This Writer was a-Rocking and a-Rolling

 Kate Whittaker will never get a husband

as long as she keeps shocking

the town with her newfangled inventions.


I’m happy to announce that one of my early books is now available on Kindle and iPad (Nook coming).   This book brings back a lot of memories: some good, some bad. 


While I was madly trying to meet my deadline, the Northridge earthquake struck and my house was practically destroyed. Even worse, my son’s apartment slid off its foundation and he and his wife and baby barely got out alive.  Though many roads were closed, they were able to make it safely to us.


We set up a crib on the front lawn and that’s where we lived while waiting for the city inspector to tell us if the house was safe enough to enter.  One thing worked in our favor; though the earthquake struck in January the weather was sunny and warm.  I don’t know what we would have done otherwise.


If having your roof practically cave in while on deadline isn’t bad enough, the earthquake occurred five days before my daughter’s wedding.  Out of town guests who had already arrived pretty much had to fend for themselves.   I was too busy trying to find an open store so we could purchase diapers.


When phone service resumed, we tried rescheduling the wedding, but reception halls were booked for a year and my daughter didn’t want to wait that long.  So, we set up “wedding central” on the front lawn next to the baby crib and got busy. 


People bent over backward to help us. The church had suffered damages but we were assured it would be ready to go by that Saturday.  Same for the country club where the reception was scheduled.


The news wasn’t so good for the severly damaged mall  where the wedding rings waited to be sized.  Fortunately, management worked with us and we were able to retrieve the rings just in the nick of time. The photographer had set up shop on a sidewalk, but he assured as he was good to go.  Ditto for the caterers and musicians. Many roads and freeways were closed and one of the hardest chores was rerouting guests. 


On the third day of living on the lawn, the UPS man drove up to deliver a wedding gift, and we were able to toast our good fortune with the only unbroken drinking glasses for miles around.


With the help of friends and family, the wedding went off without a hitch, I wish I could say the same about the house renovations.  I called my editor and got a two week extension on my deadline (which made me wonder what would have to happen to get, say, a month.)  All local hotels were filled, so we had to stay in the house while workers sawed, drilled and hammered.  I lived in a dust cloud for weeks.


While in the middle of writing a scene, I looked down to find a man under my desk pouring silicone into foundation cracks. The smell alone nearly knocked me out, but it was the aftershocks that bothered me the most.  


When  my heroin Kate in Head Over Heels blows up something in the book with one of her inventions, you can be sure that this writer was a-rocking and a-rolling when she wrote it.  Now you know the story behind the story. 


To celebrate our new look,  we’re giving away a grand prize of $100 gift card from either Amazon or B&N, and two prizes of a $25 gift card.  One of our winners could be YOU!  To enter, just say something nice and we’ll take it from there.  Okay, you don’t have to be THAT nice, but you do have to post.


Books can be ordered with a click of the cover






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Margaret has published more than 46 books and is a N.Y. Times Bestselling author and two-time Romance Writers of America Rita Finalist. She writes historical novels set--where else?--in the Old West! She has written for a day time soap and is currently working on a new series. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.

143 thoughts on “This Writer was a-Rocking and a-Rolling”

  1. I bought this book as soon as you posted. What a cover! What a story behind the story.

    It reminded me of folks here who carry on with weddings after hurricanes. Not sure which is worse.

    Hope all is well now.

    Peace, Julie

  2. Wow what a story. That is one amazing story to tell your grandchildren about their parents wedding. Can’t wait to read Kate’s story.

    God Bless

  3. wow Margaret what a nightmare you all had,glad your family was safe,,maybe you could put this in a book someday,,looks like such a good book,thanks for sharing with us

  4. I am so glad we don’t have earthquakes often in my neck of the woods. In fact, in my grandma’s 100 years of living, she experienced her first one last year! Thank goodness it wasn’t bad.
    Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  5. Amazing what one can accomplish when adversity is upon you! Congrats on being a survivor! Luckily everyone was OK! I can’t believe that she only gave you a 2 week extension!

    I’ve been through the aftermath of a devastating tornado- 1992 and 3 hurricanes: 2004 x2 (Francis, Jeanne) and 2005 Wilma. Luckily, I’ve never had to deal with a horrendous earthquake.

  6. Hi Sherry, Funny, I don’t think I’ve ever told this story in print before. The book brought it all back. Fortunately, enough time has elaspsed that we can now all laugh.
    God bless you, too!

  7. Hi Vickie, the one good thing about being a writer, nothing that ever happens goes to waste. Years ago, my son was caught doing something wrong, but he wasn’t worried about the punishment. Nope. He was worried that I might put it in a book. (I did!)

    Have a great weekend!

  8. Hi Amy, your grandmother’s a 100 years? Wow!

    I’m always amazed when I hear about earthquakes in odd places. I think they just had one in Maine.

    Nothing like an earthquake to make you appreciate good old solid ground.

  9. Oh my, Laurie! Three hurricanes and a tornado are enough for anyone to deal with. So far you win the prize for surviving the most natural disasters.

    Thank you for stopping by.


  10. Well, besides having put on a wedding to remember with or without great photos! Don’t let anyone tell you that your family can’t survive adversity. My sister helped her roommate put on a wedding in Louisville 3 days after the huge tornado breakout of 1974.

  11. Wow, Margaret. What a harrowing experience. I had no idea! Made me think of all those writing workshops that tell us to keep making things worse for our characters until it’s time for the happy ending. You couldn’t have written more fictional conflict that you endured. So thankful everyone was safe and that you managed to pull of a wedding and a book in the midst of such chaos. It’s amazing what we can do when push comes to shove, isn’t it?

  12. Wow, Margaret! I haven’t been through an earthquake before but it sure sounds horrible. I’m so glad you made it out ok because you know I love your books 🙂 I’m going over to Amazon to get Head Over Heels.

    Have a great weekend,

  13. Goodness what a story, I have been through a hurricane-but sounds like your story would top mine-there is something about a close call that will shake you up and turn you around and make the world seem a whole lot sweeter along with folks that come out to help when needed.
    I would love to read this story..
    Paula O(

  14. Enjoyed reading your account of that earthquake. I remember how crazy it was for us all, and had heard about many of our friends’ difficulties, but somehow had not heard yours. I can just see you all sitting on the lawn making wedding plans. So glad it all worked out!

  15. I can’t even imagine what you went through, but you carried on.. Good for you.. I know who I would like in my corner in a crisis… I would panic for about 5 minuets and then get to work on finding shelter and helping my family… good for you Margaret.

  16. Hi Anne, nice to see you over here. One little historical note that you might be interested to know: the term “Head Over Heels” was first used by Davy Crockett to describe his own feelings of falling in love.

    Have a great weekend!

  17. I love the title of your new book. I have the first one but unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control, I have missed several months of this year and haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I want to get Waiting for Morning and Head Over Heels to add to my ‘to be read’ stack!


  18. Hi Melissa, yes it was a crazy time for everyone. The worse time was hearing on the news that an apartment building had collapsed and thinking it was my son’s. His was next door!

    Take care and thanks for popping in.

  19. Hi Paula, yes, my experience did seem to make the world a sweeter and kinder place. I now know that when times are tough, people will and do reach out to each other and we’re never really alone.

    Take care and thank you for dropping by.

  20. What a story! What a blessing that you were still able to have the wedding. My son is getting married next month, and there is much to do. I cannot imagine how we would cope if we had to do it under the circumstances that you had! God really took care of you!

  21. Since I stumbled upon your books I have been so touched. I wish I could meet you in person. Your books really do fill my heart with joy. Your talent of writing has given all of your readers a true blessing! Thanks

    Love Cori

  22. HI Margaret – Oh, you bring back many memories for me too. Certainly, you went through much more than I did. I didn’t have a book due, a wedding to plan and my house wasn’t in a shambles. But I LOVED your question. What Would have had to happen to get a one month extension. Writers all over the world are nodding their heads at that one.
    Great blog… Good luck on the books!!

  23. Diane, yes, it was quite an event. The funny thing is that it was the first time we were really organized and got all the wedding plans done in advance. After the earthquake, we practically had to start over…

  24. Oh the story line sounds wonderful. It’s a must read for me, but I love all the fillies books. I as a writer loved your question…To get that one month extension oh yes indeed.

    Love the cover of the book
    Have a great day!!!!

  25. Our house was redone in April and we had to stay in it. I couldn’t cook for days, no shower for two days and the door left open all the time so we had all the flys we did not want. When they finished the house looked completely different. We love it.

  26. Margaret,
    We have very very small earthquakes here in Oklahoma from time to time, but nothing like what you went through! My gosh, that would scare me to death. I know people say that about where I live because of the tornadoes, but at least now we know when they’re coming and can prepare. And what a story about the deadline for your book only being extended 2 weeks! I know you must look back on that time as one of the most harrowing of your life, what with planning a wedding and getting a book done, both in the midst of an earthquake happening! Your book looks great (as always!) so another one goes in the TBR pile. Great post.

  27. Hi Charlene, I forgot! You were right in the middle of things, too! It’s amazing how people living in the same general area had such different experiences. The house next door to me hardly had any damage at all. While a block away houses had to be completely taken down and rebuilt.


  28. Oh, Goldie, you made me shudder. I think I read somewhere that remodeling breaks up more marriages than everything else put together.

    But if you can live through it, it’s worth it! It sounds like you’re really enjoying your new look.

  29. Wow! What an experience! You’re daughter will always have quite a story to tell about her wedding. 🙂 Love your books, and I’d love to win the prize.

  30. What a story. I’m so glad no one was hurt and you even managed to pull off a wedding – amazing! I do think you should have gotten more than two weeks postponement though!

  31. I’m relieved everything turned out okay and nobody was hurt.
    And I’m so glad we don’t have any earthquakes, storms or tornado’s where I live…

  32. Oh Margaret, what an experience. Wow. I remember feeling the rocking and rolling, and my school closed for two days (archdiocese decision) bur we had no damage where I live. What an amazing wedding that must have been. And how resourceful you all are! I cracked up at your remark–what wold it have taken to get a month exertion for the deadline. Sheesh. Best wishes on the e-release!

  33. Hi Catslady, I think I should have gotten more than two weeks’ extension, too, but that particular publisher ran a pretty tight ship. Like the old saying, all’s well that ends well.

    Take care!

  34. WOW I’m SO sorry you went through SO much! But I know God brings us through even the largest of disadters. 🙂

    Please enter me! 🙂 I LOVED Dawn Comes Early and A Lady Like Sarah I KNOW I will love Head over Heels and Waiting for Morning as well!

    ~Amada (pronounced: Chavez

    Exodus 14:14

  35. Oh, Margaret, what a story behind the story! I’m with you I wonder what would have to happen for an editor to give a month extension? And I thought my move from DC back to Wyoming was interfering with my writing…I’ll never complain again. :o)

    The book sounds like a fun read, I’m off to get a copy!


  36. Oh, Margaret, I remember that one very well. We felt it up here in the Owens Valley. It took us a bit to find out where it was, but our emergency equipment went down there to help. My brother died in Bakersfield just a few days later, to add to the diaster. That’s how come I can remember it so well.
    I remember the earthquake in Bakersfield/Tehachapi in 1952. My brother and his family lived on their front lawn during that one.
    We live in a very special area of Calaifornia. My valley is just south of Mammoth Lakes and we get tremors daily! 3.0 and up or we don’t even feel them.
    Makes us tough, huh?

  37. Talk about writing a story under pressure! I’ve never experienced an earthquake but where I live, we’ve been preparing for one for your years. It appears we’re near fault lines and are due for a “big” one. I hope not!

  38. Wow, what a look behind the scenes for that book… amazing what you and your family went through.
    Kate sounds like an interesting character!

  39. HI Mary J: Sorry to bring back sad memories of your brother. I’m familar with your area and have been to Mammoth Lakes numerous times. Not sure I’d like to feel tremors daily, but I guess that’s the price you have to pay for living in such a beautiful place.

  40. Have never felt an earthquake althogh there have been mild ones here in Nebraska.I was on the northwest part of our school when those on the east felt a mild tremor.

    Love knowing the story behind the story while reading books.

    Thank you.

  41. Hi Margaret! What a horrible thing to go through, but thank God you were all safe. At least things can be rebuilt but you can’t replace a person. I remember a small earthquake we had in KC in the 50’s-early 60’s. My mom yelled at my brother and me for jumping on our beds, but we weren’t. Later, we found out it was a small earthquake.

  42. Gee, Connie, I didn’t know that Nebraska had earthquakes, too. Oddly, enough, I’m currently writing a book set in Nebraska, but so far haven’t planned to include any earthquakes.

    Have a fun day and a great weekend!

  43. Hi Cathy, didn’t you have an earthquake close to Kansas City last year? Seems like I heard about one on the news when I was there for a conference? I guess your mom was surprised to find out it wasn’t your “fault.” Sorry, couldn’t resist!

  44. Hi Margaret!

    Wow! Your post brought back memories for me, too, about the earthquake. I wasn’t living in Northridge, but I was certainly here in So. CA. What a story behind the story. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  45. Enjoyed reading the comments. I like reading your books and I really like the covers. Happy Autumn- it is getting a lot nicer weather here in Arizona.

  46. What a story and testimony you have .I am so glad that everything turned out for all of you .Thanks for the chance to win .I love to read and that gift card would come in handy .Blessings ,Dana” Girl ” Spille

  47. I can’t say I have ever been in a bad earth quake and don’t want to be, but wow what a story. I still can’t believe they only gave you two week to get your book done after that. I am still in shock over that one.

  48. Ah, thank goodness for mild January weather and timely UPS deliveries! We lost power once to Hurricane force winds (I live in Kentucky, btw!) from Ike and just about 9 months later, lost power to an ice storm! Luckily, my parents had bought a generator after the wind storm, we all had a warm place to stay!

  49. I love the way the internet of today gives us the opportunity to interact with our favorite authors – and learn things … like your behind the scenes story. I’m looking forward to reading the book!

  50. Angi, ah, yes, so true. That UPS truck was a nice surprise, since there hadn’t been any deliveries for a couple of days. Not even a newspaper delivery. Your parents bought a generator and we bought an RV. Now I’ll always have a place to stay, no matter what. Thanks for stopping by!

  51. What a story, Margaret. Oklahoma had an earthquake last year. Nothing like yours, but it was freaky enough. My husband was in the garage. Only a closet and entry way separates the living room and garage. I could hear him airing the tires with a little machine that puttered real loud. Suddenly, I wondered why I could feel the vibrations of that machine, and I realized we were having an earthquake. I was so stunned, I never even left my recliner. Afterwards, I looked up and thought how fortunate I was that the sky lights overheard didn’t break and shower down on me. My husband, he never even noticed it.

    Your new books sounds like a lot of fun. Congratulations!

  52. I saw the book Waiting for Morning and thought I had missed a book. Phew, didn’t miss anything. Love your books

  53. Enjoyed reading your blog today. Your book sounds like one I would enjoy reading. Have a great day….I am….the weather here is stunning.

  54. What a story about writing a story. LOL
    I like the new website – although it took me a while to find the comment section. And I wasn’t even in an earthquake.

    The books look interesting.
    I always enjoy this blog.

  55. I think it was 4 something in the morning when that earthquake hit. We felt it very strongly here in Tehachapi, which is 2 hours north of you. I jumped out of bed and headed for the door frame and thought that the quake had done some serious damage somewhere. Didn’t know at the time it was you who had the serious damage. Of couse, a major quake hit this town and practically leveled it in 1953. I hope I’m gone from here before Tehachapi has a repeat performance. Last time the womens’ prison was destroyed. If it happened again and CCI was destroyed, it would be like letting out the Devil X 5000 (they have 5000 inmates.)

  56. Wow! What a story! My flooding story doesn’t even come close and after reading that consider myself really lucky. Thanks for sharing and the opportunity to win.

  57. Oh my goodness, what a tale. I’m sure it wasn’t fun at the time, but they make the best stories over the dinner table with the grandkids later.

  58. Patricia, sorry you had trouble with finding the comment button. I had trouble the first day, too. Glad you enjoyed my story. We’re now at the point where we can laugh about it. I don’t think I was laughing too much at the time.

    Take care!

  59. Hi Chelley, what a thought! 5000 prisoners. I always worry about the snake house at the zoo, which is why I won’t enter it. It’s the last place I would want to be in an earthquake.

    See you soon!

  60. Hi Debra, I’ve never been in a flood, but my editor’s house was flooded and she and her children had to be rescued by boat. No fun.

    Hope your house didn’t sustain too much damage.

  61. I love the cover of the book. Who designed it? I’d love to read it, and I’d be glad to feature you on my blog with an interview (in January).

    And of course, I’d love to be int the drawing for any of the gift cards.

  62. Hi Lena, thanks. I’d love to be on your blog in January. That’s when my next book comes out. Ten Talents is bringing out my backlist and they do the covers. I think they did a terrific job of this book!

    Have a great weekend!

  63. I have been in a couple of earthquakes here in Oregon, the Spring Break Quake of 1993 with the epicenter just a few miles away from us was a 5.6 quake and the Nisqually Quake out of Olympia, Washington we felt very much in the Portland, OR area at 6.8. I am glad that we don’t get quakes very often!.
    I remember the Northridge quake as I used to work for Safeco Insurance Co and their Northridge Division office was pretty badly destroyed. I am so glad that your daughter was still able to get married. I guess that is something that no one will forget!
    BTW, thanks for the chance to win. Your website rocks! 🙂

  64. Wow! You are one dedicated writer/mother! I would guess that only the grace of God got you through that time. So glad all your family was safe, and everything worked out in the end – kind of like a book! 🙂
    I just read my first Margaret Brownley book, “Dawn Comes Early”. I asked my husband to pick up some books for me at the library, and that one was on the new bookshelf. I started reading and got so hooked that I will be looking for more of your books! “Head Over Heels” sounds like a fun one to look for next!

  65. Wow, sounds like the story got shaken out of you and onto the pages. We once had a very small earthquake here in the Atlanta area. It made the window behind the bed start rattling more than the usual rattle from passing trains. At first I thought someone was trying to come through it, and then I realized what it must be. It was so unexpected but exciting at the same time. Nothing like your experience. I can’t imagine going through what you went through. Thank God for the flexibility He embedded in humans. We can get through more than we think we can. If you had heard what was going to happen beforehand surely you would have said, “No way can I get through that!” But now you have the book to prove that you could. Looks like a good read.

    Blessings, Janice jsmithg(at)hotmail(dot)com

  66. Wow, that is terrifying and amazing that everything went off well. We don’t have earthquakes here in IL, so I don’t have that experience. But I can feel for you, as we lost our home 4 years ago to flood. We only lived 3 houses up the road from the river and the first time we went back in the house I cried, there was about an inch of mud throughout the house and the main beam under it broke, so it was totally destroyed.

  67. Only a two week extension on your deadline! I laughed when I read your comment “which made me wonder what would have to happen to get, say, a month.” Seriously!! That is wonderful people bent over backwards and your friends and family helped to make the wedding go ahead as planned. 🙂

  68. It’s not hard to say something nice about Margaret’s books. My daughter and I both enjoy them. I’m sorry you had to go through the experience of the earthquake but thankful it all worked out (that’s my mother’s favorite response to any problem, “Well, it’ll all work out!”).

  69. Would love to be entered! I am a big fan of Margaret’s books and have them all:) Can’t wait to read this new one!

  70. That’s an amazing story. I’m impressed at your ability to hold it together and take care of family and finish wedding details.

    Way to go!

    I’m also proud of your daughter. Most brides would completely freak out.

    Thanks for sharing.


  71. Margaret, I lived through that earthquake also! It was crazy, wasn’t it?? So glad things worked out for you and your daughter. Things like that make us so grateful for all we have, don’t they? Your daughter will always have great wedding stories! I lived in Southern Calif. all my life until I was married for about 5 years and then we moved to another state and have been moving around ever since but our families still live there so we are always talking about earthquakes! Your book looks great! What a “story behind the story”!!!!

  72. What a frightening experience that you went through but what a testimony that you have to share with others. That wedding is one that will never be forgotten. You do have so much to be grateful for!


  73. Jackie, I’m proud of my daughter, too. Not only was her wedding in chaos, her new condo was damaged and she and her husband both lost jobs due to earthquake damage. What a way to start married life–but it all worked out well in the end!

    Have a great weekend!

  74. Love the covers of all these! Especially love that gingham dress with the brown-eyed susans in the hat. The colors are fantastic on that cover.

  75. What an amazing story. I am so thankful that earthquakes are not a normal occurance in Michigan! Babies and camping out are rarely a fun combination – I’ve been there before. Top it off with the book writing and wedding replanning and I would be a wreck.

  76. Always great to hear a story where people came together and helped one another. I’m glad it all worked out for you, and I love the new look of the blog.

  77. Love reading about authors and their experiences. I’m glad you and your family are okay and together. Love the book covers.

  78. Thanks for sharing that story. Sounds like your daughter had a very memorable wedding week. Your new book sounds interesting. I’ll have to check it out!

  79. I may be too late but I do have a good comment! I love Margaret Brownley’s books and have had the honor of reviewing several of her books. I am excited about her new book and can’t wait to read it!

  80. Oh my! I love your books Margaret! Your covers are always so very beautiful too!

    I would love to be entered into your giveaway! Thank you for the opportunity!

    🙂 Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  81. My goodness, Margaret, what a story!! You are the epitome of tenaciousness!! I’m glad the wedding and the book came off without delay!

  82. The book seems interesting (and I’m about to check it out) but the author behind the story as an interesting story, too. I’ve always wanted to know the person behind the story because they are a part of it. Thanks for sharing. Now, to the bookstore.

  83. I went on vacation for 3 weeks and came back to find your site completely changed. That was a surprise. It is going to take some getting used to.

    It is incredible that your daughter’s wedding was able to happen as planned. I don’t know how you managed to finish your book. Doing it with the wedding so near would have been hard enough. Earthquakes are no fun. I am so glad your son and his family made it out safely.

  84. My goodness, what a story behind a story. I can’t imagine living in the front lawn. And what a wedding to remember, before and the day of.

    Thank you for the opportunity to win. Love your books, the ones I’ve read so far. 🙂

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