I've invited Donna McDonald to join me on my blog this week. Donna writes fun romances about older characters. What I've loved about each of Donna's books is that they've shown how characters who are my age still have a libido, still enjoy having sex, and are still out there looking for love. And they're still working through things trying to do it right.
And though this blog will be dedicated to her newest release. I wanted the readers to be aware that she has several series out there.
Her Never Too Late Series encompasses:
Dating a Cougar Book 1
Dating Dr. Notorious Book 2
Dating A Saint Book 3
Dating A Metro Man Book 4
Dating A Silver Fox Book 5 will be out in July
She Also has a an Art Of Love Series
Carved In Stone Book 1
Created In Fire Book 2
Captured In Ink Book 3
Commissioned in White Book 4
I know you're going to enjoy her interview and the excerpt of her new release Next Song I Sing!!
Tell us what inspired your story?
I went through a period where I lost 10 lbs on doctor’s advice. While I’m not technically overweight, I am curvy and filled out for someone my height. I was feeling pretty good about that weight loss which actually took a couple years. Then I started noticing that people I knew treated me strangely about my changing weight. Some were envious. Some scoffed at my reasons. Their reactions plus mine got me fixated on weight and social opinions about it, specifically women’s opinions about their own weight. I loved Jennifer Cruise’s “Bet Me” which features a full figured heroine, so I was inspired to try my own in this series. I settled on the Chloe being a size 14 which is merely Marilyn Monroe-esque, but still far from the size 6 or 8 that most women have in their heads as the “normal” size.
Describe your hero and tell us a little about him.
Jasper Wade is 45. He is a mega successful hotel owner, but not so successful in his love life. He comes from a wealthy background, so his manners make him appear a bit stuffy, but really he’s not. He is somewhat idolized by his much younger brother and his best friend who is runs the bar/lounge part of his business. Jasper is mostly a good guy and I really liked how he was with Chloe.
Describe your heroine and tell us a little about her.
Chloe Zanders is 40, freshly divorced, and keen to start her life over. Though after I finished the book, it was more like Chloe just moved back to the physical place where she had once been her best, true self. Her friends—both great women—have to keep reminding Chloe that under her still painful previous relationship wounds is the woman they used to know who had more than just a healthy self-esteem. This book is a journey of Chloe finding her true self again. Finding Jasper is a bonus.
How did you come up with the title?
I created these books for some of my readers who kept asking me for a series featuring divorced heroines who were turning that milestone age of 40 that most women dread. Since I divorced at 41 myself, I definitely had the background for it, little research required.
I called the series NEXT TIME AROUND, even though it is similar to the title of my first series, mostly because other terms like “divorced and dating” were too frequently used in contemporary romances. When the first story opens, you discover Chloe has been working as an accountant, but that work is not her true calling anymore than her ex was her true love. Chloe’s book—NEXT SONG I SING—is about the many changes she makes in her “do-over” life. Taylor’s story will be NEXT GAME I PLAY (coming Fall 2012). Emma’s story will be NEXT MOVE I MAKE (coming late, late Fall 2012 or early 2013).
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not a message exactly, but I did try to create a character in Chloe that would resonate with every woman who has ever looked in the mirror and seen a very different person than the one her friends or lover report seeing. I’d like readers to laugh along with Chloe as she starts getting in touch (or back in touch to hear her friends tell it) with her true, voluptuous, wonderful self.
If you’re writing a series, have you kept the same characters throughout?
A series lets a writer play with all kinds of relationships, not just the primary romance between the hero and heroine. Sub-plots can be run in one book and settled in another quite satisfactorily. I won’t say all characters will show up in all books of any series I write, but I do at least try to have them do cameos in later books so both the readers and I know how they are doing. It gives us all a peek into what happens after the “happily ever after”. I do this rather innately as a writer because I like it as a reader myself.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 3 which contains the first time Jasper and Chloe “officially” interact with each other. Chapter 1 is available on my blog.
Jasper’s gaze kept being drawn to the three women sitting on the patio drinking mai tais. From his table by the café window, he had a prime view of them, especially the one with her top unbuttoned for comfort who looked ready to bust out of the short dress any moment. She was a lot of woman for a city that regularly produced dozens of thin, tanned, and toned clones like her tablemates.
He shifted in his seat, surprised at his reaction to a stranger—and a hotel guest.
“I bet I know which one you’re looking at,” Max said with a grin, forking up a bite of his meat loaf.
“I’m not looking at anyone. I was checking out the pool,” Jasper denied, his gaze going immediately back to the woman’s breasts as she laughed, her voice full and rich, the movements of her body mesmerizing to him.
“There’s not a single woman in the pool with breasts like the laughing brunette’s. I’m your brother. Why are you lying to me?” Max asked. “I like the taller of the two blondes, the one with the short hair. She was in here a couple of weeks ago in a sharp business suit. I’m intending to sleep with her. Go for the brunette. She’s just your type.”
“Max, you can’t sleep with hotel guests,” Jasper said sternly. “We talked about this before you decided to recuperate here. It’s not ethical. Neither Sam nor I have ever violated that rule.”
“Jasper, I haven’t slept with a woman in four months. I bet what’s going on in your pants isn’t ethical either. You’re forty-five, not eighty-five, so stop waiting and go after those breasts. You don’t have to settle for being your ex-wife’s booty call,” Max said fiercely, staring at his brother over his food.
“It’s complicated,” Jasper told him. “When you’re older, you’ll understand.”
“I’m thirty-one, not thirteen,” Max joked. “And I aged a lot those two months in the hospital before I came here. I realize now that life and luck can change in an instant. The one with breasts looks fun, sexy, and like she’d be nice to touch. Go for it.”
“She looks like she’s enjoying the company of her friends, relaxing for the first time in ages, and smart enough to sue the hotel if I offend her,” Jasper commented, having to shift in his chair when she leaned over the table. He was having a strong reaction to her, but it wasn’t worth risking the hotel’s reputation to follow the urge.
“Those three are going to end up in the piano lounge tonight with me. If you don’t come join us, I’m going to seduce all three of them, even the one with big breasts,” Max bragged, settling back in his seat and looking at his older brother with a definite challenge in his gaze. “I will not spare your feelings just because you’re too old to go after what you want. It’s not my fault I’m a menopause baby and have the advantage of youth on my side.”
“Menopause baby? Where do you get that crap? Those women are all probably a decade older than you and way too smart for your lame pick-up lines. Plus, they haven’t been looking at anyone but each other all through lunch. They are not here on the prowl for men, much less younger men,” Jasper predicted, looking at Max’s grin in disgust. “Fine. I’ll take that bet. You won’t get even a friendly kiss out of any of them.”
“Bring cash. Twenty each since you’re so sure,” Max warned, standing and getting the attention he was used to from the rest of the dining room occupants.
Chloe had laughed so much in the last hour that her face hurt. And several mai tais had put a humorous haze over pretty much everything.
“Emma, those quizzes are all going to say that I can’t get a guy because I have some sense of decorum about not groping his crotch in public. Do women in their twenties actually follow that advice?” Chloe demanded.
“Yes,” Emma said firmly. “And I think they have a lot of sex.”
“But do they ever find a genuine love-that-lasts kind of relationship?” Taylor asked, trying to sound wise.
Emma scrunched up her face. “Well, two of them found mine and Chloe’s husbands, so I think the answer is yes in some cases. Of course, this is assuming they actually love our ex-husbands and vice versa.”
Chloe snorted. “Well, I say good luck to them for trying. My ex’s new woman better stay skinny for the rest of her life.”
They laughed again and took another sip of their drinks.
“Okay-okay,” Emma said more soberly, “one more question and I’ll quit.” She paused until she knew Chloe and Taylor were paying close attention.
“You and your best friend are having lunch. She tells you there’s a hot guy checking out your breasts,” Emma said seriously. “What do you say in reply? Taylor—you go first.”
Taylor laughed, the drinks having worked their magic on her by loosening her tongue. “Well, I would dip into the sarcasm I hold back just for these special situations. I would say ‘Sure, him and every other guy’ in my best, most confident voice. Then I’d do this.”
Lifting her small breasts in her hands like an offering to the gods, Taylor pursed her lips in a smooch, and leaned over the table to her friends. They laughed so hard and so loudly that all the people in the pool starting leaving.
“Just like the old days,” Taylor said. “We’re clearing the area.”
“Okay Chloe—what would you say?” Emma said, swinging an innocent gaze in her direction.
“If the man is checking out my breasts, it’s because he’s not used to seeing so much un-tanned flesh in the state of California,” Chloe declared, laughing and holding the edges of her lapels open as wide as she could to peer into her dress. “Look—the girls and I haven’t seen sunlight in five years. It will take me months to tan all this.”
They all looked at Chloe’s large and very white breasts, giggling without denying her statement. It was the truth after all.
“Maybe you can start with one of those self-tanners or a bronzer. You have to work your way up to a real tan again,” Emma said on a laugh.
“Emma—that question didn’t sound like the other quiz questions,” Taylor commented, looking at her not-so-innocent friend who was giggling softly and looking guilty.
“Okay—fine. It wasn’t a real question on the quiz. There’s a good-looking guy in the dining room who has been admiring Chloe’s cleavage since we sat down to have lunch,” Emma said, laughing. “I think she should practice her subtlety theory on him.”
“Well I’m certainly in the mood to practice after three mai tais. Show him to me,” Chloe demanded on a tipsy laugh.
Emma’s eyes grew larger as she giggled and whispered. “Okay I will, but just don’t turn around. He’s headed to our table. Just smile at Taylor and pretend to be fascinating.”
Chloe’s eyes widened as she heard the deep voice at her side.
“Good day, ladies. I’m Jasper Wade, hotel manager. I hope you’re enjoying your stay. If you need anything while you’re here, please let me know,” he said gallantly, his gaze taking in all of them before coming back to Chloe.
Chloe, full of mai tai and happy laughter, turned her head and smiled into his very nice face, sighing with ego happiness as she watched Jasper Wade’s gaze straining to stay away from her cleavage. The day was certainly turning out to be a very nice way to celebrate her return to California.
How can readers find out more about you and your work?
I didn't want to end the blog without mentioning that Donna also has a paranormal series titled the Forced To Serve Series. Check them out!!
The Siren's Call will be out June 2012
The Shaman's Mate will be out July 2012
and The Healer's Kiss will be out in the Fall of 2012. Go to her website to keep updated on those releases!!!
Thanks Donna for spending time with me this week on my blog!!