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How do you prefer your cowboys? With a little mystery? I’m happy to have Linda Yezak visiting today to share about her new release, Ride to the Altar. Before we visit, let’s take a peek at this contemporary cowboy and his story.
Cattle are dying on the Circle Bar, putting the Texas ranch in financial jeopardy. Newly engaged Patricia Talbert and Talon Carlson must root out the cause before they can concentrate on their wedding plans.
But that mystery isn’t their only obstacle. To placate her father, Patricia must return to her hometown of Manhattan to make amends with her mother, the interfering, dominating woman she has hardly spoken to in a year. Her father decides it is time for them to declare a truce, but considering the depth of anger she holds against her mother, how can she?
While she is away, Talon discovers that the attacks on the ranch are connected to the murder of his first fiancée over eight years ago. Memories plague him and emotions confound him as he scrambles to discover who is trying to destroy him and the ranch.
By the time Patricia returns from New York, the strikes against the Circle Bar have become more aggressive, to the point of injury for one of the ranch hands.
Before they can move forward together, each have to resolve the past. Their Ride to the Altar has twists and turns neither ever considered. Will they be able to start their new life with a clean slate?
Welcome, Linda! What inspired you to write this series, or Ride to the Altar in particular?
Some of my readers from Give the Lady a Ride wanted to know (1) what happened to Patricia and Talon, since their romance stretched only two weeks and didn’t end with a marriage proposal, and (2) what happened to Talon’s first fiancée. Janet was a murder victim, and Talon had been falsely blamed for the crime several years before he met Patricia. So, thanks to my readers and a nudge from my husband, what was supposed to be a stand-alone novel became a three-part series.
The second in the series, The Final Ride, ends with Talon finally proposing to Patricia. It was fun and fairly easy to write, but this third, Ride to the Altar, was a bear. It took me two years to finally get it right. Not only was I limited to the information provided in the first two books, I had given a hint in The Final Ride about what this third book would be about—which sounded good at the time, but proved more difficult to write than I’d thought.
This novel involves two plots—not a plot and a subplot, but two plots—and two genres, and it seemed impossible to weave together. Then, I read Donald Maass’s Writing 21st Century Fiction, and discovered the secret to making it work.
So, Ride to the Altar is the third in a series that wasn’t supposed to be a series, which is both Women’s Fiction and Mystery—two improbably genres to blend together—and which has turned out to be one of my favorite novels!
That does sound like it would be a challenge to pull together! Would you tell us about something crazy that you’ve done?
Between my home in east Texas and my mother’s in central Texas is what used to be called the Guidry Rodeo Ranch. Mr. Guidry has since changed the name, but back around ten years ago, when I had the idea for Give the Lady a Ride, he was a stock contractor for CBR, Championship Bull Riding, and raised bucking bulls.
Every time I drove past his ranch, I’d tell myself I ought to go up and see if I could get an interview with him. I was usually alone in the car and couldn’t shake the idea that swinging off the highway onto private property to ask someone I didn’t know for a few minutes of his time was sheer lunacy. These days, you never know what’s going to happen.
But finally, I did, and I’ve never regretted it. Mr. Guidry not only gave me an interview, he invited me back to the ranch for an opportunity to watch them “buck the babies,” an experience which ultimately made it into Give the Lady a Ride. It was fun and fascinating, and one of the many crazy things I’ve done in my life.
That would definitely take some courage! What accomplishment means the most to you?
If we’re talking about writing, my highest accomplishment was to obtain an honorable mention in the Saturday Evening Post’s Great American Fiction Contest. My short story, Slider, is published in their 2016 anthology.
Sweet! Can you share about a time when you knew that God was in control and/or had your back?
In November, my novella Ice Melts in Spring will be released in a collection called A Southern Season: Four Stories from a Front Porch Swing (from Firefly Southern Fiction, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). This is the first piece I’ve ever written that seemed entirely His.
The story is about a young widow who returns to a small town on the Texas Gulf Coast, where she had lost her husband years before. Her interaction with another widow, one who had lost her husband to the brutalities of the Ceauşescu regime of Romania, helps lead her back to the one thing she needs most—the joy of the Lord.
While I was writing, I felt His influence daily. It was the strangest, most amazing experience. I could write only as much as He would give me each day, and if I tried to increase my word count, I’d have to delete my additions the next day and write only what He’d given me for that day. Like manna, whatever I tried to hoard ruined.
I had heard of this but never experienced it myself. I hope this isn’t the last time. It’s wonderful to stand in awe of something you wrote, but can take no credit for.
What an amazing experience that would be. Can you give any hints about what you’re working on now?
Everything I write is contemporary, but now I’m trying my hand at a historical western romance, Falling in Love with a Harvey Girl. This novella is part of a collection called The Cowboys for Smitten Historical Romance (also an imprint of LPC) and should release in August 2019.
In the late 1880s through the early 20th Century, Harvey Girls served dining customers in the Harvey Restaurants and Hotels along the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad stops. Fred Harvey made sure his young ladies were educated, polite, and trained in the art of waiting tables, which, back then, truly was an art. Today, it’s reserved for only the finest of dining establishments.
Miss Eva Knowles is one such girl, and in 1889, she’s enjoying her income and independence far too much to fall for the likes of green-eyed cowhand, Cal Stephens. What’s a guy to do when he’s Falling in Love with a Harvey Girl?
How fun! Thanks for taking the time to share with us, Linda!
Your turn! Women’s fiction, mysteries, novellas, historical, western… What’s your favorite type of story to read?
More about Linda:
Linda W. Yezak lives with her husband and their funky feline, PB, in a forest in deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She has a deep and abiding love for her Lord, her family, and salted caramel. And coffee—with a caramel creamer. Author of award-winning books and short stories, she didn’t begin writing professionally until she turned fifty. Taking on a new career every half century is a good thing.
Ride to the Altar Giveaway:
Linda is offering a giveaway package during the blog tour. When the two-week tour is over, all those who commented throughout the tour will be eligible for the drawing for the prize. It includes a signed print version of the series, a 16-ounce Christian cowboy mug, a horseshoe picture frame, a Ph. 4:13 stretch bracelet, a cute set of magnetic page markers, and a Texas Rubiks cube.
The next post in the tour will be on Naomi Musch’s blog: https://naomimusch.blogspot.com/
Don’t forget to leave a comment here before you go so you’ll be entered in the giveaway!