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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

This morning I went to get breakfast for my family at the local deli. When I came outside the deli with my arms full of breakfast sandwiches & platters a man, obviously down on his luck, homeless, etc. asked me if he could have some spare change. He said “I’m hungry.” I said “Wait here.” I went to my car, put my stuff inside. Instead of just driving off, I reached in my wallet and pulled out a $5 bill. I went back to the man and said, “Get yourself something to eat. Don’t spend it on drugs or booze.” I watched him as he went inside the deli and ordered breakfast. Now either I’m a sucker or I saw Jesus this morning. I haven’t decided which yet. What do you think?

-Nick

Introduction to The Soul’s Creed series

Last Battle for Souls is my current work in progress. This is book number two in my three book series The Soul’s Creed about good vs. evil. This series is my biggest project to date.  The inspiration behind this series is to explore the antithesis of “Good conquers evil.” In most good vs evil scenarios, we pretty much know the outcome. That is the good guys will prevail and evil ones will be wiped out and destroyed. That begs the question, “what if good did not prevail?” What would the world be like if the evil guys win? And what if they take over everything!

The Soul’s Creed series revolves around the concept that there is goodness, love and eternal peace in Heaven and there is evil,  hatred, and eternal damnation in Hell and then on Earth there is something in-between. The in-between part rests on the balance of the souls of the dead and their final destination in the afterlife. Some souls will be greeted by angels and go to Heaven while other souls will be captured and consumed by dark shadows and go to Hell. The good or the evil that prevails on Earth is determined by the  number of souls in Heaven and Hell. Over a period in time as more souls are led to Heaven,  mankind is in a general state of  peace, and driven to do acts of kindness. When the balance of souls tips the other way, when more souls are going to Hell then mankind is in a general state of chaos and driven by hatred to war among themselves.

The Soul’s Creed series will be three books.  Book one will cover the events leading up to mankind’s self-destruction and the end of life on Earth. Book two, Last Battle for Souls will cover the aftermath of the destruction and battle between Heaven and Hell for the reclamation of remaining souls on Earth .  Book three covers the re-creation of mankind,  not as children of the Father Almighty but instead children Lucifer, the fallen Angel. The plan for The Soul’s Creed series is to start in the middle with book two, Last Battle for Souls, then go back in time with book one and finishing the series with book three.  (I haven’t decided on the titles for book one and three yet.)

Synopsis for Last Battle for Souls

Last Battle for Souls tells the story of the last day of life on Earth. Mankind has finally done it. The mad men of the world had been waring among themselves for some time. The balance of souls had been in Hell’s favor. As war escalated, nations fell and chaos rained, a few of the maddest men of all time started the end. A terrorist organization invaded Russia and took over the country, as simultaneous cells activated all over the world in coordinated strikes against the strongest nations.

In an aggressive first strike, the group who controlled Russia launched a nuclear strike at the United States. Wave after wave of attack and counter-attack soon escalated into a full-scale thermonuclear war. The Earth that took seven days to make and lived for billions of years was destroyed in a single day by the children of the Father Almighty who created everything. Not a single living thing was left from the nuclear impacts, aftershocks, fallout and subsequent  radiation that permeated every ounce of air, land and sea. This created a condition in the balance of souls that never existed before. Now, there was a finite number of souls remaining. Since no living thing was left on Earth, there was no longer any procreation. The soul well had dried up.

Earth was now a nuclear wasteland. Many of those who died, didn’t know what was coming. The dead’s souls discorporated and now roamed in a state of limbo, between Heaven and Hell. Hence begins the final battle between Heaven and Hell. The Father Almighty sends Michael the Archangel to Earth along with his army of angles to save as many souls as possible and lead them to Heaven’s gate. Lucifer in turn has dispatched his tormentors and shadows to claim as many souls as possible. Thus the stage is set for the ultimate fight, the Last Battle for Souls.

© Copyright 2012 Nick S Nicholas and nmskjspublishing.com All rights reserved.

Wyatt crouched down behind the wreckage that was once a car. There were several loud explosions off in the distance but here in the middle of the square it was deathly quiet for an active war zone. A flare of gun fire caught his eye from a sniper four blocks down near one of the explosions. Wyatt lifted his M25 and aimed down the site at the sniper’s head. He held his breath and centered his target in the cross hairs. He was about to squeeze the trigger and suddenly the hair of the back of his neck stood tall as he heard the light crunch of the footstep behind him.

Sometimes things just pop into my head. “Scenes” if you will. There may be a story there or not. It could just be something that conveys a feeling or a thought, sometimes it inspires a short story or even an epic series yet to be written. That’s how it happens for me. I never know what I am going to get when these random scenes pop up in my head.  I don’t know specifically what triggers them. Many times I don’t write the scenes down and they drift off into the recesses of my brain never to be thought of again. It occurred to me to make this new section of my blog to share them. Perhaps, they will inspire someone besides myself. I hope so. The scenes will mostly be only a few sentences. So please enjoy these very short, quick and sometimes intense scenes. Please feel free to comment on them. Or dare I say, maybe tell me what you believe happened before the scene or what happens next.

-Nick

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