Happy Birthday, Janga! Wishing you sunshine, smiles, and happily ever afters today and always.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Today's Special - - Nancy Northcott


It's always a pleasure to welcome Nancy Northcott back to the Romance Dish. Nancy's Light Mage Wars series is a contemporary fantasy romance series set in modern-day Georgia. Her latest installment in the series is a holiday novella titled Magic & Mistletoe. You can learn more about Nancy and her books at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter

Please join me in giving Nancy a warm welcome.







The Blank Page
by Nancy Northcott


Every December, I tear the shrink wrap off of the calendar for the coming year and flip through the pages. They’re full of beautiful photographs and blank spaces.  I already know some of the things that’ll be in those blanks--birthdays, holidays, and various appointments--but most of the boxes have nothing yet destined for them.  Filling in some every month will chart the journey of our year.

I’ve never been one to look at every day as the first day of the rest of my life.  That’s just too relentlessly upbeat for me.  But after a day or a week or a month that hasn’t gone well, turning to a new, blank page is a way to draw a line under what came before and start fresh.

A perfect example, and one many of us think about at this time of year, is weight loss.  When I worked as a weight loss counselor, I used to tell people not to get upset if they slipped up one day and totally blew their eating plans.  Getting back on track the next day, on the next blank page or box of the calendar, can help salvage the rest of the week.  It’s damage control, and I think it’s easier when there’s a new, clean page to be written on.

Some people make their new starts by listing resolutions.  I’m prone to overreach when I do that, so I’ve started making general plans instead.  There’s something about resolutions that feel rigid to me, as though a single slip-up voids progress.  Plans seem much more flexible.

This year, my plans are to lose weight, work out more often, declutter my house (surely a Herculean task), and weed my bookshelves (again, and more ruthlessly).  When I flip the calendar page to each new month, I’ll consider how I did with these the one before and what I need to do in the one ahead.

I also want to get back to the Okefenokee and to Brunswick and Savannah so I can do research for the Light Mage Wars.  I love seeing these places through the characters’ eyes and figuring out how my imaginary people will interact with these surroundings. 

There are other blank pages than the ones on calendars, of course.  Artists start with blank canvases.  So do needlepointers and embroiderers, though they use different kinds of canvases.  For a cook who loves inventing dishes, the blank recipe card waits to be filled.

Writers confront blank pages all the time, ones we need to fill with words.  Those pages are both invitation and challenge, and the words come more easily some days than others.





For me, 2016 will involve launching two new series, one historical fantasy and one romantic suspense, as well as following up on the Arachnid Files novella I released last year in the Capitol Danger anthology, and continuing the Light Mages series.  It’s looking to be a busy year, one I hope will be not only challenging but fun.











Do you make plans or resolutions?  Do they ever involve blank pages or canvases? What are you looking toward for this year?

28 comments:

  1. I had to smile while reading your post. I could have written most of it, minus being the author part. I have never made real resolutions, just more of a general plan on how to improve how life is going. Your "This year, my plans are to lose weight, work out more often, declutter my house (surely a Herculean task), and weed my bookshelves (again, and more ruthlessly). When I flip the calendar page to each new month, I’ll consider how I did with these the one before and what I need to do in the one ahead." is a carbon copy ( or mine is a carbon copy of yours) of what my priorities are for this year. My husband is retiring soon which will add something different to the mix. Each month may start out as a blank page, but it always seems to fill in much too fast.
    I like that you are returning to the locations of your books to see how your characters fit in and would interact. That kind of accuracy gives a much more solid feel for the setting. That is important to me as a reader, especially if I am familiar with the area. It gives an authenticity to the feel of the story. Best of luck with your new books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Librarypat--

      I wish you success in your plans for the year and appreciate the good-luck wishes you offered me. I've been to Savannah and to the Okefenokee a number of times and to Brunswick once. My husband and I love Savannah, which was one of the first trips we took together. Going as a visitor, though, is very different from going with an eye to using the setting.

      My visits to the Okefenokee and to Brunwick were for research purposes, and I was delighted to find that Brunswick, the city nearest to my mages' secret HQ, has a charming downtown area and lots of lovely old houses. If you've seen other posts of mine, you know I fell in love with the Okefenokee and am always glad of an excuse to go back. It's nice to know readers enjoy those little details that come only from walking the ground.

      Delete
    2. It's evident when reading the books that Nancy has thoroughly researched those areas. When visiting southeast Georgia one almost expects to run into her characters!

      Delete
  2. I make resolutions but I don't always achieve them sometimes I do sometimes I don't.. i try to work to achieve them but I don't put too emphasis on them

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Natasha, I also don't obsess over my plans for the year. You can make yourself crazy that way!

      Delete
    2. I used to make resolutions but nowadays I just make plans. And sometimes those plans change from month to month. I've learned to go with the flow more as I've gotten older.

      Delete
  3. I make resolutions but I don't always achieve them sometimes I do sometimes I don't.. i try to work to achieve them but I don't put too emphasis on them

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't make resolutions. But would love to have my husband clean out his junk. LOL.
    ladbookfan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Patoct, my husband could say that about me. Our house would be so much tidier if I had fewer books! 😏

      Delete
    2. Hmm. That ?? Was a grin emoji, just so everyone knows.

      Delete
    3. Patoct, I have a feeling half the wives in the world would agree with that wish!

      Delete
  5. Excellent post, Nancy. I like your way of looking at the coming year in a way other than making resolutions. That seems too rigid to me also. Now that I've seen the back of 2015 (it was a horrible year in our family), I'm eager to face 2016 with better health, more writing, and quality time with my family. When I'm writing, I tend to ignore them, poor things! Here's raising a glass to 2016!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jo. I hope 2016 is a great year for your family and for your writing!

      Delete
    2. Jo, I hope 2016 treats you MUCH better!!

      Delete
    3. Jo, I'm so sorry that 2015 was a difficult year for you and your family. I hope 2016 will be filled with much happiness!

      Delete
  6. Hi PJ! Hi Nancy! Nancy, loved your piece - it was so thoughtful. I agree about resolutions having a horrible rigid feel to them. I definitely make plans, though. Love the sound of yours - especially as we'll have more wonderful stories of yours to read when they come to fruition. At the moment, I'm only looking to June - three more novellas to publish (got two written) + two more Dashing Widows to take the series to 5. Then I hope to settle down to writing something full-length. Too many attractive ideas at the moment so I'm hoping I'll have a front runner by the time I get to midyear. Wishing all the Dish friends and family a wonderful 2016!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anna! I'm looking forward to more Dashing Widows! I gave up resolutions years ago. Now I tend to make plans/set goals in three-month increments. Much more manageable. :)

      Delete
  7. Thanks for the kind words, Anna! I love the Dashing Widows and am delighted there are more on the way. I hope 2016 is wonderful and productive for you, too!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Last year I decided I was going to retire from my full-time job and just work two days a week at my part-time job. I had been working two jobs for ten years and I'd decided life was just too short. After visiting my parents in Florida, I made it my goal to move to Florida in 2016. Fortunately, I was able to find a place I really liked and now all I have to do is come up with the money to buy it. Wish me luck. I'm very excited about taking this next step.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Regina, congratulations on carrying your plan through! I hope everything works out smoothly.

      Delete
    2. I'm very excited for you, Regina! May this be the year that all your plans come to be. I lived in Florida for several years and loved it down there. I hope you will too!

      Delete
  9. Nancy, what a great post! I'm with several posters - including Anna! *waves* - in feeling that resolutions are just too rigid. As a friend of mine said, "Intentions are better" - so I have Intentions for 2016. Most of which include the words WRITE MORE. Grins. Some say research, some say things about time with family, but most have to do with making time/being in a space to write. Now....let's see if I can intend my use of time properly and make them happen!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jeanne! I'm so glad you'll be writing more, as I love your books!

      Delete
    2. Ooh...intentions. I like that, Jeanne!

      Delete
  10. Love your books, and I'm looking forward to reading more of them!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you, PJ, for having me, and thanks to everyone who stopped by!

    ReplyDelete