As writers, I’m sure we all relate to the voices in her heads clamoring for top billing. The hero trying to figure out what the girl is talking about; the heroine wondering how to make the boy notice her; the villain scoping out his next plan of attack. We connect with our characters. We try hard to understand their goals, motivations and conflicts, and then capture the adventure on paper.
Years ago while researching birth order, I discovered only-children tended to embrace imaginary friends more often than any other sibling position. Don’t know whether I should admit this or not – but I’m an only child and yes, when I was young, I had imaginary friends. I envied my school friends with siblings and desperately wanted a brother and sister of my own. Since my preferences were never consulted in the family plan, I had to create my own.
Now, my telling you I’m an only-child with a penchant for talking to people I make up in my head probably gives you a clue that I loved to live in the story worlds of my imagination. There were no limits to the places I could go or the things I could do, and best of all, I was never alone because I always had “my friends” with me, cheering me on and eager to accompany me on any adventure I thought up.
Very Puff, the Magic Dragon-esque, don’t you think?? And, very much like Jackie Paper’s journey, my imaginary friends eventually gave way to other creative avenues. Like fiction books and my own creative writing. I remember picking up my first romance novel and knowing when I read The End, it was only the beginning of my life-long love of romantic fiction. All the assignments I completed for Creative Writing classes in high school and college involved a hero and heroine beating the odds and falling in love. Many times my teachers rolled their eyes and called my work sappy, but I didn’t care. Creating a love bond between two characters that I knew would transcend time brought me Joy.
I tried writing other genres, but the excitement and eagerness just didn’t shine through. There was no Joy in writing a story that didn’t have a love thread binding it together. When I discovered inspirational romance, I knew the Puff of my childhood had been reincarnated into the stories of my future. Creating stories where the hero and heroine fall in love after being tested through trial and error, and having the characters look to God for their strength…well, life just doesn’t get any better than that.
I find no greater Joy than being called the Queen of Sap.
"For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your Joy will be complete." Deuteronomy 16:15b NIV
Audra Harders writes "rugged stories with heart" featuring cowboys who haven't a clue about relationships rescued by ladies who think they have all the answers. In real life, she's married to her own patient hero, has two adult children and is surrounded by everything conducive to writing about farming, ranching and cowboys at her day job in the county Extension office. She began writing right after her son was born and sold her first book to Steeple Hill Love Inspired mere months before that same son graduated from high school. Surviving those years in between remind her God does have her plan for her life...and that He has a tremendous sense of humor. You can visit her at her website. Stop by and see what’s new, and sign up for her newsletter!
Second Chance Ranch
Jennifer O’Reilly returns home to Hawk Ridge, Colorado to establish a mountain recreation camp as a safe adventure for children battling cancer. Her path to ownership depends on developing a profitable business plan to convince the bank she can manage not only the camping facility, but the entire Trails’ End Ranch operation.
Generations earlier, one misplayed hand of poker lost part of the family ranch, and Zac Davidson, youngest son and financial genius of the Circle D, wants it back. Intrigued since childhood by the legend of his great grandfather, Zac is the only family member who holds out hope that one day the ranch would become Davidson property again. When the ranch goes on the market, money is no object, only Jennifer O’Reilly stands between him and his dream.
High school sweethearts, Jennifer and Zac have wounded each other, and the scars run deep. Jennifer is forced to reveal a secret she’s protected for twelve years. Will past mistakes jeopardize the future of both of their dreams or give them a second chance?
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