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, December 19, 2011

Author Interview with Steve Rzasa

I'm very excited to welcome back Christian Scifi/Speculative author Steve Rzasa. Steve visited last year to talk about his debut book, The Word Reclaimed, and its sequel, The Word Unleashed. Steve has a third book out now, Broken Sight, which he's here to tell us about, and also about what else is going on in his life. Be sure to leave a comment because Steve is giving away a signed copy of his book.

Steve, I know I asked this question in our first interview, but it's been awhile. Will you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born and raised in South Jersey, and have loved to read from an early age—adventure, history, and especially science-fiction. My wife and I live in Wyoming with our two grade school-age boys, where she teaches and I am a librarian. Prior to working at a library I was a reporter/editor for eight years in Maine and in Wyoming.

What have you been up to since you last visited?
Since last spring I finished writing Broken Sight, my new novel, in December 2010 and just last week finished a fantasy/steampunk novel, tentatively titled The Bitter Crosswinds (more about that at the close of the interview!) When I’m not busy preparing new books for library circulation or writing the newsletter, I’m helping folks find the books they need. In my “spare time” I write, draw, watch movies and play video games, play LEGOs and soccer with my boys, and cook dinner with my wife when we’ve got a minute.

Tell us about your new book?
Broken Sight is the tale of Lt. Cdr. Brian Gaudette and the crew of his new rescue starship as they respond to a distress call from a remote planet. Little do they realize they're being plunged into a race against evil forces that could result in a powerful weapon falling into enemy hands. It takes place two years after my previous two novels, The Word Reclaimed (Marcher Lord Press 2009) and The Word Unleashed (Marcher Lord Press 2010.)

 What inspired this story?
I always enjoyed writing about Brian Gaudette, the main character of my 2009 short story Rescued. He was a character I wanted to revisit in detail, and to give a shot at a grander adventure. Well, he got it. My purpose was also to explore the world of the Face of the Deep series after the restoration of religous freedom, to see how things had changed.

Is there an underlying theme?
Themes are not my strong suit, but if I had to pick two, it would be faithfulness and teamwork.

What's your favorite scene/character?
Charlotte Ruby Bell. Ex-pirate, former pirate-hunter, and all around crude individual. She's ill-tempered, rude, but also one very good starship commander and someone who can bully her crew into getting results. She can be cunning and smart. Just an all around fun individual to write.

What do you hope reader take away from reading your book?
I hope they can experience this adventure with a sense of wonder, and not worry too much about the details of sci-fi that sometimes bog down the casual reader. And if they come away from this tale realizing that there is a one true God who cares for them and is in control of all things, even better.

How did you get started as a writer?
 I wrote ever since I was little, and even then science-fiction was always on the brain. Somewhere in our house I have a story I wrote for fourth grade about two space explorers on an adventure -- I think they were based on LEGO guys I built. From there I expanded into writing a novel in high school and working for the school newspaper, and penned some short stories in college. There's still a stack of notebooks with fragments of stories and ideas stashed in a drawer in our back room. And after college I self-published a short novel called This Stirring Strife, a space opera that can still be obtained used on Amazon, I think.

Finally, I worked on the project that became The Word Reclaimed and The Word Unleashed -- a single, large novel called Commissioned -- for about six years until I finished it in February 2009. A few months later I was blessed to have Marcher Lord Press publisher Jeff Gerke agree to publish the story as two books.

Do you have any particular method to your writing, any quirks that help you along in the creative process.
I’ve found that listening to music inspires my writing, especially when working on an action scene. The particular song can make a big difference in helping straighten out the flow of action in that scene—for example, if it’s a dramatic scene I don’t want lighthearted music playing. I also am compelled to draw characters, starships and settings to help visualize. Oh, and I’m a huge sucker for maps.

Have you always loved science fiction?
Sci-fi is definitely the genre with which I’ve had the strongest relationship—can’t tell you how many evenings during my high school years were spent watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Me too!) And I went to see the re-released Star Wars in the 1990s when I was recovering from a fever. So that tells you my level of obsession. As for literature, I devoured books by Michael P. Kube-McDowell, Kathy Tyers, Chris Walley,

I think it's very exciting to see Christian fiction broadening into new genres. What are your thoughts on this and where do you see things headed in the future?
I'm encouraged by the raft of new Christian speculative fiction authors who have appeared in recent years, and by the creation of new small publishing houses dedicated to the genre. No longer do writers have to fret that their somewhat odd or out of the ordinary tales of space opera, fantasy or the supernatural have to remain unpublished because they're too weird. We have several publishers who like weird. The genres available to Christian readers will hopefully continue to grow and the selection and quality of writing keep getting better.

What's up next?
Well, I just this week finished a fantasy/steampunk novel called The Bitter Crosswinds and started in on the prologue for the sequel. Not sure when or if those will be published, but I've got more stories to tell. I'm also putting notes down for an alternate history/alien invasion -- hopefully sooner than later! Anyone who's interested can keep tabs at my website,, or find me on Facebook. My books are available at and

Purchase from Marcher Lord
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Steve Rzasa was born and raised in South Jersey, and fell in love with books—especially science fiction novels and historical volumes—at an early age. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University’s College of Communications in 2000, and then spent seven years as a reporter and assistant editor at weekly newspapers in Maine. Steve moved to Wyoming in 2007 to become the editor of a weekly newspaper there, and now works at the local library. He and his wife Carrie have two boys and live in Buffalo, Wyoming

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Author Interview with Deborah Malone

Hi Deborah, you and I have been corresponding for awhile now, and have been there to see each other succeed. I want to congratulate you on the publication of Death in Dahlonega. It's an absolutely beautiful book -- except for the axe dripping with blood, but that's the intriguing part. I'm looking forward to sitting down over the holidays and reading it!

Since this is your first visit to my blog, I'd like to welcome you and ask that you tell us about yourself? First I'd like to thank you for having me as a guest on your blog. I live in the mountains of North Georgia about 60 miles from Atlanta. I have two grown girls - Niki and Leah. Niki is disabled and because I have fibromyalgia I need caregivers to come in and help with her care. I've written for a historical magazine "Georgia Backroads" for about 10 years. I also enjoy macro photography.

When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer? I image this is a similar answer most writers give that they knew since they were children they wanted to write - when I was around 11 or 12 I remember starting a mystery, but only got about 3 pages done. I was an adult when I wrote again. I wrote my first article when my friend dared me to write about an old restaurant we had gone to. I said okay I would. And that is the beginning of my writing.

What was your journey to publication like? This is an interesting question. There are certain paths all writers will take but the actual journey will be different for all. I wrote the first draft in about a year then put it aside while taking care of my family. When I discovered ACFW I knew I wanted to make it a Christian fiction book. That meant rewriting it - which I did. I soon found out I had a huge learning curve to make it publishable. I spent time learning what I needed to make it better. I did not have an agent. I sent it out to several publishers and did not hear back anything favorable so I was looking into self publishing when Lamp Post Publishers offered me a contract. Needless to say I was walking on air. It took about six months from editing to the finished product and it was on the market in October 2011.

How did you get the story idea for Death in Dahlonega? I had written several articles for "Georgia Backroads" about Dahlonega. I've always loved to visit this charming little town. I knew I wanted to write a cozy mystery so I just needed to find a setting and decided Dahlonega would be the place. And don't you just love the name? (pronounced Da-lon-a-ga)

How long did it take you to write it and what is your writing routine/schedule like? I was finished with the first draft in a year but then set it aside for a couple of years. Then when I got serious about publishing it took three years from rewriting it to publication. So that is a total of six years. I don't really have a schedule, but I like to write in the evening when things are quiet.
You and I are very similar this way. I set my first book aside for several years also and rewrote it quite a few times. I write in the evening when it is quiet, too.
Do you have a favorite scene? There are several I like. I always like the funny scenes, like the one where they meet up with a mountain man who has a still in his back yard and find out when they try to question him about the murder he's none to friendly to strangers. Then there is a dream scene that I like also. I'll let you read the book to find out about that one.

Is there a message you'd like readers to take from the story? Well, Trixie has found herself starting her life over while in her 40's. She is struggling with her faith and draws strength from her friend. She's also hardened her heart towards men and is working on trusting again. I would hope that after reading "Death in Dahlonega" that the reader would find their own message.
I love that you wrote a story with a more mature heroine. Sometimes I wonder if people think life stops after 29, or becomes too boring to acknowledge.

What are you working on now? I've already finished the second book "Murder in Marietta" and I'm working on the third in the Trixie Montgomery series "Terror on Tybee Island"

Where can readers find out more about you and your books? I would love for my readers to visit my website at and my blog is My publisher Lamp Post Publishing is a

Death in Dahlonega Back Cover:

 Historical writer Trixie Montgomery is asked by her editor to cover “Gold Rush Days”, an arts and crafts festival, in the small, picturesque town of Dahlonega located in the north Georgia Mountains. Trixie seizes the chance to mix business with pleasure and asks her best friend, Dee Dee to tag along.

Their well laid plans go awry when Dee Dee is discovered standing over the lifeless body of prominent citizen, John Tatum – the very man she’d had a run in with earlier that day – holding a bloody pickax in her hands. The local Sheriff is determined to solve the case as soon as he possibly can so he can retire with a clean slate and run for town mayor. Can Trixie find a way to finish her assignment and keep Dee Dee out of the slammer?

Author Bio:

Deborah Malone has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, since 2001, for the historic magazine “Georgia Backroads.” She has had many articles and photographs published during this time. Her writing is featured in “Tales of the Rails” edited by Olin Jackson. She has also had a showing of her photographs at Floyd Medical Center Art Gallery as well as winning several awards. As current member of American Christian Fiction Writers she has established a blog where she reviews Christian Fiction. She is also a member of Georgia Writers Association. "Death in Dahlonega" Deborah's debut novel won an award in the ACFW Category Five Writer's Contest.

Purchase Death in Dahlonega

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Review of Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh

Nathan Hertzfield awakens to find the houses in his village ablaze and most of the villagers killed. He is kidnapped and forced to become a Cossack soldier, or risk harm to his mother and younger brother. Nikolai, Nathan's captor, insists that Nathan also abandon his Jewish heritage and take on the name Stepan if he wishes to survive. According to Nikolai, the Cossack do not like Jews.

Initially Nathan has no choice but to depend on Nikolai, but as the story unfolds Nathan discovers that Nikolai is different, and his reasons for taking Nathan captive are not what they seemed. A bond forms between the two and Nathan comes to look on Nikolai as a father.

When they are ordered to Odessa, life takes another startling turn, first with tragedy and then betrayal. Nathan is forced to flee. He briefly glimpses happiness when he finds refuge with a family and love with their daughter. But he knows that staying will invite danger. Nathan decides to once again abandon his identity in search of a new life. His journey is one of adventure, with his enemies only a step behind.

I really liked this book! It's a very easy read, written in simple language which gives the book a strong appeal to middle-grade readers and older. The historical setting was absolutely fascinating and gave me a true sympathy for how difficult life must have been for those living in circumstances similar to Nathan's. All in all, the book wasn't just adventurous and enjoyable; it was educational and the story tugged at my heart.

My only complaint with the story is that the ending was a little abrupt. I would like to have seen him through to America. Maybe I just wasn't quite ready for his story to be over. I guess that's a good sign.

There were times when the writing seemed a little rushed or choppy, and about half way through I was leaning toward a rating of 3.5 - 4.0, but after Nathan's betrayal the pace of the book really took off and the story of his plight just became so compelling that I couldn't stop reading. When a story is that strong, the little issues tend to not matter. I'll be recommending this book to families in our homeschool group.

1970 Olds 442


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