Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Jan Irving for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: Uncommon Cowboys (Series)
Author: Jan Irving
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Western
Being a cowboy isn’t an easy life. You can tumble from your horse, freeze your ass off when the ramrod orders you to move the herd in the teeth of winter, and to make things even more complicated, you can crush on another cowboy.
Things are changing in White Deer, Montana. Easterners coming out with new ideas, mustangs, cougars and wolves returning to the foothills.
Uncommon Cowboys are a little bit different, a little bit wild. Some are trail guides, some are wolf shifters, some work to rescue orphaned foals but what they bring to the special men who are their mates is a better way of living with the land.
Totally Bound are running two blog tours in conjunction with their Wild Western week promotion, one MF/MFM and one MM. Visit their facebook page to find out more about the blog tour stops, discounts and deals on offer!
Cowboys just have good vibes:
Lately I’ve been taking an amazing painting (but not really painting) class. Since I’ve been at a crossroads with my work, it’s helping me to see my body of work in a new light, such as my longest running series to date, the Uncommon Cowboys.
Originally the series began with a short story about a deaf man goes into the wilderness in search of wild horses. A city boy, he has preconceptions that the country hick who is his guide is sure to have prejudices against him—but my mountain guide has a deaf younger brother, so he is not uncomfortable. In fact, he’s very Zen.
His Zen quality is soothing and city boy begins to see there is more to this cowboy than he could have imagined.
And so…a story of opposites. City boy/country boy. Deaf/hearing. New to the west/lived all his life in the west. Openly gay/uncomfortable about his secret yearnings. The story is Straight Cowboy, which was kind of a play on words and ideas.
Romance for me is all about opposites. That’s where the fire is. Think of the classic tropes. Captive/captor romance, for example. In that one as the story goes along you usually realize that on a psychological level, the ‘captive’ has all the power. And usually as the story unfolds those roles reverse into equality in a material sense.
I think we also look for romance with its deep emphasis on psychology to allow us to play with pieces of ourselves that don’t seem to fit together well. It’s a safe way to do that.
My last story in the UC series really laid that out since I have an untamed werewolf hero and a comfortable quilter. When their worlds literally collide there is blood, death, love and new power–because integration always gives us, like my heroes, more power in this world. The power to be comfortable with who we truly are, which is huge.
So back to some of the lessons I’ve had in my painting class that isn’t a painting class. I think only by showing up and doing the work do you have something to grow from and to share in the case of writing books. I think we’re trained to look at what’s not working and give it too much attention.
What does work is working on what is working.
So in the case of my original cowboys when the series began—and BTW, I had no idea I was going to write a fan favorite series back then. It was just one story I liked writing. Period—But…it worked. Writing Westerns is comfortable to me because I am a Westerner and grew up thinking that way. And the so-called simplicity of a small town or a ranch offers a sharply focused backdrop for relationships and growth.
Think of it—if you share a tent as my two men do in my first story, whatever you’re feeling is going to come out—fast. You can’t keep a lid on feelings close quarters.
The other thing that is neat about writing a western series is how different each book is. I have a contemporary western romance which started the series and then paranormal elements entered in the second story, Shifter Cowboy. I explore best friends becoming lovers in Shy Cowboy and a cop love story in A Plain, Ordinary Cowboy, I go to Ravenna, Italy in A Cowboy in Ravenna. So a series offers me (and hopefully my readers) familiarity in my Western characters and setting but also something new with each book.
A special excerpt from Lonely Cowboy:
Tate Stevens took a critical look at the quilt he was working on. He’d nicknamed it ‘Summer Patchwork’ but another name for it could be pain in his ass. He sighed, rolling his shoulders. What the hell had he been thinking, coming to this small western town of White Deer, Montana? That he’d be inspired as an artist? So far it hadn’t happened and he knew why.
He was heart sick.
He was lonely.
So yeah, what a genius idea, coming here where he was even more isolated than in L.A. Terrific. Maybe he could cozy up to the crickets currently chirping up a storm in the wild grass outside his tiny cabin.
Restlessly he abandoned the sewing machine that had travelled all the way from the city in the back of his vintage purple Volkswagen van. Not a new SUV for him, but the kind of vehicle you could keep running with chewing gum and a spare rubber band. He liked old things, which was what had got him into quilt making in the first place.
Tate had worked in his uncle’s junk shop all during high school. When people bought in Grandma’s patchwork on consignment, Tate did any repairs needed to the pieces by hand. He had just been drawn to pick up a needle and thread and do it because looking at quilts, at the homemade embellishment of words or flowers, at the choice of colours and patterns, he’d experienced a connection with the quilt maker. He’d dreamed up lives behind the blocks of patterns, imagined what it might be like to sleep all his life beside a husband under a double wedding ring quilt.
So far he had lots of wedding quilts but no lover, not since his last boyfriend had ditched him. ‘You’re too much of a dreamer for me, man,’ Jerrod had told him. ‘It’s like you want every guy to be the one, you know? You need to get over that romantic shit.’
Yeah, thanks. Dump him and also trash his soul. It was all his fault his boyfriend couldn’t keep it zipped whenever he was out. So why couldn’t Tate stop pining for someone in his life? Because he was a pathetic loser. He did fall in love at the drop of his pants. No, more like after the perfect kiss, not that he’d ever quite experienced that.
But he’d dreamed about it plenty.
Fantasising about being gripped by urgent hands, the crush of lips on lips, the need singing through his body and into the body of his lover.
Which was not helping any since he was totally alone up here.
He pushed open the slider and let in the evening air, grimacing when his bare feet hit the rocks outside the cabin. Jesus, he’d forgotten to put on shoes again, so carried away working on his latest design. And he’d forgotten to shave and shower so his hair was still flattened on one side. Hell with it.
No one to see him, even though lately he’d been a little spooked out here. But that was just because of the wolf he’d spotted by the stream a few weeks ago. Ghostly silver, horribly scarred, as if it had been burned, and so very still, watching him, seeing into him and then gone, nothing but swaying tall grass where it had stood a second before.
Tate had yearned for his camera. He was trying now to capture those uncanny blue eyes in a design.
Since that glimpse, he hadn’t seen the big animal again but he’d felt as if it was nearby, watching him.
More, he’d felt as if it had been a sign, as if now that he had held the gaze of a wild, magnificent wolf, that his life would somehow change.
About the Author:
Jan Irving has worked in all kinds of creative fields, from painting silk to making porcelain ceramics, to interior design, but writing was always her passion.
She feels you can’t fully understand characters until you follow their journey through a story world. Many kinds of worlds interest her, fantasy, historical, science fiction and suspense—but all have one thing in common, people finding a way to live together—in the most emotional and erotic fashion possible, of course!
And me, the author here: www.janirvingwrites.com
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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