It's entirely possible I just haven't been all that observant (I don't read every blog on the Internet after all!), but I'm surprised nobody has pointed out the fact that contemporary westerns seem to be experiencing a heck of a resurgence at the moment. I tend to like my cowboys of the historical variety, but you know what? Being all about the western that I am - I'm not about to scoff at a sexy contemporary hero rockin' the boots, hat and faded blue jeans. Hell, I'm breathing. I'm straight. They're cowboys. What's not to love here people?
If it pleases the Romance Bloglandia court, here is my evidence in the case of Calling Out Of The Contemporary Cowboy Trend:
Linda Lael Miller:
Vicki Lewis Thompson:
Granted, Linda Lael Miller and R.C. Ryan (who is Ruth Ryan Langan) have had long and distinguished publishing careers, with resumes loaded with titles featuring cowboys (historical and contemporary). So yeah, this sub genre is not "new" for them. But I think it's telling that they're still working the West. Also telling, that all of these titles (which exception of the last three Lorelei James titles - which are 2010 print reprints of 2009 digital releases) are all 2010 books. Yes. All of these contemporary westerns have landed, or will be landing, in 2010.
And let's be honest here - I've left off scads of Harlequins from this list. Cowboys have thrived over there for decades - I chose to specifically highlight the Thompson trilogy because 1) I'm reading them right now and 2) those book covers make me all tingly.
So what, you might be asking, is the appeal? Oh, so glad you asked! When you think cowboy - you think "man's man." He's strong, he's sexy, he's take charge. He's Alpha enough to swoop in and save the day, and sensitive enough to know how to treat a woman properly. Also, cowboys have a built-in code of honor. A personal moral code of right vs. wrong. Whether or not that's actually true - the "history" of the American cowboy is that he knows injustice when he sees it, hates it, and fights it. And in a contemporary setting - it's easy to pair your modern day cowboy hero with a modern woman, with modern sensibilities. Readers get a hunkilicious cowboy and a heroine who can stand toe-to-toe with him.
Damn, I'm finding this scenario even more appealing than I did before. How is that possible?
So what say you? Have you noticed this rebirth of the contemporary cowboy? Do you think I'm spinning fantasies out of whole cloth (again)? And the real question: if this is a trend, how long can it possibly last (and keep me ever so happy)?
Oh and in case anyone is curious? A decent variety of publishers represented here. In order: Harlequin (HQN), Grand Central, Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks, Harlequin (Blaze), NAL, Samhain, and Berkley.