A Friday Quickie - Book Signings

Just popping in to let you know that I'm over at Savvy Authors today talking about the benefits of live signing events.  So if a signing event might be in your future, please stop by. That site requires registration to leave a comment, so feel free to leave your two cents here if you prefer.  Happy Friday! 

The Real Reasons to Do Live Signing Events

In other news, I have an unusual offer on the table
A signed copy of Divine Temtpation is up for grabs at Goodreads.


Thrills and Chills

Today is The Thrill of it All Blogfest, hosted by Tara Tyler and Heather M. Gardner. The point of the fest is to thrill fellow hoppers with your own personal brand of thrillage.

My entry is an excerpt from my latest novel, but before I give you that, I want to share some other thrilling news---to the left you will see the newly revealed cover of Hold Tight by Cherie Colyer. Hold Tight is the upcoming sequel to Embrace, a fabulous YA novel that has also gotten a brand new cover! Click on either image to see them bigger and get all the wonderful info. on these books. Congratulations, Cherie!

For my blogfest entry, you'll see that I definitely went for thrills via chills. Here is an excerpt from Divine Temptation:
Strings of vomit spilled out the sides of Tommy's mouth. The demon was trying to get out. A flash of fear ripped through Maggie, and then eased. Everything was going to be okay. She could take the pain from this child. She had the ability. All she needed to do was open up to accept the spirit into herself instead. She’d be a savior. As an adult, she’d be much better able to handle the gifts this being would bestow upon her. Of course a stupid child had failed to deliver. But she wouldn’t. She was so much more worthy than this sniveling creature and his insipid parents clutching their trinkets. As if those could ever save them.
Maggie gasped. These thoughts weren’t hers. She shot her gaze desperately at Monsignor Sarto and saw that his eyes were opened, watching her with an odd expression of expectation.
Below is the list of fellow Thrill Hoppers, but before you go, I'd love it if you'd click over to my new page where I talk (spoiler-free) about the original ending to Divine Temptation---which was far different than what made it into print. I also offer you an opportunity to get a pdf copy of it. [Hint: Some of you have already earned that right. ;)]


What I Learned in Wyoming

The answer to last week's question is...yes, life without internet is possible, even enjoyable. The magnificent views definitely help to offset the sketchy outside communication. While visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, I didn't quite catch any bison standing in a steaming geyser basin, but I did get this...

Midway Geyser Basin; Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

and this...

Grand Teton National Park; Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Surely I can Photoshop them together, yes?

No? Well then, will you accept a moose in a marsh? 

Roadside in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

This was my first time venturing out to western Wyoming, and the trip was well worth it. Yellowstone is an odd combination of raw, freaky nature and civilization. I have to admit that the Counting Crows' lyric [correction thanks to Janie Junebug: 'twas Joni Mitchell's lyric (but it was the Counting Crows I heard singing it (my musical repertoire doesn't really go any earlier than the 80s (sorry Joni)))] "paved paradise to put up a parking lot" resided at the back of my brain pretty much the whole time I was there, but that's not really fair, because the management of the place exhibits a tremendous respect for the protection of Yellowstone's natural gifts, yet they also have a mandate to make the enjoyment of these gifts easily accessible to the public. And the property is enormous, so there is plenty of untouched wilderness.

Exiting through Yellowstone's south entrance toward the Teton Range is like leaving the quirky treasure box of grandma's house to go out and party with your cool, younger cousin. The ski/outdoor adventure culture is so much more apparent in Grand Teton National Park and all of Jackson Hole, and one quick stop at the park's visitor center will have you giggling at the marked upgrade in technology and overall presentation...*ahem* not that technology matters when you're taking in scenic wonders. *un-ahem* 

As per usual, I learned a few things during my adventure, and I'd like to share five of those things with you in case you ever make a similar trek:

1. Elk can and will cross a creek. And when they do, you will never see a more giant collective step backward by the humans.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

2. A sweet & friendly doggie at a gas station can be just as memorable as all the elk, moose, bison and pronghorns on the range.

Gas Station, Somewhere in Wyoming

3. No matter how many times you politely remind your family of the designated---and separate---areas for technology, food and toiletries in your minuscule hotel room, they won't listen.

Video Cameras & Tissues mingling with Waterbottles & Coffee - the Horror!

4.  When taking a tram to the top of a mountain, even though you've chosen the easy way up, flip-flops are not an excellent choice in footwear. There are slippery rocks up there. And snow.

Top of Rendezvous Mountain; Jackson Hole, Wyoming

5. The view is much sweeter when you've actually climbed your way up there.

What used to be babies looking out from Inspiration Point in Grand Teton National Park


Is Life Without Internet Possible?

Well, I'm certainly willing to give it a go...especially if the views come anything close to what I'm promised above. Alas, it does mean I'll be out of touch for a week or so (heavy on the "so"). But M.J. Joachim has sent me off with a HUGE smile because of the review she gave to Divine Temptation yesterday. I was sweating that one out after noting that Mother Teresa - yeah, the one and only amazing Mother freaking Teresa - was one of the few writers on her recommend list, but I'm very pleased to report that...no, I won't spoil it for you - go on, read the review


How Do You Like Your Heroes?

The adorable Jackie at Bouquet of Books and Dani at Entertaining Interests are hosting this Heroes & Villains blogfest, in which we get to talk about our favorite heroes & villains...

Me, I like the ambiguous type, so I have an affinity for the villains who are also heroes...and the heroes who are also villains. Today, I have only one name for you: Severus Snape. Of Harry Potter fame for those who don't know (is it possible there's anyone out there who doesn't know?). Throughout the series we learn that he is a man capable of both intense cruelty and profound, unselfish courage.

What I love most about Snape is that he kept us guessing throughout the entire series. Even by the end, the answer isn't entirely clear as to whether or not he was good or bad. ***SPOILER (sort of) ALERT*** He certainly did good, even heroic, acts, but that doesn't erase the fact that he was a total arse to Harry and the other students for all those years, no matter what the backstory was on his motivation.

My fascination with Snape is actually what led me to write my first novel-length fiction, a  Harry Potter fanfiction titled Professor Burbage and the Potions Master. He was very fun to write, precisely because of that duality in his character, especially when the intelligent and talented hero/villain was paired with an entirely sweet, fluffy-headed innocent. 

There are many great Snape quotes, but my favorites are his condescending remarks to the students. I said he was an arse, but that doesn't mean he didn't crack me up.

I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death — if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach.”
-Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (J.K. Rowling)

“That is the second time you have spoken out of turn, Miss Granger,” said Snape cooly. “Five more points from Gryffindor for being an insufferable know-it-all.”
-Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling)

Alan Rickman did a marvelous job portraying the sinister wizard in the movies, but considering Snape was supposed to be the same age as Harry's parents, he was a little elderly for the role. If my fanfic were being made into a movie, this is who I'd pick to play him:

Jack Davenport (as the ex-Commodore Norrington in Dead Man's Chest)

So who is your favorite Hero who's also a villain?


Divine Insecurities

I have a little something different for you for this installment of the IWSG, founded and hosted by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh. Fellow insecure writer Jennifer Lane has read and reviewed my latest release, and today she's interviewing me about insecurities & more at my place and posting her review at her place---now that's what I call support! 

Nicki Elson (NE): Thanks for being here, Jennifer. I was really, really touched that my book made it to the top of your reading list so fast.

Jennifer Lane (JL): Divine Temptation was fantastic, Nicki! We've already discussed that paranormal isn't my favorite genre, but maybe angels seem more realistic to me than other paranormal creatures, because I really enjoyed it. What was it like for you to anticipate my review, knowing I'm not a big paranormal fan?

NE: I was a bit nervous, but I think more than that I was curious about what your reaction would be. In my opinion, this story is very much based in reality and reads more like a contemporary with paranormal elements than a true paranormal, so my hope was that it would bridge a gap between readers of both genres---and your favorable review tells me that it works for the contemporary crew, because I know you don't give out five stars unless you mean it. Another reason I anxiously anticipated your reaction was because of your psychotherapy expertise. My most important goal in writing is to create real-feeling characters, so I love that you noted their varying shades.

JL: What insecurities came up for you while writing Divine Temptation?

NE: Okay, total honesty---while I'm writing, I don't experience much insecurity. Even when I realize that the words coming out of me at that moment are crap, I have confidence that I'll be able to rework them into something brilliant later on (see the cockiness?). My insecurity usually comes after I have the manuscript polished and am getting ready to send it on---that's when doubt and fear take over. Even though I personally loved this story, I knew it was out of whack with market trends and that the blend of faith, sex, romance, and horror was unusual, so I wasn't sure it would be picked up, and even after it was, I wasn't sure any readers would like it. So it's a relief to see that the few reviews that have come in so far have been positive.  

JL: Tell us about some insecurities in your heroine Maggie. 

NE: Maggie's biggest insecurity is that she has this need to control everything. She's afraid that if she lets go for one moment, everything will come crashing down. We meet Maggie two years after her divorce---that event forced her to relinquish her tight grip on certain aspects of her life, but instead of learning from it, we find her attempting to build back up a different little universe over which she can exert complete control...except she can't.  

JL: Do you see parts of yourself in her character?

NE: Me, controlling? I...I'm working on it, okay?!  Actually, I think getting published is the event in my life that's supposed to teach me how to loosen my grasp. The publication process and marketing require a lot of trusting other people to do what they say they're going to do, and that's pretty hard for me, especially when the way of life is that some people won't follow through. So part of giving up control is simply learning to be okay with it when things don't go according to my plan. 

JL: What's next for you?

NE: Time will tell...see that? Not trying to control things? Buuut what's been distracting me lately is a contemporary office romance/chick lit. Naughty & funny yet sweet is how I'd describe it, so more in the vein of Three Daves than Divine Temptation. I'm ADD that way.

The best balm for writing insecurities is to have someone enjoy what you've written, and when that approval comes from a writer whose opinion you greatly respect---even better. Thank you Jennifer, for taking the time to let me know what you thought, and thanks to the rest of you too who've been so wonderfully supportive of my writing endeavors. You can read Jennifer's full review at her blog today.