We lived for thirteen years in a Victorian-era home and for that time our tree was decorated in a Victorian theme. When we moved in the year 2000, it was difficult for me to leave that house because it always represented hearth and home to me. So, even though we had moved to a newer home and then to a brand new home, we continue to decorate our Christmas tree in a Victorian theme. It may not "fit" with the contemporary decor of our current house, but to our family, it fits perfectly in our hearts. Here are some pictures of our former home and tree and our tree today. Have you put up your tree yet? What are some of your favorite ornaments that say Christmas to you?
And here is our tree today:
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
Why did I choose Wyoming for the setting of my Hearts of Wyoming series? There are lots of things about Wyoming that make it a perfect setting for a western romance...the cowboys being just one such reason, lol.
Here are some fun facts about Wyoming:
1. Wyoming is the Equality state because it was the first state to give women the right to vote, which it did in 1869
2. Nellie Tayloe Ross was the first woman to be elected governor of a U.S. state and that state was Wyoming!
3. Louisa Ann Swain was the first woman in the U.S. to vote and she cast her ballot in Laramie, Wyoming in 1870
4. Wyoming is home to the pronghorn, the fastest mammal in the Western Hemisphere
5. The first Dude Ranch in Wyoming (and possibly anywhere) was the Eaton Ranch, near Wolf (1879). The Eaton's also came up with the term "dude". The Eaton Ranch is still a dude ranch and still run by members of the Eaton family. http://eatonsranch.com/the-ranch/history/
6. In 2014, Wyoming was estimated to have 11,700 farms and ranches with an average acreage of 2,598!
7. Wyoming has the lowest population of all the 50 states
8. The name Wyoming originated from a Native American word, mecheweamiing, meaning land of big plains.
9. The horse on the license plate is named Old Steamboat after a bronc that could not be ridden back in the day.
10. Yellowstone is the first official National Park (1872).
So you see, this state is the perfect setting for romance western-style! The Heart of Wyoming Series currently has three books available on Amazon:
As many of you know, my second book in the Hearts of Wyoming series was
submitted to Amazon’s Kindle Scout program where readers vote on books to be
published by Kindle Press. The Maverick Meets His Match was selected in
December 2015 and published in January 2016. (The Rancher’s Heart,the 3rd
book in the Hearts of Wyoming series didn’t go through the scout program but
was also published by Kindle Press.)
In celebration of
the second anniversary of the Kindle Scout program (reader powered publishing),
Kindle Press is putting all Kindle Scout books ON SALE for 99 CENTS for the
next few days, including my Kindle Scout book, THE MAVERICK MEETS HIS MATCH.
You will find some terrific books in just about every genre for just 99
My short story, When Love Comes Calling, is in the western historical romance anthology Journey of the Heart. I have been wanting to write Callie's story for some time and this anthology seemed the perfect place for it.
Becoming a Harvey Girl has been a lifesaver for
homeless Callie Rhinehart. Working in the Harvey House Restaurants has provided
a roof over her head, the security of decent pay, and a path for a respectable
career. When handsome widow Frank Sutton sits at her counter with a little boy
in need of a mother, Callie’s carefully laid plans are threatened. But despite
her growing feelings for the rancher, can she risk giving up her career for a
marriage of mere convenience and leave her future in the hands of any man? It’s
the 1880’s after all.
It’s true that Frank originally pursued Callie
because he needed a mother for his child, but he’s fallen in love with her
independent spirit. Competing
with another man for her affections is one thing, competing with the Harvey Company
is proving to be quite another.
I have always been fascinated with the Harvey Girls--young women who would never have an opportunity otherwise to leave home for a respectable position out West. Just like teachers and mail-order brides, these women took their fate in their own hands, ventured West and often found love in the waiting arms of a cowboy, rancher, or railroad man.
There are some excellent books on the Harvey Girl experience including The Harvey Girls by Lesley Poling-Kempes and Appetite for America by Stephen Fried. The Harvey Girls were often the civilizing force in the towns where they work. Will Rogers exclaimed that Fred Harvey..."kept the West supplied with food and wives" (Poling-Kempes p. 102) Callie Rhinehart will be no exception!
The Rancher's Heart is being featured in Amazon's 100 kindle books for $1 each event for a limited time. So if you want to pick up a copy of this newly released Book 3 in The Rancher's Heart series, now is the time. And it just hit #3 in Western Romance.
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!
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
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.
Anne Carrole has been writing stories since she was in elementary school but back then the hero was more likely to ride a bike not a horse and share a stick of gum rather than a kiss. A co-founder of the western historical romance site, http://www.facebook.com/lovewesternromances , her muse usually comes wearing a cowboy hat. Raised on a farm with horses, dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits and whatever other animals she could convince her parents to shelter, she’s married to her own sweet-talking hero and is the proud mother of a college-aged daughter. They all share their home with a sleek black cat with way too much attitude.