As you all know, my son had surgery yesterday (I am pre-scheduling this for my wonderful followers!), but I don’t want my followers to be left out for long. So, I am happy to announce another wonderful giveaway and guest post. Today’s guest post is from Joanne Kennedy, cowboy romance author! Stay tuned to the end of the post, however, for a giveaway!
The Published Bookseller
Don’t tell my editor, but I would write romance novels for free.
It’s the best job in the world. I sit up in my attic office and fantasize about cowboys, tapping my stories into the computer, bringing worlds and characters to life. Although publication was a goal, it’s not the best part of being a writer. The best part is the imaginary friends. I’m never lonely, and I always have handsome cowboys to hang out with.
But I have to admit that I’ve always wanted to publish a book. In college, I was convinced that I was destined to write The Great American Novel, a work filled with profound meaning and edgy revelations. The only problem was, I really had nothing profound or edgy to say.
But I loved books, and wanted a career that let me play with them every day—so I became a bookseller. I’ve worked in every facet of the retail book trade. I managed an independent bookstore, worked as a buyer, owned a used and rare bookstore, managed a major national chain store, and even wrote catalog copy for a bargain book outlet.
And the whole time, I fantasized about writing. I’d wander the shelves, imagining my own name emblazoned next to those of my favorite authors.
But I was missing one key element that’s essential for a writing career: I didn’t actually sit down and write. It wasn’t until I burned out on bookselling and started looking for another occupation that I actually put my butt in the chair and my hands on the keyboard.
Bookselling doesn’t sound like a particularly taxing job, I know, but there’s a lot of lifting and you’re on your feet all day, every day. I started to have back trouble, and I needed a more sedentary occupation. So I decided to learn medical transcription. It would let me sit at a computer all day and type. Great, right?
Not really. Listening to doctors drone on about illness and disability was dull when it wasn’t depressing. My mind wandered constantly, and one day it wandered out onto the plains and found itself a cowboy.
A chicken will never break your heart.
That’s the first thing I typed, and it became the first line of Cowboy Trouble. Some writers start with characters, some with plots, but I start with first lines, and first paragraphs. My first page is the one part of a book that rarely changes from original concept to publication.
I liked the chicken story. It developed into a tale of a woman who moved to Wyoming and started a new and independent life, only to have that independence threatened by the alluring fringed chaps of her cowboy neighbor. Medical transcription and everything else fell by the wayside as I fell under the spell of writing fiction. A friend recommended I attend the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold conference, and I ended up reading—out loud, in front of a crowd—for two agents.
And everybody loved my chickens. The agents, and the other writers, were very encouraging. There was just one problem: everybody agreed that cowboy books don’t sell.
“Write something else,” they said. “Westerns are dead.”
I still worked in the bookstore, so I knew they were probably right. The only people who bought Westerns in my store were old ranchers, Louis L’Amour fans who probably wouldn’t appreciate my sexy cowboys and spunky women.
So I wrote a paranormal romance. It won a couple of contests, and then it won me an agent. But it was a little quirky, and we couldn’t seem to sell it. It was starting to look like I just couldn’t write what people wanted to read.
Just when I was starting to think about giving up, my agent called me and said she had an editor looking for cowboy books. “Didn’t you say you wrote something about a cowboy?” she asked.
I took out the chicken book, polished it up, and sent it off. And they loved it.
Now, on April 1st,, my third book will be released. Cowboy Fever is my favorite.
It features Jodi Brand, a former rodeo queen who returns to her Wyoming hometown to start a therapy riding program for kids with disabilities. Her former flame, the cowboy next door, has spent the past six years shedding his bad-boy image, turning his alcoholic father’s ranch into a first-class roughstock operation and turning his life around to make himself worthy of Jodi, the golden girl he’s always loved.
Teague is a little more alpha than my other cowboys—a little darker, with a troubled past. But he’s as pure of heart as any man you’ll ever meet, and since he has a lot of obstacles to overcome, he’s also my strongest hero ever.
And while all my books have a lot of humor, they have a lot of heart, too. I guarantee Cowboy Fever will make you laugh and make you cry—and hopefully make you fall in love with cowboys all over again.
How do you like your romance heroes? Alpha or beta? Do you want the perfect man, or one that needs a little work?
COWBOY FEVER BY JOANNE KENNEDY – IN STORES APRIL 2011
She Thought She Had It All…
A modeling contract with Wrangler got this Miss Rodeo Wyoming a first-class ticked out of town, but somewhere along the way Jodi Brand lost her soul. When she gets back to her hometown, her childhood friend Teague Treadwell’s rugged cowboy charm hits her like a ton of bricks…
He Believed He Wasn’t Good Enough…
Teague is convinced Jodi’s success lifted her out of his reach. Now he’s got to shed his bad boy image to be worthy of the girl next door…
But whoever heard of a beauty queen settling for a down and dirty cowboy…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joanne Kennedy has worked in bookstores all her life in positions ranging from bookseller to buyer. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and won first place in the Colorado Gold Writing Contest and second place in the Heart of the Rockies contest in 2007. Joanne lives and writes in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where she is working on Tall, Dark and Cowboy (Releasing in November 2011). For more information, please visit https://joannekennedybooks.com/.
Now for the giveaway: Giveaway is open to US and Canada residentsONLYplease. You must include some form of contact info to be notified, should you win. NO CONTACT INFO=NO VALID ENTRY Mandatory entry: Leave a comment below telling me who your favorite cowboy is and answer Joanne’s question above. Bonus entries(must leave SEPARATE comments for each): +1 for being or becoming a GFC +2 for being or becoming a Subscriber (under Let’s Connect on the left sidebar) Giveaway ends May 3rd @1159pmEST