Friday, March 11, 2011

Why I Lean West

Posted by: Marie Harte

When I think of the West, I think of the picture above. Open spaces, vast deserts and beautiful skies. I also think of this.

Mountains, water so clear it looks like a mirror reflecting heaven, and dark green pines filled with life. The notion of living during the old days--in the Old West--when one could explore without tripping over another human being is thrilling for me. Lawless lands, wild places, and interesting people who sparsely dotted the West make for terrific fodder for storytelling.

When it comes to books, I know a lot of readers are taken with the Victorian age and England. But for me, the American West has its own lure. Rough, unconventional, and a place where only the strongest can survive. And let's not forget some truly important characters. Cowboys.

These muscular, er, tough guys, spent most of their time under the sky and stars. Sleeping on bedrolls in the fields while they watched over cattle or rounded up wild horses. Sure, I'm simplifying, but part of the Western sell is that times were simpler. No technology, at least, not the kind we think of today. Back then, folks used horses or wagons for transport. What you ate was what you killed or grew, without chemicals, thank you. And a man or woman made do with what they had in life. They didn't sit for hours on end in front of a computer dreaming. Nor did they date through Everything was so much more real. Visceral. Touchable.

A man and his horse pretty much ruled the landscape. Farmers, mountaineers, cowboys, lawmen, shopkeepers. Occupations that are so much more understandable than the things people do today to earn a buck. And they all involved manual labor. (Hence the muscles on the fine cowboy above.)

I'm also especially fond of Western dress. The duster and hat are just killer. What person wouldn't look sexy wearing that combo, man or woman? Chaps? Lassos and leather? Granted, I'm not so fond of female garb back in the day, but I'm all for jeans and a button down shirt. And don't get me started on boots. I LOVE 'em.

There are so many, many reasons why I lean West when it comes to reading and writing. Next month I'll introduce a whole new Western steampunk world when my debut with Carina comes out. But that's next month. So for now, enjoy the West. It sure is a magical place--and time.



  1. Looking forward to that Western steampunk world. sounds intriguing.

  2. :) I can't wait for it to come out too, Janni. I think the western is coming back...but it seems to be coming back lately in apocalyptic form. Ah well. So be it.

  3. Apocalyptic westerns sound intriguing! Your photos are awesome, Marie -- I mean the scenery, of course ;)

  4. First, thanks for the gorgeous pictures! Ever since a friend gave me a sexy cowboy calendar for Christmas, I've gotten myself a "Studs 'n Spurs" calendar each year. I love Westerns. Linda Lael Miller, Jodi Thomas, Susan Elizabeth Phillips . . . Apocalyptic westerns sound intriguing.

  5. Gorgeous pictures. I'm hopelessly in love with the West myself. Born in Billings and grew up in Tucson and now live in San Francisco. I've never read westerns, though (although I'm a big fan of them as movies; the remake of True Grit was stunning!), but a steampunk western sounds fabulous. Brings to mind The Wild, Wild West series. Loved that show almost as much as Star Trek when I was a kid. :)

  6. Great pics Marie! Love the old West. I'm working on a western set historical fantasy right now that's giving me fits. I keep thinking about walking away and then it sucks me back in. Can't wait to read your book.

  7. Hey Jenny and Barbara. Yeah, gotta love that scenery. :)

  8. Lucky you, Jane, to live in San Francisco. I visited a few years ago. Beautiful city! Yeah, I loved The Wild Wild West TV show. There's just something about western steampunk that gets to me, more so than the Victorian era.

    And Eleri, those are the best books, aren't they? The ones that keep sucking you back in. :)

  9. Western steampunk FTW! I feel like we should knuckle bump or something :)

    To be fair...I recently saw a guy in a cowboy hat & duster at a concert. The duster was way too big on him and he looked like a little boy dressing up in his dad's clothes. So very very not sexy. :(


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