National Day of the Cowboy is tomorrow, July 22. But we've been celebrating all week! You already met five romance writers who are crazy about cowboys. Joining us today another New York Times and USA Today bestselling author whose phenomenal contemporary cowboy romance is rocketing up the charts--welcome Carolyn Brown.
With more than 3 million copies of her books sold, Carolyn Brown is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and a RITA finalist. She’s won the National Reader’s Choice Award three times, the Bookseller’s Best Award and was awarded the prestigious Montlake Diamond Award for selling over a million books. Her books include romantic women’s fiction, historical, contemporary, cowboys and country music mass market paperbacks. She and her husband, Charles, a retired English teacher, live in Davis, Oklahoma that only has one traffic light. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young. When she’s not writing she likes to sit in her back yard with her two tom cats, Chester Fat Boy and Boots Randolph Terminator Outlaw and watch them protect the yard from all kinds of wicked varmints like crickets, locusts and spiders.
Toughest Cowboy in Texas kicks off her new Happy, Texas series...
The Spark of an Old Flame
Last time Lila Harris was in Happy, Texas, she was actively earning her reputation as the resident wild child. Now, a little older and wiser, she's back to run her mother's café for the summer. Except something about this town has her itching to get a little reckless and rowdy, especially when she sees her old partner-in-crime, Brody Dawson. Their chemistry is just as hot as ever. But he's still the town's golden boy-and she's still the wrong kind of girl.
Brody hasn't had much time lately for anything other than ranching. Running the biggest spread in the county and taking care of his family more than keeps him busy. All that responsibility has him longing for the carefree days of high school-and Lila. She may have grown up, but he still sees that spark of mischief in her eyes. Now he's dreaming about late-night skinny dipping and wondering how he can possibly resist the one woman he can never forget...
Here's an excerpt...
Lila reached across his booth to pick up a one-page menu stuck between the salt shaker and napkin holder. Her arm brushed against his chest and more sparks danced around the café. Hoping that he didn’t hear the breathlessness in her voice, she straightened up to her full height and started reading. “We have chicken fried steak, grilled pork chops, breakfast served all day, burgers of all kinds and today’s lunch special was meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I think there’s a little more left if you are interested. I really thought you might have learned to read down there at Texas A&M.”
Brody laid a rough, callused hand on her arm. Pure electricity shot through her body.
“Are you still as wild as ever?” he whispered seductively.
“Oh, honey, you can’t even imagine what all you’ve missed out on the past twelve years.” The chemistry between them hadn’t changed a bit—at least not for her. She pulled her arm back and looked back down at the menu. “Want me to go on or have you heard something that appeals to you?”
He raked his fingers through his thick, dark hair. It needed a cut, but then maybe he wore it a little longer these days. “Just something to drink for now,” he said.
She turned away from him and headed back to the drink station. With shaking hands, she poured the tea and lemonade, stirred and picked up the glass to carry it to his booth. When she took it to him, he motioned toward the other side of the table.
“Sit with me.”
“You’re a few years late with that invitation,” she told him.
“Ahh, come on, Lila,” he said.
Throw a plaid shirt over that dirty white T-shirt and he’d still be the boy who had broken her heart all those years ago. But she’d cried her tears and burned the bridges between her and Brody so bygones be damned.
He nodded toward the other side of the booth. “You’re really going to hold a grudge and not sit with me for five minutes?”
“I really am,” she said.
E.E.: Describe in your own words what makes a “cowboy” a cowboy?
Carolyn: A cowboy might have flaws because after all he is human and he is of the male gender. But he’s a special type because he’s kind, honest, respects women, would fight to the death for his friends or his family and he loves his mama.
E.E.: Why do you think the “cowboy culture” remains so appealing?
Carolyn: It’s honest living whether the cowboy is barely eking out a living on a rundown ranch full of nothing but mesquite bushes, cow tongue cactus and chiggers or a huge spread that has lots of hired hands helping him out. Folks like to read about men who work with their hands, who aren’t afraid of sweat and dirt, and who love living close to the land.
E.E.: What is it about cowboys that you find attractive, and/or inspiring? (Basically, why do you write stories featuring cowboy lore or American West historical or contemporary culture?)
Carolyn: Physically, the way they walk in cowboy boots. There’s just something about that swagger that makes a woman take a second look. But then add to that the way they tip their hat to a lady, and the way that those tight fittin’ jeans hug their bodies and they should give away those fans that we used to have in church with each cowboy romance purchase—remember those cardboard fans with the 23rd Psalm on one side and an advertisement of the local funeral home on the other? That’s the ones I’m talking about.
E.E.: Who are some of your favorite cowboys (in history, literature, films, television, real life, whatever)?
Carolyn: I absolutely love Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens in Justified; Tom Sellack in Quigley Down Under and Lee Majors as Heath in the Big Valley television series from years ago. I could go on and on but I expect that space might be limited.
What is it about cowboys that YOU find attractive and appealing? Leave a comment, and don't forget to enter the raffle!
Enter for your chance to win prizes in our Celebrate Cowboys giveaways.
Winners announced Sunday, July 23 on this blog.
Tomorrow join USA Today & Publisher's Weekly Bestselling author
Angi Morgan as she wraps up our week long celebration!
Angi Morgan as she wraps up our week long celebration!