Day 5: "Things I Wish I’d Known"

Our guest today is Tanya Hanson.

Today I’ll be drawing names from commenters for e-copies of my current releases. One is nominee for Best Book of 2010 at Love Western Romances, and the other, a Christmas antho, is a good cyber-stocking stuffer! More Details at the end of the post.

I write Western historical romance for The White Rose Press, and Western contemporary inspirationals for White Rose Publishing, and I have learned quite a few things over the years.

If I could go back in time to before I was first published . . . I’d definitely not wait until my kids went off to college to write and submit. Saying I was “too busy” was just an excuse and, I suppose, a fear of failure. Well, I learned a bunch of things, mainly that I could get published and that I could survive rejection!

Some other things I learned:

1. Check your pen name early on. I didn’t and now share cyberspace with a porn star of the same name. (Ah well. At least it drives traffic to my website LOL.)

2. Remember that nobody dies from rejection. Gnash your teeth for a day, then move on.

3. Write what you love, not what’s trendy at the moment. If you don’t, writing’s a chore and what’s the point?

4. Enter contests. It’s such a feel-good thing when you do well, and the comments are helpful if you don’t. It might open some doors. And practically speaking, having to follow directions and prepare a perfect manuscript is great training.

One of my recent releases, Marrying Minda, placed first in two RWA chapter fiction contests.

Best of all, my entry in the Hearts Crossing Contest at White Rose Publishing a year ago has led to an eight-book “Hearts Crossing Ranch” series contract! And I was just the runner-up! Hearts Crossing Ranch and Redeeming Daisy are already available, with stories about their six siblings due through 2011.

5. Ease up on e-loops, mySpace, Facebook, and twitter. All that can really get in the way of writing time. My editor encourages two full hours of writing before going online, although I must confess I’m not there yet.

6. Read! I got a recumbent bike both for exercise and for a dedicated time for reading. And a Kindle! I have a book in hand almost anytime, anywhere. Reading good literature helps with such things as varying sentence beginnings and structures, increasing vocabulary, and improving your own grammar skills when you see our language done well. Can you tell I taught high school English forever?

7. Take advantage of workshops and online classes. Marrying Mattie, my recent release, took an unexpected turn thanks to a plotting class I took while I was writing it.

8. And last but not least, forget about your mom and Great Aunt Edna reading your books when you write love scenes.

All that said, I hope you’ll comment today and leave an e-mail address. First name I draw out of the Stetson gets an e-copy of my full-length novel, Marrying Mattie, second in the Paradise Brides series and up for Best Book of 2010 at Here, hottie horse doctor Call Hackett is a virgin marrying beautiful Mattie Carter in 1880 Nebraska. She’s a woman who’s been married before, but inexperience is the least of Call’s problems when her evil ex shows up to break up their wedding vows.

Second name drawn gets a copy of our awesome Christmas anthology, Lawmen and Outlaws, from The Wild Rose Press featuring four Western authors. Oooh-la-la, I picked a good-hearted bad guy to write about in Christmas for Ransom. Jack Ransom has decided to honor his gram-maw’s last request and give up his evil ways and learn to read. But the woman he hires to teach him turns out to be the woman whose very granny he robbed…

Hope to hear from you, hope you might vote for Marrying Mattie, and most of all, Merry Christmas from my homestead to yours!

Here’s a few places I can be found online:

To enter the contests, you first need to leave a comment or question for Tanya. Then to finish your entry, you must leave your email address in your comment. The two winners will be chosen on Tuesday, December 7.