Echoes of “What If”

I posted this on Facebook:

“I think my love for yellow roses dates back to my childhood… My mother had a steamer trunk where she kept her college keepsakes. Once in a while, when we were alone, she would open the trunk and tell me about her treasures. She had three or four beautiful formals with shoes and purses to match. She told me that she was saving them for me to wear someday. I dreamed of wearing those dresses but… alas, I grew two inches taller than my mom and although I was slim as a teenager, I could never wear those beautiful dresses. But… let me get to the yellow roses. She kept a thick scrapbook and between the pages in the middle she had pressed a yellow rose corsage and there was a florist card on that page that read – “Roses of yellow from and extraordinary fellow.” It seemed so romantic and I will always remember those rare times when my mother shared SOME of her secrets with me.  I don’t know who the fellow was… Only that this fellow named Wade dated my mom when she was the banker’s daughter and faded into the memory of her college days when she married my dad and became a farmer’s wife. But she passed the tales of her treasures on to me, and it’s possible that echoes of those memories may show up in my books somewhere.”

And now I’m ready to share the rest of it… well, some more of it. I suppose that everything an author writes comes from some memory of life experience. Life experience can include: something that happened to them, almost happened to them, something they read, or something that happened to someone they know, etc. However, the idea that shows up in the story isn’t very closely related, it’s an echo. It happens something like this – As a child I was intrigued by a florist card from one of my mom’s college beaus. Many years later the floral card and the yellow roses came to mind and I thought what if this happened? Then, what if that happened? What if she did this? What if he did that? What if it wasn’t him? What if… What if… and at this point any thought of my mother’s steamer trunk and the treasures it held had disappeared and I’d followed the echo to some distant peak. And the story that emerged is a book titled THE ROGUE TRUST.

Myrtle Hill — Where is it?

[amazon_image id=”1481167367″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Wren’s Nest[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B008VTNT2S” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Rogue Trust (Ordinary Days in Myrtle Hill)[/amazon_image]

Rogue Trust, Wren’s Nest, and Lucy’s Mansion (coming soon) are stories about the residents of Myrtle Hill, Oklahoma.  You won’t find the small town on any map and probably can’t pinpoint the location if you try. It’s all a figment of my imagination and not to scale.

I chose the name for a couple of reasons. My grandmother’s name was Myrtle, and, Crepe Myrtle’s grow well in the area and give summer a blast of color. Also, the general area is a mix of rolling hill pastureland and wooded areas. So, Myrtle Hill just seemed right.

My books are about a community and the people who live there… All sorts of folk living in a small town where you never know what might happen to change an ordinary day into a memory or a headline. A history teacher becomes heir to a fortune. A retired cop and his buddies spring into action to prevent crime. And a twelve-year-old, exceptional and wise beyond her years, adds flair and flavor while she stirs the conflict. There’s romance and a little humor, suspense and a little mystery, and people I hope you’ll love facing some unsavory characters displaying behaviors to hate. And… Uh… Pray for. (This is Christian fiction.) Rogue Trust is romance with a little suspense and mystery. Wren’s Nest follows chronologically while the romance is on hold and strangers bring suspense to Myrtle Hill along with a touch of romance. Lucy’s Mansion continues the romance as Becca and J.T. join forces to fight City Hall and save the women’s shelter. Future editions, with residents of Myrtle Hill waiting in line to tell their stories, will be a mix of romance, suspense, and mystery but not always in that order. I will write the chapters of the books as the characters tell me their stories. Anything can happen on an Ordinary Day in Myrtle Hill.

The ages of my core characters range from Amy K (12) to Jim Harrison (a wealthy CEO of a restaurant chain coming to the end of his days). However, there is a newborn passing through town in Wren’s Nest and a romance in Rogue Trust and Lucy’s Mansion that might result in marriage and expand the population in a future book.

I hope you’ll love my characters as much as I do and enjoy their stories. If you like my books, please help me spread the word. Tell a friend on FaceBook or Twitter. And write a review on and Goodreads. Not only will I love you forever, but I’ll be inspired to write another book.

Woe is Me!

What happens next? That question is beginning to haunt me and I need an answer fast. Readers are asking – Does the romance between Becca and J.T. continue? Is there more?

Of course there is. It has a title and the draft of three chapters. But…

When I finished ROGUE TRUST, I knew the rest of the romance story. I have the draft of the first three chapters and last chapter is hiding somewhere in my files. But, there is a lot of story between chapter three and the last chapter. Why didn’t I write LUCY’S MANSION while Becca and J.T. were talking?

There was another tale in my mind screaming to have a print presence. It’s Joe Chandler’s story and a companion to ROGUE TRUST that could  take place almost in the same time frame. I had originally planned to weave these two story lines together in one book… but I didn’t find managing a thousand-page manuscript appealing and I didn’t think readers would either. So, the first two books  are “out there” but the synopsis for the third is mostly in my head. Unfortunately, Becca and J.T. have slipped into the shadows. They aren’t talking to me and I’m facing the blank page.

Woe is me!

I can’t panic – have to get rational. What’s new about facing the blank page? During the creation of the first draft of every book, every day begins with a blank page. You could say: a writer’s ordinary day always begins with a blank page; words make it special.

So, if I want this day to be special, I need to cajole Becca and J.T. into opening up. Maybe I’ll ask some questions.

Becca – You’re anxious for J.T.’s kiss but… are you fooling yourself into thinking you’re a widow instead of a wife in mourning? Are you sure you’re ready for another man in your life? Is Amy K?

J.T. – What about that fancy office in Chickasha? Will your prospective clients be willing to step through the door into all that luxury? Can you compete with the ghost of Walter McGee? Do you have to?

Can the two of you find time for romance when City Hall has declared war and you’re the enemy?

Me – Little mention of Amy K in the first three chapters. Where is she?

Okay. As soon as I have some answers to these questions, I’ll put some words on that blank page… I hope they’re special enough to stay.

Someone is whispering to me… I’m not sure who. Oh, yeah! I know what the problem is – in the last five months I’ve been formatting manuscripts for Kindle Direct Publishing and Create Space. I’ve tackled book cover design with PhotoShop Elements, and I’ve taken a crash course in Twitter. All left- brain stuff… I’ve just been reminded that Becca and J.T. reside in my right brain. Soon as I find the button to make the switch from left to right, I’m good to go. The search is on!

Rogue Trust Free for Kindle Jan. 18-20


The unexpected beneficiary to a trust fund created to honor a Vietnam War hero, Becca McGee struggles with the changes sudden wealth will bring to her ordinary life and its influence on her twelve-year-old daughter. Facing a challenge to her faith, she’s bombarded by questions she can’t answer. And, her common sense seems to have vanished. The lawyer retained to settle the trust proves himself a jerk, acts like a stalker, and appears to be an impostor. When someone prematurely leaks the details of the trust to the press, steals her cat, and threatens her daughter… he’s her prime suspect. Still, she finds him incredibly attractive.

J.T. Harrison’s plans to practice family law are derailed when a large firm offers him a position in its probate department. Fresh out of law school and studying for the bar, he can’t refuse the income. Now he’s a political hire moonlighting for his rich uncle, well paid for doing menial tasks—delivering manila envelopes and overseeing floral deliveries. But why is his elderly uncle secretly sending yellow roses to a woman half his age who could easily steal J.T.’s heart?

As the story unfolds, an old man’s obsession mixes romance with a touch of suspense and mystery as it threatens every aspect of Becca McGee’s life. J.T. must settle the Rogue Trust while his ailing uncle still lives. Becca has stolen J.T.’s heart, but she’s quick to condemn. And, with his knack for falling victim to circumstantial evidence, it seems unlikely that J.T. can settle the trust or win Becca’s hand.

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Happy New Year!

Farewell 2012… Welcome 2013!

My wish for you in 2013 is that you enjoy your ordinary days and that those days made special will leave good memories.

As for me, I’m always glad when the Rose Bowl marks the end of the season. January 2 is a happy day for me, as I slip into the new year. I’m ready to go back to my normal routine and back to uninterrupted writing. (That’s a dream I probably don’t want to come true. I welcome interruption- need real people in my life to help me deal with the imaginary ones.)

January offers an opportunity to let some things slip into the past as we move on with a promise for a  new beginning and hope for the future.

For a writer, and many others, those are just words that sound good but have little meaning. I open a new planner but it’s just another day. Unfinished work doesn’t slip into the past. That novel that went on hold as Thanksgiving approached is waiting to be finished. The next blog calls and the business side of writing won’t wait.

But, there is an upside. In early January, we have about two months of winter ahead… but we’re rolling toward spring. The days are getting longer, more daylight hours give the sun a greater opportunity to peek through the clouds.

Best of all, when it’s cold and dreary outside, what could be better than curling up under a warm throw with a good book where you can escape to the place of your choice? How about a little romance in Myrtle Hill, Oklahoma where a reluctant heiress finds all sorts of circumstantial evidence indicating the charming attorney retained to settle the Rogue Trust is anything but… So, why does she find him so attractive? [amazon_link id=”B008VTNT2S” target=”_blank” ]The Rogue Trust (Ordinary Days in Myrtle Hill)[/amazon_link]

Support Your Starving Authors

Encouraging words bloom like a rose and last much longer.

The time to pull a book off the shelf or download an eBook can be measured in seconds. But the thinking, plotting, researching, writing, deleting, and revising probably involved years. After investing all this time, making a bestseller list is only a dream for most authors, yet their work may bring joy to many readers. When you’re a satisfied reader, please reward the author.

A few kind words warm the author’s heart, boost her spirit, and inspire. More than that, reviews and comments draw attention to the book and sales help feed the starving author. 

I know reviews are hard to write and bring back memories of those high school book reports days. The good news is, you can leave the full-blown reviews to those who love to write them. Your reader comments are extremely valuable. So, I’m offering a quick how-to for any of you who would like to encourage, inspire, and help feed the authors you like.

Think of a one sentence answer to the questions below. Combine a few of those answers to create comments and post them on the book page of online bookstores, your Facebook page, Goodreads, or Twitter.

  •  Did you love, like, or enjoy the book?
  •  When did you get into the story? (Hooked on the first page.  Or, Ease in, getting to know the characters and becoming comfortable in the setting.)
  • Was there a character you’d like to know in person?
  • Did a character remind you of someone you know?
  • Did one character seem like you?
  • Was there a villain you wanted to strangle?
  • Did the romantic line make you feel loved?
  • Did the hero remind you of the man of your dreams?
  • Were you sorry when the story ended?
  • Do you want to read another book by this author?
  • If this book is not your kind of book, do you know someone else who would love it?

Now, take a few of your answers for inspiration and write three or four lines to show your appreciation to the author and help promote the book. Always mention the author’s name and book title.

A helpful comment might be something like this: Deanne Durrett’s [amazon_link id=”B008VTNT2S” target=”_blank” ]The Rogue Trust (Ordinary Days in Myrtle Hill)[/amazon_link] kept me reading past my bedtime. I shared Becca’s fears and suspicions and couldn’t wait to see how she worked things out. If you ever imagined becoming suddenly wealthy, this book will shed new light on your daydreams.

Your words might inspire the author and her next book might be one of the  best you’ll ever read.





The Next Seed

Miss Honey appears on the first page of THE ROGUE TRUST, and I think she will play a role in other books in the series. The idea for her character came into my life about six and half years ago.

Soon after we moved to Oklahoma, we went to the animal shelter looking for a lap-cat. We’d already been there once, came home with a beautiful long-haired yellow male. But, Mussa turned out to have a strong will of his own and he was not a lap-cat except when the mood happened to strike.On this second visit, Dan made me swear to be more careful, avoid the pretty face and look for calm personality. So, on entrance, we passed by this cage with a screaming grey kitten with white paws reaching out to me. I looked him over. Sharp nose, dull grey… not my cat. We looked, petted, and cuddled, every kitten in the place, trying to avoid the cage with the screamer. But, every time I passed near, those little white paws managed a better grip my heart.

After awhile, I took a deep breath and looked at Dan. “This one really wants to go with us… maybe he’s the one.”

He shrugged. “He’s awfully loud.”

“But, he really wants to go with us… you know how cats are. They pick their owner. That’s the mistake we made with Mussa. He didn’t pick us.”

Dan shot me one of his lop-sided grins and rolled his eyes.

A few minutes later, we took our kitten to the check-out window. As we chatted, they must have thought we might back out. They found an excuse to offer us the grey kitten free. They did mention he was the noisiest one. By this time, didn’t matter. This kitten chose us. We took him home and never regretted it.

His markings resembled a tuxedo and spats so we named him Mr. Bojangles. Bo grew to be beautiful cat, fur thick and soft as chinchilla, rich grey and purest white. A great lap-cat and an even better nap-cat. Bo always followed me to the couch and settled in beside me as soon as I stretched out. I don’t know of anything more relaxing than a warm, purring cat snuggled close. He was a great companion.

After we brought him home, he had the softest meow, even after he grew to be an eighteen pound tom. Gentle and considerate, he never leaped into my lap. Instead, he sat at my feet and stared up, waiting for permission. Sweet as honey, dignified, and very polite, Mr. Bojangles was the idea seed for Miss Honey. I made a couple of changes… amber eyes to blue and male to female.

Within one week this spring, we attended my mother’s funeral, Dan’s brother-in-law’s funeral, and Bo left us. With all that going on, I haven’t fully mourned him yet. I guess I was cried out and all my grief melded together. I miss him. But, there’s Miss Honey. She was aa character in THE ROGUE TRUST long before we lost Bo. He was her role model, now she’s the tribute to his memory.

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The Rogue Trust: First Two Seeds in the Packet

[amazon_image id=”B008VTNT2S” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Rogue Trust (Ordinary Days in Myrtle Hill)[/amazon_image]


THE ROGUE TRUST was released for Kindle on Amazon last night. I feel like a new mom with a cuddly bundle in my arms. I keep looking at the cover, admiring the title, and relishing the byline. Mine. Mine. Mine. The life experience that led to the idea. The motivation and determination to complete the task. And, three years of blood, sweat, and tears… all mine. Now, I want it to be yours to read and enjoy, maybe to find a nugget of truth for your own use, and something to remember.

This book began with one tiny seed, joined by another, and over time I collected a packet of seeds that germinated in my imagination and sprouted into the setting, characters, and plot lines for this book.

It begins with yellow roses, the first idea seed I collected. My mother had a steamer trunk pushed back in the corner of my room. And sometimes, when we were alone, she’d pull that trunk out and unfasten the latches. Standing on end, it split in the middle and opened like double doors. Inside were the wonderful things she brought home and cherished from her year at the University of Nebraska… when she was the banker’s daughter… before she became the young farmer’s wife. I still remember the softness of her fur coat, the smoothness of her satin evening gowns, and the jeweled buckles on the matching slippers. She told me that one day I could wear those gowns (but I grew too tall). Then she’d pull out her scrapbook and I’d take it all in as she reminisced. I was drawn to the pressed and dried yellow rose corsage. I was always curious about the man who sent the roses and the note he wrote, “Roses of yellow from an extraordinary fellow.” And so, THE ROGUE TRUST begins with the delivery of fourteen exquisite yellow roses accompanied by a mysterious note… and a charming stranger parked across the street.

The first seeds in the packet came from the secrets in Mama’s trunk she shared with me many, many years ago.

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