Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Interview with Author Rick Barry

What is better on a holiday than to curl up with a book you can't put down? I have a great two-book series for you to check out: Rick Barry's Methuselah's Project. 

As you'll hear in the following interview, this series appeals to young and old, men and women, and boys and girls (tweens and teens) alike! And now there's a second book! I love it when characters we love come back to visit us! Click here to buy!

He has two other excellent books to check out as well, Gunner's Run and Kiriath's Quest.

Which of these books will you read first? I am heading over right now to pick up copies for my middle school classroom! 

Below is my interview with Rick Barry. We chat about everything from how he got started writing to his writing processes. If you enjoy the interview, please share it and click like! Let's spread the word about this great author!

What questions do you have for Rick? Leave a comment or question below to win a free copy of his book, Methuselah Project SOS!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Holly Jolly Christmas on the Mine

 with Barbara Britton and Renee Blare




Beginning December 23, 2020 @ 12:30am

Comment below in Blog Comment Section:

 Entry must include ALL of the following:

1. Name and Email
2. Respond with Your favorite Bible Character and Why
(Who knows? It may provide fodder for a new Britton novel!)

Award: One Print or E-Copy (Winner's Choice)


Drawing Date:
December 29, 2020 @ 11:59pm

1. Winner announced December 30, 2020, by 6:00pm
2. Winner will also be notified by email and will need to respond within 72 hours to claim the desired reward version of the book they wish to receive (print or e-copy.)
3. Lack of response within the specified time frame will rule the winning selection as void and another winner shall be drawn from the eligible comments, regardless of preference and desire.
4. Author, the Diamond Mine, or Miner (blogger) is not responsible for any communication, email, or delivery complications during the Christmas season which may impact the delivery of the winning item. It is said to be nearly impossible to meet delivery deadlines right now.




Come on in, it's "Chat Time!"

RENEE: Hi there, Barbara! Welcome to the Diamond Mine. I'm so excited that you are with us today. For y'all joining us, my guest today is my great friend and Biblical Fictional author, Barbara M. Britton.

BARBARA: Hi, Renee, I am excited to be with you on the Diamond Mine. I cherish our meeting and the time we spent together in Deadwood, South Dakota. I can't wait to get started!

RENEE: Absolutely. Deadwood was amazing and I can't wait until we can spend more time together, professionally and personally. You are a great friend and writer. Your Tribes of Israel series captures Biblical characters in the Old Testament and gives them a day in the Christian Fiction sun. What drives you to start a book in a series such as that AND finish it? You must have true love and passion for writing or is it the story itself?

BARBARA: I would have to say both. When I'm working on a story that resonates with me, the characters grab hold of my mind and they don't let go. It's like I can't stop writing the story or they won't give me a moment's peace. Is that passion? Love? I think it's a blessing or some kind of special gift, but it can be very distracting as well. I write the "goings-on" of the scenes on a piece of paper, then I can obtain focus to accomplish other things. Once I finish the book, the characters leave me alone.
This makes me sound crazy, but other writers tell me their brains work the same way. This passion or constant character and plot brainstorming during the writing process is one reason that writers have notepads stashed in every nook and cranny from their nightstands to the consoles of the cars. It's because we never know when our characters are going to blurt some insanely perfect dialogue or when an ideal plot line or idea for a scene is going to pop into our heads. It's only when I pen the words, "The End" my life returns halfway to normal.

RENEE: How do you pick and then create your characters so they become "human" and deeper than the paper they are written on? After all, Biblical characters can be rather untouchable - unapproachable to most people today, at least at face value.

BARBARA: The Bible is filled with conflict. The Israelites were at war with several nations and they had conflict within their own tribes. Women didn't have the rights they do today, so when women were bold for God, they put their life in jeopardy, or at least their social standing. I try to understand how precarious life was in Bible Times and place the conflict within my characters. I draw on feelings and hurts I've experienced in my own life. I'm also a big music fan and I find that a song can capture the mood or feeling of a character.
You can mine character traits from people you meet or from friends. Don't make it obvious though, or people may be guarded around you. I've used perfume ads to find the personality of a character or what they look like. Perfume ads tend to be dramatic because they are selling a fragrance that is embodying a personality (or character). Being a visual learner, I can glean a lot from a picture more than a list of traits. Some authors interview their characters and write a list of "favorites" to flesh out their characters.

RENEE: Well, we all know the Bible has unique people and unique places. It must be truly amazing to have such an overflowing well to choose from for your books. Can you tell us how you chose this latest book's setting?

BARBARA: The tribe of Manasseh settled in the Promised Land among cities that had their kings vanquished, but their people survived. These Canaanites continued to worship idols and eventually led many Israelites astray in the tribe of Manasseh.
Biblically, the daughters of Zelophehad are descended from Joseph. Manasseh was the firstborn son of Joseph, but he was not given the firstborn blessing. His brother Ephraim received the firstborn blessing from his grandfather Jacob.
In my series, I place my faithful sisters in a land filled with faithless people. It reminds me of the church today. How would Milcah and her sisters continue to serve God in a land that did not praise His name? The sisters live near the city of Megiddo. Some scholars think the final battle in Revelation will be near Megiddo. Good versus evil. What better place to end my series about girls who sought God for their needs and didn't forget His promises?

RENEE: Wow, you make me want to read all three of your books this second! I love the way you work, ma'am. In fact, the books I have read of yours are awesome, just like you are. What would you say is your biggest challenge as an author?

BARBARA: That is a great question. Like most authors, I split my time between being creative and being a businesswoman. Don't get me wrong, I love to write my stories and get lost in my story world, but I also need to make sure readers know I have books in the real world.
When I began writing, social media was not the force that it is today. Publishers did most of the promotion in the "old days." Now a lot of marketing falls onto the author's desk. It is easy to be swept away into the social media realm and not realize that hours are passing by. I have to set boundaries on such things as marketing and social media, or it will consume my day.
My advice for writers of any experience level is to do what you enjoy and limit the rest. Once I was asked why I wasn't on Pinterest. I responded that I didn't have time to create fun and fabulous boards because I'd never get any writing done if I did.
Writing has to be and is my first priority.

RENEE: Time management is a serious subject in anyone's life especially the writer, published or not. I know from experience that my life was turned upside down when writing became a career instead of merely a hobby. I was a pharmacist when I wrote my first novel and already had many demands on my time. The writing was a joy, publication a surprise, but marketing? That was and is a nightmare. I have one final question for you and we'll toast our way into acknowledging and celebrating Jesus Christ's birthday (with coffee or tea, of course.)
Would you mind sharing your testimony and how it impacts those around you?

BARBARA: Of course. It's ironic, or some might say, a "God thing" that I'm a Christian Fiction author. I did not grow up in a Christian home. I had wonderful parents, but they did not seek a relationship with Jesus. My mom became a Christian through Bible Study Fellowship. She brought my sister and me to church, and I became a Christian in the third grade.
I can remember as a child having this great fear of death and believing "luck" to be arbitrary and stupid. When I heard about Jesus, all my questions about life were answered. 
One of my favorite things to do is teach the Bible to kids. I also like to write Christian books for teens and adults. The Bible is one story, God's story, but it is made up of 66 books. We tend to focus on the New Testament and ignore the Old Testament. I'm always learning about new-to-me stories in the Bible and I want to share them with my readers.

RENEE: You are a truly amazing woman and author. I wish I could write biblical fiction like you but until God graces me with that ability, I will continue to read how your elaborate characters within your tremendous biblical settings live their lives facing evil and triumphing with God to do and be good.

BARBARA: Thank you, my friend. And thanks again for having me on the Diamond Mine, Renee. Milcah's story is the third in my daughters of Zelophehad series, but it can be read as a stand-alone story.
In honor of our Savior's birth and this blog, I'm offering a print or e-copy of "Claiming Canaan: Milcah's Journey" (Print copy available for U.S. Winner only).


To enter: please leave a comment beneath the post in the Blogger comment section, sharing your favorite Bible character and why that's the case. Who knows? The person may become the lead character in my next novel!



About the Guest, Barbara Britton:

Barbara M. Britton loves to bring little-known Bible characters to light in her fiction. She is published with Pelican Book Group and ventured into Christian Historical Fiction with "Until June" in June of 2020. Barb lives in Wisconsin, but her college days were spent in Waco, Texas at Baylor University. Barb has a nutrition degree but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. You can find out more about Barb and her books on her website or on social media.

About the Miner, Renee Blare:

In the Black Hills foothills of Wyoming lives Christian Author and Artist, Renee Blare. She's a pharmacist of twenty-three years, but although licensed, is inactive and has not practiced for the last three years due to her disability. She is a published author with Prism Book Group, a subsidiary of Pelican Book Group, and is a best-selling author of Romantic Suspense and Mystery and Contemporary Christian Fiction.
Renee is an advocate for Chronic Pain Warriors including the Disabled and Elderly who must use Opioids. She also is politically active for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Warriors and all other Chronic Pain Warriors being persecuted by State and the Federal Government Agencies for needing to take opioids to control their pain.
She seeks relief from severe and uncontrolled pain through learning and developing new skills in art, crafts, music, and writing.
Discover more about Renee Blare at the following sites:
                  Renee Blare - CRPS
                  Inyan Kara Studio
Instagram: @mrzgrizwyo
Email:       Gmail
                  Yahoo Mail
                  AOL Mail

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Welcome to Sassy Creek & Weldon with Shelia Stovall + a Free Novella

Hello, readers, and welcome back to the Diamond Mine. We are so thankful for each and every one of you. Today, I am delighted to introduce you to an author whose debut novel is arriving March 2021. Plus, keep reading to find out how you can get a free novella before the release of Shelia Stovall's first book.

 About the Author

Shelia Stovall is the Director of a small-town library in southern Kentucky, where only strangers mention her last name, and the children call her Miss Shelia.

It tickles her to see shocked expressions when folks learn she’s traveling to Africa—again. She’s the worst missionary ever, but God continues to send her to the ends of the earth as He attempts to mold her into something useful. 

Shelia is a country girl who relishes eating a bologna sandwich at a country store just as much as savoring an elegant meal in a posh restaurant. 

Shelia and her husband Michael live on a farm, and she enjoys taking daily rambles to the creek with their three dogs. Spending time with family, especially her grandchildren is her all-time favorite thing. The only hobby Shelia loves more than reading uplifting stories of hope is writing them. 

Connect with Shelia: Facebook | Instagram | Website

Suzie: Are you ready to learn more about this debut author and what's coming? Just for fun…Would you rather have all traffic lights you approach be green or never have to stand in line?

Shelia: I’m usually running a little behind, so the thought of never again being forced to stop at a traffic light makes me smile. While shopping, I’m usually listening to an audiobook, so I’m entertained while waiting. 

Suzie: I agree with you. I'd rather have all traffic lights be green. Would you rather be forced to dance anytime you hear music or be forced to sing along to any song you heard?  

Shelia: I’d definitely prefer to sing along to any song as music usually plays in my thoughts' background.

Suzie: Share a little about your mission trip to Africa and what you learned through that experience.

Shelia: Visiting Africa made me realize I am blessed to be an American. Women in Africa are often treated very poorly. Even the poorest in the U.S. are wealthier than most people living in Kenya and Niger villages. Almost all Americans have access to clean water, food, and medical care. 

Many Americans view Muslims in West Africa as hostile, but I didn’t experience this. In Niger, the population is 99.9% Muslim. However, all of the women I met were friendly and gracious hosts.

Few of the women in Niger can read, so they’ve never read the Koran, and many are too busy to visit the mosque. Yet, they are considered Muslim because they are born in a Muslim country. It’s sort of like saying everyone in America is a Christian since America is known as a Christian nation. The people in Niger and Kenya treated me like an honored guest. 

Suzie: And what a eye-opening experience that must have been. Now, What are three books on your current tbr? Pssst...Shelia's a librarian so narrowing it down to three may be tough. :)


The Marriage of Innis Wilkinson by Lauren H. Brandenburg

All of You, Always by Lindsay Harrel (release is January 4, 2021)

Faith’s Mountain Home by Misty M. Beller (release is January 5, 2021)

Suzie: Where do you write? What does your writing space look like?  

Shelia: I write in a little room upstairs under the eaves. Most would consider it the size of the closet. My writing room used to be my children’s nursery, then playroom. 

Suzie: Tell us a little about your journey to getting published.

Shelia: During a Priscilla Shirer Bible study in 2010, I spent time meditating on the question, What does God want you to do that you don’t want to do? God planted the seed for me to write a book, but it terrified me. To avoid the calling, I signed up for a mission trip to Africa, but God continued to pursue me. I started the first draft, but it was too hard. I simply didn’t have the skills required. Then, I received a mysterious email at work advertising a Christian writers’ conference at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, TX.  I attended the conference and met New York Times best-selling author Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie. Both authors encouraged me to finish my novel, and Judy introduced me to her award-winning editor Jamie Chavez. I finished the first draft of Every Window Filled with Light on 12/12/12. I’ll never forget that date. That’s when the real work started as I started studying the craft of writing and polishing the manuscript. I’ve re-written the novel three times. 

It’s been a long road to publication due to many setbacks, but I’ve learned from my mistakes, and I’ve made countless friends along the way. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing as I know the book Elk Lake Publishing will release in March is so much better than the work I first submitted to publishers. 

Suzie: Writing a good book is definitely not for the faint of heart. Share a little about Every Window Filled with Light.

Shelia: The setting for Every Window Filled with Light is the make-believe town of Weldon, Kentucky.  I came up with Weldon to remind me why I get up at five o’clock in the morning to write. I long to hear Jesus say, “Well done,” when my race is finished. Although Weldon is a fictional place, my hometown of Franklin, KY, is the inspiration.  

Suzie: Readers, keep scrolling to read what Every Window Filled with Light is about. 

In the meantime, what’s next for Shelia?  

Shelia: I have so many stories that I want to write, I’ll never live long enough to finish the task. The second Weldon, KY book is finished, and the third book is almost complete. I’ve ideas for seven books

in the Weldon series. Since writing the Christmas novella, A Sassy Creek Christmas, I hope to write a Sassy Creek series. 

Readers may download my Christmas novella, A Sassy Creek Christmas, by clicking on this link.

About the novella:

Welcome to Sassy Creek, Kentucky, where pretty much everything starts at the Wide Spot Country Store. There you’ll find laughter, a little gossip,  Goo Goo Clusters, and might even be invited to join in a hand of Rook with the locals . . . 

Like Ovaleta Mayhew, who plans the first-ever Sassy Creek Christmas parade to raise funds to help pay eight-year-old Ava’s medical bills. People want to help but unexpected conflict erupts—leaving Ovaleta to regret her impulsive actions.

Or Pastor Seth, who’s in love with Lila, a nurse he met at the Nashville cancer center. He wonders what she’ll think of Sassy Creek and his dwindling congregation. He can’t compete with the bright lights of Nashville, but he knows God’s called him to Sassy Creek.

The parade is set to start at the Wide Spot, but two tragedies silence everyone and the community gathers to pray. Without a miracle, it’s doubtful there will ever be a Sassy Creek Christmas parade.

Suzie: And last, but certainly not least, how can we pray for you?

Shelia: Please pray for my life and work glorify God. I hope and pray my stories will fall into the hands of those who do not know Christ, and they will pray a simple prayer and ask Jesus to enter their heart after reading one of my stories.

Suzie: Thank you so much for spending some time with us this week, Shelia. It has been a pure delight chatting with you. Readers, welcome Shelia in the comments, and don't forget to grab that free novella as well as sign up for Shelia's newsletter for all the news on Every Window Filled with Light.

Coming March 2021 - Every Window Filled With Light

Welcome to Weldon, Kentucky, where the only things the locals love more than fried pies are gossip and match-making.

Librarian Emma Baker, a young and childless widow, believes her dream to build a family is over. It’s been two years since a student accidentally stabbed Emma’s husband to death, and her grief has stifled any interest in romance—until she meets Pastor Luke Davis. But when Emma learns Luke is counseling her husband’s killer fresh out of jail, her temper gets in the way. Meanwhile, Emma discovers twelve-year-old Harley, abandoned by her drug-addict mother, hiding in the library, and takes the girl in as her foster mom. Then a young mother is made homeless by an apartment fire, and Emma opens her home again. One person and one prayer at a time, Emma begins to discover hope.

Luke encourages Emma to finally forgive, but it seems impossible until Emma sees the same poisonous emotions in Harley. If Emma can yield and offer forgiveness to her husband’s killer, perhaps she’ll be able to piece together the broken pieces of her heart…and the broken people who enter her life…to find a new family and maybe even have a second chance at love.

Sign up for Shelia newsletter for book news. Scroll to the bottom of the home page to sign up.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Anne Carol's New Release and a Giveaway, Too!

Hello dear readers! Amidst the mess of this year, I bet reading has been a great way to cope with all the crazy. This has been my year to find many new authors who have become favorites. How about you? Check out Anne Carol’s new release NEVER GIVE UP. Maybe she’s a new-to-you author who will become a favorite. Also enter the giveaway below.


 Love never fails.

The final book of the Faithfully Yours series begins as English guitarist David Somers and his California-bred wife Beth celebrate ten years together. Their anniversary comes on the heels of a big move from England to California. Leaving his years of band life behind, David—now a father of two—decides to pursue a solo music career in Los Angeles.

Beth is thrilled to return to her home state and immediately enrolls at a local university, determined to finish her writing degree. Meanwhile, David struggles to adjust to life in his adopted country, and when his music career is hampered by unexpected health issues, he gradually descends into a dark place where even Beth cannot seem to reach him. As married life spirals out of control, this young family becomes desperate for a miracle.

Just when things seem hopeless, a friend steps in with a powerful message that could rescue the Somers from a crushing downfall. Will evil win out and succeed in destroying their family, or will David and Beth renew their commitment, never giving up hope for restoration?


Buy Links

 Amazon Page: https://amzn.to/2x30NHq


Anne, thanks for joining us. Tell us some interesting facts about your work as an author.


1.     As Christian writers, we long to share God’s love, goodness, and grace with others through our writing. But quite often our stories speak to us as much as our readers. How did God use this story to help you stretch and grow as a person?


It took me over two years to write Never Give Up, and I actually came close to giving up several times! I struggled a lot, spiritually and emotionally, while writing this book and marketing my three previous books. So many times, I felt forgotten by the writing community – and God. It’s very hard to write when the enemy is feeding you lies – that nobody cares, you’re a joke, you aren’t good enough, etc. Last year, I lamented to a few writing friends, and I cringe when I think about the pity parties I had. Finally, a couple of friends gave it to me straight about how I need to get past these negative emotions and trust God. So, over the past year, I’ve buried myself in the Word and have had a daily dialogue with God. I poured all my emotions into my characters and worked out issues through them. As they’ve learned truths, so have I. Now I can’t wait to write more books so I can continue this spiritually therapeutic process! I honestly feel like my relationship with God has grown deeper. I hope my readers are inspired by the transformations of my characters over the entire four-book series.


2.     What is the quality you like the most about your heroine?


I admire Beth’s patience with David, that she supported him and put off her dreams for years to allow his dreams to be fulfilled. In Never Give Up, she finally has a chance to work on her own career goals, and she juggles college and motherhood to make that happen. So, I also love her tenacity in finishing her degree. 


3.     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?


While I was waiting in between edits for Never Give Up, I began planning a new short story to use as a newsletter freebie after the holidays. My current freebie is a Christmas story set at a California winery. The new story, titled “Forever Young”, will be a romance set in current day and in 1987 (Daughter needs relationship advice and mother flashes back to her similar relationship issues). It’s been fun planning out the playlist, since I love 80s music!

Beyond that, I have a new novel I’d like to write for a proposal, to try for traditional publishing. The working title is “Not of This World”, and it’s based (loosely) on my own testimony. This is a standalone novel, with a potential to be part of a three-book series.

I also plan to write another self-published novel, titled “Backstage Baby” about a girl who runs away from home and gets caught up in the groupie lifestyle, and how God pursues her through an old childhood friend. This story is set in the 1980’s, and the heroine, Chelsea, has a cameo in my third novel, Never Change. This novel is planned for a Spring 2022 release.


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


My ideal writing time is 9-4 (ish) on the days I don’t work at my accounting job. I’m an “almost” empty-nester, and I have taken over my younger son’s bedroom while he’s away at college! My older son is a sophomore at junior college, and he uses our home office, while my husband camps out in our family room for his workday. Having a quiet room to myself has really helped me maintain this writing schedule. My son will be home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I’ll have to adjust while he’s home!


5.     What characteristics do you value most in your heroes?


My current hero and the ones I plan to write about are all musicians. Music and musicians will almost always be an integral part of my stories. My heroes are also loyal, caring, protective, vulnerable in some way, and kind-hearted.



 Since my current release is the fourth and final book of my romance/women’s fiction series, I will gift one commenter a set of all four eBooks. To enter your name, tell me your favorite Christmas tradition. Extra entries if you follow me on any of my social media sites! (Make sure to comment where you’re following). Please include your email if you’d like to enter the giveaway. 


Author Bio

Anne Carol grew up in the 1980’s, reading, writing, and listening to English rock bands. She continues to have one foot in the past, listening to classic alternative rock and watching old sitcoms. Anne writes about swoony musicians and, while she keeps a thread of hope in her emotion-packed stories, she doesn’t shy away from tough subject matter. When she’s not writing, Anne enjoys reading, traveling, hanging out with friends, wine tasting, and spending time with her husband and two teenage sons. She resides in Northern California, where most evenings you can find her curled up in front of a Hallmark movie with red wine and dark chocolate.


Social Media Links


·                 Website: https://annecarolauthor.com/

·                 Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/annecarolauthor/

·                 Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnneCarolAuthor

·                 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annecarolauthor/

·                 Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authorannecarol/

·                 Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/annecarolauthor?si=2CpMJ5HSRW-LyTntS49ZKQ

·                 Amazon Page: https://amzn.to/2x30NHq

·                 Newsletter Sign-up: https://bit.ly/2UDc7WH

·                 Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/anne-carol

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Christmas Book Giveaway with Mary Alford

        Christmas blessings, my fellow readers! So many exciting things
happening around the Diamond Mine. As I write, snow is flurrying through my glass doors. Heehee, shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but I LOVE snow!

And, I love giving things away! Mary O. won my last interview's book giveaway with Ann H. Gabhart on Sept. 9th. Also, our $25 B&N Gift Card has found a home with a lucky reader, Roxanne C., and I personally am deep in the midst of planning SO MANY BOOK SWAG giveaways on my own website, I can’t begin to name them! And you are definitely invited to be a part of that. See details below the interview.

But, I digress. Yet I don’t. Because our guest this week, author Mary Alford, is giving away not just a book, but a Christmas book! How fitting is that? Covert Amish Christmas is this week's giveaway. Check it out:


Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas! So, without further ado, lets turn our sleighs toward Mary Alford’s interview.

PT:  Season greetings, Mary! So happy to have you this week. I have my fireplace DVD on. Come settle by the fake fire and tell us the basics, your background and your genre.

MA: I write Christian and Amish Suspense for Love Inspired Suspense. I was a bookworm for as long as I can remember. I devoured every book that interested me at our public library. Growing up on Nancy Drew, Little House on the Prairie and Hardy Boys to name a few. From there, I graduated to Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney’s tales of suspense and romance. When I was a “tween”, I decided to write my own story because I was so sure I knew exactly how to do it. Wrong! It was filled with cliches and sappy romance, but it lit a fire in me that did not die through my teenage years and into adulthood. I tried my hand at different genres, but what I loved reading the most were Christian and Amish suspense. And so, I found my home there.

In 2012, I entered a contest through Love Inspired Suspense entitled, Speed Writing. I was chosen to pitch, then Emily Rodmell requested a partial, then a full, and in December of 2012, I received my first contract with Love Inspired Suspense. Forgotten Past was published in 2014. Since then, I’ve published 10 books through Love Inspired Suspense. The last 3 have been Amish Suspense. In addition, I am an Indie author of several Christian suspense novels. And in 2022, my first Amish Suspense will be published through Revell. 

PT: Wow! Amazing. What a way to begin. I’m sure being chosen was like a gift. Such a fitting story in this gift-giving season. So, do you have a main reason/theme/mantra of writing? Include both Amish/Contemporary if you can.

MA: I think my love for both Christian Suspense and Amish drives me to write in these two genres. I learned early on to write what I loved to read, and it has served me well.

 PT: Are there any characters in your books that resemble you most in personality? What about in Covert Amish Christmas? Or are there any scenes in the book that are taken from reality?

MA: I put a little of myself into every character I write. I cannot say it is one particular trait, but more like how they react to situations they are thrown into. Victoria Kauffman, in Covert Amish Christmas, in particular. And I find my characters usually share my love for coffee and cooking.

 PT: Where did you get the idea for your Covert Amish Christmas?

MA: I love stories involving spies. There is just something about the danger they face that makes for a great book. Covert Amish Christmas is about a former CIA agent who is being hunted by the people she once worked for because of something they believe she knows about a failed mission in Afghanistan. What better contrast for the dangerous world of espionage, than the peaceful Amish community of West Kootenai, Montana, right? And a hero that doesn’t come from a military or intelligence background. Aaron Shetler is a simple Amish furnituremaker who refuses to let bad guys take Victoria’s life. And because of his willingness to help, a love story is born.     

PT: Ah, sounds like the perfect novel to curl up with under a fuzzy, snowflake blanket. What’s the next project you are working on?

MA: Covert Amish Christmas introduces the reader to Aaron Shetler, the oldest of 5 Amish brothers who will be featured in additional upcoming Love Inspired books. The next book, Shielding the Amish Witness, comes out in April of 2021 and features Eli Shetler’s story. And in 2022, my first book from Revell will be released. It is an Amish Suspense, and I am extremely excited to get it into the hands of my readers.   

PT: Exciting! Any special plans you yourself have for this year’s Christmas/or a gift you're planning?

MA: As I’m writing this, I’m preparing to decorate the house for the holiday. Usually, I am struggling with a deadline around the Christmas holiday, so it sometimes feels like I miss out on some of the beauty of the season. But not this year. I plan to enjoy every moment of the season. That, to me, is a gift.  

PT: Yes. That is one thing this year has taught me. Time to enjoy every moment of life. Now, my favorite. It's like yanking down your stocking and finding all the little surprise trinkets inside! Tell 5 things quick about you that have nothing to do with writing.

MA: I am a grandmother of three, a pianist, a HUGE coffee drinker, a want-to-be crafter, and a sometimes-successful gardener. 

PT: Let me ask you a very important question. Do you have a Bible verse that is your current favorite, one that speaks to you right now?

MA: My favorite verse of the Bible is John 14:1-3

 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

What an amazing promise that Jesus Himself is preparing a place for us in heaven. I love that.

PT: I love that verse too, Mary. It speaks peace to my heart in this turbulent time. Thank you so much for stopping by the Mine and sharing your news and exciting giveaway!

To enter the contest, please leave a comment AND your email address. If you don't leave an email address, you will be not have a chance to win.

Also: please go to peggytrotter.com and sign up for my newsletters and automatically be entered for all my 2021 Book Swag Giveaways!


Want to know more about author Mary Alford? You've come to the right place:


2-time USA Today Bestselling Author, Mary Alford, loves giving her readers the un-expected, whether it be in a rugged mountain setting or a peaceful Amish community.  

Her titles have appeared on the USA Today Bestselling List, Publisher’s Weekly Bestselling List, and have been finalists in the Daphne Du Maurier award of excellence, The Beverly, The Maggie, and The Selah Awards.  

Mary lives in Texas with her husband, two very spoiled cats, and a sweet rescue dog name Cody. Mary is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Face-book and Twitter or any social platforms listed at www.maryalford.net.


Covert Amish Christmas:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Covert-Amish-Christmas-Inspired-Suspense-ebook/dp/B086XFR3SS/ref=sr_1_2?crid=32OGNHWSCDJL1&dchild=1&keywords=covert+amish+christmas+by+mary+alford&qid=1606576343&s=books&sprefix=covert+amish+christmas%2Cstripbooks%2C844&sr=1-2

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/covert-amish-christmas-mary-alford/1136826763?ean=9781335403155

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/covert-amish-christmas


Mary’s Website: https://maryalford.net 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaryAlfordAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/maryalford13

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7235798

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mary-alford

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/maryjalfordauth/_created/

Wednesday, November 25, 2020


Because of these crazy times, I got to meet today's guest in an online writing group. Tabitha Bouldin is a delight to visit with online. One day we may get to visit face to face. In the meantime please welcome her on The Diamond Mine.

Mishaps Off the Mainland

All Mel wants is to run the business of her dreams

Tabitha Bouldin has a bachelor's degree in creative writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has been writing since 2015. When she's not homeschooling her kids, you'll find her curled up with a book. Tabitha's genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart.

Tabitha: I'm so excited to be on the Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction today! Thank you for inviting me. Renette I'm always curious about other authors, and reading interviews is something of a hobby, so it feels a bit weird to be on this side of the computer screen.

Renette: I'm so blessed you could join me today Tabitha. Sit back and relax, just like on our zoom calls. I know you will bless us all here today. I'm already blessed by you joining me. Life is a journey, so is our writing. What personal journey did you take while writing Mishaps Off the Mainland?

Tabitha: My personal journey was the realization of a dream, joining a team of authors, and having a book contract (okay, maybe two dreams). I learned that I had shifted focus from my main goal (writing for God) and had started chasing that elusive feeling of validation. I’ll be honest, I love being told I’ve done a good job. Doesn’t everyone? And there’s nothing wrong with a little validation. But I had reached a point where I needed it. I wanted praise and all the ‘atta girl’ accolades. Through the journey of writing Mishaps off the Mainland I realized that my desires for more were in contrast with God’s order to WAIT.

Renette: I think we all like getting those accolades. But being in tune with GOD is the best validation we can have.  Tough lessons. Do you have a life verse?


Tabitha: This verse chose me this year, and I’ve since then made it my life verse. I love the constant reminder that God is with us and He will never fail us.



 Renette: A powerful verse indeed. Other than GOD, who has had the biggest influence on your life?

 Tabitha: I have amazing parents, so I have to say they’ve both been great life influencers. My dad’s also my pastor, and he’s been a preacher since I was eight. Both my parents live a godly life and have done so since my early years. Their influence and seeing them overcome life’s obstacles with God by their side, helped me to seek out God for myself.

 Renette: I love to hear stories about wonderful Godly parents.  Along the same line who has had the biggest influence on your writing? 

Tabitha: Writing has been a God-driven gift since day one. There are plenty of authors I love and many people who cheer me on during this journey, but without that constant nudge from above, I never would have penned the first story, much less all the ones that came after. I never sought out writing, and honestly, the idea of being a writer never crossed my mind until God put the desire in my heart and a story at my fingertips.

 Renette: GOD reminded me once I retired of the dream to write.  It is all for Him. I am so glad you followed His leading and can’t wait to read Mishaps off the Mainland. It sounds so fun. Speaking of fun what and where is your favorite way to relax?

Tabitha: I love going for a drive to our state park. If my husband is with me, he drives so I can take pictures along the way. If it’s just me, I usually head over to the waterfalls and spend a few hours snapping photos. There’s something so peaceful and relaxing in photography, especially when I’m working with landscapes. The colors, the motion, everything about it is soothing and helps me unwind. This is one I took last fall. 

 Renette: Beautiful photo. Waterfalls are my favorite. Think of the stories they could tell. The sound is so relaxing. Watching the water flow over the rocks reminds me of how we are molded and shaped. Did this story surprise you in any way?

Tabitha: As a pantser (a writer who doesn’t plan but writes by the seat of their pants) my stories often throw a curveball or two at some point during the writing. And while I can’t tell you exactly how this story surprised me (cause who wants spoilers?!) I will say that Mel’s journey took her down a path I didn’t expect. Through her journey, I learned that sometimes God says WAIT when we ask a question that seems to only need a YES or NO. I am not a patient person. It’s one of my many flaws. And those moments of WAIT are the equivalent of holding back a thoroughbred after you’ve already opened the gate.

 Renette: Wait is a hard one. I like your comparison of a racehorse at the gate. Wait, when is your most productive brainstorming time?

Tabitha: Early mornings are when the house is quiet, but I’ll be honest, I do love my sleep. If it wasn’t for the alarm going off to wake up my husband for work, there’s no doubt I would miss out on my best brainstorming. Just hand over a cup of coffee—or two—stick an ink pen and notebook in my hands and I’m ready to go…most of the time. Maybe another cup of coffee first.

 Renette: I’m more of a night owl. God makes us all so different. It is amazing. This has been so fun. I’m excited to get your book, Mishap off the Mainland. Hope everyone here will grab a copy.

Tabitha: Thank you again for having me today. It’s a blessing to look back and answer these questions since they refresh all those wonderful emotions and thrills that come from writing.

Thank You again for joining me at The Diamond Mine.

May you be blessed with His SONshine.

Renette Steele

Lady SONshine

 You can find Tabitha Bouldin here.







 All Mel wants is to run the business of her dreams.

Melody Carmichael’s mobile pet grooming business might sink before it can sail when a favorite pet escapes her care. Doggie escape-artist, Daphne, got a taste of freedom, and the Afghan hound refuses to be found.

Enter Zeke Solomon. Desperate to bring the dog home for his grandmother, Zeke steps in to save the day.

And working together with Zeke would be a snap—if they could just find the dumb dog.

Zeke is desperate to prove himself worthy of the Solomon name and step out from his father's shadow. With his father breathing down his neck and demanding he return to the company business; Zeke must decide whether confronting the man he admires most is worth the risk of alienation.

Everything’s falling apart, and Mel’s dream transforms into a nightmare. She thought this was what God wanted for her life, but can you blame her for second-guessing everything?

Was it all just a mistake?

Mishaps off the Mainland is the fifth “Merriweather book” in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

 Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle: https://amzn.to/3pgh3yR

For signed paperbacks, contact me directly.