Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cowboys, Cattle, and Oilwells

For over a hundred years, the discovery of oil led millions of American families just like mine to follow and work in the oilfields. It was a way of passage from rural farm life to urban industrial society. The main lure was economic opportunity. Texans, as well as citizens from other states, faced the hazards and challenges of a new life because they saw the promise of a better one for themselves and for their children.

When I began writing The Cameron Sisters series, the hero in the first book, Dalton King became a wildcatter, a man with a dream and vision of striking oil (Texas Promise-Book I-The Cameron Sisters). He'd heard of Spindletop at Beaumont, Texas, and that it ushered in the modern era of drilling. He left the Texas Rangers, and on ranch land he owned southeast of Austin, he took a chance and drilled.

Dalton King married Jo Cameron, and together they founded an empire.

Dalton's foreman was savvy Sam Deleon, a loner wandering the West, looking for work. I was so intrigued with his character I wrote Texas True, about Jo's younger sister, True Cameron. She fell in love with Sam, and wow, they have quite a story! (Texas True-Book II-The Cameron Sisters).  Sam proved to be less than honest with his new bride, but through many trials and tribulations, they do find their HEA.

I grew up on the South Plains of Texas in a small oil and cotton town just west of Lubbock. My daddy worked for an oil company, one that began with the name Standard Oil, and through numerous mergers eventually became EXXON. The strange thing is, though, he was a carpenter and that's what he did for the company. He and a crew went ahead of a "wildcat" and build "doghouses," platforms, fences, and eventually camp houses. The camp houses were identical--small but snug and much better than the tent houses families lived in.

The drive between the town we lived in and Lubbock was about twenty miles. My family--Daddy, Mother, my two sisters, and I sometimes went to Lubbock for various reasons. We'd drive back home at night and in the distance, I could see oil rigs lit up like Christmas trees. I asked Daddy, "What are those?" He said, those are wildcats. I loved that name and title, and asked him questions.

The Cameron Sisters series is being reissued with Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery as ebooks once again, and for the first time--in print. I am very happy with these books and the lovely new covers.

Texas Promise:
After two years, Jo Cameron King’s life as a widow abruptly ends when her husband returns home to Austin. Unable to understand her angry and bitter husband, she accepts a call to travel to the New Mexico Territory to meet her dying birth father whom she knows nothing about. Her plan to escape her husband goes awry when he demands to travel with her.

Dalton King, believing lies his Texas Ranger partner tells him about Jo, seethes with hatred toward his wife. Now he must protect Jo from his partner’s twisted mind, while sorting out the truth. Jo’s bravery and loyalty convince him she’s innocent. But can they regain the love and respect they once shared?
At a Governor's Ball in Austin, Texas, True Lee Cameron meets suave Sam Deleon. Before the night is out, she transforms from the coddled and protected younger sister to a woman in love. Reality crashes down when she accidentally learns he has deceived her. Daring to disobey him, she follows Sam to the oilfields and determines to live wherever he does. Has she made a mistake? Will she give up and return home where she can make her own rules?

When Sam Deleon meets the gorgeous young woman his mother has chosen for him, he fears falling in love, because he knows nothing about love. In order to carry out his mother’s plan, he marries True and moves her to his mother's home, intending to visit enough to set the plan in motion. When True fails to obey him, he faces the possibility of losing her, thereby losing his inheritance and the family property.

Sam and True attempt a reconciliation and compromise. Together, they now face a nemesis, someone who determines to thwart every action they take, endangering not only their lives, but also those whom they love.

These books are reissued by
Thank you, Celia


  1. Interesting post, Celia, like usual. I didn't really think about the rigs being lit. I bet it would appear like lit Christmas trees in the distance.

    I'm curious: Why did they call the rigs Wildcats? How did that name stick?

  2. 84 gnGreat post, Celia. And I love these new covers for both books. I've read these stories and can highly recommend both to readers. You tell these Texas stories so well because you know the area and the people who live there and make it real to those who read.

  3. Hi, Karen--a lone rig was a wildcat. A group of them were not called that. If an oil co. want to test their theory of available oil in an area, they drill one well--a wildcat, a loner, a test. Like in Texas Promise--Dalton and his wife Jo come upon a wildcat operation on their way to Amarillo by horseback.
    And they do look like Christmas trees. On the South Plains and the Panhandle of Texas, the land is so flat you can see farther than anywhere else. And far from the highway, we could see wildcats dotted here and there. Very pretty.

  4. Linda--thanks for the compliments! And thank you for reading these stories.
    Miss Mae did these covers, and I love them. I know they'll looke great in print! My first one should come in the mail very soon--I cannot wait.

  5. What a great story about your heritage and our country's history. Your dad sounds like a solid guy - hard work and yet with a tender side for his family.

    We don't have anything like the wildcat rigs in our area, but when I was a child and more things were shipped by sea in my area, you could see the lights of ships and sea buoys on the horizon most of the nights. I would sit on my porch and dream of being in a ship bound for an exotic locale.

    Enjoyed the post. Your covers for these Texas books are very nice.

  6. These are both great stories and to write about your Would you believe that my grandfather O'Donnell worked for Standard Oil in Scotland....We both have that family history...
    Great post.. I am putting these books on my tbr list...

  7. Thanks, Maggie. Yes, my dad was one of the good guys. Always working, always faithful. He never sat down much--just at the table.Patience of Job...with a wife and three girls in the house--he was the best we could have had.
    The ship masts sound romantic.

  8. Kathleen--Standard Oil in Scotland? I never knew.And now we have a tie and a kinship we didn't know about--thanks for telling me!

  9. Terrific post, Celia. You live in such a cool area. I do live on the coast where there are a number of oil rigs out in the channel. They all have girl names that begin with G and are somewhat controversial as you can imagine. But they look gorgeous lit up at night. I would love to visit one. There is a rigging on most of them shaped like and called the Christmas tree.

    Thanks for a wonderful informative post.

  10. Ceiia, I love hearing stories from your childhood and about your dad. What awonderful man.
    The Cameron sisters sounds like a super series. I am a little confused though. Is the Texas True series related to the Cameron Sisters series then? I want them!

  11. Celia, the cover for TEXAS PROMISE is your prettiest cover yet. I simply love it! The one for TEXAS TRUE is also lovely, but a second to TEXAS PROMISE. I think it is my favorite cover of all time. Can you tell I love windmills, rainbows, and bluebonnets? You didn't say in what town near Lubbock your family lived.

  12. Tanya--well, now I live in the Texas Hill Country in San Marcos. We've been here 38 years. I'm glad you liked the post, and that you understand the Christmas tree look of an oil rig lit up at night.

  13. Sarah--Texas True is Book II of the series called The Cameron Sisters. True Cameron is the baby of the family.
    Jo Cameron is six years older than True, and her story is Texas Promise, Book I, in the Cameron Sisters Series.

    I took my rights back from Desert Breeze who had published these two books as ebooks. There was a lot of changing of the rules concerning prints, and I realized I might wait years before I'd get those in print. So, I broke the contract and gave them to Rebecca so I could get prints right away.
    Sorry I had to do that--but I had to have these in print.
    I do hope you read them--if you start looking around for something to read!

  14. Caroline--we lived in Levelland. You know those towns out there. Jim went to Texas Tech for two degrees, and I went for one--even though I didn't begin until I was 27 and had two small children at home. Not the easy way to attend college.
    I do appreciate your compliments on the covers, and yes, I, too, prefer the Texas Promise cover.
    Miss Mae did those, and for Texas True, she gave me what I asked for, because at the end, there's a gazebo in the story.

  15. Wonderful post, Celia. I, too, love your covers, and I'd love to see those Christmas trees on the plains.

  16. Thanks, Lyn. They're something in the past, I think. The oilfields went bust in the 80's in Texas, but long before that the South Plains moved to cotton farming. It's rare to see one these days.

  17. Your books sound so interesting, Celia, and I enjoyed hearing about the oilfields and"wildcats". You know how much I love that scene in GIANT when Jett Rink strikes oil on his one rig. :) Actually, all those scenes with him on Little Reata trying to strike oil were wonderful. I'm really looking forward to reading both of your Cameron sister books very soon.

  18. Ashley--yes, I remember your inside knowledge of James Dean as Jett Rink. I, too, loved him and his character. Oil in Texas can conjure up a lot of emotions and stories. There have been numerous stories and movies and tv shows concerning that very thing.
    Thank you so much.

  19. I can see the reasoning as to why they called the rigs wildcats. It must have been exciting every time they discovered a new well. You must have had a very interesting childhood. Really a lot of interesting tales to put into your stories.


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