Did Queen Victoria & Prince Albert Kill the Romanov Royal Family?

BookCoverImageHello all,

Shameless self promotion I’m afraid, so if this doesn’t interest you, turn away now.

As many of you know, I’m a know-it-all when it comes to history. I can’t read enough books or watch enough programmes and can’t talk enough about history. All history. Everything from Native American, to Colonial Australian to European.

Additionally, I’m a nature and science buff-freak. Ask me about the mating rituals of lions, go on, ask me, ask me… or genetics, or seasonal crop planting by the moon or bio-dynamic farming, or comets… and I’ll make you a coffee while I discuss the link between Halley’s Comet in 1910 and the beginning of WWI. 

I’m also ‘that person’ who comes up with the wildest theories and then sets about proving my hypothesis or discovers other peoples theories and then sets about confirming or disproving them! 

So, with all of that floating about in my head, I guess it’s only natural that history features in my fiction writing. But I’m about to step out of my comfort zone. I’ve written a non-fiction book:

TITLE: Did Queen Victoria & Prince Albert Kill the Romanov Royal Family?
SUBTITLE: How King Henry VIII breaking with Rome in the 16th Century ended the Russian Royals in the 20th Century

It’s not available yet, but will be in the next few days.

A factual account of events with a theory:
Everyone knows the story of the Romanov family, the love story of Queen Victoria & Prince Albert & that King Henry VIII had six wives with more than one losing her heart & her head.
What if I was to tell you that they are all linked?
And what if I was to tell you that the Romanov tragedy didn’t start with the Russian Revolution, or Stalin, or even WWI and that it really started with King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn?

I will be offering for as little as Amazon allows (the paperback version looks like coming out at $5.50 USD which is 5c off the cost to me print price). I’m waiting for an OK from Amazon Kindle before going live & am hoping the Kindle version can be offered for well under $1.00 as this is not a ‘money making’ project, but rather one from the heart.

What I’d like to achieve from this book is to put forward the historical facts and evidence and then put forward my theory, based on all the evidence, and then wait to see what others have to say on the matter.

With regard to the final cost, I don’t know the final cost for the Kindle version but I’m hoping it’ll be between 50c- 75c USD & the cost of $5.50 USD for the paperback is based on the very min. Amazon would allow me to price it at plus 10c, which I have done to cover any variations in the USD and AUD (rather than changing the price every month or so)

I’m terrible at promoting myself, I always feel like I’m selling door-to-door vacuum cleaners! Therefore I promise not to flood my posts with updates and ads, although there might be the odd-one here and here.

I expect the book to go live in the next few days. Anyone interested in knowing more can find out more via below:

BookCoverImageTwitter: https://twitter.com/Nik_Vukoja

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nikola.vukoja.94

Personal Blog: http://nikvukoja.wordpress.com/

GoodReads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8330140.Nikola_Vukoja

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/nikolavukoja

FYI – yes the cover is original. I took one of my paintings, manipulated the colour scheme to best match the font and cover colour and then put the two together. I like it but then again I’m fond of all shades of purple & blue so of course I would!

Thanks for reading this and if you happen to buy the book, thank you for that also.

#Nestpitch 2015 & St. Nicholas Day

19991Hi All!

Following on from my last post I wanted to talk a little today about the changes I’m planning for #Nestpitch 2015

The first is the Mentor/Team System.

In 2014 we had some AWESOME submissions however, and this is not the case for all submissions, there were several agents who, on requesting pages and query letters, were left a little disappointed that the quality/voice/lack of grammatical errors (etc.) did not translate beyond page one, two or three. Others failed in the query letter stage. While the pages may have been good, the query did not “grip” and QL’s are (sadly) part of the process. As I say, this was not the case for the majority of submissions, however, there were enough such comments to have me look at how I can improve on the submission process.

So this got me thinking. The basic process WILL remain the same, that is to say, the concept of Easter Nests & Secret Bunny Agents will remain, however the selection process will be MUCH TOUGHER – not because I’m cruel! but to get the very best submissions before agents.

snoopyeasterMentor Teams:

In 2015 there will be MENTOR TEAMS made up of a Team Leader (Mentor) and his/her Slush Bilbies (2-3 readers). Each Team will work separately but will also working with the other Teams, & select their top picks.

Selection Process:

The initial steps will remain. 35-word pitch & first 300 words but instead of the Mentors picking & featuring eight (8) submissions, the Mentors will pick “between 5-8” (plus two alternates) and of those, they will request both the Query Letter & either the first chapter or the first 2500-words. The query WILL NOT be featured but will form part of the Mentor Selection Process. The Teams, who will pick a name (e.g #TeamWinnerWinnerChickenDinner) and then read their picked queries, pitches & first chapter. They will have 3 weeks to read through, request more, send revised notes & request a revised version (the author has 5 days to reply) or reject completely. After 4-weeks each Team will feature their picks on their blogs.

The final number per Team is yet to be decided but will not be less than five or more than eight per Team. Every member of the Team will feature the selected submissions. For example #TeamWinnerWinnerChickenDinner will feature their author’s pitches + first 300-words on each Team Members Blog(although the Agent bidding will only happen on the Team Leaders Blog)

This way each author benefits 3 ways:

(i)                 More exposure

(ii)               Feedback which will benefit them in their pitch, the query letter & page requests.

(iii)             Enough time (after sending any revised pages back) to work through any repeating issues in their MS before agent requests come through.

tumblr_mfnljv4qMl1qiwqjeo2_400From The Slush-Pile:

Additional to the above, I will select my own “saved from the slush-pile” submissions. This could be as few as one or as many as five or six and is utterly at my own discretion. Basically, if I feel very strongly about certain submissions that were not picked by the Mentors, I will give these a second chance. The process will be the same. For example, if there are three I feel should be featured, all three will need to send their query letters & first chapter at which point I will read, revise, reject and request… and then make my selection.

Regardless of if there is one or more, these will form part of the Agent Round also. Essentially I’ll be looking for hidden gems that need a little bit more polishing.

Cuteness overloaded#PitchBootCamp:

In 2014 I ran a short bootcamp for 35-word pitches with the awesome Rhiann Wynn-Nolet. It was an opportunity to sharpen your pitches with feedback from Rhiann & myself as well as an open forum for others to comment & participate. I can tell you that many who were involved considered this an excellent way to prefect their pitches, not just for #Nestpitch but for other pitches.

Assuming Rhiann is available, I do intend to run this again; stay tuned.


As with #Nestpitch2014, I will be offering feedback to those who just missed out as I think it’s important for people who were “just about there” to know this. Sometimes the reasoning can be as simple as what else has been selected, or Agent Wish-Lists or Mentor preferences, other times it might be issues with grammar or a poor query letter that lets down the submission. This is what (I feel) author’s need to know.

cuddle bunnie kitten 1PictureBooks:

I adore Picture Books and that is why I featured them in #Nestpitch2014 however, sadly, although we had a lot submitted, very few were submission ready and none got requests. For this reason, I am unsure if we will be accepting PB’s for #Nestpitch 2015. My heart says yes so I’ll let you know in 2015.

However, all is not lost for PB’s.

Although I don’t have the time this year (too many things on before the end of 2014), I intend to run an online workshop December 6th 2015 for PB’s. Why this date? Simple, its St. Nicholas day & for those of you who know me, know I just LOVE LOVE LOVE traditions. (in fact it’s actually where the more modern tradition of Christmas Stocking filling comes from).1092157-Clipart-St-Nicholas-Day-Greeting-Over-A-Shoe-With-Goodies-Royalty-Free-Vector-Illustration

In the area of Croatia I come from there still remains the tradition of gifts for children on St. Nicholas day. In fact, for a very long time, right up until the 1950s or 1960s, that was the day children got presents while Christmas day was for family, feasts, religion etc.

On December 5th eve, children take their best pair of shoes and polish and polish and polish them. When the shoes are shiny clean they are left on the front porch, or covered stoop (remembering this is winter and where I come from if its not snowing in December it is surely raining!) Then St. Nicholas comes along and leaves something in each shoe depending on the quality of the polish and the behaviour of the child in the past year.

(i)                 Super good children, basically angels, get something special, chocolate

(ii)               really good children get a toy

(iii)             good children get fruit (oranges in winter were considered a treat)

(iv)             Naughty children get a lump of coal

(v)               Very naughty children get either onions or garlic shoved into their shoes. For many months after, each time they go to wear the shoes, the smell reminds them to be better next year.

2369d799254b142e6f62b73033ca79e8FYI traditionally St. Nicholas travelled with the Devil. St. Nicholas gave the gifts & the Devil left the coal & onions!

While we’ll ignore the coal and the garlic, in 2015 I’ll b running a PB workshop. Sometime in November 2015 I’ll be asking for PB submissions. Then, from December 6th to Christmas Eve, each day I feature the pitch plus first 100-words of various PB’s. Clearly I can only accept 18 submissions so it will be first come first serve I’m afraid.

From December 6th people will come along and leave a “gift” along with a short sentence as to why they chose an orange rather than chocolate. The 18 PB authors featured will be required to each leave a comment on at least 3 submissions between Dec 6th & 24th, & will also need to help “spread the word” for others to come along and “play St. Nicholas” thereby ensuring everyone gets feedback.

On Dec 25th the top 3-5 (PB’s that got the best presents) will be re-featured on the #Nestpitch blog. There is more to it, but basically that’s it. The idea is to help PB writers sharpen their own work while also getting feedback from the general public. Unlike a #pitchcomp this is not about agents asking for requests (although if an agent does contact me I promise to pass on the requests!), it’s about a forum for PB authors.

I’ve posted this early as I’d very much like feedback from you’all on the planned changes

and of course any suggestions would also be very welcome.

Drafy Nest Pich Logo last stage

Quick Update :)

catHi All, 

Well as many of you know, I’ve been a little absent lately. I moved house a few weeks ago and then had all kinds of issues with firstly my power connection (I was without power from Friday evening to Monday morning) and then my internet (no internet for over a week), plus the *fun* of actually moving house. However, I’m almost (sort of) settled, the cat’s very happy here & I actually went to the gym this morning (I will not admit to how many years its been, lets just say I’m already feeling it).

For those of you who know me a little better, you’ll know I’m also working on a new set of paintings, as I’m hoping to do another exhibition late next year, I have 3 manuscripts currently on the go:

(i)                 a New Adult Women’s Fiction doing the agent rounds

(ii)               an adult Dark-Historical Fantasy with a BETA reader as we speak

(iii)             a very wild and weird adult re-tell WIP which has been messing with my brain and is currently about 1/3 of the way through the first draft.

I’m also doing several subjects in a new BA I started (Professional Writing & Publishing) and I’ve applied for a few intern positions, although they are as rare as hen’s teeth right?

To add to all of the above, a few weeks before I moved, I had a hand injury resulting in hospitalisation, as I had blood poisoning (another long story, let’s just say it wasn’t fun!)

So I guess what I’m saying is sorry for being absent & I promise to get on top of everything soon. And for those wondering, yes there will be a #Nestpitch 2015. We already have several agents who have put their hands up asking to be part of the 2015 line-up, which is awesome! I should mention that I will be re-working the system just a little. As you can imagine, the first time is always a massive learning curve. Luckily for me, I had an amazing team, many of whom were well experienced in #Pitch Comps. Without them I’m sure I would have struggled 🙂

The new line up and procedure will be announced in early 2015 but on the whole, the idea and concept will remain the same, just better!

So, that’s it for now, short and sweet this time, I’ll be posting more soon, but for now