Ever watch those AKC (American Kennel Club) agility trials on TV and wish you and your dog could do that. But they’re so fast! And some of those obastacles seem pretty complicated for your fluffy friend! Guess what. There are other agility programs available.

Katie and I recently did a fun day of agility, this time under NADAC (North American Dog Agility Council) rules with NADAC equipment. Where UKC (United Kennel Club) goes for precision (straight on and off equipment such as the dog walk) and safety, NADAC encourages speed along with precision. But there’s another step toward safety in their equipment. They like to use hoops (think big croquet hoops or see picture on an Appleton, WI NADAC club) for the dogs to go through instead of jumps, which is a great boon for dogs with joint issues. They have fewer types of obstacles and the courses are set up for good flow (not so many tight turns). They also have numerous types of course. If you have a dog particularly good at tunnels, there’s a course that’s almost all tunnels.

Our fun day wasn’t a trial, so there were no ribbons. But, because it was all in fun, we did “win” a t-shirt representative of our past winter. See the picture from June 1, 2014 from just north of where I live. Our ice-capped Great Lake Superior even made the national news. Have fun…whereever you are with your loveable, four-footed companion!



NO PLACE LIKE HOME has finalled in WisRWA’s WRITE TOUCH READERS AWARD. Since entering the contest, this book has been retitled FINDING HOME, given a new cover, and reissued. Both versions are presently available in digital and print from




Barbara_IndenturedHeart72dpi750x1200I am proud to announce the reissue of INDENTURED HEART, my American Colonial Romance. Now available in Kindle and Nook download formats.

She was a woman in a man’s business, shipbuilding, and someone didn’t want her to succeed.

Crippled in the carriage crash that killed her husband and betrayed by her solicitor and doctor, Megan McCall will trust no man to help her right the wrongs done to her.

But, the one person who can help her walk again is her newly acquired indentured servant…a convicted pirate…a man. Worse, Royce Devlin’s every touch reminds Megan of the passion she believes she will never know.

I made 2nd round of Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest

No Place Like Home, renamed Finding Home, has made the second round of judging in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. Next step is the quarter finals.

The reason I changed the cover and title on this book is to bring it in line with the overall look of the St. John Sibling Series.

No Place Like Home can be found in print with its old cover and title at

Finding Home is in digital format at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.




I decided it was time to give my St. John Sibling Series a cohesive cover look. No Place Like Home even got a new title, FINDING HOME, to give continuity to all the titles. Admittedly it was hard giving up the title No Place Like Home and the adorable cover that came with it. But I am so loving the new look for the St. John Sibling Series, thanks to Covers by Rogenna.


Barbara Raffin and Jane Toombs at the world’s largest eBook book signing at Barnes & Noble in Tampa, FL 2003


I lost one of my heroes earlier this month. Jane Toombs was far more than the one hundred plus books she published. She was more than one of the few established print authors to champion digital publishing at its inception. What she was above all was a mentor, encouraging and supporting new authors and readily sharing her vast knowledge of the business and craft of writing with all.

I had the privilege to have been invited into her home, a house she had built on a specially chosen plot of land overlooking Lake Superior. I am imagining Jane now walking the windy shores of that lake she loved so much, its waves crashing at her feet inspiring another paranormal, moody romance, or horror story from her.


I had my first book talk/signing of the year at the Florence Public Library in Florence, Wisconsin. My audience was small but attentive. I’m just greatful anyone braved the below zero weather to come out and see me. I think my smile says it all.


Since the question most often asked of writers by readers is “where do you get your ideas,” that’s what I focused my talk on. The simple answer is we get our ideas everywhere: newspaper articles, movies, overheard conversations, places, people we meet. The list is endless. Personally, I’m often inspired by places I’ve been.

For instance, The Farmhouse Restaurant in NO PLACE LIKE HOME existed under a slightly different name on a highway I often traveled. Like the farmhouse in NO PLACE LIKE HOME, the old farmhouse along the well-traveled highway had been converted into a restaurant. I stopped there often for their great homemade foods, especially their tuna salad. It was an amazing mixture of tuna, crushed pineapple, and chopped pecans served along with a croissant. Yum.

But, good as the food was, it was the charm of the place that really grabbed me. The slanted, squeaky floors. The lumpy, original plaster walls lovingly bordered with hand applied stencils. The miss-matched, country kitchen tables and chairs. Almost from my first visit I knew this “place” had to be in one of my stories. I just had to wait until the right characters came along to “inhabit” this home.

Years later, during the planning stages of my first series, the ST. JOHN SIBLING SERIES, I realized my farmhouse was the perfect setting for the lone sister in this family of five siblings. Having grown up in embassies around the world, The St. John siblings have lived a pretty nomadic life-style. Though their mother made any temporary digs feel like home, the one constant in their lives is their grandparents’ Wisconsin farm.

So, when Dixie’s husband dies and she loses her Chicago restaurant, this girl take the lemons life has handed her and makes lemonade by moving herself and her son in with her now widowed grandmother, and turning the farmhouse’s first floor into a restaurant. And to think this story began because of a personal fondness for an old farmhouse.

Okay, it wasn’t all about the farmhouse. But, when I found the “right” character, the farmhouse setting was waiting for her.


Slippers First Birthday Party February 7th

Doesn’t it just figure. I’ve been too busy to post all of January, so what’s my first post come February? Slippers first birthday. Can’t help myself. I just love my furry babies so much.

“Is is really ALL mine?” asks Slippers


“Whoa! I didn’t ask for any taste-tester!” says Slippers as sister Katie gets in a lick.


“Okay, Guess I can share…even if it is MY birthday.”