Friday, December 9, 2011

Writing A Plain, Ordinary Cowboy by Jan Irving

I had a red hot love affair writing A Plain, Ordinary Cowboy.  I liked the idea of macho deputy Micah being drawn to mysterious, spicy Sasha at a country fair. At first, he mistakes Sash for a woman and is drawn to the way she moves, her low, husky voice, the direct way she looks into his eyes—only it turns out Sash is a man, a Wicca who has come to the rural setting of Montana to dye wool and weave baskets.
Micah and Sash were such fun to write about. He is such a regular cowboy on the surface, a good man who is dedicated to protecting and serving. Sash is a free spirit who dances naked around a fire and believes in preserving the earth. He’s also so damn sexy he drives Micah crazy.

This book pretty much wrote itself. They don’t all do that, but when I was in yoga class before I started to write the first chapter, I was having scorching visions of these two touching. At first Sash and Micah fight a lot because they seem very different men, but under the surface, they both are trying to make a difference in the world, to make it a better place.

One theme that has run through all my Uncommon Cowboys books is hope for the future of the West I grew up in. I believe in preservation of the land. My grandfather built his own log cabin, one that in various guises has been featured in my stories. I have walked through fields of wheat, into stables dusty with old straw and silently hanging horseshoes.

And in my own life, I have a lot in common with Sasha. I spin wool, I dye and I do yoga and believe in creating a sacred space for yourself. I like writing about a man I can understand. I know why he left the city to come back to nature. I know he’s lonely.

There are two scenes which really stood out for me in A Plain, Ordinary Cowboy—one is a very edgy sex scene in front of the fire where Sasha is dancing naked to celebrate the change of seasons. I felt a shift with this book, somewhat inexplicable, but it felt sexier than what I’d been writing previously. My betas even commented they thought it was the hottest one yet.

The second scene which stood out for me was the last two chapters of the book, which are almost non stop action and drama. Technically, writing action scenes is very demanding. It has to be as real and touchable as a love scene, and it also has to be rooted in feeling. I was very, very drained after finishing the last scenes, especially since the last part of the book has an extremely emotional reunion.

Blurb for A Plain, Ordinary Cowboy:
Book five in the Uncommon Cowboys Series

Since he was hunted because he is different, Deputy Micah Danvers has lived a plain, ordinary, boring life until he rescues mysterious Sasha at a country fair—only problem is, the sexy minx who has shifter Micah tied up in knots isn’t a woman, but all man.

He was hunted because he is different. Now Deputy Micah Danvers is ‘normal’ at all costs. He left behind the wounded boy he used to be and he’s dating a nice woman. He’s got a good job and a ramshackle cabin to fix up.

But when plain ordinary cowboy Micah rescues exotic Sasha from bullies at a local fair, it turns out Sash isn’t a woman like he thought. Unconventional Sash is not afraid to stand out—he thrives on it from his nights of dancing around a fire in the nude to the rare breed sheep he’s trying to rescue from extinction. Shifter Micah aches for Sash, but he’ll have to leave the shadows to claim a man who is unafraid of tempting the wolf.

Excerpt for A Plain, Ordinary Cowboy:

“What’s that little bitch doin’ here?”

Deputy Micah Danvers’ enhanced senses caught the menacing whisper through the friendly chatter in White Deer’s June town hall craft fair. He zeroed in on two young cowboys, Deke Masters and Jared Marks, obviously liquored up and ready to rumble. Oh yeah, he’d had a run-in with them shortly after he’d come to town. Definitely troublemakers. Despite knowing he could handle them, Micah’s gut tightened.

He purely hated dealing with mobs. They brought back bad memories.

Someone bumped into him. His hands fisted.

“Hey, sorry, Deputy Danvers,” Juan, a young kid who lived with his mother above the town bakery, murmured before running over to his friends.

“Sorry,” Micah answered softly, even knowing the kid wouldn’t hear him. His face reddened at the slip. He forced himself to relax.

His attention returned to the two cowboys, trying to see what they were up to. The crowd shifted, so Micah saw the men were glaring at a pretty young woman with long black hair and golden skin sitting at one of the craft tables. She smiled as she held up a handful of twigs, demonstrating something to the folks in front of her table.

Micah frowned. Whoever she was, she was a stranger and he didn’t like strangers.

Micah ate the same cereal for breakfast every morning. He always bought the same blue and brown shirts. He picked up plain white briefs. He liked everything the same and he liked knowing who was in town.
He closed his eyes, trying to catch her scent. Citrus. She was wearing something like grapefruit.

Micah tilted his head, not sure he liked it. It was…different. Kind of abrasive, but also strong, fresh.

He was excited.

And whoa, what was that?

Survival instinct kicked in, warning him to stay far, far away from the new woman in town. Something about her smelt…forbidden.

Micah was frowning when Mary Watson rejoined him, squeezing his arm as if to ask him what was up. He looked at her and felt vaguely embarrassed, as if he’d been caught.

Keep it low key, asshole, he told himself when his gut clenched again. Don’t stand out.

Mary worked as a secretary at the little town hall, so Micah saw her often. They’d become good friends. He liked her straightforward grey eyes and warm smile as well as the long brown hair that fell to her waist.

“Did you find that gelding you were interested in looking at again?” he asked her.

Mary nodded. “Be a good horse for your stable, cowboy,” she said, arching an eyebrow at him.

“Huh, don’t think so. My barn is almost as much a ruin as the cabin,” Micah said. “And my roof leaks. Gotta fix that first.”

“He’s a beauty, Mike,” Mary said, using the nickname she and some of the townspeople now occasionally used. In all the towns where he’d lived, Micah had never had a nickname before and somehow that made White Deer home even if it was dangerously close to the village where he’d grown up…and fled.

Since Mary was an expert horsewoman, Micah took her seriously. “Okay, I better take a look at that gelding again. But if I have to fix up that wreck of a barn in a hurry, you’re helpin’.”

“Deal!” she said. “Do you mind if I check out some of the tables? I know the craft stuff isn’t your thing.”

“I was looking at the cutting boards,” he said, raising his hands mock defensively. “I’m not a stereotype.”
She grimaced. “Nuh-uh. Cutting boards are a manly thing. I don’t see you checking out the art quilts or the crochet.”

“I don’t need a bed spread and I wouldn’t know crochet if it bit my ass.”

“Maybe I can bite your ass sometime soon,” Mary purred.

Micah pulled away automatically, then scolded himself. What was he doing? This date was part of the plan. He wanted to stay in this town. Mary was going to be a part of that.

Sharp green eyes the colour of bottle glass. His gaze was caught by the young stranger sitting at the table. She was looking in his direction, watching him with Mary.

He looked away, flushing.

Oblivious to Micah’s uncomfortable moment, Mary smiled and strolled away, hands loose in the pockets of her jeans, completely relaxed and in her element in a way Micah hadn’t allowed himself to experience since he was a young boy. He opened his mouth, wanting to call her back and ask her if she knew who the stranger was.

A warning spike prodding his back broke the moment and he turned away from his date to meet those tilted green eyes again. The woman at the craft table was still studying him. When he put his hands on his hips and met her gaze for gaze she did not demurely drop her eyes but continued to look back at him with frank appreciation.

She thought he was hot.

Micah blushed even hotter. A smug smile curled the woman’s lips.

“Goddammit,” he muttered, telling himself he didn’t like her confidence any more than her cologne. Too brash, too bold for such a delicate little thing. Just what did she think she was playing at, looking at him as if she would like him to climb on top of her?

Sweat broke out on Micah’s forehead. The unknown woman was like a burr under his saddle. He needed to find out more about her because she should have backed down when he gave her such a challenging look. People found him intimidating at six-one of solid muscle, plus the uniform.

And then there was his wolf. Although most humans couldn’t begin to guess what he was, on some level they sensed Micah had something inside, something dangerous he kept on a choke hold. But the woman merely went back to twisting wet twigs into a round shape as if she hadn’t deliberately rattled his cage.

He watched a while, but couldn’t see what about her had those cowboys riled up. He stalked closer, circling her, the wolf inside drawn to take a closer look.

The woman looked to be in her mid-twenties, about five-five in height and she possessed fragile features which didn’t mesh with those brilliant green eyes. She continued to expertly weave branches into her creation, strong brown hands flashing impossibly fast.

Drawn by her obvious talent, Micah stood next to her table watching her entertain a group of kids.

“First you have to make the round, flat bottom of your rustic basket.” The young weaver’s voice was husky, the voice of a femme fatale who would leave scratch marks on a man’s back during sex. Her voice reminded Micah of the heavy kind of wind chimes that rang with deeper, more masculine tones. He liked her voice.
Working as a new deputy just arrived in town, he most often caught the late shift, so he got tired of listening to harsh-voiced cowboys who’d had too much to drink.

“And you’d know all about bein’ on the bottom, wouldn’t you?” a slurred voice taunted.

Micah swung around to look directly into Deke’s eyes. “Got a problem, Deke?” Micah hoped that his hard stare would tell the rowdy cowhand he’d have a very bad day if he acted up at a family craft fair.

“No, uh, no problem, Deputy.” Deke’s hazel eyes dropped, though his face was sullen. He grabbed the arm of his pal and lit out as if he’d stepped in the middle of a brush fire.

What was that about? Micah wondered as he turned back to look at the weaver. Her face had tightened and she didn’t meet Micah’s quizzical gaze with the boldness she’d displayed previously.

Instead she continued her instructions. “You let your willow dry out and then you soak it again before using it. Best place is a pond somewhere if you have access to one.”

“I heard tell of classes in Arizona for underwater basket weaving,” a woman said. “Do you do that?”

“Nope.” The weaver shook her head. “I need to breathe to weave baskets.”

There was laughter as she bent more reeds into her creation, mixing it up with bark and twigs.

The weaver looked at Micah. “Are you going to introduce yourself?”

He blinked. “You’re a bold one.”

“Why, because you caught my eye?”

“Excuse me?”

She shook her head, but a little bit of colour touched her cheeks. “Never mind, I saw you with that gorgeous woman who works in the city hall. Your date, I guess?”

Micah swallowed. “Yeah.”

“Lucky woman.”

“I’m Micah Danvers,” he said.

“Sasha Anderson.”

Micah nodded. “You’re new in town.”

Sasha’s lips quirked. “Just been here a couple of months and I mostly stick to my place. I’m living at the old Morrison homestead. It’s my homestead now but folks have told me it’ll always be the old Morrison homestead even if a Morrison hasn’t lived there since 1887.”

Micah grinned. He knew the place from the occasional drive-by. Almost as run-down as his dilapidated cabin, it was pretty remote. That explained why he’d never met Sasha before.

He couldn’t walk away, studying her to try to figure out why she exerted a strange pull on his senses. She was slim, possessing none of Mary’s curves. Sasha wore a loose T-shirt with paint splatters on it, which he guessed was kind of artistic, jeans and an old blanket wrapped around her shoulders up to her neck, as if she were chilled. The outfit didn’t give away much of her figure. And yet when she met his gaze boldly an image flashed of her touching him just as boldly. Touching him sexually.

His neck heated with another blush and Micah tipped his cowboy hat. “Nice to meet you.”

Sasha sighed. “Likewise, tall, dark and taken.”

Find A Plain, ordinary Cowboy here:


Jan Irving has worked in all kinds of creative fields, from painting silk to making porcelain ceramics, to interior design, but writing was always her passion.

She feels you can’t fully understand characters until you follow their journey through a story world. Many kinds of worlds interest her, fantasy, historical, science fiction and suspense—but all have one thing in common, people finding a way to live together—in the most emotional and erotic fashion possible, of course!

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