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A blast from the past

JessicaHowUDooinToday’s writing project was Cross Current and despite not one, not two, but THREE cats insisting on jumping into my lap to help I finally finished knocking out 3K on it, bringing my total word count up to 6,409 words. I’m also very pleased to announce that I get to use one of my very first characters in this novel — yes, for fans of my novelette A Boon by Moonlight I’m bringing back Lord Jerrek of House Carwin as a consultant for the Olympic Cove crew on how to handle the runaway selkie prince who just landed on their shores. As it turns out Jerrek owes Poseidon a favor or two, and he’s being deliciously snarky as usual as he negotiates the trade of information with my two lead characters.

Oh, and Ceit? Your namesake just made her first appearance (in discussion, at least). The beautiful, brilliant Lady Ceitlin of House Selbach is waiting for her wayward groom to get his ass back to the pod and go through their marriage ceremony. But will that be the end of it? Oh, hell no — things just get more interesting from here on in.

Also, apropos of nothing I’ve somehow managed to wash all of the master bedroom bedding today. Considering that we sleep with a ridiculous amount of bedclothes (all my fault — Ramón calls me the Greater American Nesting Female) that’s about seven loads of laundry, plus I carried all the clean clothes upstairs and put them away. I think I can take the rest of the night off, yes?

Nicola’s Progress Reports

NotEnoughCaffeineSince I was poked by my buddy Peter on this:

Palace of Scoundrels (Empress sequel) – 1,645 words since I spent a fair amount of time outlining the thing. Nonetheless I’m hoping to have this done by RT — I would like to have it out and available, but that may not be possible. We’ll see.

Behind the Iron Cross – 76,039 words and I’m storming into Act Three as we speak. This one is gonna take mega editing, though.

Cross Current (Olympic Cove #4) – 3,538 words, and I came up with a refinement for my main character that is extremely organic and effective AND makes the story more diverse.

“Do No Harm” (Dark Captive antho entry for Evernight) – 1,520 words. This is the one I really have to focus on since the deadline is March 15th. It’s also the most difficult of the bunch because, well, here’s the antho description:

Dark Captive will be a collection of dark erotic romance stories featuring alpha men with fierce sexual appetites. They’ll stop at nothing to get what they want. And they have their sights on one man. Possessive and bold, these heroes give their conquests exactly what they crave—to be taken … to be owned. Any resistance offered will be tested, but in the end love rules.  

So, dubcon with a romance and HEA/HFN. Kinda hard to do that effectively in less than 25K words, but I think I found a way to make it work.

I’m also trying to catch up on some desperately needed housework in my spare time, but I think I’m breaking down and paying for a professional spring cleaning of the place after I get back from RT. My blue collar South Side soul is screaming blue murder at this, but my professional writer brain is saying, “You can spend time cleaning or you can spend time writing. Which is more productive and satisfying to you? Plus if you hire a service you’re pumping money into the economy, and you can give them mega tips to shut up that screeching soul of yours.” Works for me.

Happy anniversary to me!

storm-season_webFacebook’s Memories function has just been kind enough to remind me that three years ago today I got my acceptance from Evernight on Storm Season. My exact post on the topic was:

So, yeah, uh, I just sold my first standalone novel, Storm Season, to Evernight Publishing. Um…I’m a novelist. So what do I do now?

The answer is, write another novel, of course. Which I did, and I thank each and every one of you out there who has been buying them and chivvying me to write more. Y’all rock.

Speaking of books, writing continues apace in the Cameron manse. I’ve started on Palace of Scoundrels (the Empress sequel) and I’m flipping back and forth between that, Iron Cross, and Cross Current depending on my mood. Hey, it works for a lot of bestselling authors so why not me? But three books (plus a short story, plus another project that I’ll announce here in due time) apparently isn’t enough for my sozzled slavedriver of a muse, since she’s been prodding me to write a MF contemporary standalone like you would not believe. Thing is, it has some really deep, relevant hooks for me so I think it’s got to go on the To Be Written list (which is now stretching to 2020 and beyond).

At least it means you have lots of reading material to look forward to, right? That’s what I keep telling myself.

In other news, I’ll be at Wild Wicked Weekend this weekend in San Antonio and I’ll have print copies of Storm Season, HIS: Manlove Edition, and Empress of Storms with me, so if you’re coming and want a copy please hunt me down. This is my first romance convention where I’m a signing author, so I’m both excited and a little nervous. I’m putting together a gift basket and bringing swag, but I still have to learn the lay of the land and what’s expected from an author at such events (e.g. this ISN’T a science fiction convention so the graphic t-shirts will probably be left at home).

And yes, there will be pictures. And I’ll give you a full report on our outing to the Lair (San Antonio’s premier BDSM club). Pity I can’t wear what I wore to the Rubber Ball in London, muwahahahahaha…

Mid Week Tease: Cross Current #MidWeekTease #MWTease

Mid Week Tease buttonIt’s Wednesday? Awesome! Because I have a little teaser for you from the beginning of Cross Current (Olympic Cove #4). No, it’s not very sexy but I haven’t gotten to that point. Yet. Muwahahahaha…

Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

“If you’ll sign here, please.”

Matt Taber wrote his signature on the indicated line.

“And here.”

Another line, another signature.

“And one last time.”

The same slightly scrawled name, black ballpoint ink pressed into grooves. The lawyer’s office printed out their documents on the nice heavy paper made for laser printers, not the thin general purpose stuff.

Nothing but the best for the death of a marriage.

“That should do it,” his lawyer said. He exchanged a nod with the other lawyer, their steps done in this particular dance.

Across the table, Matt’s now-ex-wife Nancy sat with her hands neatly folded, a politely blank expression on her face. After ten years of living with her, he still couldn’t read it.

Then again, he didn’t have to try anymore. Giving her a brusque nod, he stood and followed his lawyer out of the conference room.

“That went pretty well, I’d say,” the lawyer said. “Although I still think we should have held out for community property.”

Matt shrugged. “I don’t want anything from her.”

That wasn’t quite true. But it was far too late in any case. And God knew the last thing he wanted from her was money.

He nodded through the rest of the lawyer’s litany, agreeing to stop by the office for the final payment. And then he was alone in the granite-clad hallway, surrounded by expensive air and time that was counted in billable hours.

“Matt.”

He turned. Nancy stood at the door of the conference room, elegant as always. Today she wore a cream tailored jacket and skirt over a champagne silk blouse that would go straight from a divorce lawyer to her VP office at a major bank without anyone batting an eye.

The regret washed over him again. I loved you, I really did.

I’m sorry.

She pursed her mouth as if hearing his thoughts. “I’m not going to give you some ridiculous platitude about how this is the best thing for both of us,” she said, kind and blunt at the same time. “I wasn’t happy and I wanted out, simple as that. But I also know you’re hurting right now, and I’m sorry about that. You’re a good person, Matt. You’ll be able to find someone who’s a better fit for you.”

Matt let a slow breath roll out. “I thought you weren’t going to give me some ridiculous platitude.”

One black eyebrow rose in an elegant curve, her equivalent of a laugh. “You have a point. I’ll be back from Hong Kong in a month. Will that be enough time for you?”

“Yeah, plenty.” The house on Chinook Lane had been hers before their marriage. He admired the building, but never felt at home there. It was like living in something out of an issue of Architectural Digest. “I can swing by and check the mail every couple of days if you like.”

“No, I already put a hold on it at the post office. But I appreciate the offer.”

“Okay.” He stared at the woman who, with a handful of signatures, had gone from his wife to a stranger. “Well. Have a good flight.”

“Thanks.” She leaned forward and brushed cool lips across his cheek, then turned and walked away.

nicolacameron

Available on Amazon.


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Money Making Methods for the Modern Erotic Romance Author

Or me, in other words. I love writing, love my books, ADORE my readers to bits, and I’m very glad that my income is going up every year. But it’s still not what I would call a living wage, and so I subsidize my writing income with my other love — making stuff. Usually jewelry, but that also includes knitted and crocheted items, character dolls, and pretty much anything else that comes together on my workbench.

That jewelry that I usually offer on release days and FB parties? The stuff from Belaurient Arts? Yeah, that’s mine, and rather proud of it I am, too. And to ward off any complaints of, “Why are you making jewelry or knitting stuff when you should be writing?” be aware that doing this other stuff is actually part of my writing practice because while I’m beading a necklace or wire wrapping a cabochon or knitting a shawl I’m also telling myself stories to keep myself entertained, which then gets used when I sit at the keyboard.

Alhambra05Anyway, where was I going with this? Oh, yeah — a few days ago a friend of mine sent me a large wodge of jewelry odds and ends from his late mother’s belongings. (I love it when people do that. So far I’ve have three friends say, “I’ve got a buttload of beads and stuff that I’ll never use — you want them?” Why, yes, yes I do, thank you very much.) This particular treasure trove delivered some adorably kitschy items, one graduated bead necklace that I think is jade (it passes most of the surface tests but I’ll need to do a density test for sure), some nice 70’s style vintage earrings, and a bunch of odds and ends that have been tucked away in my racks of jewelry bits for future use. I was really, REALLY happy when I found these silver filigree clip-on earrings. Their rhinestones were long gone, but luckily my favorite rock and gem store have a very nice selection of rhinestones and I was able to reset them with capri blue square stones that look fabulous against the silver.

Cernunnos01The other set that I was very pleased with was a pair of horn Celtic knots. They’d been wired with dull goldish beads through the knotholes, but the wire was steel and didn’t go with the warm tones of the horn at all. So I cut those off, drilled four holes in each necklace for gold eye pins (let me take a moment to thank Dremel for their awesome products which make this jewelry designer’s life a lot easier), wired up six 6mm tiger’s eye beads with fancy head pins and gold spacer beads, added those to the eye pins, hung everything on gold French ear wires, et voila — awesome earrings for people who like Celtic or tribal jewelry, natural materials, tiger’s eye, or any combination thereof. These would be perfect for someone who goes to Burning Man, I suspect.

So after putting a bunch of new pretties up at the Etsy site, I was rewarded with two sales of a combined five items, the payment for which goes into my How Nicola Is Going To Pay For RT Fund. And I still have to put a sterling silver and 14K gold tree of life pendant and a really nifty blue and bronze beaded necklace up tomorrow, as well. And then figure out where I’m going to get the stuff I need for a density test. And work on Cross Current, of course.

Speaking of the HNIGTPFRT Fund, Empress of Storms racked up a total of $514 dollars as of this evening, and if the current pattern holds true I may make $1K on it by the end of its first quarter. Not too shabby for a self-pubbed book in a genre I’d never tackled before, eh? Now if I could only sell the movie rights to Peter Jackson…

Mid Week Tease: Cross Current #MidWeekTease #MWTease

MWTease15It’s Wednesday? Well, we all know what that means! Yes, it’s time to tease you with a snippet from one of my WIPs. So, how would you like to see the (unedited) opening of Cross Current (Olympic Cove Book Four)? Of course you would!

Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

“If you’ll sign here, please.”

Matt Taber wrote his signature on the indicated line.

“And here.”

Another line, another signature.

“And one last time.”

The same slightly scrawled name, black ballpoint ink standing out on the paper. Matt noticed the lawyer’s office printed out their documents on the nice heavy paper made for laser printers, not the thin general purpose stuff.

Nothing but the best for the death of a marriage.

“That should do it,” his lawyer said. He exchanged a nod with the other lawyer, their steps done in this particular dance.

Across the table, Matt’s now-ex-wife Nancy sat with her hands neatly folded, a politely blank expression on her face. After ten years of living with her, he still couldn’t read it.

Then again, he didn’t have to try anymore. Giving her a brusque nod, he stood and followed his lawyer out of the conference room.

“That went pretty well, I’d say,” the lawyer said. “Although I still think we should have held out for community property. You know you’re dropping back down into a pretty sad tax bracket, right?”

“I know.” Matt shrugged. “That’s fine. I don’t want anything from her.”

That wasn’t quite true. But the only thing he’d ever wanted from Nancy was the one thing she didn’t want to give. And he couldn’t even really blame her for that.

He nodded through the rest of the lawyer’s litany, agreeing to stop by the office for the final payment. And then he was alone in the granite-clad hallway, surrounded by expensive air and time that was counted in billable hours.

“Matt.”

He started, turning. Nancy stood at the door of the conference room, flawlessly dressed as usual. Today she wore a cream tailored jacket and skirt over a champagne silk blouse that would go straight from a divorce lawyer to her office at a major bank without anyone batting an eye.

The hurt washed over him again, followed almost immediately by relief. I loved you, I really did. In a way, I still do.

She pursed her mouth as if hearing his thoughts. “I’m not going to give you some ridiculous platitude about how this is the best thing for both of us,” she said, kind and blunt at the same time. “I wasn’t happy, and I wanted out, simple as that. But I also know you’re hurting right now, and I’m truly sorry about that. You’re a nice guy. You’ll be able to find someone who’ll be a better fit for you.”

Matt let a slow breath roll out. “I thought you weren’t going to give me some ridiculous platitude.”

One black eyebrow rose in an elegant curve. “You have a point. I’ll be back from Hong Kong in a month. Will that be enough time for you?”

“Yeah, plenty.” The house on Chinook Lane had been hers before their married. He admired the building, but had never felt at home there. It was like living in something out of an Architectural Digest article. “I can swing by and check the mail every couple of days if you like.”

“No, I already put a hold on it at the post office. But thank you.”

He stared at the woman who, with a handful of signatures, had gone from his wife to a stranger. “Have a good flight,” he finally said.

“Thanks.” She leaned over and brushed cool lips across his cheek, then turned and walked away.

#

“And that was that.”

“Damn.” Chris Wilson shook his head. “That’s cold, man.”

After walking out of the lawyer’s office into the bright Florida sunshine, Matt’s first instinct had been to go back to the extended stay hotel room he’d been renting since Nancy announced she wanted a divorce and lick his wounds. A text from Chris, his coworker and chemistry teacher at McAuliffe Senior High School, summoning him to their favorite sports bar for a post-divorce beer had changed his plans.

He rolled the bottom of his bottle on the tabletop, painting a ring of condensation on the sealed wood. “That’s Nancy,” he pointed out. “It’s not like she was going to fall into my arms crying and begging me to take her back.”

“Yeah, but come on,” Chris said, gesturing with his own bottle. “You didn’t ask for a damn thing from her, and you could have. The least she could have done was give you some breakup booty.”

Matt grimaced. “The last thing I want from her is pity sex.”

Chris blew out a breath.  “Yeah, suppose I can’t blame you there. Banging an ice queen must be like freeze-drying your dick.”

“She wasn’t that bad.”

Chris gave him a look that clearly said are you shitting me?

Matt’s lips twitched. “Okay, maybe she was that bad. We had some fun, though.”

“If you say so. Me, I like my women a little more human.” The chemistry teacher tapped the table with one long finger. “So, what about the rest of your stuff? I can help you move it out this weekend.”

“Nah, that’s okay. I’m putting most of it in storage anyway. I’ll figure out what I want to do with it after school starts.”

“I’d think ‘look for an apartment’ would be kinda high on the list,” Chris pointed out. “You can’t stay in that hotel room forever.”

“I’m not. I’m moving out tomorrow.”

“Whoa. You already got a place?”

“Sort of.” For the first time that day, Matt felt like smiling. “We were supposed to go to France in a couple of weeks for our anniversary. Obviously that’s not happening now. She said she didn’t care what I did with the reservations, so I cashed everything in. It was more than enough to let me rent a cottage on the beach for the rest of the summer. Until school starts I’m just going to sit on my ass, drink beer, and get a tan.”

Chris saluted him with the beer bottle. “Now that sounds like a plan to me. And you know, if you get overrun with those hot little beach bunnies I’m more than happy to come on over and help out.”

“Yeah, I bet.” Matt drained the last of his beer. “Look, it’s been a long day and I still have some packing to do. Mind if I take off?”

“No problem, I got the tab. We still on for the game this weekend?”

“Wouldn’t miss it. Talk to you later.”

He was halfway to the door when he heard Chris yell, “Hey, where is this cottage anyway?”

Matt grinned. Less than a minute. He’s getting smarter. “About twenty miles south of here,” he shouted back over the bar din. “Some place called Olympic Cove.”

“Never heard of it.”

“Me, neither. Should be nice and quiet.”


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