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.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Congratulations to Diane Craver for winning today's drawing! You're full of luck these days, Diane! Let us know how you like them.

I'm leaving town for a few days to go and celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday. My next post won't be until Tuesday, March 2nd. Nicole Zoltack will be joining us then to tell us about her Kingdom of Arnhem series. Awesome stories for anyone who loves Medieval tales.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Author Interview: Shawneda Marks

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Shawneda Marks. I became interested in Shawneda and her work when I read about her book, It's In My Blood -- which deals with AIDS -- on my fb group, Grace-Inspired Fiction. I was really intrigued by this topic and the courage it must have taken to write about it. Shawneda is here today to tell us a little more about herself and this book.

Shawna: Hi Shawneda! First off, I would like to welcome you to my blog. Would you start off by telling us a little about yourself?

Shawneda: Sure I’m a hopefully enamored of Christ, wife, mother, activist, author and avid reader. I love all things word related and believe reading is still FUNdamental.

Shawna: When did you first become interested in writing?

Shawneda: I’ve been writing poetry, short stories, songs and fiction for as long as I can remember. My first piece was published when my dad sent in a poem I’d written without my knowledge and the first glimmer of hope to be a writer was born.

Shawna: Awe...I love that! I bet your family is so proud. What genre do you prefer writing/reading?

Shawneda: I prefer reading contemporary fiction, Christian living and inspirational poetry. I love writing poetry and songs, fiction and then nonfiction.

Shawneda: When you get an idea for a new project, how do you approach it? Do you research and plot before you write? Or do you go for it and see where it leads?

Shawneda: I normally receive the title and plot first. I pray about it then plot out the story. Then I meet the characters and get to know them. I do perform lots of research while I get to know my characters and prepare to write the rough of the novel. For my nonfiction it is similar except there are no characters. My songs and poetry are the only writing I just let flow.

Shawna: Tell us about your new book, It's In My Blood?

Shawneda: It’s in My Blood is a story about a young lady who is pregnant and HIV positive. Rosalyn’s life is changed and she returns home to figure out what to do about her prospects with a child. Her tumultuous relationship with her mother opens wounds from her past. It follows her on a journey to healing that affects her whole community.

Shawna: What inspired you to write this?

Shawneda: I had a close friend at my previous church that died from the complications of AIDS. His status was not known until He passed because he was afraid people would change their attitudes and behavior towards him.

Shawna: Wow. My father-in-law works in inner-city ministry in Houston, and AIDS is an issue that touches their congregation often. I plan to tell him about your book because I think there are people he knows who would relate to, and find comfort in this story. But in truth, we all benefit from awareness. I'm so glad you wrote this. Emotionally, how did you handle such an intense topic?

Shawneda: I believe it was through prayer and an understanding husband. At times he nor I knew if I was coming or going, I’d be talking about the characters like real people.

Shawna: I do that! Good to know I'm normal -- for a writer, anyway. What do you hope to be able to accomplish with your writing?

Shawneda: I hope to inspire readers to action in and outside of the four walls of the church. I hope to bring more awareness and fewer stigmas to the disease. I also hope to help raise money to donate to two deserving causes. Ten percent of the net proceeds are split between a national and local HIV charity, Balm in Gilead is national and Aniz Inc is local to Atlanta. If one person reaches out to someone infected or gets tested I believe God’s purpose and plan for the book will be fulfilled.

Shawna: Absolutely! Any ideas for future projects?

Shawneda: I’m currently finishing Diamond Butterfly, a devotional released June 2010. My True Essence inspirational breast cancer awareness novel will be released in October 2010. The ebook for It’s in My Blood will be released June 27th 2010 and the audio book December 1st.

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

Shawneda: Anything by Marilynn Griffith she is by far my favorite contemporary traditional Christian fiction author and Eric Wilson Jerusalem Undead series. For urban fiction Vanessa Miller is fierce and Stephanie Perry Moore is great for young adult.

Shawna: Shawneda, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. I applaud you for your commitment to these causes, and your talent. God bless you, and your work!
For more about Shawneda Marks, and her book, It's In My Blood, go to:
To purchase an autographed copy:

For info on future works:

Shawneda has a treat for us. A jewelry and bookmark giveaway! Yay!

Leave a comment or question for Shawneda to enter the drawing. I'll anounce the winner Wednesday evening. I usually do this on Thursday, but we're headed out of town for my grandmother's 90th birthday. Happy Birthday Nonnie!
I'd like to conclude by encouraging readers to look for ways to spread the word about Shawneda's book and ways to help with this cause.
Have a great Monday! God bless, Shawna

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Well, Michelle, guess what! You won the drawing for your own interview! Haha! I'll get with you about mailing your soap. Congratulations!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Author Interview: Michelle Sutton

Today I get to welcome back an author who has visited on several occasions. Michelle Sutton is the author of the "It's Not About" series, with Sheaf House, and also the author of two novels, plus a series through Desert Breeze Publishing. Her most recent release -- and my favorite of her books -- came out in January and is titled, First Impressions. But in April Michelle has another book coming out, In Plain Sight, which is a sequel to Danger at the Door. It will be a pleasure to view those characters through Jovana's, Bojan's sister, pov.

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

Michelle: I am the mother of two boys ages 16 and 18 and I’ve been married to my husband almost 20 years now. I’ve lived in Arizona since 1991 and I love it here. I started writing in 2003. I haven’t stopped because once I discovered a love for writing, I couldn’t quit if I wanted to. I must create fictional characters and mess them up. It’s my favorite thing to do now.

Shawna: When did you first become interested in writing?

Michelle: In 2003 after communicating with a favorite author who wrote me back when I told her that I loved reading her books.

Shawna: And what genre do you prefer writing/reading? Also, why does this genre appeal to you?

Michelle: I love anything that doesn’t bore me to tears. Romance with a lot of tension tends to work well for me, but anything gripping and emotional works, too.

Shawna: Can you tell us a little about the ups and downs on your journey to publication?

Michelle: Downs are the waiting times and the “we love your writing style but we can’t sell this” comments. My agent has been a real positive influence for me. She’d always say they rejected “us” when I would get… thanks, but no thanks as a response to a proposal. Ups are reading reviews from people I don’t know that talked about how much my story inspired them or how much they loved it. That is a huge upper for me.

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?

Michelle: I don’t need to research for the most part because I tend to write about subjects I know a lot about already. I usually have a general idea and just start writing and see where it leads.

Shawna: Tell us about the series you're writing, your latest release, plus your upcoming one?

Michelle: My latest release is the first book in my Tombstone Treasures series called First Impressions. Former titles were For the Love of James, The Shy Captain, and The Shady Lady. It’s a series about volunteer actors who work in Tombstone on holidays and weekends. I wrote it to show you their love lives outside of their favorite hobby. Everything is completely made up, of course, except for the setting and the events in the stories. My latest work is releasing in April and it’s the sequel to Danger at the Door. It’s called In Plain Sight. I wanted to title it Danger at the Diner but the editor said it made her think of food poisoning. It’s about Bojan’s sister from the first book. She comes to the United States and doesn’t speak English well. She left an abusive relationship in her country and ends up being attracted to another bad man within weeks of her arrival. Her hero is, of course, In Plain Sight. And that is all I’m sayin’.

Shawna: So what inspired you to write this?

Michelle: I was intrigued by the character Jovana and her story. I wanted to write it. Since the editor of Desert Breeze enjoyed my first story, Danger at the Door, she agreed to send me a contract for a sequel. In some ways I like the sequel better, but my readers can be the judge of that.

Shawna: Can you give us a little history on the characters, including how you developed them and what endears them to you?

Michelle: Well, the characters from In Plain Sight were developed based on the premise of the first book. I wanted characters who struggled with English slang and idioms and to show how difficult communication is when Americans say so many things that make no sense when you try to translate them into another language.

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

Michelle: I hope to touch readers’ hearts with the message in each story. My books are all very different in theme and regarding the message. You’ll see that as you read them.

Shawna: Any ideas for future projects?

Michelle: I am still scheduled to write First Love and First Response, which are the second and third books in the Tombstone Treasures series.

Shawna: Excellent, best of luck on those. Other than your current and future releases, do you have any recommendations or advice you'd like to pass along?

Michelle: To authors… keep writing until something sells. To readers… better get yourself an e-reader because e-books are here to stay and are growing in popularity by the day.

Shawna: Amen to that! And...this seems like an opportune time to tell everyone how much I love my Kindle. Btw, the Kindle app will soon be available for Blackberry and Mac.

Here's something to leave a comment about: Do you own an ereader, or have an ereader app installed on a device such as iPhone, iPod, a netbook, Blackberry, Palm etc...? If so, tell me in the comments section and be entered to win a bar of homemade honey and almond soap -- just one of the many things I do on the side. If you don't have an ebook app installed, go get one real quick, cuz it's free, and then enter. I'll announce the winner on Thursday.

Michelle, thank you so much for this interview. I enjoyed it, and appreciate your visit.

For more info on Michelle Sutton and her books:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Author Interview: Melanie Atkins

I have the privilege of interviewing Melanie Atkins today. This is Melanie's second visit to my blog, and she's here to share a bit more about herself, her journey, and her new book, Prime Suspect -- the second release in her New Orleans Detective series through Desert Breeze Publishing.

Shawna: Would you please tell us a little about yourself?

Melanie: I'm a multi-published author of romantic suspense, I love crime dramas, and I love to read. Writing is more than an escape for me—it’s what I do. I grew up in the Deep South listening to my relatives spin tall tales, and some of it must have rubbed off.

Shawna: When did you first become interested in writing?

Melanie: Well, I wrote stories about my cats when I was little, and I managed to scratch out a few short stories in high school and college. Guess you could say I've always written.

Shawna: What genre do you prefer writing/reading? And why does this genre appeal to you?

Melanie: Romantic Suspense/Suspense/Thrillers -- Because I love being on the edge of my seat and get a high from the tension that hums across my nerves when I experience those stories. I hope to do the same for my readers.

Shawna: Can you tell us a little about the ups and downs on your journey to publication?

Melanie: Everything went smoothly until my first publisher went belly up and I, along with many other authors, had to fight to get my rights back. They were eventually returned and I've been able to resell many of those books, but the entire experience was traumatic. I now spread my work around. Don't want to put all my eggs in one basket again.

Shawna: Wow! And that's good advice to pass on to those of us just starting out.
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?

Melanie: A little bit of both. The story I'm working on now required some research before I started. I did that, wrote a few chapters, and then stopped to plot.

Shawna: Will you tell us about the New Orleans Detective series, and your newest book, Prime Suspect?

Melanie: Well, for starters, I love New Orleans. I only live three hours away and went to college even closer than that, so I've spent a lot of time there. I adore the city. From the quaint homes in the Garden District, to the wrought iron balconies of the French Quarter, to the green confines of City Park. I enjoy the history, the romance. The resilient people. I'm also fascinated with cops. I used to be married to one. Personal differences aside, I truly admire what he does and tip my hat to all of the men and women in blue. New Orleans + cops = my series. PRIME SUSPECT is the second book in that series. In this story, New Orleans Assistant District Attorney Marisa Cooper prosecutes murderers for a living, but the tables are turned on her when her ex-husband is found dead in her garage. To prove her innocence, she must team up with her former fiancée, Slade Montgomery, the detective who risks his career--and his heart--to help her find the real killer.

Shawna: Sounds intriguing! Can't wait to read it. Before I move on I'd like to congratulate you and the state of Louisiana on the Saint's Super Bowel victory. Woohoo!
Okay, about the book -- can you give us a little history on the characters, including how you developed them , and what endears them to you?

Melanie: The heroine, Marisa Cooper, is an ADA who used to be a defense attorney. She clashes big time with the hero, Slade Montgomery, a "cop's cop" after she's suspected of murdering her ex-husband. I love the juxtaposition of an officer of the court being accused of a crime. The idea was just too good to pass up -- especially when Marisa must depend on Slade--the man she left standing at the altar--to help prove her innocence.

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

Melanie: I want to entertain, to give people an escape from the drudgery of everyday life.

Shawna: Any ideas for future projects?

Melanie: I'm working on a gritty single title suspense right now. Don’t want to give anything away, so I'll just say it's set closer to where I live and involves some tough subjects. I hope to bring light to a dark area that's not often explored.

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

Melanie: I have another book that was released from another publisher in December. SKELETON BAYOU is a single title romantic suspense set in South Louisiana. So far, it's gotten terrific reviews. You can read more about it on my website at

Thank you, Melanie! And best of luck to you with your new book and future releases.

Melanie has a treat for us! A heart necklace and earrings for one lucky person who tells us the name of the next book in the series after Prime Suspect. The answer is on her blog at Just answer in the comment section, but hurry. Winner is whoever's first!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Winner of Texas Roads by Cathy Bryant

Congratulations to Doylene Brents (aka A Gracious Home) for winning a copy of Cathy Bryant's new release, Texas Roads. Enjoy! And, if you get the chance, Doylene, drop in and tell us what you liked best when you're done. I'm sure some more of us will have read it by then and it would be fun to invite Cathy back and talk about our favorite parts.

1970 Olds 442


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