Wednesday, July 21, 2021

New Release *Character Interview* and GIVEAWAY

 Hello fellow spelunkers. Welcome to my writing cave here on the Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction. I'm Kathleen L. Maher and this week is my rotation to post an interview. Since I have a new release, I thought it might be fun to interview my heroine from No Man's Daughter, which is book 3 in the series Sons of the Shenandoah. The stories are set during and after the Civil War in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, and follow four sons and their father, a gritty half-Cherokee horse trader and thoroughbred breeder, through the unique trials of our country's most tumultuous time.


Let me introduce the young lady who has captured the attention of the youngest son of Sam Sharpe, Benjamin. Willa is by far the most complicated and mysterious heroine who has graced my pages. And boy does she have a story to tell. So without further ado, Welcome Willa.

"Thank you, kindly. I appreciate the gathering. Though I'm not so sure I deserve all this attention."


Willa, can you describe what went through your mind when you first met Ben Sharpe? Was it love at first sight?

*Willa huffs in laughter* "Oh, heavens, no. Love? That was the last thing on my mind. I'd say I was more akin to frightened. He come over the boundary line riding his big horse. Next thing I knew he was sneakin' around on foot, under the cover of the trees. Gettin' closer and closer to the house. Whole thing looked mighty suspicious."


You didn't recognize him as your neighbor?

"No, Ma'am. I didn't know him from Adam. I knew there were menfolk over there, but I generally just kept myself out of sight."

Until that morning, I guess?

"Uh-huh. He come up looking for his mare, I suppose. That little black horse kept jumping the fence and coming over to me. Was I expected not to love on it and give it treats? Well, maybe that little mare was a matchmaker, sent by God. Because it brought Benjamin Sharpe to my doorstep."

But then you shot him, didn't you?

*Willa covers her face for a second, and when she withdraws her hand, her cheeks match the strawberry blonde tinge of her hair.* "I did. And Lord forgive me for it. But how was I to know he wasn't here to do me harm? I've seen enough of marauding menfolk with evil in their hearts..." Her eyes take on a glistening of unshed tears, and her lower lip trembles. "Ben proved different. And God showed His love through that man's patience. I'll always be grateful for that naughty little mare for bringing us together."

Animals can be agents of God's providence, I agree. I have a few who have brought me great blessing, too. So how did Benjamin Sharpe go from being shot to proposing to you?

"Oh, well..." Willa wipes the single tear that manages to escape down her cheek. She chuckles. "It was Doc Sterling's suggestion. I wouldn't quite say he put Ben up to it, but his advice didn't hurt. You see, Ben wanted my land something fierce."

Explain to the folks how you came to have this property.

"Old Mr. Thompson lived on the cattle farm next door to the Sharpes even before Sam Sharpe came to the valley, as I understand it. Thompson's only son Walt was killed at Fredericksburg, and Mrs. Thompson died of a broken heart not long after. Mr. Thompson was old and ailing and Doc Sterling thought I could take care of him and have a place to stay for the time being. When Mr. Thompson died, he left me the property like the daughter he never had."

That's a lot for one woman alone to manage, though, isn't it?

"That's what they all told me, but I was doing fine until those no-good Darby brothers tried to drive me off the land, and I broke my arm. I guess I realized I would need help at that point, but I never thought it would come in the form of a marriage of convenience." She shakes her head, but a slow smile tugs at the corner of her mouth. 

I guess alls well that ends well. But how did you and Ben learn to trust and even find love for one another?

Willa places her hands on her hips. "I can't share all of my secrets, now, but I'll say this much. A handsome smile goes a long way to a girl's heart, especially when kind deeds come with it."

Well, I hope these nice readers will pick up a copy of No Man's Daughter and learn more about you and Ben. Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your busy farm life to chat with us, Willa. One last question. Is it true that you and Ben might have a little Sharpe on the way?

Willa smiles full and her eyes soften under a warm expression of love. Her hands involuntarily go to the front of her work dress, where the waistline has been lifted to more of an empire style. "We should be expecting his arrival in a couple of months."

His?

"Well, that's how I imagine it'll be. A little auburn haired boy, like his daddy."

Well, congratulation to you and Ben, and we will visit again soon, I'm sure. Sam Sharpe's story hasn't been told, yet, and I think it would be amazing if he finds love even in his grandfathering years. Perhaps there's something in the works there.

***And speaking of congratulations, I will be giving away a kindle copy of No Man's Daughter to one random commenter here. Leave a comment with your email addy (email at domain dot com) so I can contact the winner next Tuesday. Extra points if you share this post.***

GIVEAWAY


No Man's Daughter

A man with something to prove and a lady with something to hide clash over hotly contested property and a marriage proving anything but convenient.When the Sharpe’s elderly neighbor passes after the war leaving a vacant farm with no heir, Benjamin Sharpe inquires to purchase the land. What he doesn’t expect to find is a beautiful and stubborn squatter has taken residence. Will her claim on the property prove harder to drive out than her claim on his heart?Willa looked after Old Mr. Thompson through the war until his death. The late owner promised her a permanent home there, like the daughter he never had, but with some strings attached. When young and ambitious Benjamin Sharpe shows up with intent to evict her, Willa gives him a piece of her mind with a piece of lead aimed at his boots.The youngest of the Sharpe brothers, Benjamin has been bossed around his entire life by his brothers, and he isn’t about to take it from any girl. All three of his brothers have veterans’ boasting rights in the War, and he must prove his mettle, too. But will his ambitions go so far as to force a waif from her home? As the girl’s resourceful defense of the property frustrates his plans, admiration plucks at his heartstrings. Ben must find a compromise while saving face with his family. But the chit has no intention of playing nice or seeking truce. In Bridgewater, Virginia, the war is still on!

"Stories 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. Author of Genesis Award-winning The Abolitionist's Daughter, as well as The Chaplain's Daughter, No Man’s Daughter, and Amazon top-selling novella Bachelor Buttons, Kathleen lives in an old farmhouse in upstate NY with her husband of twenty-three years, their children, and a small menagerie.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Talking Book Covers with Sherrinda Ketchersid


 

I'd like to welcome my friend, Sherrinda Ketchersid. She writes inspirational historicals. 

Sherrinda, where'd you get the models for your cover?

Since I have been writing historical romance, I’ve gotten my model images at Period Images. They have a wide range of eras and categories to choose from: Biblical, medieval, fantasy, cowboy, Regency, etc. They are very affordable and you can get the photo with a transparent background to use over a landscape for a cover design.

Do you have an artist that helps you design your book covers? Was it fun or more stressful?

My first book, Lord of Her Heart, was published with a small press, so I didn’t have much say on the cover, but I loved how it turned out. When I decided to self-publish my second book, His to Keep, I knew I wanted the covers to be similar, since I wanted to make a series of medieval romances. So I found the designer of Lord of Her Heart and hired her to do the cover for His to Keep. Her name is Elaina Lee and you can find her at For The Muse Design. She just finished the cover for my third book, Hers to Love, which will release sometime in September. She is very affordable and super easy to work with.

I did design the cover for my novelette, A Lady’s Dilemma, which is the prequel to my series. I did this cover in the program, Book Brush. It’s not as good as Elaina Lee’s designs, but I am happy with it. I give away this story for free to newsletter subscribers.


Everything about your historicals seems so authentic. How much research have you done to achieve this? 

I’ve read a lot of medieval romances, particularly anything by Lynn Kurland, so I was well-versed in the “flavor” of the period. But with every book, I’ve had to research things like hand-fasting, sheep herding, foods eaten back then, and even flowers typical for the area and time period. I had to learn what was typical for the 1200’s in England and Scotland. You can’t have your characters writing on paper when paper wasn’t used for another 100 years. Historical readers are very knowledgeable and would call me out on those types of errors, so I try to make the historical aspects as true to history as I can.

The characters speak differently than we do. Did you read writings from this time period? 

In order to give a medieval “flavor” to my books, I have them speak with ’tis, ’tisn’t, ’twasn’t, etc. It is just to give a hint of the dialect, because readers wouldn’t be able to wade through a book if it was written as they really talked back them. Old English is completely different than our way of talking. The book releasing in September, Hers to Love, is set in Scotland, so I have included more Scottish sounding words like dinna, wouldna, bairn (instead of babe), etc. I will include a glossary in this book because of all the unusual words. Hopefully, that will help.

How did you get interested in writing historical romance?

My dad read fairytales to us girls when we were little. I think that is where my love for historicals originated. I love most historical books, but medieval and regency books are my favorite.

What's next? Have you written another book, and do you have an idea when it'll be available?

The third in my medieval series, Hers to Love, will release sometime in September. I’m still in the editing phase, so I’m not sure of the release date and don’t have a pre-order up. If anyone is interested in getting notified of its release, they can sign up for my newsletter (and get the prequel, A Lady’s Dilemma, for free) or they can follow me on Amazon or Bookbub to get notified when the book releases.

I am about to start writing a contemporary romance with a hint of Christmas magic that I would love to release in time for Christmas, but since this is new territory for me, I can’t promise I’ll have it ready by then. I’m a slow writer, but the goal is to have it ready before the end of the year.

Thank you for having me today! I loved sharing about my books and their covers.

Thanks so much for taking time to chat with us, Sherrinda!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

NORMA VERA, AUTHOR, ARTIST AND FRIEND

 Good morning everyone, I’m thrilled to introduce y’all to my long-time friend and author, Norma Vera.


Norma and I began our writing careers with North Texas Christian Writers where we were both ‘bout as green as blackberries in May. LOL!

Welcome to the Diamond Mine, Norma. I’m so glad to have you with us today.

Thank you, so great to be here and for this wonderful opportunity to let other writers and readers know who I am!

Let’s jump right into some of the questions our readers want to know. Norma, when did you begin writing and what was your first book? How long did it take you to write it?

A children’s book called, Fibbie. About a little worm who lied…all the time…until he learned a hard lesson about lying. I can’t remember how long it took to write and I have no idea what happened to the manuscript. But my first published book was “Grandma, Teach Me Wisdom.”

Was there a certain point you knew God was calling you to write? When? And what was your first book of obedience to Him?

As far as I can remember, I’ve always been writing. Even as a child I knew there was a writer inside me—just can’t pinpoint the moment God called me to write…just remember asking Him to let me write and be published. My first published book was “Grandma, Teach Me Wisdom.”

Tell us a little about your family, where you grew up, and tell us a little bit about what you know the Lord is calling you to write in the future.

I grew up in a small town south of Lubbock, Texas. I am the mother of four grown children—one daughter and three sons. I have six grandchildren, and many precious great grandchildren.

And I continue to feel God is calling me to write bilingual children’s and wisdom books.

Now you’ve gone to braggin’—LOL. Six grandchildren? You are surely blessed. For those of you who don’t know, Norma is also an artist and illustrator. When did you discover God had gifted you with that talent? And what is your favorite book you’ve illustrated?

I’ve only illustrated one book—my newest bilingual release—I Was Adopted…Soy Adoptada. I am teaching myself to illustrate…I’m more of a Bob Ross type artist…not really a cartoon artist. I realized my God given talent in the 2nd grade when I painted a horse from a magazine picture. My teachers couldn’t believe I’d done it. Then in 4th or 5th grade I copied an Easter bunny out of a book and my teacher made copies for the whole class to color for Easter.

And for our readers, this book has just been released by Amazon.


Can you share with our readers some of the doors God has opened for you after releasing your book The Midnight Cry? And why did you write this one?



One, to stop what I was doing and write a different book. I was reluctant, but obeyed. After it was finished, He asked me to translate it into Spanish— Un Grito En La Medianoche.



To my shock and surprise, this published book made its way all over Texas, then across the United States from California to New York in a matter of weeks. People bought them by the dozens, and someone bought a hundred to send to prisons, strangers, and loved ones everywhere.

An international radio ministry out of Dallas has asked to take this book to the international market. Even this week, a man took a bunch of them to Houston, and another friend took a bunch more to Mexico.  No other book I’ve written has been distributed as fast as these books. It is remarkable. Almost unbelievable. But we serve a remarkable God. I’ve been told this book made some cry. Others that this book covers every area of salvation. It’s humbling to see what God does…when we obey Him.

We always have new aspiring writers viewing these interviews, Norma. You and I are probably older than many of our readers. What is the one piece of wise counsel you want to share with these new writers…something you’ve had to learn the hard way?

DON’T EVER GIVE UP! If no doors open for you, just keep on writing anyway. God will open the doors in due season. Most of the books I am publishing today are thirty or forty years old, and have been written, rewritten, and rewritten again. And I still have many unpublished manuscripts—Jesus will probably return before they are all published. Maybe this is just training and I’m going to write for all eternity! Wow…wouldn’t that be amazing?

 Oh, my goodness, Norma! I thought I was the only one with manuscripts written in years gone by. If you look at the dates on my illustrations in The Master’s Plan Series, you’ll find I did the illustrations and original manuscript in the 1980’s. God has certainly been patient with us old gals, hasn’t He?

I know you were very ill and hospitalized with Covid last year. Are there any words of encouragement you can give our readers about what God taught you during this time of uncertainty? And any other words of wisdom you’d like to share with readers and writers today?

This Covid experience was hard, but at the same time, a wonderful experience. I was hospitalized most of January 2021 and the Lord was with me every moment. We fellowshipped twenty-four-seven. Jesus has a wonderful sense of humor and He made me laugh so hard. For months after I left the hospital I couldn’t stop laughing. I’ve never in my entire life felt so happy. It never crossed my mind I could have died. Later I was shocked to find my children were preparing for my funeral. That part broke my heart.

What did I learn? Life is short—live it to the fullest. Laugh all you can and stay focused on what matters most in life—like God and family. Don’t sweat the small stuff—wasted time. God loves and cares for you. That’s all that matters!

Thank you so much for being with us today and sharing your story, my dear friend.

Thank you and the readers and writers of The Diamond Mine. I’ve enjoyed talking with each one of you today. I would love to give a copy of The Midnight Cry to one of the readers.

What a great treat, Norma. Okay y’all, for an opportunity to register to win a copy of Norma’s book, answer this question…WHAT IS THE ONE THING I’VE NEGLECTED TO DO THAT GOD HAS TOLD ME TO DO? Don’t make this harder than necessary. Could be you rolled out of bed this morning and God told you to clean house…and you’ve put it off. Or perhaps He reminded you to call a friend…what are you waiting for? Fess up, share with us, then do what God told you to do! And Norma and I both know God will bless your obedience too!

I’ve listed the Amazon addresses where you can find Norma’s books, including her soon-to-be released, I Was Adopted. And it’s bilingual print… Soy Adoptada.

 Norma’s Books:

 GRANDMA TEACH ME WISDOM

www.amazon.com/Grandma+Teach+Me+Wisdom+Norma+Vera

 I WAS ADOPTED

www.amazon.com/I+Was+Adopted+by+Norma+Vera

 THE MIDNIGHT CRY

www.amazon.com/Midnight-Cry-Norma-Vera-ebook/dp/B087NCCWZ8