Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Welcome Cheryl St. John

When asked what she’d like from me in the way of a blog for today, Ginger didn’t ask for much. Only that she’d like the readers to get to know me from my perspective and that she’d like me to tell about me, my family, what inspires me, what I hate, love, and how being an author has impacted my life/outlook. Oh, and what adventures I’ve experienced because of being an author -- and last but not least how much I admire, love and envy her and how I can’t understand why some major publisher hasn’t snapped her up. What, no world peace, Ging? The only thing she didn’t ask for was my secret for the world’s best muffins, so get it here: Ideas Come From Brownies

My perspective about me is that I’m a pretty ordinary person. Not everyone would agree, but from where I sit, I don’t look too exciting most of the time. I wish I could tell you that I skydive and go on archaeological digs…well, okay I could tell you that, so I guess what I wish is that I actually did some exciting things. If I did, I’d likely get too hot and might even break a fingernail, so I’m better off doing what I do. Or not doing what I don’t do, however you want to look at it. Do you know me now?

And really, my family has never held any sense of awe where my career was concerned. I’m still just mom, the one who whips up the goodies for their birthdays, makes a mean pot of chili and sometimes puts on a rockin’ brunch. I have seriously great kids and their kids are the apples of my eye, beautiful and brilliant each of them.

Emotional movies inspire me to write great books. I have a stack of favorites I dig out when I need to be in the “zone.” What the movie has to do to inspire me is make me feel deeply. Crying is good for the muse. I love to cry over movies. It’s so…well, not my life. So I guess to really know me, you need to know what makes me laugh and cry.

The cry list:
Pay It Forward - I can do an entire workshop on this movie. It is ingeniously and perfectly plotted for conflict and motivation.
Winter People - When Kelly McGillis comes back to her Daddy’s cabin without her baby, I sob buckets.
Return to Me, Hope Floats, Bounce, Phenomenon, While You Were Sleeping, The Con to name a few.

In 28 Days when Gwen’s sister comes to talk to her by the lake, and Gwen says, “I’m sorry I make it so hard for you to love me,” well, I lose it every time. Talk about character growth and motivating factors. We are the sum of our whole, not just who you see this moment, and story people need to be three-dimensional. This movie shows that excellently. I am moved by characters, not by plot, so every movie I love is character-driven, even one as action-packed as Face Off. Can you tell I like to analyze movies?

What makes me laugh? The things kids say. Children are priceless and genuine and not jaded. Which movies make me laugh? Overboard, When Harry Met Sally, Music and Lyrics, Liar Liar, Sense and Sensibility, Mannequin, Blind Date, French Kiss and Miss Congeniality. I laugh at snappy dialogue, but a good old spoof just tickles my funny bone: Soap Dish and Galaxy Quest are favorites.

I love my husband, chocolate (I thought long and hard about the order and he won), freshly painted rooms and shelves with lots of stuff, comfy sofas, quilts, snuggling babies, dolls, shoes and purses, decorating books, jewelry, a cup of tea in a pretty cup, taking great photographs, butterflies in my garden, a road trip with friends, playing boards games in the winter, all the great stuff my hubby makes for me, antique malls, vintage linens, email and so much more that I could fill pages.

I hate conflict (except in stories). I hate confrontation. I’m a peacemaker by nature and by calling, so people butting heads makes me want to run the other way. Why can’t we all just be friends?

As I thought about how being an author has impacted my life, what stood out to me was: People. Since devoting myself to the pursuit of publishing, I have met the greatest people. Many of the friends I made when I first joined RWA are still my best friends. And new friends are added through my local chapter all the time. I love brainstorming with a group. There’s something electric about shooting ideas back and forth like sparks until enough of them ignite into a story.

Every so often I meet a new writer whose drive and ability is so impressive that I’m eager to mentor and watch them develop. The majority of authors I meet are not only the most generous, but also the smartest people in any walk of life. I was published back in the day when we had no Internet :::gasp::: and no yahoogroups. Yeah, really. Some days I was reinventing the wheel, but I didn’t know anyone who had done this before. I called authors I’d met at conferences, and they were kind and generous enough to give me advice. I’ve never forgotten that. So I make it a point to be as helpful as I can when I have useful knowledge. I believe that what goes around comes around.

I have readers who have become good friends over the years. Last Christmas someone I originally met at a signing dropped by my home to leave me a gift! On the flip side, I have friends who have become readers as well. My critique group has become like a family unit, and my fellow Heartland Writers Group members are dear friends.

I thoroughly enjoy interacting with my blogger friends, in fact one might say I’m blog crazy. I keep a personal blog at Cheryl's Blog with fresh daily content, and I blog on a rotating schedule with the other fantastic Fillies at Petticoats & Pistols I even have a recipe blog (do try the muffins), a family blog and a blog that follows the progress of a remodel.

I don’t know if you got to know me through my words today, but I gave it my best shot. And of course I can’t end this without mentioning how much I admire, love and envy Ginger. You know I can’t understand why some major publisher hasn’t snapped her up!

And hey, if you Twitter, follow me: Twitter

If you have any questions or comments for me today, I’d love to chat with you! I’ll take all the names of those who comment, put them into my cowboy hat and draw a name. I’ll send the winner an autographed copy of my October release – not in stores yet! – The Magic of Christmas.

42 comments:

*lizzie starr said...

Hey Cher!
Gee, I didn't know so much good stuff about you. Oh, wait--I do. :)

Great post by a great lady.

Hmm, I've recently watched Galaxy Quest, I'm gonna have to dig out Soapdish. I love that one, too. 'I've been on the continent...'

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Cher,
I love to learn new things about you! I didn't know about ALL your blogs. My goodness, you do love it, don't you?
And I remember the days of no Internet, pounding the keys of a word processor, and gulp, before that, a typewriter.
You're a special lady! Great blog!

BTW, we had similar taste in movies!

Carol said...

Love your blog and will have to try those banana, craisin, chocolate chip ones. I too hate confrontation and want everyone to get along. In the first book I wrote, I had everyone being really nice to each other and I was nice to all my characters. Boring, no conflict, learned that lesson quickly.

Mary Connealy said...

I have several possible comments but my most fundamental one was, shouldn't that baby's head be covered on the book cover. It's cold out, for heaven's sake!!!

Renee Ryan said...

Hey Cher!!!

Wow, I'm so glad Ginger asked you to tell us about yourself. I feel like I know you so much better just by reading this blog. And, er, I looooooove all things baked. Need a guinea pig????

~Renee~

Rebecca Ryan said...

Here's something else you don't know about Cheryl (but may have guessed). She is a wonderful, caring, giving, amazing friend and we are all blessed to know her.

CrystalGB said...

Hi Cheryl. What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing so much about yourself with us. I love your books.

lindaford@airenet.com said...

Cheryl,

What a great blog. Nice to learn a little more about you.

Everyone, even before this blog I had already learned Cheryl is a great and generous person.

Linda F

Sandy said...

Hi Cheryl,
You may remember me, but I have met you through the MARA, which I still belong to. Ginger, thanks for giving this interview with Cheryl.

I loved all of your comments and your movie choices, Cheryl. Most of those movies I've seen.

Ginger, if Cheryl says you're a good storyteller, then I believe her. Good luck with your writing.

Sandy

Ginger Simpson said...

Sorry, I'm late in posting. I fell into a coma after taking my grandson to school. I only meant to sleep a hour, but I must have been reaalllly tired. I think it was from all the dusting and sweeping I did for Cheryl's visit.

I enjoyed your post. I can tell from the comments that you are a dearly-loved lady, and like I said...I know we would have been great friends if we lived closer and could interact. I'm just happy to claim you as a treasured acquaintance, and I thank you again for spending the day with me. Oh, and about the money. It really was worth it to get you here. The check's in the mail. *wink*

Ginger

Ginger

Carla Capshaw said...

Hi Cheryl,

Well, I've only known you a few months, but I have to say I'm SO thankful I have met you. You're such a giving, cheerful, blessing! This blog just makes me realize how many things we have in common. Thanks for letting us into your everyday life. :-)

CherylStJohn said...

I'm a little late returning today. Something else you may not know about me is that I do a little interior design consulting on the side, and I had an emergency color choice to resolve this morning, so I've just returned. While you were sleeping, Ginger! That could be a movie title. Anyway, all is well - spicey hues prevail.

*lizzie, so far you're the only other person I know who thinks Galaxy Quest is beyond hilarious. Alan Rickman's deadpan superiority while wearing a rubber mold on his head just sends me into fits of laughter. My husband just rolls his eyes.

And thanks for the word verification, Ginger. You just want me to work harder. It normally takes me about 3 tries.

Charlene, it's sometimes embarassing to admit we worked on typewriters! I thought I was beyond techno with my Selectric that had a whiteout ribbon. LOL

CherylStJohn said...

Carol, we must be twins. My first couple of books had no conflict whatsoever! Do try the muffins - I promise they are awesome. Don't know if I mentioned but turbino sugar sprinkled on the top adds a little crunch. Thanks for chatting today!

Mary, all the things you might have commented on and you brought up that baby's head...but you're right. Someone else said that, too, so I guess that's what people will be talking about regarding my cover. COuld be wrose. The cowboy could look like Anthony Perkins...got him on a cover once.

CherylStJohn said...

Renee, thanks for bopping over to chat! Did yu notice the URL for my recipe blog is Ideas Come From Brownies? That's one of my replies when someone asks me where I get my ideas. "Brownies." It's true. Give me some and I'll show you. I never met a brownie I ddn't like. Do you know how many awesome brownie recipes there are?

Not that I'm obsessed or anything.

Renee, Im sad that we've gotten to know each better since you moved farther away. :-( I'm glad we can stay in touch as often as we like though. You were an American Idol fan before I was, I remember that. And now I'm hooked.

CherylStJohn said...

Thank you, Rebecca! Smooches to you. (As soon as Ginger's check clears the bank, I'll send you your cut.) Rebecca is part of my critique group, so she pretty much knows the real me, and was still kind. XOXO

Thanks for the compliments about my books, Crystal! I appreciate you letting me know that you enjoy them.

Hey, Linda! I've enjoyed getting to know you through the P&P blogs as well as via our LIH list. See, what I mean about meeting amazing people (not to mentione talented) in this business? Thanks for visiting!

Hi, Sandy! Of course I remember you. I miss those days when we used to get together for conferences and signings and sleepovers in KC. I could be persuaded to do that again. Hope alal is well with you.

CherylStJohn said...

Hey, Ginger! We really clicked when we discovered each other at an RT conference. You always make me laugh.

Your place looks great! Thanks for the hospitality and the invitation. Say, what's in that gigantic Dumpster out back?

Carla! Now you and Ginger would get along great--you both make me laugh! Carla, you are so much like me. I see things about you all the time that remind me of me. We both have a rather relaxed perspective of things, but an obsession for getting stuff done right and done right now. LOL And you are the only person I know who can IM as fast I I can.

Carla Capshaw said...

LOL Rapid fire IMing is a talent not everyone can master. Now...if I could learn to write as well as you do. :-)

Linda Broday said...

Hi Cheryl,

You should've told us Fillies at Petticoats and Pistols that you're so humorous. And here I thought Mary was the one with the funny bone!

Great blog, our little social butterfly!

Cheri2628 said...

I enjoyed reading this blog and learning a bit more about you. I read your daily blog,as well as your blogs on P&P. You are always so interesting whether you are talking about your family or some western historical facts.

I have read many of your books, but The Tenderfoot Bride is my favorite. I am looking forward to reading the new Christmas anthology.

Cheryl C. (aka Cheri)

Victoria Bylin said...

Hi Cher!
There's something else your friends know about you. You're incredibly generous with your time and writing advice : ) And you're the Queen of Good Titles!

Kate Bridges said...

Hi Cheryl!

Now I know a little more about you! :-) You're a very hard worker, something I admire. LOL on no conflict in your first couple of books.

Your new Christmas book looks gorgeous!

CherylStJohn said...

Yes, Carla, we have the IM "gift." LOL But I don't talk that fast. At least I don't think I do.

About writing well: I always tell aspiring writers that God gave you the talent and the desire, but the techniques and dedication are learned.

Linda, thanks, but me thinks you are a funny one, too. Nobody can turn a phrase quite like you and your lively western characters.

Cheri, thank you oodles! XOXO I appreciate you so much on the P&P blogs. It is always amazing to me to hear how well one of my books is loved. The Tenderfoot Bride is a special book to me, too. I had so much fun with those characters.

I have to say, talking about myself so much is a little weird for me. My blogs are usually about other books or daily events or weird happenings in the news, TV shows or cute kids -- and well, I guess of course my OPINIONS - LOL - but this blog day is sort of like, "Well, enough about me--what do YOU think about me?"

It's a little embarrassing, but I'll call it "the love chair." Have you ever been in a youth group or a class where everyone tells one person at a time what they think is special about them?

Thanks for the love, guys.

CherylStJohn said...

Hello, Kate, my pretty fellow Filly! Thanks for dropping by Ginger's digs. Did you get any of the chocolate? The anthology is pretty isn't it? It's way more purple in person than you see by the .jpg. My last year's Christmas anthology was purple, too, but not quite as dark.

My sweet buddy Denise Lynn is making us a book trailer for the anthology! whoo hoo!

*lizzie starr said...

'the love chair...' Oh, I see, uh, hear it now. Some nameless voice that everybody knows, singing...and in the background a vast panorama with a single chair.

And, what about Naomi?

Minna said...

Great post!

Candace said...

Hi! So glad you could post here for Ginger. She is one in a million! Looks like we like a lot of the same movies. I never thought about using movies to inspire my muse. I amy have to give it a try!

Candace

Maryann Miller said...

Thanks for sharing so much of your life and your loves Cheryl. It was all great, but the butterfly picture got me. I'm a sucker for those beautiful creatures. I had one land on me recently when I was working in my garden. Almost like it stopped just to say hello. :-)

Tabitha Shay said...

Hi,
Loved your blog, especially the part where you cry at movies and study the characters from them. That's a unique way of zoning. And I admit, I've cried watching everyone of them. When I'm writing one of my books, I never feel it's done it's job, unless I can stir up a bit of emotion that brings a few tears...Tabitha Shay

Laura Herbertson said...

You need to add The Color Purple to your cry list. That gets me every time! *sob*

Rhonda Lee said...

<3 Galaxy Quest, it's just so damn quotable :)

Now I'm off to get your muffin recipe because I love food even more than I love Alan Rickman ;)

Rhobin said...

Love how you analyze movies. Character driven novels are what romance novels are all about for me. Your generosity towards other writers as posting this blog proves. Very classy, lady.

Jannine said...

Hi Cheryl:
I'm late in getting here. I've had an extremely, and unexpected, hectic day. But I loved reading about you. I think knowing what makes an author tick is what makes that author real to her readers.

I'm certainly glad I'm not the only one who analyzes movies. Unfortunately, since I began writing many years ago, I analyze books, too.

I'm happy to see you here. Ginger is a great lady, and somewhere in time we were sisters.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Cheryl,
Enjoyed your article, what I liked most about it is that you sound like a loyal friend. Love the foodie bits too
Regards
Margaret

Ginger Simpson said...

I would like to thank Cheryl for spending a day with me here on my blog. She's such a down-to-earth person, I know she doesn't realize how much she's appreciated and liked by everyone who meets her.

I've had the misfortune of meeting another mainstreamed author who loved to remind everyone of her status, and Cheryl has never flaunted her success anywhere. She's my friend, heroine and a great role model for all of us.

I hate to be sappy, because I know it's always called into question, but I truly mean what I say about Cheryl. I'll be her friend for as long as she'll have me, and I hope one day we get to spend time together again. She's a ray of sunshine...trust me.

Ginger

Kim Richards said...

Hi Cheryl! Your muffin blog made me hungry so I'm making my fiance chocolate ones for dessert tonight!

I also cry at movies and love to...it's cleansing in a way. My sons always look over to see if I'm bawling. How embarrassing!

Cherie J said...

Great post! I enjoyed learning more about Cheryl. Will have to try some of those recipes. Thanks for sharing Cheryl.

Eve Savage said...

I'm chiming in WAY late, but great blog, Cher!! :) It's nice to know someone as into movies as I am.

You're an incredible lady and I'm honoured to know you and count you as a friend. :)

From one movie buff to another - have a great one!
Eve

Dina said...

Hi Cheryl,

I'm new to you and The Magic of Christmas sounds great.

CherylStJohn said...

Thank you, Minna!

Glad you stopped by, Candace.

Maryann, I plant bushes and flowers especially to attract butterflies. I have one butterfly garden outside my front window, where I can sit and watch them from my comfy sofa. My neighbors probably think I'm a nutcase when they see me standing among the plants waiting for the little critters to land so I can take their pictures!

Hey, Tabitha and Laura!

Rhonda -- anotehr Alan Rickman fan! Don't you love him in Quigley Down Under?

Thank you Rhobyn and Janine!

CherylStJohn said...

Margaret, Kim, Cherie, Eve -- thanks for adding to this special day!

Smooches to Ginger for inviting me.

Now I need to draw a name!

CherylStJohn said...

Hi Dina! Hope you'll look for the book in OCtober!

Faith said...

I love the movies Hope Floats and While You Were Sleeping too!

Manic Readers

Manic Readers

She Writes

Historical Fiction Books

Readers and Writers of Distinctive Fiction