Friday, October 3, 2014

Blog tour: Learning The Ropes by T.J. Kline


Learning the Ropes
Rodeo #3
By: T.J. Kline
Releasing September 30th
Avon Impulse



Rule #1 - Don’t lose focus...
Barrel racer Alicia Kanani has had a long road to the top - and she’s not quite there yet. Finances have always been tight, and in the glitz and glam world of professional rodeo, that means that second best is probably the best she can hope for. With the National Finals coming up, she’s certainly not looking for a pair of cowboys to distract her.

Rule #2 - Don’t gamble what you can’t live without…
Playboy Chris Thomas is sure Alicia’s the perfect woman for his level-headed team roping partner, David Greenly. It seems like a match, until Chris realizes he wants Alicia for himself. The stakes have been raised; David and Chris are supposed to be a team, and this time, they’re on opposite sides.
Can Alicia rope this playboy’s heart, or will they find themselves too tangled up to let true love in?






T. J. Kline was raised competing in rodeos and Rodeo Queen competitions since the age of 14 and has thorough knowledge of the sport as well as the culture involved. She has written several articles about rodeo for small periodicals, as well as a more recent how-to article for RevWriter, and has published a nonfiction health book and two inspirational fiction titles under the name Tina Klinesmith. She is also an avid reader and book reviewer for both Tyndale and Multnomah. In her spare time, she can be found laughing hysterically with her husband, children, and their menagerie of pets in Northern California. 



Hello T.J.! Welcome to Roberta’s Dreamworld and thank you for your time. First of all, tell us something about yourself, both as a writer and as a person.

I’ve been writing since I was young but never really pursued it until after I was married, with three kids at home, and running a business. At the time, it was more of a hobby but I knew it’s what I always dreamed of doing full-time. My husband and kids have always supported me. In my “spare time,” I read, train horses, still run my other business, and love watching my boys play football. I’m also a camping and fishing fanatic. I love the woods.

How/when did you realize you wanted to become a writer? 

I think the first time I picked up a book, I was two years old (I even pretended to read it) and it was a Harlequin romance. I wrote my first book as a class assignment in fifth grade and knew then it was my mission in life. I was hooked and have been writing ever since. Like most people, life tells us what we can’t do and we pursue something that will earn a living. Even while I did that, I knew I would someday write and never gave it up.


Let’s speak about “Learning the Ropes”. We’ve read the synopsis but can you tell us a little more about what the book is about?

Learning the Ropes is the third book in the Rodeo series and picks up with Alicia, Sydney’s best friend (of Rodeo Queen) and Chris, Sydney’s brother at a rodeo. Alicia is pursuing a National title but for a two-fold reason – to validate her choice in training and to help her father have a ranch of his own. She’s tired of being the poor kid who doesn’t quite fit in. Chris and his team roping partner, David, are pursuing their own title in order to start a roping school but Chris wants David to relax and tries to set him and Alicia up. It might prove to be the most costly mistake of his career when he begins to realize he’s always had feelings for her and wants her for himself. Twists and turns await all three of them as business partnerships and friendships are tested.

How did you come up with the idea and how did you create the characters?

I’ve been involved in the world of rodeo for a long time. Alicia, Chris and David were all minor characters in Rodeo Queen but they were both demanding their own stories. Most of the time, the characters show up in my head fully developed and knowing what they need. I just have to figure out a way for them to get out of the trouble they get themselves into.

If you should describe your books in three words, what would you pick?

Fun, sexy, sweet

Do you have any favorite authors and did they influence your choice of the genre?

I have hundreds of favorite authors. I love an author that keeps me up at night, turning pages (or on my tablet) because I can’t put the story down. I need to see what happens. If an author can make me feel part of the story, that’s my favorite. For me, there is nothing better than romance. It can be historical, contemporary, NA...I love falling in love and there is nothing like the feeling of fighting for true love. I have it and want everyone else to feel it too.

What else do you enjoy doing, when you’re not writing? 

These days, it’s pretty rare that I’m not either writing, plotting or developing a story but when I find a few minutes, you can find me working my new filly or spending time with my husband and kids. I absolutely love hanging out with family. 

As a writer do you get support from your family and friends?

I do. For a long time it was just my immediate family, the ones who realized how important it was to me, but as I write more, I’ve had so many people come alongside and cheer me on. I’ve also made some amazing writer friends. There is nothing like having people who understand your struggles and successes to share with. We share a common bond that can’t be found with anyone else.

What are your dreams and plans for your future as a writer?

My most important plan is to keep writing better stories. As a writer, I’m constantly competing with myself to get better, learn more and reach higher. Of course I’d love to see my name on best-seller lists, win some more awards and maybe see one of my books made into a movie. Nicolas Sparks, watch out! 

Would you like to say something to the readers to encourage them to read your books?

If you love sexy cowboys, feisty heroines and western romance, I think you’ll love the entire Rodeo series. All of the books were a blast for me to write and draw from my real life involvement in rodeo and as a horse trainer. As a result, you’ll find a very realistic view of cowboys, cowgirls and the life they lead. It can be gritty and raw but it’s also fun and sexy.



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 “Remember that swimming hole off the highway, near Jackson Ranch Road?”
She laughed and nodded. “I haven't been there in years. We used to go every weekend.”
“We need to go now.”
We? Was he asking her out? Or was this just a friendly outing, reliving old memories?
“You wouldn't be trying to get me into a bathing suit just to see my tattoo, would you?”
Chris gave her a mischievous grin that made her stomach do a backflip. “So it's something a suit won't cover?”
She regretted saying anything and didn’t answer his question. “I could use a break and with Dad leaving this week for the show, there won't be much to do that the grooms can’t handle,” she said, changing the subject.
“We can make a day of it. Take lunch and just hang out, like old times. I have to help Dad tomorrow. What about Tuesday?”
She nodded and heard the sound of a hoof hitting metal. “Do you think that's yours or mine getting impatient?” She glanced at the trailers and saw Beast with his head hanging out the window. “Looks like it's mine. I’d better get going.” She reached into her purse to grab her wallet.
“I've got it.”
He slipped his credit card to the waitress, signing for the meal and rising to walk out with her. His hand slid to her lower back and her skin tingled at his touch, lightning shooting from his fingers directly into her belly and down her limbs. She knew better than to make more of his simple gesture than it was but couldn't help the pace of her heart. As she approached the trailer, she stepped onto the side rail to close the windows.
“Get your head in there, Beast. We're going home.”
Chris moved behind her, with a hand on either side of her, and closed the window. She spun and found herself eye to eye with him, her breath catching in her throat as he stared at her lips.
“Um, thanks,” she whispered, surprised she could get any sound out at all. She laid her hands on his shoulders, prepared to step down when he moved.
Instead of moving backward, Chris's hands found her waist and he lifted her from the side of the trailer and set her on the ground. She couldn't get her bearings with his hands on her ribcage and her fingers slid down the muscles of his biceps to grip his forearms. His eyes were dark with longing and she realized what he intended only moments before his mouth met hers in a scorching kiss.
They moved backward until she was pressed against the side of her truck, with every inch of him heating her flesh, his hands buried in her hair. His lips tasted her, teasing, branding her, demanding a response. She couldn't help herself as her fingers trailed up around his neck, drawing him down to her, closer. His lips moved from her mouth to her ear and down the side of her neck sending shivers of pleasure down her spine. His fingers trailed over her spine as she whispered his name, near frantic with yearning.
He growled and stepped away from her abruptly, leaving her trembling with longing. “Ali, what are we doing?”
She wasn't sure what he expected her to say. Her mind was still spinning with the dizzy exhilaration of his touch. When her eyes met his, she could see regret. She wasn't sorry he'd kissed her in the slightest. In fact, she wanted him to do it again, but she could see the guilt rising over him, drowning him with shame. Without another word, he turned and walked to his truck, climbing inside, leaving her standing beside hers with her hand over her kiss-swollen lips, wondering what just happened and how she was going to make it right.




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