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.


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Christian YA Author-Kathy Cassel


We've had a cold and wet spring here in Southern Indiana. That doesn't mean we can't plan for those summer reads. If you've never read YA fiction, let me encourage you to give it a try. Christian YA might be something you'd love. No better place to start than Kathy Cassel's books.

Welcome to the Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction Kathy! Let's get started so we can learn more about you and your writing.

How long have you been writing?
I started writing for Christian teen magazines in the 80s while I was still in college. In the early 2000s I wrote devotional books for preteen girls and then switched to YA fiction in 2019.

What is the one thing that inspires you to write?
I love reading YA books, or in reality listening to them on CD while I drive. Most of the books I'm reading have themes of depression, suicide, death and so on. The books didn't offer any real answers or hope. I felt a strong call to switch from devotion books to YA fiction to reach teens with a message of hope in God. He has a plan for them. If they walk away from the story with hope, then I've succeeded in planting a seed of faith.

What are you working on right now?
I have a third YA book titled 1,000 lies. Bailey is a typical 15 year-old girl living in a small Indiana town where her life is mundane and predictable-until the day of the field trip to a photography exhibit where an unexpected encounter with a stranger and a shocking photo exhibit throw her life into upheaval. As she and her two best friends begin digging into the past, Bailey discovers everything she thought was true about herself was a lie. This sends her on a peril-filled journey to discover her real identity. 


I love it! You have another project coming up too. Tell us about it.
I love writing YA fiction, but the next book I'll be working on is an adult underwater crime scene investigation novel. I even learned to scuba dive to make it more authentic.

Do you have any other things you've done to prepare for your stories?
I've done whitewater rafting, got my conceal carry license, and a motorcycle endorsement to better relate to the characters. I draw the line at sky diving!

Your books sound exciting, and now we know why you aren't afraid to face a challenge. What has been the most challenging part of writing them?
Coming up with an ending that is both believable and acceptable. There isn't always a happy ending to the things that happen in our lives, but there is always hope. I want the readers to walk away with that feeling of hope.





Where do you create these interesting and exciting stories?
I have a cool office decorated in beach d├ęcor.

When is your favorite time to write?
My brain works best at night.

Who is your favorite author?
Mary Higgins Clark. I like her style and sense of story.

What has been your favorite vacation destination? Would you go again?
New York City and Boston (I went to the city park to see the statues of the ducks from Robert McCloskey's picture book Make Way for Ducklings). Hopefully, I'll go again with five of my young adult/grown children in 2023.

Tell us a little about your family. 
My husband and I live in the Florida Panhandle. We have eight children, five of whom are adopted, three from Haiti and two from the United States. We also have six grandchildren. I love to travel and share adventures with them!

Do you have any pets? Tell us about them.
We have four rescue dogs, Travis, Caspian, Sasha, and Sadie. We also have a foster dog, Jax, who has decided he wants to stay with us. After Hurricane Michael hit, we picked up two cats abandoned by their owners.

Wow! You must be one busy lady with that crew. You told me you're not a coffee drinker, which it sounds like you should be! What is your favorite food?
I go for simple. Chick-fil-A! We also make ham and pineapple pizza in a pizza maker we found at Goodwill. 

Thanks, Kathy, for sharing your vision of writing stories to give hope to your readers. Be sure to visit Kathy's website to see more of what this busy lady has done.


Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Meet Sadie Stewart from Penny Frost McGinnis's Home Where She Belongs



It's my joy and honor to bring to you not an author interview but a fun character interview. Penny Frost McGinnis released her debut novel Home Where She Belongs recently and is excited to present to you Sadie Stewart.

Before we meet Sadie, allow me to introduce you to her story.

Home Where She Belongs by Penny Frost McGinnis


Tired of being a pawn for her father and an emotional punching bag for her ex-boyfriend, Sadie Stewart runs away. She leaves behind a lucrative job, at her father's financial company, and narcissistic, abusive ex-boyfriend, Bryce Shaw. Her heart longs for a peaceful, simple life on beloved Abbott Island in Lake Erie, Ohio where she spent magical summers with grandparents she adored.

On the island, Sadie takes over her grandparents' small island home and her gram's rental cottages. With a fresh start on the island, she tries to push the past behind and dig in to make the rental business thrive. As Sadie and her dog, settle into her new home, her thoughts wander to Joel Grayson, her teen crush. As soon as he crosses her mind, she dashes the thought away. Not ready to share her heart with anyone, she pushes herself to finish her tasks.

Joel Grayson left the island long enough to train at the Police Academy. The folks in the community trust him, even with his failures. Before Sadie's grandpa died, Joel had promised him he'd look after their cottages, with a secret hope Sadie might return. When he's on patrol and finds a woman on his friend's property, he bristles until he realizes his dream girl has come home.

Sadie recognizes Joel and immediately guards her heart. Her experience with Bryce left her untrusting and hesitant. Even handsome and kind Joel won't tempt her to open her heart.

When someone is set on sabotaging Sadie's future, she seeks Joel's help. As they are drawn together, Joel wants to protect Sadie as a police officer and a friend. Sadie begins to trust Joel and allows the wall around her heart to crumble, just a little. As Joel tries to find the person behind the menacing, Sadie fights to build her rental business and latch on to the peace she longs for.

Even as Joel and Sadie grow closer, a dark cloud hangs over them. Ugly graffiti, a fire, and threats cause Sadie grief. She wants to believe in God, the way her grandparents did and longs for the peace that passes understanding, but her heart hesitates to trust anyone.

Joel needs to place his past behind him and allow God to work in his heart. In his attempts to protect Sadie, he falls for her all over again, even though she keeps her distance.

Will Joel and Sadie overcome their fear and lack of trust? When they discover who is sabotaging Sadie's future, can they stop them? Will two broken people find their path to love?

Home Where She Belongs is a romance with a dash of mystery and the promise of hope, as Joel and Sadie discover what it means to trust in the God who loves them.


CC: Hi Sadie! It is so great to meet you. Would you please introduce yourself to my readers?

SS: Hi, I'm Sadie Stewart. I moved to Abbott Island recently to resurrect my gram's cabin rental business. Grandpa and Gram both passed away and left me their home and two cabins. I haven't been back for a while, but it's time for me to leave my old life behind and start fresh.

CC: New beginnings are so hard but always needed. So what's your role in this story?

SS: I'm Sadie, the heroine of the story. After a heart-wrenching experience, I finally claim the property my grandparents left me after Grandpa's death. On Abbott Island I work to revive my grammy's cabin rental business while trying to break ties with my ex-boyfriend and ignore my father's pleas to return to his company to work. There is a hero for my heroine, sweet Joel. I knew him from visiting my grandparents every summer, but haven't seen him in years. Kind of makes you want to find out what happens, doesn't it?

CC: Who is your least favorite person to deal with? Why?

SS: My ex-boyfriend. After we dated for awhile, he showed his true colors, and let's say, they were ugly. I no longer want anything to do with him, but he won't give up.

CC: Discovering who we are after we return to our faith, or even start our faith, can be a difficult road to walk. How would you describe the hero of the story?

SS: The hero, Joel, is a police officer. We met when we were kids and kind of grew up together in the summers. After I went to college, we lost touch. He's a kind-hearted man who cares about the community, is loyal to his friends, but keeps his hurts to himself. Did I mention he's handsome with beautiful eyes? I have to call on him for help, way more than I want. His sister Lucy is one of my dear friends, and she loves to give her brother a hard time.

CC: What is your biggest fear?


SS: My biggest fear is failure. I was raised to succeed, and I don't always feel I can.

CC: What's one of your happiest memories?

SS: One of my happiest memories is sitting on the porch with my grandpa while he whittled and I sketched.

CC: What is your favorite holiday? Why?

SS: My favorite holiday is the fourth of July because I spent the summers with my grandparents on Abbott Island and got to be part of the celebration. We had an island-wide picnic, swam, and watched fireworks. Two of my best friends, Lucy and Joel, lived on the island.

CC: Do you enjoy family gatherings? Why/why not?

SS: Not with my family. As a child they amounted to making a good appearance for the sake of my dad's business. On the other hand, I loved being with my grandparents. They were the best people I knew.

CC: If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?

SS: I long for peace and people I can trust.

CC: How do you view God in your life?

SS: I know God is real, and I learned about His love through my grandparents. I'm not sure about my own beliefs yet, but I sure hope He hears my prayers.

CC: What the worst thing that every happened to you?

SS: My ex-boyfriend abused me. You'll find out more about that in my story.

CC: Do you have a pet?

SS: I do. Rosie is my Golden Retriever. Grandpa gave her to me just before he died. She's the sweetest animal, loving and loyal.



About Penny Frost McGinnis:

If Penny Frost McGinnis could live in a lighthouse or on an island, she would. Instead, she and her husband are content to live in southwest Ohio and visit Lake Erie every chance they get. She adores her family and dogs, indulges in dark chocolate, enjoys fiber arts, and grows flowers and herbs in her tiny garden. She pens romance novels with a dash of mystery and the promise of hope. Her life's goal is to encourage and uplift through the written word.

Connect with Penny: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | BookBub | Amazon