Tuesday, January 20, 2015

*Covered in Paint by Donna McDonald

Artists See Things Differently, Including Love

In his 42 years of living, Drake Barrymore had seen the best and worst life had to offer. He had loved and lost a wife. He had managed to raise his son alone. But now all he can think about is a woman who is way too young for him. Dr. Brooke Daniels has an enticing body, a kiss-me mouth, and a sharp gaze that questions all the excuses he tries to make. 

On his canvasses Drake can often cover the truth with paint, but he knows all too well that strategy doesn’t work in real life. He has to take a chance on loving her. The best he can hope for when it’s all over is that he and Brooke can at least remain friends.

Inquiring Minds Asked: Donna McDonald's Answers

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always been a writer. I kept diaries, wrote stories, and played pretend. Recording my thoughts in some manner is a very natural process for me. In college, I majored in English and minored in Creative Writing. However, it wasn’t until I started writing romantic fiction that I found my true calling. The last four years of my life have been a dream come true. Writing is demanding work, but it is the best job I’ve ever had.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Everywhere…and from everyone. I always answer this question this exact way, but I don’t think people really believe it. I think this is especially true because I write romantic comedy. Here’s an example. A friend of mine was telling a story just the other day about how her engineer machinist husband had gotten an offer for a job from a tampon manufacturer. The money was good but he was reluctant to interview for it and to tell her specifics. Of course he eventually confessed. What would he be doing? Designing the applicators. Certainly someone has to do these things, but the comedic value is what I took in from the story. In Janet Evanovich’s Plum series novels, her character Stephanie once worked in a sanitary napkin factory. I was laughing so hard about the idea of what the average day would be like for a tampon applicator designer that I could barely put the note into my phone. Sadly, real life is always funnier than anything I can write. But inspiration is truly all around. 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I’ve learned many surprising things. Picking one is not easy. I love, love, love knowing I can make a reader laugh. One of my favorite things to hear from readers is that they enjoyed a book because it made them laugh. Life is short and too often hard. Laughter is a gift and giving it to others with my books is a wonderful thing for me.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

The list for quirks is long. Let’s see if I can narrow it to one. I write a book from scene to scene. I never know what’s happening to the characters until I am in the middle of writing it. The scene begins, the characters start talking, and then somewhere in the action I start smiling and/or laughing because I suddenly know what’s going on. It’s like spying or eavesdropping on the people I’m creating. Yes, I know this makes me sound like I need therapy, but it delights me when it happens. It is a joy to be surprised when I write. My two critique partners are like this too. The down side is that sometimes I can be 90% done and still not know how the book is going to end. Sometimes all I have is some vague idea from actually finishing previous books that it will take 3-4 more chapters for the current one. For me…writing is a leap of faith every time I sit down to do it.

What is the one piece of advice you would give an author who is thinking of publishing a book?
The answer to this question changes all the time. Writing is different from publishing. If you record your thoughts, tell stories, or love putting words down for anyone’s reading pleasure, even your own—you are a writer. Being called an author is usually attached to the act of officially publishing. Publishing is about distributing books and offering them for sale to masses of readers. It is a business to sell books and it takes a lot of work. Writing can just be done for the sheer joy of it. The tools to independently publish are readily available these days which is great because people like me get to make a living. Going the traditional route has its own challenges. I would recommend the newbie talk to people who have published through the publishing method they intend to use and ask lots of questions. Most published authors are quite kind.

Do you want to share any thoughts about your personal story being reflected in your new release, Covered In Paint, Book 5 of the Art Of Love Series?

It’s not going to give much plot away to say that one of the challenges in this story involves the heroine finding a a lump in her breast. It happens early in the story and I didn’t hide it long. After my appearance on the Today Show last year, the story of my daughter’s death from cancer (not breast cancer though) is now a well publicized fact. It is also true that I was laid off from a job the same year we found out she was stage 4. Leslie lived about 10 months after her diagnosis. When she was gone, I was both jobless and purposeless. I turned to my writing because I was incapable of returning to a day job. This was mid-2010. I wrote about five books and then decided to self-publish in 2011. This was my author career beginning, which I always credit to her. Perhaps I would have gotten there other way, but Leslie’s death put me on the fast path to appreciating we have no guarantees about tomorrow.

So how does that relate to this latest release? I have had characters in some of my romances who had lost spouses to cancer. There were two heroes in the Never Too Late series for which this was their backstory (Casey and Ben). However, I had never attempted a character with a struggle with the disease in the present tense. I thought it would be too serious and intense for a genre romance. And honestly….I tried not to do with it Brooke’s character, but the story wouldn’t allow me to change the premise. Honoring an inspired premise may be a downside to being a “pantser” with a very insistent Muse. 

It also didn’t help the writing that the series character in this particular story was my daughter’s age when she died. Fans of the series know it took me two years to finish Covered In Paint. But all books are gifts. In the challenge of writing a happily-ever-after scenario for Brooke Daniels, I had the epiphany that this book was a special therapy for me. Now that’s finished, I can report it definitely carried a blessing or two I hadn’t anticipated. 

Still...I am relieved it is done and also grateful to my readers for being patient enough to let me get to it when I could. It means a lot to me that fans of the Art Of Love series never gave up cheering for the characters. For them, I filled Brooke and Drake’s story with lots of joy, love, and laughter for balance with any challenges it contains for the characters. Now all I can do is cross my fingers that everyone agrees I worked it all out.

My Review:

Why are we limited to 5 Stars ??  This book should have way more than 5 stars, I loved it!!! 

To me reading one of Donna McDonald's books means that I'm going to have everything that I love about romance novels. Her writing is highly emotional, sprinkled with humor and characters that are well developed and that you know and love before you reach the end. You are sure to experience laughter tears highs and lows while reading her stories. Some of her books are based around touchy subjects for some. This is one of those books. 

I was extremely moved by the way Ms McDonald handled the subject of a breast cancer scare in Covered in Paint. My family has been touched by this disease many times so I could relate to the characters and I'm impressed by the grace and dignity in which it was approached. 

This entire series is one of my all time favorites to start with, there is an entire cast of Amazing characters that we as fans have grown to love and I think this book was the best so far. 

One-Click this book quick and fall in love with Drake and Brook's story now. 

Carved In Stone 

**FREE on all Retailers

They say you marry a person and not a family, but tell that to a Larson bride.

Family meddling is responsible for most of the laughs in Book 1 of this funny romance series.

A year has passed since his ex-wife remarried. Now Will Larson's adult sons have decided he needs their help to start dating again. His growing desperation to date retiring high school art teacher, Jessica Daniels, makes Will think suffering their help might be worth it. The skilled sculptor carves masterpieces from stone but soon discovers that he has a lot left to learn about the art of love.

Get ready for a lot of laughs on the way to true love in this humorous romantic comedy that will leave you smiling.

Like to laugh one minute and cry the next? This is the right romance for you.

At 34, Michael Larson has made himself into a good man, even if he is still far from being a perfect one. He considers himself at least reformed of his previously bad dating habits. Unfortunately, Carrie Addison, the future mother of his child and the woman he loves madly, doesn’t agree with that assessment. The challenge he faces is how to keep Carrie in life until he finds a way to change her mind. 

Despite advice from his meddling family about hanging on to a woman looking to escape him, Michael pressures Carrie into a marriage of convenience. Her indecision about him and the baby is heart wrenching, but Michael won’t let even her doubts stop him. He can’t bear the thought of losing her now that he finally has her in his arms at last.


Don’t believe in love at first sight? This Larson romance will change your mind.

Dumped by her fiancee in the middle of a tragic family crisis, Reesa Callahan readily admits she is jaded about love. No matter how sexy and nice, unless the man in her life is a home contractor, a plumber, or a potential employer, he can serve only one useful purpose to her. And even then, one night is all she can offer. She told Shane Larson that the night they met. Why can’t the stubborn man accept her limited reality and just leave her alone?

Graphic novelist Shane Larson’s focus is on his next book release. When that is finished, he plans to complete his doctorate. Just like he told his nagging father and gloating brother, he had definitely not been looking for a serious relationship when a one-night stand ended up being the woman of his dreams. Weeks later he’s almost given up hope when helping a friend accidentally leads him to the mysterious “Anne's" front door. Rather than it being the end of his search, he finds not only the woman he wants but a whole family. Being in love with the right woman is just as wonderful as his father predicted, but does he have what it takes to love them all?

This is Book 4 of the Art of Love series and a novella. For max enjoyment, reading the previous 3 books is highly recommended.

DESCRIPTION: What do multiple weddings, a new career for Ellen Cannon, several characters moving, and an art gallery opening have in common? They’re all in this new novella in the Art of Love series. There are also scenes that will reveal the characters for Books 5 and 6 coming next year. 

BONUS: Contains two 3-chapter excerpts. One is from another contemporary romance I wrote called, NEXT SONG I SING. The other is from my new science fiction romance series and is called, THE DEMON OF SYNAR. Both titles are available for Nook.

NOTE FROM AUTHOR: For fans of the Never Too Late series, I just wanted to mention that the Art of Love series is a bit different. It is slightly more serious, but still has many humorous moments among the Larson men and their friends. The first three books in the series center around Will Larson and his sons, who are a family of male artists. The heroines in this series are in need of strong heroes and I think you will be pleased with how the Larson men rise to the challenge. This fourth book, COMMISSIONED IN WHITE, is purposely more light and humorous than the other full stories. I doubt you have ever read a romance with more weddings in it. For maximum enjoyment though, you will probably want to read the others first (CARVED IN STONE, CREATED IN FIRE, and CAPTURED IN INK).

About Donna McDonald

I am an active dreamer and find writing to be the best way to use my creativity. Needing to satisfy both sides of my brain, I have become a cross-genre author of contemporary romances, fantasy romances, science fiction romance, and paranormal romances. My books appear on bestseller lists for humor, romantic comedy, space opera, and more. I admit that I crave laughter from readers and focus my attention on making that happen as often as possible. I love to hear from anyone who has read my books.

Also Check out The Never Too Late Series - Available at your Favorite Ebook Seller