I love writing western set historicals. Always have. There's just something about a cowboy that intrigues and fascinates me. Growing up I thought there were few things cooler. I cut my teeth on Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns, I watched every episode of The Lone Ranger. If there was a man on a horse riding the western plain, I was there, in front of the television riveted.
Growing up, my parents bought my brother the Time Life Old West series. I snuck the books whenever I could and still usually have at least three in my possession at any given time. I can remember my brother telling me stories of famous Indian chiefs, Custer, the Earp brothers, Frank and Jesse James. I couldn't get enough. One of my favorite movies was based on the story of the Dalton Gang and starred Larry Wilcox from CHiPs. What can I say? At least it wasn't Erik Estrada.
Anyway I guess it stands to reason that when I started writing historicals, the Old West was a natural place for me to end up. And when I started reading historials, there were plenty of books set in this era. Rosanne Bittner, Lisa Gregory, Heather Graham, and later Maggie Osborne and Linda Lael Miller. But in the past five years, trying to find a good western set historical romance has become the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack. They don't sell, I keep hearing. Disheartening news for someone like me who loves to read and write in the era. That's one of my main beef with the historical romance genre of late. Not enough selection. Everything seems geared towards one period in time and there just isn't enough variety. Well that's one of my beefs, the other is how they keep wanting to shrink word count so we, as readers, have the pleasure of paying $10 for a book of 90,000 words when for the same price we used to get a book of 120,000 words. Did they think we wouldn't notice? Grrr...don't even get me started on that.
Anyhoo, my point is, that one of my buds on the goals loop posted this little gem that brightened my day:
Kate Duffy predicted "cowboy romance" is "coming back". "Western romances, for Kensington, are a huge priority for 2006," she said. They want to concentrate on creating strong covers for their western historicals.
This backs up some of the buzz I heard in Reno. One publisher said it wasn't that they didn't look at historicals, just that no one has sent them a really good one to publish. Another predicted westerns were about to make a comeback. Sure, you still get the ones who say no, but you know what, everything goes in cycles, and I still maintain the belief that a good story, is a good story, is a good story.
So I'm off to write a good story. Maggie Osborne has retired, so I figure someone has to take her place. I think I'll apply for the job.