Let’s Have a Heart to Heart #series #Judiphillips #storyideas

This week’s guest is Judi Philips here to tell us how a little story from her dad started a series for her.

Hi Judi!

First of all, thanks, Cathy, for inviting me to share on your blog.  I appreciate the opportunity.

As an author, I’m frequently asked, “Where do you get your ideas?”  My answer, “From everywhere.”  From something I see.  From something I overhear.  From a news story.

Or from an offhand comment by my father.  Years ago, I was visiting my parents in Maine and we had gone down to their second home in Machias, Maine.  We’d been in town shopping and were driving in the car back to their house.  As we turned on to the side road, he mentioned that so-and-so had been shooting at what’s-his-face for messing with his bait box.  Now, Machias is in downeast Maine and a number of lobstermen ply their trade on Machias Bay.  And apparently meddling with a lobsterman’s box where he stores his bait for his traps is a shooting offense.  I asked Dad to explain a bit more and stored that information away. 

A year or so later, I started writing that story, Secrets, recently re-titled Secrets of the Heart, the story of Robyn Cushman and Gregg Hollister.  This is the story in a nutshell:  A small town filled with Secrets.  What can go wrong for Robyn and Gregg?

Well, one thing led to another and I realized that Robyn’s brother’s ex-wife needed her story told, which resulted in Whispers, recently re-titled Whispers in the Heart.  They have history.  Can they heed the whispers in their hearts?  My writer friends also know this as the secret baby, banker chic, Italian stallion, evil judge book.

Now, I had a series going, Heart to Heart.

Over a year ago, I was going through Whispers to format it for print and re-read the ending.  It was happy for Nikki and Tony, but I felt really sad for poor Todd, Robyn’s brother.  He needed a happy ending, too.  Which is my most recent release, Fears of the Heart, actually book 2 in the Heart to Heart series.  Kenzie Rivers is on the run from Vegas. Todd Cushman is running his uncle’s restaurant. When trouble arrives in Tide Rock, can Kenzie and Todd overcome their fears of the heart?

You never know where an offhand comment while you’re sitting in the back of your father’s car will lead you.


Mona snapped her fingers.  “Hey, Todd.”

He looked in their direction, then sauntered across the room to their table.

His body was lean and rangy.  Kenzie figured he was close to six feet tall.  Chestnut-brown hair, cut short, but not enough to eliminate the curl, and eyes the color of aged cognac.  Nice.

“Come join us.  We just got our orders, so we’ll be here a while.”

“Thanks, but I already ate.  I stopped by to see Robyn for a minute.”

Broad shoulders filled out his sweatshirt.  Jeans encased long legs.  He was fine.  Not that she was in the market, given her history of bad relationship choices and the disastrous ending with George.  Disastrous.  Ha!  Understatement of the century.  She hoped no one around her suspected what she’d been through, what she’d run from.  Don’t even think about the cute guy.  She needed to keep alert and stay safe.  But it didn’t hurt to look.  Just a little bit.

Wow, up close, he was even hotter than he’d been when she checked him out from the stage last night.  He grabbed a chair from the next table and sat next to her, his leg nearly brushing hers.  “Nice to meet the new band member.” 

She swallowed.  “Thanks.  I’m Kenzie.”  As she extended her hand, the bangles on her wrist sang a little tune of their own.

He reached out and engulfed her hand, the rough palm sending sparks of fire licking down her fingers and radiating through her body.  No, no.  Not a good thing.

“I like your style.  Not from around here?”

“I spent summers here as a kid.”  Best to divert the topic and keep answers vague and truthful.  Too many details were too hard to remember.  And lies always tripped her up.

“Jane Westby is her godmother,” Mona said.

Camo grinned.  “Nice lady.  Always tips me when I pump her gas — even though she’s not supposed to.”

So much for anonymity.  “Everyone seems to know Aunt Jane.  I shouldn’t be surprised.  Tide Rock is much smaller than I remember.”

Mona grinned.  “It’s probably grown since then.”

Fears of the Heart by Judi Phillips is available from the following retailers:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GL2GT4T

B&N:  https://tinyurl.com/yydsfyrr

Kobo:  https://tinyurl.com/y3h7rl4y


As far back as I can remember, I’ve had stories playing in my head. When I was little, I acted them out, creating elaborate (to my mind) costumes. And when I wasn’t acting out stories, or telling them to myself, I was reading someone else’s. The summer I turned 12, when I had read every Nancy Drew I owned at least twice and was nagging my mother to drive me to the library, she dug out one of her romance novels and I was hooked!

Growing up in a small town in Maine, although I did some writing in school, it was never a focus in class. Later, as a legal secretary in the days of manual typewriters, although I considered the idea of a writing career, I quickly discarded it. I knew too well how much work was involved in drafting, editing and retyping legal documents. I was much too lazy to consider tackling a book.

And then that wonderful invention arrived. The computer. With that lovely cut and paste feature. Within a year of learning word processing on the job, I had my own computer for the express purpose of writing the next best seller. Happily for the reading world, that manuscript kept the dust bunnies company under my bed for years until I dragged it out, dusted it off and rewrote it extensively.  But that first attempt was here I honed my craft and began to learn what it takes to tell a story on paper.

Judi hangs out on the web at:  http://judiphillips.com/

on Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/judi.phillips.50

posts random blog at:   http://sugarspice-judi.blogspot.com/

follow her on Twitter:  @judiphil

and Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/judi.phillips.writes/?hl=en

or e-mail her at: judi.phillips.writes@gmail.com

You can watch trailers for her books at:


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