Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Character Interview Questions ~ Lorraine Nelson

Hello my fellow writers. I hope you have enjoyed the holidays and spent some quality time with your favorite cowboys. Or maybe you’ve met a new one or two. 😊 Have you ever done a character interview? I find they are a lot of fun. You can make your hero and heroine anything you want them to be. Think of a TV show that you enjoy watching. Do you think those performers act that way in real life? Not likely. He could be more confident and sexier on television. She might be hot and sassy. What do you think? Below are some questions to ponder when you do a character interview between your two main characters. So, how about you tell us what makes your current hero and heroine tick? Pick as many or as few questions as needed.

What is the name of your hero?

What is his profession?

What is the name of your heroine?

What is her profession?

How do your main characters meet?

What was your hero’s most embarrassing moment?

What was your heroine’s most embarrassing moment?

Finish this sentence: My hero enjoys…

Finish this sentence: My heroine enjoys…

As the author, what was the most difficult scene for you to write?

Now for some fun. J  Include answers for both H/h.

Favorite Toys:

Favorite Drinks:

Favorite Cars:

Favorite Scents:

Favorite Movies:

Favorite Vacation Spot:

Favorite lines from the book: Place title here.




These are just a few generic questions, as I haven’t read your book. Please add to or delete anything you want.


Friday, December 23, 2022

The Nation's Christmas Tree by Zina Abbott


My husband and I have not done much traveling since the Covid-19 Pandemic started. However, we did wish to make at least one trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountains this past summer. Over the years, we usually opt to go to Yosemite National Park. This year, since we were aware the Sequoia National Park, just south of Yosemite, had suffered devastating fires two summers in the row, we decided we needed to visit before the whole thing burned to the ground.


Map ctsy NPS, circled Gen. Grant Grove author addition

King’s Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park are immediately next to each other. In some places, they appear to intertwine. Approaching from the north, we ended up entering King’s Canyon NP first and followed the signs to the General Grant Grove, where we found the General Grant Tree.

What I found interesting was finding the sign that identified it as also being “The Nation’s Christmas Tree.”

Here is a little history of these national parks.  Sequoia National Park was established on September 25, 1890, making it our country’s second national park. King’s Canyon National Park was not established until fifty years later. However, a week after Sequoia NP was established, General Grant National Park was established. The motivation behind the formation of these parks was to protect these living organisms—specifically, the giant Sequoia trees—from logging.

Top of General Grant Tree

The size and grandeur of these trees began to capture the public’s attention long before the land on which they grew was set aside as national parks.

In the 1867, while Ulysses S. Grant still rode the crest of popularity as the favored Union general of the Civil War, one  of the giant sequoias was named the General Grant Tree in his honor by Lucretia Baker. She mailed Gen. Grant branches from the tree. 

He responded with the following letter:

"Your favor of the 5th of September, by Express, accompanying a box containing branches &c. from the largest tree in California, and no doubt in the world, which too partial friends have done me the honor to name after me, is at hand. Please accept my thanks for thus remembering me and also for the kind expressions of regard contained in your letter."


Efforts to protect the giant Sequoia trees in general, and specifically the General Grant Tree began in the 1870s.

In October of 1879, upon returning from a world tour, Pres. Grant did take the opportunity to visit the giant sequoia trees in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, plus he toured Yosemite Valley for six days.

In 1924, a local California man was approached by a young girl who declared that the General Grant Tree would make a lovely Christmas tree. The following year, the nearby community of Sanger sponsored a Christmas service at the tree—a tradition that has continued.


Since 1925, each Christmas, a wreath has been placed at the base of the General Grant Tree to honor those who have served in the nation’s armed forces.

In 1926, President Coolidge officially designated the General Grant Tree as the “Nation’s Christmas Tree.”

In 1956, thirty years later, President Eisenhower designated the tree as a National Shrine. The purpose was to “provide further recognition of the Nation’s Christmas Tree as a living symbol of our American Heritage…in memory of the men and women of the Armed Forces who have served and fought and died to keep this Nation free…” It was officially dedicated on Veteran’s day in 1956.

In the 1800s, thousands traveled to the parks to see these giant trees believed to be the world’s oldest living organisms. I'm grateful my husband and joined the throngs of people who came to view these wonders of nature this past year. I am also grateful the 2022 fire season passed without there being a major fire that threatened these beautiful giants.


My Christmas romance this year is Marigold from the Christmas Quilt Brides series. You may find the book description and purchase link by CLICKING HERE.







Wednesday, December 21, 2022

How to survive Christmas (almost) by Rhonda Lee Carver


As the holiday drew near, I laid out some rules for myself to survive Christmas. What should be a joyful, wonderful holiday to celebrate can sometimes be stressful for many people. So, I sat down and made a list...things I would (and wouldn't) do.

1. Smile

It seems like such an easy task, right? Wrong. When you're crossing the roadway at a mall and a car fails to stop, it's difficult to let the anger go and instead smile and wave, even throw in a God Bless if it helps. When you're in line at the grocery store and someone cuts in front of you. Or the rude workers at the drive thru window at McDonalds who think it's funny to practically throw your drink at you. God Bless, God Bless, God Bless. It's a mantra. 

2. Imagine if they were dead

Okay, it's a bit morbid...but you must laugh. And realize this could be a game changer. Family can be like salt in a paper cut during the holidays. We all have those people (person) who only think of themselves, are never grateful, see themselves as a victim...I could go on, and on, and on. I won't because it is giving me a headache and that's what I'm trying to prevent. If you need to, close your eyes, and imagine how you'd feel if that person wasn't around. What would you have wanted to say? What would you have wanted your last moments with them to be like? Then take those feelings and make them positive. Say kind words. Walk away and take a breath if needed. Then come back with the mindset that life changes like the seasons. Live your life in joy and not regret.

3. Stop taking everything so personal

You, yes you! We are all guilty of this. If Aunt Mildred says, "Are those potatoes or glue?" Or Uncle TJ says, "You couldn't afford to get me a better present? I see you're driving a Jeep." Or Cousin Koast says, "How much does a porn writer (a.k,a romance writer) make these days?" Those statements are harsh, but if you take a step back, who has the problem in these situations? YOU are NOT the problem until you sink yourself to their level. Take a breath and do 1 and 2 above as much as you need to.

4. Puppies

This works. Tell who can look at pictures of puppies and not feel immediately better? Watch funny videos. Play with your animal. Animals are natural pick-me-ups.

5. Bake

Each year I like to make handmade presents for friends. I find going the extra mile, making the baskets look pretty, taking the gifts to each of them is what the season is all about. Most people are very appreciative when they know someone is thinking of them. That goodwill, and cheer, can last throughout the season, and the year.

6. Set a budget

Honestly, I failed. I did.

I hope you didn't.

Looking for a holiday romance?

Buy here!

A Marriage of Convenience will turn into a Holiday Romance...with a surprise baby.

Sadie Locke has always been great at giving her friends relationship advice, but when it comes to her own love life not so much. That's why she's not looking for forever. She and Channing have been secretly carrying on a fling for months, but everything's about to change. And boy does Santa have his work cut out for him...

Channing Dawson has life just the way he likes it. His business is thriving. And he and Sadie have a no-strings “friendlationship”. What more could a man want? After his brother passed away, he didn't dare risk loving and losing again. Yet, his heart is speaking a different holiday tune.

Sadie pulls a fast one and makes him her husband. A marriage of convenience or not, the rules are all blurred. He isn’t sure about having a holiday bride, until he realizes he's had feelings for her all along. Sometimes the risk is worth it all. He could get used to sharing Christmas with her, but does she feel the same? Her secrets, and she has plenty, might ruin any chance they have for a future.

Then he receives the unexpected gift of a lifetime...

New Book Coming January 17, 2023

Unedited Excerpt

Whiskey ambled up and tapped Stanley on the shoulder.

He jutted his broad chin up, ready to unleash on the person who dared interrupt, until he saw Whiskey. A blend of respect, fear and admiration covered the man’s baby face. “Hey, Ryder.”

“I’d like to cut in, Stan.” Whiskey didn’t move his gaze off Codee who worked her lips like she prepared to spit flames. Grinding her teeth when she was mad was something she was known for. Yeah, he remembered those little things about her like her favorite ice cream flavor, mocha chip, and how she loved to skinny dip in the river on sweltering summer nights. And the sweet, soft purrs she gave when she—

“The song is almost over. You can wait.” She swiveled her back to him and grabbed Stanley who didn’t appear as self-assured.

“It’s okay, Codee. I need a break anyway. I’m sweating worse than a pig in a horse race.”

The little gasp she let go of only humored Whiskey.

“Thanks, buddy.” With a slap on the shorter man’s shoulder, Stanley was on his way to the bar and Whiskey had the angry redhead all to himself. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t been here before.

“I see you’re still bossing others around like you own the place,” she said in a low, menacing tone but it only took her a half second to realize what she said because her frown grew by leaps and bounds. “It’s good to see you haven’t changed much.”

“And it’s good to see you can still wear a dress like no other.” Damn, he shouldn’t even admit that he noticed. She had no right to be here, in his bar, as if nothing happened—as if she hadn’t broken his heart. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

 I hope 2022 has treated everyone well. The year is almost over and I hope that 2023 will be even better.

Due to the blizzard, my prepared blog is at home on my computer and I am out on the prairie in the camper with no computer. I didn’t make it home over the weekend to upload my blog like I had planned. So I’m doing this on my phone and it will be sweet, simple, and unprepared.

I am happy to share the news that Guarded Hearts won the Best Indie Book Award for Historical Romance. I think it’s a great Christmas gift. 

As my writer friends know, writing a book takes a lot of time and hard work. Writing a book readers enjoy is award winning as well. When they are eager to read your next book, it is a wonderful feeling. I was unsure if I should enter contests. Having my book judged against others scared me. But I was brave and entered my first book in several contests. Threads of Passion won the Best Indie Book Award and a few others. My fear of being judged was gone and I found a new confidence in myself and my writing.

Going to award banquets and conferences has been an amazing experience. I have met so many talented authors and have learned so much from them. I still have a lot to learn but it’s easy to learn when it’s something I love. Being a part of such a great community of writers has been a blessing. It has allowed me to be a part of writing groups such as Cowboy Kisses.

This time of year is busy for everyone and I wish you all a safe Holiday season. Take time to love your family and count your blessings. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Please share in the comments your awards and achievements.

All links to my books can be found on my website

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Horse of the Old West~The American Quarter Horse


The American Quarter Horse

Cowboys rode many breeds and colors. Palominos (color), Piebald (color) and many more. The most popular and frequently used was and is the Quarter Horse. A breed native to America. This horse is a descendant of Arabians and mustangs, and dates back to the 1600s.

What makes them such amazing work horses—which the cowboy’s horse was—is their intelligence and ‘cow sense’, their speed and hardiness.

They are a solidly built horse and also solid-colored with very little white on them. They come in many colors: roan, black, bay, dun, brown, gray and chestnut and buckskin.

One of the most famous quarter horse’s was Steel Dust and is attributed to being the father of the ranch horse. His offspring, known as steel dust horses, were much prized among drovers for their reputation as being tireless and able to travel long distances.

Peter McCue, whose bloodline is also well known, came along in the late 1890s and played a large role in the quarter horses claim to fame, supposedly running a quarter mile in twenty-one seconds.

Texas alone has over 420,000 quarter horses.

The American quarter horse, definitely a horse for a cowboy.

What’s your favorite horse?


Sandra Cox