Sunday, October 16, 2016

New story

Almost finished with the Werewolf Cowboy. It's been a story that has taken a life of its own. I am placing it as Mating Mini #6 and when it is released, I will put the boxed set on sale for 99 cents so whoever hasn't read the other Mating Mini stories can indulge. I'm seriously thinking that Werewolf Cowboy may be my last PNR for a long time. The market has changed so much, and if I can't have good sales from this book, I may put away my werewolves.

I still have one more Harlequin romantic suspense to write, and I need to get that done. And after? I am not sure. The entire publishing world has changed so much. But I do know this... much as I love to write, creating a story, paying to get it edited and proofed and buying a cover, means I have to do more than break even. If I don't get enough sales, then I end up losing money and that's not a good thing.

So it's a test, and a wait and see game. I may venture into something new. I'm not sure yet. Right now it's more important to finish the book, and put it out for pre-order. So it's back to work!

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Looking ahead

We were very, very fortunate in that Hurricane Matthew did not affect our area that much. We still have power, and the winds were only around 60 mph, if that, because the eye was 100 miles off our coast. So while we in S. Florida breathe a sigh of relief, good thoughts to those still in this hurricane's path.

It has killed hundreds in Haiti.

On another note, back to writing. I am finishing a novella in my Werewolves of Montana Mating Mini series. It's a werewolf romance, and it will introduce you to the underworld of the Dark Kingdom, a universe that is parallel to the "Skin" world where werewolves co-mingle with humans. No humans live in the Dark Kingdom. It's a world where only paranormal creatures reside, and the magick they produce can be very, very good, or very, very bad. 

Stay tuned for details! 

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Hurricane Matthew - We are under a hurricane warning

Such is life in S. Florida. We haven't had a hurricane since Wilma in 2006, and that one did a lot of damage. The storm dropped a tree on my house and we had to get a new roof, plus two other trees fell, but thankfully NOT on the house.

On the right is the barometer reading at 7:25 a.m. the day Hurricane Wilma struck. You can see how low it is...and I will get out the trusty barometer again to see how low it gets with this storm. Hopefully it will not! The lower the pressure the more intense the storm.

And this is what happened during Hurricane Wilma... the tree fell on our Florida room, thankfully, and did not take out half the house, only the Florida room. I had been standing there moments before and realized I needed to get inside.

My guardian angel must be exhausted...

Hurricane Wilma caused the power to go out for almost a week. The only good thing was that the weather was cool, so we could sleep with the windows open. Now it is very hot and sticky.

And that's me standing between the two trees that fell in our backyard. Not happy!

It could have been worse.

For Hurricane Matthew, we are prepared. WE have a generator, and gas, and we installed impact windows and an impact garage door. The hurricane may or may not brush past us. It's going to be close, but as with any hurricane, especially a Cat. 4, you don't fool around when you live five miles from the beach.

I am worried about this storm and trying to stay calm. I had trauma during Wilma, and was so scared. I'm concerned about my butterflies, too. Sounds crazy to worry about butterflies during a hurricane, but I love my garden. I'm doing what I can to try to save the monarch butterfly. This morning, the day before Matthew is supposed to approach our coast, I shot this photo of a monarch on milkweed we bought over the weekend.

I think I'll take in the plants that are not on the ground and put them on the back patio.

Stay safe, all in this storm's path. It's going to get nasty very soon.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Haiti, Hurricane Matthew

This is me with children at a Haiti orphanage back in 2007. These little ones lost their parents during a storm. Now Haiti is faced with yet another disaster - Hurricane Matthew.

I don't travel to Haiti anymore, now that I work part-time. Yet in all my 21 years of travel, Haiti was always close to my heart.

Weather forecasters say Matthew's 135 mph winds and torrential rains may cause "catastrophic" damage to the island nation. I've been all over Haiti, from Cap Haitian in the north, to Les Cayes in the South. They say Les Cayes will get badly hit by this hurricane.

I was in Haiti shortly after the 2010 earthquake. The destruction was staggering. Some of those buildings that survived the earthquake are still fragile.

Haitians are still recovering and many families still sleep in tents. I can't imagine being in a tent during a bad rainstorm, let alone a hurricane. Some are refusing to leave. It sounds insane, but you have to understand the poverty and desperation. They fear losing all they own, and they can't comprehend how bad this storm can be. I pray it won't be that bad, but from the look of it, Hurricane Matthew will deal a devastating blow to the country.

One of the many mountainous areas in Haiti I traveled to.

The biggest fear I have is not the wind in that country, but the rain. Torrential rains. Up to 40 inches of rain locally, they are predicting. Haiti has few trees and many denuded areas, as you can see in the photo to the left. This means flash floods and mudslides, as there is nothing to hold back the ground.

One of my last trips to Haiti was to Les Cayes, the city in the south end. The ocean there is lovely, and there are little shops where you can order fresh fish. I keep wondering what will happen to all of those vendors and those living in that area after this storm.

Haiti just can't seem to catch a break. All I can do is wait...and watch..and hope and pray.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

New book available for pre-order

Shielded by the Cowboy Seal, my second Harlequin romantic suspense book, is now available for pre-order on Amazon. It will be released in February. Click here to check it out.   In other writing news, I'm writing a short story that will be a Werewolves of Montana Mating Mini. It's about a cowboy werewolf who mounts a rescue mission to save the girl he's secretly crushed on, but hasn't dared to love in the open because she's Mitchell pack, and has five very protective older brothers and a father.

Aiden, the pack alpha, has invited him to join, but Jason is a lone wolf who harbors a dark secret, one that makes him avoid the friendly pack at the ranch next to his. To save Claire, he must expose this secret, or risk losing her forever. 

I'll post more details as they become available! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Navy Seal Seduction now in Walmart!

Navy Seal Seduction, my romantic suspense book from Harlequin, is now available in Walmart at a discounted price!

This is quite exciting for me as an author to see my book in a big box store. I haven't had a new release in Walmart in a few years, not since the chain stopped carrying the Nocturne line.

Here's a preview of the book:

Navy Seal Seduction is a reunion romance that takes place on a tropical island about to erupt into civil war…
With the island nation of St. Marc erupting in civil war, SEAL Jarrett Adler must rescue the woman he never got over—his alluring ex-wife, Lacey. Jarrett regrets failing her as a husband, and he hopes protecting her will offer a second chance to win her trust.

As charming and sexy as Jarrett still is, Lacey knows he won’t stick around. She’s found her niche in nonprofit work and longs to create a family of her own. But when death threats and bombs arrive at her door, she turns to the man who still holds her heart. Can Jarrett and Lacey navigate their way home—and back into each other’s arms?

(Copyright 2016 by Bonnie Vanak)

A tall, muscled pirate in a clean white shirt and black trousers stood before her in the courtyard of Le Soleil Hotel. Scowling to hide her emotions, she stared, her heart racing as if she’d run a mile up and down the nearby mountain. Black hair cropped short, he wore a pressed white shirt, the cuffs rolled up to display tanned, muscled forearms. Smooth cheeks, strong jaw and a nose that had been broken at least once.

Rugged, tough and those eyes, green as the ocean water he navigated on a mission.

Those eyes had turned smoky and dark with passion as they’d made love, and cold as the Arctic the day she’d announced she’d hired a lawyer to initiate divorce proceedings. Whoa, he still had it. Hot, hot, hot, as the locals said. Bad boy to the extreme, who made her female parts say Why, hello there!

Her female parts needed to stay quiet. This time she’d listen to her broken heart and not her hormones, even though her heart jumped at the sight of him.

He had never been there for her before, and certainly wasn’t staying now.

Lacey managed to find her voice. “I hope this is a bad dream and I’ll wake up and find you gone.”

Her ex-husband pulled out a chair, turned it around and straddled it. “Well, darling, it seems your nightmare isn’t going away. Neither am I.”

She managed to conceal her trembling hands by wrapping her fingers tight around the beer bottle. Lacey took a deep drink, relishing the cool wash of liquid sliding down her throat. It reminded her of that time after they’d consumed several beers and then he’d kissed her and they had…

Not. Going. There.

“Go away, Jarrett. If you’re here on a mission, aren’t you supposed to be invisible in your invincibility?”
He did not smile. Flickering candlelight on the table revealed the sharp angles and planes of his lean face.
Jarrett looked all business.

“You’re my mission. I’m taking you out of here. I booked us on tomorrow’s early-morning flight.” He glanced around. “Before the elections and before this place blows to hell.”

Jarrett, trying to be funny, except his expression was dead serious. Had he heard about the mysterious vandalism plaguing her compound? It had been a few minor incidents she’d written off as a nuisance caused by locals who didn’t like how she helped women, until last week’s truck fire.

That fire had not been a nuisance. It had destroyed her best working vehicle.

She glanced around at the two other occupied tables and lowered her voice.

“Are you insane? I’m not going anywhere with you.”

“St. Marc is teetering on a coup and I’m taking you back to the States.”

She knew St. Marc intimately, shied away from the hot spots and knew how to handle herself. “Elections are in two days. I know about the violence and know how to avoid it. As soon as elections are over, things will cool down. Stop wasting your time.”

“You’re at risk of getting shot, kidnapped or both.”

“The media exaggerates about a few protests downtown. It’s not violent here.”

Jarrett turned his head as six men carrying sinister-looking guns trotted out onto the courtyard, racing off toward the hotel disco. His mouth curved in a knowing smile.

“The president is here with his friends. He likes the disco,” she snapped.

“Do all his friends carry assault rifles?”

“It’s the latest fashion craze. Goes well with the Guayabera shirts. We do like to accessorize here on St. Marc.”

The smile dropped, replaced with a dark stare. The Look. How many times had he aimed it at her in the past? The man had a stubborn streak bigger than a US Navy destroyer. Jarrett leaned forward. “This country is eroding into civil unrest, Lace, elections or no elections. You need to get out. How many State
Department warnings does it take before you’ll listen?”

Anger fisted in her stomach. “Those warnings are for the tourists who come here to do poverty tours or sun themselves on the beaches. Not for ex-pats like me or Paul. And who the hell are you to tell me what to do? We’re no longer married.”

She was twenty-nine, no longer that wide-eyed girl who’d fallen hard and fast for the handsome Navy sailor with a wicked smile, husky laugh and skilled hands.
Marlee’s Mangoes was her dream now, not a life of domestic bliss with a SEAL who was gone more than he’d been home.

Gone, too, when she needed him the most. Lacey clenched her beer bottle again and pushed away thoughts of the baby they’d lost. That was the past, and St. Marc was her future.
Jarrett Adler belonged to those ghosts she’d exorcised out of her life.

“Paul.” Jarrett’s gaze narrowed. “That simpering metrosexual who’s with you?”

Blinking, she struggled to leash her temper. “Paul Lawrence is the vice president of the board for Marlee’s Mangoes and my business partner.”

The realization hit her. “Where is he? Did you do something to him, Jarrett? We’re supposed to be meeting a very important donor.”

“The very important donor driving a late-model white Montero SUV? He was unavoidably detained in the parking lot. Your vice president went to help him.”

More interference. But this time he messed with her livelihood. “Damn, Jarrett, this is my life. You’re not part of it anymore, so go home and get out of here.”

“Not without you. Darling, I’m sticking to your side until I deliver you home.”

She studied him with a keen eye. “Get used to disappointment. I’m not leaving.”
Jarrett reached out, touched her hand. “Don’t argue with me, Lacey. We haven’t seen each other in a long time, and I’d rather spend what little time we have together catching up. Or engaged in more pleasurable activities.”

A shiver of awareness raced down her spine as he slowly stroked his thumb over the back of her hand. His smug smile dropped, replaced with a burning intensity that could melt steel. When Jarrett aimed that look at her, she’d wanted to do whatever he wanted. Usually it had involved getting naked in very inventive places.

“Our days of getting horizontal are over,” she warned, drawing away her hand.
He considered, and scratched the bristles on his dimpled chin. “Vertical’s always fun, too. Or we could try those swinging chairs down by the pool.”

Friday, July 15, 2016

Tweets from RWA and Michael Hauge's great workshop

I'm not at RWA 2016 (sob!) but I have followed Twitter closely. There's a great person who tweeted detailed notes from Michael Hauge's workshop. I retweeted all her notes and presented them below for those of you who are interested. The notes are very helpful when you are starting a new book, like me, or revamping a WIP.

And follow  on Twitter. Best conference workshop notes ever! Thank you!

The secondary characters should be introduced before the MC begins pursuing their goal. @michael_hauge #RWA16
Once the MC is living in their essence, they develop the strength to overcome the nemesis. @michael_hauge #RWA16

At the end of the story, show the h/h not only living happily ever after, but leading transformed, courageous lives. @michael_hauge #RWA16

Before the midpoint, the h/h connect at the essence level, but then retreat back into their essence. @michael_hauge #RWA16
The h/h come together because they connect at the level of their essence. Their conflict is at the identity level. @michael_hauge #RWA16

The love interest must be the object of the MC's active pursuit. @michael_hauge #RWA16

At the end of the story, the MC is forced to choose between the outer goal and the love interest. @michael_hauge #RWA16

In a love story, the heroine should have a goal other than the love story at the beginning. @michael_hauge #RWA16

The rival is often the nemesis in a love story. @michael_hauge #RWA16

The nemesis character is the MC's opponent and must be stronger than the MC. The nemesis embodies the inner conflict. @michael_hauge #RWA16

10.   You Retweeted

A secondary reflection character might be an enabler who discourages the MC from achieving the goal. @michael_hauge #RWA16

11.   You Retweeted

The reflection character may be a sidekick, a spouse, a mentor, a guardian, or a wise child. @michael_hauge #RWA16
12.   You Retweeted

The reflection character is closest to the MC, helping her reach her outer goal and pushing her toward her essence. @michael_hauge #RWA16

13.   You Retweeted

Secondary characters may also have their own arc. Usually the nemesis doesn't. @michael_hauge #RWA16
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14.   You Retweeted
The secondary characters are defined by the outer conflict but illuminate the inner conflict. @michael_hauge #RWA16
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15.   You Retweeted
When the MC initially starts pursuing the goal, they believe it will allow them to stay in their identity. @michael_hauge #RWA16

16.   You Retweeted
"Story tells us how to live better." ~Will Smith @michael_hauge #RWA16

17.   You Retweeted
The character's choice is to be safe and stuck or to be fulfilled and terrified. @michael_hauge #RWA16
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18.   You Retweeted
The only way the heroine can win the hero is through the death of her identity (and vice versa). @michael_hauge #RWA16
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20.   You Retweeted
The character believes that their identity is who they truly are. That's why they can't let it go. @michael_hauge #RWA16
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In the story, the MC can't achieve the goal without stripping off their armor and living in their essence. @michael_hauge #RWA16


22.   You Retweeted
The character's essence is the true self beneath their identity - the person they have the potential to become. @michael_hauge #RWA16

23.   You Retweeted
The identity keeps the character safe, but it also keeps them stuck. @michael_hauge #RWA16


24.   You Retweeted
The character's identity is the mask or false self she presents to the world to protect her from her fear. @michael_hauge #RWA16

25.   You Retweeted
What the character fears is experiencing the wound again. @michael_hauge #RWA16


26.   You Retweeted
False beliefs become so ingrained that the character ignores all evidence to the contrary. @michael_hauge #RWA16

27.   You Retweeted
Beliefs that grow from wounds are never true but always logical. @michael_hauge #RWA16

28.   You Retweeted
Identify the MC's belief: the false understanding of the world that developed from the wound. @michael_hauge #RWA16

29.   You Retweeted
Identify your MC's wound: an unhealed source of continuing pain from before the action begins, usually adolescence. @michael_hauge #RWA16
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30.   You Retweeted
Every story has four basic elements: character, desire, conflict, and change. @michael_hauge #RWA16
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31.   You Retweeted
By the end of the story, the main characters have changed, as have the other characters, story world, reader & author. @michael_hauge #RWA16

32.   You Retweeted
Open your story in the MC's ordinary world. Reveal two familiar characteristics and one unique one. @michael_hauge #RWA16


33.   You Retweeted
When the story opens, create empathy for the MC before you reveal their flaws. @michael_hauge #RWA16
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There are several ways to create empathy for the MC: 1. Show your MC experiencing an undeserved misfortune. @michael_hauge #RWA16

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You can create empathy by 2) placing your MC in jeopardy or 3) making you MC likeable. @michael_hauge #RWA16

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You can create empathy by 4) showing your MC's expertise or 5) making your MC funny. @michael_hauge #RWA16

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In the setup, your MC should be stuck: in some state of inertia that stops her from living her authentic life. @michael_hauge #RWA16

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The other journey, the inner journey, is one of transformation from living in fear to living in courage. @michael_hauge #RWA16

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Ask what your character's longing is. A longing is something they say they want but take no action to get. @michael_hauge #RWA16

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Most characters are so shut down they won't even admit that something is missing. This is the character's need. @michael_hauge #RWA16


The hero or heroine in a story is not heroic in the beginning, but has the potential to become heroic. @michael_hauge #RWA16


By the end, the MC stops asking, what can I do to not be afraid, and starts asking, am I willing to be afraid.  

Once the MC is living in their essence, they develop the strength to overcome the nemesis.