Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Valentine's Day Writing Contest

I'll keep this post up at the top until March 1. Scroll down to read new posts.
Also, I need at least ten entries to run the contest. I'll let you know if I get them. 
And . . . I came up with a prize. :-) It's a mini jewelry box (two inches by two inches) and "Shasta."

One of the suggestions was to have a POV writing activity and/or contest. I think it would be fun to use a picture and a character to come up with a story. It begins TODAY, February 14. It's a Valentine's Day Writing Contest, I guess. LOL

Your mission: Write a short story of 1,000 words (more or less) from Riley Prescott's point of view. You don't have to do it first person ("I") either. Third person ("Riley" "he") is fine too. Use this picture as a jumping-off point. Send your stories to You have until March 1 to turn in your story. That's two weeks. I will also post this over on the Circle C Contests and Giveaways blog. I'll post all of the stories over on the contest blog, and we'll do a Reader's Choice judging.See the examples. You're free to use them if you want.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Photo Friday: My New Home

Such a surprise I got when I first saw my new house! If you remember, nobody but nobody would let me see even a peek at what my brothers and Riley were doing up at my special spot that whole year before the wedding. It's like Chad posted ranch hands on guard duty lest Shasta and I "accidentally" headed toward the creek. Ooooh! I was just itching to see it. Then worse! Mother, Katherine, Ellie, Melinda, and Lucy headed out there to furnish it in the spring. (If Aunt Rebecca had survived that winter, you can bet she would have been out there too, fussing and giving her opinion.)

The wait was worth it! How they built that house without chopping down any of my favorite climbing trees is amazing, but they did it. Lots of shade, with a view of the creek just outside the back windows--along with a stunning view of the sunrise over the Sierras. Here are a few pictures. Not too fancy, not too bare. My mother and sisters really do know me! I love them so much!

The house is two stories, but not huge like my old house. And there is a porch. And look at all the shade!

Here's the kitchen. The only trouble is . . . I'm not that great at cooking. But isn't that little cook stove sweet? I do know how to start it up. And Melinda made a point to tell me that she cut and put on the shelf edging over the counter (the white, lacy material).

And mother gave me a set of Aunt Rebecca's china. "She always wanted you to have this set, sweetheart." I'll try to do a close up on that sometime.

Not too fancy, this hanging lamp is so practical for the dining room table. Notice the lace curtains. My sisters are very kind!

The bedroom is cozy, and my family even put up wallpaper! There is a big, braided throw rug, and they didn't stint on the space. The last picture shows the full room. This is the perfect little house for me next to the creek (well, not too close in case the creek overflows in the spring like it often does). If I want rich, fancy living, I'll go visit my mother, Chad, and Ellie, who have the "big house" to themselves . . . at least until Chad and Ellie's first baby comes along. Then the ranch house will most likely be filled with laughter, crying, and little boys' yelling as loud and bossy as Chad.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Andrea Carter and the Terrible Secret

Mrs. M stumbled across this "Lost Story" and thought you might like to have this continuing saga to enjoy. Andi's thirteen. Here's the BIG PROBLEM. This story is unfinished. That is why Mrs. M never got up the nerve to post it. Seems a little unfair to leave you off. However, I'm now reconsidering. Perhaps some of you could tell me how this thing should end.

It's a very, very old story, written probably twenty years ago, before the Circle C Adventures were even published. Those were the good ol' days, when writing stories was super fun. Mrs. M probably had about a dozen of them going at the same time. Okay, she mustn't dwell . . .

This will be like a serial, one chapter a week for as long as it lasts. Think about how it should end. This is one of those writing by the seat of her pants works. I'm pretty sure you'll like it, but it does have some rough edges.


Chapter 1-

 “There he goes again.” Cory Blake shook his head and took another bite of his licorice stick. He pulled it between his teeth and watched the drama being played out on the dusty streets of Fresno.
“There goes who?” Andrea Carter asked. She turned from her conversation with her friends Rachel and Jack to see what Cory was talking about. To her, the streets looked as uninteresting as ever on this late afternoon while she waited for her older brother Justin to finish his business and drive her home.
School had been out for over an hour, and Andi and her friends had passed the time standing around on the boardwalk in front of Goodwin’s Mercantile. Jack’s father had graciously given them each a stick of licorice, and all in all, it hadn’t been too tedious a wait.
“Old  Zeke Blazer,” Cory replied, his mouth full of candy. He shrugged. “Ol’  Zeke’s been after that lawyer fellow, Mr. Barnes, nearly every day this week. He’s naggin’ him about something.” He pointed. “Watch. Mr. Barnes’ll shoo him away soon enough.”
Andi climbed the railing for a better view of the drama being played out across the street. She stood up, bracing herself against a post. She tried to see across the street as Philip Barnes and  Zeke Blazer made their way down the boardwalk toward the saloon.
Cory was right. Zeke seemed to be entreating the lawyer about something. Mr. Barnes seemed thoroughly disgusted by it. He kept turning around and waving the man away, but ol’  Zeke wasn’t budging.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Behind the Scenes . . .

I'm going to try and take your suggestions and create posts (and stories, yes) when I have a few minutes every day or two. I will get a nice backlog of posts (hopefully, pray for me!) that I can publish on the busy days so I don't forget to post.

Livi Jane wants to know a few writing things "behind the scenes," and since that was super easy to talk about, I'll start with that.

From Livi Jane: Behind-the-scenes sort of posts might be fun as well! (Aka, your process coming up with ideas, writing the books themselves, etc.)

This is an old notepad for outlining Book 5, Andi Dreams of Gold. I have not used notes in the past, preferring to write by the seat of my pants as the scenes come. But ever since getting contracts, I have too much stress to do it when I feel like it. I must write something every day. There are twelve chapters. If I write notes about what is in that chapter, then the writing on the computer is much easier. It's called a story arc. This is the quick summary (from which I have to think up 16,000 words!):

Andi Carter knows there’s gold in the creek. Her big brothers have told stories about the glittery metal. All she has to do is follow the creek far enough to pan all the gold she could ever want. With her friend Cory just as excited as Andi about the possibility of a gold strike, they saddle their horses and head out for an afternoon of adventure. But an unexpected thunderstorm ruins their plans and sends them scurrying into the woods to get out of the rain. Worse, they might have to spend the night in the dark.

Yeah, wish me luck with that. Hence, the "notes." I'm almost halfway through the notes!

Now for some fun pictures from the book I'm working on. Here's what I will suggest to the publisher:
"Cory and Andi"

Here are some of the behind-the-scenes shots I took during the days we were "cover" shooting. The far-away pictures (like the one on the right) did not turn out like I hoped, so I went a different direction. Enjoy!

My DD and I packed up the kids and headed for our local creek near my place up in the hills.

It was a cold day but the two cover kids were troopers. Later, we got some fishing in.

This is the picture I chose for the back cover. Every cover has an inset with another picture, different from the cover picture. This denotes something that frightens them in the book (yeah, I better think of something, right?) Sometimes I take the pictures first and then think up a story to go with them. Crazy way to run a business . . .

Hope you liked this peek behind the scenes!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Ranch Names

Well . . . wow. Overwhelming response to naming Riley and Andi's ranch up at her old-time special spot (and the 1,000+ acres that go with it). I tried to grab at least one name I liked from everybody's suggestions, but I still ended up with like . . . sixteen! So, here's what I'm going to do. I'll put all sixteen possible ranch names on the sidebar poll. Go ahead and vote for the TWO you like best. I'll choose the top six (unless it's overwhelming for one of them) and then everyone can vote again. We'll see what we come up with!

Here they are, in no particular order, but you must vote on the poll on the sidebar (right under the "About Andi" gadget). You may comment on this post, but any votes in the comments will not count.

Please vote for TWO only. Please do not vote multiple times. (I don't think Blogger will let someone vote again after submitting their vote.) Voting ends MARCH 1. 

1. Sunlight Ranch
2. Milestones Ranch
3. Taffy's Range
4. Legacy Ranch
5. Happy Valley Ranch
6. Sierra Circle Ranch (it was Circle Sierra Ranch, but I switched it around. Seems to flow better this way. Sorry, whoever thought of that one.)
7. Rocking P Ranch
8. Wind & Water Ranch
9. Prescott Paradise Ranch
10. Trickle Creek Ranch
11. Circle P Ranch
12. Golden Hills Ranch
13. Joined Hearts Ranch
14. Flying Tails Ranch
15. Sierra View Ranch
16. Memory Creek Ranch

Have fun choosing

Friday, February 17, 2017

Photo Friday-Characters

I've updated the Andi's Family and Andi's Friends pages. Check them out. And thanks to Livi Jane for sending me pictures! Below are a few samples. Enjoy!

Ellie age 30

This is Ellie Coulter, whom Chad courted and whose engagement party Andi had to attend (in Courageous Love) with a smashed nose and cut eyebrow from her fall off Dakota. I think the picture of Ellie is perfect! She is two years younger than Chad. 
Ellie age 10
Here is how Ellie looked when she first met Chad in Tunnel of Gold (Goldtown book 2). She was ten, and Chad was her brother Jem's age, twelve.
Mrs. M would love a fan story on why Ellie stayed an "old maid" until she was thirty years old. But it's not completely unusual. Mrs. M's grandmother didn't marry until she was about thirty. Then she went around with Mrs. M's grandfather on the back of his motorcycle! Quite a deal for the daughter of a Baptist circuit-rider preacher in 1920!

"Are you all right?"
"Cheer up, Andi. It could be worse."
And I love this picture of Riley on the left looking concerned when Andi flipped off Dakota after trying the pick-up trick. Kind of a "you-better-do-what-I-say" look, so neither of us gets into trouble with the ranch boss over this stunt riding. But Riley can't stay mad at Andi for very long. He can't help grinning at how silly she looks.

I found an adorable picture of Justin and Lucy's little boy Samuel James.
And one of his new baby sister, Andrea Grace "Gracie" Carter.

 And last of all, I thought you might like to see the real Andi and her family. Jessica, Brit, Cole, and the new baby, Ryder, Waters. They live in Arkansas. Everybody grows up!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Name the Ranch!

More than one fan has asked the name of Riley's and my new ranch (the big chunk of the Circle C the Carters deeded over to them for a wedding gift). I never even thought about it! So glad you are here to keep me up on these things. So, of course this calls for a ranch-naming contest (like the horse-naming contests of the past). Give me your thoughts and I'll compile the top five that I like and have a poll on the sidebar. So many other things have been on my mind these days, that I would love to have a name for our new ranch. 

The heart of our new ranch is, of course, the place I used to call her special spot (Chad showed it to me for the first time as great fishing spot on my ninth birthday in Andi Saddles Up). This place is also referenced a lot in the Circle C Adventures. I was always running off to my special spot. Now it is mine and Riley's for good.

The heart of our new ranch. The creek is merely a trickle at this time of year. 


My special spot always did have a nice view of the Sierras. We can see the sunrise from the window!

Riley's great at building fences!


Monday, February 13, 2017

And the Winner Is . . .

I did the drawing the old-fashioned way this afternoon. I printed out all of the comments, weeded out any duplicates (or any comments from myself), cut them out, folded them up, mixed them all up, and then drew one out. And the winner is: LIVI JANE. Congratulations, Livi Jane. Please contact me and give me your mailing address so I can send you your prize this week. :-) You can contact me by clicking the "Email Andi" link or by going HERE.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Photo Friday: Dresses I Only Wore Once

CAUTION: Spoiler Alert!
Dresses I only wore once? Sounds odd, especially for my time period, the 1880s, when clothes were expensive. Well, it's not odd for me. I seem to have a penchant for being hard on clothes. I'm finally "back in the saddle" with some lovely photos of dresses I've worn only one time. Yes, that's right. ONE TIME. Take a look, starting in childhood.


My Red Christmas Dress:

This first dress is the scratchiest dress I have ever worn. Aunt Rebecca brought me this red Christmas dress when I was six years old. That was back in 1874. I actually wore this dress a total of two times (the day after she brought it, she insisted I try it on.) I got mud on it that day.

I wore it once more on Christmas. Justin helped lift me high so I could put the angel on the top of the tree. When Aunt Rebecca went home, I took that dress off and never wore it again. *shudder* Too scratchy!


My Birthday Dress (Ten Years Old):

I was sent to the city (San Francisco) just before I turned ten in 1875. There was an epidemic of scarlet fever going around, and when Mitch came down with it, off I went to be "safe" at Aunt Rebecca's. It was bad enough staying there for a month (the longest month of my life), but to top it off, she threw a huge birthday party for me on my tenth birthday. All the "cream" of San Francisco's rich citizens were invited, and Auntie gave me this dress to wear. Mighty fancy. I wore it on my birthday (hat, shoes, and all) but then packed it away. When I got home, it hung in my wardrobe until I outgrew it. Gee. Too bad. "Children grow so fast, Rebecca," is all Mother said when Auntie asked about it a year later.

My Sapphire Blue Party Dress:

At almost seventeen, Mother insisted that a fancy engagement party must have a fancy dress, so I bowed to the inevitable and let her and Melinda help me pick out this dress for Chad and Ellie's engagement party. It really was pretty and matched my eyes exactly (so Ellie told me). I believe that dress lasted exactly three hours. First off, that beast, Johnny Wilson, knocked my elbow. Hot coffee splashed down the bodice and onto the skirt like muddy water. Worse, I was watching baby Samuel when the plate glass window at the Fresno House (where Chad's party was being held) shattered. Tiny glass slivers cut through the sleeves of my dress. It was truly ruined for good. At least I didn't have to worry about the coffee stains anymore.

My Wedding Dress:

I suppose it stands to reason that a girl only wears her wedding dress one time. Seems like plenty of fuss for wearing the gown for maybe two or three hours. Then it's packed up and kept nice so maybe my own daughter (oh, I hope I have a daughter!) might wear it one day. I really did end up loving this gown. No fancy frills. Thank goodness ribbons and lace were not in style that year. But it had puffed sleeves that narrowed a bit by the time they got to my wrists. And a heavy and very full skirt. All of silk and satin. It felt luscious. And . . . not scratchy at all. The only thing I could have done without was the high, choking collar. Perhaps you're wondering why I did not wear my mother's dress. Well, Melinda got that honor. She's taller than I am, more like Mother. It fit her beautifully. I am perfectly content with my own wedding gown.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Giveaway Time!

It's giveaway time. Well, Mrs. M started a Circle C Adventures Facebook page and I promised them a giveaway when the group members hit 300. We hit 300 today. But then I got to thinking that you faithful blog readers deserve a giveaway too. Why? Because you have been patient when "Andi" has not been able to post. So here is a chance for me to make it up to you.

I'll keep this simple, like I'm doing on my Facebook Group Page. The giveaway begins today (Wednesday, February 8) and ends Monday (February 13). I'm giving away a CC Milestones journal, a CC Adventures pen, and a very nice horse bookmark (the picture shows something on it, but that's the lighting).

Just leave a comment below with what you would like Andi to blog about first in the coming weeks.

Oh, and it might be wise to leave an email contact or I won't know who "anonymous" is if that entry is drawn. I will announce it, but you'll have to be checking the blog to find out if you won (if you don't leave an email contact).

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Future Fiction Families?

Mrs. M is so honored by all of the warm responses to this "last" (never say "last") book in the Circle C Milestones series. Yes, Andi gets . . . [oops, better not spoil it] well, you know how it ends. Your overwhelming comments are "We want to read more about her future family." (Okay, this is awkward trying to post and not have spoiler alerts).

Read on if you don't care about spoilers, because this whole post is a huge spoiler. STOP reading if you want to be somewhat surprised.

Believe it or not, my publisher expressed the very same sentiments as you have, as have my editor(s). "Wouldn't it be fun to have some tales about Andi's kids?" Uh . . . okay . . . but what?

I'm open to all kinds of ideas. Feel free to bombard me with ideas here on the blog. One idea I had was for Andi to have twins--a couple of girls that are total opposites from each another in looks and personality. I remember those old MANDIE MYSTERIES, and while my daughter loved them, they are probably 30 years old. I think it's time for a new mystery-type series (with twins this time) and a little more dramatic action.

I'm thinking mystery only because--to be totally honest--I have about drained the reservoir of ranch, horse, and 1880s dramatic plots. I can only watch Big Valley or Bonanza so many times to glean new slivers of ideas. There is a reason those shows finally went off the air. The episodes all start looking alike after awhile. And that is where I am with continuing the Milestones. I need a new category, I guess. Mysteries would be totally different, yet have the same 1880s feel.

You have plenty of time to share ideas--be detailed too! I have two more Stepping Stones books to write, and then I believe I must give in to parent pressure and write six Goldtown Beginnings books for the younger boys. The older boys want MORE GOLDTOWN, but I'm thinking a continuing "Andi-type" series would be easier to write.

So, go for it if you're serious about another series. Flood me with ideas, because that's the only way you're going to get it. :-)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A New Facebook Group

Greetings from Mrs. M!

Andi should be doing what I've done the past five days--autograph and sign over 100 books. Oh, yes, and shipping them out for free. Seems y'all like FREE. :-)

After all, the book is all about Andi, so where is she at a time like this to help me package and tape on shipping labels. (Please, Lord, don't let me accidentally switch books into the wrong envelopes!)

Thanks to Jesseca Dawn (email) and Janelle (comment) for your kind remarks. Whoosh! You read that book in a hurry. Slow down, girls. There is not another one of those coming out. *sad face*

Now that Courageous Love is out, I felt it was a good time to dump an old, old "fan" page on Facebook--one that did nothing for any of my fans and less for me. Very confusing and if you wanted more people to see a post, you had to . . . wait for it . . . buy an ad. Uh. No, thanks.

Instead, I really like the new Facebook Groups idea. True, you have to be on Facebook (which I don't really care much for, buy hey, it is what it is), and you have to be over the age of thirteen--and I assume you would have parent permission) to join up. But if you are on FB, come on over to my new group called Circle C Adventures and Goldtown. Already it's way more fun than that old Fan page (which I deleted this morning). For instance, I'd love it, Janelle, if you shared your thoughts about Courageous Love on that group so parents can read them and get excited too. I see that you are over there, so why not come out of  "lurking" status and post a little bit.
Banner for the new Facebook Group Circle C Adventures and Goldtown

 If you are younger and are not on FB, perhaps your mom would like to join up. That way you could see any giveaways that I do specially for that group (like I do special things on this blog). You could also give ideas. I already have some ideas for giveaways that I had never thought of before. The parents gave me a whole bunch of ideas this morning!

Anyway, thanks for loving ANDI and maybe I'll see you over on the new group. I have 282 members. When I get to 300, I'm going to do a giveaway. :-)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The "Lost" Stories

This is the main page to find all of the Circle C Adventures' Lost Stories or Scenes.

Click on the links to read lost stories or scenes:
1. Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home
2. Christmas Interrupted
3. A Risky Solution to a Hot Day (original beginning of Trouble with Treasure)

"The Lost Stories" category is the place where Mrs. M unveils lost scenes, stories, and other tidbits that either did not end up in the books or were stories she began but never found a story "home" for them. It's a little like an "extended cut" version of a movie. Well, the other day, Mrs. M's 11-year-old grandson Kevan asked, "Why don't we ever get to see what's going on back at the ranch when Andi's with the Gardunos?" (He and his brother are reading the Circle C Adventures and doing the lapbooks and study guide for their literature this year in their homeschool).

Good question, Kevan! As a matter of fact, when Mrs. M originally wrote Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home, the story was much longer---43,000 words instead of the 36,000 words she sent in. That's 7,000 words of LOST SCENES you may enjoy. They are scenes Mrs. M cut out because they were what Kevan mentioned: "meanwhile, back at the ranch . . ." One publisher had turned down the story because of the shifting in scenes, so Mrs. M took them out. But . . . she kept them.

For Kevan's enjoyment (and maybe yours too), Mrs. M will bring a series of "lost scenes" to fill in the blanks for readers of some of her early works (and a story that never made it into the Tales from the Circle C Ranch short-story collection).

She hopes you find these "lost scenes" fun, and please excuse the point-of-views shifts between characters. Just pretend you're watching a TV episode. After all, these scenes never made it into the book, so why worry about head-hopping?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Courageous Love Is Here!

The first box. The rest will arrive next week.
The countdown is over! The books arrived today, Friday. I plan to send out an Ezine first thing tomorrow morning with the ONE WEEK ONLY special of FREE SHIPPING for anyone who wants to buy an autographed copy of the book. (January 28-February 4).

However, I have already put the FREE SHIPPING up on the website, so you don't have to wait until tomorrow to get the good deal ahead of time. The earlier you order, the faster you will get your book. I will ship books on MONDAY, January 30, and again on THURSDAY, February 2.

Here is the place to order the book:

I hope you are as excited as I am. This is a really nice, thick book! Don't forget to download some free activities to go with the book. I think you will like learning more!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Testimony of God's Protection

This just in from Abbi Grooms, a fan-fiction writer and another of us "waiting with bated breath" for Courageous Love to arrive. She wanted to share a testimony of how God protected her and her family and friends during a very scary situation a few weeks ago. Read it for yourself in Abbi's own words:

This is Abbi Grooms. I wanted to share a testimony I thought others would like to hear. A few weeks back, my family and some friends from church went bike riding. Of course we kids rode far ahead of the adults, but not realizing how far ahead. It turned out that the adults had to stop several times for repairs; therefore, we ended up very far ahead of them.
One of the 16-year-old boys flew past us while we were riding. The small group with me, my two cousins (12 and 15 years old), and a friend from church who was also 12 years old. I’m 14, and we’re great friends. We thought we would catch him, so we really put on the speed. We rode and rode and rode, but never saw any sign of him.
Dusk fell, and we rode on, worried for the boy and pushing our feet. We made it to a path in the middle of the woods, and it got pretty dark. Both 12 year olds were noticeably worried, and the fifteen year old and I could barely mask our own fear! But we knew we had to for the others.
We rode on, looking for the boy who had passed us, and it got darker and darker. He was nowhere in sight!
One of the 12 year olds went into hysterics, and I knew we had to go back. I stopped and just prayed. I felt calm, and that we were gonna be okay. I told everybody we would be fine. Now, focus! We reached the end of the trail in complete darkness. There was nothing we could do but turn around, so we did.
We rode hard, and keep in mind, this is a bikes-only trail and . . . we saw headlights! I think it’s understandable, but we freaked! We were shouting to each other, “Off the road! Off the road!”
We plowed into the fields next to us, and we were booking it!
Then we heard, “This is the police. Stop where you are!”
I shouted “Guys, its the cops!”
We slowly stopped. The cop asked if we were lost, then he took us to our parents.
It turned out that the boy who had sped past us earlier (and who we were looking for) had stopped down by a ravine just ahead of us. We had flown right past him with seeing him.
Our parents had the whole police force out looking for us. Dogs were on the scene, and they were just about to call in the helicopters.
The amazing thing was, right after the cops found us, some ATVs were coming down the bike path with (apparently) drunk riders. The cops turned on their lights, and off they went after them.
God only knows what those ATV riders might have done when they caught up with four, pretty-much helpless. We had only our fists, and the older boy and I had our pocketknives. They would have had a hard fight, but God only knows how it could have ended.
There isn’t a doubt in my mind that He let the police find us just in time! Thank you, Jesus! When our parents learned all the details, they weren’t as upset as they had been, and we got off with only minor punishments.
I don’t think I’ll be doing that again soon! 

God loves to protect His people! My granddaughter Julie (the new cover girl for the Stepping Stones series) was almost kidnapped right from her own driveway two years ago (it's a long driveway). She (seven years old at the time) was taking out the trash to the garbage cans that sit behind the hedge next to the street, and a person in a hoody (with a white van in front of the hedge on the street side) grabbed her shoulder. Just then, her older sister Ellie (nine) came outside on the front porch. She saw it and yelled, and the potential kidnapper took off. 
Never dwell on "what ifs." 
"What if" Ellie hadn't come outside just then? Or, in Abbi's case, "what if" the police had not arrived just then? 
There are no "ifs" in God's kingdom, Corrie ten Boom often said. It is a good reminder to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Courageous Love Sneak Peek

Update: I heard back and Courageous Love will be in the publisher's warehouse on January 20. I should get them a week later. I set up a countdown timer. If it gets to zero and no books, I may explode. I feel terrible since I told everybody it would be here shortly after the New Year--sorry! I was going on past experiences, when I got my books a full MONTH before their release date.

In the meantime, I thought it might be fun to incorporate a sneak peek that highlights a supporting character who originally appeared in the Circle C Adventures and also plays a major role in the new Circle C Stepping Stones (for ages 7-10).

Andi and Sadie are good friends when they are younger (age 9). In Andi Saddles Up, they meet when Andi is first exploring her brand-new special spot (that Chad shows her and gives her on her birthday). She is up in the tree and hears somebody approaching: 

      Andi spread the leaves apart. A barefoot girl wearing faded overalls sat on a brown horse. 
      While Andi watched, the girl slid from the horse’s back and walked up to Taffy. She rubbed the filly’s nose then took hold of the reins.
     “Hey!” the girl hollered. “I said, whose horse is this?” She looked around. Then she tugged on the reins. “I guess it’s finders keepers, losers weepers.”
       Andi sucked in her breath. Oh, no, it’s not! If this strange girl thought she was going to keep Taffy, she had another think coming.
        Andi scrambled down the tree. When she reached the lowest branch, she swung from it and dropped to the ground. “Hey, yourself! What are you doing? That’s my horse.”
      The girl laughed. “I knew I could get you to show yourself.” She dropped the reins. “Mighty pretty horse. I wouldn’t really take her.” She turned a full circle. “This your spread?”
      Andi nodded. “Where did you come from?”
      “Thataway.” The girl pointed up the creek. “We got a place just on the other side of those hills. I been followin’ this creek for quite a spell. Woulda kept goin’ if I hadn’t seen the horse.”
      “Why are you following our creek?”
She shrugged. “To see where it goes.” She flipped a dirty-blond braid behind her shoulder. “What’s your name?”
       “Andi Carter. What’s yours?”
       “Sadie Hollister.”

Fast forward three years to Dangerous Decision. School (and the fact that Sadie doesn't go), life, and the fact that Chad never liked Andi going around with a no-account sheepherder's daughter has caused Andi and Sadie to drift apart. Sadie is not directly in this story, but we hear about her.

"My money's on the Hollister kids," Justin tells Andi when he hears about somebody nearly trampling the new teacher. "They're a wild bunch and wouldn't think twice about tearing through town on their horses . . ." "It wasn't Sadie and Zeke Hollister," Andi confesses. "It was Cory and me. Mostly it was me." The new teacher later thinks Andi is Sadie and treats her harshly. At that point Andi assures Mr. Foster she is NOT Sadie. The Hollisters hardly ever come to school (never, actually).

Fast forward another five years to Courageous Love. Riley and Andi are on their way up to the Hollister place to find out if they have anything to do with the recent, unpleasant happenings to the Carter family. Click to read on . . .

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Rebekah and Sedona's Story

Mrs. M loves to hear how Andi's adventures gallop their way into readers' lives. She was touched by this recent story, and she hopes you will be too. An email from Rebekah about her and her horse Sedona (get your handkerchiefs):

Hi, I wanted to write and tell you how big an impact your book The Last Ride had on my life. I love Andi. I like to think I am like her, I don't know. My friend who LOVES the Andrea Carter books has a younger sister who tells me I look like Andi. I guess my hair is brown and long and my eyes are blue. But still. I am a huge horse person! 

I've been riding since I was four. I'm sixteen now. I've trained several horses and really done a lot with horses. My life is kind of centered around them. I love reading, I am the type of person that gets really "connected" with the characters. I "feel" their emotions. When Taffy died, I cried right along with Andi. And I remember thinking how terrible that was and how I'd never want to lose one of my own horses. I read that book in September. 

In October I did lose my best friend. My three-year-old Quarter horse mare. I raised her from the time she was five months old. I trained her myself. Sedona was really special. Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. She'd always meet me at the gate. She was so willing and calm. I would have trusted her with my life. I'd put my five- and three-year-old nieces up on her bareback and lead them around on her. She loved to go do things together and go for rides. Whenever I caught another horse she'd follow me to the gate and stand, watching me. We shared a special bond. She was the first horse I've ever experienced something like that with, and I pray she will not be the last. 

Now, I look back and I think about your book. Was God maybe somehow preparing me for that? I like to think that. It still hurts, and I miss Sedona. A lot. But when I told Sedona good-bye I promised her I would train Kotie, I'd make her a good horse like she was. As soon as the weather turns nice I'll be starting Kotie under saddle. 

I have a yearling filly now as well. Kip. Everyone thinks she is Sedona's replacement. I know different. No horse could ever replace Sedona. They're all special in their own way. 
I'm sorry for making it so long. I just wanted to say thank you for that book. Even though I was upset (I'm the type of person that wants to throw the book across the room when a character dies) when Taffy died, I realize now that maybe the Lord was using it. It is so hard to trust Him sometimes. But I know His plan is better and I find peace knowing He's got it all in His hands. 

With love, Rebekah (I have a boy nickname too; Reuben)

Thank you so much for sharing, Rebekah! Your testimony may well encourage someone else.

Note: Some of you want to know how Sedona died. It was a tragic accident during a routine tacking up. She was tied up and another horse got under her neck. She freaked and somehow went to ground. She may have hit her head or broken her neck. The vet said it could also have been a freak aneurysm. Sad and heart-breaking, much like Andi's experience. We are never prepared, it seems, for the unexpected.