Laura Elvebak – The Story Behind the Fiction

The DancerI always wanted to be a writer but first I was a dreamer and a reader. My taste tended toward great adventures and romance. War and Peace, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Little Women, Nancy Drew mysteries. I fell in love with the heroes in the Frank Yerby and Sidney Sheldon books. I yearned to escape into those worlds and live with adventure and romance. I wanted to write big stories like those. Every night when I went to bed, I dreamed up a story to be continued the next night. There would be previews first, a taste of what was to come.

I read books on writing, attended university classes, and attended workshops. One lesson declared, “write what you know.” Great. I didn’t know anything. Like most teenagers I didn’t want to grow up to be normal like my almost invisible and boring parents and their friends. To be a writer, I must experience adventure and romance so I could write about them.

That’s how I met my six husbands. That’s how I got to ride on the back of a motorcycle and participate in a documentary with the Hell’s Angels. It’s why I chose a bus ride to Canada to see a motorcycle race instead of staying in college. It’s why I became a go-go dancer to support myself and my daughter.

Continue reading “Laura Elvebak – The Story Behind the Fiction”

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The Flawed Dance

The Flawed Dance has been accepted by Black Opal Books . It’s been years of writing, editing and submitting before finding the right publisher, approved by both Mystery Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers.

If you have a project that you love and are passionate about, like The Flawed Dance for me, remember, Never, Ever Give Up!

Can Sex and Politics Mix?

What if sex was the only draw in a relationship? What if one of the actors exposes his or her opinion that completely alienates the other? Would sex be enough to continue the relationship? Beware of the following, because I probably will break many taboos while writing this. The hypothetical situation I am postulating can happen to anyone.

A woman in her sixties meets a man, also in his sixties, over the Internet. Neither of them are looking for a roommate or marriage. What they want is fun, as defined by random sexual interludes. Suppose this affair goes on for over a year, enjoying the best sex either one of them have had in a long time, if ever. This goes on because they realize that sex in their sixties can be maintained and enjoyed with the added implementation of toys. Toys can stimulate and excite when the physical sixties body can’t always perform. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you’re dead.

So what is the conflict in this story? For one, it’s the meeting of the minds. If the woman is liberal and believes in equality, common sense, intelligence, learning, and benefits for all realizes that the man she has been seeing for physical enjoyment is not only caring, understanding, and the perfect lover, but is also the total opposite in political and social views. She is shocked, because this is not what she expected. But he doesn’t read. At all. Nothing. So he bases his opinion on the charlatans who spew hatred and lies and contortions over the airways without any basis in fact and whose only interest is making a ton of money.

Therefore, any thoughts about exploring a more expansive relationship that might include dating, dinners, and introduction to friends and family are dashed. She even thinks about not seeing him again – ever. For anything. She is shocked speechless when she hears how he really thinks and what he believes. He is an alien. His narrow mindedness, his prejudice, his simplification and distortion of facts ruins the relationship for her.

Even the best sex in the world cannot sustain a relationship that is on a collision course with respect for the other’s beliefs, even when they care about each other within the tight confines of a sexual affair.

So the question becomes: is physical pleasure enough of a reason to keep seeing a man who opinion she hates?

My Fictional “Soul Mate”

At this time, Anthony Weiner is in deep trouble for sextexting. Last year at this time, I’d never heard of sextexting or online dating. After fifteen years of living the single life and in my sixties, I was not expecting to find the love of my life. Been there, done that. Escaped when the love of my life turned out to be a frog. After the sixth love of my life again turned into a frog, I said no more. I would never marry again. I didn’t miss the dating scene or someone always around, telling me what to do or how to think. I seldom fantasized about Mr. Right. I’d rather write about betrayal, lies and murder.

It was while writing about life in the Sixties, and go-go dancing, and free and experimental sex that made me think that perhaps life was going by too fast and I was missing something.

After hearing about online dating services, I thought, why not give it a try. Couldn’t hurt. I wasn’t meeting anyone face to face, at least not right away. It seemed to be a safe diversion. So I put my profile on not just one but three services.

Francis Norman is the name he gave online. He said he was in his forties, a widower with a teenage daughter, had a home in West Palm Beach, Florida, lost his parents in a terrible airline accident while on vacation. He was an engineer presently working in West Africa. He sent me several pictures of himself and some with his daughter and friends. Just my type. Tall, dark and handsome. He hooked me right away, saying all the things a woman wants to hear. He couldn’t stop thinking about me, he said. Stayed up nights dreaming about me. Wanted me to be the mother his daughter needed.

He got me on instant messaging and we “talked” several times a day. He never let a day go by without getting online with me. He sent me poetry – sometimes a short poem to wake up to and other poems during the day. One day he got my address and a few days later I was greeting with a box of roses, with chocolate and a teddy bear. An identical box arrived the next day. We were talking love after only a week. I hadn’t had that much attention from a man since I was in my twenties and go-go dancing in Philadelphia! Writing about attraction and sex and murder at the same time reading and feeling the words from a online lover brought a new excitement to my life and it was a heady experience.

My writing critique group went ballistic when I blurted Iwas in love and planning to get married. They listened to the story and told me it was all a scam. They looked up his name under the appraisal office in West Palm Beach. He wasn’t listed. They googled his name. Not listed. Not known anywhere. They had me read about Nigerian romance scams online.

But Francis Norman’s words and the attention he gave me was like a drug. I don’t have an addictive personality. I don’t do drugs. When I drink, it’s one glass of whatever, and that’s my limit. I have no major cravings. But it was addicted to love – to him – or rather to his words and the feeling and the arousal that came with reading his words. As if I’d been without the water of life for fifteen years and now it was pouring into me, refreshing me like a waterfall and I couldn’t do without being constantly renewed.

When I read a good book, I get carried away to a different place. My emotions are attached. I laugh, I cry, I get aroused. Listen, I may be in my sixties, but emotionally I feel like I’m still in my twenties. My body still responds with stimulus and can feel everything the same as a twenty-year-old. I am known at times to even act foolishly and not listen to reason.

Not even when the voice in my head told me to cut  him off, I couldn’t. Not even when he told me that his hotel had been burglarized and his money had been stolen and the robbers had hurt his precious daughter. She had broken her leg running from them. She had to be hospitalized. She was in terrible pain, but the doctor wanted money and he had lost everything. How could I help him and his dear daughter?

 Deep inside I knew it was a lie, a scam. But I so wanted him to be real. I didn’t want to let go of the feeling I had for him, or admit that my belief in his words were all in my imagination.

First he hooked me with romance and promises of forever love. Then the hook tightened and became a noose around my neck.

More later.

Philadelphia in the Sixties (As I remember it)

I am the author of the Niki Alexander mysteries, Less Dead and Lost Witness, whose protagonist is an ex-cop turned counselor for a teen shelter in the Montrose District of Houston, Texas.

Writing my latest book, The Flawed Dance, I journeyed  back in time to the late sixties when I lived in Philadelphia, and relived those years. Certainly not everything ison the page. I’m not writing a memoir. I decided this book was definitely going to be noir and let my imagination flow free.  Noir is defined by most as starting out dark and getting darker. Erin Matthews, my lovely young protagonist, makes some bad choices. They seem to make life easier at the time and be more likely to get her want she wants, but it doesn’t do her any good. Most of all she needs to survive. She is constantly looking over her shoulder expecting danger at every corner. 

When she first arrived, she had few clothes and ten dollars in her pocket. This was also true of me, with the addition of a baby who I did not include in the book for obvious reasons.  Erin was escaping from her lover, a man thirty years her senior and on the run from the mob since she met him. Before she leaves him, she tries to kill him. Luckily, she doesn’t succeed. But guilt is a formidable opponent and won’t let go easily, if ever.

She moves in with a man of color, the older brother of a co-worker in the New Jersey restaurant where they were both employed. The co-worker braves fate to drive her to Philadelphia in the hopes of getting a physical reward from her. That was not forecoming and he leaves on a sour note. It is November and the weather is cold and windy and she has only her white plastic go-go boots and some summer clothes. She’s never lived where it snowed.

Her second roommate is a flighty hippy who leaves in the middle of the night with her boyfriend to move to Alaska, taking everything in the apartment except the furniture. Erin’s new boyfriend has a solution – a credit card that he says she could use. She is arrested after trying to buy a few supplies with the card. Faced with rent, living expenses and lawyer fees, Erin becomes a go-go dancer in addition to the other jobs she has. She gets involved with the mob which really complicates her life.

Living those years again with Erin brought a new awareness to the life I am living now. Married six times, I have been divorced for over fifteen years. Those years have been busy with my children and the writing life. I am the past president of the Southwest Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and serve as Treasurer and Editor of the Sleuth Sayer, the chapter’s newsletter. I am also the President of The Final Twist Writers and a member of Sisters-In-Crime and the International Thriller Writers. So I am active and life is crammed full.  I am in my sixties, but have not accepted that fact. Not physically or mentally.  I’m not near dead yet in any aspect of living or feeling.

But more about such an existence and the complications that follow in my next post.