Duet-Writing on a Trilogy: Fun and Educational But Mostly Fun! By CiCi Cordelia

In just a few weeks, CiCi Cordelia—aka Char Chaffin and Cheryl Yeko—will release Book One of a series set in late-1800s Colorado. It’s our first foray into the Historical Romance genre with a sub-genre of Western Historical. We’ve been having a blast writing it.

The series, Brides of Little Creede, is a trilogy centering on the Carter family, two brothers and a sister from Ohio who find their life and love paths take them to the new state of Colorado during the height of the silver mining rush.

Danger, passion, harrowing drama . . . it all awaits them as they move West with heads full of dreams and hopes.

Book One, The Substitute Wife, introduces Harrison Carter and Retta Pierce, whose paths cross in the most poignant way.

Book Two, The Dance Hall Wife, continues the saga of Little Creede with Harrison’s older brother, Frank, and Cat Purdue, the woman he’s loved and resented in equal measure.

Book Three, The Innocent Wife, reveals younger sister Vivian Carter’s story, and her all-consuming passion for Joshua Lang, Little Creede’s lawman.

A series like this required a lot of research and both halves of CiCi jumped in with all four feet. ::grin:: But before we began research, we first had to come up with the story.

Before we did THAT, we had to learn to co-write successfully. Lucky for us, we’d already had some great experience doing the co-write thing.

Of course, it helps when you’re BFFs and your common ground centers around what you love best: writing.

We’d been friends since 2011 when we both came onboard Soul Mate Publishing, first as authors, then editors. By the time we met in person at a national romance conference, it was as if we’d known each other forever. In 2014, we wrote our first book together, Rodeo King, feeding one chapter a month into our newsletter. Once all edits were completed, we self-published in 2015.

Rodeo King went on to final in the 2016 Heart of Excellence Readers’ Choice Awards.

Not long after we released Rodeo King, we decided to write under a pen name. Choosing one was an interesting process. We wanted something that made sense for us and what we write. We discussed using our first name initials, so ‘CiCi’ was easy. ‘Cordelia’ came about because it means “heart,” and we had already set our tagline as ‘Writing From The Heart.’

We are fortunate that we get along so well, and our writing styles are similar, although we each bring different strengths to the table. As such, our writing blends together into a well-rounded story. How we work, is that one of us writes a chapter, then the other revises it and sends it back for more edits. We pass it back and forth until we’re happy with it. By this time, it’s hard to tell who started the chapter because everything merges so seamlessly. Then the other starts the next chapter, and we repeat the process.

Now, regarding how we decided on a Western Historical: it started with Cheryl’s family. Her mom and aunt told her about the meeting of Cheryl’s great-grandparents and that sparked our idea for The Substitute Wife. Funny thing, we had the name of her grandfather, but not her grandmother, so we started the story and came up with our own name, Retta, with the thought of changing it when her aunt got the name to us. When her Aunt Crystal eventually gave us the name, yes . . . wait for it . . .  Her name was Retta, with even the spelling being the same. We were blown away, and a little spooked. ::smile:: Then we decided it was a story that was meant to be written.

Before we finished initial plotting of Harrison and Retta, we knew we wanted to turn it into a series. We were having so much fun writing and researching, plus Frank Carter’s story was practically writing itself, on the back-burners of our imagination. At times we found ourselves writing Frank-scenes along with Harrison-scenes. We finally started a series bible and tossed everything and every character in there, refining it and adding to it as the series progressed. The bible is now over five pages long and we’re still adding to it.

We’d be the first to stress co-writing isn’t for everyone. Complete trust in your writing partner is vital. Checking egos at the door, another must. There’s no room for anything other than real connectivity when you are trying to create with words and ideas. Playing nice together, sharing . . . all part of the relationship, too. You’re not just sharing words but your lives. It’s difficult if not impossible to compartmentalize. Think of everything that affects your day-to-day existence, then double it. 

Communication must stay open. We found it beneficial to get together at least once a year for a personal writing retreat, then extend a few days at our yearly national writing conference for additional retreat time. And we talk daily, to brainstorm, talk Soul Mate, or just chit-chat.

We hope our readers enjoy every word we pen to the page. We both, together, and individually, put our whole hearts into writing our stories. We would never cheat our readers out of a satisfying happily-ever-after.

Brides of Little Creede has been, and we know will continue to be, a joy to write. We’d love it if you check out Book One, The Substitute Wife, due out for release on May 9.



CiCi Cordelia is the pen name for the writing team of BFFs Char Chaffin and Cheryl Yeko.

Published authors and Senior Acquiring Editors for Soul Mate Publishing, we share a love for well-written stories infused with our favorite romantic genres: paranormal, suspense, and erotica.

CiCi can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeartfeltRomance

Our editor bios can be found here: http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/editors/

Individually we can be found here:

Cheryl Yeko:

Website: http://www.cherylyeko.com/ ‘Where Love Always Wins’

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/qzsks8q

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WhereLoveAlwaysWins/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cherylyeko

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/cyeko/boards/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5406425.Cheryl_Yeko


Char Chaffin:

Website: http://char.chaffin.com ‘Falling In Love is Only the Beginning’

Website:  http://char.chaffin.com ‘Falling In Love is Only the Beginning’

Facebook: http://facebook.com/char.chaffin

Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/pvscu7w

Twitter: http://twitter.com/char_chaffin

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5337737.Char_Chaffin



About charchaffin2011

Writer and Senior Acquiring Editor
This entry was posted in Char's Thoughts, Cheryl's Corner, CiCi Cordelia, Friends, Historical Romance, Inspiration, Networking and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Duet-Writing on a Trilogy: Fun and Educational But Mostly Fun! By CiCi Cordelia

  1. Beth Carter says:

    I’m so happy you explained your process, how your pen name came about, and the series in general. Well done, you two! Best of luck.

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