No Direction Home By Jude Willhoff

Thursday, January 16, 2014

You Know You’re An Author When…

You know you’re an author when you’re in dire circumstances and all you can think about is, “I must remember everything so I can use it in a book.” Have you ever felt this way?

Less than a year ago I went in the hospital for a mylogram. The test was supposed to take four hours. I ended up staying four days. During the mylogram I had a stroke caused by the contrast dye. This strange numbing sensation engulfed the left side of my body just like someone had cut me in half. Strange, because it didn’t hurt. And the crazy part was all the while I was scared, yet in the back of my mind I was mentally filing it away to use later in a book. When it was over they told me I had a stroke in the Thalamus part of my brain. I had nerve damage on my left foot and leg and partial blindness in my right eye.

That was a turning point for me. Right then and there I decided I wasn’t going to die with my books under the bed. I’ve worked hard with speech, neuro, and physical therapy. I’m pleased to say that most people can’t tell what happened to me. I’m blessed to have survived the stroke as well as I have and I’m grateful. I’ve been writing for years and have several books completed and have won numerous awards and gotten contracts with the majors only to fall through. I learned just how short life can be and decided it was time to follow my dreams. So today I want to share with you an excerpt from Book One from my Sweet Home Colorado Series, No Direction Home.


Grace Sanders lost everything that mattered to her, her health to a debilitating disease and her husband to another woman. Experimental surgery gave her back her health, but couldn’t repair her heart. Only time will heal the damage left behind by an unfaithful man so Grace throws herself into a new project—to save her trusting grandmother from being preyed on by a charming ex-con.

Convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, Seth Taylor lost everything that mattered to him, years with his daughter and the belief he’ll never love again. Released from prison, he finds a job as a ranch foreman at the Cactus Rose Ranch in Cedar Falls, Colorado. His widowed boss refuses to let growing old destroy her dreams and she believes in second changes.

Second chances are what both Grace and Seth need to create their own Sweet Home Colorado.


Being stranded in the high mountains of Colorado with a blizzard on the way wasn’t what Grace Sanders had set out to do. Low clouds wrapped wispy gray fingers around her car while the tree-covered mountainside disappeared into the gloom. The eerie red glow from her emergency flashers illuminated the interior of the car. With a groan she lifted her head from the steering wheel and stared out the windshield.

Anxious to get to the Cactus Rose Ranch, she punched in the roadside assistance number for the umpteenth time praying for a signal. Nothing. Damn. Enough of this pity poor me crap. She pushed the car door open. Icy mist soaked her thin silk dress, making her teeth chatter. California wear wasn’t suited to the frigid mountain temperatures. She knew better, but getting home to protect her Nana from that smooth talking cowboy had been the only thing on her mind. As far as she was concerned all men were pigs.

Making love to you is like screwing a corpse. Even after all this time, the memory of her ex-husband Lee’s parting words still had the ability to wound. He’d betrayed her, ripped a hole in her heart the size of Montana. She pushed the unwanted recollection to the far corners of her mind and shivered. Her bare skin prickled with goose bumps against the chill as the trunk popped open. She pulled out the heavy lug wrench. With a sick taste of fear settling in the pit of her stomach, she stared at the spare tire bolted to the trunk floor.

Could she lift it? Her spinal cord implant was working, but she couldn’t risk pulling lose any of the fine wires traveling up her spine and into her central nervous system. How much did a tire weigh? The doctors had said not to lift anything over ten pounds. What to do? Lord, she hated feeling helpless.

She unbolted the tire and tugged at it. An instant strain started up her lower back. She had to let go. "Damn." She moved around the car and kicked the flat tire with a vengeance.

From out of the dense fog, a semi barreled past and sprayed her with cold dirty water. Brushing grit and hot tears from her face, she kicked the tire once again, only hurting her toe. “Damn, damn, damn.” She raised her foot to strike it a third time.

“Whoa, little lady, what’d that tire do to you?”

Grace jumped at the sound of a deep voice coming from behind her. She was no longer alone. Her heart beat an unsteady rhythm against her ribcage as she turned. A stranger stood five feet away in the dusky light smiling at her with a twinkle in his eyes. He had materialized in the dreary, misty evening without a sound. Maybe he wasn’t a serial killer.

Thanks for joining me! One lucky reader who comments on my blog will be randomly selected to win a free copy of No Direction Home. Good Luck!

Where readers can find Jude:


You may find Jude’s books on or at her website Her sixth book, Starseed, a paranormal romance set in Colorado will be out in March 2014. She lives in Colorado with her husband and an attack cat named Sheldon.

Lana Williams commented on 16-Jan-2014 02:07 PM
You've had such an incredible journey, Jude! So inspired by your story and I can't wait to read your book! Tweeted this as well!
Jude Willhoff commented on 16-Jan-2014 02:27 PM
Lana, thanks so much for the tweet. Yes, life is a journey. Always kiss your loved ones good by and let them know they are loved. You just never know what fate has in store for you.
EJ Thornton commented on 16-Jan-2014 04:36 PM
What an inspiration to be able to keep your dreams in the forefront of your mind when life is throwing all sorts of crap your way. Just goes to show you that life is not a set of problems, but a set of lessons. Awesome story - and the book is good too. :)
Bethanne Strasser commented on 16-Jan-2014 04:41 PM
Hey Jude!
I think we all need a kick in the butt eventually. It's so easy to think there is one more day, one more year. My life has never been threatened, so I appreciate your story.
It's inspiration, another reminder that we must seize the day!
Jude Willhoff commented on 17-Jan-2014 03:23 PM
EJ and Bethanne, thanks for your comments. Bethanne, you are so right. We must not let anyone stand in the way of our dreams. Seize the day!
Diane Reed commented on 18-Jan-2014 02:02 PM
What a great post by an inspiring & courageous woman who shows that nothing can stop you from achieving your dreams. I loved the novel No Direction Home because of the depth of the writing & the way it depicts one woman who dares to pursue a second chance in life—only to find romance along the way. Ultimately, it's about the triumph of the human spirit, something we could all use a little bit more of these days! <3
L L commented on 18-Jan-2014 02:18 PM
Interesting blurb

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