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Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Spring in the High Desert--Full of Conflict

Winters here in central Wyoming are fierce. The wind never stops--which is nice for all the wind farms popping up around town. But it is hard on the humans. I get to the point where I hate going outdoors, even all bundled up. The icy blasts still crash in around the muffler and gloves. Spring is something anticipated with longing.

But spring here is not a warm and lovely event, and is especially hard for gardeners. It is full of conflict, like a great romance novel. Spring begins to show in mid-March, when sturdy crocus push through the thin topsoil. As soon as they appear, the largest snow fall of the year usually hits, since the Wyoming high desert gets most of its snow fall and yearly moisture in March and April. The snow doesn't last long as spring sunshine melts it. As nice as it is to see the snow melt away, in the background is the knowledge that spring run off will start soon.

The runoff hits just as the soil is already saturated and there is nowhere for the excess water to go but into the streets and byways. Garden gamblers see their first planting washed away. Undaunted, they plant again a few weeks later, gambling on April. But now the monsoon season has started. Icy rain washes away many early gardens. Finally a few brave seedling straggle above soil only to be hit by hail--not one time, but several times. More cautious gardeners, who have kept their seedlings indoors during all the weather turbulence finally start setting their plants out in May, with hopes that Mother Nature will bless their protective nurturing with handsome crops come fall. They keep an eye on the sky, an ear on the weather station and stacks of tarps and homemade milk jug 'greenhouses' for nights and hail.

Spring finally turns to summer, and the garden is rife with possibilities. In a good year, the summer is hot, the water is plentiful, the tough times are over and we are rewarded with a fruitful garden. A happy ending finally.

I love romance fiction that is full of conflict--it makes the happy ever after all the sweeter. When characters face obstacles and disappointment over and over I find myself rooting for them to get their happy ending. Just like I root for my seedlings. Which I probably set out too soon.

Take a shy, chubby, Catholic school girl bookworm from Montana. Hand her a stack of her much older brother’s sci fi and fantasy novels, James Bond books and horror comics. Later, introduce Barbara Cartland and the world of romance fiction.

Get her a teaching job or two in authentic, one room Montana schools, ala Laura Ingels Wilder.

Marry her off to a great guy, move her to a big city in Tornado Alley, then pop three daughters out of her in twenty two months(one set of identical twins).

Then, make her a jinx–every great genre TV show she loves gets the ax– Beauty and the Beast, Dark Angel–and Buffy and Spike NEVER have a happy ending! She gets upset about no romance in the world, and fires up to write her own stories with happy endings.

Throw this all together into a small house in Wyoming, along with a small bouncy dog named Baxter and too many cats, shake constantly and pour it out onto a computer keyboard.

There! You have me, Melisse Aires.

Her Accidental Angel is available from Aspen Mountain Press


Maria said...

Lol Melisse! That is why I could never live in Wyoming- couldn't survive the winters and then deal with the difficult spring! Glad you survive it though:)

Love the cover to "Her Accidental Angel". Will definitely look it up!


JoanneR said...

Sounds like tough weather, but I am sure that has made your resolve much stronger and your story-telling more exciting!

Jean P said...

I have dealt with weather like what you talked about, though thankfully not for awhile. Back then didn't try planting a garden until May. The cover on Accidental Angel is great!

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Rebekah E. said...

I left Wyoming about 6 years ago to get away from the wind. I hated it. But unfortuantely, I moved to an area in Colorado that seems to be just as bad. But I am happy that the gardening time is better here that in Wyoming.


Karen H in NC said...

I thought it was bad enough living my life in Michigan...I could never live in beautiful as if may be...I'm a spring/summer kind of girl. That's why I live in NC now!

kkhaas at bellsouth dot net

Faith said...

For the last 7 years we've been playing a game of cat and mouse with the spring rains in Ohio. When we finally think the soil has dried and the heavy rains are over, a week later it starts again and what seeds and plants aren't washed away rot in the saturated ground.


cheryl c said...

I am glad that you decided to write romances because we all need those HEA endings!
castings at mindspring dot com

Cathy M said...

What a fun post, Melisse. Looks like you are living your own romance story. I got started with my love for romance stories with Barbara Cartland too, waay back when, lol.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

Judy said...

Your post is great. I have never been that far North!! I have visited Colorado and thought it was so beautiful, but I was there in the summer:) I have always loved Romance novels. I also have read my share of Barbara Cartland. I always enjoyed her books.


booklover0226 said...

Ah, Barbara Cartland... my first romance author...loved her works.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Tamara said...

I love conflict in romance novels it makes it so much more interesting. I live in GA so spring actually turns to summer pretty quickly here.

Sheila said...

It sounds like you have strange weather. But the plus is you can stay inside and write.:) Liked how you wrote your

MT Red Ruby said...

Love your blog-bio, Melisse! Hugs to you and Baxter, hubby and girls. :-)

Kytaira said...

I also love the cover! Very cool!

I'm trying my hand at gardening as well. I never seem to get the seedlings to survive. This years new plant is artichokes. Thanks!

Kym said...

I love spring and my garden is always unpredictable and full of hope for the future.


Melisse Aires said...

Fun to see all the comments! Hi Ruby! I LOVE the cover for Her Accidental Angel and think it is the best cover I've ever had.

Swing by my blog and enter in my drawing.

Melisse Aires

Kristabel Reed said...

Note to self: do not move to Wyoming! I don't do cold. I don't like winter (sports aside) and I certainly don't like wind! Brrr.

Course it does make for a lovely romantic weekend.

wanda f said...

Way too cold thin kI ll stick with north carolina lol.Cant wait to read Her Accidental Angel looks awesome .

Michelle said...

Love the Wyoming weather description. I lived there for awhile when I was a kid, though at the time I loved the wind and the storms that canceled school (lol). Her Accidental Angel sounds great. keep up the good work.

Terra Pennington said...

Oh I need to check out "Her Accidental Angel." I so love stories about angels.


EdgesAngel23 said...

"Her Accidental Angel" is so going on my TBR!! Thanks for the great post! I dont think I could survive very well in Wyoming..
Ashley A

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

ugh. March is typically our snowiest month too (in MN). i don't even try and think about spring until we're close to May

Anonymous said...

We have had several blizzards here in Chicago. We had one this year that broke records. I love the beauty of Wyoming and I have considered moving there but I'm not sure I'm hearty enough to survive the winters.

user1123 AT comcast DOT net