Saturday, October 2, 2021

WRITING LIFE: THE PRISONER, New, Uncut Version Including "Lost Chapters."

I want to tell you the story of the Little Book That Could--and Couldn't.
When THE PRISONER was originally published, in order to meet the publishing house’s strict word count guidelines, it had to be cut nearly in half. Those “lost” chapters were put away and literally forgotten. But a couple of months ago, quite by accident, I found them again, FIVE boxes of hard copy draft and revised and re-revised chapters, and I’ve worked many long hours since then turning that massive body of work into a coherent “rest of the story” as it was meant to be in the first place. You know that thing about optimistic people relentlessly shoveling a pile of manure because they know there is a pony in there somewhere? That would be me.
It took me thirteen years to get the “halved” version of The Prisoner initially published. THIRTEEN. Basically, it was “too literary for the genre," and I didn't know how to "un-literary" it. I guess you could say I just had to wait for the romance genre to catch up. This book is a "love story," not precisely a romance, and it has been recommended by writer Diana Gabaldon. (OUTLANDER)
It was a hard thing, having to butcher it as was required at that time. BUT, I did it, because I had to, because you have to give to get. That version of the book and its stand-alone sequel have won awards, so there’s that. 

THE PRISONER is now in its complete form in Kindle format--with the 13 chapter, plus epilogue, addendum included at the lowest price Amazon would allow. This would be the final, complete story, as it were, of "Captain John Howe" and "Amanda Douglas," and I hope you'll check it out.


Tuesday, May 25, 2021

(The) WRITING LIFE--New Re-Release.

Laura Abbot and I have a new "re-release" now available, a 2-book edition of our Love Inspired Historicals, AN UNEXPECTED WIFE (mine) and INTO THE WILDERNESS (Laura's). It is available in both e-book and print formats at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo and others.

Here are some links if you'd like to check them out.

Friday, May 1, 2020




Marine Sergeant Joshua Caven

Josh finally has his shattered personal life in some kind of order. He has found the family he never knew he had, and thanks to them, he can do his duty and complete his deployment in Afghanistan, knowing his baby daughter is safe. It should be smooth sailing...until Chris Young--the living, breathing reason his wife abandoned him and their baby--is assigned to his unit.

Corporal Danny Benton

Danny knows the Marine Corps basically saved his life, but he still feels guilty for joining--escaping--and leaving his younger brother to deal with their alcoholic father. But there's nothing he can do except be the best Marine he can be and to come home and marry his girl. He has no reason to think she won't wait for him--until a Dear John letter arrives.

Hospital Corpsman Chris Young

It's hard enough to be a sand sailor working with a group of Marines, but when his unit is headed up by the man he unwittingly betrayed, it definitely gets uncomfortable. Then an encounter with local hostiles goes horribly wrong and both men are wounded. His sergeant is in the hospital, fighting for his life. All because he saved Chris's.

A Marine does his duty, no matter what. But what none of them expects is to have their upended lives suddenly made even more complicated

BAND OF BROTHERS, the stand alone sequel to the THE MARINE (winner of the EPIC 2018 Award for Best Contemporary Fiction).
On Sale in all ebook platforms May 1 - May 15, 2020.
And others.

Monday, November 4, 2019

(The) WRITING LIFE--Orphans and the Writer


Writers are often asked where they get their ideas. Personally, most of the time, I don't know where the idea comes from or what the catalyst that spawned it might have been. That isn't the case with THE FIRST BOY I LOVED. I know exactly what "caused" it. It was a song I heard on NPR during an interview with Patty Griffin called "You'll Remember." I heard it, and suddenly there were all these "character people" milling around, looking for their story. And I must tell you, when this happens to a writer, it is WONDERFUL. It was one of those "Book of the Heart" things. The premise sold easily, it was written almost easily, mostly because I bought "You'll Remember," and I listened to it over and over (writing is never truly "easy"--music and photos help), and it was up on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, etc. ready for pre-ordering. All was well--and then, out of the blue (to me anyway), THE FIRST BOY I LOVED was orphaned. "Orphaned" is the perfect word for what happens when a publisher suddenly decides to cancel one of their lines and the books waiting to go "live." It's painful. Here was the book I thought was one of my best, and it was never going to see the light of day. "Orphaning" truly hits a writer right where she lives. (I have other sad stories, but I'll leave those for another time.)

But wait. BellBridgeBooks wanted to publish it. And they did. In print and in ebook format, and it's available online--Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, etc.

I am proud of this book, and I hope you'll consider reading it. I would also like for you to hear the song and the singer that caused it all, keeping in mind that "the island" mentioned in the lyrics, to me, isn't a literal island. It's the figurative island my character, Gillian Warner, exiled herself to to keep from being hurt.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

(The) WRITING LIFE—Postcards from the Tiny Porch

Here I am on the Tiny Porch. Carl was here, but he bailed. It’s 55F, which is too chilly for naked paws. There’s a drizzling rain. I can hear the raindrops hitting the maple leaves. I’ve had my Bigelow Vanilla Chai Tea (much better than Twining’s. More aromatic.) And I had a small pack of Lance’s PB crackers. I’ve done my “morning pages.” I thought I’d try doing those again. I’ve tried in the past and found them pure torture. BUT, I know very well that you have to give to get. Not quite sure what the “get” will be, but still. This is day 4. It does seem to be getting easier to ramble about nothing—not that I don’t do that all the time here anyway. “Morning pages” are supposed to be a form of meditation, which is not what I’ve come to think mediation is, but onward and upward—I’m being chastised mightily by an irate squirrel.

I forgot to say that when I was in Big Lots I saw this little plaque on a stand on the clearance shelf. It said, “Hi, There.” I thought at the time what a good prop for a booksigning table. I, of course, don’t do booksignings anymore, but I still think it would be a good prop.

Now I hear sirens in the distance. More than one. I say Aaron’s Prayer for them. The rain is still hitting the maple leaves. The squirrel has gone silent.

Monday, October 14, 2019

WRITING (About) LIFE—Adventuring At Big Lots.

Yes, I went to Big Lots again. (I know. Cheryl Jean, don’t you ever go anywhere else?) (No, not really.) So today’s adventure, I pondered a shelf of ginger salt and wondered what I could use it in/on and did I want to. (No.) Then, I wondered how much trouble I could get into with a bag of organic dried figs. (I think, a lot.) Then, I selected a set of paring knives. (It says “Very Sharp” on the packaging. I have since learned this is true because I’ve already cut my thumb on one of them.) Then, I commiserated with a lady who was aggravated that Big Lots had changed everything around and she couldn’t find what she wanted without walking all over the store. Walking all over the store is good if you’re working on your blood sugar, otherwise, it’s, well, aggravating. Then, the check-out girl asked me if I’d be interested in working there because they were hiring. I said I didn’t know how to do anything helpful and besides that, I’m mean. All in all, I would rate this a medium adventure—since I didn’t get accosted by a grifter.

Moving right along, I’m now going to tell you What I Saw last week. I saw a man I thought might be homeless walking down the sidewalk. He was carrying a library book. This is one of many reasons why I love libraries.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

WRITING (About) Life...(Or I'm Trying To Blog More)

Yes, it's true. I'm going to try to blog more. Yes, I know Yoda said there is no "try." But moving right along:

I’ve been thinking about this meme, reminiscing, as it were. I was remembering being in nursing school and reading every chance I got because there were many, many times when I needed to be someplace else. So one afternoon in the lull between getting off duty and suppertime at the hospital cafeteria, I was reading. And that particular day, the room my roommate and I shared was the gathering place for much needed unwinding. I don’t remember precisely who was there, but there was no place left to sit except the floor and it was as noisy as stressed-out, exhausted nursing students could make it. But I wasn’t really there. I was living that “Look What They Done to My Song, Ma” lyric: “Wish I could find a good book to live in, wish I could find a good book....” Well, I had found one and I was oblivious. Finally, one of my classmates said. “Cheryl!!! What in the world are you reading!” I didn’t feel like stopping to give a synopsis, so I just kept reading, only I read what I was reading out loud because I figured that was the best way to kill two birds with one stone. I read several pages to them. “That’s what I’m reading,” I said. And one of them said, “Well, don’t STOP! Read some more!” So I read to them until time to walk over to the hospital for supper. I don’t remember the name of the book—I think it was historical fiction. In any event, it’s a sweet memory of much needed escapism and taking a bunch of fellow SNs along with me.

Monday, September 16, 2019

(The) Writing Life--THE MARINE

THE MARINE, winner of the 2018 EPIC Award for Best Contemporary Fiction, will be ON SALE from 9/16/19 through 9/30/19. $0.99 Ebook format.
Sergeant Josh Caven is a Marine, through and through. He's also a single dad who's about to be deployed again--soon! He has to come up with a family care plan for his little girl, and he's desperate. He tells himself that's the only reason he shows up on Grace James's doorstep. Because maybe she could help--IF she's the mother who gave him up for adoption all those years ago . . . 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

(THE) WRITING LIFE--A Backlist Book Now Available


Now available in Kindle format. Winner of the RWA RITA Award and the GRW "Maggie" Award the year it was published. 

Mystery. Romance. And a kindergartener named Hernando who is five going on thirty. 

An "off limits" policeman's widow. An insubordinate detective determined to find out what she knows about her husbands death.
A love story...

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, text and nature

ON SALE in All eBook Formats. 99 cents. May 1- May 15.

 Deserted by her husband because she couldn't have children, Catherine Holben is still recovering from the pain of her divorce. But her life is changed forever when she makes a purchase in a quaint curio shop. She meets handsome, hardworking Joe D'Amaro, a widower and father of three, and his precocious seven-year-old daughter, Fritz. Joe needs help with Fritz, but he is too proud to admit it. Neither Catherine nor Joe can ignore the love that quickly blossoms between them. Maybe they can have a wonderful life together . . . if only Joe's still-grieving older daughter, Della, will accept a new woman in her father's life.