Sunday, January 31, 2016

What goes up must go down...the drain...

I'm working on revisions for Navy Seal Seduction and finishing a proposal for the next romantic suspense for Harlequin. My editor liked NSS, which was great news! That book was a tough one to write, as it was my first romantic suspense. I usually have elements of suspense in my books, either historical or paranormal, but this was my first straight RS book.

I'm so happy that I finished the book and all looks well. It was a big challenge to write during the holidays, as the week of  Christmas we had a huge, huge problem...

We had a flood in our master bathroom a few days before Christmas and discovered mold growing between the walls backing up to our kitchen. Black mold. Lots of it. We had to hire a mold mitigation contractor, put in an insurance claim, and move out of the house.

The contractor did a great job removing the mold. It's been unsettling going back and forth from our temporary living quarters to the house, but the most important thing is our health. The black mold was causing us to cough, wheeze and get ill. And we never even knew it was there.

All this was caused by a rusty, leaking drain. We had no idea this could happen. But it was the original tub, and rusted out at the bottom. Since the tub was installed 30 years ago, and not properly sealed, it was only a matter of time.

Regarding book news, soon as I turn in my RS proposal, I will focus on finishing Tristan's book. The Mating Season needs about 10,000 more words. I have a cover as well, which I will show in another blog post. When The Mating Season is done, I'll hire a professional editor. All my indie books are professionally edited. I am a seasoned author, but writers need editors! It's hard to edit your own work because you are often too close to it.

Well, back to work for now. I'll touch base again soon. Happy reading!

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Navy Seal Seduction is FINISHED!

I finally finished writing Navy Seal Seduction, my first romantic suspense book for Harlequin. Yay! This book is out in print and digital in July. I've posted an excerpt below.

The plan is now to finish the proposal due for the next romantic suspense book, and then I'll be returning to my Werewolves of Montana. Tristan's book is close to being finished. Happy 2016!

Navy Seal Seduction
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 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 and 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 29, 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 Mangos 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...

Monday, December 28, 2015

STAR WARS THEN AND NOW (warning: spoiler inside)

In 1977, I saw Star Wars for the very first time. It was pure magic, an escape into a fantasy world.

I was a teenager that summer, and moving from New Jersey to Florida.  I sorely needed an escape from the upcoming challenge of packing all my possessions, facing a new school and making new friends.

My good friend Amy Frankel and I went to the movies to see Star Wars. We paid about $2.25 each to sit in a dark theater smelling of stale popcorn and mildew to view a movie everyone was talking about. Amy and I were geeks who loved sci-fi and we were deeply curious about all the hype.

I was blown away. The story and the characters were amazing! The feisty and spunky and pretty Princess Leia (although that hairstyle, WHAT were they thinking? How many jokes have I heard since about “hairy earphones?”) the mysterious and paternal Ben Kenobi, the scary, ominous Darth Vader (James Earl Jones, a favorite actor, loaned his voice for the part, I later found out), the na├»ve but brave Luke Skywalker, a reluctant hero if there ever was one, the sarcastic, sexy, blaster-toting smuggler Han, and the “walking carpet” Chewie. And the delightful metallic friends, C3PO and R2D2.

And there was the mysterious “force” that surrounds all of us – the power that some could tap into and release enormous magic for the greater good.

Or the greater evil.

Star Wars was a classic tale of good versus evil, with the good guys winning (temporarily) over the dark forces and being hailed as true heroes of the galaxy. An open and closed book, without any major cliffhangers (yet leaving the possibility of new stories, since the battle was won and the Death Star destroyed, but the war was far from over). I thought George Lucas was a demigod for creating such a fantastic world. I even bought the vinyl album because the score by John Williams (a favorite composer) rocked my world. I still have it in my collection.

To a teenager going through the angst of moving to another state, Star Wars became my “Linus blanket.” The “force” was a magic power I could tap into and use to overcome unknown obstacles awaiting me in the unknown deserts of Tatooine/Florida.

I thought about the movie constantly, escaping into my imagination to deal with the challenge of leaving the only home I had ever known. I was trading the snowy winters and hills of northern New Jersey for the intense heat and beaches of Florida. In a way, I was like Luke Skywalker, embarking on a reluctant journey, only this adventure was caused by my father’s new job.

After I moved to Florida, Amy and I wrote letters to each other to stay in touch. We mentioned the movie, our favorite scenes, pretending we were role-playing the part of Princess Leia and our conversations always ended up with the tagline: “May the Force be with you.”

On my first day at the new school, when I could not even FIND the cafeteria, let alone think of who I could sit with, I ate my sandwich in the bathroom and pretended I was Princess Leia tortured by Darth Vader. This was an apt parallel since I was eating in a bathroom that looked like it had been invaded by cranky Imperial Storm Troopers. Talk about needing magic powers, yeah, the Force was DEFINITELY with me on that day. 

Gradually Amy and I lost contact with each other. I settled into my new school and new life. But I kept going to the movies and shelling out money (more and more over the years) with each new release of a Star Wars movie.

Star Wars (A New Hope, though I’ll ALWAYS think of it as the original Star Wars), is an example of the classic story-telling model of Joseph Campbell – the hero’s journey. Despite the special effects, the battles, and the flash and bang, at the heart of the movie is a simple story: Wide-eyed farm boy reluctantly embarks on an adventure. He resists the call (when Luke tells Ben he has to get back to the farm), then is shoved into it with no options (his aunt and uncle are dead). His mentor dies (Obi-Wan) and he must struggle along on the journey. Along the way he learns something about himself and grows in strength and maturity as he encounters adversaries and challenges and makes new friends.

What made the original movie so compelling for me wasn't the special effects, nor the action. It was the characters whom I bonded with, and cared about. Any author will tell you that creating characters readers care about is vastly important to the story.

Readers (and movie-goers) want heroes and heroines who are likeable and flawed and sometimes make you want to both slap them and hug them. Would we care about Gone with the Wind so much had there been no Scarlet, with Melanie Hamilton as the hero? Or worse, the wishy-washy Ashley?

This weekend I had challenges with my home, and to escape the constant drone of machines needed to dry out my walls, I went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Seeing this movie today, when I am in my fifties, versus seeing the original, was as much of an eye-opening experience as that long-ago summer of 1977.

I shelled out more than $8 for the movie. As the opening credits rolled, in the same style of the original, I smiled, lost in memory.

But the rest of the movie was different.

It was a wonderful movie and I’d go see it again. Yet I found myself analyzing scenes and plot twists, something I never did back in 1977. It makes sense. I've changed and I'm now an author who writes paranormal and romantic suspense novels. I always watch movies and critique them internally. 



When Han faces “Ben” on the gangway and “Ben” sets down his weapon, I actually found myself thinking “Oh please. Don’t tell me he’s going to embrace the light. That would be so boring. WHERE is the conflict after that?”

But when Ben does that dastardly deed, I thought, "YES!!!" 

That one heinous act MAKES the rest of the story. It cranks up the tension, and the stakes, especially for Rey, the heroine. And it makes the villain nearly irredeemable. Rey loses her mentor, just as Luke lost his mentor in the original. Rey is now fully committed, even if she doesn’t acknowledge it. She cannot turn back, no matter how much she resists continuing the journey.

The Force Awakens is an echo of the original Star Wars with all its plot similarities. But as a friend pointed out, now it lays the groundwork for the rest of the series. The world has been established, the main characters are set, and we shall see what happens after this. Anything is possible.

There are many questions left unanswered, more so than with the original Star Wars, which was a nifty little package all tied up with a big CGI-less bow. Along with many other fans, I will be impatiently waiting for the next movie. But for one Sunday afternoon when I sorely needed a break from plumbing problems, major reconstruction and adult concerns about the future, it was pure magic, an escape into a fantasy world.

Just like in 1977.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Lovestruck. New dragon story!

Now available! Lovestruck, my new dragon novella. Only $1.99.
Fiery red dragon Anna Dixon knows what she wants – the sexy, handsome Michael Vincent as her mate. Once childhood friends, an undying passion now claims them both. But Michael is a black dragon belonging to a rival clan, and her father will never allow the match. Heartbroken, Anna is resigned to the fact that the hatred between their families will never cease and she must deny Michael for the sake of peace.
Michael has tried to put away memories of Anna, but can never forget the red dragon who aroused his passion and claimed his heart. When Xavier, the Crystal Wizard, sends Michael to gather rare Lumen seeds from land belonging to Anna’s clan, the two dragons consummate the desire burning between them. But after Michael is caught and his presence stirs old animosities, they are threatened with a dragon war in the skies that can claim everything Anna holds dear, including her beloved Michael…

Lovestruck on Amazon:
Lovestruck on iBooks:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Facebook party, and a chance to win a $200 gift card!

Next week, Dec. 2, I'll be participating in a fun Facebook party with Caris Roane and 12 other terrific authors called Romancing the Holidays!

I'll be talking about Christmas with a Vampire, my old Harlequin novella that I loved writing, and my new release, Lovestruck, A Dragon Story. Everyone's invited to stop by. There will be a Rafflecopter drawing for the grand prize, and I'll be giving away some prizes during my time slot, which is TBA. 

Click here to check out the party and join this fun event! 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

From werewolves and wizards to Navy Seals!

I'm changing gears...slightly. And the shift is fun! Right now I am fully immersed in writing my June 2016 Harlequin Romantic Suspense book, Navy Seal Seduction. 

This is a big departure for me, as it's my first romantic suspense book. I am so happy I am trying out a new genre. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, but not that big a departure since I usually have suspense in my PNR books.

Writing straight romantic suspense is a bit of a challenge, as I'm tempted to toss in a werewolf or a Mage like I did with my Harlequin Nocturne series featuring a team of Navy Seals who were paranormals (Demon Wolf). 

I love how this book is turning out. Jarrett is a very alpha Seal who is in a volatile country, trying to get his ex-wife to go home to the US, where she will be safe. But Lacey isn't budging and for a very good reason. 

And Navy Seal Seduction is already up for pre-order on Amazon.

You can check it out here. 

I'm not stopping with the PNR. I'll have more werewolves and wizards (Tristan's book, among them) and next month I"m hoping to release a short story/novella called Lovestruck. Lovestruck is about two dragons and Xavier, and you'll get a good insight of the wizards of the Werewolves of Montana. 

That's it for now. Happy reading!

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Mating Challenge and The Mating Season..Werewolves and Wizards!

Aiden's book, The Mating Challenge, is out October 1! It's book 5 in my Werewolves of Montana series. I know this book has taken a long time to be released. Thank you, thank you, all the readers who have been so very patient! Here is an excerpt from The Mating Challenge. Warning: This book contains lots of hot sex.

The Mating Challenge 
copyright 2015 Bonnie Vanak

Nikita watched as the doors closed behind them. “I can’t believe you won.”

“Try not to sound so enthused.”

“I’d try harder, but I’m not a terrific actress.”

Aiden stepped close, enjoying her rich scent of spring flowers, vanilla innocence and musk. Taking a long curl in hand, he wrapped it around his finger, forcing her to step closer. Close enough for him to see the desire and alarm swirling in her eyes.

“I bet I can coax a little enthusiasm from you when we’re alone.”

She looked around the crowded room. “We’re far from alone now, so you can stop thinking about sex.”

“Sweetheart, when you’re in the same room with me, all I can think about is sex.”

He enjoyed the flush tinting her cheeks, knowing his words, and her own arousal, caused the coloring.

Hot, sweaty sex, those long legs wrapped about his hips as he pumped hard and fast into her soft, wet heat. Her scent wound around him, making his blood run thick and hot. He’d take her upstairs, make slow, gentle love to her the first time, then tutor her in passion and f**k her hard and fast. 

Keep her in bed until she conceived.

Aiden needed an heir.

But he needed Nikita more. Couldn’t get the woman out of his system, hard as he’d tried. Aiden studied his future mate. He longed to nuzzle the sweet slope of her neck, trailing tiny, biting kisses down to her breasts. Mark her with each exquisite nip, culling little cries of pleasure from her plump, tender lips.

And then, the ultimate triumph, spread her legs open and taste her…

“I’m the winner, pixie. Get used to the idea.”

“Pixie! I’m no fairy!”

“You keep dashing in and out of here like one. Can’t fool me. But now you’re staying put. I’m your mate. You can’t deny me what I’ve wanted from you for all these years. Give in. It’s time to make you mine.”

“The full moon isn’t due until tomorrow.”

He stared at her mouth, making his intent clear. “I have no need to wait for a formal mating.”

“Impatient much?”

“No, I’ve been quite patient,” he murmured, tugging on another curl that had escaped the tight braid. “When I see something I want, I can be patient. Very patient.”

In other book news, in November I will be releasing Lovestruck, a short novella about Xavier, the Crystal Wizard, who makes a guest appearance in The Mating Challenge. This novella is the prequel to Xavier's story. I'm going to be changing up the order of the wizards' stories because I "know" Xavier better right now than Gideon. Gideon needs time to "cook," and this happens sometimes as I am writing other books.

But after Lovestruck comes Tristan's book, The Mating Season! And I am happy to report that book is more than halfway finished! In Tristan's book, Sebastian and Skylar from Temptation make an appearance and you'll get to see what they have been doing. Sebastian and Skylar play a pivotal role in Tristan's book.

 I am hoping to finish The Mating Season next month and have it released January 2015 or sooner. 

Happy reading!