Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Count it All Joy with April McGowan (Giveaway!)




Hello, there, folks! I'm excited to interview a very special lady today...April McGowan. In addition to the interview, April is hosting a fabulous giveaway of Hold the Light so check out the details at the end of the post. Right now, let's get started!


Renee: Hi April, welcome to the Diamond Mine! I'm so happy you're here. For those new to the Christian Fiction world, how about a quick introduction?

April: My name is April McGowan, and I am a contemporary women’s fiction author with a heart to write about the wounds we carry and God’s great healing providence.

Renee: And quite the gifted author you are! I'd love to talk about how you do that...write about our wounds and God's healing. What makes your latest book, Hold the Light special, possibly in that regard?

April: My book centers on a young artist and her dealing with losing her sight, finding her place again in the world, and reestablishing her footing with God. She feels like He’s taken the gift He gave her away—I think it speaks to anyone who had plans for their lives and were forced to change them due to circumstances outside their control. I’m not afraid to ask the hard questions—and I am secure knowing God has all the answers.

Renee: Yes, He does have all of them, doesn't He? If we are brave enough to accept them, no matter what they may be. Your artist sounds like an interesting character, a deep one. How do you make and keep your characters "three-dimensional," if you understand my meaning?

April: I make sure to really know my characters inside and out before I begin writing. They have flaws and wounds. They suffer from brokenness—but they also harbor hope. I usually draw on real experiences around me to embed them in, and write from my own pain and hopes and joys.

Renee: That's a great place to start any story...the characters. I've tried other places as well as techniques but they just fall short. What would you say is your biggest challenge as an author?

April: My biggest challenge comes from living with chronic illness. I have Common Variable Immunodeficiency Disease—a genetic condition that keeps my body from producing antibodies, so I can’t fight colds or infections. Because of sickness and fatigue, I can’t write every day, and that makes is difficult to finish….anything! But, by God’s grace, He lifts me up and strengthens me for the tasks He puts before me. Even if I don’t get to do what I want to do, I know He is with me.

Renee: Wow, April, that's called "walking through fire." I admire you for remembering who gives you the strength to face the day and to write your stories. God is so good. What would you do if you couldn't write anymore?

April: I’ve thought about that often—which is embedded in my story about Amber and losing her sight. What would it be like if I got so sick I couldn’t do what I loved anymore? I’ve had to give up many things I’ve loved due to illness. So far, though, writing has stayed. And I’m going to keep going, even if it’s only a chapter a month, until I’m done.

Renee: And enjoy every minute of it! Do you have any hobbies?

April: I love reading and I enjoy drawing and playing board games. I’m also a novice drummer—with high aspirations, but little energy. Still. I love it.

Renee: I remember the time we bought our son a drum set. His aspirations for being the best neighborhood drummer didn't last long. Maybe two months? Thankfully! (Did I say that?) Anyway, the drum set was sold the next summer in a garage sale, and I was the happiest mom on the block. LOL I love my guitar although I wouldn't say I'm the best, but, yes, I love it especially high in the to a crystal clear lake. Do you have a favorite spot like that?

April: I LOVE the ocean. It’s so peaceful and yet wild and untamed. You can’t stand against it, and you have to respect it. It is a place where I feel the closest to God because every aspect reminds me of Him—the expanse, power, beauty, and life.

Renee: Kind of like my mountains, huh? I love the water, too. So does my dog. In fact, he's a little obsessed about it. He went ballistic this last week when it rained. In and out, in and out of the house...all day long! The cat watched him as if he was a complete idiot. He finally collapsed on the living room floor around five o'clock and didn't move the rest of the evening. Animals. Do you have any pets?

April: Ha! After a near two-year hiatus from having cats, we were ready again (our last two passed on from illness and old age). In July, I went to a shelter to adopt two male littermates, but they were ill—and we’d had enough of that for a while. I made a cursory walk around the shelter and this little black leg with a white paw kept reaching out through the bars to me. Before I knew it, I walked out with a feisty tuxedo female, Saorise (seer-sha). Then a month later, I went to find her a friend, a younger male (so she could keep her princess standing) and found Xander, an all-black, 5-month-old kitty. But, Xander had a cage mate who he’d been with for most of his little life—Liam (4 months). So, I came home with them both (you can’t break up besties!) So, we went from no cats to three kittens in the space of three weeks!

Renee: Three cats! My husband would kill me. He only tolerates my Shasta. At least, that's what he says. But I can't say much, the man has suffered a lot due to her. I've lost count of the surgeries...April, you are a true inspiration to me. Is there a special quote or saying that comes to your mind in times of need or adversity?

April: “Count it all joy.” The phrase is taken from James 1: 2-4. I’ve learned to submit my ways to the Lord and face each challenge with Him. My suffering has absolutely produced perseverance and a joy that surpasses all understanding. Through each trial, each new diagnosis, each sickness or loss, I grow more reliant on the Lord. I get to see His power worked out in my weakness—my illness has become a blessing.

Renee: As I said, an inspiration. Thank you for that. If you could say one thing about your books, what would it be?

April: My books deal with the brokenness we all face, and point us to the Healer and holder of true Hope, Jesus.

Renee: Thank you so much for being with us today, April. And if anyone is having a rough day, remember...Count it all joy!



April McGowan

Rules: Entrants must comment on this post and include at least their first name and email address to validate their entry. Prizes include one signed copy and one e-copy of Hold the Light by April McGowan. Two winners will be selected from eligible entries approximately seven days following post date by random draw with signed copy winner selected first followed by e-copy winner. Winners will be notified via email. If winner does not respond with 72 hours, another winner will be selected. Contest only valid within the United States.


About the Book:

To an artist, the light is everything. So, what is Amber supposed to do when facing blindness?
Amber spent her life adapting first to being abandoned by her birth mother as a toddler, and then to the death of her adoptive father in her teen years. Now she's moved past all that, loving life as an independent woman: she has a job as an art instructor and the perfect apartment.
But when a routine eye appointment reveals she's losing her sight, life comes to a halt. Pressures come at her from all sides. Her mother, her boss, her boyfriend and her closest friend, Shannon, all have ideas about what’s best for her.
Even after her blindness counselor, Ethan, befriends her and opens her eyes to new opportunities and the possibility of a deeper relationship, one haunting question remains: How could the God she loved all her life turn everything upside down again?


About the Author:

April McGowan loves to write stories of hope, courage, and inspiration. She, her husband, and two teens live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. April is an award-winning author, member of Oregon Christian Writers, the Christian Author’s Network, and American Christian Fiction Writers. She's also the publicity coordinator for Oregon Christian Writers. When she's not writing, reading down her book list, homeschooling her son, chasing her kittens, Saoirse, Xander, and Liam, or playing board games, you might find her at her drum kit, imagining she's on a world tour. Hey, it could happen.

Visit my website
Follow me on Twitter at!/AprilKMcGowan
Pin with me on Pinterest at

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Interview with Susan Davis and Giveaway!

Good morning, Diamond Mine readers! Today, I'm so excited to bring you an interview with Susan Davis, multi-published romantic suspense author you won't want to miss! 

She just completed her fifth book, The House Next Door, which released this month in The Maine Justice series. Let me tell you, I've delved into the first book and I'm hooked. AND... Susan is giving away a copy of The House Next Door to a lucky commenter! Details for the giveaway after the interview.

First, here's a bit about the latest book.

The charming stone house next door is for sale! How could there be a down side to that?

As his wife Jennifer’s due date approaches, Captain Harvey Larson decides to invest in real estate, unaware of the terror this will cause his family. The neighboring house seems ideal for Jennifer’s brother Jeff and his wife. A hidden cupboard isn’t so bad—in fact, it’s almost fun to try to solve the little mystery inside it. But will any of their loved ones want to live next door after they learn what’s in the basement?
The men of the Priority Unit might be wasting their time, trying to prove one dead man killed another. Or is the murderer still alive, and ready to strike again?



So Susan, you have written in several difference genres. What inspired you to write mysteries?

I first started writing in the mystery and suspense genres. My first published books were historicals, however. Readers will find that many of my historical novels have mystery and suspense elements, too. The Maine Justice series has been on my heart for a long time.

I love when a mystery/suspense thread is added to historicals! 

With your family and many activities, when do you find the time to write?

Our children are all grown, and my husband is retired. Writing is my full time job now. I usually spend most of the morning writing, and most of the afternoon doing other writing-related tasks, such as research, editing, and marketing. I like being able to set my own schedule and take time off when I want to.

You include wonderful details about the police investigations in the Maine Justice series. How do you do your research?

Research is a never-ending part of writing, and when you write about crime solving you need to get it right! I recently attended the Killer Nashville conference, for mystery and crime writers, as one way to increase my knowledge in this area. I also keep up-to-date reference books and do a lot of research online. I cultivate friendship with law enforcement officers so that I can ask them questions, and I call liaisons in various agencies to get details on particular law enforcement units.

Was there a particular Bible verse or experience from your own life that shaped any of the books in the series?

In the first book, The Priority Unit, Harvey and Jennifer go looking for God. I think the verse in John 6:44 inspired that quest: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. (ESV). I wanted to show how a person might be drawn in by God.

How important is it to you to include a spiritual emphasis in your books?

In this series, it is a very important part of the theme, plot, and takeaway. Spirituality isn’t as overt in a lot of my books, but for these, it was a main goal for me to write the unbeliever’s journey in a believable way.

What do you hope your readers take away from your stories?

In addition to being entertained, I hope my readers find some encouragement in my stories. The people in my Maine Justice books are everyday people with everyday problems (outside the mysteries, of course).  A lot of my books touch on the theme of forgiveness and reconciliation.  The House Next Door touches on fear and security. In each book, I hope the reader will see how the characters handle a problem and either apply it to their own life or think of a way to handle a problem better than my characters did.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Read widely, not just in the genre you’re writing, and be sure to get an edit before you send off your manuscript.

Thanks so much for being a part of the blog today and sharing your stories. Excited to read the rest of the series!


Susan Page Davis is the author of more than 70 published novels and novellas, in romantic suspense,mystery, and historical romance. A native of Maine, she now lives in western Kentucky with her husband Jim. They have six children and ten grandchildren and two temperamental cats.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebookNewsletter


All you have to do is leave a comment on the blog for a chance to win! If there are at least three people who comment, we'll be picking a random winner to receive a copy of The House Next Door. (Paperback for the US and electronic for those out of the country) Good luck!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Mine Welcomes Historical Western Author Kari Trumbo

This week I am thrilled to introduce you to Kari Trumbo. Kari writes historic western fiction. Her newest series, Seven Brides of South Dakota follows several sisters as they find love in (you guessed it) South Dakota.

Here's a peek at Kari's latest release: Romance in Rapid

Frances Arnsby has only three weeks to learn about romance.

That’s all the time she has before the stagecoach whisks her back to Deadwood. Excited about a glowing future as a romance dime novelist, her hopes are dashed when her manuscript fails to connect. She hasn’t lived enough. Her dream will be over before it even starts if she doesn’t add life, love…passion.

Chief reporter Clive Davidson is intrigued by the vibrant woman submitting her work to the paper. But when his plan to help goes horribly wrong, he must decide if teaching her about romance is worth the risk…to his career and his heart.

As Frances enters a world of upper crust dalliances and deception, she discovers that perhaps Clive was right all along: romance in the stories are just that…fiction. Her career means the world to her, but if she can’t learn what true love really means, it could cost more than she ever thought possible.

Get Romance in Rapid, the fourth book in the Seven Brides of South Dakota Series, by Kari Trumbo. A bit of history, a touch of romance, and a whole lot of fun.

Order here

Series order (which are all available in the Kindle Unlimited program)

Suzie: Welcome to the Diamond Mine, Kari! Thank you for taking the time to join us this week.

Kari: Thank you for having me!

Suzie: Let’s get you warmed up with a couple multiple choice questions. Ballpoint, Uniball, or fountain pen?

Kari: Oooh, tough call. Ball point. I’ve never had a real fountain pen. If I had, that might change my answer.

Suzie: Early bird or night owl?

Kari: I don’t like to get up in the morning, but I do find that I can be productive in the morning. I’m usually a night owl. With 4 kids, that’s when my house is quiet.

Suzie: Fill in the blank: Some day I want to _______.

Kari: be on the USA Today bestseller list

Suzie: Okay, now it’s time to delve deeper into who Kari Trumbo is.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? The best one?

Kari: Worst job? I was a telemarketer (don’t hate me!) for a company in the cities who would set up furnace inspections. The inspector’s intent was, of course, to sell a furnace to those people. It felt icky and I only lasted about 2 months.

Best one? I bet you can take a good guess.

Suzie: I'm sure telemarketers have an extremely high turnover rate. I'm not sure I would have lasted two months. 
Do you have any secret talents?

Kari: I can wiggle my ears? I don’t know. I have a lot of things I enjoy doing that I never do in front of anyone else because I honestly have this crippling fear of judgment. I sing, knit, and take pictures, but never at the same time.

Suzie: I can see multitasking with the singing :). 
Name a place you would like to visit that you haven’t been to yet.

Kari: France. I took French for seven years with the intent to spend a semester in France in college. I got married instead. I have no regrets about getting married, but I’d still like to visit France.

Suzie: Oh, France is a good one. Paris, wine country, and more! 
Name one thing that drives you crazy.

Kari: I’m so annoyed by the anti-hero or the emasculated male in fiction. I LOVE to see a manly hero. He doesn’t have to be an alpha, but let him be a good MAN. 

Suzie: Switching gears, tell us a little about your reading habits. What was the first book you remember reading? How about the first one that made you cry?

Kari: That is a tough question. I think my first read was Frog and Toad. The first story that made me cry is easy, Charlotte’s Web.

Suzie: What book do you wish you could have written?

Kari: I don’t have one. Each author is so different.

Suzie. The popularity of Amazon and the book industry as a whole tells us that's a good thing since each reader is different as well. 
Do you have a favorite place to write? A favorite time? Must-have snacks or drinks?

Kari: I get up and track my ads at the same time every day. Then I hit Facebook and make sure I’ve responded in some way to those who have posted to me (that’s an important one). Unless I have a deadline and need to write more than my minimum, I edit during the day. I always have at least 2 books going at the same time. Juggling them between writing and editing. After I’ve hit my goal for editing, I’ll take a break and clean or…something. After supper, I hit the computer once again and get my 3000 words in for the day. I started making a daily goal for myself two years ago and it’s always worked for me. I started with 500 words a day and steadily worked up to the 3000 I’m at now.

Suzie: What is your writing kryptonite?

Kari: Pain. When I’m hurting (physical or mental) I have trouble writing. I’m not one who can focus that feeling.

Suzie: Share with our readers more about your books. Which of your characters is most like you? Which would you accept a date with?

Kari: There’s a little bit of me in all my characters. But with some of them, it’s only a very small bit. A year ago, I would’ve said Margot from To Love and Comfort. Now… probably Frances from Romance in Rapid. She’s an aspiring author and has this hesitancy in her life that is so like me.

Who would I accept a date from? No question about it, Hugh Bradly from Kisses in Keystone. Somehow, every good quality of my husband ended up in Hugh and he was so easy to write.

Suzie: Aww, love that your husband inspired your hero. What is the craziest/most interesting/funniest thing that’s happened to you while researching a book?

Kari: I once read an article on corsetry that said that if a woman just released the busk (the front closure) on a cinched corset, she might pass out from the sudden rush of blood as her body settled back into place. It doesn’t take much, anyone who’s felt light-headed while pregnant knows this. But that ruined all the bodice-ripper fiction I used to read in my late teens. (there wasn’t a whole lot available in Christian fiction at the time) A passed out heroine is not attractive.

Suzie: What’s your favorite part of writing series?

Kari: My favorite part of a series is bringing old primary characters back as secondary characters so readers can see what happened. I love that their stories don’t have to end.

Suzie: That's also what I love about reading series! Which of your books do you recommend first for someone who is just finding you?

Kari: That would honestly depend on who was asking and what they were looking for. For a light, short read, I’d say start with the Cutter’s Creek series. For a nice long series that tackles some tough issues like alcohol, physical temptation, prostitution, and forgiveness, pick up the Seven Brides of South Dakota series.

Suzie: Thank you again for spending some of your precious time with us!! I’m looking forward to the next book in your Seven Brides of South Dakota series!

Here's a little more about Kari (and where you can keep up with her online)

Kari Trumbo is an inspirational romance author, blogger and proud home schooling mother to four great kids. She interacts often on reader groups on Facebook and volunteers at the local library when needed. When she isn’t writing, she is obsessively reading and expanding her skills as a wordsmith. Kari lives in her great-grandfather’s remodeled 1890-built home in central Minnesota with her husband, children, cats, and one hungry wood stove.

Kari is giving away a signed print copy of Dreams in Deadwood to one of our readers! Earn more entries by following Kari on social media.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules of giveaway: Print copy to US addresses only (electronic copy may be substituted for international entries). Contest is not valid until five (5) different people have left comments. Winner will be randomly on Sept 13, 2017.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Through the Eyes of Author, Stephania H. McGee

   Welcome, fine ladies and gents. Ya'all arrived at exactly the right time. Let's sit on the porch and fan up a cool whiff of August air. Add a slice of peach pie covered in cream, and we'll sit a spell. I've got an extra special guest, so settle your hoop skirts, ladies, and loosen your cummerbunds men. I'm entertaining Stephenia H. McGee and her newest release, In His Eyes. I think you'll find her quite entertaining. (Book Giveaway to follow!)

PT: Hello, Stephenia! So glad to welcome you unto the porch of the Diamond Mine. I always love to start the conversation with genre. Tell us a little about yours.

SM: Christian Historical Fiction. My books are usually set during the Civil War, but I do have some novels in the works that take place during different times in the 1800s. Some are romance, and some just have a romantic thread. 

PT: Ah, just the perfect era for us. Even if it is a mite humid. The most comfortable time for all our antebellum layers is early in the day, while it's still cool. Why don't you tell our readers your idea of a perfect morning?

SM: The perfect morning would be one where I could sleep until I woke up on my own without an alarm clock! Then my boys would get along and play together—without it turning into an argument over something silly!—and my husband and I would enjoy a nice conversation while I make my coffee. Then the four of us would cook a big breakfast together and enjoy it out on the screen porch where the weather would be just right. I’d say that would be the perfect morning.

PT: Yes, ma'am, that does sound like a gentle way to greet the day. Indulge me just one other off the subject question. Are you the sort that enjoys pets? Cats? Dogs? Something other?

SM: We own two dogs and a cat, and I love all three. I’d have to say I’m a dog person, though. My husband bought me a puppy for a wedding gift, and she is my spoiled little fur baby. She’s 14 now, but still sweet and spunky. 

PT: Let's get to  your newest release, In His Eyes. Is there an overall Biblical theme?

SM: For In His Eyes, the overall biblical theme is God’s great love for us. No matter how we may see ourselves, or how others see us, as His children we are precious, loved, and beautiful. I used Isaiah 43:4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight and because I love you… on the dedication page because I felt it shows how He cares for us. 

PT: What a great verse! And what a beautiful cover! Now we've come to my favorite part. I want to know those five things about Stephania that have absolutely nothing to do with writing.

SM:      1)      I kill plants. I don’t mean to, I promise, but for some reason I just seem to have a
                    brown thumb rather than a green one.
2)      I love to travel. I like seeing new places and experiencing as much culture as I can.
3)      I’m a bit of a foodie. As long as it is not an insect or some kind of eyeball or organ, I will try pretty much anything. At least once.
4)      I have sensitive ears and I can’t stand high-pitch noises. My boys have heard me yell, “Stop squeaking!” through the house on a fairly regular basis.
5)      I have a degree in Animal and Dairy Sciences. I thought about going to vet school, and then I worked for a few years as a horse trainer. But God had other plans (and His are always better!)

PT: A writer with an degree in Animal and Dairy Science. You just don't see that everyday! But I'm sure that helps when you write in a time period of horse drawn vehicles! Stephenia, thank you so much for stopping by our porch and sharing with us.

SM: My pleasure!

You know what that means. We are giving away an ebook of In His Eyes. Please leave a comment below with your email and good luck! We need at least 5 participants to qualify for a drawing. Let's support Christian Fiction and Christian Authors. I know our readers LOVE Christian fiction, so chime in!

If you don't want to wait another moment to read Stephenia H. McGee's novel, In His Eyes, start here at our favorite retailers:

Winner of the 2012 RONE Best Inspirational Book of the year and author of six Historical novels, Stephenia H. McGee writes stories of faith, hope, and healing set in the Deep South. After earning a degree in Animal and Dairy Sciences, she discovered her heart truly lies with the art of story. She put pen to page and never looked back. Stephenia makes her home in Mississippi where she sips sweet tea on the front porch with her husband and two little boys and dreams up tales of days gone by. Visit her at for books, updates, and more.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Author Interview and GIVEAWAY with Mikal Dawn!!!

Hi guys! V. Joy Palmer here! Since we are all friends here, you guys can call me Joy. ; ) And since we are all friends, one of my favorite things to do is talk with my friends, family, the teens I mentor, and everyone else at coffee shops/bookstores. Books and yummy drinks are the perfect combination, after all. So, consider this our virtual coffee shop. I’ll wait a second for you to get your warm drink and a fuzzy blanket before we chat with today’s guest. ; )

Today, I am very excited for you guys to meet Mikal Dawn! I just started reading her debut novel, Count Me In. Loving it!!!

Mikal Dawn is an inspirational romance author, wedding enthusiast, and proud military wife. By day, she works as an administrative assistant for an international ministry, serves in her church’s library, runs her kids to all their sports, and drinks lots of coffee. By night, she talks to figments of her imagination as she attempts to write while dinner is burning. And drinks lots of coffee. When she isn’t writing about faith, fun, and forever, she is obsessively scouring Pinterest (with coffee in hand, of course!) for wedding ideas for her characters.
Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Mikal now lives in Nebraska with her husband, their three children, and one ferocious feline. Connect with Mikal on, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.


Thank you so much for having me!!! I’m thrilled to be here! <3

Thank you, Mikal! I’m so excited to ask you a bunch of prying questions! LOL! First things first, would you order coffee, tea, or hot chocolate in our virtual coffee shop? Something else altogether? This is possibly the most important question…

I don’t think you could have started off with an easier question. If anyone knows anything about me whatsoever, they know the answer to this one: COFFEE! (It is lifeblood.)

It is! It so is! On to our second most important question, if you could order anything in the world to eat, what would it be?

Can this “anything” be calorie-free? And would I have to pay for it? Because I’m cheap, but I have expensive taste. Basically, my “anything” would be dessert. Specifically, the Fortress Stilt Fisherman Indulgence (at The Fortress Resort and Spa in Sri Lanka)—and at $14,500 per dessert, I would definitely need someone to buy it for me…but it comes with an 80-carat aquamarine! I might also have to order a Cro at Dum Dum Donutterie in London. It’s cheap by comparison at only £1,500, but ohmygoodness, it sounds divine!!! And to top it all off, because who doesn’t need coffee, I would order the £15 cappucino at the Emirates Palace Hotel.

Yes. I did Google. LOL!

I love how you wholeheartedly embraced the anything part! LOL! I hope those desserts are made from chocolate from Heaven! *looks up the desserts in new web tab and drools* I need to distract myself from this beautiful, haunting dessert… Where is your favorite place to write? And why is that your favorite place?

I actually prefer writing at my desk, but I don’t have a proper desk chair right now, so that leaves me to my couch. I tend to write with my back against the arm and my legs stretched out in front of me with my computer on my lap. As I am right at this moment. It’s just comfortable. 😊 But the day is coming when I will get my chair!! And I can’t wait.

Actually, the day is coming when my oldest gets married. As soon as he moves out, his bedroom will become my writing office. I plan on buying a chaise that I can sit in to write…and maybe read, too. 😉

I’ve been “suggesting” to my husband that we should get a chaise for the last few months. I totally get it. 😊 Do you have an odd habit that is only explained by your bookish, writer tendencies?

I refuse to answer this question on the grounds it might scare off readers!!! HA! But in all honesty, I probably have many! But I wouldn’t be able to tell you what’s odd but explained by my bookish, writer tendencies, and what’s odd just because. LOL! (My husband would just call me odd, period. No explanations whatsoever. But hey…he’s the one who asked me to marry him, so who’s the oddest?!) 

*snort* I’m inclined to agree with your logic. There’s no arguing with it. 😉 What inspired you to write Count Me In? 

A homework assignment. No, really! I was in an American Christian Fiction Writer’s course and the assignment was to write a sentence or two for different parts of a story (inciting incident, denouement, etc.). We were given a name and, I believe, an occupation. I wrote a few sentences to fulfill the assignment, had a couple of classmates email me saying they’d love to read it, and lo and behold! Count Me In was born.  

Such a fun story! I love how inspiration can strike in the most bizarre ways! What led you to write in this genre?

This is a pretty interesting question. I struggled quite a bit with writing inspirational romantic comedy. Not because I don’t love this genre—I do!—but because I had grand dreams of writing the stuff that would make readers cry, teach them deep lessons, and give them book hangovers. (Who doesn’t want to have a book hangover?!) Basically, the kind of story that will stay with a reader for a very long time, if not forever. So I fought. I started other stories and couldn’t finish them. I fought some more. And when the ACFW course happened, I met with some other authors at a coffee shop and told them how I was struggling. One, Jennifer Slattery—a fabulous author, if you haven’t read her novels!—punched me (she packs a hard punch for such a tiny woman!), and said (paraphrasing here) that readers need all kinds of books, from the deep, hard reads, to the light, funny escapes. She then went on to remind me that those who are in hard spots in life sometimes just need something to take their minds off what they’re going through. I felt such a sense of freedom at her words, like God was saying, “Yes! This is what I’ve been telling you, you stubborn child.”

I went on to write Count Me In, my first attempt at rom-com. 
I also write romantic comedy, so I really love the truth that God spoke to you. <3 SO TRUE! What message do you hope to convey to your readers?

Having said what I just did in the question above, there are takeaways in Count Me In. In that story, I want readers to examine how they think of fear and God and trusting the Lord. I struggle in that area in a big way, so writing the story was therapy for me. I have two characters who both have fears but approach it from different angles. But it all comes down to trusting the Lord. My prayer is that readers will be reminded that God is in every moment of their lives, that His perfect love casts out all fear. 


Yes. This. Love it. <3 Can you tell us a little about your next project?

I’ll admit that I’m struggling with writing at the moment. Up next is Story and Bo’s novel, and while I love the premise and characters, I’ve been having such a hard time writing it. So before I tell you about it, can I ask you all to pray for me, please? Writing is hard. Much harder than I ever thought, especially after a debut release and now having expectations. 😊

So, about Story and Bo. This is a very rough back cover copy! So rough, in fact, that I’m about to write it here for the first time. 😉 So here’s the (not final!) blurb for On the Edge:

A Cold Front Is Moving In…

Story Humphries has lived and loved the bohemian life. Never to stay in one place, her parents moved her around and touted the lifestyle as one of absolute freedom. Despite that, she found true love in figure skating, and no matter where they ended up, she always found a rink to fly across. Now, when she isn’t coaching, Story spends every minute practicing with her own coach with far-flung hopes of breaking back into competitive skating.

Bo Dixon has pushed and pushed to succeed, first as a left-wing in the NHL and then as a coach for his alma matter. But a coach’s job is never guaranteed and Bo goes back to Seattle, wishing he could take a slapshot to the face rather than see his ex-girlfriend again.

Story and Bo have a history off the ice. But with Bo’s unexpected return, it looks like they may have a future on the ice…whether they want it or not.

OHMYGOSH! There’s such a The Cutting Edge vibe. I love it!!! Count me in for this sequel! And yes, I did that on purpose. 😉 What is your favorite Bible verse or story that inspires you on a soul level?

Oh wow, there are so many!!! But I’ll narrow it down. Kind of. Ha!!

My first favorite is Hebrews 6:19a: “We have this hope as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul…”

I also LOVE Romans 8:38-39: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Those both speak to me on a soul-deep level. The verse that inspires my writing, however, is Psalm 102:18: “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.” With instructions like that, how could I not write?

LOVE Romans 8:38-39 and I’m always finding awesome, new life verses in Psalms. Your writing verse is epic!!! So what are you currently reading? Inquiring minds (mine) want to know. 😉

So. Many. Books. LOL!! Actually, I’m proud of myself: I only have two on the go right now! I’m re-reading Dead Reckoning by Ronie Kendig. It’s the first book of hers I ever read and the one that made me a perma-fan. The one I’m reading is actually her recently re-released version with some new scenes and other rewrites. It’s been a long while, so it’s like reading a brand-new book for me! I’m also reading Firstborn by Tosca Lee. This is The Progeny duology, and I ADORE IT. It isn’t normally my thing—the genre, the tense, and the point of view narrative—but the first book hooked me right from the first sentence, and this second book is no different. 😊

Oooo! I discovered Ronie Kendig this past year, and I have become a committed fan! And I’ve been jonesing to read Tosca Lee’s new books. *muffles squeal of bookish frustration*

Thank you so much for joining us today, Mikal! I know I’ve had a blast chatting with you!


Mikal has generously offered to giveaway 1 Kindle copy of her novel, Count Me In.

Allegra Spencer has been living a careful life.  Her safe job as an accountant is bookended by going to church and the gym. Okay, sometimes the gym. Fine. She goes to church. And the coffee shop. She avoids risk at all cost, preferring to stay safe in her cozy condo. Until her accounting firm goes belly up and she's out of a job.


 Tyler Hawk had a glorious career as a star NFL tight end. He retired on a high note and now lives a second dream of owning his own business and leading others on extreme outdoor adventures. But he needs help with his books—and his heart. When Allegra takes the job, sparks fly. 

It’s a case of safety zone versus danger zone, and in their minds, never the two shall meet.
Buy it on Amazon!

Rules, Info, and Such ~

The author is giving away 1 Kindle copy of Count Me In. This giveaway is open worldwide, and it closes on August 30th, 2017, at 12:00 A.M. for all the night owls out there. 

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Enter using the handy Rafflecopter here ~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by my writerly, bookish friends! <3 See you next time!


V. Joy Palmer