Hey, romance addicts. Author Gayle M. Irwin shares how she finds tranquility and creativity in nature. She is also giving readers a sneak peek of her book My Montana Love, a pet rescue romance. Welcome, Gayle!
By Gayle M. Irwin
A 60th birthday celebration at my friends’ ranch last month brought me down their ½-mile graveled lane. As I drove toward the house, two large, lanky birds squawked, jumped, and bowed. I smiled, stopped the car, and watched them. Springtime beckons sandhill cranes to this location, and every March when I visit the same spot to celebrate my birthday, the birds are almost always there to welcome me back, just as the land welcomes them.
Throughout that March weekend, a pair of sandhill cranes appeared in the field near the house. Each morning and evening they came to feed, and I smiled and laughed at their antics. I bet I took nearly 100 photos!
Sandhill cranes mate for life, likely a reason I admire them. My husband and I recently celebrated our 21st Valentine’s Day together, and our 20th anniversary took place last fall. I dedicated my new book, My Montana Love, to him. We may not live in Montana, but we reside in a neighboring state, and we visit Montana often because it’s one of our favorite places (and I have friends and family there). The vastness of the plains, the majesty of the mountains, the rolling rivers and cascading waterfalls, and the sheer magnitude of the sky draw us to explore and soak in the beauty of Montana’s nature.
We also experience similar in our own state. The eastern and central plains, which bring vast numbers of sandhill cranes during migration, sprout green grass and colorful flowers each spring. Runoff from snowmelt gorges rivers nourishes the land and the animals. Western mountains, often snowcapped year-round, sparkle with trivets of streams and pop in shades of purple, yellow, and white as lupine, daisies, and phlox grace the meadows. Such natural settings speak to my soul.
I set my Pet Rescue Romance series in the west, the area I know best. I’ve lived in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho most of my life. I love these places, and I visit others like Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado and Utah primarily because of their natural settings – nature has been an integral part of my life since childhood. Therefore, the locations for my books, including my children’s collection, weave nature and the West throughout the stories.
The ranch location, where I visit each spring, is also one of my writing retreats. I’ve composed children’s stories, magazine articles, and portions of my romance books at this location. I stay at the guest house my friends have on the property, and each day I gaze upon fields, hillsides, and a river; each welcomes and nourishes livestock and wildlife. Each greets and nurtures me.
My other natural writing space is a cabin on six acres of mountain forest land. My husband and I purchased the original tract of property in 2003, and over the years, we’ve been blessed to add to the acreage total. The remoteness of the land keeps us from traveling there in the winter, but come late spring, when the white phlox spouts and the mountain bluebirds return, we do likewise – many stories have spouted and taken flight from this special spot.
Nature’s tranquility whispers to my soul and engages my creativity, and I weave such inspiration into my characters and stories.
Thanks, Gayle. All right, romance addicts. Check out a little taste of Gayle’s book My Montana Love
“How come you’ve become so suspicious, Levi?” Rhiann asked.
He faced her, and she continued, “As far as our disagreements, we’ve had them before, but we always found a compromise.”
“Yeah, involving me giving in. I’m getting tired of it.”
He watched as her eyes first bulged and then narrowed.
“Levi Marcus Butler, what’s gotten into you?”
“Rhiann Elizabeth Kelly, maybe I’m just weary of being the dog in the fight.”
“You used my maiden name.”
His wife’s soft voice startled him. Their eyes locked.
“You don’t want to be married to me anymore, do you?”
Rhiann’s hoarse whisper punched Levi in the gut and ripped his heart.
Gayle M. Irwin is an award-winning author and freelance writer, being recognized by Wyoming Writers, Inc., and the Wyoming Press Association for several of her works. She is a contributor to seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books and the author of many inspirational pet books and stories for both children and adults. Her sweet, contemporary romance series, Pet Rescue Romance, consists of Rescue Road, Finding Love at Compassion Ranch, Rhiann’s Rescue, My Montana Love. Gayle volunteers for various dog rescue and humane society organizations and donates a percentage of all book sales to such groups.