Unstoppable Stampede Romance: Hearts in the Spotlight

My newest creation, Hearts in the Spotlight, is an unstoppable Stampede Romance. It will release in May. I can hardly wait! This novel is part of the Women of Stampede Romance Novels. Each novel features a heroine, and sometimes a hero, who is involved in the Calgary Stampede. My hero, Brett Wyatt, is a country music superstar performing at Stampede. My heroine is a former Stamped Princess who runs a country bed and breakfast.

About the Series:
Saddle up for the ride! The Women of Stampede will lasso your hearts! If you love romance novels with a western flair, look no further than the Women of Stampede Series. Authors from Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton and other parts of the province have teamed up to create seven contemporary romance novels loosely themed around The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth… the Calgary Stampede.

Among our heroes and heroines, you’ll fall in love with innkeepers, country singers, rodeo stars, barrel racers, chuckwagon drivers, trick riders, Russian Cossack riders, western-wear designers and bareback riders. And we can’t forget our oil executives, corporate planners, mechanics, nursing students and executive chefs. We have broken hearts, broken bodies, and broken spirits to mend, along with downed fences and shattered relationships.

Big city lights. Small town nights. And a fabulous blend of city dwellers and country folk for your reading pleasure. Best of all, hearts are swelling with love, looking for Mr. or Miss Right and a happily ever after ending. Seven fabulous books from seven fabulous authors featuring a loosely connected theme – The Calgary Stampede.

Hearts in the Spotlight:
When a country and western superstar runs smack dab into an introverted inn keeper sparks fly in more ways than one. He adores the spotlight, she fears it. Can they find a balance and build a life together?

Former Stampede princess and teacher, Stephanie Alexander retreated to the country to escape the media circus hounding her since the death of one of her students. Although she’s content with small town peace and quiet, she’s thrilled with the corporate booking of all sixteen rooms in her bed and breakfast.

Brett Wyatt is nearing burnout from years of non-stop touring as a country music superstar. After a personal tragedy leaves him unable to compose, he arrives at the Wild Rose Inn, determined to spend the three weeks leading up to the Calgary Stampede getting his head back in the game. He’s not expecting to get tangled up with a semi-reclusive innkeeper with a wagon-load of baggage and a devastating secret.

A life-changing turn of events forces Brett to abandon his independence and rely on others, including Stephanie. But can she overcome her issues to help him battle his demons?Women of Stampede: Hearts in the SpotlightThe Inspiration:
The Calgary Stampede was a huge part of my life for many years. Throughout my thirties, I was part of a theatrical group known as Guns of the Golden West. We dressed in late 1800s costumes and performed mock gunfights year round. During the busy Stampede season, we put on anywhere from five to fifteen shows a day around Calgary and three or four daily shows in Weadickville, a mock western town situated on the Stampede Grounds and dedicated to one of the Calgary Stampede founders, Guy Weadick.

From these performances, and my immersion in western life, past and present, my love of this annual event blossomed. I adore everything from the nightly Grandstand Show to the agricultural displays. Cotton candy, corn dogs, beer tents, concerts and midway rides help round out this ten-day extravaganza.

Having been a Winter Carnival queen in my youth, I have a special place in my heart for those young girls who put their self-confidence on the line and compete for the title of queen. It isn’t as easy as you think. It takes a tough heart and brave soul to learn public speaking and answer questions you’re totally unprepared for. And, let’s not forget the endless public appearances, having a stranger pick your clothing, and smiling 24/7 until you feel like your face will freeze that way. Still, it wasn’t all bad. Most of it was fabulous. Educational and entertaining. I met some great people and made lifelong friends while I developed numerous life skills. I came out a braver woman for the trials.

Hearts in the Spotlight and Women of Stampede is my way of sharing my joy and fascination with rodeo and the Stampede with my readers.

The Result:
Seven fabulous authors, seven fabulous novels, including my own, Hearts in the Spotlight. Here’s what fellow WOS Author, Shelley Kassian had to say:

“Katie O’Connor, illuminates the song or winsome ballad that Brett Wyatt and Steph Alexander explore from the opening passages to the happily ever after conclusion. It seems a fitting title for a novel that squeezes a reader’s heartstrings, reaching inside her chest, almost forcing the cessation of breath. It gripped me.
As a past singer, I’ve had moments in the spotlight when my vocal cords cracked, or my singing voice slipped away, so the moments where the hero and heroine struggle with the threat of losing a natural talent, really touched me.
I beta-read this book, pleading with the author inside the novel’s sidelines, to give a fictional character hope. A voice. A song. A career.
I cried. I’m crying now… remembering.”
This is a work of Romance. A story I feel privileged to have read.”
Shelley Kassian, the author of the Women of Stampede novel, The Half Mile of Baby Blue.

In Conclusion:
I’m very proud of Hearts in the Spotlight. I feel that I’ve written a touching story of two lives that crash, diverge and reconnect in a meaningful way. It deals with the loss of the passion that carries you through life and with the loss of a child, which I’ve never imagined and hope to God that I never will.
I’ve got a few Advance Reader Copies up for grabs. If you’d like to read and review Hearts in the Spotlight, drop me an email through my contact me page.

Hugs, Katie

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