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The-Barkley-Brothers

What’s not to love about three hunky cowboys?

When I was a kid, I watched cowboy and western shows like Bonanza, Rawhide, and The Big Valley with my dad. Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with horses, ranches, and cowboys. As a reader, my favorite books are set between 1850-1900 in western America. So I guess it made sense that when I became a writer that I would write about that time period. I never expected to write about any other time period, but sometimes God takes us in directions we don’t plan on going. While most of my novels are historical, I do have several contemporary stories. One of them, The Bull Rider’s Bride, released a few months ago.

The Bull Rider's BrideHere’s what The Bull Rider’s Bride is about:

Champion bull rider Dusty Starr is at the top of his game—until a bull throws him and stomps on his leg. He goes home to heal and watch after his grandma until he can rejoin the circuit. While there are no guarantees that bull riding is in his future, his past is alive and well in the form of Gramma’s beautiful physical therapist—a woman he never expected to see again.

Physical therapist Lindsey Lang once loved Dusty, but then tragedy struck because of his younger brother’s recklessness, and Dusty did something she never thought he’d do. He abandoned her, leaving her to mourn her brother’s death alone. Being assigned to Grandma Starr is hard enough, but with Dusty there, Lindsey’s sure her heart won’t survive.

Against all expectations, friendship renews, and Dusty dares to hope Lindsey will forgive him. She’s the only girl he’s ever loved, and he aims to get her back. But friendship is one thing. A second chance at love? That will take more gumption than riding a rank bull—and then some.

Me again. Sometimes a writer will have a book that sticks with them for a long time, and for one reason or another, it doesn’t get picked up by a publisher. Gabriel’s Atonement, book 1 in my Land Rush Dreams series was one of those. After five years, it finally found a home, and this month, Sarah’s Surrender, book 3 in the series, was released.

Sarahs_Surrender_coverWhen Sarah Worley rejects Luke McNeil’s marriage proposal to pursue property in the Oklahoma Territory land lottery in 1901, the ranch hand pulls up stakes and goes after her. But he’s the last person she wants to see. The land lottery gives Sarah the chance to realize her dream of independence and a home of her own. But with it comes challenges she never considered. When her dream becomes a nightmare, she must decide whether to stay on her land or give up and return to the life she left. Luke hopes that by winning a claim, he can give Sarah the home she’s always wanted. How can he prove his love and show the stubborn woman that he’s the right man for her?

The last thing I want to tell you about is a collection of new historical novellas, which I have a story in. My novella, The Hand-Me-Down Husband was one I originally pitched for a collection one of my publishers was pulling together. I submitted two proposals, and my editor chose the other one. The Hand-Me-Down Husband found a home when another publisher pulled together a collection named Heart of a Cowboy.

Heart of a Cowboy cover finalEllen Stewart despises Lance Garrett. If not for him dashing into Isabelle’s life and stealing her heart and filling her head with his dreams, her little sister would still be alive and safe at home. When Ellen receives Lance’s letter requesting help, she rushes to Silver Springs, intent on taking charge of her young niece. A rugged ranch is no place for a motherless baby. But when she realizes the depth of Lance’s despair, she can’t leave him alone. Though everything within her wants to flee back to the big city, something makes her stay. Tessa needs her father, for one—and he needs her. Ellen knows what it’s like to lose all she’d dreamed of. When local church members make a stink about Ellen living at Lance’s ranch, they are forced to marry. Ellen didn’t want a hand-me-down husband, but could their marriage be God’s will for them both?

The three projects listed above represent about ten months of my life. I love creating towns and families, causing trouble for my characters, and then giving them a happily-ever-after. I suppose I’m a hopeless romantic.

I thought I’d give y’all a chance to pick a writer’s brain.

Vickie McDonoughDo you have any questions about writing or maybe writing historical novels that you’d like to ask?

Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for an ebook copy of The Bull Rider’s Bride or a print copy of Heart of a Cowboy. I’ll be drawing two names.

Good luck, and thanks for spending time with me today!

Guest Blogger

25 Comments

  1. Hi Vickie. Thank you for your post. Your books sound wonderful. I love reading historicals too. My question is, how much time do you spend doing research before you actually begin writing? Are you a plotter or a panster?

    I would love to win one of your books. Thank you for the opportunity.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    1. Hi Cindy! The time I spend researching varies a lot from book to book and depends on how much real history is included. For my land run series, I was pretty familiar with the history since I’ve grown up in OK, but I’d never heard of the land lottery, so that took a lot more research. I do quite a bit of research before starting a book, but during the writing, things often pop up that I need to do more research. As for panster or plotter, I’ve somewhere in between. I like a to have the rough frame of the story before I start, but much of it is unknown to me until I get to know my characters betters. I hope that makes sense.

  2. Your new book sounds really good. I enjoyed your post today.

    1. Thanks for stopping by today, Janine.

  3. Historical novels are so wonderful. Iwas wondering if you have ever done something really strange in the name of research?

    1. I have! My editor once asked me if I’d be interested in submitting a proposal for a South Carolina series. I write pretty much all stories set in western states so the eastern coast was a huge reach. But at that time in my writing career, I didn’t want to say no, so I did tons of research and even managed to make a trip to Charleston. I learned a lot and plotted out a 3-book series, and she ended up buying it. The other series I wrote that was a stretch was one set in North Dakota. I learned some fascinating things about a French Marquis who built a meat processing plant and a started a small town he named after his wife, Medora. The town is still there, as is the marquis’s 26-room house. Of course, we had to take a trip up there too.

  4. Hi, Vickie! Nice to meet you. Where/How do you do most of your research?

    1. I do the majority of my research online, unless I’m able to visit the place I’m researching. When I do, I love to tour the historical sections of town and visit old homes that are open to the public. We also usually visit used books stores to hunt for books in about the area.

      1. Used book stores. I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll have to try that sometime. Thanks!

        1. You can find a wealth of books in a used book store, especially if you’re in the town or state you’re researching. Thrift stores and Goodwill stores are also good places to find books about the town you’re visiting.

  5. Good morning Vickie! My best friend from high school (still BFF’s!) got me hooked on those same shows you used to watch! Though it’s been many years since I’ve seen them, they still conjure up some great memories of time spent with my BFF at her house watching TV, drinking Pepsi, and having a good time.
    My question was going to be the same as Faith’s, but since she already asked it, I’ll change it to one about “Heart of a Cowboy”. How was it collaborating with the other three authors to write this collection? How did you guys communicate and come up with the theme, was it fun? I think it would be fun brainstorming ideas with other like-minded authors!
    Thanks for taking the time to answer everyone’s questions and for the chance to win one of your books, blessings

    1. Trixi,

      Heart of a Cowboy was an easy collection to collaborate on because the stories aren’t connected. I recently work on one that releases in December called Seven Brides for Seven Texans. Now that was way more difficult. We had to keep 7 brothers and their characteristics straight, then there’s the ranch setting as well as the town that we had to all keep the same. And then the guys started getting married. I wrote the sixth novella in the collection, so I had five brides and their men to keep straight. I made a spreadsheet with all their info: eye & hair color, which gal belonged to which brother, their traits, quirks etc. We also had a master document with synopses and gobs of other info. It was a huge job, but I think readers are going to LOVE this collection. Seven Brides for Seven Texans. Here’s a link if you want to know more or pre-order it: amzn.to/2a5OfFV

  6. Cool Post.

  7. Hi Vickie! It’s very nice to meet you. I love your books! I have then things with your name on them on my Kindle. Technically it should be twelve things because one is a trilogy 🙂
    I do not have either of the books you are offering in the giveaway. Thanks for the chance to win one.

    1. Hi Andrea! Thanks so much for being a fan of my books. You made my day!

  8. Love your books Vickie!

    1. Thanks, Cindy! I really appreciate that you read them and am glad to hear you enjoy them.

  9. You have had a busy and productive year so far. It must be difficult when a story you like and have invested your time and heart in isn’t accepted by a publisher. How do you handle that? Do you set it aside telling yourself its time will come or get hurt feelings and have it affect your being able to write?
    You have a nice variety of stories that have come out. I am sure everyone will be able to find at least one of those books to enjoy.

    1. Thank you, Pat, for your kind comment. I can’t say that rejections don’t hurt, but I’ve been blessed to not have had very many of them. As a Christian, I believe God has a perfect timing for my books and a message that someone needs to hear. It boggles my mind that I can write a book, and a year later it’s published and on the shelves. Months after that, I’ll get a note from a reader telling me the book was just what she needed and helped her get through a difficult situation. That’s not something I could have ever planned. It was God’s timing.

  10. How do you things fresh? Are you living these lives so you can get new ideas or do they just POOF into your head?

    1. How do you keep things fresh? I sound like a schoolgirl with my wording!

  11. Hi Vickie……..Welcome back. We’re really glad to have you again. I’m sorry for my late response. I’m deep in copy edits and never got on the internet yesterday. Congratulations on the new books! The Bull Rider’s Bride looks amazing. I take it this is contemporary? Get that from what the girls are wearing. You’re branching out. YAY!

  12. I really enjoy your books Vickie. I just checked out Sarah’s Surrender form our church library. I have a couple of books to read before that one, but I’m looking forward to reading it. I liked the other books in this series. How do you distinguish between thoughts and spoken words without saying s/he said…thought?

  13. Avatar

    Wonderful post,Vicki! Love your stories! My question is how do you pick the time period you’re going to write about? Oh,and just wondered if you have to spend a lot of time on research? Thanks for your wonderful stories and the giveaway!

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