Guest Susan May Warren: Just a cowgirl…

susanmaywarrenphoto72dpi.jpgWhen I was a little, I had a horse named Sun Dancer.  He lived in my basement, in the corner, and his springs squeaked when I rode him.  He ate things like Cheerios and potato chips, and on him, I galloped the rolling hills of Montana, chasing down them varmints who stole my pappy’s land.   

Yeah, I wanted to be a cowgirl.   But it ain’t easy to emulate Annie Oakley when you live in the suburbs.  So I read a lot of Louis L’amour and dreamed of the day when I’d move west and start my dude ranch.   But my vision of ranching was Bonanza, and little Joe, and cute cowboys in Stetsons, and horses.  It was Oklahoma and square dancing and rodeo.  Boiled down, I thought ranching was a country music song.   

cowgirl.jpgI got news for you.  It ain’t.  I know because I spent a week playing cowgirl on a real ranch, helping the owners dig a water line, and riding fence.  It’s hot, smelly work, with cows that don’t like being told what to do, and horses that’d just rather go home.  And not only that, but the ranch, well, it was on the backside of nowhere, over the river and through and through and through the woods until we came to a place not on any map.  I got a big red star in the middle of Montana when I Mapquested it.   

And being there, I learned something.  Sometimes the dream is better than reality.  Sometimes the smell of the pumpkin-nutmeg latte is better than the taste, the look of the leather pants on the mannequin better than in the two-way mirror.  Which, frankly, is why I like to read books, why I like to write.  My imagination is richer.  It contains a soundtrack, and lots of handsome, tan cowboys. Besides, no one really wants to hear about the hours spent watering the bulls.  We want to cut to the fun parts, like when the bull chased me into the truck.  Or when the stars came out over the Montana night and seemed close enough to pluck from the sky.   

I had dinner recently with a friend who says, “I never read fiction because it isn’t true.”  Yeah, well, that’s why it’s called, uh, you know, FICTION.  But he says he doesn’t like to spend time focusing on things that don’t let him engage in the world.   (He reads a lot of theology and political books – way too much brain food for me).  

Here’s me saying that sometimes I don’t WANT to engage in the world.  Like when the washing machine seal breaks and floods my basement.  Or when the dog eats all the chocolate cake and his face blows up like a balloon. Or when my husband gets food poisoning and is sick in bed for two days.   I need to close my door to the world and escape into Montana, or Alaska, or even the Lifetime movie channel.  Because, hello, no one is sick in my imaginary world.  It’s cleaner.  And less smelly.   

In short, give me my fiction, some chocolate and close the door behind you when you leave.   

So, here’s to handsome cowboys and Bonanza and the FAKE world of ranching.   Now, I wonder what it’s like to be a fire fighter…. 

tamingrafecover72dpi.jpgSusan May Warren let her imagination run wild in her new suspense/romance series set in modern day Montana. Book 1, Reclaiming Nick, won the 2007 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award.  Book 2, Taming Rafe, is the story of broken bull-rider and the woman who helps him find his footing again.  Taming Rafe is also nominated for a 2007 Rita away. 

Read an excerpt at, and check out all of Susan’s books at:

In honor of the Petticoats and Pistols’ Spring Round-Up, I’m having a fun, “Petticoat” contest. Leave a comment on this post telling me who your favorite western hero is (books or movies!) and why and I’ll randomly choose one lucky person to win a $50 gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret, the place for fancy petticoats!

+ posts

55 thoughts on “Guest Susan May Warren: Just a cowgirl…”

  1. hmmm…having to pick ONE favorite western hero is so hard! LOL

    let me do for books and one for movies!

    My favorite book hero (from just this past week of reading) would be: Russ Tibbolt from Leigh Greenwood’s THE RELUCTANT BRIDE… he was a successful rancher who’d been dealt a band hand..served time in prison or murder (which was actually self defense) and no-body in the neighboring town liked him…… long story short..a woman came into his life and he finally asked her to help him learn how to that is a man worthy of the “hero” my opinion! A strong rancher ..humble enough to ask for help from the one woman he chanced to give his heart to!

    now…my movie hero:
    I guess I’ll have to go with the character of “Gus” from Lonesome Dove….Texas Ranger Augustus McCrae…I LOVE his character and I really enjoy Robert Duvall as a cowboy in his western movies

  2. My favorite Western movie hero is Marshal Matt Dillon. He has all the qualities that I envision a western hero having. He is strong and honorable and can handle any situation that man or the elements send his way.

  3. I’d have to say John Wayne.
    I loved watching his movies with my Dad when I was younger, and now my 17 and 19 year old sons are as addicted to his old westerns as much as I am.

  4. I a Marshall Dillon fan myself. And a Butch and Sundance fan, but my favorite hero (Besides the Noble boys – Nick and Rafe) is Mel Gibson in “Maverick” — so he wasn’t a typical hero. More of a bad boy hero. But such a fun movie, and a rascal of a character. Thanks for stopping by, ladies!

  5. “Sometimes the dream is better than reality.” How true that is!

    I’d have to say the Lone Ranger. Every summer in the 40s and early 50s we’d travel back to PA from MN to visit relatives. Neighbors of my grandparents had a TV – very tiny – and my brother and I were enthralled by this new invention. The Long Ranger reigned supreme!

  6. What an awesome (and clever) drawing prize, Susan!

    Thanks so much for being our guest at Wildflower Junction today. You don’t know how hard I tried to find a picture of one of those old springed horses. My cousin Mike had one and used to fall asleep on the thing! He fed it blocks and wooden building sticks.

  7. I could not agree with you more about fiction books I know i wrote in a reply on a previous post i had suffered depression (not daily depression the kind that can cause serious problem) i started reading at 41 years old and will be 43 but can honestly say reading fiction was the best therapy for me!! I enjoy the departur from things that are real I’d much rather live in someone’s char. for awhile and given a break from mine. My favorite western hero had always been LITTLE JOE that was the reason for watching Bonanza I grew up wanting to marry a cowboy i kinda laughed when i read your post I always dreamed of living on a ranch. Did not marry a cowboy though I did have the priviledge of having a real horse growing up and it was the best memories in my life was with my horse a blue-eyed Palimino her name was Gypsey. Great post!

  8. What a wonderful “voice” you have! I totally avoid nonfiction LOL. My favorite all-time cowboy is Sam Elliott. That to-die-for voice (sigh). Oh there are a ton of others, but he’s the man for me. Welcometo Wildflower Junction today! Hurry back.

  9. Hi Susan, nice to see you here. There is a lot of hero’s I loved in movies. Matt Dillion, The Cartwrights, you just got to love Little Joe and Adam. Then you have John Wayne, and I can’t forget any western that Sam Elliot plays in, love that man too. For me there was just to many that I loved that I can’t just pick out one.

  10. Escaping into a fictional world for a bit is revitalizing! (I don’t do news if I don’t have to–I just get angry or depressed) I love being revitalized, either by reading, watching movies or writing.

    I’ve often been a bit…off beat… my fave western heroes have often not been the ‘hero’. For instance, on Bonanza, Hoss was my fave. His honesty, innocence and good nature appeal to me. The lone ranger was cool–but Tonto was my fave there.

    I like Patrick Wayne better than his dad. Has anyone seen pictures of John Wayne’s grandson as a cowboy. Now he’s hot! Darn, I don’t remember his name off hand so he won’t be so easy for ya’ll to google. LOL

  11. Hi Susan, welcome to P&P! Great subject. I love to escape to worlds where problems can be solved in two or three hundred pages and there’s a happily ever after. No non-fiction for me! I would probably go crazy if all I had to read were realism books. Give me the fake cowboys, the fake problems, and the fake villians. I daydream a whole lot and always have since I was a little girl. I pretend I’m the heroine and can gaze into the hunky hero’s dreamy eyes and whisper words of love. Aaaaah!

    I think Tom Selleck is my favorite cowboy hero, but I also love Robert Duvall and Sam Elliott. They make my heart go pitter-patter and my knees weak.

    “Taming Rafe” sounds like a winner of a story. Great cover. Makes me want to run out and buy it. Love stories about broken down rodeo stars. 🙂

  12. In order to join in this blog, I conferred with my
    Honey, a 2nd generation western fan. His Dad loved
    Randolph Scott movies. Honey say his early and favorite western hero was “Range Rider” as portrayed by Jock Mahoney. He “was cool and wore buckskins, with lot of fringe, and moccasins.” Honey’s favorite western hero in later years was Jimmy Stewart in “Cochise.” My favorite was John Wayne’s “Rooster Cogburn.” I loved his crusty, hard-headed attitude and his co-star, Katherine Hepburn!

    Pat Cochran

  13. My favorite is Tom Selleck as a westerner,omg,that man in chaps an a cowboy hat!I dont care if he herded bugs Id be swooning,He has done a lot of western cowboy movies an I think they are his best,thanks for coming,Vickie Couturier

  14. I loved Roy Rogers as a cowboy; he was handsome, kind and law abiding. He is my fav.
    Bonanza was a fav on TV and at one time I even owned a colord picture on a postcard of the Bonanza guys.

  15. I’d have to say my favorite would be John Wayne. I just think he was great in the old western movies.

  16. Hmmmm so many to choose from… I guess I would pick Texas Ranger Marc Brannon from Diana Palmer’s THE TEXAS RANGER. As a character he grows through the story, admits when he wronged the heroine and is down right dashing!!! 🙂

  17. This shows my age, but I would have to say Roy Rogers. I never missed an episode when I was growing up. Roy and Dale’s Christian witness was also an important factor.

    Fess Parker as Davy Crockett was right up there also!

  18. Hi Susan,
    What a great post today. Love the premise to your books, right up my alley! Wish I could be in contention for your prize … wonderful giveaway for our readers. Thanks for blogging with us today!

  19. Hi, Susan. I’m on the road this week.
    What’s that old joke?
    Why did Willie Nelson get run over?
    He was playing ‘on the road again’

    Anyway, great prize. I love, love, love your book covers for this series.

    My favorite western hero….I can’t even say. Michael Landon as Little Joe Cartwright? Tom Sellect in Quigley Down Under….John Wayne in McClintok… Clint Eastwood in Raw Hide? He was so gorgeous when he was a kid. James Garner in Maverick. Lee Majors as Heath Barclay on The Big Valley…..

    I’m not in the contest so I can guess all I want.

  20. I really like the original Maverick played by James Garner, although I did enjoy Mel Gibson’s portrayal, too. I also loved Kurt Russell’s Wyatt Earp in “Tombstone.”

  21. Hi Susan!

    My all-time favorite cowboy/movie….Desperado!

    I watch a lot of them too, cause my hubby just loves a good “horse sh–poop and gunsmoke movie.” 🙂

    But out of all the cowboys I’ve seen, Alex McArthur (sp?) in Desperado is still #1..those blue, blue eyes, dark hair, days’ growth of beard he always sported…mmmmmm

    Great post and I agree, sometimes (most of the time really) I WANT fiction!

    Pamela S Thibodeaux
    “Inspirational with an Edge!”

  22. Hello Susan. That is the name of one of my best friends by the way, Lucky You!!! Thank you so much for an easy question…LOL, but I’m going to have to say that Carter McKoy from Jodi Thomas, The Texan’s Wager, is one of my favorite all time western hero. Film wise, Kevin Costner usually plays a wester hero that I can really get into. Wow, after that question, I need to dress up in a fancy petticoat a find me a western hero a show it off to!!! *G* Have a great day all, and THANKS AGAIN for a terrific blog Susan.

  23. Those are all great heroes! I totally forgot about Sam Elliot…yes, that voice, oh! And I’m a desperado fan myself. I was alittle in love with Bruce Boxlietner(sp) in How the West was Won…. Man, I’m a bad test taker – I keep wanting to change my answer! Thanks everyone for your kind words!! It’s fun to be here today!

  24. My favorite cowboy hero is Wyatt Earp. I think that he epitomized the attributes perfectly. Honorable, with great integrity and strength.

  25. I loved Bonaza (Lil Joe) he was so cute back in the days when they were on and not re-runs. I used to watch them with my Dad!!!!!
    You know it is funny I was cleaning out my mother-in-laws basement and she has two of those horses down there it brought back some old memories.

  26. Hello! I have the first book in your series, but must get the others.

    As for my fave western hero…that’s a tough one…I’d love to choose the entire cast of the TV show “The Young Riders”…the one about the pony express riders…I have always had a fascination with the pony express and the west and spent every week with these characters because they fascinated me.

    Or maybe Christian Bale in 3:10 to Yuma…he was yummy to look at and was an intriguing character.

    I also liked Jimmy Stewart in The Far Country and Winchester ’73, Glenn Ford in The Fastest Gun Alive, and Gary Cooper in just about every western he was in…LOL. Again I like all of these because of their characters and talent…they fascinate me. I am all about fascinating characters.

  27. There are so many (thank heavens). Clint Eastwood comes to mind first in all his spaghetti westerns lol. And most definitely the fantasy is better than what the reality would be.

  28. Hi, Susan! I tend to read for the whole pleasure of escaping to an alternate reality (one that doesn’t include dirt, work, and other unpleasantness ;)) I don’t tend to read non-fiction as much because it’s a little too real ;p

    My favorite cowboy? I just finished reading Susan Kay Law’s Marrying Miss Bright trilogy, and think that Gabriel Jackson was quite a yummy hero. But there are plenty of other choices out there, too!

  29. Hi Susan! Welcome to Petticoats & Pistols! Have to say, I was laughing and nodding all the way through your post 😉 Romanticizing the west isn’t quite the same as living it.

    My fave western hero is Sam Elliot, for every reason Estalla mentioned 😀 And that VOICE..omg, it melts me. I totally embarrased my hubby while seeing the preview for Ghost Rider for the first time…a dark dark theater, a dark screen–a lightening crash, and all you hear is that voice—and I answered, “Sam! OMG, that’s Same Elliot!! Is he in this move?! We are SO going to see it!!!” Of course I watched it several times…just to see Sam 😀

    CONGRATULATIONS on your NRCA win and RITA nomination!! Thanks for hanging out with us today 🙂

  30. There are so many great heroes. I have a favorite who to me is the ultimate. John Wayne always appealed to me with his wonderful character, his intense purpose in life and his sheer and amazing courage.

  31. When I was much younger I was entranced with Lorne Greene. He had this deep, beautiful voice, exuded sheer masculinity and had his morals and scuples as well. I could never forsake this cowboy at all.

  32. OH, I totally forgot about the Young Riders! I LOVED that series! And I just discovered Susan Kay Law. I’ll have to check out that series! And…now that I think about it…how about Russell Crowe in the Quick and the Dead? The reluctant gunslinger? I liked him better than in 3:10, although I liked that to! My teenage daughter just watched Young Guns…I’ve got her hooked on cowboys now too….yikes!

  33. As a child, I loved Roy Rogers and Trigger. And of course, John Wayne because he portrayed the All-American hero of the west.
    Now, I love Sam Elliott as a western hero with those raw good looks and that deep voice. Sort of a Sean Connery in chaps.
    My favorite book of the western hero was Patrice Michelle’s COLT’S CHOICE wow, I had to wipe my brow with my ol’ red bandanna when I read that one.

  34. It is hard for me to identify just one favorite cowboy hero in books because I read so many historical and contemporary westerns. I also grew up watching TV westerns like Wyatt Earp, Have Gun Will Travel, Maverick, Bonanza, and Gunsmoke. One thing I remember about a lot of those old TV heroes is that rarely did they get a girl and keep her! On Bonanza it was the kiss of death to be married or engaged to one of the Cartwrights! 😉

  35. In the olden days when I watched Westerns I had many special ones, but my favorite actors were Chuck Connors who played the Rifleman and Paladin. Loved the soundtrack, theie moral certitude and their certain ability to conquer all.

  36. I have to say I am not a fan of westerns in general… However, I remember John Wayne and loved his characters.

  37. There is no way I could pick just one. I love Kurt Russell in Tombstone, Love Sam Elliott (that voice), Clint Eastwood. I could go on all day but I want.

    Fantasy is definitely better than real live. I guess that is why I am always in a book.

    I loved Texas Ranger Jacob Dalton in Jodi Thomas’s books.

  38. Susan, I bought Taming Rafe and I absolutely loved it.
    My favorite from my books is The Courting of Widow Shaw and Renegade Wife.

    I loved Little Joe on Bonanza.
    Really loved James Garner in Maverick. He was so good looking when he was young it’s heartbreak time. Sam Elliot is never so great as when he’s a slow talkin’ cowboy.

  39. I do not remember the name, but there was a cowboy character on a Lifetime by Nora Roberts. I think the movie was Montana Sky.

  40. Cute story about Sun Dancer!I read because I don’t want to engage in the world, too. lol It’s a nice way to clear my head and I love to be taken away to places I’ll probably never see in real life. Oh, and the best part is that I’m pretty much guaranteed a happy ending with the romance stories I read.

    My favorite western hero in a movie is Clint Eastwood. Rough, rugged, really smart with good looks to go along with it.

  41. Oh gosh, favorite cowboy star? That’s a tall order, to pick one. But coming from the era I do, I have to say Duke. “I won’t. No, I won’t. The hell I won’t.” Smack!
    I loved him in everything he did, and especially McClintock. Part of that was because he and Maureen O’Hara were such wonderful foils for each other.
    And don’t forget Steve McQueen. Yum. Then later many have mentioned Eastwood, and Tom Selleck…now he can put his boots under my bed any ole time.

  42. Susan, I had a rocking horse that i use to ride for horse and go all over the place in. Only i didn’t dream america i guess I really didn’t know where I dreamed. (oh ok I think it was to be where The Cisco Kid was!) I loved that show.
    I grew up on a farm till I was 8. We had sheep more than cattle and pine trees. they are the best for climbing.
    Dad had a horse called Tango he use to ride it was white and a treat was to have a ride on the horse with him. Also riding on the tractor was really cool.
    I love reading about ranching and cowboys etc but im not cut out to be one. The animals scared me a little. but I did have a pet lamb once.

  43. Susan – I enjoyed your book Reclaiming Nick. He is a great cowboy hero. But I would have to say Sam Elliott (his voice) and Tom Selleck in the movies based on the Louis Lamour books are my all time favorites.

  44. I love to read and watch westerns but at the moment I’m kinda drawing a blank. So I’ll just refer to my favorite western Young Guns. Kiefer Sutherlands character, Doc is my favorite in that movie. There is a lot of sexy guys in this movie. Also Kurt Russel in Tombstone and Mel Gibson in Maverick. I think it’s time to break out some old VHS movies and veg out this weekend 🙂

  45. I don’t think I have ever watched that many westerns on TV. From a book I loved the whole Lori Copeland series Men of the Saddle. Cass Claxton from The Maverick is my favorite because he is the so called bad boy of the Claxton family and in my head very cute. 🙂

  46. My favorite “cowboy?” Billy Crystal in City Slickers! I can relate to him…I would have NO IDEA what I was doing if I were to be thrown up on a horse to drive cattle.

  47. Hmm…I guess Lee Majors as Heath Barkley is my favorite. And of course, you gotta love Michael Landon as Little Joe AND Pa Ingalls!

  48. ????????? ????? ??? ???????? ?????????? ?
    ????? ???????? ???????? ? ??????? ??????? ? ?????.
    ?? ?????? ?????? ????? ?????? ??, ??? ?????????? ??????
    ??? ? ?????? ??????!

Comments are closed.