Seekerville: The Journey Continues | category: Mary Connealy


Seekerville: The Journey Continues

A New Year...a New Series


A New Year...a New Series

One of the regular questions I get

and I think ALL authors get is...

Where do you get your ideas.

So my advice to you is, you need to answer that question,

Not be impatient with it, because you get asked it over and over...but have an answer ready.

And the idea for the Wyoming Sunrise Series came from Women's Suffrage.

Did you all know that Wyoming was the first state in the Union to give women the right to vote?

That seems so odd to me. First of all because it was a heavily MALE state, full of frontier's men, cowboys and miners and just very few women. I read somewhere six adult men for every woman and almost no children.

Also, the legislature was all male.

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A New Year...a New Series

So how did women get the right to vote in Wyoming?

I've done a lot of research and it's all mixed up with political appointments--the territorial governor was a Republican who was in favor of giving former slaves the right to vote, also the low number of total people--and 'people' meant adult voters--so they needed women to have enough voters...there were a lot of reasons...but bottom line...they did it.

Because women had the right to vote, Wyoming, which became a territory in n1869, wasn't allowed into the Union as a state until right before the turn of the century 30 years. And they were rejected multiple times can't come in with women voting.

And women's suffrage meant more than just voting. Yes, appointed office, also elected offices...women could run for those. There were property rights laws amended. As things were a woman with a job, and there were very few married women with jobs unless they worked alongside their husbands in a shop, but a woman with a job...her income was sent to her husband and considered his. The minute they married, her property became his. Any inheritance she received was automatically his.

Interestingly, two years after women were given the right to vote...and this included serving on juries, they stripped jury duty from women's right They believed women needed to be sheltered from such ugliness as a trial. Women would become coarse if they had to serve on juries. So suffrage wasn't an easy ruling and a woman's rights weren't that secure.

I also found it pretty funny that one of the women's suffragist's rallying cries was, "If women have the right to vote, there won't be any more wars."

Insert eyeroll, that's not working out.

Utah also gave women the right to vote but, when the Union said, "Nope, you can't become a state...not with women voters."

Utah stripped women of the right to vote and was allowed in right away.

Wyoming refused.

The part of their refusal that I loved was, when the 'behind the scenes' vote counting showed that THIS YEAR it was going to pass there was a riot in Washington D.C. PROTESTS against allowing it. One representative from Wyoming kept shouting the words from a telegram he’d received from the Wyoming legislature: “We will stay out of the Union a hundred years rather than come in without our women.” 

Whoever it was who was shouting it, ended up having to climb a wall somewhere to escape the mob but even as he climbed, he kept yelling, over and over again, “We will stay out of the Union a hundred years rather than come in without our women."

I think we all believe our generation invented hostility between political parties, protests and demonstrations and riots.


Reading about this is just full of fascinating information. the next place to allow women the right to vote was New York City...they allowed women to vote in school board elections only.

Shaking my head.

Dakota Territory, it wasn't divided into North and South Dakota then, passed women's suffrage laws multiple times but it was with the understanding that the governor would veto it. So the legislators could look supportive of women voting and never have to actually allow it.

They tried to get the governor of Wyoming Territory to reverse himself on the issue by saying, we're going to give Indians the right to vote and black people. He just said, "Okay, let's do that."

One of my favorite parts of the research was discovering Esther Hobart Morris, only days after women's suffrage was passed, Esther was appointed to the job of Justice of the Peace in South Pass City in Wyoming. I've read since that three women were so appointed at the same time, but I haven't found the other two.

And I decided one of the heroines in my three-book series might as well be one of them. So pretty, delicate Nell, the town seamstress, a frustrating job since there were few women in town and she wants to sew pretty dresses!!! Gets to be a judge.

I had all my heroines play against type.

Book #1 Forged in Love has a woman blacksmith.

Book #2 Laws of Attraction has a woman justice of the peace

Book #3 Marshaling Her Heart (link and cover coming soon!) has a woman rancher...and yeah, I know, a feisty lady rancher is sort of my thing, in fact, I have to try and fight it or I'd make every heroine a feisty lady rancher!!! But I decided I could slip one in this series. 

It all comes back to 'where to you get your ideas.'

So as writers, Seekervillagers, tell me how you get your ideas.

Commenters will get their name in a drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

Let's talk inspiration.

Forged in Love

coming in February

A New Year...a New Series

When sparks begin to fly, can a friendship cast in iron be shaped into something more?

Mariah Stover is left for dead and with no memory when the Deadeye Gang robs the stagecoach she's riding in, killing both her father and brother. As she takes over her father's blacksmith shop and tries to move forward, she soon finds herself in jeopardy and wondering--does someone know she witnessed the robbery and is still alive?

Handsome and polished Clint Roberts escaped to western Wyoming, leaving his painful memories behind. Hoping for a fresh start, he opens a diner where he creates fine dishes, but is met with harsh resistance from the townsfolk, who prefer to stick to their old ways.

Clint and Mariah are drawn together by the trials they face in town, and Clint is determined to protect Mariah at all costs when danger descends upon her home. As threats pursue them from every side, will they survive to build a life forged in love?

Something to be Thankful For


That sweet, turkey-obsessed holiday lost between Halloween and Christmas.

A couple of years ago I found out about a group of authors who decided Thanksgiving deserves better than it's gotten.

They started an annual series of novellas called Thanksgiving Books and Blessings.

Something to be Thankful For

They'd released these collections, historical romances who's only connection is Thanksgiving, multiple times and two years ago they invited me in. I wrote a Thanksgiving book!!!

Well, it released back then, but just recently the group decided it was time for a SALE. All those older collections, not just my year, went on sale for 99 cents. I think it was limited time only, but mine is still on sale. So don't let the Black Friday in October stop you.

Buy on Kindle for 99 cents

And, I realized, when I went to try and figure out how exactly to put a book on sale, that I had never released it as a print book. I just thought a novella was maybe too short?

Anyway when I looked at it, that no longer stopped me, so it's in print.

Buy a Print Edition for $4.58

Anyway, my novella, Thankful for the Cowboy is now on sale and also available as a print book for the lowest price I could swing.

Thankful for the Cowboy

Tom MacKinnon rides up driving a wagon with a second wagon trailing him. He and his sister build windmills. They’ll ask for very little money and, in exchange heroine, Lauren Drummond, newly widowed mother of four nearly grown sons, will help them learn to survive in the Sandhills of Nebraska. What to grow, what to hunt, how to build a sod house.
Tom’s windmills will save her ranch. Lauren needs three windmills on this drought year or her growing herd of cattle is going to die of thirst. She eagerly agrees to teach him the ways of the Sandhills. She’s not ready to think of another man. But Tom changes her mind. His little sister and one of her sons find love together before Tom and Lauren do.

Give yourself the gift of focusing on Thanksgiving.

Buy Thankful for the Cowboy

A Model of Devotion--coming in October


A Model of Devotion--coming in October

The exciting conclusion to The Lumber Baron's Daughters series is coming in October.

A Model of Devotion...plenty of danger and action and romance.

Jilly finally faces the fact that she has to get married to be safe. And yet getting marriage is the most dangerous thing she can imagine.

A Model of Devotion--coming in October

She's finally claimed her independence . . . how far will she go to keep it?

A brilliant engineer, Jilly Stiles has been educated since childhood to help run her father's lumber dynasty. With the company safe from her stepfather after the marriages of her two sisters, Jilly can now focus on her dream of building a mountaintop railroad--and never marry.

Nick Ryder came into Jilly's life when he saved her mother from her no-good stepfather, and he's prepared to protect Jilly from anything that threatens to harm her--as long as he keeps his heart from getting involved.

But when a cruel and powerful man goes to dangerous lengths to make Jilly his own, she must make a decision between her safety and her hard-won independence.


This week I'm on my way to a writer's conference.

I'm so nervous I can't STAND IT!

I've done a few, very few things out in the real world but mostly within my small bubble of close friends and family.

But I love the ACFW Conference and am determined to go. So...

I'm trying to ignore the upcoming conference, all while packing and planning and booking flights and a hotel room.

And yes, it's a little insane. But I think now instead of crazy, they say you're compartmentalizing.

So I can pick out clothes and pack a suitcase, while ignoring that I've got to get out of my bubble for a while.

A Model of Devotion--coming in October

I've got writer friends coming, including some Seekers, that I want to see so BAD!

So I'm doing it and I've got a new release coming to promote so it's a good thing, right?

Anyone else going?

Have any of you done this? Stepped back out into the real world boldly? Or had trouble doing it?

I'm a serious introvert. I think introverts make the best writers, because liking people is just so TIME CONSUMING. And not to say I don't like people...I just don't want to talk to them, or see them, or be out of my recliner.

That's not the same as not liking someone.

So tell me how you've emerged from your cocoon. Are you an introvert and an extrovert and, btw, I WOULD think Introverts make the best writers, now wouldn't I? 

And maybe, I'll see you in St Louis.

Cutest Meet Cutes?


Cutest Meet Cutes?
As a romance writer (and just an all-around-romantic-y person), I am a BIG fan of a solid meet cute! A meet cute usually refers to movies, but as readers, we've begun to refer to them in books too. 

What is a meet cute, you ask?

If you've ever watched a rom-com, you already know, even though you may not be aware of it. 

A meet cute is that moment when two characters (who will form that lovely romantic connection in the story) meet for the first time. Usually, they meet in a humorous or "cute" sort of way, though more dramatic ways are fine too (think, P&P or Jane Eyre).

What a meet cute provides is a sudden spark, a "teaser" of more to come, a little look at how these two are going to interact together. 

It can reveal an immediate attraction or repulsion, but, of course (in our HEAs), the repulsion turns to attraction through the course of the story. 

Think of some of your favorite movies for examples. 

Here are a few "classic" examples:

Maria and Captain Von Trapp on The Sound of Music

- Why is it "cute"? She's dancing in the empty ballroom and he bursts into the room in all of his serious "state" :)

Don Lockwood and Kathy Seldon from Singing in the Rain

-Why is it cute? As Don Lockwood (a famous silent film star) is trying to escape some rather energetic adoring fans, he jumps into Kathy Seldon's car.  Kathy, at first, is terrified of the "stranger" jumping into her car until she recognizes him, but pretends not too and then feeds Don a little humble pie :)

Cutest Meet Cutes?

Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly from You've Got Mail

-Why is it cute? Well, it's all the MORE cute because we (as viewers) know that Kathleen and Joe are already in an online relationship, yet the characters have never met in person (and don't even know each others' names). So when they meet for the first time in Kathleen's shop (and we know Joe is trying to take over little bookshops), we're already rooting for them. Hint: F.O.X.

One more?

Iris meeting Miles in The Holiday (which actually uses the term "meet cute" in it, but I also think when Iris meets Arthur Abbot, though it's not a romantic meet-up, just really sweet). 

There are tons of great meet cutes, both in historical and contemporary romances. The live-action Cinderella, Notting Hill, Return to Me, Kate and Leopold,...the list goes on!

But meet cutes happen in books too! I ADORE writing meet cutes!!

This is the couples' first meeting and, as a writer, it's a great opportunity to make the moment memorable and set up the "tension" well before we ever get to the life-long romance or HEA :) 

It's that first glimpse we, as readers, get of the dynamics of the hero and heroine! Usually, we have a little background on one or both characters so the the meet cute has a deeper meaning too. 

Cutest Meet Cutes?

Here are a few bookish ones that I love:

Amelia and Emerson's first meeting in the Amelia Peabody series

Sophie & Clay in Petticoat Ranch (Mary Conneally has some hilarious meet cutes). 

Hattie and Miller in Jenny B Jones's Sweet Right Here

Grace and Noah in Melanie Jacobsen's Kiss the Girl

and...of course, the list goes on.

What a meet cute does is build expectation. It gives a little hint into how these two are going to be the romantic leads of the story. Fun, right?

So let's hear it from you guys!

What books have you read that have some of your favorite meet cutes? 

(all photos are property of the author or taken from


Cutest Meet Cutes?

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance “peppered” with grace and humor. Writing both historical and contemporary novels, she loves to incorporate her native Appalachian culture and/or her unabashed adoration of the UK into her stories. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the wife of a fantastic pastor, mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus. Her nineteenth novel, Authentically Izzy, debuts in November with Thomas Nelson. She loves connecting with readers and other authors through social media outlets like Facebook & Instagram. You can learn more about Pepper and her books on her website at

Let's start this year off right!

Let's start this year off right!

I've already made three resolutions...but I made them about a week ago.

I don't really believe in resolutions just because I never succeed at them.

My resolutions, much less time wasted playing games on my computer...yes, I do that.

I've deleted a blog I hang around that discusses personal problems. I find them sort of addictive to read at the same time I just shake my head and wonder why people are idiots. Or if maybe all the letters are written by either Fiction Writing 101 college students or thirteen-year-old girls.

Haven't been there in a week and I'm not going back.

And to say NO to sweets. After a badly bacchanalian Christmas season of over-eating, I'm done. I'm back to my usual sense. I promise.

No, none of these resolutions are writing related. But wasted time is time away from writing.

And being healthy is just a good idea.

I'm still writing my usual 1000 words a day.

Let's start this year off right!

I'm about to kick off a new series called The Lumber Baron's Daughters. Book #1 The Element of Love is coming March 2. Book #2 is Inventions of the Heart coming in July. Then book three, no cover, no title yet, releases in October 2022.

(wow, I can't quite believe I just typed 2022!!! I remember when everyone was so worked up about 2000, that's closing in on a quarter century ago.) I suppose it means I'm closing in on old age. :(

I've tried to raise my daily writing number a few times. For example, last November...not two months ago, but a year and two months ago, I did NANO. I wrote 50,000 words in one month. Then I spent two weeks revising that fast flow of words.

So six weeks is about 45 days. That's 45,000 words. Not that much of an improvement over my usual speed and the plodding revisions were sad. I had to fix some things that were deeply wrong because my brain just didn't seem to have time to ponder what's next and I went in a few odd directions.

It was good in one way though. It helped me realize NANO didn't work for me. So...insert a sort of weak YAY here.

So resolutions. Did you make any? Have you EVER kept one? Tell me your resolutions. If you made them January 1st, you CAN'T have given up on them yet. 

Leave a message to get your name in a drawing for one of TWO $22 Amazon gift cards.

The Element of Love

Let's start this year off right!

With their sharp engineering minds, Laura Stiles and her two sisters have been able to deal with their mother's unfortunate choice in husband, until they discover his plans to marry each of them off to his lecherous friends. Now they must run away--far and fast--to find better matches to legally claim their portion of their father's lumber dynasty and seize control from their stepfather.

When Laura befriends a mission group heading to serve the poor in California during their escape, she quickly volunteers herself and her sisters to join their efforts. Despite the settlement being in miserable condition, the sisters are excited by the opportunity to put their skills to good use. Laura also sees potential in Caleb, the local minister, to help with gaining her inheritance. But when secrets buried in Caleb's past and in the land around them come to light, it'll take all the smarts the sisters have to keep trouble at bay.

Inventions of the Heart

Let's start this year off right!

After her sister's marriage, Michelle Stiles and her younger sister Jilly are left at Two Harts Ranch, owned by Zane Hart. They've so far managed to stay one step ahead of their stepfather and his devious plans.

Zane has his own problems, having discovered a gold mine on his property. How does he harvest it without kicking off a gold rush? Michelle, educated and trained to run her father's business, wants to manage all aspects of the mine. Zane thinks for a smart woman she can have some misguided ideas. Running that mine will be dangerous, and he doesn't want her exposed to what might occur out there.

But danger finds Michelle anyway when a man breaks into the house and attacks her. Able to fend him off and capture him, they realize he has ties to Michelle's stepfather. If they go to the sheriff, they'll reveal her location, but if they do nothing--their troubles have only just begun.

Creating Characters--Give them a quirk


Creating Characters--Give them a quirk

I'm the little girl in the center. You know...the CUTE ONE!!???
There are unsubstantiated rumors that I was a quirky little thing!
Also, I believe my mother is very pregnant with the fourth of her eight kids.
What can I was the baby boom!

One of the things I like to do when creating characters is give them quirks that compliment their personality or career choice, or whatever their underlying deal is.

I remember in Sharpshooter in Petticoats, Mandy McClellen Lindscott, a wickedly fast, accurate shot with her rifle, had a callus on her trigger finger.

When she was worried, or angry or even just thinking, she’d rub that callus with her thumb. That was her quirk. And it said a lot about her. How she thought of herself. The weight she carried because of her rifle skills. Negative and positive things. She counted on that trigger finger. She also had a lot of fear about how cool she got in a crisis. Cold honestly. She carried the fear inside her that she had what it took to be a killer.

Creating Characters--Give them a quirk

So right now, I’m creating a group of sisters who are brilliant and, on top of that brilliance, they are highly educated and trained to take over a big business, a lumber industry but also the other facets of the dynasty their father had built.

One of the sisters is a chemical engineer, before that was really a term. Chemicals were created and the word and job of engineer exists (in addition to train engineers) But the two hadn’t really been cut off into a specialized field called chemical engineer.

So my heroine loves chemistry and, because her father’s dream was to build train tracks up a mountainside.

Someone’s going to have to build those tracks (that’s book #3).

Someone’s going to have to invent excellent brakes, super strong freight cars able to carry massive weight.

Someone is going to have to blast holes in mountains to build the tunnels they need.

My heroine gets the job of blowing stuff up. The Element of Love coming February 2022.

The twist in this book is the sisters, so smart, but wealthy all their lives, have to run away from home because danger has come to the Stiles Mansion up in the vast, remote forest.

Book #2 of the Lumber Baron's Daughter

And they have to HIDE. So they hide out as servants…and guess what? They have no skills. Sure they can modify, improve and get a patent for heavy duty undercarriage elements for a train car. But can they patch a hole in the knee of someone’s pants?

And how in the world does a bloody hunk of unidentified meat turn into a meal?

They are doing their best to fake it but they don’t dare tell the truth because if word of their whereabouts reaches the ear of their enemy, they are in dreadful danger.

So my smart heroine is faking NOT being smart. A the woman who has always had servants is trying to fake being a servant. She is bad at it. And she’d learning a few lessons about a ‘woman’s work’ having true value. And how, though she was always polite and thankful, she may have not given enough respect to the servants who fed and clothed her while she did ‘important’ work.

I’m having a lot of fun trying to make her humble and servant-like, and having her feisty, brilliant mind sneaking out all the time.

So...quirks. Give your characters quirks to make them three dimensional.

Do you have characters that are quirky? Tell me about them.

Today, for the Christmas season, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter.

If you want, you can use it to pre-order The Element of Love...but no one's gonna check if you use it for wild living!!!

Merry Christmas

The Element of Love by Mary Connealy

With their sharp engineering minds, Laura Stiles and her two sisters have been able to deal with their mother's unfortunate choice in husband, until they discover his plans to marry each of them off to his lecherous friends. Now they must run away--far and fast--to find better matches to legally claim their portion of their father's lumber dynasty and seize control from their stepfather.

When Laura befriends a mission group heading to serve the poor in California during their escape, she quickly volunteers herself and her sisters to join their efforts. Despite the settlement being in miserable condition, the sisters are excited by the opportunity to put their skills to good use. Laura also sees potential in Caleb, the local minister, to help with gaining her inheritance. But when secrets buried in Caleb's past and in the land around them come to light, it'll take all the smarts the sisters have to keep trouble at bay.


Love on the Range releases TOMORROW!

 When you write a three book series, it's a little tricky to introduce the characters who will populate the series but keep the main romantic hero and heroine front and center, while developing the secondary characters with an eye toward setting them up for their own story.

So, Molly and Wyatt. They've very definitely played parts in the earlier books but Molly is mainly taking care of the house and cooking for everyone, for which she has a strong talent.

And Wyatt has mostly been working. While Cheyenne, his half-sister runs off in a temper in the first book, then chases after bad guys while falling in love in the second book, Wyatt has needed to keep the ranch running.

So what it amounts to is, Molly and Wyatt have been doing all the work.

Now it's their turn. I ended the last book with Wyatt getting shot. Now we start this book with him with a broken collarbone, mostly tied up to keep one arm from moving and Molly waiting on his hand and foot. Now it's everyone else's turn to do all Wyatt's work.

And Molly is getting tired of being doing everything.

And she's exhausted, and for a mild mannered woman, a very RESERVED woman, she's getting a little cranky.

Love on the Range releases TOMORROW!
Love on the Range

There is still one day to pre-order on Baker Book House. On Sale and free shipping! Click to Buy

Buy on Amazon Here

Wyatt woke up to a woman in his bed.

            Very few things in his life had ever been stranger.

            She had her hand resting on his chest. Flat, right over his heart. Her head resting on his shoulder. Which wasn’t the shoulder that’d been shot. His arm was around her.

            She was on top of the covers and he was under, but it was still the strangest and most wonderful thing that’d ever happened to him.

            And he’d once watched a cow sniff a little cloud that rolled into a mountain valley, leading a horde of clouds that settled into fog.

            That fog rolling in, like little balls of fluff, that sniffing cow, that’d been the strangest and most wonderful thing…up until now.

            Molly. And boy oh boy, this was now number one and the sniffing cow wasn’t even a close second.

Molly What? What was her name? He’d hardly ever talked to her. Well, a few times. And she’d served him delicious food. She was a way better cook than Cheyenne and a fair sight better than Win. She’d patched some of his clothes, washed them, hung them on the line, he’d seen her doing it. She’d cleaned up after all of them, washed dishes. She’d kept this house running through a time of madness.

And now she was sleeping in his bed, in his arms, and it felt…right.

Most everyone around here was named Hunt. His mind rabbited around to Win marrying Kevin and then like a jolt of lightning, he remembered Cheyenne marrying Falcon. He leapt out of bed…except he didn’t.

            He tried. Realized he was all but tied up. Remembered why—his broken bone--and figured he was too late to stop the wedding anyway.

            So he just stayed where he was and watched Molly sleep. He’d done some wiggling when he’d tried to sit up and she’d slept through it so she must be exhausted. Poor thing.

            He realized that her name could be Hunt too, if he married up with her. And shouldn’t a man marry a woman he shared a bed with?

            Especially when he was so uncommonly pleased to wake up next to her.

            There were dark shadows under her eyes. His head was clear enough to remember being in and out of consciousness, fighting a blazing fever, a lot of it was blurred, but he knew whatever else was going on, whoever else was around, Molly had always been here.

            Marrying a woman he really didn’t know at all, just because he liked waking up next to her, struck him as a lunatic notion. But his life was one lunatic moment after another lately.

            Anyway, she didn’t like him much. So he set the idea aside.

Garner. Molly Garner.

            There, somehow knowing her name released him from any plans to change her name to Hunt by marrying up with her. He could remain single.

            Relief swept through him and that relief told him he’d made the right decision.

            Still, she was a pretty little thing.

Today tell me if you've ever wrote a series. How do you do it? Some series are just set in the same place but not largely populated by the same characters. If you don't write in series, why not? Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a signed copy of Love on the Range.





Love on the Range releases TOMORROW!

When Trace Riley finds the smoldering ruins of a small wagon train, he recognizes the hand behind the attack as the same group who left him as sole survivor years ago. Living off the wilderness since then, he'd finally carved out a home and started a herd--while serving as a self-appointed guardian of the trail, driving off dangerous men. He'd
hoped those days were over, but the latest attack shows he was wrong.

Deborah Harkness saved her younger sister and two toddlers during the attack, and now finds herself at the mercy of her rescuer. Trace offers the only shelter for miles around, and agrees to take them in until she can safely continue. His simple bachelor existence never anticipated kids and women in the picture and their arrival is unsettling--yet enticing.

Working to survive the winter and finally bring justice to the trail, Trace and Deborah find themselves drawn together--yet every day approaches the moment she'll leave forever.

It's Tricky to Remember to Forget

It's Tricky to Remember to Forget
A Man with a Past
Brothers in Arms, book #2
The hero in my soon-to-release novel A Man with a Past, has amnesia. I mean he has it through the whole stinking book....well almost. He gets his memory back at the the nick of time you might say! 

It was fun but I hope I did it alright. 

I've written one other character with amnesia and before long at all I just flat out gave her her memory back. It was just too HARD to remember to forget.

You don't really realize it until you start writing it, but a character spends a lot of time with internal thoughts. And in ways large and small those internal thoughts are concerned with who they are. How something is affecting them.

Sure sometimes they think things like, "When I was married to Betsy, I'd've never said such a thing." Or more mildly, "He'd decided to never marry again. Losing Betsy had hurt too much."

You can't do that with amnesia. No worrying because you were frightened by a barking dog as a child, nearly struck by lightning as a teenager, lost your parents in a flood as a young adult.

Nope, none of that, because YOU CAN'T REMEMBER ANY OF THAT HAPPENED.

It's Tricky to Remember to Forget

It's tricky to remember to forget. 

You need to re-write, revised, regularly, specifically looking for oops moments when a character is acting as they normally do which includes, tiny moments of memory, the things that make a person who they are.

And that act of memory is so fundamental to writing...backstory...internal conflict...fears and joys and strengths and weaknesses. We are trained to write all of that into a character. Well forget it. My recommendation is frequent and very specific revisions looking for a character remembering or reacting based on a memory.

A bigger issue, how does having no memory affect your personality. ARE you afraid of dogs? ARE you afraid of lightning storms. Would you be? Seriously, how deep does a fear or phobia go? If you can't remember almost getting struck by lightning, then are you unafraid? I really couldn't quite decide. On this one, I just went with my own approach but I tried to be consistant about it.

Anyway, my hero Falcon Hunt isn't afraid of anything, so that doesn't apply. 

He was a fun character to write because he talks like a Tennessee hillbilly. I'd never done a book with that strange, unique accent before and I enjoyed it. 

An example of how Falcon talks from the opening of A Man with a Past:

When a man grows up in wild country, huntin’ food, eyes wide open for trouble, he knows when he’s being watched.

And that man there, back’a him weren’t out lookin’ for a place to have a Sunday picnic.

Falcon’d fought shy of a dozen towns and wanted no part of Independence, Missouri. Ceptin’ he didn’t know where in tarnation he was going and to his understanding this was his last chance to figure it out.

So he went ridin’ right smack into that beehive of a town on his old rawboned mule to find out how to get to Wyoming. And a man commenced to following.

To a lot of men, it might be right hard to spot a single man on these crowded streets full of shops and freight wagons. Everywhere he turned people swarmed.

But staying alive wasn’t easy in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee, where a man could find a way to die near every time he turned around. And yet here Falcon stood, as tall and rawboned as his mule, proving he was a tough, savvy man and he didn’t intent to trust to luck with that man on his tail.

He intended to trust to skill.

It's Tricky to Remember to Forget

Falcon was fun to write. His main enduring skill is his utter trust in himself to take care of himself and anything else that cropped up. He had a skinning knife and his old single-shot rifle. And he has the wilderness. He can cloth and feed  himself and he isn't one speck worried about doing it.

And then a blow to the head, actually a gunshot to the head, and he can't remember a thing. And he's in the wilderness. Anyway, it was a lot of fun.

Have you ever written an amnesiac? Have you ever wanted to? Have you ever tried and gotten so tired of the stumbling blocks you just give your character their memory back for your own sanity?

Today I'm giving away a signed copy of A Man with a Past. Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing.

A Man with a Past

Falcon Hunt awakens without a past, or at least not one he can recall. He's got brothers he can't remember, and he's interested in the prettiest woman in the area, Cheyenne. Only trouble is, a few flashes of memory make Falcon wonder if he's already married. He can't imagine abandoning a wife. But his pa did just that--twice. When Falcon claims his inheritance in the West, Cheyenne is cut out of the ranch she was raised on, leaving her bitter and angry. And then Falcon kisses her, adding confusion and attraction to the mix.

Soon it's clear someone is gunning for the Hunt brothers. When one of his brothers is shot, Falcon and Cheyenne set out to find who attacked him. They encounter rustled cattle, traitorous cowhands, a missing woman, and outlaws that take all their savvy to overcome. As love grows between these two independent people, Falcon must piece together his past if they're to have any chance at a future. 


It's Tricky to Remember to Forget

The Accidental Guardian is currently on sale in in Kindle for $1.99

Be careful when you click that the sale is still on. I noticed the NOOK book version has returned to full price so I suppose it's about over!

Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!

 I spent five days at a writer's retreat 

(Yes, I know how to spell writer!!!)

Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!
This is me, sitting outside on a beautiful morning on the porch of the Log Cabin we stayed in in central Iowa.
Trust me, this place has NOTHING IN COMMON with a true, frontier log cabin. It was such a nice place. Beautiful house, lots of space, very comfortable...not counting that Erica Vetsch started coughing from something she was reacting to. But I felt fine!!!
Our hostess was Dawn Ford from Iowa.
Here she is with Erica Vestch. We were each given a meal to be in charge of. 
Dawn is actually making coffee, but Erica is faking that she's cooking.
Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!

Next is Nebraska author (like me) Kathy Geary Anderson.

Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!

Cathy just had her first book release, The Trouble with Jenny, and it was so fun to talk about!

She's working on the next book already.

Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!
Our fifth writer was Iowa author Shari Barr. She left a day early and as you might predict, I didn't get my camera out until she was long gone. But she had fun writing and then off she went, something about a daughter getting married in the near future.

And we had a guest come by one day. Iowa author Erin Stevenson. 
Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!

Her latest book is Sisters Ever After, book #1 of a new series.
Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!

I wrote as many words as I could for five days, two of them mostly travel days, and got 13,000 words down. 
Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!

I finished one book and began another.
I need to go through the book I finished and do revisions but I didn't want to spend the retreat doing that. I wanted WORD COUNT!!!
I couldn't hold a candle to Erica and her TWENTY THOUSAND WORDS!!!

We also brainstormed for a while each night, if someone wanted to. And someone always did?
Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!

The one drawback was no wifi. That surprised us but we had a little lead time for it. Still, I wanted wifi. I'm pretty hooked!

Erica is the one who mentioned how often we, as historical authors, look up words to see if they existed during our book's era. Pro-tip...Shenanigans DID exist in 1870...but not by much. 1850s.
Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!

We were on our own for breakfast--which I mostly skipped. And lunch, which was either leftovers or turkey sandwiches. And we had a nice snack counter which, no matter how much we ate, seemed to grow more plentiful with each passing day.

Then we signed up for dinner. Which, four days before, I had to ask if we'd ever discussed dinner. At which point Erica told me what I'd agreed to make and when and Dawn showed me the Google document where I'd filled in my meal plan.

Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!


Swiss Cheese Brain is my superpower!
Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!

It was wonderful. Dawn Ford has arranged a writer's retreat before, and I have to say she's really got a knack for arranging a successful writer's retreat.
Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!

The Log Cabin was so pretty and really out in the woods.
Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!

As part of a successful writer's retreat we often look around the area for touristy or scenic things and in this case we could not resist historic Fort Dodge. Erica found it and lured me and Dawn to it the morning the retreat ended.
Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!
I took so many pictures! But I won't subject you to all of them.
There was a pioneer village with old buildings pulled in 
to surround the restored Fort Dodge.
This is the Blacksmith Forge.
Below it the Blacksmith Shop.
I have a whole lot of pictures of old iron tools. I wanted to make my next character a blacksmith but after studying this building, I maybe can't handle it! We'll see.

Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!
Next we walked along the stockade walls to enter Fort Dodge. I just love this kind of stuff. 
Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!
Below is a picture of the Land Office. Looking around restored pioneer villages helps me to remember all the possible stores in a town of this era. I tend to have a general store, a livery stable, a jail, a diner and a saloon. I'm trying to remember there are occasionally a few more things. This village had a veterinarian, a cabinet maker, a carriage maker, a drug store, a church, a school...I remember to add those always. It was a cool place.
Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!
And one more little is my mom's 93rd birthday. This is a picture from her 90th birthday party. Mom and all eight of her children. 
Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!

She's survived Covid and now is vaccinated but we are still very restricted in our visits to her nursing home.
So we don't get to throw her much of a party. I'll be gone for a while this morning. But I'll be back.

We all agreed this last year has been so majorly WEIRD with Covid and everything shut down, that getting together for the writer's retreat (all of us vaccinated) was just purely uplifting.
We haven't done it enough.
And we're already talking about next time!
Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a
Keepin' Cowboys Cool Cooler to celebrate the new series.
Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!

Rockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!

A New Year...a New SeriesSomething to be Thankful ForA Model of Devotion--coming in OctoberCutest Meet Cutes?Let's start this year off right!Creating Characters--Give them a quirkLove on the Range releases TOMORROW!It's Tricky to Remember to ForgetRockin' the Riter's Retreat!!!

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