Hello! I’m Marie Sexton, soccer mom, laundry avoider, and author of gay romance. I live in Colorado, so it’s probably no surprise that I often write about the Mile High state. However, my latest novella, Lost Along the Way, is mostly set in Laramie, Wyoming.
Now, as somebody who’s lived part of her life in Wyoming, and all forty-odd years of it in the American west, I’m often struck by how wrong the media gets it when they portray our part of the country. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Even most American tend to forget there’s a pretty god damn big expanse of land in between California and the Mississippi. And you wouldn’t believe how often people say to me, “Mountain Standard Time? You mean Central, right?” (No, my friend. There’s an entire time zone between PST and CST.) So I suppose it’s to be expected that most of the country thinks we’re a bunch of swaggering cowboys. If you trust TV, everybody in Colorado wears a Stetson (fact: very few do), and everybody in Wyoming talks like a Texan (fact: only the Texas transplants do).
But I digress.
My protagonist, Daniel Whitaker, is actually a Denver meteorologist who grew up in Laramie and has to return home after the deaths of his parents. Laramie is 129 miles from Denver (and only 65 miles from where I live in Fort Collins), but the difference between here and there is amazing. As you drive north, the already-dry air gets drier, the trees fall away, and the landscape opens up and grows wider than you can imagine. It’s beautiful, but in a really strange, barren way.
Well, how about if I just show you?
The drive from Colorado to Wyoming is filled with these stone outcroppings, where the wind has basically stripped the earth bare and left her bones behind.
As you come into Laramie, you see this:
Not much around, is there? And what that picture doesn’t give you is the sound of the ever-present wind howling in your ears. The southern portion of Wyoming along I-80 is seriously, brutally windy. In fact, my Laramie contact (author Alanna Coca, a.k.a. Olivia Brynn) told me she thought it was rather diplomatic of me when I referred to it as “gusty” in the book. Let’s face it: “gusty” is more romantic than “feels like it’s ripping your hair out by the roots.” J
As you enter town, the highway becomes Laramie’s main drag, which looks like this:
(Although there are usually a few people around! It isn’t a ghost town, after all.) This is the section of town where Jubilee (the annual celebration around the Fourth of July and Wyoming’s statehood celebration on the 10th) takes place. It looks small and quaint, and in some ways it is, but this is also the home of the University of Wyoming, so it’s actually a bustling college town nine months out of the year.
Daniel’s family owns a house in between the University and LaPrele park, and he talks a lot about these areas in the story. LaPrele Park is actually built around Spring Creek. This narrow little stream is the whole reason Fort Laramie was built in this particular spot. (There isn’t a whole lot of water in this portion of the country!)
Daniel’s house is near Washington Park, which features an old-time band shell that’s still used.
Lastly, I had to include the Heritage Center. This building is only mentioned once in Lost Along the Way, mostly in passing, but it’s so distinctive, it’s hard to ignore. This picture makes it look like it’s out in the middle of nowhere, but it’s actually on campus (or darn close).
So, I hope that helps you get a good feel of the setting in Lost Along the Way. And as you read, please remember one thing:
Wyomingites don’t talk like Texans, no matter what TV would have you believe!
What else does the media get wrong? Well, probably a lot! But is there anything in particular about your neck of the woods that’s generally misportrayed?
Tales of the Curious Cookbook
It’s called comfort food for a reason.
Not much is known about the cookbook, except that years ago, the mysterious Granny B collected a set of magical recipes and wrote them down. Over the years, each book has been modified, corrected, added to, and passed down through the generations to accumulate its own unique history. The secrets behind these very special recipes are about to find their way into new hands and new lives, just when they’re needed the most.
Food created out of love casts a spell all its own, but Granny B’s recipes add a little something extra. This curious cookbook holds not only delicious food, but also the secrets of love, trust, and healing, and it’s about to work its magic once again.
Each Book in Tales of The Curious Cookbook Can Be Read As a Standalone
Lost Along the Way
Tales of the Curious Cookbook
Three months after losing his parents in a car crash, Denver weatherman Daniel Whitaker returns to Laramie, Wyoming. It’s bad enough dealing with the death of his parents and his failing relationship of fifteen years, but when he finds his childhood home full of clutter, Daniel is at a loss. He enlists Landon, his parents’ sexy neighbor, to help him sort through the mess.
Landon Kushner is a study in contradictions. He builds wind sculptures out of scrap metal and loves the outdoors, but he also rides a mint-green Vespa and has an affinity for knitting and fortune-telling. He’s been friends with Daniel’s parents for years, and he’s more than willing to lend a hand.
Their plan is simple: clean the house so Daniel can sell it and get back to his life in Denver. But when a strange cookbook comes into Landon’s possession, Daniel begins to realize that the universe – and Granny B – may have other plans.
About the Author:
Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.
My website/blog: http://mariesexton.net/