Thursday, April 8, 2021

Story Ideas, Anyone?

I have my contract for the two Tales short-story collections. I even have my nice advance. Marketing asked for cover ideas, so I sent them this, along with all of the pieces (high-res) to create something similar. Katherine (marketing manager) specifically asked for older Andi and Riley pictures. Thanks for helping me narrow it down to these two cover concepts. The background will probably change, as they have better pictures, so I'm very excited to see what they come up with. In the meantime . . . I need a little more help with a couple of the stories. (I know you guys have been awesome with sending ideas, and I've gone through them, so now I need a little more detail.) Keep reading!  

My publisher has asked for at least TWO brand-new stories for each book. So far for Tales, I have decided to continue Andi and Riley's honeymoon in Yosemite (after the stagecoach gets robbed), and something unexpected and unfortunate (of course!) happens during their stay in the wilderness. I have a few ideas about that, but I'm open to anything that could happen while they are in Yosemite (I've got them getting lost as one of the things). 

So, for the first Tales book, I'm also thinking of including a Rosa story (she's the only main character who has not "come back.") Someone suggested a Rosa story, but that is too general. I need specific ideas about a story with Andi and Rosa that includes either humor or danger.The first book takes place just over one year's time, so the story ideas are limited. 

For Tales 2, I'm already deep into writing a brand-new story called "Return to the Glade." Remember that special spot Riley boasted he'd found (back in The Last Ride) and finally took Andi to in the first Tales book? (A Very Special Spot). Well, they (and Jared) are going back for an all-day lark and picnic. But when they show up, they get a most unpleasant surprise. Sorry, no spoilers on this one. I have it planned out and it's going to be a dilly. Can't wait to finish it! 

For another story, I have a big time gap (since Tales 2 spans more time), so I was thinking of having an "Icy Adventure" up at Mirror Lake, when Andi goes along with Riley and a bunch of others to cut the ice for their summer ice supply (and ice box supply). But along with sharing fun anecdotes about what the Carters and their hired hands do, I need some kind of problem that comes up. Any ideas? (Andi's mother is watching Jared for this trip). It is set in February 1889.  

By the way, come back tomorrow for Photo Friday. I'm having a giveaway. :-)




  1. Here are ideas that I hope are helpful:

    Yosemite Story - They Run Out of Water/ Andi or Riley breaks a leg/ The Prescotts barely avoid a buffalo stampede.

    Rosa story - Andi tries to make Rosa some traditional Mexican food to celebrate the birth of another of her children but fails miserably/ Andi cooks a dish for Sunday dinner with her family, runs out of an ingrediant, borrows it from Rosa, but has a misunderstang with her and accidentally borrows the wrong one.

    Icy Adventure story - Someone falls in the lake/ Shasta spooks at something and runs away into the wilderness (minus Andi).

  2. Let's see....could you do a winter story where it snows/ices and they can't make it into town for several weeks? The story could be about them making do with what they have and them realizing how much God has blessed them with. Just an idea..

    1. Oh, I like that idea! - Charis

  3. You could have Riley, Chad and Mitch disappear. Mother, Andi and Ellie search the ranch frantically not knowing that Lucy forgot to tell them the men went to San Francisco to look for Levi, Betsy or Hannah who has mysteriously disappeared.

  4. Just a couple more ideas to bounce around:

    Rosa Story: I feel that Rosa's story would likely center around children and cooking. I also feel that maybe Rosa would tend to be a perfectionist, and try to do everything just like her very capable mother. What if we saw her struggling to enjoy the moment?

    Idea #1: Rosa and Andi try to have a 'mom's night out'. They go into town and Rosa does some shopping, then they eat dinner and fall asleep in the restaurant. Or, if that's too far along for the first tales book, Andi volunteers to watch Rosa's kids so Rosa and her husband could have a nice night out. When she tries to make dinner, one of Rosa's little girls step in to rock the kitchen.

    Idea #2: Rosa is expecting. Andi volunteers to keep her company for a day. She ends up being coerced into sewing a baby's gown while dealing with Rosa's very odd cravings.

    Icy Adventure: What about a good old fashioned row with Chad (should you choose to bring him along)? Personally, he's one of my favorite characters (I'd love to see a story centered around him and Ellie) and having Andi deal with one of his over-the-top moments in a wise way might be a cool twist to her character.

    Idea: One of the saws they are using slips, and one of the hands suffers a bad wound. They decide the injured man and Riley should go back to the ranch. It begins to snow or there is a small avalanche and they lose their way. Chad and Andi try to find them and argue in the process. They end up taking shelter in an old line shack which is occupied by the missing Riley and co.

    - Emily

    1. I gotta say, Emily, that I really like your Icy Adventure idea! The saw slipping. I never even thought about that. *wink* I'll see what I can do. Thanks!

    2. I like Andi having to deal with Rosa's children too. Hmmm, potential here.

  5. Thanks everybody! Keep those ideas coming! I'm not LIMITED to just two new stories for each book. I can do more.

  6. Yosemite ideas:
    A city-slicker type (or maybe a big-city magazine photographer) in a tour group with Andi and Riley has his heart set on seeing a bear (or photographing one). He ends up trying to kidnap a bear cub and smuggle it along in the stagecoach. The mother bear disapproves, and the tour group has to release the bear cub and beat a hasty retreat.

    An extra detail/experience could be Andi and Riley watching the Yosemite Firefall one evening – it was started in 1872 by a hotel owner at Glacier Point, and it continued to be an evening tradition for visitors to view until the late 1960s. From descriptions, it sounds like it was a pretty spectacular sight. Maybe Riley surprises Andi with it, if he’s heard about it and she hasn’t.

    An eccentric hermit who has been living on a nearby gold claim for years could break into their camp and keep stealing and hiding their ice-harvesting tools at night, hoping it will convince them to choose another lake to harvest ice out of instead of “his” lake. To solve this, Riley stays up, catches him in the act, and convinces him they are harmless. Maybe they can give him some of Andi’s peach preserves to pacify him (similar to Ben Gunn asking for parmesan cheese in Treasure Island).

    Recipe ideas: Andi makes gingerbread in one of the newlywed stories – and names her pet raccoon after it.
    Andi’s mother (or Luisa?) makes hot chocolate in Count Your Blessings and Jared is pretty fond of it, so maybe Andi could make it as well.

    1. Yes! I've read about the Firefall (and other strange things at Yosemite in those days, like the chicken they toss off Half Dome or one of those high places). LOL I want to incorporate something historical into that story. Thanks!

  7. Another idea is that Andi, Riley, Jared and the twins go visit Jenny, Cory and their little girl. they take the train and something bad happens like the the driver passes out or something (idk).-Olivia


Let Andi know what you think!