Many little things from my life make it into my historical novels and novellas, including something as simple as the smell of wood smoke on a chilly fall morning.
When I step outside to take my Queensland heeler, Blue, for a walk, that sweet woodsy smell greets me from my own chimney. Though I have electric heat, it’s only a backup, and I warm my home with a woodstove. There is something cozy and companionable about building a fire each cold morning, pulling my rocker close, and watching through the stove’s glass door as bright flames embrace the logs.
Some mornings, dawn arrives with spectacular beauty, washing the horizon in blazing red and gold. A sunrise like that usually signals a storm, so after walking Blue up the hill, around the bend, and back, we return home where I split firewood. Fall temperatures in Colorado can fluctuate overnight as much as 30 to 40 degrees, so preparation is key.
My recently released Christmas novella, Snow Angel, is peppered with such details – the scent of wood smoke, a rocker by the fire, the chock of an ax splitting wood, and a companionable dog. The story is set in the 1880s along Colorado’s Front Range, and yet these same details fill my life now in the twenty-first century. I count these simple elements as the Lord’s timeless blessings, and they warm my heart as much as my home.
Do you have a special tradition or everyday task that warms your heart in a simple way? Or is there something you do to prepare for colder weather and seasonal change – maybe reading Christmas stories – that prepares your heart as well as your mind? I’d love to hear what those traditions are in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
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As a child, she lost something precious at Christmas. Twenty years later, she's about to lose her heart.
Lena Carver works as her physician brother’s medical assistant, housekeeper, and cook despite her disfigurement from a childhood accident. Each year, the Christmas holidays come with contradictions—cherished memories of a mysterious encounter and painful recollections of a great loss. She lives with the belief that she is beyond love’s reach, until a dark-eyed cowboy arrives broken, bruised, and bent on changing her mind.
Wil Bergman wakes in a stranger’s house with a busted leg, a bullet-creased scalp, and no horse. Trail-weary, robbed, and penniless, his dreams and plans for a future are suddenly unattainable. Forced to recuperate in the home of a country doctor, he finds himself at the mercy of a surgeon whose sister’s healing touch has power to stitch up his lonely heart and open his eyes to the impossible.
Davalynn Spencer is the award-winning author of ten inspirational Western romance titles, both contemporary and historical. She is a former journalist, the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, and chief wrangler of Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. Contact her via her website at https://www.davalynnspencer.com .
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