I’m so excited to be here at Petticoats and Pistols. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Jeannie Watt and I write Nevada ranch stories for Harlequin Superromance. Like most western ranching states, Nevada has its own unique culture.
The cowboys here are buckaroos. Buckaroos inhabit an area known as the ION—southern Idaho, eastern Oregon, and northern Nevada. They wear short chaps called chinks, flat top or short brimmed hats, vests, silver conchos and big silk scarves known as wild rags. They favor high cantle saddles with slick forks and bucking rolls, highly ornate silver bits and, rawhide reins, romals and reatas. If they ride a snaffle bit horse, they may use horsehair ropes called mecates instead of regular reins. A northern Nevada working cowboy may not sport all of these trappings, but it would be rare to see a cowboy in the area without at least one or two buckaroo accoutrements. Now, do you think I could find a photo of any of my neighbors in their buckaroo gear? Of course not. But if you’re interested in seeing photos of the ION and buckaroos, I suggest you check out David R. Stoecklein’s western photo portfolio. It’s excellent. http://www.stoeckleinphotography.com/portfolios/
Distances are vast in Nevada. My school district encompasses over 9,000 square miles and has five rural combined class schools in addition to the traditional schools in the larger town where I teach. I live in a small ranching community of 250 people, but drive 40 miles a day to work. My doctor is 200 miles away. The fuel prices have been a killer lately, especially since I live off the grid—not by choice, mind you, but rather because the local power company wants half a million dollars (literally) to run power to my house. I just haven’t been able to squeeze that out of the grocery money, lol. When fuel prices jump, so does the cost of operating my house. But I just have to show you one of my views—the reason I put up with living off the grid. This is my driveway.
The federal government owns eighty-four percent of Nevada, so there are a lot of wide-open spaces. There are really only three honest to goodness cities in Nevada—Reno, Carson City and Las Vegas. The north and the south. The rest of the state is considered rural—which is amazing when you consider the fact that Nevada is the seventh largest state in the union. The rural people tend to be acquainted with one another, even if they live hundreds of miles apart. The isolation and great distances lead to an amazing sense of community—which is the lead in for my book…
In my story, A COWBOY’S REDEMPTION, set in a fictional community south of Elko, the hero desperately needs isolation. He’s just gotten out of jail and is licking his wounds while rebuilding his grandfather’s homestead. Enter the heroine, who wants access across his property so that her family can subdivide a half section of ground for a housing development. Needless to say, the hero is not in favor. The heroine expected that reaction, but she doesn’t understand the cause of the deep hatred the hero holds for her family. He isn’t talking, and she isn’t giving up until she gets to the bottom of things. Ultimately the hero has to chose between vindication and shattering the heroine’s world—a tough choice since somewhere along the line he fell in love with her.
I’m giving away three books today, plus one of my braided horsehair bracelets. Just stop by and introduce yourself, let me know if you’ve ever visited Nevada and I’ll put you in the random drawing for the books and bracelet.
And to wrap things up, here’s a photo of my friend Tim getting ready to brand.
To learn more about Jeannie and her books, visit her website: