Whew, Valentine's Day hit us hard here in Carbon County. First, daughter Liz's boyfriend got her a gi-normous Russell Stover heart, which we've all been encouraged to eat. (Gotta do what you gotta do.) The task was made simpler because there was one of those keys, which tells you what is what. With that much help and encouragement, the assignment to eat became simpler. I could avoid all the raspberry nougat centers hidden in chocolate coating. What a relief. And there was a truffle, just waiting for me.
When I was at my daily therapy session (i.e. water aerobics), one of my fellow swimmers mentioned Suzie's Candy Shop. Apparently Suzie had a candy store in downtown Price, Utah, at one time. She decided to pedal back a bit, and remodeled her garage to make a kitchen/store there. Armed with directions, Vondell (my swimming buddy) and I found Suzie on February 13. She was puh-lenty busy, but graciously added us to the list, if we could pick up the goodies on the afternoon of Valentine's Day. We each got the assortment - a sample of this and that - and were put on Suzie's mailing list.
Ostensibly, Suzie's assortment was for my husband, but again, we're all dipping into the chocolate. He very kindly got me a dozen roses that are multi-colored red and white. They're just fun to look at.
I got another sampler today. Bryony Green, my London editor with Harlequin Historicals, gave me the good news that the North American direct marketing group is going to include the entire first chapter of Her Hesitant Heart, as a sample, in a direct mail package that will reach some 320,000 customers between June and September.
People who respond will then receive the whole novel in their introductory shipment. I did notice on the cover of Her Hesitant Heart these words under the title: "New Beginnings." I gather this is an additional series that readers can sign up for. I hope they will.
I emailed back to say I'd be delighted to be part of the proposal. And I am. Her Hesitant Heart is a story dear to my heart. It's set at Fort Laramie, Wyoming Territory, in 1876. I love Fort Laramie. I volunteered there for a few years, and then was a seasonal ranger/historian for a few more years from roughly 1973 to 1975. Fort Laramie was where I forged some friendships that continue to give me real pleasure. It's also where I started writing (and selling) what I call my Fort Laramie stories, short stories and novellas about the men, women and children of the Indian Wars era. The stories are set at Fort Laramie (Wyoming), Fort Bowie Arizona), Fort Buford (North Dakota), and Camp Ruby (Nevada).
The stories were eventually collected into one book, Here's To the Ladies: Stories of the Frontier Army, and published by Texas Christian University Press. It remains probably my personal favorite, although My Loving Vigil Keeping is following as a close second. Those ranger friends made it a favorite work. One has passed away (the Old Army used to call that 'going to Fiddlers' Green'), but I generally see the others every year or so at one conference or other. I do value my friendships, and none more than that bunch of fellow rangers who took great pleasure in sharing our country's history with visitors from all over the world.
And this was my little secret: The U.S. government paid me every two weeks for doing something I would have done for free, because I love it so much. I think everyone should have a job like that, at least once in a lifetime.
I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day.