Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Roughneck Heroes

New release--Roughneck Cowboy *Men of the West* (Feb 2011) by Marin Thomas

Blood Is Thicker Than Oil
When his mom passed, roughneck Travis Cartwright thought he’d lost the only family he and his daughter Charlie had. That is until he discovers an estranged father and siblings living just a few hours away. They might be strangers, but they’re blood; and Travis needs to protect Charlie should tragedy strike at his dangerous job.

Dominick Cartwright offers his son more than peace of mind. He gives Travis a new job, a place to live, and a side project--to convince Dominick’s stubborn neighbor, Sara Sanders, to sell her ranch. Travis is confident he can smooth talk the plain-Jane teacher into selling quickly; but there’s more to Sara than meets the eye. Soon Travis loses sight of his mission…and his heart.

As their relationship grows, they uncover painful family secrets, and Dominick’s real motives. Then, the sparks fly!

Romantic Times Magazine ★★★★
The question in this romantic family tale that is both witty and realistic is whether the couple can overcome the shadows of their parents’ mistakes to find their own happiness.—Pat Cooper

Why a Roughneck for a contemporary romance hero? These rough and tumble men have always fascinated me. These guys don't flinch when hot oil splatters their hard-hats or drips down the back of their necks. Their duties on the "rig" consist of pulling cables, chains and thongs around the platform for eight to twelve hours per shift. They work in terrible weather conditions on rigs in the middle of the ocean or rigs in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma. They're risk-takers by nature and genuinely fearless individuals. While researching material for my story I learned some fascinating facts about Oklahoma.

The setting for Roughneck Cowboy is outside Tulsa in the fictional town of Tulapoint, OK. The oil history of this state dates back to 1859 when oil seeps, known to Indians as "Medicine springs" were discovered in Indian Territory. The first unintentional oil find was made near Chelsea, OK in 1889 and it produced one half barrel per day. In 1897 The Nellie Johnstone #1, the first commercial well drilled in OK hit pay dirt in the Bartlesville Dewey Field in Washington County. Tulsa changed from a small frontier town to a boomtown.

The discovery of oil in 1901 at Red Fork, a small community southwest of Tulsa on the opposite side of the Arkansas River brought in wildcatters and investors. In 1901, an official survey was done and streets lay out and neighborhoods were established in Tulsa on the opposite side of the river from the drilling sites. In 1905 the Glenn pool oil field was discovered. The strike created such a large supply of oil Tulsans were forced to build storage tanks for the excess oil and later pipelines. Tulsa soon became a leader in the growing petroleum industry, resulting in many oil companies choosing Tulsa for their home base. In 1906 Oklahoma Natural gas Company was formed. In 1907 Oklahoma and the Indian territories became the State of Oklahoma. Also in 1907 Oklahoma becomes the largest oil producer, with Tulsa claiming the title of "Oil Capitol of the World." Below is a picture of an oil-producing well that sat out front of the Oklahoma City capitol building in 1939.

A second oil boom hit Oklahoma between the years of 1925-1930. The population rose over 72,000 and many of the new residents came from Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. Wealthy oilmen Waite Phillips, William Kelly and J. Paul Getty built their mansions and modern headquarters in the state. Another community that flourished in Tulsa was greenwood. It was the largest and wealthiest of Oklahoma's African American communities and was known as "Black Wall Street." The neighborhood was a hotbed of jazz, and blues music in the 1920's. The area over 600 businesses and 36 square blocks with a population of 15,000 African Americans. "Black Wall Street" is now also sadly remembered as a "Black" mark in the state's history. On June 1, 1921 one of America's most affluent all-black communities was bombed from the air and burned to the ground by mobs of envious whites. It took fewer than 12 hours to destroy the model community. Over 3,000 African Americans died, over 600 businesses were lost: 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores, 2 movie theaters, a hospital, a bank, a post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half dozen private airplanes, and even a bus system.

Like a lot of western states, Oklahoma's history is filled with men and women who've risked their lives performing dangerous jobs in order to provide for their families. You'll find that pioneering spirit in Travis Cartwright, my hero for Roughneck Cowboy.

A Roughneck's Dream--Author Unknown

I was working in the oil fields one cold West Texas day,
And there on the rig floor a dying roughneck lay,
He said, "I am off to the Big Rig, the Big Rig I'm told
Where the crown is purest silver, and the kelly's made of gold
Where a diamond studded cat line hangs from a pearl gin pole,
And the the driller makes all the connections,
and you never come out of the hole.

I run a Wild West Trivia Contest each month in my author newsletter. Sign up for my newsletter at  and I'll send you my February Wild West Trivia Question. E-mail the correct answer to  and I'll enter your name into a drawing for an autographed copy of Roughneck Cowboy.

Roughneck Cowboy *Men of the West* (Feb 2011)
Harlequin American Romance
By Marin ThomasISBN 9780373753451
Available Now in stores & through online retailers!

Happy Reading!


  1. Good morning, Marin--Black Gold--I was raised with it--oil was our livelihood all my growing up years--but in Texas, not OK. Oh, and Texans think they're the oil capital of the world--or was until the oil bust in the 80's. I love the premise of this story--(p.s.--I edited your post to make the two links you had toward the bottom "hot." Hope you don't mind.)
    Congratulations on this release, and oh, I LOVE old photos.

  2. Celia--when we lived in Texas for seven years we learned real quick that Texans think they're the biggest, best at everything, lol! Hard to argue the point when you look around and everything is bigger and better in Texas, lol! And thanks for making the links on my post "hot".

  3. Marin, I feel stupid because this is the first I'd heard of the bombing of the black community. What a horrible tragedy. I did enjoy your post and learned other new things as well. I'll go sign up for your newsletter now.

  4. Marin,

    I'd never heard of the terrible tragedy in the community of Greenwood in Oklahoma. Thanks for relating that history.

    I always enjoy reading your newsletters. :-) I'm reading Roughneck Cowboy right now and loving it. I can hardly wait to find out how the soft spoken hunky guy's story turns out. :-)

  5. Hi Jeanmarie and Caroline

    Yes, the Black Wall Street story is a sad one in our history. I ran across several articles accusing the media of a coverup and of the incident being downplayed in Oklahoma history books. Thanks for the kind words about Roughneck, Jeanmarie!

  6. Hi Marin,
    Sorry I'm late to the party! Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your post. I'm a lifelong "Okie" and my dad worked in the oil fields for over 40 years as a chemical engineer. I went with him countless times out to those rigs--always loved it. I grew up in Seminole which was an oil boom town, and full of some of the best stories of the day that you would ever hear! Our neighbors on either side of us were both old women whose husbands had been prominent during the 'boom' days. Great pictures you had with your blog! When I was in school, we never learned anything about Greenwood--never knew about it until I was out of school and in college. Of course, in those days, desegregation was going on everywhere and even if the teachers had known about Greenwood they wouldn't have talked about it for fear of causing unrest. Are you from Oklahoma? Thanks for a wonderful post. Your book looks great--I'm so glad I saw this post because now I must run out and buy the book!

  7. Hi Cheryl

    Thanks for posting a comment--how neat that you're an Okie! Greenwood was indeed sad and it along with other "events" during that time in our history are kept quiet and often passed over. Thanks for picking up a copy of Roughneck--hope you enjoy it!


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