Monday, August 17, 2009

The Great Western Drive: All Kristie's Fault!

It all started with an e-mail. Many of you "know" Kristie from her blog, Ramblings On Romance. For those of you who don't - let me clue you in. Kristie tends to get carried away sometimes. She comes up with an idea that she's passionate about, and then she suckers ropes in unsuspecting readers. Her victims this time? Me and Sybil.

See, Kristie recently had a poll up on her blog asking readers to vote on their favorite romance sub genre. Westerns came in dead last. Well this thought horrified Kristie, so she e-mailed two of her western homegirls (uh, that would be me and Sybs) and said, "We need to devote a week to historical westerns!"

To which Sybil and I nodded our heads and said, "Yes, let's do it!" Only to wonder later what the hell we'd gotten ourselves into. What was born out of our flurry of e-mails? The Great Western Drive! A week-long celebration of historical western romances!

Some of you are probably wondering why westerns, so I thought I'd share a little bit of the reason why they are my favorite romance sub genre.

I had a brief, torrid flirtation with the romance genre when I was a teen, but ultimately abandoned it to return to my comfort zone of mystery/suspense. I didn't pick up on the genre again until around 1999, which was when I got well and truly hooked. This happened to be right around the time that "light and fluffy" started taking root in Regency historical romances. Now, I have nothing against light, fluffy and humorous. I like them every now and then. However, I don't want a steady diet of them. Ultimately they proved so popular, and were selling so well, that the market was soon overrun. Wendy quickly got burnt out. I was desperate for angst. I was desperate for "real" conflict.

Which is where westerns come in. I'll be blunt. I get "real" conflict in westerns. Real, meaty, life and death conflict. Generally speaking the western heroine has real problems to overcome. She doesn't care that the lemonade at Almack's sucks or that the Duke Of Slut is pursuing her. Oh no. The western heroine has to worry about keeping herself fed, clothed, safe in a lawless frontier, all while navigating the societal constraints placed on women at the time. Oh certainly, the western heroine had more "freedom" than her Regency counterparts, but she still was at the mercy of what society dictated as "proper."

Now I realize I'm not being fair here. Certainly Regency heroines can have "real" problems. And certainly there are "light and fluffy" westerns. I'm painting both genres with very broad strokes. But as long-time readers of this blog already know, I tend to be a very heroine-centric romance reader. Yeah, yeah - hunky heroes are great. Love me the hunks. But generally speaking, it's the heroine that makes me fall in love with a story. She's "The One." And the type of heroines I tend to like best? Are found in western romances.

So that's why the western. Great heroines, great, meaty conflict, and ultimately emotional stories that punch you in the gut. What can you expect out of The Great Western Drive? A week long, content-heavy, western love fest from three long-time bloggers who love to pimp good books. Sit back, relax, and let the fun begin!

YeeHaw!

(And be sure to bookmark both Ramblings On Romance and The Good The Bad The Unread. All three blogs are posting our own unique content, and each blog will be having our own contest drawings for a chance to win a highly anticipated historical western romance release during the event. Tee Hee "event." I love that!)

40 comments:

Julie said...

I am so excited about the great western drive! I love westerns and am always looking for new ones. Thanks!

Kristie (J) said...

ALL most excellent reasons to Read a Western.

Phyl said...

Would "highly anticipated release" include the name Jo Goodman?

Rosie said...

*bouncing in chair* Westerns! Westerns! Westerns!

JamiSings said...

As someone whom doesn't care for westerns, I feel like I have to put why.

1: I live in Southern California. Westerns are usually set in settings too familiar to me. I like things set in places I don't know much about. Familiarity breeds contempt and all that.

2: Cowboys stink. I mean literally stink.

3: While I'm sure it's not true of ALL of them, every single western I've read in the past the women are never virgins. They're usually widows, admittedly, but as I've told you before, I have a fondness for the virgin heroine. Even though she lost her's to a husband, somehow I just can't get into the book much if she's not a virgin.

I know, I'm weird. I have my reasons though. I suppose since XBL is now just down to two forums and neither of them general chat if anyone's curious by now you can e-mail me at jamisings@gmail.com - if you're not the kind to cringe and whine afterwards at least. Remember, you asked.

Anyway, that's why I don't like westerns.

Course I'm not that much on pure historicals either. I like them best when they're paranormal-historicals. Vampires, fae, ghosts - not so big on werewolves. Love me some Karen Marie Moning too. Only writer I've read who actually puts in a bit about where they went to the bathroom plus makes many of her characters five to ten pounds overweight, which as a fat girl makes me happy. Plus they're often short as well - another bonus since I'm only 5' 3".

Wendy said...

Julie: Well then, stick around!

Kristie: Of course I have excellent reasons. I mean, would you expect anything less? LOL

Phyl: My lips, they be sealed. My contest is going live on Friday - just to give you a heads up :)

Rosie: A whole blessed week of them. Seriously. I'm going to have more content going up on this blog than I've ever had before. I've never been a "blog every single day" type of person.

Jami: And that's why I like 'em. Westerns naturally feed into the themes of "redemption" and "second chances" which appeal to me as a reader. I like the idea that anybody, regardless of what has happened in their past, can start over.

And I got a couple of virgins lying around here somewhere - LOL. Recommendations start tomorrow - and there's definitely one virgin in that bunch.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi! We're really excited about this Great Western Drive on Petticoats & Pistols.

We're all going to try and stop in.

azteclady said...

Yeeeeeeeeeehawwww!

:grin:

Yes, yes yes!!!

*shivering with excitement*

Tracy Garrett said...

I'll echo Mary C's comment - we're so excited to see The Great Western Drive over at Petticoats and Pistols (dot) com. Thanks, Wendy and Kristie and Sybil!

Colleen M. said...

A friend of mine just sent me this link because I LOVE historical western romance as a reader and a writer. I'll be following you all week!

Colleen :)

Wendy said...

Hi Mary and Tracy! I love the P&P blog and read it every day.

Hi Colleen! Glad you found me (and subsequently Sybil and Kristie). What a nice friend you have - LOL

AL: Seriously. All Kristie's fault.

JenB said...

Mmmmmm...westerns. *slobber*

Can't wait. :)

azteclady said...

Wendy, when isn't it Kristie's fault?








*happy dancing for westerns*

Victoria Janssen said...

Somebody's going to talk about Megan Chance's FALL FROM GRACE, right? *bats eyes*

Wendy said...

Victoria: You know, I don't think I have that Megan Chance in the TBR. I do have The Way Home, and I will not disclose how long it's been there. It's shameful.

I have no clue what books the other two are going to talk about, but I would say Kristie is your best bet. She's my Old Skool Homegirl Yo. Sybil and I are baby romance readers in comparison.

JenB: First Harlequin recommendations, now westerns. Isn't your wallet already cursing my existence?

Tanya Hanson said...

Thanks for the great blog! A hottie cowboy peeking beneath the brim of a black Stetson does it for me every time, and I am a proud Western author. In fact, I just sold another last week.

Keep up the good work! Please join us fillies over at Petticoats and Pistols...the best site ever for all things Western.

Hugs to you all,
~Tanya

~Tanya Hanson
www.tanyahanson.com
www.petticoatsandpistols.com

Lusty Reader said...

I'm excited for the opposite reason than most people...because Western's aren't my cup of tea. Hmm maybe "not my steer to rope" might be better? ok im stopping now.

im excited to see what you have to say because i never read Westerns, didn't like the 2 or 3 I read back in the beginning of my romance-novel-reading days in the 90s and gave them up. [one that sitcks out most is Garwood's Prince Charming.

so, convince me! convert me! i await your words of wisdom.

JamiSings said...

I did promise if you made a list of fiction books for me to give to our librarian that I'd read anything you'd recomend. (Have to warn you though if you recomend erotica, I won't read anything M/M - not due to homophobia but I really cannot STAND submissive males - which means I won't read anything where a man is submissive to a woman either. I like my men on the dominate without being abusive power hungry butthead types side. And no anal!)

But other then that I'll give any book you recomend for me a fair chance and not go in all prejudgemental. Honest.

As for second chances - gee, you don't have to have slept around to need a second chance and redemtion. I can think of some people whom made my life in school a living hell cause of my weight and my musical tastes who could apply for that 2nd chance/redemption thing too. LOL

Don't mind me, I'm on a tear this morning.

cheryl c said...

How exciting! I absolutely love historical westerns and sexy cowboys! Yeehaw!!! ;-)

sybil said...

LOLOLOL Jami I live in Texas and hate all things texan.

They call it fiction for a reason. I would never date a cowboy but I do so lurve me a western *g*.

as wendy said... stick around....

sybil said...

For anyone trying to get on TGTBTU right now... our host dotster is hard at work trying to fix their issues

we are running SUPERASSSLOW

just saying ::headdesk::
/hijack

Wendy said...

Tanya: Yippeeeee Tanya! We love to hear about authors selling westerns. Excellent news!

Lusty: And I swear to you that none of my recommendations will feature a hero named Colt - LOL. Sorry folks. Little private joke leftover from the RWA conference......

Cheryl: And also a lot of work! LOL I spent most of last week getting posts together for this week. So I'm glad to see people are excited.

Jami: It's a Monday. Everybody is allowed to be on a tear on a Monday. I'm still trying to figure out where the hell my weekend went.......

Sybil: And you don't like football either. Honestly, it's amazing you haven't been run out of the state yet - LOL. And stupid Dotster. Technical difficulties suck eggs.

sybil said...

I think they are taking a vote, I may be in CA soon *g*

Lynette said...

You MUST MUST MUST read A Reason to Live by Maureen McKade. It shoudl be on all bloggers top romance novels. Seriously. It's awesome.

Wendy said...

Lynette: Tee Hee - not to give away any super secret details, but a certain title just might be on one of my lists of recommendations. Just sayin'. Those lists of recs begin tomorrow and run through Thursday.

Tracy Garrett said...

Sybil, we'll take you here in Missouri. :D

Kristie (J) said...

To Victoria: I haven't read Fall from Grace, but as Wendy has surmised, I have read The Way Home (and LOVED it) so I can include it for sure.

Evangeline Holland said...

I'm fond of Westerns, but I'm picky because they are either too sweet and cloying, or the plots and characters seem like the author took basic tropes common to British historicals and put them out West to make them more palatable. On my keeper shelf I have but two Westerns, and those two are the gold standard by which I measure any other Western romance. I have yet to read anything that measures up.

Wendy said...

Tracy: I'm thinking you haven't met Sybil, or else you wouldn't be offering up Missouri to her - LOL

Kristie: What I wouldn't give to go pawing through your book collection.

Evangeline: Ooooh, you have to share what two titles now! And I think we'll have a few recommendations that might work for you this week.

Mayberry Mom said...

I LOVE a good western!! I can't wait to see what new books I'll find during The Great Western Drive!!

Leslie said...

Late to the event... great idea to promote westerns. Love them and wish there were more new ones being published.

Yep, I like the conflict and I also like the traveling. All the different places the westerns take the reader. I've been all over the American west and even Alaska. :)

nath said...

It's a great idea, I bet this is going to be a fun week!!

Wendy said...

Mayberry Mom: Hopefully we'll be able to suggest a couple for you :)

Leslie: Westerns feed naturally into "road romances." Those books where the hero and heroine have to travel together for some reason. Those are some of my favorites as well.

Nath: I'm sure it doesn't surprise you to learn that this whole thing is all Kristie's fault. I know you're not a big fan of westerns, but stick around. Maybe there will be a recommendation that tickles your fancy.

Evangeline Holland said...

Good to hear Wendy! I'm always game for great American-set historicals, having sworn myself off British-set ones in protest.

Mollie said...

Looking forward to your recommendations. I don't really care for westerns but I do like ones that deal with Native Americans. ( Think Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare). I'll be following along to get some recommendations!

Wendy said...

Mollie: Be sure to check out my recommendations post today (Thursday 8/20). You might enjoy Hope's Captive by Kate Lyon. The hero and heroine are white, but the Cheyenne play an integral part in the story.

Mollie said...

I saw that! I added it to my GoodReads. Any others along those lined you can recommend?

Wendy said...

Mollie: You might want to check out Rosanne Bittner. She's written a number of quality Native American and "half-breed" (god I hate that word!) heroes. She also excels at writing what I call "outsider" heroes. Guys that society looks down on.

Kristie has been recommending Outlaw Hearts (which is a good one, and has a wonderful "saga" quality). I'd also toss in Texas Embrace. It's been AGES since I read it, but I remember that I enjoyed it.

Maureen said...

I do have a bunch of westerns on my TBR shelf which I am inspired to pull out and read

Mollie said...

Thanks Wendy! I'll see if I can get some of her stuff from the library or UBS!