Meet Nicole R. Dickinson


NicoleRDicksonI welcome Nicole to my blog.  It is such a pleasure to have you here Nicole. I look forward to getting to know you better in the next few minutes.

First of all….

1. What are your hobbies?
I run – not a marathoner or anything, but I will run up to six miles at a time. For me, running is when I can remove myself from every demand in my life and center my place in this world. I never run with anything like music or talk radio pouring into my ears. Always I need to be outside. I listen to my feet hit the ground on a trail somewhere and feel the earth hold me steady as I pass. I hear the wind replying to my breath. Deer and squirrel and bat and owl move with me at times and it is while running that I sense the effort it takes to be in this world. My body aches from that effort. Yet even when it rains or snows or the sun beats down heat upon my road and I grow weary, I feel with most clarity the absolute wonder of life.

2. What inspired you to want to write Here and Again?
A couple things inspired me to write this novel. One was the terrible but honorable cost military families pay for their service. Remember, when a family member joins the military, the entire family joins the service in one way or another. I wanted to acknowledge that service and honor that truth. The other was to walk into the Civil War. I study this time in our history. I consider myself a serious student of it. So as I was driving through the Shenandoah Valley one day, I finally had a character from that time enter my head and finally had a story to write that would lead me wandering those pivotal years in our history.

HereAgainCover3. Can you summarize the book for us?
Here And Again is a story of two people who have lost their future. Both are wandering around as ghosts, stuck between their beginning and their end. For Ginger Martin, widowed by the Iraq War, the struggle to keep living in her husband’s dying dream carries only the hollow pain of his loss. For Samuel Annanais, a soldier lost in the Civil War, the duty of service has left him a wandering specter without an end. These two souls meet on the banks of the great Shenandoah and realize, though separated by time, they are essential to each other as they seek a future in their own lives and find their purpose in each other’s.

4. What are your future writing projects?
Currently, I am working on a novel that deals with Sherman’s Special Field Orders, No. 15, which, back in the Civil War, was a military order that allotted 40 acres (and a mule but that is questionable) to the newly freed black slaves in Georgia, South Carolina, and several other states. This history has become the tale the Red family of Antres Vast, Georgia tells each generation as to how they came to own the property on which they live and that same 40 acres is now at the center of a major family battle. As with most family stories, the telling changes in time and is rarely reflective of the reality way back when. In fact, sometimes family history is nothing but a myth and the truth is deeper, darker, and more defining of who we are than even we ourselves can possibly imagine

5. Any tips for aspiring writers?
Find the purpose. Every story has a purpose. To finish a story, there must be the purpose to bring it into being. For me, I never finish a story unless I have the end. Sometimes the end changes a bit, but without it, I have no road and no horizon and with no horizon, there is no purpose and so, no story. When you have the purpose, the story lives. Find the purpose.

6. Could you share your website with our readers?

Thank you Nicole!  It was a real pleasure getting to know you better. What a wonderful person you are and a GREAT writer as well. I am SO enjoying reading your book, and will have the book review here shortly.

All the best of luck!



Meet Nicole R. Dickson and Her Wonderful New Book

HereAgainCover NicoleRDicksonHere and Again
By Nicole R. Dickson

Deep in the Shenandoah Valley, the present and the past are as restless as the river mists. And when they collide, the heart is the only compass pointing home.

For nurse Ginger Martin, her late husband’s farm is both a treasured legacy and the harbinger of an uncertain future. Since he was recently killed in Iraq, every day is fraught with grief that won’t abate. Keeping the farm going and nourishing her children’s hopes without him seems as impossible as having dreams for the future—or going back into the past…

By a curious coincidence, a stranger appears in Ginger’s life, always showing up to help in unexpected and much-needed ways. He says he’s a soldier, lost and trying to make his way home, but Ginger understands that Samuel is a kindred spirit, longing to repair a life interrupted. The challenges of their hopes and longings will test who they really are in the most heartbreaking of ways. And only by coming to terms with their losses and the necessity of change will Ginger and Samuel be able to each make a future of their own—and discover at last where their true home lies…

Author Nicole R. Dickson creates an indelible, delicate world filled with heartbreak and hope, seamlessly weaving past and present, and tying together the personal price we pay for legacy, war and duty.

Praise for Here and Again

“If you could seamlessly blend the movie Field of Dreams with Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife and season liberally with John Jakes’ North and South, you might find yourself with this unputdownable book. Dickson deftly draws the humanity out of two wars in which the U.S. has seen many horrors and places Ginger’s story against a backdrop that blends scars from the two… Ginger’s pain will resonate and stick with readers who will want to move to a farm – with horse-drawn plows – and hug each and every one in Ginger’s circle.” — RT Review, June 2014

“Ginger Martin lives on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley with her children and working as a nurse. Now her in-laws want to sell the farm and Ginger wonders how she can keep it. But the farm is her children’s legacy, and Ginger is determined to hold on to her home. The appearance of a stranger dressed in a Civil War uniform will change everything. Dickson seamlessly blends past and present in this deeply satisfying novel of a family coming together after a devastating loss, finding strength in the most unexpected of places, and discovering exactly where they truly belong.” – Booklist, June 2014

About Nicole R. Dickson

Nicole R. Dickson is the author of two novels, the first of which, Casting Off (2009), was a top ten entry in the first Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2008. Additionally, as a business executive, she writes essays on leadership and defining brand. An avid student of history, she can most often be found buried in that section of the library and finds many of the books there follow her home to rest on her bedside table. Here and Again is her second novel.

NAL Accent/Penguin
Trade paperback, $15.00/$17.00 Canadian
Kindle $15.00
400 pages
ISBN: 978-0-451-46677-8
June 3, 2014
Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound and Powell’s
Complimentary Digital Download for Review available at NetGalley [For press, professionals & bloggers only]
Genre: Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Facebook: /nicolerdickson
Twitter: @nicolerdickson

For interviews and press assets, please contact Darlene Chan at

Excuses Begone

It has been said that old habits die-hard and seem to be next to impossible to change. But this need not be the case. You CAN change old habits and patterns of thinking that are keeping you from being the best writer possible.

The first thing that a writer should do is to take stock regularly. When a writer evaluates how she is progressing, she is able to become aware of some of the self-defeating thoughts and actions that she takes every day—ones that are completely unproductive and can lead to misery and a lack of success.

In order to change our old negative, self-defeating writing habits, we should seek to get rid of all of our excuses for not accomplishing and producing what we must in order to be successful. This usually takes an intentional mind shift—one that moves the writer from a negative to a positive state of mind.

So, instead of constantly saying, I can’t, I’m not able, I’m too old, I’m too dumb, and so on, we should say, I will try this, I can do this, I can learn to be a better writer, I can get published and so on. No matter where you are in your writing career, you can make small improvements today in your thinking patterns that will eliminate some of the excuses for you to remain stuck in a rut of negativity.

Here are a few things you could do to get yourself out of the negativity rut.

• Make a decision NOT to entertain any more excuses for not being the best writer that you can be. Instead, start where you are right now, and decide on which positive steps you can take to bring your career to the next level so that in time you could be successful.

• Take steps to change and reverse all negative self-defeating writing habits and thoughts that you have towards your writing career. Instead, try to write every day, even if it is for 15 to 20 minutes. The consistency will help you to feel more confident about your writing career. Also, take a class every season to upgrade and improve your writing skills.

• Have a zero tolerance towards negativity in your life in general. Many times when writers experience negativity in other parts of their lives, such as with their families or jobs, this kind of spills over into their writing life. So, it is important to take steps to be as positive in all areas of your life.

• See yourself through a new lens. Instead of seeing yourself through the lens of failure, view yourself through the eyes of success. If you have to fake that feeling at first, that’s okay. Just develop it. This positive feeling will give you the confidence to pursue any of the avenues you need in order to be the most successful writer.

By taking these steps, you will stop making excuses for not being a successful writer. Instead, you will take responsibility for your writing life. You CAN BE a successful writer. It doesn’t have to be difficult, even small changes can produce major results. All you need is a positive mind-set.

Try it!

Irene S. Roth
Freelance Writer, Author, and Editor

Book Review: Noddy in Wonderland

This is a GREAT novel with wonderful pacing and magical elements in it. If you are trying to write a great fantasy, please take the time to read this book. Here is a review of the book to tweak your imagination.

61XC2aC7g7L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_[1]Noddy In Wonderland
By: Paddy Bostock

Noddy in Wonderland is a unique fantasy novel for all ages. It will keep the reader turning those pages. It is filled with romance and magic. What a great combination for a novel!

Noddy in Wonderland is a multifaceted drama, imbued with philosophical, social and psychological implications. Yet, one of the greatest aspects of the novel is that it never makes its connection with that genre completely explicit. I love the freshness and uniqueness of this story.

The story is about a former soldier, Noddy who returns to his hometown, Liverpool. He dreams of becoming the king of Liverpool. When he shoots a government minister in the bottom, he accidently divides the country into two groups, a group of fans who approve of him and the entire government machinery who threaten to go against him. How does Noddy manage to turn this situation around and see his dream come true? This is a very intriguing part of the story that the reader should explore for him/herself. And on this fantasy adventure he chugs along a large group of accomplices and friends including his brother Knobby, a beautiful girlfriend Meryl, and an elf and a talking dog. This is quite a combination of unique characters.

In this story, Bostock mixes satire and sarcasm into a delightful story. Turning this into a fantasy takes a lot of hard work. But Bostock pulls it off with honours. But what is more, behind the hilarity lies a profound understanding of human nature and an in-depth contemplation of some pretty ineffable issues. The book is also paced perfectly. I just love stories that have this kind of depth and meaning.

Bostock’s novel is one of self-development and it will make the reader rethink and reassess some of his common frameworks and viewpoints. Being a philosopher interested in philosophical psychology, this book tweaked my interest quite a bit and held it until I finished reading it. What a GREAT book! Now, I plan on rereading it.

I recommend Noddy in Wonderland to anyone who loves to read fantasies. Get ready to be transfixed by this book.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Are You a Disciplined Writer?

The word discipline has many negative connotations not only for writers but for everyone. It seems that we don’t want to be disciplined. It connotes ideas of being narrow-minded and stubborn in pursuing and fulfilling our goals. It can also connote a stagnant mind set for some. But is this really true?

Discipline need not have these negative connotations. This is because without discipline, writers will not be successful. But discipline comes in many different forms, some of which are very positive indeed. When writers are asked about the positive dimensions of discipline, here are a few things that they commonly mention:

• It helps me stick to my writing goals;
• It helps me be aware of my writing goals;
• It helps me be a successful writer;
• It helps me gain balance with my other goals by setting time lines to complete projects;
• It helps me gain self-confidence;
• It helps me accomplish so much more;
• It helps me be in control of my writing career;
• It helps me see where I need to focus my energies and where I can let go a bit;
• It helps me make a commitment to my writing;
• It helps me carve out time to write and ascertain a particular time to write;
• It helps me develop my craft so that I can become the best writer that I am capable of;
• It helps me be a professional writer.

Given all of these benefits, it is no wonder that discipline and becoming a disciplined writer has become a buzz word among writers. There is a big difference between a writer who has discipline and one who doesn’t. One can almost see it in how they regard their work projects and how important it is for them to complete them on time and with a high degree of quality.

The most successful writers are extremely disciplined. They know where they are at the present time, and where they want to be 1, 2, 3, and 5 years from now in terms of their writing projects and what they want to accomplish. They know what kinds of writing to pursue for personal fulfillment and they take the time to carve up some time for themselves.

Don’t you wish that you were more disciplined? Don’t you wish you felt more in control of your writing career? Don’t you wish you were successful? If you answered any of these questions in the affirmative, then take some time to develop the necessary habits to become a disciplined writer. You will gain a lot of freedoms and you will be a successful writer too. And once you become a disciplined writer, you will become disciplined in other areas of your life too. This is because discipline really does beget discipline!

Try it!

Irene S. Roth
Freelance Writer, Author, and Editor

How to control fear

Are you a fearful writer? Do you worry about what will happen when you send out a manuscript? Do you worry about speaking in public? Do you worry and are anxious to promote your new book? Do you hate writer’s conferences because you hate to speak in public and to meet other writers?

If you answered any of these questions in the affirmative you are allowing your fear to control you and your writing life. It is important for writers to relinquish fears as much as possible and just accept of what will happen. We don’t have a lot of control over much of the writer’s life. But what we can control are our fears. So, we must take steps to really connect with our emotions and to free ourselves from the damaging and paralyzing impact of fear on our success and productivity.

Writers are afraid of many things. So, it is crucially important for us to come to terms with our fears and to determine what they are. For instance, are you afraid of sending out manuscripts for fear of rejection? Do you believe that your skills as a writer are not good enough to be a successful writer? Do you compare yourself to others all the time and believe that you are not as good a writer as your colleagues or friends?

Become aware of as many of your fears as possible. If possible, write them down. This will help you to be able to do something about them and to come to terms with them. Also, by writing them down, you will become aware of what you are really afraid of over and over again.

The best way to approach your fear is as a story. Allow yourself to envision different conclusions. Don’t just focus on one particular outcome. For instance, if pitching is a real fear of yours, write down your fears with different endings, such as:

• If I pitch to X publisher, I will get rejected;
• If I pitch to X publisher, I will be asked to submit more of my work so that they could assess whether or not they really would like to publish it;
• If I pitch to X publisher, I will be interviewed by the editor. I don’t know what I will do then.

But also write the story down with positive possible outcomes such as:

• If I pitch to X publisher, I may have to get my manuscript ready on a timeline;
• If I pitch to X publisher, I may finally break into that market;
• If I pitch to X publisher, I will be starting the process of submitting my work to potential publishers;
• If I keep pitching, I will be getting used to pitching my work.

By changing your fears and making them into possible story lines, you can minimize the fear and paralysis of the fear.

Try it!

Irene S. Roth

Book Review: The Shy Writer

514Ctqps67L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_The Shy Writer Reborn
By C. Hope Clark

This is a book for all introverted writers—beginner and well-seasoned or mature.

Introverts are a special kind of writer. They don’t mind spending endless hours alone writing at their desks. However, when it comes to actually sending out their work, they are filled with fear and even dread sometimes. This can greatly hinder a writer’s success. Hope Clark shows us how we can take steps to be the best writer (by putting in the long hours at our desks) AND promoting ourselves and sending out our manuscripts to potential publishers.

After all, if we merely sit and write without sending out our work, we will never get published. So, why not take small steps today to step outside of our rigid boundaries and comfort zones and step into the public realm so that we can make this happen?

Hope Clark shows introverted writers how to step into the public arena with confidence. She discusses how we can control the negative voices in our heads, define and deal with our fears, how to develop a platform, set our priorities and promote ourselves, blog, and write queries and pitches. Lastly, Hope Clark shows us how to hone our self-confidence so that we can comfortably speak in the public realm and present our work so that others will take notice.

We can create our safe haven and be successful. Just read The Shy Writer Reborn and find out how to do so most successfully. Listen up introverted writers. Success is possible.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth