Thursday, June 11, 2009


Serenity blanketed my bucolic existence. The children sat politely, using bowls and spoons for soup, a wonderful achievement. The utensils, not the soup. The radio offered Brad Paisley, never a bad thing. Full from a 10 oz. bottle, Baby Logan bestowed chubby-cheeked smiles to the world from his doorway bouncer.

I should have known it was too good to be true.

Sadie, our three-month-old Golden Retriever puppy grabs the baby’s bottle AND Missy Tippens new book “His Forever Love” from the porch table, (Good book, Missy! I find the best books are those that look well-read, don’t you????) curls up on the welcome mat, nuzzling the bottle with Missy’s now gently- chewed book beside her, looking for all the world like she’d just settled in for some inspirational romance chill time.

I rescue the book and the bottle. Sadie runs to the yard to do her ‘business’, and a forgotten 6 week-old kitten has decided the living room rug makes a great litter box. Oy vey. I take care of that, return said kitten to her mother in the basement, and open the front door. Sadie prances in, tail-high, a true hunter, her mouth full of the crusty remains of a really bad-smelling, decomposing BIG frog.

Talk about sensory overload.

“Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwww,” shriek the children. “Something smells really BAD!”

Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Pry really nasty remains from pup’s mouth. Kennel Sadie with stern admonishments about dead animals in the house. Quiet the kids with ice cream. Change the baby.


Ya’ see why I write? Total escapism. Writing allows me to capture these moments and share them with an unsuspecting public. Well. I’ll share them once I’m pubbed, LOL! Good writing offers crazy, poignant, funny, heart-warming vignettes of real life and makes them relatable to the reading public.

And keeps me out of the institution for the criminally insane.

And now, for our feature article:

Rodeo Stew

Take the meat of one cowboy…

Now cowboy meat comes in all shape and sizes. Most cowboys aren’t six feet tall and 190 lbs. Just sayin’.

They can be rangy. Tough. Muscled. Arrogant. Antagonistic. I mean, seriously, how freakin’ friendly would YOU be after getting kicked around and embarrassed by a 1500 lb. animal whose rankings rise depending on how mean and ornery they are and how fast they KICK YOUR BUTT? I might be a little testy, too.

Even the nicest cowboy can use a little tenderizing. Toss in some sweet talk, followed by two cups of sexual tension. Heck, the only action this guy’s seen for months on the circuit is the dirt floor of the arenas. Let’s lighten him up a little. Give him something to think about, pray about at Cowboy Church.

Add pretty girl.

Now I’ve read novels without pretty girls. I’ve read overweight, really plain, positively witchy and stuck on themselves heroines.

Soooooo not a fan. There’s a reason romance heroines are attractive. We ALL want to be attractive to our mates. That’s like the basic law of survival. If we’re not attractive to them, we’ll never procreate, end of story, end of species. Simple, really.

Pretty girl does NOT have to be a cowgirl. Might be better if she’s not because despite what George Strait sings, a good balance can be had by mixing careers and goals, thus ripening the stew stockpot with TENSION and INTERNAL CONFLICT. Talk about adding pepper! Yee Haw! We’re startin’ to ride high now!

It never hurts to throw in a good horse…

There’s something about a man in the saddle that puts us in mind of… Dare I say it here?????

God’s eternal wisdom!

Grinning. Couldn't resist.

Toss in a crooked smile or a rakish grin, one or two “Ma’am’s” and you’ve got juices flowing. Oh my, why on earth don’t they make more Westerns???? Are ya’ kiddin’ me?
Horse can be any color, but should be an old and trusted friend OR a new recruit, a bit skittish, reflecting hero’s inner turmoil or heroine’s discomfort at finding herself in cowboy land.

Good stew needs potatoes…

Now I’m Irish, so I’m a big fan of potatoes. Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, fry ‘em, bake ‘em. I haven’t met a potato I didn’t like.

The potatoes in your stew are your secondary characters. They can be red, white, yellow, brown, thin-skinned or thick, meaty or slim, any shape or size, young or old, or a mix of the above. Potatoes differentiate the plot, building the sauce with natural starch. They provide a filling interlude that bridges the gap between the meat and the gravy. Or boy and girl.

Don’t skimp on potatoes, but leave plenty of room for meat and gravy interaction. Sometimes the meat will hide behind the potatoes. That’s okay, as long as the gravy (girl) finds the meat eventually. Draws him out of his hard-workin’ cowboy shell.

Sometimes the gravy spurns the meat. Well, that just means the meat ain’t puttin’ forth enough effort. A good piece of meat (I cannot tell you how much fun I’m having with this analogy. Seriously. Writing a blog should never be THIS MUCH FUN!!!!) knows how to seek the gravy, dabble a bit. Heighten the gravy’s awareness. There are many ways to do this, depending on your target market. This crucial step allows the gravy latitude to mingle with the meat, melding flavors.

Ah. Yes. I’m a big fan of melding, aren’t you?

Throw in a honkin’ big bull…

He bucks, he heaves, he bellows, he careens around, tail switching, testicles strapped.


The bull is your external conflict, what everyone sees. Man wants to ride bull, bull wants to kill man or at least relieve himself of those straps. Let me just say “OUCH” again. External conflict should be apparent, just like it is with the bull. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind (recall Mary’s words yesterday, that if people don’t ‘get’ your story, it really is your fault because they need you to guide them through things you may just know) what your external conflict is. The bull is what keeps the hero and heroine apart.

He wants her ranch, she’d die before selling.

He knows Georgia peaches aren’t tough enough to handle the Texas Hill country, she faces her nemesis to prove him wrong.

She knows cowboys are nefarious lotharios from past family experience, his past makes her look totally on target.

Cook for approximately 250 pages at increasing temperatures…

Stew should never be eaten tepid. Raising temps raises the stakes. And good stew is only made better by forcing the H/H and the reader a little cooling-off time. It’s too hot to eat, everyone will get burned…

Enter black moment.

Take a chill.

Smooth things out.

Show them the error of their ways, the path toward the end you’ve been priming readers for since page one.

Enjoy your dinner!!!!

We’ve gotten to the HEA we’ve been waiting for, hoping for. If you’ve done your work well, no one really expected you to be able to bridge those gaps so smoothly, without lame intervention, but you did! A good gravy makes all the difference!

I've got some fresh baked bread and sweet churned butter to go with our stew. Gallons of coffee. I'd love to see how your 'stew' comes together, ladies and gents. Doff those cowboy hats, step up to the mike and give Seekerville a glimpse of how your hero is the prime component in a great pot of stew!



  1. Gosh for a few moments there I was back in Arizona watching the dust trail of some cowboy's pick up disappear into the shimmering afternoon heat.

    I'm really hungry for potatoes right now. Why'd you go and bring up potatoes~ But, thanks for relating plotting to food, Ruth. NOW I get it!

  2. Deb, good morning!!!! So nice to see you here.

    Hey, try some of this fried dough, a must at our upcoming Clarkson Rodeo Days...

    Girlfriend, you're from this area. You should hop in the car and come. Soooooo fun.




    Good food.

    Did I mention cowboys?????

    Yup, we now have rodeo here in Western New York and I don't miss it.

    Rain or shine, I'm there, but I definitely prefer shine!

    Soup, stew, plotlines. A good mix is a good mix.


  3. Oh, Ruthy, you are so ... creative!

    I don't know how to plot a great book. I mean, I don't follow a formula. Sometimes I read a book and it feels like the author followed a formula. I usually don't finish those books. I think great stories just sort of happen. They percolate, like coffee used to be done. My grandmother had a percolator, and you could see the coffee bubbling up in the little clear knob on top of the pot. The water was stewing around the ground coffee beans, soaking up all that glorious caffeine and bitter coffee flavor. A good book idea soaks up personality as it percolates in the author's brain.

    Or something like that.

    My word verification is blighte. Is that what I am? A blighted presence in the writing world? That's how I feel today. A melodramatic blighted-hope, UNpublished wanna-be!

    Uh-oh. Sorry for the melodrama. It just slipped out.

  4. Oh, Ruthy, I am SO with Debra right now ... why in the heck did you bring up potatoes??? My peach oatmeal is definitely not cutting it this morning ...

    Love, love, LOVE the Rodeo Stew, my friend -- the analogies, the wonderful seasoning (advice) and the food talk (stomach rumble here).

    And, YES -- I’m a big fan of melding, too, as if you have to ask. Meld away, is my motto because after all, romance is the spice of life.

    And just for the record -- absolutely LOVE cowboys!!! Mmmm ... do you suppose there is such a thing as an Irish cowboy???


  5. Julie wants to know if there's such a thing as an Irish cowboy...

    Saints be praised!

    If there isn't, there ought to be! I mean they've got wild Irish horses, Irish horse speed and endurance is a thing of fame, so they must have the occasional cowboy to work all those breeding horses!

    No one knows great horse stock better than the Irish and the Middle Easterners. They've got a gift, that's for sure. Julie, check it out, darling, see if you can import one for the Island, hmm?

    Mel, my absolutely adorable melodramatic queen.

    You're fine. Really fine. Wonderfully fine. You're experiencing senior-itis, a common malady inherent to writers on the brink of publication. It's like being a high school senior with no graduation date set.

    A pain-in-the-butt.

    But your talent and perseverance will win out.

    And honey, a good stew is NEVER over-planned. Think chuck wagon cooking. We throw whatever we net, bag, shoot or steal into the pot.

    And let it simmer.

    You're talking to a pantser who loves good stew but isn't afraid to vary the contents regularly. Planning and plotting set my teeth on edge.

    And I've got big teeth. Soooooooooo not comfortable when they're on edge.

    Grab some cinnamon-coated fried dough. Oh, wait. Oh my stars.

    They just opened the FRIED SNICKERS and OREO booth!

    I'm soooo there.


  6. Good morning, Ruthy! I loved your post! Rodeo Stew is fun analogy for creating story. I struggle to throw in enough "bull." I'll never think of external conflict again without that painful image coming to mind. But it couldn't be more perfect reminder to make life tough for our characters.

    It's dismal, rainy here, a perfect day for a bowl of your stew and homemade bread. Thanks!


  7. Hey, Ruthy! I love potatoes, too. But I'm half Irish American so that's natural. (Half Irish, all American.)

    I'd love to come to your home and have some stew! Thanks for always bringing the food.

  8. This is way too funny for me to be reading here at work. I'll come back to it later when I'm at home and can let loose with laughter.

    I'm sure glad I found you and blog listed The Seekers.

  9. Seriously! all this time and I don't think I've been to the Clarkson Rodeo.

    I've usually kept my 'eye candy'trips limited to Highlander games.
    I mean . . .research trips.

    I'm curious where beans fall into your "literary" stew recipe? they provide color and protein. Maybe they are comic relief. Oh did I just say that?

  10. I'll take another helping of Rodeo Stew, please. It's my favorite! :)

  11. Erica, you vixen!!!!

    I'm not surprised. You have the calm, scholarly look of everybody's favorite schoolmarm when inside breathes the soul of a tigress!

    Who'da thunk?

    Welcome, woman!


  12. Janet, good morning! So, some rain, huh? Stew would taste extra good in that case. And a fried Oreo.

    When it's cool and dreary, I take solace in a nice pair of jeans:


    Inspiration is key in romance writing, isn't it?

    My theory: Research is a huge part of writing good cowboys.


  13. It's really narrow minded of you to haul the reeking dead frog away. It it'd had thirty point antlers, you'd have mounted it on your wall.

    Frog bigotry, so unattractive.

  14. And the teeth marks on Missy's book, give it character. I'm going to go home and chew on her book myself.


    Thanks for using Buffalo good example, right? Ruthy? Right?

  15. Grrr....

    My page came through without the jeans, totally missing the point.

    I love Levis. And Wranglers. I mean, have you SEEN Brett Favre????

    Here's a Shepler's link:

  16. Cara, you contest winning and GH finaling Diva, you!!!!

    You come on up North anytime. I've got salt potatoes, yellow potatoes and Russets.

    Love 'em!


  17. Shaddy!

    Love you already with a name like that.

    Welcome to Seekerville. First timers are required to read this disclaimer:

    If at any time you are dismayed, disillusioned, disenchanted or disenfranchised while viewing and/or reading this blog, contact Tina Russo.


    Unless it's Mary's fault.

    Or Julie's.

    If you're very happy, content and otherwise satisfied with this blog, e-mail all kudos to:


    Sorry to make you laugh at work. I'm not really but they urge me to be polite. Laughter is the best medicine...

    I read that in Reader's Digest.

    Glad to have you here and I've got a fresh batch of yes, you guessed it, FUNNEL CAKES....

    Oh, the grease.

    Oh, the taste.

    Lathered with sugar.

    Life is good in these United States!


  18. Deb, the rodeo is this weekend, hence the blog topic.

    Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon.

    I took off tomorrow night from the bakery and polished my spurs.


    You'd love this. Best kind of research is outside of the books. You know what I'm talkin' about!


  19. Oh, and beans. Peas. Carrots.

    These can all be a part of your 'stew', it's just important to make every veggie count.

    Too many and you confuse the taste buds/reader.

    Too few and the mix falls flat and no one buys your next book until it's for sale for .25 at a garage sale and it's the only book left.


  20. To think all I had for lunch was a piece of Muenster cheese and a glass of cranberry-grape juice.

  21. Mary, I would have done the same thing with the buck if it was decaying, slimy inside and petrified in the sun outside.

    We're talking beyond taxidermy help.

    But yay! for Buffalo Gal. I wanted the look of a real cowgirl, a working girl and that cover called to me. I love a girl that isn't afraid to get dirty but cleans up nice.


    Hey, can you whip us up some carrot cake? I've got a hankering.


  22. Gina, you've been working hard.

    Here, honey.

    Have some real food. We're big fans of women who look womanly here.

    Our only eating disorder is that we LIKE to eat.

    And we're disorderly.

    Mostly Mary.


  23. I'm contributing fried Twinkies to our rodeo fare. They might be a heart attack on a plate, but don't they sound yummy?!?!

  24. I couldn't wait to come back. Your paragraphs regarding your family were terribly entertaining, wonderfully entertaining and I want more, more, more.

    And then along came your Rodeo Stew. Does blog reading ever get any better than this?

    I don't think so and I'm longing for more.

    Thanks a million for perking up my morning.

    It's me, Shaddy again. Google says I don't have the correct password. Details, details!! Ugh!

  25. Sarah!


    I've never really tried any of these things. They don't have them at our Clarkson Rodeo, but I know they had them at the State Fair...

    Oh mylanta, woman, it sounds divine. Fried Twinkies. Must get a recipe. Fire up the deep fryer.



  26. Hi Ruth:

    I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed reading a post more. You had so many double entendres that I felt like I was doing a simultaneous translation at the UN. (LOL)

    I may be seeking permission to use some of your quotes in my romance book. I have a chapter on “Cooking Being the Right Model For Romance Writing”. In that chapter I relate how romance fans get cravings for specific reading experiences as if they were food. That is, they can get a strong craving for a ‘hidden child’ romance or a ‘marriage of convenience’ story. (If the craving is strong enough, they may even stop reading the romance they are currently reading and start a new one.) These cravings can be very specific and fans can really give a book the once over in Wal-mart before they buy it. It is almost like they are reading the ingredients on the back of a cereal box.

    Hemingway could not have written “The Sun Also Rises” a 130 times with minor changes and survived as a writer. Betty Neels, however, did write essentially the same book 130 times and fans, like me, loved them all. After all, would you complain if your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant always gave you the ‘same’ pleasurable culinary experience? Of course not. The best selling romance authors know this and they know that, as in cooking, you have to make every course taste good. In writing this means rewarding the reader on every page in order to ‘serve’ the most enjoyable reading experience.

    In literature, on the other hand, the whole reading experience, from start to finish, can be unsavory and distasteful -- as long as the book is meaningful and you are better off for having read it. This will not work in romance.

    Think of an editor, who acts like chef Ramsey on ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, and who tears out a page of your manuscript, while shouting at you, as Ramsey does his cooks, and snarls “are you really going to serve this to our customers? Taste it!” Just the thought might make a writer look at each page in a different light.

    Writing is not literally cooking but I believe that cooking makes a better paradigm than literature for the creation of romance stories. At least that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.



    P.S. Don’t think formula. Think recipe. Think signature recipe.

  27. Ruthy,

    It all sounds like a cock and bull story to me.


    Pretty good analogy there. I think however you could still use the frog, warts and all, and ten point rack if available, toss in flour and fry frog legs, serve with stew. cause you know how cowboys love their spicy wings.

    The frog can be the love interest of your gravy off the bat, cause you know that frogs go down better with gravy.

    Anyhoo, she realizes that when she kisses him, he's really not a handsome prince and goes for the cowboy instead.

    Don't mind me, I'm just trying to salvage the poor frog.

  28. Oh wow. Thank you. Loved your slice of life (and frog) and you wonderful recipe.

  29. Vince, my friend, hello!

    Thank you so much for your kind words. You've made my day. And I'd be happy to be quoted in your book which I'm sure will be pubbed because everybody and their brother wants to figure out the mystery of why women LOVE romance...

    Crave romance...

    Long for romance.

    Something about the double "X", huh? I like to think it creates an aura of mystery, when in reality it's probably pretty simple.

    Women love romance.

    Most men let it slide.

    In basic math terms we solve for "X": Women read romance novels to bridge the gap.

    Okay my goal is to get published before you go to print because I want to be at least recognizable via Google when your book comes out, LOL!

    Your rationale is great, as always. Thanks for coming by. And I bet you'd look great in a George Strait cowboy hat and Marlboro Man chaps, Vince.



  30. Shaddy, you're a blessing, even if you can't remember something as simple as a password. I mean, come on, woman....

    Shaddy, life is too full of passwords and and pins, isn't it? How does a normal brain handle it all?


    The minute you get a time-saving device like speed dial or computer memories that fill in the blanks, our minds draw a mental line through that requirement and trash the info we used to know. Codes. Passwords. Pins.

    But you found your way back in and I'm so glad!

    And you like us even though we're not giving anything away today but laughs.

    Humor is its own reward, right????? Or something like that.

    And my life????

    Oddly my children don't find the reality quite as amusing as the printed word. Shallow, don't you think?


    Grab some of Sarah's fried Twinkies. Oh mylanta, they must have these in heaven.


  31. Hi Ruthy, Your house sounds so fun. Just like your writing. Real life with humor.

    Thanks for the goodies and the analogy. Now being from the west, I love a great cowboy. oops I mean cowboy stew. Oh heck, I mean the cowboy too. smile

    They are my favorite heroes and why not a pretty woman and a bull. Makes a great story.

    Had to laugh at the chewed up book. Happened to me last summer with our black lab pup. Only he chewed it so bad I had to go buy a new one since it was a seeker treasure.

  32. Tina, honey, darling....

    If you really want to salvage the frog, send your address to my e-mail account.

    I'm THAT mean that I would happily ship his slimy, smelly, stringy remains off to you in a sealed envelope.

    I remember someone did that in a book. Mailed the remains of a cat to an author, I think....

    Anybody else remember that? And she was (of course!!!!) off in the woods in her hideaway, wondering why she hadn't seen Fluffy the last two weeks...

    It might have even been an old contest entry... Don't recall, but I recall the graphics.

    Oh mylanta. Poor cat. Poor writer!!!

    Glad to see you, Tina P. Thanks for putting the frog's needs first. You're a PETA girl, aren't you, honey????????



    No harm has come to any frogs (other than the dead one) in the making of this blogpost.


  33. Sheila, saints blessings on you for stopping by!

    With an Irish name like that, I have to offer blessings. :)

    And glad you enjoyed the frog (ribbit... ribbit...)

    and the 'recipe'...

    As long as you start with a good piece of cowboy....


    (Just so you all know, my son-in-law will scold me tonight for objectifying men.

    And I'll laugh.)


  34. Sandra!!!!

    Miss you SOOOOOO much.

    I knew you'd be up for a good dose of Rodeo Stew, a fine Western gal like yourself.

    Appreciating the skills of a rodeo cowboy or cowgirl is never a bad thing. And a cowboy's attributes are mostly in attitude. A hint of swagger. A great smile. Strong sense of family.Competitive spirit.

    I mean, seriously, HOW MUCH do you get to see at a rodeo?

    Maybe a face. A profile.

    But, oh. Those profiles!!!!

    I really do love barrel racing and trick riding. Amazing. And a supporting character in my award-winning under consideration East-coast cowboy story (didja get that????) is a teenage female trick rider, the hero's younger sister.

  35. Oh, the fried dough sounds yummy! Has it got confectioner's sugar on it? I want LOTS!

    Love the bull as the external conflict.


  36. Sure, Ruthy,

    I'm in to Peta the whole way,

    Well I was until the day we did one of those nude reviews to remind people not to wear fur.

    And let's just say, Pamela Anderson I'm not.

    They got one look at me and bent the rules. I'm the only PETA chick that can wear fur and keep them happy.

    As for the frog. I'll pass, on receiving that gift in the mail.
    I'm not really that great an author and I'm in the woods.

    I was merely trying to do my civic duty and be kind to animals
    but if you bury him offering a full memorial and a couple of songs, I'd be most obliged.


    I had a dog bring home an old smelly chicken once. Then twice, didn't want thrice so we burned it.

  37. Well, either Ruthy stole the "jeans" or Seekers completely overloaded the Sheplers website!

    No jeans to be found at that link.

  38. Yes, that's what I want: Funnel cakes. When we go to an amusement park, I want funnel cake and/or homemade fudge.

    Dh & the boys want those little round ice cream things. Can't remember what they're called.

  39. LOL, Ruthy! Maybe YOU should be writing those cowboy romances! Oh wait, I love writing cowboy, but I don't read it without a good reason (like a Seeker book!). Okay, go back to the North Country, babe : )

    I can't believe you left out a main Ruthy ingredient--the swagger!! Oh my, where would we be without those muscular legs in worn jeans that go on forever? A plain, worn leather belt atop those trim hips...and that rolling gate I can't seem to pry my eyes away from? I better go back and read Julie's Hormone Free post....

    Good job, Ruth! You are certifiably home on the range : )

  40. Sorry Ruthy, Any of you who just logged on saw a preview of June 23rd post. I'm such a dunce and hit the publish button before setting the date and time. yikes. AAAAARGH

  41. OMGosh!! Only Ruthy could draw a parallel between, uh, BEEF stew and a good story!!

    I love it!

    By the way, Ruthy, I think one of the kids threw away your copy of my first book. I'm getting a complex now!!!! :)


  42. Ruthy,
    I just road in from the far range. Been herding cattle all day. Loved reading your post as the sun set over the horizon. The bonfire's lit. Fireflies are dancing in the breeze, and I'm turning to Mary's cowboy hero. Can't get any better than that!

  43. Ruthy--Love the great imagery. Cowboys do come in all shapes and sizes. Even when the hat's missing and the horse gets traded, I think the cowboy imagery works for the tough/tender combo we all love to find in books.

    Hero strong enough to fight for heroine, tender enough to take her breath away. Sigh . . .

    Vince--Signature recipe is a great way to put it. I'm sad if my favorite authors don't somehow weave in their 'specialty' items. On the other hand, I love new plots and characters. I know--I'm so demanding. :)

    Wanted: new dynamic plot, old beloved style. Lots of cayenne pepper!

  44. Audra...

    Praise from the cowboy princess Diva.

    I'm honored and humbled, girlfriend!!!!

    And you're right, that swagger is oh, so important. Not too much, just enough.


    So get back to those rewrites, woman. Time's a'wastin'!


  45. Sandra, we all do that stuff, honey. No biggie.

    Especially since you've been known to send me your extra chocolate. I have a very forgiving nature for friends who believe in the attributes of bribery.


  46. Deb...

    Welcome home from the trail ride, dear!

    Good to have you mosey on by. Got a bag of trail mix here. Perfect for watchin' that sunset, which is still hours away for you West Coast groupies.

    And any time of day is cowboy time.

    We don't have fireflies up here yet. I love reading about them. Remember the passage from Falling Home by Karen White?

    About the firefly's butt lighting up?

    Too funny.

    There's all kinds of melding.

    Thanks for dropping in, you contest winning/placing DIVA!


  47. Missy, that's right, one of the kids lost Her Unlikely Family, then I won another copy on someone's blog, then my original showed up, both of which I still have.


    To add insult to injury.

    As I was snuggling Logan before the puppy/kitten/frog chain of events, he SNEEZED strained carrots all over pages 165-66.

    And can I mention here that I better get at least a KISS before page 170 in the next book. Oh mylanta, those poor people. Wanting... Thinking... Wishing...

    And not even a tiny smooch.

    But the ending made up for it, Missy!



  48. Ayrian, good morning!!!!

    Right???? It's morning in China?

    Awesome to see you, woman, and I agree with you, Vince nailed that idea of imagery.

    And I was thinking...

    Really thinking...

    Vince said women will go out of their way to find a certain plotline sometimes and wondered why.

    I can tell you why from my perspective.

    The heroine has to reflect some part of me. Not a clone, but if I want a certain type of romance, I'll hunt for a tough, gutsy heroine that had to overcome something and stands her ground.

    The plot isn't as important as the character, but I can see how it might be. Do single mom's or people who've been single mom's go for the single parent or secret baby stories more?

    Thinking out loud.

    Interesting stuff, Vince!


  49. You're hilarious! Great post!

  50. ROFL!! Strained carrots mixed with snot?? Now I really do have a complex!


    Ruthy, I promise a kiss sooner in the next book. Or a near kiss anyway. (grin)

  51. Jessica, waving a cowboy hat in your direction!!!

    Thank you, sweet thang!

    You came late to the party but I saved some Texas sheet cake (so yummy) and just warmed up a big bowl of stew for you.

    Dig in!


  52. Missy, yes...

    Snot and carrots. Of course I wiped it off but that will bring down the garage sale re-sale value.



    And it was so cozy, right up until the moment of the big sneeze. Children playing. Baby cuddling. Missy's hero and heroine's delightful interchanges. Love, love, love the grandma, Granny Bea. I'm still a big fan of Mayberry (I know, no one who knows me is surprised that I had a mad crush on Andy Griffith when I was a kid... When everyone else was lusting after (gag) David Cassidy...

    And I wanted to be Aunt Bea. She was always making such GOOD food. I think I put a little of Aunt Bea into my older secondary characters.

    Love her!)



  54. Hello Ruth:

    Part of my theory is that women read romances for the ‘bundle of feelings’ the reading experience provides. After all, they are guaranteed how the story will end.

    Men read westerns for the same reason. The cowboy hero wins fist fights, gun fights, saves the heroine’s life or ranch or both, and it’s a great feeling to vicariously be one of Louis L’Amour’s heroes for the time it takes to read the story.

    I have just read three Betty Neels books in a row and all were almost identical. It didn’t make any difference because I love the feelings I get when I read Betty Neels.

    I don’t know if women who have children will favor books with children in them. I think rather that women choose plots and characters that they know from past experience will make them feel the way they want to feel at the time they buy the book. This is not really women-specific.

    For example, I had a craving for a ‘Runaway Bride’ book the other day so I searched through my TBR pile and found a Debra Clopton book (The Cowboy Takes a Bride) in which the heroine is a three times in a row offender in the ‘run away bride’ department. Now that’s a ‘runaway bride’ story on steroids. I don’t think there is any logical reason why I would crave a ‘runaway bride’ story other than I wanted to experience the feeling I get when I read such a story.

    Romance writers are selling a consumable ‘bundle of feelings’ and to me that makes them a lot like cooks selling a delicious meal.

    BTW, I’d love to read something you are trying to get published. Perhaps I could see something that others have missed and that might help in your quest to be published. I think once you get published, the flood gates will open and you’ll have a whole stream of books accepted.