Congratulations to Nicole Gough! Woo! Watch your inbox for an email with all the glorious details!
Want to enter the drawing? Rules are simple. Just leave a comment in the comment section below. Be sure to fill in the box that asks for your email address, that way we can contact you if you win. I’ll do the drawing on Friday, 2/22. The winner will be contacted via email and we’ll also post the winner’s name here at the top of this blog. So, if you don’t hear from us, but want to double check to see who the winner is (and make sure you aren’t actually the winner), you’ll totally be able to do that.
Musing of a wannabe cowboy
I always wanted to be a cowboy.
Not a cowgirl, because the only one on TV was Dale Evans and she was like June Cleaver in western clothes. Yuck.
I wanted to be one of tough guys who bellied up to the bar and demanded whiskey. I dreamed of being one of the boys John Wayne hired to trail his cattle across rough country when all the grown men hadn’t made it home from the war. (The Cowboys, 1972).
I imagined standing on at tall rock formation, looking out over the prairie with the broad brim of a sweaty Stetson shading my eyes, trail dust coating my neck, and a Colt .45 slung low over my very sexy leather chaps. I didn’t think much of Roy Rogers—cowboys should scowl not sing—but I did want horse just like Trigger. I considered the Lone Ranger’s horse for tiny second, but how the heck could you keep a horse that white on a cattle drive? I digress.
The closest I came to that experience was when I was ten years old. In the summer months, my brother and I would often spend the day at our friend’s farm, riding the constant stream of horses and ponies his auctioneer father bought and resold. One Saturday morning, we were ecstatic to find a small herd of about twenty cows also roaming the huge pasture. It was high noon and we had some doggies to move.
They weren’t Texas Longhorns, but white French Charolais with very short horns and silly curls on their heads. Still, we herded those cows all day from one end of the pasture to the other until our ponies were tired and balky. It was the best day of our imaginary cowboy lives, until our friend’s father blew a gasket because we’d been running the fat off his beef cows.
The dream faded only a little as I grew up. I still wanted to own a Stetson (I do) and buckle on some chaps (bought some, wore them once, then sold them to my ex’s friend who planned to wear them for a different kind of ride. TMI). I quietly fed my adult cowboy fascination with movies like Lonesome Dove, Comes a Horseman (Jane Fonda), Maverick (Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson), The Horse Whisperer, Young Guns and The Mask of Zorro.
So, when a reader who had just finished my second book, Long Shot, emailed to say that I needed to write another book set in Cherokee Falls so that “some butch can come along and rock Bridgette’s world,” I chose a tough and sexy rodeo rider.
Warning: I like to write hot romances, but Every Second Counts turns up the heat several degrees.
Marc Ryder is actually a modern version of a roguish horse-whisperer I used to role-play in a yahoo fantasy group. Dusting her off again was like revisiting an old friend.
The modern Ryder returns to Cherokee Falls after being away for more than ten years and is reunited with her childhood buddies, Skyler Reese and Tory Greyson – characters from my first two novels, Bareback and Long Shot.
It was fun to write both the playful banter between the three old friends and the rodeo scenes where Ryder tests her mettle against the broncs and bulls.
This story also was work, requiring a lot of research.
To write those scenes, I watched a lot of videos of how to ride a bronc or a bull, videos of guys getting their butts bucked off and sometimes stomped, and even went to a bull riding show at the local coliseum to help capture the flavor of the event. I also pored over rodeo websites and rodeo bull pedigrees.
I’m thinking it will be the last time I visit Cherokee Falls in a full-length novel, but these women will stay in my head and my heart for a long time. I hope they linger in yours, too.