Nancy Haddock Book Giveaway

May 6, 2008 at 9:11 am | Posted in books, Honorary Heartlette, Nancy Haddock | 3 Comments

Just a reminder that we will be giving away a copy of Nancy Haddock’s debut book, LA VIDA VAMPIRE, at the end of the week.  Please visit Nancy’s guest blog on The Long and Winding Road and post a comment to be eligible.  A lucky winner will be chosen at random on Friday afternoon.

 

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Honorary Heartlette – Nancy Haddock

May 4, 2008 at 7:56 am | Posted in Honorary Heartlette, Nancy Haddock, writing | 47 Comments
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The Long and Winding Road

I’ve been a member of RWA for 24 years now. Last February I sold my first book in a two-book contract to Berkley, and La Vida Vampire, my debut in this new series was released on April 1st.

So, was I a horrible writer during my first 23 years in RWA?

No. Though I’m a better writer now than I was then (ya think?), I placed in and won contests early on. I had a great agent within a few years of joining RWA. I received good rejection letters. Published friends who read my work asked why I wasn’t published yet.

So, why was my road to publication so long and winding? I attribute it to three main reasons.

First, balance in my writing life. When we join RWA, we tend to join one or more chapters. We may tend (like me!) to get involved in volunteering for the chapter, or even volunteering at the National level. I found myself accepting an appointment to serve an unexpired term on the RWA Board less than a year after I’d joined, and this was at a time when the Board members chaired virtually every job to be done. We had one full-time employee, and the organization was growing by leaps! Talk about time devouring! I met wonderful people who are still friends. I learned how to break my comfort zone wide open. I gleaned information about the publishing business just by having meals with other writers – some published, some not.

What I failed to do during all my Kamikaze volunteering days was to balance doing the jobs with doing the writing. I let job deadlines consume me instead of letting the flow of writing consume me. So my advice to those who tirelessly lend their expertise to organizations – writing, PTA, whatever – is to create balance in writing and volunteer activities. Find out what a job requires in as much detail as possible, including the daily/ weekly/ monthly time it takes. If this is a new kind of job for you, double the time you think you’ll spend on it. You may not use double the time, but if you don’t, you get to write!

A second reason for the winding road was that serious family issues came up, such as my middle management husband being “downsized” out of a job. During this period, I also faced challenges with my children, and I went back to teaching. I tried to write in spite of the chaos, but found myself frozen. I couldn’t write in the upheaval – not for publication anyway. I just couldn’t shake the internal editor who had me changing words before I’d written a complete sentence. And I don’t mean a compound, complex sentence! When the internal editor took over, concentration and confidence vanished.

So, if you have a yappy internal editor, I beg you to destroy that negative voice now! Think twice before you let him/ her out again. Ever. I let mine out during my revisions of La Vida Vampire, and banished her again within minutes. She hadn’t mellowed a bit, and still had nothing constructive to contribute! Whether internal or external, surround yourself with only the constructive voices!

SIDEBAR: One of the positive outcomes of going through intense family times was that I came out of them with clear experience in conflict, confrontation and combat. Since the major criticism of my writing had been that I hid behind humor rather than letting characters confront, the lessons paid off when I began writing in earnest again! There’s always an upside!

The last component of my long, winding road had to do with finding the courage to write what I wanted to, the way I wanted to, rather than “following the market.” I came into RWA in a time when new writers were expected to break into category first. If you proved yourself, you might move up to Single Title. Lead title. Mainstream. But you didn’t simply burst onto the scene in single title. In this sense, we all followed the market, more or less.

When I came back to writing for publication in the late 1990s, romance publishing was no longer quite so restrictive. For the first time, I wrote romantic suspense … with humor, though, so that didn’t pan out. When I moved to St. Augustine in 2002, I decided to release the stories I’d been working on in order to start fresh. I let the energy of my new hometown permeate me, and my story ideas. I was actually working on a cozy mystery series when the idea for La Vida Vampire gripped me and wouldn’t let go.

I’m still working on the cozy series, but my first loyalty is to Cesca, Saber and the gang of La Vida Vampire. It may have been a long and winding road that I wouldn’t wish for anyone else but we must all find – and follow – our own paths. I trust that yours will be shorter and straighter!

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Thank you, Nancy!

We will be giving away a copy of La Vida Vampire to one lucky winner at the end of the week! Post a note to the comments section to be eligible. The winner will be chosen at random on Friday afternoon.

Honorary Heartlette – Nancy Haddock

April 27, 2008 at 8:30 am | Posted in Honorary Heartlette, Nancy Haddock, writing | Leave a comment
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We have been so fortunate with our Honorary Heartlettes and our guest blogger for May is no exception. We are thrilled to welcome debut author, Nancy Haddock, to the Purple Hearts!

Her new book, LA VIDA VAMPIRE, was released by Berkley Publishing on April 1, 2008, to great reviews!

Nancy is the model of poise and persistence and we are honored that she will join us to share her advice. Please stop by for her blog post on Sunday, May 4.

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