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New Series Name Reveal

Hey! So great news. I’ve finally named the series I’ve been working on. It only took me FOREVER to name it. If you didn’t already know, I hate naming pretty much anything. Unless the name is the first thing that I come up with, the process is usually fraught with a lot of tension and stress.

Remember when I had 9 months to come up with the name of my son (first kid)? It took nearly the entire 9 months. I know there are people who actually have the baby in their arms and still no name. That’s pushing it A LITTLE far, guys. Come on. Give your kid a name!

Ok, so that’s not me. But I do struggle with it. Because names are EVERYTHING. Unlike that fine, fine Shakespeare quote: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other word would smell as sweet.”

Bull shit. Ha.

Want to have an argument about names and how important they are? Does anyone wish to challenge me? Come on! I’m breaking out my dueling gloves . . . I’m about to do some glove-slapping . . .

Please take two minutes to watch “Glove Slap” if you haven’t seen it already. It’s too good to pass up. And it will bring you pure joy and possibly some of the best lines you can incorporate into everyday life.

“Glove slap, I don’t take crap!” “I choose pistols at dawn!” “Oh why did I have to slap a guy who says ‘suh.'”  I could keep going . . . I mean, it’s never-ending. One of my top Simpsons episodes. Actually, this entire episode is so freaking good, empirically speaking. The entire, ENTIRE thing. 

Anyway, wow, what a tangent. Back on track.The series is officially named (well, not quite official, it can be changed until it’s got an ASIN assigned to it and I can’t change it without getting a new ASIN and whatnot). Here you go, in refreshing bullet-points with a side of lemonade: 

  • Eye of the Colossus: A Holly Drake Job Book 1
  • Hands of the Colossus: A Holly Drake Job Book 2
  • Heart of the Colossus: A Holly Drake Job Book 3

And beyond the Holly Drake Job bit, they fit under the umbrella “6-Moon Adventures” (still playing with this one.) First I’ll be releasing the Gabriel Bach short story. Gabe is loosely related to Holly–he’s a detective in the police force in the City of Jade Spires. Yeah, Spires! Right? Everyone loves a good spire.

It will all make sense someday . . .

The first to read Gabe’s story (which I haven’t named yet, but is nearly done), will be the subscribers to my Patreon, followed by the readers on my mailing list–people who’ve signed up via one of the forms on my website, either to nab “Feed 0.5” or “The Blue Blue Eyes of Dark Dark Space.” 

So if you’ve signed up that way, you’re in. Otherwise you’ll have to grab it through Amazon. It won’t be free on KU because then I can’t give it to my most loyal readers! Check back in a week or so to see the name of Gabe Bach’s short story or to see if I’ve revealed any covers. Because this stuff is happening quick!

2018: the Year for B.A. Heroines

Welcome to 2018! I know everyone thinks 2017 sucked, but honestly it wasn’t that bad, IMO. I mean, things can only get better, right? 

Here’s how I’m getting over 2017 and the disaster it seemed to be. Setting goals for 2018!

I’ve spent a few hours mapping out my plans for the year and they’re like HUGE. I’m all in, but if you don’t go hard, go home, is what I always say. I mean, to myself. I say that to myself. Not you. You’re obviously extremely and eagerly welcome here even if you don’t go hard. 

So what’s on the slate? 

Feed 4 is coming out soon. And once that’s done, I’ll bid farewell to that long-time coming series. Here and there I might revisit it, depending on what feedback I get from readers, but for the most part, I’m going forward. It’ll be weird to say goodbye, but it’s definitely not good riddance. 

I’m currently finishing up a short/novella crime procedural set in this wicked awesome universe that I can’t wait for people to visit. It’s got a great little cast of characters that I LOVE. And if readers love them too then I’ve got two spin off series’ set in that universe. 

Spin off is a loose term. Because, it gets complicated. 

Let me explain. I’m currently in the midst (also) of outlining the first book in a series set in the same universe. Starring a bad ass heroine. She’s connected to the cast of characters in the crime procedural. But her story(ies) moves in a different circle. The story/stories weirdness is because I’m outlining three books. And if readers like them, I’ll keep writing more. Each one will have a resolved ending, but more books will be easy to add. 

Bad ass heroines. Future cities. Capers. Heists. Aliens (cool aliens). Space. Just keeps getting cooler and cooler and more kickbutt and tougher. Sidenote: my book won't be so grim-looking...

So. Bad-ass heroine on the way. It’ll be sort of steam-punk, but not heavy, and that’s mainly due to the setting and the tech-level. It won’t feel like Victorian-era steam like H.G. Wells and such. At least, at this point. 

Anyway, the crime procedural cast are detectives in the police force. They also live in this universe. The setting is wicked sweet. It’s a big part of why I’ve got this stuff going on. Because I love it. And I can’t just plan one story in it. So one of the characters in the crime procedural is related to the main character in the BA heroine series. Which still doesn’t have a name. 

Some of this depends on reader reception. What I think is awesome may be totally lame to my readers. But this is what I have planned. Of course, I also have a novella planned in one of my other universes, where the Blue Hearts of Mars takes place. And as usual, I keep writing and posting short stories on my Patreon page, and I tend to do that every month. 

So what’s on your list? I’d love to hear about it. If you have thoughts about the direction I’m going, let me know in the comments. 

 

<3<3<3<3

Nicole 

Ten Days of Feed 3! Starting with: Cover Reveal!

Feed 3 comes out on December 15th and this post should have gone up yesterday. But let’s pretend that today is the 5th and not my mom’s birthday (Happy birthday, Mom! She doesn’t read my blog, haha, but if she happened to glance at it, I would definitely want her to know that she MUST have a happy birthday.). 

I have a bunch of stuff planned to celebrate the long awaited release of this book. So I want to get right into it. 

First of all, if you’re not signed up for my mailing list and you’re a fan of my Feed series (also known as the Fooko series), then you should know that if you DO sign up for it, you will receive a copy of “Feed 0.5 (Genesis)”, which is only available to my newsletter subscribers. Here’s the link to do that.

Secondly, the cover of the new book! 

Pretty great, eh? Yeah, it sticks with the style. Thematically speaking.

Feed 3 is going to be available in paperback and as a Kindle edition. It won’t be available from any other retailer except Amazon. If it ever is, I’ll let you know. For now, you’ll be able to read it on Kindle Unlimited. It’s going to be on sale for 99 cents for the first week before it goes up to $2.99.

OK, one more thing. Feed 1 and 2 are currently not available in paperback because I’m still reformatting them into the smaller (and better) size. As soon as they’re back on sale as paper back, I’ll let you know.

Enormous Sci-Fi and Fantasy Ebook Giveaway!

Can there ever be TOO many unicorns? They're a staple. So no. I don't think so.

Are you a compulsive reader of fantasy and sci-fi? Do your thoughts drift to the book you’d rather be reading over being forced to engage in conversation with store clerks, coworkers, bosses, dentists? 

If you answered yes to either of those questions, then this MASSIVE giveaway, hosted by esteemed, glitterati sci-fi writer Patty Jansen (via #Instafreebie) is for you. There are over 150 books for you to peruse and download at your behest.

And all you have to do to get one is surrender your email address! 

I know, it’s like level 100 book-extortion! Haha.

But it’s not, really, because hey, we’re authors and if you LOVE our work, like we all hope you do, then we’re actually doing you a favor! 

Heh. Heh. 

No but seriously. I’ve signed up for a few mailing lists, including Jansen’s. She’s got quite a few series I’m looking to read soon.

What have you guys been reading? I’m always interested in getting reader’s recommendations. Lately I’ve been reading books from the Discworld universe and loving them. 

Let me know if you find anything on this list that piques your interest. Oh, did I mention, Feed 1 is on there? It is! And by the way, I have a major announcement coming soon on that front, so keep that on your radar. 

Why You Play Destiny 2. And Yes, It’s Mainly Because of Nathan Fillion as Cayde-6

If there are three things in the world that I love besides my family (kids, husband, parents, et al, right?), they are video games and Nathan Fillion. 

If you’re even mildly into geek/nerd culture, then you’ll recall your first moment crushing on him. Was it Dr. Horrible? Was it Firefly? Did you threaten to annihilate the world/Fox network when they canceled Firefly? 

This is stuff you don’t mess with. These are the cultural milestones you remember in your brief existence. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a guy who’s turned on by beautiful women in the SI swimsuit edition or if you’re a woman that more than anything appreciates her corner office and fantasizes about a pair of red high heels spotted in the Bloomingdale’s window. Everyone swoons when Nathan Fillion walks into the room. Or when he speaks. Or when he tweets. 

Shush now. It’s the truth. 

So imagine how phenomenal it was to log into Destiny 1 and bump into Cayde-6, the Hunter Vanguard exo (robot), and from his robotic jaw drops the voice of none other than NATHAN-FREAKING-FILLION. 

I don't remember seeing the heart in the original trailers. But it fits. So I'm gonna leave it.

It was love at first sound-byte. 

I played Destiny just after it launched. And it felt . . . kind of unfinished. After completing the initial game campaign, whose final battle was hella anticlimatic, my interest swiftly dropped. I remember saying to the friend that helped me with the final boss–“Wait, that’s it?” And he was like, embarrassed. “Yeah. I know.” 

*uncomfortable laughter as though it was his fault the last battle and final cut-scenes were so mild*

Anyway. I had other fish to fry. In my life. You know. Having babies. Raising babies. Writing books. Shiz like that. 

The one redeeming trait of even the initial launch of Destiny was, oh, how’d you guess, Nathan Fillion. 

And he’s just gotten better. Right? As the game has progressed (I went back to D1 in January of 2017), Bungie has continued to shell out the big bucks to keep Nathan Fillion (idiotically, however, they dumped Peter Freaking Dinklage, who lent a sort of gravitas to your Ghost–which, thinking of it, was a nice foil to Cayde-6 and his goofiness) returning. 

And now. And now there is Destiny 2. I have issues with some things, yes, like who designed the Vault? I hate my vault. I need to be able to sort by power level and gun type, but nope. So guess what’s still necessary? A third party app that allows me to sort by gun type and power level. 

And does it bug you as well that you can’t choose what type of PVP to play? It’s always an annoying gamble! Especially in the Competitive list, which consists entirely of survival mode or countdown. It’s fun! But why can’t I pick? 

Whatever. The game is still frabjous and I love it. Every time Cayde-6 talks, I die. And I will play the campaign repeatedly just to hear him being awesome. 

Wait. You love ME? ME? OMG. Yes. I can fall in love with an exo. No big. *swoon* And no, I'm not paying for Piclab to get rid of their watermark. I mean! I didn't make this image. Cayde-6 sent it to me. He's in love with me. He said so. With this picture. That I didn't make.

So, will I keep being a devoted fan of Destiny? If they don’t pull a bait-and-switch (like they did with Dinklage, and yes, I usually LOVE [with lots of hearts] Nolan North. But he’s best as not-a-bot, apparently), then I’m in. 

So. If you play Destiny 2, hit me up. Let’s play some rounds. Comment with your games of choice and/or to join me for a sesh.

My Last Post Was a Joke. I AM A WRITR, ROARRR!

There’s some iron in the fire. I’ve got some things stewing. Stew. And other things broiling. Like grilled cheese.

Yep.

August is here and that means school is about to begin again. My youngest will be starting preschool. Saying that feels like being punched in the heart by some multidimensional monster that’s capable of bypassing my ribs.

Life. What a jerk.

It’s just some good clean fun, Life says. Watching Humanzz being ravaged by time and feelings and plagues. But mostly emotional pain. 

Well when school begins, there will be much work happening. Work on my stories and my development as a writer. Things are gonna be burgeoning, people.

They say, to writers, “Don’t have too many projects going.” Which is true. You shouldn’t do that. But I confess. I do.

Another thing I tend to do is have a few books I’m reading at once. Like right now. I’m reading Terry Pratchett’s Reaper Man and the first of the Scott Pilgrim books. I could have a few other books going at the moment. Somewhere.

That’s the problem: I end up forgetting what I’m in the middle of.

Which is also the problem with having too many writing projects going. I end up forgetting.

But that’s also a problem associated with having small children in my clutches. I won’t go into it again, but being a parent means a constant never-ending series of distractions. Which kind of sucks to say, as though my adorable kids are DISTRACTIONS. You know? What a dick thing to say.

But they’re not. It’s just that they want me to always pay attention to them.

What’s the problem with that?

And they win because they’re so damn persistent, the little cherubs…

Don’t forget to sign up for my email list and in return, receive a free ebook! Click here to get in the in-crowd!

And Just Like that, You Can’t Call Yourself a Writer…

Let’s begin with the obligatory cool photo that has nothing to do with the post except that THIS was the amazing sunset nature gave me (and a couple other people) tonight.

Haven’t posted here in a while, have I?

And my last post was (let’s face it), kinda lame. Right? I mean, does ANYONE even use pumice stones anymore?

Ha ha ha.

Hardly. There’s sandpaper and such, for that.

What have I been doing lately? Well, I’ve been stuck writing this BRILLIANT short story. It’s a sci-fi mystery. I mean, who even knew those two genres could be mixed?

But I’m stuck.

That’s right! The secret to writing and finishing books and stories is WRITING. So I’ve been violating my own personal rules about writing. By not writing. At least, not writing enough.

Let’s make this, then a PSA piece. My little gift to you, ME doling out advice about writing. Everyone loves PSAs and advice columns and writing advice about how to become the next GREAT WRITER.

Frame this. Frame it in giant black letters and hang it above your bed or your bathroom mirror and read it every day (I’m saying this because that’s what I’m doing right this minute–I’ve got one finger on my keyboard and one adjusting the level as I measure the wall thingy, nail. Or whatever it is.): WRITE EVERY DAY, YOU BASTARD.

I added “you bastard” in because you know that’s what you’re thinking when you’re walking around your office or your house or whatever, your building, like doing stuff that isn’t writing, and you’re like, “Damn. I still haven’t written my daily quota of 500 words/day.”

“You bastard,” you think to yourself.

Once you’ve written your quota, call yourself an AWESOME BASTARD.

“You got your word count, you awesome bastard.” Also you can insert other colorful descriptor words. For fun.

So basically I’ve been doing A Lot of Other Important Stuff that isn’t writing novels or writing short stories or blog posts. I mean, I’m trying.

But writing a book is like reading a book in certain ways.

Say you start reading a new book one evening, stretched out on your couch with a delicious bon-bon in your hand, and some nice quiet solitude around you. And then in the morning, your kids come back from sleeping over at nana’s, and you have no solitude for a solid week and don’t have a chance to read for 7 days, right? Well, on the 7th day, when you go back to the novel, you can barely remember what you read 7 days prior.

Right? I mean, that happens to you, doesn’t it? Oh. It doesn’t? Oh damn.

So anyway, ha ha, I don’t need to go to the neuropsychologist ha ha. My brain is FINE.

Writing a book is like reading a book. You have to be consistent and you can’t let up. Otherwise you forget the important elements making up the story. And to progress you’ve got to keep reviewing them, every time you spend too much time between writing cycles.

Great. Right? Easy enough.

Also, your imagination needs to be exercised every day. Writing a story does that. It takes practice to get your brain to a good spot when it comes to being able to make it do cool tricks and flips and crap.

I know this. I know this because I’m out of practice.

BUT NEVER AGAIN. I swear it. I’m going to start getting up at 6 a.m. just to get my daily word counts. I’ll totally do that.

New life goal: get up at 6 am to write. 6:30. Er. 7. I can totally do 7.

Here’s a clip from my sci-fi murder mystery (btw, I have no idea how to write a murder mystery. It’s coming out like a crime procedural. This is an experiment):

Usually a giant head wound meant it was murder, however.

Rising again, I dusted off my hands and pen.

I skulked around the room, looking for anything else I might have missed. I took out my own notebook and sketched out the layout of the place and the approximate locations of all the big items, including the big old dead body at the center. The fireplace. The gray-fabric couch. The console table against the far wall, near the door. There was an orrery on it, of Giganto and the six inhabited moons: Kota, Itzcap, Po, Joopa, Paradise, and Helo. It moved like an old clock, on gears that ticked softly, showing the orbital paths around the pale gas giant that filled our sky. The little machines were all the rage forty years ago, when the first trans-moon zeppelins began operation. The vic might have collected old oddities like that. “Something’s missing,” I said loudly to get Meiko’s attention.

Meiko came to stand beside me as I crouched to get a view of the dust coating the table like a light fur. She copied me. “It looks square, the empty spot. Maybe slightly rectangular.”

“What do you want to bet that whatever was right there, was the murder weapon?”

“Or maybe the vic threw it out. Or maybe it was just a box. And he finally moved it.”

“Unlikely. No one leaves an idle box on a table,” I said, straightening and swiping my fingertip across the empty spot, “and dusts around it.” I showed her. No dust on my finger.

She nodded.

The end. I mean, the end of that clip. Ha. Don’t forget to sign up for my email list and in return, receive a free ebook! Click here to get in the in-crowd!

How to Use a Pumice Stone (and How Not To)

Back in 2005 when I started my first blog and began dating Stoker, he had a run-in with a pumice stone. And I wrote a mildly decent post about it (linked, if you’re interested in reading the original), because why not?

It still cracks me up, that pumice stone incident. And I confess that I still find the improper use of pumice stones hilarious, especially when it involves Stoker, as an adorable 22-year-old.

Anyway, so apparently people really have a lot of questions about how to use these little chunks of sandpaper, because that post gets loads of regular traffic.

So, I’m revisiting the topic! And I’m also going to do everyone a solid and share new info, like the PROPER WAY TO USE A PUMICE STONE as well as give you the best clips of the old post here, because it makes a great format and I really like great things. Love the great things. Like, a lot.

Let’s get on with it. Let’s really dig into my in-depth tutorial on using a pumice stone! Here goes:

The other night Stoker scrubbed the inside of his elbow too vigorously with the pumice stone. He was taking a bath, reading his book on recording engineering, and he got this itch on his inner elbow. You know, the soft, pale part of your arm just below the bulge of round joint. I don’t know what he was thinking using a pumice stone there. But he did. He’s new to pumice stones, I suppose and didn’t realize that you should only use them on tough, calloused skin like the bottom of your feet and elbows.

  1. NEVER USE A PUMICE STONE ON SOFT SKIN.

    An innocent-looking pumice stone. Should be fine on my skin, like all over my entire body, right? WRONG.

The itch flared up and the light blue, foot shaped pumice stone was resting on the edge of the bathtub, innocently minding its own business. Stoker’s eyes fell on its white flecked beauty and the idea struck him. He grabbed the light stone and scraped it lightly across the tender skin. It felt good. Deceivingly good. With a sigh, he brushed the skin with the pumice stone, effectively eliminating the itch.

2. WHEN CONFRONTED WITH A POWERFUL ITCH, EVEN WHEN A PUMICE STONE IS PRESENT, DO NOT USE THE PUMICE STONE TO SCRATCH SOFT TISSUE. At first, of course you might slide the pumice stone across the skin and find relief. OK, one soft stroke is fine. But as everyone knows, an itch doesn’t often go away with just one scratch. In order to avoid the inevitable scenario of too much pumice-stone-scratching, do not even engage in JUST ONE SCRATCH.

Later, the skin turned red. Raw. That’s when the whole story came spilling out: itch… pumice stone…I scrubbed it and it was great, at the time. But now it hurt. Like a burn. Poor kid. I truly felt bad for him, felt a little guilty for not warning him about the potency of a pumice stone. Though, when you think about it, I’m sure he knew. How could you not? I mean, it’s like sandpaper. No one rubs their skin with sandpaper, right?

3. PUMICE STONE USE SHOULD BE RESERVED FOR PORTIONS OF THE BODY WITH THICK, TOUGH CALLOUSES, LIKE THE HEEL, THE BALL-JOINT OF THE BIG TOE, OR, WELL YEAH, THAT’S ABOUT IT. And you know, just rub the pumice stone on the callous. It’s not rocket science (although, it occurs to me now, that maybe it is, and I’m just ignorant of the highly complicated process of pumice stone operation. Maybe I should do a Google search!).

So, to sum up, this is a bad idea, even for body hair removal [Note: this statement is not backed by any peer-reviewed studies]:

You want to do that to remove all your HIDEOUS BODY HAIR? Fine. Go for it. But we all know this body-hair removing use of pumice stones was started by pumice stone companies looking to have a new way to market their callous-removing tool.

To be safe, reserve the pumice stone for officially sanctioned (by the Pumice Stone Society of America) pumice stone activities. You don’t want to denude the top layer of your skin in some weird effort to rid yourself of body hair. Accept it! You’re a mammal. A beautiful animal that grew hair for a billion biological reasons, and mother nature doesn’t make mistakes (except for when she does, like accidentally).

If you really want to get rid of your arm hair (and stuff), consider a safer alternative, like burning it off with a curling iron, ah! Wait!

New use of curling irons!

Just a second . . . I’ve got Revlon on the phone now . . .



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