Call of The West…

RedwoodsGrowing up, I always imagined myself becoming a geologist or a forest ranger. We camped a lot in the Sierra Mountains and I loved to go exploring through the woods, rivers and meadows, imagining I was on a treacherous journey through theCanyons wilderness–a pastime I never quite outgrew. I was certain no other place on earth could match the beauty of the Sierras–and then I took my first trip to Bryce and Zion Canyons—a forest of Ponderosa pines giving way to an ocean of stone in a seemingly impossible array of colors. Monoliths, hoodoos and shadowy mazes. So much beauty, I wanted to absorb it. I was sure Utah and Arizona was where I belonged–yet once I GrandTetonsstepped onto a boardwalk in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I felt as though I’d come home. Hugged by lush mountains and tangible history, I was hit by a very odd sense of nostalgia. My mind began recreating events that ‘could Crossinghave happened’. Daydreamer that I am, I’m at home most anywhere, but nothing fuels my imagination like these rugged backdrops. It was these stirrings and images which spawned my first historical westerns.

Seven years ago I began plotting my first western romance novel much like I’d plan a road trip—I sat down with my atlas, historical maps and Bride Coverjournals and began charting a course, and creating circumstances that would drive my characters through this wild and rugged land. A physical journey to parallel the emotional journey, and taking readers to some of my favorite places along the way. The result was BRIDE OF SHADOW CANYON. When my editor informed me that the cover would be created from one of my favorite scenes in the book—Jed and Rachell watching the sun set over a maze of red rock canyons—I was thrilled. They did a wonderful job—Jed and Rachell do look rather daring, standing so close to that Mustang_Wildedge. The start of my Wild series began in much the same way—I pulled out my historical maps and plotted a journey in a new direction, new territory with new dangers-at times the land becoming as much of an antagonist as my villain. Writing the sequel for MUSTANG WILD, where my characters stay within the boarders of one state was actually a bit of a challenge. Like the characters of my books, my mind tends to develop a case of yondering fever. Now that the Morgans are settled in Wyoming, I’m ready to pull out some maps and kick up new dust .

This summer I took my family to the Grand Canyon for a tour of the West rim and to check out the new Skywalk, a glass bridge built by the Hualapia Nation at Eagle Point. Wow! Stepping out over the canyon, 4,000 feet above the Colorado River…talk about amazing sights. I look forward to sharing some highlights and photos on my next Friday (gotta find that durn USB cord for my camera).

Which wonders of our globe call the loudest to you?

Cowboy_Sunset

 

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24 thoughts on “Call of The West…”

  1. Hi Stacey!

    The Grand Canyon sounds wonderful. I have wanted to see it for some time. There is a Pennsylvania Grand Canyon in our state that I’ve heard is pretty spectacular also.

  2. I love the Grand Canyon too!! Next year we are having a family reunion in Sedona (which isn’t far from GC).

    I would have to say that one of the prettiest sites I have ever seen was the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. Both very beautiful in different ways.

  3. My traveling group was just at the South rim, your right it’s an awesome site. I just loved the little western town set-up. The people who were working there that day looked very authentic. It was a blast.

  4. Wow, Stacey. What a beautiful post!! I’m a born and bred Scot, and I’ve always loved the highlands, remote, barren, hills blanketed with purple heather, a lone castle standing guard on the edge of a cliff … But now, I’ve got a real hankerin’ to visit the wild, wild west.

  5. What a wonderful post. I could visual the landscape. What calls to me is visiting the mountains. I live in the South and I think the Smokey Mountains are beautiful.

  6. Great post, Stacey! I’d love to visit the Grand Canyon! Although I’m not sure I’d actually go out on the Skywalk *g*

  7. Hi, Stacy,
    Your beautiful post brings back a lot of memories. I grew up in southern Utah, and those red rock canyons are home to me. A few years ago I rafted the Grand Canyon from Lee’s Ferry to Ghost Ranch, then hiked out to the South Rim (the hike was a killer). It was just amazing, seeing the canyon from the bottom up. My other favorite place is Glacier National Park and the Canadian parks across the border. Just indescribable!
    Love your covers!
    Elizabeth

  8. Stacey,

    Great way of describing Grand Canyon. I believe that the feeling you get at the West Rim is a result of the people behind it. The Hulapai Tribe has opened their home and their history for us.As we walk in their footsteps we can feel their love for the land.

  9. It would be easier to say where I wouldn’t want to go! So many interesting places… Grand Canyon is definitely one of the places I’d like to see.

  10. Stacey,
    Your beautiful landscapes were a great way to wake up this morning. For me, I love Arizona from the stunning red rock formations that call to you in Sedona, to the higher elevations and grandeur of the Grand Canyon. I think I’ve set half a dozen books there, including my very first, Chance in a Million and my current works in progress, a new Desire and a single title. I love settings that are like another character in the story – they make you feel. Great job on the pics and post. 🙂

  11. Gorgeous pictures! I am a nature girl myself 🙂 I enjoy learning about and visiting state and national parks!

  12. I’ve been in the mountains just enough to know I would love to spend more time there.
    I went skiing in some resort close to Denver once, Winter Park I think, and we took a bus up a mountain and it was so spectacular. I told my husband I’d like to drive out into the mountains and find a beautiful cabin in a beautiful spot and just sit and soak it in, stay a week if I wanted to. I’d probably last one afternoon before I’d have to get moving but I’d like to try.

    Also, we drove once along the east side of the Rockies and we went past Pike’s Peak. I realized that if I’d been a pioneer and someone said, “Turn at the highest mountain peak, Pike’s Peak, and go west, there’s a pass that’ll get your through the Rockies to California”
    …I’d have died.
    I wouldn’t have made a good pioneer. Those mountains all looked about the same height to me.
    Of course I’d have probably fallen off the covered wagon and drown the first time we forded a creek so….
    I was born in the right century.

  13. Hello, Stacy,

    Not having travelled much,I have a great many areas
    to consider. I won a sweepstakes trip to Venice
    which was magnificent, by the way, and is my main point of reference. My “calling” would be to travel
    within the US and see the “home grown” wonders which
    abound within our country.

    Pat Cochran

  14. It’s Ireland for me – talk about feeling like like you’ve come home! The green fields, the ancient castles, the beautiful manor houses and simple thatched cottages… and the language! Gaelic is completely unpronounceable and unspellable :), but the lilt of an Irish brogue is so warm and friendly; I felt like I’d heard it all my life in my dreams.

    Nice post, Stacey!

  15. Stacey, I can only imagine the emotions the first trail blazer felt when he glimpsed the sights west of the Mississippi. Those must’ve been quite surreal moments. It makes me sad that the people today take the land for granted and don’t take care of it. The land and its rich resources are amazing gifts to cherish and protect. Since I live in Texas and we don’t have many trees in the western part of the state, I think what calls to me the loudest are the mountains. I love Colorado, western South Dakota, and the area around Flagstaff, Arizona. I could spend my life gazing at the beauty of the mountains. What an excellent post! You’ve got some humdinger covers, girl. Glad to be a fellow “Fillie.”

  16. I would love to go to the Grand Canyon. But really I would rather be at the beach. I got to go once and it was just so beautiful! Now that we have a son, I want him to be a little older before we go again so that he can remember the first time the sand squished between his toes 🙂
    I just loved all of it, I even caught a shark deeps sea fishing! Then my breakfast didn’t stay in my stomach so then the fun of that boat ride was over *yuck*!! But I would love the chance to travel one day!! Life is just not ready for that here! Hugs and love, Crystal

  17. Gee I live in Pa and never heard of that grand canyon. I have seen the real one though and loved it. I enjoyed all of Arizona. I also enjoyed traveling through the Blue Grass section of Tennessee. I prefer states that have the lush hills and valleys and the 4 seasons the most.

  18. I love these pictures! Our family did the unltimate road trip 2 years ago and hit 7 different National Parks. We went to Yosemite, Sequoia, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Bryce Canyon, Zion and finally the Grand Canyon. I loved all of the parks, but my favorite place that we stayed was Jackson Hole, WY. Awesome city. It was a trip that I’ll never forget.

  19. I’ve done that trip, Andrea!!! And, yeah, there’s something magical about Jackson Hole 🙂

    Next summer we’re taking our boys on the National Park circut 😉 We’ve been waiting until they’re too big to carry! *g* My oldest boy, soon to be fourteen, has a passion for history and the outdoors–I can’t wait!

  20. We love the beach too, Crystal! One great thing about living in Central California is that we’re two hours from Yosemite and two hours from the ocean. We try to visit both each year. Although, in order to get to our ideal ocean spot–Hermosa Beach–we drive five hours. I’ve never been deep-sea fishing…could not imagine reeling in a shark!! *g* Not sure I’d tolerate that wave action so well either 😉 Relaxing in a beach chair, toes in the sand as life’s stresses blow away on the salty breeze…that I can do 🙂

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