An Honest Thank You

This weekend was wildly busy, and I want to thank all who stopped by the Pioneer Hearts sale to scoop up bargain books &/or enter the giveaway. I *know* my Smart Girls Gone Country have already done so, but just in case you missed all the hubbub, you’ve got a few hours left of the event.

Mainly, though, I want to say “Thank you” for making The Rancher Takes a Wife a top ten hit over the weekend. Chastity and Carl’s story hit #9 on the Christian Western Romance chart, and I’m really pleased about that.

The Rancher Takes a Wife, Montana Brides #1, a top ten hit.

The Rancher Takes a Wife, Montana Brides #1, a top ten hit.

And great news…An Honest Woman, Montana Brides #2 is coming along swimmingly! I’m making great progress and expect the sequel to be ready for editing/processing soon. Keep up with the progress here.

Does your pioneer heart love Western romance?

You are going to love this!

I’m so happy to announce the first ever Pioneer Hearts 99c Western Romance Event!


This sale includes dozens of books for your Kindle, and a selection for your Nook or iBooks libraries, as well. And you know what else is fun? You can win some pretty snazzy prizes!

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Want to win one of two $10 Amazon gift cards? Share our sale and follow our authors! You could also win signed books, a beautiful turquoise pendant necklace (voted a favorite by the Pioneer Hearts Readers Group!), and more!

See Rafflecopter here and win!

See Nook links here

See iBooks links here

Thank you


I took this photo in my backyard a few weeks ago. I felt like it was missing something, so I put it aside and waited.

This morning a lovely reader left me a review on Amazon, mentioning that she laughed aloud in the hospital waiting room while read The Rancher Takes a Wife, Montana Brides #1. Although I wished she didn’t have a need to be at the hospital, I confess it delighted me to learn I was able to entertain her.

In the past I have received reviews telling me I helped readers through hurricanes, or jokingly blaming me for keeping them up all night. Writing can often be a thankless job, so each positive comment counts.

Thank you, readers.

Teaser Tuesday & a Celebration

Celebrating two things today!

1.) Four years of marriage to my best friend, the man who deserves his name on all my covers, Mr. Tim Tash. I love you, honey! Thank you for inspiring all the good men in my books! You are my hero.


2.) A relaunch for Bird After Bird. I love the latest cover and feel like it deserves to be promoted, so let’s do this in style! Keep reading for some Teaser Tuesday exclusives, including a Laurie photo collage!

Hey, here’s a recent review of Bird After Bird… “When a book is 308 pages and a total of 75 chapters the last thing you expect to do is read it in a day and a half but this book is one of those books that pull you in.” Read the rest here.

And without further ado, here’s Laurie Byrd!


Laurie’s character was inspired by a lot of people, some real, some fictional. My husband with his army stories and love for dogs was a huge influence. Laurie’s brooding, artistic, independent personality owes a debt to Kevin Costner’s portrayal of Garret Blake in Message in a Bottle, and if I’m totally honest, Josh Lucas’ turn as Jake Perry in Sweet Home Alabama may have contributed, as well.



My friend Paula who does search & rescue with her border collie fed a lot of Laurie’s backstory. Oh, and let’s not forget he’s named for the boy next door in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women! Mostly, though, he’s just the kind of man I’ve known all my life. A quiet, sensitive Indiana boy who takes everything to heart, but who has learned the hard way that a man can’t wear his heart on his sleeve without paying a high price. Everything changes for him when he meets Wren Riley. There is no longer comfort in solitude, no longer grief in his voice. His heart is awakened for the first time as an adult, and he’s emboldened by the lessons he’s learned from his past, now wise enough not to let a chance at happiness slip away. Once he’s given his heart to Wren, will they mend one another’s broken wings, or will she fly?

And how about an excerpt?

He gently turned me around and lifted the back of the tee. His fingers traced the tattoo on my lower back. Normally I didn’t feel the need to explain my ink to anyone. It was personal. I felt an unfamiliar desire to share everything with Laurie, though. “A tramp stamp. Yeah. It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

“I’m not judging,” he said.

It was a swallow, Sailor Jerry style.

“I didn’t find yours last night.”

“What, a tattoo?”

“Yeah. Don’t all soldiers get tattoos?”

He shook his head. “Thought about it, when I graduated Basic. Couldn’t find anything I’d want for the rest of my life, though. Yours is nice. Suits you.”

I laughed. “You think?”

“Sure. I mean, I’d expect a wren, but the swallow is cool. Does it have a meaning?”

“The tattoo artist said it meant ‘freedom.’ That sailors used to get them before their first long voyage, and then one to match at the end.”

“Why would they do that?”

“Supposedly, the swallow would carry their souls home if they drowned.”

“Wow.” He let my tee drop. “Well, we’ll stay away from the lake tonight, just in case, okay?”

Bird After Bird

So, what’s the deal with that tattoo? Does Wren’s soul find its way home to Laurie’s heart?

Find out for just $.99 today on Amazon, Nook, iTunes, or Kobo!

Public appearance coming up

If you’ll be in Louisville two weeks from now, come out and meet me at the Imaginarium Convention. I’ll be on a few panels, if you’re the sort who’s into publishing. The schedule right now calls for me to share on the Amazon panel, the Growing Thick Skin panel, and the one on writing against archetype. I’m super-excited about this opportunity, as I am a horrid know-it-all who only keeps my wealth of personal information and experience in check due to my overwhelming desire not to look like big-talking bigshot. ;)

Seriously, though. Yeah.

Still interested? Learn more about the convention at EnterTheImaginarium.

AND, if meeting hundreds of authors and some very talented filmmakers isn’t enough of a draw for you, there’s a book giveaway going on. You must be present to win, so that means the chances of winning are very, very good! I hope you’ll enter and tell your friends.


Prizes include novels by the very talented:

Jay Wilburn, Lee Martindale, Kathryn Lively, Dave Creek, Addie J. King, and of course by myself and my alter-ego Red Tash.













My mom is not a maid.


Given any opportunity to choose between cleaning house and writing, I will always choose writing. I will choose writing, promoting, networking, researching, and editing every single time.

My house is a wreck. I was never a good housekeeper, and to those reading this who don’t know me from my Guerilla Mothering column (written as Leslea Harmon), I was never one of those, “Every decision I make is firmly correct,” kind of mothers, either. I have always struggled with the level of housework required to feel good about my station as the parent of young children, versus the amount of work I wish to do while I’m here at the house. 

The kids never struggle with this. My husband, who works outside the home, never deals with feelings of, “Should I put down this project and unload the dishwasher?” Of the six of us mess-makers (not even counting the dogs), I am the only one who ever feels like I am leaving a million tasks undone each day so that I can focus on my work.

Why does a mother’s career always seem to fall further down the list of priorities after domestic chores? What is it about our wiring, or socialization, our mysterious matrix of self-worth that compels us to self-flagellate when it is painfully obvious no one in the house is dedicated to its upkeep?

Possibly I would be less self-critical about all of this if I weren’t raised in an immaculate home, but I suspect that just by virtue of having in been inside friends’ homes, seeing how they’re able to keep up with living space in ways I am not, I would still face myself in the mirror each day and need to permit myself to work on fiction instead of the very real laundry. My characters and readers are more important than the dog hair on the sofa. Right?

Isn’t that the obvious choice?

And if so, why does it always bother me at the end of the day, or first thing in the morning, to wake up to a dirty house?

Obviously I need a maid, because I am not and will never be a maid, myself.

Affirmations are supposed to be positive statements. “My work is a valuable contribution,” for instance. Today’s MomWriter affirmation is an exception to this rule, though. Today’s thought is: “My mom is not a maid.”

The house may be a disaster, but my writing doesn’t have to be.

I’m holding on tight to this one.

One of the promotional things I worked on today was this post about my paperback book giveaway. It’s for my other pen name, but I thought I’d share it here, anyway.

If you have not already read my Leslea Tash books, you might enter the paperback giveaway I’m running for those, as well. Good luck!

And PS, just curious…Are you your family’s maid?

My mom is a writer




Every time I have been derailed by life stuff, I have had to start over with my WIP. That means I have read the first 14 chapters about a million times now.

Seriously…this is a tough gig for a mom over the summer. I’m not saying that as a cry for pity or anything. This is my life and I embrace it, the challenges as well as the successes.

I think that with each pass, the book improves–but I will be grateful when I’ve finished editing the final 50k words of the book and can send it off to betas and for another set of professional eyes.

If you know a mom writing full-length novels with small children underfoot, give her a hug today. Tell her you’ll be patient while she works. Tell her you admire her resolve to do a good job creating a story that you can enjoy. The fact is, she really needs your support. The market is filling more and more every day with quality fiction finished rapidly by people with more time than her. That mom is trying.

THIS mom is trying. I will get there, but you won’t see the book until I know it’s ready.

I just hope that’s soon. I don’t think I can take reading those first 14 chapters another time.

Note: heretofore, I have kept almost exclusively promotional. I’ve decided to try something new and post more personal blog stuff here for now. If you have thoughts or comments, I would love to hear from you.

P.S. The book I’m talking about in this post is Troll Or Park, by Red Tash. The sequel to Troll Or Derby. It’s a labor of love.