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Dude Deserved His Happy Ending or Why I Wrote MISSING YOU

He was a hero before he was a hero.

Cover art

Luke, the hero of Missing You, helped both his brothers get their gals. He was a hero before he was a hero. The widower totally deserved to be happy again, to have the right gal in his life.

I know what you’re thinking. “Gal, that guy is fictional.” But you see, after two novels, none of the characters of my Lonesome Lawmen series was fictional to me. I knew them inside out, upside down, in hosed and in happiness, ’till “the ending” we do part. (And I was most sad to part with them, believe me!)

Luke was a toughie though. Not only did he demand his story, but so did my editors. Initially, I thought I had his perfect match queued up for readers. Kelly, Dani’s friend from The Last Enemy was supposed to meet him, fall for him, endure trials and tribulations, and then get him. But she fell for a dentist back in New Orleans and Luke, well, Luke met “Goldie,” who turned up in the family cabin minus her memory and was “just right” for this last lonesome lawmen.

While Missing You was the third book in the series, it was actually my fifth finished novel. I was gaining confidence as a novelist by the time I tackled this book—though one of my editors managed to suck some of it down by asking me to totally rewrite the story. Was huge bummer and I actually planned to pull the book (with much heart-burning and gnashing of teeth) but the publisher switched my editor and went forward with the book as written. It went on to win a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award for 2001, which was wonderful confirmation that I’d been right about what was best for the story and for my characters.

This probably also set me on a rather renegade path as an author. I developed this odd and radical notion that I should write what I want, that I should stay true to my vision of my stories and characters. Going forward this would be both a blessing and a curse—but mostly a blessing. Had I not written this book—with its accompanying experiences—I wouldn’t have wound up writing many of the books that followed. And I wouldn’t be so solidly in charge of my writing. All of my books, all of my editors and publishers (the good and the not-so-good), helped prepare me for my indie journey that began last year when my publisher passed away.

It took me a while to fully appreciate the gift that “no” has been in my career. And I might appreciate “no” in my real life, too. Maybe.

Have you had an experience that rocked—or semi-rocked—your confidence, that in hindsight turned out to be a good thing? A “no” that turned out to be the best thing even though you hated it at the time?


Perilously yours,




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