Today is an extremely special day for me. I’m introducing you to someone who – truthfully and literally – changed my life forever.
Once upon a time…a chubby, menopausal, muffin-topped and bottle blonde insomniac wrote a romance novel. After winning a contest that she entered her book in, she was given the opportunity to send the manuscript to an editor at a publishing house. That editor liked the book so much she contracted for it. That chubby, menopausal, muffin-topped, bottle blonde insomniac was me, and the editor was my wonderful guest for the day, Lorelei Confer
Lorelei became my first Editor and one of my treasured friends-for-life. I never miss an opportunity to meet-up with her at a conference if we’re both attending and I never pass over the chance to ask her advice. And she’s not only a great editor, but a great author in her own right. I am so honored to introduce you all to her today and to spotlight her newest release, DEADLY LESSONS.
So sit back and learn all about this wonderful, talented author and woman.
Donna… as a writer,
What drives you to write?
Curiosity, I think most of all. I wonder what it would be like if this happens or that happens, i.e. someone falls in love with the “wrong-for-them” person, or they don’t pay attention to what’s happening around them and then their life is in jeopardy, or one teeny-tiny mistake one time and they’ve ruined their entire lives. Or did they??
What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?
I write what I like to read and that’s typically romantic Suspense or thrillers but not psychotic or horror. I like to be surprised throughout so I try to put many twists and turns in the book as possible.
What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday?
I’ve fallen a little behind in the last year or so and I’m just now getting back to writing every day. Whenever I have a new release the promo takes precedent, unfortunately.
Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?
My husband and I are empty nesters so I can pretty much write anywhere but I’m still not all alone and that’s okay with me. He’s a reader too so he’s quiet, lol. I write primarily in front of the large windows in the living room where I sit on the end of the couch/recliner. I like to hear the birds, all the natural light, see the weather change, a storm move in and that’s always exciting in Florida.
Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel-vision?
I can filter out. I meet with another writer every Thursday for most of the day. I can pretty much ignore the lunch rush and enjoy the afternoon quiet. It also provides fodder for descriptions of clothing, facial expressions as well as lots and lots of body language.
Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?
I don’t listen to music at home because I’d end up listening with rapt attention and writing the lyrics. And then on Thursday I can enjoy the music in the background because I’m more focused on writing, etc. and in the “mode.”
How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?
The Deadly series and my new release, Deadly Lessons, pertains to Human Sex Trafficking which, I hope, always includes a message or a lesson for the reader. The first book came from a dream, I know sounds weird, but I woke up and remembered I’d been drugged and transported from CO to VA and was being held captive until my abductors met with a buyer and then sell “me” into sex slavery. When I wrote the first book in 2006 Human Trafficking was just then becoming a news item and everyone thought it only happened in third world countries. A week or so later an article appeared in my local newspaper regarding a “sting operation” of what turned out to be a brothel with enslaved young women. I met with the lead detective of the local Human Trafficking Task Force and verified what I’d written could be an actual happening. I also learned terminology, purpose of the task force, how effected the community, etc. It all kinda boils down to awareness at all times and I use different situations in my books as examples. This subject is, for some reason, very intriguing.
Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?
I’m a pantser so I don’t really plan or plot anything. My book comes from a thought and then the character is born as someone who something like this would/could happen to and what he/she has to go through to get through it and stay alive.
What 3 words describe you, the writer?
Dreamer, thoughtful, and kind. (Peggy here – I totally agree with those 3!!)
Now, Donna, for the Woman in you…
Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! My greatest achievement was raising our two boys into the strong young men they are today.
Who was your first love and what age were you? I invited my husband to my eighth grade dance, had a great time, just saw each other during school hours and talked on the phone quite a bit afterward but then slowly drifted apart. We both grew, he graduated from high school, and both dated other people. Then when I was a senior I happened to ask his sister how he was and she said she’d tell him I asked about him or I said Hello, etc. He called me later that night and asked me out on a date. I didn’t want to go, hadn’t seen him in years, didn’t feel like I knew him but I must have been a pushover because the next day he was at the school to drive me home and then we went out to eat and see movie. We have been together ever since, considered inseparable, and that was 50 years ago. OMG!!!
If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and…. My husband was in the Army and did two tours in Viet Nam. When he left the first time we were engaged and he was there 13 months. When he came home, we got married and he left again on his second tour but this time only for 7 months. When he came back this time, I met him at the airport , actually ran out on the tarmac to hug him, and I had such a feeling of relief, “He’d made it back, I’d never ever have to go through anything like this again ever alone.” Life has a way of inserting twists and turns that make you stronger at every curve in the road.
Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Commando, of course.
If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? Hairspray, I live in Florida and there’s so much frizz, etc.
What three words describe you, the person? Patient, loving, and tired. (Peggy here – I can relate to the tired!!)
If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Angel in the Morning
I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
- Favorite sound Birds singing
- Least favorite sound Arguing
- Best song every written Too many!
- Worst song ever written Again, there’re so many!!
- Favorite actor and actress Love me some Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn
- Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) I like being me!!
- What turns you on? Bright blue skies and a dry cool breeze
- What turns you off? Drama
- Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date (here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) I can’t believe you’d go out with me.
- What’s your version of a perfect day? Sleeping late, morning sex, lazy breakfast.
And now, a sneak peak at DEADLY LESSONS
Lexi Morris, late to a Human Trafficking awareness seminar at her job and distracts Luke Miller, the presenter, an FBI Special Agent on the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force/Coalition in central Pennsylvania. Their eyes meet and an instant connection occurs.
After a long day, Lexi walks to her car in a dimly lit parking lot while texting plans for a fun weekend but her weekend comes to a crashing halt when she‘s abducted with the intentions of being sold into sex slavery.
Luke, at his cabin in the woods for the weekend, observes suspicious activity at his late uncle’s cabin. When he investigates, he finds Lexi held captive and rescues her but not before engaging in a shootout with traffickers. He sets off on foot in a snowstorm, Lexi in tow, seeking the safety of his own cabin with her kidnappers in hot pursuit.
But is it simply coincidence when Lexi finds money, lots of money, in his jacket pocket? Is Luke her buyer and not her liberator? What will it take for her to trust him? Can he really protect her from a life of sex slavery?
Twenty-eight-year-old Lexi Morris rushed down the long hall to the large seminar room. The flyer about attending the Awareness of Human Trafficking seminar presented by a local FBI agent had passed over her desk a week or so ago but she hadn’t planned to attend. She’d worked late every night this week and still had entirely too much work to do. But at the last minute her supervisor, Nancy, stuck her head in her office doorway and with a few choice words, “mandatory” being one of them, of course, encouraged her to go, even if she’d be twenty minutes or so late.
The door at the end of the hall closed with a bang; the vacuum seal sucking it shut. She hurried toward the sound of a man’s voice rumbling and glanced through the small rectangular window. Moving her head slowly left to right she surveyed the rows of chairs. She spotted one of the few empty seats in a back row beside a colleague she knew, Carol. An end seat, too? She grinned. She could get in and out without making a disturbance.
She slipped inside the room, her attention drawn to the front of the room by a booming voice. When she glanced up her eyes connected with the speaker. She stopped, immobile, holding the door behind her until it closed softly. His eyes roved over her stature from top to bottom. Heat spread throughout her as he undressed her with his eyes.
“Yes, come in. Please, join us. Since I’ve already started I’d appreciate it if you can get an update from one of your colleagues,” the handsome blue-eyed FBI agent said. Lexi felt her face flush as she stared dumbfounded at the man making a spectacle of her. Mental note: Never be late again to this guy’s presentation.
He was cute in an FBI agent way, intense nothing-gets-past-me blue eyes and a muscular body that knew how to fill out a suit. Longish sandy-colored hair curled on his light blue dress shirt collar and a day or two of beard growth highlighted his strong jaw.
There was an audible gasp throughout the room. Lexi stood in front of the closed door mesmerized by his handsomeness, his echoing voice, and his words.
“As I was saying before being interrupted, she was taken to a local hotel and held in a room, beaten and raped for days until she gave in to prostitution. The hotel staff was asked to do favors for her trafficker, such as unlock her door to let the men inside. They complied. No one called the police. No one asked questions. No one helped her escape.” He glanced around the room and caught Lexi’s attention.
“When one of her drunken rapists inadvertently left the door to her room unlocked, she escaped. She had been sexually abused by her father from the age of two and forced into prostitution at age sixteen. Now she was eighteen. Fortunately, she was strong and spoke out. When the hotel manager was questioned why the staff supported or helped the trafficker, the answer was,” he curled fingers to make air quotes, “they were only concerned in renting rooms and paying bills.”
He raked his hand through his hair and eyed the ceiling.
Lexi saw his Adam’s apple move up and down when he swallowed.
He continued, “One thing to remember is that abduction or kidnapping for slavery, whether for sex or not, happens to both males and females at any age. There are girls and boys as young as five years old in servitude and more happening every day. This is not, I repeat, this is not something that only happens in third world countries. This happens right here in your home town and right here in central Pennsylvania.”
Lexi shook her head to clear it of the vision of his face, not letting his words sink into her head. She turned toward the empty seat beside Carol, and stepped the short distance. When Carol lifted her face to Lexi, her cheeks were wet with tears. Lexi placed her hand on Carol’s shoulder and asked, “Are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine. How are you?” Carol whispered. “It’s been ages since I’ve seen you.”
“I’m fine, very busy. Especially this time of year.” When Carol raised her eyebrows, Lexi said, “Budget time, you know.”
The speaker cleared his throat and asked, ”Can I have your attention now?”
Lexi’s eyes locked on his; he stood facing her, as if speaking to her personally. He continued with his presentation. It was extremely hard for her to focus on the words coming from his perfectly formed lips, and his deep and smooth as maple syrup voice. When his eyes drifted her way she smiled, and he turned away revealing his muscular back.
Her phone vibrated in her hand too many times to count, blowing up with texts from her friends who wanted to meet for happy hour drinks. It was Friday after all, but she still had a lot of work to finish before she left for the weekend.
Lorelei Confer lives on a peninsula in the mid west coast of Florida with her high school sweetheart, now husband, and AJ, her longhaired Chihuahua.
In the fourth grade, she wrote her first story—something about getting a shot at the doctors—that was produced by the teacher for parents and students in an assembly. When she was older, she spilled her guts in a journal every night and wrote long newsy love letters to Viet Nam.
She is a multi published hybrid author of romantic suspense with two series: the Deadly series and the Saddle Creek series. She also has written numerous novellas and short stories.
She loves to hear from her readers so if you want to stay “in the know” visit her website, sign up for her newsletters and contact her.
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