Hi, Leigh, so glad to have you here today. Tell us a little about The Bull Rider’s Family:
The Bull Rider’s Family, the first book in the Glades County Cowboys series, picks up the story of the Circle P Ranch readers fell in love with in Rancher’s Son. In this series, though, the focus is on Seth and Doris Judd’s five handsome sons, all former rodeo riders, who follow their father’s footsteps and return to manage the Circle P.
As the first of Seth’s sons to take over, Colt Judd swears he’ll preserve the traditions that stretch back four generations. But his determination faces its biggest test when new cook Emma Shane dishes up change…in the kitchen and in Colt’s heart.
Will the Circle P’s winsome new cook tempt a wandering cowboy to do the impossible—put down roots?
Four generations of Judds have made the Circle P one of the most successful ranches in southern Florida. And even though he’s only taking the reins as ranch manager temporarily, Colt Judd isn’t about to let the new chef challenge their traditions! Emma Shane may be running the kitchen, but the petite widow and her irresistible four-year-old daughter answer to him.
Runaway bulls, a ruined family treasure and one less-than-welcoming cowboy weren’t what Emma envisioned when she relocated her tiny family to the Everglades. Colt isn’t going to bully her, even if he is easy on the eyes. The attraction’s mutual…and her little girl is also getting attached. But how can Emma trust their future to a lifelong wanderer?
What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?
Right now, I’m deep into The Rancher’s Lullaby, the third book in the Glades County Cowboys series. Garrett is such a dark and brooding character, I’m having a lot of fun bringing exactly the right woman into his life.
Do you have any good news you’d like to share?
Whoo hoo! As of yesterday, The Bull Rider’s Family had made it to #1 in Kindle sales for Harlequin American Romance, and–even better–hit #56 in all Western romances sold on Amazon. That’s an incredible ranking for a little ol’ American Romance, and I’m thrilled, absolutely thrilled.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…?
I’ve never been the person who gets in the car and goes for a Sunday drive. Maps, MapQuest, GPS—I use them all because I have to know where I’m going and how I’m going to get there before I pull out of the driveway. Which, I guess, ties in with the fact that I’m a plotter, a serious plotter.
While all that is true, most of my stories start with the characters. I’ll catch a glimpse of a tall blonde walking through an orange grove and think, “That’s someone who has a story to tell me, one readers might like to hear.”
Do you have a favorite time of day for writing?
When I first got serious about writing a book, my kids were in school, I was working full-time and, between everyone’s hectic schedules and sports activities, there weren’t enough hours in the day…or night. So, I started setting the alarm for 4 AM in order to spend a couple of hours writing while the house was quiet. I guess the habit stuck because early mornings are still my best time for writing.
Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
Of course, the hero and heroine whose stories I’m telling right now, they’re always my favorites. But of all the characters I’ve written about, I think Ty Parker is my absolute fav. Tall, fair-haired, dark-eyed and, oooooh, Southern. Plus, I really put him through the wringer in writing Rancher’s Son, and he, well, he handled every horrible, difficult hurdle I put in front of him. Heroes acting heroically, what could be better?
How do you balance writing and everyday life?
It’s tough, especially when deadlines loom. It seems like that’s always the time when life tosses in an extra monkey wrench or two. Fortunately, I have a great group of writer friends and, since we all face the same challenges, we started meeting for what we call Writer’s Camp. Three or four days a week, we show up with our laptops and write, write, write, regularly churning out three-to-four thousand words apiece each day. Once we meet our goals for the day, we go home and pick up the reins of the rest of our lives.
What is your favorite food to cook or eat?
I make a world-class seafood casserole filled with shrimp, scallops and crab in a white wine sauce that is absolutely divine. It takes two days to prep, so I usually only make it once, or maybe twice, a year.
As good as the seafood casserole is, though, my favorite foods to eat are the sweet rolls my grandchildren and I make for Christmas morning. We start the day before, mixing and kneading and spreading the filling. On Christmas Day, I get up early, start the coffee and slide the pans—one of orange, the other cinnamon—into the oven. The grandchildren sneak downstairs where they oooh and aaaah over the presents under the tree. While they open their stockings, delicious yeasty smells fill the air. And before we start unwrapping presents, everyone gathers at the kitchen table. Yes, the rolls are good. Fabulous, even. But the time we spend together as a family, that’s what makes them really special.
What do you like to read?
Romance, of course. I love today’s contemporary romances, and Roxanne St. Claire is one of my favorite authors. Her Barefoot Bay books are simply wonderful. Rachel Hauck’s Inspirational Romances are also a fav. Right now, I’m reading an arc of Kristen Painter’s new Urban Fantasy, House of the Rising Sun. A-maz-ing! And, of course, I simply devour Harlequin American Romances.
Who first introduced you to the love of reading?
My mom was an avid reader, and when I say avid, I mean it. She’d come home from the library with shopping bags full of books! Turning her loose in a book store was her idea of heaven on earth. She read constantly and encouraged the same love of books in me. She gave me soooo much, but I’ll always be extra thankful for this gift.
These are few of my favorite things:
- My family—everything I do, I do for them.
- Books – Strand me on a desert island and, as long as there are books, I’ll be okay.
- My laptop—I’d be lost without it.
A Giveaway! Who first introduced you to the love of reading? From those who comment on this post, I’ll pick one person at random to receive a signed copy of The Bull Rider’s Family. Due to the high cost of shipping, however, I can only ship to US or Canadian addresses.
Readers who provide a review of The Bull Rider’s Family and post it—anywhere—are invited to enter the Reviewers Only Giveaway at www.facebook.com/GladesCountySeries where the prizes include a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copies of my most recent books.
Emma swung toward the man who’d marched into the room barking orders like a general. Over a square chin, his full lips thinned. A muscle twitched between his sharply defined jaw and high cheekbones. Beneath hair the color of a starless night, icy blue eyes pinned her with an demanding glare.
She ripped her gaze away from all that anger and dark good looks to focus on Bree. Her little girl cowered on the stool, her face nearly as pale as her doll’s. Emma hurried across the room. From the first moment she’d held her baby in her arms, she’d sworn she’d give her daughter a better childhood than the one she’d endured. One where people didn’t shout or raise their fists to get their point across. No matter what.
“It’s okay, baby,” she cooed. She smoothed long tresses and felt her daughter shudder.
“That man scared Mrs. Wickles.” Bree clung to her doll. “Why’s he mad, Mama? Did I do something wrong?”
“No, honey. He’s probably just having a bad day. Let me talk to him for a minute. We’ll get this straightened out.”
The cheery smile Emma forced to her lips didn’t fool Bree. Not for one second. The little girl shrank even smaller.
Watching her daughter cringe, Emma felt white heat lace through her mid-section. She spun toward the stranger, staring up at the man whose size dwarfed her own five-feet, three inches. He had the audacity to stare back at her, his arms folded across a massive chest.
Well, if he thought he could get away with that in her kitchen, he’d better think again. As a child, she hadn’t had a choice. She’d had to listen to her father rant and rave. Hoping to preserve her marriage, she’d tolerated her husband’s my-way-or-the-highway attitude far longer than she should have. And yes, in choosing to work in an upscale restaurant, she’d traded one hostile environment for another.
But those days were over.
For her daughter’s sake, for her own sanity, she was done with arrogant men. She’d go toe-to-toe with this one, and she’d do it on her terms. She sipped air.
“How dare you march in here full of vinegar and soda. Who do you think you are?” she demanded without raising her voice above a whisper.
“I’m the guy in charge. Now, pack your things and leave.” A five o’clock shadow graced the chin he lifted to emphasize his point.
“I. Don’t. Think. So.” Emma plunged her fisted hands into the pockets of her chef’s whites. She’d traveled twelve-hundred miles to work here. To take over when Doris retired.
Beyond the doorway, footsteps hurried on the hall’s tiled floor. A tired voice floated into the room. “Colt? Is everyone all right?”
The man’s blue eyes flashed a warning. Through clenched teeth he said, “We aren’t finished here, you and I.”
Buy The Bull Rider’s Family at:
Leigh Duncan writes contemporary romance with a dash of Southern sass. An Amazon best-selling author of six books for Harlequin American Romance, Leigh is a long-time member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers and serves as the PAN liaison for the Space Coast Authors of Romance (Florida STAR). Her new series, Glades County Cowboys, kicks off this month with the release of Bull Rider’s Family, followed in October by His Favorite Cowgirl and The Rancher’s Lullaby in 2015.
You can find Leigh at: