I love celebrating my fellow Midwest romance authors and today is real treat as my guest is not only a great writer and world builder, but she’s a funny, warm, smart woman. Ava Cuvay writes out-of-this-world romances featuring sassy heroines, often-alien-but-always-sexy heroes, and an alcoholic beverage or two… She resides in central Indiana with a hubby who makes her laugh and kiddos who are growing up way too quickly. She believes life is too short to surround yourself with negative people, everything is better with champagne, and Han Solo shot first. When not writing, Ava is thinking about writing. Or wine. And she’s always thinking about bacon.
I’m lucky enough to be her editor and very happy to call her a friend. Take it away, Ava…
Lucky Number Seven!
Thanks, Nan. Really excited to be here!
Recently, my Facebook feed popped up a memory from seven years ago: my first published book, His Precious Cargo.
I was so excited to publish my very first book that I hosted a release party at a local pub and served a cocktail I’d crafted based on a drink in the book. I worked for a wine and spirit distributing company at the time, so the pub and the cocktail were apropos, and my BFF and I had a blast crafting the perfect drink to offer (well… at least what I remember of that evening 😉 A few author friends and co-workers came, and although it was a small shindig, I was thrilled to officially be a published author.
Flash forward to today, and the memory is a little surreal because so much has changed in my personal and author life. While I was writing His Precious Cargo, my 5-year-old son would sit on the couch arm and watch me type… until he was able to sound out some of the more choice words! Now he’s a teenager active in sports and with a fondness for some of those same four-letter words 😉 Seven years ago, my daughter was a cheerful little girl who wore princess dresses and thought my shirtless cover model looked weird. Now, she’s a cheeky teen who loves to talk books and writing with me, and even writes her own stuff (but won’t let Mom look at any of it!).
While my kiddos have grown and matured, so have I… as an author, at least. My craft has improved. The mechanics have become more ingrained and instinctive, the storytelling more focused, and the sensuality more meaningful. My confidence has grown as well. Confidence in my writing, in the product I offer to readers, and in the longevity of my author career.
And seven years after publishing my first book, I’ve published my seventh!
This April, I published What a Dragon Needs which is the second book in my Star of the North Dragons series, a dragon shifter series that follows four Viking-descended Minnesota brothers finding true love. The first book in the series, What a Dragon Needs was originally intended to be a one-off stand-alone book… except I gave that hawt Viking dragon shifter three older brothers who were equally hawt. Soooo… a series was born 😉
What a Dragon Needs is about surly third-born dragon shifter brother, Ivar, and the meek Norwegian dragon shifter beauty, Lucia. It’s a grumpy/sunshine story that was a ton of fun to write, and turned out a little more personal that I’d expected. In Book One, Ivar was a real jerk. He’s still a bit of one, but I loved showing why, and giving him the chance to soften a bit as he falls in love. Lucia begins with some serious confidence issues, but grows into her own, with Ivar’s encouragement and support (of course).
In several ways, I personally identified with Lucia more than any other character I’ve written, much to my own surprise.
It’s the first book I’ve written where author me was like “ok, it’s time for you two to have sex” and my characters were both like “We totally want to, but the time isn’t right… Give us another chapter.” Usually, it’s the other way around!
It’s also the first book where I’ve had to force myself to wrap up the story and stop writing. Ivar and Lucia’s story is complete, but I loved their interaction—in fact, I love the interaction with ALL of Ivar’s family—so much I wanted to write more. Lucky for me, there are two more brothers, so we’ll definitely see more of Ivar and Lucia! 😉
With each book I write, I learn more, grow stronger/better, and gain self-assurance in my abilities. And I count my blessings that Nan has been with me as an author friend and editor through the whole journey!
My Lucky Number Seven book, What a Dragon Needs has many firsts. And it certainly won’t be my last book. I’m already writing the third and final book in my Silver Cyborg series, Tin Soldier. A prequel to this story will be in the Boys Behaving Badly: Silver Soldier Anthology that goes LIVE May 9th. My Tin Soldier book is scheduled to release mid-August. Then on to more and more stories to write!
So, fingers crossed they’re as easy to write as What a Dragon Needs was!
Thank you for your time!
What a Dragon Needs
Dragon Council Emissary Lucia Bengtsson visits Minnesota’s clan to discover how they thwarted a recent invasion by a long-prophesized World Destroyer. What she finds is a family that welcomes her with an unquestioning warmth she’s never experienced among her own clan members, who have always judged her by the diminutive size of her Light Dragon. Only the sexy yet antagonistic Ivar Drekison offers her support even as he keeps her at arm’s-length. Arms she desperately wants wrapped around her.
Third-born son of the Star of the North clan, Ivar Drekison’s attitude is as sharp and cold as his Metal Dragon’s claws. When gorgeous yet standoffish Lucia arrives to interrogate his family on their battle strategies, he senses an underhanded betrayal brewing. While everyone else adores Lucia and her gentle manners, Ivar clashes with her in an attempt to force the truth behind her visit. In doing so, he must also battle his own overwhelming attraction to her.
My dragon doesn’t matter.” She shrugged as if the answer didn’t matter, but her voice was strangled, like she spoke around a painful lump. “I imagine your dragon was instrumental in defeating Níðhöggr. A dragon with the ability to craft metal weapons—”
“Your dragon is coated with mirrors.” Ivar didn’t want to talk about Níðhöggr. Didn’t want to talk about that battle. Didn’t even want to talk about his own dragon. He was far more interested in the woman before him. “The mirrors give it excellent camouflage. I could only see you because you reflected my own image. You’re like some badass stealth jet. Like Mystique, the Marvel superhero. Or a Romulan Bird of Prey.”
She frowned at him and shook her head as he spoke, obviously not understanding his references. “I am not badass. My dragon is small and useless.”
“What does your dragon’s size have to do with anything? Wu Lin could kick my ass and she’s a tiny little spitfire.”
“Her dragon is normal size, correct? You have not been around the Council, but surely you know dragons give respect based on power. And power comes from strength. Strength from size. I have neither.”
“Well, Yoda would disagree.” Ivar shrugged. “Even our dragons, the ancient beasts that they are, give respect to the better fighter. Not everything is about size, dontcha know.”