Best of the West

In celebration of the release of Ladies Man, the production team shares what they consider the best of the West. They worked with me on Package Deal and Hot Flash and I'm thrilled to work with them again.

Personally, I'm pretty fond of the scenery throughout the West-not to mention how varied it is. You've got the stark beauty of the desert, the coast across California, even thick forests up in Washington. The weather can be a bit crazy sometimes, but there is always a gorgeous spot somewhere around the corner.

In addition to formatting, Stevie does cover design. Featured is one of her covers.

Harris Channing-Cover Design
Harris is an author in her own right as well as designer.

When asked what I love about the West, I had to stop and think.  As a Southern girl, it pains me to say that the furthest west I’ve ever been is Louisiana
So, I had to go deeper into things I like about the West. And what intrigues me is the history. So many great things happened during the expansion of America.  Gunslingers, Indian Chiefs fighting for their people, cowboys herding cattle, the iron horse, bison...And all the sites!  I’d love to see the Alamo, dip my feet into Pacific ocean, ghost hunt in a real ghost town, visit the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon and where Custer (who I think was an idiot) made his last stand.
But my interest in the historical West started more, or less, with reruns of television shows from the 1950’s and 60’s.  Young Clint Eastwood playing cowboy Rowdy Yates, James Arness as Matt Dillon (still don’t know why he never married Miss Kitty), my strange crush on Hoss Cartwright—I know he’s not the best looking Cartwright, but I think he would have made a hell of a good husband and father…Did you know his name is actually Eric Haas Cartwright?  Bet you didn’t.
But it has to be Chuck Connors-- cowboy, father, marksman and overall hottie, Lucas McCain that has me wanting to don spurs and ride into the sunset.  That chiseled jaw, that piercing stare, the immense size of the man, broad shoulders, narrow hips….yep, he was a romance novel hero before I even knew about romance novels.
So, here’s to the faux-none to factual Old West….where you never saw a cowboy in the outhouse.  Never smelled him after he’d been sewn into his long underwear all winter, and who always, always had strong, white teeth and minty fresh breath.
The Old West of the 1950’s.  It’s just too good to be true.
Truly an author’s editor, Marian also writes romance as Colleen Ladd.

Living in the mountains in northern Colorado, what I like best in the West is when fall rolls around.  The leaves change, mostly aspen turning gold and orange and, if we're very lucky, red.  The air turns cool and so crisp you feel you could cut it with a knife.  The smoky smell from people's fireplaces fills the air.  There's something fundamentally different about the smell of smoke in the fall.  Summer campfires smell of picnics and outdoor family time, hotdogs and toasted marshmallows.  Winter fires smell like warmth and cuddling up under a warm blanket with a dog or two and a good book.  They smell like home.

Mariposa Cruz-Author

To me nothing captures the spirit of the West with its wide open skies and landscapes like a Western. Destry Rides Again (1939) was James Stewart’s first Western and is tops on my must-see movie list. The folks of Bottleneck are confounded when Destry (Stewart) their sharpshooter new deputy refuses to carry a gun.  Armed with a quick wit, Destry upholds the law without firing a shot. But corruption runs deep in Bottleneck and an armed standoff between Destry and the mayor’s hired guns is inevitable.

As with many of his roles, Stewart comes across as Everyman Nice Guy. However there are a few key scenes where the Nice Guy fa├žade drops and Destry stares at his opponent with a cold glare with a rage held barely in check. The effect is chilling. To me that look is well-worth the price of admission.


  1. Stevie,
    Agreed the West has some gorgeous scenery, even in our own backyard (NV).
    While I love history, the fictional West is no doubt more appealing than real life. Thanks to TV and the movies we can enjoy the wide-open spaces without the dust and heat.
    Hope you're enjoying fall color in your neck of the woods. I love autumn and it never seems to last long enough.

    Thanks to all of you for all your hard work on Ladies Man. As always it's a pleasure working with all of you.


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