Trapped – a LitRPG Short

As Brea opened her eyes, the first thing she noticed was the eerie silence that surrounded her. Nothing but the sound of her own breathing and beating heart. As she tried to sit up, the roar inside her own ears grew louder with the exertion. Her body felt heavy, like she was weighed down by an invisible force.

She managed to get her body to obey, her blue eyes surveying her surroundings. She was inside a dimly lit cave, the jagged rocks glowing softly. The air was thick with the musty, damp smell of earth.

She tried not to groan as she moved. She glanced down at her hands, letting out a small gasp. They were different, distorted, as if she were wearing gloves made of shimmering pixels. She plucked at her fingers, trying to remove the glistening covering, but she only grasped her own plastic-like flesh.

Where was she? She thought back, trying to remember where she had been right before she woke up. The last thing she remembered was being in her room, logging into her brand new virtual reality video game that had become all the rage. Then – nothing.

She stood up, wobbling a bit on unsteady legs. She surveyed the small cavern around her. Everything looked pixelized, distorted, and shimmering. That’s when it hit her. Was she – inside her new video game? Her heart flipped over inside her chest at the thought. Surely not. It had to be a joke, or a dream.

But there was no denying what her eyes saw clearly around her. She had somehow been transported into her game. But the question remained – how did she escape?

Her head moved, causing the scenery around her to flail around like a camera that had been knocked asunder. She stopped, placing her feet wide apart to stop the upheaval of her own stomach. She moved more slowly, the scenes righting themselves. The cave was empty except for a narrow tunnel that lead deeper into the earth. She knew she had to explore, had to find a way out.

She took a step forward, then another, and another, until she could walk without the world tilting wildly on its axis. The darkness seemed to press in on her, suffocating her with its weight. She stumbled and fell, scraping her pixelated hands on the rough stone floor. And then she heard it: a faint whisper, coming from the depths of the tunnel.

She followed the sound, her heart racing with fear and anticipation. The tunnel widened into a large chamber, lit by flickering torches on the walls. And there, in the center of the room, stood a figure of a woman. She was tall and slender, dressed in a flowing gown of crimson colored velvet. Her hair was black as midnight, her face white as snow and beautiful to behold. But her eyes gleamed with a wickedness that chilled Brea to the bone.

“Welcome, my dear,” the woman said, her voice smooth as silk. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

Brea took a step back, her mind racing with questions. Who was this woman? Was she a player, like her, trapped in this imaginary world. Or was something else entirely?

“I see you’re confused,” the woman said, a sly smile playing on her lips. “Allow me to explain. My name is Lilith. I am the ruler of this realm, and you are my newest plaything.”

Her words caused Brea to falter. She swallowed the fear that caught in her throat. Lilith’s words were cold, calculated, and filled with a sense of power that made her feel small and insignificant.

“What do you mean, plaything?” Brea asked, trying to keep her voice from shaking.

“Oh, don’t be so naïve,” Lilith replied, her eyes flashing with amusement. “You are here to entertain me. To play my games. And if you’re lucky, to survive them.” She tilted her head, regarding Brea. “But I must warn you. No one has ever played my games – and lived to tell the tale.”

Brea took a step back, her eyes searching for a way out. She wasn’t ready for this. But the chamber was sealed, and Lilith was blocking the only exit.

“What kind of games?” she asked after a moment, her voice trembling.

“All kinds,” Lilith replied, her smile widening. “Mazes, puzzles, battles, riddles. I have a whole world of challenges waiting for you.”

She shook her head violently as a sense of dread wash over her. She had to get out, had to find a way to escape this twisted game. “What if I don’t want to?” she asked in a whisper.

Lilith only smiled. “You’re wondering how to escape, aren’t you?” she asked in a voice low and laced with danger. “Well, my dear, the answer is simple. You have to win. And in order to win, you have to play the games.”

Brea’s heart thudded heavily inside her chest. But she felt a flicker of hope. If she could win the games, she could escape. She eyed Lilith. Somehow, she knew even if she refused, she would still be forced to play. She might as well get it over with. Finally, she nodded.

The woman’s smile grew wider. “Here’s your first challenge,” Lilith said, snapping her fingers. The walls of the chamber dissolved, replaced by a vast, dark forest. “Find your way out of this maze, and I’ll let you live to see another day – and another game.”

A second later, the dark cavern, along with Lilith, disappeared. Brea discovered herself standing in the forest, trying to get her bearings. The forest was dense, the trees towering high above her in every direction. She could hear the rustling of leaves, the cawing of birds, and the distant howling of wolves.

She took a deep breath and started walking, her pixelated feet sinking into the soft moss-covered earth. The maze was a blur of twisting paths and dead ends, and she soon lost track of where she was going. She tried to backtrack, but every path seemed to lead her deeper into the forest.

Hours passed as she wandered around the forest, time blending into itself until she thought she would pass out from exhaustion. Just when she thought she would surely go crazy from the never-ending sea of trees, she stumbled upon a stream. She fell to her knees, drinking her fill and resting upon the rocks of its bank. After a while, she felt more refreshed, more determined to finish this game.

A noise came to her ears, and she sat up to look into the trees across from the stream. Within the darkness glowed a half-dozen red eyes. As they grew closer, their owners emerged from the trees. She froze, her heart racing as she pack of wolves came into view.

She ran, her heart pounding, trying to find a way out of the forest. Her mind kept telling her it was futile; the wolves were faster. But she kept going, urging herself on. All too soon, they caught up to her. She fought them off as best she could, her pixelated hands turning into claws, but there were too many of them. She gauged at sides and punched snarling muzzles. For every wolf that failed, two more spawned in its place. Before long, she was completely surrounded.

Just when she thought she was done for, she saw a glimmer of light in the distance. Breathing labored, she ran towards it, her feet pounding against the ground. Seconds flew by along with the trees. Then, she burst through the trees.

She found herself on the edge of a cliff, overlooking a vast, sprawling city. The sky was blood-red, and the buildings were twisted and distorted, as if made of bones and flesh. She could see misshapen figures in the streets, their feet shuffling slowly. It looked like something straight out of a horror movie.

A sense of unease wash over her. This was not a place she wanted to be. But she knew she had no choice. She had to keep playing Lilith’s game, had to find a way to escape. She took a deep breath and ran toward the city.

As she came to the outskirts, she noticed the people she had seen in the streets were quite different from what she had witnessed from the cliff. They were dressed in rags, their faces twisted into grotesque masks. They didn’t seem to take notice of her presence. She swallowed down the fear that clutched at her heart.

She walked through the twisted streets, trying to find a way out. But every road seemed to lead her deeper into the city, deeper into the heart of darkness. She walked like this for hours, the sky only growing into a deeper shade of crimson as a light mist of fog clung to the ground.

Finally, she came upon a tall, dark castle, looming high above her. It’s black stone dripped with droplets of water, the iron barred windows looking forlorn where they stared blankly at the dirty city landscape.

The sense of dread intensified. This is where Lilith waited for her. She was sure of it. This hellscape is where the final game would take place.

She had to continue. If she didn’t, she would be trapped her for the rest of her life, possibly longer. She took a steady breath as she walked up to the castle gates, pushing them open. They groaned and creaked angrily on their rusty hinges, the sound sending a shiver down her spine. She walked on, her footfalls echoing off the walls, sounding hollow and far too loud in the otherwise eerie silence.

At the end of the corridor was a staircase. Her heart raced with anticipation as she climbed the slick steps. She climbed up one flight, then two, then three, then four. And then, at the very top, she saw her: Lilith, standing at the end of the hall, her eyes gleaming with a dim light.

“Congratulations,” Lilith said, her voice smooth as silk. “You’ve made it this far. But the final game is the most dangerous of all.”

Brea nodded, feeling her chest tighten with fear and dread. What did Lilith have in store for her this time?

“Here’s your challenge,” Lilith said, snapping her fingers. The castle walls dissolved, replaced by a vast, swirling vortex. “Escape from this dimension, and you’ll be free.”

The wind around her picked up, forcing her to raise her arm in a vain attempt to ward off the torrent. She tried to see into the vortex, but it was nothing but a blur of intermingling colors and shapes. She felt dizzy and sick just looking at it. Seeing no other options, she took a deep breath and stepped forward into the mass, her body dissolving into pixels. She could feel herself being pulled forward, her body disintegrating at a molecular level with every passing second. She opened her mouth, tried to scream, to fight against the darkness that rushed up to claim her, but it was hopeless as the blackness consumed her …

She opened her eyes with a start, her heart hammering heavily inside her chest. She looked around, but there was nothing but the smooth, white walls of her room. She was still sitting at her desk, the computer screen dark.

The game was over, and she had won.

For more stories and news, be sure to join the Supernatural World of Nicola C. Matthews. And be sure to follow the blog so you never miss another blog post.

When AI Ruled (Ruined) the World

I’m about to piss off some people. And if you happen to get mad about this post, chances are you are part of the problem.

I keep seeing so many authors going off about AI tools – AI art creation tools, AI writing tools, etc. First off, I’m not here to debate the whole “it stole IP” angle. That’s a completely separate topic.

My problem comes with the moral outrage over the use of these tools in a professional setting. The consensus is everyone is all up in arms about the ethics of using AI tools by “creators” who are looking for a quick, cheap way around producing cover art, and potentially “writing” short stories and full novels by using the AI tools available.

“It’s going to ruin real creators’ careers!” – “It’s going to replace creatives!” – “It’s going to unleash an avalanche of AI generated books with AI generated covers!” – “It’s going to drive down prices so creators can’t make any money!”

Where was this moral outrage 5 plus years ago when the industry got hit by a tsunami of unedited shit masquerading as books, pushed by “experts” who taught the Minimum Viable Product model where the MO was to publish as many books as fast as you could with as little editing as possible, thus turning this entire industry into a get-rich-quick scheme? Why did no one call out any of these bad players when they were busy decimating the publishing industry by flooding the market with subpar material that should have remained in the bowels of sites like WattPad and Inkitt? Why was no one riding their moral high-horse when authors were giving away thousands of books every single day and creating this whole “free entertainment” mindset among readers who now believe books are disposable recreational material? Where was all the concern when authors and “experts” were actively instructing authors to use bad business practices to increase their sales?

Everyone is so worried that AI is going to take the place of “real” cover designers. They’re concerned AI will allow a wave of AI-produced books to hit the market and thus “drive out real authors.” Yet no one gave a rat’s ass when the wave of ghost written crap hit KDP to the tune of over 100K+ new titles every month. Publish fast and hard, publish to KU even though it was designed to rip off indie authors. Learn to use AMS ads and drive up the bid price until the only ones who can afford it are the ones with a huge marketing budget to burn. Churn out content every week, give it away, put it into KU, and offer incentives for readers to download those free books. Do whatever it takes to make sure your books get seen, get downloaded, and run over anyone who gets in the way.

So long as you’re making money, who cares, right? So long as you’re able to turn a profit, who cares how bad you are fucking up the industry for everyone else. That’s been the mindset of this industry for the better part of six years. Now it’s affecting other industries and other authors on a much larger scale, so people are finally starting to take notice of something I’ve been warning everyone about for literally YEARS

And guess what? At this point, this industry is so far gone, it has no choice but to crash and burn before it gets sorted out. Don’t shoot the messenger. If everyone would have pulled their heads out of their collective asses and said something back in 2015 when I first started telling everyone where all this was headed due to bad and/or unethical business practices, we all might still have a chance at making a decent paycheck off of our books without sacrificing our morals or floating a second mortgage in an attempt to be seen over the sewer stream that this industry has become. I hate to say ‘I told you so,’ – except I told you so.

But hey, you keep making that money as long as you can, and to hell with everyone else. Hope you have a backup plan for paying your bills once the market completely flat lines.

Nikki’s Gone Crazy $0.99C Sale!

Been waiting to finish out the Before the Sun Rises series? Putting off finishing up the Sweet Seductions series? Well the wait is over. For a very limited time ( I might change these prices back tomorrow, you just never know) every single book in my catalog is just $0.99 So if you’ve been wanting to catch up on anything Nikki related, today is the day to do it! Grab my entire collection for less than the cost of a really nice meal at TGIFriday’s.

New 2019 Signing Events Added

Nicola has added two new signing events to her schedule for 2019, including CWC’s AuthorCon2019 in August and RidCon2019 in September. Be sure to check out the 2019 Events Page for details on each upcoming appearance.

Unpopular Opinion: Yes, Authors are Just as Entitled to Their Opinions as Everyone Else

Okay guys, I’m about to play devil’s advocate here. Why? Because when I see everyone jumping on the bandwagon to completely trash someone’s career, be they author or blogger, I’m not going to sit back and watch the shit hit the fan. After thirty plus years in this biz, I fucking know how hard it is to be an author, how much money it takes to properly launch a book, and how much money and time and energy it takes to try to keep that book in front of someone, anyone, who is willing to pay for it. I also know that you can literally do everything possible, literally move the earth, and it still not be enough to get your book noticed.

So I’m going to try to lay this out as clearly as possible and show the problems I have with how all this went down. First, the jest of it. To put it all into a nutshell (which, honestly, you can’t really do that and get the full story, but we can at least try to recap) a blogger wrote a review on a ARC copy they had received. Blogger did not like said book and gave reasons. Author got butthurt over a bad review and proceeded to post on her blog about her getting butthurt over the bad review. Blogger finds the post on the author’s blog and gets butthurt over the butthurt.

Pretty simple.


First, I’m going to say that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, in their own damn space. And I do mean everyone is entitled to their opinions. Personally, I think this whole “authors aren’t entitled to get hurt over a bad review and should grow a thicker skin” is a bunch of BS. If bloggers and readers are entitled to express their opinion publicly over how bad a book was to them, then by all the gods authors have the same damn right to express how much it pisses them off, or how much it hurts, to know that someone hates something that took them months, even years to write. Sure, we need to go about it with poise and grace and not go all crazy hunting down bloggers or readers who leave us bad reviews. We have to draw the line somewhere.

But in our own space, among our own fans and tribe, then yeah – we have every right to voice our butthurt.



Now granted, there are limitations to those rights. I said everyone has a right to express their own opinions in their own space. That means if you come onto MY blog post on MY website or onto MY social media thread and make a comment on MY threads, then you bet your sweet ass I’m going to defend myself. It’s my space, it’s my fans, and it’s my tribe that I’m moaning to. It’s my right to be bitchy in my own space. They get me. They understand.

It’s one thing to go into MY space and moan about my butthurt. I find nothing wrong with that. It’s when authors or bloggers go outside their own space and invade someone else’s to moan about the butthurt that I find unprofessional. And this is why I find this whole situation to be suspect.

The blogger in question admits her fellow blogger confronted the author after she came across the author’s butthurt post. And then she confronted the author herself. Let’s make this clear. The author posted a blog post on HER OWN WEBSITE. She was in HER private space, on HER website, expressing HER feelings about a review. The blogger admits to this openly, and has said this on at least one thread about all this.

Everyone on social media is calling out this author for acting unprofessional, yet the only unprofessional behavior I’m seeing here is a blogger who confronted an author after said author expressed how much a bad review hurt. In her own space. On her own social media accounts. The fact of the matter is, what started this whole thing was the author posted on her own personal blog about how much it hurt to get a bad review. And this is what happened, according to the blogger:




Okay, let’s make sure we have this straight. The blogger posted her review up on GR’s the same exact day the author posts her butthurt post on her website about seeing a bad review. Now, here is where I’m having more problems about all this. The author states the review she was referring to in her blog post was one she had seen on Booksprout, a website specializing in ARC reviews. Below is the author telling one of the bloggers this:



For those who do not know, when an author offers ARC copies of a book through Booksprout, we have access to see those reviews DAYS before they actually hit the platform they are being posted for. In the case of Amazon and GoodReads, I’ve seen a lag time of as much as four days from the time the review showed up on my Booksprout dashboard til the day it actually showed up on the platform it was posted to. So yeah, I absolutely believe the author when they said they were talking about a review they saw through Booksprout. The blogger assumes the author is speaking about her review because it was the first one posted on Goodreads. However, it is very possible the author was looking at her Booksprout dashboard and seeing a review on THERE that hadn’t actually posted to Goodreads yet. I know the blogger has said she knows it was her review the author was talking about because hers posted to GR first. But, as I said, when you do your ARCs through BookSprout and the reviews post through there, they show up on the author’s dashboard as much as 4 DAYS before the review actually posts on some of these platforms. So, yes, it absolutely is entirely possible the author really was talking about a completely different review that only she could see on GR at the time.

These “assumptions” being made are the very reason why no one should ever confront anyone about a bad review. It wasn’t okay for the blogger to confront the author over her posting in her own space about the review, any more than it’s okay for an author to confront a reviewer or a blogger or a reader about a bad review. Sure, bemoan about it on your own website, page, social media, private groups, etc. but do NOT call out or confront whoever left you the review. By the blogger’s own admission, that is not what happened here. The blogger actually hunted down the author and confronted the author on the author’s own social media pages and platforms. Despite the author apologizing and trying to tell the blogger she was misunderstanding which review she was speaking of, the blogger just wouldn’t let it go.

This is not okay. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why people think it was okay for the reviewer to do this.

And honestly, judging by what was posted on the blogger’s website about all this, if the screenshots taken are as bad as things got with the author, then quite frankly I honestly do not see what the problem is. The author was in her own space. The blogger invaded that personal space to call her out.

If this is not what happened then someone please fill me in. Cause I’ve been all over the blogger’s website and from what I’m reading, this is what happened.

Now – the fall out. The author was dropped by her publisher. Great. The author has been forced to completely erase her social media accounts and start all over again – from scratch. I find it ironic that the blogger specific states on a blog post over all this “I’ve seriously considered giving up everything I’ve spent years working my ass of [sic] for with our blog.” And yet this is EXACTLY what the author in question was forced to do – all because she defended her right on her own blog to post what she wanted to on her own blog.

Hell, maybe the author went totally ape shit and said some really shitty things. I don’t know. Since all her social media is gone now, I have no way of looking into this any further. All I have to go off of is what the blogger herself posted and the screenshots she took. And as I said, from where I’m sitting, I only see one person who was behaving unprofessionally – and it wasn’t the author.

The reviewer struck first, and if someone comes after you in your own space, then I say all fucking bets are off. You would get upset if someone came into your house and started badmouthing your family, right? Same damn principle. From what I’m seeing, the author was merely defending herself.

But as I said, maybe I’m missing something, or a lot of somethings.

But I will say this.

The blogger keeps saying we need a change in the book world.

We absolutely do.

We need for everyone to stop thinking they are the only ones that matter. If authors aren’t willing to write, then bloggers won’t have their review blogs. If authors aren’t willing to give away ARCs, then a lot of reviewers won’t have their blogs or be able to read books for free. And if bloggers and reviewers aren’t willing to review then authors won’t have nearly as many reviews on their books.

Let’s face it – we need each other.

But we also need to respect each other’s right to voice our opinions.

Stop confronting each other. Reviewers, write your reviews and be done with it.

Authors, don’t read the damn reviews and if you stumble across one, take the butthurt with a grain of salt.

Yes, it fucking hurts. Bloggers, do you hear what I’m saying? You know how much it hurts when authors get pissy about your bad review? Yeah, we’re hurting just that damn much because we opened ourselves up to ridicule when we opted to publish – kinda like you did when you decided to post your review. It fucking hurts when someone pisses all over your hard work, regardless of whether that hard work is in the form of a book or a book review.




So everyone, please, can we just pull our heads out of collective asses and get back to what matters – writing?

Marvel’s End Game & Cosplay Fun

I’ve been so busy I completely forgot to upload some of the really awesome photos from Marvel’s End Game viewing party with the Southern Geeks group! We had an awesome time last month with just a few of the over 5K members of the SGG. Everyone was out in cosplay (except for me – I didn’t have time to really get a good cosplay together) and had so much fun posing with some of our local southern family. The movie was seriously AWESOME and I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen it yet to GO GO GO!!

We had all planned a road trip back on May 4th for the annual Free Comic Book Day but unfortunately, life got in the way for most of us, including myself. My good friend Deby and were all packed and ready to ride but we had some bad thunderstorms and tornadoes coming through the area so we decided not to go. This was to be my first road trip with the Southern Geeks but it looks like I’ll have to wait until later in the year when I hope to help them out at some of the local comicons coming up. Until next time, here are a few of the pics I snapped before the viewing party.



For even more fun photos and ramblings, be sure to follow me on social media!

Nora Roberts Sues #CopyPasteCris, But She Can’t Go After Amazon

In early March I wrote three blog articles, I Write My Own Damn Books Can We Just Get Real for a Moment, and An Open Letter to Nora Roberts, after it was discovered the self-proclaimed USA TODAY bestselling author Cristiane Serruya had plagiarized dozens of authors and books, including Nora Roberts, Courtney Milan, and EL James, just to name a few. For the record, according to the archive on USA TODAY‘s website, Cristiane Serruya has never once hit the list. And now that she has been called out on her plagiarism, she’s admitted that she hasn’t even written one single book, instead farming it out to ghostwriters she hired on the notoriously unscrupulous site Fiverr.

Now Nora Roberts is going after blood as she has sued Brazilian author Cristiane Serruya for her blatant theft of approximate ten of her books. Needless to say, authors both big and small are urging her on, happy someone is finally standing up to the cesspool of low quality books and scammers that have been running rampant on Amazon for nearly a decade now, the steady flow of Frankensteined books and half-assed rough drafts forcing many authors to quit publishing altogether while simultaneously banishing the professionally produced books to the proverbial Amazon dungeons.

Authors are sick of being forced to compete with the immoral writers who have no qualms about using every unethical and black-hat tactic they can think of to squeeze as much money out of the Amazon publishing system as possible. By them doing so, it has forced a lot of authors to stop writing and publishing as they simply cannot compete with those scammers who are able to spend $100K or more on AMS ads and other forms of advertisement each year. Those of us who have been limping along hoping the system would eventually right itself have been left with our books banished to the proverbial dungeons of Amazon, no longer able to make sales or have any visibility on our books at all.

Needless to say, now that someone like Nora Roberts has learned the disgusting ways of the publishing world the hard way, and has thus been caught up in it, we are all very excited to know she is not taking this shit lying down. Everyone is behind her, authors and readers alike, and we are all cheering her on. Many authors are holding out hope that Nora’s voice in regards to how bad Amazon has let things get will be the first step in righting a system that was built on dishonesty and greed. Many are voicing their hope that Nora will actually take on Amazon itself.

Unfortunately, I’m not as hopeful as the rest in regards to her taking on  Amazon. Honestly, she doesn’t have enough money to do it. And if you want to get down to the nut-cutting, not even JK Rowling has enough money to take on Amazon.

Before everyone gets bent out of shape, I think we all need to take a real, hard look at Amazon’s revenue and why they are able to get away with all the shit they do, why they do not bother to police their own store, or even enforce their own rules and TOS other than when it suits them. Once you look at the basic economics of Amazon, you’ll understand why it would literally take all of the Big 5 publishers and all of their top 5% earning authors making a class-action lawsuit against the Zon, followed by pretty much every single author and business that has ever been a part of their store, to truly do any type of damage to them.

According to CNBC, Amazon reported earnings of $10.1 BILLION in 2018 alone. Gross profits for the year were over $141 BILLION. In 2017, their net profits were just over $3 BILLION, with a gross profit of over $118 BILLION. Of that, it is estimated that approximately 30% of that income came from book sales, which would be approximately $3 BILLION in net profits for 2018.

With numbers like this, it is no wonder everyone is fighting so hard to be seen on Amazon. Unfortunately, with revenue streams in the tens of billions, it is also no wonder Amazon has been completely unfazed by the multitude of authors who have been steadily calling them out for their bad practices. So while Nora may reportedly be worth $370 million and JK Rowling $1 billion, Amazon has enough revenue coming in to keep any type of lawsuit buried in the court system for decades.

While all of us would certainly LOVE to see Amazon come tumbling off its pedestal for once, it’s going to take more than just Nora Roberts to do it. It’s going to take more than just the Big 5 publishers to do it. It’s going to take more than just JK Rowling to do it. In fact, about the only way to get a retail giant like Amazon to take a step back and actually put the fear of bankruptcy into them would be if the top 20 richest authors in the world got together, along with the Big 5 publishers, and every other author who has ever done business with them, all fighting together to put the proverbial nuts in a vice.

I, for one, would happily jump on board that express train. Hell, I’d happily tap dance on the ashes that was once the Zon-Almighty.

But for now, I’m another author who is standing behind Nora Roberts hoping she is able to draw blood. It may be a small victory in the grand scheme of things, but if enough people begin beating down the gates of Amazon, then maybe, just maybe, we can take back our sagging careers and turn this once noble profession back into the proud industry it used to be.

And – you go, Nora!

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

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!

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.