New Kid in Town!


I’ve always been a girl… And then a woman/sister/mom/wife/daughter/sister-in-law/grandma….

But now I’m officially a Petticoats and Pistols filly and do you know why?

I write Westerns.

It’s not my fault.

IT’S NEVER MY FAULT!  (Just had to get that out of my system.)

But this time it’s true… Love Inspired asked me to be part of a Western continuity a few years ago and I was hooked.



I am over the moon and if that sounds overdone, trust me: it’s not. It’s facts, ma’ams, simply facts.  And huge thanks to the wonderful writers/cowgirls of Petticoats & Pistols for bringing me ’round the campfire. But how is writing a Western novel different from writing my typical novels?


That’s Colt Stafford on the cover. And  that cover is a clue. Western heroes are larger than life, regardless of size… Because it’s not the size of the man. It’s the size of the heart.

Real cowboys are strong enough to be gentle… They’re man enough to put others needs, including the horse, the stock, the wife, the kids… before theirs. They’re tough enough to find faith, even if it’s not for the first time. They practice “Cowboy code” and they’re proud of it.  Whether you’re the oldest brother Colt, pictured above…

Or the middle brother, Nick: (Nick’s book is a finalist in the Maggie Award of Excellence for 2017. It’s available here.)

Or the country crooner superstar youngest brother, Trey:

Westerns are different in lots of ways. The obvious distinction is setting, and that’s a big difference because the West prides itself on being The West… Movies and books chronicle the push west, Ken Burns did a whole documentary about Westward expansion, Western movies and television shows abound and there are high school and college courses done on the positives and negatives of that westward push. History books cleaned up some stories, while scholars re-painted those same stories with dark intent that sometimes went to opposite extremes.

In the midst of it all, a region was built, bought, separated, fought for, fought over, divided and maintained. The heartland became the opening segue into the American We. With land spreading west, north and south, new states, cities, towns, villages and ranches were born. People moved west, moved back east, and moved west again, pushing that invisible wall of separation until they hit the Pacific Ocean.

I’ve delved into the history of it to create a fictional town set in South Dakota, one in Idaho and one… romance in a soddy!… in eastern Nebraska.

I’ve written an award-winning, bestselling series about the contemporary west, and loved it.

Whether my stories are set in modern times or historical venues, they have one thing in common: Love. And strong, strong women.

I love strong women.

I love empowering women.

Women are the unsung heroes in so many roles in life, but not in a Ruthy book. A memorable hero is a wonderful thing. But I love a book that celebrates the strong overcomer in a woman. A book that champions HER as much as it does him…

Because I believe women are blessed with an amazing strength that gets overlooked too often. Hey, I’ve been in a labor bed… and at a bedside, holding a dying hand. I’ve been in an emergency room, watching skilled professionals try to save a life… and at a graveside, mourning when life succumbs.

A great Western is a story of strength… of hope… of love.

My joy in writing gets polished in all of my books, but my cowboy books grab a piece of my heart and don’t let go… Maybe it’s the hat.

Maybe it’s the setting.

Or maybe… just maybe… it’s that pioneer-loving side of me that will never take the American West for granted.

Hey, I brought some home-made ice cream and chocolate dipped cones… and strong coffee.  Join me inside and if you leave a comment, I’ll toss your cute name into a hat for the first Double S Ranch book “Back in the Saddle”. Let’s talk why we love romance

+ posts

69 thoughts on “New Kid in Town!”

  1. So excited to have you as an official filly, Ruthy! You zest for life and fun-lovin’, cowboy-lovin’ spirit is a perfect fit. Keep coming with those strong gals and western heroes. 🙂

    • Oh my stars, Karen, I never expected to have that much fun writing Westerns… but it tapped into that old love of Westerns from when I was a kid and a teen… And my first times up top a horse! Such good memories. Now we add some grown up snark, snarl and romance and I’m JUST SO HAPPY!!! 🙂 And huge thank you to you guys for inviting me onto the fence rail!

  2. Hello Ruth, welcome, your book sounds awesome, I’ve never read your books before, but I plan to remedy that. You have some of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen., may you have a blessed day.

    • Tonya, so good to meet you! And I’m tossing your name right into the big ol’ Stetson for that book giveaway because I think you’d love, love, love “Back in the Saddle” and the Stafford family. Bless you as well, and thank you for coming over today! Makes a gal feel right welcome at the waterin’ hole. 🙂

  3. I enjoyed your post. I love romance because it takes me away to a world that I don’t experience. My husband is as romantic as a rock. So, I get my romantic fill through books. I also like that I can enjoy any setting and type of hero that I want when ever I wish.

    • I NEEDED A SPEW ALERT ON THAT ONE!!!! My husband and yours would get along well! I figure that’s why I interject romance into everything! I’m tucking your name into that cowboy hat, darling, and we’ll hang the washin’ on the back line and talk about our fellas. 🙂 Over coffee or sweet tea!

    • Mary!!!! Mary loves me no matter what I write, but she was a HUGE help to me with some of my beef cattle questions (and attitudes, because I love her cowboy’s matter-of-fact, common-sense take on the world and beef!) Mary, I’m so happy to be here, and can’t wait to work on my upcoming Western series next week… Finishing up a mystery this week, and then re-donning my spurs!

    • Anne-with-an-E!!!!! Oh, I totally agree, the romance of a situation and the emotions of a building relationship… SWOON……….SIGH…….. I love it. And I love some humor tossed in (because the saving grace of most men is that they’re FUNNY…. ) So we don’t necessarily kill them.

      It’s a plan, right? 🙂

      Thanks for stopping in today, I’m tucking Ann-with-an-E into the Stetson!

  4. Ruthy, I’m glad you’ll be joining the blog! I’ve recently written my first cowboy story (a novella), so I look forward to visiting more often! Gotta make sure I get it right. 🙂

  5. Ruthy, congrats! You’ll be a fabulous filly! I’m reading Trey’s story now and yep, he’s a hunk but it’s Lucy and those kids who tug at my heart. Who doesn’t love strong overcoming heroines!

    Thanks for the ice cream cone.

    • Janet, thanks for coming over!!!! I love Trey’s story, and you know, his was the first story I developed, and I wrote it mentally years ago…. and when this opportunity arose, I realized that I could make HIS story the culmination of the three. After that, I had to trace backwards to get Colt (oldest brother) and Nick (middle brother) their stories. But it all came together when I developed SAM’S story…. the father’s story became the glue that brought it all together. I’m so glad you love Lucy, I’ve been wanting to write her character for SO LONG!!!!

  6. Great to see you here, Ruthy! I agree–cowboys and the wild, wild West seem to have perennial appeal. But you’re so right about how every cowboy needs a strong woman at his side. An overcomer. I like that!

    • Myra, you understand horses and the West as well as anyone. It’s so much fun to picture/envision these guys…. and women who aren’t afraid to be big and brave and bold…. (we know I love bold women!) The Western setting is so absolutely perfect for the types of books I love to write, so this is a wonderful thing! Thank you for coming over today!

  7. Nothing better than a good western to read! The cover alone will draw you in and then knowing how good the authors books are. This is a win win all around!

    • Jennifer, yes. There’s something a little wild and free about Westerns that we Yankees (we’re somewhat strict and time-oriented but crazy hard-working!!!!) just don’t embrace. It reminds me of John Adams in the movie 1776… a little bit of “Hung Up Boston”…. vs. John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart and James Garner and even the beta types like Michael Landon and Christopher Walken (Sarah, Plain and Tall), the pioneer/prairie Western vs. the Northwest and Southwest regions. They each have their own flavor and spice…. and it’s so fun to explore it!

      • Wow! You really have away of spelling it out in a more exciting way. Glad you are enjoying yourself here. This a nice blog!

      • I love seeing how the human condition adjusts or changes or adapts to the settings… and how fun it is to throw in an out of their element character into a setting that just doesn’t fit… human nature is so much fun sometimes! (My family might NOT find it as amusing as I do.) 🙂

  8. I am now in the mood for a chocolate dipped cone with some yummy ice cream! 😉 I love romances… getting to go on such interesting journeys with the characters…. seeing how they get to their HEA.

    • Colleen, my Irish-named lass, thanks for coming over! Oh, gosh, yes that HEA is a thing with me.. I write some women’s fiction, too, but nothing that literary clubs will adopt BECAUSE I love happy endings! Shoot, when you’ve lived the dark side, why on earth would you/we long to re-visit it?

      Nope. Not this chick. Give me overcoming troubles, give me hand-to-hand battles, physical or spiritual… but mostly give me strong, raw emotion. And people who realize that they’re more truly blessed than maybe they ever thought possible. 🙂

  9. Welcome to Wildflower Junction, Ruthy! Loved your comment on strong, women that overcome. It’s so true that women were often the unsung strength in the Old West and I love to read stories of strong women. Glad that you are here!

    • Kathryn, ain’t it the truth? Look what widows had to go through back in the day? Man, life was tough and there wasn’t a cushy life insurance policy to cushion the blow back then!

      But what great opportunities for conflict they give us. And those women who managed to stay the course, gosh, I want a tenth of their strength and devotion. They withstood the test of time and reigned supreme. That makes them heroines from the beginning… Remember that old line from Rilla of Ingleside? “If our women fail in courage, can our men be fearless still?”… from their send off of men to war in WWI.

      Strong women rock.

    • Hey, I think Amish and Western could blend… Two cultures living side by side…. Jan, we could create our own little town and you write the Amish stories and I write the Westerns and we SHARE DETAILS. Honestly, how much fun would that be????

      I do love my Westerns. I love all my books, but I’m just surprised that Westerns feel so natural.

      #versatileYankee!!! 🙂

    • Pearl, I hear you loud and clear. Romance can be a great escape. It can be a sweet joy. It can be a blessing to the spirit.

      We all know it’s fiction, but I remember when I was young, loving romance… loving happily ever afters and believing dreams could come true. Back then my mother was a dream-stealer. Depression and alcoholism had overtaken her life and she mocked me. Made fun of my visions, my dreams and my talents. But I held tight… So tight… because I believe that we can make our dreams happen and our lives shine. Maybe not in the normal fiction tale of happy ever afters… but in our very own real tales, of smiling and embracing life.

      I’m so glad you’re here today!

  10. Welcome. Always great to find out about a new to me author. And I just love books these kind of stories – I grew up watching westerns.

    • Hello, catslady! And I hope I’m not new to you for long, there’s a mighty long list of books attached to this lil lady’s name…. although the Westerns are new and beloved! Romance is my middle name.

      (I’m lying, it’s not, my middle name is Marie… but whatever!)


      Glad you stopped in and I’m tucking your name into the cowboy hat, sweet thing!

  11. So glad you have joined P&P. I love coming here to visit so I look forward to reading your great posts. Romance, Cowboys … all goes hand in hand!!!!

    • Melanie! I love seeing you over here, and you know… I BEGGED, PLEADED, MADE SHADY PROMISES I CAN’T BEGIN TO KEEP…. and they let me in because they were tired of hearin’ my whinin’!


      If you haven’t read these Westerns yet, darling, you should. I think you’d love them, Melanie!

    • Trish, my family has a DIFFERENT name for that infectious energy… A few, actually. Like OBSESSION…. WORKAHOLIC…..SICK!!!! 🙂

      They’re such brats, Trish! (I’m laughing, they’re really wonderful. Most of the time. Which makes us kind of normal!) I’m so glad to be here, and other than a couple of learning curve wrinkles with Word Press, I haven’t ruined anything yet. But of course the day ain’t over. 🙂

    • Debra, thank you! I love chatting with readers, I’m far too talkative, but I LOVE it. People amaze me, and I’m always encountering folks with great stories… or whose stories inspire me to twist their stories into something when the “what ifs” attack my brain. But mostly I enjoy people because God made us all unique. Our differences and our similarities make me smile… And that makes it story fodder! Thanks for being here, popping your name into the Stetson!

  12. I LOVE this series! I won Peace in the Valley in a book giveaway earlier this summer. I liked it so much I had to read the other two books so I requested them from my library and have spent the last few days reading Back in the Saddle and Home on the Range. Since it had been a little while (14 books ago) since I read Peace in the Valley, I’m currently rereading it. I rarely do that but I’m just not ready to say goodbye to the Stafford family. I’m delaying returning the books to the library because I’m enjoying the cover of Back in the Saddle! So, please keep writing your cowboy stories with the hunky heroes!

    • Oh, what a wonderful, marvelous thing to say, Pam! I’m so glad you won Peace in the Valley… and loved it! And it wasn’t a bother reading them out of order, was it? It’s not like you didn’t expect happy endings… So that makes me happy, that you loved them even though you’d read the last one first… I had such a good time with that series. I’m so proud of it. The whole thing makes me smile because it started as an idea for Trey’s story years and years ago… and then kind of sat in my brain until Waterbrook Press offered a contract for cowboys. Thank you for loving those beautiful books… and the Staffords! I love them, too.

  13. RUTHY!!!! Look at you, a Filly…whohooo!!! Now I have one more place to torture…er, I mean….follow you 🙂

    Folks, if you haven’t met the Stafford brothers yet through her Double S Ranch series, you don’t know what you are missing!!! She has strong cowboy heroes paired with equally strong heroines, even some cute kids thrown in the mix. What a hoot!

    No need to toss my name in the Stetson, you know I’ve read all these books 😉 I hated saying goodbye to the family!

    • Trixi, I’m so glad to see you over here! Isn’t this a wonderful place to grab a cuppa and a maple bar? 🙂

      Thanks for loving my cowboys and those amazing women… and #mustlovekids should be in my byline! Waving to you!

    • Charolette, so nice to see you here! Tell me how to pronounce your name. Is it “Charlotte” with a fancy spelling? Or is it “Char-O-Let”… Every time I see it in print I wonder!

      Thanks for coming by!

  14. Welcome to P & P, Ruth. I have read some of your books in the past, but not this series. Love the covers for all three books, especially HOME ON THE RANGE.
    I like your comment about strong women. Women’s strength and compassion are so often overlooked. Women have always done what needs to be done, sometimes through tears and frustration, but it gets done. I look forward to more of your posts and finding out more about you and your writing.

    • Patricia, I think my calling (from the time I was very young) was to uplift women. I hope I do that in every single book I write because Women’s Rights, women as equals, women as game-changers is a fairly recent thing. We’ve only had the vote for a hundred years, so that’s three generations removed. Shoot, my grandma didn’t have the vote when she was young… It was 1917 when women won the right to vote in state elections (although a few WESTERN states did it earlier, but the East didn’t want to lose power to women upstarts) and it was 1920 when the national amendment was ratified. How ridiculous is that? And it’s funny because I’m a fairly conservative but open-minded person. Pretty Libertarian in my stands… but I look back at what women contributed to the building of this great land, and I am amazed. From the early colonists (whose contributions often get overlooked, that first 150 years had to wretchedly hard… scraping towns and villages out of dense forest. But also amazingly exciting, to be part of the freedom movement!

      So yeah, I love celebrating women’s growing strength and strong women… and a good romance thrown into the mix makes me smile!

      • I find it interesting and discouraging that the Equal Rights Amendment for women which passed congress in 1970 still is not the law of the land. It has not been ratified by the necessary 38 states to become law. It is 3 short and the deadline has passed. I thought it had been ratified years ago. Why are we still fighting for equality over 40 years later is beyond me.

    • Eva, thank you! I think it is a marvelous story, and my youngest son (he’s a hedge fund specialist on Wall Street) was my expert for Colt’s NYC life and his Manhattan based-job. And the events that brought Colt back to Washington State were right out of the newspaper headlines and my Luke’s advice… I think that’s part of the fun of writing my Westerns, because I have a broad-based experience here in the east, but also a love of the west, and enjoy studying and visiting there, to get the real feel for what life is like on the other side of the great Mississippi. Tossing your name into the hat, sweet thing!

  15. My all time favorite books to read are about cowboys. I don’t care if it’s contemporary or in the old west. Life you said, so much romance, cowboys with big hearts and strong women. Love it all!! 🙂

    • Joy, I am in total agreement. The setting is already larger than life…. and so the relationships, the dangers, the attitudes, the emotions all have to be in sync with that amazing expanse of space and time. It’s like the idea of “Big Sky” country. The vastness of the West, the prairies, the mountains, rising rugged and sharp. All of that gives an amazing backdrop for story telling!

  16. Ruthy! Delightful to see you here! Welcome! I love the Stafford stories @ look forward to more.
    Nancy C

    • Oops! Forgot to say … don’t enter me in the drawing. I’m up-to-date on the Staffords and anxiously waiting for more Ruthy cowboys. Whoever wins Back in the Saddle is in for a treat!

      And I don’t know where that “@” came from LOL

      Nancy C

      • Nancy, so good to see you! And I’m glad you loved my Staffords. They’re such wonderful heroes… with all the flaws we love to mend! I’m just finishing a mystery for Guideposts, and then back to new Western series…. and I hope folks love them. It’s such a joy to write them, and I don’t think anyone was more surprised than me!

  17. Hi Ruthy! I’m hanging my head in shame. I never made it over to P&P yesterday. I’m on deadline plus had a book release last Tuesday. My life is crazy. But I loved your blog about cowboys and their ladies. They are some of the strongest people I know and write about. It’s hard to explain to someone what a real cowboy and cowgirl is like. They’re different in so many ways.

    Anyway, here’s a big welcome to Wildflower Junction! We’re gonna get along just fine. I love your sense of humor and western voice. Settle in and I’ll bring a pie over. Well, a virtual one. It’s calorie free. Hugs, sweet Filly sister.

    • Oh my stars, Linda! No worries. Ever. But I’ll take that pie, I love, love, love pie. I love making pies. I love eating pies. I love showing pies off to other people. I am a pie show-off, so yes, you mosey on by with that pie and two forks… although my Yankee manners tend toward a china plate with a dessert fork. Because good pie should have nothing but the best, Linda! 🙂

  18. I loved your post. I am looking forward to reading them in the future. I love reading books about cowboys.

    • Susan, so nice to see you over here! And thank you for your kind words… I love delving into cowboy life and I love my northern-based cowboys… and cows! Who’d a thought I’d love cows????

  19. Oh Ruthy, you’re books are such heartfelt books. So much emotion. I’ve read some of your sweet Love Inspired books too. Would love to read another excellent book by you and love cowboy stories. Thank you for throwing my name into the drawing.

    • Deanne, I’m so glad to meet you over here in Wildflower Junction! SUHWEEET! You know Love Inspired gave me my start, and I love working with them. I’ve been able to touch hearts across the country with those sweet books. Love Inspired opened up the wealth of Christian fiction to the masses… sold at grocery stores and Walmarts, they opened the market to people who barely knew Christian fiction existed… so that was wonderful. Coming from a destitute background, I like things affordable. That means a lot to me! And I’m so grateful for your kind words, Deanne!

  20. Hi Ruthy! I am so happy to see you here as one of the Fillys of P & P.:)

    I look forward to all of your posts!

    Be Blessed,
    Cindy W.

  21. I love meeting new to me Authors. Welcome Ruthy. I love reading about siblings but especially cowboys. Romance stories with cowboys is especially heartwarming because as tough as they are, their so romantic, loyal loving and loyal. I’m looking forward to reading this series very much.
    Carol L

Comments are closed.