I wrote for ten years before I got my first book published.
At the end of those ten years, on that fateful day when I earned my first contract, I had twenty finished books on my computer.
TWENTY! FINISHED! BOOKS!
And those books were NOT all romantic comedy with cowboys. Among those twenty books were almost all genres….within of course the genre of romance.
Sweet contemporary romances, police dramas, gothic, mysteries, sci-fi. Yep, I just wrote and wrote and wrote. I was trying seriously to get published all those years, but for good or ill, I wasn’t one of those people who wrote one book then started POLISHING for seven years.
Instead, I’d finish a book, and start another one. That’s not to say I never edited and revised. I did and did and did. I wrote stand alone books. I’d see ways to connect them and rewrite them into series. I’d change dates and names and places to move a book set in 1880 in Montana, so it’d be in 1865 Texas to match up with another books.
I had one three book series I wrote in three lengths. 45,000 words long, 55,000 words long and 90,000 words long, so they were ready to pitch to three different publishers with different word requirements.
I say all this because for some reason…for WHATEVER reason, when one of my books finally hit…it was a historical romance.
And then the publisher said, “So what else have you got like this?”
Eleven published books later, I finally had to start writing new books.
Now why, oh why, did that historical romance sell? A style I call ‘Romantic Comedy with Cowboys’.
I think maybe it’s because I know the lingo. I think I bring some authenticity to the western voice. Being from Nebraska … well, it ain’t Texas but it’s cowboy country, I promise you that.
And my husband is a Nebraska cattleman. We have what they call a cow/calf herd. 120 cows. (this is NOT a big operation by Nebraska standards, but it keeps us busy!)
Every one of those 120 cows has a baby every February and March (a few early ones, a few late) and for the last few years I’ve been chronicle-ing the arrival of those babies on Facebook.
Now, I think baby calves are wonderful. So cute, so lively when they’re so brand new. Angus calves are what we have mostly and they arrive this beautiful, shining black. Watching them stand, learn to nurse, run to their mamas when they get startled by My Cowboy or me driving in on our daily calf check. They’re just adorable.
But what amazes me about my calf pictures on Facebook is the response. I am surprised by how many people find what is every day to us, unusual, fascinating, even miraculous.
A baby calf being born.
So posting these pictures has helped me realize just how special our lives are, what a precious opportunity I’ve been given to be a Nebraska cattleman’s wife.
And I think now, maybe the reason my books finally sold, after all those years and all that work, is that I found my voice. I found a subject, westerns, cowboys, cattle, rural life, that I could portray with authenticity.
One of the bits of writing wisdom we hear of all the time is ‘Write what you know.’
Well, I suppose that’s what I’ve done. I’ve found a twist on my life, added considerably more gunfire, of course! (thank heavens) and made a career out of it.
I invite you all to join me on my Spring Parade of Calves (which is usually getting over by the time it’s spring) on Facebook.
And check out my new book, Long Time Gone. A book genre, romantic comedy with cowboys, I finally had to knowledge to write.
Tell me a story about an animal you’ve known. Or about what you know. If you were going to ‘write what you know’ what would that be? Commenters will get their name in the drawing for a copy of Long Time Gone.