Category: Uncategorized

These boots are made for–staying home?

I had a research trip planned.

Doing research trips is new to me. I mostly have always done my research with John Wayne movies. Louis L’Amour books.

I operate on the theory that if John Wayne says it, and Louis L’Amour says it, then if they are wrong and I say something different…no one’s gonna believe me anyway.

So I accept that the ‘truth is out there’ whether it’s the truth or not, and honestly that’s a real easy way to research a book.

But the last three book series (you understand I’m on book 65 right now–so the last three series is nine books and that’s not a big chunk)…anyway, the last three book series, I’ve visited the places I’m writing about.

And oops, I take that back because the THIRD series is the one I’m writing now. And I was going out to Casper Wyoming, head along the Oregon Trail, you know…like being on a wagon train only with four lane interstates, hotels and fast food stops with clean restrooms. Not exactly that rugged pioneer spirit my ancestors have but still…we (my cowboy and I) were going.

And then the world closed down.

A very strange, upsetting and sad business this self-quarantining.

I’m frowning as I type. We’ll get through it. This might change the world in harsh ways and wonderful ways. We may face financial hardship and we may rediscover our homes and families.

So my boots, that were made for walkin’ on my research trip are instead, sitting parked in my bedroom. In fact, I went to the grocery store yesterday…I live in a small town, no cases of this mad virus anywhere (no known cases). So going to the grocery store isn’t particularly worrisome. The shelves are even fully stocked.

In fact, though I have plenty of toilet paper and hand sanitizer on hand, I feel an almost compulsive impulse to buy more of them. But they are there, on the shelves, so I controlled myself.

So I went to get ready to go to town and I realized…I couldn’t remember the last time I’d put boots on. Yes, I own and wear boots. I couldn’t remember the last time I hitched up the team. (okay, I mean started the car, but you get the drift).

I have discovered within myself an inner hermit. A recluse. A happy loner.

I’m a little worried that when we can wander far and wide again I’ll have to force myself to move.

I’m so sorry for all the worry and stress everywhere. My mom is in a nursing home and I see her three times a week. I haven’t seen her for nearly three weeks. Phone calls aren’t the same. She’s 91 years old, coming up on 92 and I feel like she’d failed a little since she can’t have company. Not a good situation.

Anyway, stay home if you can.

Whether you can or not, God bless you and keep you.

God bless America.

God bless the whole world.

Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of two books TWO books, ONE winner. Books one and two of the Brides of Hope Mountain series. Aiming for Love and Woman of Sunlight. Tell me what you’re doing. Are you staying in? Do you have a job that forces you to get out? Leave a comment and maybe win a book.

Let’s talk through the safety of the internet.



Updated: March 26, 2020 — 5:09 pm

Julie Benson’s Winner!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by today to talk about our favorite footwear.

The winner of the boot socks and signed copy of To Catch A Texas Cowboy is:


Congratulations! Look for an email from me on how to claim your giveaway. Thank you everyone who spent part of your day with me. Everyone, please take care and stay safe!


Updated: March 26, 2020 — 6:42 pm

Easy Reading in a Hard Time

Because it’s a strange and hard time right now…

And many of us are very much more alone than usual…

And I wished I could do something to help, some small thing…

I’ve decided to put five of the books I’ve indy published up on Amazon for FREE.

Garrison’s Law

A Contemporary romantic comedy with cowboys series

Featuring a family full of tough lawmen (and women)

All free…RIGHT NOW

I am going to try and keep them free for a while but for right now I could only see how to do it for one week, and that ends tomorrow. So if you want a few free books that are fun–THAT IS FUN NOT INCLUDING MAYHEM–go grab them quick.

Loving the Texas Lawman

Loving her Texas Protector

Loving the Texas Negotiator

Loving the Texas Stranger

Loving the Mysterious Texan

Updated: March 18, 2020 — 5:46 pm

Handmade Blackfeet Made Earrings and E-books — We have some Winners


In keeping with the traditional Blackfeet Give-away, each person who came and left a comment yesterday will receive a free e-book from the Blackfoot Warrior series.  I’ve sent you all emails, so do let me hear from you, as the books come directly from Amazon.

Additionally, I did a drawing for the handmade Blackfeet earrings and that winner is:


Glenda Kinard

Glenda, if you could contact me directly at karenkay(at)startmail(dot)com — that would be good, as these will need to be sent to you via the mail.  Thank you all for coming to the special honoring blog yesterday.  I loved all your comments.


Updated: March 11, 2020 — 9:30 pm

Non-Western Book Release Party!

Yee Haw to my cowgirl and western and not-so-western friends!!! I’m coming to you with a major advertising post today because I have a BOOK BIRTHDAY this week!!!!

Guys, I cannot even put a Stetson on my newest Wishing Bridge heroine and pretend that this international supermodel is a cowgirl.


Nor are the potential heroes cowboys!!!

One is a deputy sheriff with a solid work ethic, a man who means what he says… so that’s like Cowboy code, right?

The other is a rich landscape architect whose family company builds amazing playgrounds out of logs and climbing walls and splash parks and even playgrounds designed for kids with mobility issues, so he’s got a good heart, but some solid backstory anger issues.

And I can’t make Wishing Bridge, NY a Western town, but it is in Western New York, so it’s Western for New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, LOL!

I love this series… I began writing this series a few years ago and it was picked up by the amazing Sheryl Zagechowski of Waterfall Press, a publishing arm of Amazon/Brilliance Press and they have been wonderful to work with, but Amazon closed this division about 18 months ago, and we still had more Wishing Bridge stories to tell…





But with independent publishing, I was able to do just that! Jazz’s story released on Monday (SQUEE!!!!!!! HAPPY DANCING!!!!) and next year we meet a new gal who comes to town, another troubled soul, a woman who has overcome too many obstacles put into her path by an over-zealous Amish bishop and a heinous crime… but she comes to Wishing Bridge to begin anew.

But that’s next year!

AND… THANK YOU, AMAZON!!!! They’ve put the first two bestsellers on sale for $1.99 for Kindle, which means you can get all three books for your Kindle for $7.96….

This year we have Jazz’s story, and what a story it is. The tale of a woman who’s overcome so much, who reached the pinnacle of international modeling success with the bank account to prove it, and the eating disorder that threatens her very existence. This beautiful story of a woman’s dual life, the crazy-amazing high-profile modeling life that has earned her international fame and a 10 figure bank account…

And the damaged self-image that never seems right, no matter how much fame she attains.

But Jazz Monroe finds the peace that’s eluded her for so long here in Wishing Bridge– right up until a twilight attack makes her want to run for her life all over again.

A beautiful story… and I’m so excited to be able to talk about them today!

We’ll talk about my April Western with Love Inspired next month… and the joy of patriotism running deep in a teacher’s veins… but today we’re tucked in the hills and forest preserves of Western New York with Kelsey, Thea and Jazz… the Soul Sisterhood, three women with troubled pasts who come together to help one another build a beautiful and unexpected future.

Beyond the sales pitch: I love to write stories that build women up. When you look at women historically, we have only HAD THE VOTE for just over a hundred years.

That’s reprehensible.


So I love that we’re in a modern time that recognizes the value of women, but there’s still a long way to go. In these stories, the beauty of women building each other up is the hallmark. Because I love seeing women uplift and support other women.  So when I pray, I pray for women to recognize their inner beauty and value, their amazing gifts and strengths.

I love a good, strong hero, but I want my heroines just as strong, to be the product of what they had to overcome or endure, and to be able to reach a hand out and help others along the way.

That’s my kind of gal!

So what do you think? What is it about a heroine that draws you in? Tell me below, and I’ve got a Kindle edition of “Welcome to Wishing Bridge” book 1 for one lucky person today!


Updated: March 3, 2020 — 1:26 pm

1800s Medicine and a Give Away!

 If only we knew then what we know now. Yes, I’m talking about the medical profession. Doctors in the old West weren’t all they were cracked up to be. Many had no formal education at all. And the ones that did often practiced medicine in the bigger cities.
But thankfully, there were those that went west. And just as unfortunate, so did a good share of quacks, home bugs, charlatans, swindlers, and tricksters. each of these unscrupulous chaps (not to mention a few women) hawked tonics, potions, and pills aplenty. And, believe it or not, they were quite successful at it too. So long as they were plying their wares to an unsuspecting public.

So how did they do it? Unsuspecting or no, one would think the people would figure it out. Easy. They played on people’s fear of death and sickness. Problem was, all those tonics potions and pills didn’t work. Half the time they did more damage than good and even killed the poor patient. Granted, there are those that have scams in the ensuing decades since the old West existed and thankfully we’re not as unsuspecting as we used to be. But back in the good old days, things were done differently and often painfully. For instance, have a baby that won’t stop crying? Why not reach for Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup? If that wasn’t handy you could try Godfrey’s Cordial, Jayne’s Carminative Balsam, or Daffy’s Elixir. Hmm, I wonder how daffy, Daffy’s Elixir made you? Considering all of this contained morphine or opium (no wonder babies went right to sleep) it was a safe bet one might get a little loopy. Problem was, some people took them and never woke up.

But opium did get an upgrade. And when it did, it got a new name too. Laudanum. For those of us who write historicals, this is something we’ve used in our stories on occasion, having our characters down in a spoonful or two mixed with water. believe me, if there was anything else we could give our characters to get the better we would. But there’s only so many things available in the time. You were writing in.

Opium might’ve started wars in the East, but its upgraded version, laudanum, took its toll on the west. Sure, it wasn’t as potent as straight opium, but laudanum packed its own particular punch and tasted better. Added alcohol only intensified the euphoric and mind-altering effects. Laudanum was touted by most physicians of the time and you could get it without a prescription. You could take it home, (no opium den required) and, if you were really good at taking it as the doctor ordered, form an addiction. This dark side of early medicine was all too real. Druggists of the times sold gallons of laudanum, opium elixirs, and narcotic nostrums. And then morphine showed up …

Back in the 19th century, bleeding, purging, leaching, and enemas were still the rage. Yes, I know, ew! But when morphine came along, doctors discovered a much gentler treatment. Coupled with opium, it went on to occupy materia medica tests forever after and was recommended for obvious ailments like pain and diarrhea. By the way, Cholera and dysentery killed far fewer people, thanks to opium, so there is that. However, the medicines were also thrown at people for anything that ailed them. And I do mean anything. They used it for rabies, tetanus, ulcers, snakebites, diabetes, poisoning, depression, and other mental illnesses. All of which was said to be cured by these incredible wonderment’s. Are you shaking in your boots yet? Yikes!!

Since I researched these things, (I’ve had characters with bad coughs and other ailments)  I’ve grown a new appreciation for modern medicine and sometimes think about the quacks of the 1800s when I’m in line at the pharmacy.  We’ve come a long way since then, thank Heaven. And though there were a lot of tricksters back in the day there were also some good home remedies that actually worked. Did your grandparents or parents use home remedies? If so, what were they? I’ll pick a random winner from the comments below to receive my Brides of Noelle Book Collection, which does include the story with the character with the bad cough. Oh horrors, he had to take some laudanum! He survived, by the way …

Updated: February 24, 2020 — 4:57 pm

Mary Connealy’s Winner

The winner of a signed copy of

Woman of Sunlight 


Sally Schmidt


Because everyone seemed to have such a great time with my Bucket List Post


Because I’m super excited for the release of this book (It’s set largely in CHICAGO, people! I haven’t done such a thing ever. Historical Chicago. It’s a fun book)

I’m picking a second winner.

Alicia Haney

I will email you ladies to find out where to send your books.

IF YOU DO NOT HEAR FROM ME… contact me at and harass my disorganized self until I get it sent!! I give you complete permission to do that.

Updated: February 24, 2020 — 10:23 pm

Bucket List?

The Brides of Hope Mountain Series



And today one lucky commenter (hey LUCKY is my spin, okay?) will win a signed copy of book #2, NOT YET RELEASED…Woman of Sunlight.

Getting a book published was a bucket list thing for me.

I’m not big on bucket lists. In fact, I sort of have what I think of as a REVERSE bucket list. I think of all the things I used to want to do and never got done and I’m all WHAT WAS I THINKING??? THANK HEAVENS I NEVER GOT THAT DONE!!

So I don’t mark things off my bucket list by DOING them. I mark things off by coming to my senses.

So, last month, I did something I’ve never quite gotten marked off my bucket list (very short these days)

I took a helicopter ride to the bottom of the Grand Canyon!

OH YES I DID! I took photos, mainly because I wanted to prove it to myself that I did it, later when I began to think it was just something I cooked up in my imagination.

This is a picture of a picture, if that makes sense (it doesn’t, oops). Part of the flight package is a snapshot (not free just available to buy) of us with our pilot.

Do they have a digital picture? Nope, just that picture to hand over.

So I propped it up and snapped a picture of that picture. 

Our pilot looked and sounded like Ben Affleck. He was a great combination of cool competence, thus earning my shaky trust, and humor. Just a nice smooth combination.

It was a perfect day. I was so nervous about the helicopter. They always seem so SWOOPY on TV. But it was as smooth as silk. Once while we seemed to just be creeping along in the sky I asked him how fast we were going.

He said: 150 mph.

I couldn’t feel the speed. I was worried about air sickness but never even close.

My Cowboy came along. This is something I’ve wanted to do since I wrote a book set in the Grand Canyon a whole lotta years ago, called Deep Trouble.

I did so much research for that book that, by the time I was deep into it, I wanted to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. But I was pretty sure I’d die. So I discovered you could FLY down there.

And the bucket list had a new agenda item.

Bucket Lists. Do you have them? Do you have a dream? A goal? Tell me about one of them that you’ve done or still want to do…or have come to your senses. (parachute jump anyone…that’s one I kicked off a while ago)

My ‘get a book published’ bucket list item is going GREAT. My new release (coming March 3) Woman of Sunlight, is my SIXTY-FOURTH BOOK. That’s some huge leap beyond getting ONE published, huh?

Today, leave a comment and get your name in the drawing for a signed copy of Woman of Sunlight. Let’s talk dreams, goals, ambitions, bucket lists.

Updated: February 19, 2020 — 1:35 pm


If you are a reader, or a writer, or both, at some time, you probably have wondered about what words are the most important ones in our language.

In an article by Richard Nordquist for ThoughtCo., a list of the 100 most important words was drawn up by British rhetorician I.A. Richards, author of several books including “Basic English and Its Uses” (1943).

These words are not the most frequently used words in the English language. This list of words has been chosen more for their meanings, and the importance they have to our language.

According to Nordquist, Richards introduced his list of words in the book “How to Read a Page: A Course in Effective Reading” (1942), and he called them “the most important words” for two reasons:

  1. They cover the ideas we can least avoid using, those which are concerned in all that we do as thinking beings.
  2. They are words we are forced to use in explaining other words because it is in terms of the ideas they cover that the meanings of other words must be given.

With these parameters in mind, it’s interesting to think about the words that were chosen to be representative of the 100  most important words in our entire language, isn’t it? And reading over the list, I find myself nodding my head in agreement and saying, “MMM-HMMM…”


Here are those 100 important words:

  1. Amount                 
  2. Argument   
  3. Art
  4. Be
  5. Beautiful
  6. Belief
  7. Cause
  8. Certain
  9. Chance
  10. Change
  11. Clear
  12. Common
  13. Comparison
  14. Condition
  15. Connection
  16. Copy
  17. Decision
  18. Degree
  19. Desire
  20. Development
  21. Different
  22. Do
  23. Education
  24. End
  25. Event
  26. Examples
  27. Existence
  28. Experience
  29. Fact
  30. Fear
  31. Feeling
  32. Fiction
  33. Force
  34. Form
  35. Free
  36. General
  37. Get
  38. Give
  39. Good
  40. Government
  41. Happy
  42. Have
  43. History
  44. Idea
  45. Important
  46. Interest
  47. Knowledge
  48. Law
  49. Let
  50. Level
  51. Living
  52. Love
  53. Make
  54. Material
  55. Measure
  56. Mind
  57. Motion
  58. Name
  59. Nation
  60. Natural
  61. Necessary
  62. Normal
  63. Number
  64. Observation
  65. Opposite
  66. Order
  67. Organization
  68. Part
  69. Place
  70. Pleasure
  71. Possible
  72. Power
  73. Probable
  74. Property
  75. Purpose
  76. Quality
  77. Question
  78. Reason
  79. Relation
  80. Representative
  81. Respect
  82. Responsible
  83. Right
  84. Same
  85. Say
  86. Science
  87. See
  88. Seem
  89. Sense
  90. Sign
  91. Simple
  92. Society
  93. Sort
  94. Special
  95. Substance
  96. Thing
  97. Thought
  98. True
  99. Use
  100. Way
  101. Wise
  102. Word
  103. Work

All these words carry multiple meanings, and they can say quite different things to different readers. For that reason, Richards’ list could just as well have been labeled “The 100 Most Ambiguous Words.

Richards says, “The very usefulness which gives them their importance explains their ambiguity. They are the servants of too many interests to keep to single, clearly defined jobs. Technical words in the sciences are like adzes, planes, gimlets, or razors. A word like “experience,” or “feeling,” or “true” is like a pocketknife. In good hands it will do most things—not very well. In general we will find that the more important a word is, and the more central and necessary its meanings are in our pictures of ourselves and the world, the more ambiguous and possibly deceiving the word will be.”

In earlier writings, Richards had explored the fundamental notion that meaning doesn’t reside in words themselves. Instead, meaning is rhetorical, or fashioned out of both a verbal context (the words surrounding the words) and the experiences of the individual reader. No surprise, then, that miscommunication is often the result when the “important words” come into play.

It’s this idea of mis-communicating through language that led Richards to conclude that all of us are developing our reading skills all the time: “Whenever we use words in forming some judgment or decision, we are, in what may be a painfully sharp sense, ‘learning to read’.” (“How to Read a Page.”)

There are actually 103 words on Richards’ top-100 list. The bonus words, he said, are meant “to incite the reader to the task of cutting out those he sees no point in and adding any he pleases, and to discourage the notion that there is anything sacrosanct about a hundred, or any other number.”

With these thoughts in mind, can you create your own list of the top 100 words in the English language? Would they be important for the same reasons cited above?

I see several on here that I agree with…now I’ve got to put my mind to thinking about some of the others I might rather have in place of some of his suggestions! What about you?

  1. Nordquist, Richard. “The 100 Most Important Words in English.” ThoughtCo, Feb. 11, 2020,