Below are stories around the writing of some of the Rodeo Knights Collection coming out from ten different authors. Their books will all be released on June 20th. Check out the website about the collection at http://rodeoknights.blogspot.com/.
Also you can get the first three books in the Rodeo Knights Collection (out late in 2015) FREE through Instafreebie at http://rodeoknights.blogspot.com/p/free-book.html.
By Margaret Daley
One of the questions I’ve been asked by readers is how I come up with a new story. Honestly, there are times I really don’t know how. Something just pops into my mind—a seed of an idea. I’ll think about the concept. Sometimes, it will grow quickly. Other times, slowly. The last one was for my book Deadly Fires, which is on pre-order right now. The release date is June 20th.
In this story, I wanted to tie it to another book of mine—The Knight and the Damsel, part of Rodeo Knights series. So somehow it needed to have ties to the Knight Detective Agency and have something to do with the rodeo. My books in the Strong Women Series are romantic suspense so I need to have a suspense/mystery plotline. Because I wanted to tie it also to the Knight Detective Agency, one of the main characters needed to work for the agency. Once I decided the hero was going to be connected with the detective agency, then that meant the heroine would be running a rodeo entertainment company.
I then sketched out a characterization for each of the main characters. As I dig deeper into the story, that sketch will become more detailed (background information). I start writing with a sense of what the opening chapter or two will be like. I have a framework for my story, but I don’t know all the details. I know what the ending will be, but usually I don’t know who the villain is until I’ve written a good portion of the story. I set up several people with the thought they may be the villain. This last book, I thought I knew who would do it but changed it at the halfway mark when another character shouted he was the saboteur.
By Laura Marie Altom
As a kid, I LOVED to read!! I somehow landed on titles featuring girls having wonderful adventures at boarding schools and summer-long camps and dude ranches. More than anything, I wanted to go to Swiss boarding school. Barring that, any camp would do. I became a certified camp junkie! When I was in seventh grade, my parents delivered the most freakishly amazing gift EVER!!! They’d signed me up for a two-week stay at Skull Hill dude ranch in Claremore, Oklahoma.
We lived in Springdale, Arkansas at the time, and there were only two-lane roads leading to this then desolate kid-oasis. The drive took forever, but upon arrival at a grassy wonderland surrounded by forest, I was shown my cabin and met my fellow cowgirls. Best of all, I was introduced to my horse, a gentle old paint named, Smoky Joe. He was my new soulmate. We took long trail rides and learned saddling and horse grooming basics. Best of all, we learned barrel racing. I was good–and I mean GOOD!! LOL!! Smoky and I won every race!!
To mark the end of our stay, we attended a local small town rodeo. All I remember is meeting a rodeo queen and receiving her autographed photo–which I still have. She was the most glamorous woman I had ever seen, and a barrel racer, and I couldn’t wait to grow up to be just like her!
Alas . . . I was a city slicker and when my parents tried enrolling me for dude ranch the next summer, we discovered it had closed. They sent me to a new ranch, but it wasn’t the same. My barrel racing career was officially over.
Fast forward dozens of years and I’ve written dozens of books–many with horses named Smoky Joe–including my newest release, Renegade! Oddly enough, my family and I now live thirty minutes from my former dude ranch. One lazy Sunday afternoon while out for a drive, we stumbled across Skull Hill. The cabins were abandoned and the pool dry. The barn had almost caved in and the dirt drive was weed-choked and gated. I had a little cry, but then spotted a horse-filled pasture. I picked a horse that looked like my sweet Smoky and blew him a kiss. The grown-up in me knows it probably wasn’t him, but in my heart and stories, Smoky Joe and I will forever take long trail rides and win every race . . . Laura Marie xoxo
The Bull Rider’s Pledge
By Marin Thomas
Years ago when I penned my first rodeo-cowboy book for Harlequin, I came across an article in my research that talked about The Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. The fund has been around for more than 25 years, and it helps athletes and their families in the event of serious injuries resulting from rodeo related activities. It seemed to fit in with everything I’d been reading about the culture of rodeo. The athletes and their spouses and children, the sponsors and rodeo workers are all one big, caring family. In a crisis they come together and support whoever among their ranks needs help.
I’ve always wanted to write a story that demonstrates the generosity of the rodeo community and in The Bull Rider’s Pledge my heroine’s young son is the one who needs help after his father, a bullfighter, is killed doing his job—protecting bull riders. Rodeo is a rough sport but the people who support this special way of life are some of the most generous, kind, giving folks you’ll ever meet. Cowboy UP! ~Marin
By Lenora Worth
In my Rodeo Knights second novella, Knight Moves, I took a different twist with a rodeo bucking horse. Domino was slated to be a star and had already won two championships, but in this story, the big gelding stops bucking. In doing research, I found this can actually happen with a rodeo horse. It’s rare but sometimes they get stubborn in the chute and just stand there. It could be a too-tight flank belt or a horse that doesn’t want to do this anymore. I took a little poetic license and had a bad guy un-train the horse (which can also play a part in how a horse reacts.)
I wanted something different but I also wanted to focus on horse rustling, which still happens. They don’t hang people for it anymore and it’s been reduced to more of a misdemeanor instead of a felony, but … it’s still the wild west. And sometimes cowboys still take the law into their own hands.
Wilde and Reckless
I’ve always liked writing damaged characters. I think they’re much more interesting to read about, as is their journey to redemption. I also relish the challenge of creating that special guy or gal who’s both willing to help the person change and to love them in spite of their flaws. Or is that because of their flaws? J.R. Wilde in my book Wilde and Reckless is no different. As a former drug addict, he’s got a lot to overcome to be the kind of man Naomi can not only fall in love with but a good father figure for her little girl. I truly enjoyed writing their story. If Naomi wasn’t going to give J.R. a chance, I might have fallen for him myself!
Ride the River
By Patricia McLinn
First, I want to remind the FBI/NSA that any searches on my computer about how to rob a bank were strictly for research for Ride the River: Rodeo Knights. Honest.
Reggie (Regina) Moran needs to prove her investigative chops by finding a bank robber who’s dogging towns holding rodeos. And then she discovers one of her prime suspects is her one-time high school sweetheart, rodeo cowboy Chapin Johnson. Not only have I loved spending time with these two as their dreams collide, but when they needed rodeos to go to, I got to revisit rodeo towns from three of my other books/series. I hope readers who’ve read any or all of the other books will get a kick out of revisiting Park, Sherman, and Bardville, Wyoming, along with some of their citizens. But first-time visitors won’t get lost, either, because Ride the River: Rodeo Knights is a standalone read. Promise.