A New Year, A New Western Series!

I am absolutely delighted to start off the new year with a brand new Western trilogy from Love Inspired Books.


On shelves nationwide right now, at Walmarts and Krogers and Winn-Dixies, and wherever mass-market paperbacks are sold. I’m so excited about this series, tucked into the heartland of Washington State, where fruit rules the land, and small farms are being gobbled up by major fruit conglomerates as soon as they become available. And I’m not against big business. I’m a capitalist. I believe in free enterprise.

But I’m also a small farm owner and the landscape of the American farm will change drastically if we lose all these small farms, roadside stands and  hands-on farming opportunities. Sure, bigger is better in some ways…

But it can also be production-line impersonal, so we need to strike a balance.

And that’s why I wrote this book. The pumpkin farmer in me loves small business and roadside stands and loves shopping local whenever possible, but it went deeper than that. It went to the hero’s story, a man who served his country well but lost his edge after a tragic military accident.

And then God puts Libby Creighton in his path. A falling-down farm. Time to harvest. A very sick elderly man. And Jax McClaren has every skill that Libby needs to make this final season a good one for her aging grandfather, but does he have the inner strength to do it?

I fell in love with Jax. I think you will, too!

And you’re going to love this glimpse of orcharding, a spunky pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps heroine, a super cute kid, a guy who learns to forgive himself and maybe– just maybe– has the chance to re-script the life that he thought he didn’t deserve.

So January here on the farm begins four months of quiet time… much appreciated quiet time! I get to write more, and I start each year by planning my writing schedule for the upcoming two years. That way I know when I have breaks in the action and how to plan out my writing hours to make sure everything gets done.

We have snow.

We have cute kids.

We have a new furnace, and this will be my first winter with warmth, so I’m frankly excited about that, LOL!  We’ve been heating with wood but long cold winters and a sprawling old farmhouse left cold pockets, but no more… And heat is something to happy dance about!

So what’s your winter look like? Is it peaceful like mine or do you have 400,000,000 things to do? Tell me about it!

I have two copies of “A Hopeful Harvest” to give away today, so leave a comment below and we’ll chat!


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40 thoughts on “A New Year, A New Western Series!”

  1. I love the roadside stands,fresh & colorful fruits & vegetables, homemade pies etc.
    There are quite a few of them near our home, about a 20 minute drive and so worth it. Winter is a hard time for me with my arthritis and back problems. I just relax and read and focus on the Spring and Summer.

    • Carol, that’s a wise choice. Winter can be tough on folks, especially with the aged or the disabled or even just trying to find safe footing… Our temps have been seesawing this January, so a huge squall that hit yesterday morning was melting an hour later and I hadn’t put the waterproof boots on because it was snow… and I was just going from car to store… and big puddle. Cold, wet feet, LOL! Totally my own fault, but the minute that lake snow stopped (we even had a NWS phone alert because visibility had gone to nearly zero) the sun turned all that snow into little running parking lot creeks.

      It gets dicey out there!

    • Kim, thank you so much! I’m so glad you loved it. I loved writing it, and giving that glimpse into farm life, life, and its many turns and twists.

      Thanks for stopping in today!

  2. I hate you don’t see more small farms. My grandparents used to farm and supplied their little community with all kinds of fresh vegetables what I wouldn’t give to site down at my grandmas table one more time with everything on the table they had raised from the fried chicken all the way down to the blackberry cobbler

    • Glenda, my husband and a financier were talking at one point and Farmer Dave (not farming at the time) said “What sane person is going to invest a quarter million in a business that’s weather dependent and requires 60 hour work weeks? Why wouldn’t you just put the money in a retirement account?”

      And it’s kind of true, it’s so expensive and hard to get started these days and the work involved is a labor of love… but if you don’t love it, I can see why kids (like mine!) go off to climate controlled careers. It’s hard to share your destiny with a capricious thing like weather, rabbits, deer, woodchucks, diseases, mites… you get the picture.

      But, like you, we love the image of that family farm and want that to be our ‘go-to’. And it’s fun for kids and grown-ups, too!

    • Me, too. I always have. In fact my VERY FIRST PUBLISHED WORK was submitted to the National Anthology of High School Essays by my 9th grade English teacher, Sister Mariel of the Sisters of St. Joseph here in Rochester… and my essay entitled “Delightful Cold” was published.

      I have never forgotten that sweet sister’s belief in me and my talent… I never got a chance to say thank you in person later on. But I’ll hug her in heaven, and I’ve put her in books. It’s amazing how one person’s kind words can make a lifelong difference, isn’t it?

  3. All my seasons are about the same. I’m a single disabled mom with MS that stays at home on disabilty income. Reading is my escape, adventures and vacations. I live in a part of Texas that rarely gets snow and we are having an unusually warm winter. If we get anything it’s usually ice. I agree whole heartedly, we need the small farmers, farmers markets and roadside produce stands. I can’t imagine our food only coming from the big industry producers. I wish I had organic farmers in my area. Having an auto-immune disease, my oldest daughter does too, I really need to go all organic but it’s just too expensive! I’d love the opportunity to read your new book!

    • Stephanie, so nice to hear from you!

      Oh, the organic thing is a tough road. I can tell you two things: It’s expensive because the attack of blights, viruses, bacteria, weather damage and weeds means a ton of hands-on labor and you have to “disinfect” the ground (depending on state rules, I believe) for a matter of years to remove trace residue… so that’s part of the expense you see.

      But then come to the other thing folks get riled about, and that’s GMO.

      You know, genetically modified targeted treatments are saving cancer patients all over the world and new mods may put an end to sickle cell anemia and several other diseases, and this is the tip of the iceberg… (lettuce pun absolutely intended)of what you’re going to see with genetic research at the tiniest cellular levels. Bits of protein and chromosomal material and mitochondrial stuff… Science awakens the GEEK in me!

      So when companies can modify a tomato to resist blight so I don’t have to spray, we all win. (same blight that caused the Irish potato famine, living well here in the U.S. today)

      We all eat SuperSweet corn and love it. (genetically modified so that the sugar doesn’t break down into starch within hours of picking…)

      When science uses things like this for good, it’s wonderful. I search for varieties of pumpkins that have been developed to resist powdery and downy mildew because they ruin a crop… and a resistant variety is just plain smarter.

      So while I embrace the least possible use of things on what we grow (we eat this stuff, too!) I also realize that sometimes the farmer is besieged with conditions that need to be fought because none of us can afford to just burn thousands of dollars annually.

      I am constantly on the sidelines applauding science as it gives me good options (often more expensive to plant) that I don’t have to use chemicals to produce (saving money and time).

      I work hard to employ a happy medium, but Mother Nature is a tough competitor, Stephanie!

  4. I’m glad you posted this morning as I am headed to Walmart to do my grocery shopping. I’ll look and see if your book is there. I bet you will be enjoying the warmth this winter. though it doesn’t get that cold here, I don’t think I would like not having heat. Our weather has been warmer this year and we have some spring type storms heading our way tomorrow (possibly hail and tornadoes, which I hope we don’t see). I’m still hoping we might see a little now this year. We missed out the last couple of years.

    • Janine, it is so nice to have regular heat in all the rooms again! HAPPY DANCING! 🙂 And this warmer weather has made the farm a mud-fest… but I don’t have to shovel rain, and there is no changing the weather!

      I saw warmer weather down south, so those storms will start building. That jet stream is on a funny arc this year…Grandma used to call this an “open” winter.

      I will tell you honestly that snow is way prettier than mud!!!

  5. Well I can relate to the old farmhouse – ours was a one room schoolhouse at its start in life – and hubs family has been farming here for almost 200 years!! We just celebrated 20 years with a furnace and the heat is a wonderful thing to have when we get the cold spells here in Indiana

    • Oh, Teresa, I hear you! This house had a dinosaur furnace when we moved in and every year we had it fixed…. it ran on oil and was ridiculously inefficient but when oil went sky-high we decided to just use the wood-burning stove. The kids were gone (for the FIRST time, LOL!) and we know how to wear sweaters but then we couldn’t leave in the winter because someone had to tend the fire… and finding people who like animals and can tend a woodburning stove is a trick. So this is wonderful. 🙂

  6. Looking forward to the new series. I am retired so have a pretty leisurely winter. Just rain and more rain here. Wish I could send some to Australia. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the rain and it seems we always need it.

    • Oh, Teresa, I hear you! This house had a dinosaur furnace when we moved in and every year we had it fixed…. it ran on oil and was ridiculously inefficient but when oil went sky-high we decided to just use the wood-burning stove. The kids were gone (for the FIRST time, LOL!) and we know how to wear sweaters but then we couldn’t leave in the winter because someone had to tend the fire… and finding people who like animals and can tend a woodburning stove is a trick. So this is wonderful. 🙂

  7. Hi Ruthy! We live in central Minnesota and this year we have lots of snow. So much that my husband has been shoveling it off our camper, pole barn, woodshed, and house. He created a snow mountain by shoveling the snow off our house making a great big sliding hill for the grandkids. And, seriously, us too. So much fun. I visit orchards, fruit stands, pumpkin patches in the fall when camping. I used to grow pumpkins myself but the deer, bears, and raccoons were relentless! My husband had enough. I plant dahlias … lots of them. So during the winter I dream of dahlias, wonder if they are wintering well, and purchase new ones to plant in the spring. Winter is beautiful and I embrace it being thankful as well for an extra measure of peace during a slower time of the year. Your new book sounds great Ruthy! I’ll look for it at Walmart! Take care! Keep squeezing those grands of yours!

    • Kathy, I always love your comments! We’ve shoveled the roofs before and created mountains in heavy snow years, and the kids love it! So much fun!!!

      And yes, we share SO MUCH FOOD with God’s critters. The brats!

      I love dahlias. I love flowers. I love having my own little gardens to just make folks smile. Growing things soothes me!

  8. I’m looking forward to a snow day with my kids if we get one. I’ve got enough vacation days that I can plan to take the day off if my kids’ school get cancelled. (They only miss a day or two a year where we live.) Those are my favorite days to make supper in the crockpot, put some bread in the breadmaker, and catch up on family movies with my boys.

  9. Winters in Texas….need I say more! It may be 70 one day and 25 the next! We have had a very wild winter so far. That could change any minute!?

    • My youngest calls Dallas home now, and he said the same thing. Capricious weather and hot, hot summer! But he survived his first Texas summer and was home for Christmas so that made this mother happy, Melanie! I love it when kids come home or when I get to go see them!

  10. Good morning from Vermont. Winter here has been cold and a lot of snow. I’ve been staying in where its warm and painting to keep away the depression and winter blues.

  11. Winter in Oregon where I live, is rainy! Just the way I like it! Last year we had an unexpected super snowstorm that paralyzed our area so we are hoping THAT doesn’t happen again, although I love snow, just not that much! Rain is my all-time favorite weather! In fact it’s raining now! I love your photos! I also love your books!

    • My agent is along the river between OR and WA and I remember last winter. Oh, they were socked in!

      The PNW gets a lot of rain until you get inland, right? And then the mountains interfere and the rain stays west and the east is more measured in rainfall… but rivers for irrigation make it so abundant. Smart pioneers there!!!

  12. Winters are mild for me… still walking around in sandals… love the pic of your house with the snow and icicles! 🙂

    • Colleen, where are you???????



      That’s an older pic, probably three years ago? This year we’ve had snow but it came early, and then melted, and then that repeated twice with these warm-ups we keep getting from down South.

      Thank you for sharing the warmth. 🙂

  13. Congratulations on the new series! I like small stands! One of my Uncle’s had an apple orchard in NW GA for years, and sold all of his apples from a stand in his front yard. He also made apple butter, dried apple pies, cider, and other goodies. I have lots of great memories spent there!! My winter has been mild, and while I’ve really enjoyed being in the 40’s for the past four nights, that’s ending tonight, and this weekend we’re to get temps that could set new records for our highs. I’m not looking forward to that! It’s way too early in the year to get to the mid and upper 80’s, even for FL!!! Just makes me dread this summer, already!!

    • I’m gobsmacked by those temps… and I agree, way too early. But weather doesn’t ask permission, does it?????

      I love small stands, too. There’s something totally nostalgic about them, isn’t there?

  14. The new series sounds good to a gal who just drove 90 minutes one way to buy from small family owned farm stores. We don’t just shop, we build relationships. It’s a win-win.
    Winter in Eastern Pennsylvania is very mild compared to our Upstate New York roots.

  15. Winters in Texas are mild. I prefer to shop locally whenever I’m able to do so. Relationships are vital.

    Love your photos.

    • We love the relationships, too. I get to see cute kids every year (there are THREE little boys named Lincoln from different families, of course, and they’re all adorable!)

      Those farm to family relationships are the best.

  16. Here in Central Washington, December was warmer than usual after snow the last part of September……crazy year. Now we’re expecting an artic blast and snow with high temperatures in the teens. We don’t have as many individual farmstands as we used to but we have many more farmers’ markets in our towns. It is nice to be able to buy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in one location.

    Your new series looks good. I’ll have to look for it.

  17. Our winter is pretty peaceful here in west Texas. We haven’t gotten any snow yet, and who knows if we will this year, but if we get it it’s fine and if we don’t that’s fine also, what else can I say right? 🙂 I do like snow, but only if it lasts for a couple of days. My husband and I are both retired, so we do things around the house off and on, there is always something to do , my husband planted cabbage plants , spinach, broccoli and lettuce for the winter, so we have been enjoying eating them. I planted pansies, and have been enjoying watching them blooming away and seeing some butterflies enjoying them also. My husband and I make time each day while it’s nice to sit outside on our patio swing. Your book sounds like a very good read, and I love the cover. Thank you so much for sharing your pictures of your beautiful pumpkins and your beautiful little ones. Happy New Year to you and your family and I wish you All the Best this New year and Always. God Bless you.

  18. I always have too much to do. The weather in TN this winter has been all over the place. 80’s one week and 9 degrees the next. It has been in the 30’s and 40’s lately and rainy weather and storms are moving in. We have had some snow. I actually miss the snow like pictured above. There is something comfortable about it. However, the older I get, the happier I am that we don’t have to contend with it. We also have a large old farm house. We have a wood stove in one end of the house. We have a heat pump system, but it isn’t something I am thrilled with. It doesn’t cool things enough in the summer and in the winter, if it goes below 20 or so, the auxiliary electric heat kicks in.
    I hope the small farmers can hang in there. I grew up in New York orchard country and down here in TN there are good sized commercial farms but still family run. We have many fruit and vegetable stands – there are 4 large ones in just a 4 mile stretch, 3 of them right together.We have our own garden, but certainly get a lot from the farm stands. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

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