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My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

It was a cold night in the Texas Panhandle, and I was a little girl going to the rodeo with my family. This was not a slicked up rodeo but a nitty-gritty rodeo out in the country with real cowboys, some of which were my older cousins. I remember sitting on one of my cousins’ laps. She already had children of her own but she helped warm me up on that chilly night as we watched the cowboys rope steers and ride bulls.

strongsilentcowboyMaybe that’s where my love of cowboys began. Because most of my cousins were many years older than me, I didn’t know them well and simply watched and admired them. My dad also raised me on John Wayne movies. My favorite movie growing up was True Grit. Just the opening song could get my blood pulsing.

As I grew up, I fell in love with country music. One day, I was driving around Dallas, to and from work, listening to Rodeo by Garth Brooks when a character came to me. He was wearing chaps and boots and he had a slight stutter. I immediately fell in love with Kirk and had to write his story, Strong, Silent Cowboy, which became my very first published book.

So began my writing career, which started with writing about cowboys. I love cowboys’ strength, ingenuity, traditions, and love for nature. I love that they are real men, with a bit of swagger, but also a touch of humility. They know God created the land and bow their heads to pray. I’m proud that I know real cowboys, and I’m blessed to have been able to write about them.

christmasinjulyChristmas in July was my second published book and a sequel to my first. This book features not only a cowboy but also a cowgirl–a barrel racer. These girls have courage and big hearts. Geena, a young widow, has more than her share but she also has a wall around her heart that the right cowboy is going to have to jump.

fortheloveofcody

Finally, my latest release, For the Love of Cody, is actually a re-release of my 5th book. It garnered the National Readers’ Choice Award when it was published. Since then, it went out of print but I gained the rights back to it and recently brought it out as a Kindle ebook. But now, it’s also available in paperback! You can click on the titles of my books to find out more about them.

So for a long while, my heroes have always been cowboys. Next year, I’m publishing a brand new cowboy story! Hope you’ll hang around until it’s ready.

So what about you? Do you love cowboys? Country music? Western movies?

Contest: For a copy of the paperback For the Love of Cody. At the end of this week, I’ll draw a name from those who leave a comment below for a winner.

Welcome!

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My website has had a facelift! So welcome to the new blog area too…or as I like to call it my back porch, where we can sit and talk about our favorite books (or occasionally even mine!), gaze at beautiful scenery, chat about life and love, swap recipes, and explore topics of inspiration. Khalil Gibran once said, “When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” Walking alone, enjoying beautiful scenery, or even reading a great book, in my experience, is even more enjoyable when it is shared with others. The path of sorrow or pleasure becomes steeper and more difficult when one is alone. Thankfully, we don’t ever have to be alone as God, our heavenly Father, is always with us. Family and friends can also lighten the load, making the music of our lives sweeter, the smiles brighter, and our days more delightful.

Let me pour you some hot tea…or a big glass of sweet tea. Kick off your shoes and make yourself at home. Let’s share our hearts and search for rays of sunshine and truth. Be sure to come back as often as you like!

Laughter, Friendship, and Writing!

“I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estes

One of the things I love about writing is sprinkling in a dose of laughter. But not all stories are belly-grabbing hardy-har-har stories. Some are more serious in tone. My Plain Fear series is definitely more serious as it’s a battle of good versus evil. However, because I am the writer and because I love to laugh, it was inevitable that I would find a few humorous things to slip in between the covers of these books. But it was not easy at first.

Writing has brought a lot of interesting people into my life. One of my dear friends, Julie, and I met at a writers conference. We were actually standing in line for the restroom. If you’ve ever been to a writers’ conference, you’ll know that there is always a long line for the ladies room, because there tend to be more women at these conferences than men. Anyway, Julie and I struck up a conversation and discovered our children happened to go to the same school. About a year later, I can’t remember who emailed whom, but we finally found time in our crazy schedules to meet for breakfast and chatted and shared our writing. She is a fabulous writer, on the level of Jodi Piccoult. I was bowled over by how good a writer she is. So we began meeting.

You can’t share your books with another writer and read their writing without becoming good friends. Opening the pages of someone’s manuscript is like opening their heart and peering inside. So over a couple of years, Julie and I became good friends.

A couple of years ago when I was researching the first book in the Plain Fear series, I needed to go to Pennsylvania to do research. Julie volunteered to show me around Lancaster County because she had once lived in Philadelphia and knew the area. So we journeyed together into the Amish world, which is very different from our own.

It is easy to feast your eyes on the peaceful fields and tranquil farms throughout the area. But one thing I remember the most about that trip is something that tickled our funny bone. I can’t even remember what it was, but I remember the laughter. We laughed so hard together and frankly could not stop. Isn’t that just like friends to share some inside joke, something that’s meaningless to others. And that laughter wriggled its way into my manuscript.

Laughter. It’s healing and heartwarming.

Do you have a friend who can always make you laugh?

Share about your friend here on my blog and I’ll enter you to win Plain Fear: Forbidden, my about-to-be-released book, which doesn’t come out until August 1, 2012. But you could win it early! I’ll draw a winner this Friday!

Upcoming Events

It’s going to be a busy weekend and I hope if you’re in the area, you’ll come see me at one of these events:

Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 I’ll be speaking at the DFW Ready Writers group about polishing your manuscript.
dfwreadywriters.blogspot.com

Saturday afternoon from 3 to 5, I’ll be signing Forsaken at Barnes and Noble in Plano, TX.
www.store-locator.barnesandnoble.com

Sunday is a fun annual event called Buns and Roses, which raises money for literacy.
www.bunsandroses.org

Have a blessed week!

FACELIFT, Maggie Award Winner


Hi, y’all! I’ve been busy finishing up my manuscript Forbidden, which is book #2 of the Plain Fear series, so I’m sorry I’ve gotten behind on blogging. Today, I was busy doing a little cleaning around the house when I got a call that FACELIFT had won the 2011 Maggie Award last night. Georgia Romance Writers had their conference and banquet this weekend when it was announced. I was sorry not to get to go to the award ceremony or conference but was delighted to learn FACELIFT had won! Thanks so much to the judges and to Georgia Romance Writers!

Speaking of…reaching for your dreams!

As I’ve mentioned before, my kids are big dreamers. I’ve encouraged them to chase after their dreams. This week brought about some very interesting developments for my daughter. She’s a singer, dancer, actor. Recently, we saw a posting for an audition for a remake of ANNIE on Broadway. So we sent in a homemade video. Well, last week, we received a call from the casting company, complimenting Caroline, and asking if she’d like to be interviewed by the New York Times for an article on the online submission process. We agreed. We were interviewed by a New York Times reporter, who by the way was very nice. They even sent a photographer to snap her picture. So today, the article came out!

Here’s a link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/09/theater/hopefuls-sing-out-from-afar-as-broadway-scouts-go-online.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=theater

Strange things happen when you reach for your dreams. You never know the twists and turns your journey will take.

Blessings,

Leanna

And the winner is…


We took our sweet baby kitten to the vet today for its first shot and discovered it isn’t a girl it’s a boy! Yep a boy! We were suspicious over the weekend but we’re obviously not very good at this. They thought the momma cat was a boy and she turned out to be a girl…and pregnant…and delivered kittens on April Fool’s Day. So there you go!

We have named our sweet boy Sawyer, after the bad boy in the TV show LOST. He’s definitely a pretty boy and he likes to take things away from his sister. But he’s sweet and loves to purr. So the name fits.

And now for the winners! Since we chose a name that wasn’t suggested, I am drawing 5 winners! If you are one of the winners who entered my contest, please contact me via leanna (at) leannaellis (dot) com and give me your snail mail address and I’ll send you one of my books! Thanks to all of you for the wonderful suggestions!

Winners:

Carrie Padgett
Angela from Kentucky
RubyKat
Jenny
Christy

Congrats! And don’t forget to send me your information!

Blessings,

Leanna

Two for the price of one!




Here are the latest pictures of our little kitten. All of the kittens are growing! They’re about 6 weeks old now, and we are going to get them in about a week and a half! We’re very excited! But we still don’t have a name! So please make some suggestions. In an early post I described my giveaway of books, so you can look at that! When we settle on the name, I’ll make the drawing.

Our kitten is the little blond one, hiding behind the gray one. My sister is adopting the gray one. We could use some suggestions for that name too! They are both female, or so we hope!

Stylish Blogger Award

What an honor to have received this award! http://jenniferarcher.blogspot.com/

I will have to work up my list of obscure facts about me as well as formulate my own list of fantabulous bloggers!

Don’t forget, I am still running the contest for naming our kitten. We have not chosen a name yet. So please keep the suggestions coming! You can read the post below this one to get the full scoop!