Wednesday, July 1, 2020

A Busy Year and a YA Retelling of Daniel with Hope Bolinger

This week we welcome Hope Bollinger to the Diamond Mine. The second book in YA retelling of Daniel is coming later this month. 

A Little More About Hope

Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 800 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids to HOOKED to She writes about 250-300 articles a year. Her modern-day Daniel, “Blaze,” (Illuminate YA) released in 2019, and they contracted the sequel “Den” for July 2020. Her superhero romance she co-wrote with Alyssa Roat releases from INtense Publications in September 2020. Find more about her at

Follow Hope on Social Media: @hopebolinger

SW: Now that we've gotten the short bio, let's dig deeper.

I always like to warm up with a few would you rather questions, but don’t worry, none of them are disgusting.

Would you rather be forced to sing along with or dance to every song you hear?

HB: Oh this is hard. How did you know I was an avid singer/dancer when no one is watching? I'd probably choose singing, because I'm a terrible dancer. 

SW: Would you rather be chronically underdressed or overdressed?

HB: Overdressed. I've worn prom dresses to McDonald’s before. 

SW: Would you rather lose your sight or your memories?

HB: Tricky. Probably sight. Although memories can be painful, I can't imagine life without them. 

SW: You are an author, literary agent, editor, playwright, and more. How do you balance the roles and what are the best parts of each?

HB: Besides crying and eating lots of ice cream? It’s a lot of spreadsheets and to-do lists, to make sure I don't let anything fall off the wagon. It's hard to choose a best part, because each one has something I love. I’ll try to break it down in a list.

1. Agent - I love it when a client gets a contract. Years of hard work finally pay off, and they get to hold their book baby.
2. Editor - I love helping writers hone their story. Most writers have excellent stories that just need to be brought out of their shells a little more. 
3. Author - When a reader tells you they enjoyed your story. You know that hours of writing, rewriting, editing, and marketing did not go in vain.
4. Playwright - Dialogue!! It’s so fun to get two opposite-personality characters hashing it out on stage. 

SW: What trends are you seeing, or would you like to see, in publishing?

HB: There’s a lot that can go here, but in my specific niche (MG/YA) I'm seeing more friendship stories, more diverse representation, and non-western settings. What I would LOVE to see is more neurodiverse characters and characters with chronic illnesses. In high school, I didn't see many books with characters who looked like me. I want to change that. 

SW: You have had (and will have) a full year. Can you share a little of what you’ve got going on? And what’s coming up?

HB: Ohhhh boy. Yes, I can! In addition to have eight books on submission, and having written four of them in this year alone, here are what the next 18 months look like in my life.
July 2020 - I release Den, the sequel to my modern-day Daniel trilogy 
September 2020 - I release my co-authored superhero chat fiction Dear Hero 
April 2021 - The sequel to Dear Hero titled Dear Henchman releases
August 2021 - The final book in the trilogy, Vision, gets published 
In addition to that I’m balancing podcasts, blog tours, conference speaking engagements, publishing 250-300 articles, entering contests, and doing five or so jobs. I definitely don't know how to relax. 

SW: Tell us a little more about your upcoming July release.

HB: Certainly! The trilogy essentially takes the Book of Daniel and sets it in a modern boarding school. We pick up, in Den, during Danny's junior year. A series of suicide attempts are shaking up his school. He suspects foul play, and that a murderer may possibly be on the loose. Maybe he's paranoid, or maybe he's the next victim on the hitlist. 

SW: How can we pray for you?

HB: Thank you for offering this! Definitely being able to keep my head above water. I’ve only released one book traditionally before this, and now I'm doing two back to back. It’s a lot, but hopefully, come mid-September, I can finally breathe!

SW: Thank you for spending some of your precious time with us today and congratulations on your upcoming releases.

Readers, we'd love to hear from you. Share how you relax during stressful or busy times.

More about Den 

Danny Belte barely survived his sophomore year at King's Academy, having to deal with horrible initiation practices, stomach-churning cafeteria food, and the constant threat of arson.

His junior year doesn't start off much better. Facing a series of mysterious suicide attempts that begin on day one--and a disturbing pattern that appears to connect them--Danny has a feeling something far more sinister is at play. He tries to narrow down a list of suspects as those closest to him disappear, one by one.

Can he protect his friends from a possible murderer on the loose? Or will he find himself trapped in a fate worse than a lions' den?

Available July 27, 2020. Preorder Here

And Don't Miss Book One

If you can't stand the heat, don't walk into the fire.
Danny knew his sophomore year would be stressful . . . but he didn’t expect his school to burn down on the first day.

To make matters worse (and they were about to get a lot worse), he — and his three best friends — receive an email in their inboxes from the principal of their rival, King’s Academy, offering full-rides to attend the town's prestigious boarding school. Danny wants nothing to do with King’s Academy and says no. Of course his mother says yes. So off he goes to be bullied and picked on for not being part of the popular and rich "in crowd."

From day one at King’s, Danny encounters hazing, mocking insults from girls at the "popular and pretty" table, and cafeteria food that, for such a prestigious school, tastes as if it were purchased from a military surplus supply warehouse. If he survives, Danny will have to overcome his fears of failure, rejection, and loneliness—all while standing strong in his beliefs and walking into the fire.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Toni Shiloh Interview and Giveaway

I’m so happy to introduce you all to Toni Shiloh! She’s a wonderful friend and fellow writer. Her newest book, The Trouble With Love, recently released, and it's an excellent read. Let's jump right in and see what she has to say.

Being a writer is a busy life, isn’t it? I’m sure you’re working on something new to intrigue your readers. What’s in the works for you right now?

I’m working on a few novellas. The one I’m currently writing is a Christmas novella and will be in a box set available this fall. I can’t wait to share the story with my readers. 

Do you ever base your characters off real people?

No. I may pull little pieces here and there, but no character is based off a real person. I’d be terrified of doing them an injustice.  

Do you have a set writing time every day or do you write in a more organic way?

I have a time period I work in. Some days I may be able to start writing earlier if my to-do list gets scratched off earlier and some days I have to write a little bit later if distractions prove too much. 

What is the nicest encouragement a reader ever sent you?

Honestly, I’m not sure I could pick just one. I do know that when I get them, they always come at the right time. Either I’m in the midst of battling feels that my writing is terrible, or I’ve read a bad review that I can’t shake. Whatever it was, I’ve received a note from a reader who sees right into the heart of my story and it’s like a God wink. 

What are the most number of words you’ve ever written in one day?

Good question. I think it was a little over 5,000. One day I hope to be able to pull a 10k day.

Toni is giving away an eBook of her newest book The Trouble with Love to one blessed winner who comments below. Email address is required to be entered into her giveaway.

Author bio –

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and multi-published Christian contemporary romance author. She writes to bring God glory and to learn more about His goodness. Her novel, Grace Restored, was a 2019 Holt Medallion finalist and Risking Love is a 2020 Selah Award finalist.

A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and of the Virginia Chapter, Toni seeks to help readers find authors. She loves connecting with readers and authors alike via social media. You can learn more about her writing at

The Trouble With Love Blurb –

I, Holiday Brown, have it all. A platinum record. Multi-million dollar home in Manhattan that I share with my two best friends. Life is looking fantastic until my roommate’s brother decides to bunk in our guestroom while his house gets renovated.

W. Emmett Bell has always been the bane of my existence. He’s annoying, stubborn, a know it all, and just might be the most gorgeous man I’ve ever laid eyes on. But I refuse to fall for him. Then his sister’s threatened by a stalker and dynamics change. His unwavering faith isn’t quite as self-righteous as I’d always thought, and maybe he has a good side I’ve overlooked all these years.

Or maybe it’s all too much trouble.

The Trouble With Love is the first book in the Christian Chick Lit series: Faith & Fortune

Endorsements —

“In her iconic soulful fashion, Toni Shiloh has penned another heartfelt page-turner...this time with a dash of suspense thrown in!"- Sarah Monzon, award-winning author of Finders Keepers

“Swoony, sweet and a little sassy, The Trouble with Love is Toni Shiloh's best novel yet! A beautiful story of friendship, romance, and brokenness meeting grace.” – Carrie Schmidt, Reading is my Superpower

“In The Trouble With Love, Toni Shiloh offers a fresh take on modern romance that will twirl you about the New York City high life, yet still manages to keep the characters completely relatable with their fears, longings, and faith struggles. The romance between Holiday and Emmett is flirty, fun, and completely squeal-inducing. Enjoy this escape from everyday life and dive into Shiloh’s world of faith and fortune!” – Janine Rosche, author of This Wandering Heart

Buy links –


Social media links –

My BookCave:
Blogs I’m part of:  ;

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

'Tis the Season for Author Toni Shiloh

Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas! 

Well…maybe not! But I always think mid-summer is a great time to re-visit those Christmas books, a Christmas in Summer sort of thing! And, I have the perfect romance for you by an amazing author. I have Toni Shiloh hanging out with me in the sleigh, and she has a little wrapped gift just for you! So deck your halls and fa-la-la yourself while social distancing, and wrap yourself in a warm blanket with the air-conditioning on high (and maybe that fireplace DVD???) and get to know our author’s most close-kept holiday secrets!

PT: Welcome, Toni! A blessed summer Christmas to you. The readers are sipping sweet mint hot chocolate, anxious to learn all about you. So,tell us your genre and how you became an author.
TS: I write Christian contemporary romance because I love all things romance. I’ve always been a big fan of reading and when I got older, I decided I really wanted to honor God by writing. And here we are. 😊

PT: Hallelujah for that! We’re featuring, I’ll Be Home, hence the corny Christmas vernacular. Where is I’ll Be Home set and does the heroine have anything in common with you? (One eyebrow raises to the brim of my Santa hat.)
TS: I set the book in Washington, D.C. because I thought it would be fun to change the pace from small town to a bigger and well-known city. The heroine doesn’t have anything in common with me, LOL, so it was fun to write her and discover who she was.

PT: Interesting. Where did the idea of this story come from?
TS: I keep seeing a woman having to go home but dreading the reasons. From there I had to brainstorm a little and ask questions to find out why anyone wouldn’t want to go home for the holidays. Then the idea began to take shape and voilà.

PT: Don’t you love brainstorming the possibilities of a novel? Is there a Biblical theme/lesson in your book?
TS: I always try to include a lesson in every book I write. I wanted Starr to realize that she was enough. That she didn’t have to be like her siblings to be special. The faith is light but there and guiding the way.

PT: A very important message for most women. Being enough. Favorite holiday, color, gift?
TS: My favorite holiday is probably Easter with Christmas being a close second. I love the color pink and the best gift I ever received was an e-reader.

PT: E-readers are the bomb late at night. Not even the tree lights are necessary. Let’s go to reviews, the stuff by which we writers live for. Paraphrase the best book review you’ve ever received.
TS: It was from another author, and she listed everything she loved about the book which happened to be the things I loved as well.

PT: Where do you settle in to write? Tea, Coffee, or other for writing?
TS: I usually write in bed, but I just got a new chair I’m hoping will be the new place to spin my stories. In the wintertime, I always have some hot tea to drink. In the warmer months, usually water.

PT: My favorite! Name 5 things fast about Toni Shiloh that have nothing to do with writing.
1. Dallas Cowboys fan
2. Pen hoarder
3. Earrings collector
4. Always have my nails painted
5. Always have a book within reach.

PT: A book within reach. That is practically life itself. So, what’s your next project? Adding to the Lewis Family Series?
TS: I will be adding to the Lewis Family series. I’m giving Starr’s sister, Angel, a story. 😊

PT: You just got a sneak peek of Christian Author, Toni Shiloh, readers! Perhaps you need a silent night, cuddled up with your e-reader, eyes fastened on Toni’s I’ll Be Home beaming from the screen? Then here’s your link to get it right now! (Pssst! It’s only $1.99!~what a deal! And what a beautiful cover!)

click here:
I'll Be Home by Toni Shiloh

What could be worse than being laid off right before the holidays? For Starr Lewis that list would include returning home jobless, single, and, oh yeah, just in time to attend her sister's wedding on Christmas Eve to Starr's ex-boyfriend. But life finally decides to be kind to her and her brother's best friend, Waylon Emmerson, soon has her wondering if she can take another chance on love.

Toni is giving away one copy of I'll Be Home to one lucky person who comments below with your email!

Want to catch up with Toni? Here's where you can find her:

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Interview with Mary Manners with Giveaway

It is with extreme pleasure to share my interview with Mary Manners.
She has graciously offered to give away Miracle Cove: The Collection
Be sure and read to the end to find out how to enter for your chance to win.

Thank you for coming to The Diamond Mine. I am so happy to have you and to promote you and your writing. Pray you find this  interview fun and a blessing.

Mary: I’m so happy to be here today on The Diamond Mine. Thanks a bunch for hosting me!

I have been a long-time fan of Mary Manners stories. They are charming. I tell her they are Hallmark able.  Let’s learn a bit more about this wonderful author. Mary, would you mind telling us who your biggest influence is on your life?

Mary: I would have to say that my dad had the biggest influence on my life. He taught me to work hard, and to believe in myself and never give up. He loved the outdoors and I do, as well. Dad gave me advice that I have carried through life: If you’re going to do a job, do it right. I try to live by this every day.

Most dads are extra special, aren’t they? Yours sounds like a wise, loving man. Much like our Father in heaven. What was your occupation before writing?

Mary: I was a teacher and school principal for 31 years as my ‘day job’ while I was also growing my writing platform. I started out teaching special-needs children and then moved to elementary and middle school. I finished my career as an intermediate school principal. I have so many great memories of my days in the classroom!

Special – needs children have a special place in my heart. I’d wanted to teach them from the time I was in third grade. What a joy they are. I’m sure any student who knew you was blessed just by that beautiful smile of yours. Do you have any hidden talents?

Mary: I love to sing. I think I get this talent from my mom, who sang in the community theatre in Chicago when she was a teenager. She loved musicals and used to sing all the time as she did her chores around the house. I love Christian music and do my best singing to these faith-filled songs.

My husband used to tell us we had to sing our complaints, it’s hard to stay upset when your singing. Unfortunately, I have not a musical bone in my body. Lol. Would you mind telling us when your most productive brainstorming time might be?

Mary: I love to wake up early in the morning, before the sun is up, when it is quiet, and the entire world seems still and new. It’s then that I do my very best brainstorming. A cup of flavored coffee helps, too.

Everything is new every morning. I love that Promise from our Father. Do you use a storyboard while you write?

Mary: No. I write my books by hand and then edit as I type. I love this blend of old-fashioned and modern, and it works well for me!

There aren’t many these days who still write by hand first. I still like a good old pencil and paper for writing as well. Do you have a life verse?

Mary: “When you look at a field of dandelions, you can either see a thousand weeds or a thousand wishes.” This reminds me to always look for the positive in every situation. It’s been a huge help to me in tough times.

I love this quote! It is so true how we view things, makes a difference. What do you hope your writing leaves the reader with?

Mary: It is my greatest hope that my stories leave readers with a sense of hope. I think our lives are like a canvas, with imperfections that can be made into works of beauty if we only keep trying, learning, and improving. With God all things are possible, and tomorrow brings new opportunities.

Mary, I have no doubt your stories do this and much more for your readers. They bless my heart every time. This interview has been a blessing for me as well. Thank you again for joining me on The Diamond Mine. May you be blessed with His SONshine.

Mary: Thanks so much for joining me today. I am honored to share my story with you!

Mary has graciously offered to give away a book collection. Mary, what do folks need to do to enter?

Mary:  I would love to give away a copy of Miracle Cove: The Collection. Readers can enter by sharing their favorite inspirational quote.

Miracle Cove: The Collection

 If you like sweet small-town Southern romance, then you’ll love these faith-filled stories set in the beautiful Smoky Mountain foothills of East Tennessee. Four Heartwarming Christian Romance Books that will leave you smiling with a renewed sense of hope! BOOKS INCLUDED IN THIS SET: Mischief in Miracle Cove Secrets in Miracle Cove A Miracle Cove Reunion Christmas in Miracle Cove Plus...a special sneak peek into Honeysuckle Cove: The Collection

You can purchase Mary’s books:

Mary Manners lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and their rescue dog Axel, mischievous cats Colby and Rascal, a flock of chickens, and an aquarium teeming with fish.
Mary writes small-town family romances laced with faith, hope, and humor. Her books have earned multiple accolades including two Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, the Aspen Gold, the Heart of Excellence, and the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.
Mary loves long sunrise runs, Smoky Mountain sunsets, flavored coffee, and chocolate…lots of chocolate.

Where to connect with Mary Manners
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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Interview with Candace West and giveaway!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! This is Kathleen L. Maher here with you today. Up here in New York State this is week 11 or thereabouts of sheltering in place. What is all this free time, anyway, but an awesome opportunity when there are so many good books to read? 
One of the best books I read last year, Lane Steen, has a sequel that just came out in March, just as all the global brouhaha began. But each of these stories can be read as a stand-alone, and if you are a fan of historical fiction with a true old-soul vibe, intelligently written but heartwarmingly unpretentious, with a transcendent message, you are in for a real treat.

My guest today is Candace West Posey, a name you will hear more and more as time goes on. Today you get the privilege of saying you discovered her wonderful story world of Turn of the Century Ozarks, and the brilliant, endearing characters that populate her rural valley town.

Welcome, Candace! Please share your secrets. How do you do it? How do you transport a reader from 21st century modern back in time to your beloved Valley Creek, Arkansas? Tell us about your story world, and what it means to you.
Thank you for having me, Kathy! I’m thrilled to be here!
I always like to joke that I was born in the wrong century. Growing up, I soaked up stories told by my grandparents who were raised in the Ozarks. We spend most of our vacations there, and I love visiting old cemeteries and homeplaces.
My story world is a very real place, a mix of past and present, of reality and imagination. Exploring those places, falling in love with the characters, and picturing them in those surroundings are my secret. When I stand beside a bubbling stream, I see Lane sitting beside it. When I visit an abandoned country church, old hymns drift on the breeze, the singing voices imperfect yet beautiful. On an empty lot, I see the sawmill, hear the voices of working men, and smell the spicy scent of sawdust.
By the time I finished book one of the Valley Creek Redemption series, the characters and places felt so real to me that I had to remind myself they were imaginary. I hope readers feels the same by the time they reach the last page.

Would you share a brief synopsis or blurb of your latest work, Valley of Shadows, and where it may be purchased?
Lorena Steen gave up on love years ago. After arriving at Valley Creek to visit her daughters, she stumbles first thing into Earl, the husband who abandoned her.
As for Earl, facing Lorena while fighting his own demons tempts him to flee town. How can he rebuild a relationship with his daughters and cynical neighbors when guilt shadows every step?
While the storm brews between them, another storm descends on Valley Creek. Will a ghost town stand in its wake?
But then the townsfolk devise a plan. All they need is a former concert pianist and violinist. A wife and husband estranged.
Can Lorena and Earl set aside their feelings to rescue a community? Even though it sweeps them back through valleys best forgotten? Especially when a forbidden love claims his right to win Lorena's heart?
Amazon (Kindle and Paperback):

In your debut Lane Steen, we meet a character that is as appalling as he is intriguing. My favorite in the story, a real scene stealer. Tell us about Lane’s father, Earl Steen, and how he came to have his very own story.
I hated Earl Steen from the opening scene, just as Lane did. A few critique partners wanted me to kill him off. As the story progressed, I started wondering who this angry, embittered man was. Only a few times did Earl offer me a glimmer of something buried deep inside. Was there anything redeemable within? Did he have secrets? I knew then that Lane needed those answers as badly as I did. By the end of the book, my hatred for him had evolved into tentative love. I had to know more about Earl. He needed a chance to show that God could take a villain and transform him into a hero. 

And then, there is Lorena Steen. Elegant, ladylike, noble and honorable. But hiding a scar inside her serene heart. Lorena reminds me so much of my mother. Is there a person in your life that inspired her character?
I’m honored by your words, Kathy. Yes, Lorena is a mixture of the strong, Christian ladies who taught me and poured their light into my life…my mom, my grandmothers, and my aunt. My mom’s gentle ways and piano playing inspired Lorena’s. Her wisdom came from my grandmothers. My aunt inspired her bravery. Though each one of them had scars, they showed me how to glorify Christ through those scars and live victoriously.

A storm creates a turning point in the story. It is written so realistically, I could hear the growl of its ferocity. Have you lived through weather like you depict to guide your creative process?
Yes. Every year, I dread tornado season. We’ve been fortunate, but several tornados have torn through our area. A few times way too close. We’ve rushed many times to the closet or hallway, praying the whole time. I’ve witnessed the damage afterward in the communities nearby. I’ll never forget passing where a church once sat. Nothing was left but a light pole and a butane tank. Not a piece of wood in sight. It was as though the building vanished. Chilling.

Wow, chilling, indeed. Aside from  near-death first hand experiences with weather, what was the hardest thing to research in this story for you?
It’s funny you should ask that. The hardest thing was finding the price of a sawmill in the 1910’s. After lots of digging, I found a working sawmill in California that is now a museum. I called and talked to the owner. He told me the sawmill had been in his family since it was bought new in the early 1920’s. After I shared the reason for my call, he answered my questions and told me the price they originally paid. I did the best I could to adjust the price for 10 to 15 years earlier.

new cover coming soon!
What was the hardest emotional scene for you to write or to put your characters through? As an author do you laugh at funny moments or cry at sad ones?

Yes, I do, and I love it when that happens! Without giving away a spoiler, one of the hardest scenes to write was the scene with Edith after the tornado strikes Valley Creek. Earl wasn’t always an easy character to write either. He had buried a lot of things deep inside. I cried through the scene where he and his sister Ella are returning from a supper at a neighbor’s home. On the other hand, I laughed when Lane visited Doc Brown’s office.
What’s next on your writer’s slate? And where can readers find you?
I’m working on book 3, and I’d love to share my working title for the first time here. Dogwood Winter. I’m excited to feature two characters who appeared in Valley of Shadows. Look for it sometime next summer!

I love building friendships with my readers! Please take a moment to connect with me at these links.
Facebook Author page:

Candace, thank you for sharing with us, and for your warmth and generosity. 

CONTEST ALERT! Speaking of generosity, Candace is offering an e-copy of Valley of Shadows to one lucky commenter here. Please share this post for extra entries, and let us know where you shared (FB, Twitter, etc)

 A winner will be drawn by random dot org and announced here on Saturday May 30th. Don't forget to leave your email in the comments so I can contact you if you are selected. 
Good luck!


Where every underdog has his day.
Kathleen L. Maher’s first crush was Peter Rabbit, and she’s loved conflicted heroes ever since. She has two novellas in BARBOUR BOOKS' collections: Victorian Christmas Brides and Lessons on Love. Winner 2012 ACFW Genesis Award. Author of Sons of the Shenandoah Series: The Abolitionist's Daughter and The Chaplain's Daughter.
Kathleen and her husband live in an old farmhouse in upstate NY with their children and a small menagerie.

Facebook author page:

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Untraceable Evidence

Today I'd like to welcome Sharee Stover. She's a Love Inspired Suspense author, and her new book Untraceable Evidence is now available.

Hi Sharee, welcome to the Diamond Mine. I'm so excited about Untraceable Evidence

Hi Jackie! Thank you so much for hosting me!

What was your favorite book(s) as a child?
I still have the original copy of my favorite book, Rainbow Garden by Patricia M. St. John. When I was nine-years-old, my mom took me to a bookstore and I special ordered the book. I thought that was THE coolest thing ever.

What led you to write romantic suspense?
I have always enjoyed the genre and when I first got into romantic suspense, I devoured Dee Henderson, Irene Hannon, and Lynette Eason’s books. So, when I started writing suspense just seemed like a natural progression. Who doesn’t love nail-biting suspense and swoon-worthy romance?

Tell us about your newest release.

Untraceable Evidence is the first of three books in my ATF Agents series.

Scientist Ace Steele is hired by the ATF to develop a top-secret project named Ghost—a 3D printer gun that uses frangible ammunition. The components are comprised entirely of plastic, making the gun untraceable via metal detectors. The ATF is certain a mole exists who is working with a local militia. The militia’s leader will do anything to get Project Ghost. 

Name one trait your main character possesses that you wish you did.

Randee Jareau is fearless! She’s got mad fighting skills, is willing to rappel down buildings, and no matter how scared she is, she battles on.

Who is your real-life hero and why?

It will sound cliché I’m sure, but it’s the truth. My husband is my real-life hero. Not only because he’s a state trooper, but because he is willing to go running toward the danger when everyone else is running away. He’s a natural problem solver and has a huge heart to serve people. He’s dug cars out of snow drifts, helped move livestock off the highway, held a child’s hand after a car accident, and been the first person to notify a family member of their loved one’s death. He also has a teaching spirit, and he loves mentoring, encouraging, and instilling wisdom in those coming up in the ranks. But he’s also tenderhearted and very romantic (far more than I am). Most of all, he loves the Lord with all his heart.

Do you have a Pinterest board for each of your books?
I don’t! I do have a Pinterest account, but I am working on creating one for my books and hope to have it go live soon.

If you could visit anywhere right now without fearing catching COVID-19, where would you go?

So many options!!! Florida to be near the ocean or Colorado to be near the mountains.

Sharee, thanks for joining us today! 

Friends, here's the blurb for Untraceable Evidence:

Someone’s after a deadly weapon…

and only she can stop them.

It’s undercover ATF agent Randee Jareau’s job to make sure the government’s 3-D printed “ghost gun” doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. So when someone goes after scientist Ace Steele, she must protect him…before she loses the undetectable weapon and its creator. But with a mole inside Ace’s company and everyone a suspect, this assignment could become Randee’s last.

If you'd like to connect with Sharee, you can find her on social media.

Social media and buy links:

Buy link for Silent Night Suspect:
Buy link for Untraceable Evidence:

Stay safe everybody. I look forward to seeing you back at the Diamond Mine soon!

Monday, May 11, 2020

Interview with Patti Stockdale - Historical Romance Author

Hello friends!

I pray you are surviving this quarantine season with lots of good reads and a big cup of whatever you like to drink. As always, I have a pot of tea read for the drink and scones for the eating. Today I have the incredible honor and joy of introducing you to my critique partner and friend, Patti Stockdale and her debut historical romance, Three Little Things.

Patti Stockdale has returned to her home state of Iowa after moving around the country for years. She's a freelance writer and previously worked as a director at a nonprofit, an administrative assistant, and a corn detasseler - a big challenge since she's five foot one. Love letters her grandparents exchanged served as the inspiration for Three Little Things.

It is such and honor and blessing to have you here to celebrate the release of your debut! So let's dive in! As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

PS: I either wanted to be a ballerina or operate the cash register at Van’s Grocery.
CC: That is so adorable! I can see a younger version of you dressed in a tutu playing with a toy cash register.

CC: What is your favorite Bible verse? Why?
PS: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 Whenever I’m struggling, either physically or emotionally, the verse delivers peace.

CC: That is such a powerful verse. I agree it's one to turn to in times of struggle for a measure of peace.

Now for one of my favorite parts! Introducing your book! So here is the blurb for Three Little Things.

One forbidden love. Two broken hearts. Three little things.

Hattie Waltz should forget the troubled neighbor leaving for boot camp in 1917. He forgot about her ages ago. It had always been the Waltzs verses the Kregers, his family pitted against hers. When she hands him a farewell gift, a chemistry lesson unfolds. The good kind.
Arno Kreger can’t leave Iowa or his old man fast enough. He’s eager to prove his worth on the battlefield and stop blaming himself for his brother’s death. Before entering the train, he bumps into Hattie. He’s loved her forever, always from the sidelines, because nobody crosses Hattie’s pa.
One innocent letter soon morphs into many. Arno and Hattie share three little secrets in each letter and grow closer together. But he’s on his way to a war across the ocean, and she’s still in her father’s house. Their newfound love will need to survive dangers on both fronts.

CC: So, Patti, which character was the most fun to create? What made them fun?
PS: My favorite character to write was Jeb, the protagonist’s brother. He dropped out of school early and starts reading the dictionary to expand his vocabulary.
CC: I did love Jeb and his sort of know it all attitude, too. Just like a brother.

This story has a special place in your heart. Can you explain why?
PS: Three Little Things is inspired by letters my maternal grandparents exchanged. Initially, I tried to tell their story. But there were too many gaps, and I couldn’t assign flaws to my grandparents.
CC: Grandparents are always perfect in our eyes aren't they. I love that they exchanged letters and you can follow their romance through it. What a sweet way to get to know them better.

How did you select the names of your characters?
PS: To honor my grandparents, I used their first names: Arno and Hattie in Three Little Things. Another character is named after my paternal grandmother: Lena. I also ask friends to tell me their grandparents or great-grandparents’ names. Then, I pick my favorites.

CC: Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this interview. I just have one more fun question for you. What would be your writer mascot and why?
PS: I’d choose a sweet teddy bear as my mascot. They’re snuggly, friendly, and make me smile.
CC: Awww, that sounds like someone I know. Except we don't cuddle, but I'll take one of your hugs any day.

Thanks so much for stopping by to get to know Patti. If you'd like to enter for your chance to win an e-copy of her book. Tell us what YOUR mascot would be and leave us with an email to contact you. Use this format: name(at)place(dot)com -- that way no trolling bots nab your email.

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Interview with Suspense Author Tom Threadgill

I'm delighted to introduce you to my friend, Tom. And I'm humbled to have Revell author Tom Threadgill in my life as a friend, critique partner, and editor. I had the great privilege of knowing Tom before he became author-famous. We clicked as colleagues in the area of wordsmithing and motorcycles. And now, I'm thrilled you get to know him, too.

From Tom's website: 

"Tom Threadgill was born and raised in Memphis back when the muddy Mississippi was less riverish and more streamish. His childhood was unremarkable. (Unless you count the concussion. Oh, and the time he nearly got arrested. And the time his dad made him smoke a cigar so he wouldn’t try cigarettes.)

After giving up on a calling as a professional Pong player, Tom married his high school sweetheart and moved off to Nashville. He attended Belmont University where he majored in English (because the sky’s the limit for English majors, right?), learned to type on an IBM Selectric, and helped his wife study nursing terms with flashcards.

While there, Tom began an almost thirty-year career working for a package delivery company, spending most of the time working his way up the ranks and looking for his stapler. The job took him to Indiana, Missouri, Florida, and Texas, before he opted to retire early and move to rural West Tennessee. Think Green Acres minus the farm but with the helpful county agent.

These days Tom spends his time piddling in the yard and writing novels. His hobbies include working jigsaw puzzles, trying out Dad jokes on his grown kids, woodworking, and using leftover potted meat cans from Y2K for target practice.

Tom enjoys riding his Harley in the mountains with his wife, who shuts off the microphone after the third 'I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar.' He’s also a rabid hockey fan, following his beloved Predators as they chase their first Stanley Cup."

Self-deprecating Tom is now the published author of four books and I'm sure a gazillion on the way. I'm so tickled he has found success as a Revell author. His other three books were published by another fine publishing company, Lamplighter Suspense.  Tom and I share a literary agent friend and critique partner, Linda Glaz, also a Lamplighter Suspense author and ACFW 2019 Agent of the Year.

Even though I know Tom a little, I still had some questions for him.

Karla: How long did it take you to write your first novel? And did you sell it?

Tom:  My first "official" novel took me around two years to write. I wasn't too confident in what I was doing, and spent a lot of time learning the process. I also attended several conferences and tried to figure out what worked for me and what didn't. I actually signed with an agent (whom I love and still represents me) before I finished that first book. Yes, that story sold. It actually ended up being the second book in the Jeremy Winter series, "Dead of Winter."

Karla: I remember those years and even though we knew each other online, we finally met at an ACFW Conference. Why do you like to write gritty suspense?

Tom: It's what I like to read (and sometimes watch). The realism appeals to me, but I had to learn to do it in a way that didn't clash with my Christian values. That means no profanity and no graphic sexual situations. There is a tad bit of gore in some of my books, but I try to keep that to a minimum. I'm not a blood-and-guts kind of guy. The reader's imagination is far better than what I can write, so I try to point them in a direction and let them fill in the blanks.

Karla: Yes, well, you're very good at that! How many more books do you have in you?

Tom: Great question. If I'm knee-deep in the gazillionth round of edits, I'd say I'm done. No more books. But a week later, I'm itching to get back to my keyboard. I've got one trilogy done (the Jeremy Winter series) and just finished the second book in the Amara Alvarez series. I've had a lot of requests to continue with Winter, but my next novel will probably be another Alvarez book.

Karla:  What is your process? Are you a panster or a planner?

Tom:  I'd estimate I'm about 95% pantser. I try to do a little plotting, but it rarely works out for me.

Karla:  What's your favorite part of being a writer? What's your least favorite part?

Tom: I love the sense of accomplishment that comes from a book reaching the publication stage. There is so much work that goes into writing a novel, from the multiple drafts to the edits to waiting to hear that "yes" from a publisher. My least favorite part would be the days when the words just don't come. Writing becomes a chore and more often than not, whatever I wrote that day gets deleted the next time I sit down to write.

Karla: Thank you, Tom, for taking the time to visit with me! I'm eager to dig into Collision of Lies, and I'm so excited it's on audio, too! 

If you love gritty suspense, you can find Tom's books everywhere books are sold. Come back to the comments and let us know what you think!

Until next time, I hope you're all staying safe and healthy! God is in control! Praise His Name!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Our Own Kathleen L. Maher Shares her New Release!

We are so excited to have one of our own putting out a
new release, Kathleen L. Maher! And she's giving away a free e-book of her new book. All you have to do is share this post on social media! Leave a comment below with an email address so we can reach the winner!

PT: So tell us how you came to be a Historical writer.
KLM: I grew up in a town saturated with history, from the Revolutionary War (Battle of Newtown) to the Civil War (Elmira Military Rendezvous and Civil War POW camp). I heard local stories of Underground Railroad-era hidden tunnels through people’s cellars, and it all became so vivid in my imagination. I was hooked! Soon I began to dream up stories of  young ladies and young gentlemen, which forced me to dig deeper to get the nuance of dress, mannerisms, transportation, and all the historical minutiae accurate, to tell their stories well.

PT: Let your readers have a peek where your favorite location to write, get creative ideas.
KLM: I write wherever I can find a few minutes of peace and quiet. We have a busy house. Four dogs, four cats, three kids, and a husband who is a darling but sometimes competes for my attention.  So favorite location to write is away from distraction. Is there such a place in this connected world?
Where do I get my ideas? Often I literally dream them at night. Sometimes I see a photo on Pinterest that captures my imagination. Or if I’m at an estate sale or shop and see an intriguing antique.

PT: Pet Lover or no? Tell us if you do.
KLM: That would be a huge yes. Maybe a little on the extreme, but NOT building an ARK yet. Check back with me in a few.
We are owned by Newfoundlands. They are a giant, fluffy water rescuing dogs. Think of black St. Bernards without the snow or the rum. And then in the feline department, we have two tuxedo cats, and two all-black cats.

PT: What are you working on now? Edits? New story? New idea?
KLM: I want to finish book three in the Sons of the Shenandoah series, but I have this other book intruding on my focus. It’s a medieval in the way that the Princess Bride is, with castles and knights and princesses, but with a twist. Each main character has a quirk that back then would have been very misunderstood. Today we call some of these quirks developmental disability, or Traumatic brain injury, or narcolepsy, or… you get the idea. It’s a fun story about accepting others’ differences and a romance and an epic adventure and allegory all in one. And it might just be bigger than I am able to tame, but I’m hooked. No turning back now.

PT: Give us the best comment you’ve ever had from a reader:
KLM: I’m paraphrasing, but I had one reviewer say they hated my hero and my heroine and wanted to knock their heads together, but they couldn’t put it down because “the writing, the writing the writing.”
 I’ll take that as a compliment. 😉

PT:Share with us your favorite Bible verse right now.
KLM: I’ve been thinking a lot about the one in Micah lately. My new novella Bachelor Buttons has me thinking about human nature and what makes one person feel entitled to loot and riot under unjust circumstances, while another person in those same difficulties and uncertainties decides to be a force for good and not evil. I think this scripture sums it up.

Micah 6:8-10 New King James Version (NKJV)
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love 
And to walk humbly with your God?

If we want to please the Lord, we don’t seek our own, but to please Him and to serve others.

PT: As I sit at my window and watch the last of winter battling the arrival of spring,  tell us which is your favorite season and tell why: Spring, summer, fall, or Winter?
KLM: Oh, this is the hardest question! I love many things about all four. I live in upstate New York where we have four very distinct seasons, and I look forward to spring flowers, winter snowstorms all cozied up inside with hot coffee and a good book, or swimming and hiking in the summer, and of course the cooler temps and glorious colors of fall. God shows off and gives us joy in each season of life. I think He knew the way humans would always need something to look forward to.

PT: My favorite parts! Tell 5 things about Kathleen L. Maher that have nothing to do with writing.
KLM: I was a single mom for seven years before I met Mr. Maher, the real hero in my story.
I was raised by a single mom who will forever be my heroine.
I love to draw and paint, and I have my own art page on Facebook.
I love to sing. Before asthma and allergies took their toll, I was pretty good. Now I just sing worship too loudly in our small church.  Poor Pastor.  LOL
Gardening and preserving my own food has become a growing interest to me. Each year I try something new—peach preserves last year, and this year, my own elderberry syrup, Lord willing.

And here is what you've been waiting for! The cover of Kathleen's new book.

Share on Social Media and post a comment below where you shared it!

The daughter of immigrants who fled the Irish Potato Famine, Rose Meehan longs for a better life than the tenements of New York City. Courted by two men--a young doctor who represents material security, and a poor violin instructor who has captured her heart--she must choose between the two. When Manhattan explodes in mob rule following Lincoln's unpopular draft, Rose’s decision could mean the difference between life and death.
Kathleen L. Maher’s Author bio:
"Where every underdog has his day."
Kathleen L. Maher’s first crush was Peter Rabbit, and she’s loved conflicted heroes ever since. She has two novellas in BARBOUR BOOKS' collections: Victorian Christmas Brides and Lessons on Love. Winner 2012 ACFW Genesis Award. Author of Sons of the Shenandoah Series: The Abolitionist's Daughter and The Chaplain's Daughter.
Kathleen and her husband live in an old farmhouse in upstate NY with their children and a small menagerie