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

Thursday, February 16, 2012


My guest on Vintage Vonnie today is artist and author Marie Colligan. Marie and I are members of the same writers' group--Hillcity Writers. Her debut book, Marcel's Gift, was released the day after Valentine's Day, so she is a "newbie." Not only that, but this is her first guest blogging experience, so be gentle with her as we unwrap this freshly published eBook.

The blurb for Marcel's Gift is:

One heart: two men.

She's found the love of her life, too bad it isn't the man she's in love with. Love is fickle. It comes disguised in many forms.

It sneaked up on Canadian artist, Solange Bernard, like an intangible fog, breathing its magic whispers into her heart--compelling her, bewitching her, smothering her in the enchantment that was Ambrose. Her heart should have warned her when it recognized loves' breathless spell. But she threw off the trappings of guilt and sin and wrapped herself in the shining aura of divine pleasure and discovery with Ambrose.

However, one question loomed with its confounding answer. "How was it possible for her to love two men at the same time...her husband and a priest of the Catholic Church?"

Marie has agreed to answer some questions. Your book takes place in many settings, doesn't it? Yes, my heroine travels to Arles, France for a workshop on watercolors and en plein air painting. While there, she is entranced by both the beauty of the countryside and a handsome stranger she meets.
En Plein Air artists love painting outside, making use of the sun's effects--or chiaroscuro--on objects.
Lovely gardens and arches in Arles.
Other locations in my book include Avignon, St. Remy's and Africa...and, of course, Canada.
Market area of Avignon.

Gardens in St. Remy's

What is your life like away from the computer? Tell us something about your household. Jazzie, my cat, wants to know if you have any kitty-pusses. Life away from the computer is rare. My husband has taken over the duties of grocery shopper and loading and unloading the dishwasher. He even cooks on occasion. He’s a gem. We’ve been married 45 years and I still feel I’m lucky to have found him. But my constant companion when I’m slaving away churning out chapters in the dungeon (what we call our downstairs den) is my rascal dachshund, Ebenezer (Ebbie). 
What authors and genres do you like to read? My all time favorite is Charles Dickens. I’ve read “A Tale of Two Cities” three times. I really don’t have a favorite contemporary author; I go more by the book subject than the author. Love non-fiction stuff written about string theory and the universe(s) by Brian Greene. He makes me feel smart.
Do you enter writing contests? If so, has this been a positive experience for you? I’ve been lucky. This past year I won an Honorable Mention and two Frist Place awards for fiction. 
Do you ever dream of writing in a different genre? MARCEL’S GIFT is a contemporary love story. My WIP (working title “Lady Mirielle’s Flight) is an historical (middle ages) woman’s fiction. (Oy, the research!)

 What part of the writing process brings you the most pleasure? I get the most pleasure from writing when I am totally absorbed in my characters. I want my readers to fall in love with my hero and become my heroine. I just killed off a secondary character in my historical piece, I cried all afternoon. The most angst? P.O.V.

Tell us about your release. Do you have an excerpt to share?
Yes, two in fact.

I pulled the international phone card I had purchased when I arrived in France from my wallet. I scanned the instructions. "Oh no! It's in French," I blurted out loud.
I heard a bit of muffled laughter and looked behind me to the row of parked cars at the curb.
Leaning against a small gray car stood a tall man whose good looks placed second only to some of Hollywood's movie stars. The tangle of his curly, almost black hair—the black of shiny French jet—ringed his handsome face, and his engaging smile could melt any icy heart or change a warm heart into an inferno. My gaze lingered a little too long.
"Pardonez-moi, Madame, may I be of assistance?" He smiled at me.
"Oh, thank you .Yes, please. I can't use my phone card. It's written in French." My note of desperation obvious in my voice.
"Allow me." Still smiling, he took the card from my hand. Our fingers brushed. He inserted it into the slot, never breaking eye contact with me as he pressed buttons and spoke French to an operator. He asked me for the phone number I wanted to call and when I gave him the country code, he stopped. "Not the United States?" His voice caused little ripples in my heartbeat.
"No, it's for Canada."
He completed getting the number, and as he handed the phone back to me, our fingers brushed for just an instant. In one fleeting moment of contact, a sensual tremor washed through me. I had to juggle the phone to keep it from falling out of my trembling hands.
"You will have a connection shortly." His eyes danced with a devilish twinkle as he returned the phone card to me.
What a flirt! Typical Frenchman.
It all started with a dream…
Late afternoon…the perfect time for a pastis, the favorite apèritif in this part of southern France
In the warmth of what began as a perfect afternoon in Avignon, had just become a nightmare.
Ambrose and I stared at each other—two frozen spirits—wanting to say so much knowing our days together would end tomorrow when I boarded a plane back to my home outside of Quebec.
We sat close. Our fingers barely touched. Ambrose's powerful eyes looked down into mine perhaps searching for the heart of my innermost thoughts and feelings. My eyes, filled with tears of heartbreak. I looked up into his eyes wondering if the feelings I could not express and the thoughts I dared not admit even to myself, merged with my silent words and were understood only by Ambrose D'Arcy, the broken man sitting beside me.
The words he just spoke couldn't have been sharper had they been etched on the icy steel blade of a guillotine just unlashed, and careening down its course to leave in its wake the splintered remains of my heart.
A refugee tear escaped from my eye and Ambrose, with a gentle, sorrowful smile, wiped away my transgression. He leaned closer to me, head bent, to administer his intended kiss. The kiss I had yearned for and fantasized about for days.
Without thinking, I put my free hand to his chest to repel his advance. My action seemed to surprise him. Immediately, his expression changed from deeply caring to deeply hurt; his gaze begged forgiveness. "I'm so sorry, Solange, forgive me, please."
With great difficulty I spoke. My emotions and my constricting throat, acting in concert, betrayed my mixed feelings of abandonment and grief.
"Let's not start something...we...can't finish." The words filtered through my tears. "But…I want you to know…I will dream all my life of this kiss I didn't accept."
Vonnie, you are an angel. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to celebrate the release of my debut novel, MARCEL’S GIFT, on your blog. Yes, the dream has become a reality. Everyone is asking me if I am excited. Truth be known, I’m more nervous than excited.

I do have a “teaser” on my blog site, but the real deal is available on thru Echelon Press.

The buy link is: 


Vonnie Davis said...

Thanks for being my guest today and sharing your literary baby with visitors at Vintage Vonnie.

Charmaine said...

I love this interview! So breezy and entertaining. The photos were lovely. Congratulations on your newest release! Au bientot!

Jan Romes said...

Marie, the concept for your story is intriguing :-) Loved the excerpts, lovely pictures, and the down-home feel of your interview. I was touched by the fact it tore at your heart to kill off a secondary character!

Wishing you much success for Marcel's Gift and your writing career!

Lynne Marshall said...

This is certainly an interesting concept for a story - love in marriage and chaste love for a priest.

Wishing you all the best with your book, and I really enjoyed both of your excerpts. :)

Unknown said...

I can tell you all, I had my reservations about the premise of this story when I first heard it, but after reading it, I can tell you it is one of the most beautiful love stories I've read. It is not to be confused with a "romance" but is a lovely story.

And I'm not just saying that because I am the publisher. I loved this book as a reader.

Karen Syed

Darcy Lundeen said...

Marie, congratulations on your debut novel. The photos you provided are lovely, your excerpts are wonderfully written and the premise of the story is completely original. It sounds like a fantastic book. May it be the first of many that you publish. And thank you, Vonnie, for hosting Marie.

Margaret Tanner said...

Congratulations on your debut novel Marie, sound wonderful. Your pictures were truly beautiful.



Lilly Gayle said...

Congrats on the new release, Marie. The pictures you've shared are breathtakingly beautiful.

marie colligan said...

Thank you so very much for your comments. To get such kind responses from fellow authors is an affirmation a new writer sorely needs.

Anonymous said...

Oh Marie...How bittersweet to be loved so deeply by 2 men, as Solange was, yet how difficult for her to manage her feelings. Oh well, I'll never know that problem. :-) this is an excellent book that took me many places, literally & figuratively. I recommend it highly & look forward to your upcoming works.

Sharon Albert