Top 5 & Contest: Wendy LaCapra

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Wendy LaCapraToday we welcome Wendy LaCapra to Romancing the Book as her blog tour begins.  Before we get to Wendy’s top 5 list, let’s learn a little about her.

Wendy LaCapra has been reading romance since she sneaked into the adult section at the library and discovered Victoria Holt & Jane Aiken Hodge.  From that point on, she dreamed of creating fictional worlds with as much richness, intrigue and passion as she found within those books. Her stories have placed in several contests, including the 2012 Golden Heart®. She lives in NYC with her husband and loves to hear from readers.

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Top 5 Writing Influences 

  1. Victoria Holt (aka Eleanor Hibbert and a host of other Pen names)  — I may have picked up Mistress of Mellyn far before it was age-appropriate, but I regret nothing. This author swept me into a vivid world of ubiquitous danger, heart-thumping emotion and wild landscapes. I began internally narrating stories the moment I finished the book.
  2. The farm where my father grew up —  By the time I entered the world, the farm where my father grew up was no longer a working farm. But, it provided me with two essential things for creativity—beauty & boredom. When there is nothing around for miles but woods and rocks, an empty barn can become a palace and the shadows that pass over the rotting planks, interesting people with fascinating lives.
  3. Brenda Ueland’s If You Want to Write — I’ve given away more copies of the 1938 book than any other. Ms. Ueland was a writer and teacher and, in this brilliant little book urges budding authors to quietly press on until the voices they hear speak as clearly on the page as they do in their hearts.
  4. Teachers, particularly my 10th grade English teacher — For a class assignment, I wrote a story about a revolutionary war soldier’s final, cold night on the snow-swept hills of Valley Forge. Another teacher may have called it melodramatic (and it WAS), but Mr. Goodman pointed out the strengths and told me he was moved. I’ve lost the story, but still have his summary notes.
  5. The LaLaLas — A few years ago, a frustrated author put out the word that she was determined to final in the Golden Heart, a National Writing Contest for unpublished romance authors, and was seeking other authors equally determined. The recipe was easy—the authors would join together in a Yahoo Email Group, and encourage each other through consistent work, shared information, honest feedback, and above all, a positive attitude. That author did final in the Golden Heart the following year and has gone onto a successful publishing career. The group is not yet five years old, and nearly all members are now published or very close. The group provides accountability and encouragement and the other authors have been a source of constant inspiration.

 

Thea Worthington, Duchess of Wynchester divides her time between social engagements and playing her luck against fickle fortune. Yet every gamble is only a bluff—a means to hide from the pain deep within her, and the loss of a babe she never held in her arms. Now Thea’s luck is about to run out. Her estranged husband has returned and seeks a reunion…

Plagued with guilt over what happened to his wife three years ago, the Duke of Wynchester has kept his distance. The duke is resolved to piece his family back together, especially now that he’s discovered his beloved brother—long thought dead—still lives. But Thea’s lovely, porcelain facade is on the verge of cracking…spurred on by the duke’s brother’s secretive, malevolent animosity.

With everything riding on her future, Thea plays a daring game of chance for love and her marriage…and this time, the dice are most certainly rigged.

 

Here’s a short excerpt:

“Duke,” her stern voice shoved him back into the present and the skin of his balls tightened in answer. “I asked if you hold.”

His head swam. What had he thrown? An eight, then a nine. Seventeen altogether. That meant… damn. He couldn’t recall, exactly. But to throw again he’d have to release her. He would not release her. Especially now, after her admission had shifted the ground beneath his feet.

She had not sought comfort in the arms of another. There was hope for more than just an heir, damn it all.

Hope. The word was alien.

“Throw.” His throat burned with the barked command.

With her free hand, she picked up the cup. Bone rattled against metal and fell silent after her toss. She turned her head to the side.

“What,” his voice cracked, “did you throw?”

“A three and a two.”

Five. He summoned what remained of his concentration. Seventeen minus five. His heartbeat quickened. The cup clinked against the desk.

“The odds are against me, Wyn.”

She’d spoken the nickname he’d always hated, but without her usual malice. The single syllable skid through his drunken thoughts like a lifeline cast to an overboard seaman.

“Two sixes,” he said, “could save you.”

“What are the chances?” she asked.

“Throw again,” he said roughly. Fate was on his side. He would have her justly. He would have her whole. And this time, he would not give her an easy out. She would lose. And she would be honor-bound to be his—at least for the summer.

She craned her neck to drop the dice back into the cup, swirled and tossed.

“Well.” She set down the cup and looked into his face.

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