Bobbi Smith Celebrates 25 Years!

bobbi.JPGsmith_bobbi.jpgHi Everybody! 

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be ‘blogging’ with you.  I am honored to be here and look forward to a fun weekend.


This year marks my 25th year as a published author.  So much has changed since 1982 when I sold my first book Rapture’s Rage to Zebra.  Back in those days, manuscripts were 550-600 pages long – typed on a manual typewriter and using a lot of white out, and everybody was reading.  As a romance fan myself, I used to go to three or four different stores every month just to make sure I saw all the titles that were available. 


And cover art!  What about the changes we’ve seen there?  The Flame And The Flower was the first ‘romance’ I ever bought, and I remember being a little embarrassed to check it out because there was a couple embracing on the cover.  (Granted they were only about 2 inches tall and very modest, but that was back in the mid to late 70s and Fabio hadn’t shown up yet.) 

texas-splendor.jpgDo you remember the Fabio cover in the 80s – I think it was a Johanna Lindsey – where he was naked with the girl pressed against him?  My Kmart store went around and put stickers over his rear so no one would be offended.  I was very blessed to have David Alan Johnson on the cover of my book Heaven.  He was the first hunk winner from RT, and we got to tour together.  He’s a real gentleman and a lot of fun.

My covers from Leisure have been awesome.  Lately, they’ve gone to the ‘guy only’ look, and I think they’re terrific.  Take a look at the cover art for ‘Wanted! The Half-Breed’ my June ’08 release from Leisure.  It’s gorgeous!

wanted-cover.jpgSpeaking of Wanted! The Half-Breed, Walker Stevenson is our hero.  He’s framed for murder and sent to the penitentiary.  While he’s working on a chain gang, he manages to escape and returns home to track down the real killer with the help of our heroine Roni.  Roni is a doctor, and it was fun doing the research of women doctors back then.  There was a lot of prejudice against them, that’s for sure.  The story is set in Texas and hopefully a page-turner for everybody!

Thanks to Cheryl St.John and the rest of the ladies for inviting me on!  Feel free to ask me anything!  We’re going to have a fun weekend!


Bobbi will be sending two autographed copies of her newest book to two lucky winners, drawn from the names of those who post comments on her blog.  Good luck, ladies!

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42 thoughts on “Bobbi Smith Celebrates 25 Years!”

  1. Hi Bobbi! 🙂

    I love that cover for WANTED! THE HALF BREED. Verra sexy. 😉

    My question for you is: How long did you write (and how many manuscripts) before you sold?


  2. Hi Bobbi!
    Congratulations on 25 years of writing. I’m wondering what you think of today’s shorter page length in most romances. Is it easier or harder for you?

  3. I read some of those early Romances, too, Bobbi. Back then I just knew when I was published the Leisure logo would grace the spine of my books, and it does! That art department does an awesome job. I miss the longer, meatier reads.
    Joyce H.

  4. You know, I DON’T remember Johanna Lindsey’s Fabio cover. I may go check. 🙂
    And the guy on the cover of Lawless Texas?
    I’m thinking he’s shooting at the guy who stole his shirt, right? 🙂
    Thanks for writing Bobbie.

  5. I still think the covers are a bit too much… were has the implicit gone… most embarrassing when reading in public!!

  6. I agree the covers are beautiful while someone reads at home, but outside… I can’t read my book, afraid of the glances I would get, I prefer the ones with scenery or a couple a bit more dressed (I am thinking Amanda Quick or Nora Roberts covers).

    The covers which are a bit too osé is maybe what makes people in general critique romances and make them biaised in saying it is bad litterature without opening a romance!!

  7. Congrats on you 25 years… my first romance was Shanna from Woodiwiss 🙂

    I don’t remember that cover from Johanna Lindsey, what book is it!!

    I have read some of your books translated in french and loved them 🙂

  8. Hi Everybody,
    #1 – I was blessed to sell my first manuscript. It took me 2 1/2 years to finish and then Zebra said they would buy it if I added another 150 pages to the 390 I’d already written. The proper answer was ‘yes, ma’am’ and here we are. I think I’m getting close to 50 now, counting the short story collections. 🙂
    #2 – I like the shorter length. These days folks don’t have a lot of time to read, so we want to give them a fast paced, page turner that they can’t put down. I loved using a lot of in depth historical background info, but I’m not sure the readers want that any more.
    #3 – Hi, Joyce! Love ya!
    #4 – Hi, Mary! I think you’re right! I was wondering, too, since he’s a lawman, where he was wearing his badge. 🙂
    #5 – My ‘guy only’ covers are selling really well. I’ve developed a big male following since I’ve been concentrating on westerns and the shirtless guy doesn’t bother them.
    #6 – It’s so sad that the literary people ‘judge a book by its cover’. 🙂 I remember reading one some years back and the description of the hero was so good I flipped to the cover to get another look at him and there was only a flower on the cover! It aggravated me, because I was used to the couples.

    You can always buy one of those book cover things so you can read in public.

    You know what’s really cool, too, is Zebra has started re-releasing my old stuff with new covers – Dream Warrior and Pirate’s Promise 07 – and it’s fun to have them out again with a new look. Texas Splendor and Capture My Heart will be back again in 08.

    thanks for all your comments!

  9. Hi Bobbi – Congratulations on your 25th year being a published author! I’m interested too in learning how long it took before you became published. I love your Lawless, Texas cover! The horse is as beautiful as the hero and it really shouts action-packed. And your new half-breed cover isn’t “half” bad. 🙂 I tend to write Texas stories as well – my in-laws live there and I’m an honorary Texan now!!

    The Flame and the Flower was MY first romance too. I must have re-read that book a dozen times thru the years!

    Thanks for being our Guest Blogger and welcome to Petticoats and Pistols. We do have fun here!!

  10. Hi Bobbi! Welcome to Petticoats & Pistols!

    Congratulations on 25 years in publishing 🙂

    As a fan and lover of western romances, I’m so grateful for your success. As a new author, I’m inspired by your influence on the western market. LOVE the new covers!

    Thank you for joining us today 🙂

  11. Hi Bobbi! We at P&P feel so honored that you’re blogging with us. You’ve been a favorite author of mine since the first time I met you in the early 90’s at an RWA conference. I can’t believe you’ve been in the business that long. What an amazing record. I’m sure you’ve had lots of ups and downs along the way, but I’m wondering if you ever for once entertained the idea of hanging it up? I hope not. There aren’t enough writers writing western romance. That’s a pure shame too. I can’t imagine ever writing anything else but westerns.

    I love the cover of Lawless Texas! That man really draws you in and makes you want to buy the book. Yes, Dorchester has given you excellent covers. Your new one sounds like a winner also. Love the woman doc angle and prejudice those women faced. It took a lot of guts to walk that path. I’ll sure be looking for it.

    Good luck and much success! You’re just awesome. 🙂

  12. My mom uses the book covers–they’re neat! Looks like you’re reading a dictionary or something *lol* I didn’t know she read romance until I was nearly 30! She’s a veracious reader–she keeps a couple books in her purse, the living room, her nightstand, and has a rainbow of colors so she can keep her books straight. How she reads so many different stories at once is beyond me. She gave me some covers, but I’d finish the books before I remembered to put one on 😉

  13. Okay…had to calm myself down before I had a fangirl moment…yeah, it could have really been embarrassing…LOL

    I love, love, love your books, Bobbi, and they were among some of the first romances I read. I can’t wait to read the next one!!!!

    As for covers, I think yours are gorgeous. But I started reading romances when I was 13 or 14 and had to put post-its on the covers of books with more risque covers…couples, half-naked men, etc…when I read at school. It wouldn’t have mattered to me, but I didn’t want to have to deal with questions from the teachers and other students. Hmmm, Stacey, wish I had had some of those bookcover things…wouldn’t have saved on office supplies…LOL.

  14. Hi Bobbi! I remember that Johanna Lindsey cover. I never read the book. Passed it over in K-Mart because I was too embarrassed to take it through the check-out.

    And, for the record, I miss Fabio. His era (time-wise) was the best in romance. I miss those meaty historicals.

  15. Hi Everybody! This is fun!
    Lila, that is so cool that you read the French version. I had French for years in school, but never even gave it a try when I got my copies. 🙂 You know what was really neat? I got published in Hebrew and Chinese, too! Talk about wild! I had to read the copyright page to find out what books they were. It’s amazing to see them in other languages!

    Charlene, Hi! You know, thinking about Brandon and Heather, I went back a few years ago to re-read it, and he really did r__e her. Darn. It worked in the 70s, but now, I don’t know. I was at WalMart this morning and Shanna and Ashes in the Wind were there. I didn’t check what printing they were in, probably 200000milliointh! Woodiwiss was an inspiration to us all. It’s a shame she passed away.

    Stacey – you are so sweet. Thanks for having me.

    Linda – re quitting, I think about it only when I’m in the ‘Oh, my God, this is crap stage’. 🙂 And that happens with just about every book. There’s the – I can’t do this again
    Then – Oh, My God, this is crap.
    And then the galleys come in and I read it again after 5 or 6 months and think – Hey, not too bad!

    Writers are weird, aren’t we? 🙂

    Jennifer – Thank you so much for logging on. I tell you what, it’s a thrill for me to hear from you. Someone once said writing is a very solitary business, and it is. Fans don’t write letters like they used to. For the first 20 years or so I had a post office box and got upwards of 300 letters from fans on every book. Two years ago I shut it down ’cause nobody was writing to me any more. Once in a while, I get emails through my website, but the current fans are different from the 80s fans. Please stay in touch. It’s fun.

    Oh, and Linda – I keep on my bulletin board over my desk this poem my son got back when he was on a basketball team in the 80s –

    Don’t Quit

    When things go wrong, as they sometimes will
    When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill, When the funds are low and the debts are high
    And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
    When care is perssing you down a bit,
    Rest if you must, but never quit.

    Life is strange with its twists and turns,
    As everyone of us sometimes learns,
    And many a failure turns about
    When he might have won had he stuck it out.
    Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –
    You may succeed with another blow.

    Often the goal is nearer than
    It seems to a faint, faltering man.
    Often the struggler has given up
    When he might have captured the victor’s cup.
    And he learned too late, when the night slipped down
    How close he was to the golden crown.

    Success is failure turned inside out –
    The silver tint of the cloud of doubt.
    And you can never tell how close you are;
    It may be nearer when it seems afar.
    So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
    It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit!

    Isn’t that beautiful?

    love ya all!

  16. I have been reading your books as long as you have been writing and have enjoyed them all.
    Am looking forward to Wanted: The Half-Breed.
    The cover is gorgeous!

  17. What a great poem Bobbi!

    And I have to tell you, that I get a bit nervous contacting to authors…LOL…as a reader, I am never quite sure what to say. After all, y’all are my rock stars!

  18. Hi Bobbi! Congrats on your 25 years of publishing!
    My first romance novel was also ‘The flame and the flower’ by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Brandon *sigh*… I still adore that book and I reread it often.
    I’m looking forward to reading your newest book. Oh and btw, your covers look great!

  19. Hi Bobbi. Congratulations on 25 years of publishing. What a wonderful accomplishment. I love your books. I have been a fan since I was a teenager. 🙂

  20. 25 years in a tough business. It’s a real accomplishment.
    And I didn’t mean I didn’t like the cover, in case you read it that way. I’m ROOTING for the shirt thief to get away.
    Somehow I have this mental image of Cheryl St. John running away, shirt in hand, at top speed.

  21. Bobbi! Big wave! How the heck are ya? I’m late joining in today. Cheryl and I were at our chapter Christmas party, and we had to travel in drizzly freezing weather. Took FOREVER to get home.

    It’s absolutely wonderful to have you here with us on P & P! You are truly one of the queens of western romance. Here’s to 25 more years of books!

  22. Wow I must sat that I really admire someone who has been at it for so long. Keep it going! Wanted: The Half Breed sounds like a great read.

  23. Hi everybody! Hope the Christmas party was great and I’m glad you got home safe! We got a little snow and rain yesterday, and there’s something exciting coming for the rest of the week. It’s so nice how the gang up in Nebraska sends it to us! 🙂 I always watch your weather and know it will be here in 24 hours.

    Hi Pat! Great to hear from you!

    I got a question – If Cheryl was going to steal his shirt, why would she run away with it? She ought to stay and admire the view!

    Mary re: the business. I can’t tell you how important my business background has been to me in my career. I got a business degree and worked hardlines back in the 70s. In fact, I was the first female hardlines department manager at Famous back before I had the kids. It really helped me understand moving merchandise and understanding the writing business isn’t about egos, it’s about writing a book that a reader wants to read. I’m just thankful for all the readers who enjoy my books.

    PS if anyone on the blog is an aspiring writer, the best advice I can give you is get a job in a book store. I was working at one, part time, when I sold my first book. It really helped me understand what was going on in NY.

    love ya!

  24. Congratulations on 25! I love historical covers. Flame and the Flower was my first real romance too. I’ll take a historical cover over the erotica ones any day.

  25. Congrats on the 25 years!! I think covers are a lot better now. This past year ( to me anyway ) I’ve seen some of the best covers ever.

  26. Thanks so much for being our special guest, Bobbi. Kudos to you for achieving 25 successful years in this business. I have always admired your business head and your practicality–well, among many other things, that is.

    I do remember standing in a checkout and seeing that Lindsay book. Yowza!

    Can you tell Mary keeps us laughing? And why me? If I took his shirt, it was probably just to sew on a missing button. (I’m so domestic and all, you know.)

    We did have a doozy of a trip home today, stopping every 15-20 minutes to scrape ice from the windshield! Hi, Karen – how’s Florida? LOL

    I told the girls to stop by and say howdy.


  27. Hi Bobbi!

    Congratulations on 25 years of writing!

    I read The Flame and the Flower, and of course I read everything by Johanna Lindsey, but I can’t remember the cover(s)! Maybe it’s old age setting in! LOL

    I can’t wait to get my hands on Wanted! It sounds like a great read – and I love the cover!

    (Aspiring Historical Western Romance Author)

  28. All right, here’s another topic to discuss. What’s the going opinion on pre-marital sex? For the last 10-12 years or so, I’ve been trying to get everybody married before anything serious happens. Sometimes the plots don’t work that way, but I try. What do you think? There is so much of the graphic stuff out there, TV, movies and other books, don’t you think people maybe want innocence once in a while?

  29. Congrats on 25 years of writing. I remember reading and loving your books.
    I agree that some innocence is greatin my reading and because I see young girls also reading these books I wish more felt that way.

  30. Hi again, Bobbi. If I go strictly by my personal standards, I’m with you on getting everyone married before they jump into bed. But I admit that my characters have a lot of unmarried sex. In my debut book, it had to be that way. The relationship was “forbidden.” But looking at the overall, most of my plots have the h&h sliding between the sheets (or into the bedroll) without benefit of marriage. The only one that doesn’t is a m.o.c. plot where the marriage comes before any of the relationship development. I think readers mostly expect this. From what I’ve seen, they want the books hotter and hotter and don’t really give much thought to whether or not marriage is involved. That’s just my opinion, formed by the reader discussions I’ve recently watched.

    I’ve heard that Inspirational sales are on the rise. So it seems there is still a huge segment of readers out there who DO want the characters to live up to their own morals and standards and stay out of the sack until they say, “I do.” Me, I like a lot of sensuality and hot love scenes, (with or without marriage) but I don’t care for the really graphic stuff. :o)

  31. Love the history lesson on covers. I’m sure a “sticker” would guarantee more sales…!

    Here’s to 25 more successful years.

  32. Ooh, great question, Bobbi! I also prefer the couple marry first, but agree that it’s not possible in every situation. In my first two books the couples were tricked into marriage and couldn’t wait to sever the marital ties–until they started to fall in love over the next couple hundred pages. Even though they were legally married, they didn’t have sex until the emotion was there. One of the elements I love most about historical romance is the tangible build of emotion between the characters. So long as I can see the love and commitment built between them, I don’t mind a premarital relationship. In the Old West preachers weren’t always easy to find, and many couples were emotionally wed before they said the vows. I definitely prefer innocent heroines, especially one who has been hounded by men and been in compromising situations and has remained innocent through her own determination to wait for the man who falls in love with her. I think our youth needs the reminder that anyone can have sex, but it takes an emotional bond to make love–and that bond is worth waiting for 🙂

  33. Great posts, everybody…sorry to get in the chat so late. Congrats, Bobbi, on your wonderful career!..I love strong emotional pre-marital relationships because, well, romance readers know the ending is happy LOL. But I also love the concept of a forced or unwilling marriage first and the couple then falls in love. Sigh.

  34. Stacey, I agree that the emotional, or falling in love, is key and MUST be there before the sex in a historical romance. This is also the part I love. The character may not even be aware of it, might even fight it (and usually does :o) but the reader must be able to see what’s happening. Even when a character is in denial about his/her feelings and swears to have nothing more to do with the other, the commitment is there and shows up in any variety of ways. To me, that’s the fun part of writing romance, the “I love you/hate you” struggle and working through it. :o)

  35. Same here, Devon 🙂 I love watching the hero struggle and rebel as he starts to realize and accept his feelings for his heroine–and vise versa. I think because men are such physical creatures, it takes an extra amount of torment for them to realize love is a good thang. They often have to lose it before they can realize they don’t want to live without it 😉

  36. This has been fun! This is an awesome website. Don’t worry I won’t be a stranger. Thank you to everybody who wrote in over the weekend. It’s so much fun to be in touch with everyone.

    I’m back to the computer now to finish off Walker’s story. I’ve got to get him happily ever after by tomorrow. 🙂

    Thanks for everything!

    And for all the published ladies, when I see your books in the stores, I’ll spread ’em out at eye level for you!

    love ya,

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