Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Howdy! Today I’m doing something for the first time, blog-swapping with a fellow author who’s featuring me at her site. I sure hope you’ll visit me there.
Right now, let’s show some down-home hospitality to my friend Jennie Marsland. She might live a world away from my homestead on the central coast of California, but we share some common bonds: we love Retrievers, Lucy Maud Montgomery, and mail-order brides! You’re going to enjoy her latest release, McShannon’s Chance, where half-Cajun, half- British Trey McShannon raises Thoroughbreds and seeks to ease his loneliness with a mail-order bride, affluent watercolor artist Beth Underhill.
Needless to say, she’s a lot more than he bargained for.
Jennie is a teacher, a painter, a musician and, for over thirty years, a writer. She fell in love with words at a very early age and the affair has been life-long. She enjoy writing songs and poetry as well as fiction and shares a home in Nova Scotia with her husband, cats Patch and Emily and a Duck-Tolling Retriever, Chance.
Jennie, what got you interested in writing?
Reading. My parents read to my brother and me every night, and before I started school I picked it up by osmosis. Words became the natural outlet for my overactive imagination. One of my grandfathers was a writer, so genetics likely played a part too.
How long have you been writing?
About thirty-five years off and on, with long dry spells in between. I’ve been actively trying to get published for the last two years.
For you, what are the most important elements of good writing?
For me, the most important thing is character. The people I’m reading about have to be multi-dimensional, real and sympathetic, and they have to change and grow over the course of the story. My biggest turn-off, especially in romance novels, is a hero or heroine I can’t root for because I can’t like them. As for plot, it has to be believable and well researched.
Tell us about your new release
McShannon's Chance is set in the Colorado Territory in 1870. The hero, Trey McShannon, is half-British and half-Cajun, a Georgia boy who fought for the Union in the Civil War. For obvious reasons he couldn’t go home afterwards, so he went west and settled near the fictional frontier town of Wallace Flats. After nearly five years of working on his dream of raising Thoroughbred horses, hard work and loneliness are wearing Trey down, so he sends for a mail-order bride and meets Beth Underhill.
Beth is a watercolor artist, strong-willed and a bit too unconventional for the liking of her proper, affluent eastern family. Living in Denver with her cousin after the death of the aunt who raised her, she doesn’t want to be sent back east to find a ‘suitable’ husband. Beth is disillusioned with the marriage market and finds Trey’s honest business proposal more appealing.
Trey thinks the war has left him too emotionally burnt out to feel real love. He’s hoping for a wife he can live with, but Beth is a whole lot more than he bargained for. She’s looking for choices and determined to live on her own terms, which include pursuing a reputation as a painter. She shares Trey’s love of Thoroughbreds and isn’t afraid of the hard work his life entails. Her nerve and honesty win his respect and he can’t look at her without wanting her in his arms, but Trey has to overcome his personal demons and learn to trust before he can have the family he longs for.
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
There are so many, but the biggest is probably Lucy Maud Montgomery. I learned from her very young that everyone has a story and that everyday life is full of small-scale drama. Montgomery’s own writing journey, as described in her journals, taught me about perseverance. I love her sense of humor and her sense of place – and the fact that she was one of the first female authors in North America to sue her unscrupulous publisher and win! The fact that she’s a fellow Maritimer doesn’t hurt either.
Others…Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour are responsible for my love of Westerns. I grew up reading my father’s collection and had childhood crushes on L’Amour’s Ty Sackett and Grey’s Lassiter. I read Westerns instead of romances as a teenager. Rugged, romantic heroes, spirited heroines, horses, what more could a girl want?
Are you working on anything at the present you’d like to share with us?
Yes, I’m working on a prequel to Chance. It’s called McShannon’s Heart and it’s the story of Trey’s twin sister Rochelle, who moves with her father to his old home in Yorkshire, England at the outbreak of the Civil War. Chelle leaves a fiancé behind in Georgia with the promise that she’ll wait for him until the war ends, but she finds herself attracted to a Dales farmer, Martin Rainnie, who happens to be a talented musician. I’m incorporating some of my own love of folk music into this one.
Wow, you have so many talents, Jennie. I love that you incorporate them into your writing. Thanks so very much for spending these next few days at my blog. I’m eager for your next book and wish for you much creativity and many sales! To purchase McShannon's Chance, please click here.
Howdy, Wendi! Your name is the one drawn from that ten-gallon hat. Please e-mail me at
firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements for your e-copy of Marrying Minda.
Thanks for blogging with me! And I hope the scent of roses lingers on and on!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Welcome to Tanya Writes Romance! Please leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of Marrying Minda, my current release at The Wild Rose Press. Check back tomorrow for the winning name drawn from my cowboy hat!
I'm part of the Cactus Rose posse, authors who write romance set in the Old West. There's something about a guy in a Stetson...does it for me every time. Marrying Minda is the tale of a mail-order bride who finds herself married to the wrong man, and with a daughter of my own getting married in a few weeks, I guess you could say I've got weddings on my mind big-time.
I'm thrilled and humbled at Marrying Minda being a best-seller at The Wild Rose Press for four weeks now. For this I must thank my terrific editor Helen Andrew and cover designer, Nicola Martinez for their amazing talent and professionalism.
I hope you like the excerpt and blurb posted below. Please check out my website. I've always got some kind of contest going on. And I sure hope to see you at Petticoats and Pistols, the all-Western site where I am a regular blogger along with a dozen other authors of western romance. This week's Excerpt Week!
Don't forget: after leaving your comment here, mosey on to each author blog linked below. Everybody's got prizes and fun going on. See you again real soon!
Mail-order bride Minda Becker arrives in Paradise, Nebraska and eagerly marries the handsome man who meets her stagecoach. His wedding kiss melts her toes. Too bad he's the wrong bridegroom. Cowboy Brixton Haynes can't deny he'd like a wedding night with the eastern beauty, but the last thing he needs is to be saddled with a wife and the three children his brother left behind. First chance he gets, he'll be back point riding along the Goodnight. But leaving Minda proves to be much harder than he expected.
Night fell soft and silent, and the snuffles of Norman Dale’s livestock comforted Brixton with memories of the trail. Lord, he couldn’t wait to get back.
Habit had him walk quiet as he could from the barn to the house. Even the tiniest noise sparked stampedes on the trail, so his footsteps were cautious wherever he went.
At the back porch, he set down Minda’s valises and paused to peek in the back window. Her lush curves swayed beneath the simple dress as she readied the children for bed, and he couldn’t fill his vision fast enough. The memory of her soft sweet cheek brushed his fingertips once more, and his heart raced and his groin throbbed. It was the heartbeat he didn’t like; a man desiring a beautiful woman was just what a man did. But a galloping heart might mean a man felt something deep inside.
Even worse, night after night alone on the trail, he’d keep seeing her shining hair sweep across little Ned’s shoulders while she kissed the top of the lad’s head. So he pulled out his flask and drank deeper. It was too much like having a family of his own, something he swore he never needed. Suddenly he missed his brother more than he’d missed anything.
Until this minute, he had never felt shy about coming through this door without a knock. His wife’s current disposition gave him pause, but he had goods to deliver and damn, the kids just might like one of his good-night songs. His tongue clicked. Truth to tell, his bride would think him nothing but a rowdy bridegroom wanting a tumble between the sheets. Already she’d tried to disgrace him by letting a room at the boardinghouse just for herself.
Another long hard swig consoled his throat as it emptied his flask. Damn woman.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Howdy! This will likely be my final Cowboy Month Salute. Marrying Minda's still on the best seller list and I'm super-stoked. Join me here Monday for the "Stop and Smell the Roses" Blog Bouquet Day for twenty Wild Rose Press authors. Visit each of our blogs...every author is awarding a prize.
Mine is an e-copy of Marrying Minda!
Well, for today, I thought I'd mention the grand-daddy danger of them all:
The trail was a dangerous place. Cowboys kept alert for wolves, scorpions, bears, and rattlesnakes. Then there was the weather. Blizzards and dry watering holes come quickly to mind.
But most dangerous of all was the stampede. Cattle got scared, ran close together, stumbling and falling, endangering cowboys and their horses with trampling and even the sharp edges of longhorns. Sometimes stampeding cattle ran over cliffs or fell into gullies or raging rivers. In one gull-washer mishap, 2,000 steers died!
In addition to dead beeves, surviving cows could have broken limbs and horns or bruises and other injuries that prevented their sale. That meant lost money for the rancher.
What causes a stampede?
Any noise in the dark--even a cowboy lighting a match.
Thunder, lightning or hail.
A rabbit or deer jumping in the brush.
Pots and pans clanking.
Even a tumblewood rolling into the herd.
Wow. No wonder those cowpokes sang lullabies to keep those beeves calm!
Have a wonderful weekend. And see you Monday when you stop and smell the roses.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Further honoring the cowpoke's culture during Cowboy Month at The Wild Rose Press, I'm turning today to country music titles.
From "25 Best Country Songs Titles Of All Time"
These are all genuine songs, mainly released in the United States:
1. If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life,Then Number Two On You
2. If The Phone Don't Ring, You'll Know It's Me
3. She's Actin' Single and I'm Drinkin' Doubles
4. How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away?
5. I Keep Forgettin' I Forgot About You
6. I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well
7. I Still Miss You, Baby, But My Aim's Getting' Better
8. I Wouldn't Take Her To A Dog Fight,Cause I'm Afraid She'd Win
9. I'll Marry You Tomorrow, But Let's Honeymoon Tonight
10. I'm So Miserable Without You; It's like Having You Here
11. My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend, And I Sure Do Miss Him
12. She Got The Ring And I Got The Finger
13. You're The Reason Our Kids Are So Ugly
14. She's Lookin' Better After Every Beer
15. I Haven't Gone To Bed With Ugly Women, But I've Sure Woke Up With a Few
Now, the above list made me laugh, but these are my particular favorites, in no particular order:
1. Honkytonkdadonkadonk--Trace Adkins
2. How 'Bout them Cowgirls?--George Strait
3. Whose Bed Have your Boots Been Under?--Shania Twain
4. Heart Don't Forget Something Like That--Tim McGraw
5. Cowgirls Don't Cry--Brooks and Dunn
6. Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy--Big and Rich
Hope to see y'all next time!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Well, you just might think Cowboy Fun is a quick draw or a dead-man's-hand, a soiled dove at a saloon, or a big chaw of tobacco and a spittoon...but you'd be dead wrong!
This is still my salute to Cowboy Month at my wonderful publisher, The Wild Rose Press. (Be still my heart. Marrying Minda is in its third week as a best-seller.) Cowboys on the trail worked hard and let off steam in fairly simple ways. Such as:
2. Mumblety Peg...when players flipped sharp wooden pets into the ground and tried to get them to stand up straight. The loser had to use his teeth to pull the pegs out of the ground!
3. Love songs and lullabies. Ah, you can all whistle that tune from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Or you'd know if it you heard it. But whistling and humming helped ease the boredom of the trail drive that at times could seem endless. Cowboys also sang love songs, maybe to remind them of The Girl Back Home...or the girl that got away. Some played the harmonica, fiddle or guitar. And lullabies helped keep the cows calm. After all, they didn't know what was out there in the dark.
(And ya'll remember Brixton singing lullabies to his brother's orphaned kids.)
4. Tall tales. Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, and the Jumping Frog of Calaveras County come to mind. Likely each tale had its root in fact, but exaggeration made it tons more fun to listen to.
Let's close with a little song...courtesy of Bobbie Kalman's "Life on the Trail."
All day on the prairie in the saddle I ride
Not even a dog to trot by my side.
My fire I kindle with chips gathered round
And boil my own coffee without being ground.
I wash in a puddle and wipe on a sack,
I carry my wardrobe right there on my back.
Oh, for those simpler times! Brixton Haynes, hero of Marrying Minda, would have done all this. Nevertheless, I feel the need to go shopping tomorrow.
Ps. don't forget to visit my website and sign the guestbook to enter the name draw for a copy of Marrying Minda...autographed yet.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Howdy! Cowboy Month is still going on at The Wild Rose Press where I'm thrilled to say Marrying Minda is on the best-seller list!Yee-haw.
So I figured out what Minda's hero, Brixton Haynes, would need for round-up or point riding along the trail.
1. A branding iron...the symbol made by a blacksmith to mark an animal's hide.
2. A saddle, the cowboy's most important piece of equipment as it kept him secure and comfy on his horse's back, and saddlebags to hold his "possibles."
3. A lariat...a rope made from hemp fibers or braided rawhide.
4. A bandanna....kept dust out of his face, strained dirty water before drinking, made a handy bandage.
5. A Stetson...the wide brim kept sun and rain off his face, carried water for a cowboy or his horse, and fanned a campfire. (Besides making him look darn sexy.)
6. Spurs...sometimes called jinglebobs, a round disk with points worn on the heel of the boot and gently used to get a horse moving. Of course, many guys believed an experienced rider did not have to use spurs to control his mount.
7. A gun...used mostly on critters like coyotes and snakes to protect the herd on the trail. Bullets were costly so cowboys didn't use a gun unless absolutely necessary.
8. Chaps...leather leggings over wool or denim trousers to protect against brush, cactus, long horns.
9. Boots...the high heels kept the feet from slipping out of the stirrup, but the style was dreadfully uncomfortable for walking.
10. A harmonica, fiddle or guitar. Singing eased boredom and kept the cattle calm.
Now, ride on over to my website and sign the guestbook for a chance at the name-draw to win an autographed copy of the book.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Well, what cowboy-loving person doesn’t love a horse? In homage to Cowboy Month at the Wild Rose Press, here’s a list of classic and modern songs about those magnificent mounts.
All the Pretty Little Ponies from Flicka
"Blacks and bays
Dapples and grays,
Running in the night.
When you wake
You shall have
All the pretty little ponies."
This pretty song is actually a children’s lullaby.
Cowgirls Don't Cry by Brooks and Dunn (with Reba McEntire)
"Cowgirls don't cry.
Ride, baby, ride.
Lessons in life are going to show you in time;
Soon enough, you're gonna know why.
It's gonna hurt every now and then.
If you fall, get back on again.
Cowgirls don't cry."
Seeing these three performers (all favorites of mine) sing this song at a recent concert totally rocked. It’s a good reminder to me to "Cowgirl Up" when I get into one of my big-baby moods.
Get Off My Back from Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, 2002
"Get off of my back and into my game.
Get out of my way, 'cause I'm wild and untamed.
Get out of my face, or give it your best shot.
I think it's time you better face the fact -
Get off of my back."
This animated motion picture exemplified a spirited stallions defiance against cowboys attempting to saddle him to carry a rider.
Happy Trails by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Rogers
"Happy trails to you,
Until we meet again.
Happy trails to you,
Keep smilin' until then."
No more needs to be said about this one.
Wildfire by Michael Martin Murphey
"On Wildfire we're gonna ride -
Gonna leave sodbustin' behind.
Get these hard times right on out of our minds,
Michael Martin Murphey is known as the "cowboy minstrel."
Wild Horses by Natasha Beningfield
"All I want is the wind in my hair,
To face the fear but, not feel scared.
Wild horses, I wanna be like you,
Throwing caution to the wind.
I'll run free too.
Wish I could recklessly love, like I'm longing to.
I wanna run with the wild horses, run with the wild horses."
Some more to get off iTunes:
"Back in the Saddle Again," by Gene Autry
"Beer for My Horses," by Toby Keith and Willie Nelson
"Good Ride, Cowboy," by Garth Brooks
"Horse with No Name," by America
"How 'bout Them Cowgirls," by George Strait
"Let That Pony Run," by Pam Tillis
"My Rifle, My Pony and Me," by Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson
"No Reins," by Rascal Flatts
"The Old Grey Mare (Just Ain't What She Used to Be)"
"Ride," by Martina McBride
"Rodeo," by Garth Brooks
"White Horse," by Taylor Swift
"Wild Horses," by Garth Brooks
Thanks for joining me today. Well, tonight. I’ve got Wild Horses galloping through my brain…although maybe I ought to try for that Flicka lullaby. It’s late.
Or early. Depends on how you define 1 a.m.
(Sincere thanks to Linda Ann Nickerson.)
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Further saluting during Cowboy Month those hotties that ride the rodeo, tend the ranch and wrangle herds, here are some downhome proverbs to live by.
“Always drink upstream from the herd”
“Careful as a naked man climbin' a barbed wire fence”
“Don't squat with your spurs on”
“If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around”
“If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging”
“Never kick a cow chip on a hot day”
”Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance”
“You can tell a true cowboy by the type of horse that he rides”
“Don't interfere with something that ain't bothering you none”
“The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with watches you shave his face in the mirror every morning”
P.s. I got a compliment last night during our cul-de-sac "Zumba" session from my beloved friend Betty next store, a super-busy mom and wife who works full time. "I couldn't put Marrying Minda down. I stayed up until midnight and set the alarm an hour early. I love her."
Thanks, Betty. Love you back!!! oxoxox
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Howdy! My salute to Cowboy Month continues. Now, what's a cowboy without a horse? Much as I love the bovine persuasion, I almost wish those buckaroos were called horseboys in honor of those elegant, hardworking, temperamental equines.
Here's some downhome kinds of four-legged friends. I mean, we all know paints from Little Joe, and Appaloosa from, well, Appaloosa. Mustang from Ford. But...did you know~
1. Bangtail is another name for a wild horse, a mustang.
2. Cold back is a green, or unbroke, horse.
3. Churnhead is slang for a stubborn horse.
4. Dobbin is a gentle farm horse.
5. Buttermilk is another name for a palomino.
6. Calico is spotted, piebald: a pinto.
7. Cremello is an albino with pink skin and blue eyes.
8. Medicine hat, a black speckled mustang, was considered good luck by the Indians.
9. Palomilla is a milk white with white mane and tail.
10. Sabino is light red or roan with a white belly.
How about that for a remuda, the string of horses, preferably geldings, assigned to cowboys on a ranch or along the trail?
I think my favorite movie horse was the mountain horse in Man from Snowy River. Broke my heart when the bad guys shot him out from under. Won't be watching that movie for a long, long time. How about you?
Saturday, June 13, 2009
In honor of Cowboy Month at the Wild Rose Press...and June 29's "Stop and Smell the Roses" Day featuring a cyber-bouquet authors' blogspots, I thought I'd fill the ole' blog up for the next few days with cowboy lore, trivia, lists, favorites, and cute stuff.
Here ya go: a Western riff on Exodus.
Cowboy Ten Commandments
1. Just one God.
2. Honor yer ma & pa.
3. No tellin' tales or gossipin.'
4. Get yerself to Sunday meetin.'
5. Put nothin' before God.
6. No foolin' around with another fella's gal.
7. No killin.'
8. Watch yer mouth. Hold off on cussin.'
9. Don't take what ain't yers.
10. Don't be hankerin' for yer buddy's stuff.
Heck, seems like a darn good code for anybody to live by. (I know, I know. Technically heck and darn are cussin.) For all his rough edges, Brixton Haynes, the hero of Marrying Minda is a downright good guy, through and through. These rules are ones he lives by.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Howdy! It's Cowboy Month at my wonderful publisher, The Wild Rose Press, featuring both historical and contemporary Stetson-capped hotties. So I hope you'll find some good reading. Our books are available both in e-form, and print at Amazon.
Some of my writing pals are featured in a terrific anthology...and I love anthos. I figure it's like getting several books in one. I intend to curl up for some great reads with a glass of my current fave, Aussie shiraz. How about joining me?
Monday, June 8, 2009
Please join me here today for a little peek at Marrying Minda...and me!
Helen's site is also a marvelous one for her features on hottie hunks. Whew.
Helen's site is also a marvelous one for her features on hottie hunks. Whew.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Whew. It's another sleepless night. I get them sometimes. Today was so fabulous in so many ways only to end with some bad news about a loved one. Sucks.
Yeah, I got my book shipment today, and Marrying Minda is beautiful!
Nicola Martinez designed such a stunning cover...and my hero was ecstatic, promising to read it instantly.
And I had a marvelous day blogging at Petticoats and Pistols, about Minda and the inception of the story.
But night came. I recalled another wonderful day recently, taking the grandbaby to Thomas the Train. If you know any little boy under ten, you know Thomas. We've got boxfuls of tracks and trains loaned to us by the dear boys next door who outgrew Thomas but are saving the huge investment for their own kids. When the antique railroad in Fillmore brought a Full-Size, actual Thomas the Train engine to town, well, we had to go.
A good time was had by all. If only I could see the world through the eyes of a child again, when the only worry was the next toy or cookie. Or tunnel!
Visit my website...I just updated it too. Another sleepless night thing.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Yes, nuts. I realized I hadn't blogged for a while and figured I might as well blather about my past few days:
The wedding invitations for our daughter are ALMOST ready to go. A couple of mistakes on the inner envelopes via the calligrapher. But enough to make me Grrrrrrrrrrrr.
Then...I thought Conan O'Brien was totally insipid. What's all the hoopla about? A brand new studio? Give me a break. I know I'm old, but if that ranting is really today's humor, dude...kill me now. Give me Leno and Headlines any day.
Hurry, ten o'clock p.m. September!!
Jay's great. He emcee'd the firefighter cancer fundraiser last fall. He rocked. The turnout was great, and I played the cancer card when some young guy out-bid me for a Speed Racer set. I eventually won out and brought it home for the grandbaby, already a car nut.
Enough on that. My promo blog for Marrying Minda is featured today at Petticoats and Pistols. It's a "behind the book" thing about why I chose Nebraska for the setting.
I think today's pictures explain that pretty well.
Oh, and my masochism is settling in nicely: I bought FOUR more rose bushes today at Home Depot. We had lunch at BJ's first...the margherita flatbread pizza is delish, and at Facebook you can download $5 coupons.
Tomorrow is Zumba with my neighbors. I feel like Mrs. McClusky of Desperate Housewives hanging out with them, trying to get that Latin work-out rhythm, but they think I'm cool. Fuego...(that's one of the dance moves. Oh, I'm sooooooo very bad at it.)
The grandbaby was here last weekend, always the best part of any time. Oh, and today is his daddy's birthday, my wonderful, wonderful son upon whom the sun rises and sets. Oh we so lucked out with him.
That's it for now. As you see, blogging isn't exactly my thing. Other than Petticoats.