I admit it. I’ve never read a cowboy romance before now. In all honesty, I never thought I’d be interested in one, but I’d heard so many good things about Mary Vine’s A PLACE TO LAND that I decided to give it a try. I’m so glad I did! This sweeping tale of romance and self discovery also includes a dash of mystery. It was such an intriguing story I found myself unable to put it down until I’d read the very last page.
I connected with Uli, the story’s heroine, right from the start. As a young girl, Uli came to the U. S. with her Russian family in search of the American Dream. Uli grew up feeling like an outcast and spent her life feeling as if she was responsible for making the dream come true for her family, sacrificing her own dreams in the deal. When she accepts an assignment to write a controversial article for a high-profile magazine, Uli thinks she’s finally found a way to secure her family’s financial success. Her research takes her far from the big-city lights of Portland to the wide open spaces of Northeast Oregon. Uli falls in love, not only with the landscape, but also with Jackson Holt, the sexy rancher who becomes her self appointed guardian.
I loved everything about these characters! Uli had just the right blend of self reliance and vulnerability, and the wealthy Jackson was the perfect tough ‘n tender romance hero. Their love affair unfolded slowly, each filled with doubts and their own unique insecurities. I rooted for them with every turn of the page!
Mary Vine has a lovely writing style and possesses the uncanny ability to pick her readers up and transport them into her setting. I’ve never visited Oregon, and yet, thanks to the author’s lush descriptions, it is a place I feel I know well. From beginning to end, A PLACE TO LAND was a pleasure to read and I’m eagerly looking forward to my next cowboy romance!
A PLACE TO LAND
A Beautiful Love Story
Mary Vine is bringing ‘sexyback’ to ranching in this wonderfully crafted contemporary romance novel. I just loved this book in every way. The lush imagery she conveyed for the rugged Oregon backdrop was stunning as she managed to pull together the hot topic of a very controversial subject and the beginning of a smoldering relationship between two unlikely candidates. Uli, the heroine of the novel, is strong willed and determined to succeed throughout the storyline, but she carries a touching innocence that has you rooting for her all the way. Wow, what can I say about the sexy rancher, Jackson Holt, who crosses her path and finds her as irrestible as the reader? How about: Let me pack my bags and check out the ranches in Oregon myself!!
Be on the lookout for a few cameos from her previous novel and enjoy the charming banter between a couple of the secondary characters that had me laughing out loud. This novel is well worth the read and I look forward to seeing more from Ms. Vine in the future.
First of all, believe you can write. Don’t let anyone’s opinion convince you otherwise. Poor contest scores or bad critiques can make you think about ending your writing career before it even gets started. My worst critique was done by a woman who said I had so many errors that she didn’t have the time or energy to critique more than a chapter, let alone a complete manuscript. Thankfully, I thought this was a rather outlandish thing to say to someone, sloughed it off and kept trying. It is a well-known fact that if you continue to write you get better. My writing improved and my manuscript went on to sell. Not everyone is going to like your writing, it is really all subjective; people don’t all like the same type of story.
What should I write about? Don’t worry about writing the type of story that is selling right now as something else may be in vogue when you finish. Instead, write the kind of book you love to read and add what you know or are interested in learning. Further, stretch your horizons. I thought I could only write fiction, but then found I could also write an article on something I knew about, and sold to a magazine, twice, before I sold a book.
Don’t wait for the perfect time to write; it will never come. I used to write on summer breaks from work, believing I could only write when I felt relaxed and stress free. Forget it. No one is ever stress free, so start writing. For example, I work with high school students and though I have many good days, today was not one of them, yet here I am at home this evening working on a blog.
Plan a time to write. Should I write on the weekend, after a busy week at work? Not necessarily. I discovered that if I wrote at least an hour after work each day, I had five hours of typing in and still had the weekend to spend with my family. If I had additional writing time on the weekend all the better, but if not I still felt like I’d gotten something written for the week and it was relatively easy to do.
Get your website started now-before you are published. I knew almost nothing about websites before my first book was published. With working full time, I focused on writing and thought I could worry about a website later. If you get your website started and learn how to get traffic coming through, this can be helpful information to include in your query and you’ll be able to focus on promoting your book when it is released.
Where do I send my work? Use a book like Jeff Herman’s Guide to Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents, to find out who is looking for manuscripts similar to yours, plus find out what their hobbies or interests are. I happened to find a publisher that enjoyed stories about ranches, cowboys, and the gold mining history that I’d written about. Her interest helped me land the deal.
Don’t limit submissions. Shop your manuscript around, and don’t just submit to the big publishing companies. In this day and age of economic difficulties, the midlist is vanishing. Publishers have been sticking with big name authors who have proven to be money makers. If you can’t make a large house notice you, go for a smaller one. You’ll have an eBook or paperback you can hold in your hand, as well as writing credits an agent or larger company will take notice of.
Don’t be thinking you can quit your day job to write. Nora Roberts and Dean Koontz may have quit their day jobs, but Mary Vine can’t-yet. I know a writer who received $60,000 for a two book deal. That money may get one through a year, or two if you’re lucky, but you can’t count on a third sale coming when you need it. I’ve learned to write while I work and you can, too.
My best writing help didn’t come from a how-to book. Although I did learn about time management for the writer from a how-to book, my biggest help in making a sale came from joining a writers group. The value of a critique partner is considerable in getting your manuscript ready to submit. Believe it or not, you are too close to your work to see all the flaws, but a fellow writer can help spot them for you.
Keep reading. Reading is the way I learned how others put the words on the page, and gave me the desire to write. By continuing to read, my brain learned the process of weaving information, or details, into a book. One of the most important things to do is to keep reading; the more you read, the more you will learn how to write.
Got a great review for A PLACE TO LAND from Coffee Time Romance:
“…A Place to Land is a thoroughly enchanting story. It has a mixture of romance, intrigue and wonderful characterization for the story to flow at a good pace. I loved the robust characters of Uli and Jackson, as well as the premise of the storyline. It was interesting watching Uli trying to develop her own style when coming to America. Mary Vine spins a story that is beautifully told, wonderfully composed and keeps the reader turning the pages. I love how she tells the story of the wolves. The reader gets a great visual view of the landscape, the wolves and the true beauty in this magnificent read. “
She isn’t afraid of the big, bad wolf.
But he’s a little concerned about her.
When Uli Maslova’s impoverished family left Russia for America, she was only ten years old. From that point on, she’s been determined to make the American dream hers. When Headline Magazine offers the perfect story with which to launch her new writing career, Uli travels across Oregon to find out exactly how wolf and cowboy mix. As she finds her spirit guide in the wolf and her soul mate in the cattle rancher, a mysterious danger seems bent on finding her.
Movie-star handsome, Jackson Holt owns one of the largest ranches in eastern Oregon and like most ranchers, is none too happy with wolves crossing over the Idaho border near his livestock. The last thing he needs is a semi-environmentalist, journalist wannabe dogging his footsteps. Sure, Uli may be bright and sexy, but her need to prove herself and help her family threaten to lead her into the kind of harm he can’t protect her from—when all he wants to give her is … a place to land.
In Maya’s Gold, Maya filled a casserole dish with burritos and took them over to her neighbor, Alice. This is the recipe I was thinking about when I wrote this section of the story – Mary Vine
Maya Valentine’s Burrito Recipe
(Burritos, Old El Paso Sun Country Mexican Cookbook)
12 8-inch flour tortillas
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 16-ounce cans Old El Paso Refried Beans
1 large tomato, chopped
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium avocado, seeded, peeled, and cut in 12 wedges
Old El Paso Taco Sauce
Wrap stack of tortillas tightly in foil; heat in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Cook onion in hot oil until tender but not brown. Add refried beans; cook and stir till heated through. Spoon about 1/3 cup bean mixture onto each tortilla near one edge. Top with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and avocado wedge. Fold edge nearest filling up and over filling just until mixture is covered. Fold in two sides, envelope fashion, then roll up. Arrange on baking sheet; bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until heated through. Pass taco sauce. Makes 12 burritos.