Thursday, September 4, 2014

When Things Fall into Place

Why would someone write a book with a pancake theme? Well, pancakes are awesome. They are an instant mood lifter. Really. Try eating them when your energy is on the negative side of the spectrum and just watch the needle on your moodometer zip to the uber-positive side—to the beaming-a-smile-from-ear-to-ear side. You simply can’t be down with pancakes around.

Hey, that’d make a great T-shirt.

And with pure Vermont maple syrup? Yowzers! You’ve got yourself a lethal weapon right there, folks. Add in fresh fruit—I suggest blueberries—and you’re playing with nature’s goodness in a way that will start your day out on the right foot. Or the left one. Your choice. Either way pancakes and real syrup are a power combination that will lead you to a successful day.

You know, if you don’t screw it up somehow. Pancakes and syrup can only do so much, people. The rest is up to you.

The idea for my new series, The Maple Leaf Series, just fell into place for me one day while spending time in the woods of Vermont. I have a chunk of property up there that I visit when I want to get away from the perils of suburbia. The first book in the series, More Than Pancakes, grew from seeing men—rugged, mountain men—trek across my land in the snow with sleds of equipment to work on the sap lines that course through the woods. I watched them on one frigid winter day in their knit hats, snow pants, fleece-lined jackets, and boots, and thought, “Now that’s sexy. I have to write about them.” It helped that they were solid, sturdy built men… with beards.


That one image, plus my love of pancakes and an obsession with pure Vermont maple syrup, shifted story elements around in my mind. The gears began to turn and an entire storyline presented itself within moments. I ran for my writer’s notebook, scribbled furiously for an hour, and knew who my hero and heroine were going to be and what would draw them together. Of course, I also needed something to get between them too. I always hate coming up with that part, because sometimes you have to make really bad things happen. It’s comforting to know, however, that in romance, love always prevails.

Rick Stannard is a quiet maple syrup company owner who loves his woods and his solitude. Lily Hinsdale is a hotel designer who craves city action. When Lily wants Rick’s land for a new resort, the two of them will have to fight for what they want. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll end up wanting the same thing.

And they’ll definite eat pancakes.

I wish all my stories just “fell into place” like Rick and Lily’s did. Sadly, that’s not the case. Not even close. Sometimes it takes many hours (days, months…) of daydreaming—or staring aimlessly into space—to come up with anything useable. Often what I thought might be useable turns out to be total trash. Thank the heavens for the “delete” and “backspace” keys on my laptop. They get used. Extensively.

Writing is such a puzzle sometimes. Making all the pieces fit, weaving storylines together, establishing a connection between reader and characters, creating a unified whole that satisfies and entertains or informs—these are the mountains writers climb every day with every book. So when things fall into place in our fictional worlds there is much celebration. High-fives and cheering ensue and it’s on to the next idea.

An idea we hope and pray falls into place.


Visit my website at


Leah St. James said...

Well, I must confess that cold and I are only slightly less conflicted than SNOW and I. (They're both four-letter words in my house!) Still, the way you describe it, I can picture the serene beauty of the woods on a frosty day as men in their gear hunt for that heavenly syrup. (And yes, I have had the real thing.) And I haven't yet broken into hives at the imaginary sight of the white stuff. :-)

Great story concept. And it takes skill (to me) to make anything in the snow sound sexy! :-)

Margo Hoornstra said...

Cherish the ONE story that easily falls into place, because so many of them don't. Also, there is definitely something to said about a beefy man, in a flannel shirt, outdoors, on a cold winter day. I'm just saying!

Christine DePetrillo said...

Leah, snow is super sexy! C'mon! Just think about it. If you're cold, you need... warming up. Wink, wink. LOL.

You said it, Margo. Most stories are an army crawl... over broken glass. It's nice that The Universe cuts a break now and then.

Betsy Ashton said...

When I read this, I called upstairs to Hubs: "Will you make blueberry buckwheat pancakes Sunday?" His special recipe. We usually make them for house guests. I can behave like a good house guest. Really. I'll even make my bed.

Chuck Lumpkin said...

Ok so Terry is the pancake man. I so need a pancake right now, but making a bed, no way.

Jannine Gallant said...

Your book sounds terrific. Love Vermont--and pancakes. I'm going to go make myself some right now!

Alicia Dean said...

I love SNOW! Of course it's sexy! Vermont sounds heavenly. What a joy for a story to click and flow like that. I've had some that have come easier than others, but I don't believe I've had one yet that clicked like that. Fingers crossed, though!

I love pancakes! I have never had real Vermont syrup, but I want, now. :) I put peanut butter and syrup on my pancakes. Delish!

Your books sound great, pancakes, Vermont, and snow???? I MUST check them out! (it's a series, right?)

Romance Can Be Murder said...

Story sounds great! A book I look forward to reading - on a snowy day while tucked up under a warm Afghan! We live in a maple syrup area of Ontario. I'm not a winter person, but even I will venture out into the snow for maple syrup festivals and community pancake breakfasts..

Christine DePetrillo said...

Alicia, must have Vermont syrup. So yummy. I never thought of putting PB on pancakes which is odd because I put it on most everything else. Have to try that this weekend. And yes, More Than Pancakes is book one in my Maple Leaf Series and book two is More Than Cookies. Book three, More Than Rum, is coming by the end of the year.

Alicia Dean said...

LOL, I actually googled a place that sells Vermont syrup, and I'm buying some :) Off to check on your books (Let me know how the PB thing works out)

Christine DePetrillo said...

Alicia, this company taps the trees on my land:
Goodrich Maple Farm

Alicia Dean said...

Awesome, thanks, Christine. I'll check it out.

Donna Michaels said...

I love pancakes, Christine! And your series sounds just as yummy. lol Funny how much easier it is to write when the characters talk to you. I hate when I have to pull teeth to get them to talk. Especially on deadline.

Best of luck with the series! It's on my list!