Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Romantic Reads: A Change of Scenery

The Story Behind A Change of Scenery (book) by Davalynn Spencer

My start in the writing business was strictly nonfiction. As a crime-beat reporter for the Cañon City Daily Record, I dredged up the facts. As a features writer, I built human-interest stories around the facts. And as the religion-page editor, I laid out the page and added one of my photographs with an appropriate Bible verse and inspirational thought as a cutline. Again – facts, but from the Word of God.

However, at a small-town daily newspaper, reporters do what needs to be done whether it’s their gig or not. One of my ongoing assignments was to find interesting news items at the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center for the paper’s Back In Time series.

As some might say, that place was a gold mine. It still is.

Gold was a big deal in Colorado’s late 1800s, but prospectors didn’t find much of the precious metal around Cañon City. However, there is more than one type of gold, and while hard-rock miners were chipping away at gullies and washes in the high country, ranchers and farmers were making a go of it down here in the Arkansas River Valley because, well, miners have to eat.

One area north of town is still referred to as Garden Park – where vegetables grew in well-laid-out farms and countless dinosaur fossils were unearthed and fought over by rival university’s paleontology departments.

Fruit orchards still dot the Arkansas River basin, and ranchers still run cattle on the sweet mountain grass. Much of the area is as it was in spite of the 21st century’s noise and clutter.

Cañon City is an Old West town that just happened to survive because the founders built most of the buildings on Main Street from locally quarried stone. When places like Cripple Creek (over the hill at 10,000 feet) burned to the ground – twice – Cañon City lived on.

The place is ripe with history, and in my reporter days, I spent hours at the history museum reading amazing accounts of early life here. And the more I read, the more I envisioned some of the pioneers who settled the area and their Native American counterparts who were here first. The more I envisioned, the more I wanted to tell the stories, but not in a history book.

I learned during my middle-school-teaching days that students will devour historical facts if they are laced through an interesting novel. But so do adults. Historical fiction remains a selling market because, as I like to say, life wasn’t easier in the past but it was simpler. And simple is something people crave today – a respite from the mad go-and-show world in which we live.

My three novels in The Cañon City Chronicles are each set against backdrops of historical mile-markers from this area. And so is Book 4, A Change of Scenery. Silent pictures were a big deal here in the early 1900s, but they weren’t called silent pictures because pictures had never talked.

The flickers that “flicked” through nickelodeons were not referred to as silent pictures until “talkies” came along.

As I studied this era of local history, I was fascinated by what I read. Moving-picture companies paid ranchers top dollar to “rent” their cattle, horses, and ranches for filming. Even the ranchers themselves were paid day-wages – a whopping $5 per man per day.

Anchored in the rich historical facts, a story emerged in my heart of a rancher who was smitten by a big-city gal with the Selig-Polyscope company. The “what-if” nerve of a novelist began to throb, and A Change of Scenery played across my mind’s eye, starring two little boys from Book 3 in the Hutton-family saga known as The Cañon City Chronicles.

Faith is always a character in my stories – an aspect that directs lives the same way it does in real life. This book has no preaching but plenty of wisdom shared by truth-speaking characters. God and His peace and presence weave through the book the same way they do in my daily life: intimately, steadily, tenderly.

Tragedy takes its place on the stage, just as it does in our lives. But how a character handles it determines how that character develops. Again, an aspect that mirrors the reality of our lives.

And isn’t that what fiction is all about? Mirroring reality. I hope you’ll read A Change of Scenery and be blessed by the challenges, heartaches, and blessings that adorn this tender Western romance.

Author Bio:

Davalynn Spencer is a Publisher’s Weekly and ECPA bestselling author and winner of the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction.

She is the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters and the author of sixteen titles, both contemporary and historical. She blogs monthly for Christian Authors Network, contributes to the American Christian Fiction Writers blog, and writes her own weekly inspirational blog.

Davalynn appears on the area radio broadcast, Write Time Radio, and teaches writing workshops when not wrangling Keeper the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. 

Connect with her at https://www.davalynnspencer.com

Blurb for A Change of Scenery:

Inspirational Historical Western Romance

A hidden fear. A daring challenge. A liberating love.

A motorcar accident on a rainy Chicago night steals Ella Canaday’s fiancé as well as her ability to ride. Clinging to the remnants of her independence, she cuts her hair and her ties with her wealthy father and takes a train west as the seamstress with a moving-picture company. 

Colorado offers the change of scenery she needs. But she doesn’t expect the bold cowboy who challenges her to reclaim both the loves she thought she’d lost forever.

Cale Hutton needs the money the moving-picture company is paying for use of his cattle and horses, but he’s not keen on some city gal gettin’ in the way at the ranch. Between the filming crew by day and a rogue cattle-killing bear by night, his attention snags on the little bob-haired seamstress. Something about her easy manner around his horse sets his mind to find out what she’s hiding and why she has such a pull on his heart.

Buy Davalynn’s book, A Change of Scenery:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1064987

Davalynn's website: https://davalynnspencer.com/books/a-change-of-scenery/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RWJBTWG/

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