Fantasy $0.99 Book Sale!

 

Love fantasy? Love a great book sale? What could be better than 24 awesome fantasy books across multiple genres, each for only $0.99 or less? Well, if you love a good fantasy book, I can’t think of anything better. But don’t wait! These books are only available at this deep discounted price for a very short time. CLICK HERE to browse and make your selection(s). As always, if you love the book, please leave a review. Or pie.

#FantasyFalls #FantasyBooks #vampires #werewolves #shifters #highfantasy #ghosts #goblins #paranormalfantasy #urbanfantasy #Gothic #gothicromance #zombies #cyberpunk #steampunk #postapocalpytic #fairies #witches #warlocks #demons #magick #mythology #psychic #magicalrealism #timetravel #sciencefiction #sciencefantasy #dragons #dungeonsanddragons

Blood Spell Pre-Order is LIVE

The 5th book in the Before the Sun Rises Series, the highly anticipated Blood Spell, is now on pre-order through Amazon! Don’t miss your chance to grab your copy for the pre-order sale price of only $2.99.

New from the underground lair of the Paranormal Princess comes a timeless tale of forbidden love … Two destinies entwined but at what cost to the world?

Thorn has been searching her whole life for The Book of Blood Magic. Now she has found it, and she is thrust into a primeval struggle where the laws of good and evil no longer apply.

Once she speaks the ancient deity’s name, she is bound to him forever. No matter how far she runs, no matter what she does, she will never be able to escape him.

His disciples want him free from his eternal exile to reclaim his throne and bring the earth back into the shadows of the magic realm. There is no way to undo her blood spell, but she is determined to keep their prophecy from becoming a reality.

Can she live with herself if she draws him into her world, a world he has sworn revenge upon at any cost? Will he be content to merely live, or will his desire for blood and war cause him to once again enslave humanity? What will her world become if he is allowed to reign over them? If he cannot control his desire for chaos, will she be able to make the ultimate sacrifice?

Time is running out, and she has a decision to make. No matter her choice, one thing is clear -someone’s world is going to end.

Pre-Order Now

On Set of #Splat – a #Splatterverse Film

Yesterday I had the privilege of working on set of the upcoming zombie horror movie #Splat, the first film in the Splatterverse. The owner/founder of Splatterverse, Blair Kelly, not only wrote the script but also is starring in and directing as well. Blair was a fellow NEJ student and long time resident of my home town. It was great meeting some old friends and new faces while filming. Mississippi truly has some wonderful talent and is full of warm, fun-loving folks who are eager to help out a fellow artist and have a whole lot of fun doing it. Thanks again to everyone set, our director, fellow actors, makeup artists, and the crew behind the scenes making everything run as smooth as possible. I had a great time and I can’t wait for our next film day!

**Photo credit to those who took these. Some of these are copyrighted by me, some were taken on set by other cast members.

 

Copyright Nicola C Matthews 2019

Copyright Nicola C Matthews 2019

Copyright Nicola C Matthews 2019

Copyright Nicola C Matthews 2019

Copyright Nicola C Matthews 2019

Copyright Nicola C Matthews 2019

 

Waiting on that Series to Complete? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Wait

 

I’m going to shoot straight from the hip on this. One of my pet peeves to hear from readers is the dreaded “I’m going to wait until the series is completed before I buy any of the books.” It’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. Dagger: meet heart.

Before I get into the (really good) reasons why you shouldn’t wait for a series to complete before diving right in, I’m going to ask as few questions.

If you are a Harry Potter fan, did you wait until the series ended to start buying the books? Did you wait until all the movies came out before you went to watch them?

If you are a Twilight fan, did you wait until the series ended to start buying the books? Did you wait until all the movies came out before you went to watch them?

If you are Game of Thrones fan, have you not watched a single episode, waiting instead until all the seasons are complete before watching them? How about The Walking Dead?

And if you are a Laurell K. Hamilton fan, have you not read a single one of the Anita Blake series, instead opting until the series is finally complete before you start on it? (Here’s a hint, that’s her cash cow and she has no intentions of ending that series so long as it’s selling)

Anyway, you get the idea. Chances are, if you got hooked into any of these fandoms, or the thousands of others out there on both the book, comic book, graphic novels, and TV series front, you aren’t waiting – you are counting down the days until the next book/comic/episode/movie drops. It’s why I, and so many other authors, hate to hear a reader say they are “waiting” for a series to complete before they decide to buy.

If you are one of them, here are some pretty compelling reasons *not* to wait.

1.       Interest and sales versus a lack thereof: as I mentioned above, if you are into the Anita Blake series, you probably already know that series is still going strong. The reason why is because there is still a lot of interest in the books, characters, and story lines. To put it simply, it’s still making money. So long as a series is making money, or readers still show interest, then an author will continue to write more and more books in the series. And for those series like Anita Blake and The Vampire Chronicles, this means the author has no intentions of ending the series, which translates into readers seriously missing out if they opt to “wait it out” to see what is going to happen with a series.

2.       On the flip side of this is the “lack of interest.” There are only so many books an author can push out a year, and that number drastically decreases for those like me who are juggling a regular full-time Evil Day Job along with writing. For this reason, we have to be especially particular about what we spend that limited amount of time on. If readers take the “wait to see” attitude on our series, we view as that as a lack of interest. Lack of interest = lack of sales = we won’t continue to spend our time writing in a series that isn’t producing any royalties. This means we may completely scrap a series and not write another book in that world, opting instead of spend our time writing on a series or stand alone novels that may interest our readers more.

The best way to encourage an author is to buy their books, series complete or not. Taking a “wait to see what happens” with any series could very well spell death to that series. How many really awesome TV series have been cancelled because the ratings weren’t good enough for the studio to warrant investing the time and money it takes to film more episodes? It’s the same principle with authors, especially us indie authors. If you “wait to buy” until we finally finish writing all the books in a series, you may discover a series that gets scrapped because there wasn’t enough interest in it.

And for those wondering, please don’t “wait until the series ends” when it comes to the Before the Sun Rises books. I have no intentions of ending that series unless it stops selling. I could literally write another twenty books just with the characters and story lines I already have notes for. Who knows what I may come up with between now and Book #20!

Blood Spell: a Fallen From Grace novel Cover Reveal

 

 

Are you ready for the next installment? Be on the lookout for Blood Spell: a Fallen From Grace novel – Before the Sun Rises Book 5 coming 4/22/19 with the highly anticipated follow-up novel releasing close to Halloween of 2019.

Thorn has been searching her whole life for The Book of Blood Magic. Now she has found it, and she is thrust into a primeval struggle where the laws of good and evil no longer apply.Once she speaks the ancient deity’s name, she is bound to him forever. No matter how far she runs, no matter what she does, she will never be able to escape him.His disciples want him free from his eternal exile to reclaim his throne and bring the earth back into the shadows of the magic realm. There is no way to undo her blood spell, but she is determined to keep their prophecy from becoming a reality.Can she live with herself if she draws him into her world, a world he has sworn revenge upon at any cost?Will he be content to merely live, or will his desire for blood and war cause him to once again enslave humanity? What will her world become if he is allowed to reign over them? If he cannot control his desire for chaos, will she be able to make the ultimate sacrifice?Time is running out, and she has a decision to make. No matter her choice, one thing is clear -someone’s world is going to end.

The Art of Artistry – an Observation to the Norm

I’m a total music junkie. I tend to like metal/rock more than anything, although I do have some fave country artists in my playlist (Darius Rucker, Trace Adkins). Needless to say, I tend to follow a lot of bands across all my social media platforms. In doing so, something recently stuck out that I’ve not really noticed before.

When it comes to artistic ability, most people who are artistically inclined tend to be really good at a variety of creative endeavors. And from what I’ve observed, musicians tend to have it in spades. I’ve noticed most musicians can also sing, and a lot of them tend to be good at painting or drawing. Others I’ve noticed are good at creating unique products such as hand-painted signs, jewelry, etc. Some are also really good makeup artists or really good actors.

And then there’s me. I’m not good at much of anything outside of the writing biz. I can do some small arts and crafts (jewelry making, floral design, and little else), but I’m not musically inclined, I can’t sing, I can’t play a musical instrument, and I couldn’t paint or draw if my life depended on it. And honestly, from what I’ve observed from fellow writers, most of us tend to be this way. Some of us are getting into graphic art work for doing cover design, but from what I’ve observed we tend to be really good at one of them and mediocre at the other. Some are really good at marketing their books, some are really good at making graphic teasers and trailers. While this isn’t exactly considered an “art” form, it certainly takes a certain finesse to pull it off.

This is not to say that all writers are only good at writing, or that all musically inclined people tend to be more artistically inclined towards some other art form such as drawing or painting. This is, of course, just my own observation of what I’ve witnessed through observing other writers and musicians in my own social media circles. I’m sure there are plenty of writers out there who can sing, dance, paint, draw, doing phenomenal graphic artwork, etc. just as there are probably plenty of musicians out there who are not artistically inclined toward anything not music related. Again, it’s just an observation.

I, however, seem to be an all-around mediocre talent. It’s funny, I tend to tell people at my Evil Day Job that I’m a “Jack of all trades.” The rest of that old saying goes “master of none.” Today, that realization is really hitting home. I’m slowly coming to terms with it because being mediocre at anything in the artistic world, or the real world as far as that goes, doesn’t matter. There have been plenty of people who were successful with a “mediocre” idea, book, movie, song, etc. There are plenty of people who do mediocre work. It’s not the end of the world. To be honest, there are a lot more mediocre everything than there are truly phenomenal, and that’s okay too. It takes all kinds to make the world go round.

What I can say is I strive to get better every day at everything I do. With each new book, with each new book cover, with each new jewelry design, I will always strive to get better. We never stop learning, and I’m very thankful for that. I’ve always loved learning new things, trying new things, and evolving as a person and artist.

So, here’s to all my artistic brothers and sisters out there. Keep striving to be the best you can be. I know I will.

Adventures at the Evil Day Job #106578

You take the good, you take the bad, you take my job, and there be hell.

Yesterday I had another one of those “what the actual fuck?” moments that was so strong, I literally thought my face was going to curl in on itself.

First, let me set the scene. I started at this place about eight years ago as a sales rep. Back, then we were expected to do everything ourselves. We had daily call quotas, daily quote quotas, daily/weekly/and monthly sales quotas, a contact quota. Then there was the quotes that had to be done, the vendor calls that had to be made, the revisions that had to be done, the call logs that had to be entered, and let’s not forget that we were required to spend half of the day in “call block” where we were not allowed to do anything but make outbound phone calls.

I have yet to figure out how someone with a degree in business management thought that calling a bunch of people who told you to stop calling them was a good idea.

And yeah, in case you are sitting there scratching your head thinking we sound like a bunch of telemarketers, that’s basically what we were.

Also, math didn’t work like normal math in this place. We were supposed to make 50 outbound calls a day. Under normal math, in 5 days that would be 250 phone calls. But this isn’t regular math, it’s work math, so we had a weekly call quota of 300 calls. So for those who do regular math, that’s actually 60 calls per day, but we were told 50. So 50 calls a day would keep your ass safe Tuesday-Friday, but come Monday if you didn’t 300 or more dials from the week before, someone’s ass was going to get chewed out.

Fourteen months into that shit-show, I’m sitting in the #2 overall sales position for the department, and yet I still got wrote up and threatened to be fired because my sales numbers weren’t where the VP thought they should be for my territory.

Facepalm? Yeah, no, screw that. There weren’t enough facepalms on the planet to get me to wrap my brain around that train of thought.

 

So anyway, you get the idea. After fourteen months I basically said either transfer me or cash me out because I’m done.

Enter the next seven years of my face looking like this:

 

 

Then yesterday comes around, and I’m sitting in yet another lengthy conference call with a bunch of people who make a whole hell of a lot more money than me. We are in the process of implementing a new way of getting project orders to order entry, and we get to the phase where the sales reps are going to do the following: instead of attaching their paperwork to an email and emailing it to order entry, they are going to attach it to a report database that goes directly to order entry.

The purpose: so all the paperwork that is flying around in emails will be accessible to everyone instead of just the person who received the email. It’s streamlined, all the documentation is now in one place instead of floating around a dozen different email accounts and files on computers, and when someone comes back six months later asking who made a mistake, we don’t have everyone digging around trying to figure it out because all the info isn’t in one spot.

Now, remember, the reps are already having to attach this crap to an email, write the email, and send all this into order entry to get their customer orders placed. We just took it from being all over the damn network and a bunch of different computers to all being in one set place.

Streamlined = saved time, saved money

And then these words come out of my manager’s mouth: “I don’t know who is going to be uploading all that but it won’t be the sales reps. Maybe someone in operations but the sales reps can’t be spending their time doing redundant tasks.”

But.

They already do this exact SAME. DAMN. THING.

Through EMAIL.

And so I left the meeting with my face once again looking like this:

 

Movie Review – Velvet Buzz Saw

 

I recently kicked DirecTV to the curb and embarked on the streaming lifestyle. After all, if I’m going to pay nearly $200 a month on unlimited bandwidth and an internet connection that supposedly rivals NASA, I might as well get something out of it besides me working my butt off writing books. So, enter in Hulu, NetFlex, & Sling TV.

My love affair began with binge-watching LOST on Hulu, but quickly spiraled out of control into watching NetFlex original series and movies. I’ll be honest – I tried watching several NF original movies, but just couldn’t get into them for a variety of reasons: bad acting, bad plot line, flat characters – the usual.

However, Velvet Buzz Saw was one of those movies that, despite not being as riveting as The Haunting of Hill House, it wasn’t so bad that I had to stop watching it, like I did with The Rain. It was fairly interesting, had just enough action and suspense to keep me watching. It wasn’t exactly scary, more of a thriller than anything.

So here’s my take on it. The first thing it had going for it was the lead being played by Jake Gyllenhaal. I’ve seen this guy act in a lot of movies, and he seems to be pretty adaptable. Because of this, I was willing to give the movie a try. As usual, Jake did not disappoint. Out of all the characters I’ve seen him play, this one was probably about as “on the fringe” as his Brokeback Mountain persona. He plays the bi-sexual art critic Morph, a character that somehow managed to seem both high-strung and low-key at the same time.

Again, while the plot line was not riveting, it did have potential. I feel like maybe the movie failed to capitalize on what it had going for it. The death scenes could have most certainly been gorier. The beginning seemed to prattle on, almost losing me in the first twenty or so minutes. There seemed to be far too much dialog about art and corporate espionage and yet failing to really drive the entire thing home. The acting wasn’t necessarily bad as it was a bit more over-the-top. It really felt like the director was going out of his way to create a film that skirted all the major genres – horror, action, drama, thriller – in an attempt to be as blasé as possible.

As I said, it wasn’t so bad that I had to stop watching it, but it certainly could have been better. I feel if the director had actually chosen a genre and a rating and followed through, it would have been much better. But alas, all we ended up with was a mediocre film which made art seem both boring and dangerous.

I’d give Velvet Buzz Saw a solid 3 stars out of 5.

#BitchPleaseIWritePorn

I recent kerfuffle via FB got me to thinking when a few authors who insisted they were not “elitists” because they took offense to some authors referring to some romance books as nothing more than word porn with little to no plot and shirtless abs on their covers. First, I’ve written both romance that had plenty of action (no, not that kind) and a hearty plot line, as well as the aforementioned “word porn”, complete with hot abs on the cover. And I’m here to tell you – I do not take offense to it. What I do take offense to are the authors who want to be offended. Like, who cares? Yeah, I write it, and my readers love it. Win-win as far as I’m concerned.

This is the very reason why I started the #BitchPleaseIWritePorn hashtag. I write it. I call it for what it is. I’m not ashamed. I own it like a boss.

Let’s face it. The simple truth of the matter is, “porn” is not a valid genre on Amazon. Trust me, it should be, but it’s not. For this reason, those of us who write such literary masterpieces as The Taming of Andy Savage have no choice but to improperly label our creations as “romance.” If “porn” was a valid genre option on Amazon as an actual book category, I’d slap up some of my stuff into it faster than you can say “holy abs, Batman!”

As I said, I do write the occasional piece of porn that has zero plot line. They’re fun, they are entertaining, and honestly, when you get down to the nut-cutting, people read “word porn” for the same reason they watch porn, and it’s not for the great acting and riveting plot lines. There’s nothing wrong with it. I write it, I read it, and yes, I watch it (hey, a girl’s gotta do research, right?).

To be honest, if I had to cut out all the action (yes, I do mean that kind) going on in the Sweet Seductions books, I’d have to rewrite so much of them they wouldn’t even remotely resemble the same book. They’re fun. They are written that way on purpose. And no, I don’t think they are some earth-shattering literary masterpiece that will change lives. They may make you laugh, they may get you a little hot under the collar. But earth-shattering they ain’t. As I like to say, you can dress a goat in a tuxedo, but at the end of the day, it’s still just a goat.

Bottom line, if your “romance” book had all the hot scenes removed and you would have to do some major rewrites, overhauls, and serious character development, then #BitchPlease, you write word porn, too. Don’t go getting all offended, girl. Own that shit. You know I do.

An Open Letter to Nora Roberts (and other authors, too)

 

 

I’ve been following your blog as the #CopyPasteCris saga has unfolded, and I’ve tried so many times to comment on the posts, but words have failed me. Not because I couldn’t think of what to say, exactly, but because there simply is so much to say on the matter, and honestly, words cannot express how happy I am that someone with some clout has finally had their eyes opened to the atrocities us “small fry” authors have been enduring for a good five years now.

I do not mean that disrespectfully. What has happened to you with #copypastecris is beyond deplorable. I’ve been plagiarized myself, on more than one occasion, although not to the extent you, and so many other authors, have been suffering at the hands of this most resent, high-profile plagiarist. Even a single line taken is like a knife through the heart. Entire sections, entire books – that’s more like the proverbial sword through the midsection.

I say this because honestly, I feel like now maybe someone will actually listen. For years I’ve sat and watched an industry I grew up in, an industry I absolutely loved, de-evolve into nothing but back-stabbing authors, con artists, scammers, and wannabe “writers” who are more than willing to step on anyone and do anything, and I do mean anything, to make a quick buck through the self-publishing industry. I’ve watched no less than a dozen really great writers from my social network toss in the towel in 2018 alone.

And I may be next. Although quitting is the last thing I want to do.

The truth is, I’m tired. And with so many scammers skimming off 6+ figures a year through shady tactics, I simply cannot compete. Not when I’m barely drawing in $100 in royalties a year, and losing thousands on publication and marketing expenses.

Like so many other authors, I work full-time. Writing is my escape from the drudge of the dreary 9 to 5 I do every day. Nothing makes me happier than to sit down at my keyboard and enter into the worlds I’ve created.

But, I’ll be honest. I do expect to get paid for the hours upon hours, the weeks, the months, sometimes the years it’s taken me to write a single book. And I thoroughly expect to be reimbursed for the thousands of dollars I’ve paid out-of-pocket to have my books properly polished before publishing. If I was doing this just for fun, I’d stick with my WattPad account and stop clogging up the proverbial slush piles that Amazon has become over the past few years.

I’m hoping with someone with as much pull in the industry as you, that maybe, finally, authors and readers alike will pull their heads out of the sand and finally start demanding better. I’ve been begging, screaming, and pleading with everyone for years now to stop giving their books away, to stop pricing them so cheaply, to stop pushing out a new “junk” book every week or month and realize how much damage all this has been causing authors, to the industry as a whole.

This revolution, this epiphany if you will, it must come from the authors because honestly, readers will only continue to demand what authors are willing to give them. If all the cheap and the free went away, maybe readers would start demanding better books. Maybe they wouldn’t mind paying for the books they want to read. Maybe that $5 for an ebook wouldn’t seem so pricey if it was once again the norm. If Amazon and the other platforms would finally start manning their stores, if they would put some type of quality controls into place, if the writing world would right itself so the really good authors would once again rise to the top of the rankings instead of the top being dominated by whoever has the largest pocketbook, then maybe, just maybe, authors like me won’t have to give up on their life-long dream.

I’ve been screaming it from the rooftops, but alas, I am just a nobody-author who has been pegged as “jealous” because I’m no longer making money.

But you, my dear Nora, please keep fighting the good fight. Please give those of us whose voices have gone ignored for years now a chance to finally be heard. I’m tired of fighting this alone.

Because after more than thirty years of fighting, clawing, and having my butt handed back to me by editors, by publishers, and now by the very authors I’ve helped support over the decades, I’m not sure I have much fight left in me. There’s only so much any one person can take before they are forced to give up on their dream.

Today, I do not want to join the ranks of the really good authors who have been forced to quit.

Tomorrow, however, may be the day that I am finally forced to face the staggering odds that have been stacked against me by others in my profession.

All because no one wants to listen. After all, if it’s not affecting their bottom line, then what do they care?

 

Also on #CopyPasteCris:

Can We Just Get Real for a Moment?

I Write My Own Damn Books, Thank You Very Much