My First-Ever Full-length, Inspirational, Historical Romance (whew)~Tanya Hanson

My favorite gift this Christmastime is a place in the corral of authors at Prairie Rose Publications. I want to publicly thank the editors for bringing Claiming His Heart to life!

Hanson_Claiming_His_Heart_Web (3)

What’s the story about? Well, caught between a noose and a cave in, Tulsa Sanderson must do anything possible to prove his brother’s innocence…even if it means marrying a gold miner’s daughter he just met. He needs every nugget and flake he can pull from her worn-out claim, but he sure doesn’t need a wife. Save his brother and he’ll be back on the Texas cattle trails. God, and trusting Him, are things of the past.

Charlotte Amalie lost her heart, her virtue, and her money to the last mysterious outsider who came to the valley. Faith? That’s wavered after too many family tragedies. Marrying the handsome Tull is her only choice to keep hidden the terrible family secrets he bears. But the unwanted marriage douses her plans to leave the valley to get help for her wounded twin brother…, yet stirs up hope and love for Tull…and begins to fortify her weakened faith.

Can the two of them find a future–and faith–together even with their haunted pasts? 

Setting this story in Holcomb Valley, near Big Bear Lake, California was easy for me. I actually started the book a while back as a secular historical, but upon my foray into inspirational romance, I realized the themes of the story and the decisions the characters make–and made in the past–were a good segue into a faith-based tale. On a visit to the valley not long ago, I almost heard voices from the past. It was easy to imagine my characters in the real-life places of long ago.

Holcomb Valley was once the richest gold strike in Southern California, and its mother lode has never been found. This meadow is where the real Belleville stood, a slapdash village named for the first baby born in the valley.

meadow where Belleville stood

Of course “Belle” Van Dusen is mentioned as my heroine’s childhood chum. And this arrastra, a rock circle where hard quartz rock was crushed to find gold flakes by donkey power, plays a part in the story.


And although it’s a ruin now, “Pygmy Cabin” shelters the reluctant couple during a blizzard.

pygmy cabin

Please comment today for a Kindle copy of the book! Tell us about a historical place from the past that “spoke” to you!


 Short excerpt:

He lifted his Stetson. Hard fingers ran against his scalp, ending at his neck to ease the tangle of nerves. The lost childhood, his dead ma, still tore his heart in two. But he had a chance to redeem it all, to save his brother—if these twins didn’t get in the way.

Then Charmlee’s eyes turned as hard as her voice, and she lifted her chin to stare straight in his eyes. “All right. I’m forced to agree this letter isn’t a forgery. But that doesn’t make you who you claim.” She raised an eyebrow. “Any thieving cowpoke could have collected that general delivery post and sought me out.”

Her smirk irked him. “I am who I claim. Make no mistake.”

“Well then,” Charmlee’s gray eyes narrowed and her voice slowed like a freezing creek. “Just how far would Mr. Tull Sanderson go to inherit his ‘birthright?’”

“How far? I already come all the way from Texas.”

She raised her eyebrows, and sashayed closer. “I mean, Daddy’s left a proviso. A requirement.”

“I will do anything,” he vowed, blood racing. Each day wasted brought his brother closer to doom.

“You sure about that? Well, I won’t, Mr. Tull. Make no mistake.” She was close enough now to whisper but be heard.

“What do you have to do with anything? You aren’t his kin. You said so yourself.” Tull tightened his fists in impatience.

“It seems I am the key, Mr. Tull.” Suddenly her gaze turned elsewhere. He froze. Like she was hatching plans to run off before settling things. But then she turned to him with a voice full of trembles, flicking the letter at him. “That key to your birthright, as you said.  According to Daddy’s wishes, you don’t get a thing unless you marry me.”


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37 thoughts on “My First-Ever Full-length, Inspirational, Historical Romance (whew)~Tanya Hanson”

  1. Many historical places ‘speak’ to me. I love to spend time in cemeteries and often make up stories to go with the names and information on the headstones. Anyplace that there are old ruins (like the partial wall of a log cabin found in the mountain forest where we like to camp) just talks of the past to me.

  2. The canyons speak to me, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Palo Duro Canyon……these awe-inspiring places clearly bring home the fact that God is mighty, that God is amazing, that God is……

  3. Tanya, I just wanted you to know that I’m in the middle of CLAIMING HIS HEART and LOVING it! I appreciate the pix. It’s always nice connecting pix with scenes/characters in the book. Wishing you a very merry Christmas, my friend! 🙂

  4. Congratulations, Tanya! CLAIMING HIS HEART sounds like a wonderful story! I enjoy visiting historic homes and old homesteads. It is fascinating to see where people once lived and imagine the lives they led.

  5. Connie, I hear ya. I LOVE wandering through old cemeteries. Babies’ graves are always the most hear-rending. My most recent one was Pioneer Cemetery in Glenwood Springs, Colorado where I saw Doc Holliday’s memorial. Dang, I have a pic of the
    old cabin in Holcomb Valley…shoulda posted that one, too. Thanks so much for posting here today!

  6. HI Melanie, oh, I know all of those places. I remember just sitting on a bench and “watching” the Grand Canyon for a long time. Gorgeous. All the sand “sculptures” in Bryce so remind me of choirs of angels and battalions of soldiers. And although I haven’t ever been to Palo Duro, I learned of the thousand Comanche horses executed by the U.S. Cavalry to decimate the tribes. I actually shudder at the thought. God is indeed a mighty Creator. The West, both American and Canadia, displays much of His glorious handiwork.

  7. Hi Dora, aw, as always your kind words mean the world to me. You make my days better. I am humbled and honored that you’re liking the book. Bronx and Reno have stories brewing, too. I wish you a blessed Christmastime too. xoxox

  8. Hi Sherri, thanks a ton, filly sister! The day we drove through Holcomb Valley–it’s a very rustic road–my camera ran out of battery. Thank the good Lord for cell phones. I so appreciate your kind words today!

  9. Hi Britney, I love seeing the past too. I think that’s why we all like Petticoats and Pistols, too. It’s not that old, but I enjoyed Margaret Mitchell’s apartment in Atlanta. And oh, Mount Vernon. Thanks for your comment today and for wishing me well.

  10. Congrats on the release of Claiming His Heart! Sounds wonderful! 🙂
    When I was younger my family would go and visit West Point… seeing bits of the fort and some of the things left behind always had me thinking of the people who were standing where I was so long ago.

  11. We spend most of our vacation time visiting historical places as well as visiting those close to us. It is a bit hard to think which one spoke to me the most, most of them do. The first , and one we have returned to many times is Fort Ticonderoga in northern New York State. It dates to before the Revolutionary War and has played an important role in the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812. We have been there for several reenactments, but our most memorable experience was in the late 1970’s when we attended Highland games being held there. There was a pipe and drum concert at night on the old parade grounds. Bleachers were set up around the edges and on the fort walls. The night was clear and the starlit sky was not dimmed by the only lighting, torches. The pipes and drums started playing outside the fort and entered through the tunnel into the parade grounds. It was a magic performance. You could smell the leather in the pipes and it felt like we had traveled back in time. That night when we returned to our campsite, as we sat around the campfire, we could hear pipes being played at other campsites in the woods. A very magical evening. They have done wonderful restoration on the fort since and there is something new each time we return.

    Best wishes for the success of CLAIMING HIS HEART.

  12. Big congrats on the brand new inspirational, Tanya! That’s great. It sounds soooooo good. I love the name Tulsa! A cowboy and gold miner’s daughter! Love it.

    The old gold town of Cripple Creek, Colorado really spoke to me when my husband and I visited there several years ago. So much history. Lots of ghosts from the past that I kept bumping into.

    Wishing you much success, Filly sister!!

  13. Hi Charlene, oh, yes, my muse and mentor, you helped me kick-start this. But…boo. To keep with the theme of “Daddy” naming his kids after places on a map, I changed “Donny’s” name to Reno. More’s the pity. I’ll always love Donny best. Thanks, my dear friend, for everything! xoxoxo

  14. Hi Colleen, thanks kindly for your nice words. I’ll bet seeing that famous fort really had voices from the past practically speaking out loud. I so appreciate your commenting today!

  15. Hi Kady, yeah, it’s always kinda scary. But I honestly believe the fit with Prairie Rose Pub and a little series set in Holcomb Valley is where I belong right now. We’ll see LOL. Thanks for stopping by today, and for commenting.

  16. Hi Patricia, thanks for your good wishes. Wow, I’d love to see a re-enactment. They do a Gettysburg one near here at a college but it’s always a conflict with a family birthday out of town. Someday, though. Actually, Gettysburg and Alder Creek (Donner party) are two other places where I felt a real connection. Shivers and spiritual. I hope to set my next two YA’s in those two places. It’s always so good to see you here at P and P. Thanks!!!

  17. Hi Linda, aw, we just returned from Colorado…what an unbelievably gorgeous place. We hit up Leadville but didn’t get to Cripple Creek. Nonetheless, that won’t be our ONLY visit to that glorious state. Thanks for your love, friendship, and good wishes….oh, and for listening to me when I whine and and always building me up! Y’all getting snow today?

  18. CateS, oh, we just went to Mesa Verde! It too was absolutely speechlessly gorgeous. Yes, the spirits of the past call out there, I’ve heard the legend of the Anasazi having ascended to a higher plane of existence…I can almost believe it. I wold have loved to have been the first white person to have come across those palaces and homes at MV. WOW. Thanks for commenting today.

  19. Hi Linda, forgot this. I had a diff name for the hero when I started out…but ended up wanting place names. So I put out a call on Facebook for ideas! I think it was our own Cheryl Pierson who came up with Tulsa. xo

  20. Congratulations, Tanya! I love visiting historical sites – they always speak to me and I love thinking about what it might have been like to live in that place and time period. Best wishes with your first full length book! Woot!

  21. Hi Tanya, Congratulations on your new release. I’m so excited for you and I love stories set in California. It sounds great!

    The areas that speaks to me are: Santa Barbara, which is the setting for my book High Button Shoes, and the old 49er trail, home of Fiddletown and what used to be the town of Rough and Ready. Yep, I set a story there, too, but my editor wouldn’t let me title the book Rough and Ready. LOL. Talk about inspiration!

  22. Hi Robin, thanks for the good wishes, my friend! I always think I’d like to spend ONE day in these places…considering I’m an indoor plumbing/antibiotic sort of girl LOL. I don’t think I’d like a corset, either, but it would be fun for a short time. I sure admire people who went before. How strong they were. Hugs!!

  23. Hi Margaret, that stagecoach trail to and from San Marcos is amazing, isn’t it? We have so much history right here in our state. Nonetheless, I didn’t even ever hear about Holcomb Valley until I was grown up–I guess because most of the gold rush happened up north. Goodness, how much of the land was “violated” in the hunt for gold. In Holcomb, as in East shore Lake Tahoe, all the trees were cut down to shore up mines and build shanties. Sheesh. Thanks for the post!! xoxo

  24. Hi Tanya, Congratulations! Let this not be just one. Just read through all the previous notes and Margaret’s notation about Highway 49 reminded me of all those neat towns. My son lived in several and my grand daughter went to high school in San Andreas. My daughter in law used to live in Fiddletown. But my main thrill for the OLD west is going to Bodie. Now, that is where you get goose bumps just walking up and down the streets. That can give a person lots of ideas for stories, believe me.

  25. Small towns are so much fun to write about. Living in a big city as I do, the appeal of a small town where everybody knows you and life seems a little less fast paced and hectic seems so appealing. The few times I get to visit my hometown of Bloomsburg, PA feels so peaceful and looks so beautiful. It’s a little sad now though since all of my family is gone from there.
    I like that your story is inspirational. I hope you’ll consider writing more inspirationals in the future. I wish you all the very best, Tanya.

  26. Mary J, we’ve been close to Hwy 49 but haven’t done the drive yet…wanna save that trip for an upcoming autumn. But please mark your calendar for December 17! Our guest that, Tanya Stowe,, is featuring Bodie!! I’ve got to get there, too! Always good to see you here–thanks for posting.

  27. Thanks for your good wishes, Sarah! I hope so. I sometimes long for small-town life myself…I grew up in suburban Los Angeles and hated it, so crowded. Now I’m more central and it’s still pretty rural and much less hectic…but civilization is creeping in and traffic is getting more and more noxious. Grrrrrrr. Hubs said I’d never make it in a small town unless there was a Kohl’s or Walmart within a couple of miles LOL. I so appreciate your visit here today. xo

  28. Tanya!

    I’m so glad you named him Tulsa. I love that name! So different, but all the names are that you came up with.

    I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this book. It’s one of those stories that isn’t preachy but lets you think and hope and wonder and worry. LOL And everything isn’t sweetness and light–I like realism. This was a great story and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for Bronx and Reno! LOL


  29. thanks, Cheryl. It’s because of you this story took wings! Thanks so much, brilliant editor, publisher and beloved friend. Not necessarily in that order LOL. xoxox

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