Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Kari Lynn Dell | Making it Real in Western Romance
Author Guest / July 30, 2019

As a born and raised Montana rancher and rodeo cowgirl, I am immersed in my subject matter—often literally in the case of mud, manure, and bovine amniotic fluid. Yeah, I see that face you’re making. I do occasionally get a little too real and my editor has to explain that not only is she baffled when I say a horse ‘broke in two’, but the visual is extremely disturbing. (For the record, it is a synonym for suddenly starting to buck, also known as ‘bogged his head’ and ‘blew up’.) Beyond the language and the technical details, though, I find a writer is most likely to miss the mark by failing to understand that this is a culture unto itself. Regular folks tend to find our values and priorities a tad difficult to comprehend. First, and most awesome, is the way in which women tend to be perceived. Imagine a world where you are routinely praised for being strong, aggressive, independent, and competitive. Where on a day to day basis you are valued for what you can do versus how you look and complimented for kicking ass. Imagine being in a relationship with a man who is utterly baffled if…

Kari Lynn Dell | Difficult Pasts Lead to a Happy Ever After: Ambitions, Dreams, and Overcoming Adversity
Author Guest / September 25, 2018

For about the first ten years of my writing career, I collected rejection slips like normal people collect photos from their family vacations, souvenirs of an extended stay in an alternate reality. Most of those nopes had a distinct theme: love your writing, love the rodeo action, but your characters are just too nice. Or as one editor told my agent, “She needs to rough them up.” I am embarrassed to say that I resisted for a very long time. I wanted my heroes and heroines to be smart and sensible, someone I’d like for a friend. I didn’t want to let them make dumb mistakes and bad decisions. But finally I realized that even smart people do dumb things. Life inflicts damage on pretty much everyone, and none of us is as together as we’d like the world to think. As Grace McKenna tells Hank Brookman in Mistletoe in Texas when he complains that his brother-in-law is too perfect, “Wyatt is as much of a mess as all the rest of us. He just looks better doing it.” But why are we so drawn to flawed characters? The easy answer is that the harder the battle, the more satisfying…

Kari Lynn Dell | Fierce women in Texas Rodeo
Author Guest / April 4, 2018

When I sat down to write the Texas Rodeo books, I didn’t flex my fingers over the keyboard and say to myself, “Self, we are gonna write us some kickass heroines.” But I was determined to create characters who are an accurate reflection of the women I was raised by, grew up with, and compete against in the rodeo arena. Cowgirls are lucky that way. From the time we’re old enough to ride, we are admired and rewarded for being tough, independent, aggressive and competitive. The women of Texas Rodeo are the natural result. Take the heroine of TOUGHER IN TEXAS, whose first line in the book is, As far as Shawnee Pickett was concerned, when most women went out to get a Brazilian they were doing it all wrong. And then she rolls over and nudges her lover awake.** A few chapters later, she realizes that she’s been giving the hero an inadvertent peep show. Her reaction? She considered being embarrassed, then shrugged. It wasn’t the first time someone had seen her in a wet t-shirt, and she wasn’t even dancing on a bar. Shawnee is aggravating, outrageous, and hands down the reader favorite among my heroines. Her popularity…