It’s my pleasure today to welcome romance author, and editor with Soul Mate Publishing, Cheryl Yeko. She’s sharing today about how she began writing, some more about her books, and her creative process.
It’s great to have you here today, Cheryl! Please tell us a little bit about yourself, and how and why you began writing.
Thanks Rebecca! It’s great to be here. I began writing on a whim…my husband gave me a Kindle for Christmas one year and I started reading romance novels, something I’d given up doing thirty years earlier, because even then, when I picked up a book I couldn’t put it down until I had completed the story. Well raising a family, working full time, and attending college, it became a problem so I quit cold turkey. Something I regret now. So, when I began reading them again, it was like, ohmygod, these are awesome. I was hooked. After a couple years of reading non-stop, I decided to write one. I disappeared into my bedroom over a long Wisconsin winter, and came out in spring with my debut novel, Protecting Rose. I sent my baby to three publishing houses, and received two offers.
I was beyond thrilled, and my family was like … really? LOL. That was the beginning of my writing career. Protecting Rose went on to win the 2012 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in Romantic Suspense. How cool is that!
Some readers may not know you’re both an editor, and a writer with Soul Mate Publishing. Please tell us what you enjoy most about each. How does each give you insights into the other?
I was with Soul Mate about a year when Debby Gilbert, the founder of Soul Mate Publishing, asked me to come on board as an editor. I enjoy my editing responsibilities, and take them very seriously. Because I understand all the emotions the authors are going through, I’m so thrilled to be able to help them reach for their dreams. It’s emotionally very rewarding for me. Of course, I love writing just as much, and do sometimes struggle with my editing responsibilities when I’ve got a scene for my WIP floating around in my head that just has to get on paper…but, I think I do a pretty good job of juggling.
Obviously, readers have a vast number of choices in books. Why do you feel readers will enjoy your stories?
I write mostly romantic suspense, but the hero and the heroine’s emotional journey drives the story. I love action movies, and that’s how I write my stories…with lots of humor, action, and sexy scenes.
Recently, however, I wrote a contemporary western romance with my BFF, and fellow Soul Mate editor, Char Chaffin. RODEO KING, which released in June. A charming and sexy novella. It was a great deal of fun, and turned out so well, that Char and I plan a trilogy with this series, The Dustin Lovers Series. It can be found on Amazon. FYI…I created both the book cover and the book trailer for this fun novella.
What would you most like people to know about you, and your writing?
I write books that I would love to read.
As an author, how do you pay it forward?
I judge a lot of writing contests, and as an acquiring editor, I put my heart and effort into each author’s story I work with and want them to succeed. When I send out a contract letter, I’m as thrilled as the author is.
What is the single best piece of advice you would give to another author about the craft of writing, about marketing, and/or the writing life?
Enjoy what you do, because being an author is not easy. You also need to know how to promote both yourself and your book if you want to succeed in today’s market. Having a website and utilizing social media is a must.
The one thing we can all count on is change. How do you plan to continue to evolve as a writer?
I’m adaptable. I don’t plant my feet into the ground and refuse to move along in the changing tide, I go with the flow.
What do you feel are the greatest challenges facing authors, and editors today?
Noticeability. With the ease of self-publishing, there are a lot of books on the market, and it’s not easy to be noticed. Even if you write a fabulous book, you may get lost in the sea. The best advice I can give is to write your next book, then your next, and write the best book that you can, and eventually your hard efforts will pay off. I have eight books out now, as well as some anthologies and boxed sets. But only this year did I finally get noticed, with my romantic suspense, The Notary, which hit #4 on Amazon in the romantic suspense category. My other novels also took big bumps, and I sat in the top 100-bestselling authors, next to some of my favorite romantic suspense authors, for two weeks. It was an amazing feeling. So, never give up.
Website: http://www.cherylyeko.com/ ‘Where Love Always Wins’
AUTHORS: CHAR CHAFFIN AND CHERYL YEKO
Caleb Johnson, ‘King of the Rodeo,’ is on his way to becoming Wyoming’s National Champion. Until an ornery bull sidelines him with a potentially career-ending injury. Returning home to Dustin to recuperate puts him in the path of Rosemary Carmichael, the girl he deserted to become a rodeo star.
Now he’s got to figure out what he really wants: returning to the rodeo circuit and going for that big, National prize, or convincing the woman he loves that he wants a life with her . . . and the son he never knew he had.
MORE ABOUT CHAR and CHERYL: Char Chaffin and Cheryl Yeko are BFFs, fellow authors and Acquiring Editors, and two-thirds of The Power Of Three. Both are lovers of romance, Alpha Men and the women they’d lay down their lives for.
Char and Cheryl not only write seamlessly together but they share the same vision of what makes a great romance read: a strong story, a passionate romance, fascinating characters, a happy-ever-after ending, and the know-how to accomplish it within the pages of the books they create.
Rodeo King is the first in what they hope will be a long, successful writing partnership. In addition to the Dustin Lovers Trilogy, they are also planning a Western Historical series.
THE PROCESS OF CREATING DUSTIN, WYOMING
It started in 2014, a few months before RWA’s National Conference in San Antonio. Cheryl, Char, and fellow BFF Callie Hutton had been talking about starting up a writing collective. Understanding there is power in numbers, they got the ball rolling by selecting a title—The Power Of Three—and launching a newsletter, website, and other social network-type goodies. Then, one evening during the conference, the idea of writing a romance under The Power Of Three gelled when they chose a genre—Western Contemporary.
The actual outline for RODEO KING came together very quickly. Before that brainstorming evening was over, they had Caleb and Rosemary fleshed out, five solid chapters outlined, and had set up a basic writing schedule that would carry them through fourteen chapters and an epilogue.
Callie’s career as a talented historical romance author took off like gangbusters right after National, and it became impossible for her to participate in the writing of RODEO KING. Instead, she became Char and Cheryl’s sounding board, beta reader, and cheerleader. And they remain The Power of Three. You can catch up with them each month by signing up for their Newsletter at: http://tinyurl.com/TPO3SignUp
Cheryl and Char continued on, sharing a single chapter each month on The Power Of Three Newsletter and on their official website. In 2015, during a marathon writing session in Dallas while attending RT’s annual Convention, Cheryl and Char finished RODEO KING and finalized the cover art. Both have a ‘contemporary voice’ and very view artist disagreements arose as they finalized the story, easily coming to mutually satisfying resolutions.
The experience was so much fun that they simply had to keep going. Another evening of brainstorming netted them an outline for Book Two—ROPING HER IN—and the rudiments of Book Three, as-yet to be named.
They’ve also decided to get together at least one a year, (not during a convention) for a writing retreat, along with their BFF, Callie Hutton. Never underestimate The Power Of Three!