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Year: 2019

Nichols and Ashcroft Newsletter Nov 2019


October slipped away and November rolled it. Since it’s November that means it’s time for NaNoWriMo.  What is NaNoWriMo?  It’s an online writing challenge with participants all around the globe. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. It boils down to 1667 words per day. It doesn’t seem like much, but when you factor in work, Thanksgiving, and life in general, it becomes harder than it sounds. Chasing Destiny was the result of two NaNoWriMos. One to write it and one to edit it.

I have been participating in NaNo since 2004. I haven’t won every year because of life, but I’ve won more than lost. Two years ago I became an Municipal Liaison for Southern Maine. MLs schedule write-ins (where we gather together in one place to  write) and act as a cheerleader for writers. I love being an ML and love meeting all the different people in my area of the state.

My NaNo project this year is a superhero romance. It’s been a blast to write and three days into November I’m at 11,000 words. I’m scheduled to finish by Nov 14th, but I know life will throw some curve balls and I’ll barely finish like I did last year.

I have something to admit. I suck at writing these newsletters on a regular basis. I would swear that I sent one out in October and it turns out I didn’t. So my bad. I will try to make these a little more regular, but not enough to spam you wonderful people.

Our next book is coming along. It’s called Immortal Secrets and features Akantha and Damianos, but they’re secondary characters. We’re introducing quite a few new characters in it.

Speaking of immortals, a few people have asked why we write about immortals. Here’s the low down. We wanted to write about characters who were immortals, but weren’t vampires. I know books about non-vampire immortals are out there, but they’re the unicorns of the book world.  Our characters started out as role-play characters. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the game we were playing them in didn’t get off the ground. Akantha stuck around and bugged the heck of out me and practically demanded attention. So instead of a RP character, she morphed into a book character. Due to their long history, Damianos and Akantha provided a plethora of material to work with.  History nerd that I am, had an extremely difficult time narrowing down to a few time periods to show in Chasing Destiny. I was talking to a friend of mine who had recently read Chasing Destiny and wants to see more of Akantha and Damianos. I have nothing planned for them right now, but maybe something will come up. There are quite a few new immortals that we want to introduce in new books. Though I’m sure they will demand some attention and will give me a clue to what to do with them.

I have a few craft-fair appearances coming up this month. I’ll be in Sanford, ME at the Operation Ray of Light on Nov 16th. I’ll be at the Carl J Lamb school in Springvale, ME on Nov 23rd. I’ll be selling books along with some D&D accessories I’ve made.

That’s all the news I have right now. If you have any questions about Chasing Destiny or our writing process, please feel free to drop us an email or find us on social media.

Have a great November.

– Sydney

Nichols and Ashcroft Newsletter – Aug 2019

RWA has come and gone and we have rolled into August.  RWA was a
great experience. We spent the time making new friends, learning at workshops and panels, After RWA we spent a few days in an awesome house about an hour north of New York City. We drank a lot of wine and bonded with our City Owl sisters.

We did a book signing at RWA and had quite a few people come to our table and get a book. One questions almost everyone asked was: “How do the two of you write together?” or a variation thereof.

So here’s our answer if anyone was wondering. 

Dani and I met online in an IRC room for comic books. Now most of the people in the chat read and wrote comic book fanfiction.  Being two of only a handful on during the overnight hours, we started writing Marvel fanfiction together. That was 19 years ago. At one point we turned to each other and said, why not write something we can get published. Hence our transition from fanfiction to novels.

Once we started writing novels we discovered our strengths and how our writing styles complimented each other. I love to worldbuild, outline, and plot. I love writing first drafts. I plough ahead and get everything out. Dani is more of an editor/reviser. She gets the rough draft from me and goes through it. Adding in descriptions, changing wording and structure, and overall making it prettier. She also finds plot holes which I miss. Then she sends it back to me and I go through it again. Then I send it back to her and repeat. When we finally think it’s ready, we query/submit and keep our fingers crossed.

So that’s it. That’s our secret.

People have said they couldn’t tell who wrote what parts and we tell them that’s because we been writing together for so long.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions. We will gladly answer them!

Why writing?

Writing is one of those things that will drive you crazy until you sit down and put words on a screen. Writing strikes you at the most inconvenient times, in the most inconvenient of places. Middle of the night asleep. Middle of traffic on the freeway. Middle of explaining to your cat why she can’t be on the keyboard. Elbows deep in a sink full of dirty dishes and hot water. Or where I am now, editing the second book to make sense of the notes my co-author left for me. Sydney plots, I decorate. It’s a winning combination. She’s good at it.

So why write? I was a little girl from a small town living in book world. I loved books. I read everything I could get my hands on. A lot of what my church going mother wished I wouldn’t read. My mother was a reader. Remember Reader’s Digests Condensed books? Maybe not. It was the 1970s. My mother had them all and I read them. She was fond of ‘the classics’. Then sorry I read those as well. I gave my first oral book report in third grade on Gone with the Wind by Margret Mitchell. I read some of the saucier passages to my classmates. If my memory is accurate, that prompted a parent-teacher conference. When I discovered the horror and occult section at the local library, it was love at first sight. Paranormal and supernatural genres would be my loves forever.

I grew up to be a mom of three with a full time job that was often tedious. Spinning tales is a nice escape. It entertained my kids on car rides and kept me sane. People who say sanity is overrated never considered how much insanity getting a mortgage would create in their lives. It’s all about the balance.

As much as the books, the author biographies interested me. Some where boring, but some were just as imaginative as the book. Why did they write? How did they fall into it? Was in on purpose? The most common theme seemed to be “I wanted to find books I like to read. So I wrote one.” It’s an empowering statement.

So over the decades I wrote. I wrote about characters I liked, I wrote about situations that interested me. I even wrote a full length historical romance that survived the many purges and several moves. It’s awful. I cringe when I see it hiding at the bottom of my night stand. Sometimes the typewritten pages get shifted when I move things around and I see it there, rebuking me. I can’t appease it with salmon the way I can with the cat when she shuns me.

By the way, whoever is my executor must solemnly swear to either bury me with that monstrosity or burn it in effigy when I’m dead.

Sydney and I even dabbled in fanfic because we’re huge Wolverine and Nick Fury fans.

I write because I want to tell stories. I want to make someone else fall in love with a character that’s a little too imperfect. I want to make someone else look at the sunsets the way I do, or the highway going past my office window. (For the record, I often daydream of driving breakneck down that highway and never looking back. Sorry, kids.) I want someone to put down my story and think to themselves, “that freeway outside my window is looking really good right now. Why don’t I write a book that I want to read?”

That’s the pay off. We write one or several. Someone else decides to write one. And another one. Books for everyone! Kind of feels like Oprah, right? “And YOU get a book! And YOU get a book! EVERYBODY GETS A BOOK!”


(P.S. Oprah, if you’re reading, we would love to be on your book club recommendation list!)

Nichols and Ashcroft July 2019 Newsletter

Hello from New York.  We are on our way to RWA in New York City.  Tonight we’re staying in Fishkill, NY.  Sydney has a new nephew so we stopped so she could get some baby cuddles before heading into the city.

Tomorrow we will take the train down to the city.  Since we have some time early in the day to do stuff before we check into the hotel, we’re going to be making a trip to the Cloisters.  The Cloisters are an extension to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It holds about 5,000 works of art and architecture, all European and mostly dating from the Byzantine to the early Renaissance periods, mainly during the 12th through 15th centuries.

In addition to wonderful works of art, the Cloisters will be a location in an upcoming book. We’re counting this trip as research.

Then RWA starts. We will be mingling with thousands of other romance writers and attending panels and workshops to improve our craft.

On Saturday after RWA winds up, we’ll be heading to Garrison, NY to a small retreat with our publisher and fellow City Owl Press authors. We can’t wait to meet these amazing authors face to face. If you’re looking for other great reads, head over to and check out books by our fellow COP authors.

Our next book is currently with our editor.  We’re hoping to get it back soon and go through it once more. We don’t have a release date yet, but we’re expecting Immortal Secrets to be out later this year.  Akantha and Damianos are back, but in a secondary role. This book will introduce readers to Mike, Abby, and Ben Shepard along with a few other new characters. 
Follow us on FB and Twitter for more news and updates.

If you would like a free ebook of Chasing Destiny, please email Sydney at [email protected] and she’ll be happy to send it to you in your preferred format.

Please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads if you’ve read Chasing Destiny.  Every review helps us and it’s a free way to support us.

That’s all for now.  Enjoy the summer!

Sydney and Dani

Happy 2019!

Happy 2019!

Dani and I have successfully made it through another holiday season and came out relatively unscathed. Dani flew to Maine the last week in December and she and I did our New Year’s traditions of going to see Ellis Paul perform in Portland, ME and Cambridge, MA.  As usual the time went too fast and she returned home to California on the 4th.

Winter has tightened its grip on New England and we’re now in the single digits at night and still below freezing during the day. It’s perfect weather to stay inside, have a cup of tea, and write.

We’re both working hard on new projects together and separately. We’re hoping the next book in the Immortals universe will be picked up by City Owl Press and be published later this year.

We had our first author appearance and signing on January 3rd at A Freethinker’s Corner bookstore in Dover, NH while Dani was in the area.  We had a few people stop by and say hi and it was fun.

I have a few solo appearances coming up. The next one is January 18th at New England Authors Expo’s Authors at the Vineyard at Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown, NH. This event is free to the public and will have food, wine tasting, and a lot of authors. You can visit their site here:

I will also be at A Freekthinker’s Corner on Feb 9th for another author Meet and Greet with a few local NH and ME authors. You can find more information on their site at:

I will also be at LeviaCon in Saco, ME on Feb 23rd selling books.  More information can be found here:

I will also be singing up for New England Authors Expo’s Authors by the Sea in April. More information will come as I get it.

I will also be selling books at Bar Harbor Comic Con on May 4th. You can find more information here:   I’m just happy I have a reason to visit Bar Harbor again 🙂

I will also be at PortCon in Portland, ME, but right now I’m on a waiting list for the vendor’s room. I will be doing a panel with some of my fellow NaNoWriMo people on NaNoWriMo.

I’m in the process of setting up some more appearances for the year.

Dani and I will both be attending RWA’s annual conference in July in New York City along with some of our other City Owl Press authors.  It will be great to see them in person and get to know them. Not to mention all of the other authors there. It looks to be a great time.  After the conference we’ll be heading to a two day retreat with our fellow COP authors.

You can follow our day to day updates/musings by following us on Twitter and FB, You can find us here:



Sydney and Dani