Category: New Releases

If You Give a Mouse a Review: plus 5 book Giveaway

Years ago, I was a restaurant reviewer for a local newspaper.  My husband and I would dine at a restaurant like regular customers.  At the end of the meal, I’d pull out my card and announce that the restaurant had just been reviewed.

Once I became known, restaurant managers and owners offered me free meals and other bribes in exchange for reviews.  In order to write a fair and unbiased review, I never accepted anything free (though I must admit the costly bottle of champagne challenged my integrity), but you can’t blame anyone for trying. Restaurants depend on reviews for survival.  So do writers.

Whereas a single review in a newspaper or online can increase business for an eatery, writers needs a number of book reviews to notice a difference in sales.  In recent years, writers have lost important review outlets such as Romantic Times.  Now writers must depend on reader reviews on outlets like Amazon and Goodreads and those are not easy to come by.

Oh, sure, writers can pay review services and many bestselling writers do just that.  But the services don’t come cheap and there’s no guarantee that enough reviews will be provided to offset the costs.

Why All the Fuss About Book Reviews?

  1. Reviews offer writers greater visibility and a better chance of being found. Also, many promotional sites require a certain number of reviews before an author can use the service.
  2. A study conducted by the Northwestern University found that people bought products based on popularity, meaning the most reviews. Oddly enough, the reviews didn’t even have to be good.  Products with a lot of bad reviews sold more than products with fewer but better reviews.  (With that criteria, even a mouse could become popular if given enough reviews.)   
  3. It doesn’t take much. 20-50   reviews are enough to give consumers confidence enough in the product to purchase it.

Why don’t more readers leave book reviews?  According to my unscientific survey among friends and family, here are the top excuses, oops I mean reasons, for not leaving a review.

I didn’t purchase it from Amazon

Amazon allows reviews whether the book was purchased from them or not. If purchased from Amazon, it will say verified purchase.  Amazon does have an instinct for sniffing out reviews by a writer’s family members and friends (okay, you can’t blame me for trying), but otherwise anyone can review a book.

 I’m not a writer

You may not be a writer, but we writers value your words.  You don’t have to write anything fancy and you certainly don’t have to compete with a professional reviewer. I liked this book because….is a good start. Or maybe you didn’t like it as much as the author’s earlier works.  Honesty is always best when writing a review.  If you simply can’t bring yourself to write one, you can locate the book on Amazon, find the review that is closest to expressing your thoughts and click on “helpful.”  Yep, in the wondrous and sometimes confusing world of Amazon algorithms, “likes” and “helpfuls” count.

Don’t have time

I heard this one from someone who had recently won a free book from an online contest. I’m sure most winners don’t think about the time it takes the author to package and mail a book. Also, books don’t come free.  The writer probably paid for the book out of her own money, not to mention postage.  But writers do this willingly hoping the winner likes the book enough to recommend it to her friends, and yes, give it an online review. 

 My one review won’t make a difference

 Oh, but it does, it does, and we fillies appreciate readers who take the time to post reviews. You’ve helped contribute to the success of our books and we can’t thank you enough.

So how important are reviews to you in choosing books, movies, restaurants or Amazon purchases?

 Okay, now here’s the good part. Post a comment and you could be one of five winners to receive a copy of my new release The Cowboy Meets His Match—yep five.  BUT (yep, there’s a catch!) I’m going to ask for the very thing most writers are too embarrassed to ask for: All I’m asking in return is that winners consider posting a review of the book.  Yee-Haw!

 

Amazon

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Updated: June 19, 2019 — 9:24 am

Cover Reveal Today!!!

I’ve got a fun update today!!!

I’ve got a new cover and a book available for pre-order.

I’m in a series called 

THANKSGIVING BOOKS AND BLESSINGS

One new book a week leading up to Thanksgiving. 

Mine is called Thankful for the Cowboy.

Mine is coming in September.

To pre-order click https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SYGGW15/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Thankful+for+the+Cowboy+Mary+Connealy&qid=1560390172&s=gateway&sr=8-1%5C%22%3EHERE%3C%2Fa%3E%3C%2Fp%3E&tag=pettpist-20 for the Cowboy

Tom MacKinnon rides up driving a wagon with a second wagon trailing him. He and his sister want to be hired to build windmills. They’ll ask for very little money and, in exchange heroine, Lauren Drummond, newly widowed mother of four nearly grown sons, will help them learn to survive in the Sandhills of Nebraska. What to grow, what to hunt, how to build a sod house.
Tom’s windmills will save her ranch. Lauren needs three windmills on this drought year or her growing herd of cattle is going to die of thirst. She agrees to teach him the ways of the Sandhills, and to give him fifteen head of cattle.
She’s not ready to think of another man. But Tom changes her mind. His little sister and one of her sons find love together before Tom and Lauren do.

Other books in this series are:

Texas Tears by Caryl McAdoo

These Great Gifts by Allison Pittman

Mail Order Misfire by Davalynn Spencer

Blizzards & Blessings by Samantha Bayarr

Spring of Thanksgiving by Liz Tolsma

All now available for preorder!

Happy….Thankgiving? In June?

Why not, then when we do Christmas in July it’ll seem really natural. 🙂

 

 

Updated: June 12, 2019 — 8:52 pm

More Than Words Can Say has Released!!!

The wait is finally over!

More Than Words Can Say is now available!

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I’m so excited to share Zach and Abigail’s story with you. Dozens of readers wrote to tell me that they fell in love with Zacharias Hamilton in his big brother role in More Than Meets the Eye. I have to admit that I did, too. Finding the perfect heroine for him, was a challenge, but Abigail’s feisty independence, her big heart, and her dedication to family became a recipe for love that Zach couldn’t ignore. Oh, and she can bake like a dream. The old adage about the way to a man’s heart being through his stomach didn’t become a classic for nothing. Wink, wink.

I thought I’d introduce you to Abigail with a fun little excerpt.

Her cheeks were growing pink. Probably because he was just standing there staring at her like an idiot instead of saying something.

Tightening his grip on the square, he cleared his throat. “What kind of proposition?”

She thrust a set of papers at him, the sheets crinkling as the corners bent against his chest. “A business proposition. A rather . . . um . . . unconventional one, but one I believe will prove beneficial to both of us if you’ll look past the first hurdle.”

He reached for the papers. “That hurdle being?”

She straightened her posture, which was an impressive trick of engineering since she was already standing as stiff as the board he’d been working on moments ago. Then she met his gaze and something grabbed at his gut. “Marriage,” she said. “To me.”

A cough exploded in his throat. He ducked his chin and turned aside, the choking sensation worsening to the point that he had to brace his arms against the workbench as he struggled to control the spasms. He’d always wondered how his brother Seth felt when an asthma attack hit. Now he knew.

“It might appear to be a beggar’s bargain on the surface,” she said from behind him, “but I promise there are benefits.”

At the word benefits, images jumped immediately to Zach’s mind. Vivid images. Of bedsheets and unpinned hair. Of luscious curves, dimpled smiles, and welcoming glances.

His throat constricted further. Not even a cough could escape now.

“To start with, you can have all the sticky buns you like free of charge. For life.”

Breakfast. She was talking about breakfast.

Finally, a bit of air seeped into his lungs, allowing him to wrestle his unruly thoughts into submission as he turned to face Miss Kemp. He leaned back against the workbench, not yet trusting his knees to hold him upright on their own, and forced himself to meet his tormentor’s gaze.

He thrust the crumpled papers back at her. “I ain’t lookin’ for a wife.”

She made no move to collect the unwanted documents. “There’s a law,” she blurted. “A ridiculously archaic city ordinance that precludes women from owning businesses in Honey Grove. After my father died, the city council gave me three months to grieve, then approached me with an ultimatum. If I don’t sell the business, I can either partner with a male financial backer by the end of the month or have the marshal close the bakery doors for me. Permanently.”

Zach frowned. That seemed a bit extreme, but he didn’t doubt her word. Plenty of men believed that women belonged in the home and nowhere else. And he wouldn’t put it past them to enforce their will on her by dusting off some outdated legislation.

“That’s unfortunate, but I still don’t see what this has to do with me.”

Dimples appeared for the first time that afternoon as her lips curved in a triumphant grin. “You, my dear sir, are option number three.”

Grab your copy of Zach and Abigail’s story today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook
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  • What are your favorite baked items for romantic occasions?
  • What treats do you bake specifically for that special someone in your life?

By the way, today is my 27th wedding anniversary. Still living the happily ever after and loving it!

Hmm . . . maybe I should whip up some baked goodies for my heroic hubby. Does refrigerated cinnamon roll dough count?

Jolene Navarro: Buckaroos and Buccaneers!

We’re tickled pink to have Miss Jolene Navarro visit us again. This lady writes some of the most interesting books and posts and I think you’ll agree so make her welcome and show her some good old Wildflower Junction hospitality.

 

Hello, there! Jolene Navarro here, checking in from the beautiful Texas Gulf Coast. 

 

We come down here from the Hill Country as often as we can. I love sitting on the banks of the Frio River, but every once a while I want to prop my feet up the balcony and watch the waves.

Over a year ago as I was enjoying the warm breeze and the sunlight glinting off of the waves, I spot a gorgeous pirate ship sailing across the waters. It was as exciting as it was bizarre, to see it.

There is a company in the South Padre area, called the Black Dragon Pirate Ship Cruise. They offer full experience cruises aboard their ship, which has been modeled into a 17th century galleon above water, while retaining all of the modern luxuries below water.

 

 

Seeing that pirate ship brought a single question to my mind – how could I make a modern-day pirate cowboy?

 

At first, I didn’t have any answers. But as I sat on the beach and mulled over this question, I came to a realization that cowboys didn’t just roam the Texas countryside, they also lived along the beaches of the Gulf. One of the largest and well-known cattle ranches runs along the coast. You might have heard of the King Ranch.

 

 

After that, it became a game to figure out how alike cowboys and pirates really are.

 

  1. Their style of life. They long for adventure and pitting themselves against the elements of natures. Both a cowboy and a pirate often would spend months, or longer, away from home. Either because they were sailing the seas in search of treasure, or because they needed to herd cattle from one place to another.
  2. The camaraderie. Both styles of life create a band of brother type of living. These men had to trust each other to watch their backs and keep them alive during the dangers of their chosen occupations. The close quarters formed bonds that could be stronger than birth family. Singing around the campfire or playing music on the deck, they have a strong camaraderie.
  3. Hard and dangerous. Whether a pirate or cowboy, there’s no denying that their lives included a multitude of perils. Being one or the other took a certain kind of person – they had to be tough, unbreakable and sturdy. Cowboys had to ensure that they could herd thousands of longhorns to a certain destination and protect them from predators such as coyotes and rattlesnakes, and the ever-perilous possibility that the herd could go haywire. Pirates also lived a rough life, out on the sea for years during bitter squalls that threatened to break their ships to pieces and stole lives. Both have a respect for nature and a code of honor.

 

Buckaroos and buccaneers aren’t that different after all. And when you remember that a lot of Texas is the coastline (almost 400 miles), well… It isn’t hard to imagine stunning ranches overlooking beaches, with gorgeous vista views. Or the pirates that might have sought refuge in the area, striking deals with local ranchers, and enabling these two worlds to mix.

 

 

On our most recent trip to the beach, we came across this message in a bottle. The writer in me thought of all the stories this bottle could tell and the secrets it held.

 

 

Just like this message in a bottle, there are secret stories waiting to be told along the Texas coast where cowboys and pirates meet.

 

Does the meshing of those two worlds spark a story in you? Would you love to set sail on The Black Dragon pirate ship? I’m giving away two copies (Ebook or Print) of The Texan’s Secret Daughter so leave a comment to enter the drawing!

 

In my newest release, The Texan’s Secret Daughter, Jazmine has a secret that she knows it’s time to share. The secret rocks Elijah De La Rosa’s world.

Can this rancher make up for his past? 

Cowboys of Diamondback Ranch book #1

Turning his life around was the hardest thing Elijah De La Rosa ever had to do—until his ex-wife, Jazmine Daniels, returns with their young daughter he didn’t know existed. Now this successful rancher will do anything to be a good father. But can he forgive himself for the past…and turn their second chance into a family for always?

 

 

AMAZON B&N  |   APPLE  |   IndieBound KOBO

 

You can contact Jolene through her website: http://jolenenavarrowriter.com/

Gina Danna: The Frugal Housewife

The Fillies welcome historical author Gina Danna to the Junction. She has a giveaway at the bottom so leave a comment to get in the drawing.

 

Last winter in Texas, it was cold enough I pulled out my favorite Polo sweaters to wear and found holes! Moth holes! I pulled a couple more & the little buggers were chomping on most of my Polo and Izod sweaters. They love wool and here they’ve got good – expensive – taste but oh I was sooo mad! What do people do today when this happens? After muttering a few colorful metaphors, the sweater gets tossed, as we’ve become a throwaway society. Broken, buy new! But that’s not how people used to be…

For centuries, many people did not have the wardrobes we have today. Unless you were rich, the majority had a few articles for everyday and one dressy piece for church. During the time of the American Civil War, a great deal of men’s clothing was made of wool. Pants, frockcoats and waistcoats were wool. Why? Because wool is a great durable fabric. Made of tightly woven fibers, it held dirt, mud, and anything else on the surface unlike cotton, which absorbed it. If mud got on wool trousers or skirt, it’d be allowed to dry then a fabric beater, like a carpet beater, would be struck on the item and the dried wool would flake off.

For ladies with those long skirts that hit the floor, what did they do to make them not fray or mar with dirt? Many put a ruffle around the bottom and it took the filth off the streets, sidewalks and home. If it didn’t wash out, the ruffle was torn from the skirt and a new one attached. A new ruffle made of another color or new trims, made the skirt look new. Or they lined the bottom with twill-tape, sewn on the inside so only a glimpse of it showed on the hemline. Colored to match the skirt, this piece saved the hem from dirt and once it was beyond redemption, it was an easy to remove and cheap to replace.

During the Civil War, Southern ladies had to become the Frugal Housewife and find alternatives as the Union naval blockade kept imports out. Therefore, fabric from the North or England wasn’t available, neither were many notions such as stays for corsets, etc. So they redesigned what they had. Fixed their hoops by narrowing them or reverting to corded petticoats. They streamlined their skirts, cutting fabric to repair another area, thus making the skirt not as wide as fashion dictated. Pagoda sleeves were made narrow, cuffs and collars made from other scraps and they reversed the fabric to give it a ‘fresh’ appearance. Women already used shank buttons on their bodices. These buttons were not truly sewn on but the shank went through the slit at the buttonhole and was held there by a ribbon that ran the length of the bodice. To give a change of appearance, they pulled the ribbon, releasing the buttons and they threaded different ones in their place. Quite the ingenious way to make one outfit look like five.

Surprisingly enough, The Gone With The Wind portrayal of using curtains for material wasn’t that far off the norm.

During this time, ladies changed clothing many times a day. During the winter, it may be 3-5 times, summer 7-9 depending. They had their morning gown, working gown, cooking dress, traveling outfit, day dress as well as one for evening supper, evening party and ballgowns. It might sound insane to change but it was a way to keep the outfits cleaner than wearing one all day.

Laundry was a nightmare – an all day affair literally. Washed by hand with a scrub board and soap, it was a task assigned to Mondays. Whites were done in boiling water, colors in cold. Dresses were roughly 7-8 yards of fabric. A big piece to wash so they deconstructed it – bodice from skirt, sleeves from bodice – so smaller pieces to scrub and to dry. Drying was on clothesline outside. Whites placed in sunlight to bleach them whiter; colors turned inside out and hung in the shade to keep from fading. Ironing was with a cast-iron iron like we see for decoration today. It had to warm enough to iron but not hot enough to burn. Regardless of societal class, when they could afford to, they hired a 12 year old to do it for them. I read an account of a lady who wore a new dress in May and didn’t wash it until August! Yet some had to be done and it was much easier to wash collars and cuffs, which get noticeably dirty.

But what about those moth holes? They FIXED them. Women learned how to sew – whether they were good or not didn’t matter. They learned it enough to be able to repair things. Knitting was also a skill majority had. With that knowledge, and using things like cedar chests, they could keep most of their woolen fabric safe.

So what about my moth-holed sweaters? When my mother was alive, she fixed them. My mother was a Depression era child. These children were educated about getting by on nothing and making things last. My mother was great at sewing. Made all my childhood clothes. I remember wishing for store bought clothes…difficult being the one with the pretty – and unique – outfit. She also knitted and for these, she knew how to get into the sweater and reknit the holes closed. Alas, I never acquired those skills…

So, I did the best I could – I used needle and thread to sew them close.

There actually is a book on how to be a frugal housewife: The American Frugal Housewife, Dedicated To Those Who Are Not Ashamed Of Economy by Mrs. Child, 1833. A fascinating read.

Makes you wonder – could you become a “frugal housewife”? I’m giving away one digital copy of RAGS AND HOPE to someone who comments. The drawing will be Sunday.

* * * *

RAGS & HOPE –
 

Widower Colonel Pierce Duval only wants return to his Union command in Tennessee. A chance and harrowing encounter with a true-blue Southern belle stirs emotions he thought long buried. When her safety is at stake, how can he not help her? 

Cerisa Fontaine ran away for a new life far from her family’s awful secret. But her controversial marriage and southern drawl make her a pariah in the North. With her husband death, Cerisa is forced to seek employment at the only establishment that will accept her: a brothel.

To survive, Pierce and Cerisa embark on a journey to Tennessee posing as a married couple. But as secrets stand between them, passion wages its war within them. Do they  remain loyal to their cause, or give in to their heart’s desire?

 

AMAZON  |  iBOOK KOBO  |  Nook 

 

 

The Cowboy Meets His Match & Book Giveaway

His first mistake was marrying her;

                  his second was falling in love.                               

How would you feel if you suddenly found yourself married to the wrong person?  That’s what happened to Chase and Emily in The Cowboy Meets His Match. 

Chase has to marry per his father’s will in order to keep the family ranch. Emily has just traveled to Texas from Boston as a mail-order-bride.  After vows are exchanged and the bride’s veil removed, Chase realizes he’s married to the wrong woman. His new bride has no affinity for cattle and doesn’t even know how to ride a horse! He immediately demands an annulment, but as the following scene shows, that doesn’t work out the way he’d hoped. 

(For a chance to win the book, leave a comment.  Giveaway guidelines apply.)

~~~~~~~~

With a glance at the clerk, the judge drew a handkerchief out of his pocket and dabbed at his sweaty forehead. Replacing the handkerchief, he cleared his throat. “I’m sure this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.” The judge’s hollow laugh was met with scowls. Growing serious, he reached for a leather-bound book and thumbed through the pages.

“Ah, here we are,” he said, sounding relieved. “Annulment.” Adjusting his spectacles, he quickly scanned the page. “This should only take a few minutes. You just have to answer a few questions.” Finger holding his spot, he looked up and asked in all seriousness, “Why do you want an annulment?”

Chase reared back. “Why? Because I married the wrong woman, that’s why!”

“Yes, yes, yes, I know that.” The judge stabbed the page with his finger. “But that’s not listed here as legitimate grounds for annulment.”

The uncle jabbed the muzzle of his shotgun on the floor and placed both hands on the butt. “What are legitimate grounds?”

The judge’s finger moved down the page. “Bigamy, for one.” He looked up. “Are either of you married?”

“Yes, we’re married,” Chase said, his voice thick with impatience. “To each other!”

The uncle stared straight at Emily. “I think he’s asking if either one of you is married to someone else.”

Emily’s eyes flashed him a look of disdain. If it wasn’t for him and his veiled threats, neither she nor Chase would be in this predicament. “I’m not married. Or at least I wasn’t until a few minutes ago.”

The judge checked the book again. “Okay, forget that. Are either of you underage?” The judge had directed the question to her.

“I’m twenty-two,” Emily said.

“Twenty-six,” Chase said.

The judge’s finger moved down the page again. “Are either of you related to the other?”

Chase shook his head. “Absolutely not.”

The judge peered at them over the frame of his spectacles. “Are either of you”—he cleared his throat—“unable to consummate the marriage?”

Emily’s face flared, and Chase threw up his hands. “This is getting us nowhere.”

The judge held up the palm of a hand. “Now hold on. There’s more.” He glanced at the uncle’s shotgun. “Were either of you coerced into the marriage?”

Emily felt a flicker of hope, but before she had a chance to answer in the affirmative, the door flew open. A man stormed into the chambers with a bride in tow, and he looked fit to be tied.

The uncle stepped in front of the new arrivals, his shotgun raised in a threatening pose. The newly arrived bride gasped and fell back.

“Sorry, Royce,” the uncle said. “You’re too late. The will said the first one married will have full ownership of the ranch.” He tossed a nod at Emily. “Meet Mrs. Chase McKnight, your new sister-in-law.”

Amazon

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Updated: May 22, 2019 — 1:44 pm

Creating a Multi-Author, Interrelated Series is Easy…Right?

This weekend we have Bestselling Author Charlene Raddon visiting. She’s heavily involved in writing big series’ with many authors and has become quite a pro at it. She’s just finishing up The Widows of Wildcat Ridge. So what’s next? Maybe you can ask her. Please give her a big welcome.

How many of you have followed the series, The Widows of Wildcat Ridge? For those who haven’t, this series consisted of sixteen novellas about the widows left behind after an explosion decimated the Gold King Mine in Wildcat Ridge, Utah Territory, 1884. Virtually every miner died. A second explosion killed many townspeople who had rushed in to try to save them. When it was over, the town of about five hundred residents had been reduced to almost 50 widows, their children and a few men.

If you think my series sounds similar to the film series, Godless, I’ll take that as a compliment because Godless was an excellent production. Had I seen it before coming up with my idea, the Widows of Wildcat Ridge would likely never have existed. No matter. The series did exist and has been extremely successful.

But now it has come to an end. The sixteenth, and final, book of the series came out on May 15.

Ophelia, book 16, was my fourth book in the series. Each was fun to write with different characters and challenges. All the stories in the series were interrelated, meaning that each likely contained or at least mentioned some events and characters from previous releases. This made the work much more difficult, confusing and problematic. But also more fun.

Each widow suddenly found herself alone, some with dependent children, no mate, no funds or income, and little hope. What did they do? They gathered together, sharing supplies and joining forces to bringing their town back to life and produce incomes for themselves and their families. They held a horse auction to bring in people, particularly marriageable men. They turned a nearby hot spring into a 19th century version of a spa.

They didn’t sit home and bawl. They dug in their heels and did what they must to survive. True pioneers, every one of them, and each had to deal with the series villain, Mortimer Crane, who owned the town (or believed he did), plus other antagonists unique to each tale.

In my first book of the series, Priscilla, Book 1, the minister’s daughter, who lost her husband and father in the second explosion, takes the town leaders to see a hot springs she had recently found. She comes home to find an unconscious man bleeding all over her bed from a gunshot wound. Braxton Gamble had been tricked into taking part in a bank robbery. Because he’d escaped—with the stolen funds—the outlaws are after him.

My second book, Thalia, Book 7, centers around Thalia’s long-time crush on Dinky Moon, the town drunk. Sobering him up and keeping him that way presents quite a challenge, but she handles it, along with a stranger who comes there believing she has something belonging to him.

In Cadence, Book 13, the series villain, Mortimer Crane, proves himself as evil as everyone believed him to be. On finding a young woman in dire straits, with a little sister in tow, he hires Cadence as a maid and brings her to Wildcat Ridge. Once there, she discovers the establishment she’s to work at is a bordello and her new employer wants more from her than her talent with a dust cloth. To keep her there, he takes her little sister away and refuses to tell where.

Finally, we have Ophelia, Book 16, the last of the series.

Ophelia was Mortimer Crane’s wife. After twenty years of a so-so marriage, she learns just who she had married—a letch, a liar, and a cheat. She also learns something else that gives her the key to controlling him. So, she leaves the house in Salt Lake City Mortimer had installed her in to keep her out of his affairs, moves to Wildcat Ridge, and sets about starting a new life. On her first day in town, she comes face to face with a man from her past, one she had loved with all her heart. Together, she and Brody Duvall must find a way to defeat Mortimer. Can they do it?

Creating this series was a huge project that could never have taken place without the wonderful authors who joined me in this endeavor: Caroline Clemmons, Zina Abbott, Linda Carroll-Bradd, Pam Crooks, Kit Morgan, Christine Sterling, Tracey Garrett, and Kristy McCaffrey. I’ve made new friends, not only my fellow authors, but many fantastic readers who helped to make the series a success.

And I learned a ton! About working with other authors and managing a big multi-author series. A quarter of the way through, I told my non-involved friends to shoot me if I ever said I was doing another one. These days, I’m keeping one eye on my back trail.

If I had this project to do over again, I’d make sure it was all laid out, all the decisions made, before ever inviting authors to join in. We’d have online meetings to decide further details and have one uninvolved person read each book, create a book Bible for them, and keep track of who did what when to avoid conflicting information in the stories. When did that horse auction take place? What was the marshal’s name? Has anyone named the owner of the bakery? What businesses exist in this town? Are they open or closed? Details, details, details. So much to keep track of.

Ah, but it’s done now, and every story is a gem.

If any of you consider the idea of starting your own multi-author, interconnected series, contact me. I might be able to save you some time.

As for the future, keep your eyes and ears open because even though the Widows of Wildcat Ridge is finished, some of its authors are not.

Here’s every book in the series on Amazon!

#kindleunlimited

Are you a big fan of these continuing series involving multiple authors? I’d like to hear your answers. I’m giving away two $5 Amazon gift cards so leave a comment to enter.

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Charlene Raddon is an Amazon bestselling author with fourteen western historical romance novels to her credit. Her books have won contests and awards. She is also a book cover artist who specializes in historical covers and lives in Utah with her husband and the most neurotic cat ever.

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Jodi Thomas: The Power of Friendship

We’re so excited to have Jodi Thomas back to visit. We’re not sure what book this makes her but it’s over 50. Miss Jodi always has something interesting to talk about and this is no exception. We think you’ll enjoy it–and her giveaway at the end of the post. So make her welcome.

When I began writing THE LITTLE TEA SHOP ON MAIN, two stories came at once.

First, I wanted to write a story about a man who loved three women. One was his best friend, one his neighbor who needed a hero to turn to as they grew up, and the last was the love of his life even if she didn’t always agree with his plan. Readers will love Jack as he slowly figures out that the girls don’t belong to him; he belongs to them.

The second theme I wanted to write about was the power of friendship. My three little princesses grow to be close friends and maintain that friendship all their lives.

 

The number of close friendships between writers is peppered through history. It has been my experience with writers who become my friends that knowing each other makes us both stronger. We learn from one another, push each other and sometimes even compete.

In my first writing class, I heard Dee Pace read and I said I’d love to be able to write that good. When the class was over everyone agreed to keep meeting at the library. The next week, she and I were the only two who showed up. We began helping each other. Learning how to write. Learning the market. Entering contests.

Dee said once that when I won, she felt she’d won too. I realized I felt the same way. She’s now in Heaven, but every now and then I swear I hear her whispering, “Write deeper, Jo.”

There are friends you form a bond with and you remain close to even when there are months or even years you don’t talk. For some of us there is a very rare friend who follows you through all your life. I’ve heard it said that having one such friend for a lifetime is a very rare gift. They’ve known you all your life and still like you anyway.

I’ve been blessed with one–Reta. Our mothers were friends. There was never a time that we didn’t know one another. We went through school together and even were together when we met our future husbands.

As the years passed, we went different ways but were always still close when we saw one another. But, in good times and bad, I’ve always known she was a phone call away. (Below is a picture of the two of us a few years after we graduated.)

In my new book, THE LITTLE TEASHOP ON MAIN I had great fun watching my characters become friends and influence one another’s lives. My main characters were very different, one wild and creative, one grounded and brave, and one shy. When they really needed to talk or celebrate, or even cry, they’d have tea. The ritual became the thread that held them close no matter how far apart they might be in miles.

Let me know how your best friend enriches your life. I will be drawing for one print copy of THE LITTLE TEASHOP ON MAIN.

AMAZON B&N  |  APPLE KOBO 

Ada Carnutt – U.S. Deputy Marshal

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here.

Back in January I started a series of articles about 10 amazing women who paved the way for females in various branches of law enforcement. If you missed the prior posts you can find them here:

Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton Agent.

Phoebe Couzins, the first woman to be appointed to the U.S. Marshal service.

Marie Owens – First US Female Police Officer

F.M. Miller – Female Deputy Marshal to the Indian Territory

 

This month I want to talk about Ada Carnutt, another trailblazing female Deputy U.S. Marshal.

Ada was the daughter of a Methodist minister and as such had a strong sense of ethics. Ada was 20 when the Oklahoma Territory opened to settlers and when her sister and brother-in-law moved there she joined them.

Shortly thereafter she took a job as the Clerk of the District Court in Norman, Oklahoma as well as that of Deputy Marshall to U.S. Marshal William Grimes.

The arrest for which she is best known occurred in 1893 when she was 24 years old. Marshal Grimes sent her a telegram with instructions to send a deputy to Oklahoma City to apprehend a pair of outlaws. The notorious duo, named Reagan and Dolezal, were wanted for forgery. Unfortunately all the other deputies were busy with other cases, so Ada decided to take matters in her own hands. She headed for Oklahoma City on her own and when she arrived she learned the two criminals were in a local bar. Unwilling to enter a bar unless absolutely unavoidable, she asked a passerby to go inside and ask them to step outside. She used the added incentive of asking that they be told a lady was waiting to have a word with them.

Apparently that did the trick because Reagan and Dolezal stepped out to see who this ‘lady’ might be. Ada proceeded to read the warrants and then declared them under arrest. The pair, who were well armed, thought it a joke and even allowed her to place handcuffs on them. However, their laughter soon turned to anger as they realized the joke was on them. Ada proceeded to take them in by train to the marshal’s office in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

The newspapers of the day did report the incident, noting her bravery and then ended it with a note that afterwards she went back to her favorite hobby, that of china painting.

The U.S. Marshals Service said of her “Like all deputies of her era, she had to be extremely tough and ready to face a wide range of situations.”

 

There you have it, another very brief sketch of the trailblazing life of a brave and ahead-of-her-times woman. What struck you most about her? If you’d already heard of her, did you learn anything new, or do you have more to add to her story?

I’m so excited about my new release that I’ve decided I’ll give a copy away to one reader who leaves a comment on this post.

THE UNEXPECTED BRIDE

Had she stepped out of the frying pan just to land in the fire?

Fleeing an arranged marriage, socialite Elthia Sinclare accepts a governess position halfway across the country. But when she arrives in Texas she finds more than she bargained for – more children, more work and more demands. Because Caleb Tanner wants a bride, not a governess. But marrying this unrefined stranger is better than what awaits her back home, so Elthia strikes a deal for a temporary marriage. She says I do and goes to work—botching the housework, butting heads with her new spouse, loving the children.

Caleb isn’t sure what to make of this woman who isn’t at all what he contracted for—she’s spoiled, unskilled and lavishes her affection on a lap dog that seems to be little more than a useless ball of fluff.  But to his surprise she gets along well with the children, works hard to acquire domestic skills and is able to hold her own with the town matriarchs.

Could the mistake that landed him with this unexpected bride be the best thing that ever happened to him?

You can find more info or get your copy HERE

 

Updated: May 5, 2019 — 8:08 pm

Bicycling: Not Just For Men Anymore

We’re thrilled to have bestselling author Mary Davis this week. She’s written over thirty titles in both historical and contemporary inspirational romances. Please show her a warm welcome.

 

“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance.” Susan B. Anthony.

The safety bicycle gave women independence like nothing else. A lady who had a bicycle could go places that were too far to walk without being dependent on a man to either take her or hitch up a buggy for her.

Before 1890 bicycles were more of a novelty and a challenge rather than a legitimate mode of transportation. They were hard to ride, hard to get on, and hard to steer.

The first vehicle that could really be classified as a bicycle was invented in 1817. Also known as a running machine, velocipede, Draisienne, or dandy horse. It had two same-sized wheels and no pedals. A man would straddle it, sitting on the seat, and use his feet to propel himself and the velocipede forward. I say “man” because this was not a machine suitable for ladies in dresses.

The 1863 Velocipede had steel wheels but had the improvement of pedals on the front wheel—direct drive, fixed gear, and a single speed. This version was popularly known as the boneshaker because that’s what it did on the cobblestone roads of the day—shake your bones.

In 1870 came the Ordinary or Penny Farthing also known as the “high wheeler.” That’s the one with the huge front wheel and the tiny back wheel. The inventors realized that a larger wheel meant you could go farther with one revolution. The pedals on the front wheel made steering a challenge because while pushing one pedal and then the next, it could make the front wheel veer one way and then the other. But the solid rubber tires and long spokes made for a much smoother ride than its predecessors. Not only was this one difficult to get up on because it was so high, but the rider was often above the center of gravity. If they hit a rock that stopped the front tire, over they would go onto their head. This is where the term “taking a header” came from. This was the first to be called a bicycle.

Over the next two decades, the inventions of the ball bearings, caliper brakes, chain drive, pneumatic tires, and improvements in metallurgy all contributed to the 1890 safety bicycle. This bicycle most closely resembles the bicycles of today. Two same-sized tires, pedals in the center of the vehicle rather than on a wheel, chain driven, inflatable tires, and a lever hand brake. The chain drive revolutionized the bicycle. With the safety bicycle, women gained an independence like they’d never had before.

Not only women in the cities, but women out west embraced the freedom the bicycle afforded them. Not all women thought bicycles were fitting for women, finding it too brash and unladylike.

In THE DAUGHTER’S PREDICAMENT, Isabelle, the heroine, enjoys the freedom her safety bicycle gives her. Even though some people don’t think it’s appropriate for a young lady and too bold. But each of her suitors are modern men who find her eccentricity endearing.

 

MARY DAVIS is a bestselling, award-winning novelist of over thirty titles in both historical and contemporary themes. She is the author of (Book 1 in the Quilting Circle series), “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in the MISSadventure Brides Collection, “Holly & Ivy”  in A Bouquet of Brides Collection, The Prodigal Daughters series from Love Inspired, and Newlywed Games. Coming in 2019, The Daughter’s Predicament (Book 2 in the Quilting Circle series) and “Bygones” in Thimbles and Threads. She’s a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.

Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-four years and two cats. She has three adult children and two incredibly adorable grandchildren.

 

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THE DAUGHTER’S PREDICAMENT (Book 2 in the Quilting Circle series)

Can a patient love win her heart?

   As Isabelle Atwood’s romance prospects are turning in her favor, a family scandal derails her dreams. While making a quilt for her own hope chest, Isabelle’s half-sister becomes pregnant out of wedlock and Isabelle–always the unfavored daughter–becomes the family sacrifice to save face. Despite gaining the attention of a handsome rancher, her parents are pressuring her to marry a man of their choosing to rescue her sister’s reputation. A third suitor waits silently in the wings, hoping for his own chance at love.

   Isabelle ends up with three marriage proposals, but this only further confuses her decision. A handsome rancher, a stranger, and an unseen suitor are all waiting for an answer. Isabelle loves her sister, but will she really allow herself to be manipulated into a marriage without love? Will Isabelle capitulate and marry the man her parents wish her to, or will she rebel and marry the man they don’t approve of? Or will the man leaving her secret love poems sweep her off her feet?

Have you or do you enjoy riding a bicycle? Maybe you’ve had a few misadventures. Leave a comment to enter the drawing for one Kindle copy of The Daughter’s Predicament.