Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Sarah Monzon Combines the Past and Present with Freedom's Kiss

Welcome back to the Diamond Mine, friends! We hope you are finding some new and new-to-you authors. This week I'm thrilled to introduce you to an author who delves into some difficult topics in her stories, and she does it with dual-time stories, contemporary books, and her new foray into rom-coms. Meet Sarah Monzon.

Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain's wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn't enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn't in the world of make believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

SW: Welcome to the Diamond Mine, Sarah! I’m thrilled you are visiting this week and excited to introduce you. Let’s start with some quick, get-to-know-you questions

Early bird or night owl? 

SM: Early bird

SW: Chocolate or vanilla? 

SM: Chocolate

SW: Pancakes or waffles? 

SM: waffles

SW: Libraries or museums? 

SM: This is a trick question!

SW: Yes, it was! This one is not. Book or movie? 

SM: Book

SW: What is one recent read you would recommend? 

SM: No Less Days by Amanda Stevens. I read A LOT of books and am always on the look out for a plot/story that is unique and out of the box. No Less Days is full of diversity in many surprising layers and a story that will really engage your mind and heart.

SW: I, too, enjoyed No Less Days and look forward to the next book. You live in the Pacific Northwest. What would you recommend someone visiting for the first time not miss?

 SM: A National Park. Hands down. Glacier, Rainier, Olympics…they are all simply stunning and
Mount Rainier in Washington
must not be missed. 

SW: Oh, I agree. The majestic mountains are worth the trip! 

One thing I love about the author community is how supportive everyone is of each other. Who has supported you in your writing journey (authors and others)?

SM: I love that, too! Some writing sisters have been on this journey with me from the beginning and others have lifted me up and encouraged me at divinely specific times. I especially appreciate readers and bloggers that take the time to write reviews and support authors in a really vocal way. Sending out virtual hugs to you all.

SW: Now that you’ve got a few titles out there, is there anything you wish you’d done differently? Or any lessons you’ve learned you could share with aspiring authors?

SM: I think the most important lesson that I’m still struggling to learn is that of focus. Keeping my focus on my writing only and the unique ministry God has called me too. Too often I get distracted by other things like sales numbers and reviews and easily get discouraged when all that stuff doesn’t ultimately matter. All that matters is that I stay faithful to what God has called me to do and the stories that He has given me to write.

SW: Amen! I think we all need to remember that at times in our lives.

You’ve written dual time, contemporary, and romantic comedy. Do you have a favorite genre? (By the way, I adored Bookishly Ever After and hope you are planning more romcoms in the near future) 

SM: *hides face behind hands* I know! I am so scattered all over the place genre wise. Do I have a favorite though… I don’t know! I like each for different reasons. If I *had* to choose, though, I think dual time might just edge out the others. Just. Maybe. *sigh* Must I chose? 

Side note—I am so glad you enjoyed Bookishly Ever After! That was a fun one to write. I’m planning on two more bookish type stories along the same lines. In fact, I’m working on one now and hope to have it out in a few months.

SW: Yay! More romcoms from you. And your writing variety isn't a bad thing. I've enjoyed all of them from the Finders Keepers series to The Esther Project (and have I mentioned how much I loved Bookishly Ever After?).

Which of your characters is most like you? Which hero would you accept a date with? 

SM: Almost all of my characters have a component of either my personality or my own backstory, but the character that is MOST like me is undoubtedly Emory Blake from Bookishly Ever After. Emory is basically me but with dark, curly hair. A bibliophile that’s awkward and has no idea how to make small talk…yep, that’s me to a T.

As far as which hero I would date, is all of them an acceptable answer? Seriously, I fell in love with each and every one of them while I wrote them, so it would be impossible for my heart to pick just one. Polygamy is acceptable with fictitious characters, right?

SW: Fictional polygamy is totally acceptable!

Tell us a little about your newest release, Freedom’s Kiss and what you hope readers take away from the story.

SM: Freedom’s Kiss is a dual timeline book with both a contemporary and historical thread from the 1800s woven together. In 1816, Winnie escapes slavery with her family, but instead of finding freedom to the North, they travel through Georgia to Florida hoping to find refuge in Negro Fort. Their plans go awry but are accepted among the Seminole people. 

Now jump forward 200 years..
(For those who are familiar with the Carrington family (this is the third book in the series), this book tells Adam’s story.) Adam is a criminal defense attorney turned food truck owner. He’s haunted by his role with a past case and seeks to make restitution for it but nothing he does seems to take the guilt away. Enter Olivia Arroyo in a hurricane of motion, blowing into his life but fitting like she’d always been there. Olivia knows what she wants—to become a chef—but the foundation of who she *is* is shattered with a surprising result from a DNA ancestry test.

Three people completely different yet all searching for the peace only found with a kiss from freedom.

I hope readers are encouraged by the themes of embracing the abundant life God has for each of us and the freedom found only in Him.

SW: Can't wait to read this one soon! It was a pleasure spending time with you. Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to visit with us today.

SM: Thank you so much for having me!

SW: Readers, Sarah is gifting one of you a signed paperback copy (US address only) of Freedom's Kiss. Keep reading to find out how to enter.

They were prisoners of the past. Could legacy be the key to set them free?

Olivia Arroyo knows who she is and where she’s going—her sense of family responsibility a stepping-stone to her dream of becoming a chef. When her employer refuses her the chance to move from server to the kitchen, she makes another opportunity for herself with the owner of a new food truck. But her life derails when a hidden piece of her past suddenly comes to light, and she discovers everything she thought she knew about herself has been a lie.

A single decision can have innumerable consequences—a truth that has changed Adam Carrington’s life. A criminal defense attorney turned food truck owner, he is haunted by his role in an unpardonable act and driven by his need to make restitution. Unexpected help comes in the form of a feisty, raven-haired beauty, but she soon begins challenging his kitchen as well as his heart.

Florida, 1816
Propelled by a fleeting hope of freedom, Winnie and her family escape slavery and find refuge and new life with the Seminole Indians of Florida. But their future is still uncertain as threats of war, a return to slavery, and removal to the West shake their tentative grasp on freedom. Will they ever step out of the shadow of fear to leave a legacy of deliverance? 

Now available on Amazon


To be entered to win the signed paperback copy of Freedom's Kiss, leave a comment telling us what you most enjoy about the dual time genre (you can also tell us if you haven't read this genre yet). Get an extra entry by signing up for Sarah Monzon's newsletter or following her on social media and letting us know. 

***Giveaway ends 9/4/2018, 11:59 pm EST. Giveaway open to US addresses only. Not valid if less than five unique commentors enter.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Author Naomi Miller is Mixing Up Something Sweet with a Dash of Mystery!

(Leave a comment below to enter!)

Welcome into the kitchen, readers! Yes, we're mixing up some healthy cupcakes for you little darlings! Author Naomi Miller is with us and, in her own words, combines a batch of tales filled with intrigue and a dash of romance.

PT:  Hello, Naomi! Grab an apron and lets start mixing! You know the readers always want to know the ingredients of a writer's background and how you baked up this sweet treat of writing.
NM: I began writing many years ago. . . 1990 to be exact. I had just become a single mom and I found that although I loved writing, I just didn’t have time to pursue it. I wrote notes, letters, articles, short stories, and occasionally I thought about a career as a writer/novelist, but never did I consider such a dream could ever become a reality.

Several years ago, after my own children were grown, my daughter challenged me to sit down and write a novel. She even offered to join me and write one, so I began what I planned to be a sweet story about a young Amish girl—but less than halfway into the story, someone was almost murdered! Needless to say, I was surprised, but kept writing. I’m not quite ready to let it go yet, but in the meantime, I began writing the Amish Sweet Shop Mystery series. . . and that’s my story.

PT: Tasty beginnings! I see you are part of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Have you attended any workshops/conferences and how have they helped you and your writing?

NM: I have attended two ACFW conferences, with my third one coming up in September. I’ve also attended numerous workshops. . . each one being a treasure of information.

 The very first workshop I attended was in Knoxville, Tennessee, where I lived. The woman who would eventually become the founder of S&G Publishing sent me to a Knoxville Writer’s Guild workshop. It ended up being one of the best things to happen to me, because it was there that I found the courage to begin my career, with information on how to use social media and marketing ideas that was needed to be a successful author.

PT: Tell us a little about the Amish Sweet Shop Mystery Series and how you came up with the idea.

NM: I was working on the Amish Suspense story when I felt a need to write a sweet, cozy mystery without murder or many of the other problems people face today. Just an old-fashioned, sweet story about a community that takes care of its residents. The idea for Katie (the main character) to work in a bakery was to allow her to be an active part of the town, in a job where she would be able to keep up with everything going on around her.

PT: Do you have an goal you’re working toward right now in terms of writing?

NM: Right now I’m finishing up White Chocolate New Year (due next month), re-writing Plain Intent (Amish Suspense), waiting and watching for A Suitor For Rebekah (Amish Romance co-authored with Rachel L. Miller) to be released the end of the month, and… working on a secret project with another author that I’m really excited about (I can’t say anything more about it now; but I promise to post on Facebook about it as soon as I can).

PT: Oooh. A delicious secret ingredient. I love it! Now my favorite mash-up. Give 5 things fast about Naomi Miller that have little to do with writing.


     1. I homeschool my grandchildren — and I love it
     2. I can’t sleep without a fan running (preferably blowing on me)
     3. My favorite color is purple (although I love them all)
     4. I avoid doctors (like the plague… ha ha)
     5. I love snuggling with a good book and a soft blanket, especially on rainy and snowy days

There you have it, with sprinkles of a delectable book giveaway! Thanks for cooking up something special for us, Naomi! Now, folks don't be left in the freezer. ((shudder)) Leave a comment below for a chance to win Naomi Miller's Blueberry Cupcake Mystery!


Naomi Miller mixes up a batch of intrigue, sprinkled with Amish, Mennonite, and English characters, adding a pinch of mysteryand a dash of romance.

Naomi works full time as an author blogger and inspirational speaker. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) organization.

When she's not working diligently to finish her next book, Naomi tries  to make time for attending workshops, writing conferences, and other author events. Whenever time permits, Naomi can be found in one of her favorite placesthe beach and the mountains.

Naomi's day is spent focusing on her writing, editing, and blogging about her experiences. Naomi loves traveling with her family, singing inspirational/gospel music, taking a daily walk, and witnessing to others of the amazing grace of Jesus Christ.

How to Find Naomi on Social Media

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Interview and GIVEAWAY with Joanna Davidson Politano

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 are prying into the private life chatting with THE Joanna Davidson Politano, author of the amazing Lady Jayne Disappears (You can read my raving review here!) and A Rumored Fortune, which I am reading right now. IT'S AMAZING!

Joanna Davidson Politano spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her debut novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, released October 3 from Revell and A Rumored Fortune releases in July 2018. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods and shares stories that move her at
Connect with Joanna on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, too!

Interview ~

First things first, what is you go-to yummy drink when you sit down to read and/or write?

Ok, this is weird - grapefruit juice! I mostly drink water, but a real good and sweet pink grapefruit juice is my absolute favorite treat. I don't often do tea/coffee, but this tall glass of sugary goodness is my weakness.

I honestly did not expect that! Mind blown! Hahaha! What is your favorite snack when you sit down to read or write with your imaginary peeps?

Actually cereal is my go-to! It's a real easy snack to sit next to me and not drip on the couch. Cinnamon cereal of any kind is my fav. :-)

Cereal is a pretty common snack in my house, too! And I love all things cinnamon, much to my husband's dismay. Haha! Confession Time: do any of your characters have any of your own "odd" habits? Safe space. ;-)

Oh, definitely! My first heroine, Aurelie Harcourt in Lady Jayne Disappears, wrote the people around her into stories and while everyone recognized themselves in the stories, no one knew who was writing about them. I did the same thing in gradeschool when I was intensely bothered by certain kids being overlooked (they became superheroes in my little stories) and bullies never seeing justice (they saw payback in my stories too). I wrote them for myself, but somehow a few ended up circulating around the classroom and I was surprised at the impact it had on a few kids. So that was cool, and I was excited to play that out in a novel.

This is one of the coolest author-to-character quirks I've ever heard of! What inspired you to write your latest release, A Rumored Fortune?

Two real-life stories, actually. The mystery came from a family friend whose grandfather didn't trust the (highly corrupt) Italian banks...or his family, apparently. He hid his sizeable fortune and promised to tell them where it was before he died - but passed away quite young of a heart attack. In real life, the money was never found. I won't tell you if it plays out that way in the book! The romance was also inspired heavily by my own love story, from the time I first met my husband (and couldn't stand him) to the time I nearly speed-walked down the aisle toward the man of my dreams. I combined the two because the family friend in the mystery story is the one who convinced me to give my very Italian man a second look.

I love, love, love this! #allthehearts Such a cool look at the story behind the story! What is your favorite thing about writing in this genre?

To be honest, I'm not even sure what genre I write! I've seen it pop up in half a dozen different ones, and I'm fine with that. I just sat down to write for fun one day, and I let it flow into the type of story I wanted to read, complete with a little mystery, a little romance, and an atmospheric English country house. The mystery angle keeps me asking, "What's going on? What in the world??" and keeps me pressing forward to find out. The romance portions just delight my little heart.

Hahaha! Your stories do reach into a lot of genres, but that just makes them even more amazing! What is the hardest thing about writing in your super-genre (rabbit trail, but this should be a thing, yes?)?

It can be really hard to connect all the intricate pieces to make a full picture and have all the pieces work together. Although that's also the most fun part, because it's such a thrill to watch all the elements God's given me fit together to create a larger story than I'd imagined.

YESSS!!! It is awesome to see how God works the story! What message do you hope to convey to your readers with A Rumored Fortune?

I'd really love for people who are dry, or living in survival mode to find the difference between a full life and actually being full of life. It took me the length of this book project to reach a place where I was living well, and not being driven by daily tasks, attending to needs, and stomping out the flames of my to-do list. There's so much that God intends to communicate to us through vineyards, and I hope that people understand those Scripture passages - and what God says about how they receive life and grow fruit - so they know how to live more richly. It was such a needed "message," if I can call it that, for my young-mama heart while I faced a little burnout and exhaustion. Trying to keep up with life can be draining, and most of us KNOW there has to be something more out there.

Those are powerful truths that I know I need to be reminded about! <3 Can you tell us a little about your next project?

Of course! This is one I'm super excited about. The heroine is a rag vendor who switches places with her lookalike, who is a lady, and ends up in a very bookish romance. That's all I can say right now, but I think it may be my favorite - and most suspenseful - story yet.

I can't wait for this story!!! *squeals* What is your (current) favorite Bible verse or story that inspires you on a soul level?

My guiding life verse is Matthew 6:33, about seeking God's kingdom first and letting everything else fall into place. Isaiah is my favorite book because it most clearly shows the duality of God's nature - the holy righteous judge and the protective, gracious father. Proverbs is currently slapping me upside the head and making me examine my speech and the heart from which it comes!

Oh, man! I have gotten many spiritual slaps from Proverbs! LOL! What are you currently reading? Inquiring minds - mine - want to know! :-)

I'm reading an older novel called Edenbrooke and LOVING it. My last great read, however, was Kristy Cambron's The Lost Castle book, which is probably one of my favorites of all time.

LOVED The Lost Castle, and I'll have to check out Edenbrooke! *adds eight hundred and thirteenth book to Amazon cart*

Thank you for answering all my prying questions, Joanna! Such a blast talking with you! <3

Giveaway ~

Joanna has generously offered to giveaway one (1) copy of A Rumored Fortune.

Tressa Harlowe's father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn't take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they're really up to. She'll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father's fortune--before someone else finds it first.

Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they'll not soon forget.

Rules, Info, and Such ~

The author is giving away one copy of A Rumored Fortune!

This giveaway is open internationally. If an international winner is drawn, they will receive an ebook. If a US winner is chosen, they will receive a print copy.

This giveaway will close on August 22nd, 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!


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!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Meet Award-Winning Author MERRILLEE WHREN

Good morning everyone, I’m delighted to introduce y’all to my new friend and Award-winning Author Merrillee Whren

Merrillee! I’ve cursed technology in the beginning years of my writing journey, but the time has come to confess…I just love meeting and interviewing my author friends from all over the globe via cyberspace. Welcome to the Diamond Mine!

DiAne, thank you for having me here. I appreciate the opportunity to share my experiences and books with your readers.

In preparation for this interview, Merrillee, I took at walk through your Amazon trail and gracious girl, I find numerous books bearing your name…award-winning books…books I want to read, especially your Front Porch Promises Series. But then the paper trail led me to the Love Inspired Series and the Village of Hope Series. Either you began writing at the age of two or you don’t ever sleep.

From the time I was in elementary school, I made up stories. When I was in high school, I wrote a novel and shared it with my friends. It was like a serial because I would bring in the pages I had written the night before. Somehow, I did that and my homework, too. I never thought of writing a novel for publication until I was married and had children.

I had read a lot of romance novels because I always love a happy ending. I decided to write one of my own. I had no idea what I was doing, but I started writing. I wrote and submitted manuscripts to publishers for 20 years before I finally got a book contract with Steeple Hill, which eventually became Harlequin’s Love Inspired line. I wrote 14 books for them. I believe in God’s timing. Then I started on my indie publishing journey, mainly because I had stories I wanted to write that didn’t fit with Love Inspired. Those books are my Front Porch Promises series. I have loved writing these stories.

Books I read make me want to know more about the author than the back-cover copy allows. Tells us about the behind-the-scenes Merrillee. Husband? Children? Grandsugars?  (Caryl McAdoo’s sweet label for her reason for parenting) Things you do for inspiration and relaxation?

I’ve been married to my husband for forty-two years. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. We met in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I was a school teacher and he was a pharmacist. He eventually became an executive for several healthcare companies, and his job took us on a journey around the USA from small town Ohio to Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, and Chicago, until he started his own company when we moved to Florida. We have two daughters who share the same birthday, June 18, but they aren’t twins. They were born a year apart. We now have two granddaughters, 6 and 9, who keep us on our toes. We moved to Arizona to be near them, but then five years later they moved to New Jersey. We are not following them there. Too cold in the winter.

I’m an avid tennis player. You will find me on the courts three or four times a week, even in the heat of summer here in Arizona. I play mostly doubles, and I’ve been playing competitively for over 35 years.

I find inspiration for my stories in every day events. Anything can trigger a story idea.

Those story trigger affirmations are true with me too. My Roped Series came from years attending rodeos while learning to write and then spending time in the ring as a photographer for a local youth rodeo association.

I firmly believe writers stand on the shoulders of those who’ve blazed this trail before us. For all those wannabe authors, just writing their first book authors, and those fortunate enough to have a book in line for release authors, please give us some sound, sage counsel from your experience. Things you wish you’d known before that first synopsis was sent, contract was signed, or release day dawned.

My first bit of advice is: Don’t compare yourself to other writers. We are all individuals, even in the writing world. I always tell newer writers to find their own process. You can listen to advice on how to write, and use that advice to find the way that works best for you. For years I listened to people tell me how to plot, and I tried. But that doesn’t work for me. It was so freeing to learn there were others out there who didn’t have a clue what was going to happen in the story until they started to write it.

Merrillee, when you pick up a book by a new author what are you looking for and what would cause you to close the book after a chapter or two?

I’m looking for a story that makes me care about the characters and what happens to them. I like an emotional read, a story that makes me laugh and cry. If I don’t care about the characters, I don’t continue to read the book. My reading time is too valuable to waste it.

With all the changes in the publishing, technology, and advertising industries do you believe we run the risk of seeing fewer hold-in-your hand books published? I know ebooks are handy and more economical…which do you prefer?

I don’t know what will happen to print books. I believe they won’t disappear completely. Fewer may be printed. I love reading on my tablet. I don’t have to worry about carting around a pile of books when I go on vacation. I don’t have to worry about a bookmark or losing my place if the bookmark falls out. I still prefer print books for reference books and children’s books. I often do my Bible reading online, but I still take my Bible to church, while my hubby uses his phone during the sermon.

What’s running circles in your mind or marked WIP (work in progress) on your computer…what’s next?

I’m at a crossroads right now. The fifth book in my Front Porch Promises series, A BABY TO CALL OURS, has just released. I plan six books for this series, and I have a page written for #6. But I’ve also just received the rights back from Love Inspired for my Kellerville series, which I plan to rename, Kellersburg, (my original name for the town in the books). I plan to reissue these books and would like to expand the series. I’m debating about whether to start book six of the Front Porch Promises series or start book four of the Kellersburg series. And I have two novellas set in a fictional town in Maryland. I’d like to add a third to that series. Decisions. Decisions.

It’s been interesting and entertaining having you visit with us today. I’ve seen your name on correspondence through the years, but have enjoyed getting to know you today…at least a little or ’til we have that glorious Writers’ Conference when we all get home. Do you think writing will be easier in our eternal home? I’m bettin’ it’ll be lots more interesting, fun, and factual, when we get to see Jesus—face to face.

 ‘Til then, thanks for being with us today. And y’all Merrillee’s offering her ebook, A Place To Call Home, from her Front Porch Series as a give-a-way drawing. All you have to do is answer in your comment, what did you want to be when you were in high school, and did you follow through? Go to and shop through Merrillee’s vast selection of summer reading fun.

Merrillee Whren, USA TodayBestselling Author
Front Porch Promises
A Baby to Call Ours, Book 5
Connect with Merrillee:  Website  Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Google +