Sunday, February 8, 2015

The IMA Series -- Thing 1 and Thing 2

I just realized the humor in having two books in the same series with the same initials. Cloak and Dagger. Cease and Desist. They're both C&D. It's kind of crazy. Sometimes I forget which book I'm even talking about. So I think I'll start calling them Thing 1 and Thing 2.

The sneak peek for Thing 2 is up, by the way. It's on my Goodreads blog. All you gotta do is click that thang (2). I posted the entire first chapter because that's how much I adore you guys.

If you're feeling lucky, and happen to be a U.S. resident, you can also apply for a paperback giveaway I'm hosting for Thing 1.

I'll post more news when I can! Are you guys excited? Because I'm so nervous, the butterflies in my stomach could just plum carry me away.

Don't mind me, just claiming my blog.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Black Friday Deals: All My Books Are 99 Cents!

I don't believe people should be at a disadvantage for wanting to spend the Thanksgiving holidays with their families. That is part of the reason I have always loved Cyber Monday: you can shop from home, and don't have to deal with the crowds--in fact, you never have to leave your armchair.

That's why all my books are going to be ninety-nine cents from now until cyber Monday on both Smashwords and Amazon. The omnibus editions of Horrorscape and Shadow Thane--DEADLY GAMES and WITCHFIRE will be $2.99 each, as opposed to their regular $6.99 and $5.99 respectively (and you get all three books in the series bundled--what a steal).

Nenia's Smashwords page

Nenia's Amazon page

The changes have already been made on Smashwords, but there's a couple hours' lag on Ammy. So if they haven't registered, just check back in a few hours!

I am truly grateful for my readers and, especially, my fans. Please spread the word and let others know about this sale!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Out with the Old and In with the New...Makeup, That Is!

I'm a closet girly-girl. I say I'm closeted because, given the choice, I'd rather not clothes shop (it's too depressing -- at my size, I generally have my choice of "color blind bag lady" and "frumpy mama"), or get a manicure (I'm twitchy and have a short attention span and don't really like people touching my hands), or my hair (too much PTSD from bad haircuts...also, twitchiness and boredom).

But makeup, on the other hand, is something I can really get on board with. It's like art...for your face! And whereas those other three activities I listed are pretty costly and time consuming, makeup (if you budget yourself carefully) can be pretty affordable, and, if you watch the right videos, fast to apply. (Obviously you'll want to practice.)

My problem is that I didn't use to wear makeup all that much, especially not in college. Who gives a fuck about what color your lips are when you're cramming for a final exam in cognitive neuroscience? (And yes, that is totally a class, and yes, it is as hard as it sounds.) I only wore makeup on special occasions, which meant I kept it on hand far longer than is advisable. And, given my limited funds, I was unwilling to part with said makeup.

I'm that person who pretty much keeps her makeup around until it gets gross. It used to be a pretty common occurence that I'd open up a lip gloss, and find out that it had separated, so it was thick and gooey on the bottom and watery and clear on top. Or that it'd smell funny. Or once, when I opened up a three-year old compact of Revlon concealer, covered with a thin sprinkling of mold.

I immediately made a goal to myself that I would not be That Person who had twenty-year-old lip glosses in her purse. Also, I'm really making an effort to actually use what I buy. For example, last year, a 150-color palette of ELF eye shadow went on clearance for, like, five dollars. I really wanted to buy it, so I made myself promise that I would actually use the eye shadow if I bought it. And I have. Some colors more than others, but I really have been using it. So I'm proud of myself.

Anyway, today I bought some makeup at the store where I work because a) I'm getting a feel for the colors that do and don't work for me (I used to be clueless), and want to get rid of the ones that don't, and b) I have an employee discount, which means that makeup is even more affordable.

The first thing I got was Sinful Colors nail polish in Cauldron Couture.

It's a Halloween color, so it was on Clearance. I think by the time all the discounts were applied, it was only about fifty or sixty cents. I really like Sinful Colors. I bought a bright red by them for my 1920s Halloween costume, and it looked really great (and was only about $1.99 full price).

I also have another color by them, a metallic electric blue called Hottie, that looks like something straight out of Frozen. It's such a lovely, icy color, and I haven't seen it's like anywhere else.

For Halloween I also bought a lipstick by Rimmel called Rosetto. It's from Kate Moss's line and has a really great, luminous red color without any orange undertones. I cannot wear orange or yellow, so this is great. I need solid reds or pink reds, and it is surprisingly hard to find a solid red.

But this one is.

The only thing I don't like about Rimmel is that the caps aren't sealed in plastic like Revlon or No7, so I had to look inside each one and make sure that they hadn't been used. (People are so disgusting sometimes.) Rosetto is almost the exact shade as No7's Love Red, but half the price. It also smells like cherry chapstick, which is a little disconcerting. Since when does lipstick have a smell?

It bleeds like a mother, and the best way to stop bleeding is to use a lipliner, which I didn't have. I think the last lip liner I owned was in middle school, and it was a dark purple, and oh my god, I paired it with all the wrong lip colors and I'm pretty sure I looked like a chola.

It was really, really bad. Let us never speak of it again.

Anyway, I found an affordable lipliner for a little over $5, sealed in plastic just the way I like it. This one is by L'Oreal (because I'm worth it), and called Always Red.

I haven't actually used it, yet. Tomorrow, probably!

What I'm trying to do is get rid of things when I buy new things, so I don't end up with a crapton of stuff that I don't need. I'm trying to do that with clothes. There are a lot of things in my closet that don't fit (I call them my "I wish" pants -- as in, I wish that I still fit into them, and keep them around as testament to the fact that both I used to fit into them, and might someday fit into them again) and I'm trying to get rid of these things, because keeping them around is just sad. I'd rather have things that fit. And if I lose the weight I've gained over the years, then I fucking deserve to go shopping.

SO since I bought makeup, I decided to go through my drawers and see what was moldering away that could be thrown away to make place for my fun, shiny new toys.

And here is what I found:

Clinique eyeshadow -- it's probably about seven years old. I haven't worn it for at least four years. So it's been sitting there, being like, SOON. I think it's time to toss it, don't you?

Clinique face wash -- I have no idea how old this is. I've had it since high school, but since it's a scrub I stopped feeling comfortable using it on my face years and years ago. But since it was expensive, I kept it around...out of guilt. No longer. Bye, zombie wash!

ELF eyeshadow -- ELF (Eyes Lips Face) is probably one of my favorite brands. They're cheap, and they don't seem to have terrible ingredients because they don't give me bad skin reactions. (Clinique, on the other hand, has -- their face concealer used to make my skin peel...ughhh.) But these colors -- moss and yellow green, and royal and robin's-egg-blue -- just didn't work with my complexion.

ELF glitter body powder -- I LOVE THIS SHIT. I bought it last year during the holidays, and then they stopped fucking selling it. I am so white, that most concealers, even the lightest beige, are too dark on me. This stuff was supposed to be transparent but actually made for a great concealer. When mixed with lotion, it also added a nice (but toned down) sparkle that made for a dewy finish. As you can see, I pretty much used it up, which I almost never manage to do with makeup (sadly). It's down to a few sad little crumbs, and I am very sad to see it go. Please make more of it, a.s.a.p. I'll be waiting!

Patti Dubroff cream eyeshadow pencil -- Patti Dubroff is another one of my favorite makeup brands, and they frequently have her stuff in value packs at Costco. I have two different sets of her lipglosses (pinks and nudes), two eyeshadow sets (her "dream palette" and a lipgloss, eyeshadow, eyeliner, and blusher set that is fucking AWESOME), and a bunch of her cream pencils. Her neutrals are better than her colors, though. This one was the color of a bad bruise and made me look like I'd been punched in the face when I wore it. The green one that came with it is better, because it has a kind of oxidized copper finish on my skin tone that looks smoky and kind of nice.

The moral of this story is:

1. Makeup can be affordable.

2. Makeup is a good way to look like you've put in a lot of effort even if you're lazy (like me) or hate clothes (like me).

3. You should probably throw away your makeup at some point, especially if it's been several years.

4. Even if you have your favorites, you can still be (pleasantly) surprised by new brands.

5. Sometimes the cheaper brands are just as good as the more expensive ones.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why I Won't Be Stalking You: An Open Letter to Readers and Authorsplainers

I have been sharing my writing with people online since I was about fifteen. I have been selling my books for money since I was twenty-two. I am now twenty-five, and while I am still naive about many facets of life, publishing and author professionalism are not among them.*

*Although this is not to say that I have not done stupid things in the past. I have had moments of unprofessionalism, but they are nothing I am too ashamed of. I think of my mistakes both as a learning experience and as an exercise in humility: none of us are above making asses of ourselves.

Recently, however, there have been a lot of authors making asses of themselves. And they are spewing all this shit into the blogosphere like they think it's Chanel No.5 and we should be grateful for having their virtual stink thrust upon us. Um, yeah, no thanks. As an independent author, I am already at a distinct disadvantage career-wise without having other authors try to authorsplain* to the world about why they are entitled to act like stalkalicious* jerkmobiles*.

*These are all totally real words by the way. You can look them up easily in your Neniapedia.

Some authors say that their books are like their babies. I think that's a bad analogy. I think a better analogy is that macaroni picture you made in kindergarten. You may think it's great, and of course, your parents (and friends) are going to think it's great, but this egocentric bubble of unconditional positive thinking has no bearing on what the world at large is going to make of your work.

I write books. They are not me, and I am not them. Some of the characters may be reflections of various things that have happened in my life, but that doesn't make them autobiographical. When I write, I tend to write from a point of being emotionally removed. This way, my own thoughts and feelings and morals and beliefs don't get in the way of the characterization.

Because I. Am. Not. My. Characters.

I won't lie and say that negative reviews never hurt, because they do -- sometimes a lot. I'm at a point where most of them just have me scrolling past. I don't need to know what they say particularly, because I've seen it all before, and I know that they usually aren't written for me. I've been revenge-reviewed, I've been spite-reviewed; I've been attacked by sock puppets; I've had people lie, threaten, and deride; I've even received negative reviews from my friends. And we're still friends.

Here's why. Because I am always grateful when someone takes the chance to read one of my books. If they didn't like it, that's unfortunate; I really do feel bad when someone feels like they've wasted their money after reading one of my books. But it's not something I have any control over, so I don't focus on it. I don't interrogate them, or demand a follow-up because I know that reading is personal, a matter of taste. Sometimes there is no explanation, and it's certainly not my place to demand one.

Because I. Am. Not. My. Books.

Reviews are not personal attacks. They weren't even really meant for me to read (although I read them anyway).  Reviews are for other readers -- and often, they were written as a cathartic release for the reviewer who wrote it. I know that when I write my reviews, they were written to remind me of my thoughts and feelings during the reading process to refer to again later when making purchasing decisions. I comment on reviews to thank, and I only do it for reviews higher than two. I used to thank everyone, but too many people felt uncomfortable or thought I was being sarcastic when I thanked my one-star reviews, which really wasn't the case. I am genuinely grateful for all feedback, because any sort of response is better than being doomed to a life of obscurity.

Most people who read my books seem to enjoy them, and that makes me happy. Yes, there are people who read my books and don't enjoy them, but that's okay, too. It means my reviews are honest. It means that the people writing me negative reviews (presumably) feel safe enough to leave them for my books, because they know that I'm not going to commence Operation Stalk and post personal information on the internet, or maybe show up at their house demanding answers (or blood). It means that someone, somewhere, is reading my book, and that it's not sitting on the shelf Forever Alone.

Readers, I will not be stalking you, and here is why.

Because it's unprofessional. I conduct my behavior with the understanding that I represent not just myself as an individual, but also myself as a brand.

Because it's unkind. I am not an asshole. (At least, I try very, very hard not to be.)

Because it's not fair. An author, with her fans, severely outnumbers a lone reviewer or a small group of bloggers. I don't want to be a leading a mob.

Because it's ungrateful. If someone takes the time to read what I write, that is amazing. Most people work and have very busy schedules (kids, spouse, pets). A book is a huge commitment. A lot of people don't realize just how serious a commitment this really is.

Because it's cruel. I've been stalked and bullied. And no, not in the "boo hoo someone gave me a 1-star review" sense. I had to be put on watch by my school because I was receiving threats daily. I am empathetic towards people who undergo the psychological torture -- and yes, it is torture -- that is bullying. I went through it myself, and would never wish it on someone else. It is terrible and Wrong.

Because it's too much effort. I'm a writer. I also work about 30-35 hours/week. When I'm not working, I'd rather be reading, or out with my friends, or playing with my cats. Life is too short to spend dwelling on the negatives. Why poison your mind with what you cannot fix?

Because it's not who I am.

I am twenty-five-years old.

I am author of 15 books.

I work in customer service.

I like cats.

I consider most of my readers friends.

And I am not a stalker.

If you reviewed my books, thank you.

If you have read my books, thank you.

If you reviewed them negatively and read and hated them, thank you for being honest.

This is what should happen.

Nobody should be afraid to be heard.

Nobody should be afraid to be anything less than honest in their reviews.

I am an author, and I support readers' rights to review as they damn please without fear of retaliation.

...And you should, too.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What's Happening Right Meow: New Cats(?)

I have always been a cat person. And we have always gotten our cats in one way: they were strays or abandoned, and a friend (or sometimes a friend of a friend) told us first instead of going to the pound. Some of these cats were more people shy than others, but all of them made great pets in the end.

When I'm not writing, I work at a department store. Today they had me working in the pets department, so I smelled like cat food. When I walked from my car, two cats followed me to the porch. They were both very people shy, but I was able to talk to one of them until it came over. I recognized it as the black one that's been sleeping under my car for the past week or so.

Both of them were rail thin.

I felt really bad that I smelled like food and wasn't giving them any, so I told my mom. We put out some food -- tuna, milk, and water. While they ate, my sister and I talked to and petted them and my mother and brother went out to buy cat food.

They are so skinny it breaks my heart, and the black one flinched every time I petted it. The white one looks like someone marked it with spray paint and broke its tail. They have the sweetest faces and can't be more than a year old, and yet both of them flinch at every noise, and pace, making sure they know where everyone is at all times. The fluffy one's haunches are actually concave...

Let me just say that there is a special place in hell for people who abuse animals.

There is no excuse.

Thanks for my new cats, assholes. We'll give them a loving home.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Feeling Decadent: New Book Summary Reveal

I posted the summary to my new book last night! It's called Decadence, and it's basically a take on the rich boy/poor girl stereotype ... with a twist. Namely, that everyone in the book makes questionable moral decisions for the sake of (*cue horror movie scream*) power and popularity.

I don't normally write contemporary YA or NA romances because drama and angst and sex for the sake of sex just aren't interesting to me at all, not as a reader or as a writer. That isn't to say that I am incapable of enjoying these things at all. It's like chocolate, you know. There's cheap, drug-store chocolate -- and then there's Swiss dark melts-slowly-in-your-mouth-to-perfection chocolate. Some people like both, some people prefer one or the other. I am a chocolate snob ... and a YA/NA snob.

I was inspired to write Decadence because of my growing frustration with contemporary YA/NA as a whole, which could easily be renamed "straight, white cis couples kissing" based on the covers. YA -- and especially NA -- rarely cover important issues, like ableism, race, stereotypes, drug use, suicide, or abuse, or when they do it is in a way that is so over the top or ridiculous as to be almost offensive.

My book will deal with most of these concepts -- and more. Maybe I'll get some of it wrong. Maybe I'll end up offending someone. But at least I'll know that I tried to write something different.


“I bet they told you at orientation that Ashgrove wasn't like your old school.”

Rachael Williams is the only black student at the exclusive private school, Ashgrove Heights. Through hard work and sheer luck she's managed to crawl out of the lowest moment of her life. At orientation, she meets a girl who has been driven out through vicious, violent bullying, who warns her to keep her head down: the students aren't what they seem.

Andrew Worth is broken inside. He's considered suicide, but he'd rather stick around and make everyone else feel miserable. His grades are falling, he does every drug that's bottled and sold, and everyone's terrified of what he'll do next.

Daphne Kim is the school's golden girl. When someone fucks with her, she fucks back--harder and better. Her boyfriend knows that better than anyone. She's the only one who can stop Andrew from his downward spiral, but she's having too much fun watching.

When Andrew's father hires Rachael to tutor his son after she's announced as valedictorian, Rachael gets mixed up in the popular kids' Machiavellian hierarchy of sex, power, and scandal. It's a dangerous game, but if she doesn't play they'll eat her alive.