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.
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