Lorelei James Author’s Notes
I love writing about the modern day west, creating larger than life cowboys and the women who love them. I set out to create books that were a bit more realistic in the day to day life of Wyoming ranchers and a whole lot sexier than what I’d found on the shelves of the local bookstores or online. So in that respect, what you read in my books might be unfamiliar to you and your way of life, especially if you live in an urban area. To satisfy the curiosity of my readers and fans, I've compiled answers to some recurring questions. I'll try to address them in one fell swoop. And since I’m a plain talker, well, my answers aren’t always PC, so you’ve been doubly warned.
Notes on the Rough Riders series:
This series is actually a western saga, carried out over a multi-book arc, so not all questions are answered in every book. I don't consider this “series baiting” because this long-term approach allows me to detail the trials, triumphs and tribulations of a one ranching family over the span of several books and several years.
There will be 16 full length novels in the ROUGH RIDERS series. Yep. That’s it. At this point I don’t have any intention of writing a series starring the next generation of McKays. Seriously, don’t be sad. The family will be very happy in Wyoming I promise!
That said…At some point I will write a few short stories that will pick up after the happily ever after for each couple, so keep checking the website for more information.
In LONG HARD RIDE, Rough Riders book 1, yes, there is a lot of sex in this book. That’s why it’s labeled erotic. And the comments my books have gotten more emotionally heavy and involved as the series has progressed...I’ll agree. But when I wrote this first book I had no idea I’d be writing so many in this series. Some have suggested I need to do more research about what “really” goes on behind the scenes at a rodeo with the cowboys and cowgirls because my scenarios are unrealistic, which always cracks me up because 99% of my fan mail, from women who’ve been involved with the rodeo circuits across the country…tell me I’ve hit the lifestyle—at least with the younger set—right on the head. I intentionally leave a relationship unresolved between two male characters. I plan on tying up Trevor Glanzer and Edgard Mancuso’s story arc in Rough Riders book 5.
RODE HARD, PUT UP WET, Rough Riders book 2, involves a dual — but separate storyline between Gemma Jansen and Cash Big Crow, and Cash’s grown daughter, Macie Honeycutt and her paramour, Carter McKay. The reason the blurb didn’t delve into more detail about the separate, yet intertwined plots, is because there’s not enough room on the jacket copy to give a mini-synopsis of both love stories.
In COWGIRL UP AND RIDE, Rough Riders book 3, a minor character dies. This character, Dag West, is shown in same sex (M/M/M/M) situations early in the book. Some detractors have suggested:
A) I killed off the character because he was a closet homosexual.
B) Those sex scenes were uncomfortable to read and had no place in a romance.
My official response?
A) Dag West died not because he was gay, but because he did a dumb thing: he operated farm equipment while he was drunk. Unfortunately, ranch accidents are a way of life even when sober, and being drunk adds another level of stupidity to the lethality of machinery. Dag’s death in no way reflected my personal commentary on his sexual orientation.
B) The multiple partner sex scenes, with M/F/M and M/M/M/M were supposed to be uncomfortable.
The point of view I chose to show those scenes from is a heterosexual male rancher living in Wyoming. The scene Kade McKay stumbles on involving his cousin Dag and three other men is shocking in many ways and I stand by the character’s reaction to the situation. It might not be PC, but so many things out here in the Wild West are not and I won’t sugarcoat the harsh realities and prevailing attitudes. Sometimes sex isn’t sexy. And yes, COWGIRL UP AND RIDE is still first and foremost – a romance.
***This book was nominated for a 2009 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Small Press Erotic Romance
In TIED UP, TIED DOWN, Rough Riders book 4, which takes place a year after COWGIRL UP AND RIDE, Trevor Glanzer and Chassie West are married. I’ve had a lot of readers ask if they missed a book or a novella in between these two books. No. My reason for not explaining the details of this union is I already had enough backstory with Kade and Skylar and the secret baby. I intend on filling in the all blanks with Trevor, Chassie and Edgard in Rough Riders book 5. Also, McKay cousin Quinn and his wife Libby are introduced. We see them bickering and that’s piqued reader’s curiosity. Their story will be out in May 2009.
ROUGH, RAW AND READY, Rough Riders book 5, reveals what happens when Edgard Mancuso comes calling three years after he and Trevor split in LONG HARD RIDE and Trevor is married to Chassie West. After Chassie finds out her husband loved another man, she leaves to sort out her feelings. Chassie returns with the intention of seeing how Trevor and Edgard act when they’re together as lovers. From then on, all three of them work at figuring out if a ménage would be viable on a permanent basis. I’ve had some criticism that Chassie accepted Trevor and Edgard’s relationship way too quickly — to which I answer, in fiction, I couldn’t very well have the next chapter heading read...Two months later, invariably readers would want to know exactly what happened during those two months (see above notes, where I threw in the information about Trevor and Chassie already being married!) So for fictional purposes, yes, I speeded up Chassie’s acceptance of Trevor and Edgard’s relationship so I could get on with it and tell the story. Some critics have suggested Chassie got gypped in this book, and for the life of me, I don’t see that. She has not one, but two men who adore her. When she thanks Edgard for giving her a piece of Trevor she didn’t even know existed...that says it all to me. The trio has chosen to buck the status quo and live a ménage lifestyle for the long haul. So like all romances, the end of the book is the start of their happily ever after. Also, Cam McKay is seriously injured in Iraq at the end of the book and I will fill in the details about his life and recovery in Rough Riders book 7.
In BRANDED AS TROUBLE, Rough Riders book 6, Colt McKay has been sober for three years and he’s still struggling with earning his family’s acceptance and trust. I appreciate all the letters of support from readers, who understood the ongoing struggle with addictive behavior. Between books 3 and 4, some readers were skeptical I could redeem Colt. Naturally I have insider knowledge of a character’s arc
***This book won the 2011 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Small Press Erotic Romance
STRONG, SILENT TYPE, I call this book Rough Riders book 6.5, but the publisher has included it in the WILD RIDE ANTHOLOGY. Part of the appeal of these connected books is getting a glimpse into the lives of my previous characters after the book has ended. But I wanted to tell the story of a married couple who were on the verge of packing it in. Because I intended this to chronicle the road back to love, not the rocky path that’d gotten Quinn and Libby to that point, a novella worked better than a full length novel.
SHOULDA BEEN A COWBOY, Rough Riders book 7, was chock-full of issues, Cam feeling less than whole being an amputee; Domini feeling the same with her missing uterus. I did not choose the subject matter to be gratuitous. In fact, it would’ve been easier to craft a story that skirted those serious issues. I spent many many hours researching Army amputees and trying to understand their adjustment to civilian life so I didn’t get it wrong, make light of it, or offend the soldiers who’ve given so much to the protection of our country. Strangely enough, former Romanian and Ukrainian citizens have contacted me, accusing me of mis-portraying their countries when I spoke of adoption. I compared the orphanages in Romania and the Ukraine to orphanages in third world countries, not Romania and the Ukraine to a third world country. I did extensive research on the current and past state of the orphanages in Romania and the Ukraine, including the government’s moratorium on foreign adoptions, and subsequent lifting of those restrictions upon political whims, and I tried to portray it as accurately as possible. Again, SHOULDA BEEN A COWBOY is first and foremost a romance, a love story about acceptance between two broken people, where they’ve (mistakenly) believed there is none. The car accident deaths of Nadia and Rex, as well as Luke McKay and the unnamed Indian man, happen all the time in Wyoming, sadly. Since medical facilities are a great distance apart, even what would be considered a survivable injury in a metro area, is not in the wilds of Wyoming. Readers find out what happened between Keely McKay and Jack Donohue at Colt and India’s wedding reception in Rough Riders book 8.
ALL JACKED UP, Rough Riders book 8, was a blast to write and I’ve been looking forward to telling Keely’s story for three years — since ballsy, blowsy Keely showed up at the dance scene in LONG HARD RIDE. I’ve had to wait for her to grow up and come into her own (8 years have passed since the first book) despite her brothers and cousins intent to protect her. I knew immediately when Jack Donohue stepped onto the page in RODE HARD, PUT UP WET, and arrogantly announced he’d never fall for a little country cowgirl, that he and Keely were a bad match, which made it so delicious to put them together and watch the sparks ignite and insults fly. Although this is the last book in the Carson McKay branch of the McKay family, this is not the last book in the series, but there will be longer breaks – 2 books per year rather than 3 – and yes, Jack did officially ask Keely’s dad Carson for permission to marry Keely when he was sitting on the log at the end of the book.
RAISING KANE, Rough Riders book 9, falls between the epilogue of SHOULDA BEEN A COWBOY and the start of ALL JACKED UP, which has confused some readers. But the books should still be read in numerical order, if you’re the type that likes order. This book features Kane McKay, who insisted on changing his name to “Buck” at one point in the series, due to the confusion/preponderance of C and K names in this family. Alas, the name “Buck” didn’t stick and he will forevermore be referred to as Kane.
(SIDE NOTE: My editor has forbidden me from using any more C or K names and I don’t blame her, and I would NOT do it again if I knew I’d be writing 16 books in this series, although, I will point out that starting each kid’s first name with the same letter seems to be working for the Dugger family on TV and they’re up to kid 19!)
As with Colt, many readers didn’t think I could redeem Kane, given his wicked, wild, love ’em and leave ’em past, so I was giddy with anticipation to prove naysayers wrong. Always in control Ginger was the perfect match for Kane, because he could finally show his nurturing side to her in a way that had nothing to do with her son Hayden. That said, Kane is—and always will be—rough around the edges. In Ginger he found a woman who not only accepted that side, but it freed her to give up control to a man she trusted implicitly. I leave an issue unresolved between Brandt McKay, and his widowed sister in law, Jessie McKay. Their story will unfold with Rough Riders book 10, which picks up directly after the epilogue of ALL JACKED UP.
SLOW RIDE, Rough Riders free read, is a peek at Keely and Jack at their wedding reception, and as they head off to their honeymoon. My publisher and I decided to offer a never-before-published free book in the Rough Riders world, as a thank you to my readers for sticking with the series, hoping it’d get this series in front of more readers, and happily, this release coincides with the paperback release of ALL JACKED UP as well as the digital release of Rough Riders book 10. However, this book won’t ever be published in paper, due to the short story length.
COWGIRLS DON’T CRY, Rough Riders book 10, deals with infidelity, a secret child spawned from that infidelity, and how widow Jessie McKay deals with her former husband’s family, specifically coming to terms with her feelings for her brother in law, Brandt. I’m writing this before the book’s release, so I’m sure questions will arise in the next few months before my next update***
***Whoo-boy, talk about questions. I’ve taken some hits for the prologue in this book. But again, I stand behind it 100%. And again, it was meant to be unnerving, because it gives crucial insight into Brandt and Jessie. Bad decisions are a part of EVERYONE’S life. I know lots of women and men, who under the influence of alcohol and free wheelin’ good times, make decisions about sexual situations they regret in the morning. What seemed like the best idea EVER at the time...doesn’t seem so hot, sexy, and fun in the light of day and self-recriminations abound. Sometimes for years afterward. For Brandt to witness the wheels coming off Jessie when she finally cuts loose, hurts him in ways he never imagined — he knows that Jessie will have those WTF? morning after regrets. Being the white knight type, Brandt wants to rescue her. Even with all the issues Brandt and Jessie have to work through, this is a love story. About acceptance. About change. About discovering that true love and happiness is sometimes sweeter because of the adversity it takes to reach that happily ever after. About knowing when to say when.
As far as Casper and Joan, their relationship elicited some heated discussions. Again, I stand by my characters and their actions. This arc mimics real life. Casper may not be likeable, his actions, bordering on abusive, may be deemed unforgivable, but we all know men like him. We all know women like Joan who should’ve left the unpleasant circumstances years ago but didn’t because it’s easier to stay than to force the change and leave. Not all people in the world are redeemable and sadly, sometimes they’re a relative. This is no different even in my fictional McKay family. I’ll revisit some of this family’s issues in Rough Riders book 13.
***This book has been nominated for a 2012 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Small Press Erotic Romance
CHASIN’ EIGHT, Rough Riders book 11, ended up being a longer book than I anticipated…the more I got into the story, the more story I uncovered. Chase McKay and Ava Cooper Dumond’s love story was a challenge on a number of levels. It fascinates me, our culture’s obsession with celebrity. Everyone has problems, even in the entertainment industry, but they’re forced to deal with those problems in the spotlight. What’s a minor misstep for normal people can be a career wrecker for those with a high public profile.
Yes, it took awhile to get to the first sex scene in this book. They needed to be friends first—Chase to prove he could do it, and Ava understood how much Chase’s promise to himself meant to him.
The death of young bull rider Ryan wasn’t gratuitous. I’d be remiss if in writing these books dealing with the world of rodeo, if I didn’t touch on the dangers of riding rough stock. Sadly, competitors die. It’s a hazard and not a danger exclusive to rookies. But again, my intent wasn’t to preach. It was to show tragedy in a realistic light that allowed Chase to make some much-needed changes in his life and his way of thinking. It allowed him to take a stand. I take great pains to keep my personal politics out of my fictional writing. Am I an advocate for mandatory helmet laws in the sport of bull riding? Nope. But Chase McKay is, and this is his book, so I had to let his thoughts, his views, his feelings come through on the page.
I love Texas. In fact, I lived in Texas for a year growing up. I have nothing against Texans. I have nothing against longhorn cattle. So the nasty crack that Chase, a Wyoming cowboy made while drunk, about Texans and longhorns? Might not be politically correct but it’d get a laugh here and everywhere else, yet some folks took offense. So, here’s the really funny thing. I heard that comment about Texans and their unnatural love of longhorns…in a bar in Texas, from a native Texan rancher—who no longer raises longhorns, and used it in this book—from a Wyomite’s point of view.
Lastly, and this is the biggie—the introduction of Gavin Daniels, as Chase, Ben and Quinn’s full-blooded brother came as quite a shock to readers. That was intentional. What really got a burr under my saddle blanket were the comments floating around cyberspace from detractors who found fault with everything about this book, especially that I’d added a new McKay to “milk” another book out of the series. Umm. No. I’ve known about the existence of Gavin for several books. As has my editor.
Normally I don’t pull anything from my real life and use it for fiction. But this is the one time I decided to use a situation from personal experience. I have a relative who gave up a baby for adoption when she was eighteen. She became pregnant again two years later, by the same man, and opted to keep that child. So when baby #1 was all grown up and became curious about her birth family, imagine her surprise when she learned she had a full-blooded sibling her birth mother did not give away, but kept and raised. I had no idea my relative even had another child and gave it up for adoption. And like the McKays, I hail from a fairly big family, and it had been a well-kept secret for years.
Once I started discussing this topic for research purposes, I cannot tell you the stories that came out of the woodwork about adoption and how this isn’t such an unusual situation—and many, many thanks to all those readers who shared their adoption stories—good and bad—after reading CHASIN’ EIGHT. It amazed me, learning that women I’d known for years had made choices as young women to offer their children a better life. I heard from an acquaintance that had a fifty-year old sibling show up unannounced on her doorstep, and being shocked that her mother had given up a child for adoption and had told no one—including her husband. I’ve heard stories of birth parents searching for the child they gave up with happy and disastrous results. I’ve heard stories from men who had no idea their girlfriend had even gotten pregnant forty or fifty years ago until an adult child contacted them. I’ve heard from people who found the existence of half-siblings…on Facebook. I talked with a woman who had one child and gave her up for adoption, and two years later ended up pregnant again from the same man, so she contacted the family who adopted her first child to see if they wanted another child. So the adoptive couple is parents to full-blooded siblings, and now the birth mother is involved in their adult lives.
So, no, a vehement no that I tossed in a secret baby plot to further the length of the Rough Riders series. Keeping that secret, for so long, intrigues me on a number of levels, as do the emotional repercussions for the family involved. Yes, Gavin Daniels will have his own book, with RR book 14.
***CHASIN’ EIGHT was my very first book to hit the NY Times Bestsellers ebook list and the USA Today Bestsellers list!
COWBOY CASANOVA, Rough Riders book 12, features Bennett McKay and gives a peek into his hidden lifestyle as a Dom at the Rawhide Club, as a mild-mannered rancher and member of the McKay family.
I’ve always known Ben—Bennett—had a secret. One thing that’s not a secret and I make no apologies for? All my characters are alpha males. Period.
Ben is no exception, but he’s the take-charge type on a whole other level. He’s a sexual dominant. He’s accepted that about himself even when he knows his family probably wouldn’t understand, even when he’s chosen to stick to a sex club to find sexual satisfaction and feed his needs. He doubts he’ll find a woman who wants that Dom/sub relationship on a permanent basis.
Enter Ainsley Hamilton, a sexually unfulfilled divorced woman, a conservative banker by day, used to being in total control of her life and her job. She’s interested in experimenting with a Dom/sub experience, but doesn’t believe she can ever fully be a submissive woman, which in her mind is subservient 24/7—so she’s surprised to learn it is not the same thing. She’s really surprised to learn she likes handing all sexual control to Bennett.
I chose to approach this book in a different manner than many BDSM books. Bondage, submission and domination games behind closed doors, between two people who want the same thing out of an intimate relationship—absolute trust and total sexual fulfillment—but on different levels. Lovers who have no intention or interest in sharing the experience with others. Either with other club members, or letting their family and friends know their proclivities. Bennett is confident, and I wanted to portray him as a man who knows what he wants, but he isn’t a perfect man, he isn’t an unyielding Dom who demands to be called master. Ben makes mistakes and assumptions. About himself and about Ainsley. And Ainsley accepts Ben for who he is, and who he can be to her, and who she’s allowed herself to be with him.
I am not involved in the BDSM lifestyle. I don’t believe you need to experience something to write about it convincingly (I write about vicious murders under my other pen name and I’ve never actually killed someone—and hello, if I’d done half the things I’ve written about in the erotic romance genre I think my vagina would protest). Even people in the BDSM lifestyle will tell you there’s no ‘right’ way to live it or practice it besides safely. So like everything else I write, this book is MY take on a dominant/submissive relationship. It’s fiction. It’s a fantasy. It’s entertainment. It is NOT to be interpreted as real. And for Godsake, if you’re interested in experimenting with a real Dom/sub or BDSM relationship, do research before you just slip on the fetish wear and hit the clubs.
But, I do need to know the rules before I can break them, and I did research—lots and lots and lots of research for this book. I’d like to thank G and N for so graciously answering my research questions in person about their life as a fulltime sub/Dom couple. For providing insight on so many things about what works, what doesn’t, sharing their previous experiences with other Doms and subs, and setting the record straight on my misperceptions. Truly invaluable information. And thanks to T for sharing his professional observations as both a law enforcement officer and a confidante to his friends and colleagues in the lifestyle.
Lastly...poor naïve Dalton. He didn’t know what he was getting into showing up at the Rawhide Club, did he? His reaction and subsequent actions were borne out of concern for Ben. But his youthful impulsiveness in contacting Ben’s brother’s did come back to bite him in the ass. Having to confess he isn’t the sexual stud he’s made himself out to be to his cousins. Not so unbelievable because God knows, NO man has ever lied about his sexual experience or his sexual conquests. Dalton, being the youngest McKay, needs to grow up a bit before I get to his book.
***COWBOY CASANOVA hit the NY Times Bestsellers list for ebooks and the USA Today Bestsellers lists for all books!
KISSIN’ TELL, Rough Riders book 13, is about the reappearance of the secret—or not so secret—high school crush. Tell McKay has grown up, filled out, embraced his family legacy as a player and a rancher. Before this book released I had a lot of readers asking me to describe Tell, which threw me because the phrase that came to mind was…he is just a great guy. Tell is one of those nice guys who is always there to lend a hand. He likes to have a good time and he doesn’t take himself too seriously, but that does allow some people take advantage of him and his helpful nature.
So when Tell’s high school crush Georgia Hotchkiss returns to Wyoming, he wants her to see him in a different light—not the pushover. The irony is Tell reverts to that high school-ish game playing guy he used to be in order to prove he’s changed. And Georgia reacts in much the same way. Tell and Georgia’s seemingly juvenile behavior was intentional on my part. Like I’ve mentioned before, I don’t know how it works in larger cities, but in small towns, it seems you are forevermore branded by who you were, how you acted, and who you hung out with in high school—especially if you remain in the area where you grew up. This mindset holds true for Tell and for Georgia—even though she’s been gone awhile and they’ve both grown up.
Tell is still fighting to prove he is more than the family jokester and has a good head on his shoulders when it comes to ranch business. People in the community see Georgia as the purity ring-wearing cheerleader, the ex-wife of the class football stud, the too-quiet sister of the beloved class clown and spoiled, regardless if it is—or ever was—true. So the passing of a decade hasn’t changed many preconceived local attitudes with their friends or classmates or even their families.
Since neither Tell nor Georgia have been in any type of long term relationship as adults, even after being out on their own, and their parents’ marriages have fallen apart, in some respects, they’ve never grown out of that high school relationship mentality. It’s easier to stick to a pattern than it is to break a mold. I loved finding the hidden pockets of strength in both characters, both who were deemed shallow, letting their fun, sexy sides shine through, giving them each other as a sounding board for their grief over the loss of a sibling.
***KISSIN’ TELL landed on the NY Times Bestsellers list for ebooks and on the USA Today Bestsellers list for all books!
GONE COUNTRY, Rough Riders book 14, I imagine many questions will pop up over the course of the next few months after the publication of this book. At 126,000 words it is my longest book in any genre and it shocked me as much as my editor because I hadn’t planned for that. The book takes place over the course of 9 months. It was a challenge to write an older (43) non-cowboy male character in the Rough Riders series, as well as writing from the point of view of a sixteen year old girl—since I have a sixteen year old daughter in the house, who is at times sweet, annoying, frustrating, wonderful, awful, mouthy, insightful, thoughtful, and thoughtless as Sierra—all in all, a pretty typical teen girl.
I’d gotten a few comments from readers who didn’t like Rielle Wetzler after COWBOY CASANOVA and really hoped I wouldn’t pair her with Gavin—quite a few of you demanded I set up Doctor Joely Monroe with my man Gavin. Nope. And can I just say how perfect Gavin and Rielle are together? I loved this couple’s forthright-ness and how they kept their individuality, especially after they became a couple.
I would not have introduced Boone West to Sierra if I hadn’t intended to write their book at some point. YES, I PROMISE. Be patient and stay tuned
UPCOMING ROUGH RIDER BOOKS FOR 2013
Tentative release dates:
REDNECK ROMEO, Rough Riders book 15 – May 2013 – Dalton McKay’s story
Rough Riders book 16 is untitled at this time and doesn't have a solid release date
Author’s Notes on Wild West Boys series:
The Wild West Boys series is a spin off from the Rough Riders, which features members of the West family, cousins to some of the McKays (see family trees on this website). It appealed to me to tell stories about family members that willing left the area they were raised in. Writing a loosely connected series allows me to set those books in other locales besides Wyoming, with characters that might not outwardly show the roots of their western heritage.
MISTRESS CHRISTMAS is the first novella in the series, and features Detective Nick West. MISS FIRECRACKER is the second novella in the series and features Blake West, brother to Nick. Both novellas have been packaged together for a print book entitled WILD WEST BOYS, the publication date is May 2010.
****The Wild West Boys series is suspended at this time, due to my deadlines for the Rough Riders series, as well as the Blacktop Cowboys series, but hopefully I will get back to this family sometime after 2013.
Author’s Notes on Blacktop Cowboys series:
I’ve been asked umpteen times why I started another series. Especially another contemporary erotic romance western series? Which leads to question #2: What’s the difference between Blacktop Cowboys and Rough Riders series?
First off, I love to write. I love to write romances. I love to write western romances. I love to write erotic, so it seemed natural to build my new world in the west and populate it with more hot sexy cowboys. In the Rough Riders series, I’m following a specific family—the McKays—and it’s been gratifying to explore the social issues and family dynamics over the course of several books, while telling individual love stories.
But I also have an unnatural fascination and secret worship of the world of rodeo. I wanted to delve into life on and off the road for professional cowboys and cowgirls, as well as other characters who make their living traveling that the blacktop highways in the west. I also wanted to touch on the lives of family members who keep the home fires burning while their siblings and friends are on the road.
The Blacktop Cowboys series features characters from the same Wyoming hometown, rather than a specific family, and the community plays a larger part in the books. Another reason I chose to write a new series for a different publisher is because the books in the Blacktop Cowboys series are put out simultaneously in print and digital form, whereas the Rough Riders books are available strictly in a digital format for 11 months before releasing in trade paperback.
Muddy Gap, Wyoming is a real place. It consists of a single convenience store at the intersection of three roads. That’s it. I liked the name for a town. So my Muddy Gap is an entirely fictional place, with people, buildings and houses, businesses, stores, churches, and all the characteristics of a small western burg. In my fictional world, Muddy Gap is closer to Rawlins, in an area more suited for cattle and ranching, but still retains some of that stark and diverse landscape that surrounds the real Muddy Gap.
***Because the Blacktop Cowboys series is published with another publisher (NAL Signet Eclipse/Penguin Putnam) who has global restrictions for digital books sold outside the US—you CANNOT buy this book for kindle or nook if you live outside the US. So my fans from Great Britain, NZ and Australia and around the globe—the only format these books are available in is print format. This and the higher pricing are something I have NO control over.
CORRALLED, book 1, in the Blacktop Cowboys series, finds Hank and Lainie together at the end of the book, riding off into the sunset after finding their happily ever after. What about Kyle Gilchrist? Kyle will get his own story in book 4. I’ve had a few readers ask me if the EBS, a fictional bull-riding organization, is based on the PBR. The answer is no, beyond it’s an organization devoted to the sport of bull riding. Same for the CRA, it’s entirely fictional and not based on the PRCA. In my fictional world, rankings in both circuits are based on a mix of money earned and points earned, which is not the case in the real rodeo organizations.
SADDLED AND SPURRED, book 2, features Bran Turner and Harper Masterson. Hard working man, misunderstood beauty queen—neither is what they seem on the outside. This is probably the closest I’ve come to writing a traditional romance. We get a bigger peek into the community of Muddy Gap, which will continue to play a role in future books in the Blacktop Cowboys series. Yes, there really are fainting goats called Kentucky Stiff Legs.
Also, Wyoming has a “no fences” law, which I altered for fictional purposes.
WRANGLED AND TANGLED, book 3, is a dual storyline, revolving around the opening of the Split Rock Resort outside of Muddy Gap. There just wasn’t enough material for two books, so I combined two separate love stories into one book. With Abe Lawson and Janie Fitzhugh, I wanted to explore looking at a marriage gone wrong from the standpoint of being older and wiser. The book is actually more weighted on telling Tierney and Renner’s love story. Renner Jackson and Tierney Pratt, begin the book and their relationship at odds about everything, but find worth and acceptance in each other.
***WRANGLED AND TANGLED also hit the NY Times Bestsellers ebook list and the USA Today Bestsellers list!
ONE NIGHT RODEO, book 4, was Kyle Gilchrist and Celia Lawson’s book and has not a damn thing to do with rodeo. The term “one night rodeo” is western slang for a one night stand. I’d been building toward this book for a few years after introducing Celia in CORRALLED and having sparks fly between her and Kyle. So reader expectations and speculation for this couple were high, if my reader mail since 2010 was an indication Not only is this a “wake up married after a drunken night in Vegas” book, it’s also a “in love with my best friends’ little sister” book. So naturally I wanted to mix it up a little more and turn the rancher/cityslicker trope on its head, by having my male character reliant upon a female character’s expertise to learn how to run a ranch he owns. Watching Kyle and Celia become each other’s family, and learning how to compromise and let bygones be bygones and fall in love with each other on their own terms made this such a fun book to write.
***ONE NIGHT RODEO also hit the NY Times Bestsellers ebook list and the USA Today Bestsellers list!
TURN AND BURN, book 5, is Tanna Barker and August “Fletch” Fletcher’s love story and will release in August 2013.
Book 6 is currently contracted and unnamed and will release in August 2014.
Author’s notes on other books:
I’ve had readers ask if there will be a book with Geo and Shawnee, secondary characters from RUNNING WITH THE DEVIL. Maybe. I have the story, RUNNING ON EMPTY started, but at this time I’m focusing on the Rough Riders series and the Blacktop Cowboys series. I’d like to go back and finish it at some point. Not sure when.
I have no plans to write a book featuring Ryan Cross, Tate Cross’s older brother mentioned in DIRTY DEEDS. But you get a tiny peek at Tate and Nathan’s life ten years later, in my novella, WICKED GARDEN, which is part of the THREE’S COMPANY ANTHOLOGY (with Jess Dee and Jayne Rylon.)
Also in that perfect world, I’d get to tell Brock Tennyson’s story, Cam McKay’s Army buddy from SHOULDA BEEN A COWBOY. And yes, I already know who I’m pairing him with.
Jon White Feather from WICKED GARDEN did finally get his happily ever after in the novella BALLROOM BLITZ, which released in Oct 2012 in digital form as part of the TWO TO TANGO ANTHOLOGY (again with Jess Dee and Jayne Rylon.) Print version of this book will be available in Sept 2013.
Yes, I will write a happily ever after for Doctor Joely Monroe. I get that question so often I think my readers would kill me if I let the good Doc flounder any longer than she already has. And it’s probably no surprise her book will be part of the Wild West Boys series—I’ve dropped enough hints over the past few books that you all should have a good idea who she’ll end up with.
Ditto for Ramona West. I know who her man is, and her book will most likely come right after Doc Monroe’s book in the Wild West Boys series.
Author’s notes on random things:
As far as language issues — and I’m not talking about the curse words I use without apology or the fact I don’t use euphemisms for parts of the male and female anatomy — a few critics/reviewers are skeptical that people “really” talk like that. Again, not grammatically correct, but we do drop most of our g’s out here in the Wild West. I ain’t kiddin’.
Grammatically correct: Do you plan to go hunting?
Proper western phraseology: You goin’ huntin’?
Might piss some readers off, but guys, I can’t please everyone and I’d rather stay true to my roots, and the way I KNOW IT TO BE, rather than change it to how someone who’s never been here and presumes to foist their language expectations on us unsuspectin’ folks out here in flyover country.
Most adult cowboys chew tobacco. Might be considered gross, but it is very realistic. Glossing over it would be untrue to what I’m attempting to do with the series.
I’m not one of those authors who compile a “play list” for every book I write, mostly because I cannot listen to music when I’m working. But you can pretty much guess by some of the titles I’ve used just what kind of music is on the radio when I’m drivin’ around in the truck.
This comment is totally not PC – be warned: These books are MY vision. MINE. I own them, live with them, sweat, fret and cry over them. I wrote them the way I intended and I am happy with every single one and would not change a thing. Seriously. I’m fortunate to be employed by professional publishing houses and the books have passed through the hands of several editors—my main editor, an associate editor, a senior editor, a copy editor, a galley proof editor—I took my editor’s suggestions and incorporated them into the story lines and received final editorial approval on the end product—which means not only am I thrilled with the finished, polished book that the reader purchases, but so is my editor and my publishing house. Are there occasionally mistakes? Yep. It’s a fact of life. But it doesn’t change the fact I am a paid professional writer. This is my job. This is how I make my living, support my family, and live my dream.
Don’t like a book or a plot point or think a character is a dumbass, or mean, or unrealistic, or stupid, or ___? Think I could’ve done X, Y or Z differently in book X, Y, and Z? Think it’ll make a difference if you contact me and tell me everything I did wrong and I’ll be forever grateful for your criticism? Think again. But here’s an idea; pen your own book, find an agent, have that agent try and sell your book to a legitimate publisher, and you will have creative control, just like I have in my career, and you can write your book however you see fit. Please don’t rewrite mine. Them’s fightin’ words.
I have the greatest fans in the world! Thank you to everyone who’s stayed with all the books, spread the word about them, left awesome reviews for them, defended them, and offered me support both publicly and privately over the years—it means more than I can possibly express!
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional questions or comments.