I just learned this week that I have reached a milestone in my writing career.

25th book:
Winning Over the Wrangler by Linda Ford

winniing over the wrangler







It also happens to be one of my favorite books to write so that’s nice. I had thought I’d do something special for my 25th book but it sneaked past me without me realizing it.

The next bit of news–Harlequin featured a page Choose your cowboy


Travel to another era to meet brave and daring wranglers from days gone by…

Under historical cowboys are two of my titles. Yah.

Historical Cowboys

Winning Over the Wrangler

Claiming the Cowboy's Heart

Last bit of news: I am working on a new set of stories in the Cowboys of Eden Valley series. This week I also did final line edits on Big Sky Cowboy, the first in the Montana Wedding miniseries.

This is what the hard copy looked like. Each tab represents a page with a correction or change on it. Each has to be entered in Track Changes of the on-line manuscript.

line edits AAs 001

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This past week or so I’ve worked on synopses for 3 more stories in the Cowboys of Eden Valley series.  And I think they are the strongest I’ve ever done. Maybe after 17 years of publication (how can it possibly be that long?), 45 published books and numerous unpublished manuscripts, I am learning how to create a story. (By the way, a synopsis is the treatment of the story showing character goal, motivation, conflict, revealing the major points of the story and how they will create a character arc and of course, the happy ever after ending. All in about 6 pages.)

Yes, I am the world’s slowest learner… not something I’m proud of but rather something I’ve learned to accept.

Frustrated Writer Pic





I joined ARWA in 1993 where the president, Judith Duncan, taught an in-depth series on writing a synopsis.  I attended the meetings,  listened to the lectures and I tried to create a synopsis. I confess I never did figure out how follow her method though I learned a LOT from the lectures.

I took courses. I read books. I attended workshops and intensives. I listened, I learned, I practiced. I continue to listen, learn and practice. I collected all sorts of charts for character development. My favorites are

1.Alice Orr, No More Rejections

 no more rejections

2.  Michael Hague

with his teaching on need, wound, fear, identity and essence.

I also studied plot development. My favorites in this are

1. the W plot 

2. and Deb Hale’s workshop on the Hero’s Journey. (I highly recommend both of these presenters’ workshops).

Yes, I have lots of tools at my disposal and have developed my own hashed together method of developing a synopsis but using the tools to translate some airy-fairy ideas into a solid structure, that is the challenge.

For fellow writers out there: what are some of your favorite books and workshops for learning to write a synopsis?

For non-writers (readers) are you surprised at how much learning goes into writing a story? (I certainly have been.)

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I’m trying to remember what summer looked like, felt like and smelled like. I look out the window and think I’ll never see anything but snow. I had a email from a friend who said they might clean the yard today. Really? All I could do out there is rearrange snow.

I went to my photos for reminders. Here are some memories of summer.

Green grass and girls in pink.

Linda's birthday weekend 084






Spring flowers in orange.

spring 013






Grandchildren enjoying a purple pool (no need for water.)

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Blue water.

haedyn at lake july 005






summer fun days 002






Yes, I miss the colors of the rainbow. Are you missing spring and summer? By the way, there are 4 seasons. Shouldn’t they get equal billing? 3 months of each. Works for me.

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Some days are better than others. Some weeks are better than others.  Sometimes I need to give myself a good shake to remember that bad times don’t last. I am a survivor. A fighter. I need to see the sun shining through the clouds.

hole in sky 001

20 Quotes For Getting Through Tough Times

1. Tough times never last, but tough people do. - Robert H Schuller

2. The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them. – Unknown

3. Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines. – Leroy Satchel Paige

4. A problem is a chance for you to do your best. – Duke Ellington

5. I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders. – Jewish Proverb

6. If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. – Mary Engelbreit

7. When things are bad, we take comfort in the thought that they could always get worse. And when they are, we find hope in the thought that things are so bad they have to get better. – Malcolm S Forbes

8. Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is a greater. Possession pampers the mind; privation trains and strengthens it. – William Hazlitt

9. Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity. – Lou Holtz

10. I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death. - Thomas Paine

11. If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are? - Unknown

12. The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity. - Ulysses S. Grant

13. The bravest sight in the world is to see a great man struggling against adversity. – Seneca

14. Adversity is a fact of life. It can’t be controlled. What we can control is how we react to it. – Unknown

15. The true test of a person character is how they stand during test of adversity - Unknown

16. The hardest struggle of all is to be something different from what the average man is. – Charles M Schwab

17. He knows not his own strength who hath not met adversity. – William Samuel Johnson

18. In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive. – Lee Iacocca

19. Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them. – Publilius Syrus

20. One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity. – Albert Schweitzer

Do you have special things you do to help you get through discouraging times in your life?

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winniing over the wranglerAnother book in the Cowboys of Eden Valley is out this month (this week).     

Just for fun I thought I’d post the picture that triggered this idea. I saw a picture of this cowboy holding a dog and wondered who he was and what he was hiding.

cowboy and dog 001



The setting is inspired by the historic Bar U Ranch in SW Alberta. It’s a beautiful place.


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This is the weather where my friend is holidaying.

brenda's photo


Sunny, warm, no snow.





This is where I am.

 Dec 02 snow 005                                                                                                                                   

Snow and bitter cold.  You can’t see the cold but trust me, you don’t want to.

What can I say? Except ENOUGH OF WINTER ALREADY.

If you enjoy winter, please don’t tell me. Don’t try and persuade me to be positive about it. Not today.



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Yesterday we had scattered snow flurries. We’ve had enough snow already. But I confess there is something I like about it.

march 5 snowfall 005

I like walking in falling snow.

Gently falling snow dusting my clothes, quietly sliding from my face. The world cloaked in purity, silenced so all I hear is my own breathing, my own muted footsteps. God-breathed beauty. ‘Silence is the language of God, all else is a poor translation.’ Rumi

One of my favorite poets-Robert Louis Stevenson put it this way:

The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.
Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding-cake

(from his poem Winter-Time)

Am I the only one who enjoys this activity?

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Except I do. Have a bird that is. Meet Scottie–a slightly neurotic African Gray Parrot.


I enjoy Scottie’s chatter…unless I’m on the phone or trying to listen to TV and he drowns me out.

I got a meadowlark bird stuffie at a museum in Montana on one of my research trips. When youu press the stuffie bird belly, it sings like a meadowlark. It wasn’t long until Scottie picked it up. It’s a cheerful song to hear in the morning.

He also says jerk, stupid cat (I guess I said that more often than I realized as I waited for the cat to amble over to the door. She always takes her time to test and see how long I’ll wait.)

But back to Scottie. He whistles, he calls supper and he makes the sound of the microwave beeper. He mumbles and grumbles (He’s not imitating me with this).  He’s messy. As one of the kids so aptly said, he’s a litter bird. But he’s amusing.

Oh. And he’s a she as we discovered last year when he/she presented us with three eggs.

Pets are fun and help us enjoy life, don’t you think?

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This gallery contains 2 photos.

I know it’s odd but I like getting up in the dark. The dark feels sheltering–like I’m cocooned in a safe, warm place. I look out the window and the lights of town sparkle in a choker of gold and … Continue reading

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