by Christine | Observations, Writer Wednesday, Writing
Everyone’s doing boxed sets this year, several books bound together with one low, low price. This phenomenon has usually been in the romance world – sweet romances, country romances, sexy romances, gothic – well, you get my point.
Now, just in time for Father’s Day, Wolfpack Publishing has come out with a Western Boxed Set. Some authors you may know include Kat Martin, L.J. Martin, and Chet Cunningham (yes, my dad). So I’m VERY excited to share this with you.
Spread the word, grab the boxed set for your dad’s Kindle, and make my day. Here’s the blurb for it:
“NEW RELEASE SPECIAL $1.99 FOR A LIMITED TIME! 9 full length Western novels from America’s premier western writers – Western Writers of America Spur Award winners and runners up, NYT best selling authors. Frank Roderus, Robert Vaughn, Gary McCarthy, Chet Cunningham, Douglas Hirt, Kat Martin, L.J. Martin, Cliff Hudgins & Thom Nicholson. Over 650,000 words of fine western writing. Action, Adventure, Romance at its very best!”
This includes my dad’s book WADE’S WAR. So you see, you REALLY need to pick this up!
Thanks for dropping by! Who’s your favorite Western writer?
by Christine | Observations, Writing
Scott and Christine, San Diego 1982 Photo by Chet Cunningham – all “real” writers.
It’s come up more than a few times lately, with more than a few of my friends. What is a “real” writer? When do I get to that point? When does it all just flow? Well, in the 13-plus years I’ve been writing, this is what I’ve come to know about being a “real” writer.
So Much Noise.
A real writer writes. They hide in their cave/laundry room/nearest coffee shop and write.
A real writer only writes on Wednesdays.
A real writer writes five thousand words a day when it goes well. Other times it’s like pulling teeth to get five hundred words done.
A real writer only writes when the muse strikes.
A real writer complains. They talk to like-minded writer friends about their hopes, dreams, and fears for the current manuscript, and no matter what, they go back to that manuscript until that sucker is done.
A real writer feels like a fraud, and when they do write a book that sells, they’re secretly afraid they’ll never be able to repeat it.
A real writer dives into each novel without planning, never knowing what’s going to come out.
A real writer gets to go on author tours and talk to kids about their middle grade books,
and opens minds and changes hearts while on said tour.
A real writer has Hollywood knocking on their door constantly.
A real writer does it all – writes, edits, designs covers, reviews books, formats books, and puts books out all by themselves. All the time.
A real writer never gets screwed by her agent/editor/publishing house.
A real writer has discussions with his agent/editor/critique partner about what’s just not working about the current book, and how to make it better.
A real writer doesn’t make good money.
A real writer plots meticulously before starting a new book.
A real writer gets reviews wherever reviews can be posted. Some are glowing. Some are not. Sometimes it looks like the person reviewing never read the book. Sometimes there aren’t many reviews, and the writer’s heart bleeds for that book.
A real writer has written books that will never see the light of day. Conversely, a real writer publishes everything they’ve ever written.
A real writer makes serious money.
A real writer only writes and pushes his wares to real publishers. Big five or nothing, baby.
Market market market. Twitter and FB and Instagram and Goodreads until you die. It’s the only way to make an impression.
A real writer can only write one good book a year.
A real writer refills the well when life hits hard, and puts the writing aside until the storm has passed (because it always passes).
A real writer can write a good book every month.
A real writer only writes for the intelligentsia.
A real writer writes no matter what’s going on in his life – death, birth, hurricanes or earthquakes, they’re writing.
A real writer gets agents and editors excited about their work.
A real writer writes every fucking day because there is no muse and the bills need to get paid.
A real writer eventually learns that there is no correct way to be a real writer, and that what works for one person just won’t work for another. There are as many different roads to Publishing Nirvana as there are people trying to get there.
What is very interesting, is there are a LOT of people out there who want you to buy THEIR way to get to Publishing Nirvana, because THEIR way is the ONLY way. To which I call bullshit – be very wary of ANYONE who says their way is the only way to do anything, especially anything to do with writing. One size does not fit all, and these folks are preying on artists (because writers aren’t the only ones who get scammed in this manner).
So, to all you real writers out there, wherever you are on the writer’s journey, know you aren’t alone. What makes the journey worth while, for me at least, are the other writers/agents/editors we surround ourselves with, and the readers we reach with our words. You CAN do this. You CAN make this into your dream career.
Every writing career is a roller coaster. Sometimes it seems like we’re in free fall; other times it feels like getting to the top is taking forever. What is irritating and fascinating is that no two writers are on the same roller coaster.
Writers, musicians, artists of all kinds, actors, singers, dancers – the arts help to put the world around us into perspective for those who aren’t artists. It’s a gift, an obligation, for us to work on our art.
What is a “real” writer? One who doesn’t quit.
Go out into the world, dear hearts, be brave, and write. Paint. Sing. Film. Dance. And do it with your whole heart. Sending love and hugs to you.
Oh, and check out the writers depicted above. If you know a real writer, please give them a shout out by putting a link to their Amazon page in the comments.
by Christine | Writer Wednesday, Writing
I swiped this from Kat’s website!
I am thrilled to have Kat Martin on Writer Wednesday. Kat and her husband, Larry, have been friends with my parents for many years, so it was of particular wonderfulness to be able to go see them and have lunch with them last month.
Left to Right, Julia Blake, me, Kat, and Tonya Plank – a lovely lunch!
Let’s jump right in to the interview, shall we?
CA: They say every writer remembers when they got “the call” (or the letter) for publication. Would you share your story?
Kat: I was sitting in a restaurant with my hubby and my 3 best friends. Agent called. Said I had sold my book. She said I got 4. Since I had been turned down by every other publisher in New York, I assumed that meant $400.00 I didn’t care. As far as I was concerned, my career was launched. Later I found out it was $4,000! Which was a whole lot better since we really needed the money!
CA: Wow! That’s totally awesome. What is the hardest part of writing for you? Characters? Story? Sagging middle? What’s the easiest part?
Kat: There is no easy part. Characters seem to take care of themselves, so that isn’t tough for me. I worry about saggy middles. I worry about making all the pieces and parts come together in a way that makes sense. I don’t relax until I reach the end and know I actually have a book.
CA: Wow – I was so hoping for an easy part! What was the best decision, writing-wise, that you ever made?
Kat: Remains to be seen. I’ve changed publishers, agents, editors, many, many times. Always with the idea of moving forward, moving my career ahead. They were all tough decisions and there is no real way to know if they were the right ones. At least not yet!
CA: So maybe it’s continuing to write? What was the worst decision, writing wise, that you ever made?
Kat: Probably leaving Pocket Books. They really wanted to make me a star and they had the power to do it. Trouble was, they were really difficult to work for. It was affecting my health and my creativity, so I moved somewhere else. Lost a great chance.
CA: But you have your health, and your creativity, so maybe you didn’t lose anything?You’ve written and had published over 60 novels, many of which landed on the NYT Bestseller list. Is getting on the list still as exciting now as it was the first time you hit it?
Kat: It’s just as exciting for sure! And you never know if you are going to hit so it makes you edge-of-your-seat nervous. Thrilling when it happens.
CA: Do you have a ritual that you do before you begin writing each day?
Kat: As with most women, my ritual starts with coffee, showering, make-up, hair, and getting dressed. Then I do my email, check in on Facebook, then start working on my novel. I go over what I wrote the day before and charge forward.
CA: I guess what I’m really asking is, do you ever procrastinate from writing, or do you just jump right in?
Kat: No way to procrastinate if you have a contract. You don’t get paid if you don’t deliver, so if you plan to pay your bills, you go to work, just like any other job.
CA: Well, yeah, that’s totally true! You live part time in California, and the rest of the time in Montana. In five sentences or less, what are the highlights of both places?
Kat: I live in the two of the best places in the world. In California, it’s all sunshine and blue skies. I live on one of the harbor channels so I get to watch the boats go in and out all day. Seals come up to our dock. In Montana, beautiful mountains, rugged landscape. It’s a hard life, nothing like the beach. 70 mile round trip to the show. But the wilderness is exhilarating. Lots of wildlife, eagles, deer, Osprey. You can be in the high mountains in about 5 minutes. Whoops, that’s more than 5 sentences!
CA: Oh, that’s okay – like I’d edit you, lol! So, do you go to writers’ conferences, readers’ conferences, or both? Why or why not?
Kat: I go to both. I don’t like to fly or I would go to more of them. I do it, but don’t like it. My husband goes with me. We usually hit RT, RWA, Western Writers of America. I love Thrillerfest but its usually close to RWA, so I try to alternate.
CA: How big a role does social media play in your marketing strategies?
Kat: Since I don’t understand how to use it, not a lot. I have a Facebook page. I’m on it. I don’t understand the likes and all of that. I don’t have any idea how that works.
CA: LOL – well, I can aim you at classes in Facebook if you want! So is marketing your novels now much different than when you first started?
Kat: It’s totally different. We traveled the country talking to book buyers. There were 1200 at the time. Now there are about 5 and you can’t get in to see them. And digital plays a new and extremely important role.
CA: Wow, I had no idea. Do you feel the marketplace is now more open for new writers, or is it more difficult, with the advent of self-publishing?
Kat: Way more difficult for newbies and for writers published in print. New authors are buried in the hundreds of thousands of old and new books (particularly in romance) that are being put up as e-books. Established authors have a thousand times more competition.
CA: Ouch. What do you wish someone had told you when you first started writing?
Kat: Nothing anyone said would have mattered. I would have just kept on going, even if someone told me how hard it was going to be. It’s a calling for some of us…a compulsion that seems to have no end.
CA: Oh yeah, I totally resemble that. So what is your favorite genre to read?
Kat: Romance is my fav. I read across a lot of different genres, though. A good book is a good book. Period.
CA: Can you read fiction when you’re in the first draft of a novel, or do you stick to non-fiction? Because “they” say you shouldn’t read in the category you’re writing in while you’re writing…
Kat: I constantly read. Anything and everything. Little things pop into my head as I move through a story, things the author is doing that remind me of things I need to be doing. Movies, TV, books. All are great for ideas.
CA: Awesome! Okay, now for some quickies…
Cake or pie? Pie!
Seafood or beef? BEEF!
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Hugs or kisses? I love kissing, but it depends on whose doing it! Hugs are almost always good.
Potatoes or dessert? Rice
Peeps or Cadbury Eggs? Cadbury.
CA: Anything else you want to talk about?
Kat: A little advice? If you want to be a writer, keep writing and don’t let anyone stop you. Persistence is the key.
Find me at:
My website ; Facebook ; and Twitter is @luvromance.
A novella, only 99 cents!
Against the Heart, a novella is out in e-book only for $.99 cents.
Devil’s Prize, historical, just re-issued with a gorgeous new cover.
AGAINST THE WILD, my next Against novel, is out May 27th
I’m so GLAD Kat could stop by! I’m hoping she’ll hang out today and answer questions, if you’ve got them for her.
Until next time – happy reading!
by Christine | Life, Publishing, Writing
In late June, Dad went off to the Western Writers of America Conference in Las Vegas with pneumonia, 9 books to pitch, and chock-full of determination. When I left him the Sunday prior to his trip, he looked tired and thin, and I worried.
Chet Cunningham, June 2011
So it was with some hesitation that I called him (after giving him time to recover from the trip) to see how the conference went.
The phone rings. Gooood evening, he says, sounding sprightly. Hey Daddy. How are you? I say. He sounds good. No, he sounds wonderful. I start to smile into the phone.
Heey, Chrissy, he says. I’m doing grrreat. Let me tell you about the conference. And he was off and running. He sounded great, better than he has in a very long time.
So, he says, my first day there, I ran into the gal that has been publishing all my big print books. Who’s that, I say. Oh, you know, he says, the big print folks. Oh shoot. Five Star. They’re a part of Five Star Publishing.
I had sent her a couple new books, he says, a few months back and hadn’t heard from her, but she said they might be on a bookcase somewhere, and to re-send. We got to talking and she told me they buy Frontier Fiction, and mysteries. I told her what I have, and she said to send them to her. That’s six books, right there, that they might like.
The closet where dad stores copies of his books. Yes, those are all his. Not all of them are digital – yet.
That’s great, daddy, I say. Your first day. Yep, he says, my first day. So I’ve been working on those, getting them ready to send to her.
And then I saw Kat Martin, he says. You know Kat, I’ve got some photos with her and your mother from previous conferences. Yes, I say. I remember Kat Martin. (She’s only written a ton of romances, lol.)
Well, he says, I was talking to her husband, Larry Jay Martin, also a long-time friend of mine. He’s a western writer, and he’s putting his up stuff on Amazon. We were talking and he asked if I had anything that hadn’t gone digital yet, and if I did to send it to him.
What did you end up sending? I ask. He laughs. Says, well, what I thought I would send him, I no longer have any computer files for. So I emailed him on Sunday night when I got home, said I didn’t have what I thought I had, but I have these other three that are digital, he says.
By now, I’m so excited for him I can barely stand it. What did he say? I ask. Well, he says, Monday morning I got an email back from him with a three book contract. And all I have to do is send him the digital files. So I did, and a day later I got a look at three possible covers for the books. I could get used to this, he says.
The jubilation in his voice was music to my ears.
Not only that, he says, but I ran into Dusty Richards, hadn’t seen him in a long time. Oh, and I talked to Cherry, he says. She is passing on my Jesse James novel, but is willing to shop around a partial of mine. Then I met another agent who also said he was intrigued by this partial idea, and he’d be happy to shop it as well.
Two agents shopping the same book? I ask. Oh no, he says. I’m sticking with Cherry, and if she doesn’t think she can do anything with it, then I’ll talk to this other guy.
It sounds like you had a wonderful time, I say. My cheeks are hurting because I’m smiling so big. And you sound healthy.
I’m doing pretty good, he says. I’m enthused, and working hard, and I made a lot of contacts at the conference so I’m really glad I went. Gotta go get back at it. You still working on that book?
Yes Daddy, still working, I say. After mutual assurances of love and missing the other, we hang up.
I wipe away a few happy tears. As much as I wanted him to stay home and recuperate, obviously going to a conference with pneumonia was the exact right thing for him. The energy and joy in his voice comes back to me, makes me smile.
I’m really glad I went, he said.
So am I, Daddy. So am I.