Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Trails

All six books in our Codys: First Family of Rodeo series have now been released, and we hope that you've enjoyed the stories of the Cody siblings and their world of ranching and rodeo. Now it's time to close up shop on this blog. We've tackled everything from movie cowboys to saddles to cowboy wooing advice, and we hope you've enjoyed each topic.

With only 10 days left until Christmas, you might still have some people left on your shopping list. Are they readers? Lovers of all things cowboys and rodeos? How about buying them the entire six-book Codys series? Now that all the books are out, they could read them one after another without having to wait. :)

And for those of you who love those cowboy movies, don't forget that the remake of True Grit opens Dec. 22.

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Breaking News!


Rodeo round up time for THE CODYS:FIRST FAMILY OF RODEO SERIES has come to an end for this 2010 season.

It’s been full of thrills and chills. We lucky ladies who were asked to write for this miniseries have lived through the heartaches and triumphs of a remarkable Wyoming family who made the rodeo into an art form.

Between the six of us, we authors are so gratified by the response from our readers. It’s clear from all your feedback that the rodeo is a great and loved part of our national heritage and always will be. I know I speak for everyone when I say we’re sad it’s over. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read the whole series, I’ve listed the titles here:

June 2010 Walker: The Rodeo Legend by Rebecca Winters
July 2010 Dexter: Honorable Cowboy by Marin Thomas
August 2010 Dusty: Wild Cowboy by Cathy McDavid
September 2010 Mark: Secret Cowboy by Pamela Britton
October 2010 Elly: Cowgirl Bride by Trish Milburn
November 2010 Jesse: Merry Christmas, Cowboy by Lynette Kent

For those of you who can’t get to the rodeo right now, you have the option of watching bull riding on television. I thought for a final farewell, I’d give you some quotes from some NON-FICTION rodeo champs who have drawn my attention to the bulls themselves.

Oklahoman J.W. Hart, veteran of 13 seasons as a pro rider in the PBR puts it this way: “The machine doesn't simulate the action of a bull. That's probably the very beginner stages of it, but once you get to this level, the machine doesn't move ahead. It doesn't roll. It doesn't back up. It stays in one place. So it's pretty easy to match moves. Bulls develop bucking patterns but don't always stick to them. So it's unwise to shift in anticipation of what a bull will do. All it is is a dance contest, really. I mean you're just dancing with him the whole time. He's the one leading the dance, and you've just got to match the moves.”

Adriano Moraes, a native Brazilian who won his record third PBR wor
ld title last season, is one of the bigger riders on the PBR tour at 5-10, 185 pounds. He has bulging muscles in his left arm — the arm he uses to hold the rope. He has added these thoughts: “Our riding arms are always a little bigger, a little stronger. Bull riders are strong, but no rider overpowers a bull. You don’t move before the bull moves because he's liable to go the other way. Then you're screwed because the bull leads, and you just follow. You're talking about animals that weigh 2,000 pounds. You bring me the strongest guy in the world, and he's not strong enough to ride on strength. It's why most of the bull riders you see look more like gymnasts than they do like a bodybuilder. Gymnasts don't work through their moves with brute strength. They work through them with finesse and correct form and correct timing. It's the same thing here."

Lastly, Canter, another champion, says: “When the chute opens, you have to rely on skills that have become second nature. Things are happening so fast, there's no time to ponder each move, but moves must be made in rhythmic harmony with the bull. Nothing is going through my head. I've just got to stay on. That's it! You know, it ain't but eight seconds, but it seems like it’s fifty!"

Interesting info from the horse’s mouth so to speak, don’t you think?

Well, that’s it for now, pardners. But y’all come back to view the latest exciting titles coming out from all our Harlequin American Romance authors in 2011, ya hear?

Rebecca Winters

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cowboy Wooing Advice

Okay so we've established our love for the cowboy hero and heroine in romance novels. And the Cody men, Walker, Dexter, Dusty, Mark and Jesse are among my favorite all-time romance heroes, each unique in their own way—not to mention easy on the eyes. Elly, the lone Cody daughter is a strong, stubborn independent heroine whom all women can admire. Cowboys and cowgirls have a unique way of looking at life and love compared to the rest of us common folk.

Here's a bit of cowboy "wooing" advice from the book Just One Fool Thing After Another/A Cowfolks' Guide to Romance by Gladiola Montana and Texas Bix Bender.

Sometimes flowers don't say it very well. You need to explain yourself.

Attention without intention is flirtation.

To bring somebody into your life, take a step into theirs.

When you fall into somebody's arms you're fallin' into their hands as well.

A heart that ain't broke thinks it's okay to go around breakin' others.

Marry somebody with brains enough for two, and if you're lucky you'll come out even.

It may be more romantic to be the first love, but it's better to be the last.

A woman wanted by men but disliked by women is nothin' but trouble.

When you go to town, go together.

The only time a woman can easily change a man is when he's a baby.

Try not to make a ring around a finger feel akin to a rope around the neck.

It's a lot cheaper to borrow money than to marry for it.

Be quick to mend fences.

Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight it out.

Most marital graves are dug with a lot of little digs.

Stolen kisses require and accomplice.

A man in love is incomplete until he's married—then he's finished.

If women are foolish it's because the good Lord made 'em a match for men.

For better or for worse means for good.

Don't get involved with anyone whose wishbone is bigger than their backbone.

The ties of marriage are not slipknots.

Men react to specific needs. Women seldom have them.

Big problems will pull you together. It's the little things that tear you apart.

The best way to get married is with ignorance and confidence.

Never use a knife to cut a tender connection.

Man is straw; woman is fire. When the devil blows, it's hell.

If you're gonna leave, leave while you're still lookin' good.

Don't waste your time lovin' somebody you can't laugh with.

When the horse dies, get off.

Women don't make fools out of men; they just give 'em the opportunity.

Happy Trails!

Marin Thomas
Dexter: Honorable Cowboy
(July 2010)
4 ½ Stars Top Pick RT Magazine!
Still available through online retailers

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Western Decor

A few years ago, I spent an afternoon and night in Cody, Wyoming, while driving back from seeing my sister in Washington State. I'd spent the previous day driving around one of my favorite places, Yellowstone National Park. While in Cody, I was able to pop into a couple of shops and purchase a few comfy, fleecy items at the Sierra Outlet. But it was the western decor and art shops where I could have done some serious damage, making my credit card scream for mercy. It was this trip that helped inspire the Tangled Antlers Gallery in Elly: Cowgirl Bride, where Elly showcases her photographs.

I have always loved western and Native American-themed home decor. I have touches of it in my guest bedroom with some art I bought at the Red Earth Native American Festival in Oklahoma City a number of years ago. The wall is even painted a color called suede. But, wow, would I love to have one of those gorgeous western-style homes with a huge picture window looking out on the mountains. It'd be filled with big, comfortable furniture in browns and reds; large art pieces that captured the West; some antler chandeliers and cowboy lamps. Stuff like I found at a site called LoneStar Western Decor. The gorgeous chair and ottoman above are from their collection. Quick, someone give me a shopping spree! :) And remember, Christmas is just around the corner!

If I could have unlimited spending and a large truck (we're talking tractor-trailer rig here) to haul everything in, there would be three stops I'd definitely make -- one in Cody, one in Jackson, Wyoming, and one in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A few years ago, I was in Santa Fe for a work conference and had an afternoon to walk around the city. I loved it! I went to museums and shops filled with Native clothing, jewelry and home and lawn decor. And I have long loved the Southwestern, adobe homes, ones with an inner tiled courtyard with a fountain in the middle.

Why am I not rich again? :)

Well, until I am, I'll just have to window shop when I'm out West and peruse magazines like Cowboys & Indians.

Do you like western decor? If not, what is your favorite kind of home decor? What speaks to you and who you are?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Boss of the Plains"

A cowboy just wouldn't be a cowboy without a hat. The original "Boss" was manufactured by John Stetson in 1865. The hat was flat-brimmed, had a straight sided crown and rounded corners. The lightweight, waterproof hat was natural in color. A plain hatband was fitted to adjust to head size and bore Stetson's name. A cowboy riding the range wearing the "Boss of the Plains" showed the world that he was doing well.

The cowboy hat was made famous with 'Black and White' movies. Bad Guys wore the Black hats and the Good Guys wore White hats. Roy Rogers’ white Stetson with a silver hatband was one of the most famous Hollywood cowboy hats. We can't forget that The Lone Ranger and his White hat brought justice to the Wild West. Today, hats colors have changed into seasonal apparel. Black or felt hats for winter and straw or White hats for summer.

The modern Cowboy still uses his hat to communicate different messages. A man can stake his claim on a woman if he gives her his hat (signifies they are to start dating) If a cowboy gives a woman his hat in a bar and she accepts it and wears it that means she's agreed to go home with the Hat owner. As the old cowboy saying goes, "It’s the last thing you take off and the first thing that is noticed."

Other famous cowboy hat wearers….Clint Eastwood in The Good the Bad and the Ugly wore a distinctive hat. President Regan wore a cowboy hat not only in his movies but in real life. And we can't forget Festus' Gunsmoke hat or Hoss Cartwright's 10-gallon hat.

As an admirer of all things cowboy, the "Boss" along with boots and tight jeans makes any cowboy sigh-worthy.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cowboys and Country Music

It's a bit ironic that I live in Nashville and am not a big fan of country music. I like a song here and there, and mainly ones that either are more pop-ish or ones with more bluegrass in them by artists like Alison Krauss or Lady Antebellum, but as a general rule I'm more of a hard rock kind of gal. But in my mind, cowboys have always been linked to country music. After a rodeo or a day of riding the range, they might put on their best boots, cowboy hat and pressed Wrangler jeans and head out to a country western bar for a few drinks and some two-stepping.

Imagine my surprise when I attended a PRCA rodeo in Corpus Christi, Texas last year to do research for next month's installment in the Codys continuity, Elly: Cowgirl Bride. In between riders and events, they played...rock music! I don't know if this is common, but it surprised me.

But back to country music. I think cowboy songs and country music are forever entwined. CMT even did a special called The 20 Greatest Cowboy Songs. Here's their list. See if you agree.

Happy Trails (Roy Rogers)
The Cowboy in Me (Tim McGraw)
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (Willie Nelson)
Cattle Call (Eddy Arnold)
Back in the Saddle Again (Gene Autry)
Amarillo By Morning (George Strait)
Shoulda Been a Cowboy (Toby Keith)
El Paso (Marty Robbins)
Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old) (Garth Brooks)
Don't Take Your Guns to Town (Johnny Cash)
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (EmmyLou Harris)
Rhinestone Cowboy (Glen Campbell)
Home on the Range (Gene Autry)
Ghost Riders in the Sky (several artists)
Cowboy Take Me Away (Dixie Chicks)
Cool Water (Sons of the Pioneers)
What'cha Gonna Do with a Cowboy? (Chris LeDoux)
The Streets of Laredo (Buck Owens)
I Can Still Make Cheyenne (George Straight)
Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys (Willie Nelson)

Here's a little tune to get you in a cowboy song kind of mood, Toby Keith's "I Shoulda Been a Cowboy."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Herding Instincts

I have to admit, I was laughing out loud as I read Pam's post on horses a couple of weeks ago.  So true, every last bit of it! 

Horses do have their own agendas, but are usually willing to accept ours, if we ask the right way.  Recently, my husband--a great guy but not a horseman--wanted to move my American Cream Draft horses from one place to another.  He didn't have a lead rope handy, so he tried grabbing a fist full of mane and pulling.  These ladies weigh about 1500 lbs each--not exactly portable!  DH tried pulling one, then the other, without success. 

I walked out and got behind the girls.  "Sssssss," I said, waving my hands a little.  "Walk on." 

Lucy and Joy looked over their shoulders at me like, "Do we hafta?"

"Come on," I said, with a shooing motion.  "Sssss.  Walk."

You could see each of them give a sigh.  And then they ambled, at their slow, steady draft horse pace, back through the gate and into the pasture.

"How'd you do that?" DH demanded.

I just smiled.  There are some things only a horse lover knows.


American Cream Draft Horses are a breed developed in Iowa from the foals of one mare--Old Granny.  Her babies all had pink skin, a cream-colored coat, white mane and tail and golden eyes.  Cream Drafts were used on farms in the Midwest and in Pennsylvania by the Amish in the first part of the 20th century.  World War II and the advent of the tractor cut back the draft horse population severely, until now there are less than 400 Creams in the world.  I'm hoping to breed my mares and build the numbers for these beautiful, peaceful horses.