Oh, my friends! I have a real treat for you today! Ruth Logan Herne is here to chat about Christmas and her novella in Cowboy Christmas Homecoming. Some of my very favorite memories from lobby lurking at ACFW in August are those moments when Ruthy would come and sit with us and just chat. She’s such a sweetheart with gentle words of wisdom that wrap around you like a hug. And she’s hilarious, too. Especially when paired with Mary Connealy 😉
Best-selling, multi-published author Ruth Logan Herne is the author of over thirty novels and novellas through traditional publishers and her own independent works. She loves God, her family, country, coffee, chocolate and dogs, and wishes possums would leave the cat food on the side porch alone. With over 3/4 million books in print, Ruthy is living her dream of touching hearts and souls by writing the kind of books she likes to read. She is also part of Mighty Finn Creations with her photographer/editor daughter Beth Jamison, and their new series “The Adventures of The Mighty Finn” has just released.
She loves chatting with readers through her website blog http://ruthloganherne.com and hanging with readers and writers in Seekerville… www.seekerville.blogspot.com where coffee is always hot, fresh and good! She loves playing in the kitchen, too, with a wonderful group of regionally-inspired inspirational authors at the Yankee Belle Cafe www.yankeebellecafe.blogspot.com. On Goodreads, she’s (yes, you guessed it!) Ruth Logan Herne, and that’s how to find this prolific author on facebook, too!
Ruth’s novella “A Cowboy For Christmas” appears in Cowboy Christmas Homecoming which released in October 2016 from Gilead Publishing.
“A Cowboy For Christmas” (Ruth Logan Herne) – They’ve weathered a lot worse than winter. For widow June Harper, another cold front is about to hit. Most call him Hugh. She’d call him Scrooge, except as the man ensures her needs are met, June can’t help but wonder how to meet the needs of his heart.
“Longhorn Christmas” (Mary Connealy) – Netty Lewis can take care of herself, has for a while now. Some hired help over the holidays doesn’t change that. And even if Roy does take care of her, that doesn’t mean he cares for her or that he’ll stay past Christmas.
“Last Chance Christmas” (Julie Lessman) – Pastor Colton McCabe is having the opposite problem. He’s not sure he’ll make it through the holidays with his new housekeeper. Grace can’t seem to do anything right but love. Perhaps being a homekeeper will earn her a permanent residence in his heart.
“Connie’s Christmas Prayer” (Anna Schmidt) – And no one longs for a home more than Connie Lancaster. She’s determined to return to St. Louis, and no cowboy can change her mind. But if Isaac can change her heart, maybe Connie will see the homecoming she’s been waiting for isn’t to a place but a person.
My dear Ruthy! I’m honored to have you back on the blog! Thank you so much for chatting with me! 🙂
I normally start all of my guests with a fast four but when I chatted with you back in March, we already talked about two of my usual questions so I’m going to mix this up a bit.
Ruth: Oh, man. I’m a sugar addict, but I’d have to say pie… I love pie. But I don’t love everyone’s pie, I have developed a love for MY OWN PIES…. I believe that makes me a pie snob!!! And there are so many to love! Custard… lemon… chocolate… pumpkin… apple… Dutch apple… eggnog custard pie…. Strawberry rhubarb… rhubarb custard…. See what I mean? #addict #don’tcare #lovepie!!!
Carrie: hahaha! Do you take orders? I’ll take one of each, please. #lovepie
Ruth: Oh… Hmmm…. I have to go with Iris on this one, and dahlias. And roses. And here’s why… Oh, wait, coneflowers, too. And Black-eyed Susans… They’re all so stinkin beautiful!!!! The irises are gorgeous here. My husband’s grandmother gave me a bunch of Iris bulbs/tubers years ago and I’ve propagated them and now we have all kinds of beautiful irises that bloom in May and June. In the soil and I have Japanese Iris (yellow and purple) that bloom in my water gardens. It’s so pretty to see those tropical looking blossoms peeking up, over the water. Be still my heart!
Carrie: My paternal grandmother had the most wonderful green thumb and cultivated such beautiful flowers. No matter what I do, I kill any plant in my vicinity. Sigh.
Ruth: This one’s easy… Easter. I love that we haven’t managed to mess up the beautiful sanctity of Lent and the holiness of Holy Week… such a somber remembrance of what Christ was willing to do for you. For me. For all of us. I get chills just thinking about it. I love Holy Week services. I’m Catholic, and the beauty of that week is always inspirational. I love that many churches have picked up or reinstated the idea of Vespers and Evening prayers… for me, that was always part of the Lent/Easter/spring season and I love it still…
Carrie: My brother and sister-in-law attend an Anglican church and I always get a little jealous of them during the Lent/Easter season. The observances are so intentional and poignant, which I think is something that at least in my denomination we lack, especially during Lent & Easter.
Ruth: Oh, gosh, there are so many that I really like! Music touches so many different parts of our life and the various genres of music play to those differences… But lets go with a three way tie… Amazing Grace(My Chains Are Gone) by Chris Tomlin, In Every Age (our choir does a beautiful rendition of this!) and the Christmas hymn pairing of “What Child is This?/Child of the Poor”. That song gets me every time. Being raised in poverty, the image of that baby, born to such a young mother, in a cave, and laid in a manger… and then to have to flee for their lives with a small child… to have your child targeted, and I can’t imagine it was easy to re-locate and find work, and stay strong. That song touches so much of my heart!
Carrie: Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) is so special to me, for a variety of reasons but I have not heard the other two in your three way tie. To the Youtubes!
Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Ruth: Raising kids to not be brats. That’s my superpower and a total calling! I use multiple techniques on many bi-lateral planes, but mostly I bribe them or THREATEN THEIR LIVES…. Hey, ya’ gotta do what ya’ gotta do. 🙂
Carrie: hahahaha!! That is a true superpower and one the world needs more people to have!
Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Ruth: Elizabeth Ann from “Understood Betsy” by Dorothy Canfield Fisher… Oh, how I loved this book! The story of a petted, pampered, indulged and over-protected child and how she finally came into her own because her great aunt got sick and she had to go live with the deplorable country cousins… Oh, how I loved those country cousins! Cousin Ann, so solid and staid and layered with common sense… And Aunt Abigail, such a motherly sort, and a born encourager… those women gave me the basis for what kind of mother I wanted to be, way back then! I wanted to be a mother like “Cousin Ann”, straightforward, setting a good example and expecting kids to think for themselves… and it worked, LOL! Although I bake a lot more than Cousin Ann ever did! 🙂
Carrie: oh i love this! What influence books have on us as children… even into adulthood.
Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?
Ruth: Okay, here’s a funny thing. When I was new at this, I had a “spot”. And I wrote there, all the time. Then my son got me a laptop. OH MY STARS. That was like opening the key to the prison! I’d said over and over that I’d never be able to adapt to a laptop, that I loved my BIG OLD DESKTOP and it worked for me. (possibly stubborn, yes…)
Well, Zach didn’t listen, and I have to tell you it hooked me instantly. I can block sound and activity and write just about anywhere now… not with a baby crying, though. My instincts are to care for babies first… so if there’s a baby crying, all bets are off! But other than that, it’s have laptop, will travel and when I’m traveling you can usually find me in the hotel lobby at 4:00 AM to get a couple hours of work done before hubby or friends wake up!
I love my laptops!!!
Carrie: You had me until the “4:00 AM” thing …. 😉
Your novella in Cowboy Christmas Homecoming is “A Cowboy For Christmas”, a sweet and romantic story about a strong independent widow who was left homeless after a fire in her city and seeks a job on Hugh Stackman’s ranch to feed her children. Which character in this story is your favorite?
Ruth: June is my favorite character in this particular story. I love Hugh, the hero, but I was so proud of June! She had to handle a difficult marriage, then being a widow with two small children, then the great fire of 1889 that cost her job and her home… and then, a talented seamstress, with no work because the needleworks burnt down in the fire… there she is, homeless and struggling to find scraps of food for her girls. Does she give up? NO! She charges forth, organizes a couple of other mothers and they formed a unit, a sisterhood… and that kept them safe and moving forward to Hugh Stackman’s potato fields that November… And June’s plucky personality saves her from harm… and attracts the strong, handsome landowner. This is very much a Ruth/Boaz type story, and it’s beautiful!!!
Carrie: I absolutely loved the Ruth/Boaz elements to this sweet story! And June is such a wonderfully strong heroine.
What is one of your favorite Christmas traditions?
Ruth: We put yarn on the manger to keep baby Jesus warm when he’s born! All the good deeds that kids do during Lent are rewarded by pieces of yarn, all different colors… and when you get a piece of yarn, you lay it in the manger… and when Jesus is “born” on Christmas day, the warmth of our good deeds lines his bed.
Carrie: What a precious idea! I love!
What do you most want readers to take away from “A Cowboy For Christmas”?
Ruth: Oh, Carrie, this was such a fun story to write! And I had so much fun working with the other authors… Mary, Julie and Anna. Lovely ladies! But my takeaway for this story is forgiveness… Hugh had to learn to forgive his father and set aside his anger… and for June, she had to learn to trust again. And for both, the thread of sacrificial love shines through. Hugh sacrificed to take care of his brother and his younger sister and June put all thoughts of her own comfort aside to make a better life for her daughters. Sacrificial love is an ingredient that transcends time.
Ruthy, thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 I adore you! Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Ruth: Well, I love you right back!!! And I’m thrilled to be here today, oh my gosh, it’s the most fun ever!!! Coming up next… well, we had a whirlwind fall here, so I’ve been busily writing and promoting… and coming in 2017 there are wonderful things happening! My cowboy series for Waterbrook is being reprinted in mass paperback size and will be shipped to something like 40,000 stores this spring! They will re-issue “Back in the Saddle” in March, “Home on the Range” (in the new size) in April and “Peace in the Valley” in May… So how fun will that be, these amazingly beautiful cowboy westerns will be on shelves all over the place. Carrie! What a great opportunity, right? I’m over the moon that they decided to do that!
And in May Love Inspired will release “Their Surprise Daddy” a beautiful story of two illegal immigrant children facing deportation when their well-meaning great aunt pretended she was their grandmother… and fudged their paperwork. Now the preschool teacher and the woman’s son have to sort this all out…. I smell romance in the air!
And then there is a SECRET PROJECT coming out next fall, but I’m not sure if I can mention that one yet… Oh, wait! I JUST DID!!!! 🙂 And then I was asked to be part of the new Guideposts mystery series “Mysteries of Martha’s Vineyard”, and I had a window of time and I love working with Guideposts and Susan Downs so I said YES!!! YES!!!! YES!!!!! My book will be the first mystery released “A Light in the Darkness” … and they’re set in the wonderful cozy setting of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. And how nice that I was able to visit there a few years back when my son was working in Boston! #perfect!!! And in November (I think, maybe October) the 4th Grace Haven story will be released, a beautiful story of a man whose past trods the heels of his present… Until a baby appears, and we all know the rules about babies: A baby changes everything!
So I’ve been keeping busy and I’m so blessed, Carrie! I couldn’t be happier! And huge thank yous to you for your hard work and devotion to getting the word out about Christian fiction… Your enthusiasm and joy bless so many of us! I love you right back!!!
Carrie: I think “keeping busy” is an understatement, my sweet friend 😉 Thank YOU for your encouragement and your friendship. And can I just say that I’m BEYOND EXCITED over everything coming up for you in 2017!! The new mass-market paperbacks of such a fantastic series! The Love Inspired books – what great plots! The SECRET PROJECT (come on … you can tell me … ) And the MYSTERY!!!! Yes please!! Happy dancing over here 😀
What about you, my readers? Should we convince her to set up a bakery just for us, which of Ruthy’s pies would YOU order?