Back in the fall of 2021 I received a call from Bear Woznick asking if I ever thought of writing a book. I told him, "I don't think I have enough grey in my mustache to write a book." He said, "I'm putting you in touch with my publisher, Sophia." It caused me to think, "What would I write a book about?" So I just shot from the hip and said, "The Catholic Cowboy Way."
Not long after that I received an email from Charlie McKinney, the president of Sophia Institute Press stating that if I felt called to write a book to let him know. So I shot him my basic theme, which he was interested in. That night I woke up with the entire outline. I reached over and grabbed my phone and wrote it down. I never veered from it.
So with my trusty 2013 MacBook Pro, I set out. I do like to write, but I have never tackled a project of this magnitude. I figured if I wanted to write about a 150 page book in 12 chapters I'd have to be about 3,000 words a chapter. 90% of this book was written in front of the Blessed Sacrament. My prayer before writing was always: "Lord help me to write from my heart, to touch men's hearts, to draw them closer to Your Heart."
I learned so much from this journey. First, you have to be careful not to exhaust a topic too soon; detail is necessary if you want to get to 3,000 words. Also, what a gift digital technology is. I could only imagine how hard it would be to do this by hand, making corrections as you went. I was able to go back and fine tune sentences and change words with no effort. Third, putting your thoughts into concrete sentences is a good exercise. Even if this book never got published it would have been a great gift.
It took about 9 months of 20 to 30 minutes a day, four or five days a week to write. I just went to bed a half hour early and got up a half hour sooner. I'd write about three paragraphs and then chew on it the rest of the day. Once the manuscript was complete, I had my buddy William do some general proof reading. Then we sent it to the publisher.
Editing was the greatest chore. I told Sophia, "I wrote a book for guys that don't read books.” They were good to work with. It was interesting to get pushed on theological points. There was a temptation to back down and just delete the point. But I found myself cowboying up and making the point even stronger. The only other rub we had is with my cowboy lingo. In the end, we were able to come up with a fine product.
Chief and I received our first shipment of books in late January 2023. It was fun to read through. We chose the subtitle: "Finding Peace and Purpose on the Bronc called Life." During a recent radio interview I was asked what the philosophy of the Catholic Cowboy was? To which I responded, "To have fun and get the job done." The Catholic Cowboy Way is to help cowboys practice the Catholic Faith and to help Catholics discover their inner cowboy.
Probably my favorite part is the dedication.
February 21st was the official release date. So in good Catholic Cowboy fashion we threw a party. After the 9:00 morning Mass we had a little book signing reception. A good 80 people or so showed up to show their support.
The ladies of the Church provided some delicious cookies and coffee.
Then we got busy signing. We sold probably 150 books today. And I received a compliment from two people that I have never heard before: "You have beautiful penmanship."
I may have had funner projects in my life, but I couldn't tell you what they were. I like to write. And when it's about my two favorite things in life, God and ranching, all the better. But what I figured out is that I love meaning. And words contain meaning. My hope for this book is that it inspires people to boldly follow Christ. Jesus shows us how to be joyful. He shows us how to live life and complete our mission. And ultimately, He leads us home to Heaven. All for the greater glory of God!
If you'd like to order the book go to:
Just ordered mine. Looking forward to receiving my new Lenten read.ReplyDelete
My goodness FB, you are such a inspiration and a very insightful leaderReplyDelete
Congratulations Ft. BryceReplyDelete
I attended your Book Signing Party and went home and immediately started to read it, had it finished by the next morning. Looking forward to re-reading it and any others you may write in the future.
Fr. Bryce !!! Amazing! What a fabulous surprise to receive the gift of your book in the mail! I’m sure blessed by the creativity and responsibility “(the 2 pillars)”…that are present in your book! We have missed you around Helena …… sooooo it’s great to hear your heart speaking to and about the heart of Christ and what it means to be a Catholic Cowboy in every walk of life! Your old friend. RoxieReplyDelete