Rainbows, Lost & More Lines

This rainbow appeared outside our house a couple days ago. I will take it as a sign of good things to come...a pot of gold, you know. ;-)

I usually comment on Lost but this week I'm still processing. They promised the answers to 3 burning questions?? I only saw the answer to one, maybe two. The first question was... what do Jack's tattoos say and mean? "He walks among us, but he is not one of us." That's what it says but not what it means. The meaning is something more like lonely leader? I would have to watch again to fully grasp the meaning, I suppose. The second question, I'm assuming was...where do the Others live? I think the answer is a cruise ship. (??) Not sure what the 3rd question was, unless it was ...will Ben live? So far, yes. Other highlights of the show, Kate wants to impulsively turn around and go back to save Jack. Sawyer doesn't. But it isn't all black and white. Sawyer isn't being the bad guy. He thinks Jack wouldn't want Kate to put herself in danger and neither does Sawyer, plus they don't really have backup or weapons yet to fight the Others. I really like the way Kate stands up to Sawyer when he tries his bossy, caveman tactics. Haha, they're fun to watch. As for the weird stuff...strangely, I like the way this show confuses me. I like to figure out things and it is never boring.

I made it to the next round of Karin Tabke's first line contest. Woohoo!! You will see my next line on the Feb 19th post, comment #34 here. Results of this round will be posted Monday, Feb. 26. Best of luck to the other entrants!!

Compromising Situations & Interview w/ Carolynn Carey

Today I'm chatting with Carolynn Carey, a wonderful SMRW chapter mate of mine and gifted storyteller. I was thrilled to hear she'd sold her third book, a Regency, and that's what I'm going to ask her about today. But first a little about the author.

A lifelong resident of Tennessee, Carolynn Carey has always been interested in the written word and spent much of her childhood reading. Later she received a degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee. However, when she tried writing fiction, she discovered that journalistic writing and fiction writing called for quite different skills. She struggled to find her niche in fiction, first writing a contemporary and then switching to historicals. She finaled three times in the Regency category of the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart contest, but it was only after she went back to writing contemporaries that she sold.

A Summer Sentence, which was purchased by Avalon Books, was released in August 2005. The sequel, Falling for Dallas, was published by Avalon in October 2006. And, after having almost given up on Regencies, she sold one of her earlier manuscripts to Cerridwen Press as the fifth book scheduled for Cerridwen’s new Cotillion line that features traditional Regencies. Compromising Situations is scheduled for release as an electronic book on April 5, 2007, with a print release to occur later in 2007. To learn more about Carolynn and her books, visit her web site at www.CarolynnCarey.com (and be sure to type two n’s on the end of Carolynn). And to learn more about the Cotillion line of traditional Regency romances, visit www.cerridwenpress.com and click on the Cotillion banner on the left side of the page.

Vonda: Please tell us about your next release.

Carolynn: In Compromising Situations, Beatrice Crowell is perfectly content living in the country with her parents and her beautiful, brilliant twin sister. But when the twins’ godmother offers to sponsor Beatrice and Chloe for a Season, Beatrice realizes a refusal would break their invalid mother’s heart. So off Beatrice and Chloe go to London, where Beatrice meets her godmother’s son, the handsome and arrogant Marquess of Thayne. Misunderstandings and willful prejudices cause immediate sparks, and Thayne would love nothing more than to dispatch the twins straight back to the country. However, he soon discovers that their presence in London is essential to the dangerous assignment he shares with their disreputable brother and he is forced to do everything in his power to make amends—including engineering a reconciliation between Chloe and the man who broke her heart. Intrigue, misunderstandings, misjudgments, and betrayals land both Beatrice and Chloe in compromising situations with the men they love, but neither is willing to accept the proposals that would salvage their reputations, certain they were made for everything but the right reasons. So how can two Regency gentlemen convince the stubborn young ladies they adore that they want to marry them for love rather than for honor?

VS: Sounds like a fun and interesting story! What element of story creation is your favorite? (Characters, settings, plots, etc.?)

CC: Definitely I would have to say “characters.” While settings can certainly help set the tone and well-drawn plots can hold the reader’s interest, the characters make or break a book for me. In romances, of course, the hero and heroine take center stage, but secondary characters, including the villain, are critical to the book’s success. Secondary characters can often introduce humor or help provide valuable insight into the motivations of the hero and heroine.

VS: What is your writing process or method?

CC: If I had a choice in the matter, I would prefer to plot my books before I begin to write them. Unfortunately (or so it seems to me), I simply can’t do it. I’ve tried various methods for plotting, and I always run into some sort of mental roadblock. Thus, what I’ve learned to do is to identify my characters and put them in a situation that leads from an opening scene into the next scene and so forth. I always know what the ending will be, of course. I just don’t know at the outset how I’m going to get there. One reason I don’t like this method is because it’s possible to write half a book and then discover that you’ve written yourself into a corner with nowhere to go. Believe me, I have more than one partially completed manuscript that will never be finished. But I’ve also learned that I can pretty well count on finishing the book if I’ve clearly identified the hero’s and heroine’s conflict, especially the internal conflict, before I begin writing. In essence, I’d say I’m still refining my method, hoping to find one that’s simple and foolproof. And if I ever do find a process that’s simple and foolproof, no doubt I can make a fortune selling it to other writers. :-)

VS: I'm sure you could! Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?

CC: My best advice for unpublished authors is to persevere. I know that it’s very discouraging to experience rejection, especially after you’ve labored long and hard to finish a manuscript. The trick, I think, is to send out that just-completed manuscript and immediately start on another. If your first manuscript is rejected, you’ll have another in the works, and you will probably be aware that this second one is just a tad better than the first, so you’ll feel a bit more confident about sending it out. And if you’re one of the lucky ones and that first manuscript is accepted, you’ll be in a position to tell the publisher that you’re well along (or have already completed) another. Publishers like to know that you’re not a “one book wonder.”

VS: Thank you for being a guest on my blog, Carolynn! Remember to visit her website at www.carolynncarey.com to read more about her comtemporary romances and new Regency.

Interview w/ Thistle

Karin Tabke inspired me to write about my kitty--er--writing partner, Thistle. Here he is in his "desk chair". That's my former desk chair, which he took over. The blanket is merely for his comfort, fortunately it also catches all the hair he sheds. Ack! I never had dustbunnies as large as the hairballs that roll around on the floor from this cat. These hair/dustbunnies must be caught in a steel trap.

If he doesn't feel like giving me writing ideas, he may snuggle in the sink, or drool over birds he sees outside the window.

I featured him in one of my stories. He plays the part of the heroine's cat. His role..."Thistle," naturally and he does what he's best at--demanding food, immediately!!! Yeowling and headbutting someone's shin.

When Thistle heard I was interviewing authors on my blog, he became jealous, so here goes...


VS: How did you come by your interesting name?

Thistle: Well, first off, it had to have a Scottish sound--er--meaning. And you know that beautiful white fluff that flies around in late summer carrying thistle seeds on the wind? That's what my hair looked like when I was a wee kitten. But most importantly, I am prickly, like the thistle. I like to bite and scratch (until you had my claws removed, you meanie!)

VS: I prefer to keep the new leather furniture intact, thank you very much.

Thistle: I'll show you. I still have teeth. And back claws. (evil little snicker)

VS: Okay, great. What is your biggest fear?

Thistle: How dare you bring up the vacuum cleaner?

VS: What is your favorite thing to do, besides sleep?

Thistle: Eat. Oh, that was a trick question, wasn't it? I'll have you know 16 lbs is totally in the normal range for felines of my disposition. I have big bones...and a lot of fur.

Lost - Desmond

Who watched Lost last night? I can't decide whether I liked it or not. It seemed a delay tactic or "fill in" show, though it did kinda answer one of my questions from last week--how did Desmond know lightning was going to strike at Clair's tent? Desmond is a really neat, interesting character that I like alot. He's Scottish, so how could I not like him?? I like his accent, his insecurities. He's a real cutie, especially when he shaves and combs his hair. :-) Speaking of insecurities, he has plenty... he walked away from the love of his life trying to find "honor," he's been stuck in a hatch for 3 years, part of that time completely alone. He likes to drink whiskey too much. But ultimately he's willing to sacrifice himself to save the world, or at least the people on the island.

(Spoiler warning.) As for last night's episode, the time travel element was different and interesting for this show. Usually flashes of other places besides the island signal "distant backstory." But not in this case. I was almost as confused as he was. But that's part of the fun of Lost, right? Trying to figure out what the heck is going on. So, when Desmond turns the failsafe key inside the hatch and it blows up (at the end of season 2), he briefly time-travels back to approximately 3 years into his past and decides to leave things as they are because he's "supposed to." (??) He has to endure losing Penny again. (His own decision.) And now he can see the future and what's going to happen. That part still isn't clear to me. Is it because he's already lived the future? When the white-haired lady revealed why she didn't try to save the man's life, though she could see into the future like Desmond, I startedthinking...Desmond has saved Clair's life twice now (saves her from drowning too) ... so does that mean Clair is destined to die soon, one way or another? But no, Desmond says Charlie is the one destined to die soon, and that really he has saved Charlie's life twice, instead of Clair's. Yikes!

Don't know much about Desmond? Here's an interesting YouTube video.

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! This past Saturday, I attended my husband's nephew's wedding (a Valentine's wedding, how romantic!) and I was the official wedding photographer, despite being only an amateur, really. Snapping all those photos was fun but tiring. The colors were burgundy-red, white with a little pink. Here is a photo of one of the two-tone (bicolor?) roses.

This is a good time to reflect on why I write about love on a daily basis. It's the most powerful emotion on earth. The one most songs are written about. The right kind of love can heal the most devistating of emotional injuries. This quote says what I often strive for in my stories: "To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough. But it is a hard quest worth making to find a comrade through whose steady presence one becomes steadily the person one desires to be. ~Anna Louise Strong

Favorite romantic movies:
Wedding Date, Dirty Dancing, The Lake House, 7 Days 7 Nights, 10 Things I Hate About You, Step Up

Favorite movies I was surprised to find romance as an important plot element: Wedding Crashers, Miami Vice

Romantic quotes from movies
"I'll wait for you...However long it takes...I'll wait for you forever." Susannah to Tristan -Legends of the Fall

"Love is like the wind. You can't see, but you can feel it." A Walk to Remember

"You complete me." Jerry Maguire

"Nobody puts Baby in the corner" --Dirty Dancing

"Death cannot stop true love. It can only delay it for a while." ~ The Princess Bride

"I've made the most important discovery of my life. It's only in the mysterious equation of love that any logical reasons can be found." ~ John Nash, in A Beautiful Mind

"It is not whether the person is perfect, nobody is; it is if the person is perfect for you that you must figure out." ~ Good Will Hunting

"The only wrong thing would be to deny what your heart truly feels." --THE MASK OF ZORRO"

If you love someone you say it...you say it right then, out loud,...or the moment just...passes you by." --My Best Friend's Wedding

"Love won't obey our expectations. Its mystery is pure and absolute." --Bridges of Madison County

"When you realize You want to spend The rest of your life with somebody, You want the rest of your life To start as soon as possible." --When Harry Met Sally

Love quotes
Once a tear fell off my cheek and into the ocean, the day I find it will be the day I stop loving you. - Anonymous

Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much perfoms much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.~Vincent Van Gogh

In all that we do let us do it for love. ~Chris Cotton

Love is friendship set on fire. ~Jeremy Irons

The most wonderful of all things in life, I believe, is the discovery of another human being with whom one's relationship has a glowing depth, beauty, and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing, it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of Divine accident. ~Sir Hugh Walpoe

What is your favorite romantic movie or quote?

Winning the Highlander's Heart & Interview w/ Terry Spear

Today I'm chatting with my friend and critique partner, Terry Spear, about her first print book, a sensual and adventurous Scottish medieval historical romance. It's also available as an ebook.

Vonda: Please tell us about Winning the Highlander's Heart.

Terry: Deceit, Intrigue, Romance in Medieval Scotland and England during the reign of King Henry I.

Determined to avoid King Henry I's randy advances, Lady Anice of Brecken attempts escape, wishing to find a Highlander to escort her home to her castle in Glen Affric where she will rule until she can find a laird worthy of her hand. Laird Malcolm MacNeill desires an English bride to improve his standing with those in power. But rescuing the Scottish lass from an escape attempt casts him into deadly political intrigue when the king sends Malcolm and his brothers to escort the lady home and investigate the disappearance of some of her staff. Now he must protect the king's ward without losing his heart to the willful lass, or he could very well earn His Majesty's wrath...and lose far more.

VS: Do you have an unusual writing quirk?

TS: Hmm, if this means as far as the actual writing goes, I always have subtle humor in my writing no matter how suspenseful. If this means when I'm writing, then, no, not really. Sometimes I listen to music, and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I write by hand in bed at night, and other times I write on the computer during the day. I spend most days writing, revising, promoting, or thinking about scenes. I start early in the morning, and work until I go to bed. I set goals for myself every day...complete so much, write a new scene, revise all I can on a certain mss, get one sent out. If I have a daily goal, it helps me to keep writing and not get sidetracked as much.

VS: Please describe your journey to publication.

TS: I wrote, read on writing, went to workshops, revised, learned what editors wanted, queried, was rejected, revised, queried again, was rejected, revised, queried again, and the process was continued until I sold. Everyone wants to sell that first mss and make a million dollars, have it turned into a movie, etc, etc, etc, but in reality, very few make it that big, first time out. And when you don't, you learn your craft, you learn to make it the best it can be, and when you finally sell, you appreciate the effort all the more. :)

VS: What was the most important thing you learned (the thing that made all the difference) just before you made your first sale?

TS: When there's an opportunity to submit to a new market, take a chance. Oftentimes you can get your foot in the door, send more material, sometimes a full when a new market is just opening up. That's how I sold both of my Young Adults.

VS: What do you wish you’d known before becoming published?

TS: More about the distribution of titles for different publishers. All are not created equally. :) Some publishers have very limited distribution so the author has to do the bulk of the selling.

Thank you, Terry, for being a guest and telling us about your writing! Please visit Terry's website at www.terryspear.com to read excerpts and reviews.

Blood Hunt: The Legend & Interview w/Judith Gilbert

Today I'm talking to my friend and critique partner, Judith Gilbert about her new paranormal romance, Blood Hunt: The Legend. Yes, I have critiqued part of this book and it's fantastic.

Vonda: Please tell us about yourself.

Judith: I worked as a Sr. Financial Analyst for a major oil company in Houston, until I decided to pursue something I kept putting off, something deep within my heart--a writing career. In order to satisfy this restless spirit within me, I write the sweeter romances and romantic comedies under Judith Gilbert and the hotter paranormals under J Gilbert. So far I have three books out with Triskelion:

Under Judith Gilbert: The Mistletoe Affair (Confronted by two dangerous men, retreating is no longer an option.) Available for print book pre-order now. Coming in print October 2007. His Farm, Her Circus (Just when he though it couldn't get any worse. . . it does. Will his mother succeed with her matchmaking trap?) Under J Gilbert: Blood Hunt: The Legend A vampire/witch paranormal romance coming in print November 2007.

VS: Please tell us about Blood Hunt: The Legend.

JG: How far would you go to keep a deadly secret? Would you let a little boy die? My latest e-book with Triskelion is a fast-paced, vampire/witch paranormal romance, Blood Hunt: The Legend under J. Gilbert, which received a recommended read for the year from reviewers.

VS: Please tell us about your favorite character in the book.

JG: Brianne Eaton (Bri) is a vampire/witch hybrid, the offspring of a vampire father and witch mother. Bri has carefully guarded the secret of her heritage until her best friend's child is fatally injured in a car crash. The only way to save the child is to give him some of her blood. Her loving act of kindness sets a series of events in motion that shatters her world and the world of those she loves. It forces Bri to face who she really is and agree to work with a protector her father has assigned to help her. Together they fight to survive the growing forces that come against them and their family.

VS: Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?

JG: Per Olin Miller, "Writing is the hardest way of earning a living, with the possible exception of wrestling alligators." Be willing to learn and perfect the writing process and know that overnight success happens very rarely in this business. The difference between a published and unpublished author is perseverance. Don't give up. Remember that once you publish your first book, your readers will read your book in one night and ask, "When is the next one coming out?" One of the things you'll need to work on as a writer is writing faster and still maintaining the quality of your writing. It's a never ending process, whether you've published one or a hundred books.

VS: What’s next for you?

JG: See! Quick as one comes out, that's the question everyone wants to know. I have three things I'm working on. Under Judith Gilbert, another laugh out loud romantic comedy featuring the same characters found in His Farm, Her Circus, released with Triskelion. Under J Gilbert another book in the Blood Hunt series and (3) a scary ghost romantic suspense I'm shopping around with publishers.

VS: Wow you sound busy! Thanks for being a guest on my blog! Please visit Judith's website at www.authorjgilbert.com

Lost is back

So, who watched Lost last night? I did, since I'm apparently one of the biggest fans, but no one I know watches it anymore. The problem is that people miss a show and then they don't know what's going on. It's easy to see why. But you can now watch past episodes online and catch up. Check the ABC website. Before the actual new episode aired, they had this Lost Survival Guide show for an hour which hit the high points of what's happened up until now. I didn't enjoy it much though. By necessity it simplified things too much and left out a lot. In writer terms, it was all "telling," when Lost has always been about "showing." But I didn't need to see it, because I've seen every episode. I think that Survival Guide was an attempt to get more people to watch now. Not sure it will work.

As for the actual episode, not too many surprises. Kate and Sawyer escaped the Others as I knew they would. Jack performed the surgery and saved the villain's life (Ben), while at the same time risking his own life to save Kate's. The thing that surprised me most was when Julie's ex-husband gets hit by a bus. It was so real I cringed all over and almost jumped out of my chair. That someone would wake up and talk during a major surgery is kinda creepy too. Hopefully some interesting things will develop, like how will Jack get out of the Others' clutches? Will Kate take a team and rescue him? Will Sawyer refuse to help and become all criminal again? Will Ben really live? Will Alex ever be reunited with her mother? When will they follow up on the season 2 strange final scene which showed Penny talking to some guys in Siberia or the Arctic?

Stealing Amy & Interview w/Randy Jeanne

Today I'm talking with my friend and critique partner, Randy Jeanne, about her first book which was released at the beginning of the month.

Randy Jeanne prefers traveling to far off lands over toiling at the dreaded day job; alas, pesky bills seem to get in the way. So instead, she daydreams−creating people to meet, places to go, and things to do. Her philosophy about writing and life are the same: keep things light and the personal baggage to a minimum. You won't find brooding heroes or tragic heroines in her stories, but you might get a chuckle or two.

As a lifelong serial dater, she loves to share misadventures−er, successful tips−with readers who, like Randy, are looking for love and laughter.

Vonda Sinclair: Please tell us about your book, Stealing Amy.

Randy Jeanne: Amy Harrington can't believe her identity's been stolen--after all, who'd want such a pathetic life? But when repercussions threaten her mother's social standing (God forbid!), Amy goes after the thief herself. The chase leads her to the land of Mariachis and Margaritas where she snags a job with Nick Cavenaugh--a straight-arrow kinda guy who's doing some life-reclaiming of his own.

Amy neglects to come clean about her real name, who she's after, or why she's really in Mexico because...what Nick doesn't know can't hurt him...can it? Stranded in a steamy jungle, she's about to find out.

Amy may be after the woman who stole her life, but will Nick end up stealing Amy's heart?

VS: What do you wish you’d known before becoming published?

RJ: Have you got an hour? Okay, probably not. Thankfully, prior to getting published, a great group of seasoned writers with whom I'm on-line gave me lots of tips. Also, I've been lucky enough to attend several RWA conferences at which I've sat in on workshops that educate budding writers about what to expect. HOWEVER, having said that...I wish I'd known in a more visceral way (!) what self-promo is all about. I mean, sure I knew that authors are expected to invest time and money in putting themselves out there. But I didn't realize how hard it would be to shift gears and "sell myself." As writers, we're so used to it being all about the writing, but once you sell, it's almost anything BUT about the writing. It's about websites, myspace pages, creating video trailers, blogs, and the zillions of loops....don't get me started on the zillions of loops!...It kinda reminds me of a line from "Putting It Together" (a song in the musical Sunday In The Park With George) where he's singing about all the stuff an artist does so that "you can go on exhibition--" and he stops and corrects himself: "so that your WORK can go on exhibition." I feel his pain! :)

VS: What is your writing process or method?

RJ: You name it, I've tried it...or will try it in the future since I'm not overly satisfied with my process. But here's what I can't change: I'll never be one of those writers who plots everything out, makes detailed outlines, and does a 20-page character chart before she starts writing. Believe me, I've tried, and even though I'm not a structure-oriented person, I truly wish that when it came to writing I could make an exception! Alas, I have to accept my limitations, and go with my constraints. Which means, I usually start with a premise--and hopefully, a commercial hook. In the case of Stealing Amy, I was intrigued by identity theft and the havoc it plays with people's lives. At the time, I was also reading a lot of chick lit, so when it came to creating the heroine, I thought--why not someone who's at a point in her life where she's not sure getting her "identity" stolen's such a bad thing? Once I have a vague notion of the character's starting point, I can figure out where she needs to be at the end--in other words, what emotional change she needs to go through to live "happily ever after." In Amy's case, she had to realize how much she valued who she was as a person. After I had a sense of her character arc, I set about creating the scenes (the plot) that would get her from A to B.

VS: What element of this story was the hardest for you? Your favorite?

RJ: The emotional stuff is always the hardest, because despite the way I answered the previous question, I'm really more of a plot-driven writer. And really, for the first time, I had to ask myself the all-important question: what makes two people fall in love? Think about it. That's a very difficult question! It can't be just the chemistry. It can't be just the physical attraction. And how do you weave it into the story so that it's believable? I went back to something I learned at a workshop given by author Tami Cowden, and that was: 1. Respect, 2. Trust, then 3. Love. At a minum, you really gotta have that logical progression in a growing relationship. With that in mind, I wrote scenes in which Amy learned to respect Nick for the very traits she initially thought she detested, and vice versa. As a matter of fact, that formula generated lots of ideas for plot points and scenes. Still...the actual writing of emotional scenes doesn't come easy to me--as you may remember from the beginning of this interview, I'm all about the light and humorous, but I'm learning!

I suppose I could say that the emotional stuff was also my favorite...because it was immensely gratifying to see my hard work pay off in something I was proud of. There's a scene at the end of Stealing Amy where Amy and Nick make love, and I wrote it not as a physical scene, but as an emotional one, and I was extremely pleased with the way it turned out.

VS: Thanks Randy, this was fun! I appreciate your being a blog guest!!!

RJ: Thanks for having me as a guest, Vonda! Next time, will there be coffee and chocolates?

VS: Yes ...and margaritas. :-)

Visit Randy's website at www.randyjeanne.com and her blog at http://randywrites.blogspot.com

Dreams & Desires - fundraiser book & Interview with Lois Winston

DREAMS & DESIRES is a compilation of nineteen stories. All of the net proceeds raised from the sales of this anthology will go directly to a battered woman’s shelter in Florida.

True love, freedom, money, knowledge, revenge... Dreams and desires of the ordinary woman, or man. From best friends who discover love to a bank teller who exacts revenge to a succubus who loves art more than men, this collection of nineteen stories celebrates the attainment of all one can dream or desire. Which one do you secretly yearn for?

By purchasing this collection, you can help turn someone’s nightmare into the pursuit of dreams. Every year, four million women are assaulted by their partners. At Freya’s Bower, we want to do our part to bring this statistic down to zero. To this end, all net proceeds from every Dreams and Desire anthology purchased will go to a battered woman’s shelter. Through education and support, we can make a difference.

Authors: (in alphabetical order of last name): Jenna Bayley-Burke, Faith Bicknell-Brown, Amanda Brice, Sela Carsen, Rachelle Chase, Gemma Halliday, Candace Havens, Zinnia Hope, Jackie Kessler, Susan Lyons, Richelle Mead, Debbie Mumford, Rhonda Stapleton, Bebe Thomas, Emily Veinglory, Sasha White, Lois Winston, Shaunna Wolf, and Kit Wylde.

DREAMS AND DESIRES features terrific short stories ranging from sweet to sizzling and penned by some of the leading lights in today's romance and erotica genres. Buy it to help a great cause, read it for the great stories!" Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of VERTIGO and HOW NANCY DREW SAVED MY LIFE

“From the first story to the last, these stories are filled with hope, love, and the promise of the future… I highly recommend Dreams and Desires for those of you who cherish your romances… a fantastic read…” Rose, Romance At Heart, Romance At Heart

“An unforgettable anthology that will warm you right down to your toes… The nineteen beautifully written stories will capture your heart…” Crystal, Sensual Reads, Sensual Reads

Rating: Sweet, Tangy, Spicy and Sizzling
Book Length: Plus Novel (85,000 words)
Price: Ebook: $7.99, Paperback: $19.95, Hard Cover: $29.95
Genre: Various

Purchase your copy of Dreams & Desires at
Freya's Bower


Author, and my agent, Lois Winston has a story in this collection. I recently caught up with her for some Q & A about this anthology and writing in general.

Vonda: Please tell us about your short story in this collection.

Lois: THE RELUCTANT BRIDESMAID is humorous women’s fiction (formerly known as chick lit, but that appellation seems to be a huge no-no lately.) Here’s a blurb: It was bad enough when Paige’s cousin Tara stole her boyfriend. Now Tara and the creep are getting married, and Paige is stuck wearing a bridesmaid’s gown that makes her look like a jaundiced Holstein -- make that a jaundiced, dateless Holstein.

VS: Why did you become a romance writer?

LW: Motion sickness kept me from becoming an astronaut, and no one was interested in electing me Queen of the Universe (even though I have a master plan for ending war, famine, global warming, and idiotic reality TV shows.) The next best thing was writing romance.

VS: Do you have an unusual writing quirk?

LW: I absolutely can't begin a new project until I have the perfect first line for the book. Once that line comes to me, the characters and plot all seem to fall into place.

More about Lois:
Author Lois Winton writes humorous, cross-genre, contemporary novels. She often draws upon her extensive experience as a crafts designer for much of her source material. Her first book, TALK GERTIE TO ME, a combination chick lit/hen lit/romantic comedy with a touch of the paranormal, was an April 2006 release from Dorchester Publishing and has to date racked up nominations for a Reviewers Choice Award, a Golden Leaf Award, and a Readers and Bookbuyers Best Laurie Award. LOVE, LIES & A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION, a mom-lit romantic suspense, will be a June 2007 release from Dorchester.

Lois also contributed to DREAMS & DESIRES, a charity anthology of 19 romances by 19 authors which was released as an e-book, a paperback, and a hardcover book February 1 from Freya’s Bower. All proceeds from this anthology go to a shelter in Florida for battered women.

When not writing or designing, you can find Lois trudging through stacks of manuscripts as she hunts for diamonds in the slush piles for the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency. Visit Lois at www.loiswinston.com .

Thank you, Lois, for being a guest on my blog!

The Dark Shield & Interview w/ Sloan St.James

"If love conquers all, can it defeat death?"

My long-time friend and critique partner Sloan St. James had a book released recently. I want to tell you about it and ask Sloan some questions.

The Dark Shield is a story that takes you from the backstreets of Chicago to the war-torn ones of Belfast. For twenty years, Chicago cop, Conner Wolfe, has questioned why it was his life that had been spared instead of his older brother's. It's when a bust goes bad and his partner is cut down, the demand for an answer ravages Conner's mind. He realizes that even under the threat of being imprisoned for treason, Conner must return to Belfast. While there Conner is reunited with the young and tenacious Di O'Dea.

Di's vocation is to save lives. However, she's unable to stop her brother from joining an Irish faction that could get him killed. When Conner arrives, she's sure her prayers for help, and her heart's desire, have been answered. At the age of five, Di had fallen in love with Conner. For twenty years she's prayed for his return. When he does, she's overjoyed, knowing he'll save her brother and that she and Conner will at last be together.

However, when he's forced into a promise, Conner rejects her love and it's then that he's made to come face to face with death again. While witnessing an ancient Druid ritual of soul switching, Conner finally understands. He's been spared so that he can make the supreme sacrifice, but will death accept the tribute, or will it be sated with the murder of true love?


Vonda: What inspires you? What motivates you?

Sloan: I think what motivates me is what motivates all writers, our love of writing. What inspires me to write is this drive that we all feel. It's an entity in and of itself that we have no control over. We write for the love of it, and nothing can keep us from doing it. The manuscripts we create, the ideas that run though our minds give us a rush. We're addicted to this and even if we're never published, we'll still write.

VS: What is your writing process or method?

SS: My writing process is probably a little odd. Usually something will trigger an idea and I'll toss it around in my head for a while. Then I sort of watch a movie. I guess you could call that plotting. After I get things clearer in my head, I'll write dialogue. I'll go back through the manuscript and add dialogue tags. The last thing I do is go through the manuscript again and write scene descriptions. That's three times I've gone through the manuscript even before I start to edit. I can't tell you how many times I go through to edit. Some scenes just jump up and they're perfect the moment I type them into the computer. Other scenes, especially the first scene, could be rewritten fifty times before I feel it's what I want.

VS: Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?

SS: Remember that NO ONE has a right to take your dreams away. NEVER, NEVER give up the hopes of getting published. Work toward that dream every day. Read and write constantly. Don't just read the genre you're writing. Widen your choices to include every avenue of interest you can think of. You'll grow and love the results.

More about Sloan:
Sloan St.James writes Celtic paranormal women's fiction and has had two books published, THE DARK PLAIN and THE DARK SHIELD. The third book in the series, THE DARK LEGACY, will be a September '07 release. Her writing awards include a prestigious PRISM Award, Booksellers' Best, and the Golden Quill. She is the treasurer of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers and the president of the Elements of RWA chapter.

Thank you for being a guest at my blog, Sloan! Please visit Sloan's website at http://www.sloanstjames.com/ to find out how to purchase her latest book.