Crumpets and Cowpies Visuals

Visuals play a big part in the process I go through when I prepare to write a new story.

Crumpets Cover
Crumpets and Cowpies was no exception. I gathered my visuals, found some great resources for historic photos of Baker City, and let the story juices begin percolating. (Okay, that sounded a little weird, but you know what I mean.)

Here are some of the photographs I used to shape the story…

Thane-JordanAh, Charlie Hunnam…

He provided a great inspiration for the character of Thane Jordan.

Thane can be tough as nails or incredibly tender. And he has this smirk that drives Jemma mad (and weakens her knees).

charlie 2When Jemma first meets Thane, he has a scruffy beard and long hair that she finds positively disgusting.

charlie 19th century suitBefore they leave England, Thane is dressed as a proper gentleman, much to Jemma’s surprise and delight.

charlie 4She soon learns that regardless of what he wears, Thane enjoys teasing and provoking her.

Jemma-BryanThe Lady Jemma Bryan needed someone who looked like, well… a lady. Elizabeth Henstridge was perfect!

Jemmma 3Jemma is lovely, although she can be a bit independent and free-thinking. Just as Thane. He’ll willingly rattle off all her faults – including obstinate and opinionated.


Elizabeth-Henstridge---JemmaOne thing about Jemma he can’t overlook (beyond her beauty) is her devotion and love for their niece and nephew. Thane’s brother Henry was married to Jemma’s sister Jane.  The two children play an important role in the story.

Stone EisenmannStone Eisenmann was my inspiration for Jack Jordan.

Jack is nine but he carries a lot of weight on his young shoulders. He tends to be solemn and quiet, but he takes an instant liking to his Uncle Thane.

maggie-elizabeth-jonesMaggie Elizabeth Jones provided the most wonderful visual for little Lily. How could you not be smitten with this face?

In the story, Lily is three with a head full of unruly curls, a sweet little rosebud mouth, button nose, and snapping copper eyes.

Honestly, if Lily were real, I’d claim her as my own and spend all day cuddling her , or playing dolls, or…

I shouldn’t play favorites, but I completely adore her!

Sir Rigsley (Curly Coated Retriever)This is Sir Rigsly, the family dog. Rigsly (a curly-coated retriever) was more than just a pet to Jemma and the children so Thane agreed to transport him from England to his ranch. It didn’t take long for the dog to settle in and become friends with Thane’s ranch dogs.

Church-Street-1890sThis is Church Street in Liverpool. I could just picture Thane riding in a hansom cab down the street, taking in all the sights so different from the sagebrush covered hills around his ranch.

English Stone CottageThis provided my inspiration for The Cottage, where Jemma and the children lived in Bolton. I could live here. This might be my dream summer home…

TeutonicThe trip back from England, Thane and his new family boarded a ship called the Teutonic. It was one of the first ships in the White Star Line to offer second class accommodations. This staircase reminds me of Titanic (also a White Star Line ship).

Teutonic stateroomThis is one of the staterooms from the ship. Can’t you just picture Jemma tucking Lily into the bed?

Teutonic dining saloonAnd this was the first class dining saloon, where Thane, Jemma and the children would have taken their meals (unless they were eating in their room). I confess, I spent hours and hours admiring photos of the Teutonic. It was an amazing, beautiful ship.

IMG_8248As you know from a post earlier this week, this place provided the inspiration for Thane’s ranch. It’s no wonder the sight of it came as a shock to Jemma.

cabin-kitchenAnd this is the photo I used to envision what the inside of the cabin might have looked like. Although Thane’s is a little bigger, it would have been a far cry from The Cottage.

Baker Street SprinklerEven the town would have been vastly different from what Jemma and the children were accustomed. This is a sprinkler wagon in Baker City that drove up and down the streets, dripping out water to settle the dust.

Saddle ShopAnd this was the saddle and harness shop in Baker City. They really did carry a line of sewing machines. You can see one in the far left side of the photo in front of the display case. It seemed like such an odd combination of wares to me.

There you have it – some of the photos I used to draw inspiration and ideas for the story.

A huge heart-felt thank you to those of you who helped launch the book yesterday. I so appreciate it – and you!

Happy Reading!


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