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Hello all and welcome back to those who've visited my website and blog before. If this is your first visit, thanks for stopping in and I hope you'll like what you read. Old friends know I started this website for two reasons. First, I was advised to do so by a literary agent that rejected my query for lack of a social media presence. I'm still trying to figure out how to get my posts seen by more people. I"m open to any and all suggestions. Second, I'm on an exciting journey as I attempt to become a published author, and I thought I was going to need some company along the way. That's where all of you come in. Thanks so much for coming along on this crazy ride with me.

This would be a good time to catch you up on the status of my writing and querying. Two WIPs (work in progress) completed-one a cozy mystery/romance and one a children's picture book and four more WIPs in progress. I've queried both of my finished projects to agents, but as of today, I've had a ton of rejections, a couple of full manuscript requests that I haven't heard back on, and a lot of sleepless nights stewing about all of it. My husband and friends all say to stay positive and good things are going to happen. I'm trying to follow their advice, but I'm going to be real honest here-it's just so damn hard and frustrating. Excuse my salty language, but even writers sometimes struggle to come up with something better than an old fashioned four letter word!

Speaking of writers and the words they choose, you may have noticed this week's new hashtag, Art imitating Life rather than Life imitating Art. Why you might ask did I switch that around? Well for one thing, because I can. You've all heard of literary license which is defined as an author's prerogative to deviate from the norm to shape their work as they see fit. Do you see why I love writing? In what other arena do you have permission to break the rules!

My second reason for using the hashtag "Art imitating Life" is this phrase describes my cozy mystery/romance to a tee. My art (writing) imitates life because every single character is based on a real person in my life. Some of these people are close family and friends while others are acquaintances I've met along the way. And some are complete strangers I had a brief encounter with that left a lasting impression. Now don't be confused by the term 'based on". Perhaps a better phrase would be "inspired by". Each character has been inspired by someone in my life, and then I used a whole lot of literary license to create my characters. Let me give you a few specific examples.

Jillian's sister, Amanda, was inspired by one of my own sisters. In this series, Amanda owns and operates her own flower shop, Blossoms & Blooms. The sister in question is horribly allergic to all flowers and would never be caught in a flower shop, let alone owning one. Next example would be Cate's husband, Wes. In my books, Wes is a high-powered attorney while the brother-in-law who inspired this character has actually been a very successful banker for over forty years! Last one- the person who inspired Becca's husband, Ethan, is not now nor never has been a cop. He spent twenty-five years in the Air Force protecting our country much like my character, Ethan, protects his town.

As I have plans and outlines for many, many more books in this series, there are many more people who will appear on my pages as Art continues to imitate Life. In upcoming books, there will be characters inspired by my elementary school librarian, one of my dad's coaching buddies, an MTD bus driver I met when I was in college, and a former neighbor who is now one of my very dearest friends. I sure hope an agent offers me representation soon so we can get Book 1 published and then get rolling on Books 2 through...whatever!

I have so many great stories to share and I can't wait for you all to read them.

Now would be a good time for me to share this week's tiny teasers from Murder By The Books. I chose these snippets from a larger scene because they are good examples of how my Art imitated Life. You're getting more teasers, but they'll be shorter than usual.


~~~Travis made one more turn into a wide drive and announced, “We’re here.”

Here was an old drive-in theater Jillian had come to many times as a kid, but she thought it had been shut down long ago. There were a few other cars parked sporadically up and down the aisles, so apparently this drive-in was open for business. Jillian could feel Travis staring at her, so she turned to him and smiled.

“I hope this is ok, “Travis said. “A friend of mine bought this place and is trying to restore it to its former glory. The snack bar isn’t operational yet, so I brought dinner, drinks, and movie snacks. There is an air mattress for us to sit on in the bed of the truck and I brought along Blaze’s dog bed and a blanket for the pups. There might even be some snacks for them in the basket as well.”

It was obvious that Travis had planned this evening down to the smallest detail and Jillian was again touched by his thoughtfulness and now his creativity. She was looking forward to this night and hoping there would be many more to come.~~~


~~~ The first movie had enough sports and manly scenes for Travis and just the right amount of drama and romance to satisfy Jillian. Small town football star falls for the cute All-American girl. Something interferes in their relationship keeping them apart, but in the end, they are reunited and everyone lives happily ever after. So it wasn’t a blockbuster hit. Watching movies at the drive-in did give Travis and Jillian the chance to talk throughout the entire movie without being shushed by those around them.

“Did you play any sports?” Jillian asked Travis. “Like the male lead in this movie?”

“Football- no,” Travis answered. “Baseball was my sport. I played from Little League all the way through high school.”

“Were you as good as the kid in the movie?” Jillian pried. ~~~


~~~ They both sat and pondered that question for a moment, but then the loud opening soundtrack of the next movie began and their attention was drawn back to the widescreen. Travis began rummaging around in the box he’d hauled out of the backseat. He pulled out a bag of popcorn, two sodas, a bag of Twizzlers, and some peanut M & Ms.

“Movie snacks,” Travis announced. “I know we just ate a big dinner, but I cannot watch a movie without snacks.” He handed Jillian a soda and the peanut M & Ms. She looked at him with complete surprise. How did he know she was incapable of saying no to peanut M & Ms?

She must have been staring at him with her mouth hanging open, because he looked at her and said, “What’s wrong? I thought you really liked the peanut ones.”

“I do. They’re my favorite, but how did you know that?” Jillian asked in disbelief.

“Easy,” Travis replied, “You have a bowl of them on the counter at Kidz Korner and another one on your desk in your office. The day I was in your apartment, I also noticed a candy dish filled with them sitting on the coffee table in your living room. Why have three bowls filled with this candy if it’s not something you like?”~~~

So yes, the main character of Jillian was inspired by yours truly while her boyfriend, Travis, was inspired by my husband, Trent. We did go to a Tom Cruise movie on our first date, but since our date was in December the whole bit with the drive-in is my literary license rearing its pretty little head. My favorite movie snack is peanut M & M’s and his are Twizzlers (on that I did not lie). And for the record, my husband was both an outstanding football and baseball player in high school, unlike Travis who only played baseball.

It is my most desperate wish that you will all be able to read these stories someday in the not-so distant future, and I hope you’ll be wondering throughout-is this real or literary license? When that day comes, I’ll be happy to answer those questions for you.

As always, thank you for your support and the time you took out of your day to spend a little here with me. I’d love for you to leave a comment or ask a question which I’ll try my best to answer. Stay safe and healthy out there and come back again soon.

Until next time,


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Cheryl Burman
Cheryl Burman
Jul 20, 2020

Thanks for this Jodie - I share your frustrations and the stewing bits too, and all I can say is keep going! And keep learning from the great community of writers we share. XX


Yessss! I *loved* reading about Jillian and Travis’ drive-in movie date - and oh my goodness! How that date ends?! Let me just say that this chapter seriously captured me - hook, line, and sinker! I so look forward to the day when others can read your work. I loved “Murder by the Books,” and I can not WAIT to read the next in the series! Surely, a literary agent will pick it up soon. 🤞🏻🤞🏻

PS: I’m loving this blog, too!


Love reading the bits and pieces that you share. Thank you for sharing and I can’t wait for my first copy signed by the author!!

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