Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.
I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Gini Rifkin…
In my new historical romance, Break Heart Canyon, my heroine is a Scottish immigrant who raises goats in Colorado. While in the process of researching weaving, spinning, and farming during 1878, I began to consider following in my heroine’s footsteps.
I have been rescuing farm animals for over 20 years and my first rescue was a three footed angora goat named Precious. When I got her, she was in bad shape, with a heavily matted and tangled coat, blood sucking lice, and the three feet she did have were overgrown.
Every year I would trim off and keep her mohair. This procedure had to be done by hand as she was terrified of the electric clippers, but those hours were a special time for us as we bonded and listened to the oldies on the radio in the barn.
I have previously experimented with felting, but that was as far as I got—until recently. This year I decided to take lessons at the yarn shop to learn to spin and weave those bags of mohair. Although sweet Precious is gone, I think of her with heartwarming memories as I card her hair and try to achieve “greatness” at this ancient art.
The process of weaving being many thousands of years old, think of all the hands that plied the yarn and threw the shuttle to make cloth so vital to everyone from the common man to royalty.
Working on my rigid heddle loom is going better than spinning on the drop spindle, but both offer hours of relaxation, reflection, and the rewriting of chapters in my head. Now I’m spinning tales along with weaving tea towels. Had it not been for one brave little goat, I would never have thought of making this wonderful hobby a part of my life.
In Break Heart Canyon, there are also two lovable donkeys inspired by my two rescues, Jack and Rosie. Burros are incredible animals, thoughtful rather than stubborn, and intelligent with the gift for frequently outsmarting me. Along with the goats, ducks, and cats they have brightened my days and brought wonderful people into my world.
Wish I could show my heroine, Una MacLaren, the scarf I’m working on now. I’m sure she would agree we are fortunate to be surrounded by animals who keep us grounded, give us joy, and teach us what is most important in our lives. You can meet Una, and the handsome rascal who steals her heart, in Break Heart Canyon.
With her fiery red hair and apparent love for the land and animals, she seemed the perfect person to live in this secluded vale surrounded by a canyon brimming with tall-tales and legends.
Standing now in her cabin, inhaling the tantalizing aroma of food, and dowsed in the fragrance of the hanging herbs and spices, Ryker believed this woman was capable of casting a spell on him. She needn’t bother, he was already smitten. Yes smitten. Never in his life had that term seemed relevant. The rampage of feelings she stirred in him ran the gambit from wanting to bed her, to wanting to protect her, to wanting to walk away from her as fast as possible.
She was a danger to his way of life. Or maybe his way of life was a danger to his happiness. Una confused him. Made him unsettled. And what a fetching picture she created, one easy to commit to memory and long for at a later date. But he wasn’t fond of wasting time on lonely reflections—he needed to vacate the cabin.
“Anything I can do for you other than get out of your way?”
“More firewood is always appreciated.”
He hurried outside, relieved to have a legitimate reason for performing any activity other than standing and staring at her like a randy schoolboy. Returning with all the split wood he could carry, he deposited the armload by the stove and turned to leave.
“Thank you, Ryker.”
For the first time, she’d called him by his Christian name, and dang he liked the sound of it wrapped in her unpredictable Scottish burr.
“You’re welcome, Una.” His reply came over his shoulder as he left. The jaunty tune she hummed hesitated for a moment. He smiled. Did she like the sound of her name on his lips as well?
Gini Rifkin writes stories of romance and adventure. Her settings include the American West, Medieval & Victorian England, and Contemporary thriller & fantasy. When not reading or writing, she keeps busy spinning goat hair and weaving. She also has the privilege of caring for a menagerie of abandoned animals including ducks, goats, donkeys, and cats. Born in Illinois, when struck by wanderlust, she moved to Colorado and met her husband, Gary. They shared the journey for 30 years, spending vacations canoeing, doing Mountain Man reenacting, and traveling around this great country. Although Gary has passed on, a little bit of him lives on in every hero she creates. Gini considers family and friends her most treasured of gifts.