I like the smell of manure. Now you may think this an unlikely way to begin an adventure, but read on and I promise it will all come together relatively quickly. Okay, about the manure. Actually I don’t mind the smell of it, or barns or livestock in general for that matter. Part of this earthy equation, by reasonable assumption, are cowboys, and writing about them is a natural fit for a country girl. Full circle.
I happen to have my very own cowboy, an ideal resource on the equine side of things, and most certainly an inspiration, so hot on the heels of Gold Digger Among Us, with sexy rancher Dade Tanner, off I went again and had the time of my life creating the Emerald Valley Ranch series.
We authors live our stories, knee-deep in the glorious occupation of word crafting, and the Emerald Valley Ranch series was no different. It was the last thing I thought about before I went to sleep, and the first thing on my mind when I came conscious in the morning, and just about every hour in between.
The first one up was When Fate Comes Calling, with Savero Gold, a seven-million dollar stud on the line and the mayhem that ensues in pursuit of this celebrated stallion. Kane Davidson’s family started the Emerald Valley Ranch so he gets to be centre stage throughout the series. He’s tall, blonde and an impossibly sexy alpha male with a big heart, and what’s better than one hunk? Well three of course; meet his buddies, Martin Parker and Rowdy Brooks. If you’re going to imagine a cowboy, make him a good one. From his smouldering smile to his OMG walkaway, spare nothing.
When Fate Comes Calling, Book One of the Emerald Valley series, was supposed to be a single title, stand alone book, and believe me, there are mega fireworks and suspense aplenty along with the love part. Enter Jessica, Lindy and Victoria, in their proper order. There isn’t a shrinking violet among them, strong women, all; sassy and well able to stand their ground.
I finished When Fate Comes Calling just as the summer season was full upon us, when in addition to my newspaper work, et cetera, there is gardening. That includes watering, which basically means transferring the lake to the garden through a one-inch hose in half-hour increments, and chasing the free-range chickens out of the garden with said hose. It also means endless hours of picking and canning. But as crazy busy as I was, do you suppose those Emerald Valley boys would leave me alone? No!
Book Two began to crowd out all other thoughts. I had to write a sequel, and this time Martin Parker was the star as I rushed to get Storms in the Valley down on paper. It would be insanity not to, right? It would be like knowing the answers to the final exam and saying nah, I don’t think I’ll bother. No! You grab it with both hands for the gift that it is, and so I did. Thank you, Martin.
And then it happened again, Book Three of the Emerald Valley series, Back in the Valley, began to come in loud and clear, this time with Rowdy Brooks, and again I paid heed and got that book down, and oh what a time Rowdy had.
Okay, so it’s a trilogy. Great! Done! But no, along came series Book Four, Incomplete Truths, and Book Five, Unforeseen Shadows, and so I got those on paper too. Five books in thirteen months and I write first draft copy in speed-of-a-donkey longhand, so can we say writer’s cramp?
But oh those cowboys…. When they spoke I listened and it was a rollercoaster ride; my pen had a hard time keeping up with the stories these characters wanted to tell, of love, strong family values, unbreakable friendships and often seemingly insurmountable challenges. They saw me through it all on their terms. Of course I would draw up an outline each time, then end up writing something else; something better. Sometimes I had no idea what was going to happen until the final few lines of a chapter, and then it would come, providing me with any number of WOW moments, as I was springboarded into the next chapter.
It was a wild ride to corral these cowboys and their spirited kin between the covers of a book … or five as it turns out, for what became the Emerald Valley Ranch series. I won’t soon forget my time with them because there was never a dull moment. Giddy up!