Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Nancy Martin: Just sayin'


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: It was great fun, but it was just one of those...no, it wasn't. It was a ground-breaking mind-altering , consciousness-raising fabulous chaos of sisterhood, togetherness, empowerment and fabulousness.

Who didn't love the Lipstick Chronicles? The mother of all blog was so much a part of our lives for so long--its storied beginnings and its thriving and vital years of "Just saying" and "INCHFTS" and "Just keep reading and nobody gets hurt" and a no-holds-barred look at the mysteries of the world (and the world of mysteries.)

And then, one day recently...the tarts packed their belongings and emptied the supply room and with one last glass of champagne, went our separate ways. Leaving many memories and much nostalgia..and, because we are all who we are, some questions.

Now, we welcome the Lipstick alumns here to Jungle Red with a raised glass and a cozy quilt and some fish-net stockings and painted fingernails and a love of life and reading and each other.

Today, we also welcome one of the brains of the operation, Nancy Martin.

Who--no matter what she insists--still has more than a few things to say. And she's here to share and spill..and reveal the latest.

Surrender, Dorothy!
By Nancy Martin

Is blogging over? That’s the question we began asking ourselves at The Lipstick Chronicles water cooler about a year ago.

Can I admit this to you, trusted friends? The amount of time it takes to manage a blog finally overwhelmed me. Sure, most of it was fun. Some days, the blogs were hysterical. And my blog sisters had become almost as close to my heart than—well, anybody I’d ever slept in the same bed with. (I only wish we could have published some of the email threads we went to each other, but too many computer monitors would have been ruined by splurted coffee.)

Plus the backbloggers became my friends! And over six years together we’d built something big, something to be proud of—one of the first clearly successful blogs in the publishing biz that produced quality reading every darn day. In my 30-year publishing career, building TLC was one of the accomplishments I feel great about. But . . . running it was a marathon.

My blunt, practical, Yankee mother said, “Remember the lifeguard rule. Save yourself first.”

Another friend said, “Surrender, Dorothy.”

Would I be better off spending the same hours every day working on something for—dare I admit this, being as how I flinch from avid self-promoters?-- for me?

Most of my equally drained blog sisters said, “Yes.” Which cinched it. It was time to turn off the lights in the TLC office.

Let me tell you what happened as soon as we stopped blogging:


You know that guy who doing the Amish project? Turning off his technology for a while? That’s just about what happened to me. I climbed out of bed every morning to check the blog (oops! No need for that!) and I opened my email box to find it empty. Empty! The usual hour I’d spend answering emails was suddenly available for something else! And checking the blog three times a day to comment and delete the spam? No need for that anymore. No schedule to fill. No traffic-driving FB posts to make, no emails to write begging for attention.

Running a blog had become a small business for me, I realized.

“If I’d put all this time into selling Avon,” I said to a friend, “I could have retired by now.”

I’d been threatening to put old romances up on e-book market, so I’ve started working on that project. While I pound toward my deadline for a standalone. And while I rev up the Blackbird Sisters mysteries with a few more books.

Because, really? Do readers want another blog post from me? I don’t think so. They want more books. (What’s your opinion on this? Would you rather have more books from your favorite authors? Or more author newsletters in your in-box?)

So that’s what I’m working on now. Books. And I love the total immersion in my own writing again. It’s what I love to do. I’d allowed myself to be distracted.

Is blogging over? Of course not. Readers love blogs. I love reading blogs! The communities fostered by blogs are full of wonderful, fun, thoughtful people whom I will always consider friends. But for me? Yes, it’s over. Except when lovely pals ask me to guest blog when I have a book coming out. Which I do.

Plus something totally new, so keep scrolling down.

The paperback of STICKY FINGERS comes out next week, on Valentine’s Day. And the terrific people at Mystery Lovers Bookshop are offering autographed copies (and free shipping!) if you feel like giving a book to a sweetheart in your life. Here's the link: http://www.mysterylovers.com/index.php?target=products&product_id=60115 It’s a rip-snorting, sometimes steamy comic mystery.

In August, my new Blackbird hardcover will hit bookstores, too. NO WAY TO KILL A LADY. Isn’t the cover fabulous? Perfect for tucking into your summer vacation suitcase.

(HANK: OOH, yes, I LOVE the Blackbirds!)

NANCY: Plus, if you’re a Blackbird reader, I’m e-pubbing a short story/novella that’s a prequel to the series. It’s called MICK ABRUZZO’S STORY, and it should be available online next week through all e-book vendors. It’s priced right—just $1.99. Let me know what you think. Because in the time I used to spend writing blogs, I’ll be writing novellas about more secondary characters in the series.

HANK: Yes indeedy. It sounds like Nancy is REALLY taking it easy, huh? Did you read Lipstick Chronicles? What did you think of it? What do you remember from it? Let's do some Lipstick nostalgia..and if you never met Me, Margie or the cousins...well, there's still the archives. Or--maybe we can get Me, Margie to make a visit here!

And a free copy of Sticky Fingers (with love from Jungle Red) to one lucky commenter!

Nancy Martin is the author of nearly 50 popular fiction books, including mystery, suspense, romance and historical novels. She lives in Pittsburgh. Every February her husband moves into her office to work on their tax returns, and it drives her crazy. Visit her website at http://www.nancymartinmysteries.com/


  1. LOVED lipstick chronicles and was sorry to see it go. But yes, I do prefer books, if I absolutely must choose.

  2. Hi Nancy,

    What a nice surprise! I love whatever you do, but I cannot choose between favored blogs by favored writers, and books by favored writers. Although one may enhance the life of the other, each is a very different experience. Each inspires me in ways I find difficult to describe.

    I do love the cover art of NO WAY TO KILL A LADY. Beautiful!

    xoxo R

    My captchas have seemed like personal messages the last day or so. This one: ABLED.

  3. eurGoooooooooooooooooood Morning, Nancy! Great to see you here, darlin'!

  4. Yay, Nancy!

    If you're going to make me pick, of course I'd rather have books. But blogs are such a great way to feel connected - not only to authors, but to the community of commenters.

    And, of course, I can't even count the number of new authors and books I've come to love thanks to TLC and now Jungle Red!

    -Reine, my captcha isn't personal, per se, but it does seem appropriate- sooDig! (ahem, emphasis mine...)

  5. How nice to see familiar faces--er, names---this morning! Let me tell you that the one thing I seem to finally have time for is getting back to reading! It's always been my goal to read two books a week, but in the last couple of years I had to let that slide. Which is a huuuuuuuge mistake for writers. So I am finally making a dent in my TBR stacks.

  6. Sure, I read Lipstick Chronicles and even wrote about it for EQMM. And I like Jungle Red and a bunch of other blogs. But I love books, too. I must because I have thousands of them. Forced to choose, I'd have to take the books.

  7. Hey Nancy, welcome to JRW! I love love love your mother's lifeguard advice...don't you think we all have to continuously evaluate how we're spending our precious time--not just writers! What a mixture of sadness and relief you must have felt...

    Can you tell us about the standalone or is that not ready for prime time?


  8. Hi, Nancy!

    I confess, I was gobsmacked by the news that LC had given up the ghost. You were the gold standard! The blog that really created community -- which is what it's all about.

    Congratulations on the Sticky Fingers paperback. Can't wait to see what else you get up to now that you have so much free time on your hands :-)

  9. If it were not for the blogs I would never have read the inestimable Ms. Nancy Martin's work, nor that of dozens of authors discovered through TLC and JR, and other blogs.

    Nor would I have met and become friends with so many authors and backbloggers! Having dinner with Reine tonight, as a matter of fact. TLC enriched my life on so many levels, and I miss it deeply, but I really look forward to your next things, Nancy.

  10. Bill, you are an unsung hero. You do so much for all of us!

    Lucy, I would tell you all about my standalone, but it's 3 weeks from delivery, so you can imagine how I feel about it right now! It's a total mess! With flashes of brilliance. ;-)

  11. Hallie, we all still feel a little gobsmacked, but it was time. We saw handwriting on the wall. And it wasn't just Her, Margie doing her fingerpainting!

    Karen, you are one of those people who really makes a community come alive. (I was so tickled to have lunch with you in Columbus!) Not only do you make thoughtful comments to keep the discussion going, but you reach out to people in positive ways. You're a peach! (No, wait, Peach is somebody else. And we had dinner with her in Oakmont!) You're a gem!

  12. OH, it's such a treat to see you all! And to have you as part of the Red community..

    I'm juggling, too..I'm 40,038 words into my new book and its due in August. So it's..doable.But it's constantly on my mind.

    Nancy--if you have a second! Tell us a bit about the new Blackbirds! (Have you ever thought about a pre-pre-quel? For YA?)

  13. Hello, everyone!

    I am still stunned by the community we created at TLC - I consider many TLC alums as friends, even though we never met.

    As the only non-author in the group, I can say it was very hard to give up the blog. But writers write, the authors are back to focusing on the books we love, and I am blogging on my own, so there ya go.

    Kathy Reschini Sweeney

  14. Nancy, it's so great to see you here.
    A good time was had by all at TLC and so many new friends were made.
    I am looking forward to Mike's story.
    All the Best, Nancy!!

  15. Hi, Nancy! So good to see... er, read you again. I loved TLC, but your mother's right. Remember, on the airlines, they always tell us that, when the oxygen masks drop, if you are with children, put on your own first. Seems to me, you might have been coming up a little short on oxygen while feeding it to all of us.

    Csn't wait to hear about the standalone. And the Blackbird Sisters, yay!

  16. Hank, I had a couple of years to think about the new Blackbird book. (Was I burned out? Short on interesting material? At a loss about where the characters could go? After 7 books, maybe so.) After refilling the creative well, I have sent most of the characters on slightly new trajectories. Michael definitely has a wake-up call and new territory to explore. For the next book (the one due---egad--October 1, and I haven't written a word!) I think it's Emma's turn on the hotseat. (Lots of readers what to know more about her. She is on a bad path, I fear, with alcohol and men. But she is like a lot of single women I know. Hm. Her own worst enemy?) There are some new characters--surprising relatives, that is, who come out of the woodwork. And a well-known, real life diplomat makes her first appearance.

    I think every author has a knapsack full of emotional material to explore, and I had taken Nora Blackbird on a journey. It felt finished to me. But, no, after mulling it over, I am taking her a lot further. Does that make sense? Or is it too much writerspeak? The book is fun, though--certainly fun to write, and I think it's a fun read, too.

  17. WHoa. my captcha words is Laziest. REALLY????

    ***And that reminds me...the winner of Deb Crombies' book is---Lora from Florida!! Lora, email me ant h ryan at whdh dot come and I'll give you the details!!***

  18. Nancy, I have missed you and TLC so much that I still cry at times when I think about it!! I loved having the opportunity to let my favorite authors know how much I enjoy what they create (and I have been waiting IMPATIENTLY for a LONG time for another Blackbird Sisters story) and I also loved sharing my love of reading with other people.

    The people here at JRW are awesome to us TLC orphans, though, and it's already seeming like another family. (Hey, I even won a book here recently!)

    I can't honestly choose between wanting the blog and wanting more books by you. I'm selfish - I want both! But my mom taught me that we can't have everything we want in this world. Now, knowing that you will have more time for novellas, I am feeling like I am helping to "free" you up to entertain me more often! (I AM selfish!)

    Again, Nancy, SO WONDERFUL TO SEE YOU HERE TODAY! And I do enjoy seeing you over on FB from time to time!

    Best of luck with everything.

    Deb Romano- TLC alum

  19. Nancy, I'm so happy to get the chance to tell you how much my mother--who is almost 90--enjoys your books. There are many things she can't do any more, but she can still read and your book have given her many hours of pleasure.

  20. Deb, it's great to see you here, too! But---new horizons, right? We'd all be boring if we stayed in the same rut.

    Darlene, I love your mom. Really, I mean it.

  21. My captcha says haphopp . . .

    TLC helped me broaden my reading horizons, nothing wrong with that! A great community of online friends as well. I do miss it but getting extra book reading time is not a bad thing.

    Oh wait, I had to sign in on google and now my captcha is cryofall.

  22. Hello, Nancy! Hello, Hank! And all you wonderful writers and friends on this blog.

    "Would you rather have more books from your favorite authors? Or more author newsletters in your in-box?" Nancy, I can't imagine a better way to put it. More books, hands down.

    But I must admit, as one of the TLC originals, there is a tiny hole in my heart, and it took me until just this week to take the TLC link off my e-mail signature.

    Glad to see those Blackbirds back.

  23. @Karen in OH:

    Hah! Yes! Isn't it lovely that a social agoraphobe like me would make friends with someone from a another planet (she has to actually fly here for dinner) and that it is the result of being introduced at a writer's blog, TLC?

    And this is not the first time she's done this. She did it a year ago as well, when we'd barely just met on TLC. This took a great deal of maneuvering on her part, because - contrary, apparently, to the understanding of most who read my comments - I really am a social scaredy. So here she comes again, tonight, to help me celebrate a significant birthday with my dear Scout in The Old Pueblo.

    I miss TLC . . . but happy to be here now at JRW and very happy to see you here, Nancy!

  24. I was kind of late to the TLC party, so I felt particularly cheated when it ended: "Hey, why don't I get to hang around long enough to really make friends here? I wanna be part of the in crowd!"

    I have been enjoying Jungle Red a lot, but was still feeling a little surly as I read the beginning of this post. (I must still be in the anger stage of my grief) But you completely won me over with "I’ll be writing novellas about more secondary characters in the series."

    I was excited when Margaret Maron recently made a Deborah Knott short story available on Kindle and I know I will enjoy yours, too. And after all, we still have Jungle Red!

  25. Nancy, you are right: change is good. It can be difficult, too, and I am one that grumbles and grumbles - but manages to adjust and find happiness in the "new". (Then I wonder to myself, "gee, what was the big deal? Look at what you've learned/how much better things are now", etc.) I really am very happy to hear about what you are doing now, and I expect to be reading MORE of your work; looking forward to it, in fact!

    Reine and Karen: I envy the two of you! Wish I could be getting together with TLC (and JRW) fans! Have a great dinner, and Reine, have a wonderful day, all day long, for your birthday!

    Deb Romano

  26. Susan, just because you were late to the party doesn't mean we valued you less. Thanks for checking back here at JR!

    We always talked about a TLC road trip. Or a cruise. Imagine Karen as the cruise director!

    Harley, I can say it now.---I miss your blogs most of all!

  27. You will keep us posted on the various releases somehow? I check my facebook looking for you guys, and I read Kathy's new posts. Nothing stays the same, but you were quite a group-funny, and inspiring. Yes,I miss you, but now I'm here ;) Have fun, Karen and Reine!

  28. LIl, so great to see you! Xo And Reine, wait-- it's your birthday...? Okay, here's the plan...at 5 pm EST..everyone sing happy birthday to Reine! Are you with me?

  29. Hi Nancy,

    I enjoyed TLC, and, man, was I surprised when I checked in right after the New Year. It seemed so out of the blue, but I understand how much time blogging takes.

    I love the supportive community that's sprung up around TLC, Jungle Reds, and Femmes Fatales. I feel like I know y'all, so that...Okay, let's imagine me at a conference (Bouchercon!), along with you or Hank or Harley or Deborah or Hallie or any and all of you, and let's imagine my debut novel just out (a girl can dream), and let's suppose I feel like I know y'all so well through this online community that I feel comfortable introducing myself and perhaps inveigling you to join me for a glass of wine...I imagine that would be a blast (for me at least)!

    This is the kind of thing I imagine when I grow frustrated or disheartened. Gotta keep the hope alive.

  30. Lisa..we're buying! And we all know dreams come true..xoxo

  31. Hank, you are so dear! I'll be listening! Does it matter if my birthday isn't until the 14th? xox

    Hi Lil! <3 Susan! <3 Paula! <3 Deb! <3

    OK. Captcha: "barti." Must be "party" with a stuffy nose.

  32. Nancy, you are beyond sweet.

    As for being a cruise director, don't tempt me!

  33. Hank, it's okay. It's Charles Dickens; 200th birthday today and Debs' book birthday, so we can still all stop for a moment and sing "Happy birthday" at 5:00 EST.

  34. And I am celebrating today!

    Linda, Charles Dickens? Wonderful!

    Oh-oh. Captcha: Psyci.

    Waaaaah! Got so edited I forgot to enter the captcha. Got new one: Agnost. Help! I've been captcha'd! Open the box! Let me out!

  35. Wow! Thanks! That was gorgeous!

    Now if I win Nancy's new book that would be perfect. Of course I will buy it anyway. xoxo

    omg . . . Captcha: croneri

  36. Lisa, you make us sound like an exclusive club, which is a hoot. We're all in this together, Baby! See you at B'con!

    Is anyone else going this year? It's close for me, so I'm already registered. Even if it means setting foot into the dreaded Cleveland. (Go, Steelers!) We had a TLC get-together in--where was that? SF? (Obviously, I had too many mimosas.)

    My captcha word is "durapinc," which sounds like some kind of adult incontience product. Yeesh!

  37. Nancy, I have to agree with your choices. It is so much easier to do the people-pleasing route of continuing to keep all of us backbloggers happy than to take the position that makes some antsy, some jealous, some cranky, of taking care of your own priorities appropriately rather than letting 'em slide. Just think what the world would be like if we all stuck to the first best use of our talents instead of doing what others want . . . (four fingers in this fist pointing back at me!). But, thanks for the TLC memories, Nancy. It was great.

  38. Laraine! So great to see you..what a very nice day...and TOMORROW? Joshilyn Jackson! Whoo hoo. What a nice week her at Jungle Red.

    But there's still time to win Nancy's book--keep those comments coming!

  39. I did enjoy Lipstick Chronicles. I do understand that so much effort goes into a blog, sometimes it's difficult to keep it going without having other things (books, more books) suffer. Happy writing!

  40. I do miss TLC, but life goes on . . . and I'm looking forward to No Way to Kill a Lady!
    Good to see you here!

  41. I won! I won! woohoo...It's my Birthday, gonna party like its my birthday... wAIT till I tell my mom, she is going to be so jealous!! Maybe I'll let her touch it...

    I miss TLC too. I was more a lurker...since I work in my children's LIbeery, there is not a lot of time to get on line. So I would get home at the end of the day, and just read everything that people posted.( and laugh, and laugh!) But as you can tell, I LOOOVE books, so I would prefer that you keep 'em coming, Nancy! Big Blackbird sister fan so very excited for everything new!

    My captcha (bilophat) isn't nearly as exciting as yesterday's.

  42. You've all been gracious and delightful today. Thank you very much for the warm welcome and kind good wishes on the Blackbirds. (Laraine! I miss you!)

    The wonderful Rhys was kind enough to blurb it for me. One of the nice ladies of Jungle Red!

  43. Tomorrow...Joshilyn Jackson! And Thursday we talk about ...well, its a Jungle Red Chat.
    Love you, Nancy! And can't wait for the books...we'll announce the winner in on hour or so...

    As my captcha word says: horootr!

  44. And the winner of Nancy's SITCKY FINGERS is" paulabuck! Email me at h ryan at whdh dot com for details!

    And because we love Nancy so much..Jungle Red will give another autograhed copy to: Susan! Email me, susan!

    And see you here tomorrow for Joshilyn...

  45. Dang, I missed this yesterday, but I'm so happy so see some of my favorite commenters in one place again. I still miss TLC so much, but I'm glad I can connect with a lot of my pals on Facebook, and I need to make it a habit to come here as well.

    I'm so looking forward to more Blackbirds, Nancy. Glad the well got filled up again.


  46. I would rather have more books from the authors that I read and enjoy.

    I can't wait to read the next Blackbird mystery.

    and I love the idea of novella at the price point.