Anna Kyle is Red Moon Romance’s newest author, and I have the pleasure of being her editor. Both of Anna’s forthcoming titles, though paranormal, have characters with the kind of cowboy characteristics I’m looking for in Rough Edges so I asked her if she’d be willing to share a short cowboy-centric blog post here.
Five Reasons The Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (In Romances)
by Anna Kyle
I’m a romance reader. Well, I’m a reader of everything but romances are my fav. Throw in a cowboy and I’m IN so fast I may or may not have knocked over a little old lady on my way to the check-out. What is it about the gritty West, the dust settling on a cowboy hat, the silhouette of a man alone against the backdrop of a spectacular orange sunrise that has kept this sub-genre alive and kicking for decades when others have fallen in and out of favor?
One. Cowboy heroes are smoking hawt. No gym physiques here. Their bodies are hardened by dawn-to-dusk sweaty work – riding, roping, fence mending, hefting saddles and bales of hay (and their women) with ease. They’re scarred and broken, inside or out. There isn’t a woman alive who wouldn’t want the calloused hands of a good cowboy reaching for them. Throw in a crackling campfire and a star-filled night and hoo boy.
Two. Cowboy heroes are found in lots of genres. Science fiction (Han Solo anyone? Total hot cowboy…space cowboy if you must), historical, contemporary, paranormal. No matter where they are, cowboys are gritty and determined, resourceful and earthy. You won’t find a CEO or a politician or a billionaire – that’s a different trope entirely. Cowboys get their hands dirty not from boardroom intrigue and deception but from sweat and blood and picking themselves up off the ground for another go; at the bad guy or at the woman they love who stubbornly refuses to admit…(whoops, don’t want to give anything away about my own Rough Edges submission).
Three. Cowboy heroes are inherently good. Even if the character is portrayed wearing the proverbial black hat, we readers know there is a heart-breaking reason for their misdeeds and the suffering it causes them and we can’t wait for the heroine to unlock their white hat, or, at the very least, the gray one. Cowboy heroes make bad decisions for good reasons. That resonates with readers.
Four. Cowboys embody the mystique of the Old West. They live off the land, make life and death decisions because they must, hunt for food, and protect what’s theirs. Even in contemporary westerns it’s masculinity at its zenith. Is it PC? Perhaps not but it’s hothothot. Yet the cowboy hero needs an equally strong woman to be happy. And once he gets her, he never lets her go. Top-rate fantasy material right there, amirite?
Five. Cowboy heroes ride horses. Maybe it’s just me (I’m a horse nut and in my Wolf King series one of my heroines is the one who rides) but it shivers my timbers when a rough-edged cowboy reveals his gooey center by treating his favorite horse like the prize it is; using patience, firmness when necessary, seeing to its care before his own. Am I saying I want my cowboy to treat me like his horse? Maaaaaybe.
Anna wrote her first story at age 12 on an old manual typewriter, and though the technology has changed, she hasn’t stopped since. She lives in the Midwest surrounded by family and friends and dogs and horses. They’ve forgiven her (mostly) when they appear in her stories. She reads everything she can get her hands on, but romances, especially paranormals, are her favorite. Vampires, humans, Fae, shapeshifters, or demons, it doesn’t matter—Anna’s heart goes pitter-pat for the Happily Ever After. Hot heroes + strong, funny heroines = awesome.
Rough Edges is an anthology of western romance seeking submissions of any heat level from 3-20k words long.