Thursday, December 21, 2023

Falling for a Real Cowboy: Q&A with Karen Baney + Giveaway


About the Book

Book: Falling for a Real Cowboy

Author: Karen Baney

Genre: Contemporary Christian Cowboy Romance

Release Date: November 21, 2023

She’s trying to resurrect her career. He’s sworn off women. Will this city-meets-country duo find love where they least expect it?

Dalton J. Vargas the fourth has sworn off love. Women are just a distraction that keep him from running his family’s multi-million-dollar guest ranch near Wickenburg, Arizona. After his father announces an early retirement, the full burden of the ranch rests on his shoulders. When a city-slicker romance author stays at the ranch, Dalton’s perfect world turns to chaos.

River Sloane’s last workplace romance novel flopped—big time. Now her publisher wants her to write a modern-day cowboy romance, which she has resisted for years. When her publisher sends her to a dude ranch in the middle of nowhere Arizona, she must learn about cowboys and ranching to get her career back on track. One hunky cowboy stirs her heart and unexpectedly becomes her muse.

Will she let herself fall in love with the real cowboy or will she return to the life she left behind? Will Dalton open his heart to a new, lasting love?


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Karen Baney is passionate about writing stories full of flawed characters. She enjoys weaving together stories of second chances, redemption, and overcoming personal trials. As a transplant to Arizona in the late 1990s, she loves researching the state’s history and finding ways to seamlessly incorporate real history and real settings into her novels. In addition to writing and speaking, Karen works as a Software Development Manager for a Christian ministry.

Her faith plays an important role both in her life and in her writing. Karen and her husband, Jim, make their home in Gilbert, Arizona, with their two dogs, Bella and Daisy. Both Jim and Karen are active at Rock Point Church in Queen Creek, Arizona.


More from Karen

Inspiration Behind the Vargas Ranch Series Brand

How many books about ranches and cowboys have you read, whether historical or contemporary and you wondered about their brand?

Hardly anyone describes the brand. Me either. In my historical series, I don’t think I’ve mentioned the brand for my ranch that appears in eleven books!

Well, for the Vargas Ranch Series, the brand plays a central role in describing both the family and their faith. In many of my series, I start with a theme verse, and the Vargas Ranch Series is no exception. When I read these verses in my morning devotion time, I knew this would be the anchor for the series.

With regard to the works of man,

by the word of your lips

I have avoided the ways of the violent.

My steps have held fast to your paths;

my feet have not slipped.

—Psalms 17:4-5 ESV

Then the family motto formed based on the second verse:  I do not deviate from the Lord’s plan.

Immediately, I latched onto the word “deviate” and how it might be represented in a brand: “dV8”. I sketched out the design, and then I had to back into how else the letters “d” and “V” might relate to the series.


Then next thing I knew, I was searching for Spanish last names beginning with a “V”. As soon as I saw Vargas, I knew it was the perfect name for my Arizonan ranching family. The idea to make all the men’s name begin with a “d” also took shape. I scanned through my running list of cowboy names and quickly settled on the five brothers’ names: Dalton, Dylan, Derin, Devon, and Drake.

Now, I could have probably stopped there, but I love developing a rich family history for series like this. So, I decided to set the founding of the ranch in 1952 with Dalton J. Vargas, Senior. His son, Junior, named his son, Dalton J. Vargas the third, and Diego Vargas. The third or “Tres”, is the father of the five sons in the series.

I’ve really enjoyed weaving the family’s “dV8” brand, family motto, and theme verses into the first book in the series. They will make an appearance in all five books. So, I’ll leave you with:

“I do not deviate from the Lord’s plan.”

Blessings, dear readers!

Author Interview

Can you share 5 random facts about you that we will not find in your bio?  


1. I have a stash of “emergency” dark chocolate in my desk. Always Ghiradelli’s. Always dark chocolate. And always a one-piece limit. 

2. My favorite color is blue. No, purple. No, blue. 😉 

3. My real-life hero, Jim, proposed to me on South Mountain in Phoenix at sunset after dating for about six weeks. We married 3 months after meeting and just celebrated our 23rd Anniversary this year. 

4. Dogs rule. 

5. I’ve lived in 4 states and 2 countries. 


Are you a planner or a pantser? 

With Falling for a Real Cowboy, I had a loose outline and leaned more towards pantser. With the second book in the series, I started the same way, but ended up stopping part way through and writing a more detailed outline. That resulted in completely reorganizing the chapters. In the end, Falling for a Shy Cowboy, is better for the pause to plan. For the third book, I’m using the detailed outline again. I guess that means I’m sometimes a planner and sometimes a pantser. 😊 

If you had to describe your main character(s) in just three words, what would they be?  


Dalton Vargas – Serious, responsible, lonely 

River Sloane – Fun, light-hearted, faithful 


What was the most rewarding part of bringing this story to life? 


One of the most rewarding parts of developing Falling for a Real Cowboy, was designing the brand for Vargas Ranch and its dual meaning (see the “More from the Author above”), tying it to a family motto, and a verse from Psalms. As I continue writing this series, it’s fun to introduce the impression these elements have on different characters. For me, it’s a subtle reminder to readers that God’s light can shine through us, impacting others for good in ways that we’ll never know. 
What do you hope readers will take away from the book?  

The underlying theme is about God’s timing. We see His hand in both Dalton’s and River’s characters as they face some huge challenges and experience love after some heartbreaking bad relationships in their pasts. Through it all, they grow, and dreams come true, though not in their desired timing, but in God’s perfect timing. It’s hard to wait for the Lord when we want things to happen on our timeline. But when we do, we will find his peace. 


Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, December 12

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 13 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 14

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 15 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 16

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 17 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 18

A Reader’s Brain, December 19 (Author Interview)

Life on Chickadee Lane, December 19

Texas Book-aholic, December 20

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 21 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, December 22

For the Love of Literature, December 23 (Author Interview)

Labor Not in Vain, December 24

Holly’s Book Corner, December 25


To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 gift card and a signed paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


  1. Thank you so much for the fun interview and for sharing my book with your followers!

  2. This looks like a fantastic novel. Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

  3. This should be a fantastic novel. Thanks for hosting this giveaway.


"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb: sweet to the soul and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:24