I wanted to do a post that wasn’t an update on what I’m working on. The summer has been so crazy that an update was all I could come up with. Now that the kids are back in school, I feel like I can think about things other than, “What can I possibly make them today for lunch that they can all agree on?” or “How are we going to all survive in the house without driving each other crazy since the kids aren’t in school to help break up the day?” 🙂
I love my kids, but with four boys 10, 11, 12, and one who just turned 14, it’s quite the juggling act to keep everything running smoothly in the home. If you have kids, you know how many “emergencies” pop up in a day. (I like to think of these emergencies as kidtastrophies.)
All that aside, let’s get to this post of randomness…
Thank you for sticking with me through the years.
When I started out in the ebook world in 2009, I had no idea what was coming. Before then I was only self-publishing paperbacks since 2002. Thankfully, that never took off because it wasn’t until late 2007 that I finally gave up on the struggle to please my family by writing non-romance books. I enjoyed what I wrote. Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed the thrillers. But nothing is as fun as writing romance, especially in the historical division.
Over the past seven years, it’s been a rollercoaster ride, and there were times when I wanted to quit. I was ready to throw my hands up in the air and walk away from it all. I’d dream of taking everything down and going offline so I could disappear into obscurity. There were actually a few times that I was a day or two away from actually doing it. One time, I was even going to do it later that day once I finished mowing the yard and taking a shower. But then I’d get an email or a comment out of the blue, and the message always went something like, “Continue writing stories. Take a break if you must, but please don’t quit.” (I do believe it’s more than a coincidence that happens, by the way.)
It’s not the book sales that kept me going. The money is nice, and believe me, I never take it for granted that you’re willing to buy my books. That means a lot to me. But a couple of those times when I was ready to quit, my sales were at their peak, so book sales alone don’t bring satisfaction in this business. For authors that love what they’re writing, they need another reason to keep going.
The real joy is you. When you take time out of your busy day to say something nice about my books, it lifts me up in a way nothing else does. I have printed out emails and comments (from Facebook, this blog, and Wattpad) which I then put into a folder and save in my desk. I don’t take a look at my sales reports from the past. I don’t look at screen shots I took on my laptop when my books have done well. What I end up doing is going back to those emails and comments. Those have been the things that have sustained me over the years.
When I say “thank you” or that I “appreciate your comment”, what I wish I could do is share the joy I feel in my heart. Unfortunately, my written response doesn’t seem sufficient to convey how much your words have blessed me. If we were in person, I’d give you a hug and probably shed a couple of tears. (The older I get, the more sentimental I seem to be.) Yes, a lot of you have actually made me cry because I was so moved by what you said. Every email and comment makes me smile, and I’m filled with thankfulness because of you.
So as simple as it probably sounds, please know that I am thankful for you. It’s because of you that I’m still here, writing my next book.
I won’t stop writing historical western romances.
Lately, it seems I keep getting an email or a comment asking me to keep writing historical westerns.
I’ll never give up writing historical western romances. Lately, I’ve had more ideas for Regencies, so I’ve been working on those more than I often do. Writing at Barnes & Noble for 3-4 hours four times a week has enabled me to get much more writing in than I used to do. (When I’m not home, I’m not distracted by cleaning and laundry.) Because I’ve been able to write more, I’ve had to come up with ideas for future books faster. The Regencies are the easiest because of the characters I have built into that world. All of the series are really a continuation of the books that came before it, which means when I’m in the middle of one series, I’m already getting ideas for the other characters and what those plots will be.
The same hasn’t been happening with historical westerns lately. I’ll know that I want to do a book for a certain character or that I want to do a certain plot. But the character has to be matched with the right plot, and that’s where I’ve been getting stuck in historical westerns.
For example, I do want to do Vivian and Hugh’s story (the two characters we met in Her Heart’s Desire). I’ve been getting emails from people who want to see their story done. What’s been holding me up is that I don’t know the ideal plot to go with them. Right now, I have a hazy idea. I know he tricks her into marriage. I just don’t know how he does it. It has to be something that works for his personality type, can be plausible, is legal, will make her stay with him, and won’t make her hate him forever. There are several factors that have to fit into place before I can even begin to write it because I’d like to start their story with the marriage. That is the plot point that most intrigues me and will make me want to write the book.
Right now, I know what to do with Sep (Joel Larson’s brother-in-law), Mark Larson, and Anthony Larson. That’s why I’ll be working on their stories and putting them into one series once I finish up with the Pioneer Series.
I can only work on three series at a time. I do a book in one series for an hour. Then I go to a book in the second series for an hour. Then I go on to a book in the third series for the last hour. If I have a fourth hour, I’ll write in any of those again, but I just can’t make four different books at a time work. Three is all I can do. I also can’t work on just one series at a time because I have no idea what should happen in Book 2 until I finish Book 1. Then I need to know how Book 2 plays out before I can do Book 3. I also can’t work on only one book at a time because I get bored working on just one book. I need to work on three in order to keep my creativity going.
So when I get an idea for a series, I’ll go with it. Right now it’s heavier on the Regencies, but you know, next year, I could be heavier in the historical westerns. You never know. Either way, I’ll keep on writing them. I love them way too much to stop.
Wonderful! I love your Western Historical Romance novels.
I’m glad to hear it!
Ruth, please keep writing. A friend shared one of your English historical book, girls in their Seasons and I’ve been hooked ever since. Series so far read or reading, Marriage by Scandal , , by Deceit and by Arrangement, entire Nebraska series. My library doesn’t have a lot of your books online, so I had to buy them. I am retired and the $2.99, is a bit steep for me, but you got me hooked? Any chance, you could do a senior discount for $1.99 or less?
Thank you, Shirl
Thank you, Shirl!
I could offer you a free book in exchange for an honest review. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just put BLOG POST in the subject line so I can find it easily. My inbox can get pretty full, and it makes it harder to find a specific email. 🙂
Loved this post! Love that you’re committed to the writing and I look forward to working with you for a long, long time. Huge hugs, Shelley
I love working with you, Shelley. You’re one of the nicest people I know!
Your Regencies are my favorites, but I also love your Westerns. You have to write what’s in your brain, and we’ll just be happy with what you put out there. But you HAVE to keep putting the books out there. My mom and I both love your books.
You probably don’t realize this, but your support and encouragement is part of the reason I don’t give up on my own writing. So you can’t either! I’m glad going to B & N to write has helped you become more productive. It’s good to just get away for awhile, I think.
One thing I enjoy about the Regencies a lot is that most of them have such funny situations that keep popping up. I just love how easily scandalized people were in that time period. The littlest thing could be the end of the world. That’s what makes the characters so dynamic to me. Those that take the rules seriously provide a natural conflict to those who don’t.
I love your work. It’s apparent that you enjoy what you’re doing. 🙂
Just finished another one of your books! Been away for awhile and I’ve noticed you’ve been busy!!! You make my work days go faster because I can’t wait to get back to my break just to read some more of your books! Thanks for all you do! Also completely understand the kids keeping you busy! My three are just as good at keeping me on my toes! Keep writing, I’ll keep buying!! One thing that saddens my heart is that you won’t be finishing the wild hearts series with Stephannie Beman! That was an awesome storyline! 😦 but completely understand your weariness with western romances! Just don’t stop all together! Thanks again for your writing!
P.s. I’d pay anything for your books anywhere from 2.99-12.99 and up!! They are just that good!
Thanks, Aly! Having children of your own, you definitely know how hectic things can get. 😀 I will say one thing, there is never a dull moment when they’re around. (I wouldn’t trade it for anything.)
Stephannie plans to take the series in a direction that will probably expand the series to way more books than I can handle. I was hoping to make The Stagecoach Bride a standalone book, but she saw many more plots and subplots emerge during the writing of that book than I ever did. When I sat down and thought over all my other projects, I just couldn’t see how I could manage all the books she wanted to add to that series while working on my own stuff. I worked halfway into the second book with her, and it was hard to get back to the other books I was working on. So in the end, I had to ask her if she would mind taking over the whole thing. Stephannie is great. She’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and I appreciate the fact that she was willing to let me off the hook. I plan to mention any additional books she publishes in that series when she does them so others will know about them when they come out. At the moment, she has so much going on with her husband’s ranch and family matters that she had to put the series on hold. I’m not sure when she’ll be able to get back to those books.
Thank you for sticking with me through the years. You’re so sweet, and I appreciate your kind words. They mean a lot to me!