Monday, January 11, 2010

Cheryl Wyatt: The Heart of Pararescue

Have you met Squirrel yet? No? Well, as her blog, Squirrel's Treehouse says, 'Skitter up, have a seat, relax while I banter'.

Squirrel is Love Inspired author, Cheryl Wyatt whom I first met online just a couple years ago while she was in her pre-pub stage. Once started, recognition came swift because she's here to tell us about her 6th book. When she emailed this post, she included a photo of herself taken at the Denver ACFW conference in Sept 09. I'm not saying her pic wasn't nice, but I like this one of her and me better. And now, I introduce to you - sweet and mischievous - Cheryl Wyatt...

 A Million Missing Facts: The Heart of Pararescue
by Cheryl Wyatt

My Wings of Refuge Series features U.S. Air Force Pararescue Jumpers, (PJs) for short. The selfless creed they live by is part of the reason they fascinated me and why I wanted to feature them in my books as a way to honor them. It is similar to the Coast Guard creed and says this:

Pararescue Creed: It is my duty as a Pararescueman to save life and to aid the injured. I will be prepared at all times to perform my assigned duties quickly and efficiently, placing these duties before personal desires and comforts. These things I do, "That Others May Live.".

The part of that creed that stood out most to me was “that others may live.” It reminded me of the verse in the Bible that talks about how,  “Greater love has no man that this, that he lay his life down for his friends.” John 15:13 NIV

PJs are rescuers. They rescue downed pilots and Special Operations military personnel in trouble. They also perform civilian rescues during natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods. They also rescue civilians in jeopardy, such as hikers stranded on Mount Hood and other dangerous places.

I was drawn to write about PJs because I have a strong sense of being rescued by God. My 6th Wings of Refuge book is out now and features PJ Vince. Each book features one man on the Pararescue team and the lady who captures his heart. I am an avid fan of journalist Michael Yon. I was thrilled to discover he recently featured PJs on his photo journals.

I get many reader letters asking for info on PJs and I’m happy to be able to provide them with Michael’s link. While it’s not a million missing facts, it will hopefully provide you with information about these brave heroes who in many ways remind me of Jesus and his willingness to give His own life in order to save ours.


ABOUT THE BOOK: A Soldier's Devotion

ISBN-10: 0373875754 Publisher: Steeple Hill (January 1, 2010)

U.S. Air Force pararescue jumper Vince Reardon was headed to a lifesaving mission. Until a too-pretty lawyer crashed her fancy car into his motorcycle—sidelining him for two weeks. Vince can barely accept Valentina Russo's heartfelt apologies. Ever since his brother was wrongly convicted—and killed in prison—Vince has lost respect for lawyers. But wait—is that Val volunteering at his refuge for underprivileged kids? If Vince isn't careful, this lady of the law might just earn his respect and his heart.


Born Valentine’s Day on a naval base, Cheryl Wyatt writes military and rescue romance. Her Steeple Hill debuts earned RT Top Picks plus #1 and #4 on eHarlequin's Top 10 Most-Blogged-About-Books, lists including NYT Bestsellers. She is a Reviewers Choice Award Nominee.



Sign up for her quarterly newsletter here.

I’d love to know what kind of career most fascinates you and why. Come on, don’t be shy! Talk away…and thanks for having me.

Anytime, friend,
Anita Mae.


  1. Welcome to Inktropolis, Cheryl!

    I happen to know that Anita Mae does truly think you're a special person and a great writer.

    Congratulations on book #6 in the series! Wow! Your work has garnered a lot of acclaim and you must have a huge following in the military. I think you're doing a wonderful thing to focus on these parajumpers. (My dad was one in WWII until he broke both ankles--he went on as an MP after that)

    Hmmm, your new heroine's name is interesting: Valentina Russo. Is she any relation to that newly contracted author from Denver?

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Cheryl. I wasn't familiar with the term PJ, so I definitely learned something today. What a great subject for a series. I can see from the guy on the cover why this profession holds so much appeal ;)

    What profession do I find fascinating? Probably medical diagnostics like on House.

    I have a question for you. Have you ever thought about turning the tables and featuring a female soldier? I'm more of a girly girl myself, but I do find their lives quite interesting, and living in a Navy area, I have several girlfriends who spent time in the military. Some of them are shockingly feminine at home. That could provide an interesting twist.


  3. Cheryl, thanks for visiting us today. I really enjoyed reading about PJs. So much so, that as soon as I get home from work I'm going to order all of your books. I can't wait to read them. I love reading books about military men and women.

  4. Good morning, everyone.

    Dina - I am very familiar with the PJ handle - I wear my striped fuzzy ones whenever I'm writing. :D

    Hey Cheryl, thanks for accepting the invitation to join us here. The one thing I thought of after I put your post up was the 'prayer warrior' side of you.

    Ladies, when you're at conference and need the touch of the Spirit, someone to pray for/with you, go see Cheryl. It doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing, she'll surround you with God's love and pray for you right there - out loud. :)

  5. Spies have always fascinated me. I'm enjoying the series Chuck, as much as you have to suspend disbelief, I do think they tried hard to give the characters some emotional depth in examining what it requires of a person to do that job, and whether or not it's worth it.

    Thanks for visiting with us today, Cheryl!

  6. Debra, thanks for coming by! Yes, I've been sneaking Seeker names into my books. Muhahahaha! I've shown up in a few of theirs too. It's fun.

    How awesome that your dad was a PJ. I respect anyone who served.

    Thanks so much for your kind words about my books. I hope they continue to honor those who serve.


  7. Hi Cheryl,
    Thanks for taking the time to visit with us today. I've never read your PJ books, but they sound great! I'm glad Anita brought you to the Inkwell. How long did it take you to do the research?

    My dad flew B-52 Bombers in WW2, but I never really knew him.

    I work full-time as a social worker who counsels nursing students. I almost went into criminology. Yep, way back, I wanted to work at Quantico. Go figure.

    I think a fascinating area these days would be border patrols. I wouldn't want to do it, but I bet they see and hear things we'd never dream of.

    What's been your biggest eye-opening experience since publishing your books?

  8. Hi Dina! My father-in-law is addicted to House. We like to dissect his character too because he's so complicated. LOL!

    I have characters in older books and some newer ideas that do feature female soldiers but I have yet to turn those in. So it's good to know that interest would be there for that.

    What a great contrast that would be, for them to be shockingly feminine at home. That would make for a wonderful, multi-layered heroine. I love that you brought it up! Thanks for stopping in and taking time to share your thoughts as well.


  9. Suzie, yay! I am thankful you're going to order my books. I hope you enjoy them. Be sure to drop me a line and let me know.

    I appreciate you stopping by.

    Everyone, I hope you all will keep the real PJs in prayer and in high regard. They really do sacrifice a LOT to keep others safe.


  10. Lisa, I love spy stories too. Ronie Kendig writes kick-butt spy stories. I hope you will check out her stuff. She has a military series about to release from Barbour that I hope everyone will read. She truly honors fallen heroes and those who serve with her writing.

    Thanks for coming by!

  11. Anita, you have me blushing over here. Thanks for your kind words. Being a published author gives me more people to pray for and prayer is my main gift I think even above writing. So yes, if you're ever at a conference and you need prayer, hunt me down and pull me aside or shoot me a prayer request by e-mail. I am always willing to pray.

    Thanks Anita for being such an encourager and for supporting my books and helping me get the word out. It's a tremendous honor to be a guestblogger here. You all are fun and warm and I feel very welcome.

    Hugs all!

  12. Hi Jill! I hope you will enjoy my books once you read them. The PJ research took literally years and included travel to a foreign country, but an entire series has come out of that. The research is ongoing for it too. But I enjoy it and love learning about obscure professions. I agree that border patrol would be an awesome career to write about. Right up my alley. LOL!

    My biggest eye-opening experience since being published was how much sales numbers really DO matter and that once you sell there is tremendous pressure to continue to sell. I guess I didn't know that rejection would still be a natural part of the process even for published authors because not many talked about it. I'm so thankful to be able to write for Harlequin Steeple Hill because they are a company that markets their authors very well. And while they do offer suggestions to us on how to market ourselves, the pressure is not overwhelming and they, I believe, try to market most of their authors equally. I love writing for them and consider it a tremendous privilege. It's hard to get the word out sometimes when you have multiple simultaneous deadlines and several books releasing in a short time span. But I feel obligated to do as much as time and money will allow because my publisher took a huge chance on me. I know with single titles, the pressure to sell a certain number of books in order to be contracted again is huge. That was a big eye opener.

    Thanks for stopping by! I've prayed for Katie many times through the years and have seen God bring you through so much as a family. He is truly faithful and in large part, I lean on Him and His wisdom with marketing stuff because it can take over your life, especially digital marketing and social networking. There have been times when I could only do so much and asked Him to just draw people to my books. He has been awesome in faithfulness in answering that prayer.


  13. Thanks, Cheryl, for sharing a wonderful insight into your story. I've been reading several non-fiction books lately that talk about the role of the Believer in the body of Christ. I appreciate how the Seeker ladies use their gifts to edifiy their sisters (and brothers) in Christ by bringing honor to Christ-glorifying character.

    Plus I appreciate how you, in particular, honor the men and women who serve in our military.

    What career fascinates me? Hmmm. I'm gonna have to give that some thought.

  14. Cheryl, thanks so much for sharing with us today. Congratulations on your new release! It sounds like a great story, and like everyone else I'm going to have to add it to my TBR list. PJs are heroes, plain and simple.

    I appreciate your honesty about marketing, sales numbers, and that side of the industry. It's important information.

    Hmm, I also have to think about careers that intrigue me. Off the top of my head, like Lisa, I'd have to say spies (and I love Chuck, Lisa! Love it!). Or any kind of job that requires deceit to achieve a larger purpose. Weighing ethical decisions like that...Hmm. Good food for thought!

    Thanks to you too Anita, for inviting Cheryl!

  15. Gina, great to see you here. Thanks for your kind words. I love the Seeker ladies. Seems like you ladies have that kind of bond here and that's great.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Thanks for that information, Cheryl. Marketing and sales numbers are daunting. I'm not published yet, but I think it's so important to educate ourselves about the publishing world and expecations.

    I covet those prayers for Katie, Cheryl, and you know we're always grateful for all the prayers we can get. Katie is changing and at 20 now maturing into a person who has dreams. She has a long way to go, but Jesus has been so awesome to us. What a journey! I have to say I was really glad to kiss the last decade good-bye. Isn't that awful?

    Can you share any thoughts about what you want to write about in the future? And typically how long does it take you to complete a book for SH from thinking it through till you write the end and send it to your editor?

    We all really appreciate your time today and wish you all the success and sales you can handle.:)

    Will you be in Indianapolis for ACFW?


  17. Susanne, you and Lisa have me wanting to watch Chuck. I'm assuming it's a TV series or something. LOL! Shows you how much I've been in a deadline cave lately. I'm not entirely sure what's on TV these days.

    Thanks for adding my book to your TBR pile. I appreciate that and hope you find it beyond worth your while.

    I'm glad you stopped by!

  18. Jill, I'd love to continue to write military heroes and others in noble careers. I just turned in an idea for a new series that will be set in the same place the Wings of Refuge series (7 or possibly 8 books total in that one so far) was set in. But this series will feature ancillary characters that we met in Wings. People like Stallings the police officer, Bailey the nurse, Cold the paramedic and relatives of the PJs. I'm awaiting a verdict as to whether Steeple Hill wants it but I hope so.

    I have several stories that I finished before I sold (around 25-30) that I haven't begun to try to market or sell. Many of those were my contest winners, so I hate not to do something with them. Most of them feature military heroes and are action-romance. So we'll see what happens with those.

    I am not typical as far as how long it takes me to complete a book. I generally take less than a week, but I don't write every day. When I'm laying down a rough draft, I have to have it come down in a matter of days or the story doesn't end up cohesive. LOL! So I do about two weeks of prepwork which includes a loose scene index, a plotstorm which for me includes knowing certain structure-providing things. That includes character GMC (Goals, Motivation and internal conflict. I don't know all of my external conflict when I start, it just happens as I go along. I do have one to three disasters mapped out though and one is normally my inciting incident or the event that begins the book.

    I get to know my characters, and I'm off and running. I take 3-8 days to write the book then about another month of layering, editing and proofreading. So all in all from seed of conception to completed novel that's in top form and ready to mail in, probably seven weeks.

    I write extremely fast though and I know the credit for that goes to God because He knows my life so well and enables me to write mind-bogglingly fast so I can and not have it interfere with family, God and church time.

    I hope to be at ACFW, unless something happens, I'll be there.

  19. Cool post!

    The book sounds awesome!

    Career that most fascinates me? anything in the art world. Artists of all shapes and sizes. I think this is what I would have been if I had 2 lives to live :)

  20. Cool post!

    The book sounds awesome!

    Career that most fascinates me? anything in the art world. Artists of all shapes and sizes. I think this is what I would have been if I had 2 lives to live :)

  21. Tabitha, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate art. Ron DiCianni is my favorite and Thomas Kinkade comes in a close second.

    I laughed about the part about if you had a second life. If there were just ONE more day in the week, huh? :-)

    Blessings on your dreams and hopes,


  22. Good reminder Tabitha. I wasn't thinking in the direction of the art world. I'm fascinated by dancers, actresses, and artists too. I have a lot of artsy characters in my books.

    I'm also fascinated by historical herbalists and midwives.


  23. Cheryl,
    I've decided that you should break into the world of car racing. There must be a story for you there somewhere if you can write that fast. That's beyond mind-boggling to me. Wow!

    You need to bottle and sell that kind of ability. TO ME! :) Okay. Now I want you to sign up to teach a class at ACFW on writing fast. I'm not kidding. Hey, and you'd be in Indianapolis. Indy 500? Probably not that time of year.

    I love it that you can write that fast. That's amazing! Remember that line from Chariots of Fire?

    I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I write I feel His pleasure.

    I just tweaked it a little bit for you. You rock, Cheryl!

  24. LOL Jill. If you only knew...

    I was almost arrested in High School for habitual drag racing. I had a fast sports car and I raced all the guys behind the High School on Wildcat Drive AND BEAT 'EM!

    Oh man...I PRAY my children make better choices than I did! LOL! When I think now about what could have happened. I break into a cold sweat and thank God I'm here.

    We used to attend races every weekend and we are involved in NASCAR ministry still. Some of the NASCAR officials have said they'd endorse my book if I'd write a faith-driven NASCAR story. We'll see! I have actually written one called Thrill of The Chase but haven't turned it in anywhere yet. Waiting for direction from God and editors. :-)

    We usually go to about 7 races a year or so. Maybe all that speed and adrenaline rubbed off on me or something. LOL!

    You are so sweet and remember that story is sometimes like a good pot roast. It tastes MUCH better and is way more satisfying slow-roasted rather than microwaved. I think God enables me to write fast out of sheer necessity. LOL.

    Chariots of Fire...thanks a bundle because now that tune is stuck in my head. Ha.

    I am actually proposing a class at ACFW in conjunction with Camy Tang and Danica Favorite. We might not get picked though but if we do, I hope to see you at the workshop! If our workshop is chosen, I will be talking about writing fast among other things.

    If not, you can always go to and find my four-session teaching on plotstorming that I did last year. I go through the process of writing a book and how to lay down massive amounts (14K AVG a day) of word count per day. It's not for everyone though. Just write like you write and that'll be the best story.


  25. Cheryl,
    Yep. God had you pegged. He must of been thinking that if he didn't reroute your speed demons you could get in big trouble. So he made you write fast instead. And for what it's worth, and when the time is right, I think you should seriously consider that NASCAR idea. It's in your blood woman! You are hysterical. Drag racing. Oh gee, I gotta go write. I'm all revved up now.

    I really hope you gals get to do the workshop. That would be fun. Save me a seat. I write like a turtle.:)
    Hugs to ya!

  26. LOL! If we get to do the workshop I'll be sure to bring crash helmets, a flame retardant suit and racing goggles. What a hoot that would be.

    Thanks Jill and everyone for making my time here fun.

    Blessings on your endeavors all!


  27. Well, if you 3 do a workshop, I'll be signing up, for sure!

    Cheryl, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy - wow! - writing schedule to spend some time with us today.

    Talk to you soon,

  28. Cheryl, what a wonderful subject matter! I hoped over the blog linked above and I cant wait to delve into the blog deeper. I'm so enjoying this. Your novel looks wonderful!

  29. I'm late to the party as usual. Thanks for visiting with us, Cheryl! I've really enjoyed your PJ books (although I haven't been able to read all of them... the TBR pile teeters!)

    As for career that fascinates me... this may sound shallow, but I'm fascinated by professional dancers. My grandmother was a dancer, so I guess it's hard-wired in my DNA. Dancers are so dedicated, so determined, they often injure themselves while performing and don't realize it until later, or they dance through the pain. And I'm amazed at what they can make their bodies do. (Obviously, I'm a "So You Think You Can Dance" fan!)

  30. T. Anne, thanks for coming by. I'm glad you liked Michael Yon's feature on PJs. He's also a hero in my opinion for bringing unbiased war coverage as he's funded by no one other than his viewers.

    Thank you for your sweet words about my book looking wonderful. I hope it meets, heck exceeds, your expectations once you read it.


  31. Jen, hey! I know all about teetering TBR piles. LOL!

    I admire dancers too.

    Thanks for dropping by, it was great to "connect" with you here. :-)

    You ladies continue to persevere and write as worship and God will grow you from aspiring to inspirations to your readers. Thank you for inviting me to this beautifully fashioned blog.



  32. Fascinating jobs: Well, teaching, of course. I'm teaching piano, now, and you just never know what's going to come off that piano bench. And, ER workers. You must see EVERYTHING! Thanks for all the great dialogue today.

  33. Hi, Mary! Thanks for coming by. LOL about the piano bench.


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