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, January 31, 2010

Author Interview: Cathy Bryant

Over the past few years, I've had the privilege to watch a number of writers, similar to myself, as they've journeyed into this career. I've shared in their struggles and rejoiced in their triumphs -- especially when one makes that joyous announcement, "I'm going to be published!" Doesn't matter if it's a short story, an article, self-published or traditional; those five little words represent the achievement of a long sought-after goal. And for those of us in this business, we understand how much effort that involves. Today I'm delighted to welcome Cathy Bryant. I've always been drawn by Cathy's sincerity, warmth and kindness, and now I get to congratulate her on the publication of her first novel, Texas Roads.

Shawna: Cathy, would you please tell us a little about yourself?

Cathy: Hmmm, not a real interesting subject, but I’ll give it my best shot! =) I’m a Texas gal by birth and by choice. I’m a wife to the love of my life, mom to two awesome sons and a beautiful daughter-in-love, and a new Nana to my three-month-old grandson. (Wanna see my pics?) =)

Shawna: When did you first become interested in writing?

Cathy: I have to attribute my love of writing to reading great books. I was an early and avid reader, and it just seemed like a natural progression for me to make the leap into writing. I started writing stories in elementary school, then in high school entered and won several writing contests. My job during high school was at the town newspaper, working for a gruff but loveable editor who encouraged me to write articles about school events.
When my children were little, I tried several times to write a novel, but always ended up stashing it away. When the empty-nest phase hit, I went through a series of life events in which God basically told me, “Time’s a-wastin’. Get busy.” I did, and I am! =)

Shawna: What genre do you prefer writing/reading?

Cathy: I definitely like to write the same type of books I enjoy reading. I love romantic comedy that tugs at your heart, and I think that comes across in my writing. I also enjoy a dark women’s fiction novel every once in a while, and have a few book ideas simmering in the back of my mind in that genre. Biblical fiction is also an area I’d like to explore someday.

Shawna: How do you approach a new project? Do you research and plot before you write? Or do you have a general idea and just go to it and see where it leads?

Cathy: I probably spend just as much time (or more!) preparing to write a novel as I do actually writing the story. Since I write contemporary novels, there’s not too much historical research that has to be done. Research is more a matter of knowing the location and the lifestyles of the people I’m writing about.

I have to know where the story is going to take me ahead of time. I liken it to setting out on a really long trip. I want to know the exact route, so I’ll know how to pack and how long the trip will take. It’s the same way with my story. I want to understand what’s happening at the beginning, where it will lead in the middle, and what the outcome will be. This would drive a lot of writers nuts, but it would drive me nuts not to know. Besides, trip or story, I don’t want to get lost!

Shawna: Tell us about your new book, Texas Roads?

Cathy: Texas Roads is a contemporary love story about a disillusioned widow’s search for home. The heroine, Dani, is a wealthy city-slicker, but inside she’s empty and dry. She visits an aunt she’s never really known in the back roads Texas town of Miller’s Creek. Captivated by the town’s quaint charm, business potential, and quirky residents, Dani thinks she’s found the perfect place to start over—except for the cowboy who gives her a ride into town...
Dani secretly finances renovations to the town, but malicious rumors force her to choose between keeping her involvement a secret and the home for which she’s always longed.

Steve Miller, the cowboy-mayor of Miller’s Creek is determined to save his dying hometown. When vandals threaten the town restoration project, he can’t help but suspect Dani, whose strange behavior has become fodder for the local gossips.

You’ll have to read the story to see if they can overcome their differences for a higher cause, and to see if Dani finds home. ;-)

Shawna: What inspired you to write this?

Cathy: The theme of the story really came from my own desire to put down roots. For several years, my family and I moved from one small Texas town to another. Just about the time we’d start to feel like we’d found home, God would move us somewhere else. Through the process, He helped me realize that home isn’t a place, but a person. Jesus. Nothing else will ever satisfy that home-sized hole in our hearts.

Shawna: Tell us a little about the characters. What endears them to you?

Cathy: I’m a visual person, so I based Dani’s character on Reese Witherspoon--petite and bubbly on the surface, but on the inside, hurting and seeking. She has all the outer trappings of success, but her life has been full of personal tragedy. Dani’s longing to belong, to find connections and home is what endears her to me. My heart grieves for her.

Steve Miller is a hunky cowboy with marshmallow filling. He struggles with forgiving himself over something that happened in his past, and with entrusting his heart to a woman—convinced he’ll never find the quality of woman he’s looking for. The main thing that endears me to Steve is his desire to help the town and its people, and his heart for God.

And I have to mention Mama Beth, the mother figure of Miller’s Creek and Dani’s aunt. Full of wit and wisdom, this nurturing woman is hiding a very dark secret.

I also should point out a cast of colorful secondary characters who are the townspeople. I want people to read the story and say, “I know someone just like that!” =)

Shawna: What do you hope to be able to accomplish through your writing?

Cathy: Great question! First and foremost, I want to touch people’s heart with the truth of God. I want my struggle and spiritual growth to be a source of healing and learning for them. Truthfully if one person is touched and moved closer to God as a result of my writing, then the hours of hard labor, sweat and tears will be worth it to me.

I also hope to give them a brief escape from the pressures and problems of living in this fallen world, and to make them smile and laugh. I want them to get lost in Miller’s Creek, and feel like they’ve arrived in a place that’s vaguely familiar.

Shawna: Any ideas for future projects?

Cathy: Oh my, yes! I’m currently in the middle of my first draft of a second book in the Miller’s Creek, Texas series, tentatively titled A Path Too Narrow. I’m keeping the symbolism of journey in all the books in this series—Texas ROADS, A PATH Too Narrow, and The WAY of Grace. The second book will use Steve’s sister, Trish, as the heroine, and Dani’s attorney, Andy, as the hero.

Shawna: Other than your book, which I'm certainly looking forward to reading, do you have any recommendations you'd like to pass along?

Cathy: I’m a book lover, and I’ve read some AMAZING books in the past year. I’ll have to narrow it down or we’ll be here all day. My favorites for 2009 were The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner, Talking To the Dead by Bonnie Grove, and June Bug by Chris Fabry. I’m also a HUGE fan of any book Susan May Warren writes. Her PJ Sugar books and The Great Christmas Bowl kept me laughing and smiling for days!

Thanks so much for this opportunity, Shawna! I really enjoyed it! =)

Shawna: Thank you, Cathy! Congratulations, and God bless. It's been a pleasure.

Cathy is giving away an ebook copy of Texas Roads. leave a comment to enter the drawing. I'll announce the winner on Thursday morning.
Thanks again, Cathy.

For more on Cathy Bryant and Texas Roads, check out these links:

To purchase
A portion of the proceeds from this book are going to Buckner International.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Anne Patrick Talks About Her New Books

I'd like to introduce Anne Patrick. She last blogged here about her journey to publication. At the time she had several books out, but since then she's released at least one other, and has several more upcoming. Anne's going to give us a run-down of what's around the corner.

Hi everyone! In case you don’t remember me, I’m Anne Patrick, author of ‘Sweet’ Edge of Your Seat Romantic Suspense. Since my last visit to Shawna’s blog I’ve gained the privilege of calling myself a best-selling novelist after Journey to Redemption became a bestseller. I want to thank everyone who made that possible! I also want to thank Shawna for having me here today to talk about my new and upcoming releases. She is such a dear! I look forward to having her on my blog come May, when her book comes out.

How many of you out there have ever dreamed of being a princess? You know, living the life of luxury…castles…tiaras…limos…private jets? Well according to Princess Tara, the heroine in my latest release, Dark Alliance, being an heir to the throne isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Especially when you have a paid assassin trying to kill you! Here is a blurb about it.
Babysitting a beautiful princess sounds like an easy job for former CIA agent Alex Girard, but when it becomes clear that the assassin trying to kill Tara is the same man responsible for killing his father he knows keeping her alive may be the toughest assignment of his life. Just as disturbing is the growing attraction he has for the future queen. Determined to find the answers that will save the monarchy and finally bring the murderer to justice, Alex and Tara team up with friends on an international quest that will change all their lives. Dark Alliance is available now in print and ebook and can be purchased here:
You can read the character interview I did with Tara here:
Another of my new releases is Lethal Dreams. Here is a blurb about it.

Dr. Erin Jacobs is making a name for herself in the sports world. Drawing on her own life experiences, she encourages and inspires athletes to recover from career ending injuries. So why would someone want to hurt the good doctor? Detective Logan Sinclair is determined to find that answer. He’s been mesmerized by Erin from the moment she found him and his partner shot in an alleyway. Since that night their lives have never been the same. Will Logan be able to solve the puzzle of who wants Erin out of the way before it’s too late? And if so what impact will those answers have on their lives? You can purchase it after Feb 1st here:
And if you don’t like suspense, then I encourage you to check out my inspirational romance Reservations for Two by my alter ego, Kinzie Monroe. Here’s a blurb about it.
Widower’s Maggie O’Brien and Carson Jennings are both on a journey to rediscover who they are. Maggie, an adventurous former pastor’s wife of thirty-nine years, hopes to find closure in the place she and her husband spent their honeymoon. Carson, a retired judge, is living his lifelong dream of traveling across the U.S. in his RV. When their paths cross in the tranquil setting of Mason Springs, New Mexico, love is the last thing that either of them expects to find. Reservations for Two is being released in February also and can be purchased here:

I invite you to visit my blog: for excerpts, author interviews and news of other upcoming releases. And be sure to sign up for my mailing list for chances to win free copies of my books. You can learn more about Kinzie and the inspiration behind Reservations for Two by clicking on My Alter Ego link in the sidebar.
Thank you again, Shawna, for allowing me to come and talk about my books. I’ve been so blest by the friendships I’ve made at Desert Breeze and I look forward to reading your first novel No Other.

Thank you, Anne!

Please feel free to leave a comment or question for Anne.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Interview With Diane Craver, and Win a Copy of Her Book!

Diane has guest blogged here before, but she has a new book that's just released with Desert Breeze Publishing, so I thought it would be a good time to catch up with her and let her tell us about this new book, herself, and writing in general.

Shawna: Diane, will you please share a short bio with us?

Diane: Shawna, thank you so much for having me here today. I grew up on a farm outside of Findlay, Ohio. I often acted out characters from my own stories in the backyard. Before I got started on my writing career, I taught school and directed school plays. I started writing nonfiction after our first daughter was born. Later I switched to fiction. It kept me sane after having six children. LOL I've been married to the love of my life for thirty-four years. We live in southwestern Ohio. My novels are published by Desert Breeze Publishing and Samhain Publishing.

Shawna: What type of stories do you like to write?

Diane: I write inspirational romance, chick-lit mystery, contemporary romance, and women's fiction.

Shawna: When do you write? Daytime, nighttime, on your lunch hour, before the kids get up, after everyone is asleep? In large chunks of time or stolen snippets?

Diane: I'm an early riser so I write a little before I get our two daughters with special needs up in the morning. After I get them to their programs, I'll do a few loads of laundry and etc., then I get busy again on my writing. On some days I might only have short periods to write, but other days I might have longer chunks of time.

Shawna: Tell us about latest release with link and where it's available.

Diane: Marrying Mallory is my latest release. Mallory isn't happy with herself because she's divorced. She feels strong guilt that she couldn't forgive her cheating ex-husband. As a Christian, she doesn't feel that she has the right to get married again. Also she is unhappy about her outward appearance. She loses fifteen pounds but that isn't enough. She decides to do something for herself and goes to see a plastic surgeon, Dr. Seth Whitman, to have rhinoplasty. Immediately, her life becomes complicated because she's attracted to the doctor. Seth feels the same way about her, and he has trouble maintaining a doctor-patient relationship.

Marrying Mallory can be purchased from Amazon Kindle or the publisher's site, I have a trailer for Marrying Mallory. Here's the link:

Shawna: How did you come up with the main character’s names?

Diane: I chose the main characters' names by first checking to see what names were popular in the year the characters were born. There's an online search under social security for the most popular names in each decade. I also looked at baby name books, and tried different names out before I chose Mallory, Toby and Seth. Then I had to make sure the first names sounded right with the last names.

Shawna: Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Diane: My characters become real to me quickly. My books are character-driven so I’m constantly thinking about the characters as I start a new book and what big scenes I want them to have in the book. I don't start writing until I know my characters well. They inject dialogue and ideas to me while I’m in the shower, driving, cooking, or right before I fall asleep. I jot down their thoughts and dialogue on paper so I have my notes when I get time to type on my computer. I’ve learned I can’t rely on my memory to remember everything.

Also when I write it’s neat how the characters take over and the story line I have in mind changes. In my Whitney book, a new character unexpectedly popped in to become a main romantic interest for the one sister.

Shawna: Why do you write?

Diane: I can't imagine not writing. I love reading and writing. I'm constantly thinking of future story lines. When something happens in my real life or if I hear something on the news, I think about putting a different outcome or spin on it. I ask myself, would that be a good story? I also love developing my characters into warm and vulnerable people.

Shawna: Where can you be found on the web?

Diane: I have a website,
blog,'m also on Facebook.

Thank you, Diane for this wonderful interview. I've already read Marrying Mallory, and it's delightful! I especially love the way your style of writing makes me feel like one of the gals. I'd also like to add that Diane's books are available at Books on Board and Allromance Ebooks too.

I hope everyone is off to a great start for 2010!

How about this! Reply to this post and enter a drawing for a copy of Marrying Mallory. I'll announce the winner on Friday!

1970 Olds 442


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