Writing romance is like shooting the wings off a gnat at 40 paces. Sometimes you’re Annie Oakley and always hit the mark, but most of the time you’re that crazy prospector that nobody really understands what he’s saying. Writing is a hit and miss business — a spent cartridge at times; a fiery blast of awesome at others. What we can never forget is that quitting is never acceptable.
Think about the miners who left their families and traveled across this country in search of the elusive gold. It was hard, back-breaking work day after day without any conveniences. It took perseverance and a dream to find the nugget or vein of gold. It’s a waste of time if your dream is mediocre…go for the big one, the one you think is out of your reach. When you catch it, the reward is beyond your wildest imagination.
Twenty-three years ago I dreamed my dream. I never gave up because it wasn’t something I could do. I wanted to write a book. I had to write a book. Every day as I traveled down the mountain to work, my story ran through my head like a movie. When it was complete, I sat for ten hours and wrote it from beginning to end. I finally had my story, now I had to learn the proper way to present it.
I had no idea what kind of journey I’d travel. How many detours and dead ends I’d run into. I also had no idea how stubborn I am. I always knew my Mother was stubborn. You know — that good old Scottish dig-in kind of stubbornness. Over the years I perfected it to a science. I would not give up no matter how many judges gut-punched me in contests or how many rejections filled my wastebasket. I had a dream and it would never come true if I quit.
Looking back over the years I can honestly say the journey was the best part of getting published. We had some devastating years and roadblocks. I almost lost my way, but my friends held out their hands and led me back. I changed my target – my goal if you wish. I focused on writing the best story I could write and turned the negative into the positive. Writing became fun again. I wrote a second story, a third, and then a fourth. Now I am writing my fifth. Ideas and words come a lot easier with experience under my belt.
I found inspiration in my great, great grandfather’s handwritten journal written while he traveled from Missouri to California in 1849 on a wagon train. The makin’ of this great country came from great, strong pioneers. They lent their strength to its beginning. If we pay attention and look around, we can learn from what they left us. We are a strong and proud people. Their pioneer spirit never ceases to amaze me and I love expressing a small part of it in my stories.
It’s time for me to say ”Head ’em up. Move ’em out!” But before I head dem doggies on out, let me leave you with a bit on my second book in the Paradise Pines Series, the Marriage Bargain to chaw on.
PARADISE PINES SERIES
I have five books in the Paradise Pines Series. Book one is Night Angel. It tells the tale of Amalie Benjamin, the oldest of the three Benjamin sisters when she arrives in the mountain community of Paradise Pines. Marriage Bargain is based on the adventures of the middle sister traveling west on a wagon train. Darrah Benjamin is a jilted bride who unknowingly enters a marriage of convenience with the man who left her at the altar.
Dear God, I need help, and I need it now.
She had no idea where she was. What direction they traveled. A movement across a clearing caught her attention. She stole a quick glance at the rider bearing down on her at a full gallop. Hair, as dark as the charger he controlled, whipped about his broad shoulders. His posture on the bareback mount gave credence to his power and confidence. He rode alongside her and stretched out his hand. She lashed at him with the ends of the reins.
He wrapped a strong arm around her waist and hauled her out of the saddle. She landed prone across the shoulders of his stallion, gasping for breath. Flailing for something, anything solid to grab onto, her hand knocked against the slick fabric of his pant leg. His arm clamped around her waist, pulling her secure against him.
The enormous black horse slid across the muddy ground to a stop. Darrah slipped to the forest floor, thankful to be on firm ground again. She flipped the tangled mess of curls enmeshed with twigs and leaves out of her eyes. Rain and wind whipped across her face as she stared into probing dark eyes.
“How dare you take such liberties with me?”
“A bit ungrateful, aren’t you?” The brim of his dark hat tipped low, blocking a better view of his face. “Did I hurt you?”
She shook her head.
“You’re all right then?”
She drew in deep gasps of air. Straightening her bodice and skirt the best she could, Darrah nodded. “Yes.”
He leaned closer. “Take my hand. I have shelter.”
Common sense urged her to use caution. She didn’t want to act ungrateful after he’d come to her aid, but who was this man appearing out of nowhere? Her father could have sent him to bring her home. She ignored his command and took a couple of steps backward.
He moved his restless mount forward, blocking any attempt to flee. “Don’t be foolish. Take my hand and step on my boot so we can get out of here.”
Darrah drew herself up to her full five feet eight inches and slapped his hand away. “I’m not going anywhere with you.”
A brilliant shaft of lightning struck a nearby tree, followed by a massive crack of thunder. Acrid smoke permeated the air. Prickles ran through both her hands and feet as every hair on her rigid body stood straight on end.
He extended his hand again.
Staring into the surrounding woods in frustration, her heart thumped rapidly. The forces of nature pounded in furious frenzy, whipping, tearing at her resolve. Without a horse, there was no way of escaping the storm. She thrust a near-frozen hand into his strong grasp and placed her boot on top of his.
Without an ounce of strain, he lifted and placed her upright in front of him. In full command of the animal, he turned the powerful stallion and headed back through the woods from where he’d come. His right arm enveloped her waist, forcing her against his solid chest while he maintained an equally tight grip on the reins.
She shivered, all too aware of the power the stranger possessed.
Where to buy Marriage Bargain:
Where to buy Night Angel: