Saturday, December 22, 2012

Another visit from Gwynn

Ha, I stole a march on Deirdre today and decided to talk about another one of my books! Since we have to use the same computer and actually the same fingers to type it can be tricky at times. She is much more brash and pushy than I am so I have to catch a time when she is goofing off and get my licks in!

Today I want to talk about another of my 'westerns' published by Amber Quill. The Man in Black took shape over quite a long period of time and was one of the three completed books I had when I started publishing.. I began  working on it before I retired from my civil service job with the U.S. Army at Fort Huachuca and it made the rounds of many critique partners and RWA sponsored contests while I was learning the trade of romance writing. It even got a few 'good' rejection letters with suggestions from editors but I finally realized it was not going to make the pages of a Silhouette or Harlequin paperback even though a lot of readers and a few published authors liked it very much and encouraged me.

So eventually after it grew layers and plot twists from some of the feedback I received, I decided to go the small independent press and e-book route with it. The lead characters were inspired by a real life couple that I knew who were active in some of the reenactment groups that performed in Tombstone but they diverged increasingly from that inspiration as the book developed until I am sure neither would recognize themselves at all, not even a hint! I finally changed the names but the setting is very much my old home area in the San Pedro Valley in Cochise County, Arizona. Graveyard Gulch is a mixture of Tombstone and Bisbee and the rest is just about how it really is.

It was my late husband's favorite of the books I had completed before he passed away and will always be special to me.Originally I sold it to Novel Books Inc, a small firm that folded about two years after the contract was signed. I worked with a friend, Linnea Sinclair (now a noted sci fi romance author),  on the first cover and still like it very well because it conveyed a lot of the idea behind the story. Here is that first cover. I visualized Sam Elliot as Lawton and the heroine a more sober and timid version of Sandra Bullock--at that time she was a kick butt madcap in most of her roles but the coloring was perfect for Melissa. Of course I am a sunset freak so...sunsets and happy endings became almost my tag line.

By the time NBI ceased to be, Deirdre had gotten her first couple of tales published at Amber Quill. When I sought a new home for Back to Tomorrow and also The Man in Black, I naturally turned to them and was very appreciative that they agreed to reissue two previously published works. They have ceased to do this now but at the time were helpful to orphaned authors since many of the founders had been in that situation themselves. All the AQ covers are done by the senior partner and artistic director, Trace Zabar. He did a great cover for this book too and it works very well, but I have a slight soft spot for the original. I'll feature the current cover and an excerpt in my next post.

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