Thursday, April 9, 2015

Garlic and Goats

Tortuga Thursday 
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

Garlic is occupying a lot of time this week. Well, actually the weeds around the garlic are consuming my days with the exception of some editing time. Last month, we got all the weeds from around the plants. This week I'm concentrating on between the rows. Since it's been a couple of weeks, those babies took off and are as tall as the some of the garlic. But the rows should be all clean by Sunday. How pretty they look when the weeds are gone. Seven of the varieties we planted look awesome. The other two are sparse so we can rule them out for next year.

Sadi loves baby animals. Our neighbors who you have heard me brag on before
Aunt Eunice shows her how.
have baby goats right now. Sadi has adopted our neighbors and they are now Uncle Dave and Aunt Eunice. Aunt Eunice has to feed one of the baby goats several times a day. Sadi took great pleasure in helping. She
All by herself.
always has such a good time when she visits their farm and has no fear of any of the sheep, cows, dogs or goats. Which can present a problem so we have to watch her closely.

Sadi also got her first tractor ride this week. Lance has been hesitant or should I say fearful to take her on it because it takes two hands to shift and drive. But she now has the words to ask and he just couldn't
refuse. It was a short ride but to Sadi it was the trip of her life!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Exploring Family Dynamics by Jannine Gallant

A special treat today on a Tuesday! Please welcome my guest, Jannine Gallant. She's on a blog tour that I'm proud to be part of. Please read on and enjoy...
Family is central in all my books. Let’s face it—we don’t exist in a vacuum, and neither should our characters. Most have parents or siblings who enter into the picture, even if it’s just on the periphery, but with my new release, I didn’t stop there. In Every Move She Makes, I take family to a whole new level. My heroine has parents who love to give advice, siblings who provide a sounding board and never fail to step in when she needs them, in-laws who drive her a little crazy (thanks to an ex-husband) and three daughters who create their own brand of drama. Too much? Maybe, but I hope all those relatives give the reader a more complete picture of what Rachel has to contend with in her life and why she’s hesitant to jump into a romantic relationship with the hero. Here’s a little glimpse into Rachel’s family…

After the earlier theatrics, the eighth-grade graduation ceremony was anticlimactic—the only bit of drama created when Lark walked across the stage wearing a summer dress that bared her tattoo for the world to see. Rachel’s mother sagged in her seat, her gasp audible through the applause.
A short time later, Audrey Hanover entered the kitchen of her big, rambling farmhouse, still in a huff. “Neither of you would have gotten away with a stunt like that when you were teenagers.”
Though she’d grown plump over the years, and her red hair was mostly gray, she was still a beautiful woman—and a force to be reckoned with. She cast another dark look in her granddaughter’s direction.
“Believe me, Lark isn’t getting away with it either.” Rachel washed her hands and dried them on a dish towel. “Now, what can I do to help with dinner?”
Audrey ignored her daughter’s attempt to change the subject. “Then why wouldn’t you let me speak my mind when we were at the school?”
“Because I didn’t want a public scene. I’m handling the situation, and Lark is well aware of my displeasure. Please, can we just drop it for now?”
Grace took her mother’s sweater from her and hung it on the hook by the door. “Don’t worry, Mom. Lark is in serious trouble. Rachel let her have it earlier. Now, let’s get the ham out of the oven and eat. I’m starving.”
Her sister led their mother away, and Rachel reached up to massage her temples.
“Here.” Will handed her two aspirin and a glass of water. “You look like you could use these.”
“My savior.” She gulped down the tablets.
“Is Mom giving you grief?”
“She doesn’t bother me. It’s the situation in general. Lately I feel like my life is one disaster after another.”
“Keep your chin up, kid. You’ll survive.”

I’d love to hear how you feel about family in romance. Is it important to you in the books you read or write? Please share your thoughts!


No matter where she goes, he knows her every move…

Long ago, Rachel Carpenter was a glamorous soap star. She gave it all up to move to Napa Valley with her daughters to open a bookstore near her family vineyard. Her life is safe and dependable, until she encounters Kane Lafferty at a wilderness camp in the rugged High Sierra. A burned-out police detective struggling with his own demons, Kane is instantly attracted to Rachel. And like Rachel, he isn’t sure if he’s ready to open his heart. But everything is about to change…

Someone is watching from the darkness. A fanatic obsessed with Rachel for years has decided to claim what he believes is his. It will be up to Kane to not only protect his new love and her family, but to uncover the identity of the stalker before it’s too late for all of them…

Buy Links:

About the Author:

Write what you know. Jannine Gallant has taken this advice to heart, creating characters from small towns and plots that unfold in the great outdoors. She grew up in a tiny Northern California town and currently lives in beautiful Lake Tahoe with her husband and two daughters. When she isn’t busy writing or being a full time mom, Jannine hikes or snowshoes in the woods around her home. Whether she’s writing contemporary, historical or romantic suspense, Jannine brings the beauty of nature to her stories. To find out more about this author and her books, visit her website

Author Links:

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Apache Trail - Risky Road to a Beautiful Day

Part of the road seen from the water.
Tortuga Thursday 
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

Happy Tortuga Thursday. Since Frank and I have been in Tonto Basin all week, I'm a little short on farm news, so I'd love to share some pictures of Apache Lake. I don't get out on the water very often. I decided to not get a fishing license this year since most days I write. But I love an occasional lake day, and I hadn't been on Apache Lake in many years.
On the road. Water below.

The road in is narrow, dirt, and a bit treacherous. The Apache Trail
There's a story of someone who lived in a cave.
hasn't changed in decades. It certainly keeps the crowds down so that one of the most gorgeous lakes in Arizona isn't overrun.

The evidence is there.

Rusty waits for Frank to catch a fish.
It was a beautiful day.

Apache Dam

There are areas that look landscaped.

Rusty licks the fish before it goes into the water.

The scenery changes.

A relaxing day to read.

Friday, March 27, 2015


If you missed Vijaya's post the first time around, here it is again. I thought it was good enough to run a second time. Enjoy!
I like to challenge myself, always did. To conquer my fears as a child, I forced myself to do whatever scared me the most. Eventually, I earned a reputation as a thrill-seeker and a daredevil. One fear I could never quite conquer, however, was my fear of heights. At a very young age, I remember clinging to the railing on the platform of the top catwalk of the jungle gym at summer camp. Despite a good balance, coordination, and athletic dispositions, I couldn't get the courage to walk it. Later, as an adult, I could not stand at the edge of a cliff without feeling the strong pull of gravity buckling my knees, dizzying my head, thwarting my balance, threatening to bring me down. The pictures of workers having lunch perched on the steel beams of a skyscraper under construction made me sick to my stomach.

Since then, I went through therapy with a hypnotherapist. She led me through past life regression. Apparently, my fear of heights is rooted in how I died in my previous life. This hypothesis resonates with me. According to what I saw and said under hypnosis, I was a Native American woman, banished from the tribe for giving birth to a child from a white man. The tribe killed the child then forced me off a cliff. I can still smell the fear, the blood, feel the rage directed at me, the anger. I remember the warriors advancing upon me, forcing me back at spear point. I remember tripping backwards, the endless fall. But most of all, I remember the pain, as my broken body lay bloody on the rocks at the bottom of the precipice, among animal carcasses. I was still alive and suffered for days, abandoned, alone, in unbearable pain, before the end came.

To confirm this new information, I researched the tribe from the images seared in my subconscious and discovered it was the "Black Feathers" a tribe of the Crow Nation. And I recognized the white cliffs with the trees hanging from the vertical walls on photographs, and images of driving buffalo to stampede off the cliffs, a hunting method favored by the Crow... in Alberta.

That ghastly death would certainly explain my fear of heights today. I did some exercises, forcing myself to look down while walking at the edge of my second story patio. My reaction to the heights faded somewhat, but when I stopped the exercises, the fear returned. It's rooted in a very deep emotional trauma.

During a white river rafting trip in the Grand Canyon, on the Colorado River, we went exploring on foot, and our guide led us to a platform at the top of a cliff. As usual, I couldn't walk to the edge or look down. But below was a deep water pond, and water is my favorite element. The game was to jump off the cliff, into the water, wearing a life jacket (as we all did on this expedition). They asked for volunteers. I decided to attack my fear of heights, like I did other fears as a child. I raised my hand.

Since I could not look down, I didn't get to the edge. I took as many steps back as the flat area allowed, then started running as fast as I could, yelling at the top of my lungs. Heart pounding, I ran off the cliff into a free fall. I was airborne. What a thrill! Landing in the water was invigorating. On the picture, my jump doesn't look that scary because of the angle, but it was about five stories high, and for me, quite a victory.

I don't know if I would do it again, but I proved to myself that I could do it, and, although I still get rubber legs when I look down from the edge of a drop, I know I can master my fear in a pinch.

In my present life, I write fearless characters. In Checkmate, the hero's teenage daughter is also afraid of heights, and she has to climb the open stairs of the Eiffel Tower in Paris to rescue her father. I could really tap into my fear of heights in that scene. One of the scariest for me to write.

I write strong heroines in science fiction romance, and medieval fantasy settings. Girls with guns or swords, daring, fearless, with human flaws and a big heart. You can find my eBooks everywhere, and my paperbacks on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Wishing you all, a Fearless Friday.
Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Nothing In The Bank...But (More) Love

Tortuga Thursday 
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

A site on the way into Tonto Basin
I start every Tortuga Thursday with the same paragraph. We're still getting through the trials and tribulations, and there's no more in the bank financially speaking, although there is more love with the addition of Sadi two years ago. Hard to believe there would be room for more love but that room expands quite easily.

I should've renamed this blog Tonto Thursday for the winter. Frank and I spend more time at the RV than the farm. But the grass is growing now, the garlic needs more weed attention, and there will be clean up to start on soon, so we may find ourselves heading to Tortuga Flats more often. Late May or early June, we'll move the RV back to the farm. It gets hotter here so we may be ready to bail. But right now, spring is unfolding and we have warm days and cool nights. Love it.

For now, we're living like retired people (not me really because of writing but no one but me sees that as a
A local hangout next to Lazy JR
job) on the cheap. I always promise to share some of those tips. Here's a good one. The first month here, I was miffed at the electricity bill. I didn't budget $62 for this little RV for power. We were still using the heater and it's propane. We also cook on gas. The hot water, refrigerator, and whatever small appliances we plug in was all that pulled electric. We made some adjustments. By switching the hot water over to gas and unplugging everything when not in use, we dropped our bill over $20 the following month. I believe most of it was due to unplugging. We have a Keurig coffee pot so that ran all the time. Not now. And I'd heard that even when appliances are not in use, they pull juice. Now I believe it.

Have to ford the river to get across
Tree along Tonto Creek
If I haven't mentioned it before, we also switched from crock pot to pressure cooker. Not only does it cut the plugged-in-appliance time from six plus hours to thirty minutes, we can do last minute meals easier. And I like the flavors better, too.

By choosing a park that has three lakes close by, lots of hiking opportunities, and a fun group of people, we spend next to nothing for
Water provides entertainment

entertainment. Life is good.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Writing for Harlequin by Rachel Brimble

Please join me in welcoming Rachel Brimble to Muse Monday. Hi Rachel. Tell us your story!

I have been writing romance since 2005, steadily chipping away and learning my craft over the last nine years. Each book I’ve had published and each editor I’ve worked with has taught me something to take forward into the next project. I have had no formal education or tuition for my writing, but have enrolled in many online courses and made lots of invaluable friends who have helped me on my journey.
All the rejections (there have been MANY!) and disappointments, frustrations and tears were all made worthwhile during 2012 when my dream of writing for Harlequin came true. I wrote Finding Justice from the heart and of course, hoped and prayed an editor would love it as much as I did. However, nobody could have prepared me for the shock of receiving an email from my agent saying Harlequin loved the book but would I consider some minor revisions?
Would I?? Hot damn, yes! I set to work and made the relevant changes that I immediately understood made the book stronger. These done, I sent them back and three weeks later, I was offered a contract. Woohoo!
By the time I sent FINDING JUSTICE out into the big, wide world, the setting of Templeton Cove had become very dear to me and I soon realized I wasn’t ready to let this small fictional UK seaside town belong to just one book. Would Harlequin consider more books set in the same town? There was only one way to find out. I feverishly wrote a sequel and A MAN LIKE HIM was accepted by my Harlequin editor six months later.
The cast of characters continues to grow and with each book I write in the series, more and more potential stories evolve from the secondary characters that leap into my imagination. I am thrilled to say in May this year, Harlequin offered me a further three-book contract, which means Templeton Cove continues to flourish with book three, WHAT BELONGS TO HER (Mar 2014) and now book four, my latest release, CHRISTMAS AT THE COVE!
I often get asked what the secret is to breaking into Harlequin – my answer? The only aspect I am one hundred percent sure of is the Harlequin brand thrives on emotion. Emotion, emotion, emotion! Make sure the reader can feel what’s going on inside every character on every page and I’m pretty confident you’ll hook an editor. Good luck!

More family for Christmas? 
Scott Walker doesn't have time for a relationship. The sexy mechanic has career ambitions, not to mention a mother and three sisters to take care of. The last thing he needs is Carrie Jameson, the beauty he never forgot, arriving in Templeton Cove over the holidays with some unexpected news. 
Scott still finds Carrie irresistible, and he's not one to shirk responsibility. Scott's issues with his own dad make the prospect of parenthood a minefield. But if he and Carrie can overcome their fears, this Christmas could bring them the best gift of all.

Templeton Cove Trailer