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And Karen Kay’s Winner is?…

Howdy!

Actually that should read “winners.”  There are two.

Those winners of the e-book are:

 

 

 

Nancy Olson and Debra!

 

Yea!  Nancy and Debra, please email me privately at karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net to claim your prize.

 

Congratulations!  And many thanks to all those who came to the blog yesterday.

 

Happy New Year!

Updated: December 28, 2017 — 9:18 am

New Year’s Resolutions…Do You or Don’t You?

Do you or don’t you make New Year’s Resolutions? Every year I get caught up in making New Year’s resolutions.

When the month of December rolls around, I think about setting goals. The past few years I’ve shifted away from concrete goals to more general goals which are more difficult to measure but are more meaningful (to me.)

I’ve always set goals to eat better–more salads and less fast food. And I’ve always included a vacation destination on my list–because it’s fun to dream. But I also remind myself not to look too far ahead.  As a writer our lives revolve around deadlines. Every day…every week…every month…we’re looking ahead to the next deadline and we forget to enjoy today.

Blame it on the wisdom of growing older but I’m learning to appreciate each day no matter how uneventful it ends up being. It’s taken years for me to learn to stop equating happiness with achieving a goal. Whether we meet our goals or not…we’re still entitled to be happy and enjoy our lives.

All of us need to get better at accepting and loving ourselves, warts and all. There’s beauty in everything and in every person.

 

No matter what our goals it’s not that difficult to find a reason to be happy every day. Often we get caught up…so focused on a goal, that we forget to recognize and appreciate our blessings in life. Life is short. We only get so many trips around the sun and none of us knows that number.

So this year I will count my blessings each and every day, appreciate the small stuff in my life, be kind to others and of course read more books!

 

 

Question: How have your New year’s Resolutions changed as you’ve grown older?

 

Until Next Time…Happy Trails!

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Oh Come Let Us Adore Him!

Cowboy church… It’s one of those things we write about, read about, but rarely experience.

It’s one of those beautiful things, no matter what the season or setting or scene… it’s the peace of the moment, the serenity of a guitar solo, the grace of an uplifted prayer, usually before a long day’s work.

We write about holidays… we write about Christmas, about sacrifice, about sharing about putting others first.

And that’s the beauty of Christmas, right there.

It’s not about a new saddle or a great pair of Chaps. It’s not about hand-tooled boots or fancy barns.

It’s about the give-and-take of simple folks, and a child, born to the poor.

We did this Living Nativity picture with preschoolers a few years ago… They’re all seven years old now, and so smart and worldly now but here, these precious four-year-olds and two three year-olds were the Holy Family… in Bethlehem… But one little fellow had gone missing… one little shepherd had left his flock…

Here’s my favorite Christmas hymn/medley…  “Child of the Poor/What Child is This”, a beautiful rendition of two simple hymns, made stronger by being together.

And that’s what romance is all about… two people, stronger by being together. Embracing the faith and hope and love of a moment, a season, a life.

Romance… cowboys… Christmas…. but even without the romance or the cowboys or gorgeous horses and oiled tack, we have Christmas… For unto us a child is born. Unto us… a son is given.

Oh come… let us adore him…

And that missing shepherd who strayed from his flock, from his appointed round?

Well, we found him! And that’s what you get for using a one-year-old really cute shepherd… but oh, that face! 🙂

 

I’ve had so much fun being here for part of 2017 and I’m excited about what 2018 holds for all of us… A new year with no mistakes in it…. yet! 🙂

 

From our pumpkin farm in Western New York, the entire Blodgett family (that’s me, in my real life!) wants to wish you… and yours… a very merry Christmas. And may the good Lord bless you, all the days of your life. Ruth Logan Herne

 

Updated: December 19, 2017 — 4:21 am

The Tangled Ties that Bind…coming soon

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

I’ve got a novella releasing January 2nd written with fellow filly Karen Witemeyer, as well as Melissa Jagears and Regina Jennings.

Hearts Entwined

Mine is based on two little kids from the Trouble in Texas series…all grown up. Mine is titled The Tangled Ties that Bind

Today, I’m giving away a copy of the novella collection and giving you a glimpse of the beginning of the big reunion because Connor Kincaid…the son of wild man Seth Kincaid from Over the Edge…Seth also makes a brief appearance in the conclusion of Too Far Down.

And Maggie Kincaid, the daughter of Ethan Kincaid. Connor and Maggie were raised as cousins but Ethan’s wife Audra had two little ones when she came into the marriage so Connor and Maggie suddenly are having very uncousin-ly thoughts about each other.

Click to Buy

In fact Connor sees his whole life, orderly and laid out, until Maggie blows up his world.Here is an Excerpt from The Tangled Ties that Bind...my novella contained in Hearts Entwined.

Releasing January 2018

Connor Kincaid heard a strange, unnatural rasp, then a twig snap. He drew, cocked and aimed his gun between one heartbeat and the next.

“Who’s there?” A woman called out. Was a woman skulking around in the woods? “Be careful.” A short scream stopped her from further talking.

“Be careful of what?”

A deep snort, or more of a woof maybe, sounded from the deep woods that lined the crooked, steep trail. Then something else. He saw through the thick leaves and branches on a skinny oak tree shook like they were caught in a cyclone.

The woman shrieked again when she oughta be answering his questions.

Connor had lived in the Wild West all his life. Born in Texas, raised in Colorado, then a few years back in Texas getting to know Uncle Luke. He was twenty now and not much surprised him anymore.

For all he’d seen, he’d never before seen a cyclone that focused on one tree.

The forest was so dense he didn’t try and ride in. He dismounted, still waiting for an answer about what to be careful of.

Whatever was going on, it seemed the woman had her hands full.

He ground hitched his horse, just in case the gray needed to make a run for it, from whatever was snorting in there. It was a noise he’d never heard before, the snort could be a lot of critters. And there was some raspy sound repeating over and over.

The ground was thick with centuries of broken trees, woven solid by scrub brush and stunted pines. Bigger trees grew tight enough they formed a solid mass overhead that filtered out nearly all of the sunlight.

He picked his way into the forest, wound past a couple of trees, then came face to face with a buffalo, so close Connor could have reached out and tugged a horn.

The huge cow was scratching her backside against a tree, which explained the cyclone. Then she spotted him and snorted hot breath and buffalo spit in Connor’s face.

Another scream. The buffalo swung its massive head at Connor, who threw himself backward. He crashed into a tree so he didn’t get that far back. The horns barely missed.

“Climb!” The screaming cut through his panic. He looked overhead at a branch about three feet past his arm reach. He leapt, grabbed the limb, which dipped under his weight. He swung his feet up. A slashing horn caught his left foot and ripped the boot off.

The blow almost knocked Connor out of the tree. The bark scraped both hands and he banged his head against the bottom of the limb. But he had the grit to hang on. His legs still dangled. Connor swung them up with all his might, and wrapped them around the tree.

The buffalo butted its head up, missed him with the horns, but cracked into Connor’s back. It sent him flying, except he clung to the branch and the painful whack flipped him over the limb. Now he was on top of it and out of the buffalo’s reach.

He hoped.

He grabbed a branch above him and stood, finally able to quit fighting for his life—which gave him time to ache in every muscle and joint. He looked down, between the toe of one boot and the sock on his other foot. The cow looked up. She had Connor’s Stetson on one horn. The lousy hat-thief.

The cow wasn’t that far below. Connor crouched, made a swipe and grabbed his hat. She slashed at him with her horns and nearly snagged his arm. He decided he wouldn’t be so brave trying to fetch his boot.

He climbed one limb higher and decided he’d survive unless this buff was tougher than the oak tree. The tree was as skinny as the one that’d been shaking before—so he wasn’t exactly counting on it.

He plunked his hat on his head with hands he just noticed were shaking.

Then he heard, “I told you to be careful.”

He lifted his head and looked straight into a pair of pale blue eyes…ripe with irritation—and maybe some panic.

“Maggie?”

“Connor!” A bright smile bloomed on her face. “Welcome home.”

It was Maggie and she sure had changed. Great Land of Milk and Honey, Maggie, cute little dandelion fluff Maggie, had grown up. That’s what she’d always made him think of. An undersized skinny little stick of a body and a head of fine white hair that was always wild with a breeze or static or stirred up by her bonnet when she took it off.

Now she’d grown all the way up, into the most beautiful woman that could possibly walk the earth or, in this case, walk the tree limbs.

“She’s had me treed for almost an hour.”

Connor grinned. “Next time don’t yell, ‘be careful’ instead yell ‘be careful of the buffalo.’ Things might’ve ended different.”

The buff poked her head past the stand of trees lining the trail. She bellowed mighty loud.

Hoof beats pounded away. “And there goes my horse.” That was all this mess needed. “Now I’ve got to walk this mountain trail another ten miles to Ethan’s house.”

“Assuming we ever get down from here.”

He glared at the little pessimist, then perked up. “Unless you have a horse.”

He wouldn’t mind riding double with her.

“My horse ran off just like yours and for the same reason. It’s almost certain my horse will go home. I honestly expect Pa here any second.”

Pa was Ethan Kincaid. Uncle Ethan coming was a fine thing.

“He’ll be hunting me. [but no one expected you home after all these years]”

Connor frowned. “I should have let you all know I was coming.”

“You most certainly should have.” Maggie sniffed.

He’d missed her like crazy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for the FIRST EVER IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE GIVEAWAY OF……………Hearts Entwined

Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer’s “The Love Knot,” Claire Nevin gets the surprise of her life awaiting her sister’s arrival by train. Mary Connealy’s “The Tangled Ties That Bind” offers the story of two former best friends who are reunited while escaping a stampede. Regina Jennings offers “Bound and Determined,” where a most unusual trip across barren Oklahoma plains is filled with adventure, romance, and . . . camels? And Melissa Jagears’ “Tied and True” entertains with a tale of two hearts from different social classes who become entwined at a cotton thread factory.

Each tale is a fun blend of history and romance that will delight readers.

Updated: December 13, 2017 — 9:35 am

SOMETHING THEY WANT…by Cheryl Pierson

 

Cheryl PiersonHere’s something I learned recently that I sure could have used in Christmases past when my kids were younger! Searching for the perfect gifts, the ones that “everyone” would be getting, made for a stressful time—not the relaxed, easy-going holidays we always imagined in our minds. You know, the Norman Rockwell scenes we all believed our Christmas holidays should look like—but that was before Playstation, X-Box, iPad…the list goes on.

Last year I read something that really opened my eyes and made me wish for this bit of wisdom much earlier in my life. A simple Christmas list like this would have surely made life easier and less stressful—what do you think?

“Something they want

Something they need;

Something to wear,

Something to read.”

Problem solved! FOUR GIFTS! No, I’m shaking my head. I know I couldn’t have limited it to four gifts—not “back then”, anyway. Now that my kids are 31 and 28, this is a lot easier to follow and keep to! “Toys” are more expensive—as is everything. Clothing, wants, needs – yes, even books!

Maybe that’s why we enjoy writing historical western romance—those were simpler times and the expectations were not so great. My parents grew up during the Great Depression in the Dustbowl days of Oklahoma’s history. Their families were so poor—and, coming from the same small town, Mom and Dad knew each other—and everyone else in that area—from the time they were born.

Mom talked about how sparse the Christmases were, but how happy they managed to be, in spite of it all. I imagine, with her being the eldest of eleven kids, her Christmas was especially small. She mentioned that the girls got a doll and a pair of shoes. If times were “good”, they got ribbon candy and an orange in their stockings.

When I was growing up in the 60’s-70’s, Mom kept up that tradition of always getting me a doll. When I got too old for baby dolls, she switched to the Madame Alexander collectible dolls. By that time/age, I was on to other things—blacklights, posters, incense, record albums, and of course, bell bottom jeans and “smock tops” to wear! Did I mention crayons? There was nothing more wonderful than getting the HUGE box of crayons and new coloring books—I don’t think I ever outgrew those. I would still sit down today and take joy in coloring!

 

This is BABY FIRST STEP–I got her when I was about 10 or so–she really walked (with the help of 2 “C” batteries!)

A woman with no home. A rancher with no heart.
Can holiday magic bring The Devil and Miss Julia Jackson together?

In my story, THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON, the heroine has fled her home in Georgia to get away from a distant family member. Filled with a sense of propriety, she scarcely knows what to ask for when the hero, rancher Devlin Campbell, asks her what she might like for Christmas. Even though they’ve made the hasty decision to marry to avoid the scandalous talk that might otherwise surround them, they don’t know one another very well yet—certainly not well enough for Julia to mention anything personal she might want or need—even though she has arrived in Indian Territory with not much more than the clothes on her back. What does she ask for? Take a look…

EXCERPT FROM THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON:

Something had changed. Julia felt it. His touch was more…possessive. The bitterness seemed to have disappeared, only to be replaced by lines of weariness, instead. What had happened in the short space of time since he’d left?

“Got anything left to make for breakfast?”

Before she could respond, he went on. “We’ll head for town here in a bit. Gotta take the prisoners in.”

“I have my list…it’s long.”

He laughed. “Good thing there are so many of us going. Still too treacherous for a wagon, but maybe we can pack what you need back on the horses.”

She brightened. “That will be wonderful, Dev. Thank you.” What a relief to hear him offer, with no complaint. She breathed deep, knowing this Christmas was going to be special for everyone. But it was especially important for the children.

“And…what would you like for Christmas, Julie?”

His voice was rich, low, and somehow, his question was reassuring. It had been so long since she’d thought of wanting anything for herself—even necessities—that she struggled to think of how she should respond.

“I—maybe some new pan grips for the kitchen—”

Dev stood looking at her in shock. “Pan grips—you mean pot holders?”

She nodded, and he laughed in disbelief. “Well, I tell you what, Miss Julia Jackson. I may be a lot of things, but I’m not a man who buys his betrothed pan grips for Christmas.” He leveled a narrow look at her. “You better think of something other than…pan grips.” Shaking his head, he started for the door. “I’ll go gather eggs. At least, we’ll have those for breakfast if nothing else.” He grabbed his coat from the wall peg and shrugged into it. Just before he closed the door behind him, Julia heard him mutter, “Pan grips.”

Asking for any kind of personal gift would mean…reciprocating. And she had nothing to give him. If only he knew how she’d had to scrimp, even with the money he’d sent her—to get here! She had a blessed five dollars left, saved back in case she and Lauralee hadn’t been able to make it to the Flying C and had to stay in town.

How could she tell her soon-to-be husband that she needed—everything? She had bought one dress for herself and one for Lauralee. The first new dress Julia had had in over two years. And in those past two years, she’d embarrassingly filled out in certain places. And even grown taller. She was an excellent seamstress and had done all she could. The older dresses she possessed were tight, and shorter than was decent. But Julia supposed a man would take no notice of that. Dev would probably not realize that it wasn’t the fact that her clothing was woefully out of fashion, but that it was bordering indecency, that embarrassed her.

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What were your childhood Christmases like? I miss those days! As soon as it was a “borderline” decent hour on Christmas morning, my best friend, Jane, who lived down the street, would call—or I would call her—and we’d excitedly talk about what we got and when we might get together to play. Those were simple joys—just sharing our new gifts with one another and enjoying each other’s company.

Please leave a comment to be entered in my drawing for a digital copy of THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON! If you can’t wait to see if you won, you can snap up your copy at Amazon—and it’s also available in paperback.

https://www.amazon.com/Devil-Miss-Julia-Jackson-ebook/dp/B075SJX8SL/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1512283314&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Devil+and+Miss+Julia+Jackson&tag=pettpist-20

Thanks for stopping by today!

 

Holiday Decorating in the Desert Southwest

Decorating for the holidays in the desert Southwest can be challenging~no fluffy white stuff covering the ground and the sun shines bright and strong. In the desert when the wind blows it doesn’t whistle through bare tree limbs, it rustles palm fronds. Even though we don’t have weather that makes you want to curl up inside with a good book and cup of hot chocolate we still decorate our native landscape and get into the holiday spirit. 

    

The Ahwatukee Foothills area which is close to my neighborhood does something special every year. For one mile against the backdrop of South Mountain trees and Saguaro cactus are decorated with over a million white lights. It’s a lovely drive and one we take often during the month of December.

   

 

As far as Christmas trees go….most people choose artificial trees but some buy real evergreens. Last year I went rogue and bought a seven-foot rusted metal saguaro Christmas tree–something I’ve wanted for a long time. I have it decorated with lights and western ornaments. 

 

All across the country city zoos decorate with lights and Phoenix is no exception. It’s a tradition in our family to visit Phoenix Zoo Lights ever year. There are about 3.8 million lights and nearly 700 light sculptures at ZooLights. My favorite part is to watching the techno-synchronized music & light show that plays every half hour throughout the evening. 

 

   

 

NEW RELEASE & GIVEAWAY!

On Tuesday December 12th YEAR’S at the GRAFF releases! This is book #3 in the all-new Holiday at the Graff series from Tule Publishing and Montana Born books.

 

Back cover blurb:

After being banned from celebrating the holidays with his stepfamily, San Diego businessman Lucas Kendrick arrives in Marietta, Montana, in time to attend the New Year’s Eve celebration at the Graff Hotel. The rodeo-theme party isn’t his style but he’s drawn to the pretty cowgirl running the dice table. When the clock strikes midnight and they ring in the New Year with a kiss, Lucas almost forgets he’s in Marietta on business and not pleasure. He believes he’s found the perfect property for his prized client. There’s just one problem—the pretty cowgirl has her sights set on the same piece of real estate.

Now that single mom Ava Moore has earned a business degree, she wants to help other struggling women get back on their feet by opening a co-op on Main Street. The last thing she expects is competition from the handsome city slicker whose New Year’s kiss she hasn’t been able to forget. Lucas isn’t only stealing Ava’s heart he’s bonding with her daughter. Can Ava convince Lucas that the best business deals are made with the heart and not money?

 

For a chance to win a digital copy of New Year’s at the Graff share your favorite holiday tradition!

***I’ll announce the winner on Sunday, December 10th in the comment section of this blog post and then send the winner their digital copy when the book releases on Tuesday! Be sure to check back here to see if you won!

 

Until Next Time…Happy Trails!

 

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Winners! Winners! For Karen Kay’s Give-Away

Good Evening!

First, let me thank you each and everyone for coming to the blog yesterday and leaving a message.  I so enjoyed talking with you.

Yes, there are two winners for the free give-away, and they are:

For the free e-book of THE LAST WARRIOR, the winner is: 

Theresa Sissons

And for the free e-book of your choice or mass market copy:

Laurie Gommermann

Congratulations to you both.  I will need you both to contact me personally at:  karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net.

Again, my heartfelt thanks to you all for not only visiting with me yesterday, but for your insightful comments.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!

Updated: December 6, 2017 — 11:13 pm
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