FRIEND-ly Reading

***Last day to enter to win (1) copy of Rose Ross Zediker’s Dakota Love
See contest rules below***

One of the great pleasures of being an author has been establishing close friendships with other authors, people who really *get* you. It’s a great joy when I get a front row seat to those friends as they birth new books, and I love cheering for them.

So, I’m going to give shameless shout-outs for my friends and their book babies–I know you’ll recognize a few of them …

On the top of that list is our very own Rose Ross Zediker who we’ve  been celebrating for the past couple of weeks. My copy of her new release, Dakota Love, is in the mail, and I’m waiting patiently … well, maybe not so patiently.

Dakota LoveMore about Dakota Love:

Modern South Dakota individuals use quilting to bring them joy and comfort, but suddenly quilting is leading them to romances they didn’t even know they wanted. Caroline and Rodney have each been loaded with many worries, but a tattered quilt could bring them together to share their burdens. Sarah and Mark embrace their independence until a quilting class throws them together and reveals their need for companionship. Lil is outgoing where Walt is private, but as they use quilting for physical therapy, an old secret could be revealed that will expose just how different they really are.

And here’s another name you’ll recognize: Shannon Taylor Vannatter! Yes, Shannon has another book out: Rodeo Family. It’s book #7 in her Texas Rodeo series. And I know she hasn’t exhausted her rodeo ideas quite yet, so you’ll be seeing more soon.

Rodeo FamilyMore about Rodeo Family:


She’s beginning a new chapter in Aubrey, Texas, away from her abusive ex-boyfriend. As she picks up the pieces of her broken life, Tori’s surprised at the helping hand the church’s new song director, Brant McConnell, offers her, and at the warm emotions he inspires. 

Brant is drawn to Tori. And as their friendship grows, so do his feelings for her. But Tori is still hounded by her past, and the walls she’s built around her heart are high. Can he convince the wounded beauty that he’s exactly the kind of man she needs—and deserves?

Back in 2006, I had the great pleasure of meeting Don and Stephanie Prichard. I’m thrilled to tell everyone that their debut novel, Stranded, released in October 2014, and it continuously remains in the Top 100 rankings on Amazon in three different categories. Woo hoo, Don and Steph!!!

StrandedMore about Stranded:

First they had to survive the island … then each other … then their rescuer.

All Marine Corps reservist Jake Chalmers wants is to give his dying wife a last, romantic cruise to the Philippines. Unable to save her in a mass murder aboard ship, he washes ashore a jungle island, where he discovers three other survivors. Heartbroken that he failed to save his wife, he is determined not to fail these helpless castaways.

Federal prosecutor Eve Eriksson rescues a young girl and her elderly great-aunt from the same ship. They badly need Jake’s survival skills, but why is he so maddeningly careful? She needs to hurry home to nail a significant career trial. And, please, before Jake learns her secret that she’s responsible for his wife’s death.

Then last, but never least, is Michelle Griep’s brand new bundle, Brentwood’s Ward. Michelle’s hero, Nicholas Brentwood, even sat for an interview on my blog this week >go  here<. That man is a character! In more ways than one.

Brentwood's WardMore about Brentwood’s Ward:

Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge.

***Enter to Win!***

Dakota LoveToday is your last opportunity to enter to win Dakota Love. Leave a comment below for an opportunity to win. Contest ends tonight (January 16, 2015) at midnight CST. The winner will be announced on Saturday, January 17, 2015.

In Sickness and In Health

During thirty years of marriage, Grant and I have never been sick at the same time. I catch every little bug that passes by while Grant never gets sick other than a sinus infection a couple of times a year when the weather changes. When I’m sick, it hits me harder than most people. If you’re sick two days, I’ll be down four days. Grant doesn’t stay down long.

Until the last couple of weeks. Our son had just gotten over pneumonia. After church on a Wednesday night, I told Grant, I have this little annoying cough and a horrible headache. I took Excedrin and a sinus pill. Everybody went to bed and I sat up to watch a Hallmark movie I’d recorded while waiting for my head to stop hurting. It didn’t. About midnight, I pressed my hand against my head where it hurt. It was hot. 101.9 hot.

The next few days, the cough got worse and the fever got up to 102.9. I went to the doctor. She wasn’t sure what it was and gave me antibiotics. By Friday, Grant was sick too. Same symptoms, but his fever never got as high. I stayed in bed all weekend. He preached on Sunday anyway—showed up just in time for the sermon and came in a side door—didn’t shake hands.

I called my mom and asked if she could raise our son until further notice. We didn’t want him to get it and neither of us had the strength to take care of him or get him to school. By Monday, we had a coughing marathon. Grant finally went to the doctor. By then, they’d seen a lot of it and decided it was a virus. Grant hates taking medicine. He got antibiotics and left the cough medicine at the pharmacy because it gives him heartburn.

We wheezed at each other for a few days—our voices gone. Of course, he got better before I did, even though I was sick first. We decided that if we were eighty, we’d probably both be dead. We’re both on the road to recovery now, but it’s taking a while to get our oomph back.

During the course of this illness, I was very thankful for the people God has placed in my life.

  • My parents stepped in and took our son. For a few days, he lived at their house, they took him back and forth to school, and he didn’t get sick.
  • Grant and I are in this together—in sickness and in health. Whoever felt the best got the other something to eat or drink. We still laughed—even at our sickest—and then we coughed.
  • The church member who brought us chili just as we got to the point of wanting something spicy. Even though, it was the day before the biggest day of her life—election day and she was running for public office. She won!
  • The church member who called to check on us, heard me wheeze, and asked if the doctor gave us any cough medicine. When I told her Grant left it at the pharmacy, she went and got it, then brought it to our house, a ten mile drive.
  • Several church members who called to check on us and offered to do anything we needed done.
  • Cough medicine—it’s not a person–but I’ve never been more thankful for it. Even Grant took it and our coughs are almost gone.
  • Cough medicine—which led to sleep.
  • Cough medicine.

Running Amuck

This may be the most scattered post I’ve ever written. But my brain is a bit scattered right now. I’ve gotten up at 5 stupid o’clock on a Saturday to drive two hours to watch my son in Cross Country Track. Which really isn’t much of a spectator sport. You watch them start, then you wait and wait and wait, until they finish. I’ve also been to almost Missouri three times for track meets. Track ended last Tuesday and basketball started on Thursday. He plays basketball too.

St. LouisI did actually make it to Missouri to the ACFW Conference. Since I have two cousins who live there, the only way I could spend time with them was to only attend the conference one day. I felt like I missed a lot of the conference and seeing friends, but I had fun with my cousins. I told my roommate that my cousin and I were going to run amuck. My cousin said, as long as we’re in by 8:00. We went to the top of the Arch and ate Italian, but we were in by 8:00. The picture was taken from the top of the Arch.

I struggled with a book all summer and finally when school started, the piece of the puzzle clicked into place and the words flew from my fingertips. I’m finishing my final read through today and turning it in by my deadline tomorrow. Two down, four to go for my current contract.

I lost eighteen pounds, but lately I’ve been to a lot of appreciation dinners and political meet and greets, so I’m stuck on my diet. And I haven’t gotten back in gear with my daily treadmill for at least 15 minutes since I got back from the conference. But I’m going to. Once I get this book turned in, oh the things I’ll do.

That’s been my mantra lately—once I get this book turned in, I’ll. . . The main thing I’m looking forward to is reading.

I met Jennifer Slattery at an ACFW Conference a few years back, so when I heard she got a contract, I wasJennifer Slattery thrilled and couldn’t wait to read her book—Beyond I Do. I love the title, since so many brides don’t think past the extravagant wedding and I love the sweet cover.

Since then, Jennifer’s publisher asked for my endorsement on her second book—When Dawn Breaks. It came during crunch time—I was about to leave for ACFW and I had a deadline. I had one free night at the conference, so I decided I’d start the book. If I liked it, I’d make time to read it. If I didn’t, I’d tell Jennifer’s publisher I had a deadline.

I loved it and finished it after I got home, when my brain was still too travel rattled to do anything but read. I ordered Beyond I Do this week. It will get here Thursday. Perfect timing. Next time I see Jennifer, I’m going to have someone get a new not orange picture of us.

Jennifer Slattery coverWill seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

November is National Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a challenge to writers to write a book in a month. By the time I heard of it, I was already published and it’s never fallen right in my contracts for me to participate. But this time, it does. I’m planning to write my next contracted book in November. It’s not due until March. In December and January, I’m going to write a book I’ve wanted to write for a long time.

In February, I want to read Denise Hunter’s new book. It releases in December and I may not be able to wait. In fact, I’ll probably make time to read The Wishing Season as soon as I get it.

Living side-by-side, a fledgling chef and a big-hearted contractor find a delicious attraction.The Wishing Season by Denise Hunter
Trouble is, their chemistry could spoil their dreams.

Spirited PJ McKinley has the touch when it comes to food. Her dream of opening her own restaurant is just one building short of reality. So when a Chapel Springs resident offers her beloved ancestral home to the applicant with the best plan for the house, PJ believes it’s a contest she was meant to win.

Contractor Cole Evans is confident, professional, and swoon-worthy—but this former foster kid knows his life could have turned out very differently. When Cole discovers the contest, he believes his home for foster kids in transition has found its saving grace. All he has to do is convince the owner that an out-of-towner with a not-for-profit enterprise is good for the community.

But when the eccentric philanthropist sees PJ and Cole’s proposals, she makes an unexpected decision: the pair will share the house for a year to show what their ideas are made of. Now, with Cole and the foster kids upstairs and PJ and the restaurant below, day-to-day life has turned into out-and-out competition—with some seriously flirtatious hallway encounters on the side. Turns out in this competition, it’s not just the house on the line, it’s their hearts.

Sigh. Can’t wait.

Healthy Taco Soup

I cook lots of soup year round because my son isn’t big on vegetables except mashed potatoes. The only way to get veggies down him is in soup. For years, my family has loved taco soup.  But I recently tried something new. Shh. Don’t tell them. I substituted ground turkey for hamburger. They think I started buying a more finely ground beef. Shh.

Healthy Taco Soup:

1 pound Ground Turkey (browned)

1 can Rotel Tomatoes and Green Chilis

1 can Stewed Tomatoes

2 cans Pinto Beans (drained)

2 cans Hominy (1 white, 1 yellow both drained)

2 cans water

1 envelope Ranch Dressing Mix

1 envelope Taco Seasoning (original)

Brown turkey, then add 1/4 cup water, stir in dressing mix and seasoning. Simmer until well coated. Stir turkey and rest of ingredients into dutch oven. Bring to boil, then simmer until flavors blend. Can use corn instead of hominy or experiment with different beans.

Simmering the turkey in the taco seasoning gives it more flavor and helps disguise the turkey in case your family is as finicky as mine. And it’s so healthy, you can get away with topping it with Fritos and shredded cheese.

Taking a Break

This summer, I planned to at least get half of my book with an Oct. 15th deadline written. At least 22,500 words. During the school year, that’s two weeks if I’m really on a roll. But summer is different. My twelve year old is home which means my husband is around more too. They want to go play and I want to go with them. My son and I love whiling away entire days in our above ground pool. But I didn’t want to wait until the middle of August and have an entire book to write by the middle of Oct.

So, I set up a schedule. Write Monday through Friday from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am and sleep until 10:00 am. The first week was VBS and I’m the craft lady. I was too exhausted to stay up late. After VBS, my schedule worked for a few weeks. My son even had three basketball camps scheduled which meant I got to write during the day. But on day three of the second camp, we got a phone call. He’d hurt his arm and the mom who called thought it was broken. We rushed to a town 30 minutes away knowing he was in pain and waiting for us.

Once we got there, we spent another 45 minutes on the road taking him to his doctor where we learned his wrist was indeed broken. In our rural town, the specialists come to town two days a week. We got an appointment the next day and after a sleepless night for all of us, we took him to have it set.

It could have been worse, but the broken bone rattled me. His summer came to screeching halt. He was home more, had friends over less, couldn’t play basketball, and couldn’t even swim in the pool. His bummer summer became our bummer summer. Life became about trying to occupy a twelve year old boy with a broken arm. My night owl schedule wasn’t working because no one went to bed before midnight and my office is in a corner of the living room.

But I kept plugging along anyway. Churning out words. Boring words with boring characters in a boring story. I didn’t like it, didn’t like them, didn’t like anything about it.

The third basketball camp came along and we talked to the coach about our son doing drills and shooting practice. The coach agreed and even recruited an older boy who’d broken his arm earlier in the year to work one on one with our son. A whole week of him getting to go to basketball camp and having fun. A whole week to try to save this book.

And then I got the revisions for my January release from my editor. Guess what I did during basketball camp?

I finished my edits and we went on vacation. Exactly a week after our return, company was scheduled to arrive. So of course, I spent that time furiously cleaning my house. The book was at a stand still. I hated the book and readers would hate it too. I decided not to worry about it. I had 15,000 words at this point. Bad words with boring characters, but still 15,000 words. I made plans to hit it hard once school started and turn this book around.

My unintentional three week break culminated with a nice visit with my cousins. Mid way through their stay, I was putting my makeup on for the day and it hit me. If this character was that character’s sibling–oh my– the complications that would arise. This character that I’ve been doing backflips to explain his presence in town would have a reason to come to town. His sibling connection would cause all kinds of conflict between the hero and heroine. No, my hero and heroine do not learn they are siblings. But characters’ close to them do forcing the hero and heroine to take sides and it swirls into an awesome conflict.

I’ve always plotted at my best during mindless, repetitive tasks. Driving the road I know so well, I could drive it with my eyes closed. Mowing the yard. Going for a walk. Taking a shower. Putting on makeup. When doing something I don’t have to think about, my best ideas come. And at one point, long ago and before I was published, I realized that a break can often get my creativity stirring. But since I’ve had deadlines, I haven’t felt I have time to take a break except between my first draft and editing phase.

My cousins left and our son got his cast off last week. We spent his final week before school started having fun. We swam, he had a friend over, he played basketball, and we did final shopping for school. My break morphed into a full month.

Yesterday, he went back to school. I started my story over, wrote 1700 words, and wove the new sibling connection into what I’d already written. I love this story. I love these characters. And I hope readers do too.

Lesson learned–when you hate the book–try taking a break. Even if you don’t think you have time for one.


Since Rose’s new release, Sweet on the Cowgirl features a hometown business, the inkspers are sharing products and companies close to home.

Once upon a time, back in 1982, Miss Patti Upton mixed up a batch of Arkansas native botanicals such as acorns, pine cones, gumballs and hickory nuts just for fun. She added fragrance with spices and oils and called her creation The Smell of Christmas. Miss Patti placed her creation in a friend’s gift shop and decorative room fragrance quickly turned into an overnight success. The Smell of Christmas remains the company’s flagship fragrance.

Many people confuse Miss Patti’s creation with potpourri. But potpourri is mostly dried flowers and wood chips. Decorative room fragrance has large botanicals, so it’s pleasing to the eye and the nose. Numerous scents, candles, and bath and body products have been added to Aromatique’s line of products.

Aromatique SeashellsHow do I know so much about it? I live ten miles from Aromatique and I worked in the corporate offices for seven years until my son was born. The Smell of Christmas is my favorite scent. But  Sea Shells is my favorite display. I mean sea shells, which I love, that smell good. I’m all over that.

During my years at the company, I got to shop at the company store, where the products slightly damaged in shipping and returned from stores landed. My entire house was decorated with containers, candles, and decorative fragrance. I miss that and since my son has allergies, I’m no longer able to have Aromatique products in my house. Not even Sea Shells.

But my characters have enjoyed it. When I was writing my Arkansas series books, I used an Arkansas product in each story. A Walk in the Woods was given as a gift to my heroine in White Doves. That fragrance has been retired since, but scents are often revamped, renamed, and returned to the line later. Aromatique is still going strong with a full line of scents to tease the eye and can be ordered online. Google it and just look at all the goodies.

Don’t forget to enter the drawing for Rose’s book!sweet on the cowgirl2

Laura Barnes Wants to Be a Cowgirl

Laura has always dreamed of being a trick rider in her family’s Wild West show. But her father will only allow her to perform if she disguises herself as Mr. Buckskin Jones. When soda-pop king Guy Roberts shows up to do business with her family, Laura is torn between keeping her identity under wraps and revealing her growing feelings for Guy. 

Guy is drawn to Laura’s poise and beauty, but he, too, guards a secret. As their affection for each other grows, Guy begins to think about a future that includes Laura. When both their secrets suddenly come to light, their romance will face the ultimate showdown.

Every time you leave a comment between Mon., Aug. 4 and Fri., Aug. 15  at midnight, central time, you are entered to win a copy of Sweet on the Cowgirl. 

Order your copy of Sweet on the Cowgirl today!


Discovering New Authors

For the next two weeks, the Inkspers will be sharing what we’re reading. I have my favorite go to authors. When I’m between deadlines, I like the longer length novels. And if you’ve hung around here for long, you know my favorite is Denise Hunter. When I have deadlines, I go for the shorter reads and love Lenora Worth. But Denise and Lenora can’t write fast enough to keep me in books.

I’ve been on a search for new authors for the last year or so. I’ve tried a few and liked the first book, but was disappointed with the second. Or the books are a bit more women’s fiction than romance. I like women’s fiction if it has a happy ending, but I love the straight romance where the point of view is strictly hero and heroine and the story centers on the couple.

Luckily, I’ve found two authors who don’t disappoint – Becky Wade and Melissa Tagg. And luckily, Denise had a new release this spring. So here’s what I’ve read lately:

I’d read the first book in the series last year and was looking forward to Jade’s story. I always fall in love with Denise’s heroes and Daniel didn’t disappoint. So sweet, so supportive, such a good kisser. I love stories where the hero has silently loved the heroine for years. And I officially crowned Denise Queen of the Kissing Scene after reading:

Dancing with Fireflies

Jade returns home to Chapel Springs after years of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel, making her long to dance again.
Creative and complicated, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden growing up in Chapel Springs. When she left, she thought she’d never look back. But now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.

The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost non-existent, Daniel fit right into the boisterous McKinley family. He’s loved Jade for years, but she always saw him as a big brother. Now that she’s back, his feelings are stronger than ever.

As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she’s hiding secrets from her family, and she’s strangely attracted to the man who’s always called her “squirt.” Finding her way home may prove more difficult than she imagined.

I loved Meant to Be Mine. Loved the characters, the conflict, and the banter. A lot of the times cute banter between the hero and heroine is too cute and gets on my nerves. But the banter between Ty and Celia was funny, sparkling, and electric. The chemistry between these two sizzled. And I loved the hero’s character arc. It was fascinating to watch him turn into the man Celia deserved. Definitely a keeper. And I’m looking forward to the next Becky Wade title. Meant to Be Mine

Meant to Be Mine

Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school–irresistible. When their paths cross again after college–still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.

The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia’s ready to be Ty’s wife, but Ty’s not ready to be her husband. He’s a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he’s long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he’s known since childhood.

Five and a half years pass. Celia’s buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty’s achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn’t forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.

How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia’s trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?

After I read Becky’s 2nd title, Undeniable Yours last year, I found her debut My Stubborn Heart and loved it to. The achingly hurting hero tugged at my heartstrings. And the patient heroine drawing him out, then watching him go back insideMy Stubborn Heart himself, but determined to stick with him. So sweet, so tender. My favorite line: His gaze sought out Kate first, locking on her for a split second that caused her nerves to sizzle. Wow, I wish I’d written that. And once again, there was great banter. I officially crown Becky Wade the Queen of Banter.

My Stubborn Heart

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When Kate’s grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.

Yet, she discovers a different kind of project upon meeting the man hired to renovate the house. Matt Jarreau is attractive and clearly wounded — hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Kate can’t help but set her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light… whether he likes it or not.

I fell in love with Blake in the first book of Melissa Tagg’s series, Made to Last, even though he wasn’t the hero. I’ve long been waiting for his story and thoroughly enjoyed Here to Stay. I loved Autumn and she was a worthy heroine for him. My favorite part – the bathtub – funny and heartbreaking all at the same time. The book perfectly explained Blake’s nomad lifestyle and what sent him there. I guess I’m a sucker for wounded heroes. I haven’t crowned Melissa yet, but I’m looking forward to her next book. By the third title, I’ll probably have her crown figured out.

Here to Stay

After playing nomad for five years, Blake Hunziker has finally had enough of adventure. Not sure what reception he’ll get from everyone back in Whisper Shore, he’s stunned at not only a warm welcome from Here to Stayhis hometown but also a job offer. The job is his if he can successfully pull off the annual Christmas Festival. If only he knew the first thing about coordinating events. . .

If there’s one thing Autumn Kingsley knows, it’s Whisper Shore. For years, she’s been stuck running her family’s inn when all she wants is to see the world. Now she has a visit scheduled from a potential investor who could take over the inn, as well as a dream job offer in Paris. But with just two weeks to whip the inn into shape, her chance at escape is a long shot.

The Hunzikers and the Kingsleys may not get along, but Blake knows Autumn’s the only one who can help him. She agrees to a trade–she’ll help with the Festival and he’ll help with inn repairs. But what was meant to be a simple deal quickly becomes much more than that when the guy who’s done running away joins forces with the girl who can’t wait to leave.

Have you read any of these titles? Have you discovered a new author lately? Any contemporary romance authors you love? I’d love to find some more new authors to love.

So Not a Camper

We’re celebrating the release of Shari’s Camp Club Girls release, McKenzie’s Oregon Operation included in the 3 in 1 volume, Operation: Excitement!

When I tell people I never went to church camp, they always seem shocked. I guess they assume this preacher’s wife grew up in church. But I didn’t start consistently attending until I was twelve. And our church was very small. Small as in twelve members who were all related to me on my mom’s side or my dad’s. There weren’t any kids my age. There were some younger cousins five and under, but I don’t remember camp ever being mentioned. If our church had sent kids to camp, I wouldn’t have gone. I’m not the rough it type.

Gold Hiking SandalsI’ve always said my idea of camping would be a motor home with electricity, great air conditioning, and plumbing. But I like Dawn’s idea better – a cabin with electricity, great air conditioning, and plumbing. With accommodations like that, I probably wouldn’t go outside. I don’t like bugs, heat, humidity, or critters such as ticks and snakes, and I’m extremely allergic to poison ivy. Camping in a cabin in the fall would be nice.

Last summer, I had my first and only brush with camping when my local writers group, ACFW AR had a retreat at a church camp. We slept in squeaky bunk beds with ladders in the middle of one side and the open side against the wall. We all chose the bottom bunks, but the top might have been better. Crawling out the hole beside the ladder was a bit like crawling out of the birth canal. The showers were and toilets were all in one long room in stalls with shower curtains.

I was completely unprepared and never dreamed we’d go hiking. I brought two pairs of wedge sandals–no tennis shoes. But never one to use my shoes as an excuse, I went on the prayer walk in my gold and rhinestone sandals. It turned out to be a mountain climbing expedition and my shoes became forever known as my hiking boots. Those are the intrepid hikers above: Debbie Sheetrum, Rosie Baldwin, Ann McCauley, and me.

This year, our writers group found a Bed & Breakfast used for Christian retreats. Talk about accommodations. Technically, it couldn’t beRustic Retreat called camping, but it was my idea of camping. Nice beds, rustic decor, and very comfy with two bathrooms. The mosquitoes were thick, so I didn’t step outside except when I arrived and when I left. I don’t like the smell of Off. They need to come up with a perfume scented version. I told you, I don’t rough it.

Comment or share your camp experience to enter the drawing for a copy of Operation: Excitement!

Operation Excitement!Join the Camp Club Girls on a series of clue-filled adventures and cheer them on as they crack the case in this entertaining 3-in-1 story collection. Whether the Camp Club Girls are vanquishing vermin in Vermont, searching for stolen sea lion pups on the Oregon Coast, or investigating peculiar elk stampedes in Estes Park, you’ll encounter six charming characters who combine their mystery-solving skills to save the day.


A Sweet Serenade

>Last day to sign up to win Rodeo Song by Shannon Taylor Vannatter – see contest rules below<

It’s no secret that I love music, so growing up there were a few male voices that made me swoon.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor DreamcoatSeveral Inkspers have already talked about Donny Osmond–seriously, the man’s voice still makes me swoon. No one has matched or come near to his rendition of Close Every Door from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Just WoW! And, yes, I did get to see Donny perform this in the Twin Cities. From the second row. Be still my fluttering heart!

Seven Brides for Seven BrothersAnd then there’s Howard Keel. You likely know him from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Just imagine him serenading you with When You’re In Love… Or maybe he’s singing Make Believe from Show Boat. Oh. My. Goodness, that man had pipes! He was a right handsome man at that time as well.

OklahomaOh, and I can’t forget to mention Gordon MacRae. Can you imagine him serenading you with People Will Say We’re in Love, from the musical Oklahoma? Or how about If I Loved You, from Carousel. Swoon city!


I think it’s time to go listen to some music!

Rodeo Song***Giveaway Time***

Who would you most like to serenade you? Tell us about it in the comment section below to get your name in a drawing for Shannon’s new book Rodeo Song. The more you comment on any Inksper blog post dated June 9 – June 20, 2014, the greater your chances of winning. The giveaway ends at midnight on June 20, central time, and is open to continental U. S. residents only.