Julie Benson’s Winner!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by today to talk about how men and women communicate differently. I appreciate all your wonderful comments. The laughs you gave me were priceless, and as we all know, laughter is the best medicine.

The winner of the Warrior Not Worrier cozy and Home On the Ranch:  Colorado Rescue is:

Diana Hardt

Congratulations! Look for an email from me on how to claim your giveaway. Thank you everyone who spent part of your day with me. Remember—Don’t go jumping any barbed wire naked, and everyone take care and stay safe!

To Marry A Texas Cowboy Cover Reveal!

Last week was crazy for me. I played What if…with a lot of you for June’s Game Day. I had a pin removed from my right index finger on Tuesday. The fourth book in my Wishing Texas Series, To Marry A Texas Cowboy, was due Wednesday, and then it was the Fourth of July weekend. Lesson learned? Consult my calendar more carefully when scheduling events and deadlines.

But I have a surprise for you, Today I received the final cover for the book!

Though I don’t have a release date yet, here’s the backcover copy for the book:

She lives by a set of rules. He aims to break each one.

When Zane Logan returns to Wishing, Texas, he’s shocked to learn that his grandmother has hired an assistant to manage her wedding planning business as she heals from surgery. With five marriages between his parents, just the thought of weddings breaks him out in hives. To look out for his grandmother’s financial interests, Zane takes charge. He doesn’t trust easily, especially when the assistant is prettier than a Texas spring day.

Childhood taught McKenna Stinson an important rule: never count on anyone but yourself. She dreams of working hard to have her own business. Stepping in for a successful wedding planner in a small town known for big weddings is the perfect opportunity…until her employer’s grandson announces he’s the new boss. He’s cynical about love and knows nothing about weddings—so why is she falling for him?

Even worse, Zane’s so hot McKenna has to make up two new rules: don’t date a man more attractive than you and never, ever, date a man you work with.

Being a mom to three sons has helped me create heroes. I learned early on males communicate differently. I wasn’t surprised to learn women use 20,000 words a day and men 7,000. In an interview Clint Eastwood said the first thing he did with a script was cut dialogue. Before I send a book off, I look for where my hero is too wordy. I also check for non “guy speak” dialogue. For example, men don’t use qualifiers. They don’t say “Would you like to…” or “What if we…” Nope. We women do that. Men simply cut to the chase. “Want to get pizza?”

From the book I just turned in, To Marry A Texas Cowboy:

Zane tried to tune out the women talking about how else Susannah would incorporate her color scheme. Who wanted to waste their New Year’s Eve at a wedding? Not him. Why did a bride have to ruin a perfectly good holiday and football night? From the color scheme, they chatted back and forth about whether they should eat or check out dresses first.

Ridiculous. It wouldn’t take him and his buddies a minute to decide. You hungry? No. Me neither. We’ll eat later. Done. Issue settled. But women made every discussion as hard as finding hair on a frog.

There are more ways men and women communicate differently, but I’ll leave those for another time. Today’s giveaway is a Warrior Not Worrier Cozy Sleeve and a copy of Home On The Ranch: Colorado Rescue. To be entered in the random drawing, leave a comment about the way men and women communicate differently or your thoughts on my cover or the backcover copy. Basically, just leave a comment and talk with me! 

 

June’s Game Day Winner!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to play What if! It was fun reading where y’all would be and what y’all would be up to if you woke up in the Old West. 

The winner of the cactus ring hold and a digital copy of To Tame A Texas Cowboy is:

Kathy Rader

Congratulations, Kathy! Look for an email from me on how to claim your giveaway. Thanks again to everyone who stopped by today. Take care and stay safe!   Julie

                                                         

 

 

June’s Game Day!

 

Yeehaw! It’s another game day. 

Today, we’re playing a game of What if… As a writer, I do this all the time, especially when I get stuck in a story. Now you get to try your hand at what if. Post your answers in the comment section. 

One lucky random winner will receive the cactus ring holder above and a digital copy of To Tame A Texas Cowboy.

What if you woke up one morning in the Old West? Where would you be, and what would you be doing?

Here’s my answer.

I had trouble with this, except for knowing I’d be in Texas as I am now. Give me too many choices and my brain shuts down. My first thought was I”d be on a ranch. But doubts crept in. Could I hack working that hard? I turned to other options. Maybe I’d be a teacher, because I had just received my teaching certification when I sold my first two books to Harlequin in 2011. I thought about making lesson plans and not having an adult to talk to all day, and said maybe not. I considered being a Hurdy-Gurdy girl, (shout out to our guest blogger Jo Noelle for that idea) but I’m a lousy dancer and being on my feet that much didn’t sound fantastic. Would I maybe be running a boarding house? I ruled that out. Too much cooking and cleaning. Could I run a restaurant? Standing over a hot stove rated right up there with on my feet all day. I decided I’d be on a ranch. Hopefully with the four strong men in my family–my husband and my three sons. We’d be working the land. I’d have a huge garden similar to the one my Grandma Walter had. I’d be taking care of chickens and out helping care for whatever other stock and crops we raised. Best of all, I’d have horses, something I’ve always craved. 

Now it’s your turn. In the comments, tell me where you’d be in the Old West and what you’d be up to.

Julie Benson’s Winner

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to talk about weather proverbs and how animals can predict the weather. The winner of the sink soap mate, llama car air freshener and signed copy of A Cure for the Vet is 

Kristi

Congratulations! Look for an email from me on how to claim your giveaway. Thank you again to everyone who spent part of your day with me. Thanks again to everyone who spent part of their day with me. Take care and stay safe during these difficult times.

                                             Julie

Nature’s Meteorologists

My grandparents’ farm in Decorah, Iowa

As I’ve said a time or six dozen, my maternal grandparents were Iowa dairy farmers. My grandfather was a short, stoic German man who possessed a loud voice and strong opinions. Getting to know him and earn his respect wasn’t always easy, as my husband, Kevin discovered.

My Grandpa Walter saw my husband as a city kid who knew nothing of farm life. (Which was true.) As a child someone shared an animal proverb with Kevin. When a cat washes behind its ear rain is on the way. On one visit, Kevin noted one of my grandmother’s barn cats washing behind its ear, and shared the weather prediction with my grandfather. My grandfather naturally thought this city kid couldn’t know what he was talking about. A while later, Kevin set off to pick up my mother a hour or so away and asked my grandfather to ride shotgun. On their way back to the farm, the skies opened up. Not only did it rain, it poured. One of those driving rains that makes it difficult to see when driving.

That day proved to be a turning point for my husband and grandfather. Kevin showed my grandfather he knew something about his world, and my grandfather developed a new respect for my husband. From that day on until the day my grandfather died, cats washing behind the ears predicting rain became a running joke between them.

Farmers and ranchers often looked to animals for indications of the weather, and reliance on these methods isn’t as silly as it sounds. While people might not have known when creating the proverbs, now science often explains the animals’ behaviors. For example, cats ears may be sensitive to changes in barometric pressure causing them to wash behind them when rain is coming.

Just for fun and to hopefully make your smile, here are some other animal proverbs from the Farmer’s Almanac.

  • If a cat sits with its back to a fire or sleeps with all four paws tucked under, bad weather is coming.
  • When a cat licks its fur against the grain, prepare for a hailstorm.
  • When a cat sneezes, rains is on the way.

 

But cats aren’t the only animal meteorologists…

  • If a cow stands with its tail to the west, the weather should be fair. If it stands with its tail to the east, the weather will turn bad.
  • When a dog eats grass or sheep turn into the wind, expect rain. (Based on how often my dogs eat grass, I should be building an ark, so I’m not a big believer in this one! ?)
  • If a bull leads the cows to pasture, bet on rain. But if the ladies lead the bull, the weather is uncertain.
  • The more brown a wooly bear caterpillar, the milder the winter.
  • (This one isn’t super practical since it requires a
  •  tape measure. I can’t see many farmers measuring mole holes! ?) If the mole hole is 2 ½ feet deep, expect severe weather. If it’s 2 feet deep, it won’t be as severe, and 1 foot deep indicates a mild winter.
  • When pigs gather leaves and straw in the fall, prepare for a cold winter.
  • Fat rabbits in October and November indicate a long, cold winter.
  • Bats flying late at night mean fair weather.
  • Wolves howl more before a storm.
  • Predict the temperature by counting a cricket’s chirps.
  • Hornets building their nests high in a tree means a snowy winter.
  • Cows laying under a tree in the morning means rain is on the way.

And from the plants:

  • When leaves “turn their back to you” and curl somewhat, watch out for rain.

To be entered in today’s giveaway for the Live Happy sink soap mate, a llama car air freshener and a copy of A Cure for the Vet, leave a comment on your weather proverb.

 

A Treat From My Childhood

My grandparents’ farm in Decorah, Iowa

The older I get the more I appreciate the multitude of things I learned from my Grandma Walter. Being an Iowa farm wife with six children, she learned to stretch things as far as she could. For example, a talented gardener, she always had plenty of potatoes. To make her homemade chicken soup go farther, more filling and need less chicken, she served her soup over mashed potatoes. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized this wasn’t how everyone ate their chicken soup.

I remember my grandmother saving Wonder Bread bags and crocheting them into round “rugs” for the porch. She also made the most beautiful dollies. One day I asked her to teach me how to make them. (She’d already taught me to crochet.) But like so many things she did, she simply did them without a pattern or recipe. She explained how she created the intricate design, but I couldn’t keep up. I wish now I’d tried harder and made at least a few notes.

Whenever I was at the farm around my birthday in July, my grandmother would make me an angel food cake. We’d smoosh up fresh strawberries along with sugar. When they became good and juicy, I’d pour spoonfuls over a slice of cake and add a dollop of fresh whipped cream. That’s still my favorite cake today, though with a store bought one, it’s never quite the same.

Today I’m sharing my Grandma Walter’s Lemon Bars recipe. Whenever I’m asked to bring cookies or bars, this is what I make. That way I get to them enjoy them. With the rest of my family being chocolate fiends, lemon bars aren’t their favorites, and if I make them at home, I eat them all myself! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Lemon Bars

2 C flour

½ C powdered sugar

1 C butter

Mix the above ingredients well with pieces of butter being pea size or smaller. I use a fork or a pastry blender. Press evenly into a 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

4 eggs slightly beaten

6 Tablespoons lemon juice

2 C sugar

4 Tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

 

In a bowl mix the sugar, flour and baking powder well. Combine slightly beaten eggs and lemon juice. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Pour this mixture over baked crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.

 

When cool, sprinkle with more powdered sugar and cut into bars. Refrigerate.

To be entered in the random drawing to win a signed copy of A Cure for the Vet and the Wine makes a good book great glass leave a comment about a dessert or treat you love but your family isn’t crazy about.

Julie Benson’s Winner!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by today to talk about Western Sayings. I appreciate all your wonderful comments. The laughs you gave me were priceless, and as we all know, laughter is the best medicine.

The winner of the scarf, car air freshener, and copy of Home On the Ranch:  Colorado Rescue is:

Laurie Gommermann

Congratulations, Laurie! Look for an email from me on how to claim your giveaway. Thank you everyone who spent part of your day with me. Remember—Don’t go jumping any barbed wire naked, and everyone take care and stay safe!

                                      Julie

Fall off that horse and come on in!

In 2018, I wrote on western, and particularly Texas, sayings. Then all of you commented with others I hadn’t heard. You had me laughing pretty much all day. My favorite came from fellow filly, Pam Crooks. “He’s foolish enough not to realize he shouldn’t jump a barbed wire fence naked.”

Pam’s saying reminded me of my four Wishing Texas Series heroes, because that’s the kind of friends they are. When one is being a jerk, the others call him on it. As my heroes aren’t traditional cowboys riding on the ranch, I often add western or Texas sayings to add to their western character. I had to find a way to use Pam’s saying. I’m writing Book 4 now, To Marry A Texas Cowboy, and Zane’s best friend says to him, “I suppose you think jumping a barbed wire fence naked is a good idea too.”

As I sat to write today’s post, I realized I needed a laugh. With everything going on in the world, I figured you could too. So, here are some sayings I found but didn’t have space for last time. I hope they make you smile and maybe even chuckle.

Might was well. Can’t dance, never could sing, and it’s too wet to plow.

So crooked you can’t tell from his tracks if he’s coming or going.

If I say a hen dips snuff, you can look under her wing for the can.

He’d argue with a wooden Indian.

He’s the only hell his mama ever raised.

He may not be a chicken, but he has his henhouse ways.

So dry the trees are bribing the dogs.

Better to keep your mouth shut and seem a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

He’s got a big hole in his screen door.

She’s two sandwiches short of a picnic.

He always draws the best bull.

He could sit on the fence and the birds would feed him.

My newest foster Bella, to make you smile!

If a trip around the world cost a dollar, I couldn’t get to the Oklahoma line.

He’d steal his mama’s egg money.

He could talk the gate off its hinges.

She speaks ten words a second, with gusts to fifty.

You were too hard to raise to take chances.

Anytime you happen to pass my house, I’d sure appreciate it.

You smell like you want to be left alone.

If brains were leather, he couldn’t saddle a flea.

He couldn’t hit the floor if he fell out of bed.

Looks like he was pulled through a knothole backwards.

There’s two theories to arguin’ with a woman. Neither one works.

To be entered in today’s random drawing for the scarf, car air freshener and a copy of Home On the Ranch: Colorado Rescue, leave a comment about your favorite western saying. If you don’t have a favorite, tell me which saying above spoke to you the most. Thanks for sliding off and letting your saddle cool while you spent some time with me today. Stay safe until the next time we meet around the corral.