Sorry I’ve been absent lately. I have been trying to finish the last book in the Harrell Family Chronicles series, Remy’s Dilemma.
This book should have been out before now but sometimes life gets in the way. No excuses but I do think it will be worth the wait. I hope you agree.
Dive into the town of Leeward one more time and get your goodies at Goodie Galore Bakery. Roxanne and her business partner, Kendra have opened their bakery and are making a sweet impact on the town.
Get you grub at Hole in the Sky Pub where the beer is out of this world. Ethan quit college to brew beer but don’t worry, who needs a fourth degree.
Janie and Mike are finally tying the knot if their wedding doesn’t go up in flames.
If Sothy doesn’t run away, she might make a success of her new craft store.
Remington Harrell is the oldest of the Harrell siblings and the one expected to fix everything. Whether it’s a friend accused of murder or saving the local phosphate plant there’s nothing he can’t do, except relationships. After his last girlfriend threatened to kill his sister and sell her child on the black market, he’s been a little apprehensive about dating. With cyber-attacks on the phosphate plant escalating along with threats to the employees, Remy worries his family and friends will be the next targets. When he realizes the threat comes from someone in Sothy’s past. They must team up to stop the cyber-attacks. But if Sothy isn’t willing to share her secrets, can Remy trust her with his heart?
The County Compass will be featuring a brief interview with me Thursday, January 19th. To celebrate, I’ve put together a little behind the story information and I’ve placed all of my eBooks on sale for 99 cents through Tuesday, January 24th at all eBook retailers and on my website.
I started out writing historical romantic fiction. I even sent off a couple of manuscripts, pieces of manuscripts and hundreds of query letters to agents and publishers long before doing it by email was a thing. But then tragedy struck and we lost our home to a house fire that pretty much wiped us out. My husband got us all out with our lives. I still have flashbacks of that night.
After losing all of my research books, my big computer and files, my husband and friends encouraged me to get back to writing. I took an online class about creating characters. The instructor said describe someone. I chose my husband. The next day, she told us to change their gender, ethnicity, keep some of their traits but expand others. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever write again but with the love and support of my family, friends and writers’ groups, Rae Lynne was created.
My town, Aurora was the inspiration for the fictional town of Leeward. I decided on a fictional town in order to have a little more creative freedom, but locals recognize places like the Depot Café as Wayside, the Hardhat Lounge and of course, the fossil museum and library.
Chrome Pink was inspired by several things that happened at nearly the same time. I’d created the character Rae Lynne but she was just a paper doll, I didn’t have the rest of her story, but my husband and his boss were restoring a motorcycle in memory of a nephew who’d passed away. At the same time my friend’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and my sister-in-law was always volunteering me for something or other that had to do with Relay-for-Life or other projects. Then I met one of my sons’ friends, a lovely half-Hispanic lady who was very kind but she was tattooed and pierced. When I asked about the tats and piercings, my son simply said, she’d had a rough life. From there, I found Rae Lynne and had my theme for Chrome Pink. https://books2read.com/u/4jaeBk
Reading that North Carolina was ranked 9th in human trafficking and growing up listening to seafood trucks running in the middle of the night got my imagination playing in the dark. What if they weren’t really carrying seafood, or not just seafood?
The Leeward Files was supposed to be a three-book series about three best friends: Rae Lynne-Chrome Pink, Dana Windley-White Gold, and Jenna McKenzie Roberts-Titanium Blue who uncover the town of Leeward’s darkest secrets while finding their strengths and falling in love.
White Gold’s Dana Windley is a force to be reckoned with. She is one of the ladies all small towns need who gets jobs done whether it’s volunteering to coach a youth ball team or organize the local beauty pageant. My sister-in-law loves this book best because she knows she’s one great ladies who inspired the main character. Dana is a plus-size multiracial woman who carves out a place for herself and becomes a hero all little girls can look up to. https://books2read.com/u/brYpjA
Titanium Blue has Jenna McKenzie and her estranged husband Tar Roberts struggling to get on with their lives after separating. This was the first book my son, Jason and his wife, Brandi helped me with. Since they were both in the Army their insight helped me make my character Tar, who was an Afghanistan vet who lost his leg and was dealing with PTSD more real. Jason served two tours in Afghanistan but thankfully returned home and is now retired from the Army. https://books2read.com/u/bzWOrq
After writing the first three books I wasn’t ready to leave the town of Leeward. Evergreen Crystals was supposed to be my first true romance with Rae’s wedding, but I can’t write anything without a murder and blowing something up. “Holidays, weddings and babies are happy occasions until someone ends up dead.” Or in Rae Lynne’s case, arrested. https://books2read.com/u/b68OqE
Red Steel is the final book in The Leeward Files series, my youngest son, a volunteer firefighter and his wife, a photographer, helped me with this book, and were the inspiration for the young couple Billy Grimes and Tracy Harrell. This is the final book is also the spin-off for The Harrell Family Chronicles. https://books2read.com/u/3yEKXB
The Harrell Family Chronicles came about from a dream my husband and I had as a young married couple of owning our own camp. I grew up in the community of South Creek which was at one time known as Stanton-Harrell thus the name, the Harrell Family Chronicles. The Harrell family turned part of a failing farm into a family campground. The middle brother, Charlie and his wife, Liz have seven children and they run the family campgrounds. Charlie’s older brother John runs the farm and his younger brother, Robert is a hunting and fishing guide.
The first book in the series was actually written third when I realized Red Steel couldn’t be the last of The Leeward Files and the first in The Harrell Family Chronicles. Willow’s Retreat deals with estranged married couple John and Willow, the oldest of the Harrell brothers and his wife, Dr. Willow Rider. The difficulty I had in writing this book was how can two people be married for thirty years and not know each other. With my husband’s help I tried to show the relationship and the couple’s choice to stay or go, and how they found their happy ending. Using my research into therapy animals, PTSD and trauma, I tried to craft a story that was both romantic and suspenseful with the deeper story of family. https://books2read.com/u/mgEra7
All of my stories have family as part of the theme whether it is the family we’re born with or one we create. Even though my stories are fiction, I feel it is important to portray honest relationships. Red Steel and Willow’s Retreat also show the family that comes about through shared experiences, such as being part of the local volunteer firefighters.
Janie’s Secrets is about mistakes and second chances. Janie hides behind the safety of her life as a small-town librarian, she even lives at home. She’s afraid to take chances. Afraid of getting hurt and making mistakes. But life is about risk, and if we aren’t taking a risks are we really living? This is a second chance romance. https://books2read.com/u/bpDq79
Roxy’s Betrayal was a lot of fun to write. Where Janie was the good girl in the family who never did anything wrong, well, Roxy was just the opposite. She was known for her bad girl antics and it takes something truly serious to make her forget about herself and put someone else first. But even trying to do the right thing, a bad girl’s got to do a little bad along the way…and boy does she have fun doing it. She falls for the wrong guy who just might be her Mr. Right and together, they save the day. But even being the hero of the story might not be enough to salvage her relationship with her family. She had to betray them to save them. Will they understand? https://books2read.com/u/boD5Na
Christmas Inn at Teach’s Island slipped away from Leeward but not too far. After a visit to Bath, I decided I needed to write a story with it as my backdrop, so I created Teach’s Island ( a combo of Indian Island and Bath). Hurricane Irene devastated this area and took several years to recuperate from. People who don’t live in areas affected by hurricanes don’t understand the devastation. I thought this Christmas romance was a good way to show the rebuilding of the small community and making my bad guy the hurricane instead of a person was good for a change. I also used this novella to set up the next book. https://books2read.com/u/47Ong8
Trent’s Melody was partially written several years ago but I couldn’t get it right. I think the timing was wrong. Using some of the previously written material, I managed to recreate the idea and make a few changes. Trent is Tracy’s twin brother. He’s as different from her as chalk from cheese but I had to dig deep to understand why. This story revealed itself to me like an onion peeling layers away to reveal something new each time. Of all the books I’ve written Trent’s story touched my heart in ways I never expected. For one, it helped me understand one of my sons better. I had a couple of contests, one a song writing contest where my writer friend, K B Davenport sent an awesome song that fit so well within the story. If you love music competition shows like The Voice and home improvement shows like Rock the Block, you’ll enjoy this story. https://books2read.com/u/bz1vK2
I am working on Remy’s Dilemma the last in The Harrell Family Chronicles (for now). I won’t completely leave this world but the next book will be a new point of entry for the series and I’d like to lighten things up, do a little romantic comedy. I don’t know if I can write a book without murdering someone and blowing things up, but I will try. Maybe…
My historical novel, The Americans are Coming, is a cozy mystery. This is more family friendly but I still managed to blow a few things up and kill a couple of people. I can’t help it, it’s an addiction. When seventeen-year-old, wild west show performer Winnie Applegate’s brother Riley is accused of causing the death of a fellow performer, Winnie seeks to prove him innocent. Instead, she uncovers a murder and a family secret that could put her brother and father at risk. What does a mysterious benefactor, an invitation to England and a family secret have to do with murder and sabotage? Winnie along with the young man she plans to marry, and a female Pinkerton agent will uncover the truth of who is really trying to sabotage Colonel Bill Dexter’s Wild West Extravaganza even if it kills them. https://books2read.com/u/b6zzRW
Trent’s Melody eBook goes live tomorrow. I enjoyed writing this story and discovering who Trent and Melodie are. They both have broken pieces and a shared past. It took several years for them to find the courage to try again but together they are stronger than they are alone. Seeing the beauty of two people coming together and finding their strengths and allowing their person to help them through their weaknesses, that is romance whether in a book, movie or real life.
I have been blessed to find my person. That one person in the world who makes me stronger and helps me be me. I don’t have to pretend when I’m with my husband, he sees the real me and still likes me and I like him. It’s not enough I think to just love and desire each other, though I think that’s a big part of life and romance but sharing a connection that runs deeper. This weekend, I spent time with a couple who really brought out the best in each other. They balanced one another. He taught her to play, and have fun, she showed him that being serious wasn’t boring. Like the fictional couples we adore, sometimes opposites attract but their also has to be a key element that links them together. For my friends and my husband, it is a generosity of spirit, an innate kindness.
In Trent’s Melody, Trent is vulnerable but still strong. He is kind but often tries to hide it. He is afraid to love and open himself up to hurt but along the way he knows, he’s not happy alone so why not take a chance? Life is about taking chances, doing things that scare us. That’s what shows us were alive. I drove down a mountain, climbed a tower, and am scheduled to do some public speaking (my real fear.) I continue to push myself and my characters into uncomfortable situations because I want to continue to grow and learn.
I hope you will read Trent’s Melody and I hope you enjoy it as much I love writing it. The print book is available through Amazon. I have signed copies available upon request. Ebooks are available at most retail locations online and through many libraries. If you have trouble finding any of my books, just contact me and I’ll help you out. Thank you again for being a part of my author journey and taking a chance on me.
What the readers are saying…
Funny, sexy, heart-wrenching, and exciting! K B Davenport
In the latest entry in the Harrell Family Chronicles series, Hollister’s signature thrills, romance, and slice-of-life drama are ever-present. Trent’s Melody is at turns funny, sexy, heart-wrenching, and exciting. Main characters Trent and Melodie are facing down a complicated history. With so much guilt and regret behind them, they struggle to find the good in each other and in themselves.
As always, Hollister manages to provide deeply human drama with peppered comedic relief. There are lots of steamy, romantic moments as well. I really enjoyed the reality series element, as I’m a big fan of home renovation shows. It also gives the characters some interesting stakes beyond their relationships.
The familiar faces from Hollister’s other books in the Harrell Family Chronicles series are nice to see. There’s a sense of family and community in this series that reminds me of my hometown and all the antics that come with it. Fans of suspense and spicy romance will love Trent’s Melody!
Brenda Mayo Jones says…
This book will grab you from the beginning! You get to meet Trent and Melodie who had a past. A past that includes death, music and hometown renovations! You find out how people can put their past behind them and rekindle their love on an entirely new level. One that is more mature. As with most of her books, there is romance, intrigue, a stalker and a couple coming to terms with their differences and learning how to make the best of each other come out in the end! Wonderful story with everything you enjoy in a suspense and romance book all rolled into one!
Marni Graff calls it a compulsive read!
New thrills and chills w/body heat: betrayal takes a back seat to a stalker bent on revenge, when a reno competition brings singer/songwriter Trent back into writer Melodie’s life. But what if her heart and body send a different message? A compulsive read
Announcing the winner of the song writer competition– Thank you to everyone who submitted a poem or song to my songwriter contest. I was so amazed by your talent and your willingness to share your work with me. Choosing a song was so difficult. I had to employ a few extra ears. It came down to which song best fit the main character, Trent Harrell and his story. It is with great honor and excitement that I announce KB Davenport as the winner with his song Free. KB is the author of Magic in Autumn Springs, as well as the kindle Vella book, Home for Halloween and the Kindle Vella series, Game The Show.https://davenportbooks.wixsite.com/home
Advanced readers needed for Trent’s Melody. I have uploaded the placeholder file for the eBook. If you would like to read it before the last edits I would appreciate your feedback and reviews. The book goes live May 26th.
From drunk on a plane to falling in love in paradise, Trent sang his way into Melodie’s heart. But when the couple is accused of being the cause of her former fiancé’s death, Trent leaves her to handle things on her own. Melodie Henries will never trust Trent Harrell not to bail when things get hard.
A singer/songwriter down on his luck and a novelist, their romance should harmonize but past mistakes pluck a wrong note.
When the two agree to do a battle-of-the-sexes renovation competition, more than their romance flames to life as they become the target of a stalker bent on revenge.
Can they change the tune of an old song, or will their melody fall flat?
Left broken and disillusioned by one reality show, why would Trent ever agree to do another? But given the chance to make things up to the girl he betrayed, Trent Harrell would do anything, even agree to star in a renovation reality show competition.
Trent’s leaving nearly destroyed her, but Melodie Henries refuses to let him do it again. She’s doing the show to promote her books, not rekindle an old flame.
When a stalker blames them for the death of Trent’s former bandmate and Melodie’s former fiancé, the couple must delve into the past for clues. Can they discover the threat in time?
If you are interested in being an ARC reader simply respond to this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Some weeks I can’t get out of my own way. I sabotage myself. One of my problems is taking on too much. I often struggle to get my writing done amid my other obligations such as two writing groups, a full-time job, and large family. I want to do it all and I want to do it yesterday.
While I’m not a planner by nature, after taking Sarra Cannon’s HB90 program I’ve learned to be more reasonable about my goals and try to plan accordingly. I still don’t always get it right. Things happen and derail a tightly scheduled plan but I’ve lived most of my life by the seat of my pants. I may have a plan but if that doesn’t work I have a plan B, C and D. Of course, D is duck and cover, but hey, it is a plan.
This past week due my failed attempt at being a stunt double (I flew over the dog’s lead and landed on the sidewalk) I was not up to my usual performance level. One good thing about not being completely mobile, is I managed to surpass three of my writing goals: 1) I wrote every day, 2) I wrote over 10,000 words, and 3) I reached 30,000 and even made it to 40,000 words in my work in progress.
I am close to the end of the first draft and I’m sending out the call for advanced readers. If anyone wishes to read Trent’s Melody before it is published just message me here or through social media. As an advanced reader I would appreciate being made aware of any grammar or story errors you find, your help promoting the book and your review when it is published.
I have been an advanced reader for several of my favorite authors most recently, Reese Ryan and Sabrina Jeffries. It can be fun being a part of the promo team especially if you are a fan of the books or author. I wish I had more time to be an advanced reader for authors I adore but that is one of the worst things about being an author, the lack of time to read except for research.
Last year and again this year, I have made a point of making time for pleasure reading. It’s not as easy amid the critiquing and classes, as well as research reading I need to do but I am determined to have a little fun with my old time favorite hobby, reading.
In case you missed the announcement, the winner of my name the renovation show contest is Pamlico County School teacher, Susan Long with Renovate-ology. Congratulations, Susan! Renovate-ology will be the name of the show in Trent’s Melody. Susan won a $5 Amazon gift card and will have a brief acknowledgement in the book. I felt the name was unique but still familiar, and would work if I decided to use it in another series. Thank you to all of you who sent in ideas. There were several really good ones. Two of the runner-ups were: Debbie’s Renovation Innovation and Barb’s Second Chance Renovation. There were some others who were memorable but just didn’t quite fit for future stories: Property Reboot, Sextacular Renovations, Form and Figure Fabrications, Bros who love M & M’s and many more.
Don’t forget to send in your poems or songs for Trent’s Melody. The contest ends April 24th. Already there have been some great submissions.
When Trent believes he’s lost the girl he loves forever to his former best friend and bandmate, he leaves the reality show competition Winning Nashville where their band is favored to win, to drown his sorrows in Mexico.
Melodie is finally brave enough to call Kyle on his bullshit and break things off for good. When she boards the plane to Cancun for her writer’s conference, she has no idea that Trent is on the same plane.
Their whirlwind romance comes to a tragic end when they are summoned back to Nashville for Kyle’s death. When the media blames them for Kyle’s suicide, Trent leaves Melodie to face the media alone.
Now, six years later they come face to face in a battle-of-the-sexes reality show competition but this time the stakes are even higher. Can they find their second chance at happiness, or will the past once again destroy them?
Trent is a singer-songwriter. Music is the only thing that keeps him sane. Ashamed of his disabilities, he does his best to hide them but like any truth, it finds its way out. His fear and shame is what caused him to leave Melodie after their amazing two weeks together. He knew he couldn’t face the media without revealing his secret.
There have been other girls, women, one-night stands, even a few relationships but Melodie is the only woman he’s ever loved. He can’t forget her but is he brave enough to face his past failings and seek a second chance?
Melodie writes young adult fantasy novels. She once won an award for promising new author but that was before the media labeled her a whore and a murderer. It didn’t matter that Kyle had cheated on her and she’d refused his ring. He died and the media blamed her and her relationship with Trent.
Hiding from the world and writing under a pseudonym Melodie finds herself once more being forced into the limelight. Can she salvage her career or will the past once more make her pay for loving the wrong man?
Song contest ends April 24th, 2022. Don’t miss your chance to add your song to Trent’s Play List. You could win a $25 Gift Card, your name and links in Trent’s Melodie, my upcoming book and your song featured in the book.
I put my writing career on hold for so many years while I wrestled growing boys into independent men. Now, it’s my turn and it’s not as easy as I’d hoped. No one is banging down the doors to get to my books or to demand my autograph. Although I did have a fantastic audience today, I didn’t read my own stories, because they were second graders, and my books aren’t designed for young minds.
Today I joined other illustrious members of our community to go read at our local school for Read Across America. One of my good friends, Ms. Christy, the second-grade teacher, and my neighbor asked if I’d read to her class. She told them I was a famous author. Well, the famous part is stretching it, but everyone is famous in a small town. The children were wonderful and a boon to my flagging ego. They were delighted to learn their teacher was one of the inspirations for my character, Dana the heroine in White Gold. After reading Dr. Suess’ Daisy-Head Maysie and making paper flowers, the kids asked for my autograph and a couple wanted me to come back and read one of my books. I told them I had a short story I’d written for my grandchildren that I could bring. I think that’s what I’ll do.
What a marvelous treat. I was a little afraid, to tell the truth. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the opportunity to read to young children, even my grandchildren, and I worried I wouldn’t be able to connect. It started out as a favor for a friend, a thing to do to support my community but it became more. Today made me realize how much this community and the people in it inspire me.
As I told her class, Christy along with my sister-in-law Denise and my good friend, Mary, all combined to help me create the character, Dana.
Dana Windley who later becomes mayor of Leeward, is a community leader. She is an entrepreneur, a small business owner, a volunteer for the school and her community. She also does charity work raising money for things like breast cancer and her local firefighters and paramedics squads. Dana would be the one you would see at the school reading to the children, planning events for the community and doing all in her power to support her town, her friends, and her family.
The Leeward Files and The Harrell Family Chronicles are about REAL people, living in a small town just like where I come from. The town of Leeward is struggling to rebuild after several devasting blows. My home has suffered hurricanes, the loss of businesses and our high school, it is a town that was dying but we are doing our best to revive it. Just like the characters in my stories, there are very real people working to see that the town of Aurora, not only survives, but once again thrives. These people, this town, this community of supporters are the inspiration for my stories and what keep me writing.
sherrilhollister.com/Suspense She Writes Bookstore Dismiss