Welcome to Twining Hearts Ranch: What's In a Name?

Readers, I've been away for a terribly long time and I apologize for that. The last several months, as I'm sure you've experienced for yourself, have been crazy. While I've been gone, I've gotten some slow writing done and I'm now in the process of wrapping up a project I've been wanting to do all year. 

Where the Heart Is is on preorder now through Labor Day. 

Coming very soon, the first book in the Twining Hearts Ranch series, Where the Heart Is!

Over the next month as we prepare for the book to come out, I'll share some insights into the locations, characters, and animal friends you'll meet in Where the Heart Is. 

For today, I thought I'd answer a question sent by one of my beta readers. When Lottie inherits the ranch from her grandfather, it is called the Rocking Bar H. She changes the name to Twining Hearts Ranch, though she preserves the brand and title Rocking Bar H for the cattle aspect of her business. 

But, why Rocking Bar H? What's the story there?

Well, readers, it's all about the brand. 

The horse brand used at Philmont Scout Ranch.

Brands have been used in ranching at least since the days of the Old West. It makes it easy to see at a glance which cattle (or other livestock) are yours and which are your neighbors. Each brand is created from a combination of symbols, letters, and/or lines. When I worked at Philmont Scout Ranch in summer of 2004, I was surprised to learn that there are some ranches that use a different brand for different livestock. The cattle brand looks different, though has some similar features, from the horse brand. Being a horsey kind of girl, when it came time to have the belt I made branded, I naturally chose the horse brand. The "Rocking Bar H" describes the brand itself and would look something like this:
The Rocking Bar H Brand

The choice for having the brand symbols stemmed first from their last name, Heartt. An initial is always a good way to mark something as yours. The rocking line and bar would just have provided a more unique look. Perhaps great-grandpa Heartt thought it looked nice. And more likely, none of his neighbors had the same look for their brands.

Why didn't Lottie's great-grandparents pick a more creative name for the ranch rather than just relying on their brand? To be honest, I'm not entirely sure. Truthfully,  I think back when they first started their ranch, it would have been known to locals as the Heartt Place or the Heartt Ranch. Whether it was Great-Grandpa or Grandpa Heartt who started calling the ranch by the brand name, I can't really say.  

So, then, why didn't Lottie stick with that? Lottie's career before inheriting the ranch was as a business consultant. She knows quite a bit about what makes a business function and succeed. One of her dreams is to bring guests to the ranch not only to experience a bit of ranch life but also for romantic getaways. Twining Hearts Ranch has that cozy, homey sound that just invites you to come in and stay a while. The name change was also a cute way to use her last name (though she admits to dropping a "t" for simplicity's sake) in the ranch name.

Bookmark design for the new series

Well, readers, I hope you've enjoyed this brief intro to the Twining Hearts Ranch series. Next week we'll get to visit more of the ranch, and the small fictional town of Travis, KS nearby. Until then, let me know what you think of Lottie's new ranch name. What would you name a ranch if you owned one?

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