Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

There are Days When There's a Direct Disconnect Between My Mind and the Computer Screen.

I'm in the process of updating a book that was originally published as MONA LISA'S ROOM, a romantic suspense set mostly in Paris. It was released roughly five years ago, so any technology mentioned is out-dated. Something I need to correct. Someone asked me about my lack of humor in the book. Would I be adding some?

I hadn't thought of it.

Maybe that's why the book didn't sell. I'd blamed it on the title. I'm renaming it NIKO: LICENSED TO KILL. And if I could think of a good place to insert humor, by golly, I'd do it because I love laughing when I write. Especially if tears of mirth blur my seeing the computer screen.

Over a week ago, when I laid down for my afternoon nap--to rest my eyes, now. Not because I'm old, mind you. This idea came to me. I could see it happening in my mind. Boy, oh boy, was it funny. I laid there and laughed until the bed shook. This was it! The bit of humor the book needed.

I wrote the chapter leading up to it--a blend of the original chapter two and new segments setting up THE scene. I'm telling you, I couldn't wait to start chapter three. It was going to be hilarious. My readers would love it!

Today was the day and I was out of bed two hours earlier than usual, eager to get started. I wrote what I had seen in my mind.

Not one chuckle.

I rewrote it. Changed normal verbs to more powerful ones. Threw in more description to slow down the pace.


How could this be? It had been so darn funny in my mind. I couldn't think of it without breaking into hysterics. Reading it on the computer screen barely made me smile. Maybe I was being too hard on myself. You know, reality just couldn't live up to my expectations

Obviously, between my mind and my fingertips, there's been a great disconnect.

Calvin read it and smiled at a few places. Didn't laugh. Smiled. I sent it to my CP. She told me it was funny as hell. Okay, I feel a little better. I'll move on. In a week I'll go back and read over it again. No doubt make some more changes know...a writer is never satisfied.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Saga of the Remote Control

I'm sure you've gathered by now how I adore my husband. Here's a picture of him reading to a classroom of elementary students. He's been retired from teaching high school English for sixteen years, but misses encouraging students. He is by nature "a salesman of learning." He also knows many children have never been read to by a man, especially a man of color, and he wants them to have that experience. So, he visits elementary schools here in Lynchburg and reads to them and talks about the importance of learning. For some of them, hearing this from a man is something new. I love how he cares about children, young and old alike.

But, just like all men, Calvin has his quirks. Take the remote control, for example. I mean we've got a gazillion around here. There are remote controls for every TV--including the one in the garage, every blue-ray player--including the one in the garage, every stereo--including the one in the garage, every ceiling fan--including...well, hell, take my word for it, he's got a lot.

I almost hate to go shopping with him. The last time we went looking for a new coffee maker, he got a glazed look in his eyes as he picked up box after box. "Do you think any of these come with remote controls?"

What is it with men and those "buttony" gadgets anyhow?

Where his addiction is the worst is in his recliner in front of the TV in the living room. He has the remote for the television, the Direct TV, and the blue-ray all on his lap or on the arm of his chair. Because, you know, he NEEDS them nearby.

Now these remotes have a way of ending up in odd places. Why? Because DH hates to part with all of them when he goes to do something. They're like his security blanket, only smaller and with buttons. I've found one on the tub beside the commode. In the ice maker tub in the freezer. In the mailbox. I'd have loved to witness the mail lady's expression on that one. And beside the cookie jar. Enough said.

So, Calvin decided to secure the remotes to his recliner. He took pieces of yarn and tied one end of each around every remote and the other end around the recliner's handle since he never reclines. Well, before long, these yarn strings resembled tangled fishing wire. He went to the hardware store and bought thin rope.

I never said a word.

He is, after all, the King of Remotes in this house.

He tried tying the ropes to the remote, but couldn't tie it tight enough so he glued it. The glue didn't hold. Back to the hardware store for stronger glue. He brought home six--SIX, mind you!--different kinds.

I never said a word.

None of them held the rope in place. He went to his tool chest in the garage and rummaged until he found a roll of electrical tape. It held for one day.

Not to be bested by a remote and a piece of rope, Calvin took the whole works out to the garage where much cursing and slamming of drawers followed. Suddenly, there was silence. He walked in, chest puffed out. "I think I've found the solution to the problem. Come see."

I followed him out. "First I dipped the rope into the glue and then placed the tape over the gooey mess. I've got it cranked tight in this until it all dries..."
My chin dropped.

The rope, glue, and tape did hold. The remote's buttons, however, were permanently smashed flat.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

To Cuss or Not to Cuss--How Will My Characters Talk?

Sometimes I worry I do my readers a disservice. They never know what they're going to get from me. Depending on my characters, language can run the gamut from one or two "dirty words" to more "F-bombs" dropped than gunfire in a war.

So, why the difference?

Why don't I write all my books in the same language style?

In short, it's my characters.

As I write their stories, some characters tell me they wouldn't use that word so I clean up the language. Yes, I hear voices. Others, like my hero in a book currently with an editor, have no qualms about using the F-word frequently. The hero in the book I'm writing now speaks with less spice.

But why? Aren't I the writer? Aren't I the one putting the words on the computer screen? Yes. Yes, I am. I am also in my character's head. If I'm striving for deep point of view, I have to mentally become them. Yup...there are times, for hours a day, I might think and write like a man. I have to act and react in an Alpha male manner. Use my pretend hunk swagger.

If I choose not to listen to my character's directions, he or she wakes me up at night. Or preys on my mind during the day long after I've moved onto another chapter.

Not all authors think the way I do. And that's okay. They don't have to deal with how my mind works. I do. So one time you might read a book of mine with little swearing and other times the language will make your hair curl. It's my characters' fault.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day to Romance Lovers

Valentine's Day has changed a lot since I was in elementary school. It was a day all the girls approached with great glee. A class art project was always to make and decorate our card mailboxes. I remember one year, a few of us got creative and made large heart-shaped mail bags to tape to our desks.

Little boys gave valentine cards only to the prettiest girls in the class and to each other, of course. I always hoped I'd get one from a boy, but alas...

By the time I was a mother with children in grade school, teachers sent home a list of names of everyone in the class so no one was excluded. I understood the pain of exclusion and appreciated their thoughtfulness.

In high school, my kids gave and received roses to each other. Red, of course, meant love. Pink said I like you. And white meant friendship. In my sons' senior years, they each carried home nearly a dozen red roses. I threatened to buy them each a chastity belt. Of course, my words fell on deaf macho ears.

Years later, as a divorced woman I detested the approach of Valentine's Day. Female co-workers bragged about what they were wearing to go out for dinner and wondered how many dozen of roses they'd get...or jewelry...or champagne.

I survived with Chinese take-out and a good romance book. Now I've got my snuggler and don't need all the extra trappings. For us, the feeling of Valentine's in year round. Our last words to each other before we fall asleep is always, "Je t'aime."

Whether you celebrate or not, happy heart day this week. Hugs to you all.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Effie's Coming Back!

She's been the pink glue that's held my Highlander Beloved Series together. Pink-haired, pink-clad, cra-cra granny Effie. A Virginia transplant to the Highlands of Scotland. A hippie from Woodstock. A magical force. A real pip. And everyone who read the series loved her.

She's had many moments in each book. It didn't take her long to make her mark in book one. Scene one, in fact...

She wore pink pelican bedroom slippers, called baffies in Scotland. Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder was her perfume of choice. And no color pleased her more than pink, unless it was the color of skin under a Scott's kilt. But we'd best not go there.

We found out in book two she was a witch, a protector of those weaker and in need of help and protection.

In book three, she imitated Aretha Franklin singing "Respect," using a dildo as a microphone.

Now, in book four, she's back in full-force. She's conned her younger granddaughter to come to Scotland and she's got matchmaking on her mind. Who? Effie's new husband's nephew--Dr. Thane Matheson, who's not ready to halt his women-chasing ways even if his bear claims Willow Munro is the one for Thane.

We all know Effie loves a challenge.