Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nancy Kay's Journey to Publication

Writing Romantic Suspense came very naturally to me. I've been married to the same wonderful man for 46 years come this December. Twenty-eight of those years he served on the Pennsylvania State Police. Mystery and elements of danger intrigue me, so when I got around to writing those stories floating around in my head, the direction they took was inevitable.

My journey to publication began one frigid winter day when I attended a talk at the library given by three local authors. Unfortunately for them, the attendance was small. Fortunately for me, I got to talk one on one with some very special ladies. I had a story in mind and their advice was to join RWA and 'just write!' So I did.

Several months later, about eight to be exact, I contacted one of the authors and asked if she'd meet me for lunch. She agreed and with a tolerant smile, gave me some gentle guidance and advice. After cutting about three thousand words from my masterpiece, I entered a couple of RWA chapter contests. Much to my delight and surprise I placed second in one and got honorable mention in another!

Then the real work began. I stared at my manuscript, puzzled by the term 'point of view'. That's a small hint to what I faced as a writer. Over the next seven years I attended RWA chapter meetings, small conferences and retreats. I took numerous online classes and completed two full manuscripts.

I agonized over query letters and pitches. My most difficult obstacle was deciding where my stories fit and what audience to target. I still struggle with these issues, because I believe the reader is the one who will ultimately decide if a particular story 'fits' their taste. However, just recently I read an interesting blog which brought to light two takes on romantic suspense, Hearth and Home verses Dark and Scary. My stories fall somewhere in between, so, when asked, I write romantic suspense with a hearth and home slant that's sometimes scary!

I belong to three RWA chapters. Last year I attended my first RWA National Conference in Orlando. Contacts made at the conference, along with growing confidence, led me to submit and get offered a three book contract through Desert Breeze Publishing. For months I studied and considered several e-publishers and found what I wanted with Desert Breeze.

I encourage aspiring authors to research and study every agent or publisher they are considering. Don't lose sight of your inner story. Take time to find a place your stories will be accepted. Think twice about changing your work drastically for a publisher to gain acceptance.

The story line and thoughts inside you begging to be woven into characters are what create the writer you will become. First and foremost, you must learn the craft of writing. I learned a great deal through trial and error - heavy on the error. My advice? Read what you love, what you want to write. Listen to fellow writers and commit to classes you need to overcome your weaknesses.

One of my favorite sayings: "Luck is what you call it when preparation meats opportunity." General David Petraeus.


Krystal said...

I love that saying, I enjoyed this post :)

Anne Patrick said...

Hi Krystal. Thanks so much for dropping by in support of Nancy!

Miss Mae said...

Hi there Nancy Kay! I sure do know what you mean what you mean about learning of "point of view", etc. All this stuff is hard, isn't it? :) But very rewarding once we "get it"!

Congrats on your contracts with DBP. Wishing you much success!

*Since I don't enter contents, please don't submit my name*

Thank you!

Danielle Thorne said...

It's so nice to meet and learn about Nancy Kay. How incredible to win second place in a RWA contest your first time around. As an author with Desert Breeze, I hope Nancy will be happy there. I am, and I look forward to catching her books.

Nancy Kay said...

Thank you all for your comments! It's nice to know all my fellow writers 'get it!'

Nancy Kay

Gina said...

So nice to meet you, Nancy Kay and congratulations on your success. I love the quote from the General, too. Best wishes in the future.

Anne, your blog is fab! Sorry it's been so long since I checked in.

Take care.


B. J. Robinson said...

Great post! Here's to wishing you much success, Nancy! Blessings, BJ

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Nancy,

I enjoyed reading about your background and the rich fodder you have for your books. Congratulations!

Anne Patrick said...

Hello ladies!
Thank you all so much for stopping by.


Lauri said...

Nancy, I enjoyed hearing about your RWA experience. Did you go to this year's conference, too? Does pitching get easier as you get some acceptances?

Nancy Kay said...


I've actually only pitched a couple of times. The first time I was a wreck, the second I just talked and didn't try to get to much info out there, just a brief conversation about why I wrote my story. Trying to follow all the guidelines available can be daunting. My advice - get the story you love polished as best you can and tell the editor/agent the basics and that you have a great story. Be confindent in what you wrote. If you're rejected, then you were probably pitching to the wrong audience. I think learning the trade, taking 'good ' online classes and attending retreats creates a progression of learning and helps you grow as a writer. Learn to listen, but make sure before you rewrite or revise, that you're doing so because a number of helpful suggestions are guiding you. Not Opinion!

Good luck with those pitches. And no, I didn't go to National this year but did in 2010 and it was worth the trip.

Thanks for taking the time to comment!

Nancy Kay