Category Archives: Kaki Warner

Review: Rough Creek by Kaki Warner

Title: Rough Creek by Kaki Warner
Brides of Rough Creek Series Book One
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 364 pages
Book Rating: C

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A cowboy with a troubled past and the woman he can’t resist find love and second chances in Rough Creek, Texas, from the beloved and award winning author of Western romance, Kaki Warner.

After serving eighteen months in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Dalton Cardwell is looking for a fresh start. What better place than Whitcomb Four Star Ranch? He doesn’t regret the decisions of his past–he’d choose the same roads again. But now all Dalton wants is to keep his head down and focus on the horses–and on Raney Whitcomb.

Raney is outraged when she learns her mother hired an ex-con. Raney has worked hard for the ranch, sacrificing her personal life for the dream of building on her family’s legacy. But as Dalton breaks down every misconception and even wins the good opinion of her sisters, Raney is forced to rethink her stance–and finally free herself to explore the heart-pounding tension that simmers between them.


Rough Creek by Kaki Warner is an angsty novel of starting over and love.

Raney Whitcomb took over running the family ranch after her beloved father’s sudden death. Nine years later, she is working hard to make the recent changes to the ranch successful.  Raney is also conflicted and a bit judgmental about her mama’s new hire, Dalton Cardwell. He is fresh from serving a prison sentence and she cannot seem to let go of the fact he is an ex-con. Raney is a frustrating woman who is not exactly likable as she tries to move past her fear that she will give her heart to the wrong man again.

Dalton is more than ready to leave his past behind him. He has done his time and wants nothing more than to begin the next phase of his life. He is pleased with his new position at the Whitcomb family ranch and he is even more delighted with the progress he is making with the horse he is training.  Dalton is patient and laidback which is a good thing since Raney runs hot and cold for much of their burgeoning relationship.

Raney and Dalton’s romance is slow moving and often takes two steps forward and one step back. Raney is overly cautious but she finds it virtually impossible to commit to Dalton. For his part, Dalton freely admits to his feelings and he works hard to give Raney the space she needs. He is eager to take their romance to the next level and he occasionally gets irritated as Raney sometimes intentionally manufactures problems when she feels uncomfortable with their relationship.

The Whitcomb family is a bit of a mixed bag.  Matriarch Coralee is somewhat overbearing with old-fashioned beliefs.  Raney’s sister Joss is an aspiring singer/songwriter with a bit of wild past. When she suddenly returns home, she brings plenty of drama and tears as she tries to figure out her future. Older sister Len is married with two children but there seems to be trouble afoot as her kids grow up and her husband seems more devoted to his career than his family.  KD is newly commissioned into the military and everyone worries about where her service will take her.

The first installment in the Brides of Rough Creek series, Rough Creek is a drama-filled romance with an interesting storyline.  The characters are relatively well-developed but some are more likable than others. The romance between Dalton and Raney moves in fits and starts due to Raney’s issues. Despite late in the story conflict, Kaki Warner brings this slow-burning romance to a heartfelt conclusion.

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Filed under Berkley, Brides of Rough Creek Series, Contemporary, Kaki Warner, Rated C, Review, Romance, Rough Creek

Friday’s Feature: Interview with Kaki Warner and Print Book Giveaway

Stopping by to chat with us today is award winning author Kaki Warner. The second book in her Runaway Brides trilogy, Colorado Dawn hits bookshelves Tuesday January 3, 2012. Thank you so much for stopping by to answer my nosy, umm, inquisitive questions.

Ms. Warner: Thank you for inviting me, Kathy. I hope you had a lovely holiday and are gearing up for a fabulous 2012. Let’s hope it’s a better year for everyone than last year. Whew.

Kathy: Boy am I with you on a better 2012!!

What influenced your decision to become an author? How long have you been writing? How long did it take for your works to become published?

Ms. Warner: What started me on this journey was a really bad book. I thought surely I could do better. Eventually, I did, but it took me twenty-five years. That’s not to say I wrote all those years…maybe three total, off and on. But after my husband and I retired, I decided to give it another go. When I finally did finish PIECES OF SKY, it sold pretty quickly. I’m what you might call a late bloomer baby boomer. I suppose if you’re going to take twenty-five years to write a single book, it BETTER sell, right?

Kathy: While I’m not glad you read a really bad book, I am glad it prompted you to become an author :). What is a typical day like as author Kaki Warner? Do you write every day? How long does it take you to complete the novel’s first draft?

Ms. Warner: I write every day that I’m not traveling or have company. I also do a lot of research. I’d say my normal week averages about 80 hours at the computer…more when I’m chasing a deadline. It usually takes about 6 months to have a book ready for my editor, although that gets messed up sometimes by promotional demands, family visits, and other commitments.

I don’t write in drafts. I start with a general idea of the characters and where they are and where they want to be. Then it sort of evolves. I’ll write to a certain point—the end of a scene, or at a POV shift, or about 20 pages—then I edit what I’ve done. That way, when I’m halfway through the book, those 200 pages are polished enough to be submitted. I couldn’t write an entire book without that editing process—the idea of having a mess behind me would really bog me down. I might go back and make a few changes, clarify plot points, or add “plants” but overall, it’s finished up to that stopping point, which allows me to more on. Does that make sense?

Kathy: Complete sense. I am always amazed at how the writing process varies from author to author. I sure wish my hours spent at the computer were as productive as yours is :D.

You have one completed series, the Blood Rose trilogy, and you are about to release the second of three novels in your Runaway Brides series. Did you initially intend to write trilogies? Or did the other stories evolve from the first books of each respective series?

Ms. Warner: A little of both. When I sent out queries on Pieces of Sky, I thought maybe I could stretch it into a trilogy with books on the other two brothers. But I had nothing done except a 50-page start on Open Country and a vague idea for Chasing the Sun. I thought it would be more saleable as a trilogy so that’s how I marketed it. Then when Berkley bought it, I suddenly had to write those other two books in nine months. Sort of freaked me out. Be careful what you wish for, I guess.

Kathy: It is a fantastic trilogy, and I am SO glad you marketed it as one! What made you choose to write historical novels?

Ms. Warner: I love the Old West –the country, the people who tried to tame it, the challenges they had to face. I love the mindset and “code” of honor that Zane Grey immortalized in his novels. It’s an integral part of our unique national history. And who doesn’t love a cowboy? Also history was one of my majors in college, so I had a few basics to build on. Mostly though, since I start my books with a setting and time period, then add characters and plot, it was just easier to write about something I already knew and loved. Authors who can create entirely new universes amaze me. I wish I had an imagination like that, but alas, I don’t.

Kathy: Do you see yourself writing contemporary fiction at any point in your career?

Ms. Warner: Maybe. But it would still probably be set in the west. I’m not a city person, even though I lived most of my life in them. So I would still go for the small town or remote setting even if my characters were contemporary city dwellers transplanted into a rural setting. I sound like a total hick, don’t I? Maybe so. But I had enough asphalt and sirens and crowded streets growing up. I don’t want to fill my mind with them now. And since I now live in the middle of a thousand open semi-mountainous acres filled with deer and bear (I had one on my deck this summer—Surprise!), cougar, wolves, coyotes, and rattlesnakes, I don’t have to overwork my imagination to picture what the Wild West was like. It’s right there outside my office window.

Kathy: Not a hick at all. I am definitely a small town country girl at heart so I understand exactly where you are coming from. And I am envious of all of your wildlife except the rattlesnakes….

The Blood Rose trilogy was interconnected because each novel features a different brother from the Wilkins family. The novels in the Runaway Brides trilogy are set in the same town. Is the town of Heartbreak Creek what ties this trilogy together? Or is it the theme of the runaway brides? Do some of characters from the novels appear in each of the books?

Ms. Warner: It’s all about family. In the Wilkins books, it was the bond between the brothers and their connection to their ranch…good and bad. In the brides novels, it’s about four lost women bonding together to make a new home and create a new family. Women are good at that. It’s an innate part of their physiological construct, I think. And because the driving force beneath all my books is family, all these characters’ stories are interwoven with each other. So yes, they do appear in each other’s books. Hopefully, they’ll become family for the reader, too.

Kathy: I was a little misty eyed when I had to say goodbye to the Wilkins’ family. Luckily I have the Runaway Brides series to read. Can you tell us a little about Colorado Dawn?

Ms. Warner: CD is one of my favorites, probably because of the Scottish connection (my grandfather was from Scotland). It’s sort of a “second chance” story about a couple who drifted apart then had to find their way back to each other.

Maddie, the heroine, put aside her passion for photography when she married Angus, a dashing Scottish cavalry officer. But after only three letters and one visit in six years of marriage, she’s had it. Hired by a London periodical to photograph the West from a female perspective, she sails to America, and eventually ends up in the Rocky Mountains, where she finds a new home and a new family of friends in the dying mining town of Heartbreak Creek.

After an injury ends his military career, Angus heads home to find his wife gone, his family reduced by fever, and himself in line for an earldom. His new duty is clear: find his runaway wife, bring her back to Scotland, and beget heirs. HA! Maddie has worked hard to establish her independence. She doesn’t need Angus—Viscount Ashby as he’s called now—his money, or his title. And she certainly has no intention of going back to the stultifying life she left.

But Angus loves a challenge…and he never quit loving Maddie…so a second courtship begins. Amid statehood battles, claim jumping, and railroad expansion, their battle sweetly rages. Until word comes that Angus is now the new Earl. Then they have to decide if they want to be together in the mountains of Colorado or in the glittering ballrooms of London…or apart forever.

Kathy: I am hoping they stay in Colorado together because Heartbreak Creek just wouldn’t be the same without Maddie. I am very much looking forward to Lucinda’s story. Speaking of upcoming stories, what projects are you currently working on? What does your publishing schedule for 2012 look like at this point?

Ms. Warner: I have a third brides book, Bride of the High Country, coming out next summer. It’s finished and on its way to copy editing. Yay! So I’m taking a short breather (6 books in 3 years was tough), and playing around with a proposal that continues the characters of this series, and an idea for a Christmas novella, and maybe a visit with the Wilkins family. My editor and I will figure out where to go next after the first of the year.

Kathy: Is it summer yet??? And a Christmas novella with the Wilkins family would be fantastic.

Ms. Warner, I have thoroughly enjoyed chatting with you today and I appreciate you taking time to stop by and visit with us. Is there anything else you would like to share with us before you go?

Ms. Warner: Only that it’s never too late. Even if it takes twenty-five years to accomplish a goal, if you believe in yourself and what you’re doing, NEVER give up. Anybody else out there stubborn enough to keep grinding away at something even when everybody says it’s a lost cause?

Kathy: Well, I’m plenty stubborn and a sucker for lost causes! But I doubt I have a career as an author in my future.

Ms. Warner, congratulations on your upcoming release. Feel free to drop by anytime you happen to be in the neighborhood.

Ms. Warner: Thank you, Kathy, for inviting me. It’s been fun answering your umm, inquisitive questions. Happy New Year!

For more information, please visit Ms. Warner’s website.

To celebrate the release of Colorado Dawn and her visit here today, Ms. Warner is giving away a print copy of Colorado Dawn to one lucky commenter:

Title: Colorado Dawn by Kaki Warner
Runaway Brides Book Two
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 368 pages


The next in Kaki Warner’s sweeping new series about unlikely brides who make their way west-discovering newfound freedom and rediscovering love…

After only three letters and one visit during her six-year marriage to a Scottish Cavalry Officer, Maddie Wallace decides to build a life without him. Accepting an assignment from a London periodical to photograph the West from a female perspective, she sails from England, determined to build a new life as an independent woman.

After injury ends his military career, Angus Wallace returns home to find his wife gone, his family decimated by fever, and
himself next in line to an earldom. His new mission is clear–find his wife and sire heirs. His search takes him across an ocean
and half a continent, but he finally tracks her to Heartbreak Creek, Colorado. There his biggest challenge awaits–to
convince his headstrong wife to return home as his viscountess.

To enter the Friday Feature PRINT book Giveaway:

You must:

1. Be or become a follower of Book Reviews and More by Kathy using Google Friends Connect (Followers in the upper right sidebar box).

Then do one of the following:

2. Be or become a fan of Book Reviews & More by Kathy Facebook page OR follow me on Twitter (@BookReviewsMore) OR friend Book Reviews & More by Kathy on Goodreads OR follow me on NetworkedBlogs. Don’t tweet? Or have a facebook page? Not a Goodreads user? Then sign up for e-mail updates.

Make sure you have filled out the contest entry form:

3. To be eligible to enter contests on Book Reviews and More by Kathy you MUST fill out the contest entry form (found HERE). This form only needs to be filled out ONCE. Your privacy is important to me, and I will not share your information.

And don’t forget to:

4. Leave a comment on this post by 5 PM Mountain Time Sunday January 1.

It’s that easy! The winner will be announced Monday January 2.


Filed under Colorado Dawn, Contest, Friday Feature, Kaki Warner

Heartbreak Creek by Kaki Warner

Title: Heartbreak Creek by Kaki Warner
Runaway Bride Series, Book 1
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B


From Kaki Warner comes an exciting new series about four unlikely brides who make their way west-and find love where they least expect it…

Edwina Ladoux hoped becoming a mail-order bride would be her way out of the war- torn South and into a better life, but as soon as she arrives in Heartbreak Creek, Colorado, and meets her hulking, taciturn groom, she realizes she’s made a terrible mistake.

Declan Brodie already had one flighty wife who ran off with a gambler before being killed by Indians. He’s hoping this new one will be a practical, sturdy farm woman who can help with chores and corral his four rambunctious children. Instead, he gets a skinny Southern princess who doesn’t even know how to cook.

Luckily, Edwina and Declan agreed on a three-month courtship period, which should give them time to get the proxy marriage annulled. Except that as the weeks pass, thoughts of annulment turn into hopes for a real marriage- until Declan’s first wife returns after being held captive for the last four years. Now an honorable man must choose between duty and desire, and a woman who’s never had to fight for anything must do battle for the family she’s grown to love…

The Review:

The first installment in Kaki Warner’s Runaway Bride series, Heartbreak Creek is a delightfully heartwarming novel that sweet, sexy and filled with adventure. Edwina Ladoux and Declan Brodie’s marriage is off to a rocky beginning with their inauspicious first meeting. Will this couple overcome their misgivings about their marriage and misconceptions of one another and find everlasting love?

Appearances can be deceiving and first impressions are sometimes misleading. Declan Brodie and Edwina quickly learn this lesson following their first meeting as husband and wife. At first glance, Edwina appears delicate and quite proper. Although she occasionally dithers and appears flighty, Edwina she possesses a backbone of steel and a steely determination to make a new life for herself as Declan’s wife and stepmother to his four children.

Declan is a larger than life and hardworking rancher with more than his share of troubles. He has more work than hours in the day and his children are in desperate need of a mother. Declan is dedicated to his family, and he will do whatever it takes to protect them.

Edwina and Declan are well-drawn and three dimensional protagonists. They are strong characters with realistic flaws. They both carry some pretty heavy baggage from past relationships yet neither becomes mired down in their self perceived failures. Both possess a wonderful sense of humor, and it is a sheer delight to see them work through their issues and discover the love they share.

The secondary cast of characters is equally well-developed and likable. Declan’s children are rambunctious with four distinct personalities. Their resistance to Edwina’s new role in their life is understandable and Edwina slowly but surely finds her way into their hearts. Edwina’s new friendship with Lucinda and Maddie is endearing and lays the foundation for the future novels of the Runaway Bride series.

But the most compelling and interesting secondary characters are Prudence Lincoln and Thomas Redstone. Through their characters, Ms. Warner realistically approaches the racial prejudices and inequalities that existed in the aftermath of the Civil and Indian Wars.

With a richly drawn cast of characters, a vibrant setting and an engaging storyline, Kaki Warner brings Heartbreak Creek vividly to life. Fans of historical romances are sure to fall in love with this beautifully written romance.


Filed under Berkely Trade, Heartbreak Creek, Historical, Kaki Warner, Rated B, Romance