City Girl > Country Girl

I’m Laura Drake, the newest Filly in the stable, and proud to be here! 

I wanted to introduce myself and let you know what you’re getting into with me (cue evil laugh).

My twelfth Western releases on the 28th (pause for a loud squee!). I’m probably a horse of a different color here, in that I came at this western thing later in life. 

See, I was born in the Northwest suburbs of Detroit – Yeah, city-girl AND a Yankee. When the job market died there, and I got sick of the snow, my sister and I moved, sight unseen, to Southern California (they really shouldn’t televise the Rose Bowl to the frozen Midwest). 

Closer to the west, but certainly not country. But that changed fast. See, I met an ex-pat bleed-maroon, Texas Aggie there. We fell in love, and that first Christmas, he took me home to momma – Midland, Texas.

That first Christmas – yeah, we haven’t changed much

There were a lot of eye-opening experiences that Christmas, but the best was, he took me to my first RODEO! It turns out the rodeo season kicks off every year twenty miles down the road in Odessa. 

I fell in love with it all, but especially with the bull riding. Then I discovered that bull riding was televised EVERY weekend! I was hooked.

I also discovered that the PBR came to a venue seven miles from our house in Southern California every January! 

Brendan Clark – cute, talented bull rider, AND a sexy Aussie accent!

I’d been writing small town series, but I switched to contemporary westerns, featuring, you guessed it, bull riders. Yeah, I’m a little obsessed – I’ve been to at least ten events, and five world finals – the most recent, last November in Las Vegas.

A broken leg (freak fly fishing accident) wasn’t going to keep me from the Finals!

Why bull riding? To me, it’s like a dangerous ballet. The riders are more like gymnasts than wrestlers. After all, you’re never going to out-muscle a 2,000 lb. bull, so it’s about staying balanced in the middle of a tornado. When it’s done right, and the stars align, it’s a beautiful dance.

But it’s also about the animal athletes – the bulls. They are bred to buck like thoroughbreds are bred to run, and it’s been a thrill to see the buckers improve the past decade.

We finally retired, left So Cal behind, and moved to Midland, Texas in 2014. 

So that’s my long winding road, from city-girl to country girl. It took me a long time, but I got here as soon as I could! 

Bullrider Jory Markiss with my RITA winner, The Sweet Spot!

I’m so looking forward to blogging and chatting with Y’all! 

To kick this off, I’d like to give away a copy of my July release, Cowboy for Keeps, to a random commenter. All you need to do is tell me,

What’s your favorite rodeo event? 


Here’s a bit about the book:


Website | + posts

Laura Drake is a New York and self-published published author of Women's Fiction and Romance.
Her romance series, Sweet on a Cowboy, is set in the world of professional bull riding. Her debut, The Sweet Spot, was a double-finalist, then won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award. She’s since published 12 more books. She is a founding member of Women's Fiction Writers Assn, as well as a member of Western Writers of America and Women Writing the West.
Laura is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She's a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

62 thoughts on “City Girl > Country Girl”

  1. Welcome Laura- You found an awesome Man. Your very own Texas Aggie. I graduated college from TARLETON State University in Stephenville, TX, my hometown also. TSU is part of the TX A&M system. I now live in Kansas due to my job, but I can still touch Texas dirt in 99 miles.
    I grew up In The rodeo world, my dad was a calf roper, I roped. Breakaway Growing up, plus barrel raced.
    But you probably already guess my fav event, Nothing sexier than watchIng a Cowboy nod his head and him & his horse fly into a dance of their own. As the slack pulls, roper dismounts and 2 wraps and a hooey, and I’m just a lost cause of total infatuation.
    Welcome also to the country way of life, I’m glad you finally arrived. Better late, than never. Have a blessed day!

    • Good morning! I love rodeos in general and all the events! Like you I love Bull riding the best, I think, it’s so hard to choose one event though. Tie-down is the next up in my favorites! I’m from the cowboy capital of the world, Stephenville, Texas. I’m sure you’ve heard of our bull riding champion, Ty Murray. I’m so glad you finally made it to Texas and have joined us at P&P.

      • I don’t know how that ended up under your comment Tonya! I knew what your favorite event would be!!

        • I love watching bull riding, and when i go to the rodeo, I do my best to get as close to the action as i can. I also admire the clowns and the job they are doing.
          My next favorite at the rodeo is mutton busting ???

    • Tonya, my husband’s dad went to Tarleton! Yeah – those bareback riders are almost as nuts as bull riders, except the horse doesn’t come after you on the get-off. But the WHIP!

      My BIL is a roper! Thanks for the welcome – look forward to chatting with you here!

      • Yay for your Father In Law being a TARLETON TEXAN. I hope you get down to Stephenville, many many great cowboys down there.

  2. Good morning! I love rodeos in general and all the events! Like you I love Bull riding the best, I think, it’s so hard to choose one event though. Tie-down is the next up in my favorites! I’m from the cowboy capital of the world, Stephenville, Texas. I’m sure you’ve heard of our bull riding champion, Ty Murray. I’m so glad you finally made it to Texas and have joined us at P&P.

    • Heard of him? I have his book! I’d love to meet him and have it signed someday. SO many cowboys in Stephenville – I put it in one of my books (Sweet on You). Ty is amazing.

      Thanks, Stephanie!

  3. Good morning Laura, first thank you so much for a sneak peak in to the Cowboy for Keeps. I loved the trailer, I’m a visual person so the insight to the characters is awesome. I haven’t been to a rodeo in years, but living in Tennessee as a young girl my cousin’s rode Barrels so we were always running rodeo circuits. I can still feel the thrill of watching the cowboys climbing on a 2000 bull, the head nod, gate opens then you hold your breath till hopefully the cowboys made their ride safely. BUT if something happen, the rodeo clowns rushed in throwing their body in front of that raging bull doing whatever had to be done to save the cowboy. I loved watching them, amazed at their antics to distract the horses\ bulls till you were on your feet cheering for them. They were the heroes of the rodeo, so I can’t really say what my favorite event was because from the time your boots hit the gates the excitement started, I loved it ALL .

    • Oh Rose Ann, you were so lucky to grow up in that culture! I love the bull fighters, too. I wrote a Women’s Fiction about the first professional woman bullfighter (fiction, there hasn’t been one yet). Days Made of Glass.

      As research for that book, I went to a bullfighting school! My husband wouldn’t let me get in the arena with one, but if I were ten years younger, he’d have been overruled!

  4. Bull riding all the way. My blood gets to pumping and I can hardly sit still. I am on the end of my set and they bring in the bulls and riders getting ready and the size of those powerful beast. Music pumps you up then they get on the bull get ready and nod and gates open. Come out and this 8 seconds seems to slow down while bull and rider dance. I admire thiseriders and pray for each one for loving the ride.
    Ps glad to have you join and excited to read your books. Have a blessed day.

  5. My favorite rodeo event is the bull riding too. I don’t know if you have ever heard of Martinez Bucking Bulls, but they have some popular bulls on the rodeo circuit. I live about a mile from their ranch. They have several restaurants in town too that we often visit (until covid forced us into takeout only). One was (until they relocated in the center of town) right along side of their ranch and they called it The Bull’s Pen Cafe. It’s all rodeo theme with paintings of their bulls and pictures from rodeos. Since the restaurant was beside their ranch, the bulls would often roam the pastures next to the restaurant and I used to love seeing them.

      • I live in Mesquite, Texas, right on the border of Sunnyvale, where their ranch is. I don’t know if their ranch is open to the public, you would have to contact them to find out. But you can eat at their restaurants, The Bulls Pen (homestyle type food, the one with the bull theme), Tino’s and Martinez (these two are really good Mexican food). The owners are super nice. I do miss the original location of The Bull’s Pen (beside the ranch) and getting to see the bulls all the time. I guess they sold part of the land and the restaurant went with it. But the new restaurant is just as nice, just in the center of town with no view.

  6. I loved your story of “arrival.” Life brings about the most interesting turnabouts! For me, bronc busting or bull riding is spell bounding. I am proud when a rodeo opens and riders bring out our American flag to our national anthem playing. Awesome! Nice to meet you today!

  7. My favorite event is saddle bronc riding. We went to the Molalla Buckaroo(Oregon) every year while I was growing up.

  8. So excited to have you with us, Laura, and I loved hearing more about your journey. I started in southern/central California, too. A small town named Lompoc, about an hour north of Santa Barbara. Came to Texas for college, roped me a cowboy disguised as a computer nerd, and never left. In fact, my daughter is heading to A&M this fall to start work on her PhD, so I’m about to become an Aggie Mom. 🙂

  9. Welcome Laura! Love your story! We have Aggies in our family and hoping for more with the grands.
    Bull riding is the best in my book. The Athletes, the riders, who show their riding talents and the athletes, the bulls, who put on a fantastic show for us. Amazing!

  10. Laura, I too, started writing western romance late. I started writing historicals, then romantic suspense before working on the ONLY western romance idea I had. That was the story I sold, and I’ve never looked back.

    Glad to have you here with us!

  11. Welcome!! I have lived my whole life in Michigan, grew up on a dairy farm and now we have horses. We love all things country and I have gone to more rodeos than I can count! My younger brother tried his hand at roping and some bronco riding, but quit to have a family. I love all the events at a rodeo – but maybe the intense suspense of those 8 seconds on a bull top the charts.

  12. Welcome to the corral, Laura! Loved your blog. Loved your trailer. Loved seeing that you’re finally HERE!!

    I really enjoyed reading about your journey. I’m a Nebraska girl. Never lived anywhere else, but I have a brother in Texas, so I’ve gotten to see that beautiful state a few times now.

    Again, welcome – and big HUG!

    • You’ve been so patient, training a new filly, Pam (even if your spam filter hates me) I appreciate all the extra time you’ve spent on me! Thank you all for inviting me!

  13. I love going to the Oldest Held Rodeo in America every Fourth of July in Prescott, AZ Seems like they have the best riders and animals in any rodeo.
    I always like to watch the bulls named Lightning, Devil Rider, and Hot Water. The riders never seem to stay on long.
    I love the parades in the arena and the clowns, too.

  14. Laura, welcome! So glad you are here with us, and I loved reading about “what happened” along the way! My most memorable rodeo was the first one I went to with my aunt, uncle and cousins in southeastern Oklahoma when I was about 10 or so. Guess who was there? LARRY MAHAN! But we didn’t have a clue “who” he was at that time! We were just kids. That was such a fun night, and one I will never forget. Great post! Hugs, girl!

  15. I love them all! I can’t say I have a favorite ( that would be like saying I have a favorite child) each event has a special place in my heart. But Rodeo has special memories of family, once a year everyone would gather at the Rodeo for a reunion, so much fun.

  16. Welcome! Love your post featuring the bull riders! Love the trailer and the book sounds fantastic!

    I cry at the opening too. My daughter just looks at me like I’m crazy. I love bull riding, but I’m holding my breath and my stomach is hurting. Barrel racing is my favorite! My daughter races and I love seeing the smile on her face practicing at home.

  17. Laura, welcome aboard! We’re so happy to have you. I’m north of you in Amarillo and we love our rodeos too. Mention a going to a rodeo and my heart starts pumping. This is smack in the middle of cowboy country. We love ’em here and there’s plenty to love. Like you, I think bull riding is my favorite event. It’s the danger, the man against animal, the excitement that you just can’t beat. Great trailer by the way. I’m just so thrilled you’re here.

  18. I am a bull riding fan. The PBR circuit stops in a town near us and we ushered for the event for many years until recently. It is a bit nerve wracking, but exciting. Welcome to the Junction. You have joined a nice group of ladies. Just a small request. Many of us do not get a chance to get to our computers to visit favorite sites until the evening. It would be nice if giveaways were held open until we had a chance to comment.

  19. Hi Laura, I love your book trailer and the sound of your book, and I think your book cover is Beautiful! I live less then 2 hours from Midland , Texas. We have been living here in Ft. Stockton for 40 yrs. We also have a Rodeo here the first week in Jan. , my favorite event in a rodeo is when the Cowboy gets on a bronco and is timed. I love seeing the calves , horses and all the animals that are involved in a rodeo. I have not been to the Rodeo in years. Have a Great weekend and stay safe fellow Texan.

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