Give Me Five Podcast

I meant to link the podcast that was done last week in my last post and totally forgot. My bad. Here’s the link:

http://givemefive.libsyn.com/episode-21-nudist-resorts-and-sleeping-pills-ft-author-sk-nicholls

 

Jimmy, Rob, and Greg are an awesome and entertaining crew. At the beginning of the podcast, I was distracted by the fact that my Pokemon Discord app was beeping every few seconds and I didn’t know how to stop it, so I was not as engaged as I had planned to be. I came into the conversations a little late.

 

We covered some TV series’, movies, the Golden Globes, and a relatively new genre, Rock Fiction, and Moonlight City Drive by author-musician, Brian Paone, which I think is super cool. Then we talked about my books, Red Clay and Roses and Naked Alliances. In the end, I give my five greatest literary influences and why. (Please forgive me, Anne Rice, for calling your werewolves “wolverines,” in a completely live, on-the-air, brain fart.)

 

I have been informed that a class at UCF is interested in more discussion about literary fiction versus commercial/genre fiction, and we will be doing another short piece exclusively on that topic soon.

Politically Incorrect, Offensive and Disrespectful

All sorts of new devices, apps, and what-not exist out there that are supposed to help writers become better writers, but do they?

I want my work to be the best it can be before it it’s read. Even read by my beta readers or editors.

So I tried out the Grammarly app. I even sprang for the premium version that not only proofs your work but makes suggestions on how you might improve your writing.

A couple of days ago, it told me that the word “elderly” is a politically incorrect description and could be found offensive and disrespectful by some.

Really?

I have always respected my elders, and the term elderly is used endearingly to denote that respect. I’d much rather hear someone refer to their parents and grandparents as elderly than old or senior.

The app went on to say that “suffering” from dementia denoted disability, which might also be offensive to some.

Of course, I ignore these suggestions and advise you to do the same when using these sorts of apps. Tell your story your way, and if people are offended, let them be.

You are never going to please everyone, and if they are offended, perhaps they were not your target audience.

It is next to impossible to write a remotely comedic piece without risking offending someone. This entire politically correct thing has gotten way out of hand.

Most people know me as a progressive personality, and I would not deliberately set out to stifle new ways of thinking. My work is not high-brow literature, though. Nor does it pretend to be.

I can only say, for now, if you’re disturbed by “elderly” people “suffering” from dementia, you are likely not to enjoy my story. Please don’t read it.

We don’t have a working title yet, but toying with the idea, Silver Alert.

Politically correct, or not.

 

Is your writing politically correct?

Have you read anything that was so politically incorrect you could not enjoy it?

Writing on Life

When writing a novel, the entire outside world stops. That’s the way my brain works. I can’t say I am introverted or extroverted. I am both at different times. I’s hard to find balance.

Much of my writing evolves from my life experiences. Spending weeks into years in front of the computer writing narrows my focus. That’s a good thing for my writing.

However, to a degree, living stops. I don’t go out to socialize much. I don’t play games. I don’t get much work done outside of writing. I don’t go to movies. Hell, I don’t even watch television.

If it wasn’t for date night and the need to consume food, I’d never go out to eat or go to the grocery store.

But I get stories written.

The flip side to that is spending time living life offers me much to write about. People I meet, places I visit all have a way of getting integrated into my writing. Life experiences become the ingredients of my writing.

My two favorite quotes on writing and life:

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
― Gustave Flaubert
“In order to write about life first you must live it.”
― Ernest Hemingway

The ideas expressed in the quotes seem on the surface to be in opposition, yet apply to me. They’re understandable.

I’m not so regular and orderly, but I like writing about those things that are beyond the scope of my own comfort zone in living. Granted, I have been known to live a wild and crazy life, but even I have limits. My books know no limits. My characters do things and get involved in ways I never could…in real life.

The old cliché, “Write what you know” comes home to me each time I take my seat at my desk. Having lived a full life and taking long breaks from writing to live life has fed me and continues to feed me.

I am obsessed with life. When I am living life, and not writing, I am driving all over the state, meeting new people from all walks of life and visiting places I never knew existed. Hosting lavish parties with four-hundred guests and attending events with thousands. Life is terrible, grand, scary, comfortable, fascinating, exciting, horrific, and wonderful.

There is nothing dull about the life I live.

Now, on to writing.

I recently participated in the “Give Me Five” podcast with Jimmy McCurry, Greg and Rob. They review all sorts of things: movies, TV shows, games, books, places…all of those things that keep us entertained with living. I will let you know when the podcast airs. They asked me some questions and let me talk about writing, my book, Naked Alliances, and list my five favorites. I chose five favorite literary influences. I will keep you informed when the podcast goes live.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Relentless rains for days now.

Had big plans for the blog this year and can’t believe the year is nearly half over. I have accomplished little on the blog…but have managed to rewrite the first three chapters of book two of the Naked Eye Series four times and chapter four twice.

Seriously…I wouldn’t call it writer’s block, because I am writing and I have the story in my head. I can’t seem to get it out in the way I want it to be read. Characters start doing their own thing and getting me off task. I tried with an outline, but at the start of the novel, I find it more of a frustration than an asset.

And then there is this blog. I can’t count the number of times I have started a post and not been able to finish it. Might have something to do with the facts that I am babysitting grandchildren frequently now, and I am the Central Florida Valor Team Leader in three different places: Two FB pages and the pokemap Discord group. On our data page, I have been on top of the leaderboard more than not, and currently have 37 gyms. That’s #1 or in the top ten of over 10, 000 total trainers, even counting the bastards who spoof and bot gyms. This is quite a feat, when you consider that there are 1126 gyms in Orlando and most people can’t stay inside one for more than a day…lol But, we built a nice battle team of 185 players and we have trainers who run gyms, boots-on-the-ground, 24/7.

Had to put both my doggies, the pug and the Australian cattle dog, to sleep a couple weeks ago. It broke my heart and I was devastated, even tho I know it was the right thing to do. Captain wasn’t even able to stand up, and Daisy was headed that way. Neither were able to eat, and both were very ill. Captain had cancer and Daisy had end-stage diabetes and was insulin dependent and in kidney failure. They are both on a shelf by my desk now in their pretty cedar boxes.

The same day we put the doggies down, we went to a beautiful ballet recital where my granddaughter performed with her techniques class. We parked the van in the same parking lot downtown at the Dr. Phillip’s Performing Arts Center that we parked at last time. Only this time there was no attendant to take our money. We saw signs posted that said parking was 8 am-6 pm Monday thru Friday for the businesses there. What we didn’t see, in a corner far removed from the entrance, was a tiny little kiosk to pay for parking…so we got towed. To make matters worse, the towing company scratched the side of my new van, and damaged the front bumper…and, of course, they are not responding to our insurance company, so now we have a lawyer.

We had to pull up the tile from the lanai and get it replaced. My handy husband did the hardest part of the work, pulling up 2400 pounds on tiles, hauling it to the dump and grinding the old floor down to remove all the tile-set and old paint that caused our problem in the first place. He is truly amazing. The new tile floor is gorgeous. Now I have to shampoo the rug that belongs out there and put all of the furniture back into place.

I other news, (I was more of it was good news, but this is starting to sound like a “woe is me” post), we are getting a new roof. Right now, overhead, people are pounding my brains out with hammers and such, even through the rain, so I’ll not stay long here. Can’t think with all of this going on.

I really wanted to stop in here and let you all know I haven’t died, or abandoned my writing projects, or forgotten about you. I read through many posts, but don’t often have the time to comment. I can’t even keep up with the Tweets I’m supposed to be doing for RRBC. I’m usually a great team player, but things have been complicated lately.

Also, I want to express a huge hunk of gratitude for everyone who has read and posted reviews for Naked Alliances. You reviews are what spurs me to keep at it most every time I’m feeling like I just can’t anymore.  I click onto Amazon, read your words, and am inspired. Thank you.

FYI: Naked Alliances will go on sale for 99 cents in a couple of weeks, but you are welcome to read now, if you like 🙂

Click in side bar for link.

 

Unknown and Unown

We’re headed to Vegas the first week in April. It’s all research for Book Two in the Naked Eye series. I’m learning more about gambling as an industry than I ever thought I would need to know. I’m hoping this trip will get me out of my stuck place.

I knew how I wanted to start the book, but I’ve rewritten Chapter Two twice and just not happy with either direction it went. I have a plot, a couple of sub plots, characters, motives, some conflicts, but haven’t quite figured out the action scenes to pull it all off. I’ve also revamped my outline twice. Fear of the unknown…my anxieties are off the charts.

Sadly, I thought I would have the first draft finished by April, but unless something really sparks soon that’s not going to happen.

Admittedly, I’m distracted by Pokemon Go and other life activities…grandkids/birthdays. It will be good to get away for a little while. I have two FB groups I started and admin for in Pokemon Go and just got another admin so things should ease up there. We have 350 people in our battle group. There are about 30 hardcore players in my neighborhood and we play together daily in one capacity or another.

I’m failing miserably with RRBC. I thought I could be on the Tweet Team, but Sleuthfest last week and all the other activities of my life this week resulted in me forgetting to do my job there. I must get three or four emails a week from them and I can’t keep up with all the things they want us to participate in. I almost always see the emails long after the event they want me to attend is over. I’ve read a couple of books and still haven’t written the review for the last one. Plan to do that today. I joined some contest and sent in the required materials, but have no real clue what it’s for….lmao. Seriously, I can’t keep up.

When I get excited enough to start new projects and I can’t give them 110%, I fall into a melancholy place. That’s sort of where I am right now.

Sometimes I don’t even get my emails read for days, which explains why I’m often posting comments on your three day old blog posts. I haven’t been able to get around the internet like I used to either.

I’m doing my first countdown deal on Naked Alliances Book One, so it would be a good time to grab it if you missed the earlier promos. I would love to get some reviews on the audio book. Thirty people have bought it so far, but not one review that specifically focuses  on the audio book. 😦 And I thought Steven Barnett did such a fine job, I was certain he would have been praised for that. Actually, I’m stuck at 21 reviews and haven’t had one since Feb 23rd. That is likely affecting me also. I so wanted at least fifty before the next book comes out, hopefully this fall. It might be delayed until after Christmas if I can’t swing into high gear.

But this made my day:

Trophy Pokemon

It’s an exceptionally rare pokemon, more rare than ultra-rare. Me and about fourteen other people chased it down this morning. Unown is an extremely rare Pokémon that lives in its own dimension and rarely ventures outside. There are 28 of them representing the alphabet and the question mark and exclamation mark.

I’ve figured out how to have Brandi playing Pokemon Go in my next book and how that plays into catching the bad guy. I’m hoping I can execute it in a way that is not alienating to people who don’t play the game. It’s interesting to try and find the right words to convey activities taking place in an augmented reality game. My Beam Team helps me out there. They’re mostly in their thirties. I’m the only grandparent on the team. I figure if I stick to the basics and don’t go too deep with game lingo it’ll work out fine.

Do you play any video games? If so, what’s your favorite, and do you play online or multiplayer games?

Also, is anyone having trouble with the WordPress notifications pages? Mine errors me out every time I try to use it.

Holiday AfterGlow

The Christmas tree is still up and the snow village is still out. LED icicles hang from the eaves of the house and multi-colored lights twinkle on the shrubbery. The red velvet cake is all gone and the many guests have left the spare bedrooms empty. The grandchildren are home with their parents enjoying their gifts and the house is quieter than it’s been in two weeks. A special sort of peace has descended upon us.

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The sound of the coffee brewing is comforting and I am feeling reflective over the previous year and contemplating my resolutions for the upcoming one.

  1. Write more guest posts.
  2. Write more blog posts.
  3. Write more interviews.
  4. Write more outlines.
  5. Write more novels.
  6. Write more.

It all boils down to writing more.

I’ve never been one able to discipline myself to meeting a daily word count. It feels forced, to me, when I try, and unnatural…but being about six months behind where I thought I would be at this point in the series, I may have to buckle down and set myself some small goals.

I spent a lot of time in the parks playing Pokemon this past summer and fall. The weather is gorgeous here this time of year, cool breezes blow on sunshiny days and the air is dryer. Florida is wonderful from November until about April.

My North American Pokedex has been filled three or four times over. I don’t need to collect anymore until the new Gen 2 Pokemon come out (we’re thinking February), and all I have to do with the game now is battle gyms to collect my coins and star dust every day. I’ve been holding ten gyms for two weeks, and that’s all they allow you to cash out on every day, so there’s not a lot for me to do there except keep up the status quo.

The game has really helped me toward getting out of the house and meeting new and interesting people. I’ve gotten to know many of the homeless folk who hang out in our city and county parks as well as many young and old residents of the area. I have a team FB page with 200+ members and they’ve become like extended family.

I’ve never done anything half way. My grandfather used to say, “Anything worth doing at all is worth doing well.” So I gave it 100%, but there was a cost. Playing the game as hard as I have ate into my reading and writing time and I need to pull back from it and refocus on my big goals.

The Naked Eye private investigator series is swirling around in my mind up through about book eight and there are outlines to get written. I have Book Two outlined and that outline is in the process of getting fleshed out. It’s been added to Scrivener, where I can keep things organized, and it’s time to move it along. I have fishbone outlines of the next three books completed.

I was sorely disappointed that Mystery Writers of America doesn’t allow self-published authors to sit on panels and doesn’t allow anyone but panelists to place their books for sale in the Murder on the Beach bookstore. I’m still attending SleuthFest this year, but I’m not joining MWA until they get with the times. They invited me to be a moderator for a panel. I’m still mulling that over.

The audio book of Naked Alliances is coming along grand. I’m so excited to be able to bring the book to my audience in this format. Steven Barnett is absolutely the most wonderful narrator ever there could be. His voice is engaging and he’s having a blast with his reading. We’ll be done with the book by the end of the year. I don’t know how long it takes ACX to get the book uploaded for sale on Amazon, but I’m expecting some time in January the audio book will be available.

I have my coffee now, my keyboard, and plenty of time in front of me…so, today will be my first day back at work. Peace. May your Christmas cleanup be easy. Blessings for the upcoming year. May all your resolutions hold fast and may all your goals be met.

Have a happy and prosperous New Year!

End of Summer and Getting Ready for the New Year

In August I wrote a little post about how Pokemon Go was helping me with grief therapy after a series of tragic events involving family, friends, and community. The story was picked up on Twitter and the editor of Fanreads, Keith McArthur sent me a request to use the story in an anthology of The Greatest Pokemon Go Stories Ever Told. Fanreads puts together books on sports, music and gaming. The cover was created by “Inspired Cover Designs.” See, that’s my name on the cover. 🙂

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You can go to their page and download a few of the stories for free by subscribing to their site, or you can purchase a copy from Amazon, Kobo, or Apple.

I completed my pokedex, finding all 142 available U.S. pokemon, thanks to a lovely park here that spawns all the rare pokemon and has always been a magical, mystical place, Kissimmee Lakefront Park. It’s a gorgeous park on Lake Toho where I once owned a waterfront home. I would walk to the park daily and attend the Renaissance Fair events. The Medieval Times characters practiced their fighting moves for their shows there.  Sometimes the Disney and Universal characters practiced skits there, also.

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They’ve spent thirty million dollars on renovating the park since I lived there and it is a stunning, grassy waterfront park with cobbled walking paths, a fishing pier, picnic pavilions, a splash pad & two shaded playgrounds. A very nice place for me to take a break from my writing and step aside from my grandmotherly duties and just relax a while, watch the wildlife, and soak up sunshine in the daytime and enjoy cool breezes in the evening.

There is a blog tour for Naked Alliances scheduled to begin on October 24th. It’s a big crunch to get all of the documents prepared by the deadline, but we’re well on our way. I’m still feeling like this work should have been done months ago, not AFTER the release of the book. I’ve never worked with a publicist before, but some of her advice conflicts with what I have learned about successful marketing and promotions. We’ll see how this all turns out.

Sales started out very well and I have sold more books in the first month than I did in the first year of Red Clay and Roses.

Things have slowed down a bit, but my blog audience and author platform only reach so far. There are radio interviews scheduled for October and book tours coming up. I’ll post those as they are scheduled.

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I’ll be attending Sleuthfest again next year and invite all crime/mystery writers and readers to join me. I had a blast there this year and gained a tremendous amount of confidence in reading the first chapter of my manuscript aloud. I won’t have a finished manuscript to work with next year, but I do have a new book on the market. Hopefully, Naked Alliances will be available at Murder on the Beach Bookstore, owned and operated by co-chair Joanne Sinchuk.

We also have a trip to Vegas lined up for next year. This is research for the next book in the Naked Eye Series. More about that later.

If you’re not going to make the Sleuthfest event, but would like a copy of the book, you can get a downloadable or paperback copy from Amazon. As the weather turns, it will make a nice addition to your morning weekend coffee.

na-with-coffee