Rosanne Bittner: Heart of the West

Rosanne Bittner: Heart of the West

Articles

Updated 15 September 2017


 
 

Rosanne Bittner, March 2015       More and more, I am being asked to write articles on my love of history and the American West, as well as on the business of writing. Several of these are posted here on my website, and even more on my writer's Blog. Some very nice articles have also been written about me. To make all of them easier for you to find and read, I've started this "Articles" page with summaries and links to the articles and blog entries. I plan to update this page monthly, or more often if I have a new blog entry I think will interest you!

       I recently discovered that some of my wonderful readers have been sharing their copies of my printed newsletters not only with their friends, but on bulletin boards in break rooms where they work and at their local libraries! What a wonderful idea! To make it easier for those who wish to share newsletters, I am making my latest one available in pdf for download from my website. Go ahead and click on the download link, and share, share, share! (Please do me a favor, though, and ask permission where necessary before posting or leaving newsletters.)

 divider graphic   Download My Newsletter for Fall 2016   divider graphic 


THE TOUCH OF LOVE:

The Touch of Love       To all of my faithful supporters, I am making available my novella THE TOUCH OF LOVE! THE TOUCH OF LOVE is a 46-page novella about Robert Kingsley, the half-Indian boy raised by Rising Eagle of my Mystic Indian trilogy, which was previously only available by download from Mightywords.com. In action, it falls between MYSTIC VISIONS and MYSTIC WARRIORS (Books 2 & 3).

 divider graphic   Read THE TOUCH OF LOVE   divider graphic 


Articles on this Website:

  • What Goes Around, Comes Around: The Beauty of a Backlist: I’m pretty old-school when it comes to the publishing world. When e-books were first introduced, I couldn’t believe they would ever be successful. After all, who would rather read a book on some kind of device as opposed to having the real thing in their hands? Today, I can’t imagine NOT having my books available as ebooks, and the best part is that doing it has completely revitalized my backlist and my writing career! Additionally, as a result of these advances, we get to discover writers whose talents we might never have enjoyed otherwise. Read more here!

  • Please ... Just Write!!: WIth all the hype about internet and social media marketing, the most important thing to remember is -- before you can market your book, you first have to WRITE it!

  • The Power of Passion: This three-part article was adapted from my Romantic Times conference workshop, April 2012. "Passion … the word is used in so many ways by romance writers and the industry as a whole - in our titles, our blurbs, our dialogue, our love scenes, our plots … and it is the basis of our dream to write - a passion for the art of writing, for our particular genre, and for our characters. The word Passion holds power -- it covers all aspects of life...,"

  • "Cowboys and...Well, Just Cowboys!": "It’s the “cowboy” in Americans that makes them dare to try new ventures, dare to leave the familiar and take a new job or start their own business or move to a completely new area of the country. There is a little bit of “cowboy” in our armed forces, in that devil-may-care attitude of our veterans who fought world wars, in those who dared travel into space, in a boxer, a football player, a race car driver, even a reckless investor who risks it all on a hunch. It’s the American spirit, and a whole lot of that spirit can be identified as the “cowboy” in us."

  • 2012 RT Conference: Romantic Times holds a conference for writers, booksellers, publishers, agents and fans every year in a different city as a way to reach readers and connect them with their favorite authors. Here are my experiences at the 2012 Romantic Times Conference, where I conducted a workshop and was presented with Romantic Times' PIONEER AWARD, for longevity and for having 57 books published over the last 30 years and still selling!

  • 2013 RT Conference: I had so much fun at the 2012 Romantic Times Conference that I returned in 2013! I and several other lovely "legends of romance" (as they called us) were honored in many special ways at this conference and I felt a bit like I was Queen for a Day!

Articles on my Blog:

  • What Makes Your Hero and Heroine Real and Memorable?: I have written articles and blogs on creating “real” characters for years, but I’ve never been able to pinpoint the answer to an often-asked question: “What is the secret to creating characters that to you and your readers are so real and memorable that you and they both feel these people really lived?” .... Well, after all my searching for the right word that describes WHY these characters are so loveable and memorable and why viewers can’t quite let go of them is … VULNERABILITY. Read more here!

  • The Long Journey: Where do all the years go? I scan through some of my older books and have no memory of when I wrote them – or even how I found the time not only to write them but to do all the research involved. I worked full time, was raising two active boys, helped develop some property we bought that needed a lot of work, and I would stay up at night and write until about 2:00 am – get up at 5:00 am and do it all over again. I was lucky to get 5 hours of sleep some nights, usually 3 the other nights. I even put off needed brain surgery once because I told the doctor I had a book to finish first. That’s how devoted I was to my writing and my stories … and yes, to my CHARACTERS, who always came alive for me and seemed so real. I’ve even had readers write me and want to know if those people really existed. Yes, they did, as far as I’m concerned, but in reality, only in my mind. Read more here!

  • The Benefits of Blogging, Social Media and Facebook Parties!: I remember when, probably at least fifteen or twenty years ago, a former agent told me I should create a blog. BLOG? What a weird word. I wonder who invented it. Read more here!

  • 400 Years Of Publishing and Hardly Anything has Changed for Authors!: I found it interesting that in over 400 years of publishing, royalty percentages have actually gone down, or in the best case, stayed the same; and that 200 years after most American authors published at their own expense, a good many of them are doing so again today! Read more here!

  • Are You a “Writer-Holic?": When life hands us some unexpected events that are hard to deal with, it’s so easy to turn to whatever makes us feel great and forget our troubles. I can most certainly attest to that. But there is one habit that comforts me that I’ll never give up, and that’s WRITING! Read more here!

  • Writing Can Be Your Meditation: My escape … my meditation … my relaxation … is my writing. I have recently allowed personal problems to shut down my writing. And the longer I go without writing, the sadder I become. Last night I forced myself to get to work on a new story for Sourcebooks, and doing so helped me see that not writing is probably the worst thing I can do when things go haywire in my life. It only feeds the sorrow. Getting back into the lives of my characters and into my beloved western landscape lifts my spirits. We should never allow others’ actions to so deeply affect us that it steals our writing spirit.Read more here!

  • The Dangers of Writing a Series: There are some drawbacks for the writer when writing a series. For me, the NUMBER ONE PROBLEM is that I get so involved with the characters that it is very, very hard for me to go on to something entirely new. Often, the series continues because I simply cannot bring myself to think about new characters. I am too much in love with the ones I have “lived with” for months or even years. Read more here!

  • Retaining Your Inspiration: Life can sometimes take some pretty heavy turns. It happens to most of us, and when it does, inspiration to write simply dies … or so it seems at first. But always it is there, like the little gas flame at the bottom of a hot water tank, keeping the water warm even when it’s not being used. It sits there, waiting for us to turn on the faucet and use it. Don’t let that flame go out. Keep the water warm for when you will need it. Read more here!

  • PTSD – Yes, Even Writers Get It: Yes, indeed, writers can crash into deep depression after finishing a book that took months to write. We all strive for perfection – write – proof – edit – re-write – proof – edit – then go through a series of more edits after we turn in the book. All the hard work and extra hours catch up to us physically. ... I get so involved with my characters that leaving them is actually depressing. Read more here!

  • Poetry: Oh, Mighty Mountains!: Is there anything more beautiful or majestic than the Rocky Mountains? Read "Whispers of Summer" here!

  • Poetry: Whispers of Summer: I wrote this while working for the manager of the D.C. Cook Nuclear Plant in Bridgman, Michigan. There was a time when big companies had their own small newspapers or newsletters. At that time they were called House Organs. Wherever I worked I always contributed to the company house organ because deep inside, years and years before I wrote books, I had that need and desire to write, so I started with poems, which is why I have so many of them. This one fits the season. Read "Whispers of Summer" here!

  • Poetry: Days Gone By : For some reason I have always been fascinated with the past, or rather, what might have been or could have been … what has been lost through progress … the mystery and memories of those who once lived. The following poem reminded me of how nostalgic I am about the subject, which is probably why I prefer to write historical rather than contemporary stories. This is another poem I wrote a good 45 years ago, and it shows me that even then I was imagining what life was like in days gone by. I think it’s sad that too many people have been forever forgotten. Read "Days Gone By" here!

  • Poetry: War's Children: I wrote "War's Children" in 1981, 35 years ago, and in reading it I realized nothing has changed in all those years or even in the last 500 or 1,000 years. Man always seems to find a way to make war, and the primary victims of war are children … children! Those in power seem not to care about them. When our own government made war on our Native Americans, too many children were simply shot down as though they were nothing more important than rabbits. Recently we’ve seen the horrific suffering of children in Syria … unforgivable abuse and annihilation. It blows my mind what some men can do to children without concern. As you can see from this thirty-five year old poem, nothing has changed. The sad part is, it probably never will. Read "War's Children" here!

  • Poetry: Our Magnificent West! : I wrote this poem when I was in my 20's. I don’t remember exactly when I became so fascinated or fell so in love with America’s magnificent mountain ranges and its Western landscape. I truly believe I lived another life, either as an Indian or a pioneer woman. That’s just part of my weird side, and I think you need to be a little weird to be an avid writer who is as much in love with his or her subject as I am. Read my untitled poem to the American West here!

  • Poems Can Be an Emotional Release: I wrote this poem in 1967. I wasn’t the child I was when I wrote my first poem in the second grad. I was twenty-two years old and the war in Vietnam was happening … and my own husband was involved. Read "A Prayer For Our Nation" here!

  • The Beginning: My Poetry: Long before I ever dreamed of writing a real book, I wrote poems. In fact, I wrote my first poem in the second grade. Over the years I wrote many poems, and our local newspaper published many of them until they stopped that feature. I never did anything else with these poems, and they've sat in a folder for years, some of them close to 50 years. When I read through them, I am surprised by how some of them reflect feelings that are still pertinent for today’s times. Read more here!

  • The Importance of the “Unexpected” Character : I love unexpected characters because they help build my plot, help the hero or heroine grow or change or make an important decision. They can end up being a sounding board for the hero or heroine. Conversations and interaction with the unexpected characters can even help tell back story in an entertaining way. And the unexpected character always opens the avenue for a great plot twist or plot enhancement … or … they can actually bring me an idea for an entirely new story! Read more here!

  • “It’s Not the Sales - It’s the Readers That Count”: I am eternally grateful for all my readers. They keep me going. With each new book I worry about whether or not I will again please them – or will I disappoint them this time? They mean everything to me – and many of them have actually become good friends. Read more here!

  • “When It’s Okay to Procrastinate”: Anyone who knows me well, and my Facebook fans who have read my comments and other blogs, know that procrastination is NOT one of my faults. Still, there are times when you HAVE to procrastinate. I’m not so sure it should be called that, but that’s what it feels like to me when I get stuck on a decision of which way to go with a story. I often go through a procrastination stage before I start a new book, like the short story I am working on now for a Christmas anthology. Read more here!

  • “Finishing The Book”: Have you ever felt like someone just ran over you with a semi, then pulled your brains out through your ears? That’s how it feels after a two-month marathon of writing and finishing a 622-page historical novel. You’ve heard those stories about people who, in matters of emergency and desperation, get a surge of adrenaline that helps them pick up a whole car to get someone out from under it. I think that’s what happens to a writer when she has a short deadline but a long book to write to meet that deadline. Read more here!

  • The Joys And Perils of Writing Series-Type Stories: All of this brought me to think about the joys and perils of writing a series. The joy comes mainly from being able to stay with the characters and their family for three, maybe even six or seven books. And that means “living” with them for up to three, maybe even five years or longer, because each book takes a good six months to write, and when it’s finished it’s usually another six months (at least) before it gets published. When you are totally in love with these people, they live in your mind and heart constantly, and you hate leaving them, so you get to pick up their story with the next book and continue being a part of their lives. Read more here!

  • Common “Scents”: I recently purchased a diffuser that sprays a soft cloud of scented water into the air, as well as one of those warmers that melts scented wax. Both are lovely and do a good job of filling my house with wonderful aromas. That got me thinking about how certain smells awaken memories and can even be used in our writing. Read more here!

  • The Last Page: Just as with “Page One,” there are things to love and to hate about “The Last Page.” As far as catching a reader’s eye, I look at “The Last Page” with as much importance as “Page One.” That’s because, believe it or not, when I pick up a book and contemplate buying it, I read The Last Page as well as the first. For me, there is something about that last page that intrigues me. I can tell if the book was memorable, full of romance, if it ended happily, if there is a ring to it that makes me want to cry, even though I don’t know the whole story. I judge a book more by "The Last Page" than the first. Read more here!

  • Page One: Horrors! When we write a book, we have no choice but to start with “Page One.” Yes, it’s that annoying, intimidating, proverbial Page One that can bring a writer to his or her knees. We sit and stare at that blank piece of paper (or the pretend piece of paper on our computer screen), and we realize that what we put on that very first page is what the reader will see when he or she takes a look at the book – that very first page that they use to decide if they want to buy the book – that very first page that either hooks a reader, or causes them to put the book back on the shelf – or to not “click” order the book on-line. Read more here!

  • The Long Haul: I'm sure you've heard the trucking term “long haul,” or the phrase “I’m in it for the long haul.” Maybe “It’s been a long haul.” For anyone who writes, “the long haul” perfectly fits your chosen profession – or even as a hobby, if you see it that way. You’d better be in it for “the long haul,” because that’s what it will be if your goal is a long-term career in writing. Read more here!

  • When Fiction Becomes Our Reality: In my book IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOUNTAINS, about the birth and first 25 years or so of the growth of Denver, Colorado, I had my heroine build a monument to her father toward the end of the story. Her father was one of the (fictitious) founding fathers of Denver, and the monument was (in my story) in the foothills of the Rockies. After reading the book, one fan wrote me wanting to know where they could find that monument because she wanted to go see it. I had to explain to her that it doesn’t really exist. It was just part of the ending of my fictitious story. But that letter showed me just how real my characters become to my readers, and nothing warms my heart more. Read more here!

  • Are Our Books Ever Good Enough?: I just finished the edits to my September book LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE. One thing I advise other writers is that before sending a book in to your publisher, if there is anything about it that bothers you, fix it first. Ninety-nine per cent of the time it’s that very part of the book that bothers you that will come back to you with editor comments and/or requests for changes. It’s usually nothing major, but you still want to kick yourself in the butt for not addressing your concern before letting your editor read the book. Well, I didn’t follow my own rule, and a couple of places in the book that nudged at me as not quite right are exactly the places where my editor made comments and requests for a few changes.... Read more here!

  • The Writing Curse: I have discovered something about writing that I should have known for all these 30(+) years of sitting at the computer for thousands of hours and getting arthritis in my lower back and suffering shoulder and wrist inflammation and having carpal tunnel surgery and going through the incredible highs and lows of writing for a living … having the talent to write can be a curse… i.e. “if you don’t write, you die!” or something like that. If I go too long without writing I literally get tired and depressed. .. It’s a nice curse in most ways, but there are moments when I want to tell that writing bug to leave me alone. It never works. In this case the “bug” isn’t something you go to bed for and sleep it off. If you go to bed and sleep you only get sicker. You have to get back to work in order to get well and keep the “bug” at bay. Such is the life of a writer. Read more here!

  • The Vicarious Life of a Writer: I have decided that most of us writers have one thing in common – the desire to “be” like the characters we write … or perhaps we are only writing about ourselves. When you consider that we write in genres that we love, then we must be wishing we could actually live in another realm, or perhaps in old England, or in the WWII era, or maybe experience being a pioneer, or a gunslinger, etc. ...Whatever the fantasy, we put it into our books, and I’m willing to bet that we choose our genre along the lines of the way we’d really like to live ourselves, or perhaps at least have the characteristics of our heroes or heroines. If you can’t picture yourself as the character you are writing, the story won’t seem as real. ... I have discovered something about myself. Since spending the last two years working on my “outlaw” stories about Jake Harkner, I find myself “feeling” his persona in me … and here’s the weird part … I find I am carrying myself with a little more of an authoritative attitude. Read more here!

  • Religion In Secular Fiction vs. The Inspirational Romance: Several years ago, after writing at least 50 secular historical romances, I decided I wanted to try writing (historical) inspirational romance. I have always had a desire to write faith-based books and I hinted at faith and Christianity in many of my books up to that point but never wrote straight inspiration. I sold FOLLOW YOUR HEART, WALK BY FAITH and WHERE HEAVEN BEGINS to Harlequin’s Love Inspired line, and they all sold well. WHERE HEAVEN BEGINS even won second place for the prestigious WILLA Award from Women Writing the West … but I was wrong to think I could stick with a genre that didn’t (in my opinion) involve “real life.” In a lawless land where people have to struggle to survive, sometimes what’s right and wrong gets all mixed up in the name of life and death. And in the Old West, which is almost all I write about, there was not much law, and there were few churches, and in many places none at all. Read more here!

  • The Lost Summer (or) How Writing And Our Characters Can Take Over Our Lives: I call this The Lost Summer, because I spent most of it sitting at the kitchen table writing, or traveling to give talks and sign books and went to Dallas in May for the Romantic Times Convention. I haven’t stopped to take a breath....I am overwhelmed with guilt over the fact that my grandsons are already heading back to school and I didn’t do much with them this summer. I had my nose in my computer and one Sunday I wrote for 18 hours straight. When I get deep into a book it just takes over everything in my life and it takes me a while to “come down” from being away from reality for so long. My husband lives like a widower and house cleaning suffers. I didn’t even spend as much time in my garden this year as I usually do. I think my family understands, but I still feel so guilty! Read more here!

  • What's In A Hero?: Let’s face it. Women love to read about the bad-ass who’s vulnerable in some way when it comes to his woman – a man who would die for her, who loves her unconditionally (actually he adores her) – who always has her back and who is true to her. He might be hard to live with, but what woman wants to live without him! Read more here!

  • Savage Destiny Series - New Covers and Now Available in Kindle and Print!: After over thirty years of being in print, my SAVAGE DESTINY books are still selling. I consider this such a blessing, because I poured so much research and hard work into those books, and the hero and heroine will live forever in my heart – and from the feedback I get from my readers, they live in a special place in their hearts too. The seven books in this classic series cover about 45 years in the lives of Zeke and Abigail Monroe, beginning when they meet on a wagon train west when Abbie is only 16 and Zeke, half Cheyenne, is 25. From this union comes seven children and a herd of grandchildren, stories about many of them wound into the main story about the hero and heroine - all the tragedies and triumphs any family faces over the years. . . SAVAGE DESTINY closely follows the real history of the settling of Colorado (much like James Michener’s CENTENNIAL). Read more here!

  • Why I Wrote The Mystic Indian Series: Many years ago I read an article in a flyer I receive from the Wind River Indian Reservation that was about a stone medicine wheel on the top of Medicine Mountain in the Big Horn Mountains of northern Wyoming. The article fascinated me because no one is certain which Native Americans built this medicine wheel, or even when. At the top of a nearby mountain peak is a stone arrow pointing to the medicine wheel, which I found even more fascinating, because at the time someone created these places out of stones, there were no airplanes. There would be no way to see the arrow pointing to the medicine wheel except from above. Native Americans consider the medicine wheel sacred, believing only spirits from above would see it. There is a central cairn, with spokes coming out to join in a circle of stones so that the entire site looks just like a wagon wheel. . . . The moment I read about this stone medicine wheel, I knew I wanted to write a book that would be based around this sacred site.

  • My Love of Writing: I wrote this close to thirty years ago and thought it might interest you as to how much I love to write and how I managed to write sixty big, historical romances over the past thirty years. Read more here!

  • Why I Write American Western Historical Stories: I recently came across something I hand wrote close to thirty years ago, and it says it all when it comes to why I write American Western Historical stories. I was just doing some musing, after writing a description of how I feel about certain places out west. I thought this would interest my readers. Read more here!

  • Historical Research: Anyone who writes about history must, of course, do plenty of research. I am very particular about getting my facts straight because doing so brings much more realism to my stories. I have at times even brought real historical characters into my books, as with a young George Washington in INTO THE WILDERNESS. Some people might dread the research. NOT ME! I enjoy reading for research more than general reading, and always, whatever I am researching not only helps me with facts I need for the book I am working on; but it also leads me to a wealth of new ideas. So the research only helps me find plot for future books. Read more here!

  • Born To Write: I am sitting here thinking about the fact that I have written 60 books over the past 30 years. That’s an average of two books a year, and I have no memory of when or how I did that. Each book takes about six months to write, some less, some more. That does not include the edits and re-writes that come back once the book is finished and sent in, so it’s a constant procedure of writing, reading, editing, writing, reading, editing, writing … Read more here!

  • Happy Holidays!: I can’t believe we are headed into Christmas. It seems summer always disappears suddenly and without warning. And the way the weather has turned, I am already looking forward to NEXT summer! I am especially anxious for the Romantic Times conference next May in Dallas, Texas, because there I will be pushing my 60th published book, DO NOT FORSAKE ME, a sequel to OUTLAW HEARTS, which will be reissued and published next June, right before the sequel. The covers for these books are outstanding, and I am planning some wonderful promotional events for these two books, which I absolutely loved writing. Read more here!

  • The Ideal Hero: After 35 years of writing, even more years of reading, and having completed 60 novels, I’ve come to the conclusion that most female readers’ ideal hero (and yes, male readers, too) is the alpha male who is tough and able on the outside, but vulnerable and tender on the inside. I absolutely love the “tough guy” persona, a man who’s strong and brave and can handle weapons and fists … but a man who would never dream of laying a hand on the woman he loves. Read more here!

  • Don't Try to Be God: At the MMRWA's June meeting the discussion of omnipotence came up, and I have been thinking about that ever since because it’s a problem I had earlier in my writing years. Being the dense person I can be sometimes – as well as writing back when there was no help of any kind in this business and no opportunity to learn through others, it took me a while to catch on to what all this meant. In case you're not sure what omnipotence is all about, I thought I’d offer some help. I have realized that there is a strong connection between PASSIVE VOICE and OMNIPOTENCE. If you are interested in reading more, please click here!

  • Getting "In the Mood" -- Okay, I know that title sounds like it has something to do with sex, and in a way I guess it does because I’m talking about how certain songs get us in the right mood for whatever book/scene/character we are working on when working on a book. Sometimes the right music conjures up brand new story ideas. Want to see my Playlist and hear some of my favorites? Please click here!

  • Saying Good Bye -- On Monday July 7th, I turned in my story DO NOT FORSAKE ME. It’s been a long journey, starting 20 years ago when I wrote the first book about Jake Harkner called OUTLAW HEARTS, which will be reissued next June, followed in July with its sequel, DO NOT FORSAKE ME. I have lived with these characters all these twenty years, and during that time I begged and pleaded and fought to be able to write this sequel and get someone to buy it and publish it. Finally Sourcebooks actually ASKED ME to write this book and wanted to reissue the first one, so that was like a dream come true. That was last December, and by March 2014 I had finished the book – all 563 pages! I have since been working on edits and re-writes, and now it’s finally ready to submit.

    How do I explain to non-writers what it’s like to “let go” of a book that is so dear to my heart? Think about saying good-bye to a loved one for what could be the last time. That’s how it feels. You are leaving your mother or father for some place far away and might never see them again – or your child is going off to Afghanistan – maybe just to college – but you have to let go of someone – maybe a loved one who is dying – and you know you will never see them again. Believe it or not, that’s how it sometimes feels to be “finished” with a story that has been an integral part of your life and your heart and your passion for months, maybe years.

  • Procrastination - The Good Kind -- Anyone who knows me knows that I do NOT procrastinate when it comes to ANYTHING. More than anything else, I never put off writing. If I procrastinate at all, it’s with housework, or washing the windows, or getting my flowers planted, or any number of other things all us women need to do in our daily lives.... However, lately I have been procrastinating when it comes to my writing … sort of. It’s not writing per se - it’s editing and re-writing my newest book DO NOT FORSAKE ME – due July 1st.... I know that once I read Chapter One, I’ll be hooked and I will lose sleep and won’t eat and will be a bit grouchy when it comes to interruptions and I will remove myself from the “real” world and find it difficult to stay in touch with what’s going on around me.

  • What's In A Hero? -- Let’s face it. Women love to read about the bad-ass who’s vulnerable in some way when it comes to his woman – a man who would die for her, who loves her unconditionally (actually he adores her) – who always has her back and who is true to her. He might be hard to live with, but what woman wants to live without him!

  • Who Wants to Argue With Ghosts? -- Well, this is your latest blog from this very crazy writer. . . I’ve been in “down time” after finishing DO NOT FORSAKE ME (coming in 2015). I am forcing myself not to start editing the book yet because I know that the minute I do, I’ll fall right back into not being able to get away from the story and I won’t get anything else done. I miss Jake so bad I can hardly stand it! Most writers are far removed from the real world when they are “into” a story. . . I, for one, believe all my characters really lived. They just “visit” me in spirit form and ask me to write their story. And who wants to argue with ghosts?

  • Am I Losing It, Or Is This the Way It's Supposed To Be?-- I honestly think I might be losing my mind. I am so lost in the book I’m writing that it is affecting me emotionally. I wonder if that happens to actors when they “get into” the role they are playing. The last few days I have been a little down and unsure of the book I’m working on – and suddenly I am jumping-up-and-down happy and positive again. I figured out why. For the last few days I’ve been working on a part of the book where hero and heroine are apart. He is very worried about her health, and she is (always) worried about him because he’s a U.S. Marshal in the unsettled Territory of Oklahoma. While they were apart, I was low. Now I am at the point where he’s coming back, and all I can think about is “he’s coming back to me!” And I’m happy again because they get to be together. Am I crazy? Is old age making my brain live in another time and another world?

  • Work or Vacation? Sometimes They Are One And The Same!: One thing I've learned while on vacation is that vacation is what you make of it. If you like lying around all day and (in our case) heading to a casino for a few hours daily, and of course if you like warm weather in winter, Vegas is the perfect spot. So, I should have been basking in that sunshine, right? WRONG! I'm sure some of you will think I've lost my mind, but I was in my office writing every spare moment. I finished 200 PAGES of my next project, a book for which I haven't yet even signed the contract!

  • What Goes Around...Comes Around: Twenty-six years ago I had an idea for a book. I was curling my hair and the idea just hit me out of the blue. I had nothing to write on, so I wrote it on the back of a check book with an eyebrow pencil. That book became OUTLAW HEARTS, with (other than Zeke) my favorite hero of all other books. OUTLAW HEARTS was published in 1993, and ever since then I have wanted to write a sequel. I dreamed of the sequel. Jake Harkner lived in my heart and mind almost constantly. His story wasn’t finished, which is why he continued to haunt me. Now, twenty years later, I will be able to write that sequel!

    When I first wrote the book that publisher wanted me to go on to other things and didn’t want to think about a sequel at that time.and hich I am calling Do Not Forsake Me. I have lived with this sequel for so long that the book will pour out of me with little effort.

  • The Hero Who Never Was: I am wondering how many writers besides me live with a particular hero in their heads but never tell his story. I have lived with and loved Ben Colter for a good 20 years now. He’s the hero from the contemporary I have never written because I don’t feel confident writing contemporaries. More than that, though, it’s because I can’t pin the man down as far as who he really is. He is this “being” that haunts me almost constantly, asking me to tell his story, yet I don’t know what that story is, and this character is so special that I don’t want to mess things up by getting his story wrong.

  • The Writing Slut: Yes, that’s what I am. When it comes to writing, I’m a slut – I can’t get enough of writing itself, I can’t get enough of the genre I write – the Old West and its magnificent landscape and explosive growth – the Native American – the iconic cowboy - and I can’t get enough of my heroes....I write this blog for other writers who might wonder how to become so engrossed in their stories that they can forget about all the “do’s” and “don’ts” of writing, all the worry over motivation and conflict and goal of the story – you have to personally be passionately in love with your characters. They have to be so real to you that you cry over them, you dream about them, you long for them, you’re loyal to them, you hate ending your book because it means leaving them, and you NEVER FORGET THEM – EVER!

  • The Power of the Alpha Hero and Falling in Love With Him: My Savage Destiny series (7 books) will soon be available as e-books for ALL types of e-readers. That means proofing the books all over again, because a different conversion program is used when converting a book for all types of reading devices. Every single time I read these books again, I am totally lost in them again, they are such good stories. There is just something about Zeke Monroe that keeps you reading … and reading … and reading.

  • The Perils of Heroines and Due Dates!: I'll bet the last thing you would probably think is that I would have trouble deciding how to end a book, but that's what happened with DESPERATE HEARTS.

  • Places We Hold Sacred: There are places in this country that will always, always be held sacred… places where you just get the chills when you stand there, places where people whisper even though they don’t need to … places that have a church-like affect on a person. I am always fascinated and find it a bit surreal to be standing where some monumental historical event took place.

  • The Joy of Life...and Change: I am grateful to live in “small town” America, where people pray and sing hymns and neighbors know their neighbors … where there is a church every couple of blocks and one of them plays hymns on its church bells every day at Noon … where people still say “under God” when they say the pledge of allegiance … and where friends abound, some of them I’ve had since high school fifty years ago!

  • Taking a Walk on the Wild Side: Lately I've been giving a lot of thought to the "wild side" that is buried deep inside us by the wisdom and common sense that come with age. My mirror may show me a Grandma, but on the inside, I’m not old at all. Yes, this old gal might spend a lot of time in her back yard enjoying her rose garden and the peace it brings, but sometimes when she closes her eyes, she’s flying along a winding road through Colorado or Wyoming or Montana on the back of a Harley. Maybe she’s even walking across the prairie, admiring the rugged, buckskin-clad guide who is taking her through dangerous country. For all you younger readers, don’t ever underestimate what’s going on in the back of grandma’s or grandpa’s mind. Yes, they were young once, and they might look old on the outside, but they never change on the inside! “Young at heart” isn’t just a phrase to be used in a song. It’s a state of being.

  • Who Was Haym Solomon?: I received an e-mail that was full of some interesting historical facts about the U.S. dollar bill. As much as I have studied our history, I did not know all of this.... . My blog for today is to give you these facts about the dollar bill, which I intend to share with my grandsons. My readers can make a game of this with their own children and grandchildren. Read more here.

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