Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Interview and giveaway with author Michelle Weidenbenner!!

Today I welcome Michelle Weidenbenner to The Diamond Mine!As well as the author of many books, she's a lecturer and a coach, and an encourager! Today, the focus will be on her book, Fractured Not Broken. It's  described as a true story of loss, faith, and a rare love that only happens in nonfiction. Leave a comment after the interview for a chance to win a free copy of this fine book.

Hello Michelle and welcome! You’re a speaker, coach, and encourager as well as a writer. Do you have a favorite among those roles?

The most favorite part of who I am is an encourager, because that’s something I can share in my writing, speaking and coaching.
I used to think that encouraging others was no big deal, but in helping others find their giftedness, I’ve discovered that God gave me the ability to know how to encourage others. Sometimes our most undervalued ‘magic’ has the biggest impact on other people.
Think of the last time someone complimented you or encouraged you to do something. Didn’t you think of that comment more than once afterward? Maybe it motivated you to do something.

That's so true! As believers, we're told to encourage and edify each other, so it's a very important action to encourage another! And you've made it a practice to do that for others. Good for you!
This is my first time interviewing someone who has written a non-fiction book.  Fractured Not Broken is touching everyone who reads it. It must be very gratifying to Kelly Schaefer to have you present her story so that others can be inspired. What has writing her story meant to you?

In 2004, a literary agent told me not to waste my time writing Kelly’s story. He said it would never sell, and to write it as an article. I thought he was wrong, but at the time, I didn’t know how to self-publish a book. I hadn’t published a book yet, and I didn’t know where to start, so I surrounded myself with successful self-published authors who were winning awards.
I learned the craft and went on to self-publish six books. They became best-sellers and award-winning.
I went back to Kelly and said, “We don’t need anyone now. Let’s go write and publish that book.”

Wow! What determination you showed. That's pretty awesome!
What was the part of Kelly’s story that you most wanted to be sure to tell thoroughly?

Kelly wanted to show that with faith, anything was possible.
When she signs her books she includes this Bible Verse: Phillipians 4:13.
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

That verse is a big one for me, too. A great help and comfort.What do you and Kelly think about all the positive reaction from readers?

We find encouragement when we read reviews. Sometimes I cry because of the positive way the book has impacted lives and given people hope.
However, sometimes Kelly feels like readers are wrong. They think she’s so strong, but there are many days that she doesn’t feel the strength she needs. She feels weak. When readers compliment her on her faith, she wants to say, “It’s not easy. I have dark days too.”

I think most readers probably know that she must have dark days. That doesn't make her story any less inspiring, though. I hope she knows that. :)
Writing someone else’s story must be an interesting experience. What was the most difficult aspect of it for you?

First of all, Kelly and I live five hours apart, so we had to communicate via texts and emails.
Even more challenging was the fact that Kelly is a quadriplegic, so she types with a mouth stick. It’s a slow process, so she would speak to text. Sometimes her answers didn’t make sense, and we’d laugh at what the audio interpreted.
Finally, Kelly keeps her emotions in check. I had to ask her bizarre questions like, “Describe a memory of a popsicle,” in order to find the story. For instance, asking that question opened up a powerful scene in the book that I wouldn’t have known had I not asked that question.
Kelly had to trust my opinion on where to start the story, too. She wanted to start the story at the beginning of her life. Instead, I arranged her story like it was fiction – with a hook, in the middle of the action, and shortly aftward inserted the inciting incident and obstacles that kept her from reaching her goal.

Sounds like a true collaborative effort for both of you! And it's worked out so well!
I'm curious, when did you first decide to become a writer, and why?

In 1997, after we adopted our daughter, Olivia, from a Russian orphanage, I decided not to go back to work. I wanted to stay home with her to tighten our bond.
My parents had often told me that I was a great writer, so I began my journey to write for magazines. I thought, “How hard could that be?”
Hahaha! It’s super tough to break into magazines. I’m a competive person with a fierce desire to grow and learn every day, so I studied the craft of writing and became hooked on achieving writing success in fiction and nonfiction.

You certainly have a lot of drive and perseverance! Well done!
So, of all the fiction books you’ve written, do you have a favorite?

Yes. The first book I wrote (but not the first book I published) was Scattered Links. (Originally the title was Love is Just a Word, but someone told me that sounded like a romance novel, so I changed the title after it was complete.)
I wrote this in first person, present tense, which might be my favorite. I felt closer to the emotion.
This book is about a teen orphan who has RAD – reactive attachment disorder. Many foster children and post-institutionalized children have this disorder. I wanted to bring awareness to this problem by showing a fictionalized story of a girl.

That sounds like a really interesting book. And I think your reason for writing it is admirable.
Do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction?

Writing fiction is more fun, but nonfiction has it’s place, too. It’s a different kind of challenge, and can motivate readers in a different way.
I’m a John Maxwell Team member and love to read leadership books. I have a nonfiction book called, “Develop the Leader Within Your Child,” mapped out in my mind that I hope I live long enough to write.
To build my marketing bank, I started writing book descriptions for writers. I’ve found that many authors can’t hone their stories in a way that ‘sells’ their message to readers, so I write them. I find writing these descriptions challenging and rewarding!

Oh my, I wish I had that skill! I'm awful at writing short descriptions, but I've gotten better over time. Maybe someday I'll even like it! 
Since you have other jobs you do, how much of your time is spent writing?

Not enough!
I want to learn how to write a screen play, too. I’d like to write my thriller as a screen play.
I also have many books in my Scrivener files that are started. I need to finish them.
I just bought a new MAC. I hope it has a better microphone than my old one. I want to use the speak to type function. If I ‘write’ my next book by audio-speaking, it will be faster to get the first draft written. But editing might be a little tougher. Time will tell.

Writing a book that way would certainly be a new experience. Sounds like you've always got something new going on!What are you working on now?

I’m working on a marketing plan to launch Glow Girl, a YA supernatural novel about a girl who denies her giftedness to heal, so she fits in. 

You're certainly full of ideas and projects! I look forward to seeing all that you accomplish. Thanks so much for the interview, Michelle!
Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Fractured Not Broken!

Here are links to Michelle's social pages so you can learn more about her!

Twitter: MWeidenbenner1

Amazon author page:


Michelle also has a special offer for writers who want a free copy of the FAST DRAFT - how to write 50K words in 30 days – just go here:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Life with Shannon McNear (Giveaway!)

Shannon McNear's on the Diamond Mine!

Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. She’s a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three, grammie of two, and a member of ACFW and RWA. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. When not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies.


💖 Featuring an AWESOME Giveaway! 💖
(details after the interview)

Hello folks, it's another great week on the Diamond Mine! This week, I have the honor to introduce Shannon McNear. I love this lady and I'm sure you will too. Not only is she a talented author, she's an amazing woman. So, without further ado, let's get started with the interview.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Jessica R. Patch Reveals Some Secrets with a Giveaway

Well, maybe not secrets exactly but some fun facts anyway. I put an embarrassing amount of time into trying to come up with a triple-S blog title to go along with Jessica R. Patch's newest release title, but as you can see, that didn't happen.

Nevertheless, I'm thrilled to introduce you to our guest this week. I've "gotten to know" Jessica R. Patch through her posts on her Facebook page. Her honest sharing is informative (and often humorous), keep reading and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

But first...we'll start with the facts.

About Jessica Patch

Jessica R. Patch writes inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She is the author of the Seasons of Hope series and several Love Inspired Suspense novels including, Fatal Reunion, Protective Duty, Concealed Identity, Final Verdict, and the Security Specialists series. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or going on adventurous trips in the name of research with willing friends, you can find her spending time with her family and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she’ll probably never cook. Jessica is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management.


SW: Welcome to the Diamond Mine, Jessica. We are thrilled to have you visit with us today. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

JRP: Thank you for having me! Well, let’s see. I live in MS, but I usually just tell people Memphis because I’m literally right outside, less than 5 minutes. I’ve been married for 24 years to my college sweetheart and we have a daughter who is a MS Bulldog Freshman! That’s been an adjustment not having her home. And we have a son who is in 8th grade. As long as we feed him, we really don’t even know he’s at the house. Hahaha—but seriously, it’s true. I love binge-watching Netflix. Currently, I am watching White Collar and loving it. And I love the outdoors—from inside an air-conditioned house. 

SW: You do live in the south and during the summer, stepping outdoors is akin to stepping into a sauna. Are you an early bird, a night owl, or neither?

JRP: I’m an early bird. I am usually up between 5-6 and I’m fast asleep around 8:30-9:30. Ten if I’ve had a nap. ;) I’ve always been that way.

SW: If someone gifted you a yacht, what would you name it? 

JRP: Seas the Bay, the book I’m working on now has a hero who owns a sailboat and he named it that. I think it’s clever. I’m sure someone else has thought this up too. Or I might name it Beloved. I love that word. Love knowing it’s who I am to God.

SW: Oh, love the name and the play on words.Ballpoint pen, fountain pen, or quill? 

JRP: Keyboard??? I have horrible penmanship. But if I have to play the game, then fountain pen.

SW: What’s something that drives you crazy? 

JRP: When a meeting has gone long and that one person just keeps asking stupid questions! Also, the sound of chalk on a board or on the sidewalk. Nutso! Oh, and smacking when you eat.

SW: Yes on the meetings that go long because of needless questions. I'm of the opinion that there is shut a thing as a stupid question: one that has been asked and answered multiple times. If writing wasn’t an option, what career would you choose? 

JRP: I love Biblical history and teaching so I’d like to be a professor of biblical studies or history and take college students on archaeological digs. Wouldn’t finding Joseph’s tomb be amazing?!

SW: That would be amazing. What book do you wish you would have written? 

JRP: I don’t have one. Is that weird? I do occasionally read an author’s work and think I wished I could write like that.

SW: I don't think it's weird and I'm pretty sure all authors have that second thought at times. Any secret talents you’d like to share with us? 

JRP: I don’t know if it’s a talent, but I’m good at refurbishing furniture. I’ve been doing it for decades. Long before it was trendy! Ha!

SW: Ok, we’ve gotten warmed up, let’s go a little deeper. What drew you to writing romantic suspense? 

JRP: I’ve always loved suspenseful books and TV, mostly mystery—not so much the suspense part. Nancy Drew as a kid and then I read a lot of Faye and Jonathan Kellerman. My mom loved mystery books and I read what she had, thus Kellermans, Lisa Jackson, Tami Hoag and then I discovered Dee Henderson’s O’Malley series. At that time, I didn’t even know suspense was a thing in the Christian world! But I tend to love mystery more. So, you’re never going to know (on purpose) who the killer is. You’ll have to figure it out as the story goes along. Some of my first works are Contemporary Romance because I always love that genre as well and I lean toward some rom/com. I have 5 novellas that are CR/romantic comedy. But Love Inspired Suspense was looking for more authors and my agent had asked if I’d do that. So here I am. 

SW: The O'Malley series was the first Christian Romantic Suspense I read too.
So good. How long did it take you from manuscript to first publication? 

JRP: Oh boy! I started writing in 2008. Book 13 garnered me an agent in 2010. Book 18 sent me to publication in 2015. At some point, I’d love to indie publish them, but time is a factor. Isn’t it always?

SW: Always but somehow I don't think more hours in a day would help with that
either. One of my favorite things about the Love Inspired line is the note the authors get to leave for their readers. Do you write that letter before or after you’ve written the book? 

JRP: Always after and usually right after that first manuscript when it’s fresh and I know what it is I want to say.

SW: What is your writing kryptonite? 

JRP: My weakness in writing? Or what keeps me from writing? My weakness is sensory detail. I have to go back in revisions and add that. What keeps me from it? Too many breakfasts and lunches with friends!

SW: Cultivating relationships is important. It's a matter of finding balance in that. Of all the characters you’ve written, who would you accept a date with? 

JRP: Oh wow! I’ll keep it to the ones published because I’d go on a date with a non-published hero hands down. But…I think I’d go out with Wilder Flynn. He was introduced to readers in Final Verdict. Readers will see him in the Security Specialists series, Deep Waters, Secret Service Setup, and in June he will get his own story. I’m head-over for Wilder. Most readers seem to be as well. At least they keep asking when he’s getting his own story!

SW: Well, now I want to know about this non-published hero AND I'm looking forward to Wilder's book. Any advice for aspiring readers? 

JRP: Don’t get in a frenzy about “when will I be published?!” and just remember that God is already your exceedingly great reward. He’ll get you there and it won’t look at all like you’ve envisioned, so be flexible or you’ll miss opportunities!

SW: Love that advice! Sometimes it's hard to remember that God's timing is perfect, isn't it?

Let’s get some specifics about your newest release, Secret Service Setup. Who would you cast as your hero and heroine in a movie? 

JRP: Scott Eastwood would be cast as Evan Novak, and Jennifer Lawrence would be cast as Jody Gallagher.
Scott Eastwood as Evan Novak

Jennifer Lawrence as Jody Gallagher

SW: Was anything left out of the book that you really wanted to leave in there? 

JRP: Haha! Actually, there’s a scene early on (Chapter 4) where Evan gets cut on the arm and Jody cleans his wound. It’s a pretty intense moment, close quarters in the bathroom. They have a major history together. The attraction is still there and she tells him to remove his shirt. It’s that pause and stare each other down kind of moment and my editor said he couldn’t be shirtless (not allowed in LI books). Well, poo! I tried. So, the emotion is still there. He takes off his button-up and has on a T-shirt. But I really wanted him shirtless.

SW: I read that scene and the attraction and emotion are definitely there despite the Tshirt. Well, Jessica, we're out of time. It was a pleasure getting to know you better. Thank you for joining us this week.

JRP: Thank you so much for having me here!

Stop by Jessica’s website and visit her BOOK CLUBS page to see bonus features, her Pinterest story world, fun facts, and read an excerpt of her books! Also, while you’re there, sign up for her newsletter and get “Patched In” with book news, sales, and promos and don’t forget to become a facebook friend!

About Secret Service Setup

A federal agent in the crosshairs

Can The Security Specialists protect him?

Secret Service agent Evan Novak becomes the target of multiple hit men when someone puts a two-million-dollar bounty on his head. Is it the gunrunner he’s tracking...or a traitorous agent? Framed and wanted, Evan reluctantly accepts protection from bodyguard Jody Gallagher, his former love who lost her Agency career because of him. But then the bounty is raised to include Jody…


Jessica Patch is giving away a paperback copy of Secret Service Setup to one Diamond Mine visitor (US addresses only). To enter, simply leave a comment below and tell us which fictional character you would like to go on a date with. Be sure and leave a way we can contact you if you win.

***Giveaway only valid after 5 unique users comment. Winner will be chosen using from qualifying comments on 3/21/18.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

YA Fantasy Writer, S.D. Grimm and Book Giveaway!

I am so pleased to being in another writer I have actually met in person! I met S.D. during my first writing conference. And now, I get to introduce this awesome writer to you, faithful readers. When you hear Grimm, you may think of fairy tales. I don’t think you’d be too off the mark with that thought! I introduce to you, S.D.Grimm!

S.D.Thank you SO much for having me! I’m really excited to be here.

P.T. Let’s get right to it. What genre do you write in and what led you to write?

S.D. I write YA fantasy and science fiction. They are my favorite genres to read, and I so I love writing them. <3 I started writing in the second grade because I love escaping into new worlds and meeting new characters. I love reading about their journeys both inner and outer. And I love reading about relationships between characters. That is my favorite.

P.T. Tell about your new novel Amber Eyes and the Children of the Blood Moon series.

S.D. Okay! So the Children of the Blood Moon trilogy is about Jayden, dagger-wielding, storm-detecting orphan, who is the only hope of saving the Feravolk race. Maybe they should have thought of that before they killed her family. It’s a sword and sorcery type fantasy with wolves, unicorns (not your average peaceful ones) and flying, venomous black lions. Not your average fairy tale.

P.T. So I’m super curious. Where do you get the new words you use? (eg: Soleden, Feravolk)

S.D. Awesome question! Soleden comes from meshing the words soul and Eden. So, think the soul of the Garden of Eden. And Feravolk has German origins. I wanted the people who bond and commune with nature like my Feravolk do to have a name that symbolized this. So the word volk in German means people, and fera comes from the word feral. So there you have it: wild people.

P.T. Aha! Now, we have a little peek into how your writing brain works. What are you writing/planning next?

S.D. Well, the final Children of the Blood Moon book comes out in January, but in the meantime, I just had a brand new series launch two days ago! Phoenix Fire is the first book in the Phoenix Cycle series. It’s a historical romance meshed with present-day urban fantasy with a taste of a Romeo-and-Juliet-esque forbidden love. Basically, Ava Elderson has been born before, as a Phoenix—monster hunter and guardian of the human race—but she won’t remember this until her sixteenth birthday.

P.T. Oooh. Nice! Now, time to put you in the hot seat. Questions come fast and furious. Are you ready for a challenge, S.D?

S. D. I’m ready!

P.T. While writing, coffee (black, sugar, cream?), tea (regular, Earl Gray, herbal?), hot chocolate
(milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate?) or other?

S.D. Always water. Frequently chai. Recently butterbeer

P.T. Prefer e-book reader, or print book?

S.D. Hardcover is my favorite way to read. But I love books in paperback and on my e-reader, too.

P.T. Need a window/no distractions? Prefer laptop/pc?

S.D. I love to write to music. But when I’m line editing, I need to have it off so I can listen for cadence, rhymes, word overuse, etc.

P.T. Other artistic abilities?

S.D. I make clay dragons! 

Incredible! Meeting S.D. Grimm is like a fantasy. And you can be entered to win a copy of S.D. Grimm's book Amber Eyes! Leave a comment below, like always, and when 5 or more comment, one, ONE will be chosen! Take a little time to show some love to this talented author! We LOVE our readers! Chime in now.

Keep up with S.D. Grimm here:
Instagram: @SDGrimmAuthor


S. D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction, which is to be expected from someone who looks up to heroes like Captain America and Wonder Woman, has been sorted into Gryffindor, and identifies as rebel scum. Her patronus is a red Voltron lion, her spirit animal is Toothless, and her favorite meal is second breakfast. Sarah enjoys reading, making her clay dragons (Grimmlies), and practicing MMA. Her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog, and you can learn more about her upcoming novels at

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