Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lessons From the Open Road

Lessons From the Open Road by K. Dawn Byrd

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

Lessons from the Open Road
A couple of years ago, the idea of writing a devotional about the lessons I learned while riding a motorcycle came to me. I jotted down notes for weeks, hoping to come up with enough lessons to take the reader through a month. Lessons from the Open Road ended with 33 lessons, each followed by Scripture and prayer.

Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes learning new things is hard. Just when I thought I'd mastered the parking lot where I was learning to ride my little Yamaha Virago starter bike, I pulled out, forgot to hit the brake, did an Evel Knievel, and jumped a short concrete wall, landing in some trees. My poor little bike limped home with a hole in the crankcase the size of a quarter. J-B Weld to the rescue!

I'm stubborn, too stubborn to quit. After I recovered from the sore neck that resulted from my stunt, I climbed back on the old iron horse. Eventually, I graduated from the parking lot and hit the streets. When I'd learned to ride well enough to satisfy hubby, he bought himself a new Harley and I inherited his anniversary edition Harley Davidson Sportster. And, when I graduated with my masters degree, you'd never guess what I wanted. Yep, a new bike. I became the proud owner of a Screamin Eagle V-Rod.

All good things must eventually come to an end. I enjoyed my days on the road, but found another passion. Writing. I work a full-time job and since there's only so much time in the day, I have to choose what's most important to me. The bike had to go. Occasionally, I miss it, but for the most part, I'd rather be writing. I'm hoping the devotions in Lessons from the Open Road will minister to your heart as much as writing them did to mine.

Lessons from the Open Road is currently available in ebook format and will be coming soon in print. I had planned to list it at no cost, but Amazon wouldn't allow me to do so. I've listed it at the lowest price Amazon allows, 99 cents, and all proceeds will be donated to my church's building fun for the new church that's currently under construction.

For more information about Lessons from the Open Road, you can check it out on Amazon at

Monday, March 26, 2012

I Didn't Win the 2012 HGTV Dream House.

I didn't win the 2012 HGTV Dream Home.

Can you believe it? After all the hard work I put into winning that house. All the blood, sweat and tears. The finger kinks from getting online daily and entering twice were horrendous. But I did it. I persevered... Day after grueling day. Month after Month. I toiled to win that house.  Just like I toiled to win the 2011 house and the 2010 house and the 2009 house ( and the Green Homes too) and the... well you get my drift.

And they gave it to someone else.

NOT ME. Wahhhh. I don't know if my heart can contain the sorrow I feel.

I think I will write a nasty letter, or perhaps stop watching HGTV, that will show 'em. (But then I couldn't watch House Hunters International, or kitchen remodeling or...) Maybe I'll sit down and have a bit of a snit. Or maybe, like I've done before, I'll wait for next year to come and start entering again with my hope and dreams in tact and ready to try. And there is always the Green Home. Yep that sweepstakes should be starting soon.

Okay, so truth be known, the woman who won probably put in as many, if not more, email chances as I did. And there were millions of people vying for the same house. I was like a grain of sand in a sandhill. So it wasn't like my chances were all that great anyway. But it might have been nice to win.

It would have been awesome to have them come to my door and have them film me getting all choked up and crying as they told me I won. Of course I probably would have started hyperventilating and fainted.

Yeah that wouldn't be so pretty.

What about other things in life?

As some of you know... I'm a writer. My latest release When Shadows Fall is due out in June of this year. I've worked for years to finish stories and get them published. When my first book saw the light of printing day, I had... now don't laugh... hopes and dreams of hitting the best sellers lists, and certainly Hollywood would come knocking at my door for the movie rights.

But, to my utter disbelief and great frustration,  it didn't happen. That's not to say it couldn't. That's not to say I've stopped dreaming that it will someday.

So why do some books make it to the Bestseller's List over other books? Is it because those books were better written? I don't think so. Honestly, I've read some of those books and had to wonder, but then, my tastes may run different, and the author (who got my spot on the list) probably hit a vein with the populace that I didn't. Is it because the author had some in with great friends and family? Maybe...

Word of mouth goes along way.

But I'm also a firm believer that sometimes we don't get it for other reasons.

One might be that God knows we weren't ready. We couldn't handle the fame at that time in our lives. If ever... We  might dream of fame and fortune, but it comes at a price. How might it affect my life?

What am I willing to pay?

Or maybe the book wasn't ready. Oh it was written, but it needed more editing and the wait allotted me the time to see that and fix a few things.

Another could be that the story wasn't meant for anyone, but myself.

I don't know. But this I do know. I will keep plugging away. I will keep writing stories and dreaming that I hit the Best Sellers list and hoping that Hollywood comes calling. And I'll be living in my HGTV Dream home when they do.

I may never get any of those things, but it doesn't hurt to dream.

Monday, March 19, 2012

More Than A Job -- Lynette Endicott

Please Welcome Author Lynette Endicott who has stopped by to tell us about her new release More Than A Job.

Blurb: When she loses the job that was her full existence, Paige Hamilton learns that there are more important things in life - including love. Can Joshua draw her away from her anger at his company and into his arms?

Address to webpage, blog or similar?

Please tell us your latest news!
My debut book, More Than A Job has just been released by Desert Breeze Publishing.

If you were to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Well, because I love the characters, they have continued to live in my head, and so I have an epilogue playing out. Or maybe a sequel or companion book. We'll see.

How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?

My brother is also an author, in a completely different genre, so even though I am the eldest I am not the first to publish a book. My sister directs a Literacy Center in a nearby county. All five kids are readers, something we learned from our parents, who have always been voracious readers as well. We are PKs - Preacher's Kids -- and I admit I did edit some of the steamier scenes when I realized that Mom and Dad would read my book.

Can you tell us something behind-the-scenes about this book that the readers would love to hear - something not easily found on your website?

More Than A Job is about a woman who worked in group homes for adults with developmental disabilities. I worked in the disability field, both in disability rights and in programs like the one in the book, for more than more than 30 years. I am developing some guidelines about writing characters who have disabilities, because of that experience.

Do your fictional characters develop on their own, or do you have their lives planned out in advance?
A little of both! I find that even if I have the plot mapped out and the character develop written down, the characters often go off in unexpected directions. In More than a Job there is a significant event in Paige's life that wasn't in my mind in advance at all.

Do you base any of your characters personalities off people you know, and if so, do you tell them?
Not consciously, but sometimes a friend or family member will remind me that an event or conversation or characteristic is from someone in real life. I think my writer's mind tucks away memories that might make good stories, and then pulls them out when they are needed without my conscious action.

When did you discover you are a writer? Was there a specific catalyst?
I've always written stories. My mom kept some of the imaginative ones from grade school and always declared I was a writer. When I was 14 I was in a class that went on a field trip to a nearby prison. All the people wrote their impressions, and I was chosen to put them together to submit to a youth magazine. The article about our trip, with comments from my classmates, was the first thing I published. By the time I graduated from college, ten other articles were accepted by that publisher.

What’s your favorite place you’ve visited?  Do you have a “must see” destination on your bucket list?
I love British Columbia. Vancouver and Victoria are beautiful, diverse and interesting cities. Scotland and Ireland, especially areas of our ancestors, are definitely on my Bucket List..

Thank you for stopping by Lynette.  Is there anything else you want to share?
Stay tuned. If you enjoy More than a Job, there are two more books coming in 2012.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Welcome Shawna Williams.

Welcome, Shawna. I've read all your books, enjoyed them and would recommend them. But some readers may not know about you or your books. So let's remedy that.

Tell us a little about yourself? Hi Tina, and thank you for having me. Well, I'd like to think I'm a wife and mother above all else, and I certainly try to be, but there's a lot that makes up me. I'm a writer. I write about the things I'm passionate about, which always includes a message of Grace. I love my critters. We live on a ranch so I have plenty, and room for more. I work as an editor for two publishers and as Social Media Specialist for The Wordsmith Journal magazine. I also enjoy designing jewelry, rock hounding and hiking.

Tell us about your writing journey? I had never considered becoming a writer until close to a decade ago when over the Thanksgiving holidays I had a dream. It was just a really fascinating dream with people I felt like I immediately knew. For about six months I thought about it nonstop, trying to fill in gaps and work out certain details. Eventually it became too big to keep straight in my head so I began to write. Initially this was just to satisfy my own curiosity, but over time it turned into a love for the characters and their journey and eventually writing itself.
I completed an entire book without any study of the craft. It was dreadful, maybe not the bones, but certainly the technique. For about five years I toyed with this story, putting it away, and then pulling it out and trying to make it better -- still without any teaching, so it was one bad draft after another.
One day I just felt it was time. I became determined to learn and make it into something publishable. The result was my first two novels: No Other and In all Things.

Do you put yourself into your books/characters? Oh yeah! Even if I don't mean to. Characters come from the writer, and though we go out of our way to research and understand our character's persona and situation, it still gets interpreted through our senses.

I do have a couple of characters however that I have felt more of me in than most. Mine would be Jakob from No Other and In All Things. Yeah, he's a dude, but according to hubby I think like a guy, so maybe that's why I can identify with him. My other character is Pennye in The Good Fight. There are some personal issues with her that came directly from my own experience. The analogy, 'An elephant can paint its ear and flap them in a flowered meadow but still not be a butterfly," was something I once said in reference to myself. I'm older now though, and have come to realize that the above statement may be true, BUT elephants are quite marvelous, just in a different way.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them? Umm... yeah... Right now I have a sink full of dishes waiting for me. Oh joy.

What's your favorite time of year? WINTER! Cold, ice cube, bone-chilling winter. Bundle me up and let me hike through three feet of snow! Unfortunately we live in an area that only gets a few inches at a time, if that, but I'll take it. It beats the humidity and non-seasons from when we lived in Houston, TX. (No offense to Houston. Winter is just my thing). I adore Christmas, and nothing says Christmas time like a blanket of snow.

How important is faith in your books? It's everything! Faith gives me direction and I don't think I could write a story without it. The story simply wouldn't be there.

What is your favorite book you’ve written and why? In All Things. I had a discussion with a reader about this book today. She'd written to say she loved it but I had scared her for a bit with a certain scenario with Meri. I told her I know I did, but I didn't do it for the thrill. Meri's character had to come to terms with some serious issues from her past that had been driving her actions. For a struggle to be real there has to be the threat of making the wrong choice, so I took it to the edge with Meri. But that was part of the beauty of the story to me. To see how things could have fallen apart, but instead were restored. The book is a continuation from No Other, so to me it completes Jakob and Meri's story. These two characters are very dear to me, and writing those final words in that story and having everything fall into place was a great feeling of satisfaction to me as an author. I hope readers feel the same way.

What is your writing schedule like? Used to write nightly and all was fairly calm. Now it's like, "Oh crud! I gotta deadline approaching. Kids, Hubby, fend for yourselves!"

What distracts you from writing the easiest? Stuff! Actually, pressure. It's hard to write under pressure, so I find myself looking to do other things, like waste time on Facebook, browsing without buying anything, checking my sales ranking on Amazon, etc. Of course this is completely counterproductive because it just adds pressure by decreasing productivity. Blah!

Tell us a little about your new book. Well, I have three I'd like to talk about. No Other, In All Things and The Good Fight are three books in a series I didn't intend to write. No Other and In All Things are books inspired from my dream that began this whole writing journey. The Good Fight came later when readers asked me to tell a story about Roger, Jakob's rival turned ally (sort of) in No Other. No Other has recently released in print, and it begins the story of Jakob and Meri -- two young people from very different backgrounds who are struggling to get back to life as normal at the close of WWII. In All Things picks up with their journey ten years into their marriage, when some things have gone very right, and others very wrong.
 The Good Fight, my latest release, visits Roger a decade after No Other. He's redefined his life after letting go of a life-long pursuit and placed his value in human integrity instead of social status, which sounds good on the surface. But without compassion, integrity can be a cold and harsh thing. In this story Roger meets Pennye, a woman who challenges his view on everything, and forces him to see people. It really is a beautiful tale, if I may say so. I know I'm a little biased. The end is my favorite because Jakob and roger come full circle to not being reluctant allies, but being true, life-long friends. It's not easy though. Oh goodness, I hope I didn't just give too much away. You'll still like it! I promise!

All three books are available as digital copies.

What are you working on right now? Right now I'm working on a sequel to my Depression Era historical Orphaned Hearts. This is another "My readers made me write it story" but I'm not complaining. I'm quite happy to revisit Sadie, David and Caleb. In this story Caleb is grown up. Instead of saving Caleb by finding him a home, this story is about Caleb saving his home by saving the town. It's a romance, of course, and we learn very early on that it was a good thing in Orphaned Hearts that the Sheldons backed out of adopting Caleb when Elizabeth Sheldon learned she was pregnant. She gave birth to a baby girl. Hmm...

Sounds awesome, and sometimes readers know what the next story should be. Look forward to reading it.

Thank you, Shawna.

Learn more about Shawna, take a closer look at her books;
Book links:
In All Things:
Also available at B&N,, Kobo and Sony Reader Store