An Odd Path to Publication

March 9, 2017

Excited and sad. Getting ready to push send tonight for my latest manuscript. It’s a weird feeling of loss that overtakes me once I know the manuscript is truly out of my hands. I give up my characters, much like saying goodbye to friends who are moving too far away. Although this one will yo-yo a bit as it’s not going directly to Amazon. It will be published in several hometown newspapers. I do not know how many at this point only that the newspaper publisher has picked it up.

They came to me last year and asked for a novel. I couldn’t give them anything at that time, as I was too busy with prior commitments. So tonight my manuscript is going to my manager who will read it once (just to be certain nothing is missed), and then pass it to the format person. Formatting for a newspaper is slightly different from formatting for the web/Amazon/print. My manger will then pass it to the newspaper company. When the newspapers are done running it as a serialized novel, I will be able to release it for everyone to read.

I’ve never done anything like this. So it’s all very exciting in an odd glamorous way. Someone with that company has been following me for quite some time because when I was approached, they already knew I’ve had books in the top 100 best sellers on Amazon, had a book listed as a recommended read by USA Today, and that it was also placed in an American Indian encyclopaedia. When I asked if they wanted contemporary or historical, they said it didn’t matter. It was my choice. I only had to keep in mind that it is a newspaper and needs to be written for a general audience. No problem!

So while writing everything else last year, I worked on this novel. It’s a historical western set in my town of Creed’s Crossing, Wyoming. But it all starts in the small town of Franklin, VA, not far from where I live. My heroine discovers that her father, the local doctor, has promised her hand in marriage to his best friend’s son who has gone to Wyoming to start a ranch. Can we say livid?

Tonight I’m a nervous wreck. Sadly I’m giving up a favorite heroine and a hero worthy of her. I’m sending them off into the world to survive. But I’m excited about the opportunity to be in so many hometown newspapers. I’ve promised some book signings and appearances within a certain mile radius. It’s not the Wall Street Journal, but it’s the largest publisher of small town newspapers.

So cross your fingers for me. A Rancher’s Request is going down an odd path to publication, but I hope it will find readers within those towns.

My editor said this is my best book ever and her favorite of all that she’s ever edited. Yippee! And she’s not alone. Everyone who has read it has loved it.

Billboard Advertising

December 12, 2016

I came home last night to this in my email. Gosh! What can I say? I’m over the top excited so here’s what I want. Take a clear pic of of this billboard ad if you live in or are passing through the Salt Lake City area. It will be somewhere along the I-15 corridor this coming week on a rotational electronic billboard.billboard-december-2016Then contact me and I will get right back to you! The first person who can send me the clear pic of this ad on the billboard will get a $20 GC to their choice of Starbucks, Applebee’s, Ruby Tuesday, Outback, Chick-Fil-A, McDonald’s, Walmart, or WaWa.

New Book Release

July 29, 2016

When I write, I write lots of words. They flow like the tides that crash against the shoreline. Sometimes they come slowly and other times they come so fast my fingers can barely keep up. This new release is no different other than I found myself with this newest release hero stuck in my head and he’s still there.  To me, that’s the sign of a wonderful of a wonderful hero. And this guy has all the qualities that I like in a man. But I’ll let you decide if you will fall in love with him, too.

I have two and a half more books to write between now and the Christmas holiday. I don’t know how I’m going to manage to do it.  I have one historical in edits. So it’s almost completed! That just leaves me with the one contemporary I need to finish and two more, a contemporary and a historic western. Will I make such a ridiculous deadline? Cross your fingers for me!

It’s the late 1880’s. It’s a clean romance that you can read with children hanging over your shoulder. But I’ll warn everyone, it is  a little sexy. This hero is so wonderful and delicious I had a difficult time keeping this story clean. And don’t worry, it’s not preachy. (I couldn’t do that if I tried!)

I’ll leave you with part of the first chapter.

coverMorgan’s Crossing, Montana

A new mail order bride, Ellen has now been widowed.


With two young boys to raise from her first marriage, a newly deceased mail-order-husband, no food and no money, she is forced to accept an offer of shelter from the neighboring rancher who found her latest husband’s body. Ellen is no stranger to sacrifice as a means to achieve a better future for herself and her children, but there is something different about Nick.

Chapter One

Ellen stood next to the open grave of her second husband, Joseph Braun, and watched as Nicholas Zapf lowered Joseph’s body into the deep hole. She and Joseph had not been married three weeks when he went out hunting. He never returned that night or the next day. It was four days later when Nicholas came to the ranch and knocked on her cabin door. He had found Joseph’s body at the bottom of a deep ravine. Nick removed the ropes he had used to lower the casket.

She asked, “Is this where I should read?”

Nicholas nodded. “Good a time as any.”

She opened the Bible to the page she had marked. “This won’t take but a minute.” She cleared her throat and tried not to choke. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” She turned to Nicholas and then to her two boys. “Shall we say the Lord’s Prayer together? Our Father/Who art in heaven/”

She was trying not to cry. She barely knew Joseph, but he was good to her and she to him. Now he was gone, and she was alone with two boys and no money. Her tears were for herself, for she was abandoned in Montana.

Nicholas began to shovel the dirt over the casket he had made from some scraps of wood he’d found. The man deserved a proper burial and Ellen was determined to give it to him. She asked Nick to make a wooden cross and he did.

“I’m taking the boys inside. I’ll make soup for all of us.” She turned to her sons. “Today is a day of mourning, that means you are not playing. Go to your cots and stay quiet. Do you understand?”

Both boys nodded.

“Nick, thank you. I’ll see you inside.”

She put a few pieces of wood into the stove and began to boil some water. Then she cut up an onion, the last few potatoes, and added them to the pot. She added a pinch of salt and waited.

Nick opened the door and stepped inside as she was cleaning up. She forced a smile. “This is the end of the food that I have. And there’s only a few dollars in the tin. After that, I don’t know what we will do.”

She watched Nick’s eyes as he glanced around the cabin.

“You have next to nothing. You cannot live by yourself. Pack your things and come with me. I could use two sons and a wife.”

“But I don’t know you.”

Nick shrugged. “You have no other choice.”

“You aren’t married?”

“My wife died two years ago. Our daughter had the fever first and then my wife. I buried them a week apart.”

“Oh, how awful. I’m so sorry.”

“As you read from the Bible, there is a time for everything. The time has come for you to live with me. I promise I am a good, God-fearing man, and will not hurt you. If you stay here, you will starve to death; that is if the Indians don’t kill you first.”

She shuddered at the thought.

“Did you love Joseph?” His gaze was intense.

“I guess. We barely knew each other, but he was a good man.”

Nick nodded. “My mother always said God will open doors, but we must open our hearts.”

“I think she was right. I never dreamed I would find another man after my first husband Tyler died. I had fallen in love with Tyler, and we had made plans for our wedding. It was a fine marriage.” She could feel her cheeks tugging at the corners of her mouth; but as quickly as her smile came with her memories, it vanished. “Then I found myself without a husband or an income. I could sew and began taking in laundry and mending for other women.” She lifted the lid on the pot and stirred the soup. “One day, I saw an advertisement in the newspaper. I wrote to the agency and was sent here. Joseph was thrilled to see me.” She glanced at her boys. “He was good to them, and they liked having a father.”

“Then I will have tough boots to fill.” Nick grinned at her. “I will do my best.”

“This would have been better with some bacon in it. I really do know how to cook.”

Nick nodded. “We’ll go to town one day and get married all proper. You may buy supplies for the kitchen or whatever you need.”

She nodded and ladled the soup into four bowls. “Thank you, Nick. I didn’t want to say I was panicking, but I was. At least when we lived in the city, I could find work.”

“There is no work for a lady here. When we are done, I’ll give you time to pack your things. We’ll take your cart. I’ll pack what your husband left in the shed.” He turned to her sons. “Do as your mother says.”

Nick finished his bowl of soup and left the table without another word. He was a nice looking man with strong features. His dark brown hair had been pulled into a short tail at the nape of his neck. His eyes were the color of the mighty Mississippi River after a heavy storm, golden brown and green-blue. She wondered if they would be called hazel or brown. He was probably about the same size as Joseph, but Nick appeared to be leaner, yet broader through the shoulders. He was also older than Joseph, but she had no idea how much older.

Using some sheeting and the blankets, she packed everything in the little cabin and piled it outside the doorway. All she had left were the mattresses. The tiny wooden building was empty. She swept it clean and placed the broom on the pile. When Joseph described the place, he said it had real glass windows that opened and closed. In reality he had two windows and a door with a latch and a bar to lock it. She wondered what sort of a place Nick had.

She wanted to cry, but she knew she should not. Nick had to be a good person, for he had brought what was left of Joseph’s body back, made a makeshift casket, and dug the grave for him. Before they had taken a spoonful of soup, Nick had said Grace and thanked the Lord for giving him two fine sons and a new wife. She didn’t know Nicholas Zapf. He was a complete stranger to her. At least she had several letters from Joseph to read that told about his life before she came. Worry swirled around her and slowed her steps.

“Ready?” Nick asked.

“The mattresses. And then there is nothing.”

He walked over and wrapped his hand around the edge of the one and then went to the large bed and did the same. “They are filled with grass. Leave them.”

She nodded and followed him out of the log cabin. Bits of sunlight poked between the logs of the cabin, and there was a tiny spot on the roof that allowed sunlight and rain to enter. It wasn’t much, but it had been home. Each change in her life seemed to take her further into poverty. She wondered what she would find this time.

She had heard about the horrible soddies with dirt floors and only a piece of cloth to cover the window openings. Joseph had made his house sound wonderful in his letter, and she knew she should be thankful that it was a house and not something less.

With Nick’s help, she climbed onto the wagon. She had no choice. It was leave or starve. She turned to her boys. “Ty, you are the oldest, be nice to Will. And most of all behave yourselves. I don’t want to discover you’ve fallen out of the cart.”

They rode forever, and the sun dipped behind the mountains. Darkness was descending on them. She looked at the setting sun. “How much further?”

“We will ride until almost morning. Normally, when I go to Morgan’s Crossing I ride down one day and spend the night in a line shack. Then I travel about an hour, do my shopping, and ride home. No point stopping with a cart full of supplies, that’s begging to be robbed.”

“We’re going north?”

“Yes. Joseph’s northeast corner of land touches against the lower end of mine.” He lightly slapped the reins. “Once you are settled in, I’ll try to collect his head and bring them up with mine. There are papers you will have to file for them to be sold.”

“Where are they?”

Nick cocked his head. “The papers or the cattle?”

“The cattle.”

“Like most of us, Joseph grazed them on open ranges. That land is owned by the government.”

“Oh. I had no idea.”

“Any idea how many head he owned?”

“I have Joseph’s book. All I know is that it contains his notes and some figures. I never paid any attention to it.”

“When you unpack, I’d appreciate being able to read it. With luck he’s recorded what he has so I know what I’m looking for out there. A dishonest man wouldn’t tell you, and a few of the relatively honest ones might just fail to tell you; but those are your heads, and you are entitled to what they bring at market. It’s your money.”

“I have money?”

“Yes, in the form of cattle and land. If those were his sons, it would have passed to them.”


Darkness had coated the land, and the sky twinkled overhead with stars too numerous to count. She sat beside Nick and tried to imagine being with him. Joseph didn’t insist those first few nights that they were together. It was as though he sensed her cautiousness. But he was nothing like her first husband, Tyler. It was like a waterfall of wonderful feelings being in Tyler’s arms. Joseph tried, but she had no lust for Joseph, even though she knew she liked him. He was a good man, except there was no pleasure in his arms.

Would Nick be the same? She wondered and worried. Her anxiety coiled in her stomach. Maybe I should do something to tell him how I feel. It is important to bear a man’s children. I do not mind. She swiped at the moisture that had collected in her eyes. Is it wrong to desire happiness?


Nick was surprised when Ellen placed her hand on his knee. He figured she was hurting from the sudden loss of her husband, and he had uprooted her to take her to his place. But certainly, his house would be much nicer than that pitiful little cabin. He covered her hand with his and waited for some sort of reaction. She was quiet, almost too quiet. He wanted to know more about her.

There was nothing really special about her other than she was easy on the eyes, with medium brown hair that was pulled into a bun high on her head. A few tendrils had escaped and curled in a spiral down her back. Her eyes were brown with well-arched eyebrows. Her lips were slender and nicely bowed. She wasn’t ravishing but simply easy, with a figure that left no question about her womanhood. When he had helped her into the cart, he knew she wasn’t wearing anything to enhance her figure. Under her dress was her soft body. Her curves were all hers.

“You’ve been married twice?” he asked.

“Yes. Tyler was my first husband. We were so much in love when we married. I had just turned sixteen, and he was twenty. He had a good job working on one of the river boats.”

“He ran the gambling tables?”

“Oh, no, nothing such as that. I guess you could say he ran the paddle on the back. He was very mechanical. And from the things he said, paddleboats had their problems.”

“So did he leave and never come back?”

“Horrors! No! He probably argued with the Lord to let him come back to me.”

She fell silent, and he let her steep in her memories for a few minutes.

“Do you know what happened?”

“A piece of wood jammed the paddle. As Tyler loosened it, the paddle hit him. He couldn’t swim. But they said it was the hit on the head that killed him.”

“I’m sorry. I loved my wife so I understand your loss.”

“It doesn’t seem fair, does it? Good people die and others live.”

“We cannot question God’s actions.” A pain stirred within him – one he thought he’d buried. “I cannot be like Tyler or anyone else. I am who and what I am. Each little thing that happens to us shapes us, and changes us until we are what we are.”

They rode for quite awhile and soon came to a wooden archway. “We’ve reached my land.”

“I’m glad. I was beginning to think we’d never get here, Nick. I’m tired.”

A single chuckle burst from him. But he liked how she called him Nick instead of the formal Nicholas. It made it seem as though she was accepting of him. “I’m exhausted. Put the boys in their beds and then come to mine. I will unload the cart before I come in. I promise, you will be safe.” He chuckled again. “I have running water. But not hot water. I need to add that as soon as I can figure a way to do it. And my house is larger than Joseph’s. My roof doesn’t leak.”

“That is good to know.”

Share my bed, Ellen. It’s been a long time since I’ve held a woman in my arms. Can you learn to love again?

Update on Lisa

May 26, 2016

Lisa is doing well. She’s still in the hospital and still has a lot of pain. But she’s chatting and in good spirits.

PHOTOS taken from the impound yard of her car. I do have one from the crash scene but it belongs to the local TV station.

lisa's car 3

lisa's car 2

This photo above is of the driver’s side. The driver door is ajar and the rear passenger door is pushed inward. They had to cut the top of the car (roof) off to get her out. The top is peeled back while they work and then allowed to drop back onto the car once she was freed. But you can see the side curtain airbags were deployed and the steering wheel airbag was also deployed.

An angel on her shoulder or a star in her pocket? I’m certain Nissan would tell you it’s because of all the safety features they have added to new cars. Whatever it was… Lisa is one very lucky ducky to even be alive! She’s still in then hospital, still in pain, but she’s talking and giving thanks to her God above. Someone like Lisa just doesn’t stay down!

Personally, if there is such a thing as a God in heaven, I think her accident situation went something like this.

God looked over at St. Peter when they witnessed the accident and shook his head. “Leave her down there.”

St. Peter frowned. “But that’s not a little fender bender. She’s on the brink of death.”

God rubbed his forehead. “No way. We’ve got to leave her there. With everything going on in the world, I’m not ready to cope with her up here.”

“Forgive me, God, for questioning your divine knowledge, but we need to snatch her while we can. I can have her fitted for wings as soon as she comes.”

“No. Wings do not guarantee a thing. Remember I made the mosquito.”

“That was not one of your better inventions.” St Peter rolled his eyes.

“I caught that, Pete! I know what I’m doing. If we bring her up here now, she’ll take her halo and twist it into roller skates. Leave her down there until she mellows.”


The Phone Calls No One Wants

May 22, 2016

I think everyone dreads certain types of phone calls that bring the news that we don’t want. Many years ago when my niece was in UVA, my sister received such a call. Her daughter was in critical condition after a motor vehicle accident. As teen, my uncle called on Christmas morning, except it wasn’t the normal cheery Christmas call. It was to inform us that his son had died through the file0001931487912

Sometimes we expect the news of a death or some other tragedy. Maybe not at that moment, but the news isn’t really a shock. But many times throughout life, we are called with unwanted news. Some send us instantly into tears and some tie our stomach into knots for hours or days as we await an outcome.

My cell phone rang late yesterday evening and it was an unrecognized number, but I answered.  A woman with an unknown voice asked for me.


“This is Lisa’s mother. I thought you wanted to know…”

My friend, and a fellow author, is in our area’s big, level one, trauma hospital in intensive care after being hit by a car that was being pursued by police. She was to meet me and several others the other night,  but she never showed up. I had talked to her earlier in the day.  I texted her several times. I called her and that call went straight to her voice mail. I texted her yesterday – no return text. Seriously, she can be terrible about answering texts!

Her mother obtained her phone and began to go through the contacts until she found my name. Fortunately her mom and dad know who I am. I’ve been in their home multiple times. I know my friend’s granddaughter and my friend’s sister. I’ve met my friend’s aunt. Yes, Lisa and I are close.

While I was talking to her mom, I asked if she had another name in contacts. She found it and gave me that number. I would call that friend. I told Lisa’s mom that covered it. All friends would be contacted.

Now I’m sitting here and wondering about Lisa’s two teacup poodles, but I know her daughter will take care of them. I’ll offer to bring them here if needed. They don’t really know my little dog, but they know her smell and she knows theirs. Mine gets along with any animal with four legs.

There’s more that keeps going through my mind, questions that have no answers. I’ll check with her mom later because the summer semester has begun. Lisa went back to college. She has a judicial doctorate but returned for a master’s degree, and is fulfilling the required classes so that she can teach clear to college level. But what Lisa really wants is to teach at-risk children.

Schools are so busy teaching to a set of standards that they no longer have time or room for creative thinking. So children, especially those who need it the most, are not learning to express themselves. They can’t even journal because they have no idea how.  They can’t write stories or poetry, or even create verses for songs. They can’t string a handful of words together.

Lisa’s dream is to create a place where children can come and learn because they want to be there. Lisa has sat in several of my writing classes that I’ve taught locally, and she wants me to teach, too. Not all the time, because I don’t have enough time for that, but I promised I would help serious students create the stories in their heads.

There are times we brainstorm plots and times we brainstorm how to introduce children to the world of writing. How do we tell them to hold onto their imaginations? And how do we tell them how important it is to be able to express themselves on paper?

I know how characters form in my mind and Lisa knows how they form in hers. We never turned off those daydreams. Those daydreams gave us those awful check marks on our report cards when we were in school. Every report card, contained the dreaded words daydreamer or doesn’t pay attention.

Let me take this opportunity to apologize to my teachers. I was only half paying attention. I got it the first time you told us, if it was interesting. But what was going on inside my head was training me for my career.  I might write myself into a corner, but writer’s block… I can’t imagine that ever happening. There are too many things going on in there! But there I was as a child failing to conform to a set a rules. Rules that said there were no fairies and no imaginary playmates. Dogs didn’t talk, creatures didn’t roam in space, knights weren’t jousting in the play yard, stones couldn’t glow, and there were no magic wands, but they were there in my head! Why should I make them go away? I wanted to sprinkle stardust like Peter Pan.

And at that time there were other rules. Ones that said that good girls grew up, married, and had families. Girls weren’t allowed to strive to be astronauts – for even imagining such a thing was ridiculous. Boys were doctors and girls were nurses. But that’s another subject.

The difference is Lisa’s parents recognized her potential and encouraged her to follow her own path. They made certain that she could read and write at a time when her peers were still being repressed. They made certain that she could string words together and that college was the key to her future. She is a lawyer, she deals with insurance and understands the nuances of it. She handles the office of her father’s dental practice.

Lisa adopted a child when she was still in college – not an ordinary child but an older child with major problems. And that child had a child at an early age. That grandchild is now with Lisa’s parents. The adopted child, today, is doing well and has her life turned around. Lisa knows both ends of the spectrum, and no one would say that she’s lived a charmed life. But her life has been blessed with a wonderful family and good friends. But maybe more importantly, Lisa has has given of herself to so many people.

Lisa didn’t ask for a criminal running from the local police to broadside her car. She was merely coming home from a class at ODU – a class that would give her the necessary credentials to teach those who needed to learn to write. From what’s been said, Lisa’s situation is very serious. All prayers, good vibes, and positive thoughts for Lisa’s recovery are appreciated. Just send them to the SE corner of the Virginia.

UPDATE: Lisa is doing well and there is already talk of sending her home in a few days. Yippee!

Happy Mother’s Day, except I need more hours per day!

May 6, 2016

I’m so bad about blogging and keeping up my website. The truth is there’s not enough hours in a day! I’m constantly writing and at the moment, I’m trying to finish the novel Loving Zadie.

I’m having fun writing it! For starters I’ve opened the book in Franklin, Virginia. That’s a real town just down the road from me. It made national news about 20 years ago when what was left of Hurricane Floyd flooded the small town. Not just a few feet of water, I think the Blackwater River crested at 20 some feet above normal.  Many businesses were completely submerged.

But it’s an old town and it’s seen plenty of disasters. During the Civil War, the residents decided to leave and burn the town behind them. But Franklin is a town that has survived. So plopping my heroine and her family into that town added a bit of fun for me. (And plenty of leg-work to grab some historical details.) I chased today’s Norfolk-Southern railroad lines on Google until I was cross-eyed. I finally gave up and just sent my heroine to Norfolk!

My hero is from the tiny little port town of Edenton, North Carolina. No I do not work for the Department of Tourism, but that is one adorable town that people should visit.  This whole area near and in the SE corner of Virginia is filled with precious little towns. If I listed all the towns… It’s too long of a list. But if you go to Franklin, go to Fred’s for a meal!

Long story short, I sent my hero to Wyoming, and once he was settled in, he decided the time had come for him to have a bride. So he did what any decent young man at the time would have done, he asked his father to find him a good woman.

The hero and the heroine’s fathers are good friends. So guess who was chosen to become Duncan’s bride? And guess who decided to rebel? Oh did she ever!

If you read my historical westerns, you know that the stories are not light, fluffy things, but these two go at it! She’s got one heck of a sense of humor and she’s not afraid to toss things in Duncan’s face. But he’s quick and doesn’t allow her to get the best of him.

Here’s a little unedited piece that I think you might enjoy. Duncan has been trying very hard to teach her to use a gun.

“No shooting lessons tonight?”

“You are horrible with a gun. I’m not sure you’ll ever be able to hit the side of a barn.”

“A barn is much bigger than a little can, and I can’t imagine a vicious chipmunk attacking me.” She gave his hand a squeeze as they stepped off the porch. “You really aren’t being fair to me, because you’ve never allowed me to point the gun at the barn. I’m willing to bet I could hit it if I tried very hard.”

“Don’t even think about it. You are not going to put holes in my barn’s roof.”

Now here’s the weird thing. I started writing this story and chose Zadie Larkford Lorde as the name for my heroine. Come to find out, Zadie Lord was the maternal grandmother of a friend. Huh? What are the odds. My friend was afraid that I might somehow upset someone in her family. Uh-oh! I almost changed the name because of that, but after a quick search Zadie Lord and Zadie Lorde is a more common than I realized! So Zadie Larkford and Duncan Lorde have remained as I first wrote them.

Loving Matilda is available on Amazon as an ebook.  Loving Zadie is coming, and I already know that Loving Hannah will follow eventually.  I don’t know much about Hannah or what that story will be, but the women who went west, and survived, had to be tough.

I’m eating my words when I said I’d never write historical  novels. I’m enjoying them. Women are strong. We’re often stronger than we are given credit for being. I think in many ways, we are stronger than men. Okay they have that testosterone that allows them to lift things that we wouldn’t even try, but we have that ace in the hole! We’d figure out how to move that heavy thing without killing ourselves! Yes, women are smart!  🙂

And this Sunday we celebrate mothers. Some mothers have two-legged children and some have four-legged ones. And some women know that motherhood is not for them. So here’s to all the women of the world!

Happy Mother’s Day!


Aging Gracefully – No Way!

February 22, 2016

For anyone who is still in the dark and doesn’t know about my new book, my latest western, Loving Matilda was released February 9. See the end of this post for more info.

With that out of the way, I still have books to write. But I intend to spend a little less time writing for the next few weeks and spend some time taking care of some personal things such as housekeeping, which I neglect completely while writing. But when I look into the mirror, I think I need to spend some time on myself. What the heck happened?

I realize the house needs a new coat of paint in a few rooms. But it’s not so easy with one’s body, which is really a shame. A fresh coat of paint works wonders. I want the same results in a bottle of perfumed oil that I can paint on me!

Since I don’t have tons of money, I’m going to have to live with the changes that time has wrought. There’s nothing I can do about the fact that my face has decided it wants to become my chin. Who knew?

And my chin willingly is accommodating this southbound movement by turning into a wattle. Apparently, that will make me very sexy and attractive to female chickens. And considering I don’t have a backyard full of chickens, I’m not going to be feeling any warm fuzzies when I walk outside. Unfortunately, humans don’t find it as attractive as our feathered friends.

A few years ago, I woke up and discovered that I had bat wings or flying squirrel arms, I’m not sure which. They weren’t there when I went to bed. Then that feminine post-baby bump deflated and fell one night about 35 years after that child was born. After the fall, I had an “apron”. I’m getting seriously tired of body parts shifting position. What used to be here is now down there. Why is that?

Even the girls are in competition to see which one can make it to my waist first. You’d think they would be on my side. Truthfully, they are. When I lie on my back, they slide over and snuggle under my arms.

If it is supposed to be tight, it is loose, and if it is supposed to be loose, it’s so tight nothing short of extensive physiotherapy will permit its movement. First it was the knees, followed by the ankles, now it’s a shoulder. I need to replace a few things in the house. I’m not about to start replacing body parts!

My legs look great -in a pair of skinny jeans. Peel those jeans off and I have road maps. Blue and red legs are not pretty, but wait… With all the tattoos, I could just tattoo the names of a few cities on them and I’ll be with the times. This calf is NYC and here’s LaGuardia Airport.  This one is DC, and LA is over there on the other leg. That wide blue line is Interstate 95. A few stars for Points of Interest and I’m in style.

I’m officially old. It’s true. I was in a tiny, locally-owned restaurant and chatted with the young waitress there. She’s in her early 20’s,  going to college, just the cutest little thing, and as sweet as she can be. The last time I had seen her, a friend and I had stopped in one snowy evening. We were the only customers there. Well, this area never gets really huge snowstorms, but I was telling her about the last one I had been in. Apparently she went home and told her parents and younger siblings my story. When she saw me again, she couldn’t wait to tell me what everyone had said. Her recount to me was, I told my family about this old lady who comes into the restaurant and…

Omigod, she was talking about me! I’m not old! My hair isn’t gray. Okay, I’ll admit my hairdresser does a wonderful job of blending/hiding what gray I do have. It’s nothing more than a silver streak right in the front and a few threads here and there. I’m just not ready for silver hair. But silver hair does not make me old. I know plenty of people go gray in their twenties.

I refuse to be old! I’m not even old enough to collect Social Security. I married young, had my children when I was young, and I’m still way too young to be a widow. I’ve reached that point in my life where I’m young enough to do anything I please, and too old to do anything that I don’t want to do. That’s not a bad place to be.

drumsdrumsDrum roll, please!

Here’s my new book.


Loving Matilda

E. Ayers

Matilda “Matt” Berwyn, forced to live disguised as a boy in a mining town, longs to escape and blossom into the female she’s always wanted to be. But her desire to leave Morgan’s Crossing escalates when she realizes she’s being stalked.

Stockyard hand Zeke Hillerman knows her secret and has fallen in love with her. He helps her flee to his parents’ home in the east to learn to be a lady, while he struggles to start his own ranch. As Matilda grapples with Victorian expectations of young women, Zeke’s plans for their future unravel, and he realizes that the cost of her ticket out of Morgan’s Crossing may have been his own heart.


It’s the New Year!

January 1, 2016

I had a manuscript that was on a deadline, and I was failing miserably to get it finished. Now it’s in the edit process which can also be hectic. But that is a hurry up and then wait. Life tends to insert itself at all the wrong times and this fall was one of those times. So I stressed and I wrote. I have no idea how many books I managed to turn out in 2015. I’d honestly have to look it up. Several books went to print, several were bundled, and in the meantime I was writing.

I’m not going to go through that this year. I’m putting my foot down and saying no! I do have an unusual chance to do something odd concerning our local newspaper, but I have to catch up on some other things before I even think about tackling that project. But ornament_hollythat project is calling to me.

The Authors of Main Street are already talking about a new Christmas project for 2016.  That’s a yes. But some of the other things? I’m slapping a big NO! on them.

Being an author means sitting in front of the keyboard and turning words into sentences and putting sentences together to form paragraphs, and paragraphs to chapters until I reach the end of the story. I’m a slow typist and that correlates into lots of hours of sitting. Sitting is not good for me. I need to be more active.  So I need to cut down on the number of projects that require me to sit here and type. No, I’m not joining the gym!coffee cup

But I do need a life. True, I do hang out with friends almost nightly at one of my local Starbucks. I guess you could argue that it’s having a life, but I want more! When I get into these writing binges, my housework goes out the window and never returns. Does a dirty, messy house effect a writer’s mind? I’m going to say no, I can ignore all sorts of messes and dirt, but I’d much rather live in a serene house that is clean. Well, it’s not going to happen by itself!

bedEver notice when you redo a room, maybe paint it and fix it all pretty, that you gravitate to the room? I have. That’s telling me that my mind wants to be in a clean pretty place. I can survive with this but I want that. I’m not going to paint this house by myself! Not with the super tall ceilings that I have. But I do intend to get it clean, organized, and probably painted. I’ve lived here for over 20 years and it has never been painted. Never!  The only way any of that will happen is if I get away from the computer for a few hours each day, because it’s such a mess right now that I couldn’t hire someone to paint it. (And I know someone who will give me a great deal on painting!)

Also I was given a fabulous camera. It’s an older model but I’ve used this camera for years so I’m comfortable with it. I want a chance to spend more time with it and take more pictures. This is something that my muse craves. When I grab that great pic, I get that Adrenalin rush of a junkie. Why not spend time allowing my muse to find beauty in all things? Plus it gets me out of the house – into nature, and places that I wouldn’t have gone when I’m at the computer. Furthermore, I’m sniffing some fresh air and getting some exercise.  I’m not against exercise, I just don’t like gyms. Go take a nature walk for an hour and not on some pretty, flat path.  You’ll get a workout and a big, fat dose of fresh air with Mothere-reader Nature.

And can you imagine how many books are on my Kindle waiting for me to read them? Not just books but books that I really want to read? I need to feed my mind with words other than my own.

I think it’s all beginning to sound as though I’m going to have a life beyond the keyboard. But don’t worry, I intend to keep writing. Maybe it will be one day day a week that I spend away from the computer and that coupled with a few hours each day taking care of my home, etc. will mean less hours to write. And that might count up to one less book a year, but I think having a chance to refresh my mind and body will be a positive thing both on a personal level and as an author.

I don’t make resolutions, I make plans!

Winter Dreams by Toca

December 12, 2015
Like a region wrapped in grief
Temple starlings ruffle in the cool air.
Hands with pennies flatten to see
Lincoln or the wall.  Bright dreams clamor.
Dark dreams dig.
Along the road, bright morning, a skull on a pick-up holds
Roped to the grill a little off-center.
I can’t read to you with this voiceless speech
Tongue-tied dreamer.  The world has varied
And we are its disease.
A Nature Walk…
I have never seen an actual river cut through mountains to reach the sun.  In my mind’s eye, though, I see it.
I have never safely borrowed dreams, but where every word is just that, I cry like a wolf.
Stupendous deeds done by others are riddles on my blank slate.  It never quite washes clean anymore.  It did once.
I rule the rights the government withdraws these bitter nights.  There’s no rule really.  If you are quiet you can hardly hear it.
Disorder only bothers me now.  In trying to paint visions, I didn’t care.
My cats are solemn.  When I painted, they were alive.  Zoe batted a Christmas bow past the turquoise pillow which a Buddhist in my meditator gave me once.  Then Zoe watched and pounced.  Adonai Jai watched from the cat tree.
They are with me.  It was a mistake to stop.  If there are forests on those mountains I would go there.  But they’re rock.
There is a paper dragon in the wardrobe and you are on your own tonight.  The best course is through the woods, the woods continue…
file8591279120313winter woods
The Message:  Put your Art first.  Art is your version of God, your Creed.  To say your visions are just a sign of aging is absurd.  I will remake you.  I will make you whole.
A poet said about poetry that it was like our current day’s Creed.  She did not say it was our current God.  She spoke at Christ & St. Luke’s Church in November of 2015.  I can’t find her name right now, but she teaches in a small college.  I think it is in Philadelphia.


Friends with Books & Writing Sexy

September 22, 2015

I have friends in this business and they often ask me to announce a new release. Tina Donahue is one of those friends. She’s part of a boxed set with some sexy-hot stories to warm you on these cooler autumn nights.

That’s my way of warning you that some of these books are probably hotter than most of my western readers prefer. I’ve warned everyone before that I have friends who write molten hot stories. I think that everyone has the right to write whatever they want and to read whatever they want!

Okay, if you’ve read any of my River City books you know I can write some very sexy stories. I just manage to do it without using certain words. Why? I don’t don’t like those words. Yet what makes certain books erotic are the words that are used. I’m not a prude, but when I write about love, those words don’t come into my head. Sex is a normal part of the whole courting/love process. Whether anyone indulges in the sex is a personal decision. Just as it is a personal decision to read about it.

If you read my westerns, they are sexy! I don’t ignore all those wonderful feelings. I think the difference is I don’t shove it in the readers face. The feelings are there, but the actions are not. In my more urban stories, such as my River City books, the reader will encounter the actions without the words that to me degrade the love. (Just my opinion!)

But boxed sets on sale for 99c are an awesome way to get to read a variety of authors for pennies a book. And I believe that the books in Falling in Love range from sexy to hot. I’ve not read any of these stories, so you are on your own! But I’m going to get my copy!

By the way, I don’t think any of these books are short stories! I think each is a full-length novel.







 Recapture the moment . . . Falling in Love

Eight sensual, heartwarming contemporary romances featuring NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors.
WALK LIKE A MAN, a heartwarming novel by award-winning author Suz deMello
A heroine to root for, a wounded hero who’s pure fantasy, two lovable characters who can’t help falling in love . . .

MAKE ME BREATHLESS, a steamy novella by bestselling author Tina Donahue
Two rugged cowboys know what they want: the biker chick who just became their neighbor. Falling in love can sometimes happen for three, not just two . . .

COMMITMENT, a sexy romantic novella by award-winning author Ann Jacobs
For these long-time lovers, falling in love means learning that commitment doesn’t have to mean losing the magic they’ve shared . . .

LOVE ME NOW, a sexy novella by USA Today bestselling author Ari Thatcher
Long ago, he inadvertently overlooked her, but he can’t get enough of her laughter now. He’ll give anything now for a chance to earn her love . . .

A KILLING TIDE, NY Times bestselling novel by PJ Alderman
He’s investigating a killing, and her brother is his prime suspect. Not the best timing for romance, but neither he nor she can resist falling in love, no matter what . . .

WORTH THE WAIT, a sexy novella by bestselling author Lynn LaFleur
Falling in love can happen at first sight. He does, and he’s determined to persuade the woman who’s given up on the emotion that Happily Ever After is not a myth, but a certainty . . .

IMPULSIVE PLEASURES, an erotic novella by award-winning author KyAnn Waters
Neither the difference in their ages nor the inconvenient circumstances that bring them together can make them resist each other. Falling in love happens when it’s least expected . . .

GEEK MEETS GIRL, a novella set in the world of sci-fi reenactments, by Kathryn Lively
A Time Lord, a Trekker, and a ghostbuster walk into a science fiction convention. One finds love, one finds trouble, one finds both . . .

Sensual Romances for Every Mood

Let me know if you buy a copy. Tina likes to know who is buying her books!

And let me know what your take is on sexy romances – just much do you like to read? Or as people say today, that’s too much information. What’s your preferred heat level?