Tag Archives: Red Headed Stranger

THIS IS NOT A DRILL: Joely Sue Burkhart Discusses The Red Headed Stranger & Offers a HH Prize

You. Guys. Of course I’m super excited to have Joely Sue Burkhart at the blog today. She’s a total sweetheart, and I always love to hear from her. So, first of all, that’s totally awesome. But … secondly…. OMFG FLAIL FLAIL FLAIL. JSB (that’s what I’ve decided just this moment I’m going to call Joely Sue Burkhart) is giving away the Hayden-Harnett Pilot Clutch in White Snake. (You’re all just lucky it’s not the Lorca because that’s a bag I’ve been hunting for 4+ years now.)

Er, anyway, not that I get easily distra – *ooh shiny!* – ahem. But JSB discusses music today, which is also something I love, so without further ado …

The Red-Headed Stranger

This is going to show my age, but when I was a kid, Mom would stack 6 old-fashioned albums on our record player at night.  Since Willie Nelson and Freddie Fender were her favorite singers, I fell asleep to songs like “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” and “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” for years.

I never realized how much those old cry-in-your-beer songs had stuck with me.  I don’t even know why, but a few weeks ago, I got a craving for an old Willie song I hadn’t heard since my childhood, “Red Headed Stranger.”

Back when I was in elementary school, we had one week of “show and tell” in music where we could bring in a record (yeah yeah we didn’t have iPods back then) and play our favorite song for the entire class.  Now before you think that’s a lot, my graduating class only had about 35 people in it.  Anyway, what 5th grade kid do you know today would bring in a country and western song by Willie Nelson?

Some of my friends had brought in KISS and other rock songs (as long as the lyrics were approved), but there I was with my “Red Headed Stranger.”  I know.  Even then I was a little “out there.”  *wry laugh*

So the other day, I hopped out to iTunes to see if I could buy that song on a lark.  Sure enough, there was Willie’s song, and while I was there, I bought “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” (it’s a theme song for a WIP).  As I listened to “Red Headed Stranger,” it was like a curtain pulled back in my mind.  I could suddenly see how strongly that song had affected me, especially my writing.

I love dark, tortured heroes.  If he’s hiding his pain, vicious in his sorrow, all the better.  I especially have a thing for assassins – I’ve written three (that’s Gregar, the Shadowed Blood, in The Road to Shanhasson, the first and most dangerous assassin I’ve written to date).  If you listen to the lyrics of Willie’s song, all of these key words started popping up in my mind, blazing with importance.


Raging black stallion

Eyes like thunder

Little lost darling

Heavy as night

Wild in his sorrow

Don’t cross him

To this day, it still drives me crazy that I don’t know what happened to the Stranger’s little lost love.  We know she’s dead on the hillside.  But how?  Was it his fault, one of his enemies from his outlaw days?  Did she die in childbirth?  An Indian attack?  We just don’t know.  But that “what if….”

That’s why I’m a writer and this song still haunts me today.

Does a song haunt you?  Let me know in comments – I’m always eager to add to my very eccentric playlists!  One commenter will be entered to win an awesome prize I bought just for this giveaway: a Hayden Harnett snake-skin wristlet purse.  I saw Limecello linking to some sales on Twitter and couldn’t resist this adorable purse.  It’s small but all leather and super cute.  My Middle Monster (age 11) tried to steal it – I had to hide it in my closet to save it for this giveaway.  I’ll mail this purse anywhere on the planet!

~ * ~

Joely Sue Burkhart has always loved heroes who hide behind a mask, the darker and more dangerous the better.  Whether cool, sophisticated billionaire, brutal bloodthirsty assassin, or simply a man tortured by his own needs, they all wear masks to protect themselves.  Once they finally give you a peek into the passionate, twisted secrets they’re hiding, they always fall hard and fast.  Dare to look beneath the mask with delicious BDSM in a wide variety of genres with Joely on her website, Twitter and Facebook.  Be sure to check out her free reads!

And since JSB wrote this post centered around the song, I figured I’d include it if you’ve never heard it before. 🙂

[I tried to find it on Willie Nelson’s VEVO page but he didn’t have this one uploaded!] The lyrics are also on the actual youtube page too, in case you’re interested in readinf those. 🙂

But! The important thing is – talk to Joely! Answer her question, and you might be the luckiest girl (or boy) like pretty much ever. Ever.