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Friday, September 17, 2010

Joanne Kennedy, Guest blogger - Romance Smackdown: Cowboys vs. Vampires

Cowboys versus Vampires… it sounds like one of those cheesy old horror movies, doesn’t it? Frankenstein meets The Wolfman! The Human Fly meets The Orkin Guy!

No, we’re not going to stage a fight to the death with fangs and six-guns this morning. I just got to wondering how such different types of men ended up being two of the most popular heroes in romance fiction. What do men in chaps and Stetsons have in common with the original Men in Black that makes them both compelling romantic heroes? What do our range-riding boys in Wranglers have in common with the creatures of the night?

Well, for starters, they’re both grumpy.

You can call it strong and silent, you can call it impenetrable and mysterious, but many romantic heroes are downright disagreeable when they first come on the scene. Vampires are dark and deadly. Cowboys are quiet and laconic, hinting at hidden depths and secret torments. Then again, if romance novels are your guide to men, you could apparently say the same about all the Greek tycoons and Saudi princes out there.

Call me crazy, but there’s something about an antisocial guy, especially when he softens up for the right woman. And if that “right woman” is you—well. It’s like having a big, mean dog that won’t let anyone else pet him, or galloping off on a horse no one else can ride.

And when that big strong man faces danger, it makes him even more appealing. Whether your cowboy’s milieu is the rodeo arena or the ranch, he risks getting stomped by a bull, bucked off by a horse, or shot by a gunslinger. And vampires inhabit the night—which is dangerous by definition. In either case, a good hero has plenty of opportunities to face danger and triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds.

But most important, both vampires and cowboys live in a unique world where special skills are required for survival. Cowboys conquer the wide-open spaces. They need to know how to rope and ride, and how to nurture the land and care for animals. Meanwhile, most romance-novel vampires could qualify for advanced degrees in bloodsucking, evading pitchfork-wielding villagers, and even flying. Two very different worlds, but both specialized and unknown to the average Joe –or the average Jane.

Of course, Jane might be a cowgirl or a vampire herself—but I love fish-out-of-water stories where an everyday gal hooks up with a dark, mysterious, night-dwelling stranger, or a lattes-and-stilettos city girl finds herself in the Wild West and tames herself a handsome Wild Westerner.

As a reader, I always identify with the heroine—so when the hero welcomes her into his strange and challenging world, I get to go there, too. Frankly, I like sunshine and wide-open spaces, so the cowboy wins my heart every time. But I know a lot of women prefer to spend their evenings with those dark, handsome vampires.

How about you? Cowboys or vampires? Or do you favor a different breed of hero?

A copy of Joanne's lastest releasae ONE FINE COWBOY will be sent to two lucky commenters. Please include email addresses along with your comments so the winners can be contacted. **Available for only US and Canada residents.

He’s got a way with horses…and with women...
Nate Shawcross is perfectly content to spend his days training wild horses. So when a beautiful greenhorn unexpectedly shows up for a seminar from the famous “Horse Whisperer” of Wyoming, all Nate wants to do is send her packing…

The last thing she expects is a lesson in romance…
Graduate student Charlie Banks came to the ranch to learn about horse communication, but when she meets the ruggedly handsome cowboy, she starts to fantasize about another connection entirely…

Nate needs to stay focused if he’s going to save his ranch from foreclosure, but he can’t help being distracted by the brainy and breathtakingly sexy Charlie. Could it be that after all this time Nate has finally found the one woman who can tame his wild heart?

About the Author
Joanne Kennedy has worked in bookstores all her life in positions from bookseller to buyer. A member of Romance Writers of America and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, she won first place in the Colorado Gold Writing Contest and second in the Heart of the Rockies contest. Joanne lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming. For more information, please visit http://joannekennedybooks.com/.


  1. LOL - Joanne! You had me thinking about the old Dracula Meets Billy the Kid movie I somehow got roped into seeing way back when.

    To answer your question between cowboys and vampires... Well, I do write Regency/Paranormals so I'd have to say "vampires". The real question for me is - Do you prefer Werewolves or Vampires? But either way I answer THAT question and I'll have one set of heroes angry at me. So, I'll just say they're both wonderfully charming. ;)

  2. Hi, Joanne. You raised an interesting question for me. I've started and deleted my answer several times. I thought I preferred one time of hero, but then I realized I have several characters I truly love. I adore questing knights, bullheaded scots, Regency rakes, spies of ANY kind, and though, I have never read a western, your description of your book makes me want to, so I'll be seeing if I like cowboys in the near future!

  3. Hi Joanne! Thanks so much for blogging with us today!

    I love your topic - it's something I've never even considered! For me, though, it's vampires all the way. My hubby and I are definitely into the vampire craze (we're Team Edward, just for the record), especially the YA varieties :) There's just something about a young, hot 150-year-old. LOL!

  4. I love cowboys -- and I'm glad to see them coming back because it seemed like they got chased away by all those vampires (which I also love!)

    And maybe these guys are so grumpy because they have a TON of crap to take care of -- LOL -- saving the world, etc.

    Jerrica -- LOL about a young hot 150-year-old.

  5. Oh I'm a cowgirl to the end and I love a good ropin' with a cowboy lol. I haven't gotten into the vampire craze until I joined this crit group and Lydia Dare shared her world with me. I'm intrigued, definitely. And what a beautifully dark and sinister world it is. I'm actually compelled to read more and more about vampires now but...

    But my heart will always belong with the men of the west. There's just something about the honor in a man of the west, his love of country and family, and how he treats his woman.
    It's hard to rope a cowboy but when you do, he's yours for life.

    And you know just the fact that this is the only genre really tied to the US means something to me, especially in today's day and time. What a wonderful history we've had full of bravery from both men and women. I only hope people haven't forgotten that so soon.

    I am really hoping historical westerns come back, I have a couple of cowboy's that want their stories shared with someone other than me lol.

  6. Dracula Meets Billy the Kid - oh my! I've never seen that one, Lydia, but I should have watched it for research for this post! Vampires vs. Werewolves? I think I'd like werewolves better. I like my men warm...

  7. Julie, that list of heroes makes me all hot and bothered:) I hope you'll try out the cowboys - Nate in "One Fine Cowboy" might be your guy!

  8. You're welcome, Jerrica. I love this blog - you're a fun bunch! I'm kind of "Team Jacob" myself, thought. Mostly for the tan. That fishy-white vampire skin, sparkly or not, creeps me out. Oh wait--it's supposed to!

  9. Donna, Team Cowboy all the way! *high five* And yeah, there's a lot of responsibility involved in being a romantic hero. I guess that calls for a lot of brooding.
    (Okay, too funny - I almost missed the fact that I'd accidentally typed "breeding" instead of brooding. Freudian? I think so!)

  10. Melissa, you're right. Those all-American cowboys work for me. I would love to write a historical sometime. Western history is what brought me out here to Wyoming originally. I'm an absolute nut about ghost towns and small-town museums that let you see how people lived back then.

  11. I really love both I would have a hard time choosing but I think I would have to say cowboy if I coud only choose one. I love a sexy cowboy and if they have a really big belt buckle all the better! LOL! I like the freedom and indepence the cowboy represents and their love of wild. Most are loyal, respectful and kindhearted even if they are a loner or a little bit grumpy from time to time! Thanks for sharing today!


  12. Johanna, I agree with you about the belt buckles:) Nate's glad he has a big one in his first scene with heroine Charlie in "One Fine Cowboy." I guess Scotsmen and knights have shields, and cowboys have prize buckles!

  13. Thank you for blogging with the Ladys Scribes today, Joanne. Count me on the cowboy team, but don't tell Lydia.

  14. Congrats, Johanna Jochum and Donna Cummings! You'be both won a copy of Joanne Kennedy's ONE FINE COWBOY. If you haven't submitted your email address, please send it to ladyscribes@yahoo.com.

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  16. Vampires pale to the comparison of a cowboy. No other man alive could be as gorgeous as a cowboy. There's just something about their attire with a holster and a hat that makes me sigh and wish I had one. And when they tip their hat out of respect for a lady that's just icing on the cake.