Wednesday, February 22, 2012

ROMANCING THE WEST AND MORE!


The RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS GIVEAWAY HOP has ended. My giveaway is a copy of one of my e-books, winner's choice, and this is open worldwide. In fact, I am feeling very happy because we thought Darling Daughter 2 had a serious health issue that a CTScan proved she did not have. So, instead of one winner, everyone who commented on the Dime Novels post wins! Those people are: Mary, Andrea, Mitzi, Filia, Vinci, Stephanie, Tiffany, Laurie, Pragya, Sarah, and Childrensbook. I will contact the winners by email to learn which e-book each wishes.

              ROMANCING THE WEST

What began my personal love of the West? In the evenings, my dad often told stories of his family coming to Texas after the Civil War. I couldn’t hear enough of those tales. Even after I’d memorized them, I urged him to retell each one.


Roy Rogers and Trigger
Next came the movies: Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Lone Ranger, Hoppalong Cassidy. Have I forgotten any? Personally, I wanted to ride the range with Roy, saving the West from the bank robbers and rustlers I was certain plagued the land. We watched television cowboys on Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Rifleman, Maverick, and others and never tired of them. Then life intervened, as it did for all would-be cowgirls and cowboys.


Louis L'Amour
As an adult, I discovered Louis L’Amour. Among others, I also love the books of Jodi Thomas, Maggie Osborne, and the westerns Lorraine Heath wrote several years ago! However, Louis L’Amour is my author hero. I’ve read each of his books at least twice, and several of them too many times to count. FALLON is my personal favorite: what woman can resist a man who thinks he’s bad but is actually a good, hard working, clever man protective of others?



I usually choose to write about 1870-1890 and the time of the Texas cattle drives. Yes, I also write contemporary cowboys (including sheriffs and detectives), but none are more appealing to me than those of the late 19th century. So many things fascinate me about this time period. Would I have wanted to live then instead of now? Not on your life. I'm eccentric, but not crazy! I like my current creature comforts, thank you, but I love reading and writing about that earlier time. In that time period, the Civil War and Reconstruction were over, yet law and order was far from established. Men--and women--were often isolated and had to defend themselves and their families. If there was an area lawman, he was often too far away to offer immediate help.

When the Civil War was over, men returned home (if they still had one). In Texas and a few other states, many unbranded cattle had bred during the war and ran wild. An industrious man could gather these beeves and place his own brand on them, then drive them to market in Kansas. According to T. H. Fehrenback in his book LONE STAR: A HISTORY OF TEXAS AND THE TEXANS, cattle sold for two dollars a head in Texas in 1875, but brought ten dollars a head in Kansas. Since cowboys made the same wage per month and received the same food regardless of where they rode, it cost no more for a rancher to have his ranch hands drive cattle to market in Kansas. Fortunes were built during this time!



Comanche Warriors
 The wealth didn’t come without cost. Danger lurked everywhere in the West, but on the trail hazards multiplied. Indians, rustlers posing as Indians, rustlers posing as law men, and a plethora of bad men wanted the benefit of others’ hard work.

Lightning on the prairie
could stampede cattle
Then there were the natural disasters: swollen rivers, lightning storms, and stampedes. Plus Texas cattle carried tick fever, to which they were immune, and threatened to infect cattle in other states. Cattlemen from the intervening states crusaded to block Texas cattle from crossing into their area, and it’s no wonder, is it? The astonishing fact is that any cattle made it to market.


Availabe on
Amazon Kindle
Yes, you say, but how can it be a romance when there were no women on cattle drives?  Cowboys are a superstitious lot, and they believed women on a drive brought bad luck. In that way, cattle drives are far from romantic. If you’ve read my book THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE (available for 99 cents from Amazon Kindle), you learn that wives are NOT invited on a cattle drive. No, it’s not the actual cattle drive that appeals to me, but the era. A young man with nothing could homestead land, gather unbranded cattle or buy a few head, and create a small ranch. With hard work and perseverance, he could expand. Of course, then he’d need a wife to share his life. They’d face trouble--it always came--and stand side by side to triumph. Well, that’s the way it happens in my novels.


HEARTS WEST
by Chris Enss
Women from areas where most young men had died in the Civil War didn’t have to remain spinsters. They could travel West and marry, sometimes via mail-order arrangements. How many mail-order western romances have your read? I’ve read too many to count, but I still love them. There were wagon trains heading West (love those wagon train romances, too!), then stages and locomotives. By heading West, a single woman had an opportunity for a family of her own. I think I’d have risked it, wouldn’t you? Chris Enss has a great book, HEARTS WEST, of accounts by mail order brides if that subject interests you.



Reading about people who adapt to new circumstances, meet obstacles they’d never imagined, and triumph while finding a soul mate is very romantic. Who wouldn’t love a tale like that?

Thanks for stopping by today!

By the way, I'm Sky Purington's guest the 22nd at
http://www.skypuringtonwrites.blogspot.com/ 

Please stop by an visit her beautiful blog if you can.

1 comment:

Jerri Hines said...

So happy to hear that your daughter is ok. Not a worse feeling in the world when you have a child that is sick. Happy Day!