A Long and Winding Road – A Guest Blog by Laura Drake

August 9, 2011

After fourteen years of trying, I signed with an agent last week! That’s a lot of years. Kitty has watched quite a few of them. She asked me to share my story.

Before I learned to ride my own, I rode pillion on my husband’s motorcycle. A lot. A hundred thousand miles' worth.  That’s a lot of hours, and it was before motorcycle intercoms were invented. It can get boring. I learned to prop a paperback on hubby’s back and read on the long straightaways.  But you can’t read all day and after awhile, my brain would empty of the day-to-day thoughts and cast about for something new to think about.

Due to the speed on a motorcycle, your memories come in snippets – you catch a snapshot and it’s gone: a small town celebrating the Fourth of July with a parade, the queen in silk on a hay wagon. A piebald pony, standing in knee deep grass in Utah, ominous thunderclouds in the background.  A herd of antelope in Wyoming, racing our motorcycle.

Then one day, riding into the small town of Kernville, California, a dog ran in front of our bike. After a butt clenching scare, he trotted back the way he came, and we rode on. But I started thinking. What if someone came along and hit the dog?  What if a girl riding a motorcycle came along . . .

The idea grew. It wouldn’t go away. I began writing ideas in a notebook in our tent at night.  When we got home, I sat at my computer, blank file open in front of me. I wrote a bit, but mostly I fidgeted.  I knew this wasn’t a short story – that might not have freaked me out. This was a novel.

But wait, who was I to write a novel?  I’ve been an avid reader all my life; I knew good writing.

I dithered for a few years, at an impasse. Half of my mind wouldn’t let go of the story, the other half wouldn’t let me write it. Then one day, an amazing thing happened. I realized I had a ‘delete’ key on my keyboard. I could write the novel, and no one would ever have to see it!

That was three novels ago. I won’t go into the rest of the story here. You’ve heard it from a hundred writers; the ups, the downs, the twists and turns in the road.

Since then, I’ve learned to ride my own motorcycle. I found that I love the windy roads best – you never know what you’ll find around the next bend. It could be a snippet of vision that makes your soul rise – it could be something that tightens your sphincter. I love every bit of it.

I’ve told my friends, if someday I encounter the end around one of those bends, don’t be sad.  I went smiling — doing what I love.

For the same reason, I’ll never quit writing. I can’t fail, because it isn’t about getting published; it’s about doing what I love.

Where are you on the winding road? Is publication your destination, or something else? Any mishaps or memories you’d like to share?


Laura Drake never got over her cowboy crush. She writes romance and women’s fiction revolving around the world of Professional Bull Riding. Her recent WF novel, The Sweet Spot, has won The Great Expectations, Fab 5, The Sheila, and has finaled in The Orange Rose Contest. You can follow her on http://WritersintheStorm.wordpress.com.



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  1. Wonderful words, Laura. Thanks for reminding me. I’ve been down after some rather negative contest feedback and this was the reinforcement I needed.

    Beautifully written post. I hope to be asking you for an autographed copy of your PUBLISHED novel at an OCC meeting soon.

    1. Oh Bren, thanks so much – your mouth to God’s ears!

      Just remember what Randy Pausch said – roadblocks are there to keep out those who don’t want it as badly as we do!

  2. the quote part didn’t work (I used the right tags, I swear!) Here’s the part I was quoting: “I can’t fail, because it isn’t about getting published; it’s about doing what I love.”

  3. I love to write but I’d also like to see my books in print. I won’t stop writing if I don’t find an agent, and since my first book is going to be out as an e-book, we’ll see what happens with the other two I’ve written. But the desire is there to hold a printed book in my hands that I’ve written. But I’m well aware that may not happen if I don’t decide to go alternative route.

    1. Congrats on your debut, Patricia! You know I’m going to download it!
      My agent tells me that most debuts nowadays are epub – then comes NY publishing. We’ll get there!

  4. Laura,

    So excited for your most-recent progress. And just think, you’ll have all those other manuscripts when you’re asked, “What else do you have?”

    1. Thanks so much, and so funny you should say that, Louisa . . . I gave my agent my two completed novels, and she asked what else I had. I panicked and told her about my first novel (the motorcycle book I talk about in this blog.) Problem is, I hadn’t looked at it in years…it needs major revisions! Yikes! More new stuff to learn!

  5. My aha moment was when I finally let myself join a writer’s organization (I didn’t have to be born with that silver pen in my hand) and found that so many of the women there were not only encouraging, but that so many were in my general age group. They were juggling families, careers AND writing. That it’s okay to come a little later to the table.

    So glad you are happy and doing what you love, Laura. Congratulations on the agent. 🙂

    1. Thanks Darcy. I look at the younger members of the group and wish I’d started so much earlier. Oh well, I guess we were off learning other lessons first, I guess!

  6. Hi Laura!

    Great blog.

    I’ve been writing for a long time too. I opted to self-publish my book.
    I think everyone’s process and journey is individual, and I applaud you for your accomplishment. Good job!

  7. Laura, this was a wonderful post. I never knew there were motorcycle intercoms. lol I, too, loved your comment about not failing because you’re doing what you love. I can’t wait to read your book.

    1. Nancy, I’m overwhelmed by all the support I’ve gotten from published authors like yourself along the way – if I’m lucky enough to be published, I’ve got big shoes to fill!

      By the way, once the intercoms came out, my husband said he wanted to get one – but one that gave him a mike, and me a reciever. What a guy….

  8. Congrats on your wonderful achievements and on landing an agent!! Love your “biker” pic! It’s amazing how our stories come to us, isn’t it? I would love to see someone reading a paperback on the back of a bike! Never thought it could be done!

  9. My office is adjacent to Laura’s. I’ve heard her gripes and moans after her bad rejection days, and also her ‘hoorahs’ every time she wins a contest or gets closer to her dream of getting published. I am so proud of Laura for not giving up. She inspires me every day that anything is possible, and that we as human beings are all capable of greatness. I mean have you even heard of a motorcycling, bicycling, sweater knitting, fly fishing, PBR mega fan, romance writer grandma? Laura grabs life by the horns. She is an inspiration to me, and to woman everywhere.

    P.S. No… Laura didn’t put me up to this. 🙂 I sound like her publicist ! 🙂

    1. You’re hired, Kalya! And you give me hope that there are some amazing young women coming up that we can trust to hand the reins off too. I’m so proud of you too.

  10. OMG, you guys, STOP!

    I’m cutting and pasting this all into a doc that I can read on days I’m down, and say,
    “Gee, at least I’ve fooled SOME people!” 🙂


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