15 Questions with Atina Atwood the Author of the Holiday Heartbeats Series (from House of 1000 Books)

My Second Blog Interview!

Things are starting to get exciting over here, and as excited as I am about it, I’m noticing that it’s getting a bit more challenging to balance all the things. Work is demanding more of my attention, and because I have an equally demanding toddler, I’m only just now realizing the similarities between the two, ha ha.

On another note, My interview with House of 1000 Books went live last Wednesday, and in case you missed it, I’m posting it here. Thanks to Topher for a great experience.

“Topher Hoffman: Hello! Today we have Atina Atwood answering questions at The House of 1000 Books.  She’s the creator of the Holiday Heartbeats Series. This series includes His Epiphany, Love Games, and her newest novel, Luck of the Irish!

She states in her bio that in general, her stories vary in heat levels— from YA to sweet romantic stories to steamy contemporary romance. All of her books have multicultural characters that are strong-willed and purpose-driven.

I’m interested in what she has to say, so with that, let us get to the questions.

Hello Atina, and welcome to the House of 1000 Books blog.  I have a few questions that I would like to ask you, that I’m sure our readers would love to find the answer out too.

Every author ignited their writing career at one point in their life. That point where they said, hey, I’m an author.  At what age did you realize that you were an author, and accepted it?

circle atina atwoodAtina Atwood: Thanks for inviting me. It’s hard to pinpoint the age where I initially self-identified as being an author. I see myself as being a lot of things, author included. My first published work was a poem when I was 12, but I guess the most defining moment for me was when I became a traditionally published author in nonfiction back in 2012.

TH: Sometimes to follow your dreams, you need to make sacrifices. If you had to give one thing up that is important to you to make you a better writer, what would it be?

AA: This makes me think of my main character in LUCK OF THE IRISH, Nhu. She made the mistake of sacrificing her dreams for what she thought was love and ended up misaligning the trajectory for making that dream come true. Now, she won’t let anything — or anyone — stand in the way of accomplishing her goal.

In my case, thankfully, things are less dramatic. I’m used to giving up sleep for reading and writing. It’s exhausting, but it’s worth it. Coming from a strong Performing Arts background, followed by a career in Academia, being prepared to make sacrifices is kind of ingrained in me. In my experience, with determination and focus, it’s usually worth it.

TH: Writing takes time, skill, and a lot of practice. If you had to do one thing differently as a child to help you with your writing practice today, what would it be?

AA: I like this question. Honestly, the experiences I’ve had led me to be the writer I am today. I understand the importance of self-motivation and discipline. There will be wins, and there will be inevitable losses, but nothing will happen if you don’t show up, day after day. These skills are proving to be helpful in my writing career.

TH: Now that you have three books that you have written, and I’m sure you read hundreds of other stories, could you tell us what, in your opinion, are the most critical elements of good writing?

AA: I can only repeat what the seasoned, great authors stress — and that is to study your craft. Learn what moves you as a reader, ask yourself why it moved you, and then spend the rest of your life trying to figure out how those word combinations moved you. Experiment to learn how you can create that same kind of magic for readers of your own works. Read, read, and then read some more. Find your voice. I’m still searching for mine.

TH: With writing being time-consuming, do you keep a schedule while writing, and if so, can you describe a typical writing day?

AA: On my designated writing days, my work day starts at around 9:00 AM; if I’m lucky, I can get in a half hour earlier. Mornings are my most productive work hours, so that’s where the most tends to happen. By 3:00 PM or so, my brain is ready for a break. My husband sends me reminders to eat, and I have apps that send me reminders to drink and step away from the computer. (I try not to ignore them.) Evenings are reserved for my family; after that, I’ve got another two hours to write before I go to bed and read for another 2-3 hours.

When deadlines approach, or when a particular scene needs to be written, I’m up until 2:30 AM getting it done. Writing is my job, and I treat it like one. The most dangerous thing novice writers can do is treat their writing careers like it’s a hobby.

TH: Writing habit and personal ticks, what would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

AA: I love wearing my malas when I write, one made of rose quartz and the other made of Tiger’s Eye. I’m big on crystals, and I have an amazing, inspirational assortment on my desk.

TH: Many people have said things over the years.  Some sounded smart, others wise, and some funny. What is your all-time favorite quote?

a goalAA: Because I’m bilingual, I have to pick two:
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Unknown
“Hier bin ich Mensch; hier darf ich’s sein.” – Goethe

TH: Now that you have a few novels out, could you tell me do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

AA: I appreciate the time any reader takes to write a review of one of my books. This is one of the best ways to connect with an author, and so far, I focus on that.

At this point, I’m still my biggest critic, so once I put something out there and It’s actually published, I need to accept that I gave my best at that time. Every project for me is bigger, more ambitious than its predecessor. There’s no chance of me growing as an author without pushing past my self-imposed boundaries and getting out of my comfort zone. LUCK OF THE IRISH is exactly that. It’s hard to make three likable main characters when you already know that one of them will not walk away with the prize. I’m curious to hear what readers think about that.

TH: In your profile, you mentioned that you have a wide array of written work, where does all your inspiration come from to keep things fresh?

AA: I started in nonfiction, and during a very stressful time, I turned to fiction (primarily Romance) to switch gears mentally. I’m fortunate to be able to write in both worlds, so I have plenty of opportunities for continued inspiration. Primarily, my inspiration comes from my desire to help, educate, and entertain. Escapism is a necessary act within the human experience, and I love creating stories that facilitate this process.

TH: I’m sure as you write, you get more and more ideas that flood into your brain that get you excited. Do you have any plot ideas that you haven’t written about yet, if so, can you tell us about one?

AA: My ideas sit with me and incubate, sometimes for years. There’s a YA fantasy trilogy inside of me, and it’s about 7 years old now. I’m not ready to tackle it yet, but I am looking forward to the day when I will be. I just finished my first YA novel last month, working title CHRISTMAS AT LOVEMOUNT HIGH (unrelated to the trilogy). I already have the entire plot developed for the second book in that series as well.

Let me point out that I don’t yet consider myself to be a YA or FF author. Still, when characters speak to me, I have to put them in the appropriate environment.

TH: Now, the time has come! The question you are dying to answer! Your newest book. Can you tell us about your latest book?

bookcover Luck of the IrishAA: LUCK OF THE IRISH (HOLIDAY HEARTBEATS #3) is a sweet contemporary romance novella, out on August 8, 2019, but is ready for preorder. It’s the third installment of my Holiday Heartbeats series, a collection of novellas with strong, diverse characters. The stories take place in various locations throughout San Diego, California.

Nhu Hoang’s tired of putting her needs second to everyone. When her boyfriend reveals he’s still not going public about their relationship after nearly two years, she’s blindsided. She deserves better, but it’s hard letting go.

Jack can’t win. Destined to stand in his father’s shadow and continue the Smith’s political legacy, he doesn’t trust himself to do anything that could lead to disapproval. He hates hurting Nhu, but losing his father’s favor would destroy him.

Eoghan Kelly knows what he wants, and he came from Ireland to California to get it. Winning the internship isn’t a surprise, but falling for the enigmatic barista with her stack of law books is unexpected.

When Eoghan learns Nhu’s not completely over her ex, things get complicated. When he finds out her ex is his cousin, Jack, things get messy.

Only one of them can be with Nhu. Will she make the right choice?

TH: Where did you come up with the idea for this book?

lovegames-bookcoverAA: While I was writing LOVE GAMES (HOLIDAY HEARTBEATS #2), the main character Marisol was talking to her best friend, Nhu. They were both waiting for their exam results. It ended well for Mari, and I wondered what happened to Nhu.

One of my advance readers requested a continuation of Dante and Marisol’s story, suggesting that someone from their past resurfaces, causing conflict. This made me think of love triangles and the challenge writers have of writing one that isn’t cringe-worthy. That’s how Nhu’s dilemma rose to the surface.

TH: That sounds great! What did you edit out of this book?

AA: I like to point out that my Holiday Heartbeats series is a sweet-heat, closed-door romance series, also known as “clean” romance. (Calling one type of romance “clean” infers that others are “dirty,” imposing an unnecessary sense of shame on readers that I do not agree with.) In this closed-door romance series, there are plenty of hot moments that progress the story, but there are no sex scenes.

TH: Out of the three main characters in the book, who is the one that you like the best?

AA: I have to say that I really like Nhu. She has so much to gain, and it’s beautiful watching her as she slowly begins to realize it. She begins to recognize and claim her sense of self-worth, and I love how she knows from now on she’ll be happy with — or without — a man beside her.

Eoghan is so confident and easy-going, and Jack is incredibly loyal but conflicted as to where his loyalties must lie. I like that there’s no true villain here — just three people who have to make some hard choices involving people they love and don’t want to hurt, but they all know that no one will get out of this conflict unscathed.

TH: What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

AA: This is another question that I appreciate. When readers finish reading LUCK OF THE IRISH, I hope they will remember that the hardest decision to make in love and life is to remember to love yourself first. By treating yourself with loving kindness, you gain a better understanding of what you want to give and receive in love. You understand that your sense of self-worth is not contingent upon being with someone in any relationship that makes you feel less than what you know you deserve.

TH: Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

AA: I’m Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™ Readers can join my quarterly newsletter to get updates about new releases and giveaways. Follow my blog, atinaatwood.com for my favorite motivational and romantic quotes, as well as my latest take on current events surrounding Love, Life, and Romance. I’m most active on Twitter (@Atina_Atwood), but I’m also on Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Thanks so much for interviewing me! I hope that more people will find LUCK OF THE IRISH and get to know and love Nhu, Eoghan, and Jack as much as I do.”

– End –

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 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. She is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

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Write Like You Mean It

Go Big Or Go Home

Last month, I had one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had as a writer. As you likely know, Twitter is my favorite social media outlet (@Atina_Atwood). Well, I learned about a program called #WriteMentor, which specializes in paring writers with authors who are slaying it in either Children’s Fiction, Middle Grade, or Young Adult fiction. During a few promotional chats, I met two really inspiring mentors – Brandy Woods Snow and Haleigh Wenger.

Brandy is the author of Meant to Be Broken (Carolina Clay, #1). Check it out – it’s like a masterclass on writing gripping YA contemporary romance, sans kitsch. She’s a naturally inspiring person – to that, I can attest. During a chat, I don’t quite know how she did it, but ultimately, she inspired me to stretch out a YA short novella that I had into a full-blown novel. I walked away from the chat totally convinced that I should enter an international competition within TEN DAYS. And I went for it.

Let me elaborate because I still can’t believe I did this myself:

IN ONE WEEK, I WROTE 25,000 WORDS. I made a huge developmental edit and a complete overhaul of my manuscript within 8 days. By the time those ten days were up, I walked away with my very first full-length Young Adult novel on my desk.

 

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(Alright, after those ten days, I kind of hobbled away, looking like a frazzled, obsessive cat lady with slightly crazy eyes. But I did it. Of course, I couldn’t have done it without my husband, who is a rockstar, and my little rocking toddler!)

Mentorship is a Gift

Let me go ahead and say that although I was a finalist, I ultimately wasn’t selected for the coveted position. Interestingly, I’m okay with that. To me, it simply means that it was someone else’s time to make such a meaningful connection, and I genuinely wish them the best. My time will come in its own way – but I can assure you that I won’t wait for it sitting down. Also, Brandy has continued to be supportive in ways I never would have imagined, and Haleigh (author of The Art of Falling In Love) took the time to offer me some helpful advice that I really appreciate. Both of their mentees are fortunate to have them.

But y‘all – I’m walking away from this experience knowing that within a week, I slammed out 25K words in a genre that I don’t usually write in like a boss (okay, so let’s not talk about copyediting & A1 proofreading on this particular post, please – I did my best with the time constraints, *cough, cough*). Still, I got a request for a partial and a full, and got shortlisted. No, I didn’t win the medal, but I did finish the race. And what a hell of a race it’s been!

Don’t Stop, Won’t Stop!

To me, this is just the beginning. As long as I keep an open heart and mind, the right opportunities and people will come into my life. As that continues to happen, I’ll be more than happy to share these experiences with you, right here on my blog. This moment is exactly where my Faith and Confidence enter Stage Right, and I’m happy to say that both are shining boldly in the limelight. Now it’s time to wash, rinse, and repeat somewhere else – with hopefully more stellar results.

Do you have an example of where you’re currently slaying at the moment – or intend to slay at any minute? Come on and share! You’ll be surprised to see how many of us are rooting for you. 🙂

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 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. She is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

 

Thank You!

For those of you reading this post, I want to thank you for being a part of my blogging experience. As I’ve mentioned from the start, I don’t consider myself to be a blogger per se, but a writer who blogs.

I’m three months away from celebrating my 1-year anniversary of blogging here, and in such a short span of time, I’ve learned so much. There are things that I still clearly have no clue about, like enhancing my SEO, plugging magic keywords, and upping engagement, but at least I know of them.

My purpose here has been to wade through the murky waters of a hazy dream and blindly find a way to create tangible, solid goals out of it. It feels like a relatively solitary journey most of the time, but then I remember that despite that feeling you’re here, and I thank you for that!

I now know what I want to concentrate my energies on. Because of this blog, I created my sweet-heat #HolidayHeartbeats novella series. So far, I’ve happily shared each book with my mailing list subscribers for free.

Naturally, I won’t be doing this forever. Still, feedback and encouragement are worth their weight in gold, and this has been the best way for me to show my genuine appreciation to my subscribers.

As I prepare for the release of my next book, Luck of the Irish, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of my journey. I’m still Exploring Love & Life, One Word At A Time. It’s great to have you with me along the way.

Sending Love & Light,

Atina

#MotivatedMonday: Making It Easy Is Hard

Join my mailing list to be the first to know about my new releases, books slated for release in 2019, giveaways, and more. Follow me on Amazon and Goodreads. Luck of the Irish, Holiday Heartbeats#3, is now available for preorder.

"Easy Reading is damn hard writing.".png

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 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. She is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Preorder Luck of the Irish Today

Join my mailing list to be the first to know about my new releases, books slated for release in 2019, giveaways, and more. Follow me on Amazon and Goodreads

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

This past weekend was where we all had a chance to celebrate being Irish – or we could just claim to be Irish for a day if desired. For whatever reason, St. Patrick’s Day is one of my Daddy’s favorite holidays (hey, I may be all grown up, but he’ll always be my Daddy <3). For precisely that reason, I wanted to really do something to make the holiday even more special to me. That’s how Luck of the Irish, the third story in my Holiday Heartbeats series, was born.

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Luck of the Irish

Spoiler alert: my heroine is not Irish. Nhu is Vietnamese-American, and I have to extend a heartfelt thanks to one of my family members for helping me infuse authentic cultural insight while fleshing out her character. Please note: While Nhu’s ethnicity is clearly an integral part of who she is, know that there is no huge banner throughout the story that is demanding intense perusal and analysis of her life as a Vietnamese-American. When she first appeared in Love Games, she was Mari’s sassy best friend (don’t we just all want one of those?!). I couldn’t stop wondering what Nhu’s bar exam results were, and when I kept thinking about her, I realized that I was even more curious to find out who she is and what’s going on in her life.

It turns out that Nhu is a young woman of true grace and grit – and in Luck of the Irish, we find out that she’s also in quite a bind. Having a complicated relationship with one person is tough enough. Just imagine the headache (and possible heartache) of having to choose between two people pursuing you at the same time.

Don’t Let Love Define You

Still, what I love most about Nhu’s story is that it’s really about her self-discovery, reclaiming her power, and establishing autonomy in all things – including her love life. As a firm believer of HEA’s or HFN’s, I’m curious to see how this love triangle mess turns out because honestly, I can totally see Nhu running away from both pursuers in favor of just loving herself for a while.

Stay tuned for Luck of the Irish, available now for preorder now wherever ebooks are sold.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 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.

Love Games (Holiday Heartbeats #2) is LIVE!!

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Love Games (Holiday Heartbeats #2) is now available wherever eBooks are sold

Love Games (New Release)

I’ve been waiting for February to come already because I just couldn’t wait to finally share Love Games with you.

Love Games (Holiday Heartbeats #2) is LIVE and available at the distributor of your choice!

It’s a sweet-heat romantic novella about an irresistible, successful, commitmentphobe and the smart, no-nonsense woman who brings him to his knees – just in time for a Valentine’s Day surprise. Dante and Marisol’s story is around 62 pages, so it’s a quick, fun read. I played with the following tropes:

  • smart, sassy heroine/successful sexy hero who’s ready to be schooled
  • all grown up/commitmentphobe
  • boss/employee’s daughter
  • close proximity
  • multicultural romance
  • “sweet-heat” romance
  • slow burn, novella-style 😉

My VIP Friends from 28 states and 11 countries received a complimentary copy of LOVE GAMES over a week before the book’s official release!

When you sign up for my mailing list, it means a lot to me, and this is one way that I happily show my appreciation. *kiss kiss* Please consider leaving your honest reviews on Goodreads. They are appreciated! 

“Sweet-Heat” Romance

I had a fun time writing these two characters, and I really like their chemistry. My Holiday Heartbeats is what I like to call a “sweet heat” series, so the characters kiss, and when they kiss, they kiss well. Ideally, I want this particular series to be accessible to readers of varying ages and backgrounds, so consider doing me a solid and share it with your friends and add the books on your bookshelf (Listopia) on Goodreads. Thank you!

Atina Atwood Love Games A 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.

 

 

 

Love Games

Be sure to join my mailing list to be the first to know about my new releases, books slated for release in 2019, giveaways, and more. 

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.

The Romance Novel Industry: Myths, Legends, and False Expectations

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, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

How Do You Know You’re Reading a Romance Novel?

Romance ALWAYS Has a Happy Ending

One the nicest things about real romance novels is the fact that no matter what your heroes go through, there WILL be a happily-ever-after (HEA), or the more recent happy-for-now (HFN) ending. If you don’t get one of those, then it isn’t a romance novel. It’s always grotesquely entertaining when people try to argue away this fact. Sure, there are novels that have very heavy romantic elements, but if the two heroes don’t waltz or hobble away together at the end of the story, certain that they are capable of loving and being loved, then my friend, you simply just read some other kind of story with a lot of romantic elements in it, but it wasn’t a romance. Don’t get upset. It happens. A romance novel always has a happy ending, even if it’s “for now”. Period. 

Romance is is Predictably Unpredictable

The fact that romance is predictably unpredictable is the part that keeps me coming back time and time again. I only started getting into romance novels when I was working on my dissertation and needed something to help me decompress during those myriad sleepless nights. I’ll never forget how grateful I was to be able to divert my overactive mind to focus on two main characters who were fate-bound and were destined to be okay, if not more than okay, at the end of it all. No matter how unpredictably the plot line may shift or twist, predictably, everything will turn out alright in the end. More or less. You may end up with fewer characters, but oh well. The two heroes are really what matter most.

I generally average about a book a night, and every single night, I’m getting a bird’s eye view of other people’s lives. At this point in my life, this has also become research, but I welcome it every time. Each book is different, and the journey may be as unique as the characters are, but they will be rewarded with the ultimate prize – requited love –  every single time. Yay!!!

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Romance Has a Place for EVERYONE

Although the genre has a loooooooong way to go in terms of representation, people in the industry are starting to wake up to the fact that readers want to read about people falling in love who are like themselves. This means that not every hero can be blonde haired, blue eyed rail thin model, or have honey-wheat locks that frame a heart-shaped face with piercingly green eyes but “curves to die for”. Characters who are People of Color want love just the same, and People of Faith want their chance, just as anyone in the LGBTQ+ community does. Love is love, folks, and that’s what romance it all about. It’s up to us to choose what we personally enjoy when we read, but it’s important to emphasize that we readers should have a choice. And it’s our responsibly as writers to provide options to the best of our ability and personal preference.

It’s refreshing to see that Rom/Coms are making their way back into the mainstream, from book to film, giving us all the feels we’re familiar with, but with different faces and different shapes. If tons of folks can get into paranormal romance, then I suppose people with “diverse backgrounds” shouldn’t be that much of stretch for people…. but only time will tell. Keep reading, keep loving, and keep an open mind – and heart.

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.

Blogging Advice… ???

How Does Your Blog Measure Up?

As I continue to learn how to juggle blogging with writing, it amazes me how many bloggers are savvy in making sure that their posts get noticed. There’s so much about blogging that I can learn from them, and I’m doing my best to cram more information into this overloaded brain of mine. Keeping my fingers crossed that I can actually retain anything. So many blogs get tons of views, likes, and oh my gosh – even comments. They just rack up on some bogs, while others don’t even get the pitiful sound of crickets chirping. I mean, even if you only hear crickets, at least you know that you’re not completely alone in the blogosphere.

So far, I’ve learned one thing about blogging for sure:

There are Two Types of Bloggers

It seems as though there are two types of bloggers: Those who blog for views, likes, and comments, and those who blog to share original content. At first glance, you may think that a blogger could be one and the same. Actually, no – and I’ll tell you why.

Blogging for Hits

When a person blogs for traffic volume, that is their sole objective. Knowing how to tweek your tags, keywords, etc. will give you an advantage of having more people land on your posts and even interact with you. That’s SEO at its best. But you have to devise the proper “hooks”. Give unsolicited advice (ironically like this post), devising titles that tell you about the “Top 5” of anything, and sharing any sort of “Secret” are surefire indications that the post has been created to reel you in. Or help you. Or both.

Is there anything wrong with this? Not to me. As I mentioned, I’m reading these posts just  like anyone else, hoping to find the golden ticket to mastering a system that I am totally clueless about. These blogs are the ones that actually generate passive income, which is never shabby. Don’t we all want to get paid for the work that we do?

Some days, I worry about traffic. Am I really able to effectively reach my readers, whom I truly value and appreciate? Because I write about “Love and Life” (One Word at a Time), that covers an entire spectrum of topics. This means that it’s difficult for my blog to float above the others, because Google and other search engines don’t really know where to place me, because although I have great content (*ahem*), I’m all over the place.

Welcome to my life, Google.

Blogging to Share

Which brings me to the second type of blogger. These bloggers focus on creating content that satisfies them first. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t keeping their readership in mind, on the contrary; it just means that the blogger is more likely concerned about sharing content that may not be popular, or trending. On the one hand, this can mean great things for the blogger who is concentrating on one specific topic. This ensures that the blogger becomes an expert on one particular subject, and followers can be assured that the blogger knows what’s up.

Then you have bloggers like me. Well, that sentence is inaccurate. I’m a writer who blogs. There is a difference. And for that nuanced reason, I definitely fit into the latter category of bloggers. I share content that I care about, and although I primarily focus on writing, romance, blogging, family, and apparently quilting, I blog about what moves me – which is also exactly the way that I write fiction.

Over time, regardless of which kind of blogger you are, what followers value most is sincerity. We readers can fish out the ones who write from their hearts and those who are vying to get you to just buy their merch. While I want to connect with more of of the world, I’m thankful to connect with you now. As I learn and grow, I want to share with you the things that I’m learning. 😉

If you have any advice, or have an experience to share, let me know!

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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, writing. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.