Chad Strong is the one and only male involved in our Western Romance Anthology – Rawhide ‘n Roses which is due for release on March 15. I have invited him along to tell us about the story he has contributed.
Thank you for having me on your blog again. I’m really pleased to be riding with this outfit of writers making up the Rawhide ’n Roses Anthology. You’re a great ramrod, and I also have to thank Miss Maggie from the forum, who brought us all together in the first place.
This anthology is going to be memorable, and I’m still a little awestruck at being included in it with these great romance-writing ladies. For me, the Three R’s have always been: Readin’, Writin’, and Ridin’, but maybe a fourth R ought to be included: Romancin’!
I’ve been involved with horses most of my life, riding western on rugged trails and in small amateur horse shows. When I wasn’t doing all that I was reading fiction and non-fiction of all sorts, from westerns to fantasies, from classics to history. My writing has followed suit across multiple genres and I’ve had about a half dozen short stories published so far, plus one novel.
My first novel, High Stakes, is a western historical romance set in Victoria, BC. I’ve had the privilege of living in different parts of Canada: from Victoria on the west coast, to the Manitoba prairies, to southern Ontario. I’m fascinated by the similarities and the differences between each region, its people and the natural environments, and like to incorporate these elements into my writing wherever possible.
Blurb for Anthology story Stable Hands, Stable Hearts:
17-year old Scott is all set to win his first Hi-Point trophy at the last horse show of the year. But when he thinks he spots the girl of his dreams, will his feelings for her distract him from winning?
The announcer called something over the loudspeaker, startling Scott back to the present. His heart still pounding, he noticed his shallow breathing and moist palms and knew they were not show-ring jitters.
The class was Western Equitation. Scott settled Dakota into a walk along the rail well behind the horse in front of him. He breathed deep and slow, trying to relax — he didn’t need his nerves upsetting Dakota. But he had to know if it was Jenny. He hadn’t seen her since last summer, nearly a year ago. Why hadn’t he heard from her in the past three weeks? The last she’d said her family was moving nearer her dad’s new job so she might not be able to write much.
He signaled his horse to perform the judge’s requested gait changes, reverses, and other maneuvers, trying not to blow the class. If it wasn’t her, he could be allowing himself to be distracted by a complete stranger.
Finally the judge instructed them to all line up, facing him, in the center of the arena. Scott swung Dakota in alongside the other competitors. The judge asked them to back their horses. Scott remembered to keep a smile on his face.
A few moments later, the announcer’s voice came over the PA:
“In First Place, Novice Western Equitation, Number 14, Scott Archer, Riding Dakota Raider!”
His eyes searching the trailer area, it wasn’t until Scott heard his own name that he snapped back to the ring. His heart swelled in his chest and he patted Dakota’s neck as he squeezed him forward to receive their blue ribbon. “Way to go, buddy,” he said.
Thanking the girl who passed him their ribbon, he exited the ring and rode toward the trailers. Weaving through the crowd of spectators, competitors, and horses, he halted Dakota with a quick intake of breath. It was his Jenny! And she was looking right at him!
But standing with his back to Scott and his hand on Jenny’s shoulder was a guy he’d never mistake – Derek. Derek pivoted to see what Jenny was looking at and scowled. Was this why she’d stopped writing? Because she’d come back to be with Derek and didn’t want to tell him?
High Stakes Blurb:
Nominated by the Western Fictioneers for their Best First Western Novel of 2012 Peacemaker Award, High Stakes is a compelling tale with the grit of a western and the allure of a romance.
Young gambler Curt Prescott returns home to Victoria, BC after a three-month poker circuit on the mainland. A new “Moral Action Committee” has sprung up in his absence. Headed by the wife of the new preacher, the committee threatens to cast out all soiled doves and gamblers from the city.
Curt meets the new preacher, “Bud” Andrews, Bud’s shrewish wife, Sarah, and their idealistic daughter, Mary. Bud seeks to convert Curt while Curt plans to destroy the committee, even if it means seducing Mary to shame the family. Pressures mount for Curt as he tries to help his young constable friend keep the peace with a notorious lowlife, while at the same time trying to ease his jealous girlfriend Del’s insecurities. As Curt falls in love with Mary, the battle for his lifestyle becomes a battle of life and death, and of love lost and found
Find Chad on these sites:
Thanks Chad for being here today.
Want more: Keep an eye out on social media for the release – 15 March 2014