Friday, November 20, 2015

This and That

I have gotten behind on Photo Fridays, so I post-dated this so it would show it actually did post on "Friday."

This time it's a Photo Caption Photo Friday, with just a tad bit of explanation.

 Here I am (Andi) at age 4. Dressed up for a company dinner, seated next to a little boy I didn't even know named Michael. He didn't clean his plate but he still got desert. Sneaky little boy! (spoiler: this really is Jessica, the CCA cover girl, at age 4). 

"I saw you hide those peas under your plate!"


Jack Goodwin and his father in the mercantile. He looks nervous. Chad scares him a little.

"Honest, Mr. Carter. I didn't push Andi into the horse trough. She just . . . fell in."



"This is the third tardy note I've written for you this week, young lady!"


"No, Levi! Don't do it! Don't give your grandmother a look like that!" 



"Sarsaparilla is my favorite drink EVER. Thanks, Uncle Mitch!" 



 The Millers hired Cory to help with their corn harvest. He was not excited, but he needed the money for a new bit and bridle for Flash. After two hours, he decided Flash could do without.

"If I sit still long enough, maybe they'll think I'm a scarecrow."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

People and Places List

As requested, here is the link to the rough draft of a bunch of characters from the Circle C Adventures. Please comment on that page if you see something missing or something you would like me to add:


Monday, November 9, 2015

The Last Ride Chapter excerpts

I finally got around to putting up the first two chapters (excerpt) of The Last Ride on the Circle C Milestones website. If you would like to read Chapters 1 & 2, click over to the website and then click on the Last Ride cover.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Epidemic! . . . by Janelle. M.

I lost another young author but she found me. Hurrah! Enjoy her great story, an entry from the 2013 story contest.

Epidemic! . . . by Janelle M


Friday, November 6, 2015

A Who's Who Character List

Mrs. M has received a number of questions via the Blogger Contact form, asking about characters, places, and things like that. I think some of you are wanting it for contest entries.

I was wondering if it would be beneficial to create a Who's Who in the Circle C--a character list, and maybe a Where Is It list as well, regarding towns and railway lines and things like that.

Is this something anybody would be interested in? I could post it over on the Fan Fiction site for easy reference.

Just feeling y'all out.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

New Friends, Old Enemies . . . by Jesseca Dawn

I originally could not find the author of this delightful story, but Jesseca finally emailed and said she was the author. Hurrah! Thanks, Jesseca. Some of the titles of fan stories are very close. I thought I had posted this one already, but apparently not. Unless somebody can give me the link where a duplicate story might be. Until then, enjoy!

New Friends, Old Enemies


Saturday, October 31, 2015

More pictures!

A couple of fans sent pictures, and I wanted to post them ASAP.
First of all, "Abbey" dressed up as Andi in order to hand out candy to any neighborhood children who came by her family's house for trick-or-treating.

And below "Andi," Faith and Jesseca--until now pen pals only--met in person! This is so exciting.

Thanks, ladies, for sending your pictures!


Friday, October 30, 2015

Photo Fridays: Carter Horses

I thought I'd include pictures of the Carter horses all in one post. They are scattered all over the blog right now, and hard to find, so this will be a nice photo album of everybody's horses. So, here they are, for your reference (and mine). I hope I didn't mix anything up. Please correct me if I'm wrong! (I also included a couple of extras from friends.)

Andi: Taffy, golden palomino mare with white socks and a white blaze, and Shasta, chocolate palomino 
Justin: Thunderbolt (Thunder), dark bay gelding with black mane and tail 
Chad: Sky, buckskin gelding 
Mitch: Chasing After the Wind (Chase), light sorrel gelding with one white sock and a white blaze 

Melinda: Pandora (Panda), dark sorrel mare with white socks 
Kate: Snowflake, white gelding 
Elizabeth: Misty, black mare with white markings 
Riley Prescott: Dakota, bay appaloosa gelding 
Cory Blake: Flash, chestnut gelding 
Levi Swanson: Patches, paint gelding with black, white, and brown markings

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Calamity Renee and Rebekah Meet!

It is so satisfying when fans meet in person and can share face-to-face. Thank you, Calamity and Rebekah, for sharing this photo!

Just think . . . the possibility of new, eternal friends brought together because of a fun, fictional character. God works in mysterious ways.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Last Ride Sneak Peek #1 . . . Part 2

Here is part 2 of The Last Ride Sneak Peek 1:
Go HERE for Part 1 of the Sneak Peek
       Riley whipped off his hat. “Howdy, Miss Carter. It’s good to be back on the Circle C after all these years.” Smile lines crinkled his face. “And you’ve grown up too, I see.”
Riley Prescott
      Andi stared at Riley, dumbstruck. Riley? Sid’s nephew Riley and Andi’s constant companion when she was small? She peered into his face, searching for a hint of the little boy who had filled her days with adventure so many years ago.
      It was no use. Andi didn’t recognize him. She did recognize, though, that this Riley was quite old enough to shave, and he should have taken care of it this morning. She flushed.
      “What is it?” Riley chuckled at her close scrutiny. “Have I got a wart on my nose?”
      Andi blinked and stepped back. Her flush deepened. “I-I’m sorry,” she stammered. “I didn’t mean to be rude.” How long had she been gawking at this young . . . stranger?  
      Yes, he’s a stranger. A stranger with Riley’s name.
      A soft yelp from Riley’s feet saved Andi from embarrassing herself further. Riley reached down and scratched the dog. “This here’s Tucker. Smart as a whip. Pa gave him to me a few years back. Sid says another dog on this big ranch is no trouble.” He paused and straightened, as if waiting for Andi’s approval.
      It wasn’t any of Andi’s say-so. She shrugged and rubbed Shasta’s nose. As if from nowhere, a lump of sugar appeared in Riley’s hand. Shasta gobbled it up and nuzzled the wrangler for more.
      Sid broke the awkward silence. “Your brother knows what he’s doin’, Miss Andi. Shasta’s good blood. Chad only wants the best for him.” He scratched at his whiskered chin. “He wouldn’t hire Riley if the man didn’t know his business.”
      Man? Andi frowned. “He’s too young to have any experience.”
      “I am well into my nineteenth year, Miss Carter,” Riley protested, all the while stroking Shasta’s neck. “When I left your ranch and rejoined my family, Pa was transferred to Fort Bridger, then to Fort Laramie, and later all over the west. When Fort Yuma closed last fall, I figured it was time to strike out on my own.”

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Last Ride Sneak Peek #1, Part 1

I know it's really mean, but this first peek for the upcoming The Last Ride (February) comes in two parts. Today is part 1. Later this week I'll post part 2. All under the banner of "Sneak Peek #1."

 In this excerpt from Chapter 2, Andi has gone riding to think over the unexpected (and possibly unwanted) upcoming ranch visitor in the coming weeks. Riding Taffy home from her special spot, Andi spies Shasta and greets him. Eventually she decides to ride him the rest of the way back to the ranch, which isn't far away . . . 

      Shasta stood like a perfect gentleman while Andi prepared to mount. At fifteen hands, the colt already matched his dam in height. He wasn’t quite old enough to be seriously ridden, but Andi didn’t weigh much, and it was only a short jaunt back to the ranch yard.
      “How much simpler this would be in a pair of britches,” Andi complained. Her split skirt allowed her to ride astride, but it didn’t make mounting bareback any easier. Shasta was patient, though, and Andi finally hiked herself up on his back.
      With the barest shift of her weight and a quiet voice command, the young horse took Andi into the yard and stopped in front of the barn. Taffy followed, as if watching over her young charges.
Sid McCoy, ranch foreman
      “Show off,” someone remarked with a snort.
      Andi turned toward the old cowhand. “I’m not showing off.”
      Sid McCoy, the ranch foreman, crossed his arms over his chest and gave her a crooked smile. “I don’t mean you, Miss Andi.” He nodded at Shasta. “I mean that young upstart of a colt you’re riding. He thinks he’s the cleverest thing on four hooves.”
      “And the prettiest, most spirited—”
      “Orneriest!” Sid barked.
       Andi slid from Shasta’s back and went nose to nose with the old man. It was hard to do, since Sid towered over Andi by a full head. “Shasta is not ornery!” She stepped back. “Maybe a mite spoiled, but—”
      “A mite spoiled?” Sid unfolded his arms and planted his fists on his hips. “Shasta’s the ‘little prince’ of this spread and everybody knows it. Fact is, Chad’s been so busy this spring he went and hired himself an experienced wrangler to work with that whole bunch o’ two-year-olds.” He smirked. “Shasta included. That should bring his highness down a peg or two.”

Friday, October 23, 2015

Photo Friday: Andi, Cory, and Riley: Young and Old

I've added another picture to an original Andi and Cory portrait. And I included the one for Riley below.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Circle C ranch Dog "Duke"

I found a fun Duke.Instructions for playing with him are as follows:
Duke can sit, lie down and roll over. Try petting him and watch how he responds.Keep Duke entertained by clicking the ball or the bone. Reward him by giving him a treat.

To make Duke "sit," double-click your mouse on the ground next to him. Double-click again to get him to lie down. To make him "roll over," hold your mouse button down and make a circular motion.

Have fun! 

Here are the rules for playing with him:

Taffy and her rider

Thought I'd post a video of Taffy and her rider, Ellie, since I don't have time to post much else this week. This is my "Taffy" model for the new series. But this is not the Andi model since she is blond and Andi is dark. :-)
Note that Taffy needs no reins or bridle. She is happy to walk around with a lead rope tied in a loop to her halter. Go figure . . . She is so sweet! And pretty too.



Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Courting Conundrum . . . by Kara

This story is by Kara, who wanted to make sure the story went up in time for her friend McKenzie's birthday. Happy birthday, McKenzie!

A Courting Conundrum


Friday, October 16, 2015

Photo Friday: Behind the Scenes Part 2

Some more fun pictures we took for possible covers, in no particular order.

Rosa and I posing just for fun.

Another favorite picture. Maybe a future book cover?

I don't like this pic at all, even though it is good of Taffy. I don't like my hair like that.

It was October and nobody was enjoying the cold, brisk weather. Rosa (Joy) was freezing in that outfit.

Levi (Jarrett), Andi (Jessica), Hannah (Esther), and Betsy (Michaela Joy). This Levi did not end up on the cover.

A bit too much, I think. Star's ears are not quite right.

Mrs. M was the warmest of them all in her sweatshirt!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Circle C Surprises

sliding down the banister
Hang on to your hats, Andi fans. I just got a contract for the middle series (when Andi is 9 and 10). Yes, I know some of you would prefer she was married and had her own kids, and you know what? Both my editor and publisher thought that sounded like a great idea.

But I need a little rest and some lighter, shorter books to write. So for a year or two I'm going to have fun with the Circle C Surprises (tentative name. Kregel my change it. And if you have any ideas on what to call the series, let me know in the comments).

I have six books in mind:
1. Taffy Trouble (when she first gets to ride Taffy, since she can't ride until the horse is three years old).
2. Gold Fever (an Andi and Cory adventure. See picture below. They go on their first horseback ride together up in the hills to pan for gold. Fool's gold; storm; get lost; and old hermit in a cabin; grouchy scary guy turns out to be very nice and sneaks real gold nuggets in their pockets the next morning and shows them the way home.)
Andi and Cory on an adventure
3.  Missing! Andi's mom is teacher for the day and something unexpected happens to them after school. (I have this one half written. The only one I feel sure about right now. I would do it first, but I need to start with a horse story.)
4. [no title yet] a summer adventure
5. [no title yet] maybe a fair story, a sequel to Fair Surprise where she can actually bring Taffy to the fair for the first time.
6. Christmas Calamity. I might recycle that "Christmas Interrupted" story I wrote last year and expand it (like I expanded the cattle drive story into Heartbreak Trail). Unless I get a better idea. I am SO WISHING I had not used the blizzard story in the Tales book. *big sigh* That would have been a great book.

Here's where all of you loyal fans come in. As you can see, these are skeletons of real stories. I need ideas. A lot of ideas. Think readers ages 7-10. You are welcome to send me DETAILED ideas for story plots (use the Blogger Contact Form so I don't lose track). Or . . . I may put on a Circle C Surprises idea contest where winners' names will be acknowledged in the finished, real book, like "Special thanks to Susie Smith for the idea for [insert title]." And win a copy of the book, of course.

This shows how fast I am running out of ideas.

So, what do you think? Is a contest a good idea? 

Caution. This is a long process. The first book probably will not even come out until Fall 2017. (Circle C Milestones book 4 is scheduled to come out February 2017, a full year after The Last Ride, which comes out this coming February 2017.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Photo Fridays: Behind the Scenes Part 1

I turned the Blogger Page of unorganized photos into a number of posts. I also went deep into Blogger and found the old "Photo Gallery" posts that lay buried, some since 2010 or earlier. There may be pictures in these posts that you forgot about or have never seen. Scroll through the posts below and enjoy the new look of Photo Fridays. Now that it is organized, I should be able to keep up with it much better. Here is an old, old post to begin with.

Here are some pictures we took of "cover kids." Enjoy!

This was one of the first pictures we took.

Same day, a "far away" look. Mrs. M broke the fence trying to take a picture. Everybody laughed.

This is another Hannah.

Too bad the sun was so bright. This is a nice picture.

Another picture. We had to cut off those tennis shoes. Note the corn field. 

This one almost ending up as the cover for Family Secret

One of my favorites.  I wish this was the Long Ride  Home cover.

Rosa ("Joy"), Taffy, and I taking a break. It was a cold October day.

Rosa and I posing just for fun.

Another favorite picture. Maybe a future book cover?

I don't like this pic at all, even though it is good of Taffy. I don't like my hair like that.

It was October and nobody was enjoying the cold, brisk weather. Rosa (Joy) was freezing in that outfit.

Levi (Jarrett), Andi (Jessica), Hannah (Esther), and Betsy (Michaela Joy). This Levi did not end up on the cover.

A bit too much, I think. Star's ears are not quite right.

Mrs. M was the warmest of them all in her sweatshirt!