Nikki's Musings · Writing Progress

Busy, busy, busy

Hello friends. It’s official. A little over a week ago I defended my master’s thesis and passed! I will be collecting my diploma on May 15th and I couldn’t be happier. It’s been a lot of hard work but it was worth it. I was so fortunate to have a kick-ass thesis committee who allowed me to embrace my love of all things romance.

But now it’s time to move forward with publication of Ghost of a Chance. I was excited to receive a notice from an agent a few weeks ago who wanted to see more pages. I dutifully sent on the manuscript but in the end it wasn’t in her wheelhouse. While I’ll continue to query agents, I’m not going to wait around anymore. By June/July 2021 I will start the process of self-publishing through all of the major retail digital storefronts. There will be quite a few hoops to jump through as far as registering my business license, marketing plans, hiring an illustrator for my book cover, and setting up the all important newsletter mailing list.

In order to send out emails through Mailchimp I will need your permission. A link is below if you want to be on my mailing list–and I KNOW you want to be on my mailing list, right? Of course you do! After all, where else will you find out when and where you can purchase your very own copy of Ghost of Chance? Do a gal a favorite and sign up.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP!

In addition to completing my master’s degree and getting ready to launch my debut novel, I’ve also been working on two exciting new story ideas. One of the novels, “Grace Under Pressure,” takes place in and around New York City and the Catskills, and centers on my first passion–theatre! The other novel with the working title, “Luck of the Irish,” takes place in Ireland and it involves a lighthouse, a psychic, a handsome movie star, and magic. Romantic? Of course! As you may be aware from past posts, I love all things Ireland. Fell in love with it when my husband and I visited in 2017. So be on the lookout for lots of activity from yours truly. In the meantime I’ll leave you with this photo. One of my favorite places in Ireland. Doesn’t it just signify everything romantic and mysterious?

Nikki's Musings · Writing Progress

To-Do List Win!

Can you hear the angels singing? Maybe you can hear my gleeful chuckle from wherever you are in the world? The reason for all this joy? I have finally finished the synopsis for Ghost of a Chance! It has been hanging over my head for the last four months. Yes, I’m a procrastinator but it is finally done.

In the world of writing, I’m considered a “pantser.” Which means someone who gets a thread of an idea for a story and just starts writing. The characters take it from there and I follow them willingly (most of the time). Now I know there are some writers who don’t even start the first chapter without a full outline or synopsis. To you I say, bravo! But my way of writing works for me so if I have to suffer through the synopsis phase, so be it.

The analogy I use regarding this process is of a kid trying to get two pounds of candy in a one pound bag. Seriously! I am so wedded to what I’ve written, every little scene that I think (based on the definition above), is important information. Imagine taking a 75,700 word novel and condensing it down to around 1,900. It’s not easy, trust me. And forget about any “creative writing” in the process. Its all just the facts, ma’am. But it also has to engage whoever is reading it to want more. Is it a wonder that a lot of famous writers drink?!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m having a blast with the whole process. I just wanted to share with you my joy at finishing this dreaded task. Now, it might be time for a drink!

Cheers!

Writing Progress

Here We Go

It’s happening! The final edit of Ghost of a Chance is complete and I’ve started sending out query letters to agents. Frankly, it’s a weird mix of excitement and dread. Waiting impatiently with a glimmer of hope for a request for more material, but fully expecting the dreaded “ding” letter. Being a writer (or a singer, or actor, or artist) is not for the faint of heart. I’ve received my first two thanks but no thanks emails. I allowed myself just a minute of “Oh my God! I suck as a writer, I’ll never sell this!” but then realized not everyone is going to be interested, and my worth isn’t tied to one agent’s opinion. In reality, it’s just like auditioning for a role in a play. You go in, give it your best, and that’s it. You learn, you grow, and you don’t quit!

One of the things I’m learning is that agents want to make sure you have an audience. It’s a big part of being a writer in a social media world. Not only are you trying to write something that appeals to readers, but you also have to be a marketing and PR person as well. It’s all about followers and how active you are on social media. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle, but I’m slowly chipping away at gaining an audience. So, here is my shameless plug–tell your friends, family, and co-workers to follow my blog, my Instagram, and my Twitter!

I love the story I’ve created in Ghost of a Chance and I believe readers will too. It’s a blend of sweet and spicy, contemporary romance with just a hint of the paranormal. It’s about possibilities, both in love and the paranormal. As we get closer to Halloween (my favorite holiday), I often think about the “thinning veil” between our world and the next. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a believer in the paranormal and I’ve had a few unexplainable experiences in my life. So writing Ghost of a Chance was the perfect opportunity to blend two of my favorite things–romance and ghosts! And hey, who couldn’t use a Victorian ghost as a matchmaker?

I hope you all enjoy the change of seasons, wherever you are. I’ll keep you posted on the continuing saga of getting published!

Nikki's Musings · Writing Progress

Down Time

I’m sitting on my back porch, enjoying the sounds of birds chirping and bees buzzing. Yesterday brought major thunderstorms to the area but they did little to wash away the humidity. That’s okay, though. Because today I have a day off and I plan on enjoying it–regardless of the sticky air!

I don’t know about you, but most of the time I find myself at a loss when faced with down time. There is always a niggling sense of guilt that I should be doing something. But not today. Today I’m embracing the indulgence of down time.

“What brought about this change of attitude?” you may ask. Well, I’ll tell you. A few weeks ago I put out a call for beta readers and folks stepped up to volunteer. Their responses to Ghost of a Chance were not only incredibly helpful, but they were off-the-charts positive as well. It is never easy putting your writing out there for the world to see. While you’re waiting for those first reports back, you think all manner of horrible scenarios. Things like…

Why does she think she can write?

This is the worst thing I’ve ever read.

I don’t believe these characters at all.

Obviously, if you want to be a writer you have to, “screw your courage to the sticking-place,” as Shakespeare wrote. While that line spoken by Lady Macbeth, urging her husband to kill Duncan, is not exactly a perfect metaphor in this case, I think you get the idea–fear be damned–get your stuff in the hands of readers! Those reader responses drove me forward to the next steps and I’ve interviewed and hired a line editor. My manuscript is now in her capable hands for a final pass before I start approaching literary agents. Nervous? Oh yeah. Excited? You betcha! And the side benefit is that right now, I’ve got some well earned down time.

So, today I will drink my coffee on the back porch until it is an appropriate time to switch over to adult beverages. Plus, I have a few new story ideas that are percolating in my brain.

Have a great weekend!

Nikki

P.S. Thank you to my beta readers. You know who you are and I appreciate your efforts!