Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Appeal of the Cowboy in Romance - Rodeo, Rancher or Dude.

It's no secret that readers have been having a non-stop love affair with the cowboy.  Just think of all the great movies out there that featured sexy men in their ten gallon hats riding off into the sunset.  Even Joan Wilder (Romancing the Stone) couldn't resist Jesse, the dark and sexy cowboy from her imagination.

There aren't a whole lot of cowboys in New England.  So I "met" my first cowboy way back when I was 21 years old and on a business trip in Tucson. My boss, Patricia, and I had just come back from a client meeting at IBM and were having drinks, sitting in front of a floor to ceiling window watching the sunset over the mountains.  It was truly beautiful the way the sun make the red mountain terrain seem to glow.

As we were talking, I saw a pick-up truck pull into the parking lot of the hotel.  A cowboy got out and propped his hat on his head.  As he moved from the back of the parking lot to the front door we made eye contact.  Patricia said, "He's staring right at you!"  I smiled and he smiled back as he walked.  (Remember, beautiful sunset behind red mountains in the background.) And before his hand touched the door to go inside, he stopped and turned to me, tipping his hat and giving me a beautiful grin.  I was done for.

Patricia wanted me to run right downstairs and say hello to him.  I said, "Why?  Is it going to get any better than that?"  Well, maybe it would have.  I'll never know.  But it's been a pretty wonderful memory for all these years.

That began my love affair with the cowboy.  And although the story may be different, I know I'm not alone.  Lots of readers email me about cowboy heroes.  It's hard to pinpoint the true appeal, but I'll try.

1.) The cowboy wears a uniform.  And readers love men in uniform.  Just check out the book covers at Romantic Times or any other romance website.  The uniform is a symbol of strength.  And we do love strong heroes!

2.) The cowboy is determined.  Whether he's a rodeo cowboy or a rancher, he's determined to get the job done.  I don't know about you but any man (or woman-I don't discriminate) who has the guts to get on the back of a snot spewing, sweaty 1100-1200lbs. bull has my respect.  The idea of a rancher tending his property, taking care of the ranch and thereby taking care of his family also touches the heartstrings.  Both sexy.  Both very appealing.

3.) The cowboy is just simply a cool dude!  I don't know how else to say it.  Wouldn't you want to hang out with a cowboy?

I've written 4 books with cowboy heroes.  I can guarantee they won't be the last cowboy books I write.

Right now NOTHING BUT TROUBLE is 50% off at Smashwords.com for TODAY ONLY.  This was the first cowboy story I'd ever written and I'd love to know what you think of it.

Nothing But Trouble by Lisa Mondello 50% off http://alturl.com/rm69i with coupon code MU43H

What do you think?  What's the cowboy appeal?  Leave a comment and let me know and you may win a copy of NOTHING BUT TROUBLE.

Also available at:

AMAZON: http://amzn.com/B005O549IA
BARNES AND NOBLE: http://alturl.com/hvcr4


Victoria Bylin said...

Wonderful topic, Lisa! Cowboys have an inner strength, a code they live by (at least in romance novels!) There's a basic honor to a cowboy hero, even if he has a tortured side.

My favorite cowboy moment happened in Oklahoma. We were in a coffeeshop with a "Claw" game." A local cowboy (hat, boots, Wranglers) had a knack for it. He cleaned it out. Every child in the coffeeshop got a toy that night.

Lisa Mondello said...

Awe...see? And that is why I love cowboys. Thanks for sharing that Victoria!

Gabby said...

I haven't read a lot of books staring cowboys by I like most women have a healthy love/respect for them.

You guys are lucky to have had a cowboy experience like that, me I haven't had mine yet but I really hope to someday.

For me I'm really into the quiet stoicism that some cowboys seem to possess, to mention the strong loyalty that they have for something that's important to them.

Thanks for the contest!


Mae Nunn said...

As you know, I LOVE me some cowboys! My Englishman husband started wearing boots and cowboy hats and riding horses a few years back and I fell in love with him all over again! There's just something about kissing a man beneath the brim of a Stetson that makes a girl's head spin!

Nina Pierce said...

You made me swoon with that description of the cowboy tipping his hat to you. Is it because I too grew up in the East and I don't know any personally that keeps that fantasy alive? I don't know.

But yeah, they're everything you described. So flippin' sexy. It's an attitude, not just he clothes.

Anonymous said...

There is something very rugged and earthy about a man with dirt under his nails. The cowboy is down to earth, strong, and has to be in tune with his own body to be good at what he does..some of the hallmarks of an alpha hero. Patricia Mason

Lisa Mondello said...

Gabby, we need to find you a cowboy! Once you read them, I guarantee you'll be hooked!

Nina, never seen a cowboy? There has got to be a rodeo somewhere near you. We'll have to work on that.

Mae! You're a cowgirl at heart so I don't doubt your Englishman would eventually be wearing boots and a stetson. Oh, and that accent? Don't even start me... LOL

Lisa Mondello said...

Hi Patricia. So true. A man tending his ranch and taking care of the family. I have a thing about those alpha heroes. They're softies underneath. I'm sure of it. I should know. I married one!

K.E. Saxon said...

Great post, Lisa!

You know, over the years, I've read many, many romances with cowboy heroes, but at this moment the only one that's coming to mind is the FIRST one I ever read: Sweet Savage Love, by Rosemary Rogers. Steve Morgan was a real alpha male! Sexy and aloof, strong and purposeful, but ultimately no match for Ginny Brandon.

BTW, I loved the story about your first encounter with a cowboy. That scene deserves to be written into a romance with an HEA!

Carolyne Aarsen said...

Okay, I'm pretty lucky. My husband is a cowboy. He's got the whole strong, silent type thing down. It's not an act, it's who he is. His cowboy boots are worn in, his cowboy hat fits his head only. The other day he was standing in a hotel lobby, leaning back against the wall, booted feet crossed over each other, looking all tall and lean in his faded blue jeans and plaid shirt, his cowboy hat shading his eyes, his head tipped down (because he was talking on his cell phone which kind of ruined the ambience) and I thought, yeah. That's my guy. But when he's sitting on a horse, training it, letting it know who's in charge I see a link between past and present and a connection between him and his horse that is elemental. And pretty darn attractive. Yeah, okay. I love my husband. (that's today, tomorrow when that strong silent stuff means stubbornly digging in his heels, that might be another story .)

Sherri Shackelford said...

You can't NOT love a cowboy :)

Dr. Debra Holland said...

I dated a sexy, young cowboy, and he inspired me to write Wild Montana Sky. It's definitely hard to find cowboys in Orange County, California, but I managed. :) He worked for the race track.

Trisha Wilson said...

Who couldn't love a cowboy, seriously?! Some of my favorite books have a cowboy as the H, and whew! *Sigh* They're hard workers who love their country, respect their momma, and when they fall, boy do they fall hard! (I'm still looking for my own personal cowboy & I ain't givin' up till I find "my" cowboy!)

You should've went after that cowboy like your boss told you to! You could've made a new friend, if nothing more. (& who knows? Maybe HIS friend would've been YOUR cowboy ;) )

I'm looking forward to reading this book, Lisa! :)

Diana Layne said...

The cowboy is honorable and faithful, in fiction, that is, and that is appealing. I live in Texas, know a lot of cowboys, some are fantastic guys, some are sleezebuckets, divided just like any other group of men. But there is something sexy about that Stetson hat, tight jeans and those cowboy boots, that's for sure.

Kathryn Merkel said...

Any man can wear the hat, jeans & boots, but you can tell the real cowboy from the wannabe by the way he walks. The legs of a man who knows how to & can sit on a horse all day just move differently.

Harlie Reader said...

Great post and congratulations. I was born in Oklahoma but raised in Texas. I see cowboys all the time and the still number 1 appeal are the jeans. Plus, cowboys are honest, hard working and the back bone of this country. There is something sexy about that.


Elysa said...

Who can resist the appeal of the COWBOY? I grew up in and have lived my whole life the Midwest and don't recall ever meeting a real-life cowboy, but I sure watched and drooled over them on TV and in the movies.

I do wonder if the appeal of the cowboy is an extension of our little-girl fascination with horses. Not to be crude, but what woman doesn't want to ride a big, handsome stud.

Remember gals, save a horse, ride a cowboy.

Lisa Mondello said...

You've all been busy while I was gone.

I've clearly touched on a subject that is near and dear to romance readers. Love it!

Elysa, thanks for the laugh!

Patricia Preston said...

Fun post! Tweeted it.

Lisa Mondello said...

Congratulations to Patricia Mason for winning a copy of NOTHING BUT TROUBLE! Patricia, please contact me to claim your prize. Thank you all for participating!

Cheryl St.John said...

Lisa, have you heard of Petticoats and Pistols? We're a bunch of western authors who have guest spots on the weekends. Would love to host you.



Linda Goodnight said...

Lisa, fun post. Living in Oklahoma I'm surrounded by cowboys but that does not lesson their appeal. I like the way you laid out some of the reasons we're so crazy about them because I've never figured it out. I just know they are, to me, the quintessential MAN!

Anyone ever aged a horse by his tail? A cowboy stood in my kitchen the other night and showed us how. It was a hoot!

Lisa Mondello said...

Linda you're going to have to tell me how that works because I've never heard of it!

Cheryl, I'd love to be on Petticoats. I'll send you an email.


Liz Donatelli said...

Cowboys are one of the most desired men on the planet because they sport toned muscles (from rigorous physical labor) and possess jacked up testosterone levels (which is evidenced by their day jobs). In a woman's world (or is it just in mine?), muscles + testosterone = explosive sex.

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