Researching Books

Thinking
Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.

This could probably go into an FAQ section. A lot of times, I’m asked how much research do I do for my books.

The easy answer is: It depends on the book. Some require more research than others do.

Here’s the thing.

I like to research things. I can easily get lost in Google searches and following tangents until what I’m looking at bears nothing to the original search. So what do I do?

Honestly, I start writing. When I need to know something, I look up that thing. For example, in Navajo Rose, I needed to know some police scanner codes. I did a Google search on that phrase and got a pretty good list on various scanner codes used in law enforcement.

Doing research like this keeps me on track and I don’t go off on very many tangents.

It should go without saying that if I’m writing anything historical/semi-historical, I do a lot more research up front, but I do enough to get going and then look up whatever else I need to know.

I’m still hoping to find an old map of Ireland, the older the better.

My Credentials

jen1It has been implied recently that I am not a “real” writer because I am not “serious” about my career. I’m not naming names or anything like it. That is counterproductive to what I am doing here.

It is true that I don’t brag and send out press releases every time I have something going on. That’s my fault. And that will change. But for now, here is a list of–well–a lot.

I have over 20 years of experience in writing for publication. My work has appeared in WritingforDollars.com (unfortunately now out of publication), Writers JOURNAL, Ada Evening News in the main paper (series on meth in Ada) and in the annual Progress Edition, Ada Hub Magazine, Ada Magazine, 4HEALTH Magazine, World Of Myth Magazine, and the OWFI Report (a column of website reviews and Internet-based tools for writers that ran for five years). Articles have also appeared on eHow.com and Demand Studios.

I am a hybrid author, meaning I have been traditionally and independently published. I have two novels and three short stories out under the pen name Kat O’Reilly. I have a series of short ebooks (currently three titles have been released with more to come), a book of devotions, a book about Twitter, books about creativity, and books about planning. Currently, I am working with The Wild Rose Press toward the publication of a paranormal/mystery novel, which is the first in a trilogy.

The complete list of my titles is:

Devoted to Creating: Igniting the Creative Spark in Everyone (currently out of print)
Get “Twitter”pated: A Writer’s Handbook to Twitter
Windsong & Other Poems
80 Creativity Tips
Create Your Own DIY Planner
Project Planner for Creatives
8 Patterns to Crochet
Journal Your Way to Creativity

JEN Enterprises Presents:
Why You Need a Writing Practice
BOP Your Way Through Writer’s Block
3 Keys to the Kingdom

Written as Kat O’Reilly:
Navajo Rose
Kiernan’s Curse
“They Call Me Malak”
“This Is Your Karma”
“Sex, Politics, & Vampires”

My articles, novels, and poems have won various awards. I have been a writer-in-residence on several occasions at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs. I have presented at conferences, civic organizations, and even this group. I have served as a contest judge for OKRWA (the Oklahoma chapter of RWA – Romance Writers of America) and OWFI. I have served in numerous volunteer positions within OWFI, including as 1st and 2nd Vice-President. If you are unfamiliar with the OWFI organization, the 1st VP is the person in charge of the contest.

I do not present any of this to put-down or disparage anyone. I mention it only to correct the implication that I am not “serious” about my career.

More News & List of Books

Front cover of the book, Journal Your Way to Creativity, by Jen Nipps

I have another update for you if you’re keeping up with the status of RealmWalker: New Beginnings.

I got an email from the editor requesting the full manuscript. I had the full finished when I sent her the first three chapters a couple weeks ago, so I sent that to her today. Here is part of the email reply from her:

from here I’m sending it on for what’s called a Preliminary Read. it’s like asking for a second set of eyes–all in preparation for a Request For Contract.
That doesn’t mean this is a done deal but it’s a step in the right direction.
This is a delight to read!!!
thank you thank you thank you. You have made my day.

Um….

No.

I’m pretty sure SHE made MY day.

OK. I might have made her day, too. I don’t know. I’m not there.

I will be sure to let you know when there is more news.

On a related subject, I had a friend say that judging by the title, this is a work of fiction and that they thought I write only nonfiction.

Yes, the RealmWalker series is fiction. I almost said I don’t write a lot of fiction, but that’s not exactly accurate. It would be more correct to say I don’t publish a lot of fiction. Most of what has been published is nonfiction.

All nonfiction and poetry is published under Jen Nipps.
All fiction is published under Kat O’Reilly.

Jen Nipps books:
Devoted to Creating: Igniting the Creative Spark in Everyone (currently out of print – if you see this on Amazon for an astronomical price, don’t get it. I’m working on re-releasing it.)
Windsong & Other Poems
Get ‘Twitter’pated: A Writer’s Guide to Twitter
8 Patterns to Crochet
80 Creativity Tips
Create Your Own DIY Planner
2018 Project Planner for Creatives
Journal Your Way to Creativity

Kat O’Reilly books:
Kiernan’s Curse
Navajo Rose

Kat O’Reilly short stories:
“Sex, Politics, & Vampires”
“They Call Me Malak”
“This Is Your Karma”

All of the short stories, 8 Patterns to Crochet, and Create Your Own DIY Planner are only available on Kindle. Everything else is available on Kindle and in print.

Wow. That’s the first time I’ve listed everything in one post, I think. And that really wasn’t the intent, but there you have it.

Creativity in the Heart of the Ozarks

If home is where the heart is, then mine is split between where I live and Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

I first started going to Eureka Springs in 2000, the first time I went to the Ozark Creative Writers’ conference. That was also the first time I ever heard about the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. I got to tour it the next year.

That is when I decided I would go there. I would stay at the Writers’ Colony one way or another. I applied for a paid residency. I didn’t get that, but I did get accepted for a general residency that I would pay for. After finding out how much that would be–and knowing it was affordable–I went.

I don’t know exactly how many times I’ve stayed, but it has been several over the years. It is where I finished Devoted to Creating: Igniting the Creative Spark in Everyone. It is where I started writing Kiernan’s Curse and Navajo Rose. I’ve worked on most of my books there. It is definitely a locus of creativity in the heart of the Ozarks.

I wasn’t able to go to Eureka Springs at all last year, not even for the conference. I hope to return this year. The arts, in general, are supported as a whole (it seems) in Eureka Springs. They have a very strong arts community and many artists call the town their home.

I can’t wait to go back!

Happy creating.

Welcome to November

Today is more than just the beginning of a new month. It’s also National Author’s Day.

And it’s the beginning of National Novel Writing Month.

In case you’re not familiar with NaNoWriMo (as it’s more commonly called), the idea is to write a rough draft of a novel totaling 50,000 words in 30 days. It started as motivation for those people who say they will write a book “someday.”

Well…

“Someday” is here.

It’s also encouragement for those of us who do write and who do have novels written to dust off the idea for the next book and get going on that.

That’s where it’s relevant to me.

A couple years ago, I wrote Navajo Rose (under the pen name of Kat O’Reilly). My sister-in-law asked where the next book was. I said there wasn’t a next book because it’s a stand-alone. She insisted that another character needed her own book.

I thought about it and decided she was right. A couple days ago, I finally found the inspiration for the hero. So I started it last night/this morning at midnight.

I’ll update about my NaNoWriMo progress every Saturday through the month. In the meantime, are you participating in NaNo? What are you working on?