Writer Takeaways from Disney Songs

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. 

I’ll admit to being a big fan of Disney’s animated movies and of course the music in them is always great – be it toe-tapping, whimsical, introspective or poignant.

So I hope you won’t mind today if I indulge myself a little bit by listing some of my favorites (along with links so you can listen to them if you like) and so that it’s not entirely frivolous, tie each of them to a writerly takeaway. .

Here they are, in no particular order

  1. You’ve Got A Friend In Me (from Toy Story)

    Writer Takeaway: Writing can be a lonely, solitary business. Savvy writers will take the time to make personal connections, to be supportive of other writers and to maintain connections with friends outside of the writing community.

  2. Bare Necessities (from Jungle Book)

    Writer Takeaway: Most of us are working with limited resources when it comes to finances and time. But we all bring special resources to the table, namely our creativity and storytelling abilities. That is what the true ‘bare necessity’ is that it takes to succeed in this business. As for the rest, work with what you have and know that, if you stay alert to opportunities, you can go a long way on your God-given talent.

  3. A Whole New World (from Aladdin)

    Writer Takeaway: 
    Take the time in your worldbuilding to transport your reader to someplace they’ve never been before or to see the familiar in a whole new light, and make sure there are things to make them feel wonder and surprise over.

  4. Let It Go (from Frozen)

    Writer Takeaway: There are things that will come your way – story ideas, promo opportunities, project participation offers, etc. – that you won’t be able to pursue/take advantage of. Hard as it is to let them go, you have to accept that they were not to be and don’t let regrets weigh you down.

  5. Go The Distance (from Hercules)

    Writer Takeaway: No one promised it would be easy or quick – persistence is key to making it in this business. And of course you want to add in the proper training, because the best writers know that they never reach the point where they know it all.

  6. Heigh Ho (from Snow White)

    Writer Takeaway: Similar to the takeaway from the prior song, this one reminds me that there is no substitute for putting in the work. As a previous mentor once told me BIK HOK is the only way to get the book written (Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard).

  7. Reflection (from Mulan)

    Writer Takeaway: This is a hauntingly introspective song. One of my takeaways is that, whatever the cost, we have to be true to who we are, as a writer as well as an individual.

  8. Something There (from Beauty and the Beast)

    Writer Takeaway: I love this song and it is a great lesson on how to develop a love story between two mismatched people. It also provides a good example of how to show versus tell a character’s growth and transformation.

  9. Almost There (from The Princess and the Frog)

    Writer Takeaway: This song is all about having concrete goals and maintaining your focus on them. It’s much too easy to let distractions get in the way of your dreams or start looking for shortcuts.

  10. Into The Unknown (from Frozen 2)

    Writer Takeaway: As writers we sometimes get stuck in a rut of sorts, writing the types of stories that have worked for us in the past and that we are comfortable with. Or perhaps we have become pigeon holed by our editors or readers who are leery of supporting us in a new direction we want to explore. But, scary as it might be, stretching ourselves, even if we eventually decide it’s not working, is how we grow as writers and as people.
     

  11. Dig a Little Deeper (from the Princess and the Frog)

    Writer Takeaway: This is such a fun upbeat song – gets my toes to tapping whenever I hear it. But the writer takeaway is that I should always ‘dig a little deeper’ when I’m developing my characters and stories, that just being satisfied with what’s on the surface is not enough to really touch the reader I’m trying to reach.

 

I could go on and on, but as I said, I’m under a tight deadline, so I’ll stop there.

Did your favorite Disney song make the list? If so, which one is it?  If not, let me know what that missing song is and why you like it.  I’ll pick someone from the list of respondents to give a copy of one of my books to.

 

 

 

A Cowboy Song in My Heart!

This is the real life cowboy who inspired the first novel I sold.

I hate to admit this, but as a child, I wasn’t a fan of the country music my mother played music. But since I sold my first contemporary western romance in 2011, I’ve come to love it. The other day I thought about how many great songs have cowboy in the title. The first one that popped into my mind was “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” by Willie Nelson. For fun, I ran a searched to find others.

The first site on my search was http://www.myweddingsongs.com. The irony is the day before I wrote this post, I turned in revisions on To Marry A Texas Cowboy which comes out in September. In that book, my hero temporarily manages his grandmother’s wedding planning business! When I went to the website, I discovered the fourth Saturday in July is the Day of the Cowboy. If I’d known, July 25th would’ve found me in my recliner watching cowboy movies. Then I would’ve sat on the patio with a cool drink and listened to cowboy songs.

Since I missed this year’s day, I’m compiling my Day of the Cowboy playlist for Saturday July 24, 2021. Here’s my list so far.

Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell

Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys by Waylon and Willie

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? by Paula Cole

Should’ve Been a Cowboy by Toby Keith

Cowboys and Angels by Garth Brooks

Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy) by Big and Rich

Cowboy Casanova by Carried Underwood

Cowboy Take Me Away by The Chicks

The Cowboy Rides Away by George Strait

Don’t Call Him Cowboy by Conway Twitty

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys by Willie Nelson

The Cowboy in Me by Tim McGraw

Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy by Chris LeDoux

Cowboy Love by John Michael Montgomery

Asphalt Cowboy by Jason Aldean

The Cowboy’s Hat by Chris LeDoux

Cowboy’s Back in Town by Trace Adkins

100% Cowboy by Jason Meadows

Cowboys and Angels by Garth Brooks

My Cowboy by Jessie James

Cowboys Like Us by George Strait

All Around Cowboy by Waylon Jennings

Cowboy Logic by The Charlie Daniels Band

Cowboys Are My Weakness by Trisha Yearwood (Oh, yes! Mine too!)

I Want a Cowboy by Reba McEntire

I Ain’t Her Cowboy Anymore by George Strait

Broken Down Cowboy

And two non-country music entries…

Put the Boy Back in Cowboy by Bon Jovi

I Wannt Be a Cowboy by Boys Don’t Cry

(This has a great video if you love watching Jon Bon Jovi!)

Since I was having a great time and in a wonderful mood after listening to many of the above, I searched for best songs about cowboys, and I had to include these.

Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi

Desperado by The Eagles

The songs that spoke to me as I compiled my list were “Cowboy Logic” by The Charlie Daniels Band, “I Want a Cowboy” by Reba McEntire, and “100% Cowboy” by Jason Meadows. To listen to those, click on the song title. Now I have another way to brighten the day when I’m feeling blue–listen to songs with cowboy in the title!

To be entered in the random drawing for the brand wine glass, the wine cover and a copy of Home on the Range: Colorado Rescue, leave a comment stating your favorite song with cowboy in the title and why you like it.

 

Fun with Western Swing and a Give Away

I’m so glad to be here during the Boot Scootin’ Special Week! Today I’m here to tell you that you can’t scoot those boots if you don’t have music to scoot them to, and I’m going to specifically talk about Western Swing.

What is the difference between Western Swing and good old country music?

All music evolves and changes over time as it is influenced by other musical genres and the people who play the music. Not everyone is satisfied with playing the same song the same way and look for ways to jazz it up a little. That is literally how western swing came to be.

Western swing evolved from the cowboy and country dance music played in dance halls and parties during the early part of the last century. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, classic western music played in the southern and western US states was influenced by the blues, jazz, folk, polka and eventually swing itself. The instruments started changing, too. Classic western music is played on a fiddle and or/guitar, but the western swing movement added piano, drums and, of course, the steel guitar, which gave the genre its distinctive sound.

Unlike big bands and swing bands of the same era, which tended to follow a set score, western swing bands tended to improvise, giving them a fun and unpredictable quality, but it was a quality people liked. Dancers loved western swing, which could be danced with a variety of styles. Thanks to its tempo, it was possible to do round dances, two-steps or even the jitter bug in later days. Before World War II, recording companies had a hard time coming up with a marketing name for western swing. They called it hillbilly music, old time music, and hot string music. Many of the bands that played it called it simply “western music”.

In 1933, Bob Wills organized The Texas Playboys, one of the iconic western swing bands, with two fiddles, two guitars, a banjo, drums, and of course the steel guitar, played by Leon McAuliffe. If you listen carefully to some of his songs, you can hear him call on “Leon” to play. Other western swing bands were The Fort Worth Doughboys, Brown and his Musical Brownies, Light Crust Doughboys, Spade Cooley and His Buckle-Busters and Billy Gray and His Western Okies.

In the mid-1930s Fort Worth was the center of Western Swing, but California would soon catch up. During World War II western swing reached the height of its popularity with promotors creating circuits of dance halls for the bands to travel to. Bob Wills played a dance at Venice Pier in Los Angeles attended by 15,000 people. Riverside Rancho, also in Los Angeles, had a 10,0000 square foot dance floor and hosted huge dance parties.

Western swing began to ebb in the 1950s, however the genre influenced rock and roll and rockabilly during that decade. One of Bill Haley’s early bands was known as Bill Haley and the 4 Aces of Western Swing. In the 1970s, western swing experienced a revival thanks to groups such as Asleep at the Wheel, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen and Lyle Lovett.

In case you aren’t familiar with the western swing sound, some classic western swing songs are Pistol Packin’ Mama, San Antonio Rose, Stay All Night, Stay a Little Longer and one of my favorites, which you can listen to below, Big Balls in Cowtown.

Are you a western swing fan? If so what’s a favorite western swing dance song of yours? I’ll choose two commenters to receive a $10 Amazon gift certificate.

 

Favorite Lullabies

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here.  Around our house we’re currently on baby watch. My oldest daughter is pregnant with her first child and it’s due in a matter of days. Her pregnancy has put me in a mood to reminisce, to remember when she was just a little one herself. And one of my very favorite memories is of tucking her (and later her siblings) into bed with lullabies.

 

Singing lullabies to young children seems to be something ingrained in all of us – it crosses classes, cultures, and generations. I sang them from an early age myself. I have a sister who’s ten years younger than me. When she outgrew her crib and moved into the king-sized bed with me and my middle sister I began singing her to sleep.  It was a ritual we both enjoyed and I continued singing to her at bedtime until I headed off to college eight years later.  I also did quite a bit of babysitting during my high school years, and I reached into my stock of lullabies when I had a fussy child that needed soothing. 

 

So when I had kids of my own, it became a much-looked-forward-to  part of the good night ritual. I allowed each of my four children to pick their choice of songs when I tucked them into bed.

 

But I rarely used conventional lullabies.  Our repertoire included silly children’s songs, show tunes, vacation bible school songs, hymns and even Christmas carols.  I thought I’d share links to some of this eclectic collection (I’ve starred their favorites)

Little Bunny Foo Foo   

       * The Ants Go Marching  

Flowers Are Red   

        * In My Own Little Corner   

Ten Minutes Ago 

Impossible  

White Coral Bells 

       * There Once Was An Ugly Duckling  

Oh Be Careful Little Eyes 

Zacchaeus Was A Wee Little Man   

Rise and Shine (Arky, Arky)  

       The First Noel

Gloria In Excelsis Deo

 

What do you think – Are any of these songs unfamiliar to you?  Do you have a favorite lullaby of your own?  Or perhaps special memories associated with lullabies? >
Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for your choice of any book in my backlist.

Jodi Thomas Is Back in the Saddle Again

In this time of ‘house arrest’ we are all staying home most of the time.  Now I don’t know about other writers (haven’t seen any) but I started out the first two weeks thinking I’d write like crazy. 

Didn’t work.  I cleaned closets, cooked, watched TV, read books.

When the two weeks continued on and on, I made a list every morning of what I would do. Pretty soon I learned I could keep my Monday to-do-list all week and just change it to Tuesday, then Wednesday, then Thursday.

THEN I discovered a box of old music, country of course.  I bounced out of bed, put on my sweat pants, didn’t bother with shower or makeup half the time, and flipped on Only the Lonely by Roy Orbison. We danced around the house.

I know it sounds strange but it cheered me up. By the time I played it three times, I was ready to write.

Then I found a CD of Riders in the Sky with a song Gene Autry wrote.  Back in the Saddle Again. I learned to sing Whoopi-ty-aye-oh. Dancing again. To hear the song click here.

I played it as I saddled up for work.  When I was a kid I loved nothing more than riding across open country and today (as I have for thirty years) I love writing.

I’ve stepped into fiction in good times and bad.  When my heart’s been broken, I fall in love with my characters. When reality gets too much, I make my own world. When I simply want to have an adventure, I travel in my mind.

During this time of isolation, I still feel connected to my readers and all the writers I know. We may be home dancing to Only the Lonely but we’re together. 

After I took a bad tumble riding in my teens, the hardest thing I ever did was climb back on a horse, but the strange thing was, once in the saddle, I wondered why it had taken me so long.

 

My advice for this time: 

  1. Be good to yourself.  Get lost in a good book whether you’re reading it or writing it. Have a party every night.  Popcorn and a movie or cookies and milk on the porch watching the rain.
  1. Be happy.  Sure you don’t get to see the people you love, but the upside is you don’t have to be around all those folks who bother you.
  1. Dance.  Personally, I never learned to dance, but I do it anyway.  I told Tom once that I may look like I’m standing still, but I’m dancing inside.  He smiled and said, “I know.”

I’m in the middle of a series and I’m loving it. Book One, BREAKFAST AT THE HONEY CREEK CAFÉ came out last week. It’s packed with action and love stories that will keep you reading through the night.

Please add it to your reading list and ‘if you have time’ leave a comment and tell me what you’re dancing to during this isolation. One reader’s comment will be selected to receive my first book out of the box. 

Joke of the day from Riders in the Sky.  “If the world was logical, men would ride sidesaddle.”

 

 

Damsels on Railroad Tracks

No western romance trope is more cheesy or more famous than the old Damsel on the Railroad Tracks trope. Which is why when I recently wrote a scene that ended with my heroine stuck on a railroad bridge with a train heading for her, I just had to giggle. I promise the scene is ripe with tension and believability. There is no mustachioed villain cackling in the background. And she’s not actually tied to the tracks. She doesn’t even scream for help. Though our hero is still called upon to rush in to make a daring rescue.

So how did this trope get started and how has it endured so long in tongue-and-cheek fashion?

Most people credit the damsel on the tracks to the melodramas of silent movies. However, the first time it appeared with significant impact was on stage in an 1867 play called Under the Gaslight by Augustin Daly. By 1868, the trope reportedly could be found in five different London plays all running at the same time, and remained a theatre staple for decades. But here’s the kicker. In the original story, it is a man who has been tied to the railroad tracks and a woman who rescues him!

This trope became so popular in the theatre, that even though there are no original silent movies that use this plot in a serious fashion, several used it for comedic effect. The most notable of these spoofs was a Keystone Komedy called Barney Oldfield’s Race for a Life from 1913. Note the top hat and impressive mustache on the villain. Those become staples of the trope.

Some of you will probably remember watching the classic cartoon The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, either when it aired in the 1960’s or in reruns in the 1970’s like I did. This was a silly spoof that used over-the-top villains to hilarious effect. One of the main characters on the show was the dim-witted yet heroic Mountie named Dudley Do-Right. His nemesis Snidely Whiplash wore a top hat, sported a curvy mustache, and had a tendency to tie damsels to railroad tracks. Hence the trope was preserved for a new generation.

In 1969, Ray Stevens released a song called Along Came Jones which reached #27 on the billboard charts. My husband and I are big oldies fans, so we love this silly song and have even shared it with our kids – successfully perpetuating the trope into the future.

  • Do you remember any of these songs or shows?
  • Besides the top hat and mustache, what are other villain elements that have become cliche over time?

Speaking of damsels and railroads, my Harvey House Brides novella collection, Serving Up Love, is on sale this month for only $1.99.
Grab a copy while you can!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook

Margaret Goes Square Dancing

I’m ready to dance!

In a moment of madness, I decided to join a square-dancing class.  I figured it would be good exercise and wouldn’t be that hard to learn.  I mean how hard could it be to do-si-do?

Well, I got the first part right.  It is good exercise. I clock more than ten thousand steps during class. Dancing is also good for the brain. According to Psychology Today,research shows that dancing reduces incidences of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

As for the easy part: forget that. Square-dancing requires memorizing hundreds of steps and learning a new language. The director told us that if we got lost, to just stand still and look confused.  Now That I can do.

In spite of the challenges, the one thing I really enjoy is the courtesy. Call me old-fashioned, but I love the way partners bow and honor each other. Though dress is informal, almost everyone dresses up a bit, which adds to the fun. The best part? There’s no shortage of cowboys. Yee-haw!

The various square dance movements are based on the steps and figures that were used in traditional folk dances from different countries. Folk dances were originally gala occasions where news would be swapped, and courtships formed.

The early colonists brought popular folk dances from France, Italy and Britain with them. However, following the American Revolution, the British dances fell out of favor and the French dancing styles took over. Many French terms like “do-si-do,” “allemande” and “promenade” are still used in square dancing today.

The French were not satisfied with the long double line of an indefinite number of couples, so they concentrated on the square limited to four couples. These squares were known at first as “French contra-dances,” or more simply as “French dances.”

Dance historian Phil Jamison writes in his book, Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance  that in addition to European dances, African American and Native American dance forms contributed to the development of square dance.

The dances done in early America didn’t have a “caller,” or someone who yells out the moves to dancers. Rather, the expectation, Jamison says, was that dancers went to school, memorized the moves, then went to the ball.

“Square dancing in those early days was done to live music that was almost always played by African-American musicians. It’s believed that many of these musicians became callers due to the gap in literacy and formal training among slaves of the time.”

Jamison says he found evidence of an African American caller dating back as early as 1819 in New Orleans. Other African American dance moves, instruments like the banjo and fiddle, and call and response traditions were also incorporated.

There have been several attempts to have square dancing designated the national dance but, so far, the efforts have been defeated.  However, according to The Smithsonian, thirty-one states now claim square dancing as the official state dance.

Square Dancing has changed through the years to fit the needs of the people doing it.  All ages can join in the fun and there are many LGBT clubs. There are also groups for the handicapped.

Though square dancing, as we know it today, is now an American dance, it’s popular the world over. S.Foster Damon wrote in his book, The History of Square Dance, “Square-dancing is greater than any one nation: it is democracy itself, in dance form. Can anybody think of a better way to spread the spirit of democracy?”

What new and exciting things do you have planned

for the New Year? 

Meet the Haywire Brides

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Guest Linda Carroll-Bradd on Popular Music in the 1880s

In my latest release, Dulcina, book 5 in “The Widows of Wildcat Ridge” series, I feature a heroine who has a natural singing talent and, with her husband, owned a saloon in a gold mining town in Utah Territory. Her contribution was being the “talent” at the various saloons she and her husband owned over the eight years they were together. They ran a respectable establishment with no fancy ladies, relying on Dulcina’s singing talent to draw in the customers. Although she wasn’t well accepted by the women in the town, Dulcina looked on her talent as providing the right type of atmosphere to keep the atmosphere calm.

I’m an author who believes in including lots of historical facts in my stories. If you read about a certain product or tool or company, you can be sure that product existed at the time the story is set. Often, I’m lucky enough to find a resource that provides me with an image so I can describe what the products looked like to create an authentic visual. Researching what the popular music she would have performed proved enlightening, at least to me. I had no idea some of the songs that I’ve learned from various settings (elementary school choir, Girl Scouts, camps, music tapes for my children) were as old as they are.

Consider that many people who settled the western part of the United States after the Civil War were a vast mix of people. Some came from well-established homes in the East where too many sons existed and a third or fourth son wouldn’t inherit much. These individuals would have an upbringing that included music and many could play piano, including the women. Other settlers came from foreign countries and brought their own music and songs. For many, a piano, or a banjo, or a violin—or all three—and sheet music provided an entire evening’s entertainment with people of all ages joining in.

 

Photo credit: DeviantArt

In the 1870s and 1880s, the plays by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan provided lots of songs. H.M.S. Pinafore was their first huge success and provided “Never Mind the Why and Wherefore”, “Things Are Seldom What They Seem” and “Sorry Her Lot Who Loves Too Well.” From Pirates of Penzance came “Away, Away, My Heart’s on Fire”, “A Rollickin’ Band of Pirates, We” and “I am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General” and from Iolanthe “When Britain Really Ruled the Waves”, “None Shall Part Us” and “Welcome to our Hearts Again.” Or other familiar tunes were “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”, “Farmer in the Dell”, “Oh, My Darling Clementine”, “Polly Wolly Doodle”, “The Fountain in the Park” (better known as “I Was Strolling in the Park One Day”), “There is a Tavern in the Town”, “Blow the Man Down” and “Sailing, Sailing.”

 

Photo credit: Picryl

Not only would the singing be a unifying activity for the family, or residents of a boarding house, or citizens traveling through a small town in a sparsely populated area, but it also put the people in touch with what was happening in other places in the world. What fun to perform songs that were also being sung in theater performances across the continent in New York or halfway around the world in London. Oftentimes, people living on the frontier had a limited scope of life, meaning they didn’t travel far from the place where they were raised, but music made them feel like they belonged to a larger society.

BLURB

Left widowed following a Utah mining disaster, Dulcina Crass faces running a saloon on her own when her previous contribution was solely as the singer. She struggles to learn the necessary tasks but her heart isn’t in being a saloon keeper. All she ever wanted was to be a famous singer. Will asking Gabriel Magnus, a neighbor from her New Mexico hometown, bring the help she needs or a new kind of trouble?

Gabriel Magnus isn’t fulfilled by his role as ranch hand on the family’s New Mexico sheep ranch. What he wants is the chance to prove his boot making skills are good enough to start his own business. When he receives a letter from recent widow Dulcina offering a partnership in the Last Chance Saloon, he recognizes the chance to come to the rescue of the vivacious girl he wanted to court a decade earlier. Upon his arrival, he presents her with a demand–her answer could decide both of their fates.

Amazon buy link: http://amzn.com/B07JL58L4B

Web Contacts:

Website: http://www.lindacarroll-bradd.com
Blog: http://blog.lindacarroll-bradd.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/linda.carrollbradd
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lcarrollbradd
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/lindacarroll-braddhttp://www.amazon.com/author/lindacarroll-bradd/abr?tag=pettpist-20 Bookbub page: http://www.bookbub.com/authors/linda-carroll-braddhttp://eepurl.com/bjKueH

I’m giving away a print copy of A Year in Romance, Books 1-4 of “Dorado, Texas” series (US only, ecopy to international winner).

And Then He Kissed Me — A Look Back at an Astounding Era — E-book Giveaway

Howdy!

I grew up in the 50’s — Okay, I’m giving away my age, but then, probably most of you know I’m a Grandmother — that gives away my age, as well.

Oh, how I loved that Motown sound of the 50’s and 60’s.  Do you remember it?   The Crystals, The Ronettes, Little Anthony?

If you’re too young to remember, come experience the magic of the 50’s music (for us young’ins).  I’m going to leave some links:

The Ronettes, Be My Baby — One of my favorites:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrVbawRPO7I

How many of you remember the dance names that they are doing in this link?  Can you believe that I do remember?  The main one, I believe, is the Bird, and in the middle they switch briefly to the Jerk.  Oh, how I loved those dances.  Did you?

And for all us romance lovers:  The Crystals, And Then He Kissed Me — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUaUIwuU8so

I still know all the words to this song.  Do you?

Me and hubby and a smooch — off to the right here.

Not to be outdone:  Anthony and the Imperials, Hurts So Bad — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSF2oLgyV5M

Oh, how I love this song.

Do you remember The Duke of Earl — another song I sing to my Grandchildren:  Gene Chandler and The Duke of Earl:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQnfooEED8Y

Okay, and how many of you remember the dance those girls are doing in the background?  Would that be the Twine?  I think it is.  Did you do this dance?

And how about Rockabilly — that’s rock and country all in one.  Do you remember the Everly Brothers?  Oh, my gosh, how I loved all their songs:

Here’s one of my favorites — beautiful, romantic, magical — Let It Be Me — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2ImS9RBszE — oh, my goodness, I melt when I listen to this

And how about one of their humorous songs:  Bird Dog — just recently I was singing this song to my grandchildren, who laughed and laughed and laughed and couldn’t believe it was an actual song.  So of course I had to find it online and play it for them:  Love this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US49tQbYsg0 — When men’s hairstyles defied gravity…

Of course, we can’t leave out The Beatles:  Here’s one of my favorites:  The Things We Said Today — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_-NHOPt3Mc

You might argue, that the Beatles are the 60’s — but oh, well, I can’t leave them out — they are probably the most inspirational band of all time.

Here are some of my other favorite Beatles songs:  Love in the Open Air, by James Paul McCartney — A very under rated song that I believe might be the most beautiful song written in the last Century.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ir-Pl4szYOs

And of course, the most beautiful song, in my opinion, from the Album, Revolver:  Here, There, and Everywhere:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdcSFVXd3MU&index=5&list=OLAK5uy_n9q-ezB2RZF1WS7PR3h3drrTgNCf-DRSk — This, in my opinion, is a runner up for first place in what might be the most beautiful song of the last Century.

What, you might ask, does this have to do with Native American Romance?  Well, perhaps a great deal, in several different ways.  One is always searching for inspiring music to write by — I think we, as authors, often write to music.  And for a lively scene, nothing beats the 50’s and 60’s music in my opinion.  But there is also this little bit of fact:  Did you know that the Native American Men who toured Europe  mirrored the Romantic Inspiration and female response as that of many rock stars?

And why not?  Many of those men were extraordinarily handsome.  All these photos here are of a couple of the men who were with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. 

Well, that’s all for today.  Come on in and leave a comment and let me know what you think.

As always, many of us writers are a bit busy and so we depend on your coming to the blog on Wednesday or Thursday to check to see if you are the winner of the Give-away.

And most of all, thank you for coming to the blog today.  And then he kissed me.

 

 

Life is Tough. Read Romance.

Why do I write romance? I haven’t been asked that question as much as I expected, but there’s a simple answer. Life is tough.

I’m sitting at Starbucks staring out the window at the gray, misty world around me, and realize the weather matches my mood. As usual, life and my procrastination means I’m writing this closer to my deadline than I’d hoped, and recent events are weighing heavy on my mind and my heart.

Yup, life is darn tough. Recent hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, et al have wreaked havoc with people’s lives. While those natural disasters are devastating, what truly tears at my heart is what destruction we inflict on each other. When did we get to the point where so many people believe the answer to their problems is violence against their fellow man? Someone cuts you off on my highway? Pull out a gun and shoot ‘em. Gone is a girl about to be a college freshman, along with all the good she could have done in the world. Something not right in your life? Take an arsenal with you to a Las Vegas hotel room and kill fifty-nine people who’ve done absolutely nothing to you. My heart breaks for the lives lost and those irreversibly changed because of the violence we perpetrate on each other.

Which brings me back to why I write romance. When I read, I don’t want to come away depressed. Life has a way of doing that on its own. The lyrics to Tom Petty’s song “I Won’t Back Down” have run through my head since his death on the heels of the Vegas tragedy. “No, I’ll stand my ground, won’t be turned around. And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down. Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down.” I write romance for the same reason I read it—to keep the world from draggin’ me down.

In my books my characters have been knocked around by life. In To Love A Texas Cowboy, when Cassie’s sister and brother-in-law are killed in a plane crash, she moves from New York to Texas because she become guardian to her niece. In Roping the Rancher, Colt, a single father to a teenage girl who’s left the military, struggles to find purpose and meaning in his life.

I write about characters discovering a strength they never knew they possessed and receiving help when they least expect it, but need it the most. Themes of finding an untraditional family when theirs has failed them time and time again run through my stories. Good always triumphs. The bad guys always get what they deserve in true Western fashion. My characters face life’s difficulties, but receive the reward for facing them and getting through the dark tunnel. At the end they find love, strength and happiness.

So that’s why I write romance—because life is tough. I hope when people read my books they escaped for a little while, and maybe they are filled with hope that they too, can find their happy ending.

Comment and let me know why you read romance to be entered in the drawing to win a Texas Starbucks mug, a gift card and either Roping the Rancher or To Love a Texas Cowboy.