Friday, July 13, 2012

It's getting hot...bring out the blanket!


When I first started writing my editor told me that the hero and heroine could not sit down on a blanket and fall in love. They might really want to sit down on the blanket and let love heat them right up like a hot Texas wildfire but that’s not the way it works in life or in romance books. Like Billie Jo Spears sings in the video, I spread the lovely blanket out on the ground under the shade tree in plain sight and as much as it pained me, I did what my editor told me to do.

I invested in a catapult. Then I put the hero and heroine in a tree and made sure the limbs were shaky. Every time either of them even looked at the blanket, I lobed another boulder up into that tree. By golly, if they wanted the love blanket, they had to pass all the tests to get it!

In the upcoming Christmas book, Mistletoe Cowboy, Creed found the perfect ranch. The price is right. The place is great down in the bottom of the Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle. There’s just one little hitch. It comes with an eccentric artist named Sage and the contract that he’ll have to sign a contract stating that she can live on the ranch as long as she wants.

They’re stuck in a small house together in a blinding blizzard and I’m standing on the ground throwing rocks at them. They can see the pretty blanket and they’d really like to fall in love but they’re going to have to earn that blanket.

An excerpt of their first meeting up there on the tree branch:

The abominable snowman pushed his way into the house behind something that was either the ugliest dog on the face of the earth or an alien from a faraway planet. The huge thing set a galvanized bucket of milk on the table and a basket of eggs right beside it before he stomped his feet on the rug under the coat rack. The dog stopped in the middle of the kitchen floor and shook from shoulder to tail, sending even more snow flying everywhere in her kitchen. When it melted there would be water everywhere and her socks would be soaked.

“Who the hell are you? Get out of here and take that miserable mutt with you,” Sage said.

Creed removed his old felt cowboy hat and pulled off the face mask. His nose was scarlet and his dark eyelashes dusted with snowflakes. And of all the crazy things, there was a spring of mistletoe stuck in the snow on his shoulder as if it had grown there.

“I’m Creed Riley, ma’am, and I reckon if you want to throw your dog out in the snow that’s your business, but I’m not that mean or cruel to animals. And I’m here to stay since I’m the cowboy who bought this ranch. I guess you’d be Sage Presley. I didn’t think you’d make it home in this blizzard. I heard the roads were closed off.”

He was well over six feet tall because Sage had to look up to him. His brown hair was a bit too long, and his mossy green eyes were rimmed with black lashes topped with heavy dark brows. His deep voice held a definite Texas drawl.

She backed up to the cabinet and braced herself against it. “Where is Grand? Is she behind you?”

“No, left a day early since the storm was coming in. I expect she’s in Pennsylvania by now where it’s fifty degrees and sunshiny today. Crazy, ain’t it? We get a blizzard and the east coast is downright pleasant. At least it was yesterday when she called to tell me that she’d made it fine and to tell you so when you got home. Guess her cell phone’s battery was dead and her sister didn’t have one so she called on a pay phone from the airport.”

Sage rolled her eyes. “You have got to be kiddin’ me!”

“No, ma’am! That’s the truth and that’s really not my dog. I’m bringing my two huntin’ dogs out here soon as we make this sale legal, but this old boy just appeared out of nowhere this morning and rushed right in with me. I figured he belonged on the property. He wasn’t none too pretty when he was covered in snow, but it was covering a multitude of ugly, wasn’t it?”

She wants him gone. He’s determined to stay. They’re snowed in with no electricity. I felt kind of sorry for them when I lobbed the rocks up in the tree limbs but a happy-ever-after blanket does not come cheap.

The December book, Just a Cowboy and His Baby, spans summer, fall and winter. Poor Gemma really had to look at that blanket for a long time and there were times when she was sitting on a really shaky limb. She and Trace were in competition for the bronc riding rodeo title that came with a big pay check. Only one can have it and staying on that limb in the summer heat is almost as tough as staying on a bucking bronc’s back for eight seconds. When the baby enters the picture there are times that they both wonder if they’ll ever get to claim that blanket.

Excerpt:

She had two options.

Number one: Stay on his back for eight seconds and show him she was the boss.

Number two: Wreck.

There was no in between, and “almost” did not count. Gemma didn’t allow herself to think the word wreck, not even when the almighty Trace Coleman produced a smile that would part the clouds. He was well over six feet tall, dark haired, and light brown eyes. She’d done her homework on all the cowboys. She knew most of them personally from the rodeo rounds, but she’d only known Trace by picture and reputation. Both of which intrigued her to no end. When she’d seen him in action in San Antonio, the heat level of the whole great state of Texas jacked up twenty more degrees. His swagger, his broad chest, and his body had said that Gemma was in deep trouble. But it was that deep sexy Texas drawl that brought on images of tangled sheets, lots and lots of heat, and a warm oozy feeling called an afterglow flitting through her mind.

Trace might have just meant to be charming and helpful, holding his hand out to assist her in climbing the chute, but Gemma wasn’t buying his brand of bullshit. He wasn’t stupid, and the twinkle in his eye said he knew exactly how his touch affected a woman. Besides, his gaggle of rodeo groupies was proof positive of that. In San Antonio, Austin, Redding, and Reno, Gemma had seen them circling him like a chocolate addict set loose with free rein in a candy store. Oh, yes, without a single doubt Trace knew how to turn a woman’s mind to mush, and she’d lay dollars to horse apples that he played it to the nth degree.

Hot cowboys, hot kisses, hot sex! It doesn’t matter what the temperature is outside, they always want the blanket and there's not enough money in the world or dirt in Texas to buy one. They have to pay for it with their hearts! Readers: Do you want the hero and heroine to have to work for the love blanket? Writers: Have you invested in a catapult or do you just throw rocks like a baseball?

I have an ARC of Mistletoe Cowboy to give away today. Leave a comment and your name will go into the boot. On Monday, I’ll draw and announce the winner!

43 comments:

  1. Ahhh, that is so cute, Carolyn! I can't wait to read your Mistletoe Cowboy!

    Okay, you asked for it. I can't throw worth a darn. When I was trying to help more poor son with Little League, of course he could hit my balls. They were so lame. When I had to throw dummy grenades in officer training to see if I could throw the real ones, ha! Was I upset? Not at all. I was with not being able to help my son with his game. I signed him up for Martial Arts. :) He earned 2nd degree black belts in two different forms, and he helps me with martial arts moves in some of my books. :)

    And in my Christmas SEAL story? There's some sparring going on! It's never too early for Christmas!

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  2. If I knew where to buy the rocks to throw, I'd patronize that store nigh daily. One of the hardest parts of writing for me is coming up with the exact, best, most aggravating trouble to pitch at each couple. This question--which rocks?--is to me where character starts driving plot, and it's where the book either comes together as a love story, or turns into just so much more blanket bingo.

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  3. I do want the hero and heroine to have to work for their love. Anything worth having is worth working for!! If it comes to easy they don't appreciate it. The books ounds great. I wouldlove to win a copy.

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  4. Thank you, Terry! I betcha your SEAL story proves that you know exactly how to launch a grenade. That is so exciting that your son helps you with the moves! Now that's a lemonade story for sure. You got it...never too early for Christmas!

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  5. Good morning Grace.
    Choosing the right rock or stone or boulder can be tricky can't it? LOVE your comment about a love story or blanket bingo...it's the thing I have the most trouble with...hence the editor's advice.

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  6. Betty,
    Thank you for stopping by this morning. I agree that anything worth having is worth working for and sometimes the hero and heroine have to hang on real tight to each other during the hail storm of rocks.

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  7. Looking good, Carolyn! Dunno about rocks, but I have been known to throw the occasional alien villain at my characters!

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  8. Thank you, Cheryl. I'm sure that those alien villians shake the tree limbs just as well as rocks.

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  9. I love when the hero & heroine have to work for the blanke of love. I think it makes a great story when they have to work for it.
    countessofmar@yahoo.com

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  10. This was just such a cool post, Carolyn. I loved it all. I had never heard the song but it certainly had a catchy tune and I loved the way you kept the H & H off that blanket! Too cute.
    Amelia

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  11. The blanket must be earned! It is the character of the hero and heroine that determines the size and number of rocks to be thrown. If they can't take a few rocks in the beginning how are they going to take all those rocks thrown at them in their happily ever after.

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  12. Melody,
    Creed and Sage really have to work to get their blanket. Sage hates change and she really hates the idea of her beloved grandmother not living on the ranch. So every time I throw a rock she dodges and it takes her a long time to figure out that holding on to Creed will keep her from falling out of the tree.

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  13. Amelia,
    That song came to mind when I was writing the post. The song is from the 80's and flashed through my mind when I was writing the post. There were times when Creed and Sage didn't think they'd ever get their blanket. Remind me at RWA to tell you the credenza story that is mentioned in the book!

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  14. Jeannie,
    You got it! And it took some good big boulders in Creed and Sage's story. They are very stubborn and determined to have their way. Takes a while for them to open their hearts!

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  15. I just lob rocks and them and see which ones hit. Unlike baseball or warfare, I can always take one of my rocks back during revisions.

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  16. Wonderful idea, Shana! Take back the rocks and store them for future use.

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  17. Sounds Hot Hot Hot! Looking out the window (heavy rain...yet again, oh joy!) this would be a welcome distraction to review! (I'm in the UK).
    bookwormreviewedATgmailDOTcom

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  18. great cover, love it :)

    i do love hero and heroine to have to work for the love

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  19. Michelle,
    Will be glad to trade hot sunshine for rain! Would just love for you to review Mistletoe Cowboy.

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  20. Thanks for the morning teasers, Carolyn. Loved them and can't wait to read them :)

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  21. Eli,
    Thank you! The Cover Gods and Goddesses at Sourcebooks does an awesome job with my book covers! Glad you stopped by this morning...or is it afternoon in your world?

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  22. Ooooh! Sounds good! I can't wait to read them!

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  23. Mornin' Colleen! Thank you for dropping by. Glad you liked the teasers. Had to throw some pretty good sized boulders at these two couples!

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  24. Arely,
    I love your yellow tulips! Here's hoping you love reading Creed and Sage's and Trace and Gemma's stories as much I loved writing them!

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  25. I throw like a girl! LOL But I am so ready for the Christmas stories to begin. Bring it on, please! :-)
    lisakhutson at cox dot net

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  26. Among others, I love the title! When I think of Mistletoe I think of kissing and cowboys means only one thing, HOTNESS! Great combination, sizzling book in a Christmas season. :D

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  27. Hi Krazy,
    I understand Miz Grace Burrowes also has a Christmas story coming this year and Terry Spears, did I imagine that you had one? So you'll have a good selection.

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  28. Lory Lee,
    Creed is blushing at that compliment. And the grin on Trace's face is lighting up half of Texas!

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  29. Love your books Miss Carolyn. Love this series and how the three series tie into each other.. keep up the great work.

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  30. Helen,
    Glad to see you here today! And even more glad that you like the cowboys...keep your Stetson close by and your boots on...there's more on the way!

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  31. I am so looking forward to reading. It looks awesome. I love your covers as well!!!

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  32. Book Obsessed Chicks:
    YAY! I can't wait to see what you think of it. Where I usually have a whole town full of nosy neighbors and secondary characters, this is basically Creed and Sage with only a few folks thrown in to help me throw rocks!

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  33. These books sound good. I don't mind either way.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  34. Hi Carolyn!
    CONGRATS on your upcoming Christmas book!!! I love cowboys and I can't wait to read this one! Just a Cowboy and His Baby is definitely going on my wishlist too:)

    yadkny@hotmail.com

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  35. bn100: Thank you. Sage sure had a difficult time coming to grips with her grandmother being away from the ranch. But Grand and her sister are a couple of sassy secondary characters that keep the story rolling along.

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  36. Hello yadkny,
    Gemma is the youngest O'Donnell sibling and Just a Cowboy and His Baby is her story. Next year the Spikes & Spurs series will finish up with Dewar's story. He is the oldest sibling in the family. Happy reading and thank you for putting my books on your list!

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  37. Yes, I like to see the hero and heroine work for the love blanket. The harder it is, the sweeter the reward, and the more fun the story is.

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  38. Barbara E,
    My editor was right then...even though Creed and Sage sure had trouble dodging my rocks.

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  39. Little late in commenting, but I can't wait to read more about Creed and Sage... WOW... And I love the Grands...
    Now as for throwing rocks.. I could not hit the broad side of a barn.. I can miss throwing things in the waste basket from a foot away...

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  40. Kathleen O,
    Welcome to the party. It's not going to wind down until Monday morning! Grand is quite a meddler but she does it so well. I'm sure she'll steal your heart like she did mine.

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  41. Melody May is the winner of a signed copy of One Hot Cowboy Wedding! Congratulations and thank you to everyone who stopped by and left a comment!

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  42. Melody May is the winner of a signed copy of One Hot Cowboy Wedding! Congratulations and thank you to everyone who stopped by and left a comment!

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  43. Loved the excerpts, Carolyn! And the rock analogy!

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