To All My Friends and Family

Best Wishes for Peace, Happiness and Health in 2013. 
Let it be a great year, and don't forget to have a little fun.

 I'd like to give special thanks to the wonderful people who have helped me beyond measure this year:
Amity Grays
Julia Barrett
My husband, the Bronc Rider
Wonderful Beta Reader, Tonya Holmes
Jenn Contreras
Diane J Reed
All of my writer friends in my RWA group, Coeur Du Bois
My terrific kids who each in their own way have given me such joy.
And everyone who's encouraged me.


Diane J Reed--Author, Master of Fairy Lore

It is my pleasure to have my friend and terrific author, Diane J Reed as my guest blogger, today. I have been one of her greatest fans since reading her debut book, TWIXT. I was enchanted, frightened and completely fascinated by the characters and setting, which is in the Idaho mountains near where I was raised.
Today, she's releasing her next book, a YA novel, Robin in the Hood.
Here is her interview for The Next Big Thing.

Hi Diane,
What is the working title of your next book?
Robin in the Hood

Where did the idea come from for the book? 
I was always buying YA books for my teenage niece, and to make sure they were appropriate for her age level, I would read a copy first before giving one to her. And I got so tired of wimpy heroines who chase after Alpha guys that dominate them! So I finally blurted out to my niece, "Just for once I'd like to see a YA book about a girl who directs her own life and who's feisty enough to do what it takes to solve her own problems—you know—by robbing banks or something!" And voila—the idea for my book was born.

What genre does your book fall under? 
YA Contemporary Romance

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? 
Abigail Breslin is 15 now and she would be PERFECT for the part of rich-girl-gone-bad Robin McArthur. And I have my eye on Alex Pettyfer to play the street-tough backwoods hero Creek. 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  
Robin in the Hood is the story of a wealthy teenage girl whose family hits the skids, so she turns to robbing banks to make ends meet—only to find true love along the way.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 
It will be published through my company Bandits Ranch Books.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? 
A year.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 
I consider Robin McArthur a teenage version of the feisty heroine in Janet Evanovich's One for the Money. Robin in the Hood is also similar to the themes in Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? 
I simply wanted to see a fun, page-turning YA novel published with a self-directed heroine who tries to solve her own problems—even if things turns out wacky sometimes!

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?  
When Robin's rich & crooked family hits the skids, she takes her father to a trailer park to hide him from authorities—and the people there become the first truly loving "family" she's ever known. Then she partners up with Creek, the local bad boy in crime, to provide for their neighbors, and the two of them strike up an unlikely but powerful love affair that changes their lives forever... 

Thanks, Diane.

The Next Big Thing

Thanks to friend, fellow writer and All-Around cowgirl, Kari Lynn Dell, I’ve been tagged in The Next Big Thing meme. The premise is for an author to answer ten questions about the project they’re working on, so here goes:

What is the working title of your next book?
Sugarwater Ranch has been the working title, but I’m also considering With a Cowboy Like Him. It’s a toss-up right now.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Nearly five years ago I read a contemporary rodeo romance. The author had done a wonderful job of writing the romance, but the rodeo and horse information was so off base that I cringed. I read on, eventually hoping the heroine would just shoot the TSTL hero and get it done with.
Speaking of TSTL--my next thought was, 'how hard can it be to write a book'? So I decided to try, you know, just whip one out and have a best seller. Little did I know the amount of time, struggle and high learning curve it takes to write a good book. 
My hat’s off to all the great writers out there.

What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary Romance, or to be more specific, Contemporary Western Romance. Ah heck, it’s Rodeo Romance with cowboys and cowgirls, of course, and bucking horses, bulls and rodeo clowns.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I have a hard time choosing an actor or actress. I don’t watch a lot of TV, and the last movie I watched in a theater was The Jerk, starring Steve Martin. That was back in the . . . well, never mind.  Suffice it to say, I’d rather read.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Sean O’Connell’s life was perfect until drinking affected his bull riding, and he ended the season too broke to leave the Northwest for the warm southern rodeos.
When bar manager Catherine Silvera finds a waterlogged, unconscious cowboy in danger of freezing to death in front of the Sugarwater Bar, she saves his life--then runs away faster than a jackrabbit with a coyote on its tail.  Any man who makes his living following the rodeo circuit is not for her, especially if he thinks partying is part of the competition. 
Okay, that’s three. I guess I’ll have to work on that.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be represented by an agency. I'm not ready to try to self-publish. Learning to write taught me a lesson. Not one part of putting out a book is easy.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I started Sugarwater Ranch during National Novel Writers Month 2011. It took 30 days to put fifty-five thousand words on paper for the first draft. After nine months of revisions, it is now finished at eighty-four thousand words.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’d like to compare it to Katie Lane’s, Deep in the Heart of Texas series with a little touch of magic. If I could write as well as Katie, I’d be happy.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
This book was inspired by all the rodeo friends I’ve known and traveled with for most of my life. They are a different breed. I wanted to write a romance involving cowboys and cowgirls with life on the rodeo trail accurately portrayed.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Readers might be interested in the rodeo and ranching scenes. I’ve kept them as true to life as I could. Or, they might be interested in the blond, green-eyed, totally hot hero, Sean O’Connell.

And now that the hard part is done, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to more remarkable and gifted authors. Drum roll, please . . .

I met Diane J Reed after reading her wonderful book, TWIXT. Diane chose to set her story in a small Idaho town not far from where I live. As I read, I could picture the beautiful mountain scenery. If you like fairies, magic and a love that traverses different worlds, you’ll love TWIXT.

Jacquie Rogers is a multi-published author whose motto of Fairies and Dragons and Mules--Oh My! has me laughing every time I visit her website. Her Heart of the Owyhees series is the best of historical western romance. Jacquie writes in several genres, including Faeries. Oh, and mules. With Jacquie, there’s something for everyone.

I got hooked on Dianne Solberg’s serial titled Angus & Lily--The ‘Clysm Wars. I waited for each chapter to come out and was disappointed when she finally brought it to an end. Dianne then began another wonderful story called, The Bear Facts. I can’t wait to see what Dee comes up with next.

I found John Ross Barnes  on the #amwriting website. I enjoyed his blogs then got to know him better as a Twitter friend. He writes a variety of genres, including Friday Flash fiction, Haiku, Gogyohka--and, yes, I had to look the last one up. It's a very interesting form of Japanese poetry.

If you're looking for a realistic view of life on a working ranch, tempered with a touch of humor, visit Kari's blog, Montana for Real.
Thanks, Kari.