This week I have been asked to write about an author who has influenced my writing. That’s a hard question to answer in a paragraph or two. There are so many. There are the NYT best-selling authors who I read extensively and admired from near and far. There are all the wonderful authors in my local writing group. There are all of the authors I’ve met at writing conferences and ones I’ve met in various online groups, some of whom I consider friends but have never met in person (like the lovely ladies in this Romance Writers’ Weekly group). But maybe the one who’s influenced my writing the most is my long time critique partner, Cassidy Wells. We met in an online class ten years ago, and have read each and every word the other has written all of these years. I don’t know how I would have done this job without her. She cheers me on when my writing is good, and kindly points out when it’s awful! I can’t imagine writing without her. Sadly we’ve never met (I don’t know if we ever will because we live on opposite sides of the country, but she is a forever friend. We’ve grown to know each other so well over the years. Here’s to many more! Now hop on over to PG Forte’s blog and see who has influenced her writing at http://rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.com Speaking of PG Forte, just like me she has a new release. Check it out below.
This week we have been asked to answer the following: Writing can be a lonely business. Share how you stay connected. Do you have an in-person writers group? Or chat with other writers on social media? Share your experiences. I am very fortunate to have belonged to an amazing author group, Front Ranger Christian Fiction Writers for the past twelves. The other amazing authors in this group have become my close friends. We meet once per month, in person, to inspire, and encourage each other as well as work on our craft. During the pandemic we continued to meet via zoom, until it was safe to meet in person again. I know I would not be where I am in my writing career today, without these amazing people in my life. In addition to that, I have stayed in touch with many other authors whom I’ve met at various writer conferences, and have made many author friends in various online and social media groups, including this Romance Writers’ Weekly one 🙂 It may be a lonely business, but it’s something I couldn’t do alone. Now hop on over to Brenda Margriet’s blog and see how she stays in touch at https://www.brendamargriet.com/blog
And just to let you know, Brenda and I both have new releases you don’t want to miss. My new Christmas romance released last week, and Brenda’s new romance releases this week. You can buy them at the following links:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CH5KP3TP and https://bookstoread.com/TooGoodForWords
This week we have been asked to: Write today’s blog as one of your characters. Have them introduce themselves, share their hobbies, interests, what they think of other characters, etc.
“Hi, my name is Belle Brooks, and I’m sixty years young. Along with my son, Ryder, I own and operate the Pine Mountain Horse Ranch in the beautiful Montana Pine Mountains. I love it here, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Although, I live with my son, his wife, and their two small children, sometimes life can get a bit lonely since I’ve buried two husbands. Especially, around the holidays. Don’t you just love the Christmas season! If only, I could get Ryder to slow down long enough to put up our Christmas lights! I was going to do it myself, but he caught me on a ladder the other day and demanded that I get down. I wasn’t going to fall. Anyway, this stranger, Bart Stockton, showed up looking for work. He looked down and out so I hired him to hang the lights. It’s Christmas and the season of giving, after all. And there was just something about him… Under his long hair and beard, I could sense a kind soul, and those light blue eyes, swoon. Anyway, if you want to find out what happens next, get your copy of Christmas in the Montana Pines, now at Amazon.
Now hop on over to Brenda Margriet’s blog and hear from one of her characters at https://www.brendamargriet.com/blog
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 have a couple of deals for you today. First, my novel, Come Home to Love, is free for your kindle until Friday at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07T6B6M67 also, my new Christmas novella, Christmas in the Montana Pines, is now available for pre-order for only $2.99 at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CH5KP3TP
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
In case you missed it, my latest novel, Montana Pines Spring Forward, was released late last week. Get your copy here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0C4K33CWS
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.
What cheers you up when you are down? Hop on over to PG Forte’s blog and see what cheers her up at: https://rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.com and check out her story in the second chance romance collection at https://books2read.com/lovhteisintheair
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!
Here’s some recent pics-
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 🙂
Once you’ve tried this recipe, hop on over to Brenda Margriet’s blog and she what her favorite dish is for the holidays at https://www.brendamargriet.com/blog and check out her latest romance, Turn the Next Page, which is available for pre-order and will release on Thursday at https://books2read.com/TurnTheNextPage
And check out my latest, romance, Montana Pines Summer Love, releasing on Dec. 27th and now available for pre-order at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BNNL7T9Z
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).