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!