Thursday, June 2, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Cheryl St. John

How many stories have you written to date?


Strangely enough, this is always a tough question, and I always have to go look up the answer. I am not a number person. The lists inside my books aren’t complete, anymore, which is a bummer, because that used to be a good way to count. I keep a list on my hard drive so I can remember. I think it’s thirty-eight.

We’re noticing a trend with the states in your book titles lately. Do you title your own books?

Yes and no. With each proposal I include a list of alternate titles, besides the one I’ve chosen for my story. Often my title sticks, but other times I’m asked to choose a different one. Sometimes there’s another book with a similar title or the same word the same release month, and other times mine just didn’t connect with marketing. I’ve gotten pretty good over the years at learning the key words and the titles that they will like.

So, often, a title is one I came up with, but not my first choice. Occasionally the editors and marketing department select the title, but they always run it past me before it’s set in stone. I always defer to their judgment.

I titled Her Montana Man and Her Colorado Man. My title for Her Wyoming Man was Wyoming Wildfire, but it wasn’t a hit. Her Wyoming Man was on my list of alternates. My critique group laughingly says I’ll get through all the states eventually. We think Her Maine Man will be hilarious.

When you’re plotting and writing a story, how do you keep track of everything, like the character’s names and your research?

For every book I have a handy dandy three ring binder. I start it as soon as I start to plot a new story. The first pages hold my character grids and GMC grid, as well as my hand-written notes—usually one or two pages that describe my initial concept for the book. I include any correspondence with the editor, pages of names, the synopsis and first pages, all of my research and photographs. I use clear plastic sleeves for newspaper articles and photos.

In the pockets I keep a page count with chapter breaks (noted in pencil because they change), any sketches of the rooms, house, or any layout of a town or yard I need to know. In Marrying the Preacher’s Daughter, the Harts have such a large family and entertain so many guests that I had to make seating charts for dinners, so I know who was across from whom and which direction they were passing food.

Into the front and back clear-view binder cover I slip favorite book cover flats, character photos or simply memorabilia from a chapter event—fun things that inspire me.

It’s obvious you’re a prolific author. When writing so many books in a specific period of history, what kind of things do you do to make a new story fresh and interesting to you?

When I think up a story idea—that first glimmer of the book—that one that gets me excited to tell the story, I take the idea to my critique partners for a brainstorming session or two. We have a rule: Whatever that exciting thing about the idea that makes this story the one we want to write, we don’t budge on that concept. Even if the idea is something that makes the book difficult to plot or seems impossible to figure out, because that is the glimmer of excitement that will carry a writer through the whole book, even when the going gets tough.

My idea for her Colorado Man was so preposterous that every time I brainstormed it with my critique group, I’d end up putting it on the back burner. I did that for over a year. The thing about the story that excited me was the thing I couldn’t make believable. Finally, after all those months, one day the answer just came to me in a split second. I knew how to fix it and make the reader suspend belief to bite into the story. Oddly enough one reviewer remarked that the story concept was outrageous, but that I’d pulled it off. That was so rewarding to read.

I also look for tidbits of information or history that are unique and that fit into my story and add zest. In marrying the Preacher’s Daughter, I found an old black and white photograph of the Denver Theater. The theater was on the second floor, above a saloon and gaming hall. Once I learned that, I had to find a way for the preacher’s daughter to set out on a trip to the theater, only to discover what lay beneath. And while I had her there discovering, I had her recognize someone she knows quite well going into the gaming hall. Fun!

What does your family think about the fact that you’re an accomplished author?

They like the checks, what can I say? Seriously, they think it’s pretty cool and have always encouraged me and supported my writing. However, I’m still just Mom, the one who cooks the turkey and makes the sweet potatoes, you know?

You do a lot of public speaking, including conferences and workshops. Do you get nervous before you give a talk or a class?

I used to be, the first couple of years, but not anymore. I think the most important thing is to be familiar with your topic and confident that you can present it.

I am also a worship leader, so I sing in front of people all the time. That keeps me humble. I’ve learned that a mistake is just a mistake. You say or do something wrong, and you do it better the next time. People are forgiving when they know your heart is in the right place.

It’s always interesting to see who an author’s go to author is. Which authors do you like to read?

I always buy Jill Marie Landis, Margaret Brownley and Laurie Kingery. I do a lot of study reading for Bible college classes.

If you had a redo of something you did early in your career, what would it be and why?

I’d have more publicity photos taken with various hairstyles, and then as I aged, I’d just pull out a different photo, yet wouldn’t have aged at all. Voilà!

If you weren’t an author, what would you be? Leave an answer in the comment section to get your name in the drawing for a copy of Marrying the Preacher's Daughter. Or buy it by clicking HERE

Less overcommitted and a lot more rested. Maybe. I’d probably be a photographer. Or an interior designer. Is there any demand for professional chocolate tasters?

~~~~~~~~~
Visit me on the web: http://www.cherylstjohn.net/

From the Heart: http://cherylstjohn.blogspot.com/

92 comments :

  1. Oh firstly I love the look of the new book and the cover and would love to win a copy

    Oh I can see how her Maine Man would be a funny title but would love to see it.
    for someone doing a read a book set in all 50 states challenge having the state in the title would be a great help oh and I do need Maine!!!!!!!

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  2. Great post!

    Good idea about having a binder to keep everything in :)

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  3. Jeeper Creepers, Cheryl you just keep getting cuter!!!

    And love the book cover as well.

    Very helpful post tooo!!!

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  4. Welcome to Seekerville, Cheryl! I loved this peek into your writing life!
    Camy

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  5. Hey Cheryl,

    Thanks for being here today. Some super suggestions, especially about holding onto the sparkling idea no matter what.

    And organization. Wow.

    Would love to win so I can check out which hairstyle you chose for this one. Ha! May at maythek9spy dot com.

    Assorted teas available, with some Piroulines (dark chocolate filled). Yum!

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  6. Oh, Cheryl, how fun! Awesome interview, and you made me cringe, just a little, when you talked 3 ring binder...

    Oh, man.

    BUT... with 38 books to your credit (and counting) I am hats-off saluting your method because, girlfriend, it's working beautifully. And what a great work ethic. Besides being talented and a wonderfully creative, you work hard.

    I preach on that all the time, much to my friends' annoyance. "The harder you work, the luckier you get".

    Your example is one I will hang alongside my computer (with Margaret Daley and Karen White and Mary Connealy) of how important it is to WORK....

    Focus and work.

    And when you love your work (as you so obviously do) how can that be a bad thing????

    Loved this. Just loved it.

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  7. Oh, food.

    How can we host Cheryl without food????

    Breakfast by Perkins, Inc.

    Pancakes, fruit toppings, bacon, sausage, ham....

    Eggs, your choice.

    Toast: white, wheat, rye or TEXAS...

    Fruit bowl to your right. To go with KC's tea, I've got a fresh coffee service being wheeled in by Jack.

    Although it took him LONG ENOUGH to shoot that newest Pirates movie. Oy vay, Jack... Really????

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  8. Thank you, Cheryl, for giving us a glimpse into your working life! I'll have to work your binder method into my own work - I've been feeling dreadfully unorganized and at loose ends lately, and this direction sounds like it will help.

    And I'd love to win the book!

    jandrex(at)juno(dot)com

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  9. Great post, Cheryl!

    Thanks for the peek into your writing life. I especially love your critique group's rule about not budging on a concept just because it might become difficult. Those often become the greatest stories.

    Love the book cover. Can't wait to read Marrying the Preacher's Daughter!

    --Kirsten

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  10. Thanks for the helpful ideas woven in here! Loved the interview. My fave part was the rule to keep the glimmer of the idea that gets you excited about the book. Makes so much sense because without that the spark is gone. Thanks!

    Can't remember if I'm supposed to leave my addy or not... *eye roll*
    patty {at}pattywysong {dot}com

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  11. Hi Cheryl!

    Great information and I love your new cover.

    Hopefully, I'll get to meet up with you again at one of the Nebraska groups 'outings'.

    Thirty eight books...awesome!

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  12. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraJune 2, 2011 at 8:22 AM

    Thanks for sharing with us Cheryl! I love the title of Her Maine Man and I agree with Jenny. Having a book set in each state would be fun. I think one of the other lines did that once but I can't remember which line. I would love to win a copy of your book which has a great cover by the way. I also like the idea of being a chocolate taster as a job!

    I brought some scones to go along with all the other food. Everything sounds so good!

    fantum2004ATsbcglobalDOTnet

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  13. WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, CHERYL -- SOOO GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE!!

    You are one of those authors whose name I have heard for a long, long time and now I know why -- thirty-eight books??? WOW ... you look WAY too young to have that many under your belt -- is the pic of you today one of those famous "redos" you talked about, which, by the way, is one of the best ideas I've heard in a long time!! Thanks for the tip.

    VERY impressed with the binders, Cheryl -- is that something you started right out the gate or as you went along, say after three or four books?

    I LOVE your cover for Marrying the Preacher's Daughter -- LI has really been putting out some nice historical covers, which is the genre I love to read.

    And what would I want to be if I couldn't be an author?? As a little girl it was Scarlett O'Hara and Miss America. As an adult? An editor or a psychologist ... or both ... :)

    Thanks for a great blog today, Cheryl and Mary!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  14. Cheryl, I didn't know they did things like that with the title of a book. I can see where it would be a help though - because you might not know that another book had your same title.

    Love your writing! The covers of the Love Inspired books are always great.

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  15. So glad to have you here, Cheryl!

    Now, I'm dying to find out what was so preposterous in Her Colorado Man! I love books where something is just too difficult to pull off, but the author did it!

    Gotta check this one out for sure.

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  16. Cheryl,

    Thanks for sharing your tips with us! I sometimes use the binder idea but not as efficiently as you! LOL.
    More as an afterthought when I have a ton of scrap paper and can't find one note I needed.

    I love the covers of your books and would love to try one!

    If I wasn't a writer, hmm ... Well, I've often thought I should've used my degree to become an editor. Back in the day, no one ever told me I could be such a thing! But I think I would enjoy that job very much!

    Cheers,
    Sue
    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

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  17. Sherri ShackelfordJune 2, 2011 at 10:03 AM

    Good morning, Cheryl! I loved watching you plot her Colorado Man. I wanted to be a Spangler...

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  18. LOL Jenny. Well, my editor liked the sound of Her Maine Man, too, so I'll put on my thinking cap.

    Thanks for popping over, sweetie.

    Good morning, Eva!

    I didn't pay Tina to say that, I promise. I saw some vacation pics of you, and you are pretty cure yourself. :-)

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  19. Hi Camy! Visiting Seekerville is always so much fun, and I get to chat with a lot of friends and writers.


    KC I always have a cup of tea at my fingertips, so you chose perfectly for me this morning, thank you.

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  20. Only a new hairstyle? Darling, try a whole new wardrobe!

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  21. Yes, I have the opportunity to thank you, Cheryl, for being one of the first authors to lure me into reading historical romance. Thank you, thank you!

    I am a non-fiction writer and would definitely have gone more the southern fiction route if life had turned out differently. I would be a park ranger if I didn't write at all.

    Put me in for the drawing. Cheryl, thanks again for the reading pleasure.

    Peace, Julie

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  22. Ruth, I teared up reading your words. Writing *is*hard work, and anyone who thinks differently is fooling themselves. That's why we see so many dropouts in beginning writers: It's all bright and shiny and fun at first, but then you find out there are rules and techniques and guidelines, and the day to day reality of producing quality material isn't fun. It's serious work.

    I used to tag myself a discouraged perfectionist, and maybe it still fits. I organize everything, and a book must be organized, too. I'm tactile and need that paper in front of me, so even though I save some things in text files, I need that binder at my elbow as I work. It pretty much lies open during the duration of the writing process. I use it every day. I even have lists of names I will use.

    Now spreadsheets make my eye twitch, so I can't go there.

    This amused me: The harder you work, the luckier you get.

    I have had acquaintances say that I was lucky to be published or lucky that my publisher likes what I write. I took it with a grain of salt, because it was their insecurity speaking. Luck has nothing to do with hard work and perseverance, but still we hear the comments. Sometimes, yes, it is the right thing at the right time, but still it was the work that got you there.

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  23. Jan, do give the binder a shot. And pick up a few when you find a sale! lol


    Hi Kirsten! Yes, you do have to be excited about your concept to carry through the grueling hours of completing that story. Was that too bleak? Nope, we're back to that hard work again.

    Hi Patty! Looks that that's everyone's favorite tip today!

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  24. Hi, Rose. I was sorry to miss the last trip, but I was down to the wire on a deadline. Next time!


    Laura, who was the author who traveled the states with her husband in a camper and wrote a book for each state? I should know - Janet Daily! (That hurt.)

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  25. Great interview, Cheryl. Your books are great too. A state series sounds like a winner! I too organize in binders, but not nearly as well as you.
    Hugs!

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  26. Julie, it took me a few books before I realized finding my research and keeping notes was going to be a problem without a system. I do, however, have manila folders for my first few books, so I must have been organizing them somehow.

    Thank you for saying I look too young to have that many books written! That's in a span of twenty or so years. I hold the record in my RWA chapter for the person who's been a member the longest, and at 20 they gave a couple of us recognition, with gifts and charms.

    I hope you'll be just as surprised to learn I have ten grandchildren. They are my pride and joy.

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  27. Amanda, you diva, darling. I will call upon you for your expertise in shopping soon. Who does your boas?

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  28. (I should just mention that i know for a FACT that Patty is a spreadsheet girl. Don't hate her for it, Cheryl LOL)

    What GREAT stuff. I'm at the point where I have to sit down and figure out exactly what I'm writing about. Your binder sounds like an AWESOME idea (though I may keep mine on the puter in a folder - and maybe use Patty's spreadsheet :::wink:::)

    Please enter me for the book!
    joanne(at)joannesher(dot)com

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  29. Great interview! Great advice! It really helps to see the journey of seasoned authors.

    Since I'm just a beginning author - only have articles, short stories, and devotions published thus far - I'd say if I wasn't an author, I'd be a teacher. Which is what I am now. If neither of those were possible, I'd probably go back to working in a dental office. I really enjoyed that when I worked my way through college. I processed all the insurance claims for a large, multi-practice office.

    I'd love to win your book!
    teaching by writing at yahoo dot com

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  30. Patsy, thanks for your kind words!

    When the marketing team plans covers for a month, they get out the previous month's covers and compare. Then they try to do something different with each one, so that no two look the same. They also work to make sure there are no titles that sound similar. It must be a huge task. They've been doing so well, because the LIH and the HH covers are stunning. I have an HH in July, and it's one of my favorite covers ever.

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  31. Oh, grandchildren! Love 'em!

    Quick note about binders: WalMart puts them on sale for back to school at a RIDICULOUSLY low price in August. Usually the sales start the first week of August as they stock back-to-school supplies. That's a great time to grab a half dozen (DREAM BIG ALWAYS) and get yourself going...

    I made Cheryl cry!

    I made Cheryl cryyyyyyy!

    (Must be sung in naughty, child-like sing-song voice, quite annoying, for full affect)

    Cheryl, you are cute-as-a-dickens!

    Leaving peanut butter bar cookies. And a reader sent me a NEW toffee recipe so I'm going to try it out on you guys soon...

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  32. Yes, Pam, do find a copy of her Colorado Man and let me know what you think!


    Hi Susan. I do get great covers!


    Sherri, I remember...I'd read my critique sheets at home and you'd have said, "I want to be a Spangler." It always made me laugh.
    Thanks for all of your help with that story, btw.

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  33. Hi, Connie! Thanks for dropping in.

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  34. Joanne, I don't knock anyone's method, even though my eye twitches at the thought. One of the things to keep in perspective is that you have to do what works for you.

    I cringe when I hear an author give advice that makes it sound as though their way is the only right way, because that's just not so. I used to feel bad about myself after going to a conference and hearing that "writers write everyday" hooey.

    I sometimes go days or sometimes (rarely) a week without adding a word to my manuscript. And I can promise I'm a real writer. I write in fits and bursts and sometimes take a break and come back to it later. It's what works for me, and now that I've accepted it, I'm content with my method.

    So if a spreadsheet trips your trigger, I'm all for it. :-)

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  35. Welcome to Seekerville, Cher! I enjoyed hearing more about you and your fabulous career. I love historicals and your books! Congrats on 38 releases!

    I used to make a binder when creating my books but have gotten away from it. Think I'll try it again.

    Thanks for the breakfast spread, Ruthy. Loved the eggs and ham.

    Janet

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  36. Hi Christine! Don't say "only" when you say published! LOL

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  37. Ruth, are all writers addicts in September? Pens and journals and paper clips and...I could go on. And they're all on sale everywhere you go. It's like writer's heaven. (Can I say heaven here? Can't say heavenly in LIH - or angelic, so I'm self censored.)

    At my chapter holiday gift exchange, someone brought a notebook with special paper, and everyone had to feel it and ooh and ahh over it.

    I have favorite pens on my desk and one in my purse and another in my journal for church, and I only want to take notes with my special pen. LOL

    loved your song. I make up songs all the time. My most recent is to a Band Perry tune, When I Die Young: "When I die old, dress me in my jammies. Give my clothes to my favorite Goodwill..." There's more, but I'll spare you.

    I have an absurd sense of humor, what can I say?

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  38. hello, beautiful, Janet! Yes, the breakfast spread is delish.

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  39. I can get you a tiara too. Not as elaborate as mine, of course...

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  40. I have a senior picture I could knock the dust off of and use.

    Didn't someone once say that when the speakers walked onto the stage at the RWA conference, with their photos on the big jumbo tron behind them, everyone thought it looked like their MOTHER coming out to talk, because the pictures were so youn and so much more glamorous?

    I think that was supposed to be a mocking statement but all I thought was, pay that photographer extra. all right!!!!

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  41. Hi Amanda. So glad you could stop in.
    Amanda Hugginkiss is going to polish her tiara and come be a guest on Seekerville one day soon.

    She will teach us all how to do everything RIGHT.

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  42. Everything right? Fifteen women all trying to do everything right? Amanda, you are a brave woman.

    Cheryl, get the tiara now before she changes her mind. Tiaras might get you out of KP duty.

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  43. I was just reading the comments about the back-to-school supplies. By the beginning of August, I have to carefully budget myself or I will spend waaaayyyy too much money on binders, pens, notebooks, paper, etc. It's a sickness! My favorite stores (not including bookstores) are Staples and OfficeMax.

    Cheryl - thanks for the reminder. Sometimes it feels as if all the work yields so few rewards (published works). I haven't been at it for very long, about 5 years. I love to read accounts such as yours where the hard work pays off consistently.

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  44. I really enjoyed reading today's post. I'm impressed with all the pre-writing work that you do for each book!

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  45. I like that idea that excites you.
    And to have a sudden flash solve your central problem is just one of the great joys of being a writer. The ability to play with your idea, twist it around, find a way to make it make sense, however much it doesn't make sense.
    I just love that creative process. I have this mental image of juggling ideas, flipping them around as I lay awake at night, try a different angle. Give up something I think can't be changes and the voila find an all new way to do it better.

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  46. Also, I've seen Cheryl's binders. They are awesome. They are things of beauty.

    I am humbled in the presence of her binders.

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  47. I'll say this, Cheryl St. John was the first contact I ever made in my writing life. She had an article in the Omaha World Herald about a local writers group. A chapter of Romance Writer's of America.
    And though it seems impossible, I think your phone number was in that newspaper article. Would anyone put their phone number in the newspaper today?
    So I phone and said, "What's Romance Writer's of American?"
    She said something like, "You're kidding me. You know NOTHING!"
    (I am paraphrasing)
    And clearly she was right. I knew nothing. She invited me to the writing group, to which I still belong. And the rest is history.

    ---I left out about eight years of hard work and maybe seventeen unpublished books following that fateful phone conversation---

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  48. I'm waaaay ahead of all of you on binders - that's something homeschool moms collect by the dozens.

    And pay to move. Yup.

    At least one moving box full of empty binders, waiting in the closet of my office/school room as we speak.

    And pens? and paper? Don't get me started...

    I knew my youngest son was a born writer when he started collecting notebooks because they were cool. Yes, look for his name on the bestseller list some day!

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  49. And Cheryl, I can post your phone number here if you say it's okay.
    Let me know.

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  50. Mary, what a brilliant idea to have Amanda make an appearance at Seekerville. Now I won't be the only one she razzes on guest blogs.

    I do have a tiara, Tina, and it's a beauty. I always wear it to write. :::snort:::

    Yes, Christine, I love Office Max and Office Depot. Those stores smell as good as a bookstore.

    Hi Erica and Jan! What a great welcome one gets at Seekerville. I almost feel as though I deserve my tiara today.

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  51. I am bad at details but clear on concepts.

    I met Cheryl in Denver with Jan Edgar..we had dinner at the Brown Palace and I cannot remember WHY?? I think it might have been the Rocky Mountain Book Festival.

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  52. Mary, remember I have your phone number, too....

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  53. I might have to call you right now.

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  54. Tina, I'm pretty sure that was the Rocky Mountain Book festival. I had a wonderful time. We were online friends before that, remember?

    I'm going to ACFW this year! Will I see you?

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  55. Cool interview. Thanks Cheryl. I like the idea of your binders (I'm new to homeschooling and still wrapping my head around this, Jan). And I agree, it's a beautiful book cover.

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  56. very cool interview. i like the insight into how different authors go about their writing process. the binder idea sounds great. i'm a tactile person as well and spreadsheets give me the heebie-jeebies.
    i'm curious about Her Colorado Man now - I'll have to check it out. Of course, being a native of Denver, I love anything that has to do with Colorado in books.

    would love to be in the running for your book. nm8r67 at hotmail dot com

    thanks for sharing with us!!!!

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  57. I wondered how we met..I think a group of Christian writers through an online group. Vague, very vague. We were babies then.

    No, Dahling, I am doing RWA but not ACFW this year.

    NY. NY. Encore.

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  58. I used to have an overly dependent relationship with binder clips.

    I'm in a twelve step program now.

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  59. Wow, it's an honor to be listed as one of Cheryl St. John's go-to authors, as she is certainly one of mine--not only for her books, but I regularly mine her wisdom for book titles, book trailers, etc. And Mary Conneally is an auto-buy as well.
    Blessings, Laurie Kingery

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  60. Oh, busy day!

    I just love a good, ol' busy day!

    So:

    Lunch?

    Did anyone THINK TO BRING LUNCH????

    Sigh. What did you people DO LAST WEEK????

    Of course, in Seekerville's defense NO ONE WANTS FOOD from Mary's meager larder.

    I'm not kidding.

    Therefore, I shall supply a lovely light lunch of chicken salad on fresh greens (NOT FROM EUROPE) with a side of home-made Paula Deen luncheon rolls rolled in (what else????) butter.

    With a side of either fresh fruit, cottage cheese or CHOCOLATE TART.

    If any of you go for the cottage cheese or fruit, I'm laughing at you.

    Online.

    Vividly.

    I'm just sayin'...

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  61. Thanks for sharing these great ideas, Cheryl! Organization seems to be a key for prolific authors. I've read some of your thirty-eight books and appreciate your story-telling talent. Blessings!

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  62. Cheryl, congrats on 38 books! And I have not read any...yet...maybe I will win this one...hope, hope.
    It sounds like a great one!

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  63. Thanks for this great interview, Cheryl---and I must admit, I feel "energized and motivated" after reading your answers! Keeping information, etc. in a 3-ring binder sounds like a great idea (very organized--which I need to work on). ~ You sound like a very accomplished author (38 books--WOW!) and I LOVE the cover of your newest LIH. ~ Thanks again for visiting us today. Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo :)

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  64. Sometimes people don't immediately realize how special you are, that's why it's important to wear a tiara at all times.

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  65. Laurie, you sweet thing. You get to go to the front of the line for Ruthy's cyber food.
    I had six granola bars with me this morning. They are no longer with me.

    well, they're WITH me.
    Just not in a way that I can share with you.
    What I mean is....

    Forget it. Eat what Ruthy brought.

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  66. Oh Cheryl, I can assure you Joanne didn't think you were knocking spreadsheets! She was probably drooling over your 3 ring binders like I am, even though I am a huge spreadsheet junkie. LOL. I've been trying to think how I could print my spreadsheets so I wouldn't have to toggle between screens.

    Joanne and I have been emailing and texting like crazy this week about character development, so this post and your process is VERY timely for us. =] THANK YOU!! =]

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  67. A tiara and...I'd advise a cape. And maybe a lariet that makes people tell the truth.

    Yes, Wonder Woman at work.

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  68. Patricia, you have my admiration for homeschooling. God bless you!

    Deb H - in Her Colorado Man, my characters and family prepare and attend the exposition. A lot of research went into that, and it turned out really fun! It plays a big part in the story.

    Laurie! I adore your stories, and it's always a pleasure to brainstorm titles with you.

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  69. Great lunch, Ruth. Thanks!

    Renee Ann, thank you for letting me know you've read some of my books. Smooches!

    Hey, Jackie, hope you pick up one of my books.

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  70. Patti Jo, I hope you are safe in Georgia this season! There is crazy weather everywhere.

    Thank you for that sage advice, Amanda. Of course, my importance pales next to yours.

    I loaned my lariat out and never got it back....

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  71. Cheryl thanks so much for being with us again! I love your "glimmer rule"! Such a great idea and something I'll remember.

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  72. I've heard nothing but good things about Cheryl St. John's books and would love the chance to read one :) I really liked her writing process and the creation of a binder for each story...great idea.

    kathryn.clewell[at]gmail[dot]com

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  73. I enjoy reading about your writing process. Thank you for sharing this address with us. Looking forward to reading this one!

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  74. What a great interview, and your commenters are like a Who's who? list! And I agree with what Laurie said; you're one of my go-to writers, too.

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  75. hahaha! Ok, the profile photo idea made me laugh!
    And I loooooove her books. :)

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  76. Great post, Cheryl! Thanks for sharing some wonderful suggestions. I like how you utilize the binders. I use them for blog postings that I print, but I have been using spiral notebooks for outlines, character ideas, etc. Looks like I'm due for a trip to Office Depot! That makes me happy. :)

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  77. This is fun. I love titling stories, but I don’t know they don’t always stick. Her Maine Man is funny. LOL. Did I miss something about Her Colorado Man and what made it such a prosperous idea? Or that a “you have to read the book to find out” kind of thing? ; )
    Prolific authors always amaze me, especially ones that write GOOD stories. I have a hard time pushing through one story.
    I would love to win a copy of Marrying the Preacher’s Daughter. : )
    I’m not a published author. Yet. Haha. But if I could pick a job? Hmm. Way up there would be director/screenwriter. Photographer, horticulturalist, baker, travel writer, and I’m sure there’s many more. :p
    road_to_avonlea_17(at)yahoo(dot)com
    -Whitney

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  78. Hi, Cheryl,

    I'm stumped on what I would rather be than a writer.
    Perhaps an independently wealthy woman who could read all day? lol

    I'm behind on reading all these posts but I hope you've told people that you give great online workshops. I took a terrific one on emotion from you or was it on conflict? I guess maybe they're one and the same.

    Your books are about nice people in tough predicaments and you are an especially nice person, so your characters must resemble you in some ways?
    Love the book cover and I hope I win the book.

    cathy underscore shouse at yahoo dot com

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  79. If I weren't a writer, I think I'd be lost. Actually, I play piano and I've written songs, so maybe a song writer. Or does that count? I'm still writing. Hmm... photographer? scrapbooker? Maybe I'd sell scrapbook stuff! :D

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  80. LOVE the name of your book, BTW! :D

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  81. I love the cover Cheryl. By reading this post today I have learned some things I never thought about

    Walk in harmony,
    Melinda

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  82. love this posting...and cheryl's novels too :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  83. Hello, Jillian!

    Whitney, my idea was that I wanted to have a man in Alaska get a packet of letters from a kid who thinks he's his dad. This Alaskan fellow decides he wants to be a dad and heads to Colorado to find the boy.

    The heroine has perpetuated a lie about her son's long lost father, and is dismayed when the fellow shows up, claiming to be dad, but she's never laid eyes on him. of course she can't deny it, because she's the one who made up the lie in the first place.

    So, how to make that work took a lot of thinking and tweaking and imagination.

    It was one of those ideas that just wouldn't leave me alone, though.

    Hi Cathy! Great to see you again.

    Linette, Melinda, Karen, it's just delightful to read so many comments. Smooches!

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  84. Thanks to all the great people at Seekville for having me in for fun, chats, and great food today. You're the best!

    Smooches to Mary!

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  85. Her Maine Man. That made me laugh out loud! Fun interview. I wish I knew your secret to writing so many books. I want to be prolific too.

    If I weren't a writer I'd be a meteorologist. I say that a lot because I'm so fascinated by weather. I've also said that I wish I'd become a dermatologist, first because they actually make good money, and second because I might be able to help my daughter who has a lot of skin problems. And just about anything would have to be easier and more lucrative than novel writing, wouldn't it? I'm serious!!!!!!!!!

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  86. I really enjoyed reading about the way you are so organized! Organization doesn't come easily for me...so I love learning from other people! I definitely see some things I need to improve on. If I could do any job, it would involve traveling. Maybe work for the travel channel scouting out places that are fun, exotic, but family-friendly--that way my hubby and kids could come, too! : ) I'd love to try for your book!
    Blessings~Stacey
    travelingstacey(at)bellsouth(dot)net

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  87. I always love visiting Seekerville to learn how writers do what they do. I love the idea of keeping a three-ring binder to keep everything organized. Thanks for the tip!

    I love the cover of your new book! Would love to win a copy. :)

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  88. Great post! Your books on my list of must reads. I'd love to win a copy. If I weren't able to write I'd want to be a librarian. I have a strange obsession with books.

    adamsfammys at yahoo dot com

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  89. Your book looks very interesting and I would love to win. If I were not an author I would be an artist or linguist.

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  90. I'm not an author. I'm a sahm I have my teaching degree. So I'd be a teacher if I worked.

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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