Thursday, July 16, 2015

OF BRIDES AND COWBOYS AND MAKING AUTHORS NERVOUS


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
Camille (Cami) - The Long Lost Cousin and Journalist
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
Adam—Amelia
Hoss—Harper
Little Joe—Joely
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:
 
EXCERPT 
 
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.”
“Nice save.”
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!)

B&N 

So--welcome to my new adventure! I'm nervous about this newly broken ground. It's nerve-wracking to introduce a new family to the world! It will take a little while to get used to new people and a new Wyoming setting--but I hope after checking out THE BRIDE WORE DENIM you'll be as smitten as I am.   
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!!

Come back Saturday or Sunday for a new excerpt and my 
Top Ten Wedding Songs!

And mark your calendars for Book #2 of the series 
THE BRIDE WORE RED BOOTS!
September 1, 2015


37 comments:

  1. What fun!! I love the movie SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS.

    My favorite part of the wedding is watching the bride walk up the aisle. It brings a tear to my eye every time. She always looks so nervous on the arm of her father. I love it!!

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm with you on the bride, Mary! Even the most mature brides are dewy eyed and so radiant (how cliche is that line?). Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This sounds like such an awesome series!! I can't wait to read, I love your books!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This sounds like such an awesome series!! I can't wait to read, I love your books!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Theresa, what a lovely thing to say. I'm so glad you enjoy the stories. I hope this series IS awesome in the end. I'm certainly having a blast writing it! Thanks again, very much--XO!

      Delete
  5. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is one of my favorite movies! Can't wait to read this series.

    My favorite part of a wedding ceremony is when the bride walks down the aisle and the groom gets to see her for the first time. There's some real emotion there on their faces and it's so sweet to see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bridgett! I agree--that moment when he sees his bride . . . pure love and magic! Thanks so much for stopping by! Hugs!

      Delete
  6. I love the concept for this series! Can't wait to read the books.

    I love watching the bride walk down the aisle and the way the bride and groom look at each other as they say their vows!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sandra--I'm excited to have you say that the series concept sounds good to you. As I said--it's always hard to bring out something new! I hope you enjoy it.

      And you're with the group that loves the bride-and-groom moment. It is romance at its best, isn't it! Thanks
      for being here today!

      Delete
  7. LLLLUUUUVVVVV IT !!
    I always love hearing how a story came into being.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, Angi, you would love those stories--because you love authors! And we love you. You're a rockin' friend! XOXO

      Delete
  8. My fav part of a wedding is the happiness the couple shares with everyone! The special looks and smiles... thanks for sharing with us Lizbeth!
    greenshamrock at cox dot net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happiness--that is one of the best parts of a wedding for me. The moments when the whole world is new for the couple and everyone else is reminded that there's hope in the world for true love! Great thought, Colleen! And thank YOU for coming to visit. Hugs!

      Delete
  9. As you already know, I can't wait to read this series! Already preordered! My favorite part of the wedding is the cake. Traditional white with butter cream frosting. A little picky, I know. Best wishes with your new series!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Cake! How great is that? I even love looking at different wedding cakes online. They're such expressions of a couple's personality and taste. But I'm kind of with you -- I love traditional white and roses and lacework. In fact, I love the most traditional things at all weddings! Love ya, my friend. Thanks for never-ending support!

      Delete
  10. the cake

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi BN,
      Another vote for cake. Yay!! Thanks, as always!

      Delete
  11. When the groom sees the bride walking down the ail

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Leigh,
      And you're with us aisle-walkers! I do love that moment too! Thanks for coming by!

      Delete
  12. My favorite part is when the ad gives away the bride

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And--I like it when the dad gets misty-eyed. Another form of true love!

      Delete
  13. Sounds like a great series. ...wedding when she walks out from the barn under the trees to take herself to the groom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dawn! I love this--it's pretty much what my daughter is going to do on August 1st when she gets married! So romantic.

      Delete
  14. I will be honest, the best part (speaking as a bride, a member of wedding parties and guest to numerous weddings!) is when the formal stuff is all over and the party begins!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL - I love it, Sue! It is true--wedding parties are fabulous!

      Delete
  15. I think my favorite part of the wedding is when the groom watches the bride walking down the aisle and she watches him. You can see in both of their faces that nothing is ever going to be the same again. Half the time, both the bride and the groom have tears running down their faces. That kind of emotion can't be duplicated. I always find suspect the brides who value the reception over the ceremony, those are the ones whose marriages don't last. My daughter waited for years before marrying her young man because she had been in so many large weddings that lasted less than two years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there! (I won't repeat your whole default number--but welcome and thanks for coming!) I love your comment. It is indeed the ceremony that should be the important part of the wedding and the reception should be the celebratory party! I'm so happy for your daughter--smart woman!

      Delete
  16. My favorite part during a wrdding is when the bridr and groom mix different colored sand together or light a candle together, representing the unity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sara! All of those unity ceremonies are so fun and special. I love it when the ceremony is really unique!

      Delete
  17. Congrats on another great story, Liz! Thanks for giving me something to read on the plane to NYC next week:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, Jan, thank so much! I'm glad to know we'll be flying together! See you in NYC!

      Delete
  18. The kiss and the vows :)
    Can't wait to read The Bride Wore Denim!
    Thanks for the lovely post Lizbeth :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bube! I love the vows, too! It's always fun when they've made up their own. Some are simple but some are pure poetry! Thank YOU for all the wonderful online friendship!!

      Delete
  19. I love the.... "kissed like..... upside down Spiderman". You know I can't wait for the new series, but a part of me will always belong to Dewey!

    My favorite part of a wedding is the"You may now kiss your bride." The love and joy in that kiss is so very special... even if they've kissed a thousand times before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awe Julie, you know I love you for loving Dewey. He is special :-) Just as you are! Thanks for stopping by! XOXO

      Delete
  20. So sorry I was late to this party! I can't wait to pull this off the TBR pile - because it's already on my Nook! Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete