Saturday Smackdown: The Action Hero
August 15, 2010
Ghosts versus Mermaids
August 17, 2010

Women newly in love display a certain glow.
Women newly pregnant display a certain glow.
Writers newly engrossed in an exciting project display a certain glow.

For me, that new project glow is a mental state. See, it’s not real secret that writers are a neurotic bunch. Maybe even a bit sadistic in the torments we put ourselves through, but each one of us who stick to writing have something in common.

We love what we do. We even love it when we’re doing something we hadn’t planned on doing, or didn’t really see ourselves doing. For the moment, for me, that means writing a contemporary romance with no suspense element. I’ve written paranormals that are different from my traditional suspense books, but even they had a little suspense in them. This latest book is completely free of suspense. Unless you count the suspense of which meddling granddad will win the bet. 😉

The idea started with a conversation with my editor. She suggested I try a straight contemporary romance where the hero and heroine meet, date and fall in love. Simple right? I couldn’t think of things without slipping in a cop or a Fed. I had to keep backing up and reminding myself the new rules I was trying to follow.

Fortunately, I’ve made some great friends over the years. I was talking to one of them (Cathryn Fox) and mentioned the new approach I was taking. I also mentioned that one day I wanted to do an anthology. She said, let’s do it. So, we talked to another friend of ours (Mackenzie McKade) and now the three of us are putting together a contemporary romance anthology that is shaping up to be erotic.

It’s forced me to expand my definition of what I could do as a writer. It’s required quite a bit of brainstorming and research to help me get the feel for the area we’re setting the story, but also for the characters and the kind of life they live. One particular area of research for me has been sailboats.

See, my hero is a sports journalist who primarily covers sailing. It makes sense to me that for him to do this right he would have a sailboat. But my hero can’t have just any sailboat. I see him as living on this craft year round so it’s got to be a nice one. So, I went sailboat shopping.

I chose a 40.5′ Hunter Legend. His particular boat has ammenities my car and house combined are lacking. And it looks great on the water.

I’m having to do some look ups to make sure I kep the lingo straight, because while I am writing fiction and don’t mind taking certain liberties, I may as well be accurate with these kinds of details. You know?

Anyway, the research has gone well and I was so excited to get to writing that I’ve written almost 5,000 words today. It’s only a 20,000 word story, so if my luck and pacing hold I’ll be finished this week. I’ve already had that moment in the story where I fell in love with my hero, which adds to the new project glow, and my heroine is too fun – even if she did almost give the hero a concussion. It was purely an accident and after stitching him up she apologized in the nicest possible manner.

This excitement level has made me realize again how much I missed starting a new project, and I’m eager to wrap this one up so I can start on the next one because I’ve rested from the creation of new stuff and I’m ready to be at it again.

Tell me, what’s something that gives you that happy happy glow? How do you maintain it or get it back to push you closer to your goals (if that’s your situation)?

Heart stopping puppy chases, childhood melodrama and the aborted hangings of innocent toys are all in a day’s work for Nikki Duncan. This athletic equestrian turned reluctant homemaker turned daring author, is drawn to the siren song of a fresh storyline.

Nikki plots murder and mayhem over breakfast, scandalous exposes at lunch and the sensual turn of phrase after dinner. Nevertheless, it is the pleasurable excitement and anticipation of unraveling her character’s motivation that drives her to write long past the witching hour.

The only anxiety and apprehension haunting this author comes from pondering the mysterious outcome of her latest twist.

Visit Nikki at to learn more about her books and her quirks.


  1. Heather Long says:

    I know all about the new project glow (sadly, my pregnancy was like that horrible edit, the one you know will be worth at the end, but is a trial to get there) — on the other hand, I adore my kid and my writing projects and all my writing pals. Keep on shining Nikki.

  2. Sandy Wills says:

    Heh. This post reminds me of an on-line writer-friend, Kathleen Cheney. She needed to learn about sailing so she signed up for sailing lessons even though she hates the water. *chuckles*

    One of her sailing posts is here: You might consult her if you have questions on how to sail. 🙂

  3. Sally Felt says:

    Congratulations, Nikki. It looks good on you. I hope you get some answers on maintaining a glow, 'cause I'm in one of those periods that could use an infusion of passion. Come on, writers–help a girl out?

  4. Kimberly Quinton says:

    Hey Nikki!
    I love that new shiny feeling!! Unfortunately, I also know how to squash it. 🙁 I had it for the first half of my current wip and then poof, it was gone. I'm hoping to rekindle the heat once the screaming banshees I call my children head back to school 🙂
    Can't wait to see what you do with your new venture!

  5. I call it: "Writer's High" when I get all buzzed up from a good idea. It's like an epiphany. That elusive "A-ha!" moment. Keeps me juiced up to 4:30 AM or sometimes the whole night through just writing/drafting it out! I love it!

    Also, animals make me "glow." I used to work in a zoo and then dog trainer center. Seeing happy little tails wagging puts a smile on my face! 😀

  6. Hey Nikki!!!
    I love the part when you fall in love with your hero…then you can laugh and cry at all the ups and downs the couple go through. This new project sounds wonderful and I can't wait to read it!
    xxo CourtneyK

  7. Nikki Duncan says:

    Heather, there's a reason I said newly pregnant women. The glow can fade when the morning sickness and other pains set in. LOL

  8. Nikki Duncan says:


    I would have done that if there were time. Mostly, my guys isn't doing any actual sailing – he's got the boat docked in a bay, but I'm marking her page just in case. Thank you!

  9. Nikki Duncan says:


    If it's any help at all, I find writing non storyrelated stuff helps me stay excited. Sometimes it's just random stream of thought writing. Sometimes I'll write about my characters and write until I learn at least one thing new about them. (I learned that last bit from Candace Havens).

  10. Nikki Duncan says:


    You let me know when you're feeling squashy – I'll help you out. 🙂

  11. Nikki Duncan says:

    Oh, Vegitarian Cannibal, I love that high, though that stay up all night normally happens for me at the end because I so badly want to finish. 🙂

  12. Nikki Duncan says:


    I think you'll appreciate what I've cooked up in this one. I mean, there are no hands tangled in thongs, but I've found it entertaining. 🙂

  13. Ali says:

    Sooo happy to hear this project is moving quickly for you… I can't wait for this anthology 🙂
    Ooh, I get all excited with new story ideas… of course, I'm having issues with the part where I maintain them and push myself closer to my goal *sigh*

  14. Hi Nikki,

    Congrats on your new project! Sometimes tackling another subgenre can get a writer's creative juices flowing. I've heard this from bestselling writers. Switching gears somehow re-energizes them.

    Right now, I get the glow when I write a powerful bit of dialogue or the perfect phrase. These little snippets of success keep me motivated.

    Hugs, Tracey

  15. Hi, Nikki. Great post. I did this sub-genre switch with my WIP. I went from romantic suspense to women's fiction and I loved the change. It was such fun figuring out the elements of a different genre.

  16. Angi Morgan says:

    Wow…glowing together…
    I get to begin a new project and it's bubbling to get out. Such a nice change from trying to write THE END at 59,000. LOL


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