I grew up in a small town. I guess it`s something that sticks with you in so many ways—saying hello to people in the street, talking to the check out girl, helping someone across the street. One thing that has really stuck with me is the enjoyment of walking in town.
My small town may or may not have looked like this photo. 🙂
I now live a few miles from town and usually walk along our country road. It`s a great time to think through story problems and meditate, but I love walking along the sidewalks of town. I like the smells—lilacs, petunias, fresh cut grass, pine trees, poplars and barbecued steak. I enjoy the variety of flowers I see—petunias, daisies, roses, and many I don`t recognize—in a rainbow of colors. I enjoy seeing how people have individualized their yards—an elephant planter with his back full of pink flowers, a riot of flower-filled planters spilling down some steps, a peak-through trellis to a little outdoor room, a yard completely done in pink or white.
Then there are the little surprises—the log cabin serving as a garden shed/garage. The owners had it out on their farm and took it apart log by log and brought it to town with them. There`s the wagon wheel set in a high board fence through which I catch a tease of a lovely patio burgeoning with flowers. There`s the house with birds inside the window, or the one with the cat lounging on the back of the couch watching me pass.
Of course, there are a few things that jangle my nerves. One yard has plastic flowers `growing` in the flower beds. Ugh. Another house owner says she doesn`t have time for yard work. She`d sooner be golfing. So she`s turned it into a California-desertscape with a gravel lawn.
Besides the yards in town, I also have access to the Olds College botanical gardens and the wetlands project. I don’t get there nearly often enough to see the many changes throughout the seasons.
The sights and smells and sounds flood my senses and make me want to go home and write. So I get a two-fold benefit from the walk—brain stimulation and body exercise.
Question for my readers and friends: what do you find that sends you into creative mode and/or relaxes you?
I am so pleased to be able to offer a collection of stories in the series Timeless Love Stories.
THE SUN STILL SHINES is the first book I ever had published. It’s 25 years ago so I’m celebrating this anniversary by offering the book again in three formats–ebook, paperback and hardcover. The next in the series is WESTERN BRIDES–two novellas. One–THE BRIDE’S SONG–is the first novella I had published. It was released in a number of different collections. I am happy to have the rights back and am now able to offer it again along with a brand new novella–THE BRIDE’S JOY. Both of these stories feature heroines who have their preconceived ideas of love and security challenged.
The next book is the series is WHEN IT’S SPRINGTIME IN THE ROCKIES. This story emerged from the never-before-published archives buried deep within the files on my computer. I wrote it originally in the hopes of selling it based on the title which is also the title of a song. You can listen to the song on YouTube ‘When It’s Springtime In The Rockies’ The lyrics hint at the story.
The fourth book is PEACE IN THE VALLEY, another never-before-published book from my archives. I really enjoyed writing and yes, editing this book. It contains so many of my favorite themes–motherless children, a determined young woman, a stubborn-yet-likeable man, and a trip to the mountains. I might even consider this the story of my heart. I won’t tell you anything more about the story at this time but I hope you find it tugs at your heartstrings and fills you with peace.
I love historicals. I feel like I have more freedom to make up events than I do with contemporaries. And there is a wider breadth of dramatic events to choose from. For instance, what in our present world compares to the scope of adventure in a wagon trek westward, the challenges of living in a sod shanty, or the sheer grit of surviving endless dust storms? I greatly admire the hardy men and women who conquered such challenges.
I also feel a strong connection to the past through the lives of my parents and grandparents. My father was especially interested in history. Our road trips almost certainly would include stops at museums and other points of interest. My Dad`s recollection of the significant events beat any dry old plaque reciting the information.
I also got a taste of real pioneer life as a child. My father did road maintenance work in rural areas. My parents—brave souls—gathered up us children and took us along and we lived in a VERY primitive bunkhouse. There were absolutely no modern conveniences (you have to remember this was about 200 years ago. lol) We experienced firsthand some of the tasks our pioneer forefathers did.
Writing historical stories gives me a reason to poke through museums and archives, read old letters, and interview seniors. It gives me an excuse to go to pioneer parks, and other historical sites for more than the view or the entertainment. When I`m working on a story, I feel a real connection to the past.
Of course, not everyone agrees. I had one reader write me and briskly inform me that there was nothing romantic about the `good old days`. The hard work was numbing; the hardships devastating. Life simply wasn`t pleasant. Which brings me back to the admiration I feel for these people, their hardy spirits and their absolute stubborn joy because it always hits me when I read their stories that few of them are bitter or complaining. They are simply facing and accepting the challenges of their situation, striving to make things better and in the midst of it all, clinging to a sure faith. As many of these people say in their stories, God was their strength and their shield. In Him they found strength and hope. I`m convinced their lives have much to teach us.
The final story in the Buffalo Gals of Bonners Ferry series releases today. Click on any of the three covers to the right to find these books.
Christmas in our house was simple. I don’t remember having company as our extended family all lived too far away to face winter weather and roads to visit us. Our gifts were simple. We had a tree with lights and decorations… many homemade. And Mother strung string around the living room to hang the many cards over. She was always pleased when she had to add another string and start a second row.
One Christmas does stick in my memory. The three of us younger kids who were still at home had either chicken pox or measles and were confined to bed. We were sick but not too sick to want Christmas so Mom set up cots for us in the living room and we had Christmas from our beds. I don’t remember what I got. I just remember the fun of celebrating in bed.
I’m guessing the boys would have rather been outside playing in the snow.
Speaking of finding things in the archives…
2022 is the 25th anniversary of the sale of my first book and I’m planning a celebration. I will start by rereleasing one of my favorite series--The Buffalo Gals of Bonners Ferry. Three feisty, independent sisters who discover they are powerless before the force of love. I think you will enjoy this series.
Also in my plans is rerelease of my first novella coupled with a brand-new novella. The 2-in-1 book will be titled Western Brides.
I’m especially excited to have gotten the rights back on that very first book--The Sun Still Shines— and will be releasing a special 25th anniversary copy. Watch for that.
And from my archives–two never-before-released stories that have lingered in my files for many years. When It’s Springtime in The Rockies and Peace in the Valley.
I’m excited about these upcoming books and hope you will enjoy a walk down memory lane with me.
You can find The Buffalo Gals of Bonners Ferry books here:https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09NMP5Z69
The cowboys on the Circle A Ranch drink coffee. They didn’t always but Scottie, the old cook, was convinced doing so made them men. And what young fellow is going to argue with that? Some interesting facts about coffee gleaned from researching the subject:
It is second only to oil as the most valuable traded commodity in the world.
There is a popular Ethiopian legend that says coffee was discovered by a goat herder. He found his goats frolicking and full of energy after eating the red fruit of the coffee shrub. Curious, he tried the fruit for himself and had a similar reaction. Seeing the strange behavior, a monk took some of the fruit back to his fellow monks and they spent the night awake and alert.
It’s rumored that Teddy Roosevelt drank a gallon a day of the brew and might even be responsible for the slogan ‘Good to the last drop.’
And horror of horrors, there have been attempts to ban coffee.
This coffee ad has been brought to you by the fine folks in Adam–the story of a coffee-drinking cowboy.
Grace has come to reconnect with her brother, Sam, who left her in the orphanage when she was 10 so she could be adopted. He has written such lovely letters to her. She wants him to collaborate on writing a first-hand article for an eastern newspaper. However, Sam did not write the letters, Adam–one of the Circle A cowboys–did so, pretending to be Sam.
Coffee might get him going in the morning but it isn’t doing anything to solve the problem of how to tell Grace the truth without destroying her faith in him.
You can find out how Adam solves his predicament by purchasing his book.
Drumheller, Alberta is proud to be the dinosaur capital of the world. It is home to the world’s largest dinosaur. You can climb the 83 foot tall replica and stand in the mouth behind the teeth. Drumheller is home to the Royal Tyrrell Museum. It is Canada’s only Museum dedicated exclusively to the science of paleontology. It houses one of the world’s largest displays of dinosaurs. We consider ourselves privileged to be close enough to this area to make day trips.
One of the fascinating sites in Drumheller for us to visit is the Hoodoos. Each hoodoo is a sandstone pillar resting on a thick base of shale that is capped by a large stone. Hoodoos are very fragile and can erode completely if their capstone is dislodged (in other words, no climbing allowed).
Hoodoos are found in many areas especially near the mountains and in the Badlands. The cowboys of Circle A Ranch have discovered some on the ranch in southwestern Alberta.
You’ll soon be able to meet these cowboys and learn their stories.
Available for order and/or preorder here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09542H99N
For years I thought about writing a book that combined my penchant for westerns and the title of one of Shakespeare’s plays–hence, Rodeo and Juliet.
My writing friend, Lacy Williams, and I wanted to do a joint project. It seemed like the perfect time to use the title Rodeo and Juliet. Lacy liked the idea and we came up with a set of non-identical twin girls–Josephine and Juliet.
Sticking with the Shakespearean theme she has titled her story Much Ado About Josie.
Two fun stories for your enjoyment. Of course, things get a little complicated before the hero and heroine reach their happy-ever-after. Or as Shakespeare would say. ‘The course of true love never did run smooth.’ (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 1, Scene 1)
These novellas will be released in May but are available for preorder now.
It’s four days into a new year. It’s a time to reflect, reimagine what we want in life and make plans to achieve our goals. Not unlike those who traveled across the great plains of this continent in the 1800s. Their resolutions ad real teeth.
This day marks the release of the first story in a new wagon train series.
Faith White needs to get safely to California. She’s desperate for a fresh start after being jilted by the man she’d planned to marry. There’s nothing left for her but memories and disappointments and a lost love.
For years Gideon Holder slaved away in a coal mine to save his father from going to jail. He earned his father’s freedom but lost everything else that mattered–including the woman he loved. Now Gideon plans to make up for lost time by searching for gold.
Gideon and Faith are shocked and dismayed to discover they’re both on the same wagon train to California. Gideon doesn’t want Faith to know about his father’s secret shame. Faith only wants to avoid the man who broke her heart. They vow to stay far away from each other, but that turns out to be impossible when they are assigned to travel as part of the same unit.
Can the adventures and challenges of the journey make them realize that their love is still alive?
You can read Faith and Gideon’s story in Renewed Love.
I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I enjoyed researching for them and writing them.
It seems I am always starting over. I remember the day we all left for Canada. Me, my husband and my parents. Our hopes were high. New life. New land. New hope. I remember being in Hamburg and the excitement. Gerhard and I couldn’t stop gawking and pinching ourselves to see if it was real. The warehouses along the wharf. The huge ships. The tall church steeples. And so many people. It was all so exciting. We both knew we would have a baby shortly after we arrived on the new land. I still remember the feeling of joy that filled my heart. We were naively full of hope and joy as the ship sailed. I knew a twinge at knowing I was saying goodbye to everything that was dear and familiar.
I started over again in Willow Creek. With the help of my friends, I began a bakery and dining room. But there was a fire. How can I rebuild when every bit of money I’d saved was destroyed in the fire? Who is this man who claims to be looking for his father? Who is this part-Native boy who rides into town on such a fine horse? People are sure he has stolen the horse. Will these complications make it easier for me to restore my business or will they force me to, once again, start over?
She must do everything possible to protect her niece and nephew
Their uncle wants them. But only to sell them. He’s kidnapped them once. She doesn’t trust him not to do it again. Delcie flees west with her friends to protect them from his schemes. Fearing for the children’s safety, she is suspicious of every stranger.
Ryder Remington is also fleeing his past. His wife and child are dead. His brother has narrowly missed being hung for a murder he didn’t commit. All he wants is to be left alone so he can forget the past.
When the children are snatched, it is as if the past is repeating itself. Can Delcie and Ryder change the future and earn lasting love?
Book #2 in Hearts Of Willow Creek. Available now at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08BZX82YR