A Pass, a Town and a Story

South Pass is a bleak, sagebrush-dotted valley amid the high country of southwestern Wyoming.  The place isn’t much to look at but it played a vital role in the history of the Westward migration.  Here’s why.  South Pass is the lowest point on the Continental Divide between the Central and Southern Rocky Mountains.  At an elevation of 7,550 feet, the pass furnishes a natural crossing point of the Rockies and has historically been the route for the Oregon California Trail and Oregon Trail during the 19th century.  If you go there now, you can still see the deep ruts where the wagons passed.

South Pass City sprang into existence as a stage and telegraph station on the Oregon Trail during the 1850s. In 1866 gold was discovered in the vicinity, and a year later prospecting began. Prospectors and adventurers quickly arrived. Within a year the community’s population had swelled to about 2,000.

At one time or another, most of the West’s legendary figures would have passed through the place.  One of those who arrived in 1869 was Esther Hobart Morris. In 1870 she was the first woman in the U.S. to serve as a Justice of the Peace.  A  young barmaid who worked there came to be known later as Calamity Jane.

By 1870 most of the gold had played out, and the population of South Pass had dwindled to about 100.  With the coming of the Union Pacific Railroad, the area had also lost its importance as a migration route.  Over time, South Pass City became a ghost town.

At the end of the 20th century steps were taken to renew the community and turn it into a historic site. As a result the community today consists of two areas: South Pass City, in which a handful of residents live, and South Pass City State Historic Site, which preserves more than 30 historic structures dating from the city’s heyday in the 1860s and 1870s. In 1970, the community was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

So why am I telling you all this?  Because my new Western time-travel romance, CHRISTMAS MOON, now available in Amazon in Kindle format, is set in and around South Pass, both past and present.  Here’s a summary:

Anything can happen under a Christmas Moon…

Pregnant, unwed and down on her luck, history teacher Emma Carlyle is facing the worst Christmas of her life.  Needing some research for her master’s thesis on legendary Wyoming lawman J.D. McNulty, she makes a Christmas Eve drive to South Pass City, where J.D. was buried.  Heading home, she loses her way in a storm.  After her car vanishes, she ends up in 1870, half-frozen and in labor, on the doorstep of a remote mountain cabin.  When J.D. himself opens the door with a pistol in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other…well, let’s just say that sparks start flying.  These two lost souls are clearly meant for each other.  But there’s one problem.  Emma has studied everything about J.D.–and she knows he has only a few weeks to live.

Elizabeth Lane has penned a sensual time travel romp that will delight the reader from beginning to end.  

More about the story next month.  Meanwhile, you can find an excerpt and purchase link on my web site, http:// www.elizabethlaneauthor.com .

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I'm an internationally published romance author, coming up on 40 novels and novellas. Most of my stories have been Westerns for Harlequin Historicals, but I set stories in other times and places as well. I'll also be writing contemporary stories for Harlequin Desire, with the first release in January 2013. You can learn more on my web site.

15 thoughts on “A Pass, a Town and a Story”

  1. I am still amazed folks found ways to cross those mountains. I need to add South Pass to my list of places to visit.

    Love the cover and the premise of your story. Looking forward to finding out more.

    Peace, Julie

  2. Another place to add to my list to visit the next time we head out West. Interesting. We were in the vicinity a few years ago, but didn’t know about it.
    Love the sound of CHRISTMAS MOON. It combines some of my favorites: western, historical, time travel, and Christmas story.
    Will it be coming out in print form?

  3. Good morning, early birds, Julie and Patricia. South Pass really does have an amazing history.

    CHRISTMAS MOON is published by E-Reads.com. Right now it’s only available on Amazon Kindle, but the publisher is planning a launch in the next few weeks. When that happens, the book will be available in POD (Print on demand) format. I’ll know more next month and plan to hold a contest then.

  4. Christmas Moon is currently waiting patiently for me on my Kindle…can’t wait to read it a little closer to Christmas 🙂

  5. Hi, Elizabeth. I don’t read much time travel romance, but I admit I’ve daydreamed about doing it often enough. 🙂 Your premise sounds wonderful. I’ll be watching for more about the book.

  6. Elizabeth, I LOVE the cover of your new book!! And that title says it all. I’d buy this book even if I didn’t know you and even if I hadn’t even read the blurb. It just speaks to me. Time travel is one of my favorite genres. They’re so much fun and have such an element of suspense built right in. Immediately you know there’s going to be a problem because the main element of time travel is whether or not the H/H get to stay together in the end. This book promises to be great fun. I’m putting it on my list.

  7. Time travel was big a decade or two ago, Karen, but now it’s a hard sell. As one who loves time travel and would love to write more tt books, I am longing for it to come back.

  8. Thanks so much, Linda. You can’t imagine what a struggle we had with that title. Everything my agent/publisher came up with sounded like an inspirational (which it isn’t) or didn’t fit the story. The title hit me as I was listening to a song in the car.
    And the cover, also perfect, was a stock photo the publisher found. I love it.
    How do we get time travel romances to make a comeback? I love them, love them, love them.

  9. ooh, love the premise of your book, and the title and cover

    i have not read any time travel books yet but i think that’s my next new thing–so exciting!

  10. Elizabeth,
    Sorry I’m late to the party! I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your post, and your book looks wonderful. Time travel is one of my favorite types of romances, and this book has a very intriguing premise. Only a few weeks left to live! Now I have to get this to find out what happens! LOL
    Hugs,
    Cheryl P.

  11. You’re never to late for the party around here, Cheryl. Really hoping the book will pick up some time travel fans. So many readers seem to like them. Thanks again for dropping by.

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