Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Stormy Hawkins' Debut

Ana stands on a hard-to-reach plateau and marvels at the view. 

Twelve years ago, the idea that I needed to write a book bubbled up. The urge had been simmering for years in the recesses of my mind, but I spent every waking hour of my day either building my soup business or caring for my family. I barely had time to read, let alone write.

The urge grew more insistent. I decided I had to tag it 'important.' I took a community ed class. Ordered books. Enrolled in an online course and spent a year writing Stormy Hawkins. Sent the manuscript off to agents, sure it was ready to be published.
The form-letter rejections were blunt.

Bruised, I read more romance books, signed up for another course, and embarked on a second story. When I thought it was ready, I sent it off to publishers, stamped, self-addressed envelopes enclosed. Most never responded. Several sent back form rejection letters.

I looked around my rural community, hoping to find a supportive writing group, but romance was looked down upon. Memoirs, poetry, short stories--only those were good. If there was a romance writer out there, she was in hiding.

So I wrote essays about living on a farm and gardening columns for a local newspaper and regional magazine. I studied how-to-write-a-novel books in private and finally discovered romance writing groups on the Internet. I joined and eagerly embraced--and tried to radiate back--the warmth and generosity that I found. I joined this blog. The discipline of writing was joyful. But, despite my efforts to master the art of telling a story, I couldn't seem to get it right. Some contest feedback was encouraging; more was harshly critical. I gave up in defeat multiple times. Maybe I didn't have what it took to be a writer.

Then my primary online chapter, From the Heart Romance Writers, appeared to be low on contest entries. To support the chapter, I dusted off and re-polished the first three chapters of Stormy Hawkins. To my surprise, the entry finaled in the unpublished historical category. Then in the final round, to my complete shock, the entry won. Two publishers requested full manuscripts.

Nine months later, Stormy Hawkins is about to be released by SoulMate Publishing.
It's available for preorder now at Amazon.
Free read in Kindle Unlimited.

Blade Masters has finally spotted his ideal Dakota Territory ranch, where he can live alone, forget his cheating ex-fiancée, and bury the shards of his shattered heart. All he needs to do is sweet-talk the ailing owner, and his spitfire daughter, into retiring.

If she weren’t desperate, Stormy would never hire a cowhand. She’s learned the hard way that she’s happier working her family’s ranch alone. But, the greedy banker who holds their mortgage just demanded payment in full—or her hand in marriage.

Will this handsome drifter protect her? Or does he have designs of his own?


  1. Million congrats, Ana - and full marks for determination too. I knew you could do it! :-)

    1. Your encouragement definitely helped, Paula! I owe you.

  2. I'm so happy for you, Ana! And I love the cover!

    1. Thanks, Jen! I think the SMP cover artist did a fantastic job capturing my heroine. And I like that the hero's face is hidden.

  3. So excited for you, Ana. The road to published author isn't always a smooth and easy one. Sometimes it's as much of a story as our books!

    The cover is perfect!