The Story Behind My Blog's Title

The Story Behind My Blog's Title
Why is my blog named "My Father's Oldsmobile"? Click on the car and find out.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Upcoming Review and Next Series

Pardon me guys, I'm running a little behind on some stuff, but later this week I plan to post a review of Michelle Sutton's new book, It's Not About Him.

I also want to start a new series. I've been mulling topics around, and I think it would be interesting to discuss methods of research and character development. I have some of my own ideas, but I'd love to hear from you guys too, so if anyone would like to write a post, please leave a comment on this one.

In the mean time, because it's interesting and fun, take this quiz and see what your personality type is.

If you have any favorite characters from a book, even one that you're writing, see if you can figure out what they are.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Writing Journey - Michelle Sutton

Today's guest blogger is Michelle Sutton. I've come to know Michelle through her networking site, Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers. And her reputation as a savvy author was also what convinced me to submit to Desert Breeze. Michelle's story is slightly different than my previous posts in that hers is shared through several questions. Thanks for taking the time Michelle!

Tell us about your start in writing, and your upcoming release with Desert Breeze Publishing.

I started writing fiction in August of 2003. At the time I had a favorite author, Cynthia Rutledge. I wrote to her about how much I loved her stories and she told me she started writing after her kids left home. I thought, if she can do it so can I. Her stories were good. Mine weren't, at first, but I kept working at the craft, reading books, and getting critiques, etc. I also practiced a lot by simply doing it.

I've also attending five writer's conferences. This was not a fly by night hobby for me. I was serious about it and willing to invest money in my future. I'm sure that helped a lot. I used to think my first novel would never get published but I sold it. The original version is not fit for consumption but the revised version is pretty good, LOL! It releases in January 2010 and is called First Impressions. It's an e-book through Desert Breeze.

What led me to write the story was living around Tombstone and seeing the story potential in that setting. The story is about a woman and man who dress up like they are from the old west. He is a Christian and she is not. The heart of the story is about staying close to the Lord and not dating people who don't share faith in Christ.

How did you find an agent, Michelle?

How I got my agent is kind of funny, actually. I met with Tamela Hancock Murray because she had a cancellation at the Denver 2004 ACRW conference. I hadn't planned to meet with an agent but decided to give it a try. I told her about my story (not in print yet) and she said she thought it was more suited for ABA. I took that as a thanks but no thanks despite her telling me to send her a proposal.

Well, a few months later I wrote to her and said I'd never sent the proposal because I connected with an editor who help me overhaul the book. She said she was still interested in seeing a proposal. I told her I thought she didn't want it. She said she repped CBA and ABA books so she was merely commenting on where it would best fit. She then read my proposal and ultimately my entire book and took me on as a client. The rest is history.

So the first book you wrote is about to be published. Can you tell us a little about the first book you got published?

It's Not About Me was my fifth book and It's Not About Him was my sixth. What inspired the first in the series was an attack on a friend of mine who was alone in the church office and didn't realize the door was unlocked. Then an intruder came in an asked for money and well, you know the rest...

Well, I know the rest...but some of you may not, so I'll leave that up to you to find out. Michelle's second book in the 'Not About' series released in September, and her third book in the series, 'It's Not About Her,' comes out next fall. Michelle also released an ebook, 'Danger at the Door' with Desert Breeze Publishing in August.

For more information about Michelle and her books check out her sites.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Writing Journey - Sandra Sookoo

Today's guest blogger is Sandra Sookoo, and you guys are in for a treat. This is such a great story. And Sandra...what a talent! I recently had the opportunity to get a sneak peek at Sandra's upcoming release, and I absolutely adored it -- so full of personality. As is her journey. Enjoy!

How did I get my start? Glad you asked. It all started in January of ’07 when I was laid off from the real estate industry. Replacement jobs were tough to come by and my wonderful hubby suggested I work on my writing and see if I could get something published.

What? Be serious about writing? It’d always been a dream and the prospect of putting my work out there and myself on the line for public derision was daunting. So, since it was the dead of winter and I had two completed full length books, I decided to enter them in some RWA-sponsored contests with a heart full of hope. Time after time they came back marked up with suggestions of how to improve, why they weren’t good enough, but they liked my voice.

Not having a clue that writing was more than, well writing, I took some classes, read books, looked up articles about the craft online. And I learned. That’s the key. But after more than a year of striking out, the thought of being a dismal failure crept in to get intimately acquainted with depression.

I switched gears and decided to write a short story. My thinking regarding this was that maybe if I could write a really good short and get it published, I’d have a glimmer of credibility behind my name and maybe THAT would open previously closed doors. I wrote like there was no tomorrow—, which wasn’t far from the truth. If I couldn’t succeed in writing, I’d have to go back to work, and we all know how hard it is to maintain a writing schedule with a full time job.

So, I wrote the first short. I wrote what I know. Food and how the kitchen is the heart of a home, but I also added a magical element to that storyline. After a fortuitous visit to a spice shop, the rest of the tale was born. I was so excited about that story, that while it was being mauled over by a critique group, I wrote a second one. Much different. Dual plot lines about a modern day woman who’s haunted by a ghost and her estranged husband on Halloween.

Armed with two interesting stories, fresh out of the critter’s hands, I searched for a potential publisher. Throughout the journey, I made tentative peace with the fact that getting to a print publisher in the current economy was just not possible, especially with no track record. E-pubs were the way to go. I submitted and I stressed.

During this time, I decided to do my very first NaNo project (the National Write a 50K Novel in a Month) I thought, why not? Nothing else I’d done to this point was getting me anywhere. So, I plotted and outlined. I wrote 3K words a day and constantly worried about the submissions as well as hosting two Thanksgivings later that month. I think my hubby nearly disowned me since I was slowly losing my mind. I did finish the NaNo a full 9 days ahead of the deadline.

And then I heard back from one publisher. They loved the story but wanted a few things revised on the ghost story. Would I please resubmit? Of course! Those edits were tough, but I worked through. I sent it back. It would be weeks before I heard. Then, a few days before Thanksgiving ’08, another publisher offered me my first contract on what is now FOODIE’S GUIDE TO KITCHEN MAGIC, which released from Lyrical Press on November 18th, 2009. The other short THE HAUNTING OF AMELIA PRITCHART, was accepted a few weeks later and released from The Wild Rose Press on September 30, 2009.

Incidentally, that book WINNER TAKES ALL underwent a few changes after the fanfare was over. It hit the contest circuit and went down in flames. I edited and revised it a bit more. In desperation and even though I had two contracts in hand for short stories, I still thought my writing was nothing better than toilet water. No one wanted to look at my full-length books. I tucked WINNER TAKES ALL away.

In the spring of 2009, after a series of email chats and talks with my critique partner, we scouted out a new publisher, Desert Breeze. We weighed the pros and cons of submitting to a publisher that no one knew about, that hadn’t been launched yet. Then, I decided, what the heck? The manuscript wasn’t doing me any good sitting on a computer. So, I submitted the partial. And waited a few days before the email came requesting the full. Finally, forward motion!

A couple of weeks later, the most awesome email came. We want your book and we want to use it to promote during the RT Convention in May. Yikes! It gave me 30 days to prepare, but you bet I signed that contract. WINNER TAKES ALL was accepted and I had my foothold. It released from Desert Breeze on May 1, 2009.

Moral of the story? Never give up. It only takes one yes to start the ball rolling. Consider the pre-published time as a learning bubble. Make yourself the best writer you can be to that point. Everything else will come. I can’t wait to see what else will happen to my career in the future.
Thanks Sandra!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My Writing Journey - P.I. Barrington

You guys will enjoy this story. It's a little different from most of our experiences in that it seemed, for P.I., the writer's career chased her. Oh, that's just not fair! (Kidding P.I....sort of. hehe)Thanks for sharing your fascinating journey with us. And look for P.I.'s book, Crucifying Angel, in the next few weeks. It's released on Nov. 1st.

My Writing Journey
P.I. Barrington

They say all roads lead to Rome. In my case, all roads lead to writing. No matter how I've tried to repress, reject, or ignore it, I don't seem to have any choice in the matter and it's beginning to look like I never did.

My journey to writing began in grade school. The local American Legion held a writing contest on the care of the American flag and my school was a participant. Oh, there were guidelines. First Person, list all the ways to care for and dispose of a flag, yada yada yada. I shrugged, scribbled out a little piece (there were no keyboards back then we actually had to use pen/pencil and—gasp—paper) and turned it in. Each student was assigned a number so there would be no hanky-panky in the form of favoritism.

I won. My mother bought me a hated new dress and they gave me a medal and letter from the Legion. I recently unearthed both of them. I should have known then. For the remainder of my school years I wrote only for my own amusement and fantasy escapism, never finishing anything, never caring to. It was all just silly anyway. That funny urge that I'd get to grab a pen, pencil, quill or my uncle's old typewriter and put words on paper, I told myself, was just my own obsession, born of voracious reading of everything including encyclopedias and thesauruses. By the time I realized I didn't want to be a lawyer in community college, I had no other choice (being mathematically challenged to say the least) than to choose journalism because it seemed the only thing I knew how to do halfway was write. Suffice it to say I ended up as a cub reporter/photographer for my city's newspaper. I hated those danged deadlines.

I finally managed to crush the obsessive compulsion to write when I went to a full-on university. There I discovered the second best thing I was good at: radio. I rose from (what else?) the college station's news director to music director and the #1 DJ in a year. (I should have known about that too—at grade school, I was the official MC of any school gathering in the auditorium— anyone beginning to see a pattern here?) I relegated writing to somewhere in my subconscious where it couldn't bother me while I went on to pursue my childhood dream of working in the music industry and meeting Paul McCartney. I did too.

After bouncing around radio stations and record companies, I finally succumbed to a long illness and put aside anything career wise to deal with that. Everyone told me to write. I had the time. I had a computer. It would be a form of therapy. After 30 years of lying dormant somewhere in my psyche, I finally dredged up the old urges and tried to write something in 2006. It ended up as mindless rambling that frightened even my family. However my blessed, more than supportive family (I couldn't have succeeded at anything without them) encouraged me to keep at it. I joined online writers' groups. I wrote and re-wrote and wrote some more. Finally, a few beams of fiction light burst into the dark cavern of my mind and—on an impulse—I answered a call for submissions to a pulp fiction online magazine. That I was accepted I can only attribute to my being the first one to respond. The storylines were already in place, I'd just be continuing a space opera. (Oh, yeah. That's another thing. Genre. I am now officially a writer of the sci-fi/romance/crime thriller—'futuristic' or as I like to call it, "near future"—genre'.) But back to the narrative. My stories weren't that great, but I did have a really great editor. I had two stories published before the magazine folded. But it let me know, I could still do it, sort of; I'd tried to write another novel over a series of years, a serial killer crime romance novel, but just couldn't work it out.

And then, it happened again. On one of my writing groups another call for submissions popped up. Again, on impulse, I sent that 8-year-old manuscript to Desert Breeze Publishing. Again, I was probably the first one to submit, lol! In any case, Gail R. Delaney, the Executive Editor at DBP, passed on that story but thought I might do well with a seminal idea she had for a—you guessed it— futuristic romance. Now, I'm not that great at romance writing. At times I'm awkward and bumbling about it. But I think I have a fair grasp of conflict and motivation and hopefully that's evident in my first novel, "Crucifying Angel". Gail asked me to write up a first chapter and we tossed it back and forth until we had a basic agreement on the story.

It started as almost an assignment, like the American Legion contest or the space opera thing. I seem to only get published that way. I dug in. By the time Crucifying Angel was finished, I was already into the second book of the Future Imperfect series, plugging away with real excitement, something I haven't felt in ages. So I guess you could say I never really did have a choice in being a writer. And worst of all, I think I may even be happy about it.

Besides, it's kind of fun when you can't wait to find out what's going to happen in a novel that you're writing.

CRUCIFYING ANGEL Book One of the Future Imperfect series, available from Desert Breeze Publishing, November 1, 2009.

"In the desolate remains of Las Vegas, Detective Payce Halligan and her new partner, Gavin McAllister, must stop a serial killer who may be hiding an even greater evil."

Check out this review for P.I.Barrington's book.

P.I. Barrington's Blog

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Writing Journey - KM Wilsher

I have a real soft spot for today's guest blogger. I can't help it! I met KM through our ACFW critique group, and was immediately captivated by her first submission. I don't really know how to explain it. There's just a quality to her writing -- a total submersion into the fantasy world in her mind. I swear, I could feel and smell the surroundings! But, apart from her wonderful talent, KM has a compassionate heart, and I've loved getting to know her. So it's my pleasure to have her as a guest blogger today. Thanks for sharing with us, KM. Oh, and you have an awesome blog! Seriously guys, the link is at the bottom. Check it out.

Man, this is an honor to share my story here with Shawna Williams’ readers.

I am not sure anyone would have given the title ‘writer’ to little girl KM. Orator maybe, definitely actress, or dancer. My mom thought I might ice dance, I don’t think she thought I would love to write.

However, at night, when mom tucked me in and I said, “Mommy, I am not tired.”
She’d say, “That’s okay, just make up a story, picture it in your mind, and before you reach the end of that story you will be asleep.”
At first I said, “A story? About what?”
Mom said, “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe you are a waitress at Woolsworth. Or a shepherdess keeping sheep. Whatever you want it to be.”

Along with mom, I have a brilliant dad, educator, administrator, writer, artist and avid reader. My love for books, Native Americans, and stories about my ancestors, came from him. That is where the madness planted its seed.

In High School I discovered I had a talent for playing percussion. In my mind’s eye, I saw I would be a heavy metal drummer for the rest of my days. Along with this passion, I wrote songs. Mostly lyrics and poetry, but I did attempt a few novels mostly centering on rock-n-roll.

My entire young adult goal was to make my fortune, then retire and write my book. Sound a little like Bilbo Baggins?

Life takes its turns, and if I filled in this gap here it would be more of my come to Jesus testimony than a blog post about my writing. That is for another day and another post. Throughout the next decade and a half I put down a smattering of words. In fact, one Christmas I hand wrote in small books a short story of mine and gave it to my family members as gifts. An allegory called, The Castle. I will tell you though, by this time I did not have a lot of confidence in myself as a person, much less my ability for composition.

Two years ago, my life and hope solid in Jesus Christ, I decided to go to a writer’s conference at the Community College down the street. I told a small group of friends, and soon we started a writer’s group called One Page at a Time. Four females got together and encouraged one another to write. This was a small spark that has turned into a roaring fire in my life.

That small writers group disbanded quickly. But, as a result of the passion that first writing group stirred within me, God brought the most exciting gift through the internet. A wonderful young girl named Avily Jerome contacted me. She was a Christian fiction writer and wondered if I wanted to get together. She led me to a local Christian writers group that has long term success. And there I found Lynn Rush, another sister in Christ. These girls have become important cornerstone’s in my life, my faith, and my writing.

As a result of their urging, I joined American Christian Fiction Writers and am the editor for the newsletter for my local chapter, Christian Writers of the West. I serve as one of the leaders on the committee for the first local ACFW chapter writers contest called: The Phoenix Rattler. (October 31 deadline!) God is good.

Through my ACFW crit group I found Christian writers across the nation and a gorgeous web of support and fellowship sprung up over night. (Shawna and Kat to name a few. J)

I am a fantasy nut. I am not published, but I am living the dream. I am trying to finish up two novels. One is a post-Armageddon, sci-fi, fantasy: Remnants. The other is a sword and sorcery, high world: Cobra Cutlass. I hope to enter Cobra Cutlass in Genesis this spring.

I have a few short stories I am trying to peddle: Cobra Cutlass, and Suicide Extinct (A Christian Allegory involving vampires in space). However, I am not impatient. My dream is first of all to write. I love to write. Second, I love to interact with other Christian writers, encourage them, and revel in the moments that they take me seriously. One day I hope to be published, but that will be the icing on the cake. For now I am just enjoying every “bloody” moment of this ride.

KM Wilsher Look me up on Facebook :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Writing Journey - Nicole Zoltack

I'd like to introduce Nicole Zoltack as today's guest blogger. Nicole is a fellow DBP author. I love her reminds me of my daughters. And it's the perfect story to get us motivated for Nano Writing Month. Thanks Nicole for sharing this with us.

I started writing stories when I first learned how to write. Seriously. My mother used to sit my one sister and I down and gave us paper and pencils and we would just write. One of the first stories that I finished combined two holidays: Thanksgiving and Halloween. The family used to dress up as food objects for Thanksgiving. The father was always turkey. And the little girl, her name was Megan but her nickname was May (I loved both those names when I was younger and could never pick one over the other), couldn't decide what to dress up as. Her mother had ideas and so did her father but none of them were good enough for her. Finally, she picked mashed potatoes. (Coincidentally, mashed potatoes were my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal And for you curious ones, my favorite holiday was actually Christmas.) I no longer have the story but I was rather proud of it when I first wrote it. Not that I know how one would go about dressing up as mashed potatoes. A fat ghost maybe?

During classes in the sixth grade, I began to write a YA fantasy novel. It was my pride and joy and I carried the handwritten pages everywhere. I even wrote during class. High school came around and I drifted away from writing stories and wrote many poems. The poems were awful, just dreadful. I would be embarrassed for anyone to read them, they are that bad.

College. I returned to writing fiction. I worked some more on my YA fantasy novel, reworked the beginning and finished it the summer before junior year. I'm still tinkering it and will be sending it out to agents by the end of the month. My sister (the one mentioned above) told me about Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). Nano is when writers around the world try to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I did Nano 2004-2007 and won each of those 4 years. I wrote less than 1,000 words in November 2008 but I had a one month old baby so I didn't expect to win.

One of those Nano stories, after much editing and adding 38,000 more words, turned into Woman of Honor, a medieval fantasy romance that is available from Desert Breeze Publishing. But that wasn't my first published work. I had always liked writing short stories and one day, I did a search for short story submissions. I found a call of submission for a sweet romance anthology from Freya's Bower. I wrote a short story and sent it in but was rejected. The editor, Faith Bicknel-Brown, sent a nice rejection letter and mentioned at the end that if I wanted to, I could send another story. So I wrote another one and this time, it was accepted. Little Cowgirl, under the pen name Nicolette Zamora is in One Touch, One Glance: A Sweet Romance Anthology.

I am currently working on Woman of Honor's sequel, Knight of Glory. Then I have some short stories that I would like to write for anthologies and other calls. Maybe I'll finish another Nano story soon. Regardless, I know I will be writing for a long, long time.

And my sister that used to write beside me? She wants to be a writer too. And I know that someday, she'll be one. And it's all Mom's fault. Thanks, Mom.

My website is and my blog is I am also on facebook, myspace, and twitter. Thanks so much for allowing me to share my writing journey, Shawna!

Nicole ZoltackWoman of Honor, Desert Breeze PublishingOne Touch, One Glance, Freya’s BowerMy blog Facebook Myspace Twitter

1970 Olds 442


If you're curious about the story behind the name of my blog, click on the car. :)