Saturday, May 28, 2016

Meet Cynthia Hickey

If you haven't read Cynthia Hickey's books, you're missing out! Come along, and meet Cynthia.

Here's a bit about her before we get started:

Multi-published and Amazon Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey had three cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. Her first mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, won first place in the inspirational category of the Great Expectations contest in 2007. Her third cozy, Chocolate-Covered Crime, received a four-star review from Romantic Times. All three cozies have been re-released as ebooks through the MacGregor Literary Agency, along with a new cozy series, all of which stay in the top 50 of Amazon’s ebooks for their genre. She had several historical romances release through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, and has sold over half a million copies of her works since 2013. She has taught a Continuing Education class at the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers conference. You can find her on FB, twitter, and Goodreads, and is a contributor to Cozy Mystery Magazine blog and Suspense Sisters blog. She and her husband run the small press, Forget Me Not Romances, which includes some of the CBA’s best well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs, two cats, three box turtles, and two Sulcata tortoises. She has seven grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”.


Joi:  Why did you start writing? How did you start writing?
Cynthia: I’ve been making up stories since I was a kid. I started writing to give voices to the characters in my head. My first book was written as a dare and I haven’t looked back.

Joi:  How did you select your genre?
Cynthia: I write romantic suspense because it’s what I like to read. I write historical romance because life then was simpler, but my cozy mysteries are the best! Having grown up on Nancy Drew, it was only fitting that I take an ordinary gal and turn her into a fighter for justice.

Joi: What is your writing day like?
Cynthia:I work 8 hours a day, six days a week, combining my own writing and working on the authors in my small press.

Joi:  How do you organize your writing? (outlines/note cards/post-its)
Cynthia: Post it notes everywhere! And a sheet of notebook paper with a one line outline of each chapter.

Joi: What's the most surprising thing a character has “told you”?
Cynthia: They don’t often tell me much, but they do like to take the story off in their own direction!

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
Cynthia: If I have future characters, I usually only have a name, genre, and a possible title.

Joi:  What does your work space/office look like?
Cynthia:I’ve attached a picture J
This cute little place holds everything I need, and almost everything means something personal. I have a dry erase board to schedule my next writing project, keep tabs on other writing jobs, and to list what I need to do at home.
The bulletin board holds websites addresses I visit on a regular basis and holds my favorite quote. It’s by Erma Bombeck and says, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.”
There is a silk rose given to me by a student of the elementary school I used to work at. It sits in a mug that says, “What deadline?” Next to that is a frog tape dispenser, which to me means, Fully Rely On God. Holding an assortment of fun pencils and ink pens is a ceramic mug brought to me from Mexico by a cafeteria worker at the same elementary school. I have a pink fuzzy bird holding a plaque that states, “Do not start with me–you will not win” and a fuzzy angel flamingo pen, because who doesn’t want one of those?
On the wall is a framed Life magazine focusing on “Gone With the Wind” and a Newsweek “Elvis” edition. These are the two categories I collect. I love anything Elvis or Gone With the Wind.
To the left of the desk is a glass tank that holds two Sulcata tortoise hatchlings. On the floor at my feet are two dogs. Behind me is a wall of books: fiction, non-fiction, research. This is my world and I love it.
Joi: Love it!

Joi: What is your go-to snack when writing?
Cynthia: Dark chocolate M&Ms

Joi:  If you could only recommend one NOVEL, what would it be? Why?
Cynthia: Gone With the Wind. My favorite. The characterization was way ahead of its time.

Joi:  If you could only recommend one CRAFT book (writing, no crocheting), what would it be? Why?
Cynthia:Donald Maas – Writing the Breakout Novel. It covers everything!

Joi:Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Cynthia: If you want to pursue the writing career, never give up, work hard, be diligent, be disciplined.
Joi: Thanks for joining us, Cynthia!

Cynthia has graciously offered to do a giveaway of her newest book, Beware of the Orchids! Leave a comment below about one thing you noticed in her office space, and we'll do a giveaway!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Step into Suspense with Susan Sleeman

I am so excited to introduce you all to our guest this week. I "met" Susan Sleeman on Facebook a couple years ago and have been enjoyed getting to know her better over that time. In addition, I've become addicted to her stories. Here's a little more information about her.

Susan Sleeman is a bestselling author of inspirational and clean read romantic suspense and mystery books. Awards include Thread of Suspicion - Romantic Times Best Book, No Way Out and The Christmas Witness - Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence finalists, and Web of Deceit - Swoony award winner and EPIC Award finalist.

Susan grew up in a small Wisconsin town where she spent her summers reading Nancy Drew and developing a love of mystery and suspense books. Today, she channels this enthusiasm into writing novels and hosting the popular Internet website

Susan currently lives in Oregon, but she and her husband have had the pleasure of living in nine states. They have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law, and an adorable grandson.

Suzie: Welcome to The Diamond Mine, Susan. Thank you for spending some time with us today. Let's dive right into the questions. The first one I have for you is an easy one. Name three things you like to have on hand while writing.

Susan: The most important thing I need to write is my computer, but that’s a given so I’ll say, earplugs to mask any neighborhood noises that distract me. Water, because I am a big water drinker. And chocolate. Well, that needs no explanation, right?

Suzie: You never need an excuse for chocolate. One of your resolutions for 2016 was to find time to have more fun. What have you found that you enjoy the most thus far?

Susan: I love, love, love to garden and we’ve had an early spring/summer here. 87 degrees in April—crazy, but I got to spend time outside and that is such a joy to me.

Suzie: The past year has been a busy one for you with a move, three book releases, and writing/editing a few more. So far you’ve had even more of a challenge this year (six book releases slated, a continuing remodel of your new home, and some health issues). What’s your favorite way to decompress when you’ve got a lot going on?

Susan: Wow, it has been a busy year so far, hasn’t it? Really the best way for me to decompress is with how I start my day so I don’t get out of balance in the first place. I start with listening to a Christian message on TV or radio, then do my devotions and pray. If I start the day this way, no matter what is thrown my way, I can handle it. I started adding the message to my morning this calendar year, and I can say that it has done wonders for my state of mind and keeping me in balance.

Suzie: As a writer of romantic suspense, do you find it difficult to balance the suspense with the romance. Do you have a tendency to lean more one way or the other when you write your first draft?

Susan: I started out as a straight suspense writer, but publishers weren’t contracting suspense books back then so I learned to write romantic suspense. At first, the romance part was very hard for me to incorporate, but over time both elements started to feel natural, and they are not out of balance as I write the first draft. When I finish the rough draft, I do go back in the story and highlight all of the romance sections to make sure it follows the arc that the characters need, and if it’s out of balance I add, change, or delete.

Suzie: You attended the Citizens Academy with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department. What aspect of that did you enjoy the most and what surprised you?

Susan: I loved every minute of the academy, but what was most helpful for me as a writer was to see the mindset and the heart of professional law enforcement officers. To get into their heads so to speak and see why they do the things they do. What surprised me the most was learning about the explorer program. This program takes youths (ages 14- 21) and trains them how to perform search and rescue missions. After they complete the training, the explorers go out to find missing people. And, because they are so good at finding things, they are also used to do evidence search in remote areas. So for example, if the detectives think a criminal has thrown a gun out of a car window, the explorers are called in to search the roadside to find the weapon.

Suzie: Your First Responders Series is about a group of law enforcement employees who not only work together as a team but also live together as a family in an old firehouse that has been remodeled with a common room and individual condominiums for members of the team. Do you know of a setup like this somewhere or was this pure product of your imagination?

Susan: I think it would be cool if such a team existed, but the team is a pure product of my imagination. I love series where the main characters are included in all books, and I can stay up to date on the characters and see their interaction so I continue to try to come up with ways to make that happen. Though each individual job that the team members do exists within a county structure, I don’t know of any county that has a team that works together this way.

Suzie: I just finished reading book four of your First Responders series, Emergency Response, and wow, what a ride! I finished it the same day I started because I couldn’t put it down. This is Darcie’s story, the one member of the team who doesn’t work in law enforcement. How did you approach this differently than the other books?

Susan: Darcie has a different mindset than the other characters in the series. She was a nurse before becoming an EMT and she thinks like a nurse, which to me means she has a helping heart and isn’t as concerned with keeping other people safe and putting away bad guys as much as keeping people healthy. Plus the fact that Darcie lost a child, and she, in addition to learning to love again, has to learn how to accept a child in her heart again. I had a late term miscarriage so I can understand to some extent how Darcie feels, and I tried to put that experience into Darcie’s character and make this book about loss and recovery, too.

Suzie: In each book in this series, you have an interweaving theme of finding peace. Emergency Response also includes the theme of finding joy. Do you find that these two often go hand in hand?

Susan: Yes, I sure do. I don’t think you can have true joy without peace. Sure, you can be happy over events, situations, and things, but truly being joyful means you have to be content or at peace in all situations, good or bad. If you have peace, the true peace that a relationship with God provides, you will have joy. It’s a given in my eyes.

Suzie: The final two books in this series are slated to release later this year (book 5 in August and the final one at the end of the year). Can you give readers a hint of what’s on the horizon?

Susan: The last two books in the First Responders series are Archer and Jake’s stories. In Silent Sabotage, Archer meets and helps Emily Long when her life it threatened as she tries to help her Aunt Birdie keep her bed and breakfast afloat. I really loved writing this story because I love the relationship between Emily and Birdie. It really touched my heart. In Christmas Conspiracy, the last book, Jake comes to the rescue of childcare director, Rachael Long when a child is abducted from her center. I had such fun writing this book because for many years I worked as a district manager for a national childcare company and the story brought back such fond memories of caring for children. And since this is the end of the series, I loved, loved, loved leaving it with a very happy ending that brought both tears and a smile to my face. I hope the readers love the ending as much as I do!

It's been a pleasure having you join us this week. Readers can connect with Susan at any of the following:

Her Website -
Facebook -
Twitter -   
Review Site -

Here is more information about Susan's First Responders series and the latest release.


On her way to visit a little girl she recently helped save, paramedic Darcie Stephens is attacked by a stranger dead-set on killing her. She escapes unscathed when detective Noah Lockhart comes to her rescue, but an officer finds a hit list dropped by the assailant—and Darcie's name is next. Now with an assassin constantly on their heels, Darcie and Noah must uncover why somebody wants her dead. Noah fights hard to protect Darcie, but she's determined to keep the cop at arm's length. After all she's lost, she's afraid to love again, especially a handsome lawman with a guarded heart. And a murderer doesn't plan to let Darcie live long enough for any second chances. 

First Responders: Brave men and women alert and ready for danger and love.

Susan Sleeman is giving away five copies of Emergency Response to our blog readers. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below (be sure and leave your email so we can contact you if you win) and tell a friend about the giveaway. Ends June 3, 2016.



Friday, May 20, 2016

Our Own Gail Kittleson Talks Life and War on the Diamond Mine

Life and War on the Diamond Mine

In Times Like These

We have a special treat this weekend! One of our very own miners, Gail Kittleson has a new release and we’re celebrating! Make sure you check out the giveaway after the interview for your chance to win a copy. Without further ado, here we go…

RB: Hi, Gail! I’m so glad you could take a break from your busy day to join us on the Diamond Mine…this time as a guest.
GK: Thanks so much for having me, Renee. I appreciate the opportunity!

RB: You’re very welcome. That’s what the Diamond Mine is here for! We love to spread the Good News and your new book is definitely a way to do that. How about we dig into that great topic right now? Is there a favorite part of In Times Like These which stands out in your mind? Something you can share with the readers and fans?
GK: This is a hard one, but maybe a scene in Addie's chicken house, where her volatile husband Harold never goes, since he remembers being chased by roosters in childhood. The day before, he's gone all day, so Addie finally breaks out and changes something in the house that begs for attention.
In the morning when he spies what Addie did, Harold's so furious he risks going into the chicken coop to confront her. She's terrified. I don't want to spoil the scene, but I hope the reader will be right there with Addie, cheering her on as he faces her down.

RB: Is there a particular reason you chose your setting?
GK: Yes. They say you should write what you know, and I grew up on an Iowa farm in the fifties and sixties. So it's not so much that I chose the setting, as it chose me. Addie was a farm wife, and that demands a farm. I imagine an Illinois, Minnesota, or Wisconsin farm would have worked, but what I know is little old Iowa. Plain and simple, where people in my childhood made do after World War II.
But through writing Addie's story, I think I've realized more deeply how World War II's effects still permeated the lives of farm folk in the fifties. When you've sent your loved ones to a terrible war, when you've listened to the Fireside Chats in the dim light of your living room radio, calling you to more and more sacrifice for the cause, it changes you.
The war, like an ever-present thunderhead, lasted for four long years and colored ordinary people's lives far into the future. To better understand my parents, Greatest Generation members, studying the stateside effects of the war was helpful. My mom waited and prayed for not one, but TWO brothers to return from the fighting. My dad spent the entire war overseas, in more than one country. That has to change you forever.

RB: War’s reach is far and long. Its impact can be felt across the generations. By the way, how did you come up with your title, In Times Like These?
GK: This novel has had several titles. Because of the emphasis on its heroine Addie's victory garden, I first called it A Time For Flowers. Kind of like the touching story from our literature classes, Flowers for Algernon. But as time went on and I studied more about a novel's moral premise, I realized the story was bigger than that.
World War II's chaos all around the globe highlighted the battles Addie fought for her autonomy under her husband's tight control. The old hymn In Times Like These came to mind as I wrote, and the words seemed fitting. What's interesting was discovering this isn't a particularly "old" hymn - a woman wrote it during World War II!

RB: That’s awesome! I didn’t know that, Gail! I absolutely love these interviews…I learn such interesting things. And I know what you mean about books changing titles left and right. Mine do too. I think my novella Racing Hearts changed titles about four times before I finished writing it. Speaking of writing things, what’s easiest about writing for you?
GK: Characters come to me, often when I'm walking. But it took years for Addie, for example, to evolve into the fully dimensional character she is, and I didn't always understand what was going on. (Thing work better for me this way, actually. The less I know sometimes, the better things turn out.)
The character relates their story to me, so it's not my agenda filtering through the plot, it's HER STORY. What's amazing to me is how this whole process works. It's kind of like living a double life--maybe you have to be a little on the weird side, which is no problem for me, to be able to balance this existence?

RB: I can understand what you’re talking about there. It’s kind of neat to have the characters actually tell you the story instead of the other way around, isn’t it? God teaches me so much that way. But what happens if you get “stuck” in the process? What do you do for inspiration?
GK: Walking seems to help more than anything. In Iowa, it depends on the weather, but in the Arizona Mountains where we spend the worst winter months, almost every day provides a time good for walking. Even when it snows 24 inches, sometime that day, the sun will shine and you can get out to walk.
Something about the rhythm of putting one foot in front of the other, the beauty I see all around me, and the quiet—inspires answers to where I'm stuck. I pray for ideas/guidance/a way out of a sticky situation, and they come. I'm so grateful to be involved in this partnership.

RB: I may try that the next time I hit the literary brick wall. How has the Lord impacted your life?
GK: Believing that Jesus would never leave me was tough. I had a miserable sense that my bad thoughts would tear me from His grip. Once I went to my mom's pastor and shared my night terrors (that lasted all day long, too). He was a simple, kind man, and pointed me to John Bunyan's little book, Grace Abounding To the Greatest of Sinners. Not as well-known as Pilgrim's Progress, but written for fearful, trembling souls like me,
That small volume helped me so much--somebody else had felt as unworthy as I did, yet survived to believe God had his back no matter what. Great relieved sigh--although my doubts persisted years after that. But they gradually faded, and I can't be thankful enough for God's abiding presence in my life.

RB: Oh, Gail…God is good. Fear can be a powerful and destructive force in our lives. It can also be life-saving grace but not if it consumes us to the point we can’t live productively. I’m so grateful you trusted God to relieve you of that burden. As a Christian, what do you believe your role is in the world today?
GK: I used to think my spiritual gift was rescuing and fixing people. LOL Seriously, though, that's what I tried to do. Now I believe I'm here to use the gifts God's given me the very best I can and encourage others along the way. I also used to think we were supposed to understand everything. Giving up that goal is truly freeing!
Instead of endlessly trying to figure out everything, I attempt to embrace each moment as it comes. This is one of the themes in my memoir, and learning the ancient Benedictine practice of Lectio Divina (Divine reading) helped me a lot with this. Focusing on ONE Word the Holy Spirit highlights during my devotional times revolutionized my perspective. It's not so much FINDING the meaning for this day, but LISTENING and allowing Him to show me what to focus on.

RB: Well, you may be able to “rescue” someone, but only God can truly “fix” them. I’m glad He revealed that to you! Thanks for the fun interview and sharing so much about yourself. I can’t wait to read your new book, In Times Like These.
GK: Thanks so much, Renee, and anyone who's taken valuable time to stop by and read this article. I'd love to hear from you, so please feel free to contact me on Facebook or at



One winner selected by random draw!

One Kindle copy of In Times Like These awarded to one commenter (must leave e-mail address with comment).
Minimum of five comments required to validate contest. Drawing to be held one week following postdate of blog.

About the Book:

Pearl Harbor attacked! The United States is at war.
But Addie fights her own battles on the Iowa home front. Her controlling husband Harold vents his rage on her when his father's stoke prevents him from joining the military. He degrades Addie, ridicules her productive victory garden, and even labels her childlessness as God's punishment.
When he manipulates his way into a military unit bound for Normandy, Addie learns that her best friend Kate’s pilot husband has died on a mission, leaving her stranded in London in desperate straits.
Will Addie be able to help Kate, and find courage to trust God with her future?

About the Author:

Gail Kittleson taught college expository writing and English as a Second Language. Now she focuses on writing women’s fiction and facilitating writing workshops and women’s retreats. She and her husband enjoy family in northern Iowa, and the Arizona Ponderosa forest in winter.
You can count on Gail’s heroines to make do with what life hands them, and to overcome great odds. Her World War II fiction is set in Iowa, England, and Southern France.
Meeting new reading and writing friends is the meringue on Gail’s pie, as her heroines would say.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Paula Mowery Returns to the Mine!

I love visiting with old friends and catching up with them, don't you? Well, great. Because we have an regular back here in the Diamond Mine, and she sure is a sparkling diamond for sure! Paula Mowery is back! I can't wait to find out what she's been up to since the last time she graced the caverns at the mine. Let's waste no time and get right into it. Don your miner's hat and flick on your light!


PT:  Hi, Paula! We're so thankful to have ya back at the Mine. Now, refresh our memory about all the areas you work in and what genres you write in, since it's been awhile. And you never know when we may have a new reader visiting. 

PM:  When I read, “all the areas you work in” I chuckled. During the school year, I work as an assistant in a Pre-K program in our local school system. I have also been piloting a writing program within the elementary school where I work, sponsored by my publisher, Prism Book Group. I am an author of Christian fiction and an acquiring editor for Prism Book Group. I teach writing workshops at writing conferences, online, at a local bookstore, and to writing groups. I am a pastor’s wife and an interpreter for the deaf members of our church.
As to genres I write in, I have two women’s fiction titles, one historical romance, three contemporary romances, and one romantic suspense. In addition to my fiction titles, I have been included in several devotional books. Now I am dabbling in children’s fiction with the creation of The Adventures of Chloe Ann Parker.

PT:  Well there ya go. I knew you were quite diverse. But let's focus on books, as that is the mainstay of the Mine and our readers. Enlighten us as to what kind of books do you enjoy writing most?

PM:  Though I only have one romantic suspense title, I especially enjoyed writing that story. Currently I am writing a sequel to that book. I really like creating the additional aspect of suspense woven into the romantic thread.

PT: Nice, suspense! Nothing like a little chair gripper to keep you up at night. So you have several book you've authored. Give us a list of your books.

PM:  The Blessing Seer
Be the Blessing
Forgiven in the anthology Brave New Century
Legacy and Love – actually two stories
Love Again
For Our Good
The Crux of Honor
A Walk in the Valley – a devotional about dealing with infertility
The Mighty Pen – Christian writers to Christian writers encouragement devotional
Fear Not - devotional
Sweet Freedom A La Mode – devotional

PT: Again, so diverse! I love it. Now since you do so much interaction with writers and wanna-be writers, share something special from a speaking engagement.

PM:  The Mighty Pen devotional book came from a continuing workshop I taught at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Before the conference, I prayed that God would bring those writers who He wanted to include in this book. He delivered and then some. After the first session, a young woman came up to me. She told me how she had planned to attend the class but had talked herself out of it, thinking she wouldn’t be able to add anything or have the confidence. She mixed up the classroom numbers and ended up in the devotional class anyway. After that first day, she knew she was supposed to be there.
I just love God-nudges like that! God wanted the young woman in the class and her contribution to the devotional.  

PT: God-nudges are the best! We writers love those and I'm sure our readers love it, too. Let's jump ahead and tell us about your new release, 'cause, duh! that's why you are here! (And why we are leaning forward on the stone benches!)

PM:  The Crux of Honor is a story from the Love Is series from Prism Book Group, which is based on The Love Chapter from the Bible. This story has a dedication to my local pregnancy center, where I have volunteered. There is also an Amish aspect to this story, which surprised even me.

Chelsea wants to do things right but always seems to end up dishonoring her parents. She can’t understand why her mother seems to hate her so.
Kevin still has eyes for Chelsea. He returns to the old home place to establish his medical practice.
Chelsea’s baby has some type of medical condition that Kevin is determined to diagnose. The only problem is he’s afraid that the condition has no cure.
The two must strive to assure the baby’s survival and possibly find a second chance at love.
Always a Godly message !

PT:  Hmmm. Sounds interesting! A little medical quandary. Would you say there's a theme of The Crux of Honor?

PM:  This story deals with some tough issues like sex before marriage and pregnancy outside of marriage. But I hope the reader grasps, along with Chelsea, that God is a God of forgiveness, and He holds out an unconditional love. Though the very persons closest to us might fail to show us unconditional love, God never fails in his love for us.

PT: What an amazing thought! Great theme. Now, I'll do my fav! Tell us quick: five things about Paula Mowery that have nothing to do with writing:    Go!

PM:  One thing I alluded to above – I am an interpreter for the deaf in my church. I sign my husband’s sermons.
I absolutely think that chocolate and peanut butter were meant to go together, and I love to eat the combination as often as I can.
My daughter says that next to quirky in the dictionary is my picture.
I am absolutely OCD when it comes to organization and scheduling.  

Ever since watching the Treehouse Master on TV, I have the dream of having a cabin treehouse in the Smoky Mountains.

PT:  Well, that's a wrap, folks. And just in time! My miner's light is growing dim. Paula~always a pleasure to have you here at the Mine.

Paula Mowery is giving away a FREE ebook copy of The Crux of Honor!
 <horns blare, trumpets sound, and angels lead the heavenly chord!>

And YOU can be entered for the drawing! Just leave your wee little comment down yonder~you know where~and leave us an email so we can get a hold of ya! 

And now a word from our sponsors: a minimum of 5 commenting participants constitutes s a drawing. So get busy! ;)
If ya want a copy right now, dangnabbit, go here:


Wanta know more about Paula??? Well you're in the right place, bucko!

Paula is a pastor’s wife, mom to a college student, author, acquiring editor, and speaker. No matter the hat she wears, she strives to honor God’s plan even if it means going out on a limb and leaving comfort zones. Reviewers have characterized her writing as “thundering with emotion.” Her book, Be The Blessing, won the 2014 Selah Award in the novella category. Paula enjoys reading and reviewing Christian fiction, writing Christian romance and devotionals, and helping other authors realize their dream of publication.  

You can follow Paula at Learn more about Paula at her blog at

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Perilous Proposal Giveaway and Author Interview!

This month I have the pleasure of interviewing fellow, former Avalon author, Sarah Richmond. It is always so much fun to share a friend's story and Sarah has a wonderful one to tell you about. Be sure to leave a comment below in order to be entered into the drawing for an eBook or signed paperback (US readers only) copy of A Perilous Proposal.

Tracey:  I think every author has something that propelled them into a writing career. What inspired you to become a writer?
Sarah:  What propelled me into a writing career? I love making stuff up. I love taking an idea and expanding it with a what if? Most of the what ifs are crazy and nonsensical which can be fun. Or just crazy.

Tracey:  Readers love to hear about our quirky writing habits. Can you tell us a little bit about yours? Sarah:  I write with my corgi lying across my feet. He seems to know better that I that the book doesn't get written unless I'm sitting in front of the computer.

Tracey:  You were a Peace Corps volunteer; that must have been a wonderful experience. Can you share a bit about how this enriched your life?
Sarah:  When I graduated from the University of Michigan, I wanted to see the world. The Peace Corps allowed me to spend time in Africa. The experience turned out to be life changing since I married my husband there in the Presbyterian church of Nairobi.

Tracey:  How has faith inspired your writing? 
Sarah:  My faith teaches there is good in everybody and love heals all wounds. I think those principles are important in characterization because the heroine and hero are often struggling with redemption and forgiveness. Which creates conflict. Which makes a good story.

Tracey:  What one piece of advice would you share with an aspiring writer?
Sarah:  One piece of advice, which I received in my first writing class from teacher Marion Jones, is this: don't give up. You don't know if the next submission is the one that sells the book. Marion gave us a picture of a boa constrictor wrapped around a mongoose who has her teeth into the boa's back. The copy states: Never give up. I still have that picture.

Tracey:  A Perilous Proposal is such a great book title! Where did the idea for the book come from?
Sarah:  A Perilous Proposal wasn't the original title. I submitted the manuscript as The Milliner's Apprentice. We were in Portugal with friends when the email came that TWRP had accepted the work but with a title change. Every book needs to have conflict inherent in the title: The Reluctant Duke, for example, The Secret Diary of Miss Miranda Cheever, etc. I was trying to think of a good conflict that hadn't been used over and over. I came up with A Precarious Proposal but it still wasn't quite right. Precarious didn't fit the character's dilemma. I decided on A Perilous Proposal.  I decided the word perilous referred to both plot points and the romance. The name described both the external and internal conflict which involves pitting the heroine against a powerful man in court. The internal conflict involves risking her heart to love the hero. Happily, my editor agreed.
A Perilous Proposal
     Edmund Caruthers is a man with all the answers, comfortable in his own circle, and confident in his profession as a junior barrister with ambition to wear the silks of a King's Counsel. Born to privilege, he loves to gamble with the old money heirs at his club.
     A milliner's apprentice, Dolly Wycliffe pursues her dream to make fashionable ladies' hats, but her earnings cannot support her widowed mother and siblings. She seeks legal council to sue a powerful English peer for the wrongful death of her father who was in his lordship's employ. Everyone including Edmund turns her down. The death has been ruled an accident and there is nothing he can do. The old boys at  Edmund's club agree and bet he can't loosen the purse strings of a titled gentleman, especially with a shop girl as a client. With a sizable wager at stake,  Edmund decides to prove them wrong.
     Edmund and Dolly uncover a dastardly plot that suggests her father's death was not an accident, but murder. Together the risk ridicule and ruin to prove their suspicions are true.

Dear Readers,

Come take a journey with me to Edwardian England and the American West where feisty heroines and the men they love find adventure along with their happily ever after.

The question I’m asked the most is what I’m working on now. This summer I’m in the middle of a three book series of historical mysteries set in 1910-1912 London, England.  I’m having so much fun writing about murder and villains. I hope readers will like the books.

I welcome your comments. Let me know what you are reading and what kinds of books you like. 

With thanks,


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