Summer Lessons Learned the Hard Way

by Linda Yezak

Back when my hometown of Bryan, Texas, was a thriving metropolis of thirty thousand or so, back when I was in my early teens, my family would drive all the way to Collins, Georgia, population fiftyish, including pets and cattle, to visit with my dad’s side of the family.

These were the years when I had become aware of the things around me, conscious of life beyond the desire to sleep, eat, and play. So I was aware, for instance, that Bryan had several grocery stores to choose from, and Collins citizens—well, they had to go to a nearby town, smaller than Bryan and not near as pretty, but it was where folks bought their groceries. It was the same town they ran to when they wanted something to do, like sit at the malt shop and watch the only traffic light for miles blink. Hot town Saturday night.

These, among other long-lost reasons, gave me the impression that my cousin—who didn’t even live in town—must’ve been “backward.”

I can look back now and wonder just where on God’s green earth I got the gall to spew some of the silliness that came forth from my freshly-painted lips. I say “freshly painted,” because this was right around the time I began my road to sophistication, and the liberal application of too-dark lipstick and vivid blue eye shadow were mandatory for the journey.

And, by the way, Cousin dear, you’re a year older than me. Aren’t you wearing makeup yet?

She responded that Georgia summers—even as early as when we had visited—were just too hot to bother with makeup unless it was for special occasions.

“Well, in Texas, we have air conditioners. You know what those are, don’t you?”

She glared.

Later, she helped my aunt make tea. Steep tea bags in boiling hot water. Stir in the sugar till it dissolves. Pour over ice in beveled, quilt-pattern glasses. Very similar to the jelly glasses we had back home.

I rattled the ice in mine and with an air of magnanimity, chose not to mention that our glasses like these came with strawberry preserves. I tried the tea. It tasted different, which could be for only one reason: “We don’t use sugar. We use saccharin. You know what that is, don’t you?”

This time, my aunt glared with her.

After supper, my cousin grabbed the broom and swept out the kitchen and dining room. I took pity on her then. Bless her heart. All that hard labor. “We have a vacuum cleaner to do that. You know what that is, don’t you?”

Surprisingly, there must’ve been enough times tossed in with all this foolishness when I wasn’t being a complete jerk. My cousin invited me to join her on a walk.

We strolled the red clay roads in the steamy late afternoon, planted fields to our right, cattle and the hog pens to our left, and chatted about what teenage girls chat about. We probably even thrust out our budding chests and bragged on bra sizes, and who got whose first. (It burned me how much longer she’d been wearing hers!)

Before long, I saw a tree with a limb full of fruit hanging over a fence and just within reach. I jogged up to the tree to get a closer look at the fruit. “Well, would you look at that! Can you eat these?”

Unripe persimmon on tree in the season & fresh green leaves.

“Sure,” she said. “They’re best green.”

I took a bite—and puckered my painted lips so tight I could see them without a downward glance.

“It’s a persimmon tree, ” she said. “You know what that is, don’t you?”

Click to Tweet: Summer Lessons Learned the Hard Way via @InspiredPrompt – a short stop on a blog tour for @LindaYezak & Ride to the Altar, Circle Bar Ranch, Book 3 #summerfun #giveaway #NewRelease


Linda W. Yezak holds a BA in English, a graduate certificate in Paralegal Studies, and a bucket list as long as her arm. Among the things on the list is owning a stable full of horses, and since that’s not likely to happen any time soon, she tries to include horses in each of her novels. Until the day she can retire with her husband to their land in Central Texas and ride to her heart’s content, she’ll continue with her writing and freelance editing careers.

Ride to the Altar – Book 3, Circle Bar Ranch Series

Cattle are dying on the ranch–and not of natural causes. The financial loss to the Circle Bar has first-year owner Patricia Talbert questioning her every move. But to add to her stress, her father demands she return to New York and make amends with her mother. The depth of her resentment runs deeper than she knew, and the confrontation only widens the mother-daughter gap.

While she’s away, Talon Carlson discovers the reason behind the attack on the ranch, and it sends him on an emotional tailspin. How can he remain true to Patricia when his first love still plagues his mind from the grave?

As the gap grows wide and the attacks increase, both Patricia and Talon are stretched to the limit.

How many hurdles must they jump in their Ride to the Altar?


Readers! Linda is offering a giveaway package during her blog tour. When the two-week tour is over, all those who commented throughout the tour will be eligible for the drawing for the prize. This prize package includes a signed print version of the series, a 16-ounce Christian cowboy mug, a horseshoe picture frame, a Ph. 4:13 stretch bracelet, a cute set of magnetic page markers, and a Texas Rubiks cube.

So, leave us a comment, ask Linda a question, or share your own persimmon tale, and you’ll gain an entry to the contest.

Next up on Ride to the Altar’s blog tour:

Cindy Huff’s: https://jubileewriter.wordpress.com/

The Final Ride by Linda Yezak

slow cookerthanksgiving turkeyOver twenty-five years ago, after a decade of life as a “single-again,” author Linda W. Yezak rediscovered God’s love and forgiveness when He allowed her a second chance at marital happiness. She is now living her greatest romance with her husband in a forest in East Texas. After such an amazing blessing, she chooses to trumpet God’s gift of second chances in the books she writes. Linda’s novels are heart-warming hallmarks of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings.

Linda, welcome to our Saturday Interview and congratulations on your new release.

First question–

How long have you been writing?

Linda: As with most authors, I can say I started writing when I could first hold a crayon, and started story-telling before that. But I didn’t take it up seriously until 1997. Actually I was just piddling then. My father had just passed away, Mom was a new widow, and I had an ailment the doctors hadn’t put a name to yet. But when I finally finished that first (awful) novel in 2007—the same year I joined ChristianWriters.com—I got the writing bug for sure and for certain.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

Linda: Romantic comedy and lighthearted women’s fiction fit me best, though I’d love to write something serious, and I’d love to delve into historical. Actually, I’d like to play around in several different genres. That may happen eventually.

For now, Give the Lady a Ride, The Final Ride, and my stand-alone, The Cat Lady’s Secret are all lighthearted and fun. The Simulacrum, a conspiracy thriller I co-wrote with a friend, is one of my sidetracks away from my usual genres, as is “Slider,” the short-story that won an honorable mention in The Saturday Evening Post‘s Great American Fiction contest in 2016. I’m finding that short-stories satisfy my desire to branch out for now.

What are some of the references you used while researching your book?

Linda: When I wrote Give the Lady a Ride, I watched Professional Bull Riding videos over and over, studying the actions of the cowboys in the chutes and the movements of both rider and bull on the arena floor to help me create authentic experiences for my readers. I found a rodeo ranch and interviewed the owner, who was at one time a professional bull rider. He invited me to watch them “buck the babies,” and that entire experience landed in the first novel. Along with that, I also attended a cattle auction, and observed the action there—another experience that I included.

So, everything I put in Give the Lady a Ride was thoroughly researched, and much of that research found its way into my new release, The Final Ride.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Linda: I love the exchanges between Aunt Adele and Patricia. Adele’s primary purpose for living is to bring Patricia back to Manhattan, and the tricks she has up her sleeve are priceless! I have to admit to being “in the zone” when I wrote those scenes, and I think the readers will be able to tell how much fun I had writing them.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Linda: In October, I have a novella, Skydiving to Love, coming out in a collection with Pamela S. Meyers, Jessica Ferguson, and Angela Breidenbach. The name of the set is “The Bucket List Dare,” and each of us send our characters out for some wild experiences.

I’m also working on Book 3 of the Circle Bar Ranch series, Ride to the Altar. Beyond that, I’m not sure. I have another ranch series in mind, but I love the Circle Bar group so much, that I may keep going with them for a while.

I hope you’ll read on for more information about Linda’s delightful Circle Bar Ranch series. I’ve read both books and thoroughly enjoyed them.


 

The Final Ride

Patricia Talbert is a high-class social coordinator from New York.

GiveTheLadyARide_2016 KindleTalon Carlson is a rugged bull rider from Texas.

He thinks she’s too polished.

She thinks he’s insane.

Opposites aren’t quick to attract when the lady who enters the cowboy’s world is on a mission to sell the ranch. But a box of letters changes her mission-letters of unshakable faith and a love deeper than anything she’s ever experienced.

Soon she finds his integrity appealing. Her spunk draws him in. He has the faith she craves; she may be the love he longs for. But faith and love aren’t achieved in a single weekend.

To buy time to explore the possibilities between them, she issues a challenge: “Teach me to ride bulls.”

From here on, they’re in for the ride of their lives.

Sweet Christian romance on a ranch, complete with cowboys, cattle, and rodeo fun!

Available from Amazon.com

13316940_10206565887042896_1503291551972684209_oThe Final Ride

With her duties for her best friend’s wedding finally behind her, Patricia Talbert looks forward to discovering what “normal” will look like at her new home in Texas. She owns a ranch now, is in love with its foreman, and is ready to assume her duties. Discovering what those duties entail isn’t an easy feat for a displaced socialite from Manhattan.

But when her aunt Adele arrives on a mission to bring her back to New York by hook or by crook, Patricia’s primary duty is to deflect the bumbling and bullish attempts–until one of Adele’s tricks takes her by surprise.

All of Talon Carlson’s dreams for the Circle Bar Ranch are coming true, along with another dream he never expected to be fulfilled–a chance to love again. Patricia is everything he ever wanted and more, but he made a promise to her not to ride bulls again, a promise he may have to break.

His desire for a better end to his riding career is intensified by vicious rumors about why he quit. If he rides again, he may provide the ammunition Adele needs to make Patricia leave. If he doesn’t, he’ll prove the gossips right.

Patricia or Talon. Which one will take The Final Ride?

Now Available from Amazon.com

You can find Linda here:

Facebook Fan Page:  http://dld.bz/LWYFacebookPage

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lyezak/

Twitter: @LindaYezak

 Amazon Page: http://dld.bz/LWYAmazonPage

Goodreads: http://dld.bz/dSPmg

777 Peppermint Place: http://lindayezak.com

Newsletter: http://dld.bz/CoffeewithLinda

Coffee or Tea, Linda Yezak?

by Linda Yezak

LindasCupoJoeCoffee or tea, she asked me. Me. Queen of the coffee memes.

But it’s a fair question, since my reputation as a coffeeholic is highly exaggerated. Truth of the matter is that I have two to three cups of coffee max, I don’t drink it all day–iced or not–and I have been known to down a decaf.

There. The truth is out.

I’m not fancy with my coffee. I have ground my beans myself, but only when I received bags of beans as gifts. I like flavored coffees, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a flavored mix or flavored cream, or dissolving instant cocoa in a hot cup of Folgers.

In other words, I’m not a coffee snob. Starbucks is a special treat, Folgers is my regular blend, and instant comes in handy.

still-life-892489_1280I have enough Irish in me to also enjoy afternoon tea in the cooler seasons or when I’m sick. I’m not fancy about it either. Lipton suits me fine. Celestial Seasonings, Bigelow. I like spiced, peppermint, chai, and lemon zinger. Honey lemon, too, especially when I have a sore throat. Whether coffee or tea, plain is good, flavored is better.

What I love more than either coffee or tea–or Coke, for that matter–is having one of my caffeine choices with a friend, preferably in a wonderfully chic shoppe, having a conversation elevated above laundry and cooking. Writing is my topic of choice, of course. Over the years, as I’ve attended conferences here and there, I’ve discovered my favorite part is rising early and seeing who is also an early bird in search of caffeine. I’ve had some wonderful conversations with fellow authors who have enjoyed various degrees of success, marketing whizzes who were generous with their tips, fellow editors with whom to swap stories about some of the fun things we find in our clients’ manuscripts.

coffee-cup-866786_1280And that’s the thing, isn’t it? Plain is good, flavored is better. I can have my morning coffee, sitting in my chair and watching the sun rise, same as I do every day. The plain is wonderful. I love it. But flavor it with the sweetness and spice of like-minded company, and it’s even better.

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments. Thanks!

Linda’s Prompt:  What about you? If you could have a cup of your caffeine of choice anywhere in the world, with whomever you wished, where would you be and with whom?

Linda croppedAbout Linda Yezak — Over twenty years ago, after a decade of life as a “single-again,” author Linda Yezak rediscovered God’s love and forgiveness when He allowed her a second chance at marital happiness. She is now living her greatest romance with her husband in a forest in East Texas. After such an amazing blessing, she chooses to trumpet God’s gift of second chances in the books she writes. Linda’s novels are heart-warming hallmarks of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings.

Linda’s award winning novel, Give the Lady a Ride, is part of a collection of contemporary, faith-based romances, featuring authors Susan May Warren, Tamara Leigh, Lynnette Bonner, Lesley Ann McDaniel, and Jan Thompson. This 99c set, Much Ado About Love, is available for a limited time on Kindle.

http://dld.bz/MuchAdoAboutLove

Connect with Linda on these sites:

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/GivetheLadyaRide

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lyezak/

Twitter: @LindaYezak

Goodreads: http://dld.bz/dSPmg

777 Peppermint Place: http://lindayezak.com

Newsletter: http://dld.bz/CoffeewithLinda

Why Should Truckers Have All the Fun? by Linda Yezak

Linda YezakClimbing high in the saddle. Feeling all that power under you as you ride. Singing at the top of your lungs any song that comes to mind. Eating simple grub and seeing America first. Really. Why should truckers have all the fun? During my teens, we had a choice between biker or trucker heroes. I chose trucker. My favorite movies  were “Convoy” and “Smokey and the Bandit”–outlaws who defied the establishment on eighteen wheels instead of two. Since I never was much of a rebel, I’ll never understand where I got the notion that trucking would be romantic, but the idea of criss-crossing the country and seeing America through the windshield of a big rig attracted me like a trucker to chrome.

Can you imagine what stories a driver could tell? Doesn’t matter if the tales are based on what he sees or what he dreams up during long, boring stints, he’s likely to be an entertaining story teller over a breakfast of grits and java. I love grits and java. Even though the idea didn’t last long, at the time, I decided I would apply for trucking school right after graduation. I’d ride like a sight-seer on a mission. I’d sleep in the rig in a quiet park, make my deliveries on time, then bee-line home with a new delivery and a head full of stories, poems, and song lyrics. Back then, keeping it between the lines was good enough for me. The long stretch of highway could take me places I didn’t even know existed–and I’d get paid for discovering them.

As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve realized that big rigs don’t always fit down the side roads. There are other places I want to see, other things I want to experience. Besides, traffic is much slower.18 wheeler

These days I find myself navigating the highways of cyberspace more than those etching the face of the country. What I’m driving depends on the day and the reason to be out on the road. On a good day, I’m zooming down the fast lane toward publication. But more often than not, I’m traversing the side roads. Not necessarily a bad thing, if I can keep these jaunts in check.

Research leads to rabbit trails; whether or not they’re useful is a different matter. Networking and promotions takes me from house to house to visit friends, a fun, wonderful, dangerous use of time because time disappears quickly when I take these detours. I don’t get as many story ideas from this kind of driving as I do the other, so a modified dream exists. I keep my car gassed and ready to roll so I can do some “real” traveling. Refresh the soul and mind. Accumulate story ideas. Visit friends in the flesh. Both forms of travel–cyber and physical–are good for a writer’s life. All work and no play dulls the senses and bores the reader. All play and no work offers nothing to reader at all. Keep your tires balanced and your vehicle facing forward. Enjoy the ride.

 

Writing prompt: As I climb into my big rig to carry a load of ___________ to ____________, I expect to find ____________ along the way. Sure enough, I do, and . . .

 


 

GtLaR Front Cover FinalGive the Lady a Ride
Patricia Talbert is a high-class social coordinator from New York. 
Talon Carlson is a rugged bull rider from Texas. 
He thinks she’s too polished. 
She thinks he’s insane. 
Opposites aren’t quick to attract when the lady who enters the cowboy’s world is on a mission to sell the ranch. But a box of letters changes her mission–letters of unshakable faith and a love deeper than anything she’s ever experienced. 
Soon she finds his integrity appealing. Her spunk draws him in. He has the faith she craves; she may be the love he longs for. But faith and love aren’t achieved in a single weekend. 
To buy time to explore the possibilities between them, she issues a challenge: “Teach me to ride bulls.” 
From here on, they’re in for the ride of their lives.

Linda W. Yezak lives with her husband and three cats in a forest in east Texas, where tall tales abound  and exaggeration is an art form. She holds a BA in English and a graduate certificate in Paralegal Studies. Thirty years later, she’s finally putting her degree in English to good use, combining it with her natural inclination toward story-telling to create fun, unique novels, which include Give the Lady a Ride, The Cat Lady’s Secret, and The Simulacrum. Her non-fiction works include Writing in Obedience, co-written with Hartline literary agent, Terry Burns. Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004QX62BI Twitter: @LindaYezak Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GivetheLadyaRide LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindawyezak Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/LindaYezak 777 Peppermint Place: http://lindayezak.com AuthorCulture: http://authorculture.blogspot.com Newsletter: Coffee with Linda: http://dld.bz/drt5t

Living With Crohn’s Disease by Linda Yezak

me in gruene too

Linda Yezak

Crohn’s Disease is a hyper-immune system disease like Lupus, Psoriasis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. It’s also one of the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). It can affect the digestive system anywhere from the mouth to “the south” and can cause some seemingly unrelated complications, like arthritis and kidney stones.

For most people with Crohn’s Disease, their best bets are a sense of humor, a good diet, and a survival kit which includes damp personal wipes and a change of undies. Clear access to public restrooms is also a plus–and privacy in those restrooms is a God-send–because for most people with Crohn’s, the primary problem is a surprise attack of diarrhea.  One of the other embarrassments, although not quite as bad, is having a stomach that growls loud enough to echo off the walls in spite of having just been filled. After a while, you give up trying to explain to the umpteenth person who says, “My, you must be hungry!” that you just ate, and your system is totally incapable of digesting without making a horrendous racket similar to amplified whale calls. There isn’t much that can be done about some of the symptoms of Crohn’s, so we may as well laugh about them.

Unless you have severe Crohn’s Disease, like I have. Don’t get me wrong. A good sense of humor is vital for this too, but when the surgeons don’t want to work on you because another surgery could mean being fed through your veins for the rest of your life, and when you confess to your gastro-enterologist, “I’m scared,” and he says, “I am too,” then it gets a bit harder to find something to laugh about. When you discover that one of the things being discussed behind your back is an intestinal transplant–a procedure with a low success rate and only an eighteen-month survival rate–you find nothing to laugh about.

Crohn’s is no laughing matter for those of us who have severe cases of it. And as bad as I have it, I’ve heard that there’s worse out there. People who have to go through bone marrow transplants to get themselves a new immune system. People who are being fed through the veins, who are more likely to die of infection than starvation. People who take the intestinal transplant route. People who were misdiagnosed for so long, their survival rate is next to nil.

As for me, I’ve had nine operations, most of them major, and am currently trying to get through a flare-up without surgery. The flare didn’t present itself as it usually does–fever, diarrhea, nausea, pain. My first symptom early last year was fatigue, but I didn’t consider it to be Crohn’s at the time. It was only in August when the smell of something cooking made me nauseous that I realized what was up. August through November we were treating the flare with steroids and antibiotics with mixed results. By December, my doctor put me in the hospital, where I got another CT scan. Everyone who looked at this scan came to me with long, sad faces. I had a series of abscesses along the small bowel, and I can’t afford to lose any more of it. One of the abscesses rested along a muscle in my back that rendered me unable to walk. My surgeon was afraid to work on me, so he sent me to a larger hospital, where I was treated with even more antibiotics and confronted by another surgeon who’s scared to work on me. A third surgeon, also afraid to work on me, patted my shoulder and said, “I’m so sorry.”

When a sense of humor doesn’t help, faith does. I never felt like it was “my time,” and though I didn’t always believe God was going to heal me, I believed that whatever He had in mind was okay. I’d be okay.

My most recent CT scan shows the abscesses gone. And although I have an enterocutaneous fistula (a “tunnel” from the intestine to the skin surface), my doctor is actually optimistic that I’m going to get well. And I have to have faith that he’s right, because I can’t rely on my feelings. I certainly don’t feel better right now, and the fistula and arthritic ankles and severe fatigue don’t give me any indication of getting better. But God is in control. He assembled this wonderful team of doctors for me, and they’ve done a terrific job so far, so I can, through faith, ignore what my current reality is and believe that I’m going to be okay.

Heaven help us all when my sense of humor returns.

Give the Lady a Ride

Linda W. Yezak holds a BA in English, a graduate certificate in Paralegal Studies, and a bucket list as long as her arm. Among the things on the list is owning a stable full of horses, and since that’s not likely to happen, she includes horses in each of her novels, from her contemporary western romance Give the Lady a Ride and her current work, The Cat Lady’s Secret, to her works-in-progress. Until the day she can retire with her husband to their land in Central Texas and ride to her heart’s content, she’ll continue with her writing and freelance editing careers.

I would like to thank Linda Yezak for her willingness to share her story on our blog. You can find out more information about Linda, her books, and her wonderful sense of humor at her website http://lindayezak.com/

Today’s Prompt: Fear seized Darlene’s heart when she heard her husband’s diagnosis. Crohn’s Disease. What would this mean for their family?