Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Flee from Evil GIVEAWAY with Connie Almony

Today we have Connie Almony stopping by for a visit, and she comes bearing gifts! A GIVEAWAY of her latest release, Flee from Evil, is up for grabs. 

Flee from Evil
A pastor with a past uses his underworld connections to try and save the child of the woman he wronged many years ago.
Pastor Vince Steegle thought his destructive beginnings were ancient history, but the ramifications of his prior choices just walked in the door of his church. Is Romans 8:28 really true? Can God really make all things good? Or is Vince's past just too ugly?
After the death of her much-beloved husband, Cassandra Whitaker is looking for security for her children. One, a teen on the cusp of womanhood. The other, a young boy struggling with the effects of autism. But there are those who seek to destroy them. Can Cassandra keep her family safe, or must she flee from evil?

Rebekah:  What's your favorite things about the romance and romantic suspense genres?
Connie:  I like stories that make my pulse pound. Romance and suspense do just that - though each for different reasons :o).
Rebekah:  Describe Flee from Evil in 3 separate words.
Connie:  Poignant, Real, Redemptive
Rebekah:  If your book was made into a movie, what actors would you cast as your main hero and heroine?
Connie:  When I first began conceptualizing this book (almost twenty years ago), the hero, Vince, had an eerie quality that made him sort of dangerously attractive. He is a pastor with a past, and I wanted him to have to fight some inner demons as he redeemed his life. For that reason, I first saw Val Kilmer (as portrayed in the movie, The Saint) in the role. However, as time marched on, the character took on a lighter quality and began to appear in my mind a cross between Mac Powell of Third Day--in the Come Together years--and Richard Hatch from Battlestar Galactica (back when I was a girl). If I had to choose and actor today, I think it would be Chris Pine with his dark and charismatic grin, contrasted by striking blue eyes.
I did not have a female in mind when I created Cassandra. However, I'd found a picture of Debra Messing which resembled much of how I'd conceptualized the character. But she is currently about fifteen years older than Cassandra, so I'd have to pick Jennifer Lawrence (with hair dyed auburn) to play the character today.
Rebekah:  How long did it take you to write this book? How do you balance writing with other responsibilities (job, family, etc.)?
Connie:  Does conceptualizing count? That's been about twenty years. However, once I sat down to put it to paper, it took more like six months. Balancing writing with other responsibilities has been difficult. I work part-time at a Christian counseling office, and I have daily care of my now-adult son struggling with the effects of autism (his ten-year-old self is in Flee from Evil). You'd think these things would take time away from writing but it's more the fact that my very chatty husband works from home that distracts me from immersing myself in story world. What's worse is when my daughter has way too many snow days, creating another source of distraction in a house that has no quiet place (my writing desk is in the kitchen) unless all members are out of it. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to spend so much time with my family as I do. However, a moment of peace here and there never hurts! Even Jesus took time away to be by himself.
Rebekah:  When did you realize you first wanted to be a writer?
Connie:  I've dabbled in writing for years, never thinking I'd do it seriously. Suddenly, I'd get an idea for a scene (not even a whole story) and feel the need to write it down. However, I truly caught the bug after helping my daughter work on a project for school where she had to write a Cinderella story set in Greece. Together, we brainstormed ideas. Some she used--and made them sing. Others, she discarded, to my chagrin. I decided then and there I wasn't going to let her have all the fun (nor the control), so I began to write my own story. And I kept on writing! I've never enjoyed something so much in my life. AND I've never worked so hard!
Rebekah:  Do you stick to your TBR pile or are you an impulsive book buyer? What are you currently reading?
Connie:  Impulsive book buyer!!! There are so many great books out now with all the indie authors. Many are my favorites! And eBook prices make it very reasonable to read lots of book within one week. Currently, at the request of my daughter, I'm reading The Testing Series--a dystopian YA trilogy. It's very good. Just before that I read Tamara Leigh's newest release, Baron of Emberly.

Rebekah:  At some point an author has to torture their characters. Tell us the truth. Do you enjoy or hate it?
Connie:  It depends on the torture and who is at the receiving end of it. Some bad guys need a little torture--he he! And sometimes the good guys need a fire lit that will move them forward. However, I have been known to cry while writing certain scenes and even in the editing and polishing phases, because even though I know the torture is good for them in the end, it hurts to watch them go through it. I have to laugh, because I always remind my daughter when she's really into a book or TV show, "You know that isn't real, don't you?" Yes, we know these stories are just fiction. You'd think I'd know it more when I'm the author of them. And yet, it pains me just the same. I suspect that's what God feels (and more) when He watches us go through trials He's authored, knowing these are necessary to bring us into a deeper relationship with Him.
Rebekah:  Who's your number one fictional character crush OR favorite fictional couple?
Connie:  Other than the men I write??? Sigh! It's a heady thing to be able to create your perfect romantic hero. But I'll give you someone else's.

This will sound cliché, but I have to say it . . . my favorite fictional couple is Lizzie Bennett and Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice. Not because it was the best book ever . . . necessarily. Mostly, because it reminds me of how I came to love my husband. You see I married Mr. Darcy, and maybe the only man in the world who appreciates that novel. Whenever I play the A&E video version of it, he makes sure to watch the part where Mr. Darcy first proposes to Lizzie (getting pointers, I'm sure), telling her how much he loves her in spite of all her deficits. Very much like conversations we've had. I know, sounds awful. But as Mr. Darcy says, "Your good opinion is rarely bestowed, and therefore more worth the earning!" My husband's disdain for empty flattery was part of what drew me to him. When he compliments me, it's like finding a wallet filled with cash in the trash.

Rebekah:  What's one thing readers would be surprised to know about you?
Connie:  Maybe that I once lived in an all-male dormitory while in grad school. That was the inspiration for my first novel, One Among Men. Though that book is not my life story, there are elements I took from real life that would also surprise readers. You'll have to read it to find out what those are :o).

Connie Almony is trained as a mental health therapist and likes to mix a little fun with the serious stuff of life. She was a 2012 semi-finalist in the Genesis Contest for Women's Fiction and was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest. She is the author of  At the Edge of a Dark Forest, a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast about a war-vet, amputee struggling with PTSD. Other titles include, An Insignificant Life and One Among Men (the Maryland State University Series), and her current release, Flee from Evil.

Connect with Connie here:

Connie's giving away your choice of a paperback or eBook
version of Flee from Evil to anyone within the United States.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Interview and Giveaway with Emily Paige Skeen!!

Popular and beautiful, Cora Stephens has it all - including the perfect football-star boyfriend - until one fateful afternoon. Facing heartache and betrayal, Cora turns to long-time friend, Landon, for comfort. While his love for her grows, she does everything in her power to avoid getting hurt again - including flinging herself into the arms of another boy.

            Then, just as Cora’s shattered world starts putting itself back together, life throws something her way that’s more horrific than she ever could have imagined. Through the emotional and physical pain, she begins to lose hope and abandon her faith. Will this once light-hearted, happy prom queen find her way back home?  
Emily Paige Skeen

Let's welcome Emily Paige Skeen to The Diamond mine today!! She's written a lovely YA romance: Magnolia Lake, published by Prism Book Group! Be sure to leave a comment for her after the interview for a chance to win a copy of her book. Now here we go with the interview!

Hi Emily!! Good to have you here on The Diamond Mine.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Nancy! I’m excited and grateful for the chance to share a bit about myself with you and your readers!

As authors, we often come up with lots of story ideas. What was it about this story that prompted you to focus in on it and write it?

It’s been such a long time since I began this particular story that it’s hard to remember the initial pull! But I think a big reason I chose to pursue it is because I really connect with the characters. A lot of the experiences Cora has are reminiscent of my own adolescent trials (though not exact and certainly not the abduction part). Writing Magnolia Lake took me back to that time in my life and helped me to express some bottled up emotions.

Writing can transport both the writer and the reader! What do you like best about your main characters in Magnolia Lake?

Cora has a lot of admirable qualities. But probably my favorite of those is her sweet nature. She always thinks of others and there are several times throughout the story when she takes someone else’s feelings into consideration over her own.
And Landon...well, what’s not to love about him? He’s the ultimate good old-fashioned country boy! He’s kind, considerate, patient, and romantic - all while being athletic and a bit rough around the edges. He also makes a mean fried chicken dinner!

My nephew's name is Landon! I hope he ends up with some of those qualities, too. Do any of your characters share qualities or experiences with you?

Like Cora, I was pretty naive in my teens years, completely unaware of the evils that exist in our world. Cora’s entire perspective shifts after her abduction as she realizes that not everyone is who they seem and that people are capable of truly horrifying things.

A hard lesson to learn for all of us, and often difficult to accept, too.
What’s your favorite part of crafting a story: the character developing, the plot, the setting, the struggles? Explain why.

It’s all pretty amazing, watching an entire world unfold before your eyes. But for me, writing the struggles is the best. That’s the time when I get to really dig deep into the emotions of my characters. It feels the most intense.

I so agree with you on that! Do your characters become real to you before you write, or as you go along?

Before I put pen to paper (or more accurately, fingers to keyboard), I create detailed outlines of each of my characters. I include things like personality traits, occupations, fashion style, etc. The more detailed the character descriptions, the more thoroughly I can connect with them. But even after doing that, I find they become more real as the plot develops and they encounter different situations.

Sounds like a good method. What’s your favorite genre to write in? Why?

Romance - any kind of romance! Whether it’s Young Adult, Contemporary, Historical...whatever the case, I thrive on creating heart-stopping, soul-searing love stories. I suppose I’ve always been a romantic at heart. You could say my head’s a bit in the clouds.

Nothing wrong with that. I like it up there, too! What were your favorite books as you were growing up?

It depends on what age we’re talking about! As a youngster, I really enjoyed the Goosebumps series and the Sweet Valley Twins/Sweet Valley High books. (Don’t laugh!)
I’ve also always had a place in my heart for the classics. All the books they made you read in high school that other kids grumbled about? I loved them!

Ah yes, the classics. What's not to love, right? What kind of movies do you favor?

You can probably guess, but for me nothing beats a good romance. Though I do enjoy having the wits scared out of me on occasion. But when it comes to horror movies, I prefer suspenseful and maybe paranormal, not gory.

I have to cover my eyes with anything gory or scary! My sons think it's funny. Is there an underlying theme in your stories, or a concept you try to convey within them?

I think of my writing as a way to honor God. My sincere hope with every story I create is that at least one person will come away feeling inspired or encouraged. 

Amen to that! What are you working on now?

I currently have two works in progress. The first is part of the “Christmas Cowboys” series with Prism Book Group. It follows a young, newly divorced woman as she attempts to manage the ranch that she won in her split from an abusive husband.
The other, For Better or Worse, is part of Prism Book Group’s “Love Is” series, which has already begun releasing. My story detailing the marriage of a young couple who has lost a baby to miscarriage will be out in February 2017.

That sounds great! I've got books coming out in those series, too. Prism Book Group is a wonderful publisher! I look forward to reading both of yours when they're released. Thanks for the interview!
Okay readers, here's an excerpt from Magnolia Lake:

I changed clothes and made it just in time to plop down on the hard floor and get into a stretching position before the coach noticed.
Valerie must have seen something in my expression. “Looks like somebody’s been up to no good.” She winked as we stretched.
My eyes were wide with innocence as I asked, “What do you mean?”
“Oh, come on, Cor! Your face is all flushed,” she whispered, “and you were the last one dressed. I may not have a boyfriend right now, but that doesn’t mean I forgot how to read the signs. You managed to fit in a quick make-out session and still get here with one minute to spare!"
Although her accusations made me blush, the corners of my mouth turned up into a mischievous grin. There was no use trying to lie to her. She had a strange sixth sense about these things. “Well, maybe a quick one,” I answered. “But, in my defense, there are only so many unsupervised hours in a day. Jeff and I don’t get much alone time.”
Lacy overheard us and chimed in. “Oh, you are so lucky! To have such a hot, manly guy. Mike won’t even kiss me on the cheek at school. He’s so worried about what his friends will think. It drives me crazy! I need a little action, ya know. A little adventure.”
Coach Rivers shot us a stern glance. Not wanting to be on the wrong side of one of Coach’s endless tirades, I focused on the hardwood floor, spread my legs, and continued stretching.
After two hours of running, dancing, and stunting, my friends and I walked lethargically to our cars. When we reached Lacy’s car, she hurriedly jumped in with only a quick, “See ya later,” before speeding off.
I looked at Valerie, who gave a quick shrug of her shoulders before asking, “So, Cor, wanna ride together tomorrow and go to the mall after practice?”
“Yeah, sounds good. I need new jeans. We can look at prom dresses too! Just for fun,” I answered with excitement. “I’ll call Kayla and Lacy tonight. Maybe they’ll wanna meet us.”
We stood in the parking lot, talking about our shopping trip and which stores we wanted to visit. When we finally finished our conversation fifteen minutes later, I decided to put up the top on my car since the sky promised a downpour.
I was proven right just as I exited the student parking lot and the bottom suddenly fell out of the sky, producing sheets of rain that caused me to immediately let my foot off the gas and turn my windshield wipers up as high as possible. It had been perfectly clear for most of the day. Where’d the sun go in such a short amount of time?
As I came to one of the streets I would normally take home, I noticed it was closed due to a wreck. Detour signs were set up a few feet before the crash site, so I turned down an unfamiliar dirt road.
That’s when I noticed Jeff’s truck parked on the grass to the right of the gravel. My heart started to pound. I knew it was his by the University of Georgia sticker on the back glass. There was no sign of him, but no sign he’d been involved in a crash, either—no other cars, no tree limbs sticking out, nothing. But also no Jeff.
With my stomach in knots, I jerked the steering wheel and rolled to a stop behind the truck. My imagination ran wild as I pictured Jeff being robbed at gunpoint or something else horrific. I just knew he was in a ditch somewhere, left for dead. I practically flew out of my car and around the front of his truck. There was mumbling and gasping coming from the woods several feet away.
I started to panic, my mind racing. A million thoughts ran through my head. Was he hurt? Who was that talking? What happened? Had someone dragged him from the car?
I didn’t even notice the wet grass sloshing under my feet and spraying my ankles and calves with mud. It was a good thing I hadn’t changed back into my school clothes. I was still wearing shorts and tennis shoes, much better to run in than the high heels I’d sported earlier.
The mumbling noises were getting closer. I saw a path I hadn’t noticed before. A car was parked at the end of that path in the woods. I walked closer to the car and peered inside. Through the fog of the windows, there was Jeff. And there was Lacy pressed against him.

Sounds like an awesome read! Here's a short bio on Emily, followed by her social and purchase links! Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance at the drawing!

Born and raised in a small Georgia town, Emily Paige Skeen takes from her own life experiences to create real, relatable characters for her novels. She loves to intertwine small-town charm with deep emotion and intrigue, creating stories that inspire readers.
            When she’s not writing or chasing after her two youngsters - both under the age of five - you can find Emily reading, soaking up the sun whenever possible, or shopping. She, her husband, and their kids make their home in a tiny little town an hour south of Atlanta, on a five-acre plot of land right off a bumpy red-dirt road. Emily loves to sit and listen as the ever-present crickets and frogs perform their harmonious concerts in the still, quiet evening hours.
            Writing has always been Emily’s passion, ever since she crafted her first sloppily hand-written story plastered over spiral notebook paper at the emotionally-charged age of thirteen. Now, she strives to encourage and inspire girls and young women with her writing. She believes that with a little bit of faith and a whole lot of love, anything’s possible.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Laura Hilton, An Amazing Author

Today, we welcome Laura Hilton. Have you read her novels? Here is a bit about her:  

Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.
Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as the Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard,  and The Birdhouse. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press’ Quilts of Love series. Laura is contracted for another three book Amish series set in the Jamesport area, with the first book, The Amish Firefighter, planned for May 2016.
She has self-published a Christmas novella, Christmas Mittens.
Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer and blogs for Putting on the New and Seriously Write.

Now, let's get to know a little bit more about Laura.

Joi: Why did you start writing? How did you start writing?  
Laura: I don’t know why I started writing. It was just something that I always wanted to do for as long as I can remember.  I used to write during my spare time at school… not that any of that ever saw the light of day.  I remember my third grade teacher putting limits on lengths of writing projects because I would write and write and write. . .
Joi: That's funny, Laura!

Joi: How did you select your genre?  
Laura: I think it selected me.  I love contemporary romance.  I do have Amish ancestors and I thought it’d be fun to try to write one. . . I didn’t expect it would sell. But it did.  I think it’s the best of both worlds. Exploring my ancestry and writing contemporary romance at the same time.

Joi: What is your writing day like?
Laura; Get up, brush my teeth, have breakfast, sort school work, market, start school and laundry.  Edit chapters I got critiques back on while kids do seatwork. Do more school.  Finish school. Open manuscript. Sons and husband get home. Fix dinner. Edit what I wrote the night before. And maybe get five hundred to a thousand words written before I go to bed. If I’m lucky.
Joi: You are busy!

Joi: How do you organize your writing? (outlines/note cards/post-its)
Laura: Um. I’ll scribble anything that I need to remember on a scrap of paper, lose it, and when I find it again, type it into another document on my computer labeled “notes”.  Usually it doesn’t contain much more than character names in that story and relation to hero / heroine unless of course God gives me a brilliant idea I don’t want to forget then I will type in something that probably makes no sense to anyone. “Car shows up, he gets in. Where does he go and why?” something like that. 

 Joi: What's the most surprising thing a character has “told you”?  
Laura:  I am always surprised by my characters.  I’m a seat of the pants writer and I only know things as they tell me but I don’t want to give any specific examples because someone might not have read that book and it might give something away. 

Joi: Do you have a list of characters that you're saving for future use? What kind of information do you keep on these characters? 
Laura: No, not really. I know the main characters of my next book only because I wrote a pitch for that book, but other than that pitch I know next to nothing.  I’ll discover it as I write.

Joi: What does your work space/office look like?   
Laura: I have no office. I write in a corner of the living room – the same corner I homeschool my children in – it’s kind of blocked off in a corner, right by the front door, but my son put the love seat in front of my writing desk and a bookcase beside it where I keep homeschool books, so we all crowd into this little area to do our work. 

Joi: What is your go-to snack when writing?  
Laura:Usually, no snacking.  I do keep iced tea or iced water beside me – out of the way so it won’t dump on my computer or on books – but other than that, none. Unless I get stressed out. Then you might catch me inhaling chocolate, if there’s any in the house.

Joi: If you could only recommend one NOVEL, what would it be? Why?  
Laura: Oh. No. I can’t do that.  I love certain authors and books but I don’t want to recommend one over any other because it would be sooo hard to choose!  Besides, it depends on the genre. I can tell you my favorite contemporary romance writers, historical romance writers, romantic suspense writers, Amish writers, etc. 

Joi: If you could only recommend one CRAFT book (writing, no crocheting), what would it be? Why?  
Laura: Honestly, craft books are worthless to me. I don’t understand them; my brain doesn’t function that way. It works better for me to read and find authors I love and figure out why their books are so beyond wonderful. How did they grab my interest on page one? How did they introduce their characters? How much backstory was revealed and when? Study books that you enjoy – and figure out why you enjoy them.

Joi: Is there anything else you'd like to add?   
Laura: I know I write different than how others do it, but there are others out there wired just like me.  God knows what He is doing. I pray constantly when I am writing that He will have me write what He wants me to write and it always amazes me when I get to the end and the theme is there all along that He is working with and I never saw it until I reached the end. And then it is WOW and I sit and stare at it and thank God for guiding me through yet another book and getting His message out there. 

Thanks for joining us, Laura! Laura is offering a giveaway to any one of her books! The winner can choose whichever one she/he desires. Leave a comment below and you'll be entered in the drawing!

The Amish Firefighter

Can they overcome their past?

Abigail Stutzman’s life is about to change – whether she wants it to or not. Her mamm is getting remarried to a widower with a large family. Abigail is sent to live with her aenti and onkle in Jamesport because she and her new step-brother had dated and their parents anticipate problems. (Her step-brother is needed on the farm.) Abigail launches a full-scale plan to return home to her family—and Mark—when she finds herself in over her head…and heart. When Abigail and her new “wrong crowd” get into significant trouble, her punishment includes helping a collection of crazy old maids with housekeeping. In the midst of her atonement, Abigail uncovers family secrets that run deep, and realizes she’s not the only one with a pain-filled past. Abigail must decide if she’ll continue her messed-up legacy or embrace a new beginning with the man who’s stolen her heart.
Sam Miller has trouble of his own. When Sam and his close friend Ezra Weiss are in a drug/alcohol-related car accident in Pennsylvania, Ezra is killed. Though Sam survives, he is deeply affected by the tragedy and vows to help other victims. Now a new Christian, Sam is a volunteer firefighter and a college student working to earn his EMT and paramedic license. But Sam has a past. When it comes time to confess his crimes, he finds that the truth may set him free—but it might also land him in some uncomfortably hot water. Will Sam and Abigail be able to find a future together?

You can find Laura here:

twitter: @Laura_V_Hilton

Purchase her books:




Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Traveling thru Time with Danele Rotharmel (Giveaway)

Hello, everyone! I have a special guest this week…Danele Rotharmel. I know you’re going to love her as much as I do.
I remember the day I met Danele. We joked around and chatted on Facebook and before we knew it, an hour had disappeared. It was like I’d found a long lost sister. She has a contagious sense of humor. You can literally feel her love for life the second she opens her mouth! Without further ado, let me introduce you to Prism’s Danele Rotharmel.

Renee: Hi, Danele, welcome to the Diamond Mine. I’m so excited that you’re here. Time Tsunami, your debut novel, is an awesome book! Congratulations on its outstanding success. What’s so unique or special about it…from your point of view?

Danele: When I wrote Time Tsunami, I wasn’t seeking publication. I was writing to distract myself from physical pain. I was extremely ill and in the middle of a seven-year period of quarantine. I needed a way to entertain myself—so I wrote. I would laugh like crazy over my funny scenes, and shiver when I wrote my scary ones. I lived Time Tsunami with my characters, and when I was through, I’d written a book that made me proud. Time Tsunami is a “clean” book that focuses on beautiful themes like self-sacrifice, love, and friendship. It’s a story about overcoming the odds. I’d like to think that my book has something for everyone. It’s full of suspense, romance, and humor. There are plot twists to keep you guessing, action to keep you on the edge of your seat, religious discussions to make you think, and funny scenes to make you laugh. Throw in a few time travel twists, and you have a unique book that’s designed to entertain.

Renee: What about your characters? For our writers out there…how do you make them “real?”

Danele: When I was in quarantine, my characters were very important to me—in a real way, they were my friends. As the long days of my quarantine stretched, I enjoyed analyzing my characters and discovering their strengths and weaknesses. I worked hard to give them backstories to explain their quirks and behavior. I came to love my characters, and I treated them with respect. I let them evolve and grow. Just like real people, my characters have victories, but they also have failures—and it’s how they handle their failures that determines the caliber of their personalities.

Renee: Is writing easy or hard for you, Danele? What about editing?

Danele: For the most part, writing is easy. It’s like flying. I love it!!! I enjoy editing too, but I’m such a perfectionist that editing my work can take forever. Sometimes it takes me an hour to edit each page. That’s because I read each sentence hundreds of times. I analyze the language, the punctuation, and the flow. For me, five hours of excruciating work can mean five complete pages. When you read my novels, you’re looking at literally hundreds of hours of work. I want to be proud of each and every sentence. I want to do a good job.

Renee: What’s your biggest challenge as an author?

Danele: Time. When I was in quarantine, the pace of my life was extremely slow. The days stretched on forever. There was all the time in the world for writing. But now that I’m starting to reclaim my life, I find that days are zipping by so quickly that I don’t know where the hours have gone. Sometimes I find it hard to squeeze all of my tasks into a single day—but I suppose that’s true for everyone. There’s a talent to managing time—I’m just a bit rusty.

Renee: I can relate to that one! I don’t know if I can help you or not, Danele. All I can say is…get a planner, but don’t forget to make time for God, you, your family, and rest. LOL Oh, and practice how to say the word “no.” That’s my advice on “time.” So…now that you’re a published author, do you have any advice for the new writer?

Danele: Pray about everything. Dedicate your work to the Lord from the very beginning. God gave you your talent—use it to glorify Him. Never compromise. Never write a single sentence that you would be ashamed to read directly to Jesus.

Renee: Very good advice…even for the best-selling author. Thank you, Danele. Let’s switch topics from writing now to something a bit more personal. I know you’ve experienced a great deal of trial and pain in your life. Is there a special quote or verse which comes to mind in times of need or adversity?

Danele: I love Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” When I was in quarantine, I would quote Philippians 4:13 as I went through each day. When I was in pain, knowing that I could do ALL things—even survive—was important to me. A special comfort comes when you know that Christ’s help makes everything attainable, doable, survivable, and reachable.

Renee: Our God is an awesome God, isn’t He? I have one last question for you. As most people know, I’m from Wyoming. I love to spend time in this rugged but beautiful land. I call it God’s country for I experience the glory and peace of God here in many ways. Do you have a cherished “spot?” If so, where and why.

Danele: My cherished spot is an isolated lake behind my house. I love strolling around it, basking in its beauty. When I was in quarantine, the lake was my place of escape. When my “cabin fever” would become too hard to handle, that’s where I’d go. On the shores of the lake, I’d feel peace seeping back into my soul. I loved watching the dragonflies, and the frogs, and the hawks. I loved hearing the wind whispering in the leaves. I loved seeing the waves lapping against the bank. That little lake is beautiful to me—it’s the place that epitomizes peace.

Renee: I would love to see your lake. I bet it’s absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your writing, your story, and your heart with us. You are one amazing lady, and author!

Danele: Thank you so much for having me on the Diamond Mine, Renee! I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you and your readers!


If you love Danele as much as I do, don’t miss your chance to win a copy of her new release Time Tsunami. But Danele is AMAZING and is giving away an AWESOME giveaway PRIZE on the Diamond Mine!

Answer this question and you will be entered to win this FABULOUS PRIZE!

“If you could travel back through time, where would you go?”

(One winner will be selected by random draw from comments on 3/23/2016. Minimum of 5 comments required to validate contest. Valid entries include comment and email address.)


About the Book, Time Tsunami, The Time Counselor Chronicles Book One :

To stop a cruel serial killer, she must travel twenty-four years into the past…
Gil Montgomery, a cadet in the Temporal Counseling Program, can’t wait to pass her field exam and become a professional time surfer. The TEMCO program targets death-row offenders for time-based counseling while they’re children.  For her exam, Gil will travel twenty-four years into the past to counsel ten-year-old Danny Winston before he murders his abusive babysitter, Rick Olsen.  Preventing the stabbing should stop the chain of events leading to Danny’s eventual execution.
Gil’s assignment seems simple until her adviser, Dr. William Ableman, learns that Rick is a serial killer targeting Danny’s mother.  If Gil stays and protects the Winstons, she might not survive.  William wants the woman he loves to be pulled from the field, but if Gil fails to complete her assignment, it will unleash a Time Tsunami and destroy the timeline.
As TEMCO undergoes an emergency lockdown, and Gil’s fellow cadets try to figure out what’s happening, Gil and William learn the importance of faith and the price of true love. Everyone’s fate is resting in Gil’s hands, but does she have the strength she needs to defeat a ruthless serial killer intent on annihilating everyone in his path? Will she return from the deadly mission?
Time Tsunami is a fast-moving thriller with time travel twists that keep the reader guessing until the very last page.

About the Author, Danele Rotharmel:

Danele Rotharmel grew up with a love of the literary word, and by age five, she knew she wanted to be a writer. However, her life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. Eventually, she learned that a low-level carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace in her home was slowly poisoning her. This poisoning triggered severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and partial amnesia.
During this time, the hardest thing she faced was a crisis of faith. She had to quit her job and stop going to church. She couldn’t write, couldn’t drive, and could barely remember who she was. To say she was upset with the Lord was an understatement. She began reexamining her faith in light of her illness, and eventually, she came to the firm conclusion that God is real, God is good, God is interested and involved, and God is trustworthy regardless of tragedy.
When her illness became even more severe, she was put into quarantine and could only talk to friends and extended family through the glass of a window. This quarantine lasted for seven years. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles.
Danele currently lives in Colorado where she continues to write. Although her journey back to health was long and difficult, it provided her with the opportunity to grow closer to God and to write her books. For that, she is forever thankful.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Up Close and Personal with Julianna Deering ♦ Giveaway

Hi, Juliana –welcome to The Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction!. So happy to have a chance to interview you here for my inaugural post!  
Giveaway Alert ♦ Winner’s Choice ♦ Two Chances to Win ♦ Details Below
PEG: OK, Julianna, now that that’s out of the way, let’s chat a while.
How long have you been writing?
JULIANNA: I’ve always been a reader, though I would never, ever have predicted I would end up being a writer. I used to write little episodes of my favorite TV shows when I was growing up (Fan Fiction before there was such a thing!), but it wasn’t until I was in college and bored with my accounting classes that I started writing original characters. I still never really expected to be a writer, but I eventually made my collection of random scenes into a book. At the urging of a friend, I decided to send it to some publishers to see if anyone would be interested. Miraculously, the third one I queried decided they wanted it, and that was my first book, In Honor Bound. My new release, Dressed for Death, is my twelfth published book, and I have five more contracted. I would never have imagined that when I was just playing with stories.
PEG: Has your writing journey been as you envisioned it? If so, tell us a bit about it. If not, how is it different?
JULIANNA: Oh, not at all! I used to think, as many people do, that once an author gets one book traditionally published, that’s the beginning of a slowly but steadily growing career and fan base (and bank account). Not necessarily so. After my first three books were published, I had some setbacks and didn’t write seriously for several years. But, since writing is something that I can’t not do, I eventually started writing again. I am blessed with a wonderful agent who was determined to sell my mystery series no matter how long it took, but I wondered for a very long time if I would ever be published again. Even now, there are no guarantees about what the future will hold for my writing career, but I know I can trust God to do what is best for me as long as I am faithful to His calling.
PEG: I expect that’s the same for most of us. The important thing is, you didn’t quit! Congratulations on that! What sparks your creativity when feeling drained?
JULIANNA: It’s always good to recharge by reading someone else’s books or by watching good drama. It seems especially helpful to read or watch something outside of what you’re working on.
PEG: Oh, that’s funny. That’s the same answer I gave someone when they interviewed me, and it’s true! What have you learned recently about yourself, and how has it affected your writing?
JULIANNA: I’ve learned that there are several genres I’d like to try writing. This hasn’t affected my writing yet, because I have books I need to finish up, but it probably will eventually.
PEG: How much of yourself do you put into your books?
JULIANNANot very much at all. Of course, every writer writes from his own worldview, and I definitely write from a Christian one. I couldn’t do anything else in good conscience, even though I don’t usually have a lot of heavy spiritual content in my stories. But for me, one of the delights of writing is being able to put yourself into the shoes of someone who is not you and making that character convincing on his own.
PEG: Do you write in one place or switch off to different locations? Describe your favorite writing place.
JULIANNA: Apart from taking down notes about any story ideas when they come to me, and that can happen anywhere, I write almost exclusively in my office. It’s wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling books.
PEG: Let’s pretend: An anonymous donor has gifted you with a 5-day stay at a place of your choice, and you can bring four other contemporary (not family) with you.
A: Where would you go, and why?
JULIANNA: I’d definitely go to Disneyland and the other theme parks in the area. I’ve never been there and have always wanted to go.
B: Who would you take with you, and why?
JULIANNA: Hmmmm . . . I’d just take four of my friends. I’d want to be comfortable with whoever was with me.
PEG: Love it! First time I’ve received that answer. Some have said Hawaii or an equally desirable place, and a few have said they wouldn’t take anyone! Smile Tell us something about your book.
  • Title: Dressed for Death
  • Publisher: Bethany House
  • Release Date: March 1, 2016
  • Genre: Historical Mystery
  • Series or Stand-alone: Book Four, The Drew Farthering Mysteries
  • Target Audience: Readers of Cozy Mystery, Readers of Christian Fiction, Readers of Historical Fiction

Drew and Madeline Farthering arrive at a Regency-Era house party at Winteroak House, excited to be reunited with old friends, including Drew’s former Oxford classmate Talbot Cummins. Tal is there with his fiancée, Alice Henley, and though many present seem worried about the couple, nobody is prepared when Alice dies from an apparent overdose. Tal refuses to believe she’d taken the drugs intentionally, and a dark question arises of whether the death is an accident or murder.
The police have their own information though, and Drew is shocked when they arrest someone he’s trusted and admired since his childhood—someone who’s been smuggling drugs into the country for years. Stunned by what has happened, Tal begs Drew to get to the bottom of everything, but Drew’s never felt more unsettled. Questioning his own ability to see people as they really are, Drew doesn’t know who to trust, and he’s not ready for the secrets he’s about to uncover—or the danger he’ll bring down on everyone he holds dear.

Winner’s Choice: A print copy of any book in the series (Rules of Murder, Death by the Book, Murder at the Mikado or Dressed for Death), U. S. mailing addresses only, please. BONUS: For one extra entry per commenter, sign up for DeAnna’s Newsltter HERE! and she’ll enter your name for a second chance. Giveaway ends one week from today, Wed. Feb. 16, at Midnight, Central Time.


JULIANNA DEERING has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her new series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuted from Bethany House with Rules of Murder (2013) and is followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado (2014), Dressed for Death (2016) and Murder on the Moor (Coming 2017). Also, as DeAnna Julie Dodson, she has written a trilogy of medieval romances (In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered) and six contemporary mysteries for Annie’s Fiction. She is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books & Such Literary Agency (www.booksandsuch.biz).