Beauty and the Cowboy - 1-SummerFair_BeautyAndTheCowboy_Round2Medium-672x1024

Friday is release day for my first Montana Born book, BEAUTY AND THE COWBOY! It’s the first book in Tule Publishing Group’s Big Marietta Fair series.

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about some of my summer memories that inspired the feel of the book. Today, I want to talk about the music that helped keep me in the zone as I wrote this story.

Every book I write has a soundtrack, but the one for BEAUTY AND THE COWBOY is extra fun.  Every song on the list lends itself to the feel of this friends-to-lovers story. 

Here’s the playlist:

Goodbye in Her Eyes – Zac Brown Band

Mama’s Broken Heart – Miranda Lambert

I Hope it Rains – Jana Kramer

Springsteen – Eric Church

Sure Would be Cool if You Did – Blake Shelton

Night Train – Jason Aldean

My Eyes – Blake Shelton

I’m On Fire – Bruce Springsteen

I Want Crazy – Hunter Hayes

Chicken Fried – Zac Brown Band


Goodbye in Her Eyes fits so well, because as the story opens, Charlotte Morgan, or Charlie, as those closest to her call her, is about to get engaged to the man she’s dated for six years. The only problem is, she has a sinking feeling that this isn’t the happily ever after she’s always dreamed of. The two have dated long distance for a lot of the time they’ve been together and now that they’re about to take the first step toward making the relationship permanent, the ring pinches. Charlie just can’t bring herself to pretend it’s okay. How can she when all she wants to do is get that darned marquise off her finger?

Without giving away too much of the story, the next two songs on the playlist Mama’s Broken Heart and I Hope it Rains give a good hint to what happens next. Thank goodness her lifelong friend, Jesse Guthrie, is there to help her pick up the pieces. 

Jesse has had a thing for Charlie for as far back as he can remember, but one of the two of them has always been otherwise engaged…until now. That would account for the next six songs on the list. Give them a listen. They’ll give you a hint as to what happens next. 

And then there’s Chicken Fried by the Zac Brown Band. That song is just pure fun and gets stuck in my head. So, I had to include it. Plus, I imagined it playing somewhere in the background as the friends who are edging closer to something more enjoy the Big Marietta Fair.


The fabulous folks at Tule Publishing put together a collection of videos for each of the songs. Here’s a link: BEAUTY AND THE COWBOY video playlist  

After you click on the first one, the rest play automatically.

 One song I wish I would’ve added to the list is Rick Springfield’s Jesse’s Girl. Let’s consider it a bonus track. 

What’s your favorite song on the playlist? Or if you’d rather, tell me your favorite song that’s not on the list. One person who posts will win a Kindle copy of BEAUTY AND THE COWBOY. I’ll post the winner’s name on Sunday.

32 thoughts on “The Music Behind the Story

  1. Maureen says:

    Congratulations on your new book! It sounds like a good one. My favorite is I’m on Fire by Bruce Springsteen.

    1. Thanks for the good words, Maureen! I love The Boss, too. Have you heard Mumford and Son’s version of I’m on fire? It’s fabulous! Check it out if you have a moment.

  2. KateS says:

    I’m a Bruce fan… so I have to go with ‘I’m On Fire’

    1. He’s a classic, isn’t he? I was lucky enough to see him in concert twice!

  3. Susan Gorman says:

    Congrats on your new book!!!
    Great blog about playlists.
    My favorite is Blake Sheltonz’s My Eyes.

    1. Hey, Sue! Thanks for the good words. That entire CD, Based on a True Story, is fabulous! It’s one of my favorites right now.

  4. Thank you, Nancy. Since I haven’t kept up with pop music since the 80s, my favorite song you mentioned is—surprise surprise—‘Jessie’s Girl”. But it doesn’t just win by default.

    In those days I was seriously in love with Rick Springfield. His music still takes me back. Back to a time when I was fascinated by pop culture, had plenty of spare time, and could get by with a complete lack of common sense.

    BTW, Rick is still a working musical artist. He has his own Facebook page. And it’s hardly ever about nostalgia. He focuses on his current endeavors. A great attitude!

    1. Thanks for your response, Mary Anne. Don’t you love it when a performer you admire grows and changes with the times?

  5. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

    I only know one song on the playlist, and that’s I’m on Fire. I’m afraid if I made a playlist right now, it would have Barbie and Frozen songs on it. I never get to listen to any adult music.

    1. Glenda says:

      I had to laugh Shana – I remember those days SO well. We actually got a Mickey Kids songs CD with reworked modern (at the time) songs that had the same tunes with more child appropriate lyrics. Now there are times when I hear some of the original versions of those songs, I expect the Disney lyrics. 🙂

    2. Oh, Shana, I remember those days! When my daughter was young, I was steeped in Barney and Raffie. The scary thing is I can still remember all the words. There’s one song called Banana Phone that has permanently earwormed its way into my head.

  6. Laurie G says:

    I’m not a country fan. Therefore, the only song I’m familiar with and like is I’m On Fire – Bruce Springsteen. I also like COVER ME by The Boss.

    Favorite song LAYLA Derek & the Dominoes (I love Eric Clapton’s music).

    1. Oooh, Laurie, I love Eric Clapton! Good choice.

  7. bn100 says:

    don’t know those songs; like firework by Katy Perry

    1. That’s a good one, BN100!

  8. Quilt Lady says:

    This sound track sounds awesome! I am going to go with My Eyes – Blake Shelton although I like Bruce pretty good too.

    1. Thanks, Quilt Lady! The music made the book so much fun to write.

  9. Marcy Shuler says:

    I love the sound of this book and the whole series, Nancy! I like Chicken Fried because it’s such an upbeat song.

    1. Thanks, Marcy! I love the song Chicken Fried. It gets stuck in my head all the time.

  10. Glenda says:

    I have to go with I’m on Fire. I really don’t know the other songs.

    1. That’s a great choice, Glenda!

  11. Ada says:

    I’m a big country fan so I like all the songs on the list! My favorite is Hunter Hayes I Want Crazy!

    1. Ada, did you see Hunter Hayes on one of the July 4th television specials? He a cutie!

  12. Anita H. says:

    What a great list, that’s some of my favorite music. I’d have to go with Blake Shelton’s two songs, and Eric Church’s Springsteen which always gets stuck in my head. I love singing along to those ones!

    1. Me, too, Anita! Springsteen and Chicken Fried. If I even hear the title of either, they’re stuck in my head for hours.

  13. I envy the playlist idea, Nancy! Currently, it’s all Chopin nocturnes for me. : ) I can’t wait to read this book!

    1. Here’s a secret, Kristan…I can’t listen to music with words when I write. I end up singing along and getting nothing done. I listen to the playlist before and after I write and when I take breaks to keep my head in the story.

  14. Kathleen Kathleen says:

    Can’t wait for Friday, Nancy! The book sounds fantastic…and the playlist is such fun! It would be hard to pick a favorite, but Springsteen always gets things going!

    1. I’m right there with you, Kathleen.

  15. Debbie says:

    Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2. I Want to Kiss You All Over by The Exiles, Clocks by Coldplay, and Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel are some of my favorites.

  16. Donna EHD says:

    I do like country music, but don’t listen to much music during the day. I’m sure I’ve heard all of those songs you listed, but don’t necessarily recall any words of any particular one. Probably Night Train by Jason Aldean is the only one I remember in particular. But I definitly recognize Blake Shelton’s and Miranda Lambert’s names.

    Well, after listening to the sound track – I did recognize about 3 or 4 of the songs [Chicken Fry and Mama’s Broken Heart for sure] but the rest, no.

    And yes, I also like to listen to the instrumental music – be it movie themes, hymns, classical, or country

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