Updated: Apr 16, 2019
So glad you're here today! I love #TakeOversThursdays. I love when my guests take over my site to share their inspiring stories. They really are stars and their commitment and work ethic are admirable.
When I invited today's guest, she told me she was worried her story wasn't as inspiring as the other authors, but I knew why I invited her to be with you today. I knew her story was exactly what we all needed to hear.
Read it yourself! I'm sure you'll agree with me. Nancee is a perfect example to explain why I usually sign my posts as "Your biggest fan." There are so many heroes out there who deserve their stories to get known. We all enjoy books, but when we know the journey our authors have had to go through, their stories are more meaningful to us and their talent is more valued.
Without further ado, it is an honor to introduce you to the one and only, Nancee Cain!
Thank you, MJ, for allowing me to stop by your blog. I love that you promote kindness and self-worth! All of us have a need to connect, a desire for love and acceptance. I’m grateful for your friendship and uplifting words of encouragement. Being bombarded with negativity daily through the news, social media, etc., I think we all need more positive messages!
I’m an author but I consider myself a reader first. My parents instilled a love and respect for the written word. One of my fondest memories was on Saturdays, we were allowed to bring our books to the lunch table and read while we ate. My mom insisted I read a variety of books (otherwise it would’ve only been Nancy Drew's, The Hardy Boys, or The Three Investigators!) I “suffered” (yes, add the melodramatic eye roll accompanied by a whine) through one classic for every two of my beloved mysteries. However, some of those classics remain on my Favorite Books list: To Kill a Mockingbird, Little Women, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and Pride and Prejudice.
My parents also instilled in me a good work ethic. They were of the mindset that with hard work one can accomplish whatever you set out to do. I never gave writing a serious thought. From the time I was four, I knew I was going to be a nurse, although, as a child I wrote stories to amuse my younger sister.
When I was in 7th grade, we moved. I was in a new school, feeling like an outsider, desperately wanting to fit in. I told outrageous stories and made so much crap up it was hard to keep up with my lies. (That should’ve taught me to do better timelines for my stories, just ask my editor.) I chose to quit lying and started writing to keep my classmates entertained. Brian’s Song was a huge influence. It inspired me to kill off most of my characters to make my friends cry. Apparently, this has carried over into my current writing *insert evil laugh* which I’ll discuss in a bit.
Time went by, I completed nursing school, married and had my daughter. My husband started working the evening shift. This left me alone with time on my hands after my daughter was put to bed. My love of reading continued but now geared more toward romance novels, which I’d discovered in college. I was a voracious reader and read all the romances at my local library, spending way too much money at book shops.
My husband was a coal miner, and for a time being he was left out of work due to a fire underground. I could no longer buy books, so I started to write my own. I had no idea what I was doing, but I wrote two books before going back to work full time. With such a busy schedule, I ended up putting them away in a box under my bed, where they collected dust for eighteen years. They were titled “Angel of Mercy” and “Learning to Breathe.”
In 2012, a dear friend of mine, Jill Odom, published a romance novel. I was so excited! I knew a published author! Authors were my rock stars; I was following them on social media and fangirling big time. Indie romances were my absolute favorite. I told my friend I’d written a book, too. She read it and was totally honest about it. It sucked! But she didn’t tell me to quit. She mentored me and encouraged me to join our local RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter, Southern Magic.
My first meeting was magical. I’d found my people. Folks who loved to read and were pursuing their dreams. So! I dusted off that horrible rough draft that was entitled “Angel of Mercy” and got busy learning the craft of writing. And along the way, other authors helped me. I wouldn’t be here without them! (yes, Debra Anastasia, I’m looking at you!)
In my “real life,” I work in the field of addiction as a nurse/counselor. Daily, I see folks getting beat down by their disease. They feel hopeless and unworthy, and are consumed by shame and self-doubts. And yet they are some of the most talented, resilient people I’ve ever met.
I was told early on to write what I know. So many of my stories are about people with significant problems. Are my characters all addicts or alcoholics? No. But they all have struggles, make plenty of mistakes, and have baggage from their pasts. Through the power of love and forgiveness they find redemption, which is something I feel all humans are seeking.
I try to take sensitive topics ( like suicide, human trafficking, addiction, PTSD, alcoholism, and mental illness) and write about them with compassion and humor. Because, let’s face it, not laughing at our own human foibles makes for a miserable existence. Whether you’re an addict, a new mom, a teenager, a business man, or a blue-collar worker, we all struggle with the same feelings and needs. Readers say my books are angst with humor. I still like to make readers cry, but I always put a smile on their face at the end!
I was very lucky at the beginning of my writing career. I went to RT in NOLA in 2014 and pitched two stories, Saving Evangeline (written during NaNoWriMo in 2013,) and Just Maggie, the third in my Pine Bluff series. The publisher offered me a contract for both. As the main bread winner for my family, I knew I couldn’t work on two stories at once, so only accepted the contract for Saving Evangeline. It was published in 2015. So far, it all sounds like a fairy tale, right? But think about your favorite fairy tale stories. The heroes and heroines have a lot of trials and tribulations before they get their happily ever after.
I didn’t hit a list. I didn’t have movie offers. As a matter of fact, the publisher turned down the sequel. And no one else wanted my contemporary series. I have no idea how many rejection letters I got, but each one made me cry. It was discouraging and disheartening. But I didn’t wallow in it and give up. With help from other authors, I entered the world of self-publishing. Am I successful? It depends on how you define success. I met my goal and published my books. And those first two books that were stored under my bed, and the one I didn’t take the contract for? They’re part of my Pine Bluff series. And the one that the publisher turned down? My local Barnes and Noble had me do a book signing and stocked my book.
Has it been smooth sailing? Hell, no. Not at all. But I’m tenacious, and I have a strong work ethic. I write every day —my husband says I’ve only taken a total of 15 days off writing since 2013, I think he’s right. Writing is my passion. It helps me escape when things are rough. I wrote Tempting Jo while my mom was critically ill in the hospital. I published three books last year while both of my parents were very ill and in and out of the hospital. I still work full time. I’ve worked through Lyme’s Disease and other family problems. Am I a super woman? Nope. Just stubborn. And more importantly, I’m not alone.
I have my family, my wonderful agent, and so many author friends who help me. And I have my readers who lift my spirit and encourage me to “write another book.”
Have I thought about quitting? Yep. More times than I should admit. But I set a goal for myself in 2012. I wanted to see my Pine Bluff novels completed and published. And life is funny. About the time I think “I’m done,” a reader contacts me and tells me they loved my book, or related to a character, or post a review.
Every. Single. Time.
So my advice to future authors? Find your people, interact with other authors, ask questions. Authors are very giving. I’ve made every mistake to be made on this journey. Feel free to friend me on social media and ask me your question. Join a writing organization, such as RWA. If there isn’t one in your area, there are online chapters! And don’t give up. If you feel like quitting, reach out, there’s always someone to help.
And to conclude, the second book from under the bed, “Learning to Breathe” will be published this summer, as the sixth book in the Pine Bluff series, The Reintroduction of Sammie Morgan. And “Just Maggie” was published last year as The Rehabilitation of Angel Sinclair.
So don’t give up! Hang on to that dream!
Thank you, M. J., for allowing me to stop by and share my story! Book friends truly are best friends! xoxoxox Nancee
Don't you love her?! Great advice from a dear author in our reading community that you can apply to everything. Nancee has a surprise below, but before that, please allow me to express my most sincere gratitude to Nancee and wish her my very best in every project.
Nancee, you are amazing! You are meant for Greatness.
Now, the good stuff! Some news and info about Nancee that you can't miss, including a giveaway!!!!
Now for the fun stuff. Want to see how crappy a first draft is? I’ll be glad to gift two readers (US or International) signed swag. In it will be an origami heart made out of the first draft of “Angel of Mercy,” which is now published and is the first in my Pine Bluff series.
For a chance to win: Comment below what you liked the most about this guest post and share it in Social Media. That simple! Good luck!
The first book in the Pine Bluff series, The Resurrection of Dylan McAthie ebook is FREE on all platforms! Don't miss it! Did we say is FREE???
PINE BLUFF SERIES:
Welcome to Pine Bluff, AL--where everybody knows your name and your business! If you love angst with humor and character-driven stories that deal with real-life issues, try this series. Each book is a standalone, but they are more fun read in order so you can see what your favorite characters are up to!
FREE ➡️ books2read.com/DylanMcAthie
If you prefer paranormal stories about snarky, bad boy angels trying (unsuccessfully, but hilariously) to blend in with the human population, try these:
Feel free to find me, friend me (mention this article), join my group. We have a lot of fun!
FB Reader’s Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cain.Raisers/