Category Archives: The Oregon Trail

Where’s The Love? An #amwriting post.

Okay, so I didn’t come up with anything romantic for yesterday because there was a little too much romance in my own life. Lunch date with my husband, grocery shopping together, a nap because it felt like -10F outside and 10F is my limit on coldness when it comes to walking in the park.

So, what now? Writing! The MLK holiday is over, and the house is quiet. I’m smashing everything I should have done yesterday into today’s schedule. Laundry, dishes, writing 6,000 words, which seems a little much. Fair warning, I might not get to my word count goal.

What am I working on? A historical romance set in Liberty, Missouri during the 1870’s. Alice, a lovely young woman from New York City, is bringing three young children to their new parents, Jack and Ellie Dryden. Only, they arrive at the Liberty depot to learn Ellie has gone back home to Boston. Does the adoption go through, or does Alice turn them over based on Jack’s promise to be a good single parent? ::cue dramatic music::

I love this story. My only problem with it is there’s not enough about the orphan situation overall. The romance needs to be front and center, and there’s nothing romantic about children selling newspapers by day and sleeping in the streets at night. In an era where birth control wasn’t as easy to find as it is today, the amount of abused, neglected, or abandoned children was incredible.  There’s no definitive number, but it’s estimated that 250,000 children and babies were sent west to new homes.

In this book, like all the other historicals I write, I’m researching to the nth degree. I have plans to photograph the depot where the kids arrive, to not use the word “kids” no matter how tempting it is, and to research 1880 farms near Jack’s fictional place.

There are three more books planned for this Pioneer Romance series. Next up is the Pony Express based story, the Santa Fe Trail story, and the Northwest Shipping story. They’re all plotted. I just need to park my butt and write them.

African lion

This guy? He’s a hint for an anthology story I’m also writing at the moment.

Meanwhile, if there’s a romantic topic you want to be researched between now and Sunday, comment below! I personally LOVE researching stuff, especially romance.

Merry Christmas and happy #MondayBlogs!

There’s going to be so much in this post! Grab something to drink and get comfy because this’ll be fun.

First off, happy holidays! No more Christmas music! Yay!

Whaddya mean you're glad it's over?

Whaddya mean you’re glad it’s over?

I know. I’m one of those people who dread the music every year. I do try to like it, but nope. I’ll let others enjoy the tunes. Even better than the lack of Jingle Bells sung a million different ways? Free trash pick up! That may be for only our city, but it’s wonderful and I love it. Trash men are magicians, no kidding.

My writing is my life, but my publishing is my business and I have goals for 2018. Readers will be happy to know I’m expanding a beloved series and adding more to a currently in progress series. If I stick to plan, I’ll have at least eight novels and three short stories drop in the next year. They’re all plotted and waiting for me to write them. Along with all the writing, I’ll be creating  another spin off series and maybe launching it late in 2018. Everything depends on God not laughing as I plan.

Meanwhile, 2018 will find me upping the romance in my life and hopefully in your life, too. I’ll be researching and posting practical action items we all can take to help add love and romance to our day. I don’t intend for my posts being all for married people. I want to help singles find their best match possible or how to enjoy being on their own.

I hope you either join or continue on this vastly fun journey with me in 2018. Click subscribe or follow me on the various social media outlets I play on right now.


Field Trip!

I have big plans for this weekend. Not as big as the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, of course, but big on the research for a new series.

For the RT lowdown, head over to here to read and then come back.

Fun, right? But what’s this weekend? And that new series? Drumroll, please…

Introducing the American West series. Four stories set during the American expansion era. I have four books planned for sure about the Santa Fe Trail, the Orphan Train, the Pony Express, and a Northwest Shipping adventure. Characters from my Oregon Trail series will make guest appearances, too, and I’m so looking forward to seeing them again.

I’ll post on Monday what we did and saw on our intense research weekend.

Summer Vacation, Part 1 for #MondayBlogs

This year, I’m having three summer vacations. Yep, three. Am I lucky? Heck yeah! I’m also paying for it and working hard to earn them.

The first one and subject of this post was in Dallas for the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention last May. I’d toyed with not going because money. The ROI (return on investment) isn’t there. I ended up giving away more books than selling, which I expected. I want readers who enjoy my work and if that means give to get, I’m ok with that a hundred percent.

Gosh, the workshops? Wonderful. Pushing myself to ignore the shy and meet authors I’d admired? Fantastic. Ava Branson deserves all the credit for me saying hi to so many people this year.

What was even better was I learned so much about being a better writer and getting my work out there. No one can follow exactly in an indie author’s footsteps but I can go in the same direction and find my own way. Isn’t that really true of everything in life?

Icing on the cake of work-I-love vacation? Seeing a beloved aunt and uncle, seeing the Red River full (too full!) of water, getting to decorate my parents graves (they’re nine hours south of my home), birthday cake ice cream from Braum’s (none near my home), mini champagne bottles at the events, new friends, and giving out swag like a big shot.

Not so fun things I missed? Being too self-conscious to ask my cousins to interrupt their weekdays or Saturday for a visit just from me. Their kids and grandkids are super active and I didn’t want to intrude. A champagne event that I was on time for but missed because of a meeting. Business first, champy and choccies later.

Pluses bigger than the minuses, right? I had an awesome time and am already looking forward to RT16 in Vegas. Even more friends will be there and we’ll get to be a gang! I really can’t wait.

Bonus for readers?

People who went to RT15 and saw my swag table already know this, but you don’t! I have Smashwords 50% off coupon codes for the Manly Series and for the current Oregon Trail novel, Undeniable.

The Very Best Man’s code is AP26W and The Very Worst Man’s code is NJ54V.

For Undeniable and Undesirable? Undeniable is free from today until June 20, 2015 everywhere, while Undesirable is $0.99 at the same time and places. It makes Undesirable’s 50% off coupon code of La32N redundant until June 21, 2015.

Coupon codes expire May 31, 2016, feel free to share.

Not Going There On The Oregon Trail for #MondayBlogs

I’m currently elbows deep in the third and final novel of my Oregon Trail series. A lot of writers feel sad when a series ends, but not me. There’s three more series hanging out in my idea folder at the moment and I’m wanting to start all of them right this minute. What are they? A three book set on the American West, a three to six book set on historical romances from around the world, and a six book minimum murder mystery series. I really can’t wait, all of them are going to be fun.

But, let’s get back to the salacious.

Like television most times, none of my books go into the bathroom details of live along the Trail. And you know, I don’t even want to think about it. They didn’t pack toilet paper and finding water was a treat. There’s nothing romantic about chafing due to unclean.

Food. My books has a little of the bland diet, but really? They only had what they could find, carry, or trade for along the way. No refrigeration or even an ice chest. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE my fridge. Ours died a few years ago and it wasn’t pretty. Of course this happened in summer, winter would have been too convenient in the cold department.

Speaking of camping…what if every time you wanted a hot meal you had to build a fire from scratch. Even better? In a place like this:



Just waiting for that buffalo to poop. Then it’s a wait until the poop dries. It might be a while. Hope you’re not starved. Speaking of buffalo, he’s looking mighty tasty….





Water that’s free of bugs, dirt, and amoebas. Cholera and typhoid free too, please. Add dysentery to the mix and it was an ugly death. Specifically death by diarrhea. I left that out, because, romance and all. Nothing kills the mood faster than, well, lots of poop.

Sleeping on the ground is in my books along with the getting the bedding out and putting it away every day. In the beginning, my husband asked about a romance (sex) in the wagon. I said no, too squeaky. Then he said, “Not on the ground!” as if aghast at the idea. I laughed at him, not knowing I’d married such a 5 star hotel kind of guy. But yeah, on the ground, against a tree, behind that bush, and hopefully quiet because who wants to get caught with their pants down or their skirt up?

It’s been somewhat nice for my characters that they’re in a very arid region. Wind and dust are huge problems, but rain isn’t. I’ve put in a skim-the-surface description of the cold at night. Which was fun because my southern editor called me on it. Water doesn’t freeze in August, right? Up in the high desert, it does! Maybe not solid, but it does get that cold. Especially in the 1850’s at the end of the Little Ice Age.

I’m positive there are other gritty details I’m leaving out that were also not included in my series. What do you find that writers tend to leave out of historical romances that would crack you up if they included?  Comment and tell me!

Being Accurate is Exhausting!

My biggest fear in writing anything historical is someone coming up to me and saying, “That was wrong.” Checking and rechecking everything takes a lot of time. Enough that, at the moment, I’d like to write anything that’s in the present day and familiar. Not the future, because that would take tons of research, too, into today’s technology extrapolated by X number of years.

Don’t get me wrong, I do LOVE research. It’s my favorite part of writing. But sometimes? I just want the words to flow and damned the facts. Instead, I’m on Google Earth, inching my way along the Oregon Trail from overhead, and typing out each tiny little paragraph at the same time.