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!
Hi Everyone, Can you believe that in a few short hours it will be 2019? This year sure has flown by for me. It’s been a year of ups and downs, but at its close, I want to focus on the positive–the things that have stood out for me this year as highlights, events that I am especially grateful for. So here’s my top five:
5. This was my complete year of writing full time. I loved being able to follow my passion on a daily basis. I finished and published four full-length novels, a record for me, and had many more sales than in the previous years of my writing career. I finished book eleven in my Peakview Series and the first book in my new Aspen Ridge Series.
4. I was able to travel to Denver this summer to attend RWA (Romance Writers of America Conference). What a wonderful experience being around so many talented authors and members of my tribe. The classes were excellent and I came home renewed and excited about my career.
3. Lost Valley Ranch–my favorite place on the planet. This November I got to spend a weekend at this beautiful resort high in the Colorado Rockies. I started going to Lost Valley in 1967 with my family on vacation, later worked there when in high school and college, and its been a favorite weekend retreat for me and all three of my children and granddaughters. This time was especially great because I was there with both my daughters, my brother, who had not been there since 1973, and my sister in law and son in law who were first time visitors. What a great family weekend.
2. Time with family. This year one of my biggest blessings was time with my family. I was able to travel to Colorado four times this year to spend time with my son, my granddaughters, and extended family members. I traveled to San Diego for a week this summer to spend time with my oldest daughter at her home on the beach. I got to meet her boyfriend and experience her lifestyle. Most precious of all, I got to spend an entire year living only a couple of miles from my youngest daughter. Whether it was meeting at Starbucks, taking walks with our dogs, or enjoying local events, we had a great time spending moments together. I cherish the time I get to spend with those I love.
1. Merlin came into my life 🙂 Anyone who follows me on social media is well-acquainted with Merlin, my toy Australian shepherd. Merlin joined my family just twenty-four hours after the sad event of the passing on my dog, Laddie, who had been my best friend for sixteen years. Merlin had brought such joy into my life. He’s gone from 3 pounds to almost 15, where he should stay for awhile. He gets me moving–we walk four to five miles a day to try and use up some of his never-ending energy. Not a day goes by that I don’t laugh out loud at some silly thing he does. And at night, he’s there curled up beside me his head on my body. Who knew something so small could bring so much joy.
There you have it, my five highlights of 2018. I’d love to hear yours 🙂 Happy New Year and cheers to an even better 2019!!
I’ll be there to talk about my story, Awakening my Passion for Writing!
Happy 2017! I hope everyone is having a good year so far. The past month has been hectic in my life. The Christmas and New Year had three weeks of company at my house. It was so good to see my whole family and get to spend some quality time with all of them. But my writing got put on hold. Then when everyone left, I had a week of trials in my day job. Exhausted, this weekend I realized I’ve written virtually nothing in over a month. Where were my hero and heroine when I last left them? It’s time to get back to work, and let them continue their story. I’ve missed them. My New Year’s resolution is to find more time for writing and I’m determined to do just that. Three more Peakview novels are in the works for 2017, and I hope to finish them all before years end. Wish me luck.
Last night I plopped down on my couch to watch some TV. The Olympics were on for the 12th straight night, along with lots of reruns on most of the other stations who acknowledge that their viewers were watching the Olympics. Don’t get me wrong, I love sports and especially Track and Field, but I was tired of watching it all evening, every evening. So I started flipping through higher numbered channels, some I didn’t even know existed. That’s when I came to the BYU channel. Who know universities had channels? Now I’m not from Utah nor am I Mormon, so I assumed it would have little to interest me. I looked at my watch-6:56. I flipped to the channel because it had a movie starting at 7:00. I’d give it a try and guessed that by 7:10, I’d be back watching the Olympics.
Well, the movie was entitled, The Letter Writer. It was about an elderly man in a nursing home who flipped through an old worn out phone book every day and picked names at random and wrote letters to those people. Kinda creepy, huh? Except in this case it wasn’t. This dying man wrote letters of affirmation and hope. Letters to total strangers telling them to follow their dreams, that life would get better, and that he believed in them. Each one a little different, but with the same positive message. The only return address was a pen name he made up for the purpose of the letters only. Then he’d stamp them and shuffle down to the front desk to place them in the mail. In the movie, a high school girl who everything was going wrong for ( and I mean everything!) got one of his letters and since her life was such a train wreck she set out to try and discover who sent the letter. I wont tell you what happens because if you like truly heartwarming movies and ever run across this one, you should watch it.
Anyway, as a writer this movie really spoke to me. This man wrote for two reasons: writing was his passion, and he wanted to use that passion make a difference in people’s lives. He received no money or recognition for what he did.
Its easy to get caught up in the fame and fortune part of writing. I know I need to at least make enough money doing it to continue spending my time and energy on writing. But in the end, isn’t following your passion and making a difference what life is all about? I know it is for me. I hope it is for you, too, whatever your passion is.
In case you were wondering, I watched the entire movie and still got to turn back and see “the world’s fastest man” win yet another race before my evening ended.