In the first place, I didn't intend to write a Western, nor to have it made into an audio book.
It just happened.
It came about like this; I was dating a guy who didn't like science fiction. "Write a Western," he told me. "They always sell."
So, I did.
I didn't consider it much of a "Western"; okay, so it was set in Nebraska and there were cowboys and Indians; to me it was a Romance, because it was about love, betrayal, and revenge. And it was short--only about 110 pages. He read it, supplied a couple of corrections as a Western novel reader, and pronounced it "Great."
Well, Time marched on and so did the boyfriend but I was left with the story. I set it aside and went back to my science fiction but it kept niggling in my memory. I had this novella, I had spent time writing it, so I should do something with it. The problem was, not many publishers accepted book manuscripts of that length. Finally, I sat down with my Novel & Short Story Writers Market and went through it page-by-page, looking for publishers who handled novellas. There weren't many and most of the ones there were didn't want Westerns. Finally, I came upon Books in Motion, an audio book company. They wanted stories specifically not more than 110 pages and they accepted Westerns. So, I wrote a synopsis and a cover letter, included an SASE, and sent my little manuscript on its merry way...
...and promptly forgot about it--as I am prone to do--ask Linda or MM!
Time trotted onward some more and I had other things to think about. I was scheduled for hip surgery; the prosthesis I had been given in 1973 needing replacement--the teflon covering on the socket had disintegrated, making seven holes in what was left of my hip socket. A week before my admission, a letter came from Books in Motion, thanking me for my submission, telling me they had changed their requirements and now wanted full-sized manuscripts, so, though they liked my story, they were returning it. I stared at the letter, perplexed. Walk the Shadow Trail--that was my title, all right, but when had I sent the manuscript? I couldn't remember. Going to my Submissions Log, I started checking the entries. Sure enough, there it was-April, 1996-a year before! I reread the letter, decided I wasn't going to let a little thing like a lack of length stop me; after all, they liked the story, didn't they? Keeping my fingers crossed to invalidate the lie, I whipped off a quick letter informing them that originally the manuscript had been longer, but at some anonymous person's suggestion, I had shortened it and if they liked, I'd put the deleted chapters back and would they reconsider it then?
So, I wrote the non-existent chapters, bundled the whole thing together and returned it for their approval.
In a few weeks--while recovering from my surgery--I received another second letter from Books in Motion.
A contract. What a get-well card!
And the rest, as they say, is history....
(The above picture courtesy of fotolia.com. Walk the Shadow Trail has since been made into an e-book, a print edition, and is available on Kindle from amazon.com.)
Posted by Toni V.S. | 3:45 PM | audio book, Books in Motion, Toni V. Sweeney, Vengeance from Eden, Westerns | 6 comments »