Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I'm delighted to host Heidi Thomas today during the blog tour for her newly released novel, Dare to Dream, part of the Dreams Trilogy.

The Cowgirl Behind the Dreams Trilogy

By Heidi M. Thomas


In a scrapbook my grandmother created is a clipping from the Sunburst Sun (Montana) newspaper, Aug. 26, 1922, that reads:


1:00 Parade of cowboys and cowgirls, headed by Cut Bank brass band

2:30 Tootsie Bailey will enter competition with entire field, riding wild steers with only one hand on cirsingle

Another clipping states “Tootsie Bailey won first and Mary (Marie) Gibson second prize in the steer riding.”

Marie Gibson was a well-known Montana cowgirl and won national awards for bronc riding.

Tootsie was my grandmother and she would have been 17 at that time. I did have the opportunity to spend time with her, ride horseback, and get to know her pretty well before she died suddenly when she was only 57 and I was 12.

I know that she was an avid horsewomen and that she was more at home on the back of a horse than behind a dust mop. My dad told me she had competed in rodeos, riding steers, when she was young. I kept thinking how courageous that was, especially as I got older and watched bull and bronc riders. Grandma was petite—five-feet two-inches and weighed a little over 100 pounds. I was amazed that she would pit herself against an animal that weighed 900 pounds or so, one whose sole purpose was to get that pesky rider off its back and then maybe stomp on her!

My character, Nettie, has a dream to become a rodeo star and the tenaciousness to follow that dream. In Cowgirl Dreams  (EPIC Award Winner), during the 1920s, she faces family and social barriers to that dream. The sequel, Follow the Dream (a WILLA Literary Award Winner), finds her still holding on to her dream, yet rethinking how her dream works in with her family and life in Montana.

In the third book in the “Dreams” Trilogy, Dare to Dream, Nettie, now age 36 in 1941, is regaining her heart and spirit, and she is determined to ride again at an event in Cheyenne, Wyoming. To her dismay, the male-dominated Rodeo Association of America enforces its rule barring women from riding rough stock and denies her the chance to ride. Her fury at the discrimination can’t change things for women—yet.



Dare to Dream:

Behind the stands, Nettie found the group of young cowgirls who’d led the color guard, sitting on a log, smoking, checking their makeup in hand mirrors, laughing and gossiping. Just like Nettie, Marie, and the Greenough sisters used to do.

Nettie drew a deep breath. “Howdy, gals. Nice parade this morning.”

The blonde girl, still wearing her “Rodeo Queen” sash over a bright red satin shirt, stepped forward to shake Nettie’s hand. “Hello. Mandy Jacobs. And you’re—?”

 “Nettie Moser.” She scanned the cowgirl’s perfect look, from her glittery eye makeup to the sharp creases in her denims. “Listen, ladies. I’m incensed. I started riding steers in 1920, along with the best of them. And today, I come to sign up, and they tell me ‘No women’s events.’”

The girls stared at Nettie with blank looks.

“What do you think about that? Are we going to let the men do that to us?” Heat rose from Nettie’s core and her voice went up a notch. “After all we’ve done? Lucille Mulhall beat all the men in steer roping, Marie Gibson, Alice and Margie Greenough won national bronc riding championships at Madison Square Garden—” She broke off, realizing that her audience hadn’t a clue. Oh my gosh, they’re too young. “You don’t even know who I’m talking about.”

Books are available through my website, from my publisher, along with her re-published first two novels, Cowgirl Dreams and Follow the Dream.


Heidi M. Thomas grew up on a ranch in eastern Montana and now lives in north-central Arizona where she writes, edits for other authors, teaches community writing classes and blogs She is a member of Women Writing the West (, and Professional Writers of Prescott.

Please leave a comment and your name will be entered into a drawing for one of many awesome prizes!

Tomorrow, Heidi will be hosted by Marsha Ward Fresh Book Friday  Spotlight on Dare to Dream


Heidiwriter said...

Thank you, Janet, for hosting me on my tour today!

bluejayln said...

Makes me want to read it for sure Heidi!!!! My kind of woman!!!!

Irene Bennett Brown said...

All fascinating! I'm so enjoying this tour of Heidi's trilogy.

Renaissance Women said...

To me the greatest concept in the excerpt is 'they don't even know what I'm talking about'. How true even today. The more I follow the greater the story grows. Love that and the story. Doris

Heidiwriter said...

Thank you, Roni, Irene, and Doris! Your comments warm my heart!

Heidiwriter said...

And the winner of today's drawing is bluejayln!

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer