Since moving back to California in May of 2012, I’ve become more aware of the individual seasons. Living twelve years in San Antonio, Texas exposed me to a summer that lasted from April to early October and the other three seasons were jammed into the remaining months. But here at 6800 feet, the seasons are more pronounced. The daylight hours are fast becoming shorter, especially because the sun disappears behind the mountain earlier than from the closest little town that is 6 miles away but faces west, instead of north like our location.
When we lived in Oregon years ago, this was the time I worked hard to gather everything possible from the summer garden and canned or froze it. We’d scour the roadsides for the last of the wild blackberries and plums to make jam and preserves. Next, we lived in a city in southern California and were often in charge of my in-laws garden while they vacationed. I remember lots of zucchini and tomatoes and searching for new recipes. In Texas, we bought local peaches and pecans. Here in southern California, we’ll soon go to a nearby town that has an apple festival for the chance to pick apples and buy apple products.
In years gone by, the change in the seasons meant a change in cuisine. Gone were the summer fruits and vegetables of watermelon, cantaloupe, peas, corn, beans, and lettuce. Now there were squash, turnips, beets, rutabagas, potatoes, yams, parsnips, and pumpkins. Since refrigeration and development of trade between countries, the seasonal aspect to our cuisine has become blurred. In current day America, we expect to see lettuce and tomatoes year around.
Look for seasonal details in the stories you read and realize how they work to make the storyline seem real. Carving pumpkins in fall, eating watermelon in summer and enjoying potato soup in winter are familiar activities (at least in the US), and readers settle even deeper into the story because they’ve enjoyed these things too. Incorporating food or a meal into a story displays out a sense of community between whoever is sharing the food and also may add to characterization if an ethnic dish is served. Next time you read a romance look for how the author uses the seasons within the plot.
My latest release is a sensual western historical titled Capturing The Marshal’s Heart.
Ex-prostitute Jazzy Morgan wants a respectable future and boards a stagecoach heading west. US Marshal Slade Thomas is on the trail of a bank robber and gets a jolt when he realizes he’s sharing the stage with three women who fit the description on the wanted poster. A lawman is the last man Jazzy should pursue but the experience of making her own choices leads to a night of passion. The next day, bandits strike and kidnap the women, leaving Slade with no choice but to follow the stagecoach tracks to a secluded cabin. But when he’s faced with going after the escaped bandit or saving a gunshot Jazzy, Slade has to decide between his duty and his heart.
If historical romance is a genre you read, I’d appreciate having you add the title to your Want To Read list on Goodreads. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18336317-capturing-the-marshal-s-heart