While the weather in south central USA has produced flooding and so much of the south western USA is begging for such rain, my weather in Virginia has been about as perfect as it gets. Our reservoirs are filled from winter, the grass is green and lush, and I haven’t seen the old pecan tree look this healthy in twenty-years. The days are warm and the nights drop into the sixties (F) or upper teens in Celsius. (I never bother to convert – I just sort of know the break points between the two and go from there.)
Since I’m counting Nature’s blessings, I thought I’d share a few more. My wild bout with bronchitis this winter caused bronchial damage, but my pulmonologist put me on medication that seems to be helping tremendously. I consider breathing as an important function! And often when I’m not writing I’m taking photos. I had to take the photos for a tractor and truck pull last weekend. I was slightly worried about being on my feet for hours, sniffing fumes, and doing a lot of walking. I did it! I was exhausted afterwards, but I managed to keep breathing without using an inhaler. That means I’m getting my strength back and those bronchial tubes are doing better. Yippee!
I’ve managed to get two books out this week. To Have and To Hold is part of the boxed set Love Blooms on Main Street but it is now available by itself and will be part of Wedding Vows, my boxed set of wedding stories featuring Cody Montgomery and his daughters, which will be available in print. If you’ve read my other stories, you’ll discover that Melissa Montgomery is very different from her sister, Julia! Melissa is the more conservative sister.
The second book that managed to get out the door is A Rancher’s Dream. Set in 1898, it goes from Texas to Creed’s Crossing, Wyoming. It’s my second western historical. She’s running for her life, and he’s the third son of a wealthy Spanish ranching family and wants to start a ranch of his own. Unlike my other books, there’s a bit of a mystery to this one. It will be available in print and in e-book.
My household bills are paid! I don’t know about you but that’s a big deal for me. There are too many months when I sit debating which ones not to pay. Maybe it was fortuitous that my internet went down last month when a storm knocked a phone wire loose a half mile away. The repair man fixed the phone, but couldn’t find the internet problem, which sent another man from our phone company to my house to find the problem. Oh he found it and he realized our internet speed so he suggested we ask for a higher speed since it was new and available. I did and it was cheaper, much cheaper! And I paid my car off this spring! Yes. Things are doing better at least for now.
Each little thing counts up and even though book sales have been less than exciting, they have remained steady and my reviews continue to be good. I’m trying to stay off my computer and clean my house. Let’s just say I can actually see the floor in half of my keeping room. (Substitute storage area for legitimate room) It’s a start and I have plenty more to do. As I told a friend, my cobwebs have become dusty. Chipping away at it every day will eventually return my house to normal. I’m making strides. I’m trying to devote several hours each day to cleaning.
Did I mention I hate to clean house? I never did like to clean house. It was one of those things that most adults must face. It’s not the dusting and vacuuming or even the scrubbing that bothers me. It’s the sorting and finding places for the stuff that seems to gather. The actual cleaning doesn’t bother me. I like to see a room all pretty and spit shined. It fosters a sense of pride.
So my professional life is in order. My health is getting there but far from perfect. My household bills are caught up. My house is starting to look like a home, and Mother Nature is being very kind. Book sales are steady. I have wonderful friends. And although I fuss about my family, I have good kids who don’t have to worry about their independent mother who manages through the good months and the bad ones.
And my worst weeks are still probably 100 times better than another person’s good one. I’m not starving. Medical help is a phone call away. I have lovely old home, a soft bed, a brand new computer, and a nice car in the driveway. I have all of my fingers and all of my toes, my senses are intact, and my muse is active. I have shoes on my feet, and clothes and coats in my closet.
My grandmother used to say ‘Count your blessings.’ So I am.
Please enjoy this little excerpt from my upcoming novel, A Rancher’s Dream, available for pre-order. An early review called it unique, poignant, and wonderful.
The carriage was still parked in front of the widow’s house. Tiago stepped inside of it and realized that Ingrid had removed her bags, along with Alma’s. They must be staying here.
He cursed the empty carriage. He wanted a pen so that he could write home. He stepped onto the widow’s porch and knocked on the front door.
When she opened the door, he asked for a pen. “Ingrid has several.”
“She is not here. And why would you want a pen?”
He looked at the redheaded woman. “I’m sorry to disturb you. I forgot that many women are not properly educated and cannot read or write, much less do it in several languages. I shall be on my way. Obviously you are not aware that pens are used for writing. Forgive me for jumping to conclusions.”
He turned and walked off the porch. The door slammed behind him. He laughed as he continued towards the street.
At the far end of the street, he spotted Ingrid in her pale purple outfit. What a beauty.
She smiled and waved to him.
He walked to her and they met halfway, not far from the post office. “I need to borrow a pen.”
“No problem. They are in my room. I have also found a place where you can take the cattle and your men. The Coleman ranch. It is up the road. Frank Coleman will meet you in an hour in front of the post office. They have a bunkhouse and plenty of water. But I’ve yet to find you a place. Although you are welcome to stay with your men.”
She watched him make that face too many times. “Don’t spit. I know you are angry, but that is a terrible habit. You must stop it.”
“Right now I am hungry, and the most I can eat in this town is a plate served from the back door of the saloon.”
“That is insane.” She looked around. “But I did pick up some good news. Frank Coleman’s ranch backs up to the area that you wish to purchase. He took what he could under the Homestead Act, and the next checkerboard is railroad land. Adie Coleman said that it is excellent land, but there are some deep gullies on it, plenty of water, and good grazing areas.”
“Then why would the sheriff tell me otherwise?”