July 31, 2023 | Author Friend Promo

from C.D. Hersh

One Christmas season our family visited Krohn Conservatory Trains, Trestles and Traditions holiday display. It’s amazing what a dedicated group of crafters can do with a bit of glue, flowers, and materials like twigs, moss, and bark that most people would haul to the compost pile. Using these natural materials, crafters created vignettes of Cincinnati landmarks Mt. Adams Incline, Union Terminal, the Conservatory, and international landmarks representing the Eiffel Tower, a European castle, and a Chinese pagoda, all ringed with tracks carrying trains and streetcars through the displays. It took patience and skill to create a little world that that made our family spend half of their visit to the Conservatory in the exhibit taking scads of photos, creating Kodak moments that would take us back to the enchanting display whenever we wanted. We were so captivated that we didn’t want to leave the area.

Rading a good book is a lot like our experience at Krohn Conservatory. When we find a story that transports us, we don’t want the story to end, and we want to revisit that world time and time again. Pearl S. Buck, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are a few of the writers who provided classic Kodak story moments for us. Debbie Macomber’s town of Cedar Cove has enchanted her readers. Readers love Jan Karon’s character Father Tm from the town of Mitford. And who can forget the world of Harry Potter? J.K. Rowling’ stories and characters spurred young readers to devour her books, waiting anxiously for each new book to appear. Plus, an entire series of movies and new stars.

As writers we strive to create characters readers will love and locations that readers want to revisit long after the book is closed. Why? Because our job is to write and write well, and because stories that remain in the hearts and memories of our readers are the books that become bestsellers and classics. Who doesn’t want that?

So how can you create stories that will leave your readers wanting more and retuning to your books time and time again? Here are some things we think are key to writing stories readers will love.

      • Get your readers to use their senses. What sounds more interesting? Susan bent toward the rose and inhaled its sweet scent, or Susan bent toward the rose. The peppery scent, with a hint of musk, tickled her nose. If you say the vase of flowers is “lovely” do you know what it looks like? Or does the phrase, Yellow roses, fading to peach at the tips, spilled from the cut-crystal vase, give you a clearer picture?

Show don’t tell. A good sentence shows the reader what is happening, revealing emotions and actions without telling the reader what is happening. Jane was angry is telling. A vein pulsed in Jane’s temple and her mouth straightened into a thin, drawn line shows what the anger is doing to Jane. The reader instinctively knows Jane is angry because you have shown her emotions, not told them.

Write in active, not passive, voice. The words was, to be, had and words ending in ing are all tip offs to passive writing. Johnny was walking down the street can easily be changed to Johnny walked down the street. Change Shelia had been dusting the hall before breakfast to Sheila dusted the hall before breakfast. Scour your work for passive verbs and eliminate them whenever possible.

Avoid stereotypical characters. Show more than one side of your characters. Heroes and heroine have flaws, fatal flaws that can get in the way of their goals, get them deeper in trouble, and keep them from being goody-two-shoes. After all, no human is perfect. Even villains love someone and might be self-sacrificing for that special person. if you have a stereotypical character, try turning him or her around in some way to make them less of a stereotype. Pirates are criminals you wouldn’t want to meet on the high seas, but in spite of his criminal background, you can’t help rooting for Captain Jack Sparrow. Why do viewers love him? Because he’s a bit of a bumbler and so darned cute. A stereotype turned on its ear.

Pay attention to setting. The best writers know their worlds inside out and convey them flawlessly to the reader. Pearl S. Buck brought the foreign world of China to life for a Midwestern teenager. Romance author Jean Johnson created a magical world in her Sons of Destiny series that caused us to collect her entire series. Children (and adults) love the world of Harry Potter because it is magical and different. Popular Amish romances bring the intriguing world of a reclusive religious sect to life for readers. Setting can also be important enough in some stories to be considered a character, so pay attention to the rules of your worlds. There is always a reader who will notice if you break them and they will be disappointed because you didn’t pay attention to details.

Look at the books you have on your “Keep” shelves. How do these five elements play out in them? Now look at your own writing. Are you weak in any of these areas? If so, get out the editing pen and start correcting. With a little work you, too, can create Kodak stories readers will love.

Here is a little about our shapeshifter series that is to be five books with the first four already out on Amazon.

TITLE: The Turning Stone Chronicles

GENRE: Urban fantasy, Paranormal, Romance


Three ancient Celtic families. A magical Bloodstone that enables the wearers to shape shift. A charge to use the stone’s power to benefit mankind, and a battle, that is going on even today, to control the world. Can the Secret Society of shape shifters called the Turning Stone Society heal itself and bring peace to our world?

Find out in The Series The Turning Stone Chronicles

Book one of the chronicles titled “The Promised One” available on Amazon
In the wrong hands, the Turning Stone ring is a powerful weapon for evil. So, when homicide detective Alexi Jordan discovers her secret society mentor has been murdered and his magic ring stolen, she is forced to use her shape-shifting powers to catch the killer. By doing so, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.

Rhys Temple always knew his fiery cop partner and would-be-girlfriend, Alexi Jordan, had a few secrets. He considers that part of her charm. But when she changes into a man, he doesn’t find that as charming. He’ll keep her secret to keep her safe, but he’s not certain he can keep up a relationship—professional or personal.

Danny Shaw needs cash for the elaborate wedding his fiancée has planned, so he goes on a mugging spree. But when he kills a member of the secret society of Turning Stones and steals a magic ring that gives him the power to shape shift, Shaw gets more than he bargained for.

Book two of The Turning Stone Chronicles titled “Blood Brothers” available on Amazon.
When Delaney Ramsey is enlisted to help train two of the most powerful shape shifters the Turning Stone Society has seen in thousands of years, she suspects one of them is responsible for the disappearance of her daughter. To complicate matters, the man has a secret that could destroy them all. Bound by honor to protect the suspect, Delaney must prove his guilt without losing her life to his terrible powers or revealing to the police captain she’s falling for that she’s a shape shifter with more than one agenda.

The minute Captain Williams lays eyes on Delaney Ramsey, he knows she’s trouble. Uncooperative, secretive, and sexy, he can’t get her out of his mind. When he discovers she has a personal agenda for sifting through all the criminal records in his precinct, and secretly investigating his best detective, he can’t let her out of his sight. He must find out what she’s looking for before she does something illegal. If she steps over the line, he’s not certain he can look the other way for the sake of love.

Book three of The Turning Stone Chronicles titled “Son of the Moonless Night” currently available on Amazon.
Owen Todd Jordan Riley has a secret. He’s a shape shifter who has been hunting and killing his own kind. To him the only good shifter is a dead shifter. Revenge for the death of a friend motivates him, and nothing stands in his way . . . except Katrina Romanovski, the woman he is falling in love with.

Deputy coroner Katrina Romanovski has a secret, too. She hunts and kills paranormal beings like Owen. At least she did. When she rescues Owen from an attack by a werebear she is thrust back into the world she thought she’d left. Determined to find out what Owen knows about the bear, she begins a relationship meant to collect information. What she gets is something quite different love with a man she suspects of murder. Can she reconcile his deception and murderous revenge spree and find a way to redeem him? Or will she condemn him for the same things she has done and walk away from love?

Book four of The Turning Stone Chronicles titled “The Mercenary & the Shifters” available on Amazon.
A desperate call from an ex-military buddy lands a mercenary soldier in the middle of a double kidnapping, caught in an ancient shape shifter war, and ensnared between two female shape shifters after the same thing … him.

Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to the husband and wife co-authors whose pen name is C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s while co-authoring a number of dramas, six which have been produced in Ohio, where they live. Their interactive Christmas production had five seasonal runs in their hometown and has been sold in Virginia, California, and Ohio. As high school sweethearts, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after. Which is why they write it!

The first four books of their paranormal romance series entitled
The Turning Stone Chronicles Series page are available on Amazon. Their standalone novella, Can’t Stop The Music, is in the Soul Mate Tree collection with twelve other authors from various genres.

When they aren’t collaborating on a book, they enjoy reading; singing; theatre and drama; traveling; remodeling houses (Donald has remodeled something in every home they’ve owned); and antiquing. Catherine, who loves gardening, has recently drawn Donald into her world as a day laborer. Catherine is an award-winning gardener — you can see some of her garden on their website.

They are looking forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.

You can see excerpts of their books, connect with, and follow C.D. Hersh at:



Amazon Author Page



Add A Comment

Leave a Reply

By submitting this comment you consent to having this website store your name, email, IP address, and website if provided.