Posts tagged ‘Popular Library’

August 29, 2009

Buckaroo's Back; or, Cowboy Facts 16 and 15

by cowboylands

You ever go through life thinking you should’ve written that novel/filmed that movie/accepted that job/kissed that girl or guy/said yes when someone asked you to strip in front of a camera/handed that demo CD to that music exec/said hello to Paul Newman/told your best friend you love him or her/changed careers/hugged your kid/WRITTEN THAT NOVEL?

Well, don’t go through life whining about it. Just do it.

So I wrote a novel. Hence the absence. It has a western theme, so I wasn’t totally AWOL.

Anyway, lucky me, I’ll be writing another draft, but I’m glad that my life questions can center around things like shoulda said hi to Paul Newman.

In honor of a completed draft and one more step along the great dusty trails of life, here is one of my favorite covers, which, not coincidentally, reminds me of a cowboy fact-one more out of the grand total of 51:

Cowboys move.

Call it fiddle-footed restlessness or the search for whatever is over the horizon.

Call it late for dinner.

Call it Cowboy Fact 16: Cowboys can’t stay put.

This moody cover is in the style of H. L. Hoffman, an illustrator who worked for Popular Library in the forties. I don’t know much about him, alas. The cover illustration is reproduced as a line drawing on the title page, common for the time.

Eugene Cunningham, the author, wrote in a laconic drawl, but his dedication speaks to the sentimental fool in every cowpoke:

To Mary Carolyn

Who didn’t get to ride in the Rodeo

Parade that time–this book is

affectionately dedicated, as a

poor substitue for that

ride she missed, by

its and her



Cowboy Fact 15: Cowboys miss what they have left behind.

April 15, 2009

Recession Love; or, Bad Times Good for Romances

by cowboylands

In a flurry of pink prose, headlines across the virtual Web are proclaiming the primacy of love: despite the sinking economy, people are still ponying up a few bucks to read the latest in love in lust: 

Along with chocolate and Big Macs, romance novels are showing a brisk level of sales. Here’s a fact that makes my pulse pound: Every four seconds, someone buys a Harlequin (and well they should, as I copyedit for Harlequin, so purchasing a bodice-ripper helps me, too!). Check out a witty capsulation of the trend from the LA Times here.

In honor of recession romances, I offer the following cover and priceless back copy of a Popular Library Western from 1932. Unlike the menacing gunslingers from the 1940s and 1950s, this is the kindler, gentler version of the West, when the word frontier meant good sex, not just a bullet in the back. Perhaps I can take this as a sign that America, too, is able to approach the world differently. That although the U. S. “wears the killer brand” it also can find love on a global level (only without the “throb of guns,” although that is clearly a euphemism for sexual organs). 

The Deputy at Snow Mountain, by Edison Marshall

illustrator unknown

Popular Library, 1932

The Deputy at Snow Mountain, by Edison Marshall (back cover)


This just in–Western lust isn’t only for women anymore!

The movies made Westerns into testosterone-fests. But popular Western novels, on the other hand, are seeped in estrogen. Go into any K-Mart, and you’ll see the fringe-jacket-and-bodice-rippers right alongside the lean-handsome-and-mean-tortured-loner stories. The first are in shades of pink, the second in browns and blues–they might as well put signs for Ladies and Gents on them. But I would argue that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. And what’s good for the flock is good for the economy. Buy a romance today, buckos! Keep the economy, and my budget, from tanking.