Monday, August 21, 2017

Time Management

Everyone struggles with having enough time to do everything they want or need to do. For a person who has an outside job, one where they drive or walk to, clock in and clock out, they know when they will have down time and know when they have to be working.

For the creative person or any other person who works from home, it can be hard to make a set time frame for work and one for pleasure and household duties.

I can be cleaning the house or helping with the hay and I'll figure out the element of a story that needs to come out or come up with a new book idea and sit down to make notes and before I know it, I haven't finished cleaning or my husband is knocking on the swather door wanting to know if  the machine is broke down. 

When I'm feeling creative and the words or ideas are coming, I don't want to stop. But I must. There are meals to make, clothes to wash, and floors to clean. Not to mention horses to feed, dogs to tend to, and flowers to water.  There is a person and animals who depend on me.There are days all I do is clean and take care of animals or ranching duties. Those are my down days. The days between projects or when I need a break. Like other people have Saturday and Sunday, my weekends come at any time during the week.

Me and Bud
The days when I know I need to get projects done - where I'm at right now - I pat my horse on the neck and tell him, soon. Soon, I'll be able to ride him. I just have to finish this project and finish driving around the state to judge and we can ride. A week, then two go by, and I've still not taken the time to saddle up Bud and ride, even though my heart is yearning for such an outing.

I am behind in my writing schedule. When I get caught up, I can ride, I can take a trip with a friend to browse second hand stores, I can take time to visit family.

But for now, it's eating at me that I took time away from writing to write this post, even though it is writing, it's connecting with my readers, and it's letting the world know, I am creating as fast as I can and putting out  the best book I can. 

I'm a person who doesn't like to miss deadlines, I've missed two this year. I had promised readers a book that I'm still unsure of publishing. This has been an off year for me, but I hope that next year will be better as I set my sights on the next books in the mystery series and the two new shiny historical and contemporary western series I've started.

Are you good at time management?  What is your secret?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Day in the Life by Paty Jager

Another passion or element to my life that I enjoy is judging at county and state fairs. I began as a 4-H leader when the girl next door came over when my children were young (she babysat them) and asked if I would be her 4-H leader. Her leader had to quit due to family commitments. I had been a clothing and foods 4-H member for one year each as a youth. I didn't like sewing as a 4th grader but as a high school student enjoyed making clothes. I agreed. That led to my being a 4-H leader for my kids and beyond, I was a leader for over 20 years. While a leader I volunteered during events and soon became employed to run certain events and eventually I was put on the 4-H extension payroll as a part-time 4-H program assistant. This new title and job had me even more involved in the home ec programs. After I left the extension service, I began judging, and love my summers traveling to the county fairs and judging clothing at the state fair.

This week's day in the life is about a judging day. I drove to my daughter's house in Central Oregon on Wednesday. I awoke on Thursday at 6 am and hit the road to Fossil, Or and the Wheeler County Fair at 6:30. I like taking the back roads and while it was smoky from all the fires in the state, after leaving Prineville headed to Madras, the air smelled acrid and not like burning sagebrush. A hay barn alongside the road had smoldering hay strung around the shed. Someone must have put up wet hay and it caught on fire.

At Madras I stopped at the Safeway for breakfast. Two slices of Tillamook cheese and a Starbuck's hot chocolate. All I needed was protein to start the day because I knew I would be eating lots of sugar and carbs. My judging today was foods and canning.

I always enjoy the trip to Fossil. The scenery is rocks and sagebrush and hay fields. Where I turned off Hwy 97 to head toward Fossil, I usually see a flock of wild turkeys but they weren't hanging around the road that day. The road is curvy, along streams and up and down ravines.

The first small town, which is almost a ghost town is Antelope. It still has a few of the old buildings, though they could use some TLC. And a beautiful restored church.
Old building in Antelope
Church in Antelope
The next community I drove through was Clarno. This small valley is green and has a metal bridge you would expect way out here.
Entering Clarno/note bridge in background

Just after the bridge, Two does and three fawns crossed the road. I managed to snap a photo as they stood beside the road after crossing.

About a mile from Clarno and all the way to almost three miles before Fossil, I had burnt hills on my right side.  Not only was the air filled with smoke but the poor landscape was bleak.
views of the burnt ground

And then I arrived at Fossil. It is a small town and close farming community. I enjoy judging here because of the fun rivalry they have. First they gathered the three judges and we had to judge small displays that groups in the community made. Once that was over we went to areas we were judging.

I don't feel as knowledgeable about canning and was happy to see they had a lot less this year. Not good for the fair, but good for me.  I judged that first to get it out of the way. There were a couple of standout jams and fruit., Lots of canned apricot products. There was a good apricot crop this year in Kimberly. This is an area not too far from fossil that has fruit tree orchards.

After the canning I began judging the foods. This county has the usual classes for different types of cakes, cookies, pies, breads and the like, but they also have special contests where everyone uses the same recipe and enters their cake or bread. This contest is the most fun to judge. And this year there were more entrants and half of them were there to watch me judge. One was new to the whole entering things in fair and asked lots of questions. But the fun part was when I picked the top three winners in the King or Queen of the kitchen and a lady stuck her fist in the air and yelled, "Yes, I beat my husband!" She was afraid if he beat her she'd never hear the end of it. And in the other contest a young lady who had helped clerk at the fair before was the winner, making her grandmother very happy. As I picked winners in the different classes I'd hear, "I beat you, Betty!"  Or "Darn, my sister beat me," from the people hanging around or wandering through. It is  a lot of fun to see people excited for one another.

I enjoy when there is something I haven't had before and it fits in my favorites category. This time it was peppermint divinity candy. Yum!

I finished judging about 1:30. I was full of sugar and sloshing from the water I drank to wash the tastes away.  And in case you were wondering: I only cut apiece about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch to taste things.

On the way back I stopped at the Clarno Unit: John Day Fossil Beds to use the restroom. It's about 18 miles from Fossil. Other trips through here, I've walked the trails and looked at the fossils in the rocks.

The trip back was uneventful. I arrived back at our daughter's. They were all at their county fair, but the granddaughters had finished showing for the day, so hubby took me to dinner and then I took my flashdrive with photos I plan to enter in the Harney County Fair to Walgreens and had them developed.

And that was another day in my life. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Welcome, Charlene Raddon

When a bull-headed city girl meets a bull-riding Wyoming cowboy, hooves are gonna fly.

             That’s my tag line for Ride for a Bride in Wyoming. This was a fun book to write. It started out as one thing though and changed to something else after I’d done some research on the location, Sheridan, Wyoming.
  I knew my heroine, Annora Lee Bostwick of New York, was a member of the newly established American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and that the hero, Buffalo Birch Struthers, was a rancher participating in the beginnings of the rodeo.
Rodeos had been held in the South—Mexico, New Mexico, Texas, etc, for decades on Spanish ranches going back to the 1700s. Ranch hands from different ranches gathered together to compete and see who was the best bull rider, bull roper, bronc buster and so forth.
            Following the Texas Revolution and the U.S. Mexican War, contests eventually appeared at race tracks, fairgrounds, and festivals. William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) created the first major rodeo and Wild West show in North Platte, Nebraska in 1882. Women joined the Wild West and contest rodeo circuits in the 1890s and their participation grew as the activities spread geographically. Animal welfare groups began targeting rodeos from the earliest times and have continued their efforts with varying degrees of success ever since.
            The first official rodeo held in Sheridan, Wyoming took place in 1909. Reading up on this
changed my story. Once I’d learned that the 1909 rodeo included a “ride for a bride” race, and the winner truly did wed the bride, I knew this had to become part of my book.
            Another piece of research that went into my book was Buffalo Birch Struthers racing a buffalo to win his bride. I found an article about a man who won almost every race he ran on his trained buffalo against thoroughbred horses. In a sprint, a buffalo can beat a horse any time.

Marriage was the last thing on Annora Lee Bostwick’s mind when she moved to Wyoming to start a new branch of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Her focus was centered solely on saving animals…until blackmail and deceit force her to reconsider.

Buffalo Birch Struthers had no desire to marry, but must if he wanted to keep his father’s ranch, and time was running out. His only option was a new event scheduled for the upcoming yearly ranch competition called the Ride for a Bride Race.

Can two strangers who find themselves in an unwanted but unavoidable situation set anger and obstinacy aside long enough to fall in love?

Here is an excerpt from Ride for a Bride in Wyoming, Book 4 of Rocky Mountain Romances.

She had light red hair. Not strawberry blond, or the usual carrot red. Birch never would've thought of a color like red as being mellow or calm, but that's how he saw it.
She had freckles to go with the hair, and intense, green eyes with a hint of stubbornness as if she wouldn't give an inch even if you set her skirts on fire. That glimpse of obstinacy matched the tilt of her chin and the stiff way she held herself. An uppity New York spinster no doubt hoping to snag what she'd failed to catch back home—a husband.
"She's my cousin," Lissette told the mayor, an arm around Miss Bostwick's waist.
"And my bride-to-be," Jenks asserted.
"That is impossible," Miss Bostwick stated with emphasis.
Great thunder! Even her voice sounded pretty, like a meadowlark at dusk.
"I'm afraid this is my fault," Lissette said. "You see, Annora's mother wrote, asking me to help Annora find a husband. She gave me to understand that is why Annora decided to relocate here. When I saw the notice about the race, it seemed the perfect answer."
"Why didn't you ask me if I considered it perfect?" Miss Bostwick pulled the cat from her shoulder. "I've no need for a husband. I like being a spinster."
Birch swallowed a laugh at that.
"Oh, but, Annora, I... I only want to see you happy." Looking stricken, Lissette glanced around at their audience. "Please, can we discuss this later?"
"Good idea," Mayor Sythes said. "I think we've strayed from the topic, folks."
"Yes. Remove my name as the Ride for a Bride bride," Miss Bostwick told him.
Lissette's face paled. "Annora, you can't."
"I'd like to know why not."
"Ladies. Ladies." Sythes tried to get the situation under control.
Birch felt he ought to be rooting for one of the women, but didn't know which. Miss Bostwick had a right to be angry at her cousin for putting her in such an awkward situation.
"But, Mayor," Jenks whined, "I have a right to take my bride over to the church and get hitched. I won the race."
Lissette's skirts rustled as she whirled to face him. "No one expected that to happen. Birch and Hezzie always win."
"That doesn't change the fact that I won this time," he retorted.
"Which means nothing to me," Miss Bostwick said.
Birch raised his hands. "Hold on. Can I get a word in here?"
"Go ahead," Mayor Sythes gestured him forward. "Speak up, Birch."
"First, I had no knowledge about Miss Westbrook coming here—"
"Bostwick," the redhead corrected, preventing the calico kitten from climbing to her shoulder again.
"—or being the designated bride for the race. In fact, I didn't think any bride had volunteered yet."
"I can verify when the race is to take place." Mayor Sythes pulled a paper out of his vest pocket. "I have the competition rules and schedule with me." Putting on his spectacles, he read, "The Ride for a Bride Race shall commence on the day following the conclusion of the ranch competition. That means the race is to be held July 30."
"Let me see that." Jenks snatched the paper away.
Lissette clapped her hands in delight. "This means you still have a chance to win Annora's hand, Birch. Isn't that marvelous?"
He wanted to puke.

Leave a comment below and you might win a copy of the book.

Charlene Raddon’s love affair with the Old West began as a child. She still has the six-gun from the cowboy outfit she wore when she was seven. In 1980, she woke from a vivid dream and decided it needed to be in a book, so she dragged out an old typewriter and began writing. She’s still at it.
First published by Kensington Books, Charlene is now an Indie author. When she isn’t writing, she loves communicating with readers and other writers. She also creates book covers at her site,

You can find Charlene at her website,

Check out her Amazon author page at
            On Facebook, find her at

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Day in the LIfe by Paty Jager

Last Saturday started like any other day. We awoke, had breakfast and I did some household chores before going out to feed Apollo and George.

I checked on the water trough for the three big horses up on the hill. It needed more water. While it filled I took photos of lizards and gave Bud a rub down.

He enjoyed being scratched on his head, neck, shoulders, chest, sides, belly and back. I was standing on the opposite side of the gate giving him his all over grooming. When I finished, he blinked at me and turned pressing his backside against the gate. Obviously, he felt I had missed an important spot! I scratched the base of his tail and his big brown cheeks and he walked away.

Back at the house I spent the morning working on book promotion and writing blog posts for the coming week. Hubby arrived for lunch, we ate and I sat down and wrote on the work in progress. The afternoon wasn't as hot and my brain was clicking right along on the story when my phone rang.

Hubby called and said the truck driver who picked up a load of hay asked if we were going to the Frenchglen Jamboree. I'd noticed the ad in the newspaper but hadn't mentioned it thinking hubby wouldn't want to go. It was a day of kid's events and cattle roping competitions followed by a barbecue and DJ music. I agreed it would be fun to check it out. He came in the house at three cleaned up and we headed toward Frenchglen.

On the way we crossed a cattle guard that was doing a good job of guarding the cattle. ;) And the sign was truthful. We had to slow down several times for cattle using the road as their own highway.

We drove by the Peter French Round barn and Diamond Craters. This is a small area where volcanic lava made tunnels and bubbles that burst or crumbled, leaving large indentions in the earth.

Diamond Craters
Next we drove through Diamond Valley. If you've read my book Davis: Letters of Fate Diamond Ranch and other places on this trip are mentioned in the book.  All that is left of the community is a Hotel/ bed and breakfast, a couple houses and down the road a grade school.  It is a ranching area where they grow meadow grass hay and raise cattle.

Diamond Valley
We arrived at Frenchglen, driving by the arena where they were still roping. We continued on to the  Hotel.

There were some booths set up with people featuring arts and crafts of the past. They were closing up so we were too late to check out what they had. Which was a bummer because, you know me, I love anything that pertains to U.S. history.

Looking toward the Steens Mts.
There was more smoke from fires here. We couldn't even see the Steens Mountains. We paid for our dinner and sat on the hay bales arranged for seating. 

It was mostly locals with a few of the people staying at the hotel also attending. We could tell when the roping finished. trucks pulling horse trailers arrived parkign along the road and men and women in cowboy hats, wearing boots, and spurs lined up for food. There were a lot of young families. The whole time we sat there country music was played through large speakers. It was a good meal.

Cowboys & Cowgirls lined up for grub
As we were leaving, I asked hubby if we could return via the scenic tour route. He looked at the time and said, sure. We left Frenchglen headed as if we were going up on the Steens, then turned left to P Ranch. Yes, the P Ranch of Peter French the cattle baron who lived in the area in the late 1800s and who is a secondary character in my book, Davis. There was a doe and fawn eating in the old orchard.

We continued on the scenic tour route. We saw a mother pheasant with young on the road, two bucks laying in the tall grass. All we could see were the tops of their antlers.

Young pheasant
Lots of different birds, and a doe and fawn who ran down the road toward us.

This road follows along one of the canals that Peter French had built to be able to use more of the ground for raising cattle and hay.

 The waterways are lined with willows the Paiute use to make baskets and cradleboards.

 Looking out across the vast meadow land, I tried to imagine what it looked liked with thousands of head of cattle grazing or teams of men and horses haying the meadows.

Large meadow
Now most of the land is part of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.

The scenic road ended on the road to Krumbo Reservoir. We returned via 205 to the Diamond loop road. Instead of turning back the way we came, we drove through Diamond and came around through the Virginia Valley and home.

Once Apollo and George were fed and we were showered, we sat outside and watched the sunset. The smoke in the air gave the sky a beautiful pink tint.