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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Win a Copy of Claiming His Heart Today~ Tanya Hanson

I'm thrilled that my first-ever, full-length western inspirational historical is Prairie Rose Publishing's first-ever, full-length, western inspirational release!

Caught between a noose and a gold mine cave-in, Tulsa Sanderson will do anything to prove his outlaw brother’s innocence…even if it means marrying a gold miner’s daughter he’s just met. Tull needs every nugget and flake he can pull from beautiful Charmlee’s worn-out claim, but he sure doesn’t need a wife! 

Charlotte Amalie lost her heart, her virtue, and her money to the last disreputable outsider who passed through her peaceful California valley months ago. She has no desire and no choice but to wed the handsome stranger who arrives with a mysterious letter that changes both their lives forever. 

Charmlee and Tull each have plans of their own. He’s committed to saving his brother. She’s determined to leave the valley to find a new life for herself and medical treatment for her twin brother. Marriage will scuttle both sets of plans. But is there a bigger dream for the future ahead that they can’t see? Trusting comes hard for them both, but Charmlee realizes it’s the only way to stake her claim on what’s really important— CLAIMING HIS HEART.



Here's a bit about the setting. Holcomb Valley, the richest gold mining area in Southern California’s mountains, is a quiet, lonely place these days, near Big Bear Lake, a busy resort during the summer and ski season. Hard to imagine 2,000 folks lived here in the early 1860’s.

But since the Mother Lode has never been found, it’s easy to imagine a few hard-core miners staying behind after the rush, trying to preserve a humble but civilized way of life.

So Holcomb Valley circa 1881 is where I set my first-ever, full-length, historical inspirational Western, Claiming His Heart. And Prairie Rose Publications decided to release it! Thanks, PRP.

Hubs and I drove through Holcomb Valley recently, and I almost heard voices from the past. The Forest Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture “maintain” a dirt road with markers pinpointing places of significance. I think the rustic, rocky road has GOT to be the original one from 1860!

This sleepy quiet meadow was once the site of bustling, somewhat slapdash Belleville. After hunter Bill Holcomb happened to find gold while tracking a wounded bear, a “town” came to life right here. Nothing remains now, but miners’ lore speaks of “saloons, gambling dens and bagnios of the lowest kind.”

The town got its name from Belle Van Dusen, the first baby from in the valley. She was the daughter of the blacksmith, Jed Van Dusen, who was paid $1500 to carve a road down the mountain. Of course she is mentioned in the book as heroine Charmlee’s childhood pal.

This antique cabin is not the original Van Dusen log home, but it was brought to Holcomb Valley to represent a family’s life at that time. Many miners lived in earthen dugouts and shanties on the outskirts.



This arrastra, a circle in which quartz rock was paintakingly ground up by donkey power, plays a part in my story.

A few other structures have been recreated for today’s history lovers, such as Pygmy cabin. Lucky for me! During a sudden spring blizzard, Charmlee and Tulsa shelter cozily in the crazy little structure. Nobody knows why this little place had a doorway  only 4 feet high, and a roof peak only 6 feet, making the side walls very short. In 1983, a fire destroyed the cabin.



Of course, where you have gold, you have outlaws. And this "hanging tree" was supposedly  put to good use, with the branch cut off where an outlaw hung. Or so it's said.  Whether this is the "real" tree, or not, I put it to good use in the story when bounty hunters mistake Tull for a wanted man. 


The hustle and bustle of Holcomb Valley’s mining days only lasted a few years. However, Elias Baldwin, who had gotten “lucky” in the Comstock lode, decided to try again. In 1874, he built a large 40 stamp mill. A new mining town, Bairdstown, with a population of 180 miners, quickly sprouted. However, the mill was shut down after only seven months. My own setting of Spiggleville, with its curious and, I hope, endearing inhabitants, is entirely my own invention.

And yes, Tull's outlaw brother Bronx Sanderson, does have his own up and coming book. I so love redeeming those bad boys!

Have you ever come across a historic place that spoke to YOU?


PLEASE leave a comment and email addy today! I'll be drawing one name for either a Kindle or Pdf copy! 

27 comments:

  1. Your posts are always fascinating, Tanya. I don't know very much about the California Gold Rush, so reading your stories and blog entries opens a whole new historical world for me. Love it! :-)

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  2. All right, grrrr. My comment just disappeared. Hi Katheen, yeah, most people only know about the major gold rush up north about 450 miles. It was fun to set my characters here! Thanks for the post.

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  3. Tanya, I agree with Kathleen--it seems that there is so much to learn and know about history, just here in the US, that our citizens don't even know it all! LOL This is a wonderful story, and I can't wait for the sequel. It's gonna be good! So glad to have you with us here at Prairie Rose Publications.
    Cheryl

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    1. I know, Cheryl! Here in coastal central California, the Chumash Indians left so much history behind. When I can get my brain to settle down, that's where my next YA series will be set--here, then and now. xo

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  4. Tanya, your inspirational sounds exactly like the kind of books I love to dig into and stay until there are no more pages left. Tulsa would be the kind of hero I'd want to find if I were in a desperate situation. And the mysterious letter really hooked me. Can't wait to read this!!

    The most interesting place I visited was Deadwood, South Dakota, the place where Wild Bill Hickok was gunned down. It's an amazing town. They have done a great job of preserving all those old buildings. But the place that drew me was the cemetery and visiting Wild Bill's and Calamity Jane's graves. I just love old cemeteries! So many stories buried there.

    Wishing you tons of success!! You've earned it.

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  5. Hubs and I just went to Colorado, oh, I ache to go back. I got to hike up to Doc Holliday's gravesite. yowzers. We haven't been to Deadwood yet but SD is on our list of places to go, including the "mountain with the presidents on it" as our little grandson says. Maybe next spring! Thanks for the kind words and good wishes!

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  6. Hi Tanya!
    I am always so impressed with the amount of research that historical (Western in your case) authors do in preparation for their books. This premise of forced marriage is one of my favorite tropes.

    Best wishes for huge success with this one.

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    1. Hi Lynne, I'd visited Holcomb Valley (very cool and not too far away!) with our kids long ago, and in the back of my head, realized if I ever became a writer, it would make a great setting. So when Living Social came up with a mini-vacation set there, Hubs and I took a trip and did some research. So got to both work and play!

      Thanks for taking the time today. xoxox And oh, yes, I loved forced marriages. Sigh.

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  7. Tanya,
    Really interesting. Thanks for sharing. As for places that have spoken to me--it wasn't a historical town, but rather an area. About 25 years ago I drove through the panhandle of Texas. At a rest stop on the highway outside of Amarillo, I was struck by the vastness of Texas. And I was certain I saw the heroine of my first book, The Wren, running through the high, swaying grass. I'd known her story for awhile but I didn't know where it should take place. After that, I knew she'd been in Texas. The story fell into place years later when I actually thought I should set my fears aside and try and write the story.
    While I haven't visited every place I've written about, I try as much as I can. I think, as writers, we can sense aspects, feelings, whispers of the land and its inhabitants that can't be found any other way except in person.

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  8. Hi Kristy, is that the llano estacado (sp.) --staked plains-- area? (I used it in a story and had to totally imagine/Google it. (The ms. is still under the bed LOL) but the vastness did impress me. I have only been to San Antonio and Bandera so whenever I need Texas details, I ask my Texan friends! Thanks for commenting today.

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  9. I love this post, Tanya. It makes me want to jump in tha car and head up to the Big Bear area (except ther'd be snow everywhere) and explore this region. I know! I'll explore it through your book. ; )

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  10. Hi Robena, Holcomb Valley is indeed a lovely way to spend a summer morning. The road is very rustic, but all the "sites" are marked. Not much remains which leaves so much to imagine! Thanks for posting. Hope you like it! xox

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  11. I am so happy for you. This is a great honor, for this company is doing it right. Here is to a long and wonderful career of sharing stories. Doris

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  12. Best of luck with the book and best of luck to Prairie Rose publishing too!

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  13. Claiming His Heart has an impressive background. I really enjoyed reading about the different places in Texas that inspired you. Ya know, maybe the door and ceiling were low in that Pygmy cabin to help it retain heat since heat rises. Just a thought.
    Great blog, Tanya. Sorry I'm late gtting to both of them.

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  14. Tanya, I just loved Claiming His Heart, and the characters you created for that story. I am so anxious to see what you have coming up for us in the sequel(s)! I'm always so interested in your research--you do so much of it and always are so good about taking pictures and sharing what you did and where you went. Excellent post today!
    Cheryl

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  15. love a great western and I love the pictures you've posted!

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    1. Hi Lilly, I'm trying to post on my smartphone...wish me luck. Thanks kindly!!!

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  16. Tanya,
    Yes, it was the llano estacado region, I believe. Much of it I had to imagine as well, but I read up as much as I could.

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    1. Thank God for imaginating, Kristy. :).

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  17. Tanya, I was born in California and grew up in a family of Ranchers in California (northern gold country) and Montana. My great uncles taught us to ride at a very young age.
    Thank you for writing about the places I remember while a young child through your adulthood.

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    1. Aw, DeanY, lucky you, , growing up on a ranch.Jealous! You are very welcome...and thank you for stopping by today.

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  18. What a cool insight into the setting and characters of your book! I'm anxious to read it. :)

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    1. Hi Jacquie, hope you like it. Holcomb Valley is a neat place! Thanks for posting. Xox

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  19. Great post Tanya, you paint a very vivid picture. Best of luck with your new novel.

    Regards

    Margaret

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  20. Everybody, thanks for supporting me...I'll get a winner picket and posted today. Got some family matters to attend to right now that are up first...

    I am thrilled though that posting from my smartphone has actually worked while on the road. Yay me.

    Margaret, thank you for your good wishes! xo

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  21. Margaret Tanner, you lucky girl LOL. You're my winner. I sure hope you like the story. xox I'll be in touch.

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