This week we have been asked to answer the question-What cheers you up when you are feeling down. It’s an easy answer for me, or actually three answers-my three guys. My first guy is my significant other who I have been with for 28 years 🙂 Whenever I’m having a bad day all I have to do is spend time with him. He seems to always know just the right thing to say to cheer me up and make me feel good about myself. He’s my biggest fan. Next, is my three and a half year old grandson. He stole my heart the day he was born. He is so full of energy and joy of life. It is impossible to be in the same room with him and feel down. And when he says “Grandma, I love you so much!” my heart melts. Last, but not least, is my roommate, companion, and world’s best dog, my toy Australian Shepherd, Merlin. That little guy can make me laugh and cheer me up no matter what. He is hyper in tune with my moods and always knows what I need–a hug, a kiss, snuggles or play time. He’s the best.
Today on our blog hop we have been asked to write a short story using the words, Spring, Orange, and Park bench so here goes.
It was the last week in March and theoretically it was already spring, but on the mountain side outside her Colorado home, remnants of winter snow still remained. It had been a long winter. Not only because of the greater than average amount of cold and snow, but Heather had been dealing with several personal crises over the past few months. She had to get out of the house. So she bundled up in her down jacket, pulled on her snow boots, and stepped out in the bright Colorado sunshine. It was almost blinding as it reflected off of the white snow. Her small dog pulled on the end of his leash, obviously as excited as she was to get out of the house. They walked along the shoveled sidewalk to the park which was only a few blocks away. Bright orange cones blocked the entrance to the dirt road that led into the park. It was too muddy for a car to pass, but walking would be fine. she walked around the cones and headed up the path. In the summer the path was as busy as a city sidewalk, crowded with runners, hikers, kids, dogs, and all ages of people enjoying the great outdoors, but today, there wasn’t another soul in sight. She walked a ways to her favorite park bench, and brushing off the snow, sat down. It was so quiet–the only sound was the breeze whistling through the pine trees. A few birds chirped, signaling that spring was indeed on its way. A time of new beginnings and renewal. It happened every year, and it would happen in her life, too.
This week for our blog hop we have been asked to answer – Dogs or Cats? Or other choices. Please include pictures. How does that help your writing.
I have to say dogs. Not that I dislike cats, in fact, I’m almost 70 years old and I’ve always had at least one cat, sometimes 10, for my entire life until 6 months ago when my beloved 17 year old cat, Kona, passed. That being said, I’ve also had at least one dog in my life since I was 8. As a small child, we had cats. They were okay, but they weren’t much fun to play with. Growing up in the 1950’s, all I wanted was a Lassie in my life. Finally, when I was in second grade, I talked my parents into getting me my first dog. His name was Rebel. He wasn’t a Collie like Lassie, but he was the next best thing for our small house and yard-a Shetland Sheepdog (otherwise known as a toy Collie 🙂 He instantly became my best friend, going everywhere with me, except for school. Trust me, if I could have take him to school I would have. He made it almost through high school with me. After living my freshman year of college in a dorm without a dog, the next year I moved off campus and got my second Sheltie, Violet, who stuck her feet in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans on our travels together in the first year of her life. Once I had kids, we had several other breeds of dogs for my kids but I always had a Sheltie. Also, numerous cats and kitten. My last Sheltie, Laddie, passed in 2018, and I got my current best friend, Merlin, a Toy Australian shepherd. He is 5 now and the love of my life. But enough about dogs and cats, the other love of my life are horses. I got my first horse, Mike, when I was thirteen, and we moved to the country. I ended up with four horses when I graduated from high school. They were a huge part of my teen years and also hold a special place in my heart. I no longer have horses, but I get up into the beautiful Colorado Rockies and ride whenever I get the chance.
How does that help my writing? I write romances, and I haven’t writtena single book without an animal of some kind. Some have played large roles in my stories. My characters almost always have a dog or a cat. And, of course, since I write western romances about cowboys, there are horses, lots of horse. My own experiences with these animals shine through in their personalities and abilities to comfort and heal. Pets, of any kind, are the best!
This week for our blog hop we have been asked to answer the following question-If you could be friends with anyone who is alive today, who would it be and why? For me right now, I would have to pick Taylor Sheridan. As an author I am in constant awe of the man’s talent in writing, producing, directing, acting, and even in horsemanship. It seems like there’s nothing this man can’t do and do it well. The way he’s woven the Yellowstone universe, first with Yellowstone, and then the prequels of 1883 and 1923 amazes me. His writing talent and ability to weave all the story lines together is unparalleled today. He has the ability to create flawed characters that we all love to root for. Let’s face it, none of the Yellowstone characters are good people, and yet, we root for them every week and want them to succeed. I appreciate the way he tries to portray parts of our American history, as it really was and not how it has been shown over the years. In 1883, he doesn’t romanticize what it was like to travel across the west on a wagon train, and in 1923, he shows the horrors we inflicted on Native Americans and women. It’s not easy to watch, but so important to understand. Anyway, I’d like to be his friend so I could pick his brain and learn to be a better writer. Also, if I were his friend, maybe he’d let me have a bit part on Yellowstone and ride off into the Montana sunset on a beautiful horse. Now, that would be the dream!
This week on our blog hop we’ve been asked to answer these two questions-How do you take care of yourself? and What do you do to practice self-care? My biggest self-care routine that I do on a regular basis, is take walks with my dog. As long as the temperature is above freezing and below 100, I’m out there walking every day. We usually do around 4-5 miles each day. The exercise, the fresh outdoor air, and the time alone with my best friend combine to relieve whatever stresses I may have. Less frequently, I’m able to escape to our beautiful Colorado mountains to ride horses and hike. It’s great and I try to do it a few times each year. This year, I also bought a season ticket to Colorado State Men’s Basketball. Throughout the season there have been 1-3 games per week, and win or lose it has been a great enjoyment and stress reliever and a way to make wonderful friends. Reading a good book is also a great way to take care of yourself. Check out the second book in my Peakview Series, Breakfast for Two at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B014VA616G. It’s a heartwarming story about finding family and taking a second chance at love. Then hop on over to Leslie Hachtel’s blog and see what she does to take care of herself at https://lesliehachtelwriter.wordpress.com and check out her first historical romance in a set of three at https://amzn.to/41nxqMR
This week on our blog hop we have been asked to share one of our hobbies, and what we do when we are not writing. If you follow my posts, you know that recently all my time has been spent moving, but I’m happy to announce that I’m all moved in and almost settled, so back to focusing on my writing full time. Anyway, I guess my favorite hobby is gardening. I love planting flowers everywhere (especially purple ones which is my favorite color). And this year…. well, refer back to my second sentence. I just moved. Into a brand new house. So I have a blank slate. I’m so excited to make the yard my own and fill it with pretty blooms. Unfortunately, here in Colorado the ground has been blanketed in snow since before I moved in, so I can’t really even see where the planting will take place, but trust me it will. I am so ready for spring. Where I live we are not out of danger of frost until mid-May, but starting the middle of March we can plant hardy flowers such as pansies and snap dragons. You can bet I’ll be out there as soon as the nurseries get them in stock. Stay tuned for many pictures this spring and summer 🙂 Now hop on over to https://jennadasie.com and she what Jenna does when not writing. Happy almost spring everyone!
Hi Everyone. I have been absent from writing for a few weeks. First due to the holidays, and then I’ve been busy packing and getting ready to move in two more weeks! But, I’m back. This week on our blog hop, we have been asked-What is your favorite kind of weather? and Does it inspire your work? The first part is easy for me. I am way more a summer person than a winter person. I’d rather be hot any day than cold. That being said, my favorite season is autumn. I love the warm, sunny days and cool, crisp nights. I live in Colorado because the sun shines here almost every day. There’s nothing like a cloudy day to bring my mood down. The question, does it inspire your work made me laugh! NOPE. Beautiful weather inspires me to be outside-walking my dog, riding horses in the mountains, hiking, gardening, or just sitting on my porch in the sunshine. The last thing I want to do is sit inside and write. We are supposed to get up to ten inches of snow this week. Now, that will inspire me to sit at my desk and write with a cup of warm tea. Who knows, a snowstorm may even appear in my WIP 🙂 Want to get away from winter? Check out my latest release, Montana Pines Summer Love. It’s available on Amazon in all formats. Next hop on over to PG Forte’s blog and find out what weather she likes at https://rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.com/2023/01/romance-writers-weekly-lets-talk-about.html
This week we have been asked what is the one dish or treat we can’t do without over the holidays and if we make it, share the recipe. Mine would have to be homemade caramels. The recipe I use was passed down from my great-grandmother, to my grandmother, to my mother, and then to me. Although they would be delicious any time of year, we only ever make them at Christmas. They melt in your mouth and are always a favorite of friends and family members alike. It wouldn’t seem like Christmas for my children and grandchildren without them. As I savor them each year, I often think I should make some at other times of the years–maybe a nice, summer batch, but I never have. There’s just something about a once a year treat that makes it extra special. I’m going to make a batch tonight 🙂 If you’d like to try them for yourself, here’s the family recipe:
1/2 lb. melted butter, 2 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 cup Karo corn syrup, I can Eagle Brand Milk, I tsp. vanilla, mix all ingredients in a large saucepan and boil slowly to 238 degrees. Pour mixture into a 9×11 glass dish and cool in the refrigerator. Cut into squares and wrap individually with plastic wrap. Enjoy 🙂
This week we’ve been asked to answer these questions: Where do you write? Do you need to be in the same place or move around? I write in my home office, which is currently a converted bedroom on the second floor of my house. The second question made me laugh. I’m guessing it assumes that authors have portable laptop computers which can be moved around. I don’t. I’ve never had a laptop–never wanted one. I write on my desktop computer with a monster-size screen that is easy on my eyes. I don’t have the luxury of moving it. Not that I think I’d want to if I could. I enjoy setting hours to work and hours to play. When I’m in my office I work. When I leave it, then I do other things like play with my dog. Want to see what my office looks like? Here’s a few pictures (excuse the mess).
This week we have been asked to answer these questions-what’s special about your books? What makes you stand out? and share a snippet or two from one of your books. When I thought about these questions, the obvious answer is I write about characters who are older in age than mainstream romances have historically been. I’ve written characters in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and even one couple in their 90’s. You are never too old to fall in love is a constant theme in my writing. Besides that, all my stories, event the ones with younger characters have the themes of hope and second chances. We all need that in our lives. I can’t tell you how many readers have written to tell me that my fictional characters have enabled them to not give up on love and have hope in their lives. If I can do that for even one person, then this writing career of mine is all worth it. I think I stand out for those reasons, too. Readers are not disappointed in the endings of my books. Here’s a snippet from Remember Christmas-“Grace wrapped her arms around her new husband’s neck. Her memory failed her sometimes these days, but this was going to be a Christmas she’d remember for the rest of her life and beyond.” And one from my new Christmas Stocking of Love-“When Charlotte had wished for a cowboy for Christmas, who knew her wish would come true like this? It truly was a Christmas miracle of the very best kind.”
Be sure to check out my newly-released Christmas in Aspen Ridge Box Set where you can get all three Aspen Ridge Christmas romances at 50% off the price of buying them separately https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BLHJZLBW