Posts Tagged 'cowboys'

When Fact Meets Fiction

Once in a while when I’m writing a book or shortly after, something in real life happens that makes me wonder if the creation of that book wasn’t somehow predestined. As if when I was writing I was receiving some sort of message from the universe about what was soon to occur. Now, I don’t claim to be psychic. But I do believe there are energies at play around us that we don’t understand. Sometimes these lead to the cases where fact meets fiction.

In a previous post I talked about how I saw a piece of information online that led me to a major plot development in my story “Cowboys Don’t Cry” in the Cowboy Up anthology. But that information came to me in the form of a single Facebook post that came and went without mention. It never went viral, and soon retired to obscurity as most posts do. I was changed, however. My story was changed. It was inspired.

Now here we are a month later and a new yet similar story has surface. And it has gone viral. It has taken hold of people and made them think “What would I do?”

In my earlier post I hesitated to give away the exact nature of this inspiration (and the subsequent reality) but I’m going to do so now. So if you haven’t read the story and don’t want spoilers…read no further.

In a heart-tugging twist in my story, the characters have to deal with an imminent death. A terminal prognosis. And the choice whether to suffer through to a natural end or take destiny in their own hands. This week a young woman facing that choice in real life has stolen all our hearts.

sunset heart

Her name is Brittany Maynard, and she is dying. Just as in my story, she has moved to Oregon, one of only 4 states in the US to have legalized physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. She has vowed to take her own life on November 1, with the help of legal medication prescribed specifically for that purpose. Until then, she wants her story told and is fighting for the same right to die with dignity for all Americans.

Critics have spoken out (most of them with kind, loving–if adversarial–words, thankfully) against her right to chose. They believe her physician has abandoned the Hippocratic Oath and that choosing her moment of death belongs to God, not her. They claim there is a beauty in natural death that overshadows any pain or suffering she could experience.

Match-made-in-heaven

I’m not taking sides in the debate. I honestly don’t know what I would do in her position. I tried to explore the issue in “Cowboys Don’t Cry,” and though the characters in that story came to a decision, I don’t know whether I would make the same choice. Do any of us who aren’t in that position really know? Really know?

The only thing I do know is that it makes me look at that story in an even deeper way, and wonder what energy was floating around me that brought that issue my attention at this particular time.

The only thing I do know is that on November 1, Ms. Maynard will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Peace, love, and light, honey.

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Girls and Horses and Cowboys — yeehaw!

Girls

I’ve told you all how obsessed I was with horses as a girl–I still have a few of my Breyer model horses and other statues. Some girls played with dolls; I played with toy horses. The song “Girls & Horses,” which I love, pretty much sums up my love of horses. You can listen to it (legally) on Templeton’s website. If there’s a horse crazy girl or woman in your family, go buy it. Heck, buy the whole album (also titled Girls & Horses). It’s full of great horsey songs.

Horses

All this reminiscing about my past with horses got me a bit misty-eyed and I went looking for an old photo album. Despite the disaster that is my office, I found it. This is my first horse, Peaches, bought when I was in college.

Peaches

She was just a weanling when I got her, and I eventually trained her myself. None of those things are really great ideas, by the way: buying a horse while still in school, buying a weanling as your first horse, breaking and training your first horse yourself. But I loved that little mare, and I’d like to think she loved me. We made it work. This picture was somewhere around 1985 or 6. We used to do pretty well in our local open shows.

Cowboys

Which brings me to the real point of this post. I’ve been asked why it’s taken me fifteen years to finally start writing about cowboys, given their popularity in genre fiction. Well…let me tell you a story. See, I was in college, remember? So I had to work to pay for my horse habit. For a couple of semesters I worked for a horse trainer / cowboy we’ll just call Dave. Dave was a good guy. He treated me well and taught me a lot. But he wasn’t a fancy pants show trainer like some you see today. He was a cowboy. And one thing cowboys then were never without was a tin of Skoal in their back pockets. Dipping tobacco. Snuff.

Snuff said.  🙂

I used to accompany Dave to horse shows to help with feeding, cleaning stalls, exercising and such. We travelled in his rattletrap battleship of a rusted pickup truck with a bench front seat. Outside, Dave would just spit his tobacco juice on the ground. But in the truck…well…we all know what happens when you spit out a window at 60 mph, don’t we? So he had a spit cup. A BIG spit cup. And that old battleship didn’t have cup holders so it sat on the dash as we jounced down country roads to the horse shows.

I lived in fear of that spit cup. I just knew one day it was going to land in my lap.

Really, chewing tobacco is not a very attractive habit in many ways. Spitting is gross. Flecks of tobacco between the teeth is gross. And it tastes gross when you…

Yeah, I just might have kissed that cowboy once or twice.

And that, friends, is why it’s taken me fifteen years to write a western romance novel and a cowboy hero.

 

More on inspiration

In my previous post I shared the inspiration behind my new Mustang Wild series. Today I’m going a level deeper and delving into what motivated the debut story in the series, “Cowboys Don’t Cry” (in the Cowboy Up anthology). But first, I just have to post this picture of my wascally little feller Mo. Just because he’s the cutest thing ever.

IM000908

Okay, now that you’ve met Mo, on with the story of the story. I knew I wanted to write about the American West, with the wild mustangs as a backdrop. And I had this yearning to make these stories feel real, because the mustangs and their plight are real. While they are and will be romantic stories, I didn’t want them sugar-coated and I didn’t want larger-than-life characters with perfect hair and perfect lives running around. Because not much in real life is perfect, and life isn’t fair. I wanted these stories to be emotionally centered.

I knew I wanted the series set around a community where we could get to know the people and follow them from book to book. My heroine for “Cowboys Don’t Cry” came easily to me. She lives in ranching country, but I didn’t want her to be a typical rancher. So I made her a bit of a new ager. Kind of a hippie more into growing organic herbs and vegetables, and hand spinning yarn from alpacas she raised herself than breeding stinky old cows. And I knew my hero was a man running from something–not something like the law. More like something inside himself. But for a long time I didn’t know what.

In fact, I was well over a third of the way through the book when I found my inspiration in a post on Facebook. It was a link to an opinion piece. I’m not going to say what, because it would be a huge spoiler for the book. But let’s just say it was controversial. It took my breath away a little bit. It scared the crap out of me, and that’s why I knew I had to use it.

Still I resisted. This is not something often done in romantic fiction. Would the readers hate it? Would they feel betrayed? Would they scream and throw the book against the wall before they’d even finished the story?

I was so worried that I talked to a couple of writing friends…who of course advised me not to do it. Which was just another reason I had to. I’ve broken some rules before. I don’t like predictable fiction, so I strive to be different. To be real.

I was once told I could never, ever write a romance novel where the hero and heroine were already married at the beginning of the book. So I did. And I sold it to Harlequin, the romanciest of the romance publishers and it received 4.5 stars and a “Top Pick” designation from RT Book Reviews magazine. That book was called Keeping Caroline, by the way, and it’s still my personal favorite.

keeping_caroline

Then there was the time I was told that I could never, ever kill off the hero in a romance novel. So I did. And that book was published by Berkley and went on to be a Romance Writers of America Rita award finalist. It was a novella called “Angel and the Hellraiser” in the Demons’ Delight anthology.

demons-delight2

So yeah, I did this thing in “Cowboys Don’t Cry” that scared me. I think you’ll recognize it when you read it. I hope you’ll like it. And please don’t throw your e-reader at the wall. Those things break.

CowboyUpGroupBundle

Buy it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or All Romance e-books

Vickie


Available Now!

western romance novel boxed set

7 men as tough as the West. 7 women ready to Cowboy Up

Available Now!

Psychological Suspense short story with a bonus inspirational short story included

Coming Soon from Vickie Taylor

Fantasy Romance Novella

What am I reading today?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker - Just started, but I'm intrigued so far!

Last five books read:

TEXAS GOTHIC - Rosemary Clement-Moore - Awesome! Great fun and spooktastic at the same time!

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN - Ransom Riggs - Really creative idea. Enjoyed it very much!

BOOTSCOOTIN' BLAHNIKS - D.D. Scott - Very enjoyable, fun book!

THE GOOD DAUGHTER - Diana Layne - Awesome! Get it now!

GOT YOUR NUMBER - Stephanie Bond - Fun little mystery!

What’s on my TBR List?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker

Reader’s Guide to E-publishing

Find your next e-book here!

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