Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Life and Steadfast Love with Rachelle Rea Cobb

This week I'd like to welcome Rachelle Rea Cobb to the Diamond Mine. Rachelle writes historical fiction with Whitefire Publishing and this month, she’s taken the next step in her own HEA…she got married (to a man with the same name as the hero in her Steadfast Love series)

Times gone by snatch Rachelle Rea Cobb close, so she reads and writes about years long ago--her passions include the Reformation, Revolutions, and romance. During college, Rachelle wrote the Steadfast Love series. Five months after she graduated, she signed a three-book deal with her dream publisher, WhiteFire. She's a homeschool grad, Oreo addict, and plots her novels while driving around her dream car, a pick-up truck.

SW: Welcome, Rachelle. We’re thrilled you could take some time out your busy schedule and join us this month. Congratulations on your marriage. You planned the wedding in only two months. Tell us your best and your worst experience with that.

RRC: Thank you! The whole process was thrilling and rich. I wish I could say I didn’t have a worst experience, but, um, my wedding dress didn’t fit at one point. I went in for a fitting after my first alterations appointment and was horrified to discover I couldn’t take a full deep breath! I’m not sure what happened with those measurements, but the good news is the boutique was able to reverse what they’d done and restore me to oxygenated bliss in that dress!

And my best experience was, well, everything else! I enjoyed putting it all together with Devin and my mom and several others’ help!

SW: Has God taught you any lessons during your engagement that you’d like to share with us?

RRC: He’s so good to me. That one pivotal truth has been so apparent throughout the last few months. I knew He’s good before I got engaged, of course, but I’ve been especially attuned to how He’s working behind the scenes to sprinkle little kindnesses into my life lately. For instance, I moved all the stuff out of my childhood bedroom the weekend before the wedding and had to say farewell to the forest outside my window, in front of which I wrote all my books! But then my fiancé and I turned the key to our newlywed apartment and stared out our little patio to a sea of green. Trees! God knew I needed that corner-of-the-building apartment with a view of the tree line. He didn’t have to provide that—I could have learned to live with a view of the parking lot. But I have a new forest instead—and a very kind God.

SW: Your experience with publishing isn’t one you hear of often. You signed a 3-book contract five months out of college and have published 3 books in the past two years. What advice would you pass on to someone who is still trying (maybe after several years) to get their foot in the door?

RRC: Yes, my story is quite…swift! And it certainly felt like a whirlwind to me (who am I kidding? Life still feels like a whirlwind what with getting engaged and jumping into wedding planning right after the third book released). Advice: be ready. Whether you’ve worked for a decade or a day to get published, make peace with the fact that it might take a while. Find contentment there. I think that’s something I did relatively well—by pursuing other activities as well as publication and just trusting God with the timing of it all. But be ready. Because I said I expected to publish my novels long after I actually did: after I was married, maybe with littles toddling around. But, no. ;) God had other ideas. So enjoy the season you’re in (trite, I know), but be ready to jump in with both feet! Okay, so maybe that’s more philosophical than practical advice, but there’s a lot of practical advice out there on how to get published, written by savvier people than I. Listen to them, but don’t forget to settle your heart. ;)

SW: In addition to writing books, you also write reviews, articles and offer editing services. What's one of your favorite things beyond writing novels that you enjoy?

RRC: Editing is such fun! I daresay I enjoy editing a page full of my own (or others’!) words just as much as I enjoy splashing words onto a blank page. I also really love to review good books. The genre in which I write is still my favorite genre to read, after all!

SW: What first drew you to writing Inspirational Historical Romance?

RRC: My first exposure to the genre came when I read Heartsong Presents novels when I was twelve. Those small books introduced me to how much I believe in the power of story, especially love stories set in times gone by.

SW: When and where did you first get the idea for the Steadfast Love Series?

RRC: A song I was listening to on the radio inspired the title of the first book. So I wrote Diamonds, but when I finished it, I realized to my great frustration that the characters weren’t done with their story, even though I had been quite adamant that I would write a stand-alone novel. But the story wasn’t finished, so I kept writing.

SW: While writing the Steadfast Love series, what was your research process like?

RRC: I read books set in and written about the time period. Libraries rock! I also made use of a lot of Internet sources. Google helped me figure out how much distance a horse can ride in a day, for instance, when I was trying to decide on a timeline for a certain group of nuns to make it to shore. ;) My editor also introduced me to the value of looking up certain words to make sure they fit the time period.

I’m really glad that I dove into the writing of my novel in and amongst research. I could easily still be researching with zero books written or published if I’d decided to research until I knew absolutely everything I needed to know first (there’d have been no way for me to know until I’d begun drafting!).

SW: Do you have something new in the works for your readers? If so, can you share a little hint with us?

RRC: I do! I’m excited about my next project, which is mostly Top Secret. ;) But I will admit, my next novel is about a character readers have already met in the Steadfast Love series…

Thank you again for taking time out to visit with us, Rachelle. May God bless you in the next steps of your journey. Readers, you can connect with Michelle at any of the following:

Instagram: @RachelleReaCobb

More about the Steadfast Love Series:

The Sound of Diamonds

Her only chance of getting home is trusting the man she hates.

With the protestant Elizabeth on the throne of England and her family in shambles, Catholic maiden Gwyneth seeks refuge in the Low Countries of Holland, hoping to soothe her aching soul. But when the Iconoclastic Fury descends and bloodshed overtakes her haven, she has no choice but to trust the rogue who arrives, promising to see her safely home to her uncle's castle. She doesn't dare to trust him...and yet doesn't dare to refuse her one chance to preserve her own life and those of the nuns she rescues from the burning convent.
Dirk Godfrey is determined to restore his honor at whatever cost. Running from a tortured past, Dirk knows he has only one chance at redemption, and it lies with the lovely Gwyneth, who hates him for the crimes she thinks he committed. He must see her to safety, prove to the world that he is innocent, prove that her poor eyesight is not the only thing that has blinded her but what is he to do when those goals clash?
The home Gwyneth knew is not what she once thought. When a dark secret and a twisted plot for power collide in a castle masquerading as a haven, the saint and the sinner must either dare to hold to hope...or be overcome.

The Sound of Silver

The stalwart saint and the redeemed rebel. One fights for faith, the other for honor…

After Dirk rescues Gwyneth from the Iconoclastic Fury, she discovers that faith is sometimes fragile—and hope is not as easy as it may seem. Gwyneth continues her quest to learn more about the love of God preached by Protestants she once distrusted.

Meanwhile, Dirk’s quest is to prevent his sullied name from staining hers. Will his choice to protect her prove the undoing of her first faltering steps toward a Father God? Once separated, will Dirk and Gwyneth’s searching hearts ever sing the same song?

The Sound of Emeralds

What once was blazing hatred has turned to lasting love, but could the union of a wild heart with that of a lady ever result in more than heartache?

With the help of an old friend with uncertain loyalties, Dirk inches ever closer to clearing his name. Gwyneth throws her faith into good tidings and the promise of a future as a family. But an old evil comes to call, just as tragedy rips apart a fledgling truce. Enemies from the past and grief for the future threaten to tear asunder what God had brought together…

As the date of Dirk’s trial approaches, his fate and his family hang in the balance. Will he be proven innocent of Gwyneth’s parents’ murders—or separated from her forever? How much pain does it take to erode a love steadfast?

Rachelle is giving away one of her books (winner's choice) to one lucky winner. To be entered in the drawing, just leave a comment and include your email address so we can contact you. Giveaway ends July 8, 2016 (contest not valid until five entries). 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Christy Barritt Shares about Life, Books, and Road Trips

I first learned of Christy Barritt about three years ago when I came across a little free book on Amazon called Hazardous Duty. Eleven books (and two novellas later), I still can’t get enough of Gabby St. Claire and the Squeaky Clean Mysteries gang. Christy’s success as a hybrid author (both independently published and traditionally published with Love Inspired Suspense and Amazon’s Waterfall Press), she churns out intense and engaging books for her readers regularly. Just to give you a glimpse at what this looks like, 2016 releases include Mountain Hideaway (Love Inspired Suspense) in January, Thrill Squeaker in February (Squeaky Clean series), Rattled (The Sierra Files) and Swept Away (Squeaky Clean novella) in April, Dark Harbor (Love Inspired Suspense) in June, Disillusioned (Waterfall Press) in August, and Cunning Attractions (Squeaky Clean) in September.

A little more about Christy Barritt

Christy Barritt is an author, freelance writer and speaker who lives in Virginia. She’s married to her Prince Charming, a man who thinks she’s hilarious–but only when she’s not trying to be. Christy’s a self-proclaimed klutz, an avid music lover who’s known for spontaneously bursting into song, and a road trip aficionado. She’s only won one contest in her life–and her prize was kissing a pig (okay, okay… actually she did win the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery for her book Suspicious Minds also). Her current claim to fame is showing off her mother, who looks just like former First Lady Barbara Bush.

When she’s not working or spending time with her family, she enjoys singing, playing the guitar, and exploring small, unsuspecting towns where people have no idea how accident prone she is.
Connect with Christy on social media:

As you can see, Christy Barritt keeps herself busy. Thank you, Christy, for taking some time out of your schedule to visit with us today. I’m excited to share a little more about you with our readers.

Welcome, Christy. Thank you for joining us this week on The Diamond Mine. Let’s dive right into some questions.

SW: After listing your book releases for 2016, I can’t help but wonder how you stay on top of all of your projects. What does your writing process look like? Do you work on writing one book at a time?

CB: I usually write one book at a time, but I may be editing or mentally plotting ideas for another. When I write my first draft, I write it pretty quickly—usually in about three weeks. I aim for 20,000 words a week. Then I spend the next two or three weeks in intense revisions where I usually add another 20,000-30,000 words to manuscript. After that, I begin the fine tuning process where I edit for clarity and send it to my assistant and editors for feedback. That said, I can usually write a book in approximately 2 months, depending on the book’s length.

SW: What are three to three things you have with you while writing?

CB: A water bottle, my dog Molly (a Maltese mix), and my cell phone. 

SW: If you were not an author, what would you be doing?

CB: If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve probably seen that I love taking pictures, so I’ll say a photographer.

 SW: You’re a fan of road trips. What’s the last one you’ve taken and what was your favorite part?

CB: We went to the Eastern Shore of Virginia and kayaked to abandoned beaches filled with conch shells. It was great fun. Being with my family made it fabulous.


SW:  I love some of the stories you share about your boys on Facebook (and they almost always make me laugh). What have your boys taught you?

CB: So many things! People before projects, a hug makes everything in life a lot better, learning to read is an amazing thing, and that the years go by too quickly.

SW: For Mother’s Day, your boys made you a cute video where they answered questions about you. One of them was “What is Mommy good at?” The boys answered typing and playing the guitar. What is your answer to that question?

CB: Hmmm . . . Good question. I love creating—mostly characters and stories. But I also love creating adventures. I don’t care all that much about stuff—you can’t take it with you. But I love experiencing all that life has to offer. It’s one more reason I love road trips. So, I guess I’ll say “being creative.”

SW: You write books from both the first person point of view and the third person point of view. Do you have a preference for one over the other?

CB: Actually, I don’t. I like mixing things up because it helps my ideas not to grow stale. I usually alternate as I’m writing books—I’ll do one in first person, and then my next is in third and so on. Each one is fun in its own way.

SW: Switching gears a little bit, tell us a little bit about the book that released earlier this month, Dark Harbor.

CB: Dark Harbor takes place in Waterman’s Reach, Virginia, a fictional town I made up on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. A reporter who’s desperate to prove herself must choose between advancing her own career or giving the object of her expose the benefit of the doubt—and possibly falling in love.

SW: Other than the satisfaction of finishing a good story—because I’ve gotten that from every book I’ve read written by you-- what is it you hope your readers come away with.

CB: I want them to come away with hope. Life can be filled with heartbreak and moments of despair. I want people to realize that before the storm, during the storm, and after the storm, there’s always hope on the horizon. It might sound trite to some, but I believe that even though life is hard, God and his love is good and can sustain us through hard times. As someone who’s lost three family members in the last three years, I can say this because I’ve been able to live it out. I can’t imagine going through those hard times without the hope that I find in Jesus.

Thank you so much for stopping by The Diamond Mine, Christy. It has been a pleasure having you this week.

Readers, here's more information about Christy's June Releases. Also, keep reading to find out how to enter to win a copy of Dark Harbor.

Someone wants reporter Madelyn Sawyer to leave the small coastal town she's just arrived in—even if it takes hurting her. But she won't give up her goal of investigating Waterman's Reach's new police chief that easily. Madelyn assumes that former big-city detective Zach Davis—who some believe is a murderer involved in a drug-trafficking ring—is behind the threat. Who else would have a motive? But as bullets fly Madelyn's way, it's Zach who keeps saving her life. The closer she gets to the truth, the more she wants to tell the handsome lawman why she's really in town. But if she does, will she lose his trust…and any hope of surviving long enough to bring the real killer to light?

Zach Davis has made an appearance in Desperate Measures, Hidden Agenda, and Mountain Hideaway. About time he gets his own book, right?

                                           Wait Until Dark 

Book three in the Carolina Moon Series

A woman grieving broken dreams. A man struggling to regain memories. A secret entrenched in folklore dating back two centuries. 

Antiquarian Felicity French has no clue the trouble she’s inviting in when she rescues a man outside her grandma’s old plantation house during a treacherous snowstorm. All she wants is to nurse her battered heart and wounded ego, as well as come to terms with her past. Now she’s stuck inside with a stranger sporting an old bullet wound and forgotten hours. 

Coast Guardsman Brody Joyner can't remember why he was out in such perilous weather, how he injured his head, or how a strange key got into his pocket. He also has no idea why his pint-sized savior has such a huge chip on her shoulder. He has no choice but to make the best of things until the storm passes. 

Brody and Felicity’s rocky start goes from tense to worse when danger closes in. Who else wants the mysterious key that somehow ended up in Brody’s pocket? Why? The unlikely duo quickly becomes entrenched in an adventure of a lifetime, one that could have ties to local folklore and Felicity’s ancestors. But sometimes the past leads to darkness . . . darkness that doesn’t wait for anyone.

 Christy Barritt is giving a copy of Dark Harbor to one of our readers. To enter, simply leave a comment below along with your email address so we can reach you if you win. Gain an extra entry by sharing this post on twitter or facebook. Just let us know you did so in your comment. 

Must have a minimum of 5 entries for contest to be viable. Ends July 5, 2016.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Connie Mann-Interview and Tangled Lies Giveaway

I am so excited to have had the pleasure to interview Connie Mann or Captain Connie as she’s known locally! Connie is a fellow Waterfall Press author. Her book Tangled Lies just released. Connie is giving away a signed copy of the book to one lucky commenter.  (US only) Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me, Connie.

Connie Mann is a licensed boat captain and the author of romantic suspense novels Tangled Lies (May 2016) Angel Falls and Trapped! as well as various works of shorter fiction. She has lived in seven different states but has happily called warm, sunny Florida home for more than twenty years. When she’s not dreaming up plot lines, you’ll find “Captain Connie” on Central Florida’s waterways, introducing boats full of schoolchildren to their first alligator. She is also passionate about helping women and children in developing countries follow their dreams and break the poverty cycle. In addition to boating, she and her husband enjoy spending time with their grown children and extended family and planning their next travel adventures. You can visit Connie online at

Tracey: You are a boat captain! How exciting!  Please tell us about how you became a boat Captain and what sort of things Captain Connie does.
Connie: I became a boat captain 10 years ago out of self-preservation and found I love it! I’d had one too many rejections (including a book contract that fell apart) and finally realized I had to get out of my home office or I’d lose what was left of my mind! Being a captain is the perfect balance. Being outside around people fills the creative well and gets me excited about getting back to my stories. I work for our local school board and take 5th graders out on the Silver River here in Florida and get to show some of them their very first alligator. Very fun!
Tracey: You’ve written a lot of parenting books and articles, share with us how you’ve balanced family life with your writing life. 
Connie: I think it’s a hard balance for everyone who works from home. I have to consciously shut down the computer, turn off social media and focus on being present with my family. When the kids were young, I also established some routines. I’d tell them I was going to be in my office for a bit (short stretches) and posted this sign on the door: “Writer at work. Do not disturb. (Exceptions: fire, flood, blood).”  This helped me focus during that short window and they learned that when I came out, they’d have my full attention. 
Tracey: How did the storyline for Tangled Lies come about? 
Connie: People had been asking me to write a boat captain heroine for a while and I love Florida and all the cool little places here, so I started with that. My nephew and his wife are foster parents—which is awesome!--and that also got me thinking. After that came my favorite part of any story: asking dozens and dozens of ‘what if?’ questions. What if you’d been a foster child, and what if you were a boat captain, and what if you came home…?

Tracey: How does your faith play into your writing and your stories?
Connie: Two themes run through every story I write: hope and second chances. I believe that the Great Creator who writes our life stories—and gives us stories to tell--is also the author and foundation of our hope. He always, always gives second chances and because of that, the characters in my stories always get second chances, too.
Tracey: I know you support a project that is near and dear to your heart. Can you tell us about the Seeds of Blessings project?  
Connie: Seeds of Blessing is a fabulous organization dedicated to helping artisans (especially women) in developing countries break the poverty cycle. The artisans in the program not only create beautiful things, but they are able to become entrepreneurs and buy livestock, or fields, or start a store to create a better life for their families. It has changed whole communities and I’m delighted to work with them. If you’d like to know more, please contact me or visit
Tracey: What has been your favorite vacation?
Connie: It’s so hard to pick, but one of our favorites was a trip to the Florida Keys when our children were young. We went with another family and had a blast swimming, snorkeling and even taking a boat ride out to the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson.
Tracey: What is your favorite hymn and why?
Connie: For me, it will always be Amazing Grace. I especially love the newer version by Chris Tomlin – My Chains are Gone. Because at the end of the day, it’s always about grace…and hope…and second chances.
Thanks so much for having me as your guest! It’s been a pleasure. 
Orphaned as a child in Russia, boat captain Sasha Petrov has spent most of her life adrift, anchored only by her loving foster family. So when they beg her to return to the family marina in Safe Harbor, Florida, for Mama’s sixtieth birthday, Sasha complies, hoping to put the past behind her. But Mama has other plans: she wants her three foster daughters to find Tony, the biological son who disappeared twenty years earlier.

Sasha agrees to try, but that’s easier said than done when bad boy Jesse Claybourne shows up, reigniting an old attraction. Back in Safe Harbor on a quest of his own, Jesse gets tangled up in Sasha’s search, and soon the two are close to uncovering an old town secret that some will stop at nothing to protect.

When Jesse is violently beaten and Sasha’s dog is poisoned, they realize the past is hiding something more sinister than they ever imagined. Can they uncover the truth without destroying Sasha’s family and breaking each other’s hearts, or are they sailing against the wind?


Amazon buy link: