Wednesday, December 23, 2015

To Boldly Go Where No City Slicker Has Gone Before

In the seventies, Janet Daily and her husband traveled all over the United States in their RV, for her Americana Series. A book set in every single state was ground breaking! In 1997 Nora Roberts wrote Montana Sky, and the fun chatter on this book, which eventually became a Lifetime movie, was that all the details for the book were obtained from the internet!

 Hold on to your tinfoil hats.

The internet. 1997. Imagine that! 

She'd never even been to Montana.

I've lived in quite a few places: Western New York, Oklahoma, Colorado and now Arizona. Traveled to a few more, or lived there temporarily in the Army: Montana, California, Washington State, Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Germany, France, and Belgium. 

To tell you the truth, it's actually more fun for me to write about areas I know and love.

The stretching of my comfort zone comes when I move outside of my area of expertise. Hmm, what exactly is my area of expertise?

  • Burger flipper
  • Morse Code Intercept Operator
  • Oncology Nurse
  • Teacher's Aid
  • Housewife
  • Mother 
  • Cat Herder
  • Blogger
  • Library page
  • Library cataloger 
  • Pharmacy Clerk
But I don't want to write about those things! I want to write about cowboys, engineers, astronauts, jet pilots, spies, sheriffs, firemen, Ninjas and undercover cops.

Unfortunately, I don't actually know much about those things.  Writing about things we don't know is, for a contemporary writer, as much work as it is for a historical writer.

I want to write about NINJAS!

In my latest release, Rocky Mountain Reunion, I had to find out if it was possible for my engineer hero to move a house. A turn of the century Victorian at that. I emailed  Brenda at D & B House Movers with that question. Is it possible? Spoiler Alert: check here.

The Rancher's Reunion, Oklahoma Reunion, Stranded with the Rancher, yes, all of my cowboy rancher books are way outside my comfort zone. I last rode a horse in...well, I was still in grade school. I'm an urban, armchair cowgirl who loves the west. I had to learn how to be a cowboy/cowgirl rancher from scratch. That meant I had to learn how to ride a horse, herd cattle, deliver calves, harvest hay, muck a stall and ride a tractor.

I watched dozens of videos on YouTube on the topics above, as well as how to groom, and ride a horse. I studied horses in detail. Cowboys too. I've also spent hours studying Tony Llama boots, Stetson and Resistol hats and belt buckles.

I got inspiration by saturating myself in movies like City Slickers, The Last American Cowboy, 8 Seconds, and The Longest Ride.  (Language alert in clip.)

Mary and Ivan Connealy helped me with my hay harvesting, and calving education, (and more) and I spent hours upon hours, on farm, agriculture and ranching sites, reading forum responses from farmers.

I collected cowboy quotes. I absolutely love them, and now have several books full of them. They really get you into the mindset of the lore.

  • Always drink upstream from the herd.-- Will Rogers 

  • If you're riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there. -- Old West Proverb

  • Behind every successful rancher is a wife who works in town. -- Old West Proverb 

  • Talk low, talk slow, and don't say too much.-- John Wayne
I want to write about cowboys!

The hero of the book I just turned in,(working title: Second Chance in Paradise) stars Joe Gallagher, who is a transradial amputee. I know a few amputees, but none with the exact residual limb as my hero. For that book I contacted a prosthetist at Advanced Arm Dynamics who introduced me to Barry Landry, a cowboy with the same injury as my hero (except the opposite arm). Barry and my hero, Joe both use a myoelectric prosthesis. Barry's prosthesis in the picture is the Michelangelo. I spent weeks reading all the manuals and rehabilitation information for this device. I also exchanged emails with Barry for other questions.

As with any other research you spend hours learning about a topic only to use a minute bit of information in your story. After all, we're writing fiction, not technical manuals.

I want to write about FBI agents.
My goal for 2016 is to completed a romantic suspense novel. I've already begun the book. This is probably the most challenging goal for me yet as a writer.  I was in the United States Army, and did get to fire an M-16 ( the civilian equivalent is the AR-15) and took it apart and cleaned it until I could do it in my sleep. My first year of college, before I switched to nursing was spent as a Criminal Justice major. So perhaps I'm reliving my younger dreams with this goal.

I was fortunate to graduate from the Phoenix Citizen's Police Academy this year. I learned enough to make my head spin, and got to fire a Glock 35. I now belong to this organization's alumni group. Last year I also went to Writer's Police Academy in Wisconsin along with Debby Giusti, Terri Blackstock. Rhonda Starnes, Terri Reed, and Margaret Daley. The guest speakers were Karin Slaughter and Allison Brennan.  Wow, with that crowd I should be able to write a suspense by osmosis, right?

If you have the opportunity to attend WPA, do it. Don't hesitate. Anyone with police or fire personnel in their books will benefit from this amazing conference. Check out Lee Lofland's The Graveyard Shift for day to day suspense inspiration.

So that's my trek to new worlds...

  What about you writers out there? How have you traveled out of your comfort zone and gone where you never went before? In your wildest dreams what would you write about?

Readers, do you have any advice for writers who create bold new worlds? Have you taken a chance and read outside of your usual reads and tried something new lately, only to be pleasantly surprised?  Or do you prefer to stay in the same galaxy on a regular basis?

 Oh, and if you've read this far and would like your name entered in a drawing for a copy of my January release, Rocky Mountain Reunion, mention that in the comments. As promised, I have a cowboy for one commenter. Let me know you want this vintage metal sign for your home or corral. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.
John Wayne Vintage Metal Sign

 Rocky Mountain Reunion - Book Four in the Paradise series.

 Nurse Anne Matson's structured life derails when a familiar patient enters her ER—the ex-husband she left ten years ago. Matthew Clark is the last person she expects to see in Paradise, Colorado, especially with a nine-year-old daughter. The single dad is running the town's biggest expansion project, but one thing stands in his way—Anne's Victorian home. When his daughter falls ill, and Anne volunteers to help with her care, Matt recognizes he's never stopped loving the spirited beauty. But how can he get her back when he plans to take all she has left…or can Anne see she has everything to gain—the family she's been denied?


  1. I like all your photos. When I saw the ninja, I thought, is she really wearing that outfit? After the gambling photo, I thought, naw, she's just having fun with us.

    Anne Stevenson

  2. I am all about having fun with it Anne. What's the point if you can't make people laugh while you are laughing at yourself. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. YOU ROCK, TINA. and so do your books. I loved Rocky Mountain Reunion. review coming soon! I would love the tin. Obviously I don't want the book. I have tried reading both paranormal and time travel, but the only time travel I want is historical genre. Great post. I love seeing you as police woman, cowboy, and yes, even ninja!

  4. Marianne! You've already read the book. Girl, you don't waste any time. I better write faster. Ninja writer.

  5. Hahahha. If I can add a laughing FB sticker I would. What fun we have here on Seekerville! Tina, that picture is priceless! I love how y'all so creative too outside your writing worlds.

    As to me, I do venture to other genres and galaxies once in awhile. I do get pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed them.

    Merry Christmas all! Please put me in the giveaway for Rocky Mountain Reunion. Thanks!

  6. Glad I made you smile, Annie. You are in the drawing and Merry Christmas and lots of giggle to you.

  7. I was thinking I was late for Tuesday's post but I guess I'm early instead for Wednesday. I will have to go back and find Tuesday! This was a fun post. I have a fear of trying to write about anything I don't know about at least a little. I guess I don't want to leave that comfort zone.

    Please enter me in the drawing for the book!

  8. Love the pictures Tina! I watched the saddling video, re-lived the City Slicker movie (one of my favs) & was fascinated by the new prosthetic arm. Medical technology has sure come a long way! And I had to laugh at the cowboy quote: "Drink upstream from the herd", guess that sure would make a heap of sense now wouldn't it? I can see where a writers research would be a lot of fun at times. My husband also went through a citizen's police academy. He had a chance to be tasered (he declined) and was able to shoot several guns at the shooting range. He also went on ride-alongs with the officers. He had a lot of fun with it, and got to know some great officers in the process.

    As for advice, only to do what you've been doing....lots of research (and have fun)! Got to make your stories believable and real & I give you writers a lot of credit because you do just that! Well, at least the writers that stand out in my mind do. I like to take residence in your book, experiencing everything right down to the last detail :-) Makes me want to come back for more & isn't that what authors like to see....repeat readers who in turn will brag about you to their reading friends and so on! Pretty soon you'll have a big fan base, makes for a win-win situation in my book (no pun intended).

    I've read several books outside my "norm" lately. Fairy-tale renditions (Melanie Dickerson), Biblical Fiction (Stephanie Landsem, Mesu Andrews), and even a Biblical time-slip series by Lynne Gentry. I have another time-slip book by MaryLu Tyndall awaiting it's turn on my bookshelf as well. So yes, I do love to mix up my reading genre a bit. I get tired of reading one theme so I'll jump to something different to keep my interest piqued.

    Please add my name in the dish for "Rocky Mountain Reunion", past loves reuniting is one of my favorite storylines! Thanks for sharing such a fun post Tina! Here's wishing you and yours a very blessed Christmas-time :-)

  9. Your time will come, Sandy Smith. Merry Christmas and you are in the drawing.

  10. Woohoo! Citizen Police Academy is FUN. At WPA I went on a ride along for five hours. Wow. It was so cool.

    And good for you for braving new galaxies!

    You are in the drawing!

  11. Um, that was Trixie I was talking to. Sorry. Got overly excited.

  12. I love the cowboy quotes. Fodder for an author I'd say.

    Count me in for the book or sign thank you.

  13. Hi Tina,
    Can't wait to get your latest - ordered directly from Harlequin. Love reading how you researched your characters. Great photos!

  14. Hi Tina,

    What a great post. You are so creative.

    I've been thinking about my one word for 2016 and I'm considering the word BOLD and using Ephesians 3:12 as my scripture. It sounds like you're always bold. I'm sure you're romantic suspense will be a hit.

    I'd love to be in the drawing. Thanks!

    Merry Christmas!

  15. Fantastic post, Tina! I cracked up at the picture of you with the 'I want to write about cowboys!' underneath...HILARIOUS!
    In 2015, I certainly traveled outside of my wildest dreams. I plan to continue the journey in 2016, letting my heart lead the way.
    I'd love to be entered into the drawing. I looked for your latest release at Walmart last week, but they must have been sold out. :(
    Great John Wayne quote!

  16. Tina, you always make me smile! I love the photos.

    The boldest thing I did in 2015 was to attend the WPA. It was the first time I ever flew anywhere by myself, it was my first ever writer conference, and it was my first time to room with someone I had never met before. Thanks for being a great roomie and for guiding me and pushing me outside my comfort zone. Things I learned from you that weekend were to introduce myself to people, ask questions, and don't be afraid to go up to someone and talk to them.

    Don't put my name in the drawing for Rocky Mountain Reunion. I already own it, and I plan to read it (probably by candle light) as the storms march across Alabama tonight.

  17. Love, love, love the pictures!

    You know I've always lived in a more rural area, but have an urban mindset. What I'm saying is I'd like to try a romance novel set in an exciting city, like NYC or London. I don't know if that would be writing out of my comfort zone or not.

    Merry Christmas to all!

  18. Romance books are actually outside my lifetime norm reading material. I've always been more of a YA, science fiction, fantasy reader. I like to throw mysteries or cozy mysteries in once in awhile. Basically, if the cover catches my eye and the blurb piques my interest - I'll read it.

    I love cowboy quotes. Funny and full of common sense (which ain't so common anymore...*sigh) And I LOVE any book written by you (and the other Seeker ladies). The fact that you write about my native State, Colorado is extra bonus for me. Name in the draw, please...

    Actually completing another story of any length is outside my present comfort zone. One I hope to remedy in 2016. I need to really do some knee time for my one word for 2016. Not sure what it will be.

    I love how you play with pictures. You're getting pretty good with that stuff. You might get to add graphic artist to that list of occupations you've got going.

  19. What experiences you have had! How fun, some a lot of work, but great experiences!
    I'd say my work as a dispatcher in a Sheriff's office was something I could find some
    good stories in. I'm not a writer so I do enjoy reading books of protectors, officers, military, Doctors, and even cowboys and Sheriff's. I enjoy YA, mystery, romance, suspense, occasionally a sci-fi and anything of Christian theme :) Please put me into the book and John Wayne drawing. I cry every time I watch The Cowboys! And that rat Bruce Dern.. sure made it a great movie though!

  20. Oh, Tina! What a great post! I laughed out loud (love that tin-foil hat picture) and learned new things about research options. Your areas of expertise, and travel history, are so interesting! And the Writer's Police Academy sounds intriguing.

    So far, with just one completed manuscript, Google and Youtube have been my "go to" research sites, and my browser history is at times alarming. Recent searches (for new WIP) include: Most Common Ways to Die, How do I run away to join the circus? Are Black Baldys the most expensive cattle? What's the largest ranch in Texas? Are there still sugar mills in Iberia Parish, Louisiana? I can't imagine how long it would take to learn such things without the Internet.

    I also collect cowboy (and old codger) quotes. I was able to use one of my favorites in my first book: "Every path has a puddle now and then."

    Thanks again for such a great post. Merry Christmas!

  21. Oh TINA! I'm glad I had a good grip on my coffee because I about lost it when I saw your pictures, I think you in cowboy garb is my favorite. I think I'm going to print it out and put it above my desk for a daily smile. You've made my day and its only eight in the morning! Laughed. Out. Loud!

    I knew you had a suspense in your future with all the police academy visits. Can't wait to read that one! I love that your sense of adventure has you climbing new mountains, swimming new rivers, riding horses, shooting guns, all in your quest to get outside your comfort zone and experience something different for the sake of a story.

    I read contemporary, historical, bibical, suspense, even read a legal thriller by Randy Singer, a local lawyer/writer. I will try most any book if it's got an appealing cover and book blurb. Don't get me started on some of the awful covers I've seen online. I can't help but wonder why anyone would pour their heart and soul into a book and put a ridiculous cover on it? Now that's shooting yourself in the literary foot.

    I can see why you've been so busy, but I'm glad your back today with "the many faces of Tina". You are AWESOME and INSPIRING!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family! Now go forth and travel where no Tina Radcliffe has ever traveled before!

  22. WHAT a fun post, and I love the pictures! You have a great sense of humor.
    I'm not REALLY comfortable right now, anything I do is outside of my comfort zone but I guess I would like to someday write mysteries, suspense and sci-fi. But the plotting is too complicated for me right now, I have all I can do to get my mind around historical romance. But that's okay. It's all okay.
    It's been a great year, thank you for all you do.
    Kathy Bailey

  23. Morning Tina, I'm with all the others on my enjoyment of your photos. You are so talented. And I'm with them also in my anticipation of a suspense from you. I was intrigued with your police academy reports. sounds perfect for a suspense writer. I can hardly wait.

  24. Jackie, You are right. BOLD describes Tina perfectly. And it sounds like a great word for 2016.

  25. It really is great fodder, Mary Preston! Merry Christmas dear!

  26. Hey, thanks, Lyndee!!! How do you research your characters??

    Merry Christmas to you and your posse.

  27. Thanks for the advice. Your new book looks great! I'm surrounded by John Wayne fans, so please enter me in that drawing. :)

  28. Sandy Smith I sure hope you drop on by and check out Tuesday's blog. I haven't picked out of the cat dish yet. Will do so later this afternoon as Tina is watching so I need to be on time. chuckle.

  29. Hey, Jackie. Good word.

    My words usually have to do with being focused in life. I am boldly scattered.
    Merry Christmas!

  30. Tina I watched so many Rawhide episodes that I might be able to do cowboys. Did you try those out. I was so in love with Rowdy Yates (Clint Eastwood) But of course that was YEARS ago. LOL

  31. Well, Jill, we'll have to put you in the drawing for a copy!

    YES, you have had a GOOD year!

    Welcome to the galaxy!

    Merry Christmas.

  32. You were bold in 2015, Rhonda. I CANNOT wait to see what the new year holds for you, 'Bama girl.

    Merry Christmas.

    Speaking of storms, it sure is dark here.

  33. Ha! Rose. Country girl longs to writes city. City girl wants to write country.Go figure.

    Merry Christmas!

  34. DebH, and won't it be interesting when you sell a book outside your comfort zone.

    BTW, I cheat, and use programs to create those pictures. Merry Christmas!

  35. Merry Christmas, Laura! Laura who I predict will be a first sale very soon. Have I talked you into entering the Golden Heart? Enter the Golden Heart! The Genesis too.

  36. Awe, thanks, Tracey!

    Isn't life good? Traveling all over the galaxy from my office chair. I got a new chair this year, btw. Must be why I am zooming all over.

    Next year it's butt in chair.

    My day job went away so I am going to see how fast I write.

    Merry Christmas!


    A fabulous year in fact.

    I cannot wait to see what unfolds for you in 2016!

    Merry Christmas!

  38. Sandra! I should have mentioned Rawhide. The book I just turned in has two cattle dogs named Rowdy and Wishbone!

  39. Tina, this is amazing! I didn't realize you'd done so much research. I'm always a chicken about contacting people to ask about their life/careers. I need to find your courage!

  40. Sandy, with the craziness of holidays, it's easy to miss a day! I'm having trouble keeping up with what day of the week it is.

  41. Tracey, I've recently realized just how much difference a cover makes to me. I used to think I would look past a cover and read the back cover. But honestly, I'm finding I'm ruling out books based just on the cover! You're right that there are some ridiculous ones out there.

  42. Tina, where can I order one of those chairs?

    I'm glad you can devote more of your time to writing, I'm excited for you and the possibilities!

  43. Hi Missy, yes some of those covers, titles too...well, I wish some of the authors had a good honest friend, or a writer site like...SEEKERVILLE! to help them navigate the journey!

    Merry Christmas to you MISSY!

  44. Well, Missy, I had to. I had so many simple questions that I could not find the answer to via GOOGLE!

  45. Thanks, Tracey!

    How fast can Tina write will be the question for 2016.

  46. Such a fun post, Tina! And now I have just spent twenty minutes looking for where you created those clever images! I am now a Jedi warrior!

    Seriously, you are so right about the importance of research, whether historical or contemporary. Sometimes I get so intimidated by what I DON'T know about a career or a locale, and I'm terrified of getting the details wrong. The Internet has made it possible to find out just about anything, though, or at least to get in touch with the right people to answer our questions.

  47. Tina, I love it. Rowdy and Wishbone. :)

  48. You had WAY too much fun with this post, TINA!! :)

    I'm such a history lover that some day on down the road I'd like to pull out and finish a story set in the early 1800's that I started in college. Did a ton of research that I still have...somewhere! :)

    I'm like Myra, though, I get intimidated for fear of getting details wrong even in my contemporaries.

  49. TINA! You have AMAZING NINJA SKILLS! Recently I ventured out of my reading comfort zone of mystery/suspense to romance. I have enjoyed the journey!

    Please enter me in the drawing.

  50. bwahahahaha! This is so much fun -- and kinda scary too. Snicker. I guess it stands to reason that Tina has super powers. I love armchair traveling and learning so I'm wide open to reading stories with different settings and about characters with different occupations. Mind you...there is something about a cowboy, isn't there? Hmmm...someone needs to do an international cowboy series. Australia, Mexico, Hawaii...I wonder if there are any cowboys in Ireland? Ohhh...mind suddenly veering to an Irish accented cowboy drawling, "Get along little dawggies..."

  51. Go, Glynna!!!

    I know. It makes me crazy. Simple things. Normal daily living things that you have to research.

    Merry Christmas, GK!

  52. Good for you Caryl!

    You are entered.

    Merry Christmas!

  53. Kav,

    I love McCleod's Daughter's Western series set in Australia. There have to be cows in Ireland!

    Did you know the US has cowboys/cattle ranching in EVERY SINGLE STATE??


  54. Thank you, Tina, those words of encouragement mean so much!! I'm definitely checking those contests out!

  55. Rocky Mountain Reunion? Of course I want to be entered for that. Read some Louis L'Amour for cowboy inspiration. My children are named after L'Amour characters. (My husband is a big fan in case you couldn't tell.) Me, I'll stick with being a Tina fan. No more children in my future, but I am still hopeful for grandchildren. Maybe I can talk one of my boys into naming my first grandchild Maggie or Jake or Bitsy Harmony.

  56. LOLOLOL. Fell over laughing Cindy R.

    Hey, you know, Mary Connealy is a big L'Amour fan. I need to start reading him. On this year's list is also to reread Grace Livingston Hill.

    You are in Cindy! Merry Christmas.

  57. No wonder you're so awesome, Tina. Clearly, it's because the Force is strong in you.

    Since I write historicals, my characters ride horses. My sister had a little Welsh mare when I was a teen. I rode Rainbow once in a while--until the day she puffed up her belly while I was saddling her and laughed at clueless me when the saddle slid sideways, causing me to hit the cold, damp ground. Hard! I'm not kidding. That clever horse laughed. At least it sure seemed like it.

    Due to my less-than-ideal experiences with Rainbow and my lack of saddling mastery, my interactions with horses ceased that chilly November day. I seemed to have blocked out what little I knew about the magnificent animals. Thankfully, I have a young friend who is an avid horsewoman and is willing to answer any questions I have, no matter how basic. She kept me from making several mistakes in my August 2016 release. She'll be getting a mention in my dedication/acknowledgements, for sure.

    As to location, I love setting stories here in California's Gold Country, where I'm blessed to live. However, I'm working on something set elsewhere, which has been a bit of a s-t-r-e-t-c-h. In order to get the setting right, I asked a friend who has lived in the area to help me out. Gotta love friends who will impart knowledge for nothing more than a hearty thank you. Perhaps I should send her chocolate.

  58. Your post made me smile so much!!! I'm not very good at leaving my comfort zone in writing. I would love to write a medieval historical but so far I haven't been able to jump that far out of my cozy little small town contemporary circle. Someday... in the mean time, please put me into the drawing for your book and the John Wayne sign. I love all things J. W.
    I'll be watching for a ninja story from you soon!

  59. Chuckling at your horse story, Keli. Funny little pony!!

    Merry Christmas.

  60. Yeah. The Ninja story is after the romsuspense.

    Merry Christmas LeAnne!!

  61. Hey, Miss Burger flipper Morse Code Intercept Operator Oncology Nurse Teacher's Aid Housewife Mother Cat Herder Blogger Library page Library cataloger Pharmacy Clerk, Tina, I see you saddled up and writing historical romance with a touch of humor! Wahoo!! You're holding the winning hand!!



  62. HA! Janet Dean. A contemporary novel. I would have to be REALLY BRAVE to write a historical.

  63. Tina,

    Loved the message today! My experience is as oddly diverse as the list you included...LOL!

    Wishing everyone on Seekerville the merriest of Christmases and a blessed 2016!


  64. I love this. My work in progress is set in Hawaii so I am having to do a lot of research. I have a friend on one of the street teams who lives there. She is willing to read when I finish to make sure it all works.

    Please enter me for your January release.

    I would love to be entered for the plaque.

  65. You can do anything, Tina!

    Your latest is in my TBR stack. I brought it home from the store last week or so! Happy Post-Christmas reading!

    Love your pics. I'm impressed with a city slicker learning cowboy-speak. You are amazing!

    For my last few books, I've donned an Amish bonnet and have been immersing myself with the plain way-of-life. A change of pace is always fun...and challenging.

    But Nijni? Really? As mentioned earlier, your accomplishments are impressive.

    Just finished my shopping. The last few things are begging to be wrapped. Lots to do, but it's all good.

    Merry Christmas to all!!!

  66. Are you saying we could flip burgers together, Stephanie??? LOL.

    Merry Christmas!

  67. Hey, I just made the BEST banana bread. Passing it around to share.

    Really good, with pecans from Georgia thanks to Patti Jo.

  68. Let's see if I can do a romsuspense, Debby! I have admired you and your three fold plot line for years. Romance, Faith and Suspense! Wow, that's a lot of work.

  69. Tina, you are AMAZING!! Loved this post AND the pics - - some of them really made me laugh out LOUD (scaring a kitty, but she went back to sleep, LOL).
    MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and all my wonderful Seeker friends!!!!
    Holiday Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  70. Ooohhhh, just saw you used GEORGIA pecans in your banana bread - - YUM!! :)

  71. You are an amazing, talented lady, Tina.......I DO appreciate what you do on Seekerville!
    Please enter me for your January release.

    Merry Christmas to all...........

  72. Hi Tina:

    Are you suffering from a case of "The Grass is Greener"? Have you ever read the classic speech, "Acres of Diamonds"?

    I look at all the areas in which you have experience and expertise, like: medical, military, intelligence, teaching, family life and raising children, and then I look at a selection of strong selling romance subgenres, like military, medical, intelligence/suspense, family life, and I just wonder what God is thinking.

    "Here I've given my child experience in some of the best selling genres in romance and all she wants to do is write about cowboys! Humans are nothing if not trouble."

    Do what you must but for my money your medical stories are as good as any out there. And I've read years worth of Harlequin Medical romances. Please don't let all those tangerine trees cause you to overlook the many diamonds in the rough hiding in your back yard.


    Details please. I must know if we were in the same place at the same time. So tell me EVERY WHERE and WHEN you were in Nebraska. You said military so Offut Air Force Base??? SAC?

  74. Hi Tina:

    Will Rogers is my kind of cowboy. Wit and wisdom daily for decades warmed America's heart. He was a cowboy philosopher: someone who possessed common sense in an uncommon amount.

    Isn't there a romance incubating from your trip to the Will Rogers museum in Claremore?


  75. Or wait, you're old, were you in North Platte when that was a WWII hot spot?

    (that has a hostile tone!)

  76. C'mon, Vince, how could she NOT want to write about cowboys???
    That's just knee jerk to any thinking person.

  77. I'm trying to imagine me and My Cowboy traveling America in an RV.

    All that closeness boggles the mind.

    Have you ever heard that if you put 2 MALE possums in a cage together overnight, in the morning one of them will always be dead? They will always fight to the death.

    Why this story comes to mind when I think about me and My Cowboy together in an RV going to all fifty states, is a mystery.

  78. Have you ever heard that there is NO SUCH THING AS A NINJA?????

    I'm not sure if it's true but some research seems to indicate that a ninja was always mythical on par with mermaids, vampires and the unicorn.

  79. And why I need to come and leave a comment after every paragraph of your post is a MYSTERY.

    Will go read some more. Assuming you have a point to make

  80. John Wayne quote: Life is tough, but it's tougher if you're stupid.

  81. TINA, I do have to say you as a Ninja is my fave...even if MARY says they don't really exist. I KNOW Samurais were real, so maybe you can switch genres.

    If anyone can write an FBI story, you can. I have a CIA/Suspense novel that's never been published because one of the bad guys was a white supremicist...along with a few underground Nazis who wanted to resurrect the Third Reich. This was long before I became an editor, so I didn't know yet that Christian women wouldn't read about such things. I sent my CIA hero and heroine all the over the world--Germany, Texas, Washington. I even called the CIA and spoke to their PR office, but surprisingly, they weren't too keen on giving away any trade secrets. But I kept digging. I didn't even have the Internet back then!

    Throw my hat in the ring for ROCKY MOUNTAIN REUNION. If my mom was still alive, I'd beg for the John Wayne sign because she was a huge fan of him and every other western star. In fact, until the day she died, she had a framed 8 x 10 picture of Roy Rogers on top of her TV. :)

  82. I love the cover of your new book, it is so sweet and uplifting. Please enter me for the book drawing!

  83. Patti Jo's Cafe and Bakery is a live and well as long as there are Paradise Books to write. Love you, PJ!

  84. No, I didn't live in Nebraska. But I have visited it often. More times than the Omaha airport even.

    I love John Wayne, Connealy.

    I am not old. It says visited or lived there while in the Army.

  85. Wow, Barbara. When you switch genres you don't mess around!!! What a story.

  86. Yes, Vince, TOTALLY, the grass is always greener.

    The city mouse wants to leave the city and never return. The country mouse longs for city life adventures.

  87. Tina, what a fun post and I LOVE your photos!! Those cowboy quotes are priceless. Good point that authentic contemporaries require as much research as historicals.

    I like to get ideas from the places we boldly going someplace.......?!?! My wildest dreams, other than writing a romance? A little devotional book.

    Please put my name in for Rocky Mountain Reunion. I'm thrilled to know you're working on a suspense and another Paradise story!

    Thanks, Tina! (I'll treat you to a scone one of these days....and coffee rather than tea if you'd like!)

    Merry Christmas, Seekerville!

  88. Cowboys in Maine? Rhode Island? Michigan? Seriously? I can't imagine it but that's a LI series right there. Wait...not Alaska. Too cold in Alaska for cattle don't you think? Must do some cowboy research.

    Speaking of which, did anyone see the Christmas movie about the cowboy in Manhattan? Girl meets boy on a bus ride to New York -- he's going for a Christmas rodeo event, she's going home for Christmas. I watched it last year, must hunt it out this season. A Christmas Star, I think it's called. She's an astronomer and has her future all planned out and it doesn't include a sweet talkin' cowboy. Great stand up and cheer ending.

  89. Scone and tea it is, Sherida. And I will remind you about that wildest dream of yours!! Merry Christmas.

  90. Beef Industry Statistics

    Cattle inventory (as of Jan 1, 2015): 89.8 million, up 1% from Jan. 2014.
    Economic impact: $44 billion in farm gate receipts (USDA NASS)
    Number of farms and ranches specializing in beef cattle: 619,172 (2012)
    Number of cattle & calf operations: 915,000 (2012)
    29.7 million beef cows
    9.3 million milk cows
    5.8 million beef replacement heifers, up 4% from Jan. 2014
    33.3 million head calf crop (2015)
    The average cow herd size: 40 head
    Value of U.S. beef exports: $5.711 billion (2013), up from $3.839 billion in 2010
    Top export markets: Japan, Canada, Mexico and South Korea
    Top 5 states for all cattle and calves (2015):
    1. Texas - 11.8 million
    2. Nebraska - 6.30 million
    3. Kansas - 6 million
    4. California - 5.2 million
    5. Oklahoma - 4.6 million
    Top 5 states for cattle in feedlots with capacity more than 1000 head (October 2015)
    Nebraska - 2.27 million
    Texas - 2.490 million
    Kansas - 2.02 million
    Colorado - .830 million
    Iowa - .600 million
    Average producer age: 58.3 (USDA 2012 Ag Census)
    U.S. beef production (commercial carcass weight) was 25.8 billion pounds.
    The total U.S. beef consumed was 25.5 billion pounds.
    Average annual U.S. retail Choice beef price in 2013 was $5.29/lb.
    U.S. commercial slaughter total was 31.9 million head

    - See more at:

  91. As for cattle in every state?


    Which means that statistically speaking we should all be writing books with a cow in them.

  92. Did you note that the average age of a cowboy is 58.3. We should all be writing MATURE cowboys!

  93. Well, I'm gobsmacked. Rhode Island has cowboys! Who knew? Tina, that's who!

  94. HI Tina,
    I am lucky to have 25 years of Mary Todd Lincoln research under my belt. That means I have a treasure trove of unexpected details that I can use as a jumping off point. For my contemporary MS, I managed to luck into not one, but TWO K-9 officers in my family! We are not close cousins mainly do to geographics, so I knew they were officers, just not K-9 patrols. Bonanza. God sometimes drops things in my lap. And in the process, our family has reconnected. Possibly God's master plan all along!

  95. Hi Mary:

    You wrote:

    "C'mon, Vince, how could she NOT want to write about cowboys???
    That's just knee jerk to any thinking person."

    That's easy for you to say. You live on a ranch with lots of cows and your own private cowboy. You know the grass is not greener.

    When you walked into that Will Rogers Museum it was like the very walls reached out to hug you and welcome you home.


  96. Hi Tina:

    You asked:

    "Did you note that the average age of a cowboy is 58.3. We should all be writing MATURE cowboys!

    That's because cowboying is a shrinking profession. Cowboys today are as likely to drive a pickup or fly a helicopter as they are to spend hours in the saddle.

    Besides cowboys will never be old when living in their golden age: 1867 to 1888. It's been said that the real "Wild West" only lasted about twenty years -- but what a glorious twenty years it was.

    Thank God for historical romances!


    Sandra has a wonderful folk tale book, "Cody the Coyote" which has for its moral premise, "The grass is not always greener." If you haven't read it yet, I think you'd love it.

  97. Oh, I loooove Will Rogers. How can anyone not?

    Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
    ― Will Rogers

    “Never miss a good chance to shut up.”
    ― Will Rogers

    “Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people that they don't like.”
    ― Will Rogers

  98. BY THE WAY. Ninjas are real. Very real.

    I have written a Ninja already. Trust me on this.

  99. Lyndee, you are fortunate aren't you. What a bunch of books to write in your future.

  100. Interesting Virginia has 1.4 million head of cattle, must be in the western part of the state. Eastern Virginia definitely produces more pork with 15 million pigs raised yearly by Smithfield packing alone. Bummer they were bought out by China. Cattle cowboys are more appealing than pig farmers, no doubt :)

    Tina and ninjas, doesn't compute, only ninjas I know anything about are the teenage mutant minima turtles, haha.

  101. LOLOLOLOL. Tracey.

    A few lines from my book with the Ninja. Comedy. Think Jack Black as Halo.

    Halo plucked a few random pieces of fuzz off his black turtleneck. “Understood. And I don’t think I need to remind you of all people, that we can’t always choose the timing behind our deepest emotions.”

    “You’re right,” Jack said tightly. “Thanks for the reminder.”

    Sophie blinked, wondering what she just missed.

    “I’ll take the first shift,” Jack said.

    “Sounds good. Gotta run, the van is parked a block over and I’m running late.”

    “Be safe, Halo,” Sophie called.

    Halo nodded and pulled his black wool cap over his head. “A ninja is always diligent and watchful of his adversaries.” He folded his hands and bowed before heading for the back door.

    “Has he always been like that?”

    “Yeah,” Jack said with a shake of his head.

  102. Earth to Tina, just because you wrote about them doesn't make them real.

    I'm sorry. I want them to be real.

  103. Vince, I think about that Will Rogers museum a lot. I loved sitting there and watching videos of him. The roping, amazing.

  104. A person can have cows without being a cowboy. They're called farmers.
    Another cool type but NOT a cowboy.

  105. Love your pictures and post today, Tina. It really reminds me of living in the "wild west" when I lived in Yuma. It was so different than my home state of PA. I really enjoyed seeing the many attractions there and the Yuma Territorial prison. It's so unusual we are having this warm weather and will be at 75 on Christmas Eve. I think I've moved back to AZ or maybe Florida and don't even know it.
    Please enter me for your January release book.
    Thank you.
    Deanne P.

  106. You are in, Deanne. Yuma. That's real cow town.


    Fingers in ears.


  108. Hi Mary:

    You bring up a good point about having cows without being a cowboy.

    This is something I've always wondered:

    How do you tell if an acreage is a farm or a ranch?

    What do you have?

  109. Are Ninjas Real?

    Maybe Walt can tell us. I've never doubted that they were real. However, I don't think there really are Ninjas Turtles.

  110. Is Walt secretly a Ninja??? Wait. I did see that picture of him.

  111. I always love your post Tina and the pictures were such fun! Please enter me in the drawing. Merry Christmas!

  112. Darling Loves To Read, that's because we are secret OKIE sisters and have the same twisted sense of humor.

    Merry Christmas to you and your REAL sis!


  113. Hey reading Louis L'Amour is a great idea. I used to read them growing up when my friends were reading Nancy Drew. LOL

    But they do give you a great cowboy take on things.

    Looks like you had a fun day.

  114. Thanks for the plug Vince. Cody the Coyote was fun to write. I wrote it when camped at McDowell Mountain Park because the coyotes just walk right into camp.

  115. And I've seen lots of cowboys that are young. I was taking notes like crazy when I was waiting for a plane at the airport in Las Vegas and two rugged cowboys, boots, chaps, a saddle and sweat stained cowboy hats were sitting there. Handsome. Intriguing and very pleasant and respectful to those around them. The legend is still alive. smile

  116. Of course, we have no idea what they were doing the night before. LOL

  117. Tina,

    I like to think I've read most of your work. However, I honestly don't remember you writing about any ninjas.

    Forget moving a house. Tobacco magnates James B. Duke and R.J. Reynolds moved entire universities (Duke and Wake Forest).

  118. LOLOL, Sandra. Sounds like they were in town for RODEO!!!

    1. That was my thought! The NFR was in Vegas not so long ago (couple weeks I think, time gets away from me)

  119. WHOLE UNIVERSITIES???? Whoa, Walt. I had no idea.

  120. Oh No!
    It's After 11:00 pm Central Time.
    That means the start of two days of comment fasting -- a virtual ad-lent.

    Let us pray.

  121. Tina, loved all the photos! Plus I can't wait to read your romantic suspense. I know it will be a success. While I'm waiting for ig to release I'd love to read your new release. Please enter me in the drawing. Merry Christmas!

  122. LOLOLOL, VINCE. We left comments open on Christmas.

  123. Hey there Cowgirl America Ruth! I believe you are right. All that manliness in one place. Whoa!

  124. Hi Terri!!

    you are in!

    Merry Christmas.

  125. I'd love to be entered for your book and the sign!

    As far as advice goes, I'd say get someone that knows/lives the lifestyle you're writing about to read and critique your writing before sending to the editor. I can't count the number of books about Cowboys and the western lifestyle I've read and enjoyed but also laughed at because of simple mistakes that could have been caught by having someone fact check the story.

  126. I'm glad you could laugh, Cowgirl. I am counting on that.

    You are in.

  127. Comments on Christmas!

    Glory Be!
    Joy to the World!
    Time to create some new famous Christmas quotes.

    Also it's the perfect day to read "A Night Like No Other" -- the passionate love story between Mary and Joseph that's fully consistent with Christian teaching yet every bit as emotionally satisfying as a Julie Lessman kissing scene. Remarkable achievement. The story as it could very well have happened.

    Merry Christmas!

  128. You are hilarious!

    I'd love to win a copy of your "Rocky Mountain Reunion" and look forward to seeing your romantic suspense novel in print too.

    Merry Christmas to you and all of Seekerville!

  129. thanks Phyllis sans Ben. Merry Christmas.

  130. Thanks for your interesting post, Tina!!

    I often stick to reading the genres I most love, but I have recently ventured outside my comfort zone in reading 2 novels by an author whose story lines I didn't feel I would truly enjoy. I was surprised to find the characters and situations were so realistic, I was drawn into the stories - even though the subject matter wasn't something I normally read.

    Please enter me in the drawing for your Jan. release!! Thanks so much!!