Recent Post

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

At the 2017 Storymakers Writers Conference, I presented a class on my adaptation of Dan Wells' Seven-Point Story Structure for use with romantic plot lines. Because Dan made his method readily and fully available via his website ( and via youtube videos, I am doing the same.

A few things to bear in mind:
  • Because this version is meant specifically for romantic relationship, some of the definitions of the various "points" are different than they were in the original. This does not mean I disagree with the original version (in fact, I think it's brilliant). The new definitions are simply what those points came to represent in this romance-specific version.
  • This is the way I adapted the system for romance.  There can absolutely be different ways of adjusting it. This is just one.
  • Like all plotting systems, this is not the one and only way of planning a storyline. Give it a shot. See if it works for you. Maybe you'll start with this approach and build from there. Maybe you'd prefer to discovery write and then use this to guide a rewrite. There are endless approaches.
  • If this method doesn't work for you, that's fine. Every writer is different. Find what helps you most.

The parts:
  • First, the slides from the presentation (in pdf format):
  • The Romance-specific story structure worksheet:

Friday, March 17, 2017

☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ Happy St. Patrick's Day! ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘

It's that time of year again: St. Patrick's Day! aka The Holiday of Coolness! aka My favorite day ever! (aka my birthday). We are ridiculously Irish around here, in ancestry as well as in our enthusiastic embracing of this part of our heritage.

As is tradition here, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, here are some Irish things I love...


Traditional music, this year from an absolute favorite of mine, Luke Kelly. He had a remarkably unique voice, but also the invaluable ability to imbue a song with emotion and feeling. This is one of my favorite from him: Scorn Not His Simplicity. It is a plea and a reminder of the absolute necessity of valuing the most vulnerable and overlooked and undervalued around us, and to show compassion. Beautiful.

Fiddle music: You need only peek at Longing for Home or Hope Springs (and later this year, Love Remains) to realize how deeply I love Irish fiddle music. Last year I highlighted John Sheehan, a mind-bogglingly talented fiddler. I’m tossing it back to him again this year. This clip cracks me up every time. It is such a great embodiment of the joy of Irish music and the fun that can be had when musicians and listeners really let themselves sit back and love the music.

Modern music: I also super duper love modern Irish music. While I could easily toss out the Corrs or the Cranberries or U2 or many others as examples of modern music coming out of Ireland, I always highlight the Script. They’re an amazing group from Dublin whom I just can’t get enough of. This year, I’m going with a song of theirs from a couple of years ago, “Faith + Science.” It’s one we sing at the top of our lungs at our house anytime we hear it.
This particular clip is from a concert they played in their hometown of Dublin. I’ve heard them talk about that experience, about how amazing and humbling and how much of a dream come true it was to return home and play to a packed arena. Made me love them all the more.

My Family
The more time I spend delving into my own ancestry, the more lines lead back to Ireland. As is often the case with people doing family history work in the Emerald Isle, we have hit so many roadblocks: records that were destroyed, individuals who changed religious affiliation, changing where their records would be found, people so poor that no record of them really exists, etc.
This last spring when I was fortunate enough to travel back to Ireland, I brought with me the very scarce information I had on one particular family line that ends abruptly in Dublin. I knew which church this couple had been married at, as well as the parish where an uncle lived during at least part of his life. I walked to both churches in the hope of finding a headstone or something that would give me some more information. While I didn’t find their headstones (like most churchyards in Dublin’s city center, nearly all the headstones in both churchyards were removed long ago) or any earth-shattering discoveries, I felt remarkably closer to them, knowing I was standing where they stood, knowing they were, in one way or another, nearby, and I felt with utter certainty that they knew I cared enough to try to find them and they felt the love that I feel for them.
Being physically at those churches also provided me with some very important clues in my continued search to piece together their lives, geographical things I likely would never have put together otherwise, and for that I am grateful. The search continues, for them as well as my many other poor, humble, historically insignificant Irish ancestors, but I feel myself getting closer all the time, both to them and the country they called home.

At one of the two churchyards, amongst the few remaining headstones.

The entrance to the other churchyard I visited and a view of the church where one of my ancestors would have worshiped.

Irish Blessings
I always close out my annual Holiday of Coolness post with this gem...

May those who love us, love us.
And for those who don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He can not turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles,
So we may know them by their limping.

Happy Holiday of Coolness, everyone!


Friday, January 27, 2017

A Fine Gentleman

Revisit the beloved Jonquil family of brothers as Jason Jonquil treads the often perilous path of love.


Love Remains
a Hope Springs novel

Coming September 2017...
A new novel set in the beloved world of Hope Springs..
Cecily faces a dark, uncertain future. Tavish is haunted by his painful, anguished past.
Fate has brought them together in a world determined to tear them apart.
Readers have asked for YEARS to have this story. It has been written and waiting almost as long. I am so, so pleased to finally be able to announce that it is coming, and it's coming this year!!
Come on back to Hope Springs with me, and let's give our handsome Irish lad his happy ever after!
(Didn't read the Longing for Home series? Not a problem. This book is written so that it can stand on its own for those making their first trip to Hope Springs.)



Search This Blog