Most people (and readers) think that writing must be an easy job. Picture getting up whenever you want, staying in your PJ’s all day, leaning back and sipping hot coffee while you look at what you have just written and decide if it’s ok, and think about what your characters should do or say next … or maybe deciding to think about those things while you sit outside on the patio with your coffee … or thinking maybe you will take a leisurely nap and worry about it later. 

        The images are endless, and usually something to make you sigh as you work hard at your own job and daydream about the lovely, fulfilled life of a writer, let alone the money that must come in for such an “easy” job.




        You get up early in order to get household things done as well as yard work outside, or to get shopping done, or the other million-and-one things EVERYBODY needs to do daily. Most writers also have regular jobs to go to every day. They have families and all the social doings that go with kids in school, husbands who want their attention, meals to cook, sometimes diapers to change, or at the other end of the child spectrum, teenagers to deal with. They have family challenges, personal problems, health problems. They try to keep in touch with friends and close relatives, and most of the time, all these things are a real burden when trying to focus your brain on a fictitious story with fictitious characters who are as real to the author as their own family. It is a huge matter of focusing amid constant multi-tasking. 

       Writing is a mental, physical and emotional challenge, and you have to really love it to keep doing it while living your “real” life.


        Over the years of facing everything above as well as several major surgeries and personal family problems that rise above the norm, I have written 76 novels – all very long, very emotional, very detailed – all requiring hours and hours of research and planning – all full of real history. And most while living the busy life mentioned above. Many nights I stayed up writing until around 2 a.m. while everybody else slept, then was up at 5:30 a.m. to get everybody off to school and work (including my own full-time job) all over again. For years I slept between 3 and 5 hours a night. 


        I could go on for pages and pages about what it takes to write even one big book. I have written 76 of them. And once-through doesn’t do it. You write the story, go back and re-write it because of changes you know it needs, then go back and re-write it again because of editing, then edit it again and make all the corrections, then send it to an editor who sends it back full of errors and suggestions, so you do more re-writing and make more corrections. You read it again and catch more errors. (You would be surprised at what the brain “sees” that isn’t there or is incorrect.)


        A writer is so fixated on the story and the characters that all those little boo-boos just fly right by your attention. After several readings and several re-writes, the book must be converted for Amazon’s print and Kindle requirements, and you have to read it AGAIN in that form to make sure nothing was left out or mixed up, make sure the spacing is right, and – again – catch errors. Yes, even at that point you will find tiny errors. People have asked me if I read my books after they are published. Heavens no! I have already read it 5-6 times by then! Maybe more!


        And then there are the physical problems from sitting far too long. I am notorious for not getting up when I should. With my latest book, SHADOW TRAIL, I sat 12-18 hours for 3-4 days in a row trying to get the final version ready sooner than later because I promised my readers they would be able to get the book by a certain date. I sat so long that my left leg swelled beyond the capacity of the skin to hold all that water and fluid was oozing out through the pores of my lower leg. I learned my lesson on this one and decided I MUST GET UP AND WALK AROUND AND STRETCH, ETC., much more often when writing! No due date is worth your health.

         Personal family problems also intervened. Believe me, trying to write with heavy personal emotions and worries going on is no picnic.


        So … easy? No, writing is not easy. You had better be born to write and be very devoted to your stories and their characters. It had all better be very real for you, so real that you cry when the characters cry, and laugh when they laugh. They should be so real that you forget about all the rules of writing and all the “how-to’s” and you just write from the heart … and from the soul … not caring about all the advice and suggestions for “How” to write and what you can and cannot use or say.


        Lucrative? No. Most writers don’t make enough to live on, or they make an average income they would make at a regular job, making the writing simply very nice “extra” income. Those who make it big and become famous and have movies made from their books are few and far between.


        IT IS HARD WORK! So I hope when you read someone’s book, you don’t read it with an attitude of finding out what is wrong with it so you can criticize it on Amazon. I hope you read it with an appreciation for how hard that author worked to get that book out and available for you to read for your personal entertainment. I hope you enjoy the story for what it is, and because the author wants you to enjoy it. An author can’t get enough “thank-you’s.” Your suggestions are always welcome, but you should never be mean about it. Everyone’s opinions and the way they “see” life is different, which is only food for more stories. If we were all the same, there would be no need for writing stories about “people” at all.


        I worked very, very hard on SHADOW TRAIL – harder than I ever have worked on any other book, and probably because of personal emotional things that were going on and physical problems I had that have never happened before. I am, after all, getting old (hate to admit it!) and have been doing this for 45 years (published 40 years in May 2023). It has been a long, long road that would take another book to write about. 


        Suffice it to say, I LOVE TO WRITE. I LOVE MY CHARACTERS. They are extremely real to me, and sometimes I feel like I might meet them when I leave this world and go to the next. I believe some of them really existed. Jake Harkner, the main character in my Outlaw Hearts series, is a very complicated man due to an abusive childhood. I love the psychological makeup of this man, and I understand him right to his soul. I live with my characters. I talk with them. I love them and I visualize them as real people who really lived.


        I hope you enjoy SHADOW TRAIL, book #6 in my Outlaw Hearts family saga. After all that hard work and all the changes I ended up going through with the story, the book has finally been published – August 12, 2023, Amazon. And I am already working on my “next” story, titled IF I LOVED YOU.



 Order Shadow Trail on Amazon


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