Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Goodreads M/M Romance Member Choice Awards 2013

The M/M Romance Group on Goodreads has opened the polls for their Member Choice Awards of 2013!  Chance Assassin was unbelievably nominated in three categories: Best Cover, Best Debut Book, and Best Action/Suspense Adventure.  Thank you so much to everyone who nominated their favorite books this year (including mine), and thank you again to everyone for voting!  You can vote by clicking here if you're a member of the group.

 A special shout out to Bryan and Vita Hewitt of Hewitt Photography for my beautiful cover.   

And further news!  Cindi from On Top Down Under included Chance Assassin in her favorite covers of 2013!  Thanks again, Cindi!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Giving Thanks

I know, everyone's going to be doing Thanksgiving themed blog posts, but I'm really bad about updating so it gives me an excuse.

Here's an image of a homophobe getting a turkey dumped on her head from Home for the Holidays.  It's a funny movie, you should check it out.

Being an antisocial vegetarian, Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday (you could go so far as to say it's one of my least favorite holidays) but in the spirit of the season I would like to give thanks to my readers.  When I wrote Chance Assassin, I never imagined I'd actually publish it.  When I published it, I never imagined anyone would actually read it.  But from word of mouth alone (because let's face it, I'm worse at advertising than Frank and Vincent are at retirement...more on that later...) I was able to reach an audience.  For everyone who picked up a copy, wrote a review or gave a rating, told a friend, or just read it and kept it to themselves, thank you.  Thank you for your time, thank you for supporting me, and thank you for supporting self published authors.  I can't even begin to say how grateful I am to every single person who gave my book a chance.  No pun intended.  Honestly.  :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Misery Loves...Family Flaws

Do you remember a time when vampires didn't sparkle?  Yeah, I do too.  Even though glittering in the sun took away some credibility (okay, okay, a TON of credibility...make that ALL credibility) at least it was something new in the vampire genre.  Ladies and gentlemen of the supernatural-loving variety, you are in for a bloody treat.
Family Flaws has got love and loss, vampires and demons, and enough twists and turns to make your head spin a la Linda Blair.  You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll hide under the bed with all the lights on.  And when the sun finally comes up and you think it's safe to venture out, you'll still be calling in to work with your best faux sick voice, so you can stay home and keep reading.  Under the bed.

Isn't it pretty?  Hewitt Photography strikes again

For the soldiers of SAINT, going to war is more than a struggle for land or power; it’s a fight between good and evil. Theirs is a life spent on the fringes of a society oblivious to the horrors of the darkness. With no family apart from their brothers and sisters borne of battle, their bonds are as indestructible as the blood ties they left behind.

On the night of the Ritz’ven Massacre, Peter Stone lost everything. The centuries-old spell should have granted the vampires in his Clan immunity from every weakness: sunlight, silver, and holy items. Instead it left him cursed to an eternity alone.

Aidan James has seen monsters. He was raised by one. Trying to survive is all he can manage for himself most days, but for the last of his family, for Cote, he cannot surrender. Little does he know, survival is about to get much more difficult for them both. And for everyone else around them.

Death is relative. Family is forever.

Family Flaws


Full disclosure, this is my sister's book.  However, even if we weren't related, I would still be raving about Family Flaws.  Growing up, she was always the writer in the family.  And for good reason.  I quite humbly bow down to her.  My book doesn't hold a tiny little half-melted tea candle to Family Flaws (and I don't just mean in length...this one is a bible, and every single page is delightful.)  If she wasn't my sister, I may have to save up my money and have her killed.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


I was on vacation in California last week, visiting my friends (and cover artists) Vita and Bryan Hewitt. Behold: Outtakes!

It's a nice reminder that work can occasionally be fun, especially since I'm back to work tomorrow.  Ugh.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

30 Special

I know, I know, it's a .38 Special, but I'm not quite there yet.

I thought it would be a bit bigger...

It's my birthday next week.  You guessed it, I'm turning 29 (plus a year of experience.)  To celebrate, Chance Assassin will be $0.99 for the rest of the month of July.  You can pick up a copy at Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble.

Happy reading!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Author Interview

Writing is a process.  There's the initial inspiration, the hours spent at a computer (or if you write by hand, hours with a pencil before you even start typing it up), endless editing, formatting, and editing some more.  If you self-publish you don't have to wait for tons of rejection letters, but the one thing that all writers do have to consider, regardless of how they're published, is marketing.

I'm not good at marketing.  I'll be the first to admit it.  I'm not on many social media sites, I'm terrible at updating this blog, and I still have a hard time telling acquaintances that I write at all, much less what I write about.

But in this age of social media, I've been absolutely blessed by word of mouth from readers.  Through Goodreads I've been able to connect with people who love reading, and who are interested in my book.  Lisa T is a book reviewer who was kind enough to invite me to do an interview on her fabulous Attention is Arbitrary blog and help get word out.  You can read the full interview on her blog here.

A huge thanks again to Lisa and to everyone for reading, and if anyone visiting my blog hasn't joined Goodreads yet, I honestly can't recommend it enough.  You can connect with other readers (and writers) and get recommendations based on books you enjoy.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I am truly proud to be an American today.  What more can I say?  The Supreme Court made the right decision, the JUST decision on DOMA and Prop 8. 

The Fourth of July has never been my favorite holiday.  I hate the summer, and I'm not a fan of fireworks. But next week I'm going to celebrate the fuck out of Independence Day!  Happy Fourth everyone! 

Friday, May 31, 2013


For those who aren't familiar with it, Amazon.com has a great program called KDP Select, where self-published authors can enroll their work in the Amazon lending library as well as give away copies for 5 days during the 90 day enrollment period.  Sounds great, right?  Yes, and no.  The main problem with KDP Select, is that in order to enroll you have to give exclusive rights to them for your ebook.  You can't sell your ebook anywhere else, and you can't even give it away outside of their site.

Amazon.com has their reasons for demanding exclusivity, and while I don't entirely agree with it, I have been extremely satisfied with them thus far.  That being said, I did not choose to re-enroll when the 90 day period ended.  I gave it a lot of thought, and I want to make it more widely available.  Starting today you can pick up a copy of Chance Assassin at Barnesandnoble.com.  You can also continue to buy it at Amazon.com, and the paperback version is still pending for those readers who prefer an old fashioned physical copy (myself included.)

Thanks again, and happy reading!

Sunday, May 5, 2013


So it's been awhile since I posted here.  I'd say it was one part procrastination, one part being busy working on the sequel to Chance Assassin, and about 6 parts of me being not very interesting.

I get that some people use social media to update the masses on each sneeze (actually, I don't.  I don't understand that at all.  Why do people do that?  Does anyone care?) but that's not me.  I started this wournal (I refuse to call it a blog because blog is a revolting word) to drum up some interest for my book, and as a way to connect with people who are interested in my writing.  I do try to update on a weekly basis, but alas, my hermit life is not very noteworthy.

                  For anyone who's interested, this is what I've been up to:

My tax day giveaway on Amazon.com went extremely well.  I honestly didn't have very high expectations, but even if I had medium expectations, those expectations would've been blown out of the water.  Thank you to everyone who picked up a copy, and to those who did a bit of advertising on my behalf from their websites or from goodreads!

The sequel.  Chance Assassin was my first book, but that's not to say I wasn't working on other things while writing it.  The events of the sequel were already written in the stars so to speak, and I hope to have it out next year.  It takes place a few years later, and ***spoiler alert*** mostly in France.  It's larger in scope than Chance Assassin, and isn't completely in our previous not-so-humble narrator Vincent's point of view.

So there you have it.  Sorry for the delayed post.  I'll try to update more regularly in the future.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nothing is certain but death and taxes

Taxes.  Everyone pays them.  Well, everyone except for the ridiculously wealthy with their ridiculously well paid accountants.  At any rate, death is definitely certain.

In honor of my book having quite a bit of death (and the ridiculously wealthy...dying) I'm doing a giveaway on Amazon.  From April 12th until April 16th, Chance Assassin will be available as a free download.  Enjoy.  Tell your friends.  And if your friends happen to be ridiculously wealthy, wait until April 17th and tell them then.  Have them buy a few copies. Happy reading!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Coming out...as a writer

I'll start by saying that I'm proud of my book.  I am.  Through all the self doubt and anxiety I have anytime I get a review that's anything less than perfect, I can remind myself that I made something.  I wrote it, and I put it out there for the world to see.  I love my book.  It's the story I wanted to tell, and it's a story I enjoy reading.  Some people loved my book and wouldn't change a thing.  Others disliked certain parts or disliked it altogether.  It's not for everyone. 

That being said, I'm not shouting from the rafters "I wrote a book!"  I'm not even whispering from the rafters.  The day I published I brought in muffins to work to celebrate (the store had no cupcakes. NO CUPCAKES!)  But I didn't actually tell anyone in my department that I was celebrating, much less what I was celebrating. 

And why is that, you ask?  Didn't you just say that you're proud of your book?  Yes, I'm proud of my book.  But writing has always been a very private thing for me, and I've found that many writers feel the same way.  It isn't something I talk about at all.  Of the few people outside of my immediate circle of friends that even know I write, they don't know what I write about. 

I joke that Chance Assassin is a gay hitman love story.  It is, of course, but that's not all it is.  I honestly think I struggled more with writing the blurb than I did with writing the book itself.  How do you sum up years of your work into just a few sentences?  How do you tell an acquaintance, or even a stranger, that for the past how ever many years you've been thinking about nothing but murder, and hotel rooms, and the relationship between two men that you completely made up.  I'm a crazy person!  Buy my book!

I'm rambling, so I'll get to the point.  I've decided to tell people.  Well, one person.  Maybe two.  But I'm going to do it.  I'm going to speak in a normal voice from the rafters "I wrote a book.  It's about two men, well, one man and a boy, who fall in love and go around the country killing people for money"

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Misery Loves...Goodreads.com

I have to admit that I'm relatively new to Goodreads.  A friend (thank you, Amanda!) referred me to it about a month before I published my book, and honestly I felt like a kid in a candy store.

You mean I can just click what I like, and the Internet tells me what else I might like?  GENIUS!  Why hadn't I heard of this site before?

Not only is this a great place for readers to learn about new books (and even enter to win some!) but it's an amazing resource for writers to connect with their readers.  As soon as I have a paperback version I'll be adding a few to the giveaway section. 

At any rate, apart from obsessively refreshing for new reviews and updates from readers, I'm honored to say that Chance Assassin has been nominated for a list!  Best M/M Book by a Debut Author of 2013

A huge thanks to the reviewer who nominated me, and to everyone who voted.  If you haven't voted yet, please do!  And I don't just mean for mine.  That list has a ton of recommendations that I'm looking forward to checking out. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chance Assassin: A Story of Love, Luck, and Murder

It's been a full week now since I took the plunge.  It feels...surreal.  It's terrific, and I'm really, really happy, but it's also very odd.  It's like introducing your imaginary friends to a room full of people.  People who can actually see your imaginary friends, and speak with them, and refer to them by name.

Can The Great Zanzini come out and play?

I walk around all day in a cloud.  I click the refresh button for status updates, and view the pages on Amazon and Goodreads over and over in disbelief.  I've had some very flattering reviews and compliments, and I am so incredibly thankful to everyone for reading. 

Being the realist (or as most people would call me: pessimist) that I am, I hoped for the best and prepared for the worst.  I told myself that if just one person loved it, then I could handle any amount of hate.  Well, maybe not any amount...At any rate, someone loved it.  A few someones.  I won't get into specifics to protect their privacy, but if you're reading this blog, thank you.  Thank you for your time, and for buying (or borrowing) my book, and thank you for loving Vincent and Frank like I do.  There will be a sequel.  I promise. 

x 2

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The morning after...

So, as any of you who bought my book yesterday will have noticed, there were some formatting issues after all.  I'll tell you, the previewer is a tricky thing.  None of those issues showed up.  Then I download the book on my kindle and it's     like    this  all        over



Seriously.  But many more hours, ten fingernails chewed, and several cups of chamomile tea gone cold later, it's fixed.  I'm waiting to hear from amazon what happens at this point, whether the updates are sent to anyone who bought it (Thank you!) but I believe it's just moving on from here.  At least now I know. 

 Hey, nobody's perfect right?  Right?  RIGHT?  I think I need more tea. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Today's the day!

3/1/13, or as the majority of the world sees it: 1/3/13.  (You can probably guess which version I prefer...since I'm a bit of a contrarian and 13 is considered an unlucky number).


Click here for Chance Assassin on kindle

You can borrow it free if you're on Prime, or buy it for $3.99.  (My completely unbiased advice:  BUY IT!)

That's all for today.  I'm going to go scream now.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Letting Go

Yesterday afternoon I went through the Amazon.com KDP previewer for self-publishing one final time.  One.  Final.  Time.  The formatting is correct.  I will not review it again.  I will not edit my book again, and I will prevent myself from reading it again (because re-reading always leads to more edits.)  My book is now exactly as it will be presented to my readers (assuming there is more than one reader...or even one reader) on Friday.  I will not change one single word.

Am I freaking out?

No, not at all!  Not even a little bit.  I'm not lying awake at night, shuddering in fear of typos, wondering why oh why I couldn't be born a machine that never, ever makes mistakes.  And is fluent in French. 

I'll be honest here.  Writing does not come easily to me.  I'm a very technical person.  Black and white.  My favorite subject in school was math.  I work in banking.  I like rules.  I get so excited when I see someone pulled over by the police that I nearly explode.

Take that, Rule Breaker!  BOOM!

Writing is a world of color.  Writing is all about the way something smells, and how it looks in the mid-morning light.  It's complex and multifaceted.  It's this story that unfolds in your head, and these characters whom you love despite their many, many flaws.  Characters who speak to you, and through you, and would never see the light of day without you. 

Maybe it's because I struggle with it, or because it forces me step back and view things differently, but I love writing.  I LOVE it.  When I don't have time to write, it's reflected in my mood.  If I had a checklist for Reasons of Grumpiness, which let's face it, would probably be quite helpful, the very top of the list would be "Have you written anything recently" followed by "How close is the nearest piece of chocolate?"

I can accept that I'll never be the best writer in the world.  Or the country.  I'm not even the best writer in my family.  And my handwriting is absolutely horrendous.  But it's time.  I'm doing it.  I'm going to relinquish my precious control over this thing that I've worked on for a very long time, and I'm going to put it out there for all to see.  Hopefully without any typos. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Misery Loves...Hewitt Photography

Full disclosure, Vita and Bryan Hewitt are good friends of mine. Great friends!  Super amazing telepathic friends!  They are family.  They're also incredible photographers.  Behold:

My book cover!!!

Isn't that amazing?  The word count for my book is upwards of 115,000.  115,000 words can't describe how I felt when I saw my cover for the first time.  Awed.  Honored.  So happy I could die!  I look at this image and I actually feel like a writer.  I have a book! 

What makes it even more extraordinary, is that when I drew them a picture of what I had in mind, it looked like a camel lying on the ground with a bird flying above it.  No joke.

 This was my drawing:

Are you embarrassed for me?  I'm embarrassed for me.

They took that drawing (if you could even call it that) and miraculously made it into art.  I mean, just look at it! 

It's like magic!

Vita and Bryan also shoot portraits (in the photography sense, not the blood on the wall sense) as well as weddings and just about any other event you can come up with.  And incredible book covers, obviously.  If you're located in the San Francisco Bay Area and need a picture of something, anything, hire them!  You will not be disappointed. 

In case you don't believe me, you can see the evidence first hand on their website.  You can also follow their blog

Before I wrap this up so I can go drool over my cover some more, I have a special shout out for Gabe the corpse for being...well, a corpse, and his wife Hilary for cooking up the blood.  If it wasn't for the two of you, and for Vita and Bryan, I would just have a camel and a bird.  Thank you so, so much!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Misery Hates…Discrimination under the guise of piety

In honor of Valentine's Day, here's an issue that's close to my heart.  Coincidentally it's also my first Misery Hates... post. 

Religion and intolerance are strange bedfellows.  On one hand, religion is supposed to promote virtues: love, loyalty, and plenty of shalt nots; while on the other, it's used as an excuse for the mentality of it’s-different-kill-it-with-sticks

There have been quite a few of these stories on the news recently, but as this was on the local news, I feel the need to say a few words.  A bakery in Oregon turned away a customer because they wanted a wedding cake for eek! two brides.  I’m not going to give the bakery any sort of advertisement here, so if you’re interested in boycotting them (or you’re the exact type of person I’m writing this entry about and want to send them fan mail) you can google it yourself.  

The proprietor claimed that same-sex weddings are against his religion, which is fine.  However, he felt within his right, in a public business, to not only discriminate against these women but to force the fiancĂ©e to tears by calling the couple “abominations unto the Lord.” 

Now, gay marriage is not legal in Oregon, unfortunately.  However, domestic partnerships are.  So if the owner of this business were to say, “I’m sorry ladies, but I’m not able to do a wedding cake for two brides, but I can do a domestic partnership cake.”  Then there wouldn’t really be a problem.  After all, a domestic partnership cake would have all the same rights as a marriage (except that if your partner were to die, you wouldn’t be allowed to eat what was left of their portion of the cake like you would with a traditional wedding cake.)  The problem is that on the basis of his moral high ground, the owner turned away a customer with legal tender from his public business. 

Let’s consider this for a moment.  Whether you believe that homosexuality is borne of nature or nurture, the fact remains: they’re here, they’re queer, get used to it.  You can hate it as much as you want, but the closet is open.  Waa. 

Here are some examples.  We’ll see if you can spot the differences.

I own a business (I don’t actually own a business.)  A customer comes in with legal tender and wants to buy a product I sell.  But the flying spaghetti monster I believe in tells me that tattoos are an abomination.  Tattoos are a choice.  Am I allowed to turn this customer away from my public business because of my religious beliefs regarding their skin art?  NO.

How about this: A different customer comes in, and they happen to have natural red hair (for argument’s sake, let’s pretend there’s no such thing as hair dye and therefore I would have no reason to question whether the carpet matches the drapes.)  Well, the good old flying spaghetti monster thinks gingers are an abomination.  So, am I allowed to turn away this customer based on their natural hair color?  NO.


And yet, the proprietor of this bakery feels not only that he’s well within his rights as a business owner, but should be applauded for discriminating against a couple (or as he calls it: standing up for what he believes in.) 

There is a happy ending to this story.  Duff Goldman, from the Food Network show “Ace of Cakes,” offered to bake their cake for them free of charge, and even mail it to Oregon.  Isn’t that sweet?  Sorry, I had to. 

This is Duff:

Misery loves Duff.  If you’ve seen what he can do with cake, you probably love him too.  The couple had already ordered their cake through Pastrygirl in Portland, but Duff is sending them a second bride’s cake.  Let them eat cake!

To wrap it up, I have to admit that I love sweets.  My name is Nicole, and I’m an addict.  If you put sugar on the top of just about anything, I would eat it.  I don’t even like apple pie, but if you presented me with one, I would consume it in a manner which left you fleeing for your life as I licked the defenseless morsels from my lips. 

Now that I’ve given my two cents about the situation, I’d like to firmly state that two cents is more than I’d be willing to pay if the bible baker of Gresham, Oregon had the last cake for sale in the country. 

And to the happy couple: Congratulations!  I hope this man’s intolerance hasn’t made your special day any less sweet.  Sorry about the puns.     

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Much Ado About Advertising

I’ll start by saying that I loathe the word blog.  I hate it with a purple passion.  It sounds like a word you would use when describing (if you felt compelled to describe) something you did in the bathroom preceding the emptying of an entire can of air freshener straight into the ozone.  TMI, I know, but that’s how I feel.  If you’re here, you’re obviously interested in my opinion for some unfathomable reason, so there you have it.  I shall hereby officially commence my web journal…wournal?

This is me:

That always seems to happen with photographs...perhaps I should see a doctor?


At any rate, I’m antisocial, misanthropic, and generally cranky.  I can be quite disagreeable, but we all have our bad days.  Like any good natured person, I enjoy kittens and puppies and the vibrant yellow color of a parking ticket on someone else’s windshield.  Schadenfreude is a state of being.

I grew up here: 


If it looks a bit like the cactus is flipping off the sun, that's because it is.  Fuck the sun.

Now I live here… 
for quite obvious reasons.


I do not enjoy talking about myself.  I’d much rather sit in a dark little cave with my mean little dog and live in my own little world until I get hungry and need to go out and buy cookies.  Whilst wearing a disguise.  But there’s this thing called marketing and guess what, boys and girls?  Apparently a-marketing-I’ll-go if I want my book to be successful.  

What’s that, you ask?  A book?  I’ve segued right into the thick of it, haven’t I?  Yes, I have a book.  A long time ago (longer than I’d care to admit, as I’ve been working on it since) I was at the library.  This is not a rare occurrence by any means, but during this particular visit, I couldn’t for the life of me find something I was in the mood for.  So I set about writing it. 

As I’m sure many writers will tell you, stories have a tendency to grow a mind of their own.  Apart from the edits, and revisions, and months (let’s be honest; years) of working on it, the story basically wrote itself.  It should be available on Amazon.com on March 1st.  Here’s the official blurb:

Vincent Sullivan is down on his luck.  When a chance encounter generates a job prospect he’s too desperate to decline, Vincent is well on his way to a career in crime.  But after the job goes wrong and he’s gravely injured in the process, things couldn’t get much worse.  Except that he may have just killed a man. 
With the entrance of a mysterious stranger, life is finally starting to look up.  Unless his luck is about to run out for good.

Blurb isn’t a particularly attractive word either, but it’s better than blog, so it can stay.  Anyway, Chance Assassin: A Story of Love, Luck, and Murder, is basically a gay hitman love story.  It’s that simple.  I believe in happy endings (not to spoil anything for you) because despite my otherwise sunny disposition, deep down inside, I can be quite sentimental. 

Look!  A dog in a unicorn costume!
That’s Ms. Moxie.  You’ll likely hear way too much about her. 

Now that the business aspect is out of the way, we can get into the fun stuff.  What I consider fun, at any rate.  Raving and ranting.  I shall call these segments Misery Loves… and Misery Hates… respectively.  To be my ever perky self, I’ll start with loves…

One of the downsides to writing, even if it brings you the kind of peace it brings me, is that you start looking at books differently.  You see those little typos that snuck right past the editor (assuming there even was one) and despite your best efforts; you start critiquing.  Descriptions you may not have used, a sentence that could be worded just a little better, even names of characters that don’t sit right. 

Or else you read something like We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, and fall so in love with every single word that you set down your pen and paper and hang your head in shame of ever presuming you could be a writer yourself.  I LOVED this book from the first word. 

I’ll admit that the cover art is what made me pick it up, but Shirley Jackson’s storytelling is what stopped me from putting it down.  I read it straight through in one afternoon, staring at the words and feeling more akin to Merricat Blackwood than I’d ever felt with any of my previous literary heroes.  The games she played, the seething hatred she had for the townspeople, and her protectiveness of her older sister Constance, all struck close to home. 

As much as I loved this book, it made me sad.  Not necessarily jealous, as I believe an author’s experience is truly part of the creation process, and the book couldn’t have possibly been written by anyone else; but I felt inadequate.  Then I read more about her… 

You can find the preface written by Shirley Jackson in Just an Ordinary Day, in which she describes being 16 years old and deciding “one evening that since there were no books in the world fit to read” she would write one.  I didn’t feel quite as strongly about my lack of reading material as she had, but needless to say it struck a chord with me. 

When she presented the story she had written to her family, they were hardly impressed, and with what I imagine was absolute humiliation, Shirley Jackson vowed never to write again.  I’m so very thankful that she ended up breaking that vow, so someone like me can sit here and feel inspired by her life and her work.  Putting my book out there certainly isn’t easy, but hey, I enjoyed writing it, and I enjoyed reading it.  I’ll be over the moon if someone else likes it (please buy my book!) but if not, that’s okay too.  I wrote it for myself.  And if it’s good enough for Shirley Jackson, then it’s good enough for me.