FROM ENGLISH ROSE TO PRAIRIE ROSE.
Hello everyone! As some of you may know, I am the first British writer to be signed by Prairie Rose Publishing. (And I thank you very much ladies!) This blog is simply a way of introducing myself to you all, and letting you get to know a little about this tangerine haired 'foreigner' in your ranks!
This is my very first blog post for PRP and I have to admit, I am nervous. Mainly because, as a ‘foreigner’ who has never set foot in America, my impressions of the country have been colored by the Western films and series I watched avidly as a youngster. Of course, I have many reference books, and the Internet is full of information, but it can’t compare with going to a place, and soaking up the atmosphere. Therefore, I do hope you will forgive me if there are any obvious errors in my work, and better still, I hope you will let me know if you do spot any glaring mistakes. With your help, my work will improve. Also, should any of you want to know anything about UK for any reason, please don’t hesitate to ask, and I will do my very best to help you.
Bye the way, please note that I might not be able to post a reply to you immediately, My 87 year old Mother is unwell and I am going to her house for the nights, there is no signal for Wi-fi where she lives, but I will certainly pick you all up when I get home, and due to our time differences that might be immediate, might be a day or two, but rest assured I will answer you all. Back to the blog!
PRP are publishing my book ‘Saint or Sinner’, under the pen name of Gil McDonald, and they are possibly taking one of my short stories for their Summer anthology entitled ‘Cowboy Cravings’ later this year.
I have two hard back Westerns already out here in England, with a publisher named Robert Hale, (their Western imprint is ‘Black Horse’, and my author name with them is Amos Carr), those two are also out in large print world-wide this year. I am one of only four or five female Western writers in UK for Hale.
Unfortunately Hale don’t put new works onto Kindle, only works from their back catalog. Also unfortunately, they tend to concentrate more on the ‘old style’ Westerns, rough, tough, shoot ‘em up stories, with very little Romance. It works well for Hale, they actually publish around twelve new Westerns a month now, so I was very lucky to be chosen by them. However, I consider myself to be even more lucky to be signed by Prairie Rose, after all, what is a cowboy without his horse, his gun, and his True Love?
I have only recently realized that I really enjoy writing ‘real’ Romance. How delighted I was when I found out about PRP! I can run away with my Romantic side at last! Since coming across this startling revelation about myself, I have also written two Contemporary Romance novels, (one is out with an agent at present). I am also working on my next book for Hale, another one for PRP, a Teen Fantasy trilogy, and a couple of other projects. I really don’t think it hurts to have a few irons in the fire!
Previously I have written articles for papers and magazines, and lots of poetry, some of which has been in magazines and anthologies. I have a ton of short stories in lever files on my shelves, one of which won me the ‘Writer of the Year’ trophy from the prestigious Lancashire Authors Association’ way back in 1999 (the association is over 100 years old). One of my shorts, ‘Eddie and the Devil’ is now on a website called Alfie dog fiction, where readers pay a small amount to download and read the stories.
Most of the authors who have appeared on this blog have exciting tales to tell about their lives and adventures. Sadly, I don’t think I ever had a ‘real adventure’ (unless you count a day trip to France, where I lost my passport, and spent half the day in a French Police Station trying to make them understand me!) My life has been filled to bursting with animals and birds of many kinds though; and, along with all my other projects, I have a huge amount of paperwork with stories of my family, and our animal friends, I would dearly love to have an animal autobiography published one day! In fact I have enough to be able to fill two, or even three books.
Animals are so important in all our lives. I know that, for a variety of reasons there are many people who live without them. Fair enough, they have jobs, families, busy lives, and that is their choice. But for me, and from what I have seen, many of the PRP authors, animals are a big part of life. Although I was born in the city of Liverpool, my parents moved from there when I was a baby, and we traveled a lot. During our travels, we lived on farms, and in flats above pet shops and dog grooming parlors. My Mother has worked with animals, and bred dogs since she was 13, she’s now 87, and breeds rabbits! She also used to breed and show Samoyeds (Big fluffy white Husky looking dogs) and did so well with them that she got to the famous Crufts Dog Show in London, with one of them.
Of course, being surrounded by animals of so many kinds from birth, it was obvious I would be an animal person. Since I married, I have kept many different kinds of animals and birds. I ran a small animal rescue center when we lived in Kent, we were there ten years, and had a smallholding, with a large collection of animals, and from which we sold fruit and vegetables. I started to ride horses from the age of four, (after riding cows for a couple of years!) I gave up horse riding in my twenties, but recently went back to it, in my 60s, although I can’t go very often, due to health problems, and the fact that I now spend most of my time writing of course. Right now, I just have two lovely Miniature Schnauzer girls, litter sisters, Poppy and Pepper, who between them have had 11 puppies for me. I do miss all the hens and ducks and other creatures who used to fill my life and time, but the girls keep me amused, and are very good company.
As I said at the start, everything I know about ‘Cowboys’ came from television series and films. I was an avid cinema goer in my teens, every Saturday would see me at the matinee with my bag of sweets, engrossed in the adventures of The Lone Ranger, whilst my evenings were filled with ‘Rawhide’ Wagon Train’ ‘Stagecoach West’ and Laramie’(among others!) I don’t really know what attracted me to Westerns in the first place, but I know none of the real boys who I met ever matched up to those rugged, wind-blown, handsome men!
I have relied on my still quite vivid memories of those films and series, to set my novels. I do hope they work.
I am often asked how I got into writing Westerns, they are not an obvious choice for an English Rose! Any of you who have been to my website will have read the story. But for those of you who haven’t, here goes – Take your pick. A ghost made me do it! It came to me in a dream! Actually both are true. Bear with me, I’m not as crazy as I sound, honest! I have had a keen interest in Native Americans since being very young, I watched Cowboys all the time, and I was a horse rider, so why this genre hadn’t occurred to me way before it did I shall never know. One morning, I woke up from a vivid dream, with the title, and almost the whole story for my first Western running through my head like a film. I started writing it straight onto the computer, until then I had always hand written everything, then transferred it later, but there was a real sense of urgency about this, so I skipped a step, and all of my work since then has been done this way. A few months later, I sent it off to Robert Hale. They accepted it straight away, and with very little alteration ‘The Ghosts of Poynter’ under the author name Amos Carr, was published in June 2012.
When I told my mother I was going to be published at last and told her the genre, she gasped. It turned out that her father, (who had died before I was old enough to know much about him) only ever read Westerns! There were no other books in the house, and until that moment, I had no idea what he had read of course. Now I think Grandad Harold was the one who ‘gave’ me that story! He also gave me my second Western, ‘Crazy Man Cade’ which ‘came’ in the same way, and was again published by Hale, in October 2012. He has given me the ideas for three more for the same publisher. I have almost finished my third for them. So I think I must be called a real ‘ghost writer’! I do like that!
Grandad Harold however, did not have anything to do with the works I am now producing for PRP, these are all mine! And the heroes are all men of my dreams, rather than from my dreams! I suppose it often happens to writers, but I fall in love with all my heroes! There is always something about them which attracts me, and I hope that my readers can feel a similar attraction for them.
Okay, that’s it for now folks. If you want to find out more about this mad English woman who listens to ghosts, do go to my website www.womanwholeads.webs.com and please leave me a comment there. I look forward to getting to know you all in the future. (By the way, the website name comes from my given Indian name. But that’s another story!)
You can also get me on Twitter, - JillMcDC and on Facebook – Jill McDonald-Constable. (I am also on LinkedIn under this name.)
‘The Ghosts of Poynter’ by Amos Carr. Pub. – Robert Hale, London.
‘Crazy Man Cade’ by Amos Carr. Pub.- Robert Hale, London.
‘Saint or Sinner’ by Gil McDonald Pub. – Prairie Rose Publications. Launch date TBA.