Friday, January 18, 2019

Cowboys, Rebels and Rogues

Hi, all!

I’m thrilled to be part of the Cowboy Kisses Blog! 

Since this is my first post, I thought I’d introduce myself. I'm Mina Beckett and I write kissing books about cowboys, rebels and rogues that range in heat levels from sweet to spicy hot. 

My husband and I live on a small farm in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains along with our two sons and three grandchildren. Fun facts about me: I’m a Capricorn.  I like getting my hands dirty. I traded my high-heels for work boots three years ago when I left my day job to work on the farm and pursue my writing. My dogs have nicknames. I can operate a skid steer and my number one rule about rescuing animals is if I name them, they stay on the farm. 

I’m always writing, if not on a computer, then on my iPhone. But I’m not an author who can sit down and write three-thousand words without leaving my desk. I have a short attention span and I get bored easily. I'm more productive when I weave other activities into my word count. I usually write a page or two and then sketch, paint or sculpt. Sometimes I cook in between chapters, especially in the summer when there are veggies to preserve. 

When I'm not working on a book, I'm out and about taking pictures and posting them on Instagram. I have three miniature horses and six dogs that also keep me busy. I enjoy sewing, baking (maybe a little too much) and working in my tea and vegetable gardens.

I started my writing career in 2012 when I submitted to a small press publisher because my husband convinced me I could write. I cried when I received an email from the acquiring editor saying they wanted to publish my story. I released my first historical romance that year while working full-time and completing my master’s degree. In 2013 I released my second book and walked across the platform to claim my diploma. I was all set to enroll in a doctorate program the following year but chose to turn my attention towards writing. I spent the next three years writing, submitting to contests and learning the craft. 

While at the 2016 RWA conference, I attended a workshop with Liz Maverick on creating a series proposal.  I wrote one for my Coldiron Cowboys series and began submitting it to agents.  2017 was one of the most stressful and exciting times in my writing career. I signed with a literary agency in September and we started pitching The Heartbreak Cowboy a month later. The book and proposal went through numerous edits and rewrites. One editor suggested I rewrite my cowboys as werewolves. I still chuckle about that. One by one, the rejections came in and my agent wanted me to submit to a smaller publisher. I refused.  By September of 2018, I had parted ways with my agent and was on my own.

My announcement to go indie was made on my Facebook page: "After receiving yet another rejection email from my agent this morning, I called an emergency meeting with my characters to inform them that drinking, smoking, and swearing would no longer be allowed. One-night stands, secret babies and ex-wives would also be eliminated, and that we would be following one troupe per story. As you can imagine, they weren’t pleased. But after they settled down, I explained that if we wanted to be on a bestseller list, we had to conform. Two of them flipped me the bird. One bearded fellow with a very flat Kentucky accent gave me crude directions as to where I could shove my stories. Three cowboys walked out and two of my leading ladies swore they were never speaking to me again. The rest are at the bar. I don’t think traditional publishing is for us. But hopefully, someone out there will want to read about this rebellious crew. Now, I’m off to write my indie book goals."

It was my humorous way of dealing with all those rejections and feedback. I don't regret anything about the experience. I had a great agent, made wonderful friends and learned a lot about writing and the industry.  And I have never regretted my decision to go indie. I love the freedom of writing what I want when I want to. I love having control over my blurbs, covers, content, and marketing. 

The Heartbreak Cowboy is the first full-length book in my Coldiron Cowboys series. McCrea and Eleanor fell in love years ago, but because of fear and circumstances chose to walk away after one night together. The story introduces McCrea to a daughter he never knew existed. It forces him and Eleanor to overcome the mistakes of their past and mend fences for the sake of their daughter. 

First loves can be so influential in our lives. They hold a special place in our heart that is always reserved for that person, that time, that place...When hurt is tied to it, moving on can be hard so I knew writing a second chance romance was going to be challenging. There needed to be a special ingredient added to the story and Sophie (their four-year-old daughter) was it. Children have a way of bringing out the best and worst in us. Their honesty, sincerity and innocent view of the world can help us find clarity in the muddiest situations. Sophie did that for McCrea and Eleanor. She let them see their love for each other in its truest form ─ her. There was also a fun side to writing Sophie because when children are involved, the conversations are always fun and surprising. The pancake scene is one of my favorites. 

The Cowboy’s Goodnight Kiss is a prequel to this book and was written so readers could experience the backstory of what happened between McCrea and Eleanor four years earlier.  It’s a free download on my website but doesn’t have to be read before The Heartbreak Cowboy. It’s my gift to readers. The books have received great reviews and I’m looking forward to releasing the second book, The Fallen Cowboy in March.

I’ll be blogging again on February 15th about my impressionable teenage years spent in West Texas, the sons of roughnecks and the history of oil boomtowns. 

Have a wonderful weekend!


Julie Lence said...

Hi Mina: Welcome! So happy to have you as part of the Cowboy Kisses Team. Thank you for sharing your writing experience with us. I traded high heels for slippers when I became pregnant with my son 20 years ago and don't regret. I love being home, too, and writing when I can and what I want. Hugs!

Kristy McCaffrey said...

Welcome to Cowboy Kisses, Mina!! Glad to have you here.

Patti Sherry-Crews said...

Welcome, Mina! That was a great introduction. It's always interesting to see the writer behind the story and hearing about others path to writing. I also have a short attention span (and it's getting shorter all the time) so I totally relate to weave in my writing with other activities--usually the kind of thing where my hands are busy and my mind is free to wander. Best of luck!

GiniRifkin said...

Hi Mina. Wow you are one amazing lady, admire your persistence and independence re: your writing. Looking forward to your future posts.