Welcome Rosie , tell my readers a little about who you are and what you do,
Rosie Vanyon shares her renovator’s ‘delight’ with a gorgeous Italian (and sometimes his son), a teenage daughter, a high-maintenance dog, a giant tabby cat and a satanic sable one.
She has a Creative Arts degree and a grown-up job in financial services. Rosie has been a writer and editor in fields as diverse as motoring, travel and tax. She is relieved and elated to finally ‘come out’ as a romance author. At last, she is following her heart.
I spent years snatching spare evenings or cramming my annual leave full of words and chapters. I have recently put my money where my mouth is and dropped back to a nine-day fortnight in my day job, so I have at least one dedicated writing day every two weeks. This is a small step in the right direction!
Without a dedicated day, writing tends to slide down the priority list behind everything from homework help to cleaning the bathroom.
Now the trick is to keep my writing day safe and sacred!
Q: Can you tell us about your writing process, for example, do you write an outline first?
I find the Snowflake method a great way to get started but I am way too impatient to take too much time over planning or to see this method right through to the end.
Having said that, the ‘snowflake’ helps me see if the ideas whizzing and exploding around my brain are likely to pan out into an actual story (or if I should maybe just forget it, have a wine and play Candy Crush, instead).
A plan means I’m not blindsided by an ‘oh, crap’ moment halfway through chapter six when I realise my plot is imploding. It also helps me back to the path when I accidentally wander off on an enchanting detour.
H.C: I've never heard of the Snowflake method before sounds interesting. Me I'm a pantser, no outline on paper, no carefully and boring worked out plot, I write without a net but I think the Snowflake method would work well for me too. :-)
Q. Coffee or tea?
Mainly coffee (but no instant, decaf or drip filter coffee – it has to be the real deal). I drink tea when the caffeine jangles kick in. I take both drinks black – my theory is: why ruin a perfectly good cuppa by adding stuff?
Q. Beach or countryside?
Sand, swimmers and sunburn versus cow pats, critters and commutes…
I’m a city girl. I like clothes shops, culture and convenience. I’m happiest in a world of stilettos, espresso, edgy art and wifi.
H.C. The Gold Coast has all that and a beach LOL. It's shop till you drop paradise.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
On the bus, folding laundry, chatting to friends, reading the news, working out, day dreaming, washing the dog, partying, in a meeting.... The ideas are everywhere – I only have to wonder ‘what if…?’ and a story takes off.
Q: Would you change anything in your life to make writing easier.
Yes! As much as I enjoy my day job, I can’t wait to wind my hours right back so I can follow my soul path as a writer.
Q: We have all suffered submission rejections. How do you cope? Do you have any advice to other writers on coping with rejection?
For a long time, I took rejection personally and it was a real struggle to peddle my wares. In the end, I realised no one was ever going to ring me up and say, ‘Hey, Rosie, I hear you have a manuscript in your Google drive we may want to publish.’
The trick is to start seeing rejections as good things.
Every rejection is a badge of honour; a battle scar that means you have actually written something and been brave enough to send your work out into the world. Every time you get your work out there, you learn stuff, you grow your confidence and you increase your odds of getting published.
Woody Allen captured it in a nutshell when he said ‘80% of success is showing up.’
If I could start over, I would be more persistent and resilient about submitting my work. I’d stop worrying about whether my writing was ‘right’, tell my ego to take a hike and focus on getting my work out into the public sphere at every opportunity – paid, unpaid, electronic, print, commercial, artistic, lauded, bashed, whatever.
Q: What do you like to read and who are your favourite authors?
I love to read Lee Child. I wish he would write faster! His hero, Jack Reacher, is so amazing that I am never sure whether I would rather sleep with him or be him!
Other fiction favourites include:
- anything by Harlan Coben (I’ll bet even his shopping list would be worth a read)
- The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (this is the Arthurian legend told from the women’s point of view)
- John Marsden’s Tomorrow when the war began series
- Philip Pullman’s Golden Compass books.
Q: Do you write one novel at a time or do you move between works in progress?
I force myself to work on one book at a time. There are always plenty of stories clamouring in the wings. If a second story becomes too persistent and clogs up my brain, I may write some notes to appease it. But, given my time constraints, even finishing one story is a challenge, so I have to be ruthless.
Q: Do you have times when the Muse is away on holiday?
Freelance journalism and copywriting have been very valuable experiences for me as they have taught me discipline which carries over into my novel-ing. Not in the mood to write that love scene? Write it anyway. Really can’t do it? Tweak dialogue or heighten mood, tighten description or correct spelling instead. Absolutely, totally can’t do it? It’s writing or ironing. (Amazingly, ironing rarely wins.)
My writing time is so precious that I can’t afford for the muse to kick back for a Pina Colada and a pedicure. My muse is on call 24/7. She has a fire-fighter’s pole.
Q. What motivates you to write?
Writing is my default status. It’s what I do. I don’t need motivation. It happens by itself. Like breathing.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your current novel? What inspired you to write this story?
Free to love is my first real bash at writing romance. It combines my favourite romance elements – secrets, humour and steamy sex.
I liked the idea of a non-typical heroine – and sassy, sexy ex-con Calico Jones certainly fits that bill! Callie is a cute, smart hottie who burns up Nick Chàvez’s traditions, routines, rules – and libido – in their first second together.
Quirky supporting characters like Callie’s shifty brother, Jace; her wise and wily Granny Mango; and the flouncy and flamboyant Oliver really heighten the tension and accentuate the laughs.
This is a classic romance story with some fresh, funny and spicy elements to add a zing of something special.
Sizzling business tycoon, Nick Chàvez, springs sassy Calico Jones from jail where she’s spent two years cooling her heels after a million-dollar embezzlement conviction.
With his family’s multi-billion dollar empire at risk of a hostile takeover, Nick has enough on his mind without battling his searing – and totally inappropriate – attraction to the sultry ex-con. So why the hell has he offered her a job? Meanwhile Callie must fight her deadbeat brother to make a fresh start as a Chàvez Enterprises employee.
With circumstances so precarious, neither Nick nor Callie can afford to surrender to the scorching attraction between them. But the desire is impossible to withstand. In the eye of the high-stakes tornado of lies, thefts, greed and lust, Nick and Callie inevitably yield to one another.
Their brief rapture is destroyed when Callie receives an ultimatum that puts the future of Chàvez Enterprises firmly in her hands – and leaves her with no choice but to walk away from Nick forever.
AT THE far edge of the square was a narrow path that had been worn into the rough grass of the field between the city buildings and the distant river bank. Nick led her along it and she followed willingly, acutely aware of his palm against hers, his large, firm fingers enfolding hers.
She knew she shouldn’t be letting him hold her hand. It was dangerous and inappropriate and probably just plain stupid but with the sun dappling them through the willow, wisteria and cherry trees and the breeze drifting in over the sparkling river, there was a rightness about his touch that would stand no denying.
Callie shrugged off her concerns. It had been so long since she’d been really touched by a man that just this simple clasp sent her heart racing wildly and her breath skittering unevenly. It wasn’t as though she was having sex with him, for heaven’s sake, she was just holding his hand in a platonic way. Although there was nothing remotely platonic about the ache that had started somewhere deep in her belly the moment their fingers had connected, nothing even close to friendly in the thrumming of her nerves as he stroked his thumb over her index finger.
No, she was not thinking friendly thoughts at all. She was thinking hot, horny, ravenous thoughts. Voracious thoughts. Desperate, wild and uninhibited thoughts that involved a whole lot more than pressing their naked palms together. Thoughts that whirled through her with a ferocity that made her wonder if she was losing her mind.
He was a safe bet, she reminded herself. He was her boss. Unattainable. But if that was the case, why was he holding her hand? And why did his jaw have that set look that told her he was forcing himself to keep things light just as much as she was? Why did his eyes darken when he looked at her? Why was his tongue moistening his lips as though he was parched for something much more enticing than fruit juice – something a bit more like her?
She wanted him. Badly. And she couldn’t have him.
They had begun to climb as the path followed the slope of the hill. It was the incline making her breath so erratic, she told herself. She must not be in as good shape as the thought. But she knew she was lying to herself. She’d worked out in the prison gym for at least an hour a day, seven days a week for the past two years, determined not to accumulate pounds or lethargy like so many others did in prison. She’d started with a handful of girl push ups and a ride on the exercise bike on the easiest setting and, as she’d gained more privileges through her study, she’d graduated to weights, laps, the treadmill, aerobics and even chin ups. Who was she kidding? She was in great shape.
And he looked like he was, too. He must work out, she thought, admiring the strength of his calves against the straining fabric of his trousers as he made the steepening climb beside her. His arms were solid muscle highlighted by sprinkles of dark hair over his golden forearms where he’d rolled up his shirtsleeves. He really was a big man – tall and broad. His sheer size made her feel delicate and fragile beside him – crazy, really, when she’d just been thinking how fit and strong she was. But feeling delicate wasn’t an altogether unpleasant sensation. Delicate didn’t have to mean weak. She knew of plenty of fragile looking plants that would survive a desert sandstorm better than a human being. Although, right now, she didn’t feel that hardy. She felt pretty much like mush.
Pausing for a moment beside a white weeping wisteria in full bloom, he turned to her and studied her so intently she would have sworn he could see her soul.
Her nipples hardened, her breasts ached for his touch. Her body felt scorched and open and greedy. There wasn’t enough air. She felt light-headed. She couldn’t take her eyes off his handsome chiselled face and her fingers hankered to test the broad muscular chest before her. There was no way to hide her want. In this moment, her desire was too blatant, too powerful to veil.
She read the war within him, the severe line of his mouth emphasising his struggle to keep things on an even keel, the heat in his eyes, fighting to be unleashed. Callie sensed it would take almost nothing to tip the scales either way.
She licked her lips.
She saw the decision flash in his eyes like sunlight off glass.
She didn’t move, couldn’t breathe. Lust overpowered her ability to even think. She was desperate. If he didn’t kiss her, she realized, she might faint.
“I need to taste you, Calico,” he told her, stepping towards her, resting his hands gently on either side of her forearms. His voice was a raw demand but his body was all restraint and his eyes sought permission.
She should deny him. She should push him away. But his words sent blistering need searing through her through her, unwavering in its intensity. She didn’t so much as nod, merely let her eyes drift shut and her body sway towards him. He didn’t hesitate, but eased her close, gentling his mouth over hers in the sweetest, most tantalising kiss she had ever experienced.
All her senses zeroed in on the exquisite male animal worshipping her mouth and the divine feel and scent and taste of him. She gave herself up to him, utterly helpless, surrendering completely to the perfect moment when their lips met.
She sighed into his mouth, drowning in the taste of him, greedily drinking in the feel of his knit shirt beneath her fingers and the iron hardness of the muscles beneath. She breathed in the spicy scent of him, moving her mouth over his, encouraging him, enticing him. She wanted more of him and she wanted him to know it.
He pressed his lips harder against hers. She could feel him tense further with self-control, and it excited her. She knew he wanted to ravish her, to make her body thrum, her mind corkscrew, her heart rocket. But he held back. His repressed longing speared her centre with an arrow of heat. Her skin burned, every cell jangled and clamoured for more. She was a slave to her body – from her erect nipples to her stiff and sensitive clit and the pulsing in her throbbing core, clenched tight and slick with her juices.
Some dim part of her mind registered that this was a mistake, that kissing her boss was completely off the scale where dumb decisions were concerned but she hushed her inner voice, gave herself up to the feel and taste and smell of him, ceded to the demands of her body.
His hands were in her hair, then skimming down her spine to cup her behind. He eased her against him where she could feel the enormous bulge of his shaft. She whimpered and he captured the sound with his lips, gently teasing them apart as he sought access for his tongue. Then he took her, slowly, softly but completely, making her mindless with the bliss of his loving, boneless with the restrained force of his desire.
Too soon, Nick pulled away, as flushed and breathless as she.
“God, I want you,” he rasped.
“I want you, too.” There was no room for anything but the naked truth. But sanity was returning, an unwelcome dampening, a mist of regret.
Callie struggled to ease her breathing into a normal pattern, strove to quell her trembling. If this was the aftermath of a simple kiss, how would she survive anything more with this man? While one half of her cowered from what she knew could only end in pain, the other half carelessly craved everything Nick could offer.
She could see in his eyes that he, too, was torn between pursuing this attraction further and clamping down on his passion with that fierce control that at once awed and frustrated her. She was fascinated by the display of battling emotions like a fireworks show in his green eyes.
He dragged in a rough breath. “We should walk. Clear our heads. Think about how best to proceed.”
This time, he didn’t take her hand and she didn’t reach for his, either. To touch would be too volatile, too explosive. They were heading for a dangerous precipice. Would they step back from the deep unknown or would they plunge into the chasm with eyes open? In that moment, Callie honestly didn’t know. Oh, she wanted him, but they were worlds apart. She was an ex‑convict who could do nothing but sour his reputation. He was a moneyed businessman who was also her boss. When she looked at the situation rationally, she could see nothing in the future but damage and destruction for both of them.
She tried to force logic over her sadness. Just as she had never believed in love at first sight, she also didn’t believe in “once in a lifetime”, at least not in the traditional sense. The idea of one soul mate per person had never sat easily with her. Being together was a choice people made, something sensible, reasonable, based on mutual compatibility, shared goals, love and respect. It was not based on some cosmic plan where two people were destined for each other and bound together for all eternity. There would be other men, she told herself, men more suitable than Nick Chàvez.
As they approached the crest of the hill, Callie could just make out the glimmer of water over the cliff top. The view promised to be amazing as she plotted their geography in her head. The vista would encompass the wild southern end of the river and the small harbour with its colorful bobbing fishing boats and sleek white cruisers to the north. The far bank would reveal swathes of sandy tree-lined beaches and unspoilt sloping dunes giving way to acres of fields and forests. She had no trouble at all imagining why a powerful man like Nick would find comfort in a rugged spot like the ancient cliff they were climbing. There was a timelessness about the place, an energy that was all elemental magic – sun and water, rock and sky. She imagined Nick silhouetted against the blue heavens, proud and aristocratic and all-powerful against the stunning scenery, like a mythical king or a demigod.
They had almost reached the top when it happened. A loud electronic beep pierced the moment. At first she thought it must be his cell phone. She didn’t possess one, although it was on her shopping list. But then the beep sounded again and she slowed her pace, pulling Nick to a stop beside her. Even that simple brush of her fingers against the cloth of his shirt, the feel of his muscular bicep beneath her fingers, made her whole body ignite anew. But the insistent beeping sound was a timely if bitter reminder of why she must ignore her feelings for Nick, why she must back off and quash whatever was between them while there was still time to do so. If he was a mythical king, she was the lowest of serfs and this was real life, not some fairytale.
She glanced longingly at the top of the cliff where a tantalising expanse of glittering gilt-edged blue enticed her forward, only hinting at the stunning panorama beyond.
“What is wrong?” he asked her taking her hand in his. “Afraid of heights?”
She shook her head, gazing sadly once again at their goal only two or three hundred metres to the east.
“Is there a call you have to take?”
Once again, she shook her head.
His gaze searched hers, at once concerned and simmering with barely suppressed yearning.
She knew her next words would ruin the mood completely but there was no avoiding them. In fact, they were words that had to be said. If she didn’t put a stop to this right now, they would both end up regretting it. Still, the words were like drops of vinegar in her mouth. “I can’t go any further. I’m sorry Nick. It’s the anklet. That’s my one hundred metre warning. I’ve gone as far as I can.”
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