I am back at the blog after being away for a while. I am continuing to put up information about my work, so that interested readers could find out a little more about an item of information.
As I mentioned in my previous posts, Sundown Press, operated by Cheryl Pierson and Livia Washburn Reasoner, has brought out my first three novels as reprints in e-book and print format. Wild Rose of Ruby Canyon is now available at Amazon. I am grateful to Cheryl and Livia, as always, for their kind and considerate treatment as they have brought out these works.
Here is a reproduction of my blog entry on Wild Rose of Ruby Canyon, as I wrote it in my earlier blog in 2009:
Wild Rose of Ruby Canyon is my third traditional western novel. It was published in June of 1997 by Walker and Company of New York, a company that was still publishing hardcover westerns at the time. The novel was reprinted in May 1999 by Leisure Books (Dorchester Publishing) as a mass-market paperback, and like most of my other traditional westerns, it also came out in a large-print edition. This was actually the fourth western I wrote, but it got published ahead of the third one (Black Diamond Rendezvous), and it is similar in style to my first two westerns, also published by Walker, so it fits neatly into that set of three. Wild Rose of Ruby Canyon is what I think of as a decorous novel, with little violence or strong language and even less sex. It has also had emotionally pleasing color and design in the hardcover and paperback covers, which, along with the imagery in the title, has made this book appealing to women readers as well as men. Overall, this work has been very successful for me, in spite of a few rough spots early on.
After writing two successful novels with Walker and then writing one that the editor didn’t care for (and rejected), I went through the proposal and discussion stage before I wrote this one. It was a good process to go through, as I ended up with a novel that both the editor and I were happy with. In my first plan for the story line, I had a few lurid ideas that didn’t make it very far, but it was not a problem to set that material aside for later use in some other work. I concentrated on writing a story that turned on character and circumstance, friendship and ethics, plus the beneficial influence of honest work in a restorative landscape. It turned out to be a thoughtful treatment of an honest cowboy who has to deal with less honest people but who has the understanding of his French-Indian sweetheart. It’s a nice story, slow action as opposed to fast action (only one death, and that one offstage), with what I hope is a satisfying ending.
As with my previous two Walker westerns, this one went through some rigorous editing. After arriving at what was my final draft, I submitted it and then had to revise it according to suggestions by the editor. After that, I went through an edited copy and had to defend such things as being able to see a small, narrow blaze on a horse’s forehead at a distance of a quarter mile. (This is the type of minutiae that copy editors like to niggle over; I supported my case by posing the question to the first cowboy who came into my office as I was typing my responses.) After the editing, I proofread the galleys (a preliminary printout), and I waited for the book to come out.
Then came the rough spots. At about the time this book was released, Walker decided not to do any more westerns. It was a business decision, and although it was a disappointment to people in the westerns market, it was not incomprehensible. Other hardcover publishers had closed down their western lines as well. What it meant for me was that I wasn’t going to get to do any more books with an editor who had been so good to work with. I had even begun to plan another story line in consultation with her, and now that progress had dead-ended.
My next setback took the shape of stories I had read by other authors whose work had been published and then not supported by the publisher. I still don’t understand (except on the most cynical level) why a business would do something like this, but the practice has been common enough to be a recognizable pattern. When a company closes down a line, changes editors, or changes its lineup of authors, sometimes the “refocusing” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The idea seems to be something like, this product is losing money for us, as we will see. Strange to the common observer, I am sure.
Although my editor was as helpful as she could be when it came time to promote Wild Rose of Ruby Canyon, other people in the company were not. At about the time of this refocusing, new employees were put in the publicity and subsidiary rights departments. Review copies did not go out as I requested, so I did not get reviewed as I did with my first two books. Nor did copies go to the paperback and large-print editors, both of whom I had come to know and could ask without being a great nuisance. The person who was in charge of sending out copies insisted that she sent them, more than once, and yet they did not arrive. I sent copies myself, and I am glad to say that Walker replaced those copies for me. I think that the hiring of this undependable employee was coincidental with other changes, but even so, I could tell clearly that my problems were down the list of priorities for the company in general. I did hear, later on, that the employee in question had gone elsewhere, but that was after my last book with this publisher had pretty much run its course.
In spite of these little setbacks, however, the book did go into paperback and large print, which helped the earnings look better than they would have otherwise. But sales of the initial hardcover print run did not do well. As a consequence, a couple of years later, the company had a great many remainder copies. According to custom, I had an opportunity to buy as many of them as I wanted, at a low price, so I ordered a couple hundred copies. And so the story has a happy ending, as I have had a good supply of complimentary copies of a handsome hardcover book whenever someone requests one (or more) for a worthy cause or benefit.