I have to tell you that I really like Texas.
This is my fourth trip to the Lone Star State. I have always found the people here to be warm, welcoming, and very respectful.
Do you know, it takes some getting used to, having everyone—and I do mean everyone—calling me “ma’am”? I have always tended to address strangers I encounter as “sir” or ma’am”, because my mother may have been gone for more than three decades but her lessons live on. It’s something I do without thinking, and yes, I have received some strange looks in the course of my day to day life.
Here in Texas, the use of good manners is really quite common. But it’s more than that. I think it’s very natural to the people here to treat others with respect. I think it is ingrained. At least it has been with the people I’ve encountered.
Texas is a very logical place for me to visit. My publisher, Siren-Bookstrand, is in Texas—Austin, in fact. The writer with whom I collaborate on a cross-over book once a year is right here in Texas, too. Her name is Heather Rainier, author of the wildly successful Divine Creek Ranch series, and she is in the San Antonio area, which is where I am staying. And the series I am writing under my other pen name, Cara Covington—The Lusty, Texas Collection—is, of course, set in Texas.
This isn’t a vacation, it’s an extended retreat. There’s nothing, in my world that comes close to the joy of being in a room, face to face with a fellow author. There’s nothing that beats digging our fingers and toes into the fertile soil of our imaginations, and seeing what we can grow in it, individually and together.
Bouncing ideas off each other, Heather and I often experience what we’ve dubbed “unimind”. Other times, one will have the first part of a plot twist, and the other will have the second part. We make a good team—we really do.
I was also thrilled to get to meet and spend time with another Siren author, Bella Juarez. Her Black Ops Brotherhood series, which draws on her own military expertise, is not to be missed. We spent the day together yesterday writing and talking about writing. That was great.
I also had the opportunity to spend time with my publisher, and to meet the editorial staff at Siren. It was wonderful being in the same place with so many talented people. I don’t have enough words to tell you how deeply I respect these people—or how much I love my publisher!
The weather here has been pretty warm, for the most part. There was one evening we were out, having dinner, that when we stepped outside to leave, everyone was shivering…the thermometer had dropped to 56 degrees! It was cool, but I can tell you if we get some days back home up to 56 in January I am like as not to go outside without a jacket on.
It may come as no surprise to any of you that I pen these essays ahead of Wednesday – usually. So as you are reading these words, my friend Heather and I should be getting ready to go out and about, touring some of the surrounding area. I’m going to take some pictures and shamelessly play the tourist as I look for a few souvenirs to take home to my loved ones.
I’m going to get myself something, too. Primarily, I want to get me a cowgirl hat. Yes I could easily by one at home, but I want a genuine TEXAS cowgirl hat.
I had a cowgirl hat, black felt, which I had purchased a few years ago, long before I was ever published, but I made the mistake of allowing children to play with it. When it comes to the children I have a very hard time saying no. Alas that hat is but a memory.
In the meantime, until we head out touring and shopping, I’m at my keyboard, working hard. There’s a breakfast room in this hotel just down the hall from my room. The morning meal is complimentary. The coffee, tea, hot water, and juice are available all day—and all night, too.
Sunday morning found that room very busy. I imagine that a lot of people were heading home after spending a long weekend here. I got chatting with one woman, and when she found out I was visiting from Canada, she gave me a hug! She said, “We’re all so pleased that you are here!”
Do you know that hug uplifted me and stayed with me all the rest of that day, as did her kind words and sweet smile?
Like I said, I really like Texas.