Category Archives: Business of Writing

Want a free fantasy romance ebook? Did I mention it’s FREE? FREEEEEEEE…

And you don’t have to enter a contest, register, sign up for a mailing list, or do anything complicated, I promise. See, with Lady of Thorns projected to come out in early September I need to start my promo now, and part of that is garnering more reviews on book 2 in the series, Palace of Scoundrels. And the absolute best way to get those? Is to give out free ARCs to lovely people like you.

So, if you ping me here and say, “Hey, Nic, sweetie, honey, sugar lips, how about you shoot me a copy of Palace of Scoundrels in X format, please,” I will cheerfully email you a copy in your requested format, along with instructions on how to email it to yourself and get it on your Kindle if you need help with that. All I ask is that you write an honest review of the book — and yeah, if you didn’t like it, put that in the review. I did say I wanted honest reviews, after all.

And in case you forgot the premise of the book:

Kidnapping, poison, and sex — oh, my!

Spring has sprung in the island kingdom of Hellas, but with no signs of an occupant for the royal nursery Queen Danaë is starting to worry about her own fertility. Her concerns aren’t helped by the arrival of the legendarily conniving Dowager Queen Atilia of Illium–or the woman’s handsome grandson Prince Marcus, on the run after being accused of poisoning his older brother.

In the neighboring kingdom of Ypres, Danaë’s royal husband Matthias is dealing with dangerous family politics and a wolfish duke who has kidnapped a young noblewoman for immoral purposes. Or has he? Can Matthias ward off the threat of civil war, outwit his relatives, and deal with a charming rival in his wife’s own palace?

Or as I like it put it, Arrested Development meets Game of Thrones! Thank you for your support!

Yeah, this is definitely Monday

I have been in better moods. The fact that my ears and sinuses are aching do not help (please, dear sweet baby Cthulhu, I do not need another sinus infection).

On the plus side, however, I finished a rather nifty mixed media pendant for a giveaway I’m going to run on Friday. Anyone who follows my Instagram account will be able to get in on the fun — I’ll be giving away copies of Shifter Woods: Howl as well as the pendant.

Where everything starts. A printout of the coyote gets glued onto sterling silver with rubber cement, then cut out very carefully with a jeweler’s saw

Once the shape is roughed out, I use various needle files to refine the shape further, then polish with jeweler’s rouge to smooth off any sharp edges or burrs.

The final coyote shape in sterling silver, placed against a 1″ round of red brass to see how the final piece will look.

Then I get to play with fire. The underside of the coyote piece and the topside of the moon were coated with flux, which was then fired (this prevents soot from building up between the layers and preventing a clean bond with the solder). I cut off and heated three balls of easy silver solder, put them onto the back side of the coyote, turned it over and put it onto the moon, and heated everything until the solder melted and bonded the two pieces. The pendant is now in the pickle pot having firescale and residual gunk removed.

The final product, clean and shiny! The smudges on the coyote’s body are my fingerprints.

Want to win a Kindle Fire? Of course you do!

Do you like sci fi romance? Do you have a hankering for a new Kindle Fire? Then do I have a contest for you!

BookSweeps is holding an awesome giveaway where you can win my book Degree of Resistance, plus books from authors like Evangeline Anderson and Cara Bristol, as well as a new Kindle Fire. This giveaway ends on May 1, so make sure you hurry and enter here — bit.ly/sfr-apr-17. Good luck!

Want to win a new Kindle Fire AND a copy of Degree of Resistance?

Have you seen this awesome giveaway from BookSweeps? You can win my book Degree of Resistance, plus books from authors like Evangeline Anderson and Cara Bristol, and a Kindle Fire. This giveaway ends soon, so make sure you hurry and enter! Good luck!

Join the fun here! bit.ly/sfr-apr-17

It’s time to pull on my Big Writer Panties

degreeofresistancecoverDegree of Resistance has now been out for a shade over a week, and the bulk of my wonderful ARC readers have left reviews (thank you all, *mwah*). I have requests out to a slew of reviewers, advertising going on at various locations, and I’m in the process of getting my media pack out to various bloggers who are kind enough to host my stuff.

And so far … yeah, the sales are perhaps a touch disappointing. The folks who have read the book so far say it’s hella good (and these people have no reason to blow smoke up my ass. If I’d produced something crappy, they would’ve told me). So what that confirms is that my marketing plan is not optimal and I have to come up with a better method of getting Evie and Ben’s story out in front of readers who love smokin’ cyborg romance.

To that end, the lovely and talented Cecilia Tan (my first editor and now my cherished colleague) was kind enough to spend an hour on Skype with me on Thursday going over various battle plans and ways to promote DoR. Some of them, I must admit, had simply never occurred to me but seem obvious in retrospect (e.g. find ways to write blogs posts that will appeal to girl geek-slanted publications such as The Daily Dot and io9, since a significant proportion of my SFR-loving readers will be found there). Others will require careful use of SEO terms to boost exposure, creative use of graphics, or just plain throwing money at the problem. As I am a poor but honest writer who is still paying off the costs of Wild Wicked Weekend (Tl;dr I had a frigging ball and sold more books than last year)  I’m hoping to keep this last method down to a minimum, at least until the end of the month. I still want to try submitting Empress of Storms to BookBub, but I need to save up for that as well, plus I have to wait until I’m past the 90 day limit on sales prices (since it was on sale along with Palace of Scoundrels in December, that should take effect later this month).

So goes the life of a modern hybrid author. Still the best job I’ve ever had, though.

A Christmas Sale!

twothronesseriesheader

Which has much less Darren McGavin than A Christmas Story, but bear with me. In the spirit of the year (and because all of us need a bit of a lift right now) I’m putting both Two Thrones books on sale for 99¢ until New Year’s Eve. So if you’re new to the joint kingdoms of Hellas and Ypres, this is the perfect chance to check them out.

Empress of Storms

Palace of Scoundrels

Interview with Daniel Riding and Update on Palace of Scoundrels

melwritingThe lovely and perspicacious Daniel Riding recently interviewed me  on his blog about writing MM erotic romance, the Olympic Cove series, and just where do I get all those marvelous ideas from, anyway? I forgot to mention my writing tiara (shown at left), but the interview is here — thanks again, Daniel!

In writing news, I’m firing away on all cylinders on Palace of Scoundrels, with a plan to have it released on (checks calendar) September 20. Less than two weeks, in other words. Whee! Sleep’s overrated! After that I plan on sleeping even less and finishing edits on Do No Harm so that I can get it out a few days after Palace, because not only am I going to the Evernight Publishing writer’s retreat in October, I’m also schlepping my sister on a 3-day cruise a few weeks after that (mainly so that she can see if she can tolerate a cruise — she gets terribly motion sick, poor lamb), and I have to pay for all this travel without actually selling an organ or a cat.

Breaker Zone up for Book of the Year at The TBR Pile!

breakerzone_smCalling all Breaker Zone fans! I just found out that book Two in the Olympic Cove series is up for Book of the Year over at The TBR Pile!

This is where you come in — I need you to go and vote for me. No registration is required, just a click of your mouse button. (Plus you would earn my undying gratitude by voting for me because the second half of this year has been sort of crap on the personal front and wining Book of the Year would do wonders for my peace of mind). So please go and vote for Breaker Zone, and I thank you for your support!

P.S. Empress of Storms has now paid off 100% of its production costs and 70% of its promotion costs. I may well break even before the end of the year — woohoo!

The Good, The Bad, and the Croggling

12342725_468882083297818_2759142706878447254_nThe Good: The  Evernight Readers’ Choice Awards were held on Saturday and Deep Water was first runner up in Best Menage category, while Breaker Zone was first runner up in the Best Erotic category. Thanks so much to everyone who voted for me — I truly appreciate each and every one of you!

The Bad: I seem to be in a moderately bad mood today and I don’t know why. It could just be that I have a metric buttload of cleaning to do around here before I can put up the Christmas decorations and for reasons that I don’t understand a family member is stating on FB that I won’t have anything up this week. Whatever.

The Croggling: I was looking for Empress of Storms reviews today and found one that, to be honest, had me o_0 at first, then laughing, then absurdly flattered. The reviewer, who is also a noted writer of SF and fantasy, had this to say about EoS:

“This book was so good-hearted I forgave it the things that bothered me, #1 of which was that I couldn’t tell if it was set in our world or a second world; all the names were definitely Greek and so were the cities, but the mythology was wrong and there was magic? But a political intrigue story with several twists in it, about a young queen affianced to an older king of another nation, and their relationship and how it affects their countries and their enemies. Definitely a fantasy novel, but the romance elements were strong; particularly, all the erotic scenes were explicit, and other than the first one (which establishes some important groundwork for the partnership) there’s no real plot reason for the rest of them. People who dislike explicit sex scenes for the point of explicit sex scenes will probably be annoyed.”

She then went on to review a MM contemporary romance, concluding with “Also explicit, but more pertinent to the plot (oddly enough) than the previous book, which wasn’t a romance.”

*goes back to check book notes*

*checks categories on Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and Smashwords*

*confirms that yup, I wrote a fantasy erotic romance*

I just read this to Ramón. He replied, “So let me get this straight. A member of SFWA read your book, which was an erotic romance with fantasy elements, and thought it was a fantasy novel with gratuitous sex. So essentially you wrote a romantic pastiche of high fantasy that worked so well it passes for actual high fantasy.”

Then he paused. “You realize this means it’s eligible for a Hugo.”

I think we scared the cats with our cackling.

A Slight More Balanced Thought About Piracy

Empress-of-storms-CustomDesign-JayAheer2015-smallpreview*takes deep breath, lets it out through nose*

So yesterday I launched a rant about a certain site that was promoting illegal downloads of Empress of Storms. Pretty much everyone who read it and left a comment on social media sympathized with me, reassured me that a lot of pirate sites exist to get credit card information and thus karma would visit those who didn’t know how to use a library, and generally tried to make me feel better.

I appreciate them all. And I should admit that part of my rage was brought on by the fact that Ramón was laid off on October 31 and we are both scrambling for work and trying to figure out how we’ll be paying the December mortgage (Christmas isn’t even an option this year. Paying bills comes first). But the karma bit stuck in my head. See, I used to have a blog waaaaay back in 2001, long before WordPress or Blogger or even LiveJournal were on the scene. Had to hand-code each entry, change the previous entry so that it linked to the new one, and create/update the archive pages. You kids don’t know how lucky you are, with your social media crosslinking and your SEO tags. Now get off my lawn.

Anyhoo, since I knew that big block of uninterrupted text tended to turn readers off I had a habit of trolling the net for appropriate images, downloading them, and using them in my blog entries. I did not buy these. Back then, you didn’t even think twice about it. You found a picture on the net and you just used it. There was no question about reimbursing the artist who took the photograph or created the artwork. If it was on the net, it was free for use, QED.

So, if I am brutally honest with myself this may be karma doing a little bitchslapping of its own for using creative material that I didn’t pay for. And now that my blood pressure has settled, I do have to admit that having 612 downloads and 41 four- and five-star reviews is actually kind of flattering. At least 612 people liked my story enough to grab it from a torrent site and read it. 41 of them liked it enough to leave good reviews.

(I still wish they’d left those reviews on Amazon, but whatever.)

Seriously, though, if you can’t afford a copy and will frigging explode if you can’t read about Matthias and Danaë, don’t go through a torrent site. Email me and I will send you a copy for free. All I ask is that you leave a honest review somewhere, ideally Amazon but I’ll take Goodreads/B&N/iBooks/whatever. That way, karma blesses us both.