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I have taken too long of a hiatus from writing but I believe I have found my inspiration to get back to it. I am working on a plot sketch for Book 2 of Silver Icon – The working title is “Aftershock” – And it tells of Rick’s life post-layoff and how he deals with it and attempts to get back on his feet. This will take place roughly two weeks after his “down-sizing” and will cover the social, emotional and economics issues with recovering from a major life-event. I so am so excited to work on this project!

I am also picking up the Good Haunting manuscript again and dusting it off! I believe this is about 60% complete and I really want to finish this book. It was my first foray into the Supernatural & Romance genre and I want it to be a success. I’ve let my Critique Circle membership expires, but I got so much inspiration from the wonderful people there, that I feel I wouldn’t be able to complete this work unless I am active…so I am renewing my membership on CC!

Until next post— peace!
-Nick

 

P.S. A little Extra…

Photo Inspiration for Shane, Nikki and Nadia in Good Haunting (FYI – images available from 123rf.com)

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Silver Icon is a short story about a day in the life of a typical American worker at a typical American corporation during a reduction in workforce action. Job elimination, off-shoring, and systemic layoffs to reduce costs is common place in today’s workforce. This is the story of Rick, an information technology worker, who experiences this ever repeating story in America.

Excerpt from Silver Icon

The walk back up is horrific. So many people with boxes piled in their arms are being led out the door. I recognize most of the faces. In fact, it’s easier to count the one or two I don’t recognize or haven’t worked with in the past fifteen years. The place looks like the Day of the Dead. The shock and awe on their faces will be burned in my memory forever. And not just the ones leaving—it’s also on the ones who are staying. It’s how I’m sure I look right now.

We press on and when we get to the security door to our department, Sally lifts her badge. I shove mine forward. She understands and lowers her arm. Click. The door unlocks. Good, I’m still employed.

We walk through the door and hurry back to our seats without saying a word to each other. Just as I’m about to sit down, Sudhir, our department’s VP, walks over to George’s office. Maybe it’s the “all clear.” A few seconds later, they are both walking down the hall toward the elevators. Sudhir has a white eight-and-a-half-by-eleven envelope in his hands. Holy fucking shit! George is about to get his walking papers.

I sit down and unlock my virtual terminal and log back in. I call up the instant messenger app and see a silver icon by George’s name. Dave’s on-line presence is unknown and has the same silver icon. This is fucked up! There’s a loud buzzing in my brain. So far that’s three names on Henry’s list, and three silver icons. This is really bad. My stomach churns and I can’t decide if it’s hunger or if I’m gonna hurl my breakfast across the desk. My chest feels heavy. Breathe, breathe…

eBook Available at Amazon and Smashwords for $0.99

Trade paperback available at Amazon.com

Greetings! I hope you are having a lovely Sunday morning! Here in Long Island, NY the sun is shining, I’ve got a fresh cup of coffee and it looks like it’s going to be a great day! My first book, Silver Icon has been on sale for about a week now at both Amazon and Smashwords and I am so excited! I want to share some information to fellow writers about an awesome tool and web site that can help you with your goals to publish your own work. No, it’s not a publishing company, or any gimmick or trick. Also it’s not a magic wand!  What it is, however is a great place on the web to meet fellow authors and writers, both published and unpublished, and exchange critiques on each other’s work. I am talking about www.critiquecircle.com!

While I believe there is no substitution for professional editing, Critique Circle will come pretty damn close. And for the indie author on a tight budget, the price is right! Critique Circle’s membership is free! The site is a place where writers can post their work and other writers will critique your submissions. You can write critiques for other authors and form crit buddy relationships with many talented people. There is a “donation” method to become a premium member, but all of the main features of submitting and critiquing are available to all members. The premium membership, which is really a donation to keep the site running, gives you a few extra added perks, but is not required to get extreme value out of the site in regard to your work.

Critique Circle

The basic functions of the site include the ability to submit your chapters into one of the various Queues, classified by type of work or genre. The site works on a credit system. When you submit your work, it costs a minimum of three credits. When you write critiques on the work of others, you earn credits, anywhere from half a credit and up depending on the length of your critique. As other writers begin to critique your work, and as you critique other writer’s work, you’ll find buddies that can become regular crit partners! I’ve made several friends in the past two months and regularly write and receive critiques — almost daily. I’m a bit addicted to the site! :-)

Critique Circle Submit Story

Many other useful features are available on Critique Circle. The site has a novel system, so you can chain your submissions together and crit buddies can follow your novel from start to finish. Authors can add a synopsis for their novel and for each chapter, content advisories for adult or mature stories, outlines for settings, plot and character sketches. The site also has a forum and message system so you can socialize with your fellow writers and crit partners.

Critique Circle Novel System

The credit system is nothing to worry about. I quickly became immersed in several of other author’s works, and in just reading, writing critiques and offering grammar or spelling suggestions, I very quickly grew a nice credit balance, enough to submit many chapters and stories. Since I started using the site, I’ve not ever run out of credits for submissions. I think I am actually critiquing more than I am submitting. I believe the main reason for this is because I am learning so much about writing, prose and style from the stories I read and the critique’s I have given other authors. This exchange from author to author is sharpening my writing skills as well as those of my crit buddies. The forums provide a lot of value too. For example, you can tie your story submissions to a personal forum thread–focused on that story so all your crit partners can collaborate with you and each other.

Critique Circle Forums

In summary; if you are an author on a budget, don’t have access to an editor, or just want to bounce your chapters, stories or other writing pieces off on other people to receive feedback and edit suggestions, Critique Circle’s an awesome web site to do all that! I highly recommend the site to indie authors and would absolutely welcome new critique partners!

For the official “What is Critique Circle About Page,” click here.

Happy Writing!

-Nick

Available now, Silver Icon. Get it at Amazon.com and Smashwords.

Silver Icon - (A Short Story)

Silver Icon – (A Short Story)

Silver Icon By Nick Nicholas Published:

May 27, 2012 Words: 4108 (approximate)
Language: English

Silver Icon is a short story about a day in the life of a typical American worker at a typical American corporation during a reduction in workforce action. Job elimination, off-shoring, and systemic layoffs to reduce costs is common place in today’s workforce. This is the story of Rick, an information technology worker, who experiences this ever repeating story in America. Live through his eyes as he experiences the sights, sounds and emotions of a job elimination action by his company.

Available now at Amazon and Smashwords for $1.99

Silver Icon


Silver Icon

by Nick S. Nicholas

Release date:  June 2012!

I am proud to announce my first published eBook! Silver Icon is a short story about a day in the life of a typical American worker at a typical American corporation during a reduction in workforce action. Job elimination, off-shoring, and systemic lay-offs to reduce costs is common place in today’s workforce. This is the story of Rick, an information technology worker, who experiences this ever repeating story in America.

© Copyright 2012 Nick S. Nicholas, nmskjspublishing.com and Silver Icon Press.
All rights reserved.

Our real-life Dystopian Society

I experienced my own real-life Hunger Games this week..or rather Corporate America’s version of it. My [former] company made a list of people to RIF (reduction in workforce). This was the 5th apparently, annual one. Then they called each person one by one (the reaping) and I was on the list! (No Katniss either to save me!) After 13 years of service too! (11 exceeding expectations, 1 achieving expectations and recently elected into a Technical Excellence group)

:-(

Lots of people made the list in fact, a few from each department (12 districts, 2 people each district).

Now we are in the job search market having to get all prettied up (where’s Cinna??) to make a good impression (Haymitch, you drunk, help!) for new employers (sponsors) while we now all compete (the games) for the same small amount of jobs available in the market here (the arena).

I plan to win the game.

And similar to Katniss and Peeta, will win with all the competitors in my district.

 We will (have already) band together, help each other, share our resources and skills.

We will all come out of this game as victors.

To any and all of those who are affected by Corporate America’s growing need to cut costs at the cost of cutting jobs,

you have my sincere wish that you all find gainful employment,

persevere and come out the victor in this game of  life.

Authors Note: LOL – Sorry folks I am actually making light of a pretty crappy event, else I’d be totally going down the wrong path in my head! It just stuck me as pretty funny at the analogy I made as this was going on, I had to write it somewhere!

Life is like a book. You must turn the page to see what happens next. If you don’t turn the page you are stuck and don’t move to the next chapter. The journey to the ending can be quite interesting.

-Nick S. Nicholas

 

 

I tweeted a shorter version of this – I should have just wrote it out here in the first place instead of chopping it down! :-)

I am deep inside you.

You don’t know that I am here.

You don’t know how I came about.

But make no mistake, I am here.

I go dormant for a long time making my plan.

My plan is clear.

Your end draws near.

I will crawl through you and affect as much of you as I can.

It is my only goal.

I spread through your insides and embed deep within.

You will never know where I came from.

You will never be able to get rid of me.

When I’m here, it’s too late for you.

When I come I start slow.

As I progress, I make my mark known.

I will crawl through your veins.

I will crawl through your bones.

I will crawl through your brain.

I will settle in the pit of your stomach.

Every place that I can find, I will slowly make my way to.

And in the end, I will get you.

You can stop doing things you think caused me.

You don’t know exactly what that is.

Never can you stop doing what it is that brought me to be.

I am here to stay, and that’s bad for you.

I have many names.

One that is common and universal.

And no one likes to hear.

You will not be happy.

You will know the end is near.

I always win.

The odds are in my favor.

By the time they figure out how to destroy me, you will already be gone.

That is the way it is.

There is no way around it.

Nothing can be done.

I am your bane.

I am your fate.

I am your cancer.

 

I’ve been ultra busy the past month and a half blogging, reading, writing, moderating forums and most recently, being a critique! I have also been under a lot of stress and pressure at the day job working on a high-profile project for the past 6 weeks, so I am not exactly sure how I fit everything it!

I’ve been spending a lot of time on goodreads lately and joined a few of the groups there. Something special has happened to me as a result of participating in two different groups.

The first thing that happened was I received an invitation from Christy Wilhelm to become a forums moderator on the BTS Book Club on goodreads! I was more than happy to accept and now I am helping to moderate the forums there as well as leading monthly book discussions. And I get to choose the books to discuss! It takes up a bit of time, but it is a lot of fun too! So if you’d like to participate, join the BTS Book Club on goodreads! BTS stands for Book and Trailer Showcase a  website dedicated to showcasing book and book trailers.

The second thing that happened was in the Writers Worth group on goodreads. Lyn Midnight started a collaborative anthology project, which has grown to a big multi-media project. Lyn calls it grim5next. The written anthology will be a book of short stories. Each short story will have three parts to it. Grim Future, The Last 5 Minutes and What happens next? Hence, grim5next. There will be 12 short stories and a different author will be responsible for one section in one of the stories. That means 12 stories, 3 sections and 36 different authors to complete the anthology! I submitted a breakdown of a possible “Grim Future” and guess what? Your truly was selected to be one of the Grim Future writers! Woot! Woot! I am very excited to be working on this project! Which brings me to the next effort…

I started critiquing other writer’s stories too! During my networking at the grim5next anthology, I met an J. Whitworth Hazzard, author of the zombiemechanics blog  who turned me on to  Critique Circle. It’s a forum (with a free and a premium level of service) where writers can post stories and other writers can critique them. Not only are other writers  critiquing my stories, I am also doing the same for them–what a learning process this has been! It is certainly helps improve my writing and reading skills.

In addition to all of this, I am writing small reviews for the books I have been reading.  I’ve published some of them on this blog, but then decided to create a new blog dedicated to just my review work. I will be migrating all of the book reviews from this blog to the N.S. Nicholas Book Review Blog: Candles, Wine and  a Book site. Most of the reviews are short and sweet, but I have been influenced by a lot of my online friends lately and plan to pick up the word count in future reviews! I just need to balance my time right! The latest review I am working on is for Bone Dressing, by Michelle I Brooks.

Lastly, while keeping up with all of the above  I am still plugging away at my own work and inching closer and closer to completing my first self-published project!  I’ve updated the Works in Progress link at the top of the and split the page between Series in progress and Stand-alone works in progress, so check them out for more updates!

I would like to thank everyone who’s visited by blogs, visited me on goodreads or twitter. This whole experience is such a blast!

Yours truly,

-Nick

 

To coin a phrase from my video gaming life, when it comes to writing and being an author, I’m a noob.  If you’re not familiar with the term noob, it can be thought of as an antonym for veteran or experienced or possibly even expert. I did not major in English, Literature, Grammar, Journalism or any other potentially related field to what I would expect a full-time writing career would require. I am making this up as I go along, with the help from a lot of people on the Internet. From Googling, to blogging to tweeting to FBing- i.e. via Social Networking and tapping into the minds and worlds of some wonderful people I am starting to figure this all out. I have become acquainted in cyberspace (mind you not face-to-face) with people from all over the world and have gathered some useful tips, sites and tools that hopefully will help me achieve my goals of self-publishing my work. I thought it only natural to share what I have learned along this journey so far and hopefully inspire, educate and help another “noob.” out.

The following is a short list of things, places, sites and tips I have discovered so far. If any of it helps you out, I’d love to hear it.

Book Covers

Book Covers. I didn’t realize how important and how expensive choosing or designing a book cover was until I start shopping for one! I found a few places online where you can tap into royalty-free images and use them for an eBook cover. There are several “Stock Photo” online sources that are good for Independent authors and self-publishers just starting out (like myself) Here are a few notable ones.

123 Royalty Free:  http://www.123rf.com
CanStockPhoto: http://www.canstockphoto.com
Dreamstime: http://www.dreamstime.com
Fotolia:  http://us.fotolia.com

Eye Color Chart

Describing your character’s eyes is important. Getting the color right is important too. There are tons of different resources you can find searching the Internet. Here is my favorite eye chart (http://eyemakeart.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/eye_colour_chart_by_delpigeon.jpg)

Name Generators

Seventh Sanctum is an awesome place if you are looking for a little random name generation. This applies to people, places, things, magic spells, organizations, governments, and whatever else you can think of. There are tons of name generatorslisted on this site.

Seventh Sanctum: http://www.seventhsanctum.com

Text Editors

I’ll assume in this day and age your main writing tool is a computer and not a typewriter. There are so many options to choose from to use a computer and a word processor to write with. I’ll summarize just a few of them here and note my favorite tool.

If you have access to a computer you basically don’t need to spend any money to start writing. The simplest tool you can use is the built-in text editor that comes with any PC running a Microsoft Windows operating system or any Apple computer running Max OS X.

In Windows you have two options. Notepad and Wordpad. Notepad is just a simple no frills text editor. Wordpad is essentially the same thing but it allows you to use basic rich text formatting (to make things bold, italic, centered, etc.) In Mac OSX you have TextEdit. There are also a ton of free programs you can get on the Internet as well. Just perform a google search for “free text editor” and you’ll see what I mean. Or on a Mac just go to the App Store and you’ll find several.

Word processors are the preferred tool for most writers. Modern word processors like Microsoft Word or Apple Pages will give you all of the basics the free text editors do plus a ton more formatting options and a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface. The word processor is pretty much the standard tools of choice. However there are other tools that combine a writer’s goal of producing a well formatted manuscript and ensure proper grammar and error-free spelling and have all the benefits of a full-fledged word processor. There are other choices as mentioned above that you can find on the Internet. My editor of choice is Scrivener.  Basically it’s a full-fledged word processor but it also allows you to create an outline on a “cork board” like canvas. It helps me arrange my thoughts and plot my books before I even write a single line of the story. It also has the ability to compile your work to various formats, like ePUB (for Apple iBooks), .mobi (for Amazon Kindle), .PDF, .RTF, DOC.  It’s available for both Windows and Mac OS X. I prefer the Max OS X version as it has some more features that are not yet implemented in the Windows version.

HTML Editors

When you need to comment online and need a quick HTML editor, here’s an online one that works very well. It’s basic, but gets the job done. When your tags are all formatted correctly, you can just cut and paste! Online HTML Editor: http://www.onlinehtmleditor.net/

If you do not like to work online (i.e require an Internet connection, then you’ll need to download an HTML editor. Again, a good old “google” search will net you several free choices of HTML editors. (CoffeeCup, Bluefish two notable free HTML editors.) There are a bunch of paid choices as well but these tend to get very pricey very quickly as they are geared more toward web development rather than helping bloggers format their posts. Adobe Dreamweaver and Microsoft Visual Web (the evolution of Microsoft Frontpage) come to mind. (As of this writing, Visual Web Developer Express is a free, limited function but very usable offer from Microsoft.)

How many words makes my story a novel?

I am still not 100% sure about this one. There seems to be a lot of different opinions. However I did find a general reference guide that answers this and I think it is a good guideline to follow.

The best answer to this question I found was from author Lee Masterson of South Australia. The summary below is from Lee Masterson article- the full article is here ==>Click here for this article

Writing type Approximate word count (k=1000)
Short Story 1k -7.5k
Novelette  7.5k – 20k
Novella  20k – 50k
Novel  50k – 110k
Epics and Sequels > 110k

That’s all for now!

Well that’s about all of the tips, tools, advice, guides, etc that I have discovered so far. As I discover and use more I’ll update this post. I hope you find the information useful. If you have any questions or comments, please use the comment form here or use the global Contact Nick link at the top of the page.

Happy Writing!

-Nick

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