Rosanne Bittner: Heart of the West

Rosanne Bittner: Heart of the West

More About My Life and My Work

Updated 10 January 2018

Here's a Complete List of All My Books  divider graphic  Here's How To Get Them


Rosanne Bittner, March 2015 Rosanne Bittner when she first started writing -- on a typewriter. Ca 1985-96       For those of you who have not yet read my books, my stories are generally set in the American West of the 1800's and feature vividly-described, historically accurate settings that span the US from Missouri to California, from Canada to Mexico. Many of my books portray the poignant history of our Native Americans, and though the characters are my own, I use real historical locations and events in all my novels. I must be doing something right, because more and more men are writing to tell me how much they enjoy my westerns, too. Louis L'Amour has always been one of my favorite writers, and I am very flattered that my male readers compare my books favorably with his!

       I’ve been writing all my life – wrote my first poem in 3d grade and my first short story in 4th grade. I was editor of my high school newsletter and wrote many, many poems and articles for the local newspaper. I have been writing novels since 1979 – sold my first book in 1982 and haven’t stopped since then! The photo of me at my typewriter was taken ca 1985-86, after I had five books in print -- I just finished my 61th book, with lots more to come! I never, never stop thinking about that “next book,” and I can’t get enough of western history. And I love the western hero – tough, take no crap, can handle himself – but he loves his woman to no end and will offer his life to protect her – and the women in turn are strong and brave and a real match for the heroes.

Dee Brown, Author of BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE and me, ca 1984       I have won numerous writing awards over the years and I plan to write until the day I die. I absolutely love my subject matter and love America’s western landscape and its history. My husband and I have traveled the west extensively over the last 35 years, and I have visited every location I’ve written in my books. I also do a great deal of research for every book, and have my own research library for everything from costumes to how to churn butter. I can relate to hard work, dirty hands, and sweating on a farm because I helped my husband plant and pick asparagus for years. I’ve picked fruit, planted potatoes, gutted and cleaned rabbits and fish and have cooked plenty of wild game, so writing about rugged work in the 1800’s has that extra ring of authenticity because I understand it first-hand. (By the way, the photo, right, is me with Dee Brown, author of BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE, at a Western Writers of America conference in Montana, ca 1984. What an honor! I have the big hard cover version of BURY MY HEART, and he signed it for me. I will treasure it forever.)

       I hope (and I have received thousands of comments verifying this over the years) that readers come away from reading my books with memories of characters who will stay with them forever, and with a new knowledge of American history – something they never learned in school. Most of all I hope they come away with an appreciation for the courage and strength our pioneers needed to settle untamed lands.

       On 26 June 2015, in celebration of the publication of my 60th book, I did a really fun radio interview with "Wild Bill in the Morning" on 97.5 Y Country, and you can listen to the podcast here!

The St. Joseph MI lighthouse, which is just a few miles from my house.       As for myself: I live in rural Southwest Lower Michigan, about five minutes from Lake Michigan. That's the iconic St. Joseph Lighthouse to the right. My husband Larry and I have been happily married since October 2, 1965. We graduated from high school together in 1963 but didn't date until after high school. We have both lived in this area all of our lives, and have two sons, three grandsons, three step- grandchildren, and two step great- grandchildren all in the same area. I love living in “small town” America, where people pray and sing hymns and neighbors know their neighbors!

       Larry and I are fortunate to be able to travel to most of the locals where I set my books, and we purchased a condo in Las Vegas in 2005. That is our retreat when Southwest Michigan winters get a little too intense, and also provides a "western base" for our travels. I've added a page of Las Vegas photos and Hoover Dam/ Lake Mead photos, for anyone who is interested.

The Grand CanyonLake Tahoe and mountains       For me there is nothing more beautiful than the magnificent western landscape. Big - huge - incredibly beautiful - endless horizons - there just aren't enough adjectives to describe the dramatic, even emotional views you find in the American West. You have to see it to truly appreciate it. My favorite states are Colorado, Montana and Wyoming. You'll find a lot of my books are set in those areas. The two pictures here are of Lake Tahoe in Nevada and the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

My sons and grandsons       Here are my two sons, Brock (front row, left) and Brian (front row, right), along with my three grandsons Connor, Brennan, and Blake. We are very proud of all of our "boys!"

       Brian purchased the family business, Michigan Mold, Inc. from us and is now President/owner of Michigan Mold and its partner company, M&M Polishing, Inc. Both are service businesses related to the mold-making, tool & die industry. Brock is a highly skilled CNC programmer and utilizes his talents at Michigan Mold.

M & M Polishing semi with cover of DO NOT FORSAKE ME

       Michigan Mold/ M & M Polishing  also offers a trucking service for pick up and delivery of customer projects. Company semis go all over the country, including Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, etc. These two beauties are part of the fleet, and we decided to add my book covers to the sides of both cabs! Don't you love the way the deep blue color of the truck sets off that gorgeous Jon Paul Ferrara artwork?

M & M Polishing semi with cover of LOVE'S SWEET REVENGE.

Rosanne and her grandsons celebrate Thanksgiving 2017My grandsons and I at the Coloma Lioness Fashion Show in November 2016       My three adorable grandsons are growing into very handsome young men, and are the light of my life! Here I am with Brennan, now 17, and Connor, now 15 (Brock's sons) and Blake, now 14 (Brian's son). The youngest, Blake is also the tallest at slightly over 6'! The boys are such good sports and always willing to try something new, such as modeling clothing from Fashion Gurlz with me for the 2016 Coloma Lioness Fashion Show (left) or just hanging out after Thanksgiving dinner in 2017 (right).

       I am very proud of them. Brennan is in the auto club at school and studying to be a mechanic. Connor loves baseball and girls. Blake - the tall drink of water in the cowboy hat - is a good football player and is now wrestling. He also likes hockey. They are all very nice young men, mannerly and respectful. We have a lot of fun!

     I am a member of the Coloma Lioness Club, a service organization here in my hometown. I am currently President, and recently had the pleasure of presenting a check for $1,000.00 from the Lioness Club to the Coloma Township Police Department. The money will be used for special armor plates that are placed inside bullet proof vests for added protection against abdominal injuries. Accepting the check is Township Police Chief Jason Roe. The Coloma Lionesses are so very proud to be able to support our local Police. We appreciate everything they do to keep our community and those who live and visit it safe!

Rosanne and Coloma Police Chief Jason Roe

Rosanne Bittner, modeling at the Coloma Lioness Fashion Show, November 2016

     Every year, as their major fund-raiser, the Lionesses put on a Fashion Show and salad luncheon. I usually write all the clothing descriptions and help line up the models. Occasionally, I model myself -- here I am at the 2016 & 2017 Fashion Shows, modeling outfits from The Marshall Shoppe in Dowagiac, MI. Funds raised by the Lioness Club are used to help needy families in the area and also to contribute to good causes, like new equipment for the Coloma Police and Fire Departments. Members also buy gifts every year at Christmas for children of poor families. We wrap them up and deliver them, along with food. It's a wonderful organization, and I have many good friends among Lioness members.

Lioness Club Fashion Shoe 2016

       This is Jessie Florentine (Boussum) Williams, my half-Potawatomi grandmother. As a child, I often "stayed over" in her small house with no running water or modern conveniences. She cooked with a wood-burning stove and her refrigerator was an old ice box. When she finally got electricity, we would sit and listen to stories on the radio, including "Gunsmoke" and "The Lone Ranger," which instilled in me a love of westerns and the pioneer spirit. I learned to love listening to a good story, and from that, later grew a desire to write my own. I often feel her guidance as I write, and I know I owe much of my success to the things Grandma taught me.

Jessie Florentine Williams, my grandmother.

Rosanne's father, grandparents, and aunts       This my Sicilian grandfather (front row, center) and his wife and 7 of his 8 daughters and his ONE SON, who was my father, Frank Reris. My dad was a memorable man - so good-hearted and well-liked. I will miss him forever.

        I have some wonderful memories of our family get-togethers. When a bunch of Italians get together, there is a lot of hugging and joking. Family is EVERYTHING! You'll see that theme running through my stories -- very strong in the Outlaw Hearts series -- whether it's the family you are born into or the family you make.

       I can't help but wonder what my grandparents, father and aunts would think of the world today. "Back in the day," they never would have dreamed that this picture would be posted someplace where the whole world could see it. Can you imagine cell phones for our pioneers, who left their parents and siblings and friends in the east knowing they would likely never see them again?

My Bichon Frise, LashonLashon at work.

       The Queen of the household, my little white dog, Lashon, left us on 16 April 2007 at the age of 16-1/2 years old. To this day, I still miss her. Lashon was a Bichon Frise, angel soft and as sweet as can be. Lashon was my best friend. We walked together every day, and she went just about everywhere with me, including to the office. She was sized just right to sleep on my desk. .

       Lashon was also a writer. In fall, 2000, her short story, "A Day in the Life of Lashon the Bichon" was published in a book of pet stories called "TAILS" TO TELL to benefit two wonderful animal organizations in our area. I've put her story right here on my website.

       Bichons are smart, loyal, fun, clean, obedient, easy to train, and have great personalities. We still miss Lashon terribly, but I feel she'll be with me in spirit forever, as she'd been at my side night and day her whole life. All of you who have had a pet companion will understand exactly how I feel. You can read my Tribute to Lashon here..

Rosanne Bittner, March 2015       I am excited and pleased to announce that I was the winner of the 2011 Mid-Michigan RWA Angel Award, "for devoted service and inspiration to other writers." Though all of my writing awards are special to me, this is an extra special honor, voted on and presented by my fellow MMRWA members!

       I also owe much of my success to my readers, whose encouragement keeps me going through seemingly endless rewrites, who write my publishers when they hear my books are going out of print, and who send me poems and letters and photographs--some of which provide inspiration for future projects! You are what makes long hours at the keyboard worthwhile.

       You can find a full listing of my books, Books in E-Reader Formats and ordering information for print books elsewhere in my website, as well as being able to take a peek at the numerous foreign translations of my books. Don't be shy about sending me email, either. And if you would like to receive a bookmark, one of my new Romance Trading Cards, and hard copy of my newsletter (and add your name to my mailing list for occasional special mailings), send a self-addressed, stamped envelope every six months to:

Rosanne Bittner
PO Box 1044
Coloma, MI 49038

       If you can't make it to one of my personal appearances, you are also welcome to send me a bookplate or blank label in a SASE, and I'll autograph it so that you can have a signed book!

       And for more on how I write, please check out my Frequently Asked Questions page!

       As many of you already know, I was selected as the September 2013 Spotlight Author on fellow romance- writer Winnie Griggs' website, "Small Towns, Big Hearts, Amazing Grace." Winnie writes inspirational historicals for Love Inspired, and she conducted a very extensive interview with me about my life and my writing. If you missed it, you can still read the interview here!

       I am also honored to have been interviewed on 28 July 2014 for Romance Books 4 Us. You can read that interview here!

       AND -- I did a really fun radio interview on 26 June 2015 with "Wild Bill in the Morning" on 97.5 Y Country. You can listen to the podcast here!

Wall of Native American Weapons in my office.





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