Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Meet Elva Cobb Martin

Please welcome Elva Cobb Martin to the Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction. 

Her name may be new to you, but once you read a smidgen of her novel, Summer of Deception, you will probably be telling all your friends to get a copy.  She grabbed me from the first page - here is a short snippet. Bet it snags you as well:

Rachel York gasped when the taxi headlights pierced the stormy night and illuminated Barrett Hall in all its southern grandeur. Her travel fatigue faded, and she leaned forward, energized, as the cab crunched its way up the tree-lined shell drive to the entrance. At the gate, she exited the auto with her umbrella extended, and the taxi driver placed her large bag and tote at her side. Rachel thanked him, paid him, and hurried up the front walk, pulling her valise behind her. 
The vehicle disappeared down the drive, and darkness closed in as she made her way up the front steps. On the wide porch, she propped her umbrella beside her suitcase, took a deep breath, and tried to ignore a shiver of disquiet that traveled up her spine. She would discover the truth. This summer job in Charleston was her first step. 

Julie Cosgrove - Elva, tell us how long have you been writing?

Elva Cobb Martin-I have been writing stories and poems since seventh grade. I recall writing a story about a race horse winning a race, even with a broken leg. Only in fiction, my teacher informed me! My writing grew naturally out of my great love of reading. As a child I was a voracious reader first of childhood fairy tales, then other fiction, like Black Beauty, Flicka, Nancy Drew Mysteries. Later, I loved Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson and Poe. I’ve actually written dozens of poems myself, some of which were published in college anthologies. My most beloved book today, however, better than any fiction or poetry, is the Bible. I love studying it, teaching it, and confessing its great promises

Julie- I knew we were soul sisters. Charles Dickens and Edgar Allen Poe were early favorites of mine because of their mastery in descriptions. I think some of that has rubbed off on you., Yours are fresh and vivid. 
But tell us, what else keeps you busy besides being an author?

Elva-My husband and I often keep our 9-year-old grandson Samuel on weekends, and I love to garden, bake and read. We also manage a few rental houses we bought to help supplement our retirement income. We are active in a local church where my husband leads the music from the keyboard, and I co-teach adults in Sunday School and help with Children’s Church. We are actually retired ministers associated with the Assemblies of God. In retirement I now have quality time to research and write I didn’t have before.

Julie - You are a busy lady!  Here is a bit more about her, folks...

Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried her articles. She has published a Bible study, Power Over Satan, available on Summer of Deception, released by Pelican Book Group, is her debut novel. She has also completed an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt, slated for release by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in May, 2017. Elva is represented by Jim Hart of Hartline Literary. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives with her husband Dwayne and a mini-dachshund writing helper, Lucy, in Anderson, South Carolina. She also leads an internet prayer task force praying for a Great Awakening.

What spurred you to write this novel, Elva? 

Elva-I fell in love with an historic, romantic, southern plantation, Boone Hall, that I toured in Charleston, South Carolina, years ago. I also discovered some old newspaper clippings  about a famous coastal drug investigation in the 1980’s organized by a U.S. Attorney, Henry McMaster. Those clippings led to the suspense plot in Summer of Deception. Henry McMaster, by the way, is the new Governor of South Carolina. I plan to send him copy of this book, you bet.

Julie - I hope you'll let us know his reaction! Where do you get ideas for your characters? 

Elva-A lovely young Christian woman in our town who possessed spunk and determination inspired my heroine, Rachel York. I asked for and received a photo of her to use as I drafted the novel. My hero, Luke Barrett, is a composite of my husband’s temperament and romantic personality, my tall law officer son’s strength and silent good looks, and Errol Flynn’s everything. LOL  The older wise voice in the story, Aunt Jessica, came from my memories of a dear, sweet and noble, elderly southern lady that was once my neighbor and friend I often took places since she could no longer drive. The Afro-American cook Maggie and Cade Gantt, Luke’s sidekick, were drawn from wonderful people who were once members of our church when we pastored. I also get ideas for characters from movies and the internet.

Julie  - I must admit Jessica was my favorite. She oozed Southern genteel and wisdom. A true lady.What do you hope the reader will take away with them after reading Summer of Deception?

 Elva - I hope readers will find my fiction exciting, inspiring, and a pleasing escape from life’s daily toil to an interesting fictional place and characters they can respect and identify with without having to read about graphic sex scenes or immoral main characters. Summer of Deception has a spiritual plot as well as a romance and suspense plot. The spiritual theme and take away, exemplified in the war-wounded hero Luke’s life, is about regaining lost faith, dealing with bitterness, and finding some answers to “Why God?”

Julie - What are you working on now, or are you taking a break?

Elva - I am working on Book 2, Spanish Captive, in a new historical series entitled Tides of Destiny. The completed Book 1, In a Pirate’s Debt, will be released by Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas in May, 2017. I also have a cozy mystery on the back burner that keeps flaring up for my attention. ;-)

Julie - Ah hah - cozies. My favorite genre and what I also love to write. How do readers learn more about you? 

Elva - I would love for readers to connect with me and/or sign up for my newsletter on my web site at They're welcome to join my writer's blog at .

And of course, please check out these book page links to Summer of Deception -

Julie - Thanks, Elva. Here is the tag line and blurb for this wonderful suspenseful romance set in the deep South.

Tag: A wounded warrior, a woman searching for answers. Will she risk all to uncover the truth?

Blurb:  Determined to unearth the truth about her DEA agent brother’s reported death, Rachel York takes a position at an historic Charleston tea plantation, but she finds she is ill prepared to deal with the plantation’s new owner. Luke Barrett may be handsome, but he is overflowing with bitterness and distrust.

Widowed and wounded, former Marine Corps Special Forces operative Luke Barrett has enough to handle with his little girl and an historic property to upkeep. The last thing he needs is a feisty, stubborn woman with whom to contend. Yet, Rachel’s determined spirit awakens something in Luke that he thought died a long time ago.

Luke begins to capture Rachel’s heart until the night she uncovers evidence he may be keeping his plantation solvent by allowing cocaine to be smuggled along his coastline.

Devastated by the possibility, Rachel must decide whether to confront him, even while she conceals secrets of her own.

When all the deception rips asunder in a hurricane, will love survive?

GIVEAWAY!!!  Elva has agreed to give away one eBook copy of Summer of Deception to a lucky commenter- so be sure to let her know you have read this article by leaving a comment.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Nancy Shew Bolton Interview and Giveaway!!

      Hey guess what?        

Hi there! I'm doing something a little different. I'm interviewing myself!! I had three books come out last year, for a total of six published books so far, and am looking forward to at least one and possibly three releasing this year. It still amazes me. I'm really an author! 
So anyway, I thought I'd take this opportunity to talk a little about my novels and to offer an e-copy of any one of my published books to whoever wins the drawing. Leave me a comment so you can be entered!  
All of my books have a strong faith element as well as ardent romance. I like to turn a spotlight on the inner workings of the human mind and heart and how each unique individual responds to the challenges of life and love.

Here are the choices:
The Right Ingredients, is my first published book. It's a sweet contemporary romance that chronicles a shy young woman's journey into love and faith. 

A Haven in the Woods is also a contemporary romance. It shows the growth of a relationship between two opposite people who are forced by circumstances to interact and the unexpected growth of feelings between them as they face a life-changing event whose impact rocks both of them.

A Work in Progress is another contemporary romance that zeroes in on the relationship of two restaurant cooks who think they have each other figured out but are in for a big surprise as attraction heats up their icy relationship, and puts them both through changes.

Scroll down to see my three historical novels!  Hidden Storms is a gripping story about a young woman's journey during the Dust Bowl years of the late 1930's. It was inspired by the story of The Ugly Duckling, and takes the reader on an intense journey. 

Answering Sarah takes place in the 1890's and is about a young woman's family recovering from a traumatic event, and the challenges she faces as love and faith intersect in ways she never could have predicted.

Hat's Off is a charming novella set in the 1920's about a young widow and an introverted cowboy and their halting, sometimes humorous steps toward each other.

I love writing stories that really zero in on the thoughts and emotions of the characters. I find those aspects of people to be endlessly compelling. So if you like character-driven stories that explore issues of love and faith, I know you'll enjoy my books. Perhaps someday I'll try my hand at mystery, suspense or action, but for now, the inner workings of the human heart as it experiences romance and spiritual awakening is what captivates my imagination! I hope you enjoyed this peek at my books! Leave a comment and you could win one of your choosing.

Here are my social links along with my Amazon page which lists all my books along with their reviews. I've also included separate purchase links for each book. Thanks folks!

Purchase links:

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sing Along with Caryl McAdoo on the Diamond Mine (Giveaway)

Caryl McAdoo

The Diamond Mine Welcomes the Joyful Caryl McAdoo

(Fabulous Giveaway!)

Howdy, folks! This week we have the terrific Caryl McAdoo on the Diamond Mine! I can't wait to get started. She also has an AWESOME giveaway for you. Check it out at the end of the interview. Without further adoo...heehee...let's get started.

Renee: Hi Caryl! Welcome, I'm so excited to have you.

Caryl: I want to thank you, Renee for inviting me! I’m so grateful to be at the Diamond Mine today! I hope I find a precious stone and I pray I can leave one for you, too! Thank you for having me! I say it all the time, how I’m so blessed and highly favored! And Voila, here’s the proof!

Renee: You are one my favorite authors, that's for sure. LOL And a great friend. I can't wait to jabber away and share all about you with everyone. Let's talk about your phenomenal writing first (and yes, folks, this lady knows how to write!). I love your characters. How do you keep them three-dimensional?

Caryl: This is done through learning the craft of writing creative fiction. I’d say Point of View is my biggest source for my characters seeming so real. Even the most perfect one always has flaws, too. I give my villains a little bit of good, too, because no one is all good or all bad! So that makes them more real.

And here’s a little secret not too many people know. My husband is also an awesome writer and we write together, so he controls all my awesome heroes’ actions and dialogues and leaves my strong girly-girl heroines alone! So there you go, third reason my characters are so ‘three dimensional’ that they feel like friends only a few pages in!

BTW, it was ‘our’ New York agent, Mary Sue Seymour AND the Simon and Schuster editor she sold VOW UNBROKEN to, book one of the Texas Romance series, who both told us it would be best to have only one author’s name on the cover. Since I’m the “mouth” of our union (49 years this June!) who never meets a stranger and LOVES talking to people—all people, it was only natural that we chose me to represent us. My Ron is much like the patriarch of my Texas Romance family saga . . . almost perfect! 

Renee: Oh, wow! Thank you for the resource. That is such a cool thing to pass along to the newbie (and old) writers out there. And writing with your hubby? That would be great. I want to do that with my own husband. We've started a project together as well...our first. I'll keep you posted on its progress though. (And ours!)

On a more personal note, what would you do if you couldn't write anymore?

Caryl: If someone told me I couldn’t write anymore, I have to pursue singing. One way or the other, I must give God glory. He has saved my soul and delivered me from eternity in hell and He calls me His own and He blesses me and gives me His high favor—for instance, my husband, four awesome children and seventeen grandsugars! 

My slogan or motto or tagline—I’m never sure what to call it (any suggestions?)—is “Praying my story gives God glory. If I couldn’t write, I’d sing of the wonders of the Lord. Worship and praise Him. BTW, He does give me ‘new songs’ to sing and you can hear a few of them on my YouTube channel. (LINK: ) I still don’t know what He plans to do with them, but I’m overwhelmed every single time He gives me another one. See? Blessed and Highly favored!

Renee: You do love to sing, don't you? I do too, but I'm not much good. It's more noise but it's joyful! LOL But I love to read. Does that count? My favorite book is still Pride and Prejudice. What's yours?

Caryl: Oh, God’s Living Word, His Holy Bible is by far my favorite book, the only one that give me life and guides me into all peace and joy and wisdom. And I read it wherever I am, whenever I have the urge. I carry it with me all the time on my phone. I enjoy reading the New American Standard, but I’m a King James lady.  😊

Renee: Oh, I definitely agree there. His Word never fails. I like the NASB too and the NKJV the best. I have a King James Version but I prefer my NASB. I take it everywhere I go. It's on my phone! 

Speaking of traveling, I've only been to three other countries in my life, but I'd love to travel to more...mainly New Zealand, Scotland, and Australia. If you could spend a week anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Caryl: If anyone talks to me long about travel, they find out the only place in the world I long to go, it’s Israel. I pray I get to go sooner, but I KNOW I WILL go. It may be when Yeshua sits on His throne in Jerusalem and reigns over all the earth. I’ll get to go once a year then. But I so hope I get to go while it’s so historical to my faith. Nothing will matter but Him after He comes again!

Renee: Israel would be an awesome place to visit. I have a few family members that would love to tag along. And yes, after all this craziness on Earth is over, nothing will matter but the Lord. Nothing matters but Him now. Is there a special quote or saying that comes to mind in times of adversity?

Caryl: I always say “God is on the throne and in control!” If we have confidence in that—which I definitely do—then no matter what happens . . . NO MATTER WHAT . . . you can walk in peace and be comforted in that knowledge.

Renee: That is a great saying, Caryl. That is Truth and we can cling to it. Thank you. As if nobody can guess this one, but do you have any quirks or habits that keep your family and friends on their toes?

Caryl: Ah ha ha ha ha! I burst out singing all the time. Does that count?

Renee: LOL I knew it! Why am I NOT surprised? You're an angel, Caryl. But as much I know you love life and the Lord, God uses life to teach us lessons. Would you share one of your life lessons with us?

Caryl: Don’t Worry, Be Happy! Remember that song? But it is SO SCRIPTURAL! To worry is nothing but an insult to God. I used to be the world’s biggest worry wart. I used to get so angry with Ron because he simply refused to worry—said I did enough for both of us. But when Holy Spirit impressed on me that worrying meant I wasn’t trusting my Father, Who proved Himself over and over so many times in my life, Who is always thinking of me and loves me so unconditionally, I put it behind me and now refuse to worry like my dear husband (the MOST Christ-like man I know, but not perfect). The devil has almost quit coming to whisper his lies in my mind about all the bad stuff that’s going to happen because he knows I don’t pay him no nevermind!

The other half of that song is Be Happy. Philippians 4:4 says we are to rejoice in the Lord always. Not some of the time or every now and then. Not if everything is hunky dory or blue skies and roses, but ALWAYS. Okay . . . I’ve lived long enough to know that sad things happen, heartbreaking things that may make you think you don’t even want to live another minute—that’s S.A.D.! But in the midst of it, knowing He’s on the throne and in control, we can KNOW He will get us through. He will never forsake us or leave us. We’re never alone NO MATTER WHAT, so I try my best to find a reason to rejoice in Him . . . not in the circumstances or my hurting heart, but IN HIM. I speak it out even if it feels like a lie, and before you know it, I’m truly rejoicing in Him, praising Him, and giving Him glory!     

Renee: That lesson is a very important one...for many reasons. I'm so glad you've shared that with us. You are truly a unique person. And if anyone is wondering, your books are special and reveal that about you as well. If you would like to say one thing to your reader about yourself and your books, what would it be?

Caryl: I want to bless you through my books.

Renee: And what is your life goal?

Caryl: I want to give God the glory.

Renee: See what I mean, folks? Caryl, you are an amazing woman, and I'm honored to have you here on the Diamond Mine. Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with our readers. I can't wait to read more of your wonderful stories and characters as well hear your beautiful praise. God has indeed blessed you.

Caryl: I want to thank you again, Renee. I love the opportunity to visit with you at the Diamond Mine every time I get the chance! I’d love to bless a few of your readers! I’d like to offer two copies of VOW UNBROKEN, book one of the Texas Romance family saga. AND I want to offer an e-book of THE BEDWARMER’S SON that won a 2016 Readers’ Choice Award at Celebrate Lit and has 86% 5-Star reviews, and all the rest are 4-Star! I’d love for y’all to follow me at Amazon (LINK ) and if you’re already following me there, please follow me at BookBub (LINK
 ) to enter to be one of THREE winners! I hope y’all will enjoy the stories and be blessed!

Renee: Wow!!! Caryl, you are so generous! Thank you so much! Did you catch that readers? This is an absolutely AMAZING GIVEAWAY! The details are below so enter now. You will be one of 3 winners!



3 Books/3 Winners!

2 Copies of Vow Unbroken
1 E-copy of The Bedwarmer's Son


Let us know 
in the
(leave your email!)

Winners will be selected by random draw on 3/22/17 and notified
by email.


About The Bedwarmer's Son:

What if Abel had killed Cain, but there was no jury of his peers?
In 1928 Georgia, a black man who kills a white man is automatically guilty, but the bedwarmer’s son, an ex-slave, is no normal black man. And the dead white man is his half-brother. Once his lily-white lawyer lady learns the truth, everything changes. Can she save him from swinging?
Will the bedwarmer murder the one she’s been bought to serve?  
From the antebellum South, come travel the dusty trails of Jim Crowe Dalton, Georgia with slave and master, saint and sinner. See if God is really big enough, if He truly cares about His children. McAdoo has done it again, this time in a brand new way. A delightful morsel for the palates of Christian readers world round.  
Jasmine picked up a spud and turned it over, then put it back in the pile. Mammy worked at the table. 
She went and sat across from the old woman. “I don’t know why’s Mister William doing what he be doing, but I likes it.” She drew her shoulders back. “I ain’t never had such fine clothes on my back afore, and him being so nice? He done have me set up da screen in the corner to gets behind, so I don’ have to strip off naked right in front of him.”
The old lady pointed her paring knife right at Jasmine’s nose. “You be careful, child. Don’t go getting uppity on me now. Mister William’s been heartsick ever since Miss Coreena and her sweet baby girl passed.”
“Yes, ma’am. I understands. Why, can’t stand them folks what don’t know they’s place.”
“Good.” Footfalls turned the old lady’s attention to the stairs, then quickly back, she reached across and grabbed Jasmine’s arm. “When he does go to messing with you, promise old Mammy you tell me all about it. Gots me a secret ta help ya out.”
She nodded, but him messing with her weren’t going to happen. No matter how nice he be. She might just figure out a way to take off on that horse of his. Might not have to get wet in the creek after all when she run. She be dressed in these fancy clothes and have Old Tom’s note, them bounty hunters won’t mess none with her even if she did come across one.

Few authors could pull off the joining of both the Civil War era and the
Roaring Twenties in a single novel. Caryl McAdoo’s done it convincingly in her Christian Historical Fiction “The Bedwarmer’s Son.” A readers’ blessing, the author’s brilliant encompassment. –Alan Daugherty, columnist The News-Banner

The BEDWARMER’S SON is, I believe, one of Caryl McAdoo’s finest books. I love this period of history and emphasize the necessity of authors telling the whole story. Mrs. McAdoo has done her research and produced a book spotlighting lies and truth.
Mrs. McAdoo’s characters are well developed and multi-dimensional. The story line kept me on the edge of my seat. And Billy and his mama, Jasmine, win hands down as my favorites. The author’s word weaving skills warm the story with delicious southern vernacular and cultural traditions. While the author was faithful to include the gospel message of mercy, grace, and hope, she in no way crossed the divide into preaching. While Mrs. McAdoo writes serial type books, she always closes her book-baby-gifts pointing us to joy, hope and peace in Jesus Christ. And THE BED WARMER’S SON is no exception, but is perhaps the best of her best. 
– DiAne Gates, author of Roped and Twisted

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Meet Ane Mulligan

Abigail here. Today, I’m thrilled to share with you my recent interview with 
ANE MULLIGAN, the fabulous author of When the Bough Breaks, which I’ve just finished reading and highly recommend—a contemporary romance set in the political world of Washington D.C. that is not to be missed. 


Ane Mulligan writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. An award-winning and multi-published novelist and playwright, Ane is the creative director of Players Guild@Sugar Hill, a community theater and a contributor to Novel Rocket. She resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a dog of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her website at or her Amazon author page.


Welcome Ane! So pleased to have you on the Mine today. 

To begin, would you tell us a little bit about how you started writing?

I was Creative Arts director for my church and would write sermon starters and seasonal musicals. My very first script was published by LifeWay's National Drama Service, and every one after that was picked up by them.

The funny thing is, I had always been a storyteller, but never thought about writing. Now, when I look back, though, I can see myself working our elaborate stories with my dolls as a kid and later, onstage as an adult.

The move to novels was fairly easy. I say that with my tongue firmly lodged in my cheek, since I knew nothing about writing a novel, except for dialogue.  

While reading When the Bough Breaks I enjoyed all the wonderful details about Washington. What drew you to write a story about lobbyists? Do you have any experience in that realm?

We lived for a few years in upstate New York, just north of its capitol, Albany. While there, I learned about Christian Coalition, a conservative, pro-family, pro-life group. Being new to the frozen north and without a lot of friends yet, I joined. Within 6 moths, I was enlisted to be the state legislative affairs director. That's a fancy name for lobbyist.

After several surprising successes in New York, the national director of CC would have me come to Washington, DC to help lobby certain things. I was there and involved in the Contract with America that Newt Gingrich spearheaded.

The opening chapter of When the Bough Breaks is a replica of my first day lobbying in New York. The issue was different, but the judge was real (different name) and so was her foot tapping on my chair.

When the idea for the story came to me, I decided to make Sienna a lobbyist and then have her lobby for her own demise. The funny thing is I had entered the story in a contest, and one of the judges told me Sienna was too naïve to be a lobbyist. She marked me down. However, I was that naïve lobbyist and it was that very quality that gained me entrée into opposition offices. God does work in very strange and mysterious ways.  snicker.

Yes, He does. Sienna is a delightfully compelling character. How did you create her personality and backstory?

Some of her came from my own story. I'm adopted and have gone through much of my life never looking like anyone. After I started getting a bit older and experienced some body changes I never expected, I wondered whose hands I had—and a whole lot more. I could easily slide inside Sienna and know her thoughts. If anyone wants to read how I was found by my birth sisters, the story is on my website under the Adoption tab. There's a photo of me with 4 of my 5 sisters.

I also do an extensive interview with my characters, like a journalist would. I dig deep into their background to find the lie they believe about themselves. I write their backstory, most of which never reaches the book, but it builds who they are. We're all the product of our parents and grandparents' worldview. It molds ours. We either accept it or reject it. From that interview, I discover who my characters are, their fears, their secrets, and their motivations.

Was there anything that led you to write this specific book?

It was going to be a sequel to its companion book, When the Wind Blows, coming out in 2018. A young woman at church, who told me she was adopting a baby, sparked that story.

By that time, I had found my birth mother and knew I had sisters, but my mother didn't want a relationship. She told me nothing of siblings. A cousin, whom I found online, told me I had sisters. Again, that's on my website. When the young woman at church told me she planned to adopt, I immediately thought, "What if the child she adopted was the grandchild of one of my sisters?"

The "what if" changed slightly, but that began the first book. When I started to write the second one, the story of the daughter from the first book searching for her birth mother, I realized the timing was off. It would be too far in the future to be that child. And so, Sienna was "born."

From small towns to mysteries, what is your favorite genre to write? Or to read?

My favorite is women's fiction, whether it has a mystery in it, or a little suspense, or a lot of humor, my favorite friends helping friends get through life. I'm starting a new series set in the great depression. Each book features an ensemble cast of strong women helping each other make it through those years.

What do you love to do in your spare time?

I'm sorry, I'm not sure I understand that term. *wink* When I'm not writing, my other passion is theatre. I'm the Creative Director of a Community Theatre, Players Guild@Sugar Hill. My husband and I are both deeply involved there, from acting to directing – soup to nuts.

I lead a ministry at church, and then, the hubs and I also sing in a community choir of 150 senior citizens, that travels around north Georgia, singing in churches and wherever we're invited. We've even sung the national anthem at the baseball stadium. We have a blast!

Before you go, do you have any advice or encouragement for aspiring writers?

Motivation is the key to great characters. If their motivation is universal, people will relate to them. Sienna just wanted to belong. Everyone knows that feeling and has felt it at one time or another in their lives.

Secondly, always remember to factor God's timing into your journey. You may catapult into the publishing world, or God might hold you back for a while, like He did me. But His timing is always perfect.


When the Bough Breaks

 Her dream job has a Catch 22—and time's running out

Rookie lobbyist Sienna O'Shea is determined to make a name for herself in New York's capitol city and use that influence to gain easier access to her birth records. For years she's searched for her birth mother, but when she's handed her first assignment—to lobby support for the permanent sealing of all adoption records—her worlds collide. Swept up into the intrigue of backroom politics, falling in love was not on Sienna's agenda, but the candidate for Lt. Governor runs a formidable campaign to make her his first lady. When an investigative reporter discovers foreign money infiltrating political campaigns, the trail leads to Sienna's inner circle.

Available on Amazon. Check it out!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Meet Mary Manners

If you're a fan of novellas, Mary Manners has a treat for you this week. She's giving away e-copies of not one but three of her novellas. Keep reading to find out how to enter.

About Mary Manners

Mary Manners is a country girl at heart who has spent a lifetime sharing her joy of writing. She has two sons and a daughter, as well as three beautiful grandchildren. She currently lives along the sunny shores of Jacksonville Beach with her husband Tim.

A former teacher as well an intermediate school principal, Mary spent three decades teaching math and English to students from kindergarten through middle grades. While growing up in Chicago and as a student at the University of Illinois, Mary worked her way through a variety of jobs including paper girl, figure skating instructor, pizza chef, and nanny. Many of these experiences led to adventures that may be found between the pages of her stories. Mary loves long sunrise runs—she’s completed three marathons—ocean sunsets and flavored coffee.

Find out more about Mary on her website: “Like” her author page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Welcome to the Diamond Mine, Mary! We're thrilled you could join us this week and share a little more about yourself with us and our readers. 

I’m from the Nashville area and have visited the Smokey Mountains a few times over the years. It’s a place filled with God’s beauty. What’s your favorite thing about living there year-round? Do you dread or look forward to tourist season?

Before recently retiring to North Florida, I lived at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains for 35 years and loved every moment of the beauty. When I moved there from Chicago more than three decades ago to begin my teaching career, there was only one stoplight on the twenty-five minute drive between my home and the school. Of course, this has changed over the years, but the beauty of the mountains remains just as majestic as ever. Nothing compares to the Smokies, and people flock there to share in the wonder. I never minded tourist season, as the height of it occurred while I was off from teaching for the summer.

You taught algebra and reading. In my experience, writers aren’t usually math-oriented. Why the variety in subject matter?

I chose to teach math because I wanted the kids who were not very good at it, who actually despised it, to learn to love it. I taught in ways that brought an understanding of the concepts. Although I am a writer, I am actually quite organized in my thinking. This crosses over to teaching math quite well.

How do you balance writing during the school year when you’re busy teaching, grading papers, and preparing tests?

I used to say that the day I signed a writing contract would be the last day I taught. But when my first contract came nearly eight years ago, I could not bear to walk away from the students. So I learned to balance by waking up very, very early in the morning and putting in several hours of writing before heading to school. I wrote at night and on weekends and holidays. I wrote while I waited at my daughter’s band practice, and in the car while my husband drove. I wrote on summer vacation. I learned to adapt. When you love writing as much as I do, you find a way.

Last June I retired from teaching (the last three years I was an intermediate school principal) to full-time writing. I love the freedom to immerse myself in writing every day, as well as the time to network with readers and fellow authors. It is a dream come true for me.

Since you used to teach middle school-aged students, have you ever considered writing YA fiction?

Yes, I have! One of my books, Wisdom Tree, was actually written when I was in middle school. It was the first full-length book I wrote. The first draft was from Corey’s—the middle-school-aged brother’s—point of view. Over the years, through editing, that changed to what Wisdom Tree is today. But that book remains the story of my heart, and it was my first book to make the shelves of brick and mortar bookstores across the country.

Where is your favorite place to write? Do you have any necessities you require with you?

I have an office, but I often wander to other parts of the house to do my writing. As I pen this response, I am seated at the kitchen counter. I don’t really have any necessities, but I love to write with a breeze and sunshine filtering through the windows. A cup of flavored coffee is really nice, too! I don’t write to music—I like the sounds of nature and nothing more. My brain is already too busy with my story characters ‘speaking’ to me!

What would you like readers to come away with when they read your books?
I would like for my readers to come away from my books with a sense of renewed hope that the world is a good place to be. I’d like them to feel warmed by faith, friends, and a touch of romance.

You have several books and novellas published. Which do you recommend to someone who has not read anything by you before?

For a quick taste of my work, I recommend one of my shorter Christmas stories, such as Angel Song. For a series, I think my Sweet Treats Bakery Series is a good place to start. For a longer book, I recommend Wisdom Tree.

Sidenote, here, I love reading Mary's Christmas stories! They're all short and sweet!

Tell our readers a little about your newest series.

My Honeysuckle Cove series is a 12-book collection of shorter-length stories that will release one per month throughout 2017. Honeysuckle was chosen for its meaning…Bond of Love/I Love You. I feel that honeysuckle is a symbol of God’s grace—always present, unfailingly strong, and eternally loving. Honeysuckle Cove is a tight-knit community of imperfect believers and though generally lighthearted, each story relates a real-world message of grace. The stories are all set in Honeysuckle Cove, a fictional town in the Southeast. Portions of the town, especially the property upon which Honeysuckle Cove Inn is seated, meanders along the shores of Wanderlust Lake. Honeysuckle Cove Inn, a historical gathering place, is the anchoring point of the stories. Readers are sure to fall in love all over again, every month of the year!

Thank you for taking some time with us this week, Mary. It's been a pleasure having you!

More details about a couple of the Honeysuckle Cove books:

Honeysuckle Cove Inn has been in the Brennan family for three generations. When Maggie Brennan’s parents retire, they call her home to Honeysuckle Cove and hand over the reins of the historical inn. If Maggie successfully maintains the business over the course of a year, the inn is hers forever. Maggie considers the timing perfect, with one exception—she finds her path entangled once again with that of Dylan O’Connor.

Dylan has made a name for himself as the go-to guy when it comes to renovations and repairs in Honeysuckle Cove, and he’s waited nearly a decade for high school sweetheart Maggie Brennan to return home. But his handyman skills will be put to the test when it comes to rebuilding the bridge between Maggie’s heart and his, and designing a future…together.

Beyond the Storm

Recreational Therapist Ava Kennedy is in charge of Valentine’s Day festivities for shut-in patients at Honeysuckle Cove Children’s Hospital. When a winter storm threatens to derail planned events and steal the children’s joy, Ava calls on longtime friend and firefighter Nick Jones for rescue. The two have been close, platonic friends since kindergarten, but Ava soon finds her heart whirling like the drifting snowflakes outside her office window.

Nick Jones is skilled at extinguishing fires, so he doesn’t count on kindling a flame with lifelong friend Ava Kennedy. But he’s got a sweet spot for kids and women…especially when one particular woman—Ava—possesses a soft heart and laughter that draws like an electron magnet. Despite Nick’s valiant efforts to resist, he finds himself caught up in the attraction.

Will these friends’ new feelings weather the shifting tempest…or is this simply a passing storm?

And now for the giveaway!! Mary is graciously offering one of our readers e-copies of the first 3 books in her Honeysuckle Cove series. The two above, and her March release, Honeysuckle Cove Secrets. Simply let us know how to reach you (email) in the comments below in case you win. Five people must comment in order for contest to be valid.