Cowgirls 'n Angels


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As many of you know, I recently co-authored the novelization of the movie Cowgirls 'n Angels.  The movie will be released by Samuel Goldwyn on Memorial Day weekend.  The book is available on Kindle.  You can read the excerpt below, download a free sample at Amazon.com, or buy the book via Kindle. 

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If you're heading into production or already have a movie, a novelization provides an added merchandising opportunity.  Additionally, a book provides word of mouth and free advertising for the movie. 

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COWGIRLS 'N ANGELS -- Excerpt 

Novelization by Pam Bassuk and Timothy Armstrong

Based on a screenplay by Timothy Armstrong and Stephen Blinn


CHAPTER 1 – The First Day of the Rest of My Life

              “The only difference between cowgirls and angels,” my granddaddy used to say, “is that angels can’t ride as good.”  Well, I wasn’t a cowgirl.  And I wasn’t no angel either.  Truth was I didn’t even like the rodeo. But there I was standin’ outside a rodeo arena at the start of a July day that was gonna change my life forever. 

              I sure wasn’t your typical Oklahoma girl. I was ten years old and half-orphan. Well, that’s what I liked to call myself. See, I didn’t have a daddy. Never even met him. I did have a mother, but she worked all the time so I was pretty much on my own. 

             It seemed like I was always on the outside looking in.

  As I stood outside that rodeo I could see all the families headin’ to their seats.  Kids were swinging from their parents’ arms and riding on their daddies’ shoulders.  It looked like fun.  Father’s day had passed only two weeks ago and I was still feeling sorry for myself. The sight of all those daddies laughing with their little girls made me feel downright lonely.

             Sometimes life felt so unfair.  Why should those little girls get to ride on their daddies' shoulders and not me?  Then I started to dream that my daddy was out there somewhere, just waitin’ for me to find him. And when I did find him, he would wrap his big arms around me and say he’d never let go of me….never ever…

 But that was just a dream, and most dreams never come true. Whenever I wake up it’s always just me and my momma, Elaine Clayton, in our broken down little house with all our junk and no one to sit at the head of the table where a Daddy should be sittin’.

 Anyway, my problem at that moment was that I wanted to get into that rodeo and I didn’t have enough money. Then I saw an opening in the chain link fence leading right into the rodeo.  I pictured my daddy telling me, “In life, you got to take advantage of every opportunity you get.”  So I was getting ready to take advantage of that hole.  Only a scrawny ol’ security guard wandered right in front of that opening.  And he gave me a look like he could read my mind.  And that sort of spoiled my plans. 

            I wasn’t one to give up easily. I looked at the hole in that fence, the firecrackers in my pocket, and a garbage can just a bit away, and I hatched me a sneaky plot. 

 I found an old lighter in the dirt near that garbage can.  When the security guard looked the other way, I flicked it and lit my firecrackers.  Then real casual, so no one would suspect anything, I tossed them into a metal garbage can and moseyed on over to the hole to wait.  Well about seven seconds passed and “RANG-A-TANG-CLANG!”  Those firecrackers went off and people start screaming and the security guard chugged over to see what the commotion was, and when everyone was looking at that garbage can, I skedaddled on through that hole in the fence. 

 I raced under the bleachers and found me the best view of the rodeo anybody could ever hope for -- except for a few legs and boots in my way and various handbags and purses. One purse had a pack of gum in it staring right at me.  And quicker than I could think, I grabbed that pack and popped a piece in my mouth.  It was the sweetest, juiciest gum I’d ever tasted, and as I was chewing on my little slice of heaven, I noticed that the woman had three little kids who weren’t going to get to eat that gum -- unless I put it back.  I took a deep breath and carefully slid the pack back into the lady’s handbag. 

            Then I got a little curious to see what other people had in their handbags, so I started looking around.  Well this one lady had a pack of cigarettes.  I slipped my sticky fingers into her bag, pulled out the pack, and poured the cigarettes onto the ground, where I had me a happy dance on those stubby things.  After the cigarettes were tattered and flattened, I carefully slid the empty pack back into the handbag, feeling like I did my good deed for the day.  Heck, I probably added two years to her life.

            Another lady had a bottle of perfume, so I sprayed me a little sample -- and nearly choked on the fumes.  I realized some perfumes must work like pepper spray -- to scare the men away with their flowery scents.  If you asked me, some women were more clever than you’d ever know.   

            In the next purse I found a wad of cash.  I couldn’t help but pick it up to see how thick it felt in my hands.  Holding it made me feel like a rich woman.  I’ve never been rich.  But something didn’t feel right about taking all her money, so I split the money in half and slid the bigger half back into her wallet.  After a few moments, I slid a little more money into her wallet, then a little more, then some more still, until finally, I just gave it all back.  Like I said, I may not  be an angel, but my mamma didn’t raise no bank robber neither. 

I heard a bell and looked up to see a cowboy riding one of the craziest, most powerful bulls I’d ever seen.  That cowboy was big and tough, but on top of that bull he looked like a flea on a firecracker.  That bull twisted, turned, and bucked like his tail was on fire.  That cowboy was hanging on for dear life.  He tried to stay on for eight seconds, but he got thrown after six.  The crowd groaned ‘cause it looked right painful to be tossed high into the air by a bull and then land in the dirt. 

Then, the bull turned and started to charge at that limp cowboy lying in the dirt, and we all gasped, ‘cause sure as can be, it looked like that cowboy was going to get trampled.  But just in the nick of time, a bullfighter dressed as a clown jumped in between the bull and the cowboy and started dancing something crazy in front of the bull.  It was the bullfighter’s job to distract the angry bull after the cowboy got thrown, so the cowboy wouldn’t get run over.  The bull turned away from that downed cowboy and decided he’d rather mow down the bullfighter. 

Well that rodeo clown didn’t strike me as too clever because now he had an angry old bull staring down at him.  The bull stomped his hoof and snorted something wild and then charged.  I covered my eyes, except for a little crack.  I didn’t know how the bullfighter did it, but he twisted and turned and snaked behind a barrel and next thing you knew, that bull ran straight past him!  Everyone cheered.  A couple of cowboys helped the rider out of the ring as the clown continued to shake his bottom at the bull.  When the rider and the bull were safely out of the ring, the clown took a bow and pretended to fall into a cow patty, which is a fancy word for cow poop.  Everyone laughed and I realized that clown was about the cleverest, bravest man I ever did see. 

I heard a commotion off to the side and turned to see a group of girls on horseback waiting for their turn to perform.   I craned my neck up to see them sitting high up on their horses, with their white Stetson cowgirl hats and patriotic red, white, and blue sequin outfits.  The getups looked like they were covered in rubies, diamonds and sapphires.  Someone above me leaned over to her kid and said, “These girls are the best drillers and trick riders anywhere.  You watch.  Someday, you can tell your kids, you saw the Sweethearts of the Rodeo!

The leader of the Sweethearts (I heard someone call her Rebecca) walked up and down the two rows of horses, making sure everyone was straight and ready. “Alright, Ladies,” she said. “Keep the lines tight.  Don’t cut the corners!” 

Then the announcer’s voice called out across the arena, “And now Ladies and Gentlemen, please give a big welcome to the Sweethearts of the Rodeo!”  Then the Sweethearts exploded into the arena, their horses’ hooves sounding like thunder.  I was cheering and hollering along with everyone else in the arena.  Those girls were riding like they were right out of the Wild West.

Their horses thundered through the ring, bobbing and weaving around each other as fast as lightning.  It looked like they were about to smash into one another – but they never did. Then they started doing tricks on their galloping horses. One girl turned backwards in the saddle.  Another girl started spinning around, facing forward, then backward, then forward, then backward.  Another girl hung off the side of the horse and actually scooped up some dirt off the ground with her hand while the horse flew at top speed.  Then the last girl stood up on her galloping horse and rode round and round the ring, holding a flag which snapped in the wind behind her.  The crowd went wild. 

I was so excited, I let out a whoop, jumped up into the air, and whacked my head right on the bleacher above me.  Only problem was, I still had my hand in some lady’s pocketbook.  She grabbed my wrist and squawked, “What are you doin’ in my purse?!” 

           I yanked myself free, tumbled backwards, and knocked over a trash can. Then a security guard appeared and he barked out with a southern twang  – “Hey! You can’t be under here!”

I dashed through the bleachers, wove around the posts, and darted up into the stands.  And he was chasing right after me...

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