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.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Scavenger Hunt

Desert Breeze Publishing is putting on a Christmas scavenger hunt through the blogs of their authors. Each blog will have a question with a link to another author's blog where you'll have to look for the answer.

Sign up at to get a list of questions and to be eligible for prizes. Prizes include everything from free reads, to t-shirts, Swarovski crystal Christmas earrings (made by me), cookies, calendars, and Amazon gift certificates ranging from $10-$50; and more.

The hunt started yesterday at but you shouldn't have any problem catching up. It will conclude on Dec 18th. Have fun!

Oh! And don't forget to enter here or here to win a Kindle 2. You can enter both if you like.

And just for bragging points, over the Thanksgiving holidays I went to Best Buy looking for a book light and ended up selling a Sony Touch ereader to an interested couple, and then at church I convinced an airforce serviceman to buy a Kindle after he noticed that my Bible was on mine. He was already thinking about it though. Okay...that's all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Here's to safe traveling and a wonderful time with family and friends. God bless.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Research Series: K. Dawn Byrd

This week's guest blogger is K. Dawn Byrd. She is a fellow Desert Breeze Publishing author, whose suspense novel, Killing Time, is set to be released in the summer of 2010. But K. Dawn is currently working on a WWII romance that is scheduled for release this coming April. Here's what she has to share about researching this story.

K. Dawn Byrd

I've never had to do much research for my books. That is, until recently when I tackled a historical. It's a WWII romantic suspense that should be released by Desert Breeze Publishing in April if all goes as planned. I've been somewhat of a WWII buff for years, but realized just how little I knew about the era when I began writing. Google searches have been helpful as has eBay. For example, I was looking for a hotel in New York where my heroine, who is a spy, would pick up a message for the O.S.S. I searched eBay and found a 1945 menu for the Hotel Astor. I placed the scene in the hotel and chose her meal from the menu.

I'm a plotter. Before I begin a new manuscript, I spend a couple of weeks researching. Recently, I started a series about a female bail bondsman and was lucky enough to have a friend who is a bail bondsman who was willing to answer my questions. It's always good to find someone in the field if possible. Also, I've found Yahoo groups to be helpful. There's a group for just about everything you can think of. For example, I'm a lurking member of a group of crime scene writers and have gleaned a lot of information from their posts.

Before I start writing, it's an absolute must that I know my characters well. I have used character worksheets to help me get acquainted with them. You can find several of these by doing a Google search. Also, Jeannie Campbell at can be of great help. She's a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and will answer your questions about your characters on her blog. With a little bit of a background, she can tell you why they act the way they do so that you can build believable characters.

Another useful tool I've used to help me get to know my characters is Debra Dixon's book, Goal, Motivation & Conflict. This book helps me explore what my character's goals are and why they have those goals. The conflict comes in when I place an obstacle in their path that keeps them from meeting that goal. Let's say your heroine's goal is to get married. Her motivation is that she's lonely and wants someone to share her life with. The conflict comes in as you ask "Why can't she meet this goal?" Maybe her mother runs eligible bachelors off. Maybe she wants to get married so badly that she pushes herself on men and scares them off. Get the picture?

I've found that I actually enjoy research. In addition, I devour books on editing and learning the craft, ever striving to become a better writer. I hope you've found some of the tools I use to be helpful in your own writing. That said, it's time I get back to work on my historical. Good luck with your research!

Enter Here to win a free Kindle.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Fuhr Family Story

As a continuation of my research series, I'm posting the Fuhr family story. I found this story about two months ago, long after the completion of No Other, but this young man's experience is similar in many ways to that of my character, Jakob, so I thought it would be a good one to share.

The Fuhr Family Story

My parents, Carl and Anna Fuhr, immigrated to the U.S. in 1927 and 1928. My father came in 1927, and my mother, along with my older brother, Julius and me, immigrated in 1928. We settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. My father, a baker, had been sponsored to immigrate to the U.S. by several people. One sponsor was Frank Grammer, who owned and operated one of the finest German restaurants in the Midwest. Another sponsor was the Concordia Lutheran Church of Cincinnati. My mother was a housewife. On October 13, 1929, my younger brother, Gerhard, was born.

In 1940, my parents, my older brother, and I were told by the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the FBI to go to the downtown post office and register as aliens.

On August 5, 1942, my parents were taken into custody by the FBI. Several weeks later at hearings by a so-called hearing board (not a court of law), where they were not given the opportunity to face their accusers, they were ordered into internment. My younger brother, Gerhard, was just 12 years old at that time and preparing to go into the 6th grade at the Heberle School in Cincinnati. He had just been assigned his seat, when he was told to go home and pack our parents’ clothes. They were not permitted to return home and pack for themselves.

My 12-year-old brother was interned with my parents, even though he was an American citizen, having been born in Cincinnati. Had he not joined my parents, he would have been sent to an orphanage, a fate shared by other internee children. On September 12, 1942, carrying clothing and belongings for himself and our parents, he took a taxicab to the U.S. Post Office garage, which was located on John Street in Cincinnati. The following day, the three of them boarded a train and headed for Chicago, Illinois, where they changed trains, and along with many other families, headed to Dallas and ultimately to the Federal Women’s Prison in Seagoville, Texas. At that time there were 700-800 family internees in this large facility which was run by the I.N.S. They remained there until early July of 1943, when they were transferred to a camp in southwestern Texas called Crystal City.

Meanwhile, my brother, Julius (18) and I (17) were allowed to stay home, but had to fend for ourselves.

Continues with fifth paragraph:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Importance of Research: Anne Patrick

Some of you may remember Anne as a guest blogger a couple of months back during the Writing Journey series. Today she's with us again to talk about research. Anne writes suspense, and every good suspense needs an equally good detective. And since Anne's not a detective, she had homework to do. So, I'll turn the rest of this post over to Anne so she can tell us how she approaches this.

The Importance of Research

The old saying, write what you know, doesn’t really work well in fiction unless you’re an ex-cop doing a series about a cop or a retired forensic pathologist drawing on their experience to create NY Times bestsellers. But when you’re an administrative assistant, creating a variety of characters including FBI profilers to fire investigators, you want to be as through as possible, so you research.

For me researching is half the fun. It hasn’t always been that pleasant. I remember, before the great wide world of internet, spending hours and hours in the local library skimming through book after book hoping to learn as much as I could about the subject I was writing about. But with the invention of cyber space (God bless Google) my research time has been cut way down. Even better is finding that one source that can help you get inside your character’s head.

On my novel, Every Skull Tells a Story, I linked up with a real Forensic Artist who was able to give me great insights into the process through email correspondence. Plus I read as much about the subject I could get my hands on. This paid off at my first book signing when I had a small group of eager buyers who asked a variety of questions on the subject. If I hadn’t done my research I would have been in a real pickle. Not to mention looked really stupid.

While writing my upcoming release, Fire and Ash, I was put into contact through a friend with a Fire Investigator in Iowa. By the time I met him I had already done most of my research on the subject, but wanted to make sure I got it right and that my scenes were feasible. He graciously took the time to read my manuscript, offered some great input on how to improve my main character, and let me crawl inside his head so to speak of what a day in his life was like. He walked me through (via email) several fire scenes which really helped when I was working on my imaginary scenes. His help was invaluable.

So how much is too much? Most of the research I do never goes into the actual story; it’s more background information to help me have a good vision of what my character should be like because you want them to be as believable as possible. You also want your scenes to be as realistic as possible. You wouldn’t build a house without a good set of blueprints would you?

Sometimes you get so wrapped up in the research though that you lose your concentration or get side tracked. A good solution to this is as you’re writing your story, when you come to a place where some research is needed, highlight the paragraph and come back to it later once you finish the first draft. This should keep you grounded. At least it works for me.

The bottom line, if you want to write a book that captivates the reader with believable characters, do your research. You never know when you’ll have a group of interested buyers ready to pick your brain about your wonderful new book.

Please visit to read excerpts and sample chapters of my books. Every Skull Tells a Story and Journey to Redemption is available now, more titles to come in 2010.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Scheibe Family Story

This posts marks the first in my series on research, and as promised I want to start by highlighting a bit of history uncovered while researching my novel, No Other. This is not an attempt to make any political statement. I think we all can agree that the stories of these families are tragic. The only fair statement to be made is that war is horrific on all accounts.

The characters in my book are not based upon any one family, but upon the shared experiences of many.

In the interest of length, I will post a partial excerpt and then the link to the complete story.

The Scheibe Family Story

On the 8th of November, 2002, my brother (Egon Scheibe Jr.) and I (Erika Scheibe Seus) went on a journey to Crystal City, Texas. This was a journey we needed to make. Our parents, Grete Scheibe, now 89, and our deceased father Egon Sr. were internees at a camp there during World War II. After 60 years a reunion was being held. We were among “the children of the camp.” This is a story that needs to be told. It is a part of the history of our family.

My father immigrated to the United States from Kiel, Germany, in the year 1925, at the age of 17. He arrived with his mother and father (a naval architect) and his younger brother Fred. My father attended Cooper Union Art School and became a talented artist. Fred earned his PHD and went on to become a college professor.

My mother, at the age of 10, arrived at Ellis Island with her family in 1924, leaving behind their farm in Bremerhaven. My grandfather was killed at the age 33 in World War I. They were sponsored by relatives, learned English and made a new life here. My parents were active in the German community and met at one of their dances. They were married in 1937 and lived in Brooklyn, New York. I was born a year later.

The war broke out in 1942. On June 15th, the FBI went to my father’s place of business, handcuffed him, interrogated him and took him to Ellis Island. Agents came to the house and searched all our personal belongings. For the next 6 months my mother and I visited my father by ferry. At that time the building was deteriorating and conditions were deplorable. My parents were forbidden to hold hands by the guards.

This same scenario was occurring throughout the United States. Over 11,000 German Americans were being arrested, detained and interned all because of unfounded suspicions. They were denied legal counsel in behalf of their defense. Many were on the FBI’s list because of insinuations, jealous business rivals or hearsay, some because they belonged to various German clubs and organizations.

In December of 1942 our family was sent to an internment camp in Texas for “enemy aliens.”

For the rest go to

Now, to lighten the mood, here's a link for a drawing to win a Kindle or Sony Touch Ereader.

And enter here to win a Kindle

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Free Cookbook

Desert Breeze Publishing is offering a free downloadable cookbook. It includes recipes from DBP authors as well as excerpts from their books. Here's the link for direct download.

Also, DBP now has a monthly newsletter with info about authors, new releases, all kinds of stuff. Here's that link too.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Guest Blogger: Linda Nixon Fulkerson, On Blogging Well

Today we've got a treat. Linda Nixon Fulkerson has joined us to share a little advice on ways to improve your blog. I for one, need this. I'm continually wondering what in the world my next blog post will be about. So, not only did Linda take care of that little worry for me today, she brought along a lot of helpful advice that we bloggers can benefit from. Thanks Linda!

Do you have a blog that’s kind of stuck — just sitting there, waiting to attract oodles of readers? Or maybe you don’t have a blog yet. You’ve been told you should start one, though, since everyone who’s anyone in your industry blogs. But, you’re not quite sure how to get started or even if you want to blog. Trust me, I understand. I've probably made every blogging boo-boo possible before I plopped down at the “feet” of some of the best blogging gurus out there and became a serious student of blogdom.

I’m not necessarily the most blog-savvy person on the planet, but, as the song goes, “I Know a Little,” and I’ve had enough people ask me how to blog, what to blog about, how to start blogging, etc., that I decided to launch my own “how-to-become-a-rockstar-blogger” blog. It's called "On Blogging Well" and is located at

On Blogging Well contains tips on creating compelling content, promoting your blog, search engine optimization and techie tips geared toward non-Geeks, weekly podcasts (don’t even make fun of my Arkansas accent, though!), as well as information about how to make money from blogging if you want. On Blogging Well also offers tips for using social media to create traffic streams to your blog with posts like, “Five Things Your Mother Never Told You about Twitter.”

For those bloggers who’ve been around a while, there’s a free advanced tips newsletter – just sign up in the form located in the right sidebar. I won’t pester you by flooding your email in-box with a bunch of useless ramblings. These posts are sent about once or maybe twice a week and have solid, meaty tips to help you take your blog from stagnant to stunning.

I hope you'll stop by and visit. Feel free to ask questions about all things blogging. If I don't know the answer, I'll do my best to find it!
Thanks so much, Shawna, for letting me hog your blog today!
Linda Fulkerson
Blog Coach & Internet Marketing Advisor

Linda Fulkerson is a wife, mom, author, hobby farmer, photographer, blog coach/online marketing advisor, and self-proclaimed blogaholic. She’s been blogging for nearly six years, and while some not-quite-six-year-olds are barely out of pull-ups, in bloggy years, that puts her among the blue-hairs. You can learn more about Linda by visiting

If you have any questions for Linda please post them, she will be checking in to answer throughout the day.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Book Review: It's Not About Him by Michelle Sutton

It's Not About Him by Michelle Sutton picks up with two of the characters we were introduced to in Michelle's YA novel, It's not About Me.

Both Jeff and Susie are young, struggling Christians with serious issues to face. Susie, who is pregnant when the story begins, has decided to give her baby up for adoption. Jeff, though not the father, wants to take care of Susie and her baby. Having been given up for adoption himself, and plagued with his need to know why, he believes that Susie is making the wrong choice. In the midst of this conflict is a burgeoning romance.

There's not a subject this book doesn't approach. Alcoholism, rape, sexual temptation, death; Michelle takes on each of these, and shows how her characters overcome their pain and temptation with God's help.

My favorite part about this book was the completeness of the journey, starting with Susie's decision to give up her baby, and ending with the resolution Jeff finds at the book's conclusion. I don't want to give anymore away than that.

Next fall the third book in the It's Not About series comes out and it picks up with Tony. I'm glad, because I like and sympathize with his character, and look forward to seeing him conquer his struggles through Christ.

Good job, Michelle!

On Wednesday Linda Nixon Fulkerson is going to guest blog. And starting next week I'm going to begin a series on research. It may be a little slow at first since I'm still lining up guests.

I have a treat though! I came across so many interesting facts while I was researching No Other, but none were as fascinating -- and heartwrenching -- as the stories of the German immigrant families who were interned during the war. This historical reality is the heart of my book. It's the emotional framework for Jakob; and to understand him, you have to know what these people went through. During this series on research, I'd like to highlight a different family's story each week. I think this is important to share, and I believe you will agree.


1970 Olds 442


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