This coming Saturday, July 22 is National Day of the Cowboy. But we think cowboys deserve at least a full week of attention, so we're dedicating our blog to a celebration of cowboy lore and culture all week long!
To help me celebrate, I've rounded up five other authors featured in my Best of the West interviews who write across a range of sweet, sexy and suspenseful romance featuring cowboys. They'll be sharing about why they love cowboys and some of their favorite cowboys (pictures included). Plus, we've got great giveaways. You won't want to miss a single day!
Today, I'll be kicking off the celebration with a little cowboy music...
Come along boys and listen to my tale;
I'll tell you of my troubles on the Old Chisholm Trail
Come a ti-yi-yippee yippee yea
Come a ti-yi-yippee yippee yea
For one thing, Hoy points out, the cowboy's daily work took place outside on a horse in the great outdoors. He was surrounded by natural wonders, and nature has long been an inspiration for poets and song writers. But when you think about it, the cowboy's work wasn't really all that glorious. In fact, he spent many long hours in the saddle, then around a campfire, doing routine tasks. He had lots of lonely hours to fill.
Whenever I'm bored, I tell myself stories. Essentially, this is what the cowboys did, only they put the stories to rhyme and music.
Trail songs were those the cowboy sang to entertain himself on the long days spent moving cattle north. A typical day covered eight to twelve miles to give cattle plenty of time to graze, and it took on average three months to make the trip from Texas to one of the railheads (initially located in Kansas). The cowboy spent lots time in the saddle, and he often wasn't close enough to his fellow drovers for conversation.
The Old Chisholm Trail is one of the earliest and most popular of the cowboy trail songs. One of the reason it has so many verses is because the cowboys would add and improvise, putting their own spin on it. (Here's a great rendition by Michael M. Murphey.)
Night-herding songs were those the cowboy sang to the cattle. Longhorns tended to be watchful, even nervous, animals. At least two drovers would be with the herd through the night to keep the cattle calm. Thus came about the tunes they would hum or sing through the long, lonely nights. These tunes tended to be slow, like a lullaby, and often sad. (Who would be happy about working all night?) An early favorite night-herding song was a Civil War ballad: Lorena. (Performed here by Johnny Cash)
While the trail-driving song helped a cowboy entertain himself, and the night-herding song was directed at the cattle, the campfire song was meant to entertain the other cowboys.
One of the best known campfire songs is The Cowboy's Lament by Ken Maynard. (This version was recorded in 1929.)
For me, music provides inspiration. I often listen to songs while I'm writing, and what I listen to depends on the mood I'm in, or the character I'm writing about. I listened to a lot of Dixie Chicks while writing my contemporary romance, Maybe Baby. The Civil Wars provided inspiration while I was working on my historical romance, Seducing Susannah.
I'd love to introduce you both these books. Seducing Susannah features the founder of a legendary Texas ranch, and Maybe Baby kicks off a series about their descendants.
Seducing Susannah, Book 4, The Bride Train
Ross Hardt must marry a proper lady to reclaim his inheritance. Among the few remaining prospects is a beautiful, sassy widow who hastantalized him from the day they first met--the same day she slapped his face.
Susannah Braddock journeyed west on The Bride Train in search of agood father for her young son, but on the lawless frontier few candidates meet her requirements, least of all the arrogant, demanding, unfeeling railroad agent.
As Fate—and Ross’s scheming—draws them closer, Susannah glimpses unexpected tenderness beneath his harsh exterior, and she’s tempted by the fiery passion that flares between them. But when a secret comes out that threatens to destroy their budding relationship, passion isn’t enough. Only love can weather the oncoming storm.
Jen Chandler can’t ignore the urgent ticking of her biological clock, no matter how many hours she puts in at work. The nesting instinct has kicked in big-time, and she wants a baby. After too many failed relationships, plus issues with intimacy, she isn't interested in obtaining a husband. Instead, she sets out in search of a sperm donor to make her dream come true.
Logan Hardt, a laid-back cowboy who shows up at her Atlanta home one day, turns out to have the right genes, as well as a pressing need for cash. But he's seduced by more than Jen’s generous offer, and the closer the time comes to say goodbye, the less willing he is to honor a contract that would require him to walk away and never look back.
Could a contract between them lead to more than a baby? Maybe.
Do you listen to music while you work, or to while away the hours?
Does music help you with your job? What are some of your favorite songs, or singers?
Enter for your chance to win prizes in our Celebrate Cowboys giveaway.
Glass boot filled with chocolate
Western book charm and signed copy of Maybe Baby
Readers choice Kinnison Legacy books,
Last Hope Ranch books, or End of the Line books
Three $5 Amazon gift cards
Premium swag packs with books from Beth
Silver Boot Earring, a cowgirl hatpin
Books 1 & 2 Men of Legend series
Five copies of Toughest Cowboy in Texas
Three copies of Wicked Cowboy Charm
a $25 Amazon gift card
a $25 gift card to Longhorn Steak House Restaurant
Texas wine charms & and autographed book from Angi
Winners announced Sunday, July 23 on this blog.
Tomorrow join Amanda McIntyre, and learn more about the Cowboy Code.