GUEST BLOG and Giveaway: Vonnie Davis

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Vonnie will be awarding a $25.00 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on her tour.

Gwen,

You won’t believe this email. I’m sitting in a French safe house, eating caviar and drinking champagne with handsome government agent, Niko Reynard. He’s wearing nothing but silk pajama bottoms and mega doses of sex appeal. I’m in big trouble, little sister. He’s kissed me several times and given me a foot massage that nearly caused spontaneous combustion. I’m feeling strangely virginal compared to the sexual prowess this thirty-year-old man exudes.

When I came to Paris for a bit of adventure, I never imagined I’d foil a bombing attempt, karate-kick two men, and run from terrorists while wearing a new pair of stilettos. I met a German musician, a gay poet from Australia, and the most delightful older French woman.

Don’t worry. I’m safe…the jury’s still out on yummy Niko, though. The more champagne I drink, the less reserved I feel. What an unforgettable fortieth birthday!

Alyson

Read an excerpt from this book:

Suddenly, screams followed by loud thumping and books falling filled the bookstore. Niko sprinted in the direction of the high-pitched shrieking, gun in hand. He bounded up the steps and rounded the corner. “Aly! Aly! What the hell.”

He skidded to a halt. One of the well-dressed men he saw entering the store earlier was on the floor, books covering most of his body. His companion was staggering, holding his hands over his eye and screaming like a banshee as blood ran down his face.

In the corner stood a pale and trembling Aly, her frightened blue eyes dominated her face. “They…they grabbed me! Said they’d kill me if I resisted. I…I karate kicked them.” She swallowed, obviously trying to gain control. “Kung…kung-fooed the hell out of them, too. And…and…”—she pointed to the screaming man still on his feet—“I think I poked his eye out with one of my stilettos.”

Niko ran a hand down his face, keeping it over his mouth to hide the smile. What a piece of work. He wanted to laugh. He wanted to hug her. And damned if he didn’t want to shake the daylights out of her for stepping out of his sight. Hadn’t he told her to stay with him?

“You okay?” Niko’s gaze swept over her, looking for injuries. He fought the urge to pull her to him and embrace her until her trembling stopped. Frankly, if he were honest, his nerves weren’t the greatest right this moment, either. When he heard her scream earlier, cold fear did a free-fall straight through his system.

About the Author:

Vonnie Davis holds a degree in English with a concentration in technical writing from Penn State. She is retired and has traded in her technical writer’s tailored clothes for the feather boa of a romance writer. Her debut novel, Storm’s Interlude, was awarded the HOLT Medallion Award of Merit in two categories: Best book by a Virginia author and Best Mainstream Single Title. She lives in southern Virginia with her husband, who is also a writer.

Find Vonnie online at

Website ~ http://www.vonniedavis.com

Blog ~ http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com

Twitter ~ http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com

Facebook ~ https://www.facebook.com/WritingStoriesOfTheHeart

GETTING IN THE ZONE

Athletes talk about getting in “the zone,” when they run or workout. Writers do the same thing when they go deep into the point of view of their character. We become the character. We don’t ask ourselves what would he or she do in this situation. We know, because we are that character.

Granted, I joke about the Muse sitting on my shoulder and whispering in my ear. The whole image makes for a fanciful thought, but the reality is, in my case anyhow, nothing beats knowing one’s characters.

For me, this intimacy comes by creating my characters from the inside out. I start with their points of pain. We all have them. Past hurts, illnesses, rejections, family histories or accidents that scar us in one way or another–points of pain. These often influence our thought processes and our reactions to internal and external stimuli. They become our “buttons.” And what happens when someone pushes our characters’ buttons can make for some interesting personal dynamics in our stories.

Take my hero, Storm Masterson, for example. He’s a twin. When he and his sister, Sunny, were five their mother walked out of their lives. Does he have points of pain? You bet’cha. Allow me to share this excerpt where Rachel, my heroine, meets him at the stable for a late night horse ride.

Storm turned to watch Rachel as she approached. He’d changed into jeans and a white T-shirt; his black Stetson was settled on his head. He handed her the reins. “Rachel, meet Kelsey. She’s a good, gentle mare, but she’s responsive. She’ll keep up with the best of them if you give her a chance.”

She extended an open hand with a sugar cube on it. “Hello, Kelsey. My, aren’t you pretty.”

Storm chuckled. “Flattery and sugar—you know how to get to a horse’s heart.”

“Well, all girls love flattery and sugar. Right, Kelsey?” She patted the mare’s neck, and the horse nickered and nodded. What a mundane remark to make; good goin’, Rachel. Now he probably thinks you’re fishing for compliments. She cut her eyes to Storm and was relieved to see he was busy with his horse. She needed to relax. This was merely going to be a short ride.

“Kelsey’s eyes are unusual, quite beautiful.” She cocked her head to the side and rubbed the horse’s velvety soft nose. “Her eyes have an almost human quality to them. They’re blue. She’s Appaloosa, isn’t she?”

Storm was smoothing a blanket over his mount, a large midnight black stallion with a jagged sliver of white on his forehead. “Yeah, she is. Her breed was almost wiped out by the U.S. Calvary years ago.” He lifted a saddle off a rack and slung it across his mount’s back as if it weighed nothing.

“Why would the Calvary kill off horses?” She glanced at Kelsey and rubbed the horse’s face. “I mean, wouldn’t the Calvary need horses? Seems rather counter-productive. Like, well, like if I, being a nurse, killed off my patients.”

 Storm yanked on the cinch. “Yeah, I get your point. You’re right about it not making much sense. From what my dad told me, the Calvary chased the Nez Perce Indians into the Bear Paw Mountains up in Montana and then slaughtered many of their Appaloosas. He was half Nez Perce and half Comanche, my dad was.”
 “I thought I detected traces of Native American in you and Sunny.”
 “Our cheekbones give us away, don’t they?” He flashed her a smile.

“Yes, that and your dark straight hair and dark eyes. Although you have a fierceness about you. I don’t detect it in Sunny, maybe because she’s ill.”

“Sunny is very gentle in her own way. I’m more like my dad. Focused. Determined. Hell bent on havin’ my way. Just like he was. My dad had dreams. Visions. I’ve started having them, too, now that he’s gone. Can be damn disconcerting at times.”

She’d read about this while she was treating a patient in South Carolina with Comanche heritage. The patient was very focused on walking the Red Way, as the Elders called it. As his nurse, she’d needed an understanding of Native American philosophies and traditions to effectively treat the whole person. She’d found their culture fascinating, spiritual and very connected to the earth.

She stepped closer. “Really? You mean you dream things and then they happen?”

Storm reached out and skimmed his knuckles down her cheek. A gentle gesture so in conflict with the fierce expression in his eyes. Her stomach quivered in response and her breathing quickened.

“Yes,” he whispered. He quickly turned his back to her, and she was sure she heard him mutter he’d dreamed her. Surely she misunderstood.

“What about your mother? Was she Native, too?”

He turned to face her again, his facial expression different this time. “No. Irish. Dad went to Ireland to buy a prize stallion. He met our mother while he was there. Didn’t buy the horse, but he brought her home to marry.” He expelled a harsh bark of laughter. “He’d have done better with the horse. The woman broke his heart.”

“Yours, too, I gather.” She reached up and laid a hand over his heart. Touching patients this way was second nature to her, but the charge that went through her system just now was unexpected. She meant to pull away, but Storm’s callused hand covered hers as if he didn’t want to break the connection.

He stared into her eyes for a long time. She tried to gauge his stern expression, imagining she saw pain and dejection there. This man was hurting; she responded to that, healer that she was. “You have a way of touching a person’s soul, Nurse Rachel. I’m not sure if I like that.”
Buy Link at Amazon: http://amzn.to/pkkcLq 

DO WE USE FORMULAS IN ROMANCE? IS SO, WHERE’S MY COPY?

I belong to a writers group that meets once a week. There are usually twelve of us, eight women and four men. Four of us are published in novels and two in literary magazines.

A couple weeks ago, one of the men curled his lip at me and with a condescending voice said, “It’s no wonder you can crank out a romance in a few months. They’re so predictable. I mean, once you learn the formula—boy meets girl, boy looses girl, boy gets girl back—they’re a snap to write.”

 

“Have you ever written one?” I countered.
“No, I’d never lower myself.”

 

I reined in the desire to jump across the table and coil my fingers around his throat.

 

So, dear readers and talented authors, do you feel romances are based on a formula? I’d like to know. And, if so, where the heck is my copy?
Amazon Buy Link: http://amzn.to/pkkcLq 
Nurse Rachel Dennison comes to Texas determined to prepare her new patient for a second round of chemo. What she isn’t counting on is her patient’s twin brother, Storm Masterson. Despite her initial attraction, Storm has two things Rachel can’t abide: a domineering personality and a fiancée.
Half Native American, with the ability to have “vision dreams,” Storm dreams about Rachel for three nights before her arrival. Both are unprepared for the firestorm of emotions their first chance encounter ignites.
Yet, ultimately, it is Rachel’s past—an abusive, maniacal ex-boyfriend—that threatens to keep them apart…and Storm’s dreams that bring them together again.

VONNIE DAVIS TALKS ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF WRITING ROMANCE

What can we talk about today to get our minds off the heat and all the hoop-la in Washington, DC? Surely we ladies can think of something.

FASHION, PERHAPS?
OR SHOES!
OF COURSE THERE’S ALWAYS CHOCOLATE!
Why don’t we talk about one of my favorite subjects?
MEN!
One of the benefits of writing romance is that we get to design strong, sensual, humorous, intense men. Not perfect men, mind you, but men who capture our hearts between “Chapter One” and “The End.” That is one of our main goals as romance writers: to make the reader fall a little in love with our hero.
Do I, as a writer, fall in love with my heroes? Perhaps. At least until they wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me how I’d written that last scene all wrong. Excuse me? Who’s the writer here?
But my heroes love to jerk my chain. I was writing the first chapter of Storm’s Interlude when my hero started to do something. My fingers flinched away from the keyboard. He wouldn’t do that, I thought. Storm turned to look at me, winked and purred, “Watch me.” And dang if he didn’t do it, and do it quite well.
Vonnie Davis, Romance Author
One night I was sound alseep when someone slammed our bedroom door. I bolted in the bed, looked around the dark bedroom and fumbled for the light. My DH was sleeping soundly. Everything seemed normal. Must have been a dream, I reasoned as I snuggled up to hubster. I’d no sooner dozed off than the door slammed again. This time I saw Storm slam it–the scoundrel.
“Okay,” I mumbled as I rolled over. “What do you want?” He told me to watch. This time when he slammed the door, he had Rachel hoisted over his shoulder. That quickly the image/dream/vision was gone. “That’s it? You woke me up to show me you carried Rachel over your shoulder and slammed the door behind you? What…what am I to do with that?”
Believe me, at that particular moment, at 3:12 in the morning, I did NOT love my hero. Nor did I have good feelings about him throughout the day as I dragged my exhausted kiester around the house. And when I realized I’d have to write 4 more chapters before I could even write that dratted scene, I was less than impressed with Storm Masterson.
Still, he is a charming character. And as Rachel, my heroine, will tell you, the man can kiss good enough to make your toes curl in your stilletos…or your sneakers…or your flipflops.
BLURB FOR STORM’S INTERLUDE:
Nurse Rachel Dennison comes to Texas determined to prepare her new patient for a second round of chemo. What she isn’t counting on is her patient’s twin brother, Storm Masterson. Despite her initial attraction, Storm has two things Rachel can’t abide: a domineering personality and a fiancée.
Half Native American, with the ability to have “vision dreams,” Storm dreams about Rachel for three nights before her arrival. Both are unprepared for the firestorm of emotions their first chance encounter ignites.
Ultimately, it is Rachel’s past—an abusive, maniacal ex-boyfriend—that threatens to keep them apart…and Storm’s dreams that bring them together again.
DOOR SLAMMING EXCERPT:
When Storm pulled in front of the ranch house, Rachel was the first one to barrel out of the SUV. Before she’d made it a dozen steps, Storm grabbed her and threw her over his shoulder like a bag of grain. “Put me down, you lunatic!”
“Like hell.” He stormed into the house, his boots echoing off the hardwood floors of the large foyer. “We’re going to have this out right now. I’m tired of your peeling my hide with your accusations.”
Jackson rushed out of the den into the large hallway. “Storm? What the hell?”
Storm had one hand on the doorknob to his office. “You got all the security measures in place? Anything that demands my immediate attention?”
“Put me down this instant, you…you caveman cowboy!” He smacked her bottom. She yelped. Once he put her down, she was going to tear him apart, limb by cheating limb.
Jackson had a hand over his mouth to hide his laughter. “Have at it, buddy. I’ve done my job.” He took a sleeping Sawyer from Noella. “Sunny and I will put tiger here to bed.”
Storm opened the door to his office, waiting until the couple had the sleeping boy upstairs before he yelled his announcement so the entire first floor could hear: “Anyone who knocks on this door before Rachel and I have worked things out takes their life in their hands. Is that clear?” He slammed the door shut behind them and turned the lock before setting Rachel down on the floor.
She was so incensed, so humiliated, so livid she couldn’t speak. She kicked him in the shin with her sneakered foot. Storm winced before stalking over to the liquor cabinet.
He poured himself two fingers of whiskey, neat, and downed it. He poured another and downed it, too. He hung his head, his hands fisted on the cabinet. “You can make me so damned mad I can’t see straight. No one has ever pushed me over the edge the way you do.”
She fisted her hands on her hips, hiked her chin and glared at him. “Yeah, well, I’d like to slap you into next week, you lying, cheating, poor excuse of a man. You told me things. You told me you loved me. I surrendered to you. I had sex with you.”
“Would you just listen to me for five damn minutes?” He turned to face her and ran both hands through his hair, a sign of frustration.
She folded her arms under her chest. “Okay, but this better be good.”
BUY LINKS:
http://bit.ly/rcCIMa — The Wild Rose Press
            http://amzn.to/pkkcLq  — Amazon
            http://bit.ly/pb9DQd — Barnes & Noble
Come visit me at Vintage Vonnie where I blog. http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com
My website is www.vonniedavis.com