March Round Robin: Research

Book shelfThis month we are discussing research as our Round Robin topic. When you’ve finished my post, please check out the other members listed at the bottom.

CowgirlDreams Front CoverBefore I began writing my novels based on my rodeo-cowgirl grandmother, I made a trip to Montana. I found the old homestead house my grandparents lived in when they were first married, I visited museums, libraries, and newspaper archives, and gathered anecdotes from family members and friends.

Grandma had left a scrapbook filled with ranch and rodeo-related clippings, pictures, etc., and she had written a couple of short pieces: one about all the horses she’d owned and one a short-story about moving to Montana from Idaho as a child and then meeting her future cowboy husband.

Dream Cover FinalI also had a couple of journals she had written from the 1940s. While these did not play into my novels, they were fascinating and I got a taste for her spare notations (6 eggs today, weather 78 and sunny, etc.) which I tried to emulate in the journal entries Nettie writes in Follow the Dream.

And, of course I read all the books written about rodeo cowgirls I could find.

Dare Cover FinalAs I wrote I ran into questions that I would then search the internet or try to find experts in the field to provide answers. For example I wanted authentic details for railroad travel in the 1940s for Nettie’s trip to Madison Square Garden in New York for Dare to Dream.

So, the majority of my research was done before I began writing, but I also did more as I went along. Each project is different.

Please check out how my fellow “Rounders” do their research:

Margaret Fieland http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Skye Taylor  http://www.skye-writer.com/
Rachael Kosnski http://rachaelkosinki.weebly.com
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Helena Fairfax  http://helenafairfax.com/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Kay Sisk http://kaysisk.blogspot.com
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Lynn Crain  http://www.awriterinvienna.blogspot.com
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/

Western Roundup Giveaway Hop

Western Roundup Giveaway Hop_2013_smWelcome to the third annual Western Roundup Giveaway Hop, running July 19-31st. After you check out my blog post, please go to Books and Benches  to find out who else is giving away awesome books and visit their blogs as well!

At the end of this of this Roundup, I will draw a name from my commenters (please include your e-mail address!) and the winner will receive your choice of one of my “Dreams” novels: Cowgirl Dreams,  Follow the Dream or Dare to Dream.

3 book covers

Cowgirl Dreams: Defying family and social pressure, Nettie Brady bucks 1920s convention with her dream of becoming a rodeo star. That means competing with men, and cowgirls who ride the rodeo circuit are considered “loose women.” Addicted to the thrill of pitting her strength and wits against a half-ton steer in a rodeo, Nettie exchanges skirts for pants, rides with her brothers on their Montana ranch, and competes in neighborhood rodeos.

Broken bones, killer influenza, flash floods, and family hardship team up to keep Nettie from her dreams. Then she meets a young neighbor cowboy who rides broncs and raises rodeo stock. Will this be Nettie’s ticket to freedom and happiness? Will her rodeo dreams come true? Based on the life of the author’s grandmother, a real Montana cowgirl.

Follow the Dream continues with the rodeo and ranching dream, but as the terrible drought of the “dirty thirties” progressed, Nettie and Jake (based on my grandparents) moved more than 20 times and finallytrailed their herd of horses 400 miles from Cut Bank, Montana to Salmon, Idaho to find grass.

 Dare to Dream travels on to the 1940s when Nettie, Jake, and Neil are settled on a ranch near Ingomar, Montana. The town was established in 1908 as a station stop on the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. Although the land around Ingomar attracted numerous homesteaders during the decade following the railroad’s completion, the region proved to be far too arid and inhospitable for intensive agricultural use, and the town declined. The railroad through the area was abandoned in 1980, and only a handful of people remain in Ingomar today.

Synopsis: Nettie has recovered from the loss of her friend Marie Gibson in a freak rodeo accident and is ready to ride again. To her dismay, the male-dominated Rodeo Association of America enforces its rule barring women from riding rough stock and denies her the chance to ride. Her fury at the discrimination can’t change things for women—yet.

The “Dreams” series is available from the author’s website http://www.heidimthomas.com, on Amazon, and from the publisher, Globe-Pequot/Twodot Press http://www.globepequot.com/dare_to_dream-9780762797004.

 Heidi M. Thomas grew up on a ranch in eastern Montana, writing stories and riding horses. From one small piece of information about her grandmother has come three novels and one soon-to-be-released non-fiction book about old-time rodeo cowgirls, Cowgirl Up! Heidi’s first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, won an EPIC award and the sequel, Follow the Dream won the WILLA Literary Award. She is a freelance editor, teaches community classes in memoir and beginning fiction writing in north-central Arizona where she also enjoys hiking the Granite Dells.

Please visit these blogs:


Does Nettie Dare to Dream?

Dare Cover Final“Ready or not, rodeo world, I’m back. Nettie Moser inhaled the smell of rodeo—dust, animal sweat, manure—the scent of pure happiness. She strode to the arena fence near the chutes and climbed onto the top rail to watch the color guard parade the flag. A pretty teenaged cowgirl, long blonde curls bouncing under a white hat, led a group of equally lovely, brightly-clad ladies through their paces. The rodeo queen and her court.

Nettie shook her head. Some like the pomp and falderal, but I’ll take a rangy steer any day. She looked around at the crowd. Wonder where the other women riders are. She hopped down from her perch and headed for the registration booth where Jake already waited in line. “Here I am, ready to ride.”

It had been a long five years since her dear friend Marie Gibson was killed when her bronc collided with the pickup man’s horse. That accident had shattered Nettie’s rodeo dream but she finally overcame her fear with the help of her mentor’s unforgettable advice: Live your life, follow your dream.

“And I’m glad.” Jake pulled her into the circle of one arm. “But did you get a look at those steers, little gal? They look pretty big.” He winked at her.

Nettie took a couple of exaggerated, swaggering steps. “Never met a steer who could get the best of me.” She laughed out loud. It felt so good to be here in Cheyenne. The snorts and squeals and bawls of the rough stock in the pens, the shouts and cheers and curses of the cowboys were music to her ears. Anticipation skittering inside, she could almost feel the steer’s rough hide through her denims. She stuffed her leather gloves into her back pocket and leaned over to check pull the straps on her spurs tighter. She couldn’t wait to be on the back of a bucking, writhing animal, pitting her wiry102 pounds against its half-ton of muscle and bone.

Grandma on Horse

Montana cowgirl Nettie Brady Moser has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles on the journey toward her dream of being a professional rodeo rider. In the 1920s she struggled against her family’s expectations and social prejudice against rodeo cowgirls. During the Great Depression, marrying Jake Moser and then raising their son took priority over rodeos. And then she was devastated by the death of her friend and mentor in a rodeo accident.

In the spring of 1941, Nettie, now age 36, is regaining her heart and spirit, and she is determined to ride again at an event in Cheyenne, Wyoming. To her dismay, the male-dominated Rodeo Association of America enforces its rule barring women from riding rough stock and denies her the chance to ride. Her fury at the discrimination can’t change things for women—yet.

Based on the life of my grandmother, who rode rough stock in Montana in the 1920s, this  rodeo saga parallels the evolution of women’s rodeo from the golden years of the 1920s, producing many world champion riders, and shows its decline, beginning in the 1930s and ending with World War II in 1941.

Published in: on June 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dare to Dream Blog Tour, Week Two

Dare Cover FinalBack by popular demand! I had so many kind and supportive people offer to host my Dare to Dream blog tour that I’m extending it to a second week. I will be drawing names from comments for giveaways, from books to coffee mugs to cowgirl and dreams-related items.

Here’s my itinerary for this week:

May 19: Linda Weaver Clark, http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com/ Author interview. Book giveaway–your choice of Cowgirl Dreams, Follow the Dream or Dare to Dream.

May 20: Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Sharing With Writers http://sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com/2014/05/how-family-history-can-be-used-in.html “How Family History Can be Used in Fiction.”

May 21: C.M. Mayo’s Madam Mayo http://madammayo.blogspot.com/ “A Roundup of 5 Things to Know About Old-Time Rodeo Cowgirls”

May 22: Beverly Bateman’s Five Secrets, http://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/Five secrets about me and my “Cowgirl Dreams” trilogy

May 23: M.K. McClintock http://www.booksandbenches.com/  “A Sense of Place”

May 24: Shanna Hatfield http://shannahatfield.com/ An interview with Nettie Moser

Cover Reveal

Many of you have been waiting way too long for the third book in my “Dream” series. Well, you don’t have to wait much longer! Dare to Dream is scheduled for release May 6.

Dare Cover FinalSynopsis: Montana cowgirl Nettie Brady Moser has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles on the journey toward her dream of being a professional rodeo rider. In the 1920s she struggled against her family’s expectations and social prejudice against rodeo cowgirls. During the Great Depression, marrying Jake Moser and then raising their son took priority over rodeos. And then she was devastated by the death of her friend and mentor in a rodeo accident.

In the spring of 1941, Nettie, now age 36, is regaining her heart and spirit, and she is determined to ride again at an event in Cheyenne, Wyoming. To her dismay, the male-dominated Rodeo Association of America enforces its rule barring women from riding rough stock and denies her the chance to ride. Her fury at the discrimination can’t change things for women—yet.

Based on the life of the author’s grandmother, who rode rough stock in Montana in the 1920s, this sweeping rodeo saga parallels the evolution of women’s rodeo from the golden years of the 1920s, producing many world champion riders, and shows its decline, beginning in the 1930s and ending with World War II in 1941.

Advance reader comments: Finding our place and following our hearts is the moving theme of Dare to Dream, a finely-tuned finish to Heidi Thomas’s trilogy inspired by the life of her grandmother, an early rodeo-rider. With crisp dialogue and singular scenes we’re not only invited into the middle of a western experience of rough stock, riders and generations of ranch tradition, but we’re deftly taken into a family drama. This family story takes place beginning in 1941 but it could be happening to families anywhere – and is. Nettie, Jake and Neil struggle to find their place and discover what we all must: life is filled with sorrow and joy: faith, family and friends see us through and give meaning to it all. Nettie,  or as Jake calls her, “Little Gal” will stay in your heart and make you want to re-read the first books just to keep her close. A very satisfying read.—Jane Kirkpatrick, a New York Times Bestselling author and WILLA Literary Award winner of A Flickering Light

~~~~~

 “Heidi Thomas’s latest novel, Dare to Dream, rings of truth. Here is the real West, ranching in the 1940s, women and rodeoing, the heart-rending affect of World War Two on the Montana homefront, and great characters who bring it all alive. I loved it.”—Irene Bennett Brown, author of Women of Paragon Springs series and the Celia Landrey mystery series

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 Nettie Moser is a strong woman who defies fear, bad luck, and male opposition to pursue her dream of being a champion steer rider. Set in the uncertain war-world of the early 1940s, Dare to Dream is a highly readable tale of a resourceful woman who faces life with courage and a daring heart.—Susan Wittig Albert, bestselling author of A Wilder Rose and the China Bayles mystery series

And more news!

CowgirlDreams Front CoverCowgirl Dreams and Follow the Dream will be re-released by my new publisher, Globe-Pequot/Twodot Press, at the same time, with a new look! You can pre-order Dare to Dream from my website, and you can still order original copies of Cowgirl Dreams and Follow the Dream at a discounted price.Dream Cover Final

Published in: on March 28, 2014 at 6:39 am  Comments (11)  
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Cowgirl Dreams Getting New Life

Dreams 1 5 X 2Today I sent the manuscript edits for Cowgirl Dreams back to my new publisher, Globe-Pequot/Twodot Press. My first novel, along with my second in the “Dare to Dream” series, Follow the Dream, and my new novel, Dare to Dream will all be released on May 6, 2014. Finally!–for all of you who have been patiently waiting!

While there were not a lot of changes to be made, this process just points up how important it is to for writers have your work edited! Even though this book has been through an editing process before it was first published in 2008, and even though I am a freelance editor, there were still things that were missed.

So…even editors need editing!

We don’t have a cover design yet, but stay tuned. I will keep you posted on the developments as they progress toward giving Cowgirl Dreams and Follow the Dream new life!

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