Programming Note: I’ve been treading water with this blog for a couple of months now, getting by with Reading Challenge posts and 5 Photos posts. I also haven’t been on Facebook or Twitter other than to briefly check in. There are good reasons for it, but they have nothing to do with writing or blogging. I’ll try to do a more personal post soon. In the meantime, please enjoy the wonderful guest posts!
Today, Nancy Northcott shares her five writer’s life photos. Her post touches on all sorts of neat things — the Wright Brothers, backwater peat bogs, bulging bookcases, Dragon Con… It’s also packed with reading and watching suggestions and a chance to win a signed print copy of her latest book. At the end, I share the half-dozen places I find new books and authors. Welcome, Nancy!
Something that represents something unique about you
So far as I know, I’m the only romance writer regularly using the Okefenokee Swamp in her books. My Light Mage Wars/Protectors paranormal romances feature mages fighting ghouls and demons in south Georgia near the Okefenokee (though one novella, Sentinel, is set in Macon, which is closer to Atlanta).
Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not Ms. Outdoors. I like my surroundings climate-controlled and my wildlife safely distant, but I fell in love with the Okefenokee, which is actually not a swamp but a blackwater peat bog, when I went with my family to research it. The place is so different from anything else I’ve seen, yet it’s beautiful and wild and captivating–and spooky at night!
Something that represents where you live
I live in North Carolina, where the Wright Brothers first flew. Our license plates claim we’re First in Flight, and we have a genteel feud with Ohio, whose plates claim it’s the Birthplace of Aviation. This airplane hangs in one of the departure lounges at the Charlotte airport.
Your pet(s) or plant(s) or thing you care for (besides your human family/friends)
This is our dog, who thinks all routes in our house should pass through the kitchen. She looks irritated in this photo because no one is moving toward that area.
Something (not someone) that really frustrates you
This bookcase illustrates an ongoing problem, too little space for books. I love comic books and speculative fiction, but I also love history. I’ve been a history geek all my life, mostly reading American and British history with a little Ancient World mixed in. I collect books on topics I have used or might want to use for worldbuilding, but I also just simply enjoy it.
Hence the problem.
And yes, those are books stacked in the left of the photo. *sigh*
Something that brings you joy (besides writing)
I love going to science fiction/fantasy and comics conventions. Here I am at Dragon Con a couple of years ago. I was in the lobby of one of the convention hotels on Thursday morning of the con weekend. By lunchtime, that area was hopping.
I’ve loved comics, science fiction, and fantasy, along with other things of course, since I was in grade school. The people who go to the cons, whether or not they like the same things I do, are my tribe. I love the fannish energy in the air and the enthusiasm for the various guests.
What’s the elevator pitch for your latest published novel?
My latest novel is The Herald of Day. It’s the first book in the Boar King’s Honor trilogy, and it represents a new direction for me. Instead of contemporary paranormal romance, it’s historical fantasy with romantic elements. Here’s the pitch:
A wizard in 17th century England has altered history to set up a dictatorship of the mageborn. Standing in his way are a cursed wizard and a Gifted but untrained tavern maid. If they can’t figure out how to stop him and put history right, he’ll crush England under his heel.
What are you working on next?
I have three projects in varying stages of development.
I’m collaborating with Jeanne Adams on a new space opera series. It’s about a world (and a space station) that are officially dubbed Paradise Station but, because they’re in the armpit of humanity’s galactic frontier, are more commonly known as Outcast Station. We plan to launch it this summer.
I’m also working on the next Light Mage Wars book, Nemesis, which is a second-chance-at-love story.
Finally, I’m doing research for The Steel Rose, the next book in the Boar King’s Honor series. It’s set during the end of the Napoleonic Wars, with a climactic confrontation during the Battle of Waterloo.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished Josephine Wilkinson’s The Princes in the Tower: Did Richard III Murder His Nephews, Edward V and Richard of York? It’s a slim book that focuses only on that question, but it provides a careful examination of the various sources, including contemporary ones, that address the issue.
Next up is KJ Howe’s debut thriller, The Freedom Broker.
What are you currently watching (TV shows)?
We love NCIS:LA and Supergirl, and we’re having withdrawal over Grimm.
Favorite fantasy creature, villain, or weapon not from your own work?
That’s a tough one. I had to think about it a while, and I pick Nighteyes, the wolf that bonds with Fitzchivalry Farseer in Robin Hobb’s Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies. He shows us a lot about Fitz, but he definitely has a personality of his own. He’s a brave, steadfast, loving companion.
An alternate choice would be any of Anne McCaffrey’s dragons–which also happen to bond with their humans.
Biggest challenge facing writers today?
Aside from the longstanding one of learning to be the best writers we can be, I think it’s getting readers’ attention in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
How can we meet that challenge?
If I had a guaranteed answer for that, I’d bottle it and make a fortune! *g* I think we have to learn how to market ourselves. I couldn’t sell toothbrushes to benefit the marching band in my hometown, so I have lots to figure out, but I’m gaining ground.
I also think we need to be flexible. What worked last year might not work this year, and so on.
Thanks for having me today, Jill. I’ve enjoyed it.
My pleasure, Nancy. 🙂
More about The Herald of Day
A wizard’s fatal mistake, a king wrongly blamed for murder, and a bloodline cursed until they clear the king’s name…
In 17th century England, witchcraft is a hanging offense. Tavern maid Miranda Willoughby hides her magical gifts until terrifying visions compel her to seek the aid of a stranger, Richard Mainwaring, to interpret them. A powerful wizard, he sees her summons as a chance for redemption. He bears a curse because an ancestor unwittingly helped murder the two royal children known as the Princes in the Tower, and her message uses symbols related to those murders.
Miranda’s visions reveal that someone has altered history, spreading famine, plague, and tyranny across the land. The quest to restore the timeline takes her and Richard from the glittering court of Charles II to a shadowy realm between life and death, where they must battle the most powerful wizard in generations with the fate of all England at stake.
More about Nancy
Nancy Northcott’s childhood ambition was to grow up and become Wonder Woman. Around fourth grade, she realized it was too late to acquire Amazon genes, but she still loved comic books, science fiction, fantasy, history, and romance.
Nancy has taught a college course on science fiction, fantasy, and society. She has also given presentations on the Wars of the Roses and Richard III to university classes studying Shakespeare’s play about that king. A sucker for fast action and wrenching emotion, Nancy combines the magic, romance, and high stakes she loves in the books she writes.
More about the Giveaway
Nancy’s giving a signed, print copy of The Herald of Day to one commenter, so tell her how you usually find new authors and what you’re reading now. I’ll pick a winner by midnight DST on May 15th. (For my complete giveaway rules, click here.)
Here’s my TBR list for this month, although I’ll likely only have time to read one of them. As for how I find new books/authors, here are my Go To Resources:
- My local library: I’m a part-time librarian and, in direct contrast to my local indie bookstore, my local library just doubled its square footage and the size of its print book collection. I love looking through the new release shelves.
- Early Word: a resource for librarians that alerts us to books with high hold ratios, movie tie-ins, early reviews, upcoming releases, etc. Even though it’s geared toward librarians, anyone can read/subscribe to this blog. If you miss GalleyCat or think EW‘s book coverage is spotty, this would be a great resource for you.
- Genre-specific blogs and other authors: Speculative fiction blog The Qwillery highlights the work of debut authors. They also review other genre titles and provide some industry coverage. Plus, they have a fun Cover Wars contest every month. Suzanne Johnson’s blog (formerly Preternatura) has a nice comfortable feel. She blogs about her author life, various things that interest her, and shares a weekly New Releases list that features paranormal, UF, and fantasy reads. Veronica Scott lists new releases for SF/fantasy romance every Wednesday.
- Word of Mouth: I’m always asking people what they’re reading and what they think of it.
- My book club: I’ve read some books this year that I wouldn’t have picked up but for my book club. It’s good for authors to expose themselves to genres other than their own. You don’t want your work to be derivative or so full of generic tropes that it lacks any sort of personality or voice, right? Well, reading widely is one thing you can do to avoid that fate. Joining a book club also reminded me that there’s value in a book beyond its entertainment or educational value — its ability to spark discussion. My book club uses Book Movement to keep track of its book choices, meeting places, etc.
- Amazon: I still prefer browsing in a bookstore to browsing online, but when I know exactly what I’m looking for, want it immediately, and don’t care about owning the book in print, Amazon’s convenience is hard to beat.
We’d love to hear from YOU. How do you find new books/authors? Do you have a book blog or follow one that you can recommend? Just “liking” this post isn’t enough. Give your favorite blog a shout out!! 😀
Thanks for sharing your pictures and thoughts, Nancy!