Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Round of Applause for the Good Guys

I saw some frustrated sentiments on social media this week, and I thought I would chime in.

This pertains to the world of publishing, but it could probably apply to almost any profession.

It's human nature to crave the satisfaction of "fair play." 

We like to think the good guys will win, and the bad guys will lose. Unfortunately, life doesn't always work out that way.

It's incredibly frustrating to see folks who lie, cheat, and steal get ahead and "win."

There are plenty of folks in the publishing world who are engaged in shady business...slick, manipulative, and unethical marketing techniques; plagiarism; copying brands, story concepts, book ideas. Folks lie about their true identity, use people under false pretenses, ghost people when they're finished.

And then...there are people who DON'T do these things.

People who are transparent, who come up with their own original story/branding concepts, work hard, and engage in above-board promotion.

It can be really discouraging to see the folks who engage in the crappiest behavior rise to the top of the pile.

It's especially discouraging if you are on the receiving end of some of this bad behavior.

It's even more discouraging when you and all of your ethical behavior are not accomplishing the same level of success.

I have two bits of wisdom about this...

1. Redefine success.

It's a dangerous thing to define success in an art field by the numbers.

Number of books sold. Amount of dollars earned.

And yes, I consider writing an art.

I know there are folks who only see it as a business enterprise, and plenty of writers who depend on their income to live.

But the slippery slope here is that if you see publishing romance novels only as an unlimited cash cow, you are creating a monster. There are folks who will push that to the limits. And beyond. They think nothing of crawling over other people to get that magical pot of gold.

If you are an author who is clinging to ethical behavior, I have a few things to say to you. Things you might not hear a lot...


Great job!

Way to go!


Excellent work!

Your success does not need to be defined by numbers. You need to stop comparing yourself to others. 

This leads me to Bit O' Wisdom #2...

2. Own your path.

Comparing yourself to others is extremely unhealthy in this business. You will never be proud of your own accomplishments, because someone out there has accomplished MORE. Bigger things. Better things. And not always by honest means.


If you are committed to being transparent, authentic, and hard-working...good for you.

Own it.

Don't worry if you don't make a million bucks this year.

Be proud of who you are and what you are accomplishing.

The two most important things in a writing career--in my humble opinion--are quality and integrity.

If you can stick to these principles, and also sell a million books, do it.

If you can't, that's okay.

Be your authentic self, and own it.

Sending out positive vibes to the good guys...


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Summery Update Part B

Hubby on Annual Fishing Trip!

Q: Dear Nina, what's been going on in your neck of the woods?

A: A whole bunch of stuff!

1. Hubby did his annual fly-fishing trip to British Columbia. See photo above. He caught numerous fish and had only one near run-in with a family of Grizzly bears. Success!

2. Took the family to Portland, Maine for a quickie summer trip. Here are the kids in Cape Elizabeth...

And here are a few pics from the GREATEST botanic garden, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. I fell madly in love with this place.

3. My hubby took me to Newport, Rhode Island for my birthday. We had a lovely tour of The Elms, and then had a lobster roll for lunch. Happy Birthday to me!

4. I flew to Pittsburgh to visit my sister and mom, and to give a talk to the Three Rivers Romance Writers. It was so much fun to see my family. Favorite activity: dressing up in crazy outfits and dancing to Madonna. 

The Roth Girls Reunited

5. My office make-over is pretty much complete. It involved cleaning out the junk, painting the walls cheery yellow, and redecorating with colorful, quirky items.




Much better!

6. My main gardening project has been harvesting the overgrown raspberry bushes. Yummy!

7.  Unfortunate Home Apocalypse: Not sure why, but my house starting falling apart this summer. Fence broke. Phone broke. Washing machine broke and flooded basement. One AC broke and leaked through ceiling. 2nd AC broke and leaked through ceiling. 3rd AC leaked...onto carpet. We're about 3/4 of the way through fixing things, removing things. The biggest project was removal of wet, moldy stuff in the basement. It took 2 days, multiple dump trucks. But the deed is done!



8. What are you guys doing this summer? Any fun trips, gardening projects, home projects? Let me know!

Love to all, 


Monday, August 6, 2018

A Few Summery Updates: Professional (Part A)

Time for A Few Summery Updates: Professional (Part A).

Part B is Personal Updates...coming tomorrow.

Part A: Professional 

1. My first announcement has been a long time coming. 

I have decided to temporarily retire "Penny Watson."

What does this mean?

It means that I have a boat-load of stories floating around in my head, but they are not romance-driven. They still include love and friendship and romance, but they are not fitting into the "romance genre" box anymore.

My interests have changed over time, and my writing has changed over time. 

I finally realized that the reason I was struggling so much with my current WIP was that I was trying to squeeze it into a box where it did not belong.

So, I stopped squeezing. And I just let the story unfold organically in my convoluted brain.

And I realized it wasn't romance.

Furthermore, all the other stories I was working on were also struggling to break free. The whole idea of the main storyline following a central romance was no longer the driving force for my creative ideas.

And that's okay!

My voice is still the same. Quirky, whimsical, optimistic. But I have other ideas to explore, and other types of formats to try.

My current WIP will be published under my real name, Nina Roth Borromeo. It includes twelve-year-old characters and their extended families, a bit of a paranormal twist, and a funky format. There is plenty of humor and whimsy and quirkiness (think Wes Anderson movies), as well as a serious reflection about the relationship between humanity and nature.

I will keep you updated here about my progress and eventual publication date.

If you would like to check out a sneak peek of BLUE, here's a snippet.

Thank you for your support and patience and all that good jazz!

P.S. I'm not totally closing the door on PW. It's possible she might crank out some more stories in the future. Never say never. xoxo

2. Speaking Updates...

I had a busy spring and early summer. I gave a talk to the Southwest Florida Romance Writers group about creating a unique writing plan. What a great group of writers! I love it when there is a lot of discussion, and this group was so engaged and thoughtful.

I also chatted with some high school students about writing novellas. They were highly interested in the romance world and asked many questions about publishing. 

Finally, I visited Pittsburgh and enjoyed a low-key chat with the Three Rivers Romance Writers group. They are lucky enough to meet in the charming Sewickley Library. We talked about self-care for authors and simple living. They were right on board with mindfulness and meditation and being kind to ourselves. Really enjoyed this day!

Now for some disappointing news. Unfortunately, I had to cancel my last two workshops of the in Toronto and one in Atlanta. Some family issues have come up, and I will not be able to attend those conferences. I'm really disappointed. Maybe next year? *fingers crossed*

Coming tomorrow...Personal Updates. Includes photos from Maine, Newport, Pittsburgh, my office, my garden, and more tales about the Home Apocalypse. 

Hope all of you are having a good summer!

Love, Nina