Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Royal (Scandals) Order

Today's FAQ:  What is the order of the Royal Scandals books?

A:  As of now, the Royal Scandals series consists of three novels and two Christmas novellas.  In order, they are:

Christmas With a Prince (Royal Scandals, #0.5)
  - Features Holly Elliot and Gabriel Maddox, with an appearance by Prince Stefano Barrali

Scandal With a Prince (Royal Scandals, #1)
  - Features Prince Stefano Barrali and Megan Hallberg

Honeymoon With a Prince (Royal Scandals, #2)
  - Features Prince Massimo Barrali and Kelly Chase

Christmas on the Royal Yacht (Royal Scandals, #2.5)
  - Features Ryan "Rock" Fournier and April Dietrich

Slow Tango With a Prince (Royal Scandals, #3)
 - Features Prince Vittorio Barrali and Emily Sinclair

For the first word on upcoming releases, appearances, and occasional giveaways, please subscribe to my e-newsletter.  The list is private and will never be shared.

There are more Royal Scandals books planned for 2015 and beyond.  Look for the official announcement on Royal Scandals #4 in the coming weeks!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Evolution of a Book Cover

Fact of publishing life: from time to time, book covers get updated. It often happens when a book goes back to print, a new edition is released, or if a movie or television show is made of the book (Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER is a recent example...you can see a bunch of different covers, including the television tie-in edition, by following this link.)

After getting feedback from readers and booksellers, Honeymoon With a Prince, the second book in my Royal Scandals series, is getting a cover refresh.  Honeymoon With a Prince tells the story of Prince Massimo Barrali, a man who's home fresh from the horrors of battle with African drug lords, and Kelly Chase, a woman who's taking her honeymoon solo and re-evaluating her life after discovering her former fiancé wasn't the man she thought she knew.

Here's the original cover:

And the new version:

Opinion time: do you prefer the old cover (lying down), or the new one (standing)? For those of you who've read the book, which do you think better reflects Kelly and Massimo's story? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Announcing Christmas on the Royal Yacht

After the publication of Honeymoon With a Prince, several of you wrote to ask if there'd ever be a book about April, the palace carpenter who worked with Kelly Chase to redesign Prince Massimo's closet. April is a strong, dynamic woman...and I'm happy to announce that there's a man out there who's her match. In my new novella, Christmas on the Royal Yacht, you'll have the chance to meet Ryan "Rock" Fournier, the man April left behind when she left New York for Sarcaccia.

I had a wonderful time writing this story, and I hope you'll enjoy it, too. It's available beginning TODAY on Amazon,
Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

To whet your appetite, here's a quick peek at the moment April sets eyes on Rock for the first time in five years, when she discovers he's the new head chef on the royal yacht:

Rock angled his head and shot a look at his now-curious assistant, Andreas, urging the young German to continue on to the working galley with the tray of pastry. Once Andreas disappeared, Rock set the case of champagne on the marble countertop and plastered a nonchalant smile on his face. His heart thudded against the wall of his chest as he gave April a casual once-over, and it wasn't due to the effort of carrying the heavy load. "I had a feeling you'd show up someday to fix my creaky parts."

"I'm not here to fix your creaky parts. I'm here for routine maintenance."

"I could use that, too." Though from April, it'd be anything but routine. She'd been sexual crack cocaine to him. He'd have done anything, given up anything to spend another night, even another hour, in her bed. But just when he was sure she needed him most, when he'd felt the most connected to her, she'd left him, opting to take a job here in Sarcaccia that she'd turned down twice before. And she'd done it with nothing more than an it's-been-great and a quick kiss goodbye. Her abrupt departure left him reeling.

Hell, seeing her in the flesh left him reeling, despite the fact he'd been told she was coming aboard and mentally steeled himself for a face-to-face. He'd be damned if he'd let her see it, though. 

I hope you enjoy April and Rock's holiday romance!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Blurred Keys on the MacBook Air

Nope, your vision isn't blurry.  It's my keyboard:

The letters have slowly started wearing off my MacBook Air.  Much as I'd like to attribute this to the hours I spend typing my novels--a number that's not insignificant--I suspect there's another cause.  I don't wear any lotions, oils, etc. on my hands.  I don't clean the keyboard with anything caustic.  Any Mac aficionados who know what could be causing the worn keys?  Or--better yet--anyone have a fix?

For the record, this isn't my first worn-out keyboard.  I wore through three keyboards on my iBook about eight years ago.  Apple told me it was a freak occurrence.  In that instance, I was able to take apart the iBook and replace the keyboard myself.  Can't do that with an Air.

Anyone else experienced this?  Ever discover the cause?  What was your solution? 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Back To School

While the calendar and the increase in traffic near my local high school are dead giveaways that school is back in session, the other is a quick perusal of my inbox.  When school starts, I receive a flood of questions from readers who are either assigned one of my young adult books in class or who chose it as part of their summer reading. 

Some of the questions are great.  Other questions, however, are not so great.  Yes, when you ask me, "Who is the protagonist of the book?" I'm well aware that you haven't read the back cover, let alone the book.  However, I was a student once upon a time and buried under the homework of a million different classes, so I have sympathy.  I know the panic that sets in the day before a book report is due when you haven't the foggiest notion what to write, especially when you also have a math test the next day.

That being said, sending me e-mail while you're in panic mode isn't the best way for you to solve the problem.

First off, book reports have due dates.  My inbox doesn't, so when I'm traveling or on deadline, it's easy for me to get a few weeks behind on reading and responding to e-mail.  By the time I see your e-mail, it's quite possible your book report will be long overdue.  Second, if I answer one person's book report questions I'd feel obliged to answer them all, and I don't have time to write, walk my dog, AND answer book report questions.  (And when the dog's gotta go, she's gotta go.)  Finally, there are a lot of questions I can't answer, even if I want to answer them.  "What are examples of symbolism in Sticky Fingers?" is a question only you, as a reader, can answer.

That being said, I don't want to leave you stuck the night before you have homework due.  Here are a few suggestions for getting that report done:

   1)  If you're writing about a specific book of mine, go the main page of my Niki Burnham website and click on the link for that book.  There is an excerpt (which you should have already read, since you have the book and read the whole thing) and a section called Behind The Scenes.  The Behind The Scenes might be helpful to you. 
   2)  You can go to the About Niki page of my site to find out more about me.  Any of the biographical information that you see there is fine to use in your report. 
   3)  There is a page on the site called FAQ with answers to common questions about each book, about my writing process, and about where I get my ideas.  

Hope you find that helpful!  Again, as much as I wish I could explain themes and motifs, if I took the time to answer every e-mail I receive about book reports, I'd miss my own deadlines, and they rival the world's biggest homework assignment when it comes to pressure.

However, if you think this is rather uncool of me and that an author should simply write your book report for you (because believe it or not, students who've e-mailed me in the past asked for this)  I urge you to check out author Pete Hautman's website.  He's the author of several phenomenal books you may have already read, such as Godless, Blank Confession, and Hole In The Sky.  Pete has an entire page of book reports ready to go, right here.  I think you'll get a better grade if you follow my suggestions, rather than going for Pete Hautman's reports, but that's your call.  Good luck!

And P.S.:  Consider reading one of Pete's books.  

Friday, August 8, 2014

Learning to Tango

While writing Slow Tango With a Prince, the third book in my Royal Scandals series, I was obliged to do a good deal of research on the tango. It was important to me that when Emily and Prince Vittorio dance, it would resonate both with those unfamiliar with the tango and those who live and breathe it. You can imagine my agony...the tango is a beautiful, sensual dance with a deep history and its own culture, one that comes to life nightly in the streets and salons of Buenos Aires.

While I wish I could say that I spent months in Argentina learning from a master, I had no such luck. However, for those of you hoping to learn more about the history, culture, and how-tos of tango, here are some of the resources I found. These are by no means exhaustive, but are a good starting point.

First, for the down-and-dirty on how to negotiate Buenos Aires, check Amazon for a quick guide like DK Eyewitness Top 10 Buenos Aires. I've used DK's Top 10 guides to navigate my way around Paris, Barcelona, and Istanbul with great success. They're regularly updated, so make sure you're getting the latest edition (the one I've linked to is the most current as of the date of this blog.)  It's also available on iBooks and at Barnes & Noble.

To learn about dance halls and etiquette, as well as to pick up tango-specific travel tips, I found two fantastic guides. The first, on iBooks, is Migdalia Romero's Tango Lover's Guide to Buenos Aires.  Part memoir, part how-to, it'll help you find your way through the milongas of Buenos Aires.  You can also find it on Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

The second guide, and one I adored for its conversational style and been-there, done-that, made-that-mistake honesty is Sally Blake's Happy Tango: Sallycat's Guide to Dancing in Buenos Aires, which is available on Amazon and on Barnes & Noble. This book is flat-out fun and gives great advice on the social side of tango, including how to handle everything from the coat checks to flirtatious men. You can also check the references at the back for information on tango salons, instruction, and even shoe stores.

Even if you're far from Buenos Aires, don't be afraid to pick up the phone or search the internet for local tango clubs. Dance lessons and tango nights are easy to find in many major cities, and lectures on the history and culture of the tango are given at many colleges and libraries. There are also a number of tango social groups online. Do a search for "tango" on facebook and you'll be off to a good start.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Today's Guest on Tawny Weber's Blog

I'm this weekend's guest over at author Tawny Weber's blog, where I'm in the hot seat for her Quick Six, where an author answers questions such as "Star Wars or Star Trek?" There's a prize to be won (namely, a copy of the first book in the Royal Scandals series, Scandal With a Prince) and plenty of links to other author interviews. Pop on over for a chance to win or to learn fascinating info about some of your favorite authors.

For the record, I was not asked about my Star Trek/Star Wars preference. While I do like Star Wars (and plan to see the next movie when it's released), I'm a Trek girl all the way.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Release Day - Slow Tango With a Prince

Today is my birthday, but rather than celebrate with cake and gifts, I have something to share with my readers...a new book!  Today is the launch day for Slow Tango With a Prince, book three in the Royal Scandals series.

Slow Tango tells the story of dark, sexy Prince Vittorio Barrali, heir to the throne of Sarcaccia.  In the wake of his ex-girlfriend's suicide, he hatches a plan with his twin brother, Alessandro, that allows Vittorio to escape to Argentina for some much-needed downtime out of the spotlight.  But secrets can't be hidden forever...especially when Vittorio finds himself face-to-face with a gorgeous television host, one whose very presence threatens him both personally and professionally.

Slow Tango features palace intrigue, a secret royal, and one very sexy tango.  There's also a glimpse into the lives of other royals you've come to know.  I can't wait for you to read Slow Tango With a Prince and let me know what you think!

To find an ebook copy, visit any of the following retailers.  The print version will be available in the coming days, so stay tuned!

Slow Tango With a Prince:
Apple / iBooks
Barnes & Noble

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cover Reveal - Slow Tango With a Prince

I'm excited to have my hands on the cover art for the next Royal Scandals book, Slow Tango With a Prince.  Without further ado...

Slow Tango With a Prince is set for release in June.  I can't wait for you to read about Vittorio Barrali, the older brother of Prince Stefano (from Scandal With a Prince) and Prince Massimo (from Honeymoon With a Prince.)

If you have sharp eyes, you'll notice the flag of Argentina atop the building at the bottom of the cover. As you might guess, part of the book takes place in Buenos Aires, a city known for its fantastic architecture, eclectic art, sultry approach to romance, and--of course!--the tango.

As soon as I have a firm release date, I'll post here and will send out a notice to my newsletter list. In the meantime, feel free to post your thoughts on the cover.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hello, Indianapolis!

I just hit the (snowy) ground in Indianapolis and, since I have nearly five hours to kill at the airport before a friend arrives, I decided to pony up the funds to sit in Delta's SkyLounge for a few hours so I could get writing done.  I'm busy working on Vittorio's story, TANGO WITH A PRINCE, and I can't wait to have everyone read it when it hits the stands this summer.  It will be the third installment in my Royal Scandals series (following SCANDAL WITH A PRINCE and HONEYMOON WITH A PRINCE.)

In the meantime, the reason I'm in Indianapolis:  Tomorrow I'm speaking at the Public Librarians Association conference.  If you're one of the hundreds of librarians in attendance, come learn more about the romance genre tomorrow at 2pm in rooms 244-245 at the Indiana Conference Center.  I'll be on a panel with several other romance authors, including Elizabeth Boyle and Sarah MacLean. Ask us anything! There is also a booksigning in conjunction with the talk, so this is a great opportunity to grab a few autographed romance titles for yourself or your library.

And...how many of you cribbed your Oscar picks from those I posted in my last blog? Did you win your pool?  I did!  Twenty-one correct out of twenty-four.  Boo-yah!  Hope you won, too!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Oscar Predictions 2014

The calendar has rolled to March again, which means not only have baseball players have reported to spring training (yippee!), it's time for me to get to the plate and swing at the curveball known as Predicting the Academy Award Winners.

 A former coworker of my husband’s runs a sizeable pool every year.  I don’t always win, but I’ve won frequently enough to be called out as The One To Beat. (Not that this amps up the pressure, right?) Here are my picks for this year...if you haven’t seen any of this year’s movies and need to crib, feel free. You can take me to task on Monday if I've lost my touch. 

Best Picture:  12 Years a Slave
NOTE: See my big fat caveat at the bottom of this post. 

Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
NOTE: Conventional wisdom says not to split your Best Picture and Best Director picks.  However, a healthy number of Hollywood pundits are doing exactly that, going with 12 Years a Slave for Best Picture and Curarón for Gravity as Best Director.  That split also falls in line with what happened at many of the earlier awards shows this season.  

Best Actor:  Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club 

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
NOTE:  Closest thing there is to a lock in the acting categories. 

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club 

Best Supporting Actress:  Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave 

Best Animated Feature Film:  Frozen 

Best Foreign Film:  La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty), Italy 

Best Original Screenplay:  Her
NOTE:  This will be a tight race, kids.  Her put the “original” in Best Original Screenplay.  However, American Hustle (rightfully) earned a pile of nominations and I’d be stunned to see the night end without it earning a single statue.  This is an easy place for Academy voters to award the film.  If you're so inclined, pick Hustle here. 

Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave 

Best Production Design: The Great Gatsby
NOTE: 12 Years a Slave is also a strong contender here. However, I think the Academy likes spectacle in this category, and Gatsby is a spectacle. 

Best Costume Design: The Great Gatsby 

Best Original Song:  “Let it Go,” Frozen 

Best Original Score:   Gravity 

Best Documentary Feature:  20 Feet From Stardom
NOTE: I didn’t see the entire documentary, but saw enough of it—and news pieces about its backstory—to find it fascinating. Also, its upbeat tone is the type Academy voters love. 

Best Film Editing:  Captain Phillips
NOTE: I’m taking a leap on this one.  If you want to play it safe, go with Gravity.  

Best Cinematography:  Gravity
NOTE: In my heart of hearts, I don’t want this to go to Gravity. I want it to go to Nebraska. But I also want to win my pool. 

Best Makeup:  Dallas Buyers Club

Best Sound Editing: Gravity 

Best Sound Mixing: Gravity 

Best Visual Effects: Gravity 

Best Documentary (Short Subject):   The Lady in Number 6:  Music Saved My Life 
NOTE: Want to win your pool? You know you do. Go with me on this one. 

Best Animated Short Film:  Get A Horse! 

Best Live Action Short Film:  Just Before Losing Everything
NOTE:  Another tough category.  If you go with film critics, several are picking Helium (the sentimental story of a dying boy) while others like The Voorman Problem (a jailhouse psychiatrist faces an astute prisoner who believes he is God.) I’m going against both by picking the story of a woman running from an abusive husband while trying to protect her children.

And now my big fat caveat:  I am probably the one person who didn’t oooh and aaah over Gravity.  While I thought it was a solid film, it it didn’t rock my world to the extent most film connoisseurs claim it should have. I watched it to kill time during a long plane flight…but even then, I found myself picking up my Kindle and reading mid-movie, waiting for Sandy Bullock to hit the button that would either doom her to a cold death in space or send her hurtling home. As a story, I found it predictable and somewhat slow. On the other hand, I can't imagine anyone picking up a book while watching 12 Years a Slave. So while I picked Gravity to win a number of technical awards, I couldn’t bring myself to jump on the Best Picture juggernaut. Take that bias into account when making your own picks.  If you liked Gravity, you should still feel confident checking a lot of boxes on your ballot. Popular opinion is with you.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Goodreads Glitches

A heads-up that I've been dealing with glitches on my Goodreads page.  If you sent me a friend request in the last few weeks, I promise that I clicked to approve it However, there was a glitch on my page that would end up sending me the same friend requests over and over...and never approving them. I've done some troubleshooting with their very nice tech folks and it should be fixed now. (Apparently I'm not the only one having this issue, so if it's been a problem for you, too, give their help desk a shout.)

Bottom line:  If you want to be Goodreads friends, see my book reviews, etc., please come on over and join me! Just click the link above and you'll go to my author page.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Interview at Cynthia Woolf's Blog

I'm the guest today at author Cynthia Woolf's blog, where I answer questions about my new Royal Scandals series, how I got started writing, and about the differences I've seen between self-publishing and traditional publishing.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments on her site.  Thanks!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Best. Amazon.Reviews. Ever.

For those of you who shop on Amazon, do you read the customer reviews? If you've ever let a review weigh into your purchasing decision (or heck, even if you haven't but want a good laugh), you must check out the reviews for the Samsung 85-inch Ultra television.

It cures cancer.  It makes Cops an interactive show. It drives otherwise normal men to sell their children in order to finance the ultimate Super Bowl experience. It sends Call of Duty gamers diving from their beanbag chairs.

If you've found a product with better reviews, post here. I'd love to hear about it!