Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Friday, April 18, 2014

I've Got Scrambled Eggs in my Brain by Vonnie Davis

On tax day, April 15th, I emailed my manuscript for TO CATCH A FLAME to my editor at HarperImpulse in England. I'd been aiming for 73,000 words, as stated in my contract, but ended up with 74, 600 words. At times I feared I couldn't reach the minimum required. By story's end, I feared I was ending it too quickly, not giving my readers enough detail.

What I'd emailed her was a full-length book spun off from my Christmas novella, SANTA WORE LEATHERS. This novella and the subsequent books revolve around a fire and marine rescue station in Clearwater, Florida on the Gulf side of the state. In this book, my heroine, Cassie Wolford, the novella's hero's sister, has crushed on a guy, a firefighter and marine rescuer named Quinn Gallagher. Even though they've never been more than close friends for three years, she's nicknamed him Hot Lips--and dreamed of tasting them.

Cassie comes with a bit of emotional baggage. As a teenager, she was a "cutter,"  someone who cuts herself to feel pain for various past hurts. Through counseling and family intervention, she has overcome this urge for several years. She's gotten her associates in business and her certification as a beautician. And, when provoked, she can become a pistol. This is how I pictured Cassie.
Quinn is a more emotionally damaged hero than I've ever written before. I wanted him to be a badass who covered his pain with a smartass sense of humor. A complex man, who doesn't believe in love and yet takes in a stray kitten he's named Furball. My problem? At times, I wanted to change him into a nicer man--and then he wouldn't let me sleep. I'd be awake early in the mornings, wondering how I'd gotten off track and where.
So, I'd go back to Chapter One to reread, trying to hunt for the spot where I'd gone off-track with Quinn. I had to do this three times, finding the slip-up in chapters eight, twelve and fifteen. Every fine-toothed examination of the manuscript so far had me asking, over and over, WHY I wanted to try to write deeper emotion. I had no clue if any of my readers would cry over Quinn and Cassie's story, but I was certainly shedding tears trying to write the darn thing.
Did I succeed? I won't know until my editor at HarperImpulse reads it and makes her decision. But I do know one thing: My brains are like scrambled eggs. I'm forgetful. I can barely write a cohesive sentence or form a complete thought. I'm sleeping more, taking a nap every day and trying to reenergize mentally. In short, I'm going through what every author goes through after finishing a book. Non-writers have no clue what this process takes from us. On the other hand...I have an obsessive need to work on my next story.
Calvin is trying his best to keep me from writing for a few days. He wants me to heal for a week or more. Movies, shopping, choosing new flooring for our kitchen and picking out some plants. Even mind keeps straying to the Highlands of Scotland for book two of my Highlander's Beloved Series.
This blog has been brought to you by the woman with scrambled eggs for brains.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Honky Tonk Hearts Sneak Peek Sunday #twrp #SPeekSunday

Every Sunday, a group of writers share SIX paragraphs of either a published book or a work in progress. Our aim is to showcase our writing voice and entice you to read more of our writing.

I've been working heavily on my work in progress all week, so instead of sharing any of it, I'm giving myself a much needed break. So, we're leaving the Gulf side of Florida and heading to Texas, near the old famed highway of Route 66, near Amarillo. There's a honky tonk along that rundown road called The Lonesome Steer. It's Friday night and Tyler Desmond is there shooting pool when he's accidently hit in the neck with an errant dart thrown by a woman named Lacy. Now, Lacy has a bit of a nervous problem. Once she gets rattled, she can't shut-up. She just keeps on talking...and talking.
She leaned up on her cowgirl boots. Warm breath feathered across his neck. “Show me where the dart hit.”
He merely pointed. By now his head throbbed more than the wound. Woman, for the love of heaven, shut up.
Fingertips ran over his skin, and he felt current zap clear to his calloused feet. “Honestly, you can barely see it. Might want to rub a little antibiotic cream on it before you go to bed tonight, though. That’s what I do when I get a paper cut, or slice my finger cutting veggies. Should be okay in a day or two. A little iodine wouldn’t hurt, but then not everyone likes iodine.”
God, the woman’s like a verbal buzz saw. Pain pounded the backside of his eyeballs, and he pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and index finger.
“Let me buy you a beer. The least I can do is compensate you in some way. Like I said, it was an accident.” She pursed her full, pink lips again—a bad sign. “Funny thing about accidents…”
To shut her up and bring some relief to his headache, Tyler did the one thing he knew would stop her incessant chatter.  He kissed her.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Have I Got a Chocoholic For You...and She Writes Great Women's Friction Too--Ellen Butler

I've got a special guest here today. Ellen Butler is one of the authors in the same agency as I -- Blue Ridge Literary.

Ellen Butler lives in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, and she considers herself an old-new writer.  In other words, she's old to writing, yet new to novel writing. She holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration and Policy, and her history includes a long list of writing and editing for dry but illuminating professional newsletters (Gee, wonder if I could get her to help me write mine?), and windy papers on public policy. The leap to novel writing was simply a creative outlet for Ellen's over active and romantic imagination to run wild.
Oh, hon, if there's one thing we love to do here at Vintage Vonnie is to run "our own way", of course...
You can find Ellen’s debut release, Second Chance Christmas, at Amazon. Professionally, she belongs to the Virginia Writer’s Club, the Northern Virginia Writer’s Club, and is a founding member of the Tempting Romance blog. When she’s not writing, Ellen is either, running around after her children, decorating a neighbor’s house, or holed up in her favorite lounge chair reading.

Ellen is an admitted chocoholic and confesses to a penchant for shoe shopping. Book club questions for Ellen’s novels can be found on her website.

First, I’d like to thank Vonnie for hosting me. You have such a wonderful following at Vintage Vonnie. It’s a real thrill to be able to reach out to your fabulous readers, and I hope they enjoy the excerpt from my new novel Poplar Place. But first, to answer a few important questions…

1.     Heels, sneakers or flip-flops?

I’m a fashion maven, so it’s got to be heels. Although I do love the comfort of sneakers…shh don’t tell anyone.

2.     Chocolate, champagne or cheesecake?

Mmm…all three sound good to me, but if I had to choose just one I’m going to have to go with the chocolate. Yes, definitely the chocolate.
3.     SUV, sports car or minivan?

Okay, confession time – I have young children so I drive a minivan, and I’m not happy about it. In an earlier life, BK (before kids), I drove a sports car. Once the kiddies have flown the coop, I plan go back to a sports car. I see a convertible in my future!

4.     Earrings, bracelets or navel piercing?

Earrings. I put on earrings every day. I feel naked without them. Even at the pool or the beach, I wear a pair of studs.

5.     Fav vacation destination: beach, mountains or city?

European cities. I’d love to return to Vienna, and I’ve never visited Paris. Ever since reading your novel Mona Lisa’s Room I’ve put it on the bucket list.

Thanks again for having me Vonnie! I hope my answers have met your reader’s high expectations.

One last thing…

Book Groups – Visit my website, to find book club questions on Poplar Place. I’m available to be a guest author for book clubs as well. Fill out the contact form on the website for more information.

Genre – Women’s Fiction, with romance & suspense 

Publisher – Turquoise Morning Press

Release Date – March 27

Newly minted librarian, Cara Baker, effectively cuts ties with her tumultuous life in Pittsburgh, and moves to South Carolina where she embraces the peaceful, laid-back style of small town living. Everything seems to be falling into place when Cara finds the perfect house to round out her new plans. Well… perfect except for the immovable hermit living on the top floor. She throws caution to the wind, and buys the fabulous house—hermit and all—without meeting him. By wooing her reclusive renter with notes and mouthwatering meals, he caves and invites her up to the apartment. Preconceived notions are blown out of the water, when she finds Danny isn’t the nerdy Mr. Mole she envisioned.

Unfortunately, FBI phone calls from her past bring Cara’s summer idle to an abrupt halt. Will demons from a former life destroy Cara’s tranquility?

          I resigned myself to returning the FBI phone calls. I couldn’t put it off any longer. Both Bryant and Hutchins had left phone messages again yesterday, and their persistence made me nervous. Rolling out of bed, I shuffled downstairs to start the coffee, my liquid courage. I drank half a cup and dialed. Hutchins didn’t answer. I braced myself and dialed Special Agent Bryant.


“It’s Cara Baker.”

“Listen, I have some news. The U.S. Marshals have lost contact with Tony Rizolli.”

I paused to digest this.


“You must be joking! How the hell did that happen?”

“His tracking anklet was cut, and he disappeared.”

“Do they think he’s been whacked?”

“They’re not sure.”

“Why are you calling me? You do realize I no longer work for the DA’s office.”

“Yes, we know that.”

Exasperated I asked, “Then why are you calling to tell me this? Not much I can do.”

“I’m concerned about your safety. Tony bore a lot of hostility toward you.”

“The FBI’s concerned, or you’re concerned?”

“I’m concerned.” He stated matter-of-factly.

“What does the FBI think?”

“The FBI thinks there’s a leak in the Marshals’ office and Rizolli’s six feet under.”

“Why does Tony have so much animosity toward me? He walked into a shiny new life provided by the American taxpayers.”

“The money.”

I took a moment, rubbing a hand across my eyes. “What does he know?”

“We’re not sure. I think one of the pencil pushers at the Marshals’ office told him about the Cayman accounts during relocation. There was very little legitimate money he could take into the program. He wasn’t happy about it.”

I sucked in a breath. “Agent Bryant….”

“Call me Tom.”

“Tom, what exactly are you worried about?”

“If Rizolli isn’t sleeping with the fish, he’s a loose cannon. I don’t trust him. You may be in danger.”


“And you need to watch your back. Call me or Hutchins if you see anything suspicious. I mean anything out of the ordinary. If you see a strange car in the neighborhood, get the plates and call me.”

“I’ll take that under advisement, Agent Bryant. What about Denise?”

“She’s covered. I’ve called in some favors.”

“Fine. Please let me know if anything new develops.”


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Saturday, April 5, 2014

WIP Sneak Peek Sunday #SPeekSunday

According to my contract, I'm to turn in my manuscript to my editor at HarperImpulse in eight--count 'em ... 8--days. I've got roughly 20,000 words to write and edit. Color me "nose to the computer screen." But the great color for today is our Sneak Peek Sunday banner.

I'm thinking I need a pair of shoes to match the blue in the banner, don't you? Okay, so I'm a shoe freak. Don't judge...
But matching shoes aside, on Sneak Peek Sunday, a group of writers share SIX paragraphs from either a published work or a work in progress. Since I'm spending every free moment, writing so I can meet my deadline, looks like you're stuck with six from book one of my Firemen's Wild Heat series, set in Clearwater, Florida. The title to this work in progress is To Catch a Flame.
“Your hair looked okay before, peanut.” Quinn smirked at Milt. “See, that’s the difference between men and women. Men don’t diddle with their appearance. They know perfection when they see it. Am I right, Milt?”

The old guy extracted a small black comb from his back pocket and skimmed it over the seven grey hairs plastered to his scalp with some kind of hair goop. Nodding, he slipped the comb into place again. “That’s exactly what I used to tell Louisa.” He crossed himself. “God bless her soul.” He hiked up his baggy khaki pants with the insides of his elbows tucked against his belt. “A man does not mess with perfection.” He hip-wiggled a couple foxtrot steps, humming some ancient tune.

Cassie’s jaw dropped and her gaze ricocheted from Milt to Quinn. “Let’s state the facts correctly, shall we?” She planted her hands on her narrow hips and swayed her shoulders one at a time for some kind of goofy feminine emphasis. “Women like change. We have no fear of experimentation the way you men do.” She pierced Quinn with a look. “When was the last time you tried a new kind of food? Or a micro-brew beer?” She spun toward Milt. “When was the last time you wore navy blue pants? Every time I see you, you’re wearing khakis.” Turning her harangue back on Quinn, she pointed to his comfy Nikes. “You need new sneakers. You’ve been wearing those raggedy things for the three years I’ve known you.”

She poked a fingernail through a hole in his beloved Puddle of Mudd t-shirt. “And this faded, tattered rag belongs in the trash bin!” One swift tug and the hole grew from the circumference of a dime to fist-size. “See? It’s like tissue paper!”

Quinn couldn’t believe she’d torn his favorite shirt. Hell, the thing was barely ten years old. His gaze slowly swept from his ravaged, quality rock and roll wear to her green eyes, snapping with righteous indignation.

“Women also like variation in our sexual positions while, according to ninety percent of my female customers, their men do it the same way over and over.”
Can you imagine the explosion that happened next?
Don't forget to visit all the other lovely writers sharing their awesome SIX on their Sneak Peak Sunday. Click on this link for the listing...
Have a fabulous week!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sneak Peek Sinday #ScottishParanormalRomance #SPeekSunday

Has a week gone by already? It seems just a couple of days ago that many writers gave you a sneak peek into a published work or something they were working on. Each Sunday, we share SIX paragraphs to whet your appetite to read more of our writing. 

Part of my loss of time this week was my excitement over LoveSwept/Random House's cover reveal for book one of my Highlander's Beloved Trilogy. A HIGHLANDER'S OBSESSION is available for pre-order most anywhere you can order books online.

Available for Pre-Order

SET UP: Paisley can telecommunicate with animals. So when she and her gram travel to the highlands, land of bear-shifters, she hears a man's thoughts and thinks she's lost her mind. Only the man's thoughts she's heard is, unbeknown to her, part bear. In this scene, she's telling her grandmother...

Gram raised her cup and held it in front of her lips. “You heard his thoughts or heard bells ring?”

“Very funny. I heard his thoughts. Scared me so bad I fainted.” She swiped at falling tears. Childhood fears and insecurities resurfaced. Feeling helpless didn’t sit well with her. She was, by nature, a fighter. “You don’t think I’m crazy, do you? You won’t send me away?” Listen to me. I sound like a scared child.

Flannel-clad arms enveloped her and drew her close. The scent of the baby powder Gram was so fond of comforted her. “My precious child, no one separates us. No one.” Gram pressed a kiss to her damp hair. “When you think about it, it’s not that much of a stretch. You can hear animals’ thoughts. Some people would say we humans are animals too. I think this is just a natural progression of your gift.”

“Gift? Oh, Gram, it’s more curse than gift.”

“Nonsense. Look at all the animals you’ve been able to help. Veterinarians around the country contact you when they have a difficult patient. Your talent, your gift, is in demand.
"Still…” Her grandmother’s eyes held that ornery sparkle. “I think it’s telling the first person’s thoughts you heard were that of a handsome-as-hell man in a kilt.” She pursed her lips. “By his thunderstruck expression, I’d say he was just as taken with you as you were with him.”

Barnes & Noble: