Happy Valentine’s Day

Because today is as good a day as any to have love and goodness in the world, be you in the throes of true love, or preaching against the Hallmark marketing ploy, or being an angsty cynic and negating the pink hearts and sappy messages, I wish everyone the world lots of love and goodness on this Valentine’s day!

❤ DragonBeck


2018 Resolutions

The first month of 2018 is almost done, and I haven’t finished my resolutions – I hope this is not an omen for how the rest of the year is going to progress (knock on wood!).

So, in the spirit of better late than never –

and at the great risk of embarrassing myself in this spotlight I’ve created by being the only person left on the stage, I’ll go ahead and finish my ponderings and scribblings on the matter, and post them. I’m not really into the “new year, new me” philosophy. I don’t have to become someone else to be better, I just have to strive to be a better me.  In that vein, I’d like to have more balance in my life – I want to be optimistic, but realistic. I want to achieve great things, but I want to make sure the mundane gets taken care of too. So, after much thought about how I can beat 2017, here are the resolutions for 2018:

  1. Be awesome.
  2. Write a lot.
  3. Publish book #5.
  4. First draft of book #6.
  5. Read.
  6.  (more like 5.5) Read Stephen King’s On Writing.
  7. Exercise.
  8. Go to Africa.
  9. Learn to speak better Italian (and I do mean speak, not read or write).
  10. Draw or Paint more.
  11. Play my guitar.
  12. Write letters.
  13. Eat good food, drink coffee, have chocolate.
  14. Eat something unusual, that I haven’t tried before.
  15. Have a Golden Birthday.
  16. Sell lots of books.
  17. Write some awesome Stories My Friends Started.
  18. Enter (and win) a contest.
  19. Buy a mattress.
  20. Get a better phone.
  21. Focus on the real things: real friends, real communication, real happiness.
  22. Get a movie/TV series deal.
  23. Do something outside my comfort zone.
  24. Meet new people.
  25. Spend time on myself.
  26. Spend time on other people.
  27. Find something I’d lost.
  28. Give a present that really means something
  29. Do something unthinkable or ridiculous (but not dangerous or illegal).
  30. Something with dragons (for the English teachers and grammar nazis, yes I know that’s not a complete thought).
  31. Make a new friend.
  32. Be awesome (that merits saying twice).

So that’s that. That’s a pretty good list, pretty good motivation. I hope you all have a great year, and feel free to drop me a line and say hi! I’d love to know what some of your resolutions are and how they’re going so far?

❤ DragonBeck

A Look Back At My 2017 Resolutions

Hi people! So, as is only natural, at the end of 2016 I published a blog outlining my lofty hopes and dreams for 2017. You can read it here.

Let’s have a look at what those were, and how many of the got done, in part or in whole:

  1. Write. A lot. I did this. Not as much as I’d hoped (I wanted to get the first draft of my fifth novel done, but that didn’t happen). I rewrote book 1, and finished book 4, wrote some Stories My Friends Started, and some flash fiction writing exercises; and a few short short stories for anthologies. And a story to submit to Writers of the Future (it didn’t win but it was awesome).
  2. Read. Not quite as much as I write, but at least some. I did this!!! I read the Pendragon series (awesome) and Second Chances by Alanna J. Rubin (also awesome!).
  3. Keep Erika happy with my quota of Stories My Friends Started (if you’d like to help me with this particular resolution, go to Storiesmyfriendsstarted.com, and give us a sentence to start!) I sort of did this – Erika may disagree, but you can see what I did do here. “Jumping Back”, “Quiet”, “Liabilities of Language”, and “Inspiration” are a few of my favorites, as well as the rather impressive (if I do say so myself) four-part “Magic Mirror” story.
  4. Write/publish stories in the much-anticipated sequel to The Death of Jimmy – The Purge of Jimmy (coming soon). Yes – get your copy here for just $0.99!!
  5. Write/publish stories in Super Useless (coming sooner). And yes!! Get your copy of these delightful people with not so super superpowers here ($0.99)!
  6. Get my 2017 anthology in on time and within the specified word count. I did this too! “The Writer’s Trial” a fun little piece about writers, devils, and talking cats that I wrote several years ago, and by several years, I mean over a decade. You can get your copy here, also $0.99!
  7. Publish Book IV of the Guardians of the Path series. Yes! Go me! You can get the first four books here!
  8. Write first draft of Book V of GOTP (and dare to hope it will be published at the end of the year). Yeah, not so much. Strike one *sad face*.
  9. Write a novella series (or two). Yeah, really not so much. Strike two *sheds a tear*
  10. Savor the coffee. Let the Force flow through me… I did this. Lots of delicious coffee, and I saw Star Wars: Rogue One, though I haven’t seen The Last Jedi yet, but soon.
  11. Spend lots of time with my family. I did this too. We Skyped a lot, because we’re spread out across the U.S. now.
  12. Spend lots of time with my amazing companions in the Ink Slingers Guild, drinking tea, laughing, and being awesome. I did this. It was awesome.
  13. Be awesome in general. I think I did this.
  14. Spread the awesomeness. I beta read a couple books for some friends of mine, baked people yummy things, did a lot of networking this year, made a super cool little calendar for the Ink Slingers Guild.
  15. Bake yummy things. So many yummy things: chocolate chip cookies, strawberry jam biscuits, gingerbread, mince pies, shortbread.
  16. Make some good memories. I went to California to see where I was born, I went to Megacon, I went to the movies to see Thor: Ragnarok with my mom for my birthday, I went to see WD HAN in concert.
  17. Do something that I haven’t done before. I went to Megacon – my very first Convention! It was awesome!
  18. Go somewhere new. I’m not sure if this totally counts, but here goes: I flew by myself for the first time to visit my sister in California. It wasn’t new so much – I was born there, but it was the first time I’d been back in 24 years, so it felt like some place new. My sister also kept complaining about how new everything was, and all the new buildings that were being put up, so I feel that lends credence to my assertion that this counts.
  19. Don’t spend too much time on the internet (very important). I totally did this. You can read about my internet-free adventure here.
  20. Find that dragon, and travel the world a-dragonback (from 2016). In progress.
  21. Take over the world (also from 2016). Also in progress.

And that’s the last one – not bad for a year!! I am very proud of myself for actually getting most of my stuff done! Now I’ll have to think up some awesome resolutions for 2018….

❤ DragonBeck


Merry Christmas!

Though it’s been said, many times, many ways, Merry Christmas to you!

Buon Natale
Merry Christmas
Fröhliche Weihnachten
Joyeux Noel
Feliz Navidad
Gun Tso Sun Tan’Gung Haw Sun
Hyvaa joulua
Sarbatori vesele
Kala Christouyenna
Shinnen omedeto
Mele Kalikimaka
Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo
Vesele Bozicne
Sawadee Pee Mai
Gesëende Kersfees
Gezur Krislinjden
Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun
Selamat Hari Natal
Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
Shuvo Naba Barsha
Vesele Vanoce
Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat
Tchestita Koleda
Bon Nadal i un Bon Any Nou!
Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Yukpa, Nitak Hollo Chito
Subha nath thalak Vewa
Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Sretan Bozic
Glædelig Jul
Jutdlime pivdluarit ukiortame pivdluaritlo!
Gajan Kristnaskon
Ruumsaid juulup|hi
Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad
Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig nieuw jaar
Maligayan Pasko!
Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!
Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr!
Nadolig Llawen
Feliz Natal
En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!
Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!
Shub Naya Baras
Selamat Hari Natal
Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson honungradon nagwutut
Gledileg Jol
Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa
Natale hilare et Annum Faustum
Prieci’gus Ziemsve’tkus un Laimi’gu Jauno Gadu!
Linksmu Kaledu
Sreken Bozhik
LL Milied Lt-tajjeb
Meri Kirihimete
Merry Keshmish
God Jul
Pulit nadal e bona annado
Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!
Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go long yu
Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia
La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Hristos se rodi
Sretan Bozic oppure Vesele vianoce
God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År
Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Srozhdestvom Kristovym
Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
Naya Saal Mubarak Ho
Chung Mung Giang Sinh
E ku odun, e ku iye’dun

❤ DragonBeck



Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a very, very Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you have many wonderful things to be thankful for, and remember that no matter where we are today, we can always work towards making a better tomorrow!

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln

❤ DragonBeck


Writer On Holiday (Sort of)

Hey there, wonderful readers of the world!

I know I haven’t been gracing you with literary awesomeness like I should’ve been, but I have a good excuse – I swear!
I’ve been visiting my sister out in the great (or greatest, depending on who you ask) state of California, and so I haven’t had much attention or time for anything else.

California is really nice – I am enjoying myself. I am immensely enjoying the weather, though it got a little hot. My sister is taking me to all the ice-cream places which are to die for (shout out to Jeni’s and McConnelsl’s – aaammmaaazing ice cream). Have you ever had Earl Grey And Shortbread ice-cream? If not, I heartily recommend it. It has a very writerly vibe to it, I think. The only thing I have a small problem with is that it’s very difficult to find postcards – not really sure why; this is a touristy state, is it not?

Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well, and we’ll talk soon!

Oh, and any advice on where to get postcards in LA/Orange County? Or really good ice-cream?

❤ DragonBeck


Meet The Authors

Hello everyone – happy Friday!

The Ink Slingers Guild are officially at Tampa Bay Megacon this weekend – we have a table in Artist Alley, and lots of fantastic books for you!!!

Let’s take a moment to get acquainted, shall we?

Lisa Barry:

“Writing and reading every minute she can, Lisa counts on her cats to keep her keyboard warm and on the countless gargoyles who stand guard throughout her house to ensure the safety of all those who enter with good intent. The gargoyles, even more importantly, listen carefully when Lisa reads to them aloud.

On a person note…besides having a deep admiration of gargoyles (who says they’re not real?), I love to read and write.  I collect gargoyles, I love music and can be heard driving up before I am seen, I’m a very picky eater (just ask my friends -eyes rolling-), I enjoy fishing and will catch them, clean them, cook them but won’t eat them or anything else out of the ocean.  I also believe in many fairy tale creatures, just haven’t knowingly met any yet.”

And she has a really cool tattoo.

  and coming soon…

Dalia Lance:

Dalia says “I have had a very interesting upbringing starting with growing up in Hollywood, CA. Never shy, I learned that if you are not willing to try something new you may let life simply pass you by. I love meeting people from all walks of life and these experiences inspire me on a daily basis. As a true friend once pointed out “You are never a complete waste, you can always be used as a bad example”. So what’s the worst that can happen?”


J. M. Pacquete:

JM Paquette writes cheesy vampire romance novels filled with action, adventure, intrigue, and sometimes slightly steamy sex scenes. She enjoys alliteration and puns of all kinds.


Alanna J. Rubin:

Miss Rubin says “I’m originally from Massachusetts. As a northerner, I never missed an opportunity to pick apples, carve pumpkins, or visit Salem to see the witches and haunted happenings. Now that I’m in Florida, not a day goes by when I don’t miss the changing colors of leaves, but I would never go back to having to shovel snow. As a fan of science fiction, paranormal, and romance…I find that individually they are fun,  however, I love them more when they’re mashed together. Often, when I am not writing my next adventure you’ll find me torn between watching a Jane Austen adaptation or hopping on the Tardis for an adventure in time and space.”


And yours truly, Nicole Dragonbeck:

I was born on the first day of a year-long eclipse of the sun, the thirteenth child of the Prince of Elves and an enchantress. As a small child I fell into a poisoned well and was horribly transformed by the toxic sludge seething in the deep darkness. I was fished out by a band of gypsies, who promised to feed and clothe me if I cooked and cleaned for them. They taught me to ride bareback and read palms, but I royally pissed off the leader by setting his wagon on fire and he cursed me with a great imagination and an equally great inability to tell the truth…and the rest is history.


I hope to see you at Megacon this weekend and get the chance to meet you in person!

❤ DragonBeck (and friends)





Announcement: Ink Slingers Guild At Tampa Bay Megacon

Hello all!


If you’re not already familiar with the Ink Slingers Guild, we’re a writers’ group that has been together for over 6 years now. In our own words:  “The Ink Slingers Guild is a group of writers who came together (by referral only) for support and encouragement. We give each other inspiration and the occasional kick in the arse. So far, together we have created eight collections of short stories, four of our members have published their first novels and one member just released her fourth novel.”

We write everything from epic fantasy and science fiction, to paranormal romance, erotica, Regency era Jane Austen romance, ghost stories, and cheesy vampire romance:


I am very excited to announce that the Ink Slingers Guild have a table in Artists’ Alley at the Tampa Bay Megacon Friday 29th September through Sunday 1st October, and we’d love to see you there!

Held at:

333 S. Franklin Street
Tampa, FL 33602

Ticket information can be found here.

Visit megacontampabay.com for more information.

Nerd on!

❤ DragonBeck


What I Learned From A Month of Social Media Abstinence

I was considering titling this post “Social Media: Gift or Curse?” but I thought that sounded a bit overly-dramatic, so I went with a statement of simple fact: What I learned from a month of staying off all my social media.

Social media.

Some people love it, some people don’t care.

Some people are gurus and linked in and synced up, and others wouldn’t know what to do with it if it danced naked in front of them.

Some people are on it every day, some people don’t use it as all.

And every gradient shade of grey between.

What is its purpose? Is it vital? Just because it exists, does it make it right? Should we live without it? Could we live without it? What impact does it have on our lives? I’d wager these are questions most people don’t ask.

I have mixed feelings on these matters. On a personal front, I believe the net effect of a growing volume of virtual reality is detrimental to reality reality (see “The Reality Bug”, Pendragon series, D.J. Machale.)

However, as an independent author, I would say social media is important. It’s a way (possibly amongst the best ways, and certainly the most far-reaching way) we can get word out of our amazing books, without having to beg and grovel to traditional publishers, who, I may remind you, have turned away the likes of J. K. Rowling 12 times and told her “not to quit her day job”, so they obviously don’t know everything.

I’m a pragmatist, and I prefer to take a middle-of-the-road view-point: I think like most things, social media has pros and cons.  Pro: last month, I connected with an author in Italy, via twitter (that particular line in my bio is accurate, which is not to say the other bits are inaccurate, but some people may find the information in my author bio hard to believe – but it’s all true, I swear). Con: one can waste a lot of time  on things that don’t really contribute to one’s life. In your twilight years, are you really going to look back and say “You know, I’m really glad I spent those hours looking at memes and satisfying my curiosity about those click-bait articles?”. This could just be me, but I don’t think so.

I do try to ration and schedule my social media time, and almost all of that allotted time is spent on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is mostly for personal things – I do have an author page, but it’s honestly more an extension of my twitter account. Reversely, Twitter is where I let my #writerslife out, with everything from #amwriting, to #writersproblems and #books. More recently, I’ve added to my social media presence by joining the Instagram community*, as authordragonbeck, and again this is a professional #indieauthor account (it took me a while to get the hang of the whole hashtag thing, but as you can see, I’ve become a master).

In the month of July, I participated in the #authorconfession and #MythCampNano games on Twitter. For this, I had to be on my Social Media every day, as the entire point of the thing is to connect and interact, and obviously to answer each day’s question. In order to balance that, I did an experiment and gave up social media – meaning Facebook and Twitter – for the month of August (for the sticklers who noticed that I posted blogs during this time, featuring the fruits of my Ink Slingers Guild writing exercise – yes, I wrote and posted blogs. However, wordpress allows one to post to Twitter, which in turn is linked to Facebook, without having to actually going onto either of those platforms, so I’m not counting that against myself).

This is a record of my findings of Social Media Abstinence:

No one died as a direct result. The world continued to turn. The sun did not go out (although there was an eclipse). The zombie apocalypse didn’t start (or if it did, I didn’t notice).

I experienced definite withdrawal symptoms. The first three days were the worst, with jittery cravings to “just quickly check”. The days after that were better. After a week, I no longer felt compelled to log into Facebook just to see if anything exciting had happened that I should know about. At the second week, it was a vague half-thought that passed as quickly as it came.

I relaxed. At some point in the middle of my experiment, I recalled I’d heard (some time ago) that if you were feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, just don’t watch the TV or read the newspaper for two weeks and see how you felt afterwards. As I don’t watch TV or read a newspaper, I didn’t think that applied to me. I have now reevaluated that consideration. Getting away from the drama is very calming. I highly recommend it.

On the 20th of August, just shy of three weeks into my experiment, Facebook texted me letting me know that a friend had shared a link, and letting me know that I could “see it here”. For the last 3 years, Facebook had never texted me to say anything, yet over the course of the next week, Facebook sent me messages each day, letting me know “so-and-so commented…” and “so-and-so updated…” and “so-and-so shared…” I guess Facebook missed me more than I missed it.

I noticed an interesting phenomenon: I only thought about checking Facebook or Twitter a) when I had completed one task, and hadn’t yet decided which task to do next (boredom) or when I had quite a few tasks that needed to be done, and I couldn’t decide which to do first (dispersal) or when I had picked my next task, but there was some reason I couldn’t begin that task for 5 or 10 minutes (waiting).

I read more.

I organized my bookshelf, and did my filing.

I played my guitar for the first time in over 3 years. I have no calluses left on my fingers, but I can still do a G-major chord.

I still had friends. I still saw them. We had tea. It was nice.

I got the second edition of my first novel done and the editing/proofing of my fourth novel done distraction free (i.e. no need to log in to let the world know “Finished a chapter so I’m going to get a cup of #coffee to reward myself #writerslife #editing #lovecoffee” and fifteen minutes later “Chapter six and I feel like my eyes are bleeding out of my head #writerslife #writersproblem #amediting #amwriting”) and this was soo much faster and more efficient. (Note to self: remember to repeat this when rewriting/editing/proofing any novel, please and thank you.)

Finally, after 31 days of my little experiment, came the big moment when I re-entered the matrix for the first time in a month. What was I going to find? Would anyone remember me? Would I remember anyone? Did I even know what my password was anymore? Was the answer to all life still 42? I still can’t answer that last one, but this is what greeted me:

And twitter:

Yes, I had missed things (like a boat-christening ceremony, which sounded like fun). And a couple other events. But not much – there were only 2 notifications per day. So would I do anything differently? I think not.

Conclusion: social media is revolutionary for independent authors (and other artists and artisans), but don’t let it take over your life. What’s in front of one is more important, and I don’t mean a phone screen. Take a break every once in a while. Take an extended break. Go outside. Talk to someone face to face. Play chess (on an actual board). Buy someone flowers. Learn how to greet someone in Klingon. Actually greet someone in Klingon and see what reaction you get. Or keep scrolling and liking and posting those selfies. This is not a sermon, this is just a statement of my thoughts based on my experience.

And I admit, as the fourth book in my fantasy series is about to be released, I am now going to dive back into social media with open arms, starting with all the amazing things that happened last month (coming soon to a blog post near you). And I am once again participating in #authorconfession!

So, what do you think? What are the pros of social media? What are the cons of social media? What tips do you have for minimizing distractions and getting more done?

❤ DragonBeck

*For those clever enough to catch that most of my Instagram pictures were actually uploaded during the end of July/beginning of August, which was partially during my social media black-out, there’s an explanation which doesn’t render my experiment invalid: I don’t have the Instagram app on my phone, and thusly I was unable to upload my (awesome) collection of writerly pictures. So, I emailed them to my sister, who logged on to my account on her phone, and uploaded them for me with the captions and hashtags which I had put together. It was my birthday present, and may have been bending the rules, but I don’t think it was outright cheating, as I wasn’t technically on social media 😉 I’ve been told my content is pretty cool, and you can check it out here: https://www.instagram.com/authordragonbeck


Post-Hurricane Hello

Hello world!

I am at this moment, sitting at my friend Lisa’s table (because she has internet and I don’t), just beginning to resurface after Hurricane Irma came to pay me a visit. It wasn’t the pleasant sort of visit, the kind where a good friend shows up on the doorstep with pizza, or just a smile and a “hey there, how’s it going?”. I’ll admit, it was a little scary for a while – the media proclaiming Armageddon was upon us – and I thought my house would be underwater. It wasn’t. The whole thing was actually not much of an event, sort of like a very intense summer storm which we in Florida are used to. The worst thing was that we did lose power for a few days afterwards.

I felt like my life during these days was summed up by the phrase #FirstWorldProblems. It was hot, but I handle heat fairly well, so that wasn’t as bad as it could be. I couldn’t write, though (that was torturous, but as I pointed out in the first sentence, hardly privation – a state in which things that are essential for human well-being such as food and warmth are scarce or lacking – of even a mild nature), or work (that was rougher – I’d like to be able to eat next week, you know?). I got more sleep, which was nice – it got dark at 8:30, and with no power, well, what else was I going to do? I did get to read a bit – Pendragon series, highly recommended – by torchlight. And there was the perfect excuse to clean out the fridge and freezer.

All in all, it was an experience. The world (or maybe just the part that I inhabit) seemed to stand still, waiting for something to start it up again. There was a real sense of community after the storm, during the cleaning up, hauling away tree debris, all my neighbors were out, chatting – it’s a camaraderie which only the wrath of Mother Nature seems to bring out in humans. People offered what assistance they could, sharing power and their roofs, and I’m left with the wistful thought that it would be nice if it was like this all the time, minus the inconvenience and lack of (vital, for this world and society, at least) necessities like electricity and internet.

I have lots of news, which shall be forthcoming shortly (after another blog post that I had hoped to publish earlier this month, but then stuff happened). I hope everyone’s doing well, or at least well enough, and that the future looks brighter rather than bleaker. Drop me a line and let me know what you’re up to, I’d love to hear from you!

Talk soon,

❤ DragonBeck