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Thursday, September 22, 2016


Jan Scarbrough writes heartwarming contemporary romances with a touch of spice. Her favorite topics are families and second chances and if the plot allows, she adds another passion—horses. That’s why she sets her books in the Bluegrass of Kentucky and her second favorite setting, Montana. Learn more about Jan and her books at her website. 

Cowboy Up! Montana is a perfect place to visit!

When my husband and I began to discuss summer vacation, I suggested Montana. I wanted to see the state where I’d set four books with author Maddie James. We have collaborated on a contemporary Western series called The Montana Ranchers. Maddie wrote some of the books, and I wrote others. We worked together on writing the series Prequel.

Internet research revealed The Covered Wagon Ranch in Gallatin Gateway, Montana. They offer a non-rider rate, perfect for my husband. So we made reservations for July and planned our trip. OMG! It was fun—two days on horseback riding into the mountains, gourmet meals prepared by a chef and eaten in a rustic dinning room with other friendly “dudes.” The owners, wranglers and staff were just as friendly. We felt like we’d come home.

On the trip, I saw firsthand the mountains, canyons, and valleys that make that part of Southwestern Montana so beautiful. Sagebrush is real. And so are lodgepole pine trees and aspens with their silver leaves shimmering in the wind.

I took notes for any future books, things that being a city dude I didn’t know:

~Cowboys hang hats on antlers or posts when they come in for dinner.

~The dude ranch is family-oriented with many returning guests.

~Fishing is a big thing in Montana.

~One wrangler is hired only to break and train young horses.

~Some horses are allowed out at night to graze around the cabins. All of the ranch is fenced in with log fencing.

~Horses are run up to high pasture for two days a week to allow them to graze and be horses.

~Special attention is given to the care of horses so they won’t sour. Horses have a long season. Horses go in the winter to lower pastures.

~Rides are arranged every morning depending upon what guests want to do.

~Sack lunches are provided for daylong rides.

~One female wrangler came from Oklahoma and got the job via the Internet.

~Before a ride, horses are sprayed with fly spray.

~Besides the saddle, a horse carries a saddlebag for water bottles and lunch and a rain slicker. Wranglers put a rope halter on the horses and leave it on.

~Wranglers carry bear spray.

~Horses are branded with the ranch brand.

Brody: The Montana McKennas
Montana Ranchers, Book 2

Home...it's where you go when your past, present, and future collide.

When rancher James McKenna is critically injured in a riding accident, his wife calls his daughter and stepson home for a family meeting. Ironically, home is where stepson Brody Caldera wants to be. He’s taking stock of his life—past, present, and future. Can the champion bull rider turn his life around and make up for past mistakes?

Single mom Stephanie Chambers hopes to keep her daughter away from the man who deserted them years ago. But the spunky ten-year-old is enamored with the famous cowboy, and Stef’s best intentions are sidetracked from day one. She’s made a life for herself and her daughter, but Brody’s return challenges what Stef knows about herself and that life she’s created.

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Jan Scarbrough said...

Thanks for letting me share!

Oberon said...

That sounds like so much fun! I've always wanted to vacation at such a ranch. And I can't wait to read your books!

Angela Adams said...

I love your friend in the photo, Jan. I always wanted a horse -- but living in the city, having one just isn't practical (smile!). Thanks for the sharing.

Jan Scarbrough said...

Angela, his name is Mr. Black. I get around the problem of owning a horse by taking a weekly riding lesson. That way you get a horse fix without all the expense!