Friday, May 04, 2012


My First Book Sale That Mattered

When I received the first hard copies of A Story of the West, I put a few in a bag and began peddling them. It was just lil’ ol’ me, nervous and alone, pounding the pavement. I went to a couple of stores and sold a few copies, mainly because even though I was an unknown first-time author, as a local, there was some interest.

One day I thought, what the heck, and decided to try my luck at a store in a nearby town where I bought dog food. It was a unique place because on one side you could buy livestock feed, as well as halters for horses and other animal supplies. On the other side was an upscale western boutique that carried really nice, expensive clothing and gifts.

I approached a clerk on the boutique side and asked her if they sold any books. She told me that they carried a few coffee table books, but that I should come back and talk to Carol, the owner.

I returned when Carol was there, introduced myself, told her about A Story of the West and asked if she would be interested in carrying it. Her reply was that she would have to read the book first. She then asked me to sell her a copy at cost. I willingly obliged and handed over a signed copy for only slightly more than I had paid for it.

I waited for a couple of weeks before I went back as I was terrified of hearing my first critique by a stranger. Finally, my knees knocking, I got up the courage to return and ask Carol what she thought of my creation.

I still remember walking up to her. She didn’t smile as I approached and I couldn’t read her expression. I asked what she thought of it, and she replied, “I loved it. I think it should be made into a movie.” She then bought copies to carry in her store and told me she would encourage her employees to read it so they could help promote it.

Needless to say, her words made my day. I left walking on air and with the confidence to continue pushing my novel.

Sadly the store closed shortly after that. I heard Carol decided that, with the slow economy, it was a good time to move on to other things. I hope she is doing well.

The moral of the story is, believe in your book!

Susan Spence has always been intrigued with life in the west in the 1880s. She researched historical accounts and first-person narratives as she prepared to write A Story of the West. A lifelong resident of the west, she currently lives in Montana on an old sheep shearing station with lots of furry critters and one partially furry critter. This is her first novel, and she is busily working on a sequel due out in late spring.

You can visit her website at


Matt Daly’s eyes narrowed as he faced the stranger in front of him. “I know I don’t have a quarrel with you because I don’t know you,” he growled.

“But I know you,” the menacing outlaw sneered back, clearly ready to use the Colt revolver hanging from his hip.

Only a few years earlier Matt and his father had trailed a herd of longhorns north from Texas into Montana Territory. Upon arriving, they decided to stay and raise cattle on the fertile grasslands.

Shortly after the Northern Pacific rail line was completed and it became easier for people to head west. Lavina Lavold stepped off the train in Miles City with her family and immediately caught Matt’s eye. When they fall in love, Matt’s life seems perfect.

There are unscrupulous men, however, determined to build cattle empires. A ruthless neighbor decides he wants the Daly’s claim, and he will stop at nothing to acquire their ranch. Since the entire area is undeeded land, it is up for grabs and there is no law on the rough frontier to prevent a range war. When Matt refuses to back down, his life takes a dangerous turn.

Forced to abandon his family, his travels take him down a long road of misery. An encounter with an Indian medicine man helps him to regain his sense of self, but not until after he gives in to his desperation.

A Story of the West depicts life during the open range ranching days of the Wild West. Besides plenty of action, I have added a women’s perspective to settling the American West. I researched the era to ensure historical accuracy and have written an accurate portrayal of life during this time, as well as an exciting read.

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