Interview with Melinda Dozier
Title: The Christmas Ranch
Author: Melinda Dozier
Release Day: December 13, 2019
Publisher: Anaiah Press
Genre: Christian Christmas Romance Novella
Megan Palmer, a T.V. journalist for True Faith Network, is assigned to report on Flying B Ranch, known for its Christmas lights and tree farm. When Megan meets owner Brody Blackstone, a single father and cowboy, she has to come to terms with deciding what’s truly important — her career or her heart.
With his ranch in jeopardy and family responsibilities, Brody Blackstone has given up on relationships. When Megan Palmer shows up, he has to move forward and learn to listen to God — the city-girl, Megan, might be the one.
“Look at the baby trees!” She had never seen something so cute. “We’ve got to get a picture.” Though she needed footage for The True Faith Network’s program, she also dabbled in her own photography as a hobby. The sight was precious, and she needed to document her first sighting of the trees.
Gus squinted out the window. “I have to get my camera gear from the back. Shouldn’t we talk to the owner first?”
“Just let me get out for a minute.” She already unbuckled her belt, and she clutched the door handle. She jumped out of the car, not even closing the door, and strolled toward the trees.
Her brown leather knee-high boots scraped along the gravel road into the grassy area by the white picket fence. Fir or pine or whatever it was that made that Christmas tree smell hung heavy in the air. Nostalgia engulfed her.
All the Christmas childhood memories barreled down, and for once, she missed home. Whatever home was. It was her mom and her sister, singing carols in their one-room apartment, eating noodles for dinner, her mother reading Luke 2:1-20, the story of Jesus’s birth. No matter how hard it got, their mom always had a tree for them.
She smiled. “It’s beautiful!”
“Ma’am,” a deep voice answered back, and it wasn’t Gus.
She spun around to see an actual living breathing cowboy. He towered over her at least three inches, and she had to step back to get a full view—the chiseled face with a five-o’clock shadow, a dark cowboy hat hanging low over his forehead, a red-plaid shirt, and silver from his belt buckle to steel-toed boots—but best of all, dark blue eyes stared back at her. There was even a horse in the background, tethered to the fence, waiting.
She swept her hand to her chest. “Oh, hello.”
“Ma’am,” he stated again, tipping his hat this time. “Is there something I can help you with?”
“It’s so beautiful.” She splayed her hand out, indicating the field, trying to calm her beating heart, from the surprise or from the explicit handsomeness of the cowboy, she didn’t know.
“You’re in God’s country, ma’am,” he stated matter-of-factly with a nod.
“What is this place?”
He smirked, a small dimple appearing next to his lips, and that only added to his charm. “You do realize you’re on a Christmas ranch.”
“Of course I do.” Great, now he thought she was an idiot. She was a news reporter, after all, and should be asking better questions than the obvious. Words should come easy to her. But this man knocked her off her game.
“It’s phase two of the Christmas tree nursery.”
“What’s phase one?”
He stepped closer and pointed across her shoulder, allowing his cologne to waft to her nose. More woodsy smell, which made her sigh inwardly. “The seedlings, over yonder where the greenhouse is. See it?”
Yonder? Who said yonder nowadays? And really, why should a cowboy smell so good after riding his horse on a farm? Realizing she still ogled him rather than where he pointed, she shook her head and faced the direction he showed.
As she stared into the distance, Gus walked to her side and cleared his throat. “How’s it going?” His New York accent spilled out.
Cowboy turned his gaze to Gus. “Y’all seem to be lost.”
Gus rubbed the top of his head. “We have an appointment with the owner at eleven.”
“With the owner, huh?” His lips quirked for an instance, not that Megan noticed his lips. “Well, that’s in the Big House. You’ll need to go back to the main road.”
Megan tilted her head. “There was a fork in the road, and our GPS sent us this way.”
“You took the road less traveled.” The cowboy took out gloves from his back pocket and pounded them on his thigh. “The GPS was wrong.”
Melinda is Louisiana born, New Mexico raised, Guatemala adopted, and recently
a newcomer to Houston, Texas. Though Melinda has only lived in Texas for four
years, she feels she’s a Texan at heart. Melinda has been known to watch too
much reality TV, crochet for hours, or sit by the pool in the hot Texas sun.
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What is the inspiration behind your writing?
I moved to Texas four and a half years ago, and this beautiful state has been my inspiration behind my upcoming Hill Country series. There’s something truly special about Texas that you can’t really understand until you’re deep in the heart of it. The food, the music, the patriotism … the cowboys. Though I wasn’t born and raised here, I’ve definitely adopted the Lone Star State!
Do you have a favorite author or book?
I love anything and everything by fellow Texan, Becky Wade. I’ve read and reread all her Porter series (love those cowboys!) and absolutely fell in love with the Bradford sisters.
What’s next for you as an author?
The Christmas Ranch is part of a series called the Hill Country Series which revolves around the Blackstone family. I’m finishing up my second novel, The Cowboy Rescue which is about Brody’s older brother and vet, Colton Blackstone. The third book is already plotted out and it’s called The Rodeo Rebel.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family has been completely supportive of my epic writing adventure. I’ve been writing for many years. In fact, I put it on hold over 20 years ago when I had my first son. Later my husband encouraged me to not give up my dream to be published and make time to write. So, I did! I had seven books published as a contemporary romance author, a while back. Once I moved to Texas, I put my writing on hold and prayed hard about my writing career. God led me to write what I love to read, Christian Romance! So, here I am now, starting back on my adventure with my family of boys cheering me on! They are my biggest fans and I couldn’t do it without them.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Honestly, it’s finding the time. Besides being a mom to three boys and a wife, I work as a full-time teacher and as a marketing director. Sometimes I have so many wonderful ideas that are dying to get out, but I just don’t have time to sit and write. This year, my goal has been to etch out the time to write. So far, it’s working and I’m loving every minute of it.