Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Interview and Book Giveaway with Cindy Green!!

A Bible Study Challenge, A Prayer Journal & Homecoming--the combination just might change her life.

Hi visitors!! Today we're welcoming multi-published author Cindy Green to The Diamond Mine

Her new book is Andrea and the 5-Day Challenge, which is the first book in the Aubrey Christian Academy series. Sounds like a wonderful set of stories to look forward to! If you want to be entered for the free drawing of a copy of her book, please leave a comment for Cindy after the interview.  So let's welcome Cindy, and start the interview.

Hi Cindy!  How did you get the idea for this story?

This book takes place in a Christian school. I worked as a Christian schoolteacher for several years before becoming a stay at home mom and author. So, this story came out of my experience as both a student and later a teacher in the Christian school.

Do any of the characters share qualities with you?

In the Aubrey Christian Academy series, there are 4 girls and each girl will eventually get their own novel. Book 1 is Andrea’s story, but you do meet all the girls. I would say that each of the girls has certain characteristic of me. Andrea is much more insecure and melodramatic than I was at her age, but her soft and easygoing temperament are definitely me.  Amy has my take-charge demeanor (when the situation calls for it), Angie has my witty sarcasm and Alisha my quiet insight.

All the girls sound interesting! If you could be one of the four girls in the group, which one would it be?

It is so hard to say. They are all terrific. Each one has their strengths and weaknesses. But if I had to choose, it would probably be Amy. She’s smart, has strong convictions, knows what she wants and goes after it.

Is Luke based on anyone in particular?

Luke is not based on any one in particular, but I I’ve realized after the fact that his temperament is a lot like my oldest teenage son. They are both wise for their years, assess situations before acting and have quiet strength of character.

Those are admirable qualities. Is there a specific theme or message in this book?

The theme in this book is really about seeking God. My heroine needs to learn to find her strength in God and to lean less on self and seek God’s will in her life. Also, by doing this she learns to be less self-absorbed and instead becomes sympathetic to the needs of others.

Since this book begins a series, will there be a separate theme for each one?

There will definitely be different themes as each of the girls have different issues going on in their lives. Purity and Forgiveness for example. And the topics will become more and more serious and grownup as the series continues.

Another good reason to look forward to each book of this series! Is YA your favorite genre to write?

I love writing first person and humorous for both Young Adult, New Adult and Adult. I find it fits my voice best and so I find it the easiest to write. However, I love switching genres and do it often. I’ve done Contemporary and historical romance, fantasy, mystery, even a chick-lit. Switching around in the genres helps me keep things fresh. Having said that, though, I absolutely love writing YA and it is my focus for the time being.

I like to write in different genres, too. So, when did you first know you were a writer?

I feel as if I’ve always been a writer. I was that 5th grade girl who filled notepads with her scribblings and stories. I still have a folder filled with stories and story ideas from middle school and high school. But it wasn’t until I took some time off from teaching to stay home with my own children that I started writing for publication. That was about nine years ago.

And you've been a busy lady since then! Do you use outlines, for your stories?

I do use outlines especially for my full-length novels. I like to start with the final conflict so I know where I am going. Then I go to the beginning and outline inciting incident and several main plot points before starting. I don’t like to outline in too much detail because that seems to stifle my creativity, but I do like to have a game plan.

What are you working on now?

I just finished book 1.5 in the Aubrey Christian Academy series which is Luke’s book. It is novella length and should be coming out this Christmas.  Next, I plan to begin Amy’s book from the series: Amy & the Trouble with Fathers. Amy finds out something mind altering about her father and goes on this quest over Christmas vacation.

Thanks for the interview, Cindy! Your series sounds captivating, full of great characters and interesting challenges. It's been great to host you on The Diamonf Mine!

Here's a peek from Andrea's diary:
Dear Lord,
I need Your help and sooner would be better than later. Wouldn't you know it, just as soon as I decide to attempt the 5-Day Bible Study Challenge, my parents start heaping on loads of pressure to get me into Julliard. My friend Amy isn’t any better, urging me to ask Luke Ryan to homecoming. As if the cute, transfer jock would actually go out with me. I mean, we’re kinda friends, and I’ve enjoyed our Geometry study sessions, but in case Amy hasn’t noticed, I’m the invisible one at Aubrey Christian Academy, and I like it that way. On top of that, I have a feeling Luke’s concealing something behind those chocolate-brown eyes of his. I know I can be self-centered and a bit melodramatic, but I really do want to seek Your will for my life. Then maybe I’ll even figure out which direction points up.
Andrea Jamison
High School Junior
Change-o-phobic & complete neurotic 

Now an excerpt from the book:

"Well, looky there.” Amy lifted her glasses and peered down the hall before returning her specs back to her nose. “Is it me or does Luke look like a mild- mannered reporter type?”

I glared at her.It was as though shed read my mind.”It’s you,” I snapped back. Seven thirty-eight in the morning was way too early for all my synapses to be able to process this information. I was being rude and didn’t even know why.
“He’s like your Romeo in cargo pants.”
“He’s not wearing cargo pants. And don’t compare him to Romeo. That story is way too depressing.”
“OK, then he’s Mr. Darcy come to sweep you away from your mundane existence.”
“Amy, seriously, it’s time to lay off the romantic fiction. Besides, didn’t you tell me that crushes were for immature adolescents?”
“Crushes maybe, but Luke might just be the one for you. You know, the One.” She did the quotes in the air thing to emphasize her statement.
“Are you missing your macaroons or something? I’m only sixteen.” I must have been missing mine because I hadn’t used that expression since sixth grade. I covered my face with my hands.
“Whatever, Andi. Here he comes. If you ask me, he’s trying to woo you. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” She tapped my shoulder before she traipsed away.
I barely took notice of her absence because I had mere seconds before Luke Ryan arrived. He didn’t even give Stephanie a glimpse as he passed by her down the hall. His gaze remained focused on me. I swiveled my stance to face my locker and pulled out the daisies, forming a half-dozen bouquet in my hand. How did he know daises were my favorite? Had I mentioned it?More importantly, was Amy right?
Could Luke really be trying to woo me like some totally romantic gesture straight out of medieval, courtly love? I must have accidentally inhaled window cleaner or something because that just wasn’t possible. His note had only been meant as a thank you. Yes, that was it. He’d even said just that.
Sneaking a peek out of the corner of my eye, I could see he was almost upon me. My evil, impossible heart did a somersault in my chest. Oh, my gosh! Did I remember to put on deodorant this morning, because I was really starting to sweat. As if suffering from some horrifying form of hysteria, I stuffed my books into my locker as fast as I could. I had to get out of this hallway before he caught up to me.
Too late.

I love it! Now here's a little about Cindy, along with her social links:
Cindy K. Green has worked as a middle school history & English teacher, a frozen yogurt server and a golf magazine employee. Today she's a multi-published, award-winning author, a mother, a wife, and a homeschooler too. This native Californian now resides in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and two cats named Chloe & Kassey. 
Please Join the Newsletter:

Don't forget to leave a comment for the chance to win a free copy!
Here are the purchase links for Cindy's book:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Interview and Give-away with Jan Elder!

She wanted to teach him humility—instead, he taught her about love and faith.

Hello visitors! Today on The Diamond Mine, we're welcoming debut author Jan Elder. Her book is Manila Marriage App, and if you leave a comment for Jan, you'll be entered in a drawing for a free copy! Now, for the interview!

Hi Jan! Welcome to The Diamond Mine! Your story is set in Manila. Have you ever been there, or did you have to do a lot of research?

I was privileged to visit The Philippines in 2009. My brother’s lived there since 1985. He’s a missionary, seminary professor, preacher, and church planter (he’s a busy guy!) When I finally had a chance to go, I jumped on it! I did some research, of course, and I had my brother read over some of the passages to make sure they sounded authentic, but a great deal of the book mirrors my own experiences in that delightful tropical land halfway around the world.

Wow, how interesting! Where did you get your inspiration for Shay’s character?

Shay is very unlike me and it was a blast to get into her head. Perhaps, she is a woman I would like to be in many ways. Whereas I am an introvert, she’s an extrovert. Whereas I tend to be circumspect, she is brash and direct. I’m too quiet. She’s too loud. She says things I wish I could say.
A couple of years ago a writer friend told me Pelican Book Group was looking for authors and taking open submissions, a wonderful thing for a debut author. Their guidelines were very clear - http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=page&id=61
Let’s take a trip and fall in love! Passport to Romance™ titles are contemporary romances that are set in specific locales and feature a special set of objects. Passport to Romance™ feature chic heroines who are sparkling, confident, open for adventure—and who are a perfect match for a contemporary alpha male who has a zest for life, a thirst for God, and who likes an intelligent woman who can hold her own.
Set in exotic locations around the world, these stories offer the contemporary Christian reader adventure, vivacity, romance, and faith.
Manila Marriage App was so much fun to write and having to incorporate three objects into the story in a cohesive fashion really did get my “authorly” juices flowing (what PBG requires is different for each country). Plus, I’d never written a novella before and I was up for a challenge!
So…Shay? I guess you could say that she inspired me to write about my alter ego.

That’s a pretty creative way to help authors get inspired. How about your inspiration for Timothy?

My brother had always talked about how difficult it was for a busy missionary man to find a good woman. It would be a great deal easier to just send out an application and choose a mate without all that fuss, muss, and emotion. He was kidding of course, but hey, what if he wasn’t? What if there was a man out there who would have the audacity to advertise for a wife in this day and age?
What started out as a joke made for a good book premise. Timothy Flynn is very much like my brother in many ways…except he’s taller—grin.

What do you find most romantic about the relationship of these two characters?

Shay and Timothy are two very different people. Sure, they’re both smart, educated, and good-looking, but they come into the story with totally different outlooks on life. The romance starts when sparks fly, but true love continues when they realize they are both after the same thing—a relationship that is real and based on both attraction and a mutual purpose in life. 

While you were writing this story, did you ever struggle with how to get these two characters to make a strong connection?

Absolutely. How do I make opposites attract and what will keep them together? The answer to both questions was their relationship with God. I like to think that in the book they both grow as people…and as Christians.

What qualities attract these characters to each other?

Okay, well to be honest, Timothy is all male and Shay is an attractive woman. That’s where it starts but what’s more important is that Shay’s sassiness makes Timothy laugh and brings him out of his shell. Now Timothy, he’s the real deal and he impresses Shay with his compassion for the friendly Filipino people. And it doesn’t hurt one bit that he’s tall, dark, and handsome.   

Good point, Jan! What do you want the reader to take away from this story?

Listen up and be open to what God thinks is best for your life. You might be surprised at the wonderful surprises He has in store.

Great message! Is this the first romance you’ve ever written?

This is the second book I’ve written but the first book to be published.

You have another book coming out soon. Can you tell us a little about that?

The next book up is called Love, Lies, and Fireflies and it’s being published by Prism Book Group. It’s another love story with elements of suspense and the setting is in central Maryland, where I live. And instead of being a novella, it’s 109,000 words (400 pages or so). A longer book is a different kind of challenge and what makes me laugh is that the length makes it a “plus-sized” novel. LLF took five years to write and it should be out in the fall of 2015. The premise? What do you do when you find out your fiancé is cheating on you?

Wow! Sounds like a great read. What are you working on now?

Another novella for Pelican Book Group for their Christmas Extravaganza series. It’s titled A Semi-Precious Christmas and the story revolves around a jewelry store heist. Hopefully, PBG will accept it, and if they do, it should be out before Christmas 2015.

Thanks Jan! It’s been a fun interview. Readers, don't forget to leave a comment for Jan and be entered for a chance to win a free copy of her book!

 Now, here’s a tidbit about Jan’s book:
It all began as a lark. Shay Callahan’s life was just fine, thank you, but when the seemingly misogynistic missionary, Timothy Flynn, places an advertisement for a wife in a Christian magazine, she decides to give it a whirl and sends in the five-page application. Why not? After all, she’s not currently seeing anyone, and this man truly needs to be taught a lesson.  
Finding out she’s Dr. Flynn’s pick of the litter, Shay hops on a plane and flies to The Philippines. The strategy is to jet in, enjoy an exciting two-week vacation, and jet out again, all at his expense. Instead, her plan backfires. The handsome missionary man is not what he seems, and the foreign land has far more to offer than she could imagine.
Embark on a tropical adventure with Shay that challenges everything she believes.
Sounds pretty exciting! Now, here's a little more about Jan:
Jan Elder is a Christian romance writer with a zeal for telling stories other women can relate to. She strives to write the kind of book that will strengthen the reader's faith, while also providing an entertaining and engrossing love story. Pelican Book Group/White Rose is publishing her first novella, Manila Marriage App, one of many in their successful Passport to Romance series.

Besides writing romance, she enjoys the occasional hazelnut cappuccino while watching Turner Classic Movies. Always an avid reader, she devours books voraciously, both Christian and secular. She was born a cat-lover and all future books will, no doubt, feature a feline in some way or another.

Happily married for twelve years to loving (and supportive) husband, Steve, the two live in central Maryland along with Jamie (a tuxedo cat), and Shu-Shu (a tortoiseshell cat). On the weekends, Jan and Steve comb the nearby countryside in search of the perfect ice cream flavor.

Connect with Jan Elder:

Buy her book on Amazon:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

GUEST BLOGGER! Cheryl's Farm Fresh Wisdom~Ya Did What with a Goat??!!

We welcome back my overall-clad friend, Cheryl, who's full of farm fresh wisdom with a Godly flair. You won't BELIEVE what's she's up to this time!!! Put down yer book and pull up a bale of straw, greenhorns. You're about to be schooled on the fine art of animal revival, and we ain't at church! If I'm lying, I'm a dying! Take a gander at Cheryl's jawing.

Cheryl:   After receiving 8” of snow on Mar. 3rd, I was relieved that my son, Matthew, had no school. Finally finished all of the regular daily chores which took three times longer considering the massive accumulation of snow. Being quite tired, cold and wet, I was happy to get in the house even if it was 7:45 p.m.  Just as I had peeled the last bit of wet clothing off, my phone rings.

   “Mom, hurry! Come out here and help me! There’s a new baby goat and it looks real bad!”

   I quickly re-dress and out I go. Upon inspection, the newborn has it’s foot wedged and stuck in a deer stand, its mouth full of dirt and mud. It’s gurgling and freezing.

      My long day just got longer. 

     The mother just stood there in the distance, looking confused. Matthew and I grab the fragile 2 pound mass of screaming kid and sweep it away to our warm home. Once inside, we immediately try to clear the airway since the baby is struggling to breathe. Holding a newborn upside down with a slight swing usually clears the airway. Not this time! This baby stops breathing completely. I clean out more mud from its mouth, frantically patting it like burping a baby with no results.

   Yikes. I now hold a limp baby.

   I clean the mouth, cover nose and mouth with my mouth-breathe. Its chest expands in my hands and it exhales, gasps, and coughs. Then it quits breathing again. Upside down swing-nothing-pat,pat-nothing. Again I cover its mouth with mine-blow. I feel the baby’s chest expand.

   “Jesus, Help me!” I pray as I tap, tap, tap its little ribcage

   Then its pale little nose flares and its gray lips turn pink. Oh, yes! This baby really want to live. The newborn begins breathing but still gurgles. No more upside down swinging. Now to address its cold body. Thank God for a large utility sink and warm water. In she goes.  Now the kid’s nose is turning reddish. I start thinking this baby may make it.

   “Okay, Matthew. I will hold it and you blow it dry.” 

   Praise God for my son, Matthew! We wrap her in a warm towel out of the dryer and stash the baby in an orange box in the kitchen. Then we mix up some colostrum replacer and try to feed this little one. Oh great, it will not suckle. Drip by drip down its throat via a syringe. Only a half ounce. Two hours later, one ounce. Another two hours later, one and a half ounces. Still not sucking, but a least it is learning to cough. Now it spits up so much dirt, there’s no wonder it couldn't breathe. 

   So as I sat up in my chair holding this weak, abandoned baby on my chest throughout the night, it occurs to me that this is exactly what Jesus did for me when He took my place on the cross all these years ago! Jesus took my cold, dead, dirty life and breathed fresh clean air into it. He picked me up from the pit of sin that I could not escape on my own! He cleaned me and nurtured me. He held me close and taught me how to live a new life, unrestricted without shackles. 

   Oh, thank you, Jesus for taking away my guilt, shame, and filth and filling me with Your Word which is food for my soul. We have since named the goat, Ruth, from the Bible. Ruth followed Naomi everywhere and this goat follows me step for step. Just as we are to follow Jesus. Ruth has since learned to suck and loves a bath. She has moved to the laundry room and accepted a stuffed bear as a snuggle mate. 

   Thank you, Jesus, for a new life and spring!

Peggy: The last paragraph reveals reason we write here at the Mine!!! Thank ya much, Cheryl!!! And God's Blessings and Salvation to all.

Don't forget to check out the Miner's bookshelf!  Renee Blare's Beast of Stratton, Nancy Shew Bolton's The Right Ingredients, and, yours truly, my book, Year of Jubilee! And as always, thanks for stopping by!

P.S.:  Today all Prism Books are 25% off at All Romance ebooks!  That's a whole buck!!! Follow these links!

Beast of Stratton: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-beastofstratton-1761217-149.html

The Right Ingredients:  https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-therightingredients-1634862-149.html

Year of Jubilee: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-yearofjubilee-1778358-158.html 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Publishing Party with Peggy Trotter (with Giveaway!)

It’s proving to be another powerful release week for one of our Miners! Peggy Trotter’s first publication, Year of Jubilee hits the market on April 10th. Let’s pop on over to the Hoosier state and profile this new release.

RB: Woohoo, another Miner publishes. Congratulations, Peggy! We’re all wanting to know how it got started.
PT:  Wow. So much to cover in such a little space! Well, let’s see. I won a contest as young girl, was encouraged to write by my Senior English teacher, but took a different turn as college approached. Once I had a teaching degree, however, the writing bug kept biting. Anything that needed writing in my life, I just wrote. Poems, verses, children’s programs, speeches, intros, just about anything that needed writing, I wrote without much thought. But life in general kept me from my true love, Christian Romance. With the encouragement of my husband, I never let the dream fully drop, but didn’t commit to publish until about three years ago.