Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Romantic Surprise

There is something irresistible about romances featuring cowboys. Don't we all love to read them?  I've been hooked on cowboy romances since I first started enjoying romance novels many years ago. As a result I'm always looking for new books that feature them and always on the lookout for a new author to enjoy.

 This week My Writing Corner features a new cowboy romance: The Cowboy's Twin Surprise by K. T. Byington, and it sounds like the perfect book for those cooling afternoons and evenings when all you want to do is curl up with a book.

When a little surprise changes her life, Jessie McKinnon has less than nine months to figure it out. A job at Chase Tanner’s ranch seems like a good short-term fix until she can get herself settled elsewhere, hopefully before she even begins to show.

Left to care for his abandoned twin baby nieces, Chase can’t believe his luck when Jessie offers hope of reining in the chaos his life has become. There’s only one problem—the feisty redhead from his past has the potential to break his heart all over again.

K. T.   has worked as a legal assistant and  probate paralegal. She tells us that she  enjoys beach vacations, a cup of tea on a wintry day and she loves holiday movies all year long. Now that sounds like a great  combination.

When she's not writing, she says,  she enjoys  spending time with her family, relaxing in her backyard at home or  frequenting favorite restaurants.

Want more? Here's an excerpt!

From the back, she thought it could be him. His usual cowboy hat was missing, but the long, lean frame, dark hair, faded jeans, and scuffed boots with bits of mud clinging to them easily fit her memory. Typical Chase Tanner. But there was something—no, two things—making it very unlikely. Namely, a little girl with blonde curls peeking over his left shoulder and a second fair-haired cutie clinging to his leg who appeared to be mere moments away from a full-fledged meltdown. Twins, barely old enough to walk.
No way would the fella she grew up with have allowed himself to be found in a situation like this. He was not the marrying kind, much less a family man. Whoever this guy was, buried in domestic responsibility, he could not be the man she remembered. Besides, why would a fourth-generation Montana rancher be standing in the middle of the local employment agency on a freezing January morning when there must be cattle, horses, and a million other things to tend to back at the homestead?

If you would like to read on, here  are the buy links and how to get in touch with K. T.

Contact information:

Twitter:  (I'm just getting started!)
Amazon Author Central:

Thank you K. T. for being my guest. 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

A Lesson from The Past

Do you have old stories just waiting to be told?  Those wonderful characters you designed on neat pages of character forms, or those great plots on note cards that are all sitting inside your desk drawer?

Or what about old story ideas? As writers, aren't we getting them all the time? What do you do with them? I have a whole file.  Back when I worked in a newsroom I was always running across crazy stories... either in a newspaper or on the old Associated Press or UPI wire machines and I made a practice of keeping a file in my desk drawer just for them.  Why?  Not because we were ever going to do a news story on them -- some of them were international, but just to be able to re-read them and laugh again at the human condition or think about what kind of a fiction story might result from an incident.

Let's face it: We all love unique and great stories -- old and new -- not only non fiction, but the fictional stories we start writing and never finish. Sometimes it's enjoyable to get out those old works and re-read them. If nothing else, they can show you how far you've come! Recently when we were cleaning up the basement I ran across one of the first old manuscripts I began writing some 40 years ago while I was still in college.

 The typing paper is yellowing, and there are plenty of typos because I  didn't even have white out back then.

 What do you do with an old manuscript?  Don’t we all have them?  Some, we started years ago and just lost interest. Or maybe the story was going no where or we weren’t connecting with the characters. Whatever the reason, we just gave up on the story and let it go. 

But there it was – still in its own individual folder, the pages yellowed with age, the print from an old Smith Corona typewriter I got in college.

What to do with it? I knew immediately I couldn't throw it away.  Who knew what might be in those pages? Maybe there were pearls of wisdom I wrote back then.

The funny thing about the story is that while it was never published it did set the stage for my book Dead Man’s Rules.  This was the original story behind it. My first temptation was to go through and put this one into the computer and see if I could get it published as sort of a prequel.

But then I began to go through it.  What I really discovered was just how much I had developed

 as a fiction writer. Okay, so yes there were the obvious typos that couldn’t be fixed with a couple of key strokes back then. Instead of clean copy that gets printed now, I had lots of pages with xxxx on them.

But the story itself wasn’t bad. At least the plot wasn’t. I found myself caught up in the problem of a woman who discovered she had married the wrong man. Actually as I read through it, I found myself surprised at the story, but also cringing at the mistakes and problem areas – things like She smiled followed four lines later by He smiled. Such smily people!

Then, of course, there were the obvious punctuation mistakes and all those little things that I was to learn later in writing and editing classes.

What I came away with from this experience is that we can develop our voice and make it clearer and better and we can become better at dealing with the editing and the word choices.  The need to write, though, stays and we shouldn’t ignore it.  We should be ready to pick up that pen and paper or sit down at the keyboard and write when we get the urge.  

And we also need to keep learning.  There were so many lessons that followed those early pages that I have taken to heart and so much of what I see in those pages as compared to my current pages only illustrates that.  If you want to be a writer, go for it! Just like any other choice, make the one that works for you, and if you want to write, do it!  The mechanics can be learned. The writer’s touch doesn’t go away.  The need to write only becomes more urgent.

I’m not certain what I’m going to do with this old story. What I also discovered when going through it is that the first 60 pages from it are missing. Who knows where they went!  

I do know I’m going to re-read it all though again – not just to see how far I’ve come, but because I might it will give me more ideas for the future. And not only that... but I kind of enjoyed that story. I do remember that.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Let the Holidays Begin!

It's not too early to start thinking about the Holidays, and especially when the thinking involves cowboys!  I'm heading to Texas next week for a writing conference, so I definitely have cowboys and country-living  on my mind.

My guest this week is author Shana Hatfield who has an invitation for us as we celebrate the life and times of cowboys!

After spending her formative years on a farm in eastern Oregon, Shanna Hatfield turned her experiences into historical and contemporary romances, featuring hunky heroes. Readers enjoy her  stories filled with humor mixed with hope. She currently lives near Walla Walla, Washington, writing and dreaming up new stories and recipes.

But now let's hear about her latest adventure -- an entertainment book filled with down-home heroes, heroines and hope!

The jangle of spurs mingles with the jingle of sleigh bells in this celebration of Christmas—cowboy style!

Welcome home to a western holiday with A Cowboy Christmas. A collection of unique holiday d├ęcor, traditions, recipes, and guides for entertaining with ease make this your go-to resource for an amazing western Christmas. Filled with stories of real-life ranch families and rodeo cowboys, get a glimpse into their traditions, try their family recipes, and experience their lifestyles. From preserving memories of the past to tips for wrapping presents, discover the special touches incorporated throughout this book that make it a holiday keepsake you’ll cherish for years to come. Brimming with holiday cheer, recipes with full-color photographs, and one-of-a-kind ideas, this book is a wonderful celebration of the holidays that will help make your Christmas unforgettable.

Read a Book, Help A Cowboy
For most rodeo athletes it is a matter of when they get hurt, not if.
Many are uninsured and for those who find themselves out of work for months on end, the injury can be devastating physically, emotionally, and financially.

That’s where the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund steps in. The JCCF provides financial assistance to rodeo athletes who’ve sustained catastrophic injuries that leave them unable to compete for an extended time. Rather than worry about how they’ll pay their bills, they can focus on healing.
 Because she grew up around cowboys and loves to include them in the stories she writes, author Shanna Hatfield supports the JCCF through her Read a Book, Help A Cowboy campaign. In its sixth year, the campaign raises funds and awareness for the JCCF. Now through Christmas Eve, Hatfield will donate ten percent of the proceeds from every book purchase to the JCCF.

If you would like to get Shanna's book, here are the buy links:

And if you can find out more about her and her project at

Thank you, Shanna, for being our guest today.