By Linda Wallace

Author's thoughts on the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Llamas Revisited

Recently, I had a chance to visit Blessed Be Ranch and the llamas that served as models for the cover art for my romance, Big Bad Wolfe. Tim and DeAnna Pierick, the owners of the ranch, threw a birthday party for Tim. Tim’s not saying what birthday we were celebrating, but there’s some gray in his ponytail.

The herd has grown. Purchases and births have added several new llamas and alpacas. Babies contribute a cute factor to go along with the elegance of the moms, and pygmy goats provide humor. It was fun to meet the newcomers and greet the old-timers from the original photo session.

Why llamas on the cover of a romance? The hero of the novel is Brandon Wolfe, a sexy llama rancher who is raising his two sons without any outside help since the death of his wife in an auto accident. His strict ideas about childcare are thrown into turmoil when he meets generous, warm-hearted Corey, the owner of a children’s resale clothing store.

See if you can pick out the cover-art stars in the birthday photo above.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Graduation and Granddaughter

August has been a busy month. My husband and I traveled to Utah for our daughter’s graduation from BYU. We stopped along the way in Gooding, ID, for a visit with my husband’s sister and her husband. They are building several homes along Clover Creek, and we stayed in the first one to be completed. The sound of running water makes for soothing dreams. My SIL has a flair for interior design and has done a fabulous job of decorating the house. It’s like vacationing in a top-notch resort. You can take a virtual tour of their home. The second house is well on its way to completion and promises to be even more impressive than the first.

While we were in Idaho, we attended the 22nd Annual Three-Island Crossing near Glenns Ferry. If I read the counter correctly, I was the first person to go to their Web site. Check it out if you want to be the second. It was a fun but somewhat disappointing event. In an reenactment of Oregon Trail crossings, horses and oxen swim and wagons float across the Snake River. I had envisioned hundreds of wagons lining up to enter the water, but there was only one. The currents can be treacherous, there have been deaths at previous reenactments, but according to the announcer, the main reason there were so few participants this year was because the number of people who know how to drive the wagons and ride the horses for a crossing are dwindling. My father talked to me once before he died about how much knowledge of farming would be lost when he was gone. Sad to see the old skills slip away.

Then on to Utah for the graduation. My mother, sister, and our son and his wife and daughter all joined us to celebrate our daughter’s art-education degree. We drove to the Great Salt Lake, heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing, toured Temple Square, visited the Salt Lake City Library, did a Gallery Stroll and explored the Springville Museum of Art where my daughter has just begun working in an educational outreach position. The convocation for the College of Fine Arts and Communications was a great event with interesting (short!) talks and videos of some of the outstanding accomplishments of the arts and communications graduates. My husband and I, of course, were so proud we could barely contain our enthusiasm and tears.

When we returned to Seattle, we had another week of excitement. Our son and DIL and nine-month-old granddaughter continued on from Salt Lake City to stay with us. Playing tourists in our own home, we visited Woodland Park Zoo, the Seattle Aquarium, Pike Place Market and Seward Park. What a thrill to play with our granddaughter. I love watching babies’ faces as they play. All those zillions of neurons firing in a nanosecond, learning about the world. They’ve gone home to Californian now. Our house is way too quiet.

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