Category Archives: Ladies in Defiance
The other night my teenage son #2 and I were watching Last Man Standing. For some reason, he started trying to sing a tune but he couldn’t quite get it. “What’s that song that goes ‘Pretty Woman, pretty woman…?'” I realized he was trying for Roy Orbison’s tune, Pretty Woman. I started singing, “Pretty Woman, walking down the street. Pretty Woman–”
And as I’m about to belt out, “The kind I’d like to meet,” he, with the supreme confidence of the Ultimate Being (AKA, a teenager), jumps in with, “Lookin’ at my feet. Pretty woman, don’t take my sheet.”
I thought I was going to die.
Literally, tears of laughter came from my eyes and I couldn’t breathe. Then he started laughing because he knew he’d somehow royally goofed up. And that made it worse. My son has a laugh that sounds like the needle got stuck on a .45 rpm of Farm Noises.
I nearly passed out from oxygen starvation.
After I dried my eyes, though, I got to thinking how fragile history is. I think Reagan said liberty was only one generation away from extinction. I was horrified and humbled by how much my children don’t know and how self-absorbed they (and this generation) are.
No wonder God’s Word regarding his law says, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deut 6:7
I think we should also make the effort to teach them about the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Before it’s too late. Violence across America is, in my opinion, being carefully orchestrated. Yes, there is a good cause in the mix, but it’s being used like a chess piece to accomplish a nefarious goal.
Suddenly we can skip social distancing to protest, but some of us still can’t go to church?
I think our country and everything we value is under attack. Teach your children about the Lord, but don’t forget to teach them about the blessings of Liberty–how precious and fragile they are!
Like all of us, my characters can choose to stay grounded in this world, hanging on to hurts and grievances–or they can reach for something better. The ultimate Groom offers perfect love–unselfish, sacrificial, peaceful.
Doesn’t seem like it should be a hard choice, but when imperfect human love has let you down, surrendering to Jesus requires a lot of faith. True Love, though, is formidable. It pursues. It casts out fear.
Can my heroine relent, strip off the old gown, and give her heart to the One who will never leave her or forsake her? If she does, I suspect the right kind of earthly love will come along…
What about you? You still wearing that old gown? I pray A Distant Heart inspires you to set the thing ablaze and step into your true identity: the Bride of Christ!
Miss Sally, the mysterious and secretive owner of Burning Dress, established the ranch with a very particular mission—to make sure her charges leave with a profitable skill, and to share the love of Christ with their hurting, wounded souls.
Cecelia Huggins, broken by a bitter divorce, has come to Burning Dress to take control of her own destiny. She wants to work and learn. She doesn’t want friends, and she certainly doesn’t ever want to fall in love again.
Jax Taylor is foreman of the Burning Dress and he’s the perfect man for the job. Most of the ranch hands are women who are healing from some pretty tough blows. Just like them, he’s pushing past his own hurts and would rather lose an eye than fall in love again.
Miss Sally has had some tough cases before but Cecelia and Jax maybe the toughest. How do you convince two stubborn hearts that the only way to find rest for their souls is to give in to love?
Grab your copy of A Distant Heart today!
Oh, yes, oh, yes, it is a CONTEST!
>> TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK IS THE STORY
BETWEEN MISS SALLY AND SAM HAIN IN A DISTANT HEART. <<
Comment below and you’re entered to win a
$10 Amazon gift card. I’ll pick a winner NEXT WEDNESDAY, May 20!
And here’s one of my favorite scenes from Hope in Defiance:
“Hope, I pray you’ll forgive me the wine choice.” Carefully, Edward poured a shimmering red stream into Hope’s glass. She bit her lip, and leaned forward, eyes wide with anticipation. She reminded Lane of a kid peering at candy in the mercantile’s window.
“It looks lovely,” she said, reaching for it.
“I so wanted a merlot from Château de Goulaine, but it was impossible.” He poured Lane’s glass, then his own and sat down. “I remembered your fondness for pinot noir from Dopff-Au-Moulin, and, lo and behold, I was able to get a crate shipped in time. Very exciting.”
“Very,” Lane muttered, sniffing the wine. He thought it smelled a little like peat moss. He sniffed again. Nah. Peat moss soaked in an oak barrel stuffed with raspberries.
Edward raised his glass and swirled the liquid around and around, staring into it like he expected to find something. “No doubt, Mr. Chandler, it will taste quite foreign to you, since you’re used to stale—”
“Have you ever had wine?” Hope cut in. “I find it is either something you love or hate.”
Lane glanced up from the glass, to Edward’s slightly quirked eyebrow, to Hope’s warm expression. She wouldn’t let Edward embarrass him if she could help it. He appreciated the effort.
“Only what I had in a little church in El Paso once,” he told her. “I think I was about five, so I don’t remember it.”
She raised her glass and swirled the burgundy-colored liquid. “Wine is complex and there is a great deal of effort that goes into creating the flavor.”
“Not just the flavor.” Edward took a sip, swallowed, and savored it with his eyes closed. “Wine is an experience. An explosion of subtle flavors. Oak and cherry.” He thought for a moment. “Hint of vanilla. Possibly a touch of cumin. Velvety. And it finishes off gently.”
Lane had to force himself to keep from slapping his forehead. These two sure took their wines seriously.
Hope had a sip and considered it for a moment as well. “Oh, yes, that’s lovely. A little buttery.” She paused. “Yes, there’s the vanilla, and possibly a touch of mushroom.”
Both of them turned to Lane, expectantly. He was pondering the mushroom observation when Hope dipped her chin, nudging him.
“Well,” Lane picked up his glass, “here goes.” He took a tentative sip. Fought to control a grimace. He nearly burst out with, ‘People enjoy this?’ But managed to cut off the comment.
“Before you say anything,” Hope raised her hand in a pleading gesture, “try to think about what you tasted.”
Lane focused on all the odd flavors in his mouth, but couldn’t settle on anything. A little flustered, he took another sip. Since he knew what to expect, this one wasn’t as jarring. After a moment, he nodded, almost amazed. “Yeah. Oak.” There was a sweetness, too. “There’s the grape. And vanilla.” He set down the glass and nodded, but it wasn’t something he’d be inclined to make a habit of. They were still staring at him. Edward’s subtly raised brow was an expression of triumph. Did he think Lane was too much of a Texas hayseed to appreciate wine? Did Lane care what Edward thought? “It’s a fine drink, I suppose, but I’ll stick to my whiskey.”
“Yes, I understand,” Hope looked down at her napkin quickly. “Wine is an acquired taste.”
“And not everyone will do so,” Edward raised his glass to Lane and smiled. “Pity. At least you tried.”
* * *
Lane fumbled his way through dinner, allowing Hope to point out which fork to use for the salad and so on and so forth. At least by dessert, he knew which spoon to grab, and was no stranger to coffee. The conversation of theater, literature, and politics, however, highlighted his ignorance and he didn’t say much. At least watching Hope light up at the discussions of W.S. Gilbert’s new play made the beating worth it. Even if, suddenly, Lane’s world felt very small.
“Excuse me, gentlemen,” Hope rose, and Lane and Edward followed. “I’m going to powder my nose.”
She left the table and Lane poked at his chocolate mousse. He had no doubt Edward was going to take the opportunity to say what was on his mind and waited patiently. This whole dinner was a charade, a plan, aimed at making Lane look stupid. Or at least ignorant. And not worthy of Hope.
“I don’t mean to be rude, old man,” Edward began, “but do you seriously think you should pursue a relationship with Hope?”
Well, ’least he doesn’t beat around the bush. Lane leaned back in his chair and eyed Edward with the same stare he’d give to a growling dog about to get a good, swift kick. “What I seriously think about anything is no concern of yours.”
Edward huffed. “Right there is an example of my meaning. You don’t care about Hope. What makes her happy. She’s called to greater things. What can you offer her here, in this grubby little town?” Edward snatched his napkin from his lap and tossed it on the table. “I would bet you’ve never even read Shakespeare.”
Lane didn’t deign to answer. Just held Edward’s gaze.
The man’s pretty-boy face took on a hard edge and he leaned forward a little. “You may be some sort of excellent marksman and rugged frontiersman, but let me tell you what I see. You’re a low-born, uneducated, uncouth, poorly paid cowboy.”
Cowboy. Edward said the word as if Lane was a worm. Scum floating on stagnant water. Lane’s jaw tightened and his pulse ticked up. Well, if the man wanted a fight…
“And what’s more, I’ll make sure Hope sees you in the proper light. When she does, she’ll be done with this nonsense of being a doctor in this filthy, hardscrabble town.”
“And go back to Philadelphia with you? As a nurse? As your wife?”
Edward grinned, showing perfect, pearly white teeth. “Yes.”
Lane had no time for a reply as Hope approached the table but didn’t take her seat. “Edward, I have enjoyed our dinner. Very much actually, but I need to get home. Thank you for going to all this trouble.”
Slowly, Lane rose to his feet, shadowed by Edward. “Yeah, it was one interesting meal.” Lane grinned as well, though it was as fake as Edward’s icy smile.
“No trouble at all.” He then shifted to Hope, and his expression warmed considerably. “My dear, we’ll do this again.” He kissed her on the cheek. “Now that we’re all friends, I’ll plan more festive dinners.”
“Please tell Lucy the duck was magnificent.”
“I certainly will.”
Lane lightly clutched Hope’s arm and walked away with her, but stopped just shy of the restaurant entrance. “You know, I didn’t thank Edward properly. Give me just a second.”
Without waiting for Hope to reply, Lane pivoted and walked back to Edward, who was still standing at the table, watching them. Lane offered his hand and as Edward took it, said, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny…but in ourselves. Julius Caesar, Act One, Scene Two.” He winked at Edward. “Thanks for dinner, pard.”
Let’s be clear: I am no feminist. I do, however, write stories about strong-willed women who overcome some pretty stout obstacles. Often, my heroines are based on real people.
So, why am I not a feminist? Isn’t modern feminism basically the belief women should be treated the same as men? One dictionary defines it as advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.
Hmmm. Let’s not give that platform a blank check. The FACT is women are different from men and when two things ARE inarguably different, they don’t always need to be treated the same. For example, only women can get pregnant. A woman shouldn’t be allowed to kill a baby growing in her uterus under the guise of women’s rights, or pro-choice or whatever pretty euphemism you’d like to use.
Furthermore, God’s Word draws a distinction between men and women, calling us the weaker vessel. Weaker. Not defective. Physically weaker.
Generally speaking, women didn’t sail the seas to find a new country. Women didn’t hack trails out of the wilderness to see what was over the next hill. Women didn’t trek deep into the heart of the mountains to trap beavers. When gold was discovered in California, women didn’t saddle their horses and ride hell-bent-for-leather to stake a claim.
Feminists would say slow female participation in these events was due to a society that held women back. Everything from unfair property laws to corsets, to educational barriers kept us from tackling great, ground-breaking, destiny-defining adventures. I say phooey. That is a bogus construct.
Women—namely, American women—have always done what they needed to do when they needed to do it. Especially if they really wanted to do it. Our female ancestors lived on the frontier, fought in the Revolutionary War, drove their own wagons west, panned for their own gold, opened their own freight lines, ranched on the edge of Indian Territory, won the right to vote. These endeavors were harder for them. Yet, rather than whine about their circumstances, like their physical limitations and ignorant men, they forged ahead.
And did all this without playing the victim, amplifying their own sense of self-importance (read “selfish” here), or casting off their moral compass, along with their femininity.
I believe the content of a person’s character is the true determining factor in their success. You can’t keep a good woman down and smart men eventually figure that out.
Speaking of strong-willed women, you should check out my book Grace be a Lady. Yep, it’s the tale of a feisty heroine who did what she had to do without selling her soul in the process.
Evergreen—One quaint western town…roiling with romance, rivalries, and proposals. Now, for the first time in a box set! Yep, ALL the Brides of Evergreen together in one collection!
I’ve truly enjoyed writing the Evergreen series! So many fun, historical characters are woven into the stories. And because I’ll be adding one more book to the collection in 2020, here’s your chance to catch up on all FIVE previous stories for only .99!
One reason I think these books are appreciated by readers is my research and passion for the story shows. Anyone who reads even just
one of my books knows I love history!
So, let me give you a little peek-behind-the-curtain at the Evergreen stories.
Book 1: Hang Your Heart on Christmas is about a tough lawman bent on revenge and he’s very good at his job–until a sweet schoolteacher gets him to thinking about things other than vengeance. The hero in Hang is Hispanic U.S. Marshal Dent Hernandez–loosely based on the very real Elfago Baca. Baca was a gunman, lawman, lawyer, and eventually even a politician and his real-life exploits–well, let’s just say you should read the foreword in Hang. Baca was one amazing man.
Book 2: Ask Me to Marry You contains two stories — #1 Male-Order Bride and #2 A Proposal So Magical. The interesting thing about #1 is the idea was sparked by the stunning number of casualties the South suffered during the Civil War. Literally, women became desperate for husbands, if they didn’t have some other plan.
Book 3: Mail-Order Deception — this story prompted research into two interesting historical figures: Nellie Bly was the brash and fearless reporter in the late 1800’s who turned out to be the inspiration behind the inimitable Lois Lane! And Kate Warne was the first female Pinkerton Detective, hired by Allan Pinkerton himself in 1856. Both these ladies contribute mightily to my heroine in the story!
Book 4: To Love and to Honor — I wrote this story with the very specific desire of creating an amputee hero who finds true, lasting, unconditional love. The entire story is a tribute to our American military veterans, both men and women! For this story, I did some fascinating research into the history of prosthetics, as well as horseback riding missing a limb!
Anyway, all the books are together in a box set now, so I hope you’ll give them a read. I plan on releasing a final addition to the set in 2020 so this is your chance to get caught up for less than the price of a cup of coffee!
Happy trails, y’all, and thanks for reading!
For fun, here is a little snippet looking into my contribution–In Time for Christmas. Honestly, I think this story has one of the best, most sentimental endings of all that I’ve written!
Dale fluttered his eyes, then opened them all the way. The glare from the windows outlined Mimi’s perfect hourglass figure. He watched with appreciation of her curves as she neatly packaged her assets back into last night’s blue sequined dress.
“Good morning, Sunshine.” She reached for the studded purse on the nightstand. “Remember, dinner with the DNC tonight. Pick me up eight o’clock sharp.”
Dale groaned and rolled over on his stomach. Every night this past week Mimi had dragged him from one fundraiser to another. Angling to be his political adviser, she was hot and heavy to get him moving in the right circles for the election in two years. Money and power. Mimi lived for it. The spicy opposite of Charlene, that was for sure …
He sat up. Charlene. “What day is it?”
He heard her sigh. “Friday. Do you need the date and the year, too?”
He ignored her condescending tone and threw back the sheets. His head thundered from too many vodka martinis but that wasn’t his biggest problem at the moment.
“What’s the matter?” Mimi paused in putting on her earrings. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“Maybe,” he said. Where had the week gone? He should have picked Charlene up on Tuesday. She’d been out at the ranch five days with no food, no blankets, probably no water?
He smiled at the picture that came to mind. His little wifey, weak, starving, cowering in a corner, half-frozen.
Well, she’d be a whole lot easier to get along with now, he suspected. No more of those cold stares that said he hadn’t really broken her. Yes, indeed, he would break her. Just like his dad had broken his mom. Obedient wives, that’s what a man needed. One to cook, clean, keep the home fires burning and the bed warm.
He was quite certain Charlene would fall into his arms and promise him anything now. No more attempts to get a job or do volunteer work. No more sneaking out for a jog or a chat with the mailman. And now he wouldn’t have to resort to that other plan, the one that involved chains and handcuffs.
Charlene would finally be his sweet little Stepford wife.
Something strange about my new release…
My editor was very complimentary about the twist and turns I worked into A Destiny in Defiance as well as the extreme suspense and tension in the last chapters. She found herself so engrossed in the story, there were several places where she forgot to edit because she was too busy reading! (We’ve worked diligently to find and edit those places!)
One of the fun things I did was actually tell a little bit of the story through the eyes of a cougar. Very Rudyard Kipling, I suppose, what, with Two Spears being–I just realized–a type of Mowgli character.
Anyway, the story was tremendous fun to write, took me almost a year (it’s 96,000 words!), and it covers a lot of ground. It’s like a whole TV season in one book. I hope it moves you to tears, anger, heartbreak, and peace.
Oh, and I’m planning on following it up with either a couple of short stories or novellas in 2020!
Questions this book might answer:
Will the rivalry between Charles and Matthew destroy them both? Do Naomi and Two Spears get caught in the middle? Can Naomi keep her beloved from turning back to his dark past? What secret is the new nurse in town hiding? Will Billy and Hannah ever tie the knot or is she thinking about pursuing other goals? Does Emilio love Mollie or is his heart still stuck on Hannah? Why is ranch foreman Lane Chandler such an awesome character? So, so many good storylines! Can’t wait for y’all to read A Destiny in Defiance!
A Destiny in Defiance releases on November 1.
Right now it’s only $2.99 for a VERY limited time. This is a mammoth book (over 96,000 words) so the price will be going up.
Get your copy today while it’s still at this special price.
OR, you can always read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited. I hope you’ll tell a friend about it and, please,
leave me a review when you have a moment.
Not a KU subscriber? You can get it here!
By the way, my newsletter subscribers get FREE stuff, exclusive excerpts, contests, pithy commentary. Why don’t you join me in case WordPress goes as anti-conservative as the other big tech companies?! I’d love to have you along with us!
Or you can follow me here: