Wednesday, October 26, 2011

REV UP WEDNESDAYS - A weekly booster shot for inspiration... Catching up with NINA PIERCE

How many times in life have we given up on something we wanted to do or be? How many times do we make excuses for not completing a task? I have gone through moments when something gets so hard that I want to call it quits. The reason I hold on is because I'm stubborn and yes, a little masochistic. But, sometimes a little masochism helps, doesn't it? Or you can call it dogged determination - to get through a challenge despite any pain and discomfort it may cause because the ultimate goal is so totally worth it.

Yet, when I come across people like Nina, I realize how my everyday challenges may be petty in comparison. Six years ago Nina had to let go of a job she loved because she was diagnosed with MS. From one moment to the next, she was faced with an affliction for which there is no known cure. What did she do? Give up on her dreams? No. She found a new purpose. She started to write.

For every challenge we are faced with there is a solution. It may not be a direct resolution to the problem, but giving ourselves new goals and ambitions is always a good way to keep us in touch with the positive aspects of life. It allows us to remain connected to our innermost desires. By building new thresholds to walk through rather than let problems overpower us, we can claim a complete and purposeful existence.

So, here's how Nina celebrates life...

How long have you been writing?

I began writing in 2005 when my multiple sclerosis made it impossible for me to keep teaching. Not one to sit idle, I needed to find something I could do sitting. An avid reader my whole life, I decided to try my hand at writing romance and a career was born!

What did your family say when you told them you wanted to be a writer?

My family is very supportive and they also knew I could make a go at anything I put my mind to … I’m pretty determined that way. There are a few that aren’t happy about the genre I’m currently writing, but all of them support me.

What is your preferred genre both for reading and writing?

In both cases it’s romance, hands down, though I’m very flexible about the setting whether it’s contemporary, historical with paranormal elements in or in the future. Currently my TBR pile seems to be filled with paranormal stories.

My writing bounces around genres. I’ve written contemporary and futuristic. Dystopian societies and paranormal shifter worlds. But I always enjoy putting an element of suspense/mystery in my stories. There’s a challenge weaving it in to a great romance. I have attempted to write an historical, but I never say never. 

Did you take any writing courses or did you just sit and write a book?

My last year of teaching I took a course at the local university on “Writing Fiction”. But as I learned later the professor didn’t teach many of the basics of novel writing. I sat down to write my first story knowing nothing about point of view or story structure. But pushing through that first story was trial by fire. With the help of some more experienced authors and some wonderful contest judges, I learned the craft of writing.

Did/do you have a crit group or mentor to guide you?

Within the first year I found some newbie writers who were in the same place as me. We swapped stories and critiqued each other’s work. I continued to take classes online which really taught me a lot.

I recently moved and don’t have a crit group right now, but I’m hoping to hook up with some local writers and form a group. I need less critiquing these days and more time brainstorming. I always think it’s nice, no matter where you are on your journey, to have the support of other writers.

Do you use a/several pseudonym(s) and if so, why did you choose to have one/them?

I do have a pen name. When I first began writing I found my real name was all over the internet already and most of them were realtors! I knew I’d get lost in that if I wrote under my name. So a pseudonym was born.

Mine is actually my stripper name. LOL! I was sitting with my mom in a restaurant trying to come up with a good pen name and she kept rejecting them all. When I suggested using my stripper name … name of the first pet you had as a kid—I had a cat named Niki … and the street you lived on—Pierce Avenue … my mother jumped. We tweaked it a little and I became “Nina Pierce”. But I always tell people it’s “mother approved”. LOL!

How long did it take you to make your first sale? What was your first thought when you did?

I began sending out manuscripts the first year I wrote. Thank goodness they were all out to contests. I had some wonderful judges who gave great advice and writing tips that helped me improve my writing. I wrote three manuscripts before I sold the second year of writing.

And what did I do? I cried. Great sobbing buckets of joy. Then I told all my friends and cried some more.

Did you sell the first story or novel you wrote?

Nah. As much as I love that story and it taught me a lot writing it, I’m not sure it can be saved from itself. It’s full of clich├ęs and newbie writing mistakes. But it sits quietly under my couch. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it. It’s kind of like an old friend that taught me the ropes.

How many drafts did you write of your first novel before you felt you got it right? What about now - do you still write several drafts of a story?

When I first started writing and people were talking about being on their second or third draft I got very worried. I write my books and submit. I don’t generally do drafts. It took me years to realize everyone’s process is different. I can’t just spew out a first draft. I wish I could. I bleed words on to the page, fussing over every single one and continuing to tweak as I go. What many people do in their second draft, I do as I’m going.

It doesn’t work for everyone, but that’s how things come together for me. Some day I’d like to get my muse to just run away with a story. So far, that hasn’t been the case.

Did you get an agent first or did you submit directly to publishers?

I did seek out an agent at first, but then my patience wore thin as I continued to 1) not hear back or 2) didn’t get a response. At first I began researching publishers and submitting directly to them. There are many online resources of publishers that accept unagented manuscripts.

When several publishers offered me contracts for my manuscript I randomly emailed some of their authors and asked about editors, publishing staff and royalties. Authors are wonderful that way. Don’t ever hesitate to email someone with a question. I got some great advice and information and was able to make an informed decision about where my book fit best.

Did you ever get rejected? If so, how did you handle it?

Many times! Rejection is part of the world of publishing. Not everyone, editor, agent, reviewer or reader is going to love your book. It’s a kick in the pants when they do, but rare when you have a story absolutely everyone loves.

When I received a rejection I let myself be disappointed and feel sad, but I knew just because my book wasn’t right for one publisher didn’t mean it wasn’t right for another. I dusted myself off and kept sending my manuscript out until I found an editor who fell in love with the story.

What, in your opinion, do agents/publishers look for in a new author in the current market? Is it all to do with talent or with trends?

Wow, that’s a loaded question. The problem with a trend is that if you’re not the one starting it, it’s hard to find room on the train before it leaves the station.

The truth is, agents and editors want to love your story. They want to fall in love with your characters and get carried away by your story. Regardless of genre, they want to be left breathless when they’re finished reading.

What do you think of the changes going on in the book industry (e.g., e-books vs. print books, and big publishers getting involved in digital publishing)? Where do you see the industry going?

I was leery of submitting my book to an e-publisher five years ago. I thought I’d somehow “settled”. But the digital industry has exploded! The truth is, with all the readers buying electronic books I think an author would be losing a huge share of the market if their book wasn’t also available in digital formats.

Do I think they’ll replace paper copies of books all together?

I’d like to say “not in my lifetime”, but I expect to live a reeeeeally long time *flips hair and bats lashes* so it could actually happen where the big guys are no longer offering contracts for print books. That being said, they will then need to develop a new model of offering advances and change royalty percentages.

As it is right now, digital publishers don’t offer an up-front advance with a book contract, but the percentage of royalty on each sale is high. I think more authors will be looking for money up front and perhaps less of a percentage per sale in the future.

Do you think writers should consider self-publishing?

There are many public figures, John Locke and Amanda Hocking to name a few, who have made it really big on their own releasing books directly to Amazon. But that doesn’t work for everyone. It is important that an author considering self-publishing should find a good editor to edit their manuscript. There would be nothing worse than a new author publishing an unedited book and losing future readers.

On the other hand, I’m re-releasing some books from my backlist that were published and the rights reverted back to me. They have already been through the editing process. Many authors are finding great success through the self-publishing venue. It’s just another arm of your writing business IMHO.

Are your books available in print or in digital format?

My books are all available in digital format with one currently in print.

What advice do you think aspiring authors should heed today?

Write what inspires you and makes your heart sing. Yes, I do think it’s possible to write for the market, but if you’re not enjoying it, why bother?

What are you working on now?

I’m currently rewriting a book that was previously published. The rights reverted back to me and I’d like to expand the story and offer it out as a longer piece of fiction. I’m also finishing up my XTC Resort series through Ellora’s Cave and hope to have the third and final book out before the end of the year. Then there are all those other story ideas percolating in the back of my brain. Sometimes it’s a matter when I sit down, of what book is begging loudest for my attention.

What is/are your favourite book(s)? Do you read only books from the genre you write in?

My favorite book is the first one that was published “Healer’s Garden”, available now through Ellora’s Cave. I fell in love with these characters years before I actually sat down to write the book. It’s a beautiful love story between a man and a woman, but I think people are a little shy about buying it because it does have a very matriarchal society flavor.

It’s definitely some of my best storytelling to date.

Do you read when you are plotting or writing a story?

I do. I know a lot of writers don’t for fear it will influence what they’re writing, but I don’t feel that way. Reading romance was my first love before I put pen to paper. Since I write all the time, I couldn’t give that up.

Do you have a ritual that you follow when it comes to writing?

I don’t. When my children were in high school I did. I got up early and wrote until they were moving around and went back to it when they left for school. I usually wrote until early afternoon and then went on with the rest of my day.

These days with all the marketing and social networking I find I do that in the morning and then settle down to write in the afternoon and into the early evening. I have another burst late in the evening that can carry me to the early hours of them morning.

I wouldn’t recommend my method. I strongly encourage an aspiring author to find a time that works for them and write every day. You’ll be amazed how that habit catches and takes hold.

Where do you see yourself, careerwise, in 5 years time?

On the NYT Bestseller list. LOL! Isn’t that the dream of every author? Seriously, though. I’d like to be writing 2 or 3 books a year and be making a good living at this career.

What's your website URL?

Are you on Facebook?

General page:
Fan page:

How do you connect with readers?

I love to hear from readers. They can contact me through my email

About Nina:

Award-winning erotic romance author, Nina Pierce, grew up in a house full of readers. So becoming enamored with books was only natural. She discovered romance stories in her early teens, falling hopelessly in love with knights in shining armor and the damsels who saved them.
Eventually, reading about alpha males and the journey to find their happy-ever-after endings wasn’t enough. She needed to pen her own stories of fated loves and soul mates. Nina’s discovered the passionate side of romance with her sexy stories. For her, it’s all about the sweet scent of seduction mixed with the heart warming aroma of romance.
Nina resides in the northeast with her high school sweetheart and soul mate of twenty-seven years, their three grown children and several very spoiled cats who consider her “staff”.

Latest and upcoming releases:

Invitation to Ecstasy

A woman unwilling to trust…

Sara Lancaster isn’t sure accepting her invitation to a BDSM weekend at XTC Resort is a good idea—though she does have something to prove. Years of abuse at the hand of her former Master have taken their toll. Now, two years later, Sara believes she’s ready to embrace her submissive side once again and enjoy the carnal pleasures of a younger Dom.

A man testing his limits…

Derek Thomas has lost belief in his abilities as a Master. Accepting an invitation for Dom training could be exactly what he needs to regain his self-confidence. Challenged with an experienced older woman, he soon realizes wielding a flogger isn’t always enough to break down the emotional walls and heal a damaged submissive.

Two people with something to prove…

Sara and Derek sizzle with sexual heat the moment they step into the dungeon. The mind-blowing sex and physical pain may satisfy their bodies, but wounded souls and broken spirits just may require something even more intimate—their hearts.

Love’s Bounty

A woman determined to protect her heart...

Landscaping in Delmont, Maine hasn't been DEIRDRE TILLING's only passion. Up until two months ago, it had included a live-in lover. Jilted for the third time in as many years, Deirdre's decided to give up on love. With her feet firmly planted on the path of one night stands, she finds herself heating up the sheets with a dark haired stranger she met at her new employer's party. But one night with the man who is both sexy as hell and compassionate, may not be enough.

An agent hell bent on proving himself…

DEA agent, AYDEN SCOTT, has a lot to prove after a disastrous drug bust in Miami three years earlier that left a member of his team dead. Working undercover as lead investigator, he's determined to bring down an elusive drug cartel smuggling heroin into central Maine. He'll use any means necessary to complete his objective, including sleeping with the suspected drug Lord's landscaper, Deirdre. He just hadn't expected the feisty redhead to be so much more than long legs and dangerous curves.

One night neither of them can forget…

Deirdre and Ayden both thought one sexually explosive romp in the sack would be the end of their relationship. But Deirdre's arrest for heroin possession and her father's near-fatal heart attack prompts Ayden to confess his true identity. When Deirdre is kidnapped by the drug cartel and used as a pawn, Ayden is forced to choose between his heart and his mission. The question is...who will survive his decision?

~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.