October 31, 2016

Should You Participate in @NaNoWriMo 2016?
3 Questions You May Be Asking:

Trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days is a little crazy, and it's more than a little intimidating. And yet all over the world, on November 1st, people will start doing just that. What about you? Are you considering trying this challenge for the first or tenth (or whichever) time?

If you're not sure, here are three questions you may be asking—and better yet, answers to all three!
  1. Should I participate in NaNoWriMo?
    • Yes. Pretty much, if you're asking yourself if you should try this, the answer is yes. Regardless of if you write 2,000 words total or reach 50,000 in the first two weeks, NaNoWriMo is transformative, whether you treat it as a personal challenge or your goal is to become an author.

      This is the marathon of writing—some do it to prove they can, and some do it because writing is their passion, but whatever your reason, the experience (even if you don't "win") will impact your life, in a great way.
  2. But it starts tomorrow. Isn't it too late for this year?
    • No! Unlike running a marathon, you don't have to prepare and train for NaNoWriMo. Some people do, spending the first ten months of each year planning their stories, but many people—including me!—just start typing and see where it takes them.

      If you give yourself the freedom to write, even with no idea of where you want the story to go, you might just discover an incredible world and wonderful characters who've been waiting for you to create them. If you decide to participate at the last minute with no idea where you're going, you're not alone. Join the many pantsers who write just that way, and see what you can create!
  3. I have a bazillion life commitments in November, and there's no way I can hit 50,000 words. Is it even worth it to try?
    • Finishing NaNoWriMo brings with it a sense of accomplishment, absolutely, and looking back at the sometimes grueling month with 50,000 brand new words is incredibly exhilarating. But at its core, NaNoWriMo is more about making the time and commitment to write than it is about your word count. Is it less of an accomplishment to run a 10K than a full marathon? I suppose if you're an Olympic runner, the answer might be yes, but for us mere mortals—definitely not. So does it not count if you write 20,000 or even 10,000 words in November rather than reaching 50,000? Absolutely not! And really, for many of those hesitant to try, the question isn't 20,000 or 50,000. It's 20,000 or none. And 20,000 is infinitely more than none.

      So while life absolutely gets in the way, and only you can decide if attempting NaNoWriMo will make you committed to your writing or so stressed jumping off a bridge sounds like a good idea*, don't let the fear of not "winning" prevent you from participating.

      Whether you write 10,000 words or 150,000 (yep, a NaNo writer in my region bangs out about that much each November, making the rest of us feel woefully inadequate), the reminder to prioritize your writing, to give yourself permission to carve out time for it amid all those other responsibilities, will still be worth it.
      • *If attempting to squeeze NaNoWriMo into your life will make you so stressed that you'd rather jump off a bridge or something similar, please take November to carve out some time to relax and do something to restore your sanity instead. Read a book, go have drinks with some friends, go for a hike, get a massage—make time for you!

*Bonus* Now that you know why you should participate,
check out my 9 Tips for NaNoWriMo!

October 28, 2016

Join Author Review Teams & Enter to Win!

Join a Review Team Giveaway

Love reading & reviewing? Like finding new authors? Wanna join a review team/street team?

We have 23 authors of varying genres who would love to find new readers! Why join a team? (Or lots of teams?) There are so many perks...like FREE books, advanced notice of sales, giveaways, and new releases. Let's not forget the swag and signed books so many authors give to their team as a reward for the support.

Join some teams and be entered to win $450 in Amazon Gift Cards!

Participating Authors:

Abbie Roads | Amy L Gale | Andie M. Long | Anna Bloom | Ella Jade | Eva Winters | Heather C. Myers | Jennifer Hilt | JL Campbell | Anne Stone | K.L. Shandwick | Kaiden Klein | Kelly Moore | Linda Joyce | Liz Gavin | Maggie Way | Margo Bond Collins | Mary Abshire | Mika Jolie | Monica Corwin | Taylor Anne | Tina Glasneck | Tmonique Stephens | C.E. Wilson | Lena Bourne | Nikki Lynn Barrett | Avery Price | Erin Cawood | Michelle Irwin | Cindy M. Hogan | Aria Glazki | Shelley Munro | Terra Kelly | Brinda Berry | Debra Parsley | Tracy Ellen | Sydney Aaliyah Michelle | Candace Clark | Skye Jordan | Jaime Russell | Marissa Dobson | Amy Lamont | Shaniel Watson | Susan Ward | Lexi James

Enter to win here:

October 24, 2016

How @NaNoWriMo Made Me an Author

In 2012, I was struggling to find my footing. I had moved back to California after a very disappointing work experience in France that left me deflated in every way possible. I was working, but it certainly wasn’t a dream job, and I was still figuring out how to rebuild a life somewhere I hadn’t lived since high school.

Discouraged after my Bachelor’s in Creative Writing (for many reasons, which I won’t get into here), I hadn’t written in a long while. I had heard about NaNoWriMo previously, but I’d never thought to add it to my whirlwind schedule, nor had I thought a novel was something I could write—not since a failed attempt, also in high school.

But there I was, back where I had been the last time I’d considered it possible—at least geographically. Someone mentioned NaNoWriMo to me around the same time that an idea for a story cropped up and wouldn’t let me go. Plus, to be honest, I needed a way to meet people since working from home isn’t exactly a social activity.

So, I made an account on the NaNoWriMo site, joined my regional group, and was promptly overwhelmed by the list of write-ins and the activity on the forums. And yet somehow at midnight November 1st 2012, I started writing.

October 19, 2016

New Release: When It Holds You by Nicki Elson


WHEN IT HOLDS YOU has been selected as a TOP PICK at The Romance Reviews!

“Nicki Elson has become my MUST read new contemporary romance author! The sex is hot, but the emphasis is on emotions in this book. They really are made for each other.”

~The Romance Reviews


    Virtual. That’s where she was supposed to stay—only in my online gaming life. I never intended to meet up with her in person. And I certainly hadn’t counted on her being who she is.

    Cliff Walsh has dozens of hot, smart, and willing paramours in his video games. Who needs to look further? The twenty-eight year old attorney is done getting his heart smashed by real-life women who fit his perfect-mate checklist. From now on, he vows to keep his romances digital-only…until a certain redheaded gamer twists all his preconceptions and touches a place in his heart he didn’t know existed.

    I always thought I knew what love would look like, but sometimes you don’t recognize it until the moment when it holds you. ~Cliff

WHEN IT HOLDS YOU is a standalone novel in The It Series family.

Other titles in the series:

WHEN IT HOOKS YOU, a Top Pick at The Romance Reviews

WHEN IT HITS YOU, coming January 2017


October 17, 2016

A Flash Story for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Last March, Scripting Change released Breaking Free, an anthology filled with stories and poetry exploring the impact of domestic violence in its many forms. Since October is 2016's National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I've decided to share my story that was included in the anthology, hopefully helping to raise awareness.

Of course, it would be awesome if you would consider getting a full copy of Breaking Free, as 100% of proceeds are donated to support survivors of domestic violence.

Be A Man

    You throw your dinner ’cross the kitchen, furious at its imperfect temperature. She cowers in the corner.

    “A man is always in control.”

    Doors slam as you rampage through the house. She used to hide us in the cupboards, trembling.

    “A man’s home is his castle.”

    “Weak,” you’d call me if I run to her side.

    So I wait, until you tire of your attack. Wait, to catch her sobs in my embrace. And I hide—my drawings, my feelings, my self.

    But your fists find their target, and I flinch. So a smack spins my head as you command, “Man up!”

    Precise punches make for easily hidden bruises. Her stomach, her ribs, her thighs—anywhere clothing will cover. Because you’re always in control.

    The world outside will never see, but you demand I watch, and learn.

    So I wait.

    For the strength to fill my muscles and my heart. For the will to stand against your voice. For the courage to take your blows.

    Fists hit flesh, blood blooms, but now I do not flinch. You taught me better.

    She gasps, hand fluttering to her lips.

    You stumble back—shocked. Out of control. Afraid.

    But best of all away from her, from them, all huddling at my back. My fingers flex as I stand, a wall you can’t take down. A shield to save them.

    At last, a man.

October 10, 2016

What's the Deal with Books You Borrow from Libraries?

Many people don't see the difference between borrowing a book from the library and reading a pirated copy. After all, you're reading for free either way, right? And it's "so much more convenient" to find a pirated digital copy than to go to the library.

Do you see where I'm going here? Because in both cases: WRONG.

Let's start with the fact that libraries pay for each copy of the book they provide (print or digital), and then they pay to replace copies that are worn out by repeated borrows, or for extra copies if there is demand. And yes, authors receive royalties for each of those. 

"But I still have to go to the library to get the book!" 

I've heard this more times than I've bothered to count, and the thing is: it's not true. Libraries now provide both digital and audio books—and you can borrow them right from your home! Just log in to your library account, find the book, and click. (And with library copies, you don't have to be worried about any nasty viruses or other surprises.) Sure, occasionally there aren't as many copies as interested readers. And sometimes your library doesn't have the book you're looking for. If so, many will give you the opportunity to request they purchase a copy, giving you the book you want while also compensating the author. 

It's true that in both those cases you may have to wait a little while. But if you absolutely must read that book right this second, maybe you should be buying it.

Because the alternative is stealing from authors. And make no mistake, reading pirated books is stealing from the person who spent months or years creating that story. So rather than theft, take advantage of the legal, convenient, and mutually beneficial service libraries provide!

And to celebrate the awesomeness of libraries, share the last library book you borrowed in the comments! For me, it was Uprooted  by Naomi Novik.

October 3, 2016

Shana Tova!

Sunset last night marked the start of this year's Rosh Hashanah festivities in the Jewish calendar. Rosh Hashanah kicks off a new year, and it is celebrated with prayer, the blowing of the shofar (a ceremonial ram's horn), and goodies such as apples dipped in honey and pomegranates. A traditional greeting wishes others a happy and sweet year: Shana Tova Umetuka!

There is a bit more to the holiday, but rather than my going into it all and possibly boring you, how about a video by the awesome a cappella group The Maccabeats: