Please tell me it’s not too early to celebrate Christmas ? I sure hope not because I had a new book coming out this month on the 26th — A Secret Christmas Wish. Of course, all my books hold a special place in my heart, but this one has become a favorite. I’ve included a lot of familiar hooks: handsome cowboy hero, single mother heroine, baby, ranch setting, weddings, and, yes, Christmas.
But my publisher took a chance and let me write a hero you don’t typically find in romance books. Brent Hayes is suffering from acute depression. Not a trait you expect in a strong, tough cowboy hero. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to bring awareness to the struggles individuals with mental illness face in a format that might reach readers needing to know they aren’t alone.
Rest assured, there’s also the usual fun, touching, romantic, and western stuff I love to write about — plus a really cute little boy guaranteed to steal your heart. And plenty of Christmas happenings to put readers in the spirit.
Here’s a short excerpt:
Brent did as Ansel suggested, ladling a portion of the steaming cider into a mug. He’d skipped lunch, not wanting to spoil his appetite for today, and considered filling a plate with stuffed mushrooms and deviled eggs. Before he could, he felt a heavy weight knock into him and almost spilled his cider.
Looking down, he saw TJ on his knees and clutching Brent’s boot with his chubby arms.
“Hey, buddy. What’s going on?” He set down his cider on the table.
TJ tugged harder on the boot, the same one he’d pushed around the bunkhouse floor the previous evening. “Want.”
Brent understood that word well enough. “Maybe later. Not sure your grandma fancies me walking around her house in my socks.”
TJ plunked down onto his behind, wrapped his legs around Brent and pulled with all his might, his small face turning nearly the same shade of red as his sweatshirt. “Want!”
Brent chuckled. “We’re going to have to reach a compromise.”
“TJ!” Maia hurried over. “I’m so sorry.” She bent and retrieved her son. “He’s been a little stinker since we got here. It’s all the people and commotion.
TJ squirmed and grunted in an attempt to break free of Maia’s grasp. When she held fast, he started to cry. She put him down but kept hold of his hand.
“What am I going to do with you?” she complained with mock sternness, her expression filled with tenderness.
She wore a red sweatshirt identical to her son’s. It was then Brent saw MacKenzie Family Thanksgiving printed on the front over a cartoon turkey. He glanced at Ansel and Darla. They wore the same sweatshirt, as did Lois and two of TJ’s cousins.
Corny. Also kind of nice. Brent’s family hadn’t done those kinds of things, and until today he’d have cringed at the idea. Funny how one’s perspective could change.
“Here.” Brent slipped out of his denim jacket and extended it to TJ, who grabbed the jacket with the same joyous abandon he had Brent’s boot.
Struggling, TJ managed to insert an arm into the sleeve. Before Maia could stop him, he scooted off, dragging half the jacket on the floor behind him.
“Come back.” She started after him.
Brent waylaid her with a hand on her wrist. “It’s all right.”
“What if he—”
“Then he does.”
She shook her head and grumbled, “You’re as bad as he is.”
Only then did Brent notice his hand remained on Maia’s wrist. Reluctantly, he let go. He’d been here less than ten minutes and already experienced human contact twice after an incredibly long dry spell.
Lois’s hug had been nice, but touching Maia was far nicer. He wouldn’t lie.
I love that we’re seeing more and more women participating in sports traditionally dominated by men. And I’m happy that rodeo has become one of those sports. Yes, you say, women have long competed in barrel racing. But did you know in the early days of rodeo, 1850s to 1900s, women competed against men in all rodeo events, including rough stock?
Eventually, they got pushed out (grrrr), and in 1948 the Girls Rodeo Association was formed with the intent of advancing women in professional rodeo. The Girls Rodeo Association later became know by its current name, the Woman’s Professional Rodeo Association. Yay! Go girls. Um, I mean women.
While women still don’t compete against men in today’s professional rodeos, they do have their own rodeos and are no longer restricted to just barrel racing. Breakaway roping and team roping have become sanctioned events, and women from all over the world compete on local and National levels. Pretty impressive. I’ve tried roping and couldn’t even get the rope to land correctly on a stationary practice dummy. Can’t imagine succeeding while chasing a live calf on a fast moving horse.
There are also some brave and talented women who compete in non-sanctioned events such as tie-down roping, steer wrestling, bull riding and bronc riding. Picture yourself climbing onto the back of a two-thousand pound bull and letting him toss you around like a bean bag. Nope. I can’t, either. Even with all the safety equipment. Talk about dangerous. But I admire the women who are paving the way for future generations.
I especially like that these rodeo events are open to ages thirteen and up, giving opportunity to young women they didn’t have just a short time ago and opening doors for future generations. Who knows what women in rodeo will look like twenty years from now, or even ten?
At the 2020 Inaugural Women’s World Rodeo Championship last November in Las Vegas, four women became the first in history to claim the title of Women’s Rodeo World Champion (besides barrel racing, breakaway roping, and team roping, a title was also given for heading and heeling).This is an amazing step forward, and I hope more events will be added in the future.
I haven’t yet put a professional woman rodeo athlete in one of my books. Thinking maybe I should. And one of these days I’ll travel to Las Vegas to attend the rodeo. I read somewhere that CBS will be airing the final rounds for this year’s 2021 Women’s World Rodeo Championship on Sunday, October 31st. I’m marking my calendar 🙂
My newest release Sadie is officially here and so far, readers are loving the story (which makes my heart so happy!).
If you haven’t read it yet, you can get the digital or paperback versions on Amazon. It’s also available in Kindle Unlimited.
Inspired by the true stories of women who served in France during World War I, Sadie is a sweet romance filled with courage, hope, and lasting love.
She yearns for far-flung adventures. He longs for the home he’s found in her heart. Will a world at war tear them apart, or draw them closer together?
For most of her life, Doctor Sadie Thorsen has imagined seeing the world on grand adventures. When America joins the war raging across the world in 1917, it seems her dreams are about to come true. She travels overseas as a contracted physician, eager to do her part to help the war effort. Endless streams of wounded push her to the limits of endurance, then she receives word Harley John Hobbs, the man she’s loved for years, is missing in action. Unable to bear the thought of life without him in it, she refuses to let go of her hope that he’s alive.
The day Sadie Thorsen shoved Harley John Hobbs down on the playground was the day she marched off with his heart. He spent years doing everything in his power to become successful, determined to have more than himself to offer Sadie if she ever returns to their eastern Oregon town. Conscripted to join the American Expeditionary Forces, Harley John answers the call and heads to France. Wounded and alone, he clings to the promise of seeing Sadie one last time.
I’m also excited Romance at Rinehart’s Crossing will release this month, on September 17! It’s part of the Regional Romance series with books by fellow fillies Kit Morgan and Kari Trumbo!
I have to tell you, I was way behind writing this book. It includes three intertwined stories and I had to hustle by bustle to get it finished in time to send to my editor. I started on a Monday with roughly 41,000 words written. By 10 p.m. that Friday, I had finished the book at 123,689 words! And that Friday was my new personal record for words written in a single day with 19,493 written. Before that, the most I’d written was just a shade over 18,000. Whew! I hope you enjoy the book because despite the haste, I sure had fun writing the stories!
Life on the Oregon Trail will never be the same . . .
Tenner King is determined to make his own way in the world far from the overbearing presence of his father and the ranch where he was raised in Rinehart’s Crossing, Oregon. Reluctantly, he returns home after his father’s death to find the ranch on its way to ruin and his siblings antsy to leave. Prepared to do whatever is necessary to save the ranch, Tenner isn’t about to let a little thing like love get in his way.
? Austen – After spending her entire life ruled by her father, Austen Rose King certainly isn’t going to allow her bossy older brother to take on the job. Desperate to leave the hard work and solitude of the Diamond K Ranch, she decides a husband would be the fastest means of escape. If only she could find a man she could tolerate for more than five minutes.
? Claire – Two thousand miles of travel. Two thousand miles of listening to her parents bicker about the best place in Oregon to settle. Two thousand miles of dusty trails, bumpy wagons, and things that slither and creep into her bedding at night. Claire Clemons would happily set down roots that very minute if someone would let her. What she needs is her own Prince Charming to give her a place to call home. When a broken wagon wheel strands her family miles from civilization, she wonders if handsome Worth King, the freighter who rescues them, might just be the answer to her prayers.
? Kendall – Anxious to escape her mother’s meddling interference, Kendall Arrington leaves her society life behind, intent on experiencing a Wild West adventure. Hired as the school teacher in a growing town on the Oregon Trail, Kendall hopes to bring a degree of civility and a joy of learning to the children of Rinehart’s Crossing. However, the last thing she expects to find is a cowboy with shaggy hair, dusty boots, and incredible blue eyes among her eager students.
Will love find the three King siblings as Romance arrives in Rinehart’s Crossing?
Read all the books in the Regional Romance Series featuring historic locations, exciting drama, and sweet (yet swoony) romance!
I know it’s early to be thinking about Christmas – or is it too early? Maybe not 🙂
I found out last week that a novella I wrote several years ago as part of an anthology titled A Mistletoe Christmas (original cover on the right) is going to be re-released in France this coming holidays. How cool is that? As you can see from the picture, the anthology has been renamed A Family for Christmas. My story, A Merry Little Wedding is also going to be offered individually and retitled An Embrace Under the Snow.
Now, you wouldn’t know by looking at any of the covers that A Merry Little Wedding is a western and set in the fictional town of Mistletoe, Texas. Still, I like the covers. They have the right holiday feel and put me in a cheery mood. Plus, I’ve always liked this story and am thrilled for the chance to reach new readers halfway across the world! What fun. Oui?
BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER is on sale today and tomorrow for 25% off the regular price, which is $4.99. It should bring the book’s price down to around $3.99. But, you will need a coupon and the coupon is BNP1892.
Here are a few reviews of the book:
From MJ: A captivating read that I didn’t want to end
One question authors get asked all the time is where do you get ideas for your stories. No, you don’t have to worry that if you tell me about running into your old high school crush I’m going to use it in my book. Unless, well, if it’s a really good meet cute …
Never mind. Just kidding. I actually get a lot of my ideas from news articles or human interest pieces I read online. Sometimes, however, inspiration comes from a place I’ve visited.
Many years ago, when my kids were young, we took a trip to Bisbee, Arizona and toured the Queen Silver Mine. While there, I saw an old photo of a mule being lowered down into the shaft (mules were used to haul ore carts and often spent their entire lives in the mines). From that tour and photo came the inspiration for Her Heart’s Treasure. While researching that book, I came across an article about a horrific mining accident in Denver and that became the inspiration for my book, The Gate to Eden. Note: this was back in the days when I wrote Western historicals.
A few years after that, we were vacationing at Lake Tahoe, Nevada. One day, we took a tour of the (replica) Ponderosa Ranch and Western town TV set from the show Bonanza. The scenery was incredible, and my mind raced with ideas. Eventually, I wrote a three book series for Harlequin American titled Sweetheart, Nevada.
When I was a teenager, we used to stay at a Western-themed resort outside of Payson, Arizona called Kohl’s Ranch. As an adult, I frequently visit Payson and have returned to Kohl’s Ranch just to check it out. Of course, a story popped into my head. That story eventually became a four-book series called Bear Creek Ranch that was so thinly disguised I actually had readers email me to say they knew I’d used Kohl’s Ranch for my inspiration.
I could go one and on, but I think I’ll end with the McDowell Mountains. I grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona and lived for many, many years not far from the Sonoran Mountain Preserve. Once, while walking my dogs, I found myself gazing up at the mountains and wondering if any wild horses still lived there. Turns out, they do! That question launched a thirteen book series, the first one about a cowboy trying to save his ranch by capturing the last wild mustang roaming free in the mountains near my fictional town, Mustang Valley.
Wow. All this talk about places I’ve visited makes me want to travel again. It’s been too long. Wherever I wind up going, I’ll be sure to take my imagination. Who knows? I could be inspired with a story.
Now, what were you telling me about your old high school crush ?
I’m so excited to be here for my second official post. In case you didn’t know it, I’m a talker, and I love talking about writing. And, yes, anything western and cowboys 🙂
I’m sure everyone reading this post has heard the old saying: write what you know. That’s one of the reasons I love western romances. I’ve spent most of my life embracing the country and western lifestyle. And even though I mostly write contemporaries, that doesn’t mean I get out of having to research something new with every book.
I particularly like giving my heroines horse-related occupations or hobbies that are little out of the norm. In one book, my gal crafts and sells jewelry for horses (yes, it’s a thing). In my book coming out in November, the gal’s a competitive endurance rider. In yet another book, she rescues wild mustangs. I even had a heroine who ran a wildlife sanctuary.
In my most recent release, my heroine is a trick rider. And while I’ve seen trick riders perform at rodeos and horse events, I actually knew nothing about it when I started the book. I guessed that trick riders have years of training and often a gymnastic or dancing background, and I was right. But I learned a whole lot more.
Trick riding originated in the Caucasus and Central Asia cultures and was adopted by the Russian Cossacks who used it during battles. Eventually, Russian Cossacks who immigrated to America brought their trick riding skills with them and started performing as a way to earn money. Sometime around the 1940s, trick riding evolved into a rodeo event, though eventually it became strictly a specialty act for entertainment..
Not only is the rider talented, skilled, and athletic, the horse is, too, as well as needing to have a calm and reliable disposition. The two must form a true partnership in order to be successful and trust each other completely. If not, they’re both at risk of injury. As you can imagine, countless hours of training and practice are required in order to reach a professional performance level, and that training and practice never stops.
Here are just a few pictures of some common tricks. I don’t know about you, but I’m holding my breath watching them.
One leg stand
If you have a hankering to learn more, check out this YouTube video of sister trick riders. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll be amazed at what these gals (and their horses) can do!
If you’ve ever followed along and read the last book in a series, then you’ll know it’s bittersweet to say good-by to characters you love.
If you’ve ever written the last book in a series, then you’ll know that’s bittersweet, too.
Except saying good-by to characters you’ve had in your head for months, that you’ve developed, plotted over, stressed about, and fallen in love with, it’s WORSE!
So it is with MY KIND OF COWBOY, the last book in my Blackstone Ranch series with Tule Publishing. And as much as I hate to admit it, this book is my favorite, too, which makes saying good-by even harder.
Jace Paxton is the oldest brother of my three military-cowboy heroes. He is the one destined to run the prestigious Blackstone Ranch some day. He carries alot of responsibility on his broad shoulders. He knows the power of the legacy he must cherish and protect.
Shandi Flanagan is the opposite of the heroines in my first two books in the series. She’s not a big city girl, new to cowboys and Texas dust. No, Shandi has lived in Paxton Springs her entire life. She grew up with the Paxton brothers. Went to school with them. Had the same friends and went to a few of the same parties, too. She’s a cowgirl at heart, hard-working, sweet as pie, and everyone who knows her loves her.
Jace Paxton is all but clueless to her existence. Except when it comes to being served his favorite brand of cold beer and a hot-off-the-grill burger and fries. He knows she’s a good person. She’s just not on his radar.
That changes, of course, when he rescues her on one of the worst nights of her life.
He begins to see she’s more than an efficient, beloved, and devoted waitress at the town’s most popular watering hole, the Greasy Bull. He learns that working two jobs day in and day out so she can achieve her dream is the kind of person she is.
She opens his eyes, all right. His heart, too. But there’s a huge obstacle between them, a dream they both share, and no matter who overcomes, the other will be hurt.
MY KIND OF COWBOY will be released Tuesday, March 16th. I hope you read Jace and Shandi’s story to find out more about that dream and which of them achieves it.
Thank you so much for hosting me this week and letting me talk about me latest book coming out in April, The Restless Cowboy. I’m so excited to share about the series and the characters and hope you like it too!
I plan my books pretty far in advance, mostly thinking about characters, who they are, and what their book might be. Cam Miller, my hero in The Restless Cowboy, has actually been a character on the page in all of my western romances since the first book in the Redemption Ranch series, A Cowboy’s Salvation. To me, he was the quintessential cowboy. Strong, silent, but still waters run deep and I knew there was a wealth of pain under his calm demeanor. But what was his pain?
His backstory came pretty quickly to me. I like tortured heroes and then finding the right woman to heal him and help him find love again. But heroes also need to find their own way to love and no one needed that more than Cam Miller. So I turned to a wonderful friend, who I only got to know in the last year or so of her life.
Kari Lynn Dell. She was an amazing author, a good friend, and an amazing resource for ranch and cowboy life. Very late one night, I reached out with a question. Very simple. How do you fight a fire on a ranch in Montana when you don’t have a fire hydrant?
Simple right? Not for Kari. She delved into how the fire could start, how people would fight it, and how to make it add complications to the story. Then she asked me about my book and I told her about Cam and how I was struggling. I said, I wanted a rancher, a cowboy, who felt trapped by being just that. How could he break free when that was all he knew?
Several hours later, The Restless Cowboy was born and the fire was completely deleted from the book. Cam became a leather worker, a skill necessary to ranch life, but the quiet artist was a perfect balance for the man who had been forced into a life he had never wanted by a father who was an alcoholic who died, leaving him with a debt-ridden ranch and a much younger sister to raise. Cam was forced to give up any chance of a dream to be a rancher until one day, he was finally free. Only, what did freedom look like?
And that was when he met Molly Brennan, a fiery single mom with whom he had a brief affair before leaving the town of Granite Junction for good, in pursuit of his future. But fate had something else in store for him, and Cam was brought back to Granite Junction to deal with his demons and his past, and to find the family he never thought he wanted or deserved.
Leather working, as Kari Lynn Dell, told me, is a critical skill on a ranch. Who else would mend the tack, the saddles, and other items? As I delved into the world of leather work, it amazed me the beauty created from leather including leather roses and a bouquet of leather! I wasn’t quite sure I could see Cam making these items but the hand tooled saddles for the ring? Sure, he could do that.
Researching leather working was so much fun. I only wish Kari Lynn Dell had lived to see the book finished. She passed away last summer from cancer and I never got to tell her how much she helped me with the book. But she was with me in the writing of this book.
The Restless Cowboy is the second book in my small town western romance series and comes out April 27, 2021. Check out the first book if you haven’t, The Wrong Cowboy, available now and you’ll be introduced to Cam Miller, and his cousin Gabe Buchanan and the feisty Emma Holt.
Free—from family, duty, and responsibility.
Cam Miller has spent most of his life bound by choices others made for him. He did what had to be done to provide for his little sister, and he doesn’t regret that. But now, with her off to college, he can finally put ranching behind him and pursue the life he’s always dreamed of… far from Granite Junction. But after one night of passion comes back to haunt him, he fears his hard-won freedom is only temporary . . .
Independent—from family, relationships, and matters of the heart.
Molly Brennan was living her best life as a rodeo trick rider until a failed marriage forced her from the arena. Now she’s perfectly fine running her own hair salon and raising her daughter solo. She doesn’t need a man, but what could it hurt to indulge in a little no-strings fun with a sexy cowboy?
When Molly realizes she’s pregnant, she pulls herself up by her bootstraps. She’s handled things this far on her own and she can do it again, although she’s finding it isn’t so easy to let Cam go. But Cam’s not the kind of man who shirks responsibility. Finding himself torn between a woman who feels like home and his need to break free, where will Cam’s heart lead him?
Tell me your favorite western romance and what you love about it.
Two winners will receive eBooks of The Wrong Cowboy.
Ever since Megan Ryder discovered Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught while sneaking around the “forbidden” romance section of the library one day after school, she has been voraciously devouring romance novels of all types. Now a romance author in her own right, Megan pens sexy contemporary novels all about family and hot lovin’ with the boy next door. She lives in Connecticut, spending her days as a technical writer and her spare time divided between her addiction to knitting and reading.
Welcome to Yee-Haw Day, the once-a-month day we’ve reserved to share our news with you – all sorts of fun news!
So check out the post below to get the details on the kinds of things that make us goYee-Haw!!
New Release! I’m happy to announce that the third and last book (so far….) of my sweet Holly, Idaho series comes out on February 2. Amazon
Three weeks to win her heart…
Investment banker Felicity Evans returns home to Holly, Idaho, to answer her injured father’s SOS. He needs her to help him meet his construction deadline on a historic property by Valentine’s Day. Felicity swings a mean hammer, but her life is in Seattle and she’s leaving as soon as the project is finished. One problem with her quick escape plan? Danny Montgomery. Years after moving away, he still complicates her life despite her many efforts to forget him.
For as long as Danny Montgomery can remember, Felicity Evans—Felix to him—has tied his heart in knots. She’s spent years avoiding him after their childhood rivalry, but, short on help, has no choice but to hire him to help her finish renovations on a keystone project for her father. This time, Danny won’t let her ignore her true feelings.
He has until Valentine’s Day to make her his. Can he convince Felix to give them one more chance and prove they’re a perfect match?
BOOK 1 of a brand new series (Lone Star Legends) coming out in April!
There’s a new generation of Legends itching to make their mark.
Nothing writing related – but I am yee-hawing, because I just got a fishingboat! I’m an avid fisherman who has spent the past six years where there is no above-ground water. We’ve moved to where I have two lakes and a river within 15 miles of me, and I’m so excited I can’t sleep at night!
Meet Bubba Not the guy, that’s my husband. The boat’s name is Bubba!
At present, I have three of my books on sale for $.99 cents. The first one is “out-wide” at various platforms. The other two are at Amazon only. I’m going to leave the covers of them here so you can see what ones they are:
I’ve received my first ever review from Publishers Weekly! Yee-Haw!
This international magazine and website was founded in 1872 and has published continuously since then. It’s a weekly trade publication for publishers, authors, agents, librarians, booksellers, etc. They are tough, selective in what they read and review, and just to be chosen from a mountain of submissions is a very good thing!
The review, in part (because I don’t want to give my book away!)
“. . . this contemporary western should please Crooks’s existing fans and earn her new ones.”
Coming February 16th!
PREORDER Her Texas Cowboy, Book #2 in the Blackstone Ranch series:
I’d love to announce a new book but since I don’t have one coming out in the near future, I’m going to make a announcement about a chapter in another book … the book of life. Our oldest granddaughter is engaged to one of the nicest men I know. They met when she was in college and he was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. He went on with his career in the military and was stationed all over the world, while she finished her education and became a Raspatory Therapist in Dallas. Their wedding will be in July 2020. I’m so proud of them.
Many readers inhale series romance for the obvious reasons. Done well, characters that have endeared the reader in one book live on in subsequent books. We get to see their lives, their happiness, the town or ranch where they live, sometimes even the villain or his gang that continue to be a thorn in the characters’ sides.
I’ve done numerous series over the years, and I love writing them as much as the reader loves reading them. I’m excited that the release of Book #2 and #3 of my first contemporary western romance series with Tule Publishing is drawing closer and closer.
To write a series, an author must keep track of the details. This is crucial and shows professionalism. To make mistakes in one’s own books is sloppy, and you can bet the readers will pick up on carelessness.
For me, my saving grace is Microsoft’s One Note. Oh my goodness, I can’t survive without these ‘notebooks’ that keep the gazillion notes, research, images, and yep, details right at my fingertips.
A COWBOY AND A PROMISE is available now. As Book #1, I had to set up the three ex-military brothers who live on Blackstone Ranch. I also had to set up the town named after their great-grandfather. And of course, there are businesses in that town, and people to run them, and the list goes on and on.
I was very careful to weave many details throughout all three books to keep them connected and real, and I’m happy to share a few now:
In Book #1, A COWBOY AND A PROMISE, Beau Paxton is a twin who has served in Afghanistan with his two brothers. All three come back to heal, run the ranch, and help their mother care for their crippled father.
All are respected and well-liked in Paxton Springs and enjoy fond memories growing up, like fresh popcorn in Mary’s Mercantile. That same popcorn comes back in Book #3 and the mercantile’s owners play a nice part for Shandi, the heroine.
In Book #2, HER TEXAS COWBOY, Brock Paxton is scruffy-cheeked and suffers from being excluded by his twin once Beau finds Ava, his true love. It’s that loneliness that sets him up for Lucienne in his book.
Jace Paxton is the oldest, also womanless, but always searching and having fun along the way. His skill is working cattle, which plays a huge part in his Book #3, MY KIND OF COWBOY.
You can bet they drive the same color of Ford F-150 pickups, wear the same color Stetsons, and ride the same breed of horses throughout the series that I set-up in Book #1.
Their favorite watering hole in town is the Greasy Bull, which plays a huge part of Book #3. Their friend, Nash, is the local deputy and a former classmate whom the Paxton brothers depend on to help solve the troubles they encounter in their own books.
In Book #1, Ava arrives from New York. Her favorite color is pink, which I show numerous times and then remind the reader in a nightgown she lends to Shandi in Book #3. Her skill is in construction, and she’s crucial in building the vacation resort which is a basis for the entire series.
In Book #2, Lucienne is rich and hugely into fashion, much to Ava’s frugalness and chagrin. I intro her in stilettos, skinny jeans, and a leopard-print blouse. She’s also a nurse practitioner who is never without her medical kit which she keeps in her expensive suede bag, and yep, that medical kit comes in handy in Book #3 when Shandi needs some tending.
In Book #3, Shandi has her own book, but she’s introduced in Book #1 as one of the first people Ava meets when she arrives in town. She’s popular, sweet as pie, and always wears jeans, tank top, and a ponytail. Thanks to Tule’s awesome cover artist, my female cover model has a pony tail, and she’s a perfect fit for my Shandi!
There are many more details, of course, that you’ll learn if you read the series. I don’t want to give everything away, do I?
To buy or Preorder on Amazon, just click the cover image!
We’re delighted to welcome author Carole T. Beers to the Junction. Scroll down for her giveaway.
“Home for the Holidays.” I love those feel-good words, the timeless idea and yearning they represent for many of us. Basically, that idea is hope—a theme of my novella, “In from the Cold.” The story centers on how an old man facing retirement and a dying marriage while Christmas and blizzards fast approach, rescues an abandoned horse off a snowy Oregon mountain. In performing that one selfless act, he rescues himself. He restores hope and a sense of belonging and cause for celebration not only in himself, but also in his struggling foster daughter and her differently-abled son.
Wow. Sweet! Happy tears. We all want a safe place where we are loved, free to be. We also want holidays, time off to feel peace and to reaffirm special traditions and connections. Yet sometimes seemingly unsurmountable obstacles block our way. Do we give up? Hello! We cowboy or cowgirl UP, as characters in my Pepper Kane Mysteries say.
It’s the same with us writers. Notably, THIS writer. We want a place to be, to strut our stuff and express ourselves in safe, even welcoming, places. This lovely blog and the heartful Western vibe it puts out, is one of those places. A virtual “home” with you friends gathering ‘round. Thank you! And may your days be merry and bright.
How do you plan to keep the spirit of Christmas alive during these hard times? Comment below for a chance to win a signed paperback of “In From the Cold.” It’s my gift to you!
I came to fiction writing after 30-plus years working for The Pulitzer-winning Seattle Times newspaper. I covered celebrities, car crashes, community events and climate aberrations. Reviewed the arts. Skewered buffoons. I even leaned to fly planes, train and show horses, shoot guns! Though not at the same time. Cue polite laughter and loud crickets.
I came to writing modern West stories of separation, struggle, reunification and hope— brightened with humor—almost from the start. Why not? I am, after all, an offspring of westering pioneers, who needed grit and hope and humor to survive. I like to inspire adventurous, preserving and hopeful attitudes in readers.
Horseback riding and writing five days a week, and aligning with Spirit, help me keep it all together. Pay it forward. Enjoy.
There are dark days. Oh yes. There are family, aging or work challenges that I must persevere through. I hate these times! But I also realize they can make me stronger and teachable. and hopeful. So I keep riding, writing, working on love. And on coming “In From the Cold.”
Thank you for reading! I appreciate the chance to toot my horn, on P&P.