Five spirited animals pounded down the track, a short 300 yards for these beginners. All power and motion, a shower of dirt, and then it was over.

78992705_High Resolution Front Cover_4600198 (1) 2018Born a Texan and fascinated with our western heritage, it was inevitable that I would write a literary western inspired by my uncle’s quarter horse ranch.  For a time, Rio Ranch was managed by my cousin, Sharon McAmis, a fascinating mixture of gentleness and grit.

WRANGLE is a novel anchored in place and time — set in South Texas in the 1970’s when quarter horse racing was held on dirt tracks.  Into this world comes thirty-nine-year-old Shannon Murphy to manage her father’s ranch. It is a chance for her to start anew and she takes to this tactile life with fervor.

Although she has a chilly relationship with her stepmother, Shannon holds dear the opportunity to help her father build a winning stable. An ardent romance develops between Shannon and local veterinarian Hayden Aldred, and they form a family of sorts with Jesus Valdez, a teenage ranch hand who dreams of college.

Despite a series of setbacks, the success of the ranch’s prized race horse seems assured until a tragedy strikes – a tragedy for which some blame Shannon. Exiling herself to the Davis Mountains, Shannon embarks on a journey of self-reflection that challenges her every notion of life, love and family loyalty.

In 2015, WRANGLE won a Will Rogers Silver Medallion Award for Western Romance.  WRANGLE is available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

— Jonnie Martin