Sunday, April 17, 2011

Heidi Thomas author of Follow the Dream is The Golden Pathway's Guest Author

I am pleased to feature, Heidi Thomas author of Follow the Dream today.

Cowgirl is a State of Mind

Dale Evans Rogers defined it well: "Cowgirl is an attitude, really. A pioneer spirit, a special American brand of courage. The cowgirl faces life head on, lives by her own lights, and makes no excuses. Cowgirls take stands. They speak up. They defend the things they hold dear. A cowgirl might be a rancher, or a barrel racer, or a bull rider, or an actress. But she's just as likely to be a checker at the local Winn Dixie, a full-time mother, a banker, an attorney, or an astronaut."

“Cowgirl up” is an expression that means to rise to the occasion, not to give up, and to do it all without whining or complaining. It is easy to say “Cowgirl Up,” however it takes a true cowgirl at heart to live up to the true meaning.

Another quote from Dale Evans:” The cowgirl faces life head on, lives by her own lights and makes no excuses.

Although I grew up on a ranch in eastern Montana and I rode horses, gathered cattle with my dad and helped with branding, I never really thought of myself as a “Cowgirl.” But through my years of reading and researching for my books, I’ve come to realized that I am—maybe an “urban cowgirl” by strict definition, but a cowgirl by attitude.

My grandmother was a cowgirl—a real one, one who not only rode horses, but also rode bucking stock in rodeos in the ’20s & ’30s.

The 1920s was the heyday of rodeo for women. They grew up riding out of necessity alongside their fathers, brothers & husbands and naturally they were just as competitive in trying to see who could stay on the back of a bucking bronc or steer or roping calves as the men.

Rodeos started out as impromptu events—cowboys betting each other who was going to get bucked off the quickest. Annie Oakley paved the way for women when she gained fame in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show as a sharpshooter. Lucille Mulhall, when she was 18 years old, lassoed and tied three steers in 3 minutes, 30 seconds—faster than the best cowboys—won a gold medal and a $10,000 prize for a world record!

This “cowgirl attitude” is the way my grandmother lived. And I modeled my character, Nettie, on my grandmother, and that cowgirl attitude.

Nettie has a dream to become a rodeo star and the tenaciousness to follow that dream. In Cowgirl Dreams, during the 1920s, she faces family and social barriers to that dream. The sequel, Follow the Dream, finds her still holding on to her dream. But the drought and depression of the 1930s forces her to make some tough choices and rethink how her dream works in with her family and life in Montana.

Both books are available through my website, from my publisher Follow the Dream is also available on Kindle.

Author Bio
Heidi M. Thomas grew up on a ranch in eastern Montana and now lives in western Washington where she writes, edits for other authors, teaches community writing classes and blogs She is a member of Women Writing the West (,  Skagit Valley Writers League ( , Northwest Independent Editors Guild (  and VBT—Writers on the Move ( .


• Optimism

• Warrior

• GiddyUp

• Inspiration

• Respect

• Loyalty

• Daily Oats: food for the horse lover’s soul

Remember, a Cowgirl’s heart always has a heart full of hope and a life full of laughter.

From Embracing Your Inner Cowboy at 

To me, the spirit a horse leaves behind compared to a human’s is the difference between au de toilet and perfume.

Spirit and Simple is what being a cowboy is all about. You don’t have to ride a horse, wear boots or listen to country western music to be one. It’s an inside job first. The rest is all outdoors.

She quotes Robb Kendrick: “common threads that pull these people together and used to be a common thread in America before the techno world came into play. It crossed all fields, lawyers, writers, farmers, welders, photographers, nurses, etc. It’s the simple stuff you know? Good manners, helping a brother or sister out, basic human qualities that reflect the team spirit while keeping your individual priorities in tact. Being a team when needed and an individual the rest of the time without sacrificing your own values.”

When I asked Robb to describe what he thought “inner cowboy” meant, he nailed it. “Basically the inner cowboy is doing it till it's done right.”

Bonnie Hunt~ “Don’t let praise go to your head, and don’t allow criticism to affect your heart.”

Vicki Frederick

Cowgirl Rule: If we cannot find the road to success, we will make one.

Follow along on the April VBT Writers On the Move as Shelby Patrick hosts Dallas Woodburn at

Thank you.

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.


  1. Oh Heidi, what a gorgeous post. I love the expression "Cowgirl up" which I'd never heard before. I'll be using it again. Though I grew up up in a city, I love the idea of a "cowgirl attitude" (oats all the way!).

  2. I'm old enough to have had Dale Evans as my heroine in all those early movies.. brought back many memories of childhood visits to the Saturday morning cinema. :0)

  3. I enjoyed your post, Heidi. Cowgirl is a good state of mind for anyone to emulate. You presented it very well!

  4. Heidi, excellent post and inspirational for all, especially girls.

    I remember Dale Evans too!

    I tweeted and FB'd this post.

  5. This is wonderful, and I learned so many new things. I'm so glad to have read about all things cowgirl. Pioneer women in so many ways!

  6. Hi Heidi:

    It's a pleasure hosting you today!

    Hi Maggie, Carole, Nancy F., Karen, and Nancy S.

    Thanks for taking the time out to visit with Heidi. I too love her article.

    Best wishes,

  7. Interesting article. I'm not really a cowgirl since my father moved a lot when I was growing up due to being in the military and we never really lived anywhere that was into the rodeo or other activities like that. I think you summed up the cowgirl attitude quite well, Heidi. Thanks for sharing with us - E :)

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery, trivia series

    Where will the adventure take you next?

  8. Thanks for introducing folks to a sector of society not often thought abut, but rich in character.
    J. Aday Kennedy
    The Differently-Abled Writer & Speaker
    Children's Author of Stella the Fire Farting Dragon (April 2010)

  9. Great article. I just said, "Man up," to someone today, but I had never heard of this expression.

    Best of luck with your writing.


  10. Donna, thank you for hosting me today.
    And that you all for your lovely comments. I loved discovering that phrase!

  11. I meant THANK you for your posts--hit the button before I proofread!

  12. This sounds like such a unique story! And very inspiring! Thanks for posting!

  13. Great post Heidi. I grew up in the suburbs on Long Island. It had a beachy atmosphere, which I loved. Now I live in the mountains of Georgia.

    I always wanted to know more about being a cowgirl. I shook Roy Rogers hand when I was a little girl. that was the closest I got.


Thank for you taking the time out to visit with me and to learn about my historical fiction children's book, The Golden Pathway.

Please be sure to leave your blog address so I can reciprocate.

I look forward to visiting you too.