Being Bonnie Vanak

A journey inside the mind of NY Times bestselling author Bonnie Vanak

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Future releases in my Werewolves of Montana series

I'm working on copyedits for SEDUCTION, the first Mating Mini in my Werewolves of Montana series. And I'm also hard at work on writing OBSESSION, the next Mating Mini. Next week I'll start PASSION, the third Mating Mini.

All three of these stories give you a better insight into the dynamics of the world of the Werewolves of Montana.

Soon as I have the covers for all three books, I will post them. My plan is to release them about a month apart. That way you won't have to wait. I know many readers have been impatient for the next book, and thank you for waiting!

And speaking of waiting, that is the title of the FREE short story I have on my website that features Tristan, the Silver Wizard (this is NOT his book, just a short story about him). I have been working with my webmaster to make the files for Kindle, NOOK, and iPad and Kobo all easy to download and she did it!

I will be sending out a newsletter in the next two weeks with the passcode you need to access these stories, which is on the Members Only page. So if you have not yet subscribed to my newsletter, please click here to sign up. 

I only send out newsletters when I have information about new releases and important updates.

In other news, I hope to have Aiden's story, The Mating Challenge, available the first half of 2015. This will be a much longer story. When you read "Waiting," you will get a glimpse of the conflict that lies ahead for Aiden and Nikita, and the complications as well with Tristan. 

Happy reading! 

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Ellora's Cave, what month is this???

This is our beloved Shih Tzu, Holly. Holly has breast cancer (yes, dogs can get breast cancer). She's been going through chemo. Each session is around $500-$700, depending on bloodwork, so I am counting my royalty checks because that is how we are paying for her treatments.

I work a full-time job that pays the ordinary bills, like the mortgage, the electricity, etc. And we are spending the book income on Holly. She was found abandoned in a cow pasture in S. Florida right before Christmas. So we took her into our home, called her Holly for Christmas and proceeded to try to make her life as comfortable as possible and give her as much care as we could.

Yes, we spoil our dogs. We have a soft spot for animals and children. We don't have children of our own, but we have three rescue dogs (including Holly) and they are our fur babies.

Today I received in the mail my check from Ellora's Cave for Blair Valentine books. It was late. And then I noticed something very odd. So I took pictures with my cell phone.

Today is November 4, 2014.

The check is dated September 30, 2014.

The Ellora's Cave check was mailed October 31, 2014.

The royalty STATEMENT is for books sold June 2014.


What is going on?

My Ellora's Cave check won't even purchase a cup of coffee and a tasty ham and cheese savory square from Starbucks. ($8.70). Blair isn't selling any books through Ellora's Cave. She hasn't sold much this year. But this kind of accounting, where checks for books sold in JUNE were mailed in late OCTOBER but the check was cut in SEPTEMBER makes me wonder....

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Haiti, books and other stuff

I'm back from my first trip to Haiti in about three years. Last time I visited, there was still a lot of debris. This photo is from downtown, about 10 days after the 2010 earthquake.

On this trip, I saw no debris. Every place I visited, the debris has been cleaned up and Haiti is functioning as normal, which was great. 

As a result of that trip for the day job (and coming home sick) I've fallen behind in releasing my next book. Right now I'm working on edits for Seduction, the next release in my Werewolves of Montana series. 

Seduction will be followed by Obsession, and then Passion. 

Next year, release dates to be determined, I will release Aiden's book (The Mating Challenge) and Tristan's book (The Mating Season).

If you have not signed up for my newsletter, please visit this page and add your email address. I'm sending out a special password where readers can access a "Members Only" page and download a FREE short story featuring Tristan, the Silver Wizard, plus another short story.

That newsletter will be out soon, so be sure to sign up now! 

Happy reading! 

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Anthology raises money for author stricken with breast cancer

Ten authors have donated their work to a box set of novels and novellas to raise money for the medical expenses of a colleague stricken with breast cancer. The LAST HERO STANDING box set, which is set to release on Oct. 28, features 11 novels and novellas for only 99 cents, including a novella and a bonus short story from New York Times bestseller Dianna Love. All the proceeds from sales of the box set will go toward the medical expenses of USA Today bestselling author Pamela Clare, who was diagnosed with breast cancer this past April and has been unable to work since then.

“Writers love to write, and we try to do it around every obstacle in life, because we have stories to tell and we love our readers who are eager to read those stories,” Love says.  “But the life of a full-time writer is tough for those who wake up one day to find they’re facing a demanding disease such as cancer.  Pamela Clare is in a battle with breast cancer, which means her writing takes a back seat while struggling through chemo treatments and other unexpected health issues that have popped up as well.  

“For that reason, Norah Wilson and I brainstormed an idea that has turned into reality.  I have the honor of being part of an incredible group of authors who jumped up to donate books for the LAST HERO STANDING box set that will be available only during the month of November, and we’re giving all proceeds to Pamela,” Love says.

In addition to two stories from Love and a novella from Clare, the set features the work of New York Times bestsellers Cynthia Eden, Elisabeth Naughton, Joan Swan and Bonnie Vanak; USA Today bestsellers Mary Buckham, Adrian Giordano and Norah Wilson; and award-winners Stephanie Rowe and Tracy Devlyn. The stories span the sub-genres of romantic fiction from contemporary to suspense to paranormal.

“When my friend and fellow author Pamela Clare received her breast cancer diagnosis, it quickly became obvious that she would need to take a hiatus from writing to devote herself to the battle,” Wilson says. “I wanted to help her, but was at a loss about how best to do that. The answer came in a conversation with Dianna Love, who volunteered to publish a benefit box set with a limited one-month run if I could wrangle willing authors. Let me tell you, that was the easiest job I’ve ever been given! The authors I approached were eager to lend their books to the cause. I am so proud of the lineup we were able to put together on very short notice.”

Everyone involved in the project donated 100 percent of their time, including the photographer and designer. The authors approached Jenn LeBlanc of Studio Smexy™, who is a personal friend of Clare’s, and asked her to donate the art. Brandy Walker of TEZ Graphics designed the cover, while IRONHORSE Formatting provided formatting services.

“There was no hesitation when Norah messaged me about the cover for this very special anthology,” LeBlanc says. “I told her they could have any image from my site as an exclusive for this cover. It means a great deal to me because Pamela is one of my dearest friends, and I was happy to be able to help however I was able.”

Clare wasn’t made aware of the project until many of the pieces were already in place.

“When they told me what they wanted to do, I burst into tears,” Clare says. “It’s easy to feel alone when you’re going through chemo and miserable and bald. More than anything, this made me realize how many people in the romance community care.”

Clare was diagnosed with stage 1C breast cancer in April after a routine mammogram showed small calcifications in her left breast. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy in June, which revealed that the cancer had already spread to a single lymph node. She has almost completed chemotherapy and will be starting radiation treatments in November.

Although Clare has insurance, she is still required to pay co-pays and co-insurance, which add up quickly with multiple surgeries and drugs that cost more than $1,000 per injection. But the real struggle is paying for medical bills while not working. A full-time author, Clare hasn’t been able to write since she was diagnosed.

“The six weeks before surgery were like a waking nightmare,” she says. “I had no idea what I was facing, and the stress was overwhelming. I had three surgeries in the two months that followed, and then started chemo. I haven’t felt well enough to read, let alone write.”

New York Times best-seller Elisabeth Naughton knows from personal experience how devastating a major medical crisis can be to the life and livelihood of an author.

“Five years ago, I wound up in ICU with septic shock after a routine medical procedure,” Naughton says. “Thankfully, I survived the ordeal, but for at least six months after, while my body was busy healing, I was unable to write a single word. When the body is working so hard to repair itself, creativity takes a serious hit. I know what it’s like to be unable to write, so I’m happy to help Pamela in any way I can. This box set is just one way to show my support.”

The other authors in the box set understand this dilemma.

“As a full time writer, you’re kind of out there without a safety net,” Wilson says. “As long as you can write and publish new books regularly, all is right with the world. If you’re lucky. But when serious illness strikes and you can’t write or even promote for months at a stretch, your income dwindles pretty quickly. And that income shrinks at exactly the time you need it most.”

The box set is available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo. It will be available through November 30.

“The romance community is made up of some of the most generous and caring people on earth, both readers and writers,” Clare says. “And the thing that choked me up the most about this box set? The fact that they made my name pink and put me in the middle of what they called a ‘group hug.’ I’ll take all the hugs I can get.”

To read Clare’s breast cancer story, visit her blog at

Says Love: “I’m proud to know so many authors with generous hearts.”

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Excerpt from Seduction

Happy October! I am anticipating a release date of my next Werewolves of Montana book later this month. Enjoy! 

copyright 2014 by Bonnie Vanak

 A planter filled with bright red geraniums sat on the deck. The cool river breeze teased her hair. It was lovely here and she’d have enjoyed the peace and quiet, and the luxury of her own room, if it were not for the gloomy fate awaiting her in Jeremiah Jackson Taylor’s bed.

A delicate shiver raced down her spine as she imagined Taylor’s rough hands upon her, his body rudely penetrating hers without gentleness or consideration. Certainly not love.

J.J. clinked glasses with her. “To your future.”         

The delicious wine turned sour in her mouth. “I’d rather drink to something more positive. Like nuclear war.”

He considered. “How about drinking to good times?”

Much better. She clinked glasses with him again.

“And great sex.”

Alexa nearly choked on her sip of wine. She recovered, saw him watching her with his hooded gaze.

“That’s an odd toast.”

He shrugged. “Why? I’m a guy. I think of sex all the time. You’re a young, healthy Lupine. We’re a sensual people. Haven’t you ever wondered what great sex would be like?”

“I don’t have a good imagination.”

But that was a lie, for she had wondered, and felt wistful her body would be turned over to an uncaring, arrogant alpha who only wanted her for his own pleasure, not hers.

“Would you like me to illustrate for you?”

A teasing look entered his gaze. Despite the chilly river breeze, Alexa felt hot all over. “Only if you use markers. And my body as your canvas.”

Holy wolfsbane, did she actually say that? A furious blush heated her face, but J.J. only threw back his head and laughed. He had a wonderful laugh, all deep and relaxed.

“Might be better to tell you in Spanish.”

“Why not English?”

Swirling the wine in his glass, he considered. “Sounds more romantic in Spanish.”

“I could do with a little romance." She sighed deeply. "Instead I'll be handed over to an arrogant male who will climb on top of me, do the deed and think only of himself. Not exactly how I wanted to lose my virginity.”

Oops. The wine made her careless. But he only regarded her with his steady gaze. “The first time a woman makes love can be painful, but also filled with pleasure if you have the right partner,” he said softly.

Such intensity in his eyes, as if he wanted to be that special someone who made love to her for the very first time. Alexa envisioned J.J. naked, all those wiry muscles, mounting her as she lay naked in bed. His hard male body covering her as he looked down with passion blazing in his intense gaze….

She felt so warm and relaxed. No, hot and wet. Wet between the legs. Oh, she’d had those feelings before, but not cranked up like this, as if someone jerked up her internal thermostat to flaming hot.

Alexa stole glances at J.J., who stretched out his long legs. Tight jeans hugged his lean, muscular thighs. And that ass, very fine indeed.

“Eres muy simpatico. Que lindo culo tienes,” she murmured.

He raised a dark brow. “Thanks for the compliment. I’ve never thought of myself as cute, or possessing a nice ass, but I appreciate your assessment.”

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Please don't buy my Ellora's Cave books

History, like bad sausage, repeats itself. 

Once more I am finding myself in the midst of another publishing nightmare; watching one of my publishers slowly spiral downward. Back in 2011, it was Dorchester. I had written a series of 7 historical romances set in Egypt. They owed me money, not a lot, but enough. They had sold the rights to one of my books to another country and I never saw a nickel. My wonderful agent finally did get my rights back and I published those books myself.

And then I cautioned myself to be careful when signing future publishing contracts.

I have books with Ellora's Cave. I'm not going to get into the lawsuit EC filed against Dear Author, and the chilling effect it has. You can read about the lawsuit here and here.

There have been rumors flying around like snow in Colorado on a winter's day. One says that EC may out all authors who write under a pseudonym. That could jeopardize their day jobs.

I have a day job in addition to writing books. I work for a large charity. I'll out myself here before anyone else can.

My pseudonym is Blair Valentine. 

I won't live in fear anymore. But I imagine for some authors, the thought of being exposed can be hellish, especially if they hold jobs in the public sector, such as teaching.

The irony of the EC mess is that I don't want my rights back because I have not been paid, like author Avril Ashton. Avril relies upon her writing income to pay the rent. 

I bought Avril's new indie book to support her. I will do what I can to support my fellow authors who are in a bind. I know the fear of having the bills come due and being jobless. 

I am not like other EC authors. I have been paid regular royalty checks. Most of my checks amount to around, oh, $6. 

$6. Just enough to buy two cans of dog food for my sick Shih Tzu, Holly (pictured here). Definitely not enough to help pay for the $5,000 in chemo treatments to treat her breast cancer. 

I want my EC books back because I want to rewrite them to make them stronger. Better. As an author, I am constantly evolving in my writing. 

My first EC book was published in 2005. It was fun and exciting to write for EC. They were an erotica publisher who made tremendous strides in the industry, long before Fifty Shades of Whatever Color. I had an editor, and when the book was released, EC did a terrific job promoting it. I didn't have to do much to promote the book. My first royalty check, paid monthly!!! was a healthy four figures.  I was blissful, especially since my "regular" publisher at the time was Dorchester, who paid when the moon was turning into green cheese.

I wrote more stories for them as Blair Valentine. They were different, and had humor. Because I was worried about publishing erotic romance under my real name, I chose a pseudonym. These books were sexier than anything I'd ever written. I did NOT want anyone to find out Bonnie Vanak was writing books where the heroine had sex with ten guys. 

And then a couple of years later, I sold EC another book in that series. When I looked at how much that book was priced on Amazon, I scratched my head. Huh? 

Those royalty checks began dwindling. No matter. By now I was writing for Harlequin, who did pay twice a year, and paid on time. 

In 2013, I started self-publishing a series called the Werewolves of Montana. Those books were fun to write, and sexy as my EC books. 

I didn't pay much attention to my EC books, but did ask for my rights back last year. 


I removed the books from my website and started to divorce myself from Blair Valentine. 

About 10 days ago, I asked again to get the rights back to my EC books. I got a standard reply. I doubt I will ever see those books again, which truly sucks big donkey donuts because I could take those books, rework them, and release them myself.

Watching this whole EC mess unfold is like watching a train speeding toward a wreck, knowing you have a good friend on board, but you are helpless to stop the wreck. All you can do is step away from the tracks and try to move on.  I did this before with Dorchester, and now I'm doing it again with EC.

I don't want readers to buy any books written by Blair Valentine. It's my small way of protesting what's been going on. If you really want to support my writing, buy a book for which I have contributed a story. LAST HERO STANDING features 11 sexy, heroic stories by bestselling authors. We got together to publish this book to raise money for my dear friend Pamela Clare, who is fighting breast cancer. The book is available for pre-order October 1. 

I work a demanding day job five days a week. I travel to developing countries to help poor families who can't even scrape together money to buy a meal, let alone an EC book. And I write romance. My focus has been producing stories in my Werewolves of Montana series that my readers will enjoy. Lately it's been tough, between the day job and Holly's cancer treatments, to write. I finally DID finish Seduction, a new book in the series, and hope to have it available in a few weeks.

And as a gift to readers, I'm working on a new special Members Only webpage that will feature two free short stories. One is an original in my Werewolves of Montana series. It's about Tristan, the Silver Wizard. I wanted to gift my readers with a free read because they have been so supportive and patient while waiting for the next story. 

Readers are amazing. And so are bloggers. Some I don't care for, but they have the right to voice their opinion. I just ignore them, because I'm too busy trying to WRITE books. I think it is cool that the internet gives readers a forum in which to express their opinions of books. 

What's not cool is what's going on. So not cool.

If you are an author and you are considering a publishing contract, take a deep breath and slow down. Like they say in the business, no agent is better than a bad agent and the same goes for publishing contracts. No contract is better than one that ties up your rights until the moon turns into green cheese.

Read Carolyn Jewel's excellent post here on getting your rights back and what to do before you sign that publishing contract. 

And look before you leap before giving your book to a publisher. Read that contract carefully. Hire a literary attorney if you do not have an agent. Protect your rights... because you might just be leaping into the path of an oncoming train. 

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Werewolves of Montana and thank you readers!

I wanted to list all my books in the Werewolves of Montana series, including the new miniseries I'm writing set within that world. The first six books that are already published are available in a boxed set.

The Mating Heat

The Mating Chase (short story, free on Kindle, Nook, etc)
The Mating Hunt
The Mating Seduction
The Mating Rite
The Mating Intent

Books NOT released yet, but planned:

The Mating Challenge (Aiden's book, release date TBA)
The Mating Season (Tristan's book, release date TBA)
The Mating Game (Gideon's book, release date TBA)

Novellas that will be a miniseries within my Werewolves of Montana world. As a special thank you to readers, I am releasing these at the introductory price of $1.

Seduction (What I am writing now and hope to have available soon)

Seduction is a novella about a shy, but brilliant Lupine billionaire who purchases the virginity of the woman he's secretly in love with, and hopes to make his mate. Aiden and Nikita have a special scene in this book.

A special thank you to all the readers who took a chance on my wolf books. I am grateful to each and every one of you and I hope my books provide you with a good reading experience. 

I am trying to write as fast as I can, but had to put projects on hold due to my personal life. 

It's been a little frustrating and stressful, trying to juggle many balls in the air. The day job takes up much of my time and energy, and having a sick dog and trying to treat her cancer has taken priority. Little time is left for writing. But I am determined to finish Seduction and get it ready for publication.

I had thought about putting that novella on hold and releasing it only when the other three are ready.  

But reality check: Reality is a demanding day job and traveling out of the country. I have only the weekends to write. And truth is, I don't want to write all three novellas at once and release them back to back for one reason - I hate disappointing my readers.

My readers have been so wonderful to me, and so patient. Making them wait to read Seduction until the third novella is ready is not fair to them. So as soon as Seduction is edited and ready for publication, it's going live. I don't know when that will be. I am going to try hard to finish this novella by month's end. 

So if you are a reader who has been patiently waiting for another Werewolves of Montana book, thank you. Thank you, thank you. I promise I will do my best to give you the best book I can write, and in the timeliest manner I can deliver it.

Happy reading. 

  • Bonnie Vanak's website

  • Author Pamela Clare

  • Author Norah Wilson

  • Author Linda Broday

  • Mystery author Nancy Cohen's blog

  • Jennifer Ashley's blog

  • Florida Romance Writers

  • Author Alice Duncan

  • Author Alice Gaines

    A GREAT organization to donate to!

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