This week on the Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop here’s our topic-What is the one thing that immediately sends you back to childhood? Is it a food, a scent, a swingset?
I had to think about this one. I have many varied, great memories of my childhood. Vacations with my family, Christmas mornings, participating in many outdoor activities with my brother and parents. When I saw “a scent” I immediately thought of the smell of burning leaves in the fall. My dad built a homemade fireplace at the rear of our back yard. In the summer he placed a grill in it and used it to cook hamburgers and hot dogs. We loved to roast marshmallows over the open flames. But the best of all was in the fall when we’d rake up all the leaves from our yard’s big trees, then we’d stuff the in the fireplace and light them. We’d stand around to keep warm in the cool, autumn evening air. The scent was heavenly 🙂 This was 60 years ago. Of course, today most cities have bans against outside burning of leaves. Here in Colorado where I reside, there is always a danger of wildfires, and no one is allowed to burn their leaves in their backyard. Still, that scent brings back memories of a happy, simpler time and of bonding with my family. Here’s a photo of Dad building the fireplace in 1954 with the help of my kitten, Pumpkin:
How about you? What brings you back to your childhood? After you’ve commented, hop over to Jenna Da Sie’s blog at https://jennadasie.com to hear her memories?
This week on the Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop here’s our topic-
What is your favorite game? Is it because you usually win or because it challenges you every time?
My family is big on playing games. As a kid I remember playing monopoly, scrabble, clue and many other board games. When my children were growing up, on top of the individual presents each Christmas, I also always bought a “family present” which was labeled under the tree to everyone. It was always a new game. We would spend much of Christmas afternoon trying it out. Some were great, and others not so much, but it was always entertaining. We continued this tradition well into their twenties. To answer the question, I think my favorite is Trivial Pursuit, and yes, it’s because I’m good at it and can almost always win. I’ll admit it-I like to win! A lot. My usual calm demeanor goes away when a game comes out, and I get very competitive. For some reason my brain has an infinite capacity to remember silly trivial facts. I have no idea why I can remember small insignificant things when half the time I cant remember why I walked into the kitchen or where I put my phone!
Anyway, I do enjoy a good game, especially with people who like to have fun and aren’t sore losers. There’s nothing worse than someone who gets mad when they lose. As competitive as I am, I always remember it’s just a game and am the first to congratulate someone else if they win. Let’s just hope it doesn’t happen often.
Atlas Beach is experiencing a retail renaissance and CarlyMeyer is determined to be part of it. But she and her sandwich shop, The Lunch Box, are struggling to stay afloat. Luckily, help is on the way thanks to the Chamber of Commerce’s innovative mentoring program—partnering successful Atlas Beach business owners with some of the newer start-ups. Too bad the mentor assigned to her is the delectable—and highly annoying—Tino DiLuca.
So, my smartphone was starting to die a painful death as they all seem to do after a year or two theses days. We keep paying more and more for phones that last less and less time. I bit the bullet and ordered a new, latest model, which amazingly was delivered right to my front door less than 24 hours later. I was ecstatic, and paused my writing to activate my new phone. The postage stamp sized instructions that came with it said it would take around 15 minutes to activate the new one. It was lunchtime and I had 15 minutes to spare. I carefully turned on both phones, set them next to each other, followed the prompts and waited for the magic to happen. Little wheels turned, it looked like it was proceeding–then it stopped. I waited the 15 minutes, then 30 minutes, then an hour–nothing.
Meanwhile, the battery on my old phone died (the reason I needed a new phone) and the process came to a screeching halt. After plugging it back in, I tried again, same result. Okay, I must be doing something wrong, I needed help. Usually when my old, tecnologically challenged brain needs help, I reach out to some nice service representative to walk me through the process, but it was then I discovered that my old phone had been de-activated, but the new one had not been activated yet. Great. I felt like I was stranded on a desert island. In desperation, I turned to my computer and tried the “chat” option. I knew I would be talking to a bot somewhere, but I was hopeful. No such luck. Before they would address my problem, they said they needed to verify my identity. I typed in my user name and password and was then told I needed a verification number which they would text to me at my phone no. When I tired to explain that I didn’t currently have a working phone so they couldn’t text me, I got in an endless loop of standard responses like “would you like to buy a new phone?” and “Did you forgot your password?” I did what any rational person would do and resorted to tying my questions in ALL CAPS for effect. Of course, the bot didn’t care.
I wasted another hour, and finally decided, I’d have to get in my car and do this the old fashion way of driving somewhere to get help. I got in my car, pulled out of my garage, and grabbed my old phone to use goggle maps to find the nearest phone store. Of course, my phone didn’t work. Ran back in the house to my computer to search for a store and then tried to memorize the directions. How did we ever find our way before GPS? As I drove the 3 miles, through town to get to the store I have to admit I was a little nervous. I didn’t have a working phone with me. What if I had an accident or my car broke down? Those days when I was in college and I drove across the country with no phone, and many times in the middle of the night, were long forgotten.
Anyway, I made it to the store, only to be told that their activation system had been down all day. (It would have been nice to know that) At this point, I had no idea where my phone was in the process. No problem, said the girl (younger that my granddaughter) We can get your phone set up, so that when our system comes back up at approximately 6 pm tonight, you can activate your new phone. Two and a half hours later, after staring at the wheels turn round and round on the tiny screen, they told me to turn it off and then turn it on after 6 and it should activate. I drove home saying a tiny prayer that it worked. I’m happy to report that at 6:20, I had a new working phone 🙂 It had only taken 7 hours of my time to do so.
My point is, technology is great when it works. Not so great when it doesn’t. I wasted a day of time, but maybe gained a lesson in patience. It’s scary how much an old person like me is dependent on technology today. Maybe I should leave my phone at home more often, I used to be able to live without one. Who am I kidding? That’s not going to happen. but it was a nice thought. Hope your day was better than mine.
You don’t want to miss this story of love, redemption and starting over.
What if the past catches up with you just when you’re starting a new life?
Lorelei Grant, recently widowed, can’t believe that her best friend Charlotte wants to leave their hometown in Kansas and move to Aspen Ridge, a tiny, mountain town in Colorado and buy a gift shop. Is she crazy? Despite her hesitation, Charlotte wears her down, and they make the move.
Remington Hunt has always been a loner, content to live out his life in the mountains with his dog, Grizwold. That is until two ladies buy the gift shop next to his own gun shop. There’s just something about the redhead that has him reconsidering his hermit lifestyle.
Just when these two unlikely people start to put aside their differences and develop romantic feelings for each other, a past that Lorelei isn’t proud of catches up with her. People she’d put behind her from over thirty years ago, suddenly become real and threaten everything she’s started to build.
Can Lori overcome past mistakes and find a way to not only love, but also forgiveness? Sometimes the person who is the hardest to forgive is yourself.
I don’t know about you, but I am ready for cooler weather. When September arrives, my mind starts to think about autumn–cool crisp nights, sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, and colorful leaves. If you live somewhere like me, and chances are you do, September doesn’t always signal a cool down. It’s still in the 90’s here, but we know that fall is coming. Fall is my favorite time of year. I love football and the beginning of the holiday seasons. I’m ready to decorate and have some hot chocolate.
To celebrate the fall season, I have a couple of book coming out next week on the 7th. First is the third book in my Peaktop Dude Ranch Series, Peaktop Dude Ranch Aflame. You wont’ want to miss this one and see what happens when a wildfire descends on Peakview County. Of course, there may be a romance with a handsome firefighter thrown in 🙂 You can pre-order it now at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09D46R31N
Also coming on September 7th is the latest Chicken Soup for the Soul book, My Hilarious, Heroic, Human Dog. You will find my dog, Merlin’s own story on page 164. https://bit.ly/37mBaTX
Enjoy the beginning of Autumn wherever you are and sit back with a good book!
The second book in my Peaktop Dude Ranch Series, Peaktop Dude Ranch Reunion, is now available at Amazon.com for your kindle, or in paperback or hardcover formats. You don’t want to miss this seasoned romance about a second chance at a long lost love.
Does first love ever die?
Pamela Emery, aged fifty-six, walked out of the courthouse with her divorce papers in hand. Life as she’d known it was over. Why had she let her son and his wife talk her into going with them on a vacation to a Colorado Dude Ranch? She just wasn’t in the mood, but she wouldn’t let them down. She’d spend a couple weeks with her adorable grandchildren, and with any luck, she’d come back home in a better frame of mind.
Kenneth Tucker glanced around the Peaktop Dude Ranch dining room at all the young families. He felt more than a little out of place. It was his first vacation since his wife died five years ago. Was there anyone here his age? Spotting the only other person in the room who looked like she was over forty, he decided to try to strike up a friendship with a stranger. Little did he know she wasn’t a stranger at all.
When Pam and Ken realize they not only knew each other in high school but were high school sweethearts, the sparks that sizzled between them almost forty years ago come crashing back. But can they trust their fragile hearts to the one person who broke them all those years ago, both believing that the other dumped them? Will they discover the real truth, or is it just too late for their ill-fated romance?
Peaktop Dude Ranch, where love soars to new heights.
I wanted to let all of you know that book three in my Aspen Ridge Series, Come Home to Love, is free for your kindle today through Sunday.
Do you like secret baby stories? If so, this book is for you. When a one night stand results in Riley becoming a single parent, she soon realizes that the handsome stranger has given her the best gift of her life. She’s spent the last six years being the best parent she can be to her daughter, Ava. When cowboy and drifter, Justin Thorne, ends up back in Aspen Ridge, Colorado, memories of that one night with a special girl come racing back. He hadn’t thought about her in years. But when his attempts to rekindle their sparks are met with resistance, he soon discovers the reason why in the person of a beautiful six year old with his eyes. Will he try to take away the only thing that matters to Riley, or will the three of them find a way to make a home and family together? Rediscover Romance in Aspen Ridge, Colorado, a small town with an open heart. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07T6B6M67
The first book in my Peaktop Dude Ranch Series, Peaktop Dude Ranch Homecoming, is now available. To purchase your copy just click on the book cover (above).
I am so excited to write this series which takes place on a Colorado Dude Ranch. One of my earliest memories is of the summer when I was five years old. My parents loaded my brother and I into our car for our first cross-country roadtrip. There were no Interstates back then, so it took us several days to drive from our home in Indiana to the Colorado Mountains. When we arrived at Tarryall Dude Ranch, I loved everything about the place–the mountains, the cute little cabin we stayed in, and the horses–especially the horses. It was the first time I’d ever ridden except for a couple pony rides at fairs. This was a real, full size horse on a mountain trail with no one but me holding the reins. I still remember that horse. He was a black and white pinto named Little Joe. See picture below-yep, that’s me!
My whole family was sold on dude ranch vacations. We continued to vacation on a dude ranch every summer until I graduated from high school. We stayed on six different ranches in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. Each unique in their own way, but all with the family atmosphere and brand of western hospitality. When I was old enough, I spent three summers working on two different dude ranches in Colorado, Lost Valley Ranch and Tumbling River Ranch. They were experiences I’ll never forget. Later, my mom became a realtor and specialized in selling Dude Ranches. I was able to visit ranches with her all over the west. If you ever find yourself in Cody, Wyoming, you can stop by the Dude Rancher’s Museum where my mom’s saddle is displayed along with a portrait of her painted by a Native American artist.
As an adult, I continue to take my kids and now my grandkids to Lost Valley Ranch for weekends in the spring and fall. I call it my happy place. A place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy the horseback riding and gorgeous mountain scenery. I hope Peaktop Dude Ranch can do that for you. It was born as a combination of all the various ranches I’ve experienced in my lifetime. For those of you who’ve read my Peakview or Aspen Ridge Series, Peaktop Ranch is nestled in the Peak National Forest between my two towns. You will see some of your favorite characters pop in from time to time. If you haven’t read any of my books yet, this is an excellent place to start.
COME HOME TO PEAKVEIW COUNTY, COLORADO, WHERE EVERYONE HAS A CHANCE AT LOVE!
The first book in my new Peaktop Dude Ranch Series is now available for pre-order. If you enjoyed my Peakview Series and my Aspen Ridge Series, you’ll love this new series which takes place on Peaktop Ranch nestled in the Peak National Forest between the small towns of Peakview and Aspen Ridge, Colorado. Don’t worry, many of your favorite characters, from the prior series, will pop in from time to time to say hello. And of course, Violet Crandall will continue to take credit for all the new romances. If you are new to me as an author, this series is also a great place to start. Here’s a peak at the first story:
SOPHIE DALTON never expected to graduate from college and get dumped on the same day, but life doesn’t always turn out like you plan. When her boyfriend leaves her for New York City, she’s suddenly thrown into an uncertain future. A job offer from the dude ranch owned by her high school best friend and her older brother just might the solution to her problem. Coming home to Peakview County, Colorado, Sophie has no intention of letting another man capture her heart, even if her new boss is the crush she had all the way through high school.
BRANDON PEYTON has big boots to fill, taking over the running of the family ranch for the first season since his parents retired. Everything needs to be perfect. When his kid sister begs him to hire her high school friend as his office manager, he fears it will be a really bad decision. He wants someone older with more experience. Nevertheless, he gives in and decides to give Sophie a try. As the summer progresses, she not only surprises him with her handling of the job, but he’s drawn to her in a way he’s never been to any woman before.
Two people who’ve put up protective barriers around their hearts, slowly feel their walls start to crumble. Can these two find a way to run the ranch they love together and find the love that they’ve always longed for? In the beauty of the Colorado Mountains, two hearts unite with a common goal—make Peaktop Dude Ranch their forever home.
PRE-ORDER NOW BY CLICKING THE GRAPHIC COVER BELOW 🙂