Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Wednesday NEAR Wyoming - November 29, 2023


sod house, Old Town, CO
Would you want to live in a sod house? While I appreciate the early settlers' ingenuity in creating homes on the treeless prairie, I shuddered when I read about some of the disadvantages of sod houses ... including snakes falling from the ceiling.

If you don't believe me, here's a post entitled Snakes on the Dinner Table.

The sod house is only one of a number of historical buildings in the Old Town Museum in Burlington, Colorado. Burlington is also home to the Kit Carson County Carousel which is well worth visiting. Beware, though. This carousel revolves faster than most and might make you just a little bit dizzy by the end of the ride.

I hope you've enjoyed this month's posts featuring sites in Colorado. Next month we'll return to Wyoming. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Wednesday NEAR Wyoming - November 22, 2023


The Chapel on the Rock, St. Catherine's
Small but beautiful, that's St. Catherine's Chapel on the Rock, located near Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park.

In addition to being a tourist attraction, it's also the site of weekly Masses and weddings (if you plan enough in advance).

For more information, you might enjoy this post.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Wednesday NEAR Wyoming - November 15, 2023


mural, Montrose, CO
Why would anyone want a plain barn side when they could have one like this?

I found this one in Montrose, Colorado, gateway to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The drive to the canyon's floor is not for the faint of heart, but the views are worth the hairpin turns. 

And, as Montrose's web site points out, the Black Canyon is only one of the attractions in that part of Colorado. If you're planning a trip to Colorado, you might want to include Montrose in your itinerary.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Wednesday NEAR Wyoming - November 8, 2023


cowboy statue Leanin' Tree
Would you expect to find this quintessential sculpture of a cowboy outside a greeting card company's factory? For many years, this and many other pieces of western art were displayed in at the Leanin' Tree company headquarters. Sadly, the art collection is no longer there. After more than forty years, the art was sold at auction.

Still, if you're ever in the Boulder, Colorado, area, I suggest you visit Leanin' Tree. Even without the art as an added attraction, it's a fun place to go if you enjoy greeting cards. 

For more information click here.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

It's Cover Reveal Time!

 One of my favorite parts of the whole publishing process is being able to share cover art with you, and so without further ado, here's the cover for Into the Starlight, the third Secrets of Sweetwater Crossing book.

Into the Starlight cover

What do you think? I'm delighted with it.

And, if you're curious about the storyline (you are, aren't you?), here's part of the official press release.

Joanna Vaughn has spent more than a year in Europe trying to fulfill her goal of becoming a concert pianist. With the tragic loss of her husband, her dreams are dashed and she returns home to Sweetwater Crossing. Her childhood house is there to greet her upon her return, but she’s changed so much that it no longer feels like home.

Dr. Burke Finley is desperately searching for a fresh start after his fiancée married his business partner and they both blamed him for a patient’s death. He finds a reprieve when he accompanies his uncle’s fiancée, Della Samuels, to Sweetwater Crossing. But his quick trip turns into an extended stay when he is caught up in an investigation over his uncle’s untimely passing. At least he is able to spend time with the lovely Joanna

Burke and Joanna join forces to help Della find the truth behind her fiancé’s death. But the more time they spend together on the case, the greater their attraction grows. Both have baggage from their past that could impede any future romance. Only if they overcome their trauma can they have their happily-ever-after.

Get swept away by this emotional tale of family, friendship, and the kind of love that overcomes every obstacle.

Into the Starlight will be released on July 16 next year and is now available for preorder at most of the online retailers.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Wednesday NEAR Wyoming - November 1, 2023


Opera House - Central City, CO
Did you notice that the title of this blog is Wednesday NEAR Wyoming rather than Wednesday IN Wyoming? That's because this month I'm going to highlight places south of the border ... that is south of the state line. In other words, this month's posts are from Colorado.

Isn't this building beautiful? You'll find it in Central City, Colorado, a town that was once described as "the richest square mile on earth" because of all the gold that was being mined near it.

A town with that much wealth deserves an opera house, doesn't it? The miners thought so. Built in 1878, the opera house is still home to an opera company. In fact, the Central City Opera is the nation's fifth-oldest opera company. How's that for history?

If you'd like more details, here's a link.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - October 25, 2023


scarecrows, Children's Village
If you have vegetables, you need scarecrows, especially at this time of the year, and so the Children's Village at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens has its share of scarecrows. 

I don't know whether they kept the crows away, but both children and adults came to admire them.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - October 18, 2023


birdbath, Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
Who would have thought that flower petals falling into a birdbath would create such beauty? 

As you may have guessed, this picture was taken at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - October 11, 2023


Children's Village dome, Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
The dome at the Children's Village (part of the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens) is beautiful at any time, but a bright blue sky and vibrantly colored flowers add to its appeal and make it a must-see.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - October 4, 2023

Cheyenne Botanic Gardens

 If you're looking for beautiful autumnal foliage and flowers in southeastern Wyoming, there's no better place than the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens. This is one of my favorite places in the city and one of the reasons my husband and I chose to move to this part of Wyoming. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - September 27, 2023

"Fallen City"

 Can you guess why this is called the Fallen City?

Fallen City explanatory sign

I hope you've enjoyed this month's posts featuring the Big Horn mountains and that you'll come back next month for glimpses into another part of Wyoming.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - September 20, 2023

Heart Mountain

 The scene appears peaceful, doesn't it? But during World War II, Heart Mountain was home to an internment camp for American citizens of Japanese descent.

Heart Mountain explanatory sign

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - September 13, 2023


Medicine Wheel
Whether you call it the Medicine Wheel or, as Native Americans do, The Place Where the Eagle Lands, if you visit this site in the Big Horn Mountains, you'll discover that it's one that will linger  in your memory.

Medicine Wheel explanatory sign

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - September 6, 2023


highway in Big Horn Mountains
A virtually deserted road, lush cattle (and sheep) grazing land, verdant hills -- that's Wyoming's Big Horn Mountain region.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - August 30, 2023


hummingbird on penstemon
From my perspective, there's nothing quite as fascinating as watching a hummingbird flit from blossom to blossom, extracting nectar from the brightly colored penstemon flowers, sometimes hovering with its wings flapping so quickly that they're nothing more than blur.

We've reached the last Wednesday in August, which means that this is the last of the backyard birds posts. I hope you enjoyed them and will come back to see what's in store for September.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - August 23, 2023


hawk on pine
Master of all I survey -- that's what I imagine this hawk was thinking as it perched on a pine tree. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - August 16, 2023


goldfinch on sunflower
The sunflowers may have lost most of their petals, but that didn't stop this goldfinch from harvesting seeds. 

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the birds' antics, especially when they hung upside down to get a seed. A couple less acrobatic but still enterprising goldfinches stayed on the ground, devouring the seeds others dropped. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - August 9, 2023


horned lark chicks in nest
Did you know that Horned Larks build their nests in the grass? This nest was in the Buffalo grass near a walk in my backyard, which meant that I had the perfect site for watching these three chicks hatch and develop their downy coats. 

Don't you love the brightly colored open beaks, announcing that it's time for more food?

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - August 2, 2023


Chukar on window sill
If you've been following my blog, you know that most of my Wednesday in Wyoming posts feature different parts of the state. This month I'm staying closer to home and am planning to share pictures from my backyard. 

Imagine my surprise when I walked to the sink to wash dishes and found this rather large bird perched on the window sill and staring at me. It's one I'd never seen before, a Chukar. Natives of Eurasia, Chukars were brought to the United States as game birds and have managed to thrive in parts of the West including -- obviously -- Cheyenne.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - July 26, 2023


Cheyenne Frontier Days, FE Warren historic homes tour
Does this look like a scene you might find on the cover of one of my books? It's actually part of Fort D.A. Russell Days, one of the many events that occur during Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Fort D.A. Russell, which is now F.E. Warren Air Force Base, was established at the same time as the city and, as you might expect from the length of time it's been here, has a storied past. Some of that comes alive during the popular historic homes tour sponsored by the Warren Spouses Club. 

The year I took the tour, one of the stops was at the Etiquette House, where we learned about nineteenth century etiquette. It was great research!

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - July 19, 2023


Cheyenne Frontier Days Thunderbirds Show
One of my favorite parts of Cheyenne Frontier Days is the US Airforce Thunderbirds air show. The skill involved in their aerial acrobatics never fails to thrill me. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - July 12, 2023


Cheyenne Frontier Days Pancake Breakfast
Before we moved to Cheyenne, our realtor told my husband and me that we absolutely could not miss the pancake breakfasts that are part of Cheyenne Frontier Days. "They use a cement mixer for the batter," she informed us. I thought she was kidding. Admittedly, it's not the large cement truck that I had envisioned, but it's still a cement mixer ... or so the sign says.

Cheyenne Frontier Days pancake breakfast
The three pancake breakfasts are one of the most popular free events, in part because there's showmanship involved. If you look carefully, you can see two pancakes being flipped into the air next to the light post. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - July 5, 2023


Cheyenne Frontier Days steer roping
It's July, and that means that Cheyenne is getting ready to host the world's largest outdoor rodeo, Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Taking place over ten days at the end of July, this the city's biggest event -- one that draws visitors from all over the world. In addition to the rodeo itself, which has been nicknamed the Daddy of 'Em All, there are many, many other events. 

I plan to highlight some of them in this month's posts, so please come back each Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - June 28, 2023


Snowy Range
If the Grand Encampment Museum isn't enough to convince you to visit the little town, perhaps the scenic road that leads to it will. This is part of the Snowy Range Highway, one of my favorite drives in southern Wyoming. Beautiful scenery and little traffic -- it doesn't get much better.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - June 21, 2023


Encampment 2-story outhouse
This is arguably the most famous building in Encampment, a two-story outhouse -- testament to the amount of snow that falls in this part of Wyoming.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - June 14, 2023

Encampment - log building

 This may look like an ordinary log cabin, but a closer look at the chinking between the logs reveals something I hadn't seen anywhere else.

Encampment - log cabin chinking
Notice how small branches are used to fill the space between the logs. At least for me, this was a novel way to build a log cabin. Have you seen this technique? If so, where?

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - June 7, 2023


Encampment WY
Welcome to Encampment, Wyoming. More specifically, welcome to the Grand Encampment Museum, where you'll find buildings that bring Wyoming's past to life. This month I'm going to share a couple buildings that I found particularly interesting, so come back next week for more. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - May 31, 2023


Guernsey State Park road
A curving road lined with evergreens -- true beauty at Guernsey State Park.

I hope you've enjoyed this month's posts. Please come back next month for pictures from another part of Wyoming.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - May 24, 2023


Guernsey State Park hawk and reservoir
This is one of my favorite photos from Guernsey State Park. I love the contrast between the limestone cliffs and the dark reservoir, and the sight of the hawk soaring over the water makes me smile.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - May 17, 2023


Guernsey State Park railroad tracks
Though most of the traffic in Guernsey State Park is privately owned vehicles, the railroad tracks are proof that there's also commercial traffic. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - May 10, 2023


Guernsey State Park
I often wonder whether the pioneers heading west in their wagon trains stopped in this part of Wyoming and whether the mountains looming to the west made them wonder whether they'd made a mistake in leaving their homes. After all, the most difficult part of the trek was still ahead of them.

You won't find any wagon trains here in Guernsey State Park, just vacationers and day trippers ready to enjoy some beautiful scenery and recreational activities.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - May 3, 2023


Guernsey State Park Reservoir
This month's posts will spotlight Guernsey State Park, which is located in the eastern part of Wyoming.

Although the park is famous for its buildings created by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Depression, for many visitors the beautiful scenery and recreational activities are the primary draw. 

The reservoir looks peaceful, doesn't it? I imagine it's far different on a summer weekend.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - April 26, 2023


Irrigation near Big Horn Mountains
The incoming clouds may bring rain, but as you can see from the sprinkler system, irrigation is needed to grow crops in most of Wyoming.

I hope you enjoyed this month's photos from the Big Horn Mountains and that you'll come back next month for a look at a different part of the state.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - April 19, 2023


Red Rocks in western Wyoming
Don't you love the contrast between the green grass and the red rocks? Add in puffy cumulus clouds and a partially blue sky, and it's the perfect spot for a picnic lunch ... at least for me.

This photo was taken on a trip to Wyoming's Big Horn Mountains. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - April 12, 2023


Big Horn Mountains
All right. I'll admit it. Earth Science was my favorite high school science class, and so when I see various kinds and colors of rock layers, I'm transported back to the days when I learned how they were formed.

These hills, as you probably guessed from last week's post, are found in the Big Horn Mountain area of Wyoming.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - April 5, 2023


sagebrush prairie -- Big Horn Mountains
If you're looking for a quintessential picture of Wyoming, this might be it. I love the combination of the sagebrush, which was one of the things that brought me to the Equality State the first time, and the brave evergreen trying to grow in a decidedly arid climate.

This photo, like all of those that I'll share this month, is from a trip to the Big Horn Mountains. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - March 29, 2023


Glass Art Show, Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
Although the art I've featured in previous posts this month has been two-dimensional, the annual Glass Art Show at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens also has three-dimensional pieces, including this one from the 2020 show.

I would never have thought to combine candy dishes like this. Would you? 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - March 22, 2023


Glass Art show, Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
The opening of the Shane Smith Grand Conservatory gave the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens a new way to display art from its annual Glass Art Show, with pieces hanging in front of the second story windows overlooking the conservatory.

This piece was part of the 2019 show.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Book Birthday


After the Shadows cover
The wait is over! Today's the official release date for After the Shadows, which means that it should be available in brick and mortar stores as well as all the online sites.

I'm particularly excited about this book, because early readers have told me they think it's my best. Is it? As an author, I'm too close to my stories to judge them fairly, but Library Journal liked it so much they called it a "must-buy" and gave it a starred review. I was thrilled!

If you'd like more information about After the Shadows, here's a link

And, if you're reading this before 5 PM EDT on March 21, I hope you'll join me for an historical romance panel sponsored by Baker Book House. Tracy Peterson, Kimberley Woodhouse, and I will be talking about the challenges -- and the fun -- of creating books set in times gone by.

Most of all, I hope you'll enjoy Emily and Craig's story. Happy reading!

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - March 15, 2023


Glass Art Show, Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
Glass Art brings additional beauty to the original conservatory at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens in this photo from the 2015 show.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - March 8, 2023


Glass Art Show, Cheyenne Botanic Gardens

Since space was limited prior to the construction of the Grand Conservatory at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, glass art was displayed in the growing area next to the original conservatory. I found the juxtaposition of natural and manmade beauty intriguing in this picture from the 2012 Glass Art Show.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Cover Reveal

 I'm always excited when I have a new cover to show you, and it's especially exciting when the cover is as beautiful as this one.

Against the Wind cover

This cover was a "first" for me in two ways. Normally I see cover art when it's almost finalized, but this time the Art Director gave me three designs and asked which I preferred. The first two were lovely, but this one really caught my eye. I was delighted when it turned out to be her favorite and that of my editor and the VP of Marketing.

The second "first" is that this is the first time I've had cover art for the second book in a series before the first one releases. That's because instead of waiting a full year for the next Secrets of Sweetwater Crossing book, readers will have a much shorter wait. Against the Wind is scheduled to be released on October 3 of this year and is already available for preorder at some of the online sites.

What's it about? Here's the description from Revell's sales catalog:

Doctor-in-training Louisa Vaughn has no intention of remaining in Sweetwater Crossing. She’s just there for a few days to help a friend. But she can’t abandon the injured man she finds at the side of the road. Until his broken leg heals, she’ll serve as the town’s doctor and midwife. She may not be fully qualified yet, but surely she’s better than nothing.

 Josh Porter’s plans to win his grandfather’s challenge and fulfill his father’s final wish to gain full control of the family business hit a roadblock when he breaks his leg. But his enforced stay in Sweetwater Crossing gives him new ideas about the expansion of the company into new territory—ideas Louisa could help turn into reality.

 If only the town were more accepting of Louisa’s talents! Someone is determined to convince her to abandon her dream of healing others. Can Josh help her uncover the person behind the threats before it’s too late? And is there any future for them together when neither of them plans to stay?

 Are you intrigued? I hope so.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - March 1, 2023


Glass Art Show Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
In honor of the annual Glass Art Show at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, which continues through this month, I'm going to feature some of my favorite pictures from previous years' shows.

Prior to the construction of the Shane Smith Grand Conservatory, the show was held in the much smaller conservatory of the original building where art and plants were in close proximity.

In case you're curious, this picture was taken at the 2009 show.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - February 22, 2023


hot spring in Thermopolis
One of the things that makes winter in Wyoming different from many other states is the presence of hot springs and other thermal features. While I have to admit that I have no desire to dip even my toe in the water, I love the contrast of the steaming water with snow only inches away.

This picture was taken in Thermopolis, whose name hints at the hot springs that are one of the town's major attractions.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Wednesday in Wyoming - February 15, 2023


snow scuplture, Wyoming Territorial Prison
What would winter be without at least one snow or ice sculpture?

This one, which we found at the Wyoming Territorial Prison in Laramie, made me laugh as I pictured a mother trying to relax in her bubble bath, only to be interrupted by a curious child.

Poor mom!