Category Archives: MM
So Shadow of the Swan is out there on all online markets, earning money and reviews, and I’m happy with that (as of this moment I’ve sold 143 copies on Amazon). I’ve even uploaded a free short story titled “A Gentle Fall of Show” about Henry and Louisa’s first Christmas at Bookfunnel (all subscribers to my newsletter got the link; if you want to subscribe, click here, enter your email address, and you can download “Snow” in MOBI, EPUB, or PDF format).
So what’s next, Nic? I’m glad you asked.
Since it looks like we’re going to be stuck in COVIDland for the foreseeable future, I am setting up some structure for myself for the rest of the year. And I know I’ve said that before, but this time I’m doing it partially for income and partially because I really need it to stay sane.
So — today, I am wrapping up the re-edit of Deep Water and uploading it to Amazon, B&N, et al. Tomorrow I go back to work on King of Blades (Two Thrones 4) with a goal of finishing it by Monday, October 5. If I do 3,265 words a day, I’ll make that easily. Moreover, I KNOW I can write that many words a day easily (I knew it before, but 2019 kinda shook my faith in myself). Even better, now that I’ve been testing my lavaliere mike, Scrivener’s dictation function, and Otter.ai (oh, Holy God, dictation is a fricking godsend to anyone who needs to write fast and can handle saying stuff out loud), I should be able to crank out that amount within two hours, then spend another couple of hours editing it into shape. The rest of the work hours will be taken up with promo, cover design, et al, and outlining the rest of the books I’ll be writing this year.
On October 6, I pivot from King and let it cool for a week while I fire up Cross Current (Olympic Cove 4). People have been waiting VERY patiently for this book for about five years, so now that I have the rights back for all of the Olympic Cove books I want to reward them for their patience. The goal is to finish Current on November 2. On October 12, in parallel with my work on Cross Current, I will start editing King with a goal of getting it out to my editor and the betas by October 16. After I incorporate their changes and do the final polishing stages, I’ll publish King on Tuesday, October 27.
On November 3 I let the completed Cross Current rest for a week while I go back to work on Uncertainty Principle (and by then I’ll actually have an outline, please God — this book has been frustrating me for the better part of two years) with a goal of finishing it on December 4. Once again, I’ll edit Cross Current in parallel with writing Uncertainty, with a goal of publishing Cross Current on November 24. Uncertainty Principle will be published on December 22, and I am taking the rest of December off to let my brain cool down and get in some well-deserved relaxation by that point.
IF I HAVE TIME AND INTESTINAL FORTITUDE, I will work on The Crimson and the Black in December once Uncertainty Principle is finished. I am not going to promise anything at this point because, quite frankly, I may need to collapse at that point. Much will hinge on how well the dictation goes, how quickly I can edit, and whether or not I still have extra processor cycles available. If I decide to put it off until 2021, it will be the first book of that year.
I’m not going to post my planned schedule for 2021 yet because it’s still kind of soft and I want to get some details firmed up. But my goal is to release at least four full-length books that year (I’m telling you right off the bat, two of them will be the final books in the Olympic Cove series), along with a handful of novellas and free short stories.
And yeah, I know it looks like I’ve bitten off far more than I can chew, but King, Current, and Uncertainty are all partials so it’s not like I’m starting from square one on any of them. If I can get all of them done and out the door, I will have cleared my backlog and can start 2021 with a clean conscience. Let’s see if I can get this done.
Woohoo, I’m kicking off 2019 with a double re-release! My first publications in January will be two novelettes I originally wrote for Evernight Publishing back in 2013; the rights reverted back to me in 2018, and I’m currently in the process of re-editing them and putting them together for release with Belaurient Press.
The first story, A Boon by Moonlight, is my “boy meets Sidhe/boy asks Sidhe for boon/Sidhe asks for night in boy’s bed” piece. This one has a special place in my heart because I dearly want to go out drinking with these two (Zach could be our designated driver, and Jerrek would throw back vodka like it was water and provide running snarky commentary on everyone else in the bar. It would be great). The re-release will also include the unpublished short story “Snow Day” featuring Zach and Jerrek housebound antics during a polar vortex, so there’s some added value there. It should be out on 1/15 so if you’ve never read this one before you can pick it up then.
And may I just say that I’m freaking in love with this new cover? It screams M/M fantasy romance to me (I still can’t believe I’m writing fantasy romance, but my God it’s fun). Finding the stock image of the model in fantasy garb was a real gift, and the other model works with him extremely well. I may do a couple more tweaks to the image before release day, but what you see here is primarily the finished product.
Oh, funny but true story about the cover — I sent it to a couple of writer friends for feedback. One of them writes SF/fantasy and said, “This is for a fantasy romance story? Because the woman on the right looks like a Vulcan.” I had to explain about Jerrek, after which she said, “Ohhh. In that case, it looks great.” *grin*
The other re-release is Grading the Curve, my “hot for teacher” novelette. Whereas I can get Boon out next week, Curve won’t be out for another two weeks because 1) hoo boy, I learned a lot about characterization and backstory in the last five years, which means 2) this 13K novelette is about to become a 30K novella as I gleefully apply both the Editorial Machete and the Storytelling Spackling Knife with a freaking vengeance (seriously, I re-read the original MSS and was deeply grateful that it sank without a trace. It’s not horrible, mind you, but it was clear I had no idea how to write a good, solid MF romance at that time).
The eagle-eyed among you may have noted the extra name on this cover and want to know who the heck Natasha Stark is. Well, she’s me — as of 2019 I’m using that nom de plume for all of my contemporary romances (and yes, there will be more of them — I’ve got at least four romcoms in mind), and this is my way of introducing her. It’s mainly for marketing purposes, since there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of overlap between contemporary romance readers and SF/fantasy/PN romance readers. I want to make it easy for people to find (and ideally buy) what they want to read, so SF, fantasy, or paranormal romance readers can stick with Nicola’s books, and contemporary romance readers can focus on Natasha’s books.
Oh, God. I’m going to have to set up a totally separate website/social media presence at some point for Natasha, aren’t I? I need a drink…
Meanwhile I’m also working on King of Blades (Two Thrones 4) and Natasha’s next romcom, tentatively titled Screen Kiss, so those should be out in March or so. So many books to write, so little time…
Sorry about the radio silence — between trying to get various books formatted and out (my very first romance novel Storm Season has been re-released with a new cover and re-edited content, AND it’s on sale for 99¢ — go take a look!), the increasingly scary situation going on with our current administration, the #GetLoud crusade against bookstuffers and assorted scammers, me taking a jewelry fabrication course, and assorted other things I’ve been a little busy.
The latest event was our downstairs A/C unit going out over the weekend — as it’s been flirting with triple digits here in the clavicle of Texas, this was not a laughing matter. The repairman came today and we now have cool air again for just a shade under a grand. *sigh* So if you need something entertaining to take your mind off things, I currently have five titles on sale for 99¢:
- Storm Season (Olympic Cove 1)
- To My Muse
- Red Robin and the Huntsman (A Two Thrones Novella)
- Empress of Storms (Two Thrones 1)
- Shifter Woods: Howl (Esposito County Shifters 1)
To My Muse will be coming off sale on 7/1 and Degree of Resistance will be taking its place, so if you haven’t read my hilarious romcom yet go get a copy while it’s still ridiculously cheap.
But not all is doom and gloom around the Cameron manse. The #GetLoud campaign, spearheaded by the brilliant Suzan Tisdale, Heather C. Leigh, Bianca Sommerfield, and David Gaughran, has finally generated enough complaints and bad press that the Big River are now taking down bookstuffers. Not all of them are gone, mind you — I still counted at least three in the top 20 of Romantic Comedy a few minutes ago — but the ranks are definitely looking different now. And if Amazon sticks to their guns and doesn’t let these people create new accounts (which according to their TOS is what’s supposed to happen), we may actually have a respite where KU has real, legitimate novels in it again.
At least, until the stuffers figure out a new scam. Which they will, because they’re unethical hacks who simply want to make money. In the meantime, however, I’m going to experiment and put Red Robin and the Huntsman back into KU for three months because it’s not really selling wide, and if it attracts readers in KU that might persuade them to check out the rest of the Two Thrones series (the next book, King of Blades, should be out in November, BTW).
Also, I’m finishing up Shifter Woods: Snarl (see cover at left) and that will be out on 7/10, so mark your calendars! The final novella in the current series, Shifter Woods: Scream (which is Deputy Jane’s story — the eagle shifter finds herself mated to a hot tiger shifter AND a half-elf zoologist in a crossover with Siobhan Muir’s Cloudburst, Colorado series), will be out sometime in September, and then I have to think about a plot for a full-length Esposito County Shifters novel. One possibility is Caleb and Laurie finally getting married — that is, if she can take time out from her new big story and he can deal with a group of religious preppers who are trying to set up a compound in the county. All of the characters from the novellas will be in that one, and I can build from there.
Evernight Publishing’s new anthologies Executive Assistant and Executive Assistant: Manlove Edition are now available on their website, and will be available from All Romance eBooks, Bookstrand, and Amazon on June 20.
As well as some delicious stories from a collection of brilliant writers, Executive Assistant: Manlove Edition also includes my naughty contemporary M/M short story “The Art of Grant Management.” I always knew those years of administering NSF grants would eventually come in handy.
Straitlaced scientist Dr. Peter Loeffler and freewheeling administrative assistant John Quincy are the Odd Couple of the Kenilworth Research Center; their ongoing battles over funding are the stuff of legend, and their bickering can be heard up and down the hallways of the center. But in the aftermath of a very important site visit, the scientist and the admin find out that they may have more in common than they first assumed.
Back in November I came up with a M/M Alpha shifter story idea for an Evernight antho call, but as you know, Bob, that was also the month I came down with the plague. Thanks to the various medications I was on the story idea just wouldn’t gel properly, and after three failed attempts I gave up and stuck all three versions in the “maybe someday” file.
Fast forward to last week. While I was working on Two to Tango, I decided to take a break and flip through my “maybe someday” file as a palate cleanser. I found the most advanced version of the Alpha shifter story at 6K words and thought, “Hmm, this is kind of a cool concept, really. If I expand it I can submit it as an ROTG story. I’ll just add a little more on, then go back to my original project.”
Ho ho ho. The next thing I knew, it was Sunday, my sleep cycle was completely flipped, I was knee deep in corporate espionage and the complications of M/M human/shifter mating when neither of them were gay, and I’d gone straight past ROTG length and was closing in on 20K. Plus my shifter was no longer an Alpha (which actually worked better, considering one of the other characters really needed to be the Alpha), and I came up with a novel way to send Morse code in an office environment
Tl;dr — My newest M/M paranormal erotic romance Trickster has been submitted to Evernight as of this morning, and I’m back to work on Two to Tango .
I don’t do resolutions, but I do have some goals for 2014. One of them is to post more regularly here — book promos, yes, but also “slice of life” posts about what I’m doing, what weird things are going on in my life, and of course sneak peaks at my WIPs. I’m currently finishing up Two to Tango, but last night I found a shifter M/M short story on my desktop that I was trying to write for an anthology and couldn’t finish because, well, it was in November and I was still suffering with The Plague. Upon re-reading the 2K I’d gotten done, I realized it would make a truly tasty Romance On the Go short and got stuck in. it’s now titled Trickster, I’m currently at 4200 words and I’m hoping to have it done and ready for submission by Sunday. And since I can’t wait that long, here’s a sneak peak at the opening to Trickster!
Delaney Smith knew he was screwed the moment that delectable, mouthwatering scent hit his shifter nose and kicked his libido into overdrive. It was bad enough to smell a mate in a human area like his office building. But to smell one while he was in the office and about to start interviews with potential employees? Fate obviously needed a laugh as much as anyone else, but damn, did he have to be the butt of the joke?
Growling softly, he slipped a hand under the table and ground the heel of his hand into his eagerly swelling cock. If he could, he’d slough off the interviews onto his partner Scott Devlin and hunt down the source of that amazing smell, the shifter who would become the other half of his heart. But no, Scott had to pick today to be in Austin for a meeting with a client, and their general manager Nola Moss was somewhere on the Caribbean on a freaking cruise of all things with her new mate. Which meant he was the only hiring manager currently in the Trickster Tech offices, and they desperately needed some temp programmers for their lucrative new contract with Lone Star Credit Union.
Whoever he is, I’ll find him later. I’ve got his scent, he can’t get away from me. While coyote shifters didn’t quite had the olfactory gifts of wolf and other canine shifters, they were still superb trackers, and there was no way he would ever forget that scent; sharp salt, the blood hint of iron, overlaid by the musk of clean, healthy male and some (thank God) mild deodorant and body wash that didn’t shrivel his nose hairs.
And then there was that luscious ribbon of mate pheromone that grabbed him by the dick and made him want to yip with glee. His balls ached, and the urge to shift and hunt down his mate produced a full body shiver. He took a deep breath through his mouth, but even cutting his nose out of the equation didn’t help. Now he could taste his mate.
Shit. Just start the damn interviews. Then I’m going to go find him.
Delaney stood up, grateful that the cut of his suit jacket covered his erection, and headed out to the foyer where Aimee the receptionist told him the first interviewee was waiting. A youngish man with fashionably nerdy glasses and a slightly too large suit perched on one of the upholstered chairs, obviously trying not to fidget with the portfolio in his hands. Plastering on a neutral smile, Delaney walked up to him, hand out for a shake.
And stopped as the mating scent smacked him hard in the nose. His cock didn’t just throb, it pulsed, so rigid that he could have pounded nails with it. Details from the human’s CV flowed through his mind; Mark Fellowes, 29, computer programmer with extensive experience in financial security protocols. Firmly at the top of Scott’s hiring list, to the point where he wanted to hire Fellowes if everything worked out after the contract. Also human as the day was long, according to the background check they ran; not a drop of shifter blood in any of his bloodlines.
And Delaney’s mate, according to his nose. Oh, fuck me with a chain saw.