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November 9, 2010

Researching Cowboys–the things we writers do….

My special guest today is author Sherry James. She’s celebrating her new release, The Cowboy and the Hellcat and talking about cowboys. One of my favorite topics since I’m a keen rodeo fan. Don’t forget to check out the contest at the end of the post.

The Cowboy and the HellcatHey, everyone! I’m excited to be here today at Shelley’s blog home on the web. Thanks for having me, Shelley! This is an exciting week for me since my latest book, The Cowboy and the Hellcat is being released Wednesday, Nov. 10th from the Wild Rose Press.

Since I’m a writer it’s a good thing I love to do research, especially research that involves talking to real live, in the flesh, sexy cowboys. What a hardship! ;-) I know a lot about rodeo, bull riding, and the western way of life, but it’s always nice to talk to other folks who also live and breathe the life to get a fresh perspective.

I also love to write about cowboys and I always strive to make darn sure I’m depicting the life as accurately as possible for you, the reader. That’s why when my local radio station was giving away tickets to a dinner/meet & greet with PBR (Professional Bull Riders) bull fighters, stock contractors, and bull riders last December, I put three phones to work. My insane efforts paid off and I was the correct caller and got my name put in for the drawing. And by golly, luck was really on my side. My name was drawn out for the big package, including tickets to the bull riding. Yee-Haw! So, I called up my critique partner and good buddy, Julie Miller, and asked if she’d like to go. All in the name of research, of course! ;-) Even though Julie writes about cops in Kansas City for Harlequin Intrigue, she jumped at the chance to experience something new. I mean, what better way to talk bull riding, rodeo, and goin’ down the road then over a nice dinner and a few drinks with handsome men! Handsome men are always good inspiration for us romance writers!

Bull fighter, Cody Hollums of Midland, TX, was gracious and answered my slew of questions. He even asked me if I was going to write a book featuring a bull fighter as the hero. You betcha, Cody! And I can guarantee he’s going to look a lot like you. Keep an eye out.

Stock contractor, Chad (Bubba) Berger of Mandan, ND was a lot of fun, too, and I wish I would have had more one-on-one time to talk with him. Thanks for the beer, Chad!

Sherry & Cody

Then I sat down with bull riders, Markus Mariluch of Elko, NV, and Skeeter Kingsolver of Mclouth, KS. These two were so down-to-earth, just good ‘ol boys, and were more than happy to answer all my questions. We talked about the lifestyle, the travel, and if fear ever enters their minds before they climb onto the back of those 2,000 pound bulls. Markus knows all too well what it’s like to be stomped on by a rank bull. In 2008 he rode a bull who tried to make hamburger out of his face. Amazingly, Markus was back in the chute a week later and ready to take another out for a spin. Now that’s tough. Cowboy tough!

Sherry with Markus Mariluch of Elko, NV, Bart Miller of Oshkosh, NE, and Skeeter Kingsolver of Mclouth, KS

As for Skeeter. Well, what can I say? Skeeter is just as cute as a bug’s ear. I mean this guy is young enough to be my son, but he’s as sweet, polite, and common as they come. I just wanted to squeeze him! And keep your eye out for Skeeter. He’s a rising star in the PBR. Maybe you caught him in the reality TV show, The Posse, which aired on CMT late last year. The film crew followed Skeeter and other pro bull riders around for a summer to give fans a glimpse into the world behind the bucking chutes. Skeeter said it was fun doing the show, although at times he did get a little weary of the cameras being right there all the time.

After chatting with the cowboys that night, I went back the following and took in the bull riding. The bulls were rank, too. Big time. One bull was so rank that after he dumped his rider he decided to take on the outrider and his horse. That cowboy suddenly found himself on an intimate date with the fence, and his horse took a hard ride on the bull! Fortunately, neither the horse or cowboy were hurt, but it sure looked ugly. On a positive note, one young cowboy who’d brought his girl to the bull riding had worked it out to bring her into the arena. Much to her surprise, he got down on one knee in the dirt and proposed! Now that’s romance the cowboy way. And you can bet that’s going to show up in a book someday. To me, that epitomizes the cowboy. He’s a gentleman, shows respect for women and their animals. All the guys we met stood when we stood, offered their hands in a friendly shake, and tipped their hats. To me, they symbolize the honesty and integrity of the American way of life, and showcase the roots of our great country! Long live Cowboys!

So, do you like to read about cowboys? For you, what’s the allure? And do you prefer contemporary cowboys over historical cowboys? Or do you love them both? All of you who comment today will get their name put into the drawing for an electronic download of my new western historical, The Cowboy and the Hellcat. Hellcat is the first book in my Cowboys of the 4 Aces series. Yes, handsome Adam Ford has two younger brothers who have their own adventures to tell! If you’d like to read more about The Cowboy and the Hellcat, or my other books, please stop by my web site, www.sherryjames.com.

I’ll announce today’s blog winner late this evening. And if you want a second chance to win a prize, be sure and check out my T-shirt contest also going on at my web site.

Pix: Bull fighter Cody Hollums of Midland, TX & little ‘ol me!
And me with Markus Mariluch of Elko, NV, Bart Miller of Oshkosh, NE, and Skeeter Kingsolver of Mclouth, KS.


  1. Nessa

    One of my favorite books was about cowboys and the hero’s name was Cody but this was a book from the early eighties. So, anyway – lucky you to meet all of those cute guys.

  2. Jeannene Walker

    Love the post. I write about cowboys and love to read about them. That was the best research – talking to ’em.

  3. Julie Miller

    Hey, Sherry! Cool to find you here. Yes, meeting all those bull-riders and stockmen in person was a real treat for me. Being a city gal, I don’t know much about ranch life–but after spending the evening chatting with all those real life cowboys, I can certainly understand the allure. So polite and respectful and laid-back and charming. Some real successes and lots of hard workers who seem to do it with a grin.

    And trust me, big ol’ Bubba will show up in a book of mine somewhere–maybe not as a stock contractor (although the American Royal is big, big stuff in Kansas City–hmm…):wink:

    Congrats on the new release! I’m looking forward to reading it.

  4. Sherry James

    Howdy, Nessa! Nice to meet you here. Yes, I was lucky to meet those guys, course, I’ve always been one to help make my luck happen!

    Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Sherry James

    Howdy, Jeannene!

    Cowboys rock,don’t they?! Got to love’m. :wink:

  6. Sherry James

    Cool, Julie. I’d love to see Bubba show up in one of your books. And yeah, the KC Royal is huge. It would be a great setting for the KCPD to go to work. I see a research trip in the future. Count me in. Woo-Hoo! :grin:

  7. Jessica B.

    Hi Sherry,
    You are so lucky. Your books sounds awesome (though I would have loved to see a cowboy on the cover, your pics of you and the real live bullriders were better). I love cowboys but haven’t seen one in person. I love to read about cowboys and listen to them talk during the rodeo.

    The allure is hard for me, I’m not real sure what it is about them that makes me love them. Many things factor in. The hat, their politeness/respectfulness, their confidence on taking on bulls, horses and/or calves, etc.

    I love both contemporary and historical. Cowboys are cowboys, I’ll always pick them up ;)


  8. Shelley Munro

    I’m a huge rodeo fan. I get it from my father who rode bulls during his younger days and later on bred bulls down here in New Zealand. On the whole I think I prefer contemporary cowboy stories, although I will read historical ones on occasion.

    It sounds as if you had a wonderful time, Sherry. I’d love to get to the PBR finals one year.

  9. {S.T.U.F.F.}

    Great Post!

    You have solved my holiday book purchase dilemna. My Mother LUVS! novels written about Cowboys.

    That’s one less item on my ‘to purchase’ list. Thanx!

  10. Jean

    Oh you are a lucky lady to be able to spend time with those good looking cowboys.
    I spent many a summer in my youth attending weekend rodeos, sure do miss it!

  11. Sherry James

    Hey, Jessica. Thanks for stopping by. I would have liked to see a cowboy on the cover of Hellcat, too. But, that was out of my hands. Still, it’s a beautiful cover.

    I’m with you, I love both contemporary or historical cowboys. Hot is hot! :wink:

  12. Sherry James

    Hey, Shelley, I’d love to go to the PBR finals, too. Haven’t made that yet. But I get to regular season PBR events as often as I can.

    And your dad rode bulls? How cool. Bet he’s got some stories to tell!

  13. Sherry James

    Hey, S.T.U.F.F.! You’re mom is a smart woman! :wink: I hope she enjoys it. Thanks for stoppin’ by!

  14. Sherry James

    Hi, Jean!

    Yeah, rodeo is one of those things that once it’s in your blood, it’s hard to ignore. Hope you can find a rodeo near you soon so you can enjoy the view!

    Thanks for being here!

  15. Savannah Chase

    You can never go wrong with a cowboy……

  16. Desiree Holt

    Hey Sherry. On ym way to buy your book. I write about cowboys, too. I love ’em. I live in the Texas Hill Country surrounded by them. Your book sounds like just the ticket for a good night’s read.

  17. Sherry James

    So true, Savannah! So true.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  18. Sherry James

    Hey, Desiree! Good to see you here. Ain’t it great to have such awesome scenery surrounding you down there in TX?!

    Can’t wait to connect with you more over at the new cowboy blog.

  19. Sherry James

    Okay, I’m picking my winner for the day! Congratulations to Jean. She is the winner of an e-copy of The Cowboy and the Hellcat! Woo-Hoo!

    Thanks to all for joining me here today. And a special thanks to Shelley for having me. I had a great time. Hope to see you all down the road!!

  20. Sherry James

    Oops! Jean, I need you to email me privately, [email protected], with your email addy so I can send the book to you.


  21. Shelley Munro

    Congratulations, Jean! Sherry, you’re very welcome. I enjoyed your visit. :grin:


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