How a Date Night Lead me to the Title for NINTH NIGHT

Early in our marriage my wife and I instituted a Thursday night date night. We were too tired from work by Friday to go out, and if we went out earlier in the week we were too tired at work. (Any other teachers find this to be true?) Our favorite local date night spots to dine were the Cheesecake Factory, Maggiano’s Little Italy, or Ricardo’s Family Mexican Restaurant.

One of our inexpensive destinations was Costco. We could both eat dinner and dessert for under six bucks. We’d then walk through the warehouse store to do our shopping and inevitably make a couple impulse buys. THE FANTASY ENCYCLOPEDIA was one of those impulse buys.

I had recently finished early drafts for what would become VERVE STONES and UNDER. I sent them out to publishing houses, literary agents, and even submitted it to a writing contest. Everyone passed. Being new to writing as a hobby, I desired to push myself and write a new genre. Something my wife would enjoy reading. Something for her.

When I flipped through THE FANTASY ENCYCLOPEDIA at home, I discovered something mysterious to include in my summer romance story set at Cannon Beach, Oregon. This discovery also allowed me to produce adversaries to influence Liam’s growth as the main character. A detail from this book ultimately became the title of my book. (I left that vague on purpose. Don’t you want to read the book now? Wink wink.)

Do you have a favorite date spot or a fun memory from a date? Writers, where have you found your inspiration? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

NINTH NIGHT Sweepstakes

In honor of the beginning of summer break, I started a sweepstakes to win a FREE summer romance ebook called NINTH NIGHT. Nothing better than curling up with a good story to pass the lazy days of summer.

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: Ninth Night (Kindle Edition). NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Jun 29, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules


Kite-flying, barbecues, and walks on the beach: this is what Liam Davidson is expecting when he visits his hometown of Cannon Beach for the summer. He is looking forward to spending time with his childhood best friend, Penelope, and his grandparents, uncle, and cousin. But the night he meets the mysterious and beautiful Genevieve, his summer takes a different turn.

Genevieve has no memory of her past or how she got to Cannon Beach. The only thing she seems certain of are her feelings for Liam. Who is this mysterious girl? A traumatized teen suffering from amnesia, a con-artist trying to fool the town, or perhaps something even more unusual?

Ninth Night is part mystery, part romance, and full of surprises. Follow Liam as he learns to follow his heart and discovers what mysteries the ocean holds on the ninth night.


I find joy in researching. Usually, I research an item I’m daydreaming about purchasing like a motorcycle, bike, canoe, bass guitar, or a boat. Or I research players to trade for or pick up on the waiver wire during fantasy football season.

I absorb every fact or opinion I can get my hands on within nonfiction books, blogs, videos, websites, and reviews.

My most favorite story I researched is UNDER. Hands down. I spent weeks combing through nonfiction books about ocean life at different depths around the world, reading Popular Science to learn about amazing new developments in technology, and searching the internet for information on materials that could keep water out of Sans Terra.

My wife bought me the book pictured above so I could finalize the numerous details about the sea life around Sans Terra. I used my combined research as a foundation to build a believable futuristic city 3,960 miles beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

Do you enjoy researching? If so, what? Please share your answer in the comments below.

What Fictional Place Would You Visit For Your Summer Vacation?


In my classroom, we begin each day with a morning meeting where we sit on the carpet in a circle. During the meeting, I explain the day’s schedule and upcoming events. I also pose a question like, “What did you do over the weekend?” or “Would you rather live on the beach or on a mountain?” or “If two students are arguing over who can use a swing on the playground, how would you help them solve their problems?” These questions give us a chance to connect as a class and help everyone to get to know each other better.

Tuesday’s question was, “If you could go to any fictional place from a show, movie, or book for the summer break, where would you go?”

I have several answers to the question depending on my mood.

My answer in class was Narnia. I’m currently reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobewith my daughter. Staying in Car Paravel, eating dinner with the Beavers, and drinking tea with Mr. Tumnus sounds like a relaxing way to spend the summer (although hopefully at this point it wouldn’t be forever winter). Most of all, I want to meet Aslan, hear him roar, and ride on his back. I would love to see the beautiful sights in Narnia but meeting the characters would probably be the best part.

Popular student answers included Pyrrhia from the Wings of Fire series (Who wouldn’t want to hang out in a land full of dragons? Well, me.), Wakanda from the Avengers (A definite dream world for all those tech-loving types. Wakanda Forever!), and Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series (This would be amazing but only if I wasn’t a Squib. I’d want to do magic!).

When I ask the question again next year, I think my answer will be Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I love candy. Drinking from the chocolate river, eating the creamy mushrooms, and zipping around in the glass elevator all summer break sounds like a dream come true. (My dentist might not agree with this plan.)

When discussing the questions with some of my friends, I answered the University from the The Name of the Wind. I’d love to walk the hallways where Kvothe is learning Sympathy, Artificery, Alchemy, and Naming. I’d love to learn all the magic too! Sitting in on lectures and getting introduced to Auri sounds like an out of this world summer vacation.

If you could go to any fictional place from a show, movie, or book for summer break (let’s pretend we all get one), where would you go? What would you be excited to see or do there? Leave your answers in the comments below.