Who- Hi, my name is Sadira Stone, no relation to our hostess. After leaving my teaching career in Germany, I now live in Tacoma, Washington, where I write steamy contemporary Romance. My Book Nirvana Series, published by The Wild Rose Press, is set in an indie bookshop in Eugene, Oregon. I hope you’ll come visit Book Nirvana’s quirky staff and friendly shop cat, Lulu.
Interests- Well, self-imposed quarantine has narrowed the possibilities! Hubs and I love to play darts with our friends at AmVets, an organization that supports veterans. Lately, we just play against each other. We also play guitar together, and I play ukulele as well. No gym these days, so we take walks, work in the yard, and connect with friends and family. Thank goodness for social media and video chats! Of course, I read tons, mostly romance. When the quarantine finally lifts, I look forward to exploring the Pacific Northwest and listening to live music again—mostly blues.
Network– I’m a member of RWA, WFWA, the Wild Rose Press authors’ group, and active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Desk– Always messy, but I know where everything is. Post-its galore! You’ll usually find a cooling cup of coffee or tea, Triscuit crumbs, a box of Kleenex, because it’s springtime, and several pads of paper—also the finger-less gloves my sis-in-law knitted. For some weird reason, my mouse hand always gets cold. Oh—and a stand-up/sit-down desk topper, plus a cushy mat tucked beneath my desk.
Outrageous– I’m quite good at belly dancing. I once performed with a sword balanced on my head—and I didn’t cheat by using a padded turban, thank you very much! Also, I’ve lived outside the U.S. (in Germany) longer than I’ve lived inside it.
Window– Outside my window, I see the neighbor’s house, alas. Good thing they’re nice people. Right now, I see raindrops. Occasionally, a crazed squirrel jumps from the fence to my windowsill and scolds me.
Fierce passion or long-cherished dreams...she can't hang onto both.
Chasing a big-city art gallery job, Laurel detours to Eugene, Oregon to help her spitfire great aunt into assisted living. While on a run, she’s harassed by a group of teens until a tall, broad-shouldered hottie rescues her by pretending to be her boyfriend--with a kiss that makes her wish it were true. But she's only passing through.
Their fierce chemistry burns up the sheets—and the couch, the shower, the woods...but falling in love could cost Laurel more than she’s willing to sacrifice. She can't stay in Eugene, and he can’t leave. His only hope is to convince her those big-city lights have nothing on her inner sparkle.
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One man’s choices—One woman’s impact
Rock House Grill
Available April 6th, 2020
Aden House, successful but driven chef and TV personality, refuses to slow down. His life implodes one night, damaging him both physically and emotionally. He’s rescued by a woman he thinks of as his angel.
Shay McDowell has rebuilt her life after her divorce. She juggles volunteer EMT duties and her job, while dreaming of becoming a chef. She finds her way to Rock House Grill and back into the life of the man she helped save.
Can love be the ingredient needed to survive the many obstacles they face?
“Easy, you’re going to be okay.” A soft voice eased through the chaos around him. The owner of the voice grabbed his arms and held them in a firm but gentle grip. “I’m right here with you. You are not alone.” “Can hardly m-move.” His voice slurred. “C-can’t see anything.” “You’ve been in an accident. I’m an EMT with the ambulance squad,” the velvety voice calmly explained. “You can’t see well because we’re under a tarp. Hold still, okay?” “‘K.” A small light flickered at the edge of his vision. It shone into a bag next to him. Penlight. “You’re restrained to a board. It’s to keep your head from moving and causing more injury.” She continued to talk to him. The voice reached down somewhere inside him, calming and peaceful, so he focused on it. A glow from spotlights on the outside lit whatever covered them. The shadow gave the woman the appearance of a halo—like an angel.
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Writing books is like raising children. You birth them, nurture them, and try to mold them. One day you look at your labor and say, "It's time. Go out into the world." Then, as you approach the door, you wonder if they are ready. Nodding inwardly, you smile and open the door. D.V. Stone
Saturday morning, I opened a box containing copies of Rock House Grill. For a moment I stood and stared down into it. Then a breath hitched in my chest and then I cried like a baby. Rock House is not my first release. It’s not even the second or third. When I received Felice in the mail, I cried too. She’s my eldest and turned three this past January. But the emotion didn’t run as deep as. I wondered why? Thinking about it led me to want to share the story. Oh, some of you know bits and pieces, but, Rock House Grill followed a different path then Felice and even Agent Sam Carter.
As I’m typing this the Theme from Love Story drifts through my mind.
Where do I begin
To tell the story of how great a love can be
The sweet love story that is older than the sea
Because, I think, for an author, each of their books is a love story. Sometimes a dysfunctional one. So, let’s start with Rock House’s birth.
During October 2015, Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake was my focused project. I knew I needed to complete the it by November 1st. That’s when National Novel Writing Month began. 30 days. 50,000 words.
I’d been thinking about what to write for a couple of weeks. At the time, I’d thought of myself as a Fantasy author. With that in mind, I’d jotted down some notes for a novel about dragons. Nothing meshed. With such a limited time the words Write what you know kept nagging at me. I thought I knew fantasy because that’s mostly what I read. But I realized, I knew a lot about real life too. Instead of forcing the fantasy book, I listened to my inner muse, and the concept was born for a divorced woman rebuilding her life. Been there and done that - no free t-shirt.
Wonder of wonders I reached November 30th and had a bit over 50,000 words. I received my certificate and brushed off the dust from immersion in my office for a month. Like many writers, I have a folder for manuscripts in different stages of development—everything from full unedited works—to a couple of lines of an idea. Then I returned to fantasy. Kingdom at a Crossroad is a huge epic fantasy with a completed story-line, but a massive editing nightmare.
Fast forward to 2017. I pushed the self-publish button on Felice. A few months later, I launched Agent Carter. Crossroad was giving me fits, so, taking a step back from Kingdom, I went to my sort-of-finished folder.
Rock House sat there with a complete story. Moving it to the desktop, I began to go through the manuscript. RHG went out for editing and a cover into development. Everything seemed to be moving forward. Beta readers liked the story. The recommended edits didn’t appear daunting. Notice I said seemed?
While working toward self-publishing, I thought I would send out some queries to publishers and editors. Somethings are meant to be. Making a mistake doesn’t mean doom and despair. In May of 2017, I sent a few more out queries. Not hearing anything, I went to check on my emails, and here is what happened. 0h, let me preface this by saying it was my birthday weekend.
May 27, 2017 11:53 a.m.
Hi Avon Impulse,
My name is Donna Van Stone, and I write as D.V. Stone.
The Rock House Grill is the first book in the Impact Series.
May 29, 2017 11:14 am
A few days later...OMG!!!
The Wild Rose Press. The Wild Rose Press. I’m so sorry I sent the wrong query to you I know it’s Wild Rose Press. Remove greeting to Avon Impulse and insert The Wild Rose Press...
Sorry, sorry, sorry...
May 29th, 2017 2:32 pm
Welcome to the Garden.
The review of your query will begin XXX will be in contact with you soon to provide you with more information and a review timeline.
After that day, it was still touching and go. The editing I mentioned that seemed not daunting? Yeah, it got me almost kicked out of the Rose Garden. Poor Elf, my WRP editor, must have wanted to pull her hair out at times. Commas, POV issues, and Plot holes just to mention a few not daunting problems.
Fast forward to Saturday, March 7th, 2020.
I opened the box holding Rock House Grill and bawled my eyes out. Not once. Twice.
Why do I want to share this with you? If you read my bio, you know all my books are about hope. But behind the hope, there has to be perseverance and often thick skin. My advice is to keep plugging away. If you have a story, believe in it, but also trust the professionals.
I’m happy to say through Wild Rose Press, I have a short story in the Australia Burns books. Rainbow Sprinkles is contracted for a Summer release. In the next few months, Elf will hopefully not be pulling her hair when I submit Jazz House.
Good luck in whatever your endeavor. Don't take no for an answer and at the same time roll up your shirtsleeves and do the work. It's worth it.
Do you know what I love? Seeing an elderly couple still in love. Holding hands. Kissing. The secret smile between the two of them. The way they joke with each other but remain respectful. The way they never tear each other down in front of others. I’ll bet at home she makes a special dinner and he brings her a token gifts to show they are thinking of each other.
But what is Romance?
I was shocked when I googled the definition of romance and one of the first hits I found was in Collins dictionary.
A romance is a relationship between two people who are in love with each other but who are not
married to each other.
My friend Donna answered, “Lol, not that I have a good record here, but my thought is romance is like buttering up the other person to show them you are interested. Love is being comfortable just being with someone. Lol, usually romance stops once the honeymoon is over.”
But, darn it! I want both. I want the butter and the bread. And lucky for me I found a man who wants the bread and butter too! No, it’s not all sunshine and unicorns. We have our dust-ups too. However, there is a solid base of respect, affection, and caring that makes it easier to get over.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and so many have expectations of enchanting candlelight dinners, flowers, chocolate. Heartfelt cards. Maybe an engagement ring. But so often we set ourselves up for disappointment. So let’s change this around. Romance shouldn’t be relegated to one particular day on the calendar. You’ve heard the expression Christmas in July, right? Let’s make a conscious effort to have Valentine’s Romance every day. Yep, even when you don’t feel like it.
How do you keep the romance going? It takes work. Wait you say. Work? Romance should just happen shouldn’t it? Uhm, no. Remember when you fell in love? The little things you did for each other? A note here. A kiss there. Holding hands. Didn’t you make time for each other? I know. I know. Your busy. I’m busy. We’re all busy.
But really let’s break this down. How long does it actually take? There are 86,400 seconds in a day.
One second. A kiss on the cheek.
One second. “I love you.”
One second. “You look nice.”
One second. A pat on the toosh when you pass each other.
So what are YOU going to do for the other 86,396 seconds.
I’m by no means a Twitter Maven, but after gathering 3,700 followers, I know a little. Don’t be afraid. Take a peek at D. V.’s 14 Commandments for Twitter. Please share any other rules you think appropriate.
D. V.’s Rules for Twitter.
1. No political tweets – Yes, you have a voice and should use it personally. However, you use your twitter feed for it; you must be prepared to deal with trolls and rabid tweeters from both sides of the aisle. Your tweet can get hijacked and then you lose control. I’m not a famous celebrity who can get away with it. But if you look closely, some of them aren’t doing too well either.
2. Follow people you genuinely want to see on twitter. Only a few at a time. After the first couple of followers back, try not to let the amount you are following exceed the amount following you.
3. Before you follow someone back, do a cursory scan of their most recent posts. This will tell you a lot about the person.
4. See who follows them and who they follow. Do they have tweeters in common?
5. Remember, just because you recognize the tweeters following them refer to #3.
6. Gain followers organically by playing the daily hashtag games with word prompts. A good source is @writevent though there are many others.
7. On that note, remember to FOLLOW THE RULES of the game. Some allow buy links, some don’t. Some want wips, some don’t care if it’s published. One of the biggest things I see is tweeters who post anything regardless of the word prompt or idea. Bad form.
8. Be interactive. If a post interests you, don’t hesitate to comment.
9. #writingcommunity to as many posts as appropriate.
10. Post more than ‘Buy my book’ things. Pets, food, local scenery, and funny memes are great ways to get yourself established.
11. Oh, very important use common sense. If Prince so and so, or high profile celeb follows you. The chances are super high they are not. Not saying impossible. But really? And, some people think it's a dating sight. Most of these are scammers who are trying to get something from you.
12. Consider putting a filter on. In the beginning I had to deal with a lot of T&A shots and other unmentionable body parts.
13. Block and Mute are your friends. Don't hesitate to use them.
14. Oh, I almost forgot 14th Commandment. Okay, not a commandment a please follow me. https://twitter.com/donnavstone
Thanks and see you in the Twitterverse
D. V. 🦉
Bye, bye 2019. Hello, 2020.
Happy New Year to all! I can't' believe it's 2020. Does anyone remember Y2K? What a big fuss about nada. Here we are twenty years later, alive and connected more than we probably should. I have so much and so many to be thankful for and to. This list is by no means complete but a start. Thanks to Wild Rose Press for bringing me into the garden. And it's from that Rose Garden I've met some amazing people. A special shout out to Elf my editor, Amber my second eyes. Rene the queen of commas. How about a hand for all the guests on Welcome to the Campfire. Week in and out you all amaze me. Then there are the family and friends who support and encourage. Judy, Deb, and Noemi you guys rock. My family especially my biggest cheerleader, Pete. You are the hubby extraordinaire. An not least of all my Creator and Sustainer, the Lord Jesus for all His mercies, which are new every morning.
This year has been filled with many ups and downs but mostly ups. Here are some of my personal highlights.
Let New Year 2020 be a time of peace, love
and the implementation of the most secret dreams.
If you've clicked through my site you can't help but notice I like to camp. My Dear Husband, hereafter referred to as DH, and I love to travel and are now coming to the place in our life where we get to do that. Everyone has their own tale of why they put it off, but time and money held us back. We thank the Lord each day for our jobs and the life we are now able to lead. Nope, not rich. Nope, still working. But retirement is closer than ever.
DH hates to fly. I can't stand most hotel accommodations. Can I have an amen at how gross the bed spreads are? I've taken them off and stuffed them in the closet but diligent maids find them and put them right back on.
With that in mind, and retirement coming, how were we going to see all we want to in this great country of ours? At home we basically live outside. Over the years DH has built decks, patios and pathways lined with landscaping. If the weather is nice we are out. It wasn't a far leap then to think-camping.
We've done it before. Tents, pop-ups, and my sister has had a motor-home for years. It wasn't a hard decision to come to especially when we saw what was available to us.
So, we've begun our travels. Near and far, in the time we can spare, practicing for the future. Recently we were in Hagerstown, Maryland and Lancaster Pennsylvania. During the day we took trips to local places of interest. Historical, architectural; wine and craft beer tasting is a bonus. And we've found some hidden gems.
Every time were in Lancaster our money is well spent at Town Clock Cheese Shoppe in Gap, Pa. The owner will take you on a trip around the world through cheeses. This years favorite, cheese aged in a cave in France. How cool is that.
You can find them here
And what is cheese without a glass of wine to go with it? You never know when you're going to stumble upon a gem. The Blue Mountain Wine Crafters was just the ticket. Located in---you're going to love the name---Funkstown Maryland, and it had an added bonus. If you follow my Instagram of Facebook you'll see it right away. Here's the link to a very nice, fun, and knowledgeable staff www.bluemountainwinecrafters.com/ You even get to paint.
My final traveling gem for this trip? Last post I showed you a picture of a Black Beauty book I picked up. One of my other favorite childhood reads was Heidi, by Joanna Spyri, and guess what? Yes, I did. Heidi now sits on my shelf alongside Black Beauty. She's a little tattered and worn but aren't all well read books and well lived people? Next on my list, is to finish my C.S. Lewis' Narnia collection. I need the Silver Chair and The Last Battle. Each trip out, instead of collecting rocks like Lucy did in the Long Long Trailer, I think maybe I'll relive my childhood through the stories I find on the shelves of the bookshops lining the roads of the good ole USA.
What books remind you of good times or gems have you found in travels?
“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” – C.S. Lewis
Once upon a time...
That's the way so many tale began. As early as I can remember books were an important part of my life. My mom will tell you that from the time I was a baby, books were my toys. She says I never tore the pages or wrote in them. That they were always clutched in my hands. Little Golden Books are some of my earliest memories. The Pokey Little Puppy in particular sticks out.
As I grew older the love of reading never left me. There were two apple trees on our property. One green and one red. The green tree was my favorite. On any nice day if you looked up, there you'd find me with my nose buried in a book. Animal books were some of my favorites and if they had horses extra bonus. This year during a trip to Lancaster Pa as one of our regular stops I found this
This edition of Black Beauty by Anna Sewell has no date. I realized that I don't have any of my childhood books. We moved quite a bit when I was young and what you didn't need you didn't take. After picking this up memories of other horsey books came to mind. Seabiscuit, War Admiral, National Velvet. How many of you held Misty of Chincoteague and dreamed of having your own horse? How about the Black Stallion? I still think it was one of the most beautiful scenic movies made.
I was one of the lucky girls. Three horses made their way into my life. Cocoa was an old man my parents bought from a riding stable. I still laugh when I remember how he was the houdini of the horse world. He could untie knots and open latches faster than Secretariat (If you're a horse person you know who that is).
Carrie was my second horse. She was a beauty. A dark bay mare with a star (a white mark on her forehead) and one white sock. She was a quarter-horse/thoroughbred. It broke my heart to leave her behind after my father died and we had to sell the farm.
Years later Apache came into my life for a short while. He belonged to a friend who let me pretend he was mine. Apache was a cantankerous meanie at times, but we worked it out.
To this day the soulful eyes and smell of a horse brings me peace. My fantasy work in progress, Aimhirghin, Kingdom at a Crossroad, show the special relationship between Haana and her mare Fianna.
Do you have a special animal in your life? Many of us do. Whether it's a horse, dog, cat, or some.other, leave me a note and tell me about them.
I plan to explore the relationship of books and animals in our lives over the next months and hope you'll join me. Below is a tribute to one of the greatest horses. Do you remember when he won? I still get chocked up thinking about him.
The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact
with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit and freedom.
Sharon Ralls Lemon