Thursday, February 25, 2010


Continuing the countdown to Bet It On My Heart's launch, here's a dive into the first book in the Wayback Ridge trilogy...

Title: Blackest Heart
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Release Date: November 2008
Available in: Ebook and paperback anthology The Way Back Home

Joining the Rodeo: Those who were here at Cozy in January know that Blackest Heart is a part of the multi-authored continuation series from The Wild Rose Press called Wayback, TX, "Where A Cowboy Falls In Love Every Eight Seconds." The three novellas in The Way Back Home anthology are all Wayback stories. None of the series has to be read in order, but Blackest Heart is the beginning of the Ridge family saga. The heroine, Stella, is mentioned briefly in Marguerite Arotin's Return of the Prodigal Daughter, a tie-in to Abbey MacInnis' Delighting Miss Daisy (both of which are also published in TWBH). Wayback stories are all novella-length set in the pre-conceived town of Wayback loosely tied to previous published stories in the series (meaning the occassional cameo from early characters), a rodeo theme, and a spunky heroine! Learn more here from editor Spencer Glenn.

Original Title: The first draft of BH was tentatively titled "Man on the Side", based on the John Mayer cover of Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Lenny" (found on the Any Given Tuesday album). After a conversation with my CP, though, I decided to play on the hero's last name, Black.
Cover Artist: This was the first of many amazing Tamra Westberry covers, the go-to designer for the Wayback, TX Series.
Awards: 1st Place Novella in the 2009 More Than Magic Contest

Hero Name: Judd Black

Hero Occupation: Ranch hand at Ridge Range and champion bull rider
Hero Description:
He only stared at her, his eyes inscrutable under the brim of his black Stetson. Again his physical appeal struck her. The night before, she’d only had a moment up close and very personal with him. The last time she’d seen him, he still hadn’t filled out his long legs or arms though he’d towered far over both the Ridge brothers. She remembered how his skin had stretched taut over the broad bones of his face, giving him a haunted look.
He’d certainly grown into them, limbs and facial features. His jaw flared out from his lengthy chin. The points of his cheekbones were still prominent but muscle had grown over the rest, filling out the rest of his face. His eyes, as she remembered, were narrow and mystifying. Whenever he’d looked at her, she’d been struck by all the different hues of brown, ranging from dark chocolate to golden yellow with specks of deep green splattered here and there.
Hero's Stunt Double: There isn't anyone who could portray Judd, but I'd love to hear what readers would say. Who do you think could double as this silent cowboy?

Hero's Greatest Strength: Ever wish a guy could be a better listener. Look no further! He's also quick on his feet and knows how to treat a woman if he cares enough to invite her back to his place!

Hero's Greatest Weakness: His dark past is a constant cloud yet he isn't willing to deal with the emotional backlash.

Hero's Astrological Sign: Taurus (This sign is: Practical and reliable... Place a very high value on stability and security... very faithful and patient, but when this sign does become angry, it can easily transform into an infuriated bull! A tendency to be conservative... Can be extremely stubborn... although Bulls can be extremely stubborn, it’s that incredible determination that helps them to achieve their goals... Their kind heart, stable temperament, and constant devotion will always make its relationships very fruitful.)
Heroine Name: Stella Ridge

Heroine Occupation: Former A-list actress. Becomes a ranch hand at her father's cattle spread, Ridge Range

Heroine Description:
The pale face shadowed by the ball cap was a woman’s. As he stared into the familiar, muted green eyes and realization washed through him, his hand almost slipped on the rail again. His lungs seized, halting his panting breaths. He’d seen her many times over the past fifteen years but only in movie theaters and on television.
God. She was back. Big as life. In the flesh. His mouth went dry when her lips turned up in a soft smile. "Hey, Judd," she said in the voice that had made her famous.
His eyes found the thin, pale scar by her mouth. It’d faded to pink since the highly-reported accident and subsequent emergency surgery. There was another scar by her eye, barely noticeable but there marking her perfect face all the same.

Heroine's Stunt Double: Charlize Theron (more details on Cowboy Lovin' Day 4)

Heroine's Greatest Strength: Stella knows what she wants and she's not afraid to go after it. In BH, she wants some silent cowboy. And, boy, does she get it! She also wants to heal and to find peace again at her family's ranch.

Heroine's Greatest Weakness: She's quick to anger, which is entertaining for the rest of us but usually lands her in trouble.

Heroine's Astrological Sign: Cancer (This sign is: a very conservative and home-loving nature... Very protective over loved ones... They can be both shy and outgoing. They are very strong-willed and they like to get everything done in their own way. Cancerians need to learn to balance their emotions, because they tend to be overly sensitive and moody.)
What Sets This Book Apart: Two words: silent cowboy!

Favorite Scene: Stella and her oldest brother, Keefe, get into a fight over her budding relationship with Judd who Keefe doesn't like. At all. The outcome is classic Stella, one of those moments that make women readers go "Whoop!"

America's Sweetheart, Stella Ridge has been away from Wayback for fifteen years paving her way to the top of the acting business. When a car accident leaves her physically and emotionally scarred, the only place she wants to go is home to Texas and her family's ranch.
The changes that have taken place since her departure are enough to rock her world again. She uncovers a buried tragedy, struggles with the penetrating stares and questions from townsfolk, and comes up against an intriguing and unexpected spark with the silent cowboy and champion bull rider, Judd Black. Their wounded souls draw them together and Stella begins to realize that only in him can she find the solace she sought by leaving the bright lights of Hollywood.

What People Are Saying:
"Super-charged and dynamic. I could not put this book down. It was mesmerizing to read. I truly enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to everyone."
- The Romance Studio

“…touching, contemporary story… a very touching relationship. I was especially drawn to Judd whose silence and actions spoke volumes. I felt that Judd’s quiet nature was a brilliant choice by the author as it made him even more intriguing and demonstrated the author’s ability to convey emotion and the story through actions and other characters. Blackest Heart is a wonderful story with characters that will touch the heart and I for one am glad I got the chance to read it."
- Long & Short Reviews

Ms Williams has a good writing style; polished and confident, and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future. Definitely recommended.”
- Writers & Readers of Distinctive Fiction


Crystal-Rain Love said...

There's not a man on earth who can do Judd Black justice. I have a clear image of him in my head and can't think of anyone who comes close...

Amber Leigh Williams said...

I'm with you, Crystal. And hey, btw, congrats on the Wayback release! I can't wait to read GUARDIAN COWBOY :)

Mary Ricksen said...

I love a good western, I'll make him up in my head, don't worry.