Love Games

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Are You Ready for Love Games?

Today’s post is actually much later than usual, and while I love it when things are steady like clockwork, there’s a valid reason for my tardiness. I’m polishing up Love Games, Story #2 in my Holiday Heartbeats short story series. To be honest, Dante and Marisol really want their story to be longer than a short, but for now, they’ll just have to be satisfied with this story’s length. I’m anxious to hear what you think about them. I really like these two characters – Dante’s personality is a complete facade and he realizes too late that his reputation may destroy his chance to finally be himself with a phenomenal woman; Marisol is so prideful that she’ll deny herself happiness simply to spite the man who dared to make her fall in love with him.

Atina Atwood Love Games A Holiday Heartbeats Story

 

One thing that makes me really like Dante and Mari so much is the fact that they are so honest about the vices that they have. We all have them, but it’s really not so easy to own up to them. Have you ever wondered what would happen if one day you decided to own up to at least one of your weaknesses – and then actually do something about it? I found myself wondering how much closer could I come to feeling content about my ambitions and my shortcomings if I just focused on one vice, and then searched for ways to improve that weakness.

Hmmm. Maybe I’ll keep you posted on that progress. Until then, get ready for Love Games, Dante and Mari’s Holiday Heartbeats story.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2015-2019 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

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Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

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Holiday Heartbeats Short Story Series

His Epiphany is the first in my short story Holiday Heartbeats series. Each story is a fun, quick read, and the heroes are guaranteed a happily ever after (HEA). This first story is yours free when you sign up for my newsletter!

Remember the post about a story that I started, and had no clue what would happen to poor Riley? Well, shortly after Thanksgiving, he was determined for me to give him an HEA ASAP. Seeing as how I’d publicly humiliated him by sharing the most embarrassing moment of his life with all of you, I figured I’d go ahead and give him his peace – just in time for Christmas.

Click on the fabulous book cover below or click here to sign up for my newsletter and get this sweet story for FREE.

His Epiphany by Atina Atwood

His Epiphany is also available wherever eBooks are sold. Tell a friend, or better yet, give them a sweet treat that’s calorie free. 😉

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

For a limited time, get His Epiphany – Holiday Heartbeats #1 for FREE when you sign up for Atina’s newsletter!

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here

NaNoWriMo – How Was It for You?

Now that we’re rapidly segueing from a (hopefully) pleasant November to a fast-paced December, it’s the perfect time to start reflecting on the things that were awesome about this year, and well, maybe a few things that weren’t as awesome as we may have hoped.

There were two new creative outlets that I wanted to try this year: One was quilting, and I’m still excited to say that the bug has bitten me and I’m officially an unashamed quilter. I’ve been able to work on so many projects, it’s been a real eyeopener. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet some really lovely ladies who are definitely on my Holiday and  Christmas card list this year. As a matter of fact, I’m excited to share one of my more recent projects with you next week.

The second creative outlet that I tried for the first time this year was the NaNoWriMo. For those of you who may have missed previous posts, this is a fun competition where your goal is to write a novel (or the equivalent of 50,000 words or more) within the month of November.

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Pros and Cons of NaNoWriMo

Firstly, I’m proud to say that I accomplished that goal, and I was sure to do it before Thanksgiving, because well, turkey. There was no way that I was going to roll from the dinner table to my desk and be able to produce a coherent thought, so I preemptively tossed thousands of words on the screen while I still had my mental faculties about me.

The manuscript it terribly raw, but because I’m a planter, there is plenty that can be salvaged from it. I found a portion of this experience to be a bit of a pro, because I was able to share my word count progress as often as I wished. However, my primary purpose of participating was to get to know more writers in my area (SoCal), and of course, connect with amazing writers online.

On a social aspect, I wanted to feel more interaction with other writers, and I feel as though that was a bit of bust. There isn’t really any fault here, but I do consider it to be a con. Writing is a private experience for most of us, most of the time, and trying to socialize a private act is not always going to end in the result that we initially thought that we’d have. If you need a hard example of this, just Google “his and her toilets”. Nice idea; poor execution.

Don’t get me wrong – in theory, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with others, both online and in person. I’m happy to have met more folks on Twitter who also LOVE to write. That’s an affirmative win for me. I’m going to take a wait and see attitude about this and slowly but surely look into getting to know more writers after this November and holiday frenzy are over.

Aim for Another Win Next Year?

Ultimately, I have to see if I want to participate in the NaNoWriMo again next year. I like the idea of supporting and encouraging other writers, and to me, it’s definitely not about getting all of the numbers of words down. Will I aim to win again next year? Only time will tell.

How was your experience with NaNoWriMo? Did you win? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more.

Riley’s Epiphany. A Short Story

I hope that you’ve had a fantastic November. I haven’t shared any writing tidbits in a while, and as I’m finishing up this manuscript for Book 2 in my YA sweet romance series, I thought that I would improvise the first scene from another potential story. Enjoy!

Riley’s Epiphany

Riley saw her, and he knew that she was his.

It wasn’t about possession or dominance; it was the bone-deep confirmation that an integral part of him – a part that he didn’t even know was missing – was suddenly standing right in front of him. Never had he seen a smile so radiant with a row of perfectly straight, white teeth that were slightly too large for her mouth. Even her body couldn’t contain the potency of that smile, he thought with a half-grin. Her lips were full, their perpetual pout sensual and playful at the same time. His eyes, greedy and eager to take all of her in, were drawn to those moistened lips, broad and slightly flushed as she bit the lower one to contain her mirth.

The sight of her easygoing, positive nature made an unfamiliar heat unfurl in the center of his belly. The warmth gave his courage sustenance that he otherwise never would have had. Detmernined steps were fuled by a confidence that Riley would normally never possess. What would he say to her? What should he say to her – “Hi there, I’m Ri, and I just want you to know that you’re my future wife”? The absurdity of the thought made him smile.

His smile must have caught her attention because suddenly, she was walking towards him – no,  it was an all out squeal and skip-run combination. His grin grew wider – could she feel the connection between them, too? 

Arms outstretched, he stood, knees bent, his body braced in anticipation of her approach.  She ran, smiling, now laughing – her pure joy sparkling like the myriad particles in a sunbeam – right into the arms of his best friend.

In the back of his throat, Riley tasted the bitter bile of hate for the first time in his life.

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Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more.

Who’s Making NaNoWriMo Happen?

#NaNoWriMo

In addition to the #NovemberGratitude Challenge that I issued to myself and the world last week, I accepted another challenge at the beginning of November.

For the first time ever, I’m participating in the National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo. The ultimate goal is to spend the month of November writing a novel, and end up with a word count of 50,000 by the end of the month. (Don’t freak out too much – that’s pretty much 1,667 words a day.) If you’re able to make that a reality, you’re a winner!

Honestly, with two U.S. holidays in the month, November is probably the worst month to sign up for such a challenge, but I’ve been hammering away at my latest WIP (work in progress), so I’m actually super excited to begin. Ultimately, I want to get to know more like-minded writers, and obviously, I’m excited to tackle Book 2 of my most recent series. If all goes well, that will be two books in one year – I really like the sound of that.

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Who’s With Me?

As the month of November progresses, I’m excited to tell you about the YA/NA sweet-heat romance novella series that I’ve been working on. (Don’t worry – my adult novels have plenty of respectful spice in them, but I also wanted to create a warm series for older teenagers.) Hopefully, by the end of the month, I will have both the remnants of a delicious Thanksgiving dinner and a complete manuscript on my table. I look forward to sharing the progress (and possible pitfalls) as the month progresses!

Check out the sidebar for a daily update of my progress towards 50,000 words!

If you’re also participating in #NaNoWriMo, take some time to let me know! As in all things, the more Writing Buddies we have, the higher the chances of success. I’m Atina Atwood on the nanowrimo.org website. Although I know that I *should* be on Facebook and Instagram more often, I’m still more of a Twitter Girl, so DM or follow me @Atina_Atwood, and with discretion, I’ll be sure to follow you back for support. This is a great way to feel inspired, write to your heart’s content, and see where your thoughts and your words take you. Keep on working on that #NovemberGratittude Challenge, too!

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Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more.

Facts About the Romance Novel Industry

Falsehoods about Romance

It takes a brave soul for a writer to venture into Romancelandia, and an even braver one to admit it – especially in this day and age. The genre of Romance steadfastly gets a bad rap, and as soon as the forbidden word is uttered, one can expect to hear some impolite snort, scoff, huff – or, for even more awkward fun, have a complete stranger launch into an unbidden tirade about why the Romance genre is so trashy and air-brained, and instead of subjecting themselves to such banal nonsense, everyone should read Stephen King’s IT and worship all Sylvester Stallone films.

Yes, that actually happened.

Honestly, I’m just a magnet to awkward, well-meaning folks, but still, it was a small miracle that I could look at this woman without batting an eye as she segued from lamenting the pitiful, unloved female readers of romance, to lauding the incredible genius of gore and lore, only to somehow end up swooning over all things Rocky. Very strange.

Anyway, I digress. It’s hard to be taken seriously as a writer. Period. Throw in the fact that you also dabble in penning about the Amorous Arts, and well, you’ve suddenly become a first-class ninny in the eyes of many. Believe me, for every well-written novel, there are hundreds of other head-scratchers right behind it. I feel you. As with all things subjective, who knows which category your work will fall into for some readers? Nevertheless, like it or not, Romance novels, or the tired a.k.a. Bodice Rippers, are here to stay. So, we may as well get to know some facts about the industry. I picked up these facts from the Romance Writers of America, of which I’ve been a member since 2016.

Romancing the Numbers

Romance Fiction has been a billion-dollar industry since at least 2013.

Yes, you read that right. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons…

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While women continue to dominate the readership of Romance, males are steadily nearing 20%.

An even more exciting fact is that the younger populous is increasingly male, sexually and ethnically diverse, more tech-savvy, and read their books on devices, or listen to audiobooks. As a writer, this is exciting to me because there is so much potential (although I have always disliked the word potential. I’m more for realized energy.). As another generation explores escapism through these kinds of stories, the standard, comforting tropes have an opportunity to be reborn and retold in a completely different voice. This is what any healthy writer lives for!

Romance Readers gravitate toward certain genres depending on their age.

So many subgenres exist in the realm of Romance, you might even be surprised. Not every novel contains sordid scenes, and not every chaste story is a trip to Snooze Town.  From Contemporary to Historical, Religious or Spiritual to Erotic, Paranormal, Suspense, or Young Adult to New Adult, pretty much everyone can find something that may be of interest to them. I read a plethora of novels in every subgenre listed, and I know that I’m not alone. Which likely explains why…

The Romance novel share of the US fiction market is 34%.

That means that for every 3 books actually sold, one of them was a romance novel. This is a very big deal, people. It also means that romance readers are voracious, and are more than likely willing to sacrifice other things in order to obtain more books.

If you have some recommendations for great books (regardless of genre), comment below! Also, find me on Goodreads.com. I’m always looking for new friends!

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more.

Thursday’s Romantic Thought: Kissing in the Rain

Two lovers in the rain

have no need of an umbrella.

~Japanese Proverb

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Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Short Story: Ali & Nick (Continued)

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Ali & Nick

Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve returned to Ali & Nick. Sometimes, when I’m delving in the business of other folks, aka writing, some stories rush forward, demanding to be told, while others choose to take the time of a gently blossoming flower. The story with Ali and Nick is a bit more like the latter than the former.

If you haven’t had a chance to get to know Ali & Nick, or since it’s been a while, get to know them in the first installment of the short story here. Now, without further adieu, their story continues…

Nick

“I’m just gonna assume that you’re Nick.” Her strong voice was no nonsense, smooth as butter, and carried the faint overtones of reproach.

“Yeah, that’s me.” Why do I always sound like an idiot in real life? 

When a computer is in front of me, it becomes my shield, and I can approach anyone as though we are equal. My confidence soars, and I know exactly how I want to express myself. If the words don’t look right, I can simply erase them and try again. In real life, I only get one chance, and as soon as I open my mouth, I somehow end up feeling like a first-class dunce.

Miraculously, she sat down, and I scrambled to remove the scarf that I’d thrown over the chair to reserve a spot for her. I send a silent prayer of thanks to my Grandmother for having at least taught me manners. Nervously, I cleared my throat.

“Thank you so much for coming. I know that neither one of us is really into meeting face to face…” 

As soon as I mentioned the word face, I lost my train of thought. Ali is truly beautiful. Now that I’ve had a chance to see her in real life, her profile picture seemed like a caricature. Her eyes were the color and shape of a roasted almond, a mesmerizing shade of light brown just on the verge of turning dark. At first glance, I could tell that those eyes were perceptive — they noticed everything with judgement and a hint of distrust. Under her intense scrutiny, I was no exception.

“…And yet, you insisted that we meet.” Ali readjusted herself in the overstuffed chair, scooting back with her legs primly crossed at the ankles. 

I battled with my eyes to keep them above her neckline, but eventually, I lost the war. Her legs got longer by the second, and that eggplant purple skirt ended just a few tantalizing inches above her knees. The black button-up blouse that she wore was modest, some sort of silky material with long sleeves and a high collar. I don’t know how it worked, but it did. She pulled off sexy and sophisticated at the same time, and while I felt nothing but admiration and attraction, I also felt even more inept wearing just jeans a t-shirt with the logo of my brother’s auto shop business. When my eyes finally returned to hers, a faint sparkle of mirth in them reminded me of gold.

“Yeah, I know.” I sighed and ran a hand through the length of my hair. I was overdue for a haircut, but times were tough and I didn’t have the $20 to throw towards vanity. 

“So, now that we’re face to face, what is it that you feel you need to say, Nick? You already know that I’m out of my comfort zone here, but the past few months have been… nice.” Ali paused, and I could have sworn that the heat of a blush stained her cheeks.

“Look,” I started, already exasperated by the amount of words we’d already exchanged, but hadn’t really gotten anywhere. “I just needed to see you, face to face. I needed to know if you were — real.” 

There, I said it. At risk of looking like a complete idiot in a public place, I had to lay everything out on the line. Because the truth of the matter is, this online thing between us isn’t enough for me anymore.

“What do you want from me?”

Her features had softened at my outburst, and now she stared at me thoughtfully, with genuine interest. I was relieved that she hadn’t walked away, or worse, outright laughed in my face. Still, I knew that Ali was highly intelligent, and combined with her beauty and wit, she was definitely a force to be reckoned with.

There was no way that I could honestly answer her question. Not now. Not when my mouth, heart, and soul wanted to confess to her that I wanted anything and everything she was willing to give me.

***************************************TBC*****************************************

I can’t wait to find out what happens next! Be on the lookout for my next installment (sooner rather than later).

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more.

Falling in Love with Fall – 3 Things to Do This Autumn Season

Fall in Love With Fall

Now that Fall is officially among us, this is the perfect time to celebrate all things cozy and fun. For some reason, I am especially looking forward to Autumn this year (and not just because the San Diego summer temperatures were so brutal)! First of all, October is my birth month, so I’m looking forward to making the absolute most of it. What are some things that we can do this month to celebrate the awesomeness of the new season? Here are a few ideas…

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Do Something with Pumpkins.

This one kind of feels like a no-brainer, but it needs to be said. Even if you aren’t a fan of the taste of pumpkin – ahem, that would be me – don’t throw a pout-fest because everything is suddenly all things orange. I love the color, and nothing is more exciting than going some place away from the hustle and bustle to find a good old-fashioned Pumpkin Patch. There’s fun to be had for all ages, be it a hayride, a pumpkin decorating contest, or searching for the ultimate pumpkin to take home.

Also, you can really go all out and ask your local food banks or shelters if they have any need or desire for fresh pumpkins. One thing that really drives me crazy about this time of year is our ridiculous sense of waste. Pumpkins are fun to decorate, but remember that they can be consumed and enjoyed! Dry out the seeds and roast them for a surprisingly tasty treat.

Cozy Up and Snuggle In

You know that as of this year, I’ve become a huge fan of quilting, so of course I have to recommend getting under some sort of cozy blanket. Even writing that sentence made me sigh deeply with satisfaction. Honestly, even if you don’t make your own little snuggle  quilt, get one wherever you can, claim it as your own – and never let it go.

One of the most beautiful things about this fall season is that each day gives you the opportunity to snuggle up with the ones you love, as well was the things we love. Speaking of cozying up to things we love…

Grab a Great Book and Hunker Down

What would Fall be without embracing the chance to fall in love time and time again? There are so many amazing books to get into, and I’m happy to share a few that are on my list of Autumn cozies: Alyssa Cole’s A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals #2) has gained so much organic traction, I would be remiss not to grab a copy myself! I can’t wait to read my first story by the author, and I’m sure that it won’t be the last. Tessa Dare’s The Governess Game (Girl Meets Duke #2) is also on my list, as it has been widely acclaimed well beyond the realm of Romancelandia. Lastly, Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient is just one that has been floating around in the back of my mind for a while, and so it’s time to go and scratch that itch. Of course, there are many others on my list – outside of romance *gasp*!

What are some of the things that you love to do during the Autumn season? Drop a comment below and share. I’d love to hear from you! Until then, enjoy this happy, colorful season.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.