Who’s Your Hero?

What defines a hero-

My new Big Sky Mavericks story is releasing today. As you can tell from the title, the meaning of the word “hero” comes up from time to time in this book. For me, the definition of the word goes well beyond the narrow parameters most people tend to attribute to it.

Yes, acting heroically is spectacular and important and good. Running toward a catastrophe instead of away is very brave and deserves recognition and reward. But, sometimes, the small, nearly obscure challenges — like a single mom doing the best she can without a lot of support — can require a huge dose of bravery without any hope of recognition.

I tossed out this question on my Facebook page a few days ago: “Who’s your hero?” I was going to pick out a few answers from the 100+ to share, but when I started reading them, I realized each is the TRUTH for that person, and each answered my question. Some are very touching. (If you don’t have time to read them all, please scroll to the bottom to see a wallhanging a friend made for me. :-)

Bonnie Jackman Gonzales Just finished Montana Hero, soooooo good. You didn’t say book hero, so my Granddaughter Cassie she saved her husbands life when he had an accident with a high powered firework. she keep it together and got him to the emergency room faster than an ambulance coming for him would have been, he would have bleed out if they had waited.

  •  Misty Garoutte Clarkson I like all heros men women and animals alike just finished a book where a dog saved a little girl right before his heart gave out
  • Jenelle Reyes Liked and shared! My sister Kat is my hero! She’s the strongest person I know. She’s been through so much with her health and keeps fighting!
  • Melissa Tippie My hubby is my Hero ~ He’s a volunteer fire-fighter & EMT smile emoticon
  • Callie Barbara Cuddy It used to be my husband, but he’s leaving me, so I guess I’ll have to be my own hero.
  • Carrie Porter Evans All veterans, especially my friends and family and my Mom.
  • Jennifer Schultheis My husband is my biggest hero. He is exactly the kind of guy I want my son to grow up to be. Honest, loyal and hardworking. Thank you for the chance. Sharing! 
  • Shannon L Schoolcraft Its a mix between my dad and my mom. They both have been through a lot and i look up to them. They are the strongest people that I know. 
  • Pamela Lowery My mom is my hero, we lost dad 2 years ago, and she has become our rock and glue and has held the family together. They were married 52 years and had never spent a whole day apart.
  • Casandra Kluber My mother is my hero!
  • Connie Kline Fischer I love my husband but I have to say my sons share this. They make me so proud every day of my life. Mike and Matt: you guys are the best! heart emoticon heart emoticon
  • Jackie Hammond My daughter. She is a wonderful mom and a beautiful person. She has taught me so much over the years.
  • Jeanne Sheats No particular person – the everyday people that help others.
  • Lourie Staib Both of my parents, they both fought like crazy to stay alive for my benefit & in the end their health failed them both.
  • Linda Rimer-Como My mom is my biggest hero, she us there for me no matter what.
  • Linda Henderson My daughter. She is an amazing mother. Her 12 year old son has aspergers and a he is his biggest advocate. She’s amazing.
  • Linda White My Daddy is my biggest hero, he has endured the loss of my mama, survived lung cancer and other related illnesses and has kept a positive outlook through it all!
  • Suzie Gaspard Quebedeaux My grandmother! I called her Granny. She passed away on my 35th birthday but she is still a hero to me. She had 12 children (the youngest had Down’s Syndrome), had 60+ granchildren. She had the patience of a saint. I NEVER heard her raise her voice or say a bad word about one person.
  • Morse Dawn My mom
  • Janine Rowe My husband who always stands up for me even when I do something questionable.
  • Jackie Maxwell Awesome socks. And your books, of course! I have five heroes-Nick, Joe, Beej, Danny, and Molly
  • Dawn Cripps My husband he kills spiders for me and I have never felt safer with anyone in my life
  • Judy Thomas My biggest hero is my daughter.
  • Angelina M Linan I would say my kids because without them i don’t think I would work as hard.
  • Lynn Clayton my son
  • Dawn Anderson My mom and grandma
  • Crystal Holloway My biggest hero is my dad.
  • Shari Drehs Bartholomew My biggest hero is my husband.
  • Carol Schwartz My mom who passed in 2012
  • Jennifer Matusik Ingman My youngest daughter is my hero. She has endured a lot medically, yet she never lets is keep her down!
  • Dana Wintch Tillack My mother!!!
  • Judy Pflueger My sister, Sheila.
  • Carole Fiore my cousin Joanne for she fought cancer twice and she’s doing great!
  • Judy Stephens Burr Too many to name ! 
  • Brianna Birch The Veterans who don’t come home! Especially one of my husband’s friends named Benjamin who we named our son after. Thank you for the opportunity! Liked and shared
  • Susan Newkirk My hero is my son – who is small – but never let’s anything stop him !!! Congrats on your new release !!
  •  Taylor Lynn Hanagan My grandmother who recently passed away. Always so loving. So positive. Saw the good in every situation. Put herself last no matter who or what it came to. 
    True definition of an angel. heart emoticon
  • Alexis Sapphire Liked and shared ty my hero’s are my kids 
  • Lorie Sullins Payne My cousin who survived cancer but daily deals with problems with her arm and shoulder while working as a nurse
  • Eileen Aberman Wells Liked & shared!! Can’t wait to read it!! One of my heros is my younger son who has overcome many obstacles in his life to become the awesome person he is now. Another is my younger daughter who is a trauma nurse. My other two kids aren’t bad either.
  • Kathleen Elliott Clark My husband who fought a battle against kidney cancer, but lost. he was the strongest person I know And I miss him every day. He passed away in 2012 at the young age of 64.
  • Deborah Favorito My hero is all the veterans, soldiers and all the men and women who have lost their lives to protect ours.
  • Judith Voss My mother, who in 1950, left China at the age of 20 to travel to French Guiana to an arranged marriage to a man she had never met. She spoke no English. Eight years later she was widowed with five children between the ages of 7 and 1 to provide for.
  • Kelli Jo Calvert Jo Rowling!
  • Melinda Garza My Dad!!!
  • Deanne Patterson My biggest heroes are my 12 kids . They mean the world to Me 
  • Connie Heim Reynolds My biggest hero is my hubby. He quit his job to take care of me when I had breast cancer. A side effect of the medicine is I have memory problems. He patiently waits while I search for a word.
  • Sharon Baker My youngest brother who has passed away. I miss him.
  • Marie Cassini My dad, and my husband.
  • Charish Otte Liked and shared!!! My dad is my hero!!!
  • Aisha Panjwaneey Just finished it today. Loved it. My 13 year old nephew is autistic and he’s brilliant. At music, at art, at math. He can emulate just about every accent he’s ever heard. And he’s obsessed with planes of every kind, commercial, Air Force, military you See More
  • Audra Holtwick My family are my heroes because they put up with me
  • Diane Blaser My biggest hero is my 91 year old father who is the very best man I know (my husband is second best). My father and I have grown so much closer since my mother died 23 years ago and I married my husband because he was so much like the man my father is. Liked and shared! Thank you!
  • Marlene Roberts Engel My daughter who was totally blind and passed from cancer at the age of 13 is my hero.
  •  Suzanne Smith Congratulations, that’s wonderful! My biggest hero is my husband who has stood by me, saved my life and is my soulmate heart emoticon 
  • Tanya Jayne Phillips My biggest Hero is my husband who is amazing before and especially since becoming disabled. Supporting and caring for me and my girls. My daughters are my heroes too along with my parents and in laws. I know that’s a lot but it’s true. 
  • Dawn Schlauderaff My daughter working full time and going to school full time to become a nurse this fall.♡
  • Mai Tran mom is the biggest hero of mine
  • Tina Peterson Our Soldiers, I have a lot of family in the military, or were in the military and they deserve to be my heroes… they risk/risked everything to give us freedom and peace of mind. They are the best of the best.
  • Debbie Adams-Rice My hubby Vietnam vet has overcome a lot thank you for the chance liked and shared
  • Jennifer Roberts Bernard Liked and shared. My hero is not one person but, the men and women who fight to protect me. I know they give up everything for me!
  • Marcy Shuler Military personnel and first responders are my heroes.
    • Debra Salonen, author This book is dedicated to the men and women on the front lines of the wildfires. Too much of that around California right now.
  • Michele Gray My dad. A survivor of colon cancer and all the suffering he endured and prevailed.
  • Ria Alemina My dad is my biggest hero, he can do many things, men job, women job, you name it and he can do all! He’s so talented in many things! I’m so proud of him!
  • Melissa Adkins Jesus Christ. He has blessed me very well.
  • Jill Steinberg-Bieber Liked and my father who worked his whole life put me into business took care of my two boys from the time they were born a man that loves without condition and is always doing something special for me. A thoughtful man who takes a cooking class and wants me to be part of it a father that just calls to go to lunch And a movie I’m truly blessed and jack is my hero
  • Sara Zehr My grandparents!!
  • Milica Jovanovic My dad. 
  • Lilian Gamble Liked and shared, my mom
  • Maria Colon My husband… Who is an amazing husband, veteran(22 yrs) and father.
  • Shelagh Merlin My daughter is my hero. She’s just amazing and despite life kicking her in the guts really hard once or twice she ALWAYS has a positive attitude and a warm smile. And she’s a fantastic mother too!
  • Debbie Ward My Kids & Grandkids are my Heros!
  • Mary Goodman My biggest hero is my brother who took care of me and my sister when we were little but better than that we are still close
  • Magdica Duvnjak Liked and shared, my husband heart emoticon
    Like · Reply · 7 hrs
  • Hina Tabassum Khatri My Parents. They have educated us, my siblings and I, even when that wasn’t the norm in the community.
  • Beatrice Banda My Daddy is my hero
  • Kelly Ballenger My Grandpa. He was always there when I needed him and was a hoot to be around. I have some great memories.
  • Terri Walsh My husband is my hero! 
  • Sheri Carter Biggs Ŧ My hero first and foremost is my Savior Jesus Christ and secondly is my 80 year old daddy who still gets up EVERY day to go to work as the School District mail man and helps take care of my sweet mama and me.
  • Melissa Keith My hubby. He’s in the Navy.
  • Sue Peace In real life my father, in fiction Eve and Roarke smile emoticon
  • Peggy Clayton my real father always has been
  • Kelly Iliakis my boyfriend rob is my hero! love these contests!



A friend gave us this piece of art a few years ago. It hangs by my door as a reminder. We are EACH the hero of our own lives. If life gets you down, give yourself a hug then “try again tomorrow.”

With love and gratitude,


PS: If you’d like to read MONTANA HERO, here are some links. Or you can read the first chapter at TULE PUBLISHING. The initial reviews are great! I’m so delighted.


Amazon     iTunes     KOBO     Google Play     Amazon UK

Party! (Tara Taylor Quinn)

FB BannerTWENTY-THREE Free Books!  TWENTY-THREE chances to win in one hour!  Four RITA finalists are celebrating their send off to New York!

WHEN:  Thursday July 16, 2015

9:00 PM Eastern Time

6:00 PM Arizona Time

Where:  Facebook, Spend the Summer with TTQ Event Page

Jodi Thomas, Merline Lovelace, Liz Talley and I will be present, in real time, on the event page on Facebook.  If you want to attend, simply click on the photo above.  It will take you right to the page.  We’ll be chatting with everyone who participates!  Simply type a comment and we will all see it right then!

Party goers will also be judging the top five ‘summer fun’ quotes and pictures.  Everyone can vote!  The winner gets a basket filled with free books and summer goodies.

Please join us Thursday night and get your name in for one of the twenty-three free books that are being given away at this party!

If you’d like to enter a photo or quote for the Summer Fun basket, you can do so here:

As part of Spend the Summer with Tara Taylor Quinn, Tara is holding a contest for those who share on social media about how they love life during the summer! Each day you can share an image, picture, or quote, linking to her events’ landing page (http://www.tarataylorquinn.com/Summer%20With%20ttq.html) to enter to win ONE BIG SUMMER BASKET!!! We’ll be pulling the best submissions and voting for the top one during her Facebook Party on July 16th. Pull out your creative juices and share your joy of summer, be it with friends, family, or the love of your life!

Beach-themed basket will include: shell wind chime, shell choker and matching bracelet, beach/flip flop note cards, picture frame, 4×6 picture album, plus some surprise print copies of Tara’s books (including Once Upon a Friendship).

Share must be public to be eligible. Can enter once each day. US only. Giveaway ends July 16th.


Doggy tales

My 17-year-old dog, Sydney, spent much of this week on death’s door.

Syd dying

I know I don’t have to tell any of you how much our pets impact our lives and how difficult it is watching them suffer. We love these sweet souls who are part of our families. We’re never ready to say good-bye.

Sydney was named for the Sydney Olympics, which took place in the summer of 2000. Her picture appeared in our local newspaper as “Adoptable” at the SPCA. We’d just lost our elder dog and had a young pup who had adored our Alpha female. We thought Belle would enjoy having a new friend.

Ha! Sydney wasn’t a sweet, coddled young thing. She had two years of street smarts and hard scrabble life under her belt when she came to live with us. A pure Alpha female, she took charge, set rules and made sure our sweet Belle knew who was boss. Fur flew. Blood was shed.

I had second thoughts about keeping this feisty young dog, but my hubby liked her spirit, and she made sure we knew when strangers came on our property–the mark of a smart, territorial beast. We settled into an uneasy truce…and eventually, Sydney trained us all.

But dogs age much too fast. It isn’t fair. Old tussles with bigger dogs come back to haunt you in the shape of arthritis. In certain breeds, hearing loss is common with old age. There comes a time when you’re the last to bark when the big brown truck pulls into the drive. You still race for the ball, but sometimes you forget what you’re chasing and you wander around a little lost.

It really sucks to watch this happen, but I’m a realist. I know my dog, and when she had a seizure on Tuesday morning, I felt it was probably her time. Rather than traumatize her more by making the half-an-hour trip to the vet, I decided to keep her warm and safe and surrounded by our love while we let nature take its course.

She didn’t eat for three days. She’d barely lap a taste of water when I put the bowl under her chin. I hugged her good-bye so many times it became a bit of a joke. “Oh, look, Mom’s going outside to tell Sydney it’s time to cross the rainbow bridge…again.”

I shared my sadness with Toni Kilroy, a dear friend on Facebook, who shared it with her group of friends– the Debbie Macomber Ambassador Fan Club & Pen Pals. Prayers and good wishes by the gazillion flew across the universe. I was so grateful. But Sydney continued to decline and, Wednesday night, when I kissed her wet nose one last time, I knew she’d be gone in the morning.

So, imagine my surprise when I reached inside her dog house and touched a warm, breathing body. A wet tongue licked my hand. Perky eyes blinked at me in a look I knew meant, “Where’s breakfast?”

I made her a scrambled egg–and she ate every bite, so I fixed her dog food, too. When I went out to check on her–no more last rites–she was moving around. By late afternoon, when my hubby came home, Sydney — AKA The Ghost of Christmas Past–met him at his shop to say hello and gobble up a treat.

This is Sydney today.

Sydney redeemed

My take away from this emotional roller coaster week:

Life is unpredictable.

Never discount the power of prayer.

And, above all, never count a good dog down.



When The Heart Feels Lonely at Thanksgiving Time (Tara Taylor Quinn)

I wonder what the world would be like if we didn’t have each other to learn from.  What would a day look like without anything being passed from one person to another?

As I sit alone in my office, day after day, it’s easy to imagine that I could go it alone.  That I could get up each day, write my books, go to bed at night and start it all over again.  I can shop from my computer.  I can pay bills from computer.  My checks are delivered to me.  I might have to venture out to the grocery store every now and then.  But I could survive.

And then I look around me.  I’ve surrounded myself with the things that fill up my spirit.  That feed my soul.  And I am brought up short.  I could no more go it alone then I could walk on water.  I’m human.  With far more precious needs than food, water, and a roof over my head.  My heart and soul need the give and take with other hearts and souls to nourish it from moment to moment.  From day to day.  Week to week.  Year to year.

My phone beeps a text message.  My cousin.  She contacts me pretty much every single morning.  And has for years.  Not just for a time, or something she might try for a while, but something that has been ongoing for many years.  Before text messaging she emailed every day.  That is what feeds my soul as I sit alone.

That picture up there…the cornucopia.  It’s on a shelf to my right.  My mother made that.  She made another one just like it and I loved it and was so impressed by her talent and ability and wanted to have it forever, to remind me everything good about her for the rest of my days and then she donated the thing to her church boutique and it sold within the first minutes and I was really and truly sad.  Until I opened a Christmas present and there was another one – made by her loving hands, just for me.

There are pictures all around me.  From fifty years ago.  From this morning.  And many moment in between.  Snippets of memories.  Of love.  There’s a photo of my daughter right in front of my computer screen, between the keyboard and the screen.  There are pictures to the left, to the right, and behind me, too, for when I turn around.  I look at them every time I glance away from the work in progress.

I stop work for a moment to go out on Facebook and Pinterest and Twitter.  I have messages and notices, people who have shared tidbits of themselves with me, who welcome me into the minutes of their lives.

And then my insistent little princess starts tossing the cable cord with her nose.  over and over and over again.  She wants my attention.  Her big brother comes out of the laundry room carrying an unmentionable.  The phone rings.  It’s Tim.

And I realize that I don’t go it alone at all.  Not even a little bit.  And I am very thankful.