The Wedge of the San Rafael

The Wedge of the San Rafael
Someone has to live here, in the middle of desert beauty. Might as well be the Kellys.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Time flies

I realize it is bad form to begin a blog with an apology, but I have one. At the end of April, we moved from Wellington (Carbon County), Utah, to Idaho Falls. "A simple matter," you say, and you would be right. We were smart enough this time to hire a moving van for the job, and boy, that helped. Now if only I could have gotten Amber and Tyler to write the rest of my book, too.

We love Idaho Falls. The idea to move started percolating last October. I was wasting time one morning on the Interwebs and came across an article called, "Ten greatest small cities to live in."  Number 2 was Idaho Falls. I have no idea what Number One was, because I stopped at Number Two. And then when I looked at available real estate, that cinched it.

We'd been thinking about moving for a while. Carbon County, Utah, is a good place, but we needed something a little larger. Besides that, our children who lived in Utah all bailed out and went elsewhere. Why stay there? Maybe this brands me as hopelessly shallow, but it's such a treat to have 22 movie screens to choose from, versus four, and cool stores with stuff in them. Huckleberry lemonade doesn't hurt, either. Doctors and dentists are plentiful, and there is the beautiful Snake River flowing along. On a clear day, you can see the back of the Tetons in Wyoming, and Yellowstone's West Entrance is two hours away.

Probably my favorite guilty pleasure has been the hot springs in the area. We're not all that far from Yellowstone, and the thermal activity in this area means opportunities to sit and soak the old bones in hot water. I enjoy stuff like that. Some of the hot springs are sulfurous, but I don't mind smelling like a boiled egg.

It's hard to move and write. I had the best of intentions to put my shoulder to the wheel and power through a bunch of chapters, but we discovered an unexpected bonus in living barely off I-15: visitors. We've had more company this summer than we had in at least two years in Utah, and it's been such a pleasure. Since we have twice the house now (four bedrooms, three bathrooms, huge family room), it's a good place to welcome guests.

What I'm saying is that Martin and I are no experts in retiring. We moved around so much that there never was a place designated as Home for All Generations. Our kids were a bid wary at first, but the ones who have seen our new area are pleased. I guess we're better at re-retiring.

But the book is done, and will be out November 11. It's called Softly Falling, and is the story of the winter of 1886-87 in Wyoming Territory, when the range was overstocked and unfenced, and the blizzards never stopped. Although Cedar Fort is the publisher, there is no mention of Mormons. I had asked the publisher is it was ok to not write about things LDS, and that suited him fine (and allows for a wider readership). The theme is one I enjoy: ordinary people finding themselves in extraordinary situations. Lily Carteret, daughter of a British remittance man (read: lifetime loser), has come to Wyoming after her father's glowing accounts of his ranch. She arrives to find there is no such thing. In a bit of stupidity, he has gambled away the ranch to the foreman of nearby Bar Circle Dot, one of a series of ranches owned by a consortium of British and Scottish wealthy men. What's a girl to do? Lily is resourceful. Stay tuned.

Just out is Book Two of the Spanish Brand Series, called Marco and the Devil's Bargain. It's the further adventures of Marco Mondragon and his clever wife, Paloma Vega, this time involved with a mysterious physician and a smallpox epidemic.

And that's the fun of writing: Put your ordinary people in the middle of a mess, and see what happens.

Next up? A short story for the Timeless Romance Anthology, which will be out January 15. Another short story to Harlequin (now HarperCollins), for next year's Christmas anthology. A third installment in Spanish New Mexico with Marco and Paloma. Something else for Cedar Fort; not sure what.

I shouldn't have saved this for last, but I have a new and wonderful website at Tamara Cole is the web designer and she is without equal. Take a look at the site. Be sure to click on the cat, the photos, and even the paper clutter in the garbage can. We're still getting out the kinks, so if you see something that doesn't work, please let me know at

And now it's back to making hand cream. I'll be selling books and hand cream at the annual Heritage Festival in Fillmore, Utah, the weekend after Labor Day. Stop by, if you're in the neighborhood. The Oct. 9-11 I'm writer in residence at an ANWA Retreat in Anacortes, Washington. Then on Sept. 24 or so, it's off to Kanab for a writer's conference. Then I'll stay home and write, because that's what I do.