When I was eleven years old, for some reason I started watching a lot of western movies late at night with my mom. Soon, not only was I a big John Wayne fan, I was in love with Blue and Manolito on the TV show, High Chapperal. Oh, how I used to imagine myself out in Arizona, on that cactus strewn ranch, riding along side either one of my favorite guys! And of course, because I was a four-eyed book geek, that burgeoning love for westerns morphed naturally over into my first love – reading. On a trip to the library one day I discovered Zane Grey, one of the first popular western authors, and I was a goner. I read everything he wrote, I think, before moving on to become a history nut.
Now, what I couldn’t understand about Zane Grey’s books at the time, was that a lot of the words he used seemed to have some letters missing. I don’t know if this was standard for his books, or if somehow I had stumbled across a specially edited line of his popular westerns, but it made for some interesting reading for a naïve 11 year old.
Here's an example:
“D _ _ n it, Joe,” Black Jack Bishop said, “tie up that sh _ _-_ _ _ ed jack_ _ _.”
I spent a lotta lotta time trying to figure out what those left out letters spelled out. Finally I gave up and just skipped those words, piecing together the stories of cowboys and gunslingers, stagecoach robbers and prairie women done wrong. The next year I even tried my hand at writing a western myself. My heroes were named Billy John and Seth, and I’ll never forget the thrill I felt as I wrote the opening sentence:
“Somewhere in North Texas beside the Brazos River, Seth Davis swung down off his paint pony and dragged his hand through his tousled sun-bleached hair.”
In retrospect, that was the beginning of my desire to become a writer. I only wrote four chapters of that book—I still have it somewhere in a folder—but the love I felt for the two main characters has never waned. Maybe I’ll write it someday.
As I was thinking about this today, with westerns being one of our blog options for the week, I realized something very important--a way the memory of my love for all things western could help me in my writing! You see, as a romance author, the hardest parts (ahem) to write, for me, are usually the love scenes. So what if I stole a page from Mr. Zane Grey’s book? It might go a little something like this:
“Oh, Jack,” Lily said breathlessly as he slid his hand upward to touch her n _ _ _ _ _ _e. “I never dreamed you felt this way about me.”
Jack caressed the side of her neck with his lips, then groaned as she touched his throbbing m _ _ _ _ _. “You’re killing me, love,” he whispered.
Lily had never felt so powerful. She s_ _ _ked his _ _ _s and then lowered her mouth to his iron hard pe_ _.
Well, I think you get the idea. (Don't blush! I might have fooled ya, pardners. What dirty minds you folks have! You might be surprised at how easy it is to imply something slightly wicked with just with a few empty spaces! See the real words that go in the spaces at the end of this blog!)
Okay, in spite of my kidding around, those tall, tanned, cowboys with their lean, hard muscles and five o’clock shadows are still one of my personal three top hero-types in romances. The lineup?
1. Highlanders (of course!)
More on these bad boys in another blog, but for now I leave you with the mental image of John Wayne holding that newborn baby in “3 Godfathers”. Now there was a hero!
The answer to my Zane Grey romance scene:
“Oh, Jack,” Lily said breathlessly as he slid his hand upward to touch her necklace. “I never dreamed you felt this way about me.”
Jack caressed the side of her neck with his lips, then groaned as she touched his throbbing muscles. “You’re killing me, love,” he whispered.
Lily had never felt so powerful. She stroked his jaws and then lowered her mouth to his iron hard pecs.
And here's my LOLcat for you for the day--Enjoy and have a good one!