Sunday, January 1, 2017

THE ROSE PARADE--MY NEW YEAR'S DAY TRADITION, BUT NOT THIS YEAR!

My tradition for New Year's Day is to snuggle up with a hot cup of tea in front of the TV and watch the Rose Parade. It is how I ease into the New Year given the parade is filled with beautiful flowers, whimsical floats, and lots of horses.

So I was bummed to find out that the parade has been moved to January 2, 2017 this year, until I found out why. I thought the parade had been held in Pasadena every New Year's Day since 1890. But, I was wrong. It is held every New Year's Day EXCEPT when January 1 falls on a Sunday. Then it is held on Monday, January 2. According to Wikepedia, this exception was instituted in 1893 since organizers did not wish to disturb horses hitched outside Sunday church services. Being a sucker for tradition, I now think it is kind of cool that we still honor this exception even though, I bet, no one in Pasadena is driving a horse and carriage to church these days. But I am sure there are people happy to be able to walk or drive to church on Sunday without having to battle clogged roads and people sleeping on the sidewalks, lol.

Considering that the Tournament of Roses Parade was started by the Valley Hunt Club, the club was likely more sensitive to the effect on horses. It probably also explains why there are so many equestrian groups still parading down the streets of Pasadena.

And the Rose Parade, created to celebrate Pasadena's mild weather, blooming flowers, and ripening oranges during the winter season, did not originally include football in its festivities. But it did include other types of tournaments (hence the name evolving into the Tournament of Roses Parade) such as foot races, polo matches, ostrich races, bronco busting, and once a race between a camel and an elephant. (The elephant won!) There were even chariot races as depicted in this photo from either 1908 or 1911.



The first time a football game became part of the festivities was in 1902 although the next game was not played until New Year's Day 1916 and then annually on New Year's Day ever since (except when it was a BCS title game).

In the 1890's flowers decorated horse drawn carriages until later years when designated floats were built. The Valley Hunt Club still enters a flower-decorated carriage. As you may know, "it is a rule of the parade that all surfaces of the float framework must be covered in natural materials (such as flowers, plants, seaweeds, seeds, bark, vegetables, or nuts)" per Wikipedia and the parade has its own Style guide. There are 24 different awards given out for floats, from the Judges' Special Trophy for most spectacular in showmanship and dramatic impact (Los Angeles Lakers' Every Second is an Adventure won in 2016), to the Fantasy Trophy for most outstanding display of fantasy and imagination (Trader's Joe Fearless Flyer won in 2016)

The Tournament of Roses Parade also attracts the top marching bands from all over the word, many coming from the nation's high schools.

Spectators at the parade number over 700,000. You can purchase reserved grandstand seating or you can opt for curbside viewing on a first-come, first-serve basis. Pasadena allows occupancy of curbside space along the route beginning at noon on the day before the parade.

Me, I'll be watching the 128th Rose Parade on TV tomorrow January 2, 2017 (11 a.m. EST), and tweeting about my favorites among the 40 float entries! Are you going to watch?
Happy New Year! Happy Rose Parade!

Follow me on Twitter and we'll tweet together: https://twitter.com/AnneCarrole 


Photos courtesy of Wikepedia/Public Domain

ON SALE, FREE, AND A NEW RELEASE--HEARTS OF WYOMING SERIES IS ON FIRE!





Lots is happening in the Hearts of Wyoming Series:

Book 1: LOVING A COWBOY--FREE READ for members of AMAZON PRIME.
Broken hearts, splintered bones, and fences that need mending. Do you believe in second chances? Now, for a limited time, you can read Libby and Chance's story for free if you are a prime member. http://amzn.to/1PsYkvx

Book 2: THE MAVERICK MEETS HIS MATCH--99 Cents for a limited time only!
Fighting their attraction, fighting each other…only one person thought they were the perfect match.
http://amzn.to/1OZ2gDO

Book 3: THE RANCHER'S HEART--Newest Release in the Hearts of Wyoming series. Families feuding, cattle missing, and two people falling in love. What could go wrong?
 https://www.amazon.com/Ranchers-Heart-Hearts-Wyoming-ebook/dp/B01MYTS6SB
Here's what reviewers are saying about the Hearts of Wyoming series:
Just love this series and they just keep getting better. Just loved Cody and Cat and loved their story would recommend this series to everyone a super read-Amazon Reviewer

HAPPY NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS!



New Year's Resolutions aren't fun for me because I always seem to be looking at what I am not doing rather than celebrating what I have accomplished. But the quest for continuous improvement seems part of our human DNA so here goes:

1. I'm going to continue to improve my eating habits. Diets seem a trite subject this time of year, I know. But the truth is, I've been changing my eating patterns since July and have had huge dividends--not by counting calories as I haven't a clue how many calories I eat--but by changing what I eat. I've reduced carbs, eliminated sugar, and focused on proteins, vegetables, and fruit (yes as long as it is natural sugar). And I am committed to staying on this path--despite all the temptations! Hope I can do it!

2. I'm going to work on my writing process so I can write more efficiently. I'm a panster so, consequently, I spend a lot of time doing revisions once the first draft of the manuscript is done.  I'm trying Mary Buckham's Break Into Fiction process to see if I can't reduce that revision time.

3. Devote more time to charitable endeavors. I want to do more to "raise all boats".

That's it--I'm keeping it to three even though I could add a lot more--goodness knows there is a lot that needs improving, lol. But these are three things that, if I focus on them, I believe I might actually accomplish.

What's on your Resolution List for 2017?

Saturday, December 31, 2016

THE RANCHER'S HEART IS HERE!

Book three in the Hearts of Wyoming series, THE RANCHER'S HEART, was published December 27, 2016 on Amazon so it is ready to read.

Families feuding, cattle missing...and two people falling in love. What could go wrong?
https://www.amazon.com/Ranchers-Heart-Hearts-Wyoming-ebook/dp/B01MYTS6SB


A feud reminiscent of the Hatfields and McCoys, a love story worthy of Romeo and Juliet


Despite growing up on the Pleasant Valley Ranch, single mom Cat McKenna doesn’t know a thing about cattle. But even with her preference for high heels instead of cowboy boots, she’s determined to save the family ranch she inherited for her son. She just needs to hire the right foreman. Neighboring rancher and town heartbreaker, Cody Taylor, might be perfect for the job, even though their families have been feuding over land and water for generations.

Living in the shadow of the wealthier McKenna ranch has not been easy for the Taylors. But buried under a mountain of debt after his late father’s illness, the only way out for Cody may be to accept Cat McKenna’s job offer.

Can Cody keep his pride and ranch intact while helping the one family in all of Wyoming that’s the sworn enemy of the Taylors...and the one woman in Wyoming who is capable of stealing not only his land, but his rancher’s heart?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Review THE RANCHER'S HEART via Net Galley


If you are interested in reviewing THE RANCHER'S HEART, it is available now until December 26 to download for review via Net Galley. You need to be a Net Galley reviewer or sign up to be one in order to access the review copy.  

Hope you enjoy it! Hugs!!! Anne

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

EXCERPT AND PRE-ORDER INFO: THE RANCHER'S HEART


THE RANCHER'S HEART, Book 3 in the Hearts of Wyoming series, is ready for pre-order at Amazon. Here is the link:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MYTS6SB

And here is an excerpt which I hope you enjoy!

The judge, clothed in his ceremonial black robes, banged his gavel.
She had won. Except Cat McKenna didn’t feel like a winner.
Kyle Langley, the lawyer she’d inherited along with the ranch that had been in her family for generations, leaned over from the chair next to her. “Smile,” he said, his voice low. “It’s good news.”
The judge rose, and her lawyer nudged her with his elbow and stood.
So did the two people across the aisle.
Cat scrambled to her feet just as the judge turned to exit. Unfortunately, the purse she’d slung over her chair slid loose and tumbled to the ground with a thud.
Her phone skidded along the wood floor, and her wallet, lipstick, pen, and eyeliner pencil spun under her chair. A crumpled Kleenex, recently used to wipe her son’s perennially runny nose, and a partially wrapped stick of gum stayed where they landed. But to her mortification, the tampon she’d stuffed in her purse, just in case, had darted out and rolled right to the bottom of the judge’s bench. The judge, probably eager to leave, hadn’t broken stride as he exited the courtroom.
“I wasn’t worried,” Kyle said as he stuffed papers into his brown leather briefcase, ignoring the chaos on the floor. He was in his forties, married, no children, all business, just the type of lawyer her late father would choose. “We had over a century and a half of law on our side.”
She sat back down and bent under the table to retrieve her stuff and heard the click of Kyle’s briefcase.
Jamming her belongings back into her leather bag, she was glad for the distraction. She certainly didn’t want to look toward the other side of the room at the tall, broad-shouldered man or the pretty female lawyer who represented him.
She had known Cody Taylor all her life and yet had barely spoken two dozen words to him before or after the incident the summer following high school graduation. Today wasn’t likely to change that. There was no love lost between the Taylors and the McKennas—and that was an understatement.
Bending further under the table, she struggled to reach her phone. She’d get the tampon once the courtroom was vacant. Not that she was hiding under the table or anything.
The ding of boots on the wooden floor grew louder, while the tap of high heels grew fainter. As those polished, if worn, leather boots came into sight, she pulled her head out from under the table only to stare, crotch level, at a pair of tailored black pants. Warmth slithered up her neck.
She forced herself to look up, past the large silver buckle decorating a trim waist, past the dark suit jacket covering a white shirt and what she remembered as a load of hard-earned muscle, past the shiny burgundy tie, straight to the set of sterling-blue eyes drilling into her from under a black cowboy hat. Those eyes had caused many a friend’s heart to break, back in the day.
“How does it feel to steal somebody’s land?” He asked the question in the deep-throated growl of a provoked guard dog.
The warmth turned to heat, smothering her face, searing her throat, and clogging her windpipe. It didn’t feel good at all.
“Now Mr. Taylor, that’s not fair.” Kyle jumped to her defense.
“No. I want to know, Miss McKenna. What does it feel like to take land you know is not yours, was never meant to be yours?”
At the challenge, Cat rose on legs that weren’t as steady as she’d hoped. She was five seven, but Cody, a full head taller with shoulders at least a foot wider than hers, made her feel small.
Despite the anger storming across his face, he was a testament to God’s handiwork. A face sculpted by angels, no doubt to take a woman’s breath away. High cheekbones, firm jawline, straight nose a little on the large size but symmetrically placed, mahogany-brown hair, and those arresting blue eyes. He was tall, dark, and ruthlessly handsome, with hatred emanating from every pore of his body. Directed at her.
Kyle had assured her that she had a legal claim to the land in question, and the judge had agreed. She had done this for her son, for the future of the McKennas.
She dug deep for a dose of courage. “The law is the law, Mr. Taylor,” she managed to answer in an even voice, reciting the words Kyle always said in answer to her questions.
“If you have a problem with it, I suggest you take it up with the legislature,” Kyle added.
Cody’s eyes squinted as if he was looking through a rifle sight aimed straight at her. “The act allowing my forefathers to claim that land was also the law.”
“I guess those who passed that bill assumed landowners would be aware of the boundaries of their spread and guard it,” Kyle replied. It was the same logic he’d used to persuade her to file the claim.
“We wouldn’t need so many laws if people just did the right thing in this world,” Cody said, reaching down to the floor.
A second later he placed her phone on the table. His expression, equal parts disapproval and disgust, caused a dump truck of remorse to fill her, making it hard to breathe. Turning, Cody Taylor walked away, back erect, head high. As sanctimonious as a newly ordained preacher.
Cat pulled in air to reinflate her lungs. “He’s right, you know,” she whispered, giving a soft voice to her apprehension. “The land was never meant to be ours.”
“Your family ranched it for more than a hundred years. In this state, for an adverse possession claim, you only need to prove ten. They should have enforced their borders, and none of this would be an issue. In this day and age, you have to know what’s yours and defend it. The Taylors didn’t, and they lost,” Kyle lectured.
“By the way”—Cody’s deep voice boomed from the back of the courtroom—“when the hell are you going to move your cattle? It’s past birthing time, for God’s sake.” The bang of doors slamming shut echoed in the chamber.
“Am I supposed to be moving the herds? Will didn’t say anything.” She felt the erratic pulse of panic rise up. One more thing she should have known to do. But why hadn’t Will Springer, her range foreman, said anything?
“Taylor’s trying to rattle you,” Kyle opined. “Still, I hope you’re considering my recommendation to put Pleasant Valley up for sale. You’re not a rancher, Cat.”
Cat slung her designer bag over her shoulder. How true. She knew as much about ranching as their barn cat, and here she was trying to run hundreds of head of cattle on tens of thousands of prime acres. “I’m thinking about it.” But it would be betraying everything her father had worked for. Everything her ancestors had worked for.
Cody Taylor’s family went just as far back as her family, hence the court proceeding. It couldn’t be right, taking land, just by using it, that wasn’t deeded to you, but apparently it was legal.
Putting his hand on her back, Kyle guided her down the center aisle framed by empty wood benches.
“You think your father would have had any qualms about filing an adverse possession claim if he’d had the survey done and discovered it after his father had died?” He opened one of the large double doors and held it for her.
“Of course not. Only I’m not my father.” Thank goodness. But her father would have known whether to move cattle or not.
They headed down the corridor, and the clicking sound of her heels against the old hexagon-shaped tile echoed off the marble walls. Cat trailed slightly behind the fast-walking Kyle as she tried to collect her thoughts.
The ranch was hers now. She was responsible for making the decisions that would ensure its success or cause its failure. Assuring she had water rights was critical. Because keeping the ranch intact for her son was the one way she could prove she wasn’t completely useless. Selling it would be admitting she’d failed—failed her son, failed her father.
“You’d better learn how to be like him when it matters if you are going to run Pleasant Valley. Because on issues of land or cattle, it will matter.”
Cat didn’t miss the doubt in Kyle’s voice. Something about her lawyer always had Cat on the defensive. Maybe it was his condescending tone. Or the feeling that she had to ask the right questions, or he wouldn’t tell her all she needed to know.
I still don’t see why we couldn’t have offered the Taylors a compromise, like giving them back their land but maintaining our right to the water. Lord knows that family is hurting enough.” It had felt like she’d kicked a wounded animal.
Kyle stopped so short, Cat almost stumbled into him.
“You didn’t spend all of this money asserting your claim to that land in order to give it back.” With his eyes narrowed and his mouth pinched, Kyle looked a little like a lizard. “If you own the land up to that creek, there will never be a question as to water rights. And that will be important whether you stay or sell.”
“And likely why one of my forefathers co-opted it before the Taylors knew they owned it.” There had been a dark history back in Wyoming’s early days. One of rich ranchers lynching poorer ranchers, of land grabs and hired guns, and the McKennas had been in the thick of it.
“As best I can piece together, the Taylor that filed the original land claim died, and his widow and children inherited it. If your ancestor began running cattle on it and the widow didn’t know any better, that’s just tough luck.”
What Kyle didn’t say was that the Taylors’ ancestor had been murdered and the murderer had never been caught. The Taylor version of history had always laid blame for that murder at the McKennas’ door.
“And the Taylors kept using their side of the creek, and we used our side, only it wasn’t ours.”
“Your family’s fortunes would have been vastly diminished if they didn’t have clear access to that creek.”
“Survival of the fittest, right?”
“Now you’re sounding more like your daddy.” Kyle smiled his approval, but it only made Cat’s stomach feel hollow, like the victory they’d just claimed.
“Still, it doesn’t seem right.” And those arresting blue eyes and deep voice had accused her of as much.

And then Cat remembered. She’d forgotten to retrieve the tampon.

Release date is December 27 but you can pre-order it today!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MYTS6SB


Saturday, December 3, 2016

PRE ORDER DATE December 12 for THE RANCHER'S HEART

Happy to annouce that Kindle Press will publish THE RANCHER'S HEART this monthPre order date will be December 12 with publication date of December 27--just in time to use those Amazon gift cards! :)

I will publish the link as soon as it is available for pre-order but here is the official blurb:

A feud reminiscent of the Hatfields and McCoys, a love story worthy of Romeo and Juliet


Despite growing up on the Pleasant Valley Ranch, single mom Cat McKenna doesn’t know a thing about cattle. But even with her preference for high heels instead of cowboy boots, she’s determined to save the family ranch she inherited for her son. She just needs to hire the right foreman. Neighboring rancher and town heartbreaker, Cody Taylor, might be perfect for the job, even though their families have been feuding over land and water for generations.

Living in the shadow of the wealthier McKenna ranch has not been easy for the Taylors. But buried under a mountain of debt after his late father’s illness, the only way out for Cody may be to accept Cat McKenna’s job offer.

Can Cody keep his pride and ranch intact while helping the one family in all of Wyoming that’s the sworn enemy of the Taylors...and the one woman in Wyoming who is capable of stealing not only his land, but his rancher’s heart?