posted on February 3, 2020 by Stacy Finz

How a Real Estate Ad Inspired the Dry Creek Ranch Series

By Stacy Finz

I had to look at the listing a few times to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood. It was exactly what I’d been searching for all these years in a little game I used to play where I pretended that I could afford a second home. In my fantasy it would be a rustic log cabin on a lake and few acres with enough room for my entire extended family to visit. Oh, and it had to be only a few hours from the San Francisco Bay Area because that’s where I live.

“Yeah, maybe after we rob a few banks,” was my husband’s response every time I talked about the idea.

But that didn’t deter me from relentlessly perusing or stopping to stare at the flyers taped to the glass of every real estate office in every small town in Gold Country we visited. It seemed my wish list was impossible, especially for a price tag we could afford.

But there it was, the dream, staring me in the face. Okay, it didn’t have a log cabin, just a really outdated home built in the 1980s in desperate need of a facelift. But it did have a lake and five acres and an asking price that enticed my husband to at least take a look.

A month later, the key was ours (what had we done?). It needed a lot of work but with every visit, the sheer serenity of the place made me love it more and more. The two-hour drive, which took us away from the city, through gorgeous countryside dotted with cattle and old barns filled me with a happiness.

And a writer’s inspiration.

The idea for a new series came to me as clear as a Sierra sky. A ranch, three handsome cousins and what it means to hold onto something you love—the underlying theme in all three books in my new Dry Creek Ranch Series.

In this series the ranch and the small town of Dry Creek would be as much the protagonist in the story as the hero and heroine. The 500-acre spread is Cash, Jace and Sawyer’s grandfather’s legacy to them. Preserving it is as much a labor of love as it is a way for them to honor their late grandfather, a man they worshipped.

I borrowed generously from my new home’s surroundings, even stealing the name of the ranch—and the title of the series–from one of the roads near my place. Then I let my imagination run wild. The end result looked much like the rolling pastures and snow-capped mountains of my Sierra Foothill home.

And now, whenever I’m there, it feels a little like I’m living in a romance novel.

One person who comments will win a special prize!



Five hundred acres of gorgeous California land is a life-changer for cousins Cash, Jace, and Sawyer—and a surprising chance for each of them to find a game-changing love . . .

Sheriff Jace Dalton’s plate is piled high even before he discovers a stranded motorist just a few miles from his home. With two lively young boys to raise, a challenging reelection to win, and a hefty tax bill due on the ranch, all he wants at the end of the day is a shower and a cold beer. But the woman in the packed SUV clearly needs his help—and though she’s a stranger, Jace finds himself wanting to turn her haunted look into a smile . . .

Fleeing her abusive boyfriend, Charlotte Holcomb thought she’d escaped before she lost everything, but more heartache was to come. Now, sidetracked by a brewing storm, Charlotte has to trust the handsome sheriff. Just one night, she tells herself, before she’s on her way again. But when gentle Jace and his kids offer the kind of sanctuary she never imagined possible, it’s hard to say goodbye. Soon the two wary strangers are becoming friends, and longing to open their hearts to more—if they can move beyond the pain of their pasts . . .


Stacy Finz

Stacy Finz

Stacy Finz is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. After more than twenty years covering notorious serial killers, naked-tractor-driving farmers, fanatical foodies, aging rock stars and weird Western towns as a newspaper reporter, she figured she finally had enough material to launch a career writing fiction. She is the author of the Nugget Romance series (Kensington/Lyrical Press), the Garner Brothers series (Kensington/Zebra) and the upcoming Dry Creek Ranch series. She lives in Northern California with her husband. Visit her website. And sign up for her newsletter to learn about giveaways, contests, events and book releases.

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12 thoughts on “How a Real Estate Ad Inspired the Dry Creek Ranch Series”

  1. Avatar Barb says:

    Sounds amazing! It would be so nice to have a serene place to get away for a bit. The series sounds great too!

    1. Avatar stacy Finz says:

      It’s great for writing, Barb.

  2. Avatar Teresa F says:

    I just finished Cowboy Tough yesterday before the game – a wonderful book!!

    1. Avatar stacy Finz says:

      Thank you Teresa. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

  3. I love this so much. The series, of course, but now there’s a lot of background that goes with it that makes it that much more special.

    1. Avatar stacy Finz says:

      Hi Shannon. It was fun basing a whole series on a place I live.

  4. Thank you for sharing! Beautiful!

    1. Avatar stacy Finz says:

      It was my pleasure, Sharlene

  5. Avatar bn100 says:

    fun inspiration

  6. Avatar Laurie Gommermann says:

    Glad you found your dream spot. Great that it is the perfect setting for your new series. I’m looking forward to reading COWBOY TOUGH.

    Over 25 years ago my husband and I were lucky enough to find our dream retreat on a small 77 acre lake in central Wisconsin. We love hiking and swimming and reading. It’s so peaceful. We really appreciate the beauty of nature and how blessed we are.

    1. Avatar stacy Finz says:

      Oh my Gosh, Laurie, that sounds fantastic! Enjoy it.

  7. Avatar flchen1 says:

    Stacy, that sounds amazing! What a blessing not just for you, but for your readers! <3

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