Love on the Range – Coming Soon!

I love it that the tree covers side by side make one big picture!

I love it that the three pictures side by side, make one big picture!

Love on the Range

Coming in October!

Click to buy on Amazon

Click to buy on Baker Book House

Here’s an excerpt

Molly was just preparing to insist on clearing the table and washing the dishes when someone knocked on their front door. All right, admit it, it was pounding, someone slammed the side of their fist into the wood.

“Mercy,” the parson rose quickly, “someone must be badly in need of a parson.”

He rushed to the door, swung it open

Wyatt stood there, glowering.

Molly’s stomach twisted. “I think they are here for me, Parson.” Her voice rose so the Hunt brothers—all three of them stood there—could hear her. “They must have doubts about allowing a self-supporting, intelligent, adult woman, to make her own decisions and live her own life.”

Mrs. Brownley arched one brow at her. Molly had no doubt her tone wasn’t lost on Ida Brownley.

She saw Kevin looking worried. Probably because he had to leave his wife behind for more than ten minutes.

Falcon, he didn’t look overly upset.

Wyatt charged in, follow by the other Hunt brothers…but only one of them actually her real brother.

Molly slapped her napkin on the table. “Are you three taking up brotherly outings now?”

Wyatt glowered, like he had been since they opened the door—and why? She hadn’t done anything wrong? Kevin’s brow furrowed with worry. Falcon grinned at her.

She knew, even if they didn’t, that their protest was all out of guilt. They didn’t really want her underfoot. They were all just bound up by their sense of responsibility.

“Come and join us at the table,” Mrs. Brownley gestured. “Would you like some ham? I made quite a bit thinking to leftovers, but I’d be delighted to share it with you.”

The parson pulled two extra chairs up. It was crowded but there was enough room. Kevin rounded the table and shoved a chair in beside Molly, while Falcon and Wyatt sat across from them, Wyatt straight across from Molly.

“We haven’t had supper, Mrs. Brownley.” Wyatt seemed to be very friendly with the couple. “I’d be mighty glad to have some of your fried ham. On Sunday, I’ll bring you in a couple of our older roosters for your stew pot.”

“That sounds wonderful. We’d appreciate that.”

Wyatt took a piece of tender, sliced ham from the serving platter. “I’ve had your fried ham at a church social, Ma’am. It’s a wonder what you can do with a slice of pork.”

Mrs. Brownley pinked up nicely and passed a bowl still half full of potatoes. The men started serving themselves as if…Molly scowled. As if she wasn’t there with a hot meal when they came in at night. As if she wasn’t there to wait on them hand and foot, and now they were starving and letting some other poor woman do it.

“It’s a wonder, really, Wyatt, that you didn’t starve to death before I arrived in Wyoming.”

“Now, Molly,” Kevin sat beside her, pouring gravy over his potatoes and turnips and ham. He near to drowned the whole plate. “we’re here to fetch you home. We—that is—I don’t want you to live away from us.”

“Neither do I,” Falcon said around a mouthful of cured pig.

“You’re coming home and that’s that.” Wyatt went back to chewing. Maybe he’d come in scowling because he blamed her that he was hungry.

“We want you out at the RHR and we feel like…like…” Kevin gave Wyatt a desperate glance.

Molly knew it might be best to have this talk strictly between Kevin and her. No one else needed to hear their business.

Parson Brownley said, “Sometimes when there is strife in a family, it can help to talk about it with another person present. A parson.”

“And his wife.” Ida Brownley gave Molly a pointed look. Neither one of them were budging. Almost like they knew she wanted them to leave.

“I have a job. I’m sure you were going to ask soon.”

“We heard the last school marm got hitched.” Falcon kept chomping away. “But we can’t spare you. You’re keeping us alive and you’re the best cook I ever heard tell of, and that’s sayin’ something because my first wife Patsy was a wonder with ’possum stew.”

Molly had never eaten ’possum, nor did she want to. But she tried to keep the disgust off her face. “I’m sure you’ll be fine. Win is a good cook and Cheyenne, well, she works so hard outside it stands to reason she wouldn’t have developed cooking skills, but you won’t starve.”

“No,” Falcon said, grinning. “But we might want to.”

Ida Brownley snatched up her pretty white cloth napkin and used it to cover her face. She tried to make it sound like she was coughing, but Molly was sure the woman was laughing.

“She’s your wife.” The parson was rubbing his mouth rather furiously. “You might want to be more positive in your—your—comments about her cooking.”

“She’s the best wife a man ever had.” For the first time Falcon seemed upset. “Whether she’s a cook or not ain’t nuthin’ that I’d ever judge her on.”

The parson nodded and Kevin went on. “We know you got hired, because we asked around town while we were looking for you, and we also learned that school doesn’t start until next Monday.”

“Looked high and low. Figured you’d been taken away by some outlaw.” Wyatt sounded grim.

“So please, Molly, please—” Kevin drew the word out for several seconds, “come home with us. We’d like your company until you start school.”

“We honestly want you back full time,” Falcon said. “Can you make that custard again tomorrow?”

Molly balled up her napkin but refrained from throwing it at him. Falcon smirked, almost like he knew exactly what she was thinking.

Wyatt added, “Your brother is asking nice, but you are going home right now.”

“I don’t like seeing you all pressuring her.” Mrs. Brownley lost all trace of humor.

Wyatt looked at Mrs. Brownley. “We all feel mighty bad that we weren’t kind enough to her that now she wants to leave us. It’s me especially. I’ve been ailin’ and all the work doctoring me fell to her.”

He looked across the table at Molly. “Did I ever thank you?”

Molly heard the guilt in his voice. Saw the sincerity in his eyes. She felt herself weakening, blast it all.

“I’ve been so impatient to be well, I’m sure I snapped and snarled like a cur dog, by way of letting you know you saved my life.”

Kevin, next to her, rested one of his strong hands on her back.

Wyatt went on, “Your knowledge and care are a miracle straight from God. I feel like the worse kind of sinner to have done something to drive you away.”

To say he hadn’t driven her away, would make Kevin blame himself. To say he had driven her away, would make Wyatt feel awful. Falcon just kept chewing, eating fast as if he knew they’d have to leave soon and wanted to fill his belly.

He swallowed, grinned and said, “Don’t blame me. I didn’t do nothing wrong.”

Molly narrowed her eyes and uncharitably wished he’d choke on a turnip.

Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a signed copy of Love on the Range.

I don’t have my authors copies yet.

But soon and I’ll send the book winging it’s way to you.

Love on the Range

Book #3 of Brothers in Arms

While his brothers and their new wives search for who shot him, Wyatt Hunt is temporarily bedridden and completely miserable. Somehow Molly Garner’s limited skills have made her the most qualified in their circle to care for Wyatt. But by the time he’s healed, she’s fed up with him and the whole ungrateful family. For even worse than his grumpiness were the few unguarded moments when he pulled at her heartstrings, and she has been long determined to never repeat her mother’s mistakes.

When alternate plans of finding her own independent life fall through, Molly volunteers to work for the Pinkertons and help investigate nearby ranch owner Oliver Hawkins. She signs on to be his housekeeper, hoping to find clues to prove his nefarious, and possibly murderous, past. Wyatt refuses to let her risk it alone and offers to act as Hawkins’s new foreman.

But when another Pinkerton agent gets shot, they realize Hawkins isn’t the only danger. The Hunt brothers will have to band together to face all the troubles of life and love that suddenly surround them.

 

http://www.maryconnealy.com

We Have a Winner for Karen Kay’s E-book

Good Evening!

Hope y’all have had a lovely day!

A drawing was done and we have a winner for a free e-book of BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER.

And the winner is:

QUILT LADY

Congratultaions go out to Quilt Lady and I hope you will contact me at karenkay(dot)author(at)startmail(dot)com and we’ll work together to get the book to you.

Also, don’t forget the book is on sale now until September 17th at Google Paly at 20% off.  You will need a coupon and that coupon is GUGZUW22LH4U1.  Here’s the link to the book at Google:  https://tinyurl.com/uavkxz4

Have a pleasant and enjoyable rest of the evening, and again, I loved talking to each and every one of you!

Wednesday’s Winner

Yup, here I am again announcing the winner for my regular first Wednesday of the month winner. Whew, I’m talked out from all the visitors at the corral the last two days. But boy have I had fun.

Today’s Winner of the Howdy Fall T-shirt is:

Sharon

Congratulations, Sharon. Look for an email from me regarding your giveaway.

Thanks again for everyone who’s stopped by to chat with me for the second day in a row! See you next month, and happy (almost) fall, y’all!

Julie

We Have a Winner for Karen Kay’s free e-book of BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER

Good Evening!

Hope your day has been lovely and filled with all good things.

Well, we do have a winner for the free e-book, but before I announce the winner, let me tell you that the book is on sale at Barnes & Noble for a short time (September 7th) at a 25% discount.  You would need a coupon and that coupon code is:  BNP1892

So, even if you didn’t win this time, there’s still a way to get the book discounted.

A drawing was done and the winner is:

Lana Burton

 

Congratulations, Lana.  If you could please email me privately at karenkay(at)startmail(dot)com — we can get that book to you.

Many thanks for coming to the blog yesterday and leaving all your terrific thoughts.  I so enjoy getting to know you all.

 

 

Julie Benson’s Craft Day Winner!

 

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the corral to chat about decorating with horseshoes for Craft Day!

The winner of my giveaway (either the horseshoe I decorated or the fixins to decorate one) and a copy of Roping the Rancher, my novel set on an equestrian horse therapy ranch is:

Estella Merritt Kissell

Congratulations, Estella. Look for an email from me regarding the giveaway.

Thanks again for to everyone who stopped by today.

                                                                     Julie

 

Inspiration Comes From Many Places

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 ?

Cowboys, Tea, and a Give Away!

American tea culture is part of our country’s history, and though back in the day most cowboys were immersed in the country’s coffee culture (cowboys were staunch coffee drinkers) you still had the occasional individual that enjoyed a cup of tea. Of course, many of these were British men and women who came to America looking for adventure. My fictional town of Clear Creek in Oregon is full of British folks and the hotel there serves tea every afternoon. But in history, tea was enjoyed only on occasion and mostly by ladies.

Pioneers even enjoyed tea and brought it west in “bricks”. These bricks could be square or rectangular in shape. All you had to do if you had a hankering for a cup, was to break off a piece to make your tea. A brick lasted a long time if there weren’t a lot of avid tea drinkers in the house and could keep for months. 

 

Because bricks of tea were easy to transport and kept, once in a while you’d get a cowboy who brought some along with his other supplies for survival. These other supplies included a good knife, a gun and some ammo, something to start fires with, fishing line and a hook, piggin strings (basically strips of rawhide used for tying the feet of cattle for branding and what not), a canteen and water, cookware, food (usually bacon — I was born in the wrong time) biscuits or hard tack (then again I’ll take the 21st century!) dried fruit if they could get their hands on it and of course coffee. Or in the case of the occasional tea drinker, a tea brick. Cowboys also had a rain slicker, coat, blanket, bandanna, a few extra clothes, tobacco and books! Yes, many a cowboy read, and a surprising number of them were well educated. Who’d have thought?

I can just picture some British fellow in America for a little adventure, having his tea on the prairie, reading his book and getting teased by the other cowboys. This sort of thing did happen as so many British thought traipsing around America would be fun. These were often lords and ladies who had the funds to do it. My Prairie Bride series is based on a British family coming to America then going west to start a cattle ranch. Unfortunately, the father dies in Missouri just before winter causing a conundrum as more often than not, a woman wasn’t allowed on a wagon train without a husband. She does find one (that was a whole book!) and finally makes it to Oregon with her sons, new husband and step sons. And yes, she and her sons were all avid tea drinkers.

If you weren’t a cowboy, tea was for afternoon social gatherings rather than a meal. Ladies had to have a way to gossip, catch up on all the latest fashions, not to mention scandals, and be seen in the right gatherings with the right people. Drawing room teas, as they were called, could have up to 20 to 30 people. Reception teas as many as 200. The growing middle class found that tea was an economical way of entertaining without having to spend too much money. You can also bet they weren’t using bricks of tea, but the loose leaf variety. 

Do you enjoy a good tea? Can you imagine having tea while watching over a few thousand head of cattle or along the Oregon Trail? I’ll pick a winner from the comments below to receive a free e-copy of Trail to Clear Creek. And yes, this is the story I mentioned above of my British family going west!

 

It’s Game Day – with Laura Drake!

John Wayne is featured in my living room at least once a day, because my husband is a HUGE fan! I don’t watch (I have to write!) but I know many of these from sheer repetition (I have to eat sometime, right?)

All you have to do is guess the movie the quote came from to win one of my Western romances, set in the world of professional bull riding. I’ll send one each to two people who get them all right (or comes the closest) NO GOOGLING!

I’ll give you a hint:  There’s only one quote from each movie.

READY?

  1.  ‘Monsewer, words are what men live by
  2. ‘Somebody outa belt you in the mouth…but I won’t, I won’t, the hell I won’t
  3. Fill your hands you son-of-a-bitch
  4. Slap some bacon on a biscuit and let’s go! We’re burnin’ daylight!
  5. I’m a dying man, scared of the dark.
  6. “You can call me Father, you can call me Jacob, you can call me Jake. You can call me a dirty son-of-a-bitch, but if you EVER call me Daddy again, I’ll finish this fight.”
  7.  “Baby sister, I was born game, and I mean to go out that way. That shows you know more about the Lord and His Good Book than you know about men. I was proud to tell my deputy’s wife that I shot his killers.”
  8. “I guess you can’t break out of prison and into society in the same week.”
  9. “Next time you shoot somebody, don’t go near ’em till you’re sure they’re dead’’
  10. They’re famous – but they’re just a little bit dead. They were hung.

Good luck!

Okay, these are the prizes in the offing!

Left with only nightmares and an ugly physical scar, Aubrey Madison is on the road looking for a new life with more freedom. On a whim she answers an ad for a groom on a Colorado ranch. The job gives her plenty of hard work and a quiet place to heal – and it also introduces her to hot, old-school rancher Max Jameson. Max has been raising cattle and breaking horses for all his life, just like his father did before him. Now he’s faced with the fact that those skills are not enough to keep the land in the family. Bree has an idea to save the ranch, but can she risk getting attached to the land and the cowboy who comes with it?

Army medic Katya Smith is unable to get past the experience of losing a fellow soldier. She can’t go back to her unit until she can keep from melting down, so she takes a job as a medic for the pro bull riding circuit in an effort to recover her mojo. She doesn’t expect to become attached to the sport or the riders, especially the king rider of them all, Cam Cahill. Cam is a two-time world champion, but those years have taken a toll. It is time to retire, but he can’t imagine himself off the circuit. Katya does wonderful things for his body, but he is not certain he is ready for the things she does for his heart. She has made it plain this is a temp job, but if he could get her to stay, he can see a whole new future.