Nancy: The Big Reveal: Name Change

Hundreds of years ago, Shakespeare’s Romeo told Juliet, “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Well, roses and amorous suitors aside, turns out there is something to a name, especially when it comes to a writing career. Some weeks ago, I went on a quest determine the best name(s) forward for my planned multi-genre writing career.

For as long as those of you reading the blog have known me, I’ve been Nancy Hunter because that’s the name I chose a decade ago (!!!) when I had a book come out with a publisher. At the time, I worked in a very intense and Very Serious career, and needed to keep some daylight between it and my writing life. This was not a deep cover pen name, as co-workers with appropriate googling skills would occasionally uncover my ‘secret identity’. And HR departments always knew it, because I had to claim my intellectual property (IP) at the outset, lest the corporations employing me try to claim writing created on my own time as theirs. (Gotta love corporate America: for the price of your salary, they claim the right to monetize everything you say, do, think, and feel every minute of every day, please and thank you.)

Lo these many years later, I’ve left that corporate world. I swear! Girl Scout’s honor (yes, I was actually a Girl Scout, so you can trust me). And in addition to the freedom to make my own schedule and write whenever and where ever and whatever I see fit, I also now have the freedom to use my very own legal name. If I so choose… Continue reading

Nancy: Links, Learning, and Laughs

Surfer's View

While Jilly’s been building her TBR list for her staycation later this summer, I’ve been out surfing. Sadly (or on second thought, happily), this hasn’t involved a longboard or bitchin’ waves. I’ve been surfing the web from the safety of my own home, and I’ve run across some great writing- and story-related inspiration. Here are links to a few of the sites I’ve enjoyed the most this past week. If you’ve run across a must-see website for hopeless procrastinators writers, please share in the comments!

A different kind of writing book. First up is a link to a book. I’ve known about and been anticipating this release for months. No, it’s not a sweeping romance, a cozy mystery, or a great women’s fiction read. Continue reading

Nancy: Series Q&A With Mindy Klasky

Over the last several weeks, we’ve talked about reading and deconstructing series. We’ve looked at several examples, including Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache, Julia Quinn’s Bridgertons, and Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad. This week, I talked to Mindy Klasky about the trials and triumphs of writing multiple series of her own. Her books range from light paranormal romance to traditional fantasy to category romance. To check out Mindy’s books for yourself, be sure to visit her website!

Jane4

NH: You’ve written multiple series, including the Glasswrights, Jane Madison (witch), As You Wish (genie), and Diamond Brides books. Did all of these ideas start as series? Were any intended as stand-alone books, and if so, why did they then become series?

MK: The Glasswrights Series began as a stand-alone fantasy novel, The Glasswrights’ Apprentice. I wrote it, shopped it around to an agent, then started working on another book in a completely different fantasy world (so I wouldn’t have two dead books if the first one failed to sell to a publisher.) When the editor called to make my agent an offer, she said they wanted a sequel, and he told them I had two. (That was a lie; we’d never discussed sequels!) Continue reading

Nancy: January Recap

One January 2015 project that did get completed: our patio.

One January 2015 project that did get completed: our patio.

This side patio connects to the back patio shown in the top picture.

This side patio connects to the back patio shown in the top picture.

As hard as it is to believe, the month of January has already passed! That means roughly one-twelfth of my word count/annual writing goals should be behind me. Now it’s time to address step 3 of my 3-step writing plan, which is to assess my writing progress against my goals at the end of each month. I’d like to say I’m starting off the year with a great big ‘Success!’ banner hanging in my office, but the truth is, the January results are mixed.

First, the good news. I did ‘touch the story’ every single day. If I wasn’t adding (or in many cases, subtracting) words, I was working through plot issues or building playlists or engaging in discovery for not only book 1 of my planned historical romance series, but for the other books and series as a whole, as well. And it really has helped. I’m spotting plot holes and fatal flaws much earlier in this draft than in other first draft I’ve done.

Keeping a running scene inventory of what I’ve written and what I still have left to write has allowed me to move, add, and delete scenes as needed to fix those problems. And boy, howdy, has this book (already!) had its problems. From a heroine who had a goal then promptly forgot after about page 5, to a h/h who lacked sexual chemistry Continue reading

Nancy: Back to the Drawing Board (Novella Edition)

Woman With a Plan

I spent much of this past week planning. Planning my annual writing calendar. Planning time for writing, revising, and editing the many different stories I hope to write this year. Planning the historical romance novella series that is part of that annual writing plan. And that’s where I’ve hit a snag. In fact, I’ve hit a few snags and have had to go back to the drawing board.

 

Problem 1. Novella 1 (book 1 of the series) is too damn long. This issue isn’t too surprising to me, as this poor manuscript has had so many different identities, it just has no idea what it is or is supposed to be. It was a novella before it was a novel before it was a novella again before it was the first book of a series. Continue reading

Nancy: Linkety-Links to Discounted Books (and Related Swag!)

All I Want for Christmas Part 2

Last week, I told you about my Christmas wish list, which consisted of – oddly enough – books. And then Justine posted this awesome writers’ wish list, so Santa has his work cut out for him this year! This week, for those of you who celebrate a gift-giving holiday and still need to build/add to you own wish list or determine what to buy for a special reader in you life, as well as anyone who just wants to give themselves the gift of more books to read, I have links! Follow the breadcrumbs to these online sites to  find low-cost, discounted, and sometimes even free! books (and at the end of the post, some fun book- and writing-related treats).

Amazon book deals link

Yes, I know, Amazon needs no help selling books or Any of the Things, at this or any other time of the year. But just in case you’ve been so busy you’ve missed it, I didn’t want you to miss out on their 12 Days of Deals, book-style. We’re already on day 5 (egads!), but there are still plenty of days left to snag some great low-cost books in any and all formats.

eBooks only links

This can be a great time of year to try new books and authors for a nominal or even no cost. Continue reading

Mindy Klasky, Guest Blogger: Rapid Release Publishing or One Writer’s Tale of Madness

Hello all! Today it is my pleasure to introduce my good friend, fellow author, and all-around font of writing and publishing knowledge, Mindy Klasky. Please give Mindy a warm 8LW welcome, and in the comments, feel free to ask questions about romance and fantasy writing, as well as traditional, hybrid, and self-publishing options. Mindy will be stopping back throughout the day to answer. – Nancy

Klasky - Perfect Pitch

My, how things change… Way back in the Dark Ages, in 1998, I signed my first publishing contract. PenguinPutnam bought a fantasy novel, its sequel, and a book to be named later. That “book to be named later” was actually the novel I wrote while my agent was shopping around the one that sold – another fantasy, in a totally different world, with totally different characters.

I’ll spare you the long, boring discussion, but my agent, editor, and I invested hours trying to solve the problem of when to bring out that “book to be named later.” Conventional wisdom said no one would buy two books by the same author in a year, so we either needed to save the book till the end of the first series or use a pen name. (Ultimately, we did neither; we brought out a second Mindy Klasky book in a year. It flopped.)

Today, new authors would laugh uproariously at such a decision.

Today, the mantra is publish, publish fast, publish early. Just publish.

That mantra is chanted a thousand times louder and faster when the author in question is self-publishing. Amazon, the largest distributor of self-published fiction, relies on a complicated series of algorithms to promote its books. Continue reading