A Source of Inspiration

As much as I’d like to regularly get to travel in the West, I only get to visit every few years. So as a writer of contemporary western romance, I look for inspiration in other ways — movies, TV shows, reading other authors’ books. Another way is by reading magazines that focus on various aspects of the West. For instance, in my book Home on the Ranch, the heroine, Ella Garcia, was inspired by Amie and Jolie Sikes, the sister duo behind the junking and repurposed decor empire known as Junk Gypsy. As I watched their TV show, Ella started to form in my head. I sent Amie and Jolie copies of the book dedicated to them when it came out. They were sweet to write me back and send me a Junk Gypsy mug which I drink out of all the time. So when I saw this copy of Cowgirl magazine with them on the cover, I had to pick it up.

Inside was more inspiration for characters’ style choices, whether it be western clothing or jewelry, furniture for their homes, or the homes themselves, as well as articles about western life. There’s even an article in this issue about a cattle drive in Florida, the Great Florida Cattle Drive.

The same can be said of magazines such as Cowboys & Indians. Plus, who can resist Sam Elliott on the cover, right? In this particular issue from a couple of years ago, Elliott talks about his Netflix show The Ranch. There are also articles about camping across the West, Ernest Hemingway’s time in Idaho, and Muscogee/Creek artist Joy Harjo. Even the ads have beautiful imagery of expansive Western vistas, gorgeous Western-style homes and decor, Wrangler jeans (known to be worn by cowboys far and wide), and useful information such as the list prices for ranches that are for sale.

Sometimes all it takes is one image to set a writer’s mind down a path that ends up with a completed novel. I’m a visual person, so I’m continually inspired by the things I see — whether in person on on the glossy pages of a magazine.

Do you all enjoy Western-themed magazines? What are some of your favorites?

Trish Milburn
Trish Milburn is the author of nearly 40 romance, suspense, paranormal, women's fiction and young adult titles. She's a two-time winner of the Golden Heart Award and the recipient of Romance Writers of America's top award for service, the Emma Merritt Award. She's a big sci-fi geek girl, loves seeing new places, and has been known to cosplay on occasion. She's always loved westerns, so considering her other love is sci-fi it's no wonder her all-time favorite TV show is Firefly, which blends the two genres. Check out her books, links to various social media and sign up for her newsletter at http://www.trishmilburn.com/
Updated: May 27, 2018 — 10:57 pm

12 Comments

  1. I enjoy Louis L’Amour and reading about him.

    1. You know, I really need to read some pure westerns. I can’t remember if I’ve read any L’Amour. Ages ago, I do remember reading the Wagons West series by Dana Fuller Ross.

  2. I haven’t read any western themed magazines. They look good.

    1. They really are visually stunning as well as having some interesting articles in them.

  3. Trish, I pick up a copy of Cowboys and Indians every so often and always enjoy reading it. But it’s very expensive so I can’t get every copy. I can never resist Sam Elliott on the cover!! Oh man!

    1. Yeah, it’s a pricier one at $6.99 US. At least that’s what this one was. I don’t know if the price has gone up. It’s the same price as a book!

  4. Hi Trish, thanks for a good blog. I was lucky to have a lady who worked for me (years ago) marry the foreman of one of the biggest ranches in this area, so I got a first-hand view of a working ranch. I’ve even worked the gate when every head of cattle had to be inoculated. If I didn’t learn anything else, I learned not to wear a white shirt and pull the gate letting some very unhappy cattle out. It went to the trash that evening. Now I’m lucky to have a writer friend who owns one of the original ranches in the Texas Panhandle, so I’ve been able to get another viewpoint of more modern day operations. I do subscribed to several law enforcement magazines for research and did read several of the Saddleback magazines before Dusty Richards passed. Again, thanks for a great blog.

    1. Thanks, Phyliss. That’s cool that you have access to all that first-hand research with the nearby ranches.

  5. I enjoyed reading my Daddy’s L’Amour collection.

    1. I wonder how many people’s dads had those books.

  6. My uncle from the western side of the family always got a magazine from Oklahoma–Oklahoma Magazine, I think–and he also got True West Magazine. I sure wish I had paid more attention at the time, but it’s likely I had my nose in a book when I wasn;t working—as an editor for a national magazine about TV. And yes, magazines are the cost of books these tough days!

    1. Oh, your job as a magazine editor for a magazine about TV sounds interesting.

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