Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Lisa Lickel and UnderStory

Today, we welcome Lisa Lickel! Come, pull up a comfy chair, and meet Lisa! At the end of the post, please leave a comment about what your favorite kind of cheese is and you'll be entered into the drawing for Lisa's book!

Here's Lisa's bio:   
Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer and editor who lives with her husband in the rolling hills of western Wisconsin. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. Her novels include the Buried Treasure mystery series, award-winning romance, a series of historical early reader books, First Children of Farmington, and two novellas. She also writes short stories, feature articles, and radio theater. She is a member of the Chicago Writer’s Association. Lisa loves to encourage new authors through mentoring, speaking, and leading workshops and is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor. She is married to a high school biology teacher, and they have two sons and daughters in law, grandchildren and a grand-kitty. Find more at

Joi: Why did you start writing? How did you start writing?
Lisa: I’ve always enjoyed writing but I never thought about writing professionally. After working with my local historical society and writing articles, I was gainfully employed in 2001 when I took Jerry Jenkins’ Writer’s Guild course online. I did pretty well, netting some early magazine article sales, a good standing in the first Operation: First Novel contest, eventually signed with an agent and first contracts in 2007. I tried various critique groups, had some good and not-so-good experiences, but kept chugging along.

Joi: How did you select your genre?
Lisa: I like to tie a bit of history into everything I write, and often tend to delve into odd medical problems, or at least research unique or rare conditions. I wanted to show how prejudice looks from differing viewpoints, and when dangerous situations cropped up for my people in the story, my agent read some early drafts and called the book romantic suspense.
Joi: I could never do that! I'm a hypochondriac!

Joi: What is your writing day like?
Lisa: Every day is flexible for me. I’ve moved into editing and mentoring, so that’s my primary work. Sometimes I can schedule chunks of time for my own works, but I tend to block out the rest of the world and not be very good with time management when I’m writing for myself, so that gets tricky. We get up early, I have specific devotional time, work for a while, exercise, do errands and volunteer jobs, work for a while…put out client fires, read, make dinner…work for a while…

Joi:How do you organize your writing? (outlines/note cards/post-its)
Lisa: I do some outlining based on a one-two page synopsis that’s always flexible. I create a page for my characters to note their features and problems and past and goals, and do a similar thing with setting. Sometimes I write short scenes or dialog that have to go somewhere or not on another page. In my main document I usually have sentence or two chapter goals to work on, knowing I need to put in certain information by this point, going from here to there with so-and-so finding out that. It’s easier if I can just keep going and going once I have the research and plot sorted out.

Joi: What's the most surprising thing a character has “told you”?
Lisa: In UnderStory, the main male character is Cameron Taylor, a bi-racial light-skinned man whose full sister is darker-skinned black. Georgia has always had a chip on her shoulder because she felt out of place. Her response as a child was to treat her brother as a pariah of sorts, but later to steer him toward living and being proud of being black when she thought he was crossing the line toward whiteness. It was an eye-opening look at a family’s view of racial pride and prejudice, so to speak, within itself.

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.
Lisa: I no longer do entire worksheets on my characters (see my website for downloadable pages), but I do use the questions on my sheets to develop basic features and characteristics for individuals as they appear. I don’t really create people for work I’m actively performing, but as a people-watcher, I always have some traits tucked away in the back of my mind.

Joi: What does your work space/office look like?
Lisa: I tried the office thing, but gave it up to my husband and an ancient computer with a particular game he likes to do for downtime. Now I write on a laptop usually in our living room or kitchen. Sometimes the front porch or outside when it’s nice.

Joi: What is your go-to snack when writing?
Lisa: Pretzels and cheese cubes—I live in Wisconsin, you know.

Joi: If you could only recommend one NOVEL, what would it be? Why?
Lisa: Only one…seriously…well, I’d like to say that depends on who I’m talking to. If you’re asking me what’s the best fiction I’ve read, even though some amazing work has crossed my ereader lately, I still stick with Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. The writing is absolutely profound with the ability to transport the reader back to a childhood you forget isn’t yours, and discover that imagination makes anything possible, and most importantly, we should never lose that sense of wonder no matter how old we grow. I re-read it a lot.

Joi: If you could only recommend one CRAFT book (writing, no crocheting), what would it be? Why?
Lisa: Writing for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson, Peter Economy (I’m never sure if that’s a made-up name), because it’s packed with easy-to-understand, relatable and practical advice on all aspects of writing well. They use examples, too, which always helps me. I’m not really a huge fan of the how-to books cuz everyone has an opinion, but if you don’t want to cart around the whole Writer’s Digest series of writing topics, then that’s a really good craft book.

Lisa: I’m grateful for the opportunity to write and be published, for the readers who come to Diamond Mine to learn about great new books and learn about other authors who want to share. Thank you, Joi, and everyone here.


When nobody loves you, you have nothing to lose.

 Lily Masters is not getting involved with any fake job scheme covering a sex trafficking operation supposedly cooked up by her stepbrother, prison guard Art Townsend. Hoping to get help at a friend’s place deep in the woods of northern Wisconsin before a blizzard, Lily loses her way. At first, she doesn’t realize how fortunate she is to be found by Cam Taylor, a poetry-spouting former lit professor. Cam has his own reasons to hide while writing a biography of his Civil Rights activist grandparents and accidentally stirs up a cold case murder involving a potential Supreme Court judge. When trouble follows, either of them is the likely target.

Beneath every story is layer upon layer of trust and lies. Who can they believe when things go from surreal to devastating?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Laura V. Hilton is Back!

Today we welcome multi-published author Laura Hilton! Please leave a comment after the interview to be entered in the giveaway drawing! The winner gets their choice of any of Laura’s books.
Nancy: Laura, welcome back to the Diamond Mine! It’s good to have this opportunity to catch up with you. You’ve written so many stories! I’d like to learn more about your writing life. Do you write every day or in marathon bursts? 

 Laura: I try to get 500 words written every day. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less, but I also have five children, homeschool, am a pastor’s wife, and am busy, busy, busy, so I don’t have time to spend all day writing. 

Nancy: You sure don’t! It’s amazing how much writing you’ve done! How do you get your story ideas?

Laura: God. This particular one I saw a photo on face book with an Amish man fighting a fire and I started researching and discovered that Amish do volunteer as firefighters and EMTs in their communities.

Nancy: I didn’t know that. That’s wonderful. Do you work from an outline, or craft it as you go?

Laura: I craft it as I go.  I don’t plot. I find it so impossible to plan out a story and then be able to write it.  When I was in elementary school, in fifth grade the teacher had us write an outline. She gave us a week to work on it.  I struggled, until the teacher commented that “next week, we’ll write a two or three page paper from the outline you wrote.”  I’m like “Oh!” So I went home that night, wrote the three page paper, then went back and wrote the outline.  I got 100% on the assignment(s), but I learned then, my brain doesn’t work in the typical outline first fashion. 
Nancy: Well, that makes me chuckle! I’m awful at outlines, too, and also craft as I go. When did you first know you were a writer? 

Laura: I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I could remember.  I kept it close to me for awhile, because I’d get the “that’s nice, dear.” And a pat on the head (which even is insulting to a child).  And when I did finally find the courage as a grown up, my brother in law looked at me and said “no one will ever publish it.”  Wow! That hurt.  I get great pleasure in sending my sister and brother-in-law a copy of each of my books. Is that wrong of me???

Nancy: I don’t think so. I’m sure you’re proud of your work, and maybe your actions will teach them to be more encouraging to family members. (I’m an optimist!) What do you want your readers to experience or learn from your stories? 

Laura: I leave the application the reader gets from it up to God. He knows how He wants the reader to respond.
Nancy: What a great answer, Laura! Have you ever experienced writer’s block, or had a lot of difficulty with a story?

Laura: Oh yes!  Some of the stories were sooo hard to write. The one that’s releasing in February 2017 (The Amish Wanderer) was one of those. The whole book dealt with spiritual warfare (somewhat) and I was battled.  It seems there’s a part of every book where I’m having the character come to grips with a spiritual truth and I go through great trauma in real life then.

Nancy: Wow! That’s really interesting, and something I haven’t heard before. You’ve piqued my curiosity. Tell us about your latest book: 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.
Samuel 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?

Nancy: Sounds really interesting, Laura! What do you like best about your main characters in this story? 

Laura: They are so real!  Sammy is a bit rough around the edges, but he has a soft heart and will do anything to protect those he loves. He has to learn to face his mistakes to move past them.  Abigail was hurting from secrets that she never knew about but now flooded her world. I hurt for her.

Nancy: We authors do go through a range of emotions while working on our stories, don’t we?
Are you ever sad when finishing a story or a series, or do you feel relief and are glad to start your next novel? 

Laura: Yes both of them.  I’m sad to leave characters that have become friends and am anxious to make new friends in the next book.

Nancy: What are you working on now? 

Laura: I’m writing a book called The Christmas Challenge that I think might release in 2017 – maybe September, but I haven’t heard for sure on the release date of that yet.  It is due to the publisher Jan 2 – so I need to hurry!

Nancy: Well, I hope you enjoy the writing as much as your readers enjoy your stories! Thanks so much for the interview, Laura!

Here’s a little more about Laura, followed by her social and purchase links:
Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with almost twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals or blog posts for Seriously Write and Putting on the New. Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye and currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children. When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.
twitter: @Laura_V_Hilton

Purchase her books:

 Interview by Nancy Bolton

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Lives and Legacy with Ryan Jo Summers on the Diamond Mine (Giveaway)

It’s another week at the Diamond Mine! And what a week it is! To break the election hubbub, we have a wonderful writer in our midst. We welcome Ryan Jo Summers to our corner of the fiction world. Make sure you check out the giveaway for a chance to win an amazing book after the interview! But right now, let’s get started…

About Beside Still Waters:

Top Journalist and corporate climber, McKayla Buchanan, is sent to a remote California mountain camp for inner-city, at-risk teens. Accustomed to political corruption and high-society drama assignments, she is suddenly a fish out of water. At Camp In As Much, she meets eight hostile and distrustful teens, assorted volunteers and rescued horses—and Clay.

Clay Michaels is the man who founded Camp In As Much and made it the success it is now. His hope for the highly recommended journalist is to come and write a feature to send seeds out to form other camps like his nationwide. He never considered the reporter would turn out to be a lovely woman, or for him to have such an attraction to her.

Between McKayla’s worldly experience and Clay’s strong faith, they form a partnership to help with the endless challenges of the kids. While McKayla’s assignment is supposed to be temporary, it isn’t long before she and Clay are each wishing it could last longer. A serious situation will force McKayla to decide if she can give up her worldly ways and place her faith in the same higher source that earthy and godly Clay does.

Amazon buy link:

Ryan Jo Summers
A note from Ryan Jo Summers: The inspiration for this novel is rooted in a single catalogue photo. I work for a high fashion clothing retailer. A few years ago I was browsing through the latest style guide and one image caught my attention—and imagination. A handsome guy reclined comfortably in a high-back chair, modeling corduroy pants. He was holding a tome of literature, pretending to be reading, while soft light spilled out over him from the vintage lamp on the table. Literary classics are piled around him. The scene was peaceful and provocative, stirring something within me.

And the scene is replicated in “Beside Still Waters”. The hero, Clay Michaels, retreats to his den after a precarious situation with the kids at the camp. The heroine, McKayla Buchanan, finds him, and the camp dog, there. Clay is reading a copy of “Pilgrim’s Progress”, looking for insight to the circumstances. Her heart melts at the tenderness of the picture he makes. They chat a bit and then they go out to the labyrinth. With the full moon watching, they begin a walk that will bring them closer together.

Renee: Hello, Ryan! Welcome to the Diamond Mine. I’m so glad you’re here, and I want to hear all about you book. I bet everybody else does too, so…let’s dig in. What’s special about your new book, Beside Still Waters?

Ryan: Thanks for having me, Renee! Well…I’d have to say it’s the sheer number of supporting characters. The story line revolves around the hero and heroine, how their opposite lives, lifestyles and outlooks slowly work to bring them together. However, McKayla has a life back in LA when we first meet her. She reaches the camp she is assigned to report on and meets not only the hero, but eight kids, half a dozen volunteers, and even a handful of horses. Just keeping all those characters straight was fun. I tried to keep their names linked for simplicity. The three young men who stay at the camp part time and volunteer with the delinquents are Jake, Mike, and Zeke. All four letters, all ending in 'ke', and shortened forms of Biblical names. The two main volunteers are Heather and Amanda. Their initials form the word 'Ha', as in laughter. Volunteering should be fun, with lots of laughter. The teens are either one's your cheer for, want to hug or want to shake some sense into. 

Renee: I’m so glad I’m not the only writer who has a ton of characters! LOL Even animals deserve the consideration. It is a challenge when penning a story and reading one, but sometimes the story calls for it. It can’t be written any other way. Speaking of challenges, what would you say is your biggest challenge as an author?

Ryan: Oh my, finding the time to write or promote! It seems I can't do both on the same day. I work, technically, three jobs. Full time in security on a second shift for a fashion retailer. I pet sit on the side, usually before work and weekends. That means I have to use the blocks between those two for either writing my current WIP, or promoting recent releases, or working on something like edits, free-lance articles, blogging, other submissions, or whatever writing project is on my desk. Any remaining time is spent on errands, housework, pet care, yard maintenance, and 'me' time. Suffice to say, my day is packed from crack of dawn to wee hours of the middle of the night with something to do! I wish I had more hours just to push everything else away and work on my work-in-progress.

Renee: Oh, Ryan! Are you sure we aren’t the same person in two different bodies?  I can relate to everything you say. LOL Where do you write or get away from your stress of life? Do you have what I call a special, cherished spot?

Ryan: I am blessed to live near a national forest nestled in the Appalachian mountains. There is a river nearby that I love to go to. I sit by the edge, listening to the rapids rushing over the rocks, see the birds soar over the trees and watch the leaves grow green or fall in red-gold blurs. It is my corner of peace away from everything else. I might journal, I might write short stories or parts of others. I might do nothing but talk to God. We have lots of good conversations there. It's more 'our' spot. 

Renee: I would love to see your beautiful getaway. I have a spot much like it in my Wind River Mountains. I hang out next to the Popo Agie River and watch the water run over the rocks. The sound is amazing and the smell of the pine trees…I would love to experience your Appalachians, too.
To switch topics, people always plan for the future to leave things, whether physical or not, for those left behind…a legacy. Have you thought of such and what your legacy would be?

Ryan: If I could leave a legacy, it would be my house. I just bought it two years ago (October 27, 2014) It was built in 1920 and I have enjoyed this charming old place. I would like one of the area colleges to take it when I leave this earth and use it as a writer-in-residence location for authors to come, stay, and work on their craft. I've contacted the colleges, explained my broad vision and how there is insurance to cover expenses, but have not had any interested parties. If anyone has any suggestions on how to engage the English departments from colleges in a writer-in-residence program, please let me know. 

Renee: Oh, what a good question! I have no clue, but someone out there must know! Anybody??? Contact us or Ryan! What keeps you going, Ryan? Do you do or know something special or is it something else?

Ryan: God never does leave us. This I know. Like many writers, I also keep a journal. It is broken into periods of my life, that I call chapters. Something significant happens and I enter a new 'chapter'. The shortest chapter is a three month period I called 'Scattered like a Leaf in the Wind". The longest chapter is the current one, chapter 9, which has lasted two years and is called "By the Grace of God, I Made It: The Road Ahead". Prayers by the untold number go into each chapter. For chapter three, I was homeless. I'd been forced out of my rental by rain rot in the roof and black mold and a landlord who refused to make repairs. I was so sick, I had to leave. The plans to stay with family fell through and I found myself living in the back of my Jeep, traveling the highway between two states a thousand miles apart for three months. I cannot tell you how many times I felt abandoned, how I identified with Jesus as he cried out from the cross, and how I had to learn to stop depending on myself. Looking back at those pages today--about seven years later--is a strong testament to God's love, mercy, provision and how He keeps His promises in His time. It's hard to see that when you are caught in the heart of the storm. I have a quote that reads: Life is lived forward but understood backward. Nowhere is that more apparent than in reading my journals. 

A special quote I love is more of a prayer. Lord, I can't say it in words. Can You just listen through my heart? Isn't that beautiful? I think of the promised Intercession Jesus spoke about, who would make utterances on our behalf. I lean on that a lot when things get too complicated to say it in words. Another one is God's dawn of deliverance often comes when the hour of trial is darkest. Is that ever true!

Renee: Yes, more so than most people ever realize. Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees?” I think that sometimes we lose sight of the whole picture because of the mess in front of us. Whether it’s busyness, small things, or nutty, tedious things, they blind us to what’s most important…God.
Do you have something in your life which roots you or reminds you of God’s love?

Ryan: Pets-- I have seven pets, most are rescues. Five cats-- Whymzie Belle, age 12, Muldoone, age 12, Kryshnah, age 11, Aspen Kennedy, age 4, and Avery Faith, age 3. Aspen and Avery Faith are mother/daughter and I think I might be rounding their ages up a little more than they really are. Three were feral, with no home. Two were not able to stay in their homes. Now they fill my home with antics, joy and loving trust. I have a 21-year-old blue & gold Macaw named Taz. I've known him since he was an ugly, featherless chick and have lived with him since he was 4. He was raised in a pet store, boisterous and out of control and then isolated to an unlit room and lived in dark solitude for a year. Avian rescuers were trying to get him and a cockatoo out of there. I cut a deal and bought him, so the rescue group could get the cockatoo. Once I learned how to handle a big macaw, he and I have bonded and have a wonderful relationship. And yes, he does talk-- a lot! Lastly, March 22, 2015 I adopted a collie, a blue merle called Ty. He was removed from a bad hoarding situation along with eight other collies in a neighboring state. The collie rescue group in my state took all nine in. Two weeks later I met Ty. He was emotionally shut down, much like some of the characters in my book "Beside Still Waters".  He was traumatized and displayed severe PTSD. It has taken over a year to get him to what might be considered normal, however he still isn't fully settled. I started a blog for him, Travels with Ty and our journey is chronicled there. My long term hope is to one day take it and make it into a book and send the proceeds to the collie rescue group I adopted him from. I also have some freshwater fish in two big aquariums in my study. The bio-wheel filtration sounds like surround sound waterfalls. 

Renee: It’s sounds like a crazy world in your house! Fun, but crazy! LOL I like it. Well, let’s continue to explore the crazy world of Ryan Jo Summers. If you could spend a week anywhere, where would it be?

Ryan: Mmm, it would be one of two places. Either touring the New England coast in the Fall, with my dog and bird. I'd like to see Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine of course, and inland to Vermont. I want to spend time at the water, eat the local foods, tour the lighthouses, see the residents and absorb the regional flair. Bucket list trip # 2 would be a week on the North Carolina shore, again with my dog, staring at the waves, lighthouses, and boats. 

Renee: Cool trips. Okay, that’s it. We have to be sisters. I love lighthouses. I got the dog, but umm…a bird? I can see hanging out in a lighthouse with you and your bird laughing at me when a seagull poops on my head. Sorry, but I can. Can we leave the bird at home? Please!?!?
Okay, I’ll stop dreaming now. Thanks for being with us at the Diamond Mine but before you leave, can you offer a bit of wisdom for the writers out there?  

Ryan: A brief testimony? Sure, this is a true story. I experienced a sudden, unexpected separation after a 12-year marriage. Life's little surprises! I was devastated, humiliated, hurt, lost, get the point. The courts were a terrible long story. I ended up, eleven months later, having to leave. I had no family, nowhere to go, no money, no hope and no clue. I had a map of the US on the wall in my office, and I kept staring at it. Where should I go? I have nothing but my pets and a few odds and ends. I kept hearing a quiet voice, "Asheville, North Carolina." I was always alone at the time. The voice persisted over days. I was in northern Michigan, where in the world was Asheville, North Carolina? I didn't know anyone there or where it was. I looked it up on the map...golly that was a long ways away! I relented, bought a plane ticket, and prepared to go down and check it out. The day I was due to fly in, I heard on the news the town was shut down to recent hurricane flooding. I asked out loud into the room, "Are You sure about this? It's shut down and flooded down there." I heard a distinct, soft chuckle and the whisper to go, and trust. So I went, flew in, landed in what looked like a swamp and fell in love. With the place, the people, the culture. I was catching them at their worse, just like I was at my worse. I found a place to rent and some leads on jobs. I returned home, arranged for the church van and a driver. It took time, patience, and trust, but it all fell together one day. With a tiny bit of cash, a rented van and driver, my pets and a few personal belongings, I left Michigan with my tail between my legs, my heart shattered and my faith fragile as a mustard seed. It took years-- 12 so far--to gain a foothold. It has not always been easy. I've stood on mountaintops (literally and figuratively) and fallen into the valleys of despair. My faith and trust has been stretched, shaped, pounded and flexed in some incredible ways. In my book, "Beside Still Waters", Clay explains how the prophet Jeremiah tells of the potter at the wheel, reshaping the marred clay vessel until it was how The Master wanted it to be. Clay explains that is what he's doing with the kids at the camp, letting God use him to reshape the marred kids into usable vessels. He was just The Master's potter at the wheel. 

If I couldn't write, what would I do? I can't imagine not writing. Even if not for publication, I would still have to scribble something. I use poetry to cope with life's tragedies and challenges. I would still do that to deal with life. I would still have to journal. It's a mile marker and another coping mechanism for me. I would probably still blog my thoughts and Ty's journey, sharing them in cyberspace if anyone cared to read either one. I would still pen stories, if nothing else to fulfill my heart and maybe enter in writing contests. If I were to win, great. If not, at least I wrote it down. "Emily", a short of 740 words, was a dream that came to me. It's enigmatically mysterious and leaves me full of questions, and some friends think there was an Emily at some time and she chose me to write her story down. So I share "Emily" to anyone who wants to hear it, to grant her wish if she was real and just to write. Interestingly, I suffer from some chronic auto immune issues that sometimes affect my hands/ fingers. It is painful, if not impossible to write some days. I lean on Nehemiah, in chapter 6, verse 29 where he prays to God: "Oh Lord, please strengthen my hands!" I wonder about if the time comes when I cannot physically type or hold a pen. What will I do if writing were to be taken away from me? I like to think I would still find a way to get the words out. It might alter my career, but it cannot silence the desire. 

In conclusion, first I thank you, Renee, for hosting me here on The Diamond Mine. It has been a great visit. I have one more quote I like: When it looks like everything is falling apart, that is when everything is falling together.  That fact has proven true so many times. It just takes the faith the size of a mustard seed. Looking back, thanks in part to my journals, I have seen so many times God was at my side, holding my hand, sometimes holding me up, and always in control as life moved around me. I write different kinds of romance fiction, but Christian is my favorite. It is easier in that it's more honest than some other genres of fiction, but it's harder because it leads me to holding a mirror up to myself, doing some soul-searching, and dwelling deep into God's character, promises and plans. My journey with God always advances in leaps and bounds when I am writing Christian fiction, and I come away from the finished story with a better knowledge of God and me.

Thank you so much for a wonderful time, Ryan! It’s been a great interview and fun chat.

Now it’s your turn, folks!

Ryan is giving away one paperback copy of her book, Glimpse Eternity. The winner will be chosen from those who sign up for her newsletter.

Glimpse Eternity

1.    Sign up for her newsletter at

2.    Mention the Diamond Mine to enter the giveaway and then comment below to confirm your entry!

This book is amazing and you will absolutely love it!

About the Author, Ryan Jo Summers:

Ryan Jo Summers writes romance across the genres. Her books contain love stories blended with any combination of mystery, paranormal, time travel, shape shifting, Christian and humor elements. She comes from a family of wordsmiths. Her dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry. Ryan Jo dabbles in poetry, short stories and non-fiction articles.
In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and baking, reading, spending time with friends,
growing plants, playing chess, mah jongg, and wiggly word find puzzles and exploring the great outdoors. She lives in the heart of Appalachia in Western North Carolina in a charming old cottage with a menagerie of rescue pets


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Dawn Crandall Returns to the Mine

Earlier this year, Dawn Crandall visited with one of my Diamond Mine co-bloggers. Now she's back (sort of) to share about her newest book in the Everstone Chronicles. Keep reading to learn how you can win a copy of The Cautious Maiden.

About Dawn Crandall:
Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol Award-nominated author of the award winning series The Everstone Chronicles, which consists of four books: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, The Captive Imposter and The Cautious Maiden.
Apart from writing, Dawn is also a mom of two little ones and serves with her husband in a premarital mentorship program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do.
Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and an associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter. She is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency.

Connect with Dawn


Are you wondering about that "sort of" comment earlier? Dawn and I set up this interview months ago. Before a summer field with change for Dawn. She gave birth to her second son, moved, and released a new book. On top of all of that, her computer crashed and she has very limited internet service so keeping up with email and all things online has been a bit of a challenge for her. 

But I've gotten to know Dawn a bit better over this summer via social media and her blog and figured I'd just share what she's shared over a few months in one consolidated place.

  • After struggling with not having children, Dawn began to write The Hesitant Heiress (book one in The Everstone Chronicles). Two years and two books later, she signed a book contract and got pregnant within six months of each other.

  • Skip ahead a couple years to 2016 and Dawn gave birth to a second baby boy and her fourth book was published.

  • Dawn recently learned her new home is in an “unserviceable area” for public libraries. She lives so far on the line between counties and towns that no one claims her and she has to pay an annual fee in order to use the library.

  • Each book in the Everstone Chronicles is written from the heroine's point-of-view. Dawn says she chooses this method of writing to allow the reader to fall in love with the hero right along with the heroine.

  • Dawn's book outlines start basic with the place, what's going on, and why it's important to the characters. Once that is done with every chapter of the book, she adds layers to each chapter outline. Her outline for The Cautious Maiden was ten single spaced pages and took three months to write.

  • Another fun fact about The Cautious Maiden: Dawn mostly wrote it on her phone.

  • And she never had a favorite hero in her first three Everstone books but Vance Everstone in book four took that title.

  • While Dawn started writing because she wasn't getting pregnant, she doesn't plan to stop now that her family has grown. In fact, she's got plans to write some stories about other characters readers have met in The Everstone Chronicles (these won't technically be a part of the series, though)

Want to win a copy of Dawn's newest release? Here's a little bit about the book.

The Cautious Maiden

Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents' New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks;but when Violet's own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance,Vance Everstone. As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU. With danger stalking her and a new fiance who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust and who to leave behind.

Available to order here.

Enter to win a paperback copy of The Cautious Maiden by leaving a comment below. In order for the contest to be valid, we must have five entries (comments left by five different people).