Every so often over the years we have changes in the Filly lineup. Our hearts were saddened when Margaret Brownley announced she was leaving. We didn’t want to lose her but we didn’t want to hold her back either. You see, she met this handsome man and fell in love. They recently married and plan to travel. Our hearts are sighing. Nothing’s more perfect for making a bunch of romance writers! We wish the happy couple a long and wonderful life together.
Sooo…we welcome a new Filly. You’re gonna adore her. The awesome and talented Cathy McDavid has put her horse in the corral and settling in. We’re just so happy she’s here.
Cathy’s been penning Westerns for Harlequin since 2005. With over 50 titles in print and 1.5 million-plus books sold, She is also a member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll. This “almost” Arizona native and mother of grown twins is married to her own real-life sweetheart. After leaving the corporate world seven years ago, she now spends her days writing stories about good looking cowboys riding the range, busting broncs, and sweeping gals off their feet — oops, no. Make that winning the hearts of feisty, independent women who give the cowboys a run for their money. It a tough job, but she’s willing to make the sacrifice. 🙂
Cathy’s first post will be Thursday, June 24th and we want you all to drop by and give her a big warm welcome that we’re famous for. And check out her books. CLICK HERE for the link. Her newest release is HOW TO MARRY A COWBOY. Yee-Haw!
A big thank you to everyone who dropped by earlier in the week to talk about horsepower. I threw all the names in a virtual hat, and drew one out – the winner is
Congratulations Kristen. Just select which book you want (you can find a list at https://www.winniegriggs.com/booklist.html ) and send the title and your mailing info out to me via the contact form on my website.
Our family recently travelled from Denver to Orlando, then up to the Outer Banks area of North Carolina and back to Denver making a giant loop. We stopped at historical sites all along the way and loved every minute of it (that’s not true, there were a few minutes of bathroom emergencies we could have done without and an encounter with fire ants that was less than pleasant).
In order to see as much as we could I planned ahead. This trip was three weeks and I wanted to make the most of it.
I found a road trip app that let me put in stops and map my route out (I got so much use out of this tool). Confession- I became slightly addicted to this app. It was so much fun! If you zoomed in on an area it would show you suggestions of things to see there and with one click you could add it to your route. Not only was this awesome for finding stops for our road trip, it was also fantastic for finding lesser-known pieces of history.
Today I want to tell you about Douglas the Camel (and his friends). I zoomed in near Vicksburg, Mississippi and discovered Ironclad ships, a coca cola museum and the Grave of Douglas the camel. Most people would have clicked the little x but wouldn’t read on, because who has time because who has time for a camel grave while on vacation, but I’m an author of historical novels and am always on the lookout for historical tidbits. So, I of course read more. Not only did I learn about Douglas who fought with the 43rd Mississippi Infantry, Company A (also known as the camel company), died in this battle and was rumored to have been eaten by Union soldiers but I went down a rabbit hole and discovered more.
Jefferson Davies (before becoming the President of the Confederacy) was Secretary of War for the U.S. and he gathered funding to have camels shipped to the US for use in the conflicts in the southwest and for exploration. The idea was that they would do better on long journeys and in areas with less water. The experiment was granted funding and soon camels were brought from the Mediterranean and North Africa. To the founders of the project’s dismay, they proved unmanageable and spooked the horses. Essentially the project failed and the camels were sold at auctions to work in circuses and in mines (among other things). Some even were let go and roamed the American southwest for years.
My imagination has been running since learning about Douglas (one of the few camels to actually fight in the civil war). I’ve been wondering about the other camels, and ideas of camels and cowboys have been running through my brain like a stampede.
A lot of my story ideas start with a trigger moment. One tour of an old post office and Yours Truly, Thomas started percolating. One mention of orphan trains and The Hope of Azure Springs niggled its way into the forefront of my brain. One viewing of Blossoms in the Dust and I wanted to write A Life Once Dreamed and one handsome dentist husband led me to writing A Lady in Attendance.
Will Camels meandering across the American southwest become a story? I don’t know, but I love that I now know about Douglas and the failed camel experiment that left these hardy desert animals behind!
Rachel Fordham is the author of The Hope of Azure Springs, Yours Truly, Thomas, and A Life Once Dreamed. Fans expect stories with heart, and she delivers, diving
deep into the human experience and tugging at reader emotions. She loves connecting with people, traveling to new places, and daydreaming about future
projects that will have sigh-worthy endings and memorable characters. She is a busy mom, raising both biological and foster children (a cause she feels passionate
about). She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.
Today, Rachel is giving away a signed copy of A Lady in Attendance. To be entered in the random drawing answer this question–What’s the most interesting or unusual historical fact you’ve discovered on a vacation or when reading?
He and another brother, Kevin, showed up to claim their inheritance left them by a father they’d believed died twenty years ago.
Naturally they’re confused and angry.
They arrive to find a third brother who was supposed to inherit half his mother’s ranch–but his no account father inherits it when their ma dies, but never makes any use of it. Let’s Wyatt and sister Cheyenne do all the work while he lazes away and wanders near and far.
Wyatt was supposed to split the ranch with Cheyenne. Instead his older half-sister is cut out completely and this two ‘surprise’ brothers get a third along with Wyatt.
Cheyenne is so mad she’s dangerous to be around.
And even so, she’s drawn to Falcon and he to her.
But Falcon has amnesia. Every time he tries to remember his head hurts until it almost knocks him down. But he’d fighting to remember and flashes of memory make him worried he’s abandoned a wife just like his father. Too bad he got that flash of a wife while he held Cheyenne in his arms…and called her Patsy.
He wasn’t sure how long he’d been hunkered down there when a movement to his right brought his head up, his eyes were almost blurred through the pain.
“Are you bad off?” Kevin rushed to his side and dropped to one knee.
Falcon’s wavering memories slammed shut. Falcon wanted to swing a fist into Kevin’s face and tell him to go away.
Then he thought of what Kevin had just said, and the voice he’d said it in.
“Did you say, uh, once-once s-say,” his memory waivered, “Did you ever say ‘Pa is that you?’ I mean say it to me…ever?”
Kevin’s cheeks turned a ruddy color. One corner of his mouth turned up in an embarrassed smile. For some reason the expression helped Falcon push aside the pain in his head.
“Yep, when you stepped off the train.” Kevin gave Falcon a sharp look, worried, checking him over. Then he rose to his feet. “For just that one second, with you turned mostly away from me, you looked so much like my pa. Uh, our pa, a man I hadn’t seen for twenty years, that I let those words loose. I knew even as they left my mouth you were too young.”
“And you knew Pa was dead, the will and such.”
Kevin gave a little one-shouldered shrug. “Considering I’d known pa was dead for most of those twenty years, and I’d just found out he was dead again. Seeing you and not being all that sure he was dead was easy to flicker though my mind.”
“Is your head still sore? Is it worse? You’ve been moving and acting like you’re feeling fine—except for losing your memory—”
“Yeah,” Falcon interrupted, “Except for that.”
Kevin smirked. “Anyhow, except for that, I thought you were pretty well off. But now you look like you’re hurting bad.”
Falcon didn’t like talking about how weak he felt when he was hunting inside his head. A man needed to hide if he was weak. The weak were prey. Supper. Animals and people were both dangerous. “Aren’t you supposed to be in the kitchen arguing?”
“I reckon. But I can’t add much to it, and they’re yelling just fine without my help.” Kevin reached a hand down to Falcon, who, after thinkin’ it over a bit, took the hand and let Kevin haul him to his feet.
It was a good strong yank. Falcon was eye-to-eye with his brother. Their eyes matched. They both had a little dip in the center of their chin. Beyond that, they didn’t look much alike. Falcon was an inch or so taller than Kevin. Probably broader. They both had brown hair but Falcon’s was darker, straighter.
“When you went missing,” Kevin swallowed hard, “when we thought you were dead, it made me sad to think a brother I never knew, was now a brother I never would know.”
Kevin clapped him on the shoulder and it was a gentle slap. Kevin was acting like Falcon was fragile. Prey. Though Kevin didn’t seem to be hunting.
Falcon met his gaze. “A brother. And you had a little sister and brother. I-I don’t think I had anyone else. Except, I think…a wife.”
“A wife?” Kevin’s brows arched.
“I had a flash of memory. Patsy. I can see her face and a cabin. We were married I think. Were or are married.”
“You don’t remember anything else?”
“I remember I had a mule named Harvey, and I remembered a man’s voice, you I guess, sayin’, ‘Pa, is that you?’”
“That was when you stepped off the train in Bear Claw Pass. You came out here on the train, and arrived the same morning I came riding in with my family. And you heard what Tuttle said about Independence. So you had a run-in with him back there.”
“And then I went missing later that day I got off the train?”
“Did I say anything else?”
Kevin stood quiet, thinking. “When I said, Pa, is that you. You said, “Ain’t no one’s pa, Mister.”
Falcon straightened. “I said that?”
“So, I didn’t abandon my children?”
That struck Kevin into a dead quiet. All there in his eyes. That their pa had abandoned them. That Falcon didn’t want to be that kind of man. “Have you been worrying that you might’ve done that?”
Falcon shrugged, but he was feeling better. The pain lessening in his head and his heart. “I thought of Patsy’s name when I was—was—” He snapped his mouth shut. He must’ve taken a beaten on his head to’ve almost blurted that out.
Falcon didn’t know what he must look like but it had to be tellin’ Kevin something. And suddenly Falcon was glad he had a brother, because maybe talking to a brother would help him a little.
He looked at the door to the hallway which led to the kitchen. Plenty of squabbling in there still. Dropping his voice, looking between the door and Kevin, he said, “I thought of Patsy’s name, said it out loud, when I-I,” he cleared his throat ’cuz it was clogging shut. “When I had my arms around…Cheyenne.”
Kevin staggered back, caught himself, his eyes round as twenty-dollar gold pieces. Whispering didn’t hide the shock. “You and Cheyenne?”
Falcon nodded. Afraid now she’d somehow heard and would come charging into this room looking to pound on him worse than the rocks in that stream had. He’d already lost his whole past. What else did he have to lose?
“And called out another woman’s name after?”
Honest, it was more during, but Falcon didn’t see any reason to mention that. Bad enough he’d thought of another woman, but to have said her name out loud—and now Kevin saying it out loud, it all helped him feel even worse. Which surprised him because he wouldn’t’ve believed he could feel much worse.
“And you’re still alive?”
Falcon was alive. He was standing right there. And still… “I’m a little surprised myself.”
Falcon Hunt awakens without a past, or at least not one he can recall. He’s got brothers he can’t remember, and he’s interested in the prettiest woman in the area, Cheyenne. Only trouble is, a few flashes of memory make Falcon wonder if he’s already married. He can’t imagine abandoning a wife. But his pa did just that–twice. When Falcon claims his inheritance in the West, Cheyenne is cut out of the ranch she was raised on, leaving her bitter and angry. And then Falcon kisses her, adding confusion and attraction to the mix.
Soon it’s clear someone is gunning for the Hunt brothers. When one of his brothers is shot, Falcon and Cheyenne set out to find who attacked him. They encounter rustled cattle, traitorous cowhands, a missing woman, and outlaws that take all their savvy to overcome. As love grows between these two independent people, Falcon must piece together his past if they’re to have any chance at a future.
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I know I always say I had such fun writing a book, but I seriously had such fun writing this story. The characters climbed inside my head then wound their way into my heart. I was so sad to write the last few pages. However, since this is a series, I know these two wonderful characters will pop up again!
Zadie Redmond is a woman full of mystery and secrets, mostly because it’s the only way to keep herself and those she cares about safe. And she’s a woman full of contradictions.
If things had gone according to plan, she’d be performing as a prima ballerina, dancing on stages across the globe. Instead, she was remodeling a home she would most likely never own, scraping pond scum from beneath her chipped nails, and teaching the basics of ballet to a group of country kids who arrived for their lessons wearing cowboy boots with their leotards.
Knox Strickland is a Deputy in Harney County, based in his tiny little hometown of Summer Creek, Oregon. He’s a good guy who always goes above and beyond, and he truly cares about people.
When he’s not evading grabby-handed octogenarians, mentoring troubled teens, or rescuing rascally youngsters from disaster, Deputy Knox Strickland can be found upholding the law in the eastern Oregon region he patrols. He avoids making plans for tomorrow, focusing instead on doing his best today. Then one chance encounter with a beautiful woman in a wheat field turns his world upside down. Knox is left questioning what secrets she’s hiding, and how hard he’ll have to work to scale the fortress she’s built around her heart.
I may or may not have developed a teeny-weeny crush on Knox. He’s just so… swoony!
Here’s one of my favorite fun scenes in the story:
“Well, hello there, Captain America,” Jossy said in a teasing, seductive voice that made Zadie giggle.
“I’m standing right here, you know,” Nate said, scowling at his wife.
“Yes, you are, and you look so adorable, Nate.” Jossy smiled at her husband, then smirked at Zadie, “but this girl should magically turn him into her own personal superhero.”
“Don’t get any ideas.” Zadie frowned at Jossy, then turned to ogle the man dressed as a popular comic book hero. Making a mental inventory of his attire, she started her observation at his feet, covered by a pair of black lace-up military boots. Dark blue cargo pants fit the guy like a glove, highlighting his thick thighs and trim waist. In fact, thoughts of Knox and the teasing comments she’d made about his interest in being a tight end came to mind. Zadie noted the impressive form visible beneath the man’s long-sleeved blue T-shirt. She was sure what the fabric hugged were real muscles, not the foam or inflatable ones often worn with a costume. He had on a Captain America hat, wore leather holsters over both shoulders, and carried a replica of the Captain America shield. He turned slightly, and his profile certainly looked like one an all-American hero might possess.
Something about the strong, square jawline seemed oddly familiar. Then he looked over his shoulder, and Zadie’s jaw fell open. The hunky guy in the hero costume wasn’t a stranger after all.
“Knox? He’s Captain America?” Zadie whispered, feeling things she’d rather not acknowledge or explain, even to herself.
“The one and only,” Jossy said in a sing-song voice, then gave Zadie a nudge forward just as a loud pop signaled the beginning of the parade.
Zadie found herself pushed along and glanced up to see Knox looking down at her. He’d somehow finagled his way back through the line to walk beside her.
“You are the most gorgeous fairy I’ve ever seen,” he said, giving her an admiring glance.
Her cheeks warmed as she tried not to stare at the muscles of his chest, perfectly outlined by the tight T-shirt. “You look …”
“Ridiculous,” Knox grumbled. “My friend Wes’s wife suggested this would be a good costume. I already had the pants. The shirt and other stuff were easy to find when I was in Portland. She told me to get the shirt on the snug side.” He sighed and swept a hand in front of his chest. “I look like an idiot.”
Idiot was not the first, or even fortieth, word Zadie would have chosen to describe Knox’s appearance. Hunk. Hottie. Captain Cutie all came to mind.
Now that you’ve had a little introduction to Knox, what do you think? Would you want to live in Summer Creek where he’s on duty?
Summer Creek is one of those small towns—the kind brimming with quirky inhabitants, pets with personalities (like a meandering goat named Ethel), meddling matchmakers, tumbling-down old buildings, and dreams. So many dreams. These sweet, uplifting romances explore the ties that bind a community together when they unite for a common purpose and open their hearts to unexpected possibilities. Heart, humor, and hope weave through each story, touching the lives of those who call Summer Creek home.
Readers who love Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series and RaeAnne Thayne’s Haven Point series will enjoy coming home to Summer Creek.
If you pre-order your ebook by June 21 (at the special price of $2.99) you can go to THIS FORMand enter your purchase number to receive access to a Bonus Bundle. The Bonus Bundle includes a short story featuring a day in the life of Knox, a Zadie-approved recipe, and some other fun goodies like coloring pages with Ethel the goat!
To enter for a chance to win a copy of Distracting the Deputy,
post one thing you enjoy reading about in small town romances.
Have you ever noticed the restlessness of people? We’re rather a shiftless lot and maybe for the most part it’s due to getting bored with our surroundings. I’m not one to embrace change. I’m not spontaneous and I’m not brave. I’m a Taurus and we like deep roots that go down into the earth. The kind that takes a bulldozer to get out. But I’ve just completed a move from one city to another and I’m totally exhausted.
I envy the people in Biblical days who threw a burlap bag stuffed full of their belongings onto a camel and took off across the desert.
We humans have stuff—a lot of stuff, most of which takes five men and a boy to lift. My kids have threatened me with bodily harm if I buy another tote bag, piece of clothing or jacket. I do have a lot but I need them all
As with each move, I’ve said this is the last time. However, I mean this one. Here I will stay.
Unless something entices me.
I’ve thought a lot about women who had to whittle down a houseful of belongings to what would fit in a covered wagon. Did I mention I was not brave? I know in my heart I wouldn’t have been a wife who meekly climbed aboard and rode over some of the roughest country God ever created to settle somewhere unknown. They left family and friends. Everything they knew.
It must’ve been very hard.
A dear writer friend of mine is packing up in a few months and moving to Mexico. By herself. Far away from the life she knows here. I can’t imagine doing that.
But then a lot of people live abroad. One of my readers joined the U.S. Civil Service when she was younger and lived overseas for a good number of years working with other nationalities.
Did I mention I was a big chicken?
So I guess my point is…I have a reason for moving. I wanted to be near my children. See my grandkids. Get acquainted with my two-year-old great grandson who doesn’t know me or what to even call me. It’s time to fix that. So I am.
I’m settling in and have most everything unpacked. I’m planting my flag. This is it. I mean it.
What is the farthest you’ve ever moved? Did you lose anything? I lost an entire medicine cabinet full of essentials.
Oh, and I welcome any name suggestions my great grandson can call me. Just simple ones.