Friday, March 10, 2006

Craving for cowboys?

Some romance readers love a man in a kilt, others a rugged Special Forces soldier or a sophisticated aristocrat. But for some readers none of these heroes can compare to a cowboy. Perhaps it is that so many of us grew up loving horses. How could we resist a man who loves his horse better than any other living creature up until the moment he meets his heroine?

Cowboys are often the strong silent type. They wear spurs, eat cold beans and sleep on the ground for weeks at a time without the influences of civilization. A cowboy's existence can be a lonely one. "Brokeback Mountain" notwithstanding, these tough men need the soft touch of a woman. I think that is the appeal for me. The stark contrast between a hardened man who is more comfortable with his cattle than he is with other people and a tender woman--the ultimate social creature. When my editor asked me to write a novella with a cowboy hero, this was the scenario that came to my mind and my story "Moonlight Whispers" was born.

My story appears in the anthology, My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys, which has just been released. I play the role of the author no one has heard of, while the other two authors are well known to readers of Western romance--Lorraine Heath and Georgina Gentry. I enjoyed reading both of their stories. With no more guidance than the anthology title, we all came up with very different stories in different settings. But all three stories have this in common-- a tough cowboy hero and a woman who softens him. Mind you, these heroines aren't wimps either, but they are all women in desperate need of a hero.

When I hear from readers who enjoyed my books, they almost always add a special thank you for writing a western. There just aren't enough good westerns out there these days. If you're one of those readers who yearns for a hunky cowboy--this book is for you. The beautiful trade paperback format is a special bonus. That bare-chested cowboy looks great in the larger size.

So--what's your preference? Cowboys? Scots? Or do you like to sleep around, er, experience different types of heroes?


Nancy Morse said...

It doesn't matter to me if he's a cowboy, a Scot, or Godzilla. As long as he's attractive in my eyes, has a brain to match his brawn, and above all, is tortured. God, I adore those tortured heroes. They're just screaming out for a good woman to love and rescue them.

Teresa Bodwell said...

That's interesting, Nancy. I'm a fan of tortured heroes too--but I know people who can't stand 'em.

Um, in what universe could Godzilla be attractive in your eyes? (wati--answered my own question a brainy Godzilla who was abandoned by his parents, lost his wife and kids in the war and . . .)

Sally MacKenzie said...

You certainly have the hunkiest guys on your covers, Teresa. How can anyone NOT think cowboys are the ultimate hero when they see your books on the bookshelf.

Of course, I like my heroes naked...

Jennifer Y. said...

Great post and I love your story in the anthology by the way!!!

I like to experience variety. Some days I feel like about a Scot, somedays I feel like a cowboy, and other days I feel like a member of the nobility or an everyday kind of guy. LOL

As long as the character is attractive and appealing to me and well-written, it does not really matter to me if he is a Scot or cowboy or whatever (although, I might have a problem with Godzilla)...LOL.

Jennifer Yates

Teresa Bodwell said...

Thanks Jennifer--so glad you liked my story.

Sally--naked is good. In fact, as I recall, we do see a naked cowboy in "Moonlight Whispers". ;-)
Hmm, gives me an idea for a title--The Naked Cowboy

Nancy said...

I absolutely love the dark and brooding type - cowboys, scots, whatever!

Nancy H.

Nancy Morse said...

Well, of course, I didn't mean Godzilla literally, but now that I think of it, the poor guy hasn't gotten the respect he deserves. There are lots of men out there who aren't good looking and don't have broad shoulders and washboard abs, but they're intelligent, strong-willed forces of nature. Our mutant lizard certainly fits that description. He did, after all, take on the Japanese army singlehandedly, and you just know he'd protect his mate with his life. And having lost his family to atomic testing and being the last of his kind certainly puts him in the tortured category. If I were a female, atomically-mutated 80 foot lizard emerging from the depths of the ocean looking for love, he'd be just the kind of guy I'd be looking for.

Paula Reed said...

I'm totally promiscuous! Lift that kilt, unbuckle that swash, and by the way, you can leave your hat on, but take off the boots!

Teresa Bodwell said...

Nancy M.
Thanks for clarifying. :-)

Teresa Bodwell said...

Gee, Paula . . . I'm speechless.

Allie Mackay said...

Oooooh ho ho ho ho, Teresa!

Sue-Ellen is currently in crazed deadline end-spurt mania and unable to comment, but since I tend to live a life of leisure, I just had to pop by to put in her vote for Scots.

In particular, Highland Scots.

And, yes, Sue-Ellen knows them: both the historical ones she puts into her books and real ones since she spends as much time over there each year as her deadlines allow.

The day cowboys start talking with a butter-soft burr guaranteed to melt a woman's heart and other unmentionable places, maybe Sue-Ellen and I might consider cowboys.

But for the now, we'll stick with kilties.

It's wonderful, though, that the romance world is filled with such variety. (yes, Sue-Ellen made me say that - she is much nicer than I am)

Slainte all around!
Allie Mackay

Teresa Bodwell said...

Well, lassie. What if we moved your highlander to Montana and traded his kilt for a Stetson and a pair chaps? Would ye love that cowboy?

JoAnn Ross said...

I grew up with cowboys, have written a bunch, and know firsthand how much we fictionalize them -- the same way we do our cops, our SEALS, and other manly occupations :) -- yet there's something appealing about their almost old fashioned black and white sense of honor that makes for a great hero.

I enjoy reading all types, but in my own writing, since I find myself writing redemption stories a lot, I tend to prefer the hardened, wounded alpha shell guys. Reluctant heroes who are far better men than they believe themselves to be.

Allie Mackay said...

Ahhhh, Teresa ...

You are cracking my hard shell! Don't tell anyone, you hear?

Truth is, and Sue-Ellen will get old Devorgilla to zap me for saying this, but she actually lived in Fort Worth for some years many moons ago. She knows and appreciates the allure of your cowboy heroes.

As for me ... that nekkid chest on your cover has my mouth watering. I'll make sure Sue-Ellen orders a copy for me to read when she next lifts her head from her silly deadlines!

Slainte again!
Allie Mackay - who knows its only a Highlander's pride and nuthin' else beneath those yummy kilts!

Teresa Bodwell said...

I hear you. Reluctant heroes are wonderfully human. Easy to relate to.

Allie-- I think that may have been why Paula wants to lift those kilts. She's anxious to see the Highlander pride!

Candy Calvert said...

Maybe it's because I write wacky, romantic comedy, but: I love just the opposite of a Dark Brooder. I'm drawn to those loveable, sexy, near "bumblers", with a
self-deprecating sense of humor and a quick wit. Sort of big grown-up boyscouts who treat their Moms well, but have a rascally side and can do
the whole high-testosterone "take charge thing" in the blink of an eye, when the need arises. Kind of
like Tom Selleck's character in Magnum PI. As far as I'm concerned, he was the epitome of a sexy


Teresa Bodwell said...

I think it's a rare writer who can pull off the hero you are describing. But when it works (as it does in your stories) it great fun. And, like Joann's reluctant heroes--very human.

Yeah--Magnum P.I. was pretty yummy.

Colleen Thompson said...

I adore hot & hunky, smart-ass bad boys who use their wit to cover up deep moral conflict and a bone-deep sense of honor. Doesn't matter whether they wear uniforms or suits and ties or denim. It's the attitude that makes this hero sexy... though a nice butt never hurts. :)

Allison Brennan said...

Colleen, you said it exactly right! It's all about attitude. (and nice butts) :)

JoAnn Ross said...

Candy -- I love reading books with those fun guys (when, as Teresa said, they're done well), but whenever I write them, I spend months pulling my hair out. Partly because they don't have nearly the character arc because they're pretty satisfied with themselves the way they are. (And why not, since they're adorable, hunky, and dependable when the need arises.)

It's the same with Bad Boys. I used to write them all the time for Temptation, and enjoyed writing the two novellas for Brava, but extending them over 100,000 + words is difficult for me.

I'm currently writing a Cajun hero right now for Fallen, which used to be Impulse and is the formerly shelved New Orleans book. He plays a bad boy most of the way through, but that's just a ruse to throw the bad guys (and, for a while, the heroine) off track. Deep down, he's tortured. Just the way I like 'em. LOL

Oh, and as for the butts. Did I mention I grew up with cowboys? There's a reason they all wear stacked Wranglers. Because they know they look d@mn good in them. ;)

Jan said...

I love cowboys, especially the reluctant hero types. :) Love the cover of the anthol, Teresa. It's on my TBR pile.

Mary Feliz said...

I like the guys with the quirky flaws. Indiana Jones, who can outrun a murderous boulder, has a paralyzing fear of snakes. A guy who can take down five terrorists is nearly crippled by the pain of his bad knee. I'm tired of heroes who always have their cell phones at the ready. I want one whose battery is out of charge, or beeps when it's not supposed to. That's a disaster I can relate to. And, of course, my hero would know how to carry on despite these everyday disasters.

Teresa Bodwell said...

You made me think of that George Clooney movie--was it One Fine Day? The hero and heroine got the cell phones mixed up (among other problems). That was really fun. And George Clooney is so great at that. He's all cool looking, but he does bumbling brilliantly (just a little bumbling, not falling on your face clumsy).