Why My Friend Sends Me Pictures of Cows – by Jodi Thomas

I’ve been working on my series, RANSOM CANYON, for two years now.  I’ve completed 6 books and two short stories and have just contracted to write 4 more books.

Though my family has been in Texas for seven generations, and I was raised in a ranching and farming community, I have never made my living at either.

So, when I started the series I spent six months researching, studying, and driving around the Panhandle.  A dear friend of mine and author, Natalie Bright (http://www.nataliebright.com) offered to let me come out to her ranch and watch how a big operation works.

The first day I climbed into a pickup with her husband Chris Bright, we crossed back and forth over the land often without a road to follow.  At the end of the day every muscle in my body hurt from hanging on, but I not only had a better understanding of the land and the jobs, but I had an idea for my first character, Staten Kirkland.

Chris said that he didn’t really think about owning the land.  He saw himself as the caretaker.  The pride, the responsibility he felt, the worry and the long hours of work was exactly what I wanted to show in my character.

From Natalie I learned not only terms, and how the work changes as the seasons pass, but she taught me about the etiquette of daily life.  I even learned a little about cooking for 45; of course I don’t cook very well for 2, so I had a long way to go.

I spent time on other ranches and talking to brand inspectors and cattle men in different areas of ranching as well as reading about ranch life.  I met a woman named Bunny who had her grandparents’ original homestead all fixed up.  She even offered to let me stay there.  No indoor bathroom and all.

Some friends share pictures of grandkids, but Natalie Bright makes me smile every time she sends me pictures of cows.  She’s a writer.  She knows what another writer needs to see.

I may have had the imagination and the characters dancing around in my head, but I needed the ‘real life’ as well. As a dear lady Bunny Leathers told me once, “bury me in my Levis, because if I’m fortunate enough to make it to Heaven, I want to go in two-stepping one more time.”  Somehow, for her, I think there was a country song playing when she passed the Pearly Gate.





Buy Jodi’s newest book, Wild Horse Springs, on Amazon

I look forward to chatting with you today. Please let me know what you’re passionate about, and I will enter you in a drawing to win an autographed copy of my latest book WILD HORSE SPRINGS, the fifth in my Ransom Canyon series.

Remember: In the heart of Ransom Canyon, sometimes the right match for a lonely soul is the one you least expect… 

Jodi Thomas




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21 thoughts on “Why My Friend Sends Me Pictures of Cows – by Jodi Thomas”

  1. I am completely and totally passionate about reading, smelling, holding and looking at books. Well now that I see that I think that is more an obsession.

    Have a blessed and wonderful day. As always I am waiting for your next word, so keep on putting them on paper (screen) and I will keep on reading.

  2. I love what your wrote about the cow pictures. Wonderful research. I am not sure what I am passionate about except for helping animals.

  3. I am very passinate about reading and I have to read before bed every night. I just couldn’t imagine why you didn’t want to stay where they didn’t have a bathroom because we didn’t have a bathroom for several years when I was a child and there is nothing like going out on a cold day to the outhouse. Just kidding I wouldn’t want to stay there either now because I am spoiled to a bathroom inside now.

  4. I love your post! Ranch life and seeing to cows is a different way of life for sure. I am passionate about spending time with my grandchildren. I see them most every day and if I spend every day for the rest of my years, it will not be enough. They don’t realize the joy they bring me.

  5. Hi Jodi, as you know, I’ve also had the privilege of spending time on Natalie’s and Chris’s ranch. I love the land and like you I was born and raised in the Panhandle, so I’m familiar with the terrain and the love of our land. Their operation is amazing and one of the original ranches in the Texas Panhandle. There’s a serenity there. When our girls were younger, we had the privilege of spending time on a nearby ranch (one of the ladies in my department married the foreman of the East Camp of the Brainard Ranch), so we got to go out there almost every weekend and work and play. My girls learned to ride and round up cattle. I don’t ride, but one of my favorite pictures is of me on “Ol’ Blackie”, a huge working horse. I had to get on him from the back of the pickup and I couldn’t even put my feet in the stirrups. I look like a ballerina doing the splits on top of a horse … more like a circus act! I learned a lot and one thing for sure don’t wear a white shirt when you’re working the gate to the chute when they are vaccinating cattle. I promise you’ll end up with a yellow shirt when you’re finished. Cattle don’t seem to like being tightened up in a chute and then when I’d open the gate, they’d let me know how unhappy they were. So much for my memories. But you are right, Natalie and Chris treat their operation in a loving, appreciative way. And, I love your last book that just came out. Fun, fun! Everyone needs to get it, if the sheriff and his daughter have gripped you like they have me. It’s a great read. Thanks, Jodi, for being a guest of P&P and thank you for the insight of a real cow/calf ranch operation. Hugs, Phyl

  6. Thank you for sharing your ranch experience. Oh, how I would love to do that too! So I guess I’ll just have to enjoy it vicariously through you. 🙂

    My passions are nature and the natural world, and when I’m indoors, reading and music. I love living in the country away from the bustle of things, and I’ve always been a reading fanatic as well as a musician who comes from a family of country musicians. I played in bands for about 20 years but now am more a listener.

    BTW, I just got notice today from Amazon that my pre-order of Wild Horse Springs has _finally!_ shipped. Took them long enough to get to it but I’ll be happy when it arrives, maybe Monday.

    Sending hugs your way.

  7. Reading, reading, reading! Oh, and rereading the Whispering Mountain series. Teagen is still my favorite.

  8. Four more books! That’s great news! So glad there will be more about those folks in and around Crossroads. I finished Wild Horse Springs the day after it was released. Wonderful story! These characters are becoming way too real to me 🙂

    Nancy C

  9. Hi Jodi — Enjoyed your post…as a rancher’s wife (we’re 5 generations now), in the FAR Northern CA mountains (40 miles from Oregon), I love every day on this place. We run 1000 head of cows, so when the calves are being born, it is a BUSY time. Right now we have snow and temps that have been down to the ‘teens, and a month ago, it was -11 in the morning. We have to feed cows 7 days a week for a good 5+ months a year. It was fun hearing about meeting up with Natalie! I met her two years ago and we share a lot of common love and passion about living on a ranch. So, if you ever out THIS way, let me know! BTW, we “Jenner gals” (six of us!) have entered into our own busines: Jenner Family Beef. You can check us out on FB or on our website. 140+ years of raising All Natural Beef.

  10. Hi Jodi….Welcome! We always love it when you come because your blogs show the person who lives inside you, not the writer. And I usually always tear up as I did this time too. I love your Ransom Canyon series and the “heart” you put into each book.

    Wishing you much success and happiness in everything you do!

  11. I love that he said he was a caretaker of the land!! I am passionate about books and cats. My husband swears I could open up a library (well I do lend them to friends and family) but I love being surrounded by my books (not much of a kindle gal). I’m also passionate about cats. I’ve been caring for ferals/strays for more than 25 years. I’ve been enjoying this series and look forward to your newest one!

  12. I love all things country life! I grew up on a dairy farm and thus love to see it all and experience that all. I’m not a good cook either, so I’d be terrible supporting ranch hands. LOL. I love to read and see nature with my kids in my spare time.

  13. Jodi – Thanks for coming to P&P and writing your blog on ranch animals & life.
    I use to live on a farm so I know that the animals can be a handful, but I loved it.
    I have read your books for years and I am excited to learn you have more Ransom Canyon books coming our way. I too am passionate about books. My husband says I have too many….NEVER!!! I also enjoy my family, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Life is very precious and time is very short in our lives.

  14. I have always been passionate about traveling. Luckily, my husband also enjoys to travel. My family never did mush when I was young, I can only remember a couple of trips more than an hour from home. Me, I wanted to see the world. After college I joined the Peace Corps and this girl who had never left home went from NE NY to the Philippines. While there I took every opportunity to see as much of the country as I could. I had a three month trip planned to get home after I finished the PC. Amazing how much you can do on about $5 a day. I got to Singapore and Indonesia before I was contacted and told my mother was dying. I went straight home. I had dreamed of going back to finish some day, but sadly all those places I was to visit in the Middle East are no longer safe options. I married someone in the Air Force, but we never go stationed overseas. We did take advantage of every assignment making sure our children got to see as much of this beautiful country as possible. Since they have grown, we have done a bit of traveling ourselves. My husband retired last March and once we finish taking care of a few health issues, we are going to hit the road. We were to go to Alaska this summer, but a detached retina sidelined me for that, so it will be multiple shorter trips. Next year it will be Alaska, or maybe Europe.
    I am enjoying your Ransom Canyon series. Glad there is a new one.

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  16. Thanks, Jodi Thomas! Your blog post made my day! I always worry about annoying people on social media with my overload of sunsets, cows, horses, and cowboy pictures. It’s good to know that I have a few friends who appreciate and love the scenes as much as I do. As long as you keep writing those wonderful books, dear friend, I’ll keep sharing my photographs.

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