Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Roughneck heroes

New release--Roughneck Cowboy *Men of the West* (Feb 2011) by Marin Thomas

Blood Is Thicker Than Oil

When his mom passed, roughneck Travis Cartwright thought he’d lost the only family he and his daughter Charlie had. That is until he discovers an estranged father and siblings living just a few hours away. They might be strangers, but they’re blood; and Travis needs to protect Charlie should tragedy strike at his dangerous job.

Dominick Cartwright offers his son more than peace of mind. He gives Travis a new job, a place to live, and a side project--to convince Dominick’s stubborn neighbor, Sara Sanders, to sell her ranch. Travis is confident he can smooth talk the plain-Jane teacher into selling quickly; but there’s more to Sara than meets the eye. Soon Travis loses sight of his mission…and his heart.

As their relationship grows, they uncover painful family secrets, and Dominick’s real motives. Then, the sparks fly!

Why a Roughneck for a contemporary romance hero?
These rough and tumble men have always fascinated me. These guys don't flinch when hot oil splatters their hard-hats or drips down the back of their necks. Their duties on the "rig" consist of pulling cables, chains and thongs around the platform for eight to twelve hours per shift. They work in terrible weather conditions on rigs in the middle of the ocean or rigs in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma. They're risk-takers by nature and genuinely fearless individuals. While researching material for my story I learned some fascinating facts about Oklahoma.

The setting for Roughneck Cowboy is outside Tulsa in the fictional town of Tulapoint, OK. The oil history of this state dates back to 1859 when oil seeps, known to Indians as "Medicine springs" were discovered in Indian Territory. The first unintentional oil find was made near Chelsea, OK in 1889 and it produced one half barrel per day. In 1897 The Nellie Johnstone #1, the first commercial well drilled in OK hit pay dirt in the Bartlesville Dewey Field in Washington County. Tulsa changed from a small frontier town to a boomtown.

The discovery of oil in 1901 at Red Fork, a small community southwest of Tulsa on the opposite side of the Arkansas River brought in wildcatters and investors. In 1901, an official survey was done and streets lay out and neighborhoods were established in Tulsa on the opposite side of the river from the drilling sites. In 1905 the Glenn pool oil field was discovered. The strike created such a large supply of oil Tulsans were forced to build storage tanks for the excess oil and later pipelines. Tulsa soon became a leader in the growing petroleum industry, resulting in many oil companies choosing Tulsa for their home base. In 1906 Oklahoma Natural gas Company was formed. In 1907 Oklahoma and the Indian territories became the State of Oklahoma. Also in 1907 Oklahoma becomes the largest oil producer, with Tulsa claiming the title of "Oil Capitol of the World." Below is a picture of an oil-producing well that sat out front of the Oklahoma City capitol building in 1939.

A second oil boom hit Oklahoma between the years of 1925-1930. The population rose over 72,000 and many of the new residents came from Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. Wealthy oilmen Waite Phillips, William Kelly and J. Paul Getty built their mansions and modern headquarters in the state. Another community that flourished in Tulsa was greenwood. It was the largest and wealthiest of Oklahoma's African American communities and was known as "Black Wall Street." The neighborhood was a hotbed of jazz, and blues music in the 1920's. The area over 600 businesses and 36 square blocks with a population of 15,000 African Americans. "Black Wall Street" is now also sadly remembered as a "Black" mark in the state's history. On June 1, 1921 one of America's most affluent all-black communities was bombed from the air and burned to the ground by mobs of envious whites. It took fewer than 12 hours to destroy the model community. Over 3,000 African Americans died, over 600 businesses were lost: 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores, 2 movie theaters, a hospital, a bank, a post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half dozen private airplanes, and even a bus system.

Like a lot of western states, Oklahoma's history is filled with men and women who've risked their lives performing dangerous jobs in order to provide for their families. You'll find that pioneering spirit in Travis Cartwright, my hero for Roughneck Cowboy.

A Roughneck's Dream--Author Unknown

I was working in the oil fields one cold West Texas day,
And there on the rig floor a dying roughneck lay,
He said, "I am off to the Big Rig, the Big Rig I'm told
Where the crown is purest silver, and the kelly's made of gold
Where a diamond studded cat line hangs from a pearl gin pole,
And the the driller makes all the connections,
and you never come out of the hole.

I run a Wild West Trivia Contest each month in my author newsletter. Sign up for my newsletter at and I'll e-mail you my February Wild West Trivia Question. If you answer the question correctly your name will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a copy of Roughneck Cowboy.

Happy reading!


Obe said...

Awesome history lesson. Thanks for the poem too. I enjoyed reading about the early days of big oil in Oklahoma.


Marin Thomas said...

Hi Nan-great to see you here! Thanks for leaving a comment. Each and every state in this country has a fascinating history and I really enjoy researching my books.

Leigh Duncan said...

Thanks for sharing the background for your awesome new book, Marin!

Marin Thomas said...

Hi Leigh!
I enjoy hearing how authors come up with ideas for their books and I've always loved history in high school and college, so research is my favorite part of the writing process.

Estella said...

Thanks for the history lesson---fascinating.

Marin Thomas said...

Hi Estella--hope all is well with you--thanks for stopping by!

Linda Warren said...

Hey Marin,
Loved the roughneck poem. I'm writing a series about three roughneck brothers in Texas. It took a lot of research and I enjoyed reading about the oil boom in Oklahoma.

BTW, you stole my cover. LOL