Set Sail with Author, Stephanie Prichard!

Stephanie Prichard has just navigated into the Diamond Mine harbor! Ahoy! Some of you may think she’s here to open a treasure trove of grammar pointers, which she is well versed in. But no, my friends. She’s here to share the news of her debut novel, Stranded. So settle back in first class and enjoy the cruise! ‘Tis a fine day at sea!

PT:  Hello, Stephanie! Welcome to the Diamond Mine. Let’s get everyone on board and start Steph's_Rools_of_Grammar-1_small (2)with the basics. Could you tell us a little about yourself and the genre you write in?

SP:  Sure, Peggy. I’m an “army brat” and have lived in many parts of the world and US. I met my husband, Don, an Iowa farm boy, in college, where I majored in English and he in architecture. Although our backgrounds were different—sorta like the city mouse marrying the country mouse—we had a lot in common, including our taste for action and adventure in entertainment. Because of that and Don’s serving in the USMC Reserves for over thirty years, our debut novel easily fell into the suspense genre.

PT:  So you both wrote it together. That voyage must be interesting indeed! What was it like to collaborate with your husband for your debut novel?

SP:  Don wrote the original draft, worked on it for several years, then asked me to help him. I was going to simply correct the grammar and spelling, but I fell in love with the story and eventually became his co-author due to all the changes we made. The “surgery on his baby” was a little hard on him at first, but as we read how-to books together and attended writers conferences, we came together on the same page. His strength is plot and details while mine is characterization and writing skills, so we melded into a complementary partnership we just love.

PT:  I noticed Stranded, is set in the Philippines. Have you ever had the chance to visit there?

SP: As an army officer’s daughter, I lived in several places outside the US but not the Philippines. The closest I got was Okinawa shortly after I was born, and Japan when I was in elementary school. Asian life and culture have always held a fascination for me, perhaps because of that early influence. It would be fun to visit the Philippines, but right now it’s only a dream.


PT:  So let’s dig deeper. Really deepto the hull of the structure. Give us a snapshot of the spiritual backdrop of your story. Just a tiny peek.

SP:  It’s not just the jungle that the poor castaways have to survive.  It’s also God.  The island is sorta like the stomping grounds of the Holy Spirit (and symbolically it is), who pokes and prods the four characters into confronting the obstacles they’ve put between themselves and God.

PT:  What a awesome visual! And so real in all our lives. Now, let’s step out on the plank and have you tell us something that people would not expect to know about you.

SP:  Hmmm, fear of arachnids and love of everything chocolate wouldn’t be unexpected, so I suppose a good answer is that I’ve studied five foreign languages—Spanish, Italian, French, German, and Latin. I was fluent in Italian since I lived in Italy for two years during high school, but now I can’t remember anything but the word ciao!

 PT:  What is the next novel you are working on?

SP:  Our next novel is a sequel to Stranded, which we intend to make into a series. Don is working on the draft of the sixth book, while I will start in on rewriting the second in February. Working with him is sort of like the tortoise being hitched to the hare!

Let’s get a little snippet of suspense from Stranded:Stranded_Front_FAC72-1 (1)

All Marine Corps reservist Jake Chalmers wants is to give his dying wife a last, romantic cruise to the Philippines. Unable to save her in a mass murder aboard ship, he washes ashore a jungle island, where he discovers three other survivors. Heartbroken that he failed to save his wife, he is determined not to fail these helpless castaways.

Federal prosecutor Eve Eriksson rescues a young girl and her elderly great-aunt from the same ship. They badly need Jake’s survival skills, but why is he so maddeningly careful? She needs to hurry home to nail a significant career trial. And, please, before Jake learns her secret that she’s responsible for his wife’s death.

PT:  Wow, what a powerful storyline! Indeed, it sounds like a catamaran of white-knuckled mystery. I can’t thank you enough for visiting with us, Stephanie!  Bon Voyage!

SP:  Thanks for inviting me to share on the Diamond Mine, Peggy!

Here’s where you can get Stranded and where you can find out more about this writing team!

Buy Stranded:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OQGJBUY

:

http://donandstephanieprichard.wordpress.com     

www.pinterest.com/stephprichard

www.facebook.com/4u2read

Do you feel lucky, matey? Stephanie is giving out a free copy to one very blessed person who leaves a comment.  We here at the Mine, LOVE the folks who take the time to let us know how they appreciate these wonderful authors.  So don’t get, ahem, “stranded” without a chance to enter. Leave a comment and you may be the next winner!!!

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Talkin’ Turkey with Jude Urbanski!

Yes! Jude Urbanski is with us this week! And, yes, she’s a fellow Hoosier, (woo-hoo!) transplanted, but still part of the left sock state,(shamelessly copying Michigan’s nickname moniker here!) and we’re all thankful to have her. If you’re not acquainted with her, take a break from your holiday cooking and pull up a chair. You’re in for a huge treat! (post by Peggy Trotter)

PT:  Hello, Jude! So exciting to have you here on the Diamond Mine! So much to discuss,but let’s start with the basics. Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Judy Urbanski

Judy Urbanski

JU: I’m a wife, a mother,a grandmother, and a sister! I have lived in the Midwest all my life, but have traveled nearly all over the world. I began writing seriously after retirement from nursing. A strong faith guides and directs me! We have several writers in the family.

PT:  I’ve met a lot of writers who begin writing later in life and that is so interesting to me. Perhaps it’s because they’ve seen God pull them through so many obstacles.  You’ve had some major struggles in your life.  What gave you the courage to overcome these obstacles? 

JU:  Early on, I surely hadn’t anticipated what life would bring, but, my story is not unique, it is simply my story. It’s no surprise tragedy is universal and grief is evergreen. Would that everyone turned to God at such times for He certainly is on the journey with us. He gave me the courage then and still ‘gets’ me through. Family and friends all help one through hard times.

Continue reading

RWDDW!!! (Rappin’ with Diane Dean White!!!)

HFAWTTDM!!! Translation: Hi folks and welcome to the Diamond Mine!!!

Today we welcome, Diane Dean White, hailing from the SS, text for the Sunshine State, and me hollering from the HH, or rather the Hoosier Homeland.  Thankfully, I won’t have to strain my voice, thanks to modern technology!  Which is exactly how I met my friend, DDW. BTW, AWHFY? (By the way, are we having fun yet?)  I think so. C&G (Chuckle and grin.)

By now you’re thinking, okay, seriously, what’s with the acronyms that I usually save for a quick text?  So glad you asked!!!!  Diane’s new book is entitled, Texting Mr. Right!!!  I love it.  Mixing in the cutting edge new, with the classic romance, ‘happily ever after,’ ending that’s timeless!  What could be better?! Less acronyms, perhaps?! LOL Not a chance! However, YAFIYGI! (You asked for it, you got it!) Author and friend, Diane Dean White! LLOTA (Lots and lots of thunderous applause.)

PT:  Welcome Diane!  So glad to have you! I’ll try to tamp down the texting, but it will be difficult.  But I can’t tamp down my excitement of your new book, Texting Mr. Right.  What exactly lit the flame of your new novel?

DDW:  LOL~Well, I’ve wanted to do a book about Michigan and a publisher who was doing novellas was interested.  I thought the title was good.  My problem is I don’t text!  Thus, the texting abbreviations were eliminated and the normal reader could understand.

PT:  Yes, Yes. I hear echoes of dissatisfaction with just my intro. But, TTGBTW. (Time to get back to work.)  I noticed Michigan is the backdrop for this book. What’s been your favorite location to set a story?

DDW:  The location for, Texting Mr. Right, was primarily set at my parent’s cottage on Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan.  I haven’t been back for a number of years, but spent so much time there it wasn’t difficult to picture.  A favorite location in my books is, This Side of Heaven, coming out next year.  It takes place in rural Georgia, where we lived for several years.

PT: I know you collect glassware and enjoy beautiful tea settings.  Do some of these favorite things find their way into your writing?

DDW:  Very few thus far have made their way into my writing.  Since I enjoy antiques, it’s been hard with contemporary settings to use them.  In, This Side of Heaven, my main character decorates her ancestral home, and I’m able to use some collectibles and tea cups in that novel.  I think my china/glass slipper collections makes its way into a scene.

PT:  Usually you write romance with a touch of mystery or suspense.  Why did you choose to go strictly romance for this one?

DDW:  In, This Side of Heaven, I have a lot of romance, but equally a running mystery.  I enjoyed writing romance, and thought a book strictly with romance would be fun.  It was and yet I had to create a distraction, thus the lime disease scare in Traverse City was developed.  There’s just so much romance you can do.

PT:  First and foremost, we are witnesses for JC! (Jesus Christ)  What do you think has been your most influential form of showing Jesus to others?

DDW:  Sharing the plan of salvation makes its way into most of my books.  However, as Christians, I also show weaknesses that with God’s help. can be made right.  The reality of harboring a deep fear, grudge, or running from God, that some people deal with is faced; and with faith, trust in our Lord, redemption is always possible. All things are with God.

PT:  Wow! That is 2G2B4G!!! (Too good to be forgotten!!!) Well said, and so true. Now, what’s next for DDW?

DDW:  My book, Winter Wonderland, to be released soon, is a sweet Christian, Christmas 50’s romance, with a lot of history as well as a focus on Christ, the Salvation plan, and helping others.

PT:  ICW!  (I can’t wait!) Thanks for joining us today, Diane!

DDW:  I’m glad you invited me to stop by and share more about, Texting Mr. Right.  I’ve enjoyed your blog and appreciate you having me, Peggy. J

PT: No, Diane, 10Q! (thank you!)

 Don’t miss it, readers! You can win a free copy of, Texting Mr. Right!  Leave a comment below with your email address to enter! 
 



Diane’s Bio: Diane started her writing at an early age, but it wasn’t until her husband’s work took them to a small southern town she wrote her first column, “Yankee Viewpoint’s” for a local newspaper. Returning to her home-state of Michigan, she did stringer work over the years, ancestral history, and donor appeal letters for non-profit organizations. Diane self-published two books in the early 2000’s, and she became a columnist for a weekly magazine, for four years. She is the author of over three-hundred short stories. Her book On a Summer Night was released in October and her ebook, Stories from a Porch Swing in April. Texting Mr. Right was released September 1 of this year, and her Christmas novella, Winter Wonderland will be out the end of October. She and hubby, Stephen, have been married for forty-two years, and they are the parents of three grown children and three grand-gals.

Catch up with this Diane Dean White here:
http://simplepleasureswithdiane.weebly.com/

 
Texting Mr. Right, available on Amazon and B&N booksellers.




 

This week, Dawn M. Turner joins us at the Mine!




Good morning Dawn. We’re glad to have you at the Mine this week.

 
Thanks for inviting me for a visit. 🙂
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a full-time writer, married 21 years this past July to a wonderful Christian man, and “mom” to two dogs, 2 cockatiels, a budgie, a guinea pig, and 3 hens. I spend a lot of time writing, but I also enjoy deeply researching topics that grab my interest, especially science- and medicine-related ones. God’s creation, in all its many facets, never ceases to amaze and inspire me. I also love photography, scrapbooking, crochet, and spinning my own yarn from wool and alpaca.
I’m currently working on multiple writing projects, all but two of which are fiction. One of my latest releases is entitled ‘In God’s Time.’ It won the Contemporary Romance category, as well as the Grand Prize, in the Writers On The Storm Category Five writing competition in 2011 (my hubby’s fault, I tell him). Here’s the back cover blurb for it:
All things come in God’s time, including love.
Tara Whitman has a big problem. She’s in love with her best friend, and it’s getting harder to hide it from him. She fears the truth will destroy a friendship she holds dear, even as she battles jealousy toward the string of leggy blondes that parade through Jack’s life.
Jack Carlton spends his free time at one social event or another with the latest woman he dates to protect a huge secret he’s keeping from Tara – he’s in love with her, has been for years. Haunted by the memory of a kiss shared in their teens, he doesn’t want to endanger their friendship. Yet the thought of her kissing someone else drives him to distraction if he lets himself dwell on it.
(Available for giveaway – autographed paperback copy of IGT.)
What Genre(s) do you write?
 
Mostly contemporary romance, or anything that contains romance. Romance is definitely my favorite genre to work with, whether alone or combined with suspense, in full or just a suspense twist. I’ve done a couple of Women’s Fiction books, one novella that’s currently available, and a novel that’s not yet published. Even those have a romantic thread through them. I mean, how can you write about husbands and wives and not have romance? I also enjoy writing fantasy, medieval style in a world I’ve created. I publish those as D.M. Turner versus my contemporary work being under Dawn M. Turner, so fans don’t get confused.
What made you decide to be a writer?
God called me to it. I’ve known that for a very long time, and I fought it nearly that long. I’ve always had a love of words, and I express myself better in writing than I do verbally. I inherited that from my dad, I think. I had a bad experience in high school with a teacher who discouraged me from writing. That traumatized me sufficiently that I stopped writing creatively altogether. Then a college English teacher wouldn’t let me out of a short story assignment, no matter how hard I tried to convince her it was pointless because I was a horrible writer, per the other teacher. She loved my story and encouraged me to keep writing. I did for a couple of decades but didn’t let anyone but my mother read my stuff until 2011, when my hubby talked me into entering a writing competition. To my profound shock, I won. At that point, I realized, no matter what anyone else had ever said, God had made it abundantly clear what He wanted me to do and there’s no arguing with Him. I’ve tried.
What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered concerning getting published?
Honestly, the biggest hurdle was a result of talking with other authors who had taken years to get contracts only to have editors with publishing houses rip the heart out of their stories and go to great lengths at times to try to make them all sound the same as everyone else. I’m willing to work with a good editor, but when it comes to keeping the integrity of my stories intact and honoring the characters, I see that as a hill worth dying on, as a friend would say. I won’t compromise some things. Knowing those two things had me praying hard about what agents and publishers to query. While I kept praying and waited for an answer, I kept writing. God’s answer was “Go indie.” Scared me to death, the idea of being responsible for everything myself, but it’s actually been a (usually) fun adventure.
Could you tell us what your favorite manuscript is, and why?
 
I love different stories and series for different reasons, but I think Promisesis probably my all-time favorite. Wes is a hero after my own heart, and Terry is so hurt by a broken world. I identify with her in some ways, yet she’s so different from me in others. Those two as a couple have a special place in my heart, too, because of all my characters, they’ve been with me almost longer than anyone. I wrote the start of their story before I met my husband and continued working on it after we got married. It went through a good number of edits before I published it in 2013.
What books do you have in the works and when can we expect them?
In editing, I’ve got the final two books in the Donovan Legacy series to go. Those books are about the lives and loves of the children of Wes and Terry from Promises(and their follow-up story, Beyond Hope).
In writing, I’m working on a new romance series, with 2 books completed, 3 partially written, and 1 still to start. The series is entitled Mysterious Ways, because each book is about the many ways that God confronts challenges we often throw at Him. The first three books in the series all stem from a conversation the heroes have about how they don’t want to get married. Each of them presents their own challenge to God, not even thinking God would do such things.
What person in your life would you say had/has the biggest influence on your writing?
 
My husband actually. Though he’s not a writer, and he hates to read (go figure), he’s been an avid supporter of my work, even when it looked like I’d never do anything with it. He encouraged and supported me in online participation with writers groups, classes I’ve taken over the years to help my writing, and anything else writing-related. He’s also supported me as a reader, despite the fact that’s meant living at times buried in books. He makes jokes about my “crazy writer friends” and all of our “imaginary friends,” but he’s never failed to encourage and support me on this wacky journey I’ve taken. Without him, I don’t think I’d be writing today.
What author do you aspire to be like?
 
I can’t really say I aspire to be “like” anyone else. I’m simply me. Unique as God made me. My writing style is different from everyone else. My author voice is different from everyone else. My path is different in so many ways. There’s a host of authors whose work I absolutely love, but I don’t want to emulate them except in the quality of my work.
What author do you like to read, and why?
 
Wow. Big question. I love the work of so many authors – Janice Hanna Thompson, Colleen Coble, Terri Blackstock, Karen Kingsbury, Dee Henderson (whose work introduced me to Christian fiction), Lynette Eason, Candace Calvert, Michelle Sutton, Denise Hunter, and so many other authors of Christian fiction. I also enjoy sweet romances by Joselyn Vaughn, which I only discovered recently. I also love the ABA urban fantasy novels by Patricia Briggs. The main thing I look for is well-developed characters. If a book has those and an interesting storyline, I’m hooked. Those authors never fail to grab me and make me laugh, cry, or both.
What do you find the most difficult about being a writer?
 
Staying focused at times. Life has a way of throwing curve balls at us all the time, and sometimes I’m supposed to ignore those and just keep working. Other times, they need my attention. Sometimes it’s hard to be sure which is which and not waste time on the ones I should ignore. Also, I’m a prolific writer, and I tend to have high expectations for myself. That’s been a challenge, too, turning those expectations over to God and setting the goals He has me to set. He’s an easier taskmaster for me than I am. He plans ahead for the curve balls.
Thanks so much for the interview, Dawn. We loved having you. J
Listed below are some links to Dawn:

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!
 
 
 
 

Nancy Shew Bolton Debuts with her First Novel!!!

I am so stinking excited! Nancy Bolton is one of the first of our group to see her words in print! Somebody scrape me off the ceiling, ’cause I can’t hardly contain myself. I’m so honored to be the one to interview her! We here at the Diamond Mine are all so incredibly proud of Nancy, and delighted to be part of her journey to publish. We knew this story when it was yet a tiny babe.  And now it’s blossomed into a full-blown novel. All right, enough gushing for one day. On to the fun.


Nancy, we’re all so excited for you! How does it feel to actually get your work in print?
 
Words fail me. Pretty sad for a writer, isn’t it? I think I could express it better if I were a bird and could fly around singing, or if I were the horn section of an orchestra! As it is, I’ll say I’m amazed and thrilled. Very much so.
 
So let’s delve into how this all began. What started you on this writing path, and how did you reach this point in your writing career?
 
Ever since I learned to write, I’d jot down thoughts, poems and lines of inspired sentences on various subjects that struck my interest. As a teen and an adult, I branched out into song lyrics, poetry and essays in college. Then around 2007, during a very hot, humid stretch of summer, I was emailing with a friend about the beauty and silence of a winter night in the country, and how welcome those temperatures and conditions would be right about then. I realized that for a brief time, it had felt as though I were really there. Though at the time, I was writing a non-fiction project, somehow, that short, intense experience gave me the incentive to attempt a fiction novel. And here I am!

 

Was there anyone who influenced you or inspired you?
 
As far as influence, my father kept urging me to write the story of how my husband and I moved out onto undeveloped land with five small boys. Kind of a modern-day pioneer story, as we had no electricity or running water out there. This was my first book, and I put it aside when I started with fiction. However, I’m now editing the final version of it and hope to see it published. As far as inspiration, I’d have to say the encouragement of family, and a life-long voracious habit of reading works by numerous incredible authors. Also, life inspires me, with all its challenges, struggles and delights.
 
How does your faith play a part in your novels and is there an underlying message?
 
For me, my faith is my heart, the foundation of my life and thoughts, so in my writing, I explore this internal relationship in the lives of my characters, and try to show how faith determines actions and reactions. I am endlessly fascinated by how a relationship with God transforms a person.
Where did the idea of this book start?
 
Well, my husband and I worked in a family-run doughnut shop for a few years, and I remember how the workload really took over our lives. When you’re that busy, your life mainly consists of work and sleep. That reality formed the catalyst for the dilemma of my main character, Ann. And it grew from there!
What can we expect next from Nancy Shew Bolton?
I have a novella set in the later dust-bowl years, which will come out next spring with Prism. I also have two other fiction novels I’m working on, as well as two others I’ve completed and submitted. Now I’m waiting to see if they are picked up for publication! I also have two creative non-fiction novels, and I’m knocking around with a children’s book, as well. I love writing, even when it drives me nuts! One of my prayers is that my husband will collaborate with me on one of these projects. He has a wonderful, quirky sense of humor that I think would fit really well in a children’s book. So maybe one of these days, you’ll see a book written by John and Nancy Bolton! It makes me smile to think of it!
 
Nancy, it makes us all smile to see this story come to fruition! All of us couldn’t be more pleased than the proverbial punch. (Tropical, please, with fresh pineapple juice!)

 

And here is the cover reveal, and a little ‘taste’ of Nancy’s confection, The Right Ingredients! 
Catch it on Sept. 24th!
 
Missing the right ingredients for a life of joy, a young baker learns lessons in the true recipe for love. 
 
 
   Ann’s hectic work responsibilities demand all her time and effort, and what was once a useful, satisfactory life has become a burden. Her bakery partner Susan has lost none of her enthusiasm for their business, and Ann can’t understand her exuberance, or her friend’s Christian faith. So she trudges along, hiding her dissatisfaction from Susan, resigned to a life of work, sleep and problems.
   Unexpected comments offered by two different people cause a crack in Ann’s armor and her thoughts careen into unexpected directions. Attention from a young widower with a son challenges Ann’s resolve to stay safe and uninvolved. Susan’s example of faith through trial furthers Ann’s curiosity about God. Ann must choose to step toward the unfamiliar freedom of giving and receiving love, or stay in the shadows, stuck in the grip of past hurt and long-standing barriers.
 
Leave a comment for Nancy and you are entered to win a copy of her debut novel, The Right Ingredients!

You can find Nancy’s debut novel on: Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, All Romance Ebooks, and Prism Book Group.
 
 
 
 
 

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: