The "cover girl" from Never Shoot a Stampede Queen
The “cover girl” from Never Shoot a Stampede Queen

If you can judge a book by it’s cover then I guess I’m a romance writer. I just discovered two other books with the same cover as Never Shoot a Stampede Queen — a pair of romance novels.

The first time my niece, Emma, saw the cowgirl silhouette on the cover of my book she asked, “is that you when you were a kid in Williams Lake?”

A few urban readers asked if the cowgirl was a cowboy. I think the word “queen” confused them.

Some readers who’d seen cowgirls in real life — including a friend who’d dated one – just wanted to know what she looked like.

For years I wondered who was on the cover of my book. Now I know the answer. Her name is “Kat.” Or at least that’s her modelling name. And she’s a real life rodeo queen.

A few years ago photographer Matt Knowles took a few pictures of Kat working a lasso. He made the image available as a “stock photo” – which means anyone can buy the rights to use it — and the designer for my publisher, Heritage House, thought it was perfect for the cover of my book. The image is catchy, the colours pop on a book shelf and it definitely has a western feel.

It’s so perfect that a couple of other publishers used the exact same image.

Sparta Rose by Ginger Simpson is a historical romance set in Sparta, Tennessee in 1860.


To Tame a Cowgirl by Roni Adams is a contemporary romance about a cowboy named Buck who wants to be more than buddies with his friend, Sara.

51mitzp-ehL._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_I discovered this courtesy of a message on Facebook that arrived from the far reaches of the internet. Okay, from Ferndale, California. The photographer had discovered my book online and was wondering if I’d be game to send him a copy.

I told Matt I’d trade him a copy for a picture… I wanted to know what the woman on my cover looked like.  He not only sent me a photo of her — that he gave me permission to share here — but he told me a bit about the image that has become his most his most popular shot both for licensing and print sales.

“It was photographed in Loleta (California) on some public land that used to be a dairy ranch. The model was a local rodeo champion and she provided the rope and some of the other props that you can’t see in the silhouette… I shot a variety of stuff with her that day, and as the sun set, I decided to do the silhouette.”

“I think a large part of its popularity is that it is anonymous, the cowgirl can be whoever they want it to be. That surprised me when it first started selling so well, but after I thought about it, it makes sense.”

If you check out Matt’s gallery (and maybe buy some of his stuff) you can see the original image, a few variations and a few shots of Kat topless.  Hmm I think my hit count just went way up….

You can also see Kat on the cover of the newly released unabridged audio version of Never Shoot a Stampede Queen which was just released on and iTunes and is narrated by… me… If you’ve never tried you can sign up for a free trial account and score one free audio book download, preferably mine.


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