Back in the fall of 2018, bestselling author Russ Towne (for whom I edit) and I collaborated on a collection of short stories. I hopped into his genre and we produced a book of 12 short stories titled Six Shots Each Gun. I designed the cover and assisted with writing the cover blurb. Russ took care of the audio book and I took care of formatting. He sent the files to his publicist for publication and a bit of promotion. The book was released in February 2019.
Russ and I can probably count everyone who read the collection on two hands. Every single one of those people declared they really enjoyed the stories, but no one left reviews. We can't sell the book. Perhaps it was inadequate or ineffective marketing. Perhaps the cover design wasn't quite suitable for the genre. Perhaps ... well, the upshot is we don't really know why the book isn't selling.
But the stories are good, damned good.
Despite the failure of our experiment, Russ and I decided to try again, sticking to the main genre of westerns and veering into the romantic side: western romances. We couldn't align our schedules, which resulted in separate publication of our stories in separate collections. Mine, titled Satin Boots, came out in October 2019. It received a couple of lovely reviews, but again sales proved lackluster.
According to those who have read it, the stories are good, damned good.
So, I decided to try again. With Russ' gracious permission, I consolidated my stories from Six Shots Each Gun and the six stories in Satin Boots into a single volume titled Shot from the Hip. The cover and title font, I hope, imbue the drama and flavor of the genre. This collection went live (e-book and paperback) on January 2, 2020. How's that for a project to start off the new year?
I enjoyed writing those stories. Constraints upon the romantic heat proved a welcome challenge, as I usually write more explicit stuff. But I managed to get the point across without wallowing in the purple prose of euphemisms or pretending that romantic relationships never go beyond a chaste kiss. I enjoyed writing about strong, resourceful heroines and heroes who could be alpha males without being womanizing jerks, all operating within the societal restrictions of the latter half of the 1800s ... you know, when women were chattel.
But a writer is only as good as the next book. Therefore, I've scheduled my next release--all new content--for February 14. Yes, that's Valentine's Day. This new book can best be described as: "Cowgirl meets biker. What could go wrong?" In short, Murphy's Law applies to this couple: if it can go wrong, it will. Of course, problems arise due to the heroine's fiery temper, the company kept by the hero, and other bad decisions made with the right intentions. At about 60,000 words, Hogtied will span sub-genres: western, military, new adult, MC (motorcycle club).
Spanning sub-genres comes naturally, because few people live and love within the confines of a single narrow niche.
Cover design is underway and the final result will be revealed soon. In the meantime, explore what westerns have to offer, because there's a lot more to the genre than cattle drives and gunslingers. This romanticized period in American history merely serves as the setting for a full array of personalities, emotions, motivations, and ambitions. Just like today.