WeWriWa: Paging Through the Past . . . Where it Began (Historically Speaking)

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Sunday, January 23, 2022

WeWriWa: Paging Through the Past . . . Where it Began (Historically Speaking)


Once the doors of romance were thrown open to the publishing world, (as detailed in the above interview by my local KALAMZOO GAZETTE July 29, 1987) I was off and writing! One pen name couldn’t contain my output (written by hand and typed on an electric typewriter using correction tape back then!!). I was now Dana Ransom (a baby name my then husband had wanted to use, combined with my mom’s family name), an at home mom with a preschooler when I got that first call and was asked what else I had besides my first contracted regency (see last week's post). I had three other completed manuscripts, still untyped, to pitch – two historical romances were snapped up on nearly impossible deadlines . . . one being the same date as expected Kid #2! Between August ’87 and June ’91, I had seven historicals debut in Zebra’s brand new Heartfire line, their pages filled with passionate pirates, riverboat gamblers, and tropical plantation owners. I hit lists and won national awards, especially for self-promotion, which was a brand-new thing back then. I was officially living the dream. I felt like a character in one of my books...


The rhythmic slap of huge paddles churned the muddy waters of the Mississippi into foam as the steamer glided along the first leg of its twenty-four-day round-trip packet between St. Louis and New Orleans. Alone at the rail, a slender girl stared dreamily down into the confusion of the river that boiled yellow-white beneath the graceful passage of the ship. The slight smile curving the gentle mouth of Gloria Daniels made her look even less than her eighteen years as she stood lost to her musings, her gray eyes wistful. Perhaps it was the childlike way she hugged the rail, her slippered foot swinging idly beneath full skirts, that made her appear so young, but there was another quality as well. Her heart-shaped face shone with it. There was a guileless purity to Gloria Daniels; her eyes lit with untried enthusiasm; her lips parted with vulnerable sweetness to breathe in the intoxicating newness of everything around her; creamy complexion as smooth as a babe’s and unflawed by lines of knowledge. The exaggerated width of her bonnet brim over flaxen curls and the ballooning sleeves of her simple gown emphasized the diminutive size of the figure within, suggesting a small girl dressed up in her mother’s clothes.

Gloria would have cringed had she known the image she projected. The last thing she wanted was to appear an ignorant Minnesota farm girl who had taken her first steps away from home.

(and more . . .)

She sighed as fanciful thoughts flew ahead to New Orleans. The anticipation of seeing her first real city set her imagination afire. When dreaming of her heart’s desire, she ceased to be the only daughter of Tom Daniels, a plain, hardworking farmer. She no longer wore the dowdy, out-of-fashion gowns that filled her trunk. She would be dressed in silks and jewels. She would be one of the regal, sophisticated women who promenaded on a gallant arm, and no one would mistake her for a child. She would be someone, someone important, someone who demanded notice, who enticed with a sultry glance and broke hearts with an indifferent pout. And she would find romance in the exclusive saloons of “Little Paris”, a romance to equal the passion of her lonely, isolated dreams.

Glory Daniels, from my third novel, LOVE’S GLORIOUS GAMBLE, was also naïve when it came to the future. I’d expected the moon and got a second-tier spot in Zebras shorter new Heartfire line, with a sliver of the print run of the Hologram historicals. Fame wasn’t instantaneous, but I did have a spot on the bookshelves (back when they had two book stores in every mall and huge sections in every grocery chain), some great reviews, an industry award, and momentum when I was invited up to the Big Show (coming in next week’s post). I was moving on up . . .


Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! Share an 8 to 10 sentence snippet of your writing on Sunday. Visit other participants on the list and read, critique, and comment on their #8sunday posts.

Spread the word, share the love, warriors - Hashtag #8sunday.


Nancy on the Web



18 comments

  1. Great description of Gloria as she is and as she wants herself to be. I wonder how long it took her to realize the persona she showed was not the one she wanted others to see? Wonderful snippet and great to see your history as an author! Tweeted.

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    1. I don't think she has a grasp of it yet. She's still a very sheltered country girl . . . about to get an education!

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  2. Julie Evelyn JoyceJanuary 23, 2022 at 9:51 AM

    This is SO FREAKING COOL, Nancy! I love reading about your past as an author. I hope you turn this into a memoir, and then it becomes a movie, and I'll be sitting in the front row telling all my friends how I know you. :D

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    1. I'll invite you to the private screening! LOL! Aim big, I always say.

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  3. The opening line - The rhythmic slap of huge paddles churned the muddy waters of the Mississippi into foam
    I could hear the slap and visualize the motion. Fabulous start.
    Tweeted.

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    1. I went down the Mississippi on a paddle wheel to do research. A miserable job (heehee!) The bugs and humidity . . . and the smell are what I still remember!

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  4. Felt drawn right into the scene from the very beginning, not only with the scenery, but with the character herself. Great writing! And fascinating to learn about your history with writing romance!

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    1. I'm surprised that it's weathered the years so well!

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    1. Thanks, Ian! One always wonders if older works can still cut it.

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  6. Wonderful description of Glory!

    I am so enjoying your walk down memory lane. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. :-)

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    1. It's a long dang walk! I'm counting in as my steps for the next week or two!

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  7. My heart aches for her because she's so naive...loved all the details in the snippet and also the glimpse at your publishing career backstory in the blog post itself.

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    1. We've all been there to some degree. Growing up and growing wiser are too different things.

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  8. Such wonderful descriptions--of her, the river, the surroundings. I love this. Also love her dreams. So sweet. I fear for her naiveté.

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    1. Hopeful and naïve . . . and ready to fall prey to the real world. She's tougher than you think.

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  9. This is so nice, Nancy. I'm following these posts with interest.

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    1. Thanks, Elaine. The stroll down memory lane is lots of fun.

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