Writing a book is like having a baby–the only real difference is that there is more struggle in the conception of a book. And once the book is handed over to a publisher, a midwife willing to help you bring forth your cherished creation, there are months of editing as the baby moves towards taking its final shape. There are months of waiting as other people do what they must to make sure the baby is healthy, months of trying to get on with your normal life, write the next great opus, and continue to wait while kindly friends and relatives politely ask—this time without patting your stomach—how you’re doing. What they really mean is, what’s taking so long? And long it is: the months pass; you make the preparations for the baby’s arrival. In the case of the book, you blog like hell, get your name out in the social media, build a platform and wait some more.
And just as every pregnancy is different, every author’s journey is different. Mine started at about age 8—rather too young to have a baby—when I wrote my first ‘novel’ in a school notebook. Years went by, classes were taken in creative writing and English, stories were churned out and manuscripts were written and thrown away or shelved at the back of the closet. I wrote a bit, co-edited a magazine of British and American poetry, taught English in Britain and Nigeria, and somewhere down the line lost my way. This author’s journey came to a complete standstill for a time. Some might call it writer’s block. The baby was caught on the brim…
When my own daughter was born ‘caught on the brim,’ they were still using a method called ‘high forceps,’ soon to be replaced by a straightforward C-section. Either way, it’s a difficult birth and a pretty good metaphor for what writing and publishing a first novel is like. But the struggle is overcome, the mother recovers, and then family and friends gather once again to coo over the baby and tell you how wonderful you are and how beautiful the baby is. Maybe some of them actually mean it and maybe some of them go away and say amongst themselves that it’s the ugliest baby they’ve ever seen. But it’s your baby and you love it…
Well, my baby has arrived. My western historical romance, Loveland, is now available in paperback, published by The Wild Rose Press; the digital version will be out August 10th. In the case of a book, the ones who think it’s “ugly” will, for the most part, be telling me out loud, if not exactly to my face. If that’s the case, I’ll have to get out my ‘big girl’s panties,’ pour myself a drink and hope that the next ‘baby’ is a little more beautiful. But make no mistake, this one is mine and I stand by it. I love my baby, and I hope a few others do too.
I’m pleased to announce that the incredible “Magic Mouse” of my daughter Cristal has randomly selected Nancy Oswald to receive a free copy of Loveland. Irene Bennett Brown, Jae, and Debra St. John will all receive goody bags. Thanks everyone!
To help me celebrate the publication of Loveland, I’m giving away an assortment of prizes, including one copy of the book, to readers who comment before the 14th August. But if you can’t think of anything to say, just answer 5 of the following 7 questions (preferably without resorting to Google!) and leave the answers. Most of the answers can, of course, be found in my book. I’ll post the winner of Loveland on or about the 17th. And please check my “Appearances” page for other places I’ll be blogging and interviewed this month.
1) What is a honda (other than a car of course!)?
2) A ‘cayuse’ is (a) a grumpy young lady (b) part of a saddle or (c) an ornery horse.
3) Appaloosa are associated with what nation?
4) One of my characters says, “Has she sacked him out yet?” To what is he referring?
5) What are leggings more commonly known as?
6) In the Order of Precedence a Duke comes after (a) a Marquess (b) a Prince or (c) an Earl.
7) In addressing a non-royal Duke, one would refer to him as (a) Your Highness (b) Your Eminence or (c) Your Grace.