Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Interview with Victoria Pitts Caine, Author of Cotton!

Hi! 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 chatting with Victoria Pitts Caine, author of Cotton!

Victoria Pitts Caine is a native Californian and lives in the central portion of the state. Her varied interests include genealogy and exotic gemstone collecting both of which she’s incorporated into her novels.

The author has received recognition in both fiction and nonfiction from: Enduring Romance top 10 picks, William Saroyan Writing Conference, Byline Magazine, Writer’s Journal Magazine, Holt International Children’s Services Magazine, and The Southern California Genealogical Society. Her first novel, Alvarado Gold, was published in 2007 followed by three more as well as novellas and short stories in anthologies.

Victoria is a former staff technician in air pollution control. She is the mother of two daughters. Now retired from the work force, Victoria and her husband enjoy travel, cooking, and are self-appointed “foodies”.

Connect with Vicki Pitts Caine on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Author Page, or shoot her an email!

 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. ;-)

Definitely coffee.

Whew! LOL! On to our second most important question: if you could order anything in the world to eat, what would it be?

Probably Korean Barbeque – Bulgogi. Followed closely by chocolate cake.

I always seem to ask this question when I'm hungry, LOL! Sounds delicious! Where is your favorite place to write, and why is that your favorite place?

My office/spare bedroom. It’s usually quiet and it is the only space in the house that belongs to only me.

Those spaces are sacred! Do you have an odd habit that is only explained by your bookish, writer tendencies?

Keeping things in the right order. I always write my books from beginning to end before I go back and edit. I never write a scene or even dialogue to use “somewhere” in the book. It keeps my thinking in a straight line. I apply that elsewhere, too. 

LOL! I can relate; I'm very particular about everything being in its place! What inspired you to write Cotton?

I’ve always wanted to go to Savannah, the setting of my latest release. I was able to do a little exploring researching the city via the internet.

That's so cool! I love to travel to new-to-me locations in a story! What led you to write in this genre?

I wanted to write clean adventure that I would like to read myself. The historical aspect and the romance were encouraged by a mentor teacher. 

Write what you want to read - yes! That motto leads to so many creative stories. What message do you hope to convey to your readers?

In this particular book, I’d hope readers understand there’s a pull from our past that we can’t deny and sometimes returning home is where we really need to be. 

That's wonderful! Home holds a special place in a person's heart. Can you tell us a little about your next project?

 I’m working on a cozy mystery set in the California foothills just a few miles from my home.

Love cozy mysteries! They are so much fun! Do you have a favorite Bible verse or story that inspires you on a soul level?

 Ecclesiastics 3:1 - To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. 

That's a powerful verse! What are you currently reading? Inquiring minds - mine - want to know. :-)

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner.

I'll have to check it out! 

Thank you so much for chatting with us, Victoria!

Check out Victoria Pitts Caine's latest release!

Running from a life of poverty, 16 year old Cotton Ramsey escapes the Savannah River bottomland to New York. Twenty years later, she has changed her name and runs a large pharmaceutical company, which belonged to the family of her late husband. When Beau Simpson, her first love, arrives to deliver the news of her daddy’s untimely death, the life she struggled to leave behind calls her home.

Available on Amazon!

Cotton is on sale for $.99 on Wednesday, November 28th through Thursday, November 29th!

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 blogdevotional blogFacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Family, Holidays, and Writing Journeys with Debut Author Erin Unger

This week we welcome a debut author to the Diamond Mine that you'll be seeing more of in 2019. Not only because of the books she's got releasing next year (which we'll talk a little later) but also because she's joining the Diamond Mine team!

Let's give a warm welcome to romantic suspense author Erin Unger.

Erin Unger was raised in the hills of Virginia, exploring abandoned houses and reading the scariest books she could find. After marrying so young it would make a great romance novel, she has enjoyed an exciting life with her hubby. But her fast-paced life sometimes rivals the suspense in her books thanks to all her mostly grown children and a couple grandkids. Her novel, Desolate Paths, releases January 11, 2019.

Connect online:

Suzie: Welcome to the Diamond Mine, Erin. We are delighted you could join us for a visit.

An icebreaker is always a fun way to learn a little about a new friend, so let’s start with a game of Would you rather (I promise not to ask about eating anything disgusting)!

Would you rather win a million dollars in the lottery or never have to buy anything for yourself ever again?  

Erin: I’d rather not have to buy anything for myself. I bet that would equal tens of millions, lol.

Suzie: I agree (plus I'm not a huge fan of shopping to begin with). Would you rather be a contestant on a game show or a character in a soap opera?

Erin: A character in a soap opera would be so fun to over act.

Suzie: Would you rather sing like a diva or cook like a 5-star chef?

Erin: A 5-star chef is way more interesting. And it would make my family so happy to have all those gourmet meals every night.

Suzie: A 5-star chef would also produce something delicious. Would you rather have your own boat or your own island? 

Erin: Don’t you think an island would be such a dream come true? Then at least I could hide on it and get some writing done without a million interruptions.

Suzie: I am in complete agreement! Would you rather live a hundred years in the past or a hundred years in the future?
Erin: I’d go back to the past for sure. I’m dying to know all the little details of life that we can only guess about.

Suzie: Would you rather never be able to speak what’s on your mind or always speak the truth?

Erin: If I couldn’t speak what was on my mind, I think I’d go crazy!

Suzie: Ok, that was way fun! Now let’s get to some more personal questions. You have a large family. Five kids, y’all! As a single lady, I can’t even imagine! Can you share a couple of your favorite recent family moments with us?   

Erin: I’m so glad you asked Suzie. Last week, I went to visit my army son and his family in Texas. He just had a brand-new baby—my first granddaughter! I held her almost the whole time we were there. And playing with my three-year-old grandson made my year. Top all that off with seeing a bunch of iconic tourist sites and it was by far a favorite trip of all time. 

Suzie: Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, let’s talk about some of your family traditions for the holiday.

Erin:  Thanksgiving at my house is a crazy mix of family and fun. We cook for days. All my kids prepare a dish or dessert of their choice. And my whole extended family also contributes in potluck style. But I always do the turkey. We spend the whole day together, eating, doing puzzles, and playing games—and getting in a little nap too.

Suzie: Sounds like a great day of family and fun! By necessity (did I mention the five children?), you are a couponer. What advice or insight do you have for someone interested in saving money?  

Erin: I don’t coupon like I used to, but it’s a very important aspect of having a big family. The best advice I have is to always shop at stores which double every coupon. And match them to the sales in the sales ads. I’ve done it for years and saved about 65% on my grocery bill on a regular basis.

Suzie: Thanks for the tip! Now, tell us a little about your writing journey. 

Erin: My writing journey has been...well interesting. It hasn’t been easy or quick. But I’m so glad that God brought me through the difficult years and kept me from quitting many a time. I started writing nine years ago, but it isn’t until this coming year that all my hard work is going to come to fruition. 

Suzie: What a great testament to not giving up. With a full house (and then some), what kind of writing routine—or non-routine—do you have? 

Erin: I’ve been on sabbatical for a month but normally I write three days a week. I spend one day a week doing social media, guest posts, and writer maintenance or editing. And I write the other two days. I don’t always worry about word count because I have days where I work all day and still only get out 500 words.

Suzie: What drew you to romantic suspense? Who are your influences?

Erin: I’ve always been drawn to mysteries and suspense since I can remember. Even as a kid, I was looking for every Nancy Drew book and every mystery story I could find. I’ve been influenced so much by Harlan Coben, Stephanie Myers, Erynn Newman, Lynette Eason, Lynn Blackburn, Ronie Kendig, Dani Pettrey, and so many more. They’ve helped to shape my writing more then I imagined possible.

Suzie Definitely some names I recognize on that list. Romantic suspense intrigues me because of the research into procedures and laws and more. What is an interesting tidbit or experience you’ve come across while researching your books?   

Erin: Because of my novel, Desolate Paths, I learned a lot about alcoholism and how it affects people so differently. Some people can drink regularly for years and not be addicted, while others can drink for only a short amount of time and become alcoholics. Even the types of withdrawal can vary in extremes. And they aren’t necessarily directly related to how long a person drinks.

Suzie: Share with us a little about your debut release (coming January 11, 2019).

Erin: When rehab is Brooke Hollen’s only chance at redemption, she runs straight to it. But can she survive the serial killer who hides amongst the damaged and healing? And can she trust Kyle Reston, another rehab resident, who wants to take her under his wing? Or is he responsible for the residents who keep going missing?

Suzie: Do you have anything else in the works?

Erin: I have five books releasing next year. It’s going to be an exciting year. And, I’m in the middle of writing a series about a tight-knit urban community and its secrets, and I’m so excited about it. I can’t wait to get it in my readers’ hands.

Wow, five books? That is amazing (and goes back to that persistence paying off). Erin, thank you again for your time today! I look forward to reading Desolate Paths soon!

Erin is giving one reader a $5.00 Amazon gift card. To enter, leave a comment below and tell us about your favorite Thanksgiving family tradition. For a bonus entry, follow Erin on social media and tell us you did so in the comments.
 ***Must be five original commentors for giveaway to be valid. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Life and A Dad for Christmas according to Wendy Davy (Giveaway!)

Christmas Arrives Early on the Diamond Mine

with Wendy Davy!

Please welcome award-winning author Wendy Davy to the Diamond Mine. She's celebrating the new release of her Christmas romance A Dad for Christmas and we want to celebrate with her! This book promised to be a diamond among the gems of Christian Fiction! I can't wait to get to know this writer. What about you?

Oh, by the way, she's giving away TWO (2) e-books of A Dad for Christmas after the interview! Make sure you check out the details below!


Let's get started! This week's featured author is Wendy Davy, award-winning inspirational romance writer who enjoys outdoor activities and small town charm. As you read her books, you will visit special places close to her heart. No matter where her characters come from or where they take you, it will always be an exciting journey, page after page. Ms. Davy enjoys traveling and searching for new places to include in her stories.

RENEE: Welcome to the Diamond Mine, Wendy! I'm excited you could join us.

WENDY: Thank you for having me on your BLOG. I’m glad to be here!

RENEE: I love your picture. It reminds me of some lakes around my home. I like to hang out at the water too. Do you have a special place or cherished spot as well?

WENDY: My happy place is sitting on the dock at Smith Mountain Lake, VA while reading a book. I grew up spending much of my summers there and am fortunate to be able to still spend time there. My mom used to love it too and I have very fond memories of seeing her sit in her happy place and relax with a book.

RENEE: What a great memory. I have to say, nature is such an awesome place to relax and get in touch with the Lord...and regroup. I recommend it to everyone who feels overwhelmed with the rigors of life. That includes releasing a new book! Your books are fantastic, by the way. What is your biggest challenge as an author?

WENDY: My biggest challenge is staying focused. Life has a way of interrupting at the most inconvenient times. Like when I’m in the middle of writing an action scene and a neighbor rings the doorbell to bring back my dog who happens to love breaking through the backyard fence to go visit the neighbors hoping for a treat. (She’s escaped so many times I’ve nicknamed her Houdini.)

RENEE: LOL I can relate to that. I have a hard time focusing on my writing for other reasons. You seem to compensate well though! Congratulations on your latest book, A Dad for Christmas. What makes this book unique? How did you pick your setting for this one?

WENDY: The setting for my new story is in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Shenandoah Valley is a beautiful place that I’ve visited many times. I love nature and I enjoy using beautiful settings for my books.

RENEE: Oh, how gorgeous. I want to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains someday. I've heard they are wonderful. And your characters? How do you make them three-dimensional, realistic?

WENDY: I have a general idea of who my characters are when I begin writing a story. As I write I get to know them more and they come to life in my mind. They have strengths and weaknesses, fears and goals and I am sure to keep these traits in mind when writing about them.

RENEE: What do you have planned for our readers with A Dad for Christmas? I know I'm excited.

WENDY: I'm giving two e-books away! The first book goes to the first person who comments on this blog. The second book will be awarded by random draw from the rest of the people who comment thereafter! I will send the books out on December 1st when they become available. 



The first book goes to the first person who comments on this blog. The second book will be awarded by random draw from the rest of the people who comment thereafter! Wendy will send the books out on December 1st when they become available. 

RENEE: Woohoo, what an awesome giveaway! Did you here that, folks? A great book, no, two great books, up for grabs! Sorry, back to the interview... I've had to face a serious question recently, and I'm curious. What would you do if you couldn't write anymore?

WENDY: I would read and review tons of books for other authors. I appreciate support from others and have learned how vital reviews are for helping people decide which books to read.

RENEE: Readers and writers, they tend to go hand in hand, don't they? Okay, I have one last question for you then you can go back to writing your awesome books. What's your life goal?

WENDY: Well, that’s an easy question to answer and here I thought it would be a tough one... to have my books made into movies!

RENEE: That's a great one. I think that's my new goal too. :) It's movie time or should I say giveaway time?


Comment on the interview and you may win an ebook!

About the Book:

Tis the season for unexpected gifts.
High school teacher Reed Mason wants a family to call his own. When his prayers seem to remain unanswered, he expects to spend Christmas alone working on home improvement projects. But plans change when a chance encounter with a child's letter to God touches his heart. Inspired to help someone in need, Reed sets his sights on assisting his beautiful new neighbor. Independent-minded widow and single mom Emma Richards wants a fresh start. When she moves to Shenandoah Valley with her son, she expects to handle life's challenges on her own. But plans change when her handsome neighbor takes a sudden interest in her well-being. As Reed maneuvers his way into her heart, Emma sets out to discover his true intentions.

About the Author:

Wendy Davy is an award-winning inspirational romance writer who enjoys outdoor activities and small town charm. As you read her books, you will visit special places close to her heart. No matter where her characters come from or where they take you, it will always be an exciting journey, page after page. Ms. Davy enjoys traveling and searching for new places to include in her stories.

About the Miner:

Best-selling author Renee Blare has hung her hat in several states but only calls home to one...Wyoming. A bookworm by nature, she began her writing journey late in life, but her first publication, Beast of Stratton was a semi-finalist in the 2015 ACFW Genesis Contest and a best-seller on Amazon. Her second and third publication joined the ranks as well. 
A pharmacist for over twenty years, she served the veterans, the Native Americans as well as those who lived around her everyday. A warrior of CRPS, she relaxes by fishing, hunting . . . well, if and when she can . . . and picks away on her classical guitar.
Nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Wyoming Black Hills, she pens her stories about every day folks facing good and bad times as they travel along the paths of their lives. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check her out on her website, blogs, and social media.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Hi, Diamond Mine Readers. Julie Cosgrove here. 

I have something to confess...I love reading Christian Y.A. (young adult) fiction. Do you?  Maybe I am in my second childhood...but I hope not. I really don't want to go through adolescence again. Ugh. 

An author, who writes for the same publishing house as the one who will publish my next three books, writes great Y.A. Her books not only make great reading, but they would make wonderful Christmas gifts for any tweens or teens you know. (Yes, 'tis the season soon to think about what to get who.)

 Please welcome Cynthia Toney.

 Cynthia, since you write for tweens and teens (and old folks like me) briefly tell us a funny or touching story about your teenage years…

Writing petrified me! I dreaded the assignment of a paper that was more than a page long. I was okay with a short composition, especially if I could use humor, but a term paper sent me into a tailspin. I couldn’t gather, organize, and write information in my own words in a way that connected and flowed. My friends, who didn’t become writers of any type, spent much less time laboring over their term papers than I did.  But I somehow made good grades in spite of myself. I wish I had one of those papers to look at and laugh over today.

Maybe you just wanted to write fiction even back then! Term papers are daunting things, and not very exciting to read. I remember pulling my hair out while formatting all the endnotes and footnotes and references. Shudder. It's enough to stifle any creativity.

Tell our readers what encouraged you to be a writer then, and specifically writing books for teens? 

I love writing for tweens and teens, particularly those who speak without thinking, make poor decisions, and have love to give but don't always know where to direct it. Young people I've encountered over the years inspired me to write novels that show them how wonderful, powerful, and valuable they are. Today's tweens and teens can identify with the emotions, needs, desires, and challenges of characters in my historical as well as contemporary novels.

Being told we are wonderful, powerful and valuable is a message we all need to hear, especially middle school and high schoolers. What nugget of inspiration do you want your readers to grasp?

Small steps can accomplish big things, very good things, for oneself and for others.

Great saying. Anyone want to needlepoint that in a sampler? As I confessed, I love to read YA. Do you find many adults read and like your books, too?

From what I can tell, just as many adults read my novels as young people do. Often, adults will read one of my books first to screen it for a child or grandchild and then tell me how much they themselves enjoyed it.

See, I am not the only one, am I Diamond Mine folk? So now that we all know we can enjoy this genre no matter our age, Cynthia, tell us about this series by giving us a short blurb on each of the books in it. Also, does the reader have to read them in order or do they stand alone?

Occasionally readers tell me that they have read one of the books without considering—or sometimes without knowing—that another book preceded it, but that they fully understood and enjoyed the story anyway.

I usually suggest that an 11 or 12-year-old start with the first book of the series, but a 12 to 14-year-old could easily begin with book two, and it could stand alone, although readers usually want to know what happens next to the cast of characters. However, if someone wants to read the newest release (fourth and final book of the series), I suggest reading book three to fully enjoy book four. It is not necessary, because I weave in enough background to support the reader’s understanding, but I simply recommend that. 

Here are the books in order:

8 Notes to a Nobody (Bird Face book one)
 Anonymous sticky-notes, a scheming bully, and a ruined summer send fourteen-year-old Wendy down a trail of secrets and self-discovery.  
10 Steps to Girlfriend Status (Bird Face book two)
 When Wendy questions her neighbor about one 1960s photograph, she opens the door to triple trouble—a Cajun family secret, feelings for two very different boys, and a fight to keep a grandmother’s love. 

6 Dates to Disaster (Bird Face book three)
 Wendy’s goal is to fly to Alaska. Her family is broke. Will an opportunity to make money be the answer to her prayers—or the road to disaster?

3 Things to Forget (Bird Face book four) 
In Alaska, Wendy thinks she’s left behind the problems resulting from her mistakes in Louisiana. But strange surroundings bring strangers into her life, and those strangers have a secret that threatens her friendship with Sam. Will Wendy be able to forget what she hopes to, or will new challenges teach her the importance of remembering the past?

Why did you set this current book, 3 Things to Forget,  in Alaska?

I wanted my character, Wendy, to travel as far away as possible within the U.S. from her home state of Louisiana, and for it to be a very different environment from what she was used to. Of all the places I’d visited, Alaska was my favorite, and it was just right for the setting of this story. 

One of my bucket list places to visit! I know many of our readers who have visited or want to visit this amazing state will want to get this book. Give us a tidbit of 3 Things to Forget.

 There’s something to be said for escaping 4500 miles to the third least-populated state in America, where no one (well, almost no one) knows me. Otherwise, leaving behind my disgrace from the biggest academic scandal ever to hit my school—resulting in the breakup with my boyfriend on the night he said he loved me—might’ve been impossible.
Surrounded by strangers on the second of two connecting flights to Anchorage, for a total of fourteen hours on a Friday, I summoned teeth-grinding determination to forget the past. What better time for an intense study, a.k.a. cramming, of American Sign Language? Before the plane would land in Alaska, I might become proficient enough in ASL to communicate with Sam and his deaf friends without making a fool of myself.  For the month of June, I’d live with Sam and his family in Anchorage. I’d work with him and other teens, possibly deaf, as a volunteer at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. And I’d do whatever it took to fit in.

Now that we are all hooked and want to read more, where can readers find you and your books? 

Cynthia has agreed to give away an ebook of the reader's choice from the series, but only commentors are eligible to enter the giveaway. So be sure to leave your thoughts for her along with your email address so we can find you. The drawing will be on Tuesday, November 13th.