Monday, May 14, 2012

Why does Linda McMaken write Contempory Western Romance?

So Linda, why Westerns?
Riding Off Into the Sunset
To be asked why I write westerns (contemporary westerns) is like someone asking me why I breath. To me there isn't much that can compare to the American West. It is the one true vision of absolute freedom in human history. Wide open spaces, self-reliance, determination, no fences - that is my imagined west.
While it wasn't all riding a horse, roping cattle and singing around the campfire, it was and is an enticing lifestyle for me. Although I don't live on a ranch (I have a small farm), I enjoy the smell of hay being cut, the sound of coyotes off in the distance, the sound of rain on the tin roof of a barn, and even feeding the critters on a sub-zero January morning.
Westerns bring out romance in all its best forms. They give us the tough hero with a gentle soul, a heroine that is strong and still feminine, and solid values. The epitomize small town America with neighbors and friends you can count on, and the ingenuity to make things out of nothing.
My heart will always be in the west. Born from hours listening to my mom read from the novels of Zane Grey, Louis L'amour, and Max Brand. I may never have that ranch in the Rockies, but my characters let me spend a lot of time there with them, and as long as they keep inviting me, I'll keep hanging out on the ranch with them.
Excerpt: "Please, call me Mike." The ranch foreman smiled, starting the engine. Making a hard u-turn, the truck slid across the pavement.
Abby fastened her seatbelt and grabbed the handle above the window.
The truck fishtailed across the ice, but Mike didn’t slow down. "I hope you don't plan on going shopping very often." He turned the wipers on. They screeched painfully across the glass. "It's a fair piece to the nearest store. We plan far in advance for shopping trips, so you'll want to keep a list for pantry purchases."
They pulled off the main road onto a gravel road. He made several more turns onto smaller and smaller gravel roads, until they reached a rutted, one-lane dirt road. Suddenly the dirt road gave way to a smooth blacktop drive that wound around snow-covered banks, atop which a red snow fence ran as far as the eye could see.
"I think I'm going to have to drop breadcrumbs to find my way in and out of here." Abby couldn't remember ever having been so far from civilization. "Tell me, do you ever get snowed in back here?" As far as she could see in every direction was nothing, absolutely nothing, except hills, snow fence, trees, snow, and huge mountains.
"Occasionally we've been snowed in for a few days. We've got snowmobiles and we can get out for supplies with them."
A lump formed in her throat that refused to be swallowed.
"We've also got the Cat and the Deere with plows and shovels."
Abby had no clue what he was talking about, but as long as those things could get her out of this desolate wilderness, she liked them.
"Nobody's lived at the cottage for awhile. I had the boys go in, knock down the spider webs, and make sure no snakes or anything was living inside, but they don't always get everything. You aren't afraid of spiders and such, are you?"
The lump on her head began to ache. Mike's expression was kind, but odds were she was about to face those things, afraid or not. "I can't say I care too much for them."
"Well, snakes are hibernating this time of year. But they can move about when you start disturbing them. I'll have the boys leave you a hoe just to be safe." The truck slid across the blacktop road. Mike chuckled. "That was fun."
Abby pushed a hand against the dashboard, her mouth becoming suddenly dry. "A hoe? What do I need a hoe for?"
"For hacking the snakes' heads off, honey." Mike was matter-of-fact.
"Hack its head off?" The ache in her head turned to throbbing and was joined by a rumbling nausea deep in her stomach. "Couldn't I just call you or one of the men to come and--" she shuddered-- "hack the thing?"
"Sure, but we're usually out in the field or up at one of the cattle barns. It could be awhile before one of us could get it for you. By then it could disappear under the floor only to pop back out in the middle of the night and snuggle up with you in bed."
"They're cold-blooded, you know, and they like to find a warm spot to sleep. So it would be best if you just hack them when you see them."
Her head swam. Her vision turned gray and began sliding into black. She had gone from a bad dream to a horrific nightmare. Abby pinched her thigh, wincing at the pain. Awake. She was awake. The nightmare was real.
Future Releases by Linda McMaken at Desert Breeze Publishing
The Three Baers Book Two: Baer Necessities - October 2012 T
he Three Baers Book Three: Baer Facts - February 2013


  1. LOL!

    "just hack them when you see them." That's a great line!

  2. We were SO separated at birth! A favorite memory is my sick 3-year-old daughter sacked out on Daddy's chest as he read her Louis L'Amour. And hoes for snakes? Our grandmother could fillet a snake quicker than a pickerel! It's an acquired art, I guess, but we all seem to have it.

    Great post for the wild west.

  3. Your story sounds great. Love the snake line, too. We live in rattle snake country and to hear that rattle is spine tingling. You are right - you can't deny a sexy cowboy can charm a girl's heart.

    Best of luck with lots of sales.

  4. Thanks Ladies! I love the west, snakes and all. On my little farm we get garter snakes, and I try to just flung them back into the woods behind our house. But sometimes when they get next to the house or garden, me and the hoe can be a lethal combo! Oh, Sadie/Sophie you know we were! An yeap, G-Ma was the queen of the garden and all it's critters! Thanks, Patty! And Thanks Paisley - I do love a man in chaps! LOL

  5. Love the excerpt. I've hacked one with a hoe myself. Couldn't let it stay in the barn with my horses!

  6. Linda--I wish I'd said all that you did. You expressed the desire to write Westerns exactly right. I see that your's are contemporary, while mine are historical. Either way, I'll read anything related. I'm reading a trilogy now by Linda Lael Miller, Contemporary Westerns. I love every word.
    Your novel sounds wonderful, and from one Desert Breeze to another one, congratulations! Hope you sell tons of copies.

  7. LOL, Oh Stephenia I understand if it's on my territory, that little bugger is fair game, especially if it's near my critters! Thank you Celia! What a wonderful compliment and if it sells enough copies I just might get that ranch! That would be a lot of copies! LOL

  8. Thanks for stopping by, Linda. Great fun! Looking forward to seeing the rest of your series, too. If you can make rattlesnakes funny, can't wait to see what else you do!

  9. Thank you so much Lynn for hosting me. It's been great fun, particularly reading so many other authors posts. The west does inspire some great stories!