“You know what I think?”

Couldn’t be much—it takes brains to think.”

Bonanza, TV Show, 1959-1973



Hey, anybody remember that musical intro to the hit Western TV series back in the day? Probably not, because I’m pretty old, but let me tell you this — it was a staple in our household growing up and not just in ours either. Bonanza is ranked No. 43 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time, and the 2013 TV Guide included it in its list of The 60 Greatest Dramas of All Time. It continues to air in syndication today, and if you’re interested, you’ll find lots of fun facts here, including the famous Ponderosa map that always caught on fire in the opening: Bonanza Fun Facts.

So … why am I talking about a 55-year-old TV show (YIKES … that makes me feel realllly old!)? Well, for one reason and one reason only a brand-new series I have percolating in this old brain, and talk about catching on fire”! 😉

It’s tentatively called The Silver Lining Ranch Series, and it takes place in Virginia City, Nevada (where Bonanza was set) from 1868 till the 1890s. Absolutely fascinating era during the building of the transcontinental railroad (lots of Irish workers — YAY!) and the discovery of the Comstock Lode silver mine upon which Virginia City was built. 

I plan to kick the series off this summer with a patriotic-themed novella entitled For the Love of Liberty, which will serve as a prequel to the actual series that takes place twenty years later.

In the novella, I’ll introduce you to the heroine Liberty O’Shea, freshly graduated from Vassar College as an educated woman bent on women’s rights, particularly the right of women to vote in Nevada. Throughout her early school years, she’s butt heads with hero Griffin McShane in an ongoing one-upmanship of two headstrong people (think Taming of the Shrew meets Bonanza meets McClintock). When Libby returns home after college, the fighting starts all over again when the two are paired as co-chairs of the Fourth of July Festival, where the stakes are higher than the festival banner flapping over the dusty main street.

Here’s the blurb: 

A Match Made in Heaven?

Or Someplace a Whole Lot Warmer? 

She’s stubborn, educated, and looking

to give women the vote.

He’s bullheaded, successful, and looking

to give her a piece of his mind.

 But when things heat up,they just maygive each other

a piece of their hearts.

Obviously Libby and Griff get together in the end of the novella despite the sparks that fly and her extreme father’s disapproval, but when the series begins twenty years later, we discover their first big fight prompted her father to get the marriage annulled before shipping Libby back East to live with her aunt.

At the age of forty-three, she returns to Virginia City as a suffragette spinster and guardian for  three nieces upon the imminent death of her father. Imagine the shock when she learns during his deathbed confession that she’s not only still married to Griff, but Griff holds the note on her father’s ranch, The Silver Lining. What I hope transpires (or conspires, whatever the case may be) is a crazy-but-fun turn of events which sets the stage for a marriage of convenience that is anything but convenient!

I’m excited, and I hope you are too, so I’d really appreciate any and all prayers for God’s leading and anointing on this new project. And I leave you with this one thought: Go west, young reader, go west!

Hugs and Happy Weekend!



WHOO-HOO … Blake “The Rake” McClare gets his day in the sun … er … rain, that is, in my new novella, Grace Like Rain!

To whet your appetite for a fun read, check out a first-chapter excerpt and  celebrity pix for Blake and Patience Peabody in my prior Journal Jot HERE.

I gotta tell you, I’m really excited about this novella, not only because it was reallllly fun to write, but because the WITH THIS KISS HISTORICAL COLLECTION AND the WITH THIS KISS CONTEMPORARY COLLECTION are both a steal of a deal at only $2.99 each for five great novellas by award-winning authors Mary Connealy, Pam Hillman, Cara Lynn James, Sandra Leesmith, Ruth Logan Herne, Tina Radcliffe, Missy Tippens, and moi. So do check them out, okay?