All posts by Nikki Duncan

In addition to being a busy writer releasing four books a year, Nikki Duncan works a day job and is a full time mom who frequently volunteers at the schools of her children. This year, when she stepped in as booster club president, she became Mom to roughly 250 kids in the high school band. Her heart is easily seen in the pages of her stories that all revolve around family, whether it’s small or large, blood or spirit.

Fun Times At Duncan High!

Life’s all kinds of fun in at Duncan High. We have a Senior in high school, which means making college plans and all the other things that go along with senior year.

To top that off, we’ve taken things to a drastic turn to get the youngest away from a situation where she was being bullied. She now does virtual school from home, which is interesting and challenging. On the upside, she’s happier than we’ve seen her in years.

I was interviewed on Good Morning Texas this week to talk about my latest release CONTROLLED BURN.

Tomorrow kicks off a new adventure. Everyone who knows me knows about my “love for road trips”.  Well, it’s time for another one. This time, I’m heading 10 hours South to pick up my dad and move him here. Yep. The time has come for us to be able to keep an eye on him.

All of these things come with their own challenges and excitements and stresses. Tell me. How do you handle the challenges and stresses in your life? What do you do to recharge?

The NDcent hunt is on! Are you game?

Welcome to the NDcent Blogger Scavenger Hunt! Participating is E-A-S-Y and you can W-I-N!

Yes that’s right! You might WIN! Several bloggers have joined me in this hunt wher you’ll find them, comment on the post and be entered into drawings. Commenting on each blog enters you in a drawing for a $5 gift card to be given away on that blog. People who comment on EVERY blog (18 total) will be entered in a drawing for a $100 Amazon Gift Card.

Winners will all be announced on Saturday, August 22!

 

HerMiracleMan300Children’s hospital administrator Ryland Davids was attracted to event planner Jennalyn James the moment he saw her. He thought there would be plenty of time to get to know her—until her younger sister, Sabrina, was admitted with complications from traumatic brain injury.

Sabrina’s bright courage broke through Ryland’s wall of professional distance, but once she drew her last breath, Jennalyn left the hospital and never returned. Though he understands her need for distance, there’s a hole in his heart that won’t heal. And a last wish from Sabrina he’s honor-bound to deliver.

When Jennalyn comes face to face with Ryland at a charity event, the pain comes rushing back, threatening to shatter her everything’s-fine façade. It doesn’t help that the lump in her throat is mostly her heart, leaping in response to his touch.

Despite her reluctance to return to the scene of her grief, she fulfills Sabrina’s final request to plan a series of Christmas events for the kids. Over the course of A Month of Miracles, Ryland and Jennalyn discover there’s the light of hope at the end of grief’s dark tunnel. But it may not be enough to heal her broken heart.

Fill in the blank for one entry: It doesn’t help that the lump in her throat is mostly _______________, leaping in response to his touch.

Here’s a hint for the next book you’re looking for:  She has a wild streak.

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Look for the NDcent Hunt button on participating blogs for more chances to enter, and don’t miss checking out Nikki’s website to see what else she has to offer.

The Revolving Bookcase
Book Sniffers Anonymous
Sapphyria’s Book Blog 
Book Liaison
Cassandra M’s Place
An NDcent Dame Gina
Smutty Kitty
Joyfully Reviewed 
Guilty Pleasures
Book Obsessed Chicks 
Geeky Blogger
Coffee Books Life 
Literary Escapism 
Delighted Reader 
Literature Lite House
Harlequin Junkie
Smexy Books 
After Midnight Authors

Being a Girl is HARD

It’s no secret that being a girl is hard. Extremely hard. And it doesn’t matter how young or old we are or what we do every day of our lives.

As a mom of two daughters, I’ve always prided myself in being honest with them. One instance, that seems to be happening often with the youngest, I’m always honest regards the subject of bullies, or mean girls.

So often parents tell their children things will get better as they get older. I don’t. I tell my girls that people, some people, are mean and will always be mean. The only thing that will really change, or get better, is our individual ability to handle the bullies. I tell them that no matter how old we get there are always going to be people we do not like or want to be around. People who cannot find it in themselves to be genuinely kind to others. I then tell them it is up to them to find a strength inside themselves, a strength I know we all have inside, to stand against the bullies.

Now, most recently for example, this advise was dished out to my elementary aged daughter. I told her there will be nothing easy about it, but that her best defense against mean girls is to be a happy girl. I told her that nothing pisses off a bully intent on ruining your day more than being happy in the face of their meanness. My girls, being the sarcastic and expressive creatures they are, always laugh at me when I tell them this. Yeah, I admit I see the insanity of the idea.

My girls thrive on music. One plays flute and the other is a singer. This makes it feel natural that I should use music, this seemingly small thing which they connect to, to help my youngest come up with ways to combat the negativity. My current promise is to help her build an Empowering Playlist. A playlist she listens to in the morning before school, in the afternoon after school and in the evening before bed. A playlist that can live in her head and give her something to turn to in those moments when she needs to tune out the negativity around her.

So my question for you, no my plea, is what music empowers you to be a stronger you? What song helps you stand against those who would oppress you? What would you suggest for the sake of inspiring a young girl trying to find her way in an emotion filled world?

NDcent Seductions

Winning her heart may require sneaking a dink past her defenses.

All readers like a good seduction regardless of what we’re reading. As writers it’s the seduction of words and the stories in our heads and hearts that push us. The characters become real people we often view as family members, and we want to share them with the world.

In the quest of sharing our families with as many people as possible, some of us writers have created street teams or launch teams. Teams that in a way become a different kind of family. These teams are made up of readers who love reading romance and are eager to share their loves with as many people as possible via social media, blogs or personal connections.

 

One such team is the NDcent Dames, a group of readers who help spread the word about my stories. The Dames are looking to grow, and the first book that would be available for an early review is SEDUCED IN SAND, the 5th installment in my Tulle and Tulips series.

If you would like to be part of this launch team and be seduced by NDcent ARCs and other goodies, check out the NDcent Dames details now!

A Child’s Letter

If kids, and many adults, were to write a letter to one of their closest friends these days, given the nasty virus going around, I think it might be something like this.

May you all have a terrific holiday with visits to and from the friends and family you love and value most.

Dear John,

You’ve been there for me since I was little. Sometimes you’re uppity, or back uppity as the case might be. We talk rarely, but we see each other every day. I wonder though, do you ever get tired of seeing me? Especially on days like today when I’ve been blessed with the stomach virus everyone is passing off to the next person faster than green vegetables are shunned at a kid’s party.

Illness and suffering may be a reminder for us to be grateful for the good things we have, like reliable friends like you. But John, I hope it doesn’t hurt your feelings too much for me to say I’d like a little space. The urgent need to race through the house and kneel before you is a little too close to obsession for my comfort. It’s just not healthy for a girl to be so reliant on a boy.

Please accept this letter in the spirit intended. I hope we can still be friends.

Sincerely,

Sick Kid

 

A Color Coded Post It Girl

I seem to have officially become a color coded Post It girl. I’m can’t say it’s something I planned, or would have expected. For years I’ve kept a running list of things needing to be done on a legal pad. And for those years I found myself irritated by the messiness of the list with all the lines through it. Always wanting a clean list, this meant I was rewriting the list over and over, which isn’t as effective as just doing the item. You know?

Then, I made a change in my workspace. I got rid of the large desk in the open area upstairs and instead moved to a small writing desk in a corner in my bedroom. It was an adjustment, but the move has forced me to rethink my organization. I cut down on the clutter, which always makes me happy, and I’ve figured out the most effective way to use the space.

One change to using the space was to move from the never ending list rewrite to sticking Post It Notes on the wall I now face. I’ve found that with the stickies staring me in the face I’m more inclined to get things done because I would rather look at a blank wall than an Post It filled one.

I’ve also found that color coding the Post Its makes things easier. Apparently I like to compartmentalize, because I’ve gone so far to do Green for Day Job, Orange for Personal, Pink/Melon for Band/School and Red for Writing. There’s also a major feeling of accomplishment when I empty things off the wall.

This has me wondering, though, what kind of person are you? Semi-organized? Scattered? Obsessively methodical? Somewhere in between? Do you like lists or do you just have an amazing memory that doesn’t requires lists?

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Commenters will be entered into a drawing for an eBook giveaway. In celebration of the recent release of Cyber Illusions (Sensory Ops), the final chapter in the Sensory Ops Series, I am giving away a digital copy of the first five books in the Sensory Ops series.

 

Check out Nikki’s online homes to learn more about her and her books.
www.nikkiduncan.com
www.facebook.com/NDuncanWriter
www.twitter.com/NDuncanWriter
www.twitter.com/TulleTulips 

Love…Vintage Style

Love is…patient.

Love is…kind.

Love is..a swift kick in the butt we don’t always want.

This is certainly the case in FIERY, my fourth Whispering Cove novella. Carmen has always wanted a place to call home, where she felt like she belonged. She came close when she and her sister made a home in Whispering Cove, but when no one is looking, when she’s alone with her thoughts, she drifts into a loneliness she hasn’t been able to fill.

Writing FIERY allowed me to shop for fifties style clothes and home decor, and it was fun to figure out why a modern day woman would want the kind of life a housewife in the fifties led. Or the life she thought they’d had. Ryan and Carmen challenge each other the way great partners should. They push each other’s buttons, but are just as quickly ready to help each other. They’re just not sure they fit as smoothly together as Whispering Cove’s matchmaking grandpas think they do.

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Carmen is convinced that life in the fifties was simple, women were cherished by their husbands and kids were never left behind. Families were filled with love instead of dysfunction. And the clothes were cool.

What do you think? Do you agree with Ryan that Carmen is looking for an ideal that does not, and has never, existed?

 

Connect with Nikki at her other online homes.

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The Taste in TASTE ME DEADLY

In TASTE ME DEADLY, the heroine has a passion for making chocolate, though she buried it years earlier. There is something sexy about melting chocolate and smoothing it out over a granite countertop, working it into mold, making shavings and drizzles. Its silken smoothness against your skin and the excitement of imagining your lover as the countertop while you work the chocolate over him.

Put simply, it’s joy.

In TASTE ME DEADLY, Liam helps his heroine, Grey, rediscover her passion while encouraging her to make a few new friends. And what better entertainment could there be for four women in a kitchen than chocolate and talking about men?

Of all the recipes I found while researching TASTE ME DEADLY, the one that I’m hoping to one day make are baby tortes. This one that I found on Pinterest looks sweet and romantic and perfect for a romantic dinner with a lover.

Are you a baker? What is your favorite thing to make? What would you make for a sexy dinner?

Commenters on today’s blog will be entered into a drawing for a digital copy of the first two Sensory Ops books.

Can be found on Pinterest

TASTE ME DEADLY releases tomorrow, so be sure to order your copy!

Under the knife, under the gun…and under no illusion he’ll sacrifice everything for her.

THE BLURB:

After five years in Witness Protection, Greycen Craig’s life of careful routine is upended when she learns her sister is the victim in a hit and run, hospitalized, unconscious, and needing a kidney only Grey can give.

Despite warnings that this “accident” is a ruse to draw her out into the open, Grey risks everything to race back to Miami—where she comes face to face with the one man she aches to trust.

FBI agent Liam Burgess thinks he’s prepared for the moment Grey walks into her sister’s hospital room. But the moment the woman who holds his heart appears, his tongue is almost too tied to remember to ask one burning question—why she disappeared in Las Vegas two years ago.

As Grey struggles with what to tell him—everything or nothing—the danger that drove her underground resurfaces, threatening everyone she loves. And the only safe place to run is the arms of the one man she can’t tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

PreOrder the eBook.
Samhain | Amazon | Barnes & Noble – Nook

Be sure to sign up for Nikki’s newsletter and then go socialize with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest.

It Happened On The Way To Trial

Stories abound about drastic circumstances changing people’s lives. Poor choices easily lead to a wrong path, but what if a poor choice, or series of them, put someone on the right path? Even a path to redemption?

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In TASTE ME DEADLY, Greycen Craig became the person living that life. Her choices put her in the wrong place at the wrong time, or the right one depending on the viewpoint, and she found herself in Witness Protection with no choice but to get her life on track. Regrets motivated her to make better, safer, choices. And then she read a newspaper article that upended her life again. Little did she know that stepping into a hospital room to see the sister she’d left behind would threaten more than her life.

As a writer, much like life, every story holds new challenges. Often the challenge lies in finding the one person who accepts us for who we are, who we were and who we could be. The excitement of exploring that kind of love is what drew me to romance as a reader, and then encouraged me to write a story of my own.

I love to hear from and chat with readers, so I hope you’ll find me on Facebook or Twitter where I chat, share contests and much more. Currently, on Facebook, I’m sharing cover glimpses with some fun quotes and excerpts from TASTE ME DEADLY. Swing by!

 

What’s real in romance books?

It’s pretty safe to say that non-romance readers think everything in a romance story comes straight from fantasy land. There are even romance readers who think that. There are also people who think if it’s in a book then the person who wrote it has to have lived it.

Not so.

Some of us work to make up every aspect of our stories. Some of us have stories come to us, fully formed like a movie we’ve seen. Some of us work off things that inspire us. It only takes one small nugget to kick off an entire story.

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That’s how it happened for me when I began thinking about Her Miracle Man. A joke inspired a title – The 12 Dates of Christmas. That title inspired the framework of the story – 12 dates at Christmas time. The real question became what would happen on those dates. Planning that was where the real adventure began, and it became more real than I could have imagined.

In my mind, I invented a hero who had been a doctor before moving into hospital management and then came to run the place. He knew staff, patients and family members by name. The hospital had a reputation for being one of the best in the country for all things kid related. They were connected to Ronald McDonald House, or something like it.

During a visit to Indiana, I visited Riley Hospital for Children where the Chief Medical Officer had once been a doctor. The staff called him by his first name. He knew theirs, the patients and the families. Riley is also connected to Ronald McDonald House.

The parallel between my hero and the real life CMO was eerily real. The stories of the patients involved could easily belong to real people. The characters and the romance were absolutely made up, but with all the reality in the story, they felt as real as anyone I’ve known in life.

What stories have you read that have felt completely real? Or, do you fall into the camp of

Nikki can be found online at her website, Twitter and Facebook.