Thursday, November 29, 2012

#GuestPost : Vonnie Davis, Romance Author #excerpt

Thanks, Terri, for having me on your lovely blog. I am a romance writer and I love my job. Actually, it’s my lifelong dream or has been since the sixth grade.

I retired early, at the age of 60, from my job as a technical writer when I married a man I’d met online. Two old fogies looking for love on the internet. Can you dig it? Calvin was already retired from teaching and spending his days writing. He wanted me to do the same, to realize my long-held dream, too. Now with a degree in English and years as a technical writer, I certainly knew how to craft a sentence. What I didn’t know what the craft of writing.

Point of view? Didn’t everyone use omniscient? Nora does. Head hopping? What on earth do you mean? Character arc? Are we talking electrical wires here? What do you mean? GMC? Oh, I know that…a truck, right?

Turned out I didn’t know as much about writing as I thought.

I began reading books on the craft. I also took one or two online workshops a month. I’ve just started one offered via Savvy Authors on “Mining for Deep Emotions.” I feel one of my many weaknesses is pulling out emotions.

So, what have I learned these last four years?

I’ve learned the power of point of view. Point of view (pov) is more than whose head are we in, it’s the power we use to pull our reader deep into the story. So deep, in fact, they don’t want to put the story down. To me, the best compliment is when a reader says, “I read it all in one sitting. I couldn’t stop. I felt like I was right there.”

We all have our own way of crafting our characters. For me, I begin from the inside out. If choosing your character’s looks or job is your starting point, and it works for you, then it’s right for you. I begin by choosing my character’s point of pain. We all have them: A painful experience in our past that defines us and influences how we act and react to situations and other people.

For example, if you were heavy as a teenager and worked hard to lose the weight as an adult, you’re going to react one of two ways when you meet obese individuals. Either you’re going to recall your own pain and be sensitive to that person’s plight of being the butt of jokes; or seeing them is going to remind you of past pain and make you think if you could lose the weight, so can they. And you’ll be less sympathetic.

Past pain doesn’t always stem from childhood. Sometimes it can be as recent as last year when someone you loved walked away.

Once I nail down my hero and heroine’s points of pain, I decide on how they look and what they do to make the world a better place.

These points of pain help me get into character when I write. For when I’m writing, I AM that character. I allow that point of pain to fester in my soul as I write. If my hero is a man who’s lost buddies and part of a limb in war, I dwell on that as I write chapters in his pov. I try to think as a man would and if I’m unsure, I call my two alpha male sons and throw out the situation to them. I pay attention to the lingo they use. I insert it into my story along with their attitudes.

If I’m writing about a woman with a chip on her shoulder because she was the middle sister, ignored in favor of her older beautiful sibling and her younger sweet and bubbly sister, I don that bitchy, over-reactionary chip when I’m writing sections written in her head.

All of this falls under the heading of point of view. It helps our characters leap off the page, full of sass and attitude. We know why they act this way and, in many cases, can identify. This makes them more real.

So, when I wrote A TASTE OF CHOCOLATE, I stepped into my characters’ hearts and took on Hope and Declan’s pain.

A TASTE OF CHOCOLATE is the kick-off story for The Match Maker series at Still Moments Publishing, where a magical coffee shop comes into play. Freya, the owner, is a matchmaker. She brings souls together, and then when the heroine returns to thank her or ask for more advice, the coffee shop is not there. What she finds is a weeded, empty lot.

The premise of the series called to me—and brought its own set of challenges. I’d never written this “short” before, under 12,000 words, and never written anything remotely fanciful. Normally I write sensual to “hawt” contemporaries, historical and romantic suspense. A TASTE OF CHOCOLATE is a sweet romance, not because that’s what the series requirements were, but because the storyline simply called for it.

I’d like to share a quote from Freya as she and Hope are coming to the end of their conversation.

“A man’s kiss should taste like chocolate, dark flavor melting, doing sensual things to you.”

–Freya, the Matchmaker


Hope Morningstar has the worst luck with men. One boyfriend wrote her a “Dear John” letter while serving overseas. Her latest romantic interest broke up with her in a text. When a traffic detour puts her in an unfamiliar neighborhood, she stops at Freya’s Coffee Shop where she gets more than directions. She gets another chance at finding love.

Declan Fleming, scarred by a cheating ex-wife, has given up searching for love. He’s taken the route of a few other men and engaged the services of Freya, the matchmaker. Still, he’s been waiting for a year and he’s just about given up hope. Then Freya sends him Hope.

When feelings of insecurity and trust issues come into play, can finding love stand a chance? Can the magical influence of this matchmaker create a happy ending? After all, finding that one special love often involves a bit of special magic, does it not?

EXCERPT with a brief set-up. Freya arranged for Hope to meet Declan in the food court of a large mall. He shows up with purple roses and irises, telling her purple roses stand for love at first sight and irises are the flower of hope.

A warm hand settled in the middle of her back, escorting her out of the eating area. “So, we’re going shopping, are we? Are you up for a movie later? I checked, and there’s a new chick flick playing.”
Her gaze rose to his as she held his bouquet to her nose to enjoy their fragrance again. “Do you enjoy chick flicks, Declan Fleming?” Somehow, with just his hand splayed on her back, he had her tucked against his shoulder. Heat radiated off him. It was like being held in half an embrace while walking through the mall.
“Not really. I prefer thrillers and action flicks.” He stopped at a display in the window of a men’s clothing store. “The more explosions, the better. Let’s go in here for a sec. I need a couple pairs of shorts.” He led her to a rack of solid color pants.
“Plaids are in right now.” Or so Barclay claimed.
“I prefer something more manly.” He snatched two pair of khakis off the rack. “Let’s go. I’m done.”
“Already? You’re getting two identical pairs of shorts?”
“Yes, when a man sees something he likes, he sticks to it.”
“At least get one pair in green or navy.” She held out a pair of Army green shorts.
“Are you a bossy woman, Hope Morningstar?”
That stung, considering her thoughts earlier. She crossed her arms under her breasts. “Comes with the territory. I’m a school teacher. Second grade.”
He inclined his head, his lips against her ear, and the smell of masculine soap creating all manner of feminine sensations. “Don’t look now, teach, but I’m a grown man.” Just to prove his point, he yanked another identical pair of shorts off the rack and headed for the cashier.
“And stubborn, I see.” Three pair of identical khaki shorts. Really?
“Alpha males usually are.” He pulled folded bills from his pocket and slipped off his silver money clip that held a military emblem.
When she leaned closer she saw the word SEAL. An ex-SEAL, if the length of his hair is any indication. Interesting.
“I’m not one of your students you can push around. You’ll get further with me using kindness than being bitchy.”
She narrowed her eyes. The nerve! What did Freya tell her? That she’d have to show strength. “I won’t be put down.” By golly, she’d had enough of trying to measure up to male expectations.
He snatched his bag from the cashier. “Neither will I. We get that straight from the get-go and we ought to get along just fine. Honesty, respect, and consideration. Three important building blocks for any relationship.”
Her temper was in full bloom now. They’d only met a few minutes ago. “It’s a tad soon to be talking about a relationship, don’t you think? I’m not even sure I like you.”
Evidently he chose to ignore her remark, even though a muscle in his jaw bunched. “How long have you been teaching?”
“Three years. What do you do for a living?”
“I handcraft wood furniture. In the fall, I also coach football at a private high school.”
“Were you once a SEAL? I saw your money clip.”
“Yes, in another life.” He didn’t elaborate.




  1. Thanks for having me today! I'm excited about my first release with Still Moments Publishing.

    1. Happy to have you! Best of luck with those sales!!!

  2. Vonnie, your story sounds great. I appreciated hearing that another writer struggled at first with POV and think your method for starting stories sounds intriguing. Good luck with sales.

    1. Thanks, Linda. Good luck with your writing, too. Someone once said the learning curve for a writer is continual. So true...especially when different editors have different pet peeves and expect different things from us.

  3. This is a great story! I loved reading it and I love to learn more about you, Vonnie! Good luck with your sales!!