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Debbie's Blog Season 1, Episode 1 - Pilot

Debbie Macomber's Blog
Debbie's Blog Season 1, Episode 1 - Pilot

I was born and raised in a small town. For the first seventeen years of my life I lived in Yakima, Washington. My husband Wayne spent his youth in Colville, Washington, whose claim to fame was that the city had the only stoplight in the entire county. We chose to raise our family in Port Orchard, Washington, with a population of 3,000. That number has nearly tripled in the last twenty years.
   
When I decided to write a new series, I chose to place Cedar Cove in Port Orchard. First off, there's no place more beautiful than the Puget Sound area when the sun shines. What the song says is true: The bluest skies you've ever seen are in Seattle. In addition, Port Orchard (Cedar Cove) is the quintessential Puget Sound community, highlighting life in a small town at its best.

Setting an ongoing series in a familiar setting is extremely helpful to the writer in a variety of ways. For sure I would be able to remember exactly where I put the library, and the courthouse and the restaurants because they are actually there!

And yes, there really is an annual Sea Gull Calling event in Port Orchard. In fact, several years back the winner was on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. As you can imagine, our little town was extremely proud.

Some of you might have recognized our son, Ted Macomber, who was part of the movie. He was one of the contestants (the tall, handsome one!) in the pilot, wearing the lavender shirt and the feather boa. This was his first speaking role--that of a bird!

Seeing this series of books come to life on the screen adds another layer to the characters and their stories. Viewers are in for a real treat, so welcome to Cedar Cove. You're bound to feel a warm welcome.

Debbie's Blog Season 1, Episode 2 - A House Divided

You've been introduced to Judge Olivia, Jack Griffith and the other major characters in Cedar Cove in the two-hour pilot movie. Aren't the actors wonderful! I was able to visit the set three times during the filming and those visits were some of the highlights of my year. Andie is absolutely terrific, isn't she? And isn't Dylan, who plays Jack, drop dead gorgeous? When writing these stories I don't have any particular actor in my mind. Casting is a real talent and when I learned that Andie had been cast as Olivia, my heart wanted to sing. She's perfect, and I'm so very excited and pleased to see how well she's fit into the role.

In this first episode, she takes on another difficult case--one that many of you may realize did not come from any of the books. This is a good time to let you know that our hope is that the Cedar Cove series will run for many years to come and that means storylines will need to be developed that are written in the “spirit” of the series. This storyline revolves around Warren (Isn't Brennen fabulous in this role!!) and his desire to tear down the lighthouse. My goodness, what a great plotline; what a great idea and poor Olivia is stuck in the middle; caught between the law and her own desire to save the lighthouse. And while it might not be part of the books, I sure I wish I'd thought of it.

Debbie's Blog Season 1, Episode 3 - Reunion

As the series develops and we come to know Olivia and Jack better, we're introduced to their children.

My family recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend with the two actors who portray Seth and Justine. Corey Sevier, who plays the role of Seth, along with Justine (Sarah Smyth) were in Port Orchard. Corey (Seth) played in a charity baseball event with several of the professional football players from the Seattle Seahawks along with my son, Ted, who was also on the team. Both Corey and Ted did a great job and had their own cheering section.

It was a pleasure to get to know these two fine actors and to be able to give them a bit of the back story from the books regarding their characters. Ted and my daughter Adele gave them a tour of the town and showed them key locations. You'll be seeing lots more of Seth and Justine in upcoming episodes, so keep your eye on them.

Debbie's Blog Season 1, Episode 4 - Suspicious Minds

I've heard it said that life often imitates fiction. This certainly proved to be true while I wrote the Cedar Cove book series. Three specific fictional events I created as plot points actually happened, either right before the books were published or a few weeks later.

I'll tell you about the one that relates to this episode, the third in the series. It involves the man who checked into the Thyme & Tide, Bob and Peggy Beldon's B&B, and died sometime during the night. Sure enough just a few months after the book was published a man checked into one of our local inns and in the morning was discovered . . . dead. Is that spooky or what? I'd tell you a couple of other incidents but I'd be giving away future plotlines and that's something I wouldn't want to do. As Mark Twain, one of my favorite authors, wisely advised, "Keep them laughing, keep them crying, keep them waiting." And so, my dear friends, you must wait.

Debbie's Blog Season 1, Episode 5 - For the Sake of the Children

Judge Olivia Lockhart is one of my most endearing characters. She came to life the moment she stepped onto the page of the very first book in the series, 16 Lighthouse Road. When I learned that Andie MacDowell had agreed to play Olivia in the Hallmark channel series, you would have thought I was on a pogo stick, I was that excited. Andie is everything I could have hoped for in an actor portraying Olivia: smart, gracious, wise . . . I could go on. By now, as you've watched the episodes, you no doubt have a clear picture of what I mean.

When Rosie and Zach come before her, she isn't so quick to grant the divorce--remember what happened with the young couple in the pilot--she wasn't quick to grant that divorce either, as you'll remember. She wanted both couples to step back and reconsider, communicate. In the case of Rosie and Zack, when that didn't work, she was forced to move forward with their petition, but her decision shocked them both. I have to admire a judge who looks at the overall picture of the family and makes a decision on what would be best for the children. Can't you just imagine what's about to happen . . .

Debbie's Blog Season 1, Episode 6 - Free Spirits

Ever since my husband, an electrician, worked up on the North Slope, we've had an on-going love affair with the state of Alaska. I can vividly remember him phoning me from Fairbanks one night and then asked me to just listen as he held out the phone.

Listen? To what?

Then I did hear something, a crackling sound and it didn't seem as though it was due to the telephone line. That noise, Wayne explained, was the Northern Lights. If one is far enough north, you can actually hear the Aurora Borealis. The colors are spectacular, waves of purple and dark teal.

In this episode, "Free Spirits," Justine heads off to Alaska to find Seth and has grand adventures of her own. Whenever possible I look for ways to bring a visit to Alaska into a book series, simply because I love this state. When the tourist publications call Alaska "The Land of the Midnight Sun," they aren't kidding. Wayne and I were in Fairbanks one year for the summer solstice. We needed to prop the hotel room drapes closed in order to darken the room enough to go to sleep. Some the largest prizes for vegetables come from Alaska because of the nearly twenty-four hours of sunlight.

However, it isn't sunlight Justine is after when she travels to Alaska. She's looking for her man.

Debbie's Blog Season 1, Episode 7 - Help Wanted

 Anson is one of my favorite characters in all of the Cedar Cove series. I generally don't model characters after real people, but I did with the teenager Anson. Four mornings a week I swim with group of adults at our local pool. We share the pool with the high school students. Several years back there was a young man, a junior or senior, who momentarily caught my attention.

From watching my own two sons, I saw how this teenager struggled to prove himself, to show that he was a man. Although short and slight, he'd grown a beard. He wore a full length, gun-slinger style coat and had a billfold half out of his back jeans pocket that was attached with a chain. Right away I sensed he was the class bad boy and my writer's eye immediately picked up on him.

We never exchanged a word. I never learned his name nor did I see him talk to anyone else. Yet from one brief glimpse of this teenager, the character of Anson was born.

Anson became a romantic hero to me and a good friend to Allison Weston when she needed one most. I think you'll fall in love with him too and the rest of the cast as you view "Help Wanted."

Debbie's Blog Season 1, Episode 8 - And the Winner Is...

My husband, Wayne, doesn't like me to attend charity auctions. Don't get me wrong, he supports charities. Unfortunately, I embarrass him. I bid on everything. I can't help myself. As you might have guessed, I have a Type A personality. When I’m bidding it becomes a competition to me and I feel compelled to bid on, if not win, every single item offered. As a result we have a round Pepto-Bismol colored ceramic vase the size of a wine vat in our living room, stuffed with dried flowers. I won an original art piece too--a lovely rendition of a sailboat. Wayne claimed it's a cloud formation but I definitely see a sailboat. And I wouldn't want to forget the sky diving lessons. (I bet you think I'm making this up!)

I would love to attend a Bachelor Auction but Wayne won't hear of it. Husbands can be such drags sometimes. Thankfully, I have a creative imagination and I had great fun creating a bachelor auction for Olivia, Grace, Maryellen and others. It's almost as much fun as being there myself. Being a writer certainly is a plus when it comes to these sorts of events. It's easy to picture myself in the audience as Olivia and Grace find a way to win the men of their dreams—but there could be the chance they'll be outbid by some strange Type A woman who thinks of the event as a big competition she simply must win.

Debbie's Blog Season 1, Episode 9 - Old Flames - New Sparks

We all seem to have an 'old flame' in our lives, don't we? A few years back my husband happened upon one of his former girlfriends. He'd driven to his hometown for his high school reunion. For one reason or another I wasn't able to travel with him. We planned for me to fly in a day later and Wayne would pick me up at the airport. Before I arrived, my husband called to say he'd run into his high school heartthrob--let's call her Bambi--and the two had decided to meet for lunch for old times' sake.

"Just the two of you?" I asked. As you might have guessed, I wasn't keen on this idea. Bambi was single and Wayne wasn't.

"I suppose my brother could come with me."

"Good idea," I said in a way that couldn't be misconstrued.

To shorten this tale, let me say that Wayne's brother wasn't available for lunch with Wayne and Bambi. Not only were the two of them dining alone, Wayne turned off his cell phone so I was unable to reach him for the entire afternoon.

Generally I'm not the jealous sort, but I didn't have a good feeling about Wayne and his high school sweetheart. In fact, I stewed the entire flight. All I can say is that it's a good thing Wayne was at the airport to meet me. He took one look at me and said, "Oh Honey, I'm so glad I married you."

As he should be! He went on to tell me that while it was good to catch up with his former sweetheart, the flame had long since burned out.

I can understand the way Jack must feel when Stan suddenly comes into the picture. Old flames can feel downright threatening.

Debbie's Blog Season 1, Episode 10 - Conflicts of Interest

My office walls are filled with various pieces of artwork that I've collected through the years. I have a small collection of author's autographs from Charles Dickens to Ernest Hemingway. There's an award-winning photograph of buffalo in a snow storm from when I wrote a short series that took place in North Dakota. However, one of my most favorite paintings is a reproduction from a well known artist who's known for hiding things inside of her artwork.

If you look at the painting long enough you're able to see a variety of items cleverly disguised within the piece that are in plain view but yet are an integral part of the painting. The hidden object was there all along but it took time for me to look past the obvious and find it. Sort of not seeing the forest for all the trees. This painting is a good representation of what I like to do as an author.

The storylines with this episode titled "Conflicts of Interest" is a good example of that. With Olivia and Jack, Justine and Seth, and Maryellen and John, there's a mixture of what's seen and what's unseen. What's in plain sight and what is perceived. It looks all so bleak at the moment, but don't lose heart... there's more story to come.

Debbie's Blog Season 1, Episode 11 - Stormfront

We get some mighty big storms in the Pacific Northwest. Thunder, lightning and rainfall that would do Noah proud. Thankfully, these storms are the exception and fairly uncommon. When they happen we're all reminded to be grateful for the sunshine.

Storms come into our lives as well and we aren't likely to escape them, either. Disagreements, misunderstandings, conflicts, betrayals and heartache. No one is immune. Certainly, I've lived long enough to experience my fair share. Nothing is wasted in a writer's life and so, my friends, you'll need to forgive me for making my characters suffer.

At a recent press interview I was asked to describe the Cedar Cove series. I explained that Cedar Cove is a slice of life, of real life. While there are days when we can laugh and chase butterflies in the sunshine, there are other days we tremble as the winds of circumstance and consequence batter us until we're convinced all is lost. If we are fortunate enough to find shelter we'll survive. As it stands now Olivia and Jack, Grace and Cliff, Maryellen and John, Justine and Seth, are all left standing in the midst of the storm...

But wait...there's more to come.

Stay tuned.

Debbie's Blog Season 1, Episode 12 - A New Life

Anyone who knows me will testify how much I love the holiday season. The Thanksgiving turkey is still in the oven when I start the decorating process. While my family is setting the dinning room table for Thanksgiving dinner, I'm clearing off the top of the piano and fireplace mantle to make room for the Nativity sets, of which I have dozens. Yup, I'm a Christmas kind of gal.

And it doesn't stop with the decorating. (Who else do you know who set up five--yes, count them, five--Christmas trees. There's one for every family--all the grandkids know which tree belongs to their family--plus an extra big one for Wayne and me.) Over the years we've developed a number of family traditions as well.

What makes the holidays special to me is the opportunity to spend extra time with family, especially our grandchildren. I don't mean to brag--well actually, I do. Wayne and I are gifted with the most incredibly talented grandchildren in the universe. I admit other grandparents probably feel the same way about their grandchildren too.

This episode is especially poignant because it appears that Jack and Olivia are about to spend the holidays apart, lonely and sad. A new life might have sounded like a good idea when Jack decided to take that position back in Philly, but at what cost? Sometimes it takes being away to really appreciate what we have right at home.

Debbie's Blog Season 1, Episode 13 - Homecoming

The title of the episode resonated with me. As a traveler, I’m always eager to experience new places and meet new people. It’s exciting to travel. This year alone I’ve been to New York, Santa Clara, Victoria BC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Nashville, Minneapolis, Winston-Salem, Walla Walla (yes, it’s a real place and they produce fabulous wines there, not to mention sweet onions!), London, Scotland and Iceland!

Because I travel so much, you can imagine the homecoming is special to me. Over the years I’ve developed a ritual, one that I go through so that I know I’m really home. After the exuberant greeting I receive from Bogie and a hug and kiss from Wayne, I go room to room to let myself know I’m home again. I touch those certain objects that have special meaning for me, like my parents’ picture, a knick knack I purchased on a former trip, and just feel the house around me. Naturally, I also stop in my yarn room and familiarize myself with the knitting projects waiting for me there. A unique shawl I’m hoping to make soon is calling to me! The next place I visit is the flower garden outside to see what’s blooming or if anything is ready to pick in the vegetable garden.

Coming home can take on other meanings, too, as Jack and Olivia discover when they are reunited, and as Seth and Justine are enfolded by friends and family who rally to help them clean up their charred restaurant. Perhaps the healing power of community will extend to Shelly and Eric and Maryellen and John in the future. As Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home!” Whether it be a physical place, a place in your heart, or within a community.

Debbie's Blog - Season 2, Episode 1: Letting Go, Part 1

Having been born and raised in a relatively small town, as was my husband, it was a natural extension of my life as an author to create a series that was based on small town life as I know it. Where else would one find radio bingo or a local drug store that's also a post office, a liquor store and an ice cream parlor? That's small town life as I knew it.

The Cedar Cove series was popular with readers but it was beyond my imagination to ever think it would come to life on television. Hallmark Channel made that possible. You can imagine how thrilled I was to learn when Hallmark Channel decided to use Cedar Cove as the launch pad for their first scripted television series. We were even more elated when we learned that the series had been renewed for a second season. 

Season two starts with a wonderful two-part series called "Letting Go" that involves just about everyone from the first season. Naturally, each episode features Olivia, beautifully played by Andie MacDowell. She and Dylan Neal, who plays the role of Jack, are at the very center of the series. Of course the most important character is the town of Cedar Cove itself and all the personalities that make up the community. Typically, there's a bit of drama, a dash of suspense and more than a few tugs on the heart. So, my friends, welcome back to Cedar Cove. As always, Moon's got coffee brewing. Olivia's in the courthouse and Jack's looking for that big story for the newspaper.

Debbie's Blog - Season 2, Episode 2: Letting Go, Part 2

Of all the characters I've written over the years, Judge Olivia Lockhart remains constant in my mind. When I first learned Andie MacDowell had agreed to play the part I was ecstatic. I knew she was the perfect choice and I was right. She's wise, beautiful and extremely talented.

Shortly after the filming for season two started I answered the front door to discover a delivery man with a huge floral bouquet. Wayne isn't a big flower guy so if I get flowers they're generally from my publisher. I was off base--the beautiful arrangement was from Andie. She wanted to thank me and tell me how much she enjoyed playing the role of Olivia. Her note touched me to the point tears came to my eyes. I should have been the one sending her flowers for bringing Olivia to life in such a beautiful way.

Speaking of Olivia, you're going to come to admire her even more in season two. She's wise and caring and… in love. Falling in love came as a real surprise to Olivia. After the death of her son and her divorce from Stan, she forged a new life for herself. She wasn't looking to fall in love, especially with a man like Jack, a former alcoholic with a complicated past. And the best is yet to come... stay tuned!

Debbie's Blog - Season 2, Episode 3: Relations & Relationships

I'm one of those people who tend to have long friendships. To give you an example, one of my dearest friends is Diane DeGooyer. We grew up across the street from one another in Yakima, Washington and went through 12 years of school together. We're still the best of friends. Jane Berghoff McMahon, my best friend all through high school and beyond, is another example. We still get together as often as our schedules will allow.

When it came to creating the “Cedar Cove” series it seemed a natural extension of my own life to give Olivia a lifelong friend, and so I created Grace, played beautifully by Teryl Rothery. Grace is a combination of Diane and Jane and me, filled with character and conviction, wit and charm. (I could say the charming part came from me but that would be a fib.) Like what happened to Olivia, Grace is suddenly single and who better to see her through the path ahead than her dearest friend in life, Olivia Lockhart.

As often happens, when one thing happens to one it also happens to the other. Love is in the air for Olivia and encouraged by her friend, Grace meets her match in rancher and horse breeder, Cliff Harting. But remember, the road to romance is often filled with ruts, dead ends and leaky faucets. Never fear; it will all be explained in this episode.

Debbie's Blog - Season 2, Episode 4: Old Wounds

Like most of us, I've had a number of setbacks in my life. I'm dyslexic and didn't learn to read until age 10. When I speak to writers groups I like to tell the story of the long, bumpy road I traveled on the road to publication. Getting that first book accepted by a publisher was one of the hardest accomplishments of my life. My manuscripts were rejected so fast they hit me in the back of the head on the way home from the post office.
 
At one point, after five years and four completed manuscripts, an editor told me that the best thing I could do with my manuscript was to toss it in the garbage. (Interestingly enough, that book was my first sale.) To say I was discouraged and depressed would be a gross understatement.

When I tell this story I mention that after listening to the editor I went home, laid down on the sofa and didn't move the rest of the day. Frankly, I'd never been that depressed in my life. Then I pause and say, "That was before our children were teenagers. They taught me what real depression is."

Our children are our greatest joy and our biggest challenges. When they hurt, we hurt, when they make mistakes the hardest job we have as parents is to bite our tongues instead of giving unwanted advice.

Jack has struggled with his relationship with his son and Olivia and Grace have faced challenges with their daughters, as well. As with a majority of my stories, the circumstances are taken from real life. So if these episodes feel real to you, now you know why.

Debbie's Blog - Season 2, Episode 5: Starting Over

Having been born and raised in a relatively small town, as was my husband, it was a natural extension of my life as an author to create a series that was based on small town life as I know it. Where else would one find radio bingo or a local drug store that's also a post office, a liquor store and an ice cream parlor? That's small town life as I knew it.

The Cedar Cove series was popular with readers but it was beyond my imagination to ever think it would come to life on television. Hallmark Channel made that possible. You can imagine how thrilled I was to learn when Hallmark Channel decided to use Cedar Cove as the launch pad for their first scripted television series. We were even more elated when we learned that the series had been renewed for a second season. 

Season two starts with a wonderful two-part series called "Letting Go" that involves just about everyone from the first season. Naturally, each episode features Olivia, beautifully played by Andie MacDowell. She and Dylan Neal, who plays the role of Jack, are at the very center of the series. Of course the most important character is the town of Cedar Cove itself and all the personalities that make up the community. Typically, there's a bit of drama, a dash of suspense and more than a few tugs on the heart. So, my friends, welcome back to Cedar Cove. As always, Moon's got coffee brewing. Olivia's in the courthouse and Jack's looking for that big story for the newspaper.

Debbie's Blog - Season 2, Episode 6: Trials and Tribulations

For the last thirty years Wayne and I have lived in Port Orchard, Washington, aka Cedar Cove. The town's economy is linked to the Navy shipyard across Sinclair Inlet. (No, it's not a cove and, sorry to disappoint anyone, but there isn't a lighthouse here either!). When writing the series it was a natural to include some aspect of Navy life, which is why I introduced Ian and Cecilia in the very first book and in the series pilot.

As a continuation from Episode 5, Justine isn't willing to give up on Luke but is hesitant to seek her mother's advice. We all love our mothers but there are times when it's necessary to keep them in the dark or, as in Justine's case, not tell the complete story. While Justine is working to solve Luke's problems, Ian steps forward. Men and women in the military stick together and Ian is the kind of friend (and husband) who doesn't walk away when the going gets rough.

Walking away from difficult situations has been Eric's trademark and he's out to prove he has what it takes to stick it out. Warren Saget sees a young man he can mold into just the kind of person he's looking to have in his office. With their tenuous relationship at risk once again, Jack has to do what's hardest for any parent and that's step aside and allow Eric to make his own decisions and learn from his mistakes. He can only hope the consequences won't destroy Eric.

This episode is especially gripping and I know you're going to enjoy the continuing story of Grace and the situation with her home and the unexpected solution that Cliff offers.

Olivia stands with her and encourages her dear friend through this. She's equally supportive of her daughter as Justine struggles to know how best to help Luke. And again Olivia is there to help Jack deal with this prickly situation with Eric.

These are real life situations but as a reader once wrote me, "Your stories are about real life, but real life at it's very best." That's one of the nicest compliments I've ever received.

Debbie's Blog - Season 2, Episode 7: One Day at a Time

I was born and raised in Yakima, Washington, a relatively small town, and my husband grew up in Colville, Washington, a quintessential small town. When Wayne got his driver's license, Colville had the only stop light in the entire county. After Wayne and I were married we moved to the Seattle area and our first child was born on February 17th. Had we lived in Colville, Jody would have been the first baby born that year. 

We're terribly spoiled here in Port Orchard where Wayne and I chose to settle and raise our family. We have all the advantages of living close to the big city: plays, concerts, the Seahawks (in case you haven’t guessed, we're rabid football fans) but suffer few of the big city problems such as congestion, heavy traffic, high housing costs, etc. As I said, we're spoiled.

When I plotted out the Cedar Cove series, I went with what I'm most familiar with and that's life in a small town, not unlike the one in which I was raised and where we now live. One of the steps in creating a series is to set up the town and the location of the businesses. It might seem minor, but trust me, if I make a mistake the readers notice and rightfully call me on it. And so I decided to use Port Orchard as the basis for the Cedar Cove series.

While I do enjoy life here and have spent the better part of thirty years as part of this community, there is a reason why I chose to make Port Orchard into Cedar Cove. I did it because I wouldn't have a problem remembering where everything is. Yes, there is a library with a mural and a totem pole by the marina. And yes, there is a courthouse close by and restaurants thinly disguised by small changes in their names. So now you know the real story...

Debbie's Blog - Season 2, Episode 8: Something Wicked This Way Comes

My husband and I are part of the generation who lived through the Viet Nam conflict. Wayne lost one of his best friends in a helicopter crash in a field in southeast Asia. I saw my classmates leave for that part of the world and return mentally scarred, addicted to drugs or alcohol. Friends and relatives suffered from post-dramatic mental disorders that went undiagnosed as it wasn't as readily recognized then as it is now.

Perhaps this explains why a number of my stories through the years deal with some aspect of the war and its effects on my generation and the generation that followed.

Our country owes a huge debt to our military and for the sacrifices they have made for the liberties we enjoy. I don't mean to stand on a soap box here but I want to explain why my books so often involve those in the armed forces. It is one small way I have of thanking those who are on the front lines of our freedom.

In this second half of this two part episode, we see some of the effects the Viet Nam war had on Bob and Peggy Beldon as they reach out to help Luke. This is truly powerful television and Cedar Cove at its best.

Debbie's Blog - Season 2, Episode 9: Point of No Return

One of the questions I’m asked most often has to do with the differences in story lines between the books and the television series. My readers are surprised that the storylines from the series don't follow the books more closely.

The best way I can think to explain it is to remind my readers that books and television are two completely different mediums. In the television series we have Andie and Dylan and they are the stars. Every episode must revolve around the two of them. Think of the TV series as a wheel with Andie and Dylan at the center. The different plot lines and characters are the spokes but everything moves back to the center.

My books weren't set up that way. When I wrote this series, I never dreamed or imagined that one day they would find their way onto the small screen. While Olivia is mentioned in every book and is often a key figure, she isn't the focal point of the story.

The book titles are all addresses: 16 Lighthouse Road, 204 Rosewood Lane, etc. (Notice the first number in the address denotes the number in the series--very clever don't you think?) The reason behind this is to tell the reader in advance that the story will revolve around the person living at this address.

If I compare the television series to a wheel with spokes then I would say that the book series is like pieces of a jig saw puzzle; each book in the series connects to form a picture, and hopefully one that leaves the reader with a sense of life in a small town.

Debbie's Blog - Season 2, Episode 10: Secrets & Lies

Having been born and raised in a relatively small town, as was my husband, it was a natural extension of my life as an author to create a series that was based on small town life as I know it. Where else would one find radio bingo or a local drug store that's also a post office, a liquor store and an ice cream parlor? That's small town life as I knew it.

The Cedar Cove series was popular with readers but it was beyond my imagination to ever think it would come to life on television. Hallmark Channel made that possible. You can imagine how thrilled I was to learn when Hallmark Channel decided to use Cedar Cove as the launch pad for their first scripted television series. We were even more elated when we learned that the series had been renewed for a second season. 

Season two starts with a wonderful two-part series called "Letting Go" that involves just about everyone from the first season. Naturally, each episode features Olivia, beautifully played by Andie MacDowell. She and Dylan Neal, who plays the role of Jack, are at the very center of the series. Of course the most important character is the town of Cedar Cove itself and all the personalities that make up the community. Typically, there's a bit of drama, a dash of suspense and more than a few tugs on the heart. So, my friends, welcome back to Cedar Cove. As always, Moon's got coffee brewing. Olivia's in the courthouse and Jack's looking for that big story for the newspaper.

Debbie's Blog - Season 2, Episode 11: Stand and Deliver

The title of this episode couldn’t be more appropriate.   This is the episode in which I had to stand and deliver—literally.  For the first time ever I made an appearance in any of the movies or TV series, based on my books.  Okay, to be perfectly literal, I was sitting down, which was a good thing because my knees were knocking.  Take my word for it, acting isn’t as easy as it looks. 

First off there’s the nerve factor.   My line was thirteen words long and I could have messed up that single line thirteen different ways.   The moment the camera was on me my mouth went dry and I was convinced I had the horrified look of a trapped woman staring into the eyes of a serial killer.   

Secondly, there’s the repeat factor.  I swear that same scene was shot close to twenty times.  I had no clue there were that many angles from which a camera can shoot.   That single scene took hours, and I’m not joking.  Hours.  All these people surrounded me, swarming around me like flies at a 4th of July picnic:  Directors, camera men, hair people, make-up people, watching my every move.   By the time we were finished I was exhausted and so grateful I get to be an author and not an actor.

That said, despite stage fright and everything else, I had a fabulous time.  The cast and crew are such fun to hang with.  In fact, if asked again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.   Actually I’m thinking Emmy nomination . . .

Debbie's Blog - Season 2, Episode 12: Resolutions and Revelations

We all go through dark times in our lives when it feels as if the world is crashing down on our shoulders and the light at the end of the tunnel only reveals how far we have yet to go.  Career wise, one of the darkest moments before I was published happened five years after I started writing novels.  I’d completed four manuscripts but had yet to sell a single word of fiction.  I felt I was close, especially when I had the opportunity to meet with an editor who agreed to read my proposal.   This story was one I was especially proud to have written.  In my mind if this book didn’t hit the mark then nothing I wrote ever would. 

I attended the writers’ conference convinced this was it.  My spirits were high, my expectations soared and then I met the editor.   Not only did she dislike my proposal, she looked me right in the eye and suggested the best thing for me to do with my book was to  throw it away.  This was after five years and four completed manuscripts.  I wasn’t politely tapping against publishing doors.  I was throwing the entire force of my hopes, dreams and fortitude against those locked doors and the best I could do was to toss that manuscript in the garbage? 

I might have given up then, which was something I seriously considered, but I am so very grateful I didn’t.  Interestingly enough that manuscript did eventually sell and was the very story that unlocked the door to my career. 

This is a dark moment in Olivia and Jack’s relationship, too, but they aren’t going to give up on one another and for that I believe we’re all grateful. 

Debbie's Blog - Season 3, Episode 1: Hello, Again

Welcome back to Season 3 of the Cedar Cove television series!  One of the best parts of being an Executive Producer is the opportunity to visit the set and spend time with the actors.  From what I've seen and heard, Season 3 is destined to be the best one yet.  It seems that every year gets better and better.

In reading over the scripts I can tell you there are some great episodes in the works, episodes with twists and turns and surprises.  I can hardly wait!!!

My husband Wayne and I were both born and raised in small towns.  Wayne grew up in Colville, Washington which, at that time, had the only stop light in the entire county and I was born and raised in Yakima, Washington.  For the last thirty years we've lived in Port Orchard, Washington, the city on which I based the Cedar Cove novels. 

The idea for these novels came from my readers.  Previously I'd written a couple of six-book series set in Alaska and Texas.  The mail and website notes told me readers wanted the stories to continue; truth was, I didn't either.  That was when Cedar Cove was born.  I decided to write about this new setting until all the stories were told, never dreaming that the Hallmark Channel would choose to make it their first scripted television series. 

Your favorite characters are back.  And there are a few new ones in town.  Moon's got the coffee on and Judge Olivia Lockhart is about to enter the courtroom and Jack . . . well, you'll have to wait to learn what's up with him.

For more from Debbie, be sure to visit her website!

Debbie's Blog - Season 3, Episode 2: A Helping Hand

Wayne and I were blessed with two daughters and two sons.  All four of the kids were born within a five year span which meant that they were all teenagers at the same time.  To put it mildly, the hormones bounced off the walls at our house.  To complicate matters, if the kids weren't bickering with one another they were butting heads with Wayne and me. 

Many of the plot points in the Cedar Cove books involving the relationships between Olivia and Justine and Grace and her two daughters evolved out of that time with my own young adult daughters.  This is a natural part of being a writer.  No situation or emotion is wasted; eventually it will turn up in a story, intentionally or otherwise.  Not the exact circumstances, of course, because my kids would string me up by my thumbs!  What I took from raising teenagers and young adults is the emotions, the angst and the learning curve that leads to mature decision making. 

Now our children have families of their own and their understanding of life is far more keen.  They know, as Wayne and I learned as young parents, that no one will ever love you more than your mom and dad.  To understand that, they had to have their own children.  It does my heart good as our grandchildren enter the teen years that they are giving their parents a small taste of what they gave their father and me.  It's gratifying to remember that what goes around eventually comes back. 

For more from Debbie, be sure to visit her website!

Debbie's Blog - Season 3, Episode 3: Something’s Gotta Give

Growing up my brother was a pest.  There's no other way to describe him.  For most of our years together we had a love/hate relationship common among siblings.  Actually, I should probably thank my brother for giving my publishing career its initial start.  I kept a diary back in those days, starting around the time I was in the sixth grade.  Fact is, I still write in one daily but I'm more sophisticated now and call it my journal . . . but I digress.

When I was in the eighth grade I fell in love for the first time with a boy in my class by the name of John.  Every night I wrote in my diary all the things a preteen girl can write about the boy of her dreams.  John had no idea I held any feelings for him and far be it for me to let him know.  However, my brother knew because he secretly read my diary.  If that wasn't bad enough, he, along with two of my cousins, made copies of said diary and sold them to the boys in my class.

To say I was mortified discounts my true feelings.  I was mortified, horrified and simply wanted to die.  The story does have a happy ending but again I digress.  As a junior in high school John asked me to the school prom.

When I created the character of Will, Olivia's older brother (mine was younger) I relied upon my experience with my own brother.   While handsome and urbane, Will has his flaws and as you might have guessed, so does my brother, who fortunately grew up to be a real sweetheart. 

For more from Debbie, be sure to visit her website!

Debbie's Blog - Season 3, Episode 4: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

My husband decided to marry me on the sound advice of a fortune cookie.  I'm not making this up.  Let me start from the beginning.  When Wayne asked me to marry him I didn't give him the chance to change his mind.  We set the date and within the month, I had my wedding dress picked out, mom and dad had the down payment on the rental hall, and the invitations were ordered.  Then Wayne decided to change jobs, taking a substantial cut in pay.  He wasn't sure he could make it financially and taking on the responsibility of a wife made him think twice.  With his heart on his sleeve he asked me if I'd be willing to put off the wedding for a year.

What?  Yup, it's true, Wayne got cold feet.  I told him I loved him enough to wait that year but seeing that my parents had already put out money for the wedding, he should be the one to tell them.  That was only fair, right?  Wayne agreed and we took my mom and dad out for Chinese food.  We had a wonderful meal, although I was antsy wanting to know when Wayne was going to break the news.  After dinner, the bill arrived along with fortune cookies. Wayne reached for his, read it, smiled and then handed it to me.  It read:  What's a job compared to a good marriage.  He decided to take that advice and we went through with the wedding.  He carried that fortune with him for over twenty years.  It was one of those God moments in both of our lives. 

Grace seems to have a little bit of Wayne in her as her relationship with Cliff develops.  Guess he should have taken her out for Chinese food.

For more from Debbie, be sure to visit her website!

Debbie's Blog - Season 3, Episode 6: Batter Up

My father was wonderfully athletic. At one time he was state champion lightweight boxer and played on the school's football team. Our son has my father's letterman's jacket. My mother was no slouch either. But as far as athletic talent went that gene skipped my generation. The best I can do is swim, which I do enjoy, even now.


By contrast each one of our children were school champs. Our oldest daughter was a soccer star, called Thunder Foot on the field. Jenny played soccer too, but it was the boys who excelled in sports. I drove to more practices and games than anyone can imagine. It was expected of me. I was their mother. In the boys' eyes writing books was what I did. Early in my career I was pictured in Newsweek magazine and I excitedly showed it to my oldest son, who said, "That's great mom. Are my gym shorts washed?"


All that changed when I was asked to throw out the opening pitch at the Mariner's baseball game for Stitch & Pitch night. That, my friends, got my kids' attention. My children looked upon me with real respect. I even managed to get on-field passes for them. All at once I was more than their mom; I transferred from just mom to cool mom. And I remained cool until I threw out the pitch. Yes it made it over home plate . . . but I wasn't standing on the pitcher's mound when I threw it.

Moon's team is playing against the Thyme and Tide in tonight's episode. Anyone willing to take bets on the winning team?

Debbie's Blog - Season 3, Episode 7: Runaway

As it happens, I'm making a guest appearance in this episode.  Being on the set is an experience all its own, but being part of a scene is something else entirely.  First off there's the wardrobe call.  Yes, they decided to dress me.  I had four outfits to choose from and since I'm on the short side everything was way too long.  Within a half hour the seamstress had altered the jacket sleeves and the blouse.  Yes they have a seamstress on the set--who knew?  After wardrobe I was ushered to hair and make-up.  The team there is magical.  I didn't wash my face for a week.  Once I was pampered, polished and ready for the camera, I was ushered into the courtroom to stand (actually they had me sit) before Judge Olivia Lockhart. 

I don't want to spoil the scene for you but I will tell you my first line.  One doesn't realize the time and effort it takes to memorize one's lines.  I went over them a dozen times or more before I spoke. 

Okay, are you ready for my first line?  Here it is:

"Yes." 

 Originally I was given two lines, the second even more complicated than the first.  Then the director decided I should have a third line.  The pressure was on.  Before I agreed, however, I asked if they were willing to pay me more.  They weren't.  I gave them that line gratis.  One must sacrifice for art. 

Debbie's Blog Season 3, Episode 8: The Good Fight

From as early as I can remember I've wanted to write books.  As a kid I often went to sleep making up stories in my head.  I thought this was something everyone did.  As I entered my early teen years my dreams often turned to one young man in my junior high class by the name of John Richardson.  He was in a different class than me so I didn't have any interaction with him.  Each night I wrote in my diary how cute I thought he was and how my heart longed for him.  John and I never spoke and I sincerely doubted that he even knew I existed until . . .

And here, my friends, the story turns from a lovely sweet romance into a horror show.  I have one brother, the same as Olivia, and the give and take between the two of them is reminiscent of that between my brother, Terry, and me. 
   

To explain: when I was in the eighth grade, my brother, Terry, and two of my cousins, found my diary.  They were fascinated by the way I poured my heart out about John Richardson.  So enthralled were they that they decided to share my writings with the world.  Okay, not the world, just the boys in my class.  And naturally they decided to do this for profit.  Yes, my friends, my brother and cousins made copies of my diary and sold it to the boys in my class. 
   
At the time it was by far the most horrible thing that had ever happened to me.  I was mortified, embarrassed and in fact, I ran away from home rather than face my classmates.  I was found two hours later by my dad who assured me Terry would be punished.  (He was, but not nearly enough!) 
   
This is the story of my first published sale and while this is a memory I would like to banish from my mind forever I can say, in retrospect, I'm grateful for how well it sold.  As a side note I attended one of the biggest dances of my high school years with John Richardson and he was just as dreamy as I knew he would be. 

Debbie's Blog Season 3, Episode 9: Engagements

One of the questions people ask me is how I met my husband, Wayne.  It's a great story.  I'd graduated from high school and had moved to Seattle with one of my friends, Janice Huck.  We rented a room in a house with six other girls and we all became fast friends.  One Saturday night we all had dates.  I was dressed and ready to go out with a guy I had recently started dating by the name of Gunther.  At the last minute he phoned and had to cancel due to a family emergency.  So here I sat all alone in a huge six bedroom house feeling sorry for myself.

The phone rang and it was Wayne.  He asked if Neater was available. (I don't remember her actual name.  We called her Neater because she was neater than everyone else.)  When I explained that she was out for the evening, Wayne hesitated and then asked if I was doing anything.  I told him I wasn't.  Then he wanted to know if I'd like to go to the movies with him.  Not one to turn down an opportunity, I said I would.  We saw To Sir, with Love starring Sidney Poitier.    Wayne and I hit it off and I never dated Gunther again.  In the same direction some of the romances in Cedar Cove are headed, Wayne and I became engaged and then married.  We've been going strong ever since. 

Meeting Wayne was one of those God moments in my life.  If Gunther had kept our date I wouldn't have been at the house to answer the phone.  Wayne was the one who encouraged me to follow my dream of being an author, the one who championed and supported my efforts.  And it all came about because of a cancelled date.  Sometimes I wonder whatever happened to Gunther but the thought doesn't stay in my head for long. 

Debbie's Blog Season 3, Episode 10: Getting to Know You - Part One

 

Seeing that we’re heading into the last episode for Season Three of the Cedar Cove series I thought I'd write about one of my first set visits in Season One.  I'd flown into Canada where the series was being filmed.  Feeling a bit awkward I did my best to stay out of the way and at the same time absorb everything I could.  You can't begin to imagine how many people it takes to produce a single episode.  No kidding, there must have been fifty people milling about and filled with purpose, dashing one way or another. 

On that visit, I met Andie MacDowell and Dylan Neal for the first time and was awestruck by them both.  Andie is simply beautiful, as anyone who looks at her will see, but there's a beauty to her that comes from her spirit that touches everyone on and off the screen.  Meeting the crew was certainly a highlight.  I have a great deal of respect for each one of the cast members. 

However, it was a camera man who touched my heart to the point that I got tears in my eyes.  He was busy filming a scene as I stood on the sidelines to watch.  Once the scene was over he turned and saw me and said, "I understand you're the author."

It flustered me that he even knew that.  "I am," I told him, rather proudly.  "This is magical for me.  To see my words come to life on film."

His eyes grew warm and sincere and he said, "I want to thank you.  It's because of your imagination that I have a job."

Who could have ever thought when I sat down in front of that blank computer screen to write the first book of the Cedar Cove series that it would eventually make its way onto the television screen.  Certainly not me. 

The cameraman wanted to thank me.  But the truth is he was the one who blessed me along with everyone in the Cedar Cove cast and the wonderful people at Hallmark.  I am so very grateful to be part of this production. 

           

Debbie's Blog - Season 3, Episode 12: Getting to Know You, Part 2

I expect every one of us can say they know someone who's been diagnosed with cancer.  A cousin I grew up with in Yakima, Washington (my hometown) died of leukemia. 

I was devastated when I learned David had cancer.  It was the year we both turned thirty and David was moved from our hometown medical facility to a Seattle hospital.  My first trip to the hospital, located in the busy downtown area, threw me right out of my comfort zone.  It didn't help that I became lost in the huge medical complex.

For several minutes I wandered the hallways disoriented and confused.  Finally I stopped a doctor and asked how to get from where I was to where I needed to go.

"It's easy," he said, "just go all the way down this hallway, take the first right, go to the end and walk through the doors marked Absolutely No Admittance." 

I laughed, followed his instructions, and was soon exactly where I needed to be. 

This is a story I often tell at writers conferences.  It was that summer after David died that I made the decision to be a writer.  I knew I could no longer stuff my dreams into the future with a long list of excuses and justifications. 
And like that doctor told me, I had to be willing to walk through that door marked Absolutely No Admittance. 

This is the same door we all face when we decide to follow our dreams and pursue our passions.  I'm eternally grateful I did follow that dream and grateful that Hallmark and the Cedar Cove series is working to eradicate this disease.