Reality or Fiction? For Angi Morgan’s West Texas Watchmen, it’s Both.

(Due to an emergency in Lena’s family, I am helping both Angi and Lena out today by hosting their blog. After all, a girl’s gotta take care of her Golden Heart sisters!)

Thanks for having me today, Lena. I love to be Kissed & Thrilled. Oh wait, I guess I’m the one… Okay awkward moment gone. It’s been a while since Lena hosted me. Huge coincidence that the book we spoke about–PROTECTING THEIR CHILD–was the one that inspired my new series.

West Texas Watchmen on white

The West Texas Watchmen series is set in the small town of Marfa about 20 miles across the mountains from Mexico. It’s a vast area with little cell reception. Perfect for smuggling — either in reality or fiction. Marfa may be small, but Presidio County is vast so my sheriff has a lot of land to cover. There’s also a lot of sky. With the McDonald Observatory in the Davis Mountains, there’s also very little light on the horizon.

The Sheriff (West Texas Watchmen) Trailer

All of my Intrigues are based in real Texas towns. I love taking off for a road trip to get research photos. In my stories, I keep my driving times accurate, the terrain or city areas true, and take the liberty of changing the names of businesses. Somehow that anchors me in my stories and I can focus on other things. Do you like fictional towns or real locales? Honestly, when a writer gets things wrong about the Dallas area… Well, I’m very disappointed.

I also love to learn new things that help my characters become real. Last summer it was surf lingo. For the Sheriff, my heroine is working on her PhD in astronomy. I had a fan once tell me that she loves reading my stories because she always learns something–either about my characters’ occupations or Texas. So I thought it would be fun to include that type of scene for you today.

 Here’s a teaser from THE SHERIFF

Angi Morgan-TheSheriff 3D“The commander’s gone to the scene. He said to stay put until he returned. Looks like you’re stuck with me, Sheriff Morrison.”

“Acting sheriff. Why don’t you call me Pete.” Was he insulted? Or too dang excited he didn’t need to dart off to talk shop? Excited.

“I need to show you something.”

“I don’t think that’s appropriate.”

She threw back her head, laughing. He barely heard it as he admired the bend of her neck. “Silly,” she said. “Do you have any gel?”

“Huh?” Silly wasn’t the word filtering through his mind.

“Styling gel.”

“I used it already.”

“Not enough to do anything.” She reached around him, brushing his arm as she squeezed goo into her hands.

Stunned into silence? Choking on his words? Cat got his tongue? He didn’t know which, and if she asked, he couldn’t hear her. He was focused on her hands rubbing together and then her arms lifting to reach his head.

“Get shorter.” She tapped the inside of his bare feet wider apart, leaving enough room between them to breathe without touching.

“So, what is your favorite star?” he asked, closing his eyes and enjoying her fingers lightly massaging his scalp as she liberally put gel on every strand. He couldn’t look.

“Wolf 359. Isn’t that an awesome name for a star?” She took the tube a second time. “Just a bit more. Your hair’s really thick and wavy.”

He was dang lucky he’d put his pants on quickly. If he hadn’t…

“See?”

All he could see was the roundness of each breast under the thin layer of hospital garb.

“All you have to do is squeeze some on your hands and rub it around like this. Then it should stay looking deliberately messed up all day.” She wiped her hands on his towel and admired her handiwork. “That will look much better later when it’s dry.”

She twisted one last piece of hair and placed her hands on his shoulders. It seemed like the most natural gesture in his memory for his fingers to move and span either side of her waist. Drawing her closer to him was just as easy.

They were forehead to forehead. Her slow, warm exhale smelled sweet like the cola she’d insisted on before the officer had arrived. She’d called it her wake-up drink of choice. He, on the other hand, loved coffee and lots of it.

Concentrate on the job. What job? All he had to do was hang around here, keep her in sight till she was someone else’s problem. Maybe even escort her home.

“I’m not a rule breaker, Andrea.”

“Then why are your hands still around me?”

Kissing her was destined as soon as she’d told him they’d never get along. “What’s about to happen probably shouldn’t. But you won’t find me apologizing for it later.”

“You better not, Pete. Bad first kissers don’t get a second chance.”

He liked her. A lot. Too much. Too fast.

He leaned his lips to touch hers for the first time. Soft and wet, they parted just enough to encourage him. His hands spread up her back, noticing the firm muscles.

There wasn’t anything between them now except a thin layer of cotton. He stopped himself from getting the shirt out of his way. This was their first kiss but sure didn’t feel like it.

Their lips slid together, teasing, seeming to know their way without conscious effort. A perfect fit? Practiced. Confident.

He wanted his hands to wander but forced them to stay put. Andrea’s arms encircled his neck, shifting her body next to his. Her tennis shoes snuggled next to his size-thirteen feet. That one layer kept him both sane and drove him crazy at the same time.

He wanted it off. Wanted her bare skin under his flesh. Wanted to forget exactly where they were and remember everything much too late.

The attraction turned to mutual pure hunger and he liked her even more.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Andrea was a very fun character to write. A little of my daughter and her friends. A lot of who I’d like to be. Writing about this area of Texas makes me yearn to find locales that have no “light pollution.” We recently took a trip to southwest Texas and stretched out in the back of the truck under a gazillion stars. There’s nothing like it. I can’t recommend the experience enough. And that might just be why Andrea loves the area as well.

You can see pictures from my adventures (including NYC this week) on my blog, A Picture A Day.

Excerpt & covers provided by Harlequin Enterprises.

Available on Amazon, B&N, iTunes and bookstores

~ ~ ~ ~

AngiMorgan--MountainsANGI MORGAN writes “Intrigues where honor and danger collide with love.” She combines actual Texas settings with characters who are in realistic and dangerous situations. Angi’s work has been a finalist in the Bookseller’s Best Award, Romantic Times Best First Series, Carolyn Readers Choice, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and the Daphne du Maurier.

Website, Facebook & FB Fan Page, Twitter @AngiMorganAuthr , and Book Trailers on YouTube

Monthly Giveaway on Rafflecopter, check out A Picture A Day for the link

Previous K&T interview about Protecting Their Child

Leave a comment for me and you’re eligible for a copy of THE CATTLEMAN (book 2 in the West Texas Watchmen). I’d love to hear if you like to learn something while reading.

About Sharon Wray

Sharon is a three-time Daphne du Maurier winner and an eight-time RWA Golden Heart Romantic Suspense author repped by Deidre Knight and Kristy Hunter of The Knight Agency. She writes the Deadly Force romantic suspense series for Sourcebooks Casablanca and her first book come out next year.

Posted on January 6, 2015, in Author Interview, book recommendations, Lena Diaz, Sharon Wray and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

  1. Thanks for helping Lena out today, Sharon. It’s much appreciated.

  2. So great to see you here at Kiss and Thrill , Angi!

    Like you, I’m persnickety about details of actual places and historical periods.Having lived for many years in Dallas, I love how you bring that sense of authenticity to your books. Everyone thinks Dallas is like the TV show with JR and Bobby , instead it’s a cosmopolitan city with its own set of delightful quirks and mannerisms .

    Thanks for being here today !

  3. Hi again, Angi- you’re becoming such a regular we should just stick your picture on the left side of our page! 🙂 Or have an honorary guest section…

    Another writer friend, Colleen Thompson (who is with Intrigue now) wrote a novel set in Marfa several years ago for another publisher. Her scenery descriptions fascinated me! I envision a desolate, dangerous beauty.

    Coming from Houston, I never wanted to drive that far just to see ‘desolate,’ but I agree with you about the gazillion stars. I could stare up at that all night.

    I’ve written one novel where I did not know the state or town well but I bought tourist books and traipsed around Google Earth. In the end I chickened out and changed the name of the tiny town to a fictional one, because I agree with you and Diana…if the locals don’t think it’s authentic there’s a huge loss to your story. (Another novel is from a place I spent summers at as a child, so that was easy.)

    Enjoy your day with us! We are all trying to help Lena co-host, so we’ll pop back from time to time.

    • This is such an interesting question because it’s one I’ve never considered. I honestly don’t care if a town is made up or real. And if it’s real, it doesn’t matter if it’s accurately portrayed. As long as I love the characters and, as my 15-year old daughter says “get lots of feels from a book”, I’m happy. 🙂

      • HA! Great saying! (I think I’d like your daughter to give me a book quote.) 😉

        I’ll be honest-when I read ‘Angels and Demons” by Dan Brown, I dragged my husband ALL around Rome to the places DB described so realistically in his story. (Luckily, hubby read it too, and wanted to go.)

        But then, I love Rome. When I read ‘The DaVinci Code’ I didn’t have the burning need to explore Paris with the paperback tucked in my purse.

    • A big blooper about Dallas is in the X-Files movie — 2 actually. One’s about the federal building, but the other is so obviously wrong… It’s in the opening where they come up from the hole, everything’s desolate desert. no trees, etc. THEN they pan to the Dallas sky line. Unreal. I had been so excited to see it…and they absolutely ruined it.

      For those who have never been to Dallas…it’s surrounded by suburbs. Lots of highway, lots of business…and lots of trees.

  4. Hi Angi

    As a Brit, I’ve never been to Texas so doubt that I could distinguish fact from fiction in your locales!

    I love Westerns and as a scientist I love astronomy and discovering new structure in the universe …. finding out how God stitched it all together.

    As I also love romance I reckon I just might love your book ‘The Sheriff’

    I know it’s difficult to compare author’s styles but I’m wondering how this Texan series would compare with some of my favourite authors writing Westerns e.g. Catherine Anderson, Linda Lael Miller, Jodi Thomas, Elizabeth Lowell ….

    However, as Feynman once said (of theory) “I only really understand something when I can derive it for myself”; so clearly the best way for me to appreciate your work is to read it for myself!

    The Sherrif is now on my TBR 🙂

    • If you love Linda Lael Miller and Elizabeth Lowell, you will adore Angi’s books! I have no doubt. 🙂

    • That’s so nice ! Thank you.

      Texas is huge. There are so many ways to write about it. Mine are more action adventure stories…and you’ve named some of my favorite authors so it’s really hard for me to compare myself to them at all. <>

      When my daughter was studying about Texas, she made the comment regarding a trip for us to the west coast. It took us half the trip just to leave our state. The second half we drove through 3 states. From Dallas to El Paso…you’re looking at 10 hours at 70 mph. It’s a long way.

      …wow…
      Dallas just had a 3.5 earthquake…first time the house has moved like that.

  5. Welcome back, Angi! We have a Texas crew here today since I grew up in Ft. Worth. The Watchmen series sounds terrific and what an awesome excerpt. Congrats! I really enjoying learning new things both while researching a book I’m writing and reading another author. I love the sneak peeks into a new world.

    • As a Jersey girl, I have to admit to a fascination with cowboys and all things from Texas. So I’ve always been drawn to these books. And I adore Angi’s books and was so excited to hear about her Watchmen series. Her world is so different than the mountains of northern New Jersey. 🙂

    • I. Do. Too.
      😀
      Have you visited FW lately, Carey? They’ve got a brand new drive in on the north side….AWESOME!!!

  6. I always learn about a new place or I find myself digging out my dictionary to look up a new word. I not only get to get lost inside the covers of a new world, but its most always a learning experience.
    My husband and I used to work the winter months in south Texas. We loved it. If I ever get to move, the great state of cowboys is where I would go.
    The book looks great and the cover is awesome

    • I love it when I have to get out the dictionary to learn a new word! I can’t imagine what it would be like to live in Texas, but I can imagine it’s beautiful. And since it’s snowing here today and I’m stuck inside, right now I’m dreaming about warm weather and starry skies. 🙂
      Thanks so much for commenting!

    • I agree, Kim. I love novels that cleverly ‘teach’ you about the ways of the culture or lifestyles or work from characters just going about their day. The more different it is from my life, the more I devour the book. It takes a truly talented author too, or it comes across like reading a lecture.

    • I hope your IF becomes reality! I’m definitely biased though! Love the state and our state of mind. Thanks for stopping by today.

  7. I loved the trailer, Angi. Is that something you did yourself or Intrigue did that as part of marketing the series? I don’t recall you having one before.

    • I am so fortunate that I have a hubby in the business. He might be last minute, but brings it in for a good price (free). I hope to be “big” enough one day that Harlequin will make me a couple.

      I’ll tell Tim you enjoyed it. 🙂 THANKS !

  8. Welcome back, Angi! I love getting to know an area I’m not familiar with through books. I like to read about both fictional and real locations–I’ve used both in my stories–but it does bug me if the author gets something totally wrong. Like calling the University of Virginia U of V instead of UVA. Or when characters get from one city to another way too fast to be realistic. It won’t keep me from liking the book necessarily, but it pulls me out of the story.

    Is there anything better than a sky full of brilliant stars? The best one in recent memory was on a cruise ship a few years ago. But I spent a lot of my childhood in Tucson, where all of the streetlights are sodium instead of fluorescent so they don’t interfere with the nearby observatory on Kitt Peak. The county also limits the total amount of lumens per square acre to reduce light pollution. Great nighttime skies in the southern Arizona desert. 🙂

    Great excerpt! Thanks for being with us today.

    • Tucson sounds wonderful, Gwen. I’d love to see those night skies. Having grown up in the northeast, I didn’t even realize what light pollution was until I visited my husband’s home in Nowheresville, SC. I hadn’t known there were so many stars in the sky!

      I think it’s interesting so many people care about the details of a place. I guess because I’m from New Jersey and it has become so stereotyped that I just ignore all the silly things that are so completely wrong. 🙂

    • Thanks for having me !
      All street lights in that area of Texas are covered (I don’t know the technical terms) but the light reflects back to the ground…I honestly think they should be that way here in Dallas, too. 🙂

  9. I love seeing Texas through your eyes Angi. Both your books and your daily pictures give us readers a glimpse of Texas that most of us wouldn’t otherwise see. And of course, I think your a great author. I always look forward to reading each of your books.

  10. I think I’m gonna like this new series of yours, Angi. I like that you use real towns and areas plus additional research to background your stories. Makes it more real…and more exciting. And then there’s the intrigue…whew! It’s explosive when combined with romantic interests. And I like Texas! My paternal ancestors came from Farmersville, Texas and there are still relatives living there to this day. My husband was stationed at Fort Hood for a year back in the late 70’s and we lived in Kileen, Texas. Of course, while there we traveled all over to see what we could see of that HUGE state, and there was a lot to see. One thing I was shocked by was how fast the weather could change over those wide open spaces. We left Dallas one day and it was sooo hot we were in short and t-shirts. But by the time we hit Kileen it was hailing pieces of ice so big they could break windshields on cars and trucks. We slid on a patch of black ice and almost “did ourselves in” at one point. That was one hairy ride! Thanks for the post, Sharon. jdh2690@gmail.com

    • YOU ARE SO RIGHT !!!
      That’s tornado weather you’re talking about.

      I hope you like the series. I had great fun wiritng it.

    • I will never complain about blizzards or polar vortexes again! I can’t imagine how terrifying it would be to watch the weather change so quickly. Our weather in the northeast can be intense, but it changes slowly and with lots of warning!

      I know you’re going to love this series. Who doesn’t love cowboys? 🙂

  11. Speaking of the weather. Woke up to snow in NYC this morning. Glad I packed the electric blanket. Um…not kidding. I’m snug and warm while I work today.

  12. The winner of Angi Morgan’s book, The Cattleman,  on KissAndThrill.com, is KimK

  13. I found a link to this on Gwen Herndandez’s FB page, and really wanted to weigh in. For me, if you’re using a real location in a real way, then you need to stick to reality. I remember a writer long ago putting a Thoroughbred farm in a town north of Pasadena where you could never breed and raise horses. Blew the story for me. Criminal Minds set a segment in Edgwood, NM, where I live. And they completely blew any sort of respect for that segment. In both cases it seemed like someone had just looked at a map and said…”that’s an interesting name,” without bothering to research further.
    Dallas…I first saw Dallas about ten years ago, when I was visiting family, and I was struck by the arches. Seems like every major building had a tall narrow arch. Was it historical influence, or the preference of a particular city council?

  1. Pingback: Reality or Fiction? For Angi Morgan’s West Texas Watchmen, it’s Both. « Sharon Wray

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