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Joanne Kennedy | Announcing...a new series to love! The Cowboys of Decker Ranch

How to Handle a Cowboy
Joanne Kennedy




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Cowboys of Decker Ranch #1

April 2014
On Sale: April 1, 2014
Featuring: Ridge Cooper; Sierra Dunn
416 pages
ISBN: 1402283660
EAN: 9781402283666
Kindle: B00HFDVOGE
Paperback / e-Book
Add to Wish List

Also by Joanne Kennedy:
Cowboy Fever, January 2020
Add to review list
Cowboy Summer, July 2019
Cowboy Trouble, April 2019
How To Wrangle A Cowboy, February 2016


HOW TO HANDLE A COWBOY is the first volume in my Cowboys of Decker Ranch series. I just finished the first draft of the second book in the series (HOW TO WRANGLE A COWBOY) and I can't believe how much fun I'm having.

It's obvious that romance readers love to read series books, and writers love to write them. From Nora Roberts to J.R. Ward, from Debbie Macomber to E.L. James, authors are giving readers what they crave: books that allow them to really get to know a group of characters, so opening the next book is like joining old friends. Books that give readers a sense of place, and create towns they want to return to again and again. Books where favorite characters drop in for surprise appearances.

I wrote six stand-alone books before I embarked on a series. Too many times, I'd read books that were second or third in a series and found myself confused, or felt left out of little treats that were clearly "in-jokes" for returning readers. I'd also read books where the author spent page after page of Book Two summarizing the first book in the series. I read one where nothing new happened until well after page one hundred!

To make matters worse, I travel a lot, so I end up shopping in airport bookstores. There's nothing like finding something by a favorite author in their limited selection, getting strapped into your seat on a plane, and discovering that you have no idea what's going on because you've inadvertently picked up Book Three.

Until I'd really studied the process, I wasn't sure I could handle the delicate balancing act of writing a continuing series. It's not easy to give returning readers that feeling of belonging while still giving new readers a rewarding reading experience.

But now I've decided to give it a go. And I'm so glad I did. I pictured myself tearing my hair out as I referred to notes, struggling to keep characters and locations straight. Instead, I'm having a blast! I had no idea writing a series would be so much fun.

As it turns out, Wynott, Wyoming is my hometown, too, just as it will be home to my readers once they visit. And my characters, from "Group Mom" Sierra Dunn to cowboy Ridge Cooper, from smart-mouthed Isaiah to quiet Jeffrey, are some of my best friends.

The other thing I love about this series is the premise. The books focus on the Cowboys of Decker Ranch—three men who were unwanted foster kids until they were taken in as teenagers by a rancher who taught them to rope and ride. The cowboy way saved them, and they're ready to pass on their good fortune.

They'll have lots of opportunities now that Phoenix House, a group home for foster kids, has moved into the neighboring town of Wynott, Wyoming. Wynott was a farming and ranching community, but like many small towns, it's slowly fading away. I see towns like Wynott often on road trips; pretty little towns whose residents are mostly elderly, with shuttered businesses on Main Street and abandoned houses on the edge of town.

Sierra figures the home will help revitalize the town. After all, there's nothing like a bunch of ten-year-old boys to liven things up! And being part of this small community will give the boys a sense of belonging. The town will save the boys, and the boys will save the town. And Sierra herself just might save a certain cowboy who just suffered a career-ending rodeo injury and has no idea what to do with his life.

I'm excited about writing my first series, and I'm making a solemn promise to readers. You'll be able to pick up any volume of The Cowboys of Decker Ranch and find as complete as story as you'll find in any of my books. You won't feel lost, and you won't feel like you're missing something if you don't read them in order.

But if you do read them in order, you'll get a richer, fuller reading experience, as old friends turn up and new ones emerge. I truly hope you'll enjoy getting to know these new cowboys, and start with Sierra and Ridge's story in HOW TO HANDLE A COWBOY.


His Rodeo Days May Be Over...

Sidelined by a career-ending injury, rodeo cowboy Ridge Cooper feels trapped at his family's remote Wyoming ranch. Desperate to find an outlet for the passion he used to put into competing, he takes on the challenge of teaching his roping skills to five troubled ten-year-olds in a last-chance home for foster kids, and finds it's their feisty supervisor who takes the most energy to wrangle.

But He'll Still Wrangle Her Heart...

When social worker Sierra Dunn seeks an activity for the rebellious kids at Phoenix House, she soon learns she's not in Denver anymore. Sierra is eager to get back home to her inner-city work, and the plan doesn't include forming an attachment in Wyoming—especially not to a ruggedly handsome and surprisingly gentle local rodeo hero.


"Realistic and romantic... Kennedy's forte is in making relationships genuine and heartfelt as she exposes vulnerabilities with tenderness and good humor." —Booklist STARRED Review

"The sex scenes are juicy... Each character is essential to the storyline and the plot moves seamlessly." —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars


Joanne Kennedy's lifelong fascination with Wyoming's unique blend of past and present inspires her to write contemporary Western romances with traditional ranch settings. Her books include Cowboy Tough, Tall, Dark and Cowboy, and the RITA-nominated One Fine Cowboy. At various times, she has dabbled in horse training, chicken farming, and bridezilla wrangling at a department store wedding registry. Her love of reading led to careers in bookselling and writing. She lives with two dogs and a fighter pilot in Cheyenne, Wyoming. For more information, please visit

To Purchase HOW TO HANDLE A COWBOY: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Chapters/Indigo | IndieBound | iBooks | Sourcebooks

How do you feel about books in a series? One winner will get a copy of HOW TO HANDLE A COWBOY + a special surprise cowboy-themed gift from Joanne.




31 comments posted.

Re: Joanne Kennedy | Announcing...a new series to love! The Cowboys of Decker Ranch

And cowboys. Don't forget readers love to read about cowboys. :-)
(Lisa Hutson 6:43am April 3, 2014)

I love series as long as each book can be read as a
standalone. And who doesn't love a cowboy?
(Glenda Martillotti 8:03am April 3, 2014)

I love series, but I also love stand-alone books. For me it
depends on the story and how it should be told.
(Karin Anderson 9:39am April 3, 2014)

Thanks to Fresh Fiction for hosting me today! It sounds like everyone's on board and ready to start a new series - especially if it's about cowboys!
(Joanne Kennedy 10:47am April 3, 2014)

I agree, Karin. Every book should be a complete and satisfying story, whether it's part of a series or not. I like endings that make you sit back and sigh, and sit back a little while to enjoy the feeling the story gave you.
(Joanne Kennedy 10:51am April 3, 2014)

Thanks to readers for stopping by! I'd be interested to know this: do you prefer series books or standalone stories?
(Joanne Kennedy 10:52am April 3, 2014)

I couldn't agree with you more about books in a series. I have read books before where the Author goes on and on about the prior books from their series, and if the Author was sitting next to me, I think I would punch them!! Don't they get it that not only does it take up useless pages, but that it gets boring when you read the same thing over and over again?? Not only that, but it usually adds nothing to the story line!! If it was omitted, it would really enhance the story, instead of add to it. Unfortunately, there is one series that I've been reading from the beginning, and this particular Author has been doing just that in every book. It drives me up the wall, so I sort of skip over it, then contine on with the rest of the book, after she gets done with her "amnesiatic rant." I'm looking forward to reading your latest book with bated breath!! It sounds like a real winner, and I'm sure the series is going to be one that you can sink your teeth into, and truly enjoy!! Congratulations!!
(Peggy Roberson 11:39am April 3, 2014)

Series are wonderful, since the characters have depth and I
can follow their lives. Your book sounds captivating and
special. Cowboys are my heroes and always will be. Best
(Sharon Berger 12:04pm April 3, 2014)

I enjoy books in a series... getting to see characters again that I already met...
(Colleen Conklin 12:45pm April 3, 2014)

I love books in a series - but especially when each story can be stand alone, if need be. But I love getting to know (and revisit) the "cast of characters"!!! And ... cowboys, too?!!! How can you go wrong. This sounds like a wonderful series. Best of luck with it! And thanks very much for this chance to win.
(Nancy Reynolds 1:19pm April 3, 2014)

I love series books. They give you the chance to know the
characters more and to see what happens to them later on or
with other characters.
(Tina Ullrich 4:39pm April 3, 2014)

I love cowboy stories, I'd love to read this one.
(Wilma Frana 4:55pm April 3, 2014)

I love books in a series when authors incorporate the characters into the next book revisiting their lives to find out what they're now doing (having a baby, etc. after they'd fallen in love and gotten married at the end of the previous book). Carolyn Brown does this. I especially love cowboy stories! I never pass up on any I find anywhere...I have to read them all.
(Linda Luinstra 6:20pm April 3, 2014)

I love a series of books. Your love for the characters just keeps going and
with cowboys to boot.......yay!!!!!!!
(Melanie Backus 7:34pm April 3, 2014)

I love series and/or connected stories and cowboys are an added bonus. I like seeing what previous characters are doing because in a good book they almost feel like friends and I'm invested in their lives. I like starting with the first book in a series, but also think each book should stand alone so the reader doesn't feel lost if they don't start with book #1.
(Marcy Shuler 9:10pm April 3, 2014)

I love series books. A cowboy is a plus and waiting to see
who returns in the next book are a plus. And waiting to see
if a character that you have grown to love/admire gets their
own story keeps you coming back for more.
(Cindy Olp 12:39pm April 4, 2014)

I love series. I love the continuity of fav characters and
settings. Thanks for the giveaway!
(Linda Townsend 8:30am April 4, 2014)

I love series. Once I get an author new to me, I have to read them all!
(Barbara Wells 9:14am April 4, 2014)

I like series that involve family members but are still a
stand alone book. I hate to get "lost" when I read book 2 or
3. Tansk for the giveaway.
(Leona Olson 9:51am April 4, 2014)

What a great book title!
(Maria Proctor 11:00am April 4, 2014)

i love cowboy romance stories they are my favorite
(Denise Smith 11:27am April 4, 2014)

What a great combination! I enjoy series, cowboys, and please, let's not forget romance.
(Anna Speed 12:25pm April 4, 2014)

Looks like a must read.
(Tina Lechuga 1:16pm April 4, 2014)

I got to live in Wyoming-- though in the big city of Rock
Springs-- for two years, and I love Wyoming and its cultures.
I look forward to reading your series!
(Mary Ann Dimand 1:38pm April 4, 2014)

I pretty much only read series books. I really like getting
into the characters and enjoy feeling the connection that you
gain through a series.
(Denise Austin 2:26pm April 4, 2014)

I enjoy series books and especially series books of cowboys!
(Vennie Martinisi 2:41pm April 4, 2014)

I love cowboy romances.
(Mary Smith 3:02pm April 4, 2014)

i love series and cowboys!!!
(Jennifer Beck 6:45pm April 4, 2014)

I LOVE series especially when each book can be read as a stand alone.
(Betty Hamilton 3:39am April 5, 2014)

Love those strong ,determined cowboys aho are so special to love. A Texas Fan. Theresa Henry
(Theresa Henry 4:59pm April 5, 2014)

For me I love both series, if they can stand alone, and stand alone books. For me it's always the story and yours sounds great.
(Carol Woodruff 6:42pm April 5, 2014)

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