Thursday, April 11, 2013

Road Trippin' Your Way into the Hearts of Readers!

Goooooood Morning, Seeeeekerville!!!!

Ruthy here, and I'm just gonna say there's not much I like better than a ROAD TRIP with my peeps!!!

And I'm not talkin' marshmallow chicks here, we chatted up those Peeps last week,

I'm goin' with the lovely daughters, husband and friends that I drag onto these missions to help me create the "land base" for series writing... (waving to Deb Marvin who hooked up with us last December!!)

Story setting is huge to me, but you don't have a lot of time or space to "set" a book in category romances, so setting a series of books allows me the fun of developing a town/village/lake/ranch/neighborhood that works for a bunch of stories.

"Kirkwood Lake" is a fictional body of water loosely based on Chautauqua Lake in Western New York, but when I went looking for the mountain/hill/lake combination I wanted for this new series, it didn't exist. I stopped into Rushford Lake, NY, and it was beautiful, but small for my vision.... Then Cuba Lake, a man-made lake in the far corner of Allegany County... Nope. Needed bigger, I was seeing a bigger lake with several villages dotting the shores.

When we started to circle Chautauqua Lake, I knew I had the right body of water! SO GORGEOUS!!!!

I cruised the stores and villages surrounding the lake.... and if you look at this pic, you'll see that we're actually just west of the Enchanted Mountain Region of New York.

I wanted mountains. I wanted this lake. I write fiction.


I set up my villages on "Kirkwood Lake" and snugged the lake a little to the east of Chautauqua Lake, probably risking mayhem by putting it smack dab in the middle of an Indian Reservation. But I can get away with it because it's fiction... set amid reality.

View of Olean, NY tucked into Enchanted Mountains region of northern Appalachia. How stinkin' gorgeous is this? "Brigadoon"-pretty, right?
Rolling hills, gorgeous lake, riparian interests, farmers' rights, family discord, medical malpractice, crumbling marriages, happily ever afters, sick children, babies, lost babies, storms, a heroic horse that makes me smile every time I think of him, a sweet minister, pretty churches, holiday charm, winter's quiet, lack of faith, amazing faith, grace, forgiveness, humor, food, weddings, pretty dresses, cute jeans, guys in uniform....


Gotcha right there, didn't I? Because how stinkin' cute are cops against a setting like this?

Or this?

This is VIDLER'S 5 & 10 in East Aurora, New York, a fun, vintage, classic nod to yesteryear!


SO DO I!!!!

So far we're three books into this series, three delightful stories where hero and heroine ALWAYS COME FIRST.... but multiple books let me take the reader into cafes.... church pews.... gazebos.... apple farms.... dairy farms with a glass-bottle dairy attached!!!... and we can see the good and bad of small-town living... Because everybody dies famous in a small town!

This book is available in two weeks in stores and at Amazon and
But you can get it HERE RIGHT NOW!!!!
Setting is a mosaic, and I've always loved that art-form. It's never enough to have one farm set on a hill, but a farm with a store attached, set on a hill overlooking a gorgeous and upscale lake with lake frontage that the town WANTS BADLY TO ACCESS FOR DEVELOPMENT.... while two heirs are fighting with the other three heirs, trying to force them to sell the farm so they can take their cut and RUN...

Now my setting has become part of the plot.

I took a weekend drive and turned it into the basics of what is so far a five-book series... but we're already talking more books set in Kirkwood, more stories about the multi-cultural Campbell family and who doesn't love a cafe called "Tina Marie's"...

 With a proprietor who had a thing.... back in the day....

for the Special Forces Campbell brother who has no intention of ever coming back to town to stay... but life throws us curves when we least expect it.

And who wouldn't love a pair of Italian seamstresses who come to town in time to help make costumes for the town's year-long bicentennial celebration??? And maybe win a heart along the way?

Writing successful series in category length is developing the timing for saying the most with the least, and believe me, having a strong editor on hand helps make that happen.

Coffee's on (Helen might have an even fresher pot going, so be sure to check her out!)  We're chillaxin' with comfort food this morning, because it's been snowing (STILL!!!) in the west and I've heard we might see a little more in upstate before we wave winter bye-bye...

How about some stuffed French Toast with warm NYS maple syrup?

Sounds delightful! Let me know in the comments if you'd like your name put in the cat dish for the 15 page critique.... or the autographed copy of The Lawman's Second Chance or... both!

Love Inspired author Ruth Logan Herne is a native of upstate New York, she's been married for more years than most pre-schoolers can count, she opts to be a natural blonde and loves God, her family, chocolate, coffee, kids and dogs. You can find her waving her American flag with gusto at, here on Seekerville hanging with people she loves, shamelessly exploiting puppies, kittens and small children for monetary gain at or cooking food with a great bunch of fellow writers at The Yankee Belle Cafe!


  1. Hi Ruthy. You will awaken in the morning to see me commenting FIRST! I know how thrilling that will be for you.

    You're welcome.

  2. Yep, fresh coffee is set to brew. Plenty to go around. Bring your own mugs. (I didn't say ugly mugs.)

    Ruthy, you sure do throw the names around. :)

    I've done a couple of series, but I set them in my familiar Ozarks turf.

    Looking forward to reading yours.


  3. Stop it with the sweets! Y'all are ruining my Weight Watchers points. LOL!

    I have set two books and my SpeedBo novella in Atlanta. I don't live there but I've visited enough and have enough friends there that I can email with questions. Back in 2008 when I wrote my first book, my sister and I took a road trip to Atlanta and visited all the places I used in the book. We even stayed in the hotel where my hero and heroine had their honeymoon, shopped at Tiffany where he bought her ring (or I should say LOOKED at Tiffany), drove by the house I looked up on to use as the heroine's home. It was such fun!

    My younger son lives in the NC mountains. I really should set something there and make visiting him tax deductible. *grin*

    Thanks for the birthday wishes from yesterday. I had a great day, capped by a sweet phone call from my 6 year old granddaughter.

    We're expecting bad weather tomorrow. I've been wondering about Carol all night since it's already been through/near her area. If you're in the path of this, stay safe!


  4. Lots of weather warnings tonight, including tornados, but all we've gotten so far is rai, rain, rain.

  5. Marilyn, happy belated birthday!

    Gee, Ruthy, I thought you were going to say Canandaigua Lake. One of the places I loved while on my five year western NY exile. I'm looking forward to seeing your latest on the shelves. Will send you a picture when it arrives in Chi-town. Watch for it.

    We are getting ready to swim here. The rain has been relentless and this is the first of six days expected. I can deal. I'm a Johnstown (PA) gal. We know floods.

  6. Hi Ruth:

    Your pictures look just like how I imagined your story locations would look. The thing I remember most from my trips to upper New York state are the flowers. Everywhere there were so many flowers in bloom.

    Your long list of what can be found in the area beginning with ‘Rolling Hills’ and ending with ‘guys in uniform’ made me think of this quote by Willa Cather:

    “There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.”

    I just wanted to share this quote and say: “Write fiercely and give us plenty of flowers to enjoy along the way.”


    P.S. I already have your new book and some fantastic tasting candy as well! I’ve already won! Thanks!

  7. Love love love your post. The pictures are as vivid as the ones you "show" in your novels, Ruth.

  8. Hi Ruthy, your post has sucked me into your series. I'd love to read your books and see your characters live in the setting you have bought to life so vividly in my mind.

    Please put my name in the cat dish for the critique.

  9. You mean I missed the discussion on peeps thanks to Cheryl Wyatt I love them. Big question can you get them when its not Christmas, Vallentines day or Easter??????

    Please enter me to win your wonderful book (does flattery help?) I will have an american addy in May!

    update on wrist had the corisone injection and It really hurts!!!! no one said it would hurt this much. I am hoping the pain subsides I have been icing it.

    Love the look of the photos they look restful.

  10. Great photos!

    Living overseas I don't get to visit the real life places where my characters live and breathe (thank goodness for Google and friends!) so I'm very jealous of y'all with your road trips!

  11. A very delightful post Ruthy. Your posts always put a smile on my face which is a good thing so early in the morning as I try to wake up before drinking my coffee. Hubby, bless his heart, has it on to brew.

    I would love to have my name tossed in the bowl for a copy of your book. Thank you for the opportunity.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  12. Mary-the-night-owl Connealy, happy Thursday! And yes, I laughed to see you FIRST... :)

    HELEN Holly Jacobs (Superromance/Montlake/Avalon author) is coming by next week, and most of her novels are set right there in made-up towns outside Erie... Nothin' wrong with writing what you know and making it come alive! I've always been fascinated by the thoughts of developing my own "Brigadoons"... and it's so stinkin' fun. I keep waiting for Gene Kelly to jump out of the woods, dancing!

  13. MARILYN!!! N.C. YES!!!! Think Mitford, Jan Karon, and total tax deduction! I've got a few unsold things that are set in other areas, and that's always a fun thing to research... and I love making up FANTASY AREAS.... so that delving into the YA world is a real eye-opener.

    Go get 'em, tiger and I'm glad you had a great birthday!

    LYNDEE... I love Canandaigua Lake. It's gorgeous. And it could be the model, similar shape, etc, but it's a very upscale region here now. The Finger Lakes is rumored to be summer home to some amazingly rich people and that might be true around Chautauqua Lake too... but there was something quaint about the way Chautauqua had Mayville... Bemus Point... and the city of Jamestown at the end, a city that has seen hard times. (In my series Jamestown is "Clearwater")... One of the fun things about this series is that I'm using combined law enforcement because of all the cut-backs these days, so my sheriffs work side-by-side with the NYS Troopers and Clearwater Police force. That rounded out my vision of what I wanted/needed in the setting... LYNDEE, WHY DID YOU MOVE?????? Silly you.

  14. Oh, VINCE!!! You got the sponge candy that you won in October of 2011.... :)

    I am not kidding, I kept making it to send to him and it kept turning out WRONG... so I finally bought some at Andy's Candies and mailed it to him. And you can only send it over the winter months because it can't be shipped in the warm weather....

    Vince, I love sponge candy but it can be an acquired taste, LOL! On the other hand, I hope you enjoy The Lawman's Second Chance.... :)

    And that quote by Willa Cather is so true... tell and re-tell.

  15. Marianne, thank you! Now I'll smile all day because youse are bein' so nice to me...

    You know, if you've got an 80-90K book, setting can be individualized a little more... but when you're in the 60K range, well, you best do all you can with a little (kind of like use it up, wear it out, right?) So as I studied other category authors, the whole "series" thing came alive for me. Once you establish a series, you can G-R-O-W your town (towns) as you write.

    Love it!!!


    I only ask this because I've killed before, there's like a whole SUPPORT GROUP FOR WRITERS primarily made up of people who've had me critique their work...

    Of course they do take international members, so you'll be fine, honey... Hey, am I the only one who noticed that VINCE didn't offer to share his sponge candy?????

    Really, big guy?


  16. Jenny, the American addy will help, LOL! Our postal service now charges double what it used to for sending overseas packages... Which makes it crazy expensive to do!

    There's got to be a way of having an Aussie place send you books, isn't there? Like Amazon-International???? (shh, I don't want to give Amazon too much encouragement, they're already fighting Google daily for Total World Domination

    Kara!!!! Yes, that's true. The road tripping thing is so much fun, I won't pretend it isn't even though I'm making you wish you could be here and road trip with us... But the wonder of seeing other things, other lands, being overseas.... SUHWEET!!!! Mostly. ;)

  17. CINDY!!!! You're in, chickie, and I cleaned the cat dish out special this time...

    You're welcome.


  18. I'm waving back and hoping you'll be picking MY LAKE next time, and the charm of a small town oozing with history and the moxie to think it's a 'movie set'.

    We do need to set a date for that writer's getaway with a certain WNYer who will need a big dose of GREEN this year.

    VIDLER's! oh that's just perfect.

    I am such a fan of road trip research but I won't go into detail here about what I did on 'my summer vacation' because said research is now out on the contest circuit (Thank you Janet Dean and WE's contest update)

    Yes, folks, NY State is just as lovely as Ruthy describes...only we've been sadly lacking spring until, um, right now!

    I think this is where we bring up Sponge Candy and white hots, right?

  19. Melanie Pike. We really need to get together. This is ridiculous...

  20. Hi Ruthy I enjoyed reading your post.Thank you for sharing those beautiful pictures.I've never been to New York,but I hope to go someday!

    Please put my name in the cat dish for a copy of your book.

  21. Hey, Jenny, I see in all her excitement about the American address, Ruthy didn't answer your MOST important question.

    YES! And No. You used to only be able to get Peeps at Easter, but now they make versions for every holiday. There are ghosts and pumpkins at Halloween, Christmas trees in December, hearts at Valentines Day, etc.

    But, they're not EASTER PEEPS. For the purist, only those original yellow peeps are PEEPS. But they all pretty much taste the same.

    Sorry for hijacking the discussion to peeps. ;)

    I love the Lake Chautauqua region. We spent time up there when my youngest was at Geneseo.

  22. Mary thanks for the important info. Do they do mothers day peeps! I need some when I go there.

    Ruthy The Book Depository is the best place to send books to Australia as its postage free world wide and often preordered books are cheaper.
    When will your book be on the shelves as I can get my friend to pick one up if I need to.

    Wrist is a little less painful now but still more than I want to put up with.

  23. Who knew I had a thing for someone back in the day. What day?????

  24. Guess what came in the mail yesterday? Guess what I'll be reading this weekend? Ta-da, ta-da, ta-daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Sweet! but that's the only thing to sing about today because we have a major...drumroll please...snow/hail/freezing rain storm coming -- to the tune of 20 cm. Bah! If the school buses are canceled tomorrow I'm going back to bed with a sure-to-be-good book. :-)

  25. Good morning, SEekerville!
    And Ruthy.
    And Mountain LAKES??? You're speaking my language!!!
    I love RRTs (Research Road Trips)
    When my family and I vacationed at Mountain Lake in NC last summer, I took pics, interviewed the staff, and oultined the first 3 books in a series set in a place 'like' Mountain Lake :-)

    THis fall we went to Hot Springs, NC on a RRT for my historical. A camera can be a girl's best friend - and friendly natives who enjoy talking about their town and its history!!!
    LOVE this!!!

  26. Impossible choice - I want both. Any room for a sightseer on your trip? It sounds gorgeous!

  27. Having seen Ruthy in action, I can tell you it's absolutely AMAZING how people open up when she says, "Tell me about your job/business/shop." Most folks love to talk about themselves and what they do, especially when they know that info will be in a book. Try it--it could work for you, too!

  28. Aw, RUTHY, you are soooo wonderfully Mitford that I expect to see you pop up on the NY Times Bestseller list any day, girlfriend!! Only I'll let you in on a secret ... I like Kirkwood Lake A LOT better because I LOVE lakes and I LOVE your characters and I LOVE your stories and settings WAY more than Mitford!! Sorry, Father Tim ...

    And, ah, the pix ... they put me smack dab in the middle of (no, no, not the lake!!) ... great fiction!! Believe it or not, I actually crave your stories and settings at times ... especially at Christmas. Why is that, I wonder??? ;)

    Keep writing, my friend, the world needs you and Kirkwood Lake (uh, not to mention those hunky heroes and lawmen ...)!


  29. Oooh, Ruthy! I sense your excitement as you launch a new series! Don't you love it when those little communities come alive in your head? Pieces of real places you're visiting melding with places you've been in the past and mixing magically with your imagination?

  30. I'm, um, in the cat dish for both...

    I think.

    I survived a Tina crit ;). That means I can survive anything, right?

    I <3 small towns. I've made a few. So far, most of them are based loosely on my hometown or close by.

    I was hoping for pictures of puppies in clown costumes though.

  31. Wow, Ruthy! I love a road trip! Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos! Fun to see how you created your setting for this series.

    I'm having a one of those stuffed pancakes drizzled with melted butter and maple syrup. Yum!


  32. Jenny, upping the prayers for your wrist!


  33. The pancakes are yummy. Thanks Ruthy.

    Love your settings and how you bring them to life in your series. You are having so much fun writing and I'm so tickled.


  34. I love road trips!!!

    I'm on one right now, but it's raining puppies and kittens (it was cats and dogs earlier, but it's slacked off a bit). I hope to get some pictures anyway.

    Because even in the rain, Indiana Amish Country is beautiful. The green and flowers are just starting, and we'll be taking the back roads through the Amish farm land this afternoon.

    Praying for more story ideas :)

    And we left the snow in the west. We got 20" on Tuesday, and I missed it. The kids we left at home got to shovel their way out of the neighborhood to get to work.

    I'm leaving off some donuts from Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury, Indiana for breakfast. Try the sour cream cake donut. Mmmmm.

    And no calories or Weight Watcher's points with virtual food - isn't that great?

  35. Oh Ruthy....your posts always energize me (combined with Helen's coffee)! LOVED reading how you developed your Kirkwood Lake region--sounds like an amazing place. ~ Please add my name with all those others to the cat dish for your book.

    By the way--I can't remember if I ever sent you the photo I snapped of my kitty Delilah posing with your book A FAMILY TO CHERISH? (It was last year right after I purchased the book). What can I say---my cats have good taste in books!

    When all the breakfast foods are gone, I've ordered pizza for lunch and baked yet another Georgia Peach cobbler for dessert *smile*.

    Hugs, Patti Jo

  36. Ruthy--I always love your posts. They're so fun and upbeat. :) By the way, I'd love to be in the drawing for both the book and the critique. :)

    I have never lived in a small town (big city girl, here), but they always look so inviting. Especially the pics of your small town. :) I love how you're creating fun setting for your series.

    I love road trips too, and I think it's rubbed off on my kids. :) Hubby, boys and I took a 15 day road trip last summer visiting Yellowstone, Whitefish MT (I should have taken more pics of the town!), Mt. Rushmore, Sioux Falls, SD, and friends in KC. LOVED IT! So did the kids. :) Makes road tripping so much more pleasant when the kids like it too. :)

  37. Hello Ruth, I enjoyed your "road trippin", looks beautiful and peaceful. I love to read stories set in small towns, everyone knows everyone and usually they will help if it is needed. I like the idea of reading a second or third books and seeing characters I have read about before and delving a little further into what their life is about..
    I guess my TBR pile is going to get bigger..
    Paula O

  38. Oh, I've been to Chautauqua!!! A thousand years ago I attended the Highlights for Children writers workshop there. So fun! My first "away conference" alone, so scary too! But a beautiful place. Even did a lake cruise one night.

    This series looks like great fun, Ruthy! Hope to "visit" in soon!

  39. Jeanne, seriously. Never lived in a small town? How is that possible?

    Oh. My. They are an unusual breed.

  40. Ruthy that's such beautiful country and it's so smart of you to get out in it.

    I just watch Chisum again.
    And maybe re-read The Sackett Brand.

  41. JEANNE T I once talked to a lady in Omaha who said Omaha Nebraska was the smallest town she'd ever lived in and she didn't think she could stand it. She moved soon after.



    Try population 600, sweetie....

  42. Setting is so important and you do a wonderful job of it, Ruthy!

    I too enjoy the road trips to get things just so, and they are wonderful write offs too since they really ARE for business.

    Your stories are fiction but grounded, real but not too dark, not too light (kinda like my coffee preferences.) ;)

    Yes please on the critique. may at maythek9spy dot com

    Keep waving that American flag and enjoying young uns no matter the species. May sends 2 paws up! ("") ("")

  43. If it's not tooo greedy, your book too. Or... The other way around. Love both!

  44. Good Morning, Ruthy!!

    Love your enthusiasm! Love your books!

    Last summer we drove through part of New York State on the way to New Jersey and it is indeed beautiful! Much like Northern Ontario with all the trees and lakes.

    We'll be doing another road trip this summer, maybe the reverse of what we did last year, so I'll be sure to bring my camera!

    Talk about a small town - the little place where Nora Roberts has her bookstore - Boonsboro, Maryland - that's small! So much fun to drive through. My kids (teenagers) were bored stiff, mind you. But hey. I was excited.

    Put me in the drawing please!


  45. Well, now I have to clean the syrup off my keyboard. I hope you're happy, Ruthy. :)

    Road tripping sounds like great fun. When hubby and I travel anywhere destination is key, and the goal is to beat your best time. Not exactly conducive to getting to know quaint little communities.

    I would love, Love, LOVE to win your book, as always. And thanks for the opportunity.

  46. I forgot to click the little email box.


  47. I'd like a fifteen page critique. Pick me! Pick me!

  48. Ruthy,

    Great post, and great pictures. Your corner of the world is a place I have always hoped to visit one day. I love to hear about the local food items of interest like sponge candy. Awesome!

    Please put me in the recently cleaned cat dish for either the critique or the book. I'm aware of the risks of a Ruthy critique. I guess I can take it... *gulps*

  49. I am so there...but wait! SNOW? Really?

    Hmmm. I'll plan my trip for summer. :)

    Lovely, Ruthy! Your books always hit me in the a good way, of course. No cardiac arrest for me. More like a be-still-my-heart sigh.

    Making reservations at Tina Marie's Cafe for dinner on June 15th when the sun is shining and temperatures are in the 70s. :)

  50. "They sell nostalgia. Well, so do I!"
    HAHAHAHA! That was a great line.

    This was neat. I've only ever created a fictional place twice (Flea Bite Creek and Thorny Hollow) and it gave me a pain in the brain.

    I prefer using real cities like Denver. But sometimes you just gotta flash that fiction card and get a pass.

    I have to say, I've never been anywhere in New York outside the big, big city. (I closed my eyes every time I got in a cab... for many reasons.) This was great fun to see the lakes and stores and trees, etc.

  51. Jan, your Indiana tour sounds great too! May I join you for lunch at the Das Dutchman Essenhaus? When it stops raining, of course.

    BTW, storms heading to Georgia later today. Hoping everyone stays safe!

  52. Jenny, when are you supposed to have improvement after that injection?

  53. I wish I had known you were in the Chautauqua Lake area...that's practically in my back yard!!

    Next time you're down this way, drop me a line so we can get together!!

  54. Debra, I regret not asking if there were side effects or what I should expect. Besides that should be alot better (from Dr) I didn't get told anything. I know from research this can happen that it will feel worse for a day or two. I guess its not as bad as I can use my fingers. but if I move my right sideways it hurts. holding it up to my chest helps but to go downwards (left wrist) it hurts. Im up cos sleep isn't happening as I cant get comfortable. I hope by noon (24 hours) it will click to feeling great! got a feeling I wont be working in the morning.

  55. Hi All

    One of the joys of reading is being able to visit new places all over the world. Thanks, Ruthy, for doing the footwork for me as I probably won't ever be able to visit that beautiful part of the country.

    Mary, I grew up in a town of 800, but I wouldn't take anything for the memories, except for when I ran into a herd of cows in my first brand new car.

    Jenny, am praying your wrist gets better. Nagging pain is so draining.

    Please put me in for the book and critique (I prayed about that too).

  56. Deb Marvin, YES, YES, YES!!!


    Sorry, I've been working and couldn't get back here til now, but yes, we need to get together. We WNY'ers gotta bond! It's imperative. :)

    And I love your town, and that church, ohhhhhh, that church!!!!!!

    LOVE IT!

    Yes, with Melanie!!! And we can grab MIA.... and anyone else who wants to chill with us... We've got Julia up here... Lyndee used to be here.... (Whatever, LYNDEE!!! WHATEVER!!!!) We could make a day of it. Or at least an afternoon because most people really don't want to be with me for a whole DAY... I blame Mary.


  57. Katie N., You're in! And I picked an especially "tacky" spot of the cat dish to put your name, honey...


    Mary Curry, My New York City Bud...

    Yes, it's just gorgeous all around Chautauqua Lake. And I love going to visit the beautiful lakes in our region, so many of them are sizable... and then when you live on a giant like Lake Ontario or any of the Great Lakes, the others kinda sorta look like ... well... ponds, by comparison! But I love a lake you can look across... Picturing star-crossed lovers!!! Running Bear and Little White Dove! (who else remembers that song???? I could sing it for you if you'd like...)


  58. Jenny, how does the Book Depository work?

    I could look it up but this way you can inform me and save me work and inform the masses of folks!!! :)

    But send me your May stateside address just in case!!! :)


    I do believe she opened it on her own, spunky little thing, after working FOREVER for her father, who then sold their family restaurant to someone else....

    And poor Tina saw her chance to run her own business go DOWN THE DRAIN....

    But our TINA never gives up (remind you of anyone????) and she wasn't afraid to go out on her own... start her own biz... and grow it... Because she's got SPUNK.

    We love spunk in Kirkwood. :)

  59. Hey, I brought homemade Snickerdoodles... Plenty for everyone.

    I love youse guys.

  60. KAVALICIOUS!!!! You must tell us what you think whence you are doneth!!!!

    We're tough.

    We can take it.

    And yes, freezing rain... hail... cold, wind, snow.... :) Oy, yowza, hello daffodils!!!

    PEPSTER First, huge congrats on finishing the book we talked about, I'm so stinkin' proud of you!!!! And yeah, Northern Appalachia is just as beautiful as Southern Appalachia, with all the rugged, deciduous beauty of the eastern mountains.

    I love it. Just totally love it!

  61. MIA!!!! :) I love goin' places with youse!!!! Tina and I had a ball going to NYC together... and Sandra has not yet recovered from road-tripping with me in Dallas....

    And being stopped by a way-cute-to-die-for adorable Texas sheriff.

    Oh mylanta, take me back thirty years and give me great legs again, he was a sight for sore eyes! :)

    And Mary has survived being with me for DAYS.... but she's a rarity.

    You know, most folks do like to talk about what makes them do what they do... or their town... the good, the bad and the ugly and the poignant.

    I love chattin' it up with folks.

    And mostly they recover! (That I know of!)

  62. CINDY... Well, of course you want both! And you may well get them, darling girl. :)

    We'll never make it either/or. If you're sure you can survive the Ruth-meister....

    (my reputation is WAY WORSE than the reality. Really. I mean it. Kind of.)

  63. TINA--I was born outside Chicago--suburb, grew up in Denver, went to college in San Diego, taught in a smallish town, but commuted from San Diego, lived in Victorville, CA, medium size city, met my man, lived in Vegas . . . Oh, wait. I guess I did live for ten months in a smallish town--Prattville, AL, when my honey went to a school there, then it was Colorado Springs, Vegas for another 8 years and back to Colorado for the last five.

    I guess you made me correct myself--I spent 10 months in a fairly small town. :) Thanks for making me think that through. :)

  64. MARY--that cracked me up. Omaha? A small town? Okay, I guess I'm not as bad off as that poor soul. 600--that is small. :)

  65. is the link, Valarie comer did a post here on it. it is like amazon but it sends book post free around the world. I love the service and the books are a good price.

    I am seeing Missy and Debby in Atlanta on May 6 I am sure one of them would deliver the book if that helps :)

    up early icing wrist know wehen it takes effect it will be good! typing one handed. but right now im struggling to see the light!

  66. RUTHY--I forgot to tell you how beautiful the pics of your lakes are! Those are a rarity in my neck of the country. Loved seeing them. :o)

  67. i had a pen pal from a small town she said only 55,000 people lived there. I almost fell out of my chair. my town is around 5,000. then another i said i come from a small country town of 5,000 and she said that isn't small my town has 500 people.

  68. Mary,

    I grew up in big "D" Texas. No, not Dallas, but Dorchester. When I was a kid, it had pop. of 215. Recent census has dropped it to like 120 something. Used to even have a couple of stores, but they've since closed.

    I wished it had some of the cute character like Ruthy's books.

    Ruthy, love the visions of your setting. I tend to set stories in imaginable settings so I can change them as I see fit.

  69. Enjoyed the post and the beautiful photos, Ruthy. I'm with you. Setting is so important. There's nothing that motivates more than traveling to the setting for my story. I can look at pics and my notes and remember the excitement of discovery.

  70. Loved your post and pictures! I love the lake. You should take a visit/research trip to our Mountain Lake here in Virginia. Every hundred years it drains and fills back up. They recently found a body at the bottom of the lake and had to figure out who it was! Thanks for the wonderful post. I love reading about what you are up to!
    tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

  71. Ruthy, I love your pictures of setting and of course, the peeps! I agree that setting is fun and really important.

  72. I remember Running Bear and Little White Dove. Actually, I had forgotten both of them until you mentioned them today. :)

  73. I love it!! Love the photos! And you write amazing books that honor such a beautiful setting.

    Hope you had a great trip!!

  74. Ruthy
    as a Colorado native, I love mountain settings. as a Virginia Beach transplant, i've grown to love the ocean and beach, but I still crave mountain beauty.

    i've always been told the best part of NY is outside of that big city so nice, it was named twice.

    please throw my name into the cat dish for your book. i'm unhappy that i don't have anything to take advantage of the opportunity for a critique by you. *sigh*

    i really want to get into your series. mountains plus men in uniform is the perfect combo for me.

  75. Ruthy, your enthusiam for setting is inspiring. Actually, your enthusiam for everything is inspiring as well as contagious.I loved the photo, especially the view of Olean, NY ~ magnificent! Can't wait for the latest release!

  76. Julie, you're so stinkin' kind! I love the Mitford books, and Jan's work with that whole community made me fall in love with series work... and I found out about her and Nicholas Sparks' work the same way, an author's best, best friend:


    People will believe a friend long before they'll believe an advertisement.

    You made me smile!!!! Thank you, my friend! And GLYNNA thank you.... and I'm smiling because I just love your Canyon Springs stories. Again... mountains... (a little different from mine, but still TALL!!!) Trees... small towns... need for warmth!

    :) LOVE IT!

  77. Carol Moncado you're in! I'm so glad you survived Tina... Did you know that Tina and I worked together before we were published... Oh, I remember (the book eventually became Made to Order Family) and Tina put a dead stop on something I did (I was copying Dee Henderson at the time) and she Gibbs-smacked me (before Gibbs existed) and I said... Oh, you're right...

    And she was. And I re-wrote 2/3 of the book because of her advice and then sold it as book 3 of my North Country series.

    I always listen to Tina. (I'm saying that LOUD because she's listening today... As always...)


    Janet, thank you! I love road trips and the funny thing is, I may not see anything for a current series, but there's lots of times a road trip will leave me with ideas for a book down the road... and that's a nice beginning, right?

  78. Jan Drexler, Das Dufenhorser?????


    Sour cream cake donuts dipped in maple sugar glaze.... now that's a little bit of God's great plan right here on Earth! The snow...

    Oh, yowza, kid, THE SNOW!!!!

    I think we've landed in The Long Winter (Laura Ingalls Wilder) and my Grandma Herne used to tell stories about the "year without a summer" where a bad winter was followed by cool, wet summer and right into cold, wet fall and everyone was just plain MAD because they got gypped.

    I can see that happening!

  79. Patti Jo I don't remember seeing that pic????? Oh what a smart CAT!!!

    I love that cat. You must send the pic again and I'll put it on my website. Felines are naturally smart creatures. We all know that (Tina has cats too, so I have to say nice things about them. My farm cats would arch a skeptical brow at this convo right about now!!!)

    JEANNE, YOU'RE IN! Although you know that I'm not sweet and gentle like I pretend to be right, sweet thing?

    I'm kind of MEAN and BOSSY, very NY when I'm critting.... Well, okay, I wouldn't be as mean to you as I am to like Missy Tippens...

    (Pshaw, I can't be mean to her, either, she'll CRY.... Oh, mylanta)


    Fifteen day road trip with family....

    Oh my stars, that's an amazing feat, woman!

  80. Paulo O, that's what got me into series work...

    And poor Melissa, she probably thought "Oh, Ruthy, everybody tells me they like to do series...." but I not only said "Oh," (imagine high, falsetto, annoying voice) "I love writing series, Melissa, that's how my brain works..." I then went home and have not stopped writing since!!! Those poor editors... ;)

    And if they don't love an idea, I come up with a new one.

    And if I don't have an idea, I do a shout out to Seekerville and to Facebook and to the Seekers, and say "What would go with.... X,Y &Z????"

    And their answers/replies get my brain back in gear.

  81. Myra, I can't believe that anyone came to Chautauqua... and LEFT....

    Honey, what were you thinking????


    Was the conference at the Chautauqua Institution? That's a cool historic gathering spot where amazing people would come and address the masses... and they'd hold classes and conferences and and folks would gather and get smarter and talk about important things.

    Really amazing place.

  82. Tina? Gibbs' smack? Really?

    [Random not entirely unrelated aside: Mike Franks is going to be in the season finale!!!!!!!]

    Oh. And Tina was right. You probably knew that. But she was. Don't tell her I said so. Have rewritten my first chapter. Christina said it's better [overall though not done yet].

    Back to working on it tonight...

    Duel due Monday and all..

  83. TIna.... Small towns are so similar, I bet, around the world in some ways.... and then so different by culture and setting. I love that the geography can make a huge difference in the setting, the people, their reactions. Setting and climate are huge factors in books, so much of the Mood Of The Day....

    MARY.... I'd forgotten Chisolm.... Oh my stars, I love westerns. I love the men of the old West and guys who wear Wranglers and Levis... Remember that quote from singer Kelly Clarkson about her fiance????

    "I was dating skinny jeans when what I really needed was Wranglers."


    That quote says so much.

  84. K.C., you're in for both, darlin'! And thank you for your kind words. Me and Libby think you're "pawsome!!" too.

    Did I tell you I'm keeping one of the puppies? It won't replace Maddie, our pretty retriever, but he/she will win its own place in my heart. And Libby's lonely, even with the puppies, it's like she has no "BUDDY" to hang with. Talk about how bratty kids are and why big puppies push little puppies around.

    Brutes. ;)

  85. Sue, you should give me a shout when you're coming through! We can meet up and chat about Tina.


    Or Mary.


    OR BOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Okay, books wins!

    I'd love to meet you in person and I won't hold youse up too long.

    ANDREA!!!! Yeah, Dave gets like that, too. Ridiculous. But I told him if he wants to road trip and "play" small towns with me, he has to embrace the back roads and he has. Mostly he's embracing the paycheck, LOL! But that's okay,we had a really good time in Chautauqua last fall... and we enjoy traveling together. (But he's quiet.... Oh mylanta, I like to talk to my peeps when we're in the car, and Dave's a single syllable monotone kind of guy sometimes..... We'll have to work on that. Or I snag the girls.

    They like to talk!!!

  86. Oh my, Ruthy. I love the town and the lake and scenery...and to think you pieced it all together : )

    Loved it!

    I'm not saying God messed up his creation, but sometimes we just have to scooch things--LANDMARKS--around to make them fit into a tidy story. Don'tcha just love writing fiction, LOL!

    I can't wait to hear all about it in NEBRASKA!!

  87. Ruthy, please put my name in the cat dish for your new book! I am so excited and can't wait to read it. Love the cover!
    Jackie Smith

  88. I always enjoy my armchair travel.

    Please count me in for the autographed copy of "The Lawman's Second Chance".


  89. Ruthy,
    Always a pleasure to read your posts - brings a smile to the face and a warmth to me heart.

    Would love a copy of your new book!

  90. And let me be the last (so far) to say what a neat post -- love the pix. Isn't creating 'places' fun!

    Nancy C

  91. I really enjoyed reading this post! I'd love to read this book. Please put my name in the bowl!


  92. Was this mentioned already?

    Goal, Motivation, and Conflict...

  93. Hi Ruthy, great post today. I am currently working on a story that starts out in Sedona, AZ. I liked what you said about fiction based on reality. Sometimes I think it's easy to put ourselves in a box, thinking we can't create fictional settings from real ones. Thanks for this cup of inspiration today.Please put my name in the hat for the autographed copy and 15 page critique.

  94. I would love to put in the drawing for the autographed copy of The Lawman's Second Chance.


  95. I would like to be in the drawing for the book. It sounds great. Thanks for having the giveaway.