The Road Between Two Skies

“I have two names…Brenniss and Maggie…”

Because of a bizarre abduction, Brenniss’ promising future is shattered. Her memory loss requires rediscovery of herself as Maggie in an unfamiliar world. She recalls only pieces of who she was embedded in tragic events, while new friends support her self-acceptance as the survivor she is. Only by saying goodbye can reconcile her past and present.


Linda, congratulations on your debut novel, The Road Between Two Skies. Tell us what inspired you to write this story.

This book flowed out of me once I wrote “I have two names…Brenniss and Maggie.” I’ve been fascinated with persons who disappear from a normal life and relationships, only to be discovered months or years later, with no recall of this previous life, living an equally “normal” life with perhaps a new spouse and different job. I wanted to present a story of resilience, of survival and the insight to discover that new path.

What was your experience in writing this book? Was it a difficult subject to write about?

I was compelled by the characters and how they interacted, as well as reacted, to the circumstances of the story. How would a widower respond to an unknown woman who had been battered: a man who watched his wife die, now watching a woman fighting to live? How does a sheriff manage an investigation of a crime of which he has few clues and fewer resources? How does Brenniss/Maggie make sense of her situation with no memory to cue her?

I incorporated my own professional knowledge as a Speech/Language Pathologist: memory loss, language, sentence structure, concepts, and verbal expression. 

Your characters are so well-drawn. How did they develop? Did you have them formed in your mind before you started, or did they grow on their own as you wrote?

I pictured each character and their reactions in various settings as I “cooked” the ideas, months before I set pen to paper. They continued to add layers to their personalities as I rewrote portions, as well. I figured if I didn’t believe the characters, a reader wouldn’t either.

Tell us a bit about your writing process—do you do a lot of research? Are you an outliner or a “pantser”?

I’m afraid I’m a “pantser,” getting the story line down, first, then developing the characters and dialogue. But as I needed believable details, I did do extensive research. I use outlines, but more for facts. To me, an outline isn’t dynamic enough for something like a novel. The story lines may change or modify from the original outline.

Do you have a time set aside for writing? Did you do a lot of rewriting on this book? When I write more spontaneously, I get so absorbed in the characters and dialogue, 4, maybe 6 hours pass, and I don’t realize it. I still need to revise, but I have a more intense awareness of the characters when I return to the chapters.

What is your writing background? I did my share of writing bad poetry in junior high and high school; I wrote songs from high school to the present day (I wrote a song which the fictional Bonnie Meacham sings which is imbedded in The Road Between Two Skies). I even wrote a musical. It seems that writing was for my own expression. But my first real success was getting a poem published in a publication in Spokane, WA, then a local poetry contest; I considered that luck more than talent. But this book, started as a hobby, was something I became increasingly serious about. That led me to take the plunge toward its publication.

What would you say the theme or “take away” is from the book? We all have difficult losses to face: losing a pet, a job, a spouse, a child, your grandmother’s locket, a home. Each loss requires us to lose a part of ourselves. To define ourselves again we need to create a more encompassing identity. That journey is what Brenniss/Maggie is about. The only way she heals is by accepting the changes in her as her new foundation. Defining ourselves only by our defeats doesn’t allow us to grow.

What was your experience in finding a publisher for your book? For about 6 years, I sat on my duff and talked myself out of ever doing anything with this book because I felt hindered by my own skill level and the lack of an agent in a small town or rural area. Previously cautious about self-publishing, I started reading encouraging information about reliable self-publishing/hybrid publishing companies. Atmosphere Press was endorsed by Writers Digest, so I contacted them for an interview and within a few weeks, I had a contract and started the process. Atmosphere was terrific to work with due to their dynamic and knowledgeable staff. They were with me through the whole rewrite process, and now in support of my marketing.

Is there a specific part of the writing process that you find to be the easiest or most difficult for you? Everybody gets a writing block and mine usually occur about ¾ of the way through the book. I know how I want the story to end, but I can’t seem to connect where I am to that end. So, I played a little with point of view. It broke my block, because I could see a larger picture that didn’t repeat former information. The most difficult part of writing for me has been to believe in myself.

Where can we find your book? Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble and, of course on my website:

What is next? Many have asked if I have a sequel in mind for The Road Between Two Skies and I don’t. I felt I told the story I wanted to tell in that book, but it is flattering to me that the characters were realistic enough that people want more about them.

My next book is Discovering the Grain. Izzy Stark is on a mission to fix up the house her late husband Dave inherited from his favorite uncle. She needs to heal from her husband’s death from an IED explosion just weeks before his discharge from the Army, as much as the house needs repair.

Links to social media: My website: where you will find the first 27 pages of the book as a sample, where you can order the book, contact me or write those valuable reviews that entice future readers. Also: for connections to other readers who have read my book and where you can also write your own review.


Linda Fifer grew up in Ohio surrounded by musicians and writers. She graduated from Kent State University with BS and MA degrees in Speech/Language Pathology, although originally started in theatre. She moved west to Montana and has spent several years in north Idaho. She has written a musical, songs and poems, been published locally in newspapers and more recently in Spokane Writes. Now retired after a 44-year career in Speech Pathology, she is inspired to create uplifting stories involving women who discover their strengths despite demanding challenges. Living in the west with her husband and two dogs, Linda is inspired by the nature surrounding her.

Published in: on March 17, 2023 at 6:00 am  Comments (1)  
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Captured Secrets:

At some point, we have to release the secrets that keep us captive

Carmen Peone is debuting her new Christian Romance series this week, with Captive Secrets. Welcome to my blog, Carmen!

I want to thank Heidi for hosting me today!

Why do you write, what is it that makes you do it?

I write because I enjoy telling clean romance stories with a purpose. Most of all, I love the research aspect of writing: learning new ways of life, meeting new people, and experiencing new things. It’s such a fun and rewarding process.

What is your writing process?

I start with Susan Mae Warren’s SEQ or Story Equation. This helps me find the character’s goals, flaws, superpower, moral center, wound, greatest dream, dark moment story, lies, and competing values. This teaches me the heart of the characters. From here, I go to SMW’s LINDY HOP, a light plot of the main story elements, including romance. Writing is as smooth as a lake’s surface during calm early morning hours when all these key factors are in place.

Is there a specific part of the writing process that you find to be the easiest or most difficult for you?

Coming up with obstacles the character must overcome can be hard. Writers don’t always like to see our main characters get hurt in any way, but we have to for our reader’s sake. Who wants to read safe, boring books? Not me.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer, and how did you cope with or overcome that challenge?

My greatest challenge was to believe I was good enough. I went to college and received an abnormal psych degree, not an English, journalism, or creative writing degree like most of my fellow writers. I’ve been completely self-taught by taking classes, studying books on craft, reading the kinds of books I’d like to write, and going to conferences.

Many of your books have a Native American theme. How much of your experiences play into your stories?

The reason most of my books include Native Americans is because I’m married to a Colville Tribal member, have a full-blooded mother-in-law, and reside on the Colville reservation in northeast Washington state. My kids and grands are also enrolled members. Living on the rez has given me a wealth of experiences. When I coordinated the after-school program, we brought in various elders to teach traditional ways of life. I’d also worked with an elder to learn the Salish language (specifically Arrow Lakes) and cultural traditions as well. 

Tell us a little of what Captured Secrets is about?

The book opens with Sydney and her sister sending off their folks for a much-needed vacation. But, unfortunately, they are in a fatal car accident and don’t make it to the airport. Sydney’s goal is to save the ranch from financial ruin.

Luckily, a handsome photographer lands on the ranch’s door steps the day of the accident. On a working vacation, his plans take a turn when he decides to stay and help Sydney save the ranch.

Secrets come to light, including her abusive ex-husband and the daughter she’d given up at birth. There are a lot of twists and turns in this story. But the ending is a happy one.

How did this book come about? I understand it’s based on a true incident from your family.

Captured Secrets is actually inspired by my niece’s murder. Also a Colville Tribal member, she was beaten to death by her husband fourteen years ago. So the Seven Tine Guest Ranch Romance trilogy is about three Native women who escape their abusers and find safety at the fictional guest ranch located on the reservation. They find healthy relationships with cowboys and learn what love is: gentle, caring, and healing.

Did you do a lot of research on the subject matter?

Yes, I did. I went to a ranch near the place I set the fictional ranch and interviewed a rancher, I interviewed my veterinarian for horse illnesses and medications, and I researched and talked with women who’ve been abused.

What would you say the theme or “take away” is from the book?

This is a Western Christian romance. Your previous books have been Young Adult. How did you decide to write in this genre?

These books advocate for abuse, domestic violence, and Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. My message is to Get Help! Get Out! I don’t want another woman to die at the hands of her abuser. And I don’t want a family to experience what mine has. You can find resources for abuse on my website:

I wrote my teen books for one reason: to leave a legacy of culture and faith for my kids, grandkids, and other family members. I knew I would switch genres at one point, and I knew that switch would be to romance because I love…love. I love happy-ever-afters. And I love healthy relationships.  

What is next?

Book 2 of the Seven Tine Ranch Romance series will release on Oct. 3, 2023, and book 3 will release on March 6, 2024. I’m currently working on a trilogy about rodeo queens and rodeo cowboys. This will be a fun change because there were many tears while writing this current series.

I relived the images of my niece’s battered body, the week in the hospital before they took her off life-support, and the trial.

Though it was worth writing this trilogy, I’m ready for something fun and spunky. I love the western lifestyle and have/show/compete on my horses. Well, I don’t do much competing anymore, but I still ride all the time. My husband and I have rodeoed (we met on a college rodeo team) so this is a natural fit for my writing.

How many books do you have published?

I have twelve books published, including three workbooks that accompany my teen books and a “how to write fiction” workbook for teens.

Where can we find your books?

You can find these books anywhere books are sold or on my website: You can also sign up for my newsletter. By doing so, you will get by novella for free: Gentling the Cowboy. Sign up here:

Links to social media:

Website and Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | BookBub


Carmen Peone is an award-winning author of Young Adult and Contemporary Western Romantic Suspense and lives with her husband in Northeast Washington and on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation.

She had worked with a Tribal Elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes Language and various cultural traditions, which led to her writing career.

With the love of history and the western woman’s lifestyle, she weaves threads of healing, hope, and horses into her stories. With a thread of romance.

Published in: on March 10, 2023 at 7:00 am  Comments (6)  
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