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Monday, November 18, 2013

A Hardy Wecome to Western Romance Superstar, Bobbi Smith!

It’s my honor to welcome Author Bobbi Smith to Romance Books 4 Us! As an extra surprise, she is giving away a copy of her new book, A Cowboy for Christmas to a random winner commenting on her interview below today or tomorrow.

In the past 28-years, Bobbi Smith has written more than 50-books and 6-novellas, and the love affair has become a sizzling romance between the author and her fans. To date, there are over six million Bobbi Smith novels in print. Bobbi has achieved many career goals.

Bobbi has been awarded the prestigious “Storyteller of the Year” Award from Romantic Times Magazine (New York) and has attained positions on the New York Times Best Seller List, the USA Today Best Seller List, the Walden’s Best Seller List, B. Dalton’s List, and the Wal-Mart and K-Mart Best Seller Lists.

The foreign rights to Ms. Smith’s books have been sold to China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Russia and Sweden. Smith’s current  is publisher Leisure Books, a division of Dorchester, and Kensington is reissuing Bobbi's books from the 1980s.  Bobbi has written two faith-based contemporary novels - Haven and Miracles - using the pseudonym of Julie Marshall.

GIVEAWAY! Don't forget to comment below for a chance to win a copy of A Cowboy for Christmas! Be sure to include your email address.  Thanks, Bobbi for your generosity!

NOTE: For more information about Bobbi Smith, visit her author page at

Q: By now, most readers know a little bit about you.  Would you tell us a little bit about yourself that not many people know?  

A: I majored in Business at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, and got my degree in Business Administration.  I believe to this day that my business background helped make my writing career a success – that, and my wonderful imagination.  J

Q: Did you always want to be an author? 

A: Yes, I did. I grew up playing with my Roy Rogers ranch house, making up wild west stories all the time in my back yard. I actually started writing stories when I was about 10. I hid them from everybody because I didn’t want anyone to read them. (That all changes when you get published. J) My first real ‘published’ story was in college. I called it ‘Good Bye’, and it was the true life tale of me saying good bye to my boyfriend at the airport as he left for Vietnam.

Q: How did you get your first break in publishing? 

A: I was working part-time at West Port Booksellers in St. Louis back in the late 70s and early 80s. I finally got up the courage to tell the folks I was working with that I was trying to write. They encouraged me, and I finished up the manuscript on a manual typewriter J and made copies of it at a print shop that only printed one page at a time J. The gentleman who owned the bookstore, Sandy Jaffe, was a tremendous help to me. Sandy passed copies along to some of the sales reps from the publishers who called on him, and Kensington (Zebra) bought me back in 1982. I’ve been very blessed to have been published ever since.

Q: You sold your first book to Zebra in 1982, so you’ve been a professional writer for quite a while.  I’m sure readers would love to hear how the publishing world has changed over the years.  Tell us what you see as the biggest differences over the years. 

A: For me, the biggest change that’s happened in publishing is the coming of the digital age. Our bookstores are disappearing, and the thrill for me as a published author was to actually see my books on the shelves at the stores. All the new and used bookstores were huge supporters of the romance genre. The booksellers there would hand sell your books to their customers. I miss those stores so much. I used to do book tours with my good friends Constance O’Banyon, Elaine Barbieri, Evelyn Rogers and Janelle Taylor. It was great.  Now, though, everything seems centered on the internet and downloads. It’s sad to lose that personal contact with the booksellers and the readers. Especially after you’ve been all alone in your office writing for months on end.  J

Q: You write in more than one sub-genre of romance.  As a writer, what are the advantages and disadvantages of doing this?  What kind of books do you enjoy writing the most? 

A: I’ve done two contemporary faith based books, Haven and Miracles using my pseudonym Julie Marshall. I loved them dearly, but they didn’t sell as well as my historicals. My very first four books were all about the Mississippi River, St. Louis and steamboats. I love the river history, but my NY editor at the time told me that if I wanted to have a career in writing, I’d better stop writing about the Midwest. That’s when I turned to my next love – the wild west. J  After Roy Rogers, I fell in love with Bonanza and a ton of other TV westerns.  They were a great inspiration for me. I’ve also written for short story collections and have done time travel and contemporary in those.  One really exciting thing happened when Haven came out. A Hollywood agent wanted to see a treatment of it. I sent the treatment to the agent and heard later that Jim Caviezel really liked it. I have a dream that someday Haven or Miracles or one of my historicals will be made into a movie, but it hasn’t happened yet.  J  I keep praying on it.  J

Q: Tell us about you favorite character from you books. 

A: My favorite character will always be my very first hero from Rapture’s Rage, Marshall Westlake, a lawyer. Rapture’s Rage was one of my steamboat stories set in St. Louis before the Civil War.  Rapture’s Tempest, my fourth book, was the sequel that told the story of Jim Westlake, Marshall’s brother.  He was a steamboat captain.  (I love all my other heroes and heroines, too!  I wouldn’t have had this wonderful career without them!)

Q: What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your latest book? 

A: A Cowboy For Christmas was my latest novel.  I researched orphanages and orphan trains for that story, and it was so sad to learn what all those kids suffered through back in the old days. 

Q: Was there ever a time when you felt like your career might stall?  If so, tell us about it.  If not, to what do you attribute you continued good fortune? 

A: The smartest thing I ever did was get a Business Degree when I was in college. Working in the bookstore and having a retail background helped me to recognize that while writing truly is a deeply heartfelt, creative process, it also is a business. When my editor told me to write something different, I understood where she was coming from. Sales are important.

Q: What tips would you give to aspiring writers? 

A: Follow your dream!  Write the book of your heart.  It’s pure joy bringing those characters to life in your story.

Q: If you could sum up your writing career in one sentence, what would it be? 

A: My career has been AWESOME!  I have been very blessed to have had such a wonderful writing experience.

And, in closing, the romance genre is so fantastic because our readers know that each story ends happily ever after!  J

Thank you so much for dropping by and telling us more about you! For information about where to read more about Bobbi:

Find Bobbi on her website

Like her FacebookPage

 An Excerpt from A Cowboy for Christmas

In our prologue, young Dan Roland and his brother, Nick, have been abandoned by their father at an orphanage in St. Louis after their mother died.  The boys struggle to adjust to their new life, but when Nick is adopted and Dan is left behind, both boys are devastated.  Late one night, Dan sneaks out of the orphanage to try to find his brother.  In the meantime,   Nick runs away from his adopted family to return to live with Dan at the orphanage, only to discover his brother has disappeared.  Nick is returned to his new family.

Our story opens many years later. Dan has gone out west and taken a job as the foreman on a ranch.  Dan’s boss is a good man who has been separated from his daughter, Penny, for some time.  When the boss learns he doesn’t have long to live, he sends Dan back to St. Louis to get Penny and bring her home to him, wanting to see her before he dies.

The trip back to St. Louis is an emotional one for Dan, but he concentrates on finding Penny and convincing her to return to the ranch with him.

Excerpt from Chapter Three:

Dan couldn’t believe it was the day after Thanksgiving and he was back in St. Louis.  He was glad he’d brought his heavy coat along as he stood outside the train station in the cold weather.  Looking around, he couldn’t help but notice how much the city had changed in the years he’d been away.  The station was a busy place, and the streets were crowded with warmly dressed folks coming and going.  He was impressed.  St. Louis was called ‘the gateway to the west’ and he knew it was true.  He’d certainly headed west when he’d left.

Dan hired a carriage and told the driver the address for the orphanage.  He wanted to see it before he checked in at the hotel. The driver gave him a puzzled look as he helped him with his bags.  “You sure you want to go there?”

“I’m sure,”  Dan answered.

“All right,”  the driver agreed as they started off,  “but there ain’t much left there to see.”

“Why?  What happened?”   

“The orphans’ home burned down some years back and nobody ever bothered to rebuild it.”

“What about the children?”

“There are other homes in the city.  They took them in.”  He asked,  “Why do you care?”

“I lived at the orphanage for a while --“


The driver fell silent, knowing by the man’s tone that he didn’t want to talk about it any more.  He drove on to the address and then he stopped the carriage to give him a chance to look around.  

Dan recognized the neighborhood and found himself just staring at the lot where the building had been.  He didn’t bother to get down and walk around.  He knew the driver had been right.  There wasn’t anything left of the orphanage.  There was only an empty lot.  

Empty --  

Dan realized that certainly fit, for that was what his life had been after he’d lost his brother.

“All right, take me on to the Planter’s House Hotel,”  Dan directed, putting the past behind him, he believed, once and for all.  

He’d wasted enough time on memories.  

Now, it was time to take care of Jack’s business.

It was late in the afternoon when Dan finally settled into his hotel room.  He was tired, but he would worry about getting some rest later.  What mattered now was finding Jack’s daughter and convincing her to return to Texas with him.  He’d checked the railroad departure times before he’d left the station and knew that one was scheduled to leave the following afternoon.  If things worked out as he hoped they would, he could have Penny on that train and be heading back to the ranch the very next day.  He had to get Penny back to Texas and her father as quickly as he could for time meant everything right now.  

Dan ordered a bath brought up to his room.  When the bath was delivered, he quickly got cleaned up, shaved and donned his last set of clean clothes he’d saved for this moment.  That done, he was ready to go to Jack’s sister-in-law’s house and deliver the letter to Penny.  Dan put on his coat and his Stetson and glanced down at his gun belt where he’d left it laying on the bed.  He thought seriously about strapping it on, but finally decided against it.  Unarmed, he left the room to get directions from the clerk at the front desk.     

“You’ll need a driver to take you,”  the clerk advised, after telling him how to get to the address he’d given him.  “There should be a conveyance waiting outside the hotel.”


It was after dark when Dan went outside and found that there was a small carriage available.  He hired the driver to take him to Matilda Hathaway’s house. Dan was impressed by the Hathaway home as the carriage drew to a stop out in front.  A three-story brick mansion with a wide front porch, it spoke of wealth and luxury, and he grimaced inwardly at the thought of trying to convince Jack’s daughter to give all this up and return to the ranch.  He had no doubt after all her years of living this way that she was a spoiled, arrogant city girl now, who probably didn’t care at all about her father or the ranch.

“Wait for me,”  Dan told the driver.  He hoped Penny was home and would be willing to meet with him, but there was no way to know for sure.

“Yes, sir,”  the driver answered.

Dan got down from the carriage and made his way through the wrought-iron gate and up the walkway to the porch.  He knocked on the door and stood back as he waited for someone to answer it.  He wasn’t surprised to find they had a maid when she opened the door.

“Yes?  Can I help you?”  Sadie asked, more than a little surprised and intimidated to find a tall, broad-shouldered man who looked to be a cowboy standing there before her.

“My name’s Dan Roland.  I work for Jack Anderson, and I’m here to see Penny Anderson,”  he answered.

“I’m sorry, Miss Anderson isn’t at home right now.  You’ll have to come back tomorrow.”  She started to close the door on the stranger and was shocked when he blocked the door and stepped inside, into the front hall.  He was such a powerful figure of a man that she took several steps back away from him, feeling threatened.  “Sir --  Really ---  You mustn’t force your way in --“

“I’m not forcing my way in.  I just need you to answer a question for me,” Dan said.

She wasn’t quite sure what to think of him, but he had said he worked for Penny’s father, so that explained the edge of danger about him.  She had heard all the tales from Penny’s mother when she’d first returned to live with Miss Matilda, about what life was really like out west, and she’d fully understood why she’d wanted to return to live in the city.  “What is it you want to know?”  she asked.

“If Miss Anderson isn’t here, where is she?  It’s important I speak with her tonight.  I have a message for her from her father, and I need to deliver it to her as soon as possible,”  he explained quickly.  He didn’t want the woman to feel threatened by his presence, but he wasn’t going to sit around and wait until the following day to let Penny know what was going on.   

“If you’d like to tell me what it is, I can give her the message when she comes home, but it will be much later tonight.”

“No, I need to speak with her myself in person.”  He fully intended to seek her out himself wherever she was.

“Oh --“  Sadie had heard the talk over the years about Miss Penny’s father, and for this young man to have taken the time to make the trip all the way there to St. Louis, she knew whatever he had to tell her was important.  It would probably be midnight before Miss Matilda and Penny returned and if his message was that urgent, she realized she had to tell him where they had gone.  He was a stranger, but they would be safe with their friends at the Chase home when he sought them out there.  “All right, Mr. --“

“Roland.  Dan Roland,”  he told her his name again.

“Mr. Roland, Penny and her aunt are attending a private ball at the Chase home on Lucas Place.”  Sadie gave him the address.  “You’ll find them there.”

“I thank you for your help, ma’am,”  Dan said as he turned and started back down the walk.

Sadie watched him go, wondering what the message was.  She certainly hoped it was good news and not bad, but she had her doubts, as serious as the young man had been. Sadie wondered, too, what the fashionable Chase family was going to think when a cowboy showed up at their front door.  Tonight was the night of their annual fabulous Thanksgiving Ball that was just for the elite of St. Louis society.  Dan Roland would certainly draw some interest and give the older ladies something to talk about at that evening.  She was sure of that.

Dan climbed back in the carriage and gave the driver the new address, then sat back to wait out the ride.  He was even more tense now as they made their way through the city streets toward the Chase home.  It had been one thing to seek her out at her aunt’s house and speak with her privately there.  It was going to be even more difficult interrupting a social event to find her, but he had no choice.  

Jack slipped into his thoughts right then, and Dan hoped his friend’s health was holding up.  Even with the best of luck, it would probably be close to two more weeks before he could get Penny back home.

As the carriage stopped in front of the Chase mansion, it was obvious there was definitely a large party going on.  The mansion was brightly lit up, and music could be heard coming from inside.



Cara Marsi said...

Thank you for a wonderful interview, Bobbi. I love the story of how you printed your very first book. The new one sounds like another winner. Best of luck.

Paris said...

Great interview, ladies! I always love finding out about an author's journey to publication. Thanks for leaving the excerpt. I can't wait to find out what happens next!

Marianne Stephens said...

Keep praying for that movie deal!
Nice tale about how you started; typewriter, motivation, and some friends helping. What a wonderful, prolific and sometimes diverse career you've had.

Renee Vincent / Gracie Lee Rose said...

What a great interview, Bobbi. It's so nice to meet you. Thanks for dropping by RB4U blog and hanging out with us!!!

Polly McCrillis said...

Bobbi, I echo your dismay at the loss and lack of bookstores that carry new or used books. I own and operate Bookmarks, LLC, a cozy, 1200 sq. ft. secondhand bookshop in the original 1870 bank in Pierce City, Missouri. If you ever find yourself in the southwest Ozarks of Missouri, stop in, leave a book or two! I've had several of your books on my shelves in the four years I've been in business and have three in the shop now: The Lone Warrior, Forbidden Fire and Wanted! The Texan. You have fans down here!

Sandy said...

What a wonderful excerpt. I really have to know what happens next.

I loved Roy Rogers and all the other westerns when I was a kid.

jean hart stewart said...

If I could, I'd certainly wish the old bookstores back. Loved the very smell of them. Congratulations on your wonderful career.

Bobbye Terry said...


Thanks for the interview. I agree with the others. The old bookstores were so inviting and the people were so much easier to work with. These days, the only place I get that kind of service for booksignings is at our Christian store here, Mardel(a chain in the Midwest). Of course, that is only for my inspirational nonfiction. Sigh. If I could only receive that treatment for my fiction.

Thanks again for all your insight!


Rose Anderson said...

It's been fun to get to know you, Bobbi. Thanks for joining us today. Best luck!

Janice Seagraves said...

Good luck with your books.


Melissa Keir said...

Thank you for the information. I'm a huge Gunsmoke and Bonanza fan. We watch them every day!

I can only imagine how much the industry has changed. I've seen the used book stores close up since they aren't getting the books anymore. I loved connecting with the owners who always were such voracious readers too!

Best of luck! I love the blurb for your latest!
daringzoey at

Crystal Benedict said...

What a wonderful interview. I really enjoyed reading it.

mindaf @

Martha Lawson said...

I really enjoyed the interview! As you know, Bobbi, I've been a fan of yours for years and now my husband is also a big fan of yours! I can't wait to read this new book, it sounds really good. Have a great Thanksgiving.

mlawson17 at Hotmail dot com

Adele Downs said...

Great interview! I enjoyed hearing about your publishing journey and wish you all the best.
I love sexy cowboys!


Harlie Reader said...

Okay, I must read this book. You left me hanging. I need to know if the brothers are ever together again.

The interview was great, too. I miss bookstores. I lived at Waldenbooks at the mall when I was growing up. :)


Nicole Morgan said...

Hi Bobbi! I loved reading your publishing/author journey and experience. I've read a few western romances before, but I think I might just to add to my collection! THANKS for sharing with us today! :)

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the interview as well as the excerpt! What happened to the boyfriend who left for Vietnam?

Bobbi Smith said...

Hi Everybody, It's so great to hear from you. Thanks for all your kind comments.

Hi Martha!

Re my boyfriend, thank God he came back safely, but we didn't end up together. We still email each other occasionally, and I'm always glad to hear from him.

I hope you all enjoy Cowboy For Christmas.

Bonanza was so great! Which son did you like? We should take a poll! :)

Mary Preston said...

Great to learn more about you & your writing Bobbi.


terrndeb said...

Great interview! Continued good luck with your writing.

Kathy Otten said...

Rats, the excerpt ended too soon. I want more. :( I have lots of your books, Bobbi. Thanks for years of enjoyment. I do wish I had had a Roy Rogers house. I love Roy Rogers and have been watching the old shows on METV.

Suzanne Rock said...

Hi Bobbi! Great interview. I love reading about journeys to publication. The excerpt was fantastic, too. Thanks so much for stopping by and chatting. :)

Jill Hughey said...

Roy Rogers Ranch. I used to make up love stories for my barbie dolls. I never wanted there to be any conflict though, so the tales weren't very long! Thank you for visiting on RB4U!

Melissa Keir said...

As far as Bonanza... I loved Little Joe when I was younger but honestly I think I like Hoss best!

Gemma Juliana said...

It was so nice getting to know you a little, Bobbi. What an amazing career you've had so far, and you're still going strong. Wishing you success with your new book!

bobbi smith said...

It's been so great blogging with you. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed the excerpt from Cowboy for Christmas.

Bobbye Terry said...

Congratulations, Martha Lawson! You have won a copy of Bobbi's book. Thanks for all the comments, everyone!

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