James Melzer

Do I Have What it Takes?

I’m having one of those mornings where I’m filled with indecision — where I’m questioning whether or not I have the talent to do my fantasy novel justice. I wonder if I’m capable of creating a world that’s believable and one that others will fall in love with — one that others can immerse themselves in.

When I look at the worlds that authors like Jennifer Hudock, James Melzer, Allie Burke, Nick Denmon and Will Entrekin created in their stories, I can’t help but think, Can I write a story like these, one that is filled with detail and that captures the world inside my head? Do I have the talent a story like the one I’m writing needs? And I just don’t know. And that scares me.

For me, it’s easier to write a short story. I truly am proud of the two I’ve published. But novels are not the same. I’ve completed two over the years: The Obsession and Without Wings. To say my earlier attempts were less than stellar would be an understatement. I think The Obsession has the chance to be great, but it needs a lot of work, so I don’t know if I’ll ever rework it. Maybe one day.

So I guess the only thing I can do for now is to keep writing and hoping that the end result is what I want it to be. If you’d like to read the beginning of my fantasy novel, you can find it here. It’s in the very early stages, so very little has been done to it. Its edges are rough and definitely need some work, so please keep that in mind when reading it.

Sacrifice is Now Available on Smashwords

Yes, that’s right. Sacrifice is now up at Smashwords and Amazon. I know, I know! I said it would be available Tuesday. SURPRISE! I honestly didn’t think it would be up this fast, but it is. So yay!

The last time I uploaded a story it took a good day and a half for it to show up, I think. Not this time, though, which is good. It means that Sacrifice is available to all of you that much sooner.

I do have to give special thanks, again, to Jennifer Melzer, Heather Faville and Nicholas Denmon for their insight over the past few weeks. It’s helped me a great deal.

In Other News:

I was the special guest on Podcaturday yesterday morning.

For those not familiar with Podcaturday, it’s the weekly roundtable discussion between James and Jennifer Melzer and Acadia from Superficial Gallery.

While I still laughed a lot, and it’s hard not to with these three, I did talk more than the previous time I was on there. I figure by this time next year, I should be able to outtalk them all. Okay, maybe not. But close. Those three are professionals when it comes to “shootin’ the shit”, especially Acadia. He NEVER shuts up.

What makes yesterday’s Podcaturday extra special is the fact that I WASN’T nervous AT ALL. For those who don’t know me well, situations like Podcaturday or public speaking usually make me very nervous to the point of  breaking out in hives. I’ve been working on it, though, and have been pushing myself to step outside my comfort zone and try new things. I don’t want to look back on my life and regret one moment of it, so I’m trying to experience as many new things as possible. I’m trying to challenge myself. Who knows what I’ll try next.

So what did we talk about yesterday? A lot: Game of Thrones, The Killing, cryptozoology, Stupid Ned Stark, Jenny’s accident, James’ book sales, my book launch, and Wet Hot American Summer, which I watched last night because Acadia was bitching again that we never do what he asks. And to be honest, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected it to be. In fact, there were several moments where I laughed out loud. Plus, Bradley Cooper was in it, and who doesn’t love him?

That’s about it in terms of updates. I will be posting some interviews and special guest blog posts over the next few days. I meant to last week, but I never got the chance. I had to cover for my mom at work, which meant physically going to work instead of my normal routine of rolling out of bed and plopping down in a chair. I had to juggle four different jobs while trying to get Sacrifice ready for all of you. Plus, when you add in the mommy factor, it made it one CRAZY week. I honestly need a vacation now.

I hope the rest of your Sunday is fantastic. I’m off now to take my Mini Me to her first fishing tournament. Here’s hoping she catches the biggest bass.

 

A Review of Hull’s Landing by James Melzer

I’ve said before in previous reviews that I enjoy stories that make me feel something, whether it be anger, sadness, happiness, etc. James Melzer‘s novella Hull’s Landing is yet another book that’s produced very strong feelings in me, as well as an urge to protect my kids from the monsters in this world that would do them harm if given the opportunity.

To begin with, I was first introduced to Hull’s Landing back when James began podcasting it via his official website. My initial reaction to the opening scene was “This is frakked.” And I didn’t mean it in a “this author can’t write” way because he can. (I truly feel that James is a very talented author.) What I was referring to was the opening of Hull’s, which is definitely one of the disturbing I’ve ever read, to say the least.

The opening scene was one that grabbed my attention and pulled me in, making me want to castrate every single male in the opening scene. (And I’m sure it’s affected other women in the same way.)

Sure, Hull’s Landing is dark, scary and more than a bit depressing and gory at times, but that’s the way a book of this nature is supposed to be. It’s supposed to make you disgusted. It’s supposed to make your stomach roll and your skin crawl. It’s supposed to make you hate someone. The fact that James was able to accomplish all that and so much more speaks volumes about this story.

While Hull’s starts out very dark, the ending is filled with hope and the belief that darkness and evil can be overcome by goodness and light. And I don’t know about you, but I enjoy stories that end that way.

In closing, if author James Melzer can’t understand why he’s doing so well in the sales department, he needs to pack up his wife and come visit me in Maine so I can smack him. I’ve read several of his stories now, and I can clearly see why he’s selling as much as he is. HE CAN WRITE ONE HELL OF A STORY! (Keep up the good work, James. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.)

TOTAL STARS: Five

Amazon Description:

Nestled deep in the heart of Pennsylvania is the small borough of Hull’s Landing. While it may seem like just an ordinary place, The Landing holds a secret so dark, that there are those who will do anything to protect it.

For decades, young girls have been disappearing like clockwork. While some have their suspicions, the entire town lives in fear – and for good reason. When Rita Clemens, a former member of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, decides to make her new home in Hull’s, she begins to uncover what the locals have tried to keep hidden for so long.

As the race against time begins, Rita will have to do everything she can to protect herself, and to save a child’s life, before one of the world’s oldest evils can be unleashed.

Amazon Author Bio:

James Melzer is the award-winning author of ESCAPE (Simon & Schuster/Permuted Press – December 2011), the upcoming young adult zombie novel, TEENAGE WASTELAND (Permuted Press – 2012), and his short fiction has appeared in publications from Library of the Living Dead Press. Melzer currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, daughter, and husky.

A Special Thanks to Those Who’ve Helped Me

A Second Chance coverLast night, after many months of hardwork, I finally uploaded A Second Chance to Amazon, Smashwords and PubIt!. As of right now, it’s available on Smashwords for $.99.

Even though my baby is out of my hands now, there is a huge part of me that is still scared beyond belief for how it’ll fair, even though many of my friends have told me it’ll be fine and to stop worrying. Deep down inside, I know they’re right, but that nasty internal editor of mine just won’t shut her mouth. She’s been quite boisterous over the past couple of days. So much so, in fact, that I found my pointer finger hovering over the delete key at one point. She almost had me convinced that I shouldn’t put my work out there. She kept telling me I wasn’t good enough, that I’d fail, etc.

Thankfully, I was able to ignore her with the help of my friends. Without them cheering me on and encouraging me, I wouldn’t have made it to this point. They’ve been my cheerleaders and my confidants. Whenever I’m feeling frazzled or at wit’s end, I know I can turn to them for advice and a shoulder to lean on. Or for a swift kick in the butt, as was the case last week.

I owe each one of them a HUGE thank you for sticking by me and believing in me, even when I had days when I had a hard time believing in myself. So, before I close, I’d like to thank the following people for helping to make my dreams a reality. (And yes, in typical Nikki fashion, I’m crying.)

These are not the only people that have helped me along the way. I’d also like to thank my mom, dad and brother for sticking by me throughout everything I’ve put them through over the years. They’re not only my family, they’re my best friends. They’ve accepted me, quirks and all, and I love them for that.

And last but not least I have to thank my sixth grade teacher Ms. Clarrage for encouraging me and for helping me to realize just how much I enjoy writing. When I look back on my school years, she was the best teacher I had, hands down. She made school fun while still teaching us what we needed to know. I know that had I had not had her for a teacher, I wouldn’t be where I am. So thank you, Ms. Clarrage, for everything.

Each and every person I’ve mentioned here has played a crucial part in getting me to this point. I can’t thank them all enough for everything they’ve done.

THANK YOU GUYS!

Writing Update – March 14

It’s been five days since my last writing update, and there’s definitely been quite a bit of progress.

You may recall that I mentioned in my last post that my editor thought I should try and get my word count for Second Chances up to 11,000, which is about 4,500 more than what I started out with. I actually broke 11,000 just minutes ago. Yippee!

I still have several pages of edits to go through, as well as one more readthrough and edit before sending it back to my editor for another editing session on her end. So, I’m hoping I’ll hit about 12,000 words by the end.

Other Changes

One of the ideas I’ve been playing with for about a week is changing the name of my story. I wasn’t sure that was the right move to make, at first, but I finally decided that it was necessary to change the title a tiny bit. I’m changing it from Second Chances to A Second Chance. I think the name change is a more accurate reflection of what the story is about.

I’m also having my editor create me a new piece of cover art. Some of you may remember the original cover art. If not, it’s right here ————->

The reason I’m having Jenny design me a new one is because of the additional scenes I’ve added to the story. There’s one scene in particular that I feel would make a great cover. I have a very detailed image in my head of what I want it to look like, and I’d really like to see Jenny make that happen.

I’m a huge, HUGE fan of Jenny’s coverart for her novel The Goblin Market. There’s something about it that speaks to me. And I know Jenny will create a new one for me that is just as great as that one. I have faith in her abilities.

One other area that I’m going to be working very hard on is promoting. I’ve seen what Jenny has done with guest bloggers on her site, as well guest blogging on other fellow indie author’s sites. I admire all the hardwork she’s put in, and I’d like follow in her footsteps. I’m actually hoping to have some fellow authors stop by here, including Jenny and maybe even her sidekick James. Who knows!

Other News

There are a few other pieces of news that I’d like to share before closing.

As I mentioned in the second half of my interview with Amanda Rosenblatt, I had the chance to talk to Josh Gates on Thursday night. If you’d like to listen to the show, you can find it here.

On Sunday, I made an appearance on a special voicemail edition of Podcaturday. It was a twofer this week. It was my first time stopping by, so I didn’t contribute much. However, I did laugh a lot, which is not hard since Jenny, Acadia and James are HILARIOUS! (If you’d like to listen in on Sunday’s edition, please visit one of their sites.)

I also had the chance to discuss my conversation with Josh, which is great. I’ll jump at any chance to talk about one of my favorite TV personalities.

And last but not, a new Destination Truth post will be up at The Superficial Gallery within the next day or so, so make sure to stop by and check it out.

February 14, 2011 News Updates

I have a couple of new updates to share.

First, I finished editing Second Chances and sent it off to Jennifer Hudock for editing. There is no one else I trust more than her to edit my baby. I know with her help, we’ll make it the best it can be.

Second, after talking with Jenny about future projects, I decided on a couple things. I’m going to finish up another short story that is VERY near completion. I’ll then offer the new story, as well as Second Chances, as a doubleshot. Until then, Second Chances will be free for download. And maybe, just maybe, the doubleshot will feature a new cover that incorporates both stories.

The other project that Jenny and I discussed was the YA novels we’re both toying with. I’ve got one that is about 1/8 of the way finished, so there’s a lot to be done. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure if it was a good storyline, but Jenny assured me it is, so we’re going to support each other through this new process — well, new to me.

The third update for today is that I officially launched my new site, Frugal Maine, early last week. I’m currently looking for resource sites to include in my blog roll on FM that would further help Maine residents, so if you think you have a site that is relevant, please let me know.

I also have to mention that my new site was mentioned on the latest edition of Podcaturday by Jenny, which was really sweet of her. Her, James Melzer and Acadia, from The Superficial Gallery, are all good friends of mine, so I’m tickled pink whenever they mention me.

Until next time, my friends, take care.

Two of My Good Friends Need Some Help

Newsflash: OUR ECONOMY SUCKS! But you probably already knew that. Last night, I found out firsthand how much it truly blows.

This month started out fantastic but it went to hell real quick like. And while I could easily bitch about the unexpected turn of events that last night delivered to me, I’m not going to. Sure, it sucked to lose a job that I really liked, but I at least still have something to fall back on. It’s not a lot, but it’s more than some people have, so I’m counting my blessings. Unfortunately, my buddy James Melzer, along with others, was not so lucky.

When I was told the news last night I was upset, but my thoughts instantly turned to James and his fiance Jenny, who is one of my best friends. See, these two want to get married, but it’s not as simple for them as it is for most of us. Jenny is from the U.S. while James is from Canada, which means he has to jump through hoops in order to marry the woman he loves.

Due to last night’s unexpected turn of events, it looks like their dream of marrying may have to be pushed back.  I love these two to pieces. They’ve made me laugh when I’ve felt like crying. They’ve accepted me the way I am and have not asked me to change, so I can’t sit idly by and allow them to go through this without some help from me.  I know money is tight for many of us, so any way that you can help would be appreciated.

If you are interested, there are several ways that you can help them out. Please check both of their sites, jamesmelzer.net and jennybeans.net for more info.

Thanks!

From the Dark Side Anthology News

From the Dark Side Anthology

As many of you know by now, Friday is the release date of the From the Dark Side Anthology. And I have to say, I’m VERY excited. This is the first time I’ve had a short story published, so it’s a big deal for me. How lucky am I to be included in a group of such amazingly talented people? (I’ve actually been battling a “I’m not worthy” feeling.)

So, if you were wondering what cool peeps are included in the anthology, here you go:

  • Nicole Godin
  • Joseph Bowley
  • Josh Crummer

If you would like more information on the From the Dark Side Anthology, you can visit Jennifer Hudock’s site or you can read the press release below:

From the Dark Side: A Charity Anthology

In March 2010, a group of creative types got together in search of ways to showcase their work. There were talks of collaboration which evolved into the From the Dark Side Anthology. Because there were so many people involved in the project, an equal distribution of earnings seemed silly, and so those who gave birth to the idea decided to ask contributors to donate their work.

A worthwhile cause creative-types could stand behind was not hard to find. We turned our attention to the Letters and Light Organization, a non-profit charity that promotes youth creativity.

Since most creative people have a special memory of someone who encouraged and supported them, nurtured their gift and inspired them to pursue their dreams, it seemed like an obvious choice to donate all the proceeds earned from this charity endeavor to The Letters and Light Organization.

Details: Will go on sale electronically July 9, 2010 on Amazon and Smashwords for $4.99 per copy.

Readers do NOT need an eReader in order to download and read the anthology. Amazon offers a download of their Kindle software for PCs and Macs, as well as the iPhone and iTouch. Smashwords has a wide variety of downloadable mediums, from direct browser html and PDF to eReader and Kindle, just to name a few.

A Time for Reflection

Wells Beach

Today, when I woke up, I was greeted by quite a few birthday wishes. It was a nice way to wake up and begin the day. As I’ve thanked those who have wished me a great birthday, I’ve had time to reflect back on the past year.

As those closest to me know, it hasn’t been easy year. In fact, suffice it to say, it’s been one of the toughest. I spent the first six months of my 27th year with very limited use of my left hand. It was a very frustrating time for me.

Last Christmas, though, I was the lucky recipient of a miracle, of sorts, by way of my parents Wii. (Don’t ask.)

My injury was just one problem I dealt with this year. While I won’t post info on my other trials, I can say that there have been days that I’ve wanted to stay in bed, pull the covers over my head and cry. It hasn’t gotten easier to handle, though, in recent months.

It was back in March, or thereabouts, that I started writing again following my hiatus due to my hand injury. It was slow going, at first, but what really got me motivated was The Creative Alliance, created by author James Melzer.

TCA has given me so much over the past few months. I’m surrounded by a group of insanely talented people who accept me just the way I am. They provide me with support and laughs when I need it.

Because of their support and love, I want to take the time today to thank those who made the second half of this year better than the first.

Jenny, you have been such an amazing friend to me over the past couple of years. You’ve believed in me and helped me to grow. You’ve been a shoulder when I needed one. So thank you for that and thank you for allowing me to be a part of such an amazing anthology.

James, thank you for starting TCA. Without it, I wouldn’t have accomplished what I have the past few months.

Acadia, I know it cramps your style and makes you look less tough, but thank you for believing in me and for nagging me about this site. I’ve made myself accessible to a lot more people because of you. I owe you one.

Pat, thanks for being a great friend and allowing me to guest blog on your site. It was a blast, and we must do it again.

Edit: yesterday, I forgot to include the most important person at The Superificial Gallery — Vange. (We just allow Acadia to think he is.)

So Vange, thank you for reminding me every week to floss my teeth. 🙂 I’d be lost without you.

And as a whole, I must thank Jenny, Leslie, Jackie, Mary Lou and Annie for your time, friendship and support of Second Chances. I truly appreciate it.

Before I forget, as cheesy as it sounds, thank you, Lee, for your Slumberland album. Without it, I would never have figured out my lead character’s name.

As always, I must also thank my mom, dad and brother for their support. They’ve seen me at my worst and yet, they still love me. I love you guys!

OH! One more thing, to commemorate today, here’s a look at the cover for Second Chances, which, as most of you know, is part of the From the Dark Side Anthology. Enjoy!

Thanks to Jennifer Hudock for creating this beautiful cover.