The Lost Summer

(or) How Writing And Our Characters Can Take Over Our Lives …

It’s been a while since I blogged about anything other than contests I ran for the publication of my 60th book, DO NOT FORSAKE ME; and for the reissue of all seven of my SAVAGE DESTINY books by Amazon. I just finished the third book about gunfighter Jake Harkner, LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE, and the manuscript is over 600 pages!

I am worn out! I call this The Lost Summer, because I spent most of it sitting at the kitchen table writing, or traveling to give talks and sign books and went to Dallas in May for the Romantic Times Convention. I haven’t stopped to take a breath because I had some hang-ups with LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE and had to scratch some of it and re-write several chapters and had to be done by the end of August for my deadline and before we left on a 3-week trip out West. As I write this blog, I am sitting in our condo in Las Vegas wondering what happened and how I managed to pump out 600 (+) pages in 4 months 
 especially considering I had to come up with new story with no clue what was going to happen in #3! I just start writing and let the story tell itself.

I am overwhelmed with guilt over the fact that my grandsons are already heading back to school and I didn’t do much with them this summer. I had my nose in my computer and one Sunday I wrote for 18 hours straight. When I get deep into a book it just takes over everything in my life and it takes me a while to “come down” from being away from reality for so long. My husband lives like a widower and house cleaning suffers. I didn’t even spend as much time in my garden this year as I usually do. I think my family understands, but I still feel so guilty. The build-up to the release of DO NOT FORSAKE ME went on for so long, with teasers and blogs and ads and – oh, my – I truly need a personal secretary! And in the midst of it all my husband had back surgery and I had a spot of cancer removed from my cheek. I still have to go home and proofread those 600(+) pages before I send the book off to my editor – and eventually I will get it back with her edits and I’ll have to read it again and make whatever changes and “fixes” she thinks it needs.

But that part is fun for me. I get to BE WITH JAKE AGAIN! I usually dread the editing, but any time I can read Jake all over again is exciting for me. There was so much I wanted to put into #3. It could have been 800 pages long! I had to pick and choose some of the events, and now I already see where I could write a fourth book. I am pretty sure it’s going to happen! I am torn between the titles THE LAST OUTLAW and BLAZE OF GLORY (do you know that song by Bon Jovi?). So fitting for Jake. It’s from THE YOUNG RIDERS. But I fear that title will sound like a book about war and not a western, so it will probably be THE LAST OUTLAW. But no, that doesn’t mean Jake will die. He really has to “go down” in a “blaze of glory,” but I can’t bring myself to go through Jake’s death. I will probably have to leave how and when he dies to the reader’s imagination … unless you guys want me to tell you my version.

This whole Jake series had overtaken my life the last couple of years. I wrote OUTLAW HEARTS 22 years ago and Jake has lived in my heart ever since. I was so happy to be able to write the sequel, and I wrote most of DO NOT FORSAKE ME while we were at our condo the winter of 2014, so my husband went through a very lonely vacation. I didn’t watch any TV (almost never do when I’m writing) and seldom even went to the casinos. I was absolutely consumed by Jake’s story. Last winter, while here, I was doing a lot of proofreading for that book, and that led right into this summer of writing again as I worked on Jake #3 
 and now I’ll spend the winter on edits and proofreading and will probably even work on a new Indian romance or on Jake #4. Haven’t decided yet because I haven’t contracted for either book … yet.

I will start sending more blogs now that things have slowed down … a little. Fall is close by, which means our Coloma Lioness Fashion Show – a huge project that I have a lot to do with. The Lioness Club is a charity organization, and I am an officer and I also model and write all the descriptions for our big fashion show every fall. Then of course comes Thanksgiving and Christmas and we’ll be heading out here to Vegas again for the winter. Life can get pretty crazy, but staying busy keeps me healthy and active. I just pray God continues to bless me with good health so I can keep this up! Bringing new books to my readers is my biggest joy in life. Now, if I can manage to get a movie out of one of these stories, I will have fulfilled my biggest dream of all!

Do you want to be a writer? You’d better be ready to give some things up. If you are meant to write, you will be consumed by your characters and their story. It will come before everything else. You will write until your back hurts and your feet and legs swell and you hardly know what day it is. It’s not always a glorious occupation. It’s a lot of hard work, and if you are meant to write you will enjoy every minute of it, pain and headaches and all.

Thanks to all my readers! Next time I will blog about how religion sneaks into my books, and also about using psychology in the books we write. My best to all!

The Outlaw Hearts Series


Outlaw Hearts

Do Not Forsake Me


  1. I am waiting for book 3 on jake. When will it be released? This series so far is 1 of my top favorates. I love how I didnt have to get into the story. The story started instantly & this was really great for my interest. Great Job, Very excellent!

  2. I see release date is 9/16/15. 2 more days. I am very excited!

  3. I was incorrect. Looks like Love's Sweet Revenge will not b e released till September 2016....