Friday, October 28, 2011

Killer Blogfest - Favorite Antagonist

If you're looking for my Spooktacular Giveaway, click here.
I wanted to pick Darth Vadar but he’s a cinema villain, not a literary one.

Instead I picked the Grinch. (Some might argue that he’s not an antagonist, that he’s a villain protagonist, but I like to think that little Cindy Lou Who is the protagonist.)
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I’m a sucker for villains that can carry the weight of the story on their shoulders, that are fully formed and multi-dimensional, and that change over the course of the story.

The Grinch tries to ruin Christmas. Seriously, who does that? Who doesn’t like Christmas?
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"It could be because his head wasn't screwed on just right, or his shoes were too tight, or perhaps, the best reason of all was that because his heart was two sizes too small."
So he steals from the good people of Whoville, taking their presents and decorations and feast.

How the do the Whos react on Christmas morning? "They're just waking up! I know just what they'll do! 
Their mouths will hang open a minute or two then the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry Boo-Hoo!"

Nope. They sing. Their hearts are still full with Christmas joy.

Their love dramatically transforms the Grinch. His heart grows three times larger, and he grows to love the Whos. He even carves the roast beast.
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The best villains are the ones that touch us and change us. The Grinch is one of the first villains we are introduced to and has a lasting effect on us through the years.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Creature (Feng Huang) and Question of the Week

If you're looking for my Spooktacular Giveaway, click here.
This week's creature is Feng Huang, the Chinese version of the Phoenix.
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Next to the dragon, Feng Huang is the most respected mythical creature in China. It is the king of the birds.Feng Huang has fiery and colorful tail feathers, like a peacock, with the head and body like a pheasant.
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Feng Huang is immortal and embodies the virtues of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity.
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Originally, Feng Huang was two birds: Feng was male / yang and the symbol of the solar cycle while Huang was female / ying and the cycle of the lunar cycle. Pictures of the two birds together symbolized undying love.
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 There's a Chinese saying: "When the Dragon soars and the Phoenix dances, the people will enjoy happiness for years, bringing peace and tranquility to all under heaven." The Dragon is the symbol of the Chinese emperor and the Phoenix of the Chinese empress.

Next week, I'll feature the Vetala, a nasty vampire-like creature just perfect to feature on Halloween.

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

This week's question:What's your favorite part about Halloween? Your favorite candy? Are you dressing up this year? What are your Halloween plans for this year?

Me? I love watching kids as they get all excited about Halloween. I love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, especially the pumpkin shaped ones. I don't know if I'm gonna dress up this year or what my plans are. Unfortunately, hubby has to work during our town's trick or treat, and we haven't taken the kiddies trick or treating yet so I don't know if I want to take them myself and have hubby miss out. :/

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Killer Blogfest - Favorite Protagonist

If you're looking for my Spooktacular Giveaway, click here.

And in case you missed my Killer Blogfest Supporting Character post about Artax, click here.

I had a hard time picking my favorite protagonist. I thought about Anne from Green Gables since that book was the first one I reread and reread and reread countless times.

Instead, I picked the MC from one of my favorite stories of all times.

Jean Valjean from Les Miserables.

Why is Valjean a hero in my eyes?
For starters, he stole bread to feed his sister's children. Family is hugely important to me.

Prison for his theft makes Valjean bitter and cynical, and he resorts to stealing again from a kind bishop. When he is caught by the police, the bishop tells them that the silver had been a gift, that Valjean hadn’t stolen them.

And just like that, Valjean is given a second chance at life and he spares no time turning it around.

When he unknowingly wrongs a woman, he goes about setting things right and adopts her child when she dies. Valjean loves Cosette as if she were his own flesh and blood. He is the best father he can be to her.

And when Cosette fell in love, Valjean did not stand in the way despite not liking Marius. He just wanted her to be happy. Happiness wishes everyone happy.

Although Valjean is a convict, he becomes a virtuous man of great moral character. His honor and loyalty had no limit. He possesses the best traits of humanity.

The world would be a much better place if there were more Jean Valjean’s living in it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Internet Book Fair Blogfest and Weekly Progress Report

If you're looking for my Spooktacular Giveaway, click here.


M.A. Leslie is hosting an Internet Book Fair today! So today I'm highlighting WOMAN OF HONOR, the first book in my Kingdom of Arnhem fantasy romance series.

WOMAN OF HONOR is the story of Aislinn, a young girl who wants to become a knight.

Currently it is only available in ebook format, but sometime next year, WOMAN OF HONOR will be available in print!

Some reviews:

"Woman of Honor has all the best elements of an epic adventure – danger, self-discovery, unrequited love, true romance, and noble expectations....Woman of Honor provides a refreshing escape from the standard, making it a novel worth enjoying more than once." Becca Dale - Got Romance! Reviews

"Nicole Zoltack provides a well crafted story that focuses on emotion and anticipation. Not only a book that a young adult would enjoy, but a woman of any age who wants to enjoy romance and a strong heroine and how she gained her strength."  Em Epe - Dark Diva Reviews

"This was such a interesting read to watch the characters mature from children to young adults. This book kept be interested from the very beginning ... I kept urging Aislinn on to make her dream come true." Lynn - Books Books and More Books

"...I found Woman of Honor an enjoyable, fast-paced read and look forward to more in the series..." Classic Romance Revival

"This is a very wonderful story about a girl's dream and her chance to achieve it" CoffeeTime Romance

With sword fights, passionate love, mythical creatures, and courtly games, Woman of Honor is my kind of book...In conclusion, I thoroughly recommend this book for everyone that enjoys fantasy, romance and adventure! I will be eagerly awaiting the sequel, Knight of Glory. Book Reviews by Aubrie

"This novel was so emotionally moving my heart literally ached... Bottom line...Woman of Honor is a well-told, emotionally gripping story. I was literally swept away into the battle scenes, the romance, the fierce loyalty and honor even if it went against matters of the heart. I nearly cried several times while reading this story and was so engrossed a bomb could have gone off outside and I would've kept reading...And talk about an ending that leaves you begging for more. Sheesh! But it was more than satisfying." Michelle Sutton - Author of Danger at the Door and First Impressions (Posted at Goodreads)

"Nicole Zoltack's Woman of Honor weaves the tale of the first lady knight of Arnhem. Sprinkled with historical facts, bullies, and a good dose of love and honor, Woman of Honor is a coming of age novel set in the fantastical medieval world of Arnhem Kingdom...By the end, I craved more from this fantastical world, and I'm glad Ms. Zoltack supplied it in her next book." Raven and the Writing Desk Blog

"Full of action and adventure, Ms Zoltak has created a wonderful tale which keeps the pages turning right up until the heart stopping conclusion and leaves the reader wanting more." Happily Ever After Reviews

"In this captivating medieval fantasy romance, Aislinn dreams of becoming a lady knight to honor the death of her fallen brother, and King Patrick grants her wish. Despite the mockery of the other pages, Aislinn commits herself to her dreams and embarks on a journey of self-discovery, and falls in love with Prince Caelan. Aislinn is willing to give up her childhood, her life, and even her heart for her kingdom." Renaissance Magazine - November 2009

Purchase links:

From Amazon (4.99)
From Desert Breeze Publishing (5.99)
From Barnes and Noble (5.99)
From Sony (5.69)
From All Romance eBooks (5.99)


Weekly Progress Report:

 Well, we're back home from Erie and I manged to finish the editing job that I had started last week. I now have another one that I'm hoping to turn in by the end of the month.

I'm planning on working hard to finish my MG fantasy story before November. I'm hoping to have this story and my Nano story done (well, rough drafts anyways) before the new year. Am I crazy? Yes I am. Especially since I'm also taking part in PiBo (30 PB ideas in 30 days also in November)

I'm also reading DEAD OF NIGHT by Jonathan Maberry. I'll be posting a review as soon as I finish it.

Since Halloween is coming, there are a couple of chances to win my short paranormal YA story, Seeing for the First Time. One is here, the other is here.

Also, Laura had me on her blog as a Savvy Sensation! I would love for you to check it out!

So what have you been up to this past week? Anything fun or new or exciting?

Check out some other great progress report this week:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Killer Characters - Supporting Character

If you're looking for my Spooktacular Giveaway, click here.


It was hard picking my favorite literary supporting character because there are so many awesome ones out there. I thought about Sam. Frodo wouldn't have gotten far without Sam. I thought about Hermonie, my favorite character from the Harry Potter series. And Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

But I didn't pick any of those.

I didn't even pick a human character.

My favorite supporting character is Artax.

I've always loved horses so when I first saw The Neverending Story, Artax was my favorite character. His friendship with Atreyu was beautiful. They had so many adventures together that led them to the Swamp of Sadness.I was devastated the first time I watched Artax die. I could not stop crying.
It's the characters that we feel for, that we love, that leave lasting impressions on us, and Artax did for me.
When I started a story in the 6th grade, I needed a name for a boy that wasn't from Earth. I immediately thought of Artax. Unfortunately, I had loaned my copy of The Neverending Story to a friend, so I misspelled his name as Artex.

I tried to make Artex as strong of a character as Artax, as brave, as loyal, as true. We all need friends like Artax in our lives, someone who will be there for us, through thick and thin, who will be willing to die for us so we can achieve our goals.

May all of our friends be like Artax.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Spooktacular giveaway!

Halloween is coming so it's time for a spooky giveaway! Kathy at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer has hosting a Spooktacular Giveaway Hop.

Normally I give away reader's choice from my Kingdom of Arnhem series but since they're fantasy romances, they don't quite fit the Halloween theme.

Instead, I'm going to give away a PDF copy of SEEING FOR THE FIRST TIME, the first short story in my What You See is What You Get YA paranormal series (total of 6 books - so far the first 4 are available in ebook format).

SEEING FOR THE FIRST TIME: For the last ten years, Ana has spent summers with her Gram. With nothing to do, the closest beach two hours away, and Gram, who Ana is convinced is crazy, always in her garden talking to things that aren't there, Ana is bored out of her mind.

One day, Ana sees strange colors floating around Gram as she works in her garden. Gram says they're fairies. She can "See" them, and there are others who can see things. Ana's a Seer, too.

When Gram gives Ana a book that explains about the many different creatures, like selkies, unicorns, vampires, and others, Ana gets curious. She is shocked when she comes across the entry about famous werewolf hunters - her parents.

Determined to learn where she fits in, Ana's summer gets a lot more exciting as she sets off to find out what she can "see." Only problem is, she's not sure what to do when she finally discovers the truth. And she's not sure she'll live to tell anyone.

But that's not all! Depending on how many people enter the contest, I'll add additional winners. The grand prize winner will win books 1-4 in the series!

So how do you enter?

+1 Be a follower and leave a comment with your email

Extra entries:

+2 Be a twitter follower
+2 Tweet about the contest (leave link in comments)
+5 Like my facebook page
+5 Blog about the contest (leave link in comments)
+5 Add me to your blog roll

Good luck and be sure to check out all of the other giveaways in the Spooktacular giveaway hop!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Question of the Week

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
This week's question: Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of a bees? How about a vampire or a werewolf?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weekly Progress Report

This week I haven't been as productive as I wanted to be. I only edited about 50 pages but I did finished judging entries for a writing contest. I love being a judge. My word count for my fantasy adventure story is only about 10K so finishing it before nano isn't going to be easy, but I'm still gonna try. I need to write about 2K a day. We'll see.

I'm not home write now. Hubby, the boys, and I are in Erie for a conference for hubby. Hopefully the boys will behave and let me have some time to write when they nap. The question is whether or not son #1 will nap. Normally he doesn't away from home.

In other news, I would love for you to check out my latest interview. I had a lot of fun answering Phil's questions.

I'm going to try to enter Miss Snark's BakerDozen contest for Elena's Pen. I would love to have some more feedback on my logline!

Also, Dear Editor is having a Free First 20 Pages Critique” Giveaway!

And the fabulous Shannon Messenger is having an equally fabulous contest. Check out the details here.

So what have you been up to this past week? Anything fun or new or exciting?

Check out some other great progress report this week:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pay it Forward Blogfest


Matthew MacNish at The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment and Alex Cavanaugh have created the Pay It Forward Blogfest. 

"Here is how the blogfest will actually work: The idea is to introduce everyone to everyone else. We want this to be an easy post that allows you to meet and follow as many other bloggers as you can. In your post, we would like you to please list, describe, and link to three blogs that you enjoy reading, but that you suspect may fly under the radar of a lot of other bloggers. Or they can be famous blogs, as long as they're awesome.

But don't stop there! Certainly visit and follow all the blogs that are featured in people's posts the day of the blogfest, but those don't have to be the only blogs you visit. You can visit everyone who enters in on the fun, and signs up on the linky list. In the interest of time you don't even have to leave comment. You can just follow, and come back another time. After all, we all know we don't have time to visit every blog we enjoy every single day."


So here are the three blogs I'm highlighting:

1. Linda Mclaren - I just started following this blog, and it's a great one. Linda does what she can to help other writers including opening it up to logline for critiques.

2. Cherie Reich - A good friend, awesome writer and great editor. She always knows the right thing to say.

3.David Powers King - A fellow fantasy writer, I love visiting David's blog.

So there you go, 3 blogs that I want to pay it forward with. What are some of your favorite blogs to visit?

I'm off to go find new blogs to follow!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Grief of Querying

Soon I'm going to start on that potentially long and arduous journey of querying. I haven't even started yet and it's already giving me grief so I decided to devote today's blog post to querying and the stages of grief.


I sent out one query letter an hour ago. Any minute now, my top agent will email and ask for the full. A few hours later, my top agent will email again asking when is the perfect time to call. To offer representation. Yeah, I'm that good.


I've sent out ten query letters so far and I've heard back from six already. All form rejections. Are you kidding me? What kind of hack agents are they that they don't know what a literary genius I am? Well, it's their loss. They'll be crying every night once I get a bazillon dollar deal.


A full request is a step in the right direction. Even if it does result in a rejection. Just ask for the full.

Ok, fine, a partial. Just read the first three chapters.

The first ten pages.

Read something besides the query letter.

Just respond to my query letter!


I'll never get an agent. I'll never find a publisher. I'm not a writer, I'm just a wannabe. I should cover my head with a paper bag. I couldn't even write my way out of a paper bag.


All I can do is write the best novel I can write. And tweak my query letter until it shines. Give myself every opportunity to shine. A lot of publishing requires perfect timing and luck. If I never put myself out there, I'll never become a writer.

Stratch that. I already am a writer.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Question of the Week

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I've been thinking lately (a dangerous pastime, I know) about science fiction. It's one genre I haven't written much in other than a half-finished short story. Anyhow, I was thinking about different alien races.

Why do all alien races have the same five senses as humans? Why aren't some blind or deaf and have a different sense instead? Maybe I haven't read enough in the genre.

So today's question - if you could create a new sense, what would it be?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Weekly Progress Report

Time for another progress report!

This week, I edited abot 200 pages for various editing jobs. I've also started writing a MG fantasy adventure story about a princess. This story has been so much fun to write! It's gonna be a lot shorter than some of my other novels, so I'm hoping to finish the first draft by the end of the month, before Nano starts.

I also had an online pitch session with an agent. She requested the first 10 pages so I'm excited about that.

In other news, I had an ultrasound on Thursday. With my first two pregnancies, we didn't learn the sex, but this time, we decided to find out. In mid-February sometime, we'll be welcoming Christopher James into the world. Yes, a third boy.

So what have you been up to this past week? Anything fun or new or exciting?

Check out some other great progress report this week:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kick A** 2011 Debut Author Spotlight

Christina Lee is hosting a 2011Debut Author Spotlight so you'll find a lot of debut author spotlights around the blogsphere today.

I picked Elana Johnson for her awesome novel, POSSESSION.

Blurb from Goodreads:

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

Now why did I pick Elana's POSSESSION?

There's a lot of reasons why but I'll be brief and say the top 3.

1. The characters - there are so many wonderful characters that you fall in love with in this book. The MC, Vi, is playful and defiant, and likes to do things her way. In a world where you're controlled, doing things your way is never the easy road, and you can't help but cheer her along as she strives to figure out who she is. And the supporting cast is just as great, especially Jag. I'm big on characters - if I don't care for them, I don't like the book. With POSSESSION - I cared for the characters and loved them and the book.

2. The twists - this book is a roller coaster. So many times you're left breathless and begging for more, especially with the ending! The ending just about killed me! It's definitely worth reading the book just to learn what happens in the end.

3. Greatness - what makes a book great in my mind, when I can't get it out of my mind and think about it long after I've finished reading it. With POSSESSION, that was definitely the case, especially with that ending!

So there you go, my top 3 reasons why POSSESSION is a must-read book and why I choose to spotlight Elana Johnson in my 2011 Debut Author Spotlight. If you aren't following her awesome blog, you should definitely go rectify that right now.


To check out some other awesome spotlights, visit these blogs:

Rachele raves about IMAGINARY GIRLS
Susan is featuring RIP TIDE
Matt loves SOLSTICE
Nicole wants to tell you about POSSESSION
Janet tells why she loves LIAR SOCIETY
Sheri admires IRON WITCH
Jen would like to tell you about WITHER
Shannon celebrates DARK PARTIES
Michelle tells you about SHIFTING
Stina gives you a taste of BAD TASTE IN BOYS
Jessie spotlights SPELLBOUND and BIRTHRIGHT
Willow admires DESTINED
Christine raves about POSSESS
Kristin really really likes CLARITY
Anne features READY PLAYER ONE
Meredith wants to shout about DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE
Amy Rose loves THE NEAR WITCH
Theresa talks about DIVERGENT
Kelly focuses in on EARTHLING HERO and A SCARY GOOD BOOK
Christine gears you up for THE LIPSTICK LAWS
Laura  is wild about GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS
Patti tells you about HEREAFTER
Ali has plenty to say about POSSESSION

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Guest blog with Theresa Milstein - Fangtales

Theresa Milstein, a wonderful blogger, is joining us today to talk about Fangtales. If you aren't already following her blog, you should! Take it away, Theresa!

Thank you for hosting me, Nicole.  You’ve been such a supportive blogging buddy.  Your dedication to writing is an inspiration.

When I asked Nicole if I could do a guest post on her blog, she suggested vampires or what inspired me to write the short story that was accepted in the Fangtales anthology. 

Before I saw the call for submissions for the YA vampire anthology, Fangtales, I’d never written a short story before.  That’s not entirely true.  I’d never written a short story from scratch, from beginning to end.  Before I wrote seriously, I made two miserable attempts.  Once I wrote seriously, I thought I could take the first chapter of a manuscript and turn it into a short story.

I had A LOT to learn.

A few years later, after writing a few more manuscripts, I was a better writer and had a better sense of what it took to write a short story.  I liked the rules for Fangtales:

“The editor (Berni Stevens) of Fangtales prefers traditional vampires as in Bram Stoker's Dracula (this means no walking in the sunlight, eating garlic, or laughing at the sign of the cross...the traditional vampire truly is a creature of the night and not a day-walker with sparkly skin). However, she is looking for a fresh new look at an overworked genre and wants to be scared!”

I liked the idea of using the old rules in a modern setting.   Wyvern Publications had already published Dragontales and Mertales (Nicole is one of the authors in Mertales), so I know the stories can vary widely and are well done. 

But I didn’t know much about vampires.  I had seen the old Dracula movie as a teen.  I read the first two Twilight books and Tantalized.  But I haven’t read any other vampire novels.  There were vampires in Hex Hall and Paranormalcy, but they were one of many paranormal creatures. 

I needed to do some research on Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  The original vampires were shut out from society due the limitations of their vampireness.  I wanted my vampire to have constraints, but live with humans.  And I was happy not to keep my vampires sparkle-free.  I wanted them to be monsters, but to humanize them at the same time. (I know that’s an oxymoronic sentence.)

Who was my vampire?
How did s/he become a vampire? 
What did s/he want?  (Blood is an obvious answer, but I wanted to tap the vein of my character - sorry).

My YA vampire short story is called “Allured”.  Shalom is a new student who has been trying to snag the most popular boy in her high school.  A couple of people in her new town have been murdered, one in a graveyard.  She’s trying to convince this popular boy to visit the graveyard with her. 

That’s all I can say… 

This is how it begins:
“I twisted a golden curl in my usual alluring way. Guys loved it when I did that. I lowered my voice, so Reid had to lean in to hear me, his elbows propped on his knees.”

It was fun to write.  I loved having license to be mysterious and scary.  When you read it, I hope you’re scared too. 

Fangtales is available for purchase at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.