Nicole Falls

...author of #negronosed romance

Why 03.17?

I sit here having just hit the publish button on my second novella.

*sits back; takes that in for a second*

I did it. Again. (No Britney)

Y'all I would be a liar if I said this was an easy process. Not necessarily the writing...that was surprisingly simple. But the getting out of my own head. The not letting my fear of the sophomore slump overrule my good sense. The constant worry about "is this story necessary?" "does anyone care?" "what am I even doing?" & author me probably shouldn't be sharing this here, but I felt compelled to do so here rather than real me's personal blog. Because even if everyone who reads this book hates it, I did a thing to completion. I did not let it defeat me. Anyway...

ANYWAY.

Onto the title of this post...I have a very specific plan for how many books I would like to release this year and when. This book originally was supposed to come out on 3/31, but every time I thought about announcing that date it didn't feel right. A voice in the back of my head always said, "No matter how many people ask when is the next one coming; don't post it, Nic." (That's not a humblebrag, btw. I can count the number of people who asked that on my hands and have enough fingers left to hold a flute of rosé.) I didn't know why until one day I heard that same voice say, "The 17th is the day."

And now I know I may sound a little crazy, but the 17th of March is a special day to me. It's the anniversary of the birth of my aunt with whom I was very close. We lost her four years ago. She's always on my mind, the most innocuous things reminding me of her. There's even a character named after her in this book--an unconscious, happy coincidence. 

So I decided to dedicate this book to her and release it on her birthday. Not because she was a reader...bc she wasn't. But because I know she would have LOVED this for me. Seeing me slide headfirst into my dreams and living my best life. So this one's for you, Pat! Happy birthday, you fuckin' leprechaun.

 

#1linewed... [explicit language warning]

This is a thing, yes? One line Wednesday? Y'all. Celena and Karim are doing the most and getting on my nerves. Hopefully you guys will be able to get into their story soon. Until then...

“I’m not really here for dating so any thoughts you had of bagging some pregnant p*ssy tonight? Cancel them.”

[insert upside down smiley here]

xoxo,

Nicole

#SampleSunday: Safety First

This sample is copyrighted, unedited, and subject to my fickle mind making changes prior to publication...

xoxo, 

Nicole

***

“So I guess we should call it one.”

Celena quickly glanced around the cafe and noticed we were the only ones left in here who weren’t workers. 

“Yeah, I guess so,” she said pulling out her phone, “Let me get an Uber.”

“No need for that, I can drive you home.”

“I don’t want you to go out of your way. I’m all the way on the East side.”

“It’s not out of my way. I am on the East side too, seventy-seventh and Warren, to be exact. If you’re feeling a way about accepting a ride from a stranger, Fred and Marni can vouch for me. I’ve known Fred since we were in first grade. Hell, he’s more of a brother to me than...anyway, they can tell you I’m not gonna drive you to a secluded area and use your bones for a bonfire.”

She laughed as I grabbed her phone, tucking it into her pocket and linking our hands together, escorting her out of Perk. She had drifted to the side of the sidewalk closer to traffic so I was purposeful in shifting her to the right; placing myself closest to the street as we walked.

“Is your thing for cars something we need to get checked out, Karim?” Celena asked, a hint of humor in her tone.

“Beg pardon?”

“On our way here you maneuvered so you were closest to the street and you just did so now. I know you said cars were your livelihood, but should I also be looking into getting you on My Strange Addiction?”

“I have no idea what that is, but no. My mother always told me to make sure the lady is never in danger of traffic. It’s a protection thing.”

“Well what about now,” she asked, as we approached the crosswalk at a red light, “There’s traffic all around. How are you supposed to protect me?”

I quickly moved from her left side, to stand directly in front of her, arms wrapping around her shoulders. I heard her quick intake of breath as I pulled her flush against me.

“Feel protected now?”

Adams Rd. Walk sign is on the cross. 

The robotic voice telling us it was safe to cross saved her from having to respond. I unwrapped my arms from her shoulders, grabbing her hand once again. We continued walking and arrived back at Imbibe where, to our surprise, Cadence was still sitting at the bar. She had been joined by a brotha who looked like a lineman for the Bears. Cadence made eye contact with Celena, darting a glance down to our intertwined hands and blinked a few times in rapid succession. Celena quickly dropped my hand, offering a strained smile.

“I had fun tonight, Karim.”

“Me too, hope we can do this again soon.”

“Yeah...I have your number, so…”

“I can’t get yours?”

“I’ll be in touch,” she said, reaching up to press a quick kiss to my cheek.

 

Why do I write romance?

I've been thinking about this question a lot over the past few days. I had a conversation with someone a while back and they said to me, "Since when do you write romance?" My answer was...well, I always have. I've always written stories that have some romantic aspect, but for some reason or another they never quite got off the ground. I was so focused on creating a conflict or some other crazy backstory, that they just never quite...curled all the way over. 

So I took some time away from writing creatively. And then I set out reading all of my half constructed pieces of writing to see where I'd gone wrong and if they could be salvaged and perhaps completed. In all of the stories there was a common theme--relationships. In some pieces they were familial bonds, but in most they were man-woman love relationships. And instead of just focusing on the relationships, I was on a quest to "dig deeper" to find the motivation behind acts and behaviors.

But that's not how I'm meant to write. It's not what I enjoy to write. In writing what I do, I do eventually explore motivations and such, but in all honesty? I love writing about love. I'm a sucker for a meet cute. Audibly squeal when characters realize their connection is more than a passing feeling. Revel in that first kiss, first declaration of love, eventual marriage and happily ever after.

And it's not some deep thing like "oh we rarely see Black love in media so I've been sent here to blahblahblah...". It's...just my passion. It's what I know. It's the only experience I feel connected to and qualified enough to tell the stories of. Slang based, negro nosed, Blackity black ass love.

It's been a week...

So guys...the number one question I've been asked this week is "How does it feel?" This blog is an attempt to answer that...

Here's the thing. I was lowkey punked into publishing this book. I started writing to it prove to myself that I could start and complete a work in its entirety. Somewhere along the way it turned into this little story that I kinda liked, but didn't know if other people would. Then I shared it with my published friends and they liked it too...or were being nice to me because we were friends. I wasn't certain at this point. Then I let my bestie who isn't super into reading glance at the first two chapters and she liked it. And then I shared it with a friend who is an avid reader and semi-harsh critic and she liked it. By then I thought, okay...it's cute enough that none of my friends have said, "naw sis, hang it up"; maybe I should keep writing. 

And I did. And got frustrated. Then had breakthroughs. And then finally typed the words, the end. That right there? Was enough for me, if we're being honest. I'd finally done it, after years of saying I was gonna do it, false starts, and bullshitting--I wrote an entire book (ish...novella type thing). Whew, I cried so hard after I typed the end. (If you follow me on Twitter, you know I'm heavy into crying...my emotions be so overwhelming!)

And then I sent it to my published friends and they said..."oh hey, this cute or whatever,  but you ain't done." (Fun fact: The first completed draft of this book did not include the gondola fight in its entirety because I didn't like writing conflict. LOL). So I went back and I added and updated and edited and added and updated and edited again and then sat with the finished draft. I...well, honestly I was scared shitless. 

What if no one read it? What if people did read it and hated it? Negative thoughts kept coming at full force until one of my friends said & I quote, "Oh bitch. Stop fucking around so I can buy this shit!" Profanity is my love language, so mere minutes after she said that I hit the publish button. And waited. Then felt immediate regret.

But then a funny thing happened. People who weren't my friends read it and...liked it. My friends who hadn't read it previously read it and liked it. The work was met with overwhelming positivity that made me cry so many times that I lost count, tbh. All of a sudden it was less the little book that could and more the little book that did. I'm completely blown away by the reception so far and honestly do not think I can put into words how every single comment, review, tweet, text, blog post, etc. has buoyed me over this past week.

I feel very Taylor Swiftian in my response when I see a new review that is glowing, but honestly I didn't expect fanfare. I didn't expect praise. I just wrote a story, hoping people would like it and if they didn't, they would tactfully decline to let me know. I was confident that I could write grammatically sound sentences, but was unsure of being able to write a story that would keep a reader riveted. So I can check that one off now. : )

The pressure is on though. I am currently in school full time, working full time, and allegedly beginning work on book two (Celena--not Cass & Ev. I don't think I'll ever write Cassett/Everidy, but that's a different story for a different day). I don't want to churn out something quickly to capitalize on this moderate level of success, but I also don't want to wait too long and lose my writing mojo. So I've begun outlining, have lined up a friend to bug about a hobby he shares with my hero and plan to tuck into writing soon.

But I just wanted to get this quick blog off to say thank you to each and every person who has read this book, whether you liked it or not, haha. I'm overwhelmingly honored that these lil crazy people inside my head are ones with whom you can relate and hope to be able to continue to write stories about our love that are both relatable and a little left of center.

xoxo,

Nicole

#SampleSunday: the oath.

So I've been watching this whole indie writer game for a minute and am always hyped for Sample Sunday from my faves. Today I decided, on a whim (& after three delicious watermelon lime beers), to participate. So here's my ~first~ #samplesunday post. Is this where I say that this sample is copyrighted, unedited and subject to my fickle mind making changes prior to publication? : ) Hope y'all enjoy!

*****

“So what were the other rules?” Ellis’ low rumble pulled me out of the orgasm induced hazed I’d been in. After finishing up in the living room, we moved into my bedroom where we devoured each other at least three more times as if each time would be the last. I was dozing off when Ellis asked the question I had no definite answer to. The only real rule I had regarding the rollout of this relationship was how it would eventually be revealed to the family. The last thing I needed was Imogene Landon-Lee calling me and going on about how good girls don’t hop from brother to brother. Or how I should have never gave Everett to that damn ginger girl for the millionth time.

“Well…er…um…” I stalled.

“Wait a damn minute. There ain’t no rules beyond don’t tell my mama are there? Auntie Im got you that shook?” Ellis laughed.

“It’s not just my mama I’m worried about…”

“Well who else? Certainly not Everett.”

“Hell no. That fool prolly already knows because Cass can’t hold water.”

“I thought you said…”

“I said nothing; you assumed,” I laughed.

“So who else? Certainly not my mama.”

I remained quiet, playing with the scalloped lace edges of my sheets. That’s exactly who had me shook. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely didn’t want the judgment or censure from my mother, but I could just ignore her ass for a few days and she’d be past it. But Auntie Randi…I couldn’t be the lil heffa who messed around with both of her sons. I’d always been closer to her than Cadence’s mom Auntie Berta because of our shared love of dance. Auntie Randi was the one who encouraged my mom to put me into Hurston Dance Company after seeing me messing around with choreography on my own around the house. When Everett and I broke up, Auntie Randi had nothing bad to say, but I always felt like she was a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t become her daughter-in-law, popping out little dance grandbabies. Don’t get me wrong, she loved Cassidy, but they were about as opposite as two folks could get. Thank goodness The Bean inherited her grandma’s dance genes.

“For real, Bee? Quit playin’, you know Miranda loves her some Devorah.”

“Yeah, but will she love the Devorah that’s fucked both of her sons?”

“Bee, just the tip doesn’t count.”

“It totally doe---WAIT! You know about that? Oh my gooooooood,” I moaned, burying my face in my hands and turning away from Ellis.

Everett and I swore we wouldn’t tell anyone about our failed sexcapades. I mean I’d told Cade, obviously, but he had to know that was a given. There was rarely anything that I didn’t tell her. But that didn’t mean he could tell his brother. Ellis grabbed my shoulder and pulled me into an embrace, kissing my forehead as he chuckled.

“Baby, that was over ten years ago. Besides…I won anyway! You let me get all up in them…”

“Stop. Ew. Do not finish that sentence or you will never get all up in me ever again.”

“Yeah right,” Ellis drawled, running his hand down my body to cup my ass.

“Stop tryna distract me. I’m serious though. Please let’s just chill on letting the old heads know about whatever this thing is.”

“This thing being our relationship. Say it with me Bee. Our rela…actually, scratch that. I’m about to make you take an oath. Repeat after me. I, Devorah Nicole Lee…”

I rolled my eyes, pushing against Ellis slightly to loosen his embrace. He pulled me in even closer, locking a leg around mine to keep me in place. I looked up to see him waiting with one eyebrow cocked.

“All right, fine. I, Devorah Nicole Lee…”

“Do solemnly swear…”

“Do solemnly swear…”

“That I am in a relationship with Ellis Stacey Taylor…”

“That I am in…” I paused.

Ellis just looked at me, with a brow raised.

I smirked, “All right, all right, I’ll quit fucking with you. That I am in a relationship with Ellis Stacey Taylor…”

My heart damn near burst outta my chest after saying that line. Lord, it was something I never thought in life I’d be saying, let alone repeating in some crazy ass oath Ellis had me taking. Pretty sure that I was grinning like a loon at this point as well.

“Who is knocking the bottom out that thang.”

“I’m not repeating that.”

Outloud that is, because he was certainly knocking out the top, bottom, middle and sides of that thang. Whew.

“You know it’s true. I know it’s true. It’s fine. You don’t have to say it.”

“I can’t stand you.”

“Lies you tell, woman!”

 

So close.

I set a very aggressive writing goal for myself this weekend. I began it with three chapters left in my outline and I wanted to be completely done with them by Monday. I want to be typing the words ~the end~ very fucking soon. So I'm fully immersed in writing, forsaking nearly everything else in my life so that I may reach this goal.

...and I'm scared shitless. 

I've been writing and thinking about and researching this simple little book for so long and I can hardly believe it's almost out into the world. My anxiety is through the roof. I just want people to like it. I think I'm finally super close to the place where *I* like it, finally and I'm a harsh critic.

I always feel like I know what I want to write, but sometimes the synapses don't fire off what is seen in my mind's eye to the fingers to type it just right. So this journey has been full of hand wringing and frustration at not being able to get what I think are the right words on the page. Then I have to realize that the story will come out of me in the way that the characters move me to tell it. As much as I think I'm in control, I'm not. These fictional figments of my imagination are running the show and I'm at their beck and call. 

But once I type those final two words I'll have finally done it. I will have completed an entire book.

Holy shit, I wanna vomit.

 

xoxo,

Nicole

[Reading] is easy, young [woman]; [writing] is harder...

If you couldn't tell from the bastardization of a lyric from the post title here, I am low-key obsessed with Hamilton the musical and think Lin-Manuel Miranda is definitely a friggin' genius. I'd  not listened to the soundtrack since I saw the play in April (least humble brag, ever...), but for some reason it was on my heart heavy today. So I cranked it while at the day job and got my entire life. While I've listened to this cast recording 5012 times, today when Chris Jackson sang the original line I pilfered for this post's title (dying is easy young man, living is harder) I immediately connected it to my creative process.

I tend to take the easy way out ten times out of nine. I don't need that stinkin' easy button from Staples because I am perfectly capable of finding shortcuts, loopholes, and other means of skating by in order to achieve a goal successfully on my own. Writing a book however? You can't really do that. Well you could, but then your book would suck. And what's the use in putting out a crappy product for consumption when you're a nobody so it's not like it's easy money...what was I saying? I'm easily distracted.

Oh yes, I was saying...

These people. Bro. Bruh. Breh. Sis. Cis. They have taken me THROUGH it. When I initially talked to my friend Christina about this story it was supposed to be a short, maybe 10k words and it did not resemble anything of its incarnation today besides a couple of shared character names. It has evolved into this...thing that, according to some people, is kinda interesting and compelling. But making it so? It is the single most nerve-wracking thing I've made myself do in quite some time. My anxiety has anxiety about this damn book being released unto the world.

But it is a thing that must be done, so I am coping.

Barely...please send rosé gummies and/or champagne to help ya girl.

xoxo,

Nicole

What's in a name?

So I've been asked by several people why I'm choosing to write under a pseudonym, so what better way to introduce myself to the world than to give a little background on how I came up with my writer name. : )

  • The first reason I'm choosing not to write under my government name isn't any cloak and daggery type jazz, it's simply because I hate my real first name. I've never felt it fit me and it's wack; so whenever I get a chance to avoid using it, I take advantage of it.
  • Another reason is because I work in a field that may lead to me being published in academia at some point. Not that this first book is filled with smut, buuuuuut I'ma keep it a hunnid and say who knows what the future holds. It could get real in the field. So because of that, separation of church and state was necessary.
  • And 17th of all, I wanted to pay homage to the women who always encouraged me to pursue my writer dream. They were descendants of the Falls line of my family tree, so using that as my last name was a no brainer.

That's it, that's all--for now. Next time I'm gonna write about my process and how I dragged this book to the trash daily the entire time I've been writing it, haha!

 

xoxo

Nicole