Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Karen Michelle Nutt: Legend and Myth of the Cowboy

Legend and Myth of the Cowboy
by Karen Michelle Nutt
Whether it is a John Wayne classic, or the Alias Smith and Jones TV series where a pair of cousin outlaws try to reform, or the lighthearted fun of the Apple Dumpling Gang, westerns have fascinated people of all ages. What is the fascination? Is it the time period? The shootouts? The wide-brimmed hat?

I tend to think it stems back to our love for myths, legends, and folk tales. It’s the quest that calls the cowboy to take on the adventure. They have a sense of justice and chivalry the knights of medieval times once had. They’ll go out of their way to defend a woman or a child’s honor. They stand for what is right and work toward stomping out evil.

However, that’s not all that draws the attention. Who can ignore JohnWayne’s confident swagger, the cool demeanor of Bret Maverick played by James Garner? The sweet-talkin’ Luke Macahan played by Bruce Broxleitner in How the West Was Won had me dreaming about cowboys. Hannibal Heyes played by Pete Duel in Alias Smith and Jones was my first cowboy crush. At nine years old, I couldn’t resist his mischievous smile, and today I still get a kick out of watching the show.

Westerns with a sci-fi or paranormal twist fascinate me as well. Nathan Fillion as Malcolm Reynolds in the western space drama Firefly is a rugged outlaw, who still does the right thing at the end of the day. Steampunk cowboys are a favorite of mine, too. The Wild, Wild West falls into the western steampunk category, and aired long before steampunk became a known genre. James T. West (Robert Conrad) was fearless and handsome in his cowboy hat. He sure knew how to fight off bad guys. Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin) was the brilliant gadgeteer and master of disguises. Gotta love them both.
Sheriff, gambler, outlaw, steampunk adventurer- my heart skitters a beat or two faster when the man donning a cowboy hat strolls into town.
Steampunk, Cowboy Hats and Gadgets

My steampunk historical western, Storm Riders, takes place in the mining town of Bodie, located in California. The Storm Riders ride the storms for time travel. Their mission is to keep the time line flowing. There are three destinies, three paths for each decision a person makes, but if one of the roads becomes tangled, a Storm Rider must step in and repair the rift before the dimensions collide. I’ve combined the western, fantasy (time travel), and historical elements for my tale. It’s how I’d imagine the wild west would look if the future stopped by for a visit.
How could I not have a story with Outlaws and Sheriffs?

In my western tale, WANTED, six year-old Emma is convinced her Christmas wish and premonition has come true when outlaw JoBeth Riley is brought into town and locked behind bars. Emma’s father, Sheriff Jace Kelly, must keep JoBeth from being broken out by the leader of the outlaw gang, who is determined to have JoBeth by his side once more.
JoBeth finds the Kellys a strange lot when forced to spend Christmas with them. The little girl believes her dreams are tales of the future and the rugged sheriff kindness proves to be a distraction. She’s an outlaw for heaven’s sake, but Jace is bound and determined to steal her heart. 

Penning tales is my first love, but I also create book covers for Western Trail Blazer and Gillian’s Book Covers, “Judge Your Book By Its Cover”. You might recognize a few of these covers by these talented authors:

Judge Your Book By Its Cover: We offer Pre-Made Covers for all genres, but here are a few of our western pre-made covers. We will not resale the same cover. If you're looking for something in particular, but don't see it on our website, let us know. We will work with you to create the perfect cover for your next best seller!!

About the Author:

Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chorkie, is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer.
When she’s not fighting outlaws, vampires, shape shifters or fallen angels, she creates book covers. You can find her cover art at: Gillian’s Book Covers, “Judge Your Book By Its Cover”.
Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.

Gillian’s Book Covers, “Judge Your Book By Its Cover”:
Amazon Author Page:


  1. I wanted to thank you for having me here today at Western Fictioneers. What a wonderful and interesting site!

  2. Karen! So good to have you with us today! As you know, I'm a HUGE fan of your covers! LOL I've been so blessed with the covers you have made for my books and stories--I can't say enough good about them--you are one talented lady!

    I was a little older than you when Alias Smith and Jones was out--but Hannibal was my crush, too.

    And of course, you know I love your western stories. Steampunk is such an interesting genre--I admire you for tackling that--not sure I could, but you did a great job with it. Thanks again for being our guest today--loved the post and pics--what a stroll down memory lane.

  3. Bodie plays a brief role in my Western Road to Rimrock. I'd toyed with the idea of setting the whole story there, but that's not how the characters wanted it.

  4. WANTED is on of my all time favorite novels. Thanks for sharing today. Wishing you continued success.

  5. I enjoyed Wanted, too! Thanks for visiting WF and taking us on a trip down memory lane. You forgot Cheyenne, though. LOL

  6. We're VERY happy to have you here, Karen. And I'm a huge fan of your covers, too -especially a certain "Blackwell's Run"...

  7. Cheryl,
    So glad to be here!

    I enjoy making your covers since you like JT on the covers. lol

    Wasn't Alias Smith and Jones a fun show? I'm still fond of it. Brings back memories.

    So glad you enjoyed Storm Riders, too! It was fun to write. :)

  8. Caroline,

    I'm so glad you enjoyed Wanted! Thanks for letting me know. :)

    Thanks for the well wishes, too. Much appreciated!

  9. Chuck,

    Funny how those characters just take over. lol

    Bodie is a great town to explore!

    Thanks so much for stopping in today to say howdy!!

  10. Jacquie,

    So glad you enjoyed Wanted, too!

    I'm sure I missed a few great shows! lol Thanks for stopping in. :)

  11. Troy,

    So glad you like your covers!

    Thanks for having me here, too!

  12. Karen--I remember your story Storm Riders. It was a thrilling ride! And fun.
    You're so talented in many ways.
    Oh, yes, we love our cowboys. While I've never been a John Wayne fan, he did have a way about him.
    Thanks for the entertaining post. And I also that you for the wonderful covers you've done for my Dime novels, and the two contemporaries. I just love them.

  13. I loved Wanted and I'm looking forward to reading Storm Riders, too.
    Who doesn't like John Wayne? That would be anti-American. LOL I have to say I liked Chuck Connors in The Rifleman and James Garner in Maverick, but my absolute favorite on your list would be Nathan in the Fire Fly series.The dialogue was snappy and funny. Josh Wheton is on top of sci-fy. I love how he made Fire Fly a western/sci-fi series. I hate it was cut.
    I wish you continued success, Karen.

  14. Glad you mentioned Firefly, Karen. I love that series, probably because it's so much like the old westerns I watched as a kid. thanks for reminding of that.

  15. Hi Karen, I know we're FB friends but it's so great to get to know you better. I had no idea about the book covers and may I say, each is awesome! I think the time-travel cowboy and the steampunker are great ways to modernize a classic genre. Continue all the good stuff, okay! xo

  16. Sounds like I need to read Wanted, Karen.

    I don't know you Alias Smith and Jones are, nor I know who Hannibal was. Guess that tells you how old I am. My first crush was Tyrone Power. Now, I did like Maverick.

    Your covers are great! I'll remember the next time I need one.

  17. I feel even older, with memories of 'Rocky' Lane, Tex Ritter,Sky King etc. but also enjoyed all those you mentioned. Enjoyed the post. Doris

  18. I can barely remember Alias Smith and Jones... does that mean I win? ;-) And I akso remember William Shatner and Doug McClure in "Barbary Coast"... anyhoo, thanks again for joining us, Karen!

  19. Celia,

    Thanks so much for coming by. John Wayne did have a way about him.

    So glad you like your book covers! :)

  20. Sarah,

    I didn't watch Fire Fly series until the series had ended. My husband and I watched the DVDs. What a interesting concept. It's too bad the series wasn't given more time to develop.

    Thanks so much for coming by. I wish you the best, too!

  21. Lyn,

    So nice to meet you. I'm glad I could remind you of Fire Fly. :)

  22. Hi Tanya,

    Thanks so much for coming by. So glad you like the book covers and the time travel/ steampunk adventure. :)

  23. Linda,

    So glad you like the covers. I'd love to create a cover for you in the future. Just let me know. :)

    I love Tyrone Powers. I liked Luck of the Irish (not a western but good), and Jesse James. Though it wasn't very accurate. Tyrone did have a presence on screen.

    If you can check out Alias Smith and Jones, you should.

    Thanks for stopping by. :)

  24. Doris,

    So glad you could stop by and visit. I'm not familiar with those you mentioned. I'll have to check them out. :)

  25. Troy,

    Barely remember Alias Smith and Jones---Does that mean you're the baby of this group. lol

    Thanks so much for having me here. Great site!!

  26. Loved the blog. I had to giggle though, because it reminded me that my father loved westerns. In fact, my husband had to wait for a commercial during an episode of "Gunsmoke" to ask Dad if he could marry me. To this day,
    I don't think Dad realized he'd said yes, until three or four days later when we started talking about dates for the wedding.

  27. Allison,

    That's too funny! Thanks for sharing the story with us. :)