The Romance Reviews

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How to Explain It

From my earliest memories, I can recall sitting on my Daddy's lap or curled into a big recliner, favorite "blankie" clutched to my chest, watching Lassie.  And, I remember Sunday afternoons, watching syndicated reruns of The Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, and The Sisco Kid.  Even now, I can hear, "Oh...Sees-ko...Oh, Pancho..." in my head.  A little older, and I remember watching Bonanza with our baby sitter because both my parents worked a full time job and a part time job to make ends meet.  Our favorite movies to watch were John Wayne westerns.

Somewhere in all that television viewing time, I started to form life goals.  Don't laugh...because it is the direct influence of those programs that has shaped my goals.  I was going to have a collie just as beautiful and smart as Lassie.  I have long since learned, Lassie is not a beautiful example of the breed, and quite frankly, that dog lied.  I have yet to meet a collie with Lassie's Einsteinian I.Q.  But, I've got collies...and the breed has not had better PR than that dog.  I was going to have horses.  I've got two now...a wonderful, old Arab gelding who has been with me for almost 29 years and all of his life has been the most patient, gentle, sweet baby-sitter a first time horse owner could ever dream of having...and a six year old Arab mare who is as crazy as a March hare, but I still love her dearly.  I was going to live somewhere in the West, most preferably in Wyoming. (And, yes, I know most of those westerns I watched were either filmed high in the California hills overlooking LA or in Monument Valley, and Bonanza was supposed to be in Virginia City, NV, somehow, it was Wyoming for me.)  The hubby and I own 36 acres in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming, and the plan is to someday live there.  
36 acres--near Medicine Bow, WY

Horse Creek rain storm
And, Wyoming brings me to the title of this blog--how to explain it.  How to explain why I love Wyoming.  I could say it's the breath-taking, wide open vistas, mountains blurry and blued in the distance.  I could say it's the harsh, often unforgiving landscape colored in faded yellows, reds, greens, and browns that has its own, unique, compelling beauty in the twisted and mangled shapes created from eons of geologic activity.  I could say it is the mountains that rise in the distance, becoming more and more clear and intimidating as you approach them, capped year round with snow and glaciers.  I could say it's the way the ever present wind seems to whisper my name as it hisses through the pines, or rustles across the sagebrush.  I could say it's all of those things, but it's so much more.  

church at Frontier Prison town in Laramie, WY
It's those things added to the first time Ken took me there, over twenty years ago. It was if something deep in my soul was finally at peace, finally calm, and whispered with profound relief, "I'm finally home."  No, I've never lived there in this lifetime, but that first trip, and every one subsequent to Wyoming--namely the area near and around Laramie--has been a homecoming. It is this place that holds my soul so much more firmly than even the sagebrush can cling to such barren ground as it buries its roots deep into that alkali soil.  It is this place that calls to me, over and over, urging me to come home.  It is in this place that I am most at peace, most calm, and here that I am able to nourish my starving soul.  

When I first started writing, it was never a question of where--or when--my romances would be set.  I knew they would happen in Wyoming.  So, I dug out all the old maps my grandmother had collected over her fifty years of automobile tours (that's what she called them and I've always loved the sense of adventure and romance just that phrase creates), and on a map of Wyoming from the mid 40s, I found a little town called "Federal."  There isn't another Federal anywhere in the US.  Federal still exists on the maps of Wyoming, though now it is little more than a wide spot on a spur of the Burlington-Northern Railroad.  I think, I brought Federal to life a lot sooner than it actually came into being, and I probably gave Federal a lot more inhabitants that it ever had.  Call that "poetic license."

You'll probably note, when "The Devil's Own Desperado" is published by The Wild Rose Press, that my deep love of this place, this wild, wonderful, incredibly unforgiving, fantastically beautiful place we call Wyoming shines through.  It takes a special breed to live in Wyoming, even today.  In the era of the cowboy, it took someone incredibly resilient and strong.  Amelia is that resilient and Colt is definitely that strong.  

I look forward to my publication date and to hear from my readers.

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