Joy comes in the morning

Here’s my latest ‘work in progress,’ a wonderful true story I hope to make as a film.

Cheryl McKay (Screenwriter/Book Author)

JC TitleIt’s unusual for me as a screenwriter to come across someone’s life story that I feel so compelled to chase on my own. Normally, producers find stories, option the rights, then hire to me to help draft the scripts. Two recent movies I co-wrote were Extraordinary and Indivisible both based on true stories.  One comes out in Fall 2017 and the other in 2018. Even though I love coming up with original works of fiction, there’s just something about working on true stories. People relate to them because of that raw honesty that can come from people’s life experiences.

Marcus and Maryann Kauffman

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What has turned into the screenplay, Joy Comes, is the story that captured my heart and hasn’t let go since I started working on it.

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It’s about firefighter, Marcus Kauffman, who was shot in North Carolina during a home invasion robbery in Dec. 2013 when his…

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Indivisible: Based on a True Story

Here’s a blog about one of my upcoming films, that I co-wrote, Indivisible.

Cheryl McKay (Screenwriter/Book Author)

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As a writer, every movie that gets made is a dream come true. I believe stories have the power to change hearts and the world.

I had the extreme privilege of working on a feature film based on a true story about a U.S. Army Chaplain, Darren Turner. I got to work with David Evans, the co-writer and director of Indivisible. (He also did the movie The Grace Card.) I have a new love for movies about marriages.

From IMDB story synopsis: “Upon returning from serving in the U.S. Army, Chaplain Darren Turner faces a crisis that shatters his family and faith in God but through the help of former soldiers, they help him return to his faith and family.”

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It’s always neat to see what you envision on the page come to life. Through the cast, set design, locations etc. Movie making takes a lot of people and…

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Extraordinary, the Movie

I wanted to share about my next film, Extraordinary, since it ties to themes of marriage and family.

Cheryl McKay (Screenwriter/Book Author)

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We had a wonderful time in Lynchburg, VA visiting the set of my next movie. I co-wrote Extraordinary, which is the true story of Ultra-Marathon legend, David Horton. It was such fun to see the talented cast and crew bringing the story to life.

Scotty Curlee (producer, director, co-writer) has such great vision and innovative ideas for visuals. My husband and I learned a lot just watching him and his team work.

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David Horton is being played but Canadian actor / comedian, Leland Klassen. (We enjoyed discussing the story of my dual citizenship between US and Canada.)

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David Horton’s wife, Nancy, is being played by Shari Rigby (who we loved in the film, October Baby. I’m currently reading her riveting autobiography, Beautifully Flawed.) What a wonderful lady, inside and out.

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I was so happy Karen Abercrombie was cast in this film as Nina. I’ve written a project for…

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Stop Waiting on Hollywood To Tell Your Story

Cheryl McKay (Screenwriter/Book Author)

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If you are anything like me as a writer, you don’t like waiting to see your work come to life. It’s often a long wait between movies getting filmed. I have one movie I co-wrote that is in production right now, but it’s been years since that’s happened. I’m thankful that during those years between I get the opportunity to work in novelizations. And that’s the process where my scripts get turned into novels.

I’m so thankful I was able to get to know the talented novelist, Rene Gutteridge, after she novelized my script for The Ultimate Gift. We went on to work on Never the Bride, Greetings from the Flipside, Love’s a Stage and O Little Town of Bethany. I also novelized Song of Springhill on my own, a story I’ve been working on since the late 90s. I so appreciate having an outlet to share stories, instead of…

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Merry Christmas

Cheryl McKay (Screenwriter/Book Author)

Christmas. It’s my favorite time of year. And my favorite type of story to write involves Christmas. That’s a good thing this year since I worked on quite a few projects with Christmas themes. One was an episode of CBN’s Superbook, a Bible series for kids. I wrote what will be their 2016 Christmas episode.

The other was a script, then a novella called O Little Town of Bethany. This story is near to my heart as it captures the life of a girl who needed to figure out how to live a life worth remembering. Making memories is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. Traditions within my family drives my excitement this time of year. And the older lady in the story, Bethany, is losing her memory. I can’t imagine what I would be like to one day not remember it’s Christmas. These were…

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Love’s a Stage: a novel about making marriage last

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Today marks the release of one of two novels coming out this fall as part of my partnership with Rene Gutteridge and now Redbud press. Both are based on my screenplays. This first one is called Love’s a Stage. After I got married, I started to notice a lot of marriages around us crumbling. I wanted to explore themes of what it means to keep vows and how to make marriage last. My quirky, yet good-hearted lead character may go through great lengths (sometimes comically) to save a marriage while also learning along the way what it takes to make a marriage work and to find lasting true love.

Hope you enjoy the read and to one day bring you the feature film version:

Love’s a Stage (Hometown Romance) (KINDLE)

SYNOPSIS for Love’s a Stage:

Grad student and future marriage counselor Aly Brewster had a perfect childhood with perfect parents. Now she’s heading into her own perfect life: Finish her Master’s. Build a successful practice. Husband at twenty-six. But when her parents blindside her with the news they’re getting divorced, her perfect world shatters.

Actor Nick Armstrong has been in love with Aly since they met during freshman year. He’s happy to accept his assigned place in her Friend Zone because it lets him be close to her. But it’s been over five years—time to move on. Then the usually-unflappable Aly comes to him begging for help to save her parents’ marriage. Nick has the perfect plan: fake an engagement to each other to inspire her parents to fight to save their marriage. And who knows? It might trigger Aly’s feelings for him. But when Aly takes the ruse to the next level—planning a wedding in her parents’ backyard and hiring additional actors to play his family—enough is enough!

As the lines between acting and reality grow decidedly blurred, these two improvised fiancés must decide: are they going to finish the play…or exit stage right. Alone.

* * *

Later this fall, our other novella will be out. We participated in a book of novellas called The Boy Next Door, where all the authors wrote different love stories about falling for the boy next door. The one Rene Gutteridge and I wrote is called O Little Town of Bethany.

We’ll let ya know when it’s out.

Both projects have scripts available for production.

Here’s a sneak peek at the cover:

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Celebrating Marriage, Making Memories

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Every year, we celebrate our anniversary by taking a trip away instead of giving each other gifts. Given that we are both “quality timers” in the love language department–with gifts as a low priority–this has worked well for us. We’d rather save our resources toward focused time away with each other.

My husband edited together a video / slideshow of this year’s trip to share the beauty of California. Since we’ll be leaving the state of California soon and Highway 1 is our favorite place to visit on earth thus far, we decided to extend this particular anniversary trip to see more of it before we go.

My encouragement to those who are married is to take is take the time to celebrate milestones, like anniversaries. Take the time to build precious memories together. Never forget to have fun together or remember if you have kids that you are spouses first, parents second. One of the topics we speak about to married couples is making sure you have good memories to look back on so that if you ever hit a rough patch in your marriage, you have good memories to draw on to remind you of how it can get better. It’s kind of like with God, when we go through a dry patch where we wonder where He is, and it “seems” like He’s absent. When we have memories with God to draw back on when He was faithful to us, they can carry our faith through until we sense His presence again–if we let it.

Have you ever seen the picture within a picture idea on Pinterest, where they suggest you take a photo of yourself on each anniversary holding last year’s anniversary photo? By 50 years you’ll have yourself in the image 50x. All four of our photos so far have been from Highway 1. It’ll be an adventure to see what those pictures will be in the future as we leave here. It’s never too late to start one of these. Now, go make some great memories with your spouse.

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