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2013 in review ~ and a fun new contest

Osiyo~

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s time again for WordPress helper monkeys to regale us with the site stats for Pen of the Dreamer for 2013!

These fun monkeys prepared a year-end annual report for my website/blog. I love this feature! And I’m going to send a few gifts out to some special people who helped make this year a success. Read to the end and see if your name is listed. 🙂

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,200 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

For best overall post with responses:

Ally Robertson aka. Alicia Dean– for an excellent editor’s post and great comments in return! 74 comments with a grand total of 181 views and the highest comment count in 2013, which kicked off last January with a bang!

For most comments posted:

Mae Clair– 39

Liza O’Connor– 36

Kelly Moran– 34

Vonnie Davis– 29

Mackenzie Crowne– 25

I need all six of these lovelies to email me at calisa.rhose@gmail.com with your snail mail addresses!

I have a special *Thank You* gift for those who promoted the heck out of this blog or hosted awesome posts this past year that helped me get some fabulous results. 🙂

But I want more! 😆

In 2014 I’m going to run a year-long contest. Whoever generates the most commenter response for their guest post, and the top commenters for the whole year will win- beginning NOW. That means if you are a guest blogger or have your cover posted on UnCover Monday you need to rally people to visit and COMMENT! Viewers only will not count because views alone don’t raise the post to popularity, but comments can. You will be expected to promote the post in every venue and comment often on your post. Each post can be promoted for longer than your own day since this is a blog that has permalinks to share, but responses ON your day is what counts, that’s the date WP records. 😀 Plus, the more you comment, the more numbers you rack up toward winning that category too! 😀

You want to beat this years’ winning numbers so that means more visits per contestant. 🙂 I’m putting a minimum of 50 comments per entrant for the year, and it would be awesome sauce if bloggers can beat 74 comments for guest posters on that day. Maybe 100? More? Leave a comment here to get you started. It can be a new year’s resolution to WIN MY CONTEST!!!!!!!!!

Periodically throughout the year I’ll post a contest reminder because I know we all get busy and don’t always take time, or even have time, to visit and comment on a lot of blogs. We forget to keep up when life intervenes. When it’s over, I’ll pick the top two blogging guests and top four commenters. Winners will receive a goody bags or gift cards-not to mention awesome recognition if you are promoting yourself and/or a book. If you are a winner it will be announced on New Years Day 2015 with a link to you in recognition. Later this year I’ll post the prizes to motivate everyone. 🙂

I wish you all have a blessed New Year!

Dodadagohvi~

NOTE:
This is a world wide contest.
Void where prohibited by law.
No purchase is necessary.
Participants MUST be 18 years or older and winners may be asked to verify age.
Prizes will only be mailed inside the US, and within 30 days of contest end.
Winners outside the US will receive a GC* within 30 days of contest end.
*Gift card amounts TBA, but will not be valued at less than one prize package.
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Calisa Rhose welcomes Vonnie Davis and Santa!

Osiyo~

I’m jumping around over here and it’s not to keep warm as this blasted snow storm comes into Oklahoma, (though that would be a good reason to jump too). No, I have the darling Vonnie Davis back on the ranch whooping it up with me! Actually, she’s taking over the round pen, but don’t worry. I have heaters out to keep her toasty and cider heating with the li’l smokies and wine. 😀

Take it away, V!

Vonnie_logo_grayTealI’m thrilled to be back at the ranch with you, Calisa, and all your readers. We’re knee-deep into the holiday season, baking cookies and making candy. I’m still trying to work off the weight I gained over Thanksgiving. You know, I heard a male newscaster say we really only gain a pound over Thanksgiving. I’d like to hunt that rascal down! I ask you, have you ever only gained one pound? Not I. Make it three, and you’re talking.

Holidays revolve around the traditions of food. For my family, it’s homemade coconut cracker pudding, an old German recipe passed down through generations. buckeyes_VDMy grown children, who live in other states, sulk if they don’t get their boxes of peanut butter fudge, buck-eyes and corn-flake candy in the mail. I spend so many hours standing in the kitchen my feet swell. I suppose that comes from not cooking as much as I once did…my legs and feet protest at the sudden abuse.

Our grandchildren are teenagers now and appreciate gift cards and money so they can pick out their own gifts. Grandma’s tastes are a little too “odd” for their liking. Imagine that? To compensate not having little ones to shop for, Calvin and I pick several names off the Angel Tree at our local shopping mall. We buy those children sneakers and coats and toys. These gifts are our Christmas to each other. There’s really nothing we need, so we focus on others.

I tried to carry this spirit over to my Christmas novella, Santa Wore Leathers. Wolf and his family visit two senior homes every year to sing Christmas carols and hand out gifts. His squad at the fire station also rides in the bike ride for children’s toys—Harleys, hunks and heroines riding for a good cause.

Wolf_VDBut it was quite a while before my heroine, Becca, looked on her new neighbor as doing anything hero-worthy. With a steady stream of women in and out of his townhouse, she referred to him as man-whore on her blog, “The Things Men Do.” Up close, though, she seriously had to fight the attraction.

EXCERPT:

Becca finished her post and closed her laptop. “Einstein, are you ready for your walk?” Her German shepherd barked once in response and circled her twice. “Get your leash while I put on my shoes.”

Einstein slipped his rope off the doorknob and carried it to her, his head held proudly and his backside wiggling in anticipation of their morning run. Becca tied her sneakers and did a few quick stretches before snapping the leash onto the dog’s collar.

Two miles later they returned to Seashell Lane, jogging toward home in her gulf-side community on the northern fringes of Clearwater, Florida. She loved her neighborhood, a comfortable blend of retirees and small families. Her gaze swept to the town house next to hers. At least, until two weeks ago, when her new neighbor with his constant stream of female visitors moved in. The man went through women quicker than her ex-husband.

Just then his door opened, and man-whore stepped out on his small front porch. In a purely feminine reaction, she reached to smooth back her hair. Suddenly, Einstein wrenched his leash from her grip and took off.

“Einstein! Einstein, stop!” She sprinted after her errant dog.

Her neighbor pivoted. Einstein leaped, knocking him back against the door. “Whoa, there big guy!” He accepted the canine kisses and aimed dark eyes at her. “Is he yours? He’s some dog.” His large hands ruffled Einstein’s fur. Firm biceps flexed under her neighbor’s black Harley T-shirt, and the bottom of a wicked tribal tattoo peeked from beneath his right sleeve.

“Yes. I’m sorry he jumped on you. He never takes off like that.” No doubt one dog recognized another.

“Man, I’d love a dog like him. A man’s dog, you know? I’ve got a cat. Not by choice, though. When my sister went off to college, she left Fluffy with me.”

Man-whore aimed a wide smile at her, his perfectly straight teeth a contrast to his tan. A dimple winked. The fact he only had one dimple was the singular flaw on his flawlessly handsome face. Now that she was within five feet of him, she could clearly examine his features. Having watched him through her window from time-to-time, she knew he was tall and muscular. But up close, she realized he had the body of a serious weight lifter. His long, dark brown hair was brushed straight back. The skin crinkled at the corners of espresso-colored eyes when he smiled, which he seemed to do easily and frequently. Yet, it was the vision of him holding a cat named Fluffy that nearly made her smile. Muscle man and putty cat.

“You live next door, don’t you?” He jerked his head toward her home.

She bent to grasp the end of her dog’s leash. “Yes, I do.”

He extended his hand when she straightened. “Dan Wolford.” His dimple flashed again and his smile did all kinds of twitchy things to her insides. “Most people simply call me Wolf.”

I’ll just bet they do.

She glanced at his hand for a second. No need to be rude, even if she didn’t care for his cavalier attitude toward women. She did the polite thing. “Welcome to the neighborhood, Dan.”

“Wolf, please.” His large paw enveloped hers, and warmth spread upwards from her stomach, did a backflip and then dove downwards. Meanwhile, his dark gaze assessed her entire body and face, as if she were the most dazzling woman in sweaty running clothes he’d ever seen. His solitary dimple winked along with his thousand-watt smile. One dark eyebrow rose as if he were waiting for her to share her name. She wasn’t sure why she hesitated. She was reluctant.  Fueled by his cocksure attitude, no doubt. Now there was a cliché, if ever she’d heard one.

His thumb rubbed slow, lazy circles over her knuckles detonating sensual signals straight to her core. Oh, he was good at this magnetism stuff.

Wolf glanced at her prancing, panting dog. “Einstein, does your owner have a name? It looks like she’s not sharing today.”

Oh, for Pete’s sake.

SantaWoreLeathers_VonnieDavisBLURB:

There’s only one thing on Becca Sinclair’s Christmas list this holiday season – her very own column in the local paper. And if she can build a huge blog following, her wish just might come true.

Enter Dan “Wolf” Wolford aka the man-whore next door and the new star of Becca’s popular, post-divorce blog about men. A Navy SEAL turned commander of the Florida Marine Rescue Unit, Wolf’s the very definition of the word alpha – and with an endless rotation of women on his doorstep, this hunk on a Harley has Becca and her female followers all hot and bothered!

All Becca wants for Christmas is her newspaper column, right? But when she finds herself the target of Wolf’s irresistible attentions, her snarky comebacks become less and less convincing and, suddenly, she’s not so sure anymore…

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON ~ http://bit.ly/SantaLeathers

BARNES & NOBLE ~  http://bit.ly/1846Aau

Please visit me at my blog: http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com

Or follow me on Facebook: Vonnie Davis.

I tweet under VonnieWrites, if you care to follow me in the twitterverse.

Thank you for visiting and brightening the day here on the ranch, Vonnie! Best of luck with your Santa in Leather. Not that you need it. 😆

Dodadagohvi~

Calisa Rhose ~ Check out the 2nd annual IDA winners

Osiyo~

I haven’t blogged on my own Ranch for a while so I wanted to do a special today. As a lot of you are now aware, the Oklahoma RWA chapter hosts the National Reader’s Choice Awards and just finished with our 22nd (?) year of this awesome contest where readers choose their favorite authors. Those lucky winners are awarded their prizes at RWA Nationals each summer. That contest is for print books only.

We thought ebooks were not getting the recognition they and those wonderful authors deserved, so we decided to do something about that. Last year OKRWA started a new contest called International Digital Award (IDA) and it was a rousing success. This year was also a great success but we need to get the word out to more epublished authors. I want to introduce you to this year’s winners and their books. Now you know I don’t usually host erotica on the Ranch, but I’m gonna for this event so I apologize up front to those who might be offended. But for the sake of being fair to all our winners, I will post ALL ebooks including that category.

So here we go with our FIRST PLACE WINNERS!

Contemporary Novel

Playing the Game by Stephanie Queen – Publisher: Self-Published

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Contemporary Short

Those Violet Eyes by Vonnie Davis – Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

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Erotic Novel

Sharing Hailey by Samantha Ann King – Publisher: Carina Press

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 Erotic Short

Snow White and Her Seven Lovers by Jenna Ives – Publisher: Self-Published

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Historical Novel

Angel’s Assassin by Laurel O’Donnell – Publisher:  O’Donnell Books (Self-Published)

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Historical Short

Tumbleweed Letters by Vonnie Davis – Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

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Inspirational Novel

A Light in the Window by Julie Lessman – Publisher: Ten Talents Press

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Inspirational Short

First Place (TIE):

The Key to Charlotte by E.A. West – Publisher: White Rose Publishing (An Imprint of Pelican Books)

AND

Operation Breathless by Marianne Evans – Publisher: White Rose Publishing (An Imprint of Pelican Books)

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Paranormal Novel

First Place (TIE):

Rogues Pawn by Jeffe Kennedy – Publisher: Carina Press

AND

Chain Reaction The Phenom League by T.C. Archer – Publisher: Broken Arm Publishing

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Paranormal Short

Blood Moon by Silver James – Publisher: Silver James Books: Self-Published

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Suspense Novel:

Death Offerings (The Northland Crime Chronicles Book 2) by Alicia Dean – Publisher: Self-Published

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Suspense Short:

Skinbound (Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll) by Anna Kittrell – Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

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Young Adult (Combined Novels and Shorts)

The Captive Heiress by Blair Bancroft – Publisher: Kone Enterprises (Self-Published)

Happy CONGRATULATIONS to all our winners! Please help celebrate by Liking, Tweeting and Facebooking this post to show these talented writers how happy we are for them.

If you’d like to be one of these lucky people next year I invite you to go to the IDA website and find out how. It’s really easy! I’ll make it easier by giving you the golden link: http://okrwa.com/contests/international-digital-awards/rules-faqs/ 😆 We at OKRWA look forward to *seeing* you at next year’s sign-up.

If you can’t enter the contest, have no fear! You are ever so welcome to sign-up and be one of our treasured judges! Here’s the golden link for judging: http://okrwa.com/contests/international-digital-awards/judging-information/ 😀

Most of all, THANK YOU for visiting this post and showing our winners some Ranch love!

Dodadagohvi~

Vonnie Davis says ~ Rain is a Love Song ~

Oh my, I’m thrilled to have the illustrious, incomparable and totally cool Vonnie Davis back again! 🙂

Calisa, I’m thrilled to be back on the ranch. Today I want to talk about a FREEBIE on Amazon this week. Free, ya gotta love it!

Oh, I love free, too! Tell us about the book, V. What sub-genre is it?

This is book two of my romantic suspense trilogy and is entitled RAIN IS A LOVE SONG. Each of these books begin in Paris and then move to other locales. This book takes place in Paris, Budapest and Asheville, North Carolina. Each book in the series involves a different romantic couple, yet all are fighting or running from the same band of terrorists—The Red Hand.

I would love to visit Paris. I know you’ve been. Can you see my green? Why choose this city for the series?

The City of Light is my favorite place in the whole world next to wherever my six grandchildren are. You know how that is, Calisa. Nothing measures up to our grandkids. In my heart I feel they are God’s way of showing us the world needs to go on—and we need to protect Mother Earth for their sakes.

Oh, I so agree. I keep threatening to get the heck out of Oklahoma with the tornadoes, but the kids are here… I know what would be fun! Tell me three facts about your grandchildren.

Three? But…but there are so many things to share… Okay. Three, it is. Josh, the second to the oldest of my grandchildren, recently returned safely from serving in Afghanistan. Eleni, my oldest granddaughter, is a freshman in college and majoring in psychology—so she can figure out her grandma, no doubt. Ryan, my scholar-athlete, can do square roots in his head. And although Lauren was born with only one hand, she is an excellent swimmer. Yes, I know that’s more than three, but I’m a romance writer not a mathematician. <cheesy grandma grin>

I know. I could never stop at just three either. Let’s try again. Tell us your three favorite movies of all time.

Because I love conspiracy theories, I’d have to say “JFK.” Another favorite is “The Great Debaters” with Denzel Washington. All of the Bourne movies because there’s the underlying thread of conspiracy and political intrigue. And since I’m a James Bond nut, all of the 007 flilms. Oops, I almost forgot my favorite romance, “Pretty Woman.” Oh, and “The Blues Brothers” just because it’s so dumb, yet full of music I love.

I am so shaking my head at you. You killed the three with Bond alone. I’m giving you one more try with this counting business.

Tell us three facts each about your hero and heroine in this romantic suspense book. Three! In bullet form, so we can see you’re counting properly.

Why, Calisa, you act as if I can’t count. I’ll gladly do whatever you say. This is your ranch, after all. <bats eyes demurely>

Uh-huh *rolls eyes* You’re not foolin’ anyone. Start counting. <hides cheesy grin>

  1. Jean-Luc LeFevre, with a father from Paris and a mother from Budapest, is an agent with the French counterterrorism unit and is also an ex-Maritime Commando, the French equivalent of our SEALS.
  2. He enjoys books on history, seeing to the safety of those he cares about and black lace on his women, of which there have been many until he meets an annoying American woman whom he finds too aggressive and damn annoying.
  3. Working undercover is his forte (pun intended), yet he financially supports an orphanage in Budapest because of his fondness for children and to atone for his sister’s abduction while he was supposed to be watching her.

~ ~ * ~ ~ * ~ ~

  1. Gwen Morningstar lost her husband, her best friend since childhood, while he served in Iraq when their daughter, Rhiannon, was only two.
  2. A control freak, Gwen is a crime scene photographer for the North Carolina State Police and also takes classes in things like karate, plumbing, car maintenance and pole dancing.
  3. Her sister Alyson—heroine in book one of the series—lives in Paris, so when Gwen visits she sees Jean-Luc, a man she takes a perverse pleasure in picking on just to see the tick in his eye worsen.

Didn’t think I could do it, did you?

So…we’re not counting that extra little tidbit you sneaked in? Yeah, that’s right. I noticed how you slipped her added little fact in Jean-Luc’s three… Really, just check out the second part of #2.

I’m afraid to ask if you brought along an excerpt.

Of course I did. I’m afraid it’s kinda long though…but I wanted to share the opening scene.

RainIsALoveSong _w7354_300 (2)

It wasn’t the hardened man who eased his motorcycle to the curb that snagged Gwen Morningstar’s attention. Nor was it the wide spread of his shoulders or the way his black jeans hugged his muscled thighs like a pair of lover’s hands. For sure, it wasn’t the long scar on his right cheek or the small silver cross that dangled from his ear. No, it was his pristine-white angel wings that dragged on the pavement.

Odd that Parisians hurried past without so much as a second glance. As if seeing a mountain of a man riding a Harley with angel wings flowing down his back was as common as citizens carrying unwrapped crusty loaves of bread in their hands. No one gawked as their feet tattooed a staccato beat on the busy pavements of the City of Light. Few things fazed Parisians, it seemed.

“Mommy, look, it’s Jean-Luc.” Her daughter, Rhiannon, breathed in childhood hero worship before she exploded from her sidewalk café chair and rushed toward the man in angel wings.

“I’m not quite sure how I feel about her attraction to him.” Gwen watched over the rim of her demitasse, sipping the espresso’s strong brew and inhaling the richness of its aroma. Jean-Luc LeFevre scooped Rhiannon into his arms and slowly circled, laughing that deep rich laugh Gwen so enjoyed. God, the man was glorious decked out in perilous black and angelic feathers.

“Why? You’re certainly attracted.” Her sister, Alyson, shifted in her chair, her hand over her swollen abdomen. “You date him each time you come to Paris.”

“Yes, and we always end up rubbing each other the wrong way.” Gwen set her cup on the saucer. “Rhiannon wants a father more than anything for her sixth birthday next month.” She expelled a long sigh. “I’m afraid she’s fostering hopes. I don’t like the idea of her being disappointed.”

“Aren’t you fostering hopes?” Her sister laid her hand over Gwen’s and smiled her soft smile. “I see how you look at him.”

Jean-Luc removed his feathered wings, and evidenced by Rhiannon’s bubbling excitement, he was going to let her try them on. Gwen tugged her camera from her bulky shoulder bag at her feet to snap pictures of her daughter in angel wings—not that her daughter wasn’t already an angel with her halo of blonde curls and sweet personality.

“Hopes?” She adjusted the shutter speed on her old camera and shook her head. “No. I have no illusions where he’s concerned. This is my third trip to Paris to see you, and he gets more abrupt toward me with each visit.”

Alyson gazed at the man for a second. “He’s never been anything but polite toward me.”

“Yeah, well, not to me. Tell that husband of yours he needs friendlier agents working under him.” She pressed the Nikon to her eye and snapped a few shots of Rhiannon.

“Yet you keep flirting in that bodacious way you have. Maybe if you toned it down a notch, he’d relax around you more.”

“Can’t do it. I enjoy rattling his he-man cage too much. He gets that twitch in his eye. Makes him twice as appealing.” She winked at Alyson. “Personally, my sister-the-matchmaker, I think you’re the one harboring hopes. You want Daddy married to your widowed mother-in-law and me married to Jean-Luc. One heck of a stretch since the man hasn’t spoken to me since we went dancing a two nights ago. Besides our lives are back in the States. My job. Rhiannon’s school. Our home.”

 “Mommy! Mommy, look, I’m an angel.” Gwen’s attention pivoted to her daughter.

“Indeed you are, sugar pie.” She centered her angelic child in the frame and adjusted the lens before she snapped more shots while her daughter preened and turned, glowing that effervescent radiance her Rhiannon possessed. How nice to take pictures of living beings and beautiful surroundings instead of the horrific scenes she recorded as a crime scene photographer.

If only that white van wasn’t parked there, she could get the unusual architecture of the Pompidou Museum in the background. Still, with her trained eye, she knew the pictures would be enchanting—an excited child, a pair of huge angel wings and a smiling government agent. If only he’d aim one of those smiles at me. Once, just once.

“You’re mumbling again.” Alyson shot her a gotcha look and laughed. Goodness, had she expressed her wish out loud?

After Jean-Luc reattached his wings and approached their table, he knelt in front of Alyson. “How are you feeling?” His large hands wrapped around her sister’s baby bump. “How’s my goddaughter today?”

Lord, just the sound of his deep voice and thick French accent made her stomach do twitchy things. Of course, he would pointedly ignore her—the jerk. He’d make over Rhiannon, Alyson and the baby, but not one word for her. She had a hunch as to why, too. She scared him. This was a man used to doing the chasing, not being chased. Not that she was determined in her pursuit, but she did enjoy his discomfort at her flirting.

She raised her demitasse again and motioned to him with it. “So, why the wings, handsome? Doing your impersonation of a Hell’s Angel?”

Jean-Luc blinked twice as he regarded her with cold grey eyes. The thin scar that ran from his cheek to his jaw only added to the fierceness of this austere man. Red slowly crept up his thick neck. His eye twitched, which pleased her.

“When one is undercover, one makes himself a part of his surroundings.” He gave that arrogant French shrug Parisian men used as if it were a part of their DNA. “Here in the land of the avant-garde, anything shocking works.” Then, as if to indicate he was through with her, he looked at Alyson once more. “Where’s Niko?”

“He went for tickets to the museum so I wouldn’t have to stand in line. Oh, here he comes now.”

Jean-Luc stood and turned. Somehow the angel wings running the length of his back to his calves made him look two degrees more lethal, which perplexed Gwen. What a strange paradox he was. Muscles and macho attitude blended with a fondness for children.

Alyson was right; she was definitely attracted. Wasted dreams where he was concerned. Another week and their trip would be over. She, Rhiannon and her father would return to the States.

Rhiannon sidled up to Jean-Luc and leaned against him. His arm wrapped around her narrow shoulders; a natural move on his part, but another endearing one for Rhiannon who glanced up at him with worshipful eyes. Maybe she needed to squelch her desires for this man and focus on keeping an emotionally safe distance between her daughter and him.

“Rhiannon, come sit by Mommy and eat the rest of your pastry.” The girl reluctantly obeyed.

“Problems?” Niko, Jean-Luc’s immediate supervisor at the French counterterrorism unit, asked before he bent to kiss his wife’s upturned face.

“Yeah, we need to talk. I learned some things from the man I met at that café off Place Pigalle.”

Niko nodded. “You’ve got five minutes, and then I’m taking my ladies to the museum.” The two men walked toward a quieter area down the street.

Gwen’s gaze followed them, their conversation obviously intense by their body posture. They certainly made the testosterone level in this artsy neighborhood rise, especially Jean-Luc’s very masculine bearing. Even those wings couldn’t detract from the man’s sexual aura.

“You’re drooling.” Alyson reached across the table and dabbed at Gwen’s chin.

“Oh, I am not.” She batted at Alyson’s hand, and both of them laughed. “Oh, honey, I miss you so much. Why did you have to fall in love with a Frenchman and move here?”

“Fifi! Fifi, come back! Little girl, grab his leash, please.” A frantic dog owner ran toward them, pointing to her runaway poodle.

Rhiannon scampered toward the dog, making clicking noises with her tongue to attract the dog’s attention just before snatching its leash.

Gwen tensed. Something was off. How did this woman know her daughter spoke English and not French? True, many Europeans spoke English, but she had this ominous feeling. Mother’s intuition.

“Rhiannon, stop. Come back.” She stood, her heartbeat pounding in her ears.

“Oh, merci beaucoup!” The dog’s owner stopped beside the van, one hand on it to steady herself and her other pressed to her chest, as if catching her breath. “You are a dear child. Could you bring her to me, please? I’m so out of breath.”

She didn’t sound out of breath.

A chill sprinted down her spine and Gwen started to run, intent on reaching her daughter. “Rhiannon, stop!” In her haste, her foot got tangled in the strap of her bag and she tripped. Air whooshed out of her when she hit the sidewalk. She scraped her chin and bit her tongue. Her eyes watered in response.

To her horror, the side door of the white van flew open. Outstretched hands like tentacles from the vehicle’s dark interior grasped her daughter and yanked her inside.

“Mommy!” Her child’s wail of fear tore at her soul.

Bile rose in Gwen’s throat. My God, this can’t be happening. “No! Stop!” Panic, searing hot, yet bitter cold, tornadoed through her system. Rhiannon!

Alyson screamed for Niko.

Gwen scrambled to untangle her foot from her bag. “No! Not my daughter! Stop them! They’ve taken my child!” She flung the offending bag aside and dashed for the van as it sped away. The vehicle took aim at Jean-Luc’s motorcycle and crushed its back wheel in the process, then careened into the street.

Heavy footsteps pounded behind her. A blur of white feathers sprinted by. The vehicle, trying to weave through traffic on the two-lane street, slowed. Jean-Luc’s long legs ate up the distance. He leapt onto the back bumper and scrambled for the top. The van spun around the corner with an avenging angel clinging to its roof.

* * *

THIS IS A FREE DOWNLOAD ON AMAZON UNTIL SATURDAY. DON’T MISS OUT!!! HERE’S THE LINK: http://www.amazon.com/Rain-Love-Song-Conspiracy-ebook/dp/B00BK9QV3K/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_1_NMZE

You brought an excellent selection, Vonnie. I forgive all the others! And you brought Niko back too, can’t go wrong with that! 🙂 Thanks for hanging and entertaining (as is your perfect style!) and I can’t wait to get my copy!

It’s Fantabulous and Awesome Vonnie Davis!!!

UnCover Banner Day

I found some great banners from some awesome romance writers to share with you today! Check these out.

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TheChocolateAffair_HelenEllis_Banner

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UnCover Mondays ~ Cover Reveals ~ Calisa Rhose

Welcome to the first ever edition of UnCover Mondays on The Ranch!!! Enjoy this weeks’covers to ogle and explore. You can follow the author links by clicking each book cover to learn more about them and see what other books they have to offer. Be sure to return next Monday for some amazing video trailers by authors!

♥  ♥ ♥ ♥  ♥ 

Title: MONA LISA’S ROOM

Author: Vonnie Davis

http://www.vonniedavis.com

Genre: Romantic suspense

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Available: Nov 9, 2012

Gwen,

You won’t believe this email. I’m sitting in a French safe house, eating caviar and drinking champagne with a 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’ve 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

♥  ♥ ♥ ♥  ♥ 

Title: Gossamer

Author: Renita Pizzitola

http://www.renitapizzitola.com

Genre: YA/Paranormal/Romance

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Available: October 8, 2012

Shouldn’t all faerytales end with happily-ever-after?

Kyla Ashbury is nearing her eighteenth birthday when a mysterious boy appears at school. Her instant attraction to him inexplicably awakens something inside her and she discovers her true identity.

Now, armed with the knowledge of her past, she is forced to leave behind the life she has always known for a new one filled with temptation, faery charm and magic, and a future she wasn’t prepared for.

Kyla is left with a difficult decision…but no matter which path she chooses, someone will get hurt.

♥  ♥ ♥ ♥  ♥ 

 Title: Lady in the Mist

Author: Winter Frost

http://AliciaDean.com

Genre: Suspense

Self Published

Available: July 26. 2012

Upon her arrival in Shoal Harbor, Maine, Lily Jackson hears eerie moans that the locals claim are the ghostly cries of the unfortunate Breckenridge women. Running from loss and setback in Cincinnati, Lily needs the job as semi-psychiatric caregiver for Andrew Breckenridge, but the storm she has to weather from the oldest Breckenridge brother is severe. Clinton Breckenridge is a brooding man used to getting his own way, and he’s not convinced Lily is the right person to help his troubled younger brother.

Even as Lily starts picking up the pieces of Andrew’s tortured psyche and finding out his dark secrets, another mystery looms before her. Andrew’s lover has gone missing in recent months and no one knows what has happened to her, or if her voice has joined those of the other Breckenridge women. Before she knows it, Lily finds herself in danger—thrust directly into the eye of the raging storm.

♥  ♥ ♥ ♥  ♥ 

Title: The Accidental Cougar

Author: Tiffany York

http://tiffanynyorkauthor.com

Genre: Contemporary

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Available Nov 23, 2012

Forty-one-year-old Nicole Woods was content raising her son alone, working as an ad exec, and indulging in the more than occasional cleaning frenzy…until the night she met Wil Blanco. Her friends have decided that while her son is away for six weeks, it’s the perfect opportunity for Nicole to have a summer fling. Heading the top of the list is Wil — sexy, successful, full of life…and twenty-five! Regretfully, Nicole declares him “hands-off,” but soon he’s complicating everything, from her job at the advertising agency to her self-imposed ban on relationships. When Wil becomes her top client, she has even more reason to adhere to her “hands-off” policy. So why is Nicole finding it so hard to keep her hands off him?

 ♥  ♥ ♥ ♥  ♥ 

Title: The Treasure of Como Bluff 

Author: Alison Henderson

Genre: Historical

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Available: Dec. 5, 2012

In her race against rival bone hunters, the last complication paleontologist Caroline Hubbard needs is an unconscious stranger cluttering up her dig site. Nicholas Bancroft might have the chiseled features and sculpted physique of a classical statue, but she’s not about to let him hamper her quest to unearth a new species of dinosaur and make her mark on the scientific world.

Nick has come to Wyoming in search of silver but, after a blow to the head, finds himself at the mercy of a feisty, determined female scientist. Despite his insistence that he’s just passing through, he agrees to masquerade as Caroline’s husband to help save her job. Once their deception plays out, they face a crucial decision. Will they be able to see beyond their separate goals and recognize the treasure right in front of them?

♥  ♥ ♥ ♥  ♥ 

Title: The Billionaire’s Con

Author: Mackenzie Crowne

mackenziecrowne.com

Genre: Contemporary

Publisher: Still Moments Publishing

Available: Nov. 20, 2012

Meggy Calhoun has too much on her plate to explore the shocking revelations in her birth mother’s letter. The success of Boston’s hottest new restaurant rests squarely on her shoulders, and her fascination with her hunky new tenant promises to take up all of her free time.

Trevor Bryce Christos would do anything to protect the woman who raised him; including seducing a beautiful con artist disguised as a chef, and bent on cashing in on his family’s wealth.
Under the microscope of small town interest, Meggy’s and Trevor’s opposing agendas soon have the townsfolk choosing sides, and betting on who will be the first to surrender the field, and their heart.

♥  ♥ ♥ ♥  ♥ 

JAMES BOND AND ME, WHO-DA-THUNK-IT? by Vonnie Davis

Osiyo~

Welcome back! I’m happy to see you if this is your first visit to The Ranch. I hope you like my home on the net and return soon.

A quick commercial break, before we get to the guest of the week, to announce the winner of Anna Kittrell’s scrimshaw doll book, SKINBOUND from Friday’s special post. Congratulations Christine Warner!!! I’ll contact you soon!!! 😀

 It’s been a busy month so far. Nano, work, getting ready for the holidays… The list of activities keep growing. But here on The Ranch we’re still going at a steady clip-clop and to start this week off, I have the fabulous and fun Vonnie Davis chatting about, of all things, James Bond and Mona Lisa. Grab your snack and drink and let’s settle in for a guaranteed smile.

My older grandsons, who are in their early twenties, have tales to tell of all-night James Bond Marathons at grandmas. Pizzas, cookies, popcorn, and soda. Oh, we do know how to party-down. Tim always wants to pick and chose the order in which we view the movies. Josh, with his ADD and need for routine, insists we watch them in order. I’m just grateful he no longer insists on sitting on grandma’s lap covered with one particular afghan. We watch these movies amid a chorus of “here it comes” just before an explosion or car chase. Yup, we pretty much know the action scenes by heart.

In my recently released MONA LISA’S ROOM, Alyson my heroine loves James Bond, too. Gee, imagine that! In fact, she sometimes refers to the hero, who still lives at home with his mother, as James-momma’s-boy-Bond.

I’m always keeping an eye out for the release date of the next Bond flick, so imagine my shock and utter delight when the date was announced: November 9th. The same day as my book release. How cool is that? Serendipity, don’t you think? 

Personally, I think ole James is trying to horn in on my action, but James and I are like this, so what can I say? 

BLURB:

Gwen,

You won’t believe this email. I’m sitting in a French safe house, eating caviar and drinking champagne with a 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’ve 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

Excerpt:

“What is it?” Alyson peered up and down the street.

“Don’t look. Smile at me. Talk and act normal.” He wrapped his arm around her waist and nudged her up the street.

“But…” Did he see someone? Did he see Dembri?

“I’m going to kiss you so I have an excuse to look behind us.”

“Oh no. No, I don’t think so. Look, I’ve put up with your constant touching, but I’ll not be kissed on a public street.”

“Don’t be self-conscious. In Paris, we kiss in public. It’s the Parisian way.”

“For heaven’s sake! Make it quick then.” She shook her arms to relax them because she was anything but relaxed. She was about to be kissed for the first time in years. Did she remember how? Stop being silly. Kissing is simple. Two pair of lips touch. Kiss done. With her head tilted back, she whispered, “Okay, I’m ready.”

A smile tugged at the corners of Niko’s lips. He encircled her in his arms and stepped in so their thighs touched. Her stomach fluttered. Her breathing hitched. He lowered his head. “Hang on, Aly.” With his dark brown eyes open, he placed his lips on hers and pulled her body against his. She kept her eyes open, too, figuring it would lessen the kiss’ effects.

Niko kissed her, gentle sips at first, soft and sensual. Someone made a moaning noise, and she feared it might have been her. My God what a pair of lips! Her toes curled in her new Pradas. Her hands curled around the lapels of his jacket.She wrapped her hands around the lapels of his jacket. Then his lips locked on hers and with his tongue invading her mouth, he turned her to look over her shoulder, all the while wreaking havoc on her system.

This was the first time she’d been in a man’s arms in years. The first time she had tongue from a guy since college and said guy was more interested in looking behind her for some hoodlum than in the kiss. Just her damn luck.

When Niko ended the mind-blowing kiss, he pulled her closer, if that were possible, and whispered in her ear. “We’re being followed. Hold my hand and run.”

Run? Melting came to mind, but running? How could she run when he kissed her until the bones in her legs turned to jelly? Plus, she was wearing new high heels, for heaven’s sake. His arms squeezed her for an instant. “Now.”

He grabbed her hand, and they took off. They dodged throngs of pedestrians and at one point, Niko hurtled over a poodle, its protective owner shouting in French outrage, calling him a fool. “Fou! Fou! Mon chien, mon chien!”

Alyson had done her fair share of running, especially after her break up with Chaz, the stranger she was married to all those years. Running was a stress reliever; so were the StairMaster and martial arts. Still, those activities were done in sneakers or barefooted, not high heels. Stilettos, no less. Oh, and the thong. Let’s not forget the damn thong chafing her in places she didn’t want to think about. She’d kill Gwen when she got home.

“Faster, Aly!”

“You put me in three-inch heels and expect me to run fast? You bossy Frenchman with a foot fetish.” She stumbled, and he caught her.

“Typical woman. Kiss her once and she figures she has the right to bitch at you.” Niko’s head turned, evidently scanning the area as they ran.

She tried jerking her arm free of his ironclad grasp. “So help me, God, if that terrorist doesn’t kill you, I will.”

He pulled her around two uniformed nannies pushing toddlers in strollers. “Promises. Promises.”

“Yeah, well look how nice my hips sway now, nutso, running in these damned heels.”

Niko quickly glanced up and down the wide tree-lined street and evidently seeing a slight break in traffic, ordered, “To the other side. Now.” They bolted across the four-lane boulevard and its well-manicured median. Two motorbikes rumbled past, nearly hitting them. Horns blared as several Renaults and Smart Cars barreled down the street. Niko shoved her out of the way and she fell, her hands and knees scraping on the asphalt. Brakes screeched and there was a dull thud behind her. She glanced back over her shoulder just as Niko rolled across the hood of a silver car. He never broke stride. “Run, dammit!”

She struggled to get up, her heel caught in the hem of her skirt. Niko set her on her feet again. A delivery truck swerved toward them as if to run them down. In a blur of movement, Niko drew his weapon. He dove and rolled clear of the truck’s path, shooting the driver between the eyes. Glass shattered. Passersby screamed. The truck jumped the curb, striking a tree. Sounds of metal crunching and a tree branch cracking obliterated, for a few horrible seconds, the pedestrians’ reactions.

Still on the move, Niko barked orders at the observers. A man nodded and reached for his cell phone. “Quick. In here. While we’re hidden by the truck.” Niko wrapped his hand around her arm and tugged.

Alyson trembled, the back of her hand covering her mouth and her eyes glued to the man slumped over the steering wheel of the truck not five feet away. Blood flowed from his forehead. Her stomach twisted. She was going to be sick. Niko’s grip on her arm tightened. “Move it, Aly. We’re still being followed.”

BUY LINKS:

THE WILD ROSE PRESS (digital) — http://bit.ly/MonaLisaDigital

THE WILD ROSE PRESS (paperback) — http://bit.ly/MonaLisasRoom

AMAZON — http://amzn.to/QQZGyD

FIND ME ONLINE AT http://www.vonniedavis.com

BLOGGING AT http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com

Book Trailer: http://bit.ly/MonaTrailer

And people wonder why I don’t wear thongs! LOL

What? I’m KIDDING! But I’m not joking when I say I never get enough of your humor, Vonnie! In writing and speech, you just know how to start my day with a smile. Thanks for sharing this excerpt and your newest release!

Thank you all for visiting us and I hope you like her book enough to pick up a copy. After all, Christmas is coming. 😉

Dodadagohvi~

It’s A Man! With A Woman!

Osiyo~

Oh my goodness! I’m so very excited to have on the Ranch today, the first MAN to join me in the Round Pen! No kidding! I’ve been waiting for this day for nearly a year and it’s here. Many may have heard in the past, my fellow Rose, Vonnie Davis, speak so lovingly of her husband, but how many know he is also an author in his own right? Please, give a huge Ranch welcome to my distinguished guest, Calvin Davis!

Calisa, thanks for inviting me to your blog. From what Vonnie has shared, you romance writers are a close-knit group, so I feel honored you’ve asked me to talk to your readers today.

We may be close-knit, Calvin- but I’m proud to say we’re also a diverse and open-minded group of writers anxious to get to know you better. Let’s get started.

Vonnie has mentioned the two of you met online. Is that right?

Yes. We met on one of those dating sites. I can’t recall the name of it; you’d have to ask her. She keeps track of all that stuff. I was impressed by a couple stanzas of poetry she’d put in her profile. She also mentioned she’d majored in English and loved books, which sparked my interest. Although I must say I think it was her love of Shakespeare that prompted me to contact her. You can’t teach English for 40 years and not love Billy, the Bard.

Billy… this is where I admit I don’t know a lot about Shakespearean works. *hangs head in shame* What’s your favorite work by Shakespeare?

Without a doubt, Macbeth. It’s a play about the human condition and all our foibles. Murder, mayhem and witches, what’s not to like?

Exactly! I’ve been writing in one form or another since childhood. It’s in my blood. After all, my mother named me after a location in a romance novel! Or she tried to- but that’s another blog post. How long have you been writing, Calvin?

All my life, just like you. Everything that happens to us and every person we meet adds something to our author’s voice. We are a compilation of our experiences when we pen a story. I might not write about my mother, but her love and strength sings out in words I write. My faith also factors in, as does my love of music and laughter.

21 rue Galande today

I had a wonderful experience back in 1968. I took a year sabbatical from teaching and moved to Paris for a year on the Left Bank in a studio apartment at 21 rue Galande. 

Every day I wrote at sidewalk cafés while I absorbed French culture and lived off espressos. The memories I have of that time are cherished. I scribbled a couple books while there, writing the hard way: Pencil to paper.

What a wonderful experience! And you returned with Vonnie and got this current photo. Awesome! That location I mentioned my mother naming me after is in France! It’s like we’re connected! 🙂 (Sorry, I love that commercial) Why Paris? Why not London or Rome…or Athens?

I served in the Army between earning my bachelors and Masters. One of the places I was stationed was Germany. I took a 3-day pass and traveled to London and Paris. I fell in love that weekend with the City of Light, a place of ideas and literature and art. It was the first place I, as a black man, felt free. I could look a white person in the eyes there and not fear recriminations. I could sit in a café next to a white person. I could use the front doors of establishments. Of course that was back in the late-fifties. The world has changed much since then, but not my love for Paris. I like to say my soul came alive in Paris, and my heart came alive when I met Vonnie. 

Mr. and Mrs. Davis- Awww!

How did you get the idea for The Phantom Lady of Paris?

Actually, a thief gave me the idea for The Lady, as I call her. You see, every morning, I’d shower, dress, sprint down 4 flights of steps and up the street to the neighborhood boulangerie (bakery) for a few croissants and then across the street to the cremerie (dairy) for fresh yogurt. I’d slip into the foyer of my building to get my copy of a London newspaper from the mailbox and head to my favorite writing café with my writing supplies, croissants, yogurt and newspaper, eager to start my day.

I must stop at this point to describe the mailbox. You see, it was an open wooden box attached to the wall. Twice a day, the postman would deliver the mail, dumping items for all the residents of my apartment building into this large box. Every resident had to sift through the box, fingering every piece of mail to find things addressed to him or her.

One morning, someone took my newspaper, leaving the address band in the box. I was livid. This paper was my only connection to the English speaking world while everyone around me spoke rapid-fire French. Later, after I had a chance to calm down, I thought “Hey, there might be a story in this. An American teacher goes to Paris on sabbatical, much like me. Lives on the Left Bank with a routine much like mine. Then one day his newspaper is pilfered, and the thief has the audacity to post a thank-you note for the paper on the bulletin board above the mail box. And she signs it ‘The Phantom Lady of Paris’.” So you see it was a thief who gave me the inspiration for the story.

What an engaging story! So the book was born. Did you bring an excerpt and/or blurb?

Does a teacher ever come to class without his notes? Also, to one lucky commenter today, I’m giving away a copy of my book—paperback or eCopy. Winner’s choice. 

BLURB:

A suspense-filled love story, The Phantom Lady of Paris tells of American Paul Lasser and his sojourn to the City of Light, where he meets the mysterious Phantom Lady, Bonnie Silver, a woman who is more question marks than periods. Why is she in Paris and why do French police investigate her and her “persons-of-interest” friends? One friend, a flower child, overdoses on drugs. Another, morphs into a terrorist, bombing cafes. Is a communist agitator an associate of Bonnie’s? Slowly, Paul unearths the answers and while they quench his need to know, they will forever haunt him.

EXCERPT:

After six hours of writing, I left Café Le Balkan, where I usually wrote, and then strolled down Boulevard Saint Germain on my way to Twenty-One rue Galande. Glancing over my shoulder, I noticed two men walking a stride or so behind me, one to my diagonal left, the other to my diagonal right. At the time, I thought nothing of it, that is, until I slowed and they did the same—at almost the identical instant. I walked faster, so did they. Soon they closed the gap and walked beside me, their shoulders pressing against mine.

The one on my right said, “Monsieur, if you don‘t mind, we‘d like a moment or so of your time.”

“What? Who…who are you?” I demanded.

“Perhaps we can find a booth inside where we can sit and talk.” Their shoulders nudging mine, they directed me into the café. The taller man gestured toward a booth in the rear and there we sat. Both produced identification cards and badges, indicating they were police investigators. The taller man was Detective Louis Askivour, his partner, Detective Robert Russo.

“Monsieur, we have a few questions,” Detective Askivour said. “And to assist your memory, this should help.” From his coat pocket, he produced a brown envelope containing a little stack of photos.

Detective Askivour looked at the photographs, then at me. “Monsieur, shall we examine these?” He angled the top snapshot so he and I could view it. “We have here a picture of you and Mademoiselle Bonnie Silver entering Gilbert‘s, the stationery and bookstore. I’m sure you recall the occasion. That,” he said, pointing, “is you, the one with his hand on the door handle, right?”

“Yes. And yes, the woman with me is Bonnie Silver.”

He slid the top photo aside, revealing the next. “And in this picture we see you and Mademoiselle Silver exiting Gilbert‘s. The two of you stand near the intersection, beside a young man waving a Soviet flag.”

“Who took these pictures?”

“Irrelevant,” he snapped. “The point is, do you admit that you are the person pictured participating in this anti-government uprising?”

“Anti-government uprising? Don’t you mean pro-education protest? But either way, yes, that’s me, but I wasn’t participating. I was merely observing what was happening around me.”

“He flipped to the next print.  “And this one shows you smiling and seemingly applauding as you gaze at the terrorist and communist agitator François Leguy. François Leguy, that’s his legal name, though, of course, he’s best known here in France as ‘François the Incendiary.’ Is that not you?”

www.calvindavisbooks.com

www.calscosmos.blogspot.com

BUY LINKS: http://amzn.to/ofLpOD

I had hoped to read your book before today, but edits on my own recent sale and edits for another writer held me hostage over the last month. But I can’t wait to read it, especially after this taste! I invite commenters to engage in a conversation now for a chance to win a copy of Calvin’s book! Maybe you have questions about Paris? Then and now? Maybe you’re interested in history and would like to know something of Paris in the 50s? You don’t have to be a writer to ask questions! We’ll announce the winner this evening.

Thank you for this wonderful visit, Calvin. I MUST invite you back soon.

Dodadagohvi~

 

Can pain make you smile?

Osiyo~

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?

[image deleted]

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.

[image deleted]

“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.

“Evie?”

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.

 

BLURB:

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?

Buy link is: http://bit.ly/ThoseVioletEyes

My blog is: http://bit.ly/Vonnie

My website is http://www.vonniedavis.com/

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. 🙂

Dodadagohvi~