Gratitude,  Liz Flaherty,  Stories from River's Edge,  The Walker Family,  Tule Publishing,  Writer's moments

Sunday Snippet: The Validation Edition, II

You know who I envy? Writers who have complete faith in their work and themselves. The ones who write a book and always know immediately that it’s great stuff and is going to sell like hotcakes.

Or the ones who may know their work needs help, but believe so strongly in their own stories that they push on, striving to make them better. They never doubt their abilities or spend days wondering what they’re doing trying to write a novel, for Pete’s sake. They don’t wonder if they’re fooling everyone, including themselves, with this whole author thing.

Sometimes, I can be that writer. When a scene works perfectly, when I’ve written a beautiful setting, when a character says exactly the right words, I feel like that writer. Always by the time a book is done, through development and copy edits and ready for production, I pretty much am that writer. When a book releases and reviewers love it and readers clamor for more, I am unquestionably that writer. But why does it take me all the way to that point to believe that I am a good writer? Why do I need that validation?

A question for the universe, although today, I know for certain that I am a good writer. And here’s some news: I just sent a proposal to my publisher for another 4-book series to take place in my wonderful little town of River’s Edge. I’m honored and humbled and delighted that Tule Publishing has such faith in me as a storyteller. How amazing is it that I get paid to do what I love most because you know, words are wonderful, but royalty checks and contracts are incredibly validating.

So today, I will tell you, I am a great writer. I may not be shouting it right now as I’m trying to get to “The End” on the third Walker story. I may be whimpering by the mid-March when it’s due, but today…this day, I am a great writer.

Here’s a snippet from my upcoming novel Make You Mine, book 1 in the Walkers of River’s Edge series. It releases April 16 and I really love Jack and Maddie. Hope this whets your appetite enough to pre-order Make You Mine.

“Well, hello, gorgeous.” A deep voice from the end of the bar brought her head up and she turned to find herself face-to-face with a killer handsome man. He was pure California surfer—perfectly tousled blond hair, Caribbean-blue eyes, perfect white teeth, and just enough scruff on his chiseled jawline—all that was missing were board shorts and a Billabong T-shirt. He was wearing a designer suit, a light-blue oxford button-down, and a navy-blue-and-red-striped tie.

“What can I do for you?” She hoped he didn’t want anything too complicated because she was no bartender, simply a woman helping out at her dad’s hotel until she got the job of her dreams.

“Now there’s a loaded question.” The guy leaned his elbows on the bar and gave her an intimate smile. “Let’s talk about it . . . maybe after you get off work?”

She shook her head and sighed. “What would you like to drink?”

“Tacky line, huh?” At least he owned it, although his smile told her he was still hoping to win her over. He was a hottie, no question, but she was only standing in for Dave, the bartender, while he took a quick break to go home and check on his wife and newborn son. When he got back, she would be relieving Tracy on the front desk. No time for flirtation tonight, no matter how tempting.

She simply gazed at him, waiting.

“Bourbon and branch water.” He hitched his chin toward the bottles lined up behind her. “Not the well stuff. Dave keeps a bottle of Buffalo Trace under the counter back there. Use that.”

“Sure.” She mixed the drink and set it on a coaster in front of him, along with a small bowl of pretzels.

“You’re new here.” He sipped, closing his eyes in obvious pleasure.

“Just temporary.” She kept on unloading glassware, not really in the mood to flirt, not even with this charmer. But she continued to check him out from under her lashes, while at the same time making sure he didn’t see she was eyeing him.

“I’m Jack.” He set the glass down and nibbled a pretzel.

She nodded. The very last thing she wanted right now was a quick encounter with a barfly, no matter how cute he was. She had an important job interview tomorrow and was only holding the fort down for Tracy until two a.m., before heading back to Dad and Jane’s for a little bit of sleep . . . if she could sleep. She wanted this job, needed this job, and she was right for it. She just had to make the Walker Construction CEO as sure of that as she was.

“What’s a beautiful woman like you doing behind a bar?” His blue eyes twinkled, and he gave her another gleaming white grin.

Seriously, dude? You’re losing points here. She merely gave him what she hoped was a shut-down look and carried the rack back to the kitchen. When she returned, she scanned the doorway, hoping to see Dave, but he wasn’t there. Dammit.

Jack took another sip of whiskey and tried once more. “You know, I can see that you’re gorgeous, but what else should I know about you?”

Okay, that’s it. “Dude, you’re only getting tackier.”

“I blame you for that. You’re so beautiful, you made me forget my best pickup lines.”

This time she laughed. She couldn’t help it—he was beyond belief. “Are you even for real?”

He chuckled. “Totally. Honestly, I just came in for a drink, but you’re very distracting.”

Dave suddenly appeared from the kitchen, shedding his leather jacket as he walked. “Sorry, that took longer than I thought. Jeananne needed a shower, so I rocked the little guy to sleep while she took a few minutes for herself.”

“No problem.” Maddie untied the black apron, pointing to each of two booths and four tables that were already occupied and recited, “Martinis with a twist. Two Killians and they’re waiting on burgers. Old-fashioned, Stoli on the rocks, and Bud Light. Chardonnay times three and Peg went to get their salads. Still deciding. And cosmos all around at table six. We’re picking up a little, so Micah will be coming in to help.” She handed him the apron and, ignoring the hottie at the end of the bar, she walked out. As she left, she passed a tiny brunette heading purposefully into the bar. Maybe old Jack, the barfly, wouldn’t have to drink alone tonight after all.

Gratitude for this week: Weather is better for walking outside; saw the Beatles Revolution Retrospective last night at symphony–wow! Liz and I had a great retreat–lots of words, lots of processing, lots of sharing–it was grand! I’ve started strength training–it’s hard, but I know it will help my muscles, especially my heart; got a proposal off to my editor for the next River’s Edge series–it has a fun surprise in it.

Stay well, stay safe (still lots of respiratory stuff out there), be kind, and most of all, mes amis, stay grateful,