A Day in the Glamorous Life of a Romance Writer

I’m Ava Blackstone, and this is a day in my life.

I start my day when the sun comes up, so I can get tons of work done before the kids wake up.

Okay. What actually happens is that my husband gets up when the sun comes up—why did I marry a morning person?—which wakes me up because I’m the world’s lightest sleeper. I try to go back to sleep. This doesn’t work.

I drag myself out of bed an hour later, annoyed and grumpy. Fun fact—my hair sticks out like a lion’s mane. No, there will not be pictures.

I write an entire romance novel in the six hours the kids are in school, in between snacking on bonbons.

Brownie
This hunk of sugar and chocolate totally looks like it would make me more productive. Right?

Okay. It’s closer to a chapter. A crappy rough draft of a chapter. And there are no bonbons involved. In fact, there’s no chocolate whatsoever, because I didn’t buy any when I went grocery shopping, because I knew if it was lying around the house I’d eat it. This seemed like a great plan two days ago, when I was at the store. Now that I’m half way done with this chapter, I understand what a stupid, misguided idea it actually was. I would be so much more productive if I had a brownie.

I consider going to the store to get one, but this requires way too much effort. I congratulate myself on my laziness willpower.

Uh oh. Now it’s time to write a scene where my characters are having feelings. I hate writing these scenes. It’s so much more fun to write the ones where they’re bitchy and sarcastic. Somehow I make it through.

Page from rough draft of Free Falling in Love
An actual page from my actual notebook from the rough draft of FREE FALLING IN LOVE. Yes, I’m one of those weird people who writes my first draft in a notebook instead of on a computer.

After cooking a nutritious dinner, spending quality time with my kids, getting them in bed, cleaning the kitchen, and making their lunches, I quickly accomplish all my book marketing tasks for the day.

Okay. What actually happens is that I sit down at my computer, convinced this is the night I’ll cross every task off my to-do list, only to realize it’s already midnight. How does this always happen?

I think about working anyway, but realize I’m exhausted and need to get to sleep so I can wake up early tomorrow and be productive. I get into bed next to my husband. He’s already snoring, because he falls asleep in approximately thirty seconds. I have every intention of falling into a deep, restful sleep, but my characters start talking to me.

I give the voices in my head a stern lecture: It’s bed time. Shut up so I can go to sleep.

Okay, maybe it’s not all that stern. If we’re being totally honest, maybe I never lecture them at all, because I’m too busy listening to what they have to say.

The thing is, I love a good story more than sleep. Maybe that’s why the getting-up-early thing never seems to work out for me…

Catching Cleo has a cover

Catching Cleo by Ava BlackstoneExciting news today. The next book in the Voretti Family series, Catching Cleo, has a cover! Matt and Cleo’s story will be available in just over two weeks. I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

My First Short Romance Story

Today at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood, I’m blogging about where my story ideas come from. The inspiration for my first published short story came from a decidedly unromantic incident back in college, in which I accidentally got into a strange guy’s car, thinking he was my ex-boyfriend (What? You’ve never done that?). You can read the real-life version at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood. And then check out the romance story it inspired below.

iceCreamBETTER THAN ICE CREAM

Audrey Taylor’s Chevy Malibu ran out of gas in the middle of the season’s worst rainstorm. She was ten miles from her house, five miles from the nearest gas station, and, despite the weather, the pint of double chocolate ice cream she’d just bought was starting to melt. She glared at the gas gauge, which claimed the car still had half a tank. So that’s what the guy at the garage had meant when he’d warned her the gauge on the loaner was “a little off”.

She dialed her brother’s number on her cell phone and tried not to hyperventilate. She got his voicemail—of course—and left a message. “Michael! My car ran out of gas and I’m stuck at the end of Old Highway. Call me.”

She huffed out a breath. Now what?

As the rain pounded against her windshield, she made her way through all the contacts on her cell phone without finding a ride.

And then a miracle. Michael’s faded blue jeep appeared through the curtain of rain, heading right toward her.

She opened her door, ignoring the stinging rain, and waved. The jeep slowed as it approached her car, but instead of pulling over it continued to the intersection. She heaved out a sigh. Michael had a lock on the title of Most Annoying Brother in Lone Pine, even if he had come to rescue her.

Lugging her groceries, Audrey ran through the rain to the jeep. “Hey!” she yelled, as the jeep began to inch forward. “Not funny!”

The jeep stopped. Audrey juggled both her bags into one hand, opened the passenger’s door, and hopped into the seat.

She slammed the door shut before she could get any wetter. “Thanks for coming, Michael, but—”

The second she turned, she realized her mistake. Instead of her brother’s cropped blond hair, the driver’s hair was brown, with the faintest hint of a curl.

She gulped in a breath. Please tell me I haven’t just hopped into a complete stranger’s jeep.

Eyes the color of fresh-brewed coffee regarded her curiously. “Hi Audrey.”

Familiar coffee-colored eyes.

Her heart stalled for a second, then resumed beating, much faster than before. It was her new next-door neighbor Jason. The guy who drove a jeep just like her brother’s, worked as a firefighter, and spent his free time volunteering at the soup kitchen. Not that she’d been checking him out or anything. Okay, maybe she’d been checking him out a little.

“Jason.” Her voice was high and reedy. “I, uh….”

“Needed a ride?”

He was smiling. And not in an I’m-just-humoring-the-crazy-person way.

“I thought you were my brother. I don’t normally barge into strangers’ cars.”

“We’re neighbors, not strangers.”

“I don’t normally barge into neighbors’ cars.”

“No?” He turned his smile up a few extra watts. “And here I thought it was a Lone Pine custom I wasn’t familiar with.”

“I’m afraid not. But I would appreciate a ride. My car ran out of gas.”

“Sure thing.” Jason put the jeep into gear.

Rain pattered against the windshield and the tires hissed against the wet pavement, but inside the Jeep, Audrey was cozy and warm.

“Only thing is,” Jason’s deep voice easily carried over the rumble of the engine, “I’m going to need some sort of payment.”

His lips curved up in a hint of a grin, telling Audrey he was teasing her, but she still proceeded with caution. “Payment?”

“I see you’ve got double chocolate ice cream. That’s my favorite flavor.”

Audrey fought the smile threatening to surface. “You want me to give you my ice cream? The ice cream I drove all the way to Pinecrest to buy?”

“Not give,” Jason said. “Share.”

That seemed like the least she could do, so an hour later, dressed in dry clothes, Audrey ushered Jason into her house for the first time. Over two bowls of ice cream, Jason told her about his work while she shared stories about growing up in Lone Pine.

“I should get home,” he said, when the ice cream was long gone and the sun was sinking below the horizon. “But I owe you a bowl of ice cream. How do you feel about fudge brownie?”

“I love fudge brownie.”

He smiled. “I think this might be the beginning of a long and happy relationship.”

So you tell me. What’s better? The real-life version or the fantasy?

Love in the Library

I’m super excited to announce that I’ll be at the San Diego Central Library’s Love in the Library event on May 28th with a bunch of awesome romance writers. If you’re in the area, come and join us for book signings, workshops, panel discussions, and a screening of Love Between the Covers, a documentary about romance writers.

When: Saturday, May 28, 2016 12:00 PM6:00 PM
Cost: FREE!