Thursday, November 10, 2016

Wranglin' That Cowboy Without Usin' Spurs

Not all cowboys are created equal.



Not all cowboys are the same.


Like any other hero, your cowboys should be unique. They should be themselves. They should let their own light shine in the darkness of a moonless night when saving a newborn calf takes precedence over a hot meal and a clean bed.

But each cowboy will bring a distinctly different flavor to his rescue, and that's what we're talking about today.

Here's a list of my contemporary cowboys to date:

Jack McGuire (His Montana Sweetheart, Love Inspired)
Colt Stafford (Back in the Saddle, Waterbrook Press)
Nick Stafford (Home on the Range, Waterbrook Press)
Jed Taylor (Silent Night, Star-lit Night St. Martin's Press/Swerve)
Trey Walker Stafford (Peace in the Valley, Waterbrook Press, May 2017)

And there are a couple in the works.... which is WAY FUN!!! Ruthy goes Western! Yee haw!!! And as a woman who loves westerns and history, putting the two things together for historical stories was a no-brainer, so Phillip Dickinson (His Beloved Bride), Edward Stillwell (A Town Called Christmas) and Hugh Stackman (A Cowboy for Christmas, Gilead Press) are all self-made pioneer men.

We talked about differentiating heroes using bullet lists here.... And that simple technique helps me. But I think the most effective way of writing distinctive cowboys is to make them distinctive heroes... who happen to be cowboys.

That sounds easy, right?

Well, good! Then I can stop talkin' 'bout it and get on to other things like...

(someone yells "BOO!" from the back of the room and Ruthy gets back on track)...

Who is the man within the cowboy? Is he alpha or beta or in between? (John Wayne) Is he soulful? (Gary Cooper)  Is he hardened? (Clint Eastwood roles) Is he wounded?  Is he funny? (James Garner, Murphy's Romance) Does he hide his wounded soul beneath a humorous exterior? (Dan Blocker, "Hoss", Bonanza) Or he can be a mix of these types (think Walter Brennan playing a full cast of characters from funny cowboys to hard-hearted patriarch to devoted father in "Guns of Will Sonnet")

The soul of the cowboy is what appeals to the reader. Like any hero, your cowboy's strengths should shine (industrious, caring for his animals, working a long day in all kinds of weather, strong enough to be gentle).

That last is a quality women find attractive in cowboys. The same man who can sit saddle for ten hours, guiding cattle across a western plain, can then mend a dog's paw that's gone lame, fix the leather on a harness and read a little girl a story. There is a REASON that people snatch up titles like "The Cowboy's Christmas Triplets" and "The Cowboy's Surprise Twins"... Think of it like pairing sweet and savory.

The baby's real sweet... and the cowboy is two thumbs up savory!  That's the draw you want for women readers.... A man's western is going to be different in most cases, but we're talking romance here, and the primary goal of a romance is... well... romance, right? So the woman reader wants to yearn for your cowboy's gentle strength, and she'll be downright mad if you give him a whiny heroine. The heroine can be a city slicker, out of her element, but whiny?

Not on your life! Because who's got time for that?

Not a cowboy, for sure!

A successful cowboy is integrated with his job. He understands life and death. He's got experience under his rugged hat, and women find that appealing... but they like to see the humor, the wisdom, the compassion of his softer side.


This was my first Western, part of the Big Sky Centennial continuity for Love Inspired. I had so much fun writing this story... and working with a wonderful group of women! Writing this story sparked the ranch-lover inside me and opened new doors of opportunity... And that's a wonderful thing to have happen!

There are a few iconic heroes... Military men, cowboys, builders, farmers, ranchers, fishermen.... and you'll see these careers in many blue-collar appeal romance novels. (Note I'm steering away from the billionaire tycoons and sheikhs and Greek princes...)

But the cowboy is a different breed. He's a different kind of special... one that authors and readers both love. Have you thought about writing western? And if not... why not? I'd love to hear your ideas today... and your concerns!

HEY! ON A DIFFERENT NOTE, AND NOTHIN' TO DO WITH ROPIN' AND RIDIN'...



We're hosting our annual Seekerville Rockin' It New Year's Eve Party on December 31 from 6:00 AM to 3:00 AM on January 1.... We'll have hourly prizes and a Kindle Fire grand prize at the end of the day. What a great way (okay, maybe GREAT is overstating it, so let's say "Geeky") What a GEEKY way to ring in the New Year, with all of our best and brightest writin' buds! For those of you who have a life... and a date!!!.... stop in throughout the day. The rest of us can ring in the new year together!

And I'd like to have villagers host some hours of the day... if you're interested, give me a shout out in the comments or e-mail me at loganherne@gmail.com!

We'd love to have you on board!

And I've got TWO COPIES of "Silent Night, Star-lit Night" to give away today! I might have forgotten to have this in the original post!!! :)



Multi-published, bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne is living her dream of writing sweet stories of faith, hope and love... while spending time with cute kids, dogs, cats, chickens, chicks and far too many squash bugs.... Don't ask! :)  

Contact Ruthy through her e-mail loganherne@gmail.com, visit her website ruthlognanherne.com and friend her on facebook as Ruth Logan Herne! She loves connecting with readers, writers and just plain good people!








143 comments :

  1. Ruthy...as you know I just got done reading "Back in the Saddle", Colt Stafford's story. Boy Howdy can he not only turn the head of any woman, but he sure knows things about the heart too (though he tries to hide it)! Even more swoon-worthy than I imagined him to be, if he wasn't fictional and if I wasn't married I'd have given Angelina a run for her money...haha!!!

    Seriously though, you gave him a heart and soul that made him real in my mind. The kind of real life cowboy I picture, hardworking, devoted, stubborn, but not afraid to show his softer side, especially when it comes to his nieces. Like what you said, "strong enough to be gentle", that always gets me :-) I know I've said this a million times already, but I can't wait until my copy of "Home on the Range" comes in the mail. You've given glimpses of Nick in the first story, and he sure has his own personality and traits unlike his brother and I can't wait to see what those differences are :-) And then just a hint of Trey, his story's coming later! Three brothers, three different kind of cowboy heros....yehawww!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trixi!!! I'm so glad you loved "Back in the Saddle"... Me, too! And I'm thrilled with people's reactions to these stories because you are exactly who we write them for... wonderful readers who love good books! THANK YOU!!!!!!!

      And I have to take a couple of hours and catch up on my mailings, I fell behind in October... My bad! That's my goal this week (among others... watching a baby this weekend, so I must target jobs I can do while Lena toddles around and messes up progress with her cute little bald self!!!)

      Delete
    2. OHHH, now I see the giveaway! It wasn't there last night when I commented--no need to enter me Ruthy as I already won the novella last week (have it downloaded to my Kindle, thank you!).

      Also, as far as Home on the Range, I had opportunity to get a complimentary copy through the Mutnomah publishing "review crew" and I took them up on it. So I read Back in the Saddle with full anticipation that my book would be here by the time I finished it (or within a day or so)...well, that hasn't happened and I am not above stalking my postmaster now...haha! It seriously drives me crazy to not be able to start the next book in a series right away!

      But on the other hand, I have Nick just as anxiously waiting to get to know me...that's a comforting thought :-)

      Delete
  2. Love them cowboys, big and tall and wide in the shoulders. They are my favorite heroes. Great covers. Congratulations on your releases!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Tina! I think I'm equally split between cops and cowboys and military... but a great hero is a wonderful thing to have!!!

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Tina, I got a question for you or maybe a request depending on how you look at it :-)

      I seriously love the embedded comment format because we can directly answer someone instead of having to slough through all the comments to see all the responses. I know some people don't like it that way, but I'd be happy for you to keep it.

      Just thought I'd throw that out there :-)

      Delete
    4. Trixi, I love it, too... so I picked it for my post but some of the gals aren't comfortable with it. For me it's easier to keep track of folks and to chat back and forth (like now!!!) and I'm glad you mentioned it... And glad you like it!

      Delete
  3. Ruthy and Cowboys.
    I never saw it coming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And of course I pick your brain for cattle stuff... and there are some great websites out there for beef production. The web is a treasure trove of info for the hungry author! Ruthy + Cowboys... May their love last and grow stronger, day by day. :)

      Delete
    2. Mary, I've only read one of her cowboy books, but they are just as engaging, personable, swoon-worthy, hard-working, and stubborn as yours :-) I now have TWO authors I can follow when it comes to cowboy (or Western) stories. All that manly manliness is almost too much to handle...haha!

      Delete
    3. I'm in good company, sweet thing! :)

      Delete
  4. Ruthy, I love that you've fallen in love with doing cowboys! I haven't seriously considered it yet, but I have done a proposal with a horse breeder. That was fun. Maybe I'm working my way to cowboys. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Missy, that horse breeder can become a cowboy with a few flicks of the keyboard wrist, darling! :) Change his location and there you go!!! I am loving on cowboys, no lie. If nothing else, it gets those men out of the house so they're not underfoot, right? :)

      Delete
  5. Ruthy, your cowboys have all had me at "Hello". I love cowboys and especially the ones we get to see their tender side. Cowboys with little children, well, that a double blessings. Thank you for writing your wonderful sweet books. I can hardly wait to read Trey Walker's story in Peace in the Valley.

    I pray you all have a blessed day.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cindy, we're both up early today! Waving to you! I'm so glad you've loved these stories, and huge thank yous to you for spreading the word... I am so grateful, Cindy!!!!

      Delete
  6. Unlike Mary, I can totally see you writing about cowboys, Ruthy. And you have, so well. When I settle in with a good cowboy story, I'm reminded of my childhood, watching Gunsmoke, Bonanza and John Wayne movies with my father. Congratulations! Yee Haw!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ain't it the truth, Jill? Those old time westerns (The Rifleman with Chuck Connors? Rowdy Yates (Clint Eastwood) in Rawhide? Oh be still my cowboy lovin' heart!!!) are still wonderful today because the stories had such heart.

      And the diversity among the cowboys/heroes was a big draw for me... And I still love it today!

      Delete
  7. Good one, RUTHY. I've never written about a cowboy per se, as in working on the ranch during the story arc, but I do Oregon Trail, which embodies a number of the same skills. (It better, or they'll never get out of Independence.) My two Oregon Trail heroes are as different as I could make them: Michael the scout, an Irish immigrant with the proverbial price on his head, who hides his deepest needs behind bluster and blarney; and Pace Williams the trail boss, a deeply wounded, guarded man who works hard and says little. Michael's life was shaped by a large, merry Irish family who cherished him, and in his wanderings he's always looking to find that again. Pace's life was shaped by a neglectful mother, an early incident of sexual abuse, and a childhood in the orphanage, from which he "lit out at 11." They're both looking for Home, but in different ways and from different angles. They both also love horses and children. Michael was one of eight children and loved being a big brother, while Pace sheds his natural reticence around kids. They are best friends and have each other's backs, but they are totally different people and come at life from different perspectives. I see Michael played by a young Tom Selleck, but with Matthew McConaghey's personality, and Pace is John Wayne, John Wayne, John Wayne in some of his more wounded personae. Whew! That's a lot for 7 a.m. RUTHY is right, there is no one-size-fits-all cowboy, any more than there is a one-size-fits-all stockbroker. It's just the cowboys are more fun.
    Kathy Bailey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that you envision them as those actors/cowboys and that can be such a big help in nailing that character. Kaybee, that's awesome! And wait... I thought all stockbrokers WERE ONE PERSON!!!! Who knew??? :)

      Delete
    2. I would have to be strongly led of the Lord to write a stockbroker. And he would have to be DEEPLY wounded.

      Delete
    3. My Colt "Back in the Saddle" was a hedge funds manager, so similar to the stockbroker... but he had a cowboy heart under that money-grubbing exterior, LOL! And one of my sons is a hedge fund manager in NYC so I raised my very own capitalist money grubber! :) Luke (my son) was a great help on getting Colt's character nailed on both sides of the saddle.

      But you're right, Kathy... I gave him some deep wounds to get over!

      Delete
  8. GREAT NEWS! My local library has a pretty good track record when it comes to purchasing Christian fiction, but they've dialed it up a little this fall, at least as far as I'm concerned. They bought Mary C's "No Way Up"! I think it's the first one they have from her. So I read it. Sorry, Mare, that means I didn't buy it because I read the library copy, but I did leave you a nice review on Amazon. Then I went in earlier this week desperate for reading material so I wouldn't have to think about the election, and what should I find on the New Releases shelf but "The First Gift" by RUTH? I checked it out, I've been devouring it, and will post a review when I'm done. I expect to see the Love Inspired writers at Walmart, but what a joy and blessing to see one or two of the Seekers in the library! I wanted to say, "Hey, I know her," but nobody was around. This is A Good Thing.
    KB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kaybee, I'm thrilled they had The First Gift! This is wonderful news, and I'm so glad you shared it! Thank you... and I'm even more thrilled that you love it. Cassie's story is such a testimony to the blessings of kindly adults... and what that can mean on both sides of the story! Thank you for that shout out!

      Delete
    2. I can discuss it more intelligently when I finish it, I'm 1/3 of the way through, but I love the way you get inside Cassie's mind.

      Delete
    3. Kaybee, thank you so much for using the library for my books. Perhaps a HINT that I have about 45 of them???? :)
      I love libraries. And I love having my books in libraries.

      Delete
  9. Last night I was trying to get to sleep, and I made an exercise for myself of naming all the Seekers alphabetically. Did you know you have two "J's" and three "M's"?
    KB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kaybee, you crack me up. I never considered listing Seekers when I can't sleep. Nice!

      Delete
    2. "When I'm worried, and I can't sleep... I count the Seekers, instead of sheep... ) Imagine Bing Crosby singing to Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas) "And I fall asleep, counting the Seeeeeeeeekers....." :)

      Delete
    3. Kaybee, this is hilarious Thanks for the laugh!

      Ruthy, love the rhyme and the image of Bing singing it!

      Janet

      Delete
    4. Kaybee I do it geographically. I sweep across the country, usually starting in the south with Pam, a gentle backward C to sweep up the Georgia girls and all those heading north. Arizona is a quick end with THREE of them

      Delete
  10. Ruthy, this is definitely going into the keeper pile. I'm not writing about a cowboy, but this can be applied to other heroes with some tweaking. Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jackie, what a great point! Tweaking our heroes in little ways adds up to strong, layered heroes and you made that point perfectly! Thank you!!!

      Delete
  11. Ruthy, Your column made nostalgia fill me. I remember watching so many movies and cowboy shows like The Long Ranger and Roy Rogers. It gave me a warm feeling -- like home on the range. Your books should appeal to a wide audience of people looking for that same feeling. How you described making the characters fit each storyline you devised is very interesting and can be applied to other plots or genres. I like that your keep the cowboy in them and not use the sheek or billionaire type man. Great blog today. Congratulations on your success.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suzanne, thank you! I am having the best time ever, who would have pictured all this ten years ago???? That's the best thing about this business, it can grow with us... and with so many opportunities these days, the sky's the limit. I'm glad you loved this... Let's let our love for cowboys and westerns shine!

      Delete
  12. Hi Ruthy ~ Your cowboys sound fantastic. I’ve written a farmer, a doctor, a pilot, and two carpenter heroes, but not a cowboy… yet! I can’t wait to read your stories. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keely! So nice to see you!!!! I have written all of those except a pilot.... but I did interview one last winter just in case it fits into a series or a story... but I love your variety! Go you!!!! I'm tucking your name in for Jed's story... Set in the Pacific Northwest, I've learned to love Oregon and Washington and Idaho... Gorgeous states!

      Delete
  13. Cowboys! How fun! I grew up addicted to westerns and American history and as a half-Texan I loved visiting family in that part of the country--some of whom raised cattle (still do). My current Hunter Ridge book that I'm writing has a cowboy hero. Such a hardship to write. (NOT) :)

    And can you believe our New Year's Eve party is just around the corner!?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GLYNNA, great to hear that you're creating a cowboy hero!

      Janet

      Delete
    2. The hills of AZ are a perfect cowboy setting, Glynna! And cowboys are a natural offshoot from the beautiful work you've been doing... SWOON!!!

      Delete
  14. Love cowboys. I grew up in the west so they were a big part of my upbringing. I used to stay overnight with friends who owned ranches and went horseback riding with them. So fun. And of course they make great heroes. Looking forward to the new series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandra, that had to be so cool... I love going to the Midwest and West and just seein' guys roamin' 'round with their hats on... and those awesome tucked-in shirts. They're so stinkin' handsome!!!

      Delete
  15. Am excited about the New Year's Party. I guess it is getting time to be thinking of the holidays. Yikes. Where does the time go? But how fun to feature Villagers. Yay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, the older we get the quicker these seasons fly, don't they? And I'm always excited to see Thanksgiving in the offing... and know that Christmas and cookies and kids isn't far behind! TWINKLE LIGHTS. I might have an addiction to twinkle lights.

      Delete
    2. I might need an intervention. I'm just sayin'... :)

      Delete
    3. Nope. Twinkle lights are a good addiction. smile

      Delete
  16. Ooh a New Year's Eve party?! Sounds fabulous! Now only if I could get everyone who always comes here to just stay home. ;) I will have to make sure to pop in during the day. Cowboys are my favorite heroes, but I might be biased seeing as I grew up on a dairy farm and still am a country girl. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan P...YOU MEAN YOU'VE NEVER COME TO A SEEKERVILLE NEW YEARS EVE PARTY????
      It is such a RIOT!!!
      Thousands of comments, new posts and prizes every hour.
      Let the wild rumpus begin.

      Delete
    2. Oh my goodness. That would be crazy fun!! I need to somehow not have MY house the gathering place that night. ;) My goal now. lol

      Delete
    3. Susan the fun part is that we run it all day... from 6:00 AM (Eastern because that's where I'm typing!!!) to 3:00 AM on 1/1 where the amazing Keli Gwyn will wish the West Coast "Happy New Year" from Seekerville! I'm so glad I have a West Coast friend, Susan! :) Stop in anytime and your name will be in for the rest of the day... I hope you stop by!!!

      Delete
    4. Thanks! It sounds like a fantastic all day party. :D

      Delete
    5. I didn't realize that New Year's Eve was on a Saturday this year! That's one of the days we have our grand-girl for a few hours and then there's church in the morning. I'm just wondering how much time I'll get to spend here, and can I reasonably stay up until midnight when I have to get up early the next morning...lol!! Last year was so much fun, so I know it's worth all the loss of sleep :-)

      Delete
    6. Trixi, come as you're able and dress casual! And kiss that grand-girlie!!! What a precious treasure she must be!

      Delete
  17. I grew up watching cowboys on TV. They were hunks. All those qualities you mentioned, RUTHY, are perfect for any hero, especially alpha heroes. Love your covers and your cowboys!

    Janet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Janet, me too. Remember all the great Cowboy TV shows.
      They are just so few and far between now.
      It makes me sad. But it might be behind the popularity of cowboy books!!!
      Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, (remember Sky King, he was sort of a cowboy wasn't he). Bonanza (my mom wouldn't let us watch it, she thought it was too violent, that is a SWEET, such an innocent time). Gunsmoke. Rawhide. Big Valley. Maverick. I just googled TV westerns and wow, so many of them.
      Those really were the good old days.

      Delete

    2. MARY, I love that your mom protected you from violence on TV. I'm concerned at all the violence today's kids
      are exposed to on screens.

      Bonanza was my favorite but also Maverick. Loved James Gardner and Michael Landon!

      Delete
    3. James Garner and Michael Landon (Little Joe)... oh be still my heart!!! And I loved Hoss because he was a "gentle" giant... and so kind!

      When I developed the idea for the Double S Ranch series, I wanted that three separate sons, three separate mothers idea... so it was like "Bonanza" meets "Dynasty"... and it worked out so well!!!

      Delete
    4. I might be laughing that Dorothy protected you from Bonanza... :) She is a sweetheart!

      Delete
    5. I think it was on after school for a long time...when I was much older. So my poor little brothers and sisters were probably exposed to the horror of it.

      Delete
    6. Ruthy, Mom and Dad called Bonanza...Banana and we had to watch Ed Sullivan.
      That was before celebrities were more of a horror than a western.

      Delete
    7. Mary, that's such a good point!!!! Celebrities then were actually discouraged from SCANDAL... They'd lose their contracts. Ach, that's a change I could encourage again!!! :)

      Delete
  18. New Year's Eve seems a long way off but of course it'll be here before we know it. Hoping to see many Villagers hosting the hours. It's always great fun!

    Janet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love our NYE party... Basically because I have no life on New Year's Eve and I won't be tripping the light fantastic with Dave... but we will be watching football and drinking eggnog... Tina! There is eggnog in stores now!!!! EGGNOG!!!!

      Delete
  19. Ruthy~I love your writing move west and all the cowboys that have come with it, most recently Nick, Jed and Hugh.

    Like you, some of my favorites are the cowboys, cops and military heroes too. But I'm not limiting myself to just those categories as admirable men can be found almost anywhere. Case in point, financial wizard Connor Bradstreet and lawyer Mitch Sanderson. I'm still WAITING for sequels to both, especially Refuge of the Heart. I miss Mitch and Lena and with such a great story already in place that one is just BEGGING to be continued. But no prompting here, haha :)

    I'm so proud of all you've accomplished (sister villagers can be proud, right?) The smartest of the smart publishers will continue to buy your books up, because they'll sell like hotcakes to readers like me who have read everything you've written and are waiting and waiting for the next one to come out.

    Now that I've thoroughly embarrassed you, my work here is done ;) Now get out there and wrangle a few of those cowboys for us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I am so touched by this, Tracey! Thank you! You got me all "ver klempt"!!! :)

      And aren't the cowboys fun? But you're right, Conor Bradstreet is still one of my favorite heroes... I wanted him to be happy in the worst way and it was such a long road back. I love him to pieces... and I love that story. If I was Hallmark, I'd be buying that story and making a movie of it, because people would love it...

      (she says with great humility, LOL!)

      Or Refuge????

      Mitch Sanderson. Grinning!!!

      And loving this walk down memory lane with you, my friend!

      Delete
  20. Ruthy, I always love your posts. I glean from them and I love "listening" to you talk. :) I enjoy reading about cowboys, but I don't write them. In part because I'm a city-girl to the core. Born and raised and lived in the city my entire life. I'm not sure I can (at this point on my writing journey) write a realistic cowboy!

    That being said, I loved the characteristics you shared about writing heroes readers love. I think I need to make a list of some of the character qualities and see how my books' heroes line up. :)

    Great post!!

    Yes, please put me in the drawing. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeanne, I'm tucking you in and I loved the pic on facebook! I don't know if it's a new one, or if you'd simply changed something, but you're so beautiful! Go you!!!!!

      And you know we don't have cowboys here, either. Farms galore, but no cowboys. And that's a shame, isn't it?

      But I digress.... I still had this love for old time westerns, Jeanne... and I think that, coupled with the opportunity from Love Inspired and then Waterbrook, set the pace... and I realized I love putting cowboy westerns together.

      SIGH.... :) That's not exactly a bad thing, now is it??? Laughing!

      Delete
    2. Not a bad thing AT ALL. :)

      BTW, I really like when you guys do the comments this way! So much easier to follow. :)

      Delete
  21. And here I thought I loved cowboys just because, who doesn't, with their wide open ranges and horses and all? We don't have a television, but I remember watching Lone Ranger at a friend's house.
    Now I love cowboys because of Seekerville! Who knew? Yes, I'd love to win a copy! Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marianne, I'm tucking your name in! And I love that you don't have a TV... I'm shaking a little, just thinking about no Gibbs... no Yankees games... no inspy movies.... But I would survive!!!

      I'm so glad you've discovered your love for cowboys right here! You guys had cattle in Canada, though, didn't you? But no horses?

      Around here the cattle are kept close to the barns, upstate farmers don't move them around a lot, so the need for horses is handled by 4 wheelers and 4X4 pick-ups now.

      Not nearly as romantic!

      Delete
  22. Cowboys! MY FAVORITE!

    Here's what popped into my mind about cowboys. Especially...and this is different from your contemporary cowboys, Ruthy...but mine were in the frontier when it was almost completely unsettled.
    Yes they have different personalities but at the core, my cowboys are tough as IRON. You simply did NOT survive on the frontier if you weren't strong. The west would grind people up and spit out their ashes.
    It was a place that stripped away pretense and either made a man (and woman) grow and flourish under the kind of pressure that created diamonds or it destroyed them and they died or ran for the civilized east.
    Good guys, bad guys, woman, even children. There are no soft characters, not at their core.

    So my cowboys are TOUGH, lighthearted, grim, spiritual, wise, crazy, evil, within what ever they are...is a core of tougness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have read every single stinkin' one of your cowboys, and I've loved every one... Although one disappeared. I have to raid Beth's house because it might be there, I remember it every time I dust.... so like once/year. :)

      And you're right, the historical cowboy took his life in his hands every day. Dave loves the Goodnight story (Lonesome Dove) of trekking those cattle north and west... and I used that as the setting for my "A Cowboy for Christmas"... that's how Hugh Stackman got his start. He packed up his teenage brother and kid sister and a bunch of unlikely cattle and headed north to sell the cattle and buy a stake in a mine... but ended up becoming ranchers who made it good in central Washington... and it was so fun to do that!

      That toughness was the fun part of easing Hugh's conflict with my "don't mess with me, Hugh Stackman" heroine "June"... Of course she did pull a knife on a guy. And she wasn't afraid to use it.

      I LOVE STRONG HEROINES!!!!!

      Delete
    2. I commented on this but it's not here? It's probably tagged to someone else's comment. Anyway, when you said 'although one disappeared'....I thought at first you meant one of my heroes disappeared in the book and I was trying to remember when I did THAT!!!

      Delete
    3. No, it's my shoddy housekeeping (I will not, will not show you how the office I cleaned just TWO YEARS AGO looks now. (hangs head) But it's on the third floor so no one sees it... Mostly!!!!

      Delete
  23. Cowboys and their stories will always be a favorite of mine and I never tire of reading them. I'm so glad that you contine to write them!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Connie! So nice to see you over here!!!!

      Delete
  24. I remember My Cowboy once talking about his childhood western viewing habits.
    He said he couldn't stand Bonanza because when someone got shot of Gunsmoke they'd just go flying, blasted. But when someone got shot on Bonanza, they'd drop to their knees, waver a little, then fall over. He thought that looked wimpy.
    Isn't that an odd memory to pop in my head?
    He also hated Big Valley. I think it offended his sense of honor that they let a woman be the boss over them. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahahahah! I loved that saucy, tough Barbara Stanwick on The Big Valley! I didn't get to see it often because we didn't get that channel, but I'd see it once in a while at other people's houses and it was so fun to see her boss them around. I can totally understand your cowboy scowling about that, LOL!

      And Bonanza did that dramatic dying thing... but I loved it.

      MELODRAMA, MUCH?????

      Of course I was younger then, but I loved the drama!!!

      Delete
  25. Well, I'm ready to saddle my horse and go West, young (ahem!) woman! ('Course, I'd have to learn how to ride first!) Ruthy, you hit it on the head - nothing better than a cowboy who is tough enough to do the work of the ranch, but soft enough to love children - and his woman, of course.

    Please enter my name in the drawing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congrats on your new job, Edwina!!!

      Delete
    2. Edwina, I'm ditto-ing the congrats on the new job! I saw it on facebook and did a happy dance! YAY!!!!!!! Tucking you in the drawing, and you know those women had to be tough to make it out west... and if they weren't, they either got buried or they ran home.

      I'm not sayin' that's a bad thing... because it opens up widower stories for me! :)

      (I am a cruel, cruel person!!! It's all about the story!)

      Delete
    3. Debby Guisti, Thanks for the congrats!

      Ruthy, Thank you as well! I've been doing the happy dance for two days!

      I can see lots of stories about widowers - especially with those adorable little rugrats, er, kids!

      Delete
  26. What's not to love about cowboys!

    My favorite line from this post:

    "But I think the most effective way of writing distinctive cowboys is to make them distinctive heroes... who happen to be cowboys."

    Good to keep in mind whatever our hero's profession!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Myra, I agree... once we get to the heart of the man, we add in a dash of Chaps and a sprinkling of grit and a cup of hot dang good looks... Mix in a Stetson or Resistol and bake in a slow, summer sun!

      Delete
  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with Myra. What is there not to love about cowboys?? They rope, face hardships, love animals, and have the time to reflect on life. I would love to be the drawing. Thanks for the great post.
      Becky B.

      Delete
    2. Becky, me too! It's that balance we love, isn't it? That sweet with a strong side of savory!

      Delete
  28. I haven't written any cowboy stories, maybe because I haven't read that many, but that's not to say that I won't branch out someday.

    Right now I like writing YA fantasy and cowboys don't really fit into that genre (unless it was a WESTERN fantasy world!). Though I do like to label my heroes. I have runaway kings, lost princes, pirate kings, just regular kings, and king's elite guards (that's the one in my current WIP- anyone ever watch Huntsman Winter's War? Well Dirk is a junior version of Eric). Let's also not forget the rebels, rogues, assassins (with hard exteriors but a soft heart) and other non royalty misfits though.

    Please add my name to the drawing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nicky, I love this! Rebels, rogues and assassins! And those hero-types are just as sought after today! Matt Damon/Jason Bourne as the assassin... Oh mylanta!!! I love that you're delving into fantasy with such fun ideas, Nicky!

      Delete
  29. Ruthy and Mary the champion writers of cowboy stories!

    I would love to help host on New Year's Eve. It was so much fun last year!

    Hope everyone is well. I am still socked in with all the smoke. It was a cold 29 this morning when I got up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wilani, it was cold here overnight too... and sunny and 60 today, so warm for us in November! I'd love to have you host on New Year's eve! I'll e-mail you about the times we have available, and I'm so proud of your courage! Go you!!!

      Delete
    2. Ah, thanks for including me with Ruthy, Wilani. I taught her everything she knows.

      Delete
  30. We love our cowboys, don't we? :) All my heroes have been cowboys in one form or the other. At the very least, their values reflect the "code of the West".

    Here's the dedication to my husband that's in Claiming Mariah...``

    I’d like to dedicate Claiming Mariah to my husband, Iran. I originally wrote Slade to be larger than life, but first readers scoffed at his amazingly broad shoulders, six-foot-four frame, gorgeous green eyes, and large hands that can soothe a small child or bring a newborn calf into the world. But I know the truth. That man does exist. I married him.

    And now that we have a grand daughter, oh my. The "I'll protect you with my last breath" cowboy mentality has been magnified a thousand fold.

    Long live the cowboy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, Pam, that's such a great tribute! I love that readers thought Iran was over the top, but you knew better! Good for you!

      And yes, they'd tip sun, moon and stars for those little ones, wouldn't they???

      Delete
  31. Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to write cowboys.
    Don't let 'em pick heroes who wear spurs and love them old trucks
    Let 'em write stories with doctors and lawmen and such
    'Cos cowboys do roam and love their 'Miss Kittys' too much
    Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to write cowboys.
    'Cos you can write 'em and love 'em but one day at sunset
    They always just ride out of sight.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Willie and Waylon via my buddy Vince! :)

      You can't dissuade me, my friend. I am in cowboy mode and lovin' it!!!! But I'm also loving that side of country music to go alongside!

      Delete
    2. I didn't even try to stop them.....five sons...great riders, excellent ropers, every day cowboys and superior husbands and daddies....can't ask for more.

      Delete
  32. Ruthy, I love your heroes, whether cowboys or not. And your cowboy covers are over the top! Congrats on all your recent releases...a gazillion books or so it seems. You're a writing dynamo! So happy for you!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debby, thank you so much... They kind of piled up this fall (and it wasn't supposed to happen exactly like that) but it did and I think they're all doing okay! And I'm so excited that 3 of the 4 fall releases are cowboys... Range, Silent Night and A Cowboy for Christmas... Which makes my cowboy celebration just way too much fun!!! :)

      But you know how much dust I have here, Deb... and I should probably be washing or dusting or polishing something at this very moment, but talking with youse guys is way more fun. :)

      Delete
  33. Alpha heroes are my favorites. I like strong, take charge guys who tackle any obstacle and come out on top. They're protective of women, gentlemen at all times, love children and lose their hearts far more quickly than they would think possible. Must get back to my WIP. Lucas is calling my name! :)

    Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debby, me, too. I've written some beta heroes, and several "mixes", but I do like the hero to be a hero and not an "accidental" hero by circumstance... although there are some great stories out there with that premise! As if the hero's strengths were unexplored until challenged.

      But I'm an alpha hero gal, too. :) And I love your military stories... and those heroes!

      Delete
  34. I am having a challenge on my current wip which is an Indian story set from 1790's to 1830's. With the dialogue I have to mention sleeps instead of days and moons instead of months. It sounds so weird to me but would be in keeping with the way they talked.

    The smoke is so heavy today. I am still trapped in the house. Please pray for rain to clear all the fires that have been set by arsonists in the national forests that surround me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wilani, what an intriguing plot line and time period! And praying for full control over those fires. I'm so sorry that's still a problem. Are you in West Texas?

      Delete
    2. I am in the mountains in North Carolina where we usually don't have this kind of trouble. From what I understand these fires have been intentionally set. I am about 30 minutes from Smoky Mountain National Park. There are now fires near there.

      Delete
    3. Oh, that's a gorgeous area to live, Wilani!!!!

      Delete
    4. It is beautiful, I took some beautiful fall pictures. However now I a concerned about the air quality, they have put us under a code red alert, the fact that I have had to tape garbage bags over my front door trying to keep the smoke out Since I have Asthma and COPD means I am affected by all the smoke It is starting to get scarry. I called the doctor and was encouraged to use my two inhalers.

      Hmm this is something I need to tuck away for a future story.

      Delete
  35. I echo Wilani's statement that Mary and Ruthy are the champion COWBOY writers. (Mary, you learned Ruthy real good...)

    I love men of the earth, who do the hard stuff and the right thing because that's what a man's gotta do. My two brothers are that kind of man. Older brother is the quiet, super genius who can do anything but mostly uses his brain to conquer problems. Younger brother is the Farmer turned Independent Trucker who can also do anything and prefers brawn over brains (even though he's uber smart too). Salt of the earth, these two - who would move mountains to make sure to rescue me should some sort of calamity befall me.

    Love, love, love your heroes Ruthy! But you already knew that. *grin*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deb, she did, didn't she??? I love my Connealy!!!

      And I love salt of the earth heroes, too. And you know what? So do all of my editors... They're all BIG on blue collar, hard-working men and it must work because we sell a lot of great books... bring on the blue collars, the hammers, the horses, the uniforms, the patrol cars, the cattle and the builder... Men who aren't afraid to get dirty and clean up nice! :)

      Delete
  36. WOW, RUTHY ... you have those cowboys down, girlfriend, so between you and Mary, I know whose books to research heroes in for my own Western series.

    My favorite cowboys on TV growing up were Brett and Bart Maverick. I loved Brett's humor and twinkling eyes and Bart's quieter, sexier ways as well, so I'm looking forward to creating a few cowboys of my own. I'm actually modeling my older cowboy after John Wayne in McClintock, but with a little more class. We'll see how that goes. :)

    Fun post, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julie, I will love Lessman cowboys! :) I'm amazed that you remember the details from the Maverick boys... but of course you would! And John Wayne, what a fun array of parts he played... I hope you have so much fun with this, my friend!

      Delete
  37. I love your cowboys, Ruthy! Tough as nails but soft as marshmallow inside. :-) So I'm glad your writing is taking you west. Mind you, I adore all your books so I'll just keep following wherever you take me...except to ebooks. Sorry about that. So no need to enter me in the contest. Hugs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kav-a-licious, I won't put your name in for those e-books because I totally get it! There's only so much time we can spend on the computer, and we don't want to be like the tin man and rust in place! OUCH!!!!

      Thank you for your kind (as always!!!) words. I love you to pieces!

      Delete
  38. Loved this post, RUTHY! Thank you so much for sharing. You make it look easy (same goes for cooking, child care, gardening, etc. :-) but I know it's not. Thank you for consistently producing such awesome books, and for letting us have a peek at the process. I won a copy of Home on the Range through Sherida Stewart's blog give-a-way and can't wait to get my hands on it!! Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura I just did a mailing today, so you should have it by next week! I hope you love it... and I'm so grateful to Sherida for her firm commitment to Christian fiction and to her wonderful reviews and blog... and just thanking God for her and you!

      Delete
  39. Very late joining the party today, but I do want to be entered into the drawing. Fun talking about cowboys!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandy, I'm happily adding you in! And I'm glad you're here, any time of day!

      Yee Haw!!!!!

      Delete
  40. Thanks for sharing Ruthy. I love all your stories...including ones without cowboys. A good hero is a good hero. He doesn't have to be a cowboy in my book. Please throw my name in for the drawing. Have a great day. Looking forward to the New Year party.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bettie, it's so good to see you! And thank you for your nice words. You made me blush!! :) And I totally agree, a good hero is a good hero. Wise words! Tossing your name into the Stetson!

      Delete
  41. Put the Seekerville New Year's Party on my calendar!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perfect! We've got pretend streamers and virtual champagne! Geek Party!!!!

      Delete
  42. I love reading and watching Westerns but never thought about writing one because I usually enjoy writing spec fic/fantasy and that's not a typical cowboy realm.

    Yet. But that could be really fun to try... hmmmmmmmm. Time to start brainstorming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meg, I hear you! And while I love spec fic and fantasy, too.... I like to delve outside my specified genre and play.... So for me, ducking into your wheelhouse is like an escapist exercise! Creating new worlds? YES!!!!

      Doing that refreshes me and gives me broader insight for stories to come... So many stories... So little time!

      Meg, you're an adventurer... Let the adventures begin!

      Delete
  43. Replies
    1. YES!!!! A BOY!!!!! I'll e-mail you and give you a time... Thank you, my friend, it is always a pleasure!

      Delete
  44. Ruthy, If you still need anyone for New Year's, count me in. I live on the East Coast.

    I did consider going Western (historical) for a couple of weeks. I checked out every book my local library had on the Old West, and then the more I read, the more I loved the idea but knew I'd do so much research and never write the book. So I decided to stick to reading them while writing other stories. I read the Jasper Gulch series. I loved Jack's backstory about baseball.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tanya, darling, I'd love to have you! I'll e-mail you and we'll figure out a time that works...

      And Melissa told me they gave me that story in the continuity because I love baseball... and the grandpa had Alzheimer's and my father-in-law was in those ugly clutches then. They knew I'd be comfortable writing both aspects of the story without doing a lot of research... and it worked. It was a wonderful story to write and a great team of authors to work with. And they all still like me, so that's sayin' somethin', right??? :)

      Delete
  45. Wonderful post, Ruthy - thank you!! Love those cowboys of yours!! My cowboy days go WAY back- to the days of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Gene Autry, Poncho and the Cisco Kid, LOL!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my stars, that's a walk back in time, my beautiful friend! Laughing!!! Roy Rogers was in re-runs on Saturday mornings when I was young... But while I know about the others, I don't think I ever saw them.

      Now Rowdy Yates (Clint Eastwood/Rawhide)... that's one I remember, Bonnie!!! :)

      Delete
  46. Well Ms Ruthy my second installment in the Berryhill Brides has a cowboy for a hero. We like our cowboys in Oklahoma. Love your post, it gave me plenty to think about in fleshing out my hero.

    I'd love to host an hour on New Years Eve!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YAY FOR COWBOYS!!!! LET THE RANCHERS REIGN!!!!

      And yes, I'd love to have you on New Year's Eve!!!! SUHWEEEEET!!!!! I'll contact you and we'll figure it out... Thank you, Terri!

      Delete
  47. Hi Ruth. I so enjoyed this lesson. I'm in Wisconsin and my WIP does takes place on a non-traditional Wisconsin ranch. Go figure! The heroine owns designer boots and the hero, while not a cowboy (yet), is growing into his boots. Love every bit of it. Yahoo. Thanks ever so much for your work with Seekerville and this lesson. Blessings to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rebecca, I'm so glad this helped and you liked it! That's the best praise ever, and I love that your heroine is in her designer boots! Go her!!!!

      Delete
  48. I grew up with cowboys. I married one. We gave birth to five more who are the best. If you would like to read about my cowboys in Christian Romance, ask me how to get copies of "The Bronze Cowboy" and "Crossfire."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dee, this is so exciting! Glad to hear about you and those little cowpokes. Good for you! Are your books on Amazon? What's the genre? Tell us more, Dee!!!

      Delete
  49. The party sounds like so much fun. Is it going to be on the blog, a fb party or what?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Abigail, your pic is so stinkin' cute and romantic!!!! The party is here, sweet thing, right here in Seekerville with streamers and fireworks and chit chat and punch and champagne at midnight across the country!!!!

      Delete
    2. Sounds fun! :) Thank you for the sweet comment about my picture. :) He (Eli) and i just got married in August. :D And this picture was taken the previous August, the day he proposed. <3

      Delete
  50. Ruthy, I love your cowboys!!! (I love all your heroes but that's beside the point) I'm glad several authors write cowboys cause then it's a cowboy buffet (or maybe potluck)... and now I'm hungry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beth, I love the "Cowboy Buffet" idea!!! I'm laughing at the image of a great movie, chock full of cowboys! :) Perfect!!!! And thank you for loving my cowboys... and all heroes! Long live the hero!

      Delete