Thursday, September 27, 2007


Hi, I’m Holly Jacobs, and Cheryl graciously invited me to blog this week in honor of the release of my first Harlequin Everlasting Love book, THE HOUSE ON BRIAR HILL ROAD, and its accompanying tied, short story “The Moments.” Both stories center around the Conway family and follows them through the sweet moments in their lives together, as well as through the bittersweet.

The short story was inspired by my daughter, who’s a nurse. She called me one morning, a few years back, as she came off her shift at a children’s hospital, complaining about an intern at work. Everything is fodder for a writer. And her complaint germinated, and...well, if you pop over to to read the free short story, you’ll see how her annoyance inspired my character’s fictionalized experience.

It’s one of the questions I’m asked the most. Where do your stories come from? Well, I write fiction, so all of my stories truly come from my imagination. But they’re also all inspired from snippets and incidents in my life. I take them and turn and twist them into fiction. That’s what all writers do. They take pieces of conversations overheard in a waiting room, a song on the radio, things we love, things we hate, things and people who inspire us, situations that break our hearts...all of them go in our books.

The HOUSE ON BRIAR HILL ROAD’s inspiration is very straight forward. It was inspired by my mother-in-law and her experience with breast cancer. I wish you could have known her. Dort was a loyal, loving wife to Don, the mother of three children, and a grandmother. She was a teacher. She was a loving, kind nurturer of her students. She was devoted to her church. She was Irish, and reveled in her heritage. Her trips to Ireland were highlights. She loved to read, loved to laugh, was a wonderful friend and sister... Everyone who knew her still feels her loss at our very core almost four years later.

I wish you could have known her.

The thing is, I could go on and list all of these things and more, but they won’t let you really know Dort. I guess the best way to sum up her life is she loved deeply and was loved just as deeply in return. She was my mother-in-law, because I married her son. She was my friend and mentor because we shared that bond of love. Breast cancer took her from us too soon. Far too soon. The fact that this book comes out in October, in breast cancer awareness month, gives me a forum to remind my readers, my friends, my family, to practice BSE...breast self-examination. You can find more information on how to do it at It’s a great organization, and such a small thing that could save your family going through the pain mine did. As a small homage to Dort, I’ll be donating part of my royalties from the book to Susan G. Komen in her name.

Of all the books I’ve written, this one was the most difficult. It hit me so very near to my heart. And though all the characters and their reactions are fiction-- my husband and I only drew closer throughout Dort’s illness--you’ll see some of Dort in Kathleen. Oh, the character is totally fictional, but her’s Dort’s. That’s the best eulogy a writer can give a loved one. And believe me, Dort was loved. So, when you read the book, you’ll reach the essence of Dort. I guess, in the end, that’s as close as I can get to truly introducing you to this amazing, very missed, woman who enriched my life in so many ways.

~Holly Jacobs

The House on Briar Hill Road, Harlequin Everlasting Love, 10/08
“The Moments” a tied short story,



  1. Cheryl,

    Thanks so much for letting guest blog here! You're a good friend. And, btw, I love your garden! We're working on our landscaping, slowly but surely here. It's getting there, but it's not nearly as beautiful as yours is!


  2. Hi Holly! It's Mel. First, my condolences on the loss of your mother-in-law. I don't know if I've told you but I'm a 9 year breast cancer survivor.
    I've seen and read blurbs about your book but I didn't know THE HOUSE ON BRIAR HILL ROAD dealt with breast cancer. I think it's fantastic that you're donating part of your royalties to Susan G. Komen. KUDOS! We give $ to them all the time. Great orginization. I'll grab a copy of the book this weekend.
    Second, can you believe we've been e-mailing back and forth for 6 or 7 years? I e-mailed you from Hawaii!
    Yes, you do write fiction and very well I might add. It's really nice to "see" you here. Hugs!

  3. Hi, Mel! No, I didn't know that you were a survivor! That's fantastic! I have another good friend who recently was diagnosed and came out fine on the other end. I'm so glad you're both still around!

    And wow, I hadn't realized it's been that long. Of course, neither of us has aged a bit, right??? LOL

    Thanks for the condolences about my MIL. She was the most amazing lady. We still miss her so much. I'm so pleased to be able to do something proactive in her honor.

    Thanks for watching for the book. I do appreciate it. It's sooo not one of my comedies. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But it is a book of my heart. There's a lot of my mil in Kathleen.


  4. Holly I just got my book the other day I have been waiting for it forever it seems like. I read something about it months ago and was hooked. My Mother has breast cancer and we are Hoping that it is all gone. It has been a long battle expecially with what happened to my Dad. Great to see you here and that is so nice of you to give some of the $ to the Susan G. Komen Thanks again

  5. Holly, I predicted you and your books would take off once you found your niche. You work incredibly hard and have an amazing talent.

    Your garden: It takes at least three years to get a nice garden established, and that's certainly not mature or finished by any means. Just remember that nothing is permanent and you will be moving and arranging for a couple of years until you get it the way you like it.

    My best garden tip: SOIL! Bring in a truckload of compost, use peat and add good topsoil. Every year add more mulch and work it into the ground. Your plants should dig up easily to transplant and divide. Keep mulch on top of the ground and all around the plants to keep the ground from drying out.

  6. I'm really looking forwrd to reading The House on Briar Hill. I also think it's great that you are supporting Susan G. Komen. We've had lots of interaction with the organization and it's "top notch". Congratulations and it's good to "meet" you.

  7. Mickey, Thanks so much for picking up the book! I'm so sorry about your mom. Sending hugs for both you and her.

    Cheryl, Thanks. You've been such a great friend and mentor, right from the very beginning. I can't tell you how much that's always meant to me. As for the garden, I'm big into compost. And I love a beautiful garden, but will confess, I direct, my dh does most of the dirt contact stuff! LOL

    Betsy, Thanks so much! And yes, Susan G. Komen was top-notched. I love the work they do.


  8. Holly, picked up your book at Walmart tonight and can hardly wait to get started. Looking forward to getting to know you through your work.

  9. Connie,

    Thanks so much for picking it up. There's a lot of me in this book...not the comedy, not the humor, but a lot of the heart. I hope you like it.


  10. "I'm so glad you're both still around!"
    Thanks, Holly. And yea I'm 38 and holding!!
    Getting out of the house tomorrow. Will definitely get your book.


  11. Mel,

    Remember the not aging thing...38, you can't be, because we haven't aged in the last seven years, remember? LOL Geesh. LOL

    Thanks for looking for the book while you're out. Me, I'm playing hermit today and working. Then my dh has a football game tonight, my daughter a dance. Oh, man, a night of geek tv all to myself! Life is good!


  12. LOL! I was 37 or 38 when we first started "talking".
    Today I am commenting on a few blogs and then getting off this infernal machine to read. Tomorrow I'm getting my hair done and it's off to the bookstore! OH, and my honey and I are going to Warwick mall to look for wedding rings.
    Anything good coming on TV tonight?
    I can't wait for Sunday. Premiere of DEXTER and BROTHERHOOD on Showtime. I'll probably watch a football game or two as well.

  13. Mel,

    Well, I'm pretty sure time is going backwards...pretty soon they'll be carding us at the bars! LOL

    Have fun looking for rings...that's sounds like fun! Hair and bookstore sounds like fun, but not as much as jewelry stores! LOL

    Tonight I've got Stargate...I'm such a geek! LOL