Monday, November 3, 2014

Author Spotlight + Giveaway--Donya Lynne

Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! IRWA author friend Donya Lynne is visiting this week and giving us a peek at her upcoming release, Coming Back to You, book 2 in the Strong Karma series! It's currently available for pre-orders on Amazon (see the link below the excerpt) and releases November 6. Be sure to comment for a chance to win a signed print copy!

Donya also has a special message for you...
November is National Anti-Bullying Month, and the week of November 17-21 is Anti-Bullying Week. To help stand up against bullying in our schools, I’m doing two things. First, I’m running a Thunderclap campaign to raise awareness. I’m not asking for money, just support, which is as easy as a couple of mouse clicks. Please support my campaign by clicking on the link and supporting via Facebook or Twitter. The second step I’m talking to fight bullying is that I’m donating 10% of November royalties of the first two books in my Strong Karma Trilogy, Good Karma and Coming Back To You, to Stand for the Silent, and organization that is dedicated to stopping bullying in our schools. My hero and heroine in those books suffered bullying as children, which makes them excellent choices to support the cause. You can also donate directly to Stand for the Silent. Their link can be found at my Thunderclap link.

Karma Mason is a woman with a broken heart. Mark Strong was everything she ever wanted in a man…until he drove out of her life last summer. Now she must learn to live without him, or to at least compartmentalize her feelings so she can move on. Eventually, she takes another chance on the dating scene and meets Brad, a handsome divorcé. Maybe he doesn’t curl her toes the way Mark did, but unlike Mark, Brad has no aversion to commitment. Within months, they’re engaged, and Karma feels she’s finally put Mark behind her.
After being left at the altar seven years ago, Mark swore he would never fall in love again. Then he met Karma, who found a way inside his heart. But after spending four enchanting months with her, Mark succumbed to old fears and ended their affair before returning to Chicago. Now, he can’t stop thinking about her. He desperately wants her back, but can he give her the commitment she deserves? Torn between his heart and his mind, Mark leaves the decision to fate. If he and Karma are meant to be together, fate will bring her back to him.
But fate is a cruel mistress. When Mark is offered a job at the company where Karma works, he thinks fate has finally come through. But the ring on her finger, as well as her angry reception, aren’t what he expected. Unless Mark can convince Karma he’s back for good—for her—he will lose her forever.

In her car in Solar’s parking lot, Karma stared at the diamond ring on her finger. She had never seen the proposal coming, and yet, yesterday, at her parents’ Labor Day cookout, Brad had asked her to marry him.

Everyone had just finished chowing down on burgers, baked beans, and potato salad while sitting around the large patio table when Brad addressed her dad.

“Mr. Mason, I’d like to ask you something.”

“Please,” her dad said, “call me John.”

Dad liked Brad. At least he acted like he did. Karma thought he was just happy that she’d finally moved on from Mark, which was why he was overly welcoming when she’d shown up at the cookout with Brad. Her dad had heard about him for months, but this was the first time they’d actually met.

Brad offered a deferential smile. “John then, I’d like to ask you something.”

“Sure, ask me anything.”

Across the table, her brother Johnny, whose behavior was much improved from last summer, bounced his one-year-old daughter on his knee. Johnny’s wife, Estelle, looked on. Both had been surprisingly quiet and polite, but Karma knew the peace could only last so long. Johnny would eventually show his ass again.

Brad took her hand and squeezed. “John, I’ve been dating your daughter for six months.” He paused as she turned and gave him a quizzical look. What was he doing? “I love her, and, with your permission, I’d like to ask her to marry me.”

Thud! Marry him? Where had this come from? She’d never seen this coming.

Her mom uttered a soft squeal and covered her mouth as her eyes lit up. Johnny stopped bouncing his baby. A slow grin spread over her dad’s face as he clasped his hands under his chin.

“Brad, I can think of no one better to marry my daughter.” He pointedly met her gaze, his meaning clear. He was ready for the Mark Strong chapter of her life to be officially over. Marrying Brad would guarantee that.

Brad pulled a diamond ring from his pocket, scooted back in his chair, and got down on one knee. “Karma, with your dad’s blessing, and in front of your family…” His whole face beamed as he poised the ring at the tip of her finger. “Will you marry me?”

She stared at him, her hand in his. Everything about this moment was perfect. Wasn’t it? She glanced around the table at her family. This was what she wanted, right? She wanted to be married. She wanted a husband, a family, and a life where she was no longer alone.

As she took a deep breath and nodded, a tiny burst of alarm resonated in her soul. She brushed it aside, forcing herself to leap forward rather than stay rooted in the past. Even after a year apart, Mark’s memory still rested in the back of her mind. She was beginning to think she would never completely get over him. But the Mark she still thought about from time to time was the Mark she wanted him to be, not the Mark he really was. She had to keep reminding herself of that. And she couldn’t let her life stall out on a fantasy.

Case in point. Brad was offering her the future she wanted. She would be silly to refuse.

“Yes, Brad. Yes, I’ll marry you.” She was striding forward, furthering herself a little bit more from her memories of Mark.

Brad had slid the diamond onto her finger and hugged her. Even her brother had congratulated her. Surprise, surprise. Maybe there was hope for him to grow up yet.
Karma broke from her thoughts when her phone chimed, planting her back inside her car. She quickly gathered her purse and
bag and hopped out. She’d sat so long reliving Brad’s proposal she was now officially late.


She rushed up the sidewalk and into the lobby as her phone began ringing again.

“Good morning, Nancy.” She rushed past the receptionist.

As she took the stairs to the second level, she fished through her purse for her phone. At the top of the stairs, she finally pulled it free and checked the screen.

Lisa. Why was Lisa calling her?

Darting down the hall to her desk, she slapped her phone to her ear. “Lisa, what’s up? Sorry it took so long to answer. I’m running late. God, I need to talk to you.” She had yet to tell Daniel and Lisa that Brad had proposed.

“Karma! Will you shut up! I need to tell you something.”

Sheez! What was up with Lisa?

Karma dropped her bags on the floor at her desk and booted up her computer. “Fine. Sorry. What?”

At that moment, the door to Don’s office opened.

“Ah, there she is,” Don said, gesturing toward her.

Lisa was still talking in her ear. “Karma, don’t freak out, okay, but…”

Everything fell into slow motion. The earth dragged to a near standstill on its axis. Lisa’s voice sounded like she was talking through a layer of cotton. And Karma was sure her chin hit her desk as her mouth fell open.

“Mark’s here!” Lisa hissed. “In Don’s office. Right now.”

Karma almost dropped her phone as her gaze met Mark’s for the first time in a year.

“I know,” she murmured and hung up.

And just like that, in the time it took for a light to come on once the switch was flipped, all her hard-fought efforts
to get over him vanished.

He was back. Mark was here.

And didn’t her wildly beating heart know it.

Buy Link: (currently available for pre-order on Amazon. Will be available everywhere on November 6)

Me: Do you see writing as a career?
Donya: Yes. I’ve been writing since I was in grade school, and for the last fifteen years, I’ve worked toward becoming a published author. My goal was to retire and write, but when I lost my job in 2010, and could find another job, I decided now was the time to make my dream come true.

Me: This book is the second in a series. Do you prefer to write single title or series? Why?
Donya: I like both series and single title stories, but I lean toward series. I think that’s because I can see so much more happening that won’t fit in one book. In my AKM Series, which is ongoing, there are too many characters who want their own stories to be told. In the Strong Karma Trilogy, the characters had three distinct story arcs to tell. I’m currently working on book three, Full Circle, which should be out early next year.
With that said, single title stories are fun and a nice break from having to keep facts and details straight among many books. With a stand-alone, it’s one shot and it’s over. I have a couple of stand-alone titles I’ll be releasing in the next few months.

Me: Give us some insight into your main character. What makes him/her special?
Donya: Mark Strong is a man obsessed with maintaining control over his life. This wasn’t my intention, but once I started developing him, I realized he was modeled after my first boyfriend, who had a strict schedule for his life. Everything was planned out years advance, including love. One of the reasons he broke up with me was because he needed to focus on his school work at the Air Force Academy. He loved me, but it wasn’t in his plan at that time to be in love, so I had to go.
This is how Mark is, to some extent. Mark has suffered three traumatic situations with females. The last finally breaks him, and he decides he will never fall in love again, despite a deep longing to find someone special to spend the rest of his life with. So, he’s constantly at war with himself, which he’s learned to hide under a controlled exterior and by telling himself that falling in love is a one-way ticket toward getting hurt again.
When he meets Karma Mason, he doesn’t realize she’s going to shatter his hard-fought control until it’s too late. By the time he becomes aware that he’s lost his heart to her, she’s already worked her way inside. But Mark wouldn’t be Mark if he didn’t try to wrest back control and manage the situation. That’s where the conflict really begins, and where the fun lies for me as the author.

Me: How did you come up with the title?
Donya: When I first got the inspiration for the Strong Karma Trilogy, the idea of karma and what goes around comes around was what grabbed me. Not only is my heroine named Karma, but there’s a recurring theme of karma “coming back around,” and everything coming full circle. So, the titles in this trilogy all played on that theme. Book one was titled Good Karma. Book two is Coming Back To You. Book three is aptly titled Full Circle.

Me: I usually get plot ideas in the shower and while driving. When/where does inspiration strike you?
Donya: I get them from everywhere. I’m very visual, so a lot of times, all I have to see is a picture for a story to spring to life in my head. I’m also a huge music lover, especially of music off the beaten path and a bit eclectic. Sometimes a song will inspire a story or a scene. The real magic happens when a song and picture combine. That happened to me last year when I saw a picture of Ivan Rusilko sitting on a bench in Chicago’s Millennium Park and heard a song by Blank and Jones called Fallen. Other than that, I can get ideas from TV commercials, movies, newspaper articles, TV shows. Everything has the potential to inspire a story or a scene.

Donya Lynne is the author of the award winning All the King's Men Series and a member of Romance Writers of America. Making her home in a wooded suburb north of Indianapolis with her husband, Donya has lived in Indiana most of her life and knew at a young age that she was destined to be a writer. She started writing poetry in grade school and won her first short story contest in fourth grade. In junior high, she began writing romantic stories for her friends, and by her sophomore year, they had dubbed her Most Likely to Become a Romance Novelist. In 2012, she made that dream come true by publishing her first two novels and two novellas. Her work has earned her two IPPYs, one gold and one silver, as well as two eLit Awards, also one gold and one silver. Donya has many more novels and novellas planned for years to come.

Amazon Author Page:

Thanks for visiting, Donya, and thanks for supporting her efforts to fight bullying, readers! Leave a comment by midnight (EST) on Wednesday, November 5, for a chance to win a signed print copy of Coming Back to You!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!