Author Jo Huddleston

Sweet Southern Romance

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Margaret Brownley: Cowboy Lingo

Our guest blogger today is Margaret Brownley, author of Dawn Comes Early. Welcome, Margaret and thanks for sharing with us today.

About Margaret:

Thrills, mystery, suspense, romance: Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with this—except Margaret happened to be writing for the church newsletter. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction."
So that’s what Margaret did. She’s now a New York Times bestselling author and a Romance Writers of America RITA finalist with more than 25 novels to her credit
The first book in her Brides of Last Chance Ranch series, Dawn Comes Early, published March 2012. The book will be followed by Waiting for Morning.

Margaret’s also excited to announce that her non-fiction book Grieving God’s Way: The Path to Hope and Healing will be published in July—not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.

More Love and Laughter from Margaret Brownley,
 N.Y. Times Bestselling Author

“Daily Reasons to Smile” Contest

“I’ve matched up twenty-three couples over the years and in all that time I only made one error. Although I still think the marriage would have worked had she not shot her husband.”
                                       —Aunt Bessie in Dawn Comes Early (Brides of Last Chance Ranch)

Characters from Margaret’s new book will send you a reason to smile every day until April 11th. Join in the fun and you could win a book, potted cactus (the story takes place in Arizona Territory) or an iPod Nano and alarm clock docking station. To enter send an email to Be sure to put “Reason to Smile” in the subject line. That’s it!

When Cowboy Lingo Ruled the West

I love writing about the old west. That was when men were men and women were women, but a cowboy wasn’t a cowboy unless he was wild, woolly and full of fleas. Of course the heroes we write about are more likely to be tall, dark and handsome, which may be a bit of a tall tale or whizzer. But as far as the lingo goes, there’s no reason to stretch the blanket—and yes-siree-bob, that’s part of the fun.

Today’s language seems rather dull compared to the colorful expressions and words of yesteryear. Can you think of more mouth-pleasing words than hornswoggle, caboodle or skedaddle? Or what about fiddlefooted, ranktankerous, rumbumptious or splendiferous? A latte may be the haute cuisine of coffee, but give me an Arbuckle’s any day.

A know-it-all has a saddle to fit every horse, and if someone called you a drowned horse it meant you had a bloated ego. And when was the last time you heard the weather man describe a dust storm as Oklahoma rain? Cowboys didn’t just work together they were in cahoots, and if you want to ride your horse fast, you will either have to burn the breeze or ride a blue streak.

The rebellious part of me delights that my characters can use such words as “ain’t” and “druther” without being cut down. My eighth grade English teacher would have had a fit. Of course, back in the 1800s, she’d be more likely to have a conniption (any way you call it, it serves her right for branding me with an F).

Today’s nicknames seem rather tame compared to Old Fuss and Feathers, Rattlesnake Dick, Cattle Annie, and Crazy Horse Lil.

When a cowboy said “hell on wheels” he wasn’t talking about no bikers (double negatives welcome). He was talking about movable towns that followed the building of railroads.

Job hunters could take a lesson from an old buckaroo who claimed to be born in a hurricane and could handle anything that came his way. A cowboy didn’t have work experience but he sure did have wrinkles on the horn. He was also a firm believer that every bull should carry its own tail. Think you’re right for the job? “I’m your huckleberry” meant I’m your man. Write that on your resume.  

Want to impress someone with your courage? Tell them you know how to die standing up. Someone dallying too long in the chow line? Yell at them to fire and fall back. Fallen off the straight and narrow? What you need is a fire escape (a cowboy’s name for a preacher). Feeling spooney? You haven’t lived until you’ve lallygagged on a sparking bench with your beau.

Criminals were called gangs, and a bad guy was a desperado, cattle thief, gunman, or roughneck. Anyone caught messing with the sheriff was escorted to the hoosegow immediately, if not sooner.
Finally, a word of wisdom to all you greenhorns out there. Get a wiggle on and chew the cud but stay away from conversation fluid (whiskey). Tell us your favorite cowboy expression and you’ll make us as happy as a dog with two tails.

You can find Margaret here 
You can find her book, Dawn Comes Early here


  1. Margaret Brownley and Mary Connealy are my favorite authors of cowboy Christian fiction. They are both good writers that add humor to their books. This makes their action packed romances even more fun to read. Thanks for featuring Margaret today.

    1. Pam, You're welcome. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Visit again anytime.

  2. Hi Pam,

    You shore do know how to happify a gal. I love having my name mentioned with Mary's. Thank you for making my day.

  3. I'm so happy when I find Christian books being reviewed.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Let's spread the word about Christian books!