My Five Fictional Favorites . . . By Victoria Bylin

Quick!  Write down your five favorite novels. Don’t think too long or too hard . . . Just pick the first five titles that come to mind regardless of genre or when you read them. I was surprised at the books that immediately leapt to mind. Some are old; some are new. Either way, each one is special to me.

Here’s what I picked:

Number OneThe Outsider  by Penelope Williamson. This is my go-to book for fictional inspiration. The story opens with a severely wounded gunfighter staggering on to the farm owned by Rachel Yoder and her young son.  Rachel is recently widowed and part of a “Plain” community similar to the Mennonites.  I’ll never forget closing this book at about 3 a.m. and thinking, “I want to write this exact kind of story.” What makes this book so special to me is the mix of faith and rugged realism. Add in Penelope Williamson’s lyrical prose and you have the reason I stayed up half the night to finish it, and why I cried happy tears at the end.

Number Two:  This selection surprised me.  I don’t generally like books set in ancient times, particularly ancient Rome.  Gladiators? No thanks.  A glossary? Call me lazy, but I get tired of looking up strange words.  All that changed when my dental hygienist handed me the first two books in Francine Rivers’ the Mark of the Lions series. Do you know how it is when a dentist or a dental hygienist has you captive? When they”re talking and you want  to say something, but you have stuff in your mouth and can’t respond? My hygienist raved about these stories, then gave me a set of the books.  She

was right. They’re great. I became so involved with the characters that I couldn’t stop reading. Hadassah and Marcus and Artretes came alive for me.

Number Three:  Jane Eyre . . . I’ve loved this story since the made-for-TV movie with Susannah York and George C. Scott.  He was perfect as Rochester–gravelly voiced, arrogant, tortured.  Timothy Dalton is a strong second. He’s a little bit too good looking to match the Rochester in my mind, but that’s more than fine with me. I”ve seen just about every Jane Eyre movie ever made. Some are better than others, but the book trumps all of them.

Number Four:   The Reluctant Prophet series by Nancy Rue is about a woman who leaves her comfortable church and life, buys a Harley and becomes involved with the homeless and prostitutes in the bad part of her affluent town. The Book Club I belong to read the first one and all of us had the same passionate reaction.  These books are lifted us up and challenged us all at the same time.  I have two sets and often loan them out.   It”s also the reason I”ve been working on a contemporary romance with a western flavor.

Number Five: Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion was my favorite childhood book  until I read Gone With the Wind in middle school.  Alec Ramsey and his spirited horse were the stuff of dreams for this city girl, and those stories certainly influenced my decision to write a western as my first-ever ms.  The entire series is wonderful.  It’s full of adventure, courage and friendship and I still love it.

Those are my five fabulous favorites.  How about you?  If you pick five books off the top of your head, which ones come to mind?


I want to thank everyone for coming by today and commenting. I just drew two names tonight since we had so You all better sit down for this: justin bieber albums was accused of trying to rob a woman in Los Angeles on Monday. many comments.

My winners are: CATHY AND DIANE!!!!

If you ladies would e-mail me at and send me your addresses, I”ll get your cookbooks in the mail to you!

Congratulations, and thanks again for stopping by today!


After Hurricane Sandy devastated so much of the East Coast, help began to pour in immediately. But here in the farther inland parts of the U.S., we were left wondering what we could do, other than donate money?

In times of disaster, we all wish we were able to do more. Many people don’t want to give to a nebulous charity, fearing scams of all sorts.

One of my publishers, Rebecca Vickery, came up with the idea of a recipe book. The authors that write for her three imprints were asked if they wanted to contribute recipes to go in the book. The sales from the book would go, in part, to one of two charities, which we voted on. By a large margin, Save the Children was our choice.

The book was a work of love that we all participated in, some with more than one recipe. It’s filled with quite a variety, and even though on the cover it says, “Featuring favorite holiday recipes by various authors”, I promise there are several in this book that I will be making all through the year.  Who can wait for the holidays to have some of these scrumptious treats?

I’m sharing my contributions with you today, but there are plenty more where this came from in this little gem of a book—many of them easy and geared for our hectic lifestyles.

I can certainly vouch for the two below—Blonde Brownies has been a staple in our family since I was born. It was on a “Brownie” recipe sheet when both of my sisters belonged to a troop, and my mom was a leader. This recipe is one of those that doesn’t last long around our house—the ingredients are items you usually keep stocked, and it’s easy to make. Same with the Hello Dolly Bars.

I’m giving away a copy of our AUTHORS IN THE KITCHEN cookbook today—just leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. If you can’t wait to see if you won, here’s the link!

I hope you enjoy!


4 eggs

1 tsp. Vanilla

1½  cups flour

2 ½  cups brown sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

½  cup (OR MORE!) choc. Chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Beat eggs well. Add brown sugar gradually, beating until well mixed. Add vanilla, flour, salt and mix well. Add chopped nuts and mix. Pour into a greased, 9×13 pan and sprinkle chocolate chips over top of the batter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes (depending on your oven). This makes a 9×13 pan of brownies. You can half this recipe for an 8×8 pan, and reduce cooking time to 25 minutes.



½ cup butter

1 ½  cup graham cracker crumbs

1 six oz. package chocolate chips (I always add extra!)

1 can Eagle Brand milk (sweetened condensed milk)

1 1/3  cups shredded coconut

1 cup chopped nuts

Pour melted butter into a 9×13 pan. Cover evenly with the following: graham cracker crumbs (press down to soak up the butter), nuts, chocolate chips, coconut. Pour milk on top. Bake at 350 F. until lightly brown or chips have melted (about 25 minutes). Cool before cutting.

(You can also add some butterscotch chips along with the chocolate chips for variation.)

Amazon Author Page:

A Farewell to a Wonderful Lady, Friend and Fellow Author

I hope you will all bear with me as I pay tribute to a friend and fellow author, Joyce Henderson.  This email was posted to our chat group yesterday, and it came as a shock to me to learn about Joyce.  But I thought I”d share it with you since it gives the name and address of where to send cards, if you would be so inclined to do so.


The world lost an absolutely wonderful woman today. Joyce Henderson passed away this morning. Many of you have known Joyce through her on-line, often witty, always right-on-the-spot messages. Some of you, I”m sure, have met her at conferences. Diane O”Key, another TWRP author, and I have been fortunate to have known her as friend, sister-of-the-heart, and critique partner.
If you care to send a card to her family, the address is:
Robert Henderson
141 James Rd
Crescent City, CA 95531
I”m broken-hearted today.
Lynnette Hallberg
Joyce wrote beautiful and sometimes hauntingly mysterious American Indian Romances.  I first met her at a booksigning years ago and I was immediately impressed with her witty warmth and her caring — she had come a long way to meet me and to ensure that I felt right at home at the booksigning.  Kind, kind person.  She is the sort of person one would like to see live forever.  Here is a picture of us together at that signing: 
And so in her honor, I went back into the archives and pulled up an old blog that Joyce did last year — and I thought I would share it with you today.  So here it is: Joyce”s post last year:
Joyce Henderson is a multi-published author who writes Native American Romance set in Central Texas where she was born. Joyce writes “what she knows,” horses and ranching, and she loves researching Indian lore. Her work has finaled in national contests: National Readers’ Choice Award, Georgia Romance Writers Maggie, and several others. During her 25-year writing career, she’s mentored a half-dozen or more writers who have gone on to publication.And she worked for local newspapers for several years writing a by-lined column.Married forever, she has three children and three grandkids, plus six step-grandkids and six step-great-grandchildren.Yeehaw, I’m back to kick up my heels at the Junction! It’s a right pretty place I love to visit.Now, to get on with why I’m here…I’m asked over and over by readers and other writers: Which one of your heroes is your favorite?The short answer is: The one I’m presently writing.Upon donning my thinking cap, I realize there’s a much deeper, more complex reason for that answer.

I suppose it has to do with how I write in the first place. First, if you’re a writer let me say for the umpteenth time when writers have been faced with “rules,” there’s no right or wrong way when it comes to how one devises prose. We all approach this art form differently. And I believe, oft times to my detriment, those so-called rules are made to be broken. LOL

I consider myself a visual writer. By that I mean, more often than not I “see” entire scenes in my mind, and then I see people acting, reacting within those scenes. What that scene depicts is a visual of the era and location where my entire story will be set and expanded upon. Actually, I use scenes almost like another character.

While I’m writing a story, people pop into scenes, so… I must visualize many individuals, give each a tick or trait that make each one stand out from others. For me, that’s

one of the fun parts of writing. I usually write a ton of secondary people into my stories, but I have to caution myself as I conjure these characters…don’t let them take over. All my stories are he-and-she romances, secondary characters must have a purpose, but remember who each one is: secondary. And since my stories are romances, they must end with HEA, happily ever after.

Look with me at the Prologue and opening scene of my very first published book, Walks in Shadow, and the visual I saw before I typed the first word…

It’s dark, with light rain at the tail end of a storm. A lone man gazes into the distance, stands beneath trees, limbs bending and swaying overhead. He wears a Stetson hat, rain drips before his eyes and cascades off the brim down his back . His arms hold a bulge beneath his yellow slicker. That’s my basic visual.

You’ve probably heard the admonition directed at writers, “Write what you know.”

Most of my Native American historical stories are set in and around the town where I was born in Central Texas. While I knew dirt when it was still a rock, honestly, I wasn’t around in the year in which this story is set, 1860. LOL The oaks my hero stands beneath are like those which used to line the dirt road leading to my great-grandmother’s old homestead. I know the place.

Okay, back to my scene… (This is wheels grinding in my pea brain. LOL) I ask myself, what’s this guy doing there? What’s riveted his attention? What’s hidden beneath the slicker that he’s holding against his chest? I enlarge my visual.

Across a clearing is a two-story house… (My great-grandma’s place was one story.)  There’s a porch the width of the house (Grandma’s was half the width), one central door with a window each side from which light spills. Nearby, a barn, and an attached lean-to, a chicken coop.

Switch back to the man…He looks down, separates the coat and stares into the face of a sleeping child. From his thoughts I begin to learn who he is and why he’s there. He’s anguished because he’s about to abandon this boy-child on the porch. But why? Because…he promised his adopted sister on her deathbed he would take her…half-breed son to be raised in the white man’s world.

Why would she ask that of him? Let me think…. Because…this guy is a white man who was captured while a toddler and raised Comanche. He’s the logical one to honor his sister’s wish, return to his roots, but…he’s unsure if he can be a white man again, or if he really wants to.

Little Spring is the product of his sister’s rape by a white man. Still, why is this guy now leaving the child here? Because…the white man who helped his sister lives in this house. It’s super hard to leave Little Spring, but he whispers a promise. One day he will return for the boy.

Let’s see. I already like this guy because…no matter how difficult it is and despite his love for the boy, he’ll honor his sister’s dying wish. This is the basic premise for my hero. Now what’s his name? Light bulb flash. He travels at night, remains in the shadows so…Walks in Shadow is born!

The prologue ends with Walks in Shadow’s promise, chapter one begins with the heroine, and that  produces another visual in my mind. The terrain is rolling, oaks dotted here and yon. A black stallion stands on a distant hill, silhouetted against a cerulean sky.

What does that have to do with anything? The first lines of chapter one will introduce the heroine, and ultimately clue-in the reader to what that visual is and why the horse is important.


Samantha Timberlake wanted him the first time she saw him. The yearning was so intense, so primal, it took her breath. She was twenty-five years old, and though she loved her father, Aunt Mattie and Little Guy fiercely, she’d never experienced a desire so strong—until now.


He’d stood on a hill, wild, proud, fierce, as beautiful as Texas was brutal. Then he disappeared from view.

I’ve led the reader to believe she’s seeing Walks in Shadow. Not until the bottom of the page does the reader discover she’s seeing and yearning for a black stallion. And that gets my thoughts to grinding again…make Walks in Shadow a horse-whisperer-style trainer.

When Samantha meets Walks in Shadow, it’s five years from when he left Little Spring on this very ranch. Walks in Shadow has more or less transformed himself into a white man, he speaks very precise English that he learned during this time, and his name is now Holden Walker.

Why that name? Walker, of course, is a play on his Indian name, but why Holden? Because…it’s a name he vaguely remembers from when he was a toddler.

When Walks in Shadow recognizes Guy as Little Spring and realizes he can’t take the boy from this place, from these people who now consider him son and brother, his heart breaks a little.

In order to remain close to the child, he offers to train the stallion, and not break the horse’s spirit in the process like, to his mind, the white man’s sometimes brutal methods.

From Samantha’s POV I now begin to see Walks in Shadow/Holden Walker more clearly. He’s a hunk! Did you doubt it? Well, hey, this is a romance. LOL Tall, dark hair. I often see Benjamin Bratt as my hero in these stories. 

Although, when writing most of my Native American heroes, I picture Adam Beach’s hair and how he wears a feather.

As the story unfolds in my mind, I learn of the length’s Walks in Shadow has gone in an effort to honor his dead sister’s final request, to make himself presentable as a white man. While seeing these scenes, I learn how gentle the man really is. What he abhorred about the Comanche, what he loved about them, how undecided he is about making a life forever in the white man’s world.

He’s immeasurably sad when he knows the boy has grown up without learning about his Indian people. Walks in Shadow’s heart breaks just a little when he regrets not teaching Little Spring to use the small bow and arrows he made just for him; the gift he still carries in his belongings. Ah, yes…the gift conjures another scene that I make notes about for later use.

And in each scenario, I like what I see when Holden handles horses. I like how he helps Guy through the child’s first brush with the death of a loved one. I like how he helps a soiled dove in her time of need. I like how he defends Samantha and her beloved Timberoaks from the obnoxious neighbor and his overbearing father. Each of these “likes” occur as I conjure scenes for each one.

With each revelation, I fall a little more in love with him. I guess that’s why I believe my favorite hero is the one I’m writing.

I’m having fun discovering another Native American hero. While my Indians rarely smile, this hunk is certainly how I picture my new guy. Meet Comanche Duane Loken.   That’s probably a white shepherd he’s holding, but a wolf does play a prominent in this story.


This time the hero is baffled by a twenty-first century heroine who drops into his life, in Texas. i.e: Can a woman of today seize her destiny—to love a Comanche warrior?in the year 1860?

This story takes me into a new sub-genre of writing: time travel. Writing is never easy, but I make it doubly hard for myself when I fly off into the mist in a sub-genre foreign to my prior writing knowledge. Still, this idea came about when I pictured my heroine waking in a gully. It takes a while to realize she’s no longer in the twenty-first century.

My mind spins, and once again I begin to fall in love with a hero as he comes to life in my head; as I picture scenes and conjure a story around two protagonists. For a romance writer, there’s nothing better.

May I again thank you for having me at the Junction. And to those visiting today, I wish writers productive writing…and happy reading to everyone!

Take a look at my latest release from The Wild Rose Press. It’s historical and Western themed, but it’s set in Southern California where I ranched for 20 years. In fact, Garrett Montez’s ranch is patterned after the Mexican Landgrant on which my ranch occupied a little corner.


Southern California, 1898: Scarred by his father’s

rejection, Garrett Montez prefers a life of solitude on

the prosperous ranch he’s built on land bequeathed

him by his grandfather. When his housekeeper quits,

he is desperate to find another, but not the beautiful

woman with gentle eyes and a sweet smile who

arrives on his doorstep. Neither his ranch nor his heart

needs the kind of trouble she could cause. With

nowhere to go, Neely O’Conner must find employment,

but handsome and rugged Garrett Montez

rejects her the minute he lays eyes on her. More

determined than ever, she offers to work for a month

without pay, hoping time will change his mind. Does

a mysterious woman hold the key to Garrett’s love, or

can Neely crack through his iron-encased heart

and…Promise the Moon?


I hope you have enjoyed the post today and I hope you will join me in sending Joyce our prayers.  People are alive today because she lived and she left the world a better place because she lived.  Please do come on in and leave a comment.  I would love to hear from you.

Karen Kay with her husband, Paul, this past July 2012 at the RWA Convention in Anaheim.

Inventive Women



Hi.  Winnie Griggs here. 

I came across an interesting book the other day titled Feminine Ingenuity, How Women Inventors Changed America.  Based on the title alone I couldn’t resist purchasing a copy to check it out.  And if that wasn’t enough, the following blurb from the New York Times Book Review cinched it for me.  “Some  200 years of women’s inventions.  Some are brilliant, some are whimsical, but most were created by women who, in doing their work, thought, ‘There has got to be a better way.’ Then went on to find it”

 Though I haven’t read it all the way through yet, I’m thoroughly enjoying it.  One of the things I find particularly interesting is the social mores of the time that influenced these women.  Though women have invented many useful and ingenuous items throughout history, it seems there was a particular dread of having their names in the public eye that held many women back from seeking patents in the early years of our country.  There was also the catch 22 for married women in that while single women enjoyed full control over any patents they acquired, it was a different story for their married counterparts.  Most states had laws well into the nineteenth century that either transferred a married woman’s property outright to her husband or gave him the power to make decisions about its disposition.

 But even so, many women persevered and pursued patents to mark their inventions.   I thought I’d go ahead and share some of the more interesting tidbits I’ve learned to date.

  •  1715 -The first known American inventor was Sybilla Masters who devised a method for processing Indian corn into corn meal.   The patent, however, had to be issued in her husband’s name As it was unheard of for a woman to own a patent.
  • 1793 – The honor of being the first American

    women to hold a patent in her own name went to Hannah Slater who developed cotton sewing thread.

  • 1845 – Sarah Mather received a patent for a submersible lamp and telescope that were used to illuminate the ocean depths
  • 1849 – Mary Ann Woodward received a patent for a motion activated fan that was attached to a rocking chair
  • 1863 – Clarissa Britain patented and improved ambulance wagon that allowed for placing cots of injured parties on racks inside the wagon without the jostling involved in transferring them to another surface
  • 1865 – Sarah Hussey, a nurse, invented an improved hospital table that focused on the comfort of the patient, including head and foot rests and a sling to elevate or lower injured limbs.
  • 1865 – Temperance Edson invented a ‘self-inflator’ for raising sunken vessels
  • 1871 – Margaret Knight invented the machine that folds and glues brown paper to form the ‘satchel-bottomed’  paper grocery sack. 

 I’m looking forward to learning more about the inventive women who helped shape our world as I read further into the book.



Head “em up, move “em out! Get those doggies rolling. Miss Debra sure made me hanker for a good ol” western. Bet she did you too.

And….since Miss Debra got so many to sit around the campfire with her, she”s giving away two copies instead of one.

The WINNERS are……………………….



Woo-Hoo! I”m dancin” a jig for you ladies. Someone will contact you for your mailing particulars so keep an eye out for

the email.

That”s it for now. Keep coming back. The folks at P&P are always giving away something.


Boy, howdy, do we romanticize the old west ranching days or what? Let me tell you, there’s nothing romantic about ranching. Or is there?

My husband and I worked and lived on mountain cattle ranches for over 25 years. I remember my first year working on the ranch was a real shocker. As a rodeo barrel racer, I never dreamed how difficult it would be working with cattle.

Sorry to bust anyone’s bubble about those big doe-eyed, four-legged animals, but them cows sure are stupid. I could never figure out why they just didn’t save themselves the trouble of getting poked and prodded by just walking into the chute when they were coaxed to. When my husband had to get tough with them, me in my ignorance would holler at him and say, “H-o-n, treat ‘em with kindness.” He would just give me a look that said, yeah right lady. I truly felt that way until one day when I had roped a calf and had finally gotten it in the alley between the corrals. I jumped off my horse, and when I went to remove my rope from around the little “darlin’” calf’s neck, the thing waylaid me in the shin. I was so mad, I started pounding on that little duffer with my rope. (Please note that my pounding would be like getting a slight punch on

the arm.) My husband peeked over the fence and said, “Treat ‘em with kindness, huh, Deb?” To which I replied, “Oh, shut up!”

Ranching is hard work. Actually it’s a lifestyle that you have to love because you live it every day by working from sunup to sundown and the work is never done. When you finish with a long arduous, sleep-deprived calving season, then there’s the branding, the moving of cattle from one grazing parcel to another all summer long, the doctoring, irrigating meadows, the long haying seasons, the weaning, etcetera, etcetera, and then the cycle begins anew.

Living in town now, however, has made me appreciate the lifestyle I used to have. Things were much simpler. Life was much simpler. And now because I miss ranching so much, I set a lot of my stories in the ranch and county where I used to live, and relive those days through my characters.

Sunny Weston, the heroine in my Colorado Courtship story, The Rancher’s Sweetheart, loves ranching too. In fact, it’s in her blood, it’s all she knows. But there are those that don’t think Sunny’s capable of running her own spread. She’s out to prove them all wrong. That is, if love doesn’t get in the way.

So, is there romance in ranching?

Well, just ride through the trees with the man you love and discover hidden waterfalls, wild strawberry patches, abandoned broken down homestead cabins that scream of stories to be told, watch wild animals in their natural habitat, or have your hubby pick you a batch of wildflowers and give them to you when you least expect it. Or go for a sleigh ride together while feathery snowflakes are falling, or cuddle with your hunky cowboy husband in the pickup with the heater blowing full blast under a snow covered windshield while you wait to make sure a mama cow is going to have her calf successfully. Or take a walk on a warm sunny evening under a canopy of stars listening to a chorus of frogs, water running, coyotes howling, and owls hooting. I’ve experienced all this and more. So while there may be plenty of work to go around, there’s equally plenty of romance to go around too.

Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for one copy of Colorado Courtship signed by both Debra & Cheryl St. John.

Horse Power to Horsepower


“When a man opens a car door for his wife,

 it’s either a new car or a new wife.” 

                                                                                      Prince Phillip

Ah, the automobile. What would we do without it?  The car I most remember is a battered old ’61 white Valiant with a stick shift.  The clunker almost caused me to gave birth and file for a divorce on the same night.  That’s because my husband steadfastly refuses to drive over the speed limit.  No thanks to him, I missed giving birth in that auto by mere seconds.


 The reason I have cars on my mind this month is because  of my new book, Waiting for Morning, a historical romance set in Arizona Territory in 1896. The hero, Dr. Caleb Fairbanks introduces the Last Chance Ranch cowhands to his beloved gas-powered “horseless carriage,” Bertha. When Caleb and backfiring Bertha incite gunfire from former dance hall girl, Molly Hatfield, the handsome doctor barely escapes with his life.  Little does he know that his troubles have only just begun.


Today, cars are blamed for everything from global warming to funding terrorism through oil dependency.  It might surprise you to learn that it wasn’t that long ago that the old gray mare was held responsible for the social and economic ills of the world.


In 1908, it was estimated that New York City alone would save more than a million dollars a year by banning horses from its streets. That’s how much it cost back then to clean up the tons of manure clogging the roadways each year. 


 A tree never hits an automobile except in self defense. 

American Proverb

Horses were also blamed for traffic congestion, accidents, diseases and, of all things, noise pollution.  Hooves clattering on cobblestones were said to aggravate nervous systems.  Even Benjamin Franklin complained about the “thundering of coaches, chariots, chaises, waggons, drays and the whole fraternity of noise” that assailed the ears of Philadelphia residents.


The first automobiles to drive west were driven by insurance salesmen and land agents.  When an attorney in a small Texas town rose to leave during an important trial, he practically emptied the courtroom. Jurors,  witnesses and spectators all wanted to see his two-cylinder Maxwell.  An irate judge pounded his gavel and ordered the autorist to “Drive the contraption a mile out of town where there are no horses and permit everyone to look it over so the court can resume its regular business.”


As with all technology, outlaws were quick to see the advantage of automobiles. The auto allowed for a quick get-away and would keep going long after a horse gave out. This left local sheriffs at a disadvantage. 


Youths hopped on the auto band-wagon long before their elders and many ceased driving the family springboards entirely. Frontier lawmen suddenly found themselves issuing stern warnings, not to outlaws, but to racing youths.


Remember: When everything’s coming your way,

you’re in the wrong lane.


The automobile was supposed to make the world a safer, saner, quieter and healthier place.  That’s something to think about the next time you’re stuck in traffic.  But take heart: the safer, quieter, more economical Robot Car is here. 

To celebrate the publication of my book, my publisher is running a fun contest. To enter all you have to do is write a paragraph or two about the car that played a part in your life’s story and send to:

That’s it!  The winner will receive a $100 gas card. 

 So what car played a part in your life story?


To order print or eBook click on cover

Better yet, order from your local bookstore.

Debra Ullrick Comes to the Junction


Hello Darlin”s,

Miss Debra Ullrick has saddled her pony and will mosey into the Junction on Saturday, January 19th.

The Fillies are right proud to have her. She”s a dear sweet lady who knows the ins and outs of cattle ranching. You can bet your bootie on that. She”s seen the hard work that goes into it right alongside the love and romance.

And she”s gonna share some of that with us.

Miss Debra teamed up with our Cheryl St. John to write the COLORADO COURTSHIP anthology.

And……she”s packed one in her saddlebag to give away.

You don”t want to miss out. So get the lead out of your behind and follow the trail to the Junction.

That”s Saturday, January 19th right here.

Trouble in Texas…A New Series Begins

As authors a really common question we get asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?” Never has that answer come so easily as this series.

The Trouble in Texas Series.

Swept Away, Book #1 of the Trouble in Texas series releases in February.

I got the idea for this series while researching Andersonville Prison for the Kincaid Brides series.

All I wanted to know was, “When was Andersonville open.” That’s it. I just wanted raw dates so I wouldn’t claim my hero, poor old crazy Seth, had been locked up in Andersonville, when the prison wasn’t even there.

So two minutes on Wikipedia oughta do it, right?

Well, four hours later, I’m still reading about Andersonville.

I didn’t just read Wikipedia. I found names on books written by men who’d survived there. I found blog posts dedicated to exploring the history of Andersonville. I found a museum, or maybe it was a national park. I found pictures and first person accounts and so many fascinating personal stories, tucked within the big picture.

Now, I always say I hate research. But that’s a misleading comment. I don’t hate research because it’s a DRAG. I don’t hate it because I’m

a lazy dolt who wants complete freedom to mess with history and just tell my story my way, and the truth is a BUMMER.

No, I hate research because it’s a time sink.

I hate it because once I start, I’m gone. Hours go by. I’m following rabbit trails. Links lead to links lead to links.

In fact sometimes I get completely off the subject of my research and I’ll start off reading about a Civil War Prisoner Camp and end up looking at pictures of albino monkeys. Sometimes I have no idea what trail I followed to get there. But I do know those little pink-eyed critters are adorable and oops, I was supposed to get 1000 words written on my book and I managed sixteen instead.


So, in my research for Andersonville I found atrocities. Prison guards seemed to turn into sadists. 


Captain Heinrich Wirtz

The camp commander Captain Heinrich Wirtz, was called the Pale Rider, one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. (unpopular much???)

Out of this toxic atmosphere small groups banded together and became known as Raiders. 

Prisoners were allowed to bring in their possessions to the prison. They had cash in their pockets, rings, food supplies, clothes, shoes, they got to keep it. The Raiders would watch daily for new prisoners and come nighttime, they’d attack. The prisoners in the camp were mostly starving and sick and weak from exposure in the cruel heat of Georgia, while the Raiders, due to their thieving, were often healthy and well fed and well supplied with other comforts. This made it hard to fight back.

One day a prisoner named Dowd, who”d been beaten and robbed, went to the gates of the prison and demanded something be done. He managed to attract the attention of Captain Wirtz and, after hearing Dowd”s story, Wirz announced the he would cut off all rations until the Raiders were turned in.

A group of men, lead by “Big Pete” Aubrey formed the Regulators, with the sanction of the camp commandant, The Regulators went to work to stop the thieving and violence. They were given authority to arrest and hold men. Put them on trial and administer punishment.

Different accounts say they arrested between 75 and 150 men in a ten day time span. A trial was held and most of the men received punishment that included running a gauntlet, stocks, and thumb screws. Several of these men were beaten badly enough in the gauntlet that they later died.

Andersonville Raiders Hanging

The most serious offenders though, the leaders were convicted and hung.

Charles Curtis, John Sarsfield, Patrick Delaney, Teri Sullivan, William Collins, and A. Munn.

This ended the Raiders reign of terror over the prison.

But the rest of these 75 to 150 men were turned lose, back into the general prison population.

And this put the Regulators lives at risk.

No more was there the organized ‘Raiding’ of new prisoners, but there was a seething resentment among the Raiders against the Regulators. There was also a large group who saw what the Regulators had done as traitorous. They’d cooperated with the hated Captain Wirtz and the loathsome prison guards. Most of the Regulators were removed from the general population to save their lives, which only made them seem more like traitors. And that’s the background of my story.

These men.

Honorable men who did what was right and then had to face down thousands who believed they were turncoats. They trusted each other implicitly and fought at each other”s sides.

This is the bond between my heroes in the Trouble in Texas series and we start with Luke Stone.

He’s going back to Texas.

He’s found his sister missing. (Callie Stone married to Crazy Seth Kincaid in Over the Edge).

His ranch stolen.

His father dead. Now Luke’s going to set things right. And his Regulator friends are coming to help him.

And as for the heroine, she was swept away in a raging flood from the family that raised her and she considers herself well rid of them. Only now, Luke Stone has pulled her out of the river, half drowned and he has bad men on his trail. He can’t leave her behind. So he takes her along to start a range war, so unfortunately there are more chances to die in Ruthy’s immediate future.