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Book Projects

Stack of books

Today, I’m sharing a little about some of my book projects that are in the works.

As I mentioned earlier this week, I recently signed a contract with TwoDot Books for a Christmas project for 2019. I’ve been frantically working on it the last month or two and will continue at a hectic pace to wrap it all up by the end of the year. It truly is so much fun for me because it combines so many things that I love: cowboys, cooking, baking, decorating, Christmas, entertaining, gift-wrapping (yes, I love to wrap gifts and I know I’m weird!).

In addition to that project, I have eight (that’s right EIGHT) new sweet romances releasing between next week and Christmas.

DOHH Meme Long

Dream of Her Heart releases Sept. 27 and is book three in the Hearts of the War series set during World War II.

This book pulled me back into research from the 1940s (which I enjoy so much), and allowed me to revisit the characters from the first two stories, tying them together in a fun way.

Just because… here’s a little teaser from the book:

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Drops of rain started to fall and she looked up as Zane stepped in front of her.

“Care to dance with me?” he asked, holding out his hands.

Billie knew the smart thing to do was to climb in the car, shut the door, and wait for him to drive her home. But her heart overruled her head.

“I’d like that,” she said in a low voice she barely recognized as her own. Zane swept her into his arms as the singer on the radio crooned “The Very Thought of You.”

While a soft spring rain fell around them, Zane danced her around in circles, humming along to the song. Billie wondered if he had any idea what he was doing to her. The damage the romantic song with the even more romantic moment was inflicting on her heart.

“It’s just the thought of you,” he whispered as the singer sang the last line of the song.

One moment they were dancing and the next Zane had bracketed her face with his hands and was kissing the rain drops from her eyelids, her cheeks, her lips.

The second his mouth brushed hers, Billie felt the impact of the touch throughout every cell of her body. When he wrapped her in his arms and lifted her up, she slid her arms around his neck and gave herself over to the passionate exchange.

Oh, the man could kiss! His lips tantalized hers in a dance far more exquisite than any their feet might have executed. And he tasted heavenly — rich, dark, and decidedly decadent.

In that moment, Billie knew she was lost. Lost to emotions she hadn’t anticipated, to a love she’d most certainly not expected. Lost to the possibilities of what the future might hold with Zane by her side.

You can pre-order the book today.

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The rest of the of the books that are heading your way are Christmas stories!

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November 8 is my fifth annual Cowboys and Christmas release party that not only helps raise funds and awareness for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, but also celebrates the release of a new holiday book.

This year, the book releasing that date is the sixth book in the Rodeo Romance series! It’s titled Racing Christmas.

The story is about a barrel racer and a pickup man. She hates him, he’s never gotten over his love for her. Should make for some fun reading, don’t you think?

Stay tuned… I’ll have a cover reveal and more info about Racing Christmas soon!

Well, that covers two books. You’re probably wondering about the other six, right?

Four of the books are a new holiday series I’m super-duper excited about. I’ve been wanting to write this series for the past three years and just never managed to work them into my schedule. So I began this year by spending January writing them. The books are full of laughs and love and heartwarming moments. And animals. Did I mention wacky, crazy, lovable animals who almost steal the show?

I hope you’ll fall in love with them as much as I have. If you want to get the first look at this series, be sure to attend my Cowboys and Christmas release party where I’ll do a cover reveal and share more about the stories.

Then there were two… more projects.

I’m working with five other authors on an awesome holiday series and although I can’t tell you anything about it today, I can on Oct 1, so be sure to check back then!

And last, but not least, I plan to release another book in the Hardman Holidays series. I have yet to write said book, so I have no idea on the release date, but if all goes well, it will be early December! If you have any characters you are particularly interested in seeing in this book, let me know!

So there you have it… the many book projects I’m working on right now!

 

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The Kitchen Project

Labor Day weekend, one of the occupants of our home (raising hand in air as the guilty party) freaked out at the rapidly growing blackness that had been spreading across the backsplash behind the kitchen sink.

It had started as a few gnarly looking spots that ,while not pleasing to the eye, weren’t all that noticeable.

Then, as the summer progressed, so did the icky stain behind the “tile.”

When the dark stains began to seemingly multiple overnight, we decided to rip it out and replace it. (It was not a long thought-out decision, but one of haste driven by panic!) I had visions of black mold taking over the entire kitchen. Every worst-case scenario flew through my head.

It took no time to pull off the backsplash and discover three startling facts:

  1. The backsplash “tile” was not tile at all but vinyl flooring.
  2. The “tile” had been attached to thin sticks (think shims) and glued to the wall.
  3. There was not a lick of sheetrock to be found behind the whole mess.

Since we hope to completely gut the kitchen and do a major renovation in a few years, we just needed a temporary fix. But one better than than flimsy sticks and linoleum.

So I did some searching online and found Smart Tiles. These are basically big 3-D stickers that look like real tile. You can get them in a variety of patterns and styles.

There are a number of companies that produce them, but Smart Tiles was the only one I found that guarantee their tiles to stick. (Yes, I read enough Amazon reviews on the various tiles to know that can be a problem if you don’t follow the directions.)

The tiles can be applied over a variety of surfaces, but our problem was we basically had nothing to attach them to beyond the studs from the walls. Our first step was to put up sheet rock.

Only the tiles won’t stick to sheet rock. So we painted them with primer made specifically for sheet rock (which has to cure for 72 hours before you can attach the tiles).

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When the waiting period for the primer was over, I assembled my tools, which included a cutting mat, an exacto knife, and a ruler.

The tiles I chose are glossy subway-style tiles. They come so the ends notch together seamlessly. In a corner, you simply cut away the notches to get a straight edge. Super easy!

And applying them to the wall was a very simple process.

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I couldn’t be happier with the end result. Are they tiles that will last for twenty years? No. But they will look nice until we get around to that full-blown kitchen remodel!

The day we ripped out the backsplash, I decided since the kitchen was a disaster anyway, I might as well turn on the self-cleaning cycle on my oven.

Apparently, the stove took exception to being cleaned, because it died. Like, totally died, dude!  And since nothing beyond an expensive repair bill would resuscitate it, we decided to order a new one.

I felt pretty fortunate to find a Labor Day sale with appliances 40 percent off, then another 10% discount if I ordered online. So… I talked CC into getting a new refrigerator while we were at it. The fridge we’d been using worked fine, mostly. I’d recently noticed some leaking (and it didn’t have an ice maker or water in the door) so the leak was not a good sign. Seventeen years ago when we bought our house, the fridge came with it and it wasn’t new then. It was time for an upgrade.

The only problem… the appliances would take three weeks to get here.

Three weeks! Since our old fridge was still working, that wasn’t a problem. But three weeks with no stove? Especially when I’m elbow deep in working on recipes for my Cowboy Christmas book project?

It was a long three weeks, but when the appliances arrived this week, I decided it was worth that wait!

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I love, love, love my new stove and fridge!

Since I’ve been buried in projects the last few months, I thought you might like to know what some of them are!

I’ll share about them in the coming days, but today’s post is about a brand-new endeavor for me that I’m super excited about it.

This summer, I signed my very first book contract. I’m working with a fabulous editor at TwoDot Books on a project for the 2019 holiday season that combines so many of my favorite things: cowboys, home decor, Christmas, and cooking!

Could it get any better?

I think not.

The book is tentatively titled Cowboys and Christmas and will be out in time for the holidays next year. It will feature interviews with cowboys and their families, decorating suggestions, gift-giving ideas, crafty tips, recipes, recipes, recipes, beautiful photographs, and more!

The fact my stove died and I had to go three weeks without one put a bit of a damper on my creation of recipes, but the new stove arrived yesterday and I’m prepared to put it through a workout in the coming weeks.

Oatmeal Cookies

I’m on deadline to get half the book finished by mid-October, the rest by the end of the year. So this is one of the many projects keeping me hopping. (But it’s such incredible fun!)

 

hamley store

Today, I’m excited to spend the morning at Hamley & Co – an iconic western store in Pendleton, Oregon, that’s been in the same location since 1905.

Hamley’s was first known as a harness and saddle maker, but soon gained a reputation as the maker of “the finest saddles man could ride.”

If you happen to be in Pendleton today, stop by the store between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. I’d love say hello and you can get an autographed book while you’re there!

Find out more about Hamley & Co on their website: https://www.hamleyco.com/about-us

One in a Million

roses CC

See these gorgeous roses?

Captain Cavedweller brought them to me, even though today is his birthday.

That’s right… today is his birthday and he brought me roses. Not just any roses, but pink roses which are my favorite.

The sweet gift of the roses embodies everything that makes him one in a million.

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I could tell you dozens of the hundreds of reasons I love this guy. I could go on and on about how he’s been a fabulous husband, incredible friend, and one of the best men I’ve ever met.

But I’ll refrain.

Instead, I’ll just say that CC never ceases to amaze me. Never.

As he celebrates his birthday today, I hope he knows how unique and special, wonderful and kind, gentle and good he truly is.

And how very much he is loved.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Captain Cavedweller!

DOHH Meme Long

I’m excited to announce Dream of Her Heart (Hearts of the War Book 3) will release Sept. 27 on Amazon!

You can pre-order your copy now, or wait until then and get it through Kindle Unlimited.

The book is about Lieutenant Zane West and Nurse Billie Brighton. If you read Garden of Her Heart, Zane was mentioned as Rock Laroux’s best friend. And of course, Nurse Billie was at the hospital with Rock and then mentioned in Home of Her Heart as Klayne Campbell’s nurse, too.

Dream of Her HeartIs there room for love in a time of war?

Days before he must ship out to prepare for a dangerous mission in the Pacific, Lieutenant Zane West crosses Oregon to see a good friend who has been wounded in action. He arrives at the veteran’s hospital, only to discover the army captain has disappeared without a trace. As Zane searches for answers, he finds himself captivated by a beautiful and spunky nurse who offers her help. Is she the key to his future, or an unwelcome distraction from his important wartime mission?

Nurse Billie Brighton puts her heart and boundless energy into caring for wounded soldiers, but she vowed long ago never to let one of the dashing rogues turn her head. That is, until a handsome lieutenant arrives seeking his missing friend. Thoroughly enchanted, she can’t help but break her own rules. Has she finally found the love she secretly longs for, or is she headed for heartbreak?

Step back in time to 1942 with a sweet, charming World War II romance full of history, heart, and a happily ever after.

TEASER:

Regardless of the location, it seemed hospitals all smelled the same. He’d spent a few weeks in one when he’d injured his leg and couldn’t wait to get out. Considering the months Rock had been a patient, he couldn’t even begin to think about how much his friend must want to leave.

He walked up to the nurse’s station and waited. The nurse had her back to him, jotting down notes on a chart. The woman was short in stature, but plenty of curves were evident beneath her uniform. Hair the color of summer wheat coiled into curls at the back of her head and around the edges of her nurse’s cap.

A slight whiff of perfume, one he recognized as a popular choice among the females he’d been around the last few years, tickled his nose. On this woman, though, it held a deeper, richer fragrance of spices flirting with citrus-infused bouquets. If he had plans to be in town more than a few days, he might even ask the woman on a date. As it was, he tried to keep from being distracted by females. Married to his career and dedicated to serving in the war, he didn’t have time left over for courting.

Impatient to see Rock, Zane cleared his throat. The woman spun around, stealing his breath as his gaze collided with hers. Big green eyes the color of moss glimmered behind thick lashes. A pert little nose and pink lips added to the flawlessness of her face. She might not be any bigger than a minute, but the nurse was stunning. If she hadn’t been wearing a crisp, white uniform, he might have taken her for a pin-up girl.

When she smiled at him, he felt his mouth stretch into a broad grin. “Howdy, miss.”

“Howdy yourself,” she said, cocking an eyebrow. “May I help you?”

A dozen various lines guaranteed to earn him a smack across the face floated through his mind, but he merely snatched the hat off his head and nodded. “I sure hope you can.

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Girls getaway 2017

I spent time last week with a group of women I love and admire so much. Each year (or as close to annually as we can get), a group of cousins and I take my beloved Aunt Robbie on a little shopping / eating / laughing excursion.

This year, we were on a mission to find my auntie an outfit for her son’s wedding. His beautiful bride-to-be is the tall blond standing by my auntie in the center of the photo (which is from last year’s getaway because we all forgot to snap a photo this year!)

My gracious, but it was hot! At one point, the temperature reading in my car said it was 114 degrees! It was a good thing we spent most of our time inside the mall or the hotel.

We had such fun shopping, laughing with and at each other (thanks for the Malibu Barbie comment, Nanc!), and just enjoying the company – and food! There was plenty of good food, too!

I always look forward to our getaways (which are rarely in the same place two years in a row), because they give me a chance to relax, unwind, and have my heart filled by those fabulous ladies.

On my way home, I stopped to visit my parents. My dad has been wanting me to go with him to my brother’s place and look through some “old stuff” he has stored out there. It just so happened that my brother also had a bunch of blackberry bushes ripe for the picking.

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The bushes were sprawled for yards and yards along the ditch near the canal. My other brother met us there and then, covered in long-sleeved shirts and wearing gloves, we started picking. These blackberries were definitely not the thornless variety. In fact, I’ve still got so many little thorns in my fingers, I’m not certain I’ll ever get them all out (and yes, that was with me wearing gloves!)

It was sweltering, but we picked away.  At one point, my brother assured me the best picking was down a steep bank that had no trail, just loose dirt and rocks the size of bread loaves and thistles. So I went down the bank after him and I looked back to see my octogenarian dad trailing us. Assured he made it to the bottom fine, my dad and I got into a system of him pruning back the sprawling blackberry canes while I picked.

When we finished that area and it was time to climb up the bank, I watched as my dad scrambled up that bank like a mountain goat… then he turned around and gave me a hand up. I was amazed that he still runs circles around all of us.

My mom and oldest brother were working on a section of berries right off the canal road bank. Dad went to help them while I settled in to pick a thick patch of berries, fully expecting something to slither out of the bushes at any moment since my brothers were trading rattlesnake stories.

I bent down to pick a bunch of berries and suddenly felt something prick my back. Nothing rattled or hissed, so I straightened and the pricking and poking painfully increased. I dropped the berries in my hand into the bucket at my feet then reached back, trying to figure out what was attacking me. I felt nothing on the outside of the shirt I’d borrowed from Dad. But I could certainly feel it inside.

Trying to decide if a wasp or bee had somehow climbed inside for a ride, I tugged off the long sleeve shirt then flapped the back of my T-shirt, hoping whatever it was would  go away.

By this time, I’m fairly certain I looked like a dog chasing its tail as I spun in a circle, yanked on the back of my shirt and desperately wished the pain would stop. I finally caught the evil perpetrator – a foot-long piece of dried-up blackberry cane with thorns about an inch long covering it. It had gotten tangled in my T-shirt and every time I moved, it poked and scratched.

I tossed it down and glared at the four family members who had completely ignored my shenanigans. Reluctantly, I pulled my borrowed shirt back on and returned to picking berries.

Although the cobbler I made with the berries turned out quite tasty, I told Captain Cavedweller he better enjoy it because I’m not too keen on another blackberry picking expedition.