On Vacation

Oh, how I wish it was true. Sometimes the only vacation we get is the one we take in our dreams. But I love looking at the photos my friends post on Facebook–of places they’re going, and things they’ve seen.

I’m not envious. Not really. Well, maybe a little bit.

Oh, I’ve been places and seen wonderful things, and posted lots of pictures of my own. I love rounding that bend, focusing on what’s to come. The awe-inspiring vista! The first sighting of what lies ahead. Whether it’s Niagara Falls or the Grand Canyon, the rugged Oregon coast, or those gigantic redwood trees. The amazing, soft, white sand along the Gulf Coast. Millions of stars overhead on a magical, dark night along the Puget Sound.

Grand adventures, all. My dad instilled the love of adventure in me. He was fond of discovering where roads ended up. He made an adventure of an ordinary errand. Taking the road less traveled brought us to a complete halt one summer day in Utah, as cowboys drove a herd of cattle across the road. An ordinary day’s work for those cowboys. A jaw-dropping adventure for a couple of kids to watch from the back seat of a 1969 Pontiac Le Mans.

What does your summer adventure look like this year? Are you planning to chill on a beach? Hike in the Rockies? Sail into the sunset? Or will you hit the road to discover new adventures around the bend?

If your summer vacation allows for time to read, I hope you’ll consider buying a book or two to take along with you.

I’ve returned to cotton country in the sequel to Annabelle’s Ruth–Sutter’s Landing–where Connie and Annabelle Cross are settling into their new life in west Tennessee. You can read more about it here:

Sutter’s Landing, Book 2, Kinsman Redeemer series







Welcome to Sutter’s Landing

Ginger – expert mouser

I’m interrupting my normal blogging schedule to introduce you to some very special friends of mine. If you’ve read Annabelle’s Ruth, you already know most of them. This time around, you’ll find a few new names and faces in the bunch.

Joseph David Cross

Connie is loving her new role of motherhood.

Is there romance? Oh, yes, the romance–(spoiler alert if you haven’t read Annabelle’s Ruth)–Alton amps up the romance in Sutter’s Landing. He’s determined not to let his brother Jensen discourage Connie and send her running for the hills or maybe back to paradise.

Why Sutter’s Landing? Alton’s big house (known to all the locals as Sutter’s Landing) welcomes Connie with open arms. Or, maybe it’s the folks who live there. Alton, his mother (Miss Lillian), their cook, housekeeper, and friend (Regina). And it seems everyone loves Connie.

Surprises are headed their way, including a hundred-year flood, and a puzzling dilemma for Annabelle. I love Annabelle. She’s tough, but in this sequel, we see what’s going on beneath the calm surface.

Samson has  a new friend, too. I think you’ll like him.

The Kindle version of the book is available for preorder for the low introductory price of $2.99. That special price won’t be around long, so secure yours today.

What I write. If you love inspiring historical fiction with a heaping spoonful of romance, I think you’ll like Sutter’s Landing. If you’ve never read one of my novels, I hope you’ll take a chance on me.

So come, sit a spell–maybe we’ll enjoy a glass of sweet tea, or ice cold lemonade. You can almost hear Miss Lucy a-sangin’ in the field.

I hope you’ll stay in touch. I’ve got exciting plans for the release. I’ll give away some copies of the book, and maybe a gift or two. You can follow my blog, or like my Facebook page. I’m @batowens on Twitter, and sometimes I even remember to post on Instagram.

Thanks for stopping by!

Still reeling from tragic losses, Connie and Annabelle Cross face life with their signature humor and grace, until fresh hope arrives on their doorstep.

In early spring of 1955, Annabelle Cross and her daughter-in-law, Connie have nearly made it through the first winter on their own. Then the skies open up as West Tennessee and much of the south endures one of the worst floods in history. As many of their neighbors endure losses due to the flooding, Annabelle and Connie sit tight on dry ground.

As spring gives way to summer, Annabelle begins to dread Connie’s upcoming marriage and removal to Sutter’s Landing. Though she’s happy to note the growing affection between Alton Wade and her daughter-in-law, their marriage means Annabelle will be on her own for the first time in her life.

Connie’s doubts increase when Alton’s bigoted brother Jensen uses every opportunity to drive a wedge between them. Is she doing the right thing? Did she move too quickly? Unexpected summer visitors and anticipation of a new neighbor provide diversion and open possibilities for both Annabelle and Connie.

Buy Link





An Encouraging Word

Happy 3rd Tuesday in May!

It’s a great, gettin’ – up morning. Here are a few words to start your day:








Expect great things. Endure all things. Encourage one another. Establish yourselves, be established in…your faith…your life…your love. Exalt the Lord. Sing His praise, because his love is extravagant! Excellent!

Enjoy this day.

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. –Psalm 118:24

If you’re feeling down, check your calendar. Find something you can look forward to. If there’s nothing, plan something. Even if it’s just a trip to a nearby park.

  • Go for a walk, or ride a bike, if you can.
  • Dig in your garden.
  • Feed (or just watch) the birds.
  • Read a book.
  • Spend time with your pet.
  • Call a friend.
  • Play in the water!

Writing a Life

I have my cup of morning coffee. I’m ready to jump into my story and write the perfect ending. A happy ending, almost as satisfying as that first sip of freshly-brewed coffee. I ignore several pings on my phone, because I know they’re email pings. Not going to be pulled away from the story to check the email.

How could you say no to this face?

But then…I get that text ping. It feels like a needle prick that deftly separates my attention from the words on my computer screen. Who is texting me at this hour of the morning? It has to be work, or one of the kids is sick and needs a place to stay for the day. Grandma works at home.

The story is placed on hold, and my coffee is cold.

So how does an author deal with interruptions? When you’re in the “zone” and your writing seems inspired–it flows–it’s energetic. Then poof! Life happens.

Recently, I read a meme that pictured a harried female writer staring at the computer screen. The caption said something like, “If your house is neat and clean, you’ve probably never finished writing a book.”

The problem is real, especially if you’re a writer on a deadline. You’ll be burning the midnight oil. The family has to see to their own meals and laundry. Even when you’re with them, you’re not really with them. You’re constructing scenes in your head. Jotting notes on napkins, dictating conversations to your phone. Because we all know, you get the best conversations at times like those, amid the cacophony of a carload of quarreling children.

You finish writing your book. Time for a break, right? Ha ha ha! What a crazy dream. No. The work has only just begun. Now you have to get it ready. It has to be edited and sent here and there. Then the whole marketing scheme needs to be planned and put into motion, well ahead of the release. And then the release! You get a break, right?

No! Now the real work begins. You have to sell! Sell! Sell! You have to talk about yourself in third-person, like you’re the greatest thing since peanut butter.

But it’s still not over. Even after all the hoopla, now it’s time to move on. Write another one. Make it better than the one before. Dream up a brilliant story idea, preferably a series. Then it’s research, hunker down and write.

It never stops. Kind of like cleaning house. The work is never really done.

Allow me to introduce you to my latest effort:

Sutter’s Landing, Book 2 Kinsman Redeemer series

Any day now, you’ll be able to preorder it from Amazon.



May Musings

It’s Derby Week in my part of the world. Looks like it’s going to be a rainy one. But that won’t stop the celebration and it won’t halt the horses. It’ll just be muddy.

I usually avoid the crowds and peek at the pageantry from my television screen. Oh, I’ve attended Thunder Over Louisville–the big fireworks bash–in the past (I was one of 750,000 spectators at the waterfront). I’ve attended the mini-marathon (not as a runner), and had breakfast next to Pat Day. He was at the table next to mine, and completely unaware of my presence.

I’ve been to Churchill Downs several times, but never during the Derby, or even The Oaks. Avoiding the crowds, that’s my preference. But I love Derby Week. I love watching the beautiful horses, the smartly-dressed attendees and their fine hats. I almost always watch that two-minute race, and cheer as the winner crosses the finish line.

But the real reason I love Derby Week–tradition. Derby weekend signals the beginning of gardening season in our area, when it’s finally safe to plant the annuals. And it’s time to start my “annual” battle against the cute new crop of long-ears who love to nibble my flowers.

Then, just around the corner, since we didn’t have any significant snow days this year, school will be out for the summer! Fun!

So that’s my reason for loving this week. What’s going on in your area?

If you’re interested: 28-minute video of this year’s Thunder-Over-Louisville fireworks event.