Happy October! This is Louise M. Gouge writing to you today. This is one of my favorite months because…ta-da!... it’s my birthday month. Most years around this time, I don’t usually think about Christmas, but this year is different because I have my very first Christmas novella released by Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historical line. You can find Yuletide Reunion in the Christmas anthology A Western Christmas in stores right now, or at Harlequin.com, amazon.com, and other online bookstores now or closer to Christmas.
Yuletide Reunion is set on a fictional ranch beside the Rio Grande near the fictional town of Riverton, New Mexico. My sister lives in a beautiful, real life adobe house beside the river, and during my many visits to see her, I have been inspired by the history of the area. I’ve long wanted to write a story set on her land, although I’ve tweaked the descriptions for this story’s sake. After all, it takes place in 1886, and of course life was harder back then. No phones, no television, no running water. Meals were cooked on woodstoves. (See my personal photograph of a pioneer kitchen at left.) Many natural and human dangers faced the settlers every day. Still, our hardy ancestors managed to survive and build strong communities. They also loved to celebrate Christmas, just as we do today.
Our family has many traditions that we enjoy at this time of the year. Perhaps your family does, too. One of the traditions that takes place in New Mexico each year is Las Posadas, a nine-day celebration of Navidad, which is Spanish for Christmas. When learning about the difficulties of past generations, I’m also struck by the attempts of some people to get along with their neighbors. I was inspired to write about two such groups within my fictional community.
For hundreds of years, Mexicans had settled in the land we now call New Mexico, then known as New Mexico Territory. After the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, new boundaries were drawn, giving the territory to the United States. The Mexicans living there were given the opportunity to move to Mexico or remain on their land. Numerous families remained. At this time, many “Americanos” moved into the area, and animosities sprang up between the two groups. In my idealistic community, the pastors of two different local denominations decide to set the example and bring their congregations together, concentrating on their common belief in Jesus Christ instead of their differences. (See my personal photograph of the Rio Grande at right.)
I hope your Christmas will be filled with joy as you celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I love to hear from my readers, so if you read and enjoy Yuletide Reunion, please write and let me know.
Here’s the story blurb:
Yuletide Reunion in A Western Christmas
Emma Sharp's family needs to rebuild their barn before Christmas. All help is welcome—even if itcomes from the handsome neighboring rancher who jilted her two years ago. Can Jared Mattson prove that he wants to build not just a barn with Emma—but a bright future together?
Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical Romances. She received the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award in 2005, placed second in 2011; and placed in the Laurel Wreath in 2012. Her indie novel Then Came Love placed second in the 2015 IRCA. When she isn't writing, she and David, her husband of fifty years, enjoy visiting historical sites and museums. Please visit her Web site at http://blog.Louisemgouge.com