Back in the Corral ~ by Tanya Hanson

No doubt about it. I am a California beach girl. Somehow, though, the heroes in my books always seem to end up cowboys. For that “wild west” reason, the fillies here in Wildflower Junction let me be a member of the corral for almost nine years.

However, in June 2017, family matters demanded I put writing and blogging on hold. Some good stuff, like a baby granddaughter. Others, not so good, like a still-ailing mother-in-law. But the fillies assured me I’d always be welcomed back. And after twelve months of catching my breath, four amazing inspirational authors invited me last summer to participate in a Valentine anthology. It released January 11, so—here I am!

Thank you, fillies!


Timing was perfect. Jumping back into the writing saddle with “Heart of Hope” was a great ride. Since the keystone of each of our novellas was a recipe, nothing else would do but the directions for my late Aunt Grace’s historic banana bread. And well, that itself led to the hero having an Aunt Grace…

Of course, nowhere else would do for my setting but my beloved California. I decided to return to a place I’d used before, fictional Rancho Lorena inspired by the real-life Central Coast town of Santa Ynez, established in 1882.

It’s a favorite place to visit, and rich in history. In 1858, the Overland Coast Line stagecoach ran from San Francisco to Los Angeles with the Santa Ynez Valley area just about smack dab in the center. Sometimes travelers stayed on or came back, and civilization grew into a true microcosm of the American West with saloons, mercentilers, blacksmiths, and tillers of the soil. By 1887, the Pacific Coast Railroad roared through.

The valley and town likely took the name Santa Ynez from the nearby Mission of Santa Ynes, established by the Franciscans in 1804 and named for Saint Agnes of Rome.

Then and now, the near-perfect climate is ideal for raising cattle, olives, and fruit. These days, 20% of the valley’s land is cultivated for wine grapes.


This photo I took is the tree that lends its name to my hero, Akron McCrory’s, ranch, the Leanin’ Tree. I have no idea why it’s bent, but I liked the idea it somehow could have been a trail marker left by the native tribe.

The Thyme Arbor Inn, where Akron and Bree run into her sneaky ex Marshall, is inspired by this restaurant:

The California coastal oaks are one of the area’s hallmarks. I think you’ll see some in my story.

As well as these horses on Akron’s ranch.

If you want to get into the Valentine spirit early with some sweet reads filled with love and romance, food and family sprinkled with faith, please check out our anthology.


From today’s commenters, I will be pulling one name out of the Stetson to receive a digital copy of Love, Sweet Love, so don’t be a stranger. Please and thank you.

So to get you in the sweetheart mood, what do you prefer giving/getting—flowers, a mushy card, or CHOCOLATE?


And before I ride off into the sunset, I need to publicly thank Mary, Dora, Delia, and Zoe for all their hand-holding. Thank you, Mary Manners (head of the project), Dora Hiers (aka my rock), Delia Latham (who designed all our covers) and Zoe McCarthy (made this old lady want to go skiing again.)

Here’s a bit about HEART OF HOPE.

He gave Bree her first kiss, but can he give her a future? She’s back in Rancho Lorena but not to stay—until Akron steals her heart. For good this time. But his ranch is in financial trouble, and she’s a rich developer. A recipe for disaster. Until they find the missing ingredients of love, happiness, and hope when they help out together at a home for young women in need.

LIKE A DANCE by Delia Latham
A former celebrity dancer with a child she adores. A successful but burnt-out therapist to Hollywood’s rich and famous. When they show up in Hummingbird Hollow at the same time, sparks fly… but can they fan the flames?

LANDING IN LOVE by Mary Manners
Erin Mulvaney is comfortable in front of both crowds and cameras. It’s the tango of one-on-one relationships, especially when it comes to men, that ties up her tongue. When handsome Kyle arrives to renovate her family’s restaurant, can she conquer her fears to cover the project alongside him?

Veterinarian Murphy Denton doesn’t trust people. Heiress Micaela Stanford would donate her fortune to care for abandoned animals. Her generous spirit crushes his defenses. Will his dysfunctional past prevent them from a happily-ever-after?

GOOD BREAKS by Zoe M. McCarthy
Life has dealt a mammography tech and an entrepreneur bad breaks and led them to a small North Carolina ski town. A new bad break introduces them. Can they share more than a love of skiing? Or is she intent only on fixing his flaws?

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37 thoughts on “Back in the Corral ~ by Tanya Hanson”

    • Hi Jerri Lynn, can’t go wrong with chocolate for sure, but I too like a mushy card. That must stem from little Eddie Witt giving me a card saying “I love you I love you I love you” back in third grade. Never say him after grade four LOL. Thanks so much for posting today.

  1. Card is fine, Not much for sweets anymore and flowers die within a week. I say if you want to get me something nice get me a book.

  2. I have no preference when it comes to Valentine’s Day gifts. I just always want one. My birthday is 3 days before, so every guy that I ever had in my life always thought they could just skip the day since they just gave me a gift for my birthday.

    • Boo hiss, Janine. I hate when that happens. My mom’s is two days later, and I think I remember her saying the same. She is 99 this year, which I only mention because I dedicated Heart of Hope to her. Happy birthday AND Valentines Day a little early, Janine. xo

      • I’m so sad that happens to your mom too. 99 is quite an accomplishment. I can only imagine the things she has seen and the stories she can tell.

  3. Good to see you again, Tanya! Happy New Year to you and yours, too!

    I guess I’d go for flowers every time. My dear son got me roses last year and recently when I wasn’t feeling well, he picked up a beautiful plant of pink chrysanthemums. The flowers are all gone now of course, but it’s doing really well as a plant indoors. Who’d a-thought?! Well, I’m still enjoying its green leaves and unique shape anyway, so I guess that’s what counts (even if its supposed to be an autmn outdoor plant). Here I am, breaking the rules again,waiting to see how it turns out.

    • Eliza, so good to see you here again. I have missed everybody. I love love LOVE chrysanthemums and had such lovely ones on the porch this past fall. I love all seasons and holidays but confess autumn and Thanksgiving are my favorites. .

    • Eliza, so good to see you here again. I have missed everybody. I love love LOVE chrysanthemums and had such lovely ones on the porch this past fall. I love all seasons and holidays but confess autumn and Thanksgiving are my favorites. .

    • Hi Margaret, I miss you, too. Treasure those precious cards. I remember your sweet George, how he helped us set up and take stuff down when we had some book signings together. True love lives forever. God bless his memory now and always. Love you, my friend

    • Hi Quilt Lady, I am easy to please, too. But I mix things up for hubs. Last year was stuff like a lemon for “my main squeeze” and some “I loaf you” French bread, and a bottle of “Valenwine.” Thanks for stopping by. Always enjoy your posts.

  4. Welcome back. On Valentines, I don’t care for flowers (they die too soon), so my husband would give me flowers I can either plant outside or keep inside. He would make a card with a lovely saying inside. I never cared for chocolates, so he would either make me dinner or take me out. Usually that day, he left a lovely note where I would see it first thing in the morning. When I worked at a restaurant he would bring me a potted plant that flowers, with a card to the restaurant and give them to me. He would get the kids involved. When they started getting into their teens they would do similar things. But they jumped out of the lines and I would get extra chores done around the house, a bird bath etc. Now as adults, our son follows this example for his wife. Our daughter lives miles away, but still sends me cards

    • Hi Lori, what a precious husband! These could all be wonderful scenes in a book. Your family sounds like a true blessing. Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment today.

    • Hi Nancy, very convenient. And funny thing—I just noticed a card rack at our car wash and also the service area at my car dealership. Very convenient. Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

  5. I don’t have a “significant other” But you can’t go wrong with flowers, ( tulips) chocolate and he could buy me a book. Too.?

    • hi Tonya, oh yeah. Pink, red, and white tulips aways speak Valentine to me. And books–the best gift ever. I so appreciate you commenting today and helping to make my day back in Wildflower Junction something to savor.

  6. Nice to see you back for a visit, Tanya. More of us need to realize when it is time to take a break. I always get a card for my husband and he gets one for me. We usually don’t exchange gifts at holidays (Christmas, Valentines Day, birthdays, anniversaries), although he gave me a lovely necklace this year for my birthday. We tend to plan some big trip or special outing to do together. This year it is a cruise to Alaska.

  7. I sure thought I left a comment, Tanya, but apparently I dreamed it…sweet dreams, of course, for this Valentine season! 🙂 It’s such fun having you on the Love, Sweet Love team!

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