A Tangled Family Tree

A handy guide to a tangled web.
I’ve been trying to figure out how, on my website, to explain the interconnecting relationships of my books.

It’s called a SERIES GUIDE
My three series, Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages and Sophie’s Daughters are all interwoven.
I created  my series guide on my website that explained it all and…….I failed.
Because of that I’m trying again here. I’m open to advice.
Okay, here we go.
Lassoed in Texas…a three book series —Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon and Gingham Mountain. These three books are now repacked in a single volume called Lassoed in Texas Trilogy.
Montana Marriages… Montana Rose, The Husband Tree and Wildflower Bride. These books are available separately and will be released in a single volume in May called Montana Marriages Trilogy
Sophie’s Daughter…Doctor in Petticoats, Wrangler in Petticoats and Sharpshooter in Petticoats.

Hmmm…here’s where it gets tricky. Yes, that’s right. It gets STICKY right after I list the titles.

Sophie is the heroine of Petticoat Ranch. A book that ended up being book #1 of a nine book series. So the Sophie’s Daughters series is about her daughters all grown up. They are little girls in Petticoat Ranch.
But one great moment in book #1 of the Sophie’s Daughters series is when Mandy McClellen meets Belle Tanner Harden, the heroine of The Husband Tree, from the Montana Marriages series.

Mandy is a newlywed. To add a twist, while Mandy’s husband is off in town, leaving her alone to do all the work, Tom Linscott (Who appears in all three Montana Marriages books)  and is a brother to Abby Sawyer from Wildflower Bride drops in on Mandy. Seeing her alone, with a very raw cabin, built by Belle and Silas Harden with very little help from Mandy’s worthless husband, Tom decides the neighborly thing to do is help Mandy out. He spends the day chopping a winter’s worth of wood and doing other things.
Mandy is frightened by how much she appreciates the help of a strong honorable man.
I’m still not making it really clear.


Soldiering on

Mark Reeves from Calico Canyon is a suitor for Belle Tanner’s daughter Emma in Sharpshooter in Petticoats. I loved doing that.

Bratty prankster Mark Reeves facing tough as nails Belle Tanner and trying to win her non-nonsense daughter Emma. This is a chance for Wrangler in Petticoats by Mary Connealyfireworks that I just loved. Especially when Mandy McClellen shows up and starts telling Emma to run for her life. Mark’s got a few things to prove and he’s got his hands full impressing any of these women.

Add in Charlie Cooper from Gingham Mountain, Mark’s cousin, and Belle’s third daughter Sarah and we’ve really got sparks flying.
Then we throw in Red Dawson as the hero from Montana Rose. He’s the parson around Divide, Montana and he stakes out a place in each of the last six books.
Look at the graphic of the family tree at the top of this post.

It ain’t big enough.

The only trouble is there’s no real ROOT. There are more like six roots. A family tree needs a ROOT. Instead it’s my branches of the trees that start to weave together.
So–here’s where I try to create a Family Tree

Sophie m Cliff Edwards—Four Daughter
Sophie m Clay McClellen—Four Sons
Clay and Cliff are twins separated at birth (or darned near)
Belle Tanner m William Swenson-Two Daughter
Belle Tanner Swenson m Gerald O’Rourke-One Daughter
Belle Tanner Swenson O’Rourke m Anthony Santoni-One Daughter
Belle Tanner Swenson O’Rourke Santoni m Silas Harden-Five Sons
Belle’s mare ‘marries’ Tom Linscott’s prized stallion-One Foal (wait! This matters, I promise)
Mandy McClellen m Sidney Grey—two daughters and a son
Tom comes to visit his unexpected foal–refer to the earlier horse ‘marriage’. The foal is born near Mandy’s house and she’s keeping it for the winter for Belle.

Tom and Mandy are immediately attracted to each other and she’s married to a lunkhead. Uhoh.

Sidney Grey buys a pair of thoroughbreds from Tom Linscott—Tom comes to deliver them. Sidney is not home. Mandy goes into labor and Tom helps delivering a lot more than horses. He delivers Mandy’s third baby…sort of…more like moral support. Still, double uhoh.

Sidney manages to start a feud and then dies. The feud rages on against his family…which is just Mandy and the children. The feuding family would probably drop the whole thing except Mandy managed to kill one of them. Plus she’s got gold and they want it.

Mark Reeves gets a job with Tom Linscott and meets Emma Swenson Harden—Mark is threatened with death…daily…by Belle…for the rest of his life. But she hasn’t actually shot him yet, so he thinks that’s a good sign.

Red Dawson m. Cassie Griffin—Red, a rancher and preacher (yes, they had rancher/preachers, work with me, people) proceeds to perform marriage ceremonies for six books.
I’m exhausted. Did this make things better or worse?

Does anyone know where I can get a good and really FLEXIBLE online family tree chart?


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Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series

32 thoughts on “A Tangled Family Tree”

  1. Mary, I think you need to give up on the family tree and try a family forest! Or maybe a garden maze! Actually, I have read most all your books and the relationships are pretty clear to me, except for maybe Belle’s marriages and which husband fathered each of her children.

    You might try looking at the templates at http://www.obituarieshelp.org/free_printable_blank_family_tree.html. They look more flexible than most. I’m thinking maybe three or four fan designs arranged in a circle to make it easier to show the marriage connections. Blessings on your project.

  2. Judy these are cool.
    I’m going to play around with them.

    Maybe a garden maze. LOL I saw the fan shaped one.

    I just want it to be CLEARER on my website.

    So if I could do one of these family trees, then take a picture of it, then load it there, it would be sweet!!!!

  3. I’ve looked at a couple of those trees.


    I suppose I need several of them, then somehow merge them. I think I need a similar diagram to the one they use for the space shuttle inner workings.

    Or I may just not know what I’m talking about.

  4. I can…if I figure out how…..

    I had a book signing this weekend and it’s the first time I’ve had all nine books at a book store at once…and people would say, “Which shall I read first?”

    By the time I was done explaining, they were quietly weeping and security had to be called.

  5. LOL, Mary. What a tangle. Having written two different series and one book that bridges between the two, I understand your frustration. But you know readers love discovering the connections between books. It’s a lot like the connections in real life – more of a web than a straight line. Thanks for a fun blog.

  6. I think the books stand alone okay. Or so I’ve been told.

    but there is one moment I really regret if a reader hasn’t read the books that went before.

    In Doctor in Petticoats when Belle Tanner walks onto the stage, I think that moment is thrilling if you know Belle and know that Mandy has just found someone who will protect her against the world.

    If you don’t know Belle, there’s plenty there for you to love as she steps in to help Mandy and her worthless husband. But it’s a different affect.

  7. Hey Mary, good job! I think I will need to print this out LOL because I’ve got a couple of your books on the TBR list. I’ve been told my ed. wants a family tree and related Scriptures for the Hearts Crossing Ranch series. At first I felt “yikes” but it’s nothing as complex as this.

    Great job, girl. oxoxox I SO love interconnections between books, characters, and settings. oxoxox

  8. After awhile it just gets too confusing. Even my own family gets that way. Too many men with the same name, married to women with the same name, etc. Then they name their children their names. No body gets original, at all.
    I have used the Morman Church genealogy charts for my family. They are just one page or a fan type that hurts your eyes to read all the names. Or you can make your own. I did that with my husband’s family. 8 1/2 x 11 sheets taped together and added to, each time there is a new baby or somebody gets married. It works really well. A bit sloppy, but it isn’t going to be seen outside this family.

  9. When anyone asks “which one first” give them book one. It’s much easier to explain once you meet the characters. 🙂

    If your sister owns the software, let her make the tree. lol

  10. Mary, thanks for the family tree info. I needed that. I was getting really confused. At the moment I’m reading Doctor in Petticoats and I couldn’t remember for the life of me which book Beth’s mother Sophie was in. I love reading Beth’s story. It’s soooooo funny. It’s one of your best, my Filly sister. Hope you find a family tree to post to your website. Your readers will thank you.

  11. Hi Mary! I’m going to echo Judy H . . . this is a family forest! Maybe your sister can sift and sort through the branches, roots and tangled limbs. But what fun! I love this kind of stuff!

  12. Mary,

    I love your books They are so good. As far as family tree charts if you type in family tree charts there is alot of great ones to choose from

    You are such a gifted writer

    Walk in harmony,

  13. Oh Mary, once again you have made me laugh. I actually understood all the relationship before I read this. Now I think I ame confused. Doesn’t matter. I love your books.

  14. Mary,

    I love your books, really I do! Trying to
    get everyone straight has given me a headache!
    I think I’ll just take a break and calm myself
    with a nap! Good luck with your family tree!

    Pat Cochran

  15. I’m almost finished reading Wrangler in Petticoats and will soon start on Sharpshooter. I’m really enjoying this series. However, since I started with Doctor in Petticoats (the first book of yours I read), now I know I’ll need to go back to the beginning and read the six books that come prior to Sophie’s Daughters. It is interesting to know how you’ve intertwined the characters in so many books. Most be rather exhausting for you to keep them all straight. So is the Sophie’s Daughter’s series the last of these or will there be more?

  16. I actually have some more stories I’d like to tell about these characters. But for now I’m doing something else. We’ll see.

    My May release is a sequel to Cowboy Christmas. Which up until now has been a stand alone book.

    My August Release is the beginning of a new series called The Kincaid Brides.

    I’m halfway done writing that series now and I’m in LOVE with these Kincaid boys.

  17. Clear as mud 🙂 I’ll have to sit down and try to chart this all out, or not. When it gets complicated like this, I have been known to outline a book and a series. Is it supposed to be that much work?

  18. I wish that the family tree would get more complicated! I have read all nine books and loved them. I did think there were a few places that were left open enough for more story to develop. Is that a possibility in the future?

  19. Gosh, it’s really a tangled family tree, lol. But I admit it’s interesting to solve the tangles anyway. Your book is all out? Want to start reading on the tree root, okay?

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