Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Interview and Giveaway with Author Peggy Trotter!!

Enter the giveaway for a free copy by leaving a comment after the interview.

Today on The Diamond Mine, we welcome back author Peggy Trotter, one of the founding members of this blog! I feel so blessed to have met Peggy years ago through our ACFW critique group. Peggy has an awesome talent for creating moods and characters that really grab your attention. Her latest novel, out today, is The Secret Storm

Here's a short description:
Within the cozy coastal town…secrets abound. Stormi Zobroski’s life is finally on track. Her immoral life decisions, stemming from a dysfunctional childhood, are nothing but a bad memory. New town, new life. Or so she thinks. When a new friend, Ake Pearson, is belittled, Stormi conjures up the perfect plan. Yet, how could a little face-saving kiss cause so much harm? Now, she will do anything to fix it.
Ake Pearson is a simple man. Faith, family, and fishing. Even if everybody calls him “Dummy,” he’s content with his lot. Only when Stormi thunders into his life does he realize what he is missing. Family disapproval and misunderstandings threaten to tear Stormi from him. But when a long kept secret surfaces, Ake may lose his very life.

Well Peggy, this sounds like a great read! Can you tell the readers something about your new release and what inspired you to write it?

I wrote it for people who have left the rails. Their life is off-kilter and out of God’s will. They’re making bad choices because they have lost their way. Or perhaps they’ve grown up in a dysfunctional family that veered them from the path God intended. They are angry and bitter and try to carve their own way through life. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
I always want to show people that no one is beyond God’s ability to restore them. No secret sin is too big.

That's so true, and a message that people really need to hear.
So, without further ado, here's an excerpt from The Secret Storm:

Ake took a deep breath. “They think I want you as my girlfriend.”
A laugh burst from Stormi, but his lowered head frightened the mirth away. “I’m sorry. I’m not laughing about that, really, just it sounds like high school.”
Ake gave a small smile. “Yeah.”
The sadness written on his face sobered her. “Really, Ake. I wasn’t laughing at the thought of us being boyfriend and girlfriend.”
He nodded. “It’s okay. I only had one date my Senior Prom. Hoge found a girl to go with me, but she said it wasn’t like that either. She did it as a favor. I understand.”
Fury and sorrow fought a battle in Stormi, and she shoved her mittened hands into her pockets. The men returned from the grill with hot drinks, pounding Ake on the shoulder again and laughing. It took a large amount of control not to knock those two down the stairs. When the two men made it to the dock, one of them handed a Styrofoam cup to Ake’s brother. More scowls.
What complete blockheads. As if Ake didn’t deserve a normal blissful life of marriage and a family. A perfect plan began to formulate in her mind. “You know. We could pretend.”
“We could give them a real show. Shut them up for good.”
Ake’s eyes crinkled. “I don’t follow you.”
Stormi scooted closer and shot Ake a grin. “We could pretend we were together. A couple. Then they wouldn’t tease you.”
He shook his head with a start of a smile. “I’m not much into pretending.”
“It wouldn’t be complicated.” Brilliance lightened her demeanor. She arched closer and tilted her head coquettishly, the flirt that never failed to provoke a man’s attention. “You wouldn’t have to say anything about us. You could just shrug it off. Or just smile. What’s between a man and a woman is private, after all.”
His dark eyes, open and trusting, glued to hers. “I don’t know how that would work.”
“I do. We could kiss.”

Well, that surely makes me want to see how all this turns out! So Peggy, what sort of a writer are you?
Do you schedule your writing time or do you write in “bursts” of inspiration?

Both. But mostly bursts of inspiration. I am not a scheduled kind of person. I need to be. I try to be, but I am just a live-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person, LOL. I finish things by each deadline. There is good and bad things about that. I suppose it means I’m a creative person. But it also means that mostly the squeaky wheel things get done, prioritized by time. I’ll skip meals, stay up until two in the morning when inspiration is whispering in my ear and not even notice the time. Or my stomach. J

It's amazing isn't it? You can lose yourself in the writing process and time just melts away!
Did you always know you would be a writer?

No. It seemed too far-fetched. Sure, I dreamed of it even as a very young child. I remember writing my cousin when I was about twelve telling her I wanted to be a writer. Then the writing bug bit me pretty hard when I was fourteen and totally obsessed with horse novels. Until I realized, after three pages of pounding out my “novel” on a manual typewriter, writing was hard!
But writing has never left me. It’s been quite handy in other job situations. I’d write a poem here for an event, a play here for a preschool, a silly story for a niece and nephew. I scribble a chapter here and there as my kids grew. But writing was always this nagging thing in the back of my mind that never went away.

I think that's true for many writers. And I'm so glad you stuck with it so I can read your stories!
What do you like best about writing and what do you like least?

Oh, best by far is when inspiration has you by the horns and I am pounding out words as fast as I can. When my characters are thick in tension, love, and overcoming the worst possible situations. That is like the sweetest candy. The worst is marketing. Trying to get your novel out there in front of the people who need it. I suppose that matches my personality as well, LOL. Writing is creating while marketing is planning.

Boy, do I hear you on that one. Marketing is not a strength of mine, either! But I guess we have to keep learning about it so we can get our stories in front of  more people.
What are you working on now?

Well, I just finished my fourth book which comes out tomorrow. The Secret Storm is the second in the series of Unchained Souls. I am working of the third of that series called, The Secret Mirage, with the hopes of a fourth after that. I am also working on taking my Historical and possibly turning it into a series. That is, if my publisher goes for that, LOL, therefore I have two others that I am working on right now in the historical category. So I’ll be back in the writing cave. Yay!

You said it! The writing cave is such a great place to be! Peggy, thanks so much for this interview. And readers, don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Peggy's book! 
Now, here's a bio of Peggy, followed by her social links:

Peggy Trotter, a semi-retired teacher, is on a continual quest to find one of her many pairs of glasses. But once those readers are parked on her nose, she‘s immersed in a story scene of some sort, always pushing toward that miracle happy ending. On a dusty shelf lies a couple of writing honors like the prestigious ACFW Genesis Award, Novella category, even though she writes full-length historical, contemporary and suspense Christian Fiction.
She has two amazing grown children, two terrific children-in-laws, and two unbelievably fantabulous grandchildren, who deserve way more than the average amount of adjectives and adverbs. Her Batman of 34 years, whose cape is much worn from rescuing his wife from one scrap or another, is the delight of her life. She’s a smoldering pot of determined discombobulation who, by the grace of God, occasionally pulls it together to appear in public as a normal confident woman while privately craving a few hermit hours to woo the printed word.
Amazon Author’s Profile Page:

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Welcome Author Gail Pallotta

Good morning everyone! I’d like to introduce you to my friend and fellow author, Gail Pallotta. Gail is an award-winning author, wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. 

Gail, I’ve read several of your books, and I’ve always wondered where does your story line come from? Real events in your life? Totally fictional? Or a whisper from God?

A mix of all three. Sometimes I observe a situation or have an experience that nags me until I write about it. In general I know something about my subject matter. As a result, I understand what a character would do in a certain situation from a personal perspective as well as from research. However, I weave fictitious stories around the things I know. In Barely Above water a young woman finds out she has Lyme disease. I have the disease, so I know the subject matter, but I only wish I were in my twenties living at the beach. In my new book Hair Calamities and Hot Cash, the heroine runs her own beauty salon. I practically grew up in my mother’s beauty shop, so I’m familiar with the perspectives of the hairstylist and the customers. However, I researched today’s new products and techniques.

When did you begin writing? In school? Or was there a particular life changing event that directed you to write?
I’ve made up stories for as long as I can remember. For years, I penned stories and essays and stuffed them in a desk drawer. My first published piece appeared in a grammar school newspaper a friend and I wrote for our class.

Readers always want to know more about their favorite authors than what appears in our short bios. Where did you grow up? Are you married? Who’s the lucky fella and do y’all have children or grands? Tell us a little about your family.

I grew up at the foothills of the North Carolina Mountains, and yes, I’m married to Rick Pallotta. We have a wonderful daughter and son-in-law, but no grandchildren.

 Is there a particular event or scripture that affected your writing? Will you share that time with us?

In college I was asked to participate in the school’s first ever creative writing class. Now, am I old or what? I’d always wanted to write, but knew I had to make a living. I learned in the class I could support myself writing for a newspaper, magazine, radio station or possibly for a large company. And that’s what I did. I graduated and worked as an editor and copywriter. Then, I took a job in public relations handling press releases and writing articles for the company magazine and newspaper. It wasn’t writing books, but it paid the bills. I tucked away the desire to write fiction for many years and am happy to have the opportunity to do it now.

When and what was the first thing you ever had published? And how did that happen? I believe new writers are always wanting to know how that happens for the writers they read.

The first thing I had published outside of a school assignment was a poem. The instructor for the creative writing class in college required us to send a poem or short story to a publisher, so we would better understand the submission process. Fortunately, “The Wave” was accepted and published by Anthology of American Poetry, Book V.

When you’re not writing, what fills your time-outs?

My family, church, friends, swimming, reading, going to lunch with hubby. I don’t sew or create crafts. However, when I have time I enjoy making flower arrangements.

Now let’s zip toward the exciting news—the reason we’ve scheduled this interview for this point in time—YOUR NEW BOOK—Hair Calamities and Hot Cash, which I believe releases November 2nd.   Will you please give us a sneak preview…from your lips to our eyes and ears?

Here’s a statement about Hair Calamities and Hot Cash“A comedic romp from small town to big city in search of missing money, hair catastrophes, and love. A truly fun read”—Cynthia Hickey, author of the Shady Acres Mystery series.
In the story a New York stockbroker crashes his car into Eve Castleberry’s North Carolina beauty shop...on the same day the young widow’s defective hair products are causing wild hairdos.  Soon Eve finds herself helping the handsome stranger hunt the thieves who stole his client’s cash...and hot on the trail of two of the F.B.I.’s most-wanted criminals! Romance blossoms amid danger, suspense and Eve’s hair-brained plan to get back the money.

What do you want readers to take away from this latest book?

A sense of people accepting and caring about each other. The atmosphere of the book reflects the small-town ambiance of my mother’s beauty shop. The people there weren’t perfect, but they were kind and caring. They had best friends, acquaintances, people they tolerated and those they kept at a distance. However, in times of crisis, illness or grief, prayers went up and casseroles went out whether the person was a close friend, somewhere in between or someone kept at a distance. They were all God’s children. I wanted to bring back the sense of community.

Please explain to our Diamond Mine viewers how much their reviews mean to all of us who write.

Good reviews are priceless. They’re a vital part of a book’s journey the author can’t fulfill. Other people decide whether or not to read a novel based on what reviewers say about it.

I always want to hear this next answer from every writer I interview…If you could give an unpublished, new writer one piece of solid advice that helped you and you believe would help or encourage them, what would those golden words be?

Keep writing. Keep learning everything possible about the craft, and don’t get discouraged.  

And, as always, readers want to know what’s next…will there be a sequel? A new series? Or is to early to be thinking about a new current WIP (work in progress)?

Thank you for asking. I’m working on a couple of romantic suspense novels, but they’re in early stages.

            Gail, it’s been fun having you on The Diamond Mine. And guess what…Gail’s going to

be giving away a copy of her award-winning book “Barely Above Water.” All you must do is comment by answering this question…

Question: Finding a hairstyle we like isn’t always easy. What qualities do you look for in a hairdresser?

            And don’t forget, you can pre-order Gail’s new release, Hair Calamities and Hot Cash. Again, release date is November 2nd    and if you pre-order the price is 99 cents. Be sure to check back with us here on the Diamond Mine, Tuesday, October 30th around 9 p.m. to see who wins a copy of Barely Above Water. 

Pre-order link for Hair Calamities and Hot Cash
long -
short -
Blurb for the giveaway book - Barely Above Water
Barely Above Water is a Reader’s Favorite 2017 Book Award Winner.
An illness comes out of nowhere and strikes Suzie Morris. Her boyfriend dumps her. She has no living family, and her physician can’t diagnose the malady. Suzie relies on her Christian faith as she faces the uncertainty of the disease, and turns to a renowned alternative doctor in Destin, Florida. She takes a job coaching a county-sponsored summer swim team. She’s determined to turn the fun, sometimes comical, rag-tag bunch into winners. Her handsome boss renews her belief in love, but learns of her mysterious affliction and abruptly cuts romantic ties. Later he has regrets, but can he overcome his fear of losing a loved one and regain Suzie’s trust?
Amazon buy link: 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Anticipating THE Kingdom with Jennifer Rodewald

Welcome back, friends! Y'all if you are not receiving the newsletters from this week's guests, sign up now! Jennifer Rodewald (who also writes under R. Rodes) gets to the heart of the matter every time. She's honest and open about where she's at in her own journey and reminds us that we are not alone in ours!

About the Author

J. Rodes lives on the wide plains somewhere near the middle of Nowhere. A coffee addict, pickleball enthusiast, and storyteller, she also wears the hats of mom, teacher, and friend. Mostly, she loves Jesus and wants to see the kids she's honored to teach fall in love with Him too.

Find her on Facebook at
Or on Instagram at @author.j.rodes.
Sign up for her newsletter at

SW: Welcome to the Diamond Mine, Jennifer. It’s a pleasure to have you join us this week. 

Would you rather: ride on a train, dance in the rain, or feel no pain?  (breaking out my Dr. Seuss impression here).

JR: Haha! I love that. Hmmm… that’s a tough choice. I love trains! So, can I have option D? Feel no pain (I have chronic back pain, so that would be dream come true!) while I ride in the observation car on the train in the midst of a gentle rain. Can I do that?

SW: Sure, why not, option D sounds like the best of all worlds to me! Would you rather wash dishes, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom, or vacuum the house?

 JR: Mow the lawn, because that is actually my favorite chore. Nothing better than a fresh cut lawn. 😊

SW: Fresh cut lawns are great (and you probably don’t deal with the humidity like we do here in Tennessee). 

When writing, how do you like your music: blaring, background noise, or complete silence?

JR: Depends on the mood/scene. If I’m in non-active mode, which means I’m building the story in my mind (or letting it build itself) without doing any writing, the music might be blaring. If I’m in full-swing writing, the music will be background or non-existent. 

SW: Still on the music topic, what song would you choose to sing at karaoke night?

JR: Ummm… yeah, no. 

SW: Ok, that answer cracked me up! 

What are the best and worst things about living in a rural area?

JR: The best thing is that you generally know almost everyone, and they know you. The worst thing is that you generally know almost everyone, and they know you. Plus also, driving. Lots and lots of driving. 

SW: All that driving = audio books! But that gets more difficult when you’ve got the kids in the car too. What are three things you always have near you when writing?

JR: Coffee. And that’s about it, consistently. Sometimes a pen and pad of paper, but not
always. Sometimes a reference book of some sort, but not always. 

SW: I have found authors are wonderfully supportive of each other. Who are your mentors/biggest supporters/go-tos when you’re stuck when it comes to your writing?

JR: Sarah Monzon, Sondra Kraak, and Janet Ferguson are my most consistent critique partners, I go to them with issues, block, or plotting advice. The same group for just emotional support, and also Christina Coryell, who has been fantastically faithful to read every one of my books and lend her proofreading savvy to the projects as well as her continuous encouragement. With specific YA questions/help, I’ve started going to Serena Chase, whom I met at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat, and have found to be just a straight-up beautiful, sincere person. For marketing/tech ideas/advice, I’ve gone to Misty Beller and Valerie Comer, who both know what they’re doing with all of this. And sometimes, if I just need a general writerly chat, I’ll go to a FB group dedicated to Christian authors.

SW: The Christian Fiction Readers Retreat is one of my favorite events of the year! I met Serena at CFRR17! And you just proved my observation: authors are the best encouragers when we're struggling with anything.

You’ve written about some difficult topics (addition, grief, anger, struggling marriages) and are transparent about the spiritual battles you go through while writing your books. Can you share an example or instance of the refining process you went through while writing one of your books?

JR: Oh, how do I pick one to share? In Finding Evergreen, I had to face the Pharisee in me—and that was scary. Because we don’t see Jesus holding out the gentle hand of compassion to the Pharisees nearly as often as He did the non-Pharisee. Asking the question, with my heart stripped bare, “can you love me too? Is Your grace for me too?” put me in a vulnerable spot. Maybe because we see so many who minister to our world who claim the younger brother’s story in the Parable of the Prodigal, and we assume that the whole story there is about that younger, rebellious son. 
a. But it’s not. 
b. That story is about the Father. And He has two boys, not one. And that gentle, loving Father wanted a sonship relationship with both boys. This is huge. Especially when we go back to the beginning if that chapter and take into account the audience standing there. The Pharisees. The non-Pharisees. 
c. Bottom line? Neither boy understood the relationship the Father longed for. One boy just wanted the blessings without the ties. The other boy locked himself into the bondage of slavery. 
d. Both desperately needed grace. This is the message. And this is the gift. Grace goes there. For both kids. 
e. Writing has made me a warrior for grace, because I take on so many points of view, see life from many different angles. And because of that, I’m a fighter for the gift and right to claim grace. For the rebellious and the slave bound legalist. Because the Father kindly offers it to both.
f. With this new story, Emerald Illusion, I’m freshly and keenly aware of the Kingdom. It is. It’s coming. And it’s awesome. I can’t wait to share this story with the world, because gaining that fresh, Kingdom view is… it’s just… wow. 
g. We can’t even imagine.

SW: Jennifer, your words are so often on point. And I can’t wait for THE Kingdom to be fully revealed (and I'm also looking forward to your new book).

You’ve written contemporary, YA dystopian, rom-com, and your upcoming release (Emerald Illusion, Oct 25) is YA fantasy.  What drew you to each genre?

JR: The story. Everyone on of them. Just the story. I learn through story—it’s my language. And God is faithful and oh-so-good to continue teaching me through it. The shades and flavors of story vary—and isn’t that so like our big God?—but the foundation is the same. He shows me something new in each adventure, and I’m game for whatever He’s got.

SW: God communicates best with the non-believers in Scripture through story, and I am so grateful he gave that gift to others—like yourself—to share. 

Y'all, Jen's new book is a take on The Wizard of Oz! How cool is that?

I am fascinated by the creativity and imaginations of authors when it comes to world-building. How was that process for you when writing Emerald Illusion?

JR: Ohhh… I actually loved it. Because I saw reflections of reality in the world building, as well as tender hints of the Kingdom, and it gave me a taste that thirsts for more. It’s given me a real hunger for the great Kingdom..

SW: Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule and sharing a little bit about yourself and your writing.

JR: Thank you so much for having me! I’m honored to be able to share my heart with you here! <3

More About Emerald Illusion

Abrielle used to dream of a different life. Adventure. Romance. Hope. 

Not of Kansas.

Now, after the loss of her mother and a move she didn’t want to make, she’s lost the will to dream anymore, let alone believe in her father’s Somedays.

But a swirling wind, a wall of leaves, and a blinding darkness literally transform her world.

She and both of her brothers, Brogan and Matteaus, are swept from Kansas to someplace beyond—to a desert in which everything is watery-brown, including the sky and the light of the weak sun. Abrielle finds herself in the middle of a realm everyone had heard of but no one believed existed. Except this version is rundown and broken, void of color and hope. Not much different from her view of life in Kansas.

When she gathers her bearings, she discovers her youngest brother is missing, lost in a land that is foreign and dying. Finding Matteaus becomes her sole focus, but when she and Brogan meet a boy named Levi, who only adds more mystery to this world that shouldn’t exist, she finds out this kingdom is much more perilous than the children’s book ever told.

Matteaus is in great danger.

There is nothing safe about Oz.

Purchase here

Jen is giving one reader (US addresses only) a print copy of the first book in her YA Dystopian series. Y'all I (Suzie) loved this trilogy. Even though it's classified as YA, I got so much out of these books. They are about discovering who you are and what you are going to stand for, even is it isn't the popular opinion. Don't miss your chance to read this series!

Entering is simple. Leave a comment below and tell us what your favorite genre to read is (it's okay if you have more than one). If you follow Jen on social media or sign up for her newsletter, tell us that too and you'll get an extra entry.

***US Addresses Only, there must be five unique commentors before giveaway is valid. Giveaway ends midnight 10/23/18