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!

Beyond the Cover-Author Interview with Jami Wagner

I met Jami a couple years ago at RT15. I met her and Dana Volney on the flight from Salt Lake to Dallas and we ended up taking a cab together to the hotel. We all instantly became friends and they’ll never know how nice it felt to have someone to talk to. It was my first conference and I was so nervous, but Jami and Dana let me be their friend and I’m eternally grateful to them.

Jami is the kind of friend I wish I’d had in high school — that friend who is supportive to the point that she’ll will kick anyone’s butt who makes you feel less than amazing. Check out her fun author interview below and take a look at her Black Alcove series!


Jami Wagner

  1. What is your favorite author quote?

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” ― Stephen King

I even use this quote in my first Black Alcove series novel, Just One Kiss. To me, it applies to much more in life than just writing.

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

As cliché as it sounds, the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is that just because your book isn’t right for one person doesn’t mean it won’t be for the next. I remember the first time I heard that. I thought it was just a polite way to turn me down, but after a while I realized how true those words were.  People will either enjoy or not enjoy your books. Every person is different and even though you wrote the book, each person who reads them, will interpret the story in their own way.

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

The first idea I ever had for a book was about two girls right out of high school who wanted to take a road trip to learn what the world had to offer them. I wrote quite a bit in their story, but sadly dropped my external hard drive (the one my dad gave me that would hold an obscene amount of files) with everything I’d ever written in my first year of writing. It shattered and I had to start all over, minus a few scenes I wrote and emailed to myself. Someday, I plan to come back to that original story, but till then, I will always always backup my files. Maybe even have a backup for my backup.

  1. Which character was the most fun to write?

Beth Moyer. She is the heroine in my next novel, Just One Spark. She has no filter which gives me more freedom than any of my other characters have at this point.

  1. Describe your dream writing/reading space:

I don’t really have a dream writing space. As long as no one is trying to have a conversation with me while I’m writing, I can write anywhere. If I had to pick, though, I’d choose a place outside (doesn’t matter where), in the sun with no wind, and no glare shining off my computer screen.

My dream reading space would be any spot where I can curl up and read distraction free. Where time isn’t an issue and going to bed because I have to get up and go to work the next day doesn’t exist.

  1. Why did you decide to become an author?

I haven’t always been a reader or writer. One Christmas my sister gave me a novel by Jamie McGuire. I read and finished that book in one day and something clicked. The way this author made me feel was incredible. She made me feel like I was in a different world, living a different life. That’s when I decided that I wanted to create that feeling for others. So I started to read more and then I started to write. I haven’t been able to stop since.


Thanks, Jami, for stopping by! Everyone be sure to check out her website and her latest book Just One Moment.

RT16 Giveaway – Win a Bookworm T-Shirt

Are you excited for RT yet?!? Besides being at #RT16 you have the chance to win* one of three bookworm T-shirts designed by The Shirt Den along with a copy of my book Twisting Fate! All you have to do is a bit of stalking the week of RT which means one of three things:

  1. Follow me on Twitter (required)
  2. Like My Facebook Page
  3. Comment on any of my blog posts with your favorite book recommendation

That’s it! The more you stalk me the more you’re entered into the giveaway! Giveaway runs from Monday, April 11 through Midnight on Friday, April 15. I’ll be randomly choosing three winners the morning of The Giant Book Fair (April 16).

*You must be available to meet me at the Rio BEFORE the book fair in order to win.

T-Shirt Details:
“I Mourn the Death of Fictional Characters” – Dark Gray, Women’s Medium
“I Have a Terrible Sleeping Disorder. It’s Called Reading.” – Heather Gray, Women’s Medium
“I Don’t Care If He’s a Fictional Character. I Still Want To Marry Him.” – Pink, Women’s Medium


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Listen with the Spirit

Listen to the Spirti“Education prepares you for better employment opportunities. It puts you in a better position to serve and to bless those around you. It will set you on a path of lifelong learning. It will strengthen you to fight against ignorance and error. As Joseph Smith taught: Knowledge does away with darkness, suspense and doubt; for these cannot exist where knowledge is. … In knowledge there is power. To be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.’ Education will prepare you for what is ahead…” – Elder Robert D. Hales, Oct. 2015

Last fall, I had no intention of watching the Saturday afternoon session of LDS General Conference. I was going to take a nap. Instead, I kept the TV on and cuddled up on the couch ready to fall asleep. Then Elder Hales spoke. It was because of Elder Hales that my life has changed dramatically in the past six months. Because of his counsel, I made a choice I never wanted to make, but one I knew was right.

When he spoke the above words I knew I should get my MBA. All other degrees I had been considering flew out the door. I needed to get an MBA, a degree I didn’t (and still don’t) want, didn’t think I needed, and had absolutely no desire to get. When I heard those words I knew what I should do. I knew what was right. It wasn’t a happy feeling…it was more like, “Oh, crap. I should have taken a nap.” But it was right.

Throughout the next day I analyzed the pros and cons, but I ultimately knew what my decision would be. It was something I didn’t want to do, but it was something good and right. For some reason, not doing the right thing never even occurred to me. I applied for the program when I got to work on Monday.

Did I know why I had to get my MBA? No. Did I suddenly have a change of heart and was excited at the prospect? No. Was I going to do it cheerfully? Not a chance — as anyone who has even mentioned it to me can attest. But I was going to do it. Yes, I was like Laman and Lemuel and have murmured the ENTIRE time. But I never once thought about not doing it. I often joked about dropping out, but knew I never would. The Lord had inspired me to do something. I didn’t know why, or even how I would do it, but I knew He would help me along the way because He had commanded it.

When I graduate in a couple months – approximately 7 months from when I started in November – I will be ecstatic, but not for one second will I think I got through it on my own. He helped me through each and every class. He spent countless hours helping me focus and remember what I studied. Every class I pass I know it’s because of Him. He’s helping me do what he wanted me to do.

For the first time, I can now say that General Conference has literally changed my life. A man called of God spoke inspired words and for that I will always be grateful.

So instead of watching General Conference this weekend, I encourage you to take a nap. Otherwise you just might end up with the inspiration and guidance needed to change your life.