Romance with a Side of Bacon

I won’t apologize; I love country music. My grandfather, Leck Sammons, used to play and sing in a band. Back then, they called the genre “Country/Western.” Sadly, I only heard Leck play once, when he grabbed my six-string Gibson, propped his boot heel on our kitchen chair, and crooned a short ballad.

Seven years ago, a man I dated introduced me to the new country music. He played guitar and sang in a local band. Come to think of it, he looked a little bit like Leck.

I like many popular country artists today. Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood—I can’t possibly name all my favorites.

My husband and I saw Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, in concert when they opened their Soul2Soul 2007 Tour in Omaha. The concert broke sales records in the Midwest. I suspect that was due to a combination of musical talent, stage presence, and their unique love story.

Reba McEntire

Reba McEntire is a marvelous story-teller. She’s an amazing, multi-talented woman. Singer. Song writer. Television star and producer. Stage/ screen actress. Entrepreneur. Author. I really respect that she shows the world how accomplished and hot a woman our age can be. Yes, we were born the same year.

I especially enjoy songs whose lyrics weave a story. If the story is a boy-meets-girl tale, and ends happily-ever-after, so much the better.

One of my all-time favorite romantic songs dates back to 1975. The hit, “The Old Home Filler-Up-An’ Keep On A-Truckin’ Café” was written by C.W. McCall (Bill Fries) and Chip Davis, the genius behind Omaha’s own Mannheim Steamroller.

The Keep on Truckin' Shuffle

The song tells the autobiographical story about an over-the-road truck driver (C.W.) whose best friend and traveling buddy is his dog, Slone. One day, C.W. meets a waitress, Mavis Davis, who serves him a BLT and captures his heart.

It brings a tear to my eye each time I read the lyrics and listen to the music.

This is C.W.’s description of his lady love. “This girl’s built like a burlap bag full of bobcats; she’s got it to-gether.”

Finally, he works up the courage to ask Mavis out. “How’d ya like to go for a ride with me and old Sloan: I just had my truck warshed.”

Yep, he said washed with an “r.”

Her answer?

“She allowed as how it sounded like a whole lot of fun. But we was gonna have ta wait until the dishes was done. And was it all right with me if she brought along her mother as a chaperone?”

Doo-dee-doo

The music builds at this point. Races, like the pace of a well-written novel.

Now, I don’t want to spoil the ending for you. But, it IS a romance, so of course, they live happily ever after.

Some people say romance novels are formulaic. The plots are all the same: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back. Sometimes the roles are reversed and the girl does all the work.

I’ll argue that opinion in a future blog.

I write mysteries which don’t have to have a happy ending. They are supposed to have at least one dead body, many suspects, twists and turns, and a climatic ending that reveals the murderer.

In a future essay, I’ll explain the nuances between the types of mysteries—the sub-genres. You won’t want to miss that riveting blog.

Back to my point.

I love romance stories. Some of my best friends write romance novels. I wouldn’t be published today if not for the help of the Romance Writers of America and, specifically, the generous support of the women of RWA’s local chapter, the Heartland Writers Group.

While, I write mysteries, there is always a romantic element to round out the book. Like in real life, good, fleshed-out relationships add dimension to the characters, connecting the reader with the story.

In my Harmony Hills series, the widow Kay Powers (age 71) falls for a much younger man, Detective John Vendetti (age 61.) The age difference fills Kay with doubt. However, most of her angst comes from the fact that she hasn’t had a first date since Jimmy Carter was president.

Her dilemma also sets up some pretty funny situations.

I wrote Kay’s feelings straight from the heart. Eight years ago, when I returned to the dating scene, I was younger than Kay (age 49,) but my insecurities were just as real. In Still Kickin’, I translated some of my own anxiety into Kay’s reactions to Vendetti’s romantic pursuit. Like in my own experiences, Kay’s uncertainty leads to some comedic moments.

You might wonder how much of my own experiences I put into the book. I’m not telling. I will say… I write fiction. And good fiction is always an exaggeration of life.

One last point.

I like following celebrity romances. There are so many dynamic couples in the country music industry. Miranda Lambert & Blake Shelton, Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood, the late Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash. In real life, there’s not always a happy ending. The marriage of George Jones and Tammy Wynette ended in

D-I-V-O-R-C-E.

Faith Hill & Tim McGraw

That never happens in a true romance novel.

When Tim McGraw and Faith Hill took the stage together on that summer evening in 2007, there wasn’t an empty seat in the auditorium. Their chemistry electrified the arena. Their love—expressed through their music—brought the crowd to its feet.

See how the romance of Kay Powers and Detective John Vendetti begins in Still Kickin’—a Harmony Hills Mystery. Due out in late March, 2012.

Old Home Rolls

Here’s some trivia. The song of C.W. McCall’s romance with Mavis Davis played out in regionalized television commercials. I enjoyed them in Omaha during the mid-1970s.

The product advertised? Old Home Bread. Check out the YouTube video below. The video’s grainy, but the audio’s great.

Old Home Filler Up and Keep on A-Truckin’ Café.

I have the URLs for RWA and the Heartland Writers Group on my Links page.

Until next time…Keep on Truckin’.

 

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8 Responses to “Romance with a Side of Bacon”

  1. MK Meredith says:

    The reason I love romance is the happy ending! Formulaic…it’s funny when people knock romance as if it is not real writing. What is more real than expressing emotions that make a reader laugh, cry and fall in love through a plot full of substance? I can’t wait to laugh out loud when I read Still Kickin’…and I know I will.
    Thanks Teryl!

  2. Mayi says:

    Following your stories is like if we are face to face sharing a cup of tea or coffee (Costa Rican of course) in Pannera. I am almost listening your voice… that’s real!!
    And something interesting: I do love the music of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill…soft, soul and tender. I started to listening their music as a practice for my English classes (“It’s your love” my first song).
    Now, I am ready to discover the bacon’s mystery.

  3. Teryl says:

    Gracias, mi amiga, Mayi.

    I hope you bring some Costa Rican coffee with you when you visit us in the fall. Without a doubt, it is the best coffee in the world!

    Hmm…I’ll have to include some song lyrics in our English studies together. That is such a great idea. I can’t wait to see you and make crispy bacon for you.

  4. Teryl says:

    What is more real than expressing emotions that make a reader laugh, cry and fall in love through a plot full of substance?
    Well phrased, Mary Karen. Your writing passion and talent shows through in your comment. It won’t be long before I’ll be reading your first novel. Thanks for stopping by to comment. Miss you.

  5. Mayi says:

    Coffee to Omaha….no doubt! And some cashews!
    Romance and mystery novels are the best because take you into a world that sometimes shows real life. Working in my English reading “the luck of the draw” its been a school of adventures for me.

  6. Teryl says:

    Yummy. Mayi, you know me well. I love the dark chocolate covered cashews. With Costa Rican coffee, it’s the best!

    I just found out Still Kickin’ is now available. I will authograph a copy and send it to your CPI Post Office Box. Be watching for it.

    Te amo, mi amiga.

  7. Mayi says:

    Tengo mucha suerte!!!!!
    Estaré esperando el libro muy emocionada!!!!
    Terry, tus libros están llenos de historias increíbles y con toques de picardía, lo que provoca seguir leyéndolos.

  8. Teryl says:

    Mayi,

    Gracias por tus observaciones. En la idioma de los autores, los toques de picardia son “hooks.” Como un pescador que usa el anzuelo. Terry.

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