Hello Sweet Readers!
Hey, I hope everyone is having a great week!
I promised some details on my summer release schedule today. I’m sorry I’ve gotten behind on answering individual emails, but I hope this helps. (Also, if you’ve asked to be on my ARC team, I’m behind on those emails as well. : )
I have three preorders up for the summer:
I’m hoping by September to be back to a bi-weekly release schedule.
I appreciate everyone’s prayers for my grandson so much. He’s not been released yet, but we’re hopeful he will be soon.
I’ve been talking a little with Jay about my schedule, and for a long time, like, since we’ve started doing audios, We’ve wanted to release the audio on the same day as the ebook. It’s just never worked out.
Well…we have a lot more freedom with YouTube and I think Jay and I might actually be gonna do one better. I think this is probably his news to announce, so keep an eye on his channel and an ear out to see what in the world we’re up to now. : )
I can tell you what we’re doing today – today he has Heartland Cheer out for you to listen to for FREE! Jay is absolutely fantastic in this one – he plays Braxton beautifully. I have one of my favorite scenes pasted below for you to check out.
Also, don’t forget to check out at least the first chapter of Always with You HERE on Say with Jay, then you can click HERE to tell me your favorite part in order to be entered into my $50 egift cards drawing. I’ll announce the winners next Friday morning, so you have until Thursday night to enter.
Hugs and love,
Braxton hadn’t really gotten Krista to play too much in the snow, although she would work industriously building snow forts or snowmen. She wasn’t interested in a snowball fight.
Until the day before she needed to leave, when he and Arian were tossing snowballs back and forth. Nothing hard on his part.
At least not until Arian hit him right in the side of his face.
He yelled, “Hey! I never hit you in the face,” and grabbed snow, forming it into a ball as he chased after her.
She screamed and giggled and ran, but he was able to catch her, kind of easily, and lifted his hand like he was getting ready to rub snow in her face, when, out of the blue, another snowball hit him right in the side of his head.
“Let her go!” Krista shouted, from a not- far- enough distance away, since he was able to grab some snow up, and because his legs were longer, he was able to get through the deep drifts much faster than she, and he caught her before she’d gone even ten yards.
He hadn’t exactly meant to take her down, but there must have been a flower bed or something underneath the snow where they were, because his foot tripped on something lying on the ground, and they fell forward together, him twisting so that she didn’t land on the bottom.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to knock you down.”
“I don’t believe that! You were chasing me for a reason. And you are obviously angry and upset that I hit you in the face. But I did save our daughter,” Krista said, her cheeks flushed and red, her eyes bright, and her smile not the smile of Krista at the beginning of the two weeks but the smile of her now, uninhibited and happy. Easy and carefree. It was the way he always wanted to remember her, lying in the snow, her hair falling out from underneath her beanie, her eyes bright and laughing up at him.
If he had to go back to Iowa without her, this was the image he wanted to take with him. The laughter and the fun and the woman who he’d fallen in love with.
All over again.
“You did,” he said, his voice subdued, thoughtful even.
Maybe there was a note in there he really would prefer she didn’t hear. He was trying so hard to protect his heart, at least pretend that their time here together was just them being good friends. But maybe he was thinking about tomorrow and their parting, or maybe it was just the fact that he couldn’t keep resisting her anymore.
Whatever it was, he meant to drop a kiss on her forehead and stand, but he ended up lowering his head and running his lips along her hairline, down her temple, and saying in her ear, “You’re an amazing mom. The best.”
He should have stopped there, should have known when she got still, and her breath caught in her throat, and her eyes closed, that he’d already said too much, but his voice dropped even lower, and he said, “You are my heart.” He swallowed. “Wherever you are, that’s where it is.”
Here’s a FOUR book box set for only $.99 from a friend of mine!
Venture to Bloom’s Farm in this collection of small-town, contemporary Christian romance and embrace the joy of family, faith, and true love.
This collection includes the following books:
Hoping for Hawthorne
His sister’s friend.
Her childhood crush.
All grown up.
A Date for Daisy
He thinks she’s the captain of the Hot Mess Express.
She thinks he’s rigid and wound too tight.
And this renovation is about to get complicated.
She vowed he would never hurt her again.
He hides his pain behind a campaign smile.
Lavender and Lace
In their online writer chatroom, they are getting serious.
In the real world; He thinks she’s shallow, and she thinks he’s out of touch.
When their worlds collide, will their hearts survive?
(a modern twist on the romantic classic “You’ve Got Mail”)
Just wanted to remind everyone I have a TEN book box set on sale for $.99!
Excerpt from The Cowboy’s Enemy, Part of the Sweet Water Box set:
“Oh, no. I’m not going to be the bad guy in this situation. You’re the one who suggested cooking Thanksgiving over the campfire. Own it, mister.”
“I am owning it. With you.” Abner’s grin got a little crafty. “Haven’t you ever heard the borrower is servant to the lender?”
“I have, but I have no idea what that has to do with anything, other than I suspected you were slightly nuts when you ate that worm, and now I’m convinced you’d have to go backward to park there.”
“What does that mean about servants?” Summer asked.
“It means, honey,” Abner said, “that people who owe things are servants to the people who don’t. Which, since your mother owes me two kisses, she’s my servant.”
Cora’s mouth dropped. She didn’t seem to be able to decide whether to be offended or to laugh. “Talk about taking the Bible and twisting it to suit your purposes. My children will be warped for life.”
“You’re telling me you don’t owe me?” he asked, putting a hot dog on the stick that Cora had made for Summer and keeping an eye on the boys as they held their hot dogs over the fire. “Or are you saying you’re gonna renege?”
“I would never.” Her eyes flashed. “I have no idea what that has to do with anything, anyway. Your argument isn’t going in a straight line.”
“It was easy to follow. You’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner with me. Out here. The kids will help. It’ll be fun.”
“And I have to help you why?”
“Because you owe me.”
She stood up. He grinned. Supper just got a lot more interesting.
“That’s it. I don’t care if you just ate a worm. I’m paying you now, because I can’t stand to have you lord it over my head for one more second.”
He stood still, Claire in one arm, Luna hugging his leg, as Cora stomped across the six feet that separated them.
Man, she was beautiful. Maybe not in a classic sense where she’d be a cover model or a pinup. But with the fire and fun in her eye and the way she moved and the fun he had dancing with their words. He’d rather hold her and dance for real, but she’d take his teasing and give it back, gently or with a kick. Either way, she held his heart.
He waited while she stopped in front of him. Unless she was going to plant one on his collarbone and make it count, or jump up and slap one on the bottom of his chin, she wasn’t paying her bet off yet. He was planning a kiss that would need a “13” after the PG.
He smirked at her as realization dawned over her face that she’d need his help in order to pay her bet.
Her chin jutted out.
He started speaking before she could. “We could compromise.”
Her eyes narrowed.
“I need a roll.” Derrick came over with a hot dog that was black on one side and looked to be cold on the other. It would probably taste better than a worm, but not by much. The nutrition value would come in second, though. A hot dog was definitely not whole food. A worm, on the other hand…
Cora pursed her lips before bending and picking up the bag of rolls at her feet. He waited, making sure Summer was okay with her hot dog and Kohlton still hadn’t decided to cook one. Luna was still beside him, and Claire seemed happy in his arms.
Cora stood again, her hands on her hips, a sharpened stick she’d gotten from somewhere in her hands.
He eyed it. “Wanna trade?” He jiggled Claire.
“No.” She smiled sweetly. Then she put the hot dog in her hand on the stick and held it out over the fire, bringing Kohlton into her arm. “What was your compromise?”
“We’ll eat dinner inside and cook dessert outside.”
“Pumpkin pies over the fire?” She gave him a doubtful look.
“Well, that actually sounds nice, but I don’t have any mountain pie makers.”
“Oh, woman of little faith.”
She grinned. Maybe she’d had as bad of a childhood as he had, but she’d been in church enough to get his Bible references.
“We have three days. I think the boys and I can figure something out.”
“Yeah, we can do it!” Andrew shouted.
“Do what?” Derrick asked.
Cora bit back a smile. “Are you going to bend down here so I can pay you?”
Abner lifted his brows. “Half now, half later?”
Cora sighed. “Okay.”
“I want the big half later.” He pitched his voice low and smiled when she shivered.
“Guess you flunked math.” She flipped her ponytail over her shoulder and helped Kohlton to hold the stick.
He affected a wounded air. “I offer a compromise, I’m gonna bend down and accommodate the short woman—”
She gasped and put her hands on her hips, almost losing Kohlton’s hot dog.
He ignored her and went on, “And how does she pay me back, except insult my intelligence.”
“Halves, by definition, are equal.”
He smiled, shaking his head. “Let me put it to you this way.” He looked over, seeing that Andrew and Derrick had finished their hot dogs and were helping Summer put hers in a roll. Lowering his voice, he said, “I’ll take a kiss the kids can see now. But I want the other one after they go to bed.”
His eyes glinted into hers.
Jessie here with a farm story from two years ago:
We have about 100 head of cattle. For this herd check, they all needed three vaccines and wormed.
The worming was my job and it was pretty easy. It was a pour-on wormer, and all I had to do was measure the correct amount, then pour it over the back of each cow when they were in the chute.
Getting the cows in the chute was the hard part. That was also my job. lol
Each cow also got three vaccinations. You’d think a 1600 pound cow wouldn’t feel a small needle prick. After all, Julia is a true girly-girl, but when I took her in for her 5 year vaccinations, she watched the nurse give them and didn’t shed a tear. (I feel compelled to add here that all three of my boys – every time they got a shot – screamed like the nurse was sawing their arms off with a dull hand saw.)
Still. You’d think.
You’d be wrong.
Our chute is just wide enough for one cow to fit through, and it will hold about eight cows in a single-file line. It’s five foot high boards on both sides, except for two gates at either side of the head of the chute.
Actually it started the day out with two gates at the head, but the first cow we did wasn’t too happy, and she climbed over the gate. She didn’t make it the whole way over, but got a little stuck on the top, until the metal bent down (ever seen some dude bending a piece of metal on tv? Kinda like that) and she made it across, taking the gate from the hinges and leading a parade of eight cows into our yard. The first cow was the only one that had two needles sticking out of her, though.
It was a bit of a rodeo there for a while.
Watson was kinda upset, but that’s just working with cattle. You figure out what doesn’t work on the first go around, fix it and try again.
I should say here that all the girls were helping – my youngest two ran the gate to separate the cows from the calves as they came out of the chute. We were weaning the spring calves taking them to PA that evening after we were done. Julia sat – well away from the action – on the top of a corner post and kept the books.
My husband and his vet buddy gave the shots – the hardest job once the cows were in the chute, because when the cow felt the jab, you never knew which was she was going to jump or kick or (in the case of the first cow) climb. Like I said, I did the worming, and our hired guy, a sweet, shy sixteen-year-old boy I’ll call DJ, called out the tag numbers for Julia and helped move the cattle down the chute.
Watson and I also worked to get the cows into the chute from the holding pen.
That was the hardest job, but it went pretty smoothly at first, since the more cooperative cows got herded in first.
Toward the end, DJ came out and helped some. Now, he’d never really worked with cattle before and those black cows scared him.
I don’t blame him.
They outweigh him by more than half a ton and it really does kind of take a knack to get used to knowing what they’ll do. And sometimes they don’t do that.
You pretty much know you’re going to get kicked and stepped on. That’s just the nature of the beast. Kind of like if you’re in a football game and you’re holding the football, you pretty much know you’re going to get tackled, right?
DJ spent most of his time in the pen following me around. Which I was mostly fine with.
Except the one time we’d gotten a cow close to the chute and she kind of stopped there. It’s best to keep them moving and don’t give them time to rethink their decision.
I swatted her with my stick and gave a yell to encourage her to move. I think DJ meant to poke her with his stick. Except my arm was in the way.
Now, I don’t know what kind of parents you all had, and I don’t even really remember my parents ever saying this to me, but if you got hurt when you were working, you needed to be unconscious in order to stop working. You didn’t check to see how bad it was until the last log was loaded, the last weed pulled, the last spot tarred or painted. You just didn’t stop.
So, DJ pulled his stick out of my arm, and honestly, I didn’t even look at him. Or my arm. Which hurt, by the way.
We got the cow in the chute and went back for another one.
I did say, as we were moving the next one up and I felt the blood running down my arm, “How about you stand beside me?”
I said it with a smile. : )
Anyway, it was another group or so after that one, when we had another cow balk at the chute -that’s where they decide to change their mind – and Watson had his hand on her flank, pushing. DJ went to give her a swat with his stick and smacked Watson’s hand.
Watson wasn’t raised the same as I was.
So, about the time we were half done, our neighbor came with the pizza we’d ordered.
I know, 2020 is the year we all learned how to properly wash our hands. I don’t know. I guess we all kind of figured the cows didn’t have covid and we were hungry.
Really, maybe this is just us, but on the farm, if we tromp into the house and eat in the kitchen, we wash up. If we eat – as we did that day – standing up or leaning against the fence, stopping just long enough to get the food in, we don’t.
Anyway, we were all hanging out there, thinking we couldn’t believe we were only half done and kind of joking – about the cow who climbed the gate (maybe she’d be interested in Everest?) and about DJ hitting Watson (pick someone other than the boss). Of course, none of them knew he’d gotten me first. DJ is sweet and Watson was giving him a pretty hard time – teasing – about it, and so I said, “I’ll give you another $20 if you do it again.”
I love it when my husband looks at me with that wide-eyed, open-mouthed look, like he can’t figure out whether I’m serious or not.
DJ just nodded and smiled.