I have long admired Lynda’s beautiful collies on Facebook, and am happy to have her here to share her champion collie and best friend, Vander, and her western historical romance, Smolder on a Slow Burn.
Lynda: Third puppy on the left. That was where he was when his breeder posted a picture of his whole litter at three days of age. Third puppy on the left. Even in a picture, I saw that face, saw the rounding of the muzzle, saw the stop placement and I wanted that puppy. I knew both sides of his pedigree, inside and out. Knew the “uglies” he would go through, when he would go through them, and for how long I would joke I needed to keep a brown paper bag over him.
I contacted his breeder and told her that I wanted the third puppy on the left. I was told, “He’s a tri smooth male. You don’t need a tri smooth male.”
She was right. At the time, I had three other tri smooth males.
What I want and what I need have always been very distinct things.
I actually had hands on him when the litter was three weeks old. Again, I picked him out. He was the first puppy I saw and the rest of his litter didn’t seem to exist. It was as if for me, there were a spotlight that shone on him and him alone. I again told his breeder I wanted him. I told her that again when I once more had hands on him at five weeks and at eight weeks. I took him home when he was eight weeks old.
He finished his championship before he was seven months of age, had his Bronze Grand Championship before he was a year old, and even though he was still a baby, that first year I showed him, he finished the year ranked in the top twenty. It was the last and only time of his show career he wasn’t in the top ten.
I’ve said of that day, when I took him home, we never looked back. But that isn’t true. I am forever looking over my shoulder and thanking his breeders, Bertha and Sarah Garrison, for allowing him to come home with me and for entrusting me to do right by him. I promised them I would take him as far as we could go. I haven’t taken him anywhere. He’s taken me. He’s taken me on the ride of a lifetime.
We’ve been invited to participate as one of the top five dogs in his breed at The Westminster Kennel Club show. (Yes, we went. No, we didn’t win.) We’ve been to shows all over the United States. He was selected as the Best of Opposite sex winner at the Collie Club of America show last March in California. We’ve “danced” every year at the Collie Club of America Top Ten Invitational.
And when it’s all said and done, at the end of each day, he sleeps next to my bed on his favorite blanket and doggie bed. He’s known to the American Kennel Club as Platinum Grand Champion Bandor’s The Wyching Hour. His friends and admirers know him by his call name of “Vander.” I simply call him my friend and my heart dog.
Speaking of things of the heart—as an author, I am NOT supposed to have a favorite book. It’s almost like saying as a parent I have a favorite kid. That being said, my heart book is my second book published through The Wild Rose Press, Smolder on a Slow Burn. It originally started life as a contemporary romantic suspense. I completely rewrote it for NaNoWriMo because when I pulled it out to try to update it, that “contemporary” was so dated it could have passed as an historical. I started tinkering and realized there was no way to salvage it as a contemporary. For NaNo, I picked the hero and heroine up, dressed them in period clothing, and threw them on a train heading in the right direction—ANYWHERE BUT THERE. When I got to A.J.’s first line of dialogue and he tells Allison to go sit on a hay bale in the stock railroad car they’re in before she inadvertently knocks him out the door of that rapidly moving train, I knew it was going to work.
I love these two characters so much that I’ve submitted a sequel to The Wild Rose Press.
Blurb: Smolder on a Slow Burn
Allison Webster dreams of having an adventure like the characters in the books she loves. But there is no romance in being pursued by a man who wants her dead for educating the children of former slaves. Unlike the heroines she reads about she doesn’t have a trusty companion to rescue her…until she literally runs into A.J. Adams, a former Confederate cavalry officer. Now, she just has to convince A.J. he really is the honorable man and hero depicted in the dime novel she is reading.
Branded a “traitor” for more than ten years, scarred by harsh treatment in an inhumane prisoner of war camp, A.J. Adams wants revenge. Allison Webster’s arrival into his life provides the bait to destroy the men who murdered his wife and daughters and kidnapped his little brother. The men pursuing Allison are the very same men he has sworn to kill. Falling in love and admitting he might actually be a hero means surrendering his need for vengeance. Surrender is not part of A.J.’s battle strategy.
She had been just holding the window, staring out in the night while she tried to sort through the enigma of the man. Allison shoved the window up a little more and then tried to drag it down. It wouldn’t budge past its original point.
“Allow me,” Adams’s deep baritone murmured in her ear.
Startled, Allison reared away from the window. At the same moment, the train jolted forward, sending her tumbling backwards. Her head slammed into his shoulder. His arms snaked around her, steadying her. The broad chest her back pressed up against was as solid as a stone wall and the strength in the arms circling her waist felt as strong as iron bands. Her heart leapt into her throat.
“I might begin to think that more than conversation is in your plans if you don’t stop throwing yourself at me. Of course, you can always blame it on your lack of coordination when the train is in motion.” He spoke barely above a whisper and his breath teased along her cheek, ruffling the stray wisps of her hair. Something deep in her stomach clenched, making it difficult to draw a deep breath.
“I have no motives other than trying to close this window.” Allison didn’t make any attempt to free herself of his hold.
“Then, as I stated a moment or so ago, allow me to assist you.” His chuckle sank deep into her, filling her with warmth, brushing over her like the richest of velvets.
This was going to get her into serious trouble. Allison twisted out of his arms and away from the window, and dropped onto the bench.
I write steamy western historical romance, what one reviewer called an authentic blend of Old West action and happily ever after romance. My first published romance won the 2015 Laramie Award for best debut novel. Several times that first romance has sat atop the Amazon best sellers list for western romance. The subsequent three romances have all been RONE nominated.
I was born and raised on Chicago’s south side, into a family of staunch White Sox fans and Democratic Party bosses…and much to their consternation, I’m not a White Sox fan and I refuse to discuss politics. (Some things are much better left unsaid.) I also grew up with a steady diet of syndicated Western television shows, John Wayne movies, and the Sunday night staple of Lassie. I blame those television shows and movies for my lifelong love of the American West and Collies. I said when I grew up I was going to have Collies, own horses, and live on a ranch just like the Ponderosa. Two out of three isn’t bad.
By the time I was legally an adult (I refuse to grow up), I couldn’t wait to get out of Dodge, so to speak. I moved first to the wilds of central Wisconsin and then to south central Indiana to the middle of a corn field, where I currently reside with my best friend, biggest supporter, and husband, Ken. We have a beautiful piece of property in the woods of central Tennessee I escape to every chance I get. Now, to just convince hubby it’s time to put away the veterinary practice and become a backwoodsman in Tennessee. Does he really think I was learning all those survival skills because I’m expecting an apocalypse of biblical proportions?
(e-book is available only through Amazon)
(if you prefer the paperback)