Editor Ned Simon came to Oakdale from New York City looking for a new Amber D'Amour. Since the current author under that pen name was retiring. Ned needed a replacement and was pleasantly surprised when another one of his authors, Seth Snyder, showed Ned his mother's manuscript. Impressed, Ned went to the Snyder farm to solicit Emma to write romance novels for his company. Not seeing herself as a novelist, merely a farmwoman, Emma required a lot of handholding and Ned paid frequent visits to her farm in Luther's Corner. Ned and Emma formed an easy friendship that over the course of a few months blossomed. As their feelings turned romantic, Seth warned Emma that Ned was a married man. Ned admitted it but emphasized that it was in name only: he and his wife were together solely for the benefit of their mentally unbalanced daughter, Debbie. Emma understood and soon the pair became lovers.
Meanwhile Debbie, thanks to new medication, had been making a vast improvement and was finally released from the mental institution and sent home. Optimistic about Debbie's recovery, Ned decided the time was right to end his marriage. After asking Emma to marry him, Ned brought Debbie to the farm to meet the Snyders. Unfortunately, this would be a fatal mistake. At the farm, Debbie competed with Rosanna Cabot for the attentions of stablehand Hutch Hutchison which worried Ned. Unable to fully get Hutch's mind off Rosanna, Debbie fell prey to the charms of Linc Lafferty. Unfortunately, after seducing her, Linc discarded her. Devastated, Debbie had a relapse and was institutionalized again. Not long after, Linc was found dead from a gunshot wound and suspicion fell on Connor Walsh. Meanwhile, Ned seemed to be under stress and unexpectedly died of a cerebral hemorrhage. Immediately after, a letter was delivered to the Oakdale PD telling them that he had murdered Linc over Lincís treatment of his daughter.