Women’s History Month

My blog on Over the Backyard Fence today is all about Women’s History month and my grandmother, the salt of the earth woman who shaped my life. Even after forty years, I miss her.

Over The Backyard Fence

It’s Women’s History month, commemorating the vital role women have played in American history.

There are so many women who have helped shape our future, like Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Harriet Tubman, and so many more it’s hard to find space for even the highlights. Here’s a couple of sites if you’d like to read about some of these amazing women.


I’m choosing to talk about one woman. My grandmother.

She didn’t shape worlds, but she was the rock that shaped our family and she taught us all what it means to be loved unconditionally. And also what was right and wrong and how to be a large family with opinions and differences, but to still remember the love. And what a sparkle in her eyes she had. 🙂

My grandmother, Lila, was one of seventeen children. She gave birth to eleven children, who gifted her…

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Summer’s Heat and a New Series

Today, here in the Pacific Northwest, we are having unprecedented weather. I’ve always felt compassion for those who live in areas who get 100+ temps, but now, being in the midst of that kind of rare temperature (for us), I honestly don’t know how people in Phoenix or other places survive the summers. I don’t do well in heat, so I’m grateful we have air conditioning. A lot of folks around here don’t because it’s not been that necessary until lately. So we keep track of each other, check in on neighbors, and try to stay cool.

For me, that means wishing I were at my happy place, the ocean, and in order to be there when I can’t actually BE there, I wrote, and just kicked off, a new small-town series set along the Washington coast. I’m thrilled to share Last Resort, the first story in this series with you.

Welcome to Willow Bay, the perfect place to stick a chair in the sand, your toes in the water, and get lost in the ebb and flow of life and love.

Will a massive beach resort destroy their small town ambiance?

Smitten with feisty gift-shop owner Dana Ricci from the moment she arrived in town, reserved Mayor Josh Morgan is torn between love and obligation. The all-inclusive hotel is ready to break ground and is marketing the increased tourists dollars to the shop owners. Money that Dana, buried in debt, direly needs. But Josh is convinced it will destroy their small town life.

This sensual, small town romance is the first in the Willow Bay series, which can be read in any order. Grab your copy now and get to know the down-home folks who live and work here.

And, hot off the presses, here’s the cover for book 2 – Finding Home, releasing August 12th and now available for ebook pre-order. (Print coming soon.)

What it’s about:

When unwished-for love lands on your doorstep, do you embrace it or bolt?

Taking in a runaway teen, Bernie Pedersen, who was a runaway herself, goes toe-to-toe with the handsome social worker looking for the girl. Bernie will do anything to protect the child the way her sixteen-year-old self could have used.

Suffering burnout as his search for an endangered teen brings him to a small coastal town, Paul Gibson becomes embroiled in the lives of two people. One, a neatnik teenager whose home life wasn’t what he’d been told. And another, a feisty, redheaded pizza joint owner who makes him believe he could have a future in this town.

He’s legally bound to return the girl to her home, but when he learns things are not what they seem, Paul works with Bernie to do whatever it takes to keep the girl safe. Even if it means losing his job.

If you love summer, embrace it. If you don’t so much, survive it. Either way, finding ways to beat the heat is important. Have a wonderful summer!

Laurie Ryan

It Takes a Village…

“Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” — David Ogden Stiers

I rarely make political statements and this isn’t really one, either. Rather, it’s a call for remembering what’s important.

Over the last few years, something that two different people said stuck with me. One was my mother, the other a complete stranger.

When my mother was about 90 years old, a relative about to undergo sex reassignment surgery reached out to her to let her know. Her answer went something like this:

I don’t understand all of this, but you are family and I love you no matter what.

She knew what was important. Family. Love.

The other comment that has stuck with me happened in a car dealership waiting room in early May. We’ve all waited for those oil changes, right? Well, I was sitting there working on my computer and a couple ladies were talking. Both masked, as I was. But they had very diverse opinions about the coronavirus. The opinion that stuck with me was this:

I don’t believe Covid-19 is any big deal. However, I am part of a community and I protect my community. So I wear a mask and I got vaccinated.

What was most important to her was community.

And both of these profound statements have stuck with me. Family, love, community. That’s what’s important. Life isn’t all black and white. It’s gray. And purple, and pink, and blue, and green. There are a plethora of shades to humanity and the world and I, for one, think we should embrace them rather than persecute or scoff.

Thank you for listening. I have wanted to say this for a while, but it’s hard to feel comfortable offering an opinion these days. I’m grateful for each and every one of you, and I appreciate you.

Laurie Ryan

Giveaway and a Pre-order

May is almost at an end and our weather in the Pacific Northwest has been cooler more than warmer. We’ve finally been getting a little rain so the grass and flowers and plants on our little acre are heaving huge sighs of relief. Fully vaccinated, we are getting back to visiting with family and friends without a digital screen between us. So there’s a lot of hope for an easing of the heavy load we’ve all born this past year and a happy, safe summer.

A couple bits of news from me…

First, I’m part of a great giveaway. Follow some great authors on Bookbub and enter to win. My western horse story, Rudy’s Heart, is part of the giveaway.

Second, the premiere story in my new Willow Bay series is available for pre-order in ebook and print. I live for coastal visits, so this little town has wrapped itself around my imagination and created characters and arcs that I hope you will love as much as I do.

What it’s about:

Welcome to Willow Bay, the perfect place to stick a chair in the sand, your toes in the water, and get lost in the ebb and flow of life and love.

But will a massive beach resort destroy their small town ambiance?

Smitten with feisty gift-shop owner Dana Ricci from the moment she arrived in town, reserved Mayor Josh Morgan is torn between love and obligation. The all-inclusive hotel is ready to break ground and is marketing the increased tourists dollars to the shop owners. Money that Dana, buried in debt, direly needs. But Josh is convinced it will destroy their small town life.

This sensual, small town romance is the first in the Willow Bay series, which can be read in any order. Grab your copy now and get to know the down-home folks who live and work here.

Kindle:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B092H1PJ2N/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i9

Apple:  https://books.apple.com/us/book/last-resort/id1562938723

BN:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/last-resort-martin-ryan/1102894080?ean=2940162424703

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/last-resort-48

I hope you have a wonderful finish to May and June is filled with sunshine, flowers, and fun. And just enough rain to keep everything fresh and beautiful. Stay safe, stay healthy. And enjoy everything good in life, for it’s too short to just let slip away.

Home Away from Home

I’m blogging about a wonderful, recent stay at the beach on Over The Backyard Fence. Stop by and say hi if you have a minute. 🙂

Over The Backyard Fence

I should be posting about my family winter cabin adventure here. This would have been our 21st year, I think. We postponed it because of COVID-19. It’s only a year. We’ll be back at it, and we’re all very grateful for every year we get to do this.

So instead, I took a solo trip to the beach. I needed to let all the negativity go and find the peace in my heart again, and in the process, I found my happy place. I’ve traveled some and have always wondered if I could live here or there. But I’ve never felt completely content, like I could spend the rest of my life there.

I could here. It’s perfect. The day I arrived, it was snowing. At the beach. Unheard of in Washington State. I had to drive through blowing snow for half an hour, but none of that was a…

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Christmas in Cambria by Linda Seed

Well, 2020 is winding down, thank goodness. I hope everyone has peace and good health visiting them this holiday season. Our Christmas will be quiet, but it will happen. My heart and prayers go out to all those suffering, either health-wise, financially, or from isolation.

This month completes a reading challenge I have found immensely enjoyable. It took me out of my usual genres and opened my eyes to the wide world of fiction. And non-fiction, which I don’t normally read. I am grateful to Betty Callahan of Round Table Readers for posting the challenge.

My final story is one of my favorite types of books. A Christmas romance. (Happy sighs.)

What It’s About:

She’s struggling to rebuild her life. He’s desperately searching for connection–he just doesn’t know it yet …

Delilah Ballard’s husband left her and their two kids for another woman. Now, in the wake of her messy divorce, Delilah needs a change of scenery for her kids’ first Christmas without their father. She’s looking for a getaway–not another romantic entanglement that’s sure to add another layer of chaos to a life already swimming in it. 

When a Big Sur hiking excursion goes bad, putting Delilah’s son in peril, seasoned outdoorsman Quinn Monroe shows up just in time to bring the boy to safety. The problem is, Quinn is dangerously sexy, and Delilah’s not sure she has what it takes to ignore his attentions–even though everything about him spells trouble. 

My Thoughts:

When I pick up a Christmas romance, I’m looking for diversion, feel-goods, a strong sense of season, and just enough tension to keep things interesting. This story had all that. There were really no surprises, except one idea from the hero late in the story, but this story stands on its own without diverting from holiday tropes. I enjoyed it a lot. Loved the hero, the heroine was struggling but finding her own strength to dig out. All in all, a great holiday read.  

Becoming by Michelle Obama

For November, the biography I chose was one I’ve been wanting to read since it came out.

What It’s About:

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era.

As First Lady of the United States of America – the first African-American to serve in that role – she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world. She dramatically changed the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and stood with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her – from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it – in her own words and on her own terms.

Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations – and whose story inspires us to do the same.

My thoughts:

Wow. I’ve always liked Michelle Obama. I’ve always thought she carried herself with both pride and humility. So I started this story already appreciating her. The depths she has climbed, and the work she’s done to better the lives of children and people in all walks of life took my respect for this woman to a whole new level. I think my favorite story while finding her way as First Lady was the vegetable and fruit garden she started.

Reading Becoming gave me insights into what a woman of color had to deal with throughout her life, made me smile at the strong family core she was raised in, and gave me hope for a better future for all.

Memory Man by David Baldacci

Well, Fall has arrived and with it, our first windstorm. Thankfully not a bad one. In the Pacific Northwest, we rarely get close to hurricane or tornado status, but we do have some blustery days. And, of course, hubby had just cleaned up the yard. Now it’s covered in fir needles and branches. That should keep him out of trouble for a couple days. 🙂 With all this stay at home time, I’m working hard on my romance series, set in a small town on the Washington coast. And…I’ve released the prequel to the Earth Legacy Fantasy series. For more information about that, click here.

For this month’s reading, the challenge was a thriller or mystery book. I’ve never been much for gory stories and I get way too freaked out at thrillers. It took me 10 years to finally watch Poltergeist and I had to sleep with the lights on for a few nights afterwards. Lol.


I ended up choosing a murder mystery from one of the masters, David Baldacci. And wow, am I glad I did!


What It’s About:

Amos Decker’s life changed forever–twice.

The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to play in the NFL. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field forever, and left him with an improbable side effect–he can forget nothing.

The second time was at home nearly two decades later. Now a police detective, Decker returned from a stakeout one evening and entered a nightmare–his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law had been murdered.

His family destroyed, their killer’s identity as mysterious as the motive behind the crime, and unable to forget a single detail from that horrible night, Decker finds his world collapsing around him. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the street, taking piecemeal jobs as a private investigator when he can.

But over a year later, a man turns himself in to the police and confesses to the murders. At the same time a horrific event nearly brings Burlington to its knees, and Decker is called back in to help with this investigation. Decker also seizes his chance to learn what really happened to his family that night. To uncover the stunning truth, he must use his remarkable gifts and confront the burdens that go along with them. He must endure the memories he would much rather forget. And he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Memory Man will stay with you long after the turn of the final page.

My Thoughts:

That last line is so true. This story will stay with you for a long time. I got so into it, I read it in 24 hours, and I rarely, if ever, do that. Baldacci is amazing at crafting the ins and outs of unfolding a mystery with unerring perfection. Wow. I rarely read this type of story, but I’ll read more of his books. Yes, this was my first Baldacci book. But it won’t be my last. Wow. Wow. Wow. A high recommend from me.

Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Well, how’s everyone doing? Are you managing to find a balance between staying healthy and being happy? That’s not an easy thing to do these days, and it takes an effort. The biggest thing I’ve been working on personally is trying to listen more. To remember to think about what must be going on in someone’s life when they are frustrated or angry. To be mindful that others have a right to their opinion.

I live in the Pacific Northwest. Washington State, USA. And we’re struggling with air quality, but thankfully, none of the fires is very near us. It’s been tough in California and Oregon, especially. Our daughter has been in “get ready to evacuate” stage for a few days now. I am praying regularly that everyone manages to stay safe and out of harm’s way.

Writing-wise, I’m close to releasing Awakening, the prequel to the Earth Legacy fantasy series. I’m also working hard on a romance series set in a small oceanside town. It’s been fun setting up the town and fleshing out the characters and I hope to have several books out in this world in the next few years.

But, this blog is really about the writing challenge.

This month, the story needed to be written prior to 1950. I went waaaaayyyyy back to 1813. I have a confession to make. I’m a romance author who, until now, had never read Pride and Prejudice. Shame on me. This story was delightful and I should have read it eons ago.

What It’s About:

Since its immediate success in 1813, Pride and Prejudice has remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. Jane Austen called this brilliant work “her own darling child” and its vivacious heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, “as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print.” The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and her proud beau, Mr. Darcy, is a splendid performance of civilized sparring. And Jane Austen’s radiant wit sparkles as her characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, making this book the most superb comedy of manners of Regency England.

My thoughts:

Why didn’t I read this story years ago? Yes, it took a while to get used to the olde style of writing, but man, does she do romance well. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are perfection. So, if you read romance and haven’t read this story, it’s well worth the time.   Now I have a question. I think there are multiple movie versions of this story that have been made. Does anyone have a version they recommend?

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

My prayers continue to wing out to anyone struggling in this COVID-19 world. I hope you are all staying safe. Our county just lost a 19 year old with no health problems to this horrible virus. This isn’t over by a long shot, sadly.

There’s not a lot we can do about that, except to pray and stay home and mask up. And wash our hands. What we can also do is feed our souls to stave off depression. And reading has been helping me with that a lot lately. I crave travel, but for now, I do it through books. And boy, did I just take an epic trip…

IMG_1143August’s reading challenge was fantasy, which is one of the top two genres I like to read. Romance is the other, of course. Most of the fantasy I read is YA, so I decided to stretch myself this month.


What It’s About:

I long for the days before the Last Desolation.

The age before the Heralds abandoned us and the Knights Radiant turned against us. A time when there was still magic in the world and honor in the hearts of men.

The world became ours, and we lost it. Nothing, it appears, is more challenging to the souls of men than victory itself.

Or was that victory an illusion all along? Did our enemies realize that the harder they fought, the stronger we resisted? Perhaps they saw that the heat and the hammer only make for a better grade of sword. But ignore the steel long enough, and it will eventually rust away.

There are four whom we watch. The first is the surgeon, forced to put aside healing to become a soldier in the most brutal war of our time. The second is the assassin, a murderer who weeps as he kills. The third is the liar, a young woman who wears a scholar’s mantle over the heart of a thief. The last is the highprince, a warlord whose eyes have opened to the past as his thirst for battle wanes.

The world can change. Surgebinding and Shardwielding can return; the magics of ancient days can become ours again. These four people are key.

One of them may redeem us.

And one of them will destroy us.

My Thoughts:

1,001 pages. No, I didn’t say 1,001 nights, as in Scheherazade. Pages. I wasn’t sure I could read a story this long.  But Brandon Sanderson pulled me in. Wow. I did find I was more vested in Kaladin’s story than any other character, but they were all compelling. As with any epic story, it was slow building. There was a lot of thread to tangle together to get to the end. And ending that is both solved and left hanging, since there’s a second book. Overall, I’d say this is a great read for fantasy folks. And it’s worth sticking it out for the long haul. I’m glad I read it.

I hope your month is less 2020 and more, well, any other year. Stay safe!