General News and Updates, Novels

Camp NaNoWriMo Is Here!

I’m so excited for the start of Camp NaNoWriMo! Not only as a Co-ML for my region, but also as I have my own goals this month to finish editing my next contemporary romance novel!

For those who don’t know, Camp NaNoWriMo is similar to NaNoWriMo as you set a writing goal to complete in 30 days. The difference is during camp you have more control over what your specific goal is (instead of the 50,000 words). This year, I am hoping to complete another round of edits on my next contemporary romance novel, “After the Storm” (previously titled “Scottish Savior”).

This novel has been in the works for a couple years now, I just never had any time to dedicate to it as I worked on other projects. But this month, it’s all for this novel! If you are interested in following my progress, you can friend me on the NaNoWriMo site (username: spikora). If you are also participating in Camp, let me know so we can cheer each other on!

I hope you all have a fantastic April planned. Until my next update, here is a sneak peek at “After the Storm”!

*Please note this is not a final version of the story and may change with future edits!*


Kira sat in her stiff seat and wrung her hands in her lap. The chatter of her fellow passengers was nothing but a background hum as she glued her eyes to the entrance of the plane. Each new person who walked on sent a spike of anxiety through her—just for a moment—until she realized it was just another stranger and not the person her mind feared it was. Just a stranger who didn’t know who she was…or who he was. Sat in seat 8B, arms wrapped tightly around her purse, her carry on secured in the bin above her head; she realized it was nearly time. Nearly time to take her first breaths of freedom.

A man shuffled forward and collapsed into the seat next to hers, shoving his carry on under the seat rather than dealing with the overhead bin. Kira could only watch as he cursed, trying to force the poor piece of luggage into a spot it wasn’t mean to be.

I feel ya, luggage, she thought to herself.  

Tears threatened to fall as she took a deep breath. The smell of the man’s thick and overpowering cologne consumed her. Surprisingly, it was a welcome distraction to her panicked mind. She focused on the spiced scent. Something woody and warm—a connection to the moment that kept the impending anxiety attack at bay. Deep breaths, she told herself as she shut her eyes and focused on expanding her diaphragm with each inhale. She held the breath for four counts then exhaled, pressing her belly button into her core, just as she did on Monday Pilates. The man next to her bumped her arm, forcing her to concentrate harder on her breath.

She could do this. Taking another deep breath, she felt her self-control settling and—

“Sorry ‘bout tha’.” The man next to her spoke in a thick accent after his elbow jabbed into her side and sent her nearly sprawling against the arm rest. Kira flinched as she shifted back, giving the man a stiff nod. As grateful as she was for the distraction, she wasn’t sure she was ready for idle chat. Kira’s eyes locked on the door of the plane again, watching the flight attendants talk as they moved about.

For some reason, she thought once she boarded, she would be more at ease—that he would be gone then. But she had this fear he would walk on and drag her back to that hell she was fleeing. Kira turned her attention out the window, ignoring her seat mate as he mumbled about his trip.

It was a beautiful day in Detroit. They week of hazy rain final let the clouds part and granted a cool spring day. She used it as her excuse to leave—she wanted to take a walk and enjoy the nice weather. Her husband bought it. She took a quick trip to the gym, where she stashed clothes and essentials and all her paperwork, then she was gone.

Kira looked past her hazy reflection and to the runway beyond, just as a plane rose up into the sky. Her heart raced, in excitement instead of fear. In a few more minutes, that would be her.

“Passengers, please give your attention to the flight attendant at the front of the cabin as we begin our safety procedure review before takeoff.” The flight attendant spoke precisely into the phone as the other attendant walked through the motions of how to fasten the seatbelt, how to adjust the mask, and other things. Kira’s attention drifted after a few moments; eyes fixed out the window as she waited for takeoff.

Her leg started to bounce, her nerves wanting free, as she heard the engines start up. The rumbling had her heart racing. She shifted up in her seat, pushing her purse onto the floor. This was it. She was really doing it.

“Do ya mind,” her neighbor spoke with an irritated snap. “You’ll make me sick with tha’.” Kira followed his point to her leg. She hadn’t even realized.

“I’m sorry.” She pressed herself tight against the side of the plane, trying to distance herself from him as she forced her leg to still. It gave her a chance to watch takeoff. The ground started to move past the plane. It was slow at first, but then it went faster, faster. The sound of the engines roared and the ground began to drift away. Take off.

“I’m free.” Kira whispered to herself, tears fighting to fall as she laid her head against the window. The world below her shrunk as her spirit grew and soared among the clouds. A weight lifted and she took an easy breath. The first she had taken in months.


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