ON 3/11/2015
(one winner by random draw selected from commenters)
(Rough Diamond Writers are ineligible to participate in giveaway)

About the Book:

How does a respected elocutionist become a face on a wanted poster?
Jenny Louise Parks escapes from the coal bin, and her abusive uncle offers a handsome reward for her return. Because he is a judge, he will find her or he won’t inherit her parents’ ranch.
Determination to remain free grips Jenny, especially after she meets William and there’s a hint of romance. But while peddling household goods and showing a Passion of the Christ moving picture, he discovers his father’s brutal murder.
Will Jenny avoid the bounty hunters? Can she forgive the person who turns her in? Will she find peace, joy and love?
Get it on Ada Brownell’s author page https://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownell or at buff.ly/L8up6E

About the Author:

Ada Brownell
Ada Brownell, a devoted Bible student, has written for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colo. She also is a veteran youth Christian education teacher. After moving to Missouri in her retirement, she continues to write books, free lance for Sunday school papers, Christian magazines, write op-ed pieces for newspapers, and blogs with stick-to-your-soul encouragement. She is a member of Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband have five children, one in heaven, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Blog: http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com Stick-to-Your-Soul Encouragement
Ada Brownell Amazon Author page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06