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Posts Tagged ‘Cowboy Christmas’

Capturing Christmas CoverToday, I thought it might be fun to share a few “behind the scenes” details about Capturing Christmas.

I knew from the moment I first created Celia McGraw’s character in The Christmas Cowboy that she had to have her own story.  From that book, we knew Celia was pretty with red hair, she owned a feisty attitude, worked as a photographer, and wasn’t afraid to stand up to her big brother and his best friend.

How could you not want to write a story about a girl like that?

A few months before I finished writing The Christmas Cowboy, I heard about a young cowboy proposing to his girlfriend in the middle of the rodeo. He had the announcer her call her out to the arena and dropped down on one knee in the dirt, proposing to her right there in front of the spectators.

Of course, she said yes.

That idea stuck with me. So when I started thinking about Celia’s story, I knew I wanted to somehow incorporate that into the book.

But what if instead of saying yes, she said no? What if the person proposing wasn’t someone she wanted to marry? What if…

Would you like a little peek at that scene?

~*~

“Are you insane?” Celia glared at the man kneeling before her in the loose dirt of the rodeo arena holding a ring box. A gaudy diamond glittered in the sunlight.

In all her wildest imaginings, seeing Wayne Warshaw down on one knee was the farthest thing from her mind.

He beamed at her and held up the ring box. “Marry me, Celia! Make me the happiest cowboy on the planet.”

Furious, she shook her head. “No! I won’t marry you, you lunkheaded idiot! If you’re operating under the delusion I’m even remotely interested in marrying you, you’ve got feathers and fudge for brains.”

Twitters of excitement fell to a stunned hush as hundreds of spectators caught their collective breath at her rejection.

“Celia, you don’t mean that!” The spurned prospective bridegroom lunged to his feet and grabbed her hand in his. “You’re such a tease. Give ol’ Wayne some sugar, honey.”

~*~

It wasn’t easy coming up with a character who could keep up with Celia. He needed to be strong and every bit as stubborn as her, but also gentle and patient.

There was no doubt the guy would be a cowboy, but what type of work would he do? How would the two of them meet? That’s when I decided he’d be a rodeo stock contractor.

After doing research into that career choice… let’s just say they have my full admiration because, man, do they work hard. As a homebody, I can’t imagine being on the road so much and with trucks full of animals. From what I know and what I researched, many of the rodeo animals receive better care than many people’s beloved pets.

Anyway, from there, Kash Kressley was born (so to speak). One of my friends has a horse named Kash and I loved the name, so I stole it (thanks, Carmen!).

It stood to reason that Kash and Celia would have many opportunities to interact at rodeos if he was providing stock and she was photographing them.

Here’s another little teaser…

~*~

Determined to pull herself together, she released his hand and took a step back from the fence. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Kressley. How did you know my name? You said it earlier when you were taking me to task for my temporary loss of sanity.”

What could have been the beginnings of a grin lifted the corners of Kash’s mouth upward. “I’ve seen you around a few rodeos. In fact, you aged one of the bullfighters by a decade or two last month when you almost got run over by one of my bulls.”

Celia blushed. While photographing the bull riding at a rodeo, a cowboy behind the chutes caught her eye. Although she knew better, she turned her attention to him and lost track of the bull until she glanced up to see him heading straight for her. Just in time, she scrambled out of the way, aware that one of the bullfighters had been hustling to get to her side.

As the man gave her a curious once-over, she realized he looked a lot like the cowboy who’d unknowingly diverted her attention from the bull that day. “I guess I owe you a double thank you.”

~*~

If you have any questions about the story behind the story, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer them!

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CCP-Free-promo-2Here’s a little Christmas gift from me to you…

You can download The Cowboy’s Christmas Plan free for your Kindle!

If you’ve already got the book and enjoyed it, please let your friends know to get their free copy!

The Cowboy’s Christmas Plan

Grass Valley Cowboys Book 1

Cadence Greer’s plans for a happy-ever-after are quickly derailed when her fiancé runs off with his secretary a week before their wedding. Homeless, jobless and jilted, she escapes to Grass Valley, Oregon, where she finds herself employed as a housekeeper and cook to seven cowboys on a sprawling ranch.

Trey Thompson is a well-respected pillar of the community, running a successful ranch with his brother. All he wanted was someone to cook his meals and keep the house clean. When he hires Cadence Greer for the job, he gets more than he ever planned on, including a sassy little red-headed orphan.

Come spend Christmas in Grass Valley at the Triple T Ranch, where mistletoe hangs abundantly and holiday magic is in the air.

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Meet Trey Thompson and Cadence Greer

Praise for The Cowboy’s Christmas Plan:

“I LOVED this book. So many twists and turns, I didn’t want to put it down.”

Amazon Reviewer

“Fun and clean Christmas story! I loved it so much that i have almost finished the whole series! “

Amazon Reviewer

“Good romance. Like the themes of strong family ties and strong morals.”

Amazon Reviewer

Excerpt:

Walking across the now-white yard, their footprints leaving tracks in the snow, Cadence wasn’t sure what was spinning around in Trey’s handsome head. She wondered what had made him grow so quiet. Maybe he hadn’t enjoyed the ride or the kiss. That thought nearly made her stumble on the back steps.

Stepping inside mudroom, Trey took off his boots, hung up his coat and hat then turned to watch Cady struggle to use the boot jack.

Standing behind her, he put a hand on her thigh and moved her foot into the proper position. Cadence was sure he could feel her leg begin to tremble at his touch.

“Just like that, darlin’,” he said his breath warm and soft by her ear.

Goose bumps popped out on her neck and sprang up on her arms, but Cadence removed the other boot then slowly stepped aside and took off her coat.

Trey tugged the band from her head that covered her ears and dug both hands into her snow-dampened hair. Pulling her to his chest, he groaned as he buried his face in her hair and inhaled the fresh scent that was solely Cady.

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Have you ever wondered what women from two different centuries would discuss?

Today, you can listen in as Filly Granger and Kenzie Morgan dish on life, love, and the holidays.

Amanda Righetti makes such a lovely Filly.

Amanda Righetti makes such a lovely Filly.

Filly is a wife, mother, and involved community member in The Christmas Bargain, a sweet Victorian romance taking place in 1893.

Daniela Ruha is exactly how I picture Kenzie.

Daniela Ruha is exactly how I picture Kenzie.

Kenzie Morgan is from the contemporary sweet romance The Christmas Cowboy. She works from home as a direct sales corporate program developer, is a wife and mother.

Welcome to you both. Tell us a little about your home.

Filly: I live in the small but bustling community of Hardman, Oregon in Eastern Oregon. We have several churches, a school, a newspaper office, skating rink and mercantile there. My husband, Luke, and I live in the house where he grew up on the edge of town where we raise cattle and a few horses. He owns and manages the Hardman Bank and is very involved in the community.

Kenzie: Tate, that’s my husband, and I live on the ranch that his grandfather started back in the early 1900s. We’re about thirty miles from Kennewick, Washington. We primarily raise beef cattle, wheat, and hay.

What is your single most favorite modern convenience?

Filly: Indoor plumbing. And my washing machines. I feel quite spoiled to have two but it is such a big help on laundry day.

Kenzie: Since indoor plumbing is something we all take for granted these days, I’d say my cell phone is my favorite convenience. (Smiles and shows Filly her phone, giving her brief demonstration of how it works.)

Filly: (Wide-eyed, holds the phone in her hand) This is the most miraculous invention. I dearly wish I could show Luke. He’d be utterly entranced.

What’s your favorite thing about your home?

Kenzie: (Smiles) Tate and our son, Gideon. They make a place home for me.

Filly: You have a son?

Kenzie: We sure do. He’ll be two soon. (Pulls up a photo of the baby on her phone and hands it to Filly.)

Filly: He’s adorable. His curls put me in mind of our own little Maura. She’s just a few months old. (Filly removes a small photograph from her reticule and gives it to Kenzie.)

Kenzie: What a lovely family. Your husband is very handsome.

Filly: Mr. Morgan appears quite dashing with those dimples and bright blue eyes. Oh, and to answer the question, my favorite thing about home is Luke and Maura. It would just be a house without them there.

Here are three fun questions…

Coffee or tea?

Kenzie: Most of the time coffee, but sometimes I enjoy a good cup of tea. Tate thinks I make special Christmas tea, but I buy it from the store.

Filly: (Grins at Kenzie) I prefer tea as does Luke, although he hates to admit it to anyone. We also have spicy tea we make at Christmas. It’s so fragrant and delicious.

Skirts or pants?

Filly: Women wear pants?

Kenzie: (Opens a site on her phone with women’s fashions) All the time. I’m used to wearing skirts when I’m working so I put one on today. Otherwise, I’d be dressed in jeans and boots.

Filly: Jeans? As in denim trousers?

Kenzie: (Nods and shows Filly a photo) This is me with my horse, Goldie.

Filly: (Studies the photo and grins) Oh, how I wish I could wear jeans to ride. They look much more comfortable than the split skirts I wear. Your boots are wonderful.

Sweet or savory?

Filly and Kenzie: Sweet!

Filly: I enjoy sweets, especially chocolate.

Kenzie: Me, too!

Tell us one thing you admire about your husband.

Kenzie: It’s hard to choose just one. Tate is one of the most optimistic, positive people I’ve ever met. He always looks for the good in situations and in others. I’d say that’s probably what I admire about him most. He’s also loyal, determined, gentle, and kind. And handsome!

Filly: Luke has the biggest heart of anyone I know. He rescued me when I needed it most. He’s definitely my hero, champion, and best friend. I also think he’s quite charming and handsome.

Thank you both for joining us. Any parting words for our readers?

Kenzie: If you enjoy historical fiction, sweet romances, or good westerns, I hope you’ll consider reading our stories in the Hardman Holidays and Rodeo Romance series.

Filly: Be sure to check out The Christmas Calamity, releasing Nov. 13. Luke’s assistant Arlan really gets into the magic of the season with the arrival of a prestidigitator in town.

Kenzie: I’ve never met a prestidigitator, although I’ve been around some great rodeo clowns when Tate rode in the rodeo.

(The two women stand.)

Filly: If you aren’t in a hurry, do you mind if I peruse a few things on that? (Gestures to Kenzie’s cell phone)

Kenzie: (Hands Filly the phone) Go right ahead. By the way, do you think you could share that tea recipe…

Where to Find The Books

The Christmas Cowboy

Start the Rodeo Romance Series with The Christmas Cowboy.

Kindle | Paperback | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Apple | Audible

christmas bargain coverTravel back to a different time with the historic Hardman Holiday Series,

beginning with The Christmas Bargain.

Kindle | Paperback

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bronc 2dThe sight of a cowboy in a pair of dusty boots with his hat settled just so on his head never fails to make me smile.

My appreciation of cowboys and the western way of life came naturally, growing up as a horse-crazy girl on our farm in Eastern Oregon.

The fact my oldest brother spent weeks (and sometimes) months at a time working on remote ranches next door to the edge of nowhere only added to my fascination. He’d arrive home full of exciting tales of daring that made me sit up and take notice. Sometimes, he brought along a fellow cowpoke in need of a home-cooked meal and a few days of rest before they headed back to boonies.

As a little girl, I’d listen to them talk about a way of life that seemed to be all but disappearing. They always smelled like leather and horses and sunshine – a scent I still love to this day.

When I began writing sweet romances, it was a natural fit for me to make most of my heroes cowboys. Some of my stories take place in historical settings, others are modern day, but the common thread is that the men live by an unspoken code of honor I always associate with cowboys. With those boots and hats, it can be a lethal combination to the hearts of unsuspecting women.

Tate graphicIn The Christmas Cowboy and Wrestlin’ Christmas, the first two books in the Rodeo Romance series, neither heroine wants to fall for a cowboy.

The Christmas Cowboy

Here’s an excerpt from The Christmas Cowboy

Quickly jumping off the fence, Tate jogged toward the stands. Kenzie looked around, getting her bearings, as he hustled up the steps and squatted down beside her.

“Dewdrop, I didn’t think you’d be able to make it.” He took her hand in his and squeezed her fingers. The warmth in her eyes as she gazed at him made his heartbeat kick into overdrive. Maybe she cared about him more than she wanted to admit.

The jubilant smile on his face made her glad she raced through her presentation, ran through the hotel as if the building was aflame, and pleaded with the taxi driver to put some hustle in it so she’d arrive at the rodeo on time.

Wrestlin-Christmas-promo-2

And an excerpt from Wrestlin’ Christmas

Tall and brawny, Cort McGraw happened to be one of the most handsome men she’d ever seen. From his silvery-gray eyes rimmed with black eyelashes to the dimple in his all-too-attractive chin, she wished Kenzie had given her some warning. If she’d known what he looked like, that he was so young, rugged, and hunky, she would have told Tate not to bother sending Cort to her place.

Mercy, he smelled good, too. Even now, his manly, musky fragrance filled her senses. Annoyed with herself for savoring his heady scent, she brushed at her nose, hoping to chase away the lingering aroma of his aftershave.

Where to Find The Books

The Christmas CowboyStart the Rodeo Romance Series with The Christmas Cowboy.

Kindle | Paperback | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Apple | Audible

Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund®

NoJCCF logow through Dec. 24, I’ll donate 10 percent of the net proceeds from all book sales to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. The JCCF is a non-profit organization that assists rodeo athletes who’ve sustained catastrophic injuries and are unable to work for an extended period.

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I thought it might be fun to share in interview with two hunky, sweet rodeo cowboys from my Rodeo Romance series today.

kellan lutzKellan Lutz – my idea of a perfect Tate Morgan.

 Tate Morgan is a saddle bronc rider out to claim a championship title and the girl he loves in The Christmas Cowboy, the first book in the series.

Colin Wayne with shirtColin Wayne – the perfect Cort McGraw

Wrestlin’ Christmas, the second installment, shares Cort McGraw’s story as a sidelined steer wrestler who falls for a widow down on her luck.

Welcome to you both. Tell us a little about you.

Tate: I live on the ranch that my grandfather started back in the early 1900s. We’re about thirty miles from Kennewick, Washington, where we primarily raise beef cattle, wheat, and hay.

Cort: I used to live near Boise, Idaho, until my sister shanghaied me and dumped me at Tate’s door. Now, I’m working on a ranch about fifteen minutes away from the Morgan place.

What happened with your rodeo career?

Cort: In April, I did a number on my knee when I jumped off my horse to wrestle a steer at a rodeo. I knew the moment I hit the ground I wasn’t walking out of the arena. The doctors have all assured me I either stop competing or cripple myself for life. Since I like the ability to walk, I guess my rodeo career is effectively over.

Tate: It isn’t the end of the world, man. You never know what great thing is waiting just around the corner.

Are you always so optimistic, Tate?

Tate: (Shrugs) Usually. Might as well think positive. It can’t hurt anything.

Cort: (Rolls his eyes) He should add that he’s super annoying to his friends with that can-do attitude.

What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

Cort: Eating. (Chuckles and rubs a hand over his flat stomach). I do enjoy all the treats that seem to accompany the holiday season, but I think Christmas Eve is my favorite part of the holiday. My family goes to church, then we sit around a crackling fire and visit before my Dad reads to us. It’s just a nice time to connect and unwind with the people I care about most.

Tate: I agree with Cort on all accounts. It’s the time spent connecting with those we love that make the holiday special – and the treats. I never turn down a good holiday cookie.

Cort: Or cake, or pie. Or…

(Tate playfully slugs his arm)

You’ve both sustained major injuries competing in rodeo. Can you tell us a little about the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund?

Tate: It’s an amazing organization that steps in to help injured rodeo athletes when they’ll be out of work for while and are facing financial hardship.

Cort: Both of us were fortunate not to require assistance, but the JCCF is a lifesaver for some rodeo families.

Thank you both for joining us. Any parting words for our readers?

Tate: If you enjoy, sweet western romances, I hope you’ll consider reading our stories in The Christmas Cowboy and Wrestlin Christmas.

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2014 FlyerSince today is the official start of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, I thought I’d post a little reminder that now through Dec. 24, I’ll donate 10 percent of the net proceeds from all book sales to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. The JCCF is a non-profit organization that assists rodeo athletes who’ve sustained catastrophic injuries and are unable to work for an extended period.

2014 Flyer2Each and every book purchase (be it digital, audio, or paperback) helps benefit the fund! Also, if you purchase the books through the Amazon Smile program, Amazon donates back to JCCF, too!

For those of you wondering what got me interested in the rodeo in general and the JCCF specifically, here’s the scoop:

Growing up on a farm twenty miles from the closest town, we generally took our excitement anywhere we could get it.

Each summer, I eagerly anticipated our small town’s biggest event of the year – the Fourth of July Rodeo. Back in those days, it was a PRCA-sanctioned rodeo. Some of the top names in the circuit would join hundreds of rodeo fans for four days of rodeo, events in the park, a parade through town, and the annual Suicide Race (a crazy horseback race down a steep butte, across the highway, through the river, and into the rodeo arena).

The whole family looked forward to the celebration. My oldest brother often rode in the Suicide Race and some of my cousins often competed in the rodeo.

For a horse-crazy little girl who loved the smell of leather and the sight of cowboy hats, it was amazing. From an early age, I had a romance with the rodeo.

One of the few stores we had in town was a saddle-maker with a boot shop. When I was five, my dad took me to Leroy’s shop to pick out a new belt for the rodeo. It was the first time I got to choose my own and I was so excited.

As we walked inside, the welcoming aroma of leather filled the air. Dad led me to where Leroy worked on saddle at the back of the shop and they talked a few minutes. Impatiently waiting, they finally told me to go see what I could find. My gaze – and heart – immediately settled on a hand-tooled belt with little flowers and a silver buckle with a gold saddle that glistened in the overhead lights.

I still have that little belt today along with my love of rodeo. It’s because of how much I enjoy the watching rodeos that led to the creation of my Rodeo Romance series, set near Kennewick, Washington.

The Christmas CowboyTate Morgan is a saddle bronc rider out to claim a championship title and the girl he loves in The Christmas Cowboy, the first book in the series. While I was writing it, I reached out to the Justin Sports Medicine Team to make sure I was getting my facts straight for the book. That’s when I learned about the JCCF and decided I wanted to contribute something to such a great organization.

Wrestlin' Christmas CoverWrestlin’ Christmas, the second installment, shares Cort McGraw’s story as a sidelined steer wrestler who falls for a widow down on her luck.

I hope you’ll check out one or two of my books – give them as a gift to yourself or others, and get in on the opportunity to help a great organization.

(And for those who have already purchased books or made donations – THANK YOU!)

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The-Christmas-Cowboybn

Today, I have the privilege and honor of signing books from 11 a.m. to noon at the PRCA booth at Cowboy Christmas in Las Vegas at the LV Convention Center.

If you are in town for the rodeo (or any other reason), stop by and say hello!

I’ll be back at the booth Friday from 3-4 p.m. if you miss me today.

And remember, 10% of the net proceeds from all my book sales goes to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund!

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