WHAT MATTERS MOST
After the sudden death of his parents, Eli Hintz leaves a promising music career to come home and take over the family farm. Not long after, his wife abandons them, leaving him to carry on the best he can as a father, brother, and the dairy farmer he never expected to be. With so much on his plate, and a heart shattered in every way a man can ache, he refuses to be taken in by the gorgeous woman who crashed in front of his house and is now staying with his sister.
After changing her appearance and using a fake name to escape the limelight for a few weeks, burned-out Country music star Jordan Spencer finds herself stranded on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. Not the restful, private retreat she’d envisioned. But her soul has found something deeper than spa treatments – a beautiful man with a heart of gold who has sacrificed everything for his family. As Jordan’s commitments draw her back to Nashville, she searches for a way to keep Eli and his children in her life. She knows if he learns her true identity, he will never take a chance on a famous singer whose demanding schedule will pull her away from the farm her heart now calls home.
Storm Thompson wants to be anywhere but Liberty Ridge. Especially since his hometown also contains his childhood nemesis, Colleen Gardner. With a young daughter and mentally ill mother to care for, he struggles to simply make ends meet. Every day, his goal of owning an organic farm slips further out of reach.
Psychiatrist Colleen Gardner has her sights set on starting a retreat to help veterans suffering from PTSD. She’s done well but her small town fundraisers just aren’t enough.
“The Great American Scavenger Hunt” TV show offers a million-dollar prize, and Colleen and Storm are selected as competitors. Both resolve to do whatever is needed to win, even using the other to get ahead. Storm and Colleen compete to fund their dreams, but their already tattered relationship becomes more strained. Only one will win the money. But will love prove the ultimate prize?
I had a privilege of receiving an early copy of this wonderful children’s Christmas book. I was blown away by the simple, clear message of the meaning of Christmas, as well as the beautiful illustrations. I recommend this book for children and those of us still young at heart!
Mouse is worried. It’s the day before Christmas Eve and nothing in the church is ready. The church parson has fallen ill and the townspeople lack money for Christmas. But- “Did it really take money to celebrate Christmas?”
Ms. Baker weaves together a sweet Christmas story that hits the heart of why we celebrate.
Leave a comment with your favorite Christmas movie, either from the big screen or small.
On December 10th, I’ll select one at random to receive a free copy of Mouse’s Christmas gift.
True Horizon Ranch
Located in Liberty Ridge, Texas (fictional town located north of Austin)
1,200 acres in Texas prairie country
Owned by the Murray family, who raise Texas Longhorn cattle
The ranch was started by an Army soldier and his Cherokee wife, Erza and Kamama Burchfield, back in 1845. The ranch has stayed in the family for seven generations.
Favorite line: As they drove down the driveway, Grace lowered the car window and deeply breathed in the fresh air of her favorite place in the world. Acres of grassland enveloped the earth for as far as she could see. For eighteen years, this ranch had been her home. Land where she had run wild and free, a dirty but happy girl. Those hills and fields, spotted with her beloved Longhorn, had been her playground.
Preorder now! Amazon/True Horizon
Meet Bruce Murray, father to Grace
Profession: Cattle Rancher, works his family’s Texas Longhorn Ranch named True Horizon.
Relationship status: Married for thirty years to his beauty queen sweetheart, Joslyn.
Hobbies: Spending time with his family, eating the good food his wife cooks, and riding around in his old pick-up truck.
Things he does not find enjoyable: Seeing his daughter unhappy and coyote going after his calves.
Dreams for his future: To keep True Horizon Ranch in the family and grow old besides his wife, watching their children and grandchildren thrive.
Favorite Line: “I’m gonna give you a bit of advice. You’ll never accept love until you learn to love yourself. Take some time. Grace will wait. You can put money on it.”
Preorder now: Amazon / True Horizon
Meet Shadow, super pup
Profession: Cattle herder and man’s best friend
Relationship status: It’s complicated.
Hobbies: Running through the cattle pastures, chasing ducks, rolling around in the dirty straw from the horse barn, and always being there for my buddy, Heath.
Things he does not find enjoyable: Baths, baths, and baths.
Dreams for his future: What? I don’t think past my next meal.
Favorite line: “Ruff, ruff, lick, pant, ruff.”
Preorder True Horizon now: Amazon/True Horizon
Meet Heath Carter, hero of True Horizon
Profession: Former Special Operation soldier, currently working as a temporary ranch hand at True Horizon Ranch.
Relationship Status: Single (though his heart is hung up on Grace).
Hobbies: Working on his Harley Davidson motorcycle, taking care of the Longhorn cattle on the ranch, winning at cards and potato sack races against Grace.
Things he finds unenjoyable: Horseback riding, flashbacks of his time in the service, and seeing Grace with her fiance.
Dreams for his future: Heath has no dreams of the future until he arrives at True Horizon and meets Grace. Through the healing power of nature and falling in love, he starts thinking his future isn’t as dark as he once believed.
Favorite Line: “You’re better than I deserve. The smartest thing I’ve ever done was jump into the river after you.” His arms tightened around her. “You are the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, and I never in a million years thought I had any right to love you.”
Meet Grace Murray, heroine of True Horizon
Profession: Cyber Security expert, self-employed
Relationship Status: Currently engaged to Tyler Ross, the man she’s crushed on since high school.
Hobbies: Now that Grace is home at True Horizon Ranch to prepare for her wedding, she enjoys horseback riding and play Solo (Uno) card games with her nieces.
Things she finds unenjoyable: Cleaning out the horse barn (don’t lose a bet to Heath) and having to say goodbye to her fiance while he pursues advancing his career.
Dreams for her future: Grace once dreamed of marrying Tyler and living in the city. Since she’s been home on the ranch, she finds the quiet country life calling to her heart. Heath Carter, her dad’s temporary ranch hand, calls to her heart as well.
Favorite Line: “Ever since I’ve moved home, I’ve felt this shift inside me. This place is reshaping me into the person I used to be. And you know what? I like it.”
Why my characters aren’t ‘saved by love’
Welcome to the first post in my new blog series called “Morning Coffee Break”!
Today, I’d like to talk about a decision that I’ve made to avoid the ‘saved by love’ plot device. I write romance, so love always factors into the character’s emotional growth and healing. But I didn’t want to use the love of another person as a magic wand to wipe away all life’s problems.
In Home Field, Julie is deeply grieving the loss of her husband. When she first meets Reagan, falling in love again is not even a blip on her radar. In the end, she does open her heart to Reagan (what girl could resist?) but not after some time to let herself heal. I felt she needed time alone to come to terms with the loss and then find the strength to let herself fall in love again.
In True Horizon, Heath Carter suffers from severe PTSD. In an effort to be true to the struggle, I did not want to downplay the work that goes into recovering from the effects of war. Heath falls in love and love is his motivation for wanting a better life, but his healing only comes after professional therapy and hard work. In real life, most people with PTSD will still experience symptoms even after therapy. They learn techniques to cope. I wanted Heath’s journey to reflect that reality as well as offer hope.
Through out the rest of the books in the Warriors of the Heart series, I’ve tried to maintain the same model. My characters use love as a motivation to grow, but the real change comes by their own strength of will.