Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Smoke and Ashes by Danica Winters Giveaway & Interview

Smoke and Ashes

Montana Heroes Series

Book One

Danica Winters

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue

Date of Publication: May 1, 2016

ISBN: Paperback: 9780373699070

eBook: 9781488005572

Large Print: 9780373749614


Number of pages: 224

Word Count: 50-55k

Cover Artist: Harlequin Intrigue

Book Description:

Montana's bravest…and hottest

With a mysterious arsonist on the loose in Missoula, fire inspector Kevin Jensen saves more than Heather Sampson's house. The sexy single father rescues her from an abusive marriage—and discovers his own past failures don't have to rule his life. Especially when sparks between him and Heather ignite irresistible desire.

But who's the arsonist? Why target Heather? What's his shocking motive? When Heather faces off with him in a brutal attack, she needs her "white knight" as much as he needs her. Both have looked into their souls and risked their broken hearts for each other. Now Kevin will have to risk his life and his heart.


He looked down at Heather Sampson as he pulled the matchbox from his pocket. The box dropped from his hand, spilling matches on her bedroom floor in a heap of deadly promise. Crouching down, he scooped them back into the container, careful to move quietly, afraid that at any second she would awaken and find him standing over her.

Her eyes were closed and her lips slightly parted, as if she waited for a kiss from her Prince Charming. She should have known better. There was no such thing as Prince Charming. There were only toads and a precious few men like him—men who worked to make everything just.

The sad truth was that there was no justice in marriage—at least not in any of the marriages he had witnessed. No. Marriage was one lie after another. One hurt feeling masked with a fake smile, only to have another lie strip it away. It was an endless cycle of pain.

What was the point? What was it all for?

As far as he could tell, it was for nothing more than ego and some idealistic hope that if they acted happy, if they faked it well enough, maybe they could finally believe it themselves.

He was here to make her a martyr, not that she would understand, but this was his chance to show her and the world what her marriage truly was—nothing more than smoke and ashes. A fire that had yet to burn itself out. But at last the time had come. The hour was here for him to stoke the flames and let them consume every crumb of her failing marriage.

The inferno could have it all.

He walked out of her bedroom and made his way downstairs, where the glorious scent of gasoline filled the space. Unlike the others, Heather’s house would go up in a flash. In one giant fireball the whole charade would be over—the secrets, the lies, the fake smiles and hurt feelings. It would all be gone, and all her pain could be for a higher purpose.

The night air blew into the house, diluting the gas’s perfume. He made sure to leave the door open as he stepped out and walked toward the garage. A puddle of gas sat on the sidewalk, just waiting for him.

He struck the match.

It was so much easier this way.

The fire’s smoke curled skyward, creating a trail that led to the heavens. If he had his way, life would be better and she would be free.

About the Author:

Danica Winters is an Amazon bestselling author who has won multiple awards for writing books that grip readers with their ability to drive emotion through suspense and occasionally a touch of magic. Most recently, Danica was the winner of the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Paranormal Romantic Suspense Book of the Year Award and Chanticleer Media’s Paranormal Book of the Year for her novel Montana Mustangs. She is currently the finalist for the Chatelaine Award.

When she’s not working, she can be found in the wilds of Montana testing her patience while she tries to understand the allure of various crafts (quilting, pottery, and painting are not her thing). She always believes the cup is neither half full nor half empty, but it better be filled with wine.

Danica Winters is represented by Nicole Resciniti and Lane Heymont of the Seymour Agency.


Where are you from?
I’m from western Montana. Most of the year we have at least a dusting of snow. Last year, we snowfall recorded in the higher elevations eleven months out of the year. That being said… I’m a fan of summer weather. J

Tell us your latest news?
On April 19th, my newest novel Smoke and Ashes will be hitting store shelves. This project has been a labor of love and years of work. I could not be more proud of this book.

When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing early on, but I didn’t really start thinking about it as a career until after the birth of my first child around 2006ish. Oh my gosh, I just realized I’ve been at this for ten years… Ten… It seems like only yesterday when I submitted my first little piece for a magazine. That’s crazy!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m a writer?! Just kidding. I think I’ve always been a writer, but I didn’t consider myself a professional author until the release of my first novel in… oh jeez… let me think, maybe 2011? It felt surreal to hold my first novel in my hands. There is nothing quite like the feeling of the weight of your book in your hands.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. That hasn’t changed. I want every reader have a feeling of hope in their hearts when the finish the last page.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I write fast-paced, gritty, true to life fiction. Characters are real. They are imperfect and they are forced to make hard choices. Often the characters make choices I wouldn’t, but they make the choice that is right for them in that moment in their journey. Bottom line, my characters are real.

How did you come up with the title?
The idea for Smoke and Ashes came to me after a great deal of thought. I often write a long list of possible titles and then narrow it down. It’s funny but most often the title is a conglomeration of two or more ideas.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
This is not your average romance as this book has a central theme of rising above domestic violence. Heather Sampson’s husband is a cruel, misogynist man and when she is rescued by her neighbor, Kevin Jensen, she learns what it truly means to be loved.
I’m currently working with my local YWCA in raising awareness and funds for their program. For the launch of Smoke and Ashes I am hosting a charity raffle, and so far, we have had an outstanding response from the international community. The amount of support we have received is truly astounding. I’m proud to do my part in helping others.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
This book is based loosely on the life events of someone very close to me (due to the nature of the book they have asked to remain anonymous).

What books have most influenced your life most?
I love Jodi Picoult. I think she is the reason I write situations in which there is often no right answer, or at least not an easy one. Sometimes we are put in situations where we must simply do the best we can and live in the moment.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I’m lucky to say that I have been mentored by some of the best writers in Montana (including B.J. Daniels). I now have started to teach writing to a handful of students and professional adults. Last year, I even volunteered my time with a local high school student who needed help with their senior project.

What book are you reading now?
I’m currently studying Irish history. It’s fascinating!

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I recently met Elicia Hyder. She is a new juggernaut in paranormal romance. I look forward to cracking open one of her books!

What are your current projects?
I have two more books that will be published in 2016!
Here is the “unofficial” book blurb for Dust Up With the Detective
(Book 2 of the Montana Heroes Series, being published September 18, 2016):

One bad decision can cost you your life…
When she was young, Blake West had been in a rush to escape the a mining town in Montana where she’d been born and raised; instead, a single decision left her with a child and dreams that are now nothing more than a distant memory.
To support her daughter, Blake has taken a job as a Sherriff’s Deputy. Her days are filled with little more than automobile accidents and drunken brawls until the day Detective Jeremy Lawrence’s brother goes missing.
Together Blake and Detective Lawrence must uncover the clues about his brother’s possible demise, all while keeping a safe distance from the feelings that surface between them. As the mystery unfolds, only one thing becomes clear—not everything is as it seems and sometimes, even in rural Montana, the bad guy wins.

Once a Gypsy
 (Book 1 of the Irish Traveller Series, being published November 2016):

Helena has never fit in with her Irish Traveller family. Aside from her opposition to marriage and her determination to attend university, Helena holds a secret that would make her even more of an outcast: She has the gift of the Forshaw, the ability to see the future.
When she meets Graham, a handsome country man who promises to teach her to control her powers, Helena resists. She is afraid of the damage her abilities might do, and any involvement, especially romantic, with non-gypsies is forbidden. But fate has other plans for Helena’s clairvoyance―and her relationship with Graham.

What would you like my readers to know?
If you or someone you know needs help escaping domestic violence there are many resources. For national support you can call the DV hotline (1-800-799-7233) or check out their website: http://www.thehotline.org/blog/get-help-today/

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