Can pain make you smile?


Welcome Vonnie Davis! I’m thrilled to see you and have I got a cowboy for you! *winks at Vonnie*

Good morning, Calisa darlin’, I’m thrilled to be here. Thanks for inviting me on a day when you don’t normally have guests. See how sweet she is, ladies? I needed a place to blog and she said, “Come on over.”

*Blushes* OMG! When you called for a blog spot I was so worried you’s fill your dance card before seeing my email! I’m so delighted to have you visit my Ranch and share a new (possibly never-before-seen) excerpt. I read it and laughed. But it’s no laughing matter when it comes to your choice of topic for today’s post. Serious stuff– humor. So let’s grab an iced Mocha and danish, or whatever you fancy from the sideboard, and get down to the fun! 🙂

My novella, Those Violet Eyes, released on Wednesday. It’s part of the Honky Tonk series. One pivotal scene has to take place in the Lonesome Steer honky tonk. This was my first time writing for a series, but who could resist? I mean, cowboys! Stetsons…cowboys wearing Stetsons! Chaps…cowboys strutting around in chaps! Horses…cowboys riding horses! Okay, where’s my drool towel?

Oh…mine too. Wowza! 😆

I love to laugh. It’s a part of my intrinsic nature. So it’s no wonder I love writing humor. But what happens when my characters are not humorous people? What if their lives are full of pain? How can I make anything funny out of that?

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The characters in this story came fully fleshed. That’s never happened to me before. Usually I’m tweaking them for the first quarter of the book. Win was a returning vet from the war in Iraq. He lost part of a leg and most of his hearing when the Humvee he was riding in drove over an IED. He also lost three of his buddies and suffers from PTSD. He’s pretty much a mass of war debris at the beginning of the story. Then he meets Evie, a woman with nine-feet of attitude and magnetic violet eyes. She is a spitfire, ladies. Her life is no piece of cake, either. So how do I make my readers smile when my characters are dealing with some serious emotional issues? Yet I know the reader will need a few moments of levity when such heavy issues are involved.

To accomplish this, I often write about things that push the characters buttons, but I try (emphasis on the word “try”) to do so in a humorous manner. Take my heroine, Evie. She’s tired of men pushing her around. Because of a promise she made to her momma on her deathbed, she’s stuck taking care of her brother Dooley—a worthless ne’r-do-well, if ever there was one. So when she meets Win, the new cook at the honky tonk where she’s a waitress, sparks fly. You see, Win is a macho ex-Marine who has no problem telling it the way he sees it. With a few words, he can ruffle her feathers. And Evie never fails to strike back.

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“You working tomorrow night?”

She stilled, her hand on the door. “Yes.”

“Wear a longer skirt.”

Evie spun on her heels. “Excuse me?”

Win reached for another carrot, never sparing her a glance. “You give any consideration to how much you’ll be showing the customers when you bend over to serve them, or wipe off a table? Sure, you got a world-class ass, but do you want to show it off to every cowpoke that comes in here? Is that the kind of woman you are, Evie?”

Her eyes narrowed and her temper shot through the stratosphere. The nerve. Who the hell does this guy think he is? What right did he have to comment on her clothes? There wasn’t a damn thing wrong with her skirt. She’d worn it plenty of times to wait tables here, and no one ever said a word. What was he? Some Neanderthal who thought his maleness gave him power over women?

Evie marched to his side. “Which one?”

His knife never stopped its precise chopping. “Which one what?”

She was so pissed, she trembled. The man needed to be taught a lesson. “Which leg is your real leg?”

His blade stilled and his eyes swept to hers. Pain crept into his features, and she refused to acknowledge she noticed. She was a softy and knew it, but she also stood up for her rights.

“The left one.” His voice was deathly quiet.

Evie hauled off and kicked his left shin. “Keep your stupid remarks to yourself. I dress exactly the way I please.” She turned and hurried toward the door, her hands clenched in fists.


Back ramrod straight, she stopped and waited for the cussing he’d surely give her.

Instead, his deep voice caressed the back of her neck as he said, “Nice meeting you, too.”

Then damn if the man didn’t laugh.



Evie Caldwell hoards every penny for her escape from the servitude life created by a worthless brother and the endless work on a ranch that will never be hers. The last thing she wants is a muscled man with a macho Marine attitude complicating her life. But, oh, how that man can make her insides do a twitchy thing.

Wounded vet, Win Fairchild, returns to Texas to heal, find a piece of his soul and open a ranch for amputee children. Finding someone to love was not on his agenda. Nor was dealing with a wildcat, until she captures his heart with those violet eyes.

But now that he knows what he wants, can Win convince Evie to stay in Texas—and his bed?

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What a beautiful cover and what a great excerpt! Thanks for sharing with us Vonnie. I already have my copy of Those Violet Eyes- stalked Amazon for the moment it went on sale, I did! 😀 Now to find time to read it. I know if it’s anything close to as wonderfully written as Storm’s Interlude (Vonnie’s first release with The Wild Rose Press and if you don’t have it… here’s the link!) it is a masterpiece of words. 

Thanks again for a great post on how to add humor to pain, Vonnie. A wise and fun lesson.

Please let Vonnie know what you think of her methods for mixing two opposite emotions into one read. 🙂


About Calisa Rhose

I'm a mother of three daughters and wife to a wonderful man of 35+ years. I'm also an avid seamstress, polymer clay artisan and die-hard crafter, always coming up with things to make with, and for, my six granddaughters and two grandsons. Check out my craft site when you have a moment. I'm also a small online business owner of Okie fLips on Etsy and Poshmark (eBay/Merkari coming soon), and I'm a published author of sensual romance. I write about stubborn men and women who don't take no for an answer, and there's always that golden HEA. Cowboys and first responders are my favorite contemporary heroes to write about. My light paranormal heroes are strong men ready to protect their women--not that they need protecting, since they are capable of caring for themselves.

Posted on 06/30/2012, in Blogs, guest blogging, inspirations, Pen of the Dreamer, Promotion, Publishers, Welcome and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. I’m a day late but loved the excerpt. Good luck Vonnie!


  2. Great characters Vonnie. They leap off the page. And a fabulous cover.


  3. I love humor in my books. We face comedy and tragedy every day of or real lives. In Those Violet Eyes, it had a great balance. My review is already on Amazon. That tells it all.


  4. Sounds like a fabulous book! I rarely enjoy books that don’t have at least a little humor in them to break up the tension.


    • I love to laugh, Ally. I read every night in bed and when the bed starts shaking from my laughter, Calvin will ask, “Who’s tickling your fancy this time? What’s going on?”


  5. Vonnie, as Calisa can tell you, you’re my kind of writer! Love it and the series name “Honky Tonk” is perfect. Can’t wait to see how he manages to convince her to stay. Thanks Calisa and Vonnie.


  6. Vonnie and Calisa – two of my favourite people together! How awesome! 🙂
    I so enjoyed spending time with Win and Evie and I was spluttering coffee at stages too Calisa! 😉 Reading this excerpt makes me yearn to visit the gorgeous couple all over again – so thats what I’m going to do! 🙂


    • Hi LaVerne, a land hurricane hit our area last night and over half are without power, including us. We’ve been hanging out at restaurants with Wi-FI and the movies, keeping cool. So I’ve been in and out of the Ranch, checking for comments. So pleased to see you dropped by. As always, thanks hon.


    • LaVerne, I left a reply earlier but the internet gremlins musta ate it. Thanks for stopping by and singing praises for Win and Evie.


    • Aren’t you just the sweetest thing out there, LaVerne? Thanks and I can’t wait to read this one. 🙂


  7. I loved Win from your earlier excerpts. Now I love Evie, too! Oh, and thanks for the kind words about NBT.


  8. Great excerpt, Vonnie. Wishing you the best of luck! I really must check into all these wonderful stories from the Honky Tonk Heart series. So many books, so little time!


  9. Thanks. Nancy. We watched a movie the other evening about a handicapped artist and author who did everything with his left foot. The title of the flick was “My Left Foot.” Can you imagine typing out a manuscript with your left toes? My grandaughter was born with her right arm ending just below her elbow joint. The things she can do surprises everyone.


  10. I’ll be looking to find out if it really was his left leg! Great reading, Vonnie!


  11. I love humor in a story. Sounds like a great read. Thanks for sharing.


    • Thanks for stopping by today, Gale. I love humor, too. Our house is filled with laughter. Calvin, my sweet hubster, and I are constantly chuckling about something.


  12. sounds like a fabulous book! I’m not much on humor, although there are times I have what has been called a dry wit–it takes a lot of talent to pull it off in a book. This reminds me of SEP who writes wounded characters and does it with humor. good luck!


    • Oh, Diana, I love a dry wit. My oldest son, a middle grade school teacher, has a dry wit and spending time with him is always a delight. He can say the strangest things and have me rolling with laughter. Writing humor is hard. I have to keep my humor reeled in. I can go over the top with it…I can write great slap-stick comedy. But not everyone enjoys that. Thanks for commenting.


  13. Thanks for being here Vonnie. I’m sorry, if I sprayed anyone with coffee. I can’t help but laugh every single time I read this excerpt! 😆


    • Calisa, I’m finally here!!! Whew! What a night. Storms blew through southern Virginia. We’ve been without power since 9 yesterday evening. We had to drive out of Lynchburg to find a place open to eat. Luckily they have Wi-Fi and I can check in. Ladies, normally I respond to every comment. If I miss a few today, it’s NOT because whatever you wrote isn’t important to me. It is!!! Truly. I’m just not able to access the interenet the way I can at home when everything’s working. Over half of Lynchburg (pop. 75,000) is without power. Many streets are blocked by fallen trees. Temperature is 104…no fun without A/C. Keep cool ladies. Calisa, thanks for having me today. Love visiting the Ranch!


      • I’m just glad you’re safe Vonnie! All hot and dry here on the Ranch and internet’s kicking strong (for a change). I know you’ll jump in whenever possible so we’ll just wait with bated breath for those moments. I hope your air is back on soon. Any idea when the power will be fixed?


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