April 7, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Vonnie Davis

How many books do you have under your bed or on a shelf or on discs? I’m not talking about your TBR pile, I’m talking about your OMG CBIWT (can’t believe I wrote that) pile. My first efforts at writing books reside on my computer. They’re simple works, really.

By simple I mean…ah…well, let me put it this way. Have you ever seen someone on TV, a newscaster on location for example, talking seriously about a topic and in the background are two loons jumping up and down, arms waving like windmills and mouths forming the words, “Hi Mom!” Those idiots are my first couple books. Every time I turn on the computer, those documents pop-up and wave, “Hi Mom!” I groan and click on something else, choosing to ignore those ill fated stories.

Why don’t I simply delete them? Believe me, I’ve thought about it many times. I mean, what good are they? My female characters aren’t the most likable. There’s more head hopping in them than bed hopping at my ex-husband’s house. Oops, sorry. My claws came out there for a moment. Bad claws. Bad claws. They contain many weaknesses of craft—craft I’ve worked hard to learn over the last couple years.

Their existence on my computer reminds me of where I started. And every time I feel I’m all that and a bag of chips as a writer, I go back and reread the first few paragraphs of those stories. I thought I was all that when I wrote them, too. Now they exist as my humbling tool, my attitude adjusters. They remind me I need to keep learning, striving and improving. Those stories are flawed. Even now my craft is flawed, but it’s getting stronger.

Not because I’m a great writer, but because I pay attention to what other new writers are doing. They are my benchmark. I notice their unique voices, the compelling power of their characters and the seamless way they weave their stories…and I smile in wonderment. Envy, too, if I am to be honest.

They say the learning curve of a writer is continual. I hope mine is. As writers we must keep learning, especially as industry standards change and evolve.

My first book comes out July 15th. The process taught me a lot. Mainly it taught me I can work, make every effort and achieve. Isn’t that a wonderful feeling when you do? A dream achieved is a miraculous thing, a wondrous thing, an OMG WTW (where’s the wine) thing. That heady momentum drives us to try harder, to learn more and to exceed our expectations.

Here’s an excerpt from Storm’s Interlude coming out in July from The Wild Rose Press:

After several minutes, Storm asked if she was getting the feel of her horse. She nodded. “Think you can keep up with us?” His white teeth shone in the moonlight. He tugged on the brim of his hat and kneed Lightning who took off like a bullet.

“Let’s go, Kelsey! The race is on.” She leaned over the Appaloosa’s head and enjoyed the exhilaration of the wind blowing through her long hair as her mount ate up the ground. To her credit, Kelsey did her best to catch up to Lightning as the black stallion galloped across the range and then up a hill.

Storm reined his mount to a halt when they reached the top of the rise. Several large live oaks and cottonwoods dotted the landscape. Storm was laughing, obviously pleased with the ride. He leaned down and patted his horse, murmuring praises to Lightning, who nodded and snorted in response.

Rachel was laughing, too. She hadn’t enjoyed herself that much in ages. Oh, the freedom of riding a horse; she’d forgotten the exhilaration of the ride.

Storm took his hat off and resettled it on his head. “Pretty good riding for a Mississippi Mouse.”

She felt her smile slide off her face as if it were ice cream melting off the cone. Was she really so mousy? First Phillip. Now Storm. Her stomach twisted and sank. She bit her lower lip and looked away. First, the sad thoughts of her selling her home depressed her, and now this. Her emotions were too close to the surface tonight; they had been since their earlier conversation about Drew.

Storm brought his horse around so it was facing the opposite direction from Kelsey, which put him side by side with Rachel. “What’s wrong?”

She raised and lowered a shoulder in a half-hearted shrug. “Just coming back to reality, I suppose. I was feeling rather attractive earlier tonight in my new clothes and ‘ho-red’ heels. Your remark about my being mousy brought me back to earth.”

Storm muttered an oath. “I never said you were mousy. Good God, woman, you have to know you’re a knockout.”

“It’s okay. It’s something I’ve heard plenty of times before from a guy I used to date. You only reinforced his opinion.” Didn’t she feel like the fool? What possessed her to confide in this man?

He stared at her for a moment and then reached out to place his hands on her waist. “Come here.”

“What?” She felt a sense of panic. What was he going to do?

“Slip your feet out of the stirrups. Come on, now.” For reasons she couldn’t explain, she did as he asked. He lifted her from her saddle and settled her in front of him. Lightning danced to one side a couple steps, and Storm calmed him with a few words. His strong arms held her against him as she sat sideways on the horse. “Who was this yahoo who said you were mousy?”

He brushed her hair from her forehead and peered into her eyes. Oh Lord, she was in big trouble. If she hadn’t made a big enough fool of herself earlier, her reaction to him just now was practically virginal, which she was not. Yet the force of his blatant sexiness made her feel inexperienced. “Tell me, now.” His voice was gentle, yet commanding.

She looked away and sighed. “I recently broke up with a man who insisted I was plain and mousy. It’s no big deal.”

Storm’s one arm was around her back, supporting her. His other hand went to her neck and pulled her face closer. “The man was twenty times a fool if he didn’t appreciate what he had, who he had. I’ve always had a hankerin’ for mice, myself. Had several as pets when I was growing up. Believe me, I meant no disrespect by calling you a Mississippi Mouse. On the contrary.”

His dark eyes glistened in the moonlight and his gaze dropped to her lips. “You pull at me, Rachel. God help me, I can’t resist one more taste.” His lips touched hers and fireworks went off. A groan escaped. He turned her so they were chest to chest and his arms banded around her, holding her tight. His tongue flicked at her lips. “Open for me, mouse.”

“No, I’ll die if I do.” She’d known men before, but this one was too powerful, too magnetic, too…hypnotic.

“I’ll die if you don’t.” He captured her lips again and kissed her slowly, so slow she felt the earth rotate or her heart turn over, she couldn’t tell which. His hand went to her breast and covered it. Her nipple rose up to make acquaintance with his palm. He groaned and pulled her closer. How could anything so wrong—kissing an engaged man—feel so wonderful? Wonderful didn’t begin to describe how she felt in the security of his arms. Mercy, this man knew his way around a pair of lips.

Vonnie Davis is the author of historical romance and romantic suspense. Her debut novel, Storm's Interlude, releases on June 15 from The Wild Rose Press. 

If you'd like to know more about Vonnie or her writing, visit her blog. http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com

To see the book trailer for Storm’s Interlude, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvzCgLEgTL0


Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Grimm said...


Let's see if this time it will post correctly. Sheesh.

So glad you could join me at the keyboard today! Great blog post. I know I have a few OMG CBIWT books in my pile. Or, in my case, in a bankers box under the bed. In the first draft/story I completed, everyone had a point of view. Hey, Nora did it, how could it be wrong? LOL


AJ Nuest said...

Great post, Vonnie. One of my best friends once told me every writer's first attempt is like that first pancake. It's usually a little crispy and burned around the edges. But the ones following always turn out light and fluffy. I try to keep that visual in my head whenever I stumble across an older manuscript. Thanks for sharing!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Yes, Sarah, I'm right with you on that. Who do you think I learned the head hopping from? I'd read every one of The Nora's books. Then my agent told me I was SO wrong, that if I wanted to get published I had to do things right. Thankfully she helped me through those issues; many agents wouldn't. Major learning curve there, let me tell you. I studied pov and deep pov until the light bulb in my mental closet finally came on and I got it. Thanks so much for having me today.

Jennifer Jakes said...

Congrats on the upcoming release, Vonnie. And what a great excerpt! Lots o' sexual tension;)

Great post, ladies!

P.L. Parker said...

Congratulations! Great post, I to have a bunch of books I want to read, but I'm a fast reader so I keep the pile from getting too high. Best of luck with sales when the time comes.

Emma Lai said...

Congrats on the upcoming release Vonnie!

Mona Risk said...

Vnnie, congratulations on your upcoming release. My Rx in Russian is coming out TOMORROW and I am so nervous although it's my fifth book. Why don't you revise the two first books who are calling you and resubmit them? I bet they will be hits.

Leigh D'Ansey said...

Vonnie, I love your sense of humour - head-hopping heroine/bed-hopping ex - I know the feeling!

Good luck!

Leah St. James said...

Great post, Vonnie! I'm still collecting those OMG CBIWT samples! :-)

Ann Yost said...

Vonnie - I LOVED your post. I feel exactly the same way about most of my work -- kind of read it with one eye shut. It can feel so heavyhanded. Sounds like you have an awesome sense of humor and the excerpt is totally tantalizing!