Gwen Hernandez

Author of romantic suspense. Scrivener expert.

Blind Ambition release day! (And a little green for St. Patrick’s Day.)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m celebrating by releasing Book 2 in my Men of Steele series, Blind Ambition. The cover is even green (you just have to look past the muscles).

Blind Ambition cover

Actually, the reason there’s a green jungle in the background is because the book takes place on the fictional island of St. Isidore, which is loosely based on St. Lucia. St. Iz has dangerous rebels running around kidnapping aid workers—like my heroine, Alexa—and generally terrorizing people. Luckily, St. Lucia does not.

For writing inspiration, I used several photos I took on a family vacation to St. Lucia back in 2008. It was our first visit to the Caribbean and I wanted the quintessential lush mountain paradise. We got it.

St. Lucia Mountain View

St. Lucia Beach View

Map of St. Lucia

Framed map of St. Lucia that adorns my office wall

When I started writing in 2009, I knew I wanted to set a book on an island like St. Lucia, but it has taken me a while to make it work. I had a lot of fun with this one, and I hope you adore Dan and Alexa as much I do.

IT’S ABOUT TO GET HOT IN THE JUNGLE

Rescuing a kidnapped aid worker from St. Isidore’s dangerous rebels is just another day at work for former pararescueman Dan Molina. But his mission falls apart when the woman—who once shattered his heart—refuses to leave the island.

Alexa Alyssandratos can’t return to her life as a nurse on the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean island, but she won’t leave until she’s certain the orphans she cared for—especially one sick little girl—are safe from the rebels. Denied their ransom, a would-be dictator and his soldiers are hunting Alexa, and Dan is the only person who can protect her. Old passions reignite as she and Dan race to save the children before they disappear forever.

By the way, I’m over at Kiss & Thrill today talking about different types of kisses (in honor of “Kiss me, I’m Irish”). Stop by and share your favorite type of book/movie kiss for a chance to win a copy of Blind Ambition.

Get Blind Ambition in ebook or paperback at: Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

Adding Evernote notes to a Scrivener project

Evernote invariably comes up in my Scrivener courses. Someone mentions how they use it for their research and asks how to integrate it with Scrivener. Someone else asks what it is, and off we go. ;-)

Since Evernote is a web clipping tool at its core—and a fabulous way to keep track of all sorts of things, from recipes, all of the ISBNs related to a book, book release checklists, travel resources, and more—it often does a much nicer job of grabbing Internet content than Scrivener. Which is fine with me. I want Keith and the crew at Literature & Latte focusing on Scrivener’s core competencies anyway. Especially since it’s a cinch to import or link to research files stored in Evernote.

Here are a few ways to do bring your Evernote content into a Scrivener project. (Click any image for a larger view.)

Import an Evernote Note as a Web Page

Rather than import the web page directly, let Evernote clip and convert into a nice format, then import the Evernote note.

  1. Locate your note in Evernote.
  2. Right-click the Note (or select it and click the Note menu).
  3. Go to More Sharing—>Copy Public Link (Mac) or Share—>Copy Share URL (Windows).
    NOTE: The link is available publicly, but you’d pretty much have to tell someone where to look for it (via the link) for them to find it. Still, don’t link to any private or personal information this way. If you just copy the note link instead, it may not work properly when you try to view it in Scrivener.

    MacCopyLink

    Mac

    Windows

    Windows

  4. Switch to your Scrivener project.
  5. Select the folder (one outside of the Draft/Manuscript folder; Research is a good choice) where you’d like to import the web page.
  6. Go to File—>Import—>Web Page (or right-click the folder and go to Add—>Web Page).
    A dialogue box appears.
  7. If the web address (URL) is not already filled in with the link you copied, paste it into the Address box.
  8. In the Title box, add a title for the web page to remind you what it is.
    Mac

    Mac

    Windows

    Windows

  9. (Windows only) Choose how you want to import it. Webpage Complete (MHT) or one of the PDF options should work, but I’m currently having issues importing web pages—especially as PDFs—into Scrivener on my Windows 7 machine. See Windows Import Workaround below.
  10. Click OK.
    Scrivener imports the note and adds it to the folder as a web page. Select it in the Binder to view. All of the links are active and clickable. NOTE: The import process can take a-w-h-i-l-e.

MacImportedWebPage

Windows Import Workaround

  1. Locate the note in Evernote, right-click, and choose Export Note.
  2. Choose Export as a Single HTML Web Page (.html).
  3. Click Export and save the file to a location where you can find it again (Desktop, maybe?).
  4. If you get a message that the export succeeded, click Close.
  5. Switch to Scrivener and right-click the folder where you want to import the web page. Choose Add—>Files.
  6. Select the HTML file you just saved from Evernote, and click Open. If you get the Import Files dialogue box, click OK.
    The pictures may not import (they’re in a folder on your computer with the same name as the individual HTML file), but the links should work (if not, right-click the hyperlink and choose Copy Link, then paste into your browser).

Create a Reference to an Evernote Note

Don’t want to clutter up your Binder? Having issues importing notes as web pages? Or maybe you want to link to a note that you expect to update regularly so you always want the most current version.

Create a reference to it instead. We’re going to create a project reference, but the steps are the same if you want a document reference (just select the document in the Binder and choose Document References in step 3).

  1. Follow steps 1-4 above to copy the note URL.
  2. Click the References button in the Inspector pane (or go to View—>Inspect—>References).
  3. Make sure the References header says “Project References.” If not, click it to toggle to Project References.
  4. Click the + button and choose Create External Reference.MacRefMenu
  5. Enter the title and paste the URL into the appropriate text boxes.
    Mac

    Mac

    Windows

    Windows

  6. To view your note, double-click the paper icon to the left of the reference.

Create a TOC Note in Evernote

Want a references-like list of clickable links to your Evernote notes on a particular topic, stored as a web page in Scrivener? Follow these steps to create a Table of Contents (TOC) note. It’s a handy thing to have within Evernote too (e.g. as a link from one Evernote folder to notes in another).

  1. Select the desired notes in Evernote (the Expanded Card View didn’t work for me, but all others did).
    Mac

    Mac

    Windows

    Windows

  2. Click the Create Table of Contents Note button that appears on the right.
    Evernote creates a TOC note that you can move to any folder within your Evernote account.

    Mac

    Mac

    Windows

    Windows

  3. Follow the steps in the Import an Evernote Note as a Web Page section above to import the TOC note.

    MacTOCNoteImported

    Evernote TOC Note viewed in Scrivener

For more Scrivener help, check out my online courses, my other Scrivener posts, or Scrivener For Dummies. :-)

Cover reveal: Blind Ambition

I’m so excited! I finally have the cover for my March 17th release, Blind Ambition. What do you think?

Blind Ambition book cover

For those who’ve read Blind Fury, this is Dan Molina’s story…

IT’S ABOUT TO GET HOT IN THE JUNGLE

Rescuing a kidnapped aid worker from St. Isidore’s dangerous rebels is just another day at work for former pararescueman Dan Molina. But his mission falls apart when the woman—who once shattered his heart—refuses to leave the island.

Alexa Alyssandratos can’t return to her life as a nurse on the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean island, but she won’t leave until she’s certain the orphans she cared for—especially one sick little girl—are safe from the rebels. Denied their ransom, a would-be dictator and his soldiers are hunting Alexa, and Dan is the only person who can protect her. Old passions reignite as she and Dan race to save the children before they disappear forever.

Want to be the first to know when the book comes out, and be in the running for a free copy? Sign up for my romance newsletter. Read on for an excerpt from Chapter One.


Alexa lowered the trembling girl into the crawl space beneath the clinic and shut the trap door. She yanked the braided rag rug to cover it and stood. Soldiers would be here any—

The exam room door smashed open and a rangy man in a striped rugby shirt aimed a rifle at her chest. “Hands up!”

Heart hammering, she stepped onto the rug and raised her arms.

The last time the island’s rebel fighters had raided the Hygiea clinic in Terre Verte, they’d stolen everything—right down to the mattresses on the beds—and left one of the nurses dead. The mother of nine-year-old Flore, who should be safe at the orphanage next door by now.

As long as the stress—and the dust under the building—didn’t bring on another asthma attack.

“Just tell me what you need and I’ll get it for you,” Alexa said, her voice shaky.

Rugby kept his weapon trained on her. “Come with me.”

Her stomach jackknifed, but she followed him into the tiny waiting area where two other men stood guard.

He snagged her wrist and spun her into the front wall. “Do not fight me and you will live.” His lilting island tones didn’t match the menace in his voice.

A tremor ran through her body as he trapped her against the wall. Just last month a French aid worker in another village had been kidnapped and repeatedly raped until her family produced a ransom. Would they take Alexa because she was American?

The man drew her hands together behind her, sending her into panic mode. She knew how much rape could devastate a person. She’d witnessed it firsthand with her sister. No way would she go down easy. Not as long as she had any fight left. Alexa kicked back, connecting with her attacker’s shin and eliciting an enraged howl.

Bouzin!” he yelled, calling her a bitch. He knocked her feet out from under her and she slammed to the ground, hitting her cheekbone and hip on the solid wood before he landed on her.

She bit back a whimper and flailed like a madwoman. All of the self-defense moves she’d learned were useless now that she was down.

“No more moving.” Rugby ended her fight with a knee to her back and shackles around her wrists and ankles.

Shouts came from the storage room that doubled as her sleeping quarters. She turned her head to see Garfield in the doorway, a rifle trained on him from behind. His lip was split and bleeding and his dark eyes blazed with anger when he spotted her.

Hands out, palms up, he stepped forward. “Why do you fight us? We’ll let you take whatever you need. We’ll treat your men. No need for violence.”

Rugby stood. “You’ll let us take her.” He kicked Alexa in the ribs and she hissed in pain.

“Stop!” Garfield lunged toward her.

A soldier in a yellow shirt jumped forward and plunged his knife to the hilt in Garfield’s side, then pulled away. Blood ran through her friend’s fingers as he gripped the wound and sank to his knees, his eyes wide.

“Garfield!” Alexa jerked against her restraints. “Let me help him.” Her voice turned shrill as Rugby gripped her under the arms and tossed her over his shoulder, setting off a firestorm of pain in her ribs that left her gasping.

Her captor strode to the door, pausing to call directions to his crew, who appeared in the doorway of the back room with their arms full of medicine, blankets, and syringes.

Then he stepped outside into the moist Caribbean air, and Alexa watched through the doorway—absolutely powerless—as Garfield’s blood drained from his body, sliding into the cracks between planks in the scuffed wooden floor.

Blind Ambition, available March 17, 2015

Click here to add Blind Ambition to your Goodreads list. Thanks! :-)

Snow: From beautiful to stressful

House in snowSnow is beautiful. It can also create stress.

I’m listening to an interesting book called Brain Rules by John Medina. One of the chapters deals with the effects of stress on the brain. Short version: it’s generally not good!

And while I was tromping through the white, fluffy stuff with my dog—we’ve had about a foot of new snowfall every Sunday like clockwork for the last three weekends—I realized that the snow has gone from something neat and fun, to a stressor. Why? Because one key cause of stress is the feeling that you have no control over the situation.

Bingo. That’s me.

neighborhood in snow

Our neighborhood is buried

After the first storm, we were fine. We cleared the snow into the yard, building a nice mound. After the second storm, we had to get more creative with our piles, but it still worked.

The third storm last weekend broke us. Our yard is so full of snow that we have no more room to clear the driveway. The piles are so tall that when I try to add new snow to them, it just rolls back down. The cities are using “snow farms” to collect snow that’s being cleared from the streets and parking lots, but I don’t have that option.

snow farm

A nearby snow farm, like a trash dump for snow

If we still lived in a house with a nice big yard like we had in Virginia, we’d be fine. But in Massachusetts we’re living in a quadriplex (kind of like a townhome) with a very small front yard that we share with our neighbor. We have about two feet of space between our driveway and that of the neighbor on the other side of us, so if we shovel to that side we’ll block their driveway.

My husband’s car is now stuck in the garage behind a mound of snow because I moved it from my side of the driveway to his while he was out of town. In my defense, he told me to. ;-) Not ideal at all, but I had to be able to leave the house.

house in snow

My office window is behind all that snow on the second floor

When we had the space to deal with it, the snow was fun. It’s pretty, and it’s been exciting to see so much pile up. But now that we’re quite literally out of room, I hear that another big storm is coming this weekend and I want to cry.

Helplessness. Stress!

But, hey, it’ll make for a memorable first winter in Boston, right? I’m already trying to look back and laugh. I will as soon as the tears stop.


(For more images from our life under snow, see my My first Nor’easter.)

My first Nor’easter

This week’s blizzard (aka Storm Juno) was my first Nor’easter. And boy was it a good one! Sometimes pictures are better than words, so I’ll turn this post over to the visual media…

(click on any photo to enlarge)

Critique, round 1: Bruised but standing

women sparring

Ever taken a punch to the face? I have.*

Reading comments from my critique partners (CPs) on my latest manuscript can be like going a couple of rounds in the sparring ring. I’m a bit bruised. And I need a nap. And maybe some dark chocolate.

Well, I did ask them to be honest.

Taking criticism isn’t easy. Even when you ask for it. But that’s okay. I must deal with it if I want to create a good book. My trusted cadre of writing friends wants the same on my behalf.

The difference between a helpful critique and a TKO is intent. ;-)

I’m lucky my CPs are honest with me. Their insights are gold. I’ll take their punches and ask for more.

They can see the issues that I can’t, the things I’ve failed to address because they’re clear in my head if not on the page, the threads I dropped three chapters back because I was so focused on writing a kick-ass finale.

But my friends don’t leave me bleeding on the mat. They brainstorm solutions and tell me what they like, what’s working, and what made them laugh or cry (in a good way).

A CP/editor/beta reader is sort of like a trainer. They break you down to build you up. They reveal your weaknesses and force you to grow stronger. In the end, they help you become the best you can be.

The pain is worth the result. I’d rather get beat up by my friends now than in the ratings and sales after I publish the book.


*While sparring in Tae Kwon Do and Kung Fu, just so you won’t worry. ;-)

 

Scrivener winter/spring classes open for registration

Online course graphicAll winter/spring online Scrivener courses are open for registration right now, up through the first day of class.

For the full scoop on curriculum and format, see my online course page. Ready to sign up now? Click one of the links below to register. :-)

Scrivener I: The Basics and Beyond
Date: February 23-March 11, 2015
Length: 17 days
Price: $25
CLOSED

Scrivener II: Intermediate and Advanced Concepts
Date: March 30-April 15, 2015
Length: 17 days
Price: $25
Mac | Windows

Scrivener Master Course: Compile
Date: May 11-20, 2015
Length: 10 days
Price: $20
Mac | Windows

« Older posts

© 2015 Gwen Hernandez

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑