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. πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ˜‰ 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. πŸ˜‰ 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. πŸ˜‰ 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. πŸ˜‰

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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Lena Nelson Dooley and more!

4th of July Romance Collection written by six multi-published, popular authors, and introducing three
debut authors- all part of famed author and agent, Lena Nelson Dooley's critique group. 

Lena, welcome to The Diamond Mine of Christan fiction. You definitely have some gems in this collection.

 1. How did this collection evolve?

Because it's getting harder for new authors to get published, and because many of the unpublished authors in the critique group that meets in my home were writing publishable works, I decided to do a Christmas novella collection in 2015. We had 9 novellas in that one. Then we did an April Fools one, a Thanksgiving one, and now the 4th of July one. My plan was to help these first 9 and some others become published and get their name out there. Introduce their writing to avid readers.

2. I've heard great things about this critique group. What makes a successful one and why should authors join one?

I started my critique at the end of teaching a writing course for a fine arts academy over 25 years ago. It's been active since then. God has brought many authors to my group. Some come through and move on fairly quickly, some stay for years, and some are in between. I always stress that this is God's critique group, that He has chosen me to help other authors. We keep Him in the center of everything, both the work and the fun. He's brought people I never would have met otherwise. And at any given time, it's a diverse group where each author has a special ability to add to the group.

I really believe that critique groups help authors grow in ability in a way they can't without connecting with other authors. Even after all my published books, I never submit a book to a publisher or indie-publish a book without it going through crit group.

3. You've done collections before. Why publish them all together instead of publishing each one separately?

Readers often don't want to spend their money on books written by unknowns. Including published authors along with 3 or 4 debut authors, gives the latter a boost.

4. You have been considered for  many awards, and won quite  a few. Tell us about the latest ones.

Right now my latest full-length novel, A Heart's Gift, is one of three finalists in the long historical category of Faith, Hope, and Love RWA chapter's Readers' Choice award. I love contests where the readers are the judges. I should find out later this month about the award, but I feel like a winner just being chosen as a finalist. My traditionally published novel that was published in 2014, Catherine's Pursuit, won a different Readers' Choice award, third place in Golden Scrolls, and the Bronze Will Rogers Medallion award. The first time I ever had a book win three awards. God has blessed me.

5.  What else do you have up your literary sleeve?

Right now, I'm teaching writing workshops and reading books, judging then for a national book award contest. I'll be back to writing in mid-August.

You are one busy lady! Thanks for taking time out to join us on Diamond Mine!

So, folks, here are the synopses of each in this great series.

Strange Voices in the Night
By Lena Nelson Dooley - National bestseller, multi-award-winning author
While movie star, Katarina Slaughter, is in Texas trying to take care of all the business attached to her inheritance after her grandmother’s death, strange things start to happen. Not the least of which is when Wise County Deputy Sheriff, Austin Krum, and a host of other deputies, bright lights, and a bullhorn awaken her in the night. Sparks, both good and not so good, ensue.

Fireworks and Fireflies

By Lisa Crane - multi-published Amazon author
LaRue Payton left her hometown seven years ago after the ultimate betrayal. The death of her father calls her back, only to discover some things haven’t changed. Especially her feelings for Cash Embry. Angry at Rue for leaving without a word seven years ago, Cash wants to hurt her as much as she did him. And yet he’s drawn to her as to no other woman. Can they move beyond the hurt and betrayal of the past and find the love that might have been?

A Star-Spangled Homecoming

By Leann Harris - Multi-published author
When Star Taylor returns home to Alpine, Texas to finish her degree at McDonald Observatory, the last thing she expects is run into her high school boyfriend, Bart Hays. The man is a widower with a five-year-old son. Will romance win this time? Or will the circumstances of today drown out their growing love?

Firecracker Bride
By Anne Greene - Multi-published and multi-award winning author
1879 – Cat Divine resists stage robbers, her demanding father, gossiping neighbors, and flash floods. But can she resist Travis McGuire, a hero with a heart and bravery as big as his Texas home? 

Someone Special
By Kathy Wall - Multi-published author

Charlotte O’Malley and Howard Wiseman pull off the scam of the century by tricking her mother into believing she’s getting serious over a guy. Charlotte, graduate student in medical nuclear engineering, is only interested in her research. They never lied, only implied what Mom wanted to believe. Averting Mom’s questions on wedding, family, and kids is more difficult than anticipated. On July 4th, Charlotte discovers rainbows and dreams do come true. Will it last?

Artemisian Summer
By debut author Rachael Acree
Abigail Cartwright thought her heart was broken beyond repair, but an impulse decision to teach archery might just change that. Over the summer at Camp Wanahakaluge, God heals her broken heart and restores her faith in people.

A Cry for Independence

By debut author Joy Massenburge
Some cry wolf, Tammie Morris cries independence after another failed relationship. Can her son's father, Q, come back into her life and convince her reuniting their family under God is the freedom her heart seeks.

Explosions and Fireworks
By debut author Sara-Meg Seese
With only weeks to go before their wedding date, Athena is eager to marry her sweetheart Santiago when he finally returns home from his Army Reserves deployment. But a single phone call is the spark that turns their dreams of a perfect life together into a nightmare. Will their love survive the bad news bombardment?

I Got Your Back
By Lisa J Crane - multi-published Amazon author
Magnolia Ellison was the butt of cruel fat jokes most of her life. In college, she discovered her weight was the result of a prescription drug. Her study group had a big surprise when they coerced her into singing karaoke. Between the weight loss and that karaoke performance, Magnolia’s life was changed forever. Ten years later, she returns home for her high school reunion. Her high school crush, Reese Essex, always promised he’d have her back. But when he gets the chance to have her back for good, will he take the chance? 

You won't want to miss these diverse romantic stories.  GET ALL OF THEM for ONLY $2.99!!