Research is a part of writing any book. In Finding Joy, Parker and his family own a ranch in Kitner, Texas. In addition to the Angus they raise for beef, they have a small herd of Texas longhorns. Working with these animals brings up a lot of memories for Parker and I wanted to learn as much about them as I could so I could give all of you a true sense of what they were like.
I did a lot of reading online, but I was especially excited to learn that we have a longhorn ranch not too far outside of town. Justin and Diane own and run the Whining Bull Ranch. They and their son, Jordan, were kind enough to invite me over for a tour so I could see the longhorns up close and personal. I jumped at the chance!
Armed with my camera, I couldn't wait to learn more. They were wonderful about answering my long list of questions. After visiting for a while, they took me on a tour of their beautiful ranch.
We first went across to the far pasture to see the longhorns there. Much like a scene I wrote in Finding Joy, I got to watch the herd race to meet us. Justin had range cubes and they were excited to come and get a treat. I knew their horns could be huge, but I had no idea until I was standing right there in front of them. Magnificent!
I even got to feed a range cube to their bull and that was a fun experience! When Chelsea gets to feed a longhorn in the book, I write that the tongue felt much like a large, warm slug. It also reminded me of the way a giraffe tongue wraps around your hand when you feed it. lol
It would have been easy to just sit down and watch the bull, heifers, and the adorable calves for hours.
Afterwards, we went back to the pasture closest to their home where some of the steers and the weaning calves were located. I enjoyed hearing stories about the animals, including how the steers even get babysitting duties while the heifers go off to graze for a while. lol
I'm truly thankful to Justin, Diane, and Jordan for the opportunity to experience this in person. It's something I won't forget, and it allowed me to add a lot more details to Finding Joy that I hope you wonderful readers enjoy!
Sometimes, what looks like a dead end, is really a new beginning.
A horrific accident changed everything for Parker Wilson. Unable to find solid footing in his disrupted life, he returns to his family's ranch, a place he thought he'd left behind for good. The scars on his face are a daily reminder of all he's lost, yet his mom still insists he needs to stop hiding and live his life again. The beautiful new employee she hires is the last thing he needs, despite his mom's best intentions, and he'll do whatever it takes to make the girl quit and regain the peace and quiet he prefers.
Nothing short of desperation would force Chelsea Blake to work on a local cattle ranch. But if she's going to avoid her parents' judgment when they arrive in three weeks, she must turn the temporary job into a permanent one. Between dodging mud, feeding longhorn cattle, and dealing with a handsome boss who keeps giving her the cold shoulder, staying gainfully employed is proving to be a challenge. Chelsea may not be cut out for ranch life, but her determination to succeed is stronger than Parker's efforts at forcing her to leave.
Unprepared to discover all they have in common, if they set aside their initial dislike, they just might find joy beyond measure.
Check out the entire Love's Compass Series
and experience the stories of faith, love, and family.