by Dani Collins Our boxed set of Christmas stories, A Montana Born Christmas, comes out October 20th. This has started me thinking about the holidays and that all important task: Christmas baking! Over the years, I’ve learned to pace myself when it comes to Christmas baking. I bake it, I eat it. I know you… Read More
I grew up in Maple Ridge, a suburb of Vancouver, when it was
still a small town. My father and both grandfathers switched
up between logging and fishing so I grew into a
quintessential BC girl: green, natural, and impervious to rain.
I started reading romance in high school. The first one I
really remember featured a heroine researching her family
tree in Scotland who meets a distant cousin (very distant!)
and falls in love with him. I don’t remember much
about the actual story, just the amazing setting, a
heart-stopping kiss, and a happily ever after. I knew this
was my kind of book and began consuming romances
voraciously. Within a year or so, I wanted to write them for
However, I thought becoming a writer was something you did
when you were old. It was your second career. (Kinda turns
out to be true in my case. Hashtag SpoilerAlert.) I still
gave it a shot at twenty, taking up writing about the time I
moved in with my high school sweetheart.
The key to writing, for those of you wondering, is to
actually show up to the keyboard and make words land on a
page. While I received my first rejection from Harlequin
Presents when I was twenty-one, for the first decade or so,
I was hit and miss at actually producing stories and sending
them in. We traveled, got married, had kids… the usual
I also worked at various office jobs from a ski hill, to a
real estate office, to a chiropractor’s office, to an
air conditioning installer and some manufacturing
facilities. None of these jobs was particularly glamorous
and rarely a day went by when I didn’t imagine myself
quitting to write full time.
When my husband took a job in the interior of BC, I thought
my ship had come in. I was a stay-at-home writer for the
first year, started writing for the local paper and
concentrated on finishing manuscripts. When money got tight,
I took a part-time job in yet another office. It turned into
a fulltime job and I kept writing on the side, still hoping,
dreaming, of someday writing full time.
I should mention that along the way, much like a gambling
addict, I had just enough success to keep me going. I placed
in several writing contests, most notably: HUSTLED TO THE
ALTAR was a Golden Heart finalist and an American Title
finalist. I also had an agent for a time. In 2008, I was
notified that my story was a runner up in the Instant
Seduction contest with Mills & Boon in London. I was
convinced this was finally my big break.
Four. Years. Later…. And several (five or six)
manuscripts later, they called to offer me a two-book
contract. Did I quit my job? No. All those years of
rejection had taught me not to count my chickens. So I wrote
and worked and somehow managed to stay married despite the
fact I didn’t really participate in family life or
household chores. I’m surprised my kids didn’t
sue me for neglect.
Almost a dozen books and two years later, I did quit my job.
As of May 2014, I am a full-time writer and it is awesome.
Click for my printable book list
and you’ll see that I don’t have any problem
with showing up at my desk and doing the work. I’ve
even managed to pull a few of my old rejected manuscripts
into the pile of paying titles. (Take heart from that,
fellow rejected authors!)
And I was lucky enough to have one of my first books,
PROOF OF THEIR SIN, nominated for a Reviewer’s
Choice Award from Romantic Times Magazine. Having
been a bridesmaid in so many contests, I was fairly
convinced I’d remain honored to be nominated, but I
won! Click here to see me with my daughter
after I accepted the award.
What’s next? Well, I love, love, love writing for
Harlequin Presents so expect as many of those out of me as
they’ll take. I have some fun novellas with Tule
Publishing’s Montana Born imprint and I have a few
more of my rejected tomes I’d like to revise and
publish. Honestly, I’ll do whatever it takes to keep
this career going so I never have to work in any office
except my own ever again.
‘Tis the season for some darn fine reading! Here’s the list of Writerspace Top Shelf Authors with releases that are sure to give you a reason to sit next to those stockings you’ve hung by the chimney with care and enjoy some stolen moments of reading pleasure in between wrapping presents: Second Chance Pass (A… Read More
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MAKING YOUR STORY BELIEVABLE
by Kat Martin One of the best ways to make your story believable is to use real places to locate the action and the real names of restaurants and streets. Actually going there, of course, is the best way to make that happen. Or using places you went to at some other time in your… Read More