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Arts/Books Literary Snapshot

Nicole Chvatal

Who: Cheryl Holt

Residence: Seaside, Oregon

What: "THE WAY OF THE HEART" (Zebra Books, $4.99 paperback, 379 pages), a historical romance novel, is Holt's first book. Her work also appears in the romance anthology "BE MY VALENTINE" (Zebra Books, $5.99 paperback, 384 pages).

Background: Holt grew up in the Dakotas and went to law school at the University of Wyoming. She practiced law in Colorado but doesn't practice anymore. Holt is married and has two young children.

"Big surprise! I want to write women's fiction, and every bit of women's fiction has a romance in it," she said. She began reading as many romance books as possible and soon realized she could write them, too.

Jackpot! After many years of trying, Zebra Books bought four of her books in one year. "MY ONLY LOVE," another historical romance, is due out in April. "MOUNTAIN DREAMS," a contemporary romance, is due out in November.

In the future: Holt currently has five manuscripts circulation in New York. She is writing all the time, mostly when her children are in school or sleeping.

"I'm a mom, I write when I can.... I don't sit at my computer and daydream about what I'm going to say," she said. "I just have to get it done. I don't have a lot of time to ponder the great void. In fact, for the screen saver, I have it set on five minutes, and if it clicks back on, if I've been sitting there five minutes, and I haven't typed anything, I go do something else."

Appearing at: Holt signs copies of her books, 1 p.m. Saturday, Waldenbooks, Clackamas Town Center, 12000 S.E. 82nd Ave., and 2 p.m. Feb. 13, Barnes & Noble Clackamas, 9078 S.E. Sunnyside Road.