Our Magnificent West!

Following is my next submission of poetry I wrote in my twenties. I don’t remember exactly when I became so fascinated or fell so in love with America’s magnificent mountain ranges and its Western landscape. I truly believe I lived another life, either as an Indian or a pioneer woman. That’s just part of my weird side, and I think you need to be a little weird to be an avid writer who is as much in love with his or her subject as I am.

I live and breathe the American West and American history. The one time in my writing career when I tried to write other genres, I went almost ten years without selling a book. It was only when I returned to my favorite subject that I sold again. Now many of my older titles are selling better today than when they were first published. That devotion to my genre is finally paying off, after roughly 35 years of writing; and the base of that writing has always been my love for the West and for American history.

The following poem shows how much I loved America’s West long before I published a book. I was probably 22 or so when I wrote this, but I didn’t start writing books until I was 34 years old. This poem has no title.

I am your mountains!
Rising, rising to the heavens with white peaks,
Glorious, enticing.
Come and climb my peaks and greet America!

I am your rivers,
Wandering, wandering into the wilderness,
Rippling, splashing, cold.
Come float the rivers and greet America!

I am your forests,
Green branches reaching upward in prayer and praise.
Dark, mysterious, enchanting.
Come and walk through the forests and greet America! 

I am your prairies,
Stretched out in unknown limits to hazy horizons.
Vast, endless, rolling and yellow.
Come roam the prairies and greet America!

I am your deserts,
Quietly shifting while lizards bake in the sun.
Silent, dry and burning.
Come to the deserts and greet America!

I am your canyons,
Gouged out of the earth by nature’s timeless hands.
Rugged, and splendid with color.
Come view the canyons and greet America!

I am your cities,
Concrete monsters in a race to be the tallest.
Noisy, dirty, bustling.
Leave my cities and travel west to greet the real America!

Poems Can Be An Emotional Release

As stated in my last blog, I wrote a lot of poems between the age of nine and to around my mid-twenties. I find it interesting that nearly every new writer I have spoken with has told me they started out writing poems. I think that’s pretty common. You get the writing bug, but you don’t think you can write a whole book, so you go to the next best thing – writing poems. 

The Beginning

Long before I ever dreamed of writing a real book, I wrote poems. In fact, I wrote my first poem in the second grade. Over the years I wrote many poems, and our local newspaper published many of them until they stopped that feature. I never did anything else with these poems, and they've sat in a folder for years, some of them close to 50 years. When I read through them, I am surprised by how some of them reflect feelings that are still pertinent for today’s times.

What is most interesting is that my first poem was romantic. And I was just a little girl of about 8. I wrote my first little story (a school assignment) in fourth grade, when I was 10 years old, and it, too was romantic! It was called (don’t laugh) “Mr. and Mrs. Quack.” It was about a pair of ducks (male and female) who were flying south together. The male duck was shot down by a hunter. Mrs. Quack was so sad. I don’t even remember if Mr. Quack lived. I think he did and they got back together. I have that story somewhere. If I find it, I will post it just for fun!

The Importance of the “Unexpected” Character

In many, if not most of my books, I end up writing in a character who was totally unplanned, totally a stranger, totally unexpected. I don’t doubt other writers have had this problem because I have talked to many who most certainly have – and we all end up thinking the same thing. “What do I do with this character?”

It’s Not the Sales - It’s the Readers That Count

In our local Mid-Michigan Chapter of Romance Writers of America, we have a little monthly contest called WRITE FOR THE MONEY. We each put $1.00 in an envelope with a little note saying what our writing goal is for the next month. Then at the next meeting those who achieve their goal are put into a drawing for however much money is in the envelope. Thus – “write for the money.”

That term makes me wonder how many people might think authors write “for the money.” Yes, big sales and big money are nice, but a great majority of us will never get rich on what we make from our books. Some authors make barely enough to eat each week, if that. And you know what? For a true writer, that doesn’t matter. I can’t count the number of authors I know who simply write because telling the story is so important to them. Few of them care whether or not they’re making great money. Most of them are simply “born to write,” and they would be writing even if they didn’t make a dime from their books. I fall into that category.

When It’s Okay to Procrastinate

Anyone who knows me well, and my Facebook fans who have read my comments and other blogs, know that procrastination is NOT one of my faults. In fact, I don’t know when to quit! I am wearing myself out. I usually write 2 – 6 hours a day and can crank out a 600(+) page book in 2-3 months if I have to. I hate procrastination and can’t stand to let anything sit “undone.” Whatever things I need to get done each day (besides writing) I DO! I don’t like thinking about all the things I need to do or places I need to go or people I need to see. For all the time a procrastinator sits around thinking about what he or she needs to get done, they could have DONE IT and had it over with!

Sourcebooks Blog Tour Schedule for Love's Sweet Revenge

Sourcebooks has set up a blog tour for LOVE'S SWEET REVENGE, Book 3 in my Outlaw Hearts Series! Follow along and leave a comment at each stop.

A Blog About “Finishing The Book”

Have you ever felt like someone just ran over you with a semi, then pulled your brains out through your ears? That’s how it feels after a two-month marathon of writing and finishing a 622-page historical novel. You’ve heard those stories about people who, in matters of emergency and desperation, get a surge of adrenaline that helps them pick up a whole car to get someone out from under it. I think that’s what happens to a writer when she has a short deadline but a long book to write to meet that deadline.

The Joys And Perils of Writing Series-Type Stories


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Sorry I don’t blog more often, but I am currently writing book #4 to my OUTLAW series and I have a tight deadline, so I’m really busy writing. The book is called THE LAST OUTLAW and will be my last book involving Jake and Randy Harkner and the Harkner clan, which makes me cry every time I think about it. I will probably write another story involving the Harkners, but it will be about Jake’s grandsons, which means Jake is no longer in their lives, at least not physically. It will take me a long time to be able to write it because I can’t bear the thought of Jake Harkner no longer living. It’s just too hard to consider right now because I have fallen head over heels for this man and I absolutely adore writing about him.


I recently purchased a diffuser that sprays a soft cloud of scented water into the air, as well as one of those warmers that melts scented wax. Both are lovely and do a good job of filling my house with wonderful aromas. That got me thinking about how certain smells awaken memories and can even be used in our writing.