Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Journey into Christian Fantasy with Ralene Burke

Giveaway details below!!!

A haven for myths and legends . . .until evil discovers a way in.

With evil darkening the mountains to the north, the fairy queen, Fauna, must journey from the island realm of Bellanok to the modern world to find the man the Creator appointed to save their Kingdom. A man she had been dreaming of her whole life.

Brian is a down-on-his-luck pastor on the verge of giving up on God. He's tired and frustrateda failure. No sooner does he make a decision that jeopardizes his career than an unusual blonde woman shows up and tries to convince him he is some kind of savior.

Fauna must open Brian's eyes to a different reality, and Brian needs to embrace the haven's secrets. If neither of them succeeds, Bellanok will succumb to evil and the world will lose all trace of innocence.

Talk about getting sucked into an alternate universe! Ralene Burke, author of the beautiful novel above, is here. She is such a busy lady, but I actually jetted into her world for a moment or two to talk about her new book. Float in closer on your lacy fairy wings so you don't miss a word!

PT:  Hi, Ralene! So glad you are here! I've let the Cheshire cat out of the bag about your genre, but give us a little more details about you!

RB:  Hey, y’all! I’m a fantasy author, social media maven, and freelance editor. On top of that, I homeschool our 3 kids! Yes, it’s a little bit busy around here. I’ve always been a storyteller—just ask
my mom. I’ve been writing since 2006, when I joined a critique group on As I dove into the writing world, I also joined ACFW and later got involved with Realm Makers.  The joy of helping other authors gave way to editing and social media, where I could help others SHINE Beyond!

PT: Whoa! I know a lot of authors that really want to shine! What brought you to this world of words and this unusual genre?

RB:Well, my first short story was published when I was in the 3rd grade … Ha! No, really, it’s true. A short story about Martin Luther King, Jr. was published in a city-wide literary magazine. Although I kept writing, it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that a story idea grabbed hold and wouldn’t let go. This began my journey into the writing world. That story will never see the light of day again, but I’m so incredibly thankful for everything I learned from it! My first story was a contemporary YA, but my voice—and therefore my taste in genres—changed over the next 3 books. I went from YA to adult suspense to supernatural suspense and finally landed in fantasy land! I’m still planning to revamp the supernatural suspense to try and sell to a publisher one of these days …

PT: Interesting evolution of genres! So let's get into your typical day to day routine. Take us through.

RB:  Ha! One thing I’ve learned many times over is that there is no typical day around here. My Type-A brain wants to plan everything out, but the best laid plans …
Ideally, I get up early in the morning and write for a couple hours. Slowly I move over to social media stuff for myself and clients. Around 10 a.m., I put everything up and move out into the rest of the house with the kids, where we are doing anything and everything from homeschool to chores to playdates/appointments. The list never ends!
After dinner, though, it’s back to the office to edit for clients and work more on social media stuff until my brain falls apart. Ah, but it’s the life I love!

PT:  Classic fantasy movies always have iconic music. Does music play a part in your life or during your writing time?

RB:  In life, yes! I’m a huge fan of music … and I have pretty eclectic tastes. Although, my go-to is still Christian music. Whether I’m cleaning the house, driving in the car, or just hanging out, I have to have some tunes.
However—big however—I can’t have music on when I’m writing. Well, music with lyrics anyway. It’s too distracting. I’ve found in recent months, though, that I actually like instrumental music if it’s in tone with what I’m writing.

PT: Do, do, do do do DO do (Star Wars theme, in case that didn't translate :) ) Now my favorite! Name 5 things fast about Ralene Burke that have NOTHING to do with writing. (I'll continue to hum in the background.)

I’m allergic to coffee.
I only have one vocal cord that works.
My favorite fandoms are Doctor Who and Lord of the Rings.
My favorite color is purple!

When I’m not busy, I love playing board games and cards.

PT:  Tell us what is next on your fantasy horizon!

RB:  I have a YA fantasy allegory coming out in September (hopefully) from Elk Lake Publishing Inc. Armor of Alehteia is based on the premise question, “What if the armor of God were real?” It follows the tale of an orphan-turned-priestess who has been challenged to retrieve the Armor of the Creator before an ancient evil destroys their world. 

PT: Bahahaaaa! The old ancient twist of Good vs. Evil! The readers can't wait! Thanks for stopping by Ralene!

 Now you know everything about Ralene Burke. (Well, almost.) But I bet you didn't know she is giving awayNOT A TYPOyes, giving away one copy of her beauteous books for one of our humble readers. All you have to do is drop your email in the comments/and/or actually leave a comment and your email so we can get ahold of ya when ya win. If ya can't wait, you're ready to launch into an alternate reality before the drawing, you can find Ralene's book here:

And you can find her most anywhere, especially here:  Facebook, Twitter, or at her website

Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a social media wand, or a freelance editor’s sword, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to help everyone SHINE BEYOND! She has worked for a variety of groups, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and for several freelance clients. Her novel, Bellanok, is available on Amazon, and her next one from Elk Lake Publishing will be out September 2017!
When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . . 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Interview with Author Angela Bell!!!

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 author Angela Bell! I met Angela at the American Christian Fiction Writer's 2016 conference! She's super nice and has the cutest hats and shoes! Serious shoe envy here, my friends.

Novelist Angela Bell is a 21st century lady with 19th century sensibilities. Her activities consist of reading voraciously, drinking copious amounts of tea, and writing letters with a fountain pen. She currently resides in the southern most region of Texas with pup Mr. Darcy and kitties Lizzie Bennett and Lord Sterling. One might describe Angela’s fictional scribblings as Historical Romance or as Victorian History and Steampunk Whimsy in a Romantic Blend. Whenever you need a respite from the 21st century hustle, please visit her cyber-space parlor can also connect with her on Facebook and Pinterest.

So, would you order coffee, tea, or hot chocolate in our virtual coffee shop? Something else altogether? This is possibly the most important question…


Definitely tea! I like to think of myself as a tea connoisseur—not because I’ve had any special education on the subject—but because it sounds fancy and official and marvelously superfluous. J
When I’m out and about, I love to splurge on a London Fog (AKA—Earl Grey tea crowned with foamy goodness!) and vanilla bean scones from Starbucks. Most of the time, however, I prepare loose leaf tea at home. My favorite blend of the hour is Scottish Afternoon, which I gush about at length in my latest blog post, 4 Scrumptious Teas Worth Savoring.
I've grown quite fond of tea, and that vanilla bean scone sounds AMAZING! Where is your favorite place to write? And why is that your favorite place to write?
I write at a small, corner desk tucked away in my bedroom because … it’s quiet. *tres dull*
I sometimes wish I were one of those authors who can write amongst the beauties of nature, or in a trendy coffee shop brimming with creative vibes, but my brain is too easily distracted. Put me outside, and I’ll end up imagining that the clouds are shaped like dancing ducklings. Put me in a coffee shop, and I’ll end up developing back-stories for the various customers. Alas, to get any words on the page, I require total silence.
I understand that! Sometimes quiet is best. Do you have an odd habit that is only explained by your bookish, writer tendencies?
I may have already covered this with my remarks about dancing ducklings and coffee shop characterization … but since I’m abundantly blessed in the oddities department, I suppose we can discuss another of my quirks. J
Let’s see . . . I like to narrate stuff. I often spout dialogue and internal monologue for inanimate objects, passing strangers, and of course, my cat. Because as one with bookish, writer tendencies I’m obligated to own a cat. And said cat is obligated to have a ridiculously long name. And since I write Victorian Historicals, said cat must also have a proper title of nobility. Thus, I narrate many riveting soliloquies for Lord Sinatra Sterling, the Earl of Grey.   
*ahem* We’d best move along before this author interview spirals into a crazy cat lady confessional.
From one crazy cat lady to another, your cat has a better name!  What inspired you to write The Best Man in Brookside?
Honestly? There wasn’t any big moment, event, or object that inspired this story. I was just brainstorming/day dreaming/praying while going about my everyday routine, and then I got an idea that stuck—a romance where The Count of Monte Cristo meets Jane Austen’s Emma. The characters started to take shape from there, and once I got the notion of including a steam-powered carrousel, the plot soon unfolded to the delight of my Steampunk loving heart.
Donovan Gallagher’s quest for gold is to vindicate his past and provide for his sister’s future. He returns to England and buys a large manor house next to Sophia Heyer’s grand home where he used to serve as valet. Thrown together on the village’s fair committee, can Donovan and Sophia form a peaceful truce? ~ The Best Man in Brookside by Angela Bell, part of The California Gold Rush Romance Collection.
One second, Angela. I need to address the crowd quite enthusiastically. Guys, get. this. book. Okay, back to you, Angela. đŸ˜‰ What led you to write in this genre?
A long journey of trial and error. Since I started learning the craft of fiction I have written: YA Contemporary, YA Science Fiction, NA Steampunk, all before finally finding my niche of Victorian History and Steampunk Whimsy in a Romantic Blend.
I am fascinated by the Victorian Era—the fashion, the innovations, the nobility—and I love using the historical technologies as a basis for infusing a dash of whimsical imagination into my stories.  
I bounced from genre to genre, too. But I think your niche is utterly perfect! Seriously, guys. *looks at readers again* Angela’s Facebook page is a dream for my Victorian loving heart! Okay, that was the last time. Maybe. So Angela, what message do you hope to convey to your readers?
My prayer is to create stories that impart joy and hope. While my characters may experience harsh realities and brokenness, I never want The End to leave the reader feeling weighted down. Instead, my greatest desire is to use storytelling as a key that unlocks chains. I write to convey to readers—and myself—that we are never alone. Even when circumstances seem bleak and obstacles insurmountable, we have a loving Father who draws near to the broken-hearted and provides the joy and hope our hearts desperately need.

I love everything you just said, and I’m sending you virtual hugs right now. Can you tell us a little about your next project?
On November 1st, my third novella will release in a collection from Barbour Publishing. I am quite giddy about this collection because all seven novellas are set in England, and the line-up of other authors is rather incredible! (I still can’t believe my name is listed among them!) AND the manor gracing our beautiful cover is none other than the BBC, white-shirt-in-the-lake, REAL Pemberley!!! *faints dead away*
*is revived with smelling salts*
Where was I? Oh yes, my contribution to the collection is entitled Masquerade Melody. Along with being my first Regency historical, it is also the most personal story I’ve written to date. I cannot wait for readers to meet these characters that are so dear to my heart!
Attending an obligatory summer at the whimsical Royal Pavilion, Adelaide Langley, a dutiful lady’s companion and gifted singer, strives to maintain the favor of her conniving cousin, while Colonel Walter Marlowe, the irritable Marquess of Glenmire and a skilled composer, just wants to be left alone. Can a masquerade melody bring them together? ~ Masquerade Melody by Angela Bell, part of TheRegency Brides Collection / Available for Pre-Order.
I always knew I’d need these smelling salts. *grins and tucks smelling salts away* And fangirl moment – OHMYGOSH! The REAL Pemberly!!! *squeals now that the danger has passed* Goodness, I love that cover! Now, this is one of my favorite questions. Do you have a favorite Bible verse or story that inspires you on a soul level?
In 2015, both of my grandmothers suddenly passed away from cancer—within eleven days of each other. As my family has walked together through the grieving process, I’ve often been drawn to this Psalm.
"When someone is hurting or brokenhearted,
the Eternal moves in close and revives him in his pain."
~ Psalm 34:18, (VOICE).
The notion of God moving in close to the brokenhearted is such an incredible comfort! Amazingly, He doesn't rebuke my angry whys or my brokenness. Nor does He shy away from my grief or my tears. Instead, He draws close to my shattered pieces and gently puts them back together.

YES! Man, our God is awesome! So inquiring minds (mine) want to know: what are you currently reading?
Right now, I’m reading Cranford by the brilliant Elizabeth Gaskell. This novella was originally published in serialization between 1851-1853, and let me tell you, it is abundant with charm and hilarity! I highly recommend it for those who enjoy British humor and all things Victorian.
*adds 413th book to Amazon wishlist*
Thank you so much for hanging out with us today and for answering my crazy questions, Angela!

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


V. Joy Palmer

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


Please meet my friend Grace Burke, wife, mother, grandmother, nurse, multi-published author, and so much more! Grace is a member of  our North Texas Christian Writer's edit group, The LifeSavers.

Grace, it's a pleasure to have you on the Diamond Mine today. Let's jump right into telling our readers a little about you~

When you were a teen, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a teen, I wanted to be either a medical doctor or a registered nurse. I became a registered nurse and a doctor of theology.

Do you have brothers and sisters? Children? Share a little about them if you do.

I have a brother who is a retired engineer who lives in California and a sister who is a college professor and lives in New York. We have a very close relationship and share a lot weekly via phone, emails or texts. We ask each other’s opinions and laugh a lot, especially about childhood memories.

I have 3 adult children-all of whom live in the DFW area. Among them, they’ve given me 7 grandkids and 2 great-grands. They are all a real blessing and very supportive now that I’m getting older. That makes me very happy and thankful.


As you look back on your life, what was the most challenging time you can recall?

Looking back, the most challenging time was raising our 3 adopted children. It was a struggle and a dance of “nature vs. nurture,” although each child was with us since infancy. We learned that adopted kids come with their own genetic backgrounds, tendencies, personalities and characteristics that may or may not blend well with your own beliefs and expectations. Thankfully, it all turned out well in the end for our family. 


How did you meet your husband and how long did it take him to pop the question?

I met my husband in church when I worked in the Caribbean. We were introduced by his cousin. Our chemistry was instant. Within 4 months we were “an item.” Two months later, he popped the question and we became engaged. One year after meeting, we got married.


What three things would you tell young wives to help them through those first few years of marital bliss?

a.       Try to stay the course. It’s not always easy but most things tend to work out, with time.

b.       Put God first in your life. Pray about everything. Let Him guide you. Read the Word. Stay in church. Be determined to be a godly couple and family.

c.       Don’t involve your friends and family in your marital problems, if possible, unless the situation is urgent or requires it. Seek godly counsel and put those suggestions into practice.


At what point in life did you know you wanted to write?

As a child, I really enjoyed writing. I liked to journal, kept a diary and loved writing book reports in school. During that period though, I didn’t envision myself as a professional writer.

In 1979, however, after experiencing the onslaught of Hurricane David on the island of Dominica in the West Indies, I wrote two articles for my job. I received high praise for the articles, they were published, translated into Spanish, and I knew then that I had a talent in writing. I completed 2 writing courses and began to publish short stories and articles.

I know it’s hard, but tell us about one or two important lessons God has taught you in the process of writing.

a.       To not get overly discouraged at rejections from editors, publishers and agents. Although it’s disappointing, get up and try again. When one door shuts, look for an open window. God called me to write and I’ve become confident that He will make a way.

b.       I need to keep my writing passion alive by reading, attending seminars, writers groups, entering contests, joining e-mail lists, being active on social media, etc., in order to stay abreast of trends and be relevant to my audience.


If you have a life verse from God’s Word, will you share that with us?

John 2:5: “Whatever He (Jesus) says to you, do it.” (NKJV).


What advice would you give beginning writers?

Take a writer’s course first before trying to publish. Fine tune your craft and learn the business of writing. Be sure you’re passionate about it and feel called to write. Be clear what your message is and to whom you are sending it. Take your writing seriously and stick with your instincts. Write down your thoughts as they come to you-for titles, snippets of ideas, names of characters, etc. Always pray and ask the Lord for guidance before starting a writing project.

Tell us about your new release.

My book is entitled Broken Pieces: Mending the Fragments Through Adoption. It’s based on the true story of the Bishop family’s joyful, yet traumatic, eye-opening adoption journey. Giselle, the mother, gives voice to their forty-year, multi-generational odyssey which begins on an idyllic, sun-drenched Caribbean island and continues for a time on the crime-ridden streets of New York City. 


 As the family struggles toward wholeness, Giselle’s amazing walk of faith enables her to become the anchor and stabilizer. Questions about foster care and adoption arise while the saga unfolds. What joys and risks can adoption bring? What do adoptive parents need to know? What do all adopted kids require? This riveting and engaging account of this family’s journey provides a message of hope and inspiration to individuals who adopt. It also serves as a guide to anyone involved personally, professionally or spiritually with adoptive and foster families.


 Broken Pieces: Mending the Fragments Through Adoption.
 Newest Release. Available in paperback print edition from my CreateSpace webpage: or in Kindle edition from

 Grace, has several other books:

Caribbean Adventure. Available in paperback print edition from my CreateSpace webpage: or in Kindle edition from

Delights by Daisy. Recipe book available from Grace Burke, Author, at PO Box 584, Prosper, TX 75078 or via email request at

The Stranger’s Son. Book available from Redemption Press website:                                or at

  And a final book... Couples of the Bible. Book available from Redemption Press website:                                                  

Her website is a work in progress, but you can reach her at: or by email


Thank you for being with us today Grace, and we wish you much success with your new release ... BROKEN PIECES!