Talk about lucky!

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My friend told me about this feel good news story, and I just had to share it! Mr. Johns lost his wedding ring last winter, and we found it in any unlikely place, too… but it didn’t take us 13 years!

In 2004, Mary Grams (now 84) lost her engagement ring from 1951 in the garden. They looked and looked, but it was never found… until now!

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The family still gardened that plot, and when Mary’s daughter-in-law pulled up a carrot, she found it!

Mary’s husband passed away five years ago, but she says she is still going to wear that ring, “because it still fits.” That’s a tough, Alberta farmer for you!

What were the chances?

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A risk you take…

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There is a risk you take when hanging out with a romance writer. We have to produce story after story, and the ideas have to come from somewhere.

These two books have heroines based on personal friends:

HER COWBOY BOSS   (This month’s release!)

cowboy-bossWhile I’d never use a friend’s life story, I have been known to base heroines on my friends’ appearances. For example, Avery Southerly from HER COWBOY BOSS is based (physically, at least) on a friend of mine. She’s absolutely lovely with long curly hair. I have curly hair, too, but it doesn’t hold the curl as beautifully as her spirals do, so I just go through our friendship mildly jealous. 😉  She’s a great source of information about country living having grown up on a farm, and I’ve long thought she’d make a fantastic Western heroine. When I based a heroine on her, I was going to keep that little detail to myself, but eventually I had to admit to it. There’s a certain amount of awkwardness there, but since my stories are sweet, at least I don’t have to explain a sex scene! But my friend saw the compliment in the gesture.

Boy's Christmas Wish A BOY’S CHRISTMAS WISH (comes out November 2017)

I based Beth Thomas on my writer buddy and fellow Harlequin author, Taryn Leigh Taylor. (Again, only physically.) She literally lives down the road from me, and we stumbled across each other when we got the same editor who looked at our home addresses and said, “Wait a minute…” We’ve been friends ever since, and I’ve been a not-so-secret admirer of her hair. It’s golden blonde, thick and luxurious. And when I needed to decide on this heroine’s appearance, Taryn popped to mind. And that was that. So in my writerly imagination, it was Taryn waltzing through the story–eight  months pregnant and driving the hero straight up the wall. 😉

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But those are the risks you take when you’re friends with a writer. Something I like about you will end up in a book somewhere… 😉 These things happen…

 

You know her, right?

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This is for my Love Inspired readers… or really anybody who has a church lady in their life. You know her, too, right? 😉

This is a comedian’s take on “the lady who has a Bible verse for everything.” I laughed and laughed!

 

Have a lovely day, everyone!

Contract signing

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Being under contract is like a weighted blanket–just so cozy! I like knowing what I’ll be writing for the next year. Without a contract, it feels like swinging free–that awful, stomach sinking feeling. Even with my career choice, I like some predictability.

So I was very happy to get lined up with two three book contracts for the next year with Harlequin’s Love Inspired and Heartwarming lines. So that’s a total of six books over the next calendar year. That will keep me busy!

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This picture was the least blurry from my self-timer photo shoot. LOL! But it feels great to be back under contract with a publisher I love writing for.

So you can expect more books from me through Harlequin in upcoming months. 🙂

Have you picked up this month’s release?

 

cowboy-bossAvery Southerly has finally met her biological father…sort of. Instead of properly introducing herself, she took a job as cook at her dad’s ranch in Hope, Montana. There’s just one problem: Avery can’t cook! Luckily ranch manager Hank Granger agrees to help, and things quickly begin heating up in the kitchen. 

But romance is not on the menu—Hank could be fired for fraternizing with an employee, and Avery is only in town to get answers. Then she’s headed home to Kansas, where she truly belongs. Hank is determined to help Avery discover the truth about her past. Yet the more time they spend together, all he can see is the future. He just needs to help Avery do the same!

The blue spring mist

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I’m a person who gets overwhelmed by the news. I actually avoid news stories as much as possible because I’m rather thin-skinned, and I don’t have that filter that most people have that lets them distance themselves from awful things.

I’ve heard lots of ways that people cope (“look for the helpers“, for example), but this is mine:

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The mist is just as real as the street, and it transforms everything. It might be fleeting, but it’s real. And while the mist might burn off, it keeps coming back.

As a Christian, I believe that the beautiful things in life–no matter how fleeting–will last for eternity, whereas the ugliness and hatred will go up in smoke. That doesn’t mean that I don’t fight the ugly stuff–because I believe I HAVE to. We can’t let hatred take over. But it also means that I have permission to stop and appreciate the beauty; not because it is so fleeting, but because it is more resilient than anyone seems to realize.

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Another release!

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This book is a personal one.

Avery Southerly’s mother, Winona, always told her, “You’re a Southerly. We Southerlys are tough. We’re honest. We stick with it when times are hard. Remember who you are and where you came from.”

That little speech comes directly from my home. I give my own son that talk in a regular basis:

“You’re a Johns, son. We work hard. We do it right the first time. And we tell the truth. Even when it’s hard. Even when we’d rather not. It’s who we are. So remember who YOU are, son. You’re a Johns. That means something.”

And I dearly hope that one day, he’ll look back on his mother’s talks and remember how she instilled a sense of identity inside of him when he was still a little boy. I don’t care what society tells him. I don’t care what friends tell him. I want my words to be the strongest influence, laying down a foundation and a little voice in the back of his head. Remember who you are.

Like me, Winona Southerly put her back into her parenting! She might not have been perfect, but she loved hard…

HER COWBOY BOSS releases tomorrow in bookstores across North America, the UK and Australia! I do hope you’ll pick up a copy. It’s the story of a mother, a daughter, a biological dad and a family identity. They are the Southerlys.


cowboy-boss

Avery Southerly has finally met her biological father…sort of. Instead of properly introducing herself, she took a job as cook at her dad’s ranch in Hope, Montana. There’s just one problem: Avery can’t cook! Luckily ranch manager Hank Granger agrees to help, and things quickly begin heating up in the kitchen. 

But romance is not on the menu—Hank could be fired for fraternizing with an employee, and Avery is only in town to get answers. Then she’s headed home to Kansas, where she truly belongs. Hank is determined to help Avery discover the truth about her past. Yet the more time they spend together, all he can see is the future. He just needs to help Avery do the same!

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When I…

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I’m the kind of person whose head is always stuck in the future.

When we pay this off, then we’ll be able to…

When I finish this manuscript, I have to work on…

One of these days, I’m going to achieve ____, and then I’ll have arrived.

But I’ve noticed that the arrival never happens. After each project, there is another one. Even financially, there is always another goal ahead of the one we achieve. Pay off this, save up for that. When I reach one milestone, I start aiming at the next. I’m the teensiest bit Type A. Had you noticed? 😉

Then I came across this thought on Glennon Doyle’s Facebook page, and it gave me pause.

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I’ve often said that you’ll never be able to be a writer unless you love the process. And I don’t use the word “love” lightly. Unless you thoroughly enjoy all the different stages, you’ll quit. There’s no way you could keep going… and I’m truly grateful that I do love the the process!

But every now and then, I have to let go of all my goals, all my “when I do this” thoughts, and just enjoy the moment. Because while achieving is important to me, it’s actually about the writing. I love the writing.

When I pay off this, then I’ll be able to… continue writing.

When I finish this manuscript…. I’ll be a writer working on edits.

One of these days, I’ll win an award or hit the New York Times Bestsellers list, or, or, or… and THEN… I’ll sit down and write the next book.

It’s so simple. No matter how far I go, or how much I achieve, I’m a writer because I love writing. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing. And even if you gave me $1 million dollars, the very next day I’d sit down and continue on whatever manuscript I was working on. Because I’m a writer. It’s in my blood.

Stopping to enjoy the moment isn’t a bad thing, because this moment, right here, is the fun part!

Perspective. ❤

 

 

 

A brand new cover!

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This is for my November release, A BOY’S CHRISTMAS WISH… More details to come closer to then, but to whet your appetite, we have a pregnant heroine, a little boy who desperately wants a mom, and a hero who’s already had his heart broken by this particular woman, and isn’t keen on trying it again.

So what do you think? Are you tempted to pick up a copy this November?

 

Boy's Christmas Wish

 

 

Hint, hint, Mr. Johns

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Anybody else cook this way? I’m not a bad cook, but I’m a forgetful one, especially when working on a project. When I’m fully focused, I can whip up some really delicious meals. In fact, Mr. Johns claims that part of the reason why he married me was for my cooking… I just have to put that in there for my own pride. LOL! But when I came across the above meme, I laughed more than I should have. 😉  Because I also check Facebook a lot.

IMG_3471_1024x1024My birthday is coming up in October, and the only thing I’ve asked for from my husband is a Sugar Baby apron. I already have one–and they are so cute! But I want another one, because I’ve used this one every single day for almost a year, and it’s starting to fade. These things happen, I suppose.

So all I want for my birthday is another one… or two. I’m not picky, and they do have a lot of great patterns! They are gorgeous aprons, and they do nothing to improve my cooking, but they do save my clothes from splatters, and when Mr. Johns comes home to see his wife in a 1950’s apron, I have a sneaking suspicion that if the above chicken happens, it’s a tiny bit more forgivable.

Maybe not a LOT more forgivable, but it tips the scales in my favor.

So if you know us, and my husband happens to mention that he’s got to buy his wife a birthday present and he seems in any way undecided about what to get me–the apron. She wants the apron.

Apparently, I’m not visual

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I can never see the differences in the Spot the Difference memes on the Harlequin Facebook page. At least not right away. It takes me a bit. I end up posting them to my author page on Facebook and ask for help. My readers are helpful people, and I love them for it.

But then Harlequin chose MY cover for Spot the difference, I saw it right away. Maybe because I know the cover so well.

But do you see it??

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This book is a July release, so still on the shelves! If you haven’t picked up your copy, the clock is ticking…

Or, you know, you could pick up a copy online. No pressure. 😉

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