Sold!

Isn’t that a great word, “sold?”  I haven’t been all that fond of it for a while.  It always applied to someone else’s book, never mine, so hearing it generated a little envy and a lot of longing.  There was also a degree of fear that it would never apply to a book of mine.

Well, now it does, and I think it’s a fabulous word, a splendid word, an amazing word!

Yeah, okay, stopping now. *g*

My agent has sold the first two books in my contemporary mage series, The Protectors, to Grand Central’s new electronic and PoD line, Forever Yours.  Book one, Renegade, is currently scheduled for release on November 6.  Guardian, the second book, is slotted for sometime in the spring, maybe March.

In honor of the occasion, I got a new head shot, which I’ve been needing anyway.  I figured I had until late summer, maybe even September, to experiment with different hairstyles and maybe lose some weight before actually having to get a photo.

Uh, no.  The publisher needed my head shot by late April.  Urk!  I really, truly loathe having my picture taken.  I’m seldom happy with the result, often secretly hoping it doesn’t look like me.  So I stuck with the one for the 2006 GH, which I thought was okay, for six years.  I like this new one, though.

I didn’t have the money to pay a photographer to come take a lot of shots, and I wanted an outdoor setting because my magic system is nature-based.  After I bemoaned situation this to Cassondra, she volunteered to take the photo for me.  “I’m visiting Jeanne after this conference,” she said.   “Come meet us, and I’ll take your new photo.”

Yay!  Saved!

“Bring a white top and a black one,” she said.

Uh-oh.  “I don’t wear a lot of black or white.  I like jewel colors.”

A brief silence, probably while she sighed.  “We need it to look right in both color and black and white.”

“Oh, iPhoto can change it over,” I assured her, proud of this tiny bit of technical knowledge.

“Uh-huh.  How many people in this conversation have a degree in photojournalism?”

“Um . . . I took an art class once.”

I could hear her smiling in triumph.  “Good for you.  Wear what I tell you.”

So I did.  She chose the blue top and necklace shown at right from the assortment I’d packed.  I could not get iPhoto to save it in the right size for our website, even though it told me it would, so Tawny fixed it.  Clearly, my tiny bit of knowledge of iPhoto is a bit too tiny.

Jeanne did my makeup.  She came in the bathroom while I was drying my hair and said, “Use this big, round brush to give it some lift.”

“I don’t really like a lot of height in my hair,” I said.

“It won’t stay pouffy,” she assured me.  “This is just to give it some fullness.”

Probably looking as doubtful as I felt, I changed out the hair brushes.

But Jeanne hadn’t finished.  “Did you bring your makeup, like I asked you to?”

“Yeah, but I figured I’d just put on some blush and lipstick, as usual.”

She didn’t roll her eyes, but I think she came close.  “You don’t want usual for this.  You want enhanced.”

When she and Cassondra were working on highlights and colors, I said, “You know, if we’re going to get me all tarted up, I won’t look like me.”

“Trust us,” Cassondra said.  “You won’t look ‘tarted up.  You’ll look professional.'”

This is what happens when someone who is a control freak and uncomfortable with makeup puts herself in other people’s hands.  It’s a good thing they’re my friends, or they might’ve killed me.  Instead, they made me look really good.

(Cassondra said I had to tell that part, or she would.  :-))

Then Jeanne hung around and made me smile while Cassondra took a great many shots.  Cassondra and Tawny retouched our favorite, and voila!  I love it.

So now I have a brand new, official author head shot and, before Thanksgiving, will have on my iPad a brand new, official ebook of a story I actually wrote with my actual name on the actual cover.  Squee!

I think of this series as contemporary fantasy romance with a lot of boom.  Mayhem, if you will.  🙂  Here’s the official description for Renegade:

SHE FOLLOWS THE RULES

As the Collegium council’s top sheriff of the southeastern United States, Valeria Banning doesn’t just take her job seriously, she takes it personally. So when a notorious traitor wanted by the authorities suddenly risks his life to save hers, she has to wonder why.

HE BREAKS EVERY ONE OF THEM

As a mage, Griffin is sworn to protect innocents from dark magic, which is how he finds himself fighting side by side with the beautiful Valeria Banning. But when the council finds out the two have been working together, they’re both left running for their lives—from the law, the threat of a ghoul takeover, and a possible Collegium mole.

I love this blurb, too!

I don’t write with actors in mind for my characters.  I’ve tried, but that makes them feel less mine somehow.  I do like, later, figuring out which actors the characters most resemble so I can describe them to other people.  I think Val is a similar type to Mary McCormack, attractive, even beautiful but in a girl-next-door way.  Griff (whose last name is Dare) is more like a young Christopher Reeve without the Superman hair, handsome with strong, clean-cut features.

I’m headed home today from touring Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp, which figures heavily in the overall story arc, though not so much in this particular book.  I’m including three of my favorite pictures from yesterday’s boat trip.  See how reflective the water is.  It looks black but is actually the color of weak iced tea and is as clear as what comes out of the faucet.

That gray stuff hanging off the trees is called Spanish moss but is neither Spanish nor moss.  More about that next month.  I traded my regular day, the 26th, to another bandita and am taking the 21st instead.  We’ll talk more about about Renegade and the Okefenokee.

Meanwhile, thanks to Cassondra, Jeanne, and Tawny for their help with the author photo, to Tawny for getting the website to accept my photo and to Jeanne for hanging out to chat with everyone while I’m on the road.  And to all the banditas for their support along the way!

I’ll answer comments before I get on the road and again if I stop along the way at  any place with Wifi.   I’ll catch up when I get home late this afternoon.

Assuming today’s blog prize survives its night in the trunk of the car, I’m giving one commenter a small glass figurine of Cinderella’s slipper on a pillow.

That slipper, to me, is a symbol of a difficult quest that turned out extremely well. I sort of feel like Cinderella lately.

 

(If the slipper doesn’t survive, I’ll think of something else, of course, but the figurine should be okay.  I’m just hedging my bets in case something weird goes wrong.)

So tell me, have you ever visited a swamp?   Do you read paranormal or fantasy romance?  If so, what kind do you particularly like, and why?  Have you ever read a book with mages?  If so, what did you like about it?

 

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Comments

201 Comments

  • Louisa says:

    WOOOOT !!! I jumped out of my chair and did a double fist pump when I read this !! Scared the dogs and disturbed the cats (no easy feat!) I am SO EXCITED for you I cannot stand it! This is just the best news ever !! I cannot WAIT for these books to come out !! They sound fabulous and right up my alley !!

    And by the way, the photo is gorgeous! The “Tart” Girls do good work!

    Yes, I have visited a swamp. I have even spent a couple of vacations in one on one of those houses on stilts complete with a pair of alligators (Elvis and Priscilla) in the front yard. (Louisiana Yard Dogs)

    I definitely read paranormal and fantasy romance. I am a huge fan of it. I read all sorts from vampires to urban fantasy. I like the complete escapism and I use it when I am writing Regency and don’t want to read Regency at the same time. I have read a number of books with mages in them. I love the magic, of course, but also the spirit and wisdom behind the magic. The temptation it offers to do wonderful good or incredible evil and the decision lies with the wielder of the skill. Makes for great reading!

    Off to bed I go as I must work tomorrow. SO thrilled and proud for you, my friend !! WOOOT !!

    • Louisa, looks like the rooster is visiting. No chance of feeding him to Elvis and Priscilla, is there?

    • Barb says:

      Louisa

      Have fun with the GR

      Barb and I are away this weekend for a romance readers retreat and having lots of fun

      Helen and Barb

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Thank you, Louisa! I’m pretty thrilled, myself, not to mention grateful for the help with the photo. I’d never heard the phrase Louisiana Yard Dogs before. Elvis and Priscilla sound like perfect names.

      You know I read a lot of fantasy. As a result, I tried to build a believable fantasy world without overshadowing the romance. Y’all can judge how well that worked.

      I also tend not to read what I’m writing at the moment, though I did read a fair amount of suspense while working on this book.

      • Jo Robertson says:

        I love the way Jeanne and Cassondra have “tarted” you up, Nancy. Looks very classy!

      • Louisa says:

        The house belonged to a Cajun buddy I met in graduate school at Southern Miss. We made the drive from Hattiesburg to St. John’s Landing a number of times and it was always fun. The house was actually quite modern and comfy on the inside, but the exterior looked like a swamp fisherman’s cabin. They actually kept the gators close by feeding them as the cabin was a vacation home and often empty. Alligators coming from under the porch into the front yard tend to frighten away thieves.

        The swamp is such a magical place for anyone with eyes to see the beauty of it. I spent a lot of time in Louisiana – New Orleans and St. John’s Landing for the most part. I have studied voodoo for years and the culture around it is fascinating. And there is a large voodoo community in Georgia as well.

        I cannot wait to read these books, Nancy!

        • Thanks, Louisa! I hope you enjoy them. The swamp plays a peripheral role in Renegade and Guardian but a very big role in book 3 (working title: Warrior). I figured I’d be able to get down there by the time I started to write that one. I used the internet for Renegade and am hoping I didn’t do anything egregiously wrong. There’s really no substitute for seeing a place yourself.

          That’s a fabulous story about the vacation home. Our guide yesterday said, “You might not be able to beat an alligator in a 5-yard dash, but you’d certainly beat him in a 50-yard dash.”

          Along with alligators, we saw a blue night heron (not its actual name, but I’m blanking on that) and a nest of red-shouldered hawks, with fledglings testing their wings. Bears also live in the swamp. The four-hour boat tour is geared for birders and other people interested in the wildlife. I very much want to go do that when the flies subside.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      It must be a Duchess thing, Louisa, as this was my reaction EXACTLY and I too scared the dogs. (And the children, but hey, they count) Grins.

      Congrats on catching the chookie. Keep him busy today. he said something about liking that glass slipper….wouldn’t want it to go missing before Nancy can award it!

      • Nancy Northcott says:

        Her Majesty is guarding the glass slipper, and the GR is afraid of her. So I think it’s safe.

      • Louisa says:

        Definitely a Duchess thing! We never do anything by halves, including celebrate a friend’s good news!

        And the Chookie had better behave himself around here. Too many potential bellies for him to fill if he doesn’t! 🙂

  • Virginia says:

    My back yard is a swamp if we get a lot of rain and it stays that way for a while. I have read some paranormal and fantasy but they are not my favorite read. I am more into historical, contempory and romantic suspense.

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Virginia, ouch on the yard! That must be inconvenient. I read a lot of historical and suspense, and some contemporary.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Yikes on the backyard, Virginia. Is it because there’s no grass to soak up the rain? We have a patch to the side of our house that seems to gather a lot of mud too in our rainy season, which is winter here in northern CA.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Virginia! I’m selfishly glad you read romantic suspense! Heehee. You’d like Nancy’s though as there is a LOT of suspense in these books, along with the paranormal. :>

      (They’re fabulous, btw!)

  • Wow, Nancy, that’s fantastic news!!!! So glad you’re going public with it. I was so excited when you told the rest of us Banditas privately. You’ve worked so hard for this and you so deserve it. And I’m beyond thrilled that we’re now sharing a publisher. Hey, we can go to the parties together at nationals now!

    I love your new photo. That blue really suits you and the necklace is the perfect match. I smiled to think that our wonderful Banditas were in on the photo shoot! We’re a multitalented lot, aren’t we?

    Anyway, huge congrats again. Can’t wait to read your stories!!!! xxx

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Thank you, Anna! Yes, the Lair houses a wide range of talent, and I’m grateful for all of it. I sent back the final edits a week ago, and Renegade is listed on Nook and iBooks (no cover yet, so Amazon doesn’t list it), and the RT blog mentioned it, as did the Locus magazine (kind of the RT for F&SF) Books Sold column, so I figured it was maybe time to tell the world about it.

      You and the other bandits have been a wonderful source of support along this difficult road.

      • Jo Robertson says:

        Pinch me, Nancy! Hearing all the details makes it sooooo real. I can’t wait to see the cover for RENEGADE.

        Can you tell us a bit about the second story, or is it too early? See!! I’m chomping at the bit!

        • Jeanne Adams says:

          Jo, I know Nancy was on early, but they’re on the road home, so I’ll leave that for her to answer! grins. But it too is fabulous! :>

        • Nancy Northcott says:

          Thanks, Jo! I can’t wait to see the cover, either. I hope it arrives soon. It’ll go up on the slider asap when it does!

          The second book, Guardian, is a second chance at love story complicated by new ghoul abilities and old secrets. I haven’t come up with a short summary on the book yet, but that’s the gist.

          The slogan I’m using for the series (Cassondra calls it a strapline or something like that) is “Holding back an ancient evil, one mage protector at a time.” So each book will fit into that theme in some way. I’m writing 2 now and have parts of 3 sketched out in my head.

      • Jeanne Adams says:

        Let me tell you, ya’ll, she deserves every bit of this notice from RT and Locus as the books ROCK! (I can say that with impunity as I’ve read ’em!) Grins.

  • Jane says:

    Congrats on the book deal, Nancy. I do read paranormals, especially Cynthia Eden’s angel books and Heather Graham’s ghost stories. I have not read a book with mages.

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Thank you, Jane! I don’t think there are many romances using mages, as compared to vampires or shifters. I read some urban fantasy with angels but no romance yet. I’ll have to check those out. I like ghost romances and wish they would come back into vogue.

      • Jo Robertson says:

        Can you (or Jeanne, tee hee) tell us a little bit more about mages, Nancy? I have a vague idea that it’s about magic and the supernatural, but can you tell us more?

        • Nancy Northcott says:

          It’s a contemporary setting. Much of the story takes place in or near the imaginary town of Wayfarer, Georgia, which is heavily into New Age ideas. I also took liberties with the swamp. Most of it is in the federal wildlife refuge, but I sort of pretended big parts of it were not.

          I like small towns, and I liked the idea that Griffin would’ve made a life for himself even though he was an outcast in the mage world.

          The mages have their own separate society, which they keep more or less secret. It’s kind of like Harry Potter in that way but owes more to my early fondness for Superman and the Justice League of America. So they’re fighting the ghouls and trying not to let humans know about this menace or about the mages’ abilities, though revealing the truth is sometimes the lesser evil for them.

          I’m not sure that’s what you were asking. Is it close?

          • Jo Robertson says:

            Great! Do different mages have different powers? LIke what kinds?

          • Nancy Northcott says:

            Most if them have the same skill set, though some are better at certain things than others. I think I’d rather not go into detail at this point, but their skills mainly involve manipulation of natural energy to achieve their desired results.

      • Jeanne Adams says:

        I like the Ghost romances too, Nancy and Jane. I’d love to see more of them.

        Jane, Heather Graham’s got quite the touch, doesn’t she? Wonderful writer! And really nice in person too. I’ve met her several times and had lunch with her family at Barbara Vey’s Reader Luncheon. Really nice! :>

  • Fedora says:

    OMG!!! YAY!!!! WOOOOOOOOT!!!!! Huge congratulations, Nancy!!!!! YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!

    That is fantastic, awesome news!!! 🙂 😉 🙂 Can’t wait to get these and read them.

    And you look fabulous!!! The Banditas do good 🙂

    OK, back to your regularly scheduled discussion questions… 😉 I don’t believe I’ve ever visited a swamp before…they combine wet with dirt, so I’m disinclined to head out for them…

    I DO read paranormal and fantasy romance–I used to read straight fantasy, and love that there’s fantasy romance now–woohoo! I can’t recall whether I’ve read ones specifically with mages, but I would definitely love to!

    Congrats on the GR, Louisa!! Keep that bird in line 😉

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Fedora, thanks very much!

      I read a lot of genre fantasy, but I like the HEA guarantee of romance. In a fantasy, the reader can be confident of an upbeat ending in which the good guys win, but there’s no guarantee all the good guys will live to the end.

      Mages are a more natural choice for me to use in a paranormal, possibly because I’ve read so much genre fantasy and love mages and wizards.

      • Jo Robertson says:

        I think this is a perfect blend, Nancy. I’ve always enjoyed suspense and mystery stories, but didn’t like that there’s not a lot of romance in the mainstream books. This 50-50 balance seems perfect to me.

        • Nancy Northcott says:

          Thanks, Jo. I tried to make the romance primary but with heavy suspense elements and a layered, developed magical world like the ones I enjoy in books with “fantasy” on the spine.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Snork!! Fedora, you made me nearly spew my tea. “They combine wet with dirt…” Heeheeeheee.

      My sister feels exactly that way. She can’t understand why I like to garden as it does just that – just not to the swamp level. ha!

      Like you and Nancy, I read a lot of Fantasy too. I do love that in Paranormal romance you get all the joy of fantasy and magery, and an HEA. As Nancy says, in genre fantasy the Good Side may win, but the character you like may have to die to get it done. Sniff!

      • Fedora says:

        Well, I didn’t intend to induce spewage, Jeanne 😉 I must confess I’m not a huge fan of gardening either ;p Or cleaning bathrooms… all of which have an increased likelihood of exposure to wet and dirt and muck… ;p

        And yes, true–fantasy sometimes sacrifices favorite characters for the good of the story somehow 🙁 Not very romancey 🙂

        • Nancy Northcott says:

          Fedora, I don’t garden because I kill plants. I don’t mind the dirt so much. I was surprised how non-muddy the Okefenokee is. The ground is spongy, but not muddy.

        • Jeanne Adams says:

          Hahahah! Well, confession right back, I despise cleaning bathrooms, but never mind getting mucky in the garden.

          DIfferent kind of dirt, if you get my drift. Grins.

      • Cassondra says:

        Jeanne, this is strange to me.

        That you came out of the same womb as a woman who does not like to garden.

        But then, I came out of the same womb as a woman who does not like primitive furniture, rough leather, or anything that does not involve bling, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

  • Di R says:

    Congratulations, Nancy!
    Your books sound like something I’d really enjoy.
    I have never been to a swamp. I think of mud, and bugs, and humidity -not any of whick is on my list of favorite things. However, knowing my husband I will eventually visit at least one, sometime. It’s a good thing I love him-he sure does expand my horizons.

    Love the new picture, it and you are beautiful.

    Di

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Thank you, Di. I give Cassondra,Jeanne, and Tawny full credit on the photo. I basically did as I was told, with a certain amount of control freak-based fidgeting.

      I also associate mud, bugs, and humidity with swamps. The Okefenokee certainly was muggy yesterday, though much less so than Florida had been. I’d wanted to take a sunset cruise, but those are suspended until the fall because this is the season for biting yellow flies, which are worst at sunset. Everyone on the boat had on bug repellent.

      The Okefenokee was actually not muddy. I know this not only because the guide said so but because I fell on my butt when we got out of the boat, and my jeans were dry and clean.

      I’m planning to go back in the fall for the sunset tour and for an extended tour of four hours. Much of book 3 is set in the swamp, so the more I know about it, the better. Lucky thing for me, these books take place in the late summer and fall, with book 3 in the late fall/early winter, when the biting yellow flies are not an issue.

      The Okefenokee is a peat swamp, and the peat doesn’t smell, either, which kinda surprised me as I’d heard peat fires gave off a peculiar odor.

      • Jo Robertson says:

        LOL at you falling on your butt in the swamp and coming up dry and clean, Nancy!

        My book “Frail Blood” has as a part of its setting the Great Dismal Swamp, which apparently was a haven of run-away slaves during the Civil War. I used it in my 1901 story because of that concept, but had to do all my research online.

        • Jeanne Adams says:

          Jo, that was such a cool part of Frail Blood. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that book!

          If you don’t have this download, ladies and gents, go right now and download Frail Blood!!!

          • Jo Robertson says:

            Thanks so much, Jeanne. I meant to say “Weak Flesh” (which is the Great Dismal Swamp story) and got it mixed up with “Frail Blood,” which is the northern CA story.

            I knew you knew what I meant LOL.

        • Nancy Northcott says:

          Jo, I was relieved to stand up clean. I tried to jump a stream in England’s lake district, not realizing the bank was squishy, black mud. I fell on my butt then, too, and getting that mud out of my jeans and shoes took some doing.

          Frail Blood and Weak Flesh are also on my TBR pile, for after I turn in book 2 and can read again! Yes, as Jeanne says, the Great Dismal is on the NC/VA state line. I have a passing reference to the Great Dismal (which I’ve never visited) in book 2.

      • Jeanne Adams says:

        Snickering about you falling on your butt. Glad you’re okay!!

        • Nancy Northcott says:

          Thanks! The ground is spongy, which helped.

          • Cassondra says:

            That’s the peat. It makes the ground bouncy.

            And peat itself has almost no smell really. Maybe a little. It certainly adds a distinctive fragrance and taste to Scotch (peaty-ness is a component of many famous types of Scotch).

            I have never smelled it burning though. Now I’m intrigued.

          • The guide pulled a handful of peat out of the water, squeezed it dry, and let us smell it. It had no real odor, but I’ve heard it does in northern Europe, where they burn it for fuel. It’s decaying plant matter, and leaves smell when they burn, so maybe it’s the same kind of thing.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hi Di! Doesn’t she look good? We do pretty work, Cassondra!! (Of course we had a good looking victim to work with. Bwahahaha!)

      • Nancy Northcott says:

        Bwahahaha to you, too!

      • Cassondra says:

        If I can ever get time to crop and futz with some of the others, maybe Nancy will like those too.

        WAY too busy for my own good.

        She’s pretty. She takes good pictures.

        And you do good makeup, Duchesse.

        • You are way too busy for your own good, but you always find time if someone needs you. Can’t tell you how much I appreciate that!

          And not to quibble or anything, but I didn’t “take” the picture. You’re the one who snapped the shutter.

          • Cassondra says:

            *Raises eyebrow*

            *smack*

            YOU are the subject.

            One who is pretty in pictures, therefore TAKES good pictures….

            Okay it’s technically wrong. I’ll give you that.

  • Deb Marlowe says:

    I know I’ve said it already, but CONGRATULATIONS! I’m so excited for you! The author shot looks fab! The Banditas are such a multi-talented bunch.

    I’ve never been to a swamp, but I can totally imagine the sort of energy that might be found in such a place.

    Congrats, again, and I can’t wait for your series!

    • Thank you, Deb! Yes, the banditas are a talented bunch, and in a variety of ways.

      Interesting comment about the energy. A similar comment from Cassondra was what put my mind onto using the swamp extensively as the series arcs, not just as a backdrop.

  • Congrats congrats congrats!! Big, big grin! :~)))

    Ghouls? I’m already totally hooked. ;~)

    I love the Okefenokee Swamp — what better place for a paranormal romance? So beautiful and sort of spooky…

    LOL re the head shots. After the photographer did mine, I went straight to the restroom and wiped off as much of the makeup as I could. I really dislike makeup, but it’s necessary for head shots. Otherwise they would like like driver’s license photos. Um, no. Anyway, I like yours very much!

    When I first read your description of your series, I thought it said, “contemporary romance with a lot of bosom.” Um…okay…oh. Boom. LOL.

    Congrats again! Can I say it often enough?

    • Thank you, Barbara! I claim no credit for the photo. I just did as instructed.

      Come to think of it, I did have on lipstick for the driver’s license photo. *g*

      You wrote: When I first read your description of your series, I thought it said, “contemporary romance with a lot of bosom.” LOL! There’re love scenes, of course, and the bosom does figure in those. In the rest of the story, not so much. *g*

      The ghouls are part of what give the book its dark tone. Let me know what you think of them.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Hehehehehe, Barbara. Romance with a lot of bosom — like that’s a new thing!

  • Barb says:

    Nancy

    Whoohoo Barb and I are really doing the happy dance down here for you we are over the moon and can’t wait to read it way to go you rock.

    Yes we both read paranormals and fantasy and I have read a few books with mage and loved them not visited a swamp but maybe one day.

    We are enjoying our weekend away with a fantastic group of romance readers

    Have Fun
    And huge congrats
    Barb and Helen

  • Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

    Squee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hot dog, and I get to say I knew her when!! Congratulations, I knew you would get there.

    I love the new head shot, you have some seriously fantastic bone structure Nancy.

    I read paranormal and fantasy but I don’t think I have ever read about mages. Never been to a swamp but I love to watch Swamp People, that is about as close to a gator and I want to get, thanks.

    Your conversation with the other Banditas kind of sounds like when my buddy tries to get me in dress clothes and out of the house. She was so proud when I managed to go to a wedding on my own complete with make-up, panty hose, and high heels, I let the bride know that I don’t do that for just anyone….

    • Thank you, Dianna! I claim no credit for the photo. Cassondra and Jeanne set it up, and Tawny helped with the retouching.

      I don’t dress up for just anyone anymore, either. There’s a part of me that really enjoys dressing up, but I’ve never learned to like makeup, only to tolerate it. Which I do when the occasion requires it.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      I’m with you there, Dianna. My working clothes are sweat bottoms and a tee-shirt or sweatshirt in the winter. I tell my husband I don’t want to spend money on makeup and hair products when I’m working at home.

      P.S. and shhhh, I don’t think he notices either!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Isn’t Swamp People wild? And like you, I’m perfectly happy only seeing gators on TV.

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Dianna, I forgot to add that some people go out in canoes or kayaks. After seeing the alligators, I don’t think I’d try that.

  • Mozette says:

    So tell me, have you ever visited a swamp?

    Yes. Earlier this year to take photos of inspirational ideas for paintings. I know that sounds strange, but one of my friends wanted me to photograph some mangrove swamp at low tide – right when it’s good, muddy and stinky! He paints nudes. Now, don’t worry, I didn’t strip off and get down and dirty – too many laws of indecent exposure I was worried about breaking and too many permits we’d have to apply for (and have rejected by the council). So, we took the photos there, then did the other ideas and drawings in the comfort of his studio (and yes, I got paid. 🙂 )

    Do you read paranormal or fantasy romance? If so, what kind do you particularly like, and why?

    I love paranormal romance more than fantasy romance. Really, though, it kind of depends on what I feel like reading. Sometimes, it’ll be fantasy romance; but more often than not, I’ll get my nose into paranormal romance… being a vampire romance writer and all. 😀

    Have you ever read a book with mages? If so, what did you like about it?

    Yes. I liked it and found it great to work in ideas I had for a book I was writing. However, it’s hard to come across a good book with a great, believable mage in it. 🙁

    • Mozette, the photo shoot sounds cool! Some swamps do smell, as I understand it, but the Okefenokee does not. It has something to do with the ground being peat. The water is very clear even though it’s the color of weak tea.

      What do you find hard to believe in the mage books you’ve read (no names, please)?

      • Jo Robertson says:

        I’ve never read a mage book either, Nancy (hanging head in shame), but I’m happy to say YOURS will be my virgin launch into the world of mages, witches, magicians, and the like. Are angels and ghouls and ghosts parts of that world too?

        • Nancy Northcott says:

          I am happy to initiate you, Jo. *g* I don’t think there will be angels. There may well be ghosts, but I haven’t decided. I’m toying with the idea. I’m fairly sure there will _not_ be angels. The religious import angels have for so many people means, I think, they have to be handled very carefully. I’d rather go with beings where I don’t feel that constraint.

      • Mozette says:

        The problems with working with mage books I’ve read is that they became entangled with religion; and that really became a dealbreaker with me. So, if there are books out there where the mage doesn’t mention he’s a Christian, that’d be great… as I write books where my vampires used to be of the church but had to turn their backs on their religion once they were turned/sired. This became part of the conflict in the storyline. 🙂

        • Nancy Northcott says:

          Mozette, I prefer not to mix religion or real-world politics into the story because I prefer that books not preach to me. There are OMG moments, and the characters may occasionally pray this or that happens, but I don’t think of that as overt religion. People have their own views about how much is too much, though, and if that’s too much for you, I certainly respect that.

        • Cassondra says:

          Zero preaching in Nancy’s books.

          There is a minister, but he’s a very cool one.

          I am hyper-sensitive to the preaching thing, as I am a person of very deep faith, but do not like the preaching thing at all.

          NONE in these books. I promise.

    • Cassondra says:

      Mozette, you”ll love Nancy’s mages.

      They’re nature-based, and that’s what’s so cool about them, to me.

      Not like anything else I’ve ever read, either.

  • Congratulations, Nancy!!!!! I’m so happy that I’ll be able to buy your book in November. I can’t wait!

    I used to live not terribly far from the Great Dismal Swamp (I just love that name) in southern VA. Visited it once or twice.

    I love paranormal romances but I am rather sick of vampires. I don’t think I’ve read a mage book yet. So now I really can’t wait to read yours.

    • Thank you, Christie! I’m so grateful to you and the other banditas for all the support you’ve given me. One thing my agent liked about Renegade was that it’s different, so I’m hoping readers will like that, too.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Hey, Christie! I mentioned earlier that the Great Dismal Swamp plays an important part in my book “Weak Flesh.”

      (Actually I said “Frail Blood” but I MEANT “Weak Flesh,” which takes place in North Carolina. I think that swamp is in both NC and VA, isn’t it?

  • Janga says:

    Wonderful news, Nancy! Hurray! And great work on the part of the photographer and her crew. The new picture is lovely.

    I visited the Okefenokee Swamp once many, many years ago when I was very young, but it left a strong impression. I can easily imagine it as the setting for fantasy.

    I don’t read a lot of paranormal since I’m not generally a fan of stories with vampires, shapeshifters, or zombies, but I do read fantasy. I like mages, and I can’t wait to read your books. Again, congratulations!

    • Thanks, Janga! I almost called this blog “A Little Help from My Friends,” which would be entirely accurate, but I figured I’d go for the title that describes what set all this in motion.

      I visited the Okefenokee with my parents a long time ago, and I think we probably went to what’s known as Okefenokee State Park, the only access for visitors until the Wildlife Refuge opened (I think that was the late 1970s but am not sure).

      Assuming this series goes, there will be zombies down the road, but the mages will always be front and center. I like post-apocalyptic settings, but most of what I’ve read with zombies is just too graphic for me. I think any menace has to be described well, but I’d as soon not revisit the gory details in each encounter.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Hi, Janga! For some reason I got hooked on vampires since I read Bram Stoker’s famous book when I was a teen.

      But I’m eager to read about mages and can’t wait for Nancy’s book release in November. She’s such a fabulous writer!

  • Leah Hultenschmidt says:

    Big congrats, Nancy! I know you’ve worked so hard for this, and you truly deserve amazing success. The books sound fantastic, and your new pic looks wonderful–perfect makeup (without looking “made up” )and great outfit! Can’t wait to see the cover…

    • Jo Robertson says:

      It’s a lovely portrait, isn’t it, Leah? As someone said, Nancy’s got the great cheekbones.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hi Leah! She does look good, and not at all “tarted up” as she so worried. Snork! We had the hardest time convincing her that we weren’t going to make her look like a harlot.

      Heehee.

      • Nancy Northcott says:

        It wasn’t so much harlotry look that worried me as being gussied up so I didn’t know myself, but I love the way this turned out!

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Leah, thank you! I hope people will enjoy the book, and I’m grateful for all the favorable comments on the picture. I’ve really never loved having that done, but this process was comparatively painless. Joking around makes it easier.

      I can’t wait to see the cover, either, and am hoping it will appear soon. Y’all can believe it’ll be on the slider up top the MINUTE it hits my inbox! *g*

      • Cassondra says:

        Nancy, I will plan ahead to bring Jeanne to make you laugh next time we take your picture.

        You were a good subject. After a little fussing, you did everything we asked. From the photographer’s perspective, that’s a very good thing.

  • I appreciate everyone who plans to give Renegade a try, and I do hope you like it, but I also understand that no book is for every reader, so if this isn’t your thing, no worries.

    I’m not good at responding to compliments and good wishes, and answering these comments has underlined that for me. What I’m really thinking is more along the lines of “thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!” but I worry that typing that over and over will seem insincere, even though I would absolutely mean it, absolutely every time, so I just go with “thank you,” even though that doesn’t’ really look adequate.

    So please understand there’s a lot of internal squealing going on. 🙂

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Double and triple sqeeing, Nancy!

      It’s a tribute to your character and general loveliness that so many great folks want to read your book. I’m willing to delve into the world of the mage because of YOU!!!

      We Banditas couldn’t be more excited that one of our own has realized her dreams. My only sadness is that I have to wait until November, darn it!

      • Nancy Northcott says:

        Thank you, Jo! The support of the banditas in this process has been beyond price. I’m glad to have success to share with y’all.

        I’m sorry it’s so long away, too, but it’s before Thanksgiving, which is good, I think. And I will be very thankful.

      • Cassondra says:

        *sticks out tongue*

        *cue sing-song voice*

        I’ve already read it, I’ve already read it…

        *sticks out tongue again, with smug look.*

        It’s a really good book. I do not cry, and this book made me cry.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Well, Jo said it waaaay better than I could. :>

      And even though I’ve read it – lucky me!! and yes, I AM gloating! – I can’t wait to read it in “final form” in November! WOOOT!!!

      • Nancy Northcott says:

        Thank you, Jeanne! Thanks, also, for tending the blog today while we were driving. We actually saw fewer idiotic moves on the interstate today, a holiday weekend, than we did driving south on Monday night. Go figure!

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Nancy, I’m so, so happy for you that Grand Central took a chance on you and your fabulous writing! You deserve this in so many ways! I think readers will gladly enter your “mage” world. I know I will!

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Thank you, Jo. I appreciate that. I hope readers will like the world and relate to it. It’s kinda dark and angsty, but with what I hope is a clearly developed magic system.

  • LOL – the saying “it takes a village” relates to photos! The “boom turned tart” girls did great. That blue is the perfect color for you.

    And this blog is damn well about time! 🙂 I’m so thrilled for you and for Grand Central for recognizing that this is a fabulous series. I can’t wait to see the cover with your name emblazoned across it. Kudos to your agent as well. LOL – guess it takes a village there as well.

    I do read paranormal/fantasy. I love the amazing creativity that goes into those books. Can’t say I’ve been in a swamp – except to drive down “alligator alley” in Florida. I’ve seen alligators, though. I remember seeing the cutest little “freshly hatched” baby alligators at Kiawah Island, SC. Hard to believe they’d grow up to something nasty.

    Love the Cindrella slipper. Selling a book is like every little girl’s fantasy coming true. You so deserve this. BTW – I highly recommend blasting the song “Defying Gravity.” It fits the occasion as well.

    You Go, Nancy! I’m so proud of you!

    • Jo Robertson says:

      And who would’ve thunked our boom girls could be such tarts – giggle!

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Thank you, Donna! You had a hand in this, too, part of that “village” theme you have going in this comment. From the initial concept to the reader, there have been more brains and hands than mine moving this along, and your input was terrific!

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Forgot to say I love “Defying Gravity,” too. It’s my favorite song from Wicked.

      And we saw lots of alligators. The biggest one in that part of the swamp is a ten-footer. We saw quite a few smaller ones. Apparently the motor on the boat stirs up the fish, so the alligators lie in wait after the boat passes to snap up dinner. At one point, when we were out on the bank (called a prairie), there were five of them visible in the water, just their nose bumps and the tops of their heads.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Mozette, that’s hilarious! I can imagine you mud-wrestling! Thank goodness for photo shop.

  • Nancy! I’m so happy for you. Sure, I’ve know for a while, but I’m still excited! Thus the exclamation points. 🙂

    And I really like your new photo. I saw it the other night when I was doing some updates on the site. Your hair and makeup peeps did a good job. 🙂

    I’m looking forward to reading about your mages. You know I love all that paranormal stuff.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hi Trish! Since you and Nancy are the resident DragonCon peeps, I was sure you’d weigh in on this. Grins.

      Hey, don’t you have a new book in your Coven series coming out next week? It’s the follow up to White Witch, right? BANE – what a great title!! Grins.

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Trish, thanks! I love my new photo, too, and will be replacing the one on my website with this one when we do the new artwork. The site needs to focus on the mage books rather than encompassing the other projects.

      Yeah, I knew you’d like magic. *g* I have your White Witch and Bane on my TBR list. I would’ve read them already, but nothing much is getting read at the moment!

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Hey Nancy! As one of your “team” I’ll say right off that it’s easy to make someone look good if you have someone good looking to start with, and we did. So any real kudos go to you haveing great bone structure and that happy glow that goes with being SOLD (or in love, or both)

    Oh, and the willingness to – albeit grudgingly – use the big hairbrush. SNORK!

    It was fun too, so giggles all around for that.

    She was SO nervous, ya’ll. That in itself was kinda funny. Not for her, but for me and for Cassondra. She does trust us, but….heehee.

    I did think about doing the face-painter trick of giving her fangs, but she’d have caught me at it. SNORK!! Maybe next time…

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      That’s nice of you to say, Jeanne, but that same bone structure has come out of other photographs looking much less impressive.

      And I still don’t trust big hairbrushes. . . .

      Yeah, I think I would’ve noticed the fangs. Eventually if not in the drawing. In the group picture of us Davidson students in our last week at Oxford, the guy next to me has devil horns up over my head. *sigh* He’s a good guy, but I guess he just couldn’t resist.

      • Cassondra says:

        First, the fact that somebody painted devil horns over your head speaks well for you. Seriously.

        You’re an author. The one thing you really do not want is to blend in with the crowd and be boring. The horns are a good sign.

        Second, most portrait photographers do not actually LOOK at their subjects. And they don’t usually have god-like control of clothing, makeup and hair either.

        Sucks for them. *grin*

        • The devil horns were his fingers, held up as the photographer snapped the photo, but I take your point.

          I’d also say that most photographers don’t know their subjects well and aren’t personally invested in the subject’s success. You and Jeanne do care whether I end up looking good and being happy with the picture, so I think that matters, too.

    • Tawny Weber says:

      You know… Photoshop could do fangs.

      Just sayin’…

    • Cassondra says:

      OMG.

      You did not tell me about that trick.

      And we could have pulled it off, since we didn’t give her a mirror.

      • Not being unconscious, I think I would’ve suspected something during the drawing-in process. But yes, PhotoShop could probably do that. And if I were doing this for a Halloween book, I would!

        Maybe.

  • Beth Andrews says:

    Whoo hoo!! Congrats on your debut sale, Nancy! I am so thrilled for you and cannot wait to read this series *g*

    The picture is fabulous – you look lovely! I’ve never visited a swamp but my son is getting his visits in thanks to having a girlfriend who lives just outside of New Orleans 🙂

  • catslady says:

    Big congratulations!!! I’ve never visited a swamp but I think I would find it fascinating although I would need some bugproof clothing lol. I do enjoy fantasy. I just found an author that I love – Kathryne Kennedy. I love getting lost in different worlds and it takes such imagination to create them – the sky’s the limit 🙂

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Catslady! I’ll have to check her out!

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Catslady, thank you! Even though the temperature was in the high 80s and the air was very humid, I had on a long-sleeved shirt and jeans for this swamp trip. I felt better when I saw the guide also in long sleeves. “Biting yellow flies” sounded sufficiently ominous that I figured I’d rather sweat for an hour or two than itch for a week.

  • Nancy Northcott says:

    Hi, all–

    Thanks for all these wonderful comments, and thanks to Jeanne for taking charge while I was gone.

    We had a great trip, and I actually got some writing done. Seeing the Okefenokee for myself, though, was invaluable. I’m going in now to reply, but my internet seems to be slower than molasses in winter. So if it takes me a while to catch up, please bear with me.

  • Pat Cochran says:

    WHOO HOO! Congratulations, Nancy!!
    We are all so excited for you! What great
    news for you and for all of us who “follow”
    you! Looking forward to the day when we
    can see your cover!

    We already know how great the “Lair
    Ladies” are, but they really do step up
    when needed, don’t they? They did so
    turn out a great you in a great photo-
    graph!

    I’ve only recently begun to include para-
    normals and such in my reading. In fact,
    I’m currently reading a book with space
    ships and assassins who fall in love with
    each other. I had to get romance in
    there somehow! LOL!

    Pat C.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Pat! It’s great, isn’t it? WOOHOO, Nancy!

      Pat, who wrote the spaceship/assassin book?

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Thank you, Pat! Yes, the banditas are always ready to jump in and help when needed. They’ve been great.

      I’d like to know who wrote the assassin book, too, and I suspect several others also would.

      • Pat Cochran says:

        The book is Assassins In Love authored by
        Kris DeLake. Kris is a new-to-me author
        and the book is one that I won recently.
        I wasn’t sure how I would take to the book
        but Kris surprised me! I’m halfway through
        the book. and I’m already anxious to know
        how it ends!

        Pat C.

  • Who’d have believed it? Nancy Northcott, tarted up! But I DO believe in the sales. Squee indeed! Can’t wait to read these. I know they’ll do great—just the beginning for you. Congrats!

  • So happy for you Nancy!!!!! Sorry I forced the outing prematurely… I blame it on Publisher’s Marketplace!

  • Kimberly says:

    Nancy I am so happy for you and think you totally deserve it! Can’t wait to get your book this November!
    Thanks for sharing your “SOLD!” moment with us.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Kimberly! Thanks for popping on. She so does deserve it, doesn’t she?

      We’re making her really uncomfortable with all this praise, I know. Grins. Still. Not stopping. heehee.

      • Nancy Northcott says:

        I just never know what to say. I appreciate it all so much, especially after all the “thanks but no, thanks” messages, and I wouldn’t want anyone to think I don’t, y’know?

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Thank you, Kimberly! Thanks for stopping by.

  • Tawny Weber says:

    WOOOOT!!!! Doing the happy dance and a few joyful fist pumps in celebration. Nancy, I’m so ecstatic and thrilled about your sale and CANNOT wait to get my hands on this story. You deserve all the wonderful joy and coming successes!!

    I might have already mentioned it a time or two, but I do love your picture. The blue of your shirt is a gorgeous frame for your glowing smile. GREAT work, ladies 🙂

    So… um, swamps? Nope, never been to one. I’m equally intrigued and hesitant at the idea, too. I’d think it’d be fascinating, but then my fascination is bombarded by images of mosquitoes big enough to chase alligators 🙂

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Thank you, Tawny, and thanks again for your help with the photo. I suspect there are big mosquitoes in the Okefenokee, but I didn’t see any. We were more concerned with biting yellow flies but, fortunately, escaped unscathed.

  • YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I think I was as happy when I’d heard you had sold as I was when I sold myself, Nancy. So glad you have finally announced it. Love the head shot. It is definitely you, and I can tell you were having fun with your buds.

    Here’s to every success for you and for Renegade!

  • Joan Kayse says:

    SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! Hot Dayum and WOOT!!!!

    Hip, hip hooray and FANTASTIC!!! (PIcture Joanie T and the kitties dancing a conga)

    So happy for you and LOVED the pic!!!!! You look elvish-ly beautiful as if you know a mage…or two…

    Can’t wait to read it!

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Thanks to you and the conga kitties! You had something to do with this, too, you know, and I appreciate that.

  • bn100 says:

    Congratulations! I’ve never visited a swamp. I like paranormals for the stories and the author’s creativity.

  • Eilis Flynn says:

    Wonderful! And, uh, did you mention this to our mutual friend Valeria?

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Thanks, Eilis! Yes, I mentioned it when I realized I wanted to use a slightly unusual name that happens to be hers, and she was fine with it as long as Val was a good character. So I hope she’ll be pleased.

  • Dina says:

    so far Im wining a New Orleans trip on Brenda Novaks auction and ir has a swamp tour.

    yes I read both and have read a book with images, hard to catch on for me

    • Nancy Northcott says:

      Dina, would that be the along a bayou? It sounds fun, and I hope you win!

      What did you find hard to get into about the mage books you read?

      • Dina says:

        come to think of it., I’ve read other books with pics, so I guess ok, lol.

        it say swamp tour, so not sure, but sounds cool

  • Terri Osburn says:

    I am so late to the party I’ll never catch up but I am SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!! You’ve deserved this for a long time so imagine me over doing the snoopy dance on your behalf. I’ve never read anything with a Mage, I don’t think. But these will be my first. I love the blurb and you do look fabulous. Though I’d say you always look great.

    No swamp visits, but I lived in a somewhat swampy area of Arkansas for a while. I’m not one for the unknown creature crawling out of nowhere or popping up in the water. I’ll just enjoy your swamp pictures from over here. 🙂

    • Terri, thank you, on all counts, including your willingness to try the mage books. Jo is new to mage books also, and I’ll be interested in y’all’s reactions.

      • Terri Osburn says:

        I don’t venture into Para territory often but I’ll do it if I trust the author. I trust you so that’s no problem. And if you feel like doing a guest spot in the fall, remember the Revenge is always open.

  • Cassondra says:

    Nancy, I’ve been away from my computer all day, and just got back. I so wanted to be here to cheer and woot for you as you announced this. But it looks like the whole lair and all the buddies turned out to do just that.

    It was really fun, tarting you up. Next time, no arguments when we take your picture.

    And to anyone still awake to see this, I’ve read the book and it’s FABULOUS!!!!

    I’m a whole lot in love with Griffin Dare.

  • I want to reiterate my gratitude toward all the bandits. I didn’t say that in my response to every bandita comment, but it still applies. Some contributed directly to the books via brainstorming or answering questions, but the support and the encouragement to keep going came from everyone, and it means a lot.

    It also means a lot that so many of our buddies are so happy for me. I appreciate it more than I can say.

  • Pissenlit says:

    Woo! Congrats, Nancy! That’s fantastic! Also, great picture! I love the colour scheme!

    I don’t know if it was a proper swamp but while interior camping one year, someone misread the map and we all very unfortunately found our canoes stuck in a very swampy area of Algonquin Park and had the worst time trying to paddle are way back out.

    I read tons of paranormal/fantasy books, most with a good bit to a lot of romance in them. It’s possible that I’ve sort of ODed on the recent vampire trend so I’ve been shying away from that type with a few exceptions. I particularly like books with fae, dragons, wizards/mages/magicians, and alternate history stories set in Britain with magic. Yep, I’ve read series with mages in them. What did I like about them? Well, one series had this one particular war mage in it…*cough* 😀

    • Thank you, Pissenlit! I’d say getting the canoe stuck counts. People go canoeing (canoing? both look wrong) in the Okefenokee, but after seeing the 10-foot gator, I don’t think I’d be up for that.

      I like alternate history, too. And would love to know which series had the war mage so I could check him, er, IT out! *g*

      • Pissenlit says:

        Oh, I am most definitely with you on that one. I do not do gators! 😀

        LOL! That particular war mage can be found in Karen Chance’s Cassandra Palmer series. There also happens to be a very…uh…*cough* nice mage of the elven spellsinger, commander of the Conclave Guardians type in Lisa Shearin’s Raine Benares series…you know, if you wanted some mage varieties to check out. *huge grin*

        • I’ll have to check out the Karen Chance books. I’m not familiar with them. I am, however, current on Raine Benares, just awaiting the next book, so I know exactly what you mean!

  • Thank you, everyone, for joining in today. You made this a really great day. I’m off to bed but will check back in the morning and answer any comments that come in before the new blog posts.

  • Don’t know why Facebook just notified me of this post but I hopped right over to say Yeah and fling confetti. LOVE the new look. Welcome to the fictional world of authordom. “G”

    You deserve every bit of this, Nancy. Take the world by storm!

  • Beth Miller says:

    Hi Nancy,

    Sorry I’m late in posting– was out of town! But I wanted to say that I’m so happy to be working with you, and thrilled that Renegade will be out in the world!

    I enjoyed your account of the photo shoot– the picture came out lovely!