Character Talk Tuesday-Penny Walker

How long have you lived in Peakview County?

All my life–born and raised. I grew up on my parents, Gary and Ann Anderson, ranch. It’s right next to the Walker Horse Ranch where I live now with my husband, Luke, and my son, Bronco. I left for four years of college in Chicago, but I don’t think my heart ever left.

Tell us about how you and Luke met.

Actually, I don’t remember the first time we met. We were probably two or three years old. I remember that he was in my kindergarten class. I have the picture to prove it 🙂  We were friends (kind of) our whole lives, but it wasn’t until his mom passed away when we were like twelve, that we really became close. He needed a friend and I was there. I fell in love, that is if I knew anything about love at 12. We dated all through high school, but broke up when I left for college. He stayed on his dad’s ranch. I planned on staying in Chicago, but when I came home for the summer after graduation, I realized I still loved him and life here.

What do you do for a living?

I manage The Peak Adventure Camp. We give disadvantaged kids from the city a chance to get up in the mountain and enjoy the great out of doors. Escape for a short time from their not so perfect lives. We do lots of horseback riding and hiking. It’s very rewarding. It’s a great job, I can take Bronco to work with me. He loves it there. And my hours are flexible.

What is the best thing about living in Peakview?

There are so many. For me, it’s home. All the residents here are like one big family. There’s nothing our neighbors wouldn’t do if we needed help. And of course, both sets of Bronco’s grandparents are close by. That a plus. Along with Violet and Howard, who are like another set of grandparents. We are very fortunate. You should stop by. I bet you’ll love it as much as I do.

 

Character Talk Tuesday-Olive Brady

Hi my name is Olive Brady. I’ve lived with my husband, Curly, on our ranch outside of Peakview Colorado for almost forty years. We raised our son, Rick on our ranch. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Now that he’s grown and married, he not only has his vet practice on our land, but also just built a new house up on the hill with his bride, Nicole. Soon, God willing, there will be another generation of Bradys enjoying the land. What can I tell you about our town?

Do you ever wish you lived in a bigger city? Somewhere there were more things to do?

Goodness gracious, no. Why anyone wants to live in a city is beyond me. I love the open spaces and fresh mountain air. If you like nature, there is always something to do. We may not have a lot of folks here is Peakview, but those we do have are the best kind.

What do you mean by that?

All of the residents of this county are like family. They’d stop at nothing to help one of their own, or even a total stranger. You won’t find nicer folks anywhere.

So no plans to retire somewhere where there is less upkeep than the ranch?

Definitely not. It would kill Curly to leave this land. Oh, I wish he’d turn more of the day to day stuff over to Rick and the hired help, but he thrives on still being an active part of the ranch. He has cut back some. We are very blessed to have such an fine son, who values this ranch as much as we do. We’ll live here until the day we die. After that, I hope they’ll spread my ashes down by the creek. I love it there. I may be getting older but I have the best husband and the best life. No complaints.

lost valley 1

 

Vacation Time :)

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I’m getting ready to leave on vacation tomorrow. Well, a working vacation. I’m headed home to beautiful Colorado for RWA (romance writers of America conference) in Denver. Of course, I’ll spend a few days in Fort Collins, too, with friends and family while I’m in the neighborhood. I can’t wait to get back to cooler, less humid air for a few days. This will be the first time since I moved to East Texas that I’ve made the 16 hour drive by myself. Not looking forward to that. I’ve got some audio books though, so I should be good.

I love RWA. It is so much fun to interact with other authors and learn about our business. This year is the first time I am also doing an Indie book signing. Since the conference is in Colorado, I have lots of friends who will be there to reconnect with. I can’t wait.

So what am I doing today in preparation? Besides working on marketing and book stuff and packing, I’m cleaning. What about you do you clean your house before vacation? It’s something I learned from my mother. She always made sure the sheets were changed, laundry done and everything was spick and span before we walked out that door. I’ve learned to agree with her. Trips are wonderful, but there’s nothing like coming home either. It always feels good to be back in your own bed and relax in your own space. There would be nothing worse than coming home to a dirty house (I’m guessing here because I’ve never done it!) Its so nice to fall on the couch and just relax for a few hours before heading back to work and regular life. So today, I’m cleaning liked crazy.

Anyway, I’d better get off the computer and back to my vacuum. Have a good week and if anyone else is traveling, safe travels. Enjoy your time away 🙂

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Character Talk Tuesday-Ethan Charm

Introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is Ethan Charm. I’m fifteen years old and going to be a sophomore at Mountain High School in the fall.

How long have you lived in Peakview?

Just about a year. My mom and I moved here from Nebraska last summer when she got the job managing Sam’s Hardware Store.

How do you like Peakview?”

It took me awhile adjust. At first I wanted to go back to Prairie where I was born and raised, but I soon discovered that life here in the Rocky Mountains could be pretty great. Especially after Mom and Jake got married and we moved out to his ranch. I love it out there. I’ve got my own horse, several cats, a dog, some goats. It’s the life.

What do you do for fun?

I’m a runner. I run cross country and track for the Mountain High Mustangs. Running is a sport that you have to practice all year long. I rarely take a break. I have asthma so I need to keep in shape. The altitude was hard when I first got here, but I’m hoping to do better this fall. I like to hang out with the other guys on the team and my girlfriend, Lindsee. I am learning roping now that I have my own horse. Maybe someday I’ll compete. Jake is also teaching me to fly fish.

It sounds like you keep busy. Anything else you want to tell us about Peakview?

It a great little town. Everyone is friendly and nice. If you love the outdoors and don’t mind snow in the winter, its a great place to live.

New Release-Mountain Cowboy

MC final cover front 2 - Copy (463x800)

The wait is over 🙂 Book ten of the Peakview Series, Mountain Cowboy, is now available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DX7526t . You don’t want to miss this one. Here’s the blurb:

Thirty-six year old horse trainer, Tex Ranger, prefers horses to humans. His new job at the isolated Walker Horse Ranch is exactly what he’s looking for—no females to create drama in his life. He’s had enough of that.

Twenty-four year old, Mary Meyers, lives to travel. When a rock climbing accident in Central America forces her home to her parents’ ranch to recuperate, she can’t wait to heal and get back on a plane to her next adventure.

The sparks that fly take them both by surprise. They have nothing in common except their fear that falling in love will destroy their dreams.

But dreams change . . .

COME HOME TO PEAKVIEW, COLORADO WHERE EVERYONE HAS A CHANCE AT LOVE.

 

I know you are going to love the cover as much as I do. A special thanks to the amazing photography of Chad Chisholm, and the handsome cover model, Ken Mcnickle. Ken was one of Cosmopolitan’s 50 sexiest men in 2012. If he looks familiar, you may have seen him on season 33 on Survivor. Anyway, I was thrilled to have them do this awesome photo for my book.

Download your copy today, and I’d be forever grateful if when you’ve finished reading you’d go to Amazon and leave me a review. Your feedback is so important to my work.

Happy Reading 🙂 Jill

 

Character Talk Tuesday-Ethan Charm

Welcome, introduce yourself.

I’m Ethan Charm. I moved here to Peakview with my mom last fall. I’m fifteen and a freshman at Mountain High School.

What activities are you involved in?

I’m a runner, so I’m on the high school’s cross country and track teams. At first it was hard running at such a high altitude with my asthma, but I’m getting more use to it now. The elevation is much higher than where we came from in Nebraska.

How do you like Peakview?

It’s great. I’ve made a lot of friends. Everyone is very down to earth and friendly. I like being at a rural school. Now that mom and Jake are married, I love living on our ranch. We have so many animals. I love them all, but my favorite it my cat, Carrie. I was there the day she was born. She was the runt of the litter, but what she lacks in size, she makes up for in personality.

What are you doing for the summer?

I help Jake around the ranch and I’ve been working part time for Jerry at Heart’s Haven doing some repair work and trimming of trees and lawn stuff. I like it. It’s good to be outdoors in the mountains in the summer. In my spare time, I like to fish and hang out with the cross country guys. We have practices all summer, so running continues. I’ll go back to Nebraska for a couple of weeks with my dad, but I’ll be ready to come back. This town really does feel like home.

CHARACTER TALK TUESDAY-MELANIE DALTON

We’re here at Sophie’s Choice bookstore with the owner, Melanie Dalton. Tell us about how you came to open the bookstore.

It’s a long story. I came to Peakview with my daughter a couple of years ago in search of a father I had never known. He’d turned out to be none other than Howard Crandall. He hadn’t known that my mother was pregnant or that I existed. He and Sophie bonded almost immediately, and we decided to stay in Peakview and give the relationship a chance. I’ve never regretted that decision. Anyway, I found this old house. It was cheap and in need of repair. It seemed like the perfect place for a home and a business. Sophie and I lived upstairs until I married Hank and moved to our ranch. Along the way we adopted our foster daughter, Marissa, and a rescue dog named, Scruffy.

How’s business?

Great. This town really needed a book store. During the summer, the tourists keep us hopping. It slows down in the winter which is fine by me.

I see you’re expecting. When’s the baby due?

In September. We can’t wait. It’s a boy. Hank is so excited. It’s his first biological child, although he’s adopted both Sophie and Marissa. He’s a great dad.

What do you like best about Peakview?

That we’re all one big family. I’d never had that. My mom never stayed in one place for long, and we always lived in big cities. I’m so happy to raise my children in a place like Peakview. Finding this town was a dream come true for us. Stop by and see us anytime.

CHARACTER TALK TUESDAY–WILLOW HAYWOOD

I hear you’re a native of Peakview.

Yeah, born and raised. I grew up going to Peakview Elementary and Mountain High School, both about a mile from my current residence.

Tell us about your business.

My husband, Ryan, and I own Peak Adventure Camp. It’s a camp for disadvantaged kids. We get grants to paly for their stay. Lots of foster kids, kids who’ve been in trouble with law, or have behavioral issues. Most of them are from the Denver area. It gives them the chance to get away and have fun in the outdoors for a week. They ride horses, hike, fish and other age appropriate activities. We have kiddos as young as five and all the way up to eighteen.

Are you open year round?

Pretty much. We started out as a summer camp, but there was so much need. We got a grant and hired Penny Walker to work for us as camp manager, full time. That gave us the ability to do weekends throughout the year. It’s amazing. We’ve been able to add skiing and sledding in the winter. It’s so fun to see these city kids fall in love with the mountains. Our son, River, is almost a year and a half now. He loves all the kids and activity. It’s a great place for him to grow up.

Do you have other staff?

We have teenagers who live at the ranch fill time during the summer months. In the winter, we cut back. Some kids drive up from college in Denver, Fort Collins and Boulder to help out on weekends. Penny has a baby at home now too, so we try and give her a break every once in a while.

Do you keep in touch with the campers and track if you’ve made a difference in their lives?

Sometimes. Some kids we never hear from again. You always wonder if you had a positive impact. Others come back year after year, or are able to keep in touch through social media. We love those who do. Melanie and Hank’s daughter, Marissa, was a camper of ours. She was in a horrible foster situation at the time. Through meeting her while she was at camp, Melanie was able to become her foster mom, and later she and hank adopted her. She’s a great child. That’s definitely a success story. She even wants to come work at the camp when she’d older.

What’s the most important thing kids take away for Peak Adventures?

We’re all about positivity. We teach them to believe in themselves, to never give up, to be kind to other people and animals, and that they are in charge of their own destiny. I hope that take some of that home with them. That and we’re always here for them, if they need us.

CHARACTER TALK TUESDAY–

Introduce yourself.

Hi, I’m Sam Phillips. I’ve lived in Peakview for almost fifty years, I guess that means I’m getting old. My wife, Vickie and I live in the big white house on main street, right next door to Sophie’s Choice Bookstore.

What do you do in Peakview?

I own Sam’s Hardware. We sell a little bit of everything. There aren’t any big box store in our county, so we’re it. For the past year since, Kelly became the store manager, we branched out, carrying more household items and a greater selection of clothing. I’m an attorney and also run a law practice in Peakview. For years, I was the only attorney in town, but now Cindy Welch practices here, too. She’s been a great help now that I spend half of the year in Tumbleweed, Wyoming, my wife’s home town.

How long have you and Vickie been married?

We’re newlyweds, really. We’ve only been married a year. When my first wife, Alice, passed, I thought I’d spend the rest of my days alone, and then Vickie came into my life. Quite unexpectedly, I might add. In a short time, she’d turned my world upside down–in a good way.

Do you have any other family in Peakview?

My family has grown in the past year. There’s my Daughter, Nicole, and her new husband, Rick Brady. Now there’s Vickie’s son Hank, his wife Melanie, and their daughters, Sophie and Marissa. Melanie is pregnant, so there’ll be another grandchild soon. There’s also Vickie’s daughter, Gloria and her husband, Pete and their four boys in Tumbleweed. That’s the main reason we spend winter’s there. Oh and I can’t leave out my miniature Aussie, Marshall. He’s one on the family.

What’s the one thing you’d like us to know about Peakview, Colorado?

Its just a great place, full of wonderful, kind neighbors. I can’t imagine a better place on earth. Not only are the people great, but the scenery is spectacular. Our little community has grown a lot over the past few years, but the newcomers quickly become one of us. That’s just the way we are.

 

 

The joys of a puppy

Merlin 2 months.

In March of this year, unfortunately my sixteen year old, best friend and Shetland Sheepdog, Laddie, passed away. It wasn’t unexpected, after all, he’d outlived his life expectancy by several years. Still, it was hard. I decided to wait a couple of months before getting a new dog, to let my heart heal and to find the perfect new friend.  I knew I wanted a toy Australian Shepherd. They were similar dogs to my Sheltie and small enough  to make traveling easier.

Best laid plans. The next day, yes barely twenty-four hours after Laddie passed, my daughter found the perfect puppy online. He was the right size, cost, and less than two hours from my home. Yep, we jumped in the car and came home a few hours later with Merlin, the magic puppy, an adorable eight week old toy Aussie. He was a very sweet little ball of fluff those first few days–content to lay in my arms and sleep most of the day.

And then he woke up. I’m happy to report that almost three months later, he is happy, healthy, the love of my life, AND a lot of work. A whole lot of work. I’d forgotten what it was like to have a new puppy, since I hadn’t had one in sixteen years. The last couple of years Laddie slept approximately 23 hours per day.

Not so with Merlin. He has times each day when he goes absolutely crazy, running around the house getting into everything he can reach. He chews on everything! Including me, and let me tell you those puppy teeth are razor sharp. For several weeks my arms were solid puncture wounds. And then there’s housebreaking. One day he’s a star not having a single accident. Yes, he’s getting it. The next day he squats and pees on the carpet right in front of me. It’s a ongoing challenge. And then there’s the high pitched yip that he lets out when he wants something. It can pierce your eardrums.

I’m learning coping mechanisms. Long walks. Several times daily to wear him out (well sorta) Play dates with my daughter’s dogs are good, but even they get annoyed after awhile with his energy. I’ve learned to take him outside a lot. Every couple hours is a must. All this is good, I’m getting in better physical shape than I’ve been in for years!

Anyway, it’s an adjustment. It’s a good thing he’s so darned cute. I can forgive him almost anything. And when he snuggles up next to me and falls asleep, you can’t beat that. Some day those wicked baby teeth will fall out, and he’ll be the best behaved dog on the planet. Pray for me that day comes soon 🙂

Merlin 5 months