05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cowboys and Football - What's Not To Like?

By Lex Valentine

I grew up in what I, to this day, call a “cow town.” My hometown is the home of the California
Rodeo and I grew up across the street from a dairy. I was horse crazy which was fine because there were lots around that area.

Lex Valentine
I loved western riding for a long time and then I discovered Walter Farley’s books and I yearned to be a jockey. That didn’t work out too well when it appeared at eleven that I was going to be over five feet tall. Still, I loved horse racing and I began to follow it.

One of the other things I began to follow was football. My oldest brother (he’s 20 years older than me) was a professional referee and a total football addict. He watched both college and professional football. That meant that I watched football too.  I grew up unable to avoid sports.

When I began writing, everyone around me espoused “write what you know.” For me, that meant I could set my books in a small town world with people who lived on ranches and were former rodeo athletes. It meant I could write about characters who played football in college and were drafted to NFL teams. And so I did.

My Christmas Cowboys series is set in the fictional town of Heil, California. It’s a central California town and the main characters all own land adjacent to each other. The very first of these short stories is Christmas Hookup which is free and features a cowboy turned model. In Christmas in Hell, the hero is a former bull rider. For Christmas Catch, one hero is also a former rodeo star. Christmas Wishes features a cowgirl and in Cupid Christmas one hero is a bull rider and the other provides livestock to rodeos.  The town is loosely based on my hometown and the characters all find their HEAs on Christmas Eve. Some of the stories are M/F and others are M/M.

When I decided to write about football my ideas sprung from the controversy over where to build a stadium in Southern California. One proposal for a complex in the City of Industry really took my fancy and thus, the Los Angeles Stars were born in my head. The first of my Out in the NFL books about men who come out while playing or working in the NFL is Scrambling. It’s the story of two best friends who go from the Peewee field to college champions to a new NFL expansion team, the Los Angeles Stars. The two heroes are in love with each other but afraid to say so. What they aren’t afraid to do is come out. With the help of a savvy PR woman, the two men become the first two openly gay players in the NFL.

It’s an angsty book. It’s a tough road for the players. But it’s a story I wanted to tell. I’m working on the sequel now which features a secondary character from Scrambling. Writing about gay athletes is really different than writing about straight ones. Not many professional sports have out athletes.

With these kinds of books under my belt, joining Romancing the Jock was like a Cinderella slipper fit. Just right. I’ll be visiting my horse racing obsession this spring on the blog as I take a look at the Kentucky Derby and thoroughbred horse racing. I’ve played a very realistic horse racing sim for over ten years so I’ll be talking about too. I hope you sports fans will come by and check it out!

Lex Valentine

Romancing the Jock Posts:

Scrambling Trailer:
Cupid Christmas Trailer:



Judith Ashley said...

Lex, You must be in your element with the Derby coverage starting in a couple of days! Glad you found Romancing The Jock --- it's great when the slipper fits!

Sarah Raplee said...

Hi Lex,

I love that you write about sports and characters you are passionate about! I never knew there was a Derby Sim Game, but it makes sense that there is! I'll check it out.

Romancing the Jock has introduced me to so many wonderful sports Romance writers!

Thank you for contributing to Romancing the Genres!