Thursday, December 26, 2013

Wow, That Went Fast


How did we manage to pass the holidays already?  Doesn't it seem like there's so much work, and then it's all over in one day?  Well, I hope you made the most of your holiday season.  I know I did!  I'm looking forward to the release of FLASHPOINT, Book Two in the Gifted Series, and I'm working on The Elemental Series, Book Three: AIR.  More on that as it becomes available.

Until then, friends, stay safe and warm, and settle in with a good winter read!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas to My Writer Friends!

 
'Twas the night before deadline, and all through the room
Not a keystroke was clicking, and I saw my doom.
The words were not coming, and my head, it ached,
With hopes that my manuscript wouldn't be late.

My family slept soundly, like angels, like rocks,
While I sat and sat, and the clock, it tick-tocked.
"It's hopeless!" I cried. "This conflict is flat!"
And I made to toss it all out, just like that.

When into my room crashed a wild-looking girl
With crazy green eyes and a mess of red curls.
"Don't dare scrap that book!" she shouted with vigor.
"The conflict is fine! It just needs to be bigger!"

"Your hero is sexy! Your heroine's brave!
The villain is everyone's love-to-hate knave!
You just need to give that plot tension a crank,
And this book will put lots of bucks in your bank."

From mind-boggling hairdo to fabulous shoes,
This woman could only have been my own muse.
She sat me right down with a notebook and pen,
And set me to work, a-scribbling again.

"Take lots of notes," she advised with a smile.
"You write, and I'll talk, and we'll plot for a while.
The hero is great. So's his significant other.
But how about making the villain her brother?"

"That's it!" I cried loudly, and jotted it down.
"This new clash will make the whole story come 'round!"
I wrote like a flash, and she spoke here and there,
And we got the final draft polished and squared.

At last, she jumped up with a nod of her head.
"I think that you've got this all covered," she said.
"For now, I must go, until next time we meet.
Until then, my dear, get your butt in that seat!"

As she left, I sat back in my office chair,
And did what all authors with moxie would dare.
I finished my book, and proofed it in time,
And emailed my editor as midnight chimed.

And so, lesson learned! You must heed your muse.
She knows what she's doing, and so, friend, do you.
You'll finish that book, and your words will take flight.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good write!

~ Happy Holidays from Nicki Greenwood, 2013 ~

Friday, November 29, 2013

Christmas Tree 2013: Superheroes!


This year, my son picked the theme for our Christmas tree: Superheroes!  To do this tree, we had to buy a new, silver tree skirt and several superhero ornaments.  We still didn't have a lot, so we filled in with colored plastic balls we already had in our Christmas ornament collections.  I also purchased a couple of rolls of ribbon.  My son chose the places for the majority of the ornaments.

 

The fun of doing this tree was coming up with the topper. I knew it had to be a Bat-Signal, and finally came up with a cardboard hatbox, painted black, with a cutout of the bat-symbol in front, backed with cellophane. Inside is a yellow LED bulb, and the inside of the box is lined with aluminum foil to help bounce the light around. It is electrical-safe, because none of the electrical components touch metal or come in contact with the cardboard, and LED bulbs don't burn hot the way incandescent bulbs do. It's simply an accessory cord like you would use to light up a Christmas village house, and the little incandescent bulb was replaced with a yellow LED one. Feel free to imitate for your own superhero-lover. My son loves it!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!


 
There will be food. There will be football. There will be lots and lots (and lots, and lots, and lots ...) of leftovers.  Yep, it's Thanksgiving time again for Americans everywhere.  Hope you all have a safe, happy, and delicious day with family and friends.  Have a good one, everybody!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Superheroes!


So, yeah. I am a bit of a superhero geek. And it isn't all because of the influence of my husband and son. I can tell you how Wolverine got his adamantium (and why he doesn't remember), and I know Superman's real name (*and his dad's, too).

This is a good week for a superhero geek. "Man of Steel," the Superman reboot, came out on video this week, and "Thor: The Dark World" is out in theaters.
 
It's also a great week for the ladies, 'cause Henry Cavill and Chris Hemsworth are mighty nice to look at.  See photos.
 
While I love Superman, and he's my all-time favorite superhero, I don't generally approve of remakes.  I mean, Henry Cavill is gorgeous, and I enjoyed this retelling of the Superman origin story (including its lean toward a darker, angstier Superman), but I will always love Christopher Reeve in the role.  I have great affection for the old, campy Superman films, and Margot Kidder's Lois Lane was one of the first, actually gutsy heroines I can remember from my youth (the other being Princess Leia).  I could never stomach the heroine who stood in the corner screaming and cringing while the hero did all the butt-kicking.  A really good hero-heroine duo should do it together!  We'll see how Amy Adams' Lois Lane does as the series progresses with the forthcoming "Batman vs. Superman."
 
That said, "Man of Steel" is a great Saturday film if you plan to be a couch potato.  Plus, Russell Crowe as Jor-El*.  Did I mention this film has Russell Crowe?  Oh, yeah, and Russell Crowe's in it, too.  I might be a little drooly right now.  Sorry.  Ahem.


For those of you ladies who like them tall, blond, and thundery, we have Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World," currently in theaters.  We debated a bit about bringing our six-year old son to this film, since it's PG-13, but he has seen the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies and the first "Thor," as well as "The Avengers," and he knows to steer clear of naughty language - so we took him.  He enjoyed himself thoroughly, and I'm not sure he even noticed the cussing.

This is a good, old-fashioned, really action-y superhero flick.  It has great characters and a good storyline, and lots of funny moments.  As usual in a Marvel superhero film, there's even a cameo by the great Stan Lee.  You'll find nods to other Marvel superheroes you know, too.  Don't look for deep introspection, but the shining star of this film is the relationship between Thor and Loki.  As far as I'm concerned, Tom Hiddleston is the current "it" guy of screen villains.  He's crafty, he's charismatic, and his sparring with Hemsworth's Thor has a terrific irresistible-force-immovable-mountain aspect that makes me want more, more, more.

There is a scene with Hemsworth sans shirt, too, ladies - obviously planted in for our benefit, but who can argue?  Have you seen him shirtless?  His wife is one lucky woman.  Be sure to stay through the entire run of credits, too. There are a couple of inserted clips that you may want to see.

"Thor: The Dark World" cleaned up at theaters this weekend.  It was the top-grossing film, which goes to show that the public wants more of either Hemsworth or superheroes in general.  If it's Hemsworth, I heartily concur.

I find it amazing that not only have they made individual films (and sequels) for Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk, and Captain America, but that they are tying them together via "The Avengers" and weaving the individual storylines throughout.  That's a tall order, and one I hope they continue to manage well.

Keep those superheroes coming, Hollywood!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Contorting Characters

 
 
A short while back, I promised that I would write a "craft" article about Contorting Characters.  Contorting characters result when a writer attempts to have her character do two or more things simultaneously which would be physically impossible to do.  Even experienced writers have trouble with character contortion ... but the good news is, this problem is easy to spot.
The usual suspect in this instance is AND.

For example: Jeff walked across the floor AND danced with Gina.

Physically, there is no way Jeff could both walk and dance at the same time.  It seems nitpicky, because you can extrapolate that he danced with Gina AFTER walking across the room, but this is one of those writing snags that drives an editor batty. Editors want to see the sequence happening.  This sentence is missing that THEN element.  Grammatically, it should read

Jeff walked across the room, AND THEN danced with Gina.

Often, a writer is in such a hurry to get from one character action to another that she will mash several activities together in one compound sentence, leaving the reader to figure out exactly what happened, and in what order. At best, it's a blip on your reader's radar.  At worst, they're wondering what the heck that character is trying to accomplish.  Rather than confuse or frustrate your reader, it's much better to clarify a sequence of events.

One of the things I always point out to newer authors is that you are not there to hold your reader's hand while she reads your book.  Your words on the page must do all the work of conveying your message and meaning.  Always be clear in what you mean to say, or you run the risk of losing your reader's trust, interest, or both.  Why let such a little word muddy your meaning?  Un-pretzel your character by using THEN, or have each action take place in its own sentence.  Happy writing!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Congrats to the Winner of my LASR Halloween Blogfest Prize!

 
Congratulations to Trix, who won my prize at LASR's Halloween Blogfest! (See the previous post for details.) Trix commented that she has a garden full of hummingbirds, now that she has planted red sage. What a great way to invite wildlife into your garden!

Habitat loss is a hummingbird's worst enemy, but humans can be their best friends. A garden full of shrubs to hide or nest in, flowers to use for nectar sources, and even artificial feeders, can be life-saving habitat for a hungry hummingbird. These birds need to eat about every ten minutes because of their outstanding metabolism! Watch a feeder or nectar source long enough, and you will see these little flying jewels return, zip-zip-zip, to feed again and again.

When using an artificial feeder, it's extremely important to clean it regularly - every three to four days, or more frequently when it's hot out. Purchase one with bee guards, and invest in an ant guard to keep unwanted pests away from the food source. These migratory birds will show up at your feeders and gardens from spring through fall to tank up for their long flights. Help them out with a variety of flowers that bloom at staggered times, and keep those artificial feeders stocked and ready for the show.

Happy Autumn, everyone! Hope you (and your resident wildlife) enjoy the season.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!



It's rainy in my neck of the woods, but that won't stop my family from having some Halloween fun. Hope you'll be doing the same (but with better weather). Be safe out there, trick-or-treaters old and young!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Guest Blogging TODAY at Long and Short Reviews!


I'm guest blogging TODAY at the Long and Short Reviews Halloween Blogfest!  LASR is celebrating the season with autumn-themed posts from authors across many exciting genres.  The best part is, you can win prizes!  Comment on my blog at LASR TODAY for a chance to win a $10 Williams-Sonoma eGift card! Hurry, because the Halloween Blogfest ends November 1st!

To comment, follow this link: http://ow.ly/qgsMp

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Crash POV: Deep Point of View

Deep Point Of View is the closest your reader can get to your character. Where action is the key to medium point of view, emotion and sensation are the keys to deep point of view, and a real reader-character bond.
 
Everyone emotes, every day. We also see, hear, touch, smell, and taste every day. It's not even conscious. So when your character emotes or senses things, right there on the page, your reader will connect with it in a very visceral way - provided it's done right. As a writer, you need to let the character do the emoting and sensing things from his environment, and stay discreetly out of the picture.
 
 

She's late. Maybe she's not coming ... again. Maybe she hates me. Tugging at his strangling shirt collar, John waited, still standing, at the edge of the picnic blanket. Sweat trickled down back of his neck, tickling, and the smell of the fresh-cut grass choked what little air he could breathe. Then he saw Mary, hurrying toward him with a smile and a picnic basket of her own. Her grin sent his heartbeat banging against his ribs until he thought it would knock him over. She knelt on the blanket, apologizing for her cancellations of their previous dates because of a deadline at work, but who cared about that? She's here, and she wants to be with me. Look at that smile! John knew already that he'd forgiven her.

Maybe not the best example ever, but you'll notice a few key differences in this scene from the ones I presented previously. John is now thinking and reacting to environmental stimuli. I am not telling you that it's hot out and he's nervous. He's just sweating, and you can see it for yourself. You've been given a glimpse into John's head through internal monologue, and through his physical reactions to emotional stresses. These are the hallmarks of deep POV.

Remember that deep POV can get exhausting, just as repetition anywhere in your manuscript can get tiring (or worse, boring). You don't want to overuse deep POV. Save it for the most emotionally charged scenes, or love scenes, if you're a romance writer. Those are the moments when you want that reader-character closeness.

I hope that now, I've helped you understand the levels of point of view a bit more. If not, feel free to drop me a line with your questions. Happy writing!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Book News: FLASHPOINT Under Contract!


My editor got back to me this morning with the news that FLASHPOINT, Book Two in the Gifted Series, has been given a contract! The book will most likely be out next year, but for now, I'll leave you with an excerpt:

Excerpt from FLASHPOINT:

Hakon stared after Faith, wondering what was wrong. The woman switched gears fast enough to make his head spin. He locked his vehicle, and then stalked down the trail after her.

She strode ahead of him, dodging ruts and potholes. Her hips swayed with each step in a compelling rhythm. In spite of himself, he imagined drawing her back against him, kissing that spot behind her ear where tendrils of golden hair had fallen loose ....

She stopped dead, and turned around with wide eyes. Had he said something out loud? He thought he'd seen something flash in her eyes a moment ago. There it was again, though before, he could have sworn her eyes had been silver -

"Aren't you supposed to be in front of me?" she asked.

Desire and doubt vanished. Nettled, he stepped around her, and went on without pausing. "Next time, let me break the trail first. Clear?"

"Get up on the wrong side of the bed?"

He didn't bother telling her he hadn't slept at all on his last night in a comfortable bed. Her presence had echoed through the walls of the inn like a resonating bell, one moment consuming him with the need to go to her, and the next, driving him away in a fit of resentment.

She was money. His ticket to freedom, nothing more. She was here, and so was he, and like it or not, they'd entered into an agreement. He'd guide her to a few ancient rock paintings, and she'd pay up when they returned to civilization. The faster they finished, the better.

Maybe if he kept telling himself that, he might start to believe it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Crash POV: Medium Point Of View

As promised, today I'll continue my talks on POV, or Point Of View, in your writing. Last time, we talked about shallow POV, the most distant aspect of point of view. Generally, this is not desirable, since it distances your character from her reader. Your reader wants to be a part of the action - involved in the character's struggles. It's hard to do that when you're telling the reader what she should be sensing about the character, instead of letting the character act it out for her, and letting your reader discover the character's feelings on her own through what's happening.

Remember our scene with John at the river? I recommend re-reading it, and then turning back to this entry to read its edited version. We'll now rewrite it with a medium, or middle, point of view - a bit farther into the character's head this time.


John paced along the riverbank, checking his watch. He retreated out of the hot sun, into the shady patch of grass where he'd laid a picnic lunch...for which Mary hadn't arrived. He swore right then to himself, he wouldn't give her any more second chances. Sighing, he watched the ice shifting and melting in its glass tea jar.
You can see right away that this scene has none of those keywords of telling - was, looked, felt, or seemed. Character, setting, and conflict are still there, but now we have some color. That's because I chose to let John show you how impatient and disappointed he is, rather than just telling you so. He's pacing and checking the time, which we all do when we are impatient. He's interacting with the environment, showing you where he is and what's there. I am not telling the story. John is.

Acting is the key to medium or middle POV. Your characters will tell the story, if you let them, by allowing them to act out the scenes for themselves. Readers are smart - smarter than you think - and they will discern what's happening and how a character is feeling by what he does. Your job is to present that character's actions in such a way that it's clear how he feels. You need to be able to let go of the reins, and let the character do the driving.

Next time, I'll re-write this scene again using deep POV, and you'll see the sharp contrast!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Crash POV: Shallow Point Of View

Today I'm going to talk about Point Of View, or POV, in your writing. Point Of View is, in a nutshell, who is telling the story. Romances are usually told from the hero/heroine's point of view, and POV can change from scene to scene. In this way, your reader gets a taste of how it feels to be that hero or heroine, experiencing the events of the story. The "depth" of POV in your writing is affected largely by your use of "Telling" vs. "Showing". (For the refresher on Telling vs. Showing, click here.)

As I've mentioned before, there are levels of POV in writing, and you may choose among them for the best punch in your story. In romance, a deeper POV is preferable. The more you bring a reader "inside" a character's head, the more emotionally invested he or she will be in the story. Remember that even while we prefer deeper POV in romance, it can get emotionally exhausting, so it can and should be varied - but definitely use it in your most critical scenes (first kisses, love scenes, black moments, etc.). Below is a picture that will provide the setting for a short example of shallow POV in writing.

John was getting impatient. The wind was warm and rippled softly over the river, but it was still cool in the shady spots under the tree. Mary had stood him up for their picnic. He hated that he'd given her a last-chance date. Every time he'd booked reservations at a nice restaurant, she'd pulled a no-show.  He wondered why he kept trying with her.  At least sandwiches didn't cost much.

As you can see, all the information is there: character, setting, and conflict. Unfortunately, the reader is on the outside looking in. We are told of John's frustrations, but it's not the same as empathizing with him. There is no "punch" in this writing, because of its emotional distance. Fixing this is a matter of your wording. Next time, we'll try this scene again, with a medium POV.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Congratulations to Linda W., Winner of the "Hot Fun in the Summertime" Contest!

Congratulations to Linda W. of Georgia, winner of this year's "Hot Fun in the Summertime" contest! Linda gets her choice of one of my current books in PDF format: EARTH, WATER, or my brand-new paranormal romance, THE SERPENT IN THE STONE!

Congrats again to Linda, and Happy Reading!

Next Up: More on POV in your writing!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The "Hot Fun in the Summertime" Contest Ends TONIGHT!

It's your last chance to win FREE BOOKS from Nicki Greenwood!

Who doesn't love an awesome beach read? This year, I'm giving away one E-book of your choice (EARTH, WATER, or my brand-new paranormal romance, THE SERPENT IN THE STONE)! Ending TONIGHT (August 31st) at midnight EST, all you have to do is follow the link below, and fill out the form answering a super-easy multiple choice question pulled from my website. You can win a copy of any of my current books in PDF format. Good luck, and Happy Reading!

http://nickigreenwood.wufoo.com/forms/hot-fun-in-the-summertime-contest-entry-form/

Monday, August 19, 2013

Crash POV: It Ain't Show And Tell, Folks

Telling and Point of View

Some time ago, I wrote a post on Telling vs. Showing in your writing. It still amazes me that this is even an issue in writing, and yet, I have bought published books from new authors where "telling" is rampant (never mind that it got past an editor that way) and shouldn't be. An instance here and there throughout a non-first-person work is unavoidable and (sometimes, for artistic reasons) necessary. You may want to distance your reader for a moment, for a few reasons. But not - please, Lord - for the entire length of a manuscript that is not written in first-person POV (Point of View). A novel, especially a romance, with telling filling each of its pages does its reader no favors. Readers of romance love the genre because it puts us in the heads of the characters and, as they fall in love, we fall in love.

The reason for this is that, in a well-written book, we readers are the characters. A masterful writer will cut away all the barriers that prevent us from actively taking part in a character's adventures. Instead of telling us "She was kissing him," - there's that WAS - "She kissed him." That 'was' is gone entirely. Sometimes, it's as simple as that. It's taking away that last barrier - you, observing the action and reporting it to your reader - and instead, just letting the character DO the thing, and letting your reader see it for herself.

Deep POV is a difficult concept for new writers. There are levels of closeness between a reader and a character in a novel. I'll get into that in my next post or two. It's an important skill for a writer, and well worth knowing its nuances. I've seen otherwise terrific books fall short of their potential because of "shallow POV." So, coming up in my next blog, I'll try to illustrate the difference to you writers out there, looking to brush up your know-how.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer's Still Rocking Along!

It's almost mid-August, can you believe it? I sure can't. Feels like it's just flying by! I have planted some sunflowers and begun to mulch my garden for the fall. Got some pumpkins planted in the raised bed garden, and I'm hoping we'll at least get some bitty pumpkins to enjoy this autumn.

But for now, the sun's still shining, and there's plenty of outdoor fun to be had for the summer. I'm looking forward to a camping trip to the Adirondacks, and a little time off from work with my son before school starts up again.

And for you, there's still plenty of summer heat in the "Hot Fun in the Summertime" contest! You can win an electronic PDF copy of one of my books, absolutely free! Just click here to fill out the contest form. The contest ends August 31st, so hurry and get your entry in! I will announce the winner on the evening of September 1st, here and on my Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, folks!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Nicki Greenwood's 2013 "Hot Fun in the Summertime" Contest!

It's summer, folks, and you all know what that means:

FREE BOOKS!

Who doesn't love an awesome beach read?  This year, I'm giving away one E-book of your choice (EARTH, WATER, or my brand-new paranormal romance, THE SERPENT IN THE STONE)! Beginning August 1st and ending August 31st, all you have to do is follow the link below, and fill out the form answering a super-easy multiple choice question pulled from my website. You can win a copy of any of my current books in PDF format. Good luck, and enjoy the summer!

http://nickigreenwood.wufoo.com/forms/hot-fun-in-the-summertime-contest-entry-form/




Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sterling 2013: Missed the Joust but Got the Men

Our 2013 visit to the Sterling Renaissance Faire was something of a first for me. I have now been to the Faire and completely missed a joust! This year, I finally scraped up enough funds to put a down payment on my Holy Grail of Renaissance Faire wear: boots! I am having them custom-made by Catskill Mountain Moccasins, a regular vendor at the Faire, and maker of some pretty amazing footwear, which I've been eyeing for twenty years. The joust, unfortunately, took place during my fitting, so Hubby and the Peanut went to see that while I was measured for my boots.

While I was disappointed to have missed out on the display of horsemanship and lancework, I did get in a few fresh experiences. This year, we tried turkey meatballs, which were terrific, and I had a go at the archery booth. Turns out I'm not a bad shot, after warming up to it. I'm better with a recurve bow, but my love is the longbow.

I also got to see the Queen's Duel toward the end of the day, where the Queen and her ladies witness a display of martial skill, as well as the knights' attempt to successfully woo a lady. That was such fun! At the end, I also had the opportunity to pose for a photo with a couple of the knights, Sir Francis Drake and Sir Christopher Hatton. Now what girl in her right mind passes up the chance?

The Hubby and Peanut are taking martial arts classes, and so found some wooden practice swords for sale and purchased them. Hubby must've thought I felt left out, because he also picked me up some wooden knives, which are Way Cool.

Finally, another first: we were there nearly the entire day! We've never attended Faire all day, and we managed to remain until an hour before closing. Someday, we hope to see both the opening and closing ceremonies. I'm told the end-of-day Pub Sing is not to be missed!

Check out the rest of the new photos in my Renaissance Faire Album

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lovin' That Good News!

So, Prince William and Duchess Kate have officially welcomed their first baby this afternoon at 4:24 PM - a boy weighing 8 lbs. 6 oz. That's awesome news, and so refreshing in an age where all the media gives us is the bad stuff. Congrats to Kate and William and the new little prince!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Garden Update

Not much to talk about yet in the gardening department. I have romaine leaf lettuce now ready to be picked, and I have harvested the year's first crop of beans:

These beans are the "Royal Burgundy" variety, and some of them grow purple on the plant! They turn green when cooked, and trust me when I say they are light years better cooked fresh from your garden than anything that can be bought canned or frozen. I had forgotten how tasty fresh beans were. They are a "bush" variety, too, which means they don't need staking. Next year, I will be making a container for them all by themselves, they're so good.

My tomatoes were off to a slow start, and I think the copious amounts of rain killed off my hopes for eggplant and peppers, but we have corn! My husband wanted to plant corn in our raised-bed garden this year to see how well it does, and apparently it is doing swimmingly. I hope it tastes as good as it's looking! And the nice thing is, we will have cornstalks to decorate our house for fall! Oh, fall (and cooler weather) ... hurry up and get here! :)

Monday, July 08, 2013

Love Romances Cafe Chat Winner!

Congratulations to Colleen, who participated in my chat last night at Love Romances Cafe and received a free eBook of EARTH! I hope you enjoy the book, Colleen, and thanks so much for participating in the chat. Happy Summer, and Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Heat and Rain and Thunderstorms, Oh My!

Every summer, it seems like Mother Nature throws everything she has at us. This year, it's rain, flooding, and those terrible wildfires out west.

I'd like to remind everyone to be watchful of pets, kids, and the elderly in this heat. My older dog is drooping, and I've been working to keep her cool and hydrated, as she doesn't seem to tolerate the high temperatures the way she used to. If your pets are doing the same, it may be a good idea to give them a cool (not cold) bath to bring down their temperatures. My younger dog enjoys ice chips and cubes. You might also want to get your pets (or humans, for that matter) out into an air-conditioned environment for a while.

My dog's a bit better this morning than she was yesterday, so it's a matter of keeping an eye on her. Do the same for your pets and family, and try to stay cool, yourself. This heat's gotta break soon!

Monday, July 01, 2013

The Reviews Are In for THE SERPENT IN THE STONE!

Reviews are coming in for THE SERPENT IN THE STONE, Book One in the Gifted Series. It's been called "tense and fascinating," "hot," and "hard to put down!" See what all the buzz is about. Click the link to learn more about THE SERPENT IN THE STONE, or order your copy now through Amazon, The Wild Rose Press, or your favorite bookseller!

Friday, June 21, 2013

THE SERPENT IN THE STONE Book Trailer is Live!

You can now view the trailer for my upcoming paranormal romance, THE SERPENT IN THE STONE! Check it out here:



Happy Summer!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy (Belated) Father's Day!

Taking a moment this morning to wish all you dads (and grandfathers, stepdads, etc.) a happy belated Father's Day! Yesterday, my husband, son, and I went to Bass Pro Shops and spent the day doing some fun activities. Hubby got to check out all their fishing gear, and was pretty much in his glory for the day. Hope you had fun, and here's to you, dads!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Movie Review: "Remember Me"

 ** Spoiler Alert ... Sort Of **
 
I was on the fence about watching this one for some time.  Mind you, I've only seen Robert Pattinson in a handful of films, and those were mostly in the "Twilight" franchise.  I loved him as Cedric Diggory in "Goblet of Fire," and pretty much adamantly did not love him as Edward in the "Twilight" movies.  He always looked so uncomfortable in his own skin that it was uncomfortable just to watch him.
 
So there you go.  I spent a few years not watching this movie.  Headslap.
 
It was not what I expected, and in the best possible way.  I think the less you know about this movie before watching it, the better.  Even the trailer shows only a snippet of the basic plot: a troubled  young man, the girl he falls for, and all the family snafus involved with a "you don't understand me and you don't even want to" kind of parent-child relationship.  My friend calls this sort of dynamic "Dysfunction Junction."  It's a study in emotional damage, and how its effects ripple through family and friends.  As much as I hated him as Edward in the "Twilight" franchise, and as wrong for that part as I felt he was, he was exactly right in this movie.  I don't know if that's because of directing, or Pattinson's own comfort level on this project, or what, but whatever it was, it worked.  I was also pleased to see Emilie de Ravin, who plays Belle on ABC's "Once Upon a Time."
 
The first half or so of the movie is, I'll admit it, not exciting.  The romance is forced, first by the prodding of main character Tyler's roommate, and then just plain overall, by the speed at which the script pushes Tyler and Ally together.  If I were either of these two characters, I would have told the other to get lost ... but I decided to keep watching.
 
Then, at some point, that first layer peels away, and emotionally, the film is right where it should be: a look into the lives of two young people weighted down by family tragedy, and trying to escape it.  Not only do Tyler and Ally struggle with the fallout from their own personal crises, they are caught in the mire of how their own families have dealt with the same issues.  What works about this is that the characters are so average.  Everyone has some kind of damage, and if these two can overcome it, there might be hope for the rest of us.  The film is less about romance than about finding ways to heal.
 
There is a scene two-thirds in where Tyler has finally had enough, and confronts his estranged father over the way he seems to have abandoned his kids.  It's a bit unrealistic in its extremity, but it is powerful, and Pattinson holds his own against Pierce Brosnan in an admirable way that had me nodding, thinking, "This is good."
 
From that point, the romance is only one flavor in the messy soup of family angst, and it works, and it's riveting.  The last third of the movie made me glad I'd spent the money on the rental.  Everything boils over, and suddenly, all the Band-Aids these people have slapped over their wounds are just so much bullshit.  It's wonderful to watch how they deal when all of that is stripped away.
 
I won't spoil the last twelve minutes for you, but I will tell you, it surprised me.  I was expecting something, but not that, and it was a masterful example of misdirection on the writer's part.  Bravo to Will Fetters, the screenwriter, for planting those hints that led me down the wrong path, not only in making this a romance that's not about the romance, but for that last several minutes of the film.  Totally worth watching if you're a writer, yourself.
 
SCORE: Four of five stars

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

YOU Started It! - The Evolution of a Novel

Every writer can usually find something (or someone) to blame when asked how she got writing.  As it happens, I can blame both.


Like many suburban kids, I watched "The Wonderful World of Disney" on Sunday nights.  The show ran some of Disney's animated films, as well as live-action ones.  Back in the dinosaur age, before we had whole channels chock full of Disney (or whatever else you're into), this was a real treat, and we grabbed the popcorn and settled down in the living room to see what we were in for this week.  (I might be able to credit some of my love of nature to this weekly show, too, as many of the features were about wildlife.)

Among my favorite Disney shows were the live-action films "Escape to Witch Mountain" and "The Cat from Outer Space."  People with extraordinary mental powers!  A cat who can speak so that humans can understand him!  How cool was that?

Elements of these two films must have stuck in my brain, fermenting over the next decade.  By the time I reached my teens, I was scribbling madly in composition notebooks, making up stories about whatever came into my head: first animal stories, and then yarns with a more human element.  I seemed to gravitate over time toward action and romance, but I never lost that echo of magic or fantasy in my writings.  Whatever else happened in the story, it had to have that touch of the otherworld in it.


And then came GEMINI - the paranormal romance I scribbled out before paranormal romance got cool.  Before they even had a name for it, actually.  This was 1989, and even *I* didn't know what the heck to call it ... except that it grabbed me.  Apparently, it grabbed my friends, too, because that notebook got passed around so much that it was out of my hands more than it was in them.  That's when I figured out I like sharing stories with others as much as I like writing them.

GEMINI got finished, and stuck in a drawer for another fifteen years.  That's just about the time I discovered the Central New York Romance Writers.  There, I met a room full of writers and kindred spirits, and began to realize that it was possible not only to pick my writing back up, but sell it.  These writers are supportive, kind, funny, encouraging, and gutsy, and they pushed me to get gutsy, myself.  So, I dusted off that old manuscript, revised it, submitted it, revised it, submitted it, and revised it again ...

... and it became THE SERPENT IN THE STONE.  Though I published two novels prior to this one, SERPENT is the book that started it all, and for that, it'll always have a special place in my heart.  I'm glad to share it with you, more than twenty years later, and I hope you enjoy it.  THE SERPENT IN THE STONE is out now on Amazon (click here to purchase your E-book copy for Kindle), and releases in print and other E-book formats on June 28th.  Thanks for your support, and happy reading!


Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Just pausing to wish all you Americans a wonderful, happy, and safe Memorial Day.  I hope you're planning an awesome day with good food and great company.  I know I am!

Be safe out there as you celebrate.  Cheers!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Movie Review: Pan's Labyrinth


**Plot spoiler warning**

I gave this one a day to sink in.  My husband loves movies directed by Guillermo del Toro, especially the Hellboy films, so he was curious about this one. I recalled liking both Hellboy films, and after watching the trailer (which, itself, looked pretty interesting and had some reviews by credible movie reviewers), we decided to rent it.

Pan's Labyrinth is in Spanish, with English subtitles, but don't let that put you off.  Del Toro, as usual, has created a visually striking, otherworldly, and vaguely haunting piece, and the subtitles don't detract from it.  The soundtrack is pretty terrific, too, by the way.  I enjoyed the representation of Pan - a bit creepier than the usual conception of him, but certainly fitting for the tone and style of the film.  I would call it a "dark fairytale."

My major knock against this film has to be in its lack of cohesion.  I get the sense that all the "connecting" themes were left on the cutting room floor, perhaps due to a time or budget constraint.  (Insert reiterated plot spoiler warning.)  One half of the film deals with Spain, circa 1944, and the relationships between the main character, a girl named Ofelia, her pregnant mother, and the mother's new husband, a powerful but increasingly brutal military leader.  The other half of the film deals with a completely disconnected fairytale-slash-legend that would have it that Ofelia is a princess from another realm, reborn into a human body, and that she must return to her rightful home.

These two disparate storylines never actually connected for me in any meaningful way.  I had been expecting the typical hero's journey, whereby the girl would extract some wisdom from this other realm, and bring it back to her life in Spain in some way, or perhaps vice versa.  At least, I thought somehow the storylines would converge ... but they never did, and the ending therefore left me a bit dissatisfied.  I felt as though del Toro was telling two wholly separate stories, with plenty of their own conflicts and characters to drive them, but that both had been mashed together in the same film.  I was sorry to see it had ended up that way, because if that cohesion had been present, it would have enriched both storylines and earned a much higher rating from me.

SCORE: Three of five stars

Monday, May 13, 2013

The "12 Days of Shetland" Event Begins Soon!


Join My "12 Days of Shetland" Event!

I am hosting a "12 Days of Shetland" event to celebrate the official release of THE SERPENT IN THE STONE on June 28th, and you're invited! You can win a FREE eBook of my hot new paranormal romance, THE SERPENT IN THE STONE!

HOW TO ENTER:

Simply "Like" me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Nicki.Greenwood.Author) or follow me on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/nickigreenwood) to be entered for your chance to win! On June 28th, I will draw at random one lucky reader from the pool of names, and he or she will receive a free eBook of THE SERPENT IN THE STONE. Follow me on both Facebook and Twitter, and that gives you TWO chances to win! I will announce the winner on June 29th on my website, as well as my Facebook and Twitter accounts. That's it! Winning should always be this easy.

ABOUT THE BOOK:


BLURB, EXCERPT (PG, Paranormal) - THE SERPENT IN THE STONE by Nicki Greenwood

Blurb and Excerpt from THE SERPENT IN THE STONE (The Gifted Series: Book One) by Nicki Greenwood
A Paranormal Romance from The Wild Rose Press
Copyright 2013 by Nicki Greenwood

Buy it June 28th at http://www.thewildrosepress.com
Learn more at http://www.nickigreenwood.com

BLURB:

Sara Markham is used to secrets. She has two of her own: her paranormal powers, and her father's unsolved murder twenty years ago. The first is a secret she can't divulge, and the other she yearns to unravel.

When her archaeology firm is tapped to excavate a ruin in Shetland, Sara accepts eagerly, hoping it will help solve the mystery of her father's death. But she doesn't anticipate Ian Waverly, a wildlife biologist whose questions worry her even as his rugged magnetism fascinates her. Ian's more connected to her gifts than she knows, and far more than he wants to admit.

Enemies on sight, Ian and Sara struggle to fight the attraction that blazes between them. But when they are confronted with a decades-old web of lies and corruption, they discover the truth: only together can they heal the heartaches brought by the very darkest of secrets.

EXCERPT:

"What - exactly - are you?" Ian demanded.

Alarm bells clanged at the hostility in his voice. Sara had to force her voice past them. "You've seen me shapeshift. I can read minds sometimes."

"I've got time for the long version." He put the necklace back into his pocket. The shuttered look on his face raised panicky flutters in her belly.

She drew a long breath. "Telekinesis. I caught you with telekinesis."

"How did you get telekinesis?"

"It's not like they hand it out in stores! It just happened one day. I didn't know what it was, and I was too scared to tell my parents. I was afraid of it for a long time."

"When did your father die? How did he die?"

Her thoughts flew to the amulet in Ian's pocket. "What has any of this got to do with my father?"

"Maybe nothing. Could be more. This stuff might be genetic."

Icy dread crawled across her skin. "I'm done talking to you."

Quick as lightning, he reached forward and snatched the boat keys from the ignition. "This necklace has to be important if you're willing to risk being shot to fix it, Sara. That's not even going there about you risking me being shot at. You're not getting it back until you talk."

She felt naked. Worse than she had at the inlet. Then, she'd seen desire in his eyes.

Now, she saw only hatred. "This isn't about me," she said, startled. "It's about you."

"Never mind me," he snapped.

"What is it?" she asked. "What happened to you?"

"How did your father die?"

Pain and betrayal surged anew through every cell in her body, and that little girl from twenty years ago gave a silent wail of outrage. "He. Was. Murdered."

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Movie Review: Life of Pi


** Spoiler Alert: This review contains specific references to the material in the film.  If you do not want the plot spoiled, don't read on! **

I was prepared to dislike this film as heartily as I disliked the book, and as I imagine every experienced writer might dislike it for the same reasons.  (I will explain.)  It's part of the reason I hadn't rented it or seen it in theaters.  Last night, I decided to give it a chance.  I still dislike the same elements of the film that I disliked in the book, which must be some sort of compliment to how faithfully they followed the story.

The book is wonderful, and lyrical, and vivid, up to a point.  I can buy nearly everything that happens, because it's presented realistically.  Some of the best stories are made up of ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances, and Pi is certainly that.  First, it is a story of soul searching, with Pi seeking answers to his life in three different religious faiths.  The story even opens with a claim that it can make you believe in God.  All right, then, I thought, it's going to be a story of finding one's faith.

Then we have the shipwreck that strands Pi in a lifeboat with a variety of zoo animals, and it's a case of "Who's going to eat whom first?"  He learns how to coexist with the tiger while stranded in this lifeboat, even when it's a tenuous sort of coexistence.  There's the danger of the hungry tiger, seas teeming with sharks, and storms that threaten to capsize the craft.  All the while, they worry about starvation and dehydration.  All right, I thought, it's going to be a story of survival that tests one's faith.

At some point during the months of aimless drifting, Pi imagines luminescent sea creatures (i.e. a neon whale that breaches the ocean surface beside the boat and nearly overturns it).  I can even put this down to seasick hallucination, and I'm able to pass that off.  BUT ...

Here is where the writer lost me.  Near the end of their strength, Pi and Richard Parker (the tiger) reach a floating, carnivorous island that is somehow safe during daytime, and whose water turns acid at night, devouring anything not up in the trees.  The island is also covered with (wait for it) hordes of meerkats.  At this point, the story whirls off into unbelievability, and it loses all the magic that it had built up.

All right, I thought, this is just too much.

This is where the author, Yann Martel, made his fatal mistake.  You can ask a reader or viewer to believe in a fantasy world, or you can ask them to believe in your reality.  Really, you can ask them to believe anything, but you need to establish the rules.  At the beginning.  He does not do this.  The story opens as a realistic retelling by an ostensibly now well-adjusted man of his experiences on this lifeboat.  There is no precedent set for the possibility that all might not be as it seems with this man.  The viewer is led through an extraordinary adventure of survival, and all the way through it, before finding that this wonderful story we have shared is all just a metaphor for the trauma that really occurred while Pi was stranded in this lifeboat.  It didn't happen.  I felt cheated.  Betrayed as a viewer.  All of it was just a lie, and there was no indication that it might be a lie before Martel sprang the ugly truth on us.  Pi even asks the man interviewing him which of the stories he prefers.  The interviewer responds that he prefers the story of the tiger.  Pi knows he has just led this man through a fabrication, so he's at least aware that the ugly truth is in there somewhere ... yet he's still willing to lead someone along with the fabricated tale.  He has learned nothing.  He has found no God.  He is still willing to lie.

Readers do not like being cheated.  Viewers do not like being cheated.  If you are going to surprise them with an alternative ending, you must establish precedent in the form of clues or rules in the beginning that will make that alternative ending make sense.  (Perfect example: The Sixth Sense, with Bruce Willis.  All of the clues to the surprise were there, sprinkled through the film.  The rules were established, and there, even if you didn't recognize them for what they were.  That movie made me scream, "WOW!" and watch it all over again as soon as it ended.)

In the end, I don't feel Pi learned anything valuable, and therefore, I as a viewer didn't take home anything valuable.  The film is beautiful, but for those jarring notes, and I will probably never watch it again for those reasons.  Points galore to Ang Lee for the gorgeous scenery, and the score is fabulous ... but the story is, forgive me for the hackneyed phrase, an epic fail.

SCORE: Three of five stars

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Built to Last

I've learned a lesson over the years: if you want it to last, you gotta buy the good stuff.  It isn't just brand or expense snobbery.  When I found myself buying a new couch yearly to keep up with my tough-on-stuff family, I took a harder look at how I was making my purchases.  That discount couch was cheap up front, but what was I really getting for my money, when I had to replace it after such a short time?

The cheap stuff isn't always the best stuff, if it doesn't hold up to your use.  And if you have to keep buying replacements, what are you really doing for the environment, when the old, worn-out things get kicked to the curb and landfill?

So, to Stickley we went, once I'd had enough and wised up.  Our new couch was expensive, no doubt ... but it has put up with a lot, and while we might need to reupholster it, it still handles our rowdiness with good grace, years into its use.  And it's nice to know I'm not filling up our landfill with another busted couch!

I found a solution for the outdoors, too.  You'll have to excuse me while I geek out for a bit.  This is Polywood furniture, made with heavy-duty recycled plastic lumber made from stuff like milk cartons.  It has a grain like wood, and unless you're touching it or sitting on it, it really is hard to tell the difference.
We bought this bench a couple of years ago, and it sits in front of our house to welcome people who might want to sit (or me, when I need to set groceries down).  I have laid on it to read a book while my son plays in the yard, and I've been known to catnap on it, too.  It stays out over the winter, and a little soap and water is all it ever needs to clean it up.  I liked it so much, I bought a set of Adirondack chairs and a "coffee table" for our back deck the following year.  They stay out, too, and hold up to winter winds without budging.  This year, I got some side tables to go with that bench, just in time for summer cookouts.  I may never have to buy outdoor furniture again, and that's a nice thought.

Consider what kind of money you're spending to re-buy resources you use all the time.  If you keep buying new to replace the old, maybe there's a longer-lasting solution.  A little extra money up front might insure that your grandkids' grandkids will use what you're buying today.  After all, laying out that money each time a poorly-made item fails might cost you more in the long run, in addition to costing the planet resources and disposal space.  Buy what's built to last.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May Events and Appearances with Nicki Greenwood

Wow, May already?  Where does the time go?  There's a lot going on in my neck of the woods this month, and it promises to be a busy and exciting one.  Check out all the great stuff on tap:

  • May 11, 2013 - 10:30 AM - 4:30 PM EST
    Attending CNYRW workshop featuring bestselling author Patricia Kay, speaking on Scene and Sequel and Emotion at Liverpool Public Library
    [Get Directions] [Contact Event Registrar]
  • May 18, 2013 - 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST
    WORKSHOP: "The Standout Scribbler: Catching an Editor's Eye" at Phillips Free Library
    [Get Directions] [Contact Phillips Free Library]
  • May 25, 2013 - 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM EST
    Chatting at the LR Cafe Loop. Come and visit!

  • It's gonna be a whirlwind month, but a great one.  I hope to see you at my workshop, "The Standout Scribbler," if you're near Homer, NY on the 18th, or online at the LR Cafe Loop chat on the 25th.  Come visit me, and let's talk writing and romance!

    Tuesday, April 30, 2013

    Congratulations to Liz S.!

    Congratulations to Liz S. of Illinois, winner of the 2013 Earth Day Giveaway!  Liz gets her choice of EARTH, WATER, or my brand-new paranormal romance, THE SERPENT IN THE STONE, in PDF format!  She chose a copy of EARTH, Book One in the Elemental Series.

    

    Thank you so much to everyone for participating in this year's Earth Day Giveaway.  It was lots of fun to hear about what things you've all done to help your planet, big or small.  Keep up the great work, and keep checking back here for other great contests!

    Tuesday, April 23, 2013

    THE SERPENT IN THE STONE Free On Kindle!

    Now through April 27, just FIVE DAYS ONLY, get THE SERPENT IN THE STONE for free on your Kindle! Click here to get your very own copy!

     
    

    About THE SERPENT IN THE STONE
    (The Gifted Series: Book One)
    Coming 6/28/13 from The Wild Rose Press
    ISBN # 9781612178165


    Sara Markham is used to secrets. She has two of her own: her paranormal powers, and her father's unsolved murder twenty years ago. The first is a secret she can't divulge, and the other she yearns to unravel.

    When her archaeology firm is tapped to excavate a ruin in Shetland, Sara accepts eagerly, hoping it will help solve the mystery of her father's death. But she doesn't anticipate Ian Waverly, a wildlife biologist whose questions worry her even as his rugged magnetism fascinates her. Ian's more connected to her gifts than she knows, and far more than he wants to admit.

    Enemies on sight, Ian and Sara struggle to fight the attraction that blazes between them. But when they are confronted with a decades-old web of lies and corruption, they discover the truth: only together can they heal the heartaches brought by the very darkest of secrets.

    Excerpt from THE SERPENT IN THE STONE

    "What - exactly - are you?" Ian demanded.

    Alarm bells clanged at the hostility in his voice. Sara had to force her voice past them. "You've seen me shapeshift. I can read minds sometimes."

    "I've got time for the long version." He put the necklace back into his pocket. The shuttered look on his face raised panicky flutters in her belly.

    She drew a long breath. "Telekinesis. I caught you with telekinesis."

    "How did you get telekinesis?"

    "It's not like they hand it out in stores! It just happened one day. I didn't know what it was, and I was too scared to tell my parents. I was afraid of it for a long time."

    "When did your father die? How did he die?"

    Her thoughts flew to the amulet in Ian's pocket. "What has any of this got to do with my father?"
    "Maybe nothing. Could be more. This stuff might be genetic."

    Icy dread crawled across her skin. "I'm done talking to you."

    Quick as lightning, he reached forward and snatched the boat keys from the ignition. "This necklace has to be important if you're willing to risk being shot to fix it, Sara. That's not even going there about you risking me being shot at. You're not getting it back until you talk."

    She felt naked. Worse than she had at the inlet. Then, she'd seen desire in his eyes.

    Now, she saw only hatred. "This isn't about me," she said, startled. "It's about you."

    "Never mind me," he snapped.

    "What is it?" she asked. "What happened to you?"

    "How did your father die?"

    Pain and betrayal surged anew through every cell in her body, and that little girl from twenty years ago gave a silent wail of outrage. "He. Was. Murdered."

    Monday, April 22, 2013

    Happy Earth Day!

    Wishing all of you a very happy and green Earth Day, wherever you are. It's gonna be a gorgeous one, here in my neck of the woods. Hope yours is great, too! Do a little something for your planet today, even if it's something as small as choosing a reuseable coffee cup over Styrofoam.

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013

    In Support of Boston

    As many of you already know, yesterday there were explosions at the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring many others.  It was a senseless, cruel act, and I am stunned.  While I don't like to post about such negative occurrences, as I'm sure no one does, I feel something must be said today in support of those affected.  I'm outraged, and I want justice for what happened, and I feel helpless to do anything.

    But I'm not.  And you aren't, either.

    The best thing we can do is pull together, stay calm, and get back to as normal a routine as possible so that the authorities can do their jobs quickly and efficiently.  In this day and age, with so many people connected to the Internet, and camera phones, and other devices that provide instant information, the cowardly criminals who did this are bound to be caught.  They're only going to win if we let this break us.

    For my part, I went home, turned off the television, and played a board game with my family.  I remember, from 9/11, what watching all of that video over and over was like.  Today, I decided that any income I receive for the next quarter for my writing will be donated, 100%, to the Red Cross to aid them in support of the Boston tragedy.

    We're in this together, folks.  If everyone does a little, we can accomplish a lot.  As horrible as yesterday's events were, I am still amazed, grateful, and so very glad to see that there are those still who believe that we are all a part of the human race.  So many people were there on the scene, right away, to offer assistance, comfort, support, and protection, and it didn't matter if the person was a friend or a complete stranger.  As capable as people are of great cruelty, we are also capable of great heroism.  Saying a prayer for all of you today.  Take care.

    ~ Nicki

    Thursday, April 11, 2013

    Bestselling Romance Author Patricia Kay Coming to CNYRW!


    I'm getting pretty jazzed about our May meeting of the CNY Romance Writers.  On May 11th, we'll be hosting a one-day workshop with bestselling romance author Patricia Kay.  She will be discussing "scene and sequel" and writing with emotion.  It's a conference full of good information, packed into an awesome day of fun and energy with fellow authors.  It's going to be a blast!

    If you want to read more about the workshop (or better yet, become a CNYRW member and get the awesome benefits for a year!), check out the CNY Romance Writers link above.

    Sunday, April 07, 2013

    The Butterflies (and Flowers) Are Returning!

    Spring and autumn are my favorite seasons, because the cooler-but-not-too-cool temperatures encourage me to get outside.  Last weekend, I put up most of my windchimes, though a few need repair.  I also started trimming back and cleaning up my gardens in preparation for spring.  Today, I relaxed a bit outside and read a book, and during one of my trips across the lawn, I spied a Mourning Cloak butterfly (Nymphalis antiopa).


    This pretty little surprise (and early, I thought) was sitting on the lawn, taking a rest from trying to fly in our breezy weather.  I tried to catch a picture of it, but it fluttered off into the wind before I was able to do so.  (This picture is from Wikipedia.)

    The next little treat I noticed is that my bulbs are coming up.  The crocus in my front yard have popped up, the daffodils are just starting to sprout, and these little beauties are in my butterfly garden already:


    This is Glory-of-the-Snow (Chionodoxa lucilae).  I'd forgotten I even planted it last fall, so it was a nice surprise to see it had already sprung up.  More than anything, the butterflies and flowers let me know the warm weather is approaching.  Happy spring!

    Sunday, March 31, 2013

    Happy Easter!

    Taking a minute today to wish you all a very Happy Easter, if you celebrate.  Hope you eat some great food, and a few sweet treats. Enjoy your day!

    Friday, March 29, 2013

    Nicki Greenwood's 2013 Earth Day Giveaway!

    To celebrate Earth Day 2013, I will be giving away one E-book of your choice (EARTH, WATER, or my upcoming book THE SERPENT IN THE STONE before its official release)! Beginning April 1st and ending April 30th, all you have to do is follow the link below, and fill out the form telling me what you plan to do for your planet on Earth Day! You can win a copy of any of my current books in PDF format. Good luck, and enjoy!

    Nicki Greenwood's 2013 Earth Day Giveaway!


    Saturday, March 23, 2013

    FLASHPOINT Submitted to The Wild Rose Press!

    Over the past week, I've been working on some final revisions of FLASHPOINT, the sequel to THE SERPENT IN THE STONE.  It's finished, and I've now submitted it to my editor at The Wild Rose Press. Yay!



    FLASHPOINT follows the story of Faith Markham, who has it all - almost: beauty, paranormal power, and the job of her dreams as an archaeologist.  The one thing eluding her is a love that will transcend time.  Too bad that when she meets Hakon Ivarsson, the modern-day incarnation of her one true love, he has no plans to let another woman tie him down.

    Here's a little taste of the story for you:

    Excerpt from FLASHPOINT
    (The Gifted Series: Book Two)
    Coming soon


    Hakon stared after Faith, wondering what was wrong. The woman switched gears fast enough to make his head spin. He locked his vehicle, and then stalked down the trail after her.

    She strode ahead of him, dodging ruts and potholes. Her hips swayed with each step in a compelling rhythm. In spite of himself, he imagined drawing her back against him, kissing that spot behind her ear where tendrils of golden hair had fallen loose ....

    She stopped dead, and turned around with wide eyes. Had he said something out loud? He thought he'd seen something flash in her eyes a moment ago. There it was again, though before, he could have sworn her eyes had been silver -

    "Aren't you supposed to be in front of me?" she asked.

    Desire and doubt vanished. Nettled, he stepped around her, and went on without pausing. "Next time, let me break the trail first. Clear?"

    "Get up on the wrong side of the bed?"

    He didn't bother telling her he hadn't slept at all on his last night in a comfortable bed. Her presence had echoed through the walls of the inn like a resonating bell, one moment consuming him with the need to go to her, and the next, driving him away in a fit of resentment.

    She was money. His ticket to freedom, nothing more. She was here, and so was he, and like it or not, they'd entered into an agreement. He'd guide her to a few ancient rock paintings, and she'd pay up when they returned to civilization. The faster they finished, the better.

    Maybe if he kept telling himself that, he might start to believe it.

    Friday, March 15, 2013

    Happy St. Patrick's Day!



    Wishing you all a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day, whether or not you're Irish. Have fun out there!  (I'm going to see if I can get my husband to go to our local Red Robin restaurant to try that Guinness shake!)

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013

    The Wild Rose Press - Technical Issues / THE SERPENT IN THE STONE Preview!


    Technical Difficulties at The Wild Rose Press
     
    Just a quick note today to advise you that my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, is making some updates this morning, and the site is temporarily down.  They are working on this issue, and hope to have it resolved soon.
     

    Preview "The Serpent in the Stone" Now at Amazon!
     
    In the meantime, you can check out a sneak preview of THE SERPENT IN THE STONE at Amazon by following this link: http://ow.ly/hZIgL
     
    Have a terrific day!