Nancy: An Oldie But (Hopefully) a Goodie

Because my day job is in a high-stress, deadline-driven field, I have a tendency to have weeks at a time when I don’t have time to write, or sleep (much), or blog. The past several weeks have been just this kind of time, and adding to that, we had Puppy (real name Pepper) to foster for 10 days.

Puppy, aka Pepper, channeling beagle patron saint Snoopy.

Puppy, aka Pepper, channeling beagle patron saint Snoopy.

Here is a picture of Puppy and me saying goodbye the day she was going back to her owners. (The smile was for the camera; we were ridiculously weepy to say our final farewell to her). But there’s still another week of crazy before I can get back to some semblance of a normal writer’s life (ha!), so today I’m going to cheat a bit by sharing one of my favorite blast-from-the-past posts, written in 2013 before the 8 Ladies told anyone outside their immediate families and closest writer friends that we were embarking on this blogging adventure together. It combines two of my favorite topics: writing and the Beatles! What’s not to love? So until next week, I’m going to carry that weight down the long and winding road while I leave you with some food for thought, Fab Four style.

And in the End…

Most people who know me in the non-internet world, and a few who know me via the internet as well, know I am a HUGE Beatles fan. I am not of the Beatles’ generation or the time period of their music, but I love their work, their persona, and their lore with the intensity of a thousand suns. So imagine my pure joy when, last week, I came across a local radio station playing the original Beatles collection (albums released while they were still together as a group) on vinyl. And in listening to the beginning and end of this day-long broadcast (with the inconsiderate interruption of the day job in between), I got to thinking about story beginnings and endings.

Hearing the Beatles’ earliest recorded album, Please Please Me, as I drove to work, and then hearing their last recorded album, Abbey Road, after I arrived home that night, made me realize how much that last album took the band back to its roots. Continue reading

Nancy: July Recap

july 2015 calendarIn many ways, you already know the big story in my July progress report: bright lights, big city. Much of the month was consumed by preparation for, attendance of, and decompression from converging on RWA Nationals in NYC with the other eight ladies. But wait, there’s more! And it has to do with story progress, which is always exciting, so let’s get started!

New Story. My five-book Victorian Romance series has now grown to 7 (planned) books. While there was always going to be a sixth, a wrap-up novella where one of the characters driving the others to their HEAs gets her own love story, there wasn’t going to be a launch novella. That changed at RWA when one of my business-savvy self-publishing friends recommended I write a 20k novella to launch the series.

My first reaction was, ‘yeah, right, good one’. Continue reading

Nancy: May Recap – Books of My Heart

All_you_need_is_love_(The_Beatles_Story)

It’s that time again! Time for my monthly (if belated) keepin’-it-real post about my writing progress. This time, we turn our attention to May, in which the writer does lots of career/publishing research-type things. I also had some important story/series breakthroughs and made solid progress on the writing front.

Marketing My Girls. Back in April, as I recalibrated my writing schedule and started pulling myself out of the writing doldrums to which I’d fallen prey during the first bleak months of 2015, I also knew it was time to start marketing My Girls. In April, I researched agents and ranked them based on those I thought would be the best fit for me and for my work. In May, I took the next step, submitting queries and partial manuscripts to the first several agents on my list. Nothing to report yet, positive or negative, but if I start to get rejections, I’ll move onto the next set of agents/agencies on my list. And I’ll have to do it, since it’s all on my marketing spreadsheet, and we all know the spreadsheet rules! Continue reading

Nancy: Writing What You Know…Or What You Don’t

The Bellagio water show in Vegas made its way into my heart and the My Girls story.

The Bellagio water show in Vegas made its way into my heart and the My Girls story.

If writers stuck to that very limited advice to write what we (already) know, most of us would run out of stories very quickly. Luckily, most of us spend more time writing what we could learn or, even better, writing what we would like to learn. For example, Michaeline spent much of January researching fun and fabulous stuff about the end of the 19th century. My of most recent projects – the series of Victorian-era romances – have me going back even further than that.

If one didn’t know better and thought I was only writing what I already know, one would possibly have to conclude that I have a gambling problem, because 21st century or 19th century, I seem to have a fascination with heroines who are card sharks. Continue reading

Nancy: My Story in Pictures

Collage

If you’ve visited Jenny Crusie’s ArghInk recently, you’ve seen the most recent collage she’s been creating for a new writing project. If you haven’t seen it, you really should go take a look. It involves carpentry, painting, pictures. It’s a 3-dimensional peek into the story world she and collaborators are creating.

Collage was one of the story discovery tools we discussed during our McDaniel coursework. This is a picture of the collage I did for My Girls during our discovery module. Note that it’s in 2-D. It isn’t fabulous or beautiful or awe-inspiring. It involves simple cut-out pictures and phrases arranged in groupings. But that collage hangs in my office to this day, and even though I’ve revised the story and not the collage, it provides a touchstone when I need to recapture a particular mood or element of the story. Continue reading