#IWSG Weird, Cool #Writing Research


Happy May to all writers!


Pop over to Alex Cavanaugh’s blog to join us for the Insecure Writers Support Group.

Today’s co-hosts: Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan, Liesbet @ Roaming About, Michelle Wallace, and Feather Stone!

How’s your writing? I’m about 40% done with my romantic suspense WIP, Twin Sacrifice. Thank you to my awesome critique partner, Nicki Elson, for her tremendous help.

I love this month’s IWSG question:

What’s the weirdest/coolest thing you’ve researched for a story?

So many weird/cool topics to choose from! I know quite a few writers like me hope our internet search histories don’t alert the authorities to possible subversive behavior. Here are my highlights:

* Building bomb triggers

* Layout of rooms in the White House

* Effects of Rohypnol (Roofies) on the body

* How to get a gun through airport security

And my most fun research? Taking a Chicago architectural cruise.

I look forward to hearing what funky stuff you’ve researched!

WHEN IT HOLDS YOU by @NickiElson3D #Romance #Review #IWSG


Happy Insecure Writers Support Group, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh! Join us HERE.


November’s Question: What’s your favorite aspect of being a writer?

For me, it’s the warm, supportive author community. I’m blessed writing has brought me closer to quality people like my critique partner, Nicki Elson. Which leads me to…

Today I celebrate fellow IWSG author Nicki Elson’s new release: WHEN IT HOLDS YOU!

~.~.~
WHEN IT HOLDS YOU has been selected as a TOP PICK at The Romance Reviews!

“Nicki Elson has become my MUST read new contemporary romance author! The sex is hot, but the emphasis is on emotions in this book. They really are made for each other.”
~The Romance Reviews
~.~.~

WHEN IT HOLDS YOU


Virtual. That’s where she was supposed to stay—only in my online gaming life. I never intended to meet up with her in person. And I certainly hadn’t counted on her being who she is.

Cliff Walsh has dozens of hot, smart, and willing paramours in his video games. Who needs to look further? The twenty-eight year old attorney is done getting his heart smashed by real-life women who fit his perfect-mate checklist. From now on, he vows to keep his romances digital-only…until a certain redheaded gamer twists all his preconceptions and touches a place in his heart he didn’t know existed.

I always thought I knew what love would look like, but sometimes you don’t recognize it until the moment when it holds you. ~Cliff

WHEN IT HOLDS YOU is a stand-alone novel in The It Series family.

Other titles in the series:
WHEN IT HOOKS YOU, a Top Pick at The Romance Reviews
WHEN IT HITS YOU, coming January 2017

~.~.~
Here’s my 5 star review:

When It Holds YouWhen It Holds You by Nicki Elson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cliff Can Hold Me Anytime

Attorney Cliff Walsh is cute, funny, and smart. He’s also tired of women yanking his chain. Chain-Yankers such as tantalizing Trish (the heroine of When It Hooks You) lure him in but end up with other men. Cliff has no choice but to turn to the voluptuous virtual women found in video games.

One such woman, PlanetClaire, intrigues him. In the computer world, she has fiery red hair and alluring curves. Cliff and Claire partner together on screen to battle villains and solve riddles.

The riddles in this story are quite fun! For example, a serpent hisses, “All you have to do is correctly answer a riddle. For only the clever are allowed inssside” then proceeds:

It’s what you want above all things.
Some fulfill it with vows and rings.
For some it’s not an easy fit.
Some are content to sleep with it.


Hmm, what could “it” be? They say working together to achieve a common goal can forge a tight bond, and Cliff and Claire have a virtual blast together. They decide to take their chemistry offline and meet at a gaming convention. When Claire reveals her identity, MY JAW DROPPED!

Claire has some major self-esteem issues that stand in the way. But Cliff has many talents, including snuggling.

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Too bad he can’t make it all better for Claire. I love that this book is from a male perspective. Cliff won my heart and I wanted to hug him when his romance woes continue.

Karen said, “I’ve seriously had to stop myself from offering you concealer stick to hide those dark shadows under your eyes. What did she do to you?”

“Nothing that hasn’t been done before.” He tapped the edge of the file he held onto his desk, eager for the conversation to end.

Aww. I’ll snuggle with you, Cliff. The characters feel real and the resolution of the story well-paced. And the humor of the series continues with comments like “That shit’s mine now” when Claire describes Cliff to Trish.

The It Series is fantastic! I encourage you to check out all three books: When it Hits You (coming in 2017), When it Hooks You, and When it Holds You (October, 2016).

View all my reviews

~.~.~


Nicki Elson writes spicy fiction with a sweet and dreamy center. She does other stuff, too…like obsess over Survivor and The Bachelor (and she’s not ashamed to admit it).

Writing fiction wasn’t something Nicki set out to do; it just sort of happened when she realized writing reports was by far her favorite part of her investment consulting position. She traded stock allocation and diversification for story arcs and dialogue and now weaves creative writing into her life with her family in the Chicago suburbs.



~.~.~

WHEN IT HOOKS YOU #Romance #NewRelease by @NickiElson3D

Welcome to #ComedyBookWeek, an annual, online celebration of humor in writing. I’m hosting Nicki Elson and her new release, WHEN IT HOOKS YOU. You can read my 5 star review here. Today Nicki’s sharing a humorous excerpt from the book.

NICKI: I have a lot of favorite funny moments in this story, but I selected this one to share today because it’s the one that cracked me up the most while I was writing—plus it comes with a bonus fun-fact about tigers.  Thanks for having me over, Jen!

JEN: This TOTALLY made me snicker. Plus, it was educational!

Excerpt from WHEN IT HOOKS YOU by Nicki Elson

The rain persisted, so they decided to stay at the museum for lunch, sitting at a table in the middle of the towering atrium that separated the historic part of the museum from the newer wing.

“This is more impressive when the sun is shining.” Lyssa frowned, her eyes raised toward the thousands of drops racing down the enormous glass wall.

“It’s still pretty cool,” Trish said. “A dreary day is sort of nice once in a while. Not every day can be sunny. Though I imagine that—” she tilted her head to indicate a spiky lime green spire; it was made entirely of glass and rose straight up from the floor near the window “—is amazing when the sun hits it.”

Lyssa sighed. “Yeah, it is. Guess this means you’ll have to come back soon so you can see it.”

“Definitely.” Trish smiled. “You know what that thing keeps making me think of?”

“What?”

“A tiger penis.”

Lyssa choked on her ice water and threw her hand to her mouth, her eyes going wide in shocked question.

“Sorry,” Trish said, not making any effort to sound the least bit remorseful. “Tigers have barbed penises. It helps them stay in while mating.”

Dabbing at her lips with her napkin, Lyssa asked, “Why do you know that?”

“After I started relating to the feline, I did a little Googling. Fascinating creature, the tiger.”

“I bring the girl to a museum, try to show her a little culture, and she turns a Chihuly into a giant phallus.”

“I’d say the artist did a fine job of that all by himself.”

Lyssa’s gaze scanned the length of the piece. “I suppose he did. Still, this could be a sign that it’s time for you to get yourself some.”

Trish laughed but declined to respond, instead giving her attention to the menu. Adam Helms was the first man to make her seriously consider losing her revirginity. If his kisses were any indication, a night of wrestling between the sheets with him could be the one way to top their perfect second date.


WHEN IT HOOKS YOU is available at Amazon.

Free to read in Kindle Unlimited

Learn more about Nicki’s books at nickielson.com


WHEN IT HOOKS YOU by @NickiElson3D #Contemporary #Romance #New #Release #Review

Title: When It Hooks You
Author: Nicki Elson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Three dates. It was only supposed to be three dates—he was only meant to be a fling. I didn’t want to feel all of this for him. And I certainly hadn’t counted on him keeping such a deal-breaking secret from me.

Till death is too long for Trish Cerise. The twenty-seven year old receptionist is tired of men asking for her forever when she just wants to keep things light and fun. World-traveling businessman Adam Helms steps off the elevator and into her life with his own reasons for keeping relationships at a safe distance. Together, they’re destined for the most glorious short-term romance in history…until they break their own rules and Trish learns something about Adam she wishes she never knew.

I know a future with him is impossible, but how do you break away from such an intense, consuming, heart-crushing love when it hooks you?  ~Trish

When It Hooks YouWhen It Hooks You by Nicki Elson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hooked on Nicki Elson‘s Books!

At age 27, law firm receptionist Trish is tired of the dating scene. She’d turned down a marriage proposal from her boyfriend Kurt, but when she thinks he’ll ask again, this time she plans to say yes.

When Kurt instead dumps her, Trish comes up with a new idea: she’ll only go on three dates with any guy. After three dates is where the heartache starts. What could possibly go wrong?

Cliff is a college friend who’s also an attorney at her law firm. (I happen to love Cliff and can’t wait for his story, coming next.) Trish mistakenly thinks Cliff is gay and tries to set him up with a guy. The gay guy is suspicious about Trish matching up with a lesbian on their double-date.

“You’ve got ‘I love dick’ written all over you. You might as well wear a T-shirt proclaiming it.”

Trish’s mouth opened wide in a silent gasp.

“See?” James pointed at her lips, his finger rotating. “The perfect shape and size. You know what you want in there.”

Cliff has the hots for Trish, but she’s more intrigued by stylish businessman Adam, a client at the firm. Adam overhears Trish’s three date max plan and their flirtation begins.

When Adam takes her on a dreamboat third date, including a surprise candlelit dinner on a yacht on the Chicago River, she’s definitely impressed.

“Does this look like a good spot to drop anchor?”

“Perfect. You seriously should get a job planning dates for The Bachelor.”

Trish and Adam develop feelings for each other that transcend the three-date limit. She wants to make an exception for him, but he may be unable to veer off their careful plan due to his secret past.

I definitely enjoyed this contemporary romance, and can’t wait for the next book in the series.

View all my reviews

Nicki writes spicy fiction with a sweet and dreamy center. She does other stuff, too—like obsess over reality TV. Writing fiction wasn’t something Nicki set out to do; it just sort of happened when she realized writing reports was by far her favorite part of her investment consulting position. She traded stock allocation and diversification for story arcs and dialogue and now weaves her creative writing time in with the other activities of her busy life with her family in the Chicago suburbs.

Author Links:
Buy Link: Amazon: http://amzn.to/1UxX0Eh#Free with #KindleUnlimited

“Do you miss him?” Adam asked.
“The ex-boyfriend who lives here? At times, I guess.”
“Is there any chance you brought me here because you want to run into him?”
She considered the idea, but shook her head, leaning her back against Adam’s chest. The temperature had lowered from the hot day at the baseball field. It was still warm enough for Trish to be comfortable in her strapless dress, but his body heat against her bare skin felt nice. “I saw him a couple of weeks ago—with his new girlfriend. I’ve apparently got some residual anger about the way he broke up with me, but no part of me wants to get back together with him.”
“Then why are we here?” Adam murmured into her ear.
“For this.” She swept an arm over the railing, gesturing toward the sky. “Showing you the sunset is the only reason, I swear. I never felt forever with him; end of story.”
Adam’s light exhale tickled Trish’s shoulder. “I’m glad for you that you can see things so clearly. Staying with the wrong person can end up being more lonely than being alone.”
“Sounds like you learned that one the hard way.”
“I did.”
Orange relinquished more and more of its claim on the sky. The massive smudge of color stained the clouds stormy gray even while their cottony edges flamed. Adam dropped a hand from the railing to wrap his arm around Trish’s waist.
She started at his touch and tilted her head to look at him. As soon as her eyes locked on his, he dropped his arm and shifted his gaze away from her to look across the wide deck toward the lake. The brilliant blue in the east had darkened to midnight. She turned her whole body to be front-to-front with him. Touching her hand to the side of his face, she brought his focus back to her. She was done waiting for him to make a move.
“I know you said it was best to not get physical,” she said, noting the faint press of new stubble against her palm. “But I hope kisses don’t count because I’m going to kiss you, Mr. Helms. If that goes well, I don’t plan to stop until your face turns purple and you’re gasping for air.”
He didn’t move or say anything to dissuade her, but a terrified flash raced across his eyes—now made coppery under the scorched heavens. Trish plastered her mouth against his. She’d take away his fear. She’d pull him up to the surface of his melancholy sea and breathe lightness into him.
His mouth was stiff, but she touched her coaxing lips to his again and again until he relented. He was gentle, almost timid, but at the first graze of her tongue against his, he lunged into her. One of his hands splayed across her bare back and the other claimed the base of her spine, pulling her against him. His kiss became ravenous, nearly desperate.
Tasting his need fueled Trish’s desire to satisfy him. Their frenzied mouths moved against each other. Only half aware of what the rest of her body was doing, she raked her fingers through the back of his sculpted hair and coiled a leg around him.
The muted sound of the latch engaging at the rooftop entrance recalled them to reality. She lowered her thigh, and they pulled their mouths apart but continued to hold each other close. His heavy breath cooled the wetness coating her lips.
“Is my face purple enough for you?” he murmured as a boisterous group emerged onto the roof.
Trish laughed, leaning in to rest the side of her face against his. “I’m not through with you, Mr. Helms.”

New Release: VIBRIZZIO by @NickiElson3D #Review #Giveaway


Congratulations to my critique partner on the release of her contemporary romance VIBRIZZIO!

Lyssa Bates doesn’t need a man. Not when the world is fully-stocked with double A batteries and a wide array of options in Amazon’s health and sexual wellness category. After yet another failed relationship, the twenty-six-year-old investment analyst is convinced that real guys aren’t ever going to live up to her expectations—so why should she bother with them? She’s determined to keep her dating life purely electronic…though she occasionally fantasizes about Hayden King, the delicious new associate she just got partnered with at work.

While Lyssa manages her romantic risks by deleting men from of the equation, the ever-charming Hayden protects his heart by diversifying his love life across multiple women. As the two young professionals travel together around the country for business, their flirty working relationship develops into a close friendship that hurtles toward something more. Between hot tub confessions in Baltimore, an accidental kiss in Dallas, and an all-nighter in Chicago, Hayden proves himself to be better than any fantasy.


I adored this story, as you can see from my review. Check out the tour schedule HERE.

VibrizzioVibrizzio by Nicki Elson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Funny, Heartwarming Romance

Nicki Elson has a talent for writing humorous, engaging characters, and Lyssa Bates is my favorite so far. Lyssa’s an investment analyst in her twenties who dates a cute, skinny nerd named Keith.

He was a runner and also dabbled in martial arts and whatever else was the current rage in nerd culture.

Keith buys her a vibrator to spice up their sex life, and Lyssa likes her new toy. A lot. Lyssa likes her vibrator so much that she nicknames it Vibrizzio, her sexy Italian lover.

Keith isn’t so enamored of Vibrizzio, especially when Lyssa always insists on a threesome. That’s gotta be a new low when a boyfriend is jealous of a lil’ machine.

Meanwhile, Lyssa get assigned to an important account at work: Project Pineapple. Heading the team is the gorgeous Hayden King. He’s a rising star in the company, confident and competent. He’s curious about Lyssa, but she seriously doubts his interest in her.

Hayden learns about Vibrizzio in an unfortunate airport incident. Damn the TSA! Lyssa tries to play the vibrator off as a flashlight. Later, at a dimly lit restaurant:

He nodded and squinted. “This lighting’s pretty dim. I’m having trouble seeing my choices—do you have that flashlight handy?” His handsome features stayed perfectly composed as he narrowed his eyes further and tilted his head to the side. “Can I borrow it for a sec?”

Lyssa stared at him, hard, and didn’t say a word. Flicking his eyes up, he held her gaze while the corners of his mouth twitched.

“Having fun?” Lyssa asked.

He shrugged. “Not as much as you apparently plan on having later.”

Lyssa disdains the plentiful women Hayden seems to attract. After one of his trysts, they chat.

”That woman has an ass that won’t quit.”

Lyssa wrinkled her face. “What exactly does that expression even mean? An ass that won’t quit? Think about the primary function of an ass—I’d think that’s the sort of thing you might want to quit.”

Lyssa’s sister is rather bitchy, but Lyssa dishes it right back:

”How’s the big bad city treating you,” Jessica asked, pulling back and holding her hand to her sister’s face, running a thumb over her cheek. “Yikes, all those exhaust fumes are hell on the pores, I see.”

“The city’s great, Jess. Too bad you never got a chance to live there.”

“Well, some of us move on with our lives and can’t stay stuck in the party-party atmosphere of the college years forever.”

“True. And some of us feel the need to experience life before bending to the will of an arcane society.”

I would hate a judgmental sister like that.

I could feel the romantic tension building between Lyssa and Hayden, but it’s tough for her to see. When the idea arises of Hayden dating Lyssa’s friend Trish, Lyssa tries to be okay with it.

He pursed his lips. “Normally this is something I’d be all over, but I haven’t been feeling normal lately.” He leveled his eyes at her.

“Is this something you should talk to your gynecologist about?” Lyssa asked.

He grinned. “You’re extra sassy today, which means you’re using humor to divert your discomfort. I think maybe you’re not as okay with this as you claim to be.”

Hayden knows Lyssa well.

This story had me beaming and cheering at the end. HIGHLY recommended!

View all my reviews

I’ve had the pleasure of reading book two in the series, Revirginated, and it is equally awesome!

AUTHOR BIO:

Writing wasn’t something Nicki set out to do; it just sort of happened when she realized writing reports was by far her favorite part of her investment consulting position. She traded stock allocation and diversification for story arcs and dialogue and now weaves her creative writing time in with the other activities of her busy life with her family in the Chicago suburbs.

Nicki writes with two goals in mind: #1 to keep the characters realistic, even when their circumstances are anything but, and #2 to make the reader feel. Watch for her new title Vibrizzio, coming in 2015 from Swoon Romance. Her published works include Three Daves, a light-hearted romantic romp through a 1980s college campus, Divine Temptation, a romantic novel of angelic proportions, and Hans & Greta: a Twisted Fairy Tale Novella. Her published short stories include “Sway” (available as a single), “I Don’t Do Valentine’s Day” (part of A Valentine Anthology), and “Impressionism 101” (included in the debut issue of Insatiable: The Magazine of Paranormal Desire).

New Release VIBRIZZIO by @NickiElson3D #Naughty #Romance


Great news, ladies – VVVVVVIBRIZZIO by Nicki Elson is here! Guys, uhm, well…

Lyssa Bates doesn’t need a man. Not when the world is fully-stocked with double A batteries (long-lasting) and a wide array of options in Amazon’s health and sexual wellness category. Thank the gods of Internet ordering.

After yet another failed relationship, the twenty-six-year-old investment analyst is convinced that real guys aren’t ever going to live up to her expectations—so why should she bother with them when the only thing standing between her and her next mind-blowing O is the case in which she keeps Vibrizzio? Yep. She gave it a name. An Italian name!

She’s determined to keep her dating life purely electronic…though she occasionally fantasizes about Hayden King, the delicious new associate she just got partnered with at work.

As the two young professionals travel together around the country for business, their flirty working relationship develops into a close friendship that hurtles toward something more.

Between hot tub confessions in Baltimore, an accidental kiss in Dallas, and an all-nighter in Chicago, Hayden proves himself to be better than any fantasy, and Vibrizzio’s days may finally be numbered.


I’m so excited this book is out in the world–I LOVED it. Come back May 5th for my review and giveaway on the blog tour!

VIBRIZZIO by @NickiElson3D #Cover #Reveal

I’m bursting with excitement for the release of Nicki Elson‘s new novel Vibrizzio! I was lucky to be a pre-reader and I LOVED this hilarious story–see my review HERE.

Vibrizzio by Nicki Elson 

Published by: Swoon Romance

Publication date: April 21st 2015

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Synopsis:

Lyssa Bates doesn’t need a man. Not when the world is fully-stocked with double A batteries and a wide array of options in Amazon’s health and sexual wellness category. After yet another failed relationship, the twenty-six-year-old investment analyst is convinced that real guys aren’t ever going to live up to her expectations—so why should she bother with them? She’s determined to keep her dating life purely electronic…though she occasionally fantasizes about Hayden King, the delicious new associate she just got partnered with at work.

While Lyssa manages her romantic risks by deleting men from of the equation, the ever-charming Hayden protects his heart by diversifying his love life across multiple women. As the two young professionals travel together around the country for business, their flirty working relationship develops into a close friendship that hurtles toward something more. Between hot tub confessions in Baltimore, an accidental kiss in Dallas, and an all-nighter in Chicago, Hayden proves himself to be better than any fantasy.

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AUTHOR BIO:

Writing wasn’t something Nicki set out to do; it just sort of happened when she realized writing reports was by far her favorite part of her investment consulting position. She traded stock allocation and diversification for story arcs and dialogue and now weaves her creative writing time in with the other activities of her busy life with her family in the Chicago suburbs.

Nicki writes with two goals in mind: #1 to keep the characters realistic, even when their circumstances are anything but, and #2 to make the reader feel. Watch for her new title Vibrizzio, coming in 2015 from Swoon Romance. Her published works include Three Daves, a light-hearted romantic romp through a 1980s college campus, Divine Temptation, a romantic novel of angelic proportions, and Hans & Greta: a Twisted Fairy Tale Novella. Her published short stories include “Sway” (available as a single), “I Don’t Do Valentine’s Day” (part of A Valentine Anthology), and “Impressionism 101” (included in the debut issue of Insatiable: The Magazine of Paranormal Desire

Author Links: