Welcome Tina Radcliffe, Author of Claiming Her Cowboy!
Attorney Jackson Harris regularly goes toe-to-toe with the world’s toughest lawyers—but none of them compare to Lucy Maxwell. The feisty director of Oklahoma’s Big Heart Ranch for orphans is as stubborn as she is pretty. But Jack must stay focused; he’s only there to evaluate the ranch’s funding. Falling for Lucy and the sweet children she protects is out of the question. Though Lucy is determined to keep the ranch, she’s not about to give control to a city slicker—even a devastatingly good-looking one. But as they bump heads, Jack and Lucy gradually nudge open their hearts. Could a temporary cowboy become a permanent part of Lucy’s life?
A big 2018 HELLO, to the Fillies of Petticoats & Pistols!
One of my very favorite places to set a story is in Oklahoma. I’m partial to the state after living there more than seventeen years. To me, there’s nothing sweeter than an Oklahoma drawl.
My blog title comes from the Merle Haggard song, and I apologize if you now have that tune in your head all day. The song is nearly fifty years old and while the lyrics may be a tad bit dated, the sentiment is not.
It parallels the philosophy of the Oklahoma cowboy. There are cowboys and ranches in all fifty states, there’s something special about an Oklahoma cowboy, especially the way he thinks and the way he talks. He’s hard-working, loyal, an all-American patriot who loves Okie football, and when he opens his mouth to speak I’m swooning a little.
Oklahoma dialect is unique although depending on where you’re from in the state it can overlap with Texas and Arkansas speech patterns. This is why you’ll hear terms like“y’all and “fixin’ to,” across borders. With the mobility we see today in the job market, much original Okie dialect is watered down. It’s also watered down or erased by Oklahomans purposely to avoid the stereotype that confuses language with culture.
When writing the Oklahoma cowboy for my new series from Love Inspired, Big Heart Ranch, I let a secondary character, old wrangler named Dutch Stevens, spin the Oklahoma dialect most of the time with some help from five-year-old named Dub Lewis, because too much dialect from primary characters can take away from the reading enjoyment.
There’s a charm and music to speaking Okie and nothing makes me happier than overhearing a conversation where the speaker says “I’m fixing to get some chicken fried steak, but first I’m going to stop at the QT for some pop.”
Speech patterns for true Oklahoma dialect are slow, methodical, and often with pauses if the sentence is more than a few words. Oklahoma-speak can often be pinpointed by the identification of certain terminology and there is an entire lingo that is unique to the state.
If you want to get a real taste for Oklahoma cowboy in particular, take a look at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum website. Check out the Cowboy page and the videos here. The museum is located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
There’s no definitive dictionary of Okie terms because Oklahoma is diverse and culture and environment play into the mix. But I can tell you that my arrival in Tulsa from New York was a culture shock.
People shut off the light instead of turning it off. They put groceries in sacks instead of bags. They ate salary instead of celery too. Fish and chips meant catfish and fries. Football fell into two categories Sooners or Cowboys. Liquor stores were closed on Sunday and there was a church on every corner.
Then there were those strange words like:
Mere – Mirror
Skeeter – Mosquito
Soda – Pop
Agg – Egg
QT – Quick Trip Convenience Store (Home of Lamar)
Chicken Fried Steak – See to Understand
Chigger – Mites
OKC – Oklahoma City
T-Town – Tulsa
Tony Lama – Western boots
PeeKahn – Pecan
My Ideal Oklahoma Cowboy
To create my ideal Oklahoma cowboy I take my favorite Oklahoma terminology and culture and then sprinkle in Western speak and lingo. If you’re a city slicker, you can find some fun and helpful Western speak here and here.
Have you got any Okie-isms of your own? Do you speak Okie or Cowboy Okie?
Leave a comment today and I’ll be sending a print copy or digital copy of Claiming Her Cowboy to three commenters along with a fun Western surprise. If you’ve already read the book, I’ll send a thank you and a fun Western surprise.
Originally from Western, N.Y., Tina Radcliffe left home for a tour of duty with the Army Security Agency stationed in Augsburg, Germany and ended up in Tulsa Oklahoma. While living in Tulsa she spent ten years as a Certified Oncology R.N. Her move to Colorado led to a career as a library cataloger. A 2014 ACFW Carol Award winner, she has won first place in over twenty RWA chapter affiliated contests in her career and she is on the RWA Honor Roll. Tina is also a short story writer and has sold over two dozen short stories to Woman’s World Magazine. She currently resides in Arizona where she writes fun, heartwarming romance.