My Blessings and a Cover Reveal!

As Thanksgiving approaches this year, I find myself with a long list of blessings. I’ll share a few with you.

I’m thankful for my good health and those who’ve made it possible. I’m grateful for my family, particularly my boys who have grown into young men I’m incredibly proud of. I’m ecstatic the universe sent Kim, my partner in crime as my dear husband calls her, into our lives. I’m grateful beyond measure for meeting Jinger Cahill when I wandered into her shop, Maxine’s Uptown Boutique in Glassboro, New Jersey. Jinger’s wisdom and insight has changed my outlook on life in ways I never imagined. She might even make an optimist out of me! (Check back in January 8, 2020. I think sharing what Jinger’s taught me will make a perfect New Year blog!) I’m thankful to two dear friends, Lori Halligan and Jennifer Jacobson, who continue to be there for me through life’s ups and downs. Everyone should be so blessed to have two such caring, beautiful women in their lives. I’m beholden to the staff at Starbucks, Custer and 15th and their steadfast support that the words will in fact come. Lastly, but certain=ly not least, ’m thankful for my loyal readers who’ve been with me on this crazy writing journey, and I’m pleased to share the cover and release date for the next book in my Wishing Texas Series.                                                                          

To Tame A Texas Cowboy coming January 9, 2020!

Click here to pre-order.

Here’s the back cover copy.

They want different things, but they just might need each other

Dennis’s beloved service dog, Penny Lane,

Barrel racer Cheyenne Whitten returns to Wishing, Texas, after an injury, determined to recuperate and return to the rodeo circuit. But living with her over-protective mother only adds to Cheyenne’s problems. Desperate to move out and reclaim her independence, Cheyenne believes a service dog is the answer. That is, until she learns the waiting list for one is up to five years.

Having lost his fiancée two years ago, Cooper Abbott wants to run his veterinarian clinic and rebuild his life. A calm, stable, uneventful life. Then Cheyenne shows up asking for help getting a service dog, and Cooper finds he can’t refuse the feisty redhead.

Cheyenne and Cooper insist a relationship is the last thing they want. Cheyenne is focused on her health and returning to the rodeo. Cooper’s heart is still raw from loss. But it could be they’re exactly what each other needs.

Every book I write is a labor of love and a book of my heart. If they weren’t, I couldn’t write them, but the labor for To Tame A Texas Cowboy was more difficult than most. Because of that, receiving the cover and a release date has been doubly sweet. Another thing that makes this book extra poignant for me is the fact that while I was writing it, Dennis Pisarski who helped inspire the idea, lost his dear Penny Lane. I hope looking down from heaven she’s honored by the character I created. 

As we all prepare for our Thanksgiving feast, leave a comment about your favorite Thanksgiving food (other than turkey!) to be entered in the random drawing for a signed copy of
To Catch A Texas Cowboy, the holiday wine glass and snowman/stocking ornament. Thank you again for being part of my thankful list and stopping by to chat. May your Thanksgiving be full of blessings.

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Julie Benson has written five novels for Harlequin American, and her Wishing, Texas series is available from Tule Publishing. Now that her three sons have left the nest in Dallas, when she isn't writing, Julie spends her time working on home improvement projects, rescuing dogs, and visiting Texas wineries with her husband. Visit her at

54 thoughts on “My Blessings and a Cover Reveal!”

  1. Happy, Happy Thanksgiving, Julie! The cover of your book is wonderful! It makes me want to snatch it right up and start reading.
    A sweet potato casserole is pretty hard to beat at our house on Thanksgiving.

    • Melanie, right back at you with the Happy Thanksgiving! I’m so glad you like the cover. I forgot to add my cover artist, Lee Hyat to my blessing list. She has done all 3 of my Wishing Texas covers. She created the first one and I was in awe! It was pretty cool to have other authors at Tule Publishing to say they wanted covers like mine! For the second and third books, all I had to do was tell her what my hero and heroine looked like and say that I wanted it to go with the first book.

      I love sweet potatoes but have never tried making a sweet potato casserole. Hmmm. Maybe I should try something new this year. Thanks for stopping by today.

    • Abigail, thanks for stopping by today. I’m glad you like the cover and the premise of the book. I love where these characters took me, and as always, it was a very different destination than where I originally thought we were going. Happy Thanksgiving,.

  2. The dressing/stuffing is my favorite. I always make a double batch so I will be sure to have leftovers. I use Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing, sage sausage, roasted chestnuts, apricots, celery, onions, Craisins, walnuts, butter, and chicken broth. Mix it all up, put in a baking dish, and bake. I usually do not stuff the turkey with it. I prefer it with a crispy top.
    I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    • Patricia, I have two favorite foods–the stuffing and an old family recipe from my Grandma Walter. We call it Ring Macaroni Salad, but it’s really a combination fruit salad/dessert. We have it at every holiday dinner, even though my kids never eat it. I can’t believe it, but they prefer Jell-O! My hubby and I don’t care because as he says, “That leaves more for us!” I use Pepperidge Farm Seasoned Stuffing, too! But I’m not as ambitious as you are. I only add onions, celery and chicken broth. You’ve got me thinking though…Maybe I’ll be more adventurous this year. I assume you use dried apricots? Sage sounds like it would be a wonderful addition! We always make a double batch too because we love to heat up leftover stuffing to have with a turkey sandwich. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thanks for stopping by and giving me some stuffing ideas!

      • I have not heard of ring macaroni salad. We were never big Jello salad people, basically because I was too lazy to make it. My cousin made a layered jello salad that looked good and tasted just as good. I never did make it – too much work.
        Yes I do use dried apricots. It wasn’t until I wrote the comment that I realized I didn’t get the chestnuts this year. No time now. Last year I found some in an asian grocery store already cooked, peeled, and sealed in a bag. They worked pretty well. I have sage and poultry seasoning, but using sage sausage usually seasons it enough. I usually use the Jimmy Dean sage sausage.

        • Patricia, we cook creamettes rings. Then I make cooked sauce of eggs, sugar and lemon juice until it thickens. When it cools, I add crushed pineapple with the juice and add to the macaroni. It sits overnight. The next day I add peaches (my grandmother added fruit cocktail) and cut up apples. Lastly, I fold in whip cream.

  3. I meant to ask – is the dog yours or just an added photo? It is a beautiful one. I hope the release for TO TAME A TEXAS COWBOY is a great success.

    • Patricia, I should’ve put a caption. I’ll go in and add one. That is THE Penny Lane, Dennis’s dog who inspired the service dog character in my book. She and I shared the same birthday of July 23. A year and a half ago, Penny had some issues and the vet discovered a brain tumor. Soon after that Dennis was forced to let her go. She was only 8 or so.

      Thank you so much for asking about her and for wishing me good luck with this book. <3

      • I am so sorry Dennis lost Penny Lane. She was a beautiful dog. We have had many rescues. It doesn’t matter how long you have them, it always hurts to let them go. We had to do just that about a month ago. Abby was 10 and had had a broken back since 7 months old. She was mobile for a long time, but in the past year or so was unable to walk, was in pain, and was incontinent. Our family room hardwood floors will have to be refinished or replaced. It took a long time to convince my husband it was time. We know it was for the best, but it hurts and makes us feel guilty. Our other dog went into mourning and just curled up into a ball and barely moved for 2 days. She is just now getting back to her old self. Sorry I got carried away with the comment. Take care.

        • Patricia, what a lovely comment. You’re so right. It’s never easy to lose our fur babies, and I was like your husband, with our 14 year old dog, Shadow. The rest of the family thought it was time to let her go, but I held onto her longer than I should’ve. Don’t feel guilty. Abby was obviously loved and it sounds like she was in a lot of pain. My son just recently lost his dog, Lexie to cancer. She was fine and then he learned cancer was everywhere. His other dog Ruby has struggled to adjust the way your other dog has. They care so much as have such sweet souls. That’s what makes them such wonderful companions and service dogs. I can’t imagine my life without a dog.

  4. Look forward to reading To Tame A Texas Cowboy. Love the picture of the adorable dog. So cute. My favorite is a side dish which is a combination of mashed potatoes and mashed turnips with gravy. Happy Thanksgiving all.

    • Carol, Penny Lane was such a dear dog and we lost her way too soon. She inspired the service dog who brings Cheyenne and Cooper together. The character allowed me to show people a little bit of the trauma shelter dogs go through. I know people will have a hard time believing a son could dump his mother’s beloved dog in the shelter when she dies, but it happens all the time.

      Thanks for stopping by today, and Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Kim, I’ve never made a blueberry pie. I should try it some time. Blueberries are so good for us. I wouldn’t feel so guilty having dessert because I’d be getting so wonderful benefits from the blueberries! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    • Debra, you’re like my youngest son. He has to have green beans, but they have to be fresh! In fact, thank you for mentioning them today. Hubby ordered groceries online and picked them up yesterday, but he forgot the green beans. I need to pick some up today! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and thanks for stopping by to remind me about the green beans!

  5. Great cover. I already have this book on my list to read. My favorite Thanksgiving dish is sweet potatoes. I hope there will be some tomorrow at my mother-in-law’s house. Have a great Thanksgiving!

    • Janine, I’m so glad you’re excited to read this book! Aren’t you sweet! This book took me forever to write. Of the four I had planned for this series, I knew the least about this one going in. On top of that, in the story Cooper is working on getting a device into the market place. That gave me fits until Lori WIlde gave me some advice. She said whenever she has something like that and she doesn’t want to get too technical, she puts the scene in the other character’s point of view. Then she says the character didn’t really understand or her thoughts drifted. That really helped me deal with it.

      I hope your mother-in-law has sweet potatoes tomorrow. If she doesn’t, treat yourself to making some when you get back home. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

      • I imagine some books and scenes are harder to write than others. But somehow it all seems to come together in the end and the readers don’t even realize there was a little struggle at the time. This just makes me want to read the book even more. Lori did give you some good advice too.

  6. What a wonderful list! I am happy you got a fun cover for your story. May you have a relaxing and blessed Thanksgiving. My favorite food is the mashed potatoes!

    • Susan, I’m thrilled you like the cover. I wish I’d remembered to add Lee Hyat, my cover artist, to my list! I’m excited for the weekend. My youngest is flying back from New Jersey. Thank you for your warm wishes for a blessed and relaxing day. May your day be likewise.

    • Estella, I love a good pumpkin cheesecake, but the rest of my family prefers good old fashioned pumpkin from the recipe on the back of Libby’s canned pumpkin. Enjoy a slice of your daughter’s cheesecake for me and have a blessed day. Thank you for stopping by today.

    • Cathy, my hubby and I love stuffing, but our kids have never really caught onto how wonderful it is. We’ve got to have that and Ring Macaroni Salad. If we don’t, it’s just not Thanksgiving. Thank you for stopping by today, and may your Thanksgiving be blessed.

  7. Happy Thanksgiving. I guess my favorite food would be the home-made dumpling like my grandmother use to make. Thanksgiving and Christmas seems to be the only time we have those.

    • Oooh, homemade dumplings sound wonderful! I wish I could have my grandmother here for one more afternoon to have her tell me all those family stories again while we cook. I’d write them and her recipes all down. The things we don’t realize are important when we are young. Sigh. I hope you have a wonderful day and enjoy the dumplings!

  8. Welcome Julie. Congratulations on your new release. A cute cover. I am so glad you have so many things to be thankful for. Blessings are from above. I look forward when our family get together tomorrow. We always enjoy these times. Food is great but family is what it is all about. One of my favorite dishes is Sweet Potato Casserole. Though this year I wont be making it as my husband was recently diagnosed with Diabetes and sweet potatoes send his sugar sky rocketing. Next on the list is my moms jello salad.
    Many blessings and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours this holiday season.

    • Lori, you’re right about family. Food is great, but family is what the day is all about, whether it be blood family or family of the heart. Isn’t funny how a Jello salad that our mothers or grandmothers made is part of so many holiday dinners? I’m from the midwest and they were the staple of every potluck, holiday or funeral dinner my entire life. Oooh, I’m thinking of the jello strawberry pretzel dessert. I love that!

      Blessings to you and your family this Thanksgiving, and prayers for your husband as he navigates through his recent Diabetes diagnosis. It has to be scary at first until you learn what foods really cause him difficulty.

  9. Happy Thanksgiving! Congratulations and thanks for a wonderful post. My favorite food for Thanksgiving is my mom’s stuffing. If you took away all the food except the stuffing I’d still be happy. I love the way it tastes, although I have tweaked it a bit over the years, and it reminds me of home and growing up, having that first little plate of stuffing to tide my sister and I over as the turkey cooked.

    • Sally, thank you for sharing your wonderful memories. I love how a food item such as your mom’s stuffing can pulls up all those beautiful memories. So many of my Grandma Walter’s recipes transport me back to that small kitchen on the family farm and being surrounded by family. May your Thanksgiving be full of blessings and stuffing!

  10. Happy Thanksgiving Julie! Your cover is beautiful. Penny Lane is adorable.

    We’re having shrimp creole tomorrow.

    • Caryl, to say I’m thrilled with this cover would be an understatement. I’m continually amazed with what Lee Hyat comes up with. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the shrimp creole!

    • Ellie, I’m glad you like the cover! I’m so excited to hear what people think about Cheyenne and Cooper’s story. Have a blessed Thanksgiving and enjoy the stuffing! Thank you for stopping by today.

  11. Congratulations! Your post was beautiful and your book looks like a treasure. My favorite part of the meal is the special apple cake.

    • Pearl, I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for the kind words about the book. As always the story took me in a completely unexpected direction, but for me, that’s one of the things that makes writing fun. It’s always quite a journey. Oooh, I’d love to have a good apple cake recipe!

  12. What a memorable and lovely Thanksgiving blog today. Congratulations on this amazing book. Wishing you A Happy Thanksgiving. We have a side that I look forward to every year, roasted red baby potatoes.

    • Annie, thank you for taking time out of your day to chat with me. I’m so glad the post spoke to you, and thank you for the sweet comments about the book. Have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving and enjoy the roasted red baby potatoes!

  13. My favorites are the dressing and mac n cheese!! My all-time favorite is giblet gravy, but no-one makes it any more, and though Mom made it for YEARS, she doesn’t remember doing it. That’s one thing I miss. I did try to make it last year, with her help, and it turned out ok. Not as good as hers, but it tasted ok! She’s 95 and going strong, and remembers most things, so I guess giblet gravy wasn’t a favorite of hers! Great cover, and the book sounds good!Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Trudy, congratulations to your mother. 95 and going strong is an incredible accomplishment. I need to find a good mac and cheese recipe and add it to our menu. All my adult boys love it. Thank you for stopping by today and Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.

      • I can tell you that there are LOTS of mac and cheese recipes on QVC under David Venable’s recipes. He LOVES mac n cheese! I know there’s at least one, and it calls for three different types of cheese! My sister makes the mac n cheese we’ll have from scratch, but I don’t have her recipe. If I did, I’d share!

  14. Happy Thanksgiving! My favorite food at Thanksgiving I cranberries! While I love whole berry cranberry sauce not everyone does, so I make a cranberry jello salad my Aunt Mary shared with me at 36 years ago when my youngest son was a baby. Dissolve 1 box of black cherry jello in 1 cup of boiling water. Next stir in 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce until melted. Then add an 8oz can of crushed pineapple in juice, untrained and an 11 oz can of Mandarin oranges, drained.Chill overnight or about 4 hours. That’s it!
    I used to make it in my mom’s ironware bowl so that I felt her with us at family gatherings, but the bag I was carting it in dropped off my rolling walker haidle a couple of years ago and broke so that it is no longer food safe. I am still so thankful for the memories of the first meal where my dear aunt hared this recipe and all the family gathering where we’ve shsred it since. Things weren’t meant to be kept forever, but my memories can be held in my heart always.

    • Deborah, thank you so much for sharing your recipe. I’m going to try it! It sounds wonderful. I’m so sorry to hear you dropped your mom’s ironware bowl. I’m always torn between using something and risking it getting broken or keeping it safe. May your day be blessed and enjoy every moment with your mother.

  15. My favorite food at Thanksgiving is cranberries. Not everyone likes fresh cranberry sauce, so I make a cranberry jello salad my Aunt Mary gave me 36 years ago when my son was a baby. It goes well with turkey, ham, or pork dishes.

    To make dissolvev1 box of black cherry jello in 1 cup boiling water. Next add 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce and storm until melted. Ten add 1 8oz can, or 1 cup, undrainded juice packed crushed pineapple and 1 11oz can drained Mandarin oranges and blend well. Chill 4 hours or overnight.

    I used to make it in my mom’s oval Ironstone pottery dish so we felt her presence at family gatherings, but the bag carrying it fell off my walker handle a couple of years ago and it is no longer food safe. I always remember my Aunt Mary and the first meal we had where she shared this dish and her recipe. Things can be lost and broken, but I am thankful for the loving memories of all the many family gatherings that I can carry in my heart always.

    • Joye, thanks for stopping by today. I loved my grandmother’s mashed potatoes and gravy, but I can’t seem to get them right. Sometimes they’re great and then sometimes not so much. Have a happy Thanksgiving.

  16. My favorite dish for Thanksgiving is the yam casserole, we got the recipe from my mom who passed away this past March. When we were growing up she would bake the yams mash them up in a bowl, add cinnamon a little milk and brown sugar and they were yummy, later on she would bake the yams cut up as a casserole, added brown sugar, a little butter, cinnamon and they were delicious, we will be having them this way for Thanksgiving. Your book sounds like a very good read, and the cover is Beautiful. May you and your family have a Very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving. Thank you for the chance.

    • Alicia, the yams sound simple to make and yet delicious. I love them mashed with brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. I never thought of cutting them up and baking them with those ingredients. I think we may try them that way this year. Thanks for stopping by today and for your sweet comments on the book. Have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving.

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