Hi everyone. Today arrived with a big chill and freeze warnings. Let’s warm up with a snippet from my holiday romance novella–a two-hour read. Learn more here.
A Brief Setup
Two days before Christmas, Terra Westbrook’s car broke down and is now in the garage in a small village. The mechanic isn’t available. Terra and her little girl, Kylee, warm up in a restaurant. She made reservations at a hotel outside of town. Alanna, the friendly server babysitting her little niece, offered to drive her to the hotel on the way home from work. However, there was a problem with the hotel.
Secret Santa’s Rundown Sleigh: A Holiday Romance Novella
This snippet is from Chapter One
“Nonsense. You’ll come home with us. My brother won’t care. What’s two more people? It’ll be wonderful to have you come. Jude has a big house. The kids can get to know each other.”
“Absolutely not. I can’t bother your brother and his family on Christmas. No, I appreciate your kindness, Alanna, but you’ve already done so much. Please, take us to the hotel. We’ll figure something out even if I must beg for a ride back to Gaylord. We’ll have a better chance in a bigger town.”
“You won’t need to beg me, Terra. Tomorrow night, a close friend of Jude’s in the village hosts a big party with games and Santa for the kids. Stay with us. We’ll all go into town together. Please say you’ll stay?”
“Mama, can we? I don’t want to sleep in my car or get kicked out of no stupid hotel.”
“Please?” Maisy begged. “I’ll share my stuffed animals with Kylee.”
Terra’s eyes stung. If not for her child, she’d have insisted on going to the hotel, but she couldn’t do this to her daughter when the offer of a warm house awaited them. She sighed.
“Terra?” Alanna asked. “Please? Trust me when I say it’s okay.” She leaned in. “Maisy is all Jude has. He lost his wife five years ago. He’s lonely but doesn’t realize it. He won’t mind.”
Five years ago? Maisy would’ve been two. Terra glanced back and the child’s blue eyes met hers. Terra smiled. What if it had been Kylee? Would Grace care for her? Yes, she’d care for Kylee like Terra would care for her nephew Liam if the need arose. She wrung her hands in her lap, nodding slowly. “Okay.”
The kids screamed in glee in the backseat. “Aunt Alanna, turn up the radio! Frosty!”
Alanna turned up the volume.
Terra couldn’t say another word as Alanna drove a few more miles on the slick road without the sand and salt mixture and in fresh falling snow. The image of the man who entered the restaurant formed in her mind.
Terra gulped. What had his life been like alone? What had happened to Maisy’s mother? How had he coped? Alanna slowed way down before turning left and under a signpost. Snow fell too hard for her to read the name above the word Ranch. “Your brother’s a rancher up here?”
“No. He has horses though. He’d have a ranch if it made sense. Hence, the signpost.” She laughed. “His renovated 1890s home is Jude’s pride and joy, besides Maisy and his horses. He’ll be at a meeting in town, on his snowmobile, no less, but when he comes home, he’ll be out feeding them and the stray cats, or working on who knows what. I’ll get you settled then talk to him. I’m so happy you said yes.”
“I need to call my sister. I haven’t talked to her since I told her my car broke down. It’s the last time I travel so close to the holidays. I was positive I’d miss the storm but never expected my car to break down.”
“We’ll be okay, Mom. We have each other.” Tears stung Terra’s eyes, and she muttered, “Yes. Yes, we do, sweetheart.”
Thanks so much for reading. Learn more about this book HERE.
Fall is upon us here in the U.S., friends. The weather people here tell us our fall colors will be late this year. I’ve only seen a few trees with color, so the experts must be right. I didn’t make it to town to photograph the “scarecrows” yet. I’ll plan on it this week. Have a wonderful weekend.
“…Love can find you at every time in your life.” The last line in the quote inspires my muse. Age is only a number when it comes to love. Yes, I can agree with this because, once, love found me at a time later in life when I never expected it.
I took this picture years ago. A couple of weeks ago, I dug this out as I was emptying a storage tub. Since then, I’ve seen five Thunderbirds like this driving around town in random places. Maybe it’s a sign that I need one? Ha-ha. In my dreams! #WordlessWednesday with words.
Howdy, folks. Here is the follow-up excerpt I mentioned in the previous post. For those who missed it, I had intended to start book six in the Double Dutch Ranch Series: Love at First Sight in 2023. The excerpt I’m posting is to give you a look at Rob, who stars in the sixth book in the series. He appears in almost every book in the series and the spin off series.
The setting for this series is my fictitious town of Canyon Junction in Arizona with the Sonoran Desert and Superstition Mountains as a backdrop. Check the link HERE if you want to know more about the series. Books are rated between a PG-13 and R rating by movie standards. Going forward, I intend to update all of my books to a PG-13 rating and below. My newest books are already there. Rob’s book will reflect the change too.
Set up: Nora and Tristan had a major argument, and she needed a ride home. Who better to call than a longtime friend.
Like Rob’s long hair, so is this excerpt.
This would kill her, but she’d have to ask for a ride. Who could she call? She took out her phone and called her old friend Rob Adams who recently opened Rob’s Place, a local sports bar in town. What choice did she have?
He answered, “Rob’s Place.”
“Rob? This is Nora Trinity.”
“Nora, hey, hi. How’s it going, girl? Grab Tristan and come up for a drink on the house. We’re kind of slow tonight.”
Nora dropped to the bed. The bar was noisy and didn’t sound slow at all. Glasses clinked and TVs blared in the background. “Can I ask a big favor?”
“Huh? What’s wrong? Are you all right?”
His voice held concern. They’d been good friends in school, but that was a long time ago. They’d run into each other in town a few times since she’d been back, and she and Tristan visited the last place he worked before opening his own bar, and the Grand Opening, but she had to ask. “I need a ride home. Please don’t ask me any questions.”
“All right. Where are you?”
Don’t cry now. Oh, should she be doing this? Maybe Tristan would have a change of heart when he returned… That didn’t matter. He needed time to think. She did, too. “I’m at the Double Dutch. Tristan’s section of the ranch.”
“Is everything all right there?”
“Not for me.”
He must’ve been behind the bar because it sounded like he juggled beer glasses to patrons. “I’ll be right there.”
“I’ll be waiting at the office. Thank you so much, Rob.”
She looked up after disconnecting. Tristan waited at the door with his hands gripping the jamb. “I’m leaving. I had to call for a ride.”
“I know. I came back to give you a lift.”
He had removed his flannel shirt and looked so good standing there in a black t-shirt and black jeans. That shock of hair on his forehead needed to be brushed back. Would she ever be able to do it again? “I have a ride.”
“I brought you here, I’ll take you home. Cancel your ride.”
“No. I had to embarrass myself by asking, and I’m going through with it.” She stood and picked up her bag. He didn’t move out of the way. She peered at him eye to eye. “Let me pass.” Tristan turned enough to let her slip by. “You know where I live if you change your mind.” She strode down the hall and ran into Destiny at the top of the stairs. That was the last thing she’d wanted. Hold it together a little longer. “Hi, sweetheart. I’m going home now. I’ll see you later.”
Destiny stomped. “No, Nora-Mom. You have to stay.” She looked up at Nora with wide eyes. “Why are you going? Can I go with you?”
Tristan came over to take her hand. “You’re not going with her.”
Nora knelt to hug her tightly. “I love you, Destiny.”
“Nora, don’t go with your suitcase.” She cried. “Don’t go!”
Nora rushed down the stairs. Destiny broke from her dad’s hand and ran down after her. “Nora, don’t go.” She took Nora’s hand.
“Destiny, you can’t go with me, honey. I’m sorry.”
Tristan came down the stairs to take her hand again, but she pulled away from him. “No, Daddy!” She ran upstairs and slammed her door.
Nora peered at Tristan. As much as she tried not to cry, she couldn’t hold it back. Oh, God, oh, God. She rushed past Judy who no doubt came to see what was wrong with Destiny. No, she couldn’t face her. She hurried toward the office, closed the door, and locked it behind her so no one followed her in.
Headlights shone through the front window. She rushed out and Rob pushed the door open in his truck, so she stuffed her bag and purse in ahead of her. Nora glanced toward the office door when she reached for her seat belt. Come on, Tristan, don’t let me go.
“Where to, Red? Don’t you live out on the golf course?”
“That’s right. Drive please.” Rob didn’t look clean-cut like he had during their high school days. Now, he had long hair and tattoos. It fit him though, and he was even more handsome all grown up.
“Tristan’s a crazy asshole if he let you go that easily. Wanna go back to the bar for a drink?”
Her stomach reminded her she hadn’t eaten, but she wasn’t sure if she could. There wasn’t much at home to eat, either. “Sure, I can’t promise to be good company right now. What’s your special tonight?”
“I’ll make you one of my special burgers.”
“I’d like that. Fries, too?”
“The best in town.”
“Thank you for giving me a ride.” She broke down and cried again to think of the future without Tristan and Destiny. “I can’t have a drink.”
Rob put his hand on her shoulder as a friendly gesture. “Oh, I see. That’s okay. I have soda…and milk.”
“Don’t mention it to anyone. No one but Tristan and I know.”
“I won’t, but now that makes Tristan look like an even bigger asshole.”
“He’s not to blame. It’s my fault for not trusting him.”
I never planned on writing book six in my Double Dutch Ranch Series: Love at First Sight this year.
Never say never.
My cover designer had a promotion for some of her premade covers. I saw one and emailed her, saying it fit a future book. Future book. She wrote back to say she’d hold it for me. However, I told her I hadn’t even started the book yet. Well, a few days later I opened a document, typed Chapter 1, and I kept writing. I told her the cover inspired me to start the book. The cover became mine when she began working on it.
My designer tweaked the cover to make it more mine. 🙂 Plus, she added my name to the bottom and “Book Title” at the top where the title will go. So, I almost have a complete cover for a book that wouldn’t be written until 2023.
Even without the tweaks, the cover was more than enough to kick inspiration into gear. The cover is different from my other books. So is the hero. This means, it gave me new ideas. It’s fun writing this book because of the new ideas. He appears in nearly every book in the above mentioned series and the spin off series. I’m talking about my upcoming hero—Rob Adams. Hey, how about that. I mentioned my hero’s name, which isn’t something I do this soon.
This book has been in my head since early on when I introduced Rob. He grew up in town and went to school with some of the stars in the series.
As the years flew by, I had more time to develop him. He’s evolved since book one. I knew he’d get a book one day. I already had the opening clear in my head.
Because of the cover, I’m now over 17,900K words and loving the story thus far. I’m amazed and thrilled.
At least I have a jump on it now. However, I’m writing two other books with a fourth on the back burner.
Funny the way things work. In book five, a new character popped into the story—a female named Scarlett—who I thought would be Rob’s heroine when he got a book. In a stern voice, my muse blurted out, “Uh-uh! Not so fast. Scarlett is still healing. We’ll set her aside for now.” News to me because, heck, I’m the author, and I didn’t know about Scarlett’s cousin, who is a perfect match for Rob. So, I say to my muse, “You go, girl. Thanks!”
Well, I had a lengthy excerpt to introduce Rob in this post, but I’m adding it to its own post to make this one shorter and more to the point of the title. The except is one where Rob appears in the first book in the series. So, with this post divided into two posts–Inspiration Strikes Again #1 and #2–it’s your choice to read the excerpt which will follow in the next post today or Tuesday.
Book Six featuring Rob Adams is coming in 2023. The series and spin off takes place in my fictitious town of Canyon Junction in Arizona. I set the series in and around the spectacular Sonoran Desert with the Superstition Mountains as a backdrop.
I’m excited and had to share! Enjoy your weekend.
It’s a holiday weekend here in the U.S. for what we call Labor Day weekend. The actual day falls on the first Monday in September.
The Future Holds… Holds What? Good question. I’d like to know, and I will soon. This title could refer to a lot of things. Health? Finances? Life. Today my post refers to the high cost of apartment rental fees.
Skyrocketing rental fees are knocking at my door. It’s happening to many. Are you experiencing it?
If someone doesn’t do something about these high rental costs or the costs of buying a new home, we’ll see more homeless people. This is not a political rant, so let’s not make it one.
My apartment here was remodeled a short time ago. Now the owner’s plan is to remodel every apartment, including the one I’m in, in this complex and the one I transferred from (same owners) replacing them with a more luxurious design and a layout redesign, which equals higher rental fees. My cousin is a victim of not having his lease renewed at the other complex because of the remodel plan. Tenants over there have to move when their lease is up. It’s an increase I would not qualify for if I still lived there. Neither can some of the other tenants.
My cousin moved the last week of July, but he was able to take one of the newly remodeled apartments at a much, much higher rental fee. It used to be fifty dollars was a huge increase from one year to the next. Our incomes don’t go up two to three hundred dollars a month!
If apartment owners read this, I’ll likely get brow-beaten, but I have to blow off steam. Now, we’re talking about a two to three hundred dollar or more increase. It seems, in my opinion, apartment owners in general have found a way to increase rent, get rid of lower income tenants, and attract those who can afford to pay their high dollar.
Granted, many apartments do need an update. Making an apartment pretty to the eye, doesn’t mean it changes what’s behind the walls in older complexes like plumbing and electrical.
What makes me so mad, and I can only speak for where I am, is this is happening to an entire complex, and not everyone can pay the increase. They don’t have a choice except pay or get out. Get out they say! It isn’t easy to find an affordable apartment these days, let alone pay the rental fees and moving expenses. My cousin was devastated when he received his letter of non-renewal. His first questions was: “What did I do to not have my release renewed?” 😥 He didn’t do anything.
This is not only happening here. A friend lives in a different complex in a different city, and she received a letter saying they are remodeling when their lease is up. I guess they too have a choice to take a newly remodeled apartment, but at a higher rent. She’s also on a fixed income. Her rent is also climbing to the “market value.” Then she received another letter saying they’d remodel the kitchen while she lived there. I “heard” through the grave vine, the same could happen where I am now.
Thankfully, I’m lucky at this moment. At least for now, but the clock is ticking. Had I still lived in the other complex, my lease would “not” have been renewed. With my transfer over here, my lease now expires a year from when I moved in here. However, my reprieve is short, because my lease renewal is not far away.
Remember the awful smell that drove me out of the other place? Well, I strongly feel that God’s hand was in this whole move thing as far as I’m concerned. If not, I would have been in Timbuctoo or who knows where after July 31st.
The last I heard about where I am now, they ARE renewing our leases and not, ahem, “kicking us out” so they can remodel. “Kicking us out” are my words, not theirs. At least that was the plan when I asked my manager if they were doing the same thing to us here. Months have passed since I asked, though.
I’m only blowing off steam about this place because no one knows where I live. I don’t want to call out my complex. They aren’t the only apartment owners doing this. New managers here walked into a mess when they came, anyway, so now they have to deal with this. They’re doing a wonderful job with the mess that was left for them.
However, while in the office, I asked and they gave me an estimate on my upcoming rent, saying it’s a market value increase. Yikes, the increase is frightening. OUCH. Ouch!
I don’t know what’s going to happen, not only to me, from this point on. In the meantime, I’m still cleaning out what didn’t get cleaned out with my last move, because like it or not, another move is in my future.
If I don’t plan on staying here, then I have until the 1st of September to find a new place because I need to give a two-month notice. If I can’t find a more affordable apartment, I’ll live here another year. When I moved here, I hadn’t planned on it only being for one year, so I do want to stay. God led me here. I have faith the same thing will happen when it’s time to do it again. The local news had a spotlight on rising rental rates this past week. They mentioned getting a roommate might be the answer. What do you think?
Please, if you leave a comment, keep it non-political, because I will delete it. I don’t like saying it but… MY blog. MY rules.
Do you know August is Romance Awareness Month? Is it time to pay a little extra attention to the one you love? Why save your affection for Romance Awareness Month or Valentine’s day? Displaying romantic gestures can happen every day of the year. Am I right? Fold the laundry because I’ve had a hard day, or turn up the heat or toss a throw over me because I’m cold. Little things can say a lot. To me, these are romantic gestures. They don’t have to be huge.
Love notes and quotes warm my heart.
She lay in the darkness made bright by the filtering moonbeams, stretched her arms above her head, and gave herself up to dreams. She felt no shame, no regret, but a still ecstasy, a wild exultation because of her love. All life, all bliss, all beauty would be hers and his, because they had given their hearts to each other. ~Dorothy Scarborough, Impatient Griselda, 1927 [a little altered –tg]
QuoteGarden Love Quotes
How do you get romantic with the one you love? Ooohhhh, wait. That’s kind of personal so just tell yourself.
Okay, okay, no more moaning and groaning now. Since it is Romance Awareness Month, and I’m an author of romance, I’m briefly covering the romance readers and writers side of romance. The majority of my followers aren’t romance writers or readers of the genre, so if that’s you choosing to read this, I hope I don’t bore you. I must be doing something else right to have y’all following me. Thanks!
Sexual orientation: 86% heterosexual or straight; 9% bisexual, pansexual, or other bi+ identity; 2% gay or lesbian.
Just an FYI. My newsletter demographics tell me many of my subscribers are close to my age. And heck, I read (and write) romance as a senior, so it’s good to know that I’m not alone.
RWA also says:
Romance fiction is smart, fresh and diverse. Whether you enjoy contemporary dialogue, historical settings, mystery, thrillers or any number of other themes, there’s a romance novel waiting for you! *Romance Writers of America® (RWA)
Writing romance might sound easy. Pick your characters, think up a story, find a setting, do some research, write it.
Whoa there, partner. Pull in the reins. Not so fast.
It’s not easy to write romance, but it’s a heck of a lot of fun to bring characters together and guide them to a happily-ever-after or happy-for-now ending. Don’t you dare forget the happily-ever-after or happy-for-now ending!
One thing I love about writing romance is the emotion, both in the story, settings, characters, and within myself. And the Happy Endings. Yes, I cry during writing. I figure if I don’t feel a deep emotion, you won’t, either. I’m proud to know I can write romance even though many snub their noses at me as if romance isn’t a real thing. In the past, I’d hold back saying what genre I wrote because I couldn’t stand seeing “ew” on their faces. Come on, it’s a billion-dollar business. (Not my business. Ha-ha.)
From Book Riot: It’s unquestionable that romance books sell. At $1.44 billion in sales per year, romance is the best-selling genre, nearly double the next highest genre of crime/mystery at $728.2 million. It’s even seen an increase in sales during the pandemic as more readers are looking for a guaranteed happily ever after.
If you want to write romance, first you need to know what is necessary in the genre.
Once again, I’ll add another fact from Romance Writers of America:
Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. Visit the link to read more statistics and facts. *Romance Writers of America® (RWA)
Genres, Subgenres, and Tropes
By the way, in romance, there are many genres and subgenres. Fantasy, paranormal, sweet, young adult, new adult romance… The list goes on.
My genre is romance and subgenre is contemporary romance and contemporary western romance. Two books are also holiday romance. One of my favorite tropes to write is second chances. I also use the tropes: alpha-male, small town, and workplace romance/falling for the boss. I’ve used sports romance for my Bull Rider Series, but that keyword doesn’t work well for bull riding, or my bull riding books.
I don’t incorporate these tropes because they’re popular, but because they fit my stories. In fact, when I began writing these themes, I never heard of the word “trope” referring to books.
When I plan a book, I don’t look for a popular trope. Often, a certain trope becomes a trend. For me, I don’t write fast enough to get a book out because it’s the trend at the moment. It might not be by the time I finish a book. However, if I wrote faster, I would consider following trends.
Examples of other tropes: When I typed “romance tropes” into Amazon search under Kindle Books, some books with these tropes came up. I knew some of them:
Enemies to Lovers
Marriage of convenience
Best friend’s siblings or friends to lovers
Workplace romance or falling for the boss
Referring to the “second chance” trope… Most say second chance romance is a couple coming back together for a second chance after being apart. Jake and Beth in my book, Whispers of Forever: Mending Christmas, is a second chance romance. It isn’t my only book like this. Jake and Beth were high school sweethearts in love but torn apart. Thirteen long years later, they met again. Could this be their opportunity for a second chance (in their small town)? My series and standalones are set in small towns except for the Bull Rider Series.
Others say the second chance trope is couples finding love again as in losing a spouse or partner. This is the case in my book Seasoned with Destiny: A Gift of Love, where my widowed sixty some year-old ranch matriarch, and one of the two men vying for her hand fall in love—getting a second or another chance at love.
I’m curious. If you’re a romance reader or writer how do you see a “second chance” romance trope? I think readers who enjoy this trope will make their own decisions.
Do you see a second chance romance as a couple getting back together after a past relationship like Jake and Beth?
A couple finding love again with someone new like the widow and widowers in Seasoned with Destiny?
Or maybe you see it as both?
Does it matter? I lean toward getting back together after a relationship didn’t work the first time like Jake and Beth, but I’m not against reading and writing second chances in either scenario.
I could add more, but I’ll let you off the hook. Let me know if you come across anything that isn’t correct here. Until the next time… Take care and be safe.
It’s time to get romantic!
You have the entire month of August.
Hours fly, Flowers die: New days, New ways: Pass by! Love stays. ☙ Time is Too Slow for those who Wait, Too Swift for those who Fear, Too Long for those who Grieve, Too Short for those who Rejoice; But for those who Love, Time is not. ~Henry Van Dyke, “Katrina’s Sun-Dial,” Music and Other Poems, 1904
Yesterday I wrote an introduction to this post instead of adding it here to avoid what would be a longer post. It’s already long! Grab a beverage and enjoy. The post has been updated since the original.
The fourth Saturday in July is National Day of the Cowboy. Be sure to check out the events they plan for this day, and more at the Empire Ranch Foundation.
Back in 2005, to make sure it stays that way, the organization National Day of the Cowboy (NDOC) sponsored a bill in the Wyoming House and Senate to preserve and celebrate cowboy culture and history in that state, attaching an eponymous holiday to be observed on the fourth Saturday in July…
You know I’m jumping on this! Ha, too funny!I’m learned a few things since I began writing contemporary western romance. So for your reading pleasure, I present to you my take on the cowboy on their special day. Remember, I’m focusing mainly on MY take, which may not be the same as yours.
Mostly, I’m dealing with fiction today. However, a whole lot of facts here are true. Images are from Pixabay unless otherwise stated. Credit for the Featured Image at the top: Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com. In the shameless promotion of showing my book covers, all of my covers have been created by award winning cover designer Dawné Dominique, at DusktilDawn Designs.
Why I Create Cowboy Heroes:
What’s not to love? I reckon this post is for anyone who loves a cowboy. I couldn’t create this if I didn’t love them myself. It doesn’t matter if they’re single, married, head-over-heels in love, or dads. Scowling or smiling, fists balled to protect what they love, or gently holding a child’s hand, I think they’re the sexiest men alive. That’s my opinion. I know everyone doesn’t think so. Let me have fun on this day. I hope you read this with an open mind and know it’s all in fun.
We’ll start with the basics from the ground up:
Let’s put some boots on our guy’s feet. The cowboy boot fits nicely into the stirrup. They’re sturdy for whatever jobs he has to take care of during the day or night. He has more than one pair of boots. Sometimes you’ll find his boots to be dusty and worn—his favorites, but sometimes they’ll be shiny and new. Some ranchers are now wearing lace-up boots for working.
He’ll spill coffee on them, step in horse or cattle manure–depending on what he raises, or do a two-step on the dance floor. Hey, readers… Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. That’s why they make soap and hand sanitizer. He’s your guy. When he’s dog-tired after a long day of hard work, feel free to pull them off for him. He’ll thank ya for it. *Wink* Remember to thank him for it, when he does the same for you. He will on occasion.
Tight jeans. Loose-fittin’ jeans. Dirty, ripped, or dress jeans… Oh, come on. Need I say more? Add a pair of chaps and my eyes will bug out.
Speaking for myself
I like an oval belt buckle holding those jeans up on their waist. However, some cowboys don’t wear belts for fear of something catching on them while working. I’m torn here, for with no belt, the jeans ride lower on the waist. When he lifts a saddle on a horse, or bends over with a hoof pick, you might be lucky enough to get a peek at that abdomen and sexy back you can’t wait to run your nails over.
Oh, we can’t forget his t-shirt with the sleeves tight against bulging biceps. Cowboys with dad bods have bulging biceps too. Hard work, is hard work. Young or old, he’s dedicated to hard work. After giving a horse a bath, expect a little water on the shirt. Should I explain the wet t-shirt?
Flannel shirts with the sleeves turned up a couple rolls and open in the front isn’t so bad, either. But, wow, when your cowboy wears a dress shirt and clean jeans, hold him tight when you go out. Be prepared for a lot of ogling. Don’t be surprised if he casually looks back, but don’t worry, he’s true to you. However, he might deck another cowboy for getting a little too touchy-feely with you.
A hint of stubble on the face or clean-shaven works for me. How about you? Chances are, you’ll find a little more than a hint of scruff after a couple long, tired days. Concerning beards, here’s a brief conversation between my heroine and hero in a work in progress. They haven’t seen each other for three and a half years. Due to circumstances beyond their control, she is staying with him, only at the moment. Not with him per se, but on his ranch:
He draped his flannel shirt over the chair and took a bite of his donut. “Better eat the scrambled eggs while they’re still good, or I’ll take them out to the pigs.”
Pigs? She handed him the mug of coffee complete with milk. “You wear a beard now?”
He laughed and wiped powdered sugar from his mustache and donut crumbs from his beard. “Not normally. I haven’t shaved in four days. Do I look like hell?”
“More like a lumberjack, but that’s not a bad thing.” She chuckled.
Copyright 2022 Mary J. McCoy-Dressel/Mary J. Dressel
You might have to get used to a little whisker-burn now and then. Go without shaving whatever needs shaving for a couple days. He’ll get the picture. 😉
Oh, readers, when our cowboy sets his jaw in confidence or stubbornness, you know he means business. But so do we, so it evens out. His attitude or mood isn’t always going to be congenial. He has bad days too, and sometimes he can be downright miserable to be around.
This man’s smile? Mmm, how about quirked lips when he questions something you said? A side smile? I can tell you, my knees buckle when he shoots that dangerous grin my way. Ooohhhh, what about his to-die-for wanton smile? You know the one where it shows in his eyes, too? The one he gives when you wonder what he’s up to next? But, goodness, when his face lights up with that special look, it TELLS you what he’s up to next. When he smiles at you in this way, you know your feet won’t be on the floor much longer. Am I right? Sigh. Who moved my fan? (I’ll use one of my own cowboys for an example–Caulder “Hotness” McCutchen, my sexy alpha bull rider.)
It doesn’t matter if those sexy kissable lips are full, soft, chapped, or sunkissed sweet. When it comes to kissing them, you know they’re a perfect match for yours.
Mmm, his hair. Hair and eyes are the first things I notice. He might wear his hair on the longer side. Who has time for a haircut? He’s too busy tending to a ranch, cutting hay on a prairie, riding horses and driving cattle across a wide divide. He might be fixing fences in a dusty desert or monsoon, or trying to stay on a bull or bronc for eight seconds. Depending on his mood, he’s comfortable wearing his hair neatly combed when the occasion arises, or wind-blown messy when he’s busy. Whichever way he chooses to wear it, it’ll end up looking like hat-hair by the end of the day.
Either neat and tidy or wild and free, if a shock of hair falls over his forehead, I can’t think of a more perfect excuse to get closer than to move in and brush it back. He’ll appreciate it if we leave our palm to rest on the side of his face, for a minute anyway. Whew!
Last but not least, let’s not forget the Stetson, or any brand of cowboy hat, in off-white or black, depending on the occasion. Straw works for those hot days. If you’re wearing a hat, make sure you get the right tilt to your head in order to kiss him. Enjoy.
Since it is our cowboy’s special day, we’ll continue. Let’s give him a dog and a horse or two, preferably more. After his dog and horses, we’re giving this cowboy a cowgirl, or whoever he chooses to love.
When evening comes, if he’s in by then, of course, he’ll be contented to settle in beside you, wearing a subtle fragrance whether it’s aftershave or your favorite cologne. Could be ranch life. My cowboys are sexy, hard working men, and they aren’t always going to be smelling like they walked out of a shower. Don’t let that deter you, but a little hint won’t hurt. An offer to accompany him in the shower isn’t a bad idea. ❤ ❤ ❤
More than likely, for dinner he’ll like his favorite carryout, spicy food to match his persona, or a meat and potato meal at the end of the day. Sometimes he’ll surprise us, and prepare a delicious meal. Maybe burgers on the grill or steak with candlelight. He’ll enjoy a shot of whiskey, brandy, tequila, or Scotch, and maybe sometimes a glass of wine or a longneck. Even milk.
At the end of the day with our cowboy, we know, besides his family, it’s us and the kids he holds in his heart…along with his dog and horses maybe not in a particular order. 🙂 Finally, when you get up Sunday morning, chances are after chores and breakfast, y’all will head to church. But think about it… At the end of the day, your cowboy is curling up next to you. The next move is yours.
REMEMBER, this is MY take on the cowboy, and this was written for fun.I hope you enjoyed reading.
Celebrate National Day of the Cowboy the 4th Saturday of July.
Remember what they say… Save a horse, ride a… *Smile*
Thanks so much for reading, and an extra special thanks if you’ve read this more than once!
#WritersLife: In my previous post with this same topic, I mentioned changes I made in my current work in progress, which included dealing with my hero’s name, changing my heroine’s name, and the spelling of her name numerous times. Plus, I changed the spelling of the child’s name three times. All that took place within the first 11,000 plus words. Ah-ha, but hold on a minute.
To Plan or Not to Plan
To date, the word count is 24,094 words. All the changes I made in the beginning, made me realize how much easier it is to plan a story. It isn’t like I haven’t jotted down notes, because I have many. The thing is, you have to look at the plan.
Changes didn’t stop in the first 11,000 words.
Night Thoughts Instead of Night Sweats
Back to the AH-HA, BUT HOLD ON A MINUTE: One sleepless night an idea came to me to change my boy child to a girl. Writing another little boy in a story—this story with this plot—would veer a little too close to one of my other books. Can’t have that now, can we. So, now I’ll say the child’s name got changed four times.
You’ve probably heard before: Writers, don’t stop thinking about a story, or stories, when we walk away from our computers. Nope. I may not have plotted 100% of this story out in writing, but I continually plan and plot in my mind. As I continued thinking of this story, I didn’t stop at name changes.
Real Doozie of a Plot Change: Making it Out Alive
One of my characters never made it into the first 11,000 words because he/she died before the book opened. It hurt my heart hard that this character wouldn’t appear in the book because even though not there, she/he occupied space in my mind and minds of my characters. Before I knew it, I grew to care about him/her. To relieve my ache, I gave this person life. That’s not to say there won’t be a death because if not, there goes part of my plot. Oh, Dear!
As a series writer, bringing my person back to life had a little to do with thinking ahead. One day she/he might appear as the hero/heroine in another book. Working her/him into the story meant I had to create a life for said person. This one is still developing as we go, but I had lots of info on this character already, anyway. I can’t promise a big role, but this person is a necessary secondary character. I’m glad for this change. Patting myself on the back.
Research: Along for the Ride
However, I have typed out all of my research thus far. I had a lot of fun researching classic, vintage, antique, vehicles. One video I watched took me for a ride through town. When the driver jumped on the gas and those Headers opened up, my heart beat faster. (Memories.) I felt like I was along for the ride too. Research alone takes a lot of time but can be fun. One of the most important parts of this video, showed me an answer to a question that had me searching and searching to no avail. Yeeha.
Writing fiction is so much fun. Writing romance is tons of fun, though, not always easy. I can’t wait until this book is finished. At this point, I need to concentrate on guiding my hero and heroine to an ending. Thank goodness I write romance because, plotting or no plotting out a story, I, and readers, know there will be a happily-ever-after. And that, my friends, makes my heart happy too.
Thanks for reading and going along on this journey through Blue Snow with me.
Somehow the Fourth had its quiet moments, too, even for little feet and childish voices, and small hands stole into each other as we sat looking at our fire-works with a sense that independence was a fine thing to declare.
~Lucy C. Lillie, “Memories of the Fourth,” Harper’s Young People, 1885 June 30th
You’re not what you used to be, but, America, you’re still mine.
HAPPY 246th BIRTHDAY, AMERICA.
Hello, friends. Enjoy your Day – Have fun – Be safe!
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