Thursday, May 11, 2017

Taming the Wild West of Westerns... But Not Too Much!

I am going full-out Western on youse today due to one 
VERY GOOD EXCELLENT REASON:



Him.

The long-awaited release of "Peace in the Valley", Trey's story, was one week ago... and I'm so thrilled to have this beautiful story in readers' hands at long last!  Kudos to Kelly Howard of Waterbrook/Multnomah for the amazing covers on these books, and huge thanks to Shannon Marchese and Brandy Bruce for the editorial help on this one.

I love this story. I love Westerns. I grew up loving Westerns on TV, and I don't think I'd ever read one... but when Love Inspired invited me to be in on a Western continuity, I was hooked.... Head over heels. In love with a new sub-genre of romance: Western Inspirational Romance... With a splash of Women's Fiction on the side because I love bringing spunky, gutsy heroines on board for these books. I LOVE GUTSY, IN-YOUR-FACE HEROINES.

If we delve into that too deeply, it could possibly reveal way too much about the snarky author. But there you have it... and if you think that today's West isn't fraught with danger, take a look at "The Last American Cowboy" on Netflix, and you'll see some pretty gritty stuff... then throw in cougars, wolves, hills, mountains, family drama, drugs, alcohol, economic down times, political strife and federal land controls... Along with some firearms!..... And you've pretty much got the Old West,  prettied up enough to have an Interstate system for faster getaways!

Cowboy code is the basis for my Westerns, even the ones that have sheriffs or teachers (the upcoming "After the Storm" series), Manhattan investors and country crooners... (Trey's story, think a cross between Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley)...

But the "cowboy code" is clutch in the Western. We see it when Trey teaches a six-year-old boy the rules of the game, we see a true cowboy is strong enough to be gentle... as Trey advises Cody to be nice to his little sister and let her take the first cookie. From "Peace in the Valley":


“The polite thing to do would be to offer yours to her, or let her go first. Cowboy up, kid."

“You think I could be a cowboy?” The kid’s eyes rounded like saucers. He eyed Trey’s hat. “Like, for real?”

“Why not?”

“Well, I don’t have a horse.” Cody waited until Belle had selected a cookie, then closed the bin. “Or a hat or a saddle or anything.”

Trey stooped low. “Bein’ a cowboy isn’t about what you’re wearin’ or ridin’, my friend.”

“It’s not?” Cody stared at him, puzzled.

“No sir.” Trey shook his head and kept his face serious. “It’s about what’s up here.” He tapped the side of his head. “And here.” He clapped his hand over his heart. “The rest is just window dressin’, but a true cowboy comes from inside you, in everything you say and do. Being strong, but being nice. Giving directions, but following directions too.”

“Like cooperating?” Cody asked. “We learned about that in school.”

“Exactly like that.”

“But then do I get a hat, maybe?” He eyed Trey’s hat and the broad Western display in Ham’s front window. “So everyone will know I’m bein’ a cowboy?

“Maybe then.”

“I didn’t know.” The kid glanced around as if he’d just discovered an ultimate truism.

“And now you do."

Trey was taught the good and the bad by one of the toughest cowboys in the PNW... his father, Sam Stafford. But Trey doesn't see the gruff, egotistical, self-centered man who made more enemies than friends over three decades of ranching after losing his first wife in a tragic accident... he sees the man who saved him from a life of squalor.... the big, broad, Stetson-wearing cowboy who swept up a little boy, wet pants and all... and made him his own.

Cowboy code is balancing the good with the bad, but making sure the good wins. Cowboy code is doing the James Garner twinkle-in-the-eye while knowing you've got the fastest gun in the west at your side. Cowboy code is sacrificial love because the horse or the cow or the calf or the kid comes first... and then the cowboy worries about his comfort.

Cowboy code sets the rancher and men of the west apart. It creates an ambiance that transcends the world of technology, while embracing what technology can do.


"Strong enough to be gentle".... 

Have I mentioned that all three books are available at Walmarts and grocery stores nationwide, anywhere you can find Love Inspired books or mass market paperback displays... Like almost EVERYWHERE!!! But if you can't find them, here's an Amazon link for each, because yes... I want you to buy them, and read them, and love them.

Why else would I write them? Oh, you sillies! :)

Back in the Saddle (Amazon)

Home on the Range (Amazon)

Peace in the Valley (Amazon) 

Cowboy code shows the honor within... and the struggle that goes alongside the honor. It highlights the humor and downplays the pain... but never pretends the pain isn't there. It's just managed.

The old-fashioned pioneer spirit and mindset still thrives through a lot of the West and Midwest... there are some who would water it down, some who raise eyebrows at it, and some who will never understand it...

But for those who value the hard work, honor and valor it takes to work the land, handle animals, (as big as a Clydesdale, as small as a newborn baby goat), patch plumbing and run electric... tape wounds and kiss boo-boos.... You'll understand that Western attraction and the men who feed it.


Heroes who are always strong enough to be gentle... As needed.

Hey, for your upcoming travels, I have an AUDIBLE copy of Back in the Saddle for one lucky commenter! I am over the moon excited that they've brought the books out in audible, huge thanks to Waterbrook and Penguin/Random House! 


Come on inside, grab a cuppa or a glass of sweet tea and tell me what you like... or don't like... about westerns. And  you can be sure if you vote the "don't like" side... I'm still gonna be downright nice to ya'. Because that's how we roll here. :)



Multi-published, award-winning and bestselling inspirational author Ruthy Logan Herne is living her dream of writing great stories with unforgettable characters that leave folks wanting more.... and when she's done making jam and tending babies and building chicken coops, she gives her readers exactly that! A woman who isn't afraid to take research to extremes (including table saws and nail guns!) Ruthy lives on a small farm in Western New York where the change of seasons and constant stream of folks in and out of her doors feeds her writing fancy of "What if...?"  Friend her on facebook, follow her on Twitter, visit her website ruthloganherne.com ... or come see her making delicious food today at the Yankee Belle Cafe! She'll dish you up a plate of Ruthy's finest old fashioned coconut custard pie... made just for you!  

134 comments :

  1. Hi Ruth:

    Since you have studied the subject can you tell us this: if there was a Code of Romance, what parts would overlap with the Code of the West?

    Vince

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    1. Vince, what an intriguing question... My humble opinion says the code of romance is multiplied by two. It's the combination of hero and heroine, climbing their arcs to their happily ever after...

      But the cowboy code as we see it (or glamorize it!) is the sacrificial spirit, the industry, putting critters and others first... Do you remember Paul Harvey's

      So God Made a Farmer

      I love this, it's what I think of when I think cowboy code... with horses, of course.

      I see the cowboy code as singular and romance as delightfully plural!

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    2. Link isn't working.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRDaPEaDJ7E

      Let's see if this does for copy and paste!

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    3. I've listened to that God Made a Farmer sound bite a few times. I'm a big old Paul Harvey fan.

      And so much truth in that, except, I gotta give you the bad news.

      No farmer ever spends time "Fixing the broken leg of a meadowlark." Sorry. I figure they hit the meadowlark with their truck to begin with and they just drive on. Figure they're filling some 'survival of the fittest' slot in the world around them.

      If you're a meadowlark who'd too dumb to get out the way of an oncoming truck, you probably shouldn't reproduce.

      It strengthens the species.

      PS Turkey buzzards will clean up the mess. Buzzards need to eat and almost always fly out of the way of an oncoming truck.

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    4. Laughing out loud, Mary!

      Nancy C

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    5. Okay, I've got a problem with a couple of lines, the whole waiting for lunch things because the ladies are taking too long with their meeting???? Pshaw. ;)

      But it's such a nice Paul Harvey moment!

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    6. My Cowboy learned how to make himself a sandwich like.....DECADES AGO!

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    7. Your cowboy makes soup.... I'm mighty impressed, I must say.

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  2. The Code of Romance? Hmmm. Must look that up, Vince. I found the Code of the West created by the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership.
    Code of the West

    1) Live each day with courage.
    2) Take pride in your work.
    3) Always finish what you start.
    4) Do what has to be done.
    5) Be tough, but fair.
    6) When you make a promise, keep it.
    7) Ride for the brand.
    8) Talk less and say more.
    9) Remember that some things
    aren't for sale.
    10) Know where to draw the line.

    I thought that the rules of romance were simply:

    One guy. One girl. One Happily-Ever-After.

    Hmmm, must think on this.

    In the meantime, congratulations to Ruth on another fabulous release in the Double S Ranch series.

    Three cheers for cowboys and love!!!

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    1. Tina, that is so beyond perfect that I can't even imagine.

      #mustlovecowboys!!!!

      Thank you!

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    2. Thanks for sharing that, Tina!

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    3. Part of the Eulogy at John Wayne's funeral, read by his son.

      John Wayne’s Code of the American Cowboy.

      A cowboy does not judge color of skin, but by character within.
      A cowboy always respects a lady and tips his hat to all that pass him.
      A cowboy stands strong for what the American Frontier is all about. Freedom, truth, justice and the American way.
      A cowboy will not be wronged, nor wrong another. The justice he deems out depends on that.
      A cowboy is loyal and hard working and maintains a high ethic.
      A cowboy loves his country, and will fight for its principals and sovereignty.
      A cowboy respects his animals and the earth they roam upon.
      A cowboy is faithful to what is entrusted to him.
      A cowboy is bound by duty, honor and gratitude for what God has given him, which includes his family and friends.

      10. A cowboy maintains a hidden code in his heart...for all to see.

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    4. Pretty good guidelines for non-cowboys, too :-)

      Nancy C

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    5. Mary, I've heard that and looked for it, but didn't find it... Isn't that the perfect summation of cowboy code????

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    6. Hi Tina & Mary:

      These codes are outstanding. I think if one writes cowboys, it would be a good idea to have them posted on the wall next to the Writer's Prayer.

      I believe that every well written book has at least three different Moral Premises.

      For example: would the below Moral Premise work for just about any western:

      If you live by the Cowboy moral code you will lead an honorable and worthy life
      But
      If you do not live by this code, you'll face an unhappy life without honor.

      I think it would and if we had such a code for Romance Writing, I also think that could form a universal Moral Premise.

      How about a future blog on a Code of Ethics for romances?

      I think the Grammar Queen could do an admirable job of this.

      Vince

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  3. Congratulations, Ruthy! Audible...how cool! I have wonderful memories of watching Gunsmoke and Bonanza every Saturday night with my family. Today, my father watches "Saddle up Saturday" on one of the cable channels. They show all of the great old westerns.

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    1. Jill, I've never heard of "Saddle Up Saturday"!!! How cool is that?

      And I'm thrilled that they're releasing the Audibles now. And I love the narrator's voice and inflection, so I'm happy dancing in WNY!!!

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    2. Jill, Saddle Up Saturday! I love it! Is that AMC? My husband watches westerns all day on Saturdays. I loved Gunsmoke and Bonanza.

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    3. Well, I had no idea! I'm going to have to check this out!!!! My mother was a big Gunsmoke lover (Matt Dillon????) and I loved Bonanza.... Which was part of the Double S background, Bonanza meets The Big Valley meets My Three Sons...

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    4. Here's the link, Sally. It's on Inspy.
      http://www.insp.com/shows/saddle-up-saturday-2/

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    5. My mom wouldn't let us watch Bonanza. Too violent. We had to watch Ed Sullivan.
      (isn't that sort of adorable of my mom?)
      But I got them later on reruns.

      So not so much with the westerns...no Gunsmoke either.

      But I know who Topo Gigio is.

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    6. Glad I went with Cowboys to write instead of odd little puppet mice. Topo Gigio

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    7. Your attitude about mice needs help. SERIOUS HELP!!!!!

      Topo was so stinkin' cute! We only got one channel, whatever one Ed Sullivan was on. CBS, maybe? And that was until I was like 13 or 14.... So if it was on that channel, I got to see it. But I was such a voracious reader, that I didn't care.... I had a library card!!!

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  4. Good morning Ruthy,
    I am about halfway through "Home On the Range" and loving it.
    Why are we fascinated with Westerns? Because they embody the American spirit.
    I agree with you about the "cowboy code." Pace Williams, a secondary character in my first Oregon Trail story and the hero in the second, embodies the Code. His integrity is all he has after a horrific childhood and rootless adult life. He even says at one point, "A man's word is all he got if he don't have religion." Of course this being inspirational writing Pace GETS religion. And the girl.
    I have always loved John Wayne's cowboys. My favorite John Wayne films are "Red River," the epic cattle drive, and "The Searchers." Also love "The Alamo," where he plays a seasoned, end-of-life Davy Crockett to perfection. He symbolized the best of us.
    The Western journey and the Western lifestyle is the living out of the American spirit. The American spirit that broke away from the most powerful nation on earth at the time (Lexington and Concord, I'm also an Eastern girl), opened the West, survived a divided nation and came back together, and won two World Wars for Europe because it was the right thing to do. Yay, yay, USA! And it isn't even the Fourth of July yet.
    Must go, temp job is waiting, will try to check in later.
    Kathy Bailey
    Living the American Spirit in New Hampshire

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    1. Kaybee, you made such a great point! The origins of our rugged independence lay in those early colonists, brave enough to cross an ocean in wooden boats to come to NOTHING.... and start anew.

      And then to break away from Britain! The shot heard round the world, the declaration, the 2nd Continental Congress, the failing farms and ununiformed troops....

      And then the pioneers, showing the courage to trek west, again into nothingness by comparison.

      And I know the dark sides of the trek west, too, the displacement of the Native Americans because man is nothing if not greedy... but that doesn't keep me from respecting the amazing fortitude it took to populate the heartland and keep heading west.

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    2. Good points, R. Nobody ever said we were perfect.

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  5. I grew up watching westerns like Cimarron Strip with Stuart Whitman, Big Valley, Lone Ranger, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers,Daniel Boone, the Virginian, and reading Louis L'Amour. Now with inspirational westerns, it's like getting the best of both worlds! Cannot wait to read Peace in the Valley!

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    1. I am in total agreement! I was on Petticoats and Pistols last week and it's fun to see how many Western lovers there are! I'm so glad to have stumbled into a niche I love!

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    2. Sally, I love all those, including Louis L'Amour.
      I got a chance to meet The Virginian (James Drury)like 3 years ago. He was at an event the past weekend but we missed him. He's 83!!! I just love that guy.

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    3. Ruthy, I had no idea until a few years ago there was even such a thing. I'm reading Sherri Shackleford's A Temporary Family. It's got stagecoach robbers after a gold shipment. I'm in love with the hero!

      Connie, that would have been awesome! James Best, Roscoe from the Dukes of Hazard, played in a western. I loved him as an actor.

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    4. We did get to watch Saturday morning cartoons. I was a faithful Roy Rogers fan. Then I loved The Big Valley.

      My Cowboy said he HATED the Big Valley.
      He won't say why exactly but I suspect it was that bossy mother.

      (who I LOVED!)

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    5. I loved the mother! She kept them all in line lol.

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    6. Barbara Stanwyck.... I loved her, too. She was take-charge saucy!!!! :) My kind of woman.

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    7. She was cracking that whip from can see to can't see! Go Victoria Barkley.

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    8. Well, you and I are the non-sensitive types... so of course she'd appeal to us!!!

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  6. Hi Ruthy,
    Congratulations on releasing the fabulous trifecta of modern day cowboy westerns! I love those Stafford brothers, each with their own personal slant on what it was like to grow up with Sam Stafford for a father. The latest, Peace in the Valley, has Trey, mega music superstar, forever grateful for being rescued from a life of misery and want at such a young age, overflowing with compassion because of it. What a great swoon-worthy hero! And his counterpart Lucy, strong in spite of difficult circumstances, needy but beyond grateful for the smallest of blessings! What a wonderful pair to watch overcome the roadblocks to happy ever after! Loved it! (Sounds like I'm writing a review but I've already done that, lol.)

    I must say however, I fell in love with Nick in Home on the Range and it would be wrong to be in love with more than one brother at a time, haha.

    Can't wait for the next book reading feast to be laid out in the upcoming After the Storm series!
    Keep on writing, the Ruthy fan club awaits :)

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    1. Oh, you bless me so much, Tracey! And huge thank yous for the reviews. You always make me feel invinceable (which I'm not) but I get to feel like that for a DAY. Maybe TWO DAYS!!!!

      I love how people are reacting to "Peace in the Valley".... I love Lucy and those kids. :) But of course one of my favorite characters of all is Cheyenne Stafford, because Cheyenne is longing for love and stability and a mother... the same thing so many American children yearn for.

      I love that kid! Dakota (on the Home on the Range cover) is so EASY TO LOVE... Cheyenne is one of those kids who requires adults to go beyond the easy love and straight to the sacrificial side of things.

      I love that kid!

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    2. Yes, I love Cheyenne too. I've known a few girls like her and Nick's heart to unlock all the need in her was beyond true love. And Elsa helping him do that added to that love he felt for Elsa. Swoon all way round!

      Dakota on that cover, feeling the security of her holding on to her daddy, that was enough for her, I think I fell in love with Nick right then and there!

      And then in Peace in the Valley, a glimpse of Elsa acting the part of mother to the girls, I just want to sit and think about that progression of their family. That was one of my favorite things in Peace in the Valley (besides the great story) the updates on the whole Stafford clan. The whole thing made me so happy I want the story to go on and on. Did you see my HINT in my review? I was throwing out suggestions hoping maybe Ashley a few yrs down the road would find a love and we could catch another glimpse of the Staffords (and Nick) As you can see, I'm just not over this family yet. Have a heart Ruthy, I'd settle for even a Christmas novella!

      One more thing, I remember when you had the contest for the boys names in Peace in the Valley and I threw out Cade and Cody, and you picked them! I was so excited to see those names in the book. So cool!

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    3. Tracey, aren't they great names for those boys??? You done good!

      And I'm thinking about going indie with further Stafford stories... we've got folks asking and how much fun would that be? Rye should have a story... and Josh Washington... And maybe Ashley, grown up? And we could see the clan with BABIES running around??? :)

      Oh be still my heart with more babies on the Double S!

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  7. Hi Ruthy, Congratulations on your release. How exciting and yes, the covers have been wonderful. I loved cowboy shows on TV growing up. Bonanza, Rawhide and my favorite, Zorro. I also knew a lot of cowboys and they were just normal people and some not so nice. I don't think they knew about your code of honor. LOL. But we're writing fiction and romance and happily ever-afters, not reality. Who wants that???

    Again, congrats.

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    1. Sandra, that's a good point. Not all cowboys embrace the cowboy code or the code of the west.... Some are jerks. Mary's got a few of those in her books, and they make it real!

      We've got a rough-and-tumble alcoholic cowboy in the Double S series... he's a cowboy but not a good one. I suppose it's like anything, Sandra... a good person is a good person. :)

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    2. "...a good person is a good person..." and hard to find.

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    3. Vince, true words! Although I don't think they're hard to find at all, I think some folks just hang out with the wrong people.

      There are so many good people out there.

      But there's always a few bozos to mess with stuff.

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    4. Hi Ruth:

      I have to agree that you are right about there being many good people. I was actually thinking about a 'good man' being hard to find and this was in the context of that man not being married and also willing to commit! Now it's probably true that these guys are hard to find.

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  8. SUPER CONGRATS AGAIN, RUTHY, ON THE BEAUTIFUL BOOKS! Fab covers and fab insides makes for a truly fab read!!

    Tracey said: "I must say however, I fell in love with Nick in Home on the Range and it would be wrong to be in love with more than one brother at a time, haha."

    LOL ... we obviously have different values, Tracey! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie


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    1. Haha Julie, I love Trey, I just can't be in love with him, Nick wouldn't go for that!

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    2. Laughing! No loving two brothers, ay yi yi!!! You two are a hoot!

      Nick's a fave, for sure. Although I love Colt, too. He's got that appreciation for NYC and big money and he's got an inside view on what makes the world go round... and why it's wrong... and he lost his VERY BEST MOTHER EVER!!!! Think of how different everything would be if Christine Stafford hadn't died that day???

      And that's the life-changer that comes full circle.

      One day. One stinkin', tragic mis-step... and then it's over thirty years of anguish to fix it.

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    3. Tracey, go ahead and love them both. It'd make a good romance novel!!!! Loving two brothers!

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    4. Well, they are fictional, so no harm, right??? :)

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    5. Funny MARY! but I just can't do it, I'm not that kind of girl!

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    6. Talk about loving two brothers, I just heard a Patsy Cline song for the first time that may be perfect for the guy who loves two sisters!

      "When I get thru with you"

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6k9mg5rSqd8

      What if your heroine is named Sue and the other sister plays this song on the jukebox when having coffee with the hero.

      "You're being cute again, aren't you Charity?"

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  9. Ruthy, I saw your books in Walmart the other day. That is soooo cool. Love the covers.

    So proud of you.

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    1. Connie, I'm so excited about this! It's absolutely delightful, isn't it??? I go there just to SWOON at my covers!!!! (fairly true story) :)

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    2. Connie, and to think we know HER! Well, mostly! :)

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    3. Hahahahahahah!!!! I know you, too!!!!

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  10. Congrats on the new release, Ruthy! Those are amazing covers!

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    1. Missy, thank you! Kelly Howard and her team are totally amazing. The feel on each cover is totally the man inside the pages. I love them.

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  11. Thanks Ruthy for a great post. My biggest reason for enjoying westerns is that they remind me of my Daddy! He loved to watch them on TV and in movies and I grew up watching them with him. And as I read The Code of the West that was shared in a comment I realized that even though he lived all of his life in Kentucky, that was the code that he followed!
    I would love to have my name thrown in the cowboy hat!
    Blessings and Happy Mother's Day!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Connie, throwing your name in and I think you guys will love, love, love this audible edition. I don't always like the voices for audibles, but this one is perfect. LOVE IT!!!! And how cool to have those memories of you and Dad!

      Hey, Kentucky boys know how to saddle up and pull boots on. They're totally cowboy code in my book!

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  12. Ruthy, congratulations on the release of Peace in the Valley! I love cowboys. Grew up watching them on TV too. Your excerpt is wonderful. Love the strong enough to be gentle cowboy code!

    Janet

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    1. Janet, they have such an allure.... the nice ones, anyway! And the strong enough to be gentle is a line from one of the books and I love that line... it paints a picture for me!

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    1. oops - wrote Trey Walker (a football player at my Alma Mater) I am also crushing on so trying it again. . .

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    2. Well you know he is Trey Walker Stafford.... so it's an easy mistake!!!!

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  14. Seriously people - everyone in Seekerville needs to read this book, even if you haven't read the first two. I am totally in love with Trey Stafford and having a little trouble sharing him with his lovely heroine, but other than that - oh yeah. Ruthy has outdone herself here. If you don't think you like westerns, I'm guessing you are about to change your mind once you open Peace in the Valley. Like Connie, I love westerns because I grew up that way - with my daddy reading and watching them. I'm giving this set to my mama for Mother's Day and I know my dad will read them too!

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    1. Cindy, I LOVE YOU. That's all I'm going to say. :)

      What a lovely thing to say, and I'm so glad you loved it! Me, too. Telling Trey's story (a story that I visualized several years ago but didn't have the right series for it) was like something you've waited to do for years... and finally could do it! And I had to design the first two stories around what I knew Trey's story would be... because they had to feed into his seamlessly... and gosh, I think it worked. I love all three of them, and thank you for reminding folks that even if they just grab one, out of sequence.... they'll love it!

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  15. I agree with Cindy Regnier, everybody needs to read Peace in the Valley! It's a great story that will move you.

    The cover picture of Trey is a great portrayal of the man. Great cover, Ruthy!

    Thanks for sharing today about cowboys and stories.

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    1. Oh, bless you! I'm so glad you loved it. That means so much to me, Jackie... because I loved the first two books, I was so delighted with how they turned out... WHAT IF I FLUBBED BOOK 3????

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  16. RUTHY, love, love, LOVED Back in the Saddle! I still need to get Home on the Range and Peace in the Valley. And I've copied the cherry cake recipe from Back in the Saddle and I hope to make it for the fam this summer.

    The Stafford clan. Ahhh... They've endeared themselves to me. I want to visit their ranch someday. Wait! *pinches self* THIS is a story. Fiction, right? :-)

    And what a fine story, it is. LOVE the way you write! And I love your heart, Ruthy. Thanks for taking me awaaaay!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Cynthia, thank you! Angelina's cherry cake recipe is amazing! It's such a fun PINK!!!! Must love pink cake and maraschino cherries!!! I buy the ginormous jar at Sam's Club. I could eat the whole thing myself, I'm sorry to admit!

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    2. I'm with ya! Maraschino cherries are the best!

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    3. We can still be friends. Yay!!!!!!

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  17. Readers love cowboys...strong manly men who make wonderful heroes! Congrats on your success, Ruthy!

    I can see you in a cowgirl hat and boots! Have you made those purchases yet?

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    1. I'm not sure where my answer went here... so if it shows up twice, we'll delight one! DEBBY!!!! I READ THE OPENING PAGES OF YOUR NEW BOOK AND IT'S THE BEST EVER. I'm not kidding.

      I can't wait to get back to it and I'm not supposed to be reading now. It's not on the schedule. BUT NOW IT IS!!!!

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  18. RUTHY, congrats on your release! I grew up reading my Daddy's Louis L'Amour books.

    (((((HUGS)))))

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    1. Caryl, thank you! I am absolutely happy dancing over it!!!! And Louis L'Amour.... Classic!!!

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  19. I'm going to be completely honest. I never really saw the appeal of cowboys. Then again, I never read Westerns a lot. Or watched them. I'm more of a spy/superhero girl. But the way you described them definitely makes them sound appealing.

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    1. Boo... they are. It's a manly man kind of thing, very different from other characterizations... and I love a great Western. And all those old westerns! My friend brought me a copy of True Grit with Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn... and my husband is a huge fan of Clint Eastwood westerns (although they're too gritty for me)...

      But man, you had to be rugged to survive and thrive out west.

      But I just have to love a man who loves his horse and dogs. :) That says so much right there!

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  20. Ruthy, dear! Just when I think your writing career is as good as it gets, it takes another upturn! AUDIBLE! Congratulations!

    And you've found the heart of the true cowboy. One thing I've loved learning to know since we moved to the Wild West six years ago is that the romantic cowboy image is true. Of course there are sour apples in every batch, but for the most part cowboys are "strong enough to be gentle," just like you say.

    And handsome! Be still my heart! The next best thing to my dear husband's smiling face is seeing a cowboy. There's something about what the years of sun and wind do to laugh lines. And that working-all-day and into-the-night body looks right in a pair of blue jeans. Then when you put a Stetson into the mix...

    And I've seen that same rugged cowboy's eyes get teary when he speaks of calves and cows that have died due to a sudden change in the winter weather - and it happened on his watch.

    But there's nothing I appreciate more than the sight of one of my cowboy buddies tossing his two-year-old son up in the air, both of them full of giggles.

    And before you ask, yes! I do have another western in the works. :)

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    1. BTW (for Ruthy's eyes only!) - You forgot to hit "publish" on your Yankee Belle post for today! That Coconut Custard Pie looks delicious!

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    2. Jan, did I really???? (runs to fix typical Ruthy mistake and the world didn't end....)

      Thank you for telling me, that's such a rookie mistake.

      And I got that ready last week when I made that amazing, mouth-watering, to-die-for old fashioned pie.

      And I made another one yesterday...

      I will never be a skinny person, Jan!!!!

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    3. Skinny people are overrated. ;)

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  21. I LOVE this series sooooooooooooooooooooooooo much. And I'm still addle-brained over Trey. Sigh. I love Ruthy Westerns.

    My first experience with the wild west was probably when Trixie Belden went to a dude ranch. LOL After that I started noticing cowboys in books and on TV.

    There's just something about a cowboy romance. Such a lure for this city girl! Even though in real life I'd be the annoying secondary character squealing over every little thing -- especially snakes! Eep!!! So I guess one of the reasons I love Westerns is because it lets me pretend to be adventurous as I live vicariously through the heroine. :-)

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    1. I love Trixie!!!! And I loved Cherry Ames, Dude Ranch Nurse. :)

      Oh be still my heart, I do love horses. I don't know as much about them as Myra, but I love 'em. But I mostly love cowboys.

      On or off horses.

      I digress.

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  22. That was a great scene, Ruthy.
    Loved this book!

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    1. I mean the scene in the blog post (I realize I'm about 100 comments in!) The one where Trey explains being a cowboy to the little boy.

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    2. Those fighting little boys were patterned after boys I know well. VERY, VERY WELL. :)

      And stitches.

      We know stitches. Stitch him up, send 'em home.

      Oh mylanta. Trey's got Cody in the store because his brother Cade's getting stitched up after they fought.

      BOYS!!!!

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  23. I also really liked how you talked about music.

    As an author I find it fascinating that some people think in song lyrics. Or in poetry.

    I find that cool and kind of mysterious. And you talked about it in such an interesting way. How did you get that? Did you talk to a songwriter?

    It was great

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    1. I may or may not have written a whole lot of poetry and some music in my time. :) I love poetry. Snarky Ruthy LOVES poetry.

      I can sit down and lose myself in the sweetness of old poems, and I love creating poems.

      And I think that song could be a hit! :)

      I wanna be a "Coffee Shop Mom", too!!!! Dagnabbit.

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  24. Ruthy and cowboys, I admit I did NOT see this coming!!!

    YAY! Cowboys!

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    1. I copied you. I am a copycat success story. I copy the people who enjoy success.

      I will never understand why you don't all get this????

      COPY MARY AND YOU'LL BE FINE!!!!!

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  25. I'm just ever so glad I don't have to choose between the Staffords :-) Wonderful books, Ruthy! Keep 'em coming, please.

    Nancy C

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    1. Thank you, Nancy! They are a fine bunch of men! And I love Murt and Hobbs... now there are two fine, aged cowboys right there, the kind who know their way around a barn and a pasture... and possibly a saloon or two. Back in the day!

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  26. Ruthy, I loved all 3 of these books! I'm always a little sad when a series ends, I think I miss these characters that I feel like I've just gotten to know. Westerns are definitely my favorite! My Dad took me to all of John Wayne's westerns when I was little (because I liked the horses he said) and I have loved them ever since. I remember telling everyone I was going to be a cowgirl when I grew up. That didn't happen, but when I'm immersed in a good book it almost feels like I am right there! Thank you for allowing my childhood dream to come true!

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    1. Julia, I'm so honored and happy that you loved them! And I'll let you know if we can carve a niche of time out to do a few more because I love these guys, too... but I'm loving how much readers are bonding with them.

      Readers are like the Best Things Ever!!!!

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  27. I always LOVE a Ruthy-post!! :) Always!
    "Strong enough to be gentle." Love that - - perfectly describes your cowboys. (I'm releasing a long, southern sigh... ;) )
    I really really enjoyed BACK IN THE SADDLE and will get to the next 2 very soon!
    And may I go ahead and say I'm already super excited about your Wishing Bridge story coming out later on (I know that's not related to your post today but wanted to add that, hehe!)
    CONGRATULATIONS on your success and amazing career!
    You are an inspiration and encouragement to so many - - including moi!!
    Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo :)

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    1. Patti Jo, I love that quote. It says so much and that's exactly how I wanted these men to be... It's funny when I suggested that on memes, the publishers changed it to "Where the cowboys are strong and gentle."

      Well that's not the same at all.

      I love my quote because of the hidden inference that it takes a strong man to have a gentle side.

      Isn't that funny??? I'm so glad you got it, and other readers have, too... I love that description, even though I wrote it, LOL!

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  28. RUTHY!!! Congratulation on the release of Peace in the Valley! As I mentioned in my review, this is my all-time favorite Ruthy book. I agree with the others....Trey is an amazing hero and the satisfying conclusion with the previous characters was beautiful!

    Since I've lived in small mining/ranching communities for many years, I can attest that the "strong enough to be gentle" western man still exists....great self-sacrificing heros!

    Celebrating your faith-filled books and success always, Ruthy!

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    1. Hello, my friend! And thank you for that amazing review, it meant the world to me! And I had so much fun tying up those Stafford loose ends, and helping Sam. I LOVE SAM. It is easier for a camel to fit through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven....

      Sam has aced that camel!!! :)

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  29. I've not read all that many Westerns, I'm more of a fantasy gal myself.

    But let's not forget about the cowboys of the fantasy world: rangers. They've a lot of things in common with cowboys. And I believe that Strider is a perfect example of this.

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    1. Nicki, I used to love fantasy... I still like some, but more along the myth lines, fairytale style. Myths with morals. But there's so little time right now that I haven't been able to write any more of that. I'm waiting on God's timing because I love writing romance... and I love writing Westerns, Nicki!!!

      So you mean Strider (Aragorn) from Lord of the Rings? Viggo Morgenstern was smoking hot in that role and he did such a good job.

      THOSE ARE SUCH GOOD BOOKS!!!!!

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  30. Cognitive Dissidence?

    Given the time we spend here in Seekerville discussing tormenting characters and creating conflict, is the title "Peace in the Valley" causing a little cognitive dissidence out there?

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    1. Isn't that funny??? Ah, the irony.

      You know the hymn named the book... I needed something that kind of wrapped Trey up because his story is so distinctly different... He's not Sam's son, or their real brother.... and he was shrugged off by the two people who should love him most, and then his wife found drugs and partying more important than their love, their life...

      So there he is, rich and famous and handsome and skilled with an empty, gaping hole inside.

      I love those lyrics so much. It's such a lament, such a hope, such a prayer....

      I pull it up on YouTube just to hear Elvis sing it! :)

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    2. Ruth:

      I just watched that Elvis video and I believe that Elvis is still more handsome than anyone out there today.

      I've thought about this and really I think the title is missing the next word:



      "Peace in the Valley, Someday"


      There's your conflict. No dissidence whatsoever. :)

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    3. Naw... although I see what you're saying. The titles were perfect and they let me pick them. Back in the Saddle is the ideal for a cowboy coming home... Home on the Range for the cowboy who comes back to the ranch to raise his family... and then Peace in the Valley we talked about.

      Vince, you would love the wide, sprawling Kittitas Valley up there in the Cascade Mountain range. It's lush and gorgeous.

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  31. Hi Tina:

    I would add this to the Cowboy Code:

    Don't ask about a person's past.

    Never turn down a cowboy working the grub line.

    Also, two Cowboy Rules of Thumb:

    1. Always shake your boots out upon waking up before you put them on.

    2. Always turn around and check your back trail often when riding because where you are headed doesn't usually look like where you've been.

    Does anyone have more Rules of Thumb to add?

    Vince

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    1. Vince, this has always been one of my favorites: "Don't interfere with something that ain’t bothering you none." Not sure who came up with that, but it sounds like good advice :-)

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    2. I found (what seems to be) the source, "The Cowboy's Guide to Life" It made the rounds on Facebook (with different names) so I'm not sure who to credit as the source. This is another good one from the list: "Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway."

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  32. Congrats Ruthy!! Can't wait to read Peace in the Valley!

    I'm a great fan of Westerns, historical or contemporary! Watched a lot of cowboy...and cowgirl shows in my childhood! Neighborhood boys nicknamed me Annie Oakley! (When you only have boys in your neighborhood, you play with cap guns a BB rifles!)

    I've had experience with cowboys! They don't usually talk as much as they do in books! LOL There are ALL kinds of cowboys...characters for sure! Some are downright bad...but most are wonderful...even if they curse a bit and drink a little too much!

    One time I was hauling a goose-neck horse trailer...with horses in it. I intentionally was the last one leaving an overnight camping trip with the 4-H Horse Club. I knew I'd be slow over that dirt road and hairpin turns. Crossing a cattle guard, I turned too sharp and the horse trailer's back wheels went in the ditch! My daughters and I hopped out and stood there wondering how I was going to get out of this mess. (No cell phone services!) We decided to get the horses out first and then try and get the trailer back on the road without ruining something. Much to my embarrassment an old rancher I'd only met a couple of times with a reputation for being grouchy and a bit short-tempered pulled up behind me, stopped and got out of his truck.

    "Looks like ya need a little help."

    Without any more conversation he got in my truck and within minutes had the trailer ready to load the horses again. This was also accomplished without words!

    I thanked him, he smiled and said, "We've all been there a time or two!"

    And, that was that! No recrimination, no sarcasm, no laughing...just got the problem fixed and made me feel OK about a mistake! Gotta love a cowboy!!

    Would love to be entered in the drawing for the audible book!! Thank you, Ruthy, for keeping cowboy-love alive!!

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    1. What a great story, Kathryn!

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    2. I am stealing that story.

      That was cowboy code personified.

      Kathryn. I love you. :)

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  33. Oh, I forgot to mention I love that most cowboys I know are fabulous cooks...especially when using cast iron!!

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    1. Hahahaha! An appreciation for food is a wonderful thing. I found that with kids, if I kept them happy with food, I had a firm leg up on all of them.

      Why create turmoil?

      Why ask 4 year olds to eat turnips or kale at daycare?

      NOPE.

      Mom and Dad can do that.

      Chicken nuggets and French Toast and Sausage and hot dogs and COOKIES.

      Folks are so much more cooperative with FOOD.

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  34. Great post, Ruthy! I loved Nick's story, and - judging by some of the comments here - I'll love Trey's story, too. Congratulations on all your wonderful book news!!!

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    1. Laura, thank you so much! I'm having so much fun, and nothing makes me happier than seeing our villagers find that same joy. NO KIDDING AT ALL!!!

      We just don't quit.... :) It's not about being the most talented.

      It's about being the last man standing.

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    2. That doesn't bode well for me - I think I'm already falling down, LOL. But prayer and Seekerville will calm the nerves every time :-) Thanks!!

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  35. I like westerns, too. I still have my partially finished 1870s Portland story, though I think of Portland as the west but not a western.

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    1. Walt, I'm doing an Oregon series and I stayed away from the coast because it is different. You've got a big influx of all kinds of people from all over the Pacific on the West Coast for historicals, so it's not like being in the interior.

      Mine is a contemporary, but I still set in half-way across the state, north of Bend and south of Mt. Hood because I can be Western there... and it fits.

      I'm working on an Idaho series, too, with a rancher and that one is delightful, not quite as serious.

      Vince will approve, it's definitely more ROMANTIC!!!! :)

      Do you plan to finish the Western at some point? Because now you've got a few more years of experience under your belt... and that's never a bad thing.

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  36. Well, I'm a Texan...have been since birth, so I kinda have to like cowboys. ;) And it turns out that I"ve married a "cowboy". My husband of 32 years started wearing cowboy books, cowboy hats, and belts with big buckles about 2 years ago. Wears them every day! Even while preaching! Well, not the hat...it IS church, you know.

    Your books sound wonderful and I absolutely love the covers!

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    1. Hey, Sherrinda! I love Texas cowboys but there are so many Texas cowboy books... I wanted to have the full change of seasons so I went north for locations and found some really cool COWBOY STATES!!!! I love that your hubby is going Western! It's such a sharp look. I love it!

      Thanks so much for stopping by today!

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  37. Ruthy, the only mail in my box today was my copy of Peace In The Valley that I won and you sent. Autographed, too! And, a bookmark! Thanks so much. It looks so nice next to the other two books in the series. I'm going to read them all together (second time for the first two), and then leave reviews. I already know I loved the first two.

    I'm writing a contemporary western series...3 books. I read westerns in my younger years since they were the only books my dad read, and told all my schoolmates I was going to live out west one day. When I realized my dream forty-five years later, some of them remembered my statement. I was blessed to live in Montana for over 18 years. Truly God's country.

    Bret and Bart Maverick were two of my favorite cowboys, but the one who really rocked my world was Clint Walker who played Cheyenne Bodie. Quiet, rugged, and six-six! **sigh**

    #Ilovecowboys

    Blessings,

    Marcia

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    1. Oh, I loved Cheyenne Bodie, too!!!! OH MY HEART!!!! :) And the Mavericks!!!! Marcia, I'm so excited that you're doing Westerns, too!!! IT IS SO MUCH FUN!!!!!

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  38. Coming in a day behind, but couldn't pass up the opportunity to let you know how much I loved this post, Ruthy. I'm all about cowboys and hope to get my Westerns published with LI soon. I just loved your excerpts from Peace in the Valley.

    I'm getting ready to go on a long trip and an audio copy of Back in the Saddle would make my day. I hope it's not too late to enter the drawing.

    Thank you for inspiring me, once again.

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    1. Renee, it's not too late at all! Tossing your name into the hat!

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  39. Coming in a day behind, but couldn't pass up the opportunity to let you know how much I loved this post, Ruthy. I'm all about cowboys and hope to get my Westerns published with LI soon. I just loved your excerpts from Peace in the Valley.

    I'm getting ready to go on a long trip and an audio copy of Back in the Saddle would make my day. I hope it's not too late to enter the drawing.

    Thank you for inspiring me, once again.

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  40. Wow, Ruth. The Cowboy Code. It brought tears to my eyes. the depth of that...it's literally everything. Our favorite channel at home is the western channel. It just doesn't get any better. Bravo and congratulations on your book. My copy is ordered! Yeah!

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    1. Hey, Rebecca!!! How are you???? First, thank you for your kind words. I love the imagery of that code, too. The heart of a good man, tested and proven. :)

      And thank you for ordering Peace in the Valley! I hope you love it!

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    2. Laughing that I didn't switch out of the farm account!!!!!

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  41. hi ruthy
    day late because I spent the day with the Gupster at his school and then we had his ballgame. Never made it to Seekerville. :(

    Love this post. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your stories too. Love the Cowboy Code (am attempting to teach it to Guppy).

    Hopefully the review for Peace in the Valley is up @Amazon. LOVED it!!!!!!

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  43. I also loved this post (and cowboys!) Just have to plug a book I recently got around to--RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE by Zane Grey. It's been called "the best Western ever written," and I can see why. Also has plenty of romance! Highly recommended. :)

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