Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Historical + Humor = Karen Witemeyer!

I am so stinking excited! You won't believe who is on the Diamond Mine this week. Squee! Yes, I have Karen Witemeyer and the whole mine yards!  Wow, am I on cloud mine or what?! (Warning: more eye-rolling puns ahead.) No, seriously, she's one of my fav authors. Yep, folks, I'm writing shotgun with one of today's best Christian authors! Karen was named #1 Reader's Favorite Christian Romance Author by Family Fiction Magazine not to mention she's a two-time ACFW Carol Award winner.  Read on, my friends, like little Read Riding Hood, ready for adventure. (*wink*) I think you will love her too! Let's begin. Puns upon a time. . .

PT: Tell us, Karen, how you began writing and how you chose your genre.

KW: I'm not one of those authors who always knew she wanted to write. I was just a kid who grew up loving to read. And daydream. I never actually wrote any of my daydreams down. They just lived in my head. As I went through college, professors would complement my academic writing, planting seeds of an idea that maybe someday I'd try my hand at writing. God nurtured those seeds over the next several years where I never did more than jot a few ideas down in a journal. I completed two degrees and had three babies before God grabbed that dream out of the soil of my heart and forced it into the sunlight. My husband lost his job due to down-sizing while I was a stay-at-home mom with three preschoolers. I naively thought I could start writing and contribute to the family income while staying home with my kids, not realizing it would take six years to sign my first book contract. Six months later, my husband and I were both working full-time, but by then the writing bug had bitten, and I knew this was a path God wanted me to pursue. So I did. Genre was never even a question. Historical romance all the way. It was all I ever read and the only genre I wanted to write. From Little House on the Prairie to Anne of Green Gables to Christy, my heart has always belonged to historicals.

PT: Do you write on a laptop or PC? Office or random spots (and what ARE those random spots, J)?

KW: I have learned to be flexible with when and where I write, thanks to the day job and family. I'll use any computer readily available. At home, I use a laptop in its most literal form—in my lap while I sit on my bed with my back propped up against the headboard. Not the best for my posture, but the extra cushion provided by my memory foam mattress makes those long weekend writing binges possible.

PT: What’s on your screen-eyed monster right now? A new book? Editing? Marketing? Or all of the above? Or other?

KW: This interview question. Ha! Actually, I just turned in a manuscript on August 15 for the first book in a new series. The title is At Love's Command and it features an ex-cavalry officer and a female doctor. Lots of action and adventure in this one, with plenty of romance thrown in, of course. Since turning that in, I've been putting together two workshops that I will be teaching at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in September. One focuses on adding humor to your writing (the fabulous Regina Jennings is my co-presenter), and the other focuses more on the spiritual side—overcoming the darts Satan likes to throw at authors such as doubt, discouragement, pride, envy, greed, laziness, and burnout. Yes, I battle all of those at different stages of the writing journey. As for the next writing project, I'm about to embark on a new novella called The Kissing Tree Inn. It will be part of a collection that spans about 150 years centered around a majestic tree similar to the Century Tree at Texas A&M.

Regina will be part of that collection as well, along with Amanda Dykes and Nicole Deese. This is my first time to work with Amanda and Nicole, and I'm loving every minute of it! Wonderful ladies with great ideas. This is going to be a fabulous collection.

PT: Favorite color, food, and hobby/activity?

KW: Favorite color – Purple.
Favorite Food – Dove dark chocolate.
Favorite hobby – Counted cross-stitching.

PT: Introvert/Extrovert and how does that feed into your writing?

KW: I'm a big-time introvert. I can turn on the extrovert powers when necessary (teaching at conferences, interacting with readers, writing retreats, etc.), but my natural tendency is to hide myself away. This is helpful for a writer since it's hard to be productive with a lot of people around, but it can cause serious challenges with other aspects of the business, such as marketing and networking. In my novels, you'll notice I lean toward small towns or even remote ranches. I never thought about that until now, but that's probably a reflection of my introverted nature. Introverted does not equal timid, however. At least not in my imagination. All my heroines are feisty and brave and rarely afraid to share their opinions. Traits I like to imagine are in my own repertoire, at least to a modest extent.

PT: Favorite Bible verse and why.

KW: This is a hard one. There are so many. There is one that I made into a mouse pad that stays by my computer. Thessalonians 2:4. This verse speaks to my writing mission. God has entrusted me with a message, one conveyed through story. It is His message, not my own, and I must constantly test my heart to ensure that the glory goes to Him instead of trying to keep it for myself. And as much as we write to entertain our readers and please our publishers, ultimately, we write not to please people, but to please God.

PT: Will there be a third book in the Patchwork Family Series? Perhaps Rosalind is going places? Hmmm?

KW: You know I can't just leave poor Rosalind hanging without giving her a happy ending.J  She will be featured in the novella, More Than a Pretty Face in the upcoming Harvey House Brides collection entitled Serving Up Love. The collection, featuring additional stories from Tracie Peterson, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano, releases this November.

PT: Give five things about Karen Witemeyer that has nothing to do with writing. (This is my favorite equestrian, neigh!)

1. I was a band nerd through junior high, high school, and my freshman year of college until I met my future husband and switched to choir. Music is in my blood!
2. I love hiking to waterfalls.
3. My in-laws live right next door, and I LOVE it. J
4. I adore playing board games, especially when I win (my youngest had to get his competitive streak from somewhere).
5. I love cracking "punny" jokes with my oldest son. If my husband and youngest son roll their eyes, we know we've accomplished our mission!

Ah, which toadily explains the ribbiting puns.  Thank you, Karen for joining us! If you want to learn more about Karen Witemeyer and her books, click the links firmly, after all~loose links sink ships~last one I promise!  J

Karen is generously giving away one copy of More Than Words Can Say (within the U.S.) to one person who leaves a comment and their email address. Who can't be excited about that??!! 

Now Available: More Than Words Can Say

She needs a man's name to save her bakery, but her recipe for success isn't supposed to include falling in love.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Author Interview and Giveaway with Bethany Turner!

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 at a charming coffee house. Bonus points if that coffee house has lots of books under its roof. Books and yummy drinks are the perfect combination, after all. So please consider this our virtual coffee house! 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 going to pry into the private life chat with Bethany Turner, author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck and Wooing Cadie McCaffrey! I've had the pleasure of helping to promote both of Bethany's wonderful books, and you can read my reviews here and here!

Get ready for some epicness!

Bethany Turner is the award-winning author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, which was a Christy Award finalist. When she's not writing (and even when she is), she serves as the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight.

Connect with Bethany on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

Interview ~

First things first, would you order coffee, tea, or hot chocolate in our virtual coffee house? Something else altogether? This is possibly the most important question... No pressure or anything, LOL! ;-) 

Coffee in the morning, iced tea in the afternoon. And chocolate all day long…but only in solid form!

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

Oh my goodness, that’s a fabulous question. I had some fresh scallops in Cape Cod about five years ago and I’ve been thinking about them ever since, so I suppose that would be it! Although…one of my bucket list items is to have a chance to try the signature dish of a world-renowned chef, actually prepared by that chef. So if Gordon Ramsay is willing to cook me some beef Wellington, I guess I’ll take that over the scallops.

Surely Gordon Ramsay can make you some beef Wellington with a side of scallops! YUM! Where is your favorite place to write, and why is that your favorite place?

I have a small office space in my bedroom, and in addition to my desk and such, I have a recliner crammed in there. The recliner is my favorite. In the recliner, it doesn’t feel like work.

Recliners for the win! Confession time! Do you have an odd habit that is only explained by your bookish, writer tendencies? Safe space. ;-)

 I’m not sure that it’s a habit so much as a neurosis! I tend to write a lot of dialogue in my novels—primarily because I see them as movies in my mind—and when I’m deep into writing a story, dialogue tags tend to make their way into my mind during real life conversations.

“What are we having for dinner?” her teenaged son asked, his stomach growling.

“I thought we might order a pizza,” his mother replied, her guilt at having lost track of time manifesting itself as bribery.

That sort of thing. Thankfully it usually goes away when I’m not facing a deadline!

That. Is. Hilarious! LOVE IT! What inspired you to write Wooing Cadie McCaffrey?

 I was on a plane and there was this family in front of me—the husband with one of their children, right in front of me, and the wife with the other child, in the row in front of them. Every once in a while the parents would start to talk to each other, and then their attention was always pulled away by one of the kids. None of it was bad. It was just life. But a couple times I saw this look pass between the husband and wife. A look that somehow captured lifelong love and commitment, and an affection for the life they had built together, but it also somehow said, “We’ll find time for us again someday.” It was so real, and I knew I wanted to write the story of a couple for whom love is never the problem. The problem is life, and the struggle to carve out time for each other. It morphed and grew a lot from there, but that was the beginning.

That is such an awesome story nugget! My romantic heart is all mushy! *happy sigh* What led you to write in this genre?

The truth is I wrote the story that was on my heart with absolutely no consideration of what genre it fell into. That was The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck. I honestly knew very little about the Christian book market, and had no idea where that book would end up landing. But once I got in, I saw the need for more books like what I most loved to write anyway—books that perhaps can get away with going where some other books couldn’t or shouldn’t, because the journey is accompanied by laughter.

That is so awesome! I absolutely love that we are seeing more and more of these wonderful stories (like yours!!) appearing in the Christian Fiction market! What message do you hope to convey to your readers in Wooing Cadie McCaffrey?

That love is more than a feeling. Love is an action. Love takes effort. And I’m not just talking about the love between Cadie and Will—although…definitely. With Cadie and Will, their love for the other person was never in question, but they got complacent. And the same goes with each of their relationships with God. Their faith was secure, but they became as complacent in their faith, and in their relationships with God, as they became in their relationship with each other. Love is worth fighting for, and sometimes it’s not about fighting another person, or any outside source, really. Sometime the fight really happens within.

YES and AMEN to everything you said! Can you tell us a little about your next project?

 A very little bit! I just turned in the first draft of a story that will be published by Revell in 2020, and my manuscripts tend to get turned on their heads during edits. But it’s the story of two polar-opposite celebrity chefs who share a very public, very career-altering heated exchange, and then are forced to play nice with each other down the road. I look forward to sharing more soon!

Man, I need a time machine because I am SO EXCITED FOR THIS STORY!!!! Ahem. Sorry...I'm, very excited... ;-) Do you have a favorite Bible verse or story that inspires you on a soul level?

Ephesians 3:20. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Time after time I have thought I knew what needed to happen. I thought I had the plan all sorted out. But then God did what He knew was best, and He has a way of blowing all of my feeble dreams out of the water.

Love this truth! <3 What are you currently reading? Inquiring minds -- mine -- want to know! LOL! ;-)

I have a couple reads going. I’m just starting to dive in to Lincee Ray’s new release, It’s a Love Story. That girl is hilarious, and speaks such truth! And then I’m listening to the audiobook of Fosse, which is an in-depth biography of the dancer/choreographer/director Bob Fosse.

Those sound like awesome reads! *adds more books to the TBR that would take Methuselah a couple lifetimes to read* 

Thank you so much for hanging out with us and for answering all of my prying questions, Bethany!

Giveaway ~

Bethany has generously offered one paperback copy of Wooing Cadie McCaffrey to one worldwide winner!

"Romantics everywhere will sigh happily at the perfect ending."--Colleen Coble, USA Today bestselling author

After four years with her boyfriend, Cadie McCaffrey is thinking of ending things. Convinced Will doesn't love her in the "forever" way she loves him, Cadie believes it's time for her to let him go before life passes her by. When a misunderstanding leads to a mistake, leaving her hurt, disappointed, and full of regret, she finally sends him packing.

But for Will, the end of their relationship is only the beginning of his quest to figure out how to be the man Cadie wanted him to be. With the dubious guidance of his former pro-athlete work friends and tactics drawn from Cadie's favorite romantic comedies, Will attempts to win her back. It's a foolproof plan. What could possibly go wrong?

"I've found my new go-to author for rom-com with heart."--Carla Laureano, RITA Award-winning author of The Saturday Night Supper Club and Brunch at Bittersweet Café

"A modern, messy love story not to be missed."--Nicole Deese, Carol Award-winning and RITA-nominated author

"Playfully fresh."--Rachel McMillan, author of the Van Buren and DeLuca series

Rules, Info, and Such ~

The author is giving away one paperback copy of Wooing Cadie McCaffrey

This giveaway is open worldwide!

This giveaway will close on August 28th, 2019, 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 blogdevotional blogFacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


Good morning to the Diamond Mine. Terry Palmer here. Hope you are busy with shovel and pick, bringing to life the gem which God has given to you. Many years ago this ol’ author searched after and found many a fine rough agate. What a thrill to find that rough cob, knowing the beauty within, then to get that stone polished to a point of refined beauty – much like each of our books on the Diamond Mine.
I’m so pleased to introduce you to my friend and new Rough Diamond Mine author, BilliJo Doll! Our Montana high prairie gal offers us much insight into life on the high prairie as a conservation officer, but her heart is for serving the Lord in ministry. Where does she find the time to write and promote nine books? Find out as we travel deep into–The Diamond Mine!

TP: How about we start with a day in life on the high prairie, a place which few of us might recognize. Is it all dust and sparse grass?

BJD: Not even close. Dust does happen when it is dry–that is the same everywhere. I don't know what you mean by “sparse grass.” There are more species of grasses and forbs in the prairie than in the forest. In my book, My eMpTy Life, I write about Montana and the fullness of life on the prairie, both human life and plant life.

TP: As long as we are in the Diamond Mine and speaking of Montana, are you near some pinnacles where semi-precious stones are found?

BJD: There are sapphire mines in central Montana and there has been significant gold mining throughout the state. In fact, one of the names for Montana is The Treasure State. My newest book, Mara's Murder, addresses gold mining although not specifically in Montana.

TP: You also have youth ministry experience and accepted Jesus in Germany. Ausgezeichnet! (Excellent!) Can you share a definitive moment when the Spirit of God spoke, led, or placed you in a life-changing situation?

BJD: There has been so many. My mind is racing with example after example. I'll share the first and the most recent: when the Holy Spirit spoke audibly to me to go to Bible college was the first such experience. Most recent was to change housing and that hasn't fleshed out yet. I trust God that it will.

TP: You also travel more than a bit, plus have a ranch in Mexico. I’ll bet these lead to some interesting encounters? Can you share a few with us?

BJD: Recently I was in the Mexico City airport waiting for my flight to the US and I got an email from the airlines that my flight out was changed to the following day. Once I was at a banquet in Baltimore when a woman whom I did not know, approached me, after verifying who I was, she said her mother told her to tell me hello. I started to visit with a woman in the Denver airport once, and come to find out, she was my best friend from second grade's aunt. I met and visited with Ted Dekker in a California airport once (and I am not a huge fan of his books). Most of my travel is not noteworthy. However, I have met some interesting and wonderful people from around the world.

TP: Turning to writing and family, many of us are busy in other pursuits too, other than editing and writing, along with a balance of family. Do you also coach and do speaking? What are your sources for balance in life?

BJD: Yes, I am a writing coach/editor/ghostwriter as well as a trauma recovery coach. I have an active speaking ministry. To stay balanced in a very busy life, I start my day in prayer and Bible reading. I also take time mid-afternoon to pray. I eat healthily and make sure I rest. My days are usually 10-12 hour days with frequent 18 hour days so staying balanced is very important so that I do not get burned out. I take to heart Mark 6:31. In fact I want to get to a point where I can offer my home in Mexico as a sanctuary place for Christian workers to go to rest.

TP: In our day and time, our country is a mess and becoming dangerous for a Christian author. What advice would you give to a new author who is just beginning to write their perfect baby to help overcome for Jesus?

BJD: Follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Seek to stay in constant communication with God. No matter what a person says (it does not matter WHO the human is), try everything before Christ. Listen only to the voice of God. Whatever someone says, get that advice confirmed by at least two other Christians. What is most important? Your message or making money? If it is making money, do not write.

TP: Now I’m more than sure, our readers want to know about your writing journey—what genre? You’ll soon have a new book out? Can you give us sneak peak to what it is about? Do you offer other books? Where can we find them?

BJD: I started by writing Christian drama skits; that is how God first spoke to my heart about writing for Him. My first traditional publisher contract was for a young adult science-fiction series. My last book, My eMpTy Life, is a historical fiction. My upcoming book, Mara's Murder, is a mystery. The mystery is not so much a “whodunit” as it is the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of the main character. Most of my books are out of print. All of my books can be found on Amazon either under my name, BilliJo Doll, or under my pseudonym, Anna Schilke.

TP: And finally, do you have words of encouragement and hope for some of the new writers among us, like me? Words of wisdom from a Biblical Christian and student of the Word?

BJD: Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. My background and training is in natural resource conservation, not writing. Yet, God called me to write and to coach. Run to Him, cling to Him, listen to Him, follow Him.
Keep it simple. You don't need an expensive website. If you are in charge of pricing your books, keep them as low priced as possible. Getting the word out is more important than trying to make money. You need word-of-mouth support. My eighth book sold six copies in three years even though the publisher was highly recommended. Nearly 9,000 copies of My eMpTy Life were downloaded in three months. Make sure your manuscript/book is of the highest quality possible. No one likes a poorly written book.

TP: Do you have a special or favorite verse of scripture that carries you through the rough times, perhaps that remind you of a tough moment when faith in Jesus was your only answer?

BJD: Oh boy, I have many. II Cor 9:8-11 comes to mind, II Tim 1:9, and IS 50:4. A cool study is IS 51:1a, 2a, 7a, 12a, 16a . . .like a hidden code. :)

TP: Thanks so much for joining us on the Diamond Mine, BilliJo! She will be giving a free copy of Mara's Murder. Just leave your email in the comments section. Thanks for joining us today!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019


Happy Wednesday morning everyone! Hope it’s cooler where y’all are than it is in Texas this mornin’. Today’s gonna be another scorcher—well over 100—stock ponds are beginning to dwindle a little! But we have a truly cool author with us—Susan Karsten! Welcome to the Diamond Mine, Susan. Y’all grab a glass of sweet tea and let’s find out about this delightful writer and her new release.

Good morning everyone, so glad to be a first-time guest on the Diamond Mine.

Q.  Susan, when did you first realize you wanted to write? And what’s the first thing you ever wrote? (Love notes excluded) 😊
 A. The first story I wrote was in grade school, entitled Tiny Tillie. At the time, I was well-steeped in fairy tales, and if I’m not mistaken, my story was written for one of those “Write whatever you want” assignments.

Q. Tell us about your family, where you grew up, and where you live now.
A. My husband, who is a Realtor, and I are approaching our thirtieth anniversary this month. Our three post-college children, a boy and two girls, are throwing us a party. My son is married and has three children.  My middle child just got engaged. My “baby girl” got married last fall. I live in a small town in Wisconsin, and my children all live within a one-hour radius.

You are so blessed to have your children (and grandchildren) so close. Ours are military and scattered.
Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A. I wanted to be Miss America – for the gowns! That desire fits with my subsequent career as an apparel designer. 

Oh! Didn’t we all. How interesting that love of yours developed into a career.
Q. What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?
A. My favorite pastime is sewing. Especially making quilts. I've been sewing since the age of ten and quilting for thirty-plus years. My sewing area is my happy place. 

Painting and photography are mine! Writing comes in a close tie.
Q. What is the greatest life changing moment in your life to date?
A. Even though it was a process, the most pivotal moment was the moment of my conversion to Christ. 

Q. Do you have a particular scripture you view as your life’s verse?
A. My life verse, Ephesians 2:13 says:
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” And in the day-to-day, I cherish the verse, Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

I’m sure we have newbie writers with us this morning, please give them the counsel you wish you have received when you first entered this writing journey.
I was given wise counsel to know the proper word count—to shoot for a certain publisher perhaps, and to write the length the industry wants. I didn’t take this advice to heart and ended up with two manuscripts that I had to lengthen by over 20,000 words! That was a struggle.

Q. I notice you write in several genres…what’s your favorite?
A. Though writing a cozy mystery (yet to find a publishing home) was fun, I have to say Regency romance is my favorite genre to write and to read. I love reading and writing about the bygone era of England in the early 1800s, and the social structure of those days lends itself to a lot of romantic folly, conflict, and tension. When I sit down to write a Regency romance, the words flow out of my fingertips. I also am a student of Regency fashion, which I find fascinating with its high-waisted dresses, dancing slippers, and shawls.

And all the ladies reading this interview sing a chorus of “Amen!”
Q. Now would you share a little about your new release, “A Refuge for Rosanna.” And when it’s due to be released and where they can find a copy.

A. “Refuge for Rosanna” was released July 9 of this year. It’s available on Amazon, and can be easily found by searching for the title or my name. A Refuge for Rosanna is the second book in a three-book series and is about a young lady who’d lost her first love, and thinking she’d never love again, seeks refuge in the country. When two neighboring gentlemen start pursuing her, she finds the course of her life changed. Through several adventures and some danger …. That’s all about that – I don’t want to spoil the fun. I can add that an actual historical person appears in this book—Sir Walter Scott comes to a dinner party at Rosanna’s home. He was one of the century’s best-selling authors, and one of the first novelists. I hope you enjoy finding out more about all my characters, from Rosanna to Sir Walter Scott, and everyone else you will meet in the pages.
And by the way, I’d love to have all of you follow and like my facebook author page: Susan Karsten – Author.

Susan, It’s been such a delight having you with us on The Diamond Mine today. And as a special treat to the readers—I’ve just finished reading “A Refuge for Rosanna.” This was my first book of yours to read, Susan; but it certainly won’t be my last! And now for those reading our interview—here’s my review of “A Refuge for Rosanna.”

“Lords and Ladies—early 1800’s culture and customs—high society and elegant country living—author Susan Karsten displays her flare for historical research and knowledge in her latest captivating novel, “A Refuge for Rosanna.”
This page-turning story weaves an exciting tale of love, greed, and lies sprinkled with a smear of scandal, of course by Ms. Karsten’s bad-to-the-bone antagonist, who incidentally made my skin crawl.
Rosanna’s innocence and boldness made me cheer this young woman’s character and faith in that man’s world period of history.
Susan Karsten’s words paint an intriguing image of life at Honor’s Point and the plight of the handsome Peter Winestat. I visualized the gorgeous surroundings inside and outside this beautiful English estate as well as the great cast of colorful, multi-dimensional characters. An exciting story I didn’t want to end. Perhaps Ms. Karsten would consider a sequel—I’d be first in line to read.”

Thank you again, Susan, for spending time with us today. I hope “A Refuge for Rosanna” sells a million copies!

It's been a pleasure to be with you and all the readers of the Diamond Mine! Here are my websites for the books and my Facebook page too. Hope to hear from you.

A Refuge for Rosanna:

A Match for Melissa

The web ID to my facebook page: