Enduring Westerns

Two exciting things happened this weekend that I just have to share!

I just returned from the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference that was held this year in Dallas, Texas. It was a whirlwind of workshops, being updated on the publishing industry, re-connecting with writer friends and meeting new ones. Fresh new faces and voices are making their way onto the scene which is always exciting.

The first evening a genre dinner is held, where authors are encouraged to dress the part of one of their characters. It is a fun ice-breaker and conversation starter. This is a picture of me in a Victorian shop-keepers garb–a character from my new Western coming out in December. (Familiar Stranger in Clear Springs) Perhaps the hat is a bit too fancy with the netting…I’m beginning to think I have very little fashion sense (and my current hairstyle does not lend itself to the 1800s!)  The woman beside me writes Biblical fiction and so is dressed in B.C. style. Barbara & Kathryn in historical garb

My agent, Mary Sue Seymour, asked me to participate on a panel. At first I balked…the books I have had published are historical western romance–not Christian fiction–and because of that I didn’t think anyone would want to hear what I had to say. I felt like the odd-man out. The topic was what to do when your manuscript is rejected. Although a few authors have the first manuscript they submit accepted for publication, that is not the norm. I came the “normal” route, and had a few pearls of wisdom that I could pass on to new writers. A lot of it has to do with persistence and continuing to refine the craft of writing. It is always a comfort to hear the “war stories” of bigger writers…J.K.Rowling and John Grisham…and know that their first manuscripts were also rejected a number of times.Panel with Seymour Agnecy sibs & Mary Sue Seymour

Karen Witemeyer, my Petticoats and Pistols filly-sister, also gave a wonderfully, informative workshop. I barely recognized her. (She’s letting her hair grow.)

But this is a Western Blog–and so let me get to the real point of this post. I was happy to learn that Westerns are as big as ever in this crazy publishing business! Readers love them, publishers want them, and the writers who enjoy writing them have a wonderful future! How is that for good news! There is just something about the American West, the cowboy, and wide-open spaces that calls to people. In an industry where things come and go (remember Chick Lit?), Westerns are here to stay. Yee-haw!

And the second wonderful thing that happened? I just received the book cover for my December release from my editor! The book is available for pre-order at Amazon already! I’m so excited to share it with you…

Familiar Stranger in Clear Springs


What is it about westerns that keeps you coming back for more?




+ posts

31 thoughts on “Enduring Westerns”

  1. Kathryn, what wonderful news on both accounts! Your new cover is lovely, as always. I’m beyond thrilled to know westerns are here to stay (no surprise there).

    Thanks for sharing your conference experience with us. 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by Kathleen! Yes–rest assured the desperadoes waiting for you to pen their stories will get their chance in the sun. 🙂 I need to stop listening to the pessimists out there and trust in what I know inside.

  2. Kathryn – It was so fun to bump into you at ACFW! I wish we had had more time to chat. I saw Winnie wandering the halls from a distance, but never got the chance to talk to her. I’m bummed I didn’t catch a glimpse of you in your costume Thursday night. You look fabulous in the picture! Love it! I broke out the denim, hat, and boots, but I didn’t have anything truly historical. I’m jealous. 🙂

    I LOVE your new cover! The models are gorgeous and the setting is just lovely. So excited for your new project!

    • I would have enjoyed a longer chat with you too, Karen. Your workshop was FABULOUS. I was so bummed that I had to leave before you were finished. I will definitely get the MP3 of the entire conference so that I can hear the rest of what you had to say. There were so many good workshops!

      I saw Winnie too (standing in line in the BR LOL) but other than that she was always busy.

      Thank goodness the Victorian boots I wore had (gasp!) zippers! There was no way I could have handled all that lacing! I would have been throwing them across the room! Cowboy boots and denim sounds a lot more comfortable!!

    • It would have been wonderful to catch up with you too, Margaret. I went to one of your workshops a few years ago when you presented in Indianapolis on historical research. I remember I couldn’t find a seat because it was so well-attended! Little did I know we would be Filly-sisters in the future!

  3. Hi Kathryn – Oh my, don’t you look great in the costume! Both of you do. I’ve never dressed up in a time period costume before, but it looks like a great deal of fun. Congrats on your new western too!

    • Hi Charlene! It was fun to “dress up” I haven’t done that in years–and it was probably for a Halloween party the last time! Now the question…what to do with the outfit? Perhaps it would be a good prop for when I give talks on historical times. 🙂

  4. Hi Kim,
    I so agree. Seems like the setting takes on it’s own identity in a western. And I just am not drawn to stories without a good love story. My son is always after me to read biographies–and I do for him–but I am not quick to pick them up in the bookstore at all. Give me an adventure romance in a western setting and I’m there!

    Good to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I’ll start this comment in a weird winding way, but I’ll get to the point, eventually. 😀

    My family loves the movie Die Hard, especially the original.

    We’ve watched it many many times.

    So this is a long time ago, back in the VHS days. We owned Die Hard and My Cowboy Husband was sure his parents would, too. So he took it over and when I was there the next time, (I had coffee with Marybelle, my mil, at least once a week. As she aged it was once a day for YEARS. I loved that woman so dearly, respected her, considered her possibly my best friend)
    Anyway, I went over just after they’d watched Die Hard and my MIL said, “Bruce Willis was a disgusting human being and for the half I watched I kept hoping someone would just kill him and be done with it.”

    I was shocked at first, but then on watching it again, it really hit home, the foul language, the brutal attitude he had toward killing bad guys, the blood and gritty violence.
    I wasn’t even noticing that Willis rarely said a sentence with out using the F word. His cocky threats were grim if you could step back and see them with neutral eyes.
    I realized I’d gotten really jaded.

    My point being…(yes, shocker, I have one) I think that’s why people love westerns. Oh yes they’ve gone off the rails in many places, too….but the good guys are GOOD. The heroes are HONORABLE and HEROIC. The heroines are strong and decent and just fine fine human beings.

    Marybelle said she could hardly tell the good guys from the bad guys in Die Hard. Well, for the most part in Westerns, there’s no mystery, and I think that heroism and decency speaks to the hearts of readers. Set against the backdrop of frontier America where you had to be STRONG to survive and in fundamental ways the bad guys are just as strong as the heroes, but without HONOR.

    Anyway, it’s why I think people love westerns.

    Also Stetsons and chaps may have something to do with it. 🙂

  6. Kathryn I wish I’d gotten to ACFW and gotten to meet you. It was just out of the question for me this year.
    But hearing stories makes me regret missing it.
    I’d have loved to see you in a top hat! I own a Resistol and boots that always come out for this event and no mine aren’t a costume. I really wear this stuff. (Honestly the Resistol is My Cowboy’s dress hat.)

    • Mary–you are too funny! I understand what you are saying about that movie. I’ve found the same thing with a number of grittier movies I once used to like. I’ve run into them again on TV and wonder now why I liked them. Same thing with war movies. I’m so glad that my husband likes westerns and sports…Thanks for stopping by “The Junction” and thanks for pre-ordering my book!

  7. Hi Kathryn,

    Sounds like you had a gooooooood time! I love westerns, especially Christian westerns, because times were more simple, men were men but had a gentle side, women were feminine but tough (gentle too). There were no apologies for either. Also, the settings were big and open and there are horses – lots of them! Really, the stories are fiction and romanticized – I know that – but we get enough of reality everywhere. My parents had a book in the “unmentionable” place – something to the effect of “The Good Ole Days, Not so Good!” In little ditties, it pointed out all the hardships that pioneers really faced and didn’t sanitize anything. It was a good read – fun. I keep it in mind when I get too nostalgic with cowboy thoughts….I still love to read a good romance though that takes me back to the days of yore!

    • Hi Phyllis! So good to hear from you again at Wildflower Junction! That book of your folks sounds like an interesting read. I’d have to agree that historical romance does paint a picture that is a bit rose-colored. I don’t think I would want to read about all the real hardships, though. It would be too sad. I agree with you about getting enough reality. Historical romance is supposed to be an escape read–a “what if…” with enough history to make it interesting. I do learn things by reading historical romance–history couched in a great love story…or visa versa.

    • Hi Margaret! Thanks for stopping by but Whoa there! My books for Harlequin are in the Historical Romance imprint so they are not Christian Historicals! My recent books are”sweet”, which means there is no graphic sex. I write a strong emotional love story with the real history of the area and time.(I also like a dose of adventure!) Think of Crossfire Trail and some of Louie L’amour’s books that have come to the screen. 🙂

      I am a Christian and write with that world view…so there is often a plot thread of forgiveness or redemption. I go to the American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference because of the terrific speakers and workshops, the emphasis on developing the gift of writing to honor God, and because I feel welcome there like no other conference. (I also do have a Christian fiction manuscript on the back burner.)

      I do hope you will give one of my newer books a try!

  8. I loved the new book cover! I love westerns! I just enjoy the idea of living by your wits and strength. You against the elements, the land, and the opposition make wonderful westerns. Thanks for the great reading and keep them coming.

    • Thanks Dawn! The way I described the characters in my head for the marketing department was a sweet & slightly younger Kiera Knightly and Dylan McDermott. I think they got pretty close to my vision. I am excited about this story — next time I post I will post an excerpt.

  9. Love the costume!
    Westerns Historicals! They seldom make me uncomfortable with inappropriate scenes. I am not a prude but I would rather use my imagination.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Connie, and thanks for speaking up about your preferences. A little imagination goes a long way… to me it’s the story that counts.

      I’m not sure about that crazy hat! It is a bit much, I think, but the dressing in genre made for such a fun time.

  10. Hi Kathryn,
    I would have loved to see you in costume too but my convention days are on hold for the moment due to a Stroke I had 2 years ago last month. But don’t worry, I am better about 80% so I will be back in form and conventions hopefully next year again.
    Anyway I have this Western/Historical kick I have been on since the stroke actually, reading helped me recover faster and better than most to get back in the swing again. So for fact always keep reading no matter how old you are or what health, I believe strongly that active readers bypass dementia ailments even Alzheimer’s. Anyway I was and am a Paranormal lover but I prefer westerns, historicals and the like a lot more lately. They are feel good books, happy or not, it’s a sense of I would be the Bluestocking old maid, getting a western husband and family by mail order. I picture myself in every situation and story. Just keep writing them and I will be definitely reading them. Thanks for doing a great job.

    • Hi Elaine,
      I’m so glad you are getting back to feeling like yourself before your stroke. I can’t imagine how scary that must have been for you! With all the rough things reported on the news and at the movies, I do believe the world can use “feel-good” stories to give people hope and comfort. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. First I love your new cover. You can almost hear them discussing something and and want to turn up the volume.

    Second Westerns give us a real American feel. After all there is nothing like our Wild West.

Comments are closed.