Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Real Life Fiction with Author Connor Royce

Don't miss your chance to win Connor Royce's book
 Don Roberto's Daughter!

just to make this drawing irresistible, one lucky person who comments will win a $20
Amazon card.
Let the games begin!

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like as a novel? Would it be an intriguing mystery? A enlightening biography or a unforgettable adventure?
Impossible you say? 
You're too average? The every day, Joe-schmoe kind of life you claim? I refuse to believe it! Why, you ask? Well, this week's author's real life actually became fiction! The swoony romantic sort, which is just the right kind. With plenty of Godly wisdom thrown in for good measure. So for goodness sake, DON'T MISS THE FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Let's welcome, Connor Royce.

PT: So glad you could join us on the Diamond Mine, Connor. I like to start with the basics. So, give us a little background on you/the genre you write in/and how you started writing.

CR: My preferred genre for reading is historical fiction and biographies of historical figures. That’s what I plan to write as soon as I finish the work I’m doing now. I was working on a novel in that genre for a few years, but I realized I would never finish it as long as I was working full time. I didn’t have the time or resources to complete all the research. Women often told me that my relationship with my wife sounded like a romance novel. I decided to shift my energies to writing her story.

 PT: I understand that this book is more than bit personal. Expand on that.

CR: Yes, it is personal. The short answer is this is my wife’s testimony. While the novel begins as a romance between two people from very different backgrounds, it evolves into a turbulent romance between Natasha and God, and the resolution comes in knowing and submitting to Him. I changed the names of the two principal characters because it was easier to write the book thinking of them as other people.
The most difficult and personal part of the book was writing about myself. To stay true to the story and true to Natasha, I finally had to swallow my humility and write the book from the perspective of a young girl in love.

 PT: I see. Now you got me curious. What percentage would you say is fiction vs. non-fiction in Don Roberto’s Daughter: Natasha?

CR: Most of the book is written as it happened. Many of the conversations between Natasha and Sean are verbatim. When writing scenes I did not personally witness, I drew upon hints, clues, and input from the people involved. Even if the scenes didn’t happen as exactly as depicted, they were never out of character.
The chapter that takes place in El Salvador, is both real and complete fiction. By that, I mean the sort of things portrayed in this chapter truly happened. Natasha’s friend, Rosa, came from El Salvador and witnessed some terrible things. She never shared the details. I do not know, nor do I wish to know, what that young lady experienced. In that regard, it’s pure fiction.

PT: Is this a stand-alone book or part of a series?

CR: It was written as a stand alone novel, but I had so many people ask what became of Sean and Natasha. What happens to them after the book ends? Did they live happily ever after? Eventually, I decided the next stage of their lives was interesting enough to warrant a second novel.
The sequel follows Sean and Natasha to war in the Middle East. It is as fact based as the first book and even more personal and dramatic. I hope both books will inspire people dealing with traumatic events in their lives. It was my goal to do this with a measure of grace and humor.

PT: Have you ever been to Mexico? Tell something unique or that you enjoyed about the country if you have.

CR: I’ve been to Mexico often and lived there on three separate occasions. I have travelled extensively and love the country and culture. In a few years, we hope to retire there. I made a deliberate effort to present Mexico and the Mexican people as I know and love them.

PT: Do you have a particular time/place that you write?

CR: I moved to Costa Rica when I made the commitment to write the novel. At home, there were too many distractions, but in Costa Rica I had no obligations and could focus solely on the book. Unfortunately, I still did not have unlimited time or resources, so after a while, I returned to work. I drove a truck across the United States and Canada and wrote when I could.
Now, I have the luxury of working in my own home. I usually wait until my family goes to bed and retreat to my library. It is my sanctuary. When I write, I’m basically transcribing what I see. Each scene is like a movie playing in my head, and it’s my job to help the reader see and feel what I’m experiencing.

PT: What Bible verse is your current favorite?

CR: Presently, I’d have to say Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
My life tends to be a little chaotic. My wife will tell you that is an understatement. I need some “directing my paths.” I’m also notorious for leaning on my own understanding.

PT: That is a great verse. Does your book cycle around any certain Bible verse/theme?

CR: There were two deliberate themes in the novel. The first is read and learn your Bible. Don’t take anyone’s word for what’s in there.
The second theme is simply that God is good all the time. While we’re going through trials, someone else is praising God for a miracle or deliverance. While we’re praising Him for being so wonderful, someone else is struggling with tragedy and deep questions. He doesn’t change depending on our circumstances. God is always good.

PT: Okay. Give me 5 things fast about Connor Royce that have nothing to do with writing.

1. I was a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Studios, a doorman at a five-star hotel, and supervised a top secret computer office at NORAD before becoming a truck driver. Basically, I can’t keep a job.
2. I spent half my childhood in Germany. 
3. I’ve lived in five foreign countries and visited the Great Wall  of China, Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal, and many other famous sites.
4. My truck was blown up twice in Iraq, and I’ve been shot at more times than I can count.
5. I have ridden bulls and won a national title in Tae Kwon Do.

PT: No wonder your real life becomes fiction! That's practically a whole library of future novels. But what about now? What book are you currently working on and when is it expected to release?

CR: Now I am writing the, still untitled, sequel to Don Roberto’s Daughter. It’s about our time in the Middle East. While my wife worked on camp, I drove trucks on convoys all over the country. Iraq was like the wild west back then. It was a trying time for her, and she had to trust God. We both did. We have some very fond memories, though, and that’s what we cling to.  
I’m probably half way through the book, and working steadily. I hope to finish it sometime in the next year, but that depends on many things. Presently, I’m waiting to deploy to another job overseas. When that happens, it will certainly disrupt my writing.

PT: Going overseas? Who would have guessed?

Connor is giving away one copy of Don Roberto's Daughter to one lucky person who leaves a comment. You know the drill, but if you're new, (Hi, howareya? Glad you're here!) leave a comment with your email address ('cause I throw ya out if'n ya don't) to be entered. I literally, yes, literally pull the winner out of a hat. Well, maybe a bowl. But baby, you ain't making in my Corelle bowl if you don't leave your email address!

And please check out the P.S. at the bottom for more fun prizes.

Although Connor Royce has deep roots in Texas, he spent much of his youth growing up in Germany. After serving in the Air Force and attending college for a few years, he began driving trucks across America. This led to three years driving convoys in Iraq at the beginning of the second Gulf War. He later spent a year in Afghanistan. Throughout his life he has lived in, and travelled, to many foreign countries. Don Roberto’s Daughter: Natasha is his first novel, and represents his wife’s testimony of God’s love. The sequel, still unfinished and unnamed, follows his characters to the war in Iraq. Both books are based closely on real events and sound Christian principles.

P.S. My newest Historical book releases on June 1st. I'm giving away lots and lots of book swag. But you have to join my mailing list. Don't miss my first release of a three book series! Click here to enter into my giveaway kingdom and get up to date information on my books: peggytrotter.com.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

“Ride With Me” By Marion Ueckermann and a GIVEAWAY


  Please give a warm welcome to my special guest at the Diamond Mine. She has traveled all the way from South Africa to be with us today. Ms. Marion Ueckermann. I have had the privilege of reading many of her charming books.

USA Today bestselling author MARION UECKERMANN’s passion for writing was sparked when she moved to Ireland with her family. Her love of travel has influenced her contemporary inspirational romances set in novel places. Marion and her husband again live in South Africa and are setting their sights on retirement when they can join their family in the beautiful Cape. 

 Email: marion.ueckermann@gmail.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ueckie

Renette:  Let’s not waste time as she needs to get back to South Africa soon. Would you please tell us a bit about yourself?


Marion: I’m a wife to one hubby, mother of two sons, mother-in-law to two daughters-in-law, grandmother (or Ouma as they call me) to two grandsons and a ginger-haired granddaughter, sister to three siblings (one sister, two brothers), aunt to nine nieces (including the one in heaven) and two nephews, great-aunt to four grand-nieces and seven grand-nephews, great-great-aunt to two great-great-nephews … and this excludes all the men and women married to my siblings and nieces and nephews. Despite being spread across three continents (Africa, Europe, Australia) and five countries (South Africa, UK, Finland, Australia, New Zealand), this large family, manages to stay close (well, most of them).  

I was born in Zambia, but have lived in South Africa since I was six (excluding the eighteen-month stint in Ireland). I started writing about twenty years ago and pursued it as a full-time profession nearly five years ago. Renette; Wow, what fun to have such a diverse family. I love to travel. But with things in our world right now it is kind of limited. We need to rely on GOD more.

Renette: Do you have a life verse? 

Marion;  Jeremiah 29 v 11 – 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. 

That verse is a reminder each day that God has got my life and my future in the palms of His hands. I can face today, and I can face tomorrow, no matter what.  

Renette: Definitely an encouraging verse for these times. Besides the LORD who has had the biggest influence on your life 

Marion: My mother. Because of her, I am the woman I am today. 

Renette: I think most of us could say the same. Mothers are special. There is something so comforting about a mother. What and where is your favorite way to relax?  

Marion: Most nights you’ll find me relaxing in bed with my hubby binge-watching our next favorite new series until the early hours of the morning. After a long day in the office writing or designing, I need to just switch off. 

Renette: I can understand, we all need down time. Did you have an occupation before writing? 

Marion:  For decades, I worked in the corporate world as a Personal Assistant/Executive Secretary.  

Renette: Does it influence your writing?  

Marion: Working in that environment for so long has definitely helped my grammar and spelling.  

Renette: I bet it did. Spelling is not one of my strong suits. What was your inspiration for this story?  

Marion: Tash Thornton, the heroine of Ride with Me (Book 10 of the multi-author Chapel Cove Romances), was a secondary characters in the previous book I’d written in the series, Accept Me (Book 8). She played a minor part in the story, being the owner of the stables in Chapel Cove. 

At the time I wrote Accept Me, I visited my brother. His wife owned a beautiful black Friesian named Myrtle, who subsequently also played a small part in Accept Me. But I knew I wanted Myrtle to play a larger role in a story, which she did (as herself) along with Tash in Ride with Me. When I found that cover image, I knew I had Tash and Myrtle’s book. My only regret is that it wasn’t Myrtle on the cover. You’ll need to read the book though to find out whose horse made it to the cover of this story. 

Renette: “Accept Me” was so good. I know this one will be as well. Can’t wait to read it. I’m curious, do you listen to music or do you prefer a quiet room while you write?  

Marion: Usually, the room is quiet when I write. Mostly because I just plain forget to put on music. But when I do, I will go to Spotify and start a playlist of worship songs beginning with my favorite, Dancing on the Waves. Spotify just keeps playing similar songs — most are so awesome. 

I have been known to play Michael Bublé ad nauseam when writing a Christmas story LOL.  

Renette: I like your choice in music. And Michael Bublé on repeat would be wonderful for me. His music is sure memorable. What do you hope your writing leaves the reader with?  

Marion: Most of my books have themes of forgiveness, second chances, and the fact that God will work all things for good for those who love Him. I hope my stories will leave readers with a stronger faith to trust God in their own circumstances.  

Renette: When I read your stories, I see hope and forgiveness. Especially when you chose to write your heroines as women beyond their teenage years. 

Fall for someone who could destroy her livelihood? 


A person and person kissing on a horse

Description automatically generated with medium confidenceHotel magnate Henry Scott lives life in the fast lane. True to form, when his great-uncle leaves him property and a Victorian house in Chapel Cove, he takes a weekend drive, only intending to stay long enough to evaluate his new found assets. If they aren’t a viable option for the next Scott Leisure Resort, he just might consider selling to the couple who’d expressed an interest in buying the old place. After all, if not for them, he would never have known about this last part of his great-uncle’s will, sealed for almost a decade. 

When her new neighbor rolls into town, Tash Thornton is less than impressed. Not only is the man presumptuous and audacious, he’s downright egotistical. His grand plans for the property adjoining her stables, tack shop, and riding school do not bode well for her business. 

Love thy neighbor, the Bible teaches—those people who cross your path each day. But with Henry Scott owning the land right next door, Tash fears God may expect her to show him a double portion of love. 

Purchase a copy in these places: 



I hope the readers of Diamond Mine enjoyed getting to know me a little better. But in conclusion, when I’m not writing (or flying back and forth to Cape Town to look after and homeschool my grandkids), I’m either designing book covers for myself or other authors. And very occasionally, you’ll find me crocheting a square for one of the two large Star Wars blankets I promised my grandsons for Christmas. Um, I didn’t say which year!

I’d also like to give away an ebook copy of Ride with Me to THREE randomly chosen readers who comment on this post. 

 Renette; I enjoyed getting to know you better and I’m sure those here did as well. Thank you so much for joining me here today on the Diamond Mine. May your pen continue to be blessed by His SONshine. I look forward to reading many more of Your stories.

Everyone be sure and grab your copy of “Ride With Me” 

Or comment below for your chance to win a great read! 

Renette Steele