Dani Collins – Romancing Our Dreams

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Today is Harlequin Presents Day! We have three terrific Harlequin Presents authors representing this quintessential romance line. Enjoy!

The Joy of Writing Romance

I spent a lot of years in the dungeon of rejection. Twenty VowsOfRevengeOrigfive. It’s true. I was twenty-one when I rented a typewriter and sat down to write my first romance manuscript and I was forty-six when I finally got ‘The Call.’

I married and had babies and had other types of joy in my life in those twenty-five years, but I also felt a lot of sadness and discouragement and anger. I would still be stomping around, pouting that life wasn’t fair, if I hadn’t also done some significant soul searching in those same years.

I learned that writing romance couldn’t be my whole life. I looked around at friends with sick kids, some with infertility or divorce or other trials, and I realized that I was very blessed. The only heartache in my life was that I hadn’t sold yet.

It should be noted here that if I had not been a fan of romance, if romance heroines had not persevered through all those pages on my keeper shelf for more years than I had been writing, I may not have had the courage to keep trying. But romance novels had convinced me that happy endings were real and I was determined to find mine.

But, oh, there were cautionary tales, Dear Reader. Published friends had their own Seduced-into-the-Greeks-Worldproblems. The business side of writing isn’t all hearts and flowers. There are tough decisions and disappointments and pressures to meet deadlines and promote. There were times when I asked myself if publishing was really what I wanted.

Which was the key to finding my true joy. I made a conscious decision to embrace being unpublished. No judgment, no distractions, sometimes no real purpose, just exploration. I could write whatever I wanted.

More importantly, I realized that the gatekeepers of publishing weren’t stopping me from writing. It was up to me to decide whether I wrote or not, just as I had decided to sit down that many years ago and give this crazy idea a go.

I threw myself into the sheer joy that comes from unfettered creative expression. Those years of rejection ceased to feel wasted and became a time of practice and preparation. They became mine. Not something that had been deemed unworthy by an outside force, but something that made me happy every single day.

This attitude has served me well as I moved into the world of the published author. I did realize my dream. I even quit my day job a year and a half ago to write full time. I pinch myself every day that I am allowed to do this for a living.

But there are perils here. Scraped knees and the odd troll under a bridge.

I know that I will always have my writing, though. When I have anxious moments and convince myself my career is over, I remember that I get to sit down at my desk every day, regardless of whether I’m paid for it, and bring together two people who are meant to be together, but need help finding each other.

This lack of worry is very grounding. No matter what happens, I get to make my characters happy and that makes me happy.

Joyous, in fact.

Dani recommends:

Left to my own devices, I fill up my TBR pile with my fellow Harlequin Presents authors, but my daughter has turned me onto some New Adult books, which is how I found Carrie Lofty’s ( carrielofty.com ) Blue Notes. It’s simple yet complex and she does a wonderful job of bringing music alive on the page—always a challenge! 

A post by Megan Crane about Mariana Zapata’s (marianazapata.com) Kulti caught my eye. I one-clicked it, stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it and I’ve since reread it. Just thinking about it makes me want to read it again. Kulti. Dreamy sigh.  


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 

One of my strongest memories of sheer joy was receiving gold stud earrings from Santa when I was ten. I had been begging for pierced ears and Mom kept telling me I had to wait until I was twelve.

There they were, however. Two years early. Permission to grow up glinted from a tiny jeweler’s box. It was scary but exciting, as all big moments in our lives tend to be. I was shocked, old enough to know that they were really from my parents, which suggested a kind of trust and encouragement of our inner dreams that we yearn for, right? And of course I was scared that the piercing would hurt!

It was also a lesson in delayed gratification, since we had to wait until the holidays were over to get the job done. I was put on this earth to learn patience, I tell you! It wasn’t too traumatic, however, and swabbing them to prevent infection was all on me. This left me feeling very grown up and independent. Autonomous, even. Always a good feeling. 

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

This one is easy. I live in my own personal paradise, near a lake in southern British Columbia, Canada. I’m a fresh water girl and the summers here can be blistering. Every day when the heat is on, I make a quick trip to the beach for a dip.

I love that it is not a day trip with a bunch of baggage. It is me in a bathing suit grabbing a towel and wearing flip flops, casually enjoying what tourists pay exorbitant sums to visit for a week or two. (Note: they’re not shy about changing in public. I totally pulled up in my car the other day to a big white butt flashing at me. It made me laugh out loud. He probably heard me.)

Two summers ago, my daughter was working up the road from our favorite beach. Every SSChristinaLake1afternoon when she was finished work, I would meet her there and we would do laps between the buoys and marvel at our luck, living in such a beautiful place. If I could take my camera out to that particular spot without getting it wet, I would, so I could show you how perfect it is.

You’ll have to get the sense of it from this. 

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

Music soothes the savage beast in me, for sure. But honestly? The sound that has made me happiest for thirty-five years is the sound of my husband’s laugh. He has one of those laughs that is very hearty and genuine and makes you want in on the joke. Thankfully, he thinks I’m funny so I get to hear that sound a lot.

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

I mention some recent books I loved under Recommendations, but Anne of the Island remains one of my favorite books of all time because that’s when she realizes she loves Gil. He’s so worthy of love and he almost dies, but he doesn’t! (Hand over heart. Blink several times. Sniff!)

I didn’t realize it at the time, but Anne of the Island was probably the first romance I ever read. I was hooked!

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

On my son’s recommendation, I began watching Parks and Recreation and I am so smitten with Chris Pratt now! It’s ridiculous.

Dani is generously giving away two signed print copies of her September Harlequin Presents, Vows Of Revenge, one to a US reader and one to an international reader. To enter, leave a message on this post or on the Facebook post (you can find that here) or both. For international readers, include your country in your comment so we know you’re international. ;o) Comments must be entered by 11:59 pm CST on Sept 6.


Dani Collins HeadshotAfter her long wait for a publishing contract, Dani Collins hit the ground running, winning 2013’s Reviewer’s Choice for Best First in Series from Romantic Times Book Reviews and going on to publish twenty titles in multiple genres in the next few years.

Along with passionate alpha males for Presents, Dani also writes small town rancher novellas, medieval fantasy romance, erotic romance, and romantic comedy. Writing used to be her hobby, now it’s her job and she’s a workaholic. You can find her at her desk.

Dani’s latest release is Vows Of Revenge, a September Harlequin Presents.

Stay current with Dani’s new releases by joining her newsletter here, or visit her online:

danicollins.com    |    Facebook    |    Twitter    |    Goodreads

 

Buy Dani’s books:

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  • mariannewestrich

    Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorites, too!

  • Marissa Yip-Young

    Never been to BC but I hear it is beautiful.

  • Jennifer C

    You live in one of the most beautiful places on earth! I have never seen water that clear in my life. So gorgeous! 🙂

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    Where you live sounds beautiful!

  • Thank you Melissa, Jennifer, & Marissa. I certainly feel spoiled most days! Today we finally have much needed rain. We’ve been socked in with smoke from the fires in Washington State so it feels fresh and cool out there. Really a huge relief.

    Marianne, did you ever see the miniseries? I’ve thought about buying it, I love it so much.

  • jcp smith

    Thank you for the giveaway! I really enjoy your writing. (USA reader)

    • Hi jcp – You’re Dani’s US winner! Either reply ot this or send me your email address to bobbiwrites@att.net and I’ll have her send it out asap. (Sorry for the delay, it’s been a crazy month…) xo

  • Molly

    It’s a great giveaway and thanks I love to read.

  • Karen Mikusak

    I enjoy your writing. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Carol Luciano

    I’ve loved your books. Love your post. It looks like you ceertainly do live in Paradise. Just gorgeous. Thanks for the giveaway chance.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  • Debbie Fuller

    Thank you for sharing and posting here.

  • Kareni

    In addition to reading a ton of Barbara Cartland novels, I also read a boat load of Harlequin and Silhouette romances when I was a teen and young adult. I still read some today. Congratulations on persevering until you became a published author. I wish you much more joy in writing!

  • May

    I enjoyed your books very much! (Canada)

  • Kareni, I adored Barbara Cartland and read our libraries dry of them while in high school.
    Wishing everyone good luck and thank you so much for your wonderful comments!

  • What a beautiful writer’s story! Chapeau! (And I love Anna and Gilbert too…). Marinella from Italy

    • Hi Marinella, thanks for stopping by. And what’s not to love about Anne and Gilbert, right? 😉

  • marypreston

    So glad you persevered and found your happy ending.

  • Ellen

    So glad you got published. I’ve enjoyed your books.

  • Marcy Shuler

    I’m glad you didn’t give up writing, Dani, because I really enjoy your books!

  • Sue G.

    Way to stick with trying to get published. I don’t know if I could have waited that long. Also, what a beautiful place you live by!

    • Thanks, Sue. I don’t know if I would have stuck it out if someone had told me it would be that long, but once you’re in for a decade or two, you’re kind of stuck with it, lol!

  • Aye Lopez

    You are a new author to me, looking forward to read your books!

    Thanks for the chance 🙂 🙂

  • Diana Michelle Tidlund

    OMG Yes on the Chris Pratt….and I love his wife too.

    • Diana, have you seen What’s Your Number (I think that’s what it’s called.) It’s a romcom with Anna Faris and Chris makes some cameos. It’s a lovely movie, I really enjoyed it, but he absolutely takes it to the next level. Oh, I think one of the other Chris’s is the hero, and he’s very watchable. Might be Chris Evans? I’d have to look it up. But if you like romance, romcoms, chris and anna, this is a must see for you! 🙂

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    Thank your for sharing your thoughts in your post. You have to be passionate to keep trying after all those years. I’m so glad you made it because I love your books!! Granted, most of them were published by Tule, but they were still wonderful!! They bring me joy and comfort when I read them.

    • What a lovely thing to say. Thanks Eileen! I LOVE my Tule books. I love writing romance, full-stop, but those ones are particularly fun. Oh, watch for the boxed Christmas set coming in October. The 20th I think. It will be 8 authors, books from last year so you might have read them, but it will be a steal and you might get some new-to-you authors.

      • Eileen Aberman-Wells

        Thanks Dani!! I will look for the set. I do love my Tule books!!

  • Gretchen Miller

    awesome

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I’m so impressed with your dedication to writing and now I have to add your books to my TBR list 🙂 It looks amazingly beautiful where you live as well. I am a mountain girl, born and raised so I am always appreciative of other beautiful mountains and bodies of water where I can visit! Looks like BC may have to be added to the travel list… Thanks again for all you do!

    • Oh, Courtney, isn’t it such a big wonderful world and only this lifetime to see everything in it? My girlfriend just posted photos of iceland and now I’m all Gotta-Go for that! But please, come! We’re a friendly bunch here. Change in public. We don’t care! lol

  • Dawn Anderson

    That’s a beautiful picture of the water. Wish I was there, although, I would not change in public! 🙂

    • Ha! It’s not just on a beach or in a parking lot, either. It’s a tiny little piece of public access beach about the width of a house in a residential neighbourhood. So he was basically changed beside someone’s back hedge. People be weird sometimes.

  • Texas Book Lover

    So glad you stuck with it! Just goes to show patience really does pay off…most of the time!

    • Well, I always took the attitude that if I quit, I *definitely* wouldn’t publish! Quitters never win and winners never quit, right? 🙂

  • Pamby50

    Love the picture of the lake. I had to laugh about the white butt part. So glad you started writing again for the sheer joy of it.

    • What else do you do but laugh, right? Thanks for stopping by!

  • Carin Shaughnessy

    I am going to get one of your books today, mainly to celebrate never giving up your dream. How inspiring to me who has always wanted to write. It is encouragement to never give up. Thanks

  • kirsten west

    Enjoyed your interview and The Ultimate Seduction. Beautiful picture!