Saturday, July 28, 2012 is the official National Day if the Cowboy. Check out some of the events in celebration of the American Cowboy Heritage.
You might be surprised to find that there are cowboy artists and cowboy poets and cowboy authors. All inspired by the culture that forged this great land of ours.
I was born and grew up in
Oklahoma. Cowboys were a common sight. Not
the kind that I see around Houston
during the Livestock Show and Rodeo, with big shiny buckles and expensive ostrich
boots, but real, working cowboys. I guess that's why I have to giggle when I
see the covers some of my fellow romance writers have on their "western
romances". I just want to say, Oh, yeah...cowboys always go to the gym to
get pumped up and then wear a leather vest with no shirt...Um hum...Standard
First of all, while a real live cowboy might have occasion to remove his shirt from time to time, they do not have spray-on tans nor do they shave their body hair. I have heard women make all kinds of swooney comments about these cover boys, but come on now...really?
When a real cowboy cleans up to go to town, they know what the women like. Clean is first on the list. A starched western shirt is really a must for sexy cowboys...Did you ever notice that those snaps pop right open. <g>
And haircuts? Scroll through the pix of real working cowboys. They have neat haircuts and do not appear to be anything like the guys who were modeling as street thugs in jeans the week before they got the call to be 'cowboys'. Why? Because working on a real live ranch is hot and short hair is a must. Hence the term, rednecks...sunburns on exposed necks. When they drive their trucks into town for their regular haircuts (pronounced harcut) they go to a real barber and not a stylist. Seriously, you want to put product in his hair? What is product?
BTW...It's not ever a pick-up truck. It's a pick-up or a truck. Please get this right.
And cowboys do love their horses. Their horse is their friend and companion and probably understands them better than their girlfriend.
I have to share with you that a really sweet romance author from the east coast called me up and asked the question, "What do you say to a horse to make it go?"
When I stopped laughing, I suggested that she might want to write something she knew more about. But she persisted, and chose an image of a cowboy in a leather vest with a smooth, bare chest for her cover. No, I haven't read it. I don't want to know what she thinks you say to a horse to make it go.
Finally, a male friend of mine pointed out that when a cowboy gives his word, it means something. If a cowboy shakes on it, you can take it to the bank.
I am in the process of producing a sequel to my novel, BADLANDS, a romantic suspense set in the
panhandle. Yep, there are cowboys, horses, ranches and action. Here is the
Amazon link if you want to take a look at it Book I.
Here is an excerpt from the sequel. For those of you who asked for it, I am giving you a second helping of
In this scene, Jenna, the local veterinarian, has had a run-in with E.J. the
reluctant Dallas-bred rancher. She goes to the Friday night dance at the
Eagle's hall and she's looking for a real cowboy, someone who shares her love
of the wide open spaces and ranching as a way of life.
Jenna paid for her ticket at the door and made a beeline for the bar. She ordered a longneck and turned to look over the crowd. She saw a fine mix of all the usual suspects as well as some people she figured had come from other towns to hear the band. She thought she would just hang out at the bar and not sit with anyone yet. Keep my options open. She usually came with friends, but the friends would keep her busy dancing and if there was someone wonderful out there, he wouldn’t know that she was single…totally unattached…available…
She turned back to the bar and sucked down a long swallow of beer. Her timing had been right. The band had taken the stage and they were doing sound checks, so the music should start soon. She wanted to see who took the floor with their dates and who were the single men just itching to dance with her.
She had pulled on her starched and ironed jeans and the boots she saved for special occasions, not stomping through cattle pens. She wore a knit top that showed off her slim curves and let her hair hang free. Somebody, somewhere ought to notice that she was a girl tonight.
She turned to see Frank one of the hands who worked for Camryn Carmichael…Ryan now. She let out a huff of air. “Hey, yourself.”
He paid for a beer and leaned on the bar alongside her. “You’re lookin’ mighty hot tonight.”
“Thanks.” She had to grin at his pronouncement. He was cute; maybe even handsome…a couple of years younger than she, but cute nonetheless.
And he knew how to dress. Starched and pressed Wranglers. Same for his shirt and he was wearing the right hat. Resistol straw for summer. His boots were polished, but looked broken in and comfortable. His Wranglers were just the right length where they stacked on top of his boots and didn’t look like he was wearing high waters. Honestly! Some of these so-called cowboys. All hat. No cattle.
The band started off the night with a two-step and Frank set his longneck on the bar. “Would you care to dance, Jenna?” he asked.
“I don’t mind if I do.” She grinned and put her hand in the one he offered to her. Frank swung her onto the dance floor and they made a circle, dancing all around the room. She got a chance to look over the crop of candidates and decided she had the pick of the litter. And he could dance…wasn’t stepping all over her or jerking her around. Smooth as maple syrup.
The next dance was a fast polka and Frank picked up the tempo, whirling her around in strong arms. She found herself grinning, having a great time in spite of herself. Even if Frank wasn’t the educated husband material she was looking for, he was there and he was attentive. That’ll do.
He walked her back to the bar when the song was over and retrieved his beer. He touched the brim of his hat and walked away.
Jenna felt a little miffed. She hadn’t figured that he would just leave. She saw him make a beeline to the table where Milita Rios was sitting with some friends. He pulled up a chair across from her and they appeared to be in rapt conversation. Well, damn!
She turned back to her beer and jostled the tall man standing beside her. He spilled his shot of whatever he was drinking. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said and reached for a stack of napkins. She turned to the man and began mopping at his sleeve.
“Thanks a lot, Jenna. That’s a nice thing to do for a jackass.”
She gazed up into the smirking face of the biggest jackass in her entire frame of reference. E.J. Kincaid. Her napkin-wielding hand froze in mid-air. “Sorry,” she muttered and wadded the wet napkins into a ball. She lobbed it over the bar and into a trash can on the opposite wall.
“Three points.” E.J. toasted her with what was left of his drink and tossed it down. “You must have been a star of the girl’s basketball team.”
She huffed out a disgruntled sound. “As a matter of fact, I was.” She looked him over. Too freakin’ perfect. “I don’t suppose you dirtied your lily-white hands to play sports, did you?”
He chortled and signaled the bartender for another drink. “As a matter of fact, I did.”
“Okay, I’ll bite. Did you go out for theater arts or floral design?”
la crosse, field hockey, tennis, equestrian
and, yes…I did play basketball.”
“Well, consider me impressed.” She didn’t tell him what she thought of all those fancy, private school so-called sports. Soccer? Hadn’t he heard of good old American football? “Let me pay for your drink, since I spilled it all over you.”
“That would be nice, but I can’t let you do that,” he said. “We jackasses always pay our own way.”
She sucked in a breath and took another sip of her beer. He wasn’t going to let that one go anytime soon.
The bartender poured a shot of Patron in the empty glass and E.J. motioned for him to leave the bottle.
“I must say, Jenna. You look amazingly attractive tonight.”
She arched an eyebrow. “Amazingly?”
“I should say, I have never seen you look as pretty as you do this evening.” He lifted the glass and let the tequila roll down his throat.
“You’re not feeling any pain, are you?”
He snorted. “You think I’d have to be drunk to compliment you?”
“Well, it sure doesn’t hurt.”
“Nooo,” he drawled out. “I always thought you were pretty. Just didn’t think you knew how to be a woman.”
“Wha-a-a?” She drew herself to her full height and stared up at him with her mouth open. “I’ll have you know I’m more woman than you could ever handle.”
“You’re probably right,” he grunted and finished off his drink. “Come on. Let’s dance. Then you can say you’ve danced with a jackass.”
He grabbed her hand and led her to the middle of the dance floor. Just as he twirled her into his arms the band finished the fast song they had been playing and changed to a slow one.
She found herself staring up into impossibly blue eyes and pressed against a chest as hard as concrete. She knew for a fact that this guy didn’t work at much of anything. Maybe he got those pecs by lifting his hairdryer.
He pulled her closer and began moving to the music. He was easy to follow and led her around the dance floor without running into anyone. That was a plus. And when the next song started up, he slid right into a two-step without any hesitation.
Okay, he can dance…and he’s got a great body, I’ll give him that. And he’s gorgeous to look at, but he’s still an arrogant jackass.
When the song was over he tucked her hand in the crook of his arm and escorted her back to the bar. “Do you want to sit down?” he asked.
“Yeah, I guess so.” She wondered what the regulars were thinking of her dancing with Eldon Kincaid’s fancy-pants son, but when she looked around, no one was paying any particular attention.
“Bartender, another glass.” E.J. motioned to the bartender who brought him a second shot glass. He picked up the bottle and both glasses and directed her to a table on the far side of the dance floor.
She nodded and led the way, conscious of every head that turned her way. Well, now they’re checking us out. Great!
E.J. set the bottle down and pulled out a chair for her and then seated himself. At least his manners are impeccable. Maybe if he just doesn’t talk.
He filled both glasses and offered her one.
Oh, what the heck! She picked up the glass and clinked it against his before throwing the fiery liquid down her throat. She sucked in a breath of air and it seemed that her entire gullet and esophagus were enflamed.
After the next round of dancing, E.J. refilled her glass and it didn’t seem quite so scorching this time.
She was surprised that he could actually carry on an intelligent conversation. At least he could make her laugh. Well, she was on her home turf. All her friends were here, although they seemed to be keeping their distance. Probably intimidated by the big, rich E.J. Kincaid. But she wasn’t afraid of him. What could happen?
And if you're interested in kids and reading, check out this event in which Barnes & Noble supports Read em Cowboy:
And if you like sexy country music, check out this Kenny Chesney video: http://kilt.cbslocal.com/music-videos/Kenny+Chesney/Come+Over/USBVA1200012/
Have a great weekend...and get your cowboy on. :-)