Tuesday, August 18, 2020


by Kathleen L. Maher

Welcome, Debbie Lynne Costello, writer extraordinaire of Medieval and 19th Century Southern fiction! “Where Chivalry Never Dies”

Kathy here. I had the life-changing blessing of meeting you through an American Christian Fiction Writers critique group. Was it 2008? It seems now I have always had you in my life, a part of my family. But your invaluable influence has transformed and informed my writing, enriched my personal life with faith and the rare intangibles of angelic visitation! As Anne of Green Gables would say, you're a "kindred spirit", and anyone who reads your work will feel the same.

Pardon me while I gush about your books. Sword of Forgiveness was your fabulous debut. It kicked off the Winds of Change series, set in 1300’s England with action, romance, humor, and a wonderful voice that puts you right in the middle of the story, and deep in the unforgettable characters’ heads… You’ve written several follow up novellas in the series, as well as some excellent 1800’s historical romances. Shattered Memories is a gripping story set during the historic Charleston earthquake, full of intrigue and heart-rending sympathy for one of my all-time favorite heroes—a doctor in love with a girl who has lost her short-term memory. These are a few of those true, hidden gems of Christian Fiction.

So let's get into this interview.
 Your fans are clamoring for your next book! What do we have to look forward to with your next release?

DL: First I want to thank you for your kind words. If anyone ever doubts God ordains our steps and brings people together for reasons. I know that I know had God not literally put us together I would never have gotten to where I am today as an author. Your wisdom and knowledge greatly influenced my writing and I am so thankful for you.

So what is next for me? Bride by Blackmail is my next release, coming out the end of August. It’s a 19th Century Charleston romance with a bit of suspense. If you love Scottish spy heroes then Duncan’s your man. He’s a bit unconventional for the Charleston set and especially the Charleston Belle, Charlotte, but he doesn’t give up that easily. Duncan is here on a mission from the queen to find the traitor who caused the death of thousands, his brother being one of them. While he tries to fit into high society with his shipping business he continues to search for his traitor. Trouble is the sassy Miss Jackson catches his eye and he now has two missions—one of country and one of the heart.

I am also over halfway through my sequel to Sword of Forgiveness. Sword of Trust has a lot of history woven in it. It’s been fun writing and learning about the Lord Appellants as well as King Richard. Bryce finds himself having to choose between a king who no longer cares about his people and treason. But if that isn’t enough stress on the man he has caught a beautiful border reiver on the Scotland/ England border who could be his undoing.

Tell us about the past several years, what they have looked like for you in terms of your husband’s health, your epic home building project, and new loves and losses in your family—weddings and funerals. How has this intense season affected your writing schedule? Do you feel it has deepened your craft, voice, perspective, and personal well of spiritual strength?

DL: Wow. Only you know how deep that question is. In 2014 my husband and biggest supporter of my writing was diagnosed with an incurable cancer, Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Diagnosis for MCL is 2-5 years. But God is bigger than statistics (you can see our journey here) and used a great doctor, a clinical trial and His awesome power to heal my husband. Joe has been in remission for 5 years now! God is amazing. 
The story behind how He put random people into our lives as much as 20 years prior for this time is nothing less than amazing. During the time we lived in Houston while Joe was in treatment, I put out Shattered Memories. I’d written it years earlier and decided to publish it while at the hospital so much of my time. 
While we were in Houston my father fell and went into a coma. The doctors gave him no chance of survival and planned to take him off life support. But once again God showed He has the final word. The day they were to do that my dad woke up! Then they said he’d never be more than a vegetable. But once again God proved them wrong. My dad walked, talked, ate, and though he never got back to 100% I can honestly say he did get 90% of his life back. 
When we got home I got 2 contracts for novellas and wrote those. Then my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer and had surgery—another hiccup in the road. She recovered then we started building our house. And when I say we, I do mean we did the work. My father passed away in February of this year, 5 years after his fatal diagnosis. 
Life has been a lot of ups and downs. And for those of you who have pets and love them like I do, in the last 1 ½ years I lost two of my Shelties (Shetland Sheepdogs), 3 of my pet ducks, a cat, and my sweet donkey Winchester. Some seasons can be so tough. But we grow through those seasons and cherish the memories. 
It truly is all about how we choose to accept the things we can’t change. It makes me sad for the losses and trials but I’m so thankful that God allowed me to have those people and animals in my life. And though Joe and I still make several trips a year to Houston for tests and he now has to go back on treatment (part of the trial maintenance) I am so thankful God knew we would face this and He has used this Doctor and Hospital to heal my husband. 
But we have had some awesome blessings as well. I have had 3 weddings in the past 5 years. I’ve gained a wonderful son-in-law, and 2 beautiful and sweet daughter-in-laws that have been a blessing to our family. In answer to how all this has affected my writing, I haven’t had time to do much writing until the last few months. Now that we are in our house I’m back to the craft that I love and as I’m doing my last read-through before Bride by Blackmail gets sent onto the editor, I’m getting more and more excited about this new release and getting back to finishing my medieval! I’ve missed stepping back in time.

What are a few of your favorite books/movies/stories? Why?

DL: As you know, Kathy, Gone with the Wind is my all-time favorite movie and book. Why? The writing is excellent. I get lost in the words, I feel the turmoil of the time, I feel the pain of loss, it’s just incredibly written. And the movie was so well done that it’s one of the few that I believe was as good as the book. There are a few other books that I can’t forget one or more of the characters. When that happens I know it’s a great book because the characters have become real. Gilbert Morris wrote the Wakefield Dynasty and I loved the whole series. He really influenced where I went with my writing. And though it may sound like I’m just giving you a plug I want everyone to know I’m just being honest here. Your debut, The Abolitionist’s Daughter, left a lasting impression on me. Like Gone with the Wind, there are scenes that even today I can vividly see in my mind. I fell in love with Rhett and Scarlet, and I fell in love with your twin brothers. God was just so gracious to allow me to be a part of journey writing that book.

Here are a few “this or that” questions. (I think I know the answers, but your readers may not):

coffee or tea? 
TEA, the closest thing I drink to coffee is a yearly frappe’ when Christmas shopping with my mom, sister, and daughter.
TV or books? 
Hahaha. Books. I don’t watch TV.
sewing or scrapbooking? 
Sewing. I made all my kids clothes growing up and still love to sew when I have time. Lately the request has been masks.
dogs or cats? 
Dogs, dogs, and more dogs! German Shepherd, Shelties, and a Husky but I love them all. All shapes and sizes.
travel or homebody? 
This one is a bit harder. I do like to travel on vacation. We live in such an amazing country with beautiful sights but I’m a homebody in that you’ll find me at home rather than out and about shopping and going places. There’s no place like home.
chocolate or vanilla? 
Probably would choose vanilla but every once in a while I like a milk chocolate.
Shopping: Saks Fifth Avenue/Rodeo Drive , or online auction/thrift/bargain hunting? 
I have always been a bargain hunter. My favorite stores are the Goodwill and the Restore Store. I almost ever go into a store to shop unless its Christmas. If I do it’s because they have an 80% off clearance. I’m not a person who has to have new or the best. And name brands really don’t mean anything to me. I’d rather it just last.
Penthouse or farm life? 
Hahahaha. That makes me think of Green Acres. I sing that all the time to my hubby. We have 4 horses, 1 miniature donkey, 9 ducks, 3 dogs, and I’m looking for another mini donkey. So definitely enjoying the farm life!

Question on MALE LEADS:
Pierce Brosnan or Harrison Ford?
Did I mention one of my horses is named Remington? Definitely Pierce Brosnan
Brad Pitt or Hugh Jackman? 
I modeled one of my heroes after Hugh Jackman.
Gerard Butler or Chris Pine? 
LOL Oh my goodness and I modeled another after Gerard Butler! I hate to say it but I don’t know who Chris Pine is. 

Oh, you are missing out, my friend. Chris Pine is amazing. ;-)
Do you have any thoughts or advice for new or aspiring writers? 
Follow your heart, not the market. The market changes and you’ll always write your best when it is from your heart. Don’t write to get rich or even make a living. Less than 1% manages that. Do it because you love it and you can’t NOT write the stories.

DL: I’ll be giving away choice of any of my novels/novellas in choice of format. Sword of Forgiveness also comes in audio. You must either ask me a question or comment something I’ve said to be entered.  Winner will be selected Tuesday, Aug 25

THANK YOU, Debbie Lynne! It’s always a pleasure visiting with you and chatting about books and writing. You are the best! I can’t wait to read your new Medieval (hint hint) and celebrate your next release. :-D 

DL: Thank you for having me, my friend. And you’ll be getting some medieval chapters as soon as Bride by Blackmail releases. ;)

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Rocky Mountain Revenge and a Giveaway

Hi Rhonda,

Thanks so much for joining us today. Congratulations for Rocky Mountain Revenge! This is such a great story, and I'm excited to spend a little time with you today.

Where do you get your ideas for stories?
I get ideas from a variety of places. It could be a news story or simply just a brainstorming session. The idea for Rocky Mountain Revenge came about because I knew I wanted to have a heroine who wasn’t in law enforcement. I also knew I wanted to involve horses and ranches in my story, but I didn’t want that to be the main theme/setting. So, I started wandering what if my heroine was a veterinarian? Why would someone want to kill her? And the story evolved from there.

Have you ever been involved in a mystery? Witness to a crime of juror?

Who is your real-life hero?
Oh, that’s easy. My husband. I’m terrified of spiders. Mountain Man will always come running if I see one, and then he’ll take care of it for me. If it’s a harmless spider, he’ll catch it and set it free outside. I’m so scared of spiders I’d never get close enough to see if it was harmless or not. I’d squish it with a shoe. Hmmm…I guess spiders should appreciate him, too. J

Do you and your heroine have any similar traits?
No. She’s much braver than I am.

Tell us about your story.

Grace Porter hated growing up in a small town, so high school graduation she went to college and never really looked back. She’s veterinarian now who lives and works in Denver, but she’s needed back home temporarily to help out at her family veterinarian clinic. She arrives in Blackberry Falls only to discover someone ones both she and her sister dead. Now, Grace has to depend on her ex-boyfriend to keep her alive.

Evan Bradshaw is the chief of police. He’s a widower with a six-year-old son named Camden. Evan witnessed the murder of his wife a few years earlier, and now he’s faced with protecting his first love from a would be killer. All while keeping his son safe from harm.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

Philippians 3:13 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,”

I love this verse because it reminds me not to look back on past mistakes, which I can’t change, but instead to focus on the things that are to come and the hope of eternity in heaven.

Rhonda, thanks so much for spending a little time with us today. It's been great!

Readers, Rhonda has been gracious to offer a print or Kindle copy of Rocky Mountain Revenge to a US reader. Just leave a comment below.

You can find Rhonda on social media at these sites. Social media links:


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