Everything’s Bigger in Texas


Since I announced Texas Tangle’s upcoming release, a lot of people have been asking where I got my inspiration for writing a western considering I live in Ontario. (I almost wrote Canada, but we do have cowboys out west.) Back in 2007 I had the opportunity to visit my critique partners who live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  Sue invited me to stay at her place where I got an inside look at caring for her beloved Blue Arabian horses. And laughed at her interactions with her donkey Gandalf.  I loved the land with its prickly pear cactus and mesquite trees. I even saw a roadrunner, something that was straight out of cartoon territory to me. Sue introduced me to her father who took me out and taught me how to shoot five different types of guns ranging from a 9mm semi-automatic to a German Luger to an old fashioned Colt 45. (I even hit the bulls-eye a few times!) Then she took me horseback riding on one of her beautiful mares Cimmi. I loved it and knew at some point in the near future I’d end up writing a western.

Cut to two years later, the idea that I’d left on the shelves of my imagination decided it was tired of the dust-bunnies gnawing on its edges. So I pulled it off the shelf, stared at it a while from a couple different angles and decided the story needed to be told. I started with Sue’s horses since horses are typically part of a western. But I like to change the old standards. Instead of the hero being the cowboy, I made the heroine, Nikki, the horse breeder.  The hero would be the neighbor—along came sex-on-legs Dillon.  They’d gone to school together, maybe even eyed each other back in high school. But something had to happen to kick start them into giving in to their *cough*natural inclinations.

I must admit when I started writing Texas Tangle, it was supposed to be a novella. It was supposed to take place over a weekend—a light romp of two friends finally admitting they’re hot for each other but have held off on acting on their impulses until now.  Then Dillon’s best friend Brett walked into the middle of a scene. Where Dillon is a glass-isn’t-just-half-full, it’s-overflowing type guy, Brett is moody and tortured and has been in love with Nikki since he kissed her back in high school. Oh, boy!  Now there was a storyline demanding to be told.

As I re-read my 22,000 word first draft, I made notes: “bring Brett in sooner”, “expand Brett’s part here”, “explore what would happen when Dillon realizes…”, “Brett deserves a happy ending. Give him one!” Writing the tangled threads between the three characters firmly stomped the plans for a novella in the dirt. By the time I submitted it to Carina, Texas Tangle had tripled in size. When I finished the tweaks based on the excellent editing suggestions of Angela James and my new editor Rhonda Stapleton, the manuscript tipped the scales at over 72,000 words.  But I’m so glad I expanded Brett’s part in it, and that I explored what would happen when Dillon realized…well, you’ll have to read Texas Tangle to find out just what Dillon realized. And my novella? Well, they always say everything’s bigger in Texas. Guess Nikki and the boys proved their story, like Texas, was too big for a novella.

Thanks to her cheating ex-husband and her thieving brother, all horse breeder Nikki Kimball has left is a bruised heart, an overdrawn bank account and an empty home. When sex-on-legs Dillon Barnett and his brooding foster-brother Brett Anderson start showing more than just neighborly attention, Nikki is intrigued…and a little gun-shy.

Dillon and Brett have a history; back in high school, the two friends fought a bitter battle over Nikki. Now, ten years later, Brett still longs to be the man in Nikki’s life, but he’s determined to stand back and let Dillon win Nikki’s heart.

Society says Nikki must choose between the two men she loves. Is Nikki strong enough to break all the rules in order to find happiness?

I’ll be posting a short excerpt this afternoon, but if you just can’t wait, you can get a sneak peek by visiting my website or my blog (click on the Coming Soon link at the top of the posts). I can also be found over on Facebook, or chatting on Twitter.

**reminder: Commenting on an author’s blog entry/entries for the day will enter you to win a digital copy of their Carina Press title. One winner daily. Commenting on any of the Countdown entries will enter you into the big giveaway for a Carina Press promo prize pack. One winner at end of Countdown.**

22 thoughts on “Everything’s Bigger in Texas”

  1. Liz Fichera says:

    “Sex-on-legs”–must remember that one! Perfect! Looking forward to learning more about these characters, Leah.

  2. Donna says:

    I’ve loved your other books and can’t wait to read this one, too. I grew up in Central Florida where cattle ranching was big business before Disney World moved in. Great memories of cowboys!

  3. Kathy B says:

    Woohoo, does this book ever look good!

  4. Abby Wood says:

    I have to buy. It is as simple as that! lol Love the story about how you came upon the idea.

  5. Jennifer M says:

    I’m glad this story got expanded because I much prefer longer stories to shorter ones. If I like the characters, I don’t want to see them go and novellas are just too short for me.

  6. Leah Braemel says:

    Thanks everyone.

    Donna, it’s both exciting and scary to hear you’ve read my other books. I’m still not used to that idea.

    Abby–thanks, and good luck with yours. Two cowboy stories for the readers that week, hopefully we’ve covered all the ranges for them ;)

    Jennifer–Oh, thank you for saying that. I wasn’t sure if people might prefer shorter stories over long ones when it came to digital books. This story just had to be a longer one, the characters demanded it.

  7. azteclady says:

    “Society says Nikki must choose between the two men she loves.”

    That right there sold me. “Society says” all the time, but in the end, each person must choose her own path.

  8. Bernita says:

    Oh Leah, what as wonderful writer’s backstory to the story!

  9. Kathleen says:

    I can see a little bit of Texas in Ontario… mabye through the Hockely Valley… Lot of horse farms through there…
    This books is going to be a winner… love it..

  10. Wow! I’m excited to see this. I’m sure lots of breeders eyes will get ‘as big as Texas’ when they see mention of their horses in an erotica, but that’s ok! LOL!

  11. Lori says:

    Yay Leah! Looking forward to this one!

  12. Mitzi H. says:

    I would love to read about their (natural inclinations)….hehehe. Sounds like a great story!!!!

  13. elaing8 says:

    I am so looking forward to reading this book,it sounds so good.And that cover is awesome.

  14. Estella says:

    I enjoyed your other books and can’t wait to read this one!

  15. Pearl says:

    Congrats on finding a home for this story Leah!

    I remember tweeting with you about the “it was supposed to be a novella but these characters aren’t cooperating” last year and am ecstatic to see this story is coming out with Carina Press!

    It was one of the first books I put on my Carina Wishlist and I can’t wait to read it!


  16. Maria D. says:

    Your story sounds wonderful! Can’t wait to read more.

  17. Fedora says:

    Leah, congrats on your Carina Press debut! Can’t wait to read Texas Tangle!

  18. Yvette Davis says:

    I never thought cowboys were sexy till I met a southerner here up north. He’s a little lost, but the Texan is pretty smooth talkin’ and easy on the eyes too! Good call!

  19. Another Carina book I must have!

  20. Diane M. says:

    Another book to put on the list.

  21. Nancy S. says:

    Interesting concept, and I’m definitely interest.

    But only visiting the Dallas area? Shame. Ya’all should have come down here to the San Antonio area. I mean if the great George Strait can have a ranch south of town it must be a good place. (LOL)

    “Texas is a whole other country”


  22. Leah Braemel says:

    Nancy – I’d LOVE to come down to the San Antonio area and other parts of Texas. I even have the cowboy hat to wear while I’m there. (I collect them after that visit–thanks to a visit to Leddy’s in Fort Worth.)

    Pearl — yup, they sure weren’t co-operating, but I’m really pleased that they pestered me from the way the book turned out.

    Azteclady — You’re right, the things “society says” we must do are changing all the time, but not without being dragged kicking and screaming from the dark ages.

    Kathleen — Windfield farms is just north of me. It’s a race horse ranch formerly owned by EP Taylor and is the birthplace of Northern Dancer, one of the most famous Canadian race horses. Oh, and Sandy Hawley, another famous Canadian jockey is from my home town. So we do have horses around, just now cowboys, LOL.

    to everyone else — Hi and thanks for dropping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I’m really excited about Texas Tangle, and I hope you’ll enjoy it when it comes out on June 28th.

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