Meet "The Ladies of the West"
Jodi Thomas, DeWanna Pace,
Linda Broday, Phyliss Miranda
Out on these rugged plains, love never
comes easy. And four daring ladies will do whatever
it takes to capture the hearts of four irresistibly
When a quiet foreman comes to the aid of a mystery
lady, they'll find that this perfect starlit night is
made for courtin'...
A determined heiress gambles high to reclaim the rancher
she's never stopped wanting...
When a spirited lady and a go-getter mayor compete
for their town's future, it's two dreams for a lifetime...And
to attract a lonely doctor's attention, a shy young
woman needs courage - and two unlikely matchmakers...
On behalf of all of us, we think I'd be fun for the readers to know
how we got together and why we enjoy collaborating with our writing.
About 30 years ago, DeWanna and Jodi took a writing class at our local
junior collage. They became friends and critique partners, eventually
going on to publish fifty plus books between the two of them. The one
dream both had was having the opportunity to write together, so when
the first anthology idea came along, DeWanna was an absolute must to
fill out the four authors.
In 2001,I (Phyliss) got the empty nest syndrome when my daughters left
home for collage, so I wrote down several things I'd like to accomplish.
Kinda a bucket list. Coming from a cooking family (one grandmother owned
a café while the other one worked as pastry chef and cake baker
for a large cafeteria in Amarillo, plus an aunt who was head of the
salad department at the same cafeteria) I'd inherited all of the family
recipes, so had always wanted to write a cookbook. At the end of summer,
the local junior collage catalogue arrived and I thought, "WOW,
a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author teaching a class ...
surely she can teach me to write a cookbook." That was the beginning.
As it ends up, Jodi and I became my mentor. She introduced me to DeWanna
and a year or so later Jodi took me to my first RWA (Romance Writers
of America) chapter meeting in Wichita Falls, Texas, where I meet Linda.
Linda already had three historical western romances out at the time;
and lucky for her readers they are all being released in the near future
as e-books. DeWanna had about fifteen out and her's are being released
very soon also as e-books.
Through our local writer's conference, Frontier's in Writing, we got
a request from one of the editors at Kensington Publishing for an anthology.
After talking about it, Jodi agreed to do one ... and one only. She
asked me to join her, DeWanna, and Linda and of course I said yes ...
probably yelled yes. Therefore, in 2008 "Give Me a Texan"
hit the shelves. Our only theme was that everyone had to get to Amarillo
Then the second request came for another anthology; thus "Give
Me a Cowboy" was born. We decided we'd do a rodeo theme and work
closely together, actually collaborating on our stories instead of writing
four separate stories with only one theme. We selected a four day rodeo
over the 4th of July. We truly collaborated on this including writing
dialogue for one another. Linda and I did that more than the other two
because we had mother and daughter heroines living on the same ranch.
It was a lot of fun
A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling
author, Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old
West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art
of quilting, and the Wild West.
Here's a longer one that might tell more about
me for an interview than the short one: New York Times and USA
Today award-winning author, Phyliss Miranda, lives with her
husband, Bob, in the Texas Panhandle. With aspirations of writing
a cookbook, she took her first creative writing class in 2001.
She hasn't gotten around to completing her original project,
but believes her favorite parts of becoming an author is teaching
and mentoring new writers. A native Texan, she enjoys sharing
her love for the new frontier, the Civil War, quilting and antiques;
and still believes in the Code of the West.
I'm finally a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
who has written under my real name and formerly as Dia Hunter.
When I say finally, it's because it only took me more than twenty
plus novels and anthologies to make it onto those lists. Thanks
mostly to my wonderful co-authors, Jodi Thomas, Linda Broday,
and Phyliss Miranda who have helped our Texas anthologies become
selections of the Doubleday, Rhapsody, BOTMonth, Women's Day
and Literary Guild Book clubs, as well as the above mentioned
"Be My Texas Valentine hit
the booksellers on January 1st, and we are eager to see
whether #6 will do as well. Rhapsody Book Club says, "Love
blooms in the heart of Texas in this heartwarming anthology
about wounded souls, second chances and the miracle of
romance. Written by four of today's hottest romance authors,
this is a joy to read." We're receiving some great
reviews: 5 Reviewer Top Pick at Night Owl Reviews; a 5
Star review from Goodreads.
Linda Broday Bio: New York Times and USA Today bestselling
author, Linda Broday's first love has always been historical
romances, especially tales of Texas. There's something about
Stetsons, boots, and rugged men that gets her fired up.
Western historical romance is my favorite genre
which is a good thing since that's what I write. I love spinning
tales about sexy cowboys and the women they love and showing
how the pioneers settled the West. I have three historical single
titles and six novellas to my publishing credit. Other than
writing I spend my time reading and mentoring at our local middle
A fifth generation Texan, Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority
of her novels in her home state.
With a degree in Family Studies, Thomas is a marriage
and family counselor by education, a background that enables
her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished
Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting
with students on the West Texas A & M University campus,
where she currently serves as Writer In Residence.
While the author toured the country speaking to Desk and Derrick
clubs about her 2003 novel, THE WIDOWS OF WICHITA COUNTY, the
members of various chapters formed a Jodi Thomas Fan Club. The
group enthusiastically promotes her novels and public appearances
and even volunteers to provide drivers for her out-of-town engagements.
When not working on a novel or inspiring students
to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her
husband, Tom, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo,
and "checking up" on their two grown sons and daughters-in-law;
and spoiling her three granddaughters.
Being born and raised in the Texas Panhandle, I've
always thought that we get a bum wrap because we're
on the Caprock of the Great Plains and people think
we're nothing but a flat plain, dry and desolate. Therefore,
I strive to write stories that tell the true picture
of our region. Our first town, Mobeetie, wasn't founded
until 1875, first being called Hide Town. The next was
Tascosa, which was called Hog Town followed by the temperance
colony known as Saint's Roost before finally Amarillo
was founded in 1887. Of interest, Amarillo's first name
was Oneida. Technically, in the scheme of the rich history
of Texas, we're still very young. We weren't even affected
by the Civil War because the buffalo were still being
hunted, and there were Comanchero trading grounds in
every direction, Mobeetie being one of them.
With the unpredictability of the weather, mainly because
of our proximity to the Rocky Mountains, the lack of
large trees (except those transplanted) and the wind,
we get that bad wrap, I mentioned.
But the Panhandle has so much more to offer than most
people know when they travel through town on Interstate
40. The Canadian River was once beautiful fringed with
huge chokeberries, plums, gooseberries and grapes. The
water was crystal clear but the coming of the longhorns
changed the topography in so many ways, bringing with
them the Russian thistle, mesquite, and wildflowers.
Palo Duro Canyon, also known as the little Grand Canyon,
is one of the most beautiful places in the world and
for somebody traveling through town on I-40 they'd never
know just 30 miles south could be such beauty.
I love the independence our forefathers had and the
people of the Panhandle still have. My respect and love
for the Code of the West, which still is healthy in
Texas, is one of the things I respect most about Texas
That's why I choose to write about our region and Texas,
so my readers can see our beauty and spirit.
Go check out
her webpage - PhylissMiranda.com
The thing most dear to me is the special bond I have
with my three writing partners. We laugh, we get lost
together, we kill off people and tell each other where
we bury the bodies, and we always stick up for each
other no matter what. We're like sisters in a lot of
Go check out
her webpage- LindaBroday.com
I discovered a long time ago that what people want most
of all is to love and to be loved. If they can find
a way to laugh as they go about it then nothing ever
seems too big to handle.
out her webpage - DeWannaPaceonline.com
about Jodi Thomas:The stories Thomas has committed to paper have
earned her an impressive list of distinguished awards. Her first book,
BENEATH THE TEXAS SKY (1988), won the National Press Women's Novel of
the Year in its category. Book two, NORTHERN STAR (1990), was named
best novel by the (Texas) Panhandle Professional Writers and the Oklahoma
Writers Federation, Inc., an organization of writers' groups from several
states. Book three, THE TENDER TEXAN (1991), was Thomas's first national
bestseller and won her the first of her Romance Writers of America RITA's,
the $1.5 billion romance publishing industry's equivalent of an "Oscar."
Jodi won her second RITA for TO TAME A TEXAN'S HEART (1994). Book twelve,
TO KISS A TEXAN (1999) was her first novel to score on the USA TODAY
Best-selling Books list. For THE TEXAN'S WAGER (2002), sixteen was the
magic number. As Thomas's sixteenth novel, the book scored number sixteen
on the NEW YORK TIMES extended bestseller list. FINDING MARY BLAINE,
(2004) received the National Readers' Choice Award in 2005. Thomas was
inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame in 2006 for winning her third RITA
for THE TEXAN'S REWARD (2005). In 2009, Jodi received the National Readers'
Choice Award for two of her books: TWISTED CREEK (2008) and TALL, DARK,
and TEXAN (2008). In 2010, THE LONE TEXAN won the Reader's Choice 2009
Best Western Romance from Love Western Romances.com. Jodi received a
RITA for WELCOME TO HARMONY (2010) and the Booksellers' Best Award for
SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY (2010) at Romance Writers of America in 2011.
Go check out her webpage - JodiThomas.com
Like so many writers of romance, I cut my teeth of Kathleen
Woodiwiss, so I definitely have Wolf and the Dove and Flame and
the Flower on my keeper shelf. Also, LaVeryle Spencer. I have
all of Jodi Thomas' books, as well as those of my co-authors,
Linda Broday and DeWanna Pace. I'm fortunate enough to have met
a number of wonderful, successful authors and have lots of autographed
books, which I'd never part with. A must for anybody writing western
historicals in the Texas Panhandle is Panhandle Pilgrimage by
Pauline Durrett Robertson. My favorite how-to books are 45 Master
Characters and The Writer's Guide to Character Traits, but of
course my favorites are the six anthologies I've written with
Linda, Jodi and DeWanna.
Cowboy Lingo by Ramon F. Adams
The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in the Old West by Candy Moulton
10,000 Dreams Interpreted by Gustavus Hindman Miller
Love Signs by Linda Goodman
The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss
A signed copy of Feather on the Moon by Phyllis Whitney, because
Ms. Whitney made me fall in love with reading years ago. I finally
got up the nerve to write her a letter and she kindly autographed
a book for me.
A signed copy of The Tender Texan by Jodi Thomas, because I witnessed
that book being created from page 1 of its first draft till its
publication then watched Jodi win her first RITA for it. She's
now gone on to winning five, one of which put her in the Romance
Hall of Fame.
And last of all, whatever the great Nora Roberts has currently
published. Can't we all learn from her?
Like so many women, my first serious romance books were written
by legends Kathleen Woodiwiss and LaVeryl Spencer, but definitely
have Debbie Macomber's books on my shelves. I give out many copies
of Stephen King on Writing to students and beginner writers because
it's an honest look into an author's life.
A Day in the Week for Author
Diary of a normal day: In the mornings I never do anything
without first a hot cup of coffee and a newspaper spread
out in front of me. Once I read it through, even the
obituaries to make sure I'm not supposed to be breathing,
I work the word jumble and my Sudoku puzzle. Then it's
breakfast and off to the computer. After I check emails
and take care of a little business I dive into writing.
A break for lunch and I'm back to my story. At 5:00
P.M. I turn on the T.V. and see what happened in the
world during that day. I eat dinner and watch my favorite
shows until bedtime at 11:00
A Day in the Week for Author
Diary entry: My average morning starts at 6:30 when
I get up and get ready for my day job that starts at
7:45. I roll into my library (I'm disabled and in a
wheel chair) and fire up the bank of computers to get
them ready for the students to research. Then I take
classes all day from PreK through fifth grade. With
each class, I help point out books that I think might
interest them then read a book to them that relates
to something they're currently studying. A lot of my
discussion time, however, is spent spotlighting why
the author chose that particular title, asking how the
five senses came into play, defining the main idea,
the beginning, middle, end of the story, and how the
characters are brought to life. This helps them with
their own writing for teachers and makes them more aware
of why they like a certain type of book better than
After school, I go home and rest about two hours then
I respond to my email. I start my writing for the evening
and work until I'm too tired to do any more. Sometimes
I eat, sometimes I don't if the writing is going well.
What? No chores, no housecleaning? No taking care of
kids? My daughter is grown. My husband works an opposite
shift than mine. My waxy build-up can wait till the
weekend when there's more time and we're both off to
help each other do the normal responsibilities that
keep a household running. My husband is my best hero.
My time alone is spent writing, or should I say rewriting.
I never get it right the first time. I'm a better rewriter
than I am a writer, and I'm also a binge writer. I don't
write every day, but I sure try to. Sometimes I just
don't feel like writing, so I don't. You've got to fill
back up with life once in awhile if you're going to
spill all those emotions out onto paper. So I stop and
fill up and don't feel guilty about it. A lot of writers
beat themselves over the head about what they didn't
get done. I used to do that, but then I learned that
you've got to give yourself a pat on the back for what
you do accomplish.
A Day in the Week for Author
I'm an early riser, and the first thing I do when I
get up is make my bed with the help of Miss Kitty, my
rescue cat, who hides under the covers. Then I turn
on my Mr. Coffee, go out and get the paper, generally
trying to keep Miss Kitty from scurrying outside (I
normally lose that battle), then sit down and enjoy
my coffee (with lots of half and half and much too much
sugar) and watch the morning news. Then I let Miss Kitty
back in, dress and begin whatever work I've scheduled
for the day. I generally do set aside one day to goof
off, but the rest of them from about nine until three
I write or work on promotion. I love reality shows like
Dancing with the Stars, and since I'm an early riser
(sometimes five in the morning), I retire by eleven
o'clock. I got that from my grandfather who always reminded
me, "If God had meant for us to work longer, He'd
left the sun up." So when the sun goes down, that's
God's sign for me to begin the process of retiring for
A Day in the Week for Author
Jodi: Whether school is in session or not, as Writer
in Residence at West Texas A&M University ..."My
door is usually open to students all morning,"
explains Thomas, who talks to the classes at the University
and on other campuses during her many speaking engagements
when not writing in her spacious office in WTAMU's Cornette
Library. "They come by to visit and ask questions
about being a writer. When I was a child, being a writer
wasn't an option. All the people I knew had regular
jobs. I'm hoping that students will see that being a
writer is a possibility. This is particularly important
in these days when programs in the arts are being cut
in the public schools."
Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said,
"When I was teaching classes full time, I thought
I was making the world a better place. Now I think of
a teacher, or nurse, or mother settling back and relaxing
with one of my books. I want to take her away on an
adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small
way, I'm still making the world a better place."
RT gave us 4 stars, "A popular quartet of western
writers return with another Texas-set anthology. This
time they wrap their talents around the idea of Valentine's
Day in a land with a heart the size of the state. Four
very different ideas of what it means to be someone's
Valentine will have every reader yearning for a Texan
of her own."
Although Jodi has been on all major bestselling lists continually for
much of her career, our fifth anthology, A Texas Christmas , hit both
lists, making all four of us New York Times and USA Today bestselling
authors ... four from the Panhandle of Texas with three of us from Amarillo.
A much sought after goal all authors strive for but not all reach.
Picture of Jodi and DeWanna at their first critique
"Triumph comes through persistence and a great
Picture of Jodi, Linda and Phyliss at
a booksigning, having fun!
Picture in Katy, Texas. Phyliss in the
purple jacket, Linda is in the rose and Jodi is standing
in the middle of us.
Picture of Jodi, Linda and Phyliss at our announcement
"The day we announced our first sale to our local
writing organization, Panhandle Professional Writers,
which is the oldest continual writing organization in
the United States established on April 20, 1920, in
Amarillo. We announced it by using our baby pictures
and giving hints as to the authors were and advanced
it on to the fact that all four of us sold our first
anthology together. Little did we know that it'd end
up, so far, being six and they'd hit NY Times and USA
we just finished the holiday season, I think winter is my favorite time
of the year. You get Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all wrapped
up in one big bundle. I love the smell of gingerbread cookies and all
the goodies. And, sitting by a warm fire, wrapped up in my favorite
quilt which my deceased mother quilted, and drinking hot tea is sure
larruping good. My two daughters get together and make big batches of
candy and cookies. My granddaughters have joined the tradition. I remember
Mama and Daddy making divinity. Mother would beat the egg whites and
do boil the syrup mixture. Daddy would pour the liquid into the egg
whites while Mama ran the mixer, but not for long. When the mixture
was set up just right then Daddy would have to beat the divinity by
hand until it became opaque. Many people don't realize that the hand
beating makes the difference between dense divinity and shiny. That's
one of my fondest memories, so winter is my favorite time of the year.
year when the trees turn to reds and golds I slow myself down to a crawl
so I can enjoy this special time to the fullest. Few things bring as
much pleasure as walking through leaves and hearing the crunch under
my feet, smelling logs burning in the fireplace, drinking hot cocoa,
and curling up under a throw with a good book, safe in the knowledge
that I'm loved.
School's out. I'm an elementary school librarian who helps kids learn
how to love books. Hey, I see myself as growing customers for all kinds
of books. But summertime is when I hear people having an extra good
time enjoying their lives. That always warms my heart. Summertime is
also easier for me to have more uninterrupted time to write, do book
signings, and meet fans.
season has something special to offer, but fall is my favorite. I love
the cool weather and watching the beautiful colors as the trees turn
red, bronze and gold.