Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I'd like to welcome Cheryl Douglas to Where's My Muse today.  She will be taking over the reins for a bit and talking about an author makes a connection to the reader with his or her book. 

Welcome, Cheryl!  Don't mind the mess **busily brushes off pile of clean clothes on chair.** I had to cancel my maid, lol. Make yourself at home and I'll make a fresh pot of coffee.

Topic: Making a Connection

     Although I don’t watch a lot of TV, American Idol is one show I rarely miss. As I watched it last night, I was struck by the fact that the judges are often trying to convey the same message to the performers, focus on making a connection with the audience. It’s that connection that separates great singers, who fail to capture the audience, from artists who enjoy a long and successful career in the highly competitive music business.

     As I listened to that message for the umpteenth time, it occurred to me that writers are trying to do the same thing when we write a book. We are trying to develop characters that will connect with our readers. As an avid reader, I know within the first few pages of a book whether I am going to like a character or not. Sometimes, it’s not something I can define in words; it’s simply a sense or a feeling, kind of like meeting a new person for the first time. I may not have a justifiable reason for disliking someone, but we may not forge an immediate connection and will rarely go on to have a lasting friendship or relationship.

     I usually ‘connect’ with a certain type of character in a book; therefore, I gravitate towards books with qualities I tend to like. For example, I love alpha males, and weak-willed, submissive men will never hold my interest. The heroines in the books I choose may be sexually submissive, but they have to be strong-willed women with clear-cut reasons for making the choices they do. I don’t like weak characters who rely on others to tell them how they should think or feel and I quickly lose respect for characters without morals and values. Once I lose interest, I’m no longer invested in the outcome of the story.

     When I sit down to outline a new book, I’m developing characters that I connect with because I know if I don’t care about a character, I can’t expect my readers to care. I want to get to know my characters on an intimate level. What motivates their actions, and what happened in their past to influence their present? Are they kind and gentle souls, or are they filled with rage, and resentment? In my experience, those characters with the most baggage are often the ones readers tend to connect with the most. It’s almost as though their pain bleeds onto the page through the author’s words.

     For example, the first book in the Nashville Nights series, Shameless, had a hero, Trey Turner, who was wrestling his demons and trying to make amends for his past mistakes. He wasn’t perfect, far from it; from the feedback that I was received from readers about him was compelling. They were totally immersed in his journey because they connected with him. They felt his pain, wanted to see him beat his demons, and come out a better and stronger man on the other side of his journey. In my mind, that just proves that we connect with characters in a book for different reasons.

     My readers may not have shared his personal challenges with alcoholism, divorce, and the loss of a child, but everyone’s experienced with the lure of the forbidden, the loss of their first love, and the struggle of trying to get through another day when it feels like the world is against you. That is real life. As readers, we often use books to escape our reality for a while, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to feel the pain of our heroes and heroines, and share their happiness when they finally reach their ultimate destination. When we’re so entrenched in a story that we don’t want to put it down, that’s how we know we’ve made a real connection.

     I’ll share a quote about Shameless from a reviewer at to demonstrate my point about a reader who made a connection with Trey Turner in Shameless:

“There were many times throughout this book where I was actually overcome with emotion, it made me cry and smile and sometimes gasp or laugh out loud; a piece of art that couldn’t have come at a better time!”

     As a writer, I was obviously humbled by the praise, and its comments like this that remind me how important it is to make that connection with the reader. If I’m not crying, smiling, gasping, or laughing out loud when I’m writing a book, it’s time for me to start over because I know I’ve missed my mark.

Happy reading!

Title: Fearless ( Nashville Nights, Book Two)

Author: Cheryl Douglas

Release Date: April 2012


Approximate Word Count: 67, 042

Lexi Brooks has overcome adversity to build a successful real estate business that will enable her live life on her terms. The life she envisions includes travel, fun, and excitement, not marriage, kids or commitment. But will Trey’s sexy bodyguard throw a wrench into her plans?

Being a cop taught Josh Cooper to take calculated risks, but he’s tired of living with the daily threat of danger. He’s ready to settle down with someone who wants to be a step-mother to his two teenage sons. Too bad Lexi isn’t that woman. She’s smart, sexy, and head-strong, and they’re totally in sync in the bedroom, but she isn’t willing to ‘settle’ for a life of domestic bliss. Or is she?

Links to purchase books:

AmazonAll Romance 


Title : Shameless ( Nashville Nights, Book One)

Author: Cheryl Douglas

Publisher: Amazon Digital Svcs.

eFormat: 187 pages

Release Date – February 2012

Trey Turner may be topping the country music charts but his life has been going downhill since his wife left him five years ago. He’s desperate to make amends for the mistakes he’s made and convince Sierra their love deserves a second chance.

Sierra Brooks is happy for the first time since her divorce. She has a career she loves and a fiancé who loves her.

Unfortunately, her fiancé isn’t the only man professing his love. He may be able to offer her safety and security but will she decide to risk everything for another chance with the man who broke her heart?

Links to purchase:

Amazon / All Romance

About the Author:

     It took me thirty-seven years to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought I'd found my calling. In fact, I worked as a nutritionist for twelve years before I finally admitted to myself that while I enjoyed my work, I couldn't imagine doing it for the next thirty years.

     My sub-conscious knew that I wanted to be a writer long before the conscious part of my mind decided to get with the program. While my sub-conscious was hard at work creating character profiles, plots and story lines, my conscious mind was telling me it was crazy to give up a successful business on the off-chance one of my manuscripts might rise to the top of someone's never-ending slush pile. 

     After years of listening to that negative voice, I was finally ready to stop making excuses, face the fear and follow my dream of becoming a full-time writer, no matter the outcome. I'm so thankful I did.

     I love bringing my characters to life and I am so grateful to have readers who love those characters as much as I do.

     When I take a break from writing it's to spend time with my husband (a.k.a. my real life hero), my son, and my writing partner, Tia, a spirited Havanese who enjoys tapping her paw on my keyboard whenever I need a little comic relief.

Click here to visit Cheryl at her website.


Book Review:  Shameless  

Sometimes, I need a story with a little heartache in it. Something that isn't all fluff and fru-fru. 

Shameless is that kind of story. 

Country music star Trey Turner has lost the woman that he loves-Sierra Brooks--and their marriage is over. He loses himself in the bottom of countless bottles, cast adrift in a sea of grief over the death of their daughter. And now, he no longer has the words to write the songs that has made him a music legend. 

Sierra Brooks struggles to put the pieces of her life together after her failed marriage.  After losing everything, she deserves a little bit of happiness without another risk to her fragile heart. Involved with an older man, she hopes to find that little piece of happiness. But now she is pushed together with the one man who broke her heart. 

Can you ever really rekindle a love that has so many painful memories? So much grief? And oodles of other problems that seem so insurmountable?

This story is harsh-no candy coating here folks. Alcoholism, grief, death, and not-so-pretty-secrets. 

But I think that Cheryl Douglas does a great job of showing real characters, real feelings, and presents it in an in-your-face kind of way that bodes the characters and their story very well. 

Sometimes life ain't pretty and perfect-but you can still get your happy ending. 


4 Horny Devils



  1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review my book, Shameless, on your blog today!

    1. Cheryl~
      No worries- I loved your book.
      You're welcome here any time. Good luck with the rest of your blog tour :)


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