Getting an eight-book contract for my Hearts Crossing Ranch series meant that a whole lotta little brainstorms had to burst into real stories. Quick. Like spores or viruses. As things progressed, (Book Five Soul Food is out Friday and I’m currently editing Angel Child, Book Six) I was rather amazed at how often my real life mixed into the inspirations that came my way.
Book One, Hearts Crossing Ranch itself is set on a city slicker wagon train trip, not unlike the trip around the Tetons my husband and I recently took. Although I wrote the book first, I’d done enough research so that details in the book were surprisingly accurate when all was said, done and explored.
In Book Two, Redeeming Daisy, a cowboy veterinarian has to deal with a fatally ill black Labrador, a heart-rending experience I based on the loss of our own sweet Marley. (Here she is, left, with her brother who also has since crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Sigh.)
Book Three, Sanctuary, the book of my heart of hearts, glorifies the love, hope and faith of two cancer survivors…based on my own husband (who is four -years cancer free, thank God) and a dear family friend who is battling glioma and desperately needs your prayers.
Book Four, Right to Bragg, deals with a painful rupture among family members who are supposed to love each other, and sadly, echoes an estrangement with my own sibling that I still ache over. Aw, yeah, I bawled when I got to the end of that one. Maybe next Christmas…
Soul Food, Book Five which comes out on Friday….what to do? I could do no less than name the heroine after my own beloved niece, Kelley. Truth is, the timing is perfect. She was married just last Saturday in a beautiful Art Deco building in Southern California to a real sweetheart named Jason (yes, he lent his name to the hero.)
I had the honor of making her practice bouquet out of her shower ribbons…and to receive a cluster of dark lilies like hers at the reception to honor my hubby’s and my long-term marriage which inspires her!
Although my five-year old grandson chickened out of his ring-bearer duties (he was adorable anyway), I also had the honor of reading the couple’s favorite poem. Although it has nothing to do with Soul Food, I can’t help but reprise it now. By e.e. cummings. Which likely explains all the parentheticals in my post today.
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful, you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you.
here is the deepest secret nobody knows.
(here is the root of the root, and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope, or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
Well, the real Kelley is an artist, not a vegetarian with a failing restaurant, and definitely not a cowgirl. Nonetheless, Kelley, this one’s for you! May your and Jason’s own love story be a million pages long.
With her restaurant on the brink of failure, Kelley Martin comes back home to Hearts Crossing Ranch both to renew her spirit and make some quick cash as chuck cook on the family’s famed city slicker wagon train adventures. Falling for handsome temporary geneticist Jason Easterday is definitely not on her list of things to do. And despite her wavering faith, Jason’s lack thereof shows her there’s no future for them…even if his kisses indicate otherwise.
Always on the move, Jason Easterday has lived his life searching for…something. When he meets Kelley Martin and allows God into his life, Jason feels he’s finally found his place. With Kelley at his side, he’ll have a home of his own and a wife to adore. But Kelley won’t give him the time of day, and she’s leaving town to return to her ex. Now, he must find a way to hold his ground, get her back, and remain where his heart has led him.
If ya leave a comment today, I’ll draw a name to win Books Three and Four. They are pdf. (That might get you salivating for Book Five. Yeah!)