Writer Wednesday: Meet Irene Onorato!

It’s the first #WriterWednesday of 2017! WAHOO!

To celebrate, I’m bringing you clean military romance author Irene Onorato. Because nothing spices up a cold winter day (well, it’s cold here in Virginia, at least) like a love story, and getting to know the authors behind the romances is fun for everyone.

Thanks for joining us! I hope you enjoy learning about Irene and her work – and please do leave some love in the comments!

What inspired you to write your latest novel, A Soldier Finds His Way? Any real-life heroes you’d like to tell us about that might have been an inspiration to you?

A Soldier Finds His Way had been brewing in my head for several years before I wrote the first draft. I’ve always been drawn to military men, so it stood to reason my male leads would be in the service. My father had been in WWII and part of my inspiration was the stories he told me about his time overseas. Also, he and I were huge fans of the old TV show Combat! starring Vic Morrow, who played Sgt. Saunders. Go ahead and laugh, but I had a huge crush on him.

How would you categorize the sub-genre of romance you write?

My publisher listed A Soldier Finds His Way in several categories: contemporary, clean, inspirational, and Christian. But don’t let that give you the idea that there’s no action, conflict, or outright romantic moments. There’s plenty of that in Soldier. My target audience is women young and old who prefer their reading material to be profanity-free, and for romantic scenes to stray no further than passionate kissing and embracing. I stay within these boundaries for this audience.

Tell us about the craziest thing(s) you do in the name of “research” for your books:

The craziest? I don’t know if it counts as research, but sometimes, when I want to describe facial expressions or moods, I stand at the mirror making the face I envision on whatever character I’m writing about, and try to describe what I’m seeing. If I want to describe sorrow, I think sad thoughts (like how I felt when I had to put my dog to sleep, etc.), and write about how the pain goes beyond the heart, right down into the depths of my very soul. That kind of stuff.

What’s your favorite romance movie of all time, and why?

I have several favorites, and it would be hard to pick the one I like best. I’m a big fan of You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, While You Were Sleeping, Notting Hill (I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her…Sigh…), and Dear Frankie. The last one on the list, Dear Frankie, wasn’t a very popular movie. Gerard Butler played the lead with his delicious Scottish accent. Need I say more?

What fellow romance author(s) do you recommend reading?

I’m particularly fond of Dana K. Ray, author of A Second Chance, Beatrice Fishback, author of Bethel Manor, and Linda Robinson, author of When Love Abounds.

Dana is an up-and-coming author with several more books lined up for publication. Bea is a diverse writer whose next published book will be a cozy mystery. Linda has several published novels on the market and has just added a compilation of short stories to her repertoire. Great authors, all.

So what’s next for you? Do you have another book in the making?

Yes. A Soldier Finds His Way is the first installment of the Veteran’s Heart series. More Than a Soldier and A Soldier’s Song will follow in June and December of 2017.

*Thank you so much for hosting me on this Writer Wednesday blog. It’s been an honor and a privilege.

[ML says: The privilege has been ours! Thank you so much for joining us!]

A Bit About A Soldier Finds His Way:

Sometimes getting lost is the best way home . . .

 After a painful youth spent in foster homes, Special Forces soldier Edward Giordano has all but given up on love. Returning to New York from a dangerous mission in Costa Rica with no one to welcome him home, he knows he must find a way through his bitterness and embrace faith, or he’s destined for misery and loneliness. But he never expects that saving someone else’s life might help him save his own…

Audra Lorenzo is a first-year school teacher with a bright future. All she’s missing is a man to share her happiness. Her father wants her to rekindle her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, but she can’t stop thinking about the handsome, kind, and courageous soldier who rescued her from a near-deadly car accident…

Edward too, has not stopped thinking of Audra. After making peace with God and with his difficult past, he’s ready to re-connect with her and reveal his feelings. Edward knows that opening his heart will mean risking pain, but he’s prepared for whatever comes—from a perilous deployment to Audra’s meddling father…

Find A Soldier Finds His Way here: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

TypewriterA Bit About Irene: 

Irene Onorato was born and raised in Bronx, New York. Her father, a first-generation American whose parents were born in Italy, was an Army veteran who had served with the 178th combat engineers during WWII. He told numerous stories of battles, hardships, tragedies and triumphs. The glimpses he gave into the hearts of many American warriors would later become the inspiration for much of Irene’s writings.

In 1972, a few months after graduating high school, Irene met James Onorato, a soldier who had just returned from Vietnam. After dating two weeks, they married, raised three children, and are still happily married today.

Irene and James, both radiation protection technicians, retired from the nuclear power industry in 2014 and now reside in Louisiana.

Want to connect further with Irene? Find her here:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Author’s web page | Author’s blog   

Writer Wednesday: Meet Dana K Ray!

Welcome to Writer Wednesday! Yes, I said Wednesday, even though it’s Thursday.

Sadly, someone attacked my website and it went down in flames yesterday. But thanks to my computer science professor husband, it’s back up and running, and so I can finally bring you author Dana K. Ray. Just a day late.

My apologies to Dana and to all of you!

But now I invite you to sit back, relax, and get to know Dana and her gutsy, true to life Christian stories!

What was the inspiration for your latest book?

When I wrote A Second Chance it was a form of therapy. It’s a story about forgiving others, forgiving yourself and giving another chance to those who may not deserve it.

Real life is messy. People hurt you and you hurt people. There’s no way around it. Many times we have to offer forgiveness, not for the other person, but for yourself. It’s freeing to forgive. I wanted to show others it can be done.

Name two things people don’t know about me.

Always. I felt odd because I always had movies playing in my head. I was so concerned with it that in college I wrote a paper on “fantasy thoughts” because I wasn’t sure if it was normal. I was a stay-at-home mom which gave me the chance to write my books down. The images are very vivid. I see the characters 3-D and in color but the fun of it, is I can change things. I can watch a scene and if I don’t like it, I mix it up. I do this until I love the scene then I go write it down.

I am an AVID football fan!! I mean I do nothing on the weekends but watch or go to games during the season. I love college and pro, but college a little bit better! I will take any free tickets. Email me at danakray@yahoo.com if you have some freebies I could have! Ha ha.

How much of yourself is reflected in this book (for example, professional expertise, personality, or other), and how?

In A Second Chance are some lessons I’ve personally lived and learned, yet it’s purely fiction. I can honestly say that there is a piece of me in every character in the book. I’ve been Raven; done so many bad things that I felt like God and people around me would never forgive me. I’ve been Matthew; way too judgmental towards others to the point people couldn’t stand to be around me and choosing to go down a road that God didn’t want me on.

I’ve been touched by one friend and two family members that have fought Leukemia. I’ve experienced the effects of suicide four times in my life, from a close friend’s attempt to two friends and one relative following through with it. Suicide is never the answer and I’d plead with anyone thinking about it to please, please, please reach out for help. Your life is SO important and you are loved more than you can even imagine, even if you don’t feel like it.

Why should we read this book and what sets you apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?

A Second Chance is a gutsy, real to life story. It’s a fun and fast (as in you can’t put it down) read. It touches on real to life experiences with drugs, alcohol, suicide, death and cancer. Things that so many of us go through or have gone through. In A Second Chance, there are valuable lessons of how the characters overcome the darkness in their worlds.

Can you tell us something quirky about this book, its story and characters? 

I’m from Iowa and grew up in Des Moines but we had a farm outside of town. I moved to Missouri when I was seventeen to go to college, but Iowa holds a special place in my heart.

Like Raven, I’ve walked through tall fields of corn and weeds. I’ve seen the beauty of the state. It was my inspiration for the setting of A Second Chance.

What is your writing process?

I usually turn on some loud music, grab a Diet Coke or a Mocha and start writing. No process at all. I just write and see where the characters end up. Then there is a lot of editing, editing and more editing. I send chapters to my three critique partners, who then edit some more. After a lot of rewriting and editing, you get a book and if you’re truly lucky and blessed, a publishing contract.

A Bit About A Second Chance:

 A past she can’t forget…

Raven will do just about anything to forget a horrific event from the past that still haunts her. Forced to attend church because of a promise she made at a party, she is immediately attracted to the young, handsome preacher but is unconvinced of his promises of a better life.

 A future he refuses to accept…

Matthew has everything planned out until Raven walks into his church and turns his life upside down. Repulsed by her lifestyle, yet fascinated by her beauty and charm, he finds himself drawn to her by a force he can’t explain.

Raven and Mathew’s unlikely friendship leads them through escalating troubled waters that threaten to doom their growing relationship. Will they survive to learn valuable lessons of grace, forgiveness and love?

A Bit About Dana:

Dana K. Ray has been writing gutsy, true to life Christian stories since she became a teenager. An avid Mizzou Tiger fan and a full-time children’s minister in her church, she and her husband reside in the Midwest with their four children and four dogs.

Look for Dana’s second book, Absolution, to be published by eLectio Publishing in July 2017!

Want to connect further with Dana? Find her here:

Website | Facebook | Email | Amazon

Thanks for being with me, Dana (and for your patience!). It was a pleasure hosting you!

Writer Wednesday – Meet Carrie Fancett Pagels!

Carrie headshot 2016Today we welcome Christian romance author Carrie Fancett Pagels to Writer Wednesday. I’m so delighted she agreed to be our guest – and here’s what she had to say about being here:

“Thanks for having me on, Margaret! I am tickled to be on your blog and I’m also happy to report that my new release, Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter, received a Four Star review on RT Book Reviews, which will appear in the July issue!”

Wow! That’s amazing, Carrie – congratulations. And to everyone else, read on to learn a bit more about Carrie and her latest release.  Continue reading Writer Wednesday – Meet Carrie Fancett Pagels!