Once Upon a Western ~ 1989By Barbara Goss
After devouring a hundred Grace Livingston Hill books, I realized there weren’t many Christian romance books on the market. Before I became a Christian, I read more explicit books by writers like Rosemary Rogers, Kathleen Woodiwiss, etc. After, I could no longer read them. I knew they were the wrong thing for a Christian to read. A friend from church pointed me to Grace Livingston Hill’s books, and I went through them all but was still thirsty for good clean romance. At the same time, I was praising God and asking, “What can I do for You?” I'd always wanted to be an author...so, why not?
My first book was a contemporary and very rough, but my friend from church loved it as I was giving her portions at a time to read. One night, she knocked on my door very late asking if I had the next chapter. That’s when I knew…I could hold an audience.
I never attended college and was told I could never be published without a degree, but that didn’t stop me. I joined the Christian Writer’s Fellowship in Titusville, FL and worked with some brilliant authors via mail. Mary Harwell Saylor was my mentor. My first western, Forbidden Legacy, was my lesson. I tapped away on my electric typewriter and when the manuscript was finished, my friends urged me to send it out to publishers. I sent it to every large Christian publishing house and collected a drawer full of rejection slips. I was crushed. I really thought this is what God wanted me to do. If so, why weren't the doors opening?
Then, a notice from the Writer’s Fellowship came in the mail announcing a writer’s conference in Titusville. I lived in New York and it would be expensive, but after urgings from friends, I borrowed from my credit union enough money to pay for the trip. I packed my bags and told my family, “If this doesn’t work, I’ll give up on writing.”
Sometimes things go wrong for a reason. The airlines lost my luggage. I arrived with just the clothes I’d worn during the long trip…and had to wear them for two more days in front of everyone at the conference. But, it brought attention to me as the woman whose luggage had been lost. Attention is sometimes a good thing, although I didn't think so at the time. Then my book won first prize in the fiction contest. I had to accept the award wearing the same clothes!
I tried to cover the creases in my slacks in this picture as I was presented my award.
Finally, my suitcase arrived. Thank the Lord.
Each night the authors sat at tables eating dinner with editors or publishers. So, we all got to know each other. Several publishers took a copy of my manuscript overnight to read, and three of them bid for it. I chose Fleming Revell, and ended up with two 2 book contracts. At the time my name was Barbara Masci.
I’m telling this story to introduce myself and to show that miracles still do happen and God is definitely involved in romance writing.
However, I much prefer being an Indie Author. I have so much more freedom. It takes months to get a book published with a publisher, at least it did back then when we had to mail the manuscript back and forth.
This is the story I tell to beginner writers: never give up. The three publishers who bid for my book were the same ones that sent me rejection slips.
My 36th romance book was released on Oct. 18th: