Category Archives: Release Day
Yeah, well, it’s out. BUT — since it’s a contemporary romance, I’ve released it under the Natasha M. Stark name (it’s a marketing decision — people who liked To My Muse and Grading the Curve don’t necessarily want to read my SF/fantasy/paranormal romance, so I’m giving them their own pseud for my contemporary romance).
One Sweet Christmas is the tale of jaded PA Rose Shaffer who does NOT believe in Hallmark moments or small town romance, thank you very much. After her Chicago socialite employer dies, she gets an offer of a free room for a month in LA while she looks for work in the Land of Personal Assistants. On her way there, however, her car breaks down near the ski town of Crystal Mountain, CO, where she meets Eric Kaufman, Hot Baker and former contestant on Let’s Bake, America! (at least, until he wound up punching the male judge and storming off the show).
Eric’s been asked to make a wedding cake for an IG influencer on short notice. When his assistant breaks both arms in a skiing accident, Rose gets roped in to help Eric finish the cake. Needless to say, hijinks ensue after that, and a ridiculously cute niece, a crafty dad, and a somewhat plaster-covered assistant baker add to the fun. (As my editor said, “Damn you, I couldn’t put it down!”)
This, by the way, is going to be the highlight of my week since Ramón and I are doing the reasonable thing and staying home for Thanksgiving. I’ll miss making my oven-roasted Brussels sprouts for the editor and her family, but in this time of COVID-19 it’s not worth the risk. We’ve managed to make it through eight months of staying home except for store trips and medical visits, and we’re both still okay so far — I’d like to continue that run until a vaccine is available.
Ever do something really, really dumb?
When too much tequila and an enabling BFF put Lily Nayar’s romance novel Feast of Lovers into the hands of its inspiration, sexy British actor Tom Morrison, Lily is horrified. Now she’s determined to get her book back, even if that means breaking into Tom’s hotel room to do it.
With the help of a strategic lie and an Oscar-winning knight, Lily’s screwball plan catapults her into the middle of her very own Cinderella story, Hollywood style. But will a vengeful actress ruin Lily’s shot at a real life HEA with Tom?
It’s done! Yes, I finished it on Friday, and it’s currently simmering while I get pending jewelry projects done and generally play catch-up on things that fell by the wayside during my final push (like the housework, the laundry, paying bills, getting my car’s safety inspection done, making calls to various people to get things sorted with them, you know the drill). I have to say, I’m very happy with how the story turned out, and I’m really hoping that everyone likes my first stab at a contemporary romcom. I think it’s funny as hell, but I would — I wrote it. Also, it has a running Penguins of Madagascar joke in it, because I’m all about the pop culture.
Now, onto more important stuff — the release date is scheduled to be 5/15, and I’ll be putting together a Facebook launch party with giveaways and all kinds of fun and frivolity. I also need to set up advertising, put together ARCs and get those off to bloggers/reviewers, plan out the print version, and generally run around like a headless chicken for the next two weeks (hence my spending THIS weekend doing cleaning and laundry).
Although I did take a break this evening to watch Westworld. I think I may know where they’re heading with Glory and why it’s so important to Dolores and William/MiB (let me just ask you this — what would rich people who already have all the money and power in the world really, really want? And how could a place like Westworld deliver that to them? And how does Robert keep speaking through all those hosts, anyway? GREAT cameo by Giancarlo Esposito, by the way — I’m really hoping he turns out to be someone they bring back in later episodes/seasons).
But that’s the lovely thing about Westworld. There are layers within layers within layers, characters who are literally played by different actors, games with time, location, and consciousness, and it all spins like this beautifully intricate Victorian clockwork piece. It’s a freaking joy to watch, and SO much fun to tease out what I think are the narrative threads. Even if I’m wrong, hey, who cares — I got a book series out of it!
Phoo! Sorry about the radio silence for the last few weeks but I have been nailed to my chair getting Red Robin and the Huntsman ready for release! It’s a second chances holiday novella set in the Two Thrones universe and follows the adventures of Ypresian army captain Duncan Bardahlson (eldest son of Lord Commander Ferdal Bardahlson) and his bickering brothers Ewan and Hamish as they’re dispatched to the tiny province of Wellen right before the winter holiday of Frostfair to apprehend a legendary bandit known as the Redbird. One little problem: Wellen is governed by widowed countess Lady Roberta Busse, who also happens to be Duncan’s long-lost love. Oops.
There’s snark, wine, an overbearing tax collector, an impish priest, a rather large pig, an extremely smart eight-year-old, a LOT of porridge, and a love story that is guaranteed to have you cheering by the last chapter if I do say so myself. Plus it’s available on Kindle Unlimited so you can even read it for free if you have a KU membership!
And now, I clean and put up the Christmas tree — whee!
And the third book in the series that was never supposed to be a series is LIVE, people! A huge thanks goes out to my awesome beta readers L.D. Blakeley, J. Kathleen Cheney (both of whom are awesome writers, so go check them out), Theresa Eastridge, and Peter White, and to everyone who pre-ordered the book. I hope you all LOVE it, and remember, reviews on your preferred site put you in the will!
Love was never supposed to be part of the deal…
Lady Amelie de Clerq’s prickly demeanor has earned her the nickname “Lady of Thorns,” keeping potential suitors at bay and making her the butt of the nobility’s jokes. Determined to attract a husband who will love her for herself rather than her fortune, she decides to embark on a journey of sensual self-discovery.
Alain LaPorte, wily lawyer and toast of the capital’s social set, has been summoned to Lierdhe to oversee business negotiations with a neighboring earl. When Amelie asks Alain to tutor her in the bedroom arts, he agrees to introduce the highborn virgin to pleasure. But lessons in lovemaking soon turn into a matter of the heart, forcing both Amelie and Alain to confront their fears about intimacy, loyalty, and love.
Yes, Shifter Woods: Howl is now live and available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. Better yet, sales have been pleasantly brisk which pleases me greatly. Now I just have to get started on Shifter Woods: Roar and get that ready for release. With luck I should have all four novellas done by July and available as both a boxed set and a combined print version in time for my birthday, tra la!
And I know I’ve said this before but damn, that male model is hot. Remind me to pass along my compliments to the photographer.
And since SW:H is now out there in the world, I can get back to work on Uncertainty Principle. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but I have a freaking brilliant writers’ group here and tonight we didn’t have anything to critique so we brainstormed various people’s stories and novels, and they came up with some good avenues to explore for UP regarding the main plot. Now I just have to hammer all of that out and make it work. Whee!
And I’m nervous. I know that sounds sort of ridiculous — this is my seventh novel, why am I nervous? I have no idea, I just am. I’m really pleased with it, and I kinda fell in love with these two so I want their story to do well. And since the sales for Palace of Scoundrels have been meh, I may be kind of worried that the success I had with Empress of Storms was a fluke and this one might tank as well. It’s a legitimate fear, after all.
Of course, when I mention this to various people they whap me around the head and tell me to stop being ridiculous, it’s a solid story that’s hitting in the middle of the android/cyborg/AI romance wave and people will like it (and if it sucked these folks would have sat me down for a come-to-Jesus talk). And I feel better for awhile.
And then, because my brain is paranoid and hates me, I think, “Well, shit, what if I offend Latinx with my portrayal of Evie? I grew up on the south side of Chicago with Mexican-American friends and neighbors, but that was decades ago. Eve and her family are on the West Coast — maybe I got language use wrong. Or cultural elements. And what about Song and her family? What did I screw up?”
To which my betas have pointed out that 1) this story takes place 31 years in the future, in a different country that’s only loosely based on the West Coast as it is now, and a lot of cultural stuff will have changed, plus none of the characters are cardboard cutouts put in simply to tick an ethnic box. Which is nice, but doesn’t mean that I didn’t foul up somewhere. I will say now that if I got something wrong, for the love of Kage Baker tell me so that I can learn from my mistakes and fix them in the next book.
So, yeah, Nic is perhaps a tad overwrought at the moment. This too shall pass and I’m sure I’ll feel much better in the morning, but for now don’t be surprised if you find me in a corner somewhere gibbering quietly to myself.
On the plus side, the DoR print books arrived this afternoon. Damn, CreateSpace, do you hire the Flash to deliver your stuff or what? So I am totally set for Wild Wicked Weekend.
Lord, I’m tired. But I had a hella fun release party last night that was well-attended and responsible for a nice spike in sales, judging from the numbers I’m getting from Amazon and ARe.
But first, thanks must go where they are due. Huge thank yous go out to everyone who attended, to the people who made production of this book possible (killer betas Ceit, Peter, and Lisa, editrix extraordinaire Michelle, and inspirations Daniel and Rooney), to the awesome Jay Aheer who made a stunningly gorgeous cover, and to mu husband Ramón who tolerated an increasingly dirty house and held my hand while I tiptoed into the waters of epic fantasy romance. You people are all in the will.
And come to think of it, thanks must also be paid to the ineffable Jenny Trout, who brought this whole foofaraw to my attention and made me think, “Huh. You know, I could self-pub an 80K book in six weeks with pro editing/cover. Okay, let’s try.”
And hell, let’s thank the woman who kicked it all off. If it wasn’t for Payne Hawthorne, her cock-juggling thunder cunts, and her challenge, I wouldn’t have a book that’s currently climbing the fantasy romance chart at Amazon. So thank you, Payne.
Of course, now that it’s out there I have to do all the promotion. The book is currently priced at 99¢ and will stay there until 11/21 so you have plenty of time to go get it at sale price. After 11/21 it goes back up to the regular price of $4.99, so get it while the getting is good.
And remember, if you do buy a copy please leave a review at your place of purchase. Review honestly help and get a book more exposure, which gets it more sales, which means Nicola can feed her cats the GOOD kibble.
Okay. Time to get back to my NaNoWriMo project. Bwahahahahahahahaha!
(Apropos of nothing, I counted up how many rounds of editing I did on this last night. After the first draft there were two rounds of editing which resulted in a draft sent out to the betas, a third round where I added in all the beta comments, a fourth round where I added in the editorial changes, a fifth round where I got rid of weasel words, a sixth round where I nuked as many adverbs as I could, and a seventh round with Scrivener’s spellchecking/grammar tool where I cleared out all the spelling/grammar/punctuation goofs I could find. I suddenly feel content with myself.)
A little bit of background about “Bully Boys” — I had just finished the BBC’s NORTH AND SOUTH when I saw the call for the antho, so I kinda had Richard Armitage in full Victorian fig lodged in my head when I sat down to come up with a story. Since I was already thinking Victorian, I figured, “Okay, let’s set it in Victorian London. Now what kind of shifter species would you expect to find in the Smoke way back then?”
Which is how I settled on bull terrier shifters. Personally I happen to adore pitties, but they’re tough dogs when threatened. I could see RA being able to shift into a Black Staffordshire bull terrier and leading a rough-and-tumble shifter pack in the slums of London.
Of course, then I had to come up with Gunner’s mate. *dimples* Let’s just say that I’m a fan of Peter Jackson’s latest trilogy and leave it at that.
When Victorian solicitor Arthur Finter is forced to cut down a dangerous London alley after work, he stumbles upon pit bull shifter Alpha Gunner Jones in the middle of a dogfight with a rival shifter pack. The hardnosed bully boy scents Arthur and recognizes him as his mate, but will events orchestrated by the other pack separate them before Gunner can lay final claim?
When Arthur awoke, he was in bed. The awful scene in the alley drifted through his memory, dim now from sleep. It was just a nightmare. Oh, thank goodness.
He tried to turn over, and couldn’t. Looking up, he saw that a length of hemp rope had been tied around his right wrist and woven with very little slack through an unfamiliar brass headboard. The other end of the rope had been attached to his left wrist, effectively pinning his arms wide.
Lifting his head as high as possible, he stared around his prison. It appeared to be a small bedroom, lit only by a coal fire in a blackened grate. A row of hooks on the far wall held various items of clothing, and an armoire hulked in the corner. A plain wooden table stood next to the bed, bare of anything except a candlestick with an unlit candle.
He flexed his feet and found that his legs were bound as well, with the same amount of slack given to his arms. To make matters worse, someone had removed his clothes before tying him to the bed and covering him with a thin blanket.
Panic set in, making his heart lurch. “Help!” he shouted. “Please, I need help!”
The door opened and his hopes were dashed as the handsome werebeast sauntered in, carrying a wash bowl and water jug. He’d taken the time to rinse the blood from his face and slick his hair back, and an old, threadbare towel hung casually over one shoulder.
“Someone’s up, I see,” he said in an East-End accent.
Arthur fought down his fear and gave the man his best glower. “Untie me immediately, sir!”
“Can’t do that. At least, not just yet.” The man approached the bed, giving him an appreciative look. Arthur belatedly remembered his nude state, and cringed under the cheap blanket that protected his modesty. “I suppose you want to know why you’re here, then.”
“Indeed I do,” Arthur said, hoping he sounded braver than he felt. “I am a solicitor, sir, and if you do not untie me this moment, you will find yourself in grave trouble with the law.”
The man shrugged. “Won’t be the first time. Doubt it’ll be the last.” He moved to the bedside table and deposited the jug and bowl on it, then sat down on the mattress. That blue gaze trailed over him dispassionately, but there was a flicker of something else as well, something that tugged at Arthur’s senses and caused his breath to come faster.
The man grabbed the edge of the blanket, dragging it down to just below Arthur’s waist. The solicitor flinched as the cool air of the room hit his skin, causing it to break out in embarrassing gooseflesh.
“You’re trim. I like that in a bloke,” the man said conversationally. “Don’t spend all of your time on your arse, do you?”
Arthur gaped at him. “I—how—that’s none of your business!”
“Oh, but it is my business.” His captor sounded amused about that. “Everything about you, Mr. Arthur Finter, is my business. Now that we’re to be mates and all.”
The bizarre comment would have made Arthur laugh in other circumstances. “If you mean we’re to be friends, sir, I can assure you that I feel no such friendship with anyone who ties me to a bed and terrorizes me in such a manner!”
The man tilted his head to one side, and Arthur was forcibly reminded of his other shape. “You’re tied to my bed to make sure you don’t run away,” he said. “I know you saw what happened in the alley, and I’ll explain it in good time. As for terrorizing you, it wasn’t what I had in mind for us tonight.”
He reached out and touched one of the tiny nubs on Arthur’s chest, tracing a circle on it. The caress caused Arthur to gasp, an indecent zing of pleasure arrowing down to his groin.
“Thought so,” his captor said in satisfaction. “You long for the touch of a man, Mr. Finter. I’ll be that man for you tonight and ever after. We’re mates, you and me.”
Hear ye, hear ye, Olympic Cove fans! Deep Water (Olympic Cove Book 3) is now available from Evernight Publishing and Amazon. It should be available at All Romance eBooks and Bookstrand by Wednesday and I’ll post links here as soon as I get them.
Poseidon, God of the Sea, has spent millennia alone due to a single terrible act. His consort Amphitrite has sworn never to forgive him, and he’s forced to live with the knowledge that he drove an innocent girl to her doom.
But when one of the Olympic Cove cottages gets an occupant with an all-too-familiar soul, Poseidon discovers that the Fates have given him a second chance. Now he must try to right the wrongs of the past and win back both his beloved consort and the mate he betrayed.
Assuming, of course, that the Mad Nereid Thetis doesn’t interfere…
But that’s not all! This Friday evening L.D. Blakeley and I are throwing a Sweet Sizzling Reads Release Party at Facebook from 6 to 9 PM Eastern Summer Time to celebrate our respective new releases. There will be much fun and frivolity, plus we’ll be giving way Amazon and Evernight Publishing gift cards, nifty author swag, and custom jewelry throughout the party, so make sure you stop by.