Date With A Vampire (Ep 2) What We Do In The Shadows

Welcome to Date With A Vampire, a fun Thursday feature every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month. Here I make recommendations on vampire themed books and movies, along with my suggestions for thirst quenchers and nibbles to enjoy on your “date.”

Dearest fangiacs, I’d like to introduce you to tonight’s date: Viago

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

The Film: What We Do in the Shadows written and directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi

For this date night you absolutely MUST, not only have a sense of humor, but go one step further and open your mind to the complete and utter absurd. This movie is ridiculous. Viago is ridiculous. His roommates are ridiculous. I laughed my head off!

What We Do in the Shadows is filmed as a mock doc—a gory, outrageous spoof on reality TV.

When I’m feeling my most down (life sucks, full on frustration), I’ve always found laughter stabilizing. Viago turned out to be just what I needed. I hooked up with him via Amazon (free to Prime members at the time of this posting).

For this date, I brought Kettle Corn, strawberry licorice twists, and organic Chewie Fruities from Torie & Howard. Aurora especially approved of the popcorn, since she loves crunchy snacks. With her taste buds out of commission, she goes more for texture: crunchy over chewy. (I like both!)

Single men often come with roommates and Viago, you should know, has three with a fourth on the way. Petyr keeps to himself in the basement, thank goodness. Vladislav has a sexy accent, and sense of fashion he calls “dead, but delicious.” Deacon never does his chores, but he makes up for it with handknitted gifts and his erotic dance performances.

Then there’s newbie Nick who messes up the whole household dynamic and, worst of all, interrupts Deacon’s aforementioned erotic dance.

If the preview makes you laugh, give this one a go and let me know what you think of it in comments, or by tweet or Facebook. What are your favorite movie snacks?

***

If you appreciate a date who makes you laugh and missed episode 1 with Fred, the Vampire Accountant, catch it here.

NEXT MONTH: Blondes Have More Fun! We’ll kick off May with Lestat from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, and include a giveaway.

Date With A Vampire (Ep 1) The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant by Drew Hayes

Welcome to your first date with a vampire, a fun new Thursday feature every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month.

In Date With A Vampire, I make recommendations on vampire themed books and movies I find amusing, along with my suggestions for thirst quenchers and nibbles to enjoy on your “date.” The theme for April is funny. Keep reading to learn more about our first bachelor with bite: Fred!

Full name: Fredrick Frankford Fletcher

(“Yes,” Fred says, “that name did get me beaten up quite frequently when I was a child.”)

Occupation: Accountant

Hobbies: Watching vampire movies

Favorite Eats & Drinks, Aside From Blood: Merlot and Cheese

The Book: The Utterly Uninteresting & Unadventurous Tales of Fred, The Vampire Accountant by Drew Hayes

Looking for a little tax time relief? Fred’s offbeat humor had me at first sight – the cover! One look at that sucker and I knew I was in for a good time.

Fred is funny without intending to be funny, which makes him even funnier. (Don’t you just love an undead man with a sense of irony?)

We started our date with Fred’s favorites: red wine and cheese. I am in absolute LOVE with Miyoko’s Creamery, vegan – non-dairy – organic, cultured nut cheeses. The double cream chive is to die for!

Although Fred prefers to stay in, he decided to step outside his comfort zone by attending his 10 year high school reunion, held around Halloween. It kicked off with a costume party, thankfully after sunset. Freddy dressed up as a doctor. If you’re wondering why he didn’t done a black cape and come as a vampire, Fred explains it best. “The point of a Halloween costume is to be something you are not.” Since Fred’s a vampire, that would have been cheating and Fred doesn’t cheat. He’s a hardworking, honest man. They don’t unmake them like that anymore.

Fred wasn’t one for mingling, way fine by me. We hit up the refreshment table and sipped on “the poorly flavored sugar water they had the gall to call punch.” (I told you to sneak in your blood flask, Fred.)

We were about to bag the whole thing when the lights suddenly went out and we heard screams. I’ll stop there. I have no intention of spoiling date night should you make the wise decision to give Fred a call.

If you appreciate oddball humor you’ll have a great time with Fred! I’ve already agreed to a second date with book two, Undeath & Taxes.

For more laughs, check out Viago’s date, served with candied popcorn and red whips. Take a trip to New Zealand in the wacky film: What We Do In The Shadows.

Buffy Turns 20

Here’s the man who inspired me to write paranormal YA . . . a genre I once claimed I’d never write. I was writing historical romance and acquisitions editors kept telling me my storytelling was original and engaging, but my language was “too modern.”
Then I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer seven years ago and was immediately converted over to “the dark side.” What a fun place to be!

Happy 20th Anniversary to the creators of Buffy. Rolling Stones wrote a fascinating article about how the show changed TV forever. Check it out HERE.

Vampires of the Caribbean

iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon US | UK | AU | CA | DE

Fane’s back! Or as he says in his Vampires of the Caribbean story, “Never say die.” (Especially if you’re undead.)

Fane’s story, A Vampire’s Life For Me, prequels the Aurora Sky series. Spending extra time with my favorite fang boy reminded me not to take life so seriously – to find the humor in everyday moments. Click here to read an excerpt.

If you think you’re in need of a refresher, the Aurora Sky Quiz can help you determine if you’re an Assassin, Informant, or Vamp Bait.

Sexy supernaturals in Alaska!
I knew Aurora Sky readers would want to hear about this. Author Debra Dunbar, captain of the Vampires of the Caribbean anthology, is including a *Bonus Novella* on all pre-orders of her upcoming novel Northern Lights (An Imp World Novel).
I’ve already pre-ordered my copy and have myself a date with the Angel of Order, Mr. Raphael on April 11th. Deb says you don’t need to have read the Imp series before Northern Lights. Who else wants to meet Rafi?!
Click on any of these fine retailers: Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, or B&N.

Happy reading!

Read An Excerpt From Fane’s New Aurora Sky Story

My favorite fang boy is back!

If you’re a Faniac, or an Aurora Sky series diehard, you won’t want to miss this all new prequel story. Fane encounters his first vampire hunter, but (as you know) it won’t be his last!

Keep reading for a sneak peek of his new story, A Vampire’s Life For Me, appearing in the Vampires of the Caribbean anthology on March 15th, 10 tales that include New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors.

A Vampire’s Life For Me Excerpt –

Palm trees fanned out overhead as I made my way to Maho Beach on the Dutch side of St. Maarten. Bright lights beckoned nighttime revelers into the island’s after-hours clubs. Techno music thumped from open windows and doors. Groups of beautiful young people walked past me, laughing with genuine pleasure. Humid air bathed my arms in warmth, and I felt something I hadn’t in years—the thrum of life swirling up inside me.

I reveled in the sensation, drifting down the walkway, in no rush to reach my destination.

I lit a cigarette, took a puff, then tossed it in the next trash bin, too taken up breathing in the new surroundings to cloud it up with smoke.

Before leaving the hotel, I texted Cassie: Where do you want to meet?

To which she replied: ur really here? 🙂 Red Rum Lounge asap. Tonight we play. Work tomorrow. 😉

Good to know the years hadn’t dampened Cassie’s spirits. Even murder and the possibility of a vampire hunter lurking around the islands couldn’t get in the way of her evening fun.

Not surprisingly, Joss elected to remain cooped up in our ocean-facing penthouse, curtains drawn.

I didn’t understand why he grumbled so much. He could read a book just as well in the Caribbean as he could back in New York. A lot of vampires would kill to be in his position. He had his very own vamp daddy offering extravagance and adventure, no strings attached, and he chose to spend it reading.

In theory, we had all the time in the world, but I’d never let that slow me down. Life was meant to be lived, whether there were decades or centuries ahead of us.

As I walked past a group of women in string bikini tops and cutoff jean shorts, my phone vibrated inside my pocket. Pulling out my phone, I saw a new text from Cassie: where r u?

I grinned as I typed: Marco

Two seconds later Cassie replied: POLO!!!

With a laugh, I pocketed my phone. I could practically hear Cassie squealing inside my brain. My steps quickened, suddenly spurred on by the prospect of socializing. There’d be plenty of time for sightseeing in the days to come.

Soon I reached the Red Rum Lounge, the name lit up inside a large red rectangular sign outside. Live reggae music played within. The bar was already jam packed with a mass of twenty-somethings dominating the demographic. They danced and smiled like they were having the time of their lives. The animation inside had an intoxicating effect that rushed over me instantly.

Energy pulsed through my body. It felt a bit like drinking blood. My heart soared with happiness to be here in this moment. If I’d been mortal, I would have missed all the dazzling achievements mankind had made—railways and steam trains, air travel, space travel, the fashions, the music, the literature and art. My life might have ended with the Black Death and a place inside the Donado burial vault. Instead, it went on and on, and it was the most wonderful thing. Moments such as these made me feel outside myself, my mind a marvel at the extraordinary gift life had given me when I thought of all the people, undead and otherwise, I would have never met had I died when I should have.

A slow scan of the crowd led me to Cassie standing at the bar drumming her pink painted nails on the counter. She kept her head turned to the door, which made me smile, delighted I’d slipped into the club undetected.

She leaned over the counter briefly before lifting her head again. As she did, my phone vibrated.

Marco?

Her text made me grin.

Sticking to her blind spot, I made my way over while drinking in the sight of her long, slender, sexy legs. From this angle a mere swatch of tight denim covered her toned ass, leaving the rest of her body exposed.

Her wheat-colored hair had been pulled over her shoulders, leaving her back completely exposed with the exception of the white straps knotted at the back of her neck.

Blood rushed to my groin. I felt an insatiable urge to bite her. Drink from her. But Cassie had a type and it wasn’t anything AB. Like a wine connoisseur, she knew her reds better than most vamps and turned up her nose at any blood that was vampire, or had the biological ability to become vampire.

This only made me want to bite her more.

I ran the tip of my tongue languidly over the back molars I’d filed to points. Nothing too obvious, didn’t want to detract from the charming Donado Cheshire grin. They were merely to assist in piercing flesh more delicately.

Cassie kept her eyes facing the club’s entrance. Her fingers rested on the counter then began drumming anew. I smirked to myself, eager to join her but not quite ready to relinquish the delectable view of her from behind.

About five seconds before I risked slithering over to the creeper zone, I crossed the remaining distance, pressed myself against Cassie’s back, and whispered huskily beside her ear, “Polo.”

***

You froze your buns off with them in Alaska, now join Fane and Joss in the Caribbean! BYOB. 😉

iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon US | UK | AU | CA | DE

What’s Next?

Adventure. Romance. Tyranny. Betrayal. Revenge. Man vs. Nature. A hero’s quest!

I have been hard at work to bring you exciting new story experiences; writing and rewriting; running books through beta readers and editors; and rewriting some more.

I have two new series with the first book complete in each. I don’t want to go into too much detail until I have concrete news to share, but here’s a little behind-the-scenes look at what’s happening.

Pride and Prejudice meets Game of Thrones.

My agent and I are doing things a bit backwards with this series by going after a TV deal before a book deal. At the beginning of this year I worked with a script writing team who came up with a brilliant pilot outline and detailed 13-episode series outline.

This series is my magnum opus. Creating something on this scale has been a transcendent experience. It grew into something I never imagined in my wildest dreams. I’m so grateful to my team and look forward to sharing more about them and the entire project in the coming months.

In the meantime, you can meet some of the Far North Fairy Tale characters in The Toad Prince, my story that appears in the Once Upon A Kiss Anthology.

Next up, wolf shifters!

A rebellious outcast.

A dutiful pureblood.

An attraction that threatens the future of the pack.

The other series I’m working on takes place in a post-apocalyptic world with wolf shifters, wizards, and all kinds of creatures, including some of the surviving human race. (Not the kind of people you want to run into.)

Each book follows a new couple from Wolf Hollow and works as a standalone within the same world.

Currently, the first book is being considered by my dream editor.

Over the years, I’ve learned to be cautiously optimistic. I’ve been chasing a career in fiction writing since the 90’s. Back then rejections came in the mail and I amassed a huge stack. I love the digital age with the ease and speed of email, though it is still a slow process when going after a traditional deal. In the meantime, I keep writing and always striving to deepen the story experience.

To keep up on these series, there are several ways to stay in touch. I recommend multiple forms in case you miss something somewhere, which readers are constantly telling me happened!

Nikki’s Newsletter (most recommended)

Follow on Amazon US or UK

Follow on BookBub

Like Nikki’s Facebook Author Page

Follow on Instagram @nikkijefford

Follow on Twitter @nikkijefford

I can’t wait for you to step into these new worlds with me!

XO – Nikki

3 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block

Brain blockage. I’ve been there time and time again. Festering thoughts getting in the way of productivity. Then there’s the hurdles life throws our way for extra shits and giggles. In the past eight years, we’ve lived in four different states and moved seven times. Now we have to move yet again.

With the real world consistently interfering, here are my 3 best go-to tips for keeping focused and creative.

  1. READ

You wouldn’t expect to speak a second language without also listening to the words. Storytelling, like language, is a unique form of communication. The more you listen and read, the more natural it becomes.

Reading can help problem solve.

Crafting a catchy opening page has been a lifelong challenge for me. I can spend days, weeks even, working on a book’s first paragraph.

Whiteout, Aurora Sky, Vol. 5, gave me particular hardship. So I turned to White Fang by Jack London. Not only did reading the book help put me in my own book’s climate (an Alaskan winter), but the chilling opening inspired me to raise the bar on my own.

White Fang Opening:

Whiteout Opening:

The other challenge Whiteout presented was that while my main character, Aurora Sky, was on the lam, lots of crucial events were unfolding behind the scenes. If only I could tell part of the story from Fane’s POV. But the first four books in the series were solely first person: Aurora’s. I agonized that suddenly giving Fane a POV would throw readers off.

Sometime while debating the issue in my head for the zillionth time, I sprained my ankle and had six weeks of keeping off my foot and allowing it to heal properly (unlike the first time I sprained it).

While couchbound, I decided to catch up on the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. As I read book 4, Origin, I noticed that suddenly Daemon had first person POV scenes. It flowed naturally and added to the story, especially with Katy and Daemon being separated.

Reading Origin made me realize that there is no set rule that says just because you start a series from one character’s POV you can’t add in others along the way.

Adding Fane’s chapters solved many plot problems I was having. They were also my favorite to write. Most telling of all, after Whiteout released, readers messaged to tell me how much they loved the addition of Fane’s POV.

  1. PERSONAL HEALTH

Everyone gets this one. The challenge is to make health a priority. As with writing, it’s crucial to get into a daily routine.

A) Exercise

Benefits not only the body, but the brain! Sharpen your mind, lift your mood, combat stress and sleepless nights. Need extra motivation? I highly recommend reading SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey.

B) Mindset

This one is so important it deserves its own post. Instead of recounting my own struggles, pitfalls and triumphs, I’m going to recommend more books since I believe reading is the answer to everything. 😉 My favorite motivational reads: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Starting Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero; The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone; Reinvent Yourself by James Altucher; Singletasking: Get More Done—One Thing at a Time by Devora Zack; and The Miracle Morning for Writers: How to Build a Ritual That Increases Your Impact and Your Income (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod.

C) DIET

I’m a foodie. Watching my weight is a constant struggle. I’ve been a vegetarian since the 90’s and have eaten mostly vegan for the past decade. But I love bread, fried foods, and dessert. Even when I’m overweight (darn you bread, cookies, and French fries!) I always make an effort to eat plenty of healthy foods. I’m in love with the Magic Bullet from NutriBullet. In addition to the ease of whipping up super smoothies and being easy to clean, it comes with a glossy little recipe book that includes tasty soups, salads, and wraps. I could fill entire bookshelves with all my cookbooks. The one I’ve been using the most lately is Oh She Glows Every Day: Quick and Simply Satisfying Plant-based Recipes by Angela Liddon who offers an entire index of her recipes free over at oh she glows. When I’m extra motivated, I cook from Everyday Happy Herbivore by Lindsay S. Nixon. I’ve also found her subscription service over at Meal Mentor helpful.

  1. TUNE THE WORLD OUT

We spent four years living in the San Juan Islands, renting on five acres of peace and quiet . . . then we moved to the mainland in Washington State. The adjustment challenged me. It’s hard enough to focus my A.D.D. addled brain without adding in all the neighborhood noises. As I type this post, a house across the street is being demolished and taken away load by load in dump trucks. Last summer’s neighborhood expansion meant nonstop trucks filled with gravel driving by all the live long day.

Cosmo (pictured below) turns into Cujo every time a delivery truck drives by or someone comes to the front door – constantly jolting me out of my train of thoughts.

That’s just the external stuff.

I’ve had to go ninja, Jedi mind master. Laser focusing on writing. There is only the story. Everything else fades into the background. It can be done! The best tip/trick is single tasking. Once you jump over to social media or look something up online, you’re done. Save marketing and online engagement for a separate session. When you’re writing, write. There is only the story.

Since music is a huge help for so many people, I wanted to share some personal recommendations. I can’t listen to anything with words while writing my own words, but musical scores and soundtracks have several key benefits of covering external and internal noise, and evoking emotions that bring you into the scenes you’re crafting.

While typing this post, I’m listening to one of my favorite Amazon Prime soundtracks: Scores for Focus.

Other favorites include: The Shannara Chronicles, Harry Potter, Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit, and Game Of Thrones.

Finally, HAVE FUN! Remember to look up from your phone and enjoy the beauty all around. Experience this miraculous thing called life. Be kind to others. Connect with humans face-to-face. Get your heart pumping by stepping outside your comfort zone.

It all goes by in a flash. Set aside your self-doubts and enjoy every second you can!

 

Vampires of the Caribbean Available For Pre-Order

iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon US | UK | AU | CA | DE

Yo, ho, ho, and a bottle of blood!

Fane returns in a sexy, thrilling story of intrigue and adventure in his story: “A Vampire’s Life For Me.”

Anthology includes New York Times and USA Today Bestsellers. Ten tales of vampire adventures set in the Caribbean.

Releases: March 15th

Pre-order your copy today for only 99¢ at most online book retailers.
iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon US | UK | AU | CA | DE

Kindle Fire Giveaway – Ends 3/19


This week marks the 5 year anniversary of publishing my first novel, Entangled, from the Spellbound Trilogy.

Putting that first title out there was one of the scariest and most satisfying moments in my life. Books have always been my #1 go-to escape. Stories have saved me, time after time.

Thank you for all your support, whether you read my books, reviewed them, recommended them to reading friends, shared posts on social media, or all of the above! I’m excited about the next 5 years with big goals to take storytelling to the next level. There are already two new series in the works, an epic fantasy that’s grown into a mammoth story beyond my wildest dreams. And a sexy and exciting dystopian fantasy romance with wolf shifters. It will be wonderful to share more updates in the coming months. I look forward to dazzling you with new worlds, adventures, and characters to love (and loathe)!

Below, you’ll find a link to enter an indie-versary, reader appreciation giveaway Stacey Marie Brown and I are joint hosting. It turns out her indie-versary is this week, too!

Enter HERE for a chance to win:
1) Kindle Fire
2) $25 Amazon Card
3) A signed copy of ANY of Stacey’s or Nikki’s books!

Thank you for reading!

Photo: Courtesy of Spellbound cover designer, Najla Qamber.

New Release 99¢ Once Upon A Kiss

Happy Fairy Tale February!
This month I’m thrilled to announce the release of ONCE UPON A KISS, an anthology featuring seventeen all new, magical stories from NY Times and USA Today bestsellers and award-winning authors that will warm even the coldest hearts. Inspired by old favorites as well as lesser-known tales – all with fresh, romantic twists – just in time for Valentine’s Day. 🌹
The anthology includes “The Toad Prince”, a spin-off of “The Frog Prince”, with characters from my upcoming Far North Fairy Tales series.
When creating the character Prince Atsu in “The Toad Prince”, I envisioned Pepé Le Pew from Looney Tunes, ever intent on capturing his “belle femme.”
 

Download your copy while it’s only 99¢!

iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Amazon US | UK | AU | CA | DE

If you read the anthology, please let me know what you think of “The Toad Prince.” Tweet me @NikkiJefford or tag on Facebook or Instagram. #ToadPrince🐸👑