Thank you to all the Fillies at Petticoats & Pistols for inviting me to your home. To you I’m just another writer visiting your humble western abode. For me this visit is monumental. I can now die happy.
So I’ve decided to use this opportunity to cleanse my soul.
I’m really a rhinestone cowgirl.
That’s right. Only a few buckles short of a bunny.
It all began when I was a short, chubby wrangler who spent hours upon hours watching John Wayne movies on Saturday afternoons, a bandana around my neck and my plastic pistol in its holster. Red River and was a particular favorite. Great humor.
This would explain my debut January release from Love Inspired, The Rancher’s Reunion.
“You look awful.” Will Sullivan shoved his hands into the back pockets of his Wranglers and continued his intense scrutiny.
“Well, you haven’t changed a bit,” Annie Harris said with a laugh. Leave it to Will to cut to the chase.
In truth, he hadn’t changed. He was everything she remembered. Hatless today, his blue-black hair was clipped short to control the unruly curls. Will thought he could control everything. Standing inches over six feet tall in a faded blue oxford shirt, jeans and scuffed boots, he scowled.
Annie took an unsteady breath. Oh, how she had missed that scowl.
So how did my secret life begin?
I met a cowboy.
One twang and I was lost.
I spent the next seventeen years in Tulsa, Oklahoma feeding my habit. At night was a registered nurse specializing in oncology working the graveyard shift. By day I was an Oklahoma cowgirl. Okay, maybe not exactly a cowgirl. But the mind is a powerful drug and I know how to use it.
Everywhere I went in Tulsa I saw great back pockets, Stetsons, Tony Llama boots and buckles to swoon for. Rhinestone cowgirl heaven.
I learned to line dance. I became a member of the Garth Brooks fan club and attended his Tulsa concerts in full cowgirl dress. I subscribed to American Cowboy Magazine and watched Urban Cowboy 35 times.
When I wrote The Rancher’s Reunion and the follow up book Oklahoma Reunion which releases in October of this year I tried to incorporate all the wonderful things I love and miss about Oklahoma: The PRCA Rodeo at Expo Square. The Bible Belt philosophy. Route 66. Mazzio’s Pizza. The Tulsa State Fair. Jenks, Oklahoma. Bixby, Oklahoma. And Braum’s cherry-limeades.
I also felt it was important to correctly portray the great guys I knew in Oklahoma in my stories. Honorable, proud and hardworking heroes and with a sense of humor as big as Green Country.
Will realized she was getting mad. Plain mad. His brain scrambled backwards to figure out what he’d said.
She stood and half stomped, half limped to the sink with her empty glass. “You apparently have this image of me as some sort of kid. I’m not a child, Will, I’m a-–well, I am not a child.”
Will averted his eyes from her perfectly silhouetted form standing against the sink in the black dress. A shudder went through him. A man could only handle so much.
No, she sure was not a child. Hoo boy. He’d grant her that.
“Hey, look. I’m teasing you,” he said softly. “It just comes natural, like breathing. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. You’re right; it is an eye opener to consider Annie E. has had her heart broken.”
She whirled around. “Why? Why should you be surprised? I’m not like my mother. I don’t fall in love at the flip of a Stetson.”
“Ouch. Annie, I never said that.”
The silence in the room became tense. He could hear her breathing as he stared down at the table. “So who is this fella who broke your heart?”
Now I have a little puzzle for you.
Tulsa was originally Indian Territory and the paperwork on my first home in Tulsa County could trace the land back to those days. Tallasi meaning ‘old town’ in Creek is the origin of the word Tulsa. Tulsa became incorporated in 1898. Tulsa was known as the oil capitol of the world for most of the twentieth century.
I currently reside in the foothills of Colorado. Denver was established some forty years earlier in 1858 as a mining town.
There’s a point to this little history lesson. I have always been confused as to why there appear to be more cowboys in Oklahoma than Colorado. Why is that?
Are they hiding in Colorado? Where? Please send directions.
It seems to be harder to be a cowgirl in Denver than Tulsa, but thanks to Crybaby Ranch (www.crybabyranch.com) and the Western Stock Show I’m persevering.
Thank you, Fillies for letting me share my secret. I feel cleansed. Today I’m giving away two copies of The Rancher’s Reunion to visitors. And if you feel very inspired by my confession, drop by The Sullivan Ranch website. www.thesullivanranch.com for a chance to win rhinestone cowgirl and cowboy goodies.