Friday, March 16, 2018


Top o' the morning to you! Your reply should be, "And the rest of the day to yourself." I'm only a little Irish mixed with Scottish, Swiss, Cherokee, Scandinavian, and bits of other countries. However, I love Ireland and St. Patrick's Day. I could be packed and ready for another trip to Ireland in a flash.

As I mentioned in my newsletter, I'm giving away a box of swag and signed paperback books to someone who comments on this post between today and midnight on Sunday.

I’m excited to use this time near St. Patrick's Day to launch the first of my Texas Time Travel Series trilogy. (Try saying that fast three times ☺) TEXAS LIGHTNING releases March 17 but has been available for preorder. Early reader reports have been very enthusiastic. The second and third of the trilogy are TEXAS RAINBOW, releasing April 18, and TEXAS STORM, releasing May 24. Each will be available for preorder a couple of weeks before release.

I'm a bit nervous about this trilogy since I usually write either historical or contemporary western romance. Time travel romance has been fun to write, though, and I hope readers enjoy the books. I must admit that the second and third books have required tons more research than usual.  

In TEXAS LIGHTNING, Penny Terry is transported from 1896 to 2017 on her ranch. She was racing from rustlers when a bolt of heat lightning struck near her horse, resulting in the horse falling. Though Penny jumped clear of the horse, she fell down a ravine and hit her head. When she woke, rain was pouring and her horse was nowhere to be seen. Fortunately, neither were the rustlers.

Imagine trudging two miles through the rain to your house and finding other people not only live in your home, but claim to have a clear title to it. Not squatters or con men, but owners live in the place Penny is certain belongs to her. In addition, there are puzzling, sometimes frightening, differences in her home. Only her room and the painting over the parlor mantel are unchanged.

Years ago I discovered the books of Kathleen Kane before the author (Maureen Child) switched names and subgenres. I fell in love with those books and with time travel featuring ordinary people. I also have enjoyed the time travels of authors such as Beth Trissel, Linda LaRoque, Peggy L. Henderson, Diana Gabaldon, and others.

I especially enjoy seeing a character from the past come forward to today. Think about it—when someone goes back in time, they know most details of what’s going to happen in that era. On the other hand, when a person comes forward, everything is new and requires huge adjustments in learning and attitudes. What a challenge for a character—and what fun for the reader! If there’s mystery and/or suspense, even better.

This is what I wrote in OUT OF THE BLUE, when Deirdre Dougherty, an Irish woman from 1845, plopped down out of the blue in contemporary North Central Texas to help Detective Brendan Hunter solve several murders and discover who was trying to frame and kill him. I love that story and hope readers do also. That book ends in happily ever after for the hero and heroine, as all books should in my opinion.

TEXAS LIGHTNING depicts Penny Terry as she stumbles forward in time and into a complicated scheme to steal the ranch that had been hers. While unraveling the mystery, she learns why her father was killed. In this case, there’s even a fabulous treasure. Of course, she also falls in love with Jake Knight, the contemporary owner of the ranch. I hope you don't think that's a spoiler. It's not as if you don't know how the story will end, but the twists of getting there that makes reading entertaining.

The setting is in Central Texas on the Medina River somewhere between Bandera and Medina. Bandera touts itself as “The Cowboy Capital of the World”. That claim might be opposed by other western towns, but you get the idea that there are a lot of cowboys there. My family once stayed at The Mayan Ranch, a dude ranch near Bandera. Our daughters and I fell in love with the ranch and the area. Mayan Ranch owners the Hicks family are excellent hosts. My Hero prefers to read about western life, riding horses, and ranching rather than experiencing them first hand. Hero was a good sport but he would much rather have been fishing.☺

Here’s a synopsis of TEXAS LIGHTNING:

How can two people from different eras own the same ranch? 

Penelope Jane Terry knows everything about ranching in spite of being a lone woman. She is determined to send to jail the rustlers who believe they can steal what is hers… until she is caught spying on their dirty works and must ride for her life. What Penny doesn’t count on is being hurtled over a 120 years into the future.

Jake Knight believes the attractive woman who stumbled into his home one rainy evening either has amnesia or is certifiably insane. Unless, that is, she is in league with whoever is trying to drive him out of business. Someone is trying to force him to sell his ranch by staging a string of damaging incidents. Jake’s been kept so busy making repairs that he can’t run his ranch properly. Even if he were stupid enough to wish to sell, the ranch is so firmly entailed that no one can break the conditions.

Jake gradually realizes Penny is who she claims, no matter that time travel is supposed to be impossible. They’re locked into a clash only one of them can win. If an outsider weren’t trying to kill Jake as well as bankrupt him, perhaps he and Penny might be able to reach an agreement. Once the murderer is revealed, they discover there is a huge treasure….


Finally, the lights of home shone faintly in the distance. Nothing had ever looked so good. She couldn’t keep going much further. Damned if blisters hadn’t burned on her heels from walking so far in wet boots. She was near frozen in these wet clothes.
How could she be so cold now when the heat earlier had nearly suffocated her? Nevermind, she just wanted to be home, safe, and in her bed. There stood the fence next to the paddock. Almost home now, keep walking.
Don’t pass out, don’t fall. One foot in front of the other. You can do this. Stumbling from fatigue, she labored up the front steps onto the long wrap-around porch and bumped into a rocker. Who’d put that there? Just like her cook to move stuff around without telling her. How she’d love to sink into it and rest. First, she had to send for the sheriff and find out if her horse Star came home.
At the door, she paused and listened for men talking—rustlers waiting to waylay her. She heard no sound. Lights shone so brightly, her cook must have waited up for her with every lamp in the house lighted. She eased opened the door, listened again, then walked in and leaned her rifle against the stair’s banister.
“Did Star come home?” She unbuckled her gun belt and hung it on the newel post—not something she’d do under ordinary circumstances.
Tugging off her gloves, she avoided a couple of cactus spines stuck in the fingers. How had they remained there without her feeling them? No matter, she sat down on the third stair tread to remove her boots.
She should have gone around to the back door, but she couldn’t walk another step. Weariness and sore muscles overwhelmed her and she wanted nothing more than to shuck out of her wet things and lie in her nice bed—if she could summon the energy to walk upstairs. Eyes closed, she leaned back against the stairs. She heard footsteps approaching and raised one foot.
“Had me a passel of trouble. Help me get these danged boots off, would you? Then I’ll tell you all about it.” A dog’s cold nose pressed against her cheek. She jumped and pushed her hair out of her eyes. A black and white dog stared at her. “Who are you?”
            “His name’s Rascal.” An unfamiliar baritone said, “He’s mine.”
            She looked up.
Whoa! The man who faced her was a stranger. In spite of her wariness, her mouth dropped open in awe. Instead of her arthritic middle-aged cook, this man was young and tall and definitely fit. And handsome. Unbelievably, mesmerizingly handsome.
He might be as comely as a fairy tale prince, but the regal disapproval on his face appeared anything but friendly.
Energized by fear, she jumped to her feet and grabbed her rifle. “Who the heck are you?”
He crossed his arms and ignored the Winchester pointed at his middle. His dark hair glistened in light that seemed too bright. Dark blue eyes had tiny creases at the corners, as if he laughed a lot.
He sure wasn’t laughing now.
“I might ask you the same question. And what are you doing tracking in mud and dripping water all over my foyer?”
Your foyer? This is my house, and it’s been my house since my daddy and I built it six years ago. Don’t you think for one minute I’ll let you steal my ranch.”
 The dog growled, the fur of his ruff bristling.
The man snapped his fingers. “Quiet, Rascal.”
Who was this man? He didn’t look the type but maybe he was one of the men stealing her cattle. Could he and his dog have been waiting for her? She gripped the rifle with all her strength. Why hadn’t her cook shown up to help her?
Oh, no, had they killed him?
He glared at her. “Lady, I don’t know who you are, but this is my house, get it? I grew up here. My daddy grew up here. My granddaddy grew up here.”
Penny’s knees trembled, but she fought fear to appear strong. “Don’t try and trick me. The Double T ranch was started by my granddaddy in 1836. No con man is going to steal it from the Terry family, and you can take that to the bank.”
“The Terry family hasn’t owned this since Penelope Terry died in 1896. The Knight family has owned it since then.” He threw up his hands. “Hell, why am I arguing with a crazy woman?”
“Crazy?” She was about to light into him when the first part of his statement hit her. “Hey, what do you mean, I died? I’m as alive as you, whoever you are.”
“What the hell are you talking about? I see you’re alive. I said Penelope Terry died. Are you hard of hearing as well as nuts?”
Increasing fear spiraled inside Penny, knotting her stomach. How could this man think her dead? What kind of trick was he working? Had she been conked out long enough that her cook sent men out to look for her and they decided she’d died?
Forcing herself to appear calm when she shook inside, Penny stood erect. “I’m Penelope Jane Terry and you can see I’m very much alive…”

Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To make up for this tragic error, she writes about handsome cowboys, feisty ranch women, and scheming villains from a small office her family calls her pink cave. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd on their rescued cats and dogs. The books she creates there have made her an Amazon bestselling author and won several awards. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, and Pinterest.
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Mary Preston said...

I have the trilogy on my reading list.

I can claim to be Irish thanks to my Grandfather. (There is a lot of everything else there too.)

Alisab8888 said...

I can't wait to read the new series. The premise of traveling into the future is intriguing.

katsrus said...

Great excerpt. Pretty cover.
Sue B

Lori said...

"Top of the mornin to you" too. Hope you have a great weekend

Caroline Clemmons said...

The winner is Mary Preston! Congratulations, Mary. Please email me or message me your mailing address.
Alisa, Sue, and Lori, you each win an ebook for your comment. Thanks for stopping by!

Mary Preston said...

THANK YOU!!! I have sent an email through to you.

katsrus said...

Thanks so much and congrats to Mary.