Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Meet Jessica White

Hi, Diamond Mine readers. Julie B Cosgrove here. 

I had the privilege of helping to edit Jessica White's second novel, Bound by Brokenness. So, being hooked on the story, I had to read the first, Surviving the Stillness


She has made me an historical Christian fiction fan. Her characters are so three dimensional that you keep reading, joining them in their triumphs and heartaches. Plus it is VERY obvious she did a ton of research about medicine in the 1920's Dakotas and Montana, the societies of West Virginia and Chicago,  the native American culture and prejudices, and the religious thinking of the time.

I think you will feel the same. Welcome, Jessica.


What spurred you to write the Healing Seasons Series? And tell us a little about each book so far.
In 2013, I was knee deep in academic research to finish my degree and mentally exhausted. I decided to write a fictional story, which combined a dream of a boy falling down a flight of stairs with the story of two orphans from West Virginia I’d come up with in middle school. it morphed into Surviving the Stillness, the first book in the Healing Seasons Series. 


God revealed to me that Abigail (one of the orphans) and Matthew (the son of the doctor) were running from their problems. As winter sets in, Matthew falls down the stairs and breaks his ankle, and Abigail contracts a case of fever that exacerbates other health issues she’s been trying to hide. Forcing them to be still, God brings the two together in a way only He could arrange. Together they learn to be still and trust in Him to heal their scars. 


I originally intended to write one book, but as I reached the end of Surviving the Stillness, I knew there was more the readers would want to see play out. The biggest question left unanswered was—does Dr. Mason, Matthew’s father, ever get past his grief of losing his wife and forgive God? 



Bound by Brokenness became my quest to answer that question. This book opens on Easter Sunday,
ten years after Helen died. His broken promise to be by her side when she faced death again drives him to keep the residents of Bear Valley healthy and out of Death’s reach. But as he circuits through the foothills, he finds he can’t do it alone. 


The other character, I wanted to give more attention to was Abigail’s younger brother, Samuel. His personality really came out at the end of the first book and I loved how spontaneous and funny he was. So I pondered what trouble could he get into while his sister was out on the circuit with Doc? I also wanted to incorporate the repercussions of Prohibition laws which went into effect two years earlier in Montana than the Federal law. So Sam gets a chance to prove to his sister he’s learned from his past mistakes, but he also learns that money can’t fix everything that’s broken.


I really liked Sam. I understand you pray over your characters. That is so cool. Tell us more about that.


Honestly, this was a byproduct of my own prayer life. I love to intercede for others and the characters in my head are so vivid. It was natural to pray for them when I couldn’t see how God was going to move their hearts or get them out of certain circumstances. It has become a tool I rely on while I write. I know I’ve found the right scene when it comes through answered prayer. Almost every scene in Bound by Brokenness surfaced from this method. In fact, the original plot I’d come up with was totally different from the one God had me write. 


In reading your books, it is obvious you spent a great deal of time researching the history and medical practices of the 1920's adn life in rural Montana. Tell us about that experience.


I can honestly say I know more about medicine in the early 1900’s than I ever really wanted to. I started with a text called Taylor’s Practice of Medicine. I was actually trying to come up with a medical condition for Abigail to have, but there was no simple solution, which actually played into the plot line. She suffers from three different things in Surviving the Stillness. But all that research led me to so many other interesting facts and resources. 


When I decided that Dr. Mason was a trained surgeon, I scanned the Harvard Journal of Surgery. The carnage of the Great War (WWI) invented so many advancements in medicine that I wanted to show some of them. A big one was blood transfusions and advancements in blood typing, so I worked that into the second book. 


I also wanted to preserve Helen’s (Dr. Mason's deceased wife) Native American roots, so I had her pass the knowledge onto Matthew through journals. The way she handled births and deaths and relied on plant based medicines, over all the new pharmaceutical solutions of the early 1900’s, is uniquely Helen’s. And I’m anxious to share how she intertwined her knowledge from her early years growing up in a Lakota family and her medical training in Book 4. 


I'm glad you have plans to continue this series. What do you want the reader to take away from your books?


From Surviving the Stillness, I want readers to walk away understanding that God is always with us. That even when everything is taken from us or circumstances have lasted longer than we expected, He is still working it out for our good. That He bears His scars as a testimony of His love for us and that the scars we bear are testimonies of what He can carry us through. 


From Bound by Brokenness, I want readers to realize that we weren’t made to be isolated from one another. We’re the body of Christ. That brokenness opens the door for us to minister to one another and show God’s love. That our wounds physical, emotional, spiritual, are never too bad for God to heal. 


Both pertinent and potent lessons. What have you gained from writing these two books?


I’ve learned that this is my calling, and it is impossible to do apart from God. That I best be prayed up and hedged in by my prayer team because the enemy doesn’t like books that are centered on who God is and what He can do. 


I also learned that I have to step inside these characters’ lives and experience all the highs and lows and the closeness and distance from God. Bound by Brokenness was difficult to write because neither character is exceptionally close to God at the beginning. 


I had to pull back after the intimacy of book one and remember what it feels like to keep God at a distance. To not feel worthy of His love or mercy. To make decisions in my own strength and handle the consequences of being outside His will. But I know that the story will resonate with readers because we all go through those periods in our walk with Christ.  


Wow, that must have been a challenge for you. You are so serious about your writing and learning to understand your characters, and it shows. Will there be more in the series? Give us a peek.


There are two more books in this series. The next one is Dispelling the Darkness. It’s the story of Abigail’s return to West Virginia to debut among high society. Matthew goes with her, knowing this is probably the last summer he’ll get to spend with the girl who’s become his best friend. But he wants to make sure she doesn’t lose the person she’s becoming under the weight of the expectation of marriage. 
Samuel also returns home and is swept up in the glitz and glamour of society life. He rubs elbows with people who could help him pursue his dream of being a world-traveling reporter, but some of the miners are eager for him to step into his father’s shoes as owner of Morgan Coal and restore safety. But whispers abound about a family curse, and he has to put his sleuthing skills to work to find the truth before he and his sister are the next victims.


Oh, that sounds intriguing. I'm hooked again! Write fast! Where can readers find out more about you and these books?


The best place to find me is my website—http://AuthorJessicaWhite.WordPress.com
At the top you’ll find links to all the places I’m on social media and down below is a link to my newsletter sign-up which will keep readers up to date on my writing, releases, and sales. 


My books can be found exclusively on Amazon. LINK-goo.gl/S7zK3S

Thank you Jessica. I am proud to present your books to the Diamond Mine readers. I am sure they will enjoy them as much I have,


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Real-Life Story Inspiration with Kelly Goshorn (& a Giveaway)


Hello reader friends! I'm very excited to introduce you to a debut author whose book I've already added to my TBR pile! Kelly Goshorn's A Love Restored is brand new this week. Historical fiction, romance, and more are in store for you! Be sure and enter the giveaway before you leave!

Kelly Goshorn weaves her affinity for history and her passion for God into uplifting stories of love, faith and family set in nineteenth-century America. Her debut novel, A Love Restored, received recognition as the winner of the 2015 COTT Olympia Contest and as a semi-finalist in the 2015 ACFW Genesis Contest. Kelly has been enjoying her own happily-ever-after with her husband and best friend, Mike, for 27 years. Together they have raised three children, four cats, two dogs, a turtle, a guinea pig, a gecko, and countless hamsters. Thankfully not all at the same time. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, scrapbooking with friends, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi.


You can connect with Kelly on:

Her website: http://kellygoshorn.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kelly.j.goshorn/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KellyGoshorn
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/KellyGoshorn/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kellyjgoshorn/


SW: First of all, congratulations on your debut novel! We’re so pleased you could join us here at the mine and share a little about your journey.

KG: Hi Suzie, thanks so much for welcoming me here on The Diamond Mine. I’m excited to share A Love Restored with your readers.

SW: Let’s get right into it with a few multiple choice questions to warm us up!
Original draft: computer, paper, or phone?

KG: Computer

SW: Chocolate, vanilla, or something else? 

KG: I like vanilla based ice cream with lots of stuff in it—peanut butter cups, chocolate covered peanuts, M&Ms, coconut, chocolate chips…well, I’m sure by now you get the picture. Was this supposed to be a short answer! LOL!

SW: Anyone else craving ice cream all of a sudden? Spring, summer, fall, or winter?

KG: Fall

SW: Night owl or early bird?

KG: Early bird

SW: I'm always in awe of early birds (but, to tell the truth, I'm not really a night owl anymore either). Ok, now that we know a few surface things about you: When (or why) did you start writing? 

KG: Truthfully, I never saw it coming! So many writers I’ve talked to have wanted to be a writer since they were a child. Many have drawers full of half-written manuscripts. Me? Not so much. I had always enjoyed writing papers for my college classes, but I NEVER considered writing fiction. I’d been a successful in-home childcare provider for nearly twenty years, but I knew in my heart it was time to move on to something new. My husband and I began praying for God to give me a new direction, a new passion in my life I would undeniably know He’d planted in my heart. On a whim, I began tinkering with story writing and it didn’t take long for my secret hobby to become my God-given passion!

SW: I love that. You have a unique writing journey that proves there are multiple roads to publishing. Authors often say there’s no such thing as a consistent routine, but what would you like your writing day to look like? 


Levi and I working
KG: I’m still chasing the ideal writing day. As that rare breed, an extroverted writer, I am usually my own biggest distraction. When a friend texts to meet up for coffee or lunch I have a hard time saying no. I work from home in the afternoons as a virtual assistant, so the mornings are my time to focus on my writing. After a lifetime of being a night owl, I have recently been rising early to write. This has brought a great deal of discipline to my schedule that I never had before. On an ideal writing day, I set the alarm for 4:45 a.m. I hit the snooze a few times and begin the day talking with the Lord. Then I head for the kitchen and make a cup of tea, usually Earl Grey. My trusty companion, Levi (an adorable Welsh corgi), follows me downstairs and gets his morning treat. He can usually be found by my feet while I write. Before I begin, I pray. Writing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and each day I ask God to come and inspire me and to tell the stories He wants told through me. By 8 a.m. I have usually met my daily word count. After I dress for the day, Levi and I head out for a walk. When we return home, I try to focus on other writerly tasks like editing, marketing, blogging and critiquing.

SW: Wow, I don't thing I've seen 4:45 am in years. I’m in awe of historical writers due to all the research. What drew you to this genre over contemporary or suspense? 

KG: Hahaha! I love that part and can get lost in so many historical rabbit trails while researching. I guess I’m just a big old-fashioned, nerdy, history-lovin’ kinda girl at heart! I’ve always loved history, even as a kid in school. In college, I earned a B.A. in social studies education and an M.Ed. in History. It’s my favorite genre to read as well and on my birthday, I enjoy dragging my children to historical sites and watching them cringe as I read every sign and placard! LOL!

SW: Maybe that's my problem, I was never a huge history buff. But, I love how it's brought to life in novels. Tell us a little about your road to publication. 

KG: God has blessed this journey in so many ways. I began writing in 2011. By 2013 I had a completed draft of A Love Restored and joined a critique group through American Christian Fiction Writers.  In 2014, A Love Restored finaled in ACFW’s First Impressions contest. In 2015, that was followed by winning the COTT Olympia, a reader-driven contest, and finaling in the WisRWA Fab 5 and the Tara, along with a semi-final nod in the ACFW Genesis contest. At the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference that same year, I had the opportunity to pitch my story to several agents and editors. I was blessed to have several requests for full manuscripts. A few weeks later, I received a call from one of the editors I’d met, Paula Mowery. A weeks later she called and offered me a contract with Prism Book Group. I was floored. She’d never read the entire manuscript. From all the contests I’d entered, the first few chapters were well-polished, but no industry professional had read the entire manuscript. When I questioned why she didn’t want the full manuscript first she said, “I have a God nudge and I like to follow my God nudges.” I’m so glad she did!

SW: God nudge, I love it! Here is your chance to acknowledge those who’ve walked alongside of you in the writing process. Who is your tribe? Who supports you, reads along with you, helps you out of a difficult place in your story, etc. 


KG: I’m so blessed to have a husband who supports this crazy writing journey of mine, in fact it was his idea to write A Love Restored. I also have a loyal group of friends who, are not writers, that regularly pray for my writing journey and read all my stuff—my sister, Cindy Scott, and dear friends Becky Redman, Steph Sloan and Colleen Hoernke. Colleen has read and critiqued my story so many times, I think she knows it as well as I do! My first critique partners through American Christian Fiction Writers—Angela Couch, Sarah Monzon, Tammy Kirby, Crystal Barnes, Jodie Wolfe, Jessica Konek Johnson and Linda Cushman. Where I’d be without those wonderful women, I do not know. And keeping me faithful to this writing journey are my early morning writing buddies, Megan Whitson Lee and Debb Hackett!


SW: Some of those critique partner names are familiar. What a fantastic group to get input and feedback from. I’m so excited that your heroine in A Love Restored is not the svelte character in so many (too many?) books. What influenced that decision?


Kelly and her groom


KG: You’re right, Suzie. The heroine in most romance novels does not resemble me or most of the women I see around me, but the primary reason Ruth Ann has a fuller figure is that A Love Restored is based on the true-life romance between my husband and myself. Ruth Ann is me in so many ways. She is stubborn, always seems to find herself in a pickle, and is definitely on the rounder side of feminine figures. I have struggled with weight issues my entire life and that struggle plays an important part in our story. Ruth Ann’s biggest weakness is not seeing herself as the beautiful, Godly woman she is. Her journey to self-acceptance is at the heart of the story.

SW: I think women need that reminder. And since we gave Ruth Ann some love, tell us a little about Benjamin.

KG: Now that you know A Love Restored is based on my story, you would be right to assume that Benjamin is based on my husband, Mike. Like my husband, Benjamin makes Ruth Ann laugh, holds her accountable to herself and is very generous with his time and talents. He is extremely intelligent, and like Benjamin, my husband wooed me with his guitar and teases me about my not-so-stellar singing voice. Like Benjamin, my husband struggled with his pride and let vows, words he’d spoken over himself, dictate his choices. Benjamin’s journey is about finding the courage to challenge society’s idea of what success looks like and trusting God’s plan for his life.

SW: What do you hope readers come away with after reading A Love Restored

KG: At its core, A Love Restored is a story about the power of words in our lives. It is a story about the struggle each of us faces to take our thoughts captive to the truth of Scripture, so we may experience the fullness of God’s unequivocal love for us.

Words have the power to lift us up and tear us down, and the most dangerous ones are the ones we repeat in our own mind every day. I spent way too many years repeating words of death to myself—that I was fat, ugly, unlovable and unworthy of the very God I believed sacrificed His son on my behalf.

1 Samuel 16:7b says, For the LORD does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. My prayer for you and your readers is that you will not allow the enemy to steal the joy that is rightfully yours as a child of God. Speak the truth of the gospel over yourself every day and ask God to give you His eyes to see yourself as He does.

SW: Amen! Are you working on anything new you can tell us about?

KG: I’m very excited about the series I’m working on now, Surrendered Hearts. Set in Civil War Virginia, the series examines what happens when God calls us to surrender those things we hold most dear. Characters are called to sacrifice their dreams and ambitions, their pride, and ultimately their hearts as God recklessly pursues each of them. Hearts and wills are challenged, and lives transformed as characters experience restoration with one another and with God. If readers are interested in learning more, the can visit the Surrendered Hearts page on my website.

SW: Thank you for visiting with us today and may God bless your writing career.

KG: Thank you, Suzie. I had such a wonderful time sharing my writing journey with your readers.

More about A Love Restored



She was nothing like the woman he’d envisioned for his bride, but he was everything she’d ever dreamed of—until a promise from his past threatened their future.

Twenty-year-old Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to society’s vision of a perfect lady. She would rather read Jules Verne or teach Negro children to read and write than join the Women’s Benevolent Aid Society or practice her voice lessons. Her pert opinions and less than perfect figure keep many suitors away. When Ruth Ann accepts a position teaching at the new Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer she is likely to receive. Should she risk life as a lonely spinster or reinvent herself to accept a proposal from a man she does not love?
Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Coulter’s reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earn him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor for the railroad—a position that will garner the respect of other men. All he needs now is a woman to share his promising future. When Benjamin has a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, he is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality. When others ridicule his choice, Benjamin must decide whether he will listen to his heart or put ambition first.

Order from your copy here




Giveaway

Kelly Goshorn is giving one reader a book charm with a quote from her debut and a copy of A Love Restored (Paperback if you are in the US, Ebook if you are international). To enter, leave a comment below along with a way to contact you if you are our randomly chosen winner. For an extra entry, follow Kelly on social media or sign up for her newsletter and let us know you've done that as well. Plus, if you sign up for her newsletter, you'll get a sugar cookie recipe (yummy!).


Book Charms for A Love Restored

***Must be five unique commenters for giveaway to be valid.



Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Author Paula Rose Michelson's Testimony and Book Giveaway!


Welcome one and all! We're closing out June with a deep, thought-provoking testimony of Author Paula Rose Michelson. She's living proof that God changes people and uses them in a mighty way, both young and old. I know you will be just as inspired as I was when you read her story. She writes both Christian and mainstream novels as well as a few children's books. Everyone give her and round of virtual applause!

PT:  Hi Paula! So glad to have you here at the Diamond Mine. Tell us your background and your genre. 

PRM: At forty, I believed in Messiah (Jesus). One daughter believed before me, the other the same night I did. My husband came to faith a few months later. When I invited hurting women to my home and showed them how God’s Word would help, news got out, and Pastor Hurt appointed me as the ladies lay counselor. Ron headed the greeting ministry and, in his in his 60s, finished seminary. With the encouragement and the leading of the Rucah HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), I founded LAMB (Life Affirming Messages from the Bible) Ministries and continue to mentor women to wholeness, which can only be achieved through use of God's Word.  

Before his graduation, Ron was already a field missionary with Chosen People Ministries, which is the largest and oldest outreach to the Jewish people throughout the world. I was delighted to be a church ministry coordinator for them and was blessed to speak with many interesting people whom the Lord had called to serve Him in their communities. Ron’s sermons consisted of connecting the dots between the Old and New Testaments in a way that would help congregants reach out in a sensitive way to those Jews they knew. However, when we returned, I found they hadn’t shared because they feared losing the relationship. I understood, because rabbis teach that you can believe in anything, but if you believe in Jesus you are no longer a Jew. What happens to the Jews is probably where the concept of shunning comes from, since we are pronounced dead, and for seven days the family is to sit shiva (grieve). During that time everything about that dead person is removed.  And, yes, to all our Jewish friends, we are dead.

PT: Give us your main reason/theme/mantra of writing, both Christian and mainstream.
   
PRM: When God called me to write The Naomi Chronicles, I had been asking Him to give me something to do that hadn’t been done before. What He called me to do was more like listening to what Naomi said and writing it down. So I’m more scribe than author. Naomi’s story of fleeing a five hundred-year-imposed silence of what she believes, and what happens when she finds herself in a place once again, and where she continues to hide is different than the inspirational Christian romances I’ve read. Her journey to wholeness in Yeshua (Jesus) is so harrowing that it takes six volumes to do it justice. Each book is wonderful; however, my personal favorite and the one I will give is Choosing to Be: The Naomi Chronicles, Book 2. As a writer of faith stories, it is in this book that Naomi and Chaz are grieved over their lost love and receive Messiah in very unusual ways that I can’t tell you without ruining the story.

PT: Are there any characters in your books that resemble you most in personality?

PRM: Whatever authors write reveals bits about them. This is true of me, as well. I noticed this a few years after No Other Choice: The Naomi Chronicles, Book 1 was published. There are scenes within this and the other books that are reminiscent of things Ron and I have done. That I don’t realize this while writing is God’s blessing.

PT: Where did you get your idea for the Naomi Chronicles?

PRM: I was writing a book a small publisher interested in publishing the work. However, I didn’t know much about this Sephardic (Spanish) Jew, Naomi. Between the needed research and interviewing her, Naomi started telling me her story. The publisher was thrilled to hear this and encouraged me to keep writing. When she realized the saga was bigger than she could handle, she bowed out. I am forever grateful to her because she had been asking me to write for years based upon the times she had heard me speak and walked off with something I’d written for the occasion. Some of the stand-alone pieces found within the Naomi books were written for our monthly Shuvah Yisrael Women’s Devotion Writers’ group. It is interesting that God showed me there were pieces I’d composed a long time ago that belonged in a specific spot and made the book better.

PT: Tell us 5 things quick about you that have nothing to do with writing.

PRM: 
1. When Ron was ordained a Lutheran Pastor, I was 65 years old. 
2. A Christian lay counselor, I was almost a chemical dependency/ lifestyle-disorder counselor, but God had a better plan for my life. 
3. I was an artist and had a one-woman show at a Beverly Hills art gallery when I was 17. 
4. I have two lovely daughters and seven grandchildren. 
5. I just released my first of nine Fruit of the Spirit children’s books, A Father’s Broken Heart: 8-Year-Old Gracie & The Save a Soul Prayer Team as author Paul-Rose, and I plan to write the second kids’ series about the armor of God.

PT: Do you have a Bible verse that is your current favorite, one that speaks to you right now? 

PRM: Yes, the beginning of Psalm 46:10 which says, Be still, and know that I am God …” speaks to my heart. My life verse, 1 Corinthians 1:28–31 says, God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

PT: Your story really touched me, Paula, as I know it will touch others as well. And really, truly, it's why we do what we all do. Our little part to help show the world Christ and his sacrificial love.

 As usual, we have a giveaway, but we need people to leave a comments! We need at least five people to leave their emails, hopefully with an inspiring message as well. Thank you all for being here with us at the Diamond Mine, and I know some of you are super faithful readers! How we appreciate all of you! Keep reading for the giveaway~


BIO: When not involved in writing, speaking or helping other writers, Paula pursues other passions while supporting her husband Ron who is a Lutheran Pastor and Chosen People Ministries field missionary. This happy mother of two married daughters and grandmother of seven, has friends who often tell her that she weaves such wonderful tales, they lose track of the time. Since both family and her ever-increasing reader family matter to Paula, she hopes to impart a blessing to those who read her books.

Email Paula at: Paula.Wordsmith@yahoo.com
Friend Paula on Facebook at: https://goo.gl/CpkdZr
Paula's Facebook Author Page is at: https://goo.gl/t2a9mz
Join Paula’s VIP Author Group on Facebook at: https://goo.gl/4Yqe1d
Paula Rose Michelson, Naomi Chronicles, and other books at: https://goo.gl/jYagKJ
Twitter: https://goo.gl/0YD21U or @PaulaWordsmith1
Paula-Rose's Facebook Author page at: https://goo.gl/t3qqZr
Join Paula-Rose's 8-Year-Old Gracie & The Save a Soul Prayer Team at:
             https://goo.gl/wYpExE
Writing Paula-Rose blog https://goo.gl/dyVj3m
Paula-Rose on Twitter https://goo.gl/pXMbLp or @AuthorPaulaRose
LinkedIn: https://goo.gl/hnsXur
Goggle+: https://goo.gl/HL4zeW



Book giveaway - Choosing to Be: The Naomi Chronicles, Book 2


5-Stars!"A beautiful, intriguing story! This book and the series are highly recommended." ~ GABixlerReviews http://amzn.to/1zK3rPC

Longing, lies, desire and passion give Naomi and Chaz no rest as they try to figure out how to live without the one their heart cannot forget or forgive. Desolate, will they answer God's heart call? In her 5-Star rave of this Inspirational Christian Romance author Katie Mettner said, “Chaz and Naomi's story will captivate you!”

Unable to face the fallout of revealed secrets, Naomi has fled. Alienated from all who loved and affirmed her, with no place to stay, God will gift her everything if -- finding herself embraced by people who care -- Naomi discovers the 'Lover of her Soul'. Will Naomi's friendship with a 'Titus 2 Woman' and the blessings found at 'Blessings Rock' bring her to Christ?

When Chaz visits his family, he discovers that Naomi and he are very much the same. Yet he needs more proof. Sent to his uncle’s, Chaz is about to realize that his life was a lie. Will discovering that what he is told is true help him claim Naomi's love again?




Can the individual faith journey’s each has taken bring them back ready to love each other? And if so, how does a couple that wed before they knew each other overcome what Lola did?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Interview and GIVEAWAY with Brandy Bruce!!!

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. ;-)

We're going to pry into the private life chat with my friend, Brandy Bruce! I met Brandy online after reading and gushing about her novel, The Last Summer. (And it's AMAZING! If you need more convincing, read my review!) She is such a fun and genuine person, and if you don't know about her and her books, then you need to remedy that, like, RIGHT NOW! <3


Brandy Bruce is a mom, a wife, a book editor, an author, and someone who really loves dessert. She’s the author of the award-winning novel The Last Summer, Looks Like Love, and The Romano Family Collection. Brandy, her husband, and their children make their home in Colorado.
 
Connect with Brandy on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest
 
Interview ~

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... No pressure or anything. ;-)

Coffee! With sugar-free hazelnut creamer. It's my go-to every morning.

Delicious! It's amazing how essential that go-to drink in the morning really is... LOL! On to our second most important question: if you could order anything in the world to eat, what would it be?

Cheese enchiladas. They need to be Tex-Mex, with refried beans and Mexican rice, of course. And endless chips and salsa. Maybe a frozen strawberry margarita too.

Excuse me while I wipe the puddle of drool from the floor... I love anything with a hefty serving - or two - of refried beans. YUM! Where is your favorite place to write? And why is that your favorite place?

My home office. I like to be able to control the music for one thing! Also, I've got my coffee warmer. And I'm surrounded by my favorite books that inspire me, and photos of my kids.

Being able to control the music is essential! Confession Time: do you have any odd habits that are only explained by your bookish, writer tendencies? Safe space. ;-)

Probably several! Like a lot of writers, I can be kind of introverted. I love being around people, but after a while, I crash. I want to hole up at home for days alone and just focus on what I need to do, which is usually cleaning house or an editing project or helping the kids with something. I think I tend to come across as extroverted - and I really do enjoy people - but then I'll need to disappear for a bit and have quiet and regroup. It's that alone time where I find myself really diving into whatever story that's in my heart. Both having time with friends and people, and having time alone to write and focus on my family, are so vital to who I am as a person.

I hear ya, especially about holing up at home for days on end. Maybe we should invest in "Do Not Disturb the Introvert" signs. LOL! What inspired you to write The Last Summer?? *eagerly leans forward*

My first year of college was a difficult one for several reasons. I'd found myself in a place that was very challenging (emotionally and spiritually), and I was trying to keep my head above water with school and all the different factors of my situation. It was hard. (I read that and feel like saying, Understatement!) Writing had been part of my life since I was about twelve years old, and books had always been my favorite past-time. I'd filled spiral notebooks with stories for years. During that freshman year, writing became my outlet for creativity and so much more. It's not really surprising that a story centered on friendship would come to me at that time of life. Of course, in college, friendships are paramount. Everyone's finding out who they want to be and hanging out with friends and falling in love. That's what I wanted to write about. All the main characters came to me almost at once. Seven friends who love each other like family, entering a season of change. Through rewrites over the years, I was inspired to include other themes in the book, really just from more life experiences as I'd grown older. The story is truly so close to my heart. I'm so thankful it stayed with me for so long, and finally found it's place on my bookshelf.

Happy feelings abound! <3 *makes eye contact with the readers* The Last Summer is one of my forever and ever favorites. Read it! Seriously. *directs attention back to Brandy* What led you to write in this genre?

As a young writer, I was very influenced by Robin Jones Gunn. (I grew up on the Christy Miller series!) I really connected with Robin's Glenbrooke series, in which every book (except one, I think) focuses on a twenty-something woman who's finding her way. That series met me right where I was in my twenties. I was also a fan of chick-lit (Bridget Jones, Devil Wears Prada, Shopaholic, Something Borrowed, and so on). The Last Summer is sort of a blend of all those things I wanted to write about - a (hopefully!) relatable heroine who's someone you'd want to be friends with. Someone who's just doing the best she can to make her way. She loves her friends. She's got this crush on her best guy friend, but he's not reciprocating. She's got a little apartment she really likes and a good job, but dreams of having a house and someone to travel with. She's smart and capable and doing alright, but she also knows in her heart she wants more out of life. Things are changing for her and her friends, and change can be difficult.

I wonder how many of us twenty-something authors grew up on Christy Miller and Robin's other amazing books... I think (and my opinion is gold, y'all) that you really achieved blending all those elements into The Last Summer - love, friendship, humor, and faith. What message do you hope to convey to your readers?

That no one is perfect and that's okay. I love romance stories and rom-coms, but have you ever finished reading a story, feeling a little dissatisfied with your own relationship, or maybe more unhappy with your own life? I was chatting with someone and mentioned my book to her, and her reaction was that she avoids reading romance because it can leave her feeling so disappointed in her own husband. That spoke to me! I completely understood and respected her choice to focus on other kinds of fiction. I love swoon-worthy male characters as much as the next girl, but anyone who's been in a relationship for more than fifteen minutes knows that we're all human and can hurt each other and disappoint each other at times. (I really understand this. It's hard to even think about sexy, smoldering looks when what you really need is help with laundry and someone to pick up rotisserie chicken and mac-n-cheese on the way home from work. Ha!) Real romance can look like so many different things in our lives. Sometimes it looks like forgiveness. Or letting go. Or holding hands when a parent is sick. I wanted to write a story about real characters who are growing and learning and changing. Falling in love is part of that, so is experiencing disappointment and rallying when things go wrong. The Last Summer definitely has romance in it, but I consider it more women's fiction, because this story is about my main character finding out who she is. She's learning to see her parents in a new light. She's trying to be a good friend when it's really hard. She's holding on to her faith when things are confusing.


This is everything I love about The Last Summer! <3 <3 <3 Can you tell us a little about your next project?

Yes! I'm super excited to share that the follow-up novel to The Last Summer is slated to release in January, possibly February, at this point. We've just finished up the content edits. The Last Summer was in my heart for years and years. I'm very happy that this book did not take quite as long! I can't wait for readers to see what happens after The Last Summer ends. And here as we get closer to warm summer days, I really hope readers will grab The Last Summer for their beach read or vacation read or on-the-back-deck-while-the-kids-play-outside read! And get to know these characters before book two releases in the new year.

YESSS! SOOO EXCITED!!!! <3 *makes awkward eye contact with readers again* Seriously, guys, The Last Summer is amazing; this follow-up novel is amazing! Don't miss out! *grins at Brandy* What is your favorite Bible verse or story that inspires you on a soul level?

Really, different verses speak to me all the time. Lately I've been reminding myself of Psalm 19:14, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer." I need that reminder every day.

Love that verse! <3 What are you currently reading? Inquiring minds - mine - want to know. :-)

I'm reading The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Conner and next on my stack is Unblemished by Sara Ella.

The fact that Kelly O'Conner's book title starts with "The Lost Summer" makes me laugh! ;-) And Unblemished is AMAZING! Jealous that you get to experience it for the first time! <3

Thanks for answering all my prying questions in the name of cyber chatting, Brandy! ;-)

Giveaway ~

Brandy has generously offered to giveaway one (1) eBook of The Last Summer!


A group of seven friends navigate relationships and personal growth during a season of change.
 
For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways, wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.

Sara's longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara's forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.

While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends' relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.

But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.

Does growing older mean growing apart?

Available on Amazon!

Rules, Info, and Such ~

The author is giving away one eBook copy of The Last Summer.

This giveaway is open internationally.

This giveaway will close on June 27th, 2018, at 12:00 A.M. for all the night owls.

A winner will be drawn within four days of close of giveaway. If the winner does not respond to our e-mails within one week of notification, then a new winner will be drawn in their place.

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!

Hugs,

V. Joy Palmer 

V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.
 
Connect with Joy on her website, personal blog, devotional blogFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

JULIE COSGROVE -- 'TIL DICE DO US PART



Hi everyone, I must begin by saying "I'm sorry." When husbands retire households can sometimes be thrown into a tizzy...which is what happened to me yesterday. So let's get on with this interview, Julie. And I see you've brought your side-kick and star of the past Bunco Biddies books. Janie, we're delighted to have you with us today.Can you tell us a little about Janie before we hand the microphone to her?




Sure DiAne, Janie Manson is the widow of a renowned big city detective. She has a sixth sense when it comes to solving crimes. (Much to the chagrin of her son-in-law who is now Chief Detective in Alamoville, a boom-town in Central Texas.)



Oh, I see family turmoil as well as a mystery. Janie, tell us a bit about yourself.

Well, I live in Sunset Acres, which is a 55 plus community outside of Austin and Alamoville on the eastern edge of the Texas Hill Country. I host Bunco games in my condo every Thursday night. I try to visit my friends in the assisted living section as often as I can, and help out part-time in the manager’s office. Oh, yes. I do power walk most mornings around the community streets and golf course. It works out to about a mile and a half.  I am fairly active in my church. And, occasionally I help out my son-in-law, Blake, in solving crimes. Mostly background work, you know. Though a couple of times it has gotten a bit, well, dicey.

QUESTION TO THE READERS: Have you ever participated in a research project, or helped solve a mystery?  You can answer in the comments. If you do, you may win an ebook copy of my latest sleuthing, Til Dice Do Us Part. (You can answer any one of the four questions in this interview.)

Janie, what happened on this latest caper? Did you get Blake in trouble with his superiors again?

Well, no.  Actually, Blake really took the bull by the horns this time. Made me proud as punch. But I inadvertently hurt one of my dearest friends in the process. I didn’t mean to, you understand. I was only trying to keep George from pacing the floor the day of the wedding.  Afternoon weddings are so hard on grooms-to-be. Besides, he’d helped Blake before. How was I to know he’d disappear and get into danger?

QUESTION TO THE READERS: Have you ever done something with good intentions only to find it didn’t turn out well?  How did you handle that?

I hope all turned out okay and the crime was solved…

I can’t go into detail, of course. That would ruin the mystery. But new characters are introduced, including a very intuitive little waif who frequents the ER and clinic waiting rooms. She becomes instrumental in finding out what dicey deals are going on behind the curtains at Memorial Mercy Hospital.

How in the world did this adventure begin?

Innocently. We were all decorating for Betsy Ann and George’s bridal shower when dear Ethel
wobbled on the ladder and fell. I went with her in the ambulance to the ER to check on her injured shoulder (thank the Lord it was not broken) but while she was waiting for an MRI, she thought she overheard a crime being plotted in the next curtained-off unit. Except no one was admitted to that bed. Blake thought it might have been the pain killers, she is sensitive to them. But my detective tickle told me otherwise.

QUESTION TO THE READERS:  Do you ever have an inkling something’s not quite right even when others dismiss it? Or do you think it is just your imagination?

Well, it sounds as if you got into a bit of a mess this time. Where can people find out whodunit and what happened?

All of my adventures with the Bunco Biddies Mysteries are available on Amazon.com in ebook or print. You can read about them on my author’s website www.juliebcosgrove.com . This one, Til Dice Do Us Part releases June 15th but the ebook is on preorder. https://amzn.to/2Iy8Zb1



Oh, and be sure to come to Julie's Facebook party on Monday, June 18th from 6-9 p.m. CDT. My author is giving away an ebook every hour and some lucky US commentor will get the whole four-book collection in paperback!

Wow, what a treat. I know of several readers who will love this. And to the rest of you, the best way to say thank you to an author is to go to Amazon and leave a review of how well you liked her gift of words. Thank you ladies. This was fun. And don't forget to comment to the questions for your chance to win!

Today, one commentor will receive an ebook of Til Dice Do Us Part.

Oh, one more thing, DiAne. Did I mention that my author, Julie B Cosgrove, is also a digital missionary? She is on staff with The Life Project and writes and edits devotionals and inspirational articles which have over 600.000 clicks a month! She could use your prayers and financial support in any amount to continue this vital ministry. No mystery there!