Descriptions for heat levels in book list

------holding hands, perhaps a gentle kiss
♥♥ ---- more kisses but no tongue-- no foreplay
♥♥♥ ---kissing, tongue, caressing, foreplay & pillow talk
♥♥♥♥ --all of above, full sexual experience including climax
♥♥♥♥♥ -all of above including coarser language and sex more frequent

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Samhain and Sky Daughter

Being today is Samhain, it seemed a good time to promote one of my books-- actually the only book (so far) that has a witch, more accurately wiccan, as a character... two and possibly three of them.

Samhain is the time when the veil between the worlds grows most thin. It is when the distance between the dead and living is most easily breached. It's celebrated by most people as Halloween or All Hallow's Eve and many have long since forgotten from where it came. But witches know...

 Sky Daughter is not set at Samhain but does climax with another important Celtic celebration-- Lammas, which is significant in the plot. The story is of a young woman who, after a series of disappointments, has returned to her grandfather's Idaho mountain home. She has come with no clue what she would find, but it was definitely not the love of her life nor an experience that will open her eyes to a whole different definition of reality.

Do monsters exist? Can humans find spiritual power other than through a godlike being? What about those witches? Are they truly evil or might they be those who most understand that thin line between our side and what lies beyond? Might they be the ones who sometimes stand between us and them?

Of course it has a trailer...

Monday, October 29, 2012

And so the story is once again-- covers

 When I create a cover, it often is as much instinct as it is plan (my oil paintings are a lot like that also). Such was the case when I decided to redo the cover for From Here to There. It had been out since January with the heroine in front, looking a little mystified and the hero riding a horse up toward her-- a barbed wire fence between them. The couple came from two purchased CanStock images that I had set into one of my own photos of the part of Montana where the story happens.

When the book stopped getting attention this fall, I put it on a free day which got more free takers than I expected but led to nothing in sales afterward. When it comes up for renewal in Select, I will pull it with the idea of putting it as with some of the others onto other publishing sites. I think the free days helped originally but aren't anymore. Some say Barnes and Noble has increased sales and Kobo is a possibility with perhaps less competition than Amazon with it having over a million a year new books being added. How anybody finds anything there is amazing.

Thinking about the book's future led to deciding to change the cover. It had begun to seem flat to me. From Here to There is a love story of the land, the West, and of two sets of lovers. How does a cover depict that?

The contemporary story of Helene and Phillip seemed most important but underlying their story were Helene's expectations where it came to marriages. Although her Aunt Rochelle had been dead a few years as the story opens, she is still a major factor in Helene's heart and thinking.

Helene, who ends her new marriage between the ceremony and the reception, is operating with a mix of fantasy and reality for what a marriage can be. Returning to Montana at her uncle's invitation, she finds a sense of peace as well as a journal her aunt had left for her. It was the story of Rochelle's own first year in Montana.

Rochelle had come to Montana as a young woman, leaving behind an aristocratic family and trying to find her way in a place she'd never been. She got a job in a cafe and fell in love with the land and eventually a man. Reading the journal is interspersed with Helene's experiences as Phillip follows her West-- much to her chagrin.

I enjoyed writing this book because it encompassed my own experiences with ranch life as well as being set in a state I have loved since the first day I drove into it which was now over twenty years ago. I remember coming down the freeway and feeling as though I had been there before. I loved it.

Montana has the Western feel as well as that of wilderness. There is the energy of living as pioneers did because in some areas, it's how people still live, remote from our so-called modern improvements and yet with the benefits of cities like Missoula and Bozeman with more sophistication than some might expect. In those mountains are artists and writers with a creative environment that is very alive.  I go there whenever I can which isn't nearly often enough.

The cover for the book has gone through several metamorphoses as it has had an embracing couple (digital painting), a country road (photo), and finally where it is today. As I redid it this time, I saw it was showing for the first time the story of two women. Without my really planning it, the cover has come far closer to telling the story of this book than any earlier version.

But that's a kind of complicated view of a cover. How many readers would get its deeper meaning just from looking at it? Although I do covers for the readers, hoping they will entice a sale, they are also for me.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I love heroes

What can I say-- I love writing about heroes. Oh the heroines are okay too but the heroes, they make my writing a joy. It might even be one of the flaws that some might find with my books. They are not chick lit where it all revolves around her problems. They also aren't about weak women who need a man to save the day. The women in my stories are as likely to save the man's life as he is theirs. It's not that they are Amazons but more that they will do whatever is required to get the job done.

Recently it dawned on me that I probably do write about the same hero over and over-- and that includes the historicals as well as the contemporaries. Oh yes, the hero will come from different backgrounds, might speak differently, won't look the same, dresses differently; but in basics, he's the same stripe of man. If that doesn't work for readers, I don't quite know what I can do about it either as my stories, the book I just finished editing (the one I am still unsure of when I will publish), they all have the basic type of man as their hero.

They are set into different kinds of problems, careers, lifestyles; but their characteristics are strong men who will do whatever it takes to get the job done. They aren't mean. I don't want to write about the bully who is softened by the love of a good woman. My heroes might be curt or short on patience, but they aren't brutal and I don't want to spend months writing about any man who is, even if he redeems himself; nor do I want to write a story that will convince some vulnerable woman that all it takes is the love of a good woman.

I think of my father and maybe he, along with other men I've known, is the prototype for these heroes. He was a tall man, strong, rough featured, and probably had a good bit of arrogance in his strength. When he was young, before he met my mother, my father would leave whatever manual labor job he had had during the winter to travel around the Northwest with the carnival. He was what is called a carnie who put together the rides, a kind of roustabout, I suppose, who loved the travel, the life of what amounted then to almost a traveling circus without the big tent and animal acts.

It was one of those winters when he was working as a stage hand that he met my mother,  a singer in an orchestra who also played the bass and bass horn. Mom had also been a traveler herself as with various orchestras she had traveled around the country following the jobs.

They dated awhile; but in the spring, he stood her up for a date when he took off for the carnival. One of the stagehands told her he'd never amount to anything; so don't put her heart there.

Dad came back in the fall and when he did, he had decided he wanted something different. He courted her and convinced her he wanted a life with her. They were married the following May and he never went with the carnival again (though I think he still felt the tug of it).

Dad wasn't changed by her. He wanted a real life with a family, and he changed himself to get it. He was that rugged hero type though who was always a supportive man to his kids and his wife. If it needed to be done, I could know he'd be the one there doing it. In many ways he was a gentle man, emotionally vulnerable even, but he looked like a brutal one.

With my heroes, in a lot of ways, they are that kind of man. Oh, some speak smoothly and know how to turn a phrase while others find language not their gift but for them all, who they are shows through their actions. Still they are the same basic guy-- the hero.

They don't need a woman to fix them. They don't want a woman they have to fix. It might be the failings of my books where they come to romance readers. But in the end, we have to write what is true to our own truth. Writing just to sell a book to someone else, no thanks. I understand how some might, but it would not be worth it to me. I like my heroes to be heroes. I want my romances to have happy endings.

My parents got one and stayed married (with some turbulence off and on) until my father died at 70 of a heart attack while making love to my mother.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

inquiring minds want to know

One of the nice things about writing books and having them published somewhere is that you get reviews. One of the not so nice things about writing books and having them published somewhere is that you get reviews. It is always a mystery as to how someone found a book, why they chose it, and for the most part a writer never knows-- unless they do get a review.

The latest example of this had me scratching my head as I tried to figure out exactly what the review meant. Mostly it was a nice review, but it said the cover was terrible and even titled the review about the awful cover. Now I might normally not have much to scratch my head about regarding covers. They've been disliked before; but in this case, I just changed the cover myself before having read that review. So it presents a question.

Did they dislike the current cover or the one prior to it?

I did a little mental gymnastics as I tried to work that out. The book was free the 16th and there have been no recent purchases of it. So I shall assume that reader got it free. I changed the cover the 17th which meant it would have been seen by the 18th on Amazon's site. The review as written though the 20th. So, did the reader, when they got ready to write a review look at the cover they had purchased.... or the one that is currently on the site?

To add to my uncertainty, I have taken a lot of books, bought some, gotten some free, and not sat down to read them yet which means the reader might've had that book for months or more. That book has had a LOT of cover changes since I first published it. The question in my mind right now though is-- does it need one more? Is what I just did there, that I liked, was it the terrible cover to that reader???

There is no way to ask the reviewer because one of the things readers in Forums emphasize over and over is don't write the reviewers, don't comment on their reviews as it is intimidating and even if you say thanks it is regarded as invasive. So I have to work this out for myself by looking at what I currently have there and deciding if it is good or does it need yet another change?

The reader also caught a glaring mistake which totally amazed me that it had slid by myself and other readers until now. It wasn't a huge deal but it was a VERY obvious mistake in the storyline-- minor, not damaging to the plot, but also not right. I can correct it and will for future readers.... but about that cover.............

Monday, October 22, 2012

a romance with an edge

For the month of October, I reduced the price of Moon Dust to $.99. That will end with November 1, where it will go back to $2.99.  I wanted to mention it here again; so that anyone who hasn't read it can get it at the lower rate.

To keep the cover fresh; and because the cover I had didn't show as much of what the book was about as I wanted, I redid it. Now instead of the cover's emphasis on the heroine, it is on the hero who faces many of the more dangerous threats, both to his emotional and physical health.

In looking for a new cover, I created two.  The one above is not the one I used. I liked it a lot as it showed the strength of high school principal, Dane Connors who was working hard to get the best for the students in his school and facing up to some tough issues as well as in his personal life.

The story is set in Portland, Oregon but could be any big city across this country for the kinds of problems Dane's school was facing-- guns, bullying, budget crunches, gang activity, parents wanting to enforce their social and religious views onto the school, and in his case a very dangerous man leading a local militia group who felt threatened by Dane's invasive (as he saw it) educational ideas.Writing about our schools, the problems being faced there and having a high school principal for the hero made this book rewarding to research and write.

Dane's personal problems were also threatening his life as his wife of two years was divorcing him; something Dane had totally not been expecting. Her reasons for wanting a divorce went into areas he didn't want to explore from his own past.

There is a reason for the title, but I won't give it away as it is about the truth underlying the story-- a truth I want readers to find in the book rather than be told about beforehand. It is about how we make a difference in the lives of others-- something of much interest in the work of educators.

This story led to another, Second Chance, eight years later where two of the secondary characters from Moon Dust become the hero and heroine of their own story centered in the work of wildlife rehabilitation.

Moon Dust is a strong love story between two adults, with action, danger, an underlying reason for being, and oh yes, healthy sexuality. I've actually gotten a few reviews by those who would prefer no sex in their stories. I don't write sweet romances because I think writing about healthy, vibrant sexuality is important-- especially in a culture where so much of it is anything but healthy. 

While Moon Dust is still in Amazon Select, that may not be true for much longer either because as the heavy lifting work on our little ranch lets up, some of these contemporary romances will go to other ePublishers like Barnes and Noble and Kobo, which means they can no longer be in Select which requires the books to be exclusive to Amazon. I've taken 6 out and won't be putting new ones in there (and I still haven't decided whether to put the historical anywhere just yet).

Saturday, October 20, 2012

What is an outlaw?

What is an outlaw? We tend to equate it with bad guys or did until the anti-hero became a hero. Butch Cassidy was an outlaw but admired by many who considered him the good guy. Likewise the legend of Robin Hood. Even Christ was crucified for being outside the law as in a threat to the existing culture.

We think of outlaws as the rustlers and gunslingers of the Wild West but the term actually has its origin from earlier. It is from the Old Norse term utlager which meant outlawed, banished and involved cattle stealing. When caught, it was someone who had to give up their property to the state but their illegal acts might be someone like Rob Roy who was considered a hero for his battle for freedom and respect from the corrupt and powerful government of that time.

Outlaws can be, even today, those the group in power regard as dangerous to  societal rules in general. The recent shooting of a teen-age girl in Pakistan is a good example. The ones ordering her killed justified it by saying she was a subversive; while many in Pakistan regard those who did the shooting as the outlaws.

In The Outlaw Way, the heroine, Abigail, feels constrained by her culture. There was no way for her to remain where she was and live the life she sought. Even before she saw the man she regarded as an outlaw, she wanted to break free of the rules but had no idea how to do it. She believed her mother had died before her time because of her own inability to find freedom.

When you break free of the rules, you can be banished or worse. There is a cost. When you speak out and claim your own way, you can be regarded as a rebel, a desperado, an outlaw, and the price can be your life. Is it worth it?

A society must have laws, but this business of who to turn into an outlaw is why we should pay attention to what those laws are.  If we do not protect the openness of our society, make sure our rules are not actually only societal constraints , we could end up losing our own choices.

Our culture has turned a lot of people into outlaws for drug usage or prostitution. Within a church or community, it can still happen based on dress or behavior. It can become stifling, even go against nature, and for no purpose other than it's what was always done.

I don't see outlaws as always heroes. In this book, the issue of when an outlaw way becomes damaging is also portrayed. There are prices to obeying meaningless laws but likewise prices for living outside the community.

When I wrote this book probably fifteen or twenty years ago, I related to the heroine. I didn't know then all the ways that was true. It's still one of my favorite stories. When it eventually does go out, I hope it will find readers who will enjoy exploring the outlaw way for themselves through the book and then considering it later for its deeper meaning.

The ocean photo at the top is the Oregon Coast from this fall. Its only relationship to outlaws would be the shoals, currents, tides and uncertainties that are part of life and very much part of those who do choose the outlaw way even when done for a noble purpose (not saying my hero or heroine had one of those).

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tweaking a cover

For a long periods of time I put aside the books I've written as in I don't think about them. If they are finished, that's that. Sometimes it is that. In any of the creative arts, it's a balance between tweaking something to a finer level and screwing it up by one too many adjustments where the energy of the work is then lost.

When I decided to have a free day for From Here to There, I looked at the cover with a more critical eye. It didn't work for me at all. I changed the sky and font but that didn't help enough. It wasn't that anything was really wrong with it, but it didn't do enough to depict the story. 

The text of the book still stands as I wrote it. It is a love story of the West today and true to my intentions for it. The outside of the book though-- not so much.  Was it as good as I could do? It was okay which is a bad sign as I am coming to hate that word okay. Okay is not good enough.

I began to think of other ways to approach the cover. I looked through my own photos as well as stock images I have purchased. When I blended my own photo of Slough Creek in Yellowstone with one of this young couple, I was on my way.

The words, from here to there, are in the heroine's deceased aunt's journal which she had left for her niece in the hopes it would help her someday. The meaning is that life is lived between here and there. If we live in the past or the present, we are missing what is right in front of us.

I decided to use the image for the current cover which is itself a blending of one of my photos of Montana with two purchased stock images. The redo became more about the couple's transition. It showed them in two modes. Night to day-- yin to yang-- dark to light. I liked it well enough but when I added some ranch work images, it became cluttered. I tried it with just the couple kissing but frankly it didn't do justice to the fullness of the story. Yes, it's about love but two love stories as well as the love of land.

Unless I find new places to show the book, it's had too many giveaways for me to think it will get new buyers just based on a cover change. For that, I have to find a new place to have the book seen. This one was for me, but I am changing the cover to the one below. Putting out a book is about more than making sales or finding readers. It's about doing the best job I am capable of doing on all levels. For now, this cover is that. I won't say it's particularly like others I've seen, but it stands up well as a work of its own-- in my opinion-- and it's more than okay.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

From Here to There and free today

I kept four books on Amazon Select to enable occasional free days. I have to be honest, I have no idea if they do much for sales but a book like this one, which I love, think the story has a lot to it, it just disappears without these free lifts. So it will be free October 16 until midnight when it turns back into a pumpkin.

In honor of its being free for a day, I redid the cover to give it a little more verve.  This is a story of a woman trying to figure out her place in life and a man who thought he knew it all, but found he had a few things to learn. It's about the West as it is and as we imagine it to be (some of which is true).

To be honest, part of this free day is to give me some time to think about what to do about the historical. I still don't know. I know the book is what I want it to be. I know the cover and title now work to the good of the story, but is this the right time to put it out? Do I yet have any more idea how to market than I did last December when I began this? Not really; so I am going to keep thinking about it.

The Outlaw Way

Why or how this happened I am unsure. What I do know is at the last minute in deciding how to promote my western historical romance, I knew the title and cover were all wrong. The book was everything I wanted it to be but the externals, the sales package-- not so much.

That led to a rather deep thinking week-end-- in the midst of family, animal and assorted other activities. I'd be out in the pasture and running through potential titles with each one attempting to see whether it worked, sounded like a romance, and fit the Old West.

The thing wrong with its title is it was about her and not him. I don't write romances with the big emphasis on the woman. Romances are a story of two people-- at least mine are. The cover was just plain flat-- again not the right energy.

As I would go out to see if the cattle had yet been driven home (they had gone walkabout), I'd be putting together combinations of words. I liked Outlaw Trail a lot. One problem. It's so equated with Butch Cassidy that I thought it might mislead potential readers. Renegade something or other? Nah, that didn't fit.

I wanted a title that suggested what happens when we go our own way, when we step beyond accepted codes. I wanted one with the earthy energy of life. That's asking a lot. While I wrestled with words, I also was redoing the cover.

When I create a cover, for me, it's like a painting. The images might be photos but the blending of them, the copy and paste, all of the maneuvering of this subject or that is not that different than getting out the oils with a canvas.

Because I had done a couple of trailers for the book, I had a lot of my images from purchased to my own. As I blended them together, the right words came to me. The Outlaw Way. It is what happens to my heroine as she steps out of her corseted life and takes a risk on a man who never did live within the rules of his time.  The trouble is he doesn't want her to be an outlaw and how can he put their lives together if he remains on the outside of society? The book is about a lot of the same relationship problems most couples face-- except this one set in the Old West, during a particularly violent period, with a few kickers from the past to add to the mix.

So here it is, the new title and cover. I still don't know that I can get this book seen by the right readers. It really is a lot about timing and finding its market-- the readers who will like the elements it offers. When the wrong person buys it by mistake, it is damaging to reader and writer.

Romances (at least most) aren't elite novels. They are probably what I have read Shakespeare was to his day before his work was claimed by the intellectuals. Bawdy, fun, fast moving, interesting characters, and about life on a grander scale. Finally, yes, romances are love stories, always love stories.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Stopping to think

 This is a post for those who write/paint/create/grow but have yet to seriously try to sell their work. It's about those who didn't grab the ring the first time they sold something. Congratulations to those who did but your experience is different.

This world is all centered around marketing. I am not sure if it's ever been different; but if you grow more than you need to eat, you crochet/quilt/sew and have given away all you can but more sits there, if you are an excellent carpenter, you sing a song, write songs, draw, paint, etc. etc., in every case, if you have more than you want to keep, you have to find a way to get that work seen, to market. When you do that, the world changes. As long as you can give away your product, no problem. But if you want real money, an exchange of labor for it, you are dealing with something different than creating. You are selling.

I see it in everything and right now especially in politics. Who cares if a politician does good work. Can he sell himself?  I turned onto the top 20 country western music videos the other day and was shocked to watch many before I finally found a name I recognized. New music, new artists and what happened to the others? Less successful? Now new? It surprised me as I used to keep up on who was successful in that world. Watching that, I was clueless.

In a lot of ways, marketing is a dog eat dog world with a lot to consider regarding your own product. Maybe I am just in a 'mood' or maybe it's the stars in some kind of alignment, but I am disillusioned with it again as I have been off and on. Probably a lot of that is readying this new book, in a different sort of genre although still a romance, and feeling like-- if I put it out-- who will see it?

Oh I got the others seen but mostly by giving away over 10,000 copies. I am not sure of the exact number for the ten books because to figure it out would probably be depressing. The end result though was some sales but few in comparison to the thousands sent out. And what good did those thousands do for marketing the rest? As far as I can tell-- miniscule. You can't keep giving them away as eventually the ones who take free books have them. So somewhere down the line, you are back to not having them seen.

Now I don't blame this all on marketing where it comes to my books. I understood going into this that I wasn't the standard romance writer because I am not the standard romance reader.  But the end result of all this thinking is making me doubt whether I should submit the new one to the same process. I know I won't be giving it away at all. I've tried that and it just isn't worth it in my case. I don't doubt it might work for other types of stories, but it didn't for mine.

So I am more or less saying, to anybody who reads here and wants to sell, don't necessarily look at my experience as being yours. You might have the product that does hit the reading public and explodes with readers. You won't know until you try, but do be realistic-- marketing is a big part of it whether you publish yourself or you have a publisher doing it. How to market is the question that has to follow a book you successfully wrote (or any other product you feel proud of creating).

So I am still thinking about whether to put it out, whether its title is right for it, whether I should redo the cover yet again. Until I feel confident of that, I am going to hold off and think about it. I am going to stop and smell the roses... well actually cannot do that as we are currently into marketing grass-fed beef and lambs. Ack!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

ghosts of the forest-- and imagination

 "If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep walking." Buddhist Proverb

As we ready my western, historical romance, Outlaw's Lady, for Kindle and try to decide whether to put it out, when to put it out, I am also looking at my life in a lot of ways. Some of it is to just keep plugging away; but in other areas, it's evaluate and reevaluate.

My dreams have been particularly creative and lush with a mix of ideas and what's going on. I wake up thinking about where the plot should go for the book I am writing. Mostly I know the general answers, but it's in the details where it's fun. I wake up with scenes and dialogue which I am not writing down yet because it's all in flux. When I dream with such vivid imagery, I am always grateful.

For my own reality, my daily choices, it's about finding creative inspirations and not just for the books (those are being helped through research and collecting images). I am reevaluating everything from the minuscule to the mighty. I thought this link was kind of interesting given how I see things right now. I am not totally into astrology, as in treating it as gospel, but I do like reading opinions for what a period of time can be used to accomplish-- like this one for October.

It is exactly as I was already feeling when I came across the link.

The photo above was taken by our positioned, wildlife camera. Since we saw the cougar prints at the back where the cattle are using leased land, we wanted to see what else was there. Turns out we got some nice photos of the elk as they crossed the creek. There were a lot more of elk hide close up, an elk's nose, and it almost looks like they saw the camera and using saliva purposely blurred further images. Very cool photos as they napped there. These guys are the ghosts of the forest and about the only time we see them is at a distance or with our stealth cam. Be sure you don't miss seeing the one on the other side.

One year we were walking up the hill behind our farm and we saw them below, on the land where we now have cattle grazing (and elk tearing down the electric fence lines). They were gamboling and playing in the little pools where the mist was rising and making it like a dream sequence. At that distance, and with no camera, they evaded having their fun photographed. Not this time though!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Magical Sixty-nine

Well it doesn't sound very magical when written out, but 69 looks very magical when it's in numerals. I just turned 69. Generally I don't pay much attention to age numbers unless it means I could sign up to drive, vote, have Medicare.

To be honest, I have felt like I was 69 for most of this year as so many of my contemporaries, the ones I went to school with, my friends, my husband, already turned 69 which made me feel like I was too; but I actually only did it yesterday. It seems to me though that this is a special year for a lot of reasons, none of which bear any remote resemblance to logical.

photo October 7, 2012

There is the resemblance of 69 to the symbol for yin/yang which is the balance between male and female, shadow and light-- interconnected and interdependent.

In terms of numerology, which you get by adding and reducing until you can reduce no further, it's a 6.  Which is regarded as a mother number-- Numerology for 6  The vibrations for that sound very good for the year ahead.

And when I have lived it fully, done all I want to do in this year, I will come to a brand new decade (if I am among the fortunate) and be in my 70s. That's kind of exciting all in itself as it really is more of a gateway into true old age than 60 was, which for me turned out to be more like my 50s than anything that felt genuinely old-- even if it looked it at times. Oh there were definitely those added twinges and stuff about it taking longer to get it together when i needed to build up muscles, etc.

There is one more connotation to 69-- the sexual one, which is perfect for someone writing romance novels-- even if she is over the age where most consider romance to be appropriate. I never did go along with what 'most' think.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Real life intrudes

Previous photo of Nicholas Ivie on duty

The news of the Arizona Border Patrolman killed in the line of duty has been a tough one for me to read and follow, and yet irresistibly I have been drawn to it. I love that country. I have many times driven and walked it. I have known for a number of years that it's dangerous. Our last trip down there in May, to gather photos for Outlaw's Lady, we were alert to what was around us, didn't hang around in arroyos as we did years ago as we were quite aware of the potential dangers.

When I write my books, I write about heroes like the agent killed. They face the bad guy and sometimes get wounded; but in a romance, they always survive. Nicholas Ivie didn't and that 's what's tough about this, why I take it to a personal level that I don't always. It's not only knowing that the country I love is so dangerous, so misused, but also that the heroes I write about don't always survive in real time.

To hear the details of his death as it trickles out hasn't made it easier as it now is said he was killed in friendly fire. Two other agents approaching at night in brushy country and they didn't recognize Ivie-- or he didn't recognize them. Either way they evidently took defensive postures and somehow the guns started firing. Two were wounded. One didn't survive. What went wrong? I hope we find out but although I didn't know him, damnitall, I want heroes to survive. I want men who are good, who have young families, to go home to them at the end of a dangerous day. Life isn't like that and for me this story is a painful reminder of that fact.

Real life love stories don't always end happily. Real heroes face dangers and some die or are crippled. That's life and maybe it's why I like to write romances because somewhere there should be a guarandamntee happy ending.

When I wrote Desert Inferno, I saw it as a tribute to the Border Patrolmen even though it's a romance. I researched it and talked to the Border Patrol for some of the facts I needed. My Border Patrolman hero is all that a romance hero should be. He does a tough job which he knows is dangerous. He faces the bad guys, and he survives. It was painful to have read last week of a hero who was doing that job and died in what it now appears was a tragic accident.

A lot of questions have gone through my mind this week. Why weren't these three equipped with night vision goggles? If they had, might Ivie have gone home to his family that night? If so much money can be spent on building fences, can't we be sure our Border Patrolmen are as well equipped as our military in any war zone?

I have other questions about this shooting but likely the answers will come out. Although the truth is life doesn't always provide all the answers of a romance-- another reason I write them as I like to feel good about how things end.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Timing is everything-- or not

Pumping myself up to put out a new book isn't easy right now. I am having second thoughts not only about timing but should I even do it? The book is ready, as good as I can make it, but with the Amazon system as it is, how do I even get it seen? It's been the problem with all the books.

To say there are pluses and minuses to publishing yourself is to put it mildly. The only thing I can say totally is-- if one paid to do it, this would be really tough as it's not easy anyway. There simply is no real way to get the books where people can see them. So what would I gain if I put out the historical stories?

Outlaw's Lady is one of my favorite books for assorted reasons and the biggest one is I relate to the heroine on several levels as the issues with which she deals are not unique to her time. How does a woman find her place in the scheme of life? Should she live to please others, herself or can she find middle ground?

The setting is also one which is dear to my heart as for many years I have visited the San Rafael Valley and wished I could live there. I cannot but I could give it to my characters. It isn't an easy land now and certainly wasn't then. Beautiful, distant from civilization, and always threatened by those who take what they want. It's not far from where a Border Patrolman was just killed. A land hard held always.

Its hero, what can I say except he suits me very much as a man who does what he has to even when the world hasn't made it easy. He's strong, tough and yet vulnerable in areas he tries to protect but cannot when he loves anyone and that doesn't just mean the woman but the land and other people.

So do I take this story I love so much, put it out there and see it go nowhere? Or wait a bit and see if I can come up with some better marketing ideas for it while I do research for the book that follows? I have a lot of faith in the story of Outlaw's Lady but not much faith in my ability to market books even though I have done what I can to get them out where others say it helps. What I haven't been willing to do is schmooze to do it...