- Believe in yourself: Embrace your desire, your goals and your talent. Read what you love, and then write the kind of books you love to read! Often there’s a direct relationship between the kind of author style that ‘speaks’ to you, and your untapped talent. I realized I gravitate to storytellers. English veterinarian/author James Herriot, LaVyrle Spencer, James Michener, Karen White and many others.
- Study craft books if that’s your style of learning. It is not mine. I don’t read craft books, I don’t open them, and when well-meaning people send them to me, I donate them to others. Trust your own personal learning style, but you can only do this if you’re not afraid to listen to criticism and adjust as needed.
- Write, write, write. I write 1000 words/day, every day. I’ve done this for years, and did it long before I got “The Call”. Now that I’m semi-retired, I write more than that, but while working a full-time job I wrote 1000 words/day, every day. That is 365,000 words/year. If you take out Sundays, that’s 313,000 words/year. That’s over three full-length novels and five of my Love Inspireds. That’s a lot of books!
- Envision your success. Visualize your work ethic. Stay focused and turn off the negative voices of doubt. Command your own ship and chart your own course. Do you know how many folks told me that farm kids don’t end up in Ivy League schools? I didn’t listen. Do you know how many people told me that poor kids from hovels can’t succeed? I didn’t listen. Do you know how many folks thought I was crazy, a waitress with a dream to be a published author? (shakes her head, laughing) I did not listen to any of that. Instead, focus on the positive people who share your dream and support your goals. They may not be the closest people to you (and often aren’t!) but that doesn’t matter. They will cheer each minor step of your journey and that’s a huge blessing.
- From Good Will Hunting: (Matt Damon as Will, talking to a Harvard guy): “And two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on an bleepin’ education you coulda got for a dollah fifty in late chahges at the public library.”
- There are no short-cuts. There are no gimmes. There are no hand-outs, and the best habit you can develop is the self-discipline to write, write, write. And then edit and write some more. But here’s the thing…(leans closer)… if you love this gig? If you love it the way I do, because you’ve waited all your life to do it and now you are? Then you’ll do it because on the very worst day, I still have the very best job on earth. And I couldn’t be happier!
It’s been a long time since Colt Stafford shrugged off his cowboy legacy for shiny Manhattan loafers and a promising career on Wall Street. But when stock market manipulations leave him financially strapped, the oldest son of legendary rancher Sam Stafford decides to return to the sprawling Double S ranch in Gray’s Glen, Washington. He’s broke, but not broken, and it’s time to check in with his ailing father, and get his legs back under him by climbing into the saddle again.
He doesn’t expect to come home to a stranger pointing a loaded gun at his chest— a tough yet beautiful woman that Sam hired as the house manager. Colt senses there’s more to Angelina Morales than meets the eye and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding...and why.
Colt’s return brings new challenges. Younger brother Nick has been Sam’s right-hand man at the ranch for years and isn’t thrilled at having Colt insert himself into Double S affairs. And the ranch’s contentious relationship with the citizens of Gray’s Glen asks all the Stafford men to examine their hearts about what it truly means to be a neighbor. And as Wall Street recovers, will Colt succumb to the call of the financial district’s wealth and power—or finally the courage to stay in the saddle for good?