I’m really excited to be here promoting my own self and stuff this weekend, but I have to be painfully honest – this is scary, too. The launch of a new series by an author lucky enough to have some faithful readers (like I am), is no trivial thing. I’ve had very good luck with my first series, set in my home state of Minnesota. I fell in love with all the people in my fictional small town, and I have crushes on all my heroes. Luckily, readers have agreed. Some have even asked for more stories in the series—and I’d love to write them.
But last year the time had come, according to my editor, for some new books. A whole new concept. I thought I’d share the journey my new series took from earliest concepts to finished product. I hope this story will intrigue you enough to go and pre-order (or order for real on July 21) THE BRIDE WORE DENIM the very first book in the “Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys” series!
First—a confession (or a disclaimer?). There isn’t a wedding in every book. Nor is every hero is a cowboy (at least at first). But the weddings catch up eventually and there ARE seven brides! And every hero is hot and heroic and learns the cowboy life. Promise!
“Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys”
Seven strong, beautiful sisters:
Each left Paradise Ranch vowing she’d never come back.
Each found an independent life far from Wyoming.
Each had to return for the same reason but found a different reason to stay.
Meet the Crockett family:
Amelia (Mia) – The Doctor
Harper – The Artist
Joellen (Joely) – The Beauty Queen
Raquel, Grace, and Kelly – The Triplet Restauranteurs
My first concept of this series was as a modern-day Bonanza, but with women instead of men. I got this far—take a look at the names of the first three sisters and the cousin—and of the ranch. Sound familiar at all?
The Cartwrights – The Crocketts
The Ponderosa – Paradise Ranch
Candy - Cami
Ben - Bella
My editor went for the basic idea and I left a conference with her feeling high. The next person in the decision mix was my agent. She and I brainstormed over several long phone conversations and decided not to go with a Bonanza theme since it was dated and so well loved by a certain generation, it probably wouldn’t translate for today’s readers. So, I threw out a completely joking remark: “I’ll just do Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”
I never mentioned that idea again. Nobody buys seven books. Did I even want to write seven books for one series? I continued on with a plan for four. I wrote up a proposal, synopsized four books and sent them off to my agent. I got an immediate call. “Hey? What happened to the Seven Sisters?”
I argued that I’d only been being flippant. That I’d never even thought about three more girls. She said, “No, no, that’s your high concept. It’s a winner. I can pitch that! Just make ‘em triplets or something.”
“Sold!” I said. And Grace, Kelly, and Raquel (named for their father’s two favorite movie stars) were “born.”
The basic stories came relatively quickly. We pitched it to my editor and, lo and behold, she loved it. Dang! I was in for seven stories. Seven Brides. Seven Heroes. Seven Cowboy Heroes. With a completely different look to the covers than the last (nakkie torso man) series had. With a concept everybody loved! It takes a village sometimes.
Book #1, THE BRIDE WORE DENIM is Harper’s story. She wins the heart of Cole Wainwright—her childhood best friend and Mia’s former boyfriend/fiancé. The fact that he wants only to stay in Wyoming and live out his ranching legacy and Harper has a budding career as an artist in Chicago and wants nothing to do with “stealing” her sister’s ex, makes their immediate attraction and fast-growing love and respect difficult to reconscile. You’ll have to read it to see if their hearts win out over their heads! But here’s a little taste for you:
Cole kissed like he’d taken lessons from Casanova, Rhett Butler, and Upside-Down Spiderman and now surpassed them all. The soft touch of his lips set her body trembling, and shivers blazed across every inch of skin when his fingertips stroked her cheeks the moment he delved into her mouth. He tasted her reverently, as if she were the most exotic and precious of wines. He pulled her into the kiss inexorably and stoked the fire inside of her like a master, until she wanted him no matter what the consequences.
Until she scared herself out of the fog.
She jerked away, her movement the opposite of his skillful tenderness.
“Harpo, what?” Even his words stayed quiet.
“I’m leaving in the morning. What good does it do us to keep starting this and then having to screech to a halt?”
“We wouldn’t have to screech or halt.” He brushed his knuckles along her jawline. “Morning is a ways away.”
“And what? Complicate this by going to bed? What if I liked it?”
She tried to joke, but deep inside it wasn’t funny. The idea of loving Cole frightened her. She didn’t want to live on planes. She didn’t want to fall any more deeply in love with him than she already had.
“You would like it.”
“Arrogant.” She attempted a smile.
“Believe me. I don’t think for one second it would be one sided.”
He tried to gather her to him again, and this time it wasn’t fear of him but fear for herself that forced her to push him away and stand.
He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, tired and disappointed. “Fine,” he said.
It almost changed her mind. “I won’t make love to you just to leave afterward,” she said. “That’s how it would always be after that, stolen lovemaking. Just like you and Mia used to have. I do remember that.”
He stood then, his features more than disappointed.
“Run away, Harper, if that’s what you have to do. But at least be kind enough to stop comparing us to Amelia and me. This is nothing like we ever were. Ever. I resent that you keep making this out to be a sister swap.”
PURCHASE THE BRIDE WORE DENIM
(Releases on July 21 but it's available for pre-order now!)
To celebrate--on Sunday night I'll be drawing from all the comments over the weekend for a set of all four books (in e-format) in my Kennison Falls, MN series. Just take a second and tell me your favorite part of a wedding ceremony. I'll be planning seven weddings--I'm eager for your ideas!!
Top Ten Wedding Songs!
And mark your calendars for Book #2 of the series
THE BRIDE WORE RED BOOTS!
September 1, 2015