What Makes a Great Beach Read?


Oh my stars, can you believe it, that it is not snowing like almost anywhere, except perhaps in the highest of high peaks? And what goes along with summer? So many things!!!

Ice pops (or freeze pops, here).



Sun…. leaves…. color… green!!!!… heat… warmth…. blue skies… thunderstorms… scampering critters…. birds…. birdsong… frogs croaking… bugs chirping… baby birds out of the nest… Oh, so many things! But what’s one of the most recognizable things about summer?

Bathing suits. Sunscreen. Sun umbrellas. Flowered towels. Plastic water bottles. Sandbuckets. Plastic shovels. And


Why are beach reads a thing? Well… because folks are relaxing on the beach. Sunbathing or lounging or just hanging out on vacation and what do tons of people take with them to the beach? A book. Or an e-reader, a Kindle or even their phone!

Nowadays you can read on just about anything and folks aren’t worried to death about getting sand in a $29.00 E-reader… like they used to be about a $129.00 Kindle…

Times change, but people don’t. Not really. And when they go to the beach, or to the shore, or hanging out in the air conditioned hotel room or rented condo, a great read is a marvelous thing.

And it can be any kind of read, but for my money, you can’t beat a great western or romance. Now I like my romances sweet. We all know that. But I like my stories to go deep… to strengthen the backbone of the romance with some real life things and it just so happens that one of those wonderful westerns has just gone on sale for $1.99 for the e-reader version.

A Cinderella-type story… with a country star cowboy prince… and the sacrificial heart that makes all the difference.

In spite of their differences, Trey Walker Stafford knows he owes his life to cowboy and legendary rancher Sam Stafford—the uncle who rescued him after his parents’ death. Trey had left the Double S Ranch to pursue music against Sam’s wishes, but returns to central Washington when he learns he’s the best match for a procedure that could save Sam’s life. Although Trey’s found country music fame and success, he’s also endured the tragic loss of his wife. He croons about love, but struggles with a yawning emptiness he can’t explain.

Overwhelmed by a growing list of challenges, but mistrustful of Stafford men, single mother Lucy Carlton reluctantly accepts Trey’s help to revive her crumbling farm when Sam instructs him to repay the overdue debt to her family.

As the two grow closer, Trey slowly begins to open his heart to this beautiful woman and strives to let go of the grief he’s held for years. Lucy has a complicated history of her own. Can Trey accept her as she is, learn to forgive the past, and find the elusive peace he’s sought for so long?

Okay, so that’s the “skinny” on the story, but there’s more… so much more. Because this story isn’t just about a romance between two unlikely characters… this is a story that was in part inspired by Jimmy Wayne’s history, how he was taken in by a couple who opened their doors to him…

It’s a story that could take place anywhere… so why in the west? Why on a ranch?

Because this story was made for a cowboy. This series was centered around that cowboy code, sometimes misplaced by geography and timing, but never gone for good… because the true heart of a cowboy, of how a man treats a woman… and a dog… and a or cow and a calf and a horse and a kitten… it’s in that ‘putting others first’ example we all love so much.

Now, okay, it is fiction, of course… Men are men, the world is round, and life goes on. But there is a romance that’s bound in the image of a cowboy, taking care to see things done right, and that’s the kind of story I wrote for “Peace in the Valley”. A story of a man who isn’t afraid to step off the big stage, walk away from tens of thousands of screaming fans, and help re-build a barn for the gal next door. Or fill a shopping cart full of food. Or give a little girl a shoulder ride, so she sees the world from new heights.

A caring man is a wonderful thing, but when we slap that caring man on a horse and give him the perfect tilt to his hat, well, then…

Now you’ve got something.

And for the next two weeks, that “something” is on sale for $1.99 at AMAZON,BARNES & NOBLE .

The perfect beach read. The perfect romance. And a story that fills in all the sorry holes of a longing heart.

And as a fun glimpse at why I picked that title, (besides the obvious fact that the books are set in the beautiful Kittitas Valley of Central Washington state) here’s a link to Elvis Presley singing “Peace in the Valley” in that beautiful voice of his.

I hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day. It’s a blessed day to remember the courage and conviction of men and women who stood strong in the face of unfairness and adversity… who stood strong even though they were grossly outnumbered by an enemy with much greater fire power than they ever hoped to have…

And men and women who descended from those brave first immigrants, the pilgrams who fled to the shores of a new land searching for religious freedom. Including the freedom to sing things like “Peace in the Valley”, pray in the church of their choosing… or on the trail… and raise their children to be God-fearing people who strove to make their way… On Independence Day I think about those who came to this country… built this country… defended this country… and worked so hard to make a difference in the lives of others.

Courage of conviction. Another quality our cowboys carry into their work, every single day. Just like those that went before them.

Happy summer and don’t forget the BEACH READS, DARLINGS!!!!








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24 thoughts on “What Makes a Great Beach Read?”

  1. Wow, that’s so awesome Ruth, love your books so I’ll be getting this one for sure. Hope you had a great 4th of July. God Bless.

    • Susan, thank you! I’m in charge of chrysanthemum production here which is a fun, hands on project for fall sales… BUT THEY ARE DEPENDENT ON ME NOT MESSING THEM UP! 🙂 It’s like having hundreds and hundreds of little potted children!

    • Janine, we kind of celebrated on Sunday at my brother’s house, so yesterday was farm work as usual… but with good food! 🙂 The kids went to fireworks last night, but my day starts around 3:30 AM so I curled up with a fan and went to sleep in proper boring fashion! 🙂

    • Margaret, for the song because his rendition is perfect… but the cowboy is more Dierks Bentley/George Strait combo…. With such a good heart but a survivor of too many tragedies. I love that song/hymn….

  2. I don’t go to the beach very often(even tho it is only 20 mi. away). A book like yours is a great read any place.

  3. Oh My Gosh! You know my heart. A true cowboy is the perfect man and role model the youth of today need desperately. Will get your book asap. Thank you for those uplifting words.

    • Jerri, I hope you love it! I’m so glad they did this, it’s wonderful to be able to share a story like this with so many folks at such an affordable price. Happy dancing in the pumpkin patch!!!!

  4. This is a story I could read anywhere. Sounds like a great read Ruth. And I love Elvis’s rendition. Thank you.

    • Carol, me, too… about Elvis and the story. When I sing this hymn, I hear Elvis’s voice singing it. That deep tone, that background sorrow and pain…

      Oh, Lord I pray….


  5. Sounds like just a wonderful story! Thank you. Also liked Elvis’s version of Peace in the Valley. I had to then listen to him singing In the Garden. I really like Alan Jackson’s baritone gospel too. Hope you had a good fourth and have a wonderful weekend.

  6. The land, the animals, the work, the ethic, the man or woman all come together to make the cowboy (girl). There really is something about the essence of the West that is special. Life was hard for the first settlers and they learned and passed down to their families the importance of being there for each other. Neighbors would need help at times and they would be offering it to you at others and no one necessarily needed to ask. The great expanse that is the West is cleansing, freeing, and healing. I look forward to reading PEACE IN THE VALLEY.

    • Patricia, your words are so true. Life was hard and so many of those settlers passed down the importance of work first… and helping one another.

      And I agree totally about that Western expanse… it is so beautiful. Thank you for stopping in, Patricia!

  7. The Kittitas Valley is a beautiful place even though the wind does seem to blow 20 to 30 mph all the time. We were surprised it wasn’t blowing when we drove through there two weeks ago. Peace in the Valley seems an appropriate song for the Valley that is rimmed by mountains as beautiful to me as any I’ve seen in Wyoming and Colorado. And I, too, have the Elvis version on the Blue Christmas album and now it will be stuck in my head today.

    • Alice, yes! It’s windy, the wind flowing over or starting above those mountains, whatever it is, it’s breezy… and so beautiful. And I loved that even small plots of land near Ellensburg had animals tied and tethered or penned here and there. How fun that is! The freedom to raise your own food is a lost art on this side of the country unless you’re out in the deep country… we got ourselves too citified for our own good!

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