I feel like a 20 year old! (My firstborn book keeps evolving.)

20 years ago this week, I got the life-changing call every writer works and waits for. Fred Ramey​ of MacMurray & Beck (which later morphed into MacAdam-Cage) pulled my first novel out of the slush pile and offered to publish it. His belief in the book and in me as an author changed my life. He also changed the title from Last Chance Gulch to Crazy for Trying.

I was just coming out of a long stretch of cancer treatment, which had left Gary and me bankrupt, so we did the responsible thing and used the advance to take our kids to DisneyWorld. And 18 months later, we used the first royalty check to make a down payment on a house. This book and I have both come a long way, as you can see. I adored the hardcover design. Gary had it blown up into a poster for my office. The paperback, I felt was a bit, um... phallic (Gary promptly dubbed it "the blow job cover"), but I gotta love MacAdam-Cage -- they graciously reverted the rights back to me in 2010 so I could indie pub an ebook edition. After I threw away almost a thousand dollars on professionally done cover designs, all of which I hated, Gary shot a photo of my old 12-string guitar resting on my daughter's hip, and I created a cover I loved. I didn't care what anyone else thought of it and still don't.

I'm so thrilled to have Crazy for Trying included in Outside the Box: Women Writing Women, a limited edition digital boxset of seven top-drawer novels by powerhouse women authors. The common thread: each compelling story features a strong, idiosyncratic woman protagonist. This edition of Crazy for Trying has been updated with a fresh edit and a new look by FUdog Book Bling. 

I was happy to find, as I revisited it, that the story set in the 1970s still holds up. If anything, it's more relevant than ever, because the secondary plotline focused on what happens to a child being raised by two mothers when the biological mother dies, and the longtime partner parent has no legal standing. "I feel like a widow," she says, "but I don't get to wear the classy black veil."

(Visit www.womenwritewomen.com for more info and links to buy the box set! It's available through May 24 only!)

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