Shanna’s Favorite Things

It’s my turn to share some of my favorite things. I could tell you about my favorite flowers (roses!), my favorite candy (dark chocolate and Peanut M&Ms), my favorite season (any but winter), or my favorite book (can’t pick just one!), but instead, I thought I’d share some favorite things that make my life easier, prettier, or better.

Our nephew moved in with us in September which meant I had two guys spilling stuff all over my tablecloths at mealtime. I tried placemats, but that still meant messes to wash away. I resorted to a plastic tablecloth.

I know. I know!

I was skeptical when I ordered this one, because plastic tablecloths aren’t generally nice. The ones I could find locally were thin, with the tacky pieces of backing that look terrible, and not of good (or even acceptable) quality.

I started searching online and found this tablecloth that had a bunch of good reviews. When it arrived, I was pleasantly and happily surprised. It is super thick, very nice quality. The floral pattern looks exactly like it does in the photo, and the scalloped edging is so pretty. It comes in several sizes and colors. I would not hesitate at all to recommend this to anyone, especially if you are tired to scrubbing BBQ stains out of your tablecloths. Wipe this with a damp cloth and you are good to go!

 

When we remodeled the kitchen, I bought one of these little silicone trays to keep my soap bottle in by the sink. Then I bought another one, and another one, and …

You get the idea.

In addition to using it by the sink to hold the soap bottles, I use them to hold bottles of stuff that might make a potential mess in a cabinet or pantry, like olive oil bottles, syrup bottles, etc. If they do get dirty, they are easy to wash by hand, or stick them in the dishwasher.

Speaking of silicone, this mat has been so, so handy next to my sink. We live in the country and have really hard water that leaves behind hard water residue everywhere. I have one of these mats right next to the sink on the dishwasher side where water tends to get dripped from hands and dishes. It’s easy to keep clean by wiping it down, and it keeps the hard water from building up on my counter. A big win!

 

One day last month, I was searching for a box to hold a special gift for a friend. Not just any old box would do. Which is when I found this one that looks like a book. The wooden box is covered in a soft, rich velvety material. I liked it so much, I ended up keeping it and getting a different box for my friend. For now, the box holds a bunch of little promotional booklets from the early 1900s that Captain Cavedweller gave me.

I don’t always have time to exercise, even though I know I should. I was looking for something I could do while multi-tasking, and came upon the DeskCycle. Oh, my goodness. I love this thing! It’s easy to use, has different settings, and it fits beneath my desk. While I still don’t pedal as many miles as I should in a day, it really is fun to use.

So there’s my list of random favorite things for the month of May.

How about you?
What item is making your life easier, prettier, or better this month?

This post includes affiliate links.

Lilac Bride Sale

 

I don’t know about you, but I love it when the lilacs bloom. I mean, really LOVE it!

The flowers, from the deep purples, to the creamiest whites, make me so happy. They make me think of spring, and bring to mind memories of picking them for my mom for Mother’s Day, and gathering them from my grandpa’s garden.

Their scent isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I find that fragrance to be glorious.

A few years ago, I wrote a story about a bride-to-be who wanted a spring wedding filled with lilacs in memory of her mother.

 

Then it seemed like nature and everything else conspired against her getting the wedding of her dreams.

Just when it looks like it will all fall apart, some meddling octogenarians (like fairy godmothers who need cholesterol meds and Aspercreme) come to the rescue.

For a limited time, you can get Lilac Bride for just 99 cents. If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you’ll give it a whirl!

When wedding plans go awry, wily matchmakers come to the rescue . . .

Katherine Kelly has been dreaming of her wedding since she was old enough to cut pictures out of magazines and glue them into her bridal binder. When Kaden, the handsome cowboy who holds her heart, proposes on a snowy Christmas Eve, she couldn’t envision anything more perfect or romantic. The spring date is set, all the nuptial details have been meticulously arranged, and she only has six weeks to go before the big day. Then, in a blink, her carefully formed plans begin to rapidly unravel. A freak snowstorm, rampaging rodents, and a lost wedding gown are only the beginning of the troubles they face.

Cowboy entrepreneur Kaden Ford still can’t quite believe Katherine Kelly agreed to marry him. She’s beautiful, elegant, intelligent, and the woman who fills his heart with joy. He doesn’t care if they get married in a cathedral or a cabin in the woods. All he wants is to spend his life loving Kat. But when faced with one overwhelming challenge after another, will love be enough to hold them together?

Find out in this sweet, charming, small-town romance full of laughter, love, and scheming octogenarian matchmakers.

What is your favorite flower fragrance?

Winter Wonderland Romance

When I was thinking about the third book in my Winter Wishes series, I knew who the heroine would be. She was the former love of the hero in the second book, Sleigh Bell Serenade. Olivia Burton left town quite suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving Bo with a broken heart. Thankfully, he’s moved on and is ready to find his happily ever after – eventually.

Anyway, I knew Olivia needed her own sweet romance and the opportunity to fall in love. The only questions was what hero would be perfect for her.

I happened to see a cover Covers and Cupcakes had for sale one day and it just screamed “buy me for Olivia’s story!” so I did. Who was I to argue with a screaming book cover?

It was perfect for the title of Winter Wonderland Romance.

So, after studying the guy on the cover, the story for our hero, Alex Adams started to take shape in my thoughts.

Turns out, Alex is a veteran, dealing with PTSD,  and in desperate need of peace and quiet away from his well-meaning but suffocating family. Alex heads to the wintery mountain town of Pinehill with his dog, Dude. (Yes, the dog’s name is Dude and every time I type it, I might smile.)

Olivia has returned to Pinehill to take over the medical practice there when the old doctor who was her mentor wants to retire. Although her teenage self had vowed to never return to her hometown, she finds she doesn’t detest living there as much as she anticipated.

When Dude eats something he shouldn’t, Alex races to the clinic and begs Olivia to help his dog (there isn’t a veterinarian in town). She does, swears him to secrecy, and the two of them begin to form a tenuous bond.

She never wanted to return to her hometown.
He needed an escape from his family.
When a chance meeting brings them together, will their attraction keep them from drifting apart?

Doctor Olivia Burton never intended to return to her hometown of Pinehill. After graduating high school, she set off on a new path, eager to leave her past behind. However, years later, an unexpected phone call from her mentor pulls her back to Pinehill to take over a thriving medical practice as the town’s primary physician. Determined to avoid the local gossip mill, Olivia attempts to keep a low profile as she settles back into the community.

Alex Adams is desperate for an escape from his well-meaning but suffocating family. After a life-altering explosion ended his military career, he finds himself plagued with post-traumatic stress disorder. Surrounded by his loud and overbearing family only intensifies his struggles. Seeking respite, he retreats to his aunt’s mountain cabin in Pinehill, desperate for peace and quiet.

When a chance encounter brings Alex and Olivia together, the sparks begin to fly. Olivia, cautious and hesitant to let anyone into her guarded heart, begins to question if it’s time to leave her past behind and embrace the possibility of a winter wonderland romance. Alex, yearning for connection and understanding, finds himself drawn to Olivia’s warmth and kindness.

As they spend more time together, will Olivia and Alex discover that love, much like freshly fallen snow, has a way of blanketing everything in a layer of beauty?

Uncover the joys that come with new beginnings, the transformative power of love, and the magic that can be found in the simplest moments in this sweet, wholesome, and tender romance.

If you could stroll through a Winter Wonderland,

where would it be and who would be with you?

Share your answer for a chance to win a digital copy of all three books

in the Winter Wishes series!

The Christmas Letters series

Back in 2022, I bought a pre-made book cover from Covers & Cupcakes LLC.

I had no idea what I’d do with it. but the image of a snowy mailbox with mountains behind it just spoke to me.

I started thinking about that cover, and a storyline about a woman who was a Santa expert came to mind.

Then I started thinking about letters. Actual, in-the-mail, hold-in-my-hand letters. Hardly anyone takes takes the time to write a pen to paper letter these days. In fact, I’ve had several friends mention how much they miss receiving letters.

So, that got me thinking about how special and meaningful a hand written letter can be.

And I started thinking about a series of stories that begin with a letter.

The cover I originally bought became the cover for the first book in my new Christmas Letters sweet and wholesome contemporary romance series.

And the idea for the Santa expert story became the third book, which I wrote last, because the second book and fourth books are about cousins, so I wrote those together in an effort to keep as much consistency between the books. (And that wasn’t confusing at all!)

Christmas Letters is a series about four friends, all experts on something related to Christmas, and their journeys to finding love.

He can’t save Christmas, but he can save her tree farm.

Dr. Jaxon Frost, a highly regarded authority on Christmas trees, is known nationwide for his expertise in the field. Preferring solitude, he dedicates his life to his work. However, his routine is interrupted when he receives an unexpected letter from Holly Crest Tree Farms, seeking his assistance in identifying a disease affecting their Christmas trees. Jaxon heads to the farm and is caught completely by surprise to find the owner isn’t a crusty old farmer, but a beautiful woman who captures his interest and admiration. He will do anything to help Jaylyn save her trees, even at the risk of losing his heart.

Jaylyn Smith carries the weight of immense responsibility as the owner and manager for Holly Crest Tree Farm, a family-owned business passed down through four generations. The fate of their cherished legacy, symbolized by their beautiful Christmas trees, rests solely on her shoulders. When she can’t identify a disease attacking a section of trees, she reaches out to an expert for help. Jaxon Frost is nothing like she expected, but everything her heart has been longing for.

Will their collective efforts salvage the valued heritage of her family?

Discover the answer in Dear Mister Frost, a heartwarming and sweet holiday romance that exudes warmth, laughter, and the joy of the festive Christmas season.

He can’t create a miracle,  but he can give the gift of love

 When heirloom ornament maker Sam Silver receives Erika Esposito’s heartfelt letter, he is deeply moved by her plea for a special ornament for her dying son, Joey. Despite having shut himself off from the world due to his own personal trauma, Sam feels compelled to step out of his shell to help Erika and Joey.

Erika, who has already experienced a profound loss with the unexpected death of her husband, is desperate to bring some joy into Joey’s life as he battles cancer. She reaches out to Sam, unaware that her plea will bring not only hope but also the possibility of finding love again.

Rich in Christmas spirit, Dear Mister Silver offers a tender and heartwarming holiday romance. Sam’s journey as Ornament Guy, crafting heirloom ornaments as a way to rebuild his life, takes on a whole new meaning as he pours his heart into creating a special ornament for Joey. Through his efforts, Sam not only brings joy to a little boy but also discovers the wonder of opening his heart to love.

Filled with warmth and touching moments, this story reminds readers of the magic that shimmers in acts of kindness, and how love and hope can be the greatest gifts of the holiday season.

 

She’s striving for success, not searching for romance

 Lyra Nicholas is a renowned expert on all things related to jolly old Saint Nick. When she receives a letter from Tucker Lee, a rancher in a small Oregon town, she hesitates to consider his request to help his sister with a museum exhibit. But something in the note intrigues her, and she soon finds herself in The Dalles, preparing for a grand Santa installation. Then she meets Tucker and finds herself falling love.

Tucker Lee will do anything for his sister even if it means groveling to a snooty Santa expert to set up an exhibit at the museum Remi manages. Expecting an old, dowdy female, Tucker is taken aback when he meets Lyra, a beautiful young woman who makes him realize there may be more to life than running his ranch.

As they work together to make the exhibit a success, sparks dance between them like twinkling tree lights.

The essence of Christmas, the joy of family, delightful humor, and heartfelt emotions take center stage in Dear Miss Nicholas, a wholesome and uplifting holiday romance.

 

She’s not about to give him a second chance, even when it comes to love

Halston Baker’s career took a nosedive when she crossed paths with Kutter Hayes five years ago. Now, Halston has rebuilt her life and found success as a gingerbread house designer. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase her skills at a Las Vegas resort with a life-size gingerbread village. Little does she know that Kutter, the man who turned her life upside down, is also in town for the finals rodeo. Despite her head shouting at her to stay far away from the troublesome cowboy, her heart has other plans.

Kutter has his own plans and ambitions for his career as a stock contractor and not a single one of them involve fiery, feisty Halston. She blames him for ruining her dreams, and is as prickly as his grandmother’s pin cushion. But as Kutter spends more time with Halston, he realizes there is far more to the fascinating woman than her ability to create amazing gingerbread houses.

As the magic of the holiday season wraps around them, Halston and Kutter must decide whether to follow their hearts and pursue love or step away from what might be their chance at a happily ever after.

Dear Miss Baker is a treat for the senses, combing the flavors of the season with the joys only Christmas and first love can bring in a wholesome holiday romance.

What about you?

Do you like to receive or write letters?

What’s the most meaningful letter or note you’ve ever received?

Or who would you like to receive a letter from?

Share your answer in the comments for a chance to win a digital set of all four books!

10 years of Cowboys & Christmas

 

Tomorrow is a big day for me.

It’s the 10th annual Cowboys & Christmas Celebration on Facebook – a party that gives me an excuse to have a day of fun with my author and reader friends while raising funds and awareness for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund.

Ten years.

When I hosted the first party, I never imagined it would turn into an annual event. But it has, and I’m so glad!

It all started with a trip Captain Cavedweller and I took to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

We were at the airport, waiting to catch our flight home, and I noticed there were a lot of other rodeo attendees waiting to go home as well. The airport was a sea of cowboy hats!

As we sat there, I started thinking about how fun it would be for a rodeo cowboy to meet an uptight business executive at the airport and fall in love.

By the time we landed, The Christmas Cowboy, the first book in the Rodeo Romance series, was already taking shape.

After I began writing the story, though, I wanted to know how much care an injured rodeo cowboy would receive right there at the rodeo arena before they sent him to the hospital.

In the story, the hero is a saddle bronc rider named Tate who sustains an injury at a rodeo. In an attempt to get my facts straight for the story, I reached out to the Justin Sportsmedicine Team®. Through mobile medical centers, they provide care at more than 125 PRCA rodeos annually. Their responses to my questions were extremely helpful and I was so impressed with them, I wanted to do a little something in return.

That’s when I learned about the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund.

Most rodeo athletes aren’t able to get insurance because it isn’t a matter of “if” they get hurt but “when.” Because of that, when they sustain injuries that leave them unable to compete (and earn money) for an extended time, it can leave them in a financially challenging situation.

That’s where the JCCF comes in. They give a hand up to those athletes, helping them cover their bills so they can focus on healing.  The other wonderful thing about the JCCF is that 100 percent of all donations go into the fund.

In 2013, I launched a campaign to donate a portion of my book sales to the JCCF during the month of December and held the first party to help spread the word.

In 2015, I added the month of November to my promotion, giving two months to raise funds for JCCF. Then I extended the promotion period for my Read a Book, Help a Cowboy campaign to October 1!

So from October 1 through December 24, ten percent of the net proceeds from all my book sales (eBook, paperback, hardback, and audio all count!) will be donated to the JCCF.

I hope to see you at the party tomorrow! The fun begins at 10 a.m. (Pacific Time: 11 a.m. MT, Noon CT, 1 p.m. ET). Join the party by clicking the button below. It will be a day full of connecting with some of your favorite authors, games, giveaways, and more!

And if Facebook parties aren’t your thing, you can still support the Read A Book, Help A Cowboy campaign through every book you purchase between now and Christmas Eve.

In fact, I have a brand new book coming November 30 in the Rodeo Romance series!

Will an innocent offer of help lead two obstinate hearts along the road to love?

Truitt Lucas is the guy who brings laughter wherever he goes and refuses to take life too seriously. Beneath his carefree exterior, though, he yearns for more adventure and excitement than he’ll find working on the family ranch alongside his cousin and grandmother. When the opportunity arises to assist a trick rider, Truitt eagerly lends a hand. However, he soon finds himself drawn to the perplexing woman who barely tolerates him.

Jolee Judson is living her dream as a trick rider on the rodeo circuit, using her lifelong passion for horses and gymnastics to wow the crowds. But when her partner unexpectedly abandons her, Jolee is just desperate enough to accept a good-natured cowboy’s offer to help. Fascinated and infuriated by Truitt and his shenanigans, Jolee struggles against her growing feelings for him. Falling for Truitt could spell disaster for her future and derail everything she’s worked for.

Can the two of them find common ground where trust is earned and love becomes a cherished gift?

A sweet holiday novel full of the magic of Christmas, Tricking Christmas brims with small-town humor, heartwarming moments, and wholesome romance..

If you were hosting a holiday party,

and could invite anyone,

who would you like to attend?
Post your answer for a chance to win a digital copy of the first three books in the Rodeo Romance series!

A Chef, a Cook, and a Sweet Romance

Tomorrow is the day!

Release day for Challenging the Chef!

I’m thrilled to share this book with you because it was such a joy to write Owen and Tawni’s story.

Owen had it all. A skyrocketing career as a celebrity chef, a life in New York many only dream of. But when his uncle needed him, Owen walked away from it all. After his uncle’s death, he stayed in Summer Creek, a small-town full of people who flock to Owen’s restaurant, and not just because it’s the only place open for dinner.

Tawni loves to cook, and is excited about learning from the celebrity chef she had a crush on during her enter last year of college.

But when these two meet, nothing is like their expectations.

 

When an interloper arrives in his kitchen, will romance start to simmer?

Chef Owen Thorpe left behind his celebrity status when he moved to Summer Creek. The quaint town and country atmosphere allow him to seek solace in his recipes. His peace and quiet is threatened when he’s coerced into being part of a big auction package that includes the winner spending a week cooking with him in his restaurant. The last thing he wants is some chef wannabe in his way. However, the real danger he faces is losing his heart when the winner turns out to be a beautiful woman who knows her way around a kitchen.

Burdened by the weight of her demanding career as a school psychologist, Tawni Young turns to cooking and gardening to escape from the never-ending stress of her work. When her aunt gifts her an auction package that includes cooking lessons in the small town of Summer Creek, Tawni realizes the chef she’ll be working with is none other than a celebrity she had a huge crush on during her college years. From the moment the two of them meet, an undeniable attraction sizzles while wits collide.

As they embark on a tantalizing journey of culinary delights, will Tawni and Owen discover the most important ingredient is love?

In this heartwarming and deliciously wholesome tale, Challenging the Chef takes readers on a savory adventure filled with sweet romance.

You can read the first chapter here!

Read the entire Summer Creek Series!

  • Catching the Cowboy
  • Rescuing the Rancher
  • Protecting the Princess
  • Distracting the Deputy
  • Guiding the Grouch
  • Challenging the Chef

What’s one thing you do to relax or unwind? 

Please share your answer in the comments.

I like to bake!

Also, if you haven’t yet, you can download a free Summer Creek themed bundle of goodies that includes a short story, printable bookmarks, a puzzle, coloring pages, and a recipe!

Challenging the Chef

Between our kitchen model and life in general, being able to have time and my mind in the right mental space for writing has been a bit of a challenge in recent months.

Finally, I finished the sweet and wholesome small-town contemporary romance I’d originally hoped to release in July.

Challenging the Chef will release October 19! I’m so thrilled to share this story with you!

I’m fortunate you can’t gain weight by drooling over Pinterest recipes because I sure found a lot of tasty ideas to include in this book. Writing it made me so hungry and eager to get in my kitchen and create something!

The book is about Owen Thorpe, a former celebrity chef who moved to a tiny little Eastern Oregon town to help his uncle during his last days before he passed away. Owen settled into the community of Summer Creek and decided to stay. He inherited his uncle’s dive bar and restaurant, and is working hard to change the reputation of the Broken Bucket to a destination for people who love good food. Owen gets coerced into contributing a week of cooking lessons to an auction package. He has visions of a middle-aged foodie winning the package and driving him nuts.

Tawni Young is a school psychologist. The demands of her job are stressful, so she uses cooking and gardening as her therapy to relax and unwind. When her aunt wins the Summer Creek auction package and gives it to Tawni as a gift, Tawni is shocked to realize the cooking lessons are with a celebrity chef she had a huge crush on in college.

When they meet, nothing is like either of them had expected.

 

When an interloper arrives in his kitchen, will romance start to simmer?

Chef Owen Thorpe left behind his celebrity status when he moved to Summer Creek. The quaint town and country atmosphere allow him to seek solace in his recipes. His peace and quiet is threatened when he’s coerced into being part of a big auction package that includes the winner spending a week cooking with him in his restaurant. The last thing he wants is some chef wannabe in his way. However, the real danger he faces is losing his heart when the winner turns out to be a beautiful woman who knows her way around a kitchen.

Burdened by the weight of her demanding career as a school psychologist, Tawni Young turns to cooking and gardening to escape from the never-ending stress of her work. When her aunt gifts her an auction package that includes cooking lessons in the small town of Summer Creek, Tawni realizes the chef she’ll be working with is none other than a celebrity she had a huge crush on during her college years. From the moment the two of them meet, an undeniable attraction sizzles while wits collide.

As they embark on a tantalizing journey of culinary delights, will Tawni and Owen discover the most important ingredient is love?

In this heartwarming and deliciously wholesome tale, Challenging the Chef takes readers on a savory adventure filled with sweet romance.

 

 

If you could win an experience with a celebrity,

who would you choose and what would the experience be? 

Share your answer for a chance to win an autographed copy of

Catching the Cowboy,

the first book in the Summer Creek series.

I’d love the chance to learn photography from someone who has great skill at it, especially for shooting live action (like rodeos). One of my favorites is Matt Cohen.

 

10 Years of Chasing Dreams

I’ve been thinking a lot about dreams.

Some dreams are small. Some are huge. Some seem attainable. Some seem beyond our reach.

But the thing about dreams is that they don’t chase us. We have to go after them to make them come true.

I thought it might be fun to share some “dream” quotes today. I love this one because it is a call to action. To not just dream about how our life could be, but to live the life we dream.

I also love this reminder that it is NEVER too late to pursue a dream. Age is only a number, not a stumbling block.

This Walt Disney quote is one of my favorite “dream” quotes. It’s a reminder to me to have courage.

You see, ten years ago, I left my day job to pursue a full-time writing career (passion!). My husband nudged me to take a big leap of faith and I haven’t regretted for even one minute that I walked away from security and stability to chase my dream.

 

And this quote speaks to my heart. When I left my job, so many well-meaning people acted like I’d lost my mind and poured in advice. Suggested I beg for my job back. Asked if I wasn’t too young to retire. Let me assure you, I’ve worked harder and longer the past ten years than I ever did at any of the jobs I held over the years.

And that’s because of this quote. Dreams don’t just happen. You have to work for them. Work hard. Sacrifice. Put in the sweat and determination (tears and blood – paper cuts count, don’t they?).

I’ve been pursuing a dream for ten years not just for myself, but also for CC. He believes in me whole-heartedly and it would shred my heart to let him down. And then there are my faithful readers who have become friends and so very dear to me. I am so blessed by them, and their encouragement and kindness.

So I keep dreaming bigger dreams, and then working hard to make them come true. And I will tell you, there are a lot of times I have no idea what I’m doing. There are a lot of days I’m scared by the goals I’ve set. But I love what I do. And am so grateful and so incredibly blessed to be able to do something I love every day.

What’s one dream you would like to pursue,

or that you’ve already made come true?

 

Oh, and before I forget, be sure you pop over to enter my big 10-year anniversary giveaway!

Pink Pistol Sisterhood Party!

The Pink Pistol Sisters are hosting a shindig and we hope you’ll join us!

The fandango takes place tomorrow, July 20, in our Facebook group.

All ten of us (and I’ll be hosting twice), will be there, beginning at 10 a.m. Here is the schedule!

10:00 – Karen

10:20 – Shanna

10:40 – Cheryl

11:00 – Kit

11:20 – Kari

11:40 – Winnie

12:00 – Linda

12:20 – Pam

12:40 – Shanna

1:00 – Julie

1:20 – Jessie

In case you missed it, ten of the Petticoats & Pistols authors have joined together to create a series of sweet romances, all tied to a pink-handled pistol owned by Annie Oakley. The Pink Pistol Sisterhood series begins with Karen Witemeyer’s book In Her Sights.

Join us tomorrow for a day of fun, games, giveaways, and more!

If you could inherit a special

one-of-a-kind item

what would it be?