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Free E-Book (Coming Soon)

I've teased about this before, dear readers, but I assure you that it's on its way soon!

This e-book will be completely free, and involves characters from my first romantic series (due in 2019). It should be out by the end of this year.

Stay tuned, and I'll keep you posted. ❤

Five Dirty Facts About Love

Of all the things that we’ve been taught about love, it’s the unspoken things that we end up learning the hard way. If only someone had told us about the beautiful parts – and the kind of gritty parts in between.

Don’t get me wrong; I know that we could go off on a philosophical or theological tangent and debate whether or not there is any impurity in the purest form of love… But here, I’m just talking about your regular Joe Blow and Susie Q falling in love and trying to make the pieces fit. In one way or another, a tender part of us is broken, and we’re looking for someone (or something) to help put those pieces together. While thinking about what some of my characters are going through, it made me think about these five dirty facts about love.

1. Love is Selfish.

I’m a person of faith, and I know that this sentence seems to contradict what many of us have been taught. Bear with me here. Let’s just say that it’s not Love that is selfish, but we, the people who love, are. When we’ve finally found someone who will put up with our crap and other idiosyncrasies, we’ll be a monkey’s uncle before we’re willing to let go if that person. Free love for all? You’re not going to find many romance novels with that happening. It’s all or nothing, baby.

2. Loving Someone Doesn’t Always Feel Good.

This is sad, but true. Just think of Heathcliff and Catherine. I honestly can’t recall a more miserable couple. Nevertheless, you can’t deny that love between them existed.

3. Not Everyone is Happy that You’ve Found Someone.

A fact that is one of the harder pills to swallow, but a fact none-the-less. People have a tendency to wait for the nasty turn at the end of the corner, the strange plot twist where everything falls to hell in a hand basket, even after you’ve found yourself rooting for them up until then. Are we all so jaded and cynical that we can’t believe in simple happy endings anymore?

4. Sometimes, When You’re Looking for Love, It Becomes An Asshole Playing Hide and Seek With Your Heart.

How many of us have been there, or know someone who’s been there? It doesn’t matter who you are, how famous you are or how much money you make – when you fall in love – I mean, REALLY fall in love with someone – you have been laid low. You can’t resist it, and you couldn’t change a thing if you tried. In many romantic stories, you’ll find that the billionaire is bewitched by the untrained Executive Assistant who just happened to land the coveted position through a temp agency. In real life, it’s more like the person who can’t stay away from someone who isn’t good for them, even if they are cognitively aware of that fact.

5. Loving Takes a Lot of Your Time and Energy

Let’s face it, when you’re spending hours a day thinking about someone, and then spending the rest of your time with that person, you’re devoting a lot of time to one person. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, per se – but it sure is time consuming.

Love isn’t all that bad.

If these are the only dirty things that I can think of about love, then maybe it’s not so bad after all. Just remember that every love story has a beginning – and the end always remains unwritten.

Shades of Gray (Start of a Short Story)

No, this has nothing to do with the infamous 50. This is just the start of another short story. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Things were not going as planned. Based on the timeline, Rebecca should have been a happily married mother of two with a stellar career that was on a rising trajectory. Instead, she was single, working a dead-end job where no one noticed her, much less remembered her name or recognized her contributions to the company.

It seemed as though her lot in life was to remain faceless, invisible to the world. Somehow, even though people only seemed to see her in shades of gray, deep down, Becca knew that she was as vibrant as a rainbow. Her personality was as multifaceted as the most intricate prism, yet inexplicably, so many aspects remained repressed within her.

As much as she longed for love and companionship, Becca didn't quite know how to reach out to others. How many times had she tried, only to be let down yet again by someone who just wanted to manipulate her? She was tired of being used, treated like a machine that was designed to produce desired results, serving without question and merely existing with no demands.

No feelings. No dreams. No desires.

"This is the end of the line, miss. You'll need to get out here, or change your direction." Startled by the booming timbre of the subway driver's voice, Becca instinctively curled up in a ball. She cringed when she noticed the kind man's reaction.

"I didn't mean to startle you, miss. Believe me, I won't hurt you." The driver took two steps back and held up his hands to prove that he was harmless. Quickly, she shook her head, hating the heated blush of embarrassment that warmed the back of her neck and pale cheeks.

"No sir, it was my mistake. I wasn't paying attention. Thank you." Gathering her backpack and art supplies, she nearly tripped as she rushed out of her seat and beyond the closing doors. She couldn't muster the courage to glance back at the driver, though she could feel his pity for her radiating from his direction.

The scars. If they had only been internal, she could have coped more easily, reintegrated herself into society without the burden of her existence being broadcast on her delicate skin. But when had life ever given her a break?

Later that night, the words of the subway driver replayed in her mind. "This is the end of the line, miss. You'll need to get out here, or change your direction."

She couldn't go on living like this. As hard as she'd fought for it in the past, there was no way that she was going to give up on life itself. Only one option remained – changing the direction her life was going.

But how?

Thanks for reading! I'm looking forward to seeing where this story leads me. Follow me, Atina Atwood on Facebook and @realatinaatwood on Twitter, for more fun, random posts, and occasionally something amazing.

Story (Quick Read) – What Do You Think?

I had a free half an hour (God bless nap time!), so I thought I'd start a little story. Young Adult novella, PG-rating, sweet romance. Let me know what you think in the comments.

She was the silent type. It would have been an awesome and somewhat mystical trait if she had also been strong, but she wasn't. Not yet.

For years, Alissa had been perfectly fine flying solo, and after that disastrous train wreck that she'd mistakenly called a relationship with Dax, being alone had been a good thing. She needed to heal; she was determined to remember to love herself before she tried loving anyone else.

Besides, she knew that when the time was right, her feelings and intuition would give her the courage to take action and move forward. Today, Ali knew that the time had come.

Squaring her shoulders and taking a deep breath, she held her head high as she advanced upon her target. This guy didn't know it, but a serendipitous hurricane was heading his way.


He felt her presence before he saw her. Nick had already memorized her features from her profile picture, so he took his time before looking up from the glare of his computer screen. He just barely resisted the urge to adjust the frame of his glasses with his thumb. Reviewing facts always calmed his nerves, so he ran through the shortlist of everything he thought he knew about her.

Her name was Ali, she was a junior, and she had long jet black hair (thanks to two $5 dye kits from the store, she'd confessed), and apparently had shapely legs that went on for miles and miles down to impatiently tapping feet that had an at-home, slightly rushed looking pedicure. Well, the last facts had been observations in real time.

Nick cleared his throat and willed his heart to stop beating in his ears like an obnoxious drum. During one of their late-night chats Ali warned him that she was a mess; yet even after he'd confessed his own shortcomings to her, she'd still been willing to show up at this random hipster cafe to actually meet him in person. She'd given him a chance, and he was already half in love with her for that small miracle alone.

He just hoped like hell he wouldn't blow it.

Thanks for reading! I'm looking forward to seeing where this story leads me. Follow me, Atina Atwood, for more fun, random posts, and occasionally something amazing.

The Warrior Within

Sometimes, there are aspects of our personalities that can either be a Godsend or a hendrance; it all depends on the situation. For me, I find that managing my inner warrior is a HUGE challenge.
First of all, the problem is that over the past few years, I've actually felt somehow obligated to tamper down aspects my strong personality and intellect. So many insecurities and subtle manipulative pressures encouraged me to be, well, less me.

The result as been disastrous, a pitiful attempt to crush my own spirit when my soul continuously demands to sing, to be heard, to communicate. It's my calling to use my words to connect with as many people on this planet as I can, and instead of listening to it, I've been hiding from myself and have been mad at the world for not taking the time to search for me.

It's a good feeling to rediscover my innate talents, embrace my raw imperfections, the very fallacies that make me so vulnerable and bring-it-on at the same time. No, I'm not perfect, but I OWN my shortcomings. Surely, I recognize them, and I strive to improve myself daily, but I will not – and should not – feel obligated to apologize for simply being human.

For the longest time, I've tried to convince myself that the Warrior within me lay dormant, sleeping under the sedative effects of self-inflicted suppression. Now, I know that she has always been awake, wide awake – but simply biding her time and growing stronger. 

I'm not quite certain what battles lie ahead, but for now, I'm content knowing that at the moment, I'm no longer battling myself.

They say that garlic is an aphrodisiac…

… But still, the only reason why I have no qualms about buying these garlic-infused olives is because hubby and I have been together for almost 17 years, lol. #Romancelivessomewheredeepintheheartofagarlicclove

Bon Appetit!

Falling in Love Again

You know how it is – when you fall in love for the first time, you want it to last forever. To a certain extent, you EXPECT it to last a while. After all, you've invested a lot of time, emotions, and commitment to the relationship. Even when times are tough, you somehow find too many reasons to stay instead of leaving and starting over again.

But what happens when your relationship ends? When you realize that your life would be so much better to let everything go and head into another direction?

We found ourselves in a similar situation when we moved to SoCal last week. After breaking up with Berkeley, we started a new relationship with San Diego. Now we're just going to enjoy the honeymoon phase with the hopes that it will last a long time.

There is romance in everything, even the mundane. Nothing is more attractive than waking up to a brand new day knowing that you get to live your life exactly the way it is. Presently, I feel this way. So, here's to new adventures, relationships, and falling in love again.

Suggestions: What do you think?

I'm looking into developing some light sketches for plots that I can use in my new series. I'm creating a novella series (light, PG-rated romance) geared towards young adults, i.e. circa 15-33 years old.

The first one takes place around Christmas time, and the second one will have something to do with Valentine's Day. I like having about 6 books per series (whenever possible, though 5 would be alright as well), and I want each book to revolve around a holiday.

Now I need your help. What other holidays should I concentrate on, and what makes a specific holiday special to you?

I'll be sure to reply to every comment. Thanks for your input!

Finding Home

In two days, I drove almost 600 miles with my toddler to finally get to our new home. My husband drove behind us, lugging some huge-ass Uhaul and all that remains of our precious earthly belongings.

We're starting over. Again.

It's not that we were planning on relocating less than four years after we had then relocated from Europe. When we moved to Northern California, hubby and I thought that this was it. We were in a good place, had excellent paying jobs, and we had already selected the school where we knew we wanted our future offspring to attend. Everything was perfect, until it wasn't.

Our decision made itself for us. Sure, we initiated it, and then prayed like hell that something would land… Once that happened, everything else fell into place, just like a gentle rain falling on seedlings that have been given a chance for new growth.

I'm excited. This time, it feels right – I dare say even more right than it felt almost 4 years prior. So, here's to hope (that stubborn thing that I never can seem to shake); here's to new beginnings and the fruition of old dreams, and here's to finally, finally, finally finding home.

Three in the Bed, and the Little One Said…

…Nothing, but just kicked Papa in the throat and punched Mama in the kidney to ensure getting more space in the bed.

Apparently, the little one in the song who kept saying "Roll over, roll over" was an exceptionally polite child.

Gotta love traveling long distances with a little toddler.

Bubbles in Berkeley

For the child in all of us.

We spent hours entertaining our toddler child and niece by blowing bubbles. The most beautiful part was seeing the pure joy on their faces, and hearing their innocent, highly contagious giggles.

The best part was when those bubbles would float to random adults in the area. Just seeing how each person burst into smiles or even laughter was so heartening.

We might try to suppress our inner child, but that little one is always ready to make a reappearance. Why fight it?

Decadence Overload

Okay, so I've already established that I'm a foodie, and life in the San Francisco Bay Area has been very good to me. Now that I'm relocating to nearly South of the Border in San Diego in just a few days, I've taken it upon myself to bid farewell to my favorite restaurants.

My waistline will hate me for this, and I'm sure that I'll be hitting play on BOD more frequently than ever, but for now, I indulge. Yesterday was Italian; tomorrow is sushi. I ate one of my favorite subs with the ever-famous "dirty sauce" today…

Actually, if I re-read my own blog entry months down the road and I ask myself why I can't get rid of the last stubborn 10 (*ahem* 15) pounds, I will look to this past month and know EXACTLY why.

Crap, I think I need an intervention.

Approval Ratings

These days, it's most important to be super active in social media. Despite being a Millennial, I am SO OLD-SCHOOL; it's a shame. Honestly, I'm an old soul. I adore and studied classical music and theatre, and I love a good book more than chocolate. (Now you know that's true love). I've been encouraged to write professionally since my late teen years, but the call to the stage superceeded. At this point in my life, though, I know that it's time to put pen to paper – and it's a fantastic feeling.

But then, there's this huge monster, called "Social Media", and we have to channel so much of our creative energy in its direction in order to showcase our other inner treasures. It demands much of your attention, and if you have time for your other offerings, then congratulations. But more and more, it feels as though I should be seeking more "likes" than new characters…

I'm not saying that I have a huge problem with social media – clearly, I'm a fan and a greedy consumer. But I do miss the romanticism of sitting down in a quiet place, simply writing, and focusing on letting my stories tell themselves. But without social media, who would I be telling my stories to?

Stock Photo

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