A Sneak Peek!


My current project is a fish-out-water story, my favorite type to write. I do so love putting my characters in uncomfortable situations. I realized this with my first book Big City Cowboy when I forced my hero Rory to model in NYC. In the book I’m currently writing, my heroine, Jade works as a Senior Account Manager for a NYC designer. When her aunt leaves her a house in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, she travels there to supervising renovations for its sale. Of course, my hero is a cowboy. Dalton’s forced to take contractor jobs to earn money to keep his ranch afloat.

Another reason I’m enjoying this project is get to show off my DIY/renovation skills. (Yup, I love power tools and own tile, miter, and table saws, a cool nail gun, and various sanders.) I’ve retiled floors, removed wallpaper and popcorn ceilings, then retextured them, and retiled a shower. (FYI, renovating your house is a better workout than you get at any gym!)

After I hammered 🙂 out my characters and their backstory, I thought about the house’s floor plan to determine what renovations Jade would do. Despite knowing all we can discover on the internet, silly me, I tried to sketch a floor plan of my grandparents’ farmhouse. I almost drove myself crazy before turning to the internet where I discovered floor plans from houses built in the early 1900s from Sears and Roebuck.


New farmhouse my aunt built when my grandparents’ house had to be torn down.

Starting in 1910 homes were built wired for electricity, except for ones in poor rural areas. They didn’t get electricity until the 1920s. They also had indoor plumbing. This meant houses had one bathroom with a toilet, sink, bathtub (or shower), and a kitchen sink. Because of the growing popularity of automobiles, home also started having a detached garage built. The last new feature of the era were built-in closets to replace wardrobes.

I choose this floor plan.


I’ve selected option #2 or Jade’s house. It’s still hard to believe this house could be built for less than $3,000. I chose it for a couple reasons. One, the square style reminded me of my grandparents’ house and the happy times I spent there. Secondly, this design had a bathroom upstairs. Because this novel is shorter than ones I’ve written recently, I wanted to keep the renovations simple and didn’t want to add a plumber character. Because of this, I’m also saying the aunt already added a downstairs half-bath.

I needed another photo and thought we could use a picture of a good looking cowboy.

Before you think I’m writing a DIY renovation book and calling it a novel, my plan is to use the renovation to create trouble for Jade and Dalton. As anyone who’s renovated a house knows, it’s stressful and messy. Ordering supplies online, supply chain issues, and weather problems can create havoc with a timeline. And with Jade wanting to get in, get the job done, and get out of Oklahoma ASAP, this will drive her crazy. Further, there’s opportunities for Dalton to tell Jade about the perils of ordering online and the value of using local suppliers, only to be told Jade’s the boss and she’s made her decision. But of course, he’ll show this city girl a thing or two and she’ll give him a run or his money. Oh, how I love putting two strong-willed, intelligent, stubborn characters together!

So, now you’ve got the inside scoop on my latest project. More to come later on Jade and Dalton…

Giveaway—To be entered in today’s giveaway for the Thanksgiving dish towel and signed copy of Colorado Rescue, leave a comment on what renovations you would do to the house in my story if you wanted to sell it.

A Big Welcome To Guest Chris Martin!

We have guest author Chris Martin with us today and I know everyone will offer their usual warm welcome. And check out the post for info on a giveaway you won’t want to miss.

Hello everyone and Happy High School Homecoming Season!

Yes, High School Homecoming Season has begun and I recently did a little research on its origins and traditions. The whole dressing, dating and dancing routine has changed over the years, yet some traditions remain core.

Where did this tradition start?

The first high school homecoming was an adaptation of the college or university homecoming. Four different colleges claim to have started the tradition: Baylor of Waco, Tx; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne; University of Missouri at Columbus ; and Southwestern University at Georgetown, Tx.  The first homecoming celebration occurred in 1909, 1910, or 1911 according to which school you give the credit to.

About four years later, the tradition was picked up by high schools.  However, unlike the original university homecomings honoring alumni, high school homecomings generally are celebrations of team spirit for current students, particularly the graduating class.

Most high school homecomings include a football game and a dance. And where I’m from, the game schedule is carefully assigned so that the homecoming team plays a weaker team. This doesn’t guarantee a win for the homecoming team, but it certainly helps the odds. I have no idea what happens with the weakest team in the league!

Many schools have a homecoming court, although this tradition has started to wane in a few areas. Rules for choosing the homecoming royalty vary greatly by school. In the school my daughter graduated from, every Senior girl was made official Homecoming Queen and was escorted onto the football field at halftime for presentation. (They won their game.)

Homecoming dance formality varies from school to school, with some now as causal as T-shirts and jeans, while others are still into formal wear.  Part of the traditional dress is the homecoming corsage, typically made from a mum.

Homecoming corsages vary, too, in size and scope. Texas claims they invented the traditional mum corsages, but Missouri also claims that honor.  Evidence, though, strongly points to this being a Texas tradition that then spread to Oklahoma and Louisiana.

The homecoming mum corsage became popular in the 1950s and 1960s.  The corsage started off simply enough. A flower with a bit of ribbon to wear pin to a dress and wear at the football game and then the dance. Mums cost about $3 back then.

Now, the traditional mums are silk as well as fresh. Some of these corsages are so huge and heavy, they require thick ribbons to drape them around the wearers neck and can cover the wearer’s whole torso. Pounds and pounds of ribbons and trinkets make the most elaborate corsages heavy, rattling decorations that can cost thousands of dollars!

Despite the pomp, or lack thereof, one thing remains the same about all high school homecomings. They lend excitement and the chance to make memories that students will remember long after graduation day.

In my new second chance romance A Cowboy To Love Again, Sagebrush High School Vice Principal Gina Middleton Maisie has her own personal homecoming and it doesn’t go quite as she’d hoped.

PS Sagebrush Highs School Mustangs are one of those football teams that everyone wants to play for their homecoming game.


Gina took her heart to San Francisco, leaving Zach Rivers behind. After high school graduation, she accepted the first scholarship she could wrangle and headed to university, hoping Zach would follow her.

He would have if he could have. But family troubles kept him at River Ranch as he struggled to save the family legacy.

After a disastrous marriage and divorce, Gina is back in Sagebrush as the high school’s vice principal.

When Zach finds himself in the vice principal’s office, will he pass on this second chance at love, or will he make the grade this time before it’s too late?


You can Preorder HERE

What about you? Are there any Homecoming traditions or memories you’d like to share? Or was it not something you paid much attention to? I’ll randomly pick from all the comments posted here and give away two large print paperbacks of my new release, A Cowboy To Love Again, one for the winner and one for the winner to give to a friend or donate to a library. Good luck!



I’m excited about my new pen name and my new sweet, clean cowboy romance series, Sagebrush. The series kicks off with A Cowboy to Love Again up for preorder and will release Sept 16th anywhere you buy books. Many thanks to Winnie Griggs who let me post in her spot this month to help me celebrate my launch!


All four books in this series are now available for Preorder

Follows on Amazon and Bookbub are greatly appreciated!  And to learn more about me and my books, visit my Website

Chris Martin
Just Kisses and Heartstring Tugs




Bachelors & Babies 99¢ Sale Comin’ Up! ~ Pam Crooks

Howdy!  I’m stepping in for Winnie Griggs today since she’s having Internet issues and couldn’t get a blog done.

But it’s actually a great day to share with y’all a new sale coming up, and it just so happens both Winnie and I have a book in this series.


I would say TRACE has been my bestselling book ever.  There’s just something about a bachelor and a baby and all the different scenarios that can happen when we pull a man out of his comfort zone, isn’t there?  Every book in the series has the same premise – a baby unexpectedly shows up in our hero’s life and turns his world upside down.

Of course, he always needs a woman’s help, and you can bet there will be a little falling in love happenin’ when he does.


Trace McQuade has lost everything–his ranch, his brother, the woman he wanted to marry. When his quest for justice fails, he leaves Texas to head north, but he never expects an outlaw’s baby along the way.

Morgana Goldwater needs to be needed. After she endured a terrible tragedy, she lives in a narrow, protected world. When Trace needs help caring for the baby girl, she is quick to take them both into her heart and into her life.

But their troubles return, and Trace and Morgana must face their past to keep loving the little girl–and each other–in their future.


Here’s Winnie’s book, SAWYER:

Sawyer Flynn vows to see that the man who murdered his brother pays for his crimes, but becoming the sole caretaker of an orphaned infant sidetracks him from the mission. Sawyer can’t do it all—run his mercantile, care for the baby, and find justice for his brother. He needs help. But not from Emma Jean Gilley.

When her father flees town after killing a man, Emma Jean is left alone to care for her kid brother, but her father’s crime has made her a pariah and no one will give her a job. Learning of Sawyer’s need, Emma Jean makes her case to step in as nanny.

Sawyer is outraged by Emma Jean’s offer, but he’s also desperate and he reluctantly agrees to a temporary trial. Working together brings understanding, and maybe something more. But just when things heat up between Sawyer and Emma Jean, the specter of her father’s crimes threatens to drive them apart forever.


Every book in the series will be reduced to 99¢ starting this Friday through Sunday, Father’s Day!  Three days isn’t very long, so you’ll have to hurry to take advantage of our sale! 

To see every book in our series, click the Bachelors & Babies Series Link on Amazon

Would you say you pay full price for most of your book purchases?  Or a sale price for most of your book purchases?

Are you willing to pay full price for your favorite author’s books as soon as it comes out?  Does price matter?  Or are you a bargain hunter?  Do you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited?

Musical Inspiration

Today I’m giving you an insight on how music occasionally influences my writing. But it’s not how you might expect. I don’t write with music on because if I like a song, then I start singing along. Then my train of thought is shattered. Like now. I’m sitting in Starbucks writing and “Defy Gravity” from the musical Wicked has come on. Excuse me while I sing under my breath…

Okay, I’m back. However, occasionally songs play a big part in my stories. In To Marry A Texas Cowboy, George Strait’s “Here For A Good Time” became my hero’s theme song. Despite knowing Zane’s backstory and him almost taking over a couple books in the series, when I started his story, I couldn’t grasp him. He put up a good front, even from me. But when I heard “Here For A Good Time” Zane’s personality and fears fell into place.

Zane had a rough past. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read To Marry A Texas Cowboy, but Zane’s dad was a piece of work and his mom wasn’t a winner either. To cope or survive really, he lived in the moment. Everything was about having a good time. That drove his actions and his life.

Here For A Good Time

Source: Musixmatch  Songwriters: Bubba Straight / Dillon Dean / George H Strait

I’m not gonna lay around
And whine and moan for somebody that done me wrong
Don’t think for a minute
That I’m gonna sit around and sing some old sad song
I believe it’s half-full not a half-empty glass
Every day I wake up knowing it could be my last

I ain’t here for a long time
I’m here for a good time
So bring on the sunshine, to hell with the red wine
Pour me some moonshine
When I’m gone, put it in stone “He left nothing behind”
I ain’t here for a long time
I’m here for a good time

Folks are always dreaming about what they like to do
But I like to do just what I like
I’ll take the chance, dance the dance
It might be wrong but then again it might be right
There’s no way of knowing what tomorrow brings
Life’s too short to waste it, I say bring on anything

I ain’t here for a long time
I’m here for a good time
So bring on the sunshine, to hell with the red wine
Pour me some moonshine
When I’m gone, put it in stone “He left nothing behind”
I ain’t here for a long time
I’m here for a good time
I ain’t here for a long time
I’m here for a good time


And speaking of Wicked, when attending that musical, the solution to the same problem with my heroine, Maggie in Bet On A Cowboy hit me. When Elphaba sang “I’m Not That Girl” I instantly knew everything about Maggie. I even whispered, “she’s Elphaba” right there in my Broadway seat.

Maggie believed love wasn’t in her future. She was just too plain, too average in every way to attract a man’s notice. As the director of a Bachelor type reality show, she’s surrounded by beautiful, outgoing, extraordinary women and is constantly reminded she doesn’t measure up. The mindset Elphaba shows in “I’m Not That Girl” guided Maggie’s actions and interactions in life.


I’m Not That Girl

Source: Musixmatch  Songwriters: Schwartz Stephen Laurence / Sandford Steve

Hands touch, eyes meet
Sudden silence, sudden heat
Hearts leap in a giddy whirl
He could be that boy
But I’m not that girl

Don’t dream too far
Don’t lose sight of who you are
Don’t remember that rush of joy
He could be that boy
I’m not that girl

Every so often we long to steal
To the land of what-might-have-been
But that doesn’t soften the ache we feel
When reality sets back in

Blithe smile, lithe limb
She who’s winsome, she wins him
Gold hair with a gentle curl
That’s the girl he chose
And Heaven knows
I’m not that girl

Don’t wish, don’t start
Wishing only wounds the heart
I wasn’t born for the rose and the pearl
There’s a girl I know
He loves her so
I’m not that girl

I shouldn’t be surprised songs have helped me grasp my characters and their relationships. Songs have always spoken to me and helped me make sense out of life. Why shouldn’t they do the same with my writing?

To be entered in today’s random giveaway for the car coasters, air freshener, and signed copy of Family Ties leave a comment on what song has or could serve as a theme for you?

My Latest Release is Out!

It’s an exciting week for me – the release of my first Love Inspired Suspense – WILDFIRE THREAT was the 24th. Whoo, hoo! I loved every moment of writing this book, and I realized why when I recently gave an interview. So many things about Wildfire Threat are very personal and special for me, and not just because it’s my first Love Inspired Suspense.

I’ve been writing for Harlequin a long time. I admit it, I sometimes don’t have to work as hard as other authors to land a new contract. My editor knows me and can depend on me to deliver a book in good shape and on time. But when this opportunity came around, I had to work hard for it and go up against a lot of other authors. There was no golden ticket or cutting to the head of the line. When I got the call, I felt really good. My hard work paid off.

Purchase Wildfire Threat

As you can guess from the title, the story is about a wildfire. In this case, it’s headed straight for the fictional Arizona small town of Happenstance. For many, many years, we owned a small vacation home in Young, Arizona, a place that’s considered the most remote town in the state. One year, a wildfire came close enough we could watch it from our front porch. That inspired the book that became my first Harlequin sale about a Hotshot. About ten years ago, the Young fire came “this” close to destroying the town. Yes, it was the inspiration for Wildfire Threat.

My son, an avid outdoor enthusiast, helped me brainstorm the book. We had several long sessions where we tossed ideas back and forth. Okay, I tossed ideas out there, and he told me why they wouldn’t work. He is the source for much of my information about herding cattle and driving trucks and ATV through the burning wilderness.

Lastly, the heroine’s grandfather suffers from dementia. My own sweet mother, who I lost last year, suffered greatly from this terrible disease. It did my heart good to write about the love and devotion my heroine has for her grandfather, the tender, kind and respectful way my hero treats the older man, and how the family copes — which isn’t always easily. Writing the grandfather allowed me to honor my mother in a small but meaningful way.

To celebrate the release, I’m having a giveaway — one of my coffee mugs, a Starbucks gift card, some author bling and couple of previous books. To enter, you just have to make a comment. That’s all.

For anyone interested joining my newsletter, you can email me at: cathymcdavid@yahoo.com It’s not necessary for entering this giveaway. Just if you’d like to keep up on the latest news about me.

Thank you for letting me share my good news with you and tell you about my newest book.


Cathy McDavid

The Snowman’s Sweetheart


I can’t speak for other authors, but one of my favorite things about starting a new book series is developing the setting, especially if it involves a quirky small town.

When I began working on ideas for my new Winter Wishes series, I used inspiration from two very different towns, and combined them into one fictional place called Pinehill, Oregon. If Pinehill did exist, it would be high up in the mountains, just a few miles from Mount Hood and a winter playground of skiing, sledding, and the like.


Way back, when Captain Cavedweller and I were in the first weeks of dating, he asked me if I’d like to go to the Winter Carnival in McCall, Idaho. I’d never attended the event, and it sounded like fun. Even if it hadn’t, I would have gladly gone because it meant I got to spend the day with the very cute boy who had already captured my interest.

The event features, among many things, incredible carvings created from snow. We made the hours-long drive and arrived in McCall mid-morning to discover the temperatures hovering just above the zero mark. Not only that, but we couldn’t find anywhere to park. We drove around for almost an hour trying to find anywhere to park. Finally giving up, CC drove back out of town, and we parked on the side of the road (like hundreds of other crazy people), then had to hike back into town.  It seemed like we’d parked ten miles away, although it was probably closer to a half-mile, as we trudged through the frigid temps. We finally got back into town and had such a great time looking at the snow carvings. If you’ve never seen a snow carving, Google it. They are incredible works of art!

I can’t image the talent and patience it would take to create something like this.

Or this!

The detail just boggles my mind! The use blocks of compressed snow to make the carvings and the tools are as varied as the artists.

Anyway, that freezing, fun day with CC has stayed with me all these years.

A few years ago, he came up with the idea to attend another winter festival in a town about six hours away where they would have ice carvings, sleigh rides, and a variety of winter festivities.

In theory, it sounded like a fabulous weekend getaway. In reality… boy did it get off to a rough start!

The roads were horrible getting there, the hotels were packed, and the one where we’d made a reservation somehow overbooked and didn’t have a room for us. We thought about going elsewhere, but there wasn’t a room to be had anywhere in town. The hotel finally found a room for us, next to the noisiest elevator in the northern hemisphere. From the window, we watched an inexperienced driver almost take out our pickup in the slick parking lot, and the craziness escalated from there.

That morning, it had warmed up enough to rain (pouring buckets it seemed) on top of inches of snow, creating an ankle deep mess that was akin to walking through a lake of slushies. It was impossible to take more than a few steps and not have your pants soaked, even if you had arrived with adequate boots. Every step anyone else took splattered the frigid goop everywhere. After sloshing through the slush (and watching crazy people in shorts and flip-flops make their way through the mess) for a mediocre yet overpriced dinner where we sat a rickety table by the drafty door, near enough to the restroom that it made me lose my appetite, and an accordion playing octogenarian made conversation impossible.

Once we made it back to our room where I sat shivering with my feet propped on top of the wall heater, wondering what we’d gotten ourselves into, we decided we had to figure out a way to salvage the weekend or go home.

Thankfully, that night, it froze and then snowed, creating a beautiful world of white the next morning. It made it much easier to get around, and we ended up having a lot of fun, even if the town was packed to the gills.

So that experience gave me even more inspiration for Pinehill, as well as the heroine in the first book in the series, The Snowman’s Sweetheart. It releases January 27!

Due to a bad breakup right before Christmas, Sierra Goodwin detests everything to do with the holidays and winter. Then her best friend talks her into coming to Pinehill for a girls’ weekend getaway. They have reservations at a luxury hotel, and spa appointments. Sierra intends to stay inside where it’s cozy and do nothing but relax.

What could go wrong?

Among the many things that make her wonder if she’s lost her mind agreeing to come on the trip, she runs into Kylan Snow, better known around the community of Pinehill as Mr. Snowman. He owns the local Christmas tree farm, has been in charge of the community snowman building contest for years, and is the chair of the Winter Fest.

Talk about opposites attract!

Just for fun, here’s a little excerpt from the story:

As they reached the parking garage, Sierra followed Jenn over to her parking space, only to find Rob Kohl, Jenn’s boyfriend, waiting for them in his SUV.

“Hey, Sierra!” he said, hopping out and opening the back of the vehicle. “Isn’t this great?”

Sierra scowled at Jenn, furious she’d invited her boyfriend to join them for a weekend they’d been planning for months. “What, exactly, is going on?”

“Rob got time off from work, too, and is joining us,” Jenn said, practically squealing with joy.

Sierra had visions of spending the entire trip watching Jenn and Rob making lovey-dovey eyes and kissy-faces to each other. Although they were always good to include her in activities, she often felt like an unwanted third wheel when she was around them. She certainly didn’t need to feel that way on a vacation that was supposed to be a time for her and Jenn to relax and have fun.

She tossed the interloper a blistering scowl. “I’ll stay home. You two go.” She started backing away from the vehicle.

“No! You’re going!”


Will a whirlwind winter romance result in a forever love?

After a Christmas Eve catastrophe that left her heart encased in ice, Sierra Goodwin detests anything to do with winter and the holiday season. To take her mind off her troubles, her best friend talks her into a weekend spa getaway to a town she’s never heard of. Her bestie’s boyfriend tags along like a bumpy third wheel, and things go from bad to worse when they arrive in town to find a winter fest in full swing. Then Sierra runs into a handsome stranger, a man everyone calls Mr. Snowman, and discovers her heart might not be a frozen fortress after all.

Kylan Snow loves his life, his Christmas tree farm, and the town of Pinehill where he was raised. There’s nothing he enjoys more than a beautiful winter afternoon spent outside in the crisp, fresh air, or time spent with friends and family. When he unexpectedly encounters a dimple-cheeked woman in need of a little hope, he has no idea one weekend with her with completely alter his world.

Will their winter wishes for a forever sweetheart come true? Find out in this sweet romance brimming with laughter, snowmen, small-town charm, and love.

Don’t miss out on this sweet winter romance full of wintery fun! Pre-order your copy today!

Amazon |  Apple |  Barnes & NobleKobo

What about you?

Have you ever attended a winter festival?

Are you a fan of winter and cold weather? Or do you prefer sunshine and warmer temperatures? 

Post your answer for a chance to win a mystery prize!

Giveaway open until 5 p.m. Pacific Time January 19, 2022




Why are Barns Red? by Pam Crooks


Who hasn’t seen a red barn before? They’re traditional, they stand out, and the color is practical.

But there’s history as to how the red evolved on barns. Back in the 1700s, in the northeast part of the country, farmers covered them with thick vertical boards, allowing them to weather gray over time.

Later, in the mid-1800s, farmers went horizontal with the boards to close up drafts and improve warmth and efficiency for their animals. These horizontal boards, clapboards as we know them, were sawed thin. Because of their thinness, they needed paint for protection to lengthen their longevity, in addition to improving their appearance.

During that time, people mixed their own paint with a pigment combination of linseed oil, flax seeds, and other ingredients. Pigment, of course, adds color, and the favorite of the time was called “Venetian Red,” so called because the pigment was made from natural clays found near Venice, Italy, and contained an iron oxide compound that made the red color.

This red pigment penetrated well into barn boards, resisted fading in the sun, and aged well for generations. Although later in the 1800s, farmers turned to other colors of paint like yellows, greens, browns, and of course white, red remained popular, mainly because it was so affordable.

In my copy of the 1927 Sears Roebuck catalogue, a 5 gallon can of red barn paint was $1.30/gallon.

They offered 35 other colors of paint in 5 gallon cans for $2.20/gallon.

You can see the savings, and who could blame a farmer? He’d save almost twice as much going with the traditional barn red.

Fast forward to today, barns have gotten quite large. Large enough to hold hundreds of cows, chickens, or pigs, in fact. That large, they can come pre-fabricated, built out of metal and resemble warehouses or even an airplane hangar, and thank goodness, no one would have to paint one of those, right?

Still, the traditional red barn endures for smaller structures and remain so beloved the US Postal Service celebrated them on postage stamps.

Driving down the interstate or highway, you might see a big American flag on a barn’s roof. Or a political candidate’s name.  These quilt barns are especially popular!

What is the most unusually painted barn you’ve seen?

Starting TODAY, Tule Publishing has set the first book in my Blackstone Ranch series, A COWBOY AND A PROMISE, to Free!

I’m fortunate to land a BookBub deal that will arrive in email boxes on Thursday. My book will remain FREE for a limited time, so if you haven’t read the series yet, now is the time to grab the book that started it all!

Tule Bookstore

Series Link at Tule Bookstore

A Whole New Year of Western Romance


Over the last week, I took a good long look at my schedule for 2022. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that’s an undertaking. I publish about 20 titles per year from 350 page novels to 100 page novellas. I like to keep as many readers happy as I can.

However, that kind of pace is not sustainable (there’s a reason the Pony Express doesn’t run anymore, it’s not healthy to keep up that kind of pace). Louis L’Amour, I am not. I know that the majority of my readers are happy with western novels, though. Those you can look forward to in 2022.

I’m currently working with my cover designer on a four book series set in Belle Fourche, SD. The premise of the series is two families feuding over one fertile valley. While the Douglas and Johlman families do exist in Belle Fourche, my stories are not based on actual history or people.

Both cattle and sheep were and are big business in Belle Fourche and land is arguably the most precious resource. It is finite and both sheep and cattle need great quantities of land for proper grazing. I’ve never written a family feud before, but it’s been interesting, fun, and very educational.

In 2018, I wrote my first series set in Belle Fourche. That series is to this day one of my most popular. This new series, The Belle Fourche Chronicles, will feature appearances from some of my other Belle Fourche characters and they can be read congruently.

I was hoping to have a cover reveal for you this month, but alas, I don’t have one quite yet. In the meantime, if you’d like to catch up with the old series so you’re ready to go when the new books come out (the first will be released at the end of February).

When I return next month, I’ll have a new cover reveal for you and more to share with you (perhaps even an exclusive snippet). These books are novellas, but the new series will be novel length.


Belle Fourche is a fairly unique location for western romance. What are some fun, unique locations for western romance that you really enjoy? I’ll send a free copy of Teach Me to Love to one lucky commenter.

Lessons From My Grandmothers

My Grandma Walter holding me with my Uncle Wayne sitting beside us.

The older I get the more grateful I am for what my grandmothers taught me. I wish I could spend one more day with each of them to ask all the life, history, and family questions I was too young to know would be important later.

Most of the recipes I’ve shared with you were my Grandma Walter’s. I wish I’d made time to write down more of them while she cooked. As my birthday approaches, I remember the times I was on the farm in July. She would ask what I wanted for a birthday cake, and my response was always the same. I wanted her angel food cake with fresh strawberries mashed so they were all syrupy. She also gave me a love of gardening, though my thumb is more brown than green like hers was. I took a sewing class in high school (and still use those skills) because she sewed. From her I learned how women could be quiet, patient, and still possess an indominable strength.

My Grandma Ryan’s grocery store in Ohio, Illinois.

My father’s mother, my Grandma Ryan, possessed a more obvious strength. Widowed young, she raised four sons. With three grown sons, I can’t begin to imagine how daunting and scary that must have been. I wish now I’d asked her how she managed. She remarried, but her second husband died when I was a toddler, leaving her with a general store to run in a town of less than five hundred people. She had breast cancer before I was born and bone cancer as long as I can remember. Through all that, she never complained or thought God was punishing her with these trials. She loved to play cards and would sit with my brother and I playing her current favorite card game. From her I learned to laugh and that a woman could make a life for herself. But the best gift my Grandma Ryan gave me was, making me feel special. As one of only two granddaughters, she made no secret she loved us just a bit more.

A picture of me and my Grandma Ryan when I was two.

No wonder grandparents play such guiding, supportive roles in many of my books. In my most recent release, To Marry a Texas Cowboy, Zane carries a plane full of family baggage. After divorcing, his parents concentrated on their new lives and families. Zane became collateral damage and part of a past they wanted to forget. Who stepped in to fill the void and create the hero I fell in love with the minute he walked on the page as a friend in To Love A Texas Cowboy? His grandparents.

My Grandma Ryan spent every Thanksgiving and Christmas with us, but rarely cooked. Today I’m sharing a recipe she gave me. This one, referred to as “frozen salad,” is easy and great for these hot summer days. Two notes about it. First, while we called it a salad, it could be served as dessert, and second, watch out for brain freeze eating it straight out of the freezer! I prefer to give it a minute or two to thaw some before eating.

Frozen Salad


  • 1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1 lg. can crushed pineapple (drained)
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • ¼ C lemon juice
  • 1 12 oz container Cool Whip (thawed)


Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Place in 8 x 8 freezer safe container overnight.


Giveaway: To be entered in today’s random drawing for the USA y’all T-shirt and a signed copy of To Marry a Texas Cowboy, leave a comment about something you learned from a grandparent or significant older person in your life.


Wedding Disasters

My new sweet contemporary romance, Lilac Bride, releases next week. 

It’s the story of a couple who gets engaged on Christmas Eve, plan the perfect wedding, then face one disaster after another when it comes to their upcoming nuptials.

I’ve heard so many horror stories about wedding plans gone awry. In-laws wreaking havoc. Grooms so nervous they drink too much the night before and can barely stand up at the wedding. Brides turning into crazed maniacs in the quest to have a picture-perfect wedding.

Cakes falling to the floor. 

Florists accidentally delivering sympathy flowers instead of the wedding bouquet. 

Torn dresses, lost dresses, dresses that don’t fit. 

If you can imagine it, some poor bride or groom has endured it. 

Writing the story made me think of my own glitch-plagued wedding. 

The first hitch in the plans happened when my mom came down with the flu two weeks before my wedding. There were approximately a gazillion tiny buttons that still needed to be sewn on my dress, along with dozens of details that weren’t quite finished. She and I had planned to make the wedding cake together. Only she was sick, and I was up to my eyeballs with work, wedding plans, and the holidays (not my best idea to get married a week before Christmas but it seemed soooooo romantic at the time). My mother-in-law called me at work and informed me her friend was going to make the cake and that’s all there was to it then hung up. Although her take-charge attitude bothered me at the time, I was so glad her friend made the cake for us. It turned out beautifully, and was tasty, too. 

Captain Cavedweller, and several members of both of our families, caught the same bug that Mom had and began dropping like flies. Helping hands were limited as we neared the big day. The friend I’d asked to play the piano for us backed out two days before the wedding. Fortunately, a lovely girl I worked with at the time offered to step in. 

My maid of honor had sent measurements for her dress, since she lived almost eight hours away at the time. Mom made it, and when my dear friend tried it on, it didn’t fit. At all. So Mom stayed up late frantically ripping seams and making adjustments. 

Somehow, we made it to the wedding rehearsal where my soon-to-be sister-in-law jokingly announced I was pregnant (which I wasn’t). CC was angry. I was livid. My parents were simultaneously shocked and appalled.  I remember standing in the foyer of the church and discussing if eloping was still on the table. For months after the wedding whenever we encountered someone from CC’s side of the attendees who didn’t know me well they would give me a strange look, since I obviously wasn’t pregnant, and inquire about the arrival of the baby.

The day of the wedding, things went along fairly smoothly until the ceremony. My uncle was a county judge and we’d asked him to perform the ceremony. Except he got so nervous, he kept calling me by my sister’s name, and he bungled CC’s last name. When he announced the bride and groom at the end of the ceremony, instead of Shanna Hatfield, it came out Shelley Hathaway. Everyone in the crowd gasped in disbelief, which is evident on the video of our wedding. With all the air that was sucked in at that moment, it was lucky some of the decorations weren’t caught up in the vacuum. 

The wedding was held upstairs in an old church. The reception took place in the basement. On the way down the stairs, the heel broke off my never-before-worn satin wedding heels, leaving me to clomp the rest of the way down the stairs to our waiting guests like a peg-legged pirate. 

By the time we left for our honeymoon hours later, it was evident the flu I’d so carefully avoided catching caught up to me. 

I laugh about all the disasters now. When people ask if there is anything I would do differently about my wedding, I always answer the same: “I’d change everything but the groom!” 


In Lilac Bride, Kaden and Katherine endure any number of trials and tribulations when it comes to their wedding plans.  One of the many issues that popped up included their invitations. 

I thought you might enjoy reading a little snippet:

Thoughts of her kisses left him so distracted, he almost ran the drone into a tree. He guided it back toward the barn, then noticed Colt riding one of the horses he was training down the driveway. His brother rode out to the mailbox, gathered the mail, then started back. He was halfway to the house when he kicked the horse into a run and raced toward the barn, waving something over his head.

“Kade! Get down here! Hurry!” He could hear the alarm in Colt’s voice, even from his perch on the barn’s widow’s walk.

Kaden landed the drone, gathered his things, then rushed down the narrow staircase. He’d just reached the bottom when Colt burst into the barn.

“It’s so bad, Kade. She’s going to freak.” Colt waved an envelope and what appeared to be an invitation in his face.

“Who’s going to freak?” Kaden asked, setting his things on a workbench. He brushed his hands on his jeans before taking the pristine piece of creamy cardstock in his fingers and looking at a wedding invitation. His and Katherine’s wedding invitation. He knew she’d been able to get the reception address changed at the last minute and paid extra to have the invitations shipped to the guests from the print shop.

Watercolor lilacs swept across the upper left and lower right corners of the invitation, accented with sage-colored leaves and delicate gold edging. An elegant font announced the wedding and invited guests to attend the ceremony and reception. He glanced at the date to make sure it was correct, then looked at his brother. “It looks good.”

Colt appeared shocked. He tapped the card in Kaden’s hand, pointing to the first line of type. “Did you read it, you idiot?”

Kaden’s gaze dropped back to the invitation, and he quickly read each word. His eyes widened as his jaw dropped open.

He glanced up at Colt as trepidation seeped into every fiber of his being. “She is so going to freak.”


Lilac Bride releases February 25, but you can pre-order your copy today!


What about you?

Do you have any wedding disaster stories to share?

Post your comment for a chance to win an eBook copy of Lilac Bride!