Friday, April 23, 2010

A Letter of Introduction

One of the biggest adjustments in becoming an author, for me, has been learning to use the internet for more than e-mail and researching. I was in a technology rut. When my first book was published in 2008, I was tossed into a learning curve I hadn't really even thought about.

Like it or not, once I signed my publishing contract, I had no choice but to get out of that rut. My teenage daughter taught me how to set up a myspace page and I sought professional website design help since I hadn't the slightest clue how to use html. Heck, I was lucky I even knew what it was.

Now, here I am blogging!

Cyberspace is a funny thing, really. Its very nature encourages us to be conversational when we don't even know each other. So, perhaps introductions are in order.

I write historical American romance, set primarily in the late 19th century in the West. My first book was released in 2008, the second in 2009. I love strong heroines, tender heroes, conflicted characters and plots that explore them. Because I love the history of that period, my inclination is to use this blog to share tidbits of it with you.

For example, if we were meeting each other in 1876, someone would be introducing me. If the introduction were via letter, our friend-in-common might have consulted Hill's Manual of Social & Business Forms: A Guide to Correct Writing. Hill's offered practical examples for nearly every situation, from business affairs to love letters. Penmanship lessons, a short overview of parliamentary procedure, a thesaurus, rules of grammar, and tips on writing poetry were also included. In my book, Chances, conservative undertaker Daniel Petterman relies on Hill's to advise him on how to write a Letter to the Editor while spunky telegrapher Sarah Donovan urges him to forego the how-to book and write with passion instead.

My 1875 edition of Hill's provides seven different forms of letters of introduction. "Introducing One Lady to Another" seemed best suited to our situation (there was no example to introduce said lady to mixed company).

"Dear Blogger: I take this occasion to introduce you to the bearer of this letter, Ms. Pamela Nowak, who is on a visit to her friends in cyberspace. Ms. Nowak is a very dear friend, of whom you have often heard me speak. Believing that your acquaintance with each other would be mutually agreeable, I have urged her to call upon you during her stay. Any attention you may bestow on her, during her visit, will be highly appreciated by …. Your friend, Merry Blogfan."
We've evolved quite a bit, wouldn't you say? Thos. E. Hill would be shocked at the level of informality we share on the internet and, indeed, in our everyday lives.

And, so, now you know a bit about me…what I write, my cyber baptism, my love of history. It's time for you to let me know who you are. I encourage you to tell me (and the rest of the authors) about your interests and how we can make this blog one that you'll come back to.

Here's your chance to let us know what you want to hear! Sound off!

(Pamela Nowak is the author of Chances, recipient of the 2009 HOLT Medallion for Best First Book, a WILLA Award Finalist for Historical Fiction, and named to Booklist's Top Ten Romances of 2008. Her second historical romance, Choices, was released in 2009.)


Anonymous said...

Wow, Pam! What an accomplished author you are! You're books sound wonderful, and we share a common love of the West. I was born in Kansas, and my first book was set on the Colorado prairie. I'm looking forward to reading your books, but first, my question is: what would HILL'S say about my response to your introduction? :)

Pamela Nowak said...


Thanks so much for your comments. I'll look forward to reading your book as well!

I checked HILLS for responses and find nothing that fits the situation. Hill would have assumed that that actual meeting was in person and thus not needful of a reply. Hill advises that letters of friendship and relationship be descriptive, giving "all the news" and going "into all the particulars, just as you would talk."

That suits me just fine--since blogging pretty much does seem just like talking. ;-)


Anonymous said...

Hey, Pam. I think you "era" sounds fascinating. And kudos to you for stepping up and learning the tech stuff. Proves you can do what you need to do. : )

Pamela Nowak said...

I guess it's true we all need to step outside of our comfort zones to grow. It just seems that I'm always playing catch up!

Kara Lynn Russell said...

Your post is a delightful mix of vintage manners and contemporary technology! So glad to meet you Pamela.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Pam,

You are so right! Technology has moved forward so quickly, it's really hard to keep up. I'm embarrassed to admit I've so far been reluctant to set up a website. Not so long ago, I was totally computer savvy but I have fallen behind. However, becoming part of this excellent blog is exciting. We have so many outstanding writers coming together! I know that your two Five Star novels have won great praise from reviewers and national awards. I'm impressed! Congrats.