Friday, April 16, 2010

Category Romance Themes in m/m - Part 2: Westerns

Boy do I love myself a good cowboy.

Ahem, I mean a cowboy story.

Funnily enough Mills and Boon don't have a separate westerns line, like Harlequin do, they are all just lumped in with the other lines, but it was always a treat for me if my teenage eyes spied a cowboy romance on the shelves along with the other categories, despite not living remotely anywhere near Texas or Montana.  In fact the closest I ever came to a cowboy in real life was probably the farmer who kept the herd of Friesian cows for milking in the field behind my house.

This love of cowboy romance has transferred to my m/m books but it's the themes that cropped up in those long ago read western romances that I love to see in my m/m books.

One theme I love in particular is that of the 'prodigal son'.  The young man who leaves home to seek his fortune in the city and then for whatever reason has to return home and face his past - usually a past which involves revisiting the crush he had on the sexy ranch-hand.  This is a theme that has appeared in two recent cowboy romances.  In His Convenient Husband by JL Langley, Tucker is living the high city life in Dallas when he is called home and has to face, Micah, the broken hearted young man he left behind.  Also in Seeing You by Dakota Flint, Dylan left home after the death of his brother but is called back to the ranch when he discovers that it's being left to go to ruin by his brother's grieving lover, Wade, a man Dylan has loved for a long time.

Another storyline I used to love was the lady ranch owner who falls in love with the ranch hand.  In another story by JL Langley (she really is the queen of m/m westerns), Tin Star, the youngest son of a ranch owner, Jamie, is kicked out when his father discovers he's gay.  He's taken in by his brother's best friend, Ethan, another ranch owner who gives him a job as a ranch hand.  It's not long before the two are making that journey on the road to love.

One theme I used to absolutely adore in westerns was that of the woman whose husband or father had died and left her in charge of the ranch.  Unfortunately for her, the guy who owns the ranch next door is looking to expand and asks to buy her out cos obviously as a woman she can't possibly run a business like a ranch.  There's lots of arguments, stamping feet, spitting feathers and exchange of passion before the two set aside their differences and join the two pieces of land by getting married.  *sigh*  I loved those stories.  Unfortunately, there isn't a m/m book with that storyline that I've found so far.  Any takers?

Do you read category westerns?  If so have you found any similar themes in m/m cowboy books too?  Do tell.


Mem said...

Oh, yeah! Those are all good themes. The only one on your list I've read is The Tin Star which was just about my first m/m novel ever. Very memorable! I'll have to make a note of those others you mentioned. Great post, Jen!

Jenre said...

Thanks Val. I do have a soft spot for cowboy romance.

Tam said...

I do like when the son comes back to run things. TA Chase does some lovely cowboys as well and I adore the Tin Star. I don't like historical cowboys too much though and have never gotten caught up in the BA Tortuga cowboys. I guess I like the idea but I like them a bit more refined than real life. LOL Fantasy is my friend.

I grew up not in true cowboy territory but a few around, and it ain't all it's cracked up to be in real life, but then most things aren't. :-)

Jenre said...

Hi Tam
I've loved the TA Chase cowboy books too.

I don't expect cowboys are really like they are in the m/m books. From reading m/m you would think that all cowboys were gay, but I don't think that is the case really :). Sometimes I have to laugh a little at the series books where there's a whole ranch of gay cowboys living together. Now there's a fantasy :).

Ingrid said...

I love Longhorns by Victor J. Banis, it's a historical western. It's the ranch hand taking on the head honcho. I don't think it is a trope you mentioned Jen.

Jenre said...

Hi Ingrid
I've heard lots of great things about Longhorns. I really must add it to my TBR pile.

Kris said...

"There's lots of arguments, stamping feet, spitting feathers and exchange of passion before the two set aside their differences and join the two pieces of land by getting married."

Now that I think of it these were some of my favourite western stories as well, Jen. It would be great to see this theme in an m/m romance.

Erotic Horizon said...

Cool Post Jen

I was lucky enough to grow up with both Harlequin and M&B and I have never really outgrown them..

I still have a stack of them by my bedside for when the mood hits me.. (I still read Diana Palmer)

I love all the themes you have highlighted and I used to hunt down cowboy related m/m books of any variety...

Kate Steele - did one as apart of a series, where the love interest was a guy from off world, I love it. But never seen the theme replicated. (It was a series about a world of empaths who needs to leave their world to find there other half)

I also love the Vet and the Rancher Plotline - gets me everytime... I love Vet stories to be honest..

I also agree with Tam - I need my cowboys to at least have indoor plumping... I dont really like Historical cowboy stories..


Chris said...

Jen: In Carol Lynne's series the Good-Time Boys (starting with Sonny's Salvation), there's a bit of the ranch next door thing, but it's not QUITE the traditional theme.

Dakota Flint said...

Oh, I hate westerns.

Ha. I'm totally kidding.

There's lots of arguments, stamping feet, spitting feathers and exchange of passion before the two set aside their differences and join the two pieces of land by getting married.

Yes. This. Exactly. It was always a favorite of mine, and I can't think of any m/m off the top of my head. Somebody please write me one with a m/m romance?

I'm actually in the middle of my own western (well, a contemporary military western/cowboy redemptive mystery story...b/c I like to keep it simple lol) or I'd volunteer for the job. But we should find somebody and make a request. Start a letter writing campaign or something. ;)

ElaineG said...

I have read all the ones you listed, as well as TA Chase's Home series, and Cameron Dane's Hawkins Brothers series (but these are also about demons, so I'm not sure which category they would fit in lol! The first is m/f, but very short and I actually liked it but read very few m/f). Kate Steele's A Sure Fire Cure was another favorite...I love me a cowboy, but don't tell the hubs, he is the furthest thing from cowboy a girl could get (Native American), so I read about em *grins*. Great post!

Jenre said...

Hi Kris
I agree, it would be great to see a m/m western with that theme.

Jenre said...

Thanks :).

I haven't read any vet/rancher stories by M&B/Harlequin or in m/m. Obviously I've missed out there.

I also haven't read that book by Kate Steele. Thanks for the rec, I'll check it out.

Jenre said...

Hi Chris
That Carol Lynne series goes on forever! Which is the main reason I haven't started it, despite the cowboy theme. I'm wary of committing myself to long series :)>

Jenre said...

Hi Dakota
There's always the next book, you know. I don't mind waiting until you've written the WIP you're working on :).

Jenre said...

Hi Elaine
I've looked at those Cameron Dane books from time to time and haven't taken the plunge with them yet. They looked good though.

Another Kate Steele rec. I've only read one of her books and it was a contemp, not a western.

Don't worry, your secret's safe here. We won't tell your hubs :).

Chris said...

Jen: Actually, the Good-Time Boys Series is only four books... although I do believe it intersects with Cattle Valley. Of course.

Jenre said...

Chris: That's what I mean. I'd have to read the 16 Cattle Valley books AND these 4 Good Time Boys books. 20 books is a big commitment :).

Chris said...

OR you could just read the first couple Good-Time Boys books, which touch most on theme.

Ingrid said...

Thought it was the Campus series that intersects with Cattle Valley ???

Chris said...

They both do, Ingrid!

Jenre said...

Which just goes to prove my point even more :).

Chris said...

What, that there are approximately 35 books involved at this point? ;)

Jenre said...

Chris: 35? *gulp*

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