Shadowlands Ranch

Mustangs on the Santa Fe Trail

Welcome to the Shadowlands Ranch home site, headquarters for all things related (directly and indirectly) to my (Anne J. Thomas) books and J.A Fleming’s artwork. (And just to save any confusion, Anne J. Thomas and J. A. Fleming are one and the same!)
Situated where the Great Plains roll up to the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, not much has changed in this remote region in northeast New Mexico since the days of the Santa Fe Trail. History whispers to you as the wind stirs the grass and sighs through the fragrant juniper and piñon pines and it is easy to daydream about a time when fleets of prairie schooners rumbled across the undulating prairie ocean to Santa Fe. On this site we celebrate those days and revisit them through the eyes of the characters in my novel “Into the Shadowlands”, and its sequel “Whispers Across the Plain“. Whether we relive the trail as it was when Tate and Abby crossed it in 1876 or visit it in the 21st Century, as Julia and Lisa did, there is so much to explore!
The memories of the pioneer days are embedded in this area around Watrous. Known as La Junta during the trail years, it was a major hub and meeting place and the scars of the thousands of wagons that traveled through this lush vale, (where two rivers, the Mora and the Sapello, meet) are deeply etched in the earth. The ruins of historical sites like Fort Union and Loma Parda are nearby and even a herd of buffalo roam at the Wind River Ranch just eight miles away. But along with the history, there is what makes New Mexico so unique. With its magical light, superstitions, traditions, and art, it is known as the Land of Enchantment. Multi-cultural and authentic, local craftsmen and photographers, painters and weavers dwell in many of the little villages that date back to the time when New Mexico was still part of old Spain. We hope to highlight much of these unique traditions and artisans, past and present, on this site too.

Shadowlands Ranch is my home. I often say that I was born in the wrong century but living here brings refuge to a restless and homesick soul. These 1,400 acres are also home to my herd of adopted mustangs, which feature in my non-fiction ‘Horse Tails’ Trilogy. A myriad of wagon ruts cross this beloved land and often when I go out to visit my horses, I feel nostalgia mingle with my contentment. The emotional connection I have for this ranch seems to transcend one lifetime, and when I walk in one of those swales gauged by wagons heading in or out of La Junta, the presence of those long ago travelers feels tantalizingly close. Here is where the idea of past lives really takes hold and where the inspiration for my novels came from. 

Call it self-indulgence, but I hope you will follow my blog posts and our FaceBook page for regular updates. Although this technology is decidedly not from frontier days, (and I can’t even pretend to be a fan of computers), I’d like to think of our posts as modern counterparts to the diaries and letters those long-ago trail travelers so diligently maintained. Without their firsthand accounts and observations, so much of that exciting era would be lost to history and the books that evolved from those salvaged correspondences are my favorite reading material. I would never, for one minute, compare my cyber scribbles to those fascinating and poignantly written epistles, but I hope that anyone tuning into this site, perhaps as a consequence of reading my books or because of their love of the history and culture of this region and the Santa Fe Trail, will be interested in my occasional musings and jaunts down memory lane.
Happy trails everyone… all set! … time to jump off

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Thanks for your interest