My First RT Review

So I'm super stoked. Abby received a 4 Star review from Romantic Times for Defying Convention. This is the first time I've ever been reviewed by RT. Here is what they had to say:

The plot lines in this story come together to create a complex romance in an unusual setting, complete with fabulous supporting characters. Readers will be on the edge of their seats wondering what will come of Emma and Luke’s relationship, while also enjoying the endearing bond between Emma and her geeky older brother Eddie. Niles accurately depicts the world of Sci Fi conventions in a way that is accessible to newcomers but does not disparage or poke fun at what occurs at these events.

The link to the entire review:

I don't know about you, but for me, being reviewed by them was a rite of passage in my writing career. We each have our own personal goals as writers. My list is slowly (I mean slowly:) being checked off. Almost seven years ago, I started writing. At that time, my only goal was to learn the craft and finish a novel. It took me a year to sale my first very short story. It took me two years to write my first novel (which has been shackled in the deepest, darkest corner of my computer's hard drive never to be seen from again). Once I finished my first novel and actually had a vague idea of what I was doing, my goals became more defined and while some have changed over the years, others have stayed. Being reviewed by RT was always one I wanted. Five years later, I'm able to check off another stepping stone. Now it's time to concentrate on some of the other things on my list. Some may take me twenty years to finally obtain, but I'm a stubborn broad. If it take twenty years, it takes twenty years.

What are some of the stepping stones on your career path?

An Unconventional Wedding

Do you enjoy reading wedding scenes in romance novels? In some books, you will see them toward the end, just before the couple rides off into the sunset for their happily ever after.  Ah, very satisfying. But in other books, you will find wedding scenes early in the story. To me, these are more interesting because they are usually filled with conflict and tension. There is some reason the hero and heroine are tying the knot… other than love. Back in history, most wealthy people married for other reasons--money, alliances, property, titles, an impressive family history or pedigree, etc. And this is the case in my story.

At the beginning of My Wild Highlander, the heroine is the king's ward and he's eager to get her married off to a man who meets his standards. Imagine for a moment what it might be like to marry a man you've never met, or a man you have only seen and talked to a couple of times. Best case scenario--he is a kind person and you find him at least somewhat attractive, right? Who knows if feelings will develop?

In My Wild Highlander, Angelique is against marrying Lachlan (notorious rake that he is), but she has little choice. She's smart enough to know she shouldn't anger the king, and she realizes she needs a strong man to protect her and her property from the greedy vultures that are circling. Angelique's wedding is somewhat less than ideal…

Angelique awoke in the night, thinking she'd heard a thump. Her eyes searched the darkness of the bedchamber. She snatched her dagger from beneath her pillow and slid to the floor behind the bed. The faint moonlight glimmering through the window did little to illuminate the room. Only embers glowed in the hearth. She caught the whiff of a masculine scent. An intruder!
A floorboard squeaked and a large dark silhouette moved forward. Parblue! Immobile, she waited for the moment when she could best strike.
When the intruder bent over her bed, she lunged toward him, stabbing her blade at his neck. Before she met her mark, he jerked back, grabbed her forearms and dragged her against him. She lost the grip on her dagger. Heaven help me.
She screamed, trying to wake Camille, sleeping on a cot in the corner. A hand clamped over her mouth.
"Release me!" Her demand came out muffled.
"Shh. 'Tis me, Lachlan. You must come with me." He uncovered her mouth.
She went limp with a bit of relief. The heat of his strong hands and solid body burned through her. Now she recognized the pleasant but disturbing male scent of him. "Why?"
"Someone is trying to kill us. We must go into hiding," he said, low and fierce in her ear, his breath fanning her hair and tickling her skin.
"You have lost your senses. No one is trying to kill me." Were they?
"Indeed, Kormad is making plans."
Kormad. Mon Dieu. "I must have my clothes, my trunks."
"We have no time. Bring one change of clothes. I'll have the others shipped to Draughon."
"Camille must come with me. I go nowhere without her." Angelique wrested away from Lachlan, hurried to the corner and shook her cousin out of a deep sleep. "Parbleu! Camille, wake up."
"Whaa?" She stirred a bit.
"She is a heavy sleeper."
Lachlan went to the door. "Dirk, we need your help. Can you carry Lady Angelique's companion?"
The fearsome man appeared at the threshold, the lantern in his hand illuminating his long red hair and exaggerating his frown. "Can she not walk?"
Unable to wait for Camille to wake, and with no maids about, Angelique quickly threw smocks, stays and a change of clothes into a sack for herself and the same for Camille.
"I must dress," Angelique said.
"No time."
She yanked a blanket off the bed to wrap around herself seconds before Lachlan dragged her from the room.
After meeting Dirk cradling the sleeping Camille, and Rebbinglen carrying a lantern and a sword, they slipped through a narrow doorway she'd never seen before, and entered a tight dark passage. The dank air and close space made her feel she would suffocate. Apparently this was one of the secret passages she'd heard about that riddled Whitehall.
They reached an exterior door—near the stables if the stench was any indication. Wind twisted the trees and bushes. The faint glow of the lantern revealed the muddy ground. Angelique hung back on the threshold. "I am barefoot."
"Come." Lachlan scooped Angelique into his arms abruptly, making her head spin, and rushed her outside. Ma foi! She did not want to notice the warmth of his breath against her hair or the hardness and strength of his body. Before she had time to decide whether or not she liked his touch, he pushed her inside a coach with her cousin and slammed the door. The team and coach took off and raced through the gate, then along King Street. Horses' hooves clomped all around them—guards, she hoped.
"Camille, wake up, damn you." Angelique shook her on the opposite seat. "You are one worthless companion."
She roused a bit. "Huh? Are we moving? Where are we?" she asked in a groggy voice.
"In a coach, heading for God knows where. Lachlan says our lives are in danger."
"Is it Kormad?" Camille sat up.
"Lachlan says yes."
"You do not think it is Girard?"
"No, I hope he is dead of a fever." Angelique slid back on the leather seat. The coach careened around a corner, and she grabbed for a handhold.
"But we cannot be certain."
"We must not speak of it." Angelique's stomach knotted with the very thought.
"Did you get…the item?"
"Of course. You know I would not leave it."
After taking another corner too quickly, the coach drew to an abrupt halt and the door opened. Lachlan now held a torch aloft. "Come, both of you. Hold this." He handed the torch to Rebbinglen.
"Where are we going?" Angelique asked.
"No time for questions now." He motioned her forward.
Again, he lifted Angelique into his arms and carried her across an alley as if she weighed no more than an infant. Amid the chaos, he seemed an island of strength and protection. She was finding, of a sudden, that she liked this feeling. She had not experienced true safety for a long time. And besides, he smelled appealing, like clean male blended with leather. In the torchlight, their gazes mingled for a moment. He was not the seductive charmer now. No twinkle of humor danced in his eyes, no smirk upon his lips. He'd transformed into a formidable warrior with a firm mouth and dark, indomitable eyes—a side of him she'd never fully seen.
They slipped through a narrow doorway, Dirk carrying Camille behind them.
"What is this place?" The scents of tallow and musty books irritated her nose.
The passage opened up and they moved through a large dim church filled with empty pews. Only a couple of candles lit the plain interior. Five of King James's retainers wearing royal livery waited near the pulpit along with a dour Protestant minister.
"What is happening?" Angelique asked.
"We are to be married, as you ken." Lachlan set her on her feet at the front of the church.
She pulled him aside. "Have you lost your mind? We cannot marry now. Not like this," she whispered loudly.
"Aye, 'tis necessary to marry in secret. Someone wishes to kill us. They are wanting your estate through any means, fair or foul." His harsh expression told her of the seriousness of the matter. "King James bid us to go ahead and marry. Now. We have the special license."
"But I must wear my wedding gown and I did not bring it. I will not marry in my shift and a blanket. Barefoot."
"No time." Lachlan dragged her before the minister. "Please begin." He placed his hand over hers, tucked against his elbow.
The minister began in a dry monotone.
Parbleu! Angelique felt paralyzed for a moment, her mind racing. What to do? She glanced aside and found Camille standing barefoot, dressed much as she was. She gave an almost imperceptible nod and faint smile, her gaze steady. She approved? Merde!
How preposterous Angelique should get married in such dishabille. Her hair was a bedraggled disaster, tousled and hanging to her waist. She was a countess, not a prostitute. Since she had been a small child she had dreamed of the day she would wear her mother's enchanting French wedding gown, say her vows and kiss her own charming prince.
Today was not that day. That day would never come. She glanced up at Lachlan, and sensed some understanding in his eyes, a silent communication she could not fully grasp because she didn't know him. Lowering her gaze, she thought of the emerald ring on her finger and how he'd given it to her on bended knee. A romantic gesture, but had he meant it in the way she hoped?
Mère de Dieu, do not let this be a mistake. Do not let him slip inside my heart and destroy it. I cannot dare trust him.
Lachlan nudged her. "Say 'I will,'" he whispered without moving his lips.
"I will," she said in a strong voice. She could have been agreeing to anything. The minister droned on. In shock, wishing this over with, she let her attention slide away to other things, the creaking of the old building, Lachlan's warm, slightly roughened fingers on hers as he pushed another ring onto her finger, a shiny gold band.
"With this ring, I thee wed. This gold and silver, I thee give. With my body, I thee worship." Lachlan's smooth baritone voice reciting those vows stripped away the fog. Her attention riveted upon him, and she knew she would remember this moment forever.
She repeated her own vows rather stiffly, in a halting voice. Only Lachlan's steady hands kept her upright. She wanted to do nothing but burst into tears, though she didn't know why. The way she was dressed—or rather undressed—like a whore for her wedding, or the satisfied, hopeful expression in his eyes, such a contrast to her own misery.
Naturally, he should be pleased. He would be an earl and worth a goodly sum. Her possessions became his. He owned her now.
Sliding his fingers into her unbound hair, Lachlan lowered his head toward her and panic tightened her throat. He touched his lips to hers, the first contact startling, but warm and compelling. His full lips sipped at hers gently, drew away a breath and came back for a firmer, more possessive kiss. His beard stubble rasped her chin and the tip of his tongue tasted her lips, between. Such an unexpected and erotic action. She could not even draw breath.
Whistles and yelps from his friends echoed into the rafters. The minister cleared his throat.
I must shove him away. But no, she couldn't. Not because he was her husband, but because the damnable seducer had mesmerized her.
My Wild Highlander copyright 2011 Vonda Sinclair

Available at Amazon, B&N and other online book retailers.

Lady Angelique Drummagan, a half-Scottish, half-French countess, has suffered much pain and betrayal in her past. She wants nothing to do with the sensual Scottish warrior that the king has ordered her to marry because the rogue could never be a faithful husband, but she has little choice in the matter. Dangerous, greedy enemies threaten her from all sides and she’s in dire need of his protection.

Sir Lachlan MacGrath, known as Seducer of the Highlands, possesses a charming wickedness and canny wit which has earned him much popularity. After the king decrees that he wed the fiery hellion, Lachlan discovers there is one woman who can resist him—Angelique. Can he break through her icy façade and melt her heart, or will the dark secrets lurking in her past not only cost them their future together, but their very lives?

"The Seducer of the Highlands, Sir Lachlan MacGrath, can seduce me anytime! And did! Danger, romance, and Highlanders make this tale a must read! Loved it!" ~Terry Spear, Heart of the Highland Wolf

1 More Day til Flaunt It

I'm so excited! Flaunt It, the first story in my Paolo's Playhouse series will be released from Samhain on Tuesday, Aug 30th!

When it comes to sexy and sassy, Piper, the most popular waitress at Ben’s bar, has it all going on. Now that they’re dating, though, Ben wishes she’d dial down the skimpy clothes and flirty attitude, and her habit of dancing around the bar and flashing to her favorite song. Every teasing peek at her body, every laugh at some customer’s lousy joke, is certainly good for business—but it sends his jealousy meter into the red zone.

Sure, they’re dating, but he’s no muscled, tattooed stud with diamonds in his ears. How can he compete, especially when she refuses to even spend the night at his place?

Desperate, Ben books a room at his friend Paolo’s fantasy club, hoping an erotic night in front of a two-way mirror will get her exhibitionist streak out of her system. Praying it won’t prove his greatest fear—that she lives only to show off. And he’s not that special to her at all…

I love the characters in this story so much, and according to Flaunt It's first review from The Romance Studio, others will too. I'm thrilled Flaunt It got a 5 Heart review.

The review said in part:
"...let me just say this book does not disappoint. The plot is fast-paced and enthralling because Piper is so full of life, and constantly pushing Ben for a reaction to her wild antics. While the dialogue pushed both characters to open up to their feelings for each other, and express it through words for the first time. The sex scenes were adventurous and hot..."

You can check out an excerpt at the Samhain site.

The second story in the series, Risk It, will be out in November and features the couple on the other side of the two-way mirror. I can't wait to share it with you.

Today Flaunt It is still available for pre-order at a reduced price. I hope you'll want to check out Flaunt It and will enjoy Ben and Piper's story.


Winding down...

Summer, that is.

I can't believe how fast it's gone. Mine started that first weekend in June at the Lori Foster Reader and Author Get Together. That was such a fun weekend, full of seeing old friends and making new ones. Here's the Ellora's Cave group of authors (I'm in the back row, in pink):

Then came our annual Florida trip in late June. We stayed in a new location this year, which was gor-ge-ous. But the trip was chock full of, well... Let me put it this way. 2 tickets on the drive down, courtesy of the state of Kentucky (one for hubby and another for our daughter who drove her own car), coming thisclose to getting thrown up on by a child at a public rest stop, a car accident in downtown Birmingham (NOT my fault, and we were all okay!), chipping a crowned tooth on -- get this -- a piece of frozen dark chocolate, all ending with our daughter locking her keys in her car mere minutes before leaving for the fifteen hour ride home. Sigh. But all of that was mixed in with hot weather, constant sun, and wonderful times with amazing family and friends. When I look at it like that, it definitely makes all that other stuff we went through so very much worth it.

The view from our balcony.

My daughter's boyfriend fished quite a bit while we were down there. Here I am, petting one of the sharks he caught moments before we put him back in the water. Cool, huh?

And then there was July and August. Where the heck did they go? Most of the time was spent doing this or that, getting some writing in whenever I could and generally just trying to enjoy the summer. I've spent a lot of time with my husband out where we keep our RV, finally working on the landscaping and enjoying some alone time with him now that the kids are older and don't want to go out there too much any more (Is it bad for me to say that that's just fine with me? LOL).

And now, here we are, days away from September and the beginning of fall. School has already started (YAY!), and I'm working on getting myself back into my fall/winter writing routine. I have the annual Walk to End Alzheimer's coming up mid-September that I participate in (in honor of my mother and grandmother), then, on the lighter side, I'm attending the Ellora's Cave's RomantiCon convention at the end of the month. I'm so looking forward to that! It's one convention that truly stands apart from all the others I attend every year. Other than that, it's just writing, writing, writing -- hopefully mixed with a release or two in there somewhere!

I hope your summer was just as relaxing and/or as fun as mine was. Here's to everyone having a stellar fall, and a productive winter. Hmmm... Is it spring yet?


Little Things…

They do mean a lot sometimes. I thought of this the other day while petting my cat as he lay all cozy and comfy on my brand new bra. I’d just gotten it out of the box and laid it on the my computer desk until I could toss the box in the trash and gather it back up, and in an instant he crawled his furry butt right onto it. He sniffed, rubbed his face on it a bit, and then settled in for a nap. And I let him. I had to wash it anyway, and I know from past experience that this is how he feels loved. Some folks might have shooed him away, but I took the opportunity to bond with him. Since he can be a little skittish sometimes, that’s important. It’s such a little thing, but it meant so much to him (according to his contented purr).

That’s what I’m posting about today. Those little things that make a difference to others that we ourselves might not even think about as being any kind of consequential. As a writer, it’s funny to hear what people say about my books; some of the random or remote details that stand out to readers that I’d never have realized had any resonance turn out to be very important to them. As a reader, I’m sometimes shocked when I discuss a book with others who read it and discover some small part that made a huge impact on me that no one else even noticed. Reading is such a personal experience that I shouldn’t be surprised by this, but I am. The written word is powerful indeed!

But so is the spoken word, and even more so when those words are unexpected.

A few weeks ago, I made a point to mention to a colleague that he’d be perfect for a job that opened up where we work, one a couple of levels beyond his current classification. I told him I thought he was perfectly qualified and would do a wonderful job--just because I really believe it--even though I figured he’d be applying anyway. He told me it made his day to hear that, because he wanted to apply but was feeling a little unsure. My comment gave him a boost I didn’t think he needed, and it reminded me that sometimes people we think are confident still need encouragement.

The saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” However, I think they both have more power than we realize. A kind gesture like holding a door or giving a simple smile can make a big difference. A few positive comments even when we don’t think they’re needed can go a long way in changing a so-so day into a great one. As writers, we never know where our influence will begin or end, and as neighbors, siblings, friends, lovers, etc., we don’t know either.

Can you think of a small act or a few words that had an impact on you or on someone else? Please do share and have a fantastic day!

Happy Thoughts!

Back to School---And I’m Celebrating. Giving away 4 Books.

It’s not completely back to school for me yet, BUT two of my three will start school tomorrow. I love my kids, adore my kids, but I’m sooooo ready for school to start back. The twins have been out of school for ten and half weeks. The first seven weeks was fantastic. We did away with the schedule. Did whatever we wanted. Went to bed whenever we felt like it. Over the last 3 and half weeks, I found myself yearning for the schedule back. Routine. I love routine. It’s dependable. I can find time for myself when I know exactly how the day is supposed to go.

I’m also trying to adjust to a new schedule myself. I started a second part-time job, which I think is going to work out great for me, but also made everything really wonky the last two weeks in regards to having time to write. In fact, I’ve had no time to write. Between working two part time jobs and having the kids all day, my writing persona has been almost non-existent. My day yesterday? I worked my first part-time job (4 hours), got off at 12, picked up my kids, spent a couple of hours with them, then went to work my second part-time job (another 4 hours). By the time I got home, I was exhausted. I forced myself to stay up and watch Awkward. Is anyone watching that? I love it. By the time I went to bed…well I don’t even remember going to bed. LOL.

My nephew (the third of my three. I keep him while his mommy is at work) starts pre-k on Sept. 6th. (The reason for the second part time job) Then I will have four mornings free a week, all dedicated to writing. I honestly can’t wait to have those mornings back. I miss writing. It’s a stress reliever for me and gosh knows I’m all twisted up right now because I’m not writing.

But I should be able to write a little more with only the nephew home. It’s amazing how much noise and distraction three kids can make. But only one? It’s almost like no kids are home.

So in celebration of Esme and Abby getting some time back on the computer, I want to give away four of my books. Esme has offered up Devlin’s Destiny, The Panther’s Lair and The Feline Fugitive and Abby is giving away a copy of Defying Convention. Here's a blurb for each:

Gabby’s future is uncertain. Devlin’s is written in stone.

About to lose everything, Gabby Stone’s life is in shambles. Upon waking in a medieval castle owned by a sinfully sexy Scottish Laird, she believes she’s having an erotic dream and jumps right into the fantasy. But she quickly learns that this is no dream. Somehow she’s been transported into her favorite romance novel, Devlin’s Destiny, and is now starring as the heroine next to the scrumptious hero, Devlin McAlister, a character who puts all flesh-and-blood men to shame.

Deciding that living in this parallel universe is better than going back to her real life, Gabby plays it safe at first even though she hates the way the heroine in the book treats Devlin. As time passes, however, she finds herself wanting to become Devlin’s true heroine, to have him love her, not the woman he’s written to marry.

But how bound to the book is Devlin? With each turn of the page, obstacles are thrown in her path as a war between love and written words ensue. Can Gabby overcome a predetermined future to claim Devlin for her very own Happily Ever After?

You'll never look at a cat the same way again...

Claudette Richards adores Fluffy, her cat. Little does she know how much he adores her i
n return, nor that he's secretly a man named Luca Doyle, who has chosen her for his life mate. Framed for murder, Luca hides out in cat form while he hunts down the real killer, a battle that could reveal him to Claudette before he's ready. If it happens, will she match his passion or send him to the pound?

Men are only good for one thing.

Sydney Chase may have sworn off relationships—but she still has needs. So she heads to the Panther's Lair in search of sex: no strings, no emotions. The club owner, dark, mysterious Raimond Decoudreau, is exactly what she's looking for—his French accent alone makes her hot. Fortunately, his mouth has other sinful talents, as well...

After just one night with Sydney, Raimond knows she's his. And when the time is right, when she loves him in return, he'll reveal his deepest secret. For now, he'll enjoy pleasuring her in the most intimate of ways.

But when Sydney's life is threatened, Raimond's instincts take control, and she gets a glimpse at the beast within...

Journalist Emma Portland would do anything to save her career, even go undercover at the 31st Annual GalaxyCon in search of a story. Emma thinks she's hit pay dirt when she meets Luke Evans, a bestselling sci-fi author whose readers have turned against him. She has no problem getting close to the sexy writer to get the scoop on his downfall. Except the more time she spends with Luke, the more she has a different kind of exposé in mind...

Luke can't believe he's found the one woman at GalaxyCon who hasn't heard of him and can look that hot in a bikini. For the first time he's opening up about himself...and the secret that torpedoed his writing career. Too bad his former fans are out for blood—and out to sabotage his budding relationship with Emma.

But amidst rival reporters, eager fanboys and overzealous role-players, it's Emma's secret that may put the brakes on their sizzling attraction for good...

So tell me about your summer vacation. Are you as ready as I am for the kids to get back in school? Or did nothing change for you?

I’ll choose three random winners sometime Friday afternoon. If you've already read one of these, leave a little comment about that and if you're picked I'll make sure you get one you haven't read:)


Guest Interview: Bonnie Paulson + Book & Gift Card Giveaway!

Born and raised in the Inland Northwest, Bonnie has a degree in Radiology Technology - yes, you can bring broken bones her way - as well as multiple years experience in the medical transcription field.

Four children and a yummy husband chase through the hills with her on dirt bikes in pursuit of the perfect trail. Dirt and mud are no deterrence. In fact, Bonnie prefers the rain.

Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and Jude Deveraux are two of her favorite authors and she can't get enough of anything romantic - this includes chocolates. Don't you want to be a strawberry dunked in the stuff?

The characters in her stories beg to be let out and it's all she can do to keep up. You'll find different storylines where the hero and heroine tell their own story. Bonnie is just as surprised as you by what happens. She's cried writing a scene or two.

Sometimes, she thinks she is Joan Wilder.

Q: Welcome, Bonnie! Can you tell us what inspired Breathe Again?

A: During a shift interning to be a radiologic technologist, I was with a technologist called down to the trauma room for some films. Halfway there, we received a second call – she wasn’t the one to go, someone else would replace her. She asked why and they replied the trauma was a gunshot wound to the head. I found out later she’d discovered her son that way a year or so ago. I gave her space and wrote the first three pages in the break room. Suicide is terrible and so is terminal disease – Maggie has to deal with both and realizes neither is the way to go.

Q: That is so tragic and sad. Why do you write romance?

A: Oh, romance is the essence of what makes us human (in my opinion). It’s locked in the melancholy or pushes the truly joyful. Romance isn’t just subtext for sex or physicality. I see romantic notions in the mailing of a letter to an elderly person because they aren’t caught up in the current tech trends. Romance when a child passes a flower to a sleeping kitten. It’s the sweet parts of our lives that touch our hearts.

A friend of mine said she wasn’t a romantic at all, didn’t understand it. I laughed. The moment didn’t seem appropriate to point out that packing up a lunch for her husband and leaving a napkin on top with his favorite candy wrapped inside marked with an XOXO was romantic and even a bit mushy.

I write romance because I see it, breathe it, smell it, feel it and live it. I can’t help but want to share it with the world.

Q: I agree, your friend does sound romantic. Did you choose the title of your book and if so how did you do it?

 A: The original title for Breathe Again was Whispers of Me. The betrayal of her husband’s suicide slammed Maggie into a shell of herself. She barely recognized what and who she’d become. When Carina Press picked it up, they decided a new title would be more marketable. I didn’t mind. They let me and my editor come up with a list of 12 to 15 possibilities for them to choose from. A fave was Breathe Again. I love it, they loved it. Good all around.

Q: It's a wonderful title! Where is your favorite place in the world?

 A: Beside my husband. As long as he’s with me, the world is bright and cheery and I’m loving every where (on a dirt bike is even better!).

 Q: Which element of story creation is your favorite?

 A: The first few pages – the set up. I love it. I’ve written about 20 book starts just for the fun of it. There’s something special about getting to know the characters and introducing the plot and setting. I love beginnings.

 Q: Which element of this story was the hardest for you?

 A: Dealing with the brother. I actually cried while writing this piece and the tears burned. I felt betrayed – even though it’s set up throughout the story, I still hate what happened.

 Q: What inspires you? What motivates you?

 A: My family. Plain and simple. I claim to be an underachiever, but I know I’m not. I do the things that are necessary for my family.

 Q: Please describe your journey to publication.

 A: I have a P word for this. Persistence. I wrote the first book – rejected. Second book – rejected. Third book – published. I worked and worked and learned and learned. Even though rejections are discouraging, I tend to be hard headed and refuse to let people reject me for long.

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

 A: Humility. Willingness to learn from others and assimilate what they suggest was the best thing I could learn. I take most suggestions given to me, filter them, and use what I need to or learn what I can and move on to the next.

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

 A: That I wouldn’t want to stop writing even when marketing demands my time. Also, pick a brand and a genre and stick with it. I love contemporary romance and need to stick with it for a while. I have some thrillers and romantic suspense planned, but I need to stick with what I have going for now.

 Q: Can you share with us “the call” story?

 A: Telemarketers always bug me during my writing time – afternoonish when my kids are sleeping. One or two a day, you’d think I was rich.

 November 4th I sat down to write a particularly difficult scene and my phone rang. I glared at the offending buzz and shook my head.

 Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. I groaned and answered. “Hello?”

"Is Bonnie Paulson available?” Super sweet voice which makes it even harder to say no, not interested.

 “This is.” Mama taught me manners and I use ‘em.

 “Hi, Bonnie. This is Angela James from Carina Press. I’m calling about the manuscript you submitted.” At this point, my eyebrows scrunched together. Had I done something wrong? I’d never heard of an editor calling an author. Maybe I’d offended someone. Still wasn’t 100% certain she wasn’t a telemarketer.

But Ms. James continued on and I realized she was offering me a contract. I’d only been saying “Uh hunh” to her comments and she paused, asking if I had any questions so far.

My response? Yeah, she tweeted about it. I said, “I think I’m gonna throw up.”

Q: Wow! That is both hilarious and inspiring. Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?

A: Keep it up. Persist. Don’t give in to the discouragement. That story needs to be told and you’re the only one who can do it.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I have a contemporary romance series on submission right now, a contemporary romance series in the works and a non-fiction piece I’m working on with my CP.

Q: Best of luck with all your projects! Would you like to ask readers a question?

A: I would love to, thank you! Do you have a book that brought you to tears and made you laugh that you would like to recommend? Why did it touch you and how?

Bonnie has a copy of Breathe Again as well as a $10 Amazon gift card up for grabs! A separate winner for each! Please leave your email in some form, or a way for us to contact you if you win. Thanks!

Bonnie's Website:
Find Bonnie on Twitter @bonnierpaulson

Words of Motivation

"No one can predict to what heights you can soar. Even you will not know until you spread your wings."
- Unknown

Isn't that so true? This is one of my favorite motivational quotes. It reminds me that amazing things are possible, if only I make the effort.

I collect quotations, and as I struggle to start a new project, I find going though them can help me get back on track. So I thought I'd share a few with you today.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. - - T. S. Eliot

Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Jump into the middle of things, get your hands dirty, fall flat on your face, and then reach for the stars." - Joan Curcio

Then, there's the simple words tacked onto the bulletin board next to my desk, "Don't Stop Believing!"

What's your favorite motivational quote?

FLAUNT IT - Coming Aug 30th!



I enjoyed Beastly, a new version of The Beauty and the Beast. I liked the idea that the ugly part of the inside of the boy was brought out on the outside of him and he had to find a way to show he cared about someone, to quit being so self-centered and downright mean.

This was a vintage photo of a little French girl. Isn't she adorable?

Did you know that the French were big on hunting werewolves? So when this photo was taken, they might have been having a trial concerning a suspected werewolf.

My daughter would have said, "That's random, Mom."

Random? Absolutely not! Well, maybe just a little bit. Okay, maybe a lot. But truly, the French did participate in werewolf trials.

And I still have to say the purported werewolves were fake. How do I know this? They would not have given up their secrets. Ever.

The big question is--is the young girl a werewolf?

One look at the expression on her face and I have my answer. What about you?


Fashionista, Heel Thyself

I realize that, being a nudist, I’m probably the last person who should post about fashion. However, I’m also a writer, and my heroines most often need to wear clothes, at least some of the time, so I have a vested interest in the topic (no pun intended). Beyond that, I am just starting to see some really disturbing trends that are not only anti-feminine, but could also carry risks to foot health.

This week I'll focus on flipflops and high heels, and I'll say right up front that I'm not trying to offend anyone. I just have opinions about clothing, accessories, and styles I'd like to express in the hopes it will save someone some stress when she opens that closet door and faces The Big Decision (what do I wear?).

Over the last decade, I've noticed a disturbing trend in women's shoes. I have difficulty finding shoes I can wear due to an old injury, and I hate shoe shopping because of it. I also grew up with someone who had back problems and buying shoes was less about fashion than functionality and maintaining healthy feet and skeletal structure, so the current trend of 3-4 inch "fashion" heels is really rather disturbing when 1-2.5 inches will do if it's the right fit. I guess it's like men and their masculine parts, if you get my drift. The same goes for flat flipflops with no support. Wearing them a little is fine, but wearing them all the time doesn't seem like a good idea at all, for a number of reasons.

I don’t know which is worse—flipflops worn to weddings or 4-inch spike heels worn to funerals. Flipflops, no matter how you dress them up, are not semi-formal or formal attire. They're pretty much shower or beach or run around and have fun shoes. It's really hard to see a young woman in a lovely dressy dress with her feet adorned in $2 flipflops (or $50 flipflops that look like the $2 version), or to see someone come in for a job interview in the same attire. Even if you've got the greatest pair of flipflops in just the right shade of black to match your interview outfit, hold back on that urge to actually wear them. For semi-formal and formal occasions, try some pretty strappy sandals, ones comfortable enough to dance in just in case that special someone asks for a turn around the floor. For job interviews, try something with a closed toe. For the sake of your feet, try something with a little arch support. I have some Dr. Scholl's flipflops that are awesome in the support department and are pretty enough to wear almost anywhere (except semi-formal and formal events).

By the same token, three inch spike heels, no matter what you wear with them, really only look like you're trying to make your butt look good (because that's what high heels do). While that's not bad in and of itself, sending the message that you want your butt to look good while saying good-bye to the dearly departed may not win you any friends among the mourners. The women will not appreciate it, and although the men might, they certainly can't express said admiration with their wives sneering nearby. For me, 4-inch heels, especially if you don't know how to wear them, look out of place anywhere but a nightclub (and, I have to say it, a street corner). Most women I've seen in these are wobbling around or their heels are red and irritated or their toes are squished out, mostly because these shoes don't really fit anyone well. They're made for posing and looking sexy, not for actually standing or walking. The high heel can also exacerbate back, knee, and hip problems if you're not careful and can cause worse damage if you fall down in them, which I've seen.

Perhaps I'm just an unhip oldster, or just an unhip oldster dancer who worries about her tootsies too much, but it makes my feet ache and my fashion muse cringe when I see these sights, and I'm seeing them more and more. I have to dress, at least occasionally, my heroines, and so I try to stay up on the fashion thing so they won't look like unhip oldsters, too. Maybe I should just keep them all naked and barefoot. lol

What about you? Seeing any shoe trends that make you stop and think such things as, "Owww!" Please do share and have a great day!

Welcome to the Club

Hey guys! I'd like to welcome our guest blogger for the day, Pamela Hearon. She has two awesome stories out: His Hotness with the Wild Rose Press and The Timestone Key with Lyrical Press. She's sharing a bit about how her childhood helped give her and advantage when writing the men in her stories. Warning: I got goosebumps when I read this post. Awesome, awesome story! Thanks so much for joining us, Pamela!

One of the questions I get asked often as a writer is which character I most enjoyed writing. In my book His Hotness, Gram is a hoot, and I had to stay on my toes to keep her fresh and sassy. But I always found myself looking forward to the scenes with Kai or Adam, for, while I enjoy writing all of my characters, I really enjoy writing the males. Maybe because it stretches me to have to think from the male perspective … or maybe, because guys are just so much fun. They’re uncomplicated and straight-forward, more prone to act first and think about it later—characteristics that lead to great conflicts when they’re thrown against a complicated female who chooses her words carefully and wants to think everything through. But apart from the obvious, I have a great advantage when it comes to writing guys.

I grew up in Paducah, Kentucky, a small city in the far western section of the Commonwealth. I delineate Paducah as a small city because, at 35,000, it was large enough that everybody didn’t know everybody else (or their business) but small enough to have neighborhoods where everybody did know everybody else. Our neighborhood was our world for the first ten years of our lives; we even had neighborhood elementary schools that we walked to and from. It was my neighborhood … my world … that gave me the aforementioned advantage. There were seven children my age in my neighborhood … six boys and me.

If I wanted companionship, I had to learn the guys’ rules of the game early in life—and I did. Most of the time, I was treated as an equal. I ran fast, developed a courageous side, and was always ready for an adventure. But the boys had their principles. When we played Justice League, I had to be Supergirl or Wonder Woman. When we played army, I was only allowed to be the nurse. Occasionally they would play house with me, but I always had to be the mom who stayed at home and cooked mudpies while they went out and saved the world.

I was never just one of the guys—there was awareness that I was different-- but I was privileged to be accepted into their inner circle and became privy to their way of thinking and handling situations.

I distinctly remember the exact day I knew things were changing … forever. The boys were playing football that afternoon. I wasn’t allowed to play—not their rule this time, but my mother’s, who was sure I’d get hurt—so I watched from the sidelines. One of the boys had a friend over from another neighborhood, and he was the cutest boy I had ever laid eyes on. His name was Rick. Each time the game would stall or there would be a timeout, Rick would come over and talk to me. Even with a backyard full of comrades, I captured his attention. I was enchanted. But the true magic happened when my mother called me home to supper. Seeing me leaving, he left the game and ran over to me, and asked: “Can you come back?” I still can feel the flutter in my stomach stirred by those four words … words that rocked my world off its steady axis and never allowed it to return to the way it had been before. It wasn’t only what he said, but the way he said it. He wasn’t just being nice. He wanted me to come back because he saw me not as a tomboy but as a girl.

I burned my membership card to the Boys’ Club that day; I had found the Girls’ Club, and instinct told me it was going to be even better.

Now, when I’m writing, and I come to a scene where the hero has to save the world, I think back to the lessons I learned from that wonderful group of guys, and I ask myself what Jack, Randy, Jeff, Gregg, Bobby, and Jimmy would do. And, of course, when the hero needs to say the exact words to win the girl, I recall the flutter in my stomach at Rick’s question.

I’ll never be able to thank my buds enough for the insights they gave me, but I can promise to portray them genuinely and faithfully. They will always be superheroes in my book.

And I got goosebumps again. *happy sigh* Thanks for sharing this with us, Pamela. It's so awesome that you have those guys to think back on when you're writing your guys. If anyone would like to check out one of Pamela's fantastic reads you can find His Hotness here at the The Wild Rose Press and The Timestone Key here at Lyrical Press. Thanks for stopping by!


Guest: Beth Trissel + Book Giveaway!

1789 was an explosive year with the eruption in a big way of the French Revolution.  Although considered the ‘moderate stage’ before the Reign of Terror, a great deal of upheaval and violence took place that resulted in waves of nobility fleeing France. 

From: The Beginning of the French Revolution, 1789: “King Louis XVI’s financial crisis forced the French monarch to reluctantly convene the Estates General in order to levy a new land tax that would hopefully solve his monetary woes. It had been 175 years since the last meeting of this deliberative body that included representatives of three Estates: the First comprised of the clergy, the Second comprised of the nobility and the Third comprised of the middle and lower classes. The Estates began their meeting at Versailles on May 5, 1789 and quickly entered into a power struggle. The Third Estate declared itself a ‘National Assembly’ that was representative of the people. This new Assembly expressed its desire to include the other two Estates in its deliberations but also made it clear that it was determined to move forward without them. Louis attempted to shut down the National Assembly, but on June 20 its members declared that they would not disband until they had written a new constitution for France.

The tension increased, exacerbated by massive crop failures that led to a shortage of food. In Paris, mobs filled the city's streets. The fear spread that the king would retaliate with force. On July 14 the mob stormed the Bastille to obtain arms. The attack launched the nation down a pathway that would eventually lead to the destruction of the monarchy and the execution of Louis XVI.”~
Among key events in 1789 that caused nobles to become émigrés: July 17, the beginning of the Great Fear, the peasantry revolt against feudalism and a number of urban disturbances and revolts. Insurrection and the spirit of popular sovereignty spread throughout France. In rural areas, many went beyond this: some burned title-deeds and no small number of châteaux.  The first wave of the nobility fled then.

October 5-6: The Women's March on Versailles was one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. The march began among women in the marketplaces of Paris who, on the morning of 5 October 1789, were near rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread. Their demonstrations quickly became intertwined with the activities of revolutionaries who were seeking liberal political reforms and a constitutional monarchy for France. The market women and their various allies grew into a mob of thousands and, encouraged by revolutionary agitators, they ransacked the city armory for weapons and marched to the royal palace at Versailles. The crowd besieged the palace and in a violent confrontation successfully pressed their demands upon King Louis XVI. The next day, the crowd compelled the king, his family, and the entire French Assembly to return with them to Paris.”~

The mob was out to get Marie Antoinette who narrowly escaped their wrath.  This riot and subsequent treatment of the monarchy caused another wave of nobility to take flight.  Obviously many remained and were later guillotined along with members of the clergy and commoners, anyone who opposed or were said to oppose the Revolution.  Trials were a mockery.  All it took to send someone to their death was an accusation.  

“It was not until 1791 that a law was passed that everyone condemned to death in France should be decapitated.
Almost all of the French aristocracy was sent to the guillotine during the French Revolution.
King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were its most famous victims.
Up to 40,000 people were killed during the Guillotine's reign of terror in France - an estimated 80-85 per cent of them were commoners.”
*Bear in mind there were far more commoners than nobility to begin with and the guillotine greedy for victims.

Although set in Georgian England, this tumult in France is the backdrop for my new historical romance, Into the Lion’s Heart, which has the honor of launching the new series The Wild Rose Press is debuting called Love LettersThe premise behind this theme is that a letter must be the cause of bringing the hero and heroine together.  At 96 pages, Into the Lion’s Heart is an easy but satisfying read.  However, I did as much research for this story as I would a full novel.

Blurb: As the French Revolution rages, the English nobility offer sanctuary to many a refugee. Captain Dalton Evans arrives in Dover to meet a distant cousin, expecting to see a spoiled aristocrat. Instead, he’s conquered by the simplicity of his new charge. And his best friend Thomas Archer isn’t immune to her artless charm, either.
Cecile Beaumont didn’t choose to travel across the Channel. And she certainly didn’t expect that impersonating her own mistress would introduce her to a most mesmerizing man. Now she must play out the masquerade, or risk life, freedom – and her heart.~
Choking on the brine, she thrashed to right herself. Dalton spat saltwater from his mouth and fought to regain his seat while pulling her up with him. Not his most dignified effort. She was the devil to get hold of—kept slipping away. He grabbed her again, only to be knocked back down and rolled with her in the swill on the bottom of the boat.
Damn and blast! Tom and another man hoisted them upright in the prow.

“Thanks,” Dalton grunted, biting his tongue in the presence of a lady. “All right?” he shouted at her, and shifted her securely onto the seat beside him.

“Oui!” she sputtered when she’d recovered her breath.

She shook all over—must be chilled to the bone. They’d be fortunate if she didn’t catch her death, probably bruised too from tossing about in the skiff. The sooner she was safely housed indoors by a toasty hearth, the better.

Keeping an arm around the sodden woman, he peered into a striking pair of charcoal-gray eyes set above a pert nose and framed by fine dark brows.

She parted trembling, bluish lips. “Merci Monsieur—Que Dieu vous bénisse—Les saints nous bénis en préservent,” she stammered, thanking, blessing him, and calling on the saints.
Dalton was tempted to call on them himself, but her outpouring took him by surprise.

Not content with acknowledging his aid, she turned to Tom, crouched on her other side, and blurted similar gratitude—nearly incoherent in the tumult raging around them. Tom gave a nod through gritted teeth then bent his head over the boat and heaved the contents of his volatile stomach.
She tilted her head at Dalton, eyes crinkled in sympathy. “Mal de mer,” she said, using the French for seasick.~

I am giving away a digital download of Into The Lion’s Heart chosen from someone who leaves me a comment.

About Beth:

Married to my high school sweetheart, I live on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by my children, grandbabies, and assorted animals.  An avid gardener, my love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into my work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of my inspiration.  In addition to American settings, I also write historical and time travel romances set in the British Isles published by The Wild Rose Press.
­­­­­Recently I branched out beyond historical & light paranormal romance with a nonfiction book about gardening and country life entitled Shenandoah Watercolors, available in Kindle & Nookbook.
For more on me and links to various sites:
My website:
My blog: One Writer’s Way
My books are available in print or digital download at: The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.

A Dream is Not Enough

"What's talked about is a dream.
What's envisioned is exciting.
What's planned becomes possible.
What's scheduled is real."
-Anthony Robbins

Dreams are a dime a dozen. Don’t get me wrong, dreams are important. I love to collect inspirational quotes. I have a framed picture on my wall that says “Nothing happens without a dream". We can dream all we want, but until we take definite steps toward making that dream come true, it will never become reality.

You have to do the work. Not all at once. Not more than you can handle at one time. But day by day. Page by page. Word by word.

Goal setting is important, so much so that I may have even talked about it here before. But right now I'm getting ready to start a new manuscript and I'm working out a plan of how many words I need to write a day to reach my goal. Then it's simply a matter of sitting down and putting in the time with the characters, letting them live out their romance, giving them their happy ending. After maybe torturing them just a little bit. And one word at a time, it will happen.

So dream your dreams. Envision them coming true. Plan how to get there. Schedule the work.

Then DO the work.

FLAUNT IT - Coming Aug 30th

Questions Over the Years

I apologize for the tardiness of my post, but my technology has been down all day and part of yesterday. Needless to say, I’ve been going a little nuts without my connection, but it’s all better now. :)

What I wanted to post about today was questions I’ve been asked in interviews or by friends or fans that have stuck with me over the years. Have you ever had someone ask you a question that just stayed with you, for whatever reason? What was your question? Mine are below.

1. Why do you write?
I included this one because I sometimes don't know what to say. I have to think about it. There are a million reasons why I write, but the truth is that I can't not write. It's how I think. If I'm thinking, I'm writing, either in my head or via keyboard. This one always makes me wonder about myself and why I'm this way.
2. Do you do all those things you write about?
Since I write erotica and romance, this one is a little over the top. Just because I write about having all kinds of sex doesn't mean I do. I mean, do mystery writers murder people? My answer to this is always no, because I haven't done all those things I write about, just some of them. Also, I've never slept with a vampire or shape-shifter that I know of, and I deny any involvement whatsoever in that one sexual escapade with that one hunky movie star and his brother. That wasn't me, and you can't prove that it was. The pictures were too fuzzy, and the video too blurry. So there.
3. Does your husband think he’s lucky?
I love this question. Why would he think he's lucky? Because naturally as an erotica author I'm a sex maniac and won't let him leave our bed for days? Because I wash his clothes and feed him well? Because he's just grateful I don't write murder mysteries (see above)? Because he's married to a writer? God help him. My first response to this question--that I keep to myself but will one day actually say--is, "Why, yes, he does think he's lucky, and so does your husband. Tell him Cam says hello and she'll never forget Paris."
4. What’s your bra size?
I cannot even comprehend why this person asked me this. Perhaps she was considering asking for a trade because her bra was too small. I simply responded by telling her it was the same as my husband's age and the last letter of my favorite author's name. She furrowed her brow and wandered away. I was glad.
5. How long have you been writing?
On the surface, this is a pretty straightforward question. However, after I answered a matter of decades, this person then asked why I hadn't won a Pulitzer yet. Seriously? As if they give the big P for erotica (maybe they do?) and as if just any writer who's produced a body of work over a period of time gets a Pulitzer. This one always makes me smile, though, because someone actually thinks I could be eligible for the prize, and that in and of itself is just cool to ponder.
6.Who’s your favorite author?
Who doesn't want to answer this with "ME! ME! ME!" Especially after an afternoon writing marathon that's left you breathless, aching, and exhausted but happy. It's actually not true that I'm my favorite author, as I’d rather read a number of others besides me including the other ladies on this blog. :) I love to read, but this answer can vary from day-to-day. Besides, if I answer truthfully, people will be halfway to knowing my bra size.

Those are some of my questions. How about you? Please do share!