<![CDATA[Tanya Stowe - Tanya\'s Travel Topics]]>Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:19:32 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[England]]>Sat, 24 Jun 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/england
​The lovely thing about the part of England I live in, is you don't have to travel far to find a park. Last week, hubby and I went on a tour of Woodley and found about six or seven parks right on our doorstep. And I'm not talking small kids play areas either. Large parks where you can walk around a lake, picnic under the trees, or let the kids run up the hill and down the other side under the shade of huge willow trees. Feed the ducks, run away from the geese and then sit and eat ice cream. 
 
Or in my case sit and write a chunk of the next novel. Part of All that Glitters was written in a park like this. And made its way into the book as well. Headley Cross where the book is based is my home town - under a different name of course. So the church and so on really exist. 
 
We do have one treasure here. Tucked away on the edge of Dinton Pastures, next to a field of grazing cows, is the Berkshire Museum of Aviation. The plane in the photo is the Queen's plane. Now retired, this was the plane she flew to Kenya on in 1952 as a princess, and returned on as Queen. 
Clare is a British author. She lives in a small town in England with her husband, whom she married in 1992, and her three children. Writing from a early childhood and encouraged by her teachers, she graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fanfiction to using her own original characters and enjoys writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children's stories. When she's not writing, she can be found reading, crocheting or doing the many piles of laundry the occupants of her house manage to make.
Her books are based in the UK, with a couple of exceptions, thus, although the spelling may be American, the books contain British language and terminology.
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<![CDATA[Rio de Janeiro]]>Tue, 30 May 2017 21:41:50 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/rio-de-janeiroBy Theresa Lynn Hall
​One of the perks of being a fiction writer is that you can visit places in your mind without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home. The downside to that is you can only learn so much though pictures and articles. Luckily, my husband travels a lot for business. I’m not able to go with him since I’m a teacher, but he does take pictures for me and he loves to tell me about his trips when he returns. In 2013, he was in Rio de Janeiro for two weeks. It just so happened to fall during the Easter holiday. On Easter Sunday, he took a trip to see Christ the Redeemer. He took some amazing pictures, which he says do not do it justice. The trip alone was exhausting, since he had to climb many flights of stairs to get to the top. 
While in Brazil he also stayed in Sao Paolo for a little over a week, riding to his job site with a native Brazilian. He was scared for his life every time he got into the car. Apparently, the infrastructure is lacking monitored highways and the speed limit is just however fast you can go that day.


The language spoken in Rio is Portuguese, which might sound a little like Spanish, but it’s definitely not the same. Most of the time, the hotel desk clerks do not speak English. Just trying to get in touch with him at the hotel was a fiasco for me. During his stay there, one of the things he noticed was how dramatically different the economy changed from one section of the cities to the next. The countryside was dotted with small wooden houses, the pristine beaches were lined with hotels and condos, but just minutes from the bustling tourist attractions were rows and rows of shanty towns, or favelas, that seemed stacked into the hillsides. The natives told him not to venture too far from the city because of the crime in those poverty- stricken areas. 

Right after my husband returned from his trip, Pelican Book Group opened a new series called Passport to Romance. One of the cities listed was Rio. The ideas began to churn and Ransom in Rio was born. Lexi’s family business began in Rio with her grandfather before moving it to the United States. At her father’s wishes, she travels back to Rio where she discovers family secrets she never knew existed.  In Ransom in Rio, I wanted to show the diversity of the Brazilian economy, and the familial ties of the people and their culture. I hope you enjoy the trip to Rio with Lexi and Brayden as much as I did. 


You can follow Theresa here:

www.theresalynnhall.com
www.theresalynnhall.com/blog
www.facebook.com/theresalynnhall
www.twitter.com/theresalynnhall
www.pinterest.com/theresalynnhall
www.instagram.com/theresalynnhall

A native Texan, Theresa loves to write suspenseful stories that happen in small Texas towns with old fashioned Southern values.  She’s an elementary teacher and mom to two boys—the oldest being in law enforcement, which comes in handy when she’s researching. When she’s not teaching kids or writing, she loves to cook, read a good suspense, and binge-watch episodes of Dateline. She is a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America) and ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). She actively promotes fellow Christian Fiction authors on her blog. She also loves to hear from readers who enjoy Christian Fiction and can be found at www.theresalynnhall.com and @theresalynnhall.  

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 OUT NOW

 SOUTHERN COMFORT
Beth McDonald has a secret– a secret that is costing a lot of people their lives. With no where to turn, she leaves her dream job in the city behind and heads for small, town Texas to a place where no one will find her. Tired of running, she turns to the sheriff for help and soon finds herself fighting for more than just her life.



​Sheriff Clint Fisher has his life just where he wants it–peaceful and happy. But when the beautiful D.A. walks into his office, his world is turned upside down. The confident sheriff is pretty sure he can keep her alive…but can he keep her forever?

Buy it Here:

http://amzn.to/2sbGPGN

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OUT JUNE 2017


Private Investigator, Braden McCoy wants nothing more than to finish out the week doing a little fishing from his boat.  The ex-special ops vet enjoys his peaceful life and loves his new career.  He’s learned to put his past behind him and enjoy his blessings.  Until a mourning redhead walks into his office and changes his plans.  
    
Lexi Ramos always knew her family was dysfunctional.  Until the sudden death of her brother, she never knew exactly how much.  Consumed with questions surrounding his accident, she seeks the help of a private investigator.  What starts out as a murder investigation in Cozumel, quickly crosses borders and escalates into a race against time to save them both from Brazilian kidnappers, who somehow know more about her family secrets than she does.  Lexi soon realizes that life comes with a price. 


Buy it Here:

http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37_46&products_id=809

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<![CDATA[A Jurassic-era Park in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains]]>Mon, 01 May 2017 21:08:34 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/a-jurassic-era-park-in-colorados-rocky-mountains​By Davalynn Spencer
​If you’re looking to break out of the confines of time, and travel back in history, then plan a trip to Cañon City, Colorado, and the nearby Garden Park area.
 
You won’t be the first to notice the colorful bluffs and unusual land forms that have harbored prehistoric secrets for thousands of years.
 
Settled in the early 1860s, Cañon City nearly foundered as men left for the Civil War. But war’s end and the Westward Expansion sent many families hunting brighter futures, and people returned to the fertile land along the Arkansas River. Cañon City served as the gateway to the Rocky Mountains, where the mighty Arkansas roared through an unforgiving granite canyon known today as the Royal Gorge.
 
Fossil discoveries of the 1870s and 1880s in the Garden Park area north of town led to the famous “Bone Wars” between rival paleontologists, O.C. Marsh and E.D. Cope. Local rancher, Marshall P. Felch, spent years working and mapping the dig sites on behalf of Marsh for Yale University.
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In 1886, Garden Park gave up its first magnificent stegosaurus skeleton, and the area continued to provide some of the most well-preserved Jurassic period remains.
 
However, long before university professors began sparring over the finds, local Ute tribes and early settlers had already come across the prehistoric bones. A few early merchandisers even sold fossils as souvenirs and oddities in curio shops.
 
I mention a curio shop in one of my three Cañon City historical novels, Romancing the Widow, set in 1888 during the height of the Bone Wars. Young widow Martha Stanton compares her life to the dusty fossil remains found in Garden Park, and even participates in some of the digs.
 
In reality roughly fifty years later, another fossilized stegosaurus was discovered in 1937 by local high school teacher and Geology Club officer, Carl Kessler. That 23-foot long treasure stands today in Denver’s Museum of Nature and Science. Kessler’s find later inspired a student-driven campaign that resulted in the declaration of the stegosaurus as the Colorado State Fossil in 1982.
 
Ten years later, that declaration was further solidified when the world’s most complete stegosaurus skeleton was excavated from the Garden Park area, skull included, and air-lifted via Chinook helicopter for further study and preservation.

Marsh-Felch Quarry from the hiking trail in Garden Park.

​Today tourists can visit the real site where my fictional heroine, Martha, explored. The Marsh-Felch Quarry is located off Garden Park Road (Red Canyon Road) and can be accessed via a self-guided, well-marked, quarter-mile hiking trail with informative exhibits along the way.
 
Skyline Drive west of Cañon City also offers not only a breathtaking vista of the surrounding area, but dinosaur footprints embedded in the jutting rock.
 
Colorado Jeep Tours http://coloradojeeptours.com/ offers guided tours of the Cañon City area, and a few miles up U.S. Highway 50, visitors can enjoy a stop at the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience with kid-friendly activities and spectacular exhibits. https://www.facebook.com/RGDinoXP/
 

A convex trail of dinosaur footprints along the uplift of Skyline Drive west of Cañon City, CO.

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Romancing the Widow
by Davalynn Spencer

*Winner of Will Rogers Gold Medallion for inspirational Western fiction.

Martha Stanton Isn't Looking for Love 
The light went out of Martha's soul when her husband fell to a bullet in St. Louis. Now, back in her hometown of Cañon City, she's convinced she'll never know happiness again. Until she crosses paths with a darkly mysterious Colorado Ranger. 

Haskell Jacobs has a mission. And the beautiful, flame-haired widow sure isn't it. But Martha is somehow mixed up in the crime that brought Haskell to the rough-and-tumble town…and soon, she's entangled in the lawman's heart. But the danger that lurks around them is all too real. Can they find strength and love in each other before it's too late?

You can find Davalynn here:
http://davalynnspencer.com/blog/
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<![CDATA[Boston]]>Fri, 07 Apr 2017 02:45:15 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/boston​By Sarah Sundin 
​There’s something about Boston. Maybe it’s because I grew up in California with its dearth of historical sites. Maybe it’s my New England ancestral roots. Maybe it’s because the Bicentennial fell in my formative years. My fascination with the city has been fueled by several visits.
 
When I began planning my Waves of Freedom series with its focus on the Battle of the Atlantic, I needed an East Coast city with a naval presence. Boston fit. In 2014, I was blessed to be able to take a research trip, and I was struck by how Boston’s revolutionary roots highlighted the upheaval and mystery in my series.
 
The first book, Through Waters Deep, is set in 1941, when Americans debated going to war. Like in 1775. In both years, Americans faced a decision—do we continue life as before, or do we fight for freedom? In both years, America was bitterly divided—Patriots vs. Tories in 1775, isolationists vs. interventionists in 1941.
 
The second book, Anchor in the Storm, is set in early 1942, when German U-boats ravaged Allied shipping along the East Coast. The situation seemed as dire as in the early days of the Revolutionary War. The characters in the novel are encouraged by how the Minutemen fought despite overwhelming odds and probable defeat.
 
The third book, When Tides Turn, is set in late 1942 and early 1943, when the battle climaxed and turned in the Allies’ favor, just as the Revolutionary War turned into one of history’s most surprising victories.
 
In the series, I enjoyed featuring bits of Bostonian history during the 1940s. Did you know . . . ?
 
In 1942, the golden dome of the Massachusetts State House was painted black as an air raid precaution!
On November 28, 1942, the infamous Cocoanut Grove Fire killed 492 people in the second-largest fire in US history. The tragedy plays a role in When Tides Turn.
 
Important technological research was performed at the Navy’s Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit in Boston and the civilian Radiation Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—research that helped defeat the U-boats and created half the radar systems used by the US in World War II.
 
At the Boston Navy Yard (currently the Charlestown Navy Yard), six thousand ships were constructed, repaired, or outfitted from 1939-1945. At the start of the war, women worked only as telephone operators or in clerical positions (the heroine in Through Waters Deep works there as a secretary—and solves a mystery). As the war progressed, women were hired for more types of jobs. At the peak in 1943, the Boston Navy Yard employed 50,000 people, 20 percent of whom were women. The ladies of the Navy’s WAVES program played an important role there too—which is featured in When Tides Turn.
 
From its revolutionary roots to its vital impact during World War II, Boston has continued to play an important role in American history.

Plus, Boston cream pie.
 

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Sarah Sundin is the author of nine historical novels, including When Tides Turn. Her novel Through Waters Deep was a finalist for the 2016 Carol Award, won the INSPY Award, and was named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. She also enjoys speaking for church, community, and writers’ groups.



​Please visit her at http://www.sarahsundin.com.



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​When Quintessa Beaumont learns the US Navy has established the WAVES program for women, she enlists, eager to throw off her frivolous ways and contribute to the war effort. Lt. Dan Avery employs his skills in antisubmarine warfare to fight U-boats at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, but the last thing he wants to see on his radar is fun-loving Tess. As Dan and Tess work together in Boston, the changes in Tess challenge his notions—and his heart.
 

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<![CDATA[The Philippines]]>Wed, 01 Mar 2017 04:00:45 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/the-philippinesBy Jan Elder
I heard from a writer friend that Pelican Book Group was looking for novellas for their Passport to Romance series (http://pelicanbookgroup.com/). One of the countries I could choose from was the Philippines. A perfect fit, because my brother has lived in a suburb of Manila for over thirty years.

He’s a missionary/seminary professor and I was privileged to visit him a few years ago. He’s always talked about how difficult it is for a busy missionary man to find a good woman. Wouldn’t it be a great deal easier to just send out an application and choose a mate without all that fuss, muss, and emotional business? 

He was kidding of course (I think), but hey, what if he wasn’t? What if there was a man out there who had the audacity to advertise for a wife in this day and age? What started out as a joke made for a good book premise.

Manila and vicinity is a bizarre and striking mix of wealth and splendor existing side by side with extreme poverty. Mansions next to shacks. Lush tropical growth adjacent to dusty streets. A country of contrasts. What I loved the best, by far, was the unreserved graciousness of the Filipino people. So friendly, so generous, so welcoming!

Connect with Jan Elder:
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Manila Marriage App

It all began as a lark. Shay Callahan’s life was just fine, thank you, but when the seemingly misogynistic missionary, Timothy Flynn, places an advertisement for a wife in a Christian magazine, she decides to give it a whirl and sends in the five-page application. Why not? After all, she’s not currently seeing anyone, and this man truly needs to be taught a lesson.

Finding out she’s Dr. Flynn’s pick of the litter, Shay hops on a plane and flies to The Philippines. The strategy is to jet in, enjoy an exciting two-week vacation, and jet out again, all at his expense. Instead, her plan backfires. The handsome missionary man is not what he seems, and the foreign land has far more to offer than she could imagine.

Embark on a tropical adventure with Shay that challenges everything she believes.


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<![CDATA[ Thoughts on Visiting Israel]]>Fri, 03 Feb 2017 03:43:53 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/-thoughts-on-visiting-israelBy Hope Dougherty
Last March, my husband and I, along with one son and thirty one other people from Texas and New Mexico, toured Israel, the Holy land. Although we normally like finding our own way when we travel, we decided joining a tour this time showed wisdom and caution.

Many people warned us that we began too late because we started seriously making plans the previous fall. Unfortunately, that’s how we roll, but by researching Israel tours on-line, my husband found one from Houston with open spots.

Our tour guide Tali, a Messianic Jew, showed us her homeland and shared insights, personal stories, and history lessons from her perspective.

We had a great trip in a lot of respects. We met wonderful people who love Jesus, have quick senses of humor, and are great conversationalists.

I spent nine days focusing on one son, a rare treat for this mother of four.

We saw beautiful sights, sailed on the Sea of Galilee, rode a camel, floated in the Dead Sea, and ate delicious food. I ate pounds of hummus, an easy feat since it’s served even at breakfast.
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​Looking at Tiberias from the Sea of Galilee

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My camel buddy and new friend, Kelly.

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​My camel driver’s license with my name in Hebrew.

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​The Dead Sea.

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Our meal with Abraham. See him standing in the white robe?

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A double rainbow over the Promised Land after the meal in Abraham's tent.
Beautiful and breathtaking,
and not photo-shopped. (Not included in my skills set.)


After our Israel trip, we tagged on three days in Jordan and observed our other son haggling—in Arabic—with taxi drivers. We met his friends—Muslims and Christians—over there. We ate in his favorite family-owned diner.

We toured Petra and experienced the state of the world now, moving through two security checkpoints, including a pat-down search just to enter our hotel.
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​The treasury at Petra.


Yes, we had a fabulous trip, and I’m grateful for it.
But I know the people who ask me, “Didn’t you love being there? Wasn’t it wonderful?” are really asking a different question. They want to know, “Didn’t you experience Jesus in a real way? Couldn’t you feel His presence like never before?”
 
My answer is, not exactly.

I tingle while visiting the beautiful, traditionally-accepted spot of the Sermon on the Mount. Goosebumps didn’t pop at the traditionally-accepted place Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River.

I had special experiences with our new friends, but they could have happened anywhere in the world. I kept thinking about what the angel told the women at the empty tomb on the third day, “He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.” Matthew 28:6

His footprints marked Israel thousands of years ago, but His fingerprints linger everywhere today.

Praise God we can experience Him anytime, anywhere.


Hope Toler Dougherty holds a Master's degree in English and taught at East Carolina University as well as York Technical College. A member of ACFW, RWA and SinC, she writes for AlmostAnAuthor.com.  She cheers for the Pittsburgh Steelers, ACC basketball, and Army West Point Football. Hope and her husband, Kevin, live in North Carolina and chat with their two daughters and twin sons through ooVoo. Her third novel, a romantic suspense, is scheduled to be published with Mantle Rock Publishing in September.

Visit Hope's website:
http://hopetolerdougherty.com/
 
Connect with Hope:
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AUTHORHOPETOLERDOUGHERTY
Twitter Hope Toler Dougherty (@HopeTDougherty) | Twitter 
Pinterest  www.pinterest.com/hopetdougherty/
Goodreads  www.goodreads.com/author/show/13941031.Hope_Dougherty
 

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<![CDATA[Happy New Year in Across-the-Pond Style]]>Fri, 06 Jan 2017 05:40:21 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/happy-new-year-in-across-the-pond-style​by Marilyn Leach
Wassail, wassail all over the town!
Our toast it is white, and our ale it is brown,
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree;
With the wassailing bowl we’ll drink to thee.
The Gloucestershire Wassail
This song, including its verses that wished prosperity and good health on the household, was first sung on New Year’s Eve in 1864 when greeters lifted their voices  door to door in a small English village.  Their festive bowl was dressed with ribbons, waiting for a tip of ale from those inside the home.  Sounds like a festive time.

But how is the English New Year celebrated in 2016?  I can tell you how my English friends and I celebrated it not long ago.
We decided on a quiet New Year’s Eve, eating finger foods, answering phone calls from well-wishers, (rather than village singers at the door), watching glorious London fireworks, and ringing in the New Year with a toast and hugs all round.  On New Year’s Day we visited St. Alban’s Cathedral in Hertfordshire and took in the holiday splendor.  There was hot soup to be had in the church café, a delight on a cold day.  And that evening, we had a celebratory roast pork dinner, including a yummy English truffle pudding for afters, with near-by family dropping in to join the fun. 

In England, Christmas and New Years are not a couple of especially noted days; rather, it’s an entire season that lasts for weeks.  And New Years is not the end of it.  There’s the Celebration of the Epiphany on January sixth, too.  

From the singing greeters of old, to the revelers of present day, shared wishes were bestowed toward one another for a prosperous and healthy New Year.  And, may the blessings of God’s goodness come to you, as well, in 2017.

Pray God send our master a Happy New Year,
And a happy New Year as e’er he did see.


Marilyn Leach is a dyed-in-the-wool British enthusiast who lives lakeside near the Colorado foothills.  She enjoys viewing and reading mysteries that originate across the pond.  From the Scottish Boarders to Devon, city buzz to rural church bells, she enjoys excursions throughout the beautiful isle that inspire her writing.  Her dear friends, who have become like family, live in Reading, England. 

Find Marilyn here:  marilynleachteaandbooks.com



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In the English village of Aidan Kirkwood, no divine gifts are going spare when Berdie Elliott flames into action and demystifies the enigma of fire.


​Are you an Agatha Christie fan?  Does the thought of an English village make you long to grab your passport and head across the pond?  Are cozy mysteries your cup of tea?  If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you won’t want to miss Marilyn Leach’s newest release, Enigma of Fire
 
Intrepid heroine Berdie Elliott, a vicar’s wife whose sleuthing skills were honed as an investigative reporter, faces her most challenging mystery yet when her husband’s former military comrades come to the sleepy village of Aiden Kirkwood for a sculling regatta.  From its riveting prologue to the final resolution, this story showcases Leach at her best. 
Amanda Cabot, CBA and ECPA bestselling author

Purchase Enigma of Fire here: Amazon.com

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<![CDATA[Teton wagon train]]>Fri, 02 Dec 2016 01:47:06 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/teton-wagon-trainBy Tanya Hanson
A few years ago, I and my hubby, brother-in-law, and sis had the experience of a lifetime, taking a wagon train around the Tetons with an amazing group, headed by wagonmaster Jeff Warburton out of Jackson, Wyoming. He’s a true cowboy and a gentleman
 
Yep. We spent four days circling the Tetons through the Caribou-Targhee National Forest bordering Yellowstone bear country. We didn’t see any bear despite everybody’s secret longing.   Likely the thundering horses and our noisy group skeered ’em away.

​First stop on the bus taking us to the wagons were photo-ops of the Grand lady herself..followed by her neighbor Mount Moran reflected perfectly in a oxbow lake.
 
After a delicious lunch—there’s nothing quite like chuck wagon cooking in the open mountain air—Jeff called, “let the wagons roll” and we were off to our camp for the night.
​Pulling the wagons were magnificent draft horses, Percherons and Belgians. They are named in teams, such as Lady and Tramp, Gun and Smoke, Sandy and Sage, Jack and Jill. The first name is always the horse on the left. These glorious beasts are capable of pulling up to 4,000 pounds as a team, and they love to work. In winter, they lead sleighs to the elk refuge outside Jackson.
 
While the wagons do have rubber tires and padded benches, the gravel roads are nothing like a modern freeway.  Most times our route was called the “cowboy rollercoaster.” 
​Our tents were comfy—all sleeping essentials are provided–, and there was nothing so fine as a cup of Arbuckle’s to warm us up on a chilly morning. One of the nicest parts of the meals was Jeff leading us in a blessing first. Nobody had to join in…but seems like everybody did.
 
Everywhere surrounding us, the Wyoming landscape was full of lakes, greenery and blooming wildflowers.  Nights after the camp quieted down were almost beyond description: the stars are endless, multi-layered, sparkling on forever and ever amen. What a sight.
 
Me and mine, well, we had the time of our life.  And this trip helped inspire my Hearts Crossing Ranch series at Pelican Book Group.
 
As Jeff said when we left, “There’s always be a campfire burnin’ for ya here in Wyomin.”
 
Yep. I’m feeling the warmth right now.
 
Find Tanya Hanson at: 
www.tanyahanson.com
www.petticoatsandpistols.com
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<![CDATA[Louisiana ~ Culture, Food and Fun!]]>Wed, 02 Nov 2016 16:33:57 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/louisiana-culture-food-and-funBy ​Pamela S. Thibodeaux 
Every state, nation and class of people has a rich culture and for the most part, is proud of that. But none I've found in my travels are as varied and proud as that of Louisianans.

The story is as old as time....people burned out of homes, business and churches, herded onto a ship and sent to a place previously uninhabited with nothing but the bare necessities. In the song "Cajun Blood," Jo-El Sonnier says... "They ended up on swampy ground just south of New Orleans with all they needed to survive already in their veins."

This is from which I came.

Rich in tradition, we are a fun-loving lot, with festivals that honor God and the bountiful provisions my ancestors learned to cultivate and create unique dishes out of long before they became delicacies in other places. In Southwest Louisiana alone (where I’m from), we celebrate Mardi Gras, Contraband Days, Crawfish Festival, Rabbit Festival and much more! These events are alive with carnival rides and food,  like, Crawfish Etouffee (yeah we eat things that crawl out of mounds of mud) and "dirty" rice. Oh and let's not forget Boudin
Some time ago, Texas urged tourism by purporting they were "like a whole other country." Perhaps there's a lot of truth in that. Texas is huge and boasts of every type of terrain known to the earth.

But if you're looking for a place to visit whose culture is as colorful and varied as a kaleidoscope, put Louisiana on your list and if you ever get down to the southwestern portion of our lovely state, look me up!
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Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the
​Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”
 


A visionary is someone who sees into the future Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as “a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique” Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that’s disturbingly prevalent in today’s society.  Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives?

You can purchase The Visionary through any of these links:
Amazon Hardcover http://amzn.to/n8as1b 
Paperback: http://amzn.to/1uROE2o
Kindle http://amzn.to/1s23QYv
Print @Create Space: http://bit.ly/1lNvyWD  
B&N Print: http://bit.ly/1oGbV6S
Nook http://bit.ly/1Qjo3AJ
Smashwords http://bit.ly/167J9So
Deeper Shopping http://bit.ly/19lw1Kc  

Set at the tail end of the Vietnam War era, Circles of Fate takes the reader from Fort Benning, Georgia to Thibodaux, Louisiana. A romantic saga, this gripping novel covers nearly twenty years in the lives of Shaunna Chatman and Todd Jameson. Constantly thrown together and torn apart by fate, the two are repeatedly forced to choose between love and duty, right and wrong, standing on faith or succumbing to the world’s viewpoint on life, love, marriage and fidelity. With intriguing twists and turns, fate brings together a cast of characters whose lives will forever be entwined. Through it all is the hand of God as He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
 
You can purchase Circles of Fate through any of these links:
Kindle: http://amzn.to/13b6qCG
Print: http://amzn.to/1zfEzNH
Create Space: http://bit.ly/1qRN3cb
Nook: http://bit.ly/1QiGg7G
B&N Print: http://bit.ly/1WpcegU
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/136qK7n
 

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<![CDATA[We’ll Always Have Paris—And Coffee]]>Fri, 30 Sep 2016 04:49:34 GMThttp://tanyastowe.com/tanyas-travel-topics/well-always-have-paris-and-coffeeBy Ruth Buchanan
In the past, an announcement that I was planning a trip was generally hailed with excitement by my family and friends, many of whom share in vicarious enjoyment when I travel.

Then I planned a trip to Paris in the summer of 2016.

I did not plan this trip lightly; nor did I go into it unaware of current sociopolitical tensions. I had many serious talks with my travel partners, and we agreed to plan wisely while trusting in Yahweh for our protection.

I’m so glad we went. The Lord granted us safety, and the trip was phenomenal. 
​We arrived in Paris via the Eurostar (having made our way from London). Within a few minutes, we stepped onto Île Saint-Louis, our home for the next few days. Having decided to explore alternative forms of accommodations during the trip, we’d taken a chance on renting a fully-renovated half-timbered Medieval blacksmith’s shop a five-minute walk from Notre Dame.

From the moment we arrived, we went hard from dawn to dusk, ranging far and wide to take in as much of the city as we could. As a first-timer to Paris, I was slathering to see the biggies: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and—my personal favorite—the Gothic cathedral of Sainte Chappelle with its jaw-dropping stained glass and rich, jeweled light. 
Fortunately, a member of our group had also planned a few surprises, including stops at the Rodin Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Paris Catacombs.

Apart from seeing the sights and fellowshipping with wonderful friends, my favorite aspect of the trip by far was the coffee. Already a great fan of the beverage in general, I fell hard for café au lait, which is like white coffee except somehow infinitely better—and I’m hardly even exaggerating.
Time would fail me to tell of our adventures: how I got lost in the Louvre for hours (like, literally lost); how we accidentally climbed Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe on the same day and almost killed our legs; how we found ourselves locked out of our blacksmith-shop-cum-apartment and had to wait in the street for an hour at night until a man with a buzz saw showed up; how a waitress laughed aloud when she overheard me telling my party that I’d gotten up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and had fallen headlong. Of eating savory crepes in the streets. Of sipping coffee in sidewalk cafes. Of confusing myself and others with my non-French.

Throughout the trip, we had constant reminders of protection. Everywhere we went, we saw armed military personnel patrolling the streets, hinting at just how precarious was the safety we enjoyed.

Given the state of world affairs, I don’t know that things will turn around for Paris any time soon. I’m grateful to have visited the city during a week of relative quiet during which to bask in the glory of crepes, gargoyles, flying buttresses, and coffee.
Ruth Buchanan is a Christian novelist and playwright. She lives and works in South Florida.  

Her first novel, slated for publication in 2017 with Harbourlight Books, is titled Collapsible: A Novel of Friendship, Broken Bones, Coffee, Shenanigans, and the Occasional Murder.


Find her on Twitter and Instagram or at her blog, “Catch the Sunshine.”
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