Cowboys & Intrigue with Joanna Wayne


            Some might think that the idyllic life of a cowboy on the range doesn’t lend itself to suspenseful mysteries. I beg to differ and so would many of the writers of Harlequin Intrigues. The truth is the cowboy is one of the tried and true heroes that women readers of the genre can’t get enough of.

            I’ve had cowboy heroes almost as long as I’ve been writing Intrigues, and that is fifteen years and forty books ago. My first westerns were the four books in the popular Family Ties series. Since then I’ve written many stand-alone novels staring the alpha cowboy and several multi-book series.

            There are several reasons why I think cowboys are naturals as suspense heroes. They tend to be independent thinkers who follow their own instincts. They don’t necessarily follow anyone else’s rules, but they have a strong value system. They are never afraid to buck the system since they’re not really part of the system. They are very protective of their lands and the people they love. They’ll stand up for what’s right no matter the cost. And, of course, they are incredibly sexy in those jeans, boots and Stetsons.

             I used all of those qualities in the heroes for my recent series, The Four Brothers of Colts Run Cross.  The series was originally intended to be coltsrunonly four books, then expanded to five. Now, due to popular request, there will be a sixth.

            The series is about a close-knit and very wealthy Texas family that not only owned one of largest ranches in Texas,  but owned an oil company as loadedwell. I thought of it as similar to the Ewings on the old TV show Dallas, except with scruples. Each brother has his own story, but there is also a mystery running through the first four books. I’ve found that Intrigue readers in general not only like large families but enjoy the idea of returning to the family setting, in this case Jack’s Bluff Ranch, in succeeding books. And each book involved the family in ways that were integral to the story.  The fifth book was about the daughter who was estranged from her husband, a star player for the Dallas Cowboys.  Their two sons are abducted a few days before Christmas so it’s a very emotional story that definitely affects the whole family. Yet, amazingly, there is also humor, thanks to the Home Alone style antics of the boys.

            And finally there is the current series, Special Ops, Texas. This is the most exciting series I’ve worked on in ages. The heroes are all former Navy SEALs, guys who have left the service for one reason or another and are having difficulty adjusting to life not on the edge.

            In Cowboy Commando, the first that is just out, Cutter Martin returns to the family ranch but doesn’t think ranching will cut it for him in his restless state. But when an old lover drops into his life with a wild story about her best friend being killed by a cop and her fear for the friend’s young daughter, he finds he has plenty of danger in store. The book is hot! So is the cover! Well, you can see that for yourself. Hmm. Maybe that’s another waynereason cowboys make such great heroes.

            If you  have any questions about writing contemporary western series or writing for Harlequin Intrigue, I’ll do my best to answer them. Or if you have any comments about cowboys as heroes, we can chat about that, too.   I’ll be giving away a copy of COWBOY COMMANDO & MIRACLE AT COLTS RUN CROSS this weekend!

            One of my favorite comments was overheard at a beauty shop the other day. “Cowboys are for women what blondes are for men. When you see one, you just have to take a second look.”

            Care to second that?

To learn more about Joanne and her books, visit her website:


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29 thoughts on “Cowboys & Intrigue with Joanna Wayne”

  1. Joanna
    Your books all sound like really good reads. I love the covers of them. Do you have to read the series Four Brothers of Colts Run Cross in order? I am going to check out your website.

  2. No, you don’t have to read the books in order as they all stand alone, but the fourth book, Loaded, does have the conclusion for the ongoing mystery. In order the books are 24 Karat Ammunition, Texas Gun Smoke, Point Blank Protector, Loaded and Miracle at Colts Run Cross.

    Actually, I’m doing something I think is very exciting, a first for Intrigue. The two series of Colts Run Cross and Special Ops, Texas are colliding in over-the-top finale for both series. Can’t wait to write it!

  3. It is exciting to combine the sexy SEAL’s with the cowboy factor. The second book is in fact named Cowboy to the Core, but he is also SEAL to the core. I think they are so fun to write about because they are real heroes even before the story starts. I am so proud of our fighting men!

  4. Good morning Joanna!

    I’m not sure if you remember me from Coeur de Louisianne, but I remember you!

    I still have your book, Family Ties and love it!

    So good to run into you again.

    Wishing you the best of Blessings!


  5. The cover for MIRACLE AT COLTS RUN CROSS is great, it sure in an atention geter, sounds like I’d enjoy it alot.


  6. Thanks. I’ve been blessed by the cover gods. And, Pam, good to catch up with you again. I’m living in Texas now, so seldom get to catch up with my Louisiana contacts.

  7. I love a good cowboy story, both contemporary and historical. I also enjoy series that feature families because the reader gets to see the love and loyalty of a family and not just the romantic love between the hero and heroine.

    BTW, your books have great covers!

  8. Amen to your overheard comment! My Texan is a
    cowboy from way back! In fact, as a child playing
    with the neighborhood boys, he refused to respond
    to anyone unless he was called “Roy!” As in, his
    hero Roy Rogers!

    Pat Cochran

  9. I love the comment about cowboys and the blonds. I do love me some cowboys. Whats not to love. They are from the old school when everyone was polite. I think they would know how to treat a lady. I have never been around a true cowboy but in my books, but I fell in love with them in those books. I love the Intrigue line and I have read a few of your books and loved them. Bring on those cowboys.

  10. “Cowboys are for women what blondes are for men. When you see one, you just have to take a second look.” That says it all!

  11. Hi Joanne,
    Whew, that bottom cover. Yowza. I’d sure like to in trouble and have him come save me. I love those cowboys. And I love books that return to a setting that I already know. My TBR list expands everytime I visit the junction. Thanks for being here today and pointing me to more great books.

  12. Oh I have read a few of your books, but I have to say that I loved MIRACLE AT COLTS RUN CROSS. That book pulled me in. I love the cover of COWBOY COMMANDO, I have to get my hands on a copy… YUMMY! 😀

  13. Hi Joanna. Your books sound wonderful. I love cowboys and Navy SEALs. Love the book covers. 🙂

  14. I love cowboys and their stories. I live in cowboy country where there are: trail rides, brandings, wide open ranges, ranches, cowboys, rodeos, etc. We go to rodeos once in awhile.
    So your stories interest me a lot.

  15. Hi Joanna. I agree with your comments – I can imagine lots of room for intrigue and mysteries with cowboys. I haven’t read too many HQ Intrigue’s lately but your books sound like they would be great reads with yummy heros! I would love to win!!:)

  16. Enjoyed reading the comments. I grew up listening to my father reading Louis L’amour books to me so I have alway enjoyed that type of story.
    Do you plan to write any stories with the cowboys here in Arizona? We still have alot of working cowboys on ranches and we have alot of artists that are painting scenes of the west. We also have alot of dude ranches.

  17. Hi Joanne,

    I would have to say cowboys are my favorite in all writing genre. Love the cover of your books. Have a great day.

  18. Thanks for all the great comments. I love the covers, too. I’ve been so lucky with that. That Cowboy Commando had me drooling the first time I saw it. But the Miracle cover also really fit the series. It so fit the family tone and the book.

    Maybe I should come visit Arizona. I’ve set one of the cowboy books in Montana-Maverick Christmas. The rest of them are set in Texas. Naturally we have scads of working ranches and hunky cowboys. There’s a Cowboy Church about five miles from me.

  19. The Miracle cover is my favorite. Don’t know about guys and blondes, but cowboys do warrant a second look. Intrigues are my favorite Harlequin series. I think, in a way cowboys are what they are because their life is still at a basic level – them and the land/animals. No matter how wealthy you are it is still you against nature. What really counts is who a man really is.

  20. Hi Joanne,

    I too like lawmen, cowboys, undercover ops, and military SEALS. INTRIGUE & ROMANCE
    You manage to cover them all!!
    All of your heroes embelish the word honor!
    I’ve never been to Texas but love it through your eyes and Diana Palmers too.
    I like the family based series. I also enjoyed Lindsay McKenna’s Trayhearn family. Merline Lovelace has some great stuff too.

  21. Hi Joanna! I do enjoy books about cowboys, Navy SEALs, mystery and intrigue. It sounds like you’ve got them all covered! Love the comment about cowboys and blondes! 🙂 Your covers are certainly eye-catching! They make me want to see what’s inside. Thanks for visiting P&P!

  22. Hi Joanna!

    Sorry I’m so late in welcoming you to P&P. I’ve been out of town. We’re so glad to have you come blog with us.

    Loved your beauty shop quote. Oh man, how true! Yep, I sure take a second look and maybe a third or fourth sometimes. I do love a man in Stetson and jeans.

    What great book covers! You really got some good ones. Sure does hook you. Here’s wishing you lots of success.

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