Monday, December 28, 2009

A Wild West Christmas...twelve days long

Currently reading: The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith
Just finished: When Christmas Comes by Debbie Macomber A++++

Merry Christmas!

What? That's like, five days ago.

But did you know Christmas has long been celebrated for twelve days afterward, until the Feast of the Magi, or Epiphany, on January 6? I'm so happy the Hallmark Channel is still showing Christmas flicks this week and our cable system's "Sounds of the Season" is still belting out carols full force. So much better than the Los Angeles station that started playing Christmas music mid-November, non-stop, 24/7...only to cease cold turkey at 12:01 a.m. December 26. Grrrrrrrrrrrr. And all the marathons of White Christmas, Christmas Vacation, Home Alone and A Christmas Story stopped then too.

In fact, if you want the true meaning of the Twelve Days (it is NOT those twelve gimmicky shopping days beforehand), get on over to my recent blog at Petticoats and Pistols to learn the secret, sacred symbolism behind all the French hens and those maids a'milking.

That blogging day, I asked readers to help me re-write the classic Christmas carol, and here's what we composed: (No symbolism; we just had fun.)

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...a roadrunner in a pinon pine tree.

...Two blue jays squawking,
...Three crows cawing,
...Four calves a-bawling,
...Five jangling spurs,
...Six cowgirls roping,
...Seven tumbleweeds a'tumbling,
...Eight pioneers a camping,
...Nine broncos bucking,
...Ten cowboys singing,
...Eleven roosters crowing,

And I just couldn't decide on the last one. Take your pick. They're all great.

Twelve stallions leaping
Twelve Texans twanging
Twelve riders riding
Twelve fillies rhyming
Twelve coyotes howling.

Point is. It's still Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Very Merry Christmas, and God Bless Us All, Everyone

Just finished: The Forgetful Bride, by Debbie Macomber, C-

It's that time of year when...I'm running out of time. But I love it! Bought out the dollar stores yesterday with stocking stuffers...have the cul-de-sac party on Saturday for which I make my famous mac and cheese. Best of all, Hubby's gift arrived by FedEx at a time when I could actually keep it a secret

There's shopping, baking for the neighbors, and tons of wrapping ahead all the while I'm finishing my next-year's holiday novella, Christmas for Ransom, and finishing the edits for Marrying Mattie. BTW, Marrying Minda could be the answer to your question about what to get for that special person. Available both print and e-form at The Wild Rose Press

And my short story His Christmas Angel (the prequel to next year's Marrying Mattie) is a FREE download at Wild Rose! Doesn't get much better than free!

Hope you enjoy the hottie cowboy. Off to pen the Christmas letter now, and no, it's not one of those obnoxious braggy ones. Just a quick sentence about each one of us.

Once again, God bless you all, every one.

P.s. The George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol is far and away the very best.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'll Be your Huckleberry...

Current read: Home for the Holidays, by Debbie Macomber

One of the greatest books of all time, Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, was published on this date in 1885 in Canada and England. It wasn't released for two months in the United States and has been in trouble ever since.

Ernest Hemingway declared it the "one book" from which "all modern American literature" came. Too true. Heretofore, all great works by American authors had bitten off from European counterparts. But this one, crammed full of local color, written in the regional dialogue of the time (which makes it the bane of students), showcasing a true if nasty art of American culture (slavery), set on a river like none other in the world, is indeed the first and the best. Contemporary critics and scholars have treated it as one of the greatest American works of art.
Why is in trouble? Well, mostly the whiners are people who haven't read it. They don't like some of the common terms of the time--which are not used as derogatory in the book. (Besides, why do females get to be called bitches and ho's and nobody seems to sense a way double standard?)

Here's to you, Samuel Langhorne Clemens!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Always in My Heart...

Two years ago today my twin brother died. Cancer, ravenous, irrevocable, incurable. We got the dreaded news of his diagnosis on Mothers Day weekend, in a phone call at 8:30 p.m.--the time he always called, with a joke, news of his two daughters, plans for a get-together. All the stuff of real life. We never expected a death sentence.

But I believe in miracles and prayed for one. A transplant. Some magic experimental drugs. Which, truth to tell, there was one of the latter. (The former was impossible.) But the drug so compromised Mike's quality of life he said, no thanks, after several months of poison and misery.

In those last months, we danced together at niece Katie's wedding, myself in tears. The Beatles' "In My Life." There's nobody who compares to you, I wept into his shoulder.

I love your family like my own, Tonna. That was his special name for me. My son used it until he was about five, never calling me mommy.

With our spouses and closest friends, we did manage one last trip to Palm Springs, one of our favorite places, in July. Oh, the memories! Now, knowing what chemo does to the human body, I can only applaud Mike for his courage in accompanying us. I know now he was in hell much of the time.

Oh, I miss him every day. Every major event of my life, he was at my side. In some way, he still is. I know he was looking down and laughing with joy at Christi's wedding last August. That he sent me his love during those harrowing months of my hubby's chemo. But when the phone rings in the evening, my heart stops, and I wish things were different.

Because that was Mike's time, not some stupid "Unknown" junker that shows up on Caller ID.

I gave a talk at his graveside, and I managed laughter instead of tears. My hubby got up to speak, but just couldn't, awash in emotions. Our best man. Godfather to our son, an incredible uncle, father, month later, we got the horrific diagnosis of cancer ourselves.

In my life, Mike, there's nobody who compares to you.

Love always....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours!

I'm a bird lover and a bird watcher, but there are two nasty territorial crows hanging around trying to scare off Rocket J., the darling squirrel who lives in one of our trees. So I need a scarecrow!

But I need little else. This is the time of giving thanks, and so I do. For my hubby in general, for his full health in particular. For two great kids who picked spouses who complete our family.

For the grandbaby who has totally stolen my heart.

For friends and neighbors who fill our days, and the Lord who sustains us.

For the memories of our sweet Labradors who left us all too soon.

For the loving and loved relatives who will join us on Thursday. They complete us too.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Ps. The Tim McGraw concert totally rocked. I'll blog about it in depth soon at Petticoats and Pistols. Wait for it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Live Like You Were Dying....

I haven't had that great of a start to today. I just found out my terrific editor is leaving the profession to concentrate on her own writing career. I can understand. As meticulous and gifted as she is with editing, it's got to take its toll on her creativity...and her time. We've still got one project we're working on together, and I know she's passing me on to good hands but...

....I'm broken hearted. As I told her, I can't decide if I want to cry or throw up.

To help me feel a bit better, though, I'm heading out in a bit for a Tim McGraw concert with my dear buddy Charlene Sands. I figure this is our sixth concert hunting him down LOL. He's not only a hottie, but the author of much of my life around here:

Live Like You Were Dying
became one of our anthems during and since testicular cancer. My Little Girl is the beautiful, tear-jerking song our own little girl picked for her daddy-daughter dance at her wedding three months ago.

And My Old Friend brings to our heart and mind our own dearest friend, my twin brother Mike, who passed away two years ago come Christmas.

I fear I'll be plenty tearful during the concert, don't you?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the Petticoats and Pistols

While you're here, why not click again and visit my take on cowboy boot lore and superstition over at the all-western site, Petticoats and Pistols! If you're wearing cowboy boots today, make sure they're old ones. New ones bring bad luck today!

And while you're there at Petticoats, don't forget to enter our Cowboy Under The Christmas Tree contest.

Before you go, got any superstitions to post for today?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Give a Vet a Hug Today...and every day...

A blessed day to those who serve and protect us. I myself am the wife, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, great-niece and great-great-great-granddaughter of U.S. veterans.

Daddy served as a translator/radioman in the Aleutian Islands in WWII. Hubby medic-ed in Germany. My great-uncle Albert died in The Great War. His remains didn't return home for three years, in time for my uncle/godfather to be named after him.

My great-great-great grampa marched with Tecumseh Sherman to the sea. Family lore says he got sidelined with illness before the burning of Atlanta. All right by me.

Veterans' Day started out in 1919, as Armistice Day, to honor the first anniversary of the end of "the war to end all wars." World War One. Ironic, isn't it? Less than 20 years later another one raged.

Truth to tell, have wars ever stopped?

In 1938, Armistice Day became a national holiday and was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all veterans from all wars, living and dead. Today there are 23.2 million veterans. Let's give them their due. Let's tend those in need.

After all, all gave some. Some gave all.

Thanks, veterans, for keeping us safe and free.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lawmen and Outlaws, Christmas-style

Just finished: Painted Desert by Nancy J. Farrier, grade B+

Sincere thanks to Melinda Elmore for visiting my blog this past week! Good work, Melinda. Keep it up!

I was thrilled last Thursday to learn I will be part of the 2010 Christmas "Lawmen and Outlaws" anthology from The Wild Rose Press! Right now you can read about four hottie Wild West heroes and the women who tame them in the current "Lawmen and Outlaws" anthology, written by four of my "Cactus Rose" colleagues.

In my upcoming Christmas for Ransom, horsethief "Canyon" Jack Ransom finds himself guilt ridden after snatching the horseflesh of a sweet old lady rancher who reminds him too damn much of his own gram-maw. The old gal raised him best she could and extracted two promises from him on her deathbed...promises he has yet to keep.

Throw in the old rancher's granddaughter, Eliza, a beautiful schoolteacher whom Jack hires to teach him to read, a snorting outlaw gang reluctant to let Jack reform himself, and a blazing shootout, and all you have left is Jack and Eliza getting snowbound...just in time for Christmas.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Meet Melinda Elmore!

"This book shows that true love knows no physical or spiritual bounds and that destiny will always prevail." -----Wells Mahkee Jr., Managing Editor, Navajo/Hopi Observer

I’d like to introduce you today to fellow historical romance author, Melinda Elmore, who sets her stories in the 19th century native American cultures. Melinda is a writer, a wife, and the mother of two. Native Dreams reveals the turbulent times of the 1800s and the hardships of Native Americans. Melinda is a freelance writer for the Navajo/Hopi Observer in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Here’s an excerpt from her latest release, Native Dreams.

Precious Hawk is viciously taken from her people
and forced to live in the white world, causing
inner turmoil. Many years later, Cloud Feather, a
perfect stranger, arrives to work on her
husband’s ranch. Experience the “awe” when Cloud
Feather rescues his beloved Precious Hawk, who
has come to him in many of his dreams. His heart
is to return Precious Hawk to her ancestral lands where she rightly belongs.

On the run, the daring couple nearly lose their
lives. Cloud Feather is gravely wounded. He is
taken to his village in hope that Red Wing, their
medicine man, can save his life. All the while,
Precious Hawk is with child, Cloud Feather’s child.

But Precious Hawk knows the evilness of John
Altan. Will he ever leave her alone? No, not until he is dead.

The Great Spirit joins their love, faith keeps
their minds hopeful, and their spiritual guides deliver guidance.

Melinda, I love your cover and the names of your H and H. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have lived in Arizona and Tennessee. I have discovered wealth is not measured in how much money you have but in how much love you share.
I have been happily married to my wonderful husband, Tom for 22 years. I have two remarkable children, Shaelee and Erik.

As a young child, I loved reading and writing. Many nights I would wrap up in a blanket, daydream, while I turned the exciting pages of a book. The books would take me to many places. I loved the idea of going from the normal world in which I lived, then instantly I would be taken to a place far away.
To my surprise, I started writing and creating my very own world. A place where I could go and lose myself with just a pen and paper.

I grew up with the fascination of the American Indian. My love for them grew by leaps and bounds as I read about them from my history book. I wanted to show, in my writings, of the proud people that the American Indians truly are. They show honor and respect for all living things. If I can capture just a small portion of that in my writings then that would be an added bonus for me.

Native American Romance and Native American mysteries is my passion. I hope to reveal in my books the uniqueness of the American Indian. I feel truly blessed to try and reveal how special the American Indians truly are.

The love of my family and the love for the American Indian have become focal points in my stories. I will do my best for both of them. I sincerely pray readers enjoy the characters that I bring to life on each turning page!!!!

I promise, Melinda, we’ll enjoy those characters you bring to life, and the native cultures you so honor. Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you visit me again soon!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dia de la Muertos...the grateful dead

Hello! Happy Day of the Dead!

More than three thousand years ago, natives of today's Mexico mocked death in rituals honoring their goddess Mictecacihuatl during the month of today's August. Spanish explorers deemed the rites pagan and sacrilegious...but changed the dates to coincide with the Christian All Saints and All Souls Days, November 1 and 2, when the Aztec practice refused to die out.

Today, the holiday honors loved ones who have died, celebrating their lives with joy, special foods, and displays of their favorite things, on altars called ofrenda. Marigolds are the traditional flower and are even eaten in certain recipes.

I hope you'll join me on Wednesday, my regular blogging day at the all-Western romance site, Petticoats and Pistols, for a bit longer explanation on this fascinating holiday. Today, skulls are still an important part of the tradition, and but not with the grim gore of Halloween. Calacas and catrinas are usually depicted laughing and dancing, and kids enjoy eating sugar candy skulls.

I'm thinking of my dear, departed dad right now, with love and joy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Here are my niece-pups who live in Nevada.

Despite the cute pictures, Halloween isn't exactly a pet-friendly holiday. Thanks to the SPCA for the following information.

• Keep pets indoors on Halloween night as the extra activity can be dangerous.

• Confine your pets to a safe and quiet area. The constantly ringing doorbell can be stressful so place your pets in a quiet room, with their pet bed, favorite toys, soothing music, and if possible, a human companion.

• Do not take the family pet out trick-or-treating. Pets can be frightened by strange costumes and may result in the animal running away or acting out by attacking. Remember, pet owners can be liable for injuries inflicted by their pets.

• Never let your pet around lit candles. Pets may knock over candles and cause a fire. Curious kittens and puppies especially run the risk of getting burned.

• Candy is not for pets. Most candy will get your animals sick and chocolate is very dangerous as it is poisonous to many animals. Tinfoil wrappers can get lodged in your pets’ digestive tract. Keep the number of your local poison control center and emergency veterinarian handy just in case.

• Never dress your pet in a costume that is not made for pets. If you do dress your pets for Halloween, make sure it is a costume made for pets their size.

• Current Identification Tags are vital. With the door constantly in use on this holiday, pets can sneak out of the house. Make sure they’ve been microchipped and are wearing a collar with current tags.

Happy "BOO"-day!

Happy "HOWL"oween.

Current read: Painted Desert, by Nancy J. Farrier

Cute puppies, no?

Thanks to my cousin Trudi for the cute pix. Don't worry. I'll be back soon with more canine pictorial treats.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Signin' Books in Encino, CA

Current read: Painted Desert, by Nancy J. Farrier (Barbour anthology)

Los Angeles Romance Authors Book Fair...fifteen authors, and here I am among them. Yay. What a great day! We even got mentioned in the Los Angeles Times.

Highlights? Sold 'em all...and the grandbaby came. Sigh.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My New Book Cover! hip-hip HOORAY

Just finished: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown; Grade C-
Here it is...isn't it gorgeous? I got the designer I requested (yes, she did Marrying Minda also), the marvelous artist and editor Nicola Martinez, and got the horses and lone cowboy as well. Sigh.

Now I need to speed-read and finish my edits. I've got a book signing on Sunday for Marrying Minda (can you tell Minda and Mattie are sisters?) wish me luck! I'll be posting the blurb next. My wonderful editor helped me with it. I am definitely not a woman of few words.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tanya's Take on Wild Horses and Burros

Current read: The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown

Did you know nearly 37,000 wild horses and burros --descendants of the Wild West -- roam Nevada, California, and Wyoming? Another 32,000 are tended in corrals and pastures in Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. While the Bureau of Land Management rounds p thousands annually for adoption, there have been fewer takers the last few years.

In recent months, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior Ken Salazar had warned that the slaughter of many of these animals might be inevitable. Water and forage are limited in the West, he said, and drought and wildfire threaten both range land and the animals' well-being. There are actually ranchers, Western lawmakers, and even a few Native American groups who long for this practice! Fortunately, Salazer, who is a former rancher, rejects this idea along with most of the American public.

Secretary Salazer has just announced to Congress a new plan to protect both the animals and range by moving thousands of horses and burros to preserves in the Midwest and East. Five preserves in addition to two already maintained would become refuge for 25,000 wild horses and burros. Many remaining on the range would be neutered, and reproduction closely monitored.

The planned preserves, essentially large ranches, would be accessible to the public, ecotourism. Salazar's plan is highly praised as it reverses decades of government policies that consider these critters "nuisances."

The thought of slaughter broke my heart. Horses and burros are tightly woven into the fabric of the Old West. I almost wish those buckaroos were called horseboys in honor of those elegant, hardworking, temperamental equines. And as for burros, well, I just love them and have sponsored three at a sanctuary in Israel.

If only I lived on a farm or ranch and not a typical suburban cul-de-sac. There would be no end to the number of critters in my homegrown zoo. (I'll write about the Safe Haven for Donkeys in Israel soon.)

And maybe Salazer's compassion will reverse the recent horrible decision to open hunting of wolves in Idaho. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. HOWL!

Friday, October 2, 2009

LiveSTRONG and Prosper

Today is LiveSTRONG Day world-wide. Wear yellow. Donate and get a wristband.

On this date 13 years ago, cyclist Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular a time in his life he had no health insurance. His memoir, It's Not About the Bike, broke the ground on T.C. awareness.

Thanks also to my hero, Dr. Lawrence Einhorn, whose research at Indiana University invented the chemotherapy protocol in 1978 that saved Lance's life. And also my husband's last year. Dr. Einhorn makes himself available by e-mail and phone to guys needing answers and second opinions. Thank you, God.

In 1978, s dying patient begged Dr. Einhorn to use him as a guinea pig.

He's alive today.

Of the 7,600 men who will be diagnosed with T.C. this year, more than 95% will survive. But only if the disease is caught in time!

I can't deny the BEP protocol is harrowing and life-threatening in itself. But it works. Get the men in your life to check their balls. Just like our BSE's, guys gotta do TSE's.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tanya Writes About Lefthandedness

It's one of my favorite things about myself although I clearly recall in grade two, handwriting J's like F's just as the principal came into the classroom to observe. Although heat flooded me, he didn't seem to mind a bit.

Did you know males are more likely left-handed than females? How special am I? In fact, there are twice as many left-handed boys as girls. Neither of my kids got it, though.

I share the stage with some pretty cool left-handed folks: Picasso, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Beethoven, Paul Mc Cartney, Lou Gehrig, Helen Keller, Prezzes Garfield, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and Reagan (is Obama, too?), and some other guys I like: Ben Franklin and Mark Twain.

Well, I've no politics in me, but I did major in Art in college and I do play the piano pretty well. And since the right side of a brain controls the left side of a body, this surely this means I'm in my right mind.

(Although my hero pictured with me at our daughter's recent wedding may lovingly disagree.)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tanya Writes About The Falconer

Current read: The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown
Just finished: The Falconer, Elaine Clark McCarthy, A++ a perfect read

I'm not a reviewer or a critic, but this book really touched my heart. I guess because cancer rears its ugly head in it, and the hero puts out wildfires and it's set in California. So many things that make up my up the fabric of my life.

Thing is, I've had this book in the attic for years. It was released in the mid-90's and I don't know how it got into my hands. Maybe someone who knew my hero is a firefighter. Dunno. It's slim and spare with a beautiful cover but somehow didn't make the cut of a TBR list.

But I found it again, going up into the attic for fall decorations. It's short, almost a one-sitting read, with the lyrical prose that I love and our MTV culture usually doesn't.

But oh god she wanted him. She wanted his hands to reinvent her skin, she wanted his eyes to find here there behind her face and release her. She wanted her heart thrown into the sky; she wanted to fly. She wanted it before the dark closed in. So mucy dark and so soon.

The only trouble was, she didn't know if he could want it too. But he might. Please, whatever god may be he might.

The author claimed it only took three days to write. But she to my knowledge never wrote anything else. Sad. It's timeless and wondrous and worth your time. A keeper. A re-read. Again and again and again.

(Ps. If I used this cover image and shouldn't have, please let me know., and I'll remove it)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tanya Writes About the USS New York

I got this in an e-mail from some fire-buddies and can't help but pass it along. We visited Ground Zero a summer ago on our first (but it won't be last!) trip to New York. Still get chills. Still get tears, thinking of the great sacrifices of 9/11.

Maybe this ship is a kind of phoenix, something rising from the ashes. Something hopeful out of the destruction on that day the world as we knew it stopped turning.

This ship was built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center destroyed on that horrific September day.

The fifth in a new class of warship, she's designed for missions that include special operations against terrorists. She will carry a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft.

Steel from the World Trade Center was melted down in a foundry in Amite , LA to cast the ship's bow section. When it was poured into the molds on Sept 9, 2003, "those big rough steelworkers treated it with total reverence," recalled Navy Capt. Kevin Wensing, who was there. "It was a spiritual moment for everybody there."

Junior Chavers, foundry operations manager, said that when the trade center steel first arrived, he touched it with his hand and the "hair on my
neck stood up. It had a big meaning to it for all of us," he said. "They knocked us down. They can't keep us down. We're going to be back..."

Notice her twin towers? Her motto?

“Never forget.”

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tanya Writes About Kama Sutra

Current read: The Falconer by Elaine Clark McCarthy

Oh yum. Of course the picture isn't my hero and me. could photoshop our faces on there. Because I just went to a Kama Sutra party and got some pretty great stuff LOL.

You see, I live on a neat little cul de sac. We have Fourth of July block parties--this year's was a 50's theme with poodle skirts and an Elvis Impersonator, and Christmas parties where we gals go caroling after a few glasses of wine, and a bunch of us get together most Wednesdays for Zumba, Latin American aerobics. (Oh, I'm terrible at it but it does feel good.) Julie, our lithe and lovely Argentine neighbor leads us and it was her idea to hold the KS party.

What could be finer for a romance writer than a party like that? How about some oils of love with names like chocolate mint, cherry almond, and strawberries and champagne?

A stimulating pleasure balm called raspberry kiss?

Lickable body souffle creams such as chocolate creme brulee?

How about lickable honey dust body powder? Sweet honeysuckle tickle your fancy?

Aromatic massage oils called Serenity, Pleasure Garden and Soaring Spirit intrigued me for sure, but Sweet Almond won out.

And oooooh, personal lubricants like love liquid and pleasure potion had some of the gals heading for demo's in private.

Don't let me get started on the, ahem, playthings. I'll tantalize you with a couple of product names: mini-tongue and classix rabbit pearl.

I can't wait for our next trip to try out my Weekender pack. A beautiful little box of airplane-regulation size goodies.

By the way, my hero is really glad I went to the party.

Ps. I have been considering trying an erotic short story. Somehow I'm kinda in the mood...WDYT?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tanya Writes About Sunflowers

Just finished Lady X's Cowboy, by Zoe Archer. Grade B+

Please stop by Petticoats and Pistols today for a bit of history on the sunflower. The sunflower has a history?

Yes indeedy. See you there. If nothing else, the pictures rock.

And who doesn't feel better after getting smiled at by a sunflower?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tanya Writes About Yellow Ribbons

Well, they're yellow. But these ribbons aren't for our daughter's wedding. We just got back from a fantastic trip to Sacramento where I picked up some information about the symbol of the yellow ribbon. And with today being the anniversary of that horrible day the world stopped turning eight years ago, I'm featuring this post here as well as at the Western authors blog, Cactus Rose at The Wild Rose Press.

I never liked the song much, Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree, but that doesn't mean I can't sing it at will all these years later! And I remember wearing a yellow ribbon during the Iran Hostage Crises of 1981-82. These days, I see frequent reminders to pray for our troops on yellow-ribbon car magnets.

But not until last week, visiting Old Sacramento, did I learn the origins of the yellow ribbon. For almost 150 years, displaying a yellow ribbon is a sign of loyalty to family, friends and loved ones far away from home in difficult situations such as war or captivity.

According to legend, the custom of a yellow ribbon showing support for a loved one far away began during the Civil War. At this time, the United States Cavalry wore yellow piping on their uniforms. Women who were married or promised to a Cavalryman wore yellow ribbons while waiting for their soldiers' return. Supposedly the practice kept prospective suitors at bay as well as warned of reprisal by the soldier if his lover was harmed.

Another version of the custom traces its origins to the horrific Andersonville Prison. Officially known as Camp Sumpter, Andersonville was one of the largest, most notorious Confederate prison camps. During its 14 months of operation, more than 45,000 Union soldiers were confined, 13,000 losing their lives from disease, malnutrition, overcrowding, and exposure.

Supposedly a member of the Ninth Ohio Cavalry who had been a Confederate prisoner there for several years, wrote to his wife with the suggestion that, rather than wear her ribbon, she tie it to a signpost near the train station so he could see it upon his return. The tale soon became part of Civil War lore.

The following song spread throughout the North, its words set to an old British drinking song:

Around her neck she wore a yellow ribbon
She wore it in the Springtime and in the month of May.
And if you ask her why the hells he wore it,
She wore it for her soldier who is far, far away.

Far away, far away.
She wore it for her soldier who is far, far away

During the 1991 Gulf War and following 9/11, the yellow ribbon symbol has gained widespread popularity as it sends our service members the message that they are never far from our hearts.

Sincere thanks to the Old Sacramento School House Museum for this information.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Tanya Writes About the Livestrong Wedding, part 2

Current read: Lady X's Cowboy, Zoe Archer

Yes, yellow roses, gerberas, callas. Lemons. Livestrong wristbands for favors. A Tour d' France jersey-themed groomscake. Each table named for a Tour term. Lemondrop martinis.

Everything picture-perfect, to die-for. Willingly. Sigh. Even down to the little china plate her dad and I ate our cake from, thirty five years ago! (Her brother and his bride ate off it five years ago.)

Sigh again. And live strong!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tanya Writes About the Livestrong Wedding, part 1

Current read: Lady X's Cowboy, Zoe Archer

I'm not over the wedding yet. My hero, my T.C. survivor, the love of my life and my husband of 35 years, was on board every second of our daugher's wedding. He attended every bridal gown try-on, every fitting.

Yet...on that glorious day...(he confided all this later.) He stood there, waiting for her to take his arm. Then he saw her as he'd never seen her before. His breath caught and his heart stopped.

She had picked the date, the 8th, in honor of him. For 16 months before, on an 8th, his remission had been announced. And he got his dream. During those killer days of chemo, he'd confided something else. Let me live to give my babygirl away at her wedding.

He got his wish, his prayer. His dream come true.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tanya Writes shoes

Current Read: Lady X's Cowboy, Zoe Archer
Just finished: Cranberry Hearts, Barbour Anthology, A+

Well, ya hear all through your childhood about ruby slippers and glass slippers, then ya grow up and it's all about Choos and stillettos. Toss is the occasional pricey flip-flop or Nike cross-trainer should need arise.

I myself am partial to my Ahnus, the best feel on my reconstructed foot but I managed a darling pair of black satin strappies for the wedding. And they weren't even new. I got them for our New York trip last summer and wore them on our dinner cruise around Manhattan. Way comfortable and broken in...although I changed into some Vera Wang ballet flats for the reception.

But how about my babygirl and her yellow shoes? Long a fan of "Chuck Taylors" combined with fancy duds, she always wore matching Chucks with her sorority formals, and her brother wore spankin' new Chucks with his own wedding tux five years ago. Oh yeah, she wore the strappies for the ceremony but partied on all night long with those Chucks.

Do I have cool kids or what?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tanya Writes About...a picture being worth a thousand words.

Just finished: Cranberry Hearts, Barbour Anthology. A+

It's hard getting back to the blog. I don't know why I thought I'd have more time now that the wedding is over! There are tons of pictures to go through, memories to relive. Wedding roses to dry. Real life going on. And a Christian inspirational novella I'm finishing up...(a new genre for me, as well as a contemporary setting. Wish me luck!)

So here's a baby GQ moment for you. The Ring bearer. Is he adorable or what?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tanya Writes About A Wedding...and an Anniversary

Last week, we shared our daughter in marriage. There's no "giving away" for us. She's got a lovely man who treats her right...who treats her the way her daddy has treated me for 35 years this very day. I adopted a star for him so it can shine down on us, always, until the end of our days.

So, this one's for you, babe:


We've been together since way back when
Sometimes I never want to see you again
But I want you to know, after all these years
You're still the one I want whisperin' in my ear

You're still the one I want to talk to in bed
Still the one that turns my head
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

I looked at your face every day
But I never saw it 'til I went away
When winter came, I just wanted to go
Deep in the desert, I longed for the snow

You're still the one that makes me laugh
Still the one that's my better half
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

You're still the one that makes me strong
Still the one I want to take along
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

Changing, our love is going gold
Even though we grow old, it grows new

You're still the one that I love to touch
Still the one and I can't get enough
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

You're still the one who can scratch my itch
Still the one and I wouldn't switch
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

You are still the one that makes me shout
Still the one that I dream about
We're still having fun, and you're still the one...

You're still the one, for now, for ever. For ever and ever AMEN.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tanya Writes About "My Little Girl"

Oh, it was the best daddy-daughter dance ever. Yes, they practiced. Had a private lesson. Did I sob? No. Did I get misty and teary-eyed? Yes. How could I not? It was the moment I'd dreamed about since she was born, made even more real during the nightmare of her dad's illness last year.

You're beautiful, baby, from the outside in. Both of you! oxoxoxoxox

My Little Girl

Gotta hold on easy as I let you go.
Gonna tell you how much I love you, though you think you already know.
I remember I thought you looked like an angel wrapped in pink so soft and warm.
You've had me wrapped around your finger since the day you were born.

You're beautiful baby from the outside in.
Chase your dreams but always know the road that'll lead you home again.
Go on, take on this whole world.
But to me you know you'll always be, my little girl.

When you were in trouble that crooked little smile could melt my heart of stone.
Now look at you, I've turned around and you've almost grown.
Sometimes you're asleep I whisper "I Love You!" in the moonlight at your door.
As I walk away, I hear you say, "Daddy Love You More!".

You're beautiful baby from the outside in.
Chase your dreams but always know the road that'll lead you home again.
Go on, take on this whole world.
But to me you know you'll always be, my little girl.

Someday, some boy will come and ask me for your hand.
But I won't say "yes" to him unless I know, he's the half
that makes you whole, he has a poet's soul, and the heart of a man's man.
I know he'll say that he's in love.
But between you and me. He won't be good enough!

You're beautiful baby from the outside in.
Chase your dreams but always know the road that'll lead you home again.
Go on, take on this whole world.
But to me you know you'll always be, my little girl.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tanya Writes About, well, being a MOBster

(No. She did not Say Yes to this Dress. But it was, briefly, a contender.)

Current read: (not a lot of time these days. These are great stories but I'm not quite done with the last one...) Cranberry Hearts, Barbour anthology.

We're in the countdown now. Nine months of planning have evaporated into six more days. Bridesmaids' luncheon is tomorrow...I'm finishing up the ring-bearer pillow, made from a scrap of the white satin I used to make her presentation dress for the sorority during Parents Weekend not all that long ago...fellow Cactus Rose author Paty Jager is filling in for me next Wednesday at Petticoats and Pistols...

Tuxes to get. Yellow satin ribbons to tie around the programs. Envelopes to address for the wedding favors--LIVESTRONG yellow bracelets. Mani-pedi, Massage. Last Wednesday's practice daddy-daughter dance (to Tim McGraw's "My Little Girl") had me so misted up I know I'll be comatose during The Real Thing.

That's because my hero told me, when the testicular cancer diagnosis smacked us in the head: Oh, I want to live to give my daughter away at her wedding.

Well, praise God. He's getting his wish!

I blogged a while back about the bone spur getting removed from my right foot. My intent was to heal up in time to get some kick-ass stilettos for the wedding. but I've have to content myself with three fun pairs of ballet slippers for the dancing part. I'll gut it through the black satin strappies during the ceremony. (I will not of course, wear all three. But I haven't yet decided which pair will make the cut. There is one pair, the Vera Wangs I did NOT get on sale, that will likely make the cut.)

After The Wedding is heartbreakingly over, and the lovebirds are sunning it up in Aruba, I'll get back to the blog with some of my good reviews for Marrying Minda and my oxymoronic goal to write an erotic short story AND an inspirational novella at the same time.

Do you think it can be done?

Be patient when nothing new appears here for a while. I've got a lot on that tiered crystal cake plate. So I'll leave you with an Old Scots Song.

The woman wasna taken
From Adam's head, ya know,
So she must no command him,
(yeah right...this is me.)
'Tis evidently so;
The woman wasna taken from Adam's feet, you see,
So he must no abuse her--
The meaning seems to be.
The woman she was ta'en
From under Adam's arm,
Which shows he must protect her
From injury and harm.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tanya Writes About...Marriage

Current read: Cranberry Hearts, Barbour anthology

Here are some witticisms to share while we await our daughter's wedding day...and while I scour the attic to find the garter I wore for her something borrowed. Something, blue, and something old. One fell swoop. I easily found for her the sixpence I wore in my shoe, but the garter is playing a gosh darned game of hide-in-seek.

On marriage:

To have and to hold. from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.
--Book of Common Prayer

Marriage resembles a pair of shears, so joined that they cannot e separated; often moving in opposite directions, yet always punishing anyone who comes between them.
--Sydney Smith

No matter how happily a woman may be married, it always pleases her to discover that there is a nice man who wishes that she were not.
--H.L. Mencken

Many a man has fallen in love with a girl in a light so dim he couldn't have chosen a suit by it.
--Maurice Chevalier

What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
--Matthew XIX, vi

Well, time to dig some more...