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What You Should Know About This Western Woman From Georgia

Welcome back to the 2022 Inspirational Western Women series!

Happy Mother’s Day! I’m excited for you to meet my featured gal for this month.

You like spunk? Inspiration? Hard-working women? Then you’ll surely enjoy . . .

Denise F. McAllister.

Thank you, Carmen, for inviting me to your blog. I look forward to meeting all of your wonderful Western women members.

Now before y’all get your six-shooters out and blast me from here to smithereens for being an imposter, let me confess and say I was not raised in the West and have never lived in the West. Hopefully, you’ll grant me an honorary membership since the West and horses live in my heart.

And, rest assured, I am not going to say I’m from New York City (LOL) although I suppose there could be some cowgirls there. I was born in Miami Beach, Florida, and worked my way up to Atlanta, Georgia. In my twenties I started riding and showing, first thoroughbreds, then Quarter Horses. It was as though my childhood dreams of watching Bonanza and The Virginian were coming true—to be around those wonderful animals was just the best!

And I was never afraid of getting dirty, sweaty, or worn out after hours of riding. I had quite a few falls (friends told me to get a seatbelt!), some injuries, and a couple of tragedies due to barn fires.

I watched those who made their living with horses and was taken aback when I heard someone from another state comment, “There are no cowboys in Georgia.”

I beg to differ with that person. To me, anyone who has love and respect for horses, works hard to keep them safe and healthy, and promotes the Cowboy Code, can be a cowboy (or girl) no matter where they live.

I understand there are cowboys in Hawaii! Let’s go!

In fact, I’ve been binge-watching a TV series from the last few years called The Cowboy Way—Alabama. Now those boys work hard. I’d sure call them cowboys (with a twangy Southern accent).

In Cartersville, Georgia, north of Atlanta, we are fortunate to have the amazing Booth Western Art Museum. It was there that I heard a couple of authors speak about their Western genre books. They sang the praises of the Western Writers of America organization and encouraged me to join. In 2015 I went to my first convention in Lubbock, Texas and met author Natalie Bright (who has been a guest blogger here).

Natalie and I hit it off and one thing led to another. We co-authored a Christian Contemporary Western Romance called Maverick Heart. That book led to six in our Wild Cow Ranch series (2021). Now we are working on another series, the Rafter O Ranch, which is a neighboring ranch to the Wild Cow and home of the Olsen family. Characters from the first series appear in the new series and their stories are being expanded.

Natalie Bright and I believe God had His hand in our meeting and He has gifted us with the ability to collaborate on these stories. We always try to weave a God lesson into our books.

People sometimes ask me how to find a publisher or agent or other connections necessary to get their work produced. For me, conferences have been the ticket.

It’s all about relationships.

You’ve heard that, right? I’m so grateful to the Western Writers of America organization. If you like to write about the West, I encourage you to look into this fine group. Not only is it terrific for networking but you’ll make cherished friendships for years to come. How wonderful is that?

I’ve been thrilled to travel to the WWA conventions in Lubbock, Texas; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Kansas City, Missouri; Billings, Montana; and Tucson, Arizona. In 2022 we’re going to Great Falls, Montana. Pretty good for a girl from Miami, Florida, I’d say.

The organization has been around since 1953 and many members have been attending for decades.

Co-writing was a learning process, but so worthwhile. Natalie Bright and I had to be willing to compromise, listen to each other’s ideas, and accept that our co-author might have a better way for the good of the story. We come together and dissect everything, review, edit, revise. But at the core, we both have the same story in our heads. It has been a fun journey and we are both very grateful for the opportunity to work at something we love. And hopefully, our stories will bless others.

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Please check out Maverick Heart and the other books in the Wild Cow Ranch series at: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08Q4KNPJK

May God bless y’all!

If you enjoyed learning about this Inspirational Western Woman, please feel free to forward her story to a friend.

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  1. By the way, ladies, I’m not sure if my article on Carmen’s blog mentions my doggo friend.

    That’s Polly with her paws crossed. She’s about 10 or 11 now. I rescued her at around 2 years old. She is the sweetest pup and my dear furry friend.


    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Polly is sweet, Denise!

  2. It’s great getting to know you better through this column, Denise! I read Maverick Heart and loved it. Yes, I agree, there are cowboys and cowgirls everywhere–as Dale Evans once said, “Cowgirl is a state of mind.”

    Congratulations to you and Natalie on your successful series!

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Thanks for taking the time to get to know Denise, Heidi!

    2. Thanks so much, Heidi! Your kind words mean a lot — especially since I love and respect YOUR books! You also have an amazing lineage and I loved reading about your grandmother.

      All the best,

  3. Right on, Natalie! Are you also a member of our fabulous international group, Women Writing the West. As a “New West Myseries with Heart”author I find them immensely helpful. They, too, host conferences.

    And thank you, again, Carmen!

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      I love WWW! Where they encouraged me to shine! Denise and Natalie are the perfect duo.

      1. Thank you, Carmen! Sweet of you to say. Yes, Natalie and I have enjoyed our collaboration. It’s always fun to discover the other’s ideas.

        Natalie has been to WWW conferences. I joined a while ago.


  4. Carmen, I’m loving your blog and these western women features.

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Thank you, Dylan. I’d love to have you as a guest! Let’s talk.

      1. Sure, we can do a video chat anytime after this week that’s convenient for you. I’m I’m final edits and hoof trimming here

        1. Carmen Peone says:

          I will email you the invite.

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Heidi, their books are really good. Fit right in with Moreen.

  5. One word re cowboys and girls, Western folk, horses and more in The South or wherever: NASHVILLE!

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Nashville is pretty amazing.

    2. Hi Carole,

      Yes, Nashville is beautiful! It’s about 4 hours from me in north Atlanta.

      On my last visit (2019?) a local friend showed us down Broadway (I think that’s what they call the main drag).

      I was glad to see some of the historic sites (Ernest Tubbs’ record shop — which I think is going to be closed soon; how sad), but I must admit I didn’t care for the crowds and “Spring Break” feeling. I guess the truth is — I’m getting too old for it. LOL.

      Best to you,