Covers

Friday, July 27, 2012

NATIONAL DAY OF THE COWBOY

by J.D. Faver

Saturday, July 28, 2012 is the official National Day if the Cowboy. Check out some of the events in celebration of the American Cowboy Heritage.

You might be surprised to find that there are cowboy artists and cowboy poets and cowboy authors. All inspired by the culture that forged this great land of ours.
I was born and grew up in Oklahoma. Cowboys were a common sight. Not the kind that I see around Houston during the Livestock Show and Rodeo, with big shiny buckles and expensive ostrich boots, but real, working cowboys. I guess that's why I have to giggle when I see the covers some of my fellow romance writers have on their "western romances". I just want to say, Oh, yeah...cowboys always go to the gym to get pumped up and then wear a leather vest with no shirt...Um hum...Standard cowboy garb...NOT!!!
First of all, while a real live cowboy might have occasion to remove his shirt from time to time, they do not have spray-on tans nor do they shave their body hair. I have heard women make all kinds of swooney comments about these cover boys, but come on now...really?
When a real cowboy cleans up to go to town, they know what the women like. Clean is first on the list. A starched western shirt is really a must for sexy cowboys...Did you ever notice that those snaps pop right open. <g>
And haircuts? Scroll through the pix of real working cowboys. They have neat haircuts and do not appear to be anything like the guys who were modeling as street thugs in jeans the week before they got the call to be 'cowboys'. Why? Because working on a real live ranch is hot and short hair is a must. Hence the term, rednecks...sunburns on exposed necks. When they drive their trucks into town for their regular haircuts (pronounced harcut) they go to a real barber and not a stylist. Seriously, you want to put product in his hair? What is product?
BTW...It's not ever a pick-up truck. It's a pick-up or a truck. Please get this right.
And cowboys do love their horses. Their horse is their friend and companion and probably understands them better than their girlfriend.
I have to share with you that a really sweet romance author from the east coast called me up and asked the question, "What do you say to a horse to make it go?"
When I stopped laughing, I suggested that she might want to write something she knew more about. But she persisted, and chose an image of a cowboy in a leather vest with a smooth, bare chest for her cover. No, I haven't read it. I don't want to know what she thinks you say to a horse to make it go.
Finally, a male friend of mine pointed out that when a cowboy gives his word, it means something. If a cowboy shakes on it, you can take it to the bank.

I am in the process of producing a sequel to my novel, BADLANDS, a romantic suspense set in the Texas panhandle. Yep, there are cowboys, horses, ranches and action. Here is the Amazon link if you want to take a look at it Book I.
Here is an excerpt from the sequel. For those of you who asked for it, I am giving you a second helping of BADLANDS: In this scene, Jenna, the local veterinarian, has had a run-in with E.J. the reluctant Dallas-bred rancher. She goes to the Friday night dance at the Eagle's hall and she's looking for a real cowboy, someone who shares her love of the wide open spaces and ranching as a way of life.

  ~*~
Jenna paid for her ticket at the door and made a beeline for the bar. She ordered a longneck and turned to look over the crowd. She saw a fine mix of all the usual suspects as well as some people she figured had come from other towns to hear the band. She thought she would just hang out at the bar and not sit with anyone yet. Keep my options open. She usually came with friends, but the friends would keep her busy dancing and if there was someone wonderful out there, he wouldn’t know that she was single…totally unattached…available…
She turned back to the bar and sucked down a long swallow of beer. Her timing had been right. The band had taken the stage and they were doing sound checks, so the music should start soon. She wanted to see who took the floor with their dates and who were the single men just itching to dance with her.
She had pulled on her starched and ironed jeans and the boots she saved for special occasions, not stomping through cattle pens. She wore a knit top that showed off her slim curves and let her hair hang free. Somebody, somewhere ought to notice that she was a girl tonight.
“Hey Jenna!”
She turned to see Frank one of the hands who worked for Camryn Carmichael…Ryan now. She let out a huff of air. “Hey, yourself.”
He paid for a beer and leaned on the bar alongside her. “You’re lookin’ mighty hot tonight.”
“Thanks.” She had to grin at his pronouncement. He was cute; maybe even handsome…a couple of years younger than she, but cute nonetheless.
And he knew how to dress. Starched and pressed Wranglers. Same for his shirt and he was wearing the right hat. Resistol straw for summer. His boots were polished, but looked broken in and comfortable. His Wranglers were just the right length where they stacked on top of his boots and didn’t look like he was wearing high waters. Honestly! Some of these so-called cowboys. All hat. No cattle.
The band started off the night with a two-step and Frank set his longneck on the bar. “Would you care to dance, Jenna?” he asked.
“I don’t mind if I do.” She grinned and put her hand in the one he offered to her. Frank swung her onto the dance floor and they made a circle, dancing all around the room. She got a chance to look over the crop of candidates and decided she had the pick of the litter. And he could dance…wasn’t stepping all over her or jerking her around. Smooth as maple syrup.
The next dance was a fast polka and Frank picked up the tempo, whirling her around in strong arms. She found herself grinning, having a great time in spite of herself. Even if Frank wasn’t the educated husband material she was looking for, he was there and he was attentive. That’ll do.
He walked her back to the bar when the song was over and retrieved his beer. He touched the brim of his hat and walked away.
Jenna felt a little miffed. She hadn’t figured that he would just leave. She saw him make a beeline to the table where Milita Rios was sitting with some friends. He pulled up a chair across from her and they appeared to be in rapt conversation. Well, damn!
She turned back to her beer and jostled the tall man standing beside her. He spilled his shot of whatever he was drinking. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said and reached for a stack of napkins. She turned to the man and began mopping at his sleeve.
“Thanks a lot, Jenna. That’s a nice thing to do for a jackass.”
She gazed up into the smirking face of the biggest jackass in her entire frame of reference. E.J. Kincaid. Her napkin-wielding hand froze in mid-air. “Sorry,” she muttered and wadded the wet napkins into a ball. She lobbed it over the bar and into a trash can on the opposite wall.
“Three points.” E.J. toasted her with what was left of his drink and tossed it down. “You must have been a star of the girl’s basketball team.”
She huffed out a disgruntled sound. “As a matter of fact, I was.” She looked him over. Too freakin’ perfect. “I don’t suppose you dirtied your lily-white hands to play sports, did you?”
He chortled and signaled the bartender for another drink. “As a matter of fact, I did.”
“Okay, I’ll bite. Did you go out for theater arts or floral design?”
“Soccer, rugby, la crosse, field hockey, tennis, equestrian and, yes…I did play basketball.”
“Well, consider me impressed.” She didn’t tell him what she thought of all those fancy, private school so-called sports. Soccer? Hadn’t he heard of good old American football? “Let me pay for your drink, since I spilled it all over you.”
“That would be nice, but I can’t let you do that,” he said. “We jackasses always pay our own way.”
She sucked in a breath and took another sip of her beer. He wasn’t going to let that one go anytime soon.
The bartender poured a shot of Patron in the empty glass and E.J. motioned for him to leave the bottle.
“I must say, Jenna. You look amazingly attractive tonight.”
She arched an eyebrow. “Amazingly?”
“I should say, I have never seen you look as pretty as you do this evening.” He lifted the glass and let the tequila roll down his throat.
“You’re not feeling any pain, are you?”
He snorted. “You think I’d have to be drunk to compliment you?”
“Well, it sure doesn’t hurt.”
“Nooo,” he drawled out. “I always thought you were pretty. Just didn’t think you knew how to be a woman.”
“Wha-a-a?” She drew herself to her full height and stared up at him with her mouth open. “I’ll have you know I’m more woman than you could ever handle.”
“You’re probably right,” he grunted and finished off his drink. “Come on. Let’s dance. Then you can say you’ve danced with a jackass.”
He grabbed her hand and led her to the middle of the dance floor. Just as he twirled her into his arms the band finished the fast song they had been playing and changed to a slow one.
She found herself staring up into impossibly blue eyes and pressed against a chest as hard as concrete. She knew for a fact that this guy didn’t work at much of anything. Maybe he got those pecs by lifting his hairdryer.
He pulled her closer and began moving to the music. He was easy to follow and led her around the dance floor without running into anyone. That was a plus. And when the next song started up, he slid right into a two-step without any hesitation.
Okay, he can dance…and he’s got a great body, I’ll give him that. And he’s gorgeous to look at, but he’s still an arrogant jackass.
When the song was over he tucked her hand in the crook of his arm and escorted her back to the bar. “Do you want to sit down?” he asked.
“Yeah, I guess so.” She wondered what the regulars were thinking of her dancing with Eldon Kincaid’s fancy-pants son, but when she looked around, no one was paying any particular attention.
“Bartender, another glass.” E.J. motioned to the bartender who brought him a second shot glass. He picked up the bottle and both glasses and directed her to a table on the far side of the dance floor.
She nodded and led the way, conscious of every head that turned her way. Well, now they’re checking us out. Great!
E.J. set the bottle down and pulled out a chair for her and then seated himself. At least his manners are impeccable. Maybe if he just doesn’t talk.
He filled both glasses and offered her one.
Oh, what the heck! She picked up the glass and clinked it against his before throwing the fiery liquid down her throat. She sucked in a breath of air and it seemed that her entire gullet and esophagus were enflamed.
After the next round of dancing, E.J. refilled her glass and it didn’t seem quite so scorching this time.
She was surprised that he could actually carry on an intelligent conversation. At least he could make her laugh. Well, she was on her home turf. All her friends were here, although they seemed to be keeping their distance. Probably intimidated by the big, rich E.J. Kincaid. But she wasn’t afraid of him. What could happen?
~*~

And if you're interested in kids and reading, check out this event in which Barnes & Noble supports Read em Cowboy:

And if you like sexy country music, check out this Kenny Chesney video: http://kilt.cbslocal.com/music-videos/Kenny+Chesney/Come+Over/USBVA1200012/

Have a great weekend...and get your cowboy on. :-)


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Okay. So I'm Southern.

I admit being a Southerner and proud of it!

One thing, besides Sweet Tea of course, is that we all know Southerners love biscuits. Beautiful golden, flaky, fresh out of the oven, melt in your mouth, biscuits. There isn't much you can't add inside a sliced biscuit that isn't tasty, or covered with milk gravy. Or sliced, buttered and toasted in an iron skillet. Too good!

Now that said, being a diabetic, the old fashioned biscuits are almost, notice I said almost, a thing of the past for me, because they spike my sugar. I still enjoy a delicious bacon biscuit from my favorite eatery once in a while though. :)

I happened upon a recipe for whole wheat biscuits a couple of months back from WebMD site. Here's the link if you're interested.


The process for these biscuits is a bit time consuming, but worth the effort. Gone are the days when I could mix up a batch of biscuits in a matter of minutes and pop them into the oven.

I wanted to post the recipe here, but didn't have time to get permission from the site. You can find many recipes that call for wheat flour if you, like me, can't eat a lot of white flour.

I have a pasta maker, but haven't made any with it yet. Time to drag out the unit and get started!

Do you have a favorite recipe using wheat flour? If so, I'd love hearing from you.

Carol DeVaney
www.caroldevaney.weebly.com

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Friday the 13th--It's Your Lucky Day!!!


Several theories have been proposed about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition. One theory states that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day.
In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, the 12 successors of Muhammad in Shia Islam, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.
Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century's The Canterbury Tales, and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys, begin new projects or deploy releases in production. Black Friday has been associated with stock market crashes and other disasters since the 1800s. 

So, it's time to change all that bad luck and superstition. Today Tara and I have a treat for you. Not one, but TWO free books, just in case you decide to curl up with a good book and ward off all that bad luck waiting out there to jump  on you.
Here is the link to download a free copy of my romantic thriller, BAD KARMA    

http://www.amazon.com/Karma-Romantic-Thriller-Borderlands-ebook/dp/B0081SGPZW/ref=la_B0050KEWMM_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1342155219&sr=1-8

And here's the link to download Tara's historical romantic suspense:


http://www.amazon.com/Historical-Romantic-Suspense-Presidents-ebook/dp/B006HLA80S/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1342197899&sr=1-4&keywords=tara+manderino+books
We hope you enjoy reading and wish you very good luck today.                                                                                      
~J.D. Faver

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hawaii and a few funnies


While looking for a selection of photos today, I ran across some photos my son took while we were in Hawaii a few years ago. We have deer and cattle crossings, Hawaii has Donkey crossings. Too cool!

We were in a shopping center and this was the stop sign we saw. My son couldn't resist. He parked the car, jumped out and seized the picture! I love it!



Our condo was on the desert side of the Big Island. So beautiful. We made the best of our trip, but about killed ourselves trying to get in as much as we could in a week. Every morning we found turkey's roamed into our yard from the golf course.




We usually saw eight or more daily. My grandson, who was six at the time, was amazed that the turkeys would gather so close to us. In the photo below, he giggled the entire time. He couldn't get over the size of the leaves in the background. Neither could I. Humongous plants!




We shopped, ate, went on a submarine and helicopter ride, enjoyed a Luau and whatever else was available, we did it. I felt sorry for my son, as he did all the driving. But...he didn't complain. : )

If you haven't been to Hawaii, I highly recommend a trip. We'd love to go again, and hopefully will before too long.

What are some of your favorite photos?

Carol Devaney

www.caroldevaney.weebly.com

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, America!


Happy Fourth of July!

And...Happy Birthday to our beautiful America!

Today is either a lazy day or an extremely busy day for everyone. Families gather at mountain retreats, lakeside cabins, a day at the lake, someone's home. Wherever you meet, the day is filled with hugs, laughter, good conversation, and good food.

Our Fourth has changed over the years. We used to spend days at the lake, boating, swimming, fishing and cooking out for a group of friends and family. These days we're kicked back and work in the yard or watch ballgames.

My son is all about fishing. His son, age eleven, had a fishing pole in his hands as soon as he could hold one. Over the years many a fish has landed on the banks. This morning my son called at 8:00, he'd taken my grandson fishing at his other grandfather's lake. He emailed a photo of my grandson's latest catch. It was a huge Bass! My grandson said his dad told him it must weigh in around four pounds! That's a big fish! Did they keep the fish? No. They turned the nice catch loose so they or someone else could catch it again. I think that's the best thing to do.

I hope you have the best and safest holiday ever.

Do you have special memories of The Fourth of July?


I'm adding my page seven, seven sentences from J.D. Faver's challenge below.

This excerpt is from "A Smoky Mountain Christmas."

"Oh! Sorry." Apparently now wasn’t a good time for brain freeze. Since the man was the only warm body she’d seen in hours, and the exasperated look he’d given her, she’d best try to concentrate, hard though as it was. The prison escapees hung in the back of her mind.
Tina tried a couple of times to turn the engine over. But all she heard again was - click, click, click. That, too, faded into the crisp air
.


Carol DeVaney

www.caroldevaney.weebly.com

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Bit Busy

This seems to be one of those times when life demands that you hold on tight with both hands because it's flying by.  My son and his wife had their baby boy last week. This was a few days after my mom's 85th birthday celebration.  So, this post is pictures. Here's the baby when he was less than an hour old.


The video is one minute and destined to be a classic -- at least in our small circle. My sister insisted on putting all 85 + 1 candles on the cake.

video