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Writing With Audrey Hepburn

The first question people ask me when I tell them I'm a writer is "do you have anything published?" AND the second question is "where do you get your ideas?"

I absolutely love answering the second question because I think it shows how the mind of a writer is so complicated and well. . .strange! 

Here is my response: I get my ideas from anywhere and everywhere. I might overhear a conversation while standing in line at Auntie Anne's Pretzel Shop at the food court in the mall (single mom Liz Day opened a shop in Grandberry Falls just like the owner of Auntie Anne's), I might get a little blip of something off the reality televisions shows I'm addicted to (Honey Boo's mom is a hoot of a character is so is Granny Hazel in Never Tell Your Dreams), and the list can go on and on.

But the magic of writing comes in as I take that one little conversation or the way someone talks and start to add the meat to the story. That is the fun part! My characters start talking to me and they develop their own identities. 

There are always stories coming and going in my head. Some of them I will jot down, and some of them I don't. Sometimes I just have to let the idea simmer for a few months and then ready to write the story.

Over the past year, I have been focusing on paranormal mystery and releasing my Magical Cures Series (which there are several more in the series to be released! I love that Madame Torres!). Years ago, I started out writing romance (hence the Grandberry Falls series and Carpe Bead 'em) and a few months ago I got an email from a reader asking me when I was going to release more romance novels. And then more and more emails started to pour in from more readers.

One thing about me. . .I can't write several different novels at once. My characters aren't very nice to each other and we might just have a murder mystery if I did attempt writing two different novels at once. So I keep on a schedule, maybe NOT sooo tight, but pretty close to it.

Here it is for 2013:
November: Color Me A Crime (An Olivia Davis Paranormal Mystery, book two)
December: Strung Out To Die (A Divorced Diva Mystery Novel, book one)
February: A Charming. . .(need title, A Magical Cures Mystery Series, book three)
April/May: Crimped To Death (A Divorced Diva Novel, book two)
July/August: A Magical Cures Mystery Series, book four
November/December: A Divorced Diva Mystery Novel, book three

I'm exhausted thinking about it!!! But that is my tentative schedule on my calendar for 2013...and ZERO romance! I love romance, I do and I do sprinkle a hint of some in all my mystery novels. 

Plus I love small towns! So the more emails I got, the more a story started to write itself in my head. But I like quirky characters and I've been waiting for the right moment to put a certain quirky characteristic a friend of my sister has in a book....

My sister's best friend LOVES the movie Gone With The Wind (mind you, they are in their mid-forties with families)  and every time Gone With The Wind comes on TV, she dresses up in a ball gown and watches it. Now...that is really funny to me and quirky! Just something I need for one of my characters.

I love Audrey I put my own spin on a story that has been brewing, that was sparked by those reader emails. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time to write a full romance....

I'm always buying short stories for my Kindle Fire because I have three teenage boys who have orthodontics appointments, dermatologist  appointments, sports practices, rides to the mall etc...I love to read as well as write. Short stories are perfect for those times I'm waiting on my guys.

When I read novels, I like to have a big chunk of time so I can get right back into the story, unfortunately I don't have BIG CHUNKS OF TIME. So my idea of a short story series continued to come to life. . .in my head. I started to bring the idea to life by talking about it, then the characters joined the conversation. . .

Here is my plan. . .
My readers are the most important part of my writing. How can I give my romance reader what they want and still continue to write the mysteries? Short stories! 

They don't take me long to write and I can wrap up a sweet story with meat in under fifty pages in about a weekend. 

What if, just what if, I did a series of holiday short stories set in different small fictitious towns across the United States? There would be one for Valentines Day, Easter, Memorial Day. . and so on. . .and you never know, one of these small town stories just might find their way into a full length romance novel.

That is how A NEW TRADITION came about! I'm excited to say it's now available to readers as the first in the SMALL TOWN ROMANCE SHORT STORY SERIES! 

And I did fit my sister's friend into the story! Holly Englehardt loves Audrey Hepburn. Every Christmas Eve, Holly and five of her girlfriends dress up in their ball gowns and tiaras just like Breakfast at Tiffany's. One problem. . .due to unforeseen circumstances, Holly is having to make A NEW TRADITION this holiday season and it involves a hunky neighbor! 

What do you think? Do you think this is a good idea? Or would you rather have those full length novels all the time?

One lucky comment will win a copy of A NEW TRADITION for your eReader! I'll be posting the winner of this blog post and the Let's Talk Turkey blog post on Thanksgiving!


  1. I think the idea of holiday-themed (romance) short stories is excellent.
    However, as I look at your projected sched. for the coming year, I just get so exhausted I can barely type this comment.
    Gurl, get some REST, too!

    1. Oh, Jeff! Thanks so mind never stops!

  2. Do what feels right. You always do it well.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. That is a wonderful idea Tonya!! It is also fun to read how you get some of your ideas!! I often wonder if a writer knows someone that inspires certain characters.

    I know I will look forward to your short stories as much as I do your books!! I need another addiction to go along with my coffee!!

    Seriously, it's great...just make sure you don't burn out our fav author!! ;-)

    1. Thank you so much, Lisa! I'm super excited about the short story series. There is a little bit for everyone :)

  5. I loved that you told us how you get ideas for stories. Your new series of short stories sounds fantastic - and you can make put them all together in one book at the end of the year. I can't wait to read the first one.

    1. You are a mind readers! Every year I do plan on putting a box set together from the stories of that year :) Great minds!

  6. I think this is a GREAT idea!! We can read these while waiting on your next full length novel to come out. Short stories can be a lot of fun!!

    1. My thoughts exactly, Kelli. I love reading shorts myself!

  7. I think short stories are the thing to do. As well as my YA and romance short ebooks I have scheduled to write and publish next year, I have a few short stories that I want to to edited professionally and publish for different seasons eg Halloween. Also, added shorts with a romance and YA ebooks. Keeps your readers happy and not waiting too long for the next story to come out.

    1. Exactly, Julie! Your readers will love you for it!

  8. it..for all the reasons you've said. I am a short story rader. In our busy lives, we need some refreshing short reads that bring us back to small town America and love. (I had met my current husband in a grocery store. I was sick of love. Done with it. But I thought to myself, "I'll never, never get married again but if I do it will be someone like... like... him (pointed to my current husband)." We were both in the fruit department. Then, in front of the oreos (oreos fit into our story many times), I made my shopping cart nick his and our eyes met, "Oh, excuse me," I said. (Hahaha...What the hell was I doing?) To shorten it all, he pulled up behind me in the check out and we both had all the same ingredients! Well, he had onions, but I could forgive onions. There was even a cuter interaction at the exit door. Well, you get the idea. Ah, romance. ~Street Teamer, Teri

    1. TERI!! Just like this...your story with your husband completely just sparked a new story line for me!!! will be in the dedications!

      You will have to message me your details...I LOVE THIS!

  9. Tonya I love the idea of the short stories. Lately with work, holiday planning and shopping I don't have a lot of time to read. Short stories are perfect for when I do. I enjoy romance and holiday themed stories. Love the way your mind works! I don't know how you keep up with your schedule. You must be extremely organized. I'll definitely read it. I always enjoy your writing.

    1. Oh, Jean, I'm the same. I love to read when I can and short stories keep my interest in quick little spurts. I have to keep a schedule or I wouldn't be able to function.

  10. I think this is a great idea. I love short stories. Sometimes I am able to take a whole day and read a full-length book, but not often. When I have to stop and go back to a book, I end up having to backtrack and read part of it again so I can get my mind around where I was (getting old can be a pain). Keep 'em coming!

    BTW, I just went out and bought A New Tradition, and my Kindle and I will be spending some time together today.

    Lynda Turpin

    1. My thoughts exactly, Lynda! Thanks for stopping by! Please let me know how you like Mulberry End!

  11. As great as full-length novels are, it's nice to have a short, sweet story to read from time-to-time. Sometimes, you just want a quick get-away from life's daily chaos, and short stories like "A New Tradition" are the perfect cure-all!

  12. Wow, what a schedule girl. You must have one awesome editor, most of us can barely find the time to write.

    1. Madison, I run everything through my editor before I put it on my calendar. I make sure I can get in :)

  13. Great Plan! Good luck with all of it! xx

  14. I enjoy the short stories. I don't always have time to read a full length novel. I was reminded of when Good Housekeeping used to feature a novel excerpt each month. Couldn't wait to read it! Thanks!

    1. Lori, I use to love reading those short excerpts!! Too funny. I forgot about those...I wonder if my sub-conscience got me....

  15. What a great idea! For someone like me who prefers mystery over romance at times, a holiday short story series would definitely spark my interest! Sounds like it will work great with your schedule too. You go, girl!

    Thank you for sharing your how to's with us!

    1. Thanks, Kellie! I hope I opened you heart to a new genre.

  16. Hi, Tonya!

    I was never much of a short story reader - until I started having to commute to work. Then, absolutely bored out of my gourd, I decided to give audio books a try. Everyone said, "Oh, I can't do those; I can't focus on them," but really, it's no more difficult than the radio - and with a short story (or a collection of short stories)- it was even easier. So now I'm a short story reader ... and a short story writer. I think it's a great way to give yourself a little break from novels - kind of clear your head - and it's good for busy readers, too!!

    I say keep writing them!! Nice job!

  17. Hi Tonya,I think it's a GREAT idea. Like you said with so much going on sometimes it's hard to read a full length novel. Not to mention the older you get the harder it is to remember what you read a few hours ago. Lol


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