10 Years in the Making: How Megan Crane’s Love of Marietta Led to Cowboy Point

Ten years ago I went on a spectacular writing retreat on Flathead Lake in Montana and dreamed up a town called Marietta with a few friends I bet you’ve heard of. Later that year, my book TEMPT ME, COWBOY was not only the first book ever published by Tule—it was the very first book set in Marietta, Montana. 

Since then I’ve written a bunch of quirky novellas and books set in and around Marietta, or having some connection to Marietta, as I (mostly) followed a bunch of cousins from the extended Grey family through their sometimes deliciously tortured journeys toward happy ever afters. I’ve gone on more Montana writing retreats—including one that took us on a road trip across the west to Deadwood, South Dakota, for an epic rodeo. I dipped in and out of Marietta over the years, and have a lot of pretty deep feelings about the place. To me, it feels like a place I lived in once and had to move away from.

Last fall, I got to revisit Marietta for the first time in years. I wrote TEMPT ME PLEASE COWBOY and got deeply nostalgic for cowboys, Montana, and beautiful Paradise Valley. Another road trip  up from Jackson Hole, through the Tetons and Yellowstone and on to Livingston, sealed the deal. I was nostalgic for big skies, soaring mountains, and cowboys who feel a little like both.

I wanted to come back to what feels so much like home to me.

That’s how Cowboy Point was born.

Cowboy Point is a tiny community on the other side of Copper Mountain, a good ten mile drive—in good weather—into Marietta. 

The community is a mix of old time miners’ families who found the copper barons down in the valley a bit too heavy handed for their tastes back in the 1850s, cowboys and ranchers who’ve worked the land in the Gallatin Range’s more remote valleys for generations, the usual mountain types who are drawn to far off places, and the artists and other hermit-minded fancier folk that are everywhere in Montana these days.

Cowboy Point has no stoplights but it does boast one elementary school while the older kids are bussed into Marietta, weather permitting. There’s one small but feisty library, a feed store, and the General Store with its selection of conveniences on one side, a diner of sorts in the middle, and a bar on the other side over the creek. Not long ago, some folks opened up a pizza and ice cream sort of place across the road, and sometimes there’s live, local music to go along with the family-friendly atmosphere. There’s even the old Cowboy Point Lodge, the Jewel of the Rockies in its days, that has fallen into disrepair since the Stark Boys (now dead or in their 70s) spent their entire lives arguing over who should get to run it. 

Most people either have deep roots here, like the Starks, and therefore a tangled family history to work out. Some have that and a grudge, like the Careys and the Lisles, who have been feuding since day one. Newcomers—meaning anyone who turned up after the early 1900s—might have fewer feuds and less ancient tangles, but one thing they all share is a deep sense of pride and place.

You have to want to live in Cowboy Point. It’s a lot easier to slide on down the mountain into Paradise Valley and live in places with fewer memories and a whole lot more services.

But once the high mountain air gets a hold of you, not to mention the spectacular views across one of the most beautiful places in all of Montana, you might find it hard to call anywhere else home.

That’s true for Harlan Carey, the oldest of the Carey brothers. He’s spent his whole life on his family’s ranch, was born on the land and intends to die on it—but not without doing his part to continue the family legacy.

Meaning: he needs a wife.

But he’s an overly practical man, so he figures that instead of dating around with time he doesn’t have, he’ll place an ad in the paper for the exact wife he wants, just like cowboys did for years when the west was still wild:

Cowboy looking for wife to work the land, help with the business, and raise the next generation. Must be practical, reasonable, and honest.

When Kendall Darlington answers this ad, Harlan has himself a mail-order bride. He figures that the fact she’s so pretty is a distraction, but once they get used to each other, they’ll figure out how to have the sort of practical relationship he wants.

Except more time with Kendall only means more ways to want her, and that’s before her messy past comes calling…

There are five books planned in the Careys of Cowboy Point series, all of which you can read about here, and no shortage of other fine folks in the area, so here’s hoping we get to spend a lot of time there together: https://megancrane.com/series/the-careys-of-cowboy-point/

The first in the series, THE COWBOY’S MAIL-ORDER BRIDE, comes out May 9 and I can’t wait to introduce you to Cowboy Point! 

I hope you’ll love it there as much as I do!

About the Author.

Megan Crane headshotUSA Today bestselling, multi-award-nominated, and critically-acclaimed author Megan Crane has written more than 145 books, and shows no sign of slowing down. She publishes romance as Megan Crane and M.M. Crane with an exciting backlist of women’s fiction, rom-coms, chick lit, and young adult novels. She’s also won a large and loyal fanbase as Caitlin Crews with Harlequin Presents, Harlequin Dare, Harlequin Historical, and contemporary cowboy books. And for paranormal fun, Megan partners with Nicole Helm to publish as Hazel Beck for her witchy rom-com novels.

Megan has a Masters and Ph.D. in English Literature, has taught creative writing classes in places like UCLA Extension’s prestigious Writers’ Program, and is always available to give workshops (or her opinion). She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her comic book artist husband, though, at any given time, she is likely to either be huddled in a coffee shop somewhere or off traveling the world. Preferably both.