Eviction Notice

I don’t know how it happened, but somehow, over the last couple of weeks, The Devil’s Own Desperado has broken into the top 1000 for historical romance sold on Kindle and is pushing hard to break that same barrier for actual print books.  I don’t know how it happened.  I did a few ads, including one for Facebook.  Not a lot mind you, because this time of year I’m busy paying dog show entries, putting gas in the vehicle to travel to said dog show, paying for a hotel room and meals…well, you get the idea.  The top 1000 isn’t the top 100.  I will be the very first to admit that, but a quick search on Amazon using the parameters of “historical romance” reveals that Amazon has over 64,000 historical romance novels available.  For Kindle alone, there are over 22,000 historical romances available.  I’m stunned.  Not by the sheer number of historical romance novels available, but that I’ve cracked the top 1000 (even if only temporarily) in such a saturated market. (Feel free to imagine me pinching myself to be sure I was awake and not dreaming all of this.)

With that sense of incredulous disbelief comes a nasty little voice in the back of my head telling me that I’m going to be a one-hit wonder, and even if I get a second novel published that sophomore novel will be—frankly—sophomoric, and even if I have more than a second novel published, none of them will ever measure up to The Devil’s Own Desperado. Yup, the self-doubt has begun to find its voice and as anyone who has ever had to listen to their own internal whisperings of insecurity knows, there is no reasoning with these self-defeating words. The words this voice spews forth can be utterly devastating and completely paralyzing.  Just writing these words is painful because it gives volume to that voice of self-doubt and insecurity. 
However, I was always told that what didn’t kill me would make me stronger.  Yes, it’s trite.  Yes, it glosses over how crippling self-doubt and insecurity can be.  But, it is also true.  That malicious whispering in the back of my head, ultimately, was the reason I dragged my feet on the edits for Gossamer Dreams. After seeing where The Devil’s Own Desperado was ranked last night, I went back and read the edited version of Gossamer Dreams that I sent to my editor a few weeks ago.  I was expecting to be disappointed in this sophomore effort.  I was pleasantly surprised when I wasn’t.  The more I read, the more I realized that Dr. Nicholas “Cole” Archer and Rebecca Howard are just as much their own people as Colt Evans and Amelia McCollister are.  
The writing is similar, because I do have a writing voice that is all my own, but Cole and Rebecca are individuals and just as unique as Colt and Amy.  Cole has been scarred clean down to his psyche by the actions of a woman he thought he loved and he’ll be damned before he lets another woman ever hurt him again.  Rebecca’s also been burned, but she won’t let that pain determine who she is.
So I am officially giving notice to the voice of doubt in my head that it is hereby, forthwith, and without delay EVICTED.

thinking…for a change

So, I’ve been thinking…and, please, no snide comments from the peanut gallery along the lines of “It’s about time.”  I’ve been thinking about a lot of things.  Before I left for the Collie Club of America National Specialty Show, I sent off the edits to the second book in what I hope can be a series.  I fondly refer to the fictional people I’ve created in a town that really did exist at one time as the “folks in Federal.”  I should hear from my editor by mid-June about the second book.  So, that’s completely out of my control now. 
(GCh Gwyn-Marc’s Against The Wind–photo courtesy of
Tenna Perry)
I was thinking about the dogs I was honored to be able to present at the Nationals—both client dogs and my own.  I made an owner cry when her beautiful blue smooth girl won the Open class.  (I’ve won several classes at the Nationals over the years and was even blessed to handle a client animal to Winners at the ’88 National.)  I’d forgotten what a thrill that first blue ribbon at the Nationals can be—not that I EVER take any placement at the Nationals for granted—just that I’d forgotten the thrill.  I made the co-owner of a very impressive smooth boy we both own grin from ear to ear when that dog won his class, grew that grin when her LOVELY blue rough girl placed third in a highly competitive class, and then added to that grin when her boy made the first cut in the champion class.  I made two new collie owners (and the breeder of those two collies) ecstatic when I placed second in two classes with those collies.  I was thinking that it’s the smiles from the owners that makes this hobby of mine so rewarding.  And, in a sport which can be highly competitive, I have the best friends anyone could ask for.
(Mar-Jo’s Billy the Kid–photo courtesy of Tenna Perry)
(Highcroft Mar-Jo’s Daisy–photo courtesy of
Tenna Perry)

I was also thinking about the next book I need to work on.  I’m not sure if I want to polish up the WIP that I started in November, or if I really want to tackle the very first romance I wrote, a very long time ago.  Since vacation, the couple in that first romance has been weighing very heavily on my mind and I don’t think that my Muse is going to let me wiggle out of it, this time.  The story is fairly solid, but it needs a ton of polishing.  I started reading it last night, and cringed with the head-hopping, the telling instead of showing, and the over-writing.  Part of me says I can’t fix it and another part of me says it can be fixed and the easiest way to fix it is to go through the MS and write out the major points of each chapter the old fashioned way—with pen and paper and then rewrite the whole MS.  I have the feeling that the latter will be much better and more accessible to my style of writing.
I was also thinking about all the people who have encouraged me in this writing life and the people who pushed me to be better than I ever thought I could be.  I know I will always be indebted to the people who have encouraged me and pushed me. 
And, I was thinking of some of the blog posts I’ve made.  I’ve learned to temper my opinions—not to compromise on my beliefs and ideals, but to temper how I bring them into the public light, because like it or not, I have a public persona now.  My thoughts on politics, religion, the presentation of history and historical facts have to be tempered by the knowledge that there is a very diverse public reading of this blog.  Most of those reading this blog don’t know me, other than through this blog or my first book, and I can drive people away with my less than tactful manner of stating what I believe.  (At the moment, I believe the rat in Pennsylvania lied through his nasty, little, yellow teeth about how long winter was going to last.)  Anyone who has followed this blog for a while should have started to realize that I am incredibly sarcastic, often shoot from the hip (never a good move), and am still trying to toughen up my public hide.  (Yeah, I am working on that last one!)
It’s that public persona that has really got me thinking.  In the collie world, I joke and tell people that I’ve spent years creating an evil persona.  It’s almost a running joke on Facebook when some of my friends point out for others that I’m a nice person I counter with thanks for ruining my evil persona.  Yes, I can be a complete and total bitch—but it takes a whole lot to push me to that point.  I’m very comfortable in the public persona I’ve created in the dog show world.  It’s creating the public persona for the writing world I’m struggling with. 
Maybe by the time I have a second book out in the world, I’ll have figured some of that persona out.  Or, maybe, I’ll just pretend to be evil, there, too.