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, 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..."

1970 Olds 442


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