Carol Finch Lives the West!

photo-finchHallelujah! I finished the first draft of my 90th book. It is always a relief to have a story on paper.

Of those ninety books, written under 5 pen names—Connie Feddersen, Carol Finch, Gina Robins, Debra Falcon, Connie Drake—nine are a series of tongue-in-cheek mysteries with a country and western setting. There are sixteen Early American settings, fifteen contemporary westerns and thirty-eight historical westerns. I threw several pirates, time-travel and paranormal in the mix, but westerns will always be my first love. Well, except for my first husband. I’m exceptionally fond of him, too.carol-finch

I love writing fast-paced romantic adventures. Westerns easily lend themselves to action in cattle drives, wild, cross-country chases on horseback or in stagecoaches, shoot-‘em-ups and Oklahoma Land Runs. Since I have a Native American heritage, I enjoy writing about various western tribes and include many mixed heritage heroes in my books.

You just can’t beat a good western, I always say. Add a lively, pistol-packin’ heroine and a rough-and-ready hero, a little humor and you have an action-packed romance to take you back in time and entertain you for hours.

carolfinch.jpgSince we live on a ranch and do farm work ourselves, it’s easy to envision hundreds of plot possibilities in the wide-open spaces. Our cattle ranch is on the historical registry of Centennial Farms, owned and operated by my husband’s family for over one hundred years. It is located near the Chisholm Trail, complete with buffalo wallows from the Indian Territory days. The border of our pastures and wheat fields is near the boundary of the Land Run of 1889, where hundreds of hopeful settlers lined up to claim land taken away from Indian tribes.

My writing routine begins with morning exercises, followed by a mile-and-a-half walk through pastures where our herds of cows, bulls and young calves graze. The cattle are accustomed to having me walk among them, with our black Lab named Bullet—who chases the same jackrabbit every day and never catches it. The cattle rarely raise their heads or move out of the way when we hike past them.

Being outdoors for a brisk walk gives me the chance to collect my thoughts before beginning new scenes or deciding what changes will strengthen a story. If I bog down, a walk in the middle of nowhere, without a distraction, stirs the creative juices so I can return to work.

Another added bonus is having a husband who is so creative that he can toss more inspirational ideas at me than I can work into a story. Plus, he paints Western art. Whether I’m indoors or out, country landscapes, cattle and horses fill up my world.

Although we have traded in our horses for ATVs—they can still buck you off if you don’t watch out—we make cattle finch-trrhdrives to various pastures several times a year. We round up and sort cattle that need to be weaned, branded, inoculated or transported to the stockyards. We have a fleet of pickup trucks, tractors and machinery that serve their purposes for farming and ranching, but there isn’t a car in sight.

Wouldn’t do any good to have one. Cars don’t hold up on gravel roads that wash out during floods. If it isn’t four-wheel-drive, you aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

In other words, we’re about as country and western as we can get. Writing and ranching is who we are and what we do. It’s our way of life and we’re grateful we can do what we love.

Harlequin Historical Westerns by Carol Finch:

The Love Potion – Nov. 09

The Holiday Husband – Nov. 09

Texas Ranger, Runaway Heiress – Jan. 09

The Bounty Hunter and the Heiress – Aug. 08

Cooper’s Woman – May 08

Carol would love to answer your questions!  Come on in and chat!  She’ll be giving away three books:

Cooper’s Woman, Bounty Hunter & The Heiress,

and Texas Ranger, Runaway Heiress

 

To order from Amazon click on covers

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66 thoughts on “Carol Finch Lives the West!”

  1. Wow you have no ideal what a BIG fan I am. I have read ALL your books under the names of Carol Finch and Gina Robins.

    I could not pick a favorite but I have to say I do love those Texas Rangers

  2. Hi Carol, What a wonderful life! It sounds like a bit of heaven on earth, though I’m sure it’s a lot of work to keep everything up. I’m a walker, too. Isn’t it a great way to start the day? Fresh air and fresh ideas go hand in hand.

    And 90 books! I’m curious . . . Have you ever repeated a character’s name?

  3. Hi Carol!
    Congrats on your 90th book! You should be very proud of yourself!

    I cant even begin to imagine living on a working ranch or farm! I have never even visited one! I would think that is very tiring but fulfilling!

    I must tell you that I am LOVING the covers for the Texas Rangers books up there-VERY NICE! 🙂

    I have not read any of your work-but I plan to correct that problem ASAP!

    Thanks for stopping by P&P and sharing with us! Hope you have a lovely weekend!

  4. Hi, Carol!
    Congrats on your 90th book? I have read some of your books under the names Carol Finch, Gina Robins, and Connie Drake. I love your Harlequin Historical Westerns stories the best.

    What type of genre do you write under the names Debra Falcon and Connie Feddersen?

  5. Hi, Carol. After writing so many historical western romances, do you have a couple favorite reference books or Web sites that you can recommend to those of us who write in a similar genre? I’m always on the lookout for some new tidbit to add authenticity to my writing. Thanks for visiting and sharing your experiences with us.

  6. Hi, Connie/Carol (or, as I like to call you, Sybil. )

    I love your books under all your names, especially the westerns and really enjoyed your “Dead In” mystery series.

    Just wanted to drop by and say “hello”. It’s nice to see you blogging, especially here — love this site. 🙂

  7. Congrats on the 90th book.

    What a way to live. We would love to be able to have a ranch. Unless we win the lottery, I just don’t see it happening. We do have a few chickens, one horse, dogs and cats. Your lifestyle sounds wonderful and refreshing. Thanks for blogging today.

    Have a great day.

  8. Hi Carol,
    90 books is an amazing accomplishment. Congratulations on that. Your ranch sounds like a wonderful place to live and I like the idea of being able to walk your dog without worrying about cars speeding by.

  9. Hi Carol. Congratulations on the release of your 90th book. I have been reading your books for years and love them. 🙂

  10. Hi Carol, Wow, 90th book completed! Breaking out the cyber champagne. Cheers!!) You should definitely be doing some good celebrating. Thank you for the many hours of reading pleasure.

  11. Carol, can I just say…HOLY COW! Or maybe that should be HOLY COWBOY? 90 books? Did I read that correctly?

    My mouth is literally wide open in amazement. Talk about impressive!

    So, here’s my question…how do you keep it fresh? How do you keep the stories exciting? I face my biggest challenges when it comes that boring middle of the book slump. How do you keep the flab out of your manuscript and keep it trim and in good shape?

    I’d love to hear your advice. So wonderful to see you here.

    Thanks.

  12. Hi, Connie/Carol (or, as I like to call you, Sybil). 🙂

    I love your books under all your names, especially the westerns and really enjoyed your “Dead In” mystery series.

    Just wanted to drop by and say “hello”. It’s nice to see you blogging, especially here — love this site. 🙂

  13. Howdy, y’all, Thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement. 90 books is a lot, especially since the first 10-15 were back in the day of 150,000 word manuscripts. But the good news was that you had plenty of room to develop a lot of characters. I miss that. Now I’m supposed to focus on the hero and heroine and not get into the heads of secondary characters as much as I used to do.
    As for the question about pen names, I went with bird names–Finch, Falcon, Robins, Drake–just to amuse myself. There was really no deep thought involved there.
    I think I’ve repeated character names a time or two, but only once on purpose. I used the name Kat Diamond who became the great grandmother after she was in a Revolutionary wartime book and a heroine in the Old West. If I duplicated others I liked the names and couldn’t keep up with 90 sets of characters.
    And yes, I know I’m fortunate to live on a ranch, even if there is a lot of work involved–like building and repairing fences (not my favorite way to spend the day, but when cattle break loose you gotta do what you gotta do). As my husband says: A fence is only as good as its weakest section. So we make repairs over wash-outs and where cattle stick their heads through to eat greener grass on the other side.
    We’ve had a lot of trouble with coyotes lately and have lost several newborn calves because of them. When game is scarce coyotes tend to run in packs more often to go after larger animals–not the usual rabbits, mice, rats, etc. It’s heartbreaking to come upon a baby calf that can’t protect itself and neither can its mother, though she usually tries to run off coyotes.
    About pen names and types of books, I wrote the mystery series for Kensington under Connie Feddersen. Debra Falcon did three books with male point of view 60% and female 40%. Kensington asked me to start that line of historicals. Connie Drake did a medieval book years ago. Carol Finch and Gina Robins were my first two names. All Robins books were American historicals–mostly westerns and Finch books are historical and modern western.
    My dear friend Deb used to call me Sybil. Hi, Deb!!!!! I’m anxious to hear what you’re working on these days. As for me, I’m only writing under the Finch name in historical westerns. That pace of working on one book all day and researching a new one at night wears me out. Too many 12-14 hour days, in and around trying not to miss out on our 3 kids’ activities makes for a grinding schedule. I used to feed them breakfast, put them on the bus and begin writing through lunch then take time to prepare supper and spend time with them. If there was a ballgame, we never missed a one. I was usually fired up when we returned home so I’d do another writing session from 10pm to 2 or 3 in the morning. Long days and nights, long weeks. I still attack intensely during each phase of writing, but now I actually take breaks in between. Hummmm, I wonder if that has anything to do with age.
    THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTS! I APPRECIATE IT. FOR FUN, MY HUBBY AND I ARE GOING TO REPAIR ANOTHER STRETCH OF FENCE THEN HAVE LUNCH. I’LL CHECK IN THIS AFTERNOON.

  14. Hi Carol,

    Welcome to P&P! This is such an honor. The Fillies are thrilled to have you!

    I have to say you get some of the best covers in the business. Wow! Absolutely love the new one. It’s going on my buy list. Stories about Texas Rangers really catch my fancy.

  15. Hi Carol,
    Oh my goodness, 90 books!! Wow. I’m on #27 and I think my brain is fried half the time! Congrats on all your success!

    It was fascinating reading about your writing routine. Your home sounds like it lends to great inspiration. Thanks for stopping by today at P and P!!

  16. Congrats on your 90th book! That sure is a lot of books. I think I would love to live on a ranch. I live in a small town now but I grew up on a small farm and loved living there, town not so much.

    My question to you is why do authors write under different pen names? I have always wondered this because you could miss a book by your favorite author because she used a different name.

  17. What a great career – 90 books! I am truly astounded and amazed! I have read some of your
    Robins and Finch books, I thoroughly enjoyed them.
    I began reading westerns because my dad read them.
    I have pretty much kept them included in my reading over the years, can’t keep me away from those Rangers and cowboys! Thanks for joining us today!

    Pat Cochran

  18. Huge Congratulations on your 90th book. What a great achievement. Westerns give me stories that I can believe in, and are meaningful and memorable. Just love them ever since I was v ery young.

  19. Wow congrats… 90 books… that is huge! I have read a few of your books… but now knowing there are 90… I have to go find a few more to enjoy! 😀

  20. That is amazing…90 books!!! Congrats! 🙂
    I love your western historicals. My very favorite has been McCavett’s Bride.

  21. You’re living my dream. I wanted to grow up and marry a rancher, but alas, I married a kind-hearted computer geek.

    Which of your books are set during the Oklahoma land rush days? I live in Oklahoma and would love to read those.

  22. Hey, Sherry and Linda, Texas Rangers are some of my favorite characters, too. They lend themselves to dozens of plots and you can take them from point A to point B and show off all their strengths by hurling all sorts of danger at them. I’m also fond of the mixed heritage hero who has a boot and moccasin in contrasting worlds and has emotional conflicts to deal with–as if he doesn’t have enough trouble trying to deal with an independent-minded heroine.
    Speaking of which, one of the main reasons I began writing was to give heroines their say instead of being dragged through plots. Times have changed and most heroines are assertive and plain-spoken (at least mine are. I don’t relate well to meek and timid heroines. I want one who fights back and joins the hero when he’s doing battle.)

  23. hi, Paty, Glad to meet a fellow rancher/writer. Do you raise steers or calves? We have a cow/calf operation and raise wheat pasture for forage. We used to have peacocks, chickens, rabbits, ducks, hogs and horses when the kids were home.

  24. Hey, Melissa, Glad you like the recent covers. I’m pleased with them, too. I had some great ones at Kensington/Zebra and I like the new wave of covers from Harlequin.
    My husband painted the cover for Dead in The Melon Patch–a Connie Feddersen mystery–and I was the cover model. Yep, that was my fanny sprawled in the garden. Also, my hubby was the cover madel for all 7 of the other mysteries. I took his photo, after asking him to drape himself in a cellar, in a cattle pen, in a pickup so I could send it to the publisher’s art department. He got a little nervous when I waved him farther beneath the large hay bales for Dead In The Hay. I think he thought I was going to bump him off.

  25. Hey, Kerri, Keeping a story fresh is always a challenge. Sometimes I’ll write a scene and think: Gee, that sounds like a scene I wrote in book #8. Then I try to change it to give it a new look and feel. If that fails, I brief my hubby on where I am in the story and he pitches ideas. He’s like my private writers group.
    Bogging down in the middle of a book is something most writers encounter. That’s when you hit that point and wonder where the heck this is all going and if you can tie up all the loose ends for a sensational, blockbuster finale. We’d all love to hit that homerun every time, but some books seem to come together more easily than others.
    I think writing toward scenes that you’ve imagined while plotting helps you plow through times when you bog down. The important point is to get through it. You can always come back later to tweak scenes. As for trimming flab, I find it easier to do when the book is complete. I know how many pages I need so I can omit or add where I feel a scene lacks punch. After several books you get a feel for what needs to go and what should stay. Then there are editors who can help trim the fat later.

  26. Hey, Quilt Lady, The use of pen names has evolved through the years. Years ago, publishers preferred authors use them. I was asked to take one, and then asked to take a second one because I was prolific and the publisher couldn’t print as many books as I was writing in a year. So I took another name to write more historicals. I was asked to use another name when I stepped from the historical genre to do the Dead In mystery series. The 4th and 5th pen names were used to release more books. I know it’s difficult to keep up with writers using several names. Luckily, with the internet and author websites you can find out how many names and genres your favorite authors have.

  27. Hey, Vicki, The Land Run book from Harlequin is Oklahoma Bride. McCavett’s Bride was set soon after the Run. Stormfire from Zebra was also about the Run. So were 2 of the Christmas anthologies. I use Okla./Indian Territory for a lot of my books. Texas is also one of my favorite settings. I lived there and traveled the area while I played scholarship tennis for Odessa College. I didn’t appreciate the scenery as much in those days, but I’m making up for it now. I like to promote the area where I live as much as possible.

  28. Hey Carol, that is one honking stack of books you’ve authored! And I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I don’t think I’ve even read one. 🙁

    My only excuse is that I have a tendency to stick with authors I have on my auto-buy list.

    But, I love the fact you write what you live and I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for ‘all of you’. 🙂

  29. Wow do you have any fingers left from typing all of those books?
    I have read several of them and enjoyed the way you write.

  30. Hi, Connie! It’s just too fun having you here for your very first blog experience. Yee-Haw! You’re takin’ right to it, too!

    Neither of us have mentioned today that our Christmas Anthology – COWBOY CHRISTMAS – is coming in October, with you, me and my Filly sister, Elizabeth Lane. I’m really looking forward to reading the stories!

  31. Hi, Pam, I’m enjoying blogging, Rookie that I am. I sincerely thank you for inviting me to join in! You’re right, I should have mentioned Cowboy Christmas. Can’t wait to read your and Elizabeth’s stories. Even better, I’ve made great new friends.
    Right now I’m working on the new book about a marshal who, with his brothers, become bandits to force the embezzling villain into the open. Unfortunately, our heroine–persistent, headstrong, rabble-rousing suffragist that she is–is forcing him to investigate himself. I’m amusing myself with Bandit’s Moon and letting the hero squirm. I guess that’s what writing is for me–amusing myself. I love running gags and comedy relief characters to break the tension and fast action. And boy, can you imagine how infuriated the heroine in going to be when the hero is finally forced to tell her the truth? Just knowing the scene is inevitable is tension in itself.

  32. Hi, LuAnn, Estella, Marie,
    Thanks for your kind comments. Glad to hear you’ve read some of the books.
    It’s becoming more difficult to come up with ideas, but as I said earlier, my hubby helps a lot. Which book is my favorite? That’s as difficult as deciding which of my children I love best. Each book has something special about it, whether it’s a setting, time period, secondary characters, plot idea or main characters. They are all fast-paced and full of fun and adventure. It’s what I like to read and what I love to write.

  33. Hey, Karen, My fav research is a set of Time-Life Books on the Old West. I can pick up any one of the books and wham! All sorts of ideas spring to mind. From the general idea I veer off into specific times and places and conjure characters that fit the story.

  34. Congrats on your 90th book. I really love your books, wow what a way to live, I wish I lived on a farm. I have to pass through a farming area to go to Church where I live and I always laugh at the signs there “cattle crossing, Have the right away”. So more times than not we get stuck behind them crossing the road.

  35. Oh how lovely a big milestone reach congratulations. I have a huge weakness for historical romances espically westerns with a lawman in it. Tell me something is it really true a cow will chase you if you have on something red ? I watch these bull fights and shows but it just does not look real.

  36. Wow, 90 books!! Can’t say that I know that I have read any of your books but I will certainly be trying to find them. Somehow since I have been on all these author’s websites and blogging on several of their blogs, I find myself looking at the author’s names more than the picture on the cover or the tease on the back cover before buying. I feel like you are all old friends.

  37. Big congrats on your 90th book I must admit I am a fairly new ready to your books but I love what I have read so far. Do you only write historicals ?

  38. I am throwing in my congrats too on you big news. Did you always want to be a writer ? I really just love to read books they are my favourite past time, but write anything from reports to projects and I am stuck.

  39. Hi carol, congrats I am a huge fan, though that is more from your backlist, as I dont have most your new ones yet, here’s hoping I am lucky. I love your book covers

  40. Hi, Lisa No, I didn’t always want to be a writer. I was into sports from grade school to high school and received a tennis scholarship in college. I love all outdoor sports, but I became hooked on historical romance when my kids were small and the need to write took hold.

  41. Hey, Kimberly. I write historical and modern westerns, a mystery series. Plus, country and western set Love and Laughters, romantic suspense, a time travel and paranormal novellas. But historical westerns are still my favorites.

  42. Hey, I don’t think Connie/Carol mentioned this, but those 90 books she’s written? All longhand. Every single one. As if it’s not already mind-boggling enough that she can write that many books!

  43. Thanks so much to all of you who have taken time to stop by. I really appreciate your kind words. You’ve made my first blogging experience thoroughly enjoyable!

  44. You live a “hard” life but a good one. Most people don’t realize how much work ranching and farming are or how much your success is at the mercy of the elements. It is a way of life you have to love. Your books reflect your closeness to the subject. Keep on giving us those good books.

  45. Carol, what a joy to meet you! Gosh I can’t believe I missed your historicals! BUT, I did read the Connie Fedderson mysteries that I as able to find! I loved them. A friend told me that she had read them and I went to find some and I’m so glad I did! I don’t read much mystery at all except Historical ones but once I read one, I wanted to read more! Do you think they’ll ever re-release some of your books? So many I see I want to read too! Congrats on the 90th book! I just so can’t imagine because I’m not patient enough to write lists as it is! Carol, a couple of questions, can you tell us what its like as a day as a writer for you? Must be so much to juggle! And second, is there any state that you’d like to visit and set your books in? I know I always wanted to go to Montana, to the ‘western’ up there!

  46. Hope I’m not too late! 🙂 Just wanted to say hi to Carol and let her know I enjoy her books. Such a fun getaway, you know? I’m so glad you keep writing westerns too when so many other authors have went vampirey! I like vampires but I also like hottie cowboys! 🙂

  47. Hey, Ami, Model characters after family members or friends? Yeah, my husband is always the hero in some manner or other. Sometimes he has coal-black hair and piercing green eyes and is six feet two. Sometimes he’s six-four with whiskey-colored eyes and rugged features.
    As for the villains, they are usually the combo of characteristics that make them mean, nasty and deserving when justice is served.

  48. Hey, Caffey, Re-releases are up to publishers, but you can usually find a lot of my backlist at used book stores. A day in the life of a writer for me used to be 12-14 hours days, barring cattle emergencies, but now I’ve cut my days to 8. Sometimes 10. Writing takes discipline, dedication and determination. Sometimes it’s a battle because of inconvenient interruptions and distractions, but what job isn’t? States I want to write about? At first I thought it’d be cool to write about all of them, but then I figured that with so many writers from all over the country that we could promote our own states.

  49. Hey, RachieG and Patricia, Thanks for your comments. They are greatly appreciated. Yep, ranching is demanding but that’s what the pioneer spirit that our forefathers who settled the west passed on to us.

  50. Howdy again, y’all. If I’ve overlooked a question or a name it was unintentional. I really am very appreciative of everyone who stopped in to say hi. I’m off to pick up my mom from the airport and deliver her home. Thanks again for your support!!!!!!!!!! It means more than words can express!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  51. I love Western books, movies and TV shows. I live in cowboy country where we have brandings, trail rides, cattle drives, rodeos and wide open prairies. I love the sprawling ranches with the house, white or natural post fences, the horses/cattle, etc.
    I’m glad I found another author who writes this kind of book.

  52. Love your books, read so many I’ve lost count!!!
    I have recently read Commanch Promise and Cheyenne Moon Books 1 and 2 of your Mystics of the Four Winds series. However, I cannot find the last 2 Titles with Wild Hawk and Lone Horseman. Would you please help so I may purchase these.

  53. Hi Connie,

    I’m your husband’s cousin. Heard you wrote under several pen names and, got curious and googled you.

    I am a member of the local Blue Star Mother’s group and one of your books was donated to us to send to the troops. It was one of your mysteries so it could be sent over.

    Tell hubby hi for me. I haven’t seen him for several years.

    Are you still writing mysteries?

    Mary Lou

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