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.
Can you believe it’s been just over a month since I released A Second Chance? I know I can’t!
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wonder if this is all a dream…another figment of my wild imagination. If it is, please let me sleep. I don’t want to wake up. Right now, I’m following my dream wherever it may take me. And I couldn’t be any happier. This is one area of my life that I’m completely satisfied with, and that’s a wondrous feeling.
To say this past month has been exhilarating, as well as overwhelming, would be an understatement. I can’t even put into words what this month has meant to me, which is funny since I’m a writer. Words aren’t supposed to fail me, and yet they are. Go figure!
Would I do things differently if given the chance?
There have been times over the past month that I’ve asked myself if there are things I wish I’d done differently with A Second Chance. Yes, there have been moments where I’ve questioned whether or not I should’ve made this story a full-length novel. Or if I should have written one scene or another differently. But each one of those thoughts was fleeting because in my heart of hearts I truly feel I told the story exactly as it was meant to be told. And when I look at the final piece, I’m honestly happy with it.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying A Second Chance is perfect because I know it’s not. I don’t believe that any book is. I think there’s always room for improvement, and I know as time goes on I will make adjustments to the story here and there. But none of those future changes are going to alter how A Second Chance turned out. I won’t allow that.
This story was a labor of love. I dug down deep and used many personal experiences and emotions to create a character that was believable and relatable to others. I cried more tears than I could count while writing it. There were even times during the most emotional of scenes I even felt my heart break.
I didn’t just type empty words onto a blank screen, hoping and praying they’d resonate with readers. I actually allowed myself to become Annabelle. I allowed myself to connect with her and feel every single heartbreaking moment that she felt. I allowed myself to feel all of my old fears once again, and that took a lot out of me, but it was all worth it in the end.
Let’s Talk Sales
I don’t know about you, but every time I see a new sale show up, I let out a squeak, and I get a rolling feeling in the pit of my stomach similar to the one I get when I ride a roller coaster.
I’ll be honest, my expectations for sales for the first month were low since I didn’t know what to expect. I can say, though, that I’m not disappointed with the final total. Sure, I could have done much better; we all could our first month out. However, I didn’t expect huge sales to begin with. I knew going into this that it would take time to build up momentum, and I was okay with that, so I set my goal low. I wanted to sell 10 books for the month. And the good news is that I did. Between free copies and sales, my total for the month from Smashwords and Amazon was 40. I know 40 doesn’t sound like a lot to most people, but to me it is.
Yes, I admit I could have promoted and guest blogged more, but I work THREE jobs, and I’m a mom to two children under the age of 10. I also help out my mom a lot since she is going through some painful back problems right now. My extra time is very limited, so taking all of that into account, I did damn well this month. I honestly cannot complain.
Reviews: Yes, I Caved
Prior to the release of A Second Chance, I said I wouldn’t read any of my reviews, but I caved, as do many authors. I wanted to know if the words I wove together made an impact on anyone. I wanted to know if people were able to see the emotions I poured into every word in the story. I wanted to see if people got the message I was trying to share, so I started reading my reviews, and I’m glad I did. It seems like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.
Almost every review I’ve read up to this point has made me cry. To know that I’ve affected people in the ways they’ve stated in their reviews makes me happy. I am so grateful that people have taken the time, both in public settings, as well as via private messaging, to share with me their thoughts on this story. As an author you want to know when your work connects with others, so I truly cherish every review and message I’ve gotten. There are some people I’m still waiting to hear opinions from because their thoughts matters to me. And hopefully one day I will hear that A Second Chance touched them in some way, too, because that’s what I want. I want everyone to take something away from it, just like I did.
Well, that’s it for now. Here’s hoping my second month ends on as high of a note as the first one did.
If you have not purchased a copy of A Second Chance and would like to, it’s currently available at Smashwords and Amazon for $.99. It will be available at Barnes & Noble, as well as other various sites in the coming weeks, so please stay tuned.
Today I thought I’d share an excerpt from A Second Chance with all of you. I know you can download samples at Amazon, but for those who have not installed the Kindle computer software, this is for you.
That Friday in mid-September dawned bright and hopeful for Annabelle Dixon. The air’s crispness marked the arrival of fall. Even the leaves on the trees in Annabelle’s front yard were beginning to change, transitioning from vibrant green to hues of orange, brown, yellow and red, preparing everyone for autumn’s cooler temperatures and flaming foliage.
As a child and teenager, Annabelle had always looked forward to the changeover from summer to fall, for it signified the start of a new school year and new beginnings.
Fall also meant hours spent outdoors, raking up the fallen leaves that littered the ground, carving jack o’ lanterns with her parents, and drinking ice cold apple cider from a local orchard, traditions she now practiced with her own children.
That morning, Annabelle sat on her front porch steps, drinking a cup of coffee before her doctor’s appointment scheduled for that day. While she sat there, her hands wrapped around the steaming mug, she watched a blue butterfly dance from bush to bush in front of her. The sight of the butterfly struck her as odd. It was unusual to see butterflies that late in the year.
It wasn’t long before the butterfly’s waltz was interrupted by the arrival of her parents as they pulled into Annabelle’s driveway and parked beside her car. They waved to her as they made their way up the walkway.
“Morning, Mom. Morning, Dad,” she said as she scooted to make room for them both to sit down beside her.
“Morning, Anna,” her mother, Evelyn, said as she lowered herself down next to her daughter, her bones creaking and protesting loud enough for Annabelle to hear. “How are you doing this morning?” she asked her daughter.
“Maybe I need to ask you that question,” Annabelle joked.
“Oh, hush. I’m fine. Seriously, how are you?”
“I’m a little tired, but that’s okay. It’s expected. I know I’ve got a long way to go before I’m 100 percent again.”
Her mother smiled and patted her on the knee. “You’ll feel better soon. The past few months have been rough, but you’ve pulled through. You’re strong, Anna. You make us proud.”
Annabelle’s eyes misted over. “Thanks, Mom. That means a lot to me.” She stood up and looked around her. “I guess I should head to my doctor’s appointment now that you two are here.”
“Okay, sweetie. We’ll be here when you get back,” her father told her as he took the empty coffee mug from her hand.
“Thanks. The kids are inside watching the television…cartoons.” Annabelle rolled her eyes. “Tell them I’ll be back soon.”
“We will. Drive safely.”
She nodded. “Will do.”
Before climbing into her car to head to her doctor’s appointment, she paused to turn her face to the sunlight beaming down on her from above; its rays warmed her inside and out. At that moment, her life felt almost perfect. She had two happy and healthy children and a husband who was everything she wanted in a man and more.
The sole dark spot in her life was her own health. But that Friday morning promised a new start for Annabelle and her family, a fresh start, which left her with the same giddy anticipation she’d felt when she was younger. She was confident her doctor would tell her that her cancer had finally responded to treatment and that she was well on her way toward being cancer-free, something she’d hoped desperately for since she was diagnosed with the ravaging disease many months before.
As Annabelle drove to her doctor’s office, she turned her stereo up and tapped her fingertips on the steering wheel to the beat of the music pouring from the speakers. Before climbing out of her car, she adjusted the baseball cap covering her pale, bald head. She couldn’t wait until she had long hair again. She missed washing and brushing it. She missed its softness. But she knew in time it would grow back, so she remained patient.
* * * * *
Inside the doctor’s office, soft music drifted out from behind the receptionist’s desk into the waiting room where Annabelle sat, her hands clasped between her knees, waiting to be called in to meet with her doctor. Several minutes ticked by before Dr. Lucas’s nurse entered the waiting room and gestured for Annabelle to follow her.
Annabelle stood up and beamed a grin that reflected the happiness and contentment she felt inside.
As she stepped into her doctor’s private office, the first inklings of doubt began to play along the edges of her mind when she noted her doctor’s somber face. He didn’t return her smile, which struck her as strange because even through her darkest hours, he’d been filled with encouragement and a dogged determination to help her get well. Was something wrong or had his morning gotten off to a bad start, she wondered to herself. She hoped it was the latter.
As she sat down in the old wooden chair in front of his desk, she pushed the unease from her mind and sat on the edge of her seat, waiting to hear the verdict on her latest test results.
Dr. Lucas’ steel-gray eyes met hers for a brief moment before he spoke. “I’m sorry, Annabelle. There’s just no easy way to tell you this, so I’ll get right to it. The chemotherapy and radiation treatments haven’t worked. They didn’t stop the cancer from spreading.”
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.)
- Jennifer and James Melzer
- Acadia Einstein
- Heather and Tony Faville
- Amber Ortega
- Jackie Vickrey
- Kellie Stroud
- Lesley Williams
- Joseph Bowley
- Kyle Dockrey
- Flo Barnett
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!
I have some very exciting news for those of you who love to read fantasy novels. My very good friend, author Jennifer Hudock is holding one freaking awesome giveaway right now. And you can be a part of it.
If any of you are followers of Ms. Hudock, then you may have listened to her Podcast version of Goblin Market. This week she released the eBook edition and has set a goal of 50 sales by tomorrow night. Once she hits 50, she will be giving away five print editions of Goblin Market — the only five print copies available. No one else will have them.
Now, I wouldn’t tell all of you to buy this book if I didn’t know how awesome it is. Jennifer is an amazing writer who creates worlds that are magical. Her words have the ability to transport you to another place and time, something not all writers are capable of. I’ve read many of her stories and love them all.
In order for the giveaway to happen, Ms. Hudock needs help from all of you. Once you purchase a copy of Goblin Market, please pass on the link to friends and family you know who would be interested in reading it. Also, please feel free to Tweet about it or post the link on your Facebook page. MySpace works too.
Goblin Market is currently available for purchase at Smashwords and Amazon for $2.99. Honestly, you can’t beat the price. And don’t worry, if you live in the UK, you can still purchase a copy through Amazon UK.
Here’s the great thing about purchasing it through Amazon, you can download a sample of the story. I guarantee that once you start reading it, you’ll want to buy it.
Once you’ve purchased the book, you’ll need to email Ms. Hudock a copy of your receipt at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will then be entered to win one of the five print edition copies of Goblin Market. The receipt needs to say that it was purchased on 1/27, 1/28 or 1/29 in order to be eligible for entry. If the goal of 50 eBooks sold is NOT reached by the end of tomorrow night at 11:59pm ET, there will be no winners. So please, spread the word.
Goblin Market Description:
Beyond the Goblin Market lies the remains of a lost and broken kingdom divided by war. The war has been over for centuries, but the kingdoms still stand apart, overrun by a creeping goblin darkness known as the Darknjan Wald. It has been written that only one holds the power to destroy that darkness and reunite the kingdoms, but she has no memory of her former life.