I have Cowboys on the brain. No surprise there—while recently visiting the Texas cattle farm where my husband grew up, I met my deadline for an upcoming Harlequin American Romance (about a cowboy), leaving me free to FINALLY read all the great books that have been patiently waiting for months on my Kindle (starting with Donna Alward’s RITA-nominated How A Cowboy Stole Her Heart.)
And I’m not the only one with cowboys on her mind. It seems as if half the book covers I walk past feature these rugged heroes. There’s been a resurgence in cowboy television shows and miniseries (let’s pause for a moment to appreciate how nicely Timothy Olyphant wears that cowboy hat). It made me curious. Why do these heroes have such an enduring following? To answer the question, I began with a very scientific poll.
First, while sitting at my computer, I wondered aloud, “What do you think of when I say cowboy?” My third-grade daughter put on one of her dad’s cowboy hats and galloped around on an invisible horse while my son burst into song, “On a steel horse I ride… I’m wanted, dead or alive.” The third respondent, our hyperactive bichon, squeaked a toy at me, then threw it at my head. (That dog’s aim is uncanny.) Okay, so perhaps not the most scientific poll ever—Dr. Sheldon Cooper would definitely not approve of my research methodology. I further pondered the question of cowboy popularity while doing dishes and folding laundry (ahhh, the glamorous lifestyle of the romance writer) and came up with some thoughts.
The cowboy archetype is a man of action and morals. He may not play by the rules, necessarily, but he follows his own code and has a strong sense of loyalty. He’s not given to flowery speeches or witty repartee, but what he says, he means. And I’d much rather have a guy in my life who sees something that needs to be done and accomplishes it than someone who makes me grandiose promises but fails when it comes to follow-through. Cowboys are capable. They tame frontiers and are good with their hands. They know how to build barns and fences (and in the case of my husband, a kick-ass walk-in closet.) They have a sense of family and legacy; they can recognize women as equals but still protect them against rattlers, wolves, or really large spiders.
Escapist reading is great fun. I enjoy historicals set in long ago ballrooms and I like reading a good paranormal about a vampire or shapeshifter. But cowboys are real, which can boost their appeal. I like knowing there are men out there who look damn good in a saddle, men who might smile at a woman from beneath the brims of their hats with a lazily drawled, “Yes, ma’am.”
If you find yourself craving some cowboy for your summer reading list, consider Donna’s highly acclaimed How a Cowboy Stole Her Heart, the Teagues of Texas series by Trish Milburn, Barbara Dunlop’s A Cowboy Comes Home, my own Claimed by a Cowboy or, for those who love a great cowboy historical, any of the Rock Creek Six books (released electronically by bestselling, RITA-winning authors Linda Devlin and Lori Handeland). Meanwhile, I’d love to know your favorite aspect of a cowboy hero and any great cowboy romances you’ve read lately! I think my Kindle’s still got space for a few more…
Leave a comment and be entered in a drawing for Claimed by a Cowboy and Tamed by a Texan, her two Harlequin American Romances this year!