Saturday, August 31, 2013

Felt like a night for a party

Last night I went to see Macklemore & Ryan Lewis in concert. To say the show was phenomenal would be a huge understatement. There is a reason beyond blind, dumb, luck that these men are on the fast track to epic success and last night I saw it first-hand.

From the moment they stepped on stage, the energy was unlike anything I've ever experienced. It was infectious. I felt zapped from standing outside in the heat all day and wondered how I would make it through the rest of the show. From the first beats of the opening song, 10,000 Hours, my energy level was no longer a concern.

The way Macklemore was able to command and connect with the audience was unprecedented. There's an very "real" quality to him and at no point did it feel like we were watching an ego perform. It was the performance of a man who appreciated every ounce of the success he's worked so hard for.

There were many high points of the night but there's one in particular that I wanted to mention. The song Same Love has become the unofficial anthem for the same-sex marriage equality issue. When they performed it last night the place exploded. I can't describe what was like to hear ten thousand people singing the line "Damn right I support it!". I choked up a little. It was a beautiful moment I'll never forget. 

I could write pages upon pages about why it was such a good time, but I'll keep it short and sweet. So why did I feel the need to blog about a concert? To urge everyone to go see Macklemore and Ryan Lewis live. Unfortunately for my Colorado friends, if you missed last night's show, you're out of luck. There are no plans for them to return on this tour. For the rest of you, if you love Macklemore or are looking for an excuse to let loose and have a genuinely fun time, spend the money, get a ticket. It's not just a concert but an experience to remember!

And we danced, and we cried.
And we laughed and had a really, really, really good time.
Take my hand, let's have a blast
And remember this moment for the rest of our lives.

*Photo credits go to my BFF, Jannah.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: Shudder by Samantha Durante

Shudder Synopsis
It’s only been three days, and already everything is different.
Paragon is behind her, but somehow Alessa’s life may actually have gotten worse. In a wrenching twist of fate, she traded the safety and companionship of her sister for that of her true love, losing a vital partner she’d counted on for the ordeal ahead. Her comfortable university life is but a distant memory, as she faces the prospect of surviving a bleak winter on the meager remains of a ravaged world. And if she’d thought she’d tasted fear upon seeing a ghost, she was wrong; now she’s discovering new depths of terror while being hunted by a deadly virus and a terrifying pack of superhuman creatures thirsting for blood.
And then there are the visions.
The memory-altering “stitch” unlocked something in Alessa’s mind, and now she can’t shake the constant flood of alien feelings ransacking her emotions. Haunting memories of an old flame are driving a deep and painful rift into her once-secure relationship. And a series of staggering revelations about the treacherous Engineers – and the bone-chilling deceit shrouding her world’s sorry history – will soon leave Alessa reeling…
The second installment in the electrifying Stitch Trilogy, Shudder follows Samantha Durante’s shocking and innovative debut with a heart-pounding, paranormal-dusted dystopian adventure sure to keep the pages turning.

Nicki's Review-

There are some heart pounding moments from the beginning in this installment of the Stitch trilogy. Alessa and Issac have escaped Paragon, searching for a rebellion safe haven. Food is scarce, the weather is miserable and they have a new horror stalking their every step. As readers, we experience their fear, dwindling hope and desperation.
I fell in love with these characters all over again. Issac is one to add to the list of "book boyfriends". All he wants to do is protect the people he cares about. He second guesses his decisions and in a weird way, the insecurity makes him more endearing. He's not the overly confident, cocky hero we're all used to. It sets his character apart from the pack, anchoring him in reality. Don't get me wrong, there's still a place for those arrogant yet lovable heroes but I find this character a refreshing change of pace.

If you loved Stitch, this book is a fantastic follow up.If you haven't read it yet, hop to it. You're missing out! This book was a wild ride of emotions. Within the first one hundred pages I feared for the characters' lives, swooned at the sweet moments and cried at the heartbreaking ones.Samantha Durante has a wonderful gift of incorporating many genres into one one well thought out and intriguing tale.  Let this author pull you into her fascinating, dark future of the world we live in. You won't be sorry!

To Purchase your copy of Stitch (Book 1) for just 99 cents click HERE.

To purchase Shudder (Book 2), you may follow the links below:
Amazon (Kindle $2.99, print $8.99)
Barnes & Noble (Nook $2.99)
Smashwords (multiple e-book formats $2.99)
Also available ($2.99 e-book) in the iTunes store, Kobo, and wherever e-books are sold

You may connect with the author via:

Author Bio:
Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. The Stitch Trilogy is her debut series. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Where has the Squirrel Whisperer been?

Good day! My apologies for not posting much this past month. I've been very busy. Let me get you caught up and then I'd like to share some awesome news!

The main project eating away most of my time, of course, is my novel. I've been working tirelessly to get it ready for my editor, the always awesome Cynthia Shepp. The manuscript will be placed in her very capable hands this Saturday, August 10th (Eek!). If all goes well, I'm hoping for a release date sometime in September/early October.

This past month, I finished two short story submissions for an anthology contest. Actually, I wrote three, but deemed one unworthy of submission. I ripped out the good parts and added them to another story. Nothing like a little literary vivisection to bring a smile to a girl's face.

Now the good news! My Frankenstein of a tale, brought forth by the previous story's demise, will be published as part of the upcoming Stalkers Anthology. The competition was fierce and I spent six days lurking around on Facebook waiting for the winners to be announced. I was very nervous my story wouldn't make the cut. As with all of my peers, I'm always on edge, waiting for someone to finally discover I'm a total hack. Until that time however, I'll keep chugging along and celebrating my victories.

About the Stalkers Anthology-
First off, I want to say congratulations to the winners! I feel honored to be printed beside so many wonderful writers/authors. Second, I want to thank Cynthia Sheep and Rene Folsom for putting together another wonderful anthology highlighting indie talent. Seriously, you ladies ROCK!

Now the details- No release date is scheduled just yet, but I'll keep you up to date as the information is handed down.  If you'd like to know a little bit more about my story, Damaged People, click on the Published Works tab at the top of this page.

A list of the stories to be included:
Lucid by Andrea Stanet 
Donations by Bart Hopkins 
Bernice by Chad Foutz 
Destination: Death by Eaton Thomas Palmer 
Autumn by Elizabeth Collins 
Dead Ringer by Jason Brant 
Freezer Burn by Jon Messenger 
Powerless by Laurie Treacy 
The Watcher by Lindy Spencer 
Immortal Luck by Magen McMinimy 
Say My Name by Michael Loring 
Damaged People by Nicki Scalise 
Izzy's Assassin by Nicole Clark 
Blog Stalker by Phil Taylor 
Every Thorn by Rene Folsom 
Affliction by S.L. Dearing

Don't Kiss the Dead Fred by A.E. Killingsworth 

The awesome cover was created by the very talented Rene Folsom at Phycel Designs.