Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sweet Sixteen: The Date, Not the Age!

Pam Hillman
 Pam Hillman here... I’ll be your hostess the 16th of every month.

I was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent my teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, Daddy couldn’t afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so I drove the Allis Chalmers 110. Even when Daddy asked me if I wanted to operate the baler, I told him I didn’t mind raking. Raking hay doesn’t take much thought, so I spent my time working on my tan and making up stories in my head. Now, that’s the kind of life every sixteen-year-old girl should dream of!

Pam's husband bailing hay.
From an early age I loved horses and all things western. I was a bit of a tomboy and cut my teeth on Louis L’Amour westerns. Our neighbor’s husband worked in the oil fields of Alaska and was gone months at a time. She’d invite my brother and me over to watch John Wayne movies on Friday nights. We’d have popcorn and soda, or she’d bake a butter cake (the smell of hot butter cake fresh from the oven still makes my mouth water!).

Horses from the Hillman Hilltop
Writing a novel reminds of making mud pies as a little girl. You just get in there and have the best time ever playing in the mud, forming pies in the tin pie plates Mama let you borrow from her kitchen. Getting it all out there is fun and exciting. Cleaning it up can be a little daunting, but sticking with it yields great results, and then the final cleanup with my editors is even more thrilling. I use a spreadsheet to plot turning points, starting with the big picture, drilling down to each act, each chapter, then each scene. Then I layer in more texture in my second and third pass. By the time the final draft goes to my editor, I hope the novel has plenty of yummy goodness and not a trace of that mud pie remains!

I’ve always loved stories involving the great Westward expansion, and television shows such as Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, and Gunsmoke. The western writer, Louis L’Amour, kept me mesmerized with his tales of cowboys and Indians, outlaws, prim schoolteachers, hot dry deserts and boom towns.

The view from my front porch.
My love of the old west and lifetime of country living bring authenticity to my work and depth to my characters, something that has been recognized many times in the industry through writer’s awards. My work has placed in dozens of writer’s contests, including being a four-time finalist in Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart contest for unpublished novelists with Claiming Mariah, my second novel, winning the coveted Golden Heart. My debut novel, Stealing Jake, is a 2013 Epic eBook Awards finalist.

I’m excited to be part of CFHS.

~ ~ ~

Claiming Mariah
Tyndale House Publishers Digital First
January 2013
is $1.99 THIS WEEK.
Sale Ends TODAY!

Buy Link for Kindle / Nook

1880’s Wyoming Territory: In light of her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s ranch, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Fredrick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man laying claim to her home…and her heart.

Claiming Mariah is a Clash of the Titles contender. I would be thrilled if you would go to the Clash of the Titles site and vote for the book of your choice. Voting ends on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.

The Prize Vault is Open!

(Includes 1 Year Subscription to E-cards by Jacquie Lawson (deadline TODAY), pewter bookmarks and 40% off coupon for Deirdre's Handmade Jewelry (deadline March 9), and eReader: Kindle/Nook (deadline March 31)


  1. Hello Pam, nice to meet you. I envy your view from your front porch! I am looking forward to learning more about you and your books. God bless.

  2. Debbie, I do enjoy our view, except when my cowboy parks three tractors, a cattle trailer, hay rake, mower, AND baler in front of the house! lol

    Hubby is a farmer and a carpenter, and I've been lobbying for an office for years. Once I drew off plans to build a master bedroom, bath, new entry and office on the front of the house. My plan was simply brilliant (just sayin') but hubby tossed the idea at the get-go.

    The would block the view. :)

  3. Oh my, Pam, talking about mud pies brings back such wonderful memories. I loved making them, too. Mother gave me her beat up cake pans from the kitchen (my baby brother used two as drums)to make mud pies. My sister and I decorated them with dandelions and other weeds. We didn't dare touch the roses. Never lived on a farm, but visited my great-granny's farm in Abilene, Texas. I loved horses, but living in the city (Dallas) gave me little opportunity to be around them. Loved getting to know more about you and to find out that we're sister tomboys. :)

    1. Sister tomboys! I like that. :) For some reason this story just popped in my head, Martha. When I was a kid, we had an old jersey cow called Grandma (really!), and she would let us ride her. All you had to do was plant a plastic 5 gallon bucket by her side, hop on, and ride while she grazed.

      One day my cousins were visiting, and my cousin and I both got on Grandma (okay, that's sounds funny! ROFLOL) and were riding around in the pasture. Grandma was just as SLOW as her namesake, just poking along. And no amount of kicking her in the flanks made her move faster, or slower, or in any other direction than she wanted to go.

      Then she stopped right over a wasp nest in a little bush on the ground. And there we were, perched on her back, staring at that wasp nest with wasps buzzing all around her planted hooves!!! We were so terrified of getting stung that we wouldn't jump off the old cow, but she wouldn't move.

      We finally got up the nerve to jump off and RUN like crazy.

      I can't remember if Grandma ever let us ride her again, or if we even tried....but I also wonder if that smart old cow was chortling with glee as she knew she'd gotten the best of two little girls who'd just about broken her poor old back?

  4. Pam, I'm glad I'm not the only girl who used to read Louis L'Amour when she was a teenager! I just love Westerns. :)

    1. Loved L'Amour, especially when the Sacketts found themselves a woman. I'll never forget ANGIE. Anybody remember her? Wasn't Angie the one that Tell (I think it was Tell) found in the cave in the mountains. And then in the end, he walked into the cabin...again, I can't remember what he said, but I knew they were gonna get hitched.

      Long story short, Louis L'Amour is the very reason I write historical romance.

      So we'll just blame it on him!

  5. Hi Pam, love the mud pie analogy also. I went and voted. I grew up on a farm for 8 years. didn't do the things you did but some good memories were riding in the tractor with dad I had to stand on the running board but it was good. Also I remember riding his horse with him. Oh and climbing trees! I loved the Cisco Kid when I was little. we got tv when I was 5 and it was on and I loved it.

    1. Jenny, sounds so familiar! We made hay bale forts, tree houses, played in the rain, and the muddy ditches, even made tunnels through stacked hay. It's a wonder we survived.

      Does anybody remember getting to the age that you climbed a tree, sat there for a few minutes, then realized it just wasn't quite as much fun as it used to be?

      I remember that day.

      I was 35.

      just kidding

  6. What a great place to live and write about the west. Looking forward to reading your book.

    1. Thanks! Isn't this blog going to be the most fun?

    2. What a great resource! Oh my Pam, you really do have cowboys.

    3. Diana, you don't know the half of it! Let's just say that I wonder if my cowboy married me because I could drive a tractor and back up a 40' cattle trailer.

      Not that he'd admit it, I'm sure... lol

  7. *WAVES* Pam, I'm sure you know how much I love your books. Stealing Jake is one of my all-time favorites and Claiming Mariah is right beside it.

  8. Ahh, Christina, you are such a treasure. I never knew how much pleasing readers would please me!

    Remember those little awwww moments we talked about in Seekerville?

    Well, this is one of them.

    God bless you!

  9. Hi Pam,
    You and I have so much more in common than I thought. I grew up on a farm in Pa. Raking hay, riding horses, making mud pies, watching John Wayne movies ( I still think McLintock, and The Quiet Man) are my favorites. You can tell I'm a Maureen O'Hara fan too! I just loved them together. It just had to be my aunt reading The Highwayman to me all the time that made me wonder who King George's men were that developed my interest in regency writing. Of course Jane Austen and the Brontes had something to do with that too. :) I'm so looking forward to this blog. What a great bunch of writers!


    1. I agree, Jillian, we're going to have a good time here. :)

  10. Hey Pam,

    Yesterday was a busy one so I didn't get to stop by. I Iove your view. It reminds me of my sister's view from her porch, but instead of cattle, she has wild turkeys that stroll across her land several times a day. We saw about 20 of them at Christmas when we were there. Your Mariah cover is beautiful! I'm glad to have you partnering with us here.

    1. :) Sometimes we have turkeys and fox and STUNKS, yes that is spelled incorrectly! I think our dog danced with ta stunk this past weekend! lol

      Once, years ago right after we built our house, we were standing in the backyard and a red fox ran through the front yard. It was probably his normal route, and he was halfway across our yard before he realized he did NOT want to be where he was at that moment! Poor ol' fox...

  11. Hi Pam! I snagged your book off of Amazon. So nice to share a blog with you and now I get to read your book. SO EXCITED! :) And FANTASTIC book cover! WOW!

    1. Yay, Jaime! I know, I hit the jackpot with that cover. Just GORGEOUS! I'm hearing that the book's not half-bad either. :)

  12. Good evening, {ahem!},
    Good Early Morning, Ms. Hillman!

    I am so very thankful that after entering the Claiming Mariah bookaway on Lena Nelson Dooley's blog, {I left you a note!} it led me to click over here! :) Eek! I love finding new blogs that showcase authors + their books!! :) I'm not into social media, so I cannot follow you on FB, but I wanted to commend you giving away a year's membership to Jacquie Lawson! Leaping Lizards if that is not my favourite ecard site! I use it exclusively ever since my Mum gifted it to me for Easter 2 years ago!! I love Ms. Lawson's artistic eye and her cards help evoke just the right mood for each card I send to my friend(s)!! That was quite a nice gift and I hope whomever won will appreciate her cards for years to come! :) The Advents + Circus are extra special treats, too!

    I loved Little House on the Prairie! As I was saying a moment ago,... cowboy fiction and Old Westerns are some of my favourite historicals! Hallmark's Love Come Softly Saga is one of my all-time favourites! I continue to hope there is more yet to come! :) I know at some point I'll get into Bonanza! Have you seen the Hallmark film, the Last Cowboy? I think that is the title!? It stars Andrew McCarthy + Teri Polo {two of my favourite Hallmark actors at the moment!}.... if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it! Its on dvd nowadays, and its one of my favourites to re-watch!

    I look forward to seeing your posts! Congratulations!

  13. Hi Pam, thanks for the memories. In New Mexico, we had more sand than mud so our pies weren't as substantial as the ones we made in Arkansas, so we learned to make sandcastles. I still watch the mega sandcastle competitions on TV every year. I was the "tweener" of the family. I was in tom-boy mode part of the time, and the little princess the other. Still can't make up my mind! I'm looking forward to being "16" with you every month.