Back in May of 2011, Avery Flynn (Yes her. Writer. Smart Ass. Lover of Chocolate.) asked if I’d like to be interviewed on her website for a segment called Welcome Wednesdays. I fully admit to having a little freak out moment, wondering what in the world I would say. I was just a girl writing stories. Not published, no agent. Garnering wonderfully low scores in writing contests. But deliciously busy with my imaginary friends and all the trouble they were getting into in my head. However, I knew I would be in good hands, Avery being my Waterworld Mermaid sister and all. In that interview, she asked me many great questions in which I tried to provide well thought out answers, keeping my fingers crossed that I sounded even a teeny bit knowledgeable in response. I really wanted to do good by her because she’d reached out to help a fellow writer. (I love that writers do that on a very regular basis.)
I came across that interview today while thinking of what to write for my very first Evernight blog post. The good news? The answers didn’t make me cringe too badly. The great news? I can see that I’ve managed to learn a lot in the past 19 months about what I’m doing, while at the same time never losing sight of what I love about what I’m doing! Check out these two questions to see what I mean:
Avery (May 2011): What do you write about?
Carlene (May 2011): I’d call it very romantic, edgy, women’s fiction. I like to say that I’m trying to help my characters see love through the dark. My stories tend to be emotionally intense and stem from the tragic pasts the hero and heroine bring to their budding relationship. They generally need help learning how to love each other the right way and that’s where I come in.
Carlene (December 2012): The truth is, while I knew in my heart what I was writing, I wasn’t sure what to call it which makes finding a home for your stories a bit more difficult. The past year and a half has taught me the importance of having clarity over what you write. Today I can proudly say with a big smile on my face that I write Contemporary Romance and I feel so at home here with Evernight. Thank you to Avery and every other writer who kept asking, until I figured it out. J
Avery (May 2011): What is it about that topic that you love and what drives you batshit crazy about it? (Seriously, how does one not love this woman?)
Carlene (May 2011): There is something about loving a broken man that is just so profound and intimate when you yourself are not quite ready for it. I’m crazy about The Phantom of the Opera. I just want someone to love him who won’t mind all the darkness, no offense to Raoul because he’s perfectly lovely and ideal. I guess it’s that notion of sacrificing something for someone else when you don’t have all that much to give in the first place. I find the rewards in those situations are always so much better and in a love story, so very essential and sensual.
Carlene (December 2012): I still feel exactly the same so it was reassuring to see I was on the right track. If “December 2012 Me” can share one bit of advice, it’s to have faith in what you love. Even when you’re struggling to figure out the best way to share it with the world, you’re already doing something right. Have a little faith in that.
I hope you enjoy the story that I have found the perfect home for.
In Sidewalk Flower, a jaded young woman sets out on an intense road trip home to deal with her past when she is asked to allow a relative stranger to tag along.
But, she’s seen too many good guys succumb to the harsh realities of her supposed privileged life in the music business and intends on keeping her distance.
When she picks up Lucky, the southern gentleman cousin of her selfish best friend, she has absolutely no idea of how to accept a perfectly good person with good intentions. Home has never looked so good, or felt so far away.
Her two insistent hands pressed against the back of his neck like she was forcing him to do this. It was cute. Yeah, she was dead wrong. He’d wanted to kiss her since he’d first seen her, hopping down out of that girly silver Jeep. But he knew better. Earning something you wanted took more than a few hours. And if he’d gathered anything from her hot and cold responses so far, it was that Jaxon’s vague but deliberate warning that he take good care of her hadn’t been just puffed up, ego talk.
This girl was in trouble.
He should have stepped away for both their sakes. He knew he didn’t deserve this kind of kiss, not yet. But California was glued to him on full speed and didn’t appear to have a pause, let alone a rewind button. On second thought, he’d let her get this out of her system and then they’d start over.
Her hand had to be killing her, so he managed to pull it down and keep it tucked at her side. But the other one was petting those hairs at the back of his neck, leaving him seconds away from coming undone. If he clenched his jaw any tighter, those painful yet ticklish sensations shooting throughout his upper body would without a doubt get him into trouble down below. Heck, if he squeezed her in his arms like he wanted to, she’d feel how aroused he’d let himself get. He worked his jaw to ease away from the pain, wishing he could let go entirely and enjoy her touch. Yep, their fresh start was gonna have to wait until she was done proving her point. Cute girl though.
* * *
His lips were soft and salty like he’d worked up a sweat at some point during the day. Crap, again she cursed his damn tempting bloodline. This would only complicate their pending trip even more. So naturally, when he smartly pulled her one hand away, she found a sweet spot of baby hairs with the other and went for more. Her rules—that was the only way to play with the boys and stay safe.
Lucky’s hands eventually cupped the sides of her face, which was fine because she had made her point.
“Are we okay?” he asked.
Well, hell if she knew. “Yes,” she said. They could figure the truth out later. There would be an endless amount of open road ahead of them come Sunday to think. Tonight was desperate Friday. “We’re good.” But she hesitated because he looked for a moment like he may have regretted things. When he coughed and cleared his throat, she was sure of it.
“Come on, Miss ‘We’re Good’,” he said, as he urged her the rest of the way to the back door. “I’d like to keep that promise I made Jaxon. You could go a little easier on me from here on out.”
The inside of her mouth remained warm from their kiss as she swallowed a cool breath of air. The contrasting temperatures left her with a chill and a memory—the taste of the last kiss she’d had. Cigarettes and beer. No hand holding. No talking. No first, second or third date. As badly as her sour heart warned her to throw Lucky in with that lot, she just couldn’t do it. He’d already taken more care of her than any other guy she’d known.
“You shouldn’t take things so personally.” At his wince, she splintered and added, “I know you didn’t sign up for this; I’ll try to be…better.” No promises though.
“Okay.” He hesitated, and shifted on the steps. “Ready to go inside?”
“No, you should go in though. I need to be alone.” A tingle traveled around her wounded hand and she made the mistake of squeezing it into a fist.
Lucky dipped his head then and ran his hand up along the back of his neck, rubbing it in his obvious confusion. “Trista. I’m kind of at a loss here. You’re obviously in pain. Just come inside and let me help you.”
She tried to warn him, hoping he’d listen. “Lucky, you’re a nice guy. Okay, I get it. You want to help, but I didn’t ask for that and you have no idea what you’d be signing up for anyway. Assholes can barely handle my world; a good guy like you doesn’t stand a chance. Jaxon had no right doing this.”
“Hmmm.” He scratched at his sideburn. “You don’t know what I can and can’t handle.” He looked down but she had caught his every word.
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