Its been an exciting year since the March 18, 2016 release of Sawyer's Rose. And as I now wait not so patiently for the release of book two in the McCades of Cheyenne series...WYATT'S BOUNTY I can only smile. Dreams do in fact come true as always in my case with hard work, perserverance, determination and even prayer.
I was thinking back to when I started writing Sawyer's Rose. I had recently joined RWA and GRW and with what I had learned in a short few meetings, I realized the stories I had been working on didn't fit in the "romance box" of what was required to possibly get published. So I started over on a whim...I set out to write inside that box about some kind of mail-order-bride meets sherrif story to learn the ropes so to speak.
Well, what I learned was that I had done better at the process of writing though I still had a lot to learn and still do but somehow I hadnt written a story that fell fully into the romancs box. And so for those folks aspring to write...I rewrote Sawyer's Rose nine times with three major story changes on three of those writes. What I did finally figure out is while I wrote western historical romance, I didnt write enough western to identify myself in the category of westerns, i.e. my cowboys carry revolvers but I often do not describe exactly what kind. And for those true romance readers sometimes the cowboy stuff and family drama are not what they were looking for though many gave the story good ratings.
So I do think I have something going here but the biggest thing is you just have to keep writing what you write. I know I have likeable characters and romance and family saga and the old west all wrapped up in a story that still doesn't fall into that romance box but seems to leave readers waiting on the next story. And its been very humbling to have people I don't even know tell me they loved this story or that character or they cant wait for the next book. Wow...people are really reading.
And so as I anxiously await the April 12th release of Wyatt's Bounty I am excited and nervous at the same time. Will people like the story and will it sell as well as Sawyer's Rose has? The one thing that surprised me was the pressure I put on myself in finding the next story so hard to write. And now as I am working on the third installment Dawson's Haven...its just the same. It is hard to write the next story with the excitement of the one before and the pressures that go along with..."will this story stand alone", "will people like it", "am I giving the characters what they deserve as well as the readers"...and the list goes on.
It seems in the writing world everyone has advice, the good and the bad and the ugly. But every writer's journey is different and while I have asked questions and paid attention to what others are saying and doing...this is my journey to take and I have had to be careful not to let the ideas if others crush what I am accomplishing along my path. While there are those that support and congratulate...there are also those that think their journey is far better and you can not possibly understand whats on their level. I've let that kind of negativity pass by me and not deter me because there are good people in writing who will share ideas and boost you and those are the ones to follow.
The good thing was after nine rewrites of that first story and all that went into making it better while working with a very cool editor... I learned a lot. This second story was better written and so I would say I rewrote it twice and with only one major story change. If I wasn't such a panster it might be I wouldn't hit these road blocks. But hey, whats the fun in plotting it all out. I like to see where the cowboys in my stories are gonna take me when I type along with a general idea and they get crazy.
Writing is hard work. If it wasn't everyone would do it. So as I trudge along working on the third story, ignoring my chores and sometimes my family...sorry gang...I have to smile that I set out to seek publication and did it. It wasn't easy and these days in the writing world I take nothing for granted like getting that next contract. Yes it can be a scary thing. But I worked hard and things happened and yes I am proud and celebrate the small and large victories that go with it.
So as this journey continues I would like to encourage others aspiring to write for publication to never give up. Keep writing. Keep going to meetings and learning. Enter the contests for the feedback, find critique partners who encourage you to write your best. But most of all finish the book...and it will happen!!!