Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Blast: Deanne Wilsted



“I did what?”

Twenty-eight year old Gabriella Bessu is St. Therese’s meticulous wedding ceremony coordinator. So the fact that she has mistakenly signed her newest couple up for an annulment, rather than a wedding, sends her Catholic guilt into overdrive.

But who can blame her? The groom is gorgeous and his two kids tug at Gabriella’s heart in a way that overcomes all her best intentions. Before long she’s in over her head, fixing her mixed-up plans and helping the children and dad come to terms with their haunting grief for the mother and wife they lost years earlier.

Can Gabriella untangle her own fears and accept the messy life that God has handed them? 


Mandy’s accusations rang through Gabriella’s mind and guilt practically doubled her over. She dropped her bags inside the door and went into the bathroom to splash cold water on her face. The image that met her in the mirror had shame written all over it.

What had she been thinking? Ryan and the kids belonged to Mandy and she had been acting like a lovesick teenager. Scenes from the beach flashed through her mind; Ryan’s smiles at her and the desire she’d had to reach out and kiss him. Filled with self-loathing, she shook her head to get rid of the images.

Her dropped bags at the front door mocked her, so she picked them up and dragged them to her bedroom then crumpled onto the bed. One hand over her eyes, she let the images flood her. With her free hand she reached over and switched on her radio hoping to block out the accusing voices in her head. Her favorite news show was quizzing celebrities on the week’s news, but something about their conversation alarmed her. It took a moment to realize what it was.

She stared at the radio, stunned. If Whose News was on, it meant it was Sunday . . . Sunday!

And, for the first time in years, Gabriella had forgotten to go to Mass.


With an English teacher for a mom, DEANNE WILSTED, grew up reciting conjugation instead of nursery rhymes. Now, forty years later, she's sharing that special skill through her writing and her mothering. Her first book, a contemporary romance called BETTING JESSICA, was released October 2011. Her second Novel, UNTANGLING THE KNOT, is due out in February 2013 from Soul Mate Publishing. She is currently marketing her third book for publication and writing her fourth, fifth and sixth while blogging about the crazy stuff she overhears while writing.


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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Integrity or Success?

Integrity or Success? 

This is a question that is becoming more valid with each day as we push ourselves and our work into the public domain. The timeless image of the starving artist has become iconic for a reason and is still largely true, which is a sad statement to how much we, as a society, truly value those that create the real history of our culture. But, because of this fabulous new internet age, marketing has taken on new angles, and not all of them good.

It’s pretty much an accepted fact that the need to brand and market and be an active participant in your success is a necessity. But when does it move from the arena of aggressive and pro-active involvement to become simply rude and offensive? Well, I have to say, in my opinion, that this is when it becomes rude, offensive, and down-right unethical: when you kiss ass to already successful authors, and gush and play to the ego and vanity that every artist has–then when you’ve convinced them of your undying loyalty and sincerity, they make the offer you’ve been waiting for and promote your book to their readers. Mission accomplished–next target chosen–repeat performance. Books sell, and haven’t you done a good thing? THIS is the mindset I can’t quite tolerate. I find myself wondering when sacrificing integrity and decency became an acceptable form of promotion? All right, you sell more books, but does that mean your work is somehow elevated and better because you’ve conned good people into supporting you on their hard-won success? I must be missing something, because to me this kind of activity is disgusting.

My opinion only, but if you write a shit book and then persuade busy authors it’s good, so they can promote it for you–it’s still a shit book, right? Even if a bad book sells millions, it’s still a bad book–sales do not magically elevate shit to elegant prose. The 
“best-seller” of 2012 is proof of that, isn’t it?

And then there is the person who thinks the road to success can be circumvented by attitude. The one who tries to walk all over anyone they are TOLD is _____________, fill in the blank with whatever the sin of the week is. They will use that person to get attention, all the while following along like a good little puppet.

Hey, I’m just a writer who loves to tell stories, and help other people get their voices heard. But, in the past couple of years, someone painted a target sign on me, and now they aim strangers at me before anyone even says hello. There is no integrity at play here, and frankly–like Rhett Butler, “my dear, I don’t give a damn!” I’d rather earn my success from my own work–not use others. I may never sell as many books as the crawlers, but at least I can stand up straight and own whatever I do have in the way of personal and professional success. And, maybe that in itself is a greater success than book sales or fan following?

What do you, the readers, think?

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Pendulum is swinging…or is it an illusion?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject recently. The level of erotic content in our romance novels has exploded over the past decade, and last year it seemed to hit a peak with the success of the dubious Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. However, in a market saturated with explicit content romance of every imaginable combination and activity, are we slowly becoming immune to the real value of our romance novels? I know a huge number of people who can’t read enough of the current trend in romance novels, they are giddy and sheepish at carting all those spicy novels to the counter at book stores, but these books are the new fashion.

Statistics can support almost any stance you wish to take these days. No matter what your topic is or your cause, as it were. I’ve read polls that say erotic romances are slowly falling from favour, that people have simply had enough and are looking for stories with more emotional growth and story building. I’ve read other polls that illustrate the precise opposite is the case–that the majority of romance readers want the down and dirty sex scenes, and the more the better. Anyone in this business has been aware of the erotic romance for years, but for many, this is a new discovery that’s come about by recent best-sellers and the attention they’ve garnered.

Years ago, we had romances broken into categories like Medical, Sweet, Historical, etc., now they come with a heat rating and cross all boundaries, redefining them in many cases. Is this a healthy trend? Only the readers can decide that, really. For me, I admit I’m more than a little weary of erotica in romance robes. Maybe I just delineate the whole thing differently than some other authors, but I doubt I’m alone in that. I write sensual, sexy romances for the most part. I have done erotica, and probably will again if that’s what the story calls for, but as a general rule, my heart is still with a Harlequin Romance most days, and they have become diverse lines with very passionate and sexy stories that make you smile and sigh very often when you turn the last page.

I can’t say I understand the shock-sex books that are all over the place, either, but I’m not losing sleep over my inability to love them. I’ve always believed that romance is joining of two hearts and souls as much as two bodies sharing intense connection and pleasure. So, readers, what are your thoughts?