Birds of a Feather

Although my husband and I weren’t exactly thrilled when two chimney swifts built their nest on the archway over our front steps, we soon grew accustomed to them, and they to us (and our cats.) It wasn’t long before we noticed two tiny heads occasionally peeking above the top of the nest, then three, four, five heads appeared.

As the nestlings grew, they became more noisy and demanding. We noticed that the two in front received more food than their counterparts did–perhaps because they screamed the most–and soon they were quite fat. The larger of the pair tried out its wings by fluttering down to a nearby rocking chair, then back to safety, and the next day all of the birds ventured out except one. But after hours of coaxing from the parents, Junior finally fluffed his feathers and took the plunge.

The entire family enjoyed their newfound freedom, zooming around the porch, but at the end of the day, they all piled into the crowded nest for one more night together. The next morning, all of our feathered friends were gone.  We thought our experience with them was over, but they weren’t far from home. We could see their pudgy shapes perched on the branches of a nearby tree or on the slope of our roof.

Days later, all five youngsters played tag with each other, swooping in and out of the archways, and one or two would occasionally take a moment to visit the old homestead, then flit away. To our surprise, only a couple of weeks later, the mother bird laid more eggs. When they hatched, we counted three tiny beaks begging for food. The parents took turns feeding the little ones, and the slimmed-down brothers and sisters continued flying through the porch, occasionally chirping a quick “hello” to their new siblings.

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Charleston, SC–a Great Place to Visit

Rainbow Row, Charleston 001

The first time I visited the Charleston area was after my newly-married sister moved there with her husband. I was only ten, but I really liked the lower part of the state–especially the live oak trees with their long, swaying branches. We went to Charleston several times during the next couple of years, and I didn’t go there again until I was in my mid-twenties. It still had allure for me, but a few years later Hurricane Hugo hit, and much of the vicinity changed. But it wasn’t too long before buildings were rebuilt or refurbished and trees had grown, and it’s a lovely place again. My husband and I visit as frequently as we can, and we vacationed there recently.

Battery, Charleston 001

We actually stayed in Mount Pleasant, just a few minutes from Charleston, across the Cooper River Bridge. It’s more quiet than the city, and has it’s own array of restaurants, movie theaters, and shopping. Our favorite place to eat is Water’s Edge, which is on Shem Creek. The service and food are excellent. Sitting inside or on the deck, next to the water, one can enjoy yachts, sea gulls, pelicans hoping to get scraps from a fishing boat, and an occasional glimpse of a dolphin. There are also kayaks floating by, which can be rented at a shop next door.

Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island are just beyond Mount Pleasant, and they have beautiful beaches as well as restaurants and shops. We did go over to Charleston a couple of days, eating lunch at 82 Queen, which is a wonderful place with indoor or outdoor dining. It’s at 82 Queen Street, with a less than obvious entrance. We love to eat in the garden with its plants, trees, gazebo, and partially enclosed section which resembles a green house.

Dale at Battery Park, Charleston 001

After visiting Charleston Place Hotel with its huge chandelier, shops, and restaurants we got into a pedicab and ventured into the quieter, residential part of the Historic District.   It was so much nicer than walking in the heat. We had a breeze on us the whole time, especially as we approached The Battery.  We sat back and relaxed while our fit driver took us around, then back to our car.  It’s less expensive than some of the other private tours, and you don’t necessarily have to listen to a history lesson.

If you plan to visit Charleston, wear comfortable shoes that can take cobblestones and lots of walking, and be prepared for a crowd–especially during the summer. It’s worth it, though, to see Rainbow Row and all the lovely historic homes, and to dine at prize-winning restaurants. Maybe I’ll see you there the next time I go.

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A Rancher to Remember

Book Tour Launch for

A Rancher to Remember

By Karen Rock

Note from the author

Welcome back to the Cade-Loveland extended family! Their 100+ year-old feud is finally over, the water rights dispute settled, and now they can live peacefully, right? Oh… if only it were that simple… Lots of drama still ahead for these strong, faithful and hardworking ranchers in the sixth book of my Rocky Mountain Cowboys series, a raw, complicated second chance love story with a dramatic plot twist you won’t forget!

A Rancher to Remember is Daryl Loveland’s romance, the adopted son of the Lovelands who has striven to prove himself worthy by always doing the right thing, even if it meant giving up his first love, Cassidy, years ago. A misguided night of passion and an unplanned pregnancy ended with him marrying Leanne sister instead of Cassidy. Since Cassidy had been wavering between settling down with Daryl and the conflict-journalist career she’d pledged to pursue, it should have ended well for all… except Cassidy never stopped loving Daryl and second-guessing what could have been. She hadn’t been in contact with her sister or Daryl in ten years but after a call from her sister, she wakes in a hospital back in Carbondale with no memory of why she is there or what caused the car accident that killed her sister. Daryl needs answers, too. He doesn’t understand why his wife had a packed suitcase and her passport in that car. Was she leaving him and their two, adorable children? What follows is a story with themes of family, intrigue, betrayal, overcoming grief, redemption, forgiveness and a second chance at true, and lasting love.

— Karen

A Rancher to Remember
(Rocky Mountain Cowboys #6)
By Karen Rock
Contemporary Romance

Paperback & ebook, 368 Pages
April 1st 2019 by Harlequin Heartwarming

They can’t change the past…
but they can choose their future

Globe-trotting journalist Cassidy Fulton is back in Carbondale, Colorado. Only she can’t remember why—or the accident that killed her estranged sister. Helping her piece together this mystery is her brother-in-law and former fiancé, Daryl Loveland. Overcoming their grief seems impossible. Yet one thing is clear: Cassidy can’t imagine her life without Daryl or her adorable niece and nephew. But can the ranch ever really be her home?


The reader is immediately swept up into Karen Rock’s romance, A Rancher to Remember, as Cassidy Fulton risks her life to expose corruption in the Philippines,       and the intrigue continues as she struggles to attain the missing sections of her     memory after returning to her hometown of Carbondale, Colorado. And although her circumstances are completely different there, with her past staring her in the face, Cassidy’s future feels as uncertain as it did when she was fleeing bullets in the islands’ tropical forests.

Having received a mysterious message from her estranged sister, Leanne, Cassidy finds herself in the hospital, seriously injured, but she can’t remember the car accident that put her there and killed Leanne. Cassidy has much to mull over as she slowly recovers and, staying in the home of her former fiance, Daryl Loveland, who was also her brother-in-law, is extremely awkward–especially since she must fight the deep-seated feelings she still has for him.

Family loyalty runs strong in the Loveland clan, and Daryl holds himself to some high standards concerning their ranch and the memory of his late wife, while Cassidy is determined to respect her sister, even though they’d gone years without communicating. In addition to this internal conflict, she feels the nearly constant call to return to her journalism career, traveling to dangerous locations, helping the world to be a better place while proving her self-worth.

With family problems and inhibitions surrounding them, Cassidy and Daryl wrestle with the past, as well as the present, wondering if there is any way they can have a future together.

About the Author

Award-winning author Karen Rock is both sweet and spicy—at least when it comes to her writing! The author of both YA and adult contemporary books writes sexy suspense novels and small-town romances for Harlequin and Kensington publishing. A strong believer in Happily-Ever-After, Karen loves creating unforgettable stories that leave her readers with a smile. When she’s not writing, Karen is an avid reader who also loves cooking her grandmother’s Italian recipes, baking and having the Adirondack Park wilderness as her backyard, where she lives with her husband, daughter, dog and cat who keep her life interesting and complete. Learn more about her at or follow her on twitter at:

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– Ends April 10, 2019

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Look Out for Deer


My husband, Rick, and I lived in the country for nearly six years, and we experienced things there we never had before. Hardly anyone owned a cell phone at the time, so people sometimes stopped by our house to use the phone if they’d had an accident or some other minor emergency. Early one afternoon a large lumber truck stopped next to our home and the driver came to the door. He informed us that a woman down the road had hit a deer with her car and asked him to let us know, since we were acquaintances.

We hurried to our car and started in the direction he indicated, soon spotting a small car on the side of the road. Tire marks on the grass let us know right away that she’d tried to swerve and avoid the deer. Tammy stood next to her car, and she seemed glad to see us. She said that shortly after she left her house, the deer ran in front of her car. Tammy slammed on her brakes to avoid it, and her sunglasses flew off her face and out the window as the car spun around. The animal attempted to leap over it, leaving a long, broad scratch on the windshield, either from a hoof or antler.

We listened to Tammy’s story as she tried to calm down, then she made the under-statement, “It’s been a bad day.” I’m sure she didn’t mean to sound lighthearted or comical, but it almost came across that way, considering how close she’d come to calamity. We took her to our house so she could call her husband and the insurance company. She asked the claims representative, “Am I covered?” then she seemed relieved at the good news.

When we dropped her off at her house, she relaxed some, and I believe her husband was on his way by then. Some local people removed the deer from the shallow ditch it ended up in, and we were all reminded of how careful we needed to be while driving.  One thing that surprises me is that I never saw a deer wandering around the area the entire time we lived there, even though they were prevalent.


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Ski Trip or Comedy of Errors?

Ski Trip or Comedy of Errors?

I’d wanted to go skiing ever since I saw “I Love Lucy” at a ski resort, and I finally had  a chance to visit one after Rick and I had been married for several years. It was a five-hour drive from our home in South Carolina to Beech Mountain, North Carolina, and we could tell we were in unfamiliar territory when the terrain became hilly and patches of snow covered cow pastures.

When we finally reached our destination, car sick and exhausted, we discovered that our hotel was set in the curve of the main road up the mountain, which meant traffic passed the lodge on both sides, practically encompassing it. We tried not to focus on this as we settled into our room, which included a sitting area and kitchenette. The fireplace contained a treated log, and heat strips ran around the entire suite. Another perk of the establishment was free hot chocolate.

Needless to say, our first evening was cozy, sitting before the fire and tasting the best hot chocolate of our lives.  The electric heat was tremendous. I’m cold-natured, but even I thought it was too warm, so we turned it down. The buildings in the area were well-heated in general, which surprised me. I guess there’s a focus on being warm after a long day on the slopes.

The next day, we started preparations for our first ski adventure, not knowing it would take hours.  Snow fell at an alarming rate, and we heard chains were required for anyone driving up Beech Mountain. We stopped at a ski shop to buy some, and they offered to put them on our tires. Thinking we could get our ski gear while we waited, we agreed, not realizing how long it would take, or that the woman at the shop couldn’t help us with our skis and other paraphernalia. By the time we purchased goggles and rented skis and all the clothing deemed necessary for our lesson, we’d spent a small fortune.  (We had coupons we could have used at a nicer shop farther up the mountain, but we needed chains to get there.)

Armed with everything a skier could possibly need, we started up Beech Mountain. The road hadn’t been cleared, so we slipped and slid, hoping we wouldn’t plunge to the bottom as we rounded unprotected curves.  When we finally made it to the corral, joining our instructors and other would-be skiers, I was amazed at how comfortable I felt, despite the twelve degree reading on a thermometer.  (Those ski clothes really work!)

In a group of adults, I listened attentively to advice concerning turning around, slowing down, and stopping.  Since snow still fell incessantly, I wore goggles, which seemed to throw off my balance. That, combined with brand new, slippery skis, caused me to slide to the ground without warning.  At least it was a comfortable fall, since there was about  a foot of snow on the ground.

Next we were told to follow our leaders down and up a small incline to mechanical arms which flew by, conveyor-belt style, waiting for each of us to grab one and be pulled up the hill.  I was doing okay, but the lady in front of me was barely moving. I didn’t want to seem rude by passing her, so I was forced to slow down, which made it difficult for me to get up the hill. By the time I reached the arms, I felt rushed, so I grabbed one before I was ready. (I should have paid attention to my instincts.) The thing flung me part of the way down the hill, wrenching my knee in the process. One of the instructors, let’s call him Mike, walked with me to the top, and I prepared for the descent.

When my turn arrived, I took off, zooming down the hill like a pro. Maybe I should’ve been in a race, because I found it impossible to slow down as I approached an orange barrier. Plowing didn’t help. Nothing helped. Delving into the far reaches of my mind, I remembered the way Olympic skiers stop, so I tried their method, turning my skis to the side, hoping for an easy, complete stop. It worked, and Mike call out, “Good!”

I felt pleased with myself until I fell directly into a snowy drift. I tried to release my skis, but sprained my left thumb instead.  Mike came to my rescue, and he  had trouble with the lever too.  Then he commented on how slick my skis were. These revelations made me feel better about having so many problems, but it’s frustrating that I didn’t have the equipment I needed in order to ski properly. I informed Mike that I’d had enough. With two injuries and a stinging sensation starting in my thumbs because of the frigid air, I just wanted to get warm and dry. I received my wish after Rick took his plunge down the hill, stopping the same way I did.

Arctic air continued to move into the area, and by the time we went to bed that night, the wind chill was well below zero.  The log we burned the night before hadn’t been replaced, and our free hot chocolate seemed lower in the cups the longer we stayed at the resort. We made the mistake of not turning the heat back up, and it really made a difference. About midnight, with windows to the parking lot just above my head, I was freezing in bed. I heard cars pulling in, then the screams of young girls  as they hurried to the building with sub-zero wind whipping around them.

All in all, it was an interesting trip to what seemed like another planet at times, or at least the top of the world. We had grown so accustomed to the snow, it seemed odd when we drove toward home and it disappeared. We hope to try another resort someday and use those goggles we bought.

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Grove Park Inn: A Great Place, Summer or Winter

Grove Park Inn

My husband and I discovered Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina many years ago.  Built entirely of stone, it was once a playground for presidents and celebrities. (Their portraits are displayed in the hotel’s hallways.)

Although we first visited the famed inn when a relative recommended it for their after Christmas buffet, we discovered there was so much more. From the lobby with its polished stone floors and enormous, six-foot high fireplaces, to endless hallways and hidden  sitting areas, we were blown away. It’s easy to get lost, even on the first floor, but it’s a great place in which to disappear. It’s also a good way to find gems such as a small waterfall isolated in a quiet spot.


After our initial trip there, we returned several times. One year we opted for an historic room. Instead of using the regular elevators, we were sent to a small one set into the stone wall and guarded by a steward. The old-timey compartment took us to the top floor, under the eaves. The whole room seemed to be carved from oak, and the thick furniture made me think a giant once lived there. We didn’t have the amount of space we were used to, but we did have a magnificent view of the mountains and part of Asheville through our tiny window. And, although it was interesting, we thought we’d rather stay   in one of their modern rooms during subsequent trips, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows and all    of the updated amenities.

Something unique about Grove Park Inn is the Gingerbread Contest. It wasn’t well-known as the time, but a few years later I spied it on television, and it had become a really important national competition. Perhaps that’s one reason so many people started showing up during the Christmas holidays–and now it’s      the place to be.

Grove Park Fireplace 001

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A Cowboy’s Pride

(Rocky Mountain Cowboys #4)

by Karen Rock

Contemporary Romance, Paperback & ebook, 384 pages

September 1st 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Old wounds run deep

Only the truth can heal them…

Rancher Cole Loveland has no interest in dredging up the past, but his ex-fiancée, Katlynn Brennon, has other plans. To save her struggling TV show, she’s come back to Colorado to investigate the infamous Cade-Loveland feud. Trusting Katlynn again isn’t easy—she’s already chosen her career over Cole once. But he’s beginning to realize that true love, like legends, never dies.



Karen Rock’s excellent writing never disappoints, but A Cowboy’s Pride might be my favorite book in her Rocky Mountain Cowboys series. The previous three novels have centered on the Cade clan in Carbondale, Colorado, with an emphasis on their feud        with the Lovelands–a ranching family nearby–but this one shows the dispute from the Lovelands’ point of view. It’s an interesting change, causing the reader to wonder what really happened to Maggie, Everett, and Cora’s Tear–a missing jewel in the center of       the mystery.

The story begins with Katlynn Brennon on the set of her popular show, Scandalous History, wondering if the trappings of show business and fame are worth the hassle.       But when she learns that her career might be in danger, she comes up with a solution      that could help or hurt the ancient feud–and her relationship with former fiance, Cole Loveland–when she decides to take her Los Angeles film crew back to her hometown     of Carbondale.

The Lovelands are on the brink of losing their ranch, so when their father is offered a sizeable sum in exchange for their time, he has no choice but to comply, even though       he and Joy Cade are supposed to be married soon–a feat no one in the family would     have imagined a few years earlier. Filming Scandalous History could stir up trouble,          or it could help to solve the controversy that created the longest-running family feud         in America. A Cowboy’s Pride is filled with suspense and intrigue, as well as mystery,    and it’s easy to get swept up in the drama of the three love stories featured in Karen    Rock’s well-written novel.

Other Books in the Series

About the Author


Award-winning author Karen Rock is both sweet and spicy—at least when it comes to her writing! The author of both YA and adult contemporary books writes sexy suspense novels and small-town romances for Harlequin and Kensington publishing. A strong believer in Happily-Ever-After, Karen loves creating unforgettable stories that leave her readers with a smile. When she’s not writing, Karen is an avid reader who also loves cooking her grandmother’s Italian recipes, baking and having the Adirondack Park wilderness as her backyard, where she lives with her husband, daughter, dog and cat   who keep her life interesting and complete. Learn more about her at or follow her on twitter at

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