Nov 012017

Someone asked me an interesting question once. If I could spend time with any author, living or dead, who would I choose? There are so many storytellers I admire and whose work I enjoy, it was tough to decide on only one. Finally, though, I settled on Phyllis Whitney. My heroine, if you will, when I was younger, and I remain a huge fan. She started out writing short stories, selling well over a hundred, and wrote books for both adults as well as children. The author of more than seventy novels—thirty nine of them with a Gothic twist—she was a true pioneer in the romantic suspense genre so popular today.

She was even dubbed by The New York Times, Queen of American Gothics, a title she reportedly hated, saying instead she wrote romantic novels of suspense.

As I understand, her scheduled time to write was from eight to eleven in the morning, sitting at her desk. According to her biography, she was a diligent plotter, creating notebooks full of information about character, plot and setting before she wrote the first actual word of any manuscript.

The major accomplishment of her lifetime, in my humble opinion, was the fact she wrote continually for eighty of her one-hundred and four years. One thing I remember reading about her was she claimed to like writing, but she loved having written. That’s my kind of writer.

I remain in awe of her extraordinary talent and incredible output.

Though I haven’t even come near to achieving the eighty novel mark, my anthology, Saturday In Serendipity is a compilation of three novellas which revolve around a twentieth high school reunion in Serendipity, Vermont. Serendipity is a mid-sized town located on the shores of Lake Champlain.

Three Strikes Thursday, leaves Barry Carlson, professional baseball’s former golden boy, with some serious making up to do. A love ‘em and leave ‘em attitude of his youth has finally caught up with him. Older, maybe wiser, he’s eager to catch up on what’s important in life. A home and family, someone to love who loves him back just as deeply. Amanda Marsh is the one he foolishly pushed away. He has his work cut out for him if he hopes to ever win her back.

Two On Tuesday, has Serendipity High School graduate Blane Weston viewing her upcoming class reunion  as a chance to renew a former, but not forgotten, love. As she gets ready to attend the week-end festivities, enter Matt Durand, someone she’s recently considered then rejected as a potential business partner. Turns out he won’t take no for an answer and has other ideas for her activities at the reunion. Things go from bad to worse in light of his current involvement with some of the people from her past.

One Fateful Friday, a holiday story of forever friends Jake and Bethany, takes place between Halloween and Christmas Eve, after the reunion. Soul mates through high school, Jake and Bethany went their separate ways after graduation. Brought together twenty years later while both are involved with careers in healthcare, they assume they’ll re-establish their relationship with flawless compatibility. Except, they now hold different philosophies that might jeopardize their chance at a happy future.

These three different couples with common pasts take very different passages to find their own happily ever after futures.


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the November 1st posting of the IWSG will be Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass

  • M.J. Fifield

    I am always impressed by writers who have that dedicated writing time. I just have to fit it in whenever I can. And it is very impressive that she was able to write for so many years. Somedays, I feel like I’ll need 80 years just to finish writing one book. 🙂

  • Margo Hoornstra

    You and me both, M.J. Needing 80 years to finish one book, I mean. I’m in awe of those writers who seem to be able to produce and produce and produce.

  • Ellen Jacobson

    Wow – seeing Phyllis Whitney’s name takes me back. I remember reading one of her books when I was a teenager and loving it. I don’t think I’ve read anything by her since. Maybe I should rectify that 🙂

    • Margo Hoornstra

      I stumbled on my first Whitney book and became an ardent fan soon after.

  • Lucy Kubash

    I also loved Phyllis Whitney! My mom and I were big fans, and I remember haunting a local bookstore for Ms Whitney’s books. I still have most of them and always plan to reread them…when I have time. As an author, she really was an inspiration for me. That we could all write into our 80s!

    • Margo Hoornstra

      She was one of a kind. I plan to give writing into my eighties a try. 😉

  • Wow. Just wow. I am in awe. Now that is a dedicated writer. No wonder she’s your hero.

  • Diane Burton

    I love Phyllis Whitney. Her books, Victoria Holt’s, and Mary Stuart’s gave me so many pleasurable hours of reading Gothic Romances (even if she hated the title).

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