Ruthy Rides Into the Sunset

Well, this wasn’t what I expected when the gals graciously let me park my boots on the porch and hook my hat on the nail a few years ago because I was busily writing Westerns and loving it!

But that all changed the past two years… My new contract with Love Inspired is set in the beautiful swells and valleys of the Blue Ridge mountains, Southern to the max and I’ve been contracted for two Guideposts mystery series. One in Savannah… one in Charleston! That means I’m tucked into the south for the next few years, and the one prerequisite about being a Western Filly is to be (understandably) writing Westerns!

I realized when that last contract was offered, that I needed to focus on the South to do justice to the faith that these sweet publishers put in me. And I am so blessed by their vote of confidence!

But that means I’ve got to unhook my hat here, tug on my boots, and head for the land of Steel Magnolias, kudzu vines, peach pie, pecan waffles, sweet tea and bugs the size of my fist. 🙂 And humidity. Do you know what humidity does to my bushy hair???


This is one of my favorite movies of all time… this and Remember the Titans…. So maybe there’s a little Southern Belle with a steel backbone in this filly all along????

I have had so much fun over here. These women are amazing, and it’s been a wonderful opportunity to hang out with them, get to know them, and to see why they’re all so marvelously successful. Hard work and great stories are the key, and that’s what I’ve seen here at Petticoats and Pistols.

So as I delve into another and also beautiful part of our great land, in a tucked-in-the-hills town of Kendrick Creek (Love Inspired 2021) or the historic streets of Savannah (Savannah Secrets, Guideposts, my first book of this series comes out next month, A Fallen Petal….) and the beautiful settings of a vintage hospital in Charleston (Miracles and Mysteries of Mercy Hospital, fall 2021) I will miss all of you and hope you friend me on Facebook if you haven’t already.

I was blessed to be here! And blessed by the turns my career has taken, but I will miss my Filly Friends!

God bless you all…. and as a goodbye gift, I’m giving away two Kindle copies of “Welcome to Wishing Bridge”, the bestselling opening book of my Wishing Bridge series, all three of which are in the Top 10 of Women’s Christian Fiction on Amazon… so that’s a wonderful blessing, too, and I hope you guys love that series, too. It’s not Western…. BIG SMILE HERE!

But it’s really good.


Thank you all for visiting with me, praying with me, chatting with me. I have been wonderfully blessed by this community both behind the scenes with the Fillies, and on this side of the camera with wonderful readers.




What Day Is It, Anyway?????

OH mylanta, I am sitting here typing furiously because I realized it’s May 6th and I’m posting something brilliant on May 7th and I haven’t had a brilliant thought all stinkin’ day!

So this is kind of ya’ get what ya’ get, folks, and I’m laughing at myself, but we’re all in the same boat…. calendars yawn empty. Day follows day without appointments or meetings or if you do have meetings (I still do) they’re via Zoom and that’s about as exciting as my day gets….

AN EMPTY CALENDAR… I haven’t had an empty calendar since the 60’s and I don’t even remember that one…. I’m just assuming I had one as a kid! How weird is this????

And it’s spring and I’m yearning for baby animals and flowers, but it took a LONG time for spring to come here, and it’s still hit-and-miss.

I love having baby animals around. We have a young Golden Doodle “Maggie” who we’re going to breed to our Golden Doodle (who is jet black) this summer and have fall puppies…. so that will be fun/crazy/amazing and it will fall during autumn (which is also fall, but that would have been an odd sentence, right???) and in the meantime, it’s farm season and pumpkin growing season and of course I sneak out of bed at night and write books.

But getting ready for the farm season with helpers is awkward this year.


There haven’t been people in this house since the 3rd of March, so the young dog is going a little bat-waggy because she’s forgotten about people and kids, my daughter and son-in-law work on the farm and they come equipped with four children, my son works on the farm and we have two wonderful teen helpers that are not allowed to grow up because they’ll leave and work somewhere else and I love them. But what better gift to give them than a good work ethic?

I think that’s one of the things we love about Westerns and cowboys, both historical and contemporary because if they’re worth writing about it’s because they’re probably smokin’ hot (even some geeks are smokin’ hot, in a nerd-cute way, right?)…. they take care of animals which means they put others first and they’re not afraid to get dirty but clean up nice.


It feels odd to have folks around again. But it feels good, too.

There are wood customers stopping by so we have masks.

Dave’s mask was gross. He’d been cutting wood all day and it was gross….. to the max.

And he said, “Well it doesn’t matter, does it?”

Probably not to him.

He’s a boy.

And he’s cutting firewood, so there you go.

And then my friend Cate Nolan shared this with me yesterday:

And that’s a wake up call all its own.

My April book is still on shelves here and there around the nation… And I have a Guideposts mystery due to come out in June….

And an indie book soon after…

And there will be farm work and children and laughter and running and projects and all kinds of things going on…

And it will seem more normal for me. For us.

But still so abnormal for so many. The areas hardest hit are still in for a rough haul… and I expect the politics and the back-and-forth of the situation will have its day/week/month/election season.

That’s how it goes… but there will be flowers. And little kids cutting flowers. And cakes and Zoom meetings and people waving and laughing and hugging once again. Because we need hugs. We need warmth. We need togetherness in some ways, even if we help each other by staying apart.

Amidst all of this there’s a lovely constant. Faith. God. Prayer. And that’s my mainstay to keep myself focused.

And there are books! I’m giving away two copies of “Learning to Trust” my latest Love Inspired and they can be either Kindle or paperback, your choice.

Everyone needs a little help finding love….


Leave a comment below about how you’re getting through… and how you plan to re-open your homes as time goes on. There are no wrong answers here. We’re all at varying stages of our lives. Whatever we decide…. it’s our decision to make.

The coffee’s on!

Addled With April & Quotes to Remember

Addled with April…

I have never forgotten that phrase, as quoted by Sr. Mariel, SSJ, in Nazareth Academy first year honors English.

Addled with April.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawling’s “The Yearling” one of the most thought-provoking and beautiful books I’ve ever read.

I’ve always had a kinship with words and animals. Maybe that’s why The Yearling and Where the Red Fern Grows and Girl of the Limberlost and Old Yeller got to me.

Coming of age stories touch not just our hearts but our souls. They touch that spot inside us that feels vulnerable and awful and good. They speak to the rise of hormones and the worry of school, of change, of time passing. Beautiful girls, handsome boys and things spinning out of our control.

Of course life does that. It does it fairly often, but not generally to everyone. If a hurricane roars through Louisiana or Texas or Florida, we dip into our pockets and help out.

If an earthquake rumbles buildings loose in Indonesia, we dip into our pockets and help out.

If a stricken child wants to go to Disneyworld and it’s their Make-a-Wish dream, we dip into our pockets and help out.

But this pandemic isn’t nearly that selective. It’s hit global nations, and quiet neighborhoods. It’s brought the city that never sleeps to its knees and woken up indigenous tribes who had the virus brought to them by miners.

It has killed and maimed and it has been contained and stifled by a brand new term we’ve all come to know and love to hate: Social distancing.

It means no hugging, no visiting around a table, no potlucks, no hoe-downs, no square dances, no dances of any kind, no parties, no festive Easter celebrations and … yes, who would have ever thought this????

No church.

No church in America.

And when that sinks in and we realize we can’t eat out, but we better learn how to eat in…. and clean and wash hands (really, men, all y’all knew how to wash hands, you just didn’t do it, don’t try to fool us women) and there is no stopping for coffee or even playing on playgrounds in many places, the reality comes into sharp focus. We sacrificed to save others.

Now that’s Cowboy Code right there. The kind of code that puts the horse up comfortably before he comes in the house to drop his boots and grab a bite. The kind of code that has a mom staying up half the night making a costume for an eight-year-old because she was busy warming three lambs who got born on an ice-cold field just hours before. The kind of code that has a mom refuse dessert because there’s just enough for the other four people… because she’s way too full to eat another bite.


That kind of code.

It’s tough. It’s weird. And when this all first started and experts were arguing ten ways to Sunday about doing this, that or the other thing, one expert stood out to me…

Like that “Addled with April” alliterative quote I’ve never forgotten.

And he said “If we don’t do this and a million people die we’re going to have to deal with the choice we made the rest of our lives. And if we do do close things down to avoid the cross-contamination and exponential numbers, we’re going to look at the mere thousands of deaths and wonder why we ruined an economy for that many people. And that’s when we’ll know the strategy worked.”

So here’s to you. All of you. All of you who cried on Easter when you couldn’t go to church or hug a baby or visit a parent or stop by a nursing home and give Gran a hug.

To all of you who’ve put meeting newborns on hold, and couldn’t fight your way into a hospital to tell a loved one goodbye.

To all of you who swiped and wiped and cleaned and sewed masks and donated and acted like the very best human beings on the planet:

Thank you.

Because of you…

Because of us…

It’s thousands, not millions.

And that’s something we can all be proud of.

Sending God’s most ardent blessings to the world as we keep on keepin’ on.

We’ve got this, my friends.

We’ve got this.


What Makes a Hero?

Well, that’s a smokin’ good question, isn’t it?

We all know when we love a hero! Oh mylanta, Western heroes abounded when I was a kid. Some were on repeats, others were TV shows still being produced, but they were everywhere. It was Rowdy Yates (Clint Eastwood) and Little Joe Cartwright (Bonanza, Michael Landon) and then Maverick (James Garner) and then TV kind of morphed away from cowboys to doctors.

Doctors everywhere! And they weren’t ridin’ horseback.

But I still crushed on so many of them, LOL! James Brolin in Marcus Welby, MD and St. Elsewhere and E.R. and M.A.S.H… I’m sure there were others, but there weren’t so many cowboys around for a decade or so.

And as the 2000s rolled in, it became a time of fewer heroes. Or maybe I was working so many jobs that I didn’t happen to see them, but it was a time of Seinfeld and Friends and Full House and Will & Grace and it wasn’t until Marvel and D.C. Comics began rolling out Superhero movies that heroes came back in style.

Oh, there were stories about Jason Bourne and Jack Reacher and Mission: Impossible, but I don’t remember a lot of true hero profiles, and that seems wrong, doesn’t it?

The world needs heroes.

We need heroes.

We need heroes now more than ever!

We need to think of their being men and women who will risk even the ultimate sacrifice for humanity’s well-being.

And that’s what’s manning our front lines in the medical and first responder world today.


Men and women who are donning masks, gowns, gloves and fighting for the lives of thousands of Covid 19 patients.

These aren’t made-up heroes, although there will be books and films and TV shows singing their praises.

These are the real deal. The new pinnacle. The new front line.

So today, respecting those heroes, male and female, we’re lifting our prayers for them and the patients they serve…

And I’ve got three copies of my newest Western “Learning to Trust” for three folks who dare to tell us what they think of our current frontline superheroes… they’re wearing facemasks and faceshields in place of cowboy hats, but they look marvelous!


Just Released!!!!!

His Boots Are Made For Running!

Running for sheriff, that is!

Tug Moyer isn’t your average, every-day guy.

He’s a widower with two kids and great parents who jumped in when Tug lost his wife so they could help with the kids. Now… with Tug’s bid to become the next Grant County sheriff at hand… it’s Tug’s time to put his best foot forward, but when his smart and helpful daughter posts a video about her dad needing a new wife…

A video that goes viral within hours!

Tug’s got a mess on his hands.

The school is not amused. The sheriff’s department is not amused. And Evangeline’s teacher is the least amused of all. How could a sheriff’s deputy, a man who does teen-empowerment podcasts and blogcasts, not understand the dangers of kids let loose on the Internet???

Tug’s not your typical Western hero. He’s not a cowboy, but he wears boots. 🙂

He’s not riding range or roping calves or herding cattle, but he’s there, in the thick of a beautiful Western state that’s become a hub of agricultural beauty, vying for the sheriff’s office, fighting crime, helping kids and saving lives, unaware that his growing interest in Evangeline’s teacher might be his undoing.

Christa didn’t come into the ranks of teaching easily. The daughter of a Guatemalan immigrant, a woman who sacrificed so much to get her baby sister and daughter to America, Christa had a rough childhood that framed the solid person she is today. But when one of those youthful mistakes is made public, she knows she can become the downfall of the man she’s fallen in love with.

Boots aren’t just for riding, are they?

Wearing boots makes a statement.

Cool guys dare to wear them in Manhattan.

My son who moved to Texas 18 months ago now owns boots…

And loves them.

It’s not a fashion statement.

Perish the thought.

It’s a personal statement of self-confidence. And maybe a hint of swagger.

Having a hero running for office deepened Tug and Christa’s conflict, but it also gave the reader a better look at who Tug is. And his partner, Lorenzo Calloway, who will be the hero in the third Golden Grove book. Lorenzo is a boot-wearing deputy as well. Raised on a Central Washington beef ranch, Renzo wears the uniform but he’s on hand to help during busy times of calving, wrangling and getting calves to market. Unlike Tug, Renzo will not be running for any kind of office, but he’s the kind of man who stands tall in those boots, who stands firm for faith and family… but more about Renzo and Sarah later! 🙂

Boots sell movie tickets…. Tom Selleck, Dennis Weaver, Sam Elliott, Clint Eastwood, John Wayne… but look at the more recent Stetson wearing crew:

Tommie Lee Jones… Jeff Bridges… Kevin Costner… Kurt Russell… Val Kilmer…

Boots have crossed the marketing line. They’re not only acceptable anywhere, they’re beloved! And they go great with jeans, skirts, dresses…

Now I am not a fan of boots with shorts…. I’m just sayin’, that’s a little too oxymoron for me. If it’s hot enough for shorts, give me sandals or sneakers…. but that’s just me.

So what are your thoughts about boots? 

Here in the cold north, I’ve got snow boots and farm boots, but that’s a whole other blogpost! Share your boots thoughts below, and I’ll tuck you into a drawing for one of two copies of my just released “Learning to Trust”!


AND WE HAVE A WINNER FROM RUTHY’S EARILIER MARCH POST… and by earlier, she means before she had flu that ended up as pneumonia, when she could think a cognizant thought, darlings…. Luckily, she’s almost 100% healthy again!

Winner is Quilt Lady!!!! Congratulations, you’ve won a Kindle copy of Ruthy’s bestselling “Welcome to Wishing Bridge”!

Non-Western Book Release Party!

Yee Haw to my cowgirl and western and not-so-western friends!!! I’m coming to you with a major advertising post today because I have a BOOK BIRTHDAY this week!!!!

Guys, I cannot even put a Stetson on my newest Wishing Bridge heroine and pretend that this international supermodel is a cowgirl.


Nor are the potential heroes cowboys!!!

One is a deputy sheriff with a solid work ethic, a man who means what he says… so that’s like Cowboy code, right?

The other is a rich landscape architect whose family company builds amazing playgrounds out of logs and climbing walls and splash parks and even playgrounds designed for kids with mobility issues, so he’s got a good heart, but some solid backstory anger issues.

And I can’t make Wishing Bridge, NY a Western town, but it is in Western New York, so it’s Western for New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, LOL!

I love this series… I began writing this series a few years ago and it was picked up by the amazing Sheryl Zagechowski of Waterfall Press, a publishing arm of Amazon/Brilliance Press and they have been wonderful to work with, but Amazon closed this division about 18 months ago, and we still had more Wishing Bridge stories to tell…





But with independent publishing, I was able to do just that! Jazz’s story released on Monday (SQUEE!!!!!!! HAPPY DANCING!!!!) and next year we meet a new gal who comes to town, another troubled soul, a woman who has overcome too many obstacles put into her path by an over-zealous Amish bishop and a heinous crime… but she comes to Wishing Bridge to begin anew.

But that’s next year!

AND… THANK YOU, AMAZON!!!! They’ve put the first two bestsellers on sale for $1.99 for Kindle, which means you can get all three books for your Kindle for $7.96….

This year we have Jazz’s story, and what a story it is. The tale of a woman who’s overcome so much, who reached the pinnacle of international modeling success with the bank account to prove it, and the eating disorder that threatens her very existence. This beautiful story of a woman’s dual life, the crazy-amazing high-profile modeling life that has earned her international fame and a 10 figure bank account…

And the damaged self-image that never seems right, no matter how much fame she attains.

But Jazz Monroe finds the peace that’s eluded her for so long here in Wishing Bridge– right up until a twilight attack makes her want to run for her life all over again.

A beautiful story… and I’m so excited to be able to talk about them today!

We’ll talk about my April Western with Love Inspired next month… and the joy of patriotism running deep in a teacher’s veins… but today we’re tucked in the hills and forest preserves of Western New York with Kelsey, Thea and Jazz… the Soul Sisterhood, three women with troubled pasts who come together to help one another build a beautiful and unexpected future.

Beyond the sales pitch: I love to write stories that build women up. When you look at women historically, we have only HAD THE VOTE for just over a hundred years.

That’s reprehensible.


So I love that we’re in a modern time that recognizes the value of women, but there’s still a long way to go. In these stories, the beauty of women building each other up is the hallmark. Because I love seeing women uplift and support other women.  So when I pray, I pray for women to recognize their inner beauty and value, their amazing gifts and strengths.

I love a good, strong hero, but I want my heroines just as strong, to be the product of what they had to overcome or endure, and to be able to reach a hand out and help others along the way.

That’s my kind of gal!

So what do you think? What is it about a heroine that draws you in? Tell me below, and I’ve got a Kindle edition of “Welcome to Wishing Bridge” book 1 for one lucky person today!


Ruthy’s Winners!

Let me blast the January winners since I forgot to do that in early January (Shame on me!!!) Winners of “A Hopeful Harvest” are….




Then, from yesterday’s post, we have two winners of “Learning to Trust”!!!



This is my mailing week (yes, I only mail things once/month, that’s a dreadful system but I don’t seem to be able to break the habit… but I make great cookies, so there’s that. 🙂  )

Winter on the Farm


It’s a whole other season when you’re the resident writer on a farm.

When the busyness of our crazy September-October selling season draws to a close, my life takes an abrupt turn, kind of like those country roads with the “Sharp Curve Ahead” signs.

Quick turns can be the lights or sorrows of life.


Come the first of November I trade my farm boots (most days) for a writing hat (not really, I’m inside, so I don’t wear a hat, sillies! But you get the gist.) 🙂 And holiday Grandma and Mom hat… and grandmother to track runners and basketball players and soccer cuties hat.  And honestly, it’s so much fun to go back to the other normal. You guys know what I mean, it’s like the end of summer vacation, how you’re just ready for some sort of schedule again.

I’ve learned to never schedule a deadline in December. I work all year, in the middle of the night, but after a couple of early career December deadlines, I realized two things:

  1. A lot of publishing kind of shuts down in December so everything takes longer, therefor why rush????
  2. I want my Christmas prep, my Advent season, to be focused on faith and family and if I have a deadline looming, I have to juggle a really important plate that can’t be dropped…. and I learned years ago to keep Christmas as simple and faith-filled as I could, so freeing up my schedule for just writing and blogging that month is plenty!

This way I don’t have to fret over changed schedules, flu outbreaks, kids that need watching, Grandmas that need help, (those older Grandmas, the “Gee-Gees” in a family) because that’s how it happens, right?  We did our Gingerbread House day in early January because everyone got sick on Christmas vacation! Oh, those germs!!!

A Gingerbread Village!!!!! With a train!!!


Gluing the houses together with frosting… So important!

And a darling girl with an artistic flare!

So we got that done in January…. and then there was this:




Needless to say, neither the car nor the deer came out of this well.

So the car went off to salvage land, the deer went to wherever deer go and Farmer Dave walked away from  it, so all is well!

A fun, at the farm birthday party for a five-year-old cutie, and a cute rainbow cookie cake!

Kitchen success with Jambalaya recipe… Available over at Yankee-Belle Cafe, a cooking and lifestyle blog with some great authors.

And then total Kitchen Fail with a new cheesecake recipe!

Look at this…. SIGH….. Little Lena was helping, and I think we seriously over-mixed the cheese mixture because this is a mess!!!!

BUT OUR DINOSAUR FOSSILS CAME OUT GREAT! Lena and I are working on a dino-themed preschool unit, and the “fossils” were a lot of fun.

And know those snow pics I love to share????????

Farm boys in the January rain!!!!!! Pouring rain…. but like 60 degrees, so where did that come from?

But throughout all of this I’ve been busily writing. I finished editing “Finding Peace in Wishing Bridge” and that will be released from Amazon (Kindle and paperback) on March 2nd!


And I got a mystery proposal approved, so that’s next on my agenda, to finish that mystery and get it polished this winter…


And then there’s this!!!! I just got copies of my 2nd Golden Grove book (and I forgot to pick a winner from last month’s post, totally my fault, so I’m going to pick three winners from that post… and they are:

  1.  Teresa!

     2.   Rosie!

     3.  Alice Haney

AND…. two winners of the April book, Golden Grove 2, “Learning to Trust”!!!

And this is mailing week, so if you get your addresses to me, I’m sending everything on my list out this coming week, so I can check those boxes off for now!  My email is!


 A second beautiful love story set in Central Washington state, a place I absolutely love!

So there you go. That’s how my January’s gone. All the aspects of normal crazy that we call life, but so many blessings, too.

So how has your January been?

Tell me below and I’ll put your names in for one of the “Learning to Trust” copies!