I’m a sucker for western historical romances. Something about the old west â€“ gunslingers with six-shooters strapped to their thighs, lawmen, ranchers, “soiled doves” and saloon women, even prissy schoolmarms â€“ draws me in.
When I was a little girl, westerns were a hugely popular genre on TV the way forensic shows are today. Whenever a wester was playing, you would find me glued to the set. Wyatt Earp, Gunsmoke, Rin Tin Tin, Have Gun, Will Travel, and of course, the king of the cowboys, Roy Rogers. Too many to mention, but my all-time favourite was Annie Oakley. This was the first time I’d ever seen a woman hold the leading role in a TV show. She was single and didn’t need a man to look after her or support her :gasp:, she was smart (at least I thought so at the time), and man, could she shoot! My best Christmas ever was the year I got my very own Annie Oakley cowgirl outfit complete with fringed skirt, vest and hat. To complete the ensemble, I got a Wild Bill Hickok double-holster set of guns. So un-politically correct now, but back then, they were just toys.
The publishing industry is cyclical. Chick lit was enormously popular for a while, but it seems to have fizzled out, while paranormal has become one of the hot genres. Erotica is hugely popular, but no doubt in time the market will be saturated, and it will die out, too, to be replaced by a resurgence of a previously popular genre or some new hybrid.
Over the past few years, western romances have declined in popularity, but there are still diehard fans out there. I recently heard about a new blog, Petticoats and Pistols, hosted by ten of the genre’s best-selling authors. If you’ve got a hankerin’ to find out more about cowboys, horses, and anything to do with those thrilling days of yesteryear (wasn’t that part of the theme of the Lone Ranger?), mosey on over there. I know I’ll be a regular visitor.