Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Crossroads--Decisions, Decisions

Whether an author or not, we all face moments of indecision. Sometimes these moments stretch into long periods of time.

~*~Go to work, or be a stay-at-home-parent.
~*~Keep the old minivan a couple more years, or buy a new SUV-After all, life is short.
~*~Buy  a new dress for the anniversary party, or wear last year's--who would remember anyway?
~*~Stay with the old job for security, or launch into unknown territory to do something you love.

Some decisions are trivial and some are life-changing.
Consider, though,  decisions based on a problem that is purely personal. These decisions won't change my life or destroy the way I live.
At this moment, my problem concerns my writing and which direction I'll take. I could do one or the other, or perhaps both eventually. But for the moment, only one can take center stage.

My first novel was Western Historical Romance, and so were the next three. Writing this genre is fun, almost like fantasy, and filled with action.

But along the way, I wrote several contemporary romances. While I enjoyed writing those, I couldn't wait to return to westerns with a romance set in the Old West. Since the return to this genre, I've written six novellas, and almost have a full-length finished--another "Texas book."
Now, I'm at the crossroads again.

I have made one decision--that is to write novella length for a while, whether contemporary or western historical. If I yearn for prints, I can always put them in a collection, as I did with the Dime Novels--titled Lone Star Dreaming, or put them in a boxed set.

Here are my two possibilities:

I. Western Historical Romance:

Mail Order Bride Series titled "Trinity Hill Brides." First one concerns a man eaten up with guilt and has separated himself from the community to live and survive in the hills alone. A citizen of the town, a wealthy, elderly lady, takes it upon herself to order a bride for him. I could use the same lady as the source for other brides.
Question: Is this category of romances still viable? Do Mail Order Bride Series still sell? I have loved every one I've read over the years, but are authors still using the vehicle? Are readers still reading them?

II. Contemporary Romance:

Small Town Texas Series titled "Welcome to Del Rey, Texas." First one--maybe--is now titled Lily Marie, but should be something else--concerns a young university professor in a small college. She is rather prim and proper, and her best friend is another professor. They teach the same thing, so they spend time together. He's somewhat of a nerd, but they get along well. Enter the new football coach in town, and he moves into the small empty house across the street. Now, her life changes.
Are novellas selling as well as I think they are?
Of the two options above, what is your opinion of which would draw the most readers?
If you're an author, do you write in more than one genre?
If you're a reader, do you stay with one genre, or cross over to another some of the time?
Thank you for visiting my blog. Comments are not only welcome, they are wanted!

Celia Yeary
Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/celiayeary
My Website
My Blog
Sweethearts of the West-Blog
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Note: Photo of Couple: Connie Breton and Kyle Chandler from "Friday Night Lights."


  1. Hi Celia, I always have the same indecision when starting a new book, because there are so many genres to write in and ways to go. To answer your questions, based on my experience: 1) novellas sell well on kindle. If you self-publish, you can put your novella into print through CreateSpace without having to box several together. 2) Contemporary stories draw more readers, in my experience. 3) I write in a variety of genres because I get bored sticking with the same genre. 4) As a reader, I have read all genres through the years, depending on where I'm at in my life. I'm currently reading and writing mysteries, ghost stories and Gothics. Good luck with your next project!

  2. Hi, Stacey--I like the novella length, about 30,000 words, some I've had published as Dime Novels have sold incredibly well. Self-publishing is not quite right for me yet, so I depend on an Independent Publisher--just wonderful to work with.
    You do have several genres--I'm impressed with any author who can easily move from one to the other. Me? I move back and forth between two!
    I like to hear you say contemporaries draw in more readers. That's a mark it favor of contemporary. Thanks so much for your advice and input.

  3. Hello Celia!
    Are novellas selling as well as I think they are? A: I don't read novellas, so I can't answer this one, but I do know quite a few readers who enjoy them for a quick read.

    Of the two options above, what is your opinion of which would draw the most readers? A: I think both contemporary and historical have great audiences. It really just depends on what you want to write.

    If you're an author, do you write in more than one genre? A: I currently write only historical, but I write western romance and Victorian mystery, so they're quite different. I enjoy going back and forth between the genres, and agree with Stacey that one genre can get boring (for me). I may even try a contemporary series in the future, but it would be more mystery/thriller than romance. Contemporary romances rarely pull me into the story (but that's a minority opinion).

    If you're a reader, do you stay with one genre, or cross over to another some of the time? A: I rarely read contemporary books, and when I do it's usually thrillers. Nora Roberts has a couple of trilogies I like, and I might read a contemporary on someone's suggestion, but otherwise I stick with historical.

    Good luck with whichever direction you decide to take. No matter what you choose, you can always go back or switch again! :)

  4. Hi Celia,

    Your post came at a timely juncture for me as well. My Muse likes to switch genres and while I'm entering into a heavy editing phase with the book I just finished writing, I'm already dreaming about what I want to do for my next project.

    I think either of your story ideas would be successful, especially if you enjoy writing them. Wishing you success no matter what decision you make.

  5. My muse seems to be stuck with the contemporary romance genre. Every time I start thinking about a historical, she starts whispering, 'Think of all the research you'd have to do.' I do admire authors who can switch genres, like you do, but I can't seem to do it. I haven't tried novella length either, but I must admit I like having all my books in paperback.

  6. Hi Celia,
    I have a soft spot for Mail order brides. So that has my vote. good luck with what ever you chose.

  7. I love mail order brides, Celia, and a lot of other people do, too. If you decide to go with that option, I know a brand new publishing company that would love for you to submit to them! (PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS!)
    Hugs to you,

  8. MK--I guess that's my problem--I'm bored. And need something different.
    However, I write WH more easily--the plots form faster and I feel more comfortable writing these.
    I know you write wonderful historicals, and I, too, do love the genre--but Western, not Victorian mystery or anything Victorian. Odd though, one of my favorite authors is Mary Balogh. I've toyed with that era, but I know I can't do that.
    As of now, the WH seems more viable, and I do have some ideas for Small Town Texas stories, too.
    Gee, if I were only two people instead of one.
    Thanks for your great answers and good advice!

  9. Maggie-I think our dreaming one thing while we're actually working on another is an escape mode--you know, just to clear our minds.
    I wish I could stick to whatever I'm writing, finish it, and do something with it. But no, I almost always begin something else, thinking, don't do this, don't do this.
    Thanks for the comment and good insight you always have.

  10. Paula--I think you're a very good contemporary author. Research? With Western/Texas historicals, I do little research. Usually, I'm writing in an area I know, and I know so much Texas history, it's often easy.
    However, research is necessary at times. My recent WIP--I set it in far West Texas near the Panhandle in 1915. The trouble was that I needed a nearby railroad. But railroad way out there were non-existent. Really. No railroads in the Western part of the state until decades later. So, I moved my ranch and oil fields closer to Fort Worth where I knew there were railroads.
    Thanks so much for your answer.

  11. Barbara--you've made me feel good about the Mail Order Brides stories. Maybe I'll go that way.

  12. Cheryl--I might just go with the Mail Order Bride Stories.
    You really surprised me with your publishing company. I know you'll do great with it.

  13. Celia, mail order bride stories are fun but they've been done, done, done. I agree with Stacey, contemporaries sell better these days, especially to younger readers. I like your idea for a series set in a small college town. It's a fresh concept.

    In answer to your other question, I cross genres with all my books. The Texas Devlins are western romance with paranormal elements. My new series will be contempory, also with shades of paranormal. And sometime in the next year or two I hope to finish an Irish historical.

  14. Lyn--it seems the decision is a split--about half and half. Maybe that means either one. I do agree somewhat that mail order brides have been done so much, but I read an article somewhere--about the resurgence of the MOB series.
    I'm glad you pointed out the small college town as being a good idea. I have 2-3 partial stories I can study and see if I can finish one of those.
    I have this horrible habit of beginning more stories than I finish, and those orphans really bother me at times--I refuse to delete them. Just as surely I did, I'd want them back.

  15. Sorry, I'm coming in a bit late here.
    Many readers prefer novella's. It's great to have enough story to become deeply involved with the characters, but short enough to fit into a lifestyle that's busy and fast-paced.
    I wonder sometimes with so many couples getting together via internet meeting places, if it isn't just the modern way of becoming a mail order bride.
    Like you, I write historical and contemporary (more historical) and I made this decision each time. Research is so much fun, so it makes historicals a joy to write. The pressure is off when it comes to contemporaries for me. I don't have to worry about language, dress or details like I do in historicals, but I do have to research jobs and techno details when needed.
    You write both historicl and contemporary so well, Celia that it seems like it's mostly just what you're in the mood for.
    All the best.

  16. That's interesting, Sarah..that today's internet is like the modern day mail order bride. How many couples meet on-line? I don't know, but probably a lot.
    I'm leaning more toward the small college town Texas, but not sure. I'm wrapping up Texas Dreamer--which mean it'll be another week or more. And I'd love to have my mind made up.
    Thanks for your comment and thoughts--I always look forward to hearing from you.