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Guest Post: It's Rewrites of the Heart book birthday and we're celebrating with Terry and a cool giveaway #guestpost #paranormalromcom #pnr #giveaway

I’m Terry Newman, author of Rewrites of the Heart, Heartquake, and The Wizard of her Heart, all published by The Wild Rose Press. I’m also a not-very-accomplished crocheter, even though, I pick it up now and again. My current project is a pair of fingerless gloves. I’ve also recently become mom to Amy, my amaryllis. I’m not a gardener and she’s going through her post-bloom stage. I’m told the bulb can produce blooms every year for at least 25 years. I’m just trying to keep Amy alive until next year. And I do love photography.


A sneak peek into the mind of a writer—this writer


Readers often ask how writers come up with their characters. I’d like to give you some insight to my brain and talk not only how I developed the people who populate Rewrites of the Heart, but also a few of the locations as well.


Of all the characters in the book, readers love Blake Teesdale the most. Shh! Don’t tell my other characters, but he’s my favorite as well.


If you’re not familiar with the story, Blake and Alex Zurich are the hero and heroine of a romance novel JJ Spritely is writing. They both jump out of the pages of their book to help the JJ write her own love story.


This is what JJ thought about him the day he and Alex appeared in her home office:


At six feet, he certainly fit the bill. He had black, wavy, unruly hair that danced wildly from side to side as he talked. The more animated his speech, the wilder his hair jostled about his tanned, ruggedly handsome face. And the more passionate he appeared on the topic at hand, the more his hair bounced.


It really didn’t matter what he talked about, she recalled from the description she had painted of him, he was passionate about everything. And that was the trait that initially drew Alex Zurich to him. Now, it was coming back to her, the heroine also loved the man because he could make her laugh.


peeBlake was modeled after a friend from graduate school, Andrew. I took his traits and mannerisms and exaggerated them. Andrew was a native of Maine and his accent set him apart at Ohio University in southern Ohio. I gave Blake a British accent which would set him apart in northeast Ohio.


Andrew’s hair was untamed—probably because he was always studying. I embellished this trait in Blake to make for comic effect.


And then there’s Blake’s love of learning. That was all Andrew. He came to the graduate program at Ohio University already holding a masters degree in international studies from Columbia. While at OU, he received a masters in African history, and went on to Michigan State to earn his PhD in that field. I merely transferred that love of learning and ramped it up a notch or two. The result is Blake’s insistence of telling you every little detail of just about any topic.


Andrew also had a remarkable sense of humor and a way of phrasing things, which I hope I gave to Blake. Andrew’s favorite phrase was “perilously close.” And he was adamant that every single women’s bathroom was painted the same color: Ladies’ restroom green. I’m not sure how he knew this.


Enough about Blake. I want to tell you about some of my favorite secondary characters who had limited appearances. Let’s start with Dr. Thomas Chare, chair of the history department at the University of Northern Ohio. I’m not sure who I patterned him after. I think he just developed on his own. Here’s his description:


     Not much taller than five foot five inches, Chare looked like an aging cherub. Bald on the top of his head with a wisp of white hair around the sides that resembled a halo of an angel. His round faced had not a wrinkle on it, so it was difficult to gauge his exact age. And his round wire-rimmed glasses accented his face perfectly.


     His last name was pronounced the same of the position he held, chair of the department. Because of this, the faculty just referred to him as The Chair to end any confusion between referring to his last name or his job.


He loved JJ as a daughter, and he went along with the matchmaking proposed by Alex, even though he protested real life was no romance novel.


Then there’s Deb Dilley, the department secretary. She was loosely based on the history department secretary at Ohio University when I was there. I recall her being interested in every bit of gossip. I just gave Deb a bit more shamelessness.


My favorite places in Bell Wyck, Ohio


The story takes place in Bell Wyck, located in northeast Ohio, and the home to the fictional University of Northern Ohio. Their sports teams are known as the Fighting Fingers.


One of my favorite scenarios takes place at Mario and Luigi’s Italian Bistro, where Kennedy King Cooper takes JJ for their first date. Mario and Luigi toddle around the restaurant, and mistake JJ for the food critic of the Bell Wyck Tribune, Teri Yaki. To make matters worse, Alex and Blake, dressed like stereotypical spies, seat themselves close to the couple so she can monitor the progress of the date.


The town of Bell Wyck, by the way, comes from a street in my hometown. And Teri Yaki’s column in the newspaper is called the Bell Wyck Bowl. If you’re a native of my hometown, you’ll know that it’s also the name of the local bowling alley.


I’ve saved my favorite location in Bell Wyck, though, for last. That’s the Physics Café. I’m not even sure how I can up with the concept. Located near the UNO campus, it’s a favorite spot for both students and local residents.


The café’s menu consists of items named after scientific terms and concepts, and even some sci-fi movies. There’s the Manhattan Project Clam Chowder and the Chernobyl Chicken Meltdown.


One of the more popular items is the Philadelphia Experiment Cheesesteak, complete with Feynman Fries. But you can also get it with a side of the Onion String Theory.


The sandwich is named after the movie The Philadelphia Experiment, which details the progress of a cloaking project that attempted to make a navy destroy invisible to the naked eye.


Here’s how the menu describes it:


 A classic Philly cheesesteak with a twist. The sautéed onions on this sandwich are treated by our very own de-particlizer. While your sandwich appears to have onions, should they disappear while you’re eating your meal, you’ll receive a free cappuccino.


Another popular menu item is the Schrodinger Steak. It’s named after the thought experiment of Erwin Schrodinger. The experiment put an imaginary cat in a box with a radioactive atom, which might—or might not—kill the kitty in an hour. But until the box is open, the cat is both alive and dead. The steak is served in a black box and until you lift the lid, it’s both well-done and rare (or any other way you ordered it). By the way, the meal comes with a side of Devil’s Tower mashed potatoes, from the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.


I wish I had the space to explain the Jewish Mariachi Polka Band, but I’m running out of room. I can tell you this: they play a unique style of music.


The idea for Rewrites of the Heart has been with me more than a decade and went through many lives before it made its latest appearance last year. It was the first serious novel I wrote and will always and forever remain my favorite.


To those of you who have read it and reviewed it, thank you. I’m so glad you love my crazy little universe as much as I do.


Title Rewrites of the Heart


Author Terry Newman


Genre Paranormal Romantic Comedy


Publisher The Wild Rose Press


Book Blurb


JJ Spritely, romance author, writes characters that jump off the page. Figuratively, that is. She never expects them to make a literal leap off the page and smack dab into her world. But Alex Zurich and Blake Teesdale do just that. And they’re on a mission to help JJ write her own personal love story with a man she recently met, Kennedy King Cooper.


A history professor, Cooper doesn’t see the value of romance novels and he has even less regard for those who write them. Until he meets a woman who haunts his thoughts.


There’s only one small snag in Alex’s and Blake’s plan…okay…two rather large snags. JJ wants nothing to do with Cooper. The other snag? Alex and Blake aren’t able to return to the pages of their own book.


Will JJ ever write her own love story? And will it be with Cooper? Will Alex and Blake return to the pages of their own book?




Alex heard the shower running. Then it stopped. “We’re off to see the…” Blake’s singing grated through the air, like fingernails on a chalkboard.


She was already dressed, and in place. And impatient. Finally, he emerged from the bathroom with only a towel around him. His head bobbed as he skipped down the hall, his wet hair splashing drops of water like a dog shaking his whole body when it’s wet.


“What is taking so long?” she asked.


“It takes time for me to beautify, baby.”


She closed her eyes and shook her head. He continued his skipping and headed for JJ’s bedroom.


“I’ll be all dressed in just a second, love,” he called as he closed the door.


While she waited for him to emerge from the bedroom, she alternatively paced, adjusted her—well, actually JJ’s—white dress, and nervously ran her fingers through her hair.


She finally sat on the couch a moment, quickly removed the red pumps, and rubbed her feet. JJ’s feet were several sizes smaller than hers. Then, she thought of poor Blake. He had even larger feet. How would he…? She was putting her shoes back on when she heard the bedroom door open.


“Oh, Alex,” he chimed. “I’m ready. And I’m coming out.”


And with that Alex heard the clicks of the heels on the hardwood hallway. “Damn it!” Click. “Bloody heels.” Click. “How do you women wear these things?” Click. “Oh, my aching back!”


His voice grew louder till he reached the living room where she was standing expectantly. She couldn’t believe what she saw. Standing in front of her was the man she loved, dressed nearly exactly as she was. The white dress was barely long enough to cover even a small fraction of his thighs. His feet were stuffed into a pair of red stiletto heels.


“Love,” he said grimacing through his pain, “does this outfit make me look fat?”


She merely shook her head. Then she noticed something even more bizarre about him.


“Are those pantyhose you’re wearing?”


“Yeah, but they barely come to my waist. I never realized how short JJ was till I put on her pantyhose.”


She doubled over in laughter. He appeared so sincere yet looked so ridiculous. “Uhm, dear, do you know how short that dress is on you?”


“Hey, it’s not my fault. It’s not like I was shopping at Harrods. JJ had two white dresses in her closet, and you picked the better of the two. My choices were limited.”


He turned his back to her. “Look, I can’t even button this bloody thing.” At the sight of the open white dress against his hairy back, she laughed uncontrollably.


“What’s so funny?” he asked, as he planted his hands on his hips. “You get to wear the good Dorothy dress. I’m stuck with this.” He looked down at his apparel.


“I just want to make sure we have every detail in place, just in case it’s not the ruby slippers that actually work the magic.” He took a deep breath and held out his hand.


“Now could we get on with this please? I think these pantyhose are strangling my manhood.”


They held hands, closed their eyes, and clicked their heels together. Secretly, Alex prayed the red-heeled shoes would be a good enough substitute for the ruby slippers.


“Okay, at the count of three,” Blake instructed. Alex nodded. “One, two, three. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” When they opened their eyes, they were still standing in JJ’s living room.


“Let’s try it one more time,” Blake urged, “just in case the Universe was busy doing something else and wasn’t listening.” Disappointed and on the verge of tears, she slowly nodded her assent.


They had resumed their stance and held hands when she heard JJ walk in through the back door. As the writer entered the living room, she asked, “What in the world is going on? Blake, is that you in that dress?”


The sharpness of JJ’s voice sparked the flood of tears Alex had tried to hold back. She was so frustrated. She only wanted to return to her world, check on her cat, and make sure that pot of soup she had started hadn’t boiled over. She didn’t believe JJ when she said she took care of it for her.


Blake turned around, smiling. “We watched—”


“I know exactly what movie you watched and it’s time the male Dorothy gets out of that outfit.”


Blake harrumphed an unintelligible reply and clomped clumsily to the bedroom, slamming the door loudly. Then from behind the door, he said, “And to think, I shaved my legs for this.”


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)






Giveaway –

Enter to win a $20 Amazon gift card:

Runs February 8 – February 22, 2024.

Winner will be drawn on February 23, 2024.


Author Biography


I’m the author of Rewrites of the Heart, the N. N. Light Book Paranormal Romance of the Year and Heartquake, a 2023 Rone finalist.


Two things you should know about me: I have an offbeat sense of humor and characters are constantly talking to me, trying to get me to tell their stories. Other than that, I’m a normal person.


I’ve spent most of my adult life writing in some fashion, from small-town reporter, to editor-in-chief and ghostwriter for a national natural health publishing firm. The last decade and a half I’ve worked as a freelance writer, penning ebooks that range from starting a doula services business to Native American herbs.


All my novels are set in fictional towns in northeast Ohio, where I grew up, and I write about things I love—like coffee.


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1 Comment

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Feb 15

Thank you, Terry, for the fabulous guest post while we celebrate your book birthday!!!

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