Seriously Write: There’s No Place Like Home by Christina Lorenzen


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Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

Oftentimes, writers are faced with two battles at the complete opposite ends. There’s the battle where one can’t seem to come up with a good idea. … Then there’s the battle of having too many ideas and you can’t decide which one to choose.

Today’s Seriously Write post by author author Christina Lorenzen deals with the possibility of finding the right idea in personal memories.


What sweet memories might make the perfect story for you to write?

Historical Flavor: Tragedy of the Isle Derniere Hurricane


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Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

We’re smack-dab in hurricane season and, of course, this month marks twelve years since Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Wow! It doesn’t seem so long ago.

But Katrina wasn’t the only hurricane to wreak havoc on that area of the country. In 1856, the first recorded Category 4 hurricane hit a resort island off the coast of Louisiana, killing half the population on the Isle Derniere and prompting its eventual desertion. Most of those who survived only did so because they took refuge on a steamer. Odd to think a steamer would provide protection from such a storm, isn’t it?

Over the decades, the island has become four separate land masses. This article from Smithsonian Magazine contains some interesting information on the tragedy, as well as the opportunity to get a historical writer’s creative juices flowing. 😉

Below is a short video from the Natchez National Historical Park with more information.

Have you ever experienced a hurricane?

Seriously Write: Not A Solitary Endeavor by Heidi Chiavaroli


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Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

Yes, I work better alone. That’s why I write. All by my lonesome. Me, myself, and I.

Or so I thought.

Even writers know it takes a village to produce a book. On today’s Seriously Write post, author Heidi Chiavaroli shares her take on the importance of a team in releasing a novel.


Who makes up your team?




Book Review: To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander


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Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

Tamera Alexander’s Belle Meade Plantation series has ended with To Wager Her Heart, and what a wonderful ending it is.

Alexandra Jamison is the only daughter of a Nashville lawyer, a descendent of one of the city’s founders whose family counts itself part of the socially elite. Though she still grieves the loss of her fiance in a tragedy from the year before, her father pushes her to marry an older widower—something Alexandra refuses to do. She wants to teach like her former love.

If the carriage parked in front of her house on Sycamore Lane–the lushly treed thoroughfare home to some of Nashville’s finest residences–was any indication, her father’s plans for her were hardly ‘escape.’ More along the lines of ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire.’ …

Which her mother would quietly support, never giving voice to her own thoughts on the matter. If she even had thoughts of her own. …

And all this, Alexandra thought, as she climbed the steps to the front porch was what a sister was for. To share all the secrets, the heartaches and fears. … But how did she do that when her parents’ hopes and plans for her life differed so vastly from her own?

To her family’s opposition, Alexandra finds her escape through the fledgling freedman school, Fisk University.

In the meantime, Colorado railroad owner, Sylas Rutledge, tries to win a contract to expand his new railroad in Nashville, never realizing the bond he shares with the intriguing Alexandra. It’s the one thing that can drive them apart.

Ms. Alexander will always be one of my favorite authors. She doesn’t hesitate to tackle less-than-cheery family issues involving marriage and parental authority, yet all through the lens of romance.

Contrary to the way the official blurb makes it seem, I didn’t really see Sy as the roguish type. He was driven to succeed, yes, but with integrity. Intense, yes, but cool under pressure. Authoritative, yes, but kind and faithful. Alexandra had backbone, which allowed her to follow her heart. She also had the compassion and intelligence to go against convention.

There was one historical issue Ms. Alexander brought up in a way that made me think she was foreshadowing a future point in the plot. I was bit disappointed when nothing happened, yet it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story she did write.

Overall, To Wager Her Heart was my favorite of the Belle Meade Plantation novels. 

When you read a novel, do you mind if the author takes a little liberty with historical events?


A special congratulations to my crit partner, Heidi Chiavaroli, on the release of her debut novel, Freedom’s Ring! Check it out, y’all. You’re going to love it!



Seriously Write: When Sometimes a Break is Exactly What You Need by Kristen Terrette


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Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

I know these characters well, have thought long and hard about the intricacies of their quirky ways…and yet, everything I put on paper was rubbish.

On the Seriously Write blog, author Kristen Terrette talks about her experience in writing a novel—her favorite thing—only to have it feel like punishment instead of pleasure.


Have you ever been through a time in your career like this? Join the conversation and tell us about it!