Please welcome fellow DsP author Rob Colton! He's here to talk about his release "The Ranch Foreman" (which I thoroughly enjoyed).
Title: The Ranch Foreman
Release Date: August 14, 2013
Author: Rob Colton
Author Website: http://robcolton.com
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
When Madison “Matty” Ward finds himself out of work and without a place to live, his cousin comes through with a job on the Gates cattle ranch. Despite not knowing anything about herding cattle or taking care of horses, Matty does his best to impress the older hunky foreman, Baxter Hollingsworth. Baxter is drawn to the new young hand, but he’s deeply closeted, and after an openly gay veterinarian shows he’s interested in Matty, Baxter’s repressed feelings lead to an explosive encounter. Baxter then withdraws—leaving Matty feeling angry and used—until an accident forces him to confront his fears.
1-Welcome Rob Colton! Please tell us a bit about yourself and your release.
Thanks for having me today, Chris!
The Ranch Foreman is my first professionally published novella. I’ve been writing and posting stories online for a while now. Like many others, I started out as a reader and began writing to fill what I found to be a missing gap. Most of my stories feature big burly bears finding love with a smaller partner. I write the kind of stories that I like to read, and The Ranch Foreman is very much a “Rob Colton” story. So far the experience with the release of this novella has been mind-blowing. I am humbled by the success and am very grateful to everyone who has supported me.
2-In what locale is your book set? Why did you choose this setting?
The Ranch Foreman is set on a cattle ranch in the Midwest. I don’t always give exact locations to my stories and I chose not to be specific with this one.
3-How long have you been writing?
I’ve only been writing for a short time, about five years. In that time, I’ve felt like I’ve grown so much as a writer. The editing process for this book was an eye opener and I learned a lot from the experience. I hope to continue to grow and improve over time.
4-What compelled you to write this particular story?
I wanted to write a genre I hadn’t really tackled yet, a contemporary western. Because who doesn’t love a sexy cowboy, right? As I came up with the plot outline, I knew right away that I wanted the main character Baxter to be closeted. I tried to write him as a realistic portrayal of an older, closeted man who doesn’t live in a big urban city. He may not be completely likeable all the time, but he does have a good heart.
5-What gave you the courage to submit your story to a publisher?
I hemmed and hawed back and forth about submitting this book for months. I admit I was a little afraid of rejection, but I had a lot of support from other authors who gave me great advice. I don’t think I could have done it without their help.
6-When creating your characters, do you have models in mind or are they totally fictional?
Typically I come up with the characters in my head, though sometimes I run across models—either actors or photos I find while surfing online—that inspire me. In the case of Baxter, he was inspired by a photo of a cowboy.
7-Why did you start writing m/m? Is there something special that draws you to this genre?
As a gay man, it makes sense that I would be drawn to m/m romance. I’m a total romantic at heart and I love reading about men who get their happily-ever-afters. I write the kind of books that I like to read.
8-What are you reading right now? Do you have a favorite author or genre?
The last book I read was “Thick as Thieves” by Tali Spencer. It was fantastic. Next on my list is “Shadows in the Night” by M.A. Church. I’ve been reading shapeshifter books lately. They’ve always been a favorite genre of mine.
9-What are you working on now?
I’m currently putting the final touches on The Cassini Mission, the follow up to The Degan Incident. It will be released to the premium area on GayAuthors.org, followed by an ebook release.
10-When you're not writing, how do you like to spend your time?
I’m a software engineer in my day job, so I spend a lot of time on my PC, developing apps. I also love playing with my gadgets. And I love relaxing at home with my husband and our dog on the weekends!
11-What are your writing goals for 2013?
I’ve already had my first book released, which was my main goal. For the rest of the year, I plan on publishing The Cassini Mission on GayAuthors.org and ebook. After that, I plan on posting another free story or two by the end of the year. For 2014, I’d like to publish three, maybe four books.
12-Do you have personal goals for 2013?
My partner and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary this year. We got married in DC on the day. That was definitely a goal of mine and it was awesome to see it come to pass!
Would you like to share an excerpt from “The Ranch Foreman”?
Of course! I hope you all enjoy the excerpt and thank you for your support!
“That feels good, doesn’t it, boy?”
Using the brush, Matty slowly groomed Chestnut. The horse stood still for the most part, letting Matty pamper him. A sugar cube would calm him when he started to get annoyed. Though Baxter had said Chestnut wasn’t a puppy, Matty still spoke to the horse.
This was his favorite part of being the “stable boy”—taking care of the horses when they were done working. He enjoyed brushing, grooming, and pampering the animals. He made sure they were well fed and had fresh water, all the while having one-sided conversations. Matty didn’t care that he probably looked crazy. Talking to the animals helped pass the time. It made the job calming and peaceful.
“So how was work today?” he asked the horse. “Maybe you could put in a good word for me with your boss. He sure is a big hunk.” Matty let out a soft snort. “Like I need to tell you. He’s on your back every day.”
In just a few short days, all of the animals had taken a liking to him. Even the difficult ones like Chestnut seemed to tolerate him. He was getting the hang of the stables. He could dress and saddle a horse without Clyde’s help. And he no longer gagged when shoveling shit into the wheelbarrow.
Matty was really proud of himself for that.
It was such a change of pace from his old job before he had to quit, but he loved it more and more every day. Surprisingly, he found he didn’t miss the noise or the hustle of the city. He enjoyed the clean air and quiet of the ranch.
With Chestnut taken care of, Matty headed to the other end of the barn where Bolt’s stall was located. He slipped his hand into his jacket pocket, making sure he still had a couple of sugar cubes.
Bolt was definitely his favorite horse. The old horse was so gentle. Maybe Matty was projecting human emotions onto the animal, but it seemed Bolt really liked him back. The horse brightened whenever Matty came near and would nuzzle his nose against Matty.
Okay, so maybe it was because Matty snuck him sugar cubes, and once he even gave him a molasses cookie. The old horse deserved to be spoiled as far as Matty was concerned. Even though he was rarely ridden anymore, Matty still brushed him down every day.
Matty noticed Bolt wasn’t in his stall, so he walked out of the front of the barn toward the paddock. Clyde must have let him out to get some exercise. He saw Bolt at the gate with Baxter, so he hung back, leaned against the barn wall, and watched.
Baxter was petting Bolt’s muzzle and rubbing his ears. “Good boy,” he said. His voice was deep but quiet, and it still carried to Matty’s ears. He reached into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out a large apple. He fed it to Bolt while gently petting him and quietly talking to the animal.
Matty couldn’t help but smile. The big cowboy actually had a soft spot. Who would have thought? Butterflies danced inside Matty’s stomach as he watched the tender moment unfold.
Not wanting to intrude on their privacy any longer, he turned and went back into the stable to get back to work, his mind focused on the sexy foreman and how he could get the man to make a move.