This Writer and Her Friends

pioneerWriting is notoriously a solitary work, but this writer could not do her job without her writer friends.

The fact I’ve been part of five different novella collections means I’ve worked with other writers my entire career.

But two writers in particular have been with me through half these collections and I want to talk about them and our work together.

Here’s to Margaret Brownley and Vickie McDonough!

Both these writers are terrific and professional co-writers. I trust their judgments; I listen to their marketing advice; they respond when asked a question.

Margaret convinced me on the importance of Twitter and taught me a few skills.

Vickie listened to suggestions from co-writers when we read each others stories for The 12 Brides of Christmas, and then approached Barbour and suggested a sequel, which they agreed to.

Because of Vickie, Margaret and I got to return with stories for The 12 Brides of Summer–coming out in a book next summer.

Well, what are friend writers for?

Encouragement, yes, but also for fun and professional admiration. I’m honored to have worked with them.

Margaret Brownley

Margaret and I have been part of four collections together, starting with my first book, A Log Cabin Christmas Collection.

As part of the marketing for that book, we met at a book-signing event in southern California. She’s one of the few co-writers I’ve ever met.author genealogy writer

Her stories are fast-paced.

Margaret is funny.

She’s also a hard worker but a bit free-form. A dedicated “pantser” writer, she starts off with her idea and by the end of the story is just as surprised as the reader is at how it all works out!

You have to be a quick witted writer to pull that off!

writer Michelle Ule and Margaret Brownley

Michelle and Margaret

The stories Margaret has shared with me feature kids at schools with a vexing teacher who breaks the rules (The Snow Angel), Christmas spent in a Pony Express Station (the heroine was a feisty spinster driving herself to California!), a couple who don’t realize they own the same dog (The Dog Days of Summer Bride) and The Nutcracker Bride which has this great line in the second paragraph referring to a potential crisis:

“Or maybe Mr. Jones had been attacked by one of his chickens again.”

She makes me laugh and when I consider how many of her stories take place during pioneer days in challenging circumstances–well, Margaret’s a gifted writer.

I smile every time I open up my personal copy of A Log Cabin Christmas Collection and read what she wrote: “sending love and laughter your way!”

Thank you, Margaret. I laugh every time I learn you’re writing with me.
For those interested, Margaret’s webpage is here.

Vickie McDonough

Vickie McDonough and I have joined Margaret on three collections: A Pioneer Christmas Collection, The 12 Brides of Christmas and The 12 Brides of Summer.

A steady writer who seldom gets flustered, as perhaps befits a woman who raised four sons, Vickie loves the western genre and has sold more than a million books.

Her A Pioneer Christmas Collection story, is about a young woman who really doesn’t want to get out of her buckskins and settle down. Vickie understood some of her feelings:

“My heroine, Maddie, has dressed in buckskins most of her life. She’s comfortable in them, and it makes riding horses, hunting, and doing chores easier. She has no desire to wear dresses—and neither do I, although I don’t wear buckskins.  I only own two–and one is the dress I wore in my son’s wedding, thirteen years ago!”

A native of Oklahoma, Vickie is interested in how people trust God in hard times, and that theme appears in many of her stories.

Vickie McDonough

Vickie McDonough

In The Fruitcake Bride (from this fall’s compilation The 12 Brides of Christmas, originally released as an ebook last Christmas), Vickie explores the frustrations of living with a very bossy older sister with too many opinions, who nearly spoils a young woman’s wedding.

Vickie turned the tables on that strong-willed sister in her summer sequel, The County Fair Bride, when Prudy finds herself not being able to control the situation and having to realize that submitting to God might get her what she really wants.

It’s a delicious twist.

You can learn more about Vickie here.

Both these co-writers are the authors of many books, but they’ve always been generous with their answers, encouragement and willingness to work with me.

I’m very grateful for Vickie and Margaret.

And I like their stories, too!


Getting by with 2 author friends: Margaret Brownley and Vickie McDonough. Click to Tweet

How novella writers work together. Click to Tweet

Laughing and writing through Log Cabins, Pioneers, brides and Christmas Click to Tweet



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