Welcome, Guest Blogger, Lynn Cahoon

25 Jun

Write What You Know.

We’ve all heard the advice.  Write the book of your heart.  Write what you know. Research is your friend.

But what’s a girl to do when her ‘life’ is boring and predictable.  I grew up on a small farm south of Nampa. I attended school and graduated with a class of 63 others. All of us intent on one thing, getting out of the small town we lived in as soon as possible and finding somewhere to live where things happen.  And so I did.  First I moved to Boise and attended college.  (Go Big Blue!)

When I graduated, I worked for the state agency who gives away money in the form of food stamps and welfare benefits.  I had a child, lost one, and gave up on a marriage after almost twenty years of dysfunction.

Then, my new husband and I moved 1600 miles away from the place I’d called home for forty years.  Less than a year after the move, I got the diagnosis of breast cancer from a routine mammogram.  I spent a year fighting the disease and the complications from treatment.

I’d been writing for about six years.  Taking workshops in fiction.  Trying to find the subject that was entertaining, yet close to my experiences.

Still, I felt ordinary. I was Betty to Archie’s Veronica.

I started writing a book about a woman I wanted to be.  Then I wrote a second book, focusing on a heroine dreaming of owning an organic farm who falls in love with the man whose corporate seed company is trying to buy the farm out from under her.  (That manuscript is out under consideration.) And then I started a story about a tilapia farm at a hot springs spa – melding two real locations – one on the way up to Atlanta (a small mining community) and Riggins, known for their first weekend in May rodeo.

After several rough drafts, Trouble with Tilapia became The Bull Rider’s Brother (which was just released in June from Crimson Romance.)

I’d found what was special about my life.  The funny thing, it was there all along.  It’s the sights, and customs, and smells of growing up on a small farm.  The stories from attending school where Wranglers and boots were appropriate wear and F-150’s were the majority of trucks in the parking lot.

Idaho is a special place.  I know this fact now because I live next to the Mississippi river outside St. Louis. I let my stories tell the world about the special wonder that is Idaho.  And sometimes my characters fight the fights I wanted to win and wound up losing.

So, what makes your stories special?  What flavor do you add? And tell me an Idaho story, please.  I’m a little homesick.  🙂

Growing up in the middle of cowboy country, Lynn Cahoon was destined to fall in love with a tall, cool glass of water.  Now, she enjoys writing about small town America, the cowboys who ride the range, and the women who love them. Contact her at her website –


Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Idaho, writing, writing craft



14 responses to “Welcome, Guest Blogger, Lynn Cahoon

  1. mjeanpike

    June 25, 2012 at 5:19 AM

    I enjoyed this, Lynn. Your life sounds anything but ordinary to me, and God bless you for your courage. It’s the miracle of writing that even everyday, ordinary places become extrordinary when airbrushed by a writer’s imagination. Your novel sounds lovely. Wish I could tell you an Idaho story, but alas, I am a New Yorker :)..

    • lynncahoon

      June 25, 2012 at 7:24 AM

      I love NY too! I went there as a kid off the farm summer between junior/senior year and fell in love. Last summer, went back to NYC for RWA and had such a good time.

      Thanks for stopping in.

  2. Liz Fredericks

    June 25, 2012 at 5:32 AM

    Thank you for blogging with GSW, Lynn! “And sometimes my characters fight the fights I wanted to win and wound up losing.” I love the rhythm of your prose. In terms of Idaho stories . . . hmmm, I’m a native of the state, though I swore, as a teen, I’d never live here. How ’bout (and idahoism) in lieu of a story, I give you some images: ‘goat-ropers’, pheasant hunting, gunracks in the back of old pickups in the school parking lot, Karcher Mall, 4th grade Idaho history, parades on the 4th of July, American Legion Halls . . . oh and how could I neglect the infamous ‘blue turf’ 😉

    • lynncahoon

      June 25, 2012 at 7:26 AM

      “goat ropers’ LOL I so haven’t heard that term in for-ever! Ha. And I can sing the state song still! Karcher Mall was my high school hang out!

  3. Janis

    June 25, 2012 at 5:35 AM

    My grandparents owned an Appaloosa horse ranch in Ola, Idaho. When we went up to stay with them, we’d help feed the horses and one of the best times was going to the Grange for dancing. I learned the polka there. Great Idaho times.

    Thanks for being with us on Gem State Writers.

  4. lynncahoon

    June 25, 2012 at 7:27 AM

    Janis, I’ve been to Ola! My brother worked at a ranch up there. Never been to a Grange, except for a dart tourneyment.

    Thanks for having me. I have to say I was so excited when Clarissa invited me.

  5. Peggy Staggs

    June 25, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    Thanks for blogging with us. It’s amazing how ordinary we see our lives and how extraordinary others see them. I love the advice of writing the person you want to be.

    • lynncahoon

      June 25, 2012 at 9:45 AM

      Peggy – thanks for checking in. I still love that first book, even though it might turn into a trunk book. When I was walking in the Race for the Cure Saturday, I brainstormed a new scene to add some word count. I guess a story’s never done until you sell the puppy. LOL

  6. Lynn Mapp

    June 25, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Thank you for blogging with us today. I just came home from a weekend in McCall. Driving through the mountains, I sighed. Idaho is a beautiful place to live.

  7. lynncahoon

    June 25, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Hi Lynn! The McCall area is so pretty – We so miss camping.

  8. marsharwest

    June 25, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Lynn, you don’t sound ordinary to me, but very brave. I’m sorry I can’t help connect you to your Idaho roots. All I know about the state is what I’ve learned here at GSW. LOL Great book cover. Wish you well with the sales. I’ll be picking it up.

  9. lynncahoon

    June 25, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Thanks Marsha – The comments so far have brightened my day. I do hope you love The Bull Rider’s Brother!

  10. stephaniebergets

    June 25, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Remember the Snake River Stampede at the old wooden arena and the Vale 4th of July rodeo? Thanks for the memories.

  11. lynncahoon

    June 25, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Stephanie – The Stampede used to have a rodeo parade every night of the rodeo. My sister lived on the parade route so we got to go sit in her yard and watch all the horse clubs. I haven’t been to the Vale 4th of July rodeo – 😦


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