Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Big Finale

Well, it was some NFR this year. The ending was spectacular and very competitive. Congratulations to Bobby Mote, Lee Graves, Nick Sartain and Kollin VonAhn, Jesse Kruse, Trevor Brazile, Brittany Pozzi and J.W. Harris. And special congrats to Trevor Brazile for his seventh all around world championship and Josh Peek for his all around NFR championship. And extra special congrats to the average winners of my team, Bobby Mote and Tuf Cooper (who also placed second in tie-down roping behind his brother-in-law Trevor!)

How did my fantasy team do? Well it could have been worse but it sure could have been better.

After a terrific win in Round 8, my team only won $30,408 in round 9 and $38,978 in round 10. Not enough to come close in the Fantasy league where over $56K took the tenth round. Overall my team made only $452,000 when the fantasy team that won made close to $720,000! Nice payout coming to the "Mustache Riders" and I'm guessing that Cody DeMoss was one of their cowboys.

Overall, though, there were some standouts on my team. Bobby Mote won money in every round but the second round and came in first in round 9 and 10. He also won the average and was by far my biggest money-maker on the team winning over $135K at the NFR--like wow!

Next best were my team ropers Tryan and Jones because as a team, their winnings are doubled. They earned out, combined, over $105K. But a real standout and one of my favorite cowboys is Tuf Cooper, earning over $87K at the NFR. Actually, I think he came in even higher than that but I'm just reading what my worksheet said. In any event, it was a great NFR final and he kept his poise in the tenth round when he just had to make a time to win the average. He did, showing that young as he is, he's a cowboy with true grit! Looking forward to the next NFR!

Happy Holidays to all!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wow-Spectacular Round 8

$70,355 is the amount my fantasy team won in Round 8 of the NFR--that's some spectacular rodeo! Less said about Round 7 the better. My team only won $21,243 that night with Bobby Mote (6), Tryan/Jones (5), Taos Muncy (6) and Mary Burger (3-tie) placing in the money, but not high enough to make a difference.

But round 8 was a whole other experience. Here are the details:

Bobby Mote placed 1st in Bare back riding to win $15343 in a tie
Tryan/Jones placed 1st in Team Roping with each winning $17139
Taos Muncy placed 2nd in Saddle Bronc winning $13546 and
Tuf Cooper placed a solid 4th in tie down roping to win $7188 for a total team win of $70,355!!!!!! Biggest win yet for my team. And if I understand it correctly, I could have actually won some money for this round on Pro Fanatasy Rodeo since their highest team score was around $62K for that round. Maybe next year I'll play for real. I'm just feeling my way this year, seeing if I know rodeo well enough to compete. Up until this round, I had my doubts. :)

On my team, Trevor Knowles continues to struggle in steer wrestling with another no time and J.W. Harris failed to ride in bull riding due to his wrist injury. Mary Burger came in at a respectable time, but the field was fast and she landed in 10th place.

Only two more nights left and the all important average (the cowboy/girl who has the best scores in their event over 10 rounds) provides so much money to the top spot ($44K) that it can be the determining factor for the world championship--not to mention a heck of paycheck. More on that later. Go Cowboys--and I mean the rodeo ones, not the football ones!:)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Round 6-NFR Fantasy or Nightmare?

Things are going from bad to worse with my fantasy team. Thank goodness for bareback rider Bobby Mote, who not only came in first, but is also on track to win the average (a $40K payoff to the rider with the best average after ten rounds) and my fav tie down roper Tuf Cooper who came in at a solid 4th with a 7.8 time. Here's how my team did in round 6--don't cringe.

Bareback riding: Bobby Mote-$17139

Steer Wrestling: Trevor Knowles-12th

Team Roping: Tryan/Jones-11th, no time

Saddle bronc: Taos Muncy-13th

Tie down roping: Tuf Cooper-4th-7,188

Barrel racing: Mary Burger-14th

Bull riding: J.W. Harris--no time
Total money: $ 24,327

Only two members of my team made it into the top six in the sixth round. But, tonight is another opportunity to do better. I'll be watching on to see it live. How are your favorites doing?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Round 5-Fantasy Rodeo

Even with some wins, it wasn't enough to make it a good night. Bobby Mote tied for 1st, splitting the purse of the one and two spot to take home $15343. Trevor Knowles tied for 3rd taking home only $921. Tryan/Jones came in at the 12 spot, as did Mary Burger in barrel racing. Taos Muncy only camed in at spot 10 in a tie while Tuf came in at the 7 spot. $16264 is all my team got this week. Only five days left. I'm not doing so well!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Round 4 Fantasy NFR Team

Well it's round 4 and thank goodness for team roping or I'd have little to show for my fantasy team. So thank you Travis Tryan and Michael Jones for your fantastic roping ability.
Team members in the money last night were:
Travis Tryan and Michael Jones who combined in Team Roping to tie with Sartain and VonAhn for first so they split the first and second place winnings for a total of $30,686. Remind me when I play fantasy rodeo for real to carefully choose my team roping duo--those boys can win you some money! Taos Muncy came in second in Saddle Bronc earning $13536 and Bobby Mote came in 6th in Bareback riding for $2764. That's $46996 my team won in Round 4. Not bad but not enough to win a Fantasy Rodeo round.
By the way, Taos lost to Jesse Kruse who looked amazing on his saddle bronc and showed people why he is number 1 in the event. I would have chosen Jesse for my team since I think he'll win, but in the real fantasy rodeo you only have so much money to spend on your team and since Jesse was already at number 1, he came at a high price. So I went with my sentimental favorite, Taos Muncy who won in 2007 and then broke his leg in 2008. I love a comeback. Which is why I didn't pick my other favorite Saddle bronc rider, Cody Wright. He also looked awesome in Round 3--poetry in motion. But since he won last year, I thought I'd go with the "comeback." So far, Taos hasn't disappointed--winning round 1 and placing 2nd in round 4.
Looking forward to more rodeo tonight!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Round 2 and Round 3 Fantasy NFR

How am I doing with my fantasy team? Frankly not so good, particularly since I spent most of my chits on picking the top bull rider, J.W. Harris and he's out with a bad wrist. So, instead, I'll be replacing him with Jesse Bail who hasn't scored yet (you can't substitute in real fantasy rodeo but hey, this is MY fantasy) until/if J.W. comes back.

Remember, only those who place 1-6 get a payout from the rodeo (ranging from $17139-2,764) and if they tie with someone, they split the money for that round's place.

So here's the results in round 2

Bareback riding, Bobby Mote -10
Steer Wrestling, Trevor Knowles--3
Team Roping, Tryan/Jones--11 (no score)
Saddle Bronc riding, Taos Muncy--13(no score)
Tie-down roping, Tuf Cooper--3
Barrel racing, Mary Burger--7
Bull riding, Jesse Bail, no score

Total payout to team members: a meager $25,956

But the third round (Saturday night) I did a bit better, mainly because my team ropers came in first and that's double the money since there are two of them! Here's the results

Bareback riding, Bobby Mote (3)
Steer Wrestling, Trevor Knowles (8)
Team roping, Tryan/Jones (1)
Saddle bronc riding, Taos Muncy (12)
Tie down roping, Tuf Cooper (6)
Barrel racing, Mary Burger (4)
Bull riding, Jesse Bail (0)

Total round 3 payout of team members: $51510--best night yet. :) But still not good enough to win in real fantasy rodeo.

Off to watch tonight's round on ESPN 2 at 9 pm EST.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fantasty NF Rodeo Team

How did my fanatsy rodeo team do last night in the first round of the National Finals Rodeo? Well let's see:

Bareback riding-- Bobby Mote (2)* --84 score/ placed 5

Steer Wrestling-- Trevor Knowles (5)-- No score/ placed 15th

Team Roping-- Tryan/Jones (7/8)-- 9.10/ placed 8

Saddle Bronc riding-- Taos Muncy (11)-- 86 score/placed 1

Tie down roping --Tuf Cooper (6)-- 8.3/ scored 6

Barrel Racing-- Mary Burger (3)-- 14.33/placed 8

Bull Riding --J.W. Harris (1)-- no score/ tied for 7th

In all my contestants won $20, 917 with only three placing in the money. Not great but it's only the first round with nine more to go. Happy, though, that I picked a winner for my favorite event, saddle bronc riding. My hero in Re-ride at the Rodeo is a saddle bronc rider, natch. Saddle bronc riding is one of the classic rodeo events because bronc riding has been a necessary skill of cowboys since horses needed to be ridden. It also requires the most mastery of any of the rough-stock events and puts the most emphasis on form of any of those events. It takes a long time to be a good saddle bronc rider, but once you master it, you can become really great.

If you don't get ESPN Classic, you can catch the rodeo in the wee hours of the morning on ESPN 2 or watch it as close to real time as possible on your computer, starting at 10 p.m. EST each night on, as I do. Congrats to all the winners.

*()ranking prior to the NFR

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Mystery Called Rodeo

I was confiding to a casual friend my interest in rodeo and she asked me a simple question--why? She wasn't being snarky, but she was looking at a suburbanite who was living a fairly typical suburban life and wondering how this woman (me) had fallen in love with rodeo.

Certainly, I grew up on a farm and we did own a horse and my sisters did barrel race, but my life now is far removed from those days. And maybe that's part of the attraction. When I'm at the rodeo, I'm that farm girl again. The one who used to bring home all the stray animals, who used to play in mud, who loved to eat cherry tomatoes right off the vine and dip her stick of fresh rhubarb in a bag of sugar for a bittersweet treat. That's the sentimental draw of rodeo.

But there is another, competitive side that draws me to rodeo. These cowboys are literally risking their life for a long shot at a little money. And they aren't competing with each other as much as they are competing with themselves and against the bull or horse they are riding or the steer they are roping. Most of the time, the bull or horse wins. This is especially true if you watch a small town rodeo--then you realize just how difficult the sport is. Whether bronc riding or tie-down roping, these are difficult skills which the top fifteen rodeo cowboys in each category make look easy at an event like the National Finals Rodeo, coming up December 3-12 in Los Vegas. It's a dream of mine to attend that event. I'm shooting for 2013 when my daughter enters college and my husband and I will be free to go. Until then, I have to be content with setting the DVR to tape in the wee hours of the morning, which is when the previous night's action is broadcast in my neck of the woods. That's how far removed I am from rodeo. (My small town, however, does host an annual rodeo--the only one to do so for miles and miles around.:)

And then, of course, there are the cowboys and horses that get to my passionate side. All those cowboys, all that horse flesh. I just love a man in a cowboy hat, chaps and boots sitting atop a horse. It always provides a creative boost, ala my story Re-ride at the Rodeo.

As for that mystery called rodeo, I like being just a little bit unpredictable, like that bronc that comes busting out of the gate, only to twist the exact opposite way than the cowboy expects.

Here's to all the cowboys out there and those barrel racing cowgirls who show gumption, grit and guts. My cowgirl hat is off to you all.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Counting Blessings

As someone reminded me, I haven't been very good about keeping up my blog. I still haven't figured out the key to making this routine. Just when I think I've got it, blogging goes sputtering off my radar. But I was reading Linda Lael Miller's blog today
and she reminded me about one thing that should never go off someone's radar--and that is counting my blessings.

So while I sit polishing off a requested manuscript in between hovering over my teenager who is home with H1N1 flu, I decided to take some time and count my blessings.

So here's five things I'm grateful for today:

(1) My daughter is recovering from the flu--fever is down, sore throat isn't so sore, and she's beginning to talk about how bored she is--a sure sign of progress!

(2) That I have a request from a great editor for my contemporary manuscript and I'm almost done making it shiny and bright. I'd tell you more about it but I don't want to jinx it. :)

(3) That I have such a good husband who did the grocery shopping and cooked dinner last night so I could take care of my daughter and work on my manuscript. Did I mention how much I love him?

(4) That I'm able to work at what I love--both in writing and in my consulting practice.

(5) That it's a gorgeous day out and I'm going to get in some garden clean up later--maybe, hopefully.

Linda was right. It does make you feel so much better! Any blessings(s) you want to count? And sorry I've been away so long.....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Saratoga Gilded Age--Spas and Gambling

You might think that health and gambling weren't necessarily compatible ingredients for profitable success but in the Gilded Age, health and speculation were very much on the mind of the population. As the industrial age moved the populace from merely sustaining life to having choices in what one ate and drank, an interest in a healthy lifestyle took root, particularly amongst those with money to make those choices. And with the advent of the stock exchange and the rise in capital speculation came wide spread interest in gambling, again by those with money to entertain such pursuits. Saratoga offered both to its patrons and they flocked to it. While it probably wasn't solely demarcated along gender lines, health did seem on the minds of the ladies while gambling was the preferred leisure of the male population. Saratoga offered something for them both.

With several mineral springs, visitors to Saratoga Springs had their favorites. For instance the Old Red Spring, which today is located near commercial enterprises on a busy street, has an abundance of calcium bicarbonate and a great deal of iron and was known as the Beauty Spring because it helped with anemia (restoring a glow to the skin) and was thought an effective treatment for many skin diseases as calcium was used to treat skin lesions in days gone by. A note to those who take a gulp--beware--it tastes like its ingredients! Indeed, much of the various springs offer water that is metallic and alkaline in taste.

Congress Spring, located on Broadway in Congress Park is an exception to the taste warning as is the State Seal Spring located in Saratoga Spa State Park. Congress Spring supplied the original Saratoga Spring Water, bottled and sold for it's mineral properties and taste.

Many other springs besides the State Seal Spring are located in Saratoga Spa State Park--a short buggy ride/car ride from the center of Broadway. I've listed them along with their purported properties.

Geyser Spring--works as an antacid, aids in digestion

Hayes Spring--used as a treatment of liver, gall bladder and digestive tract disorders. The high salt content in this spring produces a laxative effect!

Orenda Spring--high potassium iodide and possesses laxative properties!

Beware of the Polaris Spring which perches handily beside the roadway with no signage (none of the springs in the park have very much in the way of signs which makes finding them a bit of an adventure.) It has high radioactive content, yet sits ready to be tasted. I made the mistake of taking a gulp in my quest to have an authentic taste experience of all the springs not realizing it was the Polaris Spring until too late. So far, no ill effects.

The park also contains the Roosevelt Bath Houses (built in the 1930s and restored) where you can take a mineral bath, duplicating the bath houses that were popular in the park back in the day.

Pictures of the various springs are below.

A trip back to Congress State Park and the Congress spring and you'll find Canfield Hall, the original building that was opened in 1870 as a gambling facility (despite the fact that gambling was never legal in the city) by John Morrissey. Known quaintly as The Clubhouse, women were allowed in the saloon but not in the gambling halls--though there are many stories about some determined efforts by a few women to gain entry. Nor did John allow permanent residents of the city to gamble in his casino for fear that a losing resident would seek revenge via enforcement of the town ordinances. It must have worked because the club thrived for a long time, eventually being sold to Richard Canfield in 1894. It is now Saratoga's museum with part of it still set up as a gambling hall (pictures below) People bet and lost fortunes in The Clubhouse where Wall Street elites such as Morgans and Vanderbilts mingled with other bankers, railroad men, congressmen and cattle barons. Along with the famous race track, the casino was a major attraction to those who liked to speculate with their money.

Coming next will be the great houses of Saratoga Springs and that will be the last about my vacation to the Queen of the Spas.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Taste of Saratoga's Gilded Age--Hotels

This summer I went to Saratoga Springs to finish up a little research on my western historical novel about a Texan who comes to Saratoga in hopes of bringing back a cultured wife and gets a great deal more than he bargains for.

Saratoga Springs was the Queen of the Spa resorts with the added benefits of horse racing and a first rate casino as well as proximity to New York City from which it drew a large part of its monied clientele, attracting the likes of Vanderbilts, Fisks, Goulds and Asters. For a time, it boasted the largest hotels in the world such as the Grand Union Hotel where congressman, senators and bankers gathered, The United States Hotel where the likes of Vanderbilts, Goulds and Rockfellers held court on the piazza and Congress Hall which hosted the Asters and other old New York scions.

The scope of these hotels was monumental. The Grand Union was updated several times but in 1875, when my novel takes place, it claimed a ballroom that was 85 x 60 feet with 27 foot high celings from which hung three large crystal chandeliers. Covering seven acres right on Broadway, it had over 824 rooms available, some of them cottages which rented for $125 per day. It boasted two miles of corridors, twelve acres of carpet and an acre of marble. The Grand Union dining room was capable of handling up to 1400 guests at a sitting " with 35 coooks, 200 waiters, 12 carvers dispensing 1200 quarts of milk, 1500 pounds of beef, 80 chickens and 250 quarts of strawberries" or so the guide book of the day related. (The Grand Union Hotel by Beatrice Sweeny, City Historian Saratoga Springs, New York).

A block down Broadway, The United States Hotel was almost as grand encompassing a three-acre park within its boundaries and 768 guest rooms and cottage suites all equipped with marble washstands and cold running water and some of the suites also offered a private bath. It also had a large ballroom and spacious dining room, all superbly appointed. Congress Hall was on a slightly smaller scale but all three lined the main street with large piazza's overlooking Broadway. Seen in one long sweep the hotels made quite an architectural display.

Added to this in 1877 was the Adelphi Hotel, squeezed in between the Grand Union and the United States. The Adelphi's piazza also overlooked the street and added to the unified architecture of these great hotels. The Adelphi only had a little more than 150 rooms but it entertained some of Saratoga's elite as well, including John Morrissey, the colorful Tammany Hall politician who helped bring racing and gambling to The Springs. He died at the Adelphi in 1878 with citizens keeping vigil outside its doors.

The Adelphi's smaller stature is what helped save it from the fate of it's bigger sister hotels. As modern conveniences such as elevators, electrical wiring, indoor plumbing, central heating, phones, etc. were required by vacationers, updating such mammoth palaces became financially prohibitive. With travel made easier, more options opened up. By the 1920's these grande dames were shadows of their former self. By the forties they were in substantial decline. The United States went up in smoke during that decade and the wrecking ball signaled the demise of the Grand Union in 1953.

The Adelphi, however, managed to hang in there and in 1977 the current owners purchased it and started to restore it to it's former glory. Today, you can get a taste of the grandeur of Saratoga's Gilded Age with a stay at the Adelphi where all modern conveniences await you as you step back in time. We stayed at the Adelphi during our visit in a beautifully appointed Queen suite and savored every wonderful minute of it. Below are pictures of the hotel so you too can step back in time.

More on Saratoga Springs and it's unique history in the next blog.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Romance Writers of America Conference 2009

Imagine taking a workshop with Nora Roberts where she shares writing wisdom, or Jayne Ann Krentz and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, or Virginia Kantra or Joan Johnston or...well you get the picture. Well I could do all of that and more at my first Romance Writers of America Conference held in Washington D.C.

Nothing better to get those creative juices flowing. In fact, I wrote 40+ pages of a new contemporary romance about a young woman trying to throw off the shackles of a domineering father and find love again with an independent-minded cowboy who'd she'd been married to once upon a time for all of 48 hours. How does it sound so far? :)

I also pitched my historical, In the Hands of a Texan, to an agent and got a request. Yay! I love this story of a scandalized Saratoga Springs debutante who enters into a marriage of desperation with a war-hardened Texan and nothing is like either expects. Sort of Age of Innocence meets Unforgiven.

And the conference was so much more than I expected--overwhelming, enlightening and fun! Above are some pictures.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rodeo, Cowboys and Romance

It's been a busy month with the release of Return to Wayback which includes my story, Re-ride at the Rodeo. But I promised you photos and before I leave for RWA National tomorrow I realized I needed to post these pictures. It was muddy but a lot of fun! Enjoy all the cowboys!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Great Expectations, Divorce and the Benefits of an Arranged Marriage

Arranged marriages in the 21st century--I must be joking, right? But there is a huge segment of the world population where arranged marriages are still the norm. Case in point, Farahad Zama's column in last Sunday's N.Y. Times Modern Love column.

Farahad is now a middle-aged man of Indian ancestry and over a decade ago, he happily submitted to his family's plan for an arranged marriage with a girl he'd never met. They married two months later after spending all of forty-five minutes together and by his account, are happily so. He believes there are benefits to falling in love after marriage.

Sounds heretical to American sensibilities where belief is that falling in love is a pre-requisite to a happy marriage--or is it? Farahad points to our country's divorce rate as a reason to be skeptical. He posits the notion that perhaps it is our high (read unrealistic) expectations, a result of having stars in our eyes when we marry, that may lead to the shock and disappointment of discovering that your romantic white knight is no longer the man who comes home tired at night or the adventurous imp you married has turned into a cranky mother of a toddler.

Do we expect too much from the men we fall in love with and vice versa?

Farahad writes: "I think that in arranged marriages one starts with lower expectations and realizes the need for compromise is essential in a successful bond, and that is probably its biggest benefit."

My critique partner, Shobhan Bantwal, who is also Indian and has a fabulous novel coming out in September from Kensington called The Sari Shop Widow, has been happily married for decades. Her marriage was arranged.
India's divorce rate is amongst the lowest in the world at 1.1% compared to the U.S. divorce rate of 50%. Still how much is due to cultural taboo and how many of those Indian marriages are actually happy ones is any one's guess. But it does give one pause and something to consider.

Farahad concludes: " What I am sure about is that our marriage, arranged with other considerations in mind, took us from acquaintance to love and kept us together until we realized that our differences are the yin and yang that make our relationship whole. Now we consider ourselves absolutely perfect for each other. Somewhere in that is a lesson, I am sure."

As a romance writer and reader I must say I've always loved the "marriage of convenience" plot, whether the mail-order bride of the West or the economic and titled alliances of the Regency, I enjoy reading about a hero and heroine who start out their marriage as strangers with little in common and yet must find a way to build trust and make it all work. Even today, you can find contemporary romances where the plot is about two dissimilar people forced into a marriage situation.

Maybe the reason I enjoy them so much is that you get to see the "married" side of romance and all the pitfalls inherent in trying to sustain a viable marriage, something I can relate to. Because even the best marriages take a lot of work and compromise, something those of us with decades long "happy marriages" know all too well.

So do we expect too much from those we fall in love with? Could there be some benefits to arranged matches with "other considerations" beyond love in mind? Do you enjoy the Marriage of Convenience plot line?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Do Something Romantic....

The other day the President took his wife on a night out in NYC. Today the New York Times had an article suggesting (a little tongue-in-cheek) that the Commander in Chief may have made some men look bad because, hey, if he had time to take his wife out on a date, every man should have the time.

The article then went on to detail the lengths some men did not go to be romantic. Some poor women reported not having a night out as a couple in a very long time. But then, some couples found time for being romantic after decades of being together.

My hubby of twenty plus years and I have always tried to have a date night (except for the first few years after my daughter was born and neither of us wanted to let her out of our sight:). Even when money was tight, somehow once a month we scraped together enough for a babysitter (our families lived too far away to help much) and went to a movie. Eventually we could even afford dinner with the movie once in a while. Even with just those few hours, we'd be able to reconnect. For us that meant laughing at the absurdity of our busy lives or planning out home repairs or maybe a vacation or simply confiding in each other our respective work problems. Somehow, it felt intimate even though we were out in public places.

My daughter often chastises my husband for not being her version of romantic. No, he doesn't notice my hair when I get it done, or a new outfit, or anything I may do around the house. And, like many men, he isn't one to say the L-word often, in fact, he rarely shows his emotions.

But he is the type of guy who has tea waiting for me in the morning and makes it for me every night as we watch T.V. He's even been known to surprise me with a cup as I'm working away at the computer just because. I find that terribly romantic.

And, though he's not the most demonstrative soul, he won't leave the house in the morning without giving me a good-bye kiss, even tracking me down in the basement if need be. That always warms my heart.

Oh and he will bring me flowers for no reason--not often--but often enough to be memorable.

Perhaps most important, though, is that he's there for me, supporting me in anything I tackle. 24/7 I know I can depend upon him. To me, that's very romantic.

So while he may not whisk me off on a surprise vacation or take me to some place exotic on a date or text me that he loves me--he's romantic enough for me.

What does your husband or significant other do that you find romantic? Or what do you wish he'd do :) And do you do anything romantic for him?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

When Your To-Do List Keeps Growing!

I used to be a pretty organized person. In my other life I ran a division of a major corporation for goodness sakes. Then I became a mom. Then I became a consultant. Then I became an author. Then I became a website founder. You get the picture.

I'm wearing a lot of hats--as most women are. Wife, mother, Chief Operating Officer of Our House, Inc., Business Owner, Website editor, Writer and chief promo person and my most important job--mother to a teenager (you think it will get easier as they get older but it just gets different.)

Lists used to be my saving grace. Write it down and it got done. Simple.

But it doesn't seem to work as well anymore. I have a white board in my office for a to-do list and one that gives me my week at a glance so I can't ignore it. But the problem is, my list is getting longer. I accomplish one task and two more take its place.

You'd think in this day and age of technology things would be easier. I look at those who scratched out a living on the ranches of the West and wonder what am I complaining about--and whether this farm girl would measure up. Life back then was hard. Work was from dawn to after dusk and no matter how hard you worked, the hand of fate could take it away in a storm or pestilence or financial collapse.

Wait a minute--that sounds an awful lot like life today!

I'm up at 6 a.m. to get my child off to school, work my day job and fit in housework, writing/promoting and being a mom in between and far into the evening as well as on weekends. The only difference is that my day job isn't physcial work (I have to work-out to get my exercise these days!) and my housework isn't the kind of drudgery that consumed the ranch wife of the 19th century.

And here's another, important difference--I'm doing things I enjoy--mostly! So I guess I'll count my blessings, make my list and keep trying to get it cut down! If anyone has any tips on getting organized and trimming that to-do list, please share. I'd sure appreciate the advice!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

And the winner is.....

Yesterday you all had a great chance to win a free copy of Return to Wayback. There were only four commenters (one here and three at Liberty States Blog), however, so I put those names in a hat and pulled out one. The winner is...

Celia Yeary!

Celia, contact me at with your address and I'll get a signed copy of the book out to you. Congrats!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hook 'em with Your Best Shoot

What do authors Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Eloisa James, Rachel Gibson, Linda Lael Miller, Jennifer Crusie and Elizabeth Lowell all have in common—besides best sellers?

Great openings. But could you tell who wrote which great hook?

Check out Liberty States Fiction Writers' Blog Read Around the World and see if you can match the author to their opening paragraph—I’ve included the answers at the end of the article so you can check yourself.

And to celebrate the release of Return To Wayback today—I’m giving away a free copy of the book to one lucky person who leaves a comment today. So share your own favorite opening—or just tell which of the above author’s hook you liked best—or just say hi! Hope to see you there.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Don't you know Connor Mead? Ghosts of Girlfriend's Past and all.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Pictures, Images and Photos

This past weekend I went to see Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, hubby in reluctant tow. It was cute, sexy and ultimately romantic. It also posed the question of what is life without love--and romance.

Because haven't we all met this guy Connor Mead in some form or another? The player. The womanizer. The playboy. We women have a ton of ways to label him as "danger."

I knew a "Connor Mead" and he was a typically gorgeous man--who knew it. He used to run at lunch time with his shirt off, sending every warm-blooded woman to the windows as he jogged by, drool forming at the corners of our mouths.

He'd been married to a woman who looked like she had stepped out of the pages of Playboy but, as one would expect, the marriage had ended in divorce since he seemed to follow a very loose interpretation of the marriage vows. As a result, he was free to hit on anyone--and he did. Married? Older? Fifteen years younger? Everyone was fair game. And, like Connor Mead, he was clear that it was just a good time. Rumors were always flying around the office about who was his latest lady du jour.

Apparently, just like in the movie, there were enough women who were either just looking for a good time too, or thought they would be the one to change his wandering ways. Of course, no one ever did--change his wondering ways. Last I heard from a male colleague who had kept in touch with him, this Connor Mead was living alone in some resort town and hadn't changed his modus operandi one bit. Considering he must be close to retirement age, I find that interesting--and sad.

Because life without love and romance wouldn't appeal to me. Give me my happily ever-after--which, by the way, the movie delivers on even if real life may not always. And that's one of the benefits of being an author, we get to write that happily ever after. So here's wishing all the Connor Meads in this world some real romance in their life.

And ladies, if you're a fan of Texan Matthew McConaughey you'll definitely enjoy this movie.

And if you're a fan of Texas cowboys, check out Return to Wayback for a look at three hard-driving Texans, three reasons to come back and the special women who just might give them a reason to stay. Happily-ever-after guaranteed. Buy now at

Monday, May 4, 2009

It's Here! It's Here!

Return to Wayback appeared on my porch today courtesy of UPS and my publisher. The first time holding a book with my story in it! Of course, I had to sit right down and read it--again, for like the tenth time. This time I relaxed and enjoyed the journey.

No one ever tells you that you'd better really love your story because you are going to be reading it over and over again. First, of course you do your own editing--for me that means I'm reading through it at least four or five or six times, reworking, revising, editing, polishing. I admit I have problems letting go (it's a little like sending your kid off to college) but finally I resist anymore fiddling.

So it is off to the publisher and then they send it back for edits. And they keep sending it back until there are no more mistakes to find--that could be three times. Then the galleys come--that's you're last time to proof--and that's usually two read-throughs minimum because you always find something.

But funny thing is--I haven't grown tired of Re-ride at the Rodeo--yet. I guess when it's your do love it!

Have a great day--I'll still be floating for a while.

Return to Wayback is now available at or

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Princeton Conference on Romance

In the Huffington Post today, Joanne Rendell posted about the conference held at Princeton University exploring the Romance Novel and American Culture. Check it out at The Huffington Post

I attended this conference, pleased to see a serious examination of the romance genre and its subgenres. Romance is a broad and encompassing category with a big tent that holds readers from all walks of life--including, as was demonstrated, serious, literary based academics. As an author of contemporary and historical western romances (and co-founder of, the romance genre also encompasses sub-categories that might have difficulty finding a readership without those anticipated romantic elements that unite the genre and assures an optimistic ending.

Inspirationals, urban fantasies, sci-fi, mysteries, suspense, latin, eastern, medieval, turn-of the century, comtemporary, paranormal, world war II, regency, victorian--the list is only limited by the imagination. It is a rich tapestry of writing where the conflict and struggle inherent in finding love is played out against a varied backdrop that adds unique elements to the story. Romance encompasses not only love, but betrayal, risks, danger, hope,dreams and yes, sexual tension. All the emotions inherent in the human experience.

And as I told my husband when I first began to read romance--it brings me back to those heady days when I first discovered I was in love with him. What more could you ask of any genre?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Interested in Getting a Kindle? Here's how.

Several Wild Rose Press authors got together, including me, and donated a Kindle and a $50 gift certifcate for the Wild Rose Press to Brenda Novak's auction fundraiser for Diabetes Research. So you can bid on a Kindle and help a good cause at the same time! Here's the url to place your bid:

While I have a Sony e-reader that I love, I know you'll love the Kindle too! So get over there and bid. The minimum is a $2 bid! And the donation is a $400 value! What are you waiting for?

And if you win, I hope you'll get Return to Wayback which is available at both and The Wild Rose Press!

And the Winner is....

Okay, I put the names of everyone who commented into my cowgirl hat and the winner is....

Nancy--who had such a thoughtful neighbor.

If you contact me Nancy at I'll send you via e-mail your $15 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press.

Thanks everyone for stopping by. I hope reading everyone's comments gave you that nice warm feel-good feeling like it did me! A lot of good karma to pass on...Best, Anne

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

What is the kindest thing someone ever did for you?

What, you say, I can only choose one? And that’s how I felt when someone asked me this very question. I thought about all the things my husband does every day to make life easier, sweeter. Or the many things family members and friends have done when they didn’t have to.

But then I thought about the time, a while ago, when a complete stranger did something for me that I shall never forget.

Stranded at a WDC airport because of weather, a complete stranger let me stay with her at her condo. She took me home ( a lovely condo in Georgetown, BTW), let me sleep in her spare room, gave me everything I needed for the night (this was to be a day trip so I hadn't packed anything), fed me breakfast the next day and got me back to the airport (she was traveling on the same plane). Besides my profuse thanks, I sent her a large plant for her apartment, a basket of fruit and a bouquet of flowers. I didn't know what else to do to thank her for her generosity—and her trust.

She didn't know me (I didn't know her either but I was confident I was a good judge of people) and yet she opened her home to me. She took a chance and saved me from the nightmare of being alone and abandoned in an airport that was shut down for the night--totally shut down. (WDC airport closes at 10 pm for security reasons--and this was prior to 9/11).

Unfortunately, I lost track of her after a time. But I think of her often when I need a reminder of the goodness of ordinary people.

And at every opportunity, I try to live up to her standard.

So let's feel good today. Share a kindness someone did for you--doesn't have to be a stranger--and you'll be entered into a contest for a Wild Rose Press gift certificate (see below).

In my story, Re-ride at the Rodeo, which is part of the just released Return to Wayback anthology along with Payback in Wayback by Lynda Coker and Roped and Tied by Mallary Mitchell, Dusty Morgan does a similar act of kindness for a handsome cowboy she had a brief encounter with the weekend before.

Here’s the excerpt:

“As I said, I need a favor.” He shifted his gaze to stare directly at her as if willing her to grant it.

Looking at that smile, she had to admit she was inclined.

“I scored in the go-round today so I need a place to stay for tonight at least. Annagrace said you had the house to yourself. She thought you wouldn’t mind.”

Dusty’s jaw dropped. She wouldn’t mind? Alone with Clay? Annagrace had gone too far this time. How did she know he wasn’t a rapist or serial killer? All they knew was that he could ride saddle broncs.

As if reading her mind, he continued. “She had me checked out by Andy from the sheriff’s office. Took my license number and called it in. Andy gave me a clean bill. She said she’d tell you that when she phoned. Seeing as how you didn’t get the call, I can understand your reluctance.”

He shot her that sexy grin he’d used before—on her and probably on many others. Her oatmeal insides were becoming more like cream of wheat.

“Look Dusty, I know this is sudden. But I didn’t realize it was Heritage Days or whatever you guys call it. Apparently it pulls in a lot of out-of-towners. All the motels are full up. I didn’t think to make a reservation. Didn’t know I’d score so I’d have to stick around for tomorrow’s round.”

Dusty still couldn’t speak. What could she say? She didn’t want to turn him out with no place to go. She didn’t want him to stay here where the temptation would be way too much.

He draped an arm along the back of the sofa—a strong, solid mass of bulging muscles. The memory of that arm around her, pressing her close to his hard body, had her stomach doing somersaults like it was trying out for the circus.

“Look, I know you don’t know me very well. And I came on a little strong last week. But if it’s just friendship you want, that’s fine with me.”

Somehow she didn’t think it would be fine but, then again, she wasn’t his type.

“I promise I’ll be a perfect gentleman. I can sleep on the sofa, right here. If I can just use your shower—”

Shower? Naked? Her body went into overdrive as an image of his toned, tanned and nude body danced across her mind. She visualized every line, every muscle, and every hard plane. A moist warmth settled between her thighs.

“—to clean up that’s all I need. I even bought some ribs at the Dixie Pig and if you have a grill, I do a mean barbeque. I know it’s an inconvenience, so I’m willing to pay you what I would have paid The Corral.”

Dusty held up a hand. “No need to go that far. I get that you’re desperate. It will be Texas hospitality or nothing.” How could he think she’d charge him if she allowed him to stay? Her reluctance had nothing to do with inconvenience and he knew it.

“And I promise I’ll be a Texas gentleman. Whatever rules you want to impose, I’ll abide by.” He gave her a schoolboy look, the kind of look you’d give the teacher when she’d caught you doing mischief to convince her you were really an angel. But there was nothing angelic about Clay Tanner. He was all sex and sin in one delicious package.

Here’s the blurb for the Return to Wayback anthology:
Payback in Wayback: After spending twelve years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Corey Donovan is headed for Wayback, bent on getting a little payback. Tiffany Covington is both thrilled and afraid when she learns Corey has returned. She’s ready to repay old debts, the question is, will Corey accept her currency of exchange? Roped and Tied: Jericho Farrell left Wayback and Eden Sawyer for a shot at a better life, but now he’s back. Eden has forgiven him for leaving, but will he forgive her when he discovers he’s a father? Re-Ride at the Rodeo: Bronc rider Clay Tanner is looking for a good time. Dusty Morgan looks like she could use one, but she turns him down. Feeling like he’s been bucked off before the eight second buzzer, Clay’s betting he can score if she’ll give him a re-ride. But qualifying may call for more than he’s prepared to give.

Available Now at and on May 15th at The Wild Rose Press Return to Wayback: Three hard-driving men, three different reasons to come back, and three special women who could give them a reason to stay.

So, what was the kindest thing someone (stranger, friend or family) has done for you?

Remember, leave a comment today, the 29th, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $15 gift certificate for The Wild Rose Press (which I'll pick on Thursday, so stop back) and, for those who are participating in A Tisket A Tasket, I’m providing an e-copy of Re-ride at the Rodeo for the Grand Prize Basket.

Tomorrow go to for the final blog in the A Tisket A Tasket Put Romance in Your Basket Contest.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Tisket, A Tasket Put Romance in Your Basket Contest

On April 29th my blog will be part of the A Tisket A Tasket month long contest which started April lst. You can still catch up. Here are the details:

A TISKET A TISKET, PUT ROMANCE IN YOUR BASKET Spring is in the air! Bees are buzzing. We've got a treat for you! Come join a group of romance authors in celebration of spring. Enter to win a prize a day as well as enter to win the grand prize. All you need do is begin at Silver James' blog. She started the month off at Silver will host the day's contest and provide the link to the next day's location. Don't forget to enter to win the grand prize! Here's the dirt... A TISKET A TISKET, PUT ROMANCE IN YOUR BASKET Grand Prize:To enter to win prizes from the authors donating treasures to the grand prize (I'm donating an e-copy of Re-ride at the Rodeo), find the four Easter eggs in the A TISKET A TISKET, PUT ROMANCE IN YOUR BASKET blog event.

You will be searching for this egg. Just visit all of the authors' websites, locate the 4 eggs, make a list of their locations by pasting the urls to the website pages in an e-mail, then send the entry to by midnight CST on May 1st, 2009. The winner will be randomly drawn and announced May 2nd at Tip #1, subscribe to to learn if you're the winner! And don't worry. If you start in on the blog event late, just head back to Silver James' blog on April 1st at to begin your website search for the Easter eggs. Don't miss the fun! See you next to the burgundy tulips.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Return to Wayback-release date May 15 2009

Exciting news! Return to Wayback will be available at and a bookstore near you on May 15th! We can't believe it is so soon! View the trailer below for more about three hard-driving men, three different reasons to come back and the three special women who could give them a reason to stay.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Montana Creeds:Tyler by Linda Lael Miller

Tyler is the youngest of the Montana Creeds—and he’s learned a lot from his two older brothers—mostly about how not to take on responsibility. But now both his brothers are married with families of their own and he’s not only estranged from them, but the odd man out on his own land.

Of course, Tyler has a lot to resent. His mother committed suicide when he was younger and now he learns his miserable father took the same path. It’s no wonder he just wants to be left alone in his time-worn cabin.

But when his former girlfriend, Lily Kenyon arrives back in town to help her ailing father, solitude doesn’t seem very inviting. And when he witnesses the abuse of a teenage boy, a boy that could be his own son, at the hands of a no-good “step-father”, Tyler makes room in his life for another damaged soul.

Lily has her own issues to deal with. Her husband’s mysterious death, her father’s critical illness and a daughter that needs structure and a sense of family. Given everything she’s dealing with, there is no reserves left to explore the remnants of a past relationship that had gone sour very quickly. That is until Tyler shows up on her doorstep in the flesh.

Will the past rip them apart or can they hold onto each other and face the future together?

This third installment of the Montana Creed series is hot, steamy and sexy but also filled with the emotional tugs that keep readers turning those pages. With compelling characters, difficult situations and strong emotions, this is a satisfying conclusion to a wonderful trilogy. Available today from HQN at bookstores everywhere and and Barnes and

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Book Cover for Return to Wayback is Here!

The book cover for the print anthology, Return to Wayback, that is going to include Re-rde at the Rodeo is here. When released, this anthology will be available at and Barnes and Noble, among other book outlets! Yeehaw! Can't wait.

And besides Re-ride at the Rodeo, you'll get two other great Wayback stories by two great authors, Lynda Coker and Mallory Malone.

So for those of you who don't "do" e-books, you'll have your chance to read Re-ride at the Rodeo in print. Can't wait to hold it in my hands!

Coming soon from The Wild Rose Press, part of the Wayback Texas Series

Monday, March 9, 2009

But Can the Cowboy Dance?

As everyone must know by now, Ty Murray, seven time all-around Pro-Rodeo champion and PBR President and star, is going to be on Dancing with the Stars tonight. My DVR is set! Jewel, his wife, was supposed to be on there competing against him but she fractured the tibia in both legs--both legs! Who knew dancing could be so tough!

Ty Murray has shown he's the top cowboy in so many ways. Not only is he a seven time all-around Pro Rodeo champion--a record--but he did it competing in the three most physically challenging events of rodeo, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding. Doing just one event usually sets you up for a life time of physical pain from the broken bones and torn ligaments--and Ty sure has had those, with surgery on knees and other areas.

So how can someone who has those kind of physical injuries and surgeries possibly compete in the arena of dancing where grace, rhythm and having "young" legs is a requirement, Cloris Leachman not withstanding? Well, we'll know tonight but I'm guessing Ty will face this like he does everything else--with discipline, commitment, determination and a heavy dose of cowboy grit. You may say this is just dancing but then two contestants have gotten injured already, before the show has even started.

Still, I'm betting on Ty to show them how it's done!

If you aren't familiar with the cowboy who at 23 became the youngest millionare in the history of Rodeo, is a founding member of the popular PBR (Pro Bull Riding) of which he is now President and married one of the prettiest singers ever, here's a video so you can catch up:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

How It Feels to Get Bucked Off.

I'll be blogging at Petticoats and Pistols this Saturday, March 7th, about rodeo cowboys of the past and present and sharing my own experience with getting bucked off--it wasn't all that fun, I can tell you that. So join me on Saturday and don't forget to leave a comment.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Review of Montana Creeds: Dylan by Linda Lael Miller

In this second book in the series, Linda Lael Miller gives us bad boy Dylan Creed—the middle son of hell-raiser and less than sterling father, Jake Creed. Dylan is carrying around a lot of baggage from his childhood and he hasn’t exactly lived down his father’s legacy. But when the mother of his child, Bonnie, leaves the child in the cab of his pick-up while he’s playing poker, he has a chance to step up and be the kind of father the young toddler needs—the kind of father his own wasn’t.

Dylan returns to his home town of Stillwater Springs, Montana determined to do what is right for his daughter. Which means setting down roots and giving her the kind of stable home her wayward mother was not capable of. But Dylan doesn’t have a whole lot of experience or any role models to rely on. But he does know a very pretty librarian, his former love, Kristy Madison, who would make a great mother.

Years ago, Kristy had issued an ultimatum after his father’s funereal, one Dylan couldn’t comply with at the time. He needed space, needed time and needed to prove himself. She got engaged to a “responsible” member of the community and only recently did Dylan learn she hadn’t gone through with the marriage. But is she willing to pick up with him again and can he convince her it’s not just a mother for his child he needs—but a wife and partner in this enterprise called life?

Ms. Miller has once again created a charismatic cowboy, but not without faults. Self-absorbed, hard-headed and just a tad domineering, you can’t help but wonder if the self-conscious, quiet librarian will be up to the task of taming him. But like all Ms. Miller’s novels, it would be a mistake to underestimate the strength of her heroines. Romantic, sexy and with a mystery that will keep those pages turning.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

And the Winner is....

Eleyne has won the free e-copy of Re-ride at the Rodeo so Eleyne if you e-mail me at I'll send you out a free e-copy of Re-ride at the Rodeo. I'm heading out for a week of R&R but when I get back next Thursday I'll send it right out to you. Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's in His Kiss?

Tis the 11th day of Romance during the Romancing February Blog Contest—and it’s my day to blog! So my topic is First Kisses. From your first kiss ever, to your first French kiss (oo-la-la) to your first kiss with your significant other—firsts are special.

My first ever kiss was when I was nine years old. Shocking isn’t it? But then I didn’t experience another one until I was sixteen so I’m chalking it up to curiosity or the boy, Frankie T., all of twelve, being a little, well, exhuberant.

We were sitting in a tent in his backyard, sharing a bag of salty potato chips. How did he know that potato chips were my favorite snack?

I didn’t know him all that well, but he was very cute. He was always getting into to scrapes, always very daring and adventurous. There were lots of neighborhood stories about Frankie T. These facts should have been clues of what might happen, but a nine- year-old's trouble antennae isn’t very experienced yet.

He leaned in close, looked right into my eyes and said, “Wanna, kiss?” My pulse rate, which was already thumping away just being in a tent with him, went into overdrive. I don’t remember saying anything, just staring into his golden brown orbs. Next thing I knew, his lips were on mine, salty and firm. He was kissing me. I held my lips tightly shut and barely moved. It was exciting—but nothing more. He kissed me again. This time, I remember, it wasn’t even exciting—just salty.

Finally, my trouble antennae started sending signals. Before he could try again, I rose. Grabbed a handful of chips (had to have those chips) and told him I had to go. Walking home I wondered about what I had done. And figured I probably shouldn’t have. So I never went over to Frankie’s again. And he never said more than hi to me. I probably wasn’t much of a kisser.

Still, for seven more years, I clung to the fact that I had at least been kissed once! And I can promise you, my kissing experience at sixteen went a whole lot better.

On the web, the site has a whole section on first kiss stories. A quick perusal of sixty-five first kiss listings showed that the majority of people (40) were under fourteen when they had their first kiss. Of them, twenty-seven experienced their first kiss at age thirteen or fourteen. Only one cited age nine. (My cheeks are red!)

And did you know that there are sites that will give you step-by-step instructions on kissing? Check out kissing tips for matter-of-fact, fairly reasonable kissing instructions. Who knew?

Some of their suggestions include brushing your teeth and taking a bath—ahh, definitely. And “don’t bite. Just nibble. Whatever, you do, don’t bite.” Can’t argue with that. LOL.

But nothing beats the first kiss of the man you fall in love with. The heart-stopping, world- jarring, lightening-striking kiss of real love.

In my story Re-ride at the Rodeo, Dusty is surprised by her first kiss with Clay and it foreshadows the rest of the story. Dusty wants nothing to do with a rodeo rider for reasons all her own. Clay can't resist the challenge of someone who's "not that into" him. Here’s an excerpt that contains the first kiss:
She turned around to the sight of Clay bearing down on her. Her heart skipped a beat. His white shirt almost glowed in the moonlight while the rest of his body was etched in black against the gray night sky. He moved with the rolling gait of the cowboy he was, all fluid motion and power, a trim muscled torso on long lean legs. He held up his hands in surrender. “Don’t I count? You gave Jesse a dance. Don’t I get one?”

He sure was a hunk of man. Her heart thumped hard inside her chest. She couldn’t tell his expression with the brim of the Stetson shadowing his face but she guessed it wasn’t a happy one.

“I didn’t know you wanted one,” she managed to get out, just as he stopped short in front of her.

His looming height made her feel small. She looked up at a set of unyielding lips, midnight blue eyes and the gray shadow of a beard etching his strong jaw.

“I want.” His voice had a husky timbre to it. He reached for her and she endured the slight brush of his hand against her shoulder as he fingered strands of her hair. Goosebumps danced where he touched. “Your hair is down. I knew it would be worth seeing.”

She couldn’t move.

He smoothed a tendril back behind her shoulder with the barest touch. “I’ll take this instead.” He bent down.

He was going to kiss her. She knew it and still she rooted in place. Firm lips gently breezed across hers. The taste of hops filled her senses. His lips brushed again as his hand touched her shoulder and tugged her closer. She tingled clear to her toes. His lips pressed harder against hers, seeking a response. She opened and his tongue slid inside. A whimper of surrender escaped. He reacted to the sound by pressing her head closer to him, holding her for his taking as his mouth devoured her. She barely noticed the stubble of his beard scraping her cheek.

“So sweet,” he mumbled against her lips. Strong fingers threaded through her hair. Hot and hungry, he deepened the kiss as he fitted her between his legs and moved against her like he couldn’t get enough, like he was ready to swallow her up.

Her legs weakened.

Instinctively, she wrapped her arms around his neck, skimmed her fingers through the hair that feathered his collar, and hung on, giving into the desire for a connection with someone warm and willing. Need pounded within her. It had been such a long while since Bradley. Clay’s hands, hot and heavy, moved to her waist as his mouth drank her in. One hand slid across her back and pressed her nearer, while the other inched near her breasts. His thumb rubbed against her nipple. A jolt of sensation shot through her, and her mind switched on.

What was she doing?---From Re-ride at the Rodeo available at The Wild Rose Press

So do you have a “kiss” story—first or otherwise? Leave a comment, regardless, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free copy of Re-ride at the Rodeo. And if you are participating in the Romancing February Blog Event Contest the next blog to go to tomorrow is fellow western writer, Anna Kathryn Lanier’s blog :

For those who want to start and catch up in the Romancing February contest where the grand prize is a $75 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press, go back to Ginger Simpson’s blog at to follow the thread back. You need to list each author's blog and the book of that author for all the authors who are blogging this month (one for each day) and send them to by midnight CST Feb. 27th 2009 to enter.

Thanks for stopping by! And stop in again for romance with a western flair. Don't forget to leave a comment!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Rodeo Cowboys Rock--or is that Dance?

Can't believe Ty Murray is going to be on Dancing with the Stars--along with his wife Jewel. They are going to compete head to head--or is that toe t0 toe. Should be fun to watch. Guess Murray can't be all that stiff from a decade riding rough stock. Though Trevor Brazile has tied Murray in gold buckles for all-around cowboy, Trevor competes in the roping events which are a lot easier on a cowboy's body. Murray earned his titles competing in all three rough stock events--saddle bronc, bareback and bull riding--and each requires different skills for keeping on an animal with saddle bronc (my favorite) requiring the most pure skill to do. Anyway, I'm looking forward to the new season and with some cowboys on the show!:)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I've Been Interviewed!

Just found out that my interview with Fallen Angels Review has been posted! Here's the link:

Fallen Angel Reviews also gave Re-ride at the Rodeo 5 Angels! :) Have a great day!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Romancing February

27 romance authors invite you to participate in a month-long event of love and laughter. Each day starting Feb. 1, 2009 an author will throw a romance party at her blog and host a contest with a prize. The link to the next day's blog location will also be provided at each location. Just drop by and enter the contest. And get ready to heat up the cold wintery days of February. You could win a prize a day! On February 28th, one person will be awarded the grand prize of a $75 WRP gift certificate. All you have to do to enter the grand prize contest is make a list of each author in this blog event and name one title she has available.

Submit your list to by midnight CST, February 27, 2009. The winner will be announced on February 28th--just in time to warm up that person's February. Start with a visit to to begin!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Interview with Clay Tanner: Rodeo and Romance

I'm blogging on tomorrow, Friday, 1/30/09 at Writers and Readers of Distinct Fiction Blog--Between the Lines where I'll be interviewing my hero from Re-ride at the Rodeo, Clay Tanner, about the Rodeo and Romance so don't miss it. Plus everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a drawing for their choice of a Cowboy Hunks calendar featuring cowboys from the PBR or an e-copy of Re-ride at the Rodeo--winner's choice. So I hope you'll come and check it out!

Lemonade Award

This blog has received a Lemonade Award (When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade) courtesy of Delyn Fisher (her blog is listed under authors) which is a nice way of tagging a blog. So, I'm going to continue and nominate some of my favorite author blogs:

Lynn Reynolds blog at

Chatting with Anna Kathryn at

And Amber Leigh Williams, For the Love of Writing at

And just to let you know, I'll be interviewing my hero, Clay Tanner, from Re-ride at the Rodeo tomorrow at Writers and Reader's of Distinct Fiction on their Between the Lines blog, talking about Rodeo and Romance so I hope you'll check it out. Plus you'll have a chance to win a Cowboy Hunks calendar or an e-copy of Re-ride at the Rodeo if you leave a comment. So please stop by at

Monday, January 26, 2009

Review: Montana Creeds: Logan by Linda Lael Miller

Just finished reading Linda Lael Miller’s latest release, Montana Creeds: Logan, a contemporary western about a family that is related to the McKettrick family from another popular series of hers. I just love how these all inter-twine. Reminds me of what Anthony Trollope used to do with his novels back in the day.

Logan Creed, by society’s account, is a successful man. He’s got a gold-plated law degree, has a few rodeo buckles from his younger days and was a special ops soldier in Iraq, and survived. But he’s haunted by the death of his father with whom he had a complicated relationship, his falling out with his two brothers with whom he has no relationship and two failed marriages. He doesn’t feel very successful. So he’s come back to Stillwater Springs, Montana and the broken-down family ranch to, in essence, begin again. He plans to return the ranch and the Creed name to its former glory—both of which have been tarnished by neglect. Tackling that seems a heck of a lot easier than building relationships and learning how to care again.

Divorced, single parent Briana Grant, by most accounts, would not be considered successful. She can barely keep food on the table though she’s working hard at her job in a local casino, she can’t supply her sons with all the gadgets kids want these days, and she’s doesn’t have a home to call her own as she’s living in Dylan Creed’s house on the Creed family ranch as a “caretaker” though he’s doing all the caring for it—from over the phone lines as he’s traveling as a stuntman in the movies. But Briana has a warm and loving relationship with her two growing boys and friends who are willing to help her and by her own yardstick, she’s doing okay. After a childhood spent on the road and a wayward ex-husband, she’s trying to put down roots. What she doesn’t need is any more complications in an already complicated life. But then, Logan Creed moves in next door and all bets are off.

When break-ins start occurring and her ex-husband appears on the scene, things take an unexpected turn in a new direction for both of them.

No one creates sexy, complicated, Stetson-wearing heroes the way Ms. Miller does, and she hits the bulls-eye with Logan Creed. And when he comes up against an equally strong-minded but vulnerable heroine, the sparks fly. Talk about sexual tension! In fact all the characters in this book are so well drawn that they will seem both familiar and yet intriguing from the two young boys, to the new sheriff to an ex-husband that you actually root for in his troubled relationship with his young sons. This book is definitely a romance but the family dynamics that are exposed hit an achingly familiar cord. Well done! 5 Stars!
Montana Creeds: Logan
Harlequin: HQN
February 2009 Release

Friday, January 16, 2009

Much Cheaper than Therapy

I'm blogging today at where Kim Watters asked me some great questions. I hope you'll come by for a visit and if you leave a comment you'll be entered into a drawing for a free e-copy of Re-ride at the Rodeo. So please stop on by!:)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Trail Driving in Texas

I've been immersed in research for my western historical and I've been reading terrific books about Texas Trail Drivers. The Trail Drivers of Texas has over 100 different trail drivers (It's over a 1000 pages long) reminiscences and I haven't been able to put it down. Some impressions

  • Based on the pictures they sent in of themselves (some of when they were young and some in their later years) many of those Texas cowboys were tall, dark and a very handsome bunch. Some of their pics make my heart flutter even now; pictures of JJ Roberts and John J Little among them. The picture here shows George Saunders on far left, sitting, who later became president of the Trail Drivers Association and who, it was said, was very fond of pretty ladies and fine clothes.

  • Many of them, despite their years in the saddle sleeping on cold ground, fording rivers, getting shot at, lived to fairly ripe old ages and were in pretty good health in their later years (seventies) which I just find amazing. Maybe its all that beef that they ate? Sort of a forced Atkins diet. Many of them didn't see flour (it was like $24 a barrel) until the late 1860s and even then it was pretty dear.

  • A few were shot either on the trail, in Dodge City or Abilene--and those towns were apparently as rough as the legend says. As you read along, a few cowboys may reference an incident in passing but then another person who was there gives you the full skinny and you realize how wild it really was. A cowboy could go to town after bringing in a herd and never come back, having gotten shot and laying dead in some dance hall.

  • The Indians were friendlier on the trail (exception being the Comanche) than you might have believed. If you gave them a steer or two, they pretty much left you alone. The cowboys, were, after all, grazing thousands of head of cattle on their land in Indian Territory and the Indians felt it only fair they get something for it, it appears. Those who wouldn't give up a steer or share a meal with them, however, paid a price, often more than just stampeded cattle.

  • If you got your own herd together, you could make some real money in the cattle business. Many of the big cattlemen at the time (Saunders, Slaughter, Little, Fant) give the business details of the cost and profit they made from a drive. Very impressive even today.

  • The cowmen went through financial panics much like we face today. 1873 and 1893 were particularly bad years economically. (My own great grandfather got burned in the '93 crash) But they picked themselves up, kept working hard and they made it through the lean years. Good inspiration during these trying times.
I could go on but I've got to get back to writing. In a strange way, I don't want this book to end, though, as I feel I've come to know these people. That's the rub with research--I get so into it I can hardly pull myself away.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What a Way to Start the New Year!

What a way to start off the New Year! Got several new reviews for Re-ride at the Rodeo! Woohoo!:) Here’s some of what they’ve been saying:

“An enjoyable read! Re-ride at the Rodeo has happiness radiated all over the story. Anne Carrole has written such a down-to-earth love story with tall, sexy cowboys…This is my first Anne Carrole book and it definitely would not be the last one.”—Writer’s and Reader’s of Distinct Fiction.

“Her characters are solid, believable and consistently reliable. She told her story in such a way that I could not stop. Each page turned was a gift of more of the thrill readers search for. The supporting cast was great and just depicted the best of all qualities. The sensuality of this book was incredible. The outcome of the bet between the cowboys was, of course, as expected. However, the ending to the book was a complete surprise to me.
This was a great book with a heart-warming storyline. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes happy endings.” 4 ½ hearts The Romance Studio

“This book had plenty of humor in it that came when you didn’t always expect it…Dusty had a depth to her that is sometimes lacking in books this short. Some of this is due to the heart to heart talk she has with her mother and some is just due to the way she interacts with the other characters. Dusty and her problems become very real and you can feel for her as she tries to sort out her feelings. Of course, it doesn’t help that her good friend is pushing Clay at her and pretty much offers him a place to stay at Dusty’s house while her mother is gone.

As Dusty and Clay figure out their relationship with the help of their good friends, you can’t help but to laugh and then sigh along with their ups and downs. While you know that this story is going to have a happy ending, you still can’t wait to read how it happens.” Night Owl Reviews

“Re-ride at the Rodeo by Anne Carrole is the latest installment in the Wayback Texas Series. Ms. Carrole's first book, Re-ride, is a great story. The plot is deceptive in that it seems straightforward but is an intricately woven one step forward, two steps back dance between the characters. The characters are emotionally complex which makes for a very entertaining read and the ending is absolutely wonderful. I hope she writes something else soon.”-Manic Readers

Re-Ride at the Rodeo is Anne Carole’s addition to the exciting Wayback Texas series. This is a sweet read, that will having you smiling at the antics of Clay and his friend and the getting ons they get up to. I have to admit while I love a happy ending, this happy ending was original and Dusty deserved it all.” 4 1/2 clovers CK’s Kwips and Kritiques

Re-Ride at the Rodeo by Anne Carrole is the third book in the Wayback Texas series. Ms. Carrole writes a captivating story. I wasn’t sure what to expect since the first book was so good, but this book definitely lives up to the standards the first book put in place. Dusty has seen enough heartbreak to know she doesn’t want anything to do with a rodeo man. She knows the love ‘em and leave ‘em type all too well and Clay fits perfectly into that category. Clay rides broncos the same way he runs from his past, fast and steady. He loves the rush each ride gives him and hopes no one ever finds out who he really is. The chemistry between Dusty and Clay is hot. Ms. Carrole writes an enchanting story and I will be sure to keep an eye out for Ms. Carrole’s next book!-5 Angels Fallen Angel Reviews

“Re-Ride at the Rodeo” was a fun and highly enjoyable romance. The author created characters that I could truly care about…Clay was a great character as well with his charisma and personality… I could easily see myself falling for him…a wonderful contemporary western romance filled with believable characters and charm” 4 ½ books Long And Short Reviews

You can check out the full reviews at their sites. And you can purchase Re-ride at the Rodeo for just $3 at The Wild Rose Press. Also available at Fictionwise. Happy New Year everyone!