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.
It’ll be Christmas in October this month, thanks to a stocking full of new titles, reissues and eBooks by bestselling authors—all with a holiday twist. The early holiday cheer begins with #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Linda Lael Miller’s newest book: CHRISTMAS IN MUSTANG CREEK, in bookstores now. Known for her heart-warming Christmas novels,… Read More
Q: What inspired you to write Vows Of Revenge? A: The same thing that inspires me to write all my books—the stories are in my head and I can’t get them out until I’ve written them down. In this case I knew I wanted to write a revenge romance and had a specific hero in… Read More
by Dani Collins – Back when I was writing Blame The Mistletoe, the prequel to His Blushing Bride, I made the heroine, Liz, a nail technician from California. I’ll tell you a secret about that idea: I stole it from my cousin. My cousin grew up in Canada, but married an American and moved to… Read More
by Dani Collins One of the first pieces of advice a writer will often hear is, “Write what you know.” That is good advice in some respects because it helps you write with confidence. For instance, the fact that I live in a small town allows me to write with authenticity about Marietta, the small… Read More
Latest from our Blog
Where Everyone Knows Your Name: Writing small-town stories.
I have nothing against big cities. My youngest lives in Seattle, two blocks from the Space Needle. I fall more in love with the city each time I visit, but when it comes to where to set my stories, small-town wins every time. Although I admit, sitting near the water’s edge at Lake Union and… Read More