7.12.16

The Five Year Plan. Alternate Title: Winging It #IWSG

Hey all! I hope your Decembers are off to a good start and that you're feeling the magic of the season. Amid all the festivity, I'm getting the third book in a trilogy (which is actually the first book in the series...more on that next month) ready to relaunch into the world at the end of January. Naturally, my insecurity this month is: "Will I get it all done?"

But I know by now not to waste any time worrying about it. Head down, nose to the grindstone, and all that. So on to the IWSG question of the month:

In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there? 

Here's my deal - I don't make 5-year plans. On this writing thing, I'm happy to go with the flow and see where it takes me. Yeah, I won't be writing any how-to books anytime soon (or ever). But I'm having fun, and that's my main objective. And I'm very, very, very grateful to those writers who've made goals, hit them, and shared their knowledge with the community so that I can at least fake like I know what I'm doing. THANK YOU!


 This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh. Click below to join the group!



2.11.16

The best thing about being a writer #IWSG #amwriting

Welcome to the November 2016 edition of The Insecure Writers Support Group. Before I get to this month's question, I want to go back to last month's: When do you know your story is ready?

Part of my answer last month was that no story is ever going to be perfect, and boy, have I learned that lesson agian. Earlier this year, I got my rights back to a story (Vibrizzio, to be re-released in January 2017 as When It Hits You). Since this story had already gone thorugh professional editing and been out in the world, I figured it'd be good to go with a new cover and title. But when I readied the first chatper to include in the back matter of When It Holds You, I got itchy fingers.

I could see where I was sometimes overly wordy or made word choices too snooty for the tone of the story. As I dug further into the manuscript, I was finally able to see the excess business talk that had turned off some reviewers. And I noticed how my random "narrator intrusions" to crack a joke pulled readers out of the moment. There is NO substitute for giving yourself some time away from a manuscript.

But I don't feel insecure about finding these issues. I feel grateful to know that I continue to grow as a writer and for the opportunity to polish this baby up and re-present it to readers better than ever.


November IWSG Question:
What is the best aspect of being a writer?

Very simply - writing. I freaking love it. The nice thing about being defined as "a writer" by people around me is that I feel far less guilty about my writing time than I used to.  


This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh.


Co-Hosts:
Joylene Nowell Butler
Jen Chandler
Mary Aalgaar
 Lisa Buie Collard
Tamara Narayan
Tyrean Martinson
Christine Rains

21.10.16

Spooktacular #Giveaway Hop! #TrickorTreat


Welcome to the 2016 edition of the Spooktacular Giveaway hop, hosted by Bookhounds. I'm so happy you stopped by. Think of yourselves as trick-or-treaters on my front porch - 'cuz I'm giving away treats to everyone who knocks on my virtual door!

~.~.~

A Freebie for Everybody
Throughout the hop, I'm offering my twisted fairy tale novella, HANS & GRETA absolutely free to everyone who stops by. Throughout the entire hop, you can download a mobi, epub, or pdf of
The InstaFreebie giveaway ends when the Spooktacular hop does. 





~.~.~

Want Another FREE Book?
In November, I'm gifting all subscribers to Nicki's News (my monthly author newsletter) an exclusive e-single of WHEN IT BEGAN. It's a prequel to The It Series, a sassy new collection of love stories set in Chicago. Just click below to get on the list.

**When It Holds You is only 99 cents until October 31**

~.~.~

My Spooktacular Giveaway
While you read, one lucky winner can enjoy an overpriced beverage from Starbucks on me! (I've been known to offer the winner the option of switching to an Amazon gift card, if they prefer.)





20.10.16

Constellation by Jennifer Locklear is Here!


Congratulations to Jennifer Locklear on the publication of CONSTELLATION, a contemporary romance novel released today!

Synopsis
She's intelligent, beautiful, and emotionally numb.
He's older, sophisticated, and harboring secrets.

Up-and-coming executive, Kathleen Brighton is ready to launch her family's firm into the next level of success. Polished and professional on the outside, Kathleen's personal life is a source of constant struggle and letdown. But after one night alone with Jack Evans, her sexy new colleague, her life takes a turn toward erotic intensity.

Torn between her instinct to guard herself and her irresistible desire for Jack, Kathleen has only known heartache. And when she finds herself in the middle of a shattering personal crisis, she must trust fragile and uncertain bonds to survive. Will Kathleen conquer the demons of her past to find a future worth fighting for?



Goodreads



About the Author
Jennifer
Jennifer Locklear lives in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. She married her high school sweetheart, Morgan, in 1995. She is the mother of two children, a son and daughter.

Jennifer enjoyed creative writing as an adolescent, but set aside her favorite hobby to concentrate on college studies, career and family. In 2010, she rediscovered her passion for writing when her husband recruited her to edit his own stories. They co-authored and published their debut novel, Exposure, in 2014.

Since 2000, Jennifer has been employed in fundraising and development for a non-profit organization. She has been a contributing reviewer for the “Bookish Temptations” book blog and is a founding moderator of “Argyle Empire,” an approved fan site for author Sylvain Reynard.

She also enjoys participating in charitable activities, both locally and online.
Constellation is Jennifer’s first solo novel.



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5.10.16

How Do You Know? #IWSG

Welcome to the October edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a time to release our fears into the world and support one another. Be sure to visit the IWSG site for details about the current anthology contest! 

This month's question is:

When do you know your story is ready? 

One thing every writer has to accept is that we can't wait for perfection - because that will never happen. No book is perfect. But we still want it to be as good as it can be before we put it out there. To that end, these are my rules of thumb for knowing when a book is ready: 

1. After I've received feedback from unbiased critique partners and have addressed their issues.

2. After I've let the story "cool off" long enough to come back at it with a fresh critical eye.

3. When I no longer have nagging qualms about story, characters, or flow.

And then what's it ready for? Not for publication. It's then ready to go through editing. 

~.~.~

Let's hope my next book is ready, 'cuz it's coming out on October 19! If you'd like to take part in the festivities in any capacity (there's an easy-peasy Thunderclap option) please visit the WHEN IT HOLDS YOU LAUNCH FORM
Thank you!


~.~.~.

This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh.

3.10.16

Congrats to @JenLaneBooks on the release of SPIKED #NewAdult #Sports #Romance

SPIKED is the third and final book in the BLOCKED series by Jennifer Lane. It makes a great end to a wonderful series. You can read my full 5 star review at Goodreads.



Jennifer took time during her release festivities, to answer a question for me. Take it away, Jen...

Nicki asked, "If you had to choose one song that best captures the essence of SPIKED, what would you choose and why?"


At times, music serves as inspiration for my writing, especially for Spiked, which features a singer / songwriter hero: Mateo Ramirez.

I remember hearing the song "Wounded" by Third Eye Blind years ago. I interpreted the lyrics as a loving man trying to help a woman recover from a trauma:

Well I never claimed to understand what happens after dark

But my fingers catch the sparks at the thought of touching you

When you're wounded

This song very much fits the story of Spiked (Blocked #3).


Get SPIKED today!



Meet the Men of the Blocked Series
Blocked: Dane Monroe, 6'8" blond gigante, volleyball setter
Aced: Alejandro Ramirez, med student, baseball player
Spiked: Mateo Ramirez, soulful singer / songwriter

Check out the Blocked series FREE with Kindle Unlimited


Find Jennifer Lane on:


Review Tour Hosted by Raven Publicity


Enter to win a $25 gift card and series ebook set:

29.9.16

Excerpt Reveal from USE SOMEBODY by @BeckAndersonID #Contemporary #Romance

I have a treat for you today - an excerpt from Beck Anderson's upcoming release.

Excerpt


We stand in a ridiculous line (my opinion) to grab a coffee at the original Starbucks, and Macy pulls out her phone.

“Now we’ll take our coffees and go drink them somewhere cool.” She pulls me along back the way we came, hops on the Link again, headed back toward the hotel.

“Where is this cool place?” I fight the urge to take the reins. She’s lost. We’re headed nowhere.

“Just wait. It’s gonna be cool. I asked the concierge about it before you got up, too, so it’s not just me and Google that thinks so.”

We walk a short block in the opposite direction of the hotel, past the gleaming steel and glass public library, which Macy takes several pictures of as we walk.

We cross the street, and she walks up to the front doors of a grey stone modern office building.

“What?” I feel a little unsettled. I’m the one who does the surprising.

“Trust me.” She takes my hand and pulls me in through the revolving doors.

We get on the elevator, and she presses the button for the seventh floor.

“Okay.” I stand next to her, but I’m concentrating mostly on the way it feels to have her hand on mine. I think about her lips on mine, her hips against mine…

And then she coughs. It’s two, quick coughs, but there’s that rattle again.

And my mind’s back on the business of keeping her well, keeping her safe.

We get off the elevator. She looks like a kid with a great secret. “Just wait. This is so cool.”

“You haven’t been here, how do you know?”

“Don’t be a crank. Nobody likes the stick in the mud.”

“Fine.”

She pulls me through another set of chrome and glass doors.

And yeah, she’s right. It’s pretty cool.

So apparently Macy from Teton County, Idaho, has discovered the rooftop park hidden in the middle of downtown Seattle. And it’s gorgeous. She hands me my coffee and walks over to the railing. The sun is out, and the water and the waterfront is laid out in front of us.

“There’s the Space Needle! We’re going there later today. After dinner.”

I laugh. “Are you at least going to let me pick a spot for dinner?”

“Do you want to?” She doesn’t look like she wants me to.

“There’s a great place I know, and it’s a short walk from the hotel.”

“Fine.” She takes a sip from her coffee and looks out over the view.

I kiss her on the cheek again. “Don’t sulk.”

She turns and kisses me full-on, on the lips, for the briefest possible moment, before pulling away and facing out to the view again. “I’m not.” I taste mint and feel sparks down to the base of my spine.

Then she smiles the slyest, crookedest grin I’ve seen. I haven’t seen her smile like that.



And I grin back.



Use Somebody is Beck Anderson's
newest Hollywood standalone.

Releasing October 8th. Now Available for Pre-order:
Amazon US * Amazon UK * iBooks * Nook * Kobo 


Beck Anderson is a two-time Rita© finalist and author of four novels including the Fix You series and The Jeweler. She’s also a wife, a mom, an educator, and a walker of a small, bossy dog-slash-evil genius. Find her at authorbeck.com, on Twitter: @BeckAndersonID, Pinterest, Facebook, and GoodReads.

21.9.16

Congratulations to @Nancee_Cain on the release of TEMPTING JO! #Paranormal #Romance

TemptingJoCover (1)
Amazon * B&N * iBooks * Kobo

93ea2-goodreads

In celebration of the release, I asked Nancee my favorite question for authors: If you had to choose one song that best captures the essence of Tempting Jo, what would it be and why? 

Her answer: Charlie Puth's "One Call Away" because it captures Rafe's feelings.




Forbidden love is hell...

Confident and quirky, Jo Sanford thinks her boss is God's gift to women--and she couldn't be further from the truth. Devilishly handsome, Luc DeVille will stop at nothing to lure his administrative assistant right into his arms--and bed.

Over Rafe Goodman's dead body...

Rafe, Jo's best friend, refuses to sit by and watch as Luc tries to win the heart of the woman he's always protected. After all, Rafe is her guardian angel. Suddenly, Jo's caught in the middle of a battle between good and evil. But the closer she gets to the fire, the hotter it burns. Now, Jo's going to learn that when love battles lust, Heaven and Hell collide.

  14232031_740730789363440_5542887107612905690_o


nancee
Author Bio: During the day, Nancee works as a nurse in the field of addiction to support her coffee and reading habit. Nights are spent writing paranormal and contemporary romances with a serrated edge. Authors are her rock stars, and she’s been known to stalk a few for an autograph, but not in a scary, Stephen King way. Her husband swears her To-Be-Read list on her e-reader qualifies her as a certifiable book hoarder. Always looking to try something new, she dreams of being an extra in a Bollywood film, or a tattoo artist. (Her lack of rhythm and artistic ability may put a damper on both of these dreams.)

Giveaway
$20 Amazon Gift Card
 

14.9.16

#SeptembertoRemember #Giveaway Hop!


Welcome to the Unbe-Leaf-Able September to Remember Giveaway Hop, hosted by The Kids Did It and The Mommy Island. Thanks for another great hop, ladies! Hosts and other bloggers aren't responsible for obligations of sponsors who don't fulfill their prizes.

When thinking of a leafy theme for this post, I wondered...do digital leaves count? As in, pages of an e-book? You see, my mind's a bit of a one-track these days with the cover just revealed for my upcoming releaseWant a peek? 


WHEN IT HOLDS YOU

Coming October 19, 2016

Virtual. That’s where she was supposed to stay—only in my online gaming life. I never intended to meet up with her in person. And I certainly hadn’t counted on her being who she is.
Cliff Walsh has dozens of hot, smart, and willing paramours in his video games. Who needs to look further? The twenty-eight year old attorney is done getting his heart smashed by real-life women who fit his perfect-mate checklist. From now on, he vows to keep his romances digital-only…until a certain redheaded gamer twists all his preconceptions and touches a place in his heart he didn’t know existed.
I always thought I knew what love would look like, but sometimes you don’t recognize it until the moment when it holds you. ~Cliff
This is a stand-alone novel in The It Series family.




To celebrate the reveal, I'm offering a limited-time special to everyone who stops by during the hop:

50% off WHEN IT HOOKS YOU

This deal ends when the #SeptembertoRemember hop does.

Three dates. It was only supposed to be three dates—he was only meant to be a fling. I didn’t want to feel all of this for him. And I certainly hadn’t counted on him keeping such a deal-breaking secret from me.
Till death is too long for Trish Cerise. The twenty-seven year old receptionist is tired of men asking for her forever when she just wants to keep things light and fun. World-traveling businessman Adam Helms steps off the elevator and into her life with his own reasons for keeping relationships at a safe distance. Together, they’re destined for the most glorious short-term romance in history…until they break their own rules and Trish learns something about Adam she wishes she never knew.
I know a future with him is impossible, but how do you break away from such an intense, consuming, heart-crushing love when it hooks you? ~Trish
This is a stand-alone novel in The It Series family.







And now onto my Unbe-leaf-able prize for the September to Remember Giveaway Hop. I'm giving away something warm & comforting as autumn descends upon us...

THE PRIZE:
$5 Starbucks Gift Card



I will send one winner a $5 Starbucks e-gift card via e-mail. 



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win more great prizes below at all of these blogs:

12.9.16

#CoverReveal: TIMELESS by @CrystalCollier1

I'm so excited to host the cover reveal for the final installment of Crystal Collier's Maiden of Time series. Congrats to Crystal on completing the series! And on to that cover...

 TIMELESS (#3 Maiden of Time) by Crystal Collier #CoverReveal



Book Title: TIMELESS (Maiden of Time #3)
Author: Crystal Collier
Genre: YA Paranormal Historical
Release Date: November 1, 2016



TIME IS THE ENEMY

In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her Blog, FacebookGoodreads, or follow her on Twitter.

Want the first chapter free? Sign up HERE.


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7.9.16

Hi. My Name is Nicki, and I'm a Book Quitter #IWSG


I used to be the kind of reader who'd see a book through to the bitter end, even if I didn't like it. I don't do that anymore. There are just too many good books out there waiting for me. I can't waste time on a book I'm not enjoying. I called time of death on the book above at 106 pages in. This is me returning it early.

Does this seem like bad form for a writer? Should I have more compassion for the author's efforts and keep on reading even when I'm not having fun? Instead of becoming more lenient on books since I started writing my own, I feel like I have less patience with them. How about you?

On a related note - and the thing that has me paranoid this month - I posted a two star review for the book above. As a published author, have I broken an unwritten law? Should I only post reviews for books I can honestly give 3 stars or above?

And now for the IWSG question of the month:
How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

Um, yeah, so mostly I don't. Weekends are my writing time because that's when I can set aside big chunks of time for it. Writing in short spurts doesn't work for be because it often takes me 30-45 minutes just to warm up. BUT when I have to make more headway on a project, I find that committing to 90 minutes of Internet-free writing time every day is effective.

Each night I have to look at what's planned for the next day and figure out where my 90 minutes will fit. Sometimes that means setting the alarm for extra early. Sometimes that means committing to the 90 minutes even when I'm dog tired from a hectic day at work.



This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh.

1.9.16

#CoverReveal CONSTELLATION by the Amazing Jennifer Locklear

Oh, how I love me a good cover reveal - and this is a really, really great one...

ConsEbook
Title: Constellation
Author: Jennifer Locklear
Designer: Jada D'Lee Designs
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 20
Goodreads
Synopsis
She's intelligent, beautiful, and emotionally numb.
He's older, sophisticated, and harboring secrets.

Up-and-coming executive, Kathleen Brighton is ready to launch her family's firm into the next level of success. Polished and professional on the outside, Kathleen's personal life is a source of constant struggle and letdown. But after one night alone with Jack Evans, her sexy new colleague, her life takes a turn toward erotic intensity.

Torn between her instinct to guard herself and her irresistible desire for Jack, Kathleen has only known heartache. And when she finds herself in the middle of a shattering personal crisis, she must trust fragile and uncertain bonds to survive. Will Kathleen conquer the demons of her past to find a future worth fighting for?

Constellation Promo

About the Author
Jennifer
Jennifer Locklear lives in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. She married her high school sweetheart, Morgan, in 1995. She is the mother of two children, a son and daughter.

Jennifer enjoyed creative writing as an adolescent, but set aside her favorite hobby to concentrate on college studies, career and family. In 2010, she rediscovered her passion for writing when her husband recruited her to edit his own stories. They co-authored and published their debut novel, Exposure, in 2014.

Since 2000, Jennifer has been employed in fundraising and development for a non-profit organization. She has been a contributing reviewer for the “Bookish Temptations” book blog and is a founding moderator of “Argyle Empire,” an approved fan site for author Sylvain Reynard.

She also enjoys participating in charitable activities, both locally and online.
Constellation is Jennifer’s first solo novel.


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18.8.16

#BookReview ACCIDENTALLY ME by @kim_karras #BlogTour

I don't usually do reviews here, but I was thrilled to be asked to be a part of this review tour—and even more excited when I downloaded the ARC and was simpatico with the main character on page one.

ACCIDENTALLY ME by Kim Karras


“Maybe, just maybe, if I can convince Dad that I’m in enough danger at home, he won’t mind shipping me to California for school. But there’s only one problem. If I hope to pull this stalker scheme off, I’m going to need more than just a scary story.”

Sabrina has been trying to be the perfect child her whole life to convince her parents that she’s more than just an “accident.” Now she is desperate to go to her dream college, but her parents want her to stay close to home. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Sabrina must team up with an unlikely ally to get what she wants. But she can’t let her parents discover her plan. If she wants to maintain her perfect image, Sabrina must break rules that even her rebel sister keeps . . .


MY REVIEW


In one word, I'd call ACCIDENTALLY ME by Kim Karras delightful. In a lot of words...

Sabrina's the kind of quirky character I'm immediately drawn to. She's over-confident in some ways and so-not-confident in others. She's smart enough to have received a scholarship to the college of her dreams but dumb enough to think she can pull off a pretend stalker situation. She often comes across as younger than her 18 years, sometimes unbelievably so, but overall, I found her naivete refreshing. 

The story is told in first person, and I think that was a perfect choice because it lets us see inside Sabrina's skewed perception of herself and everything around her. It also allows her subtle brand of cheeky wit to shine. For Mom, no crisis can compete with the urgency of hot rolls in the oven. She's sometimes harsh in her entertaining observations of her family, but what 18 year old isn't? Eventually, she cuts her sister some slack, and the growth in that relationship is one of my favorite aspects of this story.

Another favorite aspect—Calvin. I adore him. He's so complex and intriguing. Just when you want to love him, you realize you shouldn't. And just when you're fixin' to hate him, you can't. At least I couldn't.

The flow of the writing is smooth and fast yet still allows for original and vivid description, almost always mixed with humor:

We are huddled together on Paul's front porch like would-be trick-or-treaters, costumed as the perfect family. The word "coif" comes to mind—and I'm not just talking about us women. Heather has teased so much gel into Mack's fine blonde hair it's as if he's wearing a hair helmet. Or a mace. I inch away from Mack so as not to puncture myself on one of his sharp, stiff spikes of hair, wondering if there isn't something willfully aggressive about the way Heather's transformed him into a weapon. Love is a battlefield, indeed.

I highly recommend this story to those who enjoy clever writing and quirky characters.