Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Welcome to the Lone Star Cowboy League: Boys Ranch

Inspiration for continuity miniseries ideas can come from anywhere, and as the editor who creates the Love Inspired continuities, I’m always searching for unique concepts that will appeal to our readers. For this particular series, I chose to spin off from last year’s Lone Star Cowboy League. This one stands alone (though there is one Easter egg reference that fans of the previous continuity will hopefully find and love), but is still set in Texas and revolves around a fictional service organization of and for area ranchers. But the main project of this branch of the Lone Star Cowboy League (in the Waco area) is a boys ranch.

I came across an article about a ranch for troubled adopted children, and the idea for the Lone Star Cowboy League: Boys Ranch was born. Our readers love stories set on ranches, and children are a core element in Love Inspired books. A working residential ranch for troubled boys run by the Lone Star Cowboy League was the perfect setting for these six stories that each involve children. I even used a real ranch—the West Texas Boys Ranch —as the basis for certain aspects of our fictional boys ranch. But I was most fortunate to be blessed with authors who—unbeknownst to me when we started—have personal experience with fostering, adoption, troubled kids, animal therapy and more. I couldn’t have found more perfect authors to bring these stories and characters to life if I’d tried. Five of them share their personal stories and connections here. I hope you pick up all six books in the Lone Star Cowboy League: Boys Ranch series (books 1 and 2 are available now!) and fall in love with the children, ranchers and other residents of McLennan County, Texas. 

—Shana Asaro, Love Inspired Associate Editor



From Brenda Minton, author of THE RANCHER’S TEXAS MATCH (October 2016):

I was thrilled to be asked to work on the Lone Star Cowboy League: Boys Ranch continuity for Love Inspired. Not only is this a great series, but a subject close to my heart. In the first years of our marriage, my husband and I worked as foster parents to troubled teens. Twenty-five years later, we are currently fostering five children. We’re also in ministry, and our church focuses on reaching the children who live in the community.

Children are important. I’ve heard they are the future, but the truth is they’re the present. By reaching out, we can make a difference not only in their lives but also in the lives they themselves touch every day, right now.

It’s very easy to make excuses for why we don’t help. What my family has learned is that if we shed the excuses and make room in our hearts and homes, the blessings far outweigh the obstacles.
I hope that readers will be touched by this series, by the reality that across the country there are children needing love and needing homes. Even if we can’t always provide those homes, if we can open our hearts and touch lives, we can make a difference.


From Jessica Keller, author of THE RANGER’S TEXAS PROPOSAL (November 2016):

I’ll admit it. When my editor called me with the opportunity to write The Ranger’s Texas Proposal, I was intimidated. It was a good fit for me because I have the combined experience of eleven years working in the field of municipal law enforcement and having directed the summer camp program for the largest residential child-care facility in the United States—so large it’s known as the Child City. But I was terrified—because I’m so passionate about both law enforcement and childhood residential care facilities, I wanted to get them right. I wanted my love for both things to transfer onto the page and didn’t want to let either cause down.

However, Ranger Heath Grayson won my heart the instant I began writing The Ranger’s Texas Proposal, and the boys at the boys ranch felt so real to me. My fear melted away, and I suddenly felt an urgency to tell their stories and make sure everyone loved them and valued them, too. With my dual backgrounds, these characters were very real to me, and I had a responsibility to tell their stories with the authenticity my experiences have afforded me. I hope you love Heath and Josie and the boys at the ranch as much as I do!


From Lee Tobin McClain, author of THE NANNY’S TEXAS CHRISTMAS (December 2016):

Writing about a ranch for troubled kids came naturally to me due to a couple of life experiences. Years ago I worked as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for kids in foster care, and one boy in particular stayed in my memory because he so loved the parents who’d neglected him and who ultimately couldn’t provide him with a safe home or the care he needed. He had such trouble in his life, but he was still just a kid—cute and mischievous and lovable. His resilient, fun-loving spirit helped me develop several of the boys ranch characters.

The other influence came through my daughter, who joined our family through adoption. When she was ten, I was able to take her back to China to visit the orphanage where she spent her first year. We brought candy and gifts and spoke with many of the children who didn’t get adopted, learning about their lives, hopes and dreams. My heart broke for these kids, many with special needs, who were spending their childhood without families through no fault of their own. Some of my ideas for the boys ranch came from reflecting on those energetic, optimistic children and the caregivers who tried so hard to give them a home and a sense of belonging.


From Margaret Daley, author of THE COWBOY’S TEXAS FAMILY (January 2017):

As a middle grade and high school teacher for twenty-seven years, I’ve dealt with students who have struggled and had trouble. Some lived in foster homes or had little support from their parents. Others had emotional and learning issues. I’ve used my experiences with students to write about some tough issues facing children and teens, from drug abuse, gangs, peer pressure and bullying to human trafficking that targets teens. My writing, especially for the Lone Star Cowboy League: Boys Ranch series, reflects my love of working with children and teens, especially ones who have problems and need an ally in dealing with them.






From Deb Kastner, author of THE DOCTOR’S TEXAS BABY (February 2017):

I was thrilled to be selected to be a part of the Lone Star Cowboy League: Boys Ranch continuity, and especially to write the veterinarian hero, because I’ve seen firsthand how children bonding with animals works therapeutically. My sister owns an animal sanctuary called Happy Haven Farm and Sanctuary. One of her programs is helping children who may have trouble socializing or with trust issues to come out of their shells.

The Liberty Horse program provides the opportunity for children to spend time one-on-one with their Equine Ambassadors, taking part in a variety of activities, from grooming and socializing to an activity course and even riding. The goal, however, is not to “learn to ride” but to experience a giving and trusting relationship built on mutual respect and communication. By using the Equine Ambassadors as a sort of mirror of the soul, growth and healing is able to flourish without the restraint of feeling judged or looked down upon. A horse has no preconceived notion of who you should be; they only seek to find comfort, safety and trust in their human partner.

Animals really can make a difference in the lives of troubled children, and it was my very great honor and pleasure to participate in this wonderful miniseries.

Do you have any personal experiences like the ones our authors have discussed above? Is there a boys ranch in your area or some similar organization doing great things for kids in need? Feel free to share your stories in the comments!


 Shana has generously brought books with her today! Leave a comment for your chance to win 1 of 3 giveaways of a bundle of the first three titles in the series——(The Rancher’s Texas Match by Brenda Minton, The Ranger’s Texas Proposal by Jessica Keller and The Nanny’s Texas Christmas by Lee Tobin McClain). Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

120 comments :

  1. I don't know if there are any programs like the boys ranch in our area nor do I have any experience like some of the authors here. One of the families who attend our church has been an active foster home for many years, and some of the kids they've adopted as their own. I honestly don't know how they do it! But you can see the love they each have for one another and how they are doing their best to raise each one up in the church & a Christian home.

    I think it's fun to learn of each authors real life story like this and how it reflects on their writing. It certainly makes the book more realistic :-) I've only just read Jessica Keller's book but I'm already hooked into this series and really want them all. The characters have a way of sinking in your heart :-) Thanks for the chance to win the first three books!

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  2. Welcome, authors and editor Shana!!!

    What a kick this series is. I have The Rancher's Texas Match, The Cowboy's Texas Family and The Ranger's Texas Proposal in my hot little hands right now.

    I can't wait to delve in. And these covers are gorgeous. I LOVE real people on the cover. The color palettes are really striking. The art team did a fantastic job.

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  3. I'm currently reading a non fiction book called, WHO YOU ARE by John Croyle about a ranch that has some similarities, in Alabama.

    This also reminds me a bit of that wonderful Hallmark movie called The Fosters.

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  4. [Trixi, how do you manage to beat me here, every day???]

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    1. Glynna. Brenda here (in case I haven't signed in and my name doesn't show up) I can't think of any real challenges in writing this series. Shana gave us a great continuity and we all delved in. I think with our various backgrounds we were able to bounce ideas off each other and answer questions as they came up.

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  5. I don't have a personal experience with a ranch and I'm not sure whether there is a ranch nearby that does offer these programs, but I do know of a local program that does youth outreach and ministry that we do support--Today's Youth Matter (http://www.tymkids.org/) They host camps, summer and winter, for at-risk kids, and offer them the chance to literally get away, and also help them encounter people who love God and will point them to the One who saves.

    This series sounds fabulous--looking forward to picking it up!

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  6. When I was growing up there was a Boy's Town nearby for troubled youths. It was a working farm and school.

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  7. First, I loved the excerpts in this post. As far as I know there are no ranches or programs as mentioned in this book series. I believe there is a camp for disabled kids up north from where I live. I truly respect programs that reach out to help troubled and disabled children.

    I love book series, and especially those in the Love Inspired lines. I would love to have my name tossed in. Thank you for the opportunity.

    Have a blessed day everyone.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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  8. I love this premise! Anything that ties kids and romance and cowboys together works for me!!!

    Waving to Shana who gave me my first job writing a cowboy romance for the Big Sky Country continuity a few years ago! I had so much fun being part of that great group of authors and have loved writing cowboys ever since!

    And Shana is wonderful to work with... I'm just sayin'! And what a great group of authors on this project, I enjoy every single one of them.

    Shana, this is a great foundation for a continuity and thank you for providing wonderful opportunities to authors to broaden their reader base. You guys rocked this!

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  9. Welcome, Shana! I enjoyed reading the stories behind the stories. This sounds like a great series. Congratulations to all of the authors involved.

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  10. Shana, welcome to Seekerville! The stories sound great, and the covers are beautiful!

    My niece works for a company who help at-risk children of all ages. They put kids with foster families and help with adoptions. This is embarrassing, but until a few years ago I didn't realize there were non-profit companies working with foster programs. It's great there are so many people trying to help children in need.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Wow, you seekers wake up early! Thanks for your kind comments and for sharing your experiences. This series was so much fun to work on.

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  12. Welcome Shana and friends. Such compassionate stories!

    My family has a long history with the Grundy Mountain Mission School. It was started in Southwestern Virginia with the purpose of giving the poor Appalachian children a chance to succeed in life. Two of my aunts were privileged to be able to go to the school.

    If you are a Christy fan, just imagine if she could have taken her school children with her to a free boarding school away from all the difficulties of their homes. That's what Mt. Mission school was and is today. Not all children are orphans. Their parents just can't care for them and the school provides a Christian home and school opportunity . They now serve children from around the world. We sponsored one child from preschool through high school who was from Africa.

    Please throw my name in the hat for the books. They sound intriguing.

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  13. Welcome to Seekerville, ladies! This looks like a fabulous continuity series. (And having worked on the "Texas Twins" continuity several years ago, I know the Lone Star state is a big reader draw!) You all have such PERFECT backgrounds for writing this particular series, too--great match!

    But I admit that I'm a bit puzzled. Last year(?) I heard Love Inspired wasn't going to do any more continuity series. It appears that's NOT the case! :)

    I know some of you have done a number of continuities--but is this the first one for some of you? Please tell us a bit about the challenges you found in creating it.

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  14. Terrific series idea! There is a boys ranch about an hour away from me. They have an annual rodeo and do wonderful work with the boys.

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  15. As the only author in the series (THE RANCHER'S TEXAS TWINS is book 6) without personal experiences in the subject, it was great to have such fine authors and stories to lean on as I wrapped the series up. There's something in here for everyone!

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    1. Allie, this sounds like a wonderful series!! I'm sure your story will be heartwarming and special! Good job, ladies!!

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  16. What a great post. We have three children through adoption all with special needs.I love hearing about others who care for orphans and children with special needs.
    Becky B.

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  17. All these books look interesting and I love books that involve children and animals.

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  18. What an awesome series of books! I admire the authors for taking on this very important subject and I have the highest respect for anyone who works with, fosters and/or adopts troubled children and those with special needs. I believe God gives you an extra measure of grace every morning and I pray for all of you - that His richest blessings will be given to you.

    Please enter my name in the drawing.

    Blessings to everyone!

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  19. Welcome to Seekerville Shana! What a heartwarming idea for a series. I love how God brought it all together with these wonderful authors. I can't wait to read them.

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  20. Glynna, I think Love Inspired will keep doing some kind of connected books. I was new to writing continuities, and this series was a challenge, but really fun. There were a lot of stories to keep straight, even though I was only the third book (I don't envy Allie Pleiter for having to write the last one and tie up everyone else's details!). Also, my knowledge of Texas is limited to the Dallas area, so I leaned on Deb and a farmer friend for the ranch side of things. We had a lot of freedom to develop our characters and themes, and Shana kept us organized. All in all, a great experience! I'm so thrilled to be a part of it.

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  21. Good morning!

    I know a man who spent years on the West Texas Boys Ranch. He was quite the troubled child (hotwiring/stealing cars by 6). He now is a preacher w/a wife and 3 beautiful kids. He talks very highly of the men who worked at the ranch and held him accountable. (Back during his day, they were allowed to spank the kids and he said he got his fair share.) I'd say this man is very blessed to have been at the ranch.

    Four out of our eight kids were adopted through foster care. With encouragement from counselors, we even sent one of them to stay at a facility here in Texas for almost a year because of some of the issues he was having.

    Great subject for a series!

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  22. Welcome SHANA and all you great authors in this continuity. I'm awed by how many of you have experience helping children through fostering, adoption, teaching and animal therapy. Your stories will not only be heartwarming, they will bring attention to the needs of troubled kids everywhere.

    Janet

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  23. I lined up a hearty breakfast buffet for those going to vote. God bless America.

    Janet

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  24. Jess Keller here (The Ranger's Texas Proposal, book 2):

    *sets cupcakes down on the table* For everyone! And they have sprinkles, so dig in. :)

    Waving at Trixi! Thank you for reading and reviewing my Texas Ranger!

    I love Seekerville, you guys were the first blog to invite me on when I had my debut novel and I've been a lurker ever since. I'm excited to be a part of the post today and equally thrilled about being in this continuity! It's a good one guys - cowboys, kids, sweet town, lawmen!

    I'm enjoying hearing about all these places that help children. Keep the stories coming! Bettie - your reference to the book Christy makes my heart happy (one of my ALL TIME favorite books). #TeamMcNeil

    As to the question about challenges ... I know I was pretty intimidated to be working with the 5 other authors who are all HUGE names in Christian fiction and all have achieved best seller statuses. But everyone was amazingly encouraging and we all helped one another and leaned on each other and I learned so much working with these amazing authors.

    And yes - Shana is wonderful to work with! I'm blessed to in the midst of working on our seventh book together and I thank God all the time that I was paired with such a supportive editor who believes in me and my stories. Shana if you're here: SEVENTEEN MORE DAYS UNTIL GILMORE GIRLS!

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  25. What a SUPER concept!

    Thanks for sharing...

    I'm still unclear who rescued whoooo - our dogs or us?! :)
    And May has her own series so - you just don't know how God will use situations. As Janet mentioned, thanks for bringing awareness on these issues to many everywhere. What a blessing!

    May God continue to bless America!!!

    Have a wonderful day everyone. He IS gracious, merciful, righteous and in control, no matter how American elections turn out. :)

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  26. Good Morning Seekerville! Good Morning Shana!. What a great bunch of books that serve a wonderful purpose. I am anxious to read them all. We have a ranch near where I live that my church supports called Shiloh Ranch. Troubled children come there to ride, (horse therapy) and learn about Jesus. It would make a great setting for a book. I'll have to think on that one.

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  27. Hi everyone! Thanks so much for joining me and the authors today to chat about this amazing continuity series. I was so excited to combine the ranch setting, Texas and kids in this series and to learn about some real boys ranches in the process. And I love hearing about the programs available for kids near each of you. It's so great that there are caring people and opportunities out there for kids to get the chances and help they deserve.

    I also just wanted to make sure you all know that this continuity series does have 6 books, not just the 5 listed here. THE RANCHER'S TEXAS TWINS by Allie Pleiter is the final book in the series (out in March 2017), so you won't want to forget about that one that wraps everything up. But since she didn't have the personal experience to share that the other authors did--and we don't have a cover image available for her book yet--you don't see it listed here. But don't miss it!

    Keep the great conversation going today. I'll try to pop in from time to time, but you guys are really chatty here (which I love) and I have books to edit. :)

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  28. I can see why this series is close to your heart, Shana. Loved reading each author's personal experience stories. I'm in awe of foster and adoptive parents and those who work with troubled kids and teens. What an amazing blessing you all are!

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  29. Thank you Shana and all the authors for telling us the behind the scenes work on this series! I love that your idea sparked from one article, Shana, and you brought this whole series to life. In Canada, I've heard of Circle Square Ranches/Camps throughout several provinces which deal with "troubled" kids in foster care or from adoptive homes that need some extra support. Before I stayed home with my two children, I was the Executive Director of an overnight crisis shelter for homeless teens ages 16 to 21. And both of our special needs children are our through adoption and they are the light of our lives. "troubled" teens or children are near and dear to my heart. We wanted to bring something positive out of our infertility and adoption enabled us to have the family we always dreamed of having, plus our children have likely taught us more than we've ever taught them! I can't wait to read this series. Please put my name in the hat! I'm so impressed that Love Inspired is willing to tackle these sometimes tough circumstances.

    have a blessed day everyone!

    Laurie

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  30. Becky B! New profile picture! Love it.

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  31. I love reading the little excerpts. It's like we're getting to know the authors behind the books more. These all look amazing and I can't wait to read them.
    I'm not sure if there any any ranch programs in the area but what a great learning tool!

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  32. Bettie! Mount Grundy! Will check this out.

    Connie Queen, what is the name of the ranch you are referring to?

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    1. Mt. Mission school in Grundy Virginia.

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  33. Coffee is on the sidebar. Krispy Kreme donuts for Election Day too.

    And yes to Jess. That's a pun! I am rewarding myself daily with an episode of Gilmore Girls from the first season.

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  34. Connie Tillman, I am with you. Great to see some behind the scenes on this series.

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  35. Welcome, Shana! Congratulations to you and all the authors on this new series!

    I don't have personal experience with foster care, but I volunteered for many years at a therapeutic horseback riding center and saw firsthand the amazing positive changes in those children's lives.

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  36. Ladies of Lone Star League: Boys Ranch.

    So Shana edited all the books or your regular editors. How did that work?

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  37. Tina, it may be a different ranch than the one in the series, but my friend went to Cal Farley's Boy Ranch near Amarillo.

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  38. Welcome Shana! I love the idea of a boys ranch series. We have one (for boys and girls) in our area called All the Kings Horses Children's Ranch and they do fantastic work. I have more experience with children's home. The Cherokee Home for Children was close to my Texas hometown and my youth group used to volunteer there a lot. The work that they did was amazing.

    I can't wait to start on this series!

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  39. Tina - Shana edited the whole series and that was very helpful because she helped us keep details straight and caught little things that might have fallen through the cracks. I believe it created a very authentic feel to the series - the town of Haven feels real and all the little details about the town are the same in each book. She kept us in dialogue about our characters and had us read each others' stories so that the characters we wrote sounded the same in each story.

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  40. got my vote in...

    as for foster kids or special ranches, I'm not aware of anything around where I live now. I'm pretty sure there were a few in Colorado where I grew up. the only experience I have with foster kids is through my birth father. Apparently after he couldn't find me (after my birth mom gave me up for adoption since he married someone else about a month before I was born) - he and his wife fostered kids. They ended up adopting three sisters who shared a mom (who did drugs and alcohol during pregnancies) but had different dads and a boy whose mom couldn't support him. When I reconnected with my birth dad, his mom (who hadn't known about me) suddenly realized that I was the reason my birth dad fostered kids and then adopted some.

    Fostering is definitely a calling. A whole series based on troubled kids/fosterlings matched up with Texas ranching sounds like a terrific read and social eye opener. Continuities always impress me. Congrats to all the authors. The blurbs sound awesome.

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  41. Thanks for showcasing this series and Shana for visiting Seekerville. We have a Boy's Ranch in my area and there is one in Texas that we drew inspiration from to write these stories. Shana oversaw and worked with us closely on all six books in this series. She did a great job pulling this series together and working with the other five was fantastic!

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  42. WOW!!! Major editorial kudos for keeping that straight with six authors and six books.

    Super impressed. I am collecting the books for my shelf.

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  43. I love children, and my dream job would have involved them. I tried to get into the fostering, but at that time I was still living with my parents and that was not a good fit. So I did a lot of babysitting and worked with kindergarten for seven years. I hadn't heard about this series, but will definitely look for them (they are not readily available in my part of the country). Thanks for letting us in on the background of the authors.
    I don't know of any place like a boys or girls ranch in Alberta, but I've lived a very sheltered life. I have enrolled CeZar into the therapeutic Paws Of Canada group which provides one on one help with trouble children.
    Shana, thanks for telling us about the series!

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  44. Thank you to all the lovely authors for sharing their personal experience and to Shana for highlighting this wonderful continuity series.

    As a former child abuse investigator, this series is one that's near and dear to my heart. Though I transitioned to other careers over the years, I've never forgotten those past experiences, and the thing that encouraged those kids and families to persevere: hope. While heartache and loss are tough issues to broach, LI does so with sensitivity and compassion--necessary elements when writing successful stories about real-life issues.

    Our family, too, shares adoption stories. My nieces are bright, beautiful girls with big hearts and ready smiles. They hope to return to China one day, to the land of their heritage, where they might offer hope to those they left behind. They are a blessing!

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  45. "I have enrolled CeZar into the therapeutic Paws Of Canada group which provides one on one help with trouble children."

    This sounds like an awesome (Or in the words of KC Franzen and May the K9 Spy) a paw-some organization, Marianne.

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  46. Oh, Cynthia. I had no idea you did this: "As a former child abuse investigator..."

    You have way too much in your brain from this experience, I am sure. You can definitely touch hearts with your background. WOW.

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  47. "I'm so impressed that Love Inspired is willing to tackle these sometimes tough circumstances."

    So agree with you Laurie Wood.

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  48. Myra and Cindy R are now my resources for horse therapy. Thank you.

    And Cindy R!!! Congratulations on the Pages from the Heart Contest!!! WOOO HOO!!!

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  49. Connie Queen, you have your own personal ranch. You are amazing.

    I had to look up Cal Farley as it sounded so familiar.

    Cal Farley was an American professional wrestler and businessman. He has been called "America's Greatest Foster Father"

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  50. I oversaw all the manuscripts in this series and worked with the authors on revisions, but the actual line editing was done by a freelance editor who was fantastic about keeping all the details straight. I'm organized and a pretty decent stickler for consistency, but she did the really hard work of making sure the continuity aspects were consistent throughout all six books. So I'm sending your kudos her way! :)

    But I have to say, these authors were terrific about making each book really feel like it was the same setting and keeping the secondary characters in particular consistent throughout. Those are characters they created themselves, and they had to work together to make sure they each wrote them the same. Not easy!

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  51. Welcome Shana, Brenda, Deb, Lee, Margaret and Jessica! This sounds like an amazing series. I really look forward to reading the stories you described.

    For several years I worked on a Citizen's Review Panel, where we reviewed foster care cases for the juvenile court. So I've had a taste of working with the kids you're writing about. We witnessed a lot of pain, but also the beauty of children bonding with their foster families. I think your writing this series will touch a lot of hearts.

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  52. Allie, welcome to you, too! I missed including your name.

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  53. I don't suppose anyone remembers the 1946 film, Boys Ranch based on Cal Farley's ranch. This is what I am remembering Mr. Farley from.

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  54. WOW!!! And in your spare time, Shana? LOL.

    What a job.

    And did you give the art department a lifetime supply of Starbucks and chocolate for those AMAZING covers??

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    1. Right? We are all thrilled with our gorgeous covers. And they found wonderful models for my characters. Just as I pictured them.

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  55. WOW, what an impressive post about a VERY impressive series! WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, editor Shana and authors extraordinaire, and THANK YOU for such a heartfelt and inspirational post!!

    Ladies, your personal stories gave me goosebumps when I think about how much depth and authenticity your own experiences must sow into this incredible series! I have never written an actual "continuity series" myself, but I have a seven-book family saga series that I imagine must be along the same lines since all of my stories build on the last. And all I can say is -- I know how difficult it is for ME to keep track of 15 major characters in my saga (but only two heroes and heroines per book), so I can't even imagine how challenging it must be for six authors to keep track of common information on six heroes and heroines -- WOW!! Add to that the importance of the subject matter, and I am in total awe of this series and congratulate you all on an amazing effort. I pray it runs away with sales and awards!

    Question: Does one author compile the character profiles for this series, with all pertinent info (background, age, physical attributes) for all the others, or does each author submit their character/plot information to one main document? Are all authors responsible for continuity throughout all six books for seamless progression or only their own, leaving over continuity checks to the editors?

    Hugs and Thank You!
    Julie

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    1. In a continuity, the editor createst the plot and characters, even their names and what they look like. WE authors communicated back and forth a lot as we wrote to keep the continuity elements smooth.

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  56. Connie Tilman, I loved reading about them as well!

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  57. JESS KELLER SAID: "SEVENTEEN MORE DAYS UNTIL GILMORE GIRLS!"

    I absolutely ADORED Gilmore Girls when it first came out, but I seldom watch TV anymore, so is this a new Gilmore Girls or reruns of the old series? And where and when is it on?

    Hugs!
    Julie

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  58. Julie, it's called A Year in the Life (four part series) and will be available on Netflix on November 25. The current debate is which of Rory's beaus will win her heart this time around, Dean, Jess or what's his name. You may now go back into your cave. (Team Jess here)

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  59. This is wonderful and what we should be doing as authors...shining light in the dark places. Thank you, Shana.
    I've never done any of this personally, but I have always had a heart for children. My younger sister was a foster child first, then we adopted ,her, and she came from a pretty rough background. Kids do deserve better, and if we can point people to that as writers, so much the better.
    Kathy Bailey

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  60. TINA, while I'd never want to relive certain aspects of that career, it did indeed fuel my passion for the unloved and forgotten...and it did give me a certain depth to pull hard stories from as I write. I know you can relate (you're a nurse, right?) You probably have thousands of stories to tell!

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  61. I was SO thrilled and blessed to be asked to be a part of this continuity with this group of FANTASTIC authors and to be able to share a little about my sister's equine therapy program. With my hero Wyatt being the veterinarian, God worked it out perfectly.

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  62. Julie - It's BRAND NEW Gilmore Girls - four episodes/mini-series (a year in the life) that will all drop on Netflix on November 25th! I'm solidly #TeamJess and I can't wait.

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  63. I agree with Ruthy--Shana is an amazing editor to work with, and her continuity ideas have been fabulous!

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  64. I don't know of any such groups in my area, but my niece has adopted 3 beautiful girls. One is an eskimo girl that is now 4. It was an open adoption. She loves snow and prays for it every day. Then a year ago they adopted another little girl who is adorable I finally got to meet her on the week of her first birthday. Both girls are loved by our family and I don't know what we would do with out them. Both adoptions are open. They plan on sharing with the girls their adoption stories and introduce the eskimo daughter about the Eskimo culture and where she came from.

    This series sounds good. I did not know about it. Please enter me in the drawing for the books.

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  65. Glynna, I worked on one continuity, Safe Harbor, MANY moons ago, and then was blessed to be a part of the original Lone Star Cowboy League continuity that came out last year (2015-2016.) I believe the decision not to do any more continuities with Love Inspired contemporary came after we were well into this project. Shana can probably fill in the details.

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  66. Looks like a great series!

    Please enter me in the drawing.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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  67. Haha, Tina-- "Dean, Jess or what's his name" :)

    I'm also Team Jess, but I actually don't think Rory will end up with any of them.

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  68. LOL. No, don't tell me that. I really like Dean, but he's not Alpha male enough for my personal tastes. Jess = Bad boy.

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  69. Yes, Cynthia, my background is in geriatrics and oncology. Anyone who works with kids is a saint in my books. Authors included.

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  70. Debra Kastner, thanks for dropping by.

    TRIVIA: in the nineties, I was part of a critique group in Colorado with Deb. We met in a friend's kitchen once a week. She was the first one of the group to sell.

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    1. Ssshhhhhh! You are dating us here. Ha ha!

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  71. Julie--To answer your question about creation of the characters, etc., after I create the basic concept for the series, a freelance editor writes what we call a bible that outlines the overall storyline for all six books as well as the stories for each individual book and character information and descriptions. There's room for each author to flesh out her own story, but the main details are provided by me/us (the publisher). The bible is an incredibly detailed document, and we all reference it as we work to make sure we're keeping the details straight. But it's not infallible, and sometimes we tweak it as the books are written.

    It's not easy, so if you do find any inconsistencies as you're reading this series, I'll take the blame, but please grant me forgiveness! :)

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  72. I am a huge sucker for the bad boys, Tina! :)

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  73. I'm with Shana... I don't think Rory will end up with either... In fact my prediction is that a widowed or divorced dad comes on the scene, and Rory realizes that there's a huge difference between boys... and men.

    :)

    Because that's how I'D WRITE IT, LOL!

    No Logan... no Jess... Let 'em go someplace else and grow up.

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  74. Oh Tina, I've never seen the film on Cal Farley.

    I need to look that up.

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  75. Shana, I remember that our copy editor was wonderful at keeping details nailed for Big Montana Sky... Your oversight was perfect and kept us focused, but the copy editor really did a good job, too, of making sure we all matched... and Brenda was in on that one, too! So fun to work with these ladies!

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  76. I have a gut feeling she won't end up with any of them either. Sigh. But I'll always love Jess. A reformed bad boy who loves to read and ends up writing a book ... um, what's not to love???

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  77. I love rumor central.

    Will there be more continuities.....

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  78. I filled out the Art Fact Sheet and created a scene that I didn't use in the story. The AFS was done months before I wrote the book and had forgotten what I proposed. Shana had me go back in and show them building a snowman at the hero's ranch. The scene worked out great and fit the cover.

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    1. Ha ha. Same thing happened with me, Margaret. There were already goats in my book but not the scene that ended up on the cover so I had to go back in and add it.

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  79. So great to see you on Seekerville, Shana!! Wow, I am so impressed by the concepts and covers of these books, but it's truly amazing the experience each author has with troubled children. Readers are in for a treat!

    As for the Gilmore Girl discussion, I would like to write Rory a new boyfriend, one worthy of her! No married guy cheating on his wife and no entitled jerk who doesn't fully appreciate what he has. I feel as if I should shout something like, "Free Rory," or something! Haha!!

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  80. Margaret, it worked for sure. GORGEOUS COVER!!!

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  81. Bettie, I blame lack of coffee for my confusion.

    I did, however, look it up!! Thank you.

    http://mmskids.org/

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  82. I have loved all the Cowboy League books I have read. I especially like reading historic western fiction like LIH. Please enter me in the drawing.
    I really don't have any experience with children. I have 3 relatives who were adopted and they turned out well.

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  83. Welcome to Seekerville. You are in the drawing.

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  84. And welcome to the Lone Star Cowboy League: Boys Ranch

    Hmm, I wonder if they'll consider doing a Girl's Ranch??

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  85. Margaret and Deb--You guys were just so good at suggesting cover scenes that we wanted to use your suggestions! And I think both books are even stronger (and sweeter) for the added scenes. :)

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  86. I believe that is the first goat I have ever seen on a Love Inspired cover.

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  87. I went back and looked at all the covers. There's a real sense of motion and movement on all the covers. Like they are live. Well done!!

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  88. What a great continuity! Love those covers. Be still my heart. My daughter works with special needs kids and her love for them has rubbed off on me! God bless everyone who works with children with needs, whether behavior problems, physical handicaps or learning problems.

    How special that all the authors brought their own areas of interest to the series. Way to go, Shana, on a great story line and the perfect authors to write the stories.

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  89. Truett Cathy founded Chick-Fil-A and also established a lovely 1500 acre cattle ranch that provided residential living for foster children.

    Zac Brown has a camp for kids with special needs in our area as well.

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  90. Debby, I didn't know that about Chik-Fil-A. Must go look that up.

    I did look it up! WOW.

    At the time of his death, there were more than 1,800 Chick-fil-A restaurants in 40 states and Washington, D.C. Remarkably, Cathy led Chick-fil-A on an unparalleled record of 47 consecutive years of annual sales increases. Cathy's approach was largely driven by personal satisfaction and a sense of obligation to the community and its young people. His WinShape Foundation, founded in 1984, grew from his desire to "shape winners" by helping young people succeed in life through scholarships and other youth-support programs. The foundation provides 120 students at Berry College (Rome, Georgia) with experiential training in leadership and community.

    In addition to the training, WinShape Foundation provides a $4,000 scholarship to these students enrolled at Berry College. Also, through its Leadership Scholarship Program, the Chick-fil-A chain has given more than $32 million in $1,000 scholarships to Chick-fil-A restaurant employees since 1973. This year, the company will award more than $1.75 million in scholarships to its restaurant team members.

    As part of his WinShape Homes® program, 13 foster care homes have been established that are operated by the WinShape Foundation. These homes, accommodating up to 12 children with two full-time foster parents, provide long-term care for foster children within a positive family environment. WinShape Homes has provided a safe and secure home to more than 450 children, where they could grow physically, spiritually and emotionally.

    Another core component distinguishing WinShape programs is WinShape Camps®. It was founded in 1985 to impact young people and families through experiences that enhance their Christian faith, character and relationships. Each summer, more than 18,000 campers from throughout the country and abroad attend WinShape Camps.

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  91. I'm super excited to pick up the other three books in the series. Coming soon...
    The Rancher's Texas Twins (Lone Star Cowboy League: Boys Ranch) Mass Market Paperback – Large Print, February 21, 2017

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  92. I love that we have a baby goat on Deb's cover! And there's another scene in her book with the little boy and a goat... I won't spoil it for anyone, but I'm pretty sure it made me snort laugh!

    There's also an awesome line about pie in Jessica Keller's book. Everyone feel free to tweet me (@shana_asaro) when you get to it and let me know if it made you laugh out loud like it did me. :)

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  93. Okay, you have succeeded in moving books to the top of the TBR pile, Shana!!!

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  94. Welcome, Authors and Editor Shana - - loved reading these posts and seeing these amazing covers (love the goat too!).
    Children have always had my heart. During my 21 years of teaching young children, there were quite a few special-needs children I worked with (including a suicidal 6-year old - - heart-wrenching). Ditto what Debby Giusti mentioned about Truett Cathy's work with children---he did so much and his legacy lives on (especially in our area - I live in "Chickfila country" LOL - - his personal farm wasn't too far from where I live).
    I love supporting Cal Farley and always enjoy reading the updates and seeing pics they send in the mail. They seem to do amazing work.
    My daughter and son-in-law have 2 precious foster children, and the 4-year old has special needs (behavior---due to what he's been through). It breaks my heart at what so many children have been through (and many continue to go through) but how wonderful there are folks out there helping.
    Thanks again for visiting today, ladies! Looking forward to each of these books! :)
    Blessings, Patti Jo

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  95. Welcome, Shana! Such a great concept for a series. Love the covers.

    If any of you have tween daughters or granddaughters, you need to introduce them to the Keystone Stables series by Marsha Hubler and published by Zonderkidz (Harper Christian now...I think.)

    In the summer of 2001, I taught workshops and met with aspiring writers at the Montrose (PA) writers conference. Marsha pitched a Bible study to me, but I was looking for a tween girl horse series. During our appointment, I learned Marsha had raised and trained horses...and fostered numerous girls.

    Voila! By the time we left our rocking chairs on the Montrose front porch, we had brainstormed a series about a couple who fosters at-risk girls who live on their ranch and who are transformed by caring for and riding the horses.

    There are 5, 6, 7 books or more. It's hard to remember, but those novels are still bestsellers after 15 years. The covers have changed, but the stories still hold up and have changed girls lives. Marsha still receives fan letters, and more importantly, girls have received Jesus into their lives.

    Marsha still shares their emails with me. God has accomplished amazing things through her words. We had no idea at the time what would happen.

    Your words matter. Keep writing! Marsha had never written or published a novel. It was a total God-thing. :-)

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  96. That's an amazing story, Barbara!!!! I must look that series up. Thanks for sharing.

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  97. Patti Jo! There is a special place in heaven for teachers!

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  98. The sun is setting on the East Coast. Thank you to Shana and authors for sharing this wonderful series and the backstory with us!!! Thanks for spending the day with us.

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  99. I've learned several cool tidbits about Cal Farley and Truett Cathy in all these great comments. I'm impressed how many Villagers and their families have been involved with helping kids.

    Allie, to have the final book in this series, you're obviously considered a pro at tying up loose ends. And I don't mean the knitted kind! Congrats on your story.

    I enlarged the covers and they're even more beautiful book size.

    Janet



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  100. I've had no experience with the foster system seeing as both my parents care for and love me, but my mom does have a cousin whose children are in the system. I pray for them every night that they will find a home.

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  101. Janet, I'm with you. I learned a ton today.

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  102. Great post...great day in Seekerville. Thanks to the authors and to Shana! And, of course, our own Tina!

    Hugs to all!

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  103. TINA SAID: "Julie, it's called A Year in the Life (four part series) and will be available on Netflix on November 25. The current debate is which of Rory's beaus will win her heart this time around, Dean, Jess or what's his name. You may now go back into your cave. (Team Jess here)"

    LOL ... Team Jess?? I never pegged you for a bad-boy advocate, Ms. Radcliffe!!

    Yes, I apparently DO live in a cave (albeit with a lake in front of it) because I had NO CLUE this was coming, but then I don't have Netflix either. Keith and I went to vote, and he said, "Now see? This is nice, you coming out with me because you need to get out more often." Uh, no ... I'm a cave-dweller, I'm afraid, so THANK YOU for informing me of this, my friend. I will definitely look for it.

    Hugs,
    Julie



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  104. Shana: Our Sheriff's Office has a Sheriff's Ranch for boys. I volunteered for the Sheriff and became the secretary for all the volunteers. We did our best to raise funds for the ranch. Even held an early morning race to help them out. They have a thrift store that I donate to and all the proceeds from their sales go to the boys ranch. They do a wonderful job of raising wayward boys and getting them back on the right track. Who doesn't love cowboys? All the books sound interesting and the humor reference tempts me to read them. Thanks for sharing your great column today. Bless you.

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  105. All of these stories sound so meaningful. I haven't been involved personally but the Sheriff of our county supports a Children's ranch that is in our state by sponsoring a golf tournament each year.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  106. I am so very excited to read this series. What a fantastic combination. Yes, we love ranches. (I used to own an alpaca ranch.) And what better combination than foster/orphaned children. Great! I used to work in a small-town police department, as well as being involved with kids in many ways and now a soon-to-be grandmother of adopted siblings. These books are REALLY going to melt my heart. Blessings to you for being inspired and disciplined to tackle these tough topics. God's blessings to you all.

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  107. There are at least two or three ranches for troubled teens in my area but I really know nothing about them because they are in fairly remote areas and the county I live in is actually pretty big in size and small in population.

    This sounds like a great series to read and I thank you for the chance to win :)

    Blessings!
    Jasmine
    montanamade(at)gmail(dot)com

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  108. I've read Jessica Keller's The Texas Proposal, and, as all her books are, it was wonderfully-lovely!

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