Tuesday, July 26, 2011

SWEET SUMMER READ

My hero, Roy Rogers, and
the hussy who stole him
from me.
By Caroline Clemmons

You know I love the West, which is why I'm here. My love began very early with my dad telling me how his family came to Texas after the Civil War and some of the events that followed. Fascinating. Those Johnson boys sure got into a lot of trouble--especially when they teamed up with the Hardemans and others! Then I discovered cowboys. Sigh. Love those cowboys and ranchers! I loved the movies, but read western comic books when I couldn't go to a movie theater. At least I was reading, right?

High plains cotton field
The summer before I was eight, my family moved back to Texas from Southern California. I was soooo excited, because now I would see real cowboys. I was a dorky kid and in my mind, as soon as we crossed the state line into Texas, I'd be able to see cowboys everywhere. Not. We moved to a farming community where my dad managed a cotton gin. Cotton fields, not ranches and cowboys. Let me tell you, I was disappointed, but I was still certain cowboys rode just over the horizon.

My poor dad--hounded by requests to show me the cowboys--kept telling me my idea of western life was just in the movies. Alas, on our first trip to Oklahoma to visit my grandmother, we drove through the ranching area near Shamrock, Texas Yep, one of the ranches was having a roundup and I saw cowboys, lots of cowboys. I was in heaven. Picture me bouncing up and down for joy in the back seat and my dad having to eat his words. (Poor dad. He was a great father, and I'm sure I was a trial to him and my mom.)

Lubbock, Texas
My love of the West continues. Most of my growing up years were in Lubbock, Texas, known as "The Hub of the Plains." Not a bad place to grow up, in spite of the sand storms. In my latest release, HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME from The Wild Rose Press, the hero is a rancher. The book is set in and near Lubbock. (Write what you know.) I hope readers will enjoy this book. This modern Cinderella story is a departure for me, in that it is a sweet contemporary romance rather than sensual.


Courtney Madison grew up in Dallas and manages in a small bookstore near where a large chain has opened. To stave off closing the store, the owner has come out of retirement to replace Courtney and her assistant manager. Saving two salaries may keep the store going. Unfortunately, that means Courtney is out of a job at a time when the brother for whom she's guardian has found bad companions and begun skipping school. Add all that to the mound of debts she has from her late mother's illness and Courtney is desperate with a capitla D. Her fairy godmother--make that godfather--steps in with a legacy worth two million dollars! An elderly man she befriended while her mom was in the hospital, has left her his home in West Texas, along with other properties, on the condition she live there for a year. Wow! She can stop looking for a job, get her brother away from his punk friends, and pay off her mother's debts. How lucky can a girl be? But wait--there's a catch. Isn't there always? And Courtney learns that money may be the answer to some problems, but it creates new challenges.

The hunky hero, Derek Corrigan, is a rancher who was raised by Courtney's benefactor. Derek's judgement regarding financial matters is amazing. With women, not so much. Right now, he wants a secure and loving home for his two children, Meg and Warren, and to prevent them learning the kind of woman their late mother was. Never works, does it?

Okay, you know how this book is going to end, right? HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME is not an instruction manual for brain surgery. This is a light romance with pathos, humor, and a hunky hero--just the book to chase the summer doldrums. Here's an excerpt:

When Jimmy saw his sister in bed, he rushed over. "Sis, what happened? What’s with the towel and the ice packs?" He frowned at Derek. "What’s going on?"
She opened her mouth to explain, but nothing came out.
Derek figured the bizarre situation defied description. He patted Jimmy on the shoulder. "Don’t worry, she’s okay now. We were at the cemetery putting flowers on Sam’s and Maggie’s graves and your sister got trapped in the bathroom."
Jimmy shook his head. "I don’t understand. How could that hurt her?"
Courtney sighed. "The knob came off in my hand and I couldn’t open the door. So, I climbed out the window."
Derek held out his hands to indicate the small rectangle. "A small, high window."
Jimmy looked from his sister to Derek. "I still don’t understand what happened."
Courtney snapped, "I got stuck, okay?"
Now that he knew her to be okay, the week’s tension suddenly snapped Derek and he lost his perspective on the whole situation. He grimaced at Jimmy. "She, um…" He coughed to keep a straight face. "When she tried to go out the window, she got stuck with her head and one arm sticking outside and the rest of her inside." He stood like a bird with a broken wing to imitate Courtney’s position. A grin spread across his face in spite of all his efforts not to smile.
Jimmy gaped at his sister. "Courtney? But she’s always so sensible. She’s never does anything stupid." He began to smile also.
Both males burst into laughter.
"Listen, if you two are so amused, go into the other room to discuss my apparently hilarious antics and leave me to suffer in peace." In spite of her strained muscles and injuries, she threw a box of tissues in their direction. "Go on, get out of here. Now."
Derek glanced over his shoulder before he left.

She’d stuffed a pillow over her ears, to block out their laughter.

I hope you'll take a chance on HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME. It's available in print and e-book from www.thewildrosepress.com/caroline-clemmons-m-638.html

Thanks for letting me talk about my new release instead of a post about western history. 

Now, it's your turn. What sparked your love for the West?

6 comments:

  1. oops, sorry I was late getting this posted. Brain fog is my only excuse!

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  2. Caroline, beautiful post. Oh, I so wanted to live where cowboys were... nope. But, horses came first. That's how my love of the West began.

    Best of luck with your sweet release.

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  3. When you talk about pestering your Daddy so much about cowboys, it makes me feel less guilty about pestering you and my Daddy about horses!

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  4. Wow, Caroline! What a terrific post! "Home, Sweet Texas Home" is definitely on my TBR list!!! Roy Rogers was a true gentleman cowboy! Was there anything he couldn't do? So handsome, talented, and charming, yet still courtly and modest. Sigh : )

    I have often talked about being born into a western-loving family, but I also learned long ago that the American Old West is deeply embedded in my persona. It's not something that I have to think about--it's just always been there! I truly believe that I once was a Prairie Woman, living on the frontier with my own family in a very happy home. Sometimes, you just know things on a deeply instinctual basis!

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  5. I'm not sure what sparked my love of the west. I watched a lot of John Wayne movies with my Grandma, and one of my Dad's favorites (mine too!) is The Cheyenne Social Club. I guess something about men with cowboy hats and rifles fighting for justice appeals to me.

    LOL and I loved hearing about you nagging your dad about cowboys.

    I read Home Sweet Texas Home last week and loved it!

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  6. Caroline--well, I can't wait to read this one. It'll seem like I wrote it! Wait! That's because I lived your life, except for that foray into California. Thanks for the memories--Celia

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