Ranches, Horses and Cowboys, Oh My!

Lately I’ve wondered how an Iowa city girl ended up writing romances with cowboy heroes. Or, I’ve wondered about the reasons other than the obvious—that cowboys are incredibly sexy. For my first official blog as a filly at Petticoats and Pistols, I’m sharing what fascinates me about cowboys.

For me, a cowboy isn’t as much about the occupation as the state of mind and attitude. Sure when I think of a cowboy, I see a man in form fitting Levi’s or Wranglers. I see dusty, worn cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, but it’s more than that, too. There’s something about the way he moves in a slow, yet deliberate way, that says he’ll take his time with what matters in life. If you’ve seen Scott Eastwood in The Longest Ride, you know what I mean. If not, watch it now. I’ll wait.

Now that we’re done drooling over Scott, back to the topic at hand. Cowboys have a connection to the land that goes deeper than most people’s. That taps into my love of my grandparents’ farm in Decorah, Iowa. I spent hours wandering over that land spinning stories and imaging my life living on a similar place. Writing about my heroes and heroines strolling over their land or walking along Wishing’s streets fill me with the same warm affection. That intense bond with the ZSAER%^land was a big inspiration behind my Wishing, Texas series. For those heroes, their link Ty Barnett’s ranch, The Bar 7 and each other anchor their lives.

As to a cowboy’s attitude and mind-set—people see him as a loner, and he is, but I also see his strong tie to family. Family, however he defines it, is allowed past his guard. When I wrote my first novel for Harlequin, I wanted my hero so desperate for money he’d model in New York. But I wanted something different. What does a cowboy love more than his ranch and horse? His mama. That one detail told me everything I needed to know about my hero.

A cowboy has a sense of honor that factors into every decision. In my first Wishing, Texas book, To Love A Texas Cowboy, Ty Barnett’s world is turned upside down because of a promise to a friend. One he’ll keep even if it means dealing with Cassie Reynolds. This unwavering honor paired with a good dose of Alpha male, makes writing stories with cowboy heroes fun when I turn the tables on them. In To Catch A Texas Cowboy, AJ Quinn’s sick of hearing “let’s just be friends” from women. Poor cowboy. I had a blast torturing AJ giving him what he asked, but not what he bargained for, in New Yorker Grace Henry.

For me, these characteristics make cowboys fascinating, and oh so hero-worthy. Now it’s your turn. Tell me what it about cowboys makes you swoon or say that’s a hero?

I’m giving away a copy of To Catch A Texas Cowboy and a wine glass. Post a comment to enter.


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Julie Benson has written five novels for Harlequin American, and her Wishing, Texas series is available from Tule Publishing. Now that her three sons have left the nest in Dallas, when she isn't writing, Julie spends her time working on home improvement projects, rescuing dogs, and visiting Texas wineries with her husband. Visit her at www.juliebenson.net.

50 thoughts on “Ranches, Horses and Cowboys, Oh My!”

  1. Good morning Julie- I loved your blog. I agree being a Cowboy or cowgirl isn’t where your from, but definitely is a ” state of mind!”
    I grew up in a rodeo family so I have lived my whole life around cowboys and the cowboy ways. I’m from Stephenville, Texas, but for the last 23 years I’ve lived in Southwest Kansas, ( I guess in a way we are neighbors, with you in Iowa), anyway I’ve gotten to know many ranchers and Cowboy up here too. So it makes your statement true. It’s not where you’re from, but where’s your ” state of mind!”
    I love the beautiful book cover and the excerpt, it swept me away. Thank you for sharing with us today.
    Have a blessed smiling day.
    Love & hugs: Tonya

  2. What I like the most about cowboys is their manners. They are always ready to help someone even if they don’t know them. One time I was unloading groceries from the cart into my car and one came up behind me and asked if he could help. I said I had it but he insisted on helping. And just the way he called me mam made me feel good. I live in an area where there is a huge rodeo arena, so we often get cowboys coming into town for things when they are here. I also like how loyal they are to their friends and loved ones.

  3. Sorry to be jumping in so late this morning. I picked up nine puppies from a shelter yesterday. I still have four. They have ringworm and have to kept separate from my dogs. It’s been a little crazy this morning, but I’m finally here for a chat.

  4. Hi Julie. Welcome to Petticoats and Pistols. I love the cowboy description.
    My husband is a Nebraska Cattleman and so many of the things you write about remind me of him.
    He’s a handful, let me tell you. But a man of honor. And I suppose he swaggers just a little.

    • Mary, you know where Decorah is? I still have aunts and uncles they, but haven’t visited in years. It’s so beautiful there. I miss my grandparents’ farm.

  5. I agree – it is more about the attitude than the actual occupation of Cowboy that makes it attractive. I grew up on a farm in the country and we lived and loved all things cowboys. Once it is in your blood it never leaves. 🙂 I think it is the loyalty to what you love and the cowboy code that most of them abide by that does it for me. Loved this post!!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed my post Susan. Gee, I spent all those words trying to explain what I meant and you said it so beautifully with the cowboy code. Why didn’t I think oh that?

  6. I love your post, Julie! Welcome to P&P. I always love visiting here. Cowboys are pretty hard to beat!

  7. The characters always come first with me. To me honesty and integrity are part of the cowboy code. They think of others and are hard workers. And I love wine lol.

    • I thought the glass was great, too. I found it at Heritage Winery in Glassboro, New Jersey when my hubby and I were visiting our youngest son at Rowan University.

    • When I envision a story I always start with the characters. For my Wishing Texas series I saw four friends who were in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M together. I knew they’d still be close friends even after ten years. Then I was off and running from there. And sinc they were from A&Mbthe had to be cowboys.

  8. Ever since the 1950’s when I was watching Westerns cowboys have always interested me. They give me a feeling of safety and security as well as being honorable and loyal. Your wonderful post was perfect and true.

  9. Hi Julie! Welcome to P&P! I really enjoyed your post, and you made me laugh with your line about what does a cowboy love more than horses–his MAMA! LOL SO TRUE! I see you’re an animal lover and rescuer–I love animals, too, and wish I had gotten started sooner in doing some kind of rescue work–now I have a big ol Gr. Pyrenees who is the KING here at my house and would not welcome a sibling. Too set in his ways. He was a rescue, too.

    I look forward to reading this story–it looks wonderful!

  10. Welcome aboard and thanks for a great post, Julie. For me the draw of westerns is all about the land and open places where cowboys thrive. I’m from the Northeast but my mom was from Oklahoma and Texas, and her father and grandfather were from Indian Territory. My grandfather wore a Stetson his whole life and was the epitome of the living cowboy code–to which I’d add the word “generosity” since he was the most generous man you’d want to know. And the one picture I have of my great-grandfather is the epitome of a cowboy look. Wish I could have known him too but he died a year after his wife who had died from being kicked by a horse; it was widely said he died of a broken heart. Now there’s a true romance story. To add to the romance, that great-grandmother’s name was Clementine!

  11. I love your books! They are so much fun to read. When we lived in McGregor, TX, I was so impressed with the young men who were so polite. I really didn’t know any cowboys, but “yes,Ma’am, no Sir”, etc., were commonplace. Respectful and kind. Looking forward to reading more of your books!

  12. Great post, Julie! Welcome to Wildflower Junction. I am a a suburbanite but give me a cowboy any day! I also love how well the true cowboy treats his horse.

  13. Julie, what a great blog for your first official Filly blog! Being born and raised in Texas, I truly felt every word you wrote about cowboys. So very true. Scott Eastwood!!!! Wow! Fellow Filly Linda and I went to see the “Longest Ride” when it first came out and my gosh, I thought his daddy was something, but he doesn’t hold a light to Scott. Sexy and the way he acted blew me away. Talk about tight fittin’ jeans! I love the cover of your new book and it’s already on my TBR list! Again, thanks for a great blog and I’m looking forward to gettin’ to know you better. Big Texas hugs, Phyliss

  14. Loved your bog post Julie. It’s definitely a state of mind. Cowboys wear their loyalty, honor, compassion and dedication up front. They are the very definition of Man to me. They remind me of the very loyal and honorable Highlanders when it comes to their loved ones and friends. Have a great week. 🙂

  15. Welcome to P & P, Julie. I look forward to reading your posts and finding out more about you and your books.
    For me, the traits you mentioned are those I admire in cowboys. They are loners, but that is because much of the work the do is solitary in nature. I think most are comfortable being alone, but enjoy the company of friends and family. I do admire that most of them respect the land and what lives upon it. They realize the importance of being good stewards of the land and make efforts to do so. They can appreciate the beauty and interconnectedness of nature and their livelihood.

  16. Hi Julie! Welcome to P & P. Oh how I love cowboys! I too love the attitude of a cowboy, the way they have a caring heart for the land, animals, and family. I love the way they walk and talk… oh my.

    Thank you for the giveaway chance!

    Cindy W.
    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  17. wow – yes Scott Eastwood and his dad!! Now those are cowboys that we all admire – the horse and the swagger of confidence they all have!!

  18. Hi Julie…and a big welcome to Wildflower Junction! I’m so glad to have you. We already have so much in common. I have a huge crush on Scott Eastwood and his dad. Those two are something else, but I’m glad Scott is ready to step into the role. He did an excellent, fantastic job in The Longest Ride. Oh man! He has that cowboy way of walking. And I loved the scene where he went to the college with flowers for the leading lady. Can’t remember her name. Scott was a bit uncomfortable walking into that room full of women but he was an instant hit. Oh yeah!

    Anyway, loved your blog and I love that you’re my Filly sister. Big hugs and air kisses!

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