Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday's Children Blog Hop: A Turn For The Tough

Source: Laura on Pinterest

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." -Mahatma Gandhi

Since releasing All That Glitters into the wild, I've been doing a lot of thinking.

I know: uh-oh.

When I first got started on my writing journey, I knew I -Laura Oliva- was not just going to be a person anymore.  I was going to become a brand.  I also had more than just a general idea what I wanted that brand to be.   

Tender love stories, tough people.  

If you've heard that before, awesome.  That means I've been doing my job.

But lately I've had the nagging feeling my brand was getting somewhat diluted, at least on Writing In The Night.  Previously, I've centered my posts around various aspects of writing and business.  They've been great, it's been fun, but it hasn't really tied into my "brand identity".

The Thursday's Children blog hop has always been the exception.  The posts I write for my fellow hoppers are closer to my vision than anything else on my blog.  That's not to say they're contrived- far from it.  I've always believed the best brands derive their potency from a solid nugget of truth.  As it turns out, what inspires me fits right in with my professional "image".

That's why I've decided to make the rest of my blog more like what I do for TC.

What does "tough" look like?  I happen to believe "toughness" is a valuable quality.  It's a quality I've tried to cultivate personally, and it's a quality I admire in others.  It's a trait I seek out in plotlines, in dialogue, in setting.  It's the reason I choose to write the stories I do. 

But it's becoming increasingly rare in our modern, pampered world.  We've lost our mojo, guys, and it's tragic.  People don't know how to be tough anymore.  Maybe they've forgotten.  Or maybe they are, but don't realize it.  Either way, it's time we reminded ourselves just what we're made of.  

It's a tall order, I know, but I have a few ideas. 

Now when you come to Writing In The Night (and I hope you will), look for posts that explore what it means to be "tough".  I'll explore tough places.  Profile tough jobs.  Share ideas to get you out and exploring.  I'm planning more guest posts (if you have an idea and want to write one, hit me up!).

I hope you're excited about this.  I know I am!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Burlesque Wednesday, Back In Glitter

Hey, better late than never, right?

And do I really need to say it?  Let's be responsible, people.  If you're under eighteen, I'll see you next week.

Everyone else, you're welcome.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Name, Age and Height, Please!: A Guest Post By Karen M. Hanks

I first met Karen on Twitter- yet another social media success story!  Supportive, funny, and engaging, I was excited and thrilled when she offered to "blog-swap" as part of my blog tour week.  You can find my post on self-editing on her blog here.  I know you'll be as enamored of her as I am...

Whether I see it written by fellow writers online, hear it from the mouths of bestselling authors during seminars I’ve attended, or read about it in my studies, I keep hearing the same thing again and again: let your characters determine your plot, not the other way around.

If you establish well rounded and detailed characters from the get go, you should find that the pieces of your story will fall together beautifully, all because you will be well tuned with how your character would behave in every way, in every scenario.

So how do you take your characters from basic to dynamic? Here are some easy exercises that will help with their development:

Create a character profile
Think of a character profile like a patient form that you fill out at the doctor’s office; it’s a quick and easy way to write out many of the key and important details. Many writers will keep files on their characters and find these profiles a quick and easy reference throughout their writing. 

Some helpful details to determine could be:

·        Name

·        Detailed physical description
·        Ethnicity

·        Educational background
·        Family history
·        Personality traits
·        Flaws
·        Speech habits

Put your character in hot water
Has your character just been caught cheating on a test? Perhaps they’re receiving a parking ticket as they come out of a shop. Put your character in a situation of high stress and write out how they would react with those around them. This well help you see and hear them, allowing you to better understand and relate to them.

Conduct an interview with your character
Once you’ve gotten a feel for how your character interacts with others, sit down and conduct a full on interview with them.  I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “But,uh, how can I conduct an interview with a fictional character?” It’s actually quite a bit of fun to do. Create a scene where, if you were in your book, you would meet with your character for a chat; it could be a coffee shop, a bar, or wherever you see fit. Make note of the tone of their voice, the way they move their body, and how they show their emotions; anything that can lend to a better overall view of them as a character. 

Try asking questions such as:

·        What do you do for a living?

·        What is your greatest fear?
·        What would you change about yourself if you could?

·        What do you want out of life?
·        What is your favorite food? Why?

Remember to have fun with these and hopefully you will find yourself with characters that are not only dynamic, but that will help guide you along through your story.

Happy writing!


Karen M. Hanks is currently writing her first romantic suspense novel while working towards a certificate in Creative Writing at her local university. When she's not writing into the wee hours of the night, you can usually find Karen daydreaming about Paris, playing the piano for the small audience of her husband and dog, or curling up with a good book and a glass of wine. You can connect with Karen via Twitter at @KarenMHanks or read more of her ramblings over at

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Writing In The Night Goes On Tour!

Hey crazies!  This week, I will be a guest on six different, equally awesome blogs.  I will be posting on everything from the mindset of an entrepreneur to writing a love scene to self-editing. 


Here's the schedule:

Monday- "Living For Research", for Karen Y. Bynum.  How to live your life to enrich your writing.

Tuesday- "How To Boil Water (And Other Things)", for Joan Reginaldo.  How to utilize sexual tension to build strong characters.

Wednesday- "The Art Of Self-Flagellation".  The art of self-editing.  This is a blog-swap with Karen M. Hanks, whose post "Name, Age And Height, Please!" will be featured on Writing In The Night

Thursday- "Think Like A Boss", for Jeff McKown.  How to think like an entrepreneur.

Friday- "The Road To Perdition", for Rhiann Wynn-Nolet.  My journey through self-publishing.

Saturday- "Anatomy Of A Love Scene", for Nat Russo.  How to write hot, credible love scenes (hint: it's not just about sex!).


I hope to see you guys there!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Day 7: Resources For Writers And Other Patients

"The greatest achievement of the human spirit is to live up to one's opportunities and make the most of one's resources." -Luc de Clapiers

Everyone needs resources.

I've had lots of help during this journey, in all different forms.  Books, people, websites.  There are a lot of resources available out there if you know where to look.  Of course, not everyone knows where to look.  

When I got started on my writing journey, I felt like I was adrift.  I knew there were resources out there, but I didn't know where, and I didn't know who to ask or how to find them.  I felt like I existed in a black hole, alone. 

So on the last day of my Launch Week series, I've compiled this list.  I've done a lot of legwork and found a lot of helpful resources.  Here are some of my favorites, for everything from writing to editing to building a business to staying motivated.  I hope they're as helpful to you guys as they have been to me.  

No trade secrets among friends, right?

Writing Resources
Sin and Syntax, by Constance Hale- grammar for the rest of us.  Funny and brilliantly helpful.
U.S. Dept. of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook (online)- unless your main character is an heiress, she's going to need a job.  Check out this site.  Seriously, like, now.
The Emotion Thesaurus, by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman
Please Understand Me II, by David Keirsey- an in-depth guide to the Meyers-Briggs personality types, and how your type influences your reactions to people, situations, etc.  If you find you have difficulty creating breathing, realistic, well-rounded characters, this will really help you.
King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, by Robert Moore, Douglas Gillette- an invaluable tool for me when creating the hero of my book.  A Jungian view of the various parts and archetypes of the male psyche.
Women's Anatomy of Arousal, by Sheri Winston CNM. RN. BSN. LMT- especially if you're planning on writing romances, it's helpful to know just what it is that gets women aroused, and what that arousal looks like. Men are pretty straightforward- women are slightly less so.  This book does an excellent job of de-mystifying women's erotic responses.
How To Write Hot Sex, edited by Shoshanna Evers- an anthology of different topics related to writing sex in erotica or romance, plus a helpful little article on self-publishing in the back.
Be A Sex-Writing Strumpet, by Stacia Kane- originally a blog series, combined into a book.  An incredibly detailed tutorial to writing sex scenes (which can be difficult, to say the least) 

Editing Resources
Self-Editing For Fiction Writers, Second Edition, by Renni Browne and Dave King- if you don't buy any other books on editing your novel, buy this one.
Revision and Self-Editing, by James Scott Bell

Self-Publishing Resources
Successful Self-Publishing, edited by Shoshanna Evers- I love Shoshanna Evers (as I'm sure you can tell).  She's incredibly nice, always helpful, and is brilliant at knowing what information new writers need to succeed.  This anthology compiles some of the best self-pub advice out there. Definitely worth seeking out! 
Becoming An Indie Author, by Zoe Winters- a funny, intimate, well-written guide for writers just stepping into the self-pub pool.  Recommended by Shoshanna Evers in How To Write Hot Sex, which is good enough for me.  The first book on self-publishing I bought, and still a favorite.

Networking Resources
Twitter- if you're a writer, especially if you're planning to self-publish, you should be on Twitter.  If you aren't, stop reading this, go over, and sign up. Now.  Then say "hi" to me- I'm @writermama 
World Literary Cafe- great resource for authors, readers, and bloggers.  Lots of networking opportunities.  Helps you find a support system and get in touch with the right people. 

Business Resources
How To Build An Author House, by Matthew Turner (a.k.a. Turndog Millionaire)- easily the best, most complete resource on author branding/marketing I've found yet.  Oh, yeah, and it's free!
What To Do Before Your Book Launch, by Randy Susan Meyers and M.J. Rose- originally meant for traditionally published authors, this book is a goldmine for the traditionally-published and the self-published alike.
Publicize Your Book, by Jacqueline Deval- referred to as the "marketing bible" in What To Do Before Your Book Launch.  How do you ignore a plug like that?

Personal/Motivational Resources   
Making A Literary Life, by Carolyn See- this book made me start to believe I could actually make a life and a living as a writer.
Women Who Run With The Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola-Estes- food for the soul; obviously geared towards women, but a good read for anyone interested in Jungian psychology and getting in touch with their inner curandera/curandero.

Miss A Day Or Two?
Day 1: Lessons From The Cave
Day 2: Set Your Compass
Day 3: Don't Schedule, Manage
Day 4: You Gotta Hustle
Day 5: Feed The Current
Day 6: The Zen Of Balance 

Excerpt from All That Glitters:
Ava felt oddly jumpy as she headed back to the yurt, guitar in hand.  Ethan would be looking for her.  She hadn’t been prepared for the crushing desire that had taken over her thoughts.  Her body.  She didn’t know what to do about it.

Give in.

She stepped into a small side alley, heart pounding.  This was ridiculous.  She needed to get a grip.  She sagged against the side of a building and massaged her forehead.  What had she been thinking?

“You realize I know all the good hiding places in this town, right?”

Ava jolted.  Ethan stood at the front of the alley, a teasing grin on his face.  She glared at him.  “I wasn’t hiding.”

“Well, that’s a relief.”  He sauntered closer, hands in his pockets.  “Because the way I remember it, we have a gentleman’s agreement to settle.”

Ava stepped back.  She needed to keep some distance between them.  It was the only way she could think clearly.  “I’m not a gentleman.”

Ethan shrugged, still moving closer.  “I’m not, either.”


Available for purchase on Smashwords and Amazon  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Day 6: The Zen Of Balance

"We come into this world head first and go out feet first; in between, it is all a matter of balance." -Paul Boese 

I am the worst person to write about balance.

When I'm in the heat of writing, things disappear.  Things like meals.  Things like clean clothes.  Things like downtime.  My life begins to revolve around my work.  

To an extent, this is par for the course when you're trying to start your own business.  Every waking moment is spent, if not working, than thinking about working.  Especially when you don't see an immediate payoff, there's that incessant voice in your head, telling you you could be- should be- doing more.

But balance is important.  I don't want to turn into one of those brilliant, bitter authors who takes their morning coffee and evening nightcap alone, and spends all the time in between wrestling literary demons.  Okay, so maybe part of me does, but that's just not my life.  I have a family.  I have friends.  I have things I need to do.

So how does a writer manage to have a life?

I've narrowed it down to two things.  This ain't rocket science, folks.

1) Be present.  Whatever you're doing, do it completely.  When you're writing, write.  When you're socializing online, socialize.  When you're cooking, notice the nuances of smell and flavor.  When you're spending time with your family and friends, be there.  Don't be anywhere else.  Don't be that person who wakes up one day and realizes everything they've missed out on.

2) Be grateful.  You're alive.  You're doing something you love.  That's a lot to be grateful for right there.  What else do you have?  Good weather?  Food on the table?  People who love you?  A book deal?  Big or small, cherish and appreciate all of it.  Don't get jaded, and don't get entitled.  It's bad for your creativity.

Miss A Day Or Two?
Day 1: Lessons From The Cave
Day 2: Set Your Compass
Day 3: Don't Schedule, Manage
Day 4: You Gotta Hustle
Day 5: Feed The Current

Excerpt from All That Glitters:

Ava stared off to the side for a moment.  When she looked back at him, her gaze washard.  “And just when were you planningon telling me all this?”

Ethan balked.  “What?”

“You heard me.  You’veobviously known this- or at least had your suspicions- for a while.  Why the hell didn’t you tell me?”

“Damn it, that’s not the point!”  Ethan started to pace, something he’d neverdone.  “Don’t you get it?  I’m…” He blew out a breath.  He waswhat?  Worried?  More like terrified.  He met her eyes again.  “Just say you’ll stay with me,” he said.  “Please. I can keep you safe.”

Ava stared at him. “You can keep me safe?”

Instantly, he realized what a mistake that had been.  “Sweetheart…”

Ava jabbed a finger into his chest.  “Don’t ‘sweetheart’ me, cowboy.  ‘Keep me safe’, my ass.  I’ve been keeping myself safe my entire life.  If you really wanted to ‘keep me safe’, you’dhave told me to watch my back!”

Ethan twisted.  So shehad a point.  That didn’t change a damnthing.  His mind raced.  He had to convince her somehow.  Badgering her wouldn’t work.  She was too stubborn for that.

He kissed her.

Ava’s hand flew up reflexively to brace against hischest.  Her shocked protest vanishedunder his lips.  She should pullaway.  She needed to pull away.

His hand trailed up her neck to cradle the base of her skull,and he angled her head to sink deeper. She groaned.  God, she wantedhim.  Needed him.  Damn him. Damn her.  Damn everything. 


 Available for purchase on Smashwords and Amazon


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 5: Feed The Current- A Thursday's Children Special

“Write about what you know and care deeply about. When one puts one’s self on paper- that is what is called good writing.” -Joel Chandler Harris

It happens to the best of us.

Things are going so well.  You can't type fast enough for the words tumbling from your brain.  You barely remember to eat, bathe, or use the bathroom- after all, there are more important things to worry about right now.  Who knows, if things keep on like this, you could be finished- finished!- in a matter of days!

And then your muse packs her bags.  The flow dries up.  The word count stagnates.  You try to push through it anyway, but deep in your gut is the horrifying thought: what if this is it?  What if I never get it back? 

Creativity is a lot like a water table: deep, rich, capable of sustaining us through many a long, dry summer.  But at some point, if the winter rains don't come, it will run low.  You recognize it when it happens.  That yearning for something you can't quite name, that hollow tug at your chest.

Don't panic.

There are plenty of things you can do to replenish the well.  Take a walk.  Go for a long drive through the back country.  Treat yourself to a fabulous meal.  Take in some street music.

But occasionally the problem runs deeper than all that.  Sometimes it's not a crisis of creativity, it's a crisis of purpose.  In which case you have to ask yourself: are your dreams big enough for you?

We need to travel scared sometimes.  A pinch in the soft places is good for creativity.  If you're just humming along through the doldrums, then rest assured, your writing will start to read that way.  First it will sound flat, then uninspired, then eventually, it may stop all together.

If, on the other hand, your goals scare the bejeezus out of you, everything you touch gets charged with that electricity.  Including your writing.  Your words hurtle off the page, your passion, your enthusiasm, captured in every one. 

So what do you want?  What do you want even more than that?  It doesn't matter if it sounds ridiculous or impossible.  

In fact, if it doesn't, you're probably not reaching high enough.    

Miss A Day Or Two?
Day 1: Lessons From The Cave
Day 2: Set Your Compass
Day 3: Don't Schedule, Manage
Day 4: You Gotta Hustle

Excerpt from All That Glitters:

“You’re not really going to climb up there, are you?  That’s thirty feet!”

“Thirty-five.  And unfortunately, I don’t have much choice.” He hesitated, then laid a hand over hers.  “Just wait. It’ll be done and over with before you know it.”

Ava squeezed it. “Just… be careful.”  She could tell by the look in his eyes that he wanted to say something, but with the rest of his crew there, he kept his mouth shut.

Roo handed him the replacement cord.  His dark eyes were troubled.  “Safety harness wasn’t where it usually is,boss.  Fact, I couldn’t find it anywhere.”

Ethan’s jaw tightened. “I’ll just have to do without.” He looped the end of the spare cord over his shoulder, and started up the gantry.  The climb was hand-over-hand, the narrow ladder wet with ocean spray.

He made it to the top, straddled the cross-beam, and scooted out to the damaged cord.  Carefully, he threaded the spare through the pulley. He blew out a breath.  “Okay, I’m coming back down!”

Just then, a ferocious gust of wind blew past him.  His hand slipped on the slick surface of the gantry.  He felt himself slide sideways.

Ava’s hands flew to her mouth to stifle a scream.  Raw terror pounded through her veins.  If he fell…

She pushed the thought from her mind.  He wouldn’t fall.  He couldn’t fall.


Available for purchase on Smashwords and Amazon 


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 4: You Gotta Hustle

"In marketing, you must choose between boredom, shouting, and seduction.  Which do you want?" -Roy H. William

So, I've written a book. 

Now what?

Much as you may love and appreciate their support, you can't build a career on the (let's face it) charity of friends and family.  At some point, you're going to need people- lots of people, people you don't know- to buy your book.  And your next book.  And maybe the one after that.

Fact is, you're gonna have to hustle, baby.

I started my marketing campaign long before I published my first book.  How is this possible, you ask?  Don't you need something to market first, you ask?  Yes.  And I had something to market.


I realize that sounds skeezy, dirty, and vaguely criminal, but hear me out.  My writing reflects, to a large extent, myself.  My personality.  My voice.  My sense of humor.  My outlook on the world.  Even under the guise of fictional characters and an invented storyline, all these things filter through.  Ergo, marketing my personality, voice, sense of humor, and outlook on the world makes perfect sense.

I plan on writing more than one book.  More than two.  More than three.  When I'm marketing myself, and not just my work, I'm marketing not only my current book, but all the books I have yet to write. 

I know.  Brilliant.

So what are you doing to market yourself?  Are you?  Does your marketing strategy revolve solely around putting up links to websites that feature your work?  There's nothing wrong with that sometimes, but if that's all you're doing, you're missing the boat.  People start to ignore you after a while.  

Don't give them the chance.  Be funny.  Be interesting.  Be charming.  If you're none of those things in real life, make that part of your unique persona.  Or lie.  You're a writer.  Think of something.

In the end, marketing isn't about selling a product.  And contrary to what I've just written, it's not even about selling yourself.  At least, not entirely.  Above all, you're selling a story- about yourself, about people, about the world.  In my stories, men are men, women are awesome, life is hard, and love is real.  

What's your story?  Find out, and you'll find how to market it.

Miss A Day Or Two?
Day 1: Lessons From The Cave
Day 2: Set Your Compass
Day 3: Don't Schedule, Manage

 Excerpt from All That Glitters:
Greenish-gray water closed around her.  The cold bit easily through her suit, nearly knocking the wind out of her.  The weight-belt around her waist dragged her downward.  She tried to get her bearings, but couldn’t even see her hand in front of her.

She sucked in another breath, her regulator echoing in her head.  She would not panic.  She could do this.  She felt around her until her hands found the vacuum hose.  Hand over hand, she followed it to the bottom.

The rocks under her feet made her feel a little better.  She bent down close to the sea floor and shuffled some sediment aside.  A dim smattering of yellow caught her eye. Inside her mask, Ava smiled.  She planted one hand over it to mark her place and hauled the ungainly hose closer.  

With a final, determined yank, it slithered over where she wanted it.  It was heavier than she expected.  Before she had time to react,the vacuum sucked up the tip of her dive glove. In a split second, the rest of her arm disappeared into the hose.

Ava screamed into her mask, but she knew no one could hear her.  The tendons in her shoulder stretched as she fought to free herself. She clenched her teeth against the tears in her eyes.  She didn’t want to die like this: alone.  Cold. In the dark.


 Available for purchase on Smashwords and Amazon 


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Day 3: Don't Schedule, Manage

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired to write at 9 o’clock every morning.” -Peter De Vries

In this world, there are people who keep to a schedule, and there are people who wing it.  I am decidedly the latter.

I am atrocious at keeping to a schedule.  I always have been.  For the most part, I think our collective obsession with schedules is vastly overrated.  Maybe that's just self-justification.  

The one area where I've run into troubles with my wing-it ways is with my writing.  I am notoriously bad at time management.  Especially with a young son and domestic duties to attend to, there are days- okay, weeks- when things don't get done.  Lots of things.  Laundry.  Dinner.  Vacuuming.  When those things get done, my writing falls by the wayside.  Clearly, something has to change. 

Below I've compiled a few of my best time management tips.  Some of them are fairly conventional, others, not so much.  Who knows?  Maybe with my next book, I'll even manage to follow them...

1) Know what you have to do.  I am never so efficient as when I make to-do lists.  With all the things I have to do on a daily basis, the odds of me remembering everything are slim to none.  I even put nice little boxes next to them, so I can check them off as I finish them.  It's good for morale.

2) Don't over-commit yourself.  Especially as I've gotten to know more and more people via Twitter and Facebook, I've gotten more and more requests to participate in various things.  The sad fact is, I simply can't.  No matter how much I adore the people who ask me, or how flattered I am at being included,  I almost always decline.  I'm writing a book, I have a toddler, and dinner is in three hours.  Anything more just isn't possible.

3) Ask for help.  As my husband reminded me recently, he can't know how busy I am unless I tell him.  If I can't get the grocery shopping done one day, I let him know.  If I need him to field dinner one night (or six), I say so.  I'm lucky enough to have a husband who really is my partner.  Even if you're single, reach out and let people know what you need: time, space, meals, whatever.  You may be surprised how much people will come through for you.

4) Be realistic.  Sometimes, certain things will take precedence over others.  A sick child always trumps writing.  Occasionally, my family wants to spend time with me, so my writing sits on the back burner for a day or two.  That's okay.  Conversely, when I'm in the heat of creation, or the throes of editing, there are many nights when we eat takeout.  I like to think these things all balance each other out in the long run.

Miss A Day Or Two?

Excerpt from All That Glitters: 

Ethan laid a confident, possessive hand on the small of Ava’s back.  She jolted.  “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“We have an audience.” Ethan kept his voice light.  “Just act casual.  If they think you’re with me, they’ll leave you alone.”

Ava snorted.  “Great.”

Ethan could feel her tension under his hand.  And her warmth.  His fingers flexed.  “Relax. I don’t bite.”

“Why don’t I believe that?”

He chuckled. “Relax.”  He eased her closer to him until she was pressed against his side. His thumb traced a lazy half-circle against her back, his fingers grazed her hip.  He allowed himself a tiny smile when he felt her breath hitch.  He could get used to this.

Ava couldn’t tell if he was torturing her on purpose.  “Is he gone?” Her voice sounded strained even to her.

“Left a few minutes ago.”

She bit back a curse and jerked away from him.  Asshole. She debated slapping the teasing grin off his face, decided to make her escape instead.  She walked faster,irritated at how effortlessly he kept up.

Ethan did his best not to laugh.  Damn if she wasn’t cute when she was pissed.  “Easy, sweetheart, I was kidding.”  He reached out and caught her wrist.  “Come on.  Why don’t you let me get you a proper drink?”  His eyes twinkled.  “After all, I’ve already seen your panties.”


Available for purchase on Smashwords and Amazon  

Day 2: Set Your Compass


“Anyone can become a writer. The trick is staying a writer.” -Harlan Ellison

For anyone who's been reading on here long enough, it's no secret: prior to All That Glitters, I had never finished a piece of writing.  I'd started plenty, always with high hopes, but at a certain point they always petered out on me.  Sometimes it happened sooner, sometimes later, but that was the way of things.

So what made this time different?

I've been thinking about that question.  And I've only been able to come up with one answer: this time, I got serious.

Writing has always been my hobby.  Ever since I was a kid, I was "the writer".  Everybody saw me that way, from my teachers, to my parents, to my classmates.  Everybody, it seems, except me.  I wasn't a writer; I wrote.  It was different.  Eventually, I would have to grow up and get a job like everyone else. 

I went through the motions and got through high school, always writing, always trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  I hated college.  I still haven't finished.  I always had the sense that I was meant to do something else, that I wasn't going to get where I wanted by going to school.  I attended half-heartedly, taking extended breaks and skipping class in favor of- you guessed it- writing.  Still, it never occurred to me to consider writing as a career.

Then I found out I was pregnant.

As anyone who has experienced this knows, news like that changes you forever.  It's a massive paradigm shift.  My husband and I had intended to have children, but not quite so soon.  We were convinced we weren't ready- not financially, not emotionally, not at all.  Looking back, this is kind of funny.  I mean, really, who is ever ready to have kids?

I had to reevaluate what I was doing.  All of a sudden, the time for puttering was over.  I had nine months to get my shit together.  I had to grow up.  I had to pick a direction.  

Finally, I took a serious look at writing.  I wanted to work from home.  I didn't want to go back to school- not that I was going to have much time for it, anyway.  Writing would accommodate both those things, with the added benefit of being something I loved to do.  

I started my novel a little over a year ago now.  My son was three months old.  I wrote the majority of the first draft while he nursed in my lap.  That's the thing about me.  When I don't have a goal in mind, I'm as shiftless as the wind.  But give me a direction, and I'm a bulldog.

Archimedes described it best: "Give me a place to stand, and I will move the world."

Miss A Day Or Two?
Day 1: Lessons From The Cave

Excerpt from All That Glitters: 

Ava found herself corralled deeper and deeper into the alley.  Her eyes darted back and forth.  “Not interested.”

The man grinned.  “Hear that, Jerome?  She’s not interested.”

The second man laughed. “I’m sure we can change her mind.”

Behind the group, Ava noticed another man watching them.  A glimmer of hope flickered in the back of her mind.  When he realized she’d seen him, however, he ducked his head and melted back into the bar.

Ava’s heart sank.  She forced down the panic building in her chest and fisted her hands.  This wasn’t the first time she’d been outnumbered in a fight.  If they expected her to go down easily, they were in for a surprise.

She backed into something solid.  And warm. Before she could react, Ethan tucked her behind him.  His voice was so low it was nearly a growl.

        “Fuck off, Bobby.”


Available for purchase on Smashwords and Amazon  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day 1: Lessons From The Cave

“Whatever you may have heard, self-publishing is not a short cut to anything. Except maybe insanity." -Zoe Winters

Whew!  It's been a hell of a few weeks.

All That Glitters is officially out in the world.  The amount of work that went into making that happen is staggering.  Self-publishing is definitely not taking the easy way out.  If anything, it's taking the long road.  In addition to the writing, there's the editing, the cover art, the getting it out to reviewers, the marketing.  Dear god, the marketing.

Throughout all the craziness, there have been points of sanity.  I've discovered I have more friends than I previously realized.  I've come into my own as a businesswoman.   I've uncovered talents, strength, and drive I never knew I had.   It may have been a hell of a few weeks, but they've been some of the best of my life.

I was thinking about what I wanted to do on here for Launch Week, when it struck me.  All the things I've learned throughout this process, other people are just starting to figure out.  I've had so many allies and mentors while on this road.  I've gotten so much good advice.  I've accrued a decent amount of experience.

Why not share all that?

This week on Writing In The Night is for you guys.  It's for anyone out there contemplating doing what I did.  Every day, I'll give you a new post on something I've learned through this process.  As Ernest Hemingway so (in)famously said, "Writers must stick together, like beggars and thieves."  Especially for those of us taking the self-publishing road, if we're not going to help each other out, who will?

Additionally, you will find a short excerpt from my book at the end of each post.  You can buy the whole thing on either Amazon or Smashwords, but I wanted to include a few freebies here.  Consider it a "thank-you" for the endless encouragement and support.

Hooray!  It's Launch Week!   

Excerpt from All That Glitters:

Ethan stood on the gold dredge- his gold dredge, he reminded himself- and watched water and sediment flow through the heavy box in the middle of the deck.  He closed his eyes and imagined the inside, imagined the gold trapped in the heavy sludge.  His chest tightened with pride.  It had been a long winter, and an even longer few years, but he'd finally done it.

The Lucille was his.

He’d been an outsider long enough.  He was through constantly proving and reproving himself.  Nome was his home now, the first he’d ever had.  He was ready to claim a permanent place here.  Now, at last, he had his chance.

His mind drifted to the woman he’d met on the dock.  Ava Faraday.  Everything about her warned people to back off.  Her clothes were all black leather and faded denim, her only adornment a silver and turquoise ring, the kind sold in gas stations across the Southwest.  Her expression was cold, and she carried herself like she was ready for a fight.  Even her beauty had sharp edges.  Her long ebony hair was cut like a razor blade.  Her face was sharp and fine.

But her eyes.  A milky green, they betrayed an air of vulnerability she seemed desperate to hide.

Ethan rubbed a hand over the stubble roughening his chin.  There was more to her than she wanted to let on.  He was too much of a gentleman to mention it, but he’d felt her pulse quicken when they touched.  What could she possibly be doing up here?  Nome, Alaska hardly seemed a likely first choice for someone like her.

This was a fascinating development.


Available for purchase on Smashwords and Amazon 


Friday, March 8, 2013

Into The Breach, Meatbags...

Happy Launch Day, everyone!  All That Glitters is now available for purchase on Amazon, as well as in multiple formats on Smashwords.  

Thank you all for your love and support.  I can honestly say I couldn't have done this without you!  Enjoy!

Ava Faraday has spent her life running- from love, from her past, from herself. Now she has only one place left to go: home.  She arrives in Nome, Alaska determined to make a fresh start.  With no other options available, she joins the crew of her estranged father's dredge, and does her best to learn her new- and dangerous- job before she dies trying.  The last thing she needs is to fall in love.

Gold dredger Ethan Calhoun has struggled to put the ghosts of his own troubled past to rest.  After five long years as an outsider in Nome, he's finally made good.   When Ava comes to town, she stirs up feelings in him he can't control, and isn't sure he wants to.  The closer they become, the more Ethan wonders: will those feelings destroy everything he's worked for? 

In Nome's dredging community, loyalties change, and trust is anything but guaranteed. When they are faced with a common threat, Ethan and Ava realize they must work together to survive.  Can two lifelong runners trust each other?  Can they convince each other- and themselves- that love is worth the risk?

Excerpt from All That Glitters

Even her suitcase was conspiring to make her life hell.

Ava Faraday stared down at the jumbled mess of clothes at her feet.  Then she glared at the now-useless latch on her weathered carry-on.  Who had ever heard of a suitcase lock springing open like that?

She fought back the hysterical, helpless laughter that threatened to bubble out of her.  She hadn’t even been back in Nome for a full day, and already things were going sideways.  Flashing her underwear collection to half the town’s male population was hardly the homecoming she’d had in mind.

With as much dignity as she could muster, Ava began collecting her clothes.  It was all she could do to ignore the wagging eyebrows and not-so-subtle whistles from the men working the docks around her.  What the hell was she doing here?  It had been years since she’d considered coming back.  She’d convinced herself there was no point; everything she wanted lay in front of her, not behind.

Ava swiped a strand of black hair from her eyes.  It was that damn letter.

She hadn’t been surprised to find out her father was in trouble.  She couldn’t remember a time he hadn’t needed to borrow money from someone or the other.  And she hadn’t really cared.  Lord knew she didn’t owe him anything.

Yet here she was, in a place she didn’t know anymore, looking for a man she wasn’t even sure she’d recognize.  Something about that letter had drawn her back.  Maybe it was the tone.  Maybe it was the memories it conjured up.  Not all of them were bad.

Then again, maybe she was just out of places to run to.

Ava straightened and looked around her.  The piercing blue of the water in the harbor bled into the horizon.  The sky was nearly black with guillemots, their blood red feet flashing as they looped and dove.  She’d never quite gotten over leaving this place.  She carried it all with her, in the faintly native shadows of her face, in the darker recesses of her soul.  She’d left too suddenly, and she’d always felt like there was a piece of her inadvertently left behind.

Now was her chance to find it.  When she did, she'd finally be able to leave Nome for good.

Ava shoved the last of her possessions back into her suitcase and took a brief visual inventory.  It looked like everything was-


Her cheeks reddened.  She tried to seem nonchalant as she looked around.  Of all the things to be missing…

“Lose something?”

Ava froze.  The deep, honeyed drawl reverberated through her.  She hadn’t known it was possible to actually feel someone’s voice.  Her nerve endings hummed.  She stood, and found herself eye level with the finest chest she’d ever seen.  She swallowed hard against the irritating flutter in her stomach, and looked up.  A pair of bright gray eyes twinkled back down at her.

The man was built like someone who worked for a living, broad and strong.  Under his weathered baseball cap, his sandy blond hair was slightly shaggier than was strictly respectable.  His face looked like it had been chiseled out of the same granite as the breakers in the harbor, and his lips-

Ava tore her gaze away from his lips, but not before she caught the edges twitch.  Heat flooded her face.  She opened her mouth to speak, when a flash of red caught her eye.

Dangling from one of the man’s long, perfect fingers was a pair of red lace panties.

“I’m afraid these aren’t really my color.”


Available for purchase on Smashwords and Amazon