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?