Jodi Thomas: Texas In My Blood

jodi-thomasWhen people say I write with a true Texas voice I always thank them and wonder how I could write any other way.  I’ve got Texas in my blood and I’ve been telling stories set in Texas for twenty years.  From Beneath the Texas Sky in 1988 to The Lone Texan released October 6, 2009, my heros belong here.

My stories are born in the soil of my memories.  I remember hearing my grandmother tell about how she was born in a covered wagon.  Her mother died that night so her aunt took the newborn to Oklahoma where they homesteaded and returned her four years later to her father.  My grandmother traveled back and forth between the two farms until she married at 16. She met my grandfather at a barn raising when they were both fifteen. They spent one day together.  He returned a year later to marry her.  He’d spent the year clearing land and building a house.  She’d spent the year filling a hope chest.  They were married almost 70 years and I can see the chest they had from my desk as I wriite.

My other grandmother was born in a dugout not much bigger than a hotel room. I have her biscuit bowl in my kitchen.  She never measured when she made bread.  She just knew how much of each ingrediant to put in that bowl.

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When I began the Whispering Mountain series, I knew I wanted to write a story about a family.  Being a Texan isn’t just the hat and the boots, it’s the heart as well.  Folks say Texan’s brag.  I think I’ve figured out why.  After the Civil War, most people in Texas, and those who came around then like my relatives, had nothing.  Life was hard and when they finally had a good crop or their wife made a great pie or their horse won a race, they bragged.  Not to show anyone up, but to show what they’d done and they knew their friends and neighbors would celebrate with them.

Someone asked me where I find my heroes and I have to say, ‘I’m surrounded by them.’  Six years ago when I moved into Women’s Fiction and began writing stories taking place in today’s Texas I still felt very much at home.  With TWISTED CREEK (2008) I blended character traits of people I’d known and loved.  In REWRITING MONDAY,  I stepped into a small town modeled after the one where I spent my summers growing up.

When I began THE LONE TEXAN, I faced the challenge of writing about a younger hero than usual.  I don’t know when I’ve had so much fun.  Drum grew up in an outlaw camp with no parenting.  He’s as wild as Texas was in 1850, but when he sees what a real family is like, he knows what he has to do.  In the first Whispering Mountain story, TEXAS RAIN(2006,) he’s 15 and thinks himself in love with Sage McMurray.  In THE LONE TEXAN he’s 20 and knows she’s the woman he wants.  Only problem, besides keeping her alive, is convincing her to marry him.

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Hope you read Drum and Sage’s story that is out this month and step into my Texas with me for the adventure.  If you have a minute take a look at my video.  By the way, Matt at Readerhood, who did all the videos of my books, is a sixth generation Texan and my son.  He works out of a home office where he also corrals the first seventh generation who just turned one.

 

So, how do you know if Texas is in your blood?
1.  If you can look out at miles and miles of open plains and marvel at how beautiful it is.
2.  If you don’t notice the wind until it slams your car door closed for you.
3.  If you can still smell the gunpower at the Alamo and cry when you walk in even though the men died over 170 years ago.
4.  If, when you’re overseas and someone asks where you’re from, you say Texas.
5.  If you know what a yankee dime is.
6.  If you know what a cow patty is.

Are there any Texans out there who want to add a few to the list?  I’d love to hear from them and everyone who loves western romance. I’m giving away a copy of THE LONE TEXAN to one lucky commentor.

And for those of you who are not from Texas, you’re welcome to ride the range with me through the books anytime. I’d love to have you join me. Also, I’m on Twitter. You can follow me there.

Jodi Thomas

www.JodiThomas.com

http://twitter.com/jodithomas 

Guest Blogger
Updated: November 3, 2009 — 10:45 pm

35 Comments

  1. Beautiful stories about your grandmothers, Jodi. My grandpa was born in a dugout, too, but in Utah, not Texas. But hey, I do know what a cow patty is. Thanks for a beautiful blog.
    🙂

  2. Loved those stories about your grandparents. No wonder you are one of my favorite historical romance authors! I’m not a native Texan, but I got here as fast as I could and am proud to be raising three Texas-born citizens for this next generation.

    Don’t enter me in your drawing because I already have The Lone Texan and am reading it right now. I have to say you make it hard on a gal to put the book down and go to work. I love Drum and can’t wait to see how he convinces Sage to open her eyes and accept his affection.

    I’m a writer as well (my frist comes out with Bethany House this summer) and all three of my contracted books are set in Texas. I hope my editors will let me stay in this land I’ve come to love so much. You’ve proven that it can be done, and well. Thanks for providing us with rugged Texas heros that make out hearts flutter.

  3. Jodi, thanks for joining us today. I have similar stories from my grandparents and I know that’s why I write westerns.

    I laughed and nodded my way through your “in your blood” list. Walking into the chapel at the Alamo was a very powerful experience. You can hear the souls whispering inside those walls.

    What has always amazed me about #4 is that I when I said Texas, everyone knew where that was. lol

  4. Hey Karen W! Three books with Bethany House? CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  5. Jodi, you really hit on a subject close to my heart … Texas and family. In Texas we presume everybody knows that “fixin'” can be a noun, verb or adverb, depending on how it’s used. Joe’s fixin’ the fence because I’m fixin’ to head to town to buy the fixin’s for dinner! We can show you the direction of catawampus and know exactly what a person is taking about when they refer to a thingamajig. Being born and raised in Texas, I think everyone understands Texasiums … and am surprised when they don’t. And, yes for those English teachers and scholars out there, I know that you raise corn and rear children, but for some reason my image of being “reared” in Texas, just isn’t anywhere near how the word was intended to be used. Hope you have a great day of writing. Hugs, P

  6. Hi Jodi can’t wait for this book. I have been waiting too long already.

  7. Hi Jodi!

    We’re so happy to have you come hang out with us Fillies today. It’s always a joy to have you. I love your stories, both fictional and nonfictional. You have such an interesting background. I wish I knew my roots better. One set of grandparents died before I was born and the other set lived so far away that I never got to know them. I regret that.

    Your books always touch my heart and bring so much happiness. I’ve especially enjoyed the Whispering Mountain series. And THE LONE TEXAN is the best of the bunch I think. Maybe it’s because you made us wait so long for it to come out. I had a lot of anticipation. I really couldn’t wait for Sage and Drum to discover their love for each other. They are very special characters.

    My question is: Is this the last of book of the series or are there more? If this is the end, do you have a new historical series planned?

    Had to chuckle at some of the reasons why you know you’re a Texan and number three brought a lump to my throat. Very true! I can’t think of one to add to your list right now. Maybe as the day goes by.

    Love the video!! Wow! Matt did a wonderful joy as usual. That boy outdoes himself.

  8. Karen, I second Tracy’s congrats on the three book contract. Wooo-hoo!!! Way to go, girl. You’re off and running.

  9. Thanks for visiting us in Wildflower Junction today, Jodi! Your book trailer is awesome.

  10. Jodi,

    I loved the book trailer. Your book is a must read. Your books have a way to open the heart and let you find some happiness in this trying time. Thanks for sharing

    Walk in peace and harmony,

    Melinda

  11. Hi Jodi, I have never been to Texas but I do know what a cow patty is. I love your books and I am reading Twisted Creek right now and loven it! Great post and book trailer! I can’t wait to get my hands on more of your books.

  12. Welcome to the Junction today, Jodi. I second Cher, the trailer is fantastic!

  13. Thanks for a wonderful post… You have me curious now… I have to go find out what a yankee dime is!?! 😀

  14. Hi Jodi,

    Ya gotta love that book trailer. I knew the answers to all the Texas questions except the yankee dime. lol … I’ll have to find out with Colleen.

    Thanks for sharing a great post about writing, family, and being Texan.

  15. Colleen and Dianne,

    A Yankee dime is a kiss. At least that’s what my sources tell me. Glad you’re enjoying the blog. Don’t forget to look for Jodi’s new book. You won’t be able to put it down when you start reading. I guarantee it.

  16. Enjoyed reading the comments Even though I am not a Texan, I have discovered while visiting there, that the people are soooo friendly and welcoming. I found myself wanting to finish their sentences, though, because they all talk soooo slowly.

  17. Hi, Jodi. I have read your previous Whispering Mountain books, and I just loved them! TALL, DARK, AND TEXAN is one of my very favorite books. I have been looking forward to Sage and Drum’s story, and I am so glad that it is finally here! 🙂

  18. Joye, I’m laughin’ so hard … because when I’m not talking to someone from the South I want them to slow down so I can understand ‘um! I generally just nod my head (which can really be tricky on the telephone LOL)…hum, maybe that’s the reason I’m gettin’ to many address stickers in the mail where I agreed to donate to their charity??? Thanks for the friendly and welcoming comment. You can come visit us anytime, huh Linda?

  19. I always seem to be learning new words and phrases here.

  20. Have been waiting to read Drum’s story!

  21. Loved The Lone Texan, Jodi! Finally, Drum grows up into a hunky Ranger (what a great character right from the beginning). I felt as though I was leaving old friends by the end. Thanks for another great series. And thanks for reminding us about how sturdy and proud our ancestors were, not just in Texas but all over this country. It is truly amazing how they worked so hard to create a life out of nothing.

  22. I’m afraid I’ve never been but I would like to. I’ve read some of your other books and enjoyed them very much and I’m sure these are going to be great reads too.

  23. Sage and Drum, woohoo, bring it on.

    #6- I know what a cow patty is, lol. I’ve seen many of them growing up on a farm.

  24. Yes indeed, Joye. Phyliss is right. You can come and visit us anytime. We love to meet new people.

    Minna, I’m sure some of our phrases sound pretty weird to you, huh? But then, I’m sure you have your own special way of saying things over there across the pond. Glad to see you here today.

    Estella, you’re going to love The Lone Texan. I do think this is the best of the series. Drum makes a really outstanding hero and a match for Sage. I fully recommend it.

  25. Hi Nat,

    Great of you to stop by and comment. Thank you so much. You’re right about us having some awfully sturdy ancestors. But then they pretty much had to be to survive. Looking forward to seeing you next time I come to Amarillo. You Amarillo girls are okay in my book.

  26. Afternoon everyone. Thanks for all the great comments. As to your question, No The Lone Texan is not the last Whispering Mountain. I’ll have at least one more next year. I’m calling it “Duck and the ladies” in my notes. It will be about the children. I’m sure that will not be the title and I’ll have to give Duck a new name.

    News today*** The Lone Texan is #12 on B&N bestseller list and it’s already gone into second printing.

    Thanks everyone! Check in later. Jodi

  27. Hello everyone. Thanks for posting the trailer. Before I did this one my favorite one to work on was the Give Me A Texan video.

    Thanks for all the nice comments about the video and check out http://www.readerhook.com for some of my latest.

  28. If I hadn’t been born in Colorado and raised in Arizona I would have liked Texas as my home…I’ve always enjoyed people I knew from Texas and I enjoy visiting there….plus, it’s Western in so many ways…love that.

  29. Jodi, what a delightful surprise! I had assumed that THE LONE TEXAN was the last Whispering Mountain book, so it is great news to hear that there will be more.

  30. Avatar

    Wonderful stories about your grandparents. We just got back from a week and a half in Texas on vacation. Started in Ft. Worth for an Air Force reunion and to visit an old family friend in Plano. Then down to the hill country to stay for a week. It was lovely. Went to the LBJ Ranch National Park and the living history farm. Went to the State History Museum and Capitol, The Alamo and River Walk. We had friends from Houston come for 3 nights, so our touring was cut a little short. I know there was so much more to see in that area. There were so many areas of the state we didn’t have time for. Another day. We stopped at a friend’s in Tyler on the way home. She gave us a tour of the town the day we left. Very nice. Some lovely old houses.

    Your books are very popular at our library. I make sure to buy them for the collection whenever I find one we don’t have. Keep up the good writing. A lot of us are enjoying it.

  31. Thanks everyone for dropping by to visit with me. I had a great time. Writing is a lonely job and it’s grand to hear from everyone.

    My next book will be out in May. Like Twisted Creek and Rewriting Monday it’s the story of a small town and I think it is the best I’ve ever written. Can’t wait until the people who enjoy my work read it.

    Watch for WELCOME TO HARMONY in May 2010.

    Until we hear from one another again, Happy trails to you all and God bless.

    Jodi Thomas

  32. I’m not from Texas but I do have relatives living there. I have been there quite a few time too.

  33. I’ve never traveled through Texas although a heard that it’s a huge state with lot’s of variety! I’d love to see the bluebelles that Lady Bird had planted along the highways and of course, also see the famous yellow roses of Texas!
    Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio all sound interesting!

    Texas: men in cowboy hats, rodeos, cowboy boots, rifles in your trucks, oil derricks, longhorn steer

  34. I remember the first time I visited the Alamo. It is so much smaller than on TV!! Love your books.

  35. I love your books and Texas Rangers are my heros. The statements about knowing your a Texan are great and since I’m a native I loved them even more. These West Texas sunsets with miles and miles of horizon are just beautiful. Thank you for your wonderful stories. I can’t wait for the next one.

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