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.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tina Pinson Visits

Welcome back, Tina Pinson!
Tina visits today to tell us a little about herself and her new book, Touched by Mercy.

Hello, Shawna. Thanks so much for inviting me back to your page.

Tell us a little about yourself? You mean you don't want a book. I am an author, you know? LOL I live in Grand Junction, Colorado with, Danny. We've been married 30+ years. We own and operate Omega Avionics and our newest venture F & S Tire. We have three grown sons, two beautiful daughter-in-laws and 5 grand children.

I started my first novel in elementary school, probably so I wouldn't die young. You see, I was a liar extraordinaire, sooo writing gave me an outlet for my fiction where I wouldn't get in trouble from my parents. I write poetry, short stories and songs. One of my songs won in the top twenty-five for a contest out of Nashville. I like to camp, garden, work with wood, sing and teach. I've been with American Christian Fiction Writers since 2003.
My first novel, In the Manor of the Ghost, was published in June 2010

Tell us about your writing journey? I started in elementary school. When we lived in Turkey during my junior high years, I worked on a story called Just in Time for the Rain. I wrote for a time, little stories and poetry. Then started to work on another novel called When Shadows Fall, but, with little kids in the house, I didn't get far. So I sat that aside and worked on poetry, songs and short stories, plus drawing. I also did newsletters and such. I took a correspondence writing course and went to a couple of conferences. One my songs won in the top 25 for a Nashville contest.

Once my children were in school, I started to write in earnest. I pulled out When Shadows Fall again, and wrote a good five hundred pages. My fingers and imagine flew then my computer when kaput on me. Fried it's hard drive and ate all my files. Needless to say it scarfed my stories along with it. I lost When Shadows Fall, but luckily, I had saved a hard copy so I started again. Can I just say retyping that many pages is not fun. Remember to back up your work. Anyway, I started writing and I didn't stop until I had 900 plus pages.

Then I started working on several other stories. I have over eleven. I self-published two and found that more editing was a good thing. Which I did, and then started trying to get them published only to find out that the rules of writing had changed. And my stories wouldn't be accepted unless the rules were adhered to. Oh well. So I started rewriting as per POV rules and one of my stories placed third overall in the Noble Theme Contest through ACRW in 2003. The Noble Theme Contest became the Genesis Contest soon after and ACRW became ACFW. (So I've been at this for some time, this writing.) Because of my win, an agent asked to represent me, and thought that publishing would come soon after. I wished. I wasn't published until this year when Desert Breeze Publishing accepted two of my stories.

What's your favorite thing about Christmas? Christmas always makes me think of simpler times. I love Christmas Lights. I like to sit in the house with only the lights on. I like snow, when we get it, and icicles and gifts. I like the frost on the windowpanes of the house, not the car—makes it kind of hard to see. When we were younger, we did a lot of caroling. Kind of a lost art these days, but our family would bundle up, go out and carol around our neighborhood then come back and have hot chocolate, and maybe have a taffy pull and read the Christmas Story. My father died in 1994 and I wonder if that's not why we don't go out as much. We still read the story and have chocolate, but now that Dad is gone and we've all moved to all points of the country, it just doesn’t happen the same.

Any great recipes to share? My goodness, I don't really know if I have any great recipes. I just pull out the cookbook. But in honor of past Christmases, here's a taffy recipe
1 cup sugar
¾ light corn syrup
2/3 cup water
1 tblsp cornstarch
2 tblsp margarine or butter
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
Butter a pan. I use a cookie sheet. Mix sugar, corn syrup, water, cornstarch, margarine and salt in 2 quart saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook without stirring to 256 deg. on candy thermometer or until small amount forms a ball when dropped in cold water./ Remove from heat and stir in Vanilla. Pour into Pan

When cool enough to handle (we usually did it when it was too hot) butter up your hand and pull taffy until it is satiny, light in color and stiff. Pull into long strips and cut into pieces. You can wrap piece individually in plastic or wax paper. This yields about a pound of candy.

What do you do enjoy doing in you spare time? I like to doodle, and do woodworking. I like to sing and teach too. Hear lately, my spare time has been taken with grandkids or moving one business into the same office with another and taking care of paperwork for both. Which really bites into my writing time, something else I like to do when I have spare time.

Tell us a little about your new book, Touched by Mercy. Touched by Mercy tells the story of one woman's journey to grace. Samantha Northam comes from a background of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, having been molested as a child, I identify with Samantha.

The story was pretty much my rite of passage. Coming to a point where I believed God could find me lovely. I made it a bit harder on Samantha than myself, but I wanted to show the beauty of God's grace on us, his arms around the brokenhearted. Samantha hadn't done anything wrong, as far as the molestation went, but she spent years believing she had, and spent long years hating and being afraid to love. When her daughter, Angelina, is taken from her, she believes that it happened because she's not good enough. She sets out to find Angelina, which leads her to the Orphanages of New York. She doesn't find Angelina, but she is introduced to several needy children and some Nuns who begin to teach her about God's love. Because of her wounds, Samantha doesn't quite believe the Nuns, she still thinks she has to prove her worth to God. So Samantha sets out to ease the pain that the children of the orphanage suffer. When word comes that Angelina might have been found in Kansas, Samantha heads west, with plans to get her daughter and open a boardinghouse for stops on the Orphan Train. The west seems to hold all the answers to her dreams, but time and circumstances cause her to wonder if it has taken her far enough away from her past and her nightmares.

And if she'll ever be good enough in God's eyes to become his child.

Touched By Mercy is a story about God's plan for our lives, and how he can use and loves us even though we feel inadequate. It also tells shows how God places people in our lives to Touch us with his Mercy.

What inspired you to write it? The catalyst for writing Touched By Mercy arose from my own healing from abuse and desire to see others whole. Having been molested as a child, I related to some of what Sam felt. Her insecurities and her belief that she would never be good enough, were mine more than I care to admit. Yes, I gave Sam deeper problems to deal with, but the emotions and scars are cast from my own. I know there are many out there going through the same insecurities, thinking somehow they did something wrong and don't deserve God's love unless they prove themselves, and through Touched By Mercy, I hoped to show them how much God loves them and walk them toward hope as well.

What message do you hope readers will take from it? I hope that they will see how loving our God really is. And see that he is there to carry us and love us no matter what people may do.

Do you have a favorite scene? Care to share an excerpt?
Preston led his boys in evening study and prayer then tucked them in. They weren't babies anymore, but he enjoyed the few moments before bed with them. He enjoyed mussing their hair, hugging them, and telling them he loved them. As fast as the years moved, it wouldn't be long before they'd be grown, tucking in children of their own. He recalled the way their mama used to kiss their cheeks and whisper her love as she pushed the blankets around them. He remembered with an ache.

Would he ever stop missing her? Would the boys ever have another mother? Would he ever take another wife?

He lay back on his pillow and asked the Lord those very things. He believed he'd have them someday. Maybe soon. The ache he once bore had eased with time, and the conviction that he'd never love another was being tested. It'd been tested that very afternoon when he found himself looking into Miss Northam's deep green eyes with longing. It surprised him. Her, too, judging from her reaction.

He remembered something the Lord had told him three years before, about a year after his wife had died. He lay in bed, asking the same questions. Figuring the Lord agreed, he'd told the Lord a firm no to every one of them. No new wife, no marriage, no... He loved his dear Sarah too much. How could the Lord want him to marry, or love another?

The Lord surprised him.

Preston, my beloved son, the ache will ebb, and a time will arise when you'll take another wife.

Preston had chuckled. "This can't be. I've loved Sarah for too long. I couldn't love another. I couldn't bear it." Besides there weren't many woman in the territory at the time.

You will. The voice in his heart had been adamant.

"I don't know any women. Not any that I want to marry."

I've chosen one for you, beloved.

Preston nearly gasped. But he didn't scoff at God. "All right, let's say you have. How will I know her? Does she have a name? Who is she, Lord? Where is she?"
When the time comes, you'll find her at the Chicken Ranch.

Preston had sat up with yelp and argued no man of God could find a woman to be his wife at the Chicken Ranch. A woman from a brothel? A woman like Lil? What did the Lord want him to be… another Hosea? Surely not.

The Lord had been adamant. I know whom I have for you. She'll be at the Chicken Ranch.

Petrified he'd find her sitting in her long underwear on the front porch, Preston took long detours home, skirting the ranch so he wouldn't find the wife the Lord had for him.

Where can readers buy your book and where can they learn more about you?My website --
Purchase my books at:

Desert Breeze Bookstore.
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost

Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost

Barnes & Noble
Touched By Mercy—available soon
In the Manor of the Ghost

Christian Books Distributors
Touched By Mercy – available soon
In the Manor of the Ghost

In honor of the release of Touched By Mercy I am running a contest, Win a Nook… Touch Mercy for the month of Dec. 2010. Check out my blog under the Touched By Mercy Contest page for the particulars.
Thank you, Tina. Please stop by Tina's blog and check out her amazing contest. Tina's book will be a great first purchase for you guys who open up an ereader on Christmas morning!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Deborah Kinnard Visits!

I love Christmas! So I'm really excited to have Deborah Kinnard visit today to tell us about herself and about her new Christmas release, Aloha, My Love.

Tell us a little about yourself?

Short-round soccer mom who spends way too much time writing novels and doing jewelry, and not enough time on housework. Housework is boring. Dust is a wood preservative. There—I’ve said it!

OMGoodness, you sound just like me!
What's your favorite thing about Christmas?

Hanging with family and friends, with enough time to really talk and catch up. Everything else is just icing.

Any great recipes to share?

A quick, easy one that everyone seems to like: drain and chop fine a small jar of marinated artichokes. Throw ‘em in a casserole. Add a dollop of mayonnaise (about ¼ to ½ c.) and plenty of Parmesan cheese. Add a dash of Louisiana hot sauce. Stir it up really well. Nuke in the microwave about 3 minutes or until bubbly. Serve in a bread bowl with chunks of bread for dipping, or with table water crackers. (I love artichokes).

Me too! Especially artichoke dip. I'm making this.
I recently learned that you make jewelry. How long have you done this and what's your favorite type of bead, style, etc... Do you ever make stuff to go along with your books?

I’m a newcomer to this. I like using mixed beads and silver or gold-tone spacers. Svarovski crystals are great, and fun to add to other beads. I like to do “random” necklaces that don’t have any particular pattern save for harmonizing colors. Lately ’ve started hunting down beads that look vaguely Celtic or medieval, to go with some of the books I’m working on now.

Your new book, Aloha, My Love, is a Christmas story with an unusual setting. Tell us a little about this book and what inspired you to write it?

Some years ago, my husband took us to Hawaii for our tenth anniversary. I fell in love with the Big Island and knew I would eventually set a story there. We did a lot of skin diving and roaming around on our own—it was idyllic. So when I wanted to tell a “second chances” story in a setting that wasn’t Illinois, it came naturally.

Do you have a favorite scene? Care to share an excerpt?

My favorite scenes are when Adam and Delaine are diving. Here’s a snippet:

Adam glanced seaward. "Tide's coming in. Those waves are getting bigger."
"I'd like to watch it come in." Her voice sounded wistful. They swam easily toward the shore. "I've never seen a tide before."
His heart softened further. "Then that's what we'll do."
"Suppose you can swim a few minutes first?"
"Sure. It's easy in salt water." To demonstrate he turned over onto his back, blowing excess water up into the air like a whale's spout. Delaine laughed. She splashed him, and he coughed. "Get you for that, Bishop!"
He couldn't resist a lunge, diving down to come up underneath. He grabbed a slender ankle and tugged to dunk that sassy face. He surfaced laughing, she did the same with another splash. The battle continued until he accidentally got her with a handful of water just as she was inhaling.
"Sorry," he said as she coughed. "Bad timing." He put his arm around her waist in case she couldn't touch the rocky bottom.
He wasn't quite sure what mischievous impulse overtook him. Still grasping her waist, Adam lay back in the water. He drew Del close, then spun her around like a pair of dolphins. Laughter bubbled up in both of them at once. She threw back her head to give it rein. Oh, she was lovely like this, with drops of seawater on her lashes and the sun in her face. Far too beautiful to resist one moment longer. Too lovely not to kiss. He let his lips seek hers, but she avoided the contact.
Like lightning, she disentangled their arms and legs. Her withdrawal hurt, for she'd felt sweet and precious against his chest. Hoping he misinterpreted her action, he let her have a few seconds' space then grabbed for her again. They rotated through the water, first one then the other, tugging and changing direction. Lithe young bodies bent and curved in the freedom of the buoyant waves. Delight shone in her gray eyes, and he felt the joy in her down to his own soul. Their play was all beauty; the happiness on her face matched that in his heart.

Where can readers buy your book and where can they learn more about you?

ALOHA, MY LOVE is available at the Desert Breeze web site (, and will be coming out for the Kindle. Fictionwise also carries DBP titles, and usually has them a few days after they release.

Deb is giving away a holiday-themed beaded necklace. Leave a comment with your email to enter!
Thanks Deborah!

If you're thinking about gift ideas for distant friends and relatives, why give a card when you can give a book! Kindle now has a gift-giving feature for e-books. All you need is an email address.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Christmas Gift, Diane Craver

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Diane Craver. Diane is a multipublished author of contemporary romance, inspirational romance and historical fiction. She's visited here before, but today's visit is significant because the book Diane is promoting holds a special place in her heart. Hope you guys are getting in the mood for Christmas!

The Christmas Angel

I’d like to thank Shawna for having me here so I can talk about my new release, A Christmas Gift. Before I share why I included an angel in my story, I want to tell you a little bit about the characters in A Christmas Gift. I’m dating myself here but I was a small girl in 1957. My upcoming release contains my childhood experiences with fiction thrown into the story line. However, the prologue and epilogue are in present time. When I mentioned to our daughter, Emily, that it was hard for me to believe that my new book was considered historical fiction, she laughed and said, "Mom, it wouldn’t be contemporary." Including some childhood experiences lends an authentic feel to the whole story and love seeps through the characters. The father, Justin Reeves, is a man who has it all: a good job, a loving wife and children who are the center of his universe. Justin also has a secret he’d hidden from everyone his entire life. One night Debby stumbles upon his secret and is shocked by what she finds. She confronts her father with the awful truth. What happens next is heartwarming and proves that obstacles can be overcome at any age.

One of my favorite chapters in the book is titled, “The Christmas Angel.” I enjoyed writing about a special angel. I originally hadn’t planned on having an angel to save Debby in the snowstorm, but suddenly God gave me the idea that an angel would be perfect for this chapter. It seemed appropriate to me that a small girl feeling unwanted would need a perky and funny angel. Including an angel in my story was important to me because I believe that God sends angels to save us from many dangerous situations. They regard our safety, undertake our defense, direct our ways, and protect us so that no evil might hurt us. As the Bible says, “He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11)

When God appoints angels to special tasks, they may take on physical bodies. God has given angels higher knowledge, power and mobility than us. Have you ever seen or met any of these superior beings called angels? They are God’s messengers whose chief business is to carry out His orders in the world. Please feel free to comment on any experiences you might have had with angels. I hope you enjoy reading my excerpt about Debby’s Christmas angel.

EXCERPT: I stirred in my sleep, feeling a comforting presence nearby. Opening my eyes, I saw a radiant figure floating directly above me.

With a mischievous grin, the female apparition asked, "Do you always sleep in a box on a very cold and snowy night?" Her voice was light and beautiful.

I shook my head. "Are you an angel?"

"Yes, your daddy prayed to God to send an angel to guard you from all danger." The angel moved closer to me. "Your family loves you very much."

"Grandma Fogle said that I was a mistake, plain and simple."

"You are not a mistake. God never makes mistakes...well, maybe Grandma Fogle was a blunder." The angel placed a finger on her chin. "Although she’s just a little plain and simple."

I giggled. "You’re funny."

"God sent me because you’re such a sweet girl to everyone in your life, and he thought a funny angel would be perfect."

I smiled. "I’m glad He sent you. Are you going to take me and fly through the sky?"

She gave me an amused look. "I hadn’t thought of that. How about if someone special rescues you?"


"James. He’s been blaming himself for his sister Elizabeth’s death. It wasn’t his fault. God wants James to be the one to find you."

"I’m glad James will take me home. He’s my friend. Did you know Jesus sent James to help my daddy?"

The angel nodded. "Your prayer started everything. Being a part of your family has helped James so much. After he takes you home, I want you to give him this." She opened my hand and put a small toy in the palm.

I glanced at a cowboy and horse. "I like it."

"Tell James that Elizabeth didn't die because of anything that he did. She’s happy in heaven and wants him to know that he was the best brother."

"Okay, I will."

The lovely angel smiled. "I have to go now, Debby. In a few minutes, James will find you."

"When my sister, Kathy, was in the hospital with polio, she told my parents an angel visited her. Were you her angel too?"

"No, it was another angel who comforted her." She made a slight movement. "I have to go now so that James can come."

Quickly, I said, "If I run away again, will you come back to see me?"

She smiled. "Nice try, but that’s not how it works."

"Wait," I put my hand on her arm. "Just to make sure I get home okay, could you tuck me in tonight when I go to bed?"

She laughed. "I heard you don’t give up when you want something. Yes, little Debby, I’ll tuck you in."

A Christmas Gift is available in both paperback and electronic formats. The publisher is Whimsical Publications.

By the way, I have a Christmas contest on my blog. If you leave a comment on this post, your name is entered. The next drawing is November 30th. I’ll be giving away a signed copy of one of my Christmas releases (A Christmas Gift or A Christmas Collection Anthology) to the winner, a $10 GC, and a beautiful angel ornament. More details are on my blog:

Buying Link:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Author Interview: Sidney.W. Frost

Today I'd like to welcomes Sidney W. Frost to my blog. This is Sid's first visit and he's going to tell us about himself and his book, Where Love Once Lived. I have this book on my Kindle and plan to review it shortly. I love the premise and the first few pages really grabbed me, so stay tuned.

Sid, would you please tell us a little about yourself?
I'm a retired computer programmer/systems analyst who also taught computer science courses at Austin Community College, and still do. I'm a singer, currently in a community chorus and a church choir. I've been in 45 musical stage productions, primarily as a chorus member in the Austin Lyric Opera. I play trumpet in my church's orchestra.

My wife died of pancreatic cancer in 2008 and I spent eight life-changing months with her, staying with her at the hospital nearly every day and night. She encouraged me to finish the book during that time, but I didn't write a single word until months after her death. At that time White Rose Publishing had asked me to make some changes and resubmit. I eventually did, but only to hear that since my story wasn't really a romance, they couldn't contract it.

At that time I decided to self publish. It had been five or six years since I first started working on the book and I had been turned down by many agents and publishers. I considered my age and felt it was time to publish.

Although I hadn't planned to, and hadn't thought about dating again, the first time I ventured out and started singing again, I met a wonderful woman and we were married in March. We both believe God brought us together.

When did you first become interested in writing?
My earliest memory of writing is when my older sister decided we would publish a neighborhood magazine. I was about twelve years old. The magazine was handwritten and each copy was handwritten as well. So there wasn't a wide distribution and the endeavor only lasted for a summer. When school started we were too busy to continue it. But I remember the excitement of writing and having others read what I wrote.

Can you tell us a little about the ups and downs on your journey to publication?
I had the writing bug from then on. Aptitude tests showed an interest in creative writing, but my school counselors said I should think of it as a hobby since few people made a living from writing. So, I ended up majoring in computer science and wrote for the fun of it. At one time I took correspondence classes in writing short stories and non-fiction articles. This was before the Internet and online classes, which I took later.

One short story was published. What a thrill that was to see something I wrote actually published in a magazine, even if it was a publication called Navy with limited distribution. I eventually had more than a hundred articles published in special publications, but never another piece of fiction.

I published one computer book, Automated Law Office Systems , using a traditional publisher, but it was short lived due to the rapid changes in computers and the royalties were small. When they asked for a new edition, I decided it wasn't worth the time required.

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?
Where Love Once Lived was my first book and I had a lot to learn while writing it. I'll answer this question for my second book, Vengeance is Mine.

Writing the second book, by the way, was a lot easier than writing the first. One major problem I had with the first book was maintaining point of view. Now, it is second nature for me and I help unpublished writers who make the same mistakes I did.

Now, back to the question. I started my second book with a simple premise of what would a Christian do when his fiancé is killed in a robbery. With just that much information, I researched the market place. With this premise, it couldn't be a romance. It wasn't a mystery, and thriller sounded too strong. I found similar books I liked and checked with the publishers to find out how many words they liked best. Then, I divided the number of words into scenes of 2,000 words each. After that, I marked where Acts 1, 2, and 3 would be. Act 1 is about twenty-five percent of the book, Act 2, fifty percent, and Act 3, twenty-five percent. You can find definitions of the three acts on the Internet.

The next step was a simple description of each scene followed by the scene goal and why the goal wouldn't be achieved (the conflict), and information about setting, date, time, weather, etc. for each scene.

From all this, I created a spreadsheet to track the information and keep me on track. This is too long to describe here, but I have blog describing the spreadsheet and will provide a copy in Excel to anyone who asks.

Before I wrote any of the book, I created the bio for each character.

Tell us about your book, Where Love Once Lived?
I wrote this book while taking an advanced novel online class from Writer's Digest. You were supposed to have a completed novel before you signed up. I had already taken the beginning novel class and had only three chapters written. The advanced class lasted ten weeks and we were to turn in 10,000 words every two weeks. I needed the pressure of meeting a deadline to help me write.

So the story grew based on comments from classmates and the teacher. Some of the other students who had followed the rules and waited until they had finished the book, kept getting the same comments for every assignment. I took the comments from one assignment and used them to make my next assignment better.

My first idea about the book was sort of an episodic type of story about the bookmobile librarian. You're probably too young to remember this, but I visualized Mary Lasswell's Suds in Your Eye, a humorous story about some women who worked the factories while the men went off to war in World War II.

As I learned about scene goals, conflict and point of view, I tried to create something my teacher would like. By the way her name is Bonnie Hearn Hill, a YA author, who at the time was writing and publishing excellent thrillers.

What I ended up with was a male and female protagonist, thus the confusion about it being a romance. I even called it an Inspirational Romance for awhile, but it wouldn't cooperate. I asked Bonnie to edit my press releases recently and she calls my book a coming of age novel. Who'd think a 54 year-old guy could finally come to age, but I think she's right.

I gave Karen some of the actions I had planned to give Liz, the librarian, and made Liz a supporting character. She still pops out too strong at places and I had to edit many scenes to keep her from stealing the show. She did manage to get into my next book, Vengeance is Mine, which should be out soon. She is the only character who is in both books. That is if you don't count the bookmobile as a character.

In reviewing this response, I don't think I answered your question. However, I think this discussion could be useful to your readers who are thinking about writing a book or who are in the midst of writing.

What inspired you to write this story?
The idea for Where Love Once Lived came to me back in the 1960's when I was driving a bookmobile part time while going to the University of Texas in Austin. On each run there was a librarian and a driver. We went to schools, rest homes, and sometimes to a shopping center being considered for a library substation.

There was one librarian most of the drivers tried to avoid. Being the new guy, I ended up riding with her frequently. She was outspoken and had a rough exterior, but I soon learned she had a heart of gold. She did extras for patrons, helping them in ways not related to the library.

I made notes for a book then, but was not qualified to do more. That idea kept bugging me from time to time over the years, but it wasn't until I retired that I took time to write it.

As I wrote, the bookmobile and Liz, the librarian, became secondary characters to a man and woman who had said goodbye on a bookmobile thirty years before. The book opens with them being reunited on a bookmobile.

Can you give us a little history on the characters, including how you developed them , and what endears them to you?
As I mentioned in response to the previous question, I patterned the bookmobile librarian after a real bookmobile librarian I once worked with. However, I changed the character to meet my goals for the book. Liz, my character, also helped the patrons in many ways. In the book, they get together and take up a collection for a trip to England for Liz. She is large, overweight, not too concerned about hair or clothes. She loves to hug people. She gets excited and jumps up and down easily. She is an excellent cook, and she loves the Lord, and makes sure everyone knows it.

I also gave her some problems she can't do anything about. An alcoholic husband who she stayed with too long, and a grandson she raised who is now in prison.

The main characters are Karen and Brian. They had dated in college and at one time thought they would get married. Circumstances changed that causing Karen to move closer to God and Brian to move totally away. He concentrates on his daughter and his work. Karen has a daughter also and both Karen and Brian are divorced when the story begins.

While in college, Brian was a part of a group of six men who called themselves the Combine. When Brian gets back to Austin to try to win over Karen, he also gets back together with his friends. Since this is a lot of supporting characters, I limit the exposure to them. Phil, who is black, is Brian's best friend. Ron, Brian's accountant is involved some, too. As is Tony, who helps get Brian and Karen together by inviting them to an opera he is singing in. Phil's father also plays a big part in the book and he also helps bring in some of the history of Austin.

Since my main characters are in their mid-fifties, I let Phil's daughter and Ron's son have a subplot that may be appealing to some younger readers. This also provides for a mixed marriage and gives me as the author room to talk about equality versus diversity, hopefully without taking away from the story.

Wow! Lots of characters for such a small book. I haven't mentioned the evil head librarian, the city mayor, the patron who helped get Liz that trip to England, and many more.

What do you hope to be able to accomplish through your writing? Any long term goals?
When I started my first book, my goal was to have one reader in all the world move a little closer to God because of reading my book. I wanted to write a book showing how real people make mistakes and still become good Christians. To achieve my goal, I know the book needs to be entertaining and not come across like a documentary. I may never know if I reach anyone, but I've had readers tell me they were moved by the story.

Any ideas for future projects?
Vengeance is Mine is my next book and it should be out early next year unless I find a traditional publisher who needs more time. It isn't a sequel to Where Love Once Lived, but that is being planned, too. Liz, the bookmobile librarian in Where Love Once Lived who is promoted to head librarian by the end of the book has a secondary, but fairly prominent role in Vengeance is Mine. Also, the bookmobile shows up in Vengeance, too, to help track down some killers. The main character is a computer science professor who uses his technological expertise to track down the ones who killed his fiancée during a robbery.

What's your favorite movie, food, and place to vacation? Also, any other hobbies?
I see a variety of movies, but my favorites are romantic comedies. Not sure why. I don't care for too much violence and I particularly like it when good wins out over evil. My wife enjoys a good drama or mystery.

Being a Texan, my favorite foods are Mexican and barbeque.

I've had the opportunity to travel to 20 plus countries and have found many places that interest me enough to return. I spent the last two New Year's Eves in Halifax, but my wife insists on going to the British Virgin Islands this time. I love Germany. I wrote most of Where Love Once Lived while in Germany visiting a son stationed there. There are several references to Germany in the book. I can't say more because it might spoil the story.

Other than your book, do you have any recommendations you'd like to pass along? I haven't read it yet, but since I loved all of Jan Karon's other books (except one), I know her recently released book, In the Company of Others, will be a book I can recommend. I bought it, but haven't read it yet. In case you are wondering, the one Karon book I didn't think was up to par was A Common Live. It was book six in the Mitford Series, but timewise came between books two and three. I think it was written quickly to fill a need and wasn't written in the same style as the others.

Sid, your book sounds really interesting! I love the idea of a coming of age story at 54. It also sounds like you've had a rich life to draw from. I bet your book packs an emotional punch.

Sid's book is featured on Inspirational Ebooks and he's doing a giveaway there of either a digital or print copy. There's an excerpt and reviews there if you'd like to know more. Leave a comment. Here's the link.

For more about Sidney W. Frost you can find him at and also be sure to check out his blog,

For a list of places to purchase Where Love Once Lived, go here:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shadows and Light, Stephanie Burkhart (Borealis II Anthology)

I get to welcome Stephanie Burkhart back today. Stephanie visited my blog back in May for the release of her paranormal novel, The Hungarian. Then she visited in July to talk about her WWII Historical. She's recently had a children's book published, and now she has a new story in the space anthology, Borealis II. Steph, you are a woman of many talents! Welcome to my blog.

I'd like to thank Shawna for having me here today so I can talk about the Borealis II Anthology and my story, "Shadows and Light." This story is a science fiction romance. It is "sensual" nature with a heated kiss and some tender caresses, but does not go beyond that. The Anthology itself is rated "warm" by Desert Breeze Publishing.

Gail Delaney, the editor-in-chief, told me about the anthology in FEB 2010 and I expressed interest in it. I love science fiction. Who doesn't love Star Wars and Star Trek? I'd never done a science fiction romance. A couple weeks later she asked me if I wanted to write "Shadows and Light." I jumped at the chance.

Finding the Shadows

What I liked about the story's background which was given to me, was there was built in dichotomy. Elijah and Persephone were tripping on each other's feet to find info on the Uudon trade. So I said, why not play into that.

Persephone was the goddess of the underworld in Greek mythology and the perfect choice for my heroine's in the story. Persephone's "underworld" in the story is Korn, a high priced bar that sells the best booze. Persephone is from the Hadon Province on Pith. Hadon is taken from Hades. Persephone also has a little "Savvik" in her. (from Star Trek) She's telekinetic with limited telepathic qualities. I cast Frieda Pinto as Persephone. Her darker, exotic looks capture the essence of the character's qualities. Despite Persephone's appearance, the light in her soul shines through a warm heart. She's loyal to the rebellion, and her attraction to Elijah just might be her undoing.

Finding the Light

In the story's background, I was given the name Elijah Kess for my hero. My first thought was that Elijah is a strong biblical name. Elijah has soft blond curls - almost angelic. Elijah believes in the greater power. His contact is a man named Daniel inspired by the Biblical Daniel. Yet Elijah has to temper the light in his warm heart as he goes undercover as a TPP Enforcer. He must be more "shadowed" to fit in.

Playing on shadows and light, good vs evil, and on opposites attracting against a science fiction background was a nice challenge for me - letting me branch out in a romantic subgenre I hadn't tried before.

Here's an excerpt:

A man slithered forward with beady little eyes and yellow teeth. Elijah stood a discreet distance from Persephone, resting his back against a pillar. He pulled an audio plug out of his utility belt so he could listen to the conversation. Of course, all the other conversations around him would be loud, too. He'd have to concentrate to hear Persephone.

"Well, if it isn't the high and mighty Persephone Talon. What are you doing here? Slumming?"

"I want something, Pauly."

"Pauly's not cheap," said the man next to Pauly. Elijah squinted. A bodyguard, perhaps.

"You can't afford me, Talon."

"You'd be surprised."

"I heard you were losing money at Korn," said Pauly.

Persephone snickered. "Hardly. I want to hire one of your wenches."

"Not for sale."

"I'd pay you, of course."

"How much?"

"A thousand credits a week."

Pauly's bodyguard whistled.

"Fifteen hundred credits."

Greedy bastard, thought Elijah.

"Don't be a fool, Pauly. A thousand credits is more than reasonable to allow one of your wenches to moonlight at Korn."

"A day."

"A week will be three days for three hours a night," said Persephone.

"Who do you want?"


"She's my best wench."

"That's why I want her. She's the best."

"I don't want her dancing. She can do whatever you want her to, but she only dances here."


"I want three weeks up front. Now."

"What? I didn't bring the credits with me."

"Look here, you fancy bitch, you want something from me, you pay now."

Elijah slid up beside Persephone, exchanged a quick glance at her, and sneered at Pauly. "I don't like your language."

Pauly pointed at his bodyguard. "Jasper--"

Jasper got up and lunged at Elijah. Seeing the sloppy attack coming, Elijah landed a quick punch to Jasper's jaw. The bodyguard crumpled to the ground. A quick look at Persephone showed that she appeared cool, calm. Unfazed.

"Well done," she said.

Elijah nodded his head and then turned his attention to Pauly. "You'll get the money tomorrow. Three weeks up front. Is that what you agreed upon?"

"R-right," Pauly stuttered.

Elijah looked at Persephone. "Finished?"


Elijah placed his hand on Persephone's elbow. Out of the corner of his eye, he spied the bar wench Persephone had talked to earlier. Her expression was even, but her eyes hinted at a sense of... pride? Admiration? He wasn't sure. They walked away from Pauly's table. When they were out of Pauly's eyesight, Persephone shrugged her elbow away from Elijah but stayed at his side as they exited the establishment. Her pace increased.

"We need to talk," he said.

"No, we don't."

Here's a link to the Shadows & Light Story Teaser on You Tube:

Goodie Time: Leave a response and I'll be back tomorrow, 6 NOV to pick two people to receive an autographed postcard of the Borealis II cover.

Answer this question: What is your favorite Science Fiction TV series and movie and tell me why. I'll pick a winner to receive a coffee mug with a picture of the Borealis II Anthology cover on it.

The Borealis II Anthology is available for Kindle, Nook, Sony Ebook Reader, All Romance Books and at Desert Breeze Publishing.

Here's a link to the Borealis II Anthology on the Desert Breeze Site:

You can find me on the web at:




Romance Under the Moonlight

THE HUNGARIAN - MAY 2010 Desert Breeze Publishing

Visit me at:

Steph, thanks so much for visiting. Best wishes with Borealis II. I'm a scifi lover, so I have it on my Kindle. :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Guest Blogging at Healing Hearts

Many of you know Michelle Sutton. She's started a new blog devoted to sharing stories about Christian fiction and how stories have affected us individually. I'm guest blogging this weekend and hope you'll stop by to read my story.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review of Conception (Book #1 Future Savior) by Jennifer Hartz

Five Stars! It's my pleasure to post this review for Jennifer Hartz debut novel.
Christina's ordinary life as a single thirty-year-old school teacher takes a twist when she is unexplainably transported from current day Pittsburgh to a mysterious place called Meric. There, she discovers great wonders; from the beauty of the land, to the secret of her birth and the magical powers she unknowingly possesses. She also learns why a pair of mesmerizing blue eyes has followed her throughout her life.

However, not all is glorious in the land of Meric. A dark evil threatens its people, an evil that thirty years earlier killed Christina's father and drove her into hiding before she was even born. Now that she has returned, Christina must fulfill her destiny or Meric will be doomed under evil's rule.

I can't believe this book was Jennifer Hartz's debut novel. It was pure adventure from start to finish. Jennifer masterfully weaves humor, mystery, action, and romance into a fantastic tale. The pacing is just perfect, dropping hints here and there as deep mysteries are unveiled. At the same time we get to know a host of delightful, well-rounded characters, who I grew to love. The tension builds and builds and I was literally holding my breath at the end.

This book is the first in a trilogy, and I will definitely get the next on the first day it releases. If you enjoy fantasy with Inspirational elements (Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Kingdom of Arnhem) then you'll love this.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Author Interview: Carie Lawson

Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
Sure. I'm the crazy homeschool mom who writes books:) We stay really busy with school, church and sports. I try hard to schedule in time to write every week--preferably every day, but that's just not always possible.

You have a new release. Can you tell us a little about it?
Beyond Summer is the second book in the Twisted Roots series. Zane McCord has good reason to mistrust a pretty face, so when former beauty queen Carly Peterson shows up on his ranch with her two daughters to work for him for the summer, Zane dislikes her on sight. But every good deed she does changes his opinion, until he finds out the ugly truth about her. Can he put aside what life taught him to give Carly a second chance?

You've got me intrigued! Can you give us a little history on the characters, including how you developed them , and what endears them to you?
Zane appeared in the end of the first book, Beyond Africa. He had a giant chip on his shoulder toward Case's love interest, Lilly. I had to know what made him so tough. I also had to know what he was going to do once he put Lilly up on that pedestal.

What do we have to look forward to with the Twisted Roots series?
Each book is about a different McCord sibling. Case, Zane, Haven and Jude. I enjoyed the fact that the books are all "tangled" together. We meet the characters through the different books, but don't get to hear their "story" until their book comes along.

Haven and Brody's story comes next. Brody was Zane's best friend, until Brody broke the code and fell for Zane's little sister. Married too young, Haven and Brody haven't had an easy relationship. Their only hope comes from the truce they agree to before going on a mission trip to Africa.

Very interesting! What inspired this series?
Maybe the idea of how families "should" be. I love the idea that the McCords are supportive, unafraid to speak their minds and individuals.

How do you balance writing and motherhood?
Schedules help. Ha. I have to be the mom first because I know these days of having young ones in the house are fleeting. There will be those times that mom is too uncool to have around. I imagine there will be more time for writing then. I guess right now I see writing as my "me" time. I don't do a lot of other things, I'm not big into TV, movies, hobbies. This is my thing.

Makes sense. My kids say, "Mom, you need to take a break. But writing is my break time. Let's talk about trends in publishing. What do you see as the major advantages/disadvantages of ebooks? And what do you like most?
The major advantage of ebook readers is the convenience factor. I bought your book, Shawna, without ever stepping foot into a store. Using my Kindle makes me feel like a Genie. If I just wiggle my nose (or push a few buttons on the keyboard) my new book is right in front of me. I LOVE it. I also love that if I'm carrying my Kindle, I'm never without a book. I can even read a few pages before I commit. AND Amazon gives books away. It's almost too goo to be true.
The only disadvantage is really the start up cost, particularly in this economy.

Fortunately competition is driving prices down pretty fast. I'm anxious to see the $99 mark. Do you think marketing an ebook is a different process?
I think so. Mostly because not everyone has an ebook reader and a lot of people aren't willing to sit at their computer and read. I've thought about having some cards made up so that any time I see a person with their ereader, I can hand them one. Maybe they'd pick up a copy just to see.

What's your favorite book, movie, and food.
Book-Where the Red Fern Grows (this week). My two older boys read it this summer. It was fun to share that with them.
Movie-You've Got Mail. I also loved Sleepless in Seattle. But was not so much a fan of Joe Versus the Volcano.
Food-We just had a chance to share this, didn't we;) Chocolate covered strawberries. I'm going to have to make some soon. I can hear them calling my name.
Most embarrassing or memorable experience?
A few days ago at the soccer field, these kids were yelling and pointing. I turned around to see what the commotion was and, lo and behold, there was my four-year-old about fifteen feet up a light pole. He'd shimmied his way up like he was after coconuts in South America. All these mom's were quickly approaching the pole. After he was safely down, I had to look around for my big L badge to put on as the loser mom at the soccer field not paying attention to her child! That's certainly not my most embarrassing moment, but it was up there. And memorable too:)

Your ideal vacation
I'm so easy. If it involves not cooking, extra sleep and at least some laying around with a book in hand time, I'm thrilled.

A cause you have deep passion about.
I love Vacation Bible School. It's a great opportunity to introduce children to Jesus in a fun environment. That almost sounds too simplistic, but it's really a passion in my heart.

Other than your book, which I'm certainly looking forward to reading, do you have any recommendations you'd like to pass along?
I recently read Kaye Dacus's new release, Love Remains. It was a great read and I'm looking forward to the rest of the Matchmaker series.

Carie, thanks so much for stopping in. Best wishes to you and your family, and this wonderful series.
Beyond Africa - Twisted Roots Book #1

Beyond Summer - Twisted Roots Book #2

Amazon - on sale for $4.79

For more about Carie Lawson visit

Monday, September 13, 2010

Author Interview: Jennifer Hartz

I want to welcome debut author, Jennifer Hartz to my blog today. Jennifer's book, Conception, is the first in the series, Future Savior, presented by Desert Breeze Publishing. I've read this book, and it is wonderful! My 12 y/o read this book and agreed. The story is fun, inspiring, and an epic adventure all around. I'll be writing a full review shortly to give a better glimpse, but for now, let's get to know Jennifer.

Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
First of all, I’d like to thank you Shawna for having me on your blog! Let’s see… other than writing, I am a wife, mother, and Christian. I have a wonderful husband and an awesome two-year-old son. Naturally, I spend as much time with them as possible. Maybe someday I’ll make enough money as a writer to do that full-time, but until then I work as a teacher. I really enjoy working with my Middle School and High School students; they can be so much fun! I also enjoy attending church and I serve in the two-year-old room helping with the child care.

What was your road to publication like?
I know my road took me exactly where I needed to be. Desert Breeze is the perfect place for my debut series! However, before I got to this point I queried like crazy. Unfortunately, Future Savior is a Romantic Christian Fantasy with Sci-Fi elements… can you say un-publishable! A sub-genre of a sub-genre of a sub-genre. Luckily for me, DBP was willing to take the chance.

Ha! Other publishers' loss! I read a lot, and this book trumps a huge percentage of what I pick up. That includes books from a major publisher, Jennifer. It's that good.

You have a new release. Can you tell us a little about it?
Conception is the first of five books in the Future Savior Series. This series is the byproduct of a ridiculously long commute. I have an hour and a half drive… one-way. That's three hours in the car! One day, while driving, I started to daydream about interesting characters and the fantastical land of Meric. I would let my mind conjure up different storylines for my mystical characters, pulling out the things that really worked and filing them away in my memory bank. For three months these daydreams continued until I finally realized I needed to sit down and write.

Deja vu

The best way I can sum up Future Savior is to say that it is a combination of all the stories I have ever loved. It is essentially a Christian fantasy series, similar to The Lord of the Rings, but modernized and with a major romantic storyline as the main focus. There are also some subtle sci-fi elements and a huge cliffhanger that stems from the season finales of my favorite sitcoms. What? We have to wait all summer to find out if Ross and Rachel get together?!


The story revolves around Christina Vaughn, a seemingly ordinary person who is thrust into an extraordinary situation only to find out she's not as ordinary as she assumed. As Christina makes her way through her amazing fantasy-like adventure, she learns a great deal about her unbelievable past. She falls in love along the way, all the while battling horrific monsters and struggling with her remarkable destiny.

Can you give us a little history on the characters, including how you developed them, and what endears them to you?
There are so many characters in Future Savior that it’s a bit hard to narrow it down here! Of course, the lead characters are Christina and Shaw. Christina is an everyday kind of person. She’s thirty, she single, she works, she’s bored… until one day her life changes dramatically when she’s sent to the Land of Meric. There she discovers that she has an amazing – albeit slightly insane – destiny. The development of Christina was pretty easy. I really placed myself in her shoes… What would I say in this situation? How would I react here? Someone once asked me if Christina is based on me and the answer is yes and no. Originally, she started off much like me, but after countless rewrites and as the character grew she became her own amazing person. Honestly, she way cooler than I am! I think I love Christina so much because she’s the everyday Average-Joe (Average-Josephine?) thrown into extraordinary circumstances. We really want her to succeed.

Shaw is the greatest warrior in Meric and has been Christina’s Watcher (body guard) for her entire life. He can shape shift so he’s always been hidden from her, but he’s always been there. I am so drawn to Shaw because he’s the strong handsome hero we all love, plus he has so many mysteries. I love the questions that arise around Shaw… of course, I know the answers, but I’m excited for the readers to learn about Shaw.

My daughter loved this book. I basically told her to read it, and a few pages in, she walked into my room and blurted out, "She's thirty! I'm reading a book about a thirty year old! That's old." Well, I told her to keep going, and she'd foget Christina's age, and that she'd soon find out that age didn't matter anyway. It only took her a few more pages to forget Christina's age, and when she finished the book, she said, "Oh... That's what you meant!" (Not giving anything else away, but there was more to that statement than just being so entertained age didn't matter. It literally does not matter!)

What do we have to look forward to with the Future Savior series?
Lots of adventure and lots of excitement! The lives of the characters will unfold only to show how intricately woven they actually are. As the series progresses, you will also see more Biblical parallels which are just so much fun to write! Some of them are subtle so you’ll only get them if you know you’re Bible and others are very blatant smacking you right in the face.

What inspired this series?
As you know, I LOVE speculative and I simply started to create my own speculative adventure. My Land of Meric became so huge that I had to share it with the world. I just hope people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Well, my same daughter drew out a map of an imaginary land she's using for a story. I think you might have influenced her a bit.

How do you balance writing and life?
My own writing schedule is very minimal. My husband works nights so I make sure to write for at least one hour on the evenings that he is at work after my son is in bed. Not a lot of time, but even with this meager timetable I was able to complete Future Savior: Conception in two months because I was diligent. Of course, now trying to juggle book promotion on top of everything else I have even less time to write. I hope I can make my June deadline!!!

Let's talk about trends in publishing. What do you see as the major advantages/disadvantages of ebooks? And what do you like most?
Right now there’s a battle going on between the major distributors (Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Apple) on who will get their eBook reader in the consumer’s hand so I think more and more publishers will be opting for eBooks. When I first learned about eBooks I was one of those people who said, "eBook? Bah! I like to hold a real book." Boy, was I mistaken! After less than twenty-four hours with my own Kindle I came to the realization that, not only are eBooks here to stay, but they're AWESOME! You can do so many more things with an eBook than a print book. The advantages certainly outweigh the disadvantages. My favorite features on my Kindle are the text-to-speak option and also split second purchasing. I can order a book and be reading it in seconds!

You sound exactly like me. I was adamant too. My Kindle made all the difference. Now hubby borrows it, and prefers it to print. My daughter tried to steal it. She eventually got a Nook though, so now she leaves it alone.

Do you think marketing an ebook is a different process?
Since I don’t know a ton about marketing for a print book I’m only speculating here, but I think there are some differences. You MUST have a web presence, especially for eBooks. This is important for print books too, but with print a book tour is always a viable option. This is difficult to do with eBooks so we use blog touring.

What is the one thing you'd like people to understand about e-publication?
EBook authors HATE the question: “When will it be available as a real book?” Hello! It is a real book otherwise they wouldn’t be paying me with real money! EBook authors put just as much blood, sweat, and tears into creating, writing, and editing their novels as print authors… sometimes more because of how harshly we’re criticized by old dinosaurs out there who think the only REAL book is a print book. These people need to wake up and realize that it won’t be long before eBooks take over the market. Look at the iPod… I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought a regular CD. Now I download ALL of my music onto my iPod and buy songs through iTunes. I truly believe eBooks will go in the same direction as the iPod.

You can put music on ereaders too.

What's your favorite book, movie, and food?
My favorite book of all time has to be The Stand by Stephen King followed closely by the Harry Potter Series and The Lord of the Rings.
My favorite movie is The Goonies. What's better than a rag-tag group of misfits searching for pirate treasure, while being chased by bad guys, all to a Cindy Lauper enhanced soundtrack!
I LOVE sushi!!! Unfortunately for me, my hubby doesn’t like it so I don’t get to eat it as often as I’d like.

If you love the Goonies, you need to read By Heart and Compass by Danielle Thorne. So much fun!

Most embarrassing or memorable experience?
Yikes!!! Um… Okay… this one’s kind of funny. When I was in Kindergarten we performed The Twelve Days of Christmas. I was cast as Six Geese A Layin’. I had to wear a fake bill and pull a giant plastic blue egg out from behind my butt! Every time I did, everybody laughed. I didn’t realize my comedic genius at the tender age of five because I thought everyone was laughing AT me and I cried!!!


Your ideal vacation
I would LOVE to take a cruise over to Europe making sure to stop in Ireland and Amsterdam. Ireland because I really want to go there someday and Amsterdam because I have a very dear friend who moved there and it would be wonderful to visit her.

A cause you have deep passion about.
I am very passionate about The A21 Campaign. A portion of my royalties from the entire Future Savior Series will be donated to The A21 Campaign. ( This organization fights against human trafficking and the sex-slave industry. There are currently 27 million slaves in the world and A21 is working to make a difference.

Wow, Jennifer! Thank you for your committment to this, and thank you for educating us and letting us know where to find out how to help.

Other than your book, which I'm certainly looking forward to reading, do you have any recommendations you'd like to pass along?
There are some amazing novels being but out by the authors at Desert Breeze Publishing. Being the big time lover of all things speculative I would highly recommend the Mists of Time Series by Tami Dee and The Phoenix Rebellion Series by Gail Delaney.

Thanks for having me on your blog today Shawna! I hope everyone has enjoyed learning just a little bit more about me and The Future Savior Series!

Thank you, Jennifer. It was my pleasure to host you.

Pick up her book here.

For more about Jennifer Hartz:

Monday, September 6, 2010

Inspirational Ebooks: No Other, Shawna K. Williams

Inspirational Ebooks: No Other, Shawna K. Williams: "Romance/20th Century Historical/Life Issues In the aftermath of WWII all Jakob Wilheimer wants is to get over his pain, get on with life, an..."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington (oh yes it does!)

After losing her fiancé in the war, Rosalie Madison is driven by guilt over not having loved Vic in the way that he loved her, and not having married him before he left for the war. To make up for this, she devotes every ounce of her energy to the war effort at home, determined to prove herself worthy of his love.

Kenny Davenport is determined to prove himself in a different way. His desire to fight the war through words, writing stories that make a difference to the cause, has fallen flat, fueling his guilt over not serving abroad, and not living up to the promise he made to his father.

When Rosalie and Kenny are thrust into the spotlight, literally, the attraction is instant. But can they both overcome olds wounds, feelings of mistrust and their own guilt, or will those things serve as a barrier to keep them apart?

Can either step out on faith and allow God to mend their hearts and guide their paths?

My Review:
Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington was a truly delightful read! I felt like I was plopped right into the middle of the war effort at home. I write this genre, and it irks me to no end at lapses in historical detail, but everything in this book was spot on. Not only that, it flowed effortlessly into the story, giving a realistic glimpse of what life was like during this time.

And then we have the romance... What's not to love! Kenny and Rosalie's story was sweet, beautiful and made my heart flutter a bit. That's a big confession for this girl who'd rather pull her fingernails out than let anyone see me cry, or get mushy, or anything like that. (It's not that I don't get that way. I just don't usually admit to it. And now I've done it twice already in just this one review! This must be some book!)

The message of faith is delivered as Kenny and Rosalie learn to trust God to heal them, and they discover that their worth is found in Him, and not through anything they feel they must prove to others, or to themselves.

My favorite character was Miss Tilly. She's so wonderful, and was written so well. I don't want to say much about her because she's one of the best surprises in the book. We all need a Miss Tilly in our lives.

Love Finds you in Victory Heights, Washington is a really great book. It doesn't just entertain. It teaches, and it touches something deep inside. I commend the authors for a job well done, and thank the Lord for blessing them with this talent and giving them a character like Miss Tilly to share through their words.

God bless you, Tricia and Ocieanna.

You can buy the book here.

And check out this great contest on Tricia's new blog.

Tricia Goyer
is the author of twenty-four books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. For more on Tricia visit

Ocieanna Fleiss: Ocieanna Fleiss is a published writer and has edited six of Tricia Goyer’s historical novels. She lives with her husband and their four children in the Seattle area. For more about Ocieanna visit her blog.
Go to this link for a list of other stops on the Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington blog tour.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review. However, the opinion expressed in my review is thoroughly mine.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Inspirational Ebooks: Yesterday's Promise, Delia Lath

Inspirational Ebooks: Yesterday's Promise, Delia Lath: "Romance/Contemporary A whirlwind romance amidst the natural splendor of Yosemite National Park. A spur-of-the-moment wedding. A young bride ..."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Inspirational Ebooks: The Remains, Vincent Zandri

Inspirational Ebooks: The Remains, Vincent Zandri: "Suspense/Contemporary 'Sometimes the past comes doesn't come back to haunt you. It comes back to kill you!' Excerpt: October 2, 2008 Albany..."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Clean Doesn't Equal Christian and Vice-Versa

I have a book coming out in December in which the main character is a preacher, and at the beginning of the story he lies.

Sort of.

What he really does is withhold some information because he doesn't want to hurt someone he cares for. His hope is that if he solves the problem quickly enough, telling this person won't be necessary.

Now, you can probably guess that since this happens at the beginning of the story, things don't go the way my preacher character intended, and his decision leads to a bit of a mess.

So here's a question: Does this setup, and the fact the character who stumbles is a preacher, exclude this book from the genre of Christian fiction?

Would it surprise you if I told you that this book was rejected by one publisher of Christian fiction for that exact reason?

I guess everyone has their own opinions on this, and further into this article I'll share mine, but to begin with, I think it's important to consider what qualifies a book as Christian fiction. There's a lot of debate.

Some feel that the primary purpose of Christian fiction should be to provide "safe" stories for Christian readers. What does "safe" mean? From posts on this subject, and readers' reviews, what I've come to understand is that when a Christian says they want a story to be safe, they generally mean that a story marked as Christian fiction should not introduce any language, imagery or situations that might cause the reader's mind to drift into unsavory territory. Now you've probably already guessed that this is highly subjective. What I consider "safe", someone else may find offensive, and vice-versa.

What I fear has happened, though, is that publishers of Christian fiction have become so afraid of offending anyone, that they've limited stories to such narrow guidelines that the realism that is Christianity has been lost. The characters in the books don't have the struggles and temptations that we, as Christians, face on a daily basis. At most, they may have had them in the past, but overcame them before the story began.

Do you ever wonder how they overcame them?

I did. And that's what motivated me to pick up my very first Inspirational novel some years ago. When I read the blurb, I thought the character might be someone I could relate to, and since the character's struggle was similar to my own, perhaps the book might provide some insight.

Now, I know you may be thinking, "Shawna! It's fiction! What were you expecting?"

Well, fiction is written by people. People have their own set of experiences. My hope was that the author used her personal insight, gained from her own experiences or observations, to create a character with a real struggle who found a real solution. But that's not what I found. What I found was the issue I wanted to read about disappeared before the story began.

Before I continue, I want to make it clear that it's not my intention to denigrate such a book. The set of expectations I had were clearly not compatible with what the book was intended for. It was written to be "safe". And I'm certain that many others' expectations were met when they read that book. It was very clean, so to speak. And I would certainly classify it as a Christian book.

So that brings me back to my story that releases in December, and... my November release, and my book that came out in May; and quite frankly every book that I intend to write. These stories deal -- and will deal -- with a variety of controversial issues experienced by my Christian characters, and in some instances my characters fall to the temptation before them. Are these books Christian for including such things?

Well, I certainly hope so. Because what these things reflect is my life, and I am a Christian. These things reflect the lives of other Christians around me. Writing openly about real life, in all of its ugliness, lets others know that they aren't alone in their struggles, and no one is beyond God's greatest gift; the gift of Grace.

It's important for Christians to keep their thoughts pure, and that's why I applaud authors of "safe" Christian fiction. But it's equally important to use our talent to share the glory that is God's Grace, offered to us through the sacrifice of His only Son.

What is more Christian than that?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Inspirational Ebooks: No Greater Loss, Diane Craver

Inspirational Ebooks: No Greater Loss, Diane Craver: "Romance/Contemporary Can a new love heal a wounded heart? Dr. Jennifer Hunter is so stunned by her past she’s unable to move on with her li..."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Inspirational Ebooks: Mission Possible, Deborah McCarragher

Inspirational Ebooks: Mission Possible, Deborah McCarragher: "Nonfiction/Encouragement/Marriage This small book is a powerful tool for any woman who is married to a man who does not share her passion f..."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Author Interview: K. Dawn Byrd

Well, I'm excited to have a fellow DB author and friend, K. Dawn Byrd, make a return visit to my blog. Her last visit here was to tell us about her debut release, Queen of Hearts, which was a historical/romantic suspence. Today she's visiting to tell us about her latest release, Killing Time, a contemporary/romantic suspense. Both books are also inspirationals.

Welcome back K. Dawn! For those who are meeting you for the first time, please tell us a little about yourself.

I write inspirational romance and romantic suspense. I'm a proud member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW.) I love to interview authors and give away signed copies of their books on my blog at Queen of Hearts, my April release from Desert Breeze Publishing, was their bestseller for the month.

You have a new book out, Killing Time. Tell us about it?
Here's the blurb from my publisher...

Mindy McLaurin, thinks it's the end of the world when she's incarcerated on trumped-up embezzlement charges. While in jail, she investigates the death of an inmate who allegedly died of an overdose. Mindy suspects foul play when her cellmate dies and she learns that both women had ingested the same drug. Mindy trusts no one, including Drew Stone, the handsome counselor she can’t stop thinking about. She faces many challenges, including constant interrogation by the Major and emotional abuse from the other inmates. Upon release, someone is stalking her and framing her for the murder. Can she prove to Counselor Stone that she’s innocent of all charges before she loses him forever?

You created a very vivid setting in this book. How did you research prison life?
I worked in a jail as a counselor. Even though my characters are totally fictional and a figment of my overactive imagination, the setting is as close to reality as I could make it.

How do you come up with your twists to create suspense?
I don't like books that are predictable. It makes me feel like I've wasted my time if I can guess what's going to happen next. I like to read books that throw me a zinger! I try to incorporate those zingers into my own work.

Do you share any traits with your characters?
Let's see. I love pickles and so does Daphne in Queen of Hearts. I love sports cars and so does Mindy in Killing Time.

Do you have a favorite scene in this book? Care to tell us why it's your favorite?
My favorite scene is when Mindy finds out who's been stalking her. It was a lot of fun to write because it's my zinger!

What are you working on now?
I'm editing two completed novels to get them ready for the ACFW conference.

What are some of your interests outside of writing?
I used to ride a Harley, but sold it to make more time for writing. My husband still owns his, but I don't ride behind him. I love sports cars and enjoy going to shows. I enjoy reading, but writing is my true passion!

If you could visit anywhere, a time or place, or both, where would that be?
V-J Day on August 14, 1945 at Times Square. Since you're a history buff, Shawna, I'm sure you'll understand why.

Thanks K. D.!
Thanks for having me on your blog!
For more about the book, Killing Time, check out its recent feature on Inspirational Ebooks.
For more about K. Dawn Byrd:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Inspirational Ebooks: Texas Roads, Cathy Bryant

Inspirational Ebooks: Texas Roads, Cathy Bryant: "Romance/Contemporary Dani Davis just wants a place to call home. With quirky residents, quaint country charm, and loads of business potenti..."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Inspirational Ebooks: Meander Scar, Lisa Lickel

Inspirational Ebooks: Meander Scar, Lisa Lickel: "Romance/Contemporary “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its ardor unyielding a..."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Destination: Berlin by Stephanie Burkhart -- and a little history to go with it

I've been taking a short bit of a sabbatical from this blog to finish a book that is due very shortly, and to focus on starting a new blog called. Inspirational Ebooks. (don't worry. I'm keeping this one as my personal blog) Today though, I'm pulling myself away from those things so Stephanie Burkhart can share a little history about the setting of her book, Destination: Berlin. This is Stephanie's second visit to my blog, so let's give her another warm welcome.

I'm thrilled to be here visiting Shawna's blog to promote my "sweet" military romance, Destination: Berlin. Thanks for having me, Shawna.

You're most welcome, Steph. I enjoy having you visit!

Just a little about me: I was born and raised in Manchester, NH with a hungry appetite for reading gothic romance, especially by Victoria Holt. I served in the Army for 11 years from 1986-1997 and spent 7 years in Germany. My time in Europe inspired two passions – my love of history and the paranormal. Currently, I live in California and work for LAPD as a 911 Dispatcher.

"Destination: Berlin" was the first novel I wrote, and I used a pen name. (SG Cardin, my maiden name). It is not an inspirational romance, but a "sweet" military romance between Corporal Sharon Cates and Soviet Jr. Sgt. Dimitri Nagory. (The couple share several tender touches and a kiss near the end.)

It's 1988 and Corporal Sharon Cates is traveling to Berlin on the Duty Train to attend the Orientation Tour. On the train she meets Jr. Sgt. Dimitri Nagory. They agree to be friends for the night, then chaos hits – the Duty Train is derailed in the middle of Communist East Germany. The Stasi, (East German secret police) want top secret documents that Sharon has in her briefcase. Dimitri offers his help and Sharon takes him up on it. Destination? Berlin.

I thought I'd talk a little about the rich history of the Berlin Duty Train in this post. Of course, it goes back to the end of World War II. (Shawna's time frame in No Other!) Germany was in tatters. The four allies, the British, French, Americans and Soviets made the decision to occupy Germany, each responsible for a zone of occupation. The French and Americans occupied southern West Germany. The British took the north, and the Soviets took East Germany.

Berlin was divided between the four in a similar fashion, the division called "sectors."

On 10 SEP 1945, the allies enacted railroad regulations that would govern travel through occupied Germany and Berlin that would remain enforced until German unification in OCT 1990.
The Soviets did allow for two routes – One from Frankfurt to Berlin and one from Bremerhaven through Helmstedt-Marienborn. (This is the route Sharon takes in the novel.)

The American, British, and French all had their own duty trains – and they all allowed the others to ride on their trains. In 1945, the Americans established their West Berlin train station in the Lichterfeld-West station approximately half a mile from the major American bases. (McNair, Andrews, Roosevelt, and Turner) In NOV 1945, the first American duty train traveled from Frankfurt to Berlin. At first, the service ran 3 trips a week, in MAY 1947, daily trips started.

Rail traffic to Berlin was denied by the Soviets from JUN 1948 to MAY 1949 when they cut off the borders. The allies enacted an airlift making the Soviet blockade ineffective.

The Soviets were masters of harassment. At the border, they insisted on changing out western locomotives for Deutschen Reichbahn (East German) ones. They also insisted on train commanders presenting them FLAG orders of everyone on board. (Since they couldn't inspect the trains themselves)

For the most part, the duty train ran with no problems and to my knowledge it only derailed once, on 3 JAN 1967 near Potsdam. East German troops held the soldiers at gunpoint for 18 hours while the damaged cars were fixed. What caused the derailment? One theory was it happened because the Americans helped several East Germans cross the wall a few days earlier.
I hope you enjoyed this look at the American history of the Berlin Duty Train, and thanks to everyone who followed me on the tour.

As Sharon unfastened the ropes that held the boat docked, Dimitri put the trolling motor into the water and turned it on. The boat slowly pulled away from the bank. Dimitri kept it as close as he could to land. The boat plodded forward. The once dark orange rays of sunlight were slowly growing lighter. Sharon could being to make out the contrasting shadows of the tree line against the water.

"Can't we go any faster?" she asked. She sat next to Dimitri. He was near the bow, holding the pedal down on the trolling motor.

"This motor is intentionally slow, but it's noiseless. If I turn on the engine, it will make a lot of noise and attract attention to us," he began.

"We don't want that," Sharon muttered.

"No, we don't, but I'll use it if I have to – if I need a sudden burst of speed."

Sharon understood. She sat down with her back against the side of the boat and looked past Dimitri's shoulder. The small tributary gave way to the Wansee. The sun dared to show a tiny sliver of itself as it crested the horizon. Sharon guessed the lake was five hundred meters wide.

As Dimitri headed toward the center of the river, Sharon quickly studied her surroundings. The East German side thinned out considerably, revealing about five kilometers of barren, unplowed land.

"No man's land," Dimitri whispered. "Look." He pointed toward the right.

Sharon saw Freedom Bridge looming in front of them. She would guess it was about three hundred meters directly ahead. The water's current seemed smooth and rhythmic.

"Now look to the left. There's the American guardhouse."

Excellent, Stephanie!

Here are some links to more stuff:
Destination: Berlin's Book Trailer
About the Berlin Duty Train

Destination: Berlin is a Print book only. Here's where you can buy it:

Goodie Time: Post a comment. I'll pick two lucky winners out of a hat to receive an autographed postcard of the cover. Today, I'll also be picking one lucky winner to win an autographed copy of "Destination: Berlin." I'm on Pacific Standard Time (PST) so I'll be back early 29 JULY to announce the winners.

For more about Stephanie Burkhart visit:

SG Cardin/Stephanie Burkhart Online
Romance Under the Moonlight

Steph, thanks for coming again! This book sounds great and I wish you the best of luck. Please come visit again!

1970 Olds 442


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