Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I was a single working gal and it was April in Illinois. (Not exactly Paris, but you can't have everything) and a girlfriend and I decided to go to Iowa to visit a friend and her husband. Our hosts took us to a club where they were members and, in addition to dinner, there would be music and dancing.

So I wore my new dress, a white silk print with colorful flowers and a short, flouncy skirt. To pick up one of the colors, I put an orange belt around my (then) tiny waist. My hostess owned a pair of orange silk pumps so I wore those too, although they were two sizes too small.

We finished dinner and were drinking coffee when a short (but not too short for me in heels) dark, handsome man came to our table and asked our host for permission to ask me to dance. Even in those days, men didn't ask permission to marry a girl, much less ask her to dance. Was this amazing or what?

So I danced with him, during which I discovered he was a skydiver. A forty-one-day whirlwind courtship later, we were married, and, about seven hundred days after that, we were divorced. My mother quoted the old proverb, "Marry in haste - repent at leisure," regularly thereafter, bless her heart.

FREE FALL. my latest contemporary romance novel, is based on what I learned about skydiving and parachutes in those two years. In my book, the skydiver is the hero, but in real life he left a lot to be desired. So, although some of the novel is true, most is made up, which is what novelists do. Not to brag too much about my own work, I'll just say that it has some romantic scenes--which is what you buy a romance for--some exciting scenes--this is an awesome sport--and a bit of humor. Without humor, I'd never have survived that matrimonial adventure.

All fiction writers use their experiences to a greater or lesser extent in their books, and I'll bet lots of you readers--even if you don't write books--are thinking, "Yes, that time I was... (fill in the blank) would make a great story." So tell me about it (in 250 words or less). The first five people to comment on this article--even if they don't tell me their story--will get a free, autographed copy of FREE FALL.


  1. Phyllis, congratulations on your technical achievement. I have a blog but worry about my web site which is rather pathetic right now. Good luck with your book and blog - judi writing as lynn romaine - Long Run Home due out 09/18/09 TWRP

  2. Oh, wonderful blog. True to romance, I wanted your skydiver to be your forever. :( Sorry that wasn't the case. I have a lot of stories and I'm sure some of them will make it into books. For now ... I'm keeping it close to the vest. Welcome to the world of blogging BTW!

  3. I haven't braved blogging...yet. My manuscript, Lily in Wonderland, takes place in Arkansas where I moved with my starter husband. That marriage didn't last, but Arkansas is a beautiful state. There's is just something romantic about the south.

    Good luck!

    Kelly Fitzpatrick

  4. Great Blog. It's too bad your marriage didn't work out ... but it did give you fodder for you book, which is great. I hope next time love comes your way - it works out much better.

    I'm also writing about my first love too. It's also a mix of truth and fiction...mostly fiction.

  5. Okay, one more time to try.

    I really enjoyed the blog as well as the writing tips article that you posted on word and story writers.

    Being an author can really give you an opportunity to redo aspects of personal experience and make it work the way you want it to.

    Congrats on your site. Looks good.


  6. Congrats on a nice site and good blog. I have the opposite story of marry in haste. I've happily stayed with the man for 38 years now.
    Good luck with your book. Kathy

  7. Congratulations on your web site, blog, and FREE FALL!

    Life's experiences do give writers more stories than they might ever have time to write!

    Nancy Haddock

  8. Hi Phyllis:
    I enjoyed reading your blog entry. I do have one of those stories, and it was in a romantice suspense published 8 years ago. Without going into detail, it was an adventure most will never have, lol.


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