Megan Ryder and The Restless Cowboy

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?

Order your copy today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | GooglePlay

 

 

Giveaway!

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.

February Game Day!

Happy Game Day! 

For today’s shenanigans, I thought it would be fun to do a “would you rather” game.  Since some of us are so tired of winter, and others are maybe wishing for a little snow, the theme is snowy vs. the beach! 

Just share your answers below for a chance to win a $10 Bath and Body Works gift card! One winner will be notified before noon February 23. 

 

As for me, here are my answers: 

Carriage Ride

Hot Chocolate

Fireplace

Snow Ice Cream

Ride Horseback in the Snow

Build a Snowman

Beach Resort

No skiing for me – I’ll go back to the fireplace with a good book! 

Water Balloon Fight

Go Sledding

Art of Letter Writing

 

Did you know January 23 is National Handwriting Day? It’s true! The celebration began back in 1977 when the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association established the day to promote the use of pens, pencils, and paper. It also happens to be the birthday of John Hancock, a man remembered for his stylish signature on the Declaration of Independence. In fact, in the U.S., his name became a synonym for one’s signature.

As technology pervades (invades!) more and more of our daily life, it seems we write things by hand less and less.

There’s just something about writing something by hand that is almost therapeutic. And it’s an art that is quickly becoming lost. 

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love getting something handwritten in the mail, whether it’s a card or a letter. Even a sticky note with a message written in Captain Cavedweller’s chicken scratch handwriting brightens my day. 

Writing a letter is an art – from choosing the card or paper to the writing utensil, to the words that are expressed. 

Writing a letter does require a little more effort than sending a quick text, but think about how personal a letter can be. How special it is to the recipient. How meaningful and appreciated even the simplest message of “I’m thinking of you” is to someone who loves you. 

Letters build relationships in a way, a personal caring way, that text messages and emails never will. It’s something tangible that can be held in the recipient’s hand. Whether it’s a card full of glittery sparkles or a formal piece of heavy parchment, what really matters is the message conveyed from your hand to the heart of the reader. 

 

In my sweet historical romance, The Christmas Wish, the heroine, Brynn, writes anonymous letters to people in the town of Hardman. Her only goal is to offer encouragement and cheer to the recipients.

Here’s a little excerpt from the book:

Percy had heard about someone writing letters full of positivity and hope to people in town. His parents had been the recipients of one a year ago, and his mother proudly kept the letter in the desk in the apartment. It was one of the first things she showed him when he returned home.

The handwriting was sometimes shaky, which made Percy wonder if it was an elderly person, but the turns of phrase the writer used hinted at someone younger.

Regardless, the wisher’s identity remained a mystery that Percy rather hoped continued. It gave the people in Hardman something happy to focus on and look forward to since a letter popped up once a week and no one could guess who would be the next recipient.

He glanced at Brynn as the conversation shifted to the holiday season and noticed her looking quite pleased. He wondered if it had something to do with the wisher or the way her grandfather continued to cast adoring glances at Dora Granger.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if  there were more Brynn’s in the world? 

I’m going to try to be more like her, and write by hand more personal notes this year. 

What about you?

Do you write notes for friends and loved ones? Do you enjoy receiving them?

Do you have a favorite note or card that you’ve kept as a keepsake? 

Post your answer for a chance to win a handwritten note from me! 

 

COWBOYS & MISTLETOE is Back! 11/30 thru 12/3

And it’s bigger than ever!

Yep! It’s our 3rd year celebrating our heartwarming Christmas novellas and books. Each one is sure to fill your heart with holiday love and happy endings.

Even better, we’re giving away prizes. LOTS of prizes!

 

Thirteen – $10 Amazon Gift Cards

Plus . . . a Grand Prize of a $130 Amazon Gift Card!

 

Simply answer one trivia question for each filly’s book. 

If you enter each contest all four days, and get every answer correct, then you’ll be eligible

for our GRAND PRIZE!

 

Ho!  Ho!  Ho!

 

All answers can be found either in the first page or two of the Amazon “Look Inside” preview or in the book’s blurb.

All winners chosen by Random.org. US entries only.

13 Fun Filly Facts to Celebrate our 13th Birthday!

Yep! 13 years ago on August 13, 2007, we launched our very first blog, amateurs that we were. In that time, 35 bestselling western romance authors have called themselves fillies. Of those, 10 were founding fillies, and of those, 3 of us still remain. 

Linda Broday   ~   Pam Crooks  ~   Karen Kay

Want some more stats? In 13 years, we’ve had:

6,743 Posts

127,559 Comments

1,639,080 Views

That’s ALOT of activity on Petticoats & Pistols, and you, our dear readers, have shared yourself with us over and over again. We’ve become friends. Sisters, almost.

And that got us to thinking.

 

Guess which Fun Filly Fact goes with which filly! 

#1 – I was born in a tent to homeless parents and have twice seen that same situation since. My husband and I rode out an F-5 tornado inside our Texas home, lying flat in a hallway over our three little ones then shifted from place to place for nine months trying to survive. With only a high school education and pure grit, I will reach a publishing milestone in April 2021 with my 30th book that kicks off a new series.

#2 – I skydived when I was younger. Yep, jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. I highly recommend it (if you’re not afraid of heights). The thrill is stupendous, the view is amazing, and the accomplishment lasts forever. I quit after my 5th jump, when my chute didn’t open, and I had to throw the reserve. Oh, and you have great stories to tell your grandbabies!

#3 – My life is a musical. My husband and I were both band nerds in high school, but after one semester of band in college, he convinced me to join choir. We sang all through undergrad and graduate school and even with an adult chorus that took a European tour. Our children grew up singing Disney, Wiggles, and VeggieTales songs, playing in the band in school, and on any given Sunday our pew sports all four parts in acapella style. Once, when my kids were little, we had a lady from church babysit for us. She said it was like watching the Von Trapps.

#4 – I worked in the deepest mine in North America at the time. My level was 6900 feet underground. My pard and I loaded muck from ore chutes into mine cars and hauled it to where it was dumped in a larger chute to be hauled up out of the mine during the graveyard shift. I know what the blackest of black looks like. I’ve also been underground in the Arctic. The most amazing ice crystals grew in the mine there—giant snowflakes about 6 inches across.

#5 – I was in my 40’s when I was adopted into the Blackfeet Tribe in Northern Montana. Chief Old Person adopted me into the tribe in July of 2001 in a ceremony during the Indian Day’s Pow-wow.  The Chief gave me an Indian name that I won’t share here because one doesn’t speak their own Indian name. (It’s considered boasting.)  I was adopted into the Tribe because of my work with them on literacy, and my life was changed forever…always yearning to be in Montana on the reservation.

#6 – While I was hunkered down in a London air raid shelter during the war, someone gave me a teddy bear and said, “May God protect you.”  Thinking “God” was the name of the teddy bear, I took him everywhere.  One night, while my mother and I were racing through the streets to the shelter, I realized I’d forgotten God. Doing what any self-respecting four-year-old would do under the circumstances, I threw myself on the ground and had a full-fledged temper tantrum.  Not knowing what else to do, my poor mother took me back to the house to retrieve the teddy bear.  As we were leaving the house, a bomb went off at the end of the street where we would have been had we not gone back. So,  just as the stranger promised, God had protected me. 

#7 – When I was about six, I was at my cousins’ house and they had a horse! Everyone was getting a ride but my mom said I couldn’t, I was too little, unless a grown up was out leading the horse. Well, the grownups went inside and left me with some terribly irresponsible children. So I begged and whined and finally convinced them it’d be okay if one of them led the horse. And I got up on what now seems to have been a huge animal, and walked along, and whoever was leading the horse let it slip out of their hands and the horse went trotting toward the barn and I fell off and broke my arm.

The only good part of that was, my two big sisters and my cousins got in Terrible Trouble.

#8 – I worked full time in the legal field, while co-owning two antique shops. With a business partner, I purchased the oldest barbeque cafe in town. That had me not only working full time in a demanding profession, having a wonderful husband and two teenagers, but owning three businesses. Then came along the acquisition of an ol’ timey Texas honky-tonk. I learned the bass guitar. Strange fact, I can’t carry a tune in a bucket and couldn’t play that well; however, only at closing time my partner allowed me to join the band … most likely to clear out the customers before closing time. Thinking back, it was during that period I took my first writing course.  Fun, sweet memories!

#9 – While working as a newspaper reporter, I used to get sent out to do many agriculture related stories. One day, I went out to interview a couple that had sold their herd of beef cattle so they could turn their place into a “buffalo ranch” and sell the meat commercially. The husband was busy when I arrived, so the wife and I climbed in their big pickup and drove out to the pasture so I could get an up-close look at the animals. We reached the bison but they soon went from docilely grazing to agitated in seconds. The wife realized her husband had left a butchered carcass in the back of the pickup. The smell of that drove the bison wild and they stampeded. The wife swung the pickup around, hit the gas, and we bounced and jostled our way for the gate we’d left open, hoping to beat the bison there before they could escape. It was summer, the windows were rolled down, and one big ol’ boy stuck his head right up in my window. I could have counted his eyelashes if I hadn’t been scared witless. Then the wife said, “When we get to the gate, jump out and throw up your arms. I think they’ll stop.” I looked at her and told her she was crazy if she thought I was jumping in front of a few dozen beasts thundering straight at me. Thankfully, her husband appeared just in time to head off the bison and we made it safely out of the pasture. If I ever decide to include a stampede in story, I have first-hand experience! 

#10 – Have you ever been an unwitting participant in an FBI bust? I was! A lowly secretary for the U.S. Department of Labor, it was my job from time to time to man the front desk and screen guests. Imagine my surprise when, one day, a man came in, and when I asked, “May I help you?” he flashed his FBI shield at me with an “official” glare. “Quiet,” he said.  At that point, he went right on back to his intended target, a claims examiner who was taking money under the table to process black lung claims more expeditiously–and the black lung claimant, who was wearing a wire as the money was changing hands! Four of the six claims examiners were led out in cuffs that day and placed in a nondescript white cargo van, and Mr. FBI told me, “Don’t leave town. You may have to testify.” That was probably my most exciting day at work–ever.

#11 – I was lucky to have some fabulous and very interesting summer jobs during high school and college.  They included working as a data entry clerk for the local water works company (great first job with an interesting cast of characters), as an assistant at a library for two summers (Best. Summer. Job. Ever!),  schlepping backstage and ushering at the New Orleans Repertory Theater during their production of Three Penny Opera (Mack The Knife anyone?) and working as a computer science intern at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility (awesome place with some incredibly smart and dedicated people).

#12 – I was an opera major with a flute minor in college and belonged to the top 15% of musicians in my age group on the west coast. I played my way into college (quite literally, winning a scholarship to a conservatory of music with Mozart’s Concerto in G). I have taught flute over the years, helped with my local high school music and drama departments, and was getting ready to join my local concert band (just to keep in practice) when the pandemic hit. As soon as the chaos is over, I’ll sign up!

#13 – As a young girl, I wanted to be a nun. Being from a devout Catholic family, my uncle was a priest, and my aunt was a nun. I remember going to visit her at the convent while she and the other nuns roller-skated in the basement, their habits and veils trailing behind them. They were laughing and having such a good time while they went around and around that small room. It made me think it would be fun to be a nun, too, and my aunt, who was only fifteen years older than me, did her best to convince me I should be one. 

Obviously, she failed.

#14 – BONUS FILLY FACT! – I turned to fostering dogs four years ago when faced with an empty nest. After seeing a post about an adorable female black pup (my weakness) needing a foster, I responded. While that pup had already found a foster, I took a tri-colored male mix puppy named Rowdy about to be euthanized, and a crusader was born. Since then, my family and I have fostered over 25 dogs or puppies. We’ve dealt with mange (zombie dogs are the best!), heart worm treatment for HW positive dogs, Parvo, and have loved every animal we’ve fostered. When I’m asked how I can let them go, I respond “Every one we let go makes room to save another.”

 

It’s our birthday, but you get the gifts!

  • Guess which Fun Filly Fact goes with which filly! 
  • Be sure to number your guesses in the comments.
  • You’ll be eligible to win a $13 Amazon Gift Card.
  • Check back on Sunday to see how many fillies you guessed right.
  • And if there’s any fun fact about YOU you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear it!

Happy Birthday to us!