Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Warrior Wednesday: Tales from the Unpubbed Welcomes Nas Dean
I'm so glad you've decided to join me for another segment of Warrior Wednesday: Tales from the Unpubbed. The authors I've asked to be guests I've met from various places all over the web, and I am happy to call each of them friends.
Please welcome my next warrior and friend - Nas Dean...
Thanks very much to Melinda, who asks unpubbed writers (warriors) to show their scars. God, these scars hurt too much, yet being a warrior so here I am.
My love story with books started when I was around nine years old and had appendicitis removed. Bored, alone and crying in hospital, my dad brought me some books to cheer me up. For me this was a special gift specially and not to be shared with other siblings. Yay! I was in heaven. So books became my special passion. Later the same year after coming first in my class I received a big colorful picture book of “Gulliver’s Travels”. The world depicted in that book kept me enthralled for hours. So I was away in my dreamland most of the time. Though poor, our family life was happy but rather than squabbling with other siblings I preferred to escape in my books. The common refrain from that time is “Earth to Nas!” because I was always dreaming about my characters and their stories!
Then came Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five series, Secret Seven series, Nancy Drew series (I loved the little bit of romance amid the mystery and the thrill!) The Hardy Boys, The Three Investigators. I still remember character names from all these series.
Later, when I discovered Mills & Boons, mind you, at the time (1979-80) the covers were not that hot but still I covered the novels with newspapers so my parents would think it’s school work! I read one M&B in two days. Now I finish one in a day, by the way. Many times I’ve burnt food while cooking because I’m too busy reading. I blame M&B for that and these other things, eg. Being a virgin till the wedding night (around that time all heroines were virgins!) then later expecting romantic gestures from my husband without telling him!
And all these times I wrote. Not exactly a journal, but whatever caught my fancy. I have whole note books filled about my trips abroad. About the hotels, hire cars, exchange rates and the sightseeing.
By the time I had my first baby, I had read so many baby magazines and books that for a while I wrote articles for a community newspaper ‘The Community Globe” on Baby Nutrition, Mother/Child Nutrition. It was a new publisher trying its hand at publishing but folded up later. This was in 1987-88.
I think I was a closet reader and writer. Living in Auckland, New Zealand, I became a member of Manukau Libraries and took out books. All my colleagues and contemporaries were skeptical and I was asked a lot, “You still read?” They went out dancing or nightclubbing and I preferred to spend a quiet night in with a book.
It was only last year, August 2010, that I heard about HM&B Medical Fasttrack, and I decided to submit for the first time ever. God, that rejection hurt! But I had by then discovered the subcare on eHarlequin forum and the support, advice and hugs were awesome! The multi published authors hang out with aspiring writers and answer all their questions and give so generously of their time and support, it simply is staggering. I made many friends online and one such friend (Nancy) asked to see my work. She did a line by line critique of almost five thousand words! I can never forget her generosity. She was gentle with me and said she believed in my plot. And advised me a lot.
It was then I saw that I needed to work on my craft, technique, and the mechanics of writing. I started spending twenty three hours on line out of twenty four! Visited all published authors websites for writing articles and honing the craft articles. For example there’s Liz Fielding, Kate Walker, Lynne Marshall, Michelle Styles and many more authors who all have articles for aspiring writers. Then there are writing workshop handouts from RWA America conferences, hundreds of articles from previous few years. I was submerged in these for some time. At the same time I was writing a Nocturne Bite, using the mechanics I was learning. Start all chapters with a hook, end with a cliffhanger, see that the story and plot moved forward with every scene. Michelle Styles and Donna Alward advised on the forum when I asked about writing craft, to get Kate Walker’s 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance and a few other craft books(Writing Romance Novel for Dummies by Leslie Wainger and Donald Mass’s Writing the Breakout Novel). So I invested in these books from The Book Depository. I think it must have been my best move.
I submitted the Nocturne Bite and started on a Medical. Almost but not quite! forgot about the subbed NocBite. After a turnaround of twenty eight days, I received another rejection, but it hurt less! This time the letter contained the magic words,” Although your story contains some of these elements, it lacks others.” This meant I was doing something right. I also realized that I have to make my presence online. So I started a blog and found a whole new world out there. Almost everyone was blogging about their writing so what could I blog about that would be different, I asked myself. My writing journey is not that interesting!
After winning books on blog giveaways I remembered the RWA handout saying that the whole purpose of book giveaways is to create a buzz by word of mouth of the book. It’s marketing strategy by authors to do giveaways yet I realized that the winners were keeping quiet about the books after reading… so I decided to start blogging about all these new release books after reading them. And I invited the authors to talk about their latest releases on my blog: www.nas-dean.blogspot.com. Yet again I must be doing something right as my followers increased and I have a presence online.
Now for the next step I asked HM&B Desire Author Rachel Bailey:
I don't have critique partners or belong to any writers organisation, the nearest being RWA Aust/ RWA NZ.... the membership is not a problem but the airfare is!.....can you recommend any online writing groups/courses?
I think it's a definite advantage to join RWAust or RWNZ even though you're not in the country. Both organisations have members living in other countries - and a lot further away than Fiji - Switzerland, America, Scotland, etc. You can get the monthly newsletters online or posted (I'm just retiring as RWA's newsletter editor, so I'm biased, but they're choc full of info and craft articles), you can join the CP scheme and match yourself to someone, or a group, be on the e-loop and ask authors questions, etc, etc. The only thing face to face you might want is the annual conference, but not everyone goes to that anyway (RWAust has a Claytons Conference online for those who can't make the main one each year).
Rachel Bailey is another such multi published author who takes time out from her busy schedule and answers any questions I may ask, so huge thanks to her and all other authors I’ve mentioned. I’ve also gone to Joanna St James for advice, so you are also included.
At present I have a partial in the slush pile from the first week of November 2010, v-e-r-y- s-l-o-w-l-y moving towards the editor at the Medical HM&B!
Thank you Nas for guest blogging this week. To continue to follow Nas on her journey to publication, click here. And, join me next week as I spotlight another warrior fighting their way to publication.