After the NaNo Holidays–AND A GIFT FOR YOU

Did you do National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? Or are you mid-holiday frenzy? Both explode a lot of energy through a short time.

Here’s my question: What do you do when it’s all over? Are you like me, and find cleanup a little dull after all the excitement? How do you combat that?

How about a *FREE* Kindle or Nook story for you? Five Angel Recommended Read* star The Bite of Silence, my short erotic vampire action-filled New Year’s Eve themed romance is FREE at Amazon and Barnes & Noble for a limited time.The Bite of Silence

Well, sure, that’s one way :)

After running full out I only have so much oomph, so I tackle the post-holiday jumble one small item at a time. The shards of wrapping paper are first. Then the boxes and plastic packaging my kids inevitably leave strewn around the living room.  The kitchen is next, putting away dishes from the feast. Decorations and cards come down anywhere from a week to a month laterbhey, they’re not in the way, right?

And after the NaNo? What do you do after pouring out fifty thousand words in thirty days? Maybe your prose is gorgeous, neat and complete. Maybe it looks like my house after the holidays. There’s a nifty book on how to handle that written by the NaNo guy called No Plot? No Problem! But this wouldn’t be a blog if I didn’t throw in my own two cents, one small item at a time.

Last month I wrote about The Bra Maneuver (Separate and Lift). Today I’m pimping IMMEDIACY. I’m taking my example from Biting Nixie, because it happens to be handy and I know how I changed it. “I” in this case is Nixie, a five-foot-nothing punk rock musician. Julian is a six-plus vampire lawyer. He’s really hot. Trust me. In this scene they’re getting attacked by bad-guy vamps.

In the dark beyond [Julian] I caught the impression of movement.  Blurs, two of them, coming in fast.  I couldn’t see much, sequestered behind Julian.  He was lean, yes.  But big.  His chest was solid and his shoulders broad.  His waist was easily as big as my hips.  That lean, flat waist.

In front of me, Julian’s arms jerked.  Cut through the air, hard.  His hands almost whistled with the force he used.  If he’d held knives, whatever he hit was now sliced, diced, and julienned.

Okay, there are two problems. Can you spot them? First, two good guys, two villains. How much tension is there with even odds? Second, you see the bad guys swooping in, and the next thing you see is Julian fighting. But where is the immediate cause of Julian’s slice-’n-dice?

Here’s the revision:

In the dark beyond him I caught the impression of movement.  Blurs, three of them, coming in fast.  I couldn’t see much, sequestered behind Julian.  He was lean, yes.  But big.  His chest was solid and his shoulders broad.  His waist was easily as big as my hips.  That lean, flat waist.

“Get him!” someone growled.

In front of me, Julian’s arms jerked.  Cut through the air, hard.  His hands almost whistled with the force he used.  If he’d held knives, whatever he hit was now sliced, diced, and julienned.

I’ve bolded the fixes. The frosting on the cake is GET HIM. Yes, I could have also elicited Julian’s response by shoving the bad guy right in his face. But dialog is fast, immediate. Command imperative is even more so. For more impact, show the threat as immediate before responding.

What about you? What do you do after the holidays? Or after the NaNo?

* Reviewed by Hayley for Fallen Angel Reviews


Turkey Day Ramblings

Honestly? Until I received the reminder notice from one of my Yahoo groups, I completely forgot that I was supposed to be blogging here today! And then I sat down to write something out and realized I have absolutely no idea what to talk about. It being a few days before Thanksgiving, I figured I should probably write something holiday related. But what the heck does one say about Thanksgiving? I’m not really in the mood to write an ode to turkey. Besides, I don’t even like turkey. My family always had chicken for Thanksgiving. Christmas, too.

Yeah, I know. We’re weird.

Hmm. Let’s see if there’s a point to all my ramblings buried somewhere in here. That’s how I tend to write – blab on and on until my subconscious lets me know where it’s going. So thinking about different traditions did get me wondering about the rest of the world. That’s the beauty of e-publishing. Little things like country boundaries and oceans don’t matter quite as much. Do our European friends have a similar holiday? How about the rest of the world?

On the surface, it’s a pretty shallow holiday. Consume massive amounts of food, have leftovers for the next week, and get up insanely early the next day to join the shopping madness (and how Black Friday got mixed up into the whole Pilgrim-Indian-Turkey thing I’ll never understand). Although if you’re like my family, the leftovers aren’t usually a problem. I have a nineteen year old brother; it’s amazing how much food he can pack away over the course of a day.

But amid the madness of family, feasting and football, it’s always nice to remember the whole point behind the establishment of Thanksgiving. Of course, one day a year to remember the good things in life is hardly enough. I know that for me, I need to remind myself constantly. Otherwise, it’s too easy to become bogged down in the hard times and the problems in the world, large and small. So please, share with me! Let’s get some positive, encouraging thoughts going. What are your Thanksgiving plans? Any unique (or not so unique) traditions? How about something exciting or positive that’s happened to you recently? Or perhaps you’re just thankful that nothing exciting has happened lately. Sometimes life continuing normally is the biggest relief of all.

Following in the tradition established by earlier posts, I’ll give away a copy of one of my books – in this case, The Brass Box. So comment away, and I will do a random drawing on…well, I do believe it would be most appropriate to do the drawing on Black Friday.

So have a marvelous Thanksgiving, eat way too much food, and for everyone (even those who don’t celebrate Thanksgiving), I’m thankful that you read all the way to the end of my rambling post!

Must The Party End?

I know Halloween was over, but that doesn’t mean the fun here has to end, right? I say let’s keep it going…at least for a little while.

I know a lot of us are on Yahoo loops or blogs where the question What Are You Reading Now is asked often. At least I am. And it’s a fun question. I find a great deal of new authors through those conversations, but how about a new (or newer) question. Do your reading tastes change from time to time? Do you go in spurts where you read one genre and then switch to another? Are you consistently wide ranged?

Personally, I seem to jump around, and most recently I’m even jumping formats because it’s what is working best for my schedule. To keep up with what the oldest kid, I call her Chaos, is reading I have been chekcing out the audio books from the library. I am still a little behind her, but I am currently listening to the third Percy Jackson book on audio. I also recently listened to a Joseph Finder thriller on audiobook. It’s a great way to pass the time on a road trip, especially when it’s an engaging story.

As if audiobooks aren’t enough, and let’s face it they aren’t, I have a few paperbacks on my nightstand and then there is the eReader I have loaded with lots of great choices. My current read on the eReader is a Harlequin Romantic Suspense by Vicki Taylor. I just need more time to read in quiet to get through the last of it and move on to the next one.

And then there are the books I read to the youngest kiddo, we call her Destruction. She has most recently really gotten into the Magic Tree House books and we are reading a Merlin adventure one. Unlike the other books she often asks me to read (you know the ones you’ve read over and over and over and over until you have nightmares about reading them) I look forward to reading to her each night. I want to know what happens next in the story. LOL

What about you? What are your reading habits? How do you make time for all those stories you read? How diverse is your list? Or how select?

Commenters will be entered into a drawing for a their choice of either SOUNDS TO DIE BY or SCENT OF PERSUASION. (Both books are contemporary romantic suspense and are sexy reads. They are part of a series, but can be read as stand alones. 🙂 ) The deadline for commenting…let’s say Saturday at noon central time. That should give everyone plenty of time to come up with something to say, right? Oh, and if you’re on Twitter or Facebook, share this post (and tell me you did it) and be entered a second time for the drawing.

Nikki Duncan

Spook-a-Palooza Contest – Win a Free eBook!

Contest 1 – Runs from October 17 – October 23 Midnight EST

The Prizes (12) are ebook downloads of:

Kissing Cowboy – J.C. Wilder  /  Night is Darkest – Jayne Rylon

Prince of Dragons – Cathryn Cade / Cougar – Beverly Rae

My Avenging Angels – Madelyn Ford / Bite Me Softly – Mary Hughes

King of the Unblessed – Michelle M. Pillow / (TBA) – Mandy M. Roth

Sounds to Die By – Nikki Duncan / Wild Cards and Iron Horses – Sheryl Nantus

Midnight Savior by D. McEntire / The Voodoo that You Do – Jodi Redford

Contest Rules & other info: 1. One entry per household. 2. Void where prohibited. 3. Employees or the family of Samhain Publishing are prohibited from entering. 4. You must be 18 to enter. 5. Twelve winners will be randomly drawn from all complete and correct entries. 6. Contest winners will be announced on this website. 7. By entering you are agreeing to join the Samhellion mailing list.

How to Play: Go to the websites of the participating authors (above) and look for their Spook-a-palooza icon.

(HINT: The icons are on of the following: Candy, Costume, Ghost, Skull, Scarecrow, Broom, Witch, Bats)

Once you find all 12 icons,  in an email list all twelve authors and their corresponding icons then send it to samhellion.contest at

Good luck!