Nothing compares to the sweet love we writers have for the very first story we write.
Ah, man. The vast unknown we explore, the sincere concentration it takes, and the melancholy that blankets us when the story is finished…well, it’s unmatched.
I’ll share a little secret with you guys.
I didn’t grow up wanting to become a writer. Archaeologist, dancer, veterinarian, and fairy were all in there. But never writer.
I never dreamed of writing a novel. Hell, I certainly never thought I would write three.
Because I never thought I could do it.
I’d always loved reading and writing, but I never saw myself on the other side. As an architect of stories, building something that never existed before, something that would actually speak to people.
I was in my mid-twenties, lost and confused, working a high-end retail job that was the opposite of me, and partying any chance I got.
There were so many blurry years from working and playing way too hard that I realized something.
I had no purpose. My life was sailing by without me, while I was drowning in a meaningless sea.
Then one day, my husband Mr. H dared me to write a novel. I had a dream that inspired me, then I took out my little journal, and started writing gibberish on my lunch breaks.
It took me three years to write my first book. I didn’t know what I was doing. But, I created something and set it free.
And still to this day, I don’t really consider anything I put out there “a novel”. I also struggle with calling myself “a writer”.
Some of you may remember my crazy ass going back to my second book, Everything’s Not Bigger, and reworking the entire damn thing.
You probably thought I would move on from my past works at this point, right?
Well, I didn’t.
I went back to my first book, Beneath the Satin Gloves, and for the past three months, I have reedited the work with tireless energy during my bit of free time I cherish for these creative obsessions of mine.
I must admit, I really enjoyed reconnecting with Alina, my lounge singing spy—and WWII Berlin, an era and city I have forever been captivated by.
Anyone new around these parts should know that this book isn’t just another WWII thriller. There’s a time travel thing going on, since the main character is actually a woman from modern-day who wakes up in the past.
I shouldn’t play favorites, I know, but I do adore this story. It’s my firstborn, and there is no way to change that kind of undying love.
So even though the new version is already on Amazon, obviously I’m going to put this out there free of charge.
Beneath the Satin Gloves will be absolutely FREE next week 2/25-3/1 on Amazon and Amazon UK. So, stay tuned!
Until the rerelease, I’ll leave you all with a scene I like…
Haunting whistles blew in the train station. The mechanical scents brought her back to reality after being in deep thought for many hours. Steam eclipsed the scene while the crowd hurried to board for unknown destinations across Europe, with frayed clothing and worried hearts.
Alina’s short time in the United States must have been an eternity for the people here. Everything had aged and there was an undeniable heaviness in each footstep. Laughter and gaiety had been decimated by an unfathomable fear of what was to come. Even the departing hugs were different, exuding a phantom touch instead of a comforting embrace.
Everything was dark and unsettling. The fearful train station validated her decision to throw herself into unforeseen danger.
She had strict instructions to board the train without a word to Emil. But she had one last thing she had to say to him, and the risk was worth taking.
Perched on a bench, one leg crossed over the other, he flipped through a newspaper in his simple suit, trench coat, and black hat. He was supposed to blend in, and Emil was an expert at being inconspicuous. Yet his striking looks worked against him, making him stand out in the drab crowd.
Emil sensed she was moving toward him. He walked away, expecting her to give up on the futile chase and board the train.
Maybe she was flirting with disaster as she seemed destined to do, but Alina yearned to see his face once more. What if it was the last time?
The distance grew between them. A heartbreaking emptiness washed over her, and she felt like she was drowning. Alina took bigger strides to catch up with him.
He stopped to look at the schedule on the board.
She pointed at a time, standing close to him, feeling his welcoming heat between their thick coats.
His gloved finger pointed next to hers, sneaking one last touch. “Entschuldigung, Fraulein.”
“I want you to know I’m not afraid.”
Emil snickered. “You’re fearless, but I’m battling my own demons over here.”
“That’s why I came over.”
“Needless to say, but you shouldn’t have. You were distinctly ordered not to.”
“I really don’t care what your orders were.” Alina smiled, glancing at her watch.
He looked around, pretending to search for the appropriate departure track.
“Do you believe in past lives, Emil?” She scanned the schedule, drawing her finger down the time options.
“You disobeyed my orders to have a damn philosophy discussion?”
“Answer the question.”
Emil bent down to adjust his shoe laces, which were already tied. “I’d rather have this debate with a glass of brandy, lying naked with you, anywhere but here.”
“Would it surprise you if I said being a spy is the easiest thing I’ve ever done? Almost like I’ve done it before.”
He sighed and stood up, squinting at the schedule. “Are you just saying this gibberish to make me feel better? Because it isn’t working. The longer we stand here, the greater chance we have of getting killed.”
“I also wanted to say I love you, if that’s alright.”
He swallowed, then his eye twitched.
She realized he didn’t know how to deal with the sentiment. A man as attractive as Emil had been loved plenty of times before. But, had he ever loved anyone in return?
“I want to spend my life with you after this is over.”
Alina snuck a peek at his face to try to search his eyes for an emotional reveal. But, there wasn’t time.
Emil did the unthinkable—he walked off.
She watched him for a second, then turned her attention to the train. Crushed, Alina fought back tears as she meandered up the narrow steps of the entrance.
What was she expecting? He couldn’t exactly sweep her into his arms.
She supposed it didn’t matter in the end. She wanted to confess her feelings in case it was her only chance. And confess she did, humiliating as it was.
Alina sank into the musty train chair, trying to shake off her feminine emotions. This wasn’t the time for an outburst. She needed to focus on the dangerous road ahead.
Shutting her eyes, she detained her tears behind their eyelid barriers. Her finger ran across a torn patch on the bottom of the chair.
To calm herself, she imagined sitting on a mountain overlooking a vast valley. She almost had the serene image set in her mind when someone tapped her on the shoulder.
Her heart beat faster as she opened her eyes. She almost released a loud sigh of relief when she saw it wasn’t the Gestapo but a helpful train attendant.
“Entschuldigung, Fraulein. You dropped this?”
Declining with a smile and a shake of her head, she changed her mind after recognizing the same newspaper Emil had been reading.
He nodded, then continued down the aisle.
As if it was a bouquet of roses, she inhaled the newspaper, a peculiar act which roused the curiosity of the two old ladies sitting across from her.
Alina grinned. “Don’t you just love the smell of newspapers?”
One woman tipped her bright blue hat at a chic angle, leaned in and lowered her voice. “Not with the filth in them these days, my dear. But I used to.” She began gossiping with her friend, pretending like the daring comment had never been spoken.
The train whistled to signal their departure—away from neutral Switzerland, into Nazi Germany.
Alina turned each page, longing to find something inside. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but somehow the man who delivered the newspaper seemed out of place. Almost like he didn’t work on the train at all.
On the last page, she saw Emil’s handwriting…
I do believe.
I do love you.
And I will wait as many lives as it takes.