Hey all, no one seemed to want this date, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my roller coaster ride that led to my latest release. Every time you comment on any post dated Feb 27 – March 2, your name goes in two separate drawings for Rodeo Dust and my latest release Rodeo Hero. Deadline: March 10th, 11:59 pm central time.
My Texas rodeo series started back in 2005 or so, when my husband and I took our son to The Arkansas State Fair. I saw a cowboy dressed in Wranglers, Stetson, and cowboy boots holding hands with a city girl in a business suit and suede boots. I wondered where they met and what they had in common. My wonderings turned into a short story and morphed into a book. I set it in Texas because my husband is from there, it’s my second favorite state, and I needed a place with weekly rodeos year round. Enter The Fort Worth Stockyards.
In 2008, I went to Minneapolis to the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference. There I got a meeting with JoAnne Simmons, acquisitions editor at Heartsong Presents. I pitched my story about a florist and the preacher whose wife had died, but he still took the flowers to her grave. It was the last day of the conference, JoAnne had heard countless pitches and was probably as sleep deprived as I was. Her eyes glazed over until I mentioned that my florist story took place in Romance, Arkansas where people go to get married and mail their wedding invitations.
Her eyes lit up–over my story and she said, “That sounds like a Heartsong. Send me the full.”
After I recovered from the shock, she asked if I had anything else. I told her about my bull rider and city girl book.
She rolled her eyes and said, “Why is it always the cowboy? Why not the clown? But then who would want to be a clown?”
I was batting a thousand. I’d glazed her eyes then caused her to roll them with my pitches. Thinking fast, I pulled a reason out of thin air for a guy to want to be a rodeo clown.
She liked it. The florist book became White Roses and morphed into a series. The bull rider and city girl tale became Rodeo Dust, which released in October 2011 and recently in e-book format. Rodeo Hero is the second book in the series. And yes the hero is a youth director/rodeo clown–only now they call them bull fighters.
It was a fun book to write. I had a lot of fun with clown jokes and guys wearing makeup to work. And to make it really fun, of course he’s a total hunk without his makeup.
In June 2011, I’d already turned Rodeo Dust in to my editor and had completed Rodeo Hero. A week away from deadline, my trusty husband/chauffer took me to Springfield, Missouri to speak at a writers conference. We made a mini-vacation out of it. I spent my days with writers and my evenings with my family. After a fun weekend, we headed home. I was ready to do my final read through, turn in Rodeo Hero, and start book 3, Rodeo Ashes.
Then I got the e-mail. The Heartsong Presents line would end in December. My heart stumbled, stopped, and fell within 3 seconds flat. Rodeo Dust would release in October, but what about my other two books? I soon learned that they’d release as e-books at some point and be re-packaged as a 3 in 1 in the Romancing America line eventually. Great, but I wanted to hold Rodeo Hero and Rodeo Ashes in my hands.
I cried on my husband. I cried on my computer. I cried on the phone with my crit partner. I managed the final read through and turned in Rodeo Hero, though I had no idea when it would see the light of day.
I tried to tell myself, this would give me a much needed break. I was suddenly deadline free. I tried to enjoy life for a while. I went to lunch with my husband and family and shopped with friends.
In September 2010, I trekked to St. Louis, Missouri for the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference. Though I’d been picked to teach a class there, with no contracts, I was kind of depressed. The first night of the conference, I ran into Rebecca Germany, of Barbour Publishing–parent company of Heartsong Presents. She asked if I had any unfulfilled contracts with HP and told me they were continuing the line.
I hugged her, called my husband and cried, called my mother and cried. Then I cried on my crit partner, Lorna–my designated conference shoulder when my husband isn’t there with me.
So Rodeo Hero releases this month through Heartsong Presents which is now owned by Harlequin. I recently turned in Rodeo Ashes and will soon begin the edits on it. Barbour still owns the e-book and 3 in 1 rights through 2012. So all of my Heartsongs will release as separate books, e-books, and then a 3 in 1. Harlequin will continue the line after 2012.
The only bad part is that JoAnne Simmons is no longer with Heartsong Presents. Without JoAnne, I might not be published. I dedicated Rodeo Hero to her and this blog is for her. But guess what, her story ends well too. She’s writing her own book. That’s her book on the right, published by Barbour in 2012. You can preorder at: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/182-0054379-2202346?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=I+Believe+by+JoAnne+Simmons
I’ll talk more about Rodeo Hero and give away another copy later this month. If you don’t win the drawing, my books are available at: http://www.barbourbooks.com/Catalog/ProductSearch.aspx?filter=Titles&search=Shannon+Vannatter&ExtendedSearch=False&SearchOnLoad=True or http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find/1280125039?Ntt=Shannon+Taylor+Vannatter&N=0&Ntk=keywords&action=Search&Ne=0&event=ESRCG&nav_search=1&cms=1&search=
Harlequin is setting up a site where Heartsongs can be purchased. In the meantime, you can get your copy of Rodeo Hero by calling this number: 1-800-873-8635.
I know this is a different kind of post, but we’ll get back to the romance next week. Sorry I’m so behind on picking my favorite posts, but my life’s been a little crazy lately. I’ll get caught up soon. I promise, so stay tuned. And thank you all for continuing to visit.
Come back March 5th for Margaret Daley.