Off the Beaten Path

July 2019

Sometimes the most direct way isn’t always the best. This can be said for road trips, writing, and life. By changing one thing, taking one detour, or making one decision over another can greatly impact the outcome. And most of the time for the better.

On our Texas family vacation last summer, we traveled from Austin to San Antonio. Taking the highway would have gotten us to our destination sooner but straying off the beaten path led us to sample some of the best BBQ in Texas. We also got to experience the small-town atmosphere we would have never seen had we not been pulled by the allure of trying a Texas staple.

We weren’t the only ones. Each place of the four places we went had long lines of people out the door. We got to experience brisket, ribs, sausage and turkey right out of the smoker. We got to see first hand how the meat was smoked, got to smell the aroma of cooking meat mingling with the pecan smoke. We got to order our treats and see the slices cut right in front of us. And then we all tried the samples, critiquing the flavors, the spices used and decide for ourselves which place had the best BBQ in Texas. Hands down the prize went to Smitty’s Market in Lockhart, Texas.

In my writing life, I had always focused on Harlequin. I grew up reading their books and knew that they were the publishing house for me. Or so I thought, until I went to the Romance Writers of America’s national conference one year. My conference roommate convinced me to go the Spotlight on Avalon Books. (1950-2012) They soon became my first publisher, thanks to my editor Erin, who got my stories.

After taking five years off to spend more time with my two children, I dipped my toe back in the publishing world by writing and publishing short stories and a romantic suspense with The Wild Rose Press.
In the end, I did fulfill my life-long dream of publishing four books with Harlequin. Along the way, I published with different publishers, worked with amazing editorial staff and found life-long friends that I would never have made if I had only focused on publishing with Harlequin. Currently, I’m submitting to a different publisher that I never would have considered in my earlier writing life.

So, if I’d played it safe and never strayed from the highway or from the path I’d laid out for my career, I would have never known what places I’d missed or what opportunities were available for the taking. Try it sometime, you never know what’s out there for you.