I got my first horse when I was six, and grew up riding bareback throughout our small Minnesota town year around. It was like giving a child car keys! I’m now living my childhood dream–a place in the country, three horses, two goofy border collies, and six fluffy barn cats–a much smaller menagerie than when our kids were still at home.  Visit my blog below, sign up for an e-newsletter, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and LinkedIn. Please keep in touch!

It’s a Party!

It’s been a while since I’ve been here…lots of traveling, some book deadlines and the usual life of life  in the country with the horses, dogs, cats, and of course…my sweet hubby.  🙂

14067570_1057674064345780_7708453376600748160_nI’ll catch up more later—and include some wonderful recipes I want to share with you, too. But right now, I’ve got a book due VERY soon, and  just wanted to drop by and tell you about a fun event on Facebook, featuring this year’s Sweet Romance anthology:  Sweet Christmas Kisses III

All of the authors will be at the Facebook Sweet Romance Cafe page, offering prizes and a nice chance to chat!


Single_DadBest wishes to you all!


PS: I had a book out last month, still available on Harlequin.com and Amazon:  The Single Dad’s Redemption.

It’s the third book in my Aspen Creek series, and the next ones will be in December and next July through the Love Inspired inspirational line.

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12719532_1670012753259091_5109020961471458216_oIt’s been a long time….but here I am at last. Lunar Pages locked me out of this site for quite a while, and I just got involved with a lot of other things.  Book deadlines, a lot of travel, and best of all, young grandkiddies–including a sweet little guy who is brand new!

BUT…I wanted to make sure I started off by telling you about the Facebook party today at the Sweet Romance Reads Facebook page!  if you want to join in and try for the giveaways, just go to


A lot of authors will be onboard  throughout the various time slots and would love to meet you!

Happy Valentine’s Day in advance!



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A Writer’s Life…with Budgies! by Patricia Johns

By guest blogger Patricia Johns


I’ve always been a bird person. Not the bird watching type, but the bird petting and snuggling type. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a bird for a pet.

A writer’s life is a solitary one, and having my two birds sharing the room with me makes everything a lot more cheerful. They are budgies–on the small side, too!–and they are quite tame and will sit on my finger. Together. They like to be side by side, no matter what they’re doing, and when I get one onto my finger, the other one will hop up, too, and they’ll consent to be told how very pretty they are.

They know their names, and they’ll obey commands like, “Coco, get down!” when she flies up to the curtain rod where she isn’t allowed to sit. Little Blue has learned the word “bath” in the same way a dog learns the word “vet.” For the longest time, Little Blue wouldn’t properly preen his tail, and so I’d have to give it a rinse under the tap, and he just hated it. So even now, months after he’s started properly caring for his own tail, he still flies away from me at the mention of the dreaded B-word.

I like the companionship. I write better with some company in the room with me, and it’s a pleasant break when one of them starts to chatter at me from across the room, their way of getting my attention for something they want. They might want the door open, or their treat picked up from the bottom of the cage, but they’ll snark way at me until I get it right, and then I get a chirp of thanks and they settle onto whatever they’d been hankering for. I’m well-trained. 😉

I’m married with a school-aged child, but my birds fill a very special part of my heart. Any pet person knows what I mean when I say this. When I write, they are right there, keeping me company, demanding I pick up their treats, and just making me happy. It’s an honor to be their friend.

Here is a link to Patricia’s new book!    A Firefighter’s Promise (Love Inspired)

firefighter's promise coverA FIREFIGHTER’S PROMISE
Love Inspired
By Patricia Johns

When the baby he rescued seven years ago returns—with his widowed adoptive mom—Deputy Fire Chief Matt Bailey can’t turn them away. Desperate to escape the reminders of his failure in the line of duty, Matt is close to leaving town. But one look at Rachel Carter and her son, Christopher, has him second-guessing his plans. Rachel is a mom in need of a hero for her son. But as much as she wants the two to bond, she’s determined to keep her distance from Matt. After losing her husband on the job, she promised never to love another fireman. Yet somehow she finds herself drawn to the one man she should avoid.




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Author Dana R. Lynn….and Unusual Pets!


dana lynI have always loved animals. Growing up, my family always had several cats and a dog. So when I moved out on my own, it was only natural that I would have a pet. A cat. And after I got married, we added a dog.

What I never expected was how my pet population would explode once the kids came. Cats. Dogs. Chickens. Rabbits. A horse named Misty. For the most part, I was fine with this. We have land, so why not. What I never expected, however, were the rats.

Yes, you read that right. Rats.

Here’s how it happened. When my daughter was nearing the end of her sixth grade year, her teacher decided to hold a drawing for the rats kept in the science class. Any child who wanted to be included in the drawing needed their parents to sign a permission slip. So my daughter came to me with her best pleading expression on her face.

20150301_210909I said what any self-respecting mother would say.

“Ask your father.”

Now, I knew my husband would say no. He had said numerous times we had too many animals. Therefore, I wasn’t concerned when my daughter immediately picked up the phone to call him at work.

Until he said yes.


My satisfied daughter handed me the phone. “Did you really just tell her she could put her name in for a rat?”

“Relax, honey. She’ll put her name in the drawing, but there’ll be so many kids who want the rats, her name won’t be picked.”

Her name was the first name picked.

And so we became the proud owner of a cute little albino rat named Nevaeh. I actually liked her. She was a sweet little rat. Unfortunately, as is the case with lab rats, she didn’t live long. This time, when my daughter came to me and asked if she could get a new rat, I drove her to the pet store myself. We are now on rats five and six.

I’m holding off on the goats, though.

What about you? What are some of your unexpected experiences with pets? Comment on this post to win a copy of Presumed Guilty, my new release from Love Inspired Suspense.

 Here is  link so you can find Dana’s book on Amazon: Presumed Guilty (Love Inspired Suspense)

9780373446643Presumed Guilty
Dana R. Lynn
Love Inspired

The April, 2015 edition of RT Bookreviews Magazine, Leslie L. McFee gave Presumed Guilty a 4 star rating.   “This is an exciting debut from a promising storyteller. The pace and plotting are ideal for reader engagement, and those readers will anxiously await a sequel.”

 “I’m innocent.”
After four years in prison for a crime she didn’t commit, Melanie Swanson’s finally free. Yet starting over brings a heavy load of challenges.

Nearly everyone believes she’s guilty- including police lieutenant Jace Tucker. Jace’s certainty cracks only when Melanie is repeatedly attacked, and when the people around her are picked off one by one. Melanie’s clearly innocent, and terrified. Someone wants her dead to keep her shattered memories from recalling the crime she witnessed rather than caused. She lost her friends, her fiancé and her freedom when she was found guilty- but proving her innocence could cost Melanie her life.

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A new cookbook by romance authors– just 99 cents!

Just in time for Valentine’s Day:  “Recipes of Love–Romantic Recipes by Sweet Romance Reads”  by sixteen sweet romance and inspirational romance authors, for only 99 cents!

It was so much fun to contribute to this project.  Lots of great recipes (four or five from each author), plus tidbits about every author, and each included a short excerpt of her current release.

Here is an Amazon link:     Recipes of Love: Romantic Recipes by Sweet Romance Reads


Best wishes to all–and Happy Valentine’s Day!


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Selling My Way…..to RWA!

Selling my way to RWA!

IMG_0888 There are several very large organizations for writers. One of the biggest is Romance Writers of America, which holds its conferences in July at various large cities from coast to coast.  It’s educational, it provides wonderful opportunities for networking with other writers, and for meeting with one’s literary agent and editors. It’s also a chance to “give back” to writing community by offering to give workshops or by volunteering in other ways.

It’s also a way to visit other parts of the country…and this summer it’s back in New York. Be still my heart!  Wonderful restaurants.  Broadway shows. Incredible museums. And an exciting vibe this country girl loves in…well, smaller doses before slipping back into her office in a quiet, rural state. 🙂  Especially exciting is that my daughter, who is also a writer, will be there.  We’ll stay with two of my writer friends at the conference hotel, and enjoy every minute of the conference and the big city.

But, it’s an expensive affair what with airfare, a big city hotel, restaurant meals and the conference fee.

I love consignment stores and eBay…it’s always such a treasure hunt,  as you just never know what you’ll find!  On the flip side of that coin, I enjoy donning my alter ego now and then, as Christiana 116, and providing that sort of experience by listing items on eBay.  All of us have things we don’t really need, and apparently this form of buying and selling is very popular, as there are now many “cash from your closet” type auction sites online.

Ebay selling-blogYears ago, a dear friend set a goal of going RWA based in what she saved via couponing, and she succeeded!  This year, I decided to do the same, only via what I could make selling on eBay.  I’d been quite inactive there for sometime.  Was it even possible?  Well, I’m part way to my goal, and thinning out my closets and shelves makes me feel good, too.  I have had a passion for Coach, Dooney & Bourke, Fossil and Kooba for way too long!  As hard as it is to let them go, sending them off to new homes so that I can go to RWA with our daughter this year is worth it!

So…do you have travel plans this year?  What is your dream trip for the future?

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Dachshund or cat…who’s the boss? Guest blogger Tammy Johnson

PuppiesGuest blogger Tammy Johnson

My first book cover became official just a few weeks ago and I’m anxious to share it and a little about the book with you. Royal Rescue is a story of so many things, but a huge part of the story is a woman who longs for home. Along the journey we learn a lot about what she thinks a home is. I don’t want to give too much of the story away, but there are puppies involved.

I started a Pinterest board for the story when I first began getting ideas and the puppies I imagined where furry little balls of black and white. I didn’t really want them to be purebred anything. I settled on some sort of spaniel mix. I probably picked that breed because of childhood memories of a dog my sister had. It was a Brittany spaniel named Beaner. He wandered down a country road one day and found us and was probably one of the best dogs we ever had growing up. A close second was the dachshund terrier mix we had for a while too. Strangely enough, he found us as well. I don’t remember every detail, but I remember him hiding under our house until we finally adopted him.

weenie and mr bIn my home now I have one dog, a dachshund. His very unique name is Weenie. In hindsight, we probably could have come up with something a little more original. It does sound a little funny when I’m standing on the back step hollering for him to come in. He started out as just a visitor though and somehow ended up staying for going on eight years now. I wouldn’t trade him for anything now though. He is a fixture in our family.

We have a cat as well. Believe it or not, the cat is bigger than the dog and is definitely the boss of the house.  I enjoy watching them fight for furnace space on cold mornings.  It’s not much of a fight though. Weenie tries to move close and the cat just gives him a look and he backs away. On rare mornings though, they do get along and actually lay together. It’s a winter morning ritual as soon as the house starts to stir they both get to their spot where they can get some heat. Together, they do make our house a home.

I’ve often thought of someday adding a friend for Weenie (other than the cat), but I can’t decide on the breed I’d want to go with. Another dachshund would be fun, but then I’ve always loved the flat faced breeds as well. Having a pug, Boston terrier, or bulldog of some sort has always been a dream of mine. I keep telling myself maybe someday.

What about you? Do you feel a pet makes a house a home and do you have a favorite breed of dog you’ve had or would love to have? What sort of dog do you think would make the best new friend for Weenie?

Here is a pre-order link for Tammy’s new book: Royal Rescue (Love Inspired Suspense)

Royal Rescue Front coverRoyal Rescue is now available for preorder on Amazon and other online retailers and will be available in early April.


Find out more about Tammy and her writing journey at www.tammyjohnson.net


Verdun, 1964: Snowflake the Military cat, by guest blogger Donn Taylor

Snowflake: Playing Cats As Cats Can By Donn Taylor

Snowflake StandingWe’d been stationed in Verdun, France, for about four months when we inherited a white tomcat named Snowflake. I say “inherited” because he’d belonged to my boss’s family (or vice versa), and they were rotating back to the States. They’d inherited him from a family that rotated a year or so before them. In their turn, they took their furniture with them, but not their cat.

So Mildred and I, with our three and soon-to-be-four children, inherited the duty. Snowflake knew exactly what he wanted and when he wanted it. When he wanted to go out, he’d go to the door and stand. If we didn’t respond, he’d give a discreet “Meow” to remind us. His vocabulary was not large, but his infinite variations in tone expressed his infinite variety of moods.

One night he’d been asleep and we forgot to put him out for the night. We were just dozing off when this ball of Snowflake on Warren's Bedwhite fur landed in the middle of our bed with a horrendous yowl. Needless to say, we arose and obeyed his command. Each morning when he was ready to come back in, he’d be perched in the kitchen window waiting for one of his servants to show up. When we went on leave, he politely showed up in our next-door neighbor’s kitchen window.

He also had a habit of disappearing for two or three days. Then he’d return, looking like he’d been run through a blender. Once when we’d been gone for several days, we returned to find all in good order except that Snowflake was nowhere to be found. We asked our French maid where he was, and she replied with a single word: “l’amour.” Next day he reappeared in the kitchen window and all was normal again.

We’d read about and enjoyed the cat in Robert Heinlein’s sci-fi novel The Door into Summer. On the first snow of the year, Heinlein’s cat would not go outside until he’d seen that snow lay outside every door of the house and that no door opened into summer. When snow came to us in Verdun that year, Snowflake followed that example. We don’t know if he’d read Heinlein’s book, but he did refuse to go out until he’d proved that every door opened onto snow. So we resurrected that book and enjoyed it again.

1964 Mildred & Donn TaylorWhen our furniture was shipped for our return to the States, we handed Snowflake over to a neighbor and moved into temporary quarters. On our final day, the neighbor reported that Snowflake had left and taken up residence in a nearby French village. We never doubted what had happened: that intelligent cat had quit wasting his time on short-lived American servants who disappeared every two years.

So he’d employed new servants among the French, who apparently had longer life spans than the Americans. We never saw Snowflake again, but fifty years later he still holds a special place in our family memories.



Here’s an Amazon link for Donn’s new book: Lightning on a Quiet Night


Lightning CoverLightning on a Quiet Night
by Donn Taylor
released November 3, 2014,
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

 Publishers Weekly’s review comment on the novel: “Taylor’s powerful historical romance is filled with passion and heart, spiced with mystery and a keen understanding of the human condition.”

In the years following World War II, a town too proud of its own virtues has to deal with its first murder. Despite the implications of this crime, the town of Beneficent, MS, population 479, tries desperately to hold onto its vain self-image. The young veteran Jack Davis holds that idyllic vision of the town and tries to share it with Lisa Kemper, newly arrived from Indiana. But she is repelled by everything in town. While the sheriff tries to find the murderer, Jack and Lisa’s contentious courtship reveals the town’s strange combination of astute perceptions and surprising blind spots. Then they stumble onto shocking discoveries about the true nature of the town. But where will these discoveries lead? To repentance? Or to denial and continuation in vanity?


Donn Taylor portraits 12/7/07About the author: Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he completed a PhD degree at The University of Texas and taught English literature at two liberal arts colleges. His published works include three suspense novels and a book of poetry. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences. He lives near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction, poetry, and essays on current topics.”


A Turkey Encounter

A Turkey Encounter, by guest blogger Tammy Johnson

Tweety BirdFor nearly as long as I can remember, I’ve had a pet of some sort or another. Most days I prefer to think of them as friends versus pets. They’re always there for a hug or cuddle and know just how to listen. I think our furry and feathered friends sometimes know a lot more about unconditional love than a lot of people.

One of the first pets I remember was a green parakeet who I called Tweetie Bird. He would and talk and sing and always greeted me with a happy chirp. That was several years and pets ago, but I’ve never outgrown my soft spot for birds.

I had an interesting bird encounter just the other day. It’s just one of the many things I love about my small hometown. As inconvenient as it can be some days, I wouldn’t trade this life for anything. I was at my day job and my coworkers and I noticed three turkeys walking down the road.

Rumor has it, they’ve grown comfortable with people around town and meander from backyard to backyard being fed just like other wild birds. I’d think this would be a dangerous life with Thanksgiving coming up quickly.

turkeyThis turkey spotting reminded me of a hobby I once had but haven’t done in several years. I’m not exactly sure you can call it a hobby, but I used to really enjoy feeding and watching wild birds. Someday I hope to have a special area dedicated to bird houses and feeders.

If I had a spot for it, I’d love to try to make a homemade bird feeder that I found on Pinterest the other day. It’s made from a pumpkin. I’ve been trying to think of something to do with pumpkins so I could roast the seeds.



IMG_70771Making a pumpkin bird feeder looks easy enough.
All it takes is hollowing out the pumpkin and filling it with your choice of seed. It is the perfect season for pumpkins right now and I’m sure the birds would love it.

It is another thing I’ve added to my someday list. For now though, I have to settle for watching the birds from my windows while I’m working on writing my next book.




f7e9929e7a85a3f52edfa250a6fe9a53Does anyone else have any quick and easy bird feeding or watching tips? Or what is your favorite bird to watch this time of year? I’d love to hear.




Tammy JBio:  Faith has always held an important place in Tammy Johnson’s life. Two of her biggest dreams were being a mother and becoming a Harlequin author. After raising and homeschooling four children, her writing dream came true when she sold her first novel through the Love Inspired Suspense “Killer Voices” pitch event.

Now Tammy enjoys sharing her faith by writing stories of strong heroes and heroines who find strength in their beliefs to overcome danger and fear. She is a country girl at heart and lives in a small Kansas town with her teenage son and dachshund. Her first book, Royal Rescue will be an April, 2015 release with Love Inspired Suspense. She enjoys cloud watching and summer storms. A glass of sweet tea and a new story are never far away.


Lawn mowers, Highland Cattle and the Pied Piper

Cow in SnowAt the beginning of our third lifetime, my husband and I sold our house in Denver, Colorado, and purchased a small ranch in the far NE corner of Washington State.

The area is sparsely populated, except by trees, rivers, lakes, mountains and wildlife. Having a ranch and raising livestock was on our dream list. We knew nothing about ranching, but we knew we would have to raise a special animal that wouldn’t require large rangeland. We researched and discovered Highland Cattle.



Tabatha & Calf 2001 copy

Highland cattle, also called Heilan Coos or Hairy Coos are a Scottish breed of cattle with long horns and long wavy coats of
various colors. We started our herd with two cows and their spring calves, plus one bull. They were all registered, pure bred, and we intended to raise them as breeding stock and also for beef. They are hardy and can withstand cold winters, and their meat is lean.

Our herd grew to 21 head. These are gentle cows, but they get up to 1000 pounds and (I believe) are smarter than most breeds. They have definite, unique personalities. Their eyes would get big when we caught them doing something mischievous. They loved to get out and explore the neighborhood of small ranchettes. Our electric and barbed-wire fences couldn’t hold them if they wanted out. We often got calls when we were in town, letting us know our cows were out.

We had 20 acres in hay fields, but the cows loved fresh mown grass. We had over an acre of lawn around the house. When Jim mowed on his riding lawn tractor, he dumped the grass into the pasture, so when he started the mower, they all came running to the fence.

Cows at FenceOne afternoon, there was a breakout. They were spotted in the backwoods by a neighbor. Jim tried to herd them back home on foot, but they scattered. He came home, got on his lawn tractor, and took off. About a half hour later, I spotted him coming out of the woods. As he slowly crossed our cut hay field, singing at the top of his lungs, a line of cows came single file out of the woods behind him. He looked like the Pied Piper. I don’t know about his singing, but the tractor engine was music to their ears. I ran out and opened the pasture gate, and he drove through. They followed him in without a sign of rebellion.

He rewarded them with cow candy pellets. After that, they behaved for a while. But he had discovered the magic key to bringing them back home. They never could resist following that lawn tractor.

Please leave a comment and your email or a way to contact you. I will be giving away a print copy of Heaven’s Strain to someone who leaves a comment to this blog post. Shipping only to North America.

Question: If you could raise any animal you wanted, for breeding, for pets, or for livestock, what would it be, and why?

Here is an Amazon link for Sunni’s new book!   Heaven’s Strain

SunniJeffers_HeavensStrain_500 copyHeaven’s Strain
by Sunni Jeffers

Spiritual forces are at work to destroy mankind
Dr. Ellen Larson has heard myths of fallen angels, but she has no idea they exist—or that they’re after her. She has enough on her mind–her research and her own strange DNA, which she’s kept secret since she discovered a mutation in medical school that’s never been seen before. Then the impossible happens. Two patients admitted to the University Medical Center—Rafe Zacharias and Homer Wilton–have the same genetic mutation! Without transfusions, the men will die. Ellen can’t withhold what may be their only hope: her blood. She has no choice… Her secret must come out. Unseen, a battle rages around them. A battle to bring an ancient curse to life. Ellen, Rafe and Homer are pawns in a war mankind can’t afford to lose…

“Heaven’s Strain is one amazing ride! Deception, danger, romance, a race against time, unseen forces at war…Sunni’s masterful book has it all.”  Karen Ball, best-selling author of The Breaking Point

Sunni Author Photo for BlogSunni Jeffers is the award-winning author of 15 books. Her life has taken many turns, from Navy wife and mother, to business owner and office manager, to rancher—all of this in partnership with her wonderful husband of 48 years.

Now she writes as she andher husband travel the country most of the year, living in a motorhome. Visit her at www.sunnijeffers.com.