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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Risking It All by JM Stewart

Risking It All
by JM Stewart
Series: A Morgan Family Romance, #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkley Intermix
Release Date: September 16, 2014

Love requires a leap of faith...

She’s everything he wants…

For years, Kyle Morgan has hidden his true feelings from the gorgeous girl next door that he grew up loving and protecting. But when she shows up at his apartment in the middle of the night, desperately needing comfort and support, his iron will begins to waver…

…and the only thing he can’t bear to lose.

Kyle was always the big brother Cecelia Anton never had, but suddenly her goofy best friend has become a sexy man she can’t keep her thoughts—or hands—off of. As their deep connection melts into uncontrollable desire, Ceci is willing to put it all on the line for a shot at true love. Only Kyle is keeping a terrible secret about Ceci’s past that could destroy not only their lifelong friendship but their happily-ever-after…

For a moment, she stared, her eyes searching his, then she straightened her shoulders. “Why’d you kiss me?”

Panic curled through him, sending his pulse pounding into his rib cage. Damn. Why hadn’t he expected her to ask that? But he couldn’t answer it. To do so would be tempting fate. An intense need for distance seized him. Half afraid he’d lose his mind and do something else he’d regret, like pull her into his arms and show her why he’d kissed her, he shot to his feet.

He flashed her a smile he knew had to look as phony as it felt. “Headache’s better. Thanks.”

He didn’t wait for a response but strode toward the yard.

“I need to know, Kyle.”

His answer sat on the tip of his tongue, but the voice of reason sounded in his head. Don’t say it. Whatever you do, do not say it. Just keep walking.

Her soft footsteps sounded behind him. “You can’t just do something like that and walk away and expect me not to question it. You blow hot and cold, do you know that? I know desire when I see it, yet you just keep walking away.”

“Ever think maybe I wanted to kiss you?” The words left his mouth on a hoarse whisper, and God help him, a desperate need to see her eyes seized him. He turned to find her directly behind him. She stared for a fraction of a second too long, heat and curiosity blazed in her eyes. A heartbeat later, a light blush stole into her cheeks, but she didn't move, didn't say a word.

Everything inside of him ground to a halt, his mind twisting off in another direction. I’ll be damned. If ever he needed a confirmation, there it was. Whatever had happened between them was definitely not one-sided.

JM is the author of passionate, heartfelt contemporary romance. She’s a wife, a mother, a spiritualist, and lover of puppies, and happily addicted to coffee and chocolate. She lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest with her husband, two sons, and two very spoiled dogs. She’s a hopeless romantic who believes everybody should have their happily-ever-after and has been devouring romance novels for as long as she can remember. Writing them has become her obsession.

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Advice for New Writers by Vonnie Davis

Like most of you, I've always wanted to write. But when I say "always," I'm talking about the early years of Elvis, the era when cowboy and dog shows--Lassie and Rin-Tin-Tin--reigned on TV and no one baked a cake from a mix. Heck, the Beatles were just lads playing their instruments in their bedrooms. Yes, I am older than dirt--or just about.

Over the many years, I started and stopped writing more books than I care to admit. The timing just wasn't right for me. I had kids, an outside job and wasn't ready to make the sacrifice. And writing IS a sacrifice. My time didn't come until 5 years ago when I turned 61. The real fact was I'd run out of excuses. It was time for me to stop dreaming about being a writer and start doing something about it.

My first book was published by a small publisher a month after I turned 63. Now, 3 years later, I'm writing exclusively for Random House Loveswept and HarperImpulse, a division of HarperCollins. That's a big leap in 3 years, but it hasn't come without sacrifice--time with family, seeing the grandkids in events, lunch with the girls, sleep, shopping and reading. I've had to study the craft of writing and through writing and rewriting to find my voice, my pacing and my style.

In short, I live, eat, think and breathe writing.

So, what have I learned that I can pass on to younger  or newer writers?
  • Write. Even if it's crap. You can edit crap. Lord knows I have.
  • Do your research into what publishers and literary agencies are looking for as far as word count. Don't think your 200,000 word manuscript will be snapped up. Many agents and publishers raise their eyebrows at anything over 100,000 words unless the storyline is compelling. Don't query your thriller to an agent or publisher who only handles romance, mysteries and young adult. Research. Read every word of their websites and follow their instructions. And never, ever say I've written the next best seller. Oh, puh-lease! You'll be their laugh of the day.
  • Write. The more you write, the quicker you'll find your style, your rhythm.
  • Find critique partners that write the same genre as you. Make sure they are better writers than you to help you learn while you write.
  • Write, but don't fall in love with your sentences. An editor might tell you to take out a complete chapter.
  • Do limit your query letter to 4 well written, error-FREE paragraphs. Use perfect grammar, punctuation, spelling, no slangs, no OMG's or #'s.  Paragraph one should state what you've written. For example: I have for your consideration a complete and edited romance of 90,000 words. Race to Love is a contemporary romance centered around the world of NASCAR racing. It is written in third person with two points of view and has a spicy heat level. Paragraph two should list only the names of the hero and heroine and basically tell the basis of the story. Think back cover blurb and then shorten it. Paragraph three should tell why you are the person to write this story. What are your credentials? Have you majored in English or Journalism in college? Have you written for a magazine? Have any of your books won or finaled in contests? Do you help out at races and have first hand knowledge of the business? Paragraph four should thank them for their time in reading your query and that you look forward to working with them in the future. Tell also the best way to reach you--either by email or by phone after a certain time. This complete letter should be less than a page long. People are too busy to read long letters about how all your friends and relatives just love your story. Short with white space appeals, yet you can still give them all the information they need. Do NOT add any of your manuscript unless their website tells you to in their submission procedures.
  • Write. The more you write, the better you'll get.
  • Learn all you can about point of view. It contains real power and is more than whose head are you in. While older writers with a mega following can get away with head hopping, new writers cannot. Agents and editors will delete your submission in a hurry if you head hop.
  • Write. Even if it's only two paragraphs a day. Keep your mind focused on one story.
  • Learn to show and not tell. There are fine points of difference here. It's almost a continual learning process. I'm still finding places where I'm telling instead of showing. ACK!
  • Write. Write until you dream about it or think of a paragraph you wrote wrong while you're in the shower.
  • Read new authors on best seller lists so you can see how they're writing to get there. Learn tips from them.
  • Write, dammit!!!
  • Meet other writers online through clubs, yahoo groups, facebook groups. Support other writers in your facebook posts and tweets. Why? Because some day you'll have a book you'll have to promote--YES, you must promote yourself as a writer and push your book. By making friends with other writers, they will help. Writers read and they write reviews. Make friends with writers you might never meet face to face. Promote them and they'll promote you. Trust me on this. I've met writers online I dearly cherish, yet chances are I might never meet them.
  • Write short stories so you learn to make every word count, to chose the word that creates the most powerful visual.
  • Learn not to use dialog tags. You know..."I refuse to go there," Mary said. Use action beats instead. Action beats add vitality to your writing, show us the mood of the speaker and give us a hint of the speaker's appearance. Like this...Mary tossed her long blonde hair over her shoulder, arched one finely waxed eyebrow and glared. "I refuse to go there." Now, which one gives your reader a better visual? Oh, and my biggest sore spot as a reader: adding a said tag after using a question mark. Think about it. A question mark only has one function. One. To indicate the previous string of words were spoken in a questioning manner. So when an author slaps on he/she asked after using a question mark, to me it's the same as their saying, "I know you're too dumb to know what a ? means so I'll tell you." Puts my undies in a twist every time. Action beats, people...Luc charged into the kitchen. "Was that Jason's truck I just saw leaving?" he asked. Doesn't this show you more of his mood? ... Luc stormed into the kitchen and tossed his keys on the counter, their clang making her insides quiver. He was clearly angry. His face was red and a vein stood out on his forehead. "Was that Jason's truck I just saw leaving?"
  • Write and learn to look for words you tend to use over and over. This is one of my problem areas. I know I do it. On my third and fourth read-through I am specifically looking for those words I'm using twice in the same paragraph or on the same page. My eyes still miss a few of them.
  • Write on...everyday!!!
A HIGHLANDER'S OBSESSION, book one of A Highlander's Beloved Trilogy, published by Randon House Loveswept.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

I've Been Overwhelmed By Good This Week

It's nearing midnight on Friday and I've had a week many writers dream about. A week that makes one feel both humbled and elated at the same time. A week of joy. Yet a week of tearful clouds as wet as the summer rains we've been receiving nearly every afternoon. I've been blessed and I've been overwhelmed. Believe me when I say I'm emotionally exhausted.

I'm not complaining.

I'm just trying to come to grips with it all.

On Monday, an article I'd written about how my hero--a bear shifter--appeared to me was in USA Today.

On Tuesday, my first paranormal romance was published by Random House Loveswept. I had a book release party from 11 am to 11 pm on Facebook. Authors who participated were NYT's and USA'a Best Selling authors Laura Kaye and Terry Spear, as well as fantastic authors: Kelly Moran, JM Stewart, Amie Louellan, AJ Nuest, Lisa Olech, Sarah Grimm, Mackenzie Crowne and Maeve Grayson.  Oh, and hunks in kilts...


We talked about books, men, oogled guys in and out of kilts and laughed. It was a total blast.

There were dozens of prizes awarded to those who attended and commented. Calvin made me food and drinks and carried them to me so I wouldn't have to leave my computer except for pottie breaks. Then, just as I was ready to collapse into bed, Laura Kaye posted on Facebook that A HIGHLANDER'S OBSESSION was trending at Number One on Barnes and Noble.


I didn't even know books trended, that's how clueless I was!

Thank goodness she provided the link, for I wouldn't have known where to look for it. But there it was...#1

Suddenly sleep was the last thing on our minds. Calvin and I stared at the Trending List of the top 100 e-books flying off the shelves at B and N for hours until our eyeballs went into revolt. My book trended at number one for roughly 28 hours before it began to slip. Even so, my numbers at both places--Amazon and Barnes and Noble have remained high for me. Not for the big sellers, now, but for me. And for that, I'm thrilled.

Reviews started coming in and not a one said "It's obvious this idiot has never written a paranormal before in her life"--and, believe me, I was sure someone would. One guy did lambast my Scottish burr even though my friend, who grew up in Scotland, and the Scottish language expert at Random House had corrected all the many times I was wrong. One reviewer claimed I had too many paranormal elements in one book. But, hey, we can't please everyone. We write the best story we can...and usually it's the story the characters give to us. We don't make them up! We take dictation.

Today my editor emailed me that The Library Journal had reviewed my book and written a very favorable one. It was something I never expected.

This whole week has been a basket of goodness. One I hope you all get to experience sometime. Everyone deserves a week like I've had.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Book Release Party and You're Invited

From 11 am to 11 pm -- Eastern Time
You're all invited!
Laughter, man candy, books, and prizes.
Guest Authors-
Laura Kaye
Kelly Moran
Terry Spear
JM Stewart
Amie Louellan
AJ Nuest
Lisa Olech
Sarah Grimm
Mackenzie Crowne
Maeve Grayson
and Me

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Hunky Highlanders Are Almost Here!

A Highlander’s Obsession is a passionately sexy paranormal romance. It is a full-length novel, but one of those stories you’ll want to read in a single sitting. It is perfectly paced and distractingly addictive. Creighton and Paisley share a passion that sizzles off the page, while the narrative is surprisingly witty. One minute Vonnie Davis’s writing had me shrieking with laughter, the next I was furiously fanning my face as Creighton and Paisley heated up the pages with their romance.”
Helena from Love Reading Romances Reviews
“I loved A Highlander’s Obsession. I was pulled in from the beginning. It is sexy and funny with a strong story line. ‘I’m gonna kiss ye well and good.’ Warm lips pressed her temple. ‘And when I’m through . . .’ His warm lips rubbed across her cheek. “It will be me ye dream of tonight, not yer fiancĂ©.” His hold tightened on her and his mouth forged a trail to her ear, drawing her earlobe into his mouth. “Aye, it'll be me ye yearn for.”’ Yeah, Creighton is swoon worthy and hot. One of my favorite reads so far this year.”
Lori Haluska-Smith from Hopelessly Hooked on Books Reviews

“While I enjoy all sub-genres of romance, A Highlander’s Obsession, Ms. Davis’s funny, sexy, and suspenseful new paranormal romance has shot to the top of my list!
Dixie Lee Brown, author of the Trust No One series
“Brilliant, sexy and laugh-out-loud hilarious, A Highlander’s Obsession belongs on the keeper shelf to enjoy again and again, right next to all of Vonnie Davis’s fabulous stories! Get ready to fall in love. Creighton Matteson has just skyrocketed to the top of my all-time favorite romance heroes list! I can’t wait for the other books in this series. Kudos to Ms. Davis for creating this memorable paranormal romance.”
AJ Nuest, author of The Golden Key Chronicles series
“Sexy and funny with characters that walk straight into your heart. Vonnie Davis will have you rushing to turn the pages until the very last word. Scots, kilts, and bears . . . oh, my!”
Sarah Grimm, author of the Black Phoenix series