Golden Heart Finalist Lynda Bailey!

Lynda Bailey lives in Reno, NV with her husband, Pat, her son, Will, two dogs, Cerveza and Athena, and her cat, Groucho. After graduating in 1980 with a bachelor in technical theatre from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, IA, Lynda moved to Reno and got a job working on Don Arden’s huge stage show, Hello Hollywood Hello. This is where she met her husband Pat. Their “cute meet” story wasn’t so much cute as it was painful – for Lynda. They were bouldering (a milder form of rock climbing) with some friends near Pyramid Lake when she fell and dislocated her shoulder. Since Pat was so kind and sweet, he offered Lynda a place to stay while her shoulder healed. Twenty-seven years later, she has yet to leave.

Lynda is the current president of The Unnamed Writers’ Group, an all-genre writing group in Northern Nevada. Her Golden Heart® manuscript – WILD FLOWER – was actually written about ten years ago then left to languish under Lynda’s bed. A year ago she blew off the dust mites and revised it into an erotic historical western.

To learn more about Lynda, visit her website and Unnamed Writers.

Lynda’s Golden Heart® manuscript is WILD FLOWER, a finalist in the historical romance category:

She made a deathbed promise. Matilda Townsend believed her father’s passing would finally free her from trying – and failing – to please him. Raised more as a ranch hand than a woman, she’s shocked when her dying father asks her for one final promise: to marry the ranch foreman.

He gained an unwilling wife. Logan Cartwright has long admired the beauty Matilda hides beneath her dusty cowboy clothes. But when she bargains to leave him sole owner of the ranch if he’ll grant her the freedom to leave Indian Territory, Logan must admit he’s more interested in keeping his wife than his property.

A contest of wills sparks passion. While Matilda clings to her refusal to share her husband’s bed, Logan coaxes her into exploring the other many and varied ways a man and wife can please each other. Even as their passion blazes hotter than a prairie fire, they much confront a danger that threatens to destroy the ranch and divide them forever.

And now a little more about Lynda…

1) How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for almost twenty years. During that time, I’ve penned six novels – not including all the rewrites – numerous short stories and a novella or two.

2) Did you always want to be an author or is this something you fell into later in life?
Stories have always rattled around in my head. I would often think the preverbal “What if” about a book, television show or movie. “What if” the hero did this instead of that? “What if” the movie had a sequel? “What if” the two secondary characters hooked up and had a story? The tipping point came when I had a story based on the TV show, Star Trek, Deep Space Nine – cheesy, I know – but it absolutely refused to leave my head. Sooooo, when my husband was out of town on business, and our three-year-old was tucked into bed, I sat down and typed it out. Thus an obsession was born.

3) What do you do in your “other” life? (Day job, family, etc.)
My “day” jobs, besides being bottle washer and primary dog walker (my husband’s the chief cook), are working as a fitness instructor and an elementary school substitute teacher. You could say I’m an equal opportunity beater – I mean teacher – of the young and not-so-young.

4) Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite authors include Lorraine Heath, Maggie Osborne and Jodi Thomas – who’s up for a RITA this year!

5) Do you have an agent?
At present I don’t have an agent. But I’m working on it!

6) Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I’ll be a lot closer to 60 than I am now! I expect to still married, but without the adult child living at home. LOL! Hopefully I’ll still be kicking butt in my fitness classes, either as instructor or participant, but probably won’t be working as a substitute teacher. Of course, I’ll still be writing. Whether I’ve been blessed enough to get an agent or be published, my stories will insist on being told. To deny them is not an option.

Working Writer

Though I’ve been writing for the better part of two decades, it’s only been in the last six months that I‘ve embraced the title of working fiction writer. I know some believe a “working” writer is a person who gets a paycheck for what he/she writes. In my opinion, that person’s an “author.” For me, a working writer is someone who works everyday to improve his/her craft and who’s striving for publication. I can see the immediate eye rolls with the accompanying, “Well, duh!” However, this was not as easy a journey for me as it might have been for others.

When people ask me what I do for a living, I typically say substitute teacher, fitness instructor, writer. In that order. The writer part almost always gets the biggest reaction.

“Really? You’re a writer? What have you published?”

“Uh, nothing. Yet.”

Chins usually tick up a fraction at this point as eyes narrow slightly. A writer, huh? Yeah, right.

While I strive to improve my writing and move ever so slowly through quicksand that is the publication process, the response I get to claiming to be a writer – and an unpublished writer to boot – makes me wary. Makes me feel I’m being a bit. . . .snobby.

That is until I recently subbed for a favorite teacher of mine, Jolene. Because Jolene knew of my addiction to writing romance (she’d even been a Beta reader for one of my novellas), she wanted me to share my creative writing process with her class. I thought she was nuts. Admit that I wrote books? To twelve-year-olds??? This age group is only slightly less deadly than sharks smelling blood. But I agreed, knowing I had the threat of detention until they all died should any uncontrollable snickering and/or giggling break out. Let me tell you, that sixty minutes was one of the most stirring hours I’d ever spent teaching. The kids sat there, their eyes bright, hanging on almost my every word. It was a very moving moment for me because I was talking about my writing. I wasn’t viewed as pretentious or arrogant. But as a writer. I even choked up once or twice. And tears positively stung my eyes when I stopped by Jolene’s class several months later to tell her about my Golden Heart status. The entire room of sixth graders stood and applauded.

Over time, I have grown accustomed to the title of writer. Yet I never really considered it a “job.” Until now, that is. Though I have yet to land an agent or to be published, thanks to Jolene’s kids, doubt no longer exists that I am a working writer.

What about you? Have you always considered yourself not just a writer, but a “working” one, minus the paycheck? Did you experience a similar “Ah-ha” moment? I’d love to hear about it.

34 comments to “Golden Heart Finalist Lynda Bailey!”

  1. Barbara Louise Jean
    June 29th, 2010 at 4:48 am · Link

    Ah, the ambiguity of explaining: I’m writing my memoirs; well maybe I’m a writer but not published yet. The truth, if anyone REALLY want to know, is I love what I’m doing. Bags under eyes and fingernails breaking — the drama I’m shaping keeps me in the chair with eyes dried out by computer glare and back aching. Rewrites are a new habit, beyond counting, as normal as brushing my teeth. The bible I read is by Sol Stein, as the “How to Write” stack of books keeps getting higher.
    There has to be something to interrupt this obsession — like love, food, music, making cat toys — but the pull back to story, truth, wisdom and particularity is a two-ton magnet.
    I resonate with your feelings about talking to children in a class who are absorbing your words and feelings. A dream come true that you probably hadn’t known was so important. I’m thrilled they applauded. Why does it feel arrogant to write our guts out? There are a few other Why questions we could fumble to answer…
    I’ve written since teen years, maybe from necessity, so for now could I borrow your useful title: Working Writer? And if one day we each become Published Writer — we’ll have one heck of a party with sexy clothes, Rock and Roll, wild hats and wine from all countries.
    Your sister supporter, Barbara

  2. Gillian Layne
    June 29th, 2010 at 5:46 am · Link

    Only fellow writers “get” the working part! It IS work–ever rewrite, every time you’ve got to track down research, every time you pass on a TV program or an extra hour of sleep to crank out more words. It’s an extra job, no doubt about it.

    It’s just that it’s the best hard job in the world. 🙂

    I’m thrilled that your work is a western. My brilliant CP writes westerns and I love them to pieces. And I live in Kansas, so, ya know…it’s in my blood.

  3. Kimberly MacCarron
    June 29th, 2010 at 6:13 am · Link

    You should write your own romance story! I loved that after twenty-seven years, you’ve yet to leave….how awesome. Now, that’s a story you need to rework somehow into a western. 🙂
    I know the feeling of being a working writer without a paycheck and the frustration of having to explain it. My kids love to tell people that I’m published now just because I made it to the final round in the GH. I could scream every time they say it. But, it’s nice that my kids and their friends think I have the coolest job on earth. Hopefully someday they will see my books on a shelf, and say, “Oh, I was at her house when she was writing that one!”
    You must have been so happy to receive such a welcome response from the kids. They are so eager to hear about writing and creating different worlds. I think it’s because their imagination hasn’t been tamped down by the cynicism and pressures of the adult world. I think, as writers, we’ve held onto it a bit more than the average adult. At least that’s the way I justify my complete immersion into a world of my own making.
    Your Logan sounds like a dream hero. I can’t wait to meet him someday. Matilda is a lucky Wild Flower. 🙂
    Good luck to you!
    Kimberly MacCarron

  4. Lynda
    June 29th, 2010 at 7:19 am · Link

    Hey Barbara Jean!
    Thanks for popping! ‘Preciate it.
    Ya, being a working writer can be a challenge–to say the very least. But no guts, no glory, right? We just keep on keeping on. With luck and whole lot of stubbornness, we WILL change our title from “working” to “published.”
    Thanks for the support, sista! L.

  5. Lynda
    June 29th, 2010 at 7:23 am · Link

    Morning, Gillian!
    Thanks for stopping by.
    We do have the best hard job, don’t we? Love the “best” part, when the characters are behaving and the stories are flowing. Man, the “hard” part stinks. But we can’t have one without the other. Guess that’s what makes being a writer so fulfilling.
    Hope your day is grand!

  6. Lynda
    June 29th, 2010 at 7:33 am · Link

    Not sure how my hubby would feel being the hero in one of my books. Hmmmm. Worth thinking about. 🙂
    Take your kid’s enthusiasm for your writing and run with it. Beats the heck outta them complaining that you’re spending too much time at the computer.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Mary Brock
    June 29th, 2010 at 9:05 am · Link

    Congratulations girl – I’m very excited for you! Your energy and creativity serve you well. 😆
    Love ya,
    Mary Brock

  8. Jacqui Nelson
    June 29th, 2010 at 9:12 am · Link

    Great blog, Linda, and I loved hearing more about your novel, Wild Flower! Can’t wait to read all of it one day soon.

    It took the longest time before I would even tell people I was a writer. Good for you for always adding it to your list of jobs! I think my biggest step in writing, though, was when I finally started telling people that I was a writer. I started being proud of what I was writing. I started taking chances with opening up to people about my stories. And the response has been wonderful. My co-workers are my number one fans now.


  9. Lynda
    June 29th, 2010 at 9:57 am · Link

    Hey Mary!
    Thanks for stopping in. Love ya back, my Scorpio Sista!

  10. Lynda
    June 29th, 2010 at 10:02 am · Link

    Once you get past the “oh-my-gosh-I’m-a-writer” syndrome, the rest is easy, right? Ya! If only wishing made it so. But then if writing was easy, we probably wouldn’t be doing it.
    Thanks for your kind words and for popping in!

  11. Lizbeth Selvig
    June 29th, 2010 at 10:18 am · Link

    Hi Lynda,
    This was an awesome post — a very near-and-dear subject to all unnpubbed writers. It certainly is to me. I’ve struggled for the same 20+ years as you with convincing myself, and my family and friends, that I’m a writer even though it contributes not one cent to the family pot. In fact, it’s a drain on the finances at this point! My aha moment came when I had the chance to move to Alaska and could quit my day job. When I realized how much work there really is to being a writer–I started to practice saying, “I’m a writer and proud of it.” The challenging part now is explaining very briefly to people that I’m in the toughest stage of the business: getting published. But, I’m getting better at it.

    I loved your line about moving in with Pat and after 27 years you haven’t left. As Kimberly said — that’s a plot handed to you on a plate!

    Good luck! Great post.

  12. G. Jillian Stone
    June 29th, 2010 at 10:39 am · Link

    Hi Lynda,

    Here’s to all the working writers who write rain or shine, through all the blocks and distractions and get those chapters, one after another, written. If we were at a pub, I would say “cheers.”

    Hope to have a chance to do that in Orlando!

    🙂 Jillian

  13. Lynda
    June 29th, 2010 at 12:11 pm · Link

    Thanks Lizbeth!
    We are writers and proud of it! Had another writer person (older male, writes mystery) say unless you’re getting paid, you’re an amateur. Hmmm. Don’t like the sound of that. At my age, I ain’t an amateur anything. Just a highly UNpaid professional. LOL
    Have a great day!

  14. Lynda
    June 29th, 2010 at 12:12 pm · Link

    Amen and pass the bottle, Jillian!

  15. Elisa Beatty
    June 29th, 2010 at 12:36 pm · Link

    Okay, Lynda, you had me tearing up all through this: the “never left” story of getting together with your husband, the decision to call yourself a “working writer,” the room full of sixth graders (and I’ve got one at home, so I know how tought they can be!) standing up to applaud your Golden Heart final!!! Very moving.

    And your book blurb sounds great–I LOVE the idea that he’d tempt with “everything but” to get her to stay. Whoo!

    You go, girl! See you in Orlando!

  16. Cat Schield
    June 29th, 2010 at 12:57 pm · Link

    Great post Lynda. I think admitting you’re a writer and not published is hard. Most people equate writing with being published. If you tell someone you climb, do they ask you if you’ve scaled Everest? Not usually. Some days, I feel as if the challenge is the same.

    My mother asked me last week what I had planned for the weekend. I told her writing. She said, “Didn’t you do that last weekend?”

    Can’t wait to meet you in Orlando.


  17. Lynda
    June 29th, 2010 at 1:37 pm · Link

    Thanks, Elisa!
    I teared up reading your comments–Okay, I’m a softie. 😉
    Until Orlando!

  18. Lynda
    June 29th, 2010 at 1:42 pm · Link

    Your mom will come around–eventually. Probably when you’re on the NYT Best Sellers List. 😉
    But hopefully it won’t take her that long to realize what an awesome job you have and how darn good you are at it.
    I can’t wait to meet you either!

  19. Angi Morgan
    June 29th, 2010 at 3:10 pm · Link

    “The entire room of sixth graders stood and applauded.”


    Congratulations on your moment. I’ve been fortunate that everyone close to me always thought of me as a writer. The most common response was, “when are those editors going to recognize good writing?” They finally did…it’s all about timing. Your time will come and you’ll be completely prepared for it.


  20. Sharon Lynn Fisher
    June 29th, 2010 at 3:24 pm · Link

    Those sixth graders have me all choked up!

    I have experienced the exact same reaction with telling people I write fiction, and for a long time I just kept it to myself. They jump to the conclusion that it means you’ve published, and when it turns out you haven’t it’s just awkward for everyone. I love how talking to this class turned it around for you, even BEFORE your Golden Heart success!

    Congratulations, Lynda, and I look forward to meeting you in Orlando!

  21. Gabrielle
    June 29th, 2010 at 3:37 pm · Link

    Linda, no, I *hadn’t* thought of it that way–even thought hat’s what I’m doing. Thank you for pointing that out to me. And thank you for sharing your experience–I teared up reading about your standing O. You gave those kids a great gift, and they returned it. How wonderful.

  22. Heather Snow
    June 29th, 2010 at 6:50 pm · Link

    Lovely post!

    The other day, I was interviewed by the Chemical and Engineering news for an article about a chemist turned romance writer and one of the questions was “Does anyone ever tell you that you’re wasting your degree?”

    Yet, I was at an alumni dinner the other night and I ran into two women I went to medical school with (I left after 3 years whilst they are now doctors). When they asked what I did for a living now, and I told them I was a writer, THAT is what garnered the most fascination. One admitted she has hopes of being a writer.

    So I’m proud to be a “working writer” and hope soon to be an “author” 🙂

  23. Lynda Bailey
    June 29th, 2010 at 6:54 pm · Link

    Thanks for stopping by! I’m fortunate, too, that my honey hubby supports my writing habit. Thanks goodness otherwise there’d be trouble right here in River City! 😆
    Enjoy your evening!

  24. Lynda Bailey
    June 29th, 2010 at 6:59 pm · Link

    Ya, we be GH sistas – and one bro! This wonderful, supportive group of people, along with other awesome writers like Elisabeth Naughton, have made the experience a thousand times more memorable. (Okay, I’m choking up again. :oops:)
    Until Orlando!

  25. Lynda Bailey
    June 29th, 2010 at 7:03 pm · Link

    Hi Gabrielle~
    Thanks for popping by. Glad you like my post. Every once in a while, I’ll remember that standing O and smile. (People give you very funny looks when you smile for no reason standing by yourself in line at the DMV.) 😆
    Can’t wait to meet you in Orlando!

  26. Lynda Bailey
    June 29th, 2010 at 7:13 pm · Link

    Ohh, Heather~
    Love your stories! When you’re on the NYT Best Seller list, who would have wasted what?
    As Commander Peter Quincy Taggart said, “Never give up! Never surrender!”
    Be proud, girlfriend. Be very proud.
    Until Orlando!

  27. Abigail Sharpe
    June 29th, 2010 at 10:23 pm · Link

    Hi, Lynda!

    It took me a long time to say, “I’m a writer” to those who I just meet. And usually I follow it with, “no, I’m not published. Yet.” 🙂 I had to introduce myself at a committee meeting about two weeks ago and blatently said, “…and I write romance novels.” That generated more interest that saying I wrote technical manuals!

  28. Clarissa Southwick
    June 30th, 2010 at 4:26 am · Link

    What a great blog post. I have had the same experience with not wanting to tell people I write. Since finaling in the Golden Heart, I have found it’s getting easier to let the word ‘writer’ slip past my lips.

  29. Lynda Bailey
    June 30th, 2010 at 7:41 am · Link

    Thanks for stopping by. I, too, find it either great or awful when telling people I’m a writer. Either they’re wildly supportive or they look at you like horns just sprouted on your head. LOL!
    Enjoy your Wednesday!

  30. Lynda Bailey
    June 30th, 2010 at 7:46 am · Link

    Good Wednesday morning, Clarissa~
    Glad you liked the post and thanks for stopping in. Sometimes saying you’re a writer feels like a twelve-step program: Admitting you’ve got a passion is the first step toward recognition. 😉
    Have a grand day!

  31. Erica O'Rourke
    June 30th, 2010 at 10:51 pm · Link

    I didn’t consider myself a real writer — as you say, a WORKING writer — until I started taking my craft seriously, joining RWA and a critique group, working on the decidedly unfun parts such as a synopsis and a query. There’s always that awkward moment in conversation where people ask what I’ve published, and the sound of crickets fills the room, but the more time I spend around other authors, the more comfortable I am with saying, “Nothing. yet. But I’m working on it.”

  32. Lynda Bailey
    July 1st, 2010 at 6:37 am · Link

    And you (And me!) need to KEEP working on it, Erica!
    Thanks for stopping by and posting a comment.
    Hope your day is grand!

  33. Jane Sevier
    July 6th, 2010 at 2:23 pm · Link

    Oh, I love stories of resurrected manuscripts! Gives me hope for my first one, which I still dearly love and will go back to one day. I’m glad you blew the dust off Wild Flower.

    Because I’ve made my living as a writer and editor my whole career, I can’t say that I had an AHA! moment. What I did have was the moment that said to me, “You need to stop messing around and write what you want to write instead of what everybody else wants written. You know you’ll never be happy until you do.” So I did. And telling my own stories is still when I’m happiest, when whatever troubles I think I have drop away and it’s just me and these people taking life from my keyboard.

    Now I include working novelist in my bio. Here’s hoping that we both can add “working published novelist” soon.

  34. Lynda Bailey
    July 6th, 2010 at 2:44 pm · Link

    Hey Jane~
    Thanks so much for popping in.
    Here’s to becoming a published, working writer!
    Until Orlando – or in our case, Austin!

Comments are closed.