Friday, May 27, 2016

Longing for Little Horn

I’ve been privileged to write about some wonderful settings. England’s Lakes District in the late Georgian era. Regency London. Pioneer Seattle. And now, Little Horn, Texas.
Never heard of it? I’m not surprised. Little Horn, Texas, is the brainchild of the amazing editors at Love Inspired. They conceived of a small town populated by big-hearted ranchers. Six books came out in late 2015 and early 2016 about the town today. And, starting in July, Renee Ryan, Louise M. Gouge, and I have the honor of taking readers back to the founding years.

You see, these books are what my publisher calls a continuity. That is, the location, characters, and overall story arc crosses three or more books and are developed by the editors. They create a “bible” describing places and people and the overall plots, then hand it to the authors to flesh things out and make the stories come alive. Renee, Louise, and I worked closely together to make sure we were describing things in similar ways, from the way characters talked to the sound of the wheezy organ in the church. We also hammered out plot points and the transitions between books. In addition, because our heroines all turned out to be good cooks, we came up with a cookbook of recipes for the time period (Lone Star Cowboy League: The Cookbook :-)). It will come out in September with extended excerpts from our three books.

I undertook the endeavor as a challenge, and there were times it was just that. From the beginning of my career, I tended to interconnect my books, often on the fly. Now I had to not only keep track of the details in my story but the details in everyone else’s story as well. My stories often evolve as I write them, with characters becoming more defined with each draft. Now I had to be very purposeful. For example, I couldn’t suddenly decide to give my hero a mustache without letting the other authors know so they could give him one as well! (No worries—no mustache. J)

I fussed enough about getting plot and characterization consistent among the books and historically accurate that I told my husband and critique partner I never wanted to write another continuity again!

And then my editor asked if I would revisit Little Horn for the 2017 continuity set there. Once more I’d get to end a great set of stories, this time featuring orphaned triplets.

How do you say no to cowboys AND triplets?

So, I am happy to announce that I will be writing another cowboy story set in Little Horn to be published in mid-2017.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll give some of the Little Horn stories a try. They are all part of the series called Lone Star Cowboy League. Here’s the list and publication dates so far:

  • A Reunion for the Rancher, Brenda Minton, October 2015 (contemporary romance)
  • A Doctor for the Nanny, Leigh Bale, November 2015 (contemporary romance)
  • A Ranger for the Holidays, Allie Pleiter, December 2015 (contemporary romance)
  • A Family for the Soldier, Carolyne Aarsen, January 2016 (contemporary romance)
  • A Daddy for Her Triplets, Deb Kastner, February 2016 (contemporary romance)
  • A Baby for the Rancher, Margaret Daley, March 2016 (contemporary romance)
  • Stand-In Rancher Daddy, Renee Ryan, July 2016 (historical romance)
  • A Family for the Rancher, Louise M. Gouge, August 2016 (historical romance)
  • A Rancher of Convenience, Regina Scott, September 2016 (historical romance).

A new set of contemporary romances starts in October titled, Lone Star Cowboy League: Boys Ranch. Guess I’ll be moseying back to Little Horn come fall. J

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