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M.L. Buchman | The Day I Became a Writer

The Night Is Mine
M.L. Buchman




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Powell's Books


Indie BookShop

They take kick-ass to a whole new level

Night Stalkers #1

February 2012
On Sale: February 1, 2012
Featuring: Mark Henderson; Emily Beale
384 pages
ISBN: 1402258100
EAN: 9781402258107
Kindle: B006IBG2MK
Paperback / e-Book
Add to Wish List

Also by M.L. Buchman:
Havoc, May 2021
Chinook, April 2021
Target of One's Own, February 2019
Nathan's Big Sky, June 2017


I oddly enough know the exact day I became a writer, almost the exact hour.

I had no intention of writing fiction, not in the 35 years proceeding, nor in that moment. My total creative writing efforts had included two terrible short stories and my resume. In the meanwhile, I had climbed the corporate ladder until I was flying to three cities a week and my little two-person company was consulting to the Fortune 100 on IT-infrastructure redevelopment. I had it all, until the moment when I had nothing.

In four months I lost the business, the career, any desire to continue in the career, my house, and finally my furniture and car. Actually I sold the last three because I'd found the solution to my burn-out mid-life crisis. The solution was to set off around the world on a bicycle... Okay, well, it made sense at the time.

Four months had seen me from having two houses, four cities, and all that noise, to sitting on a bicycle. Suddenly I could pick up my life with one hand, tent and kitchen included with nowhere to sleep that night but somewhere down the road. Four more months saw me on a flight from Seoul, South Korea heading south to ride "Down the Alice" across the Australian Outback. After lunch, on July 23rd, 1993, 7 miles in the air above the Sea of China and 10,000 miles from everything and everyone I knew, I started to write a little vignette about a freshman roommate who killed alarm clocks. He really did.

But when he woke up, he found himself sitting across a conference room table from St. Peter who needed his help to fix the software that ran the universe. It was one of the most shocking things a character has done to me in a dozen books of writing since. I stared at that page for probably a hundred miles of flight trying to figure out what had happened. I crossed it out, but it came back. So I wrote. It consumed me. I wrote on Australian beaches and in Indonesian losmens (rooming houses). I wrote in Singapore malls and the restaurants and parks of Southern India. I wrote through Israel, Greece and finished somewhere in Eastern Europe.  And while neither the alarm clocks nor the roommate survived, I had written the first draft of my first novel.

It was terrible!

The nicest thing any friend said was, "perhaps you should take a class." I did. And it was in the third week of that class that I truly became a writer. October 23rd, 1995 I, a dedicated night owl who thoroughly despised my 8:30a.m. alarm, set it to 6a.m. Every day I rolled out of bed and wrote for 2-1/2 hours before work. I completely redrafted that book 3 times that year. And then I sold it to a tiny NW press that has long since ceased to exist. But in 1997, 4 years from when it began, I held my first novel, Cookbook from Hell, a tale of the Devil's mid-life crisis and the problems that causes her and sends everyone to Hell and back.

Another fantasy squeaked out in 2000 moments before the press collapsed. But one other crucial event happened before it did. I traveled in 1996 to the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Nation conference and discovered the genre of romance fiction. Of love stories and happy endings, of conflict and emotion and heart and love all spread across the page. It was a life changing moment in so many ways. It changed what I wrote, how I wrote, and, curiously enough, it's also how I met my wife. We were both at the conference and, though we didn't meet until a year later, that's when the events were set in motion. (But that's a different story.)

Over the next decade, I wrote, I learned, I studied, and mostly I discarded. In discovering the craft of fiction, someone who had been so deeply immersed in technical fields and technical writing, I had a great deal to unlearn and a great deal more to learn. I figure I threw out close to a million words before I found what I was looking for.

I have other books that are published, that I love, but I found my first proper love story in "The Night Stalkers" series. Book 1 of which, THE NIGHT IS MINE, has just launched from Sourcebooks. The road has been long and filled with discovering self and the wonder of family, with raising a marriage and a step-daughter, I couldn't love either more if my life depended on it. And I've finally found the story I set out to tell way back on a plane in 1993, the story of two people falling in love.

Of course, I couldn't make it easy for them either... that would be cheating! I'll leave you with an excerpt:

Captain Emily Beale matched her stride to his. 

Major Mark "The Viper" Henderson continued to move steadily across the dusty field in the middle of nowhere Pakistan. Why had he interfered? She could have laughed it off. Could have. Wouldn't have. Maybe the Major had been right to shut down the guys' teasing, but now she'd have an even bigger wall of separation to knock down, as if being the first female Special Forces helicopter pilot in a combat zone wasn't three strikes already.

They reached the end of the field together, like a couple out enjoying a quiet stroll. She shook her head to shed the bizarre image. Not with her commanding officer, and certainly not with a man as nasty and dangerous as The Viper.

He stepped onto the sizzling earth that surrounded the field. They were in Chinook country now. The Black Hawks and Little Birds were but vague suggestions in the morning's heat shimmer. Here the pair of monstrous Chinook workhorses squatted, their twin rotors sagging like the feathers of an improbably ugly ostrich. These birds looked far too big to fly, yet they could move an entire platoon of fifty guys and their gear, or a half platoon along with their ATVs, motorcycles, or rubber boats. Not as lethal as her Hawk, but they had their uses.

"I'm sorry, sir. I know I shouldn't have discharged a firearm in camp. I'll replace the computer, but I'm a pilot and those news guys didn't..."

He stopped and turned to look at her. Not a word.

"I just..." She looked very small and insignificant in the mirrored shades he never, ever removed.

"Captain?" His voice was flat and neutral.

"I... Dammit! I'm a pilot, sir. They had no right. No bloody, blasted stupid right to do that to me. I—"

"Don't care."

Her tiny, twinned reflection dropped her jaw.

Then Major Mark Henderson did the strangest thing. He reached up a meat cleaver-sized hand and pulled his glasses down his nose. Now she knew she was screwed. She'd never be able to joke with the guys again about the Major not having eyes behind those silvered lenses.

Steel gray. As hard as his body. The most dangerous-looking viper she'd ever seen.

Then he smiled. She almost fell as she dropped back a step. The smile reached his eyes and turned them the soft, inviting gray of a summer sunrise.


NAME: Emily Beale

RANK: Captain

MISSION: Fly undercover to prevent the assassination of the First Lady, posing as her executive pilot.

NAME: Mark Henderson, code name Viper

RANK: Major

MISSION: Undercover role of wealthy, ex-mercenary boyfriend to Emily

Their jobs are high risk, high reward:

Protect the lives of the powerful and the elite at all cost. Neither expected that one kiss could distract them from their mission. But as the passion mounts between them, their lives and their hearts will both be risked...and the reward this time may well be worth it.


M.L. BUCHMAN has worked in fast food, theater, computers, publishing, and light manufacturing. It's amazing what you can do with a degree in geophysics. At one point he sold everything and spent 18-months riding a bicycle around the world. In 11,000 miles, he touched 15 countries and hundreds of incredible people. Since then, he has acquired a loving lady, the coolest kid on the planet, and lives in Portland, Oregon. For more information, please visit http://www.mlbuchman.com/.

Have you ever had a moment where you knew something about yourself? A pivotal moment? Tell us and you may be one of the two winners of THE NIGHT MINE




39 comments posted.

Re: M.L. Buchman | The Day I Became a Writer

sounds like a thrilling read
(Debbi Shaw 12:32pm February 16, 2012)

Very interesting! Your trip to becoming a writer is fascinating.
(Anna Speed 1:09pm February 16, 2012)

I've had many moments, but the most telling of all was at the age of 8 drew a picture of what I wanted to be when I grew up. Yep, I became a nurse and am always helping people with health questions and practice alternative medicine with Therapeutic Touch and Reiki.
(Alyson Widen 1:52pm February 16, 2012)

Nope, guess that's why I've always just had jobs, not callings.
(Lisa Elwood 2:09pm February 16, 2012)

Yes, being on a diet I know that if their or Oreo Cookies or Reese Pieces in the house I am in trouble.
Sweet giveaway, thank you.
(Cynthia Teer 2:23pm February 16, 2012)

Yes - I realized I was much stronger emotionally than I thought I was.

Your book sounds fantastic and I would love to read it.
(Edwina Cowgill 2:36pm February 16, 2012)

I was just beginning in a position and would come home almost nightly with the idea that I was soon to be fired due to my complete lack of experience. Then a work emergency occured where I didn't overthink and just used gut feeling common sense. And I finally knew that I was equal to the position.
(G. Bisbjerg 2:40pm February 16, 2012)

Figured most romance writers to be women--go figure!!
(Suzanne Gonneville 2:44pm February 16, 2012)

This sounds like a great book, I'd love to win it.
(Wilma Frana 2:58pm February 16, 2012)

It's funny that you asked that question. About 4 years ago, my Husband lost his job, and we ended up losing our house, and most of our belongings. We packed what we could into our small pick-up truck and pop-up camper, grabbed the dog, and headed for the nearest campground, which was to be our new home. Due to their rules, we had to move around to different campgrounds every few days, and we did this for a while. I had my knitting for sanity, but this time also gave me some time to do some soul-searching. I found out how strong a person I really was mentally, and learned other things about me as well. It takes a special type of person to be able to camp for days on end, and not know where you're going to live. You also have to accept the fact that you lost your furniture and appliances, as well as belongings you cherished. I had to stay strong for my Husband and keep a sense of humor. Looking back, I don't know how I did it for so long. We're now in a small apartment and still struggling, but we have a roof over our heads. Our dog wasn't given up for adoption, and we gave her 2 years where she could run on 300 acres of property and meet new animals in the wild, instead of the city. It gave me a new outlook on life as well, and I would do it again in a heartbeat, knowing what I do now. I would love to read your book. It's the type of book that I could share with my Husband after I'm finished. Sorry that my story was a little long. Congratulations on your book!!
(Peggy Roberson 3:05pm February 16, 2012)

When I got my first dog, I knew that was the start of my love of animals.
(Natasha Donohoo 3:23pm February 16, 2012)

You, Sir, delight my heart in my recognition of your amazing
life path! I look forward to reading your books. Blessings.
(Susan Jeffers 4:00pm February 16, 2012)

Lisa, "callings" are sneaky, slippery things. They slip up and tap you on the shoulder and if you turn too quickly, you can spook them. Actually, I never thought of writing as a calling, it was just something I did, that I enjoyed, and it built, and it grew, and I found myself reading books about writing in my leisure time and taking classes and so on. My wife is an absolutely amazing knitter and she's never happier than when puzzling over a steek, or two toes up, or Fair Isle or... If you really want to pursue something, look for what you already enjoy and are doing anyway. These are stolen minutes from my lunch at my day job, have to pay the bills and the college tuition, but writing is what keeps me up at night and wakes me up in the morning.
(ML "Matt" Buchman 4:06pm February 16, 2012)

Suzanne, most romance writers are women. There are a few guys out there and always have been, but few is the key phrase. At that 1996 RWA National conference I mentioned above, there were 1,800 women and 7 men. And no, it wasn't what you'd expect, these women were intestested in writing and the business of writing. They mostly just assumed I was someone's lost boyfriend and ignored me.
(ML "Matt" Buchman 4:08pm February 16, 2012)

Peggy, all I can really say is, "Been there." The good news is when you discover that you have a strength you could never imagine possible. When I talk to my now wife about her time as a single-mother, starting a new business so that she could keep the house and raise her child in safety... I am in awe of such strength. I've said this elsewhere, but a woman's strength runs deep, it runs along their very bones. If a man ever thinks he's strong, he doesn't have a clue!

I hope your path continues to brighten.
(ML "Matt" Buchman 4:12pm February 16, 2012)

Alyson, My wife's mother did the same, ran away from home at 16 and lied about her age to get into nursing school in a different country. I admire you the desire to walk that road and the fact that you found where you wanted to walk at such an age. That's amazing!
(ML "Matt" Buchman 4:15pm February 16, 2012)

I remember my pivotal moment like it was yesterday. It was January 5, 2003. I was crying and hating myself. I had my 9 month old in my arms. I always hated myself because of my weight. At that time, I was 275lbs. Then my 2yr old walked in and asked if I was OK, I said, "Of course mommy is OK." He just looked at me like "yea right". That is when it hit me. Here I am hating myself because of my weight, but when I looked around. I saw a wonderful family that I helped to create. If I wanted to be happy, I have to be the one to make myself happy. So, I decided to get rid of the one thing that I was unhappy about. My weight. I started to walk. I was so out of shape. I could only walk around the block at first, but I kept at it. I did not tell anyone what I was doing, because this was for me. I got to my goal weight on June 12, 2005. I have maintain my weight since. Now, I weight 155lbs.
(Tracy Wickman 4:52pm February 16, 2012)

When I got divorced, after 25-yrs. of marriage, it hit me like a ton of bricks that I would now have to handle paying the bills. This was something I'd never done. I relied on him, and he handled all of that. He wasn't good at it, but he was the bread-winner, so I figured he knew what he was doing (on the honor roll in High School and a college graduate with a B.A. degree). We were always behind on bills and never got a family vacation. I was only working a part-time job that I just started, when he made his move to leave me and our three children to be with his co-worker, girlfriend (I was in the dark about). I wrote up a list of all the bills with their amounts and when due, including a mortgage payment and a second mortgage. I got a second part-time job. With less income than he had, I had no trouble paying all bills alone and keeping on top of them, never getting behind each month, along with property taxes due twice a year, which were huge. I managed to keep my house and pay it all off by myself. The month prior to my last payment on my home, the bank manager informed me that my ex's name that was also listed on the account, had a very low credit rating, due to his getting behind on his own bills with his new wife, and that mine was very high. I'm sure it's now higher without his name on anything of mine. I left with a smile on my face--what a pivitol moment of accomplishment. Had I taken charge early on in our marriage, I have no doubts, we could have had vacations with what I could have saved for us.
I enjoyed reading about your travels and your bicycling around the world and all the countries you've been to, Mr. Buchman. I'm sure you could incorporate much of that into a good novel.
(Linda Luinstra 6:10pm February 16, 2012)

One last thing I forgot to add, he used credit cards for everything--every time he got gas for our cars, etc. I never fell into the credit card "crutch" which robs a person with their enormous interest rates and late fee penalties. I don't own a credit card to this day and doubt I ever will. Too many people don't realize what they are actually paying to have handy-dandy convenience cards to depend upon.
(Linda Luinstra 6:23pm February 16, 2012)

Definitely sounds like my kind of book. And I love the cover. Can't wait to read it.
(Kathy Staples 7:24pm February 16, 2012)

I have had moments where I found an inner strength I never knew was there. It's liberating.
(Mary Preston 7:53pm February 16, 2012)

As old as I am (no I'm not telling) I have had a few Ah-Ha moments where I saw myself more clearly than I really wanted to. They became moments in my life that I had to decide what kind of person I wanted to be from then on. Mostly this happened after very poor choices and then I had to schlep back to the fork in the road and go the other way. Well life wouldn't be exciting otherwise I guess.
This sounds like a great read and I am looking forward to reading it.
(Patti Paonessa 8:25pm February 16, 2012)

I was surprised to find that I could stay calm during a crisis... I did not break down until afterwards... never truly thought I was one to stay calm and collected. Had the strength and will to do what was needed...
(Colleen Conklin 8:35pm February 16, 2012)

I think everyone has At Least one time in their life where they get hit with the 'I don't know if I can do this' and then find out just how much they can do, or the 'wow, this is for me'. Over the span of 14 years was that time for me. I didn't really think overly that much what I was doing, I just thought it needed doing. You see, my father-in-law was hit by a drunk driver and never recovered from it but he lived 4 years and needed to be taken care of, he wanted to be home with family so I took care of him (I worked full time also). He passed after 4 yrs. but then 3 weeks after we found out our daughter(16) had cancer. Now you see how strong you really are. I learned that she was the strongest to help us through it but I was right there with her. My husband and son could barely coupe but I then knew I was the rock that had to hold them up. Since then my daughter has passed and my husband also (both from cancer) and I now help out at the clinics to assist families when they have trouble getting through this time. I would have never though I could do such a thing myself but between that 14 yrs not only did I help my family but many others in between and have since then. So strength I think comes in many different ways, it's kinda like butterflies in your stomach, it's different for everyone. You gotta love life! I love your writing, keep it coming!
(Margie Gagarin 9:28pm February 16, 2012)

I got the job I had worked so hard to achieve. That was on a Tuesday. On Thursday I found out I was pregnant. I worked like a crazy person for the next 8 months to lock in my position so I could return after I had the baby. The day I called to set my restart date, I opened my mouth and....I quit! I had no choice. My baby needed me and the career was just going to have to wait!
(Jennifer Beyer 9:48pm February 16, 2012)

Thanks for the mini bio. I love to write, but have never tried to be published. I keep them for my family. I won't recount any of the trials in my life, but as a woman with nine children and 16 grandchildren, I have had my share of trials and tribulations.
(Kelly Knapp 9:54pm February 16, 2012)

Oh my god! Some of these stories... and I had the presumption to write about strength? LOL! Read these and revel in what you can achieve, this is really, really marvelous. Rather than try to respond to any of them, because it would be a weak shadow at best, let me turn back to myself and this story and more of how it came about.

I have a motto on the wall above my desk. A place my eyes naturally drift to when the latest throes of writing a scene have eased and I'm seeking the next moment. It is one born of my past and all the odd and horrible and wonderful experiences that have made me who I am. My bicycle journey is the great demarkation of my life, my before and after. (Perhaps bigger than my marriage because with who I was before my journey, well, I can't imagine my lady falling for that guy. Not nasty or anything, just really type A and really lost.) The after is what made me a writer and has kept me on the tail of the dream for the 19 years since and I'm sure will keep me going on the next 19. I set out to tell a story, and it changes and grows with each set of characters, but the thread of that story is there in each of the dozen books I've written, including that ones that will never see the light of day because I had to learn my craft somewhere and sometimes it wasn't pretty.

I seek to honor my characters. To reach inside them, and hence myself, and find that strength, those challenges, those defeats turned to triumphs. Sometimes I'm more serious, sometimes, like "The Night is Mine," I'm lighter and more frivolous. But the goal remains the same. And when I first started studying how to write military characters, it became all the more important. The career soldiers I have studied and spoken with have an inner driven that is deep and solid. For some it is a very conscious choice, for some it is rather more instinctual, but it is as deep a drive as any I've ever encountered.

I try to give my characters challenges, room to grow, and, being th
(ML "Matt" Buchman 10:26pm February 16, 2012)

My pivotal moment was when I realized that an abusive relationship I was trying to keep together for the sake of my children was doing more damage than good. It just hit me that I wasn't doing them any favors but in fact the opposite by showing both my son and daughter that it is OK for a man to treat a woman like their father did. I am proud to say that my son is a sweetheart (sometimes a little too sweet) with the females and my daughter puts up with no crap from a man. It's amazing what we can do when we "just do it".
Good luck and happy writing!
(Tracie Travis 11:10pm February 16, 2012)

sounds like a great book i can't wait to read it!!
(Jennifer Beck 11:30pm February 16, 2012)

Love your own story. Burn out comes to many of us. Your books sounds good. I'd love to give it a try.
(Molly Wilsbacher 11:43pm February 16, 2012)

...I just noticed my comment ran too long and was truncated. I'll try to pick up my thoughts again...

I try to give my characters challenges, room to grow, and being the romantic that I am, room to become more themselves. To find who they are. I look for Emily Beale to find her place in her own life even as Mark "The Viper" Henderson seeks a place there as well. For my book two heroine in the Night Stalkers series, Kee Smith, finally allow herself to belong and to acknowledge her amazing heart that only Archie Stevenson III could see.

If I achieve even a little bit of this. If I somehow pass on even a piece of it, I will have done something important. My writing motto and my personal motto are the same:

To Champion the Human Spirit, to Celebrate the Power of Joy, and to Revel in the Wonder of Love.

Told you I was a romantic.
(ML "Matt" Buchman 11:48pm February 16, 2012)

I have never had one of those moments, but I'm looking forward to one... I'm sure it is coming. thanks for the giveaway.
(Lisa Kendall 11:56pm February 16, 2012)

After a earthquake destroyed our house I realized what was important - the family. All my beautiful things in the china cabinet were broken and some of it was never used. I have new beautiful things but everything is used regularly. The family still comes first.
(Kathleen Yohanna 5:18am February 17, 2012)

What a fascinating story! (And I thought my life took a convoluted path...) I'm proud to be your fellow Sourcebooks author.
(Ashlyn Chase 8:37am February 17, 2012)

Hi Matt! Great story of your journey. I'm going to go right out and get your book.

I'm at a pivotal moment now. Most writers dream of the day when they can leave the day job to write full time. I'm one of them, but in my mind, I was already well established as a writer, instead of still climbing that hill. Yesterday I found out my office is closing. In two weeks I'll be unemployed. The moment is here, when I discover just what kind of writer I am. When you come looking, I'll be the one fighting to the death for my dream. Short swords in both fists may be involved {grin}
(Susan Lute 9:31am February 17, 2012)

What I "hear" is a need to do something and it is
getting louder. My creative side is screaming to
be unleashed, I just haven't tapped into yet. It
makes it hard to deny this urge, and try to "get" it
right, to answer whatever the calling seems to
(Carla Carlson 10:11am February 17, 2012)

Great story of self-discovery, bouncing back and becoming an author. Thanks for sharing.

Would love a copy of The Night is Mine!

Janice Hussein
Freelance Editor/Writer
MS: Writing, Phi Kappa Phi
(Janice Hussein 12:38pm February 17, 2012)

Susan, remind me to duck. Short swords make my head nervous for my shoulders.

Carla, there is no getting it right, there is only not starting. Once you start, don't stop. The rest of it will take care of itself.
(ML "Matt" Buchman 10:24pm February 17, 2012)

I don't remember the exact day, but I was three. I wrote my name on the wall. My mom took everyone to see it. I decided that if everyone thought it was so great, I should keep up this writing thing. :) I know it sounds impossible, but it's true!
(Penny Mettert 4:28am February 20, 2012)

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