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, May 30, 2012

Hey! There's an Audience for That!

“Hey, there’s an App for that!” Ever heard this in response to some idea you were sure was entirely unique and so obscure that no one else had ever conceived it? In fact, you thought you were completely weird for coming up with it. Except, that meant there was some other weirdo out there, because he came up with it, too. And there must have been a lot of weirdos out there, because there seemed to be an audience for this App.
If an App can find its own weird audience, might an author? 
Here’s my story:         

When I think about my journey to becoming a published author I always feel a tad overwhelmed with astonishment. Sometimes I'm not even sure if it's something I chose or stumbled into. I'm not complaining though, because now that I'm here I can't imagine it any other way.
So here's why my story is a little strange. First of all, I never intended to become a writer. My journey began with an obsession over making sense of a dream I had over the Thanksgiving holidays in 2002. I woke up feeling like I had experienced pieces of someone else' life, and for the next six months I pondered continuously over how it all fit together. Eventually it became too big to keep straight in my head, so I began to write in secret -- because, really... who tries to work out a story from a dream merely because it fascinates them? As I wrote though something transformed within me. I fell in love with these characters in my head, I fell in love with their plight to be together, and I felt this strange sense of honor at being the one to convey their story through the written word. I fell in love with the ability to create.
I toyed for several years more, putting the book away, pulling it out, considering the idea of trying to get published and then convincing myself that I'd written the story solely for my own satisfaction.
Around 2007 I began to feel a gentle nudge in the direction of publication. That's when I faced a couple of new challenges. I knew nothing about the industry, and even less about the genres of the book I had written. You see, I read a fair amount. Tom Clancy and Tess Gerritson were and still are two of my favorite authors, but neither of them write romance. So here I was, a non-romance reader who had written a romance. To add to that conundrum, my romance had strong elements of faith in it. It was Christian fiction romance. Guess what? Not only did I not read romance, I didn't read Christian fiction, and certainly had never so much as picked up a Christian fiction romance. Was there even such a thing?
So that's when I began to study. To my horror, one of the first things I learned was that a.) authors are supposed to read what they write, and b.) the kind of things I wanted to include in my book/s were the sort of things that most publishers of Christian fiction ask authors to edit out. The author of one book I read about getting published in the Christian fiction market flat out stated that if you were a new author, and your book contained a,b or c (you know, the "big sins") then you should put it away and write something else. If you were lucky and made it big, then maybe one day you could publish the story you really wanted to tell.
At that point, I remember closing that book and thinking the advice seemed a tad disingenuous. Wouldn't readers feel duped if they'd come to expect one thing from a beloved author only to find out that was never who the author really was. Wouldn't that be a little like learning Tom Clancy really was a communist, and the true reason for getting his character Jack Ryan into the White House was so he could make points on what he saw as benefits of that system. I had to ask myself: Did I want to write for the purpose of being published, or did I want to write for the purpose of telling a story from my heart? For me, it was never really a question.
So here I am, an unintentional writer of Christian fiction/romance for readers who don't read either. And something rather amazing has come of it. I've discovered that there's actually an audience for that.

In closing, here's a picture of my dog.

                                          "Tweet me if you think I'm cute."

Friday, May 25, 2012

Congrats to My Winners on Goodreads!

Congratulations to the winners in my Goodreads contest. Phoenix Carvelli, Audry Perkins and Karrisa Fabin, your copy of No Other will be on its way shortly!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Don't Make Readers Stare at their Brains.

I'm first and foremost a writer, but I've also been working as an editor for a few years. I currently edit for two independent presses and occasionally take on freelance projects. I also do short story acquisitions for a literary magazine.

 I've gained a few insights over the past several years; some related to writing, some having to do with character and people skills. For example: What's the best way to tell an author "We need to scrap the whole last third of the book" and make it sound enjoyable. As such, I thought it might be fun and mildly educational to journal on my blog about what I've learned.

I'm of the mind that very few rules are absolute. When it comes to writing though, one has to be careful. There's a fine line between having your own unique style (voice) and well... not having any style at all. Writers will try lots of tricks as they strive to discover their voice.

So, this brings me to my first observation: analogies.  They can be beautiful, evoke just the precise image to capture that elusive feeling so that you've gripped the reader's heart and squeezed (gentle or with malice, depending on the author's intent). The other end of the spectrum is that you overreach or overuse -- or do both. You produce agony but not with intention. The inappropriate or misplaced analogy, or one that's simply a poor comparison can indeed induce eye rolls so extreme readers are forced to shake their heads to refocus their vision -- reread with hope of better understanding, eye roll, head shake and groan. This isn't the reaction you want.

My advice is to never use analogies flippantly. The analogy is a powerful tool. Reserve it for intense emotion; moments of emphasis. This includes everything from grief to humor, or even as an element of foreshadowing. But don't overdo it! The idea is to draw the reader into the experience. Readers will feel the apprehension as your character enters that big, old house, because your reader remembers the house is like a siren, tantalizing and dangerous -- ever beckoning, patiently waiting out his resolve until he succumbs and is at her complete mercy and will.

However, if the tree in the yard is like a monster with outstretched arms poised to attack, the upstairs windows are glowing eyes watching his every move, the front door is a mouth, wide and gaping, ready to devour, and the sidewalk leading up to the door is like a frog's tongue, stuck to its prey and pulling it toward its doom, then it's a lot less likely that readers will remember the foreboding feeling of the house being compared to a siren. Mostly their eyes will just be rolled so far back in their heads they'll be staring at their own brain.

Don't make readers stare at their brains.

And now to rid your mind of the ugly image of a brain here's a picture of my dog.

                                           "If you think I'm cute, tweet me."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lessons From the Open Road by K. Dawn Byrd

Lessons from the Open Road
A couple of years ago, the idea of writing a devotional about the lessons I learned while riding a motorcycle came to me. I had no idea what I was getting into and how much writing devotionals would minister to me as an author. I jotted down notes for weeks, hoping to come up with enough lessons to take the reader through a month. Lessons from the Open Road ended with 33 lessons, each followed by Scripture and prayer.
Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes learning new things is hard. Just when I thought I'd mastered the parking lot where I was learning to ride my little Yamaha Virago starter bike, I pulled out, forgot to hit the brake, did an Evel Knievel, and jumped a short concrete wall, landing in some trees. My poor little bike limped home with a hole in the crankcase the size of a quarter. J-B Weld to the rescue!
I'm stubborn, too stubborn to quit. After I recovered from the sore neck that resulted from my stunt, I climbed back on the old iron horse. Eventually, I graduated from the parking lot and hit the streets. When I'd learned to ride well enough to satisfy hubby, he bought himself a new Harley and I inherited his anniversary edition Harley Davidson Sportster. And, when I graduated with my masters degree, you'd never guess what I wanted. Yep, a new bike. I became the proud owner of a Screamin Eagle V-Rod (picture attached.)
All good things must eventually come to an end. I enjoyed my days on the road, but found another passion. Writing. I work a full-time job and since there's only so much time in the day, I have to choose what's most important to me. The bike had to go. Occasionally, I miss it, but for the most part, I'd rather be writing. I'm hoping the devotions in Lessons from the Open Road will minister to your heart as much as writing them did to mine.
Lessons from the Open Road is currently available in ebook format and will be coming soon in print. I had planned to list it at no cost, but Amazon wouldn't allow me to do so. I've listed it at the lowest price Amazon allows, 99 cents, and all proceeds will be donated to my church's building fun for the new church that's currently under construction.
For more information about Lessons from the Open Road, you can check it out on Amazon at

K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction. She is an avid blogger and gives away several books per week on her blog at, most of which are signed by the authors. She's also the moderator of the popular facebook Christian Fiction Gathering group at!/group.php?gid=128209963444.
When not reading or writing, K. Dawn Byrd enjoys spending time with her husband of 16 years while walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home and plotting the next story waiting to be told.

Book giveaway blog:
Young adult blog:
I'm also on Twitter (kdawnbyrd) and facebook (K Dawn Byrd.) I am the moderator of the Christian Fiction Gathering facebook group (!/group.php?gid=128209963444) If you join this group, you'll get reminders about the weekly book giveaways.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Review: When Love Collides by Michelle Sutton

Raquel and Scott have a past together. Once close friends, Raquel broke Scott’s heart when she chose to marry someone else. Over the years their lives drifted in vastly different directions bringing both pain and disappointment. As faith healed their hearts, circumstance merged their paths once again. Will the trial that brought them back together also be the one thing their love can’t conquer?

When Love Collides is a precious story about choices: choosing to let go of the past and move forward; and choosing to love even in the certainty of hardship. Through good times and bad, sickness and health, Raquel and Scott must love against the odds and find hope in their faith and with each other.

The story's tone is a realistic one of sweet sadness, as sometimes we must accept circumstances beyond our control. The message, however, is uplifting and the ending will leave you with a smile.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Book Review: Freeheads by Kerry Nietz


When I got this book to read, I didn’t realize it was actually the last book in a trilogy. The author did a great job of filling in enough detail that I never felt lost or had a hard time picking up with the story. I do, however, recommend reading the books in order since that’s how the author intended the story to be told.
But WOW! What can I say? I read a lot. I find a lot of books I enjoy, and I’m not stingy with my five star reviews, but books like this make me consider that maybe I need to be, because books such as this really belong in a different category all together. From the beginning of the story I was enthralled with Kerry Nietz vision of the future. Sometimes I was a little terrified. So many of the issues -- faith vs indoctrination, freedom vs control, truth vs deceit -- are utterly relevant for today, and even serve as a warning when we consider where our future may lead. While the setting was a little different, it was easy to envision how technology, such as iPhones and the global network, could evolve into the ability to directly stream information via a chip implanted within the brain.

This story is both captivating and thought provoking, with characters who gripped me from beginning to end. The action is fast-paced and the plot is wrought with tension; yet there are tender moments that allow the reader to experience new emotions, new lines of reasoning and discovery right along with Sandfly. Amongst the turmoil and chaos of Sandfly’s world, we find beauty. I could gush for another couple of pages but I think you get the point. I absolutely loved this book and am loving the series as I read it now. I’ve been enthusiastically recommending it and will continue to do so. I even bought the series for my mom! Freeheads , and the entire Dark Trench trilogy is a definite must read. The story will stay with you in unexpected ways long after you’ve put the book down.

1970 Olds 442


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