Category Archives: Candlelight Reads

Grateful For Books Blog Hop


Why I’m grateful for books:

Growing up a shy child, books were the friends I wished to have. Reading about brave or adventurous story characters helped me absorb just a little of those elements. Pippi Longstocking was an elementary school favorite because she was so bold, outrageous and had super-strength. Not go to school? Sail away on the ocean with a horse and monkey as pets? Those actions were daring to imagine but very far outside my suburban experience. This is about the time I discovered the Little House books and what young city girl didn’t want to get into such innocent mischief like she did. I’ve re-read the series a couple of times, attributing the beginning of my love of historical fiction to that series.

When I hit that age when all girls seemed to yearn to own a horse, I discovered My Friend Flicka, The Black Stallion, National Velvet and Black Beauty. Those books were read and re-read, and plastic horses were integrated into my Barbie doll collection. Then I discovered the Nancy Drew series and imagined myself as a young crime-solving detective. And oh, Nancy drove such a sporty little car. During high school and college, pleasure reading took a backseat except for the occasional “must read” like The Exorcist or Roots.

While raising my kids, I always made sure to include a wide diversity of type of books in our family read-aloud titles. From their homework assignments, I was introduced to new authors and exciting characters in stories that became much-beloved. I remember one summer of several novels having death as a theme and those titles are imprinted as definite tear-jerkers. Like the movies you’re glad you saw but won’t seek out again for a repeat viewing.

Now, as a writer, I build on all I’ve learned from those stories and always have the fervent wish that a story I’ve created has the power to evoke emotion in the reader.

Please enter the rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance at the audio version (3 copies) of historical Christmas novella, The Ring That Binds, or an ebook of On With The Show, a Thanksgiving-themed contemporary novella. [if the icon doesn’t appear, use this link: ]

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Also participating in the blog hop are the following authors:

Books That Make Your Heart Flutter Blog Hop

Books That Make Your Heart Flutter

As someone who has read thousands of books over her lifetime, I can think of two aspects of a story that make my heart flutter.

First, I can get swept away and be unable to put down a book that has a driving plotline. One action leads into the next and both put the protagonist in even worse danger to the point that the reader can’t imagine anything possibly getting worse…and then it does. A couple of books come to mind here.

One is The Hunt For Red October by Tom Clancy with the basic plot being a Russian submarine commander wants to defect to the free world. The format of the novel was that action occurred on three primary stages (settings)–US government, Russian government and the sub itself. Each scene flipped to a different setting and the reader knew the ultimate showdown had huge consequences. I remember reading part of the novel aloud on a long drive the length of California. (before audio books, folks)  Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton was another that hooked me. Other authors who write similar compelling works are Lee Child, Michael Connelly,  Camilla Lackberg, John Grisham.

Recently, I read Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge, which has been turned into a TV series. Partially because of the extremely short chapter length (1-4 pages each) but also the almost non-stop action of incidents and events that propel the protagonist forward.

The second type of book that makes my heart flutter is a well-written romance that really digs into the characters. Especially stories that start out with flawed characters who think they have done something that makes them unlovable. Like The Wives of Bodie Stone by Maggie Osborne or Portraits by Stef Ann Holm–both historical novels have heroes who were in prison.

Strong characterization and deep point of view go a long way to guarantee my reading pleasure. I strive for those two elements in the stories I create. In my latest release, Forged By Fire (part of the anthology, A Cowboy Celebration from Prairie Rose Publications), I created a hero, Berg, who thought an event that happened in his past made him undesirable and therefore, he shies away from people.  One simple act of kindness makes Ivey, the cook of the boarding house, to look at him in a different way.

Forged By Fire is just one of four historical stories included in Prairie Rose anthologies set in a Texas town.

Leave a comment about a book that made your heart flutter and the reason why for a chance to win your choice of a print copy of :

Cowboys,Creatures,andCalico_thCowboys, Creatures and Calico, Vol 1. (Halloween setting) with other stories by Lorrie Farrelly, Tanya Hanson, Sarah J. McNeal, Shayna Matthews and Cher’ley Grogg



_Present for a Cowboy_tnPresent For A Cowboy (Christmas setting) with other stories by Gail L. Jenner, Lorrie Farrelly, Sarah J. McNeal and Livia J. Washburn




Cowboy Kisses (Valentine’s Day theme) with other stories by Lorrie Farrelly, Kristy McCaffrey, Gail L. Jenner, Gil McDonald, C. Marie Bowen, Tanya Hanson, Beverly Wells



Double your chances of winning by signing up for the inaugural Fall issue of my quarterly newsletter.

To be eligible for the giveaway, comments must be made by 11:59PM PDT on Monday, August 17th. (Newsletter sign ups always accepted)

Then visit others who are participating in this blog hop.

Summer Begins Blog Hop

Summer Begins blog hop

Seasons are a bit behind the norm because of where I live at 6,800 feet in the southern California mountains. Just a couple of weeks ago, we had two inches of snowfall! I forced myself to haul my T-shirts and lightweight pants from the under-the-stairs closet because I looked at the calendar and saw May. But on overcast days like today, I’m eyeballing my sweat pants and wondering why they are not on my body.

We have evidence of spring, wildflowers in the meadow and new growth on the evergreens, plus the ground squirrels and chipmunks are scampering around. But the temperatures still dip into the 30s every night.

But, when the warm weather does occur and settles in, I look forward to week-long camps at the camp and conference center where I live (hubby does the maintenance on the 10 buildings and 1 lodge on the 17-acre site in a US national forest). With the coming of summer camps, I only have to cook from Saturday lunch through Sunday lunch. All the other meals we eat with the campers.  Imagine that!

After our move here 3 years ago, I quickly appreciated all the free time I had because of this great benefit. More time for writing, editing, researching BUT also for reading. I look forward to early afternoons when I come back to the cabin after lunch and sit on the front deck, reading amidst the chirping of birds, the buzz of insects, and the laughter of kids barely heard from the swimming pool.

Now, if only the weather would soon cooperate!

Leave a comment here about what you’re looking forward to with summer and/or enter the rafflecopter below for a chance at print copies (US only; int’l winner receives ebook) of Present For A Cowboy or Cowboy Kisses or an ebook from my backlist.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Then hop over to other authors and see what they have to say about the coming warm weather. Or start here at the sponsoring site for this blog hop, Candlelight Reads.


Candlelight Reads Trim The Tree Blog Hop

Trim The Tree blog hop image

At this time of the year, many of us are rushing around–decorating, baking and shopping for the holiday season.  I have to remind myself to take a moment and reflect on what makes the holidays special, or what I am most sentimental about.

For me, the week-long visit with my granddaughters and family members who live 400 miles away is so very important.  Moments of quiet conversation and sharing new experiences are often the most previous gifts we can give one another. Making cookies or wrapping presents are great for easy-going chats. Or working a puzzle together or playing a card game. These are the times we remember, often more than a physical gift bestowed.

That’s the feeling I hoped to create in my latest story, Clari’s Hero, included in the Present For A Cowboy anthology from Prairie Rose Publications.  Clari is new to the West, sent to live with an aunt and uncle in hopes of curing her asthma. Now healthy, she wants to have the experiences she was previously denied and spies adventure in  a cowboy’s rescue of first a small child in town and then herself from a runaway horse.

The tagline  is: Can a starry-eyed dreamer’s search for adventure overcome a taciturn man’s belief he has nothing to offer? You’ll have to read the story to learn how Clari translates her first encounter  with the quiet cowboy Trevor into a lasting present.

_Present for a Cowboy_web

pad & penEnter the rafflecopter contest below for a chance at winning either an e-copy of Present For A Cowboy or a glittery notepad & pen set (US,CA address only).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Then hop over to participating author blogs to learn their thoughts on what’s special about the holidays and their giveaways.



Bonnie Blythe’s Pure Romance

2.Living the Dream 3.Aileen Fish, Love as Old as Time
4.Emerald Barnes’ Dreaming Awake Blog 5.Nona King’s Angel Breath Books 6.Musings About the Writing Life
7.Jo Grafford, Author 8.Heather Gray, Writer of Inspirational Romance 9.Jo Grafford, Romance Author
10.Krysten Lindsay Hager, Author 11.Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia 12.Makai Queen Going Deeper
13.Author Franky A. Brown 14.Monica’s Blog 15.Christian Romance Author Laura J. Marshall
16.Dragons of Dragondor Blog 17.Christmas by the sea in Pajaro Bay

Fall Into Books Blog Hop

Fall Into Books blog hop

BOOKS! I love this theme. No matter how many books I have on my To Be Read stack (translation: filling multiple shelves in a bookcase), I’m always on the lookout for more. For the past week or two, I’ve been alternating between contemporary suspense and historical romance. Switching back and forth helps clear my mind of the writing style of authors writing in the same genre so I’m less likely to compare them.

Because so many great books exist, I’m not one who goes back and re-reads often. But one author I return to is Jane Austen. My favorite book is Pride And Prejudice, which I have read more than once, and I’ve read most of her other novels. I have also enjoyed several novels that used the plot of P&P but updated it to contemporary settings (like Unleashing Mr Darcy by Teri Wilson or Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field by Melissa Nathan).

One of my favorite places to read is curled up in the corner of our comfy sofa that’s upstairs in our small forest cabin. Now as the fall sets in, I’ll get to haul out the fleece lap robes and snuggle in.

October is bountiful for new releases.

On October 20th, my contemporary novella set in Rhode Island and including bits of genealogy and pirate history titled Unlocked Treasure releases from the Wild Rose Press.

On October 31st, I have a story titled Bewitching Gypsy (western historical with a light paranormal touch) included in Spooktacular Seductions, a Halloween anthology from Roane Publishing.

And coming soon (date to be announced) is a Halloween anthology titled Cowboys, Creatures and Calico, Vol. 1 from Prairie Rose Publications. My story, Wanderer, Come Home, is a western historical featuring an ex-Texas Ranger and a widow on a small Texas ranch.

One lucky winner will win an ecopy of all three titles (as they become available). Three additional winners will be chosen to win one each of the titles. Enter the rafflecopter contest below for your chance to win an ecopy.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Then hop on over to the blogs for the other participants listed below for even more chances at winning books and prizes.

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