Monday, August 17, 2009


Read A Western; Cowboys Need Love Too

You may have noticed that the poll is still up on the side for favourite genre. I’ve been pondering on what to do about it. You see – while I answered everything, if I hadn’t included that answer, then I would have answered Westerns – the lowest vote getter. And I knew something had to be done about that situation!

So with that thought in mind you are about to witness my newest project. Because the Western is dear to my heart, I enlisted the help of two other well known bloggers who happen to share my love of the Western. Who, you may ask? Well none other then two former roomies – Sybil of The Good, The Band and the Unread and Wendy, Super Librarian. I started out asking them if they could recommend five of their favourite Westerns and not only did they agree, but they jumped on board like you wouldn’t believe. We are a sisterhood in our love of a good Western. Since they love and miss this genre as much as I do, it became a real group effort and they are joining on their respective blogs and it’s turned into a week-long collaboration for all of us. And not only that, you can see that Sandy M designed this real nifty Icon for us. Stay tuned for how to earn one yourselves! All three of us want to see the Western make a comeback - back to the glory days. And we need other readers help too!!

Thus what started as an idea, became

The Great Western Drive!!

This is a week long 'encouragement' on why we love this genre, with news, features and what sets them apart, why readers need to give one a try if they haven’t, books we recommend, authors we enjoy and just all kinds of neat stuff. You need to visit The Misadventures of SuperLibraian and The Good, The Bad and the Unread.

Day 1 – Why do we love Westerns?

This isn’t the first time I’ve tackled this subject and as long as the Western is the poor stepchild, I doubt it will be the last. I did a post back in April of 06. But there are so many more bloggers now and I’m hoping to raise up some interest in this genre that needs it. Now while I love a good historical set in England, I think many readers may want a change from Dukes and Earls and other various and assorted titles. And if readers are getting a wee bit tired of vampires and shift changers and other otherworldly worlds, then a good Western is just the thing!

First off, I’ll start with why a Western. I’ve always been more a fan of “blue collar” type heroes then the “white collar” type. I just love a hero who works with his hands and isn’t afraid to work up a bit of sweat now and then. I love a hero who is willing to labour for everything he has rather then just inheriting it. And no one works harder then many a Western hero, whether it’s being a marshal, a cowboy, a gambler, a gunslinger or even a reformed outlaw.

And a Western heroine is one I can identify with so much easier. I don't know if it's my age or 'cause I'm more average myself, but while the girly girl in me likes reading about all the fabulous balls and dresses and things in Historicals set in Europe, I very much the 'realness' of the conflicts a Western heroine goes through.

Another feature the Western has going for it is you won’t find one of those annoying fake rakes in a Western. I find the heroes in just about every Western as real as it gets, again because they are ‘real’. They don’t play games. They are what they are, whatever their profession is.

And while I’ve read a few with Pinkerton agents, they don’t have the overabundance of spies that get old that many English Historicals have.

One of the reasons I’ve seen given for not trying Westerns is readers don’t find the setting attractive. I think differently. I find it very attractive to read a book based on our own history. OK – so maybe I’m making myself an honourary American for this one, but what can be better then reading about a setting that’s exciting and lawless and new. An English Historical can’t offer readers that. And if you like a bit of down and dirty, well the Western has that too!

Another feature I find more often in a Western is the heroine saving the hero. Think about it; a bounty hunter, wounded, needing care makes it to the steps of the heroine who has control of life or death over the hero – yummers! Now that, I find sexy.

And there is none of the class distinctions that can get tiresome in English Historicals. It doesn’t matter where they started in life, it’s a more level playing field in a Western. We aren’t pulled out of a story because the heroine is acting too friendly with the ‘staff’. We aren’t pulled out wondering where is the end of all the too handsome dukes and earls and viscounts. I know myself that there simply couldn’t have been the abundance of them that fill up the pages of English historicals.

I’ve just touched on some of the reasons why I find a good Western. But don’t just take my word for it!! Wendy and Sybil have their reasons too!!

And be sure to check in all week with all of us. We have something different each day lined up for this Western Drive. And something special for the final round-up!!


azteclady said...

I find myself nodding as I read.

I like the whole blue collar angle--even when the hero is the owner of the ranch or cattle empire, he still has to work his a$$ off to keep it.

Thank you, Kristie!

(did you ever get that package? :-( )

Mary Connealy said...

Hi from Petticoats & Pistols.
How do I vote, Kristie?

Kristie (J) said...

Mary: Howdy - and Welcome!! It's not a voting thing - but there is a sign-up to get the Icon and join The Great Western Drive. Details will be coming on the last day. And there is also a contest - because what is a Drive without some kind of reward at the end of it *g*

AL - still no package :( And I have been looking.
This is a week long affair at all three of our blogs - so make sure you check in at each - each day - heh heh heh.

Wendy said...

You hit on one of my favorite reasons for "why the western" and that's the "regular people" angle. I honestly think it's why I got burnt out so badly on English historicals. Did Dukes and Earls hold the monopoly on falling in love? Did chamber maids and butlers never fall in love? Ever?!?!?

Gives us "normal folks" some hope :)

azteclady said...

Kristie, I think I'll have to send you another batch--it's been over two weeks, it's never taken this long! *pout*

Well, any excuse is a good excuse for baking orange sugar cookies :wink:

cheryl c said...

Very interesting article! I am so glad that you are doing this. I love western historicals AND western contemporaries. I look forward to the discussion this week.

Anonymous said...

*static tuning in* this is lusty reader - standing by - awaiting instruction on Westerns

I gave them up with nary a second thought after only trying a few, and dangum it's about time I give 'em another try. Under your peerless tutelage of course :)

Cheryl St.John said...

Yee haw! I'm with you on the whole loving westerns thing. Smooches!

Mary G said...

Okay Kristie - you got me. I love Westerns & while I usually read contemps, Western historicals will do it for me. Great topic!!

Kristie (J) said...

Mary - be sure to stay tuned!! This is a week-long affair - and don't forget that it's a week long Drive at Wendy's and TGTBTU too!!
Tomorrow we each pick five books.

Cheryl: While I love a good English Historical or a good Paranormal - or Futuristic or Medieval or RS - the Western is where my heart beats strongest. So this week is just week of love :-)

LustyReader: I think a lot of readers may have been burned by bad ones and kind of forgot to try more. But we have a week lined up where I'm sure you will get some ideas on a good one to get you back into that Western horse again - heh heh heh

CherylC: And I look forward to 'seeing' you again *g*. We have something different and special for each day!

AL - email coming your way!!

Wendy!! I KNOW! That's my issue with English Historicals too. I know romance is all about the fantasy - but I can only take so much fantasy about the upper crust of English society before I need some more realistic fantasies.

orannia said...

Ohhhh, the Western is back! *happy dance* I haven't read one for ages, so am sure this will inspire me like nothing else :)

Hmmm, now I want to go home and find my anthology of Western Christmas stories....

Kristie (J) said...

Orannia: Well - we are doing our best and hoping that happens *g*. I would LOVE to see more of them published.

Leslie said...

Looks like I'll be digging out some of those oldies but goodies. Westerns were some of my favorite reads and still are. :)

nath said...

This is a great idea, Kristie!! And LOL, why am I not surprise you're the instigator? :)

Hmm, I have to agree that for me, it's the setting that I don't enjoy. I don't know, it just doesn't appeal to me...

HOwever, I have to admit, I've been in a gambling mood lately... so I'll be on the look-out for your suggestions!

Taja said...

Great idea, Kristie!

I don't have much time so I'll come back later to read all your western posts in peace, but LOL, I've read Catherine Anderson's "Cherish" over the weekend. What a funny coincidence! :)

Leontine said...

Hi Kirstie,
I am going to start at the beginning of this weeks post and you guys really show a passion for this genre :D

After this week I want to walk away with one book that i want to read. I am from Europe, The Dukes and the Bon Ton is but an hour plane flight away from me. I am not familiar with the Western genre and only read a handful of Indian historicals (or is this a complete other sub-genre?)

Anyway, I will read the posts and make my mind up what novel will be my "Great Western Drive" experience :D

JennJ said...

Great post I love it! And I'm a huge lover of westerns myself so bravo to you ladies for doing this! I totally agree! I can't wait to read more on your grea western drive!

Carolyn Crane said...

This is such a cool idea. You know, I have been wanting to read more westerns, oddly ever since Demon night, which is of course not a western, but the hero was an ex-cowboy type. So this is just SO helpful!

Unknown said...

I love westerns. As an unpublished writer trying to sell a western I've been told that Westerns don't sell. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one out there loving the genre.

Jamie (Confessions of a Book Junkie) said...

I'm dropping by from Heather's Reading Romance. I LOVE Westerns! How do I get in on this?