Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Fun, End-of Summer Contest from my Author Friend

Check out this fun, end-of-summer contest going on COOKIES & MILK CONTEST
You could win a bag of school supplies plus a fun surprise or two!
Contest runs August 1 - 16, 2015. 

And then, don't forget to watch for the Circle C Milestones writing contest, coming to a blog post soon. I can't wait to share the prompt! That contest runs August 10 - 21. Check out the contest POST PREVIEW for details.

August is just full of fun this year!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of Long Ride Home

Published 2005
It has been ten years since Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home was first published. The original story was much longer than the one you read in the published book . . . a lot longer. Many scenes were cut before I submitted the manuscript to Kregel Publications in 2003. Back then, the story needed to be told from only one point of view--Andi's. The rest of the scenes, following her family and other minor characters did not "fit" the ideal. So, they sat in my files. I did throw them on the blog as the Long Ride Home "lost scenes," but then I thought it would be fun to do something special for the tenth anniversary of the first Andi adventure. I decided to put all of the lost scenes back in the book. Quite a project. The book soared from 36,000 words to about 48,000 words (and 195 pages!).

I asked permission to create this special edition (and asked if I could sell it too), and my publisher thought it was a fun idea to offer an expanded version of the story.

This fall, watch for a tenth anniversary special edition GIVEAWAY. I will give a number of the copies away (not sure how many yet), but I will also put it up on my website (the only place it can be sold) for those who don't win the contest but still want a copy of the book.

For now . . . here are the three cover ideas I've come up with. I know which one I like best. But you can vote for your favorite (and in the process guess which one I like best). have fun! Vote on the poll on the right sidebar!
Which cover for the tenth anniversary expanded edition of Long Ride Home?

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Last Ride cover

Presenting the brand-new cover for Circle C Milestones book 3, The Last Ride, releasing February 2016:
 Here is a sneak peek at what this latest adventure is about: 

Andrea Carter looks forward to her sixteenth birthday. At long last she will finish school for good and have plenty of time to work with Taffy’s colt, Shasta. Best of all, big brother Chad recognizes Andi’s potential to help out on the ranch. 

Just when Andi feels life can’t get any better, cousin Daniel arrives. Fearing that New York City is damaging his son’s character, Benjamin Carter has enlisted the aid of his brother’s family out West to turn the boy around. 
But unfortunately, seventeen-year-old Daniel has no desire to learn any ranch skills. He comes and goes as he pleases and wrecks the buggy—with Andi along. An unauthorized jaunt to San Francisco underscores Daniel's refusal to cooperate, exasperating Andi. When she discovers a horrifying secret about her cousin, Andi is catapulted headlong into a chain of events that leave her brokenhearted and bitter.  
Can Riley Prescott, the newly hired wrangler and Andi’s childhood friend, break through the wall around Andi’s heart and help her find healing?

If you'd like to see updated character photos and bios for the Circle C Milestones, go HERE.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Coming soon: Circle C Milestones contest

This is an exclusive sneak peek to Andi fans right here on Andi's blog. My publisher, Kregel Publications, is sponsoring a mini-writing contest from August 10-21. Watch for it. I can't tell you the writing prompt, but you will have 100 words in which to respond. There are 3 categories of prizes: GOLD, SILVER, and BRONZE. I hope you will all enter and go for it! More later . . . Tell your friends! When the contest launches I will put up the link.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Feliz Quinceañera, Andi!

In Heartbreak Trail, the subject of my fifteenth birthday comes up quite suddenly. Mother asks me what I would like to do for my quinceañera. It's possible that some of you have never heard that Spanish word before. Quince means "fifteen," and the añera comes from año, the word the means "years."

I know all about the quinceañera. Living in California all my life, I've seen many ranch hands and neighbors of Spanish heritage celebrate this special rite of passage. My family adopted this birthday fiesta for ourselves. Melinda celebrated it and so did I. And just a year ago, we all threw a party for my best friend, Rosa's fifteenth birthday.

The quinceañera celebrates all the virtues of love, honor, and family--and recognizes a girl's journey from childhood to adulthood. This tradition, Mother told me, goes all the way back to about 500 B.C. and the Aztecs. Luckily, I read that part of my history book and learned the Aztecs lived in Mexico before the Spanish conquistadores conquered Mexico. At fifteen, an Aztec girl became marriageable (yikes!), and an Aztec boy became a warrior. They grew up fast back then, I reckon. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Our Favorite Things Part 3

 Welcome back to Andi's Journal and her (and Melinda's) favorite things. To read parts 1 & 2, go HERE.
So far I've shared Melinda and my favorite BOOKS, ACTIVITIES, WINTER ACTIVITIES, HATS, and CLOTHES. Today I've posted two more: Our favorite horseback destinations and what we would like for Christmas.

6. Favorite horseback destination

Mother does not like me riding into town alone, but that's fine with me. There is very little in town that attracts my attention. I would much rather ride Taffy to my special spot up in the high pasture near the creek. In springtime the creek is rushing and gurgling. By September (or earlier), it's a muddy trickle. Oak trees give Taffy and I shade, and in the spring, the rainbow trout almost jump out of the water and onto my hook. It's also a great place to just lie in the shade and think. Melinda used to ride up with me to my spot, but her favorite horseback (or buggy) destination is . . . wouldn't you know it? Town. Yes, that's right. Dusty, noisy Fresno. She likes to watch the train come in and can't wait to collect the mail at the post office. The mail. Sometimes we go for the mail together, and Melinda gets sidetracked at the milliner's (hat) shop. *sigh*

7. Favorite Birthday gift

There is one thing Melinda and I agree on one hundred percent. That is the special locket we each received for our twelfth birthday. It's truly my favorite gift ever. It's special because it's a tradition Father began with our oldest sister Katherine. When Melinda turned twelve, Father had been killed the spring before, so Justin stepped in and took over the tradition. So, each of us Carter girls got a locket for our twelfth birthday! I will cherish it forever. It was so hard when I gave it to Hannah to keep her from crying when her outlaw of a father, Troy, took her and the other kids away. But I eventually got it back. As a side note, Mother has a locket Father gave her too.

And that wraps up Our Favorite Things. I hope you have enjoyed reading about Melinda and my favorite things!

One more favorite of mine is to annoy Chad and Mitch while they are playing checkers. I sit on the floor next to the checker game and give all kinds of advice, which neither brother takes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Riley's Horse Dakota

Thanks for helping me decide what Riley's horse should be. It was so hard . . . and so close! I didn't even vote. I could not decide.

It stayed a tie between the bay appaloosa and the gray appaloosa for a while, but the bay squeezed out ahead during the final hours of the contest and ended up winning with 40 votes compared to 35 (out of over 100 voting). So, let me introduce Dakota, Riley Prescott's bay appaloosa


Friday, July 10, 2015

Welcome, Baby Cole

Two years ago, Mrs. M posted about "Andi" (Jessica, the cover model) getting married. Here is that post: "ANDI" GETS MARRIED. Now, she and her husband, Britt, are happy to announce the birth of their son, Cole Malcolm Waters, on July 2. I cropped the photo to just show Jessica and her new baby. This is so exciting! I can just "see" Andi eventually marrying and having a cute baby just like this little guy. Look at all his hair! He looks just like his mama (if you read the old post you'll see that her husband, Britt, is blond).

Jessica barely looks old enough to be married, much less have this beautiful, new baby, but she turns 28 years old this month. She has come a long way from being my little cover girl. :-)
Little Cole looks like he is smiling. He weighed in at 8# 8 oz. Welcome, Cole!

Mrs. M love babies! I (Andi) love babies too (even more than I love horses).


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Vote for Riley's Horse

Oooh, you sent links to so many pretty appaloosas I hardly knew where to begin to choose. I did not know there were so many kinds! After looking at them all, I matched the four closest I had in my head for my original idea of what Riley's appaloosa looked like: bay appaloosa, gray appaloosa, black appaloosa, and brown blanket appaloosa. (The leopard appaloosas some of you sent were interesting but not how I envisioned Riley's horse, so I didn't use those.)
If the poll is not on the side bar when you see this post, come back a little later. It will be up as soon as I can get it there in the morning.

It's so hard to choose that I need you to help me. Which horse matches what you think would be a good color for Riley to ride? Vote on the poll on the right sidebar.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Riley needs a horse

And here we are once again, friends. Mrs. M needs your help for two very important things:

1. A picture of what you think is your idea of a nice appaloosa horse for Riley. (There is quite a variety of patterning and coloring!) Mrs. M has not given anybody an appaloosa horse in any of the books yet, so now is the time (since I read up on them and found out they have been in the western U.S. way before the setting of the CCMilestones books. Please leave links in the comments or you can email me pictures if you have my email address. If not, contact me via the Blogger Contact Form and I'll reply with my email.

2. Once we have a picture of Riley's appaloosa, then I will need a name for this horse. "Freckles" has been suggested as one of the names. I like it, but I don't generally like names that end in an "s." It makes it awkward, like "Freckles's saddle." I would like other names too so we can vote on which name most of us like.

Thanks a bunch!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Win a Copy of Heartbreak Trail!

What's not to like about free books? I just learned that Kregel is giving away 15 copies of Heartbreak Trail on Goodreads this month. Signing up for a Goodreads account is fast and easy. Go win a book for yourself or a friend! HEARTBREAK TRAIL GOODREADS GIVEAWAY


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Tehachapi Loop

Have you ever heard of the Tehachapi Loop? Levi told me all about it when I was sleeping on the train from Los Angeles to Bakersfield. He was pretty impressed. I wrote about it in my journal after I got home:

So, what is this famous “wonder of the railroad world” Levi couldn’t stop talking about all the way back to the ranch? It is a 3/4 mile-long spiral of railroad track halfway upgrade to the Tehachapi Pass. It connects the city of Mojave in the Mojave Desert with Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley. It is one of the busiest single tracks in the entire world. 

One of the engineering feats of its day, the Southern Pacific Railroad built the Loop to ease the steep grade going over the Tehachapi Mountains. Three thousand Chinese workers cut through solid granite with picks, shovels, horse-drawn carts, and blasting powder. The railroad line, of which the Loop is a part, had eighteen tunnels, ten bridges, and a number of water towers to refill the locomotives as they steamed over the Tehachapi Mountains. Work began in 1874 and took two years to complete. This track line was the final piece in the railroad linking San Francisco to Los Angeles. 

When my brothers, Levi, and I rode over the Loop, it had been in operation for eight years. This same track line has remained virtually unchanged since it was first constructed. It is indeed an amazing display of engineering genius.

Note from Mrs. M: To watch a YouTube video showing a modern train tackling the Loop go here:   VIDEO of a train going around the LOOP. Seven engines pull 111 cars. Start at 1:00 and watch at least until 5:30. The train goes over itself in the tunnel and comes close to the screen as it makes its way to Mojave.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Aunt Rebecca's Hat

Gather 'round, friends, and take a peek at what Melinda and I found the other day. We were rummaging through a trunk in the attic and out fell an old picture of me in a big, ugly hat. A minute later, Melinda found another picture. It was of a really pretty young woman. Melinda and I had no idea who it was. It didn't look quite like Mother when she was young but *surprise* she looked a little bit like our sister, Kate. Very strange, because Kate would NEVER put on a hat like that!

We brought both photographs downstairs and asked Mother. She began to laugh. "No, it's not Katherine," she agreed. "But I never knew there was such a resemblance between Rebecca and Katherine." What?? Aunt Rebecca? Old, persnickety Aunt Rebecca? (Honestly, I would prefer not to have heard that, because everybody says I look like my big sister, Kate, which means . . . yikes! Don't say it, but you can extrapolate as easily as I can.)

Melinda and I discovered that another mystery was solved too. What mystery, you ask? Well, the mystery of why on earth our Aunt Rebecca would bring Melinda and me two monstrous hats one summer's day back when I was 8 and Melinda was 13. Just look at the hat dear Aunt Rebecca has perched on her head. One cocky move and crash! That fancy, expensive piece of head gear would be on the ground. It sure explains why she brought us the hats. She must love those things! Like aunt, like nieces . . .?

Oh, how I wish Melinda and I had found the old photograph of her wearing the hat, but alas, only mine was there. Mother looked the pictures over. Then she slipped the one of Aunt Rebecca into her special drawer in her desk and she gave my picture to me. I hid it away. Some day I'll show it to my children and boy howdy! Won't they laugh out loud!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Creek Troubles by . . . Stephanie

A new little fan story from Stephanie. I can't remember, but I think this is her first story for us.

Andrea Carter and Creek Troubles
by Stephanie

Cory pulled his horse to a halt in front of the Carters’ house. He knocked on the door loudly. Chad came out and said, “Cory, what is the---”
Cory cut him off mid-sentence, “It's Andi, she's hurt...badly.”
Chad said, “What happened?”
Melinda appeared behind Chad and complained, “What’s all the fuss? I'm trying to read my magazine in silence.”
Chad said to Melinda, “Nothing, go back to reading your magazine.”
Melinda turned sharply and left with a loud, “Chad Carter, you ought to be more polite to young women.”
Cory laughed but when Melinda turned around to look at him he pretended to clear his throat. When Melinda had left he continued speaking, “We were in the creek doing swim races when she saw a snake.” When he saw Chad's face expressing worry he added, “It wasn't poisonous or nuthin'. It was just a black garden snake.”
Chad urged Cory, “Keep talkin'.”
Cory said, “She swam toward it and hit her head on a rock. Her forehead was bleeding badly when I left her. I cleaned the wound some but she has a big gash in the middle of her forehead.”
Chad said, “You go back to Andi. I'll bring the doctor and some other people.”
Cory mounted his horse, said, “Sure thing Chad,” and galloped off.
Chad went inside the house and into the parlor where Elizabeth was talking to Crystal Smith, who was a good friend of hers. She was twenty-two years old and engaged to Mitch; they had planned to be married in a few months.. 
Elizabeth looked at Chad sharply as Amanda was saying, “Mitch should really come with us. I'm sure he'd have a great time.”
Elizabeth said, “Chad, what is the matter?”
Chad told Elizabeth everything in private in a corner of the parlor. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Heartbreak Trail is here!

Lasso the new Heartbreak Trail book by going to the Circle C Milestones website or by clicking the PayPal button below. This new title is $9.99 + $2.50 shipping (U.S. addresses only).

Canadian fans can go to Amazon Canada and pre-order the book.

UK fans can go to Amazon UK to pre-order the book. (But I see it won't arrive at the UK Amazon site site until October 1.) But at least it's there.

Personalize book to

POV story # 15 by Kaitlyn

Can you guess the character from whose point of view this scene has been written? Hint: Check out Dangerous Decision.

Andi got up from a game winning slide to home plate and started brushing herself off, sneezing as a cloud of dust formed around her.  I turned to go inside when Cory said,
            “You’re... um... awfully dirty, Andi.  I wonder what the teacher’ll say.”
            I saw my chance to once more irk my schoolmate.  “I know what my father 
will say,” I said.  “He’ll say he’s never seen such a dreadful sight.  
Then, he’ll probably send her home from school.”
            I could tell Andi knew I was right.
            “You needn’t rub it in,” she said, shaking the dust from her braids.
            I stepped forward, wrinkling my nose.  “You look like one of those dirty little beggar boys I used to see in the city, roaming the streets and picking through garbage.  A shame, really.  You come from such a fine family.”
            Andi straightened up and glared at me.  She didn’t move, trying to decide what to do, just glaring at me.
            “You gonna let her insult you like that, Andi?” Johnny called out, a grin on his face  that showed he was thoroughly enjoying this.
            Finally Andi spoke. “I’d rather be a beggar,” she said with a shrug, “than a liar.”

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Convention "perks"

Here are a few Andi Blog fans who took advantage of the fact that Mrs. M's publisher sent her early copies of the new Circle C Milestones book 2, Heartbreak Trail, so she could share them at a few upcoming conventions. Anne, Kai, and Megs, try not to gloat that you have the new book in your hands. The rest of you loyal fans will be able to get your copies this next week. Mrs. M will put it up and send out an email (and a blog post) as soon as possible with a special $1.00 shipping . . . and as always, no tax. And autographed too. Circle C Milestones website will be the only place to buy the book for at least another month or 6 weeks, if Kregel keeps to the July 28 release date.

Coming up: a fun giveaway/contest to launch the book when it finally officially releases. Stay tuned for more details as the publisher lets Mrs. M in on the secret. :-)
It's like . . . we're triplets. Check out those denim skirts on the left! And a former story-writing contest winner on the right.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Our Favorite Things Part 2

Welcome back to Andi's Journal and her (and Melinda's) favorite things. To read part 1, go HERE.
In the previous journal entry, I talked about our 1) favorite books, 2) our favorite activities, and 3) our favorite winter activities, so now we are going to share some other favorites. And oh! Don't forget to share your favorites of these categories (like books and activities) in the comments below.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Fans' POV story #14 . . . by Faith

Sorry. Blogger "posted" this without my say-so the other day, so some of you were probably really confused. I didn't realize it for some time, while I was copying and pasting Faith's POV story into this post. (It was totally blank and probably quite a disappointment for you all.) But it's all fixed now . . .

Faith went all out with changing Family Secret to a number of very interesting characters' points of view. This is the book where Andi has to get used to the fact that her family's been holding out on her all her life. They never found a "good" time to let her in on the secret that she has another, older sister named Katherine. Since the book is from Andi's POV, her encounter with Katherine introduces this new Carter family member when Andi first sees her in the parlor with their mother (and has no clue who she is). Faith writes a scene from Katherine's POV then jumps to Mitch, and Mother's, and Melinda's. I especially like how she has portrayed Chad's reaction. 

It's a fun-filled ride. I know you will all enjoy it. I know I did. It makes me want to rewrite Family Secret and include these priceless tidbits.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New CCMilestons Character Page

It is a lot of work to keep up with two different sites. I don't want to create yet another Blogger "page" to muck up the tabs at the top of this page, so here is the teaser, and then you can hop over to the real page on the web site if you want to see the characters I've put up over there.

"Andi is growing up in the Circle C Milestones series. The books span Andi's life from age fourteen to nearly eighteen years old. A whole new cast of characters (as well as beloved ones from the Circle C Adventures) surround Andi and give her plenty of opportunities for adventures that include not only joy and excitement but also heartbreak and loss---just like real life." To read more, go to the CC MILESTONES CHARACTERS.Then, in a comment, let me know which (if any) other characters you'd like me to put up so you can see what they look like.    

Monday, June 8, 2015

Fans Point of View Stories #13 . . . by Rebekah

Awhile back Mrs. M presented the idea of picking a scene from one of the CCAdventures books and rewriting it from another character's point of view (POV). Rebekah just now sent in her contribution. It is the scene where Andi breaks the schoolroom window hitting a foul ball. This scene is from Virginia Foster's POV. She is standing at the upstairs classroom window. If you want to read the original scene, it starts on page 42 of Dangerous Decision.

Go HERE to read more of these fun POV stories

One day at the noon hour, I was watching the baseball game from the schoolhouse. I watched as Andi was playing baseball. Just like a boy, I thought. I couldn’t understand why a girl would do such boyish things.
The boy named Johnny was throwing the ball really hard towards Andi. Andi had already missed the ball twice. From watching the game, I knew that if you missed three times you were out. 
I hoped Andi would miss again. Giggling at the fact, I hoped the other team would win with that cute boy---- 
My thoughts were interrupted by the shout of one of the boys. “Another foul!” someone grumbled. “I’m tired of chasing all of your---”
I jumped back as a ball broke through the window and landed near me. From inside the room, Father jumped up too.
Andi broke the window! I wondered what would happen next.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

It Started with a Mulberry . . . Part 2 by Kaitlyn

Here is the conclusion to Kaitlyn's fan story:

"It Started with a Mulberry"
by Kaitlyn

Part 2

After supper that night, Chad was about to go upstairs to his bedroom when Mitch said, “Chad, I think you should come look Chase over; he’s not acting himself.”
Chad looked annoyed.  “Couldn’t you have asked me before supper?”  He sighed.  “Come on, let’s go.”
As Mitch followed Chad out of the house he winked at Andi, who grinned back at him.
Wandering into the kitchen, Andi quickly found some ice in the icebox.  It’s good we’re in the middle of summer, she thought with a giggle.
Filling a bowl with ice, she crept past the study where Mother, Justin, and Melinda were sitting, and up the stairs to Chad’s bedroom. She tried to open the door with one hand and balance the bowl of ice in the other arm when crash! The bowl slipped from Andi’s grasp and shattered on the floor, making a big mess of glass pieces and ice chunks.
Andi gasped.  Oh no!  I’m in big trouble now! Before she could think of what to do,  Andi heard footsteps and turned around to see Mother, Justin, and Melinda rushing up the stairs.
“What happened?” Mother asked.
Andi stared at the floor.
“What happened?” Mother repeated her question.
Andi hesitated then blurted out, “Chad made me eat a bad mulberry so Mitch gave me the idea of putting ice under his sheets to get him back. I was trying to open the door and . . .” Her voice trailed off.
Mother sighed.  “All right, let’s get this mess cleaned up.”
 Later, Andi lay in bed, thinking about the smirk Chad gave her when he learned what happened.  The more she thought about it, the more determined she became to play a successful prank on Chad; but, try as she might, she couldn’t think of anything.
Finally, after much tossing and turning, she drifted off to sleep.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

It Started with a Mulberry . . . Part 1 by Kaitlyn

Here is a new fan story from Kaitlyn. Before today, I never knew what mulberries were (I guess we don't have them in Washington State. But we have huge blackberries, and these mulberries remind me of those . . . without the thorns). So, thank you, Kaitlyn, for educating me about mulberries in a fun way. I only know the song, "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush . . ." Never knew what it looked like.

"It Started with a Mulberry"
by Kaitlyn

Part 1
“Welcome back!” Andi gave her sister Katherine a hug.  “It’s so good to see you again!”  she turned and gave Betsy and Hannah a hug, but kindly refrained from giving Levi one.
“Come on, I want to show you something.”  Andi scooped Hannah into her arms and led Levi & Betsy to a tree behind the ranch house laden with green, pink and purple berries.
Mulberries turn pink then red when ripening, then dark purple or black.
“I love mulberries!” Andi exclaimed, pulling a fat, juicy dark-purple berry off the tree and popping it into her mouth.  She offered one to her nieces and nephew.
Betsy gave her a shy smile.  “I’ve actually never had one before,” she said.
Andi smiled.  “If you’ll help me pick enough, we can see if Louisa will make us a mulberry pie for supper,” she said.  “You’ll never have tasted anything as good!  Well . . . almost, anyway.”
Levi picked a pink mulberry off the tree.  “Here, try this one.” he handed it to Betsy.
Betsy hesitated.  “By the look on your face I don’t know that I should,”  she said.
“Oh, just try it,” her brother urged her.  “What do you have to lose?”
“Levi...” Andi said warningly.
“I wanna try it,” Hannah said, grabbing the berry out of Betsy’s hand and putting it in her mouth.  As she started to chew, her face puckered up and she quickly spit it out.  “Yuck!”
Levi doubled over with laughter.  “Oh, that was a good one!”  he said, wiping tears from his eyes.
Andi’s mouth twitched as she tried not to smile.  When she saw Hannah’s lower lip tremble, she said, “Don’t feel bad, Hannah; Chad did the same thing to me when I was little.  Only I don’t think I handled it as well as you did.”  She thought back seven years ago when Chad had tricked her into eating a pink mulberry; yet he had no idea that playing a trick like that on Andi would result in such consequences . . .

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Our Favorite Things Part 1

My sister Melinda and I sat down one warm Saturday this spring under my favorite valley oak tree (behind the horse barn) and talked about our favorite (and least favorite) things in life. The list went on and on, but I highlighted a few of our answers here.When we finished, we both dissolved into gales of laughter. I mean, honestly? Could two sisters be more different than Melinda Jane and Andrea Rose Carter? There is one area in which we both agree, however. Our mother, Elizabeth Carter, is at the top of our list as "Most admired woman."

But we don't agree on much of anything else. Here is a rundown of three of "Our Favorite Things":

Monday, June 1, 2015

Heartbreak Trail Sneak Peek #3

Here is sneak peek #3. Enjoy! It is the last one until the book comes out.
Set the stage: It's the first night out on the cattle drive. Everybody is still fresh and in high spirits. They're sitting around the campfire singing and telling stories. Levi, Andi's nephew from Family Secret, is also along on this cattle drive.

        “I like cattle drives,” Andi announced around the campfire that night. The smell of wood smoke, leather, and strong coffee wafted over her. She shoveled another forkful of biscuits soaked in rich gravy into her mouth and sighed her contentment. “Where else can I get such great chuck?”
       Andi liked the food. It was salty and greasy and full of raw flavor. She liked not having to eat with a linen napkin or take dainty swallows of milk. She could gulp hot coffee right along with the cowhands. Better yet, nobody cared if she spilled coffee down the front of her shirt.
       Cook grunted his acknowledgment of Andi’s compliment and went back to preparing for tomorrow’s meals.
       “I like ’em too,” Levi said. He’d put away twice as much supper as Andi. He sat on the ground between Bryce and Tripp, two of the temporary hands. “I’m not tired in the least.”
       Chuckles rippled around the campfire. “Everybody likes cattle drives the first night out,” Wyatt quipped. “You two will change your minds soon enough.”
       “I bet I won’t,” Andi challenged.