When Writing On Fire Went Awry with Alicia Nordwell + Giveaway

November 1, 2016

 On Fire Release Tour

Hi! My name is Alicia Nordwell, aka Cia, and for the most part, I’m a big ole pantser. Yes, yes, it’s true. Plotting? Not my strong suit. I like playing fast and loose. Sure, sometimes I get an overview of the story to come, but chapter to chapter? Nope. And I’m never surprised when the story doesn’t quite go the way I thought it would. On Fire, my story set in Washington for Dreamspinner’s States of Love series, was no different. The basic elements of the story stayed the same as my original idea, but the way I thought Scottie and Jax would meet each other and connect turned out completely different.

Characters do have a life of their own, even in my head, and their journey sometimes takes a sudden right turn. When I first submitted my synopsis idea for On Fire to claim Washington as my state, it was meant to focus on how they meet—the fire—and then the immediate aftermath as they realize they’re still alive. But Scottie and Jax had more to their relationship that they wanted me to share, a real romance where readers could see them learn about each other just like people do in real life. But how to show that? Dating as an adult isn’t something I ever had to figure out, having met my husband at just sixteen, but that gave me an idea of how to spin the story I thought up to the one the characters were pushing for.

My husband and I had a comfortable connection from the moment we first met, one that pulled us together. But what if the characters of On Fire had a beginning that was more… fiery? The idea for the wildfire was already there, so that part was easy. But that meeting went from a moment of connection to a moment of disconnection. Yet I needed to write a romance, so they’d have to overcome that. How do people who have a rocky beginning connect once they get past that ‘Maybe he’s not a total asshole’ moment? What kind of dates do adults go on?

Fortunately, with the theme of showcasing the best parts of Washington, Scottie’s and Jax’s personalities and hobbies gave me a ton of ideas. I tailored their dates for two men who love the outdoors, yet could accommodate an injured person. Luckily there are a lot of both indoor and outdoor activities here year-round. If you like hiking there is a short window from early summer to early fall where most of the trails are passable before they become quagmires of mud. My favorite time is when the leaves are still on the trees but the frost is out to color them in the early morning hours. The Ape Caves near Mt. St. Helens provide two options for the easy to difficult level hikes inside this amazing lava tube, and during the winter months snowmobiling is very popular in the area.

Washington is also famous for the Columbia River Gorge with its strong winds and active sports for those who love the water. Like rafting or kayaking? The Little White Salmon is the perfect place for those. Windsurfing or parasailing? The Columbia River, the border between Washington and Oregon, provides a huge playground. A few hardy souls brave the cold, cold ocean to surf, though far more enjoy the kite flying or clamming in the small coastal towns that are full of charming shops and fresh seafood restaurants.

Frosted Leaf at Dawn

Enjoy watching sports more than playing them? We have the Seahawks, the Mariners, the Sonics, Washington State University Cougars, Gonzaga Bulldogs, and the University of Washington Huskies as the major college and professional sports teams. My husband and son are huge fans of the Huskies, and I’m a Seahawks gal; I’m even wearing my florescent green long-sleeve shirt with my name on the back—birthday present—right now. Nothing beats a rainy, windy winter day than lounging about on the couch with chips, dip, cheese, and crackers and sports! If you just have to get out but the weather is bad, the major cities in Washington are a smorgasbord of tourist sites. Seattle is well-known for the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and the EMP interactive music experience museum. Another well-known quirky site that goes well with the eclectic vibe that this part of the state has is the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Of course, I couldn’t share all these great places in Washington, and many others I didn’t mention, in On Fire. You’ll have to read it to find out just where Scottie and Jax go on their dates and how much fun they have.

In the meantime, how about you share one of your dating stories. Was it an indoor date? Fun in the outdoors? Did that date lead to a long-lasting relationship or was it a disaster that ended all hope for more? Don’t really have a memorable date to share? Tell me what your ideal date would be where you live. One person who comments on this blog will win a $5 Dreamspinner Press gift card. The winner will be selected via a Random.org drawing and announced in three days, so please make sure I have a way to contact you in order to get your Dreamspinner Press account email to staff as soon as possible!

Want to learn more about my past or upcoming work? Interested in free weekly flash fiction? Make sure you check out my blog, Cia’s Stories, and social media so you don’t miss out on all my updates!

Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicia.nordwell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliciaNordwell
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4479520.Alicia_Nordwell

Check out On Fire today!

On Fire by Alicia Nordwell


Nothing beats getting out of the concrete jungle and into the quiet of the forest. Website designer Scottie Ness is taking a well-deserved vacation from the grindstone, and he plans to spend it in the solitude of Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest around Mt. Adams. He’s prepared for everything—except the lightning storm that traps him in a wildfire.

The firefighter who rescues him sustains serious injuries and ends up in the hospital. Jax Quintero might be abrasive, but the guy saved his life, and Scottie wants to thank him. As they spend time together during Jax’s recovery and exploring the state’s landmarks when he’s released from the hospital, Scottie discovers there’s more to Jax than a smart-ass adrenaline junkie. Jax reassesses his opinion of Scottie as an arrogant city boy who has no business in the mountains. Though Jax’s wounds prevent them from taking things as far as they’d like for a while, they can’t deny the heat building between them—and this is one fire they don’t want to put out.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

17 Responses to “When Writing On Fire Went Awry with Alicia Nordwell + Giveaway”

  1. Jen says:

    One of my most memorable dates was actually with my husband (hope that counts). We had to be apart for several months due to work reasons, but we were able to get together for some weekends. On one of them he arranged a lovely bike ride and picnic in the wine country. And the weather even cooperated.


  2. Hi Jen! It does, since that’s a date that led to a lasting relationship. Your date, and your hubby, sound very romantic! In Washington the weather rarely cooperates, but hey, that’s just part of its charm. I feel for you about the distance. The first year and a half of our relationship was long-distance weekends only, and then the first 8 months we lived together, his company sent him to work up north 1.5 hours Mon-Fri. We couldn’t win, lol, but it just made those weekend days, and dates, all the better, right?

  3. Sandra says:

    My first date was a date without knowing it was one. We both were active in Scouting and met each other on a Baden Powell celebration day at another group.
    The other scouts soon saw the connection between us and made sure that my husband to be brought me home. For him that meant bicycling 40+ miles iso 15…
    After 26 years we are still together :-)

  4. Awww, that’s a great story, Sandra, and congrats on 26 years! Sometimes we’re too close to things to see how great they are, but it sounds like you guys had some great friends to give you that push together. I was actually introduced to my hubby 20 years ago because my best friend was dating his roommate. They’d grown up together, like she and I had, and get this… they ended up married as well! It was a teenage love fest, lol.

  5. Ami says:

    Well as an ACE+ARO I don’t date, so I can’t share any story with you. But thanks for sharing this post. Aww you met your husband when you’re sixteen :)

  6. Hi Ami. Hmm, I didn’t really think about that because it is a romance story. I could tell you tale upon tale of going out with best friend and all the great times we’ve had together since we met when we were 6. She’s closer to me than my sisters, and I love her to death, so I guess that’s an acceptable form of love. Do you have anything like that?

  7. Debra Guyette says:

    I met my husband at West Point. He was an MP there. That is one beautiful campus.

  8. Jillian Too says:

    One of my best dates was talking all night while stargazing and then driving up into the mountains to see the sunrise.

  9. Ami says:


    Well being an ACE+ARO doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy romance stories ^^. Well, I have a lot of platonic love of course, with my friends and my sister. Especially my sister. She’s the first (and only person so far) in my family that I came out to being an ACE. I remembered when the two of us went to celebrate her graduation from university to Lombok (a gorgeous island in my country, Indonesia), had fun at the beach, taking pictures of sunset, and of course talked until late at night at our hotel :)

  10. Ami: Oh no! I didn’t meant to say it that way, if that’s how it came across, Ami. I simply meant that since I was featuring a romantic love, I didn’t think to include an option for comments about any other types.

    While I don’t identify as ACE/ARE, I’m a bit of a touch phobe. I detest strangers touching me (a skin crawling shuddering experience), barely tolerate doctors, and even have to retreat from my family at times when I just can’t handle being touched. It’s hampered my ability to be affectionate with people through my life, so I recognize there is a kaleidoscope of ways to have and show love for others that go beyond the physical.

    Your time with your sister sounds a lot like how I can just be present and totally happy with my best friend. I can definitely see a trip to an island just the 2 of us being an amazing bonding experience.

  11. Debra: What were you doing at West Point? Were you in the military too? Misbehaving, perhaps enough to warrant a visit from your MP? LOL

  12. Jillian: That just sounds exhausting to me! The hubby and I are up before sunrise most of the year (darn summer with its looooong days of that wicked sun)it’s not a romantic time anymore. lol I can remember some early dates going up to a local observatory, though, and the stars can be a very romantic curtain to snuggle under!

  13. susana says:

    Hi, Alicia. Thank you for sharing a bit of your writing process with us. Being in my forties and still single, I’ve had a “certain” amount of unsuccessful dates…. From outdor dates which ended with one of us injured to romantic dinners which ended with my “suitor” in a brawl with our waiter (horror! I do not want to remember that, seriously). But I still try, even though my friends keep telling me that I am somehow jinxed at romantic dates…

  14. Hi Susana! I bet it has to be frustrating dealing with the platitudes of “You’ll find someone when it’s right” or “You can be happy as a single woman” when they don’t understand you want to keep looking for you. I have to admit I laughed when I read some of your disasters–my next book is actually ALL about date disasters, and the outdoor/injuries both come into play.

  15. H.B. says:

    I’ve never been on a date before. Group outings for me haven’t really turned out well either with people not showing.

  16. Well that sucks, H.B.! Dates can be super fun–though they don’t always go well. During our first one, my hubby actually told me I was a cheap date! It was in reference to the small meal I chose versus the mountains of food he chose, but yeah… smooth!

  17. And the winner of my contest is… Jillian! Jillian, you’ve won a $5 credit/gift card to your Dreamspinner account. I’ll email site staff immediately so they can get the ball rolling on your prize.

    Thank you to everyone who commented! I hope you’ll join my other tour stops contest via Rafflecopter. It continues for a few more days, so there are still chances to enter!

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