Sunset, Sunset ~Tanya Hanson

MarryingMinda Crop to UseAs I write this, it actually and literally is the fifth anniversary of my volunteerism at the local horse rescue. To the day!

Here’s Cheyenne. Because the name sounds so “girly”, our president (his sponsor) has nicknamed him Fang. He’s a gorgeous paint/Warmblood cross who’s finally regained trust in humans.

Pink Moment Blog Cheyenne

To make things more wonderful, the horse rescue inspired fictional High Hill Horse Rescue, the setting for my soon-to-be-released Valentine story, Pick Me.  (part of the multi-author Candy Hearts series and available for pre-order.)


Like I wrote in the dedication, I thank these horses for making me a better person. Just like my heroine Kelsey Hunter does, I find peace and advice there. Yes, the horses and I converse. And Johnny, below, is my grandson’s favorite! He’s part pony and just the right size for a nine year old.

Pink moment blog Johnny

Although our horses all have sad stories to tell, they get happy endings. We hope each will find a forever home, but if they don’t, they stay in our wonderful valley until the time comes to cross the Rainbow Bridge.

One of the reasons the valley is so wonderful is its “pink moment.” I always thought it an urban legend–a glorious sunset in the east?– until I saw it. It lands on you with a hush all its own.

Pink Moment 1
This is Bridge. Can you see the hills blushing in the background?

Here’s the geography behind the pink moment, which also plays a big part in Pick Me.

Pink moment 2

About twelve miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, the small, 10 mile-by-3-mile, east-west Ojai Valley is found between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, and bordered by the northern ridge of the TopaTopa Mountains, elevation 6,000 feet. Sulfur Mountain at 3,000 feet is the southern barrier.

Pink moment grandson
Here’s my grandson admiring the moment with Cheyenne, foreground, and Jasper. See Bridge way in the background to the left?

The mountains and valley are thickly forested with oak trees, and commercial avocado and citrus groves. Our rescue is a ten-acre former orange grove donated to us. We have 15 horses.

So…while sunset usually turns the western sky rosy and spectacular, this area is one of the few in the world where the sunset comes from the east.

Pink 4
Bridge and Jasper. Four years ago, Jasper’s pregnant mom was rescued from a slaughter lot in Nevada. Both ave happily adopted…he by our ranch manager’s family.

The TopaTopas, like a mirror, reflect the sun from the west and the mountains seem to blush. The sunlight diffuses across the mountains in gorgeous shades of pink for a few breathless minutes.

Christmastime pink moment

The “pink moment” doesn’t happen with every sunset, but I’ve been lucky this winter to be feeding the horses at just the right time.

Thankfully, my nine year old grandson/helper got to see it, too.

And of course heroine Kelsey and hero Landry experience it. Over a glass of blush wine.

Pink with Chey
Cheyenne, foreground, with D’Artagnan in the back.

Two weeks ago, after the “sunset in the east” faded”, the clouds over the ocean a dozen miles to the west did their dance.

Western sunset over the ocean

A breathtaking two-for-one.

How about you? Have you ever experienced a sunset that you wanted to hold forever?

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

Here’s the blurb for Pick Me. Watch for it January 27!

Volunteering at a horse rescue has helped heal schoolteacher Kelsey Hunter after her celebrity ex’s betrayal. Life in the rural California community suits her better than the bling of Hollywood. When she seeks help for a classroom project, she’s thrown into the sphere of a down-to-earth organic farmer and horseman who could really steal her heart… 

However….Landry Mills is really the successful mega-spokesmodel for a famed Westernwear line, He’s returned to his hometown to regroup and reconsider signing the next contract. Meeting Kelsey explodes feelings in him he wants to make real. But finding out a fancy director’s son recently crushed her spirit has him take things slow. What will Kelsey do when she finds out he’s a celebrity in his own right? He might not be able to bear it








+ posts

33 thoughts on “Sunset, Sunset ~Tanya Hanson”

  1. I have seen a sunset that I wished I could keep forever. It’s a wonderful feeling. It was a sunset during a Maui vacation many many years ago.

    • Janine, oh, I know how you feel! We visit Oahu often to visit family, and the sunsets are spectacular. Wow. You’re bringing me lots of happy memories right now. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Thanks for your work with the beautiful animals. I live in the Texas Hill Country and try not to take our sunsets for granted – Yes, much to my kids dismay, I’ve been known to stop the car and take pictures of those breathtaking colors. It reminds me how amzing God is.

    • Ho Jolene, I can’t tell you how important it’s been to be with the horses. No matter what worries I have, or how bad I feel, those lovely animals have had it far worse. Each has a story that breaks your heart, but the important thing is they’ve found love and a home!

      I spent a wonderful retreat with my publisher at the Silver Spur Guest Ranch in Bandera! I love the Texas Hill Country and wanna get my BFF’s back there to go cowgirl, and then travel the Bluebonnet Wine Trail! Thanks to you, too, for bringing me some great memories!

  3. Hi Tanya,
    I didn’t know there was a name for that special moment at sundown when the light turned the mountains pink. Now I do! It is a beautiful sight! I confess, I feel the same way Jolene does about sunsets. They take my breath away and I can do nothing but realize the amazing gift from God.

    I have a question about your horses. Above you mentioned that Cheyenne/Fang was a paint/warmblood mix. Just what is a warmblood?

    Your book sounds wonderful!

    • Hi Kathryn, you know, I taught in that area for years and always thought the pink moment was some some hype nonsense…but when I saw it for the first time, I realized it’s because I always left school at three, and the “moment” happens about five, just when we feed the horses. There just are no words to explain how I feel when it’s going on. It’s like God just wisping His hand over the valley and touching my hair.

      I am so glad my little guy has gotten to see it.

      I learn a lot at the rescue, but I have so much more to go! Warmbloods are bred for equestrian sport, and get their name because draft/work horses are considered “cold blood” (why, I don’t know) and Thoroughbreds and Arabians, “hot bloods”. That one I get; race horses seem so passionate LOL. But this explanation is totally amateur, you realize LOL.

      Thanks for your good wishes on the story. It’s my first contemporary sweet romance. xoxox

  4. There are some truly beautiful sunsets where I live… the mountains show off some amazing colors as the sun goes down! 🙂

    • Colleen, oh, I am a mountain girl. If I don’t see some in the distance, I get lost. I always feel I want to live in a mountain town in Colorado or Alberta, but then there’s the snow. Thank you so much for posting today and reminding me how lovely mountains are.

  5. Cute cover, beautiful horse, Tanya. You’re such a wonderful advocate for animal rights and support. I wish I had the time to be involved in a rescue. It’s very rewarding, I would imagine.

    • Hi Charlene, oh, thanks for commenting. I know first-hand how busy you are! You’re got plenty to do with your books and those amazing grandangels. Your time will come LOL. Love you and see you soon.

  6. I love sunsets! I remember walking out of Home Depot one night and the sky was so enthralling that people were standing still all over the parking lot, pointing in stunned silence and Master Painter’s offering.

    The pictures are great!

    • Hi, Liz, thanks for popping in. The Lord sure is an Artist, isn’t He? We drove down Pacific Coast Highway (which we often do but…) this one time, the sunset over the ocean was So Spectacular, locals posted it on FB. Our grandson was enthralled and said, “it looks like melting lava.” Super explanation.

  7. I love, love, LOVE beautiful sunsets, and I have been blessed to witness many that took my breath away…including those you mention in this wonderful post, although I did not know they had a name – thank you for cluing me in on that! 🙂 Your book sounds wonderful, and the whole concept of building the series around conversation hearts…wish I’d thought of it! It’s cute and catchy, and I can’t wait to ready Pick Me.

    • Hi Delia, my fellow Californian. The pink moment does steal my breath. I gotta confess, try as I did, my pictures don’t really do justice. The Wild Rose Press came up with the Candy Hearts series, and I was so glad to have a chance for my first contemporary sweet romance! I think you’ll like it. Love to you and thanks for spending time with me today.

  8. What a beautiful setting. I’ve seen so many beautiful sunsets here in Colorado, many of which make the photos in my haiku postings. Nature and its wonderful creatures have so much to share with us. I admire that you spend time with such magnificent animals in such a beautiful setting. Thank you for sharing a piece of their lives and home with us. Doris McCraw/Angela Raines-author

    • Hi Doris, oh, you are so lucky to live in Colorado! I did my student teaching in Denver and got to visit/ski at Winter Park and Loveland, and years later, visited my ill uncle in Parachute (outside of Grand Junction) but it wasn’t until Hubs and I visited Vail recently and drove around the state that I fell Completely In Love. Everywhere we looked was something even more spectacular. Sighing…and I love your Haiki. Great way to put a vision or thought into seventeen syllables. Keeping in short and sweet. Thanks so much for commenting today!

  9. I miss the sunsets in NE. One I always remember happened when I was in seventh grade. I would walk out to the harvested west cornfield to get the cows in to milk. The setting sun with a small country church in the foreground was perfect. It was like a special personal moment sent by God.

    • HI Nancy, I think I have a photo of this little church from your parents’ farm!! I agree with you, Nebraska sunsets are as spectacular as Hawaii’s, the wide open spaces and clear sky. Thanks so much for helping me learn so much about your home state for my stories. (Nancy’s wonderful mom helped me with facts and family lore many times over the years to use in my books; she returned to the Lord in August and I really miss her.)

  10. It must bring you such satisfaction helping horses who have had some tragic beginnings. I hope you have many pink sunsets to enjoy. All the very best to you and your marvelous stories, Tanya.

  11. Very lovely, those pink hills and skies. It’s something soothing and almost magical. I’ve always admired you, Tanya, for your work with the horses…in my next life, I hope I have some connection with horses and can do likewise.

    • Peggy, it is something, isn’t it? I love how I see myself in the horse’s eyes. An actual reflection. And I know they listen. Thanks, myfriend, for stopping by today. It means a lot.

  12. What a beautiful place for these animals to live and for you to volunteer!

    This past August there was a spectacular sunset. We live on the east side of a small (77 acre) lake up on a bluff in central Wisconsin. That night there were some clouds and somehow the sun filtered around and through the clouds bathing EVERYTHING in a golden glow which reflected off the water. It gradually changed to orange and then bright pink/red. I wanted to take some pictures only to be disappointed because my camera battery was dead.

    • HI Laurie, thanks for stopping by! I love those horses!

      I haven’t been to Wisconsin (one of 12 states I have yet to visit) but it seems like I better plan on it some time. I love sunsets; to me, they are an invitation to a night of rest…then a new day. There’s always that metaphor that “sunset” is old age, but I don’t agree LOL. Good to see you here.

    • Oh, Pam, I so appreciate your comment and good words. I hope to make it back to Bandera some day. That retreat was really a huge time in my life. The Texas Hill country sure is beautiful. Thanks for the good wishes, too, my friend. xox

  13. Yes, very many. I love sunsets and there have been some spectacular ones. We travel when we can, so there have been a wonderful variety of them, over the mountains, in the foothills, on the prairie, and over the ocean. My husband loves sunrises and there have been some lovely ones lately. He takes pictures of one gorgeous one earlier this week to share with me.

    I am glad you are enjoying volunteering at the rescue. We feel volunteering is important. There are many good causes out there. You just need to find those that are just right for you.

  14. Oh I just love sunsets. I grew up in a house with a perfect view of them. Every single one is different! Thank you for sharing with us and for volunteering.

Comments are closed.