Category: Filly Fun

Here Comes the Bride!

Four SeasonsNational statistics say that June is the most popular wedding month, followed by July and August, and I think it has to do with the weather and versatility. The ceremonies can be either outside or in. A lot of couples choose tropical locales which I think provide exceptional backdrops for gorgeous weddings. The only problem I had was that I picked poor guys. All we could afford was a quick trip to the JP. Short and sweet.

It doesn’t really matter though and mine carried as much meaning as the fanciest.

By the way, those statistics say that a total of $72 billion dollars are spent each year on weddings and the average budget is $20k.

The top wedding city in the world is Istanbul, Turkey with Las Vegas, Nevada coming in second.

I’ve written wedding scenes in a good many of my books and none of them were elaborate either. I think the two in my newest, The Heart of a Texas Cowboy, were the most shocking. Houston Legend never anticipates the turn of events and both leave him shaken. I won’t tell you what those are because I don’t want to ruin the story for readers who haven’t read it yet.

In To Love a Texas Ranger, Book 1 of the Men of Legend series, the wedding took place outdoors at sunset at the end of the book. Sam Legend and Sierra Hunt loved the fresh air and the beautiful Texas sky so that was perfect.

But the wedding in Book 3 – To Marry a Texas Outlaw – has them all beat. You won’t believe what happens. You’ll have to wait until November 7th to find out though.

There is also a wedding in my upcoming August re-release, Knight on the Texas Plains, between Duel McClain and Jessie Foltry. I think it may be the only one to take place in a church. But then marriage ceremonies on the American frontier were usually simple affairs and to the point. They had no time to waste.

In the book I’m writing, the wedding takes place at sunrise on the rim of a canyon and I think it’s very romantic. Tally Shannon and Clay Colby tie the knot then afterward change clothes and get to work. Someone just burned down the town.

Weddings always turn me into a blubbering mess. So, how about you? Share something about a wedding and enter a drawing for one copy from any of my books.

 

Updated: June 27, 2017 — 3:41 pm

Summer Escapes

Being a California gal, the beach and ocean take top priority with me.  I thought you might like to know about some of my favorite spots:

Cambria-This little town is nestled among Monterey pines. My favorite place to watch the sunset is on a bench that sits atop a cliff overlooking Moonstone beach.  Once, while my husband and I were sitting there enjoying a glass of wine, a bagpiper appeared and played Amazing Grace.   For a moment, I thought I was at a funeral, but I know he meant well.

 Ventura—This seaside town is only an hour away from my house, so it’s a perfect place to spend a weekend or summer day.  August is county fair time.  If you can stand the heights, the Ferris wheel offers great views of the ocean.  If you’re into antiques, Ventura is the place to go.  I found a beautiful iron gate there that had been ripped out of an old house.  It now adorns my wine cellar.  This town also has great museums, bookstores, restaurants and wineries.   You can even see Erle Stanley Gardner’s law office where he wrote the drafts for his first Perry Mason novels.  Speaking of mysteries, Ventura is where I got the inspiration for my Undercover Ladies series.

Morro Bay-The scenery is beautiful and the weather nearly always perfect. There are shops and museums to explore and of course our favorite Art in the Park event which takes place every Memorial Day weekend. It’s also fun to watch the antics of sea lions and otters, but the real attraction is the dining. 

 For a change of pace, sometimes we head for the mountains.  Our favorites include:

 Mammoth—This is mainly a ski resort, but we enjoy going there in the summer in our RV and relaxing by the lake.  The mountain air is good for the soul, and fishing and hiking is great.  Before going, you might want to make sure your health insurance is up-to-date.  My husband once fell out of a boat and hit his head, my son fell off a bicycle and I had an unpleasant encounter with a bee hive.  In case you’re wondering, Mammoth also has a great ER.

Big Bear- We once rented a cabin on the lake for a week.  It had a large wooden enclosed porch that seemed like the perfect place for the two grandbabies to play.  Big mistake; We ended up having to pull hundreds of splinters out of their little legs and hands.  On a brighter note, Big Bear has miles of bicycle paths to explore and a great night life.  They tell me the rock climbing is out of this world, but I’m too chicken to try.  The village offers some great shopping and dining.  Just watch out for those wooden porches. 

Tell us about your favorite summer get-away.

 

 

There’s a new sheriff in town and she almost always gets her man!

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Updated: June 18, 2017 — 9:21 am

A Little Cowboy Humor

It’s hot, I’m tired and madly trying to finish a book.  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some lighthearted fun and thought a little cowboy humor would do the trick.

A COWBOY AND HIS CELL PHONE

Permission for use granted by Nick at Science and Ink\http://www.lab-initio.com/

Any cowboy can carry a tune.

The trouble comes when he tries to unload it.

 

-John-Betong at Johns-Jokes.com

 

An onion can make people cry; but, there’s never been a vegetable

that can make people laugh.

 

Permission for use granted by Nick at Science and Ink\http://www.lab-initio.com/

 

When in doubt, let your horse do the thinkin’. 

 

Permission for use granted by Nick at Science and Ink\http://www.lab-initio.com/

 

Always take a good look at what you’re about to eat.
It’s not so important to know what it is, but it’s critical to know what it was.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What is your favorite way to stay cool?
 

There’s a new sheriff in town and she almost always gets her man!

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Updated: June 18, 2017 — 4:16 pm

THE MAKING OF A WESTERN SERIES and a giveaway by Charlene Sands

Most of the romantic series I’ve written are family sagas, with the stories centering around one set of family members or friends and usually, (but not always) the stories are set in the same town, territory, or city.  But the key factor is how to tie in the stories, while still making the plot easy to follow for readers who have not read the other books.  Authors often say the books are part of a series, but they can also be read as a STAND ALONE, meaning they have all the elements in the story to make for a satisfying read even if you haven’t read the other books.   It’s the task and joy for the writer to make sure the story holds up and is a cohesive enough to stand alone.

My series are usually a set of three stories, but sometimes as I’m writing, another character pops up that needs his or her to be told.  So there’s no hard and fast rule about how many books can be in a series.  If an author has a vision for six or ten or fifteen stories and the readers are invested enough and love the stories, the writing, and the setting, more the better.

 

 

What’s Fun About Writing a Series:

The Setting—once the town or ranch or territory is established, readers (and the authors) love to revisit familiar places from the earlier books.  In my Forever Texan series we often see the Bluebonnet Bakery and Wishing Wells and 2 Hope Ranch.

Taming the Texas Cowboy

The Characters—it’s fun to see the characters interact together from one story to another. Brothers, sisters, cousins, moms and dads and best friends all play a role, but the writers strive to make sure the romance between the hero and heroine is the main event in every story. The secondary characters often get their own stories later down the road.

The Theme – Often there’s an underlying theme that connects the stories.  It can something as simple as a holiday, Thanksgiving or Christmas maybe, or a special event such as a rodeo coming to town.  It can also be a wedding or a pregnancy that connects the stories.  The themes know no bounds.  I was once  part of a multi-author series about a Bachelor Auction.  I’ve also written a series centered around a winery called Napa Valley Vows, a series centered around a hotel called Suite Secrets and around a ranching family called The Slades of Sunset Ranch.

The Love–  Not between hero and heroine, because that’s a given,  but for the author.  Once I’ve established my town and the people in it and yes, even the stories I plot and plan out, I sorta fall in love with the whole idea.  These people are my friends, this town is somewhere I’d love to live and it’s the journey and the challenge to make the series click and stick, as I say.   One thing I know for certain, once the love is gone, once the writer tires of the setting or runs out of story, it’s time to move on, to be inspired once again.

I’m really proud of my new Forever Texan story set in Hope Wells, Texas.  The stories center around two cousins and their best friend.  It’s been a labor of love for me, as I started this series long ago and have finally found the right time and place to publish this trio of amazing Texans.   I’ve been lucky enough to have input in the covers, the titles and series name.  It makes this all the more special for me.

You may already know the first book in the series Taming the Texas Cowboy starring Trey and Maddie Walker, but I’m happy to say the second book in the series (Jack and Jillian’s story) is available for pre-order.  And this is the OFFICIAL COVER REVEAL for Loving the Texas Lawman.   I know, it’s a hardship looking at this guy, isn’t it?

 

 

The last thing honorable Sheriff Jack Walker needs is a blast from the past, but that’s exactly what he gets when his high school love, now sexy lingerie designer, Jillian Lane arrives on his doorstep needing his help and protection. 

Jillian is desperate to save her company, Barely There and turning to Jack Walker, the town hero, is her only option. The trouble she left behind in California has followed her home, leaving Jack no choice but to protect her. Unwittingly, Jillian’s put everything Jack has ever wanted in life at risk. 

The years have not made it easier for Jack to say no to his first love, but saying yes may threaten all he holds dear. Jack may have a solution: marriage–the temporary kind. And how can a girl from the wrong side of the tracks refuse a marriage proposal from her one-time love? 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y3MW7HJ/?tag-tulepubli-20&tag=pettpist-20

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1126172852?ean=2940157567781

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/loving-the-texas-lawman/id1224208557?mt=11

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/loving-the-texas-lawman

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06Y3MW7HJ/?tag-tulepubli-21&tag=pettpist-20

 

 

For Fun:  Take a guess at the names of my hero and heroine from FOREVER TEXAN Book 3 titled, Redeeming the Texas Rancher coming this August.  Post either number ONE, TWO OR THREE and be entered into a random drawing to win a backlist book of your choice, either print or digital from my available titles.   Random drawing winner will be posted later tonight.  Be sure to stop by again!

 

  1. Conner and Willow
  2. Tristan and Susanna
  3. Colby and Dakota

 

 

Updated: April 11, 2017 — 12:08 pm

Spring Filly Fun – And a Giveaway!!!

It’s springtime at the Junction, and it’s my favorite season of the year. The countryside is turning green, wildflowers are blooming, the Texas sun shines without the deadly summer heat, and blue skies lift my spirits. The signs of new life and fresh beginnings fill me with hope.

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By far, my favorite spring sightings in Texas are the bluebonnets. I start looking for them every year around this time. They don’t generally start blooming this far north until April, but sometimes I catch a glimpse of a few early ones peeking through the grass along the highway.

One of my other favorite things about spring is all the birthdays in my family. My husband’s birthday was March 9, my youngest son’s was March 22, and today is my mom’s birthday.

In honor of my mom, I’m going to give away a set of three books by the lovely Tracie Peterson. This is her Sapphire Brides series – and since sapphires are blue and bluebonnets are blue – it seemed fitting. (OK, that’s a bit of a stretch, but who cares? It’s free books!)

  • To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment describing your favorite element of spring.

 

It’s Time for Spring Break!

Howdy to all our friends and family! This year, the fillies are taking turns celebrating each beautiful season.  Join us all next week for a spring fling of blooms and beauty, fresh starts and fun as we take a Spring Break!

 

You never know what you’re gonna find so come and join the fun!

Yee-Haw! You might win something!

Special thanks to Kelli McCaslin of South Lake Tahoe, California, for the beautiful photographs. We so appreciate you sharing your talent with us!

Updated: March 26, 2017 — 10:38 am

WHAT’S IN A NAME? A NAME GAME FROM CHARLENE SANDS

 

 

“What is in a name?
That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,
So Romeo would were he not Romeo called retain such dear perfection to which he owes without that title,
Romeo, Doth thy name!
And for that name which is no part of thee, take all thyself.”

We all know William Shakespeare penned this famous line and so I got to thinking about the most popular names from the 1800’s and how they differ from the names of today.  Of my four little munchkins born in this decade, Everley, Kyra, Madison and Lila, can you guess which name made the present day Top
Ten list?

If you guessed Madison, you’d be right.  But wait, why don’t you close your eyes (so you don’t see the list below) and guess which boy and girl names were most popular in the 1880’s.   And then take a guess at which boy and girls’ names made the list from 2010-2015.    Can you guess what boy and girl names were the only ones to make the Top Ten from both time periods?  Hint-both names are of English royalty.

Spoiler Alert… Don’t read until you guess!

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Top Ten 1880 List

John/Mary

William/Anna

James/Emma

George/Elizabeth

Charles/Margaret

Frank/Minnie

Joseph/Ida

Henry/Bertha

Robert/Clara

Thomas/Alice

 

Top Ten Present Day List

Jacob/Sophia

Noah/Emma

Mason/Isabella

William/Olivia

Ethan/Ava

Liam/Emily

Michael/Abigail

Alexander/Mia

Jayden/Madison

Daniel/Elizabeth

 

What do these names mean?  I have to credit The Best Name for Your Baby book. It’s helped me immeasurably in garnering names of my characters and seeing if the name origin fits with my character’s traits.  Let’s take the Top Boy and Girl names of 1880.

John is Hebrew for “God’s grace.”  The Celtic variations of John are Ian and Sean.

Mary is the New Testament’s form of Miriam which is Hebrew for “bitter”.  Namesakes, Mary Queen of Scots, William and Mary.  Pairs well with Jane, Alice and Ellen.   Variations are Maria, Mariette, Mara, Marian and Madonna

William is Old German for “valiant protector”.  And of course who comes to mind when you think in royal terms?  Prince William!  Variations are Willie, Wilhelm, Wiley, Wilfred and Bill.

Anna is from Anne which is Hebrew for “gracious.”  Namesakes are Princess Anne of England and Anne Boleyn. Variations are Ann, Annis, Anya, Anika, and Anita.

Here are the meaning of the names of hero and heroine in my newly released Taming the Texas Cowboy!

Maddie comes from Madeline which is Hebrew for “tower of strength”  Variations are Marlene, Magdelena, Madlin, Madge and Madalena. Also May, Lena or Lene

Trey is Middle English for “third born”.

Did you play along?  Did you guess any of the Old Names?   What do you think of the names of today?   Post a comment and win a $5 Amazon Gift Card picked at random. Winner will be announced at the end of the day!!   Thanks for playing along!! 

 AMAZON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Updated: March 7, 2017 — 1:49 pm

Dear Santa


Three days before Christmas, 2016

Dear Santa,

I love Christmas! The hymns we sing, the celebrations we attend, that extra bit of happy in the faces of people you see when you wish them a merry Christmas or happy holiday.  No wonder you’re such a jolly old elf!

I’ve spent some time thinking about what to write in a letter to such a venerable gift-giver as yourself. What should I ask for? What could I ask for that wouldn’t seem self-centered and—well—petty, especially in light of all that’s going on in the world?

Since I’m writing to a deadline—Christmas is coming, after all–I’ll give it my best try. I hope you’ll forgive me if it isn’t entirely right.

 

I ask for peace, for everyone, everywhere!

I ask for love for those who don’t know its power.

I ask for joy for those who hurt during this beautiful season.

I ask for hope for all who labor day after day to make their life and the lives of their family better.

And I ask for a miracle for those who need it most!

Merry Christmas,
Tracy Garrett

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL THE PETTICOATS AND PISTOLS READERS OUT THERE.  MAY 2017 BE THE BEST YEAR YOU CAN MAKE IT!

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