Author Archives: Nicola Cameron

So, about THE CRIMSON AND THE BLACK…

The release has been delayed due to Circumstances Beyond My Control™, and I am heartily sorry about that. But thanks to KDP’s understanding, I have been allowed to push the release back to February 15, 2022 instead of just flushing it, so if you pre-ordered the book you will receive it, just three weeks later than you expected.

Moreover, I still retain my ability to create pre-orders, so that is a huge relief.

And no, I don’t have COVID, although I’m pretty damn sure that I have a sinus infection and will be speaking to a telehealth doctor tomorrow about getting some antibiotics. I have had zero energy this week, and the green snot made an appearance last night—I know from experience that those two symptoms are the starting gun for “Yeah, you need ABX right now.”

And hopefully I will not have COVID next week either, but Ramón had two dental procedures this week and is not feeling all that great right now so who the hell knows (yes, I’ve had my booster, so don’t fret about that). I just want to get this book through the editing process and uploaded to Amazon, and I want everyone to enjoy the big, juicy melon of a romance that is going to land in your eager hands come Tuesday, February 15th, come hell or high water.

Yay 2022…

Happy New Yea…oh, wait, I’m working

Well, of course I’m working—writers don’t get time off, just days with different chores.

But I’m kicking off 2022 by updating the covers for my Esposito County Shifters series, since the PNR market currently likes saturated jewel tones and my AMS ad for Shifter Woods: Howl kept getting great clicks in 2021 but no sales (I’ve tweaked the blurb as well). I also replaced the couple on the cover because while I thought the male model was hot, he clearly wasn’t connecting with readers (that’s fine—I like having him on the cover of King of Blades better anyway).

The fruits of today’s labor:

And for when I get Shifter Woods: Growl finished and up:

In other writing news I am THISCLOSE to finishing The Crimson and the Black, which is good because it’s out on 1/25/22 (if you like, you can pre-order it here on Amazon). It should be done by the end of the week, at which point I do a quick edit and send it out to the editor and betas. While they’re working on it I’ll focus all of my attention on finishing Crystal Shard and outlining Crystal Blade, then I’ll switch back to editing and polishing mode once the changes come in and send out ARCs. The final step will be uploading the completed book file to Amazon on 1/21/22, at which point I spin the prayer wheels and hope like hell that my marketing plan works.

Oh, an between writing and dealing with Ramón’s exploding tooth/my malfunctioning thigh over the holidays, it appears that I have developed a guilty pleasure. Yes, I have finally started watching Grey’s Anatomy, beginning with Season One. Only sixteen years late, but what the hell.

Hoo, boy…

This is going to be one Christmas that I will be very glad to have over and done with.

A little over a week ago Ramón started complaining of increasing mouth pain, to the point where I was searching his gums with a flashlight and improvised tongue depressor to see if he had a canker sore. I didn’t see anything, but ran out anyway to get maximum strength Orajel because surely that would work.

It didn’t. And the pain got worse, to the point last Tuesday night where it was throbbing and he couldn’t sleep. I did the only thing I could do and promised that I would get up at Oh Dark Thirty, call the dentist, and see if I could get him an emergency appointment.

Which I did, only to find out that one dentist was on vacation and the other was home with his sick wife. But since the staff was there they said I could bring Ramón in and get him X-rayed by the hygienist, which would at least give them an idea if something was wrong.

So I woke Ramón up, poured him into the car, took him to the dentist, and waited outside while he went in for the X-rays. Around a half hour later he came out with the news that he had an abscess under his right rear molar (the films had been sent electronically to the dentist who wasn’t on vacation, and blessings be on that man for being willing to check X-rays while he was taking care of his wife) and needed a root canal by a specialist because his roots were “weird.” He also had a scrip for amoxicillin which was called in to our local Walgreens.

All this was happening on December 22, mind you. Three days before Christmas. Whee…

Luckily the dentist’s office gave us the number of a specialist, and I called as soon as we got home and scored a root canal appointment for the morning of December 27. But that meant that Ramón would have to get through five days on nothing but antibiotics and OTC painkillers because nobody is handing out opioid pain meds these days. (Not to mention that getting him to take a single ibuprofen has always been a challenge because he doesn’t like painkillers of any kind, even the OTC ones, but I digress.)

At this point I knew Christmas dinner at my editor’s house was a no-go. There was no way he’d be able to sit for long enough or eat anything that required chewing, and he’d be too miserable to enjoy it anyway. So I ran out and got a slew of sugar-free puddings, jellos, and yogurts, put the Christmas Eve dinner I had planned on hold, and we hunkered down to wait out the weekend.

Except that I had heard nothing from Walgreens about the phoned-in ABX scrip. When I headed over there to check on the status, I learned that their pharmacy was closed because there was no one available to work it. The clerk at the front register said that a pharmacist from another store would be there by 2:30 PM, but I couldn’t risk it. I called the dental office again and asked them to call in the scrip to the Walmart where Ramón gets his meds, explaining the situation. The office manager quickly agreed and we had the antibiotics by 3:30 PM.

You would think this would be quite enough disasters for one holiday, but you would be wrong. This was the point where my left hip flexor, which had been bothering me for a week or so, decided to flare up like a bitch and cause a full-fledged sciatica attack. So while Ramón was peering blearily at his work monitor in between lie-downs where he could hold an ice pack on his jaw and wait for the ibuprofen and ABX to kick in, I was hobbling around the house on my cane cursing my stupid legs, the stupid chair which had caused this problem, and the fact that we had a two-story house where the master bedroom was on the second floor. I spent Wednesday through Friday night sleeping in the guest room because there was simply no way I could make it upstairs, and let me tell you that I have been spoiled rotten by our Purple mattress.

Christmas finally arrived, but frankly I don’t remember a lot about it apart from the exchange of gifts, after which both of us staggered off to our separate beds and tried to get some sleep in between ibu doses. By Sunday, however, the antibiotics were finally starting to do their job on Ramón’s abscess, and me not climbing stairs multiple times a day and staying off the Torture Chair had caused my thigh to calm down.

By the time Monday morning rolled around, both of us were feeling at least semi-human again and after two hours at the specialist Ramón came out with a freshly root canal-ed and packed molar and instructions to return in two weeks to complete the procedure. I called our dentist to make an appointment for the crown that would be needed on that molar (all I can say is, thank God Ramón opted for an HSA and has been tossing some money into it every two weeks because that’s going to cover most of our out-of-pocket costs for all of this), then had the brilliant idea to break out the shiatsu massage pillow that I’d received for Christmas and try it on my thigh.

As I remarked later on Twitter, it felt like angels with warm hands massaging my thigh, and I still don’t care how dirty that sounds. Thanks to that wondrous little pillow I was able to walk fairly well without the cane by Tuesday, which meant I could make our delayed Christmas Eve dinner (it was that or we had to put the turkey breast in the freezer), including the miniature mince pies that Ramón had been craving. Granted, a lot of prep work was done sitting down, but I’m still impressed with myself that I put together a full holiday meal without requiring a handful of ibuprofen or a bottle of tequila.

And now it is Wednesday, I made word quota today, we have a buttload of turkey and fixings in the fridge, and I’ll be making Paul Hollywood’s Leftovers Chelsea Buns on Friday. Of all the Christmases we’ve had together, this genuinely isn’t the worst (that honor is held by Christmas 2010 when our plane to Heathrow got diverted to Paris due to a major snowstorm in the UK and we had Quite the Adventure™ getting back to England).

But I’m definitely hoping that 2022 is an improvement. Because damn, we need one.

The joys of December, she said darkly

For other people, normal people who don’t have other people in their heads forcing them to write down their stories, December can be fraught. There are holidays to prepare for, gifts to buy, houses to clean, families to deal with, and all the other joys that come with a massive communally celebrated event.

For writers, we get all that plus deadlines. For instance, as of tonight I have officially pulled the trigger on the pre-orders for The Crimson and the Black (Hidden Empire Book 2), with a release date of January 25, 2022, and Crystal Shard (Paladins of Crystal Book 1) with a release date of March 15, 2022). Are the books finished? Ho ho ho—you must be jesting.

But it is a truth universally acknowledged that Nicola works best with deadlines, otherwise she’ll faff about and waste time reading social media or watching Netflix. And it’s not like this is totally impossible or I’m starting from zero. Crimson is about 1/3rd finished—if I light a fire under my butt I should be able to get the rest of it knocked out by New Year’s Eve, and the editor stands ready to take acceptance of it on January 7th after I do a fast edit. I will also be working on Shard (which is about 2/15ths finished by comparison) in parallel, but that doesn’t have to be ready until mid-February so I can focus on Crimson as necessary.

As I’ll be rapid releasing the Paladins of Crystal books starting in March with Crystal Shard, I’ll be starting Crystal Blade as soon as Crimson is done. The plan is to work on two books at the same time with the focus on the next one to be released in order to meet the release schedule:

  • March 2022: Crystal Shard
  • April 2022: Crystal Blade
  • May 2022: Crystal Reflection
  • June 2022: Crystal Citadel
  • July 2022: Crystal Empress

Barring death or something bad happening to my hands, I should just about be able to pull it off. And then I’m taking August off because phoo. My writing schedule for the rest of the year will depend on what’s selling best which at the moment are the Two Thrones, Hidden Empire, and Pacifica Rising series. If that’s still the case in August, I may do Mage of Fire, To Love a Wild Swan, and Uncertainty Principle to round out 2022. And yes, I can hear the shrieks of outrage from Olympic Cove fans who are waiting patiently for the last two books in the series. All I can say right now is that I have to work on what’s profitable—if sales of Cross Current pick up, I’ll do those books instead.

But—if Paladins of Crystal does as well as I think it can, I have two related series that I can start working on in September and start off with a January 2023 rapid release schedule. My goal right now is to make $50K in income by the time 20Booksto50k 2022 starts in Vegas, and this is how I’m going to do it.

*touches fingertips together* That being said, I need help from you. I’ve found some places that advertise reverse harem romances and I’m contacting them, but if you know of any reviewers, bloggers, sites, et al that specialize in RH, please please PLEASE point me towards them. I’m going to stack promos around the release of Crystal Shard, but I want the RH fandom to be aware well before then that the book is coming out and the other four in the series will follow quickly.

So, yeah, December is gonna be a busy month for me. But I feel good about this—I have solid outlines, I know my characters well, and I’m going to do my damnedest to write some amazing romances. Let’s get ‘er done.

BOY, it’s been a busy two months

When last I left you, my friends, I was prepping for my sister’s arrival (aka frantically trying to make the house not look like a heavy metal band had been camping here for the last six months) and getting started on TikTok. I’m happy to say that the house was indeed cleaned, the visit was lovely, and she’s coming back with her husband in two weeks. Which is good because I need the time to re-clean this place–granted, it’s not nearly as bad as it was in September, but I got some contract work this month and went to Vegas for a week (more on that later) so some of the housekeeping kinda slid by the wayside.

As for TikTok, that’s turned out to be an immense amount of fun — I’m coming up with skits I want to do, I made it over a thousand followers so I can now put a URL on my profile page that links to all of my books, and generally it’s a good outlet for being the goof that I am. It also gave me a good reason to buy a new tiara (there’s a Thing on BookTok where if you’re a romance writer you wear a tiara while you do your videos. Far be it from me to say no to wearing a crown).

And that extra tiara (I now have three) came in handy when I went to Vegas for 20Booksto50k® 2021, which is a faboo conference for indie authors and publishers. In the space of five days I learned SO MUCH both about the craft of writing and the business of being an indie author — marketing, ads, stacking promos, how to construct a book launch properly, bookkeeping, starting LLCs and similar companies, everything from soup to nuts. I came back thoroughly pumped, started adding A+ content to all of my Amazon books, tweaked blurbs and ads, and rewatched videos of panels to get deeper into the best way to construct Amazon and FB ads.

Oh, and I’m doing NaNoWriMo, too, because I’m a masochist who doesn’t know when to say no. Right now I’m up to 35,085 words on Crystal Shard (ooh — did I mention that I’m doing a rapid release Reverse Harem series next year? I’m doing a rapid release RH series next year) as well as finishing The Crimson and the Black (and man, did I get some insights into that book while in Vegas). Right now it looks like Crimson will be coming out mid-January, and Crystal Shard will be coming out mid-March with the next four books in the series following in April, May, June, and July. Oh, and I’m also working on Mage of Fire (Two Thrones 5), release date TBD.

Yeah, definitely a masochist. But at least I’m having fun.

The Greak TikTok Experiment, Day 6

As you may remember, Bob, I signed up for TikTok last week. As per the webinar’s instructions, I’ve been posting 2-3 videos a day, most of them on the subject of my books or writing but some of them just goofy little filips.

So far I have 324 followers, one of my posts from Sunday has crossed the thousand views mark (unsurprising as it stars J.J.), and I know for sure that I’ve sold six books from my posts. I’m also having a whale of a good time making these vids and learning a lot about the different filters, effects, and other visual goodies that come with TikTok. I’d also like to get some apps to help me with captioning, but I need a phone that can handle iOS13 first (come to me, iPhone 12).

I have to admit that this surprises me, but after a week of participating I have to say that joining TikTok was a good idea. I might change my mind in a month or two, but so far it’s been both a ball and surprisingly lucrative.

And if you want to see me in action, you can find me here.

So, TikTok…

I’m going to be posting this exact same blog entry at The Other Website, so if you subscribe to both my apologies.

@nicandmelatbelaurientThis one was inspired by Westworld, and I got to chat with one of the actors! ##booktok ##romance ##kindle ##spicybooks ##indieauthor ##romancebooks♬ original sound – NicolaCameron/MelanieFletcher

https://www.tiktok.com/embed.js

This week I attended a webinar led by Jayne Rylon and Lila Dubois about how authors can use TikTok to promote their work. Normally I’m a little meh about webinars, but this one was funny, effective, and reinforced a lot of stuff I’ve been hearing from authors about how being on TikTok can boost your sales. It also demonstrated some best practices, things not to do, and suggested a couple of tips that surprised me (like wearing crowns in videos. I mean, who would have guessed?).

Anyhoo, on Thursday I took the leap and signed up for a TikTok account. On the recommendation of Jayne and Lila, who said that TikTok readers are voracious and aren’t bound to genre, I decided to use my TikTok account for both my Melanie and Nicola books and came up with the username nicandmelatbelaurient. A little clumsy, yes, but the screen name can be changed as much as you like and I settled on Melanie Fletcher/Nicola Cameron for that, which seems to work. My first video was a cute little pan of all the proof copies I have on a bookshelf, with a voiceover that muses how I really should order real copies of all those books. Did a bit of editing, added on-screen text and a sticker, and uploaded it.

I then joined Authors of TikTok and TikTok for Beginners on Facebook. Right now the Authors group has been more useful because it gave me the opportunity to join in on a daily cross-promotion post where people post their latest TikTok. You can then go and like/follow/comment them, and they’ll do the same for your post and account. Not very organic, true, but TikTok is gamified where you get certain privileges when you get certain numbers of followers, and right now I’m in a growth phase in order to get some of those privileges.

So what’s the point of all this? Well, over the last two days I’ve posted four videos — the panning one of the proof copy shelf, one where I feature Behind the Iron Cross, one where I’m actually on camera saying hello (link at the beginning of this post), and one featuring the Two Thrones series. As of right now I have 85 followers, 73 likes, and I’ve gotten 567 views on the proof vid, 336 views on the BtIC vid, 494 views on the “Hello, it’s me” vid, and 12 views on the Two Thrones post (but that was only uploaded an hour ago). I’ve also gotten two people reading BtIC on KU, which I can only attribute to my TT post. I’m hoping that as I establish more of a presence on the platform I’ll be able to boost my sales even more.

Plus, I LOVE making videos. I’m already a frustrated screenwriter and videographer so to me TikTok is an absolute ball, especially if I can make my videos funny. I already have a series planned where Melanie and Nicola will both be in the videos bickering with each other about stuff (which will require costume changes and a lot of editing, but that’s okay).

And, erm, I may have purchased a ring light with automatic start button for my camera. Hey, it’s a tax write-off.

Well, this blows

I’m trying to get the house in some kind of order before my sister gets here at the end of the month. Since it needs a LOT of in-depth cleaning and ShitKnee prevents me from doing a lot of that before I’m forced to sit down, I’ve got an every-other-day schedule where I focus on a room and get it clean (writing during rest breaks), then take the next day off and dedicate it purely to writing (and yes, Ramón is helping — he cleaned the library over the weekend — but he also has a day job calling on his time whereas my boss is a bitch but also lets me have time off to clean).

Yesterday, I cleaned our downstairs bathroom. This included moving everything on surfaces out of the room, vacuuming and washing the walls, vacuuming every flat surface in the room (remember, we have five cats so there is hair EVERYWHERE), vacuuming the extractor fan cover and light fixture, dusting all the picture frames and washing the glass, washing the window and mirror, vacuuming the floor, washing all flat surfaces, scrubbing the sink/sink cabinet/toilet/shower enclosure, and washing the floor. With breaks, it took about five hours. I figured I’d be a little tired today, but it was a day off so that was fine.

Today, I feel like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck. Just getting my muscles to function at all makes me want to cry. I can’t even get my fingers to work right — I dropped the cap from my pop bottle, then had a hell of time getting it screwed back on the bottle. All I want to do is crawl back into bed, but I’ve got word quota to meet. This getting older thing is absolute bullshit, people.

As for the bathroom, there was litter on the floor this morning (because of course there was). I swept it up and dumped it back in the litter box. The rest of it looks pretty nice, though, so I’ve got that going for me.

Okay, writing — today I’m working on the outline of The Crimson and the Black so that I can start plowing through that at speed, and I’d really like to get Shifter Woods: Growl done and out by the end of the month (it’s halfway done). Also, if you’d like to read my new alternate history mystery A Most Mysterious Murder (aka Edgar Allan Poe and Lewis Carroll team up to fight crime!), it’s available on all platforms as well as print.

Marvelous Monday Reads: A Not-So-Indecent Proposal

Welcome to another edition of Marvelous Monday Reads, darlings! Today I’m featuring L.D. Blakeley and her wonderful new M/M romance A Not So Indecent Proposal, now available from Evernight Publishing and other retailers of fine romance. Take it away, L.D.!

A Not-So-Indecent Proposal is a spicy little May/December, CEO/intern, fake relationship bit of fun and I hope you’ll like it!

A-NOT-SO-INDECENT-PROPOSAL-banner1


A-Not-So-Indecent-Proposal-by-LD-Blakeley

Bram Wilson has snagged his ideal internship at an exciting new app development company. The only downside? It’s unpaid. And like any recent graduate, he’s in debt up to his eyeballs.

Spencer Kemp, CEO of AppMedica, is thrilled to have just scored his first viral sensation. Not-so-thrilling is the extra cash he needs to find to keep developing his popular game while it’s hot. Of course, there’s always the money his grandmother willed him as a wedding gift. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a boyfriend, never mind a husband.

Surely a solution can’t be that hard to find.


Story Excerpt

“Can I ask you something?” Bram asked as the waitress left to fill their order.

“Sure.”

“Am I fired?”

The question threw Spencer for a loop. “F—no. Why would you think that?”

“I kissed you.” His voice was barely above a whisper. “Remember?”

Oh, he remembered. Vividly. He couldn’t remember the last time someone had taken him so completely off guard. He’d spent more time than he’d care to admit reliving the moment. But it sure as hell wasn’t a fireable offense. Okay, technically, it could have been. But in this case it had cemented his decision to go ahead with his ridiculous plan.

“No, Bram. You’re definitely not fired.”

Bram’s posture relaxed somewhat. Then he leaned forward and asked, “So what are we doing here, then?”

“Hang on a minute. You thought you were about to be fired and you came along anyway?”

“I mean, yeah. If you were going to fire me, you could have done it anywhere. At least this way, it wouldn’t have been in front of everyone at work.”

“Well, you can rest assured. Nobody is getting fired.”

As their waitress set their drinks down, they stared at each other intently. Neither man spoke until they both thanked her without breaking eye contact.

“So?” Bram prompted. “What did you want to talk about?”

After hesitating briefly, Spencer bit the bullet and dove right in. “I need to get married.”

Bram furrowed his brow and took a hearty swallow of wine. “You’ve lost me.”

“I need to get married and want to make you a proposal,” Spencer explained. “A business proposal,” he quickly added.

“I’m sorry, what?”

Spencer removed the contract from its folder, then slid it across the table toward Bram.

“My grandmother was a hateful old woman,” he began to explain. “And in order to meet the requirements put on the money she gifted me in her will, I have to show proof of marriage to her lawyers.”

“And you want me to…” Bram trailed off as he picked up the papers.

“You need help paying off a big chunk of student debt,” Spencer continued. “And I need the money to make a sizeable and timely investment in AppMedica. So what I’m proposing is we get married. In return for you agreeing to do this, I use a portion of the money to pay off your loans.”

“Get married.” Bram sounded out the phrase like it was in a foreign language. “Are you serious?”

“Quite,” Spencer answered. “Nothing as far as our respective lives go has to change. We wouldn’t have to live together or be a couple or anything like that. It would simply be a legal document we would both be signing.”

Bram was silent.

“I don’t expect you to give me an answer right away,” Spencer added.

Bram started to speak, then closed his mouth.

“Are you okay?” Spencer asked.

“I’ll be honest. I have a million things I want to say, but they all seem to want to come out as what the fuck.”

“Fair.”

“I mean. What the fuck?” Bram finished his wine in one swallow. “This is really … what the fuck.”


Where to Buy

Evernight Publishing | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple | Bookstrand | Scribd | Smashwords


About the Author

L.D. Blakeley is a multi-published, Amazon best-selling author from Canada who describes herself as a slightly neurotic, highly ambitious dreamer who enjoys dabbling in photography, and pretending she can carry a tune. Her house has been taken over by far too many crafty endeavors to list.

In another life, Lisa was a newspaper reporter, an entertainment and music industry writer, a travel magazine editor, a PR specialist, a website content developer, and a marketing shill. Now she prefers to spend her time writing hot, steamy fiction with a healthy dose of romance.

While she dreams of living some place isolated with an endless supply of wine and an infinite number of books, she currently lives in downtown Toronto with her husband and their rock star cat.

WEBSITE | BLOG | FACEBOOK |TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

And here comes the heat…

Up until 2015, North Texas was pretty arid, and was in fact in drought conditions for years. Then May 2015 rolled around and it rained for pretty much every day of the month. Ever since then, we get what I can only call monsoon season for May and part of June — we can expect rain every week, often for days at a time. While this is great for the land, it does drive the humidity up to sauna levels, and don’t get me started on the mosquitos.

Well, bluebonnets are pretty.

That being said, it’s weird to read weather predictions for the summer and find out that most of Texas is supposed to be at average or slightly cooler temps than normal, while these massive heat domes squat over the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest and flash-steam everyone there. I’m not making fun of those folks, either — they’re not used to those kind of temps, their homes and businesses aren’t set up to handle heat, and suddenly getting slammed with 107°F temps when your A/C consists of opening windows to get a cross breeze is no bueno indeed. We ran into the very same problems with Winter Storm Uri, after all.

So right now we’re dealing with a shaky energy grid (thanks, Greg), but temps that seem to be staying in the high eighties to mid-nineties, with a fair amount of rain in next week’s forecast. When I first moved here, I probably would have complained about the heat. I know better, now.

When I started writing Degree of Resistance I posited a future where a wannabe totalitarian president, climate change, and Big Tech-backed political rights grabs had wreaked havoc on North America. I mean, it was supposed to be a theoretical dystopian background for my romance. I never thought that I would get it right.