Wednesday, August 22
Later this week I'll have my review for Lorelei James's newest Blacktop Cowboy novel, One Night Rodeo (hint: I liked it, I liked it alot!). I've been craving more cowboys since I finished it, which is why the new anthology, Cowboy Lust, edited by Delilah Devlin is just what I've been looking for. Especially since it has a nice mix of authors that I already know and love, and new authors to discover.
Delilah Devlin, both the editor as well as a contributor to Cowboy Lust, is my guest today to share a bit about the anthology with some great excerpts and a bonanza of prizes! Enjoy!
Welcome back to Seductive Musings Delilah! Generally we have just authors that visit Seductive Musings, so it’s exciting to get a perspective from an editor of a book, who is also one of the authors. Can you tell us what you like to read in an erotic romance that makes it more than just great sex, but also a great love story too? And what you find so seductive about cowboy heroes?
Of course the sex has to be great, but I want to fall in love with the characters, want to care about them too. I don’t want their journey to be too easy. I like conflict. I like to suspend everything I know about romance and what has to happen (the Happy Ever After), and worry about them making it. I love when a writer can sink me deep into their world. I want to see, smell, feel everything those characters experience. Not everything has to be sweet and romantic; they can have flaws, do terrible things, but I love it when they learn to feel regret and remorse for their mistakes. When they are tested, pushed to their limits, they grow, and I believe they will make it because they’ve suffered and still want to be together.
As for what makes cowboys so seductive? The hat and jeans set the stage, but what’s inside them is what is so damn sexy. They are fiercely independent, stubborn, tend to see things in black and white, right or wrong. So when they face something that tests their boundaries and makes them rethink their values and beliefs, especially when they learn to compromise because they’ve fallen in love and HAVE to budge off their high horse, it’s like watching a warrior fall to his knees before the woman he loves. It catches your breath.
As the editor of the book you have a great amount of influence in the stories that are selected for the anthology. How do you go about selecting the stories that were ultimately included in the Cowboy Lust anthology? Did you approach certain authors to write them, or did you choose them from submissions? And were there certain elements or themes in a story that you looked for in order to create the perfect blend for this collection that defines and reflects the types of books you like to read?
First, the stories have to be well-written. I have a limited amount of time to read through the submissions and make my selections. If I see something intriguing, but it needs a lot of work, I have to pass because I simply don’t have time to fix it. Next, I have to look at the body of all those well-written stories and figure out what feels repetitive, what themes, settings, conflicts feel like something I’ve already seen. I discard the ones that aren’t quite as unique. When I am doing that last pass through the stories, I look for the ones that pull the most emotions from me. If they make me feel something, if they can transport me to those worlds, I hope the readers who buy the collection will feel the same way too.
When I put out a call for submissions, I send it to writers’ loops and publish it on my website. I let friends of mine know as well, so they have the opportunity to join the fun. But I don’t play favorites when it comes time to select the final stories. It’s nice when the stories are from writers I already love, but in the end, I want the best stories and most unique voices to populate these collections. I have multi-pubbed writers and brand newbie writers in my collections. If they wrote something I loved, they made the cut.
As to what I was looking for? In my call for submissions, I always ask for surprises. When I put out the call for the Cowboy Lust book, I knew I’d get some very familiar themes and tropes. I asked writers to “imagine greater”. In the end, I was able to put together something that while it will feel familiar enough a cowboy-living reader will enjoy it, she won’t be bored either!
Can you tell us a little bit about Cowboy Lust, who the authors are that are included and the themes of the stories in the book? And can romance readers expect to find a “happily ever after” at the end, or something a bit more “in the moment” ?
Here is a very brief description of all the stories in the collection:
- “Riding Double” by Cari Quinn: These gorgeous twins are up to double trouble, until a sexy cowboy makes a move neither expects
- “Under the Southern Cross” by Cheyenne Blue: An American in the Witness Protection Program plans a dalliance with a jackaroo in the Australian Outback
- “Banging the Cowboy” by Randi Alexander: A drummer in a country band surrenders to her craving for some rough lovin’ with a big, wicked cowboy
- “Ladies Love Country Boys” by Cat Johnson: Fate and car trouble lead a workaholic city girl into the arms of a rodeo cowboy
- “Drought” by Michael Bracken: After a wealthy rancher rescues the town’s new schoolteacher, he puts an end to her sexual drought
- “Roped” by Charlene Teglia: A Christmas wish brings an ex-rodeo star a second chance to tie down the one who got away
- “Rough Stock” by M. Marie: A fallen rodeo star struggles to regain her confidence and her buckle with the help of a sexy ranch hand
- “The Ranch Hand” by Sedona Fox: Bucking against being married off to a stranger, a ranch owner’s daughter falls for the new help
- “Small Town Famous” by Lissa Matthews: Iron bars stand between a girl with a shot gun and the cowboy who made her the talk of the town
- “The Storm” by Tahira Iqbal: A rescue from a near-fatal car wreck during a storm reignites the desire between a woman and the cowboy she loves
- “Caught Unawares” by Nena Clements: The cowgirl next door finally gets her man’s attention after one hapless dunk in a pond exposes her desires
- “Some Like It Dirty” by Kimber Vale: Her designer dress is no match for his rough-riding hands
- “Raney’s Last Ride” by Chaparrita: The fastest shot in the territory has a big secret—and he’s out for revenge
- “Runaway Bride” by Delilah Devlin: After leaving him at the altar, a headstrong bride is captured by her cowboy and taught the pleasure of sensual discipline
- “She Don’t Stay The Night” by Anna Meadows: A vaquero famous for riding wild horses shares a secret of the Mexican plains with his employer’s daughter
All are romances. And they all leave you with the feeling everything’s going to work out fine in the end for each couple.
Not only are you the editor of Cowboy Lust, but you also wrote one of the stories in the book, "Runaway Bride". Can you tell us a bit about the characters, and what is your favorite scene or moment for your story?
I have a certain following who love my cowboy stories. They expect a sexy, hot romance, but they like the humor laced through the stories as well. I didn’t want to disappoint. Here’s the opening of “Runaway Bride.” I think you’ll see what I mean. :)
Jackson Lowry cussed softly when he spotted the blue lights spinning at the roadblock just ahead. Too late to turn back now. He’d only draw more attention.Squaring his jaw, he rolled down his window and forced a polite smile as he peered into the darkness at the sheriff’s deputy checking IDs with a flashlight.As soon as the deputy waved the car in front of him to move along and turned to watch the black pickup roll forward, Jackson’s tension eased a fraction.Maynard Colby’s expression turned from crisply professional to worried in a second, as soon as he recognized Jackson. “Dammit, Jackson, where have you been?”“Around. Why?”A soft moan sounded beside him, and Jackson reached surreptitiously beside him to tap the tarp covering his precious load.“You didn’t hear?” At Jackson’s vague expression, Maynard stepped onto the truck rail and leaned toward Jackson. “It’s Sammi Jo. Her car was found in Shooter’s parking lot, the door wide open. No one’s seen her. Looks like she’s been snatched.”Jackson cleared his throat. “How serious is this gettin’?”“It’s only been a couple of hours, but Sammi Jo’s daddy is buckin’ to get the sheriff to call in the FBI, the CIA, the ATF—and whatever other agency his money can buy to find her. I tried callin’ you, but your phone kept goin’ to voicemail. After the way things went down at the weddin’ last Sunday, I don’t blame you a bit for layin’ low, but I thought you’d wanna know.”Another sound, this time a snort, sounded beside him.Maynard’s gaze cut to the dirty tarp folded over a moving bundle on the floor of the cab. A ruddy eyebrow shot up. “What’s goin’ on, Jackson?”Jackson rolled his eyes, then pulled up the corner of the tarp to reveal a bound and gagged Sammi Jo whose eyes glittered furiously back at both men.Maynard barked a laugh, then tightened his lips. “This time you’ve gone and done it, boy. This is seriously fucked up.” He laughed again, then tipped his hat to Sammi Jo. “No disrespect meant, missy.”Jackson cleared his throat. “Don’t s’pose you can forget about this?”Maynard’s gaze shot to Sammi Jo again, raked her once as though ensuring she didn’t look to be in any real danger, then tipped back his cowboy hat. “Tell ya what. I’ll put a bug in the sheriff’s ear, but she better come walkin’ through the po-lice house doors come Monday mornin’.”“Not a word to her daddy?”One corner of Maynard’s mouth crooked up. “Man’s already caused enough problems. Deserves to cool his heels a couple o’ days. Don’t do nothin’ I’ll have to arrest you for.”With a nod, Jackson rolled up the window and pulled past the barricade. In his side mirror, he watched as Maynard crossed to the other deputy’s car and both men bent over laughing.“See that, Sammi Jo?” he murmured, not expecting an answer because he’d made double-damn sure he’d tied some serious knots and gagged her pretty mouth. “I’m not the only one who thinks you need a good paddlin’.”
Obviously every creative person wants to push the envelope a bit, which some readers may or may not like. Which stories in Cowboy Lust would you say will appeal to someone who is “dipping their toes” in the erotic romance waters, which ones may raise a few eyebrows, or *smile* raise a few temperatures?
I have stories that will have general appeal to most Western romance readers, but I have a few that stray beyond familiar territory. In particular, “Raney’s Last Ride” by Chapparita and “She Don’t Stay the Night” by Anna Meadows. But I won’t say why. The reader will just have to find out for herself!
What are five fun & sexy facts about this book, and the stories it contains, that readers would love to know?
- Not all the stories are set in the American West. I have stories set in Canada, Mexico and Australia.
- Not all the stories are contemporary. “The Ranch Hand” by Sedona Fox and “Raney’s Last Ride” by Chaparrita are historical.
- Not every story is written by a woman. “Drought” was written by crime writer, Michael Bracken.
- One story was written by an author who has never published before. “Caught Unawares” was written by Nena Clements, and this is her first experience ever being published!
- NYT Bestelling author Lorelei James, famous for her Rough Riders and Blacktop Cowboys series wrote the foreword!
These cowboys ride hard...
There's a reason Western romance novels never go out of fashion. The cowboy is an iconic figure embodying the dichotomy of the fiercely independent, earthy alpha male crossed with the male as a nurturer and protector. Cowboys take care of their women in every possible way. Wild and wayward women are gentled by the scent of horse and cow and the sight of sun-kissed skin, the feel of work-hardened thighs and arms, and the sound of a deep-voiced Texas drawl.
Contributors at the top of the Western romance genre, including Charlene Teglia, Randi Alexander, Cat Johnson, and editor, Delilah Devlin, have corralled strong and memorable characters ranging from ranch hands to cattle barons, to a rodeo star and a feisty female gunslinger. Traversing romantic settings from Montana, Texas, California, Mexico, and the Outback of Australia, the stories in Cowboy Lust are risky and risqué, full of studs in spurs hot enough to send you to a vacation on a dude ranch!
Enjoy this special excerpt from "Riding Double" by Cari Quinn
Jack Benton looked up from the saddle he was shining when he heard the crunch of gravel. He saw his arrivals but noticed the sky behind them first, only because it was a lot darker than it had been just a few moments before. The dark, threatening clouds cast a pall over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, making them appear foreboding rather than welcoming. A tangle of tumbleweeds blew past him just before the rising wind made its presence known with a howl.
Storm’s moving in.
Noting the twin blondes marching toward him, he suspected it would be storming on more than one front. His quick inhalation brought with it the scent of rain. So that made two things he could expect: an imminent downpour and, if his tightening Levis were any indication, instant and irreversible cock strangulation.
What the hell were they doing here?
Danica and Colleen Yardley were knockouts on their own. But together? Strutting down the drive in similar summer outfits, long blonde hair flying behind them, pouty pink lips tilting in matching come-hither smiles… Dear God. In a second he’d need to lower his zipper to keep from popping the teeth.
“Evenin’, ladies.” Jack tipped his hat to them and shifted his body closer to the saddle. If they saw the wood he was sporting, they might get the wrong idea. Then again, those deviously sexy smiles suggested they were offering a lot more than the last woman who’d stopped by hawking magazine subscriptions. “What brings you out this way?”
“Just out for a stroll. And since your ranch is the only one within miles, this seemed like a place to stop and wait out the storm.” Danica’s voice had an extra added purr to it, which didn’t help the tightness in his crotch. She walked forward and set her petal-pink fingertips on the edge of the saddle stand. “Don’t s’pose you’d let us stay here for a while? Just to be safe.”
Jack lifted his face to the wind and took another breath. Ozone stung his nostrils. “We have a few minutes. More than enough time for you to head home.”
“Well, now, that’s not very gentlemanly.” Colleen stepped closer and ran a predatory hand over his damp chest. The sun had been out in full force all day, and he’d only climbed down from Silba a little while ago. He probably stunk of sweat, but Colleen sure didn’t seem to mind. Strange, considering she’d been nothing more than polite both times he’d met her this weekend.
He cocked a brow and looked from one woman to the other. Did they really think they had him snowed? He knew which of them was which without any trouble. Months of working alongside a woman, you got to know her little tics. The way she nervously shoved her hair behind her ear, how her eyes would get all squinty when she was trying to think of something to say. Whatever game these two were playing, he still knew exactly which woman leaned up to lay her soft wet lips on his.
Congratulations Delilah! Thanks for not only being my guest today, but also for putting together such an amazing anthology. Michele's review of Cowboy Lust also posted today in case you'd like to know what she thought about each story and the book overall.
To learn more about Delilah Devlin and the books she writes you can find her at her website www.delilahdevlin.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, as well as her blog. There's also a website just for the book that has all sorts of good cowboy things, you can check it out here if you are so inclined :) And it looks like Delilah is busy putting together a new anthology featuring SEALs, Delta Force, SWAT and other sexy alpha heroes! Can't wait for that one :)
To celebrate the release of Cowboy Lust, Delilah is giving away a ton of books during her blog tour in addition to a $50 Amazon GC grand prize! Here's some of what you could win:
- Cowboy Bad Boys (digital) by Randi Alexander
- Reader’s Choice of any backlisted ebook by Lissa Matthews
- Reader’s Choice of any backlisted ebook by Charlene Teglia during her stop
- Reader’s Choice of any backlisted ebook by Cari Quinn (x4)
- "I'll show you my e-reader if you show me yours" T-shirt (Large size) from Kimber Vale
- Reader’s Choice of any backlisted ebook by Delilah Devlin during her stops (x2)
- Signed copies of Cowboy Fever by Delilah Devlin to two winners
- Love in Short Order (digital), a romance by Michael Bracken writing as Rolinda Hay
- Stud (digital), an erotic romance by Michael Bracken writing as Rolinda Hay
Ways to earn entries:
- Mandatory: Finish this sentence: Madeleine never imagined when she woke that morning that she would find... (good for 1 entry)
How to enter:
- Leave a comment at each stop on the blog tour to earn additional entries
Rules and disclaimers:
- The winner(s) will be selected randomly from among all of the comments of the blog tour by either the author or by Goddess Fish Promotions who will also be responsible for contacting the winner(s).
- Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit
- All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice
*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.