Joanne Kennedy | Starting Over
November 7, 2011
If I dropped you in the middle of nowhere with nothing but fifty dollars, a
beat-up muscle car, and an ugly stray dog, would you able to build yourself a
That's what happens to former trophy wife Lacey Bradford in TALL, DARK AND COWBOY.
Lacey's been raised to riches, but her privileged life is whipped out from under
her when she discovers her ex-husband is a con man. She's left with few survival
skills and fewer resources when she swears off his ill-gotten gains and hits the
road. Hundreds of miles and one hunky cowboy later, she has toÂ rebuild her life
in a world that's as foreign to her as another planet.
My romances are almost always fish-out-of-water stories, where a hero or heroine
finds herself in an unfamiliar world and has to make the best of it. And since I
started writing that kind of story, I can't pass through a small town in the
West without looking around and wondering what I'd do if I had to live there.
Could I get a job at that little cafÃ©? How tough would it be to tend bar at that
tough-looking whiskey joint on the edge of town?
If I'm on a deadline and can't get away, I play the game with real estate ads.
What would it be like to live in that cabin in the woods, or that suburban
townhouse? What if I bought a bar in Meteetse, Wyoming? Or a filling station in
But the house and the job would only be a small part of my life. What really
makes a place home is the people, and the biggest challenge in any hew home is
becoming a part of the community. So it's fun to stop at a diner or coffee shop
and see who stops by, eavesdrop on conversations, and see where you might fit in.
Of course, it would help to have just one friend—just one person you know
who would help you get started. That's why Lacey chooses Grady, Wyoming for her
fresh start. She figures her old friend Chase Caldwell will act as a kind of
safety net—but Chase is anything but safe. The gangling farm boy Lacey
remembers has changed into a smokin' hot cowboy who's not about to let the woman
who broke his heart back into his life.
Depending on a man never worked out that well for her anyway, so Lacey goes to
work building her own life in Grady. Everything's going fine until her past
catches up to her, and then she really does need Chase's help. But can she
really trust a man who pushed her away when she needed him most?
Lacey learns a lot in her effort to build a new life—and so does Chase,
whether he wants to or not! I hope readers will enjoy these two characters as
they work toward their hard-won happy ending.
Have you ever had to start over in an unknown place? Where would you go if
you had to make a fresh start today, and how would you do it?
TALL, DARK AND COWBOY
by Joanne Kennedy—In Stores November 2011
She's looking for an old friend...
In the wake of a nasty divorce, Lacey Bradford heads for Wyoming where she's
sure her old friend will take her in. But her high school pal Chase Caldwell is
no longer the gangly boy who would follow her anywhere. For one thing, he's now
incredibly buff and handsome, but that's not all that's changed...
What she finds is one hot cowboy...
Chase has been through tough times and is less than thrilled to see the girl who
once broke his heart. But try as he might to resist her, while Lacey's putting
her life back together, he's finding new ways to be part of it.
About the Author
is the author of three previous contemporary Western romances for Sourcebooks.
She brings a wide variety of experience, ranging from chicken farming to horse
training, to her sexy, spicy cowboy stories. She is a 2011 finalist in the
prestigious Romance Writers of American RITAÂ© Awards, for ONE FINE
COWBOY. Joanne lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where she is working on her next
book, Cowboy Crazy (June 2012). For more information, please visit http://joannekennedybooks.com/.
Tell us about starting over and we'll pick TWO commenters for a copy of TALL, DARK AND COWBOY
US and Canada only.
57 comments posted.
Re: Joanne Kennedy | Starting Over
This book sounds great Joanne and I can't wait to read it. I actually picked up at the beginning of May and left at the end of the month. Headed from MN to FL with only my stuff and a place to stay for a few months. That was 13 years ago and two kids later. I would actually do it again today with the kids (5,2). I am strong woman who can do anything that I put my mind to in the search of love, peace and happiness. Congrats on the release.
(Christine Arcidiacono 9:21am November 7, 2011)
The book sounds terrific! I would be afraid of starting in a new place where I don't know anyone or anything. Totally terrified of the unknowns... Unless of course the new place is something like Hawaii and it's retirement... :)
(May Pau 9:38am November 7, 2011)
Brave woman, there! I'm absolutely sure I couldn't walk away from my family for any reason. I enjoyed your column and look forward to reading more.
(G S Moch 9:39am November 7, 2011)
I had to make a fresh start 4 years ago, after my husband lost his job, and we lost our house. We packed what we could into our pop-up camper and small pick-up truck, grabbed the dog, and headed for the nearest campground, which was to be our new home. We did that for a while until we found a place that we could afford. It took a while, and it was a good thing that I didn't mind camping!! If I had to do it over again, I would move to a warmer climate if possible. I did find that you have noone to depend on but yourself. By that I mean a family unit. It's a hard way to live, and you have to be prepared for anything, including days without food or a roof over your head. It's also not glamorous or anything to be proud of, but you get by the best you can. If you have any skills, you're better prepared than others for the road ahead. Your book sounds similar to what I encountered, minus the love story, and I'll be looking forward to reading it.
(Peggy Roberson 10:29am November 7, 2011)
I'm fortunate that I haven't had to pick up my entire life, move somewhere else and start over.
I have had to, very recently, basically start over my relationship with my only sister. We were on the outs for quite a while and not speaking to each other( alot of deep issues from the past). My mom has terminal cancer, and my relationship with my sister was just tearing her up, since we are the only 2 siblings left for each other.(My brother passed away 15 years ago at the age of 25 from brain cancer)
Anyway, my sister and I sat down and talked for hours, cleared the air of our issues and have for the restarted our relationship and are finally getting along very well. This has also helped my mom find more peace.
(Melissa Carter 10:30am November 7, 2011)
Christine, you sound like just the kind of woman I write about - women who can make it on their own but are open to love if it enriches their lives. Maybe it's because you're looking for the right things - love, peace and happiness instead of wealth, power and success. Plus you went someplace warm. That was smart! I'm looking at snow today...
(Joanne Kennedy 10:31am November 7, 2011)
May, I always thought I'd be scared to set off into the unknown, but it felt good once I did it! It's like jumping out of an airplane or climbing a mountain - conquering your fears makes you stronger. (Disclaimer: I have never gotten up the nerve to jump out of an airplane, but I have climbed mountains.)
(Joanne Kennedy 10:33am November 7, 2011)
GS Moch, I agree - leaving family behind would be impossible. Sadly, Lacey didn't have much to leave behind. She'd lost her father recently, her mother years earlier, and had never had children. And her ex was very controlling, so she didn't have any real friends. She really needs to get away and make herself a family, and that's just what she does!
(Joanne Kennedy 10:35am November 7, 2011)
Peggy, I think you definitely do have something to be proud of! Surviving tough times like that isn't easy, and yet it sounds like you made it through it without bitterness. I can't imagine how hard it was and really admire you for getting through it. Thanks for sharing your story.
(Joanne Kennedy 10:41am November 7, 2011)
Melissa, thanks for bringing up a different kind of starting over. Resurrecting a broken relationship might be even harder than starting over in a new place. I'm so glad you and your sister could find your way back to each other. And what a great gift to give your mother!
(Joanne Kennedy 10:43am November 7, 2011)
Thanks to everyone who shared their "starting over" story so far! So many of you sound like the heroines of your own story. I'm really touched by all of them, and I hope we'll hear more as the day goes on. I'll be popping in to read and comment throughout the day.
(Joanne Kennedy 10:45am November 7, 2011)
I would love to read this book! I love reading the western romance my favorite read. I do love me some cowboys. Thanks for sharing with us today.
(Gail Hurt 12:01pm November 7, 2011)
As an adult, no I haven't had to start over in a new place but there was a time my family moved cross-country when I was a child. If I had to start fresh today, I would keep an open mind about the place, research it and just be myself. Probably try to do the same things I like here. Look for a local library and check out the local parks.
(Na S 12:05pm November 7, 2011)
I've had to start over several times. But I've been blessed
with good friends and family that have been there for me to
lend a hand when I truly needed it.
(Donna Antonio 12:20pm November 7, 2011)
Gail, I do love my cowboys. The West is a challenging world to live in, so it makes for great stories.
(Joanne Kennedy 12:21pm November 7, 2011)
Na S, I went through that as a child too. I'd lived in the same town all my life until I turned 12 and we moved. I had no idea how to go about making new friends, so it was quite a test. It all worked out, but when you're a kid everything seems like such a big deal! I always felt bad for the children of military families who had to start over every couple of years. I think you'd develop great social skills that way, but it would be so hard.
(Joanne Kennedy 12:24pm November 7, 2011)
I love the books about cowboys, something about them that always makes for a great story. Wow, if I had to get outta town & start over I might go to some place warm like Texas, but it wouldn't be easy & I would have to start looking for a job asap to support myself. I've never had to make a new start so it would be a 1st for me.
(Katie Johnson 12:24pm November 7, 2011)
I've had to start over several times in my life--most were successful, but the last one not so much since the town is very close-minded and made of of several clicks. If I have to do it again, I'd try to do a little more research about where I'm going----and move to someplace warmer next time.
(Sue Farrell 12:32pm November 7, 2011)
I have had to start over twice..after my divorce and after a tornado..but it was not in an unknown place..Now if I had to start over I would go to Albuquerque..that is where my daughter now resides..I am still in KY
(Leisa Prater 12:41pm November 7, 2011)
I don't think I have ever started over but I have moved to different places and I think it must be a scary feeling to begin again with no one to help you.
(Maureen Emmons 12:45pm November 7, 2011)
I'm not sure where I'd go if I had to start all over. I suppose it would depend
upon the resources I had available to me at the time. All I know is that I would
find a way to make it work.
This book sounds like a great read!
(Debbie Burdeen 1:06pm November 7, 2011)
Thankfully, I've never had to move to start over. I would find it difficult to leave a supportive family and friends.
(Anna Speed 1:13pm November 7, 2011)
i have move a couple times but family is always near me
(Ann Unger 1:29pm November 7, 2011)
You have asked a question for which I have no answer. I have had such a very fortunate life, not with out sorrows and disappointments, but yet very blessed.
(Marjorie Carmony 1:29pm November 7, 2011)
Frankly, I'm finding it hard enough to start over in my hometown (which I've never left, except just for trips), even with a fairly strong support network of friends and family of choice. I haven't been able to find a job in over a year of searching, I'm living in someone else's house (basement, actually), and I'm at the point where I can't really keep asking my support network for help, because they are hurting too. That old saying about the Boomer Generation will have it better than their parents? Nope. Ain't gonna happen in my life, if the economy keeps up this way.
I truly can't (and don't want to) imagine having to do it somewhere I don't know anybody!!
(Lynn Rettig 1:30pm November 7, 2011)
Hi Joanne. Love the post! I've started over so many times and each time has been a wonderful adventure.
(Carolyn Brown 2:00pm November 7, 2011)
Book sounds great - love the cover
(Lynne Hankins 2:19pm November 7, 2011)
Made a big move over ten years ago... started over... had to learn the town... find where everything was... make new friends... alot of change, but I had family their to help keep the norm.
(Colleen Conklin 2:22pm November 7, 2011)
Born and bred army, so starting over was a way of life for me.
I am so happy that I haven't had to move anywhere for the last
22 years. Moving and starting over is way too stressful.
(Ilona Fenton 2:23pm November 7, 2011)
Katie, Texas is a pretty good idea! You might find yourself a cowboy there:)
Sue, that's a shame. It's funny how towns have personalities, and some are "nicer" than others. I was really lucky to find Cheyenne - people here are great.
Hi, Leisa! I have to admit that Arizona and New Mexico look pretty good to me right now, much as I love my hometown. It's COLD here and we have another storm coming in...
Maureen, I think it would be scary if you didn't have some kind of safety net, like a family that would always take you back. I've been lucky that way.
Debbie, good for you! With that kind of attitude I'm sure you would make it work:)
(Joanne Kennedy 2:31pm November 7, 2011)
Anna, it would be nice if people didn't have to move so often. I'd love to be closer to my family.
Ann Unger, you're lucky to have your family close!
Marjorie, that's wonderful. I'm sure you deserve your blessings since you sound so grateful and appreciative!
Lynn, I'm so sorry to hear you're going through that. It seems to be happening all over. I hope things improve, and meanwhile we all just have to help each other as best we can. It's so challenging right now to find work, even if you've done everything right and lived a good life. I'm glad you at least have a network of support, and I hope you find something soon.
(Joanne Kennedy 2:35pm November 7, 2011)
Carolyn, you are a woman who knows how to have an adventure:) And readers, that's THE Carolyn Brown, who wrote "Darn Good Cowboy Christmas" and all those other great cowboy books. She's my friend, and yes I'm bragging:)
(Joanne Kennedy 2:37pm November 7, 2011)
Lynne, I love that cover too! He's one fine cowboy...
Colleen, it sounds like you found a way to make it work! Family sure helps:)
Ilona, it must feel so good to be settled! I'm glad you've found a permanent home.
(Joanne Kennedy 2:39pm November 7, 2011)
My husband and I have moved five times to new-to-us places. We had each
other (which sounds good except when one of you works 14-16 hours a day
and the other dealt with three small children). Each new move teaches you
something, sometimes small and sometimes large. My family walked away
from us when we married so we were very much on our own. Now we
appreciate everything we've got, especially each other.
(Sandra Spilecki 3:39pm November 7, 2011)
Congrats on the recent release Joanne!!
I moved to California a year and a half ago since my husband
is going to grad school. It was a hard move since both our
families live in Texas. If I had to move today, I would go
to New York. It's on my bucket list of places to live. Is
that weird that I have a bucket list like that? :)
(Kati Rodriguez 3:44pm November 7, 2011)
Congratulations on the new release and the great review
here. Your success as a writer is an inspiration.
In the spring of 2010, the business in which I was a part
owner failed. My wife and I could no longer afford our
mortgage payments and so we picked up and moved from
Maryland to Wyoming. Permanent employment was hard to find,
so I finally had the chance to pursue my passion, which is
writing. The last two years have been almost overwhelming in
the pace and magnitude of the changes we have faced. But the
peace and serenity of the open prairie and the nearby
mountains have helped to keep us sane.
(Michael Selmer 4:15pm November 7, 2011)
I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have all my
'stuff'. A lot of it makes life easier, but a lot of it just
consumes time in dealing with it & taking care of things. But
there are so many sentimental, family things that I would not
like to loose & would be sad not to have them anymore.
(Diane Sallans 4:34pm November 7, 2011)
I relocated three years ago after the family home was sold and am still adjusting. It 's difficukt moving from a place where one knows the neighbors to a rental complex with a high turnover.
(Mary Chin 5:24pm November 7, 2011)
We were a military family so moved alot,but now we are retired. We moved again to be near our family,and we love it.Thanks for giving me a chance to win your book.
(Linda Hall 5:26pm November 7, 2011)
My daughter is having to start over now and it is very difficult for her. With
the help of family and friends she will progress.
(Lisa Garrett 5:54pm November 7, 2011)
Sandra, it sounds like you've overcome your share of challenges! I'm so glad you're happy and still together. Sometimes the more difficult things are, the more we appreciate them!
Kati, I have a friend that moved from Wyoming to Upstate New York. She started a knitting shop in a small town and loves it there!
(Joanne Kennedy 6:01pm November 7, 2011)
Michael, I agree that there's something about the Wyoming landscape that makes it easier to deal with difficulties - or at least more worthwhile. Best of luck with your writing! It takes a while to get started and find an audience, but if you're doing what you love it's worth it.
Diane, I have a friend who lost everything in a fire years ago - and I do mean everything. She's a very strong person and managed to recover, but I know she regrets losing the family mementoes and sentimental things much more than the material "stuff."
(Joanne Kennedy 6:05pm November 7, 2011)
Mary, there are some places where it's hard to get to know the neighbors before they're gone again. Sometimes joining a club or craft group helps, but it takes time to make new friends.
Linda, thanks for your family's service! Best of luck in the contest:)
Lisa, I hope your daughter comes to love her new home. I have a friend who moved to a very remote small town and was dreading it. It took a while, but she ended up loving it and she's a big part of the community. I think volunteering is a great way to find your place in a new town or city.
(Joanne Kennedy 6:09pm November 7, 2011)
My husband and I, along with our two very young sons had to move away from our families in our hometown in MN. several years ago, so he could obtain a job in retail management (since there was nothing available for an entire year where we'd been living). It was very difficult not knowing the area or anyone in WI. where we moved. We sold our home in MN., rented for a year, built a new home, and he found a good job. It was a huge adjustment (since I missed my large family and his family of which we resided only 3 blocks away). I remember being very lonely in the beginning. I decided to sell AVON so I could get out and meet people. It was the best idea I ever came up with. I made friends quickly and kept busy. We divorced after 13 yrs. He moved to IL. and I'm still in WI. and love it here. If I were to move again, it would be back to MN. only to be around my family and old friends there (it's always in the back of my mind). I have a son living in AZ. I've never visited that state yet, but if I liked it, I wouldn't be against moving there, since I've had friends here with relatives living there and they all love AZ. Joanne, love your book cover and the book sounds just great. I've always been partial to contemporary western romance novels, and definitely have to read this one and also, 'Cowboy Crazy' when it comes out next June.
(Linda Luinstra 7:05pm November 7, 2011)
Yes, Tall, Dark and Cowboy sounds like a fantastic book to
win and to read too. Yes, I went through a tough Divorce and
went 8 years before meeting and getting together with my 2nd
husband of 23 years marriage now in Austin, TX. Starting
over is sometimes what is needed to find Mr. Right in Life.
Thanks so much. Cecilia CECE
(Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez 7:11pm November 7, 2011)
Seems like almost all the comments are of strong women with start over stories. Mine is a start over with my husband. We moved to a place neither of us had ever been. We did not know a single person. Moving 1600 miles from our families and friends. But it has turned out to be a great thing for us!
(Lisa Hutson 7:30pm November 7, 2011)
That sounds like quite the challenge. Even trying to find work and a home for you and your dog. I think people find out what they are made of when hardship hits. I can't wait to read!
(Darci Paice 8:27pm November 7, 2011)
I have never had to start over in a new place, but I have had to start over after my ex-husband left. He disappeared with everything but our children. For that I will be forever thankful. It was not always easy, but so worth , it. If I could have started over someplace new I would have loved to brought them to the mountains in Virginia. It is a place I have always loved and have not been able to visit often. Maybe again, sometime soon.
(Elizabeth Rodriguez 9:39pm November 7, 2011)
I've never had to start over. I have always thought I would like to live in Phoenix.
(Jennifer Beyer 10:28pm November 7, 2011)
I think I might choose Washington state. I know it would be really hard, but I think it would be fun, I'd pick something totally different from my normal customer service type job. and just feel free, I think.
(Lisa Kendall 10:45pm November 7, 2011)
"All I ever learned about ranching I learned by reading romances and watching TV as a child."
So, yes. I'd feel like a fish out of water on a ranch, sort of.
But I've lived in 2 European countries, France and Germany, and though they're not as different from North America as India, China, Nigeria, etc., there are a lot of things that are done differently and it always takes some time to really get settled, especially if you're suddenly part of a family with 7 kids aged 2 months to 11 years.
And at my age, I really don't want to start all over. The only place I'd move to is closer to my sister.
(Sigrun Schulz 10:59pm November 7, 2011)
I don't know about starting over, but each day seems to start out all right and then something saboutages my plan. Sometimes it's me.
(Alyson Widen 12:02pm November 8, 2011)
Starting over is hard to do but it can be a good thing. I haven't had to do it but I do know a few few people who have.
(Lisa White 10:04pm November 8, 2011)
Linda, thanks for telling your story. Selling Avon is a fantastic idea for meeting people! And it's great that you've found yourself a home in a place where you initially felt a little lost. I worked in retail management too (for Barnes & Noble), and moved around quite a bit. It seemed like it took about 2 years in a place before I really felt at home.
(Joanne Kennedy 7:48pm November 9, 2011)
Lisa, it's nice to have someone to "start over" with, and that make it easier - but it's still not easy!
Darci, that's a good point about the dog! It's really hard to find a rental that will allow dogs and cats, and it's harder in some towns than others. I've lived in some pretty awful places just so I could keep my dog!
Elizabeth, that sounds so hard - but at least you got to keep what matters most. I can't imagine how that felt, but I'm glad you're okay now.
Jennifer, I want to go to Phoenix because it's WARM! Our summers in Wyoming are fantastic but pretty brief. In the winter, I wish I could be a snowbird:)
(Joanne Kennedy 7:57pm November 9, 2011)
Lisa, I'd like to go to Washington state - I've never been there. It sounds like it rains a lot, which would take getting used to after Wyoming. It rarely rains here, which is great until you try to grow flowers!
Sigrun, I know how different it is in Europe because my sister lives in Italy. A lot of it sounds nice - she lives in the city and goes to the corner markets for fresh food, has museums right nearby (she lives in Rome) and lots of history.
Alyson, I know exactly what you mean! You gave me a little chuckle, but only because I recognize myself in your comment! That pretty much describes life in general:)
Lisa, starting over with nothing is something I fantasized about when things were going wrong. Now I'm happy and I'd hate to lose the life I have. But it's good to know I have the strength to do it if something happens.
(Joanne Kennedy 8:05pm November 9, 2011)
I had to start over about 9 years ago. I left my family and friends and two jobs where I had been severely burned out and started a new life with my husband in a modern day version of Mayberry. I think I actually went a little insane at first. Everybody I used to know was too busy to talk to me on the phone or even email me. I stared talking to my pets and stuffed toys and answered back for them. ;^) But I also think I needed some time to do the hermit thing so I could heal up and reinvent myself. in time I gained new friends, a happy new life Plus I think that sanity is overrated anyway. it helped my find a new creativity. I like the idea of your books. they inspire me.
(Heidi Durham 5:13am November 12, 2011)
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