Review of *To Tame a Montana Heart*

I just finished reading Dawn Luedecke’s western historical romance To Tame a Montana Heart. Let me say up front that this was a laugh out loud in many parts read. This romance was also unique in that this was the first I’ve ever read which incorporated a lost camel. But, who wouldn’t fall in love with a dromedary named “Clyde”?  Or a daschund puppy named “Killler”? Even though many of the standard tropes were included in this novel, it never read clichéd. There were cattle rustlers, rodeo events, horse racing (an event that Clyde won—you have to read the novel to find out why and how), an evil twin, and cliff hanging danger.
The characters were well drawn and as the book drew to a close, I found myself wishing for more. Dusty Larson is an incredibly deep character, full of surprises. All she wants to do is ranch work, and she’s a cracker-jack bronco buster. House-keeping is certainly not high on her list of priorities. Travis Simms is practically oozing with sensuality, but after a disastrous relationship, he is not in the market for anything even resembling a wife or marriage. All he wants to do is build his hotel. 
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good western historical romance. It had me turning the pages.

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The Children of Perseus

I have just spent the last hour or so sitting outside in a reclining lawn chair gazing up into a very clear sky. The Milky Way was brilliant tonight—and while looking up into that dazzling display, I remembered a trip to Wyoming when we took the daughter of a family friend with us and we went to the observation point on Libby Flats in the Medicine Bow Range. Rachel’s awed comment of “They really do twinkle” when she saw the stars from that vantage point still echoes in me and makes me smile.
Milky Way over Devil’s Tower, WY

Tonight, the Perseid meteoroid shower was spectacular. The Perseids are associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle and are so-called because the point from which they appear to come, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus.
Perseid meteor shower

The shower is visible from mid-July each year, with the peak in activity being between August 9 and 14. The Perseid meteor shower has been observed for about 2,000 years, with the earliest information on this meteor shower coming from the Far East. Some Catholics refer to the Perseids as the “tears of St. Lawrence” because August 10 is the date of that saint’s martyrdom. During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour. They can be seen all across the sky, but because of the path of Swift-Tuttle’s orbit, Perseids are primarily visible in the northern hemisphere. As with all meteor showers, the rate is greatest in the pre-dawn hours, since the side of the Earth nearest to turning into the sun scoops up more meteors as the Earth moves through space. The name derives in part from the word Perseides, a term found in Greek mythology referring to the sons of Perseus. In that mythology, Perseus is the demi-god who finally brought an end to Medusa.

Perseus taking Medusa’s head
The sons of Perseus…shooting stars originating in the constellation Perseus…watching those bright splashes of light streak across the sky made me think of something that Carl Sagan once said. All the building blocks to life can be found in the stars, so we literally are the children of the stars.When I first saw the PBS series Cosmos, I fell in love with science and math, thanks to Dr. Sagan. He explained things in a manner that even I could grasp. I will admit, readily, that advanced math scared the crap out of me and I struggled with advanced mathematical concepts. The first book I ever bought for myself that wasn’t fiction was the companion edition of Cosmos. I devoured that book.
If you get the chance, if you live in an area without a lot of light pollution and the skies are clear around dawn, go outside and look up. Follow the path that a shooting star makes across the sky. Make a wish. And, live up to your parentage. You are a child of the stars.

The Value of Place

I’m blogging from Laramie tonight. We’re on our annual trip to Wyoming. For Ken, it’s a chance to unwind and enjoy time without having the pressures of treating someone’s beloved pet weighing on him. For me, it isn’t an annual trip—it’s a necessary pilgrimage to wide open spaces, to places that call my name, to someplace that renews my soul. A few days before we left for this trip, I was on the phone with one of my friends and that friend said “Wyoming is so desolate.” Without even a second’s hesitation, I said, “Yes, Wyoming is desolate, but there is an incredible, awesome beauty in that desolation.”

My DH heard me say that and when I hung up the phone, he was almost laughing. He said that when I talk about Wyoming and how much I love this place, I sound like I’m talking about a cherished loved one. And, he’s right. There is something so incredible about this place, something that I need and that I love beyond all reason. There is an intangible wealth in the value of place. Every place has value, both tangible and intangible.
For me the intangible is the renewing of my soul. For some people, attending a religious event renews them. For me, to be in this place so full of natural cathedrals, is a renewal of my spiritual and emotional batteries.

For the last several weeks, I’ve been struggling with my writing life. My Muse, while She hasn’t been absent, has not been cooperative. The other day while we were driving through the Big Horns, my Muse began speaking. Thankfully, my son was driving—which is an unusual event in itself because I usually drive in Wyoming. I pulled out a note pad and a pen and began to scribble as quickly as I could. I filled almost five pages with notes and scene snippets.
I truly believe if I had the opportunity to hole up somewhere in this state, with several cases of diet cokes, a few cartons of cigarettes, and electricity, I could fully produce a novel in two weeks. (And before anyone says anything about the cigarettes, when I’m writing I may light up, but beyond the first drag, I don’t smoke. The cigarette will literally sit in the ash tray and burn down to a long cylinder of ash.) It was freeing to write longhand and just scribble whatever came to mind and trying to get everything written down. It’s been a long time since I have had that kind of inspiration and it literally came to me out of the blue. I wasn’t thinking about writing or creating anything and I had finally allowed my mind to wander. Within moments, I was struck with that inspiration.
So, if I disappear for several weeks, don’t come looking for me in Wyoming. I don’t want to be found. The Muse and I will be communing. And, that is the value of this place that I so cherish and honor. Wyoming is my Muse.