Game of Love

Peter Leavell

Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing’s Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. For entertainment, he reads historical books, where he finds ideas for new novels. For relaxation, he writes westerns. Whenever he has a chance, he takes his wife and two homeschooled children on crazy but fun research trips. Learn more about Peter’s books, research, and family adventures at

If God has told you to write, and writing wants you, then
you have no choice. You must write.
Coaxing someone to pay money for your work—to
become a published author—is brutal. An impossible dream. Your writing must be
quality. But it’s worth it. How do snatch the public’s disposable income with your story?
The game of publishing is like the game of romance. You
have to learn the language.
My goal was to marry this girl. But first things first. I
had to ask her on a date.
I marched across the college cafeteria straight for her. She
was so cute, it made me sweat. As I approached, her cheeks reddened and she
Oh please, let this work. “Are you going skating tonight?”
Her brow rose as her large eyes enveloped my world. “I
wasn’t planning on it. But…” She let the word drift between us.
I clutched my stomach and stumbled away. How could she reject my date proposal, despite the obvious attraction? At the exit, I spun and saw a look of
hurt and confusion in her eyes. Why would she feel pain? I was the one she turned
I grew up with two brothers and no sisters. To say I didn’t
understand the dance between men and women is, well, an understatement. I didn’t get the language. 
This girl was too cute to let go. I learned a little more
about what I did wrong. Form the words differently. Will you go skating with me? She was my
audience. I wanted her to buy me, aka
spend her life with me. After a year of talking with her, I learned her
Writing is similar. You can’t use feminine grunts and
strength or masculine looks and wiles to publish a book. It takes practice to learn the art. Yes, there are
hurt feelings and bitterness along the way. Yes, you cry and shout. At times, moments are
sweet and precious. But don’t forget the end goal—a well-written book someone is
willing to pay money to read.
At the end of the year, the cute girl was cornered in the botanical
gardens in Des Moines, Iowa. I dropped to a knee and opened a box. Inside was a
Precious Memories figurine, an Eskimo giving his girl a block of ice. I Only Have Ice For You. Attached to the
block was an engagement ring. And I knew the words my audience would respond
to. Will you marry me?
She said yes.

The amount of work to become a great writer can be
discouraging. The dance between readers and authors is difficult to understand.
You must learn the language. Study the craft of writing, though, because
becoming a published author—much like getting married—is the thrill of a
April 2015
Philip Anderson keeps his past close to the vest. Haunted by the murder of his parents as they traveled West in their covered wagon, his many unanswered questions about that night still torment him. 
His only desire is to live quietly on his homestead and raise horses. He meets Anna, a beautiful young woman with secrets of her own. Falling in love was not part of his plan. Can Philip tell her how he feels before it’s too late?
With Anna a pawn in the corrupt schemes brewing in the nearby Dakota town, Philip is forced to become a reluctant gunslinger. Will Philip’s uncannily trained horses and unsurpassed sharpshooting skills help him free Anna and find out what really happened to his family out there in the wilderness? April 2015