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Saturday, May 31, 2014


My heroes are all wounded. Not just emotionally, but physically, as well. Being a hero in a Cheryl Pierson story is like being an expendable member of the landing party on Star Trek. If you had on a red shirt when you beamed down to the planet’s surface, you could pretty well figure you weren’t going to be returning to the Enterprise in one piece, or alive.

In my Western Trail Blazer historical western release, Fire Eyes, U.S. Marshal Kaed Turner is tortured and shot at the hands of the villain, Andrew Fallon, and his gang of cutthroats. A band of Choctaw Indians deposit Kaed on Jessica Monroe’s doorstep with instructions to take care of him. “Do not allow him to die,” the chief tells her.

Can she save him? Or will he meet the same fate that befell her husband, Billy? Although Kaed’s injuries are severe, he recovers under a combination of Jessica’s expert care and his own resolve and inner strength.

The injuries he sustained give him the time he needs to get to know Jessica quickly. Their relationship becomes more intimate in a shorter time span due to the circumstances. Under normal conditions of courtship, the level their relationship skyrockets to in just a few days would take weeks, or months.

Wounding the hero is a way to also show the evil deeds of the villain. We can develop a kinship with the hero as he faces what seem to be insurmountable odds against the villain. How will he overcome those odds? Even if he weren’t injured, it would be hard enough—but now, we feel each setback more keenly than ever. He’s vulnerable in a way he has no control over. How will he deal with it, in the face of this imminent danger?

Enter the heroine. She’ll do what she can to help, but will it be enough to make a difference? This is her chance to show what she’s made of, and further the relationship between them. (If he dies, of course, that can’t happen.)

From this point on, as the hero begins to recover, he also regains his confidence as well as his strength.

It’s almost like “The Six Million Dollar Man”: We can build him stronger…faster…better…

He will recover, but now he has something to lose—the newfound love between him and the heroine. Now, he’s deadlier than ever, and it’s all about protecting the woman he loves.

Or, his injuries may give him a view of life that he hadn’t hoped for before. Maybe the heroine’s care and the ensuing love between them make the hero realize qualities in himself he hadn’t known were there.

In my holiday short story, A Night For Miracles, wounded gunman Nick Dalton arrives on widow Angela Bentley’s doorstep in a snowstorm. Angela is tempted at first to turn him away, until she realizes he’s traveling with three half-frozen youngsters, and he’s bleeding.

As she settles the children into the warmth of her home and begins to treat Nick’s injury, she realizes it’s Christmas Eve—“A Night For Miracles,” Nick says wryly. “I’m ready for mine.”

In this excerpt, the undercurrents between them are strong, but Nick realizes Angela’s fears. She’s almost as afraid of taking in a gunman with a reputation as she is of being alone again. A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES will be released in July, just in time for PRP's CHRISTMAS IN JULY sale toward the end of the month, but here's a little look into what's happening...


Angela placed the whiskey-damp cloth against the jagged wound. The man flinched, but held himself hard against the pain. Finally, he opened his eyes. She looked into his sun-bronzed face, his deep blue gaze burning with a startling, compelling intensity as he watched her. He moistened his lips, reminding Angela that she should give him a drink. She laid the cloth in a bowl and turned to pour the water into the cup she’d brought.

He spoke first. “What…what’s your name?” His voice was raspy with pain, but held an underlying tone of gentleness. As if he were apologizing for putting her to this trouble, she thought. The sound of it comforted her. She didn’t know why, and she didn’t want to think about it. He’d be leaving soon.

“Angela.” She lifted his head and gently pressed the metal cup to his lips. “Angela Bentley.”

He took two deep swallows of the water. “Angel,” he said, as she drew the cup away and set it on the nightstand. “It fits.”

She looked down, unsure of the compliment and suddenly nervous. She walked to the low oak chest to retrieve the bandaging and dishpan. “And you are…”

“Nick Dalton, ma’am.” His eyes slid shut as she whirled to face him. A cynical smile touched his lips. “I see…you’ve heard of me.”

A killer. A gunfighter. A ruthless mercenary. What was he doing with these children? She’d heard of him, all right, bits and pieces, whispers at the back fence. Gossip, mainly. And the stories consisted of such variation there was no telling what was true and what wasn’t.

She’d heard. She just hadn’t expected him to be so handsome. Hadn’t expected to see kindness in his eyes. Hadn’t expected to have him show up on her doorstep carrying a piece of lead in him, and with three children in tow. She forced herself to respond through stiff lips. “Heard of you? Who hasn’t?”

He met her challenging stare. “I mean you no harm.”

She remained silent, and he closed his eyes once more. His hands rested on the edge of the sheet, and Angela noticed the traces of blood on his left thumb and index finger. He’d tried to stem the blood flow from his right side as he rode. “I’m only human, it seems, after all,” he muttered huskily. “Not a legend tonight. Just a man.”

He was too badly injured to be a threat, and somehow, looking into his face, she found herself trusting him despite his fearsome reputation. She kept her expression blank and approached the bed with the dishpan and the bandaging tucked beneath her arm. She fought off the wave of compassion that threatened to engulf her. It was too dangerous. When she spoke, her tone was curt. “A soldier of fortune, from what I hear.”

He gave a faint smile. “Things aren’t always what they seem, Miss Bentley.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into what makes my heroes ‘tick.’For these stories and others, see my Amazon page here:

I will be giving away a copy of FIRE EYES to one commenter today! Be sure to leave contact info, and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, May 30, 2014


Jack Schaefer’s book, Shane, has been classified in many sub-genres, but to me, it will always remain my favorite western romance.

Romance? Shane?

This story cannot have a truly happy-ever-after ending for all the principal characters, so it normally wouldn’t make it to my “Top Ten” list for that very reason. But the story itself is so compelling, so riveting, that there is no choice once you’ve read page one—you are going to finish it. And it’s not just a story about a very odd love triangle, but also about Shane discovering that he is worthy, and a good person, despite what he’s done in his past.

Shane is the perfect hero—a drifter, a loner, and no one knows why. He plans to keep it that way. If only his pesky conscience didn’t get in the way, he might have stopped briefly at the Starrett’s homestead, then moved on.

But from the beginning of the book, we know there is something different about Shane. The story is told through the eyes of Bob Starrett, the young son of Joe and Marion. Bob is about ten years old, and his account of the people and action that takes place are colored with the wonderment and naivete of a child who will be well on his way to becoming a young man before the story is over.

The book starts with tension, as Bob is watching the stranger, Shane, ride in. Shane comes to a fork in the road. One way leads down toward Luke Fletcher’s, the cattle baron who is trying to force the homesteaders out of the valley. The other branch of the fork leads toward the Starretts, the homesteaders who will ultimately force Fletcher’s hand. Shane chooses that path, toward the Starretts, and the die is cast.

He would have looked frail alongside father’s square, solid bulk. But even I could read the endurance in the lines of that dark figure and the quiet power in his effortless, unthinking adjustment to every movement of the tired horse.

He was clean-shaven and his face was lean and hard and burned from high forehead to firm, tapering chin. His eyes seemed hooded in the shadow of the hat’s brim. He came closer and I could see that this was because the brows were drawn into a frown of fixed and habitual alertness. Beneath them the eyes were endlessly searching from side to side and forward, checking off every item in view, missing nothing. As I noticed this, a sudden chill, and I could not have told why, struck through me there in the warm and open sun.

In a nutshell, Shane drifts into the Wyoming valley, and is befriended by the Starretts. Once there, he is quickly made aware of the brewing trouble between the homesteaders and the powerful local cattle baron, Luke Fletcher, who is set on running them all out of the valley. Shane is firmly committed to helping Joe Starrett and the homesteaders who want to stay. Fletcher’s men get into a fistfight with Shane and Joe in the general store, and Fletcher vows his men will kill the next time Joe or Shane come back into town.

Fletcher hires Stark Wilson, a well-known gunhawk, who kills one of the homesteaders that stands up to him. Joe Starrett feels it is his duty, since he convinced the others to stay, to go kill Fletcher and Wilson.

Shane knocks Joe out, knowing that, though Joe’s heart is in the right place, he’s no match for a hired gun like Wilson. There’s only one man who is—Shane himself, and that’s going to set him back on the path he’s so desperately trying to escape.

Shane rides into town and Bob follows him, witnessing the entire battle. Shane faces Wilson down first, and then Fletcher. Shane turns to leave and Bob warns him of another man, who Shane also kills. But Shane doesn’t escape unscathed—Wilson has wounded him in the earlier gunplay.

Shane rides out of town, and though Bob wishes so much that Shane could stay, he understands why he can’t. No. Bob does not utter one of the most famous lines in cinema history—“Shane! Come back!” There’s good reason for this. In the book, Bob’s growth is shown because of what he learns from Shane. To call him back would negate that growth process.

He describes Shane throughout the book, and in many ways, with a child’s intuition, understands innately that Shane is a good man and will do the right thing, which is proven out time and again. So, he also realizes that there is no place for Shane there in the valley, now that the trouble has been handled.

Bob witnesses the conversation between his mother and Shane, as well, where so much is said—and not said. It’s one of the major turning points in the book, though Bob, in his telling of it, doesn’t realize it—but the reader is painfully aware of it. If Shane really is a good man, he will have no recourse but to leave.

This happens as the novel is drawing to a close, when Marian, Bob’s mother, asks Shane if he’s going after Wilson just for her. He has knocked her husband out to keep him from going after the gunman.

Shane hesitated for a long, long moment. “No, Marian.” His gaze seemed to widen and encompass us all, mother and the still figure of father huddled on a chair by the window and somehow the room and the house and the whole place. Then he was looking only at mother and she was all he could see.
“No, Marian. Could I separate you in my mind and afterwards be a man?”

Shane was Jack Schaefer’s debut novel, published in 1949. It was honored in 1985 by the Western Writers of America as the best Western novel ever written—beating out other works such as Owen Wister’s The Virginian, Zane Grey’s Riders of the Purple Sage, and Louis L’Amour’s Hondo.
In 1963, Schaefer wrote Monte Walsh, a book that chronicles the passing of the Old West and the lifestyle of the American cowboy.

Schaefer never deliberately wrote for young adults, but many of his works have become increasingly popular among younger readers. Universal themes such as the transformation and changes of growing up, the life lessons learned, and rites of passage from childhood to becoming a young adult in his writing have been responsible for the upswing in popularity with this age group.

Though I consider Shane a romance novel, it’s a very different and memorable love triangle because of the unshakable honor of the three characters. I love the subtlety that Schaefer is such a master of, and the way he has Bob describing the action, seeing everything, but with the eyes of a child. If you haven’t read Shane, I highly recommend it—at less than 200 pages, it’s a quick, easy read, and unforgettable.

A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that. (Shane to Marian)

A man is what he is, Bob, and there’s no breaking the mold. I’ve tried that and I’ve lost. But I reckon it was in the cards from the moment I saw a freckled kid on a rail up the road there and a real man behind him, the kind that could back him for the chance another kid never had. (Shane to Bob)

What do you think about Shane? Have you ever seen the movie? Read the book? Which did you like better, and why?

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Just this past week, Prairie Rose Publications published two new sweet/sensual anthologies of some of the best, most entertaining western romance reading you’ll find anywhere, and we’ve got two more headed your way in June! Lassoing a Bride and Lassoing a Groom are up for grabs today! All you have to do is leave your contact information in your comment to be entered for the drawing--we'll be giving away one copy of each!

Lassoing a Groom and Lassoing a Bride came out with a bang and have already started garnering some wonderful reviews! Priced at $2.99 each, you can’t go wrong!

Author Richard Prosch just had his new story, WAITING FOR A COMET, released as a single sell short story with our PAINTED PONY BOOKS line. This story is such a great crossover story, we also included it in the anthology from TORNADO ALLEY PUBLICATIONS, THIS SUMMER STORM! This is one you do not want to miss! For only .99, it's a steal--and is for all ages!

Livia Reasoner just re-released one of her western historical romances, MENDING FENCES--and if you have not read it, PLEASE add it to your TBR list. I can't say enough what a fantastic book this is, and you surely do not want to miss it--especially with this rockin' new cover she made for it! Right now you can pick it up for Kindle for only .99!

Coming in June! From our TORNADO ALLEY PUBLICATIONS imprint for younger readers, we have a new anthology, THIS SUMMER STORM, coming your way on June 5th! This anthology has 7 stories in it for Young Adult ages, 13-17, and we are just thrilled to bring this debut anthology your way! These stories take place in different times and locations, with one thing in common: they are all some of the best tales you’ll find out there for this age group!

Also coming in June, two more anthologies from Prairie Rose Publications. Lassoing a Mail-Order Bride will be released on June 5, and we are thrilled to offer this wonderful collection of stories about mail-order brides taking a circuitous “route” to the love of their lives by answering one little ad that changes everything for each of them. AND, on June 12, our spicy anthology, COWBOY CRAVINGS, will make its debut for your reading pleasure! With four spicy-hot stories of love in the old west, this is one collection you will not want to be without!

Also in July, we have a real treat coming from FIRE STAR PRESS for those of you who enjoy retro historical reads. The Viet Nam War era was a turbulent time in our nation’s history, and also in the lives of the many young people who were faced with going to fight overseas, and the loved ones they left behind. Author B.J. Betts has authored a love story, ECHOES IN THE NIGHT, that takes place during this time and will leave you wanting more—and in August, she delivers, with SAIGON MOON!

Join us at the end of July, as well, for our PRP CHRISTMAS IN JULY sale, when we’ll be offering many titles, old and new, for several days at special low prices! Stop by our websites and see all of our wonderful offerings! We’d love to have you come visit.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Taking Historical Romance From Real Life @JacquieRogers #kindle #nook

From Real Life to Fiction

Lassoing a Groom was just released last week, and the six of us (Kirsten Lynn, Tracy Garrett, Kristy McCaffrey, Linda Hubalek, Kathleen Rice Adams, and moi) couldn’t be more excited. Now that the book is out, we’re scrambling to find images that fit our stories. For me, that’s not so hard.

My story is Don’t Go Snaring My Heart, and it’s set in Owyhee County (pronounced oh-WYE-hee--original anglicized spelling of Hawaii), Idaho Territory, 1885. The thing about this area (I grew up there) is that not all that much has changed. My friend and soon-to-be-published author Chelle Gluch posted pictures of Owyhee County on Facebook, and of course that teensy bit of homesickness set in, so even though I had way more to do than mess around on Facebook, I had to look. And voila! I saw the draw where Betsy Lynch, my heroine lived. Sinker Creek.

Chelle's photo
Sinker Creek, Owyhee County
Copyright 2014 Chelle Gluch

A little about Sinker Creek

Sinker Creek is just south of Silver City. I moved it north of Silver for my story—not for any reason other than I’m directionally challenged and didn’t bother to look it up on the map. As my husband says, “If she were Sacajawea, we’d all be speaking Australian.”

Sinker Creek from Google Maps
It's the only green for miles.
Owyhee County is desert so creeks are few and far between in comparison with other places.  We thought we had a lot, though.  My dad loved to fish for trout at Sinker Creek.  Me—not so much.  At least, not after I peed on a rattlesnake.  I was twelve, and not at all wanting to do my business around my dad and my brother, so I climbed up the side of the draw and found a nice secluded spot behind a boulder.  It seems Mr. Rattler thought it was a good spot, too.  Scared me half to death and I didn't bother pulling up my drawers as I half-ran, half-tumbled down to creekside.  No, that varmint didn't make it into my story.  Shudder.  Yes, my dad and brother laughed themselves silly.  No, I've never forgiven them.  Yes, I still get razzed.

Other animals did make it into the story (surprise!), including a killer chicken named Jethro.  Now mind you, that chicken was not supposed to be in this story, but he thought otherwise.  Not every heroine has an attack chicken so Miss Betsy Lynch should feel honored.  Dex Madsen wasn't nearly as enthused.  Honestly, how can a fellow show how heroic he is when a chicken chases him?

Unless, of course, he gets booted in the backside by a goat named Lady Jane Grey.  This poor fellow had untold hardship to deal with, but at least he was upright.  Well, except for a few times.  Goats are sorta hyper-bovines, especially the kids.

Don't Go Snaring My Heart
by Jacquie Rogers
a short story in
Lassoing a Groom

Alone in the high-mountain desert, self-sufficient Betsy Lynch is determined to eke out a living selling goat cheese while she fulfills her father’s dream to find a rich silver lode. Claim jumpers threaten to take everything she holds dear, so Betsy uses a bullwhip, her wiles, traps, goats, and an attack rooster to defend her land.

Rancher Dex Madsen needs to feed his hungry crew. He tracks a herd of pronghorn and shoots one, then steps into Betsy's snare and is jerked upside down. The goats and rooster attack before Betsy cuts him down, and soon he's neck deep in her fight to protect the claim. But can he get past that killer chicken to claim her heart?


Set up: This is the first time Dex has seen Betsy in anything other than her rawhide skirt.

When he walked in, he stood in the doorway and stared. “Miss Betsy?”

“Ain’t no one else been here.” She held her breath, partly because she wasn’t for certain that he liked what he saw, and partly because she hadn’t worn a corset in two years.

He strode toward her, his gaze sweeping her head to toe, and back to her bosom. “You were already the purtiest girl I ever seen, but...I just don’t know what to say.”

“Do you like it?” She stepped close to within his breath. “The dress?”

“I like it just fine.” He clasped her shoulders. “The dress is nice, but you in it is what makes it beautiful.”

She raised her face to his. “You think so?”

“Betsy, I want to kiss you.”

“I was wonderin’ when you’d ever get around to that.” She leaned onto his chest. “Now’s a good time.”

Dex lowered his head and touched his lips to hers, gently at first, but then he caressed her back and hugged her tight, twining his fingers through her hair as he deepened the kiss. A thrill swirled through her, stirring her womanly parts and her soul, too. She’d kissed Petey Echols when she was twelve, but that peck was nothing like this.

Other books set in Owyhee County...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New Release From Painted Pony Books—Waiting For a Comet by Richard Prosch

Today at Painted Pony Books we are  giving away an e-copy of Waiting For a Comet to one person who comments chosen by


During the long, hot spring of 1910 it seemed all 12-year-old Jo Harper could do was wait. Wait for her father, wait for her friends, wait for the comet that might appear in the sky and wipe out the whole town of Willowby, Wyoming once and for all. But when wild west legend Abby Drake arrives in town lugging an orphaned baby calf, an old-fashioned revolver, and a mystery shrouded with superstition, it’s up to Jo to take action. Why is Abby in town? Who is she after? And what secrets can Jo coax out of her own arch enemy, Emily Bly? 


May, 1910

    Summer came late to eastern Wyoming, but it was full of vinegar. Like an ornery schoolboy it dried up the trickles of a stream here or ruined a bed of flowers there. Equally mischievous storm clouds passed overhead without bothering to send down a single drop of rain. The air in Willowby (population: 300) smelled of parched sage, while everything in the basin tasted like dust. 
    Down at the railway cattle yards, Jo Harper took Emily Bly’s rotten dare and stood in the shallow, cracked bed of a dry alkali pond, looking around for monster bones that Emily claimed were remnants of giant animals drowned in the Great Flood. Jo remembered how the cowboys tended their animals there the year before and wondered what happened to all of the water. Her cotton shirt was the same faded green as her eyes, and she wore tough beige canvas trousers. Her hair was vibrant and rich and dark like the bottom of a well, and she wore it long in a sturdy braid that hung straight down her back. Jo squirmed as splinters of baking mud crumbled up between her bare toes.
    The stupid wind made Jo’s watering eyes blink rapidly to fight off the blowing dust.
    “I double dare you to dig,” said thirteen-year-old Emily. Only one year older than Jo, she was at least twenty pounds heavier. Emily teetered on the rim of the irregular circle, her left fist planted on her hip and a brown flour sack dress pulling up on that side. She stepped over the bank, past where Jo left her lace up boots, and held an iron trowel high in her sweaty paw before dropping it down.
    “Dig for them fish like I told you to do.”
    “I won’t,” said Jo. “You can dare me to walk in quicksand, but I won’t dig.”
    “Ain’t no quicksand,” said Frog Carpenter, Jo’s ten-year old friend. Dressed in striped train engineer overalls with no shirt and no shoes, he kicked at a dirt clod and studied his thumbnail up close before jamming it between his front teeth. “Too dry.”
    The rotten little pill! The turncoat!
    If he were a real friend, he’d put his head down real low, then charge ahead like Chet Dilly’s bull calf and send old Emily topsy-turvy down into the stinky dirt. But Frog, who was an orphan in Willowby, had had just enough discipline from Jeb Climber, who ran the livery and the general store, so as not to go around plowing into girls even when the girl in question deserved it. 
    Even a piggy mean girl like Emily.
    Or maybe he was just scared.
    Or stupid. Jo couldn’t decide.
    “There’s disease in that mud,” said Emily, emphasizing the end of the word: dis-EASE. “Tapeworms, too.”
    “Are not,” said Jo.
    “They burrow through the soles of your feet.”
    A sudden itch left Jo wanting to wiggle her toes. 

Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Inspiration and Painted Pony Books

Inspiration is a funny thing. My husband's deployment to Afghanistan inspired my debut novel, A Heart on Hold ...

and our subsequent battles with PTSD and "the aftermath" of the war and its impact on my family inspired the following three novels of the Everlasting Heart series.

My children inspired all of my works for kids and Marty Robbins ballad The Master's Call inspired The Calling.

However, the next literary work gracing my desktop that I want to tell you about is one that has been near and dear to my hear for a long time coming ... and the first of four books from The Saga of Indian Em'ly is coming soon from Painted Pony Books ... The Saga of Indian Em'ly: The Apache and the Pale Face Soldiers .


Texans, does the name Indian Em'ly sound familiar? She is local legend down around Old Fort Davis and her controversial legend is just the one that inspired this series. I began writing on this first book way back in 2008 when we were still stationed in Italy and am pleased as punch that it will bear the Painted Pony Books emblem!
I can't wait to take you along for the ride!

Have you ever been inspired by a legend?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Day -- by Barb Betts


Author B.J. Betts here.

The trees in my yard have started to leaf out and my first flowers of spring have started to bloom. Ahh, spring. Finally, I thought this past winter would hang on forever as many of us across the country did.

But with the leafing out of trees and the fresh, sweet scent of new spring flowers brings to mind the beginning of summer holidays. Memorial Day will soon be upon us,

Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor and remember those men and woman who served in the armed forces and fought and died protecting these United States.  Memorial Day, a holiday steeped richly in controversy as to when and where it began.

Some say the first freed slaves began the tradition of honoring the dead by dancing, singing and strewing flowers along the roadside where soldiers died.  John A Logan dedicated May 30th 1866 as the day to celebrate and remember the confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War. But in 1868 war widows gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to lay flowers and flags on each soldiers grave whether the soldier be from the north or the south. Although they were not presidents yet, both Ulysses S. Grant and James A. Garfield were in attendance that day to honor the fallen soldiers.

Although Memorial Day was celebrated on different days throughout the country, on May 5, 1866 Waterloo, New York was officially named the birthplace of the Memorial Day holiday. On that day business were closed and all work stopped so everyone could enjoy the day and play tribute to the fallen soldiers. 

In 1971 it was recognized as an official federal holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday in May. Some say the date had more to do with all of the flowers being in bloom than anything else as to why they set that day. To most of us it is the official day of the beginning of summer.

My earliest memories of the Memorial Day holiday were ones I spent with my Grandma , Desi Fronk. Only she didn’t call it Memorial Day, she called it Decoration Day. We’d spend the morning walking through her yard and clipping clusters of freshly bloomed, purply lilacs. Their sweet scent would fill the air. As we walked along she’d tell me stories about each family member who had passed on. Who they were, how they were related to me and so on. At last we would come to her newly bloomed peony bushes, only grandma never called them peonies but pennies-- to this day when I hear them called that I think of Grandma Fronk.

 By noon we’d pile into the car for trip to the cemetery where most of our family was buried. We’d walk solemnly among the graves setting the flowers we’d picked and put into pretty vases on each grave. Grandpa and my uncles would place a small flag on those who had served in the military. I’d watch as Grandma would take a hanky out of her pocket and wipe away a single tear that trickled down her cheek as she stood over a beloved family member’s grave.

After the graves were seen to it was time to eat. By then everyone who was coming had arrived at Fairmont Park. Picnic tables were full of culinary delights from each family. Grandma’s fried chicken, momma’s baked beans and potato salad were sure to please. The older folks sat and talked about their younger days and the state of the country, new momma’s sat and talked about their new babies, my daddy and uncles played horseshoes, while my cousins, sisters and brother sat and ate water melon and spit the seeds at each other. At the days end after an afternoon of playing baseball and You’re It, I’d crawl into the back seat of daddy’s car, my tummy full of Grandma’s cherry pie and Aunt Sharon’s chocolate cake.

Since I’m grown with a family of my own and am now a grandmother, I’ve tried to keep Grandma Fronk’s traditions alive… but with my children moving away and everyone working it hasn’t been an easy task. But I try as best I can to tell my grandkids the stories of those who have gone before us. It’s like our lives are all a small piece of fabric in a patch work quilt… with each of our lives adding its own color and flavor to the quilt.

In my own way, my story Echoes in the Night, a story about two brothers who are drafted to go and fight in Vietnam, but only one returns, and Saigon Moon, a story about a young Marine who leaves his fiancé and small Iowa town behind to go and serve his country in Vietnam, are my tributes to our soldiers who fought and died for their country. Both books will be available this coming July and August.




Would any of you like to share a memory of a special loved one who has passed on or how you spend Memorial Day? I’d love to hear from you.