Friday, December 6, 2019

Photo Friday: Cover reveal for all six Goldtown Beginnings books

Books 1-6 of the Goldtown Beginnings series. 

Books 1-2 are out now.
Books 3-4 release March 2020
Books 5-6 release August 2020
Which cover do you like best?
GO HERE to read a brief summary of each story plot. Books 1 and 2 also have sample chapters available.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Fans' Blogs Recap

Every once in a while, Mrs. M likes to give a Shout Out to the excellent blogs some of Andi's readers have created. Support our fellow bloggers by visiting these old (and some very new) blogs. You can also find them if you scroll down on the right sidebar.

Update note: I checked every blog, and if you didn't blog in the past six months, I took the blog down. I understand we all move on, and blogs we created months or years ago become not as important. No worries. I'm happy to put a blog back up again, but readers would love to read current posts, not something from last spring. Also, if I made a mistake and deleted your blog by accident, let me know in the comments or by sending me a message, and I'll put it right back up. It takes about 30 seconds. Also, if you have a website that is not a blog, I can put that up too.

Andi Fans' Blogs

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Old West Wednesday: Annie Oakley is my (new) heroine!

This will never be me, sadly. I can't shoot very well at all.
Note from Mrs. M. She is digging deep to find old posts that probably half of you have never read. This one is from 2013, back in the "good old days," when Andi did all of her own posting (instead of Mrs. M.). Enjoy the story!
I saw her! I really did. Who, you ask? Why, Annie Oakley, the girl who can out shoot the men (I'd love to see her out shoot Chad. That would serve him right). Mitch told me a little about this young lady one summer when we were traveling through the high country (Trouble with Treasure). I was so tired of everybody (mostly Mother and Justin) hinting that it was about time to grow up, and I griped to Mitch that I could never do what I wanted anymore.

Annie at 15. Look at that rabbit. Yum!
Like always, Mitch saw my side of it and told me about Annie Oakley (who really didn't get the name "Oakley" until much later, by the way. Ah! Literary license!). He might have gotten her name wrong, but he sure got me excited about a girl who did what she was good at, and she didn't even begin shooting until she was 15 years old. Before then (from age 8), she lived at a very strange place that took care of the mentally ill, the sick, and the elderly. Her family was so poor! But when she came home, she started shooting small game to sell. And she sold a bunch. She never missed.

Unlike me, who can't hit anything. Chad has tried and tried to teach me to shoot his pistol. I miss, he laughs, then I argue and yell. Sometimes I get so mad I start crying. He thinks everybody needs to know how to shoot (I learned later that Miss "Oakley" felt the same way. She thought women should feel just as comfortable handling firearms as handling babies). Maybe I should try a rifle, like Annie. And since I'm not 15 yet, there is still time to learn to shoot as well as she can. Maybe.

Shooting a cigarette out of Mr. Butler's mouth
But I stray from my story. Once Annie started shooting, there was no stopping her. She even went up against a well-known crack shot named Frank Butler, who bet a whole $500 that he could out shoot any local yokel. Annie (my new heroine) shot 25 out of 25. Ol' show-off Mr. Butler missed his last shot and lost the bet. Hurray for the local yokel, Annie! Come to find out, they got married back in 1876 (when I was 8). I reckon they had plenty in common.

I saw Annie's performance when our family went to San Francisco. She was on tour, and boy can she ever shoot! My mouth hung open so wide that Mitch had to clap a hand over it to keep the flies out. Annie shot a cigarette out of Mr. Butler's mouth. She shot coins and balls, and she even shot backwards while looking into a mirror. (I can't even shoot forward!) I poked Chad and said, "I'd like to see you try that." He glared at me and said, "I might." Another thing that impressed me was that she wasn't any taller than me. "Just a little mite," some folks say, if you think five feet tall is little.

All in all, it was worth every penny our family spent. We stayed at the Palace Hotel (rich and fancy) and saw other sights while we were in the City. It was Melinda's 18th birthday, and she had all kinds of things planned for us. Annie happened to be there at the same time. (And she was the best part of the trip, if you ask me. Even Melinda agreed seeing her shooting show was a treat.)

I love this colored photograph!
It cost me most of my extra chores money, but I just had to purchase this fancy photograph that someone colored up real fancy. I plan to set Annie's picture up on my dresser so I can remember what she said about aiming high (for success) and how she never gives up.

Take a look at this actual video footage of Annie Oakley shooting in 1894! It's awesome! ANNIE SHOOTING

Here is Annie's signature:

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Mrs. M could not find documentation that Annie Oakley actually ever performed in San Francisco, but the things she did at the shows are accurate. Also, since Andi is still living during Annie's time, it's up to Mrs. M to tell you the rest of the story. She and Frank Butler went on to join Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show, where they went all over the country performing. Annie performed in Europe too, for queens and kaisers. She and Frank had no children, and they died within days of each other in November of 1926. Annie was sixty-six years old.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Count Your Blessings from Riley's POV

It's always fun when readers like a story enough to write their own "take" on it. Ellen S. did this with the recent Thanksgiving story. Mrs. M confesses that she wrote it a little fast and when she read the ending again, it does seem a bit unfinished. So thankful for fans who are excellent at filling in the blanks. By the way, changing a story's point of view (POV) from one character to another is excellent practice for aspiring writers. For one thing, it helps you become aware of what it means to stay in the main character's head. The link below takes you to a fan fiction story that shows this well.


Sunday, December 1, 2019

Cover Reveal and Update on Kate's Stolen Treasure

This is a Sunday morning update, which includes a peek at the new cover! A couple of fans have asked about Ms. Ferrell's newest Horses and Friends book.

Regarding the new book, alas. Mrs. Ferrell has had multiple issues, some health-related, and has not yet finished the book. Her intention was to have it ready by Christmas, and I am anxiously awaiting both the artwork and the ms. (I told her I'd read it over and give her any editing/revision suggestions.)

She is still planning on finishing the book and getting it out there for publication. It's just that the date has been moved back, until she can catch up on all the other things that have knocked her down the past couple of months..

Thanks for asking, everyone! She has not forgotten about you and all the great ideas you shared. However, she is the publisher of Mountain Brook Ink publishing company (check out her company's great books!) so a few things have required her attention and she can't spare the time to finish up the book. But she's a good 1/3 of the way through it (which is more than I can say about the second Tales book. *red face*). I haven't started it yet, except for the Thanksgiving story, which I may or may not include in the next collection. I have a nice list of ideas and I have not lost it. *cue applause*

And regarding the Chat Box requests. I am seriously considering it, but haven't had time to research an inexpensive--yet totally secure and safe from Spammers--option. If I put up a new Chat Box, I'll be sure to post about it.

Mrs. Ferrell would love to hear your feedback regarding the cover. I love it. Hope you do too.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Ellen S.'s Book Exchange

Ellen S. over at Ellen's Musings blog has come up with a creative way of celebrating one year since she started her blog. She is hosting a book exchange. So, what is a book exchange? Well, that would be telling! I will let Ellen tell you, so click over to ELLEN'S BOOK EXCHANGE and read all about it. And participate. It sounds like a blast! And tell your friends too.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Story: Count Your Blessings Part 3

Start with PART 1

Part 3
Andi paced back and forth, not caring that the rain was splattering her bare head. “Where’s Dr. Weaver?” she snapped.
Carlos and Joey shrugged. What could they say? “Perhaps Matt couldn’t find him,” Joey ventured.
Andi stopped pacing and glared at the two cowhands. “We can’t wait any longer for the doctor to give us permission to move him. He’ll catch pneumonia lying out here in this weather. Put him in the wagon and take him to the Circle C.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Joey looked relieved to have somebody telling him what to do.
Carlos muttered a few words in Spanish then motioned Joey to give him a hand loading their boss into the wagon. Andi scurried over to help.
She glanced at Jared, who sat under the wagon box, out of the rain. He shivered and whimpered. His hazel eyes showed his fear.
“It’s all right, honey,” Andi called. “Stay right there for a few more minutes. Then we’ll go to Grandma’s house.”
Jared stop whimpering. “Gran’ma?” He perked up. “Susie?”
“Yes, and warm chocolate, if you promise to sit still for a minute more.” 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving Story: Count Your Blessings Part 2

Start with Part 1 HERE.
Count Your Blessings
Part 2
Andi lay down and drew the cozy quilt around her shoulders. She was asleep in an instant. But it didn’t last long. Jared woke whimpering and snuffling.
Andi opened one eye and peeked at the small clock on the nightstand. She'd been asleep for less than an hour! She opened both eyes but could not pull herself out of bed. She knew the instant she rose her stomach would protest. And up would come the rest of her long-ago breakfast.
Jared’s whimpers turned into serious sobbing. “Mama!”
Andi groaned. “In here, sweetheart. Come to Mama.”
Jared’s pattering feet soon made their way into Andi’s room, but he didn’t want to cuddle in bed with her. “Hungry,” he said. He grabbed her fingers and pulled. “Up, Mama.”
“All right, all right.” Andi pushed back the quilt and sat up. She cocked her ear and listened. Had it stopped raining?
No. Rain continued to pelt the rooftop. Andi pressed her nose to the bedroom window. She could not see past the drops plastered to the glass pane. “Rain, rain, go away,” she chanted. “Come again another day.” Or not at all, she added silently.
Jared clapped his hands. “Rain!” A watery smile parted his small lips. Then he sneezed, and his nose ran fresh. Andi made a face and wiped his nose.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Thanksgiving Story: Count Your Blessings Part 1

Disclaimer from Mrs. M:
I decided to write this story at the last minute, on the way over the mountains for our Thanksgiving this Thursday. That said, I wrote it all in (mostly) one day, so there are probably a number of little mistakes. I didn't have time to do much editing in order to get all three parts posted in time for Thanksgiving.

Count Your Blessings
Memory Creek Ranch, November 1889
 Part 1
 “What a wretched start to the holidays.” Andi Carter Prescott couldn’t keep her whiny complaint inside. “One week before Thanksgiving, and it has to dump all this rain?”
It was as if heaven had taken a bucket and tipped it over from on high.  
Andi drew back the lace curtain and peered out the front window. She could barely see through the gray haze. She could scarcely hear herself think. The rain rattled against the rooftop and the porch roof like a drummer gone mad.
“That's just swell,” she muttered, letting the curtain drop back in place.
She returned to the kitchen and picked up a dish towel. Last night’s clean supper dishes were still stacked on the counter. She’d been too tired to put them away. This morning’s breakfast dishes were soaking in the dishpan.
And the rain still pounded the small house.
Only three days ago, the sun had shone down warm and bright. Eighty degrees! Most of November had been a delight. 

Monday, November 25, 2019

Character Quiz: Riley Prescott

This one was created by Sadie S. and Lilly W. Thanks, ladies!

Congratulations, Joy B.! You are the random drawing winner of those who only missed one question. Yes, friends. For the very first time, NO ONE got 100%. Five out of a good number of entries only missed one. You know who you are after you read the correct answers below. And, lest you think it was just one question all five applicants for the random drawing missed (and I would have figured I worded something wrong), they missed various answers, and not all the same one. :-)

So, keep reading and you will see the correct answers for the Riley Prescott Character quiz. I commented on a few of the answers that some of you got wrong. 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Photo Friday: Book Trailers

Mrs. M has been busy revamping book trailers. She even redid the Stepping Stones one she posted a week or so ago, as she got some fun video footage to incorporate into it. She created four "new" trailers. Check them out by going to the BOOK TRAILERS link.

They are the first four at the top. Have fun!
Unfortunately, Mrs. M did not receive enough entries for the Christmas story contest to give out any prizes or anything. She will attempt to write a Christmas short story all by herself. *sigh* If she is successful, she will post it in December.


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Old West Wednesday: Surviving an Earthquake

For those who have never seen this Old West Wednesday post from 2012.

Andi's story:
Somebody asked me if--living in California and all--I've ever experienced an earthquake. Let's think about that a minute. California. Earthquake. Hmmmm . . . That would be a "yes," I have. *scary*
Earthquakes are not just a "new California" happening. Check out this link and scroll down to see a list of the history of earthquakes in California. Either they didn't keep very good track back in the 1800s or . . . the number of earthquakes in the state are going up, up, up in modern times.  Not a cheery thought.

I have to confess that I don't like earthquakes at all. I felt a few little shakes last year. The chandelier swayed, the dishes rattled, and I dived under the table quick as a jackrabbit! Chad laughed his head off. He said that wasn't anything. Before that, the year I turned ten, I was staying with Aunt Rebecca in San Francisco (because of a scarlet fever epidemic in the valley) and I experienced a "little" earthquake. Not much too them, but they sure do rattle your nerves! So I felt I was getting pretty experienced with earthquakes.

I thought the earthquake in San Francisco when I was staying with Aunt Rebecca was my first earthquake. But of course Chad was quick to point out that it was definitely NOT my first earthquake. It was back in 1872, March 26, to be exact, just before I turned four. (reader alert: REAL EVENT)

The center of that real-life earthquake was up in Lone Pine. You can read about it here: Lone Pine Earthquake. It was a little town about 80 miles east of our ranch, up in the Sierras. The whole town was flattened and people were killed. And everybody in California felt that thing--so Chad says. Except me. Well, maybe I felt it and then forgot about it.

The trembling woke everybody up. Melinda says the whole bed was rattling and jumping around. She even said it rolled like a ship at sea. I shiver just thinking about it, and I'm glad I can't remember. That little earthquake when I was up in a tree was bad enough! Everything on our shelves--books, toys, games--crashed to the floor, so Melinda says.

She grabbed my hand and hauled me--screaming--to Mother and Father. Father caught me up and hugged me tight, then we all got out of there. I guess Father thought it was safer to be outside in the wide, open yard, where nothing could fall on us. The stairs were swaying and the hanging chandelier fell, just missing Mitch and breaking all over the floor.

By the time we got outside, the shaking had stopped. But my crying didn't. I wouldn't let Father put me down the rest of the night. And a good thing too! Because something called "aftershocks" kept happening. It was cold outside, but we all huddled together until the worst of it was over. Then Father sent Justin inside to fetch some blankets.
Mother and Father went up to see the damage.

For the next few weeks, everybody on the ranch spent the days cleaning up the mess. Our house had a lot of damage. It was stucco (adobe), and those kind of buildings fare worse than buildings like the barn, which are made of wood. Wooden buildings just "go with the flow" in an earthquake.  

Note: Andi experienced yet another quake. In 1906, when she was 38, she was visiting San Francisco, and what do you know? She was caught right in the middle of one of the worse earthquakes in California history. A contest winner wrote a winning story about that event! Here is the real scoop: SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE

Extra note: But I'm not making this next part up. Mrs. M has experienced her own share of earthquakes in Washington state. She was in the fourth grade when a big earthquake just before school. The floor rolled and the hanging lamp swayed! Her most recent earthquake was in 2000, around lunchtime. The chandelier swayed back and forth, and she went outside with her children to see what it looked like. The cars bounced in the driveway and the telephone poles swayed back and forth. It was creepy. And just last year, she was awakened one morning to a small earthquake, which rumbled the cabin where she lives. 

Friday, October 18, 2019

Photo Friday: California, Here I Come!

You can tell Mrs. M is scraping the bottom to find interesting things to post while she's out and about. Good news. She finished books 5 and 6 of the Goldtown Beginnings. She will TRY, TRY, TRY to hammer out some stories (based on your great ideas) for More Tales from Memory Creek Ranch when she returns from California at the end of the month. But for now, Mrs. M is excited to share that she has figured out how to create videos with the Windows 10 Photo App. She watched a YouTube about it. Extremely easy to use. She likes Movie Maker 2.0 better because of the fun transitions she could create between slides. Also, the text placement is limited on this new program. But alas, she can't have everything! With that in mind, she may get around to updating some of those old, OLD book trailers and give them new life. This app even allows her to insert video clips! That would be fun!

Stay tuned. For today's photo Friday, however, she is sharing the first video she created on the Windows 10 app. It's 36 seconds. Just about right. It's titled: "Headed for Andi Country."

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Christmas Story Writing Contest

I need a Christmas short story to send out on my Ezine this year, and I need your help. The past Christmas stories are as follows:

1. Andi's White Christmas
2. Christmas Interrupted
3. Sierra Adventure (The Unforgettable Christmas)

So, what's in it for the winner? This awesome coupon toward any Circle C product (plus free shipping). This could include a tote bag, or a hat, or some buttons/pins, or a book, or a poster or two, or--the possibilities are endless. Ten dollars goes a long way in the Circle C store.
The winner will receive a special coupon code created especially for them for a one-time use on the site. (Or, if you prefer, you can just email and tell me what you want. But I thought the coupon idea was kind of fun and different.)

No age limit. Even adults can enter this one. Send your entries to Contest ends November 8.

What do I need from you? Short stories (between 3,000 and 5,000 words). Basically, I will take the story (idea) I think will work best for my audience (3,500 ezine subscribers) and probably rewrite it. However, the winner's name will be included as the source of the ideas for the story.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Lost Stories: A Matter of Honor

A Young Carter Brothers Short Story
Note: Some fans might have already read this story, but here it is with pictures! 

Andi’s oldest brother Justin is strong, patient, and smart. He got his first notion of being a lawyer when he was only ten years old and wanted justice for his younger sister, Katherine.  
      Chapter One

September 1862

“Children, your attention please,” Miss Hall said.
 Eighteen children looked up.
“We have a new student with us this term,” the schoolmistress announced brightly. I would you all to say hello to Katherine Carter. She is Justin’s and Chad’s younger sister.”
“Hello, Katherine,” the students chorused.
From his seat near the back of the room, Justin watched his little sister fidget. Kate might be a firecracker at home, but right now she looked shy, scared, and small for her seven years. She’d been awful sick with the measles last winter.
Mother had kept her home from school an extra year to regain her health.
One row ahead and to Justin’s left, Chad leaned close to whisper something that drew a sneer from his unruly seatmate, Freddy Stone.
Freddy was known to torment new students, especially little girls. Kate, with her eyes downcast and her fingers nervously twirling the two white hair ribbons on her braids, marked her as a perfect target for Freddy.
Chad had better warn Freddy what’s what, Justin mused. And I’ll watch them both.
He would keep an eye on Freddy to make sure the boy minded his manners around Kate, and he’d keep his younger brother from beating the stuffing out of Freddy if he didn’t behave.
It was a mystery to Justin’s logical, ten-year-old thinking why Miss Hall would seat the two boys together. The tiny schoolhouse in Millerton wasn’t big enough for both a mean-mouthed sissy and a hothead.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Fan Fiction Story

Hey, instead of an Andi's Journal entry, I have an Andi and Riley fan fiction story I was just yesterday asked to post. Perfect timing is what I say! Here you go!
I also added it to the Fan Fiction Contest Stories page because it is a contest entry from 2019. 

CAUGHT IN A CAVE by Kay Wright

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Blog Tour Stop for Libby May's "Dewdrops and Butterflies"

Mrs. M has agreed to try something new (for her). Blog tours have been around for a while, but she just hasn't mustered up the energy to find out much about them. However, an Andi fan from years ago, Libby May, asked if I would be willing to participate in a tour for her first book, Dewdrops and Butterflies. She went on to say how I had been an influence in her writing life. Okay, how could I not say yes to a former Andi fan? So I figured I'd give it a try. Come to find out Blog Tours are pretty easy, but I felt I needed to read the book before promoting it. So Libby May send me a file I could slip onto my Kindle. Libby May's website is, where you can learn more Dewdrops and Butterflies

Oh, and did I mention there are 3 giveaways and 5 winners, so keep reading. Here is the book summary, from Libby May's website:

Thirteen-year-old Rose Wells was determined to make it on her own. Running from authority one last time, the forest became her home, the cafe her source of food, and the fear-driven determination keeping her there as long as she could help it.
Not everybody was ok with that. Alex and Jenni Johnson do whatever they can to find their foster daughter and bring her home, giving her the genuine love she’d never know.
Over the course of a single summer, hearts are broken, scars exposed, friendships blossom, and ultimately a greater truth is learned.
A greater God is understood.

And now, Mrs. M's review:

First off, Libby May is an extremely talented young writer. Dewdrops and Butterflies is well-written. She hooked me from the first page. Her main character, Rose, is smack in the middle of the woods. No long backstory, just plenty of questions for the reader, like . . . oh, my! How will she survive? 

Libby May answers the reader's questions like "How did Rose get here in the first place?" "Why is she struggling alone?" "Is anybody looking for her?" by deftly switching POVs (points of view) and past events between chapters. Three different POVs weave their way through the story: Rose's present situation, Rose's past (my favorite parts!), and Alex's (Rose's new foster parents). Together they form a story that made it feel like the young, suffering Rose was a real person, and I wanted to find out what happened to her and if she had a "happy ever after" in her future. 

Even better, the message of Christ is presented by a surprise friend, and it's not preachy. It was real life, and Rose struggles in this area as well. Very realistic.


Here's the link to the GoodReads page:

And here is the NEXT STOP on the Blog Tour (tomorrow, October 14):

Check it out, and don't forget to enter to win. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Photo Friday: River of Peril

Drum roll . . . Mrs. M finished the Behind the Scenes for all of the Goldtown Adventures. River of Peril was the last holdout, and now it is finished. Stay tuned for the Behind the Scenes for the new Goldtown Beginnings. Coming . . . well, soon, she hopes.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The Trouble with Treasure Cougar Comes for a Visit

Look who came roaming around Mrs. M's cabin late last night. What should she name him? He was the same fella who tried to jump up and catch wild turkeys a year ago last summer. He was very close then too, and it was daylight. Love this guy! (But Mrs. M carries bear spray when she walks in the woods every day).

Friday, October 4, 2019

Photo Friday: Tote Bags!

Mrs. M created a fun tote bag to add to her growing collection of Circle C fun stuff in her store.
She thought it would be fun to share it for Photo Friday. Here is the link. I'm selling them for $8.00 (plus $3.00 shipping). What do you think? CIRCLE C TOTE BAGS