Tag: Ruth Logan Herne

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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