Friday, February 17, 2012

Lasting Impressions

I'm happy we have an extra day in February this year because, so far, it has been one fun, exciting, and busy month!

I'm on tour. A virtual tour around the Internet to celebrate my current release, THE RODEO MAN'S DAUGHTER. In this book, my hero takes a trip—back to his own hometown. It's a trip he'll never forget, as the visit brings him smack up against a number of memories, some good and some terrible.

Today, I'd like to talk about good memories.

I once took a trip—a real-life tour—that made a lasting impression: ten days in Europe with a large group of students. And with a smaller number of teacher-chaperones, all of whom actually survived to return home and teach again. LOL

Our adventure began in Spain, where we stood in hushed awe inside churches in Barcelona, felt our blood pulse to the rhythms of the Flamenco in Seville, and—for those who chose to do so—held our breath during a bullfight in Madrid.

We spent two beautiful, sunny days walking the beach and chasing the surf on Palma de Mallorca.

And before the trip ended, we took a ferry to Morocco, where we rode camels and ate exotic food and spent an afternoon at the Kasbah.

I sound like an ad for a travel agency, don't I? (smile) Sorry. But I can't help it.

In those ten days, we probably saw more breathtaking sites and came smack up against more history than I ever had in my life. The photos we took faded, but the memories have stayed bright.

Have you ever visited a place that's made such a lasting impression?

All my best to you,



Barbara White Daille

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

V-Day Fairy vs. Fixing the Hot Water Heater

Hubby's sweet gift came early this year with this hot pink Oilers 
jersey from one of my fave players, Jeff Terminesi!!!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Funny, how over the years the day's meaning and/or events have changed.  When I was a kid, Mom and I couldn't wait for Dad to get home.  He'd always have one or two tin-foil-wrapped gifts for each of us.  For me, sometimes as simple as a teen magazine I'd been wanting and a big candy bar.  In my teens, I usually got a special piece of jewelry--my favorite, a tiny mouse set atop a gold ring.  He even has ruby eyes!  Mom and I were just talking with Dad about how much we looked forward to seeing him, guessing at what surprises he might bring.

As a teen, of course the big day was all about romance!!!  The year I received a bouquet from my boyfriend, one from my parents and another from my ex-boyfriend's mother who I'm pretty sure still wishes we were back together, was a super exciting year!!

In college, the day became less about what I got and more about what I could give.  Back then, the University of Arkansas choir sold singing telegrams for five bucks!  God bless Whitney Houston, as her songs were the best for wooing and landed my hubby!!  Music holds the power to transform all of us into time-travelers and for me, her voice and lyrics transport me to those special college times.

Fast forward a few years and the twins were introduced to the Valentine Fairy!!  I was always Little Terry's Valentine and hubby was Hannah's.  The Valentine Fairy always added a little extra sparkle--a Barbie or Pokemon cards.

Now, Hubby and I are pretty content lounging in our PJs in front of the fire and romantic gifts usually consist of fixing something broken around the house!!  LOL!!

This year, however, Hannah will be doing her Ice Girl thing at tonight's Oilers game, so we'll romance over a shared order of Billy's onion rings at the BOK Center!!  Wish the hot pink jersey we won at auction Saturday night would be ready to wear, but alas, it's still being fumigated!!  (Hockey players might look good, but wow, do they work up a sweaty funk!!  LOL!!)

What phase of Valentine's Day are you all in?  Whichever it is, hope you're surrounded by LOVE!!!    

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Florida Has Cattle, Too

Fourth-generation cattleman Ty Parker looks into his childless future and wonders what will become of the ranch he’s worked so hard to preserve. His answer might be a five-year-old boy abandoned on DCF’s doorstep, but only if the rancher convinces a jaded social worker that he’s good father material on a two-week cattle drive through Florida’s version of the Old West.

I have to admit that my story about a cattle drive set in Florida raised some eyebrows when I first pitched the idea as a Harlequin American Romance. Cattle? In Florida? A state more known for its orange groves and theme parks didn’t seem like the best setting for a story about a fourth-generation rancher. And yet, it’s more fitting than a lot of people might guess.

Cattle ranching has been a staple of Florida’s economy for a long, long time. I think it’s fair to blame Ponce de Leon for that. He brought seven head of Andalusian cows with him on his second visit in 1521. People have been ranching here ever since.

Did you know that today Florida is the third-largest beef-producing state east of the Mississippi? Or that 1.1 million head of cattle graze its pastures?

We use term “Florida Cracker” when we’re talking about someone who was born and raised in the state. The term harkens back to the days when cowboys would snap long, braided whips over the heads of the cattle they were herding. “Crack!”

The cattle drive in Rancher’s Son, my December release for Harlequin American Romance is pattered after an old-fashioned drive that takes place across the state each spring. Over the next few months, we’ll talk more about Rancher’s Son and why Florida makes the perfect setting for a book about ranching.