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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

CJ Carmichael: Why Do We Love Montana?

The reality of life on a ranch in Montana is a lot of hard work...so why is this setting so appealing for lovers of romance and family sagas?

I’ve thought about this question a lot. Having grown up on a farm in Saskatchewan I know that country life is easy to idealize—for those who haven’t lived it. But the benefits are undeniable: the beauty of the land, the fortitude of the people, the resilience of the communities.


One of my favorite books about life on a Montana ranch is: “Sketches from the Ranch, A Montana Memoir” by Dan Aadland. Aadland is a combination rancher/poet/philosopher. He’s very down-to-earth as he describes his day to day responsibilities as a modern day “cowboy,” but always with a eye for beauty and truth, such as in this small sample:

“Spring on a Montana ranch is not only calving cows. It is also the crocus, the brave flower that picks its way, sometimes through snow, to decorate the still-brown grass of the dryland hills. It is a small boy with a bouquet of pussy willows in one hand, the other hand thrust into his mother’s palm as they come up from the woods late in the afternoon. It is the return of the meadowlark and the sandhill crane.”
Writers aren’t the only ones who love Montana. Paradise Valley (the setting for my fictional Carrigans of the Circle C) was inspiration, title and solace to John Mayer as he was crafting the music for his new album of the same name.

Many movie stars, famously Robert Redford, own property in Montana and some of the most beautiful movies I’ve seen (A River Runs Through It, The Horse Whisperer) have been filmed here.

If Montana were a song, it might be the Eagle’s, “A Peaceful Easy Feeling.”


It might also be a place to call home, a land where the people are real and true, a place where you can believe in love and forever, and even dare to put them in the same sentence.

If you also love Montana, especially stories with that setting, tell me why and I’ll send you an autographed book from Big Sky Country!

Cheers,
CJ


Sage Carrigan never meant to be the other woman. Unfortunately, bronco rider Dawson O’Dell neglected to mention he was married the night he invited her to his bed after they’d both placed first in their rodeo events. When his wife walked in on them – Sage was deeply hurt and humiliated. After an accident in the ring the next day, Sage decides she’s quitting the rodeo–and cowboys—to become a chocolatier in her hometown ranching community, Marietta, Montana. She’s doing just fine, but then Dawson shows up —five years later, with a little girl in tow. He’s here for the Copper Mountain Rodeo hoping to win big. But he’s also got plans of settling down with his daughter and buying a house—the very same one that Sage has been dreaming about. He says he’s here for her and he’s making lots of promises. But can he keep them?

***Congrats, Emily Baucom, you won! Please email totebag@authorsoundrelations.com***

15 comments:

Mary Preston said...

One of my favorite books, LONESOME DOVE by Larry McMurtry, sees the cattle drive end in Montana. It always sounded incredibly beautiful, albeit freezing cold.

petite said...

Montana is a place that exudes beauty, a never ending horizon and harsh weather as well which is part of life in many areas. I have read a great deal about the people, their work ethic and admire them greatly.

Laney4 said...

Montana reminds me of Alberta. My sister and her family has lived in Alberta (Calgary) and Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Regina, and Lanigan) for the past 40 years, and we just love visiting the mountains with them. So calm. So peaceful. So beautiful....

traveler said...

Montana is real, filled with magnificent vistas and natural scenic wonders. When I travelled to B.C. and Alberta I was impressed by the neverending stark grandeur. Montana reminds me of this and is unforgettable.

Linda Henderson said...

I've never had the opportunity to visit Montana so I visit it in books. I used to live in Colorado and I miss the mountains, not the snow. I enjoy visiting the mountains through books. A lot of my favorite Harlequin Intrigues have taken place there. Someday I hope to really visit.

Jeanne M said...

Hi CJ!

I love not only Montana but also Wyoming and South Dakota and one reason is the wide open spaces (since I'm from New England I'm sure you understand)!

We have family that lives in Baggs, Wyoming (where the Hole and the Wall Gang used to dropped by occasionally "back when") and it's a unique little town. It amazing just driving around and at every turn you see new vistas calling out to you to pause for just a while, sit down and relax and fill your soul with peace.

Pat Cochran said...

Two pictures in my mind of this part of the country. One is
blizzard-driven and snow-covered, the other is bright clear
skies and wide open spaces! Never been there, think I'd
prefer the clear skies!

Pat C.

Leni said...

I've read quite a few stories that were based in Montana. I enjoyed them because of the way the area was portrayed as a character in the story and played a part in what happened to the other characters in the books.

Carole Fiore said...

I've never been to Montana but have read a lot of books about the state and I feel like I would like living there, I live in a small country town in north fla. I also love rodeo's and cowboys, most of my friends are cattle and horse ranchers, so I know alittle bit about that kind of living and farming. I read your book Promise Me Cowboy and loved it a lot-I felt like I right at home! That's how I feel when I read any book I'm one of the characters...

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

Big Sky Country.... the views are what get me..

Carla Daum said...

I saw the movie Mary, but never read the book. There is something so magestic about a cattle drive...

Carla Daum said...

Jeez, my comments are coming out with the wrong name! I am trying to reply as "CJ Carmichael". Sorry if that "Carla Daum" is causing any confusion.

I love all your thoughts about Montana. It's nice to know that such a special place is appreciated by so many people!

Emily Baucom said...

I have never been to Montana but I have always wanted to, seems like such a beautiful place. I have read a few books that were based in Montana and it sounds like such an amazing place.

Laurie G said...

Many years ago my husband and I were lucky enough to camp at Glacier National Park. We loved the beautiful lakes and the millions of stars on review in the night sky.

We traveled through Montana also on our honeymoon. We celebrated my husband's 25th birthday at a fantastic steak restaurant in Missoula. We also ate the best fried chicken ever at a small bar restaurant in Hardin. So many friendly people. Loved the scenery, that's why we came back to go camping.

Eli Yanti said...

Just seeing montana throught and know that that is a great place :)