This week we have been asked to answer this question: Tell us what other author writes books most similar to yours and why? If I want to compare myself to well-known authors, I would say that my books are similar to those written by Robyn Carr and Roxanne St. Claire. Robyn’s Virgin River Series, in particular, centers around the residents of the small town of Virgin River. All of my series are based in small towns with citizens who feel like family. Roxanne’s Dogfather and Dogmother series all have dogs who play a major role in her stories. Many of my books also feature dogs or cats that help to bring the hero and heroine together. Also both of these authors write similar heat levels to mine. Now hop on over to Leslie Hachtel’s blog and see who she writes like at https://lesliehachtelwriter.wordpress.com
I hope everyone had a wonderful, long holiday weekend. My was nice, with a couple of barbeques fit it and a little time at our swimming pool when it opened. However, in writer world, we really never get holidays, so much of my weekend was spent working on my next book.
This week we have been asked to write about this topic: The secondary characters (friends, family, colleagues, etc) in a romance novel can greatly influence the story. Describe a secondary character you’ve written that you can’t forget. So, as an author most of my secondary characters are thought out before I begin to write a story. They are strategically placed in a story to either introduce characters who will star in an upcoming book (since I write series) or characters who will either help or hinder the romance such as a character’s child, best friend, former lover, etc. Then there are incidental characters, think a waitress or a store clerk, who a character interacts with. They are not planned and usually play a bit part in one scene. That’s how my favorite secondary character, Marissa came to be. In my novel, Colorado Cabin in the Pines, the third book in my Peakview Series, my heroine needed a reason to stay in the small mountain town of Peakview other than falling in love with the hero. She was a school teacher on summer break, so I created a mountain adventure camp for disadvantaged youth were she could work. Her first day on the job, she was supposed to help get the new campers up on their horses. To put some life into the scene, I had her reassure a small girl sitting off by herself who was afraid of the horses. During the conversation, she asked her name, and she said Marissa. She was only intended to be in that one scene. But I instantly fell in love with her, and she ended up taking on a larger role and even helping to get the hero and heroine together. At the end of the summer when my characters fell in love and started their happily ever after, Marissa, like the other campers, went back home to her not-so-great foster home. Boy, did I get unhappy emails from readers, although my main characters fell in love at the end, as always, everyone wanted to know what happened to Marissa. So, in my next book, Colorado Wrangler, my heroine becomes her foster mom and the hero and heroine end up adopting her after they get married. She developed such a great personality that she appears somewhere in all remaining 7 books in the series 🙂 She’s my favorite because she was so unexpected, even to me, the author. You never know where characters will take you.
Now hop on over to Jenna Da Sie’s blog and learn about one of her secondary characters at https://jennadasie.com
This week we have been asked the following question-If you could time travel, what period of time would you choose and why? I had to think about this one. I’m not a huge fan of the whole time travel genre. At first I thought about the old west, which has been romanticized in movies and on TV, but in actually, it was a very hard life without any modern conveniences, so I decided, no. So, my answer, if I were to go somewhere for a few days or weeks, would be the 1950’s when I was a child. My favorite thing about the 1950’s? No air-conditioning. Don’t get me wrong, my home is air-conditioned and I enjoy a nice, cool office to write in and a cool bedroom on hot summer nights, but here’s what I liked. Growing up in a mid-west city we also didn’t have microwaves or take out food. Women cooked dinner in the oven every night, further heating the already hot homes. So when dinner was done, everyone, I mean everyone from age one to one hundred headed outside. It was just too hot to stay inside until the sun went down. Kids played and rode bikes, parents gardened and mowed their lawns, old people sat on their porches and sipped iced tea, while groups of neighbors congregated and shared their lives. No one had tiny screens to look at instead of carrying on conversations. We all knew each other-everyone on our city block. Even as pre-schoolers, our parents didn’t worry about us riding our bikes around the block alone. No one bothered us, instead everyone said hello. And when we were lucky, older neighbors would invite us up onto their porches for warm, fresh out of the oven baked cookies or to share the stash of popsicles they kept just for the neighborhood kids. I knew everyone. It’s been 56 years since I lived in that home, and I can still picture who lived in every house and tell you all their names. The sense of community was awesome. Recently, as I walked my dog around the block on a nice, summer evening, I didn’t encounter one other soul. Instead of the sounds of laughter and conversation, the only sound was that of the air-conditioning units clicking on and off beside closed up houses. I miss those times of socializing. I won’t be turning off my air-conditioning this summer or giving up my cell phone, but sometimes I long for those simpler times.
The week we are answering the following question-Give three tips that motivate you to write when you don’t feel like it. Let’s start by saying that I love to write. I feel very lucky that I’m able to make a living doing something that I love. But, right now at the beginning of May, is probably the hardest time of year to get motivated. Here in Colorado where I live, we’ve had a long cold winter, followed by March and April which switch between warm days and more snow. Then May comes and the majority of days are warm and sunny. All I want to do is be outside whether it’s sitting on my patio with a cup of tea, taking a long walk with my dog, or planting and working in my yard, it feels so good to be outside again. And there’s the problem–it’s hard to force myself to sit inside and write. So what motivates me? First, I would say just reminding myself that I have faithful readers who expect a new book from me every few months and I don’t want to let them down. Second, I have to remind myself that I only have a yard to enjoy because I can pay my mortgage and other bills. I get motivated, because I need to write to survive. If I don’t write, I don’t eat! And finally, I get motivated by sitting down and getting back into whatever story I am writing. I want to see what happens to my characters and how they find their happily ever after as much as my readers do, maybe more. So, I sit down and let my characters take me on a journey with them 🙂 There you have it–how I get motivated. Now hop on over to PG Forte’s blog to see how she gets motivated at https://rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.com
Also if you’re looking for a feel good Western Romance, the first book in my Peaktop Dude Ranch Series, Peaktop Dude Ranch Homecoming, is free for your kindle this week at https://amazon./com/dp/B08W4MS2TY
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!