Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Trip to the Panhandle by Guest Janice Thompson

Many years ago, when my children were still young, we went on a trip to the Texas Panhandle. Our destination? Palo Duro Canyon, one of the most breathtaking places in the state.
We planned to camp over night and to see the musical, “Texas,” which is set against the backdrop of the canyon. We arrived according to schedule, had a chuck-wagon-style BBQ dinner, then watched the musical. Perfection! Then we headed to our campsite. How were we to know a huge storm was headed into the area? We spent the whole night huddled in a tent, praying we wouldn’t be washed down-river!

Though our tent sprang a leak, we survived. Somehow the kids managed to sleep through it all. We awoke the following morning to a brilliant sunny sky and continued our tour of the park, then headed out of the canyon and across the panhandle to our next destination. . .Colorado.

Many years have passed since that fun-filled trip, but I never forgot the amazing and scenic things I witnessed in that part of the state. I’d grown up in Texas, but never seen such beautiful colors or landscape. Little did I know this experience would give me the foundation for a story, but that’s exactly what happened. When I decided to set a novel in the panhandle, I settled on the town of Groom, not far from the very canyon where we once ate BBQ and watched a fantastic musical about the history of the state I love so much. And much like the adventure we faced in our family tent that night, my story is filled with excitement, as well.

Groom, Texas, is located just east of Amarillo, in the heart of the panhandle. There, against the backdrop of ranch lands and canyons, you can find tumbleweeds, open plains, and some of the finest cattle in the country. The town has a rich history and provides the perfect backdrop for a historical romance. And though I had visited the area, I’d not been to the town of Groom, so a great deal of Internet research was in order! My goodness, did I learn a lot!

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Groom was once known for its ranches. In fact, Colonel B. B. Groom owned one of the largest ranches in the area. These days, Groom is known for something else—the tallest cross in the world. The cross, which is nineteen stories high, can be seen from twenty miles away. Of course, it was built long after the action in this book takes place. Because I couldn’t use the cross in my story, I opted to allude to it. The heroine, Anne, wears a cross necklace at all times. The Lord uses it to bring healing to her heart and draw her to Him. In the same way, the cross in modern-day Groom offers hope and healing to all who pass by.

Groom, Texas, is not a fairy-tale place. It is very real. And while it may not be known for its single fellas, it is known as a place where people can find healing and hope for their lives. I pray that my story, Last Groom in Town, reflects the spirit of the people in that fine town. I’m grateful for the opportunity to showcase a town from my wonderful state. . .Texas!

Janice Thompson 

Award-winning author Janice Thompson got her start in the industry writing screenplays and musical comedies for the stage. Janice has published over 100 books for the Christian market, crossing genre lines to write cozy mysteries, historicals, romances, nonfiction books, devotionals, children’s books and more. She particularly enjoys writing light-hearted, comedic tales because she enjoys making readers laugh. Janice is passionate about her faith and does all she can to share the joy of the Lord with others, which is why she particularly enjoys writing. Her tagline, “Love, Laughter, and Happily Ever Afters!” sums up her take on life. She lives in Spring, Texas, where she leads a rich life with her family, a host of writing friends, and two mischievous dachshunds. When she’s not busy writing or playing with her eight grandchildren, Janice can be found in the kitchen, baking specialty cakes and cookies for friends and loved ones. No matter what she’s cooking up—books, cakes, cookies or mischief—she does her best to keep the Lord at the center of it all.


  1. Thanks for sharing your adventure. I'm sure that Last Groom in Town will be just as exciting!