Interview and Giveaway with Amryn Cross!!

Love won’t save her. U.S Marshals can’t contain her. Death will not stop her.

 

         Today on the Diamond Mine, I’ll be interviewing one of our group members, Amory Cannon, whose pen name is Amryn Cross. Her debut novel, Learning To Die debuted this month, and we’re all so excited for her! She’s woven a compelling suspense story with an intense romance between two strong-willed characters. Quite an exciting read!  I highly recommend it! After the interview, leave a comment and you’ll automatically be entered for a free copy of this wonderful story in either e-book or print copy, whichever you prefer.

Now for our interview!

What was the first thing you remember writing?
 
When I was in elementary school, I wrote lots of little stories about puppy love and girls doing things that only boys do—like joining the football team. The first thing of any length I remember writing was a fan fiction of sorts based on the characters in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
 
One of my favorite books, too! So, when did you decide to write fiction novels?
 
I began writing my first novel in November 2011 for National Novel Writing Month. It was an experiment for me, coming up with all original characters and starting to weave my love of writing with my love of forensic science. I learned a lot during that process, and it only solidified my decision to commit to writing.
 
I’m glad you did! What genre or genres do you write?
 
My main genre is romantic suspense, which is where my debut novel fits, but I’m also delving into young adult as well. Eventually, I’d like to write a book that’s strictly romance, but that’s a way off for me at this point.
 
How do your story ideas come to you?
 
It varies from book to book. Sometimes it’s an idea for a specific scene that just grows into something more. I have been inspired by certain TV shows and books, but my favorite is when I read or hear a certain phrase and it sparks an entire plot. Music is a big one for me for this reason. A line or two of lyrics can carry me a long way. For that reason, I make playlists for each story I write.
 
I also use music as inspiration. When I write a historical novel, I listen to music that fits the time. 
Do you use outlines, or write the plot as you go?
 
I sort of fall in between. I like to have a vague outline since it’s important in my genre to know the crime that’s committed and the timeline of when the characters figure out what clues. Major external events tend to be the cornerstone of my outlines, but I don’t plan my characters reactions to those events. I let them develop naturally, and that sometimes leads to additional scenes I hadn’t planned on.
 
They take on a life of their own, don’t they? So, is this debut novel the first one you wrote?
 
Actually, no. Learning to Die was originally intended to be a sequel to the first novel I wrote. However, the more I learned about writing, the more I realized that first novel needed a lot of work and maybe would never be published. This story had more potential, and I’d already fallen in love with the characters, so I decided to put my effort into getting Kate’s story published.
 
How much of yourself is in your characters?
 
I love this question. In this book, I don’t think there’s much of me in Kate or Graham. Actually, it was a bit difficult to get Kate right in the beginning because I’m not very much like her. But I did connect with her because there are a lot of people I know in her. She’s real and she’s broken, and on the most basic level, I think we’ve all been there. In other books, however, I’ve put a lot of myself into characters. In a novella series I’m working on for next year, the main character is basically me turning off my filter and writing. It’s a lot of fun!
 
Do you ever hit difficult spots or get derailed in your stories, and if so, how do you get past this?
 
This does happen to me from time to time, but I’ve found the best way to get past this is to be willing to skip around. I don’t always write chronologically. In fact, for the first novella in the next series I’m working on, I wrote it backwards! I break my story down into scenes, and if one scene isn’t cooperating, I’ll move on to one that I have a clearer picture of. Sometimes I have to go back and change things when I tie all the scenes together, but it does usually break me out of writer’s block or a rut.
 
What do you like best about writing?
 
This is tough to narrow down, but I really think it’s figuring out what makes people tick. My stories are very character driven for that reason. I’m not just interested in what someone does, but why they do that. I love complicated characters because we all lead complicated lives. I want to write stories that make people think about their actions and relate to the character.
 
What effect do you hope your writing has on the reader?
 
Ultimately, I hope my writing glorifies God. I want to tell a good story, to make a reader laugh or cry, but the purpose is to use the little things in the book to point people to Him. From Learning to Die specifically, I hope readers will realize that God really does work in all things, and that you’re never too far that He can’t love you.
 
That’s a beautiful message. 
What are you working on now?
 
I’m in the process of editing the first novella in my East Wind series (which you can find out more about at http://theeastwind.amryncross.com), which will hopefully release in January next year. It’s about a former military man who’s forced into medical retirement and somehow ends up solving crimes with this crazy but brilliant consulting detective—Alexandria Holst. Each novella follows the two of them through one of their cases. Very much based on several adaptations of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson… especially the modern BBC version.
I’m also finishing up my young adult novel The Broken Crown, which I also hope to release next year. It follows a young princess, Emilia, in a fictional world where Christianity has been outlawed, and even her own mother—the queen—was not safe from execution because of it. Finding the strength to save the Insurgos Christians means a choice between the life Emilia was born for and the one God called her to. Both of which could mean death. I can’t wait to share this book with my readers!
Another one of your books to look forward to! Thanks so much for this interview!
Now for an excerpt from Learning to Die:
“I’m here to protect you.” His eyes changed, softened maybe, and the white haze that usually preceded a flashback edged her vision. No. Not now.

His hand twitched as he made a move for his pocket. Reflex took over as her muscles coiled in anticipation. Her right hand flew forward in a well-practiced uppercut, aiming for the sweet spot under his chin.

Though she had surprise on her side, he was much stronger and anticipated her move. Her fist never made contact. Instead, his hand wrapped tightly around her wrist and twisted her until her back slammed up against the wall with her right hand over her head, the muscles in her shoulder aching in protest. He reached for her left hand and raised it until he held both wrists, in one hand, above her head.

Her chest heaved with adrenaline. Self-preservation coursed through her gut, and if it came to fighting for her life or the lives of her friends, she would not hold it back.

His face was mere inches from hers now, his breath on her cheek. Involuntary shivers tingled her spine. If only she’d grabbed her gun before she stepped into the hallway.

“I said I’m here to protect you… even from yourself.” The words ghosted over her as he lowered his lips to her ear and brushed them against her skin. She imagined if anyone bothered to look at the security cameras right now, they’d appear more like a pair of lovers than two enemies in a stalemate. There didn’t seem to be much of a line between the two at the moment, as confusion and attraction waged a war in the pit of her stomach. He wasn’t as unaffected as he’d like her to think — she could see his pulse thrumming in his neck.

He looked down to his left, and her eyes followed his movement. When he went for his pocket again, she didn’t fight. Instead of a weapon, he raised his hand to present a badge directly in front of her face.

Lying inside a black flip wallet, the badge resembled a gold circle with a star inside it, the words “United States Marshal” around the outside. Opposite the badge, she read the credential card that introduced her attacker as Graham Shepherd, Senior Deputy U.S. Marshal, Inspector. She looked back and forth from the picture on the card to the man in front of her. The eyes left no doubt it was the same man.

Now, here’s a short author bio:
Amryn Cross is a forensic scientist and author of romantic suspense novels. As a lover of college football, Shakespeare, superheroes, and travelling, she is drawn to complex characters who aren’t always what they seem. Her novels are character-driven stories of people who face down some of life’s darkest moments and learn to reconcile that darkness with God’s light. She refers to these as “between the shadow and the soul” moments. Amryn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy. You can connect with Amryn on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
 
Here are the buy links:
 
Remember to leave a comment and you’ll be entered in the drawing for a copy of the book!
 
 
 
 

V.B. Tenery: A Diamond of Christian Suspense

 
 
GIVEAWAY!!!
Kindle Copy of Dead Ringer
Leave a comment to enter!
 
Welcome to the Diamond Mine, Virginia. I’m so happy you’re here! As you know, the Mine digs into the wells of Christian Fiction and searches for those gems. I already know you write awesome suspense. And I see you’ve had a new release this year. Can you tell a little bit about it?
Dead Ringer was released in May and is an inspirational romantic suspense. The story follows Mercy Lawrence who is identified as a notorious missing model, Traci Wallace, by airport facial identification software. Traci’s husband is convinced she is his missing wife who deserted him and their ill son. He takes Mercy to a private island to care for the boy, and that’s when the action begins.
I remember tasting a bit of your stories on the crit loop for ACFW. Talk about suspense and intrigue. It makes me want to dig into this one right now! Do you think we can give the readers a bit of a peek?
1
Hamilton, Bermuda Friday, May 5 
Mercy Lawrence wouldn’t have noticed the large man standing by the silver Mercedes except for the way he was dressed. Unlike the tourists on the sidewalk, he wore a light gray business suit and tie. Sunglasses hid the upper portion of his face, and the grim set of his mouth detracted from his otherwise handsome appearance. He stood beside the car’s open back door, arms crossed as if waiting for someone.
Not wanting to stare, she tore her gaze away. In jeans, T-shirt, and sandals, she blended easily into the vacationers along the boulevard. She’d spent the last five months in this wonderful country, recuperating from a head injury. Most of her memory remained intact after the accident, but dark recesses still refused to reveal their mystery.
But tomorrow, like a good soldier, she would return to Houston and report to her new job at Sabine Oil, the fulfillment of a goal she’d worked towards for the past six years.
The city’s main drag ran four lanes wide with a palm-tree-lined median, the sea on one side, shops and hotels on the other. A soft wind filled the air with the scent of sea kelp and brine, mixed with a light floral fragrance from the purple bougainvilleas hanging on the walls along the walkway. Seagulls swept low over the water, looking out past the rolling surf for lunch.
She shook her hair loose from the confines of its ponytail clip and turned her face to the balmy sunshine—mainlining vitamin D. Her path took her within four feet of the parked car.
The man moved onto the sidewalk and grabbed her arm. “Having fun, are we?‛
He spoke with a slight Scottish burr, the strange question more an accusation than a greeting.
She tried to jerk her arm away. “Let go of my arm.”
 His grip tightened. “I’ll just bet you’ve been living it up.” His voice was harsh, his jaw tight. No one intervened. Casual observers would think she knew him. One hand locked on her arm, he shoved her into the backseat, slid in beside her, and slammed the door. His movements were so quick, so smooth, she had no time to struggle, no time to scream or put up a fight.
She swallowed the lump in her throat choking off oxygen. Women disappeared all too often on foreign soil, never seen or heard from again. “Who are you? What do you think you’re doing? Let me out. Now!”
 He ignored her protests and leaned forward in the seat. “Airport, Fergus.”
 Blood pounded a persistent rhythm in her ears. He couldn’t be police. They had to tell one the charges before making an arrest. Besides, she’d done nothing wrong. Her heart skipped a beat. She wanted to run, but it was too late for that. Pivoting towards him, she drew back her arm and aimed the heel of her hand for an upward thrust under his nose. The move from a seated position lacked the needed momentum.
He blocked the blow, slamming her back against the seat with a forearm of steel across her chest. “You dropped off the map six months ago. To do what, find yourself?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She squeezed her eyes shut. This couldn’t be happening. “This is kidnapping. My name is Mercy Lawrence and people are expecting me back at my bungalow.” She struggled against the vise-like grip, slapping at his hand.
“Stop it, and cut the crap, Traci, or I’ll slap you back. Taking a wife, a mother, home to the son she abandoned is not kidnapping.  Besides, you’re not a kid.”
See what I mean, folks? I love it, V! This one will have to join my collection. Anyone else agree? It may inspire me to write a story about kidnapping a bride. Just kidding.
Speaking of that…how do you find inspiration for your stories?
I’m never sure where my story inspirations come from. Some from new headlines, some from observing human nature, good and bad.
Is there anything in particular you wish someone to receive from your writing?
I write to inspire and entertain readers. When the reader finishes one of my novels I would like them to feel it was time well spent and feel good about the experience.
Your books are full of twists and intrigue. I love to read them and they entertain me. In fact, a person would love to read them for the excitement alone! But what’s unique about them? What’s one thing all of your books have in common?
There’s a thread of forgiveness in most of my stories not only of others but of one’s self, and of staying strong in the face of adversity. I also use biblical symbolism in some of my stories. 
That’s awesome. I think I love that the most about your books. You truly are a terrific person and author. Do you have special events planned surrounding the release of your title?
Since this was published earlier in the year most of my promotions have been done. But I still buy advertising and promote on Facebook from time to time.
And a few blogs here and there, huh? I guess every little thing helps! What’s your biggest challenge in writing?
At the moment its finding time to write. Promotion is a big part of a writer’s life today. I once thought when I became published I could sit back and relax. Wrong. I’m busier than I’ve ever been.
I have to agree with you and I haven’t even published my book yet! Of course, my job takes up a lot of my time too. As a reader, what do we have to look forward to? What’s in the works?
I have just published an Indie novel this month, the second book in the Matt Foley/Sara Bradford romantic suspense series. I also have another novel with the Pelican book group, The Watchman that releases in a couple of weeks on October 3rd.
Awesome! I can’t wait. Anyone else agree? Well, I believe we have another diamond to add to our collection…V.B. Tenery!
 
 
About the Book:
 
Bermuda airport facial recognition software has identified her as missing runway star, Traci Wallace. Despite Mercy’s protests, Traci’s husband, ex-CIA agent Thomas Wallace, is convinced Mercy is the mother of his ill six-year-old son. With only his son’s welfare in mind, he abducts Mercy and takes her to a private island to care for the boy.
But Mercy soon discovers there are men much more dangerous than a father desperate to save his son. Her doppelganger has made deadly enemies—a relentless team of killers who now want her dead.
When Thomas is lured into a covert mission to rescue a CIA asset and uncover a government mole, Mercy is left isolated and alone—and Thomas finds himself stranded on foreign soil with a compromised mission and a wounded agent. Fighting against a rogue nation’s timetable for launching a nuclear strike, he has to escape Saudi Arabia alive and rescue Mercy and his son before assassins finish the job they started.
 
About the Author:
 
Author V. B. Tenery lives with her family in East Texas. Her passion is writing books with shining characters and settings with plots so exciting readers come away feeling delighted with the experience. Not content to stay in one genre, her novels range from contemporary suspense and supernatural suspense, to an upcoming historical suspense set in WWII England. When not writing she enjoys reading, hiking, and tube-floating down rivers in the beautiful Texas Hill Country   

Interview with Nicola Furlong

I’m pleased to welcome multi-published author Nicola Furlong to the Mine today! Read on for her interview, and make sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.


Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into writing.

I’m the sixth of eight in a long line of rabid readers. Like my father, mysteries were my first love. After devouring whodunits for years, I finally figured I could write ‘the butler did it’, as well as the next armchair Poirot. For my first gumshoe, I stuck close to home and chose a sporty gal named Riley Quinn as my amateur sleuth. After intensive research, which included lugging a forty-pound bag during pouring rain for a couple of professional female golfers, I putted out TEED OFF!, my first crime story.

I was off the first tee, as you might say, and running. Although I had plans for a Riley Quinn series, another idea soon struck home and I delved into darker thriller material for my second novel, A HEMORRHAGING OF SOULS. Once again, my writing plans changed. Though I had this new second series in mind, I lucked into a divine gig and eventually wrote six light-hearted inspirational tales for the CHURCH CHOIR MYSTERIES series from Guideposts.

Definitely diverse! So what’s a day in your life like?
I’m very fortunate. I am semi-retired and live in a small seaside town on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The creative side to my day varies, depending on whether I’m writing, researching, marketing or pondering something new. There are, however, four daily constants in my life: Walking dogs (a giant Yorkie & a spud-coloured Maltese mix; Gardening (crazy about poppies, bamboo & succulents): Exercising (playing hockey with a bunch of old dudes, biking our rural roads or Nordic walking along the seaside), and Eating chocolate fudge (homemade & always available).

What can you tell us about your most recent release?
My latest novel is a departure from the mystery scene. When I was chewing over a new series (by now you’ll know I’m gun-shy of that term), I decided there was enough misogyny and violence out there. I no longer wanted to create stories about heartache; rather I hoped to pen something heart-warming. For the first time, I chose the familiar subject matter of family and gardening, and then planted a question that haunts me: is this all there is to life? Thus in my new inspirational novel HEARTSONG, the Shepherd family and their plant nursery business blossoms, and my main characters discover a calling to help others seek redemption for past wrongs. I think we all have regrets, and it’s these cold cases of the heart that Faith, Hope and Charly Shepherd tackle in the Sisterhood of Shepherds series. And yes, it will be a series as I’m nearly finished Book 2, HOMEFIRES.


 

That sounds very uplifting. 🙂 You’ve written a bit of both non-fiction and fiction. What were the challenges with each one?

This’s a tough question as all writing has many challenges. For fiction, it’s mostly in discovering your author’s voice and unleashing it in the right subject matter. Discovering the voice takes time, experimentation and often results in frustration and dead ends. You have to be persistent and have faith, not easy when you may have few results to show for it. Finding the right subject can be as easy as writing in the genre you generally prefer to read, but hitting upon your ideal vehicle may require diving into new areas.


Non-fiction is more about being recognized as a professional and less about crafting sentences. Once you have the expertise, however, then you need to share it in manner that befits your target audience. For example, the writing style, chapter design and book length will differ greatly between writing about growing blue poppies and playing ice hockey. I have to admit bending some of these rules, though, when I self-published my primers on electronic publishing, mystery writing and gardening. I seized upon the immediacy and popularity of ebooks and traded on my expertise and breezy writing manner to deliver succinct and inexpensive how-to ebooklets.

I noticed on your website that you’ve also done podcasts about the writing process. What’s that process like and what made you want to start the podcasts?

I really appreciate that you noticed THE NOVEL EXPERIENCE Podcast. I believe podcasts in general are an amazing yet relatively unknown medium. I’ve always been interested in radio drama and audio books. Several years ago, while creating videos and music for my interactive online thriller UnnaturalStates, I developed expertise in audio and video software. After using iTunes, I discovered their podcasts and quickly saw the opportunity and manner to post audio clips on the Internet.

As a writer, I’m always hunting for suggestions from experts to improve my work and figured other authors would be, too. Most of the writing world infotainment is fan-oriented, not technique driven. I decided to host my own audio interviews with fellow book professionals (so far, several authors, a screenwriter and an editor) and to post them online as The Novel Experience Podcast. It’s been a lot of fun sharing ideas and learning new writing skills. Listeners can find listening links below.

What’s your favorite book you’ve read?
My all-time favourite is a classic: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, Harper Lee’s compelling story of family, racism and redemption. It showed me how a single isolated incident in a small town could be a powerful universal theme. Another inspiration is THE RED FOX by Anthony Hyde. This exciting best-selling thriller proved to me that Canadian genre authors could hit the big time. Well, at least some of them can!



What do you hope readers take away from your writing?

I hope readers relate to the characters and find my stories entertaining. I dig getting behind the scenes to learn new things, and trust others do, too, so anticipate that they’ll enjoy discovering a bit about golf, opera or what it’s like being the middle child. Lastly, I’d be gratified if they would be encouraged to buy more of my books and consider recommending my work to their friends.
 
Thanks for joining us, Nicola! It’s been a pleasure getting to know you. Make sure you leave a comment for Nicola, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.
Nicola pens mystery and inspirational novels, creates interactive books for the iPad, podcasts about genre writing (The Novel Experience), and teaches electronic publishing, when she’s not playing Old-Timer’s hockey, growing blossoms and bamboo or eating chocolate fudge.
The co-creator of Quillr®, a multimedia storytelling platform, Nicola gardens in a small town on southern Vancouver Island, BC. Her other novels are mysteries and include Teed Off! (recently re-published by OakTreePress), A Hemorrhaging of Souls, and six inspirational cozies from the Church Choir Mysteries series. Her ebook how-to primers include YOUDUNIT WHODUNIT! HOW TO WRITE MYSTERIES, SELF-PUBLISH YOUR EBOOK IN MINUTES! and TOP TEN GARDENING TIPS. She has also created her first children’s story, SAVING GRAPE-JELLY CHEEKS, as an interactive musical tale, available on the iPod/iPad/iPhone devices.
You can connect with Nicola at the following sites:                                                                              

Welcome Deborah Piccurelli: Author, Advocate, and Diamond

Deborah Piccurelli
Welcome to the Mine, Deborah. Summer’s almost over, and school’s getting ready to start in some areas, started in others. A busy time of year!
Thank you for having me, Renee. It’s a pleasure to be here!
I see you have a book out and about called Hush, Little Baby. Can you tell us about it?
Here’s the back cover blurb:
Investigative journalist, Amber Blake, is a little person bent on payback for the death of her average-sized twin sister. Enlisted by her former partner and estranged husband, Evan, she poses as a counselor in an abortion clinic to expose the doctor responsible for fetal harvesting. As a Christian, she struggles with concealing her beliefs to maintain her cover, while the doctor’s romantic overtures tumble her stomach. Amber agrees to date him for the sake of the story . . . but nothing prepares her for what’s behind a mysterious door in his office.
Wow, it sounds like a powerful book. Do you think we can get a sneak peek?
CHAPTER
            She would be working for her sister’s killer.
            Amber’s skin goosebumped as she drove down the town’s main highway to the Cedarview Women’s Center for her first day on the job. To think the man responsible for Ashley’s death, Dr. Albert Hines, would be her employer.
            Her foot pumped the extender pedal for the brake, and her Honda Odyssey glided to a smooth stop at the red traffic signal. She sometimes wondered what it would feel like to be five-six instead of four foot tall, and able to drive without the extenders; to live a life without the need for any adaptive products.
            She was about to find out. In part, anyway. Her last visit to the clinic for the interview revealed very few accommodations for a little person. Not that she expected there would be any, as they probably never had a dwarf working there before. Despite her size, Dr. Hines had shown her much respect. Because of that surprising courtesy, a tinge of guilt crept in at the thought that he would end up in prison because of her.
            Not enough to put her off, though. He had it coming.
I started writing novels fairly late in life (around forty), but I heard the call loud and clear. I just never thought I’d be writing suspense. I figured I’d write more historical or chicklit. Anything but suspense or mystery. When the Lord called you as a writer, did you think you’d be writing what you are?
Actually, I thought I’d be writing screenplays, because that’s what I started with. I really don’t know how I switched over to novels, but I do know that reading good books made me want to write them, too. I had even started a couple as a child, but never finished them, and then teenage life took over.
Ever wonder if you heard right?
Not really. I just write whatever I hear the Lord give me. I have three other assignments from Him: Another novel, which I’m working on right now; a nonfiction book, and a TV drama. The latter two I’ve never even thought of getting into before.
Now don’t laugh… I had aspirations of being a ballerina as a child. Of course, it wasn’t meant to be, either due to God’s will or my own foolishness. Either way, now I’m a pharmacist and an author. Praise the Lord. If God hadn’t made you to put the pen to the page, what else do you think you’d be?
This sounds really lame at this point in my life, but as a little girl, I wanted to be a secretary when I grew up. For some reason I thought it was glamorous. I guess from watching TV shows and movies where the secretary looked official and ended up marrying her boss. (laughs) Anyway, I did end up doing that for many years. And no, I didn’t marry any of my bosses. So, being a writer is a bigger, better dream for me. And as I mentioned earlier, I did do some writing as a child, so I guess writing was a sort of hidden dream.
I can see writing as a hidden dream of mine as well! I think God plants that desire very early in many writers. I know He did for me. Like I said before, I write suspense and romance. The Lord imbeds His message of deliverance. He offers me stories of faith and hope…  with struggles through insurmountable odds. What do you write and why?
The books I write are cause-related. Mostly subjects related to sanctity of life. The Lord just put this on my heart, and I feel it’s an assignment he appointed me to.
The Lord promises to never forsake us. So even when we think we’ve been abandoned in our endeavors, He’s with us. What can you share with the readers to encourage them?
Stay close to Him. Consult Him at every turn in each project. It wouldn’t even hurt to fast some. Praise Him. He inhabits our praise.
Thank you so much for that, Deb. So many times we forget to do that very thing. In fact, He becomes our last resort when He should be the first. My faith in Jesus Christ sustains me. I’m actually known to many as Faithwalker. How does your faith provide strength for you?
I think it’s more that the Joy of the Lord gives me strength to have the level of faith needed to do this work.
That’s an interesting perspective. For me, I have to say it’s the reverse. My faith gives me joy. When all else fails, I have faith in the One true God and He’s always there for me… no matter what. I take joy in that. Even if I don’t feel like smiling or laughing, I know He loves me. Of course, I don’t write what you do!
Thanks for coming to the Mine today. Before you go, can we let the readers know what’s in the works for you? New releases to come?
And thank you for having me, today, Renee. I have a contract with Prism for a novella, that’s pure romance, not the usual stuff I write. I’m working with the editor now, but have not yet been given a release date. I’m hoping it’s not too far off.
I can’t wait until it’s released. I bet it’s going to be great. I hope you let us know when you find out the release date. Until then… may the Lord bless and keep you!
Deborah’s giving away a signed print copy of her new release, Hush, Little Baby. Enter for your chance to win via the Rafflecopter below!
 
Drawing will be August 27th!
About the Book:
 
 
 
Investigative journalist, Amber Blake, is a little person bent on payback for the death of her average-sized twin sister. Enlisted by her former partner and estranged husband, Evan, she poses as a counselor in an abortion clinic to expose the doctor responsible for fetal harvesting.
As a Christian, she struggles with concealing her beliefs to maintain her cover, while the doctor’s romantic overtures tumble her stomach. Amber agrees to date him for the sake of the story . . . but nothing prepares her for what’s behind a mysterious door in his office.
 
 
About the Author:
 
Deborah M. Piccurelli is an advocate for sanctity of life, and tackles such issues in her novels, weaving them into compelling stories. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and their two sons.
 
Contact info:
Twitter @DebPiccurelli
Pinterest.com/DebPiccurelli

We have a fun and informative interview with Julie B. Cosgrove this week!!

                                   Let’s welcome  Julie B. Cosgrove to the Mine.
Hey Julie! Thanks for joining us this week. It would be great if you could tell us a little about yourself and what you are trying to accomplish through your writing.
I am a freelance writer, author and professional speaker who leads women’s retreats and workshops for churches.  I write non-fiction as well as novels, but underlying all my works is the desire to help people find God moving in their everyday lives, be it through tragedies, trials or triumphs. That is why I started my blog Where Did You Find God Today almost two years ago.
On a personal level, I am a native Texan, and a widow. I began to write because when my husband was alive, his construction job caused us to move a lot.  With each relocation, it became harder it for me to find work.  So, when the last move brought us back to Texas in 2008, I took the advice of three friends in three different cities and took a simple freelance writing course online. Immediately, I landed clients. Knowing it was a God thing, I promised to tithe my writing to Him first each day.  I began writing regularly for several devotional websites and publications.
My husband died in the shower getting ready for work about fifteen months later, but even without his income as the true breadwinner, God has sustained me. Now, going on eight books later, I am able to only write for Him.
We’re all excited to hear about the book you have coming out this week. Could you give us a little spoiler?
Hush in the Storm, launching through Prism Book Group, is a contemporary suspense romance. While recovering from surgery, I decided on a whim to start out a story, “It was a dark and stormy night” and see where my keyboard, through my Lord’s inspiration, took that journey. Of course, Hush in the Storm doesn’t begin that way now:
“An eerie thought pressed a clammy hand upon my shoulder. What if all you thought was true never actually was?
Widowed unexpectedly at thirty-one, I naturally longed for what could never be again. Regrets and what-if mantras swirled daily through my mind. I’d learned to push them aside. But this sudden, unsolicited notion surged an icy-hot chill through my body.
My logical side chided me. Don’t be silly, Jen. Of course it was true. The diamond band on my left hand glimmered with proof. Robert had cherished me, married me, spent five loving years with me…that one night didn’t mean a thing.”
The plot is this: Jen is kidnapped by a coworker, Tom, and her death faked , at the request of her late husband, Robert, or so Tom says, to protect her from the group who caused her late husband’s “accident.”
Together, they are swirled into a tempest of deceit where no one is who they claim to be. As Jen dodges the cartel traffickers, the Feds and the press who has learned she is alive, can she save two illegal teens, Tom, and herself without drowning in this storm of lies, especially when she begins to suspect her husband may still be alive as well?
I did some research and see you keep very busy. What’s a day in the life of Julie like?
My cats get me up at 6:00 a.m. to be fed because that is when my late husband always fed them.  I try to then do my Bible reading and prayers over a cup of coffee and then go on a brisk walk. Some mornings, to be honest, I roll back over and confess my slothfulness later.  Then I work part-time as a church secretary, which also allows me to write when things are slow… occasionally that happens.  At 3:00 p.m., after the proverbial errands we all do,  I come home and write for about three to four hours  before turning it all off and relax  by reading, playing word games on the computer, or catching a show on Netflix.  That is unless I am leading a Bible study, have church or Toastmasters, or am lecturing somewhere.
I also see you’ve written several very different pieces. What is your favorite and why?
I honestly cannot say. They were all written because I truly felt God wanted me to write them. That may sound trite, but there it is. He teaches me as much, if not more, during that process than my readers will ever learn.  And each time I speak on one of them, I get new insight.
What Can She Tell Us? is a Bible study just for women on the unnamed women in the New Testament and how their faith encounters can bring new meaning to our own. That has been a favorite and a good seller.  My first novel, Focused,  which is a light romance about an empty nest couple finding renewed meaning in their marriage, is liked by many, and I am finishing the second in the trilogy, Grounded, soon.
Hush in the Storm hits my heart because underlying the plot is a peek into the atrocities of human trafficking right in our own backyards. It didn’t start out that way, but God led me down that path. First a missionary who helps women trapped in trafficking joined my writing critique group. Then, while doing a workshop series for a national churchwomen’s convention in Indianapolis, my book booth was placed next to the one for Women at Risk (WAR). You guessed it. Missionaries who establish safe houses and income opportunities for women and children caught in sex slavery throughout the world. By the end of the convention, I’d become one of the representatives in the U.S. who sell their wares at no profit. 95% goes back to the safe houses to keep them operating.  It didn’t take long for me to realize God wanted this theme to be in the novel.  My publisher loved it so much, she has pushed for the next book about the same characters,  Legitimate Lies , to launch in January, 2015. And wouldn’t you know it? My editor is a WAR rep as well.
Could you tell us how big a part God plays in your writing career?
The biggest part.  I am constantly brought to my knees in humble thanks that He’s blessed me with this talent. I want to use it only to His glory. Today, through cyberspace, we Christians can touch so many lives all over the world. I am honored to be a small part of that effort to spread the Word through words.
I am a seat-of-my-pants writer, then edit, edit, edit later. I am always amazed where God leads my thoughts, whether it is a devotional, a blog entry, or a novel.  Whatever I write, His love and redemptive mercy comes through the pages. I write about real topics facing real people today. When I began Legitimate Lies, I stagnated. I took it to the Lord and discovered I didn’t have an underlying theme. God led me to the one He wanted me to write about, and the more I researched it, the faster the words flew onto my computer screen. But to tell you that theme would give away part of the plot…
As a cat owner, I can attest to how jealous they are. How do you manage to get any writing down with those furry creatures breathing down your neck? J
They more like breathe in my face as I type!  My life is more complete with my two“beastie boys”.  They are as different as night and day, but I love them equally. Serenity is a cat purring on your lap. It warms my heart every time.
How has your family reacted to your writing? Are they supportive? If so, how?
Now, yes. In the beginning, not so much. They were concerned for me, being a family of lawyers, architects and managers with nice homes and large bank accounts. Writing isn’t a “real career.” How could God support me as a widow through that means?  Mind you, I still scrimp and save, and am blessed to have my part-time job (another secret desire of my heart the Lord has granted) but He keeps astounding me in how my needs are being met month to month.
After several years of me not starving or being on the streets, they calmed down, and to be truthful, so did I. God truly does provide for widows. When my reputation began to grow, I got more speaking gigs, sold more books, received requests to write for more publications, they began to take notice. One by one, as they came to one of my workshops, they began to understand what this is all about. Now, especially my sister and my nieces are my biggest fans.
One of my favorite things to ask is: What is your favorite book, and why?
(Laughing.) I saw a post on Facebook asking if my TBR (to be read) stack is longer than my lifespan…yep!  Guess that means I haven’t found my fav yet. Seriously, other than the Bible— which by the way I have a plaque on my wall which says, “The Bible is the only book in which the author is always present when you read it,”—I guess it would have to be the first novel that turned me into an avid reader when I was twelve.  Mary Stewart’s The Ivy Tree.
What is your main genre and why did you choose it?
I love writing devotionals, but fiction is my passion. People love to hear stories.  It is how we relate to each other.  From the first days on earth, people gathered to hear tales. Even in my devos I tell stories. My Master, when He walked the earth, told stories to get His point across. He now gets His point across through us writers.
Could you tell us what it feels like to have accomplished so much in life?
Ask me again in twenty years. I have only begun down this path.
Again, thank you for the interview, it’s been wonderful talking to you.
prof.jpeg - Copy.jpgThanks for allowing me to share a bit about myself, my passion, and my novel, Hush in the Storm.  Those who leave a comment will be placed in a drawing to receive a free copy, which will be sent out sometime around the 18thto the 20th.

A warm welcome to Heather Day Gilbert!!

This week we will be talking to Heather Day Gilbert. She is a fascinating woman I’m sure everyone will enjoy getting to know. She will be giving away a copy of her bookMiranda Warning to the lucky person drawn from those who leave a comment.
Hi Heather! Welcome to the Mine. We are so happy to have you.
Thanks for having me today! Glad to visit.
Let us get acquainted. Could you tell us who you are, and what you hope to accomplish through your writing?
First of all, I’m a wife and mom (homeschooler). I think of myself as an author second, although it does take up a lot of my time at this stage! I’m a West Virginia gal who just moved back a couple years ago to my home state.
I feel my writing is one way of using my gifts and talents for God. I truly hope, above all, to bring stories to people that make them think, take them to a new locale (be it Greenland in AD 1000 or the back roads of West Virginia), and bring them characters they can relate to in some way.
Tell us a little about your genre and why you chose to write in that particular one.
I am actually writing in two genres now: Viking Historical (Vikings of the New World Saga) and Contemporary Appalachian Mystery (A Murder in the Mountains Series).
I chose Viking historical because the sagas are a rich source of information on a little-known period of history (I’m allegedly related to Eirik the Red, which fueled my interest), and in particular I wanted to highlight the Viking women who historically sailed to North America. Gudrid, the main character in my first novel, God’s Daughter, was a Christian Viking. So I felt it was interesting to explore what it would be like to be a Christian in a very pagan society. Freydis, the main character in my second (upcoming) book, was Eirik the Red’s daughter and was known as a warrior woman.
I also enjoy writing my contemporary mysteries (Miranda Warning is my first novel in that). My main sleuth, Tess Spencer, is a West Virginia “mountain mama,” and I really enjoyed creating a strong family dynamic in this series. Actually, come to think of it, a strong family dynamic runs through both series.
I guess I will start off by asking how you come up with your characters. Do you imagine them and then create, or model them after someone you know or have seen, etc.?
For the Viking historicals, I had the rough outline of who these women were and what they did. I just had to fill in the blanks as to why they did things and what motivated them. Character depth is very important to me, especially since I write in first-person point of view. I have to be in the main characters’ heads and try to understand them.
For  the mysteries, I do draw from my surroundings to some degree, since I live in West Virginia and so does Tess.
I love searching Pinterest for pictures of people who resemble my characters and for locations/settings so I can have visuals. You can find my Pinterest boards here.
I think all our characters are truest to life when they resemble people we know/have known or ourselves. Even when we’re writing someone totally unfamiliar or distasteful to us, we know they still have things driving them we can relate to, be it power, protectiveness, etc. I think the key, especially for writing in first person, is finding those points where we can relate and drawing those characters true to form, even if we don’t think that way ourselves.
Could you tell us a little about how you felt when you first realized you would be published?
Being published was actually my decision, because I self-published. The decision to self-publish was not a light one (like most of the indie authors I know). I had three agents and had submitted three books via traditional publishing routes. God just showed me the time was right to self-publish. It was something I hadn’t really wanted to do, because I knew I couldn’t afford to outsource a lot (formatting, editing, cover art, marketing).
But God provided people in my life who were able to help me with those things and it was a learning process for me—one of those things where “teach a man to fish, feed him for life” held true. I learned hands-on how to publish my books and it’s not something I’ll forget. It’s also not a solitary process. My brother is my cover artist; my critique partner edits and is my audiobook narrator, and the list goes on.
What is a day in the life of Heather Day Gilbert like?
This summer, I have spent much of my time marketing and doing a blog tour for my mystery. When school season rolls around, I hope to set hours for writing and let marketing take a back seat to some degree. But I think indie authors do spend a lot of time tweaking our marketing, because it’s up to us to get the word out on our books.
I do garden a little, too, though I’m no expert! Every year it seems we learn more about how to get those veggies to grow!
Tell us a little about who has given you inspiration in your writing, and why. I believe readers want to know the author to a certain extent. It makes the reading experience more enjoyable.
As far as believing in me, my family has always been a strong supporter of my writing. My parents, siblings, in-laws, husband, and children have all prayed for me on this writing journey and have shared all the ups and downs that come with it. When the first book released, we were all rejoicing!
Author friends also encourage me to keep going when I hit roadbumps. We uniquely understand that sinking feeling that results from a publisher rejection or a bad review. I love the support system of author friends I have met along the way.
I see that you homeschool. Could you tell us some of the trials and tribulations of that endeavor and how it affects your writing?
I think any homeschooler will say that some days it’s great; some days it’s extremely hard and you want to quit. Kind of like being a writer, actually! But in the end, you do it because you know that’s what’s right for that child. My son is in Christian school—that was the best choice for him right now. I homeschool my two daughters.
All my children are more independent learners now. I don’t think I could’ve written and homeschooled when all three were toddlers. I believe there are seasons in an author’s life, just like in a mother’s life!
What advice would you give to an aspiring writer such as myself about the whole ‘waiting’ process?
Waiting. That’s like my Achilles’ heel. I like to push and GO and not get hung up in the process. But sometimes we have to wait, to get to that next step. For me, it was years of waiting and submitting and thinking God didn’t care about my dreams.
But at the end of all that disappointment, I saw God had a BIGGER and better dream than I could even conceive of. I love being an independent author and I see now how this is the best fit for me. I love having control over everything from my production schedule to my audiobook narrator.
I’ve written many different manuscripts, but there is that one that kind of defines who I am as a writer. What have you written that sticks out in your mind as ‘the’ one?
Oh, wow. That’s really hard. God’s Daughter, my Viking historical, was probably my most ambitious book. I had many sub-themes and a lot to share in that one. It was my “mission statement,” if you will. 🙂 But Miranda Warning, my mystery, is just as much a part of me, and I feel the contemporary Appalachian writing is more reflective of my writer “voice.”
Every one of my books is really like a child. I wouldn’t ever want to settle and write something just to be trendy or formulaic. I write my heart.
What message, if any, do you want a reader to take away from your work?
I don’t like preachy messages in books. I want my books to reach readers, whether the readers are Christians or not. I want readers to remember my characters and the choices they made (good and bad). I do tend to focus on marriage in my books—both the highs and lows—and I do hope readers relate to that.
I know from my own experiences that when writing, sometimes a character begins to become a ‘part’ of us. Have you written a character like this? If so, could you describe the personality of the character and why you think he/she/it stays in your mind so vividly?
Again, I do feel that way with all my main characters, because I have to get into their heads to write first-person. I also feel my side characters are real…I have to, to write them properly. I will say I am very fond of Nikki Jo Spencer as a side character in my mystery series. She’s Tess’ mother-in-law and you can read an interview with her here.
But sometimes you have to strip away the parts of yourself you’d rather hide to get into your main characters’ heads. I’m doing that while writing Freydis’ story (my second/final Viking historical, Forest Child). It can be a scary process (trust me, Freydis is something else!), but I want to bring my readers an experience they will never forget. I personally love conflicted characters, like Scarlett O’hara or Anna Karenina. People who seem so real you can never forget them. That’s the kind of characters I strive to write. Readers might like them or dislike them, but I’m hoping they will never forget them.
Author Bio:
Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Seventeen years of marriage to her sweet Yankee husband have given her some perspective, as well as eleven years spent homeschooling. Heather regularly posts on Novel Rocket about self-publishing.
You can find Heather at her website, Heather Day Gilbert—Author, and at her Facebook Author Page, as well as Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Goodreads. Her Viking novel, God’s Daughter, is an Amazon bestseller. You can find it on Amazon and Audible.com. Her Appalachian mystery, Miranda Warning, is hereon Amazon.

Meet Prism Author, Mary L. Ball!

I’m excited to present author, Mary L. Ball today. She’s a fellow Prism Book Group author. Check out other great books by this publisher at http://www.prismbookgroup.com/.
 
 
Mary L. Ball

Welcome to the Diamond Mine, Mary! Tell us about your genre, and when you realized God wanted you to write?

Ever since I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I’ve wanted to tell people about His grace. I dislike a preachy person, so I’ll mention my relationship with Him, but writing is another avenue of showing people how God works in our lives. Sometimes, we need a story to help us keep the faith.  I’ve always written Christian articles in the newsletter and on a few sites, but one day the Lord gave me an idea for a fiction novel. The inspiration just keeps coming.
Now, I see that you have two out with Prism Book Group, Escape to Big Fork Lake, and Stone of Destiny.  Are they part of a series or separate?
No, both are stand-alone novels, although my next novel to be released with PBG is titled, Redemption in Big Fork Lake, and visits the same characters in, Escape to Big Fork Lake.
I love old homes and see in your second novel that you have your main character, Taylor Harrison, renovate the family home. How did you research this and did you find anything, ‘mysterious?’ Lol
I enjoy watching HGTV, Property Brothers, and Love it or List it. That’s my research. The hubby and I have done renovations of our own, so I know the pain. LOL. There are many things found in old homes that can turn mysterious. 🙂 One could write about old letters in the wall, a lost picture, or even a missing ring from fifty years ago that has a legend surrounding it. (As in Stone of Destiny.)

Hmm. Great story starters! So, what is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?

Each of us, believe we have the answers and know what we want in life, but at times, we’re confused by the demands of the world. I hope the readers will discover that often our own desires aren’t the ones that lead to happiness. Trusting in God and following His guidance is the only true way to find contentment.
I gotta ask, fishing?! That’s really your favorite pastime? You gotta let us know how that came about!
Fishing is a sport I learned to do with my husband. It’s our time together when things get hectic, and we need to unwind. I like the challenge of catching a fish. When I’m fishing, it’s just me and hubby. We talk about life and dreams. I watch nature and reacquaint myself with God’s world. Not the congestive mess we see in the city, but the beautiful water, trees, and wildlife. Just writing this makes me want to grab a pole and go to the lake. I also enjoy going to the coast. I live in NC about 3 hours from Carolina Beach. Two years ago, I caught the largest Red Drum for the season on Kure Pier. Hubby had to help me reel it in, but it was fun hanging onto the 45-pound fish!
Wow, fishing, writing, editing, ministry─you are one busy gal. How does a normal day look like for you and how do you find time to write?
Peggy, you asked how a normal day is for me. You know the old saying, “be careful of what you ask.” A normal dayI haven’t found one yet. LOL. My favorite time is early morning. I get up before 6 o’clock, have my coffee, catch up on email, and write. Sometime after eight, I walk next door to the house where my Mother and Stepfather live. (Mom has the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s-stepfather has Dementia.) I see they’re okay, change Mom’s bed and help them get settled for the day. Then back home where my grandsons are waiting, (Did I mention I watch my two grandsons while my daughter works?) One is 15 (No keeping him-only guidance, I hope.) the little man is seven. Throughout the day, I attend to any duties a work-at-home-Nana does. They’ll be various phone calls from Mom, congregation, and friends. Somewhere in the midst of that, I can sometimes write more, or shut out on FB and Twitter. School’s ended for the year, which means I also need to spend time with my grandsons. We have a no-electronics day out. I live in town, so we often go a few blocks to a fast food restaurant for lunch. That takes care of the day. At three, Joey (husband) comes home from work, and then dinner needs to be prepared. Oh my, I forgot to add that I sing at retirement homes with Joey and a few from church every Tuesday night.

Time to let us in on your secrets. What’s next for Mary L. Ball’s list of novels?
A lot is going on. I have a new release scheduled for this year, titled, Redemption in Big Fork Lake. (I mentioned it earlier.) I have another novel, Postmark from Heaven, which I hope will be coming out this year also. My currant WIP is titled, Voices of Suspicion.

Thanks for being with us here at The Diamond Mine, Mary! You’re yet another gem in Christian Fiction!
Here’s a sneak peek at Stone of Destiny:

     Taylor has given up on everything but her work. After becoming the youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company, she believes life is complete─until her grandmother asks her to oversee the renovations of the family home, in addition to searching for a missing heirloom.
     Her first contact with what she believes is an insignificant ring, lost for fifty years, sends her life spinning. Taylor experiences strange dreams. Unexpected feelings surface that she doesn’t understand. Thoughts that should remain unspoken are voiced.
     Taylor’s emotional journey begins, testing a heart as cold as the ring itself and forcing her to question everything she believes.
     Is this a fairytale, or simply her soul reaching out for a different world─a life she can only find through faith and a divine trust in God?

  



With Mary’s new release coming up, here’s your chance to get acquainted with the characters! 
 
Leave a comment with your email address for for a chance to win, Escape to Big Fork Lake!
 
You can follow Mary on her blog: http://marylouwrites.weebly.com/
You can purchase Mary’s books through Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Prism Book Group.