Guest Blog and giveaway by Shannon Taylor Vannatter
Let me introduce you to my fellow Barbour author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter. She’s going to tell you how her just-released book Rodeo Dust came to be. And after you read about this book, I bet you will want to leave a comment so you can be entered in the drawing for a copy of Rodeo Dust. Shannon’s giveaway deadline will be next Friday when I post another guest blog by her–this one about her husband. So make sure you leave a comment before October 21 with your email addy so we can contact you next Friday if you win!

How I Got the Idea for Rodeo Dust by Shannon Taylor Vannatter
Rodeo Dust started as a short story. My husband and I had taken our three year old son to the Arkansas State Fair. While our son rode a miniature motorcycle round and round, I noticed a cowboy to the bone wearing his Stetson, Justin boots, and Wranglers. No surprise there. But he was holding hands with a girl wearing a business suit and black suede boots.

Where in the world did they meet? What could they possibly have in common. Thus the story began about the city girl who meets a bull rider at the State Fair of Texas. She detests all things livestock and is terrified of bulls, but she can’t stay away from the rodeo because her cowboy rides bulls for a living.
I really wasn’t interested in writing short stories. I wanted to write novels. But it initially came to me as a short story. But I realized there was a lot more to it. Maybe like a whole book.
During my teen years, my dad announced at a very small town rodeo. I worked in the concession stand, which provided a little bit of experience to draw from. My husband–who is not a cowboy–is from Texas, so I decided to set the story there.
I needed a rodeo where my hero could compete on a weekly basis without too much travel. The Fort Worth Stockyards fit the bill. Since the heroine is city through and through, I liked the contrast of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. But I wanted my hero to be small town. I found Aubrey–the perfect place for his dude ranch.
After the book sold, I decided I’d better get my facts straight. My family walked the brick-lined streets of the Stockyards, got lost in The Cattlepen Maze, ate at The Cattleman’s Steakhouse, toured The Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, witnessed The Texas Longhorn Cattle Drive, and went to the rodeo in The Cowtown Coliseum.
Though the book went through several drafts, that initial short story remained in tact toward the end of the book. My son is almost ten now and Rodeo Dust releases this month through Heartsong Presents. Here’s the blurb:
Ad exec, Rayna Landers meets bull rider, Clay Warren at the State Fair of Texas. While Rayna thinks she’s content solo, Clay longs for marriage and family. Though poised to win his third world championship, his ranch is in a slump. Clay convinces his publicist to hire her advertising firm in a last-ditch effort to keep his employees and lasso her heart.

Soon the city girl is on the ride of her life, until the rodeo unearths buried memories from her past. Clay sees her through the trauma, but an injury and his stubborn determination to get back in the hypothetical saddle threatens their budding relationship. Can they rely on God to find their common ground or will they draw a line in the rodeo dust that neither will cross?

Shannon’s bio: Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. Her debut novel, White Roses won the 2011 Inspirational Readers Choice Award in the short contemporary category. The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards named Vannatter 3rd Favorite New Author, and White Roses #1 and White Doves #8 in the contemporary category. The Arkansas Democrat Three Rivers Edition voted Vannatter one of 20 to Watch in 2011.

She has taught fiction workshops at The White County Creative Writers Conference in Searcy, AR, Life Press Christian Writers Conference in Memphis, TN, Ozark Creative Writers Conference in Eureka Springs, AR, and Ozark Romance Authors Conference in Springfiled, MO. She also taught a writing class as a continuing adult education course at the Arkansas State University.
The first book in her Texas rodeo series, Rodeo Dust will be available through Heartsong Presents in October. Rodeo Hero and Rodeo Ashes release in 2012. Learn more about Shannon and her books at

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13 Responses to

  1. wfnren says:

    Great interview, thank you for hosting the giveaway.


  2. Merry says:

    I can just picture Rodeo Dust, I loved hanging around the rodeo/horse shows at the fair with my friend who had a horse. Add me please!
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

  3. wfnren,
    You should know me pretty well by now. Glad to connect with you again.

    I love fairs. Love them. And rodeos too. But the bulls excite me and scare me all at the same time.

  4. After reading 2 chapters, I was totally in love with Clay.

  5. Liz Tolsma says:

    Sounds like a great read. I went to my first rodeo last year and thought it was great fun!

  6. Edna says:

    Sounds like a great read!

  7. Illene,
    Me too. Remember all my heroes are based on my husband at least in looks. But he’s not a cowboy.

    Hey Liz,
    They are fun. It was great meeting you in St. Louis.

    I hope you get the chance to read it.

  8. Sounds like a great story, Shannon. Love the set-up: city gal meets cowboy, and I love the title.

  9. Hi Shannon,

    I love hearing how fellow authors (though I’m unpubbed) come up with their ideas for new stories!

    It’s so much fun to look at couples, especially ones that don’t seem to ‘match’, and imagine their story.

    Thanks for sharing. Your book looks like fun!


  10. I have been to the stockyards many times. It is so much fun! The rodeo is awesome too. :) I would love to read your book!

    srstormo at yahoo dot com

  11. Kim F says:

    This is going to be a great series – I love the rodeo! It was fun to read the background on the story idea

  12. Kim F says:

    oops – I forgot to leave my email – and I really meant I love all Mary’s books…..

    babykf at hotmail dot com

  13. Hey Connie,
    Heartsong has let me keep all my titles so far. I love coming up with titles.

    Susan Anne,
    My husband and I have a great time when we’re out and about. We make a game out of picking a couple and coming up with different views on their story. He’s a great brainstormer and his take is always different than mine.

    It is fun. I’d love to go again.

    Hey Kim,
    I hope you enjoy it as much as my other books.

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