Honky-tonk: a cheap, noisy saloon or dancehall. Okay, I’ll go along with the online definition for honky-tonk as a noisy bar or dancehall. But cheap? I don’t think so. As a plot-moving literary venue, a good honky-tonk is worth its weight in gold. It’s a place where characters gather to gossip, hook up, or plan the demise of a certain villain who has evicted them from their mansion. It can be a funny, romantic, or sad setting depending on the occupants—an entire town of crazy matchmakers, a sexually steamed up couple, or a depressed, drunk widow.
When planning my small town of Bramble, Texas, I knew that there had to be a honky-tonk. I even traveled to Odessa, Texas, to do a little research. Not only did I find the perfect small town saloon with pool tables and a sawdust dance floor, I found a friendly owner who didn’t mind sharing a story or two—some even too naughty for a romance writer. (If you ever run into me, ask me about the lost false teeth story:o)
After hanging out most the night at the country bar, I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and dive right into Going Cowboy Crazy. And where did I start my Deep in the Heart of Texas series? At a honky-tonk, of course.
Bootlegger’s is a one-story stucco hole in the wall with a big dance floor, plenty of pool tables, and a bar the length of a football field. My honky-tonk has become the venue for homecoming queen imposters, jealous heroes, pissed off daddies, and a little naughty bathroom sex. It even offers sanctuary to Joseph, a Wiseman, an angel, and a pig in Small Town Christmas–O Little Town of Bramble. (An eBook anthology that includes stories from my friends, Jill Shalvis and Hope Ramsay)
As a writer, I love to return to Bootlegger’s to see what my crazy townsfolk are up to. There’s nothing I enjoy more than bellying up to the bar between Mayor Sutter and Sheriff Winslow, ordering a shot of Jose Cuervo, and listening to one of Kenny Gene’s stories. Some folks might view a honky-tonk as cheap. This author just views it as heaven.
Comment for a chance to win a novel from my Deep in the Heart of Texas series—Going Cowboy Crazy, Make Mine a Bad Boy, and Catch Me a Cowboy. And be sure to keep an eye out for my upcoming releases: Hunk for the Holidays due out September 25 and Trouble in Texas due out December 18.
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