Jodi Thomas Is Back in the Saddle Again

In this time of ‘house arrest’ we are all staying home most of the time.  Now I don’t know about other writers (haven’t seen any) but I started out the first two weeks thinking I’d write like crazy. 

Didn’t work.  I cleaned closets, cooked, watched TV, read books.

When the two weeks continued on and on, I made a list every morning of what I would do. Pretty soon I learned I could keep my Monday to-do-list all week and just change it to Tuesday, then Wednesday, then Thursday.

THEN I discovered a box of old music, country of course.  I bounced out of bed, put on my sweat pants, didn’t bother with shower or makeup half the time, and flipped on Only the Lonely by Roy Orbison. We danced around the house.

I know it sounds strange but it cheered me up. By the time I played it three times, I was ready to write.

Then I found a CD of Riders in the Sky with a song Gene Autry wrote.  Back in the Saddle Again. I learned to sing Whoopi-ty-aye-oh. Dancing again. To hear the song click here.

I played it as I saddled up for work.  When I was a kid I loved nothing more than riding across open country and today (as I have for thirty years) I love writing.

I’ve stepped into fiction in good times and bad.  When my heart’s been broken, I fall in love with my characters. When reality gets too much, I make my own world. When I simply want to have an adventure, I travel in my mind.

During this time of isolation, I still feel connected to my readers and all the writers I know. We may be home dancing to Only the Lonely but we’re together. 

After I took a bad tumble riding in my teens, the hardest thing I ever did was climb back on a horse, but the strange thing was, once in the saddle, I wondered why it had taken me so long.

 

My advice for this time: 

  1. Be good to yourself.  Get lost in a good book whether you’re reading it or writing it. Have a party every night.  Popcorn and a movie or cookies and milk on the porch watching the rain.
  1. Be happy.  Sure you don’t get to see the people you love, but the upside is you don’t have to be around all those folks who bother you.
  1. Dance.  Personally, I never learned to dance, but I do it anyway.  I told Tom once that I may look like I’m standing still, but I’m dancing inside.  He smiled and said, “I know.”

I’m in the middle of a series and I’m loving it. Book One, BREAKFAST AT THE HONEY CREEK CAFÉ came out last week. It’s packed with action and love stories that will keep you reading through the night.

Please add it to your reading list and ‘if you have time’ leave a comment and tell me what you’re dancing to during this isolation. One reader’s comment will be selected to receive my first book out of the box. 

Joke of the day from Riders in the Sky.  “If the world was logical, men would ride sidesaddle.”

 

 

Why I like Writing Short Stories by Jodi Thomas

Jodi Thomas has graciously agreed to fill in for Phyliss Miranda today. Let’s make her welcome!

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Thank you for having me. I’m happy to be back with everyone and talking about one of my loves. Writers often ask me why I write short stories. And, I have to say simply, “For the love of writing.”

But in truth, the benefits are far more than that. 

It all started one week before Christmas in ‘93. I’d just finished a novel and mailed it in. I was free and had a list. Shopping, making cookies, decorating, and cleaning house. I put in my first batch of cookies when the phone rang. It was my agent, who rarely called. “Jodi, I want you to write a short story. Think it over, come up with a few ideas and we’ll talk in January.” We talked about a big publishing house that was offering me the bottom slot in an anthology. She hung up. The cookies were burned. 

I scraped the cookie sheet and started again. As I put the next batch in, the phone rang again. “Hello, Jodi,” an editor at the big publishing house said. “What is your idea?”

Now, I’d had about ten minutes to think and so I said, “Two old men go to a train station in Texas the Christmas after the Civil War. They’ve ordered their boss, Holly, a mail-order husband for Christmas. One man steps off the train. He’s tall, dark, and handsome and he’s wearing a Union uniform. Before they can get to him, the man passes out drunk. Sam looks at Ben and says, “Great, we not only got her a Yankee, we got her a dead drunk Yankee.” 

“Sold,” the editor said, “Can you get it to us by January?” 

I hung up, took out the second batch of burned cookies and danced around the kitchen. I bought gift cards, let my two boys decorate, picked up Christmas cookies from the bakery and went back to my tiny study to work. 

A year later A HUSBAND FOR HOLLY hit the NYTimes thanks to Pat Potter the lead writer. 

And, I fell in love with writing short stories.

Here are three of my favorite short stories. I’m proud as can be of each one.

    

Jodi Thomas: The Power of Friendship

We’re so excited to have Jodi Thomas back to visit. We’re not sure what book this makes her but it’s over 50. Miss Jodi always has something interesting to talk about and this is no exception. We think you’ll enjoy it–and her giveaway at the end of the post. So make her welcome.

When I began writing THE LITTLE TEA SHOP ON MAIN, two stories came at once.

First, I wanted to write a story about a man who loved three women. One was his best friend, one his neighbor who needed a hero to turn to as they grew up, and the last was the love of his life even if she didn’t always agree with his plan. Readers will love Jack as he slowly figures out that the girls don’t belong to him; he belongs to them.

The second theme I wanted to write about was the power of friendship. My three little princesses grow to be close friends and maintain that friendship all their lives.

 

The number of close friendships between writers is peppered through history. It has been my experience with writers who become my friends that knowing each other makes us both stronger. We learn from one another, push each other and sometimes even compete.

In my first writing class, I heard Dee Pace read and I said I’d love to be able to write that good. When the class was over everyone agreed to keep meeting at the library. The next week, she and I were the only two who showed up. We began helping each other. Learning how to write. Learning the market. Entering contests.

Dee said once that when I won, she felt she’d won too. I realized I felt the same way. She’s now in Heaven, but every now and then I swear I hear her whispering, “Write deeper, Jo.”

There are friends you form a bond with and you remain close to even when there are months or even years you don’t talk. For some of us there is a very rare friend who follows you through all your life. I’ve heard it said that having one such friend for a lifetime is a very rare gift. They’ve known you all your life and still like you anyway.

I’ve been blessed with one–Reta. Our mothers were friends. There was never a time that we didn’t know one another. We went through school together and even were together when we met our future husbands.

As the years passed, we went different ways but were always still close when we saw one another. But, in good times and bad, I’ve always known she was a phone call away. (Below is a picture of the two of us a few years after we graduated.)

In my new book, THE LITTLE TEASHOP ON MAIN I had great fun watching my characters become friends and influence one another’s lives. My main characters were very different, one wild and creative, one grounded and brave, and one shy. When they really needed to talk or celebrate, or even cry, they’d have tea. The ritual became the thread that held them close no matter how far apart they might be in miles.

Let me know how your best friend enriches your life. I will be drawing for one print copy of THE LITTLE TEASHOP ON MAIN.

AMAZON B&N  |  APPLE KOBO 

Welcome Guest – Jodi Thomas!!

Hello everyone, Jodi Thomas here.
In a few weeks MISTLETOE MIRACLES will be out as the 7th book in the Ransom Canyon series.  I’m very excited about this one. 

Hold on to your hats this is going to be a wild, funny ride.

I had a series of events, like every writer experiences sometimes, tumble down on me when facing the deadline on this book.  One roadblock after another happened.  Sometimes the real world interrupts my fantasy world. 😉 So, all of a sudden I had a book due, I was suffering from exhaustion, and the holiday season was nearing.

“Rest.” The doctor insisted.  Great.  No talks, no travel, no lectures. I stayed in my pj’s and wrote. The book took over my brain—in truth it wasn’t much of a fight.

All at once the characters were living in my mind, not just subleasing a few hours a day.

I got better and finished the book.  My editor loved it.  Christmas, three love stories, a horse ranch.  I turned it in right after Christmas, getting to live both in real life and in my mind for the holidays.

Then life rushed in.  Travel, talks, business, relatives. I’m behind again. This time on Number 8 that will be out in 2019.

No problem. Then came the head-on car crash. I’m back at home–with a broken leg. Not in fantasy this time. I wrote half the book in a month with my leg propped up.

I’m starting to see why BREAK A LEG means good luck.  Maybe whoever made it up was talking to me.

So, I googled it:

A phrase of encouragement typically said to one who is about to perform before an audience, especially an actor. It is thought to be used due to the superstition that wishing one “good luck” will result in the opposite, but the exact origin of the phrase is unknown.

I also researched jobs and found that being a cowboy ranks at the 4th more dangerous job in America.   All of us who’ve been tossed from a horse are yelling, “Amen” right now.

So ladies and gentlemen, enjoy my MISTLETOE MIRACLES this fall with my three cowboys on the Maverick Ranch because next spring while I’m writing book number 9, one of my heroes is going to break a leg for a change, and I plan to stay healthy.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Mistletoe Miracles to kick off your holiday reading.  I’d love to hear what your lucky saying is.

And don’t forget to sign up for a three-day stay at my hideout in Red River, New Mexico.  You pick the season, they’re all beautiful.  Just check the rules on my website:  jodithomas.com.    

HOW DEEP DO YOUR ROOTS GO? by JODI THOMAS

How deep do your roots go?

I’m from dry land farmers and people who ran small ranches that never made much money.  I know the movies have the stories about powerful ranchers who own more land than they can ride across in a day, but that’s not the people I’m from.


My grandparents met at a barn raising in Texas, just over the Red River from Oklahoma.  They spent the day together, wrote letters for a year, then he rode back across the Red to pick her up.  She had the wagon packed with her hope chest and all they’d need.  They were married that day.  She was fifteen and he was eighteen. They crossed back over the Red into Oklahoma Territory and started farming.

My dad was their youngest son and he said they looked old when he was born. If he was alive, my father would be a 100 this year.

All this said, sometimes I feel close to the past.  Like it’s just around the corner out of reach.  I might have an iPhone and an Apple computer, but their blood still flows in me.  I’m from farm folks….

Or, so I thought….the blood must be thinning.

My son, who has a master’s in Criminal Justice and works in loss prevention for a national chain, was told he could work from home last month.  Three weeks later he bought a farm in the middle of nowhere.  My GPS told me I was 31 miles out.  Two hours later I’m still circling every County Road looking for him.  Who knew two ruts in the tall grass was a road?

I couldn’t wait to see his land, his farm.  We traveled across Texas, 10 hours, with three ducks riding in a tub in the back of our van.  Once, when Tom stopped fast one of the ducks flew out and landed just behind my sister.  She didn’t seem to like the duck eating her hair.

 

So all tired we pulled into a beautiful, green farm.

My son, whose time outside city lights can be counted in weeks, greets us with a warning that he shot a coral snake this morning.

Coral snake.  I start trying to remember that ‘black touch red or black touch yellow’ but have no idea which is a friendly fellow.

I jump out.  I have to walk the land!  Get back to my roots! They’ve got chickens and ducks.  A stream.  Not exactly The Red, but too big for me to cross.

The fire ants were not welcoming—enough said.

We let the ducks out and they loved their bath.

Tom thought he’d pet a chicken.  By accident, I’m sure, the chicken put a deep scratch along Tom’s arm.  This chicken was not a cuddler.

But, we were in Heaven.  We were on the land.  I had no idea how noisy it is at night.  Or how early the sun comes up without heavy drapes.

Then about dawn the first day, I picked up my Apple, curled up in the porch swing and found Heaven.

I’m from the land, you know.  I was home.

I hope you’ll feel just that way when you read my new book, INDIGO LAKE.  Come along with me on this journey and when you finish maybe you’ll say “I’m from the land.”

When I began writing the Ransom Canyon series, a very dear friend gave me a Ransom Canyon T-shirt to inspire me. It sat by my desk and was never worn. I would like to give that shirt to one of my special readers who might know—How do you get rid of fire ants without killing the chickens?”

Love you all,  Jodi Thomas

Jodi Thomas Ransom Canyon Giveaway #6

Jodi’s back for another Ransom Canyon Giveaway. YeeHaw!!!

Indigo Lake

It was a dark and stormy night…

I’ve always wanted to write that line. I  think all writers do. So I decided to give it a try in Indigo Lake, a book about a hundred-year-old feud between two families. And, of course, my hero is from one and my heroine is from the other.

You will love reading this story which pulls out the richness of legends and superstitions among the early families who settled West Texas.

  • If you started a story with It was a dark and stormy night… what would your second sentence be?

To enter for a chance to win a copy of the sixth book in the Ransom Canyon series, leave a comment below. Winner will be selected on Monday, July 17.

BONUS: The novella, Winter’s Camp, is included in the back of Indigo Lake!

Ransom Canyon Giveaway #5

 

Big congratulations to:

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Janine

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Janine – You’re the winner of Book 5

Wild Horse Springs.

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I just know you’re gonna love Miss Jodi’s story.

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The rest o’ you ought not give up hope. Miss Jodi will be at the Junction next Sunday as well, giving away another copy of one of her Ransom Canyon books. Head on back, leave a comment, and your name just might be the next one drawn from my lucky Stetson. Yehaw!

Jodi Thomas Ransom Canyon Giveaway #5

Jodi’s back for another Ransom Canyon Giveaway. YeeHaw!!!

Wild Horse Springs

I wanted to write a story about happens when a fantasy comes true when I started Wild Horse Springs. I loved writing my sheriff, Dan Brigman. He daydreams of meeting a wild and beautiful woman, so when he finds a fancy blue woman’s cowboy boot, he tries to picture what the woman who wore it would be like. Finding her becomes his quest.

Step into Wild Horse Spring with me and fall in love for the first time all over again.

  • Are you a daydreamer?
  • Ever mentally rewritten the end of a movie or book to make it more satisfying?
  • Was there a time when your dreams were surpassed by reality?

To enter for a chance to win a copy of the fifth book in the Ransom Canyon series, leave a comment below. Winner will be selected on Monday, July 10.

Ransom Canyon Giveaway #4

 

Big congratulations to:

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Susan P

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Susan P – You’re the winner of Book 4

Sunrise Crossing.

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I just know you’re gonna love Miss Jodi’s story.

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The rest o’ you ought not give up hope. Miss Jodi will be at the Junction the next 2 Sundays, giving away copies of each of her books in the series. Head on back, leave a comment, and your name just might be the next one drawn from my lucky Stetson. Yehaw!

Jodi Thomas Ransom Canyon Giveaway #4

Jodi’s back for another Ransom Canyon Giveaway. YeeHaw!!!

Sunrise Crossing

Many times in my life I’ve met someone, a stranger to all I know. After only a short conversation, I realize, if we had the time, we’d be friends for life.  I opened Sunrise Crossing with that thought in mind. Two women meet in a busy airport, but find what they are looking for in Crossroads, Texas.

Sunrise Crossing is a fast running adventure with two deep love stories in it. You will definitely lose some sleep reading into the night!

  • Have you ever had a chance meeting that turned into a meaningful friendship?

To enter for a chance to win a copy of the fourth book in the Ransom Canyon series, leave a comment below. Winner will be selected on Monday, July 3.