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Author Spotlight: Debra Holt Talks Texas and Her New Series

Today I welcome fellow Tule Publishing author, Debra Holt to the Spotlight. Her newest book The Texas Cowboy’s Proposal releases tomorrow, September 1.

Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers.  Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most.  She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and planning high-end weddings (ah, romance!).

Debra’s real pride and joys, however, are her son, an aspiring film actor, and a daughter with aspirations to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (more story ideas!)  When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure.  She read her first romance…Janet Dailey’s Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary western romances,  is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs…to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.

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Take it away, Debra!

Hello Nan!  Thanks for having me visit today with your wonderful readers. I appreciate such a great invitation.

This is an exciting and hectic week as launch weeks always seem to have a life of their own. But tomorrow, my latest four book series debuts…The Texas Heritage Series. Book one…The Texas Cowboy’s Proposal… introduces a new cast of characters. Welcome back to the Lone Star State and the beginning of my latest series.

The history of Texas is long and full of rich color, characters, and great stories! It’s also a land of change. Unfortunately, some changes can be to the detriment. I was born in a small town on the banks of the Rio Grande. I could see Mexico from my window. We lived all over the state as my dad had hotels and restaurants and even a guest ranch thrown in that enabled a child to have many wonderful adventures.

My PE class in middle school consisted of loading onto a bus and heading to a local ranch where we swam and rode horses…talk about an idyllic life! I met people from all walks of life and even other countries. They are stored away in my writer’s brain files. Add in ancestors who were defenders in the Alamo, to politicians who forged the country into a republic of its own and then into a massive state, I formed a life-long Texas pride. In college, it was just natural that I would double major in Texas history and the Civil War. All of which to say, that when I finally decided to sit down and allow some of the stories in my head to escape via my laptop, that I would begin with the writer’s number one caveat…write what you know best. And that meant Texas and the good people who inhabit it and make it what it is today.

I grew up amid cowboys and Texas Rangers, small town sheriffs, good people on small and large farms and ranches, from one corner of the state to the other. I pay homage to them by bringing them alive on the pages of my books. The road to writing the Texas Heritage series began when I was sitting early one morning on the side of a country road, with camera in hand, watching a herd of mares and their babies at a windmill stock tank. They were enjoying an early morning drink. It was one of those special moments that I was honored to be able to watch. But I was also aware that it could be threatened very soon. Texas is large…and it was comprised of huge family ranches over many generations. People change. Goals change. Work ethics and moral codes change. Some can cause history to be forever altered.

Texas is comprised of some of the most historic ranches ever known…the King Ranch in the deep south;, the XIT in the far north, the huge Waggoner spread, the Pitchfork, the YO, the Four Sixes and many more. Their boundaries spread across this state, other states and even into other countries. I loved reading of their history and the people who lived it. I was privileged to meet some of them over the years. Then I watched as their downfall began. The older generation died away and too often the younger generation did not share the same work ethic nor the patience needed to work and safeguard the land and animals…nor the humans they had been entrusted with who had helped form those riches. Fast cash and lots of it could be had. Many of these generational ranches sold on the auction block to people who had no idea of what they bought or why, except to show off their wealth and play at being cowboys for a weekend or two a month. I will give credit to those few who actually bought into the history of the land and have made many efforts to safeguard and be good caretakers for the next generation. But they are few.

So, beside that stock tank that morning, I decided that I would write a future series that would begin with the possible demise of one such huge chunk of Texas history. Would it go to the auction block? Would someone step forward to save it or abuse it? What would the fight look like? And how would four glorious romances figure into it all? Many questions for me to jump off the end of the writing pier with and into deep water. What else is new? I tend to jump and then think about a life jacket. I begin this new series based on these painful events in Texas that is something I feel strongly about. I hope, as you read the stories about this particular family, the Burkitts, you will keep in mind that they are a compilation of many Texas ranch families who built empires with blood, sweat, and many tears. They have their places in the tapestry of Texas…good or bad. My pulpit is put away. I sit down in front of my laptop. The rest of the series awaits me to begin the keystrokes.

I hope you enjoy where this journey will take us as the next generation steps onto its page in history. Happy reading and thanks again to Nan, for her wonderful invite and being so kind to fellow authors!

The Texas Cowboy’s Proposal

They had a foolproof plan…until one little girl got involved.

Sammi Jo Burkitt’s formidable grandmother’s will is pushing Sammi Jo to the brink. Yes, the feisty cowgirl can keep the ranching empire known as Aces High, which has been the family birthright for two centuries, but she must marry her rival and stay married for three years as part of the deal. Say no, and Aces High goes on the auction block.

Beaudry Hawkes wants nothing to do with the high and mighty Burkitts. Until the day Sammi Jo shows up on his doorstep with a proposition no one in their right mind would refuse: wear her ring, then accept thousands of acres of rich ranch land and a tidy sum of three million dollars when they part ways. The windfall could change everything for his daughter’s future.

But eight-year-old Lacy is becoming attached to the idea of one happy family. Nothing short of a true marriage between the two can make her dreams come true. Can Sammi Jo and Beaudry find their freedom and love too?

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  • Janine

    I am so excited about your new series. I live in a part of Texas where the country life is slowly disappearing. There used to be several big ranches, but over the last few years, they have been selling their land and housing developments have taken their place. Even the feed store closed and they turned it into a restaurant. At least we have the memories to look back on when it’s all gone. But I feel bad for those who moved to this area for that bit of country life.