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

Thursday, July 14, 2011


My guest today on Vintage Vonnie is fellow Rose, Lilly Gayle. Lilly lives in North Carolina in a small town—so small, in fact, that it just became a town last year. Her home is full of love and laughter with her husband of 31 years, her youngest daughter, who's still in college, a dog, a cat, and various critters--both dead and alive--that the cat occasionally drags through the doggie door. Lilly writes paranormal and historical romance because she believes love is an adventure no matter the century.

Tell me, Lilly, what is your life like away from the computer? Tell us something about your household. Jazzie, my cat, wants to know more about your pets.

We have a sweet little maltipoo named Titi (pronounced T.T.) and a somewhat evil cat named Cha Cha. It’s not that I don’t like cats, but Cha Cha, aka Satan, aka Devil Cat, is completely black. And he loves to stalk bare ankles in the dark. He’s also known for bringing live and dead animals into the house, including squirrels, a flying squirrel, moles, voles, rabbits, mice, rats, and an assortment of birds. Luckily, Titi has become a champion mouser because Cha Cha just likes to torture them…and me!

Tell us how do you research your storylines or locations? 

The lifesaving station on Portsmouth Island, NC. That's my husband walking toward it.
I do most of my research on  line. But when my first historical - Slightly Tarnished, released 6/3/11-- was still a WIP, my husband and I had the opportunity to visit Portsmouth Island, a coastal village in NC. The village was once a thriving seaport but after the Civil War many residents left and never returned. It is now a State Park and many of the houses look just as they did in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. After walking down the sandy lanes and stepping into those homes, I added the Prologue to Slightly Tarnished.  Before I wrote that Prologue, I had massive backstory dump in the first three chapters. But starting the story with a Prologue allowed me to show Nikki’s history and vulnerability while giving the book some NC flavor.
Ancient Cemetary in Nuremburg, Germany

I also visited a cemetery in Germany this past April for my current WIP, a sequel to my paranormal romance, Out of the Darkness.  The trip to Germany was a visit to my daughter and son-in-law who live there. The trip to the cemetery was a fun diversion and great research.

What part of the writing process brings you the most pleasure? The most angst?

I get the most pleasure out of edits. I know that sounds crazy, but by the time I get to the editing phase, I’m usually close to finishing or finished writing completely. At least, I used to finish the book before editing. But then I got what seemed to me to be a prophetic fortune cookie. It said: “Be satisfied with one chapter at a time.”

I taped the fortune to the base of my computer monitor and now, I can’t turn off my internal editor. So, it now takes longer to write. But hopefully, that’ll mean fewer edits when I do finish.

And nothing causes more writing angst for me than promotion! I stress over what works, what doesn’t. I stress over cost. I stress over having to “put myself out there.” And I stress over feeling like a salesman. And trust me, I couldn’t sell firewood in Antarctica!

My husband is also an author, although his writings are more literary. When he reads my chapters, he wants to turn them into Hemingway sparseness by crossing out description. Of course I smile sweetly, think demon thoughts and then pay him no mind. Does your husband read your writing?

Bless, his little heart. He tried. He bought a copy of my first book and read the prologue and first chapter. And that’s as far as he got. He said there were no pictures of cars in it. Lol! And he has read excerpts over my shoulder as I was writing. But, despite the fact he’s not really a romance reader, (VBG) he’s been incredibly supportive.  He’s a route salesman and has told all his customers about my books.

What are you currently working on?

A sequel to my vampire romance, Out of the Darkness. It’s Gerard’s story and at the moment, I’m calling it Into the Light. I’m thinking of maybe calling it Into the Sun so it won’t be quite so cliché. I guess I’ll let my editor decide if it gets published.

Tell us about your current release…or soon to be release.

Slightly Tarnished is an historical romance set in England. Here’s a blurb and excerpt.


Victorian romance laced with danger.

When a brooding English earl with a SLIGHTLY TARNISHED reputation marries his dead wife’s American cousin to save her from her uncle’s vengeful schemes, the sea captain’s daughter with a taste for adventure sparks desires he thought long dead.

Nicole Keller has always been headstrong and independent, but after a failed business venture and a sinking ship take her father, her home, and her childhood sweetheart, Nikki must support herself and her mother. But moving to England and marrying Chadwick Masters, Earl of Gilchrest isn’t what she has in mind. And falling in love with the mysterious earl could endanger both their lives.


        “This will be your room.” He opened the door and stood to one side so she could enter. “I’m afraid you will have to continue to make do without a lady’s maid. The only household staff I employ are Mrs. Lomax, Dickens, Cook, and my groom. My driver lives in the village as do the few maids I hire on occasion to help Mrs. Lomax with the laundry and heavier cleaning.”

Nikki smiled. “That’s quite all right, Lord Masters. I’m used to doing for myself, and it’s only for a week.”

He returned her smile and leaned forward, his warm breath fanning her cheek. “What happened to Chad? Surely we’ve gone beyond such formalities now, Nicole.”

Gooseflesh rippled over her skin. Her body quivered. “I don’t think it would be proper for me to call you by your given name.” She risked a glance at his face and wished she hadn’t. His eyes no longer looked worried. They were hot—almost feverish. Her skin heated.

“It didn’t stop you before,” he said, his deep voice a husky rumble. Despite the heat, Nikki shivered.

Oh my!

“I don’t think this is proper either,” she stammered when he brushed his lips against her temple. A delicious tingle skittered down her spine.

“No, probably not,” he said, nibbling her neck.

A strange tension rippled through her muscles, tightening them with pleasure. She arched her neck, granting him access as he slid his lips along the column of her throat. Her hands bunched the skirt of her plain, serviceable dress. Her stomach quivered.

“What are you doing?” she asked, breathless and giddy.

He pulled his hands from his pockets and pulled her closer. “I’m seducing you, I think.”

“Seducing me?” Her heart hammered against her ribs.

“Hmm. You’re doing it again.” Then he lowered his mouth and kissed her


Lilly Gayle said...

Thanks for having me on your blog today, Vonnie. And congrats on your new release, Storm's Interlude!

Vonnie Davis said...

Yes, today is the BIG day for me. My book is finally out...another milestone in my life. I'm so pleased you could share the exciting day with me, Lilly. Thanks for being a great guest!

Sarah Grimm said...

Lilly- My favorite part of the writing process is edits, too! I just love that final tweeking stage where everything is made stronger.

Vonnie- Congratulations on your new release! Time for you to celebrate and me to go book shopping.

LaVerne Clark said...

Hi again Ladies!

Lilly - I can't tell you how excited I am to hear you're working on Gerard's story. I loved Out of the Darkness as you well know. Hurry up and get back to it woman! : )

Lovely to see you both and what a wonderful day it is today Vonnie : ) Going to the site now.

Lilly Gayle said...

Thanks for stopping by Sara. I'll see you in October. *wink* And thanks for the compliment LaVerne and for writing such a lovely review on Good Reads. The support I get from my fellow roses and readers is so appreciated!

AJ Nuest said...

Great post, Lilly! Sounds like you and I have the same writing style. Now that I know what I'm doing (or at least, I "pretend" I know what I'm doing) I edit as I go. It me longer to write one chapter, but in the end I think this takes less time because my final read through is usually tighter. Great excerpt for ST! Definitely another one to be added to my TBR list! Congrats!!

Mona Risk said...

Lilly, I share your angst about promotion and go through phases where I hid in my writing cage then force myself to go out and socialize. Very nice excerpt.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Lilly, so nice to learn more about you. Lovely photos. Good luck with sales.

Vonnie, congratulations on your big day!

Lilly Gayle said...

AJ, Mona, and Carolline. Thanks for stopping by.

rbooth43 said...

Lilly, as a reader, I don't know much about edits or the ends and outs of writing a book, but I do know what I love to read. I found myself swept away by the sights, sounds, smells, and so on of the different scenes in your book, SLIGHTLY TARNISHED. My favorite scene was the horse ride and the beach scene.I loved the scene so much that I had to go back and read it more than once. I also enjoyed the characters Of Nikki and Chad immensely. In fact, I can't remember the last time I had such a blast reading a novel. I take that back, it was OUT OF THE DARKNESS.
Vonnie, congrats on your new book, STORM'S INTERLUDE! Looking forward to reading this book, and thanks for inviting Lilly on your blog.

Lilly Gayle said...

Aww, Becky. You're so sweet.Thanks for the kind words.