Saturday, September 29, 2012
As I write this, I'm sitting on my hotel balcony in Montana, looking at the mountains. I've been here for four days, researching, relaxing, reading, and writing. This trip is completely paid for from my self-publishing royalties, and I'm so grateful and excited to be here. I'm having a wonderful time, and I know I won't want to go home in two days.
The air has been a little smoky because of the fires, and the sky has been a pale blue-gray instead of vivid blue. Other than the smoke, the setting is beautiful, and thankfully, I've escaped the Southern California heat. Here's a balcony view, although the picture doesn't really show how beautiful it looks today.
Yesterday, I went for a run. Probably not the best thing to do for my lungs, but before I came here, I visualized jogging through beautiful scenery, and I didn't want to give that up. I ran/walked about three and a half miles, and probably would have gone farther, but the air was dry and smoky. and I hadn't brought water with me. Here's the hill I jogged up. It's one of the foothills before the mountains.
Yesterday was the beginning of the Montana Romance Writers Conference, and they graciously allowed a California girl to attend. It's the smallest conference I've ever been to--about twenty authors--which is nice because I have a chance to get to know everyone. The only person I knew before was Kat Martin, who's here with her husband Larry. I've known the Martins for years. Great people. They took me and Rita Karnopp out to dinner last night. Lots of food, wonderful company, and the best tenderloin ever! (And I'm not much of a beef eater.)
Listening to the speakers at the conference today, helped me dig deeper into the two Montana Sky stories I'm currently working on. I'll be able to add layers and characterization. I've been avoiding writing for the last month--just doing a little a day. Hopefully, I've caught the creative spark and will be able jump back in to a more serious page count.
A nice bonus was that (for some unknown reason) the Montana Sky Series took off yesterday. I had over 400 sales of Wild Montana Sky. Montana Sky Christmas (at only a month old) overshot its previous sales record of 48 and sold 76 books. Yay!
Even though Wild Montana Sky and Starry Montana Sky are Montlake's books now, Amazon has recently installed a dashboard that allows their authors to see their sales figures every day. So, I'm still able to keep track.
I haven't been to Montana since long before I wrote Wild Montana Sky, and it was always my dream to return. It never made financial sense to travel to the state when the Montana Sky books languished unsold, and I had plenty of other places in the country to explore. It was only about this time last year, when my self-published income took a leap, that I started telling myself I'd travel to Montana in September.
I didn't make any plans because in 2012, my personal life had far too much upheaval. I just kept the trip as a vague goal. The writers conference gave me an excuse to come here as well as a starting point for my research, even if Anaconda is south of where my books are set.
Tomorrow, we have a book signing, and for the first time, I'll sign Wild Montana Sky and Starry Montana Sky--another dream come true! Then I'll drive to Missoula to spend the night at Kat and Larry's house. They intend to pick my brain about self-publishing, which as you know from reading this blog, is one of my favorite topics. Larry's promised to grill his special salmon...
I've already been invited back to speak at a conference next summer in Bozeman, and I look forward to many more future visits.
Posted by Dr. Debra Holland at 5:11 PM