Monday, March 13, 2017

The 5 Ws of A Stolen Heart

Journalists are taught that every article needs to include the five Ws -- who, what, where, when, and why. We novelists follow the same advice, although it usually takes us longer to answer those questions. In my case it takes a lot longer.

Instead of simply counting the minutes until the official release of A Stolen Heart tomorrow, I thought I'd show you how those questions relate to the story. And, yes, there's another reason for this blog: Revell gave me some wonderful graphics to share with you.

Who? That's shorthand for "who's involved?" As you can see from the family tree, there are multiple generations of people living in Cimarron Creek. Not all of them are still alive when A Stolen Heart begins, and not all play major roles, but the family tree shows you who's related to whom.

I found the family tree invaluable when I was writing the book and hope it'll add to your enjoyment of the story.


What?  Again, this is shorthand, in this case for "what happened?" The answer to that is much more complex than the "who?" question, so let's start with the beginning.

Schoolteacher Lydia Crawford arrives in Cimarron Creek expecting to hear the sound of wedding bells, only to discover that her fiance has disappeared, leaving behind a wife. A pregnant wife.

Travis Whitfield has his hands full dealing with a missing man, a rash of thefts, and an ornery father. He doesn't have time to think about love and marriage. But sometimes love comes when it's least expected.

Where?  The answer to this one is simple: Cimarron Creek, a seemingly idyllic town in the Texas Hill Country. In case you wondered what it looks like, there's a map in the book itself and a fancier version here.


When? This is another question with a simple answer. The story takes place in 1880.

Why? And now we come to the heart of the story. Why did the people in Cimarron Creek do what they did? Why are some of them hiding deep secrets? I can't answer that without giving away the story, and you know I won't do that. Instead, I hope I've intrigued you enough that you'll read A Stolen Heart and uncover all the missing pieces to the puzzle for yourself.

Here's a link to more information as well as buying links.  http://bit.ly/2jKtzo8

If you do read the book, I'd love to hear what you think. You can find my email address on my web site. I'd also appreciate an honest review at the major online retailers.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Counting the Days

As the subject line says, I'm counting the days -- seven -- until A Stolen Heart releases. This is always an exciting time for me, knowing that soon my book will be in the hands of the most important people -- readers. It's also a bit of an anxious time as I wait for your reactions.

Believe it or not, there's a lot of waiting involved in writing. Once the manuscript has gone through the editing process, the next step is to send it to well-known authors for possible endorsement.

I was so fortunate that New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick enjoyed the story enough to say this:

And Margaret Brownley, another bestselling author, offered this praise:

The next step is to send the manuscript to major review sites.  One of the most influential is Publishers Weekly. Since they receive far more books than they can review, simply being reviewed is an honor. As you might imagine, receiving a favorable review like this one is cause for celebration.

Romance readers often turn to RT BookReviews for recommendations, so I always wait eagerly to see what their reviewers have to say about my books. I smiled when I read this, since both of my editors had said the same thing about A Stolen Heart, namely that it made them hungry.

Now I'm waiting for you, my readers, to tell me what you think. Will you love Lydia and Travis's story? Will you be intrigued by the secrets in Cimarron Creek?  I hope so.

If you'd like to read more about the book before it releases, here's a link to my web site. It includes a sneak peek at the first chapter as well as discussion group questions, in case your book club would like to feature it.

http://bit.ly/2jKtzo8

Happy reading!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming - February 22, 2017

What's a cottontail supposed to do after a particularly heavy snowfall? This one spent a lot of time resting in what I called the caldera next to a juniper. But eventually he decided to venture out.

Why? Food, of course!
Judging from the quantity he ate, he must have enjoyed the dwarf iris.

One thing you may have noticed is that while the snow was deep next to the juniper, it's hardly visible here. You can thank the famous Wyoming winds for that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming - February 15, 2017

Winter in Wyoming lasts well beyond the official end of winter on March 20. In fact, March and April tend to be our snowiest months, at least in Cheyenne.

The spring bulbs don't seem to have gotten that memo, though, so they start blooming in mid-February. Unfortunately, sometimes they have to deal with snow weighing down their blossoms. Fortunately, they often recover.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming - February 8, 2017

One of my favorite parts of winter in Wyoming is seeing how the local rabbits (both cottontails and jackrabbits) deal with it. This jackrabbit spent days hunkered down under this particular shrub.

The good news is, the shrub is only a few feet from my office window. The bad news is I spent far too much time looking at him rather than working on my manuscript. Such a fun distraction!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming - February 1, 2017

When you think of Wyoming in the winter, you probably envision the Tetons and literally feet of snow. While that's often the case there, other parts of the state have considerably less snow, including my hometown, Cheyenne.

In Cheyenne, snow is often accompanied by our famously strong winds, making it what I call sideways snow. That rarely sticks to trees, but occasionally we have perfect conditions to create a scene like this. It doesn't last long, but it's definitely beautiful.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wednesday in Wyoming -- January 25, 2017

It's not only the capitol itself that's being renovated. The Herschler building, which houses other state offices and is north of the capitol on the same campus, is having also extensive work done.

How much will all this cost, and when will it be done?  The answers are (1) around $300 million dollars and (2) in time for the 2019 legislative session, so we have another two years before the buildings will be open.  

If you'd like more information about the project, there's a web site devoted to it.  http://www.wyomingcapitolsquare.com/