While I don’t yet have a publication date set for my romance novel, The Cowboy and the Executive, I have been daydreaming about my male protagonist, Barton Young, quite a bit. He’s tall, tan, and I’m pretty sure he’d taste good.
My inspiration for Barton came from an encounter with a rodeo cowboy at a honky tonk in Amarillo, Texas, a few decades ago. We had but a single dance, but oh my! What a dance it was.
For many years I worked on writing a novel. I started at least ten years ago when, out of nowhere, this crazy title, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, popped into my head as I sat drinking a glass of wine in front of our home in Illinois. My initial thought was, “cool.” My second thought was, “I think I need more wine.”
And so it went for several years. The title would nag at me, but I had no idea what was supposed to happen in the book. Was it a romance? A mystery? What kind of mayhem might ensue? Perpetrated by whom? I’d sit down at my computer to write, manage a couple of sentences, and then go back for more wine. Still, that title wouldn’t leave me alone.
Then the main character’s name came to me. Something awful had happened in Paula Jean Arnett’s life and she was left with doubts about her husband and their marriage. With this revelation I was able to begin my story, and before too long I’d written 20,000 words. Cool, right?
Wrong. My characters stalled out at a dinner party. They wouldn’t shut up and I was petrified by the thought of throwing away a large chunk of the words I’d written. So I put the story aside and let it flit around the corners of my mind.
It kept flitting around, occasionally getting me to pull out my computer in an attempt to move the story along. I finally deleted the whole dinner party scene after realizing I could store it in another file for future use. Thank goodness for computers and word processing software.
After Studly Doright and I moved to Havana, Florida, I had a burst of new interest in finishing Mayhem, but still couldn’t quite make the commitment to go all in. I began writing this blog and gained some confidence in my own skills. I found a generous audience in my readers and found similar stories to mine. There are many would-be authors out there.
Then in the spring of 2020, just before COVID-19 shut stuff down, I took an Ollie course on writing at Florida State. While we didn’t get to complete the course, the instructor gave me a figurative kick in the pants, and within a few months Mayhem was truly out of my head and onto the published page.
Between the time I completed Mayhem and the time it was ready to be published I became restless. I wondered if I could write another book—something short and sweet and fun. Lo and behold, I did.
As I type this, my romance, The Cowboy and the Executive, is in the hands of Rachel Carrera, the lovely woman who guided me through editing and publishing Mayhem and designed the cover. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with for Cowboy.
My copy of Manhandled by E. L. Scobie arrived in the mail on Saturday afternoon. Studly brought the mail in, and I didn’t see the book until Sunday.
Immediately I set about reading this salacious looking novel that was published in 1963, a Midwood Book, by Tower Publications in New York City.
Having read my share of romance novels over the years I imagined this particular book would be tame in comparison to the bodice rippers I’d devoured in my twenties and thirties. I was both right and wrong.
This novel is hardly tame; however, the sex scenes aren’t titillating at all. With one really sweet exception, they’re just sad and tawdry. The front and back covers had more campy sexual appeal than the entire contents of the book combined.
I tried googling Scobie, with no luck, and I’m certain the author used a pen name. This seems to be his/her only published work, but it was, indeed, published which makes me think the author might have been trying a different genre. I’ll give the author this much—he/she wrote lyrically about the beauty of the area in which the book is set.
The book was disappointing. It didn’t make me want to lure Studly Doright to my boudoir for a night of passion, which had been on my mind. Instead, it inspired me to daydream about fishing in a cold mountain stream. And I dislike fishing. Go figure.
Forty-one years ago Studly Doright and I exchanged wedding vows in a small Baptist church in Dumas, Texas. We were young, dumb, and totally in love. We were also poor, a fact I didn't fully comprehend until I began counting the funds we had remaining after spending a quick honeymoon in the dubious luxury of the Camelot Inn in Amarillo, Texas.
We'd gotten married on July 30, 1976, and I remember turning to Studly on our 45 mile drive back to Dumas, Texas, and the rental home we'd signed a six month lease agreement on and saying, "This can't be right. We only have a hundred dollars left and you won't get paid again until the 15th."
Thus began my understanding that my life had changed forever. No longer was I under the financial protection of my mom and dad. I was now a partner in a brand new relationship that extended beyond romance and into the arena of money. I was woefully unprepared for this new reality.
Thankfully, Studly was barely more prepared than I had been. Did I mention how dumb we were? The difference between the two of us was that he never doubted his ability to provide. I worried, but he never did.
Somehow, we always managed to scrape enough money together to pay the rent and buy groceries.
Nowadays, the money isn't as tight. I still worry, though. Studly still doesn't. I guess that's the whole opposites attract theory in action. We've made it this far and that's no small feat. I think we'll shoot for at least another twenty years.