Sunday, November 1, 2009

New Release Coming Soon

Have you ever been poor and too proud to accept the charity others want to give you? I've never been in that position, but it's obviously on my mind. I realized both of my Christmas stories this year begin on that note. In my "Silent Night in Dry Creek," my hero is being offered a job he thinks is a pity job from a small town he left years ago. He wants to refuse, but the sheriff talks him into staying anyway. What can it hurt, he figures, to guard Jasmine Hunter?

In my novella, "Christmas Bells for Dry Creek," ( in the book "Mistletoe Courtship"), Virginia Parker fears Colter will be firing her now that hs doesn't need her to play Christmas music for the customers in his saloon. She knew the job was charity, but she doesn't know what to do without out.
Unlike my characters, I hope you are warm and well-fed this holiday season.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Going Home Again

"A Match Made for Dry Creek." is one of my favorites in the Dry Creek series because the heroine comes home after living away for many years. Whether or not one can really go home again is the question of many great books. Have you ever tried it?
I've 'gone home again' myself these days (at least partially)-- planning to spend half of my months on my family's farm in Montana so I can be close to my parents (84 years old soon, both of them) and the other half of my time in my home in Pasadena, CA. I must say I am enjoying the wide open spaces of Montana. And the sky at sunset is beautiful.
Because I grew up in this Montana community, I know many of the people around here still (and it's great). In fact, "A Match Made for Dry Creek" talks about a tradition we had in the church where I went as a child (and the church I still attend when I'm here). Just seeing the church brings back so many memories.
How about you? Do you have a childhood home that you sometimes visit? Are the same places there? And the people?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Next Dry Creek coming fast!

For those of you following the Dry Creek series, you will know that it is Jasmine's story that comes up next. Well, some of you might think it is Jasmine's and Conrad's story, but I decided the two of them weren't meant to be so Jasmine goes first in "A Silent Night in Dry Creek." I must say this is one of my favorite Dry Creek books yet. I love the hero -- I can't wait for you to meet him (he works undercover for various sheriff departments and thinks he's coming to Dry Creek to do suveillance on Jasmine, who (you will remember) is an ex-con). I don't want to tell you too much about the story, but I will say that there's lots of excitement and tenderness, too, as Jasmine makes her peace about the identify of her father and learns to give love a chance. And, of course, it's a Christmas story -- I love a good Christmas story.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chokecherry Days

Choke- cherries play a special role in the life of Dry Creek, Montana. Mrs. Hargrove-Nelson (or Edith as she's often called) used to think she resembled the tart, resilient berry. All Montana farm women did, in her opinion. They had to be tough to survive the hard work and the harsh weather. In several of the Dry Creek books, Mrs. Hargrove makes chockecherry jelly and her special soda biscuits. I remember as a child picking chokecherries (they're small and it takes a lot to make jelly). My mother had planted some bushes that grew in the trees by our house, but we also picked berries on the wild bushes by the coulee that led down to the river. There's nothing like picking berries as a child (although these berries were too tart to eat from the bucket). Did you pick berries as a child? What kind?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The next Dry Creek

My next Dry Creek story is half of a book called Small Town Brides which comes out in June. Debra Clopton, the author of the Mule Hollow books set in Texas, and I were talking at a Romance Writer's convention a year or so ago because we had noticed that we share a lot of the same readers. So, thinking those readers would enjoy it, we proposed to the Love Inspired editors that we do a 2-in-1 book with two novellas, one set in Dry Creek and one set in Mule Hollow. The editors loved it and I think you will too.

We took two cousins and one family wedding veil, mixed everything up with a couple of likely and not-so-likely heroes and we had a romance that'll make you smile.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Last chance for cowboys

Welcome to the Dry Creek blog. We're discussing what kind of books to do next in the series and the cowboys out at the Elkton Ranch are gathering alot of attention. You may remember them in the bunkhouse from the book, Dry Creek Christmas. They hadn't done much for Christmas, as is their usual, but since they had company that year they really decked out their tree. I'm leaning toward the cowboys finding romance with some women from back east. Now why would eastern women be coming to Dry Creek?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Time to Vote

Welcome to Dry Creek. Now's the time to make your voice heard. I am thinking about what stories to add next to the Dry Creek line-up and I'd value your input. I could do some books centered around the Elkton Ranch (a big ranch with cowboys that has been featured in some of the older Dry Creek books). Or I could add a Hutterite colony near Dry Creek. For those of you not familiar with the Hutterites, they are similar to the Amish people (see photo above). There are over a dozen colonies in Montana so it would be natural for a colony to be established near Dry Creek. What's your preference -- cowboys or colony?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Touching letters from readers

I have a book out this month in my other series
(the non-Dry Creek one).

I was delighted when Romantic Times called my ‘Dropped Stitches Wedding’ a ‘joyous conclusion’ to the Sisterhood of the Dropped Stitches series. Each of the books has received a 4 or a 4 1/2 rating from the reviewers at RT. Those of you who have read the books know they are the story of four young cancer survivors who are taking back their lives once they are free of cancer.

This is a series that has constantly surprised me. Not so much because of the books themselves, but because of the heartfelt response of readers to the books. A few days ago, I received yet another reader letter that humbled me (and I have received many by now). I’m going to share parts of two of these letters with you because I had no idea when writing these books that they would speak so deeply to others.

The letter I received today: “When the first book about the Dropped Stitches came out I had just learned that I would be undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer and this book helped me so much. It was as if all of the characters came alive and were there helping me through the battle. Later, as each book came out it seemed that it was just for me because at each of those times I was undergoing more chemo. Two weeks ago after my latest scans the doctor told me that they were all clean and that I would be coming off of the chemo again. Little did I know that in March the last book of the Dropped Stitches would be out, but it seemed like God's way of telling me that I was through with the chemo for good. Thank you so much for the wonderful books that you have written, over the last few years -- they have helped me more than you will ever know.”

A letter I received earlier:“I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your book entitled A Dropped Stitches Wedding. It hit me smack in the face because my son finished treatment for a brain tumor at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, in January, 2008. I have been working so hard trying to get ready for my son's 3 month checkup that I hadn't read any of the books (in the Love Inspired Book Club) yet. On the way out the door to the airport Sunday afternoon, I stopped and grabbed the 2 books on top so I would have something to do while on the plane and sitting through all of his appointments. As a mom, I always worry about my son and to keep myself from getting too upset on the plane I opened my bag and pulled out your book. When I began reading it and saw what it was about, I knew it was a sign from God. I couldn't put it down. It was great. God bless you and know that you have truly helped the heart of one mother from Louisiana and at a time when I needed it most.”

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Day a Limousine Came to Dry Creek

Welcome to the Dry Creek blog.

'A Hero for Dry Creek' is one of the only books I have written where the idea came to me with an initial scene. I couldn't get the picture out of my mind of a farm woman looking out her kitchen window and seeing a long, stretch limo in her driveway. The farm women I know wouldn't find anything more shocking! They have cows in their driveways, stalled pick-ups, and any number of other things, but limousinses don't come to farm country. What would a woman think, I asked myself, if she saw such a limo? And what if it was dark outside and the snow was falling so she wasn't really sure what she saw?

I think the reason limousines were on my mind is because our family (my parents, sister's family, other sister, and me) had taken a trip to New York to see my nephew graduate from Westpoint. We were so proud of him! And, because there were so many of us, we decided to take a limousine around. None of us had ever been a limouiene before (or since) but we most assuredly enjoyed it for the time we had it. Ever since then I've decided we all need luxury here and there in our lives (not necessarily as pricey as a limo, but maybe a facial or even a really good cup of tea and the peace to go with it). What are the luxuries you like?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sitting Around the Potbellied Stove

Welcome to the Dry Creek blog. One of the truly fine things about a place like the town of Dry Creek is that there's time in the day for people to talk to each other. A Montana winter can be chilly so there's no better place for that talking to take place than beside the warmth of a potbellied stove. In almost all of my Dry Creek books, I have a group of older men who sit around the stove and talk about what's going on.
Potbelly stoves have a long history in Montana winters. Many old schoolhouses were heated by just such a stove -- the stove would stand in the middle of the room with those old two-person desks lined up around it. In those days, snow was melted for drinking water and children needed to run to the outhouse. Most schools only had a dozen or so students. My mother went to one of those schools and was the only girl in her class so she had to share a desk with her cousin, Kenny.
If you've been outside on a blustery day, you know just how good it feels to come inside and reach your hands out to the waves of heat that can come from these old cast-iron stoves. If you have any potbelly stories to tell, please share.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Everyone can't live in Dry Creek

Thanks for visiting the Dry Creek blog. As you know, Dry Creek is a small town in rural Montana where the sky is big and the people are scarce. I grew up in a town like that (our whole zip code still only has 783 people in it - that's men, women, and children). But I currently live in Pasadena, which is right next to Los Angeles. My whole life has been a push and pull between the country and the city.

So, it's not surprising that my Other Series (the one that is not Dry Creek) is set smack in the middle of Old Town Pasadena. This month the last book in the series, A Dropped Stitches Wedding, is hitting the shelves and I have to say that the community that readers love about Dry Creek can also be found in a small cafe in Old Town called The Pews (there really is a street-front restaurant in Old Town that has booths made out of church pews - which is what gave me the idea for the name).

I'm convinced that we can find community no matter where we live. I hope you have found that to be true in your life. Leave me a comment and let me know.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mrs. Hargrove's Apron

Welcome to the fictitious world of Dry Creek, Montana. I'll be talking about the books in this series and looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the same.
Today, I'm posting about aprons. Something about an apron symbolizes the old-fashioned life in this small town.
The first scene in A Dry Creek Courtship shows Mrs. Hargrove with a letter in the pocket of her apron -- a letter she can't believe she's received and that she wants to hide from everyone. What is a better place to hide it than in the pocket of her apron?

Those of you have read some of the Dry Creek books, know that Mrs. Hargrove (now Edith Hargrove-Nelson) is a primary force in this small town. My sister tells me that I've modeled Mrs. Hargrove after my own grandmother, and she might have a point. My grandmother was independent-minded and knew how to hold her own. She didn't follow the latest fashions, and all the years I knew her she wore cotton gingham housedresses, often with an apron which always had a pocket. It makes me wonder what secrets my grandmother kept in those apron pockets she had.

Thoughts on Historical Series

I'm currently at work on a follow-up novella to Calico Christmas at Dry Creek -- the story of Virginia and Colter. Several of you have emailed and asked if I was going to do the story of these two so I am glad to tell you I am writing away. The novella will come out during Christmas 09.
My hope is that I will be able to write a series of historical books to match the contemporary Dry Creek books.
If you have any thoughts or questions on the historical Dry Creek books, just post them here.