Fun with Research for Next Release

IMG_1099Saddle up for some Fun with Research on my Next Release!

If you’ve heard me talk about research in the past, you know I consider it a necessary evil for writing.

The problem started in high school. Yeah, I know, you don’t want to go there. Neither do I, but that’s where it started. Remember those dreaded research/term papers? You had to make outlines, notecards, quote
s, bibliographies, works cited pages and the list goes on. The two worst parts for me were the outlines (I still get nauseous thinking about outlining) and research for the notecards. I honestly didn’t mind reading the books for information, but having to make note cards to PROVE that I did was really annoying. It wasn’t so much I had to prove I did the research as the fact that I wasn’t going to use those cards to write the paper. Once I handed them in for the ‘pre-work’ grade, I doubt I looked at them again.

HOWEVER, over the past few years I’ve come to realize I can have fun with research. Hallelujah!

Nowadays my research is much more hands on. I wrote another post about this subject almost two years ago as a guest on Jessica Aspen’s Blog. I wanted to give you an update on my latest research experience – Guest Ranches.

My current WIP (work in progress) will be the first of the new Masters Men series, Master Security. It features Chance Dugan who was introduced in Her Master Match, and Marley Jasper, owner of the Jasper Ranch. (If you need to brush up on the Masters Men, feel free to click here for information on the first Masters Men Series.) I figured if I was going to feature a guest ranch in my book, I should probably know what running one entailed. Cue research.

Okay, so I had to do a little, very little, searching on Google to get started. It didn’t take many keystrokes to find a place to contact. I sent an email to the General Manager of C Lazy U Ranch. It wasn’t long before he responded and we arranged for a call. I sent him some questions ahead of time. His answers weMain Lodge at C Lazy U Ranchre very helpful, but he suggested I really needed to see things for myself and invited me to visit. My niece went with me so when I ran out of questions or forgot to take pictures she could pick up the slack.

So, we went to the ranch and it was amazing. The C Lazy U is a premier guest ranch in the U.S. located in Granby, Colorado. Our cabin was unbelievably comfortable and had fireplaces in both rooms. We went ho
rseback riding and snowshoeing. We joined others in the community area of the main building for lunch, dinner, and breakfast. All the meals were good, but the dinner was definitely outstanding. All of the employees were friendly and welcoming. There must be a requirement that the cowboys are good looking, because they would all look great on a book cover. Also, the female wrangler (that’s her in the picture at the top of the post) who led our trail ride grew up on a dairy farm. If you remember ChancRiding at the C Lazy U Ranche from his cameo appearance in Her Master Match, he grew up on a dairy farm, too. So, now I have a contact to find out more about how a small dairy farm works. Bonus!

The only issue was the C Lazy U is so much more than my heroine could handle as a family guest ranch. It turned out, that wasn’t a problem either, because David Craig, C Lazy U’s General Manager, also arranged for us to visit a nearby family-owned and run guest ranch, the Drowsy Water Ranch. C Lazy U is huge and open year round while Drowsy Water is open from June through mid-September. That is much more likely what my heroine would be able to deal with as a family-owned guest ranch. Even though Drowsy Water wasn’t open right now, Justin Fosha, one of the owners gave us a tour through the knee high snow as well as giving us a better feel of what a family-owned and run guest ranch would entail.

So, if you want to see what all this FUN RESEARCH results in late this spring, you’ll keep an eye out for the first installment of the Master Security series. While I don’t have a final title yet, the working title is WRANGLING DUGAN. If you’d like a little teaser, keep reading. If you like that title, or have a suggestion for a different one, leave a comment.

Chance waited in silence for Marley to continue.

“Early this morning someone broke into the main house.”

The pencil he’d been tapping snapped in two. He stared at her. “The main house as in the one you and your parents live in?”

She shrugged. “It’s just me. My parents moved to Arizona when dad sold the ranch to me. I guess Colorado wasn’t dry enough for them.”

Chance ignored her attempt to break the sudden tension. “They actually got inside? Your security system didn’t go off?”

“Oh, it went off. As soon as they stepped one foot in the kitchen, I pulled the trigger on my father’s old shotgun.”

“You shot them?” He knew his eyes were wide as saucers, but he hadn’t expected that.

“Maybe, I’m not sure if any of the buckshot hit him or not. I aimed at the door’s frame. It’s a ranch. Shotguns are the security system.”

He rubbed his temple again while he tried to come to terms with the image of her facing off with a would-be attacker in her kitchen with a shotgun.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!

Don’t forget to check out Sandra’s most recent release, A Chance Event – A Chain of Love novella.

Christmas Countdown Post by SMJ

Christmas Countdown, Behind, But Still Trying!

I know, I’m lagging behind again. Sandra’s been writing like crazy and won’t let me near the keyboard! She also isn’t done with her holiday baking or shopping. That’s the only reason I don’t feel TOO bad. Actually, she just pulled four mini loaves of Cranberry Orange bread from the oven. I might have to see if I can sneak a piece after I finish this. With my luck, Lil Sock will beat me to it, though. That kid has a terrible sweet tooth. It doesn’t hurt that he lives with Sandra, too. Sock Mittens & Shovel

Anyway, I just wanted to give you a peek at the outside here. We got a little more snow last night. Here’s a pic of my buddies, the Mitten Sock twins. They just finished helping Sandra shovel the driveway and sidewalk. They don’t get out much except in winter. Sandra loves how they keep her hands toasty warm in the winter though. They’re her favorites on cold days that she has to go outside.

HeBirdhouse & sidewalkre’s a shot of the sidewalk and step to the front door. I think they did a pretty good job, how about you?

They worked extra hard because they wanted it to be safe for the mailman/woman, or any other folks who might be delivering packages. Those folks all work so hard. They shouldn’t have to trudge through snowy and slippery sidewalks. Sock Munkees salute all the U. S. Postal Service men and women for the extra hours and friendly greetings they share during this super busy time. Hats off to UPS, FedEx, and all the other delivery service personnel who try so hard to get everyone’s packages to them before Christmas. I added some links to these folks so you can check holiday dates and deliveries.

For now, Sandra’s clammering to get back to work. She’s almost done with the Valentine’s Day novella. Yeah! Anyway, here are a couple of more pictures of our snowy day here in Colorado. It’s not so much cloudy today (though it looks like it) as still foggy. If you don’t have any snow, you can use these pics to make it feel more like Christmastime for you.

Catch ya later!   SMJ

Hidden moutains

This is to let you see how the mountains have disappeared in the fog. Sorry about the screen being in there, but it didn’t really matter. The Rocky Mountains can’t be found. LOLSMJ

backyard snow

The view from our backyard toward the big field out back. This one is to show you how foggy it is. Those tracks in the snow are from Rudy playing.

front porch shot

Here’s our front patio. Since we don’t use it in the winter, we don’t shovel it. The foot prints are from fixing the fireplace vent. 🙂

 

 

 

#8 of SMJ’s Christmas Countdown

Christmas Cookies Can’t be Beat!

SMJ in tree

 

Hi everybody! SMJ here, hanging around in a tree. Can you see that blue sky through the branches? How about the green grass with just a touch of snow on the ground? Well, that’s Colorado for you. One day we’re freezing and the next we’re out in our shirt-sleeves. I love it! It gives me the chance to get outside and climb trees or just run around without getting so cold I turn blue. Just in case you didn’t know, blue isn’t a much better color for Sock Munkees than green.

Okay, I guess it’s time to go back inside and get to work. I know I’m still two entries behind, but I promise, I will make them up eventually. I just know how much you enjoy having pictures with the posts and sometimes the internet doesn’t cooperate with getting the pictures where they need to be. So, onward!

Today’s main focus is cookies. Christmas cookies! Well, maybe not Christmas cookies technically. I mean, we didn’t decorate them or make cutouts. I guess I’ll have to get Sandra on that. She’s the residenSock Munkee baking cookiest ‘Betty Crocker’ in this business. However, Casey and I baked some chocolate chip cookies. Yum! One of my favorites. Here’s a link to a bunch of cookie recipes you can try.

Her you can see how I carefully placed the cookies on parchment paper so they wouldn’t stick or burn. They’re perfect, right? You will also note that I used a pot holder to get the tray out of the oven. I didn’t want to get burned. Just the burst of heat when we opened the oven door was hot enough for me. Safety first!

This might be a short post, but I did want to offer you a cookie. Sorry, I got hungry waiting for you and took a bite, but it’s just a little bite. I hope you think they’re as yummy as I do.

SMJ sharing cookies

Sandra needs to go run some errands so this is goodbye for now. Don’t forget to leave a comment answering this question. What’s your favorite cookie of the season? Inquiring monkeys want to know!

Signing off,

SMJ

Sock Munkee’s Christmas Countdown Day 5

Sock Munkee picking his Christmas treeSock Munkee Picks a

Christmas Tree

Hey, welcome back everyone. Today was so exciting!

It wasn’t easy. We had to go to two different tree farms to find the perfect tree. Let me tell you, those farms are not little. I had to go all over both of IMG_0237them until I found it. Then I had to chop it down. It took FOREVER with my tiny little hatchet, but I was determined to do it myself. Mom offered to help, really, but I was adamant. I have to admit, it was kind of exciting to yell, ‘Timber!” when I took the last swing. After it fell, I had to drag it out to mom’s car and we tied it to the top of the car.

Before we left I couldn’t resist a patch of snow I found. IMG_20151204_063838I mean, I was so hot from all that work chopping and dragging. Mom didn’t want me to get all wet since I didn’t have a coat on, but I just had to do it. I rushed over, fell backward into the snow and made a Sock Munkee snow angel. When was the last time you made a snow angel? We don’t always get a lot of snow here, so I had to take advantage of it. What do you think of it?

So, after mom tsked several times, we climbed in the car and headed home. I was worried something would happen to the tree, but mom promised me it would be okay. I was very happy to find that she was right when we pulled in the driveway.

I couldn’t wait to get the tree inside and start decorating. Mom popped that balloon fast. Once we got the tree in the stand and watered it, she said we had to let it ‘settle’ over night. I guess the branches need time to warm up and relax a little after being out in the cold so long. All I know is I had to wait another night to get my Chrismas tree decorated. At this rate, I might not have it ready in time for Santa to put any presents under.

Okay, okay, I know I’m whining. I just love decorating for Christmas.

Do you like decorating for Christmas?

I’ll get back to you later.

SMJ