Monday, March 01, 2021

Caught in a lie... A Husband By Any Other Name

Caught in a lie….

Fourteen years ago Dan Beckett’s identical twin took off without a word to his pregnant young fiancĂ© or their father. Having secretly loved Lorraine for years, Dan assumes his twin’s identity as the first-born son, as Lorraine’s husband and father of the baby she carried. Around the lie, he created the perfect life.

But now his greatest fear is coming true. His long-lost brother is coming home—with amnesia. Dan is about to lose his tenuous hold on this masquerade, and he must tell Lorraine the truth before Tom remembers his true identity.

Lorrie built a life with Tom Beckett, the man she loves, the father of her children—or so she believed. Her first reaction to his confession is disbelief…and then anger and hurt. Her whole married life has been a lie. But Lorrie has a secret of her own—a secret that never seemed important until now.

Will the truth unravel the love they once shared? What will become of their family, their children…their marriage when everyone learns the truth?

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Right Way to Write the way that works for you.

Writers refer to their methods of writing as either being a pantster, meaning they write by the set of their pants with little planning--or a plotter, which means they use one or more of many methods to plot and plan the story first. There are a lot of gradients in between those two extremes.

I used to be a pantster, but have learned over the years to do more planning. I don't by any means outline chapters on note cards or anything (look at my eye twitchin'), but I write a synopsis that shows me I have the conflict and emotional depth to carry the story all the way through. My synopsis is for my own benefit, because I add dialogue and bits of things that excite me about the story so I can recapture them later on. I find I don't get bogged down in the middle if I've planned well enough in the beginning, noted plot points, etc.

For me, synopsis writing is part of my brainstorming and one of the most fun parts of writing a book. The rest is real work. I write the first couple of chapters along with the synopsis, and that's how I learn the characters and their motivation and conflict.

Monday, February 08, 2021

Back to the Joy of Writing – Cheryl St.John


I have always had a rule I teach and that we practice in my critique group: Don’t ever budge on that one element that excited you about a story in the first place. That spark that inspired you to write the story is what will carry you through the middle and to the end. Not all books are easy, even when you love your subject matter and characters, but books are double down hard to write if you lose the joy.

We do our best, but the lack of joy eventually shows in our work, our health, our personal lives. I had been under contract for over twenty-five years, writing two or three books a year, and everyone knows a career isn’t a writer’s only responsibility. Most of us have spouses, children, grandchildren and parents. Eventually I realized I needed a change.

After twenty-five years under contract, by fate or a stroke of luck or God’s timing, whichever your belief, a line closed and I didn’t have an option book. I’d been in that place before and it had felt scary. This time it felt good. Like someone had taken an 800-pound boulder off my shoulders. And in this timing of events, I also had a new grandchild due.

To my daughter’s immense relief, I told her I’d care for the baby for the first year. I had a few weeks to decompress and prepare, and then the baby came. I had forgotten how exhausting it is to take care of an infant, but it was a good exhaustion, and I enjoyed every minute of it. After the baby was a year old, my daughter had a neck surgery, and I cared for both of them at their house every day, so this hiatus stretched into about sixteen months. During that time, I eventually missed writing. I got ideas. The desire was there to tell stories, but I knew I didn’t want to go back to where I’d been before. I wanted to write, but I didn’t want to experience the pressure of deadlines.

I made a decision to only write books that I love from that moment on. And to do it in a manner at and a pace that I set for myself. Choosing to make a change was a huge step. Indie authors don’t have the distribution advantages of traditional publishers. They don’t get advances. They do all the work. But they can choose to do the writing and marketing at a pace that’s comfortable for them, and there’s a lot to be said for comfortable.

In deciding what to do next, everything fell into place. Years previously in my critique group, we had the grandiose idea of creating a continuity series. We had thrown ourselves into developing characters, fashioning families, planning family dynamics, and a setting. We had created family trees, character profiles, detailed maps, and brainstormed themes. We collected photos and researched and even started the stories. After a time, the contracted books came first; two members dropped out of the group; a couple new ones came and went. But the core group remained.

In a tragic turn of events, we lost a beloved friend and co-writer. Grief took the remaining wind from our sails. We recovered slowly, welcomed a new friend to our critique group. Then came a day when we got together and said, "We're going to get serious and do this!" Energy built, and the series took on new life. A previous co-creator joined us again. Now, here we are, many years after the initial idea, actually publishing the books and enjoying their development. Together we’ve finished thirteen stories in the Aspen Gold Series and there are more to come.

And I’ve recaptured the joy of writing!

I’m excited about our Valentine’s Day sale. Each of the Aspen Gold Series books is on sale for 99 cents this week. CLICK HERE



Whisper My Name

Sweet Romance from a USA Today Bestselling Author

 She was the girl behind the headlines.

Anyone hearing her real identity would know who she was, and she’s had enough of cameras, questions and stares. Unwanted attention comes in the worst possible form—a tough, perceptive, and all too determined lawman.

Will Laurel’s truth be his undoing…or hers?