Tag: Ruth Logan Herne

A Merry Cowboy Christmas!

Yes, I know we just had Halloween…

I know it’s only November first, but I am in that Christmas spirit because that’s kind of how publishing rolls, my friends and as the publishers roll… Well, so do the authors! And this author has some fun stuff to celebrate this fall…

First, my just released (non-cowboy!) book “At Home in Wishing Bridge“, the second book of my “Wishing Bridge” series, has been on the Amazon bestseller list for weeks and spent a lot of time at #1 so there is a reason to celebrate right there… and readers are loving it. And that makes authors the happiest of all.

And Love Inspired has re-issued this beautiful story from my “Kirkwood Lake” series. “The Lawman’s Holiday Wish is a story of old wrongs, quick judgments and slow healing… but when God gives us a whole new beginning… a beginning with three precocious five-year-olds… well, that’s the kind of Christmas dream we all love to see! Love Inspired doubled the fun by pairing me with Gail Martin and her book “The Christmas Kite”. You can find this on AMAZON, and in Walmart now!

But being a Western blog, let’s see if I can pull something out of my Christmas Stetson!

Yes!

🙂

First, we’ve got an amazingly fun duo with my good Western buddy Linda Goodnight. I was blessed to be part of a novella duo with her… Western-and-cowboy-themed…. and so I was able to add a “Shepherd’s Crossing” novella to my series set in Western Idaho. The “Shepherd’s Crossing” series brings three Southern beauties… real Steel Magnolias… to a sheep ranch left to them by a benevolent uncle. And there just may be some rugged cowboys who know a good thing when they see it and have the brains enough to keep these girls well above the Mason-Dixon line… despite the cold and wind and snow. Shepherd’s Crossing… where love conquers all. Eventually. 🙂

This beautiful story pairs a single mother with a cowboy who’s spent a bunch of years alone… but Christmas isn’t just a season of miracles. It’s a season of family… friends… and second chances. And Ty Carrington gets his second chance in “Falling for the Christmas Cowboy” my half “A Cowboy Christmas”! And today I’ve got two copies of “A Cowboy Christmas” to send out this week (it’s catch up week on the farm now that pumpkin season is over!)… so you can win it before you can buy it! This book hits stores in two weeks… and on sale for Kindle December 1st!!!  PREORDER HERE! (I can’t make it much plainer than that, can I, darlings???)

On sale nationwide in two weeks!

And then, for the historical lovers among us (of which I am one!) here is my historical novella Christmas collection “Christmas on the Frontier”.

This three-novella book takes you back to a simpler time… but faith, hope and love still ruled the day as we built this great nation.

Three great pioneer Christmas stories bring us back to a simpler time… maybe a holier time… a time before Christmas became synonymous with commercialism. A time when a baby in the manger was enough to make us bow our heads… take a knee… pray as one. A time to be grateful for the little things. A time when little was taken for granted because our very hold on life and liberty was tenuous back then and no one had the luxury to be jaded.

 

“Her Christmas Cowboy”, “A Town Called Christmas” and “His Beloved Bride” make up a wonderful collection from my heart… to yours.

I’m also giving away two Kindle copies of “Christmas on the Frontier” today…. to start your November off right.

Leave a comment about holidays below… what you love? What you don’t love! What makes you laugh or cry? Are you a Hallmark binge watcher? Or a binge reader? Are you Pinterest crazy? Or do you wing it with cookies from Wegmans or Harris Teeter and a Stouffer’s lasagna in the oven?

Because there’s value and joy in both ways!

Four winners today to kick off our Christmas season, then rejoin me in a month when we celebrate Christmas novellas here with the fillies… and I’ll be giving away copies again. Keepin’ it simple. Keepin’ it real. Keepin’ it prayerful in times of trouble…

“For unto you is born this day a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign unto you. You will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Luke 2, 11-12

Oh, those shepherds! Those angels!

Can you even imagine what that must have been like?

And today I get to kick of this holy and happy season with you! Bring on the eggnog, my friends! And the cookies. (Who doesn’t love cookies?) And let us rejoice together!

 

 

 

Spring in My Step! (But Watch Where You’re Walking!)

A wheel changes everything….

First, I am in love with historic farming and ranching stuff…

And spinning wheels.

And mills….

I love seeing the ingenuity that went into these early machines before the Industrial Revolution went BERSERK and changed the face of the world as we know it with manufacturing, mass production, electricity, light bulbs and trains… Oh mylanta, that was a busy century!!! And the next one? The one we just packed away?

Pretty busy, too!!!

My upcoming contemporary Western series for Love Inspired is set in Idaho… because I love Northern cowboys and the world has so many of them thar Texas cowboys… So I like to give my northern folk a shout-out… a chance to show what it’s like to deal with animals and births and deaths all four seasons because the rigors of a ranch winter are pretty rugged.  The first book comes out mid-July:  “Her Cowboy Reunion”. This series is all about what happens when three Steel Magnolias inherit 75% of a mega ranch in Western Idaho… while the oldest sister’s first love owns the other 25%. It’s a perfect set up for a poignant reunion romance…. one that I love!

And then we follow this up with a surprise Christmas novella with my friend Linda Goodnight… and who wouldn’t want to work with Goodnight? She’s totally adorable which does not stop me from making fun of her… That Western  novella (also part of the Shepherd’s Crossing series) hits the shelves in mid-late November…. and then the second sister’s story is being released in February 2019… And that gets us off and running with “Shepherd’s Crossing”!

I’ve probably mentioned this before, the  “Last American Cowboy” series, a look inside three Montana ranches… I’ve used this video presentation for some background research (and I use Mary Connealy and her cowboy husband for research, too, because life in Nebraska with cows is pretty close to what I’m playing with… sans a mountain or two!)

 

No matter what the season, Cowboy church and Western faith have always drawn me…

But now we’ve got the hope of spring. Around here the hope of spring means one thing. Mud.

A lot of mud.

And mud with big animals becomes, well… mud and cow manure. Or mud and horse manure. And if fields get too wet, animals can ingest nasty little bugs or worms that make them sick…. but while you might get a mention of this in a book, you won’t get too much of the details because there is little romance in smelly mud!

Writers sometimes have to gloss over the down-and-dirty parts of farm and ranch life because they’re not reader-friendly, and that’s okay… but then we have to make sure that we keep the rest of life “real” with asides to the problems of weather and seasonal change, and we can do that with calves getting caught up in mud and needing a rescue.

Cue the hero or heroine!

Or kids tripping and falling into mud and needing a complete hosing… before the bath. 🙂

Authors love dogs!!!

Dogs are great at demonstrating the changing conditions of weather and ground conditions… a wet dog that shakes and soaks people nearby… The smell of wet dog…. a snow-covered dog, or a dog (like mine!) that gets little snowballs along the feathery hairs on her legs… a hot dog, slumped in the shade and unmoving in the heat of summer could be the same muddy dog that won’t be allowed in the house before he gets the hose… Not too many ranch dogs are carted to the dog wash in the suburbs.  Making the elements and setting fit the story… and the genre… is part of my job. And you know I love my job!

I’ve got a shameless plug coming below for my current Love Inspired, but right now we’re talking the essence of seasons and how that gets woven through your stories without just stating the season…

The dog barometer and the cattle and horse barometers are really good at this.  Kids, too… kids in shorts with dirt-smeared sweaty faces… whiny kids…. cooped up kids…. So many ways you can show the perils of the season via activity… or slop.

But I don’t like to linger too long in the “slop” unless it’s something causing grave harm to the farm or ranch and in that case…

The mud sometimes takes center stage.

Right now I’ve got this absolutely beautiful Love Inspired story in stores and online. It’s a great story of a mother’s sacrificial love and God’s perfect timing…. And while I’m chompin’ at the bit for that next Western,. I gotta confess… I am over-the-moon in love with this sweet story set in the hills and lakes of Western New York… 🙂 

So how do you battle or slog through the muddy times of life? Do you bear up? Or want to lash out irrationally? And aren’t we so blessed to have washers and dryers???? Tell us about your taxing season… and it can be emotional, physical or just a pain in the part that sits the saddle… What do you do to make it work?

 “Her Secret Daughter Link to Amazon”

Her Secret Daughter, a story ripped from the headlines before there were headlines.

 

Josie Gallagher has plenty of reasons to be wary of Jacob Weatherly—considering he’s working for the hotel chain that’s forcing her restaurant to close. But when he shows up there with a little girl by his side—her little girl—she’s dismayed. How has this bachelor wound up with custody of the baby Josie placed with a married couple six years ago? The handsome hotel executive has no idea that Addie is Josie’s biological child, and Josie can’t afford to tell him. As he helps save her business, Josie and Jacob unexpectedly grow closer. But will her secret stand in the way of their happily-ever-after?

 

Take Your Heroine To Work Day!

We all know why we love a great hero. Maybe because they’re larger than life. Maybe because they NEVER leave the gas tank empty or they take out the garbage when it’s overflowing or they drag those cans back up the driveway without being asked… just so we don’t have to do it.

 

Okay, that would be FANTASY WORLD here on the farm, and probably in a bunch of places! In our house the division of duties generally falls on the female of the species, and honestly… I’ve learned that teaching myself how to do things is way better than waiting for someone to do it for me. And in doing that, I’ve strengthened my heroines by default.

 

One heroine learned how to lay tile on a floor after I installed our woodstove tile and floor…

And she opened her own bakery after learning the ins and outs in a big commercial grocery store bakery… and the fact that my night job when I first got published was working in a commercial bakery didn’t hurt! 🙂

One heroine ran a sheep farm in the North Country using the STAR method… We don’t have sheep here, but we’ve got the farm!

Kayla Dougherty was a hospice nurse, based on the great hospice nurses who helped us through my mother’s cancer…

Restaurant? Waitress? A prodigal daughter comes home to help run her family’s small-town restaurant. My eleven years of waiting tables and being headwaitress at the end came in handy here…

Meg in “Small Town Hearts” ran a candy store in Jamison, New York… and guess who loves, loves, loves to make candy for holiday trays??? 🙂

After waiting tables I was offered a job as a bridal consultant at a local bridal store… I grabbed that chance to work in one of the most fun environments you can imagine… and with SO MUCH TO LEARN because I am no one’s fashionista!!! I am the opposite of fashion-savvy so I had to learn everything from the get-go. Hardest job I ever jumped into, and the most fun… And this laid the groundwork for the Grace Haven series where three sisters step in to help their mother’s event-planning business, focusing on weddings! The Gallagher girls got the best of my long-time experience, and we had so much fun!

I used that same experience for a sweet novella contracted by Harper Christian “All Dressed Up In Love”, a story of a young about-to-be lawyer who really wants to run a wedding shop and the hard-nosed lawyer who inherits the wedding gown shop when his mother passes away… and the last thing he wants is to run this store because he’s got plans… BIG PLANS!!!… and he’s also got a heart and can’t bear to see his mother’s employees and friends all out of a job. Set in Old City, Philadelphia, I drew on my experience and eight years of having boys at Penn to fill in the blanks.

Now I get that not everyone has had to hold the number of nametag and hairnet jobs that I’ve done in order to make ends meet… but the huge blessing of that was that I got first-hand experience in so many facets of real-life jobs and now I can apply them to characters and settings!

Readers are not only intuitive, they’re smart. They don’t have to have held these jobs to rationalize the reality from the made-up story. Those grains of reality are what make a story’s heart beat. They’re what cause a person to set a book on a keeper shelf and not in the donation pile… although I don’t mind being donated so that other folks get a taste of what I’m sellin’!!! 🙂

 

I’ve never lived in the West or run a ranch, so for that I take 3 parts farm life, 2 parts knowing men and how funny they are, 2 parts common sense, 2 parts research and one part Chaps and it’s a right solid recipe for creating a Western series. My Double S Series was so much fun to write… and later this year the first book of my Shepherd’s Crossing series will release from Love Inspired! Oh be still my heart, writing cowboys is fun… but then so is writing lawmen and military heroes and farmers and contractors.

This year I bought myself a bunch of power tools. My favorite one is the heavy duty cordless drill that drives screws into place. I’ve built two chicken coops (and made mistakes!) but now my heroine can make the same mistakes and it will sound real because it is!

I don’t like the pneumatic hammer… it’s too hard for me to hold the nail gun up high, I’m short and don’t have that upper body strength, dagnabbit… but I LOVE A GOOD HAMMER!

I put a roof on… badly…. ooops. But the next roof was better! 🙂

Drawing on our lives, our friends’ lives, our jobs, our experiences is a great way to round out those heroines and make them the kind of strong, forward-focused women who can match your hero step-for-step.

I love a strong heroine who’s based in old-time values, appreciates a smokin’ hot hero, and gets the job done… even when the job seems impossible, kind of what sweet Kelsey faced when lake effect snow off of Lake Erie forced her off the road and into the arms of an amazing small town… and gave her reason to renew the two friendships that got her through years of foster care as a Philadelphia teen. “Welcome to Wishing Bridge” might not be a western, ladies and gents, but it’s got the great small-town values we love and the beauty of promises kept… even when they’re old.

Because if my heroines can achieve their goals, there’s a better chance for a long and happy marriage. Pretend, of course.

But happy, nonetheless! 🙂

And for today I’ve got a sweet offering for you guys. Own it before you can buy it!

I’ve got a copy of “Her Secret Daughter” to send to some lucky person… leave a comment below… tell me what kind of heroines appeal to you? Shy? Introverted? Insecure? Or plucky? In-your-face? Determined?

The nice thing is that God made all authors different, so there’s something for everyone!

 

East/West, Home’s Best!

#mustlovecowboys

My new cowboy is a shepherd.

Now there’s an image crisis there, because we see shepherds differently than we see cowboys.

Cowboys are square-shouldered, horse-back riding, Stetson hat wearing, maybe even gun-totin’ working men. This is the cover of book one of my Double S Ranch Series….

www.ruthloganherne.com

Shepherds make us think of Bethlehem… long cloaks, robes, cinched waists and sandals.

But in the American West, that image doesn’t cut it. In my upcoming “Shepherd’s Crossing” series with Love Inspired, four sisters inherit a share of a sprawling, beautiful western Idaho sheep ranch developed by their uncle, one of the heirs to a publishing empire years before. When the girls’ father embezzles money from their mega-publishing empire, leaving millions of dollars in unanswered debt, the girls are left to fare for themselves… but when their uncle leaves them the ranch– well MOST of it– the girls see a chance to begin anew.

Of course the other part of the ranch goes to a smokin’ hot cowboy hero who has a significant past with the oldest sister, but that was a dozen years before… and the last thing he wants to do is share the ranch he’s worked for twelve years with a bunch of Steel Magnolias sporting impressive university degrees and no knowledge of sheep or the ruggedness of a northern winter.

But the west isn’t The West anymore… like so many changes in the past forty years, the demographics of sheep farming have weakened in the hills of Idaho. The fleece and lamb market faded, farmers sold off, and modern irrigation methods have made unprofitable land arable again, so that hay is beginning to edge the famous Idaho potato out of it’s esteemed #1 position. WHAT????? SAY IT AIN’T SO! Irish gals love their potatoes!!!!

And the big game hunters who lobbied for Bighorn sheep to be brought back to Idaho, don’t want farm sheep roaming the hills in the annual sheep walks… They’re afraid that the domestic sheep carry germs/bacteria that sicken the Bighorns.

An industry torn, and change ensues… with hay and cattle encroaching on what had been Spanish Basque shepherding practices for decades.

Setting a romance in the West is the easy part… making it real to the reader, bringing them into the hills of Western Idaho, the rolling bluffs giving way to mountain peaks, letting them see the sheep heading into the hills, guided by Peruvian shepherds now… Swarthy-skinned men, recruited from the mountains of Peru, here to make a new life, guiding sheep on the annual brush-clearing trek, now threatened by change.

So much has changed but brown-skinned cowboy shepherds still prevail, and in this series we bring the true diversity of today’s America to the helm… Mixed sheep and mixed races sprinkle the landscape like spring wildflowers, natural and good. And that’s the beauty of writing today’s romance.

Publishers want it real. They want it relevant. They want that romance front and center, and what better way to create conflict than thrusting people out of the comfort zone completely? Lizzie Fitzgerald wanted the career her father eschewed, the career crafted by her grandfather and great-grandfather, publishing icons in their time.  She was born to step into their shoes but her modern technology and her father’s greed left her with no company… and even cost her job with a Boston paper. And now she’s here, face-to-face with her first love, the man who fathered her lost child… and never lifted a finger to help.

Setting this series in the hills, mountains and valleys of Idaho is absolute pleasure. The Northwest allows all kinds of weather, excitement, danger and good old-fashioned ranching at its best, even as times change, people leave the land for urban development (oh, those SILLY PEOPLE!!!) and story-tellers like me re-create one of the most iconic and beloved images of our time and times past…

The American Cowboy. 

This series begins next year, but I’ve got a copy of  my just-released Christmas duo with Jillian Hart to give away today! Leave a comment and we’ll tuck your name into Colt Stafford’s big ol’ Resistol hat….  And as you read these beautiful holiday stories, you’ll share in the joy of the upcoming holiday season and sweet, sweet romance.

And while most of us live life in small towns, cozy nooks, or urban streets and suburban neighborhoods, the romance of cowboy lore… and the American West… goes on.

 

Except in Baseball where this New York Yankee will be cheering for PINSTRIPES all the way during the post-season!!! 🙂

 

 

Four Season Cowboys

I love northern cowboys.

It’s not that I’ve got anything against all those smokin’ hot Southern cowboys, or the rugged, Stetson-wearing men of the Southwest…

It’s snow.

And wind.

And avalanches.

Blizzards.

Calving.

Gathering animals or spreading hay to keep them strong in adverse conditions.

I love this series:

It’s the kind of grit and guts that either draws you in or sends you running!

I was totally drawn into the lives of the Stucky, Hughes and Galt families and their ranches.

 

Animals are survivors by nature. You’ve only got to look out your window at birds and squirrels and ants and rats and mice and snakes to realize that without any human intervention, animals survive.

But in a for-profit operation, it’s crucial for as many to survive as possible. And that’s where the true cowboy comes in. Or the rugged farmer, dedicated to his farm/ranch no matter what part of the country he hails from.

I’ve noticed distinct differences between Eastern and Western ranches. Eastern ranches tend to house cattle overwinter. Western ranches let the animals roam.

Western ranches use SUVs, utility vehicles and horses to gather and monitor their spreads, and their spreads often cover thousands of acres.

Eastern ranches tend to be in the hundreds of acres, marked with hedgerows spawned by being in Eastern woodlands.

The physical differences are notable, but the intrinsic love for their job, their animals, their stock, their families… that’s universal. Success arises from sacrifice, and that’s what we love about a cowboy story. The sacrificial component of their life, their choices, appeal to us!

Which then makes the cowboy the Almost Perfect Hero.

Of course he can’t be perfect.

Perfect is boring and gets old real quick.

But the profile of a cowboy, the hard-working sacrificial nature makes them great romance hero material.

Now here’s the REALITY: They get annoyed. Grumpy. Mad at the weather and forces of nature… Very few stay even-tempered when their livelihood, family, stock, homes are threatened.

But that’s normal. We wouldn’t want a hero to gloss off everything. We want him to buck up and stand strong and get back on the horse and keep on trying. Because that’s what a hero does.

They don’t give up.

Do you have favorite heroes? Who are they?

Name me your favorite hero to be tucked into a drawing for a copy of the second book of my Double S Ranch cowboy series… “Home on the Range”….

He doesn’t have to be a Western hero… any hero will do.

I want to know what appeals to you, like the northern cowboy appeals to me.

I brought coffee… and peach pie. I might be a Yankee… but I make an absolutely amazing peach pie!

 

RUTHY’S WINNER FROM AUGUST 31!!!!!  DEANNE, YOUR NAME CAME OUT OF THE COWBOY HAT FOR A COPY OF “HOME ON THE RANGE”! E-mail Ruthy at loganherne@gmail.com and she’ll get your snail mail! 

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