Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Ranger Jim's Ramblings for August
For August, I decided to answer the question every author hears, and usually quite often: "What made you decide to become a writer?"
In my case, it was a pretty convoluted path. I never even considered writing a book. Then, when I discovered Texas Ranger Magazine, and decided I had to track down every issue of the pulp ever printed, I ended up joining the Yahoo group Western Pulps, which of course was started by our very own James Reasoner. One thing led to another, and one day James asked me to answer a question about horses' hooves for him, with the promise in return he'd write me into one of his books as a Texas Ranger character. He did just that, in SHENANDOAH and APPOMATTOX in his Civil War Battle Series. He also told me I could write Westerns. I was skeptical, to say the least, but James kept pushing. I wrote a couple manuscripts, sent them off to good old Avalon and a couple other publishers, , and never heard a word. Couldn't seem to get anywhere, and had no interest in self-publishing. Well, after two years, I decided to use iUniverse to release my first book, TROUBLE RIDES THE TEXAS PACIFIC. It did pretty well, so I released a couple more the same way. THREE YEARS after I first sent the ms; for TROUBLE RIDES to Avalon, out of nowhere I get a message from them asking if I still had the ms., and they would like to publish it. I know it takes a long time to hear back from publishers, but THREE YEARS! C'mon. So I had to tell them it had already been released. The person who contacted me said they might be interested in more from me, but she was leaving the company the next week. I didn't bother to send them anything else.
And I've been at it ever since, a mix of some self-published titles, but mostly now Westerns released by small imprints. I'll never be able to live on the money I make, but the royalties are a nice supplement to my income, and best of all I'm getting paid for something I love to do. And it all goes back to that question from James.