Friday, December 21, 2012

Meet the men of Seal Team 21, The Phoenix Force

Navy SEAL and Draicon werewolf Lt. Matthew "Dakota" Parker, from The Covert Wolf and Taken by the Alpha Wolf (short story). He's quiet, a wolf determined to get the job done, even when faced with the flame-breathing pyro demons that killed his best friend in Afghanistan

Navy SEAL and Chief Petty Officer Samuel "Shay" Shaymore. He first appears in The Covert Wolf. His book, The Phantom Wolf, is out in June, 2013. Shay is a Phantom Elemental Mage who can shapeshift into any life form, but once preferred the wolf. He meets his old flame, Kelly Denning, who is from a class of Mage his people detest. But Shay has sworn a vow to keep her safe, even though her father is suspected of killing Shay's entire family in a bid to take their enormous powers. To keep a war from breaking out between their people, they must learn to trust one another again, and work together despite the taut sexual attraction that still flares between them.

Navy SEAL and Primary Elemental Mage, Lt. Commander Dale "Curt" Curtis, commanding officer of ST 21. Curt first makes an appearance in The Covert Wolf. Look for a very special scene in The Phantom Wolf regarding Curt. I'm busy writing his proposal now in a book I am calling The Demon Wolf, the third book in The Phoenix Force. 

Stephen, the New Orleans vampire asset to the SEALs in the Phoenix Force. He first appears as Gabriel's neighbor in The Shadow Wolf, and then makes appearances in The Covert Wolf and a brief appearance in The Phantom Wolf.

Ex-military himself, Stephen plays it cool, loose and sexy, but hides a dark secret from his past which will come to light. With his chestnut curls, rich accent and smooth sensual nature, he is irresistible to most women, but will meet his match in Nicole, a woman he is charged with seducing.  I'm toying with Stephen's story now... he's so intriguing I had to start it! 

You can purchase The Covert Wolf here, and now, available for pre-order on Amazon is The Phantom Wolf! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The next big thing!

Almost Christmas! I had a wonderful time at Heather Graham’s terrific conference in New Orleans. And now I’m in participating in the Next Big Thing - a chain blog. Initially, I had no idea what that was, until author Marcia King-Gamble invited me to join some wonderful authors.  Be sure to visit Marcia at - and read her blog.


1. What is your working title of your book (or story)?
 The Patriot’s Conquest

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

After September 11, 2001, I wanted to write a book based on American history as my personal means of coping with the tragedy of that day. The book centers around a minor but important incident right before the war, when British marines stole all the gunpowder and ammo out of the magazine in Williamsburg under orders of Gov. Dunmore. It was the spark that began the war.

I had so much fun with this book and spent time in colonial Williamsburg doing research. The hero is a hunky blacksmith patriot who smuggles valuable information to Patrick Henry and the heroine is a British relation of Gov. Dunmore who’s ordered to spy on him or her father will be forced into the almshouse.

3. What genre does your book fall under? Historical romance

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Wow, good question. Hmmm, Jeffrey is a black-haired, sexy and muscular guy who has burning gray eyes and a passionate spirit. I can see Henry Cavil as Jeffrey.  The heroine, Amanda, is a redhead with a spark of her own, who desperately tries to play it prim and proper but can’t stem the passion inside her. I can see Kate Winslet as Amanda because I loved how she played Rose in Titanic… who longed for freedom from convention, but still resisted fully breaking free.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

To save her father from the almshouse, a British woman who left England to escape a sexual scandal must spy upon a sexy blacksmith smuggling covert information for the cause of freedom.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?


7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

A couple of months. 

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Since there are so few books in that time period, I can’t really be certain.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The real American heroes of our past, the men and women who fought hard to make this country free. And the ones who still fight the good fight today.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Although this is an historical set in 1775, with plenty of real life history (Patrick Henry makes an appearance), it’s very sexy. I like writing sensual books, so there is plenty of heat between the sheets! It was fun writing love scenes relative to that time period… for example, there is one scene where Jeffrey corners Amanda in the Governor’s Palace during a ball… and he nearly compromises her in order to steal out of the palace (he’s there going through the governor’s personal correspondence and she catches him).  He actually steals her garter and holds it hostage. It’s a very sexy scene!

AND… on Thursday, December 20, the fabulous Traci Hall will be blogging about her next big thing… a book called The Blood of Ra. The Blood of Ra is an action/adventure paranormal romance and features ancient Egypt meets Miami! Visit this link
to find out more about Traci’s cool new book!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Orleans at Christmas

In New Orleans, LA, in the French Quarter for Heather Graham's Writers for New Orleans conference. Heather has put on this conference every year after Hurricane Katrina to bring business to the city. After attending the first conference, I've wanted to return, and this year finally did!

New Orleans is ablaze with Christmas and fun, like this street band that was playing great the washboard! The impromptu style and energy is terrific... street bands will set up wherever there is an empty spot and begin to play.
And then there are the window displays, such as this one on Royal Street. Author Traci Hall and I had lunch yesterday at Pierre Masperos, and enjoyed seeing all the holiday displays. That's Traci in the window reflection!

I'm having a great time, and doing the booksigning today at noon. And I worked hard yesterday... finally finished editing The Patriot's Conquest and sent it to the freelance editor! I'm hoping to get this new book online by January 1... the book is quite special to me. It's set in 1775 right before the American Revolution and the hero is an American patriot who catches a lovely British woman spying on him, who send him hanging. Stay tuned for details!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Back from Nicaragua

Back in the States again! I just returned from Nicaragua, where I was working for the day job. We went into the mountains of northern Nicaragua near Somoto, which is where I photographed these children.  It was a great trip, lots of success stories of families who now have real homes, and an equal amount of sad stories of families and children who still need food and housing.

On the writing front, I turned in revisions for THE PHANTOM WOLF, the next book in my Navy SEAL miniseries for Harlequin. Thanks to my editor's great suggestions, I was able to focus on totally revamping this book, making the plot and conflict more streamlined, and really fleshing out the internal conflict of both characters.  She approved the revisions (YAY!!) and I expect to have edits back this month.

THE PHANTOM WOLF is scheduled for release next June. The hero is Chief Petty Officer Sam "Shay" Shaymore, and the heroine is Kelly, a woman from his past whose father is accused of killing Shay's entire family.

And now I'm concentrating on two new projects. First up is the proposal for the third Navy SEAL book, which I'm calling THE DEMON WOLF. The hero is Lt. Commander Dale "Curt" Curtis, the commanding officer of my SEAL team. 

The other project is an indie book I wrote before I became published. It's an historical based in Virginia right before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. The working title is The Lady and the Patriot, but that will likely change. The book did final in a couple of contests. But although I completed the manuscript, no publisher wanted it because of the time period. So I'm going to self-publish it. The goal is to get this published by mid-January, if not sooner.

December is a busy month. I'll be in New Orleans Dec. 14-17 for Heather Graham's Writers for New Orleans conference, and doing a booksigning on Dec. 16 at the Hotel Monteleone. If you are in the area, stop by to say hello!

Until later, have a good one! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Winners of my blog's Blog Hop Contest!

Because there were so many entries, I decided to award three prizes from my personal blog for the Blog Hop contest.

Congratulations to Sharon Stogner, Heather Schrock and Lauren B, who all won autographed copies of my first Draicon werewolf book, The Empath!

Keep watching this blog for future contest news. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Romance titles that will never make it

Thank you everyone who entered the Heating Up The Holidays with Rock*It Reads Blog Hop contest! The contest is closed as of midnight, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. This week, I'll be announcing the winner from my blog who will win the copy of The Empath.

In the meantime, here is an oldie, but goodie, blog post from the past. Enjoy!

Romance titles that will never make it

I should be working, but I'm imagining romance titles that will never make it...

The Sheikh & the Tired Prostitute

The Cowboy’s Secret Moody Teenager

Are you my mommy’s sperm donor?

The Bride’s Significant Other

My Sexy Transvestite

Lady Tweedle’s Bunions

The Boring Marquess

A case of herpes to remember

Kiss of the Used Car Salesman

Truck Driver in a Kilt

The Rake & the Hoe

Highland Engineer

The Pirate who never Bathed

The Chinless Duke

The Virgin in Menopause

And last, but not least…

Vibrator of my dreams

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Heat up the holidays CONTEST!!!

Welcome to the Rock*It Reads Heating Up the Holidays Blog Hop. There are 15 stops on the blog tour. The more blogs you visit and comment on, the greater your chances of winning the grand prize, a $75 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble or Amazon, and a huge collection of books from the authors of Rock*It Reads. Smaller prizes will be available at each stop along the way.
Good luck, and have fun!


If you like hunks for the holidays, I invite you to take Etienne for a ride... a sleigh ride, that is!  Etienne is an Alpha werewolf, the sexy eldest Robichaux brother of my Draicon werewolf novels.

In Taken by the Alpha Wolf, which is a prequel to my Draicon series, Etienne hunts down his future mate to protect her from drug dealers, and to claim her at last in the flesh. Taken is available on Amazon for only 99 cents. 

Here's an excerpt: Copyright 2011 by Bonnie Vanak

“There she is.”
   Crouched down, Etienne Robichaux peered through the thick trees at his target. On a narrow path cutting through thick brush of the Florida Everglades, the sleek white wolf nosed through the bay head.  
            A thicket of cocoplum, red bay and wax myrtle provided excellent coverage. Overhead the March sun was brilliant and warm, no clouds in the sharp blue sky.
            Perfect day for an abduction.
            Green camouflage pants, an olive T-shirt and jungle boots protected his body against branches and sharp sawgrass. Etienne ran a finger along the bandana covering his light brown hair. Hunkered down beside him also in camouflage, his two younger brothers studied the prey.
            Three Draicon werewolves on recon… for another Draicon wolf. The image would’ve amused him, had the situation been less grim.
            “You sure that’s her?” Alexandre wondered.
            “I know her scent, could pick it up in a garbage chute.” He drew in a deep lungful of  the delicate fragrance of fresh raindrops on lilies cutting through the swamp’s more earthy smells.
            Gabriel shook his head. “She may fight you.”
            “Doesn’t matter. The intel said they could come after her at any time.” Etienne’s pulse raced.               Getting caught in heavy crossfire during the Lebanon op had been nothing compared to hearing that news. Hell he could take all the tight situations threatening his ass when he’d been a U.S. Navy SEAL and retained his usual calm, tight control. None of them compared to the gut-wrenching fear of losing Cindy.
            Before even having her, so to speak.  
            “Her father,” Alex began. “You warned him, tried to reason with him?”
            Etienne snorted. “Wouldn’t listen to me. Damnit, it was like talking with a rock. This is the only way. I’m taking control.”
            Alex looked up, his lean face tight.
            “Screw it, mon frere. Go for her,” Alex said, growling.
            Gabriel’s eyes flashed amber, signaling the emergence of his wolf. “Do it.”

To enter the contest, leave a comment and tell me what you like or don't like about Alpha males. One person commenting on this blog will win a paperback autographed copy of The Empath, my first novel in the Draicon series. And everyone who comments will be entered into the Heating Up The Holidays contest, eligible to win the grand prize of a $75 gift certificate!

Leave a comment below to enter for your chance to win!
Don't forget to visit the other authors on the Blog Hop for more chances to win!
Kris Kennedy Bonnie Vanak Erin Kellison
Sharon Page Lila DiPasqua Elisabeth Naughton
Norah Wilson Jennifer Lyon Monica Burns
Vanessa Kelly Mia Marlowe Joan Swan
Pamela ClareMargo MaguireRock*It Reads

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New contest!!

Halloween is around the corner and it's time for a contest!

Join the authors of Florida Romance Writers for a Bootastic Online Halloween Celebration. You don’t even need to dress up. 

From Oct. 28 – 31 visit our website and Facebook pages to collect your Witches Brew Ingredients and win great prizes!

Participating authors include Heidi Lynn Anderson, Nancy Cohen, Linda Conrad, Shelley Freydont, Joan Johnston, Karen Kendall, Marcia King-Gamble, Sandra Madden, Aleka Nakis, Kathleen Pickering, Mona Risk, Carol Stephenson, Cynthia Thomason. 

And moi, Bonnie Vanak.

For complete details visit

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Newsletter news!

I'm starting an author newsletter, which will feature book news, information about contests and freebies, appearances and even fun stuff like recipes. I plan to email the first newsletter in November, with a fun recipe for my mother's special cookie press cookies that was a holiday tradition in our household.

To sign up, visit the link below and enter your email address in the form that reads "Sign up for the newsletter." It's just below the email contact form. You have the option to unsubscribe at any time you wish.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Go for the grapes

I finally finished writing The Phantom Wolf, the next book in my new mini-series. Yay! I’m worn out, so here is a rewrite of a blog from two years ago. And a special thank you to all the readers who make such deadlines possible for me. You rock!

Go for the grapes

I'm not a known or a best-selling author. No one talks about my books on discussion boards or blogs when they rave about authors whose books they love.

But I have known the quiet sense of pride and joy of seeing my book on the shelves, and hearing from readers about how much they loved reading them. That means a lot to me.

Disappointment is a given in the publishing industry. It can come with getting rejection on a project, or not making a list such as USA Today or the NY Times. It can be something as seemingly small as a minor mistake in cover art, or something as crushing as your publishing house dropping you because of poor sales.

We all face disappointment one time or another. It's tough when your friends and your peers make the lists, have their books buzzed by book bloggers or get glowing reviews on Amazon, or they final in prestigious contests. Or they receive a contract for six figures, and there you are, clipping coupons so you can meet your grocery budget and there's another rejection letter sitting in your mailbox.

During those times you must remember the Sour Grapes Rule.

When someone else gets the grapes, go find a glass of plum wine and toast them, and yourself.

You know, the story about the fox and the grapes? The fox tried and tried to grab the sweet-looking grapes dangling from the vine. When he couldn't and finally gave up, he told himself, "Those grapes were sour, anyway."

Don't be the fox and deny your friends and peers the recognition they have received. Don't short change yourself either. You worked hard, wrote a great book. Or you have lots of talent and are trying to get published. You need to cheer yourself on when disappointment comes calling.

The person who got the award, the contract, the great sales, has worked very hard. She’s also endured their own trials in trying to grab those grapes. Maybe she’s a single mom, trying to make ends meet and this six-figure contract (which, when broken down book by book, isn't as grand as it appears, especially after taxes), will enable her to pay for health insurance or her kids can finally eat steak instead of hot dogs.

Life is filled with good times and bad. When you learn to seize precious moments of triumph for yourself, be it finishing a book or even finishing a sentence, it makes those grapes sweet, not sour.

Go for the grapes. Even if you constantly try to reach them and fail, drink a glass of plum wine to cheer your efforts. And some day, you'll be the one grabbing the grapes and everyone will be cheering YOU!

But that glass of plum wine is one you’ll never forget, because it's a reminder that life is not all about tasting success. It's the journey of the goal, the effort to do our best, and the grace you display when someone else grabs the grapes.

Keep going for the grapes. The next time, they may fall right into your lap when you least expect it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Win a copy of The Empath!

I'm over at Workspace Wednesday, talking about writing with a Shih Tzu on your lap. Stop by to comment for a chance to win a signed copy of my first Nocturne (now out of print), THE EMPATH!!

Here is the link.

Good luck!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Sexcerpt from INCUBUS WOLF

WARNING:  Not intended for anyone under the age of 18.

Incubus Wolf
Copyright 2012 by Bonnie Vanak

Now available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, at eHarlequin  (save 20% through this link) and available as a digital download at online bookstores

She leaned back. “Your pack is known for its sexual exploits. Public sex, spankings, bondage.”
“By others who fear us, and don’t understand. Each member of the pack fully accepts the rules. Those who do not are free to leave without consequence. But this is their home, our home, and it’s a safe haven.”
“For the males, yes. But the females.” Alex shook her head. “They’re treated like sex slaves.”
“We revere and honor our females.” Dominic sat on the chair’s arm, tipped her chin up with a finger. “Just as you would be revered, if you were to stay.”
She sputtered. “Stay?”
“A warm home, security and respect, Alexandra. Not a cold cabin where you would forever be lonely.”
“Free,” she challenged.
“There is great freedom here, in being among those who understand.” Secrets shadowed his expression.
An odd hope fluttered through her. A home, where no one would shun her or laugh at her. Right. Alex silently laughed.
“Here? Your pack is comprised of dangerous rogue wolves. None were ever accused of a crime, but they were all tossed out of packs because they’re rule breakers.”
Tension turned his jaw to granite. “Rumors and gossip. Every single member of my pack was homeless and alone. Michael was tossed out, yes. Because he lost an eye in a vicious fight protecting his alpha, and for his loyalty, he was banished, no longer considered whole. He came here and met Carla, his mate, who’d been left orphaned. All my people have found acceptance, and a place to belong.”
Dominic thumbed her chin, his gaze intense. “You too, could belong here, Alexandra. We’d make a good pairing.”
The odd longing surged with vehement force. Somewhere she could relax and be herself, not worry about her looks or being judged.
Fifteen acres in Colorado looked less attractive. Solitude was wonderful, but was she embracing it the rest of her life? She was still young. Maybe somewhere, someone would want her, despite her ugly appearance.
But if she had the wizard’s potion, she would never be ugly again. Her stomach twisted at the idea of what she had to do to get it.
And if Dominic ever saw her real face now, he’d be repulsed, just like the men in the bar.
“I don’t need anyone. I can do perfectly fine on my own. And I’m not the pairing type. Certainly not in a pack where females are expected to be submissive to their males’ sexual whims.”
“Don’t mock what you haven’t tried,” he said in a silky voice. “They’re quite content and their mates keep them far too busy and pleasured in bed.”
He turned her toward the window. “Look.”
Outside, two wolves scampered across the meadow, coming to a halt just before the lamppost. The smaller gray wolf turned and snapped at the larger one. He nipped her hindquarters and she whined.
Suddenly the wolves shifted into human form. The male wore an eye patch and had a firm, trim body. The short-haired blonde was petite and seemed frail. Both were naked. “Michael and Carla, his mate,” Dominic said quietly. “He’s disciplining her for disobedience. I ordered Michael to punish her when she went beyond our borders against my express orders. Watch.”
Michael pointed to the lamppost. Carla closed her eyes, bent over and grabbed the post. Alex cried out in shock as the male began to slap Carla’s bottom.
Outraged, she jumped up. “Hey, stop that!”
Dominic’s fingers clasped her wrist. “Do not interfere. But watch.”
The ecstasy on Carla’s face gave Alex pause. Her moans of pleasure, not distress.
Michael stopped spanking his mate. Then the werewolf slid a hand between her legs. When he pulled his fingers free, they were glistening.
“She’s very aroused,” Dominic mused. “Now, she is ready.”
Shocked, Alex stared. She enjoyed the punishment?
“Very much so,” Dominic said softly, reading her thoughts. “I ordered Michael to punish her, but the means of punishment was up to him. He could have inflicted something on her that she did not like. But this will give her less reason to stray far from home, knowing such pleasure awaits her at her mate’s hands.”
Silently Michael pointed to the ground and Carla dropped to all fours.
Carla raised her reddened bottom in the air, her legs slightly spread. Michael stood, proud and straight, behind his mate. He had a heavily muscled body, and his long, dark hair spilled down past his thick shoulders. His erect penis stood out stiffly. Alex’s breathing hitched as Michael ran his hands down the small of Carla’s back, between her legs and then knelt behind her.
Carla threw her head back and cried out as Michael eased into her. Hands on her hips, he began to thrust hard and heavy.
Dominic leaned closer, his warm breath feathering her blushing cheek. “Look at them. Wild in their passion. Losing themselves in each other, so caught up in their pleasure, the world ceases to exist. This is the essence of my people, Alexandra. Come, be with me and know the erotic passion of completely losing your inhibitions...”

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New release alert! Incubus Wolf

Incubus Wolf, my erotic Nocturne Craving, releases as an ebook on September 1!

Alexandra Kosta once knew beauty and privilege as stepdaughter to the Fae king, until he banished her and scarred her for life. Now working as a bounty hunter, she's tasked with hunting down sexy werewolf Dominic Farrell. But Dominic is also part incubus, possessing the power to seduce any woman into doing his will.

When Alex is injured on the job and Dominic takes her back to his lodge, he agrees to release her—if she will share his bed first. Unlike most men, he doesn't recoil after seeing Alex in her natural state…and she cannot deny their overwhelming attraction.

But in order to save herself she has to turn Dominic over to the enemy. Can she destroy the one man who loves her as she is?

Here's a sample...

Alex was a good actress. She lowered her lashes and summoned her sexiest smile. “Leaving so soon, stranger? Don’t want to stay and see what’s on the table?”
            He cocked his head, his eyes very blue, like lasers. “Is that an offer, sweetheart?”
She shrugged. “I don’t think you’re up to the challenge.”
He said nothing, but studied her a moment. Then he leapt forward with the savage speed of his kind, pulled her off the stool and into his arms.
            The kiss was absorbing, maddening, a fusing of lips. He tasted of cold beer and hot desire. Lazily his tongue swept into her mouth, tasting her with possessive intent. Her lower belly clenched hard as her nipples tightened. It was the kiss of a man who wanted to lay a woman down and mount her. The kiss of an incubus, who knew exactly what he wanted and how to get it.
            In the corner, the jukebox played “Hot blooded.” Alex’s mind swirled with a shocked vortex of pleasure. Celibate for the past 10 years, she felt her body slowly kick from dormant to sexually charged. She slid her arms around his neck, leaned into him and kissed him back. His beard bristle abraded her cheeks. Beneath the layers of clothing, his body was hard with thick muscle. A low growl rumbled from his throat as he stroked a thumb over her pulse, feeling her heart shift from normal into overdrive.
            He released her abruptly, amusement gleaming in those eyes. Except now they weren’t ice cold, but flaming. He wanted her...

Click here to preorder on Amazon.

Click here to preorder on Barnes and Noble NOOK.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lessons from elementary school

When I was in elementary school in New Jersey, something happened that changed me forever.

Her name was Mrs. Lerner and she was my fourth grade teacher.

I started writing in fourth grade. Although I had written poetry in third grade, Mrs. Lerner encouraged us to write poetry and stories.  And I loved it.  Kept my writing between the lines and in a childlike script, wrote everything my overactive little mind could imagine.

Mrs. Lerner thought I was terrific.  She held up examples of my work as something others should imitate.  She pinned my stories and poems on the bulletin board.  You’d have thought that Mrs. Lerner had discovered Sylvia Plath was sitting in the third seat, second row over.

One year later, I had Mr. Gates for a teacher.  Mr. Gates thought my writing sucked. I went from the pinnacle of fourth grade success to the pitiless bottom of fifth grade suckiness.

That’s when I realized my final destiny — to be a writer.  To feel that pain again. That’s when I realized the reality of having others judge my writing — everyone has an opinion.

Two years after I graduated from Mr. Gates’ class, he checked himself into a mental institution.  I guess we all succeeded in doing what he always told us we would — we drove him crazy.

Maybe it was my writing...

Friday, August 03, 2012

Call me a sap...

This morning as I sat on the deck of the rental, drinking coffee and gazing out at the fields and mountains, a thought kept running through my head. I am a sap.

I love happy endings.

I told this over dinner the other night to a few people, friends of friends I had just met when they asked me what I write, and why I write it. The answer came to me like a slap on the head.

Yeah, I'm a sucker for relationship stories and I enjoy creating paranormal worlds and action, adventure and mystery.

But it's the happy endings in romance novels that give me the greatest reason to write what I write.

It's so peaceful here in TN, quiet and serene. One could get away from the world and its troubles, and I've had first hand encounters with some, mainly in the name of hunger and poverty encountered in my travels for the day job.

For nearly 19 years, I've worked hard at the day job to help those who are hungry, homeless and hurting. Sometimes I think it's not enough. Real life isn't fiction. It twists and turns like a mountain road, with a few surprises leaping out at you. Sometimes in the form of joy, sometimes sorrow.

But books, ah, books! I love being an author. And I love happy endings, which is why I write romance, and why every book I write has a happy ending. And why, as much as I adore good fiction and read outside my genre, I hesitate to pick up a book where I'm not certain all will be resolved.

No matter how awful the circumstances, how deep the conflict or how big the odds, when you read one of my books you can be assured the characters will be in love, realize their love, commit to each other and face life together by the time you read the last page.

Turn on the television these days, search the internet there is plenty of bad news.

It's why books are so important to me. They provide an escape, a respite, much like a cabin in the mountains of TN.

Real life is tough enough. It's why I am a sap for happy endings in books.

Guilty as charged.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Contest to celebrate the release of The Covert Wolf!

It's release day for The Covert Wolf! And I'm holding a special contest. First, this is the cover for the Mills and Boon version. It will be released in the UK in September.

You finally get to see Matt's face! 

And to order The Covert Wolf in the US on Amazon, click here.

To order The Covert Wolf on Barnes and Noble, click here.

Here's the deal...

Pop over to my Facebook page by clicking on this link.

Now, look through my page (please "like" it while you are there) and look through the various photos of The Covert Wolf on his "book tour." 

Answer this question: What year is the NASCAR sticker on the car The Covert Wolf chose as his vehicle to pursue demons?

Hint: It was posted on July 13, so you'll have to scroll down.

Once you find the answer, either post it on my FB page, on this blog, or email me at

Two lucky winners will each get a paperback copy of The Empath, my first Nocturne, which is now out of print. Contest ends August 10, 2012.

Good luck and happy hunting! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Review for The Covert Wolf!

4.5 stars from CataRomance! Woo hoo! The Covert Wolf is in bookstores on Tuesday, July 24! If you haven't seen the fun "tour" I've been doing with the book, please check out my Facebook page.

Click here!

Review of The Covert Wolf

“Since the mystique associated with werewolves has always fascinated me while the risky exploits of SEALS also intrigues, I was very excited to discover how the two would be blended in the first book of the Phoenix Force miniseries. Bonnie Vanak certainly does not disappoint in her latest Harlequin Nocturne story, as emotions, conflict and peril escalates.

There are eight men in the special Navy SEAL team to which Lieutenant Matthew Parker belongs, and the Draicon werewolf is proud to serve his country. All members of the Phoenix Force squad have paranormal abilities, so they are better able to battle other supernatural beings who would terrorize unsuspecting humans. Unfortunately, a good friend serving with him is killed by demons when the two are setup, and Matt vows revenge against those responsible. The same demons are seeking the powerful Orb of Light, so he is doubly intent on finding them and keeping their destructive plans from becoming reality.

While Sienna McClare has agreed to work with a SEAL in order to retrieve the Orb, she had no idea the person would be a Draicon werewolf, a race of beings that she despises. Since she is a hybrid, the family by whom she was raised has abandoned her, and she believes locating the ancient object would get her back in their good graces. Matt and Sienna need each other to reach their goals, and they soon realize the connection between them is also very crucial to their future wishes.

Bonnie Vanak is an author of innovative paranormal books. Her previous stories about supernatural beings have been inventively unique, and the Phoenix Force miniseries has additional out-of-the-ordinary features. Taking the real life profession of a Navy SEAL and giving these brave individuals traits that cause them to be even more powerful is a noteworthy premise, and Ms. Vanak makes every aspect of the story frighteningly believable. Could the malevolence that takes place during war sometimes be caused by demons and not ordinary humans? 

While the SEAL activities at the start of the story come across as possible, the rest of the book is just as conceivable. There are a number of situations where supernatural capabilities come into play, and regardless of the species, their talents seem very natural. Although every member of the SEAL team is not human, there is still camaraderie amongst them like regular soldiers, and these moments sometimes had me smiling and definitely sensing their friendship. I am already eager for more of their stories! 

The relationship between Matt and Sienna is totally realistic, as they both have dreams yet see no way for them to become an actuality. Their heartaches are so genuine, and any happiness practically leaps off the page because of affecting feelings. I adored these two individuals with their compassionate natures, and I saw Matt as a true hero on so many occasions as the safety of others came first. The sexual awareness they each felt is intense and causes plenty of tension, and when they finally express their inner feelings, the scene is beautifully sensual with fiery heat. 

There are a few surprises to be learned before everything concludes, and I was shocked by almost all of them. Several characters from past Bonnie Vanak books make an appearance, and they enhance the story whether you have read about them or not. 

THE COVERT WOLF is a magically enthralling novel with imaginative scenarios, particularly likable characters, a touch of humor and dangerous suspense.”

Amelia Richard, CataRomance

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Writing, writing

The next few months will be hectic. The Covert Wolf is being released July 24 in bookstores, and August 1 on Kindle. And  I found out that the next book in my Navy SEAL paranormal series will be released next year.

I have a hard deadline to meet and I'm busy writing that book, which I'm titling The Phantom Wolf.

Incubus Wolf, the next Craving, will be released in September. I just finished copy edits for that novella. Cool cover, huh? It's a very sexy story about a werewolf who has incubus blood, lives in Alaska and is being  tracked by a Fae bounty hunter determined to bring him back to the demon prison he escaped from. But instead of capturing him, she finds herself captured... in his lair...where he is determined to seduce her.

I won't be posting much on this blog in the next couple of weeks as I try to focus on The Phantom Wolf. DH and I are also traveling to Cass, West Virginia to visit the railroad park, which has the largest collection of working Shay locomotives in the United States. We are indulging our love of steam trains, while our house sitter watches over our dogs. The dogs love it when she comes to stay at our house. They think they can get away with things, like sitting on the couch, sleeping on the bed... oh wait.

Been there done that. Heh.

Have a good week, everyone! 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cool news!

First, I got my author copies for THE COVERT WOLF, my July 24 release. Woot! I love getting author copies. It's always a thrill, no matter how many books I've written.

Second, THE PANTHER AND THE PYRAMID is FREE on Kindle starting today for the next five days!

You can download it here.

The promotion for free book ends on June 26, so hurry and download your free copy today.

And third, I found out that Harlequin is releasing THE COVERT WOLF as an audio book on Audible! How cool is that.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Back from El Salvador

I'm back from El Salvador. It was a very tough trip, working 12-hour days, but rewarding as well. We met many families and cases of extreme need, and I talked with some orphans who had horrific pasts. The stories of these children would break your heart. Two girls I interviewed had been locked in a closet and left naked and alone by their mother when they were only 2 and 3 years old. She'd then go out for the day, not even giving them any food. They were so hungry that they defecated on the floor and then ate their own feces. Oh, and their grandfather? He'd come over to the house once in a while and rape them.

When police found out their case, they brought them to the hospital. The girls were so ill and malnourished that they spent several days in the hospital before going to the orphanage.

Today they are in an orphanage where they are loved and cared for. I just don't understand how a mother can do that to her children. These are the stories that drive me to work hard at my day job by raising money to keep children safe and secure in orphanages so no one can abuse them anymore. And these are the stories that drive me to write fictional romance with happy endings, so I can decompress from the horror of how they suffered.

The photo is taken from the shores of Lake Ilopango, a crater lake formed by an ancient volcano, which is 60% polluted with chemicals from factory runoff, wastewater and other delights. We are doing a water project for the two communities who have to rely on this water for bathing and cooking and sometimes, even drinking. It's odd because it's such a beautiful and peaceful lake on the surface, with such deadly contaminants lurking below.

Now it's back to trying to catch up to stuff at home...I need to return to writing the next book, which I'm titling The Phantom Wolf. DH and our dogs were so happy to see me after all this travel. I think they may have taken my suitcase and are holding it hostage so I can't leave them any time soon.

Friday, June 08, 2012

DO NOT buy my book!

Here's a little secret... if you are thinking about purchasing my Egyptian historical, The Panther and the Pyramid, on Kindle, don't do it. Not yet.

Because starting later this month, it will be... gasp...


That's right. The Panther and the Pyramid will be a free book on Kindle June 22 through June 26. I'm getting ready to leave the country, again, and wanted to give everyone advance warning, as I won't be back until right before the promotion starts.

So if you'd like to read Panther and you have a Kindle, just wait until June 22. And you'll get it for free!

Have a great week, everyone. I'll touch base upon my return from El Salvador.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Back from Honduras

And I got a lot of good ideas for my next Navy SEAL paranormal book. Then I found out my July 24 release, The Covert Wolf, is now available for pre-order on Walmart. Cool! You can check it out here.

Had a very productive trip to Honduras. We visited a lot of cases and met many single moms with kids who barely can scrape together money for food. One mother told me that sometimes she gets so desperate from watching her children cry from hunger, she wants to hang herself.

She said this while glancing at the leaky ceiling of her shack. We gave her food, promised we would not forget about her, and I am hoping, we gave her a reason not to despair.

We also visited an island called Amapala which is in the bay shared by El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Lovely island, but many poor people living there. We stopped for lunch at the bayside fish shack pictured above... crude wood boards as flooring, plastic chairs, and very fresh fish.

Next week I will be in El Salvador for the day job. I haven't been to that country in years, and I'm very much looking forward to the trip.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Excerpt from The Covert Wolf

Leaving for Honduras for a week. I'll be offline and out in the country, somewhere.  In the meantime, I updated my website to include an excerpt of my July 24 release. 

Click here. Hope you enjoy it and have a great week!

Friday, May 25, 2012


Next week I'll be in Honduras for the day job. I was there back in March as well. As we toured areas north and west, ideas sparked.

I envisioned one of my Navy SEAL characters in the mountainous terrain, engaged in a dangerous mission to find an evil warlord. As our team trudged down steep mountain paths to interview villagers about their living conditions and what we could do to help, my mind clicked into overdrive.

Later that night in my hotel room, I jotted down those ideas. Buoyed by venturing into different terrain, my mind came up with all kinds of ideas.

Those ideas sparked into the book I'm now writing called The Phantom Wolf. Phantom is the next book in my new military series for Nocturne and features a secondary character from The Covert Wolf.

Sam "Shay" Shaymore is a Navy SEAL and an extremely powerful Mage who can shapeshift into a wolf. Shay and Kelly, the heroine, venture into a small village in Honduras overpowered by evil. There, they must rescue Mage children who have been kidnapped. 

This story has action, adventure and overtones of child trafficking, as well as the paranormal element.

It's definitely a trademark for me to always have a happy ending in every book I write. I's why I choose to write romance. I could write other types of fiction, but having worked in the field of humanitarian relief and development for nearly 19 years, I NEED a happy ending. And the elements of child trafficking in the book I'm writing? I wish I could say they were straight out of my imagination. They're not.

Child trafficking happens frequently in Haiti and Honduras and other countries I visit for work. It's a horrible reality. The organization I work for, and our partners, help as much as we can, but our work is diverse and the evil forces (they ARE evil, there is no other way to describe them) behind child trafficking are powerful. We do what we can. 

So to compensate for the misery I see, the sad stories I hear, I write issues like this into my books and resolve the situation. It's what makes writing paranormal romances so satisfying...and a much-needed escape for me.

I can't save every child in my work for the day job, but in my books, everything always turns out all right. It's why I enjoy being a romance author. During the day, I try hard to fight the dark forces of poverty and injustice. But at out... 

You never know when a big, powerful Navy SEAL shapeshifter will come charging through the jungle to set everything straight. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dogs and their toys

Came home for lunch and as usual, our three dogs greeted me.

Dolce, the male, and Holly, the female, each picked up a toy. The toy greeting is something Holly learned from Dolce.

But Holly picked up the PINK toy and Dolce the BLUE TOY! Blue for boy dogs, pink for girls!  It was so cute I had to take a photo of it and upload to my blog.

Now if I could only teach them to do laundry ...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Back from Nicaragua

It was a very productive trip. Met a lot of sad, very poor people, including Maria, a mother of four who lives in this flimsy house made from sticks and plastic. You could kick it and the whole house would topple down. Maria is a single mom who works hard and managed to save US $400 for land to build the house.

But because the house is not secure and doesn't have a door that locks, Maria's 14-year-old daughter was raped inside the house and is now pregnant. Maria was in another town picking coffee. She had to leave the children alone because if Maria doesn't work, the children do not eat. We are going to build this family a new house with a steel door that locks. 

On this trip, I traveled north from the capital of Managua to the mountains of Matagalpa, where many of the coffee plantations are. We visited some remote areas where we will build houses. And while in Matagalpa, I had the chance to try "huevos de toro" soup.

Translation:  Bull testicle soup.

Not bad! Not something I'll clamor to eat again in the near future, but I'm glad I tried it. 

Before I left the country, I emailed the new Craving novella, Incubus Wolf, to my editor. This story is scheduled for release in October. 

Now I have to begin the new book, which I'm calling The Phantom Wolf. It's the second in The Phoenix Force series, about paranormals who are US Navy SEALS.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Here's the cover for my July 24 Harlequin Nocturne, THE COVERT WOLF. First in The Phoenix Force, a new series about an elite group of Navy SEALS who are paranormals. This book features Matt, a Draicon werewolf. 

Fire plays a big role in this book. Matt and the heroine, Sienna, must find an orb of magick before fire demons use it against Matt and his team. 

You can pre-order The Covert Wolf here on Amazon

And save 34% by ordering here on Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


I've been on deadline with the Craving coming out this October. It's been tough to write because of a lot of distractions lately. Next week I'll be in Nicaragua for the day job. I'll be interviewing poor people about their plight, asking them questions about their greatest needs...

seeing hungry children who have no food. These trips always take a little out of me.

But I digress... I wanted to share an amusing tale about my disorganized book collection and how my Nook came in handy last week.

I wanted to read a paperback I'd purchased last year. I knew it was in the bookshelves, someplace. Mind you, trying to find a book on my shelves is like searching for the dog when it's time to go to the vet. I KNOW she is there, someplace, but she's good at hiding.

I looked at my bookcase, at all the books, and just could not deal with it.

Then I looked at my Nook, and how easy it was...

I bought and downloaded the book. It's now digital, on my reading device and I don't have to search anymore.

Of course I KNOW that paperback will pop up sometime before I finish reading the book... that's the rule, isn't it? 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Regaining a lost imagination

Today is my birthday. Our house is being watched over by our vigilant housesitter and we are taking a break. As I sit here. on the porch of our Keys hotel, listening to seagulls cry and bulldozers roar (construction next door), I'm contemplating life. It's been a challenging year, but it's finally quieting. I'm struggling to regain something I've lost over the past 11 months.

My sense of imagination and adventure.

Oh, I still have it, but it's lurking deep inside and it's a struggle to coax it out. It stopped accompanying me wherever I went, like a playful child. Instead it sat in the corner as if it were condemned to a long time out.

When your life has been turned upside down, by something unexpected and traumatic, your priorities shift, along with your focus. Even quiet time, down time, is occupied by thoughts of what lies ahead, what you must do. The sense of imagination and adventure gets put on the back burner because your life has changed.

I realized this is what happened with me ever since last May when my father-in-law fell ill and eventually died in Hospice. Our world turned on its axis and left us struggling to carry on, and the main daily responsibilities of home and jobs became the focus, and the myriad of items regarding my FIL's house and his small estate became the secondary focus. I found myself daydreaming, not about werewolves and vampires and stories, but about hiring a cleaning woman to help me clean up 30 years of linens my father-in-law never tossed. No longer was my free time spent in happy, quiet imagination, but immersed in a haze of legal papers, tax forms enough to make the IRS weep with joy, and a blizzard of contractors as we renovated his house to sell.

It's all over now. The house is on the market, the IRS has their fair share and the contractors are gone. Yet I find myself trying to recapture my imagination, my sense of joy at creating stories, and it's evasive, like that imaginary child in the corner who is finally free. She is sullen, but I feel her tug at the corners of my mind like a child who takes my hand to explore the seashore, the cry of a gull, the small waves lapping at the rocks. And finally, she is showing me things I had overlooked in the frenzy of the past few months, allowing me to envision possibilities and finally let my creativity soar.

"See those bushes outside the porch? They're a forest of tall trees, and lost among them is a fairy who got shrunk to the size of a thimble by the spell of an evil sea god, and she's trying to find her way back to her home," she says.

I'm glad she is finally free, and now, at last, with a sense of hopeful adventure, I can take her hand and explore the world and unlock all the playful ideas waiting for me. My well, as Julia Cameron puts it, needs to be filled and at last, it is beginning to bubble with fresh ideas.

It's the best birthday gift I could ever give to myself.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sometimes you just need to celebrate...

After nine months of agonizing renovations, WE ARE DONE! My father-in-law's house is finally up for sale or rent. And more good news! My editor approved the proposal to write the next book in my new Navy SEALS paranormal series. 

My birthday is next week, but more than a cake, I wanted to celebrate listing the house and writing the next book. So I went to the grocery store and got this cake. It says, "Yay Me!"

Everyone should have a "Yay Me!" cake. Just do it. Go celebrate yourself! You deserve it. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Books, books, books!

Argh!!!!!! I did it again! I could not resist. I bought more books on Amazon.

A friend and I were talking about the Boxer Rebellion in China during the turn of the century. I mentioned how I'd read a romance novel set in that period. I remembered it vividly, although it's been years since I read it, because of the vivid descriptions of the terror felt by the Europeans during the rebellion, and the suspense of the siege. 

So I went looking on Amazon for the book and found it. The Time of the Dragon by Dorothy Eden. 

It was one of my mother's old romance novels. After she died, I stored the entire collection in a closet in a spare room. But I suddenly had to have the book NOW, because I wasn't sure if that paperback survived the move. Mom might have traded it. 

So I bought the book. And then links popped up about other books I read, and loved, during my formative years. Mary Stewart mysteries! They've been reissued. I can get them for new! CLICK... PURCHASE. 

And now I have an order coming from Amazon for MORE books I have no time to read and have no room to store in my bookcase. Because I can't get rid of my books. Each time I try, I think, "No, I'll read this again."

I have a Nook and love it. But wow, I love, love, love paperbacks, trade and hardbacks. I can't resist...

My name is Bonnie Vanak and I'm addicted to books. 

Is there a 12-step program for this? If so, don't tell me. Because I'm like that character Burgess Meredith played on an old Twilight Zone episode. The bank teller simply loved to read and couldn't stay away from books. 

When my Amazon order arrives, I plan to take those books and set them aside for my upcoming birthday. I can't think of a nicer present for myself than taking a few hours to sit and read, read, read! 

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Now available for pre-order...The Covert Wolf!

This is my next Nocturne and the first in a new series featuring The Phoenix Force, a group of elite, top secret paranormals who are Navy SEALS. The Covert Wolf features Matt, a Draicon werewolf. He first made his appearance in Taken by the Alpha Wolf. Matt is brother to Cindy, who is married to Etienne Robichaux.

Etienne's brothers are in my Draicon werewolf books, Enemy Lover, Immortal Wolf and The Shadow Wolf.

In The Covert Wolf, Matt teams with a pretty Fae to find an ancient source of power before demons can use it to destroy mankind. 

Click here to order on Barnes and Noble, and save 34% on the paperback version!!!

Click here to order on Amazon.