Even though I’m a city girl, I often write about cowboys and Texas…maybe because I grew up in South Texas where cowboys and ranching loom large. My cousins had ranches and horses they let me ride whenever I visited them in North Texas. I attended camps that had rodeos, so I performed in those rodeos and went to rodeos frequently. My brother and I had toy guns, holsters, ropes and our brooms were our horses. When I grew up and married, I married a man who wore Levis and boots and owned guns and land in the Texas Hill Country. The Texas mythology was as much a part of him as it was of me.
Many of our friends have ranches or grew up on ranches. Two of my neighbors are the heiresses of two huge legendary South Texas ranches. Yesterday I visited a girlfriend out on her ranch, La Mota. Her father once owned a creamery in South Texas that made locally famous butter. He put together a huge ranch (nearly 500,000 acres). But time and downturns in the economy forced the family to scale down. They still have their homestead which was built in a beautiful Texas oak mott.
In South Texas the land is mostly a coastal plain which was part of the sea. Mostly it is just brush country. But every now and again, hundreds of oak trees clump together into a stand of trees we call an oak mott. Many ranchers build their homes in an oak mott to get a relief from the blistering South Texas sun.
Nestled inside gorgeous live oak trees, my friend’s home feels like a bird sanctuary. Inside, the house is filled with ranching antiques, heavy Spanish or German furniture from the 19th century. On the eastern side of her home, she has a lovely high-ceilinged screened porch with birdfeeders hanging from its eaves outside. In a distant pastures hundreds of wild turkeys cackled excitedly as they gathered to get ready to roost in the spreading branches of her oaks for the night. In another pasture sandhilled cranes were landing with a similar goal in mind.
In my 8-book series, Texas: Children of Destiny, I try to make South Texas and its larger than life cowboys and their brides come alive for my readers. Passion’s Child (Book 1) is free.