Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Interview with Best-Selling, Award-Winning Author Kate Breslin



It is my immense privilege and privilege to introduce Kate Breslin to our Diamond Mine audience!

Kate is the author of five WWI novels by Bethany house: Not by Sight, High as the Heavens, Far Side of the Sea, and her newest release, As Dawn Breaks. Her fifth and final novel in the connecting series is entitled In Love's Time and will be released in December 2022.


The novels can each be read as stand-alone, and include one main connecting character. In December, you’ll get to read about Captain Marcus Weatherford’s adventure in the year 1918 when he embarks on a critical mission. He travels first to Archangel, Russia, then to London, and finally to the pastoral beauty of Hampshire.

Don’t let England’s lush, tranquil countryside fool you—it’s a time of war, intrigue, romance, and danger!

I have always been impressed with Kate's talent for weaving a compelling romantic story. She masterfully weaves intrigue, history, and passion with artistry and grace. I was so excited when she agreed to an interview! I hope you'll watch to the end because Kate shares all her writing processes with us!

Do you have your spot o' tea?





Feet up? Enjoy!




I have started an Amazon Book Club and have chosen Kate's first book (not in this series), For Such a Time as This as the club's first read! I plan to read through all her books before the end of the year. Why not join me? You can join my club here: Karla's Amazon Book Club



KATE’S BIO
Former bookseller-turned-author Kate Breslin enjoys life in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and family. A writer of travel articles and award-winning poetry, Kate received Christian Retailing's 2015 Best Award for First Time Author and her first novel, For Such A Time, won American Christian Fiction Writers 2015 Carol Award. Kate's fifth novel, As Dawn Breaks released November, 2021. When she's not writing inspirational fiction, Kate enjoys reading or taking long walks in Washington's beautiful woodlands. She also likes traveling to new places, both within the U.S. and abroad, having toured Greece, Rome, Barcelona, and much of Western Europe. New destinations make for fresh story ideas. Please visit her at www.katebreslin.com

CONTACT INFORMATION

www.katebreslin.com

https://twitter.com/Kate_Breslin

https://www.facebook.com/KateBreslinAuthor

http://www.pinterest.com/katelbreslin/

https://www.instagram.com/authorkatebreslin

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kate-breslin

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7115378.Kate_Breslin

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kate-breslin-87531b61

Karla Akins is the author of several books including A Pair of Miracles. She currently lives in Florida where she is so busy teaching and writing that she never gets enough time to read at the beach. But then, who really does?

Find Karla on the web:

KarlaAkins.com

Instagram: @LearnTodayCafe

Outschool Classes for Kids 18 and Under Including Kids with Disabilities & Autism

English Language Learning Classes




Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Sharon Rene Shares About Life, Writing, and Her YA Series and a Giveaway

 This week, we welcome Sharon Rene to the mine. First, a little more about Sharon.

Sharon Rene loves to write young adult and children’s fiction. Her young adult speculative trilogy has been acquired by Anaiah Press and the first book, Hesitant Heroes, released in September 2021. Hesitant Heroes is an exciting blend of danger, drama and a little romance. Relentless Rebels, the sequel launched in March 2022. Defying Destiny, the prequel, will launch in October 2022.

Her first book, A Mixed Bag of God’s Grace, was published in 2018 by TouchPoint Press. This is a book of short stories and devotions for elementary aged children.

Sharon Rene hopes her books will bring enjoyment and encouragement to her readers.  

Sharon Rene loves to communicate with her readers. You can email her at sharonrene17@gmail.com


Welcome to the Diamond Mine, Sharon. We’re grateful to have you this week and look forward to learning more about you. I always like to start with a couple book- and writer-themed would you rather questions.

SW: Would you rather write in a rooftop garden surrounded by city noises — or in a quiet studio with cows as your neighbors?

SR: I grew up in a small town surrounded by cows. I’ll go with the rooftop garden.


SW: Would you rather read a book with no page numbers or no chapter numbers?

SR: It would be more difficult for me to read a book without chapter numbers because I use the chapters as a guide. They indicate that I can put the book down now and do a few things.


SW: Alright, that’s enough of those. Tell us a little about you—family, hobbies, day job, or whatever you’d like to share that’s not in your bio.

SR: I grew up in a small town in Louisiana. I’m an only child but I had a lot of aunts and uncles and cousins around.  I was very close to my parents.  My dad has passed away but my elderly mother lives with me.

I work as a legal assistant at a large cooperation. 

I’ve been very involved in church – teaching youth and children’s Bible study, going on mission trips and participating in the prison ministry.

I don’t have any children, but I have one spoiled rotten cat. She’s my Instagram star.


SW: My cat makes her appearance on Instagram sometimes, too. They all have personality, don't they?

What are three books on your current tbr?

SR: Shadow by Kara Swanson

The Exiles by Katherine Barger

Confessions, The Paris Mysteries by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro


SW: I've only read Shadow, and it was a great read. What does your writing space look like?

SR: It’s upstairs in the bonus room. I have a standup screen with a Paris café view that blocks my desk and computer from the rest of the area. 


SW: Would you share with us a little about your road to publication?

SR: I’ve always loved to write. I have old manuscripts stuck in drawers that I wrote when I was a teen. Flash fiction provided my first publication success. Several of my flash fiction stories were published by Splickety/Spark magazine. I have published teen devotions in Unlocked devotional magazine.


I enjoy writing short stories, so I wrote a book of short stories for elementary children. It was published by TouchPoint Press in 2018. A Mixed Bag of God’s Grace is a book of stories in several genres – Biblical, Historical and Contemporary.

All of this time I was submitting Hesitant Heroes to different publishers. After many rejections, it was accepted by Anaiah Press. By then I had written the other two books in the series and Anaiah Press acquired them too.

My journey to book publication has been long with tons of rejections but when God was ready – the door opened.


SW: Isn't that one of the challenges and blessings of the author life? Waiting for God to open the right doors in His time?

What drew you to writing dystopian fiction?

SR: When I read The Hunger Games I got hooked on dystopian fiction. It was all I wanted to read for a while. I decided to try to write a dystopian book that had a lot of excitement and suspense but with less violence than the popular mainstream dystopian books.  My series is dystopian with a Christian world view. 


SW: Tell us more about your latest release.

SR: Relentless Rebels is the sequel to Hesitant Heroes. Hesitant Heroes is set in 2062 and the world is run by the Global Collective Council. Christian students start disappearing from Jordan Scott’s campus and she and her friends (Team Seven) start investigating. They are pulled into a government conspiracy and face one danger after the other.

Relentless Rebels begins with Jordan and Team Seven hiding out in the mountains of Venezuela. They are on the government’s hit list and must fight to survive. 

“For such a time as this” is the theme of both books. Jordan believes that she and her friends are being used by God like He used Queen Esther in the Bible. 


SW: What are you currently working on?

SR: I’m not doing a lot of writing currently because my mother has been sick and recently broke her hip.  I will soon be starting edits for Defying Destiny which is the last book in The Divine Destiny Chronicles.

When I have the time, I am working on a MG novel about a group of middle school girls who want to be detectives. They have some crazy adventures. This is more lighthearted than my dystopian books. I think I needed a change.


SW: How can we pray for you?

SR: I’d appreciate prayers for my mother’s health and for strength as I journey through this with her. Please pray that God will use my books to reach people who need to hear about His plan for their lives. I want teens to know that they are each unique and He has put them in a certain place for a certain time.


Thank you so much for visiting with us, Sharon. We appreciate you taking the time to share more about yourself and your books.


About Hesitant Heroes


In a future where the planet is ruled by the powerful Global Collective Council, and religion is outlawed, Jordan Scott is chosen to attend Global Collective University because of her phenomenal computer skills. Shy and insecure, she has difficulty fitting in with the intelligent, worldly teens at GCU. She joins a secret Bible study and meets Matthew Thomas, a good-looking jock with a big heart. Jordan’s relationship with Matthew grows deeper, and she even manages to bond with her cranky roommate while growing closer to her fellow teammates.

When Christian students mysteriously start disappearing from campus, Jordan stumbles upon the shocking truth—these students are pawns in a government plot, and she’s next on their list. Suddenly, she’s forced into a leadership position as she and her teammates journey from the European Alps to the jungles of Venezuela in a race to save the missing students and stop a political assassination. Fighting fears that have haunted her for years, Jordan battles with the strongest political force on the planet. She believes God placed her at GCU for “such a time as this.” Jordan will have to rely on her faith and friends to save the missing students and foil the evil government.

Purchase at Amazon


About Relentless Rebels


After rescuing their kidnapped friends and stopping the government from assassinating Councilor Sierra Stone, Jordan and Team Seven thought the fight was over, but the real battle is just beginning. Sierra must now try to regain her role in the Global Collective Council while also convincing them that River Wallis, co-chair of the Council, tried to kill her. But her success could very well lead to a civil war.

The Council will do everything in their power to stop Sierra, including killing her allies. Barely surviving an attack on their mountain hideaway, Jordan and Team Seven’s lives are on the line. Again. But Team Seven won’t give up that easily, and they set out to rally support for their cause. Unfortunately for Team Seven, they’re caught in the middle as the world takes sides.

Amidst attacks, lies, betrayals, and devastating losses, Jordan’s faith is shaken, and she struggles with her hatred for River Wallis. She knows that judgment belongs to God, but when she finally comes face to face with River, Jordan must rely on her faltering faith to choose wisely—give in to her need for vengeance or give it up for God to decide.

Purchase at Amazon



Giveaway

Sharon Rene is giving an autographed copy of Hesitant Heroes to one reader. To enter, leave a comment and tell us what your favorite YA book is. If you don't have one, you can tell us about one you'd like to read. Giveaway ends Tuesday, 6/21/22 at 11:59 PM EST and is open to US mailing addresses only.






Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Love Inspired Historical Author, Megan Besing is No Mix-Up

You read that right readers! It’s no mix-up that Megan Besing has released her Love Inspired Historical Book, The Rancher’s Want Ad Mix-Up. And we have her right here with us this week. It’s also no mix-up that we have a triple giveaway this week! Keep reading to find out more!

PT: Welcome Megan and congrats on the new release! Everyone just loves those mail-order bride stories!

So tell us, did writing success take the “slow road” or the “Indy 500 track?” Tell us a bit about that journey.

MB: Probably somewhere in the middle. It sure felt slow at the time and had been curves along the way. I had a chance to “fast-track” with an earlier story, but I’m glad I waited and honed my writing skills. I’ve written in several genres, and honestly, I like to write lots of genres, but historical will always have a special place in my heart because it’s how I became a published author. Historicals are also special because I once said I could never write one, and God showed me otherwise.

PT: Haha! Never say never, right? I think God likes to laugh at our mixed-up plans. What made you want to tell Della Mae and Hank’s story? How did you decide the setting?

MB: Della and Hank’s story came when Love Inspired had a contest for new historical book ideas. I wasn’t writing that genre, so I simply told several of my author friends about the opportunity. But then, the contest kept popping up in my head, followed by an idea: what if a teacher arrived and everyone thought she was there to be a mail-ordered bride?

I thought if I tried writing a historical for the contest, I wouldn’t have anything really to lose. And I’m so glad I did. Even though the story didn’t make it to the final portion of the contest at that time, it gave me the courage to write a historical.

For The Rancher’s Want Ad Mix-Up, I wanted the setting to be somewhere that was special to me, so I picked Missouri, where my grandparents used to live. However, I had originally placed the story in the southeastern corner of the state, but since Hank’s property needed oil on the land, upon research, that location wouldn’t work. I did discover that oil was found on the western portion of the state, which seemed like the perfect spot for Hank and Della’s story.


Click for the Amazon Link.

A mail-order mistake…
 Or a made-to-be match?


 When Della Mae Wagner’s train arrives in Missouri, she’s shocked to find that the couple who hired her don’t just want a teacher for their grandsons but a wife for their son! After a broken engagement, marriage is not in Della’s plans. And Hank Lamson isn’t pleased—with his parents, with his unexpected guest or with Della’s unfairly appealing smile. But his plans to send her packing are foiled as his family comes to love her…and he feels the walls around his wounded heart start to fall.

PT: Love the cover! Now, I’m always interested in author’s writing spaces, where they all get creative. Tell about your place for writing.

MB: Most of the time I try to write in my “writing room”. It’s actually a little shed outside by our lake. It’s not big or fancy. At one point it was even a greenhouse, but it’s my favorite place to write. My husband put electricity in there for me so I could run a little heater and keep my computer charged. Now, it only needs air conditioning.

PT: What part about writing is hardest for you?

MB: Commas and spelling. 😊 Marketing and writing a synopsis make my brain hurt, but unfortunately they’re a part of the author’s job.

PT: How did you come up with the cute idea of a pet chicken? (Yes, there really is a pet chicken in the book!)

MB: We’ve had chickens for several years and my in-laws have had them even longer, and Mabel seemed like a natural pet and “friend” little Wallie might have.

PT: Tell 5 things fast about Megan Besing that have nothing to do with writing.

MB: 

1. I drink tea almost every morning.

2. I love the beach and vacations in general.

3. I play piano at our church.

4. Polka dots are my favorite color.

5. And my mom’s cheesecake is my favorite “cake”.

 PT: What are your next plans for writing?

My next book comes out April 2023. It’s a suspense set in author Lisa Phillip’s Last Chance County. It will be published by Sunrise Publishing.

 PT: Wow! Congrats! Readers will definitely be looking for your next book. Thanks Megan for joining us today!

And in case you didn't know, Megan is my daughter. I love having the privilage of interviewing her while being so proud of her writing success! Now, onto those giveaways. Megan is giving away TWO Great is Thy Faithfulness bookmarks. And in celebration of my new book that released on June 1st, I'm giving away one copy of The Spellbound Schoolmarm! That's three, THREE opportunities to win a prize this week! Wahoo! To enter, leave your email in the comments or on our contact form.

 

Aren't these pretty??


My newest release! Click for the Amazon Link.


You can connect with Megan here:

Social links:

Author and Writer | Megan Besing

Megan Besing (facebook.com)

Megan Besing (@meganbesing) • Instagram photos and videos

Megan Besing Books - BookBub

Megan Besing (@MeganBesing) / Twitter

Amazon link: The Rancher's Want Ad Mix-Up - Kindle edition by Besing, Megan. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Despite always adoring happily-ever-afters, Megan Besing didn't unlock a love for reading until her mid-twenties, which quickly expanded into writing. Her own stories have won many awards, including the Selah for her novella, Perfect for the Preacher, along with the Pre-published Maggie for The Rancher’s Want Ad Mix-Up. And now she’s thrilled to be a Sunrise Publishing author. However, her most cherished achievements are being a wife and mother.

She lives in a pocket-size Indiana town, centered around extended family, where she's always planning a road trip with a view. Yet, her favorite place may just be on her front porch drinking tea. Connect with Megan at meganbesing.com.


Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Interview and Giveaway with Susan Kimmel Wright!

 Hi, guys! V. Joy Palmer here! Since we are all friends here, you guys can call me Joy. ;-) And one of my favorite things to do is talk with my friends at coffee shops then head to the bookstores. Yes, plural. After all, books and yummy drinks are the perfect combination! So consider this our virtual coffee shop. I'll wait a second for you to get your warm drink and a fuzzy blanket before we chat with today's guest. <3

Today we are going to pry into the private life of CHAT with Susan Kimmel Wright!

Susan Kimmel Wright is a child of the Appalachian Mountains. A former lawyer, Susan has published three children’s mystery novels and is a prolific contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Mabel Goes to the Dogs, Book Two in Mysteries of Medicine Spring, her first cozy mystery series for adult readers, is now available from Mountain Brook Ink. Susan shares an 1875 farmhouse in southwestern PA with her husband, several dogs and cats, and an allegedly excessive stockpile of coffee and tea mugs.

Connect with Susan Kimmel Wright on her WebsiteInstagram, Facebookand Twitter.

Interview ~

This may be the most important question I ask -- no pressure or anything, LOL! 

*drum roll*

What are you drinking in our virtual coffee house? Coffee? Tea? Hot chocolate? Something else altogether?

“Yes, please!” but it all depends. I really need to start my day with one or two cups of dark-roast coffee, nothing added. From there, I switch to various black teas, and before bed, I usually have a cup of green or red bush (rooibos) tea. (Hot chocolate, though, is perfect by the fire after a wintry walk!)

Haha, great answer! If you could order anything in the world to eat (we can dream, can't we?), what would it be?

This will obviously vary by mood, lol, but after living for months in Honduras decades ago, I often crave desayuno típico—the Central American typical breakfast of eggs, fried bananas, queso blanco cheese, avocado, refried beans, corn tortillas, and coffee. ¡Buen provecho!

YUM! Where is your favorite place to write, and why is that your favorite place?

Being an introverted homebody, I do most of my writing in a corner of our family room, where I have a table, supplies, mug-warmer, and my dogs and cats! Sometimes though, I like to shake things up by popping on my headphones and writing in a bookstore café, where there’s the stimulation of people and books, but I can also retreat into my own world. (In cases of dire writer’s block, I sit in my car and write with a notebook and pen—just like I used as a kid. This will usually break through anyplace I’m stuck.)

Love your cure for writer's block! Do you have an odd habit that is only explained by your bookish, writer tendencies?

So embarrassing, but I sometimes mentally narrate my life! Susan stood in the doorway, studying the room. She wished she hadn’t taken that cold tablet earlier. Now her head felt fuzzy—and she needed to be thinking clearly if she was to navigate that awkward conversation with Gloria. Was she here yet? Susan picked up a glass from the table by the door—something to occupy her hands and keep from fidgeting. I’m so weird!

Let's just say you're not the only one who does that... ;-) What inspired you to write Mabel Goes to the Dogs?

Mabel Goes to the Dogs is Book Two in my series, Mysteries of Medicine Spring, and there’s some continuation from Book One—and some questions answered. I chose to write about search dogs primarily because of my personal love of dogs (I do Australian cattle dog rescue and have also fostered dogs of different breeds, sizes, medical needs, and ages over the years). Plus, my main character Mabel volunteers at a new place in each book, and I wanted to give her something a bit different from the more common shelter or dog rescue volunteer. Awhile before incubating this book, I’d volunteered to help train search dogs by hiding in the wild for them to attempt to find me. I’d thought it would be fascinating to watch them work—and a good way to contribute to what they do. My first call-up just happened to coincide with the writing of my book, and it taught me a lot.

That's really cool! What led you to write in this genre?

I just love, love, love mysteries—especially cozies, which have small-town settings and local characters you can get to know and care about over the course of the series. Cozies keep me turning pages, because of course, I want to know “whodunit,” but they tend to be clean reads and also steer clear of the graphic violence of harder-edged mysteries.

Very true! What message do you hope to convey to your readers?

I don’t write to convey a particular message, but I find that what I think and believe still has a way of coming through. I want readers who have struggles in their lives to be able to open one of my books and feel comforted—to laugh a bit and find relief from the stress they’re dealing with. Mabel isn’t perfect—who is? She might be a somewhat overweight fifty-year-old who’s suddenly unemployed and a bit insecure and disorganized. But God still has some pleasant surprises in store for her, including adventure and a new romance. I believe in hope, and I want my readers to embrace it too.

I think that's a wonderful message! Can you tell us a little about your next project(s)?

I’m currently working on Book Three in my series, Mabel & the Little Green Men, which opens when Mabel has a close encounter with a flying saucer…or did she really? I have a lot of fun in my books by upending scary things like UFOs and finding reasons to laugh. It’s no wonder I loved those old black-&-white comedy movies as a child, where the main character had to face their fears in a supposed “haunted” house.

Oooo, how fun! Do you have a favorite Bible verse or story that inspires you on a soul level?

It’s impossible to single out a favorite Bible verse or story, but I do love the story of the unlikely hero, weak-kneed Gideon, in the Book of Judges. When the angel calls to him, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!” Gideon sort of looks around like “Who? Me?” Despite all his anxieties and asking (more than once!) for a fleece before he can believe God is really calling him, Gideon ultimately trusts God and knows the joy of fulfilling that calling.

Love Gideon's story! What are you currently reading? Inquiring minds -- mine! -- want to know. ;-)

I’ve been getting caught up with Alexander McCall Smith’s warmhearted No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Precious Ramotswe, and all the other characters who seem so real and make me want to visit Botswana.  

I'm sensing a theme! ;-) Sounds like a good read!

Thank you so much for hanging with us and for answering all of my prying questions, Susan! 

Giveaway ~

Susan is giving away a signed copy of Mabel Goes to the Dogs!

Mabel plans to bring the thrills of volunteering to the masses—if she doesn’t go to the dogs first.

When Mabel finds herself sharing a thicket with a dead body while volunteering with canine search-&-rescue, her life has clearly—once again—gone to the dogs!

            After her losing her job at age forty-nine, Mabel thought she’d turned things around. Now she’s doing good by volunteering, and surely, she’ll soon be a successful author, writing about her experiences. After solving two notorious decades-old cold cases while serving as a historical society volunteer, she’s already getting invitations to appear on TV.

            Her new assignment couldn’t be simpler. All she has to do is hide in the woods and let Millie the search dog practice finding her. But to her horror, Millie finds more than Mabel—there’s a dead body hiding in the same patch of brush. To make things worse, Mabel’s maybe-boyfriend, suspended PI John Bigelow, has a dark history with the victim.

            While struggling with maid-of-honor duties for best friend Lisa, a string of disasters created by handyman Acey, and a disagreeable new neighbor, can Mabel solve another murder in time to save John’s detective license—if not his neck?


Rules, Info, and Such ~

The author is giving away a signed copy of Mabel Goes to the Dogs!

This giveaway is open to the US only! 

This giveaway will close on 06/10/2022 at 12:00 A.M. for all the night owls.

A winner will be drawn within four days of close of 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. This will only be done once. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

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


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

Hugs!

~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 daughters. Connect with Joy via www.vjoypalmer.com!


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Read Toni Shiloh's Inspiration for In Search of Prince

Toni Shiloh's In Search of a Prince is one of the best books I've read this year. Can you imagine waking up to find out you're a princess and you had no idea? Brielle did exactly that. Her mom reveals a secret she's kept for over twenty years, and that's where the story blossoms. The island Brielle travels to is lush, beautiful, and filled with interesting characters, including the grandfather she's never met. Shiloh's writing is stellar. She takes the reader into life on the island with perfect description, wonderful characters (and some not so wonderful,) a satisfying romance, and the incredible journey of faith Brielle takes as she seeks God's plan for her.

I'm excited to welcome Toni to Diamond Mine. She shares more about her wonderful story and is giving away a paperback copy to a reader. US addresses only, please. 

PLEASE COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN BY JUNE 8.

In Search of a Prince is a Christian Contemporary Romance Published by Bethany House.

Welcome, Toni. Thank you so much for joining us.

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and multi-published Christian contemporary romance author. She writes to bring God glory and to learn more about His goodness. Her novels, Grace Restored, was a 2019 Holt Medallion finalist, Risking Love a 2020 Selah Award finalist, The Truth About Fame a 2021 Holt Medallion finalist, and The Price of Dreams a 2021 Maggie Award finalist.

A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and of the Virginia Chapter, Toni seeks to encourage authors in the writing industry. She loves connecting with readers and authors alike via social media. You can learn more about her writing at http://tonishiloh.com.

Readers would love to know more about your inspiration and ideas behind the book.

1. Would you give us a summary of your new book, In Search of a Prince.

Brielle Adebayo is a middle school civics teacher when her mother drops a bombshell: she’s a princess and heir to the throne of Ọlọrọ Ilé. The king, her grandfather, is dying and needs to establish her as his official heir. It’s then that the royal council finds an old edict that dictates she must be married in order to become the next ruling monarch. She’s given a list of eligible bachelors and grapples with the enormity of the situation. Can she be the queen the people of Ọlọrọ need? That is the journey I take the reader on between the pages.

2. In Search of a Prince is primarily set in the fictional country of Ọlọrọ Ilé. Can you tell us a little about this place?

I’d love to. I set the country in the Gulf of Guinea, a little to the west of Bioko Island. It has a tropical climate like that of Bioko, but I used a lot of Nigerian influences to develop the country. It is ruled by a king, one of the few African nations that still maintains a monarchy. Their council is also made up of tribal elders to represent the different regions of Ọlọrọ.

3. What different cultures influenced the creation of this story?

I had so much fun exploring the tribes of Nigeria. I also looked at how the colonization of Nigeria, Sao Tome & Principe, and western Africa as a whole influenced the current cultures. It was with all this in mind that I developed the culture of my fictional country.

4. One of the underlying themes in In Search of a Prince is learning to trust God and His will—no matter where it may lead. How does this theme come into play in the life of your female protagonist, Brielle Adebayo?

Trust is such a huge theme for Brielle. She’s been thrust into a life that looks nothing like what she’s used to. She doesn’t want to do anything outside of God’s will, yet life is filled with so many new trials that it’s hard to distinguish what is what. That’s where trust comes in, and we get to see how her walk with God develops on this new journey.

5. What do you think this novel contributes to the inspirational fiction genre that we haven’t seen before?

Diversity! It’s not often you get to walk into bookstores and see a lot of fiction with ethnic characters. It’s my hope that Black women (young and old) will see this book and see themselves. That it allows them to dream and be inspired by what God can do.

6. What was the inspiration for In Search of a Prince?

I was inspired by the union between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It was amazing to see their love, but it also made me wish for stories that celebrated Black princesses. So I dreamed one up. ☺

7. What do you hope readers gain from reading your new novel?

My biggest hope is that they see God in a new way. That they’re able to trust that He has good plans and that nothing takes Him by surprise, so we can trust in Him and rest in those truths.

8. What do you love most about writing contemporary romance novels—specifically stories about royalty?

There’s something about showing that romance and faith can still exist in the midst of our trials and tribulations. Add the royal factor of caring for an entire country, and it only shows how awesome God can be.

9. How can readers connect with you?

Website: http://tonishiloh.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authortonishiloh
Twitter: www.twitter.com/tonishilohwrite
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/tonishiloh
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/tonishiloh
Instagram: www.instagram.com/tonishiloh
BookBub: https://bookbub.com/authors/toni-shiloh

Thank you for joining us, Toni. I look forward to your next novel, To Win a Prince, featuring Brielle's best friend, Iris.

Readers, remember to comment by June 8 to have a chance to win a paperback copy of In Search of a Prince. U.S. addresses only, please.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Interview with Sally Jo Pitts and GIVEAWAY

 Hi, I'm Kathleen L. Maher, your hostess for this week. Please join me in welcoming Sally Jo Pitts on the Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction.*cue trumpet fanfare* 

Sally Jo, do share with us your new book baby and tell us everything about it! 

 My latest release is “Color Me Springtime,” a novella included in a spring romance collection with seven other authors entitled Where Blooms Love. 


 


About “Color Me Springtime”: The Hamilton Harbor Spring Arts Festival committee welcomes a Paris guest artist who is also a hometown girl. The festival ushers in May flowers, but will the celebration also renew a high school romance left behind fourteen years ago?

Where Blooms Love book blurb: Love is in bloom in this inspiring collection of romances. In these seasonal stories, meet a young Loyalist who discovers a wounded patriot hiding in her barn, forcing her to choose between turning him in or first nursing him back to health. When a king issues a one-year challenge between sisters, who will become the next queen, and who will find love? A wounded soldier attends a Star Wars marathon and finds his future. And a horse and a baby bridge the way for an unlikely couple to explore a life together.

Across cultural differences, political divisions, and historical timelines, each novella carries Spring's life-giving promise that love unites hearts because God first loved us. Hope blossoms in this fresh collection of love stories penned by these Elk Lake Publishing best-selling authors.


How long have you been writing? And how long have you been working on this book in particular?

I have been writing in earnest for ten years. I started this novella in October, 2021. An editor coordinated the project, and it was interesting working through various issues with the other authors throughout the editing, title and cover selection, and publishing.  The title was to be Where Love Blooms, but the ISBN was issued, and Amazon had it up as Where Blooms Love.. The book cover, manuscript, and marketing memes all had the original name. We would have to unpublish and republish to use the original name. After debate, we opted to change everything  to Where Blooms Love. The name kind of grows on you and I hope it does for readers!

I love it!

Who have been the mentors and role models in your life? Name three influential people and what they imparted to you.

 My critique partner, Marcia, who I met at an ACFW conference  has tirelessly read through my manuscripts and offered content, grammar and tightening suggestions. Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck from My Book Therapy and Deep Thinkers retreats  have each offered invaluable advice and coaching. 


Describe the exact moment in your life when you just KNEW you were born to write.

As a youngster, I read Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Alfred Hitchcock mysteries and I liked to write simple storylines that played out like movies in my head.  Throughout my school years, I always enjoyed tackling creative writing assignments. My teaching career led me elsewhere, but after I retired, I took a creative writing class and rediscovered my love for writing. So, the writing bug bit me in childhood but I didn’t see myself as a writer until after I retired from teaching. 


What fuels your creativity? 

I’m not sure. Ideas constantly pop into my mind. I have a folder titled “story ideas” where I stuff  thoughts when they strike. 


Do you have other creative expressions, hobbies, or callings?

Bible study, teaching Sunday school, and watching grandkids play sports.

Do you have a few words for that person out there struggling to believe that their day will ever come? Whether its publication, marriage, a first baby, a deeply held prayer to be answered… Is there a scripture that encouraged you in your moments of doubt? 

If you are plagued with the need to write, there is a reason. Press on. A wonderful scripture that is encouraging is Philippians 4:8.  

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Amen!

How can readers find you? 

I can be found on my website www.sallyjopitts.com where you can sign up for my news and receive a free short story prequel to my romance series.

Facebook: Sally Jo Pitts Reader’s Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/268471081560375


Here on the Diamond Mine, we like to offer a giveaway. Sally Jo is graciously offering an ebook of 

Where Blooms Love to one lucky commenter.

To enter the drawing, tell me your favorite spring flower.

Thanks so much for spending time with us here this week, Sally. I look forward to seeing the comments of our readers and interacting with you all more!


 


Sally Jo Pitts brings a career as a private investigator, high school guidance counselor and teacher of family and consumer sciences to the fiction page. Tapping into her real-world experiences she writes what she likes to read—faith-based stories steeped in the mysteries of life’s relationships. She is author of the Hamilton Harbor Legacy romance series and the Seasons of Mystery series.