Who Doesn’t Love a Cowboy Hero?

1 06 2009

Cowboy Up

Here at The Write Direction, we’re celebrating June as Summer Fun Month.  I kicked off my summer with a trip to the rodeo.  And it was fun–beautiful horses, cute kids on ponies, Dandies riding in figure eights, ridiculous clown jokes, and of course, lots of eye candy in cowboy hats.

There’s just something about a cowboy that’s sexy. The ruggedness, the Wranglers, the boots, the swagger–and they do swagger, even when they’re limping out of the arena after being thrown head first off a bucking bronc. And I’m not the only one thinking come-hither thoughts about cowboys.

Cowboy heroes are a staple in romance novels (especially categories), so lots of readers out there melt at the idea of a hard working, hand-calloused, Stetson-wearing alpha male.  I’ve been advised by several writerly sources, both published with Harlequin and pursuing publication with Harlequin, that cowboy heroes are the way to go if you want a request (and hopefully a contract). I think they’re probably right.

Don’t get me wrong–throwing in a cowboy won’t make up for poor writing or weak plot lines or substandard characterization or any other writer’s pitfall. But if a writer already has an affinity for cowboys, then working a story around a tried and true character type with high marketability can’t be a bad idea.

I was in Walmart over the weekend, perusing the Harlequin section. I counted how many of the covers featured cowboys. Five. And they crossed three different lines–Blaze, Desire, and Silhouette Special Edition. Also keep in mind that it’s the very end of the month, so I was primarily looking at the May leftovers before the June books fill the shelves.  And…I’ll go ahead and admit it.  This wasn’t the first time I’ve counted cowboy covers.  Frankly, five is a low number. I’ve seen a lot more than that in the past.

I have two works in progress that feature cowboy heroes–a romantic suspense and a small town contemporary. My trip to the rodeo provided some great inspiration. I’ve got to write down my sensory details before I forget the experience.

What about you?  Does your heart melt over a cowboy?  Do you have a favorite romance novel featuring a cowboy hero?  Do you have a link to worksafe cowboy eye candy?  Throw your western themed thoughts at me via a comment and you’ll be entered to win our June contest prize!

Speaking of contest prizes…

Our June Summer Fun contest prize is a beach bag filled with all kinds of summer goodies!  As we add new posts throughout the month, we’ll be adding prizes to the bag.  Then, at the end of the month, one lucky commenter will win it all.  Stop back throughout the month and comment on additional June blog posts to increase your chances to win.  We’ll randomly draw for a winner at the end of the month.

This week, I’m contributing a fun summer read…and wouldn’t you know it?  It has a cowboy cover! The first item in the tote bag is The Texas Twins by Tina Leonard. I haven’t read it yet…it’s a June release, but Harlequin American is one of my favorite lines.  And it’s awfully hard to resist a cover with TWO cowboys.

The Texas Twins by Tina Leonard