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...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tanya Writes About the Lunar Module

Current read: Cranberry Hearts Anthology, Barbour Press
Just finished: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Katherine Howe. Grade B+

However, the module is a woman!

Now, I agonize over names. Nothing named by me, whether child, pet, or fictional character is done lightly. So I have a great interest in the names selected by other people.

When his daughter was born forty years ago on the day Apollo 11 landed on the moon, Eddie McGhee celebrated in full and named her Module. Yes, Module. Not Edwina after Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin or Michaela after Michael Collins. Not even Eagle, for "The Eagle Has Landed."


A mother and special education teacher, Module claims she's always loved her name, and as far as I can tell, she never shortened it.

"My name has opened the door in some places," says the Columbus, Georgia, resident. It's even helped in job interviews in giving prospective bosses something different to talk about.

Her dad felt her name was appropriate for the historic event. Truth to tell, he wanted to name her Lunar Module McGhee, but her mom pooh-poohed it. It didn't quite sound right, mama said.

I remember Moon Unit Zappa calling herself plain Moon. Lunar could feminize it to Luna...and Module could have nicknamed herself Maude. Or even a more timely Mod.

But then she wouldn't have the most unique name ever!

Hmmmmmmmm. A romance heroine named Module? Could open some doors!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tanya Writes About...Petticoats and Orange Slices

When it rains, it pours! I'm featured at two blogs today and would love for you to stop by. Comment and mention my blogspot to be included in a name-draw for an e-copy of Marrying Minda.

At Petticoats, I am all about my daughter's upcoming wedding. Stop by and see what a flock of birds has to do with a wedding, besides being a potential air-strike hazard.

And my "newbie" advice at Orange County Chapter RWA just might be helpful.

Hope to see you there!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tanya Writes About the First Food and Drink on The Moon

Just finished: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by
Katherine Howe, Grade B+
Current read: Cranberry Hearts, Barbour Anthology

During that remarkable moon landing forty years ago today, the Apollo 11 crew had a variety of freeze-dried meals that needed a squirt of water and smushing around in the bag before eating. There wasn't any hot water aboard the Lunar Module. Sounds yummy , huh?

No surprise, maybe, that the first things a man ate and drank on the moon were a Communion wafer and a thimbleful of wine!

Presbyterian church elder Buzz Aldrin had been given a home Communion kit by his pastor in suburban take to the moon. The kit contained a wafer, a tiny vial of wine, and a thumb-sized silver chalice.

However, NASA had urged Aldrin not to celebrate the sacrament publicly. You see, atheist activist Madelyn Murray O'Hare had already made a giant stink and filed a lawsuit (Now, there's tolerance for ya!) because the Apollo 8 crew had read from Genesis for all the world to hear as their craft orbited the Moon on Christmas Eve 1968.

Instead, Aldrin radioed shortly after the moon landing, asking all listeners to observe a few moments of silence and give thanks in their own way.

He turned off the mike and administered Communion to himself while Armstrong watched silently. Aldrin poured the wine, read a few lines of scripture from a card, and partook of the Sacrament. It was many years before he told anybody about his Communion on the Moon. Today a recovering alcoholic, Aldrin is outspoken about his battle with alcohol and his 30 years of sobriety.

The little chalice that went to the moon was returned to Webster Presbyterian Church, now locked in a safe-deposit box. The church uses a replica chalice every year in a service celebrating the first moon landing forty years ago today.

Forty years ago tonight, I stood outside, chills rustling my spine on the hot summer night as I marveled that human beings were up there, so high. In this morning's paper, a local professor mentioned somewhat disheartened, that his 19-20 year old students disbelieve the moon landing, it was faked, a giant ruse.

Oh, the cynicism. Popular culture isn't a very fun place to be sometimes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tanya Writes About Seau again...

Current read: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by Katherine Howe

I had lunch with my good friend Maxine yesterday and she extolled about Marrying Minda...and the bio page...except that it mentions my two very spoiled black Labs. Minda was already in production before our sweethearts had to cross the Rainbow Bridge.

How I still mourn and always will. I still see Marl standing at the end of the breezeway between our house and the fence, running into my arms after I loaded the garbage can. Seau's tail still echoes each morning, bashing happiness against the wood floors.

But I realized I had to do one last sad thing: notify the doggie-day care kennel that, this summer, they wouldn't have our sweet boy to tend. I not only got lovely condolences in an e-mail, but we also got a hand-created card signed by all the attendants. Eveybody included a comment. Oh, how my heart is warmed.

Sorry for your loss. Seau was a wonderful dog. He will be dearly missed. Love, Dawn

Seau was so sweet and we will think of him fondly. Thank you for letting us take care of him. Love, Judy

I'm sorry for your loss. Seau was such a sweet boy. I will miss his cute face. Tina

Seau was a great dog and we will all miss him. Anthony

I am so sorry to hear about Seau. He was such a wonderful dog. He made such a good friend and was a joy to just hang out with. I will miss him. oxox Jenny

Love back to all of you at Flying High Pet Resort.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tanya Writes About "Time Travel"

Howdy, ya’ll. Guess what? It’s possible to time-travel in Southern California not far from my homestead! Just twenty minutes from the coastal town of Santa Barbara, you’ll find Cold Spring Tavern, an original stage-coach stop that hasn’t changed much at all in 130 years.

Since my current release, Marrying Minda, starts out with a mail-order bride arriving in a strange town by stagecoach --wearing her white wedding gown no less, you could say I’ve got stagecoaches on the brain. And any time, any reason, Cold Spring Tavern is one of my favorite places to go. Although its name suggests just one spring, truth is, some 52 springs burble on the property set in a rustic, woodsy mountainside on the San Marcos Pass. If you come for lunch on a cold day, you can enjoy a gorgeous rock fireplace roaring with heat…and small wood-burning stoves throughout the tiny rooms.

Although game meat is often featured on the daily menu, my favorite is the chili burger…with extra pickle. Whenever I need an old-style western fix, my hubby and I take a drive through the pass and get lunch at the tavern.

The “necessary” is still an outhouse…with modern plumbing, and pictures and newspaper articles of the tavern’s past life adorn the walls. Built in 1856 for travelers braving San Marcos Pass, the tavern’s various owners have, fortunately, protected its original Old West appearance. Started in 1886 as a relay station for stagecoaches, the tavern saw drivers exchanging horses and adding two more for the arduous trip over the mountains. Passengers could stop for meals that, according to legend, were as delicious then as now.

Chinese laborers constructing the “turnpike” over San Marcos Pass in 1868 bunked in the old "Road Gang House" still situated on the property. Featured on many TV shows and at least once a movie set, the tavern has over the years hosted celebrities whose visits the owners do not publicize because “that’s why they come here.” A regular visitor brought his elderly father recently who claimed the place hadn’t changed a whit since his first visit years ago. That is my idea of preserving history!

In a recent poll. Cold Spring Tavern has been voted the most romantic place in California. I couldn’t agree more. If you’re ever in the Santa Barbara area, make sure you relax in the Old West ambience of Cold Spring Tavern. Although it isn’t far off the “turnpike” (aka Highway 154), it’s hidden a mile or so up the mountain, and you are literally in another world, far away from modern hustle and bustle.

Here’s a short excerpt of Minda Becker arriving in Paradise to marry….the wrong man. I’m thrilled her story has been a top seller at TWRP since its release. Enjoy!

Paradise, Nebraska, July 1878

Where is Norman Dale?

Minda’s heart thumped. The noon stage had run late, so he had plenty of time to get here. Unless he had backed out.

She swallowed hard. Nowhere on the empty street did she see a bridegroom bearing a bouquet of her favorite white roses.The gulp turned into a sob. They had signed a legal contract fair and square, and the dry official document hadn’t stopped them from falling a little bit in love with each other. His letters had been full of compliments and promises and excitement, too, about meeting face-to-face.
And today was the day.

Even in the stuffy interior of the stagecoach, Minda shivered with a chill of unease. After tossing her valises on the boardinghouse steps, the driver lifted her down. Minda shrugged out of the long linen duster she’d worn as protection against the grime of travel, for underneath she wore her wedding gown. Norman Dale’s last letter had sweetly insisted they wed the minute she arrived.

Trying to impart a radiant smile, she paid no heed to the reactions of her fellow travelers. The woman wearing an old-style coal-scuttle bonnet of green gingham had chatted pleasantly for the last five miles, but upon seeing Minda’s silk and lace, her mouth turned wide and silent as a full moon. And a grubby codger leered while showing off his two brown teeth.

She ignored them just as she’d paid no heed to her younger sisters’ claims that a spinster didn’t need a lovely white wedding gown. Well, Minda Becker might be a spinster and a mail-order bride on top of it. But she was a bride, and she was going to do it right.

In the hot dust of the departing stage, she drooped in disillusion at the hard-luck little town. Norman Dale’s letters had glorified Paradise. Truth to tell, her new hometown was one brick building and a dozen false-front wooden structures with miles of cornfields and prairie grass billowing around the edges. Her bridegroom’s own farm and fine wooden house must lie quite a ways outside of town.

She caught sight of a trim white church down the street and the slew horses and wagons hitched to rough-hewn posts along its side. Relief as sweet as her silk dress flooded her. Of course. Norman Dale must be busy greeting wedding guests who waited on a bride delayed by a stage running late. Of course he’d be along in a minute to fetch her. They’d already agreed to march up the aisle together. A widower had no reason to wait at the altar for a mail-order bride who had no one to give her away.

Past the church, tables piled with platters and baskets sat in the shade of big cottonwoods along the riverbank. Her wedding dinner. Goodness, she was about to become Mrs. Norman Dale Haynes. With a quiver of delight, she shook dust and wrinkles from her skirts and walked up the boardinghouse steps to seek a mirror and a bowl of cool water for freshening.

But a closed sign hung on the lopsided door. Minda smiled at her reflection in the grimy window anyway. Likely the innkeeper was a wedding guest already at church. After digging through a valise, she brought out the veil she’d fashioned from odds and ends at the millinery back home. Just touching the beautiful headpiece set a new flock of butterflies aflutter inside her belly. The froth of netting cascaded from a wreath of roses she’d crafted from scraps of ivory velvet.

As she arranged the veil, she heard her name. However, the angle of reflection didn’t let her see the speaker.

“Miz Becker? You are Minda Becker, right?”

She turned to see a man approaching, tall and lean in his Sunday best, awkwardly carrying her bridal bouquet.

Mr. Norman Dale Haynes. She couldn’t stop the outtake of breath. He was much younger and far more handsome than the daguerreotype he had sent her. Hair dark as midnight brushed each side of his neck, and tall as he was, her head wouldn’t reach his shoulder. Her face warmed. It wouldn’t take long at all to give him her whole heart.

Or her body.

Her heart hammered beneath her whalebone corset. Heat that had nothing to do with the weather poured over her like new milk. Merciful heavens, he must have wed young the first time around to have the teenage daughter he needed her to raise.
This man didn’t appear to have any flaws at all.

She tingled from top to toe, recalling how her three married sisters, with many blushes, had explained the delights of the marriage bed. She wanted the same for herself.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tanya Writes Again About Her Real-Life Hero

Currently reading: The Physick of Deliverance Dane/Katherine Howe
Recently finished: Pillars of the Earth/Ken Follet, Grade A+
Recently finished (second time) Angels and Demons/Dan Brown, Grade B

Well, I started this blog 18 months ago to promo my book, Midnight Bride. But the day the book was released, my husband (my hero) got a diagnosis that changed our lives and the very way we think about living: Life is a gift!

You have testicular cancer.

Needless to say, I lost it. A book was the least of my concerns. He was everything, and still is. In an effort to keep sane, this blog became "the hero's journey" as I unloaded, cried, prayed in the deep dark hours of endless nights. During the three months of chemo (a treatment called BEP) I found I couldn't read or write a single thing ...except during the early hours of sleeplessness, I unloaded in the blog. We actually found out the cancer is a result of 34 years of firefighting! Go figure. Save lives to almost lose your own!

Fortunately, after surgery and the terrifically brutal chemotherapy treatment (during which several times I was sure I had lost him), we heard the fantastic words, "you're in remission," and he's been cancer-free now for over 15 months. We expect a full long healthy life for him. And ever since he got his stamina back, we've been on the move. There is always some place we haven't been yet (like New York City where we celebrated his life last summer) to places we like to go back to (like Palm Springs, three week ago). So after the nightmare comes the wonder of life and health and love.

And my hero reading my latest book, Marrying Minda, in public, poolside, at the hotel.

Now, how's that for a true hero?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tanya Writes About the Tuxedo!


Today's my blog day at the wonderful all-Western site sponsored by a baker's dozen of award-winning Western romance authors. Do stop by Petticoats and Pistols where I'm featuring the history of the well as some pix of the up-coming ring bearer.

See you there!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tanya Writes About NOT Getting Rid of Your Pet When You Have A Child

Sincere thanks to Jennie for the blog-swap. I hope to present other fellow Western authors from time-to-time. In the meantime, I hope you'll visit me and my filly friends at Petticoats and Pistols, an all-Western romance site. There's always something fun going on.

Today is just for fun. You may have already gotten the "Reasons for Not Getting Rid of Your Pet When You have A Child" e-mail that's circulating the web, (as if any soul-less person could do that!) but I couldn't resist. It's two months now since we said good-bye to Seau, almost a year since Marley crossed the Rainbow Bridge...