Writing a Cowboy – Where Should an Author Begin?

Where do you start creating a cowboy? At the hat? Or at the heart?

Jimmy Thomas

Jimmy Thomas

Some authors begin profiling their cowboy with a picture – a hot, sexy hunk with dark hair and sloe eyes, big muscles and tight butt cheeks. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

I know authors who start their cowboys with a name. Vice McKain would probably turn out to be a naughty boy, while Rain Smith might be more of a lost soul.

I like to start my cowboys with a quirk. One big stud I’m writing into the Temptation Ranch Series is afraid of fish. Another hottie in that series always needs to carry food in his pocket. One of the ranch hands refuses to look at chickens on Sunday.

From there, I create backstory as to why these tough, rugged guys have such strange mannerisms. Our fish-phobe had a run-in with a sharp-toothed trout when he was a kid. The guy with the food in his pocket went hungry too often when he was young. And our anti-Sunday-chicken cowboy…heck, I haven’t figured that one out yet, but it’s bound to be wacky.

We all have quirks or phobias or lucky charms that we embrace as part of our personalities. I don’t mind spiders or snakes, but centipedes – eeeeek! And I’ll go into haunted houses and sleazy bars (if the band is good) but I have a paranoia about liquor stores. No clue why!

I’d love to hear your quirks, or those of your friends and families. It’s always interesting to see what pushes our “RUN” button, and I may even use yours in a book one day.

Here’s a little snippet from the unedited first book in the Temptation Ranch Series – Hot Springs Temptation. It’s a male/male erotic romance.

Ethan’s heart thumped crazily for a moment when he thought it was Brace walking toward him from behind the tractor. When he recognized Zeke, his nerves settled.

“What do you need, Ethan?”

“The cowboys are rearranging the tables for tomorrow’s session and they don’t understand the diagram.”

“I’m on it. Thanks.” He took off at a brisk walk.

Silence. Zeke had been speaking to someone, hadn’t he?


“Yeah. Back here.” The cowboy’s sexy rumble came from behind the green tractor.

Evidently he wasn’t coming out. Ethan made his way around a red tractor with a set of some kind of giant, scary scissors on the front. Back behind the shiny new tractor, he found Brace.

In the twilight streaming through the open doors of the shed, the cowboy’s skin glowed golden. Turning his head toward Ethan, Brace’s eyes flashed emerald. He stood as still as rock. And as quiet.

Ethan’s gut jittered just standing this close. Sensual thoughts crowded his brain as a spark of desire skittered down his spine, slamming into itself as it raced back upward.

He hadn’t prepared for this. He’d come looking for Zeke knowing Brace might be in the shed, too. Damn it, if he didn’t say something quickly, Brace would grow impatient and run off again.

“I never got the chance to thank you for carrying my suitcase.” Not his most brilliant sentence, but better than nothing.

Brace shrugged, walked to the huge tire, and checked the valve stem. “Not necessary.”

Ethan shoved his hands in his jeans pockets, the fingers of his right hand touching the granola bar he’d grabbed during the retreat session. The tactile touchstone calmed him and built his confidence. “Then maybe you’ll accept my apology.”

Brace turned to him, his eyes narrowing. “For what?”

He sucked in a breath and let it out slowly. “What I said earlier.” He shrugged. “About where you were bunking.”

Nodding, Brace crossed his arms over his chest.

Those amazing biceps and strong forearms drew his gaze. Ethan’s fingers tingled with the need to touch the hard muscled flesh, to run his palms over the light furring of black hair on his forearms. He swallowed. In the silence, it sounded like a gong.

Ethan sorted through the feelings, looking for the words to explain. “That was a little over the top.” He glanced around, then back into Brace’s stare. “I felt something. A connection. An urge.” He ran a hand across his hair. “It made me a little crazy, and I just said the first pickup line that popped into my brain.”

The cowboy stood for a long moment. His eyes trailed to Ethan’s lips and back up again to level an amused look at him. “That’s your pickup line?” Brace’s firm lips almost curved into a smile. “Good luck.” He turned and walked away, his boots making solid footsteps on the concrete, then crunched on the gravel as he left the building.

Ethan’s mouth opened and closed like a trout, no words emerging. He pounded the side of his fist on the tractor tire. He’d really screwed this one up.


Have a quirky, wild, and wicked Saturday,
“Rode Hard and Put Up Satisfied”
-Double Her Fantasy is available in digital format at Amazon (available exclusively at Amazon until August 2, 2013)
-Free Read! A Gentleman and a Cowboy is available at Amazon, Smashwords, All Romance Ebooks, Diesel Ebook Store, Barnes and Noble
-Cowboy Jackpot: St. Patrick’s Day is available in digital format at Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble and in paperback at Createspace, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
-Cowboy Jackpot: Valentine’s Day is available in digital format at Smashwords, Amazon and Barnes & Noble and in paperback at Createspace, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
-Cowboy Jackpot: Christmas is available in digital format at Smashwords, Amazon and Barnes & Noble and in paperback at Createspace, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
-Turn Up the Heat, Chase and Seduction, and Her Cowboy Stud are available at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
-Cowboy Bad Boys is available in digital format at Smashwords, Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback from Createspace and Amazon
-Cowboy Lust is available in paperback and digital format at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About Randi Alexander

Writer of Erotic Romances - "Rode Hard and Put Up Satisfied"
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18 Responses to Writing a Cowboy – Where Should an Author Begin?

  1. katkracker@cox.net says:

    Randi The Chicken/Sunday thing could be because his grandmother killed a pet chicken for Sunday dinner. My grand mother always had chicken on Sunday…. Oh yes and if you killed one of her chickens you had to clean it and make it ready for Sunday dinner(after church). It’s just a thought… Elaine

  2. Clare O'Beara says:

    Sounds like fun! Cowboys are hot whether they’re into guys or girls.
    You could start by deciding what he does and where he lives – a rodeo pro is going to be different to someone who lives on a ranch in the back country.

    • Randi Alexander says:

      That’s where the characters get to talk to me, Clare. I give them a quirk, they tell me their name and occupation. I love it when they come to life!

  3. I love learning about how an idea comes to fruition. I can totally get into cowboys with quirks. That is what makes them so much more believable and alive in a story for me. As for my quirks…I must have the dishes done before going to be, no matter what time it is. I hate needles, but love getting tattoos. I love to go fishing, but can’t stand to touch the bait or the fish. Yeah….Just a little odd.

  4. I can’t stand to watch people get embarrassed on movies, I tend to close my eyes and cover my ears. Yes, I know they are actors, but I just can’t handle it 🙂

    • Randi Alexander says:

      That’s great! You must not watch many comedies, then. Someone’s always getting embarrassed.

  5. Teresa Hughes says:

    Wow, what an excert! Ummm, quirks (main kind of quit functioning for a minute) I have to have even numbers in everything. An example is when you had the letters in my kids’ names (first, middle, & last) you have an even number. Weird I know. I will always exit a building through the same door that I entered it from. And the big one…I am TERRIFIED of Chihihuas (the Taco Bell dog) I know I spelled that wrong.I was bit in the face by one when I was 3. I don’t run from big dogs but I will from one of those!

    Have a great Saturday!

    • Randi Alexander says:

      Scary about the dogbite, Teresa. That’s terrible that it happened to you so young. I know someone who has to have the even number thing, and she’s so bad, she won’t even stop in towns with an odd number of letters in the name.

  6. Tiss says:

    Hey, How’s your week?
    I played with mice as a kid and you can’t hardly get me to take a mouse out of a trap now a days. I like sticky traps, so I can throw the whole thing away. I don’t mind spiders, but I will kill them and I HATE snakes. LOL.

    • Randi Alexander says:

      That’s interesting that you liked mice as a kid, but don’t like them now. Our local pet store has hairless rats for sale – these little pink, bald things. I think they’re cute, Kick will not allow one in our home! LOL

  7. Mary Preston says:

    Quirks make characters I always think.

    I have to use certain drinking glasses, mugs or cups for certain drinks. It’s more to do with volume than anything I think.

    • Randi Alexander says:

      Yes, that’s interesting, Mary. I have my favorites too, but it would be fun to take it up a notch and have a character use only a few select dishes. Thanks for the idea!

  8. Cindy Hamilton says:

    Interesting concept, I usually use the same coffee cup. Also I have to do my dishes a certain way, why? I don’t know!

  9. JackieW says:

    I have a favorite glass I like to drink from…I have an aversion to drinking from a plastic glass…I guess you could call that a quirk.

    • Randi Alexander says:

      Yes, that’s a great quirk. Someone who avoids plastic. I’ll put that on my list. Thanks, Jackie!

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