Friday, May 13, 2016

The Montana Ranchers: series collaboration can be fun by Jan Scarbrough

Maddie James and I go back a long way—back to our Precious Gems days and amusing book signings at Wal-Mart (where the men pushing shopping carts looked at us like we had two heads each).

When Maddie suggested we write a contemporary Western series together, I was in. Over time we developed the idea of a Montana family complete with a patriarch, James, and his second wife, Liz. I was tasked with writing the first book about stepbrother Brody, a Professional Bull Rider. Then Maddie wrote about James’ children—Callie and Parker—by his first wife. The end of the series was to be the story of Mercer, James and Liz’s daughter together.

As things go, our ideas blossomed, and we decided to write a prequel to the whole series that would be free. It would set up the series by telling the story of how the James and Liz met.

Here’s the fun part. We wrote the Montana McKenna’s Prequel one chapter at a time. Maddie wrote the first one. I followed, dropping a bomb at the end of chapter two that Maddie had to deal with. We had a general agreement about where we were going with the story—a happily ever after ending—but didn’t know how we were going to get there.

With Mercer done and published, I took a look at all the characters. Poor James had died. That’s part of the story. And Liz was left a widow. Everyone had a happily ever after ending but poor Liz. What to do? Give her one!

Liz, the last book in The Montana McKennas (so far), was released last week on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and Barnes and Noble. If you’d like to see how fifty-five-year-old Liz gets her happy ending, you can go to my website for the buy links.

Maddie has a spinoff to the series called Montana Heat. Those books are—you guessed it—HOT. Here is the list of all of the books in the Montana Rancher’s Series.


  1. A friend and I keep talking about collaborating, but I'm not sure we'll ever have the nerve to do it!

    I remember those Walmart booksignings, too. How cool it was that you had someone to share them with.

  2. How fun to spark ideas and energy off each other!

  3. Love those cowboys! I hope the series sells like hotcakes. :-)

    Hugs, Becky

  4. Wow! What a fun thing to do! I tried a collaboration once...ended up without a publisher but I still love the story. Maybe I can publish it now...


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