Monday, November 28, 2016

Seven Brides for Seven Texans with Vicky McDonough ends December 5th

Please welcome my friend, Vicky McDonough to The Sword and Spirit blog! Vicky is giving away a copy of  Seven Brides for Seven Texans so ask Vicky a question or comment on her post to be entered. Don't forget to leave your email address to be entered and let me know if you are a feed burner follower for an extra entry!

Seven cowboy brothers living on a massive Texas ranch—what’s not to love?

When the concept for this collection was proposed to me and I was invited to be a part of it, I was immediately intrigued and agreed. Having done other collections about families, I knew it would be a bit daunting to keep track of so many brothers and their personalities, different looks and mannerisms, not to mention the ranch staff, and the townsfolk who lived in the closest town, named Hartville, after the Hart family, but it can also be quite rewarding. A collection like this takes extra work to keep every little detail straight. I thought you might enjoy a peek into how one of these closely connected collections is created.

The Master Document started with the most basic info. Note: Each brother had his own “color” and every time he’s mentioned, his name was highlighted to make it easy to find.

The authors and the story order in the collection:
1 - Gabrielle Meyer -  HAYS (Son #7) First Comes Love
2 - Lorna Seilstad - CHISHOLM (Son #6) The Heart of Texas
3 - Amanda Barratt - TRAVIS (Son #3) The Truest Heart
4 - Keli Gwyn - HOUSTON (Son #4) A Love Returned
5 - Susan Page Davis  - CROCKETT (Son #5) For Love or Money
6 - Vickie McDonough - AUSTIN (Son #1) Mail Order Mayhem
7 - Erica Vetsch - BOWIE (Son #2) Love at Last

The group coordinator, Erica Vetsch, created a thirty-one page, highly-detailed master document, which contained a timeline of the stories, a synopsis of each novella (obtained from the authors), and much more. Here’s the story concept that was included:

Patriarch of the Hart family, George Washington Hart isn’t getting any younger. He’s got seven strapping sons, and not a one of them has had the decency to marry and produce an heir. It is time for George to meddle. He will divide his massive ranch in the Texas Hill country, the 7-Heart, among his sons with the provision that each one marry and settle on the land within the next year. The men, ranging in age from 21-34, all named after famous Texans, are resistant to the idea of settling down, but they’ll be hanged if they’ll lose their inheritance! Each sets about finding a bride in his own way, and in the end, each finds love deep in the heart of Texas.

Erica also created a detailed timeline of the family’s history in Texas. I added the info in parentheses for reader clarity. Here’s a little peek:

1858 Regalo(The Hart’s fancy home) is built as a gift from GW to Victoria (his wife)

1860/61 Houston Hart leaves Texas for California just days before his 18th birthday.

1861 The Civil War begins, Austin, Bowie, Travis enlist in the Confederate Army to fight for Texas’ freedom.
Part of General Hood’s Texas Brigade, they fought at every major battle of the Northern Army of Virginia except Chancellorsville. (Infantry)

1863 Bowie Hart wounded and captured at Gettysburg, spends the rest of the war in a Union Prison. First at the Fort Slocum hospital in NY, then at Elmira Prison. Family is told Bowie died at Gettysburg.

1863, Crockett Hart enlists the day after they bury his mother, Victoria Hart, dies.

Each novella had a section that included a picture of the hero and heroine, a short summary, and the full synopsis. Here are pictures of my main characters, Austin Hart and Rebekah Evans.

At the end of all the synopses info, was a section titled: EXTRAS: Characters, places, pictures and maps. It included detailed info of the various secondary characters that worked on the ranch and lived in Hartsville. Here’s a sample:

Cody - A young cocky blond haired/blue eyed cowboy who tends to flirt with the potential brides.
Gage A hardworking wrangler in his early twenties with dark blond hair, which stands straight up in a short haircut. He's Hays Hart's best friend and loves to play practical jokes around the ranch.

We had pictures of the massive Hart home, both inside and out. There was also a blueprint of the home to refer back to so that we kept the rooms straight from one story to the next, as well as a map of Hartsville. We even had pictures of the longhorn cattle on the 7-Heart Ranch and Bowie’s dogs. Massive kudos go to Erica for creating the Master Document. I shudder to think how convoluted things might have gotten without it.

Being a former bookkeeper, I like spreadsheets, so I created a quick-reference chart with key details. I’m posting the majority of the chart but I left off a few things like eye & hair color so it would fit on the page, but this gives you a good idea of what it looked like:

Birth Order
Author & Story order

Birth Yr
Vickie - 6
Stephen "Austin" Hart
Leader, tough, decisive, protective of family
Erica - 7
James "Bowie" Hart
Reliable, tough, watchful
Doesn’t want help
Doesn’t want help
Amanda - 3
William "Travis" Hart
Calm, steadying demeanor
Reserved. To heal and help people after war took so many lives
Reserved. To heal and help people after war took so many lives.
Keli - 4
Sam "Houston" Hart
Idealist, intuitive
Avoids conflict
Avoids conflict
Susan - 5
Davy "Crockett" Hart
Hard worker, very loyal
Lacks confidence, feels overshadowed by his dad and brothers
Lacks confidence, feels overshadowed by his dad and brothers
Lorna - 2
Jesse “Chisholm” Hart
Easy-going, fun, cool-headed, duty-bound
Feels like he can never measure up
Feels like he can never measure up
Gabrielle - 1
John Coffee "Hays" Hart
Easy-Going, confident, charming, fiercely loyal
Doesn't like confrontation, will stuff his true feelings if he thinks they will hurt someone he loves

There you have it. Collections that are closely connected are lots of fun for readers, but they can be a bit daunting for the authors who create them. But as with any task, hard work usually results in something you can be proud of. Time will tell what readers think of Seven Bride for Seven Texans. It releases on December 1st, but you can pre-order it now.

Buy link:

Check out the Seven Brides for Seven Texans Pinterest page that Erica Vetsch set up:

Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams penning romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie is an award-winning author of more than 40 published books and novellas, with over 1.5 million copies sold. Her novels include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and End of the Trail, winner of the OWFI 2013 Best Fiction Novel Award. Whispers on the Prairie was a Romantic Times Recommended Inspirational Book for July 2013. Song of the Prairie won the 2015 Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Gabriel’s Atonement, book 1 in the Land Rush Dreams series placed second in the 2016 Will Rogers Medallion Award. Vickie has recently stepped into independent publishing.

Vickie has been married for forty-one years to Robert. They have four grown sons, one daughter-in-law, and a precocious granddaughter. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, doing stained glass, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website:


  1. All I can say is "wow". Amazing!!!! Thanks for giving us a peek into your world! bcrug(at)myfairpoint(dot)net. I am a follower of Debbie's blog.

  2. Oh my goodness! What an awesome & daunting collaboration! Authors simply amaze me! Thanks for showing us the behind the scenes & the chance to win a copy of your book Vicky! I also follow your blog with feedburner Debbie! rw620 AT aol DOT com

    1. Happy to do so, Robin. A collection is a lot of work, but it's worth it.

  3. Swoon.... I love cowboy stories! And 7 OF THEM IN ONE BOOK?????? How awesome is THAT? I enjoyed reading some of the intricacies of putting a collection like this together. pgraber60[at]gmail[dot]com

    1. What's not to love about cowboys? Right? I was excited as soon as I learned of this collection and knew that I wanted to be in it.

  4. How hard is it to contribute to this kind of novella collection where everything needs to come together like this? Your spreadsheet idea is great!

    Hugs, Amada (pronounced:

    I am a feedburner follower!!! :D

    1. It can be quite difficult, but readers love these close-knit collections.

    2. Yes Ma'am we do! ;) They are some of my favorites!!! I just thinks it's really cool that you and your fellow authors can keep all the characters straight! :D

      Thank you Vickie! Many Blessings, A

    3. It wasn't easy, but necessary. :)

    4. LOL! And well executed I'm sure! ;)

  5. Vicky, I loved this "behind the scenes' look at 'Seven Brides For Seven Texans' - thank you!! I love the concept of a story written for each brother by a different author, can't wait to read the book!! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!!


    I am a Feedburner follower!!

    1. You're welcome. Seven Brides is a fun collection. I hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to read it.

  6. I knew a lot of work went into a collection like this, but I don't think I knew how much. Thank you for sharing the process. It is very interesting.
    I am a feedburner follower.
    susanmsj at msn dot com

    1. You're welcome, Susan. I'm happy to give readers a peak at what we writers do.

  7. I knew I wanted this collection the first time I heard about it. I appreciate all the extra details to keep the stories consistent. I'm wondering how you all decided whose story should be first (and so on). I noticed the 7th son is featured in the first story, so I assume he found his bride first. Is that right?
    Thanks for the chance to win Seven Brides for Seven Texans.

    I'm a Feedburner subscriber.


    1. You're right about the youngest brother finding love first. I wrote about Austin, the oldest brother. I knew his conflict would be greater if his younger brothers found love first, so I wanted my story to be one of the last ones.

  8. I like spreadsheets too! jarning67(at)

    1. A kindred spirit. What's not to like about spreadsheets?

  9. Not one, but seven cowboys to love- I can't wait! I love the fascinating look into this creative collaboration!

    I am a blog follower!
    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

    1. Thanks, Britney. These type of collaborations can be a lot of work, but the end product is usually a fun read.

  10. Wow, what a book! I love the post and would certainly love to read the book! I am a follower!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  11. Thanks, Melanie. I think you'll really like our book.

  12. Thanks Vicki for this great behind the scenes look at how a book like this is put together.Looks like a wonderful collection of stories! Really excited to read it,Can't wait 'till the release! lynnefeuerstein(at)aol(dot)com

    1. Thanks, Lynne. The book doesn't officially release until Dec. 1st, but we've heard from readers who pre-bought the book on Amazon that they've already gotten their copies.

  13. Sounds like quite a daunting process! I really appreciate the effort that each of the authors put into this collection. I look forward to reading it.

    I follow via FeedBurner


  14. I cannot wait to read this series. I love how you and the other authors did research for this series. I follow through feedburner kirstenrinehart(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Thank you, Kirsten! A collection like this one requires a lot of collaborating, but the end result is worth it.

  15. I really want to read this book. Just I'll have to put it on my Christmas list.
    Lgordon(at) Europa(dot)com

    1. Linda, Thanks for putting 7 Brides on your Christmas list.

  16. Vickie, this sounds like such a wonderful novella collections. Thanks for sharing and letting us readers see just how much work, love and coordination goes into producing the finished book! A true labor of love. I love the spreadsheet! So detailed!
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com

    1. Thanks, Maryann! I'm happy to give you this peek at what goes into a collaboration.

  17. be too late to win but I am so looking k to this collection
    Thanks for sharing!
    Debbie, I follow you on FeedBurner.