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03-30 - Diana McCollum, Covering the Cover

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Western Romance---It's The Right Thing to Read!


Jacquie Rogers
The combination of drool-worthy heroes, strong women, nasty villains, all in an unforgiving setting can’t be beat for a good read.  Whether humor or drama, the romance is gonna be good—you just know it.  Let’s talk about the men and women unique to the American West.

Men in Chaps

Knights of the frontier?  Why not.  I compared the Knight’s Code of Chivalry to the Texas Rangers oath at Romancing The West in Cowboys: Knights of the Old West 

There’s nothing like a strong code of honor, no matter how the hero interprets it, to make any red-blooded woman sigh.  Think Paladin, or The Man With No Name.  Maverick, or Rooster Cogburn.  These four characters had completely different views on life, yet they shared one thing—they stuck to their own personal code of honor no matter what.   

And let’s face it, dress a macho man in cowhand garb—chaps, spurs, and a well-worn Stetson—and not only is he sexy, but his stride is purposeful, his posture is confident, and we’re ready for a ride.  What woman could possibly have a chance of taming this guy? 

Enterprising Women

Western women, especially those born in the West, were not clones of Eastern women.  They faced different obstacles and many times they faced them alone.  For those who think that the only career choices for women were teaching school and whoring, think again.  Women owned stores, farms, and ranches in their own right.  Some panned for gold, others drove freight wagons, and yes, some did teach school.

Suffragists didn’t have to work too hard in the West.  Wyoming granted suffrage in 1869 and many other states and territories gave women the right to vote before the turn of the 20th Century, unlike the Eastern states.  Whether they had the right to vote or not, property ownership was never in question.  Women in the West had property rights.  The best book I’ve read on what a woman could do if she put her mind to it is Gambler's Wife: The Life of Malinda Jenkins.

In my latest book, Much Ado About Mavericks ( Hearts of Owyhee #3) we have an enterprising woman and just the man to tame her.  Ben Lawrence isn’t just drool-worthy, he also has brains and is a successful Boston attorney.  Once we put him in chaps, there’s nothing not to like. LOL.  And the heroine is definitely a firecracker.  Named Janelle Kathryn O’Keefe, everyone calls her Jake (from J.K.) and she’s the foreman of the Bar EL Ranch, which Ben inherits.  She doesn’t think much of a man who doesn’t “work” for a living, and he can’t quite wrap his mind around a woman who does a man’s job.

Think love is in the air?  Here’s an excerpt where Ben (who’s 6’6” but his family nicknamed him Skeeter when he was a boy) and Jake first meet.  For a visual, think Gregory Peck and Maureen O’Hara.

Excerpt from Much Ado About Mavericks, By Jacquie Rogers


     “I think we should reintroduce ourselves.”  He placed the mug on the boardwalk and offered his hand.  “How do you do?  I’m Benjamin Lawrence, visiting from Boston.” 

     “Janelle Kathryn.”  She grabbed his hand and shook it vigorously.  “I’m surely pleased to meet you.” 

     He tested his shoulder to see if it still functioned after her hearty handshake.  Then, just to knock her off guard, he took her hand and kissed the back of it with grandiose gallantry.   

     “My pleasure, Miss Janelle.”~^~

     Jumpin’ juniper berries!  Jake snatched her scorching hand away from Skeeter’s lips.  His well-placed little smacker burned hotter than a branding iron in August.  Only better, but she sure as shootin’ wouldn’t admit it to a soul.  Ever.  Of course, she had no intention of washing her hand for a month either.  That hot kiss sent goosebumps clean down to her toes. 

     She sucked in a deep breath and cleared her throat.  “Let’s go.”  She hopped onto the wagon and picked up the reins.

     Ben leapt onto the seat and took the reins from her.  “I’ll drive.”

     His thigh rubbed hers.  She didn’t know how he could think right if he tingled anything like she did.  But, he probably didn’t.  She inched away from him as the buckboard moved out of town.  She focused on the sagebrush—at least it didn’t knock her plumb senseless.  He was too damned good-looking in a dandified sort of way.  Taller than she was, too, by a few inches.  Few men were.  She stood even with Whip, who, although bent with years of hard work, was taller than the rest of the men.

     It ate at her that Skeeter muddled her mind so, and she had no idea what got into her to tell him her real name.  She’d better set him straight.   

     “Just so’s you know, I ain’t no simpering female.  Folks around here call me Jake.  Jake O’Keefe.  I expect you ought to call me that, too.” 

     “Jake O’Keefe?” He smirked.  “My foreman?”

     Just what she needed—a greenhorn who didn’t think she could do a man’s work. 

~~^~~

Free book! Comment on this article and win a free Kindle copy of the first book in the Hearts of Owyhee series, Much Ado About Marshals.  Be sure to leave your email address with your comment or we’ll have to draw another name.

Thanks so much to Romancing the Genres and Judith Ashley for asking me to be one of the highlighted western authors.  I’m in talented company here!




Hearts of Owyhee series:




A western fantasy short story: Willow, Wish For Me (Merlin’s Destiny #1)




4 comments:

Paty Jager said...

I agree with your post, Jacquie! there's nothing more drool worthy than a cowboy who has a code. And the women in the west were tough and did what they had to to survive and keep their families safe and fed.

Great excerpt too! Sounds like another great Owyhee book!

Judith Ashley said...

When I was growing up, I used to play a cowgirl. I had my hat, boots, gun, rope, nifty vest, and little skirt with fringe on the bottom that matched the vest. Was I proud or what?

Westerns played a major role in our life even though we lived in the city because of Saturday Matinees and then with t.v. Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tom Mix and then the great Westerns like Bonanza. I sometimes still watch an episode on the oldies t.v. station.

Thanks for guesting with us!

Sarah Raplee said...

Thank you for stopping by, Jaquie!

I loved your excerpt and would love to try your free book, Much Ado About Marshals. My email address is sarahraplee@yahoo.com

That code-of-honor thing absolutely hooks me every time. You know what a man with a code of honor is all about.

Diana Mcc. said...

Great post! Enjoyed your excerpt.