Friday, August 31, 2018

Taken by Moonlight now available!

They bought her virginity for one enchanting night in their bed. They never told her they want to claim her forever.

Psychic Peyton struggles each day to cope with the drudgery of work and routine, except for the nights when she moonlights as a mood bouncer at an upscale gentlemen’s club for shifters. Denied a promotion that will give her the bonus she desperately needs to pay off a debt, she sells her virginity at auction. She finds herself in the arms of the winner - ruthless, powerful alpha wolf Dante Carrington, who shares his prize with his sexy beta wolves - bad boy biker Gabriel and sensitive poet Alexander. They want more than to ravish Peyton’s virgin body for one night. They want to claim her body, heart and soul.

When loan sharks threaten Peyton, Dante whisks her away in his limo to his pack’s private ranch to keep her safe. Dante, Alex and Gabriel are determined to protect Peyton and seduce her until she submits to them … and her own desires. They will take her hard and take her gentle, coaxing her to the heights of a pleasure she has never known. But Peyton is human and knows the rugged world of shifters can be dangerous. Torn between the erotic world she’s plunged into and the familiar, safe surroundings of the human lifestyle, she must choose between listening to her head or following her heart. Because everyone knows when you play with wolves you risk getting hurt… forever. 

Excerpt copyright 2018 Bonnie Vanak

My stomach did little flip flops as I ground to a halt. The delicious scent of spices and leather teased my senses. Sweat trickled down my backside, banding in the waistband of my jeans.
          “Hello Mr. Carrington.”
          One did not hurry past Dante Carrington, alpha wolf of a pack sixty miles north of Cheyenne. Not if one wished to get fired for ignoring the greeting of the club’s wealthiest, and most important, patron.
Dante Carrington. Black hair clipped short, except for the silky hank that hung over his forehead. Eyes dark as night, his facial features handsome and perfect. In his dinner dress, he looked good enough to lick.
Down girl.
Owner of the Bar B Q ranch, also known in were circles as Dante’s Inferno for the excellent cookouts they held each summer. He started coming to the club a year ago.
          To his right sat Alexander Smith. Gabriel Sharp sat across from Dante. Both were Dante’s betas in the pack, his close friends. Like the others in the lounge, they wore black silk tuxedos, but they looked elegant and refined. Even the rougher Gabriel, who preferred biker boots and black leather while riding his Harley.
          The auras of all three glowed a calm blue. Weres usually had blue auras, except when they were sexually aroused, and then they flared crimson.
          “Mr. Smith. Mr. Sharp.” I kept my voice even and friendly, though inside I shook a little. This trio had that effect on me. They oozed masculine power and strength, and sexuality.
          Three different males, all different, and all intriguing and handsome.
          “Peyton please. How many times have we told you to call us by our first names? No formality needed,” Dante gently chided.
Alexander lifted a hand in greeting, his dark eyes framed by round glasses. Lean and tall, he had curly black hair spilling down to his shoulders and reminded me a little of Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. Alex was smart and shy.
Shifters are physically stronger and healthier than humans. I always suspected Alex wore glasses to hide himself, not because of a defect with his eyesight.
Bad boy Gabriel gave a toothy grin. A short-cropped brown beard covered his lower face, and the black silk jacket hid a body lined with sinew and muscle. Gabriel was the largest of the trio, standing more than six feet, five inches tall with thick muscles and a shock of brown hair streaked gold tumbling down past his broad shoulders.
Thick, dark brows arched over blue eyes that suggested he liked to party hard, but I’d seen those eyes flash with tenderness when he’d wistfully mentioned how much he adored children. I’d also seen them turn stormy when he bristled with rage when someone tried to abuse one of the girls.
No formality? I gave a pointed look at their dinner jackets. “Then why the fancy duds?”
They all chuckled. Dante lifted his glass. “Touché.”
“Not quite so fancy.” Gabriel stuck out a foot covered in black Doc Martens.
Grinning, I showed him my pair – covered with little colorful flowers. Gabriel fist bumped me.
          “How are you, Peyton?” Gabriel asked. “We were hoping you’d show up tonight.”
          “Peyton Jackson. Our favorite waitress,” Alexander’s smile put me at ease. Usually he was so quiet, you barely knew he was there. I always sensed something deep about Alexander, as if he were a wounded were hiding a secret. Such a sensitive soul.
          Still, one had to be mindful these were shifters. With fangs and claws. Never let down your guard around shifters.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Battling burnout

Burnout is real for authors. I know this. 

This article on burnout struck home with me. I don't write a book every two months, but I've noticed over the past year that I've slowed down to the point where I am dragging. Once I ran a race and now I am slogging through mud, or so it feels when it comes to writing. 

 I returned to full-time work in May after being part-time for three years. Another writer resigned and while my employers were searching for her replacement, they asked me to return to FT. And so I did, and with those increased hours came the responsibility of traveling to poor countries once more. Of course it also came with more money since I was working more hours, which was also good since my book income hasn't been what it was back in 2012.

Since my work situation changed and I no longer get benefits, when I don't work I don't get paid. We took a much-needed two week vacation the end of July. Preparing for that vacation was like readying a castle for a siege. One of our dogs has renal failure, so it meant preparing her medications, home-cooked meals and finding enough people to care for Holly in our home. 

It was a wonderful vacation, and I started a new story while there - Wild Wolf, another Werewolves of Montana story. The itch to create burned inside me. I wrote in the car, while sitting outside our rental home in North Carolina, and on the deck of our bed and breakfast in TN. It felt freeing!

But soon as we returned home, the regular routine of responsiblities resumed. Laundry, housework, grocery shopping, caring for the dogs, and going back to the day job. Hubs helps with chores. Every day at 5 a.m. he gives sub Q fluids and meds to our Holly, our renal pup. It's a huge responsibility to care for a sick dog. 

I worked crazy hours upon my return that first week to make up for the fact that I was out for two weeks. In one week, I logged nearly 50 hours at the day job. I would get into work around 7:30 and leave at 6:30. 

I came home, gulped down dinner, watched TV for an hour and cuddled with hubs and doggies for an hour, and then crashed. Then it was up at 4 a.m. all over again (hubs works in a hospital and rises at 4 a.m. each day). 

Two weeks after vacation, I was in Haiti for the day job. This time I worked 60 hours in the field - standing in the hot sun interviewing poor families, long drives in the back of a pickup as we were squashed like sardines. It was exhausting. 

Last week, my first week back, I worked about 40 hours in four days.  We both took Friday off and went to the west coast for a weekend away to celebrate hubs' birthday, taking the dogs with us. Again, it was like packing for a month away.

When we returned Sunday, we weren't refreshed, but exhausted all over again. While on the west coast, hubs went shopping so I could write. This is our usual routine when we go away to the west coast. 

But instead of my fingers flying over the keyboard, I slogged. Goal was to write 3,000 words on Wild Wolf. I barely made it to 1,000 words. This was a story I had planned to write only 25,000 words on and I now have 27,000 words. It will be around 32,000 by the time I finish. 

While we were gone, my new reverse harem story released. I didn't have time to promote it as I should and it's slogging in sales as much as I am slogging in energy. 

I'm burned out and it shows. 

I have another, contracted deadline to meet. I have a book due for Harlequin in two months. I've been trying to figure out a writing schedule to meet that deadline. I love the book and I'm looking forward to writing it, but I also know me, my body, my energy.

I need a break before I burn out. I've been on the gerbil wheel going faster and faster and it's dizzying!

The good news is that I am back to PT at work. I'm looking forward to Friday, when I can rest. Perhaps plans will include a half day of filling the well by walking on the beach before it gets to 98 degrees, or reading a book, or working in the garden. I don't know yet. 

I do know this. I have to watch myself from burning out before it's too late to recover.