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Where Jane talks about everything on her mind…and yes, as usual, there is quite a lot on her mind.

Kelly Hunter on the Appeal of Bad Boys

kellyhunterI’ve had my head down a lot lately, trying to get some serious writing done and while I do try to be good and not get distracted, sometimes a girl just can’t help it.  Especially if she’s got great author friends who insist on writing fabulously yummy stories about delicious Bad Boys.

If you’ve been keeping up with the Bad Boy books from Tule’s Holiday imprint, you’ll understand exactly what I mean.  It’s hard to ignore them.  They look so sinfully irresistible, standing there on the cover, whispering ‘come closer’.  And Kelly Hunter‘s bad boy, Caleb Jackson from Sympathy for the Devil fits the bill so perfectly!

It got me thinking about all bad boys and why so many of us find them appealing.  I pulled Kelly Hunter in for a quick chat about bad boys and here’s what she had to say:

Kelly on the appeal of the bad boy… I’m a big fan of a hero who lives by his own rules and doesn’t necessarily conform to social mores. He’s a game-changer. All that fire and passion, all his fierce loyalty and protectiveness – he’s exciting and unpredictable and I like that in a fictional hero. In real life I’d run!

When I write these guys, I’m aiming to get that super sexy, supremely confident guy to lay all his power (every last drop) at the feet of his heroine and say, ‘This is me, all of me. And I’m yours.’ The bigger the challenge the sweeter the victory.

Should you still need more convincing when it comes to the appeal of the very bad boy, I give you my favorite two bad boys of all time (superheroes included). I’d love to know yours so feel free to comment!

1. Sebastian Ballister, the Marquess of Dain, from Loretta Chase’s Lord Of Scoundrels

He’s big, he’s bad, he’s a total cad with an illegitimate son. He sleeps with whores. He needs a firm and loving hand, and, my, doesn’t he purr when he gets one? He’s fiercely passionate and a law unto himself. Occasionally he needs to be shot. A woman could indulge her inner disciplinarian with a man like this All. Day. Long.

2. Iron Man (Tony Stark)

At some point in one of the Avengers movies, Captain America says to Iron Man, “Big man in a suit of armor. Take that off and what are you?” And Iron Man replies, “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.”

You’ve no idea how much I love this exchange!

Our boy Tony is a reckless risk-taker who flirts with anything sentient, drinks to excess and he doesn’t like sharing his toys. He’s the poster boy for how not to manage fame, and that’s before you factor in the armored suit and all Iron Man’s wins and disasters. He’s the bad boy who so desperately wants to do good. He has a broken heart – literally – and he can’t fix it. No one can. Happily, he’s wrong, because I’m sure I can fix it. No, really. I can. At least let me try.

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Kelly Hunter’s Sympathy For The Devil is out now.

Caleb Jackson has a secret – as a reckless teen he seduced his big brother’s girl. The girl moved away, his brother moved on and Caleb tried and tried to forget it ever happened. Ten years later, Bree Tucker is back, more tempting than ever, and his big brother seems hell-bent on reeling her back into their lives.

Bree Tucker doesn’t want to take the Jackson photography job, even if every last one of them is as photogenic as sin. Caleb, in particular, is the kind of man a woman would happily lie, cheat and check her self-respect at the door for – she should know. But Caleb had only ever been responding to the lure of the forbidden. He’d never been seriously interested in her.

Had he?

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And that is just part of the reason I love Kelly’s bad boy, Caleb!  What’s your take on the appeal of bad boys?  Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a fabulous prize pack from Kelly!  We’ll announce a winner on Saturday.

Kelly Hunter Bad Boy prize pack

 

Megan Crane: Falling in love with the Rodeo

Readers, you need no introduction to this guest author…my bud Megan Crane.  We’ve shared editors, publishers, an agent, and noone knows me better.  Welcome back, Megan!

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I was born in Texas, which means the rodeo should have been in my blood.

(At least that’s what I think it means.  Shhhh.)

Unfortunately, I spent only days in the land of my birth before being whisked away to New York, where rodeos were things I read about in my beloved romance novels and never part of my life at all.

Until Jane.

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Jane has been the gateway drug to a lot of marvelous things in my life.  Trips to Hawaii, Italy, Montana.  Fantastic new books to read and write.  And one of the best friendships I’ve ever had.  When Jane asks me if I’d like to do something (travel to this or that exotic place, start a publishing company, etc.) I’ve learned it’s always worth it to Just Say Yes.

So when she asked me if I wanted to go to the rodeo, that’s what I did.

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The truth was, I really didn’t.  I grew up in places where agriculture was something that happened Elsewhere.  No cows or bulls or people in ranch attire.  I thought attending a bull riding event would be an interesting sociological experiment.  And I’m a writer, so I love a good sociological experiment.

Imagine my surprise when I fell completely and wildly in love.

I was jumping up and down.  I was screaming.  I was swept away in the drama of men and wild bulls, the cheers of the crowd, the antics of the rodeo clowns.

I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun in my life—and I don’t think it has anything to do with my Texan blood.  I think that’s what the rodeo DOES.  It’s elemental love.  It’s worth checking out.

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I hope you enjoy your taste of the 76th Copper Mountain Rodeo in Please Me, Cowboy, and the other Montana Born Rodeo books.  Because I promise you: it’s definitely worth falling in love!

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Megan, it’s always fun to have you as a guest.  Thanks for sharing with us today!

Readers be sure to download your copy of Please Me, Cowboy if you haven’t already.  And to help Megan celebrate her new release, I’m giving away this fabulous prize to one lucky winner!

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For a chance to win, tell me what you’ve enjoyed the most about the Copper Mountain Rodeo romances or you can just tell me about your weekend.  You know I love to hear from you!  Winner will be announced on Thursday.

Melissa McClone: Writer Turned Cowgirl

I’ve been having a fabulous time in Morocco and enjoying some good times with Surfer Ty.  It’s been a glorious few days here.  I should try to find a way to do it more often!  The sun is bright and shining, the Souqs are full of vivid colors and tastes and the people are just amazing!

I’ve also spent some time by the pool and actually just finished reading Melissa McClone‘s Kiss Me, Cowboy.  I’m such a fan of Melissa’s.  Not only is she a wonderfully talented author but she’s also a warm, wonderful person to know and this week, she’s a guest on my blog!  Here’s Melissa McClone to share her thoughts on being a cowgirl!

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Thanks for having me on the blog today, Jane! My dad grew up on a sheep ranch in Colorado and a couple cousins competed in rodeos so writing Kiss Me, Cowboy brought back many memories, including more recent ones of watching rodeo events at our county fair!

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It’s been a long time since I’d been on horseback other than trail rides on vacation, so I decided to do a little hands-on research at a working cattle ranch in southeastern Oregon. I spent three nights up at their cow camp where the herd grazes during the summer months.

My favorite part of being a cowgirl—next to wearing my first pair of Ariat cowboy boots—was herding cattle. I rode a horse named Lil’ Britches. Out in the canyon on horseback, the breeze rustling through the quaking Aspen, I could easily imagine my wranglers from Kiss Me, Cowboy, Charlie (Charlotte) Randall on her horse Sierra and Zack Harris on Blackbeard, riding with me!

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Our cattle herding experience was actually a surprise. We’d headed out to drop off mineral (i.e. 50 pound salt blocks) to the herd, but on our way down the canyon to where they pastured, we started picking up small groups until we had a herd that had to be pushed along. (We later discovered a hole in the fencing that they were using to get back into this part of the ranch.) The cattle didn’t want to move, so they kept looking back to see if you were still there!

We would break off into pairs (i.e. teams) to keep cattle from wandering off, and more than once, one or more of us had to ride into the trees to keep a mama cow and her calf from crossing the creek and setting off yet another chase. I saw how a cowboy’s chores led to rodeo events.

A cowboy’s work is hard and dangerous. I learned a lot, but next time I’m heading to a dude ranch like the Bar V5 that I write about in my Montana Born Books, a guest ranch with mouthwatering gourmet food and spa services. Not to mention hot wranglers named Zack, Ty, Dustin and Eli!

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Thanks so much for sharing with us, Melissa!  I think I’ll tag along with you to that dude ranch next time.  :)

Readers, do download a copy of Kiss Me, Cowboy if you didn’t already.  You’re going to love it!  And to help Melissa celebrate her new release, here’s a special prize just for you!  For a chance to win, leave a comment to welcome Melissa to my blog, tell me if you’ve ever been to a cattle ranch or just tell us about your week!  Winner will be announced on Friday.

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Alissa Callen: Rodeo Up!

Surfer Ty and I are in Morocco and the UK for the next week but while I’m away, I’ve invited some of my Tule author friends to stop by my blog and share some cowgirl fun with you all as Tule returns to the Copper Mountain Rodeo!

Alissa Callen - smallI’ve been super excited about Alissa Callen‘s new release, Cherish Me, Cowboy.  It definitely made an impact on the Tule staff when they read it for the first time and fell in love with the characters and I have no doubt you’ll love it too!  Alissa has a strong voice and such fabulous flair for beautifully written, fast paced stories.  So here’s Alissa to tell us more about Cherish Me, Cowboy!  Please help her feel welcome!!

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Thanks, Jane!  Rodeos were a part of my childhood and now thanks to Montana Born Books, are again part of my life.

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I grew up on a farm in Australia and we’d often attend local small town rodeos. It was at such a rodeo where, I was around twelve, I saw a runaway horse kick over a baby’s pram. It just so happens it was my brother’s pram. But thankfully he was asleep in the car. I’d forgotten such a memory until I was writing Cherish, Me Cowboy. But in my Copper Mountain Rodeo story it isn’t so much the horse kicking over the pram that is significant but the unforeseen events that such a kick triggers.

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I still live on a farm and last summer I took my children to the small town rodeo not far from where we live. Miss Mini Farmer loved the barrel racing, the cowgirl-bling and the rodeo clown whose humorous lines belied a quick-thinking mind. Little Farmer liked the popcorn, silver belt buckles and the ground-pawing bulls. I only hope as he gets older he sticks to riding motor bikes that weigh less than 2000 pounds.

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Thanks to Montana Born Books you don’t have to sit ringside on a bleacher to enjoy the sounds, color and action of a rodeo. Each book of the 76th Copper Mountain Rodeo series brings the Marietta fairground to rich and vivid life. Happy reading and rodeoing!  :)

Here’s a quick excerpt from Cherish Me, Cowboy :

“Now that’s what I’m talking about,” Trinity said, her words ending in a drawn-out sigh.

Payton didn’t have to look up from scanning the rodeo program to know her friend salivated over a man. Trinity had only come to the 76th Copper Mountain Rodeo for one thing – cowboys. Luckily Payton had come for the events. She read the list once again. She’d run late helping a cow calve and if Trinity and Mandy didn’t stop dawdling to look at the masculine scenery they’d never make it to the main arena to catch the tie-down roping.

“I hear you,” Mandy replied from Payton’s left, a dreamy note in her voice. “Come on Pay, take a look. You can’t be all work and no play. The view will make your day.”

Payton sighed. She’d have no peace until she threw a token glance toward the cowboy. She looked up from the program. “You guys, the only thing that will make –” Her jaw dropped.

The cowboy, dressed in jeans, chaps and a blue western shirt, who tied a black horse to the side of a trailer was the last person she’d expected to see.

Mandy giggled. “Trinity, mark this day. Payton’s mouth is hanging open and she isn’t checking out a nice piece of horseflesh.”

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Thank you, Alissa!  Readers, if you haven’t already downloaded your copy of Alissa’s book, do it today and once you’ve read it, let us know what you think!  Meanwhile, I’ve got a fun mystery prize pack for you!  For a chance to win, leave a comment and tell me about your experience if you’ve ever been to a rodeo or if  you haven’t, and you had the chance, would you want to attend one?  You’ll automatically be entered to win some fabulous books, reader goodies, gift cards and more!

Barbara Ankrum: A Fair To Remember

971067_521250791255457_1104412762_nThe books in Tule Publishing’s Summer Fair series are amongst some of my favorites and I’m especially excited about Barbara Ankrum‘s A Fair To Remember!   I think Tule is really lucky to have Barbara writing a story for us.  She’s an incredible author with a wonderfully talented voice.  One of my favorite authors to read and an amazing person too, with some very cool author friends (like Beth Kendrick!).

I had to invite Barbara to chat with her about her story and so without further delay, please help me welcome Barbara Ankrum!

Thanks, Jane, for inviting me to blog here today! I’m honored to share this space with you.

Like most of you, I’m a reader from way back. As a kid, I’d read cereal boxes, newspapers, books, whatever I could get my hands on.  All that voracious reading translated into my becoming a writer, eventually, but that hasn’t diminished my joy of reading a great story. I love the great unknown of starting a new book.

But as a writer, I get to control the world!

Uh… not really. I just like to delude myself that way. But I do love the possibilities that come with opening doors in my stories to find characters I didn’t expect behind them.

In my latest book, “A Fair To Remember” from the Marietta Fair Series, my hero and heroine, Jake and Olivia, surprised me most of the way through. Best friends in high school, they’d made this dumb, pinky-swear promise to meet up at the fair when Olivia turned thirty to be each other’s fall back person in case they were both still single. And guess what? They were, with complications of course, but that’s where the fun begins.

I’ve always been a fan of friends to lovers stories and these two took me for a ride. But as I discovered their stories, I also discovered their supporting cast, which inspired me to contemplate what really made this heroine tick.

(Don’t you just love this cover?)

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Twelve years ago, equestrian Olympic hopeful Olivia Canaday and her best friend, Jake Lassen, made a pinky-swear promise to reunite at the Big Marietta Fair on her thirtieth birthday and marry each other if they were both still single. But that was before they grew up and went their separate ways. Now, after a disastrous divorce and a career-changing accident, Olivia limps home, minus her mojo, her courage and her faith in love. She retreats to her parents’ ranch, determined to play it safe, but when ex-Army helicopter pilot Jake Lassen arrives to make good on their promise, he reignites passion and hope, two things Olivia had forgotten existed. Olivia resolves to keep Jake at arm’s length, even though the memory of his kisses keeps her up at night. She knows better than to let her heart get involved, but Jake is planning for the future. Their future. Can Jake convince her to risk it all one more time and really make this a fair to remember?

Two such characters who wandered into my story were Kate and Eve Canaday, the younger step-sisters of my heroine, Olivia. (They let me know that the ‘step-sister’ part was a mere formality, as they all considered themselves blood kin.) That one insight opened the door into my heroine’s past, her way of being in the world and her relationship with her family. And it reminded me of how randomly the universe chooses our family and how we sometimes, choose our own.

Being lucky enough to have two sisters of my own, I know there is nothing like having two women who know you inside and out, all the good bits and the bad—and who love you anyway. You share memories no one else shares and can still laugh about them. Kate and Eve love Olivia this way and the three of them are always ready to go to the mattresses for each other. (In a Mario Puzzo kind of way!)

I had so much fun writing them that I think they each deserve a story of their own. I’m working on that.

Those two reminded me, not only how lucky I am to have sisters, and now a grown daughter whom I adore, but to have women friends who I’ve known forever and who always have my back. And I have theirs.

Recently, I met up with my best friend from childhood with whom I reconnected on Facebook. (Has that happened to you?) We had lunch with our husbands when we happened to intersect in the same city after living across the world from each other for the past forty-four years. Yet, it was like none of those years had passed between us. It was great to see her. She reminded me of how we used to climb a neighborhood willow tree and imagine (elaborately) that we were orphans—most certainly the beginning of my wild writer’s imagination!  We promised each other it wouldn’t be another forty-four years until we met again.

Then, last week, I had a reunion with a group of writer friends I’ve known for twenty years. Though it had been a few years since we’d met in person (we’re all scattered to the four winds now) seeing them  again reminded me of how much I enjoy the company of women and how I miss it when I’m alone in my writer’s cave. There was plenty of talk about families and catching up, but there was also support, as writers, for each other. It’s hard to beat friends who have become sisters.

Simply put, women need other women. It’s in our DNA. And despite the way the world keeps trying to pit us against each other, women will always find ways to create sisterhood from friendship.

Being part of this amazing group of writers at Tule Publishing, led by the ever generous and amazing Jane Porter, is yet another such example and I’m saying it right here on her wonderful blog, “Thank you, Jane, for your heart and your generosity and your wisdom. Thanks for inviting me in. I’ve got your back.”

Excerpt from A Fair To Remember:

“You scared of me, Liv?”

 “What? No.” She gave a laugh like scared was the last thing she could possibly be.

He sighed, then reached down to pull off a boot.

“What are you doing?” she inquired.

“Take off your clothes.”

Instinctively, she clamped her hands across her chest. “What?”

“C’mon. Not all your clothes. Just your dress. Your boots. Let’s go swimming.”

“Now?”

“We’ve done it a million times here.” Off came his other boot. “C’mon.”

Off came the black T-shirt over the holy-crikee ripped muscles of his torso. She inhaled at the sight of the new-to-her tats that covered one shoulder and forearm.

He followed her gaze and grinned. “Or are you scared of that, too?”

Oh, no. Not the tattoo. What was under the tattoo. She was definitely, definitely scared of the carnal thoughts his sleek, beautiful physique inspired.

The owl they’d been listening to flapped across the water with low, swooping beats of its huge wings, barely skimming the surface of the river.

 “I-I’m still a little drunk,” she said, “and, obviously, I-I don’t have a bathing suit.”

“When did you get so prissy? Underwear always sufficed before. When naked wasn’t appropriate.” He grinned and loosened the button on the top of his jeans and she heard the toe-curling sound of his zipper sliding down.

“We only skinny dipped once and we were fourteen and it was pitch black.” She watched the smooth, thick muscles of his back bunch and move beneath his skin like quicksilver as he slid off his jeans. He was wearing boxer briefs which outlined his taut thighs and backside, a view that made her mouth go dry.

He gestured at the dark night with one hand. “C’mon. It’s hot. And since you’ve put the nix on discussing what’s got you so spooked, what’s a little swim between friends? We’ll never get this place to ourselves again.” Jake waded in a few steps then dove underwater.

Grown men and women cannot be friends, her sister Kate had declared when Olivia had mentioned her onetime friendship with Jake as a perfect example of male-female friendship, Because in the sage words of Billy Crystal’s Harry  to Meg Ryan’s Sally, ‘the sex part always gets in the way.

A warm rush of longing shuddered through her as Jake shimmered under the surface of the water. Kate was right.

The sex part was a problem.

He shot straight up out of the water and gasped, the water sparkling in his hair.

Definitely a problem.

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Thank you, Barbara, for sharing with us today!  Friends, please be sure to download your copy of A Fair To Remember soon.  You’re in for a real treat!  And as always, I have another treat in store for you.  I’m going to give away, to one lucky winner, a special Montana Born prize that I personally carried home from Kalispell, Montana with extra gift cards and wonderful treats thrown in! For a chance to win, leave a comment and tell me which of the Summer Fair series books you’ve read and what do you think of the stories?  Winner will be announce on Wednesday.  Have a great weekend!

Her Summer Cowboy: Katherine Garbera

Book four in the Marietta Fair series, Her Summer Cowboy by Katherine Garbera is available today and I am excited to share her story with you. I asked Katherine to be a guest on the blog today and she happily agreed.

Here’s Katherine Garbera to talk to us today about country fairs, country music and her inspiration for HER SUMMER COWBOY. Welcome Katherine!

katherineFamily is at the heart of my life. I grew up on a sprawling ranch in Central Florida where my parents raised three daughters alongside their Valencia orange crop. We listened to country music, especially John Denver, George Straight and Waylon Jennings. I’m not embarrassed to admit I cried the day I heard that Waylon died.

When I think of country fairs to be they are associated with all those wonderful foods that aren’t good for me…funnel cakes, sausage and peppers and anything deep-fat fried, but also country music. We lived a modest life in Central Florida so the only time we really got to see an artist performing live was at the fair.

My parents would get up there early, not a burden since we were used to getting up at the crack of dawn, and we’d wait to make sure we got good seats for the shows. The concerts when they started fed my imaginations with the songs of real emotions and the difficulties that I could hear in their voices.

From this place came the first inkling of an idea for HER SUMMER COWBOY. I wanted my heroine to be born of country royalty but rooted also in the heartache and problems that come from having been born dirt poor and gaining fame too rapidly. Emma Jean Wells shows up to say goodbye to her grandfather for the summer as he goes on his annual tour of summer fairs. Only this year she’s met by a sexy cowboy who says he’s her Gramps’ bodyguard and she’s like say, what? From that moment nothing goes to Emma’s plan. She ends up agreeing to perform with her grandfather (she used to be one of his back-up singers on tour) and finds herself writing music. The one thing she thought she’d never do again. She also finds herself fallen for Hudson Scott.

They’ve agreed on a summer affair once it becomes clear the attraction between them won’t be denied. It makes the most sense because their lives are in different parts of the country and they are both searching and not ready to settle down. But their hearts have a different agenda.

Thanks, Jane, for inviting me to your blog to talk about HER SUMMER COWBOY, but also thanks for inviting me to Marietta, MT and letting me write some stories set there. I hope you will all enjoy HER SUMMER COWBOY.

Many years ago Emma Wells turned her back on the music world and its accompanying heartache and bitter, tragic memories, but her famous grandfather’s farewell tour drives Emma from her quiet life back onto the stage and into the lime light. As she picks up her battered guitar once again, she begins to find her song writing voice. Is she beginning to heal or is her inspiration sparked by the heated gaze of the strong, sexy cowboy watching backstage?  The road is the only home Hudson Scott’s ever known since he stormed out of Marietta, Montana when he was 18 years old after a blow out fight with his father. Can the sweet summer nights at the country fairs and a burning attraction to a tempting songstress teach him how to stop running and how to build a life with a woman he just might be falling in love with?

Many years ago Emma Wells turned her back on the music world and its accompanying heartache and bitter, tragic memories, but her famous grandfather’s farewell tour drives Emma from her quiet life back onto the stage and into the lime light. As she picks up her battered guitar once again, she begins to find her song writing voice. Is she beginning to heal or is her inspiration sparked by the heated gaze of the strong, sexy cowboy watching backstage?
The road is the only home Hudson Scott’s ever known since he stormed out of Marietta, Montana when he was 18 years old after a blow out fight with his father. Can the sweet summer nights at the country fairs and a burning attraction to a tempting songstress teach him how to stop running and how to build a life with a woman he just might be falling in love with?

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51xFRbDX5xLThank you, Katherine, for joining us today. Be sure to go grab your copy of HER SUMMER COWBOY today! Leave a comment to welcome Katherine and tell me about a summer romance you’ve had and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a print copy of Love Me, True and other Montana goodies.