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:

For signed paperbacks, contact me directly. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Marriage, Melodies, and Rewritten Conclusions Spotlight and International Giveaway!

Kaylee McGrurd feels like life has left her behind. Her best friends have all moved out, married, or are in the process of matrimony. Meanwhile, she's lost another job, and her daily diet consists of noodles that are better suited as packing material.

Then Kaylee's ex, Gabe Sanders, enters the equation.

Gabe walked out on Kaylee without warning or explanation nine years earlier, but now he's been brought back to the area for the unforeseen future. And he's in need of a new lead vocalist for his wedding band.

A dwindling account balance calls for desperate measures, and Kaylee reluctantly accepts Gabe's offer. While the former couple works together in the midst of happy marriages and heartfelt melodies, secrets and the need for forgiveness highlight the strife between them...and the hope that maybe God's rewriting the conclusion to their story.

Read a sample HERE!

Available now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, and WhiteFire Publishing's READ Store!

Find Marriage, Melodies, and Rewritten Conclusions on Goodreads and BookBub!

Interview Question ~

"What message do you hope to convey to your readers?"

I like to ask this question when I interview other authors, so I wanted to share my own answer in light of Marriage, Melodies, and Rewritten Conclusions' release this week!

With all of my stories, I hope readers enjoy the story and cackle with glee! However, my deepest hope is always that God blesses readers through my stories. It's my hope that readers see how completely God's mercy, grace, and forgiveness breaks the chains of shame and past sin. It's my hope that readers experience how the wondrous gift of unconditional love sings of God's freedom. It's my hope that readers see how God's love can rewrite the conclusion to any story that we're living.

This is what I hope is conveyed to the readers of Marriage, Melodies, and Rewritten Conclusions!

Giveaway ~ 

I'm giving away one Marriage, Melodies, and Rewritten Conclusions Ebook! 

Rules, Info, and Such ~ 

1. This is an international giveaway. Void where prohibited by law or logistics. 

2. This giveaway will close on 11/26/20 at 12:00 AM.

3. Winner will be chosen within four days of the close of the giveaway. If the winner does not respond to our e-mails within one week of notification, then a new winner will be drawn in their place.

May the odds be ever in your favor. ;-)

Enter via the handy Rafflecopter here ~

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!


~V. Joy Palmer

V. Joy Palmer loves to write romantic and comedic stories that proclaim God’s deep love for us. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and an avid blogger. In her spare time, Joy loves to sing (especially Disney songs), drink large quantities of coffee, and take flowery photos for Bookstagram. When Joy isn’t fighting with fictional people, she’s hanging out with her husband and their adorable little girl. Connect with Joy via!

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Interview with Carrie Fancett Pagels and GIVEAWAY

Hello, fellow miners! This is Kathleen L. Maher, proud to be with you this week.  

I’m sure most of you already know the author featured today, and if not, you will wonder how you missed out until now. Carrie Fancett Pagels is a best-selling author who has won several major writing awards in Christian fiction. She is a retired psychologist, so you know she writes with both depth and insight. Many of her stories are set in historical Upper Peninsula Michigan with a particular focus on the dream-like Mackinac Island, with its spectacular Grand Hotel and surrounds. She mainly writes historical fiction but has recently forayed into some exciting new projects. But I’ll let her tell you about that.

 Welcome, Carrie! Thank you so much for being here on the Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction. Please sit back on our virtual settee while I pour you a cup of hot tea. Care to sample the cinnamon apple scones and pumpkin-chocolate-chip muffins?

Thanks so much! Delicious! I appreciate you inviting me to DMoCF! I appreciate it!

As I type this interview, congratulations are in order on your newest contract. I’m so excited about it! Tell the readers a little about this project.

Yes, I am one of the contracted authors for Doors to the Past series, from Barbour! My approved story is Behind Love’s Wall. These are dual-timeline stories with a historical story and a contemporary story that intertwine with some suspense of mystery. I am excited about you being my critique partner for this novel! It will run between 75,000-80,000 words.

Your faith and determination have greatly inspired those who know you. This theme of overcoming has been consistent in your life and in the lives of your characters. If you were to choose one character that you feel most closely parallels yourself, who would it be and why?

Oh wow, definitely not Maude Welling of My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island, because she is probably the most “normal” character I have ever written. I think recently the hero of Dogwood Plantation, Carter Williams, parallels my journey of barely being able to walk and learning to live with a lifelong injury. Unlike Carter, however, modern medicine had a pretty good surgical solution for me, PTL!

 Today is Veteran’s Day, and some of your characters are soldiers or veterans. Tell us about them, and how have the real-life servicemen you’ve known inspired you to write them?

In Dogwood Plantation, Carter Williams is an injured Naval officer. His leg injury is caused by an event that happened while he was aboard ship during the War of 1812.

My father, William Henry Fancett, served in WWII, was awarded the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, and a number of other awards. He was a sharp-shooter, infantryman, and served under every single general during the European campaign, including British general Montgomery. He survived three complete (squadrons or platoons not sure which) being wiped out and was traumatized by it. He was a scout. The results of serving in that war stayed with my dad the rest of his life and of course influenced me.

I am awestruck at your father’s heroism. God bless his memory, and thank you for sharing his story.

You always write the most beautiful Happily-Ever-After, uplifting messages, so this question might be a bit more sobering than your general discussion points. Do you think a contextual understanding of American history seems to be slowly crumbling from the public conscience, or do you see a revival of interest and awareness? With the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower, for example, there is much interest but in some cases, reported with inaccuracies or modern perspective intrusion. You have researched and written in a wide variety of time periods, from Colonial and Frontier, to the Victorian Age and Civil War, to late 19th Century and WWII—what role do you feel story has in preserving accurate history?

I think you have to be very careful in thinking that fictional accounts of historical events are going to be very accurate to the time. With every story I write, I include Authors Notes for my readers. So for instance in my Holt Medallion finalist novella The Steeplechase, I explain to readers that the steeplechase as a horse event really didn’t take place until later in the 1800s (story is set in 1810). I do try to keep the perspective of the day but because we are reaching modern readers, I find women are much more interested in reading about a heroine who is a little ahead of her time. Huge inaccuracies really frustrate me and other authors, too. If you’re going to write historical fiction, do the research and check your facts.

 Do you have a favorite among your book babies? Go ahead and confess.

Sonja Hoeke in The Substitute Bride is one of my favorite heroines as is Josephine Christy in The Fruitcake Challenge. If you were to have me to sit and read each of my books again I’d probably say that book was my favorite or had my favorite hero (Garrett Christy who gets page time in many of my stories is one of my favorite heroes as is the hero of My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island, Ben Steffans.

You have a well-earned reputation as a veritable angel the way you have mentored, encouraged, and blessed lesser-known writers like me. Truly you have been instrumental in the writing journeys and lives of many of us. But what about you? What is your most amazing God moment in your writing journey? Is there anyone who played the role of angel in your life to help you at a strategic moment?

Oh my goodness, thank you for your kind words! You have blessed me so much! I have also been mentored in accountability by the wonderful author Julie Klassen, have been blessed by encouragement and authorly advise from Julie Lessman, lots of support from Kelly Long particularly with the ins and outs of proposals, currently so thrilled that Ruth Logan Herne spurs us all on in the 1k1HR Facebook group. I know I’m leaving out many others but believe me it takes a village to get your books out there! My agent, Joyce Hart, of Hartline Literary Agency, has been amazing including a couple of contracts that were definitely a God-thing. So yes, God puts people in our paths who will help us!

 Do you have a word of encouragement for anyone seeking to climb their personal mountain today, whether they face a Kilimanjaro of writing, education, parenting, health concerns, or a struggling marriage or career?

God is good. He gives us grace. When we can’t, God can, but don’t go testing him—be sure His will aligns with yours or rather that your will aligns with what He has asked you to do. Give your concerns over to the Lord—He can bear them. We don’t have to handle stuff on our own, our Savior has our backs. Release your worries over to the One who knows all. He has plans for us that will bless us. Walk in obedience to His will and see what happens!


Thank you so much for being here, Carrie. You are a delight! Please share with our readers how they can connect with you.

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of over twenty Christian historical romances, including ECPA bestsellers. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper.” Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time!

You can connect with her at (click on any/all of the following links:)


Blogs: Overcoming With God and Colonial Quills

Facebook Author Page

Facebook Personal Page





Amazon author page


Newsletter sign up



To enter for a chance to win an e-copy of her newest release, Dogwood Plantation, Please leave a comment for Carrie. 

***extra points if you follow her at any of her connections above. Just be sure to mention which ones. 

Please be sure to include your email in your comment so we can notify the winner! (email at server dot com)

 We’ll announce the recipient of Carrie’s giveaway, selected at random from the comments here, on Tuesday evening Nov 17th.

Dogwood Plantation

When a deadly yellow fever outbreak draws Cornelia Gill back home, her new independent life must be abandoned. Injured veteran, Carter Williams, likewise must return to Dogwood Plantation when he suffers grievous family losses. Both become caretakers to younger family members. As the War of 1812 heats up, two wounded hearts begin to heal. But can they manage all that life has handed them?

Available on Amazon

Barnes & Noble

And at other retailers such as Walmart and Kobo

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Tanya Agler

 I'm excited to have Tanya Agler join us today. Tanya, welcome to the Diamond Mine.

Thank you, Jackie, so much for hosting me on your blog today.


As a working mother how do you find time to write?


Right now, my fifth-grade twins are presently enrolled in digital learning. When they are in the dining room with their headphones and laptops, I’m in the dining room with them. I keep my day planner next to me so I can try to keep on track. I do try to get my writing done first and then work on the other tasks of a writer like marketing, returning emails, and social media.

It’s a challenge explaining about long division one minute and trying to get back into the storyline the next. I’ve tried different methods such as playing classical or mellow music while I’m writing so they know I’m in the middle of a passage. We’re all learning to adjust and making the most of this time together.


Do you have a favorite writing spot?


I miss my favorite Panera booth, the one with the power outlet! I’m a writer who definitely loves to head for Panera with my laptop and folder and day planner and get a good three-hour chunk of writing done (I always tried to be considerate and I left if it became busy!).

Now, however, I’ve been writing at home and I’m learning how to ignore the washing machine that’s calling out for me to do a load of laundry or the dishwasher that’s asking me to empty and reload it! I prefer writing in the basement guest room as there’s a desk in there. I can also play music in the background.

I’ve written in doctor’s offices, parking lots, and airports, so I’m always thankful for any place to write.


What about a favorite time of day to write?


I’m definitely a daytime person. I try to start writing or editing my manuscript by 9:30. In the mornings, I write and the afternoons are devoted to other writing tasks (marketing, critiques, social media, returning emails, etc.).


Is your heroine like you?


Lucie Decker is the heroine of my latest release, A Ranger for the Twins. While Lucie and I are both mothers of twins, she and I aren’t that much alike. Growing up, Lucie was a debutante who loved to coordinate her handbags and outfits. Now, Lucie has had to reinvent herself and is trying to create a successful business to provide for her and her children and for the pets who have become like a family to her.

Lucie’s much more open and extroverted. At the heart of it all, though, we’d be friends as we both care about our children and love animals.


What do you like most about your heroine?


I love Lucie’s spunk. She’s faced hard times since her ex-husband committed fraud and stole the life savings of many of Hollydale’s residents. Yet she’s determined to make the most of it and reconnect with the town. With the help of her friends, she takes the wedding resort and turns it into a corporate training center and wellness resort. She’s a go-getter who makes the most of her opportunities.


How about your hero?


Caleb is someone who doesn’t realize that he’s committed heroic acts because that’s the heart of who he is. He thinks he did something because it was part of his job, yet Caleb is someone who would go out of his way to make sure someone was safe. From the boys who got lost in Yellowstone to his parents to Lucie’s twins, he wants to protect people while never letting anything make him overbearing or overly proud.


Who did you model him after?


That’s an interesting question because I started by thinking of who would be Lucie’s opposite. If she was the town pariah, he had to be the town hero, and that was the foundation for Caleb.

However, there were different aspects of his backstory that I did take from different stories. For instance, I’m a huge fan of professional tennis, and I’ve always enjoyed watching James Blake play before he retired. When James Blake was a teenager, he had severe scoliosis and he went through extensive treatment before he became a successful player. That was the start of Caleb’s backstory and was the inspiration for him having had his own battle with scoliosis.

I also researched park rangers and loved reading about some of the funnier stories while learning a lot about the actual profession.

But mainly, Caleb started out as someone who would be serious and determined and beloved by the town as a contrast to Lucie.


Do you have a real life hero/heroine?


So many, and I love finding new real life heroes and heroines every day. I’m a huge fan of classic Hollywood, and the real life story of Jimmy and Gloria Stewart is one of my favorites. I love how Jimmy Stewart was not only an actor but also rose to the rank of brigadier general. He’s always been one of my favorites. When we traveled to Pennsylvania, I made my parents drive out of the way to Indiana, Pennsylvania where there was only a statue of him at the time although now there is a museum.

I also recently finished reading Carol Burnett’s recounting of her show, and she’s one of my new heroines as she’s a strong female role model in the world of entertainment. She and Lucille Ball opened many doors for women by helming their own shows.

I love being encouraged by new heroes and heroines every day. Hidden Figures was an excellent movie, and I’ve loved learning more about Katherine Johnson. From science to entertainment to social issues, there are so many more people whom I admire.


What’s next for you?


I just turned in the edits for my latest release, The Soldier’s Unexpected Family, coming in March of 2021. This might be my favorite book yet! There are supporting characters in this book that I absolutely love, and Natalie Harrison is so much fun to write. She’s the most unlike me of my three heroines. And Aidan? He’s definitely the most intense of any of my heroes. The book takes place in the summertime near the Fourth of July, and it’s all about how plans can be upended in a most unexpected way.


Thanksgiving is coming up. Will you celebrate differently this year?


In the past, we’ve hosted my husband’s siblings and their families, but this year, we will be celebrating differently. There will be the five of us in addition to my older daughter who works at home in her new apartment. My mother-in-law always made the pies (I like one piece of pumpkin pie every year, and apple pie is one of my favorites!) so I’m researching pumpkin pie recipes (with a homemade crust).

However, even though we won’t be hosting extended family members and keeping it limited to our household, we’ll be keeping what’s important intact. A sense of gratitude. Family togetherness. The mealtime prayer with joining hands together. There are traditions we’ll still keep – after Santa’s arrival at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (I just checked, that’s still happening!), we’ll start playing Christmas carols; putting together a puzzle; and thinking about what Christmas movie we’ll watch that night.


Are you a beach or mountain person? 


What day is it? It depends! I love the mountains, and I’m close to many beautiful mountain getaways. Right now, in the fall, I’d love to rent a cabin, either for a writer’s retreat or a family outing, and soak in the foliage and quiet.

While I moved often as a child, I’ve lived in beach tourist towns. For a long time, that impacted my feelings about the beach. However, all of my kids love the beach, and they love going there. Some of my favorite moments now involve some of our outings to lighthouses and just walking up and down the shoreline.

So, I’m a little of both!


Tell us about your book.

In A Ranger for the Twins, Lucie Decker went from being the town darling to total pariah. Now she’s launching a new business and needs ranger Caleb Spindler’s help. And her twins adore Caleb. After all, he’s a genuine hero—even if he is hiding a secret. But while Lucie’s heart has forgotten how to trust, it still remembers how to fall in love…


It’s an uplifting story about finding treasures in unexpected places. For Lucie that treasure is redeeming herself after difficult circumstances rip her life apart. For Caleb it’s finding people who accept him for who he is rather than circumstances which elevated him in some people’s eyes. At the heart of it all, it’s a happy story about redemption and never giving up hope.

Author bio?


An award-winning author, Tanya Agler moved often during her childhood and settled in Georgia where she writes sweet contemporary romance novels, which feature small towns, family and pets, and themes of second chances and hope. Her debut, The Sheriff’s Second Chance, is a January of 2020 Harlequin Heartwarming release. A Ranger for the Twins is also now available, and The Soldier’s Unexpected Family will be a March of 2021 Heartwarming release. A graduate of the University of Georgia with degrees in journalism and law, she lives with her wonderful husband, their four children, and a new Beagle/Basset rescue named Linus. Represented by Dawn Dowdle and the Blue Ridge Literary Agency, she’s currently at work on the sequels to her debut.  When she’s not writing, Tanya loves classic movies, walking, and a good cup of tea.









Buy links for A Ranger for the Twins:




Tanya, thanks so much for joining us!