Saturday, March 31, 2012

Why I Love Romance

by Josie Malone

Hi Maggie,
Thanks for inviting me. I’m glad to be here and talk about why I love romance.

When I graduated from high school, I was determined to be a writer. My creative writing teacher had told me I had talent and suggested college. I came from a poor, single-parent household, and higher education wasn’t possible. No one in our extended family had ever attended college. The girls got married and the boys went to work.

I was the first girl in the family to graduate from high school and the last thing I wanted was a husband. I went to work for a temporary office service and washed dishes at night in a restaurant. I wasn’t able to fulfill my dream of joining the Army because I was needed at home to raise my younger sisters and work the family farm. I enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve instead. When the wolf was at the door with a litter of pups, as my grandfather used to say, or when times were even harder, the civilian liaison of my Army Reserve unit, Ed Matthews would put me “on orders.”

At nearly eighteen, I was fascinated with romance. I had read tons of them growing up and they were my favorite fantasy. I always wanted a hero on a white horse to rescue me although I knew it would never happen. Life in a single-parent household taught reality. Men came with baggage and they always expected women to buy the suitcases, so while I taught myself how to type during my office job, I also worked on my first book.

My orders ran out about the time I finished the novel, so I bundled up my baby and shipped it off to Harlequin Books in Canada. I didn’t know anything about the publishing business, so I mailed the only copy I had. In addition to this no-no, I also didn’t have a clue about setting up a manuscript. I finished each chapter and began the next one on the same page, a fatal flaw. I also used up every scrap of paper and didn’t worry about such things as margins, or double spacing the lines of text.

Worst of all, while the man my heroine thought she loved was dashing, romantic and charming – he was also unfaithful, dishonest and nasty, a little too much like the real life I knew about. She ended up with her nice, quiet, dull best friend, Toby – the kind of guy a woman could spend a lifetime loving, but he wasn’t a traditional romance hero. Eventually, I received a letter. Harlequin liked my book. However, all the purchases at the time were made in England, so my book was going somewhere I HAD NEVER BEEN, LONDON!

It took a few more months for the book to finally be rejected, but by then I was hard at work on my next romance novel. At eighteen, I had almost made it and I was determined to become a successful novelist. College still wasn’t an option. I could only learn so much from books and magazines, so I began to attend talks by published authors. I saved every extra cent to pay for conferences and workshops, usually by riding the bus and not driving the car to work.

From these published authors who were paid to write, I started to learn the mechanics behind the mysteries of creating saleable work. They taught the requirements of specific genres, good novel proposals, effective synopsis writing, enticing query letters and even the proper use of adverbs as well as so-called “being” words, i.e. “try to cut as many of those as possible.” I joined Romance Writers of America. I also submitted my work to editors and literary agents and began to collect rejection letters. And I kept reading romance, learning from the best.

It still provided an escape from every day responsibilities. While I didn’t know that it would take years before I sold my first romance, I wasn’t going to give up on the genre. Now, I write mainstream western romance. The horse knowledge comes from what I learned on the family farm and now I create heroes who help my heroines save the day. And yes, sometimes the baggage from fifty years of living plays a big part in my stories.



My newest book was a lot of fun to write because it’s a spin-off of the first western romance I did for BookStrand, A Man’s World. In that historical western romance, Trace Burdette masqueraded as a man, fooling everyone but new neighbor, ruggedly handsome Zebadiah Prescott. With their love on the line, they had to deal with the past and the outlaw who killed her grandfather and stalked her. By the time that A Woman’s Place begins, Trace and Zeb have been married for just over six months when renegades rob the bank she owns in the town of Junction City.

So, our hero, Rad Morgan, the marshal of Junction City sets off to capture the miscreants. Along the way, he meets his match, and Iraqi War veteran/homicide detective Beth Chambers takes no prisoners. She’ll fit right into 1888 Washington Territory. Of course, I had to figure out how to get a woman from 2012 to the Old West and why she was even there, but that was part of the adventure and the paranormal elements kept escalating. Much to Rad’s initial dismay, Beth and Trace become fast friends.



A WOMAN’S PLACE BLURB:
Trailing a serial killer, Homicide Detective Beth Chambers is thrust into 1888 Washington Territory where she encounters injured Rad Morgan, a ruggedly handsome marshal who believes A Woman’s Place is behind her man. Now, Beth must save Rad’s life, apprehend the killer, and prove herself capable as a law officer.

Former soldier and survivor of Andersonville Prison Camp, Marshal Rad Morgan faces his toughest challenge in Beth Chambers, a determined woman from the future who’s never learned “her place.” But when he is shot and left for dead, he must put himself in Beth’s hands if they both want to survive.

Can these two headstrong people put their pride aside and work together to find the deadly killer and stop him before he destroys this world and their future? As they fight for justice, love helps them discover A Woman’s Place is what and where she chooses to make it.

JOSIE MALONE BIOGRAPHY: 

Today I live on the family ranch in the Cascade foothills of Washington State in what was once a summer vacation cabin. It’s been modernized and even has indoor plumbing – woo-hoo! I share the cabin with my two cats or maybe, they share it with me. I usually write at night after a long day on the ranch. Some days are longer and harder than others, but I still write from 8PM to 2AM, seven days a week. As a substitute school teacher, I love the school breaks but I’m just as busy, since there are 36 horses to look after, along with other assorted animals. With all the critters on the ranch, I don’t have time for a husband. As for kids, I have to give back the ones who come to learn how to ride at the end of each day. Now, I’m teaching the kids and grandkids of the ones I taught way back when we started. I’ve had a lot of adventures over the years – and in my next 50 years, I plan to write all about them. I hope you enjoy reading about them!

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