The Cowboy

Ridgeline_rev-01Five years ago, when someone asked what I wrote, I said,
“Contemporary novels and a few short stories.”
Then, in an attempt to explain once and for all just what possessed my husband, Jack, and me to strap two 150 pound Post-traumatic Stress service dogs to our wrists and emigrate to The Republic of Panama, I wrote Clueless Gringos in Paradise, a humorous travel memoir.
Then, at a point in my marriage when Jack and I couldn’t even be in the same room with each other without shouting, in an attempt to heal myself and help others by telling the honest-to-God truth about living and loving a combat veteran, I wrote My Life with a Wounded Warrior.
After that, when people asked what I wrote, I said,
“Contemporary novels, personal essays, humor, and memoir.”
Then, an image came to me of a man on horseback looking down onto a cabin in a hollow below at a woman, one hip resting against the door frame, a thumb-sized bottle in her hand that flashed blue in the early morning light.
Since I didn’t write westerns or historical fiction, I ignored the man on the bay mare.
“You’ve confused me with someone else,” I told him. “I don’t write westerns. Go and visit my brilliant writer friend Velda Brotherton. She’ll put you in a story to knock your boots off.”
At that point I was writing Bigfoot Mamas, the sequel to Bigfoot Blues. I was deep into the Pacific Northwest. The contemporary PNW. I did my best to ignore the man on the horse.
That confounded cowboy appeared to me each morning as I woke. His craggy face was the last thing I saw each night as I fell asleep.
Finally, with the first draft of Bigfoot Mamas finished and needing to let the book rest a while before the first serious edit, I faced off against the persistent horseman.
“Okay,” I said. “How about this? I’ll write a western short story. I’ve done that before.”
The man smiled, introduced himself as Jeremiah Jones, a civil war veteran who served with Arkansas’ 3rd Regiment. His hand was calloused. His eyes were those of every combat veteran I’d ever known.
“Since the war, I’ve been supporting myself as a saddle preacher,” he said.
I swallowed hard at the gravel and tremolo in his voice. A clear vision filled my mind, made my typing fingers itch–a man balancing on the Ridgeline between God and the devil.
I had the title.
“Just one short story,” I told him, but I was already writing

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About Author and Speaker Pamela Foster

Pamela Foster is a speaker and author. Her first book, Redneck Goddess, is available at local bookstores and on Amazon. Her second book, Bigfoot Blues, will be available in August 2012.
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5 Responses to The Cowboy

  1. Herb Hawn says:

    Pamela,
    Back in December you noted that you always have a combat survivor in your stories and wondered why. Working with my long ago sophomore class in phycology I wonder if you aren’t writing about the knight in shining armor that is finally going to come sweep you away to “happily ever after” land? Strong and brave men who would ordinarily need a stick to fight off the woman, and look who he has chosen to keep?
    Anyway, the book sounds exciting and very interesting. And I can see that I need to get busy and do some catch up on your already published books.
    – herb

  2. Good observation, Herb. Though I think the conflict occurs when me or any other woman realizes that this knight in shining armor is far more complicated than she ever imagined.

    • Herb Hawn says:

      Pamela,
      And so you are blaming her lack of foresight and information gathering skills on that wonderful hunk that allowed her into his life?? Very likely that he didn’t change, especially in ways that she had planned for him to do. And of course, the woman, as always, remains sweet and never ever had an agenda of her own.
      I had better close this discussion before I get in a lot of trouble. Love your books and writing style.
      – herb

  3. John Biggs says:

    Isn’t it nice when characters come to life on their own? That rich fantasy life could get you in trouble if you didn’t have a literary outlet.

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