Friday, July 30, 2010

Yesterday's Winner

Cheryl C is the ONLY person who got both singers correct.

They are Peter Noone, better known as Herman of Herman's Hermits and Tim Urban from this past season's American Idol.

Cheryl is getting a surprise gift!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Drawing: Can you name these two look-alike singers?

Don't post your guess in the comments here please!

The subject of the singer below's uncanny resemblance to the singer on the left never came up during an entire season of a popular TV show. But I couldn't get past it. I just never posted the pics until now.

(I'm thinking *lizzie starr will be able to name them. Possibly Eve Savage.)

Don't post your guess here, please, because others can then see it.
Send me your guess in an email at,
and I'll draw two of you from the correct guesses for a surprise gift.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Elijah is Eleven

His birthday cake was Diary of a Wimpy Kid and he got out all of his books to decorate the cake table.
This is what eleven does to kids, you know.

His favorite birthday card had a whoopee cushion in it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Healer, Sharon Sala

I've been in a reading slump, you know those periods where nothing you pick up holds your interest? My tbr bedside table is stacked high with more stacks underneath. That's probably how I overlooked this 2008 release. I discovered it the other day when when my mom was looking through my books for a bag full to borrow, and I laid it on the top. I picked it up while I was waiting for a CD to burn, and I was a goner.

Page one had me hooked. I loved every page of this book, every character, every scene, every event. I read it in two evenings. It was one of those rare stories where I finish the last page, close the book and think, "Why didn't I think of that?" A one-of-a-kind story that took me on a reading journey I won't soon forget.

back cover:
All his life, Jonah Gray Wolf has had an uncanny connection to animals and the power to heal the sick and wounded. Driven from the only home he's ever known by those who wish to harness his gift for profit, he becomes a drifter, working in out-of-the-way towns, never staying long. It's a lonely life, but Jonah knows he's still being hunted—he can't afford to get close to anyone who might learn his secret.
In West Virginia he finds Luce, a tough but beautiful loner who knows all about keeping people at a distance—a kindred soul with whom he might dare to make a life. But the hunters have caught Jonah's scent again. Danger is coming to their mountain refuge—a confrontation that will be decided only by a force of nature.
It's no surprise that there are many many great reviews for The Healer on amazon. I already had Sharon's new one about the tornado ordered, and you can be sure it won't lanquish on my tbr pile when it arrives.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Interview with Lyn Cote: HER ABUNDANT JOY

When Lyn Cote became a mother, she gave up teaching, and while raising a son and a daughter, she began working on her first novel. Long years of rejection followed. Finally in 1997, Lyn got "the call." Her first book, Never Alone, was chosen by Steeple Hill for the new Love Inspired romance line. Since then, Lyn has had over thirty novels published. In 2006 Lyn's book, Chloe, was a finalist for the RITA, one of the highest awards in the romance genre. Lyn’s brand “Strong Women, Brave Stories,” always includes three elements: a strong heroine who is a passionate participant in her times, authentic historical detail and a multicultural cast of characters.  Now living her dream of writing books at her lake cottage in northern Wisconsin, Lyn hopes her books show the power of divine as well as human love.

What caused you to choose early Texas as the setting for your "Texas Star of Destiny" series?

I enjoy writing about locales and periods where several groups come together for a sharp culture clash. Conflict is the essence of a good story and many different people trying to get along or not get along sets up a story rife with natural conflict.

Starting in 1821 Stephen Austin brought in Anglo-Americans to settle Spanish and the Mexican-held Texas. Eastern Texas became the setting where Native Americans, mainly Comanche, Mexicans, and blacks (slaves and runaways), and Anglos clashed over who would be in control of the land. Part of my brand, "Strong Women Brave Stories" is that I like to write a multicultural cast. In this third and final book in the series, I stir German immigrants into the mix.

How do you handle the 19th century political incorrectness?

I resist the pressure to sanitize history. If I portray the 19th century as it really was, it is difficult not to offend the 21st century reader. Yet I still endeavor to portray the low status of women and racial prejudice of the 19th century. I had a reader say in a review that my stories had 21st century values. That's not really correct. My stories have characters who are at odds with their times, another characteristic common to my historicals. My heroines are usually crusaders far ahead of their times who won't cave in to the pressure to conform (another source of conflict). I don't like historical novels that don't even try to show how society was different in the past.

What was the most interesting fact you didn't know about Texas BEFORE you started writing this series?

I hadn't realized that over 30,000 Germans immigrated to Texas in the mid-1840's. The area around New Braunfels, Texas, still celebrates this German heritage with some original stone houses, German food and polka bands—really!

What do you hope your readers will take away after reading this book and the first two in the series?

Her Abundant Joy features a German widow Mariel Wolffe. She is a heroine who will tug at a reader's heart (I hope!) And her hero, Carson Quinn, the son of the hero and heroine in the first book, is a man that should melt hearts. He's not just a handsome face. He has faced frontier life and learned to survive with honor, no small accomplishment.

They find themselves--just as we do today in the face of terrorism--in the middle of a war. Their personal desires and plans must give way to the winds of war. But God is still there with them. I gave my editor a choice of two titles taken from Psalm 37 (all 3 titles are). She chose Her Abundant Joy. The other was Her Man of Peace. I think that this reflects the theme of the book. Carson longs for peace but is forced into war.

The humble shall inherit the earth; and
shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace....
Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright:
for the end of that man is peace. Psalm 37: 11, 37

In 1846, young German widow Mariel Wolfe comes start a new life in the "promised" land of Texas. Texas Ranger Carson Quinn is responsible for leading her party of immigrants through dangerous Comanche-held territory. As he watches Mariel hold her head high, he will stop at nothing to protect her. But war is brewing: Mexico will not accept the U.S. annexation of the young Texas Republic without a fight. Honor bound to fight for Texas, Carson's deepest longing is to lay down his rifle. As Mariel and Carson fall deeply in love, could her painful past or this new war destroy all their hopes?
Lyn features stories of strong women both from real life and true to life fiction on her blog 

Monday, July 12, 2010


I couldn't draw only one name, so I drew two.

And the winners are....



apple blossom

Now here's the deal: To claim your prize, send me an email with your address and the selection of a book or a pair of earrings. If you need to see a list of books, check them out on my website:

If you have them all and would rather have a pair of earrings, just tell me your favorite colors.
Here's my email addresss:


The Secret: Where I Get My Ideas and a Drawing

As soon as people learn that I’m a writer, there are a couple of questions that I almost never fail to hear. Every writer who reads this is nodding his or her head. One question is particularly silly to me. I usually reply with a quip--that people take as a serious answer.

"I subscribe to Idea Monthly."
They say, "Oh."

"I close myself in a dark closet, chant a mantra, and don't come out until a complete story has come to me."

"I remember everything everyone tells me and I use it."

"Little green men come to me and night and whisper plots in my ear."

“There’s this little warehouse outside Tulsa…”

Seriously, writers get ideas just like everyone else does. Ideas just come to all of us. As writers, we learn to brainstorm and embellish on the original idea until it's plausible. Many of my ideas come from hearing a song, watching a movie, reading a book, or from my research. Something unique or emotional will catch my attention, and I'll think "what if?” Then I play with the notion until I turn it into a story. From the original concept, I develop the characters first. I ask what kind of person will fit this role or this scene or this setting? Then I create the other lead character with built in conflict and an opposing goal.

Here are a few examples:

-- Heaven Can Wait originated as taking a girl who knew nothing of the outside world from a sequestered environment and flinging her into a completely alien culture. That theme still fascinates me, and I have more ideas for others.

-- Rain Shadow developed from the desire to do a sequel to Heaven Can Wait, using a secondary character as the hero, and needing an exact opposite to pair him with. Thus the gun-toting Wild West character of Rain Shadow developed.

-- Land of Dreams came from my fascination with and empathy for the children who rode the orphan trains, and, as a result of the many diaries I'd read. So many of the children suffered in their new environments nearly as much as they had on the streets of New York, often being sexually abused or used as servants, and many thinking they'd been adopted into families, only to find out years later that they hadn't. I wanted to give some of those kids a good home. And Too Tall Thea was a character burning for a story and someone to love her.

-- Saint or Sinner sprang from my passion for watching late night westerns. There's an old black and white flick with Joanne Woodward where this guy comes back from the war and builds a church. She's just a kid he tries to reform, but I thought…”What if this fellow had a life after death experience and came back a changed man…and there was a woman who didn't believe he'd changed?”

-- Badlands Bride actually started out as a title I'd saved for years. The idea of having an unprepared reporter go west disguised as a mail-order bride popped into my head, and I decided to send her to the badlands and use that title. I dearly love to create the underdog characters. Hallie is desperate for her father's approval and eager to forge her way in a man’s world.

-- A Husband By Any Other Name came from the Bible story of the prodigal son. One son runs away, squanders his inheritance and comes back to his father's welcoming arms. The brother who stayed home and worked doesn't think that's too fair, even though he surely loved his brother. Seeing the father plan a feast and roast the fatted calf irks him. I further complicated that story by having the brother who stays home marry the fiancé of the brother who went away. Did I mention they are twins and he pretends to be the brother who went away?

-- The Truth About Toby. I've always been a bit fascinated with dream interpretations, I guess. I had originally titled the book Dream A Little Dream For Me, because the hero is helping the heroine with precognitive dreams. My publisher said dream titles didn’t fly and changed it. Susan Elisabeth Phillips then came out with a book using that title. My publisher forgot to qualify with the fact that dream titles don’t work -- unless you’re Susan Elisabeth Phillips. Austin came to me first, a reclusive tortured hero who simply wants to forget the horrors of his past. And for him I created Shaine, the woman he can't resist, and the one who needs him to remember it all.

-- The Mistaken Widow is a historical version of the movie, Mrs. Winterbourne, where Ricky Lake pretends to be Brendan Frasier's sister-in-law. As soon as I saw the film, I started picturing it in a historical scenario. My story has a bit more twists and turns, however.

-- The Doctor's Wife came from watching a talk show where the female guest told her story. She came from the "trash family" in a little town. I felt so sorry for her and her story was so sad that I sat and cried. Often when I'm moved by someone’s real life story, I want to write one that turns out better. It’s like I can fix the world one book at a time or something. The real person in this case was ridiculed and teased by the other children. Her family was so poor that she wore her brother’s underwear. Her mother gave birth to a couple of babies and made the daughter bury them. One particular time, she secretly gave the baby away. This was one of those reunion shows, and they brought out the sister whose life she had saved so many years ago, and they were reunited with hugs and tears. Bizarre story, eh? Once again truth is stranger than fiction. Well I changed all that and had the baby be my heroine’s and had her hide it to keep it safe. But that’s where the idea was conceived.

I just heard from a reader who read The Doctor’s Wife for the first time. Isn’t it exciting that books live on forever? There are two spinoffs from that book: His Secondhand Wife and The Preacher’s Daughter.

Last night I got an idea for a story in which a daughter arrives home to find her mother has died days ago and she has missed the funeral. I don’t know what will come of it, but the idea intrigues me, so that story will probably pop up someday.

And on and on....

I've never found that warehouse outside Tulsa, so I do most of the dirty work on my own. Actually, coming up with the ideas is the fun part, the part that never gets dull. Carrying out the work is the hard part. There are a lot of people who call themselves writers. Many come up with ideas, but few actually do the work and get it all in publishable story form on paper.

Okay, so enough with the joking, I’m going to once and for all tell you where writers get their ideas. Are you ready?


If you don’t believe me, I have a blog to prove it:

Today I’m going to draw a name and send the winner a copy of one of my books that they’ve missed. (And in the off chance that they have them all, I’ll make them a pair of earrings.) So leave a comment and I’ll put your name in my cowboy hat to win a book.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

amazon back to school offer

Summer classes are starting, study for college entrance exams has begun, and in just one month parents, students and teachers will start buying supplies for back to school. More than other years, everyone is looking for ways to save money and make back to school shopping affordable and convenient. is the back to school solution, with thousands of school supplies, monthly school supply deals, and many items qualifying for free Super Saver Shipping.

For a limited time, you can get a $20 card with 100 qualifying purchase on school and office supplies. Writers love office supplies. CLICK HERE

Oliver on the 4th of July

Barb Hunt sent me this photo of her nephew, Oliver. He's proud to be an American.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Linda Broday: Undertaking the Old West Way

I have the coolest friends! Linda Broday is a good friend and a special lady. She has generously provided this great material on the history of undertaking.

Undertaking on the frontier was a crucial business. After all, life expectancy was only 37 years of age. So lots of folks were dying and they needed someone to take care of the nasty business of death.

Funeral customs depended on whether the deceased was a city dweller or one who lived on a farm or ranch. People who lived outside of town placed the care of their remains in the hands of those who loved them. After a loved one died, the family lovingly washed their bodies and dressed him or her in their best clothes. Sometimes they made their own coffins if they had the tools. If not, they’d buy a coffin from the undertaker in town. They’d lay the person out in their parlor at home and sit beside the coffin. They called this custom a wake. Then, after no more than a day or two, they’d bury the deceased in a plot on their land.

(Embalming was unheard of until the early 1900’s and even then it was mostly back East. That’s why they had to hurry and get the dead into the ground. They got pretty ripe after a while.)

If the deceased lived in town, all the needs were seen to by the undertaker who usually had side occupations like furniture or cabinet maker. Hearses were horse-drawn and most of the time ornate with glass windows on each side through which viewers could see the coffin. Some even sported black feathery plumes at each corner. The mourners walked on foot behind the hearse to the cemetery which was generally near the church.

The heroine in my novella called UNDERTAKING TEXAS in the newest anthology “Give Me a Texas Ranger” (with Jodi Thomas, Phyliss Miranda, DeWanna Pace and myself) is the town’s undertaker, dentist and barber. Texanna Wilder took over the businesses after her husband, Sam, was gunned down. My story takes place a year after she buried her husband. Texanna and her son are having a very difficult time of things. Her odious step-brother-in-law is making life miserable and threatening to take her business from her if she doesn’t marry him.

Then in rides Texas Ranger Stoney Burke. Stoney was Texanna’s husband’s best friend. Stoney promised Sam on his wedding day that he’d look after Texanna if anything happened to Sam.

When Texanna and Stoney are thrust together, he’s forced to face his deep feelings for Texanna. On the one hand, he’s mad as all get-out at her for making Sam give up his job with the Texas Rangers. But on the other hand, Stoney has worshipped Texanna from afar all these years. Memories of her and the kisses they shared long ago keep him awake at night.

There’s also the matter of dealing with Texanna’s six year old son who’s developed a bad habit of stealing, a jail break, and a fire that consumes the town.

Locked in a fight to keep Texanna safe, Stoney comes to see that old grudges have no place in the future and that love can survive past secrets if only he gives it a chance.

GIVE ME A TEXAS RANGER is in bookstores now. I hope you’ll pick up a copy. If you read our two previous anthologies, GIVE ME A COWBOY and GIVE ME A TEXAN, you’ll need this one to add to your set.

Come on in and put your two cents in. I’d love to hear from you.

Order your copy from amazon

Linda is an award winning author who lives on the Western plains of Texas that’s sometimes referred to as the short grass prairie. She has three single western romances and three anthologies to her credit. She’s won the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold among many others. Writing western romance is in her blood. She loves nothing better than to saddle up with a cowboy hero and help him lasso the love of his life. You can contact her at

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Photo of my mom

This is a photograph of my mom, taken in black and white and then colored in pastels, which is a technique they used many years ago to colorize photos. What a smile, eh? This is one of my favorites.