Beyond the Cover-Author Interview with Dana Volney

a-heart-for-the-holidays-final-cover Dana Volney is one of the most amazing people. Sweet and spunky she’s the kind of person who convinces you that you can do anything. She and Jami Wagner were kind enough to let me tagalong with them when we became friends at RT15 in Dallas. They’re my first real author friends and definitely my favorite.

In honor of the upcoming holidays we’re running a giveaway for two free digital copies of one of her amazing holiday romances. Check out her website and see a list of all her books on Amazon. I’m sure you’ll love her as much as I do!


Dana Volney

  1. What is your favorite author quote?

“You never turn your back upon a dream, for phantoms have their reasons when they come.”
–Robert Lowell

  1. What is the most valuable piece of writing (or other) advice that you’ve ever been given?

“There are no new stories, just new voices.” This actually helped me a TON. When I first started exploring writing fiction I was almost paralyzed because I thought “I have to come up with something that has never, ever, EVER, ever been done before. How do I do that?” And while, of course, fresh ideas are never a bad thing, chances are some form of an idea has already been written. That one simple sentence put my mind at ease and allowed me to be creative.

  1. What is the first idea you ever had for a book?

I believe it was for a romance between a real estate agent and a contractor. I was watching a lot of HGTV at the time! I think I got a couple of chapters written on that one before I moved on to the next idea.

  1. Which character was the most fun to write?

To date, I’ve had the most fun writing Felix Ibarra and Arabella Nox from Protecting His Heart. They were so edgy, combative due to their history, and tough people. I had a good time with them and their attitudes. LOL! The pain below the surface for both of them was also interesting to explore and a bit of a challenge at times. But, I’m always up for a challenge!

  1. Describe your dream writing/reading space:

Oh, this is a question for my Pinterest boards! Hahaha There are so many ideas floating around out there that are amazing, and I’d take any number of them. My perfect space for reading, however, is at the beach where it’s sunny but I’ve got shade, a nice chair that reclines, and the sound of lapping waves at my feet. To write I’d take the same scenario—I like to be able to glance away from my screen and view scenery to let ideas flow. Great, it’s cold out right now and all I want is the lake!

  1. Why did you decide to become an author?

It wasn’t so much decide, as loved the concept the more I learned about it. The idea of becoming an author started when I was reading a lot but I didn’t pursue it for many years. I finally took a class on fiction writing and the more I learned, the more I wrote. And, the more I let my creativity loose, the more fun I had. I loved every aspect of it. It’s not an easy industry to love, either. I’ve tried to quit a couple of times but can’t let it go. It’s in my blood now. It’s too intriguing to create a world, create characters, create a story that means something to stop now.

  1. Have you ever accidentally dropped a book in the tub? If so, what was it?

Ha! Yes! It was One For The Money by Janet Evanovich. I know this because I still have it, wrinkles from water and all! But, never fear, I still read it and laughed all the way through.



Thanks, Dana, for taking the time to complete an author interview! We’re so happy to have you! Readers: don’t forget to enter the giveaway and Happy Holidays!

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

I just…can’t. I don’t know what to say about this book. I love the world of Shadowhunters and believe that this series will be just as good as the last. Can’t wait for more!


The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

513a6d5yvwl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.

I’m Grateful to be a Writer in this Decade

Since Thanksgiving is coming up this week I thought I would use this week’s blog to share why I am grateful to be a writer during this decade.

  • Access to more literature than ever before
  • Technology makes it easier to write, edit, and be published
  • Social media makes it easier to share drafts and completed works with readers and other writers who can give me advice. It also makes it easier to directly connect with my target audience and build an even bigger audience.
  • Means of travel allow me to go to places I admire in literature or visit historical author’s homes, places that offer inspiration. I can also go anywhere near and far to discuss literature, edit literature, write, read, attend conferences, contests etc. with people who share the same passion.
  • I have the choice to pick a publisher or self-publish. Self-publishing is also becoming easier.
  • Many different writing platforms and outlets-blogs, social media, e-books, contests. Every where I turn there is opportunity for me to write and share what I write!

thanksgiving-1060123_1920These are just some of the things I am grateful for as a writer in this modern world. I would love to hear what you are thankful for. Share your comments below or on my social media pages. HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! I hope you have safe travels and enjoy the holiday season.



The Princess Bride by William Goldman

It’s as adorable as the movie. That’s all you need to know.

510yzqd6ukl-_sx302_bo1204203200_Anyone who lived through the 1980s may find it impossible—inconceivable, even—to equate The Princess Bride with anything other than the sweet, celluloid romance of Westley and Buttercup, but the film is only a fraction of the ingenious storytelling you’ll find in these pages. Rich in character and satire, the novel is set in 1941 and framed cleverly as an “abridged” retelling of a centuries-old tale set in the fabled country of Florin that’s home to “Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passions.”

Writing Tip of the Week-Meeting Deadlines #NaNoWriMo

This is particularly relevant now since it is National Novel Writing Month! We are halfway through the month, so ideally we should all be halfway through our novels. 😉 Here are some tips provided by H.M Clarke at Book Marketing Tools to help all of us get through the rest of November.

  • Prioritize-Decide which minor goals will benefit your major end goal and then start with the most important and work down. Whether that’s meeting a certain word count/page count/chapters per day, gaining a certain number of social media followers per week, or writing a particular number of query letters, etc. its up to you, but evaluate what is going to benefit you and your goals the best.
  • Be Realistic, Not Negative-Sometimes deadlines cannot be met and that’s okay.  “It is important to not feel like a failure when this happens. What is important is to learn from the experience and ask yourself why you did not meet the deadline, and what you can do next time to prevent it from happening in the future.” –H.M Clarke
  • Write Like There’s No Tomorrow – Don’t Procrastinate!! There will always be something less important than your writing that will tempt to drag you away like cleaning, surfing Twitter, or shopping. Complete these tasks ahead of your scheduled writing time and you won’t be tempted to avoid writing.
  • Take Tiny Manageable Steps-Sometimes we try to take on too much at once and become “intimidated” by the tasks at hand. “Strip away the intimidation by breaking down the project into smaller, manageable tasks.” –H.M Clarke
  • Stay on Point by Using the Right Tools-Organize your goals and have those goals easily accessible and visible. You could use a calendar app, notebook, chalkboard, journal, post-its, etc.

I wish all of you a no stress, organized, happy, deadline meeting rest of the month!! I hope these tips encourage and motive you! Let me know what tips you are already using to meeting your writing deadline goals.