Friday, January 2, 2015

Truth in Fiction is especially pleased to present Shannon Taylor Vannatter's newest work, Rodeo Family. In this novel, Shannon has written with grace about a serious problem with many women in our society. Social activists, series authors, and abused women all will profit from what she has to say. Especially interesting for authors is how she developed the main character and her surrounding plot.

Shannon Vannatter is offering a free print book to one person who leaves a comment on this blog between now and Jan. 17th, 2015.


She's beginning a new chapter in Aubrey, Texas, away from her abusive ex-boyfriend. As she picks up the pieces of her broken life, Tori's surprised at the helping hand the church's new song director, Brant McConnell, offers her, and at the warm emotions he inspires.

Brant is drawn to Tori. And as their friendship grows, so do his feelings for her. But Tori is still hounded by her past, and the walls she's built around her heart are high. Can he convince the wounded beauty that he's exactly the kind of man she needs—and deserves?

Tori Eaton first appeared in Rodeo Song – Book 6 in my Texas Rodeo series. She was the heroine’s employee. Readers saw her abandon her friend at a Country music concert to have a fling with a married musician. Then she got drunk and had a pregnancy scare. She didn’t make a very good impression. That’s all she was supposed to be – a tool to get the heroine in the bad situation I needed her to be in, so she could reconnect with her high school sweetheart.
But often when I write a troubled side character, I feel compelled to find out why they turned out the way they are. About halfway through Tori’s side story, I realized she could have her own book. When I delved into Tori’s past, her story became Rodeo Family. In the opening scene, Tori wakes up after her boyfriend beat her up.

Over the years, I’ve come in contact with women in abusive relationships. Not friends or family, just women that have passed through my life. There is a women’s shelter in our area. I know that some of the women and their children show up with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. The shelter helps them find jobs and housing. Our church has gotten Christmas gifts for the kids there and donated food, clothing, and furniture.

I know there are statistics on what type of women end up in abusive relationships. They have no family support, they grew up in an abusive home, they’re dependent or poor and don’t think they can make it on their own. Often the women have several children and settle for the first man to come along because they think they can’t do any better. And often, they think they deserve the abuse.

I can’t fathom living like that. But I was raised in a loving, two-parent family. I’ve always had an awesome support system. I lucked out and found a Christian man as committed as I was to marrying once. I say luck because though I was raised in church, I didn’t become a Christian until I’d already met and fallen in love with my future husband.

When that football player decked his girlfriend and knocked her out in the elevator, I was astounded when she married him anyway. The incident happened well after I’d finished Tori’s story, but it reiterated how timely the subject is.

My fictional Tori grew up in an abusive home. Her mother committed suicide when Tori was a teenager. She went on the road with her hard-living country music star dad. She had plenty of reason for living a reckless life and ending up in an abusive situation. But I didn’t leave her there long. Tori lived with her abuser for six weeks before the book begins. During that time, he beat her up four times.

On her own, she probably wouldn’t have left. She only had one family member she was close to, her aunt Loretta. Her Christian aunt didn’t know anything about the abuse because Tori had distanced herself to hide her party girl lifestyle she knew her aunt wouldn’t approve of. But Tori had a friend. A friend willing to help her get out of the situation and supply a safe place to stay. Once Tori was out of the line of fire, she found her backbone – and Jesus.

Most people don’t have a guest house with a security system, like Tori’s friend. But we all know where shelters are. By simply encouraging an abused woman to leave or maybe giving them a ride to the shelter, we could change a life.

As the story continues, Tori refuses to press charges against her abuser. Finally a formerly abused woman who appeared back in Rodeo Queen shares her story with Tori. The woman was kidnapped by her abusive boyfriend as a teen. In her twenties, she left him and intentionally stayed missing even from her family in her quest for safety.

She now runs a center for abused women and convinces Tori to press charges against her abuser. But a lot of times when women press charges, the abuser still isn’t prosecuted. I included that aspect of real life in Tori’s story as well.

My prayer is that abused women will get their hands on Rodeo Family and find strength through Tori’s determination to change her life. That Tori’s story will inspire a reader who knows an abused woman to offer a helping hand. That Tori’s story will inspire a formerly abused woman to help a currently abused woman. And I always pray that readers will find Jesus through my characters’ struggles.

Shannon's bio:
Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. She lives in a town with a population of around 100, if you count a few cows. Vannatter won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award in the short contemporary category, The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards 3rd Favorite New Author and #1 Contemporary Award.

She has ten titles published and is contracted for five more. Her books are available at,,,, and Learn more about Shannon and her books at and check out her real life romance blog at

Connect with her on Facebook:, Goodreads:, Pinterest:, and Twitter: @stvauthor.

Preference for the free copy of Rodeo Family will be given to a commenter who promises to write a 25-word or more comment on Does it matter? YES! Amazon treats novels with a good number of reader posts in various preferential ways which affect the visibility (and therefore the sales) of the books. Serious readers should also visit, grab a free membership, and leave posts there of novels they read. Support the authors you enjoy reading.


Katrina Epperson said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. The plot sounds so realistic. Those are the kinds of stories I love to read. Yes, I would leave a review on Amazon if I won.

Ann Ellison said...

This really sounds like a good read. I haven't read anything by this author and would love to win a copy of this book. I will be glad to leave reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes & Noble if it is posted there.

Anonymous said...

I know that this will be awesome as usual! I will write a review on Amazon for the book!Shelia Hall

Leo of Dixie said...

This sounds like a great story. I would love to win the copy of the book.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hey Katrina, I try to write realistic fiction. The more real it is, the more I enjoy reading.

Ann, I'd love to be a new to you author. I love discovering new authors.

Hey Shelia,
Thanks for the vote of confidence. You made my day with your awesome as usual :)

Hey Leo of Dixie,
I really enjoyed writing the book and sharing Tori's story.

Mary Lou said...

I would so love to win. This is the first time I came across this author and I love reading new authors and trying new books. Thanks so much for this contest. Sincerely, flowersmarylou85(at)gmail(dot)com

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hey Mary Lou,
I'd love to be discovered by you :)I love trying new to me authors too.