I write romantic suspense and warm, family relationship type novels, often with a touch of humor. Many of my books have featured animals as key players--dogs, cats, llamas, cockatiels, horses...even our son's pet albino corn snake, Sssssid, who appeared in my first Superromance back in 1999.

Animals have been a big part of my life since I was a child. How about you? I hope you'll become a "blog follower" here (see the right-hand column for a place to click) and will come back often. So...let's talk about our pets!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Old Horse Trader #9: Rodeo horse, cattle, & rope = trouble

Years ago, a rodeo cowboy from the Midwest had a fine calf ropin' and bulldoggin' horse named Lightning.

The roan gelding's exceptional ability kept him in popular demand on the rodeo circuit, for cowboys were often eager to "rent" a good horse for their runs down the arena. The extra cash helped pay for travel expenses, so his owner was happy to share Lightning's talents.

Lightning, however, took a different view. "For a long time he did awfully well," recalls lifelong horse trader Verne Upmier. "Until he must have decided he'd had enough. During steer wrestling events, he took to kicking at both the steers and the cowboys who bailed off, and that pretty much ended his rodeo career."

Verne, not intending to do any steer wrestling, bought Lightning and found the horse fun to  ride. "He could turn so fast that you had trouble staying on," Verne says.

One day, Verne got a phone call. A man had purchased four wild cattle from a ranch the previous fall, and the cows had almost immediately escaped their pasture. Three had been captured after months of effort, but one still ran wild. Could Verne come and try to catch her? It was an opportunity to use Lightning!

Verne promptly agreed.

"That cow was crafty," he says with a grin, "and she was fast. I tied my rope to the saddle horn and took out after her, but we didn't catch up until we got to the far end of a field."

Vern sent his loop sailing, and it settled over her neck just as she jumped a creek. "Old Lightning slammed on the brakes on one side of the creek, and that cow hit the end of the rope on the opposite bank. Lightning refused to budge, and the cow was just as determined.  The cow's owner thought it was hilarious."

"It took a while, but Lightning and I finally dragged her back through the creek.  I learned a little about roping--and life in general--that day," Vern adds. "It always pays to look ahead. Especially if you're going have something big and stubborn on the end of your rope!"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fun, Free Murder Mystery: "Killer Chocolate"

  Free, fun serial murder mystery going on--and today was my chapter! Come read and comment! Go to: http://ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com

Sunday, February 7, 2010

FATAL BURN: A romantic suspense with vets, vet techs, humane shelters and more...

I've been thrilled to let you know about new releases by other authors, but today, I'm so excited about letting you know about my new book, which is out in the stores right now! The book features a vet tech with a troubled past, who has a chance to start her life over in the Montana Rockies.

Here's the backcover blurb:

Smoke and mirrors...
Someone's after Kris Donaldson, and he doesn't just want her hurt--he wants her ruined.  First, an arsonist destroys her home, and evidence points to Kris as being guilty of insurance fraud. Then a badly injured deputy is found at her place...and ballistics prove that he was shot with her rifle.  Even Trace Randall, the arson investigator who's helped her before, seems to doubt her now.  She has to prove her innocence, but how?

And now, her reputation, her life, and her chance for happiness with Trace are all on the line.

The book is available at places like Barnes and Noble, Walmart, KMart, Target, and many bookstores.  It's also available online at www.christianbook.com,  www.target.com,  www.steeplehill.com and other online sources for books.

I hope you'll enjoy it, and I'd love to hear what you think!


PS: If you are reading this on Facebook, this post is actually coming from my "All Creatures Great and Small" blog, where I love to run stories by readers and other authors,  stories from my own life in the country, and those from The Old Horse Trader.  So come on over!  :)

I hope you'll wander through the many past posts, including those that have been archived!

The address is http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com

Friday, February 5, 2010


A fun, free serial suspense story, Killer Chocolate--A Valentine Mystery  is unfolding at:   http://ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com/ 

 Come on over! Over a dozen authors are participating--and your comments will help shape what happens next!  It's a fun and crazy ride....none of us know what is going to happen next, but each day, one of the scheduled authors has to write an installment based on what was posted the day before...and has to write it fast.  No time for leisurely editing and contemplation here!  :)

The fourteenth installment will wrap up on Valentine's Day, and each of us is following the feedback comments to help us plan our episodes.  My installment will fall on Wednesday,  Feb 10th, and I hope there will be lots of ideas flowing during the days before.  Help!!  :)

Happy trails!

PS: If you are seeing this note on Facebook,  I hope you will  stop by the source sometime:  "The All Creatures Great and Small Blog"  at http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com

Thursday, February 4, 2010


by guest blogger ROBIN CARROLL

Okay, so my beloved Moodoo (mix of lab and Catahoula) tells me it's time to go outside. (He whines twice, then nudges me. If I don't respond immediately, he puts his paws on my arm and pushes me) Being a devoted dog owner, I slip on my shoes, grab his leash, and we head out the door. Now, he decides he wants to do his business in the woods around the house. Okay, works for me. (He's trained not to go in the "lawn" where hubby would have a fit) So off we go. The squirrels are playing in the trees, so we move slower. I'm looking at a squirrel and BlueJay having it out. Amusing me. (Hey, I'm procrastinating writing, okay? Give me some latitude here) We're strolling along, Moodoo enjoying being outside since it's cooler today than it has been all week. He's sniffing the air, the bushes, the ground, the trees...everything. So after about 30 minutes, we head on back into the house. I brush him right quick before I let him in. (beggars lice is abundant in the woods here in Arkansas) and get the doggie wipe for his paws so he doesn't bring in any dirt, twigs, etc. He's good. Comes in, drinks some water, and plops down for a nap at my feet under my desk. All good, right?


I sit down and check email, Twitter, and Facebook (told you I was procrastinating) and I feel something "crawling" on my arm. Look down and Oh. My. Gosh. It's a tick. Ick. Grab it, kill it, flush it down the toliet. Shake off the ick feeling. Probably brushed against a tree or bush or something. No biggie, right? It's dead and flushed, not to worry anymore, right?


Back to checking email, Twitter, and Facebook (hey, I was away from my desk for a minute or so...might've had something come in. Remember, I'm procrastinating) and I feel something crawling on my leg. More than what I felt on my arm. Push out from under desk and find three ticks crawling on me. Triple ick. Get them off. Kill them. Flush them in toliet. But not taking any chances. Run and draw a hot shower. Take said hot shower. Get new clean clothes and throw others in washing machine and start it. I feel mucho better.

Then it dawns on me--poor Moodoo. What if he's eaten up with ticks?

Sigh. So I call him to me, make him flip over and check his legs, belly, tail, back, head, ears, etc. What did I find? NOT A SINGLE TICK. Nothing.

Why can't they make a K9 Advantage for humans?

AND NOW....here's some information on Robin's newly released book!!


"The kind of novel 'Ripped from the headlines' was meant to describe. Compelling."--James Scott Bell, author of Deceived and Try Fear

A beautiful yet tough woman working in a beautiful yet tough setting, Brannon Callahan is a search and rescue helicopter pilot for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Strong faith and a decorated history of service have kept her one step ahead of on-the-job dangers, but there’s no precedent for what’s about to happen.

After a blizzard takes down a small plane carrying U.S. Marshal Roark Holland (already haunted by a recent tragedy), Brannon must save him in more ways than one and safeguard the donor heart he’s transporting to a government witness on the edge of death. Otherwise the largest child trafficking ring in history—with shocking links from Thailand to Tennessee—will slip further away into darkness along the Appalachian Trail.

Robin Caroll

Deliver Us From Evil (Feb '10, B&H Publishing) 

"The kind of novel 'Ripped from the headlines' was meant to describe. Compelling."--James Scott Bell, author of Deceived and Try Fear

Dead Air (March '10, Steeple Hill Suspense) Fear No Evil (Aug '10, B&H Publishing)

NOTE:  If you are reading this on Facebook, come on over and visit the "All Creatures Great and Small" blog! 

There are dozens of posts by authors talking about their pets,  about my own life in the country, and there's also a  series of short stories about the interesting, often amusing experiences of The Old Horse Trader! 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dog, Cats, and a Visit with Author Merrillee Whren!





Dogs, Cats, and a Visit with Author Merrillee Whren!

 Throughout my life I have had pets—mostly cats and dogs, but there were some hamsters, turtles, fish and birds thrown in. Today I’d like to share a little about some of those pets. 

Pepper was the dog we had for nearly eighteen years. He was rescued from our local Humane Society, when we lived in Georgia. He was a mix of terrier, dachshund, and poodle, but looked like a terrier. Everyone in our family has at least one Pepper story to tell. My favorite is the time my husband almost hanged the dog. I was in the driveway vacuuming out my car and had Pepper

leashed to the handle of the garage door. My husband came into the garage and punched the button that opened the garage door and proceeded to get into his car. He suddenly saw the dog slowly rising off the ground along with the garage door. He yelled at me, but I couldn’t hear because of the vacuum cleaner. He raced to catch the dog before he choked. There were times when my husband wondered why he saved the dog, especially the evening that he stole my husband’s dinner off the table. We never dreamed that when we plucked that little black dog from the cage at the Humane Society that he would still be with us when our kids were gone from home.

Pepper was the only pet for a while, but he learned to share the house and even a bed with a parade of cats that came and went in our household. First, there was Mittens, who ran away when we moved from Georgia to Massachusetts. Then there was Bubba Joe and Allie who joined us in Massachusetts. The three animals moved with us when we went to Texas and then again when we moved to Illinois. There’s nothing like having two cats and a dog in the car, while driving cross-country. When we lived in Illinois, Bubba Joe succumbed to a weakened heart as a consequence of kidney disease. That left Allie and Pepper, who became the best of buddies.

Allie was lost when Pepper died. About that time our younger daughter moved to Florida to attend college, and I brought Allie to Florida. My daughter decided that Allie was lonely and got a little gray kitten she named Nomar, after Nomar Garciaparra who used to play for the Boston Red Sox, my daughter’s favorite baseball team. The little gray kitten grew into a BIG gray cat. Allie accepted Nomar even when he tried to eat her food. Eventually, our daughter graduated and moved, leaving the cats behind. Allie’s health failed, and she died. That left us with Nomar, who is our last remaining pet. He loves to lie on my desk while I write, as you can see from the photo.

Over the years, our pets have brought us much laughter as well as tears. Do you have a story to share about one of your pets?

Merrillee Whren

 Here's Merrillee's new book release--isn't this a gorgeous cover?!

Hometown Promise, 
Steeple Hill
Feb. 2010, 
For six years Lukas Frye has fought to regain control of his reckless life. He comes to Kellerville, Ohio, hoping to settle down and be the man his ailing grandfather can depend on. Lukas thinks he can put down roots in a place unsullied by his past--until he sees Juliane Keller. Juliane knows the secrets that could ruin his chance of being accepted in the place he wants to call home. But she isn't just a reminder of his past; she's a woman with secrets of her own--and a heart capable of the forgiveness and  love