{Book 1 in the Cowboys of Decker Ranch Series, April 2014}

how to handle a cowboy

Now set back and enjoy your time with our guest….

Without further ado….Welcome back, Joanne! It is always a pleasure to have you with MBA&M and our readers!!

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys


I’ve been writing contemporary Western romance for years now, and I’ll tell you a secret: it’s easy.




Because my heroes have always been cowboys, just like the song says, and cowboys naturally make perfect romantic heroes.


Mostly, that’s because they’re old-fashioned. If you drive through the heart of Wyoming, you find yourself in what I call the “Deep West.” You’ll travel through miles and miles of open ranchland punctuated by small towns that seem misplaced in time. Sit down in any mom-and-pop diner in LaGrange or Clearmont or Wamsutter and you’ll hear conversations about community and crops, weather and wild animals. In the Deep West, the daily news doesn’t matter much, and neither does the stock market. It’s all about the price of beef and the grain harvest.


In spite of that isolation,  the West is changing. I blame it on the influence of television and the Cabela’s catalog. I saw a cattle drive the other day where the cowboys were riding four-wheelers and wearing baseball caps. Don’t they know they’re tampering with the American dreams of millions of women? Put on a Stetson and buy a horse!


Rodeo cowboys, on the other hand, wear cowboy clothes: Wranglers that fit and button-down shirts, accessorized with scuffed boots that have seen their share of horse hooey and arena dirt, and battered hats that have been stomped by bulls and broncs. Not that a cowboy would ever admit to accessorizing. They’re the kind of guys who put on whatever’s on top in the laundry basket.


But they do accessorize, and my favorite rodeo cowboy accessory is chaps.


What can I say about chaps? They deserve their own paragraph. They’re leather pants without a seat, after all. Though the cowboys claim they’re practical, I’m convinced some woman designed them to show off a man’s best assets. They force a cowboy to swagger just a bit, and the fringe sways and emphasizes the beat of their stride like a flounced skirt sways with a woman’s hips. And when they ride? The chaps are flapping, the fringe is flying, and the whole thing looks like poetry to me.


There are two kinds of rodeo cowboys: the new ones, and the ones who have mastered the sport. The new ones come out of those small towns in the heart of Wyoming, and they’re a little wide-eyed and innocent. Cheyenne is the big city to some of these guys, and rodeo is the only road that’s going to get them off the ranch. I once snapped a picture of one of these guys, sitting in the Cowboy Ready area at Frontier days, lost and wide-eyed and a little scared as he waited for his ride. He looked about fourteen, I swear, and was wearing a shirt his mother must have ironed for him. I’ll bet she cried while she did it, and it broke my heart when he got thrown right out of the gate.


Those guys get winnowed out pretty quick, which is a good thing. If you don’t have a real talent for roughstock riding, it’s best to go home. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your money on entry fees and getting stomped for nothing.


But the ones that stay? They’re a whole ‘nother story. Capable and confident, they take their sport seriously. Most of them are working toward their own ranch, a home for their eventual family.



Because family matters to these guys, and home is everything. Like the men of generations past, they have a deep connection to the land, and their ultimate goal is a simple life centered around work, home, and family.


Isn’t that the kind of man we’re all looking for? If you read contemporary romances, you’ll notice that the men often have old-fashioned professions. Heroines fall in love with hunky firemen, handsome carpenters, and Navy Seals.


But for me, the all-American cowboy has them all beat. The authenticity of their heritage accounts for the swagger in their stride. They’re an American legend, but you’d never know it to talk to them; they’re humble and respectful and kind. They can whisper to horses and sing to cattle, and they can do lots of other things, too.


But you’ll have to read my books to find out about that.

 Thank you, Joanne, for spending time with us and our readers today!

Now I have to ask, who doesn’t enjoy a cowboy? Oh, yes!! Leave a comment. 



His Rodeo Days May Be Over…

Sidelined by a career-ending injury, rodeo cowboy Ridge Cooper feels trapped at his family’s remote Wyoming ranch. Desperate to find an outlet for the passion he used to put into competing, he takes on the challenge of teaching his roping skills to five troubled ten-year-olds in a last-chance home for foster kids, and finds it’s their feisty supervisor who takes the most energy to wrangle.


But He’ll Still Wrangle Her Heart…

When social worker Sierra Dunn seeks an activity for the rebellious kids at Phoenix House, she soon learns she’s not in Denver anymore. Sierra is eager to get back home to her inner-city work, and the plan doesn’t include forming an attachment in Wyoming—especially not to a ruggedly handsome and surprisingly gentle local rodeo hero.


Praise for How to Handle a Cowboy

“Realistic and romantic… Kennedy’s forte is in making relationships genuine and heartfelt as she exposes vulnerabilities with tenderness and good humor.” —Booklist STARRED Review


“The sex scenes are juicy… Each character is essential to the storyline and the plot moves seamlessly.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars


To Purchase How to Handle a Cowboy:


Barnes and Noble









joanne kennedy author photo 2011ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joanne Kennedy’s lifelong fascination with Wyoming’s unique blend of past and present inspires her to write contemporary Western romances with traditional ranch settings. Her books include Cowboy Tough, Tall, Dark and Cowboy, and the RITA-nominated One Fine Cowboy. At various times, she has dabbled in horse training, chicken farming, and bridezilla wrangling at a department store wedding registry. Her love of reading led to careers in bookselling and writing. She lives with two dogs and a fighter pilot in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

For more information, please visit http://joannekennedybooks.com/.




(Sponsored by the publisher)

*You MUST re-visit this site to see who won*

Thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks, we are offering 1 lucky commenter:

*1 copy of How to  Handle a Cowboy + a surprise cowboy-themed gift from Joanne.*

Sorry, open to US and Canada residents only!

Giveaway will run from April 9 until April 18, 2014.




Please stop by our sister site for “My Thoughts” on this title!!

HOW TO HANDLE A COWBOY by Joanne Kennedy

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