Christina Cole Romance

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Endings and Beginnings

On Monday I spoke of synchronicity. I wrote that the universe seemed to be leading me in exciting new directions.  Later that day, I sat down in MLWR (my little writing room) and wrote a the set-up for a scene from The Sheriff Wore Skirts. In that scene, the main character, Caleb Bryant, ponders a fact of life:

Willow TreeCaleb leaned against the old willow tree and watched the waters of the nearby creek gurgling past. Not really much of a creek these days, although it had once been deep enough to swim in. Now it would barely come to the top of his boots if he stepped in.

Funny how things in life changed that way.

He shifted his gaze westward toward the glittering peaks of the Rockies, raising a hand to shield his eyes from the late afternoon sunlight. Some folks said even the mighty mountains would one day be gone, eroded away by the ravages of weather and time.

Caleb couldn’t imagine it. He’d once attended a fancy lecture in Denver and had heard some esteemed scholar with a string of letters attached to his name provide a scientific explanation. Water, the professor said, seeped into the cracks, froze, expanded, and broke the rocks down. Gravity then took over to carry the pieces down the slope.

When the spring rains came, more rocks were swept away. Some were even dissolved by the steady forces of nature.

The human eye might not see the changes happening, but they were going on all the same.

Changes were always going on in life, too. No matter how a man might wish things could stay the same once he got himself to a comfortable place, life didn’t work that way.


Caleb’s got it right. Changes are always happening in life.

Yesterday, I learned that my publisher — Secret Cravings — will be closing. What this means is that all  Secret Cravings and Sweet Cravings titles are coming down from Amazon and other booksellers, and rights to my stories — including those under contract for 2016 publication — will revert to me.  I can choose whether or not to re-publish the current titles and whether or not to release the upcoming additions to “The Sunset Series”.

In many ways, I think I was prepared for this. The writing/publishing industry has changed drastically in the last few years.  Although I was quite comfortable as an SCP author and hoped to publish many more stories through their imprint, I often found myself exhausted by efforts to keep up with marketing and promotional events and maintain a rigorous writing schedule in order to meet all deadlines.

At times, over the past year, I’ve considered other possibilities for my writing. Times are changing, and authors have to change, too. Accordingly, I choose to view this ending as a fortuitous beginning for my future.

What happens now?

My immediate plans are to take care of the business at hand — purchasing my cover art, putting files in order for possible re-publication, and making sure all legal issues are addressed.

I have many decisions to make involving not only the question of re-publishing my books but also questions involving this blog, my author page on Facebook, and my newly-formed “street team”.

What I don’t have yet is a definite plan…only a vague idea of where I want to go and how I’ll choose to get there. With a lot going on in my personal life, I’m choosing now to take a break from writing and publishing.  I will continue to post to this blog but not on a daily basis. I will also maintain my official author page at Facebook — Christina Cole’s Love Notes — and I will most like make daily posts there.

Of course, I will be keeping up with my friends and readers, although I will be “disbanding” Christina’s Corner. I want to thank each street team member for the love and kindness you’ve shown in the short time the group has been together.

At this time, I’m also choosing to set aside The Sheriff Wore Skirts. The book was scheduled for January release with Secret Cravings. That, of course, won’t happen now.  Instead of completing and publishing the book now, I will be exploring other avenues in my life.

I’m adopting the willow tree now as my symbol for the future. Willows bend; they don’t break. Endings bring opportunities to begin anew, and I’m looking forward to seeing where life leads me now.

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Exciting News!

Not the Marrying Kind by Christina ColeDo you have “Kindle Unlimited“? If so, you can now download and read Not the Marrying Kind for free. It’s the first book in my “Sunset Series” — stories of life and love in the old west.

The minister threw a sharp look over his shoulder and jerked his head toward Joshua Barron. “That man could be dangerous. You know nothing about him. He shows up in Sunset, worms his way into a job at the ranch, and he’s putting on quite a show of righteousness. It’s all an act, Katherine.”

From – Not the Marrying Kind

Please share the news and let others know that they can now download Not the Marrying Kind with their Kindle Unlimited membership.

Use Sunset Series
Meet the men and women of Sunset, Colorado
Coming in January 2016
The Sheriff Wore Skirts

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Playing by the Rules

I’ve been browsing through The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits, written by pyschologist Linda Edelstein. It’s an interesting book, and I’ve enjoyed reading about various adult personality types.

I’ve always believed that understanding is a key component of good relationships — in real life and in fiction, as well. So from time to time, I’m going to share a bit of information regarding Edelstein’s basic personality types. Perhaps this knowledge will help us build stronger relationships — and for the writers among us, create realistic characters.

Today, I’m sharing a few thoughts about conformists.

Conformity2The conformist believes in following rules and regulations, going along with others, and acting in a responsible manner.

Conformists are staunch supporters of law and order in society, and generally consider themselves to hold high moral standards.

Life with a conformist can be comfortable. These folks don’t like to “rock the boat” or make a fuss about anything…unless someone goes too far afield of their traditional beliefs and values, in which case the conformist can become rigid and dogmatic. They will then insist on upholding what they perceive as “right”.  They can be extremely intolerant, demanding that others conform to their way of thinking.

There’s a bit of interesting history behind the word, Conformist.

In England, Conformists were individuals whose religious practices were in line with the requirements of The Act of Uniformity. These acts — there were several — established rites and rituals for the Church of England, specifying prayers books to be used and the order of services performed.  Those who opposed the acts were called Noncomformists.

Today the words have come to mean anyone who “goes along with the crowd” or one who “marches to a different drum”, respectively.

Our society sends very mixed messages about conformity. We place children in classrooms and teach them to behave in very specific ways. We give them rules to obey.

  • Sit at your desk.
  • Raise your hand to ask a question.
  • Walk in single file as you leave the classroom.

At the same time, we speak of individuality, the need to recognize our own uniqueness, and the importance of learning to think for oneself.  Little wonder we’re often confused about who we are…and who we’re supposed to be.

Overall, despite our efforts to teach it and instill conformist values in our children, conformity gets a bad rap throughout history.  Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke out against it.


So did President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.



Conformists rarely stand out in society. They’re content to follow others and can make valuable assistants, always well-versed in “company policy” and willing to do what’s asked of them.

In fiction, we find two kinds of conformists. We sometimes see a character who is intent on following all the rules — to the detriment of their own happiness. My latest release, “No Regrets“,  features a shy young woman who, in the words of the hero, is stuck being…

“…the prim and proper Miss Richards, the quiet little mouse who never disturbs anybody, has never once told a lie, and who would never think of breaking any of society’s rules.”
We see the overbearing conformist at times, too, in the guise of a well-meaning parent or a moral leader. As conformists, they often join others in their intolerance.  I’ve included these characters in my stories, too, most notably the women of the “Ladies’ Charitable Society” in my fictional town of Sunset, Colorado.  Here’s a quick look at the ladies, from “Keeping Faith“.
Not only Mrs. Gilman, but all the other women as well wore black. They reminded Tom of a bunch of crows perching in the parlor, hovering about, ready to peck the eyes out of him and his mother if they made a wrong move.
Maybe conformity is best treated as a useful tool, not as a way of life. There are times and places where perhaps it’s best to go along,  to do what’s expected, and to accept little things that aren’t really worth making a fuss about.

Yes, rules are important. So are laws.  Sometimes we do need to follow others…so long as they’re leading us in the direction we want to go.

When all is said and done, the most important thing is knowing who we are and living our life fully.









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Back to School? Already?

the-3-rsIt’s only August! Mid-August, in fact. Yet already schools are open and students are boarding buses each morning, heading off to learn “readin’, ritin’, and ‘rithmetic”. Although, to my mind, it’s still a bit too early — when I grew up, school never started until after Labor Day — I do look forward to the beginning of each new school year.

I’ve always loved walking into stores and seeing school supplies lined up. Oh, the notebooks, pencils, and pens! The colorful binders and folders!

Yes, I was one of those “nerdy” kids who loved school. Of course, back in the day, we weren’t called nerds or geeks.  I always got excited to think of all the new discoveries I would make and all I would learn over the coming year.

I still get excited by learning, and that’s why the end of summer and the beginning of school always thrills me. As autumn arrives — officially — and the air grows cool and the leaves turn colors, my excitement will continue to grow.

For me, this time of year is a signal to settle down, get into a regular routine, and turn my mind and attention to what I most enjoy doing — writing.  With that “back to school” attitude in my head and that same excitement in my heart, I can come into MLWR (my little writing room) each day with a burst of enthusiasm.

What can I learn today about fiction-writing and story-telling? What new possibilities will I discover as I’m putting scenes together? What ideas might suddenly come along?

My current project is The Sheriff Wore Skirts —another title in the “Sunset Series”. These are stories of life and love in the old west, with an ever-growing cast of characters who’ve become near and dear to my heart. At present, the manuscript is about 34,000 words, so there’s still much to be done before the story goes to the publisher in November.

Here’s a short little “tease” from the opening of The Sheriff Wore Skirts:

How long did a broken heart last? Nearly a month had passed since Sheriff Caleb Bryant’s best girl Molly had run off with another man – his former deputy, Hank Goddard – and his heart hadn’t yet begun to heal. Now, Hank and Molly were home again in Sunset.

Worse still, she was standing right in front of him.

Even though this is the project I’m actively involved with, it’s not the only project I have “in the works”. As a writer, I always have dozens of ideas lurking around, and that’s where all those colorful binders and organizational folders come in very handy.

The key to writing a novel is keeping it organized. There’s a great deal of information a writer needs, even if it doesn’t all go into the story. There’s research information, details about characters — their appearance, their background, their goals, their motivations — and there’s various settings we have to keep in mind. Writers often create timelines of events, of course, or outlines of a story’s scenes. As a writer of historical fiction, I also keep calendars from the years a story takes place so I know for certain what day of the week things are happening. For what it’s worth, I always check the moon phases, too, so if you’re reading about a gorgeous full moon as my lovers stroll hand in hand, you can be sure it really was full that particular long-ago night.

In the same way as a novel needs organization — a binder is great for this — future ideas also need some sort of order. I keep a stack of folders nearby, and when new ideas come to mind, or when I suddenly “hear” or “see” a scene from a new story, I can quickly jot down my thoughts and file them away.

So, what it all means is that this week, I’ll probably be stocking up on “school supplies” — even if I now call them “writing supplies”. I’ll be doing a lot of “readin’ and ‘ritin'” and even a bit of “rithmetic” as I keep my characters’ biographies up to date. Let’s see, just how old is little Kitty Barron now?

Oh, is that a school bell I hear? Guess that means it’s time to begin my day. Readers are waiting for the next book. Time for me get busy.

Thanks for visiting today!

Which of the “Sunset” books is your favorite?


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A Meddlesome Man

I love writing. I enjoy creating characters for you to fall in love with. Most of all, I delight in sharing my stories with readers from around the world. Of course, I love hearing your comments, too, so please let me know your thoughts!

IrresistibleToday, just for fun, I’m sharing a bit from Irresistible, the story of a young woman who’s lost the ability to see any beauty or joy in the world. She’s been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend the summer at a luxurious resort in upstate New York, and Rise has made the trip in hopes of reuniting with her two-year-old nephew, Billy, and her late sister’s husband.

Her stay at the Lindenhurst is complicated by the relationship that develops between her and the resort’s very handsome and very wealthy young owner. Samuel Mills wants nothing more than to put a smile on Rise’s face, but the last thing she wants is some man meddling in her life.

In this excerpt, Rise is at the depot awaiting the arrival of Warren and Billy on the next train.


The morning air fairly crackled with anticipation and happiness. Rise hugged herself with joyful abandon as her gaze traveled over the platform again.

When a tall, dark-haired gentleman stepped out and walked her way, her breath caught in her throat.

“Mr. Mills! What are you doing here?”

“You look enchanting when you smile.” Samuel beamed at her. “Not that you don’t look enchanting all the time.”

Seeing him annoyed her. How dare he show up at that precise moment to spoil her happiness! She turned away, intent on ignoring the handsome man with his devilish smile and charming manner.

“I understand your brother-in-law and nephew are arriving this morning.”

Rise wanted to snap back that it was none of his concern, or toss off a quick-witted remark to prove how little she cared about him, but all she could do was smile. Not because of Samuel, of course. Not because her heart had begun to race the moment she’d heard his voice. No, it had nothing to do with him.

“I’m so excited, I can barely contain myself,” she told him in a shaking voice. When the train’s whistle sounded in the distance, Rise grabbed hold of Samuel and truly jumped with joy. “I can’t believe I’m finally going to see Billy again!”

Samuel’s smile broadened. “It’s good to see you so happy.”

Something in his tone of voice made all the alarms go off in Rise’s head. She pulled away and stared up at him, her look both knowing and accusing.

“You did this.” She waited, but he made no response. “You did! Without even bothering to say a word to me! What gives you the right, Mr. Mills, to take it upon yourself to contact my brother-in-law? How dare you—”

The rhythmic clanging and chugging of the locomotive drowned out the rest of her words as the train pulled into the station. With a hiss and a screech of its metallic brakes, it shuddered to a stop. Rise wanted to say more, wanted to tell off Samuel Mills. He deserved a piece of her mind for his meddlesome ways. All her anger and fury faded as soon as she saw Warren step down to the platform, little Billy squirming in his arms.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this little excerpt.


Available in all Ebook formats from Secret Cravings Publishing and other online booksellers.

Now only $3.99

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Putting Emotions on the Page

There are two types of writers, or so I’ve been told. One is the objective writer. He – or she — skillfully captures the actions taking place within the environment, delivering a picture so clear that readers can easily see all that’s happening.  Objective writers are direct, to the point, and hard-hitting in the vision of the world they present.

Subjective writers, on the other hand, grab readers by the emotions and don’t let go. They force readers to feel their way through a story rather than observe it. What happens in the lives of the characters also happens — at an emotional level — in the hearts of the readers.

If you’ve read any of my stories, you’ll already know that I’m a highly subjective writer. Although I try to capture the sights and faithfully show the movements and physical aspects of my characters and the settings, my strong suit is getting myself so deeply immersed in their heads that their thoughts and feelings naturally come pouring out — sometimes in ways that surprise me.

I consider myself very fortunate to be a subjective writer. It’s easier, I’ve heard, for a subjective author to learn the techniques involved in writing from an objective point of view. Objective writers, however, often struggle to “add” emotions onto the page. And there’s the rub. Emotions aren’t something that can be added in later. They can’t be layered onto a story. Either they’re there, or they’re not.

Where do emotions come from? How do we draw them out and put them on the page?

This is related to that oft-repeated advice to “show, don’t tell.” Yet how, precisely, do you show a quality as intangible and incomprehensible as an emotion?

Body language is often touted as a ideal way to show emotion. Yes, it’s important. If a character is feeling down-hearted, we need to see those sagging shoulders, the slow, shuffling steps, the pinched facial features that reveal the emotions. We’re still approaching it from an objective point of view, though. We’re using our heads to rationalize how an emotion looks.

How do we move beyond that point and use our hearts instead? How do we give readers the subjective experience that allows them to feel the emotions themselves? What tricks can we use to make readers laugh, cry, or slam doors in anger along with our characters?

First, we have to understand where emotions come from.

I remember back to Psychology 101, many years ago. I really didn’t agree with a lot of what I was taught about emotions. It sounded so backward!

GrizzlyHere’s the example I recall: You see a bear and immediately become frightened. Sounds about right, don’t you think? Well, maybe. But, a two-year old child sees the same bear and laughs. The difference of course, is that YOU know the bear is dangerous. YOU know you “should” be frightened. The child doesn’t have that same awareness. In other words, you had to think before you felt. Or, as it was explained in that textbook, thought precedes emotion.

I’ve lived long enough now and have learned enough about life to realize that this is fairly close to the truth. It’s not, of course, the whole picture. It’s not only our thoughts but our perspectives, our beliefs, our circumstances, and the context of our lives that shape our emotional responses to the world around us.

This, then, is the key to getting emotions onto the page. First, we have to know our characters, and we have to understand their beliefs, their desires, and especially their motivations — a handy word which is closely related to emotion — in order to sense what they are thinking and feeling.

Here’s a short little excerpt from Keeping Faith which illustrates the importance of who the character is and how his perspective on life shapes his emotions. Tom Henderson has returned to the dilapidated old homestead where he was raised. With him is a friend, Caleb Bryant.

“No point thinking about things you can’t have.”

“Who says you can’t have them?” Caleb asked.

Tom’s head jerked up. For as long as he could remember, he’d been told he’d never amount to a hill of beans, that he’d end up swinging from some noose, or rotting away in some jail. He was a bastard. Worse still, a whore’s bastard. Nobody had use for that sort of man.

But Caleb didn’t see him that way. Caleb, by God, was damned stupid enough to think every man deserved a chance to make something of himself. And why the hell not?

Tom wished with all his heart that he could have all the things he’d been denied as a child. Not the material things. Those things didn’t matter. What he wanted were the intangibles. The love. The respect. The laughter, the kindness, the happiness, the joy. He’d never known any of those things before, and now Caleb said he could get whatever he wanted?

Damn, but what did he know that Tom didn’t?

He was going to listen. He was going to learn.

And nobody would ever put Tom Henderson down again.

Can you feel Tom’s emotions? I haven’t named them, but can you feel the first stirrings of hope? Can you sense his sudden awareness of new possibilities in his life? Can you experience the same quiet determination that Tom feels?

Here’s another little excerpt from the same story. In this snippet, Tom’s just learned that his sister Sally died in childbirth, leaving behind a precious little girl. He’s holding the baby for the first time.

“Please, Mr. Henderson. It’s plain to see that you’ve got no way to provide for your niece. I suppose I should have taken time to make the trip on my own to assess the conditions, but I was hopeful you’d be in a position to take her. Optimism is one of my weaknesses, I daresay.”

She didn’t look too optimistic in Tom’s eyes. He couldn’t imagine her ever having a positive outlook about anything.

But this child! She needed hope. She deserved bright blue skies and sunny days. She deserved butterflies and flowers, and the sweet promise of spring. Not some strait-laced, tightly-corseted old biddy who thought of her as nothing more than baby girl.

Tom looked down at the tiny bundle he held in his arms. So tiny, yet so perfect. He marveled over the little fingers, touching each one by one. When the baby’s hand closed around his big thumb, he felt a tugging at his heart so real, so undeniable, he suddenly couldn’t find his breath.

“Excuse me, Mr. Henderson.” Edith Christensen’s nasally voice grated on Tom’s nerves. “I have to leave now. It’s a long trip back to Denver. You need to give me the child.”

“Not yet, ma’am. She’s my niece. I want a little time with her.” He stroked one soft, pink cheek and was rewarded with a gurgling, cooing smile. “She likes me,” he said, glancing toward Lucille.

And he liked her. No, he loved her. This precious life wrapped in a thick gray blanket was kin. Not his own child, but a child who shared his blood, all the same. She was Sally’s daughter, and Sally was gone now. This sweet, nameless angel was all that was left to him of his sister’s kindness, her goodness, her own innocence.

He wished he could have taken better care of Sally, could have helped her and given her all she needed, but he’d failed her. Too young, too mixed-up, and too bitter about his own life, Tom hadn’t been able to save Sally from the wretched evils of their childhood.

But he’d damned sure save this baby.

“I’m not giving her back,” he said in a quiet voice. “I’m going to keep her.”

Again, can you share Tom’s emotions here? Many readers have commented on the emotions within this story. Those emotions come through because we know who Tom is, we know his beliefs about himself and his place in the world, and we know his heart.

That’s the secret. Take what’s in the heart and use it as a way of understanding the thoughts inside the character’s head. Together they become a powerful combination that creates emotions readers can share.


Thanks for visiting today!

If you’d like to read more, Keeping Faith is available from Amazon and other on-line booksellers. You can purchase it in both e-book and paperback format.

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What’s for Dinner – Please, Pass the Biscuits

I’ve always considered myself a fairly good biscuit-baker. There’s nothing to compare to a hot, flaky biscuit dripping with creamy butter…or spread with thick, sweet apricot jam.  I love biscuits with gravy, biscuits with eggs and cheese, biscuits topped with chicken salad. Any way you serve them, I’ll gobble them down.

In recent years, however, I haven’t been called upon to make biscuits. My husband — who loves biscuits as much or even more than I do — found a store in Appleton City (Population 1,127) that sells flats of delicious biscuits. We go through the little town each time we drive south to visit his parents, and it’s become habit for us to stop at the store and grab biscuits — if they have them. These biscuits are good, and the store sells out quickly. In good, old-fashioned, small-town manner, though, the storekeeper has told us that anytime we know we’ll be coming through, just call ahead, and he’ll set a flat aside to save for us.

Life has been busy lately, and the winter weather hasn’t been pleasant. Instead of long Saturday or Sunday drives to visit my in-laws, we’ve stayed close to home. No trips south. No stop in Appleton City. No biscuits.

About two weeks ago, I was chatting in one of the author groups I belong to, and Kit Morgan mentioned “the biscuit recipe”. If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen it.


It’s referred to as the 7-Up Biscuit Recipe and was popularized by Mama’s Southern Cooking. Kit commented that every time she saw the recipe, she “liked” it and saved it, but she’d never gotten around to making the biscuits. Had anyone in the group ever tried them?

Like Kit, I, too, had “liked” the recipe each time I saw it posted. I’d saved it, and more than once I’d said, “I have to try these.”

It was early morning, I’d just made out my weekly shopping list, and I was ready to head to the store. I volunteered to try out the biscuit recipe that day. I was planning to fix another recipe I’d found on Facebook — a delicious chicken dish baked with sour cream and Swiss cheese — and a batch of these easy-to-make biscuits would be a perfect complement. I jotted down “baking mix” and “7-Up”, then off to the store I went.

Is your mouth watering yet? Here’s the recipe as found at Mama’s Southern Cooking.


4 cups Bisquick ~ 1 cup sour cream
1 cup 7-Up ~ 1/2 cup melted butter

Mix Bisquick, sour cream, and 7-Up, turn out on floured surface cut and shape biscuits. Melt butter in 13 x 8 glass pan, place in biscuits. Bake in 425 pre-heated oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.~

Note: You don’t have to have the Bisquick brand. Neither must you have the 7-Up brand. Any baking mix and any lemon-lime soda (including diet drinks) will do.

I was happy to report back to the author group that the biscuit recipe was a hit. I tasted the first one soon after taking the pan out of the oven. It was good. “Yes, give the recipe a try,” I told the others.

At that time, I had no idea just how big of a hit these biscuits would become.

At dinner that afternoon, my husband raved about the biscuits. The following morning, he finished them off at breakfast. “You’ll have to make these again,” he said. I agreed. I must not have complied soon enough to suit him, though.

Last week, he mentioned the biscuits again. I’d made it a point to add 7-Up to my shopping list — just in case. Good thing I did. He definitely wanted more biscuits. This time, I let him help as I mixed the ingredients together. He’s sure that after a few more times of making them with me, he’ll be able to do it completely on his own.

As before, he raved about how good the biscuits are. They disappeared quickly.

Yesterday, I noticed that my pastry blender was hanging up with my measuring spoons, and my rolling pin was out on the counter. Hints, perhaps? My husband said he’d been putting dishes away and wasn’t sure where those went. Yeah, right. I think he’s telling me it’s time to make more biscuits.

Before I head to the kitchen — yes, we’re having freshly-baked biscuits with Sunday dinner — let me share a few other thoughts and recipes for biscuit baking.

If you’ve read Not the Marrying Kindthe first book of my “Sunset” series of western historical romances, you’ll remember that opening scene with Kat in the kitchen trying to cook the evening meal. That scene includes this:

Muttering under her breath, Kat scrambled to her feet. She cast a cautious look over her shoulder and groaned. Earlier , she’d dropped an egg while beating up her batch of biscuits. Yep. She’d managed to fall in the exact same spot, and now she’d have a most unattractive stain in a most embarrassing place.

An egg? In biscuits? I heard that question a few times. Yes, eggs are often used in biscuits. Adding an egg will make the biscuits rise more. There are scientific reasons — and terminology — behind this, but I won’t go there.

If you’re looking for a good, old-fashioned biscuit recipe, you might enjoy this one:

2 cups self-rising flour (or regular flour with 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt)
1/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening
1 cup buttermilk (fresh or powdered, or you can use whole milk)
Flour for kneading
Melted butter for brushing on top of the biscuits

Bake in a hot oven (475 degrees) for about 10 minutes.

Don’t like using lard or shortening? You can make biscuits with oil. (Pie crusts, too. This is my secret for really flaky pie crusts.)

2 cups all-purpose flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/3 cup oil, and 2/3 cup milk.

To prepare, first mix together all dry ingredients. In a measuring cup, add oil and milk but DO NOT stir or mix.  Pour liquid into dry ingredients. Mix lightly. Form dough into a ball. Roll out, cut, and bake in an ungreased pan at 475 degrees, approximately 10-12 minutes.

There’s much, much more that could be said about biscuits. Every old-fashioned cook has her own secrets, her special memories of making biscuits, and stories to share about family and friends.

Before I head into the kitchen, I’ll share a favorite childhood memory of biscuits and Sunday dinners. As a little girl, I loved hearing this funny song about gathering around the table…and trying to get a biscuit.

“Will somebody pass the biscuits…please?” – Original version by Gene Sullivan

We sang this song often, and whenever I hear somebody say, “Please, pass the biscuits”, I’m a little girl again remembering family, Sunday dinners, and hot, freshly-baked biscuits.


Thank you so much for dropping by. If you like hot, home-made biscuits — and who doesn’t? — I hope you’ll try one or more of the recipes here. If you have any biscuit-baking tips you’d like to share, please do! I hope, too, that you’ll have a little laugh listening to the Gene Sullivan song. Oh, the memories it brings back!

Have a beautiful Sunday!

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Just for Fun – A Random Excerpt

Last night was the official Facebook launch party for “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not”. Of course, even the best-laid plans “gang aft agley”… or, in more modern English, sometimes go astray.

Internet connectivity problems interrupted the party last night, so we’ll be picking up tonight where we left off with more hot cowboys, more great country music, more games, more prizes, and more fun for everyone.  I hope to see you there!

While I’m still celebrating the book’s release, I decided to head to “” and have a bit of random fun. I entered the number of pages in “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not”, then asked the random number generator to select one.

It chose page 111.

So, just for fun, here’s an excerpt from page 111.


Thankfully, nothing was mentioned. The incident, awful as it seemed at the time, had already faded and died. Ben left the parsonage a short time later, his spirit lightened by the events of the day.

Darkness had nearly fallen by the time Ben reached the horse farm. As he rode into the yard, he noticed a strange glow coming from inside the spring house. Or maybe it was nothing more than the reflection of the setting sun.

No. The sun was too far gone, too low on the horizon.

As he tended to his horse then led the Appaloosa into the barn, he kept a watchful eye on the spring house door. The light now burned brighter. Someone was inside.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this random little “snippet”.  You can find all three books from “The Sunset Series” at and other online book-sellers.

Book 1 – Not the Marrying Kind

“Secrets, plot twists, and a strong cast of characters kept me turning pages. 

Book 2 – Keeping Faith

A story with real people and real problems.”

Book 3 – He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

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A Friday Flashback

I don’t keep up with all the “social media” catch-phrases and hashtags. I know there’s a “Tuesday Teaser” as well as a “Tuesday Tales”, and of course, everyone knows about “Throwback Thursday”.  I think I may have stumbled across a “Wicked Wednesday” once upon a time, and I’m sure someone before me has probably done a “Flashback Friday”. I don’t claim to be the first.

I’m excited, of course, about the upcoming release of “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not”. It’s the third book in a series of stories set in the fictional town of Sunset, Colorado. More specifically, it’s the love story of Emily Sue Phillips and Benjamin Brooks. These young lovebirds first met in “Not the Marrying Kind”, so I thought it would be fun to travel back in time and take a look at Ben and Emily in their younger days.

At the time they met, Ben was fourteen. Emily was a twelve-year-old brat. In the scene I’m sharing here, Emily is all dressed up in a new yellow frock when Judge William Howard Morse comes calling, along with his son, Willie.  The judge’s visit is interrupted rather suddenly.  Enjoy!

Excerpt from “Not the Marrying Kind”

Her words were interrupted by shouts from the yard. Morse, who stood nearest the window, responded first. “Good Lord, it’s Willie. And that other fellow, too. They’ve got themselves a fight going out there.”

“Benjamin?” Kat raced toward the window and peered out, shocked to see the wiry, red-headed boy straddling Judge Morse’s obese son. Benjamin’s fist plowed into the boy’s nose. Blood covered Willie’s white shirt.

Kat flew out the door. “Stop it!” she cried. “Stop it right now!”

She hadn’t noticed Joshua, but he must have been at her heels. He grabbed Benjamin and pulled him off his blubbering, tearful opponent.

All the while, Emily Sue watched, her face pale , her eyes bigger and rounder than ever , and a stream of tears streaking across her rosy cheeks.

“It wasn’t Benjamin’s fault,” she shouted. “Willie started it.”

By now, the entire family had come out to witness the fracas. Judge Morse grabbed his son and set about checking him over, assessing the damage done. Joshua, meanwhile, kept a firm grasp on Benjamin’s shirt collar, holding him back even as his arms flailed and his legs kicked in an effort to get away.

Kat’s father stepped into the fray. “What’s this about? What’s going on?” He cast accusing glances all around. Would Benjamin have courage enough to speak up?

Yes, indeed. Kat smiled, admiring the boy for his bravery, and for his chivalrous acts.

“He was calling Emily names,” Benjamin told the crowd of listeners. “Said she was a spoiled brat.” Benjamin’s fists were still doubled up. Kat suspected that if Joshua were to loosen his grip for even a second, the hot-tempered lad would be beating Willie Morse again.

Not the Marrying Kind

Not the Marrying Kind

Book 1 – The Sunset Series

Some things never change. Here’s a little “sneak peek” from Book 3.

Excerpt from “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not”

Ben’s fist shot out, catching Willie on the jaw. The bigger man spun around, went down, and then stumbled to his feet, his movements surprisingly swift. He came up swinging, striking his opponent with a stream of wild punches.

“Stop it!” Emily screamed. “Stop it now!” She raced to the door, hoping to find someone who could break up the fight. Already men were rushing toward the office.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

Book 3 0f “The Sunset Series”

Available January 28 from  Secret Cravings Publishing


I hope you’ve enjoyed this little flasback and that you’ll enjoy seeing Ben and Emily again now that they’re all grown up.

Thanks for visiting today!

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Open the Door

wooden-panel-doors-500x500Many years ago, I wrote a short, short story called Doors. It was a fairly simple, uncomplicated story about two young girls spending an evening together, talking girl talk, and all the while opening and closing different doors. It was inspired by real life experience as I sat listening to one of my daughters and her best friend chatting about life, love, and the future.

Even though it was late, they decided they should set off on an adventure. They made a great fuss about getting dressed up, ready to go out. Doors opened. Doors closed. Bedroom doors. The door to the basement. Oh, the noise and chatter!


Finally, they opened the front door, stepped out onto the porch, then quickly turned around and returned to the safety and security of home.

“We’ll go out another time,” they said as they came inside and closed the door behind them.

To me, the doors they were opening and closing symbolized the future and the act of growing up. Such a rush of excitement…and then the quiet realization that they weren’t truly ready to face the realities of becoming adults.

I wrote about doors again recently in “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not”. It, too, is a story about growing up and facing adult realities and responsibilities. Although I mention “doors” a dozen times in the novel, I think my favorite reference is this one:


There was that word again. She’d stood her ground, had made her choices, and what was the result? She thought of how often her parents talked about opening and closing doors. When one door closed, they insisted, the Lord opened other doors for you.

Now, quite the opposite had happened. She’d opened the door to a future with Ben, but by doing so, all other doors were now closed.

Doors open and doors close. We often come to a doorway and wonder what’s on the other side, what might lie behind that door.

While browsing around a bit this morning, I came across this door-inspired quote from author Graham Greene:

There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.





No matter our age, there are always doors opening and closing around us. Whenever we face a new door, we don’t know what’s on the other side. The only way to find out is to open the door.