Books: Vonnie Davis!

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Misty, thank you for having me on your lovely blog. This is my first time here, so my head is on a swivel, checking things out.Mom2

 

Four years ago, Calvin took me to Paris for our fifth anniversary. He’d lived there for a year decades before we met, during which time he’d taken a sabbatical from teaching to live in the City of Light, writing at sidewalk cafés and absorbing French culture. He wanted to show me where his soul came to life.

 

During our two-weeks there, we walked the streets of the Left Bank, espresso machines hissing, champagne corks popping, Parisians arguing politics and literature, and aromas of baked breads wafting out onto the busy sidewalks. It was a feast for the senses. I fell in love with the city, taking pictures of everything.

 

We took a day to tour the Louvre, not nearly long enough. Even so, we saw many exhibits. Again, I took lots and lots of pictures. Finally, we entered the Salon Carré where the most famous painting in the museum hangs in a bullet-proof glass enclosure. The salon was full of people, and slowly I worked my way through the crowd to get close enough to snap a picture.

 

No sooner had I lifted my camera when a security guard tapped me on the shoulder and spoke to me in French and English that photographing the masterpiece was not allowed. I voiced my displeasure. He backed me up a couple steps with his attitude. And…grandma backed down.

 

Little did I know, two years later I’d use this experience as the opening scene for my romantic suspense, Mona Lisa’s Room.

Interior and vistors of Louvre museum, Paris, France

 

A grim-faced guard stepped in front of Alyson Moore when she raised her camera to take a picture. “Madame, in the Louvre, we do not photograph the Mona Lisa.” His lips fashioned a thin line of disapproval.

Alyson’s eyes scanned the crowd, for even as the security guard admonished her, scores of other tourists, their arms upraised, used cell phones to snap photos. “Am I the only one trying to take a picture here?” Without waiting for a reply, she pocketed her camera, and the snippy guard moved on.

She shouldered her way through the early morning crowd in the Salon Carrẻ to get a closer look at the painting encased in bullet-proof glass. Seeing Da Vinci’s masterpiece was a long-held dream come true. No one, not even an overzealous guard, would spoil her time with Mona.

Once the museum opened its doors at nine sharp, and Alyson passed through security, she hurried to see this woman of mystery. The throngs of people already crowding the room surprised her.

She slipped between two men and stepped closer to the leading lady of the gallery. Her nose twitched from the sweet and sour blitz of assorted perfumes and various degrees of hygiene. Murmurings of adulation echoed off the gallery walls as if the Mona Lisa were a five-hundred-year-old rock star. How had one painting achieved such stardom?

If the ever-present guard wouldn’t allow photographs, she’d sketch some of Mona’s fans standing, spellbound by her enigmatic smile. When she finally tugged her large sketchpad free from the tight confines of her yellow leather bag, other items fell and scattered.

Alyson crouched to retrieve pieces of charcoal, just as the man standing next to her bent to place a black shoulder bag, the style European men were so fond of carrying, on the marble tile floor.

Their eyes locked.

“Excuse me, you’re standing on my things.” Alyson pointed to his shoe. The man, face damp with perspiration, scowled, raised his foot and snatched her navy scarf, hotel keycard and passport, crushing them into a ball. He stuffed the wadded scarf into her outstretched hand and stood.

Alyson reached, fingering for the last charcoal pencil that rolled beyond her reach. She straightened and realized the man was walking away. “Sir. Sir, you’ve forgotten your bag. Monsieur.”

He didn’t respond.

She called after him again.

The man disappeared into the crowd.

The museum guard approached. “Is there a problem, Madame?”

“Yes, that man left his shoulder bag here.” Alyson indicated the canvas bag on the floor. “He set it down at the same time I dropped some things.” She held out her navy scarf to show the guard and suddenly it hit her. “My hotel key and passport!” Pulling apart the sides of her shoulder bag, she rummaged through its contents, hoping against hope they were there. With her passport the same shade as her scarf, she assumed it was wrapped in the scarf’s folds. “He took my keycard and passport. I don’t believe this. Why would he take my things and leave his bag behind?”

The guard’s eyes widened for a second. “Madame, you are sure the man left this bag?” He snapped his cell from his belt, a scowling gaze intent on Alyson.

“Yes. He…he was setting it on the floor at the same time I squatted to retrieve my fallen items. I asked him to move his foot since he was standing on my scarf, keycard and passport.” Alyson groaned as realization sunk in. She was in a foreign country with no passport. Oh, hell!

The guard cautiously unzipped the shoulder bag. Yellow wires. The man spoke rapid-fire French into his cell. Pandemonium erupted. Armed guards rushed toward the abandoned black bag. Once the word “bomb” was uttered, visitors screamed as they stampeded from Mona Lisa’s room.

Suddenly, Alyson stood in the eerie deafening silence with only the pounding of her heart and the cocking of guns reverberating in her ears—she and the black bag containing explosives surrounded by eight armed guards.

MonaLisasRoom _w6782_300

 

BLURB:

 

Gwen,

 

You won’t believe this email. I’m sitting in a French safe house, eating caviar and drinking champagne with a handsome government agent, Niko Reynard. He’s wearing nothing but silk pajama bottoms and mega doses of sex appeal. I’m in big trouble, little sister. He’s kissed me several times and given me a foot massage that nearly caused spontaneous combustion. I’m feeling strangely virginal compared to the sexual prowess this thirty-year-old man exudes.

 

When I came to Paris for a bit of adventure, I never imagined I’d foil a bombing attempt, karate-kick two men, and run from terrorists while wearing a new pair of stilettos. I’ve met a German musician, a gay poet from Australia, and the most delightful older French woman.

 

Don’t worry. I’m safe–the jury’s still out on yummy Niko, though. The more champagne I drink, the less reserved I feel. What an unforgettable fortieth birthday!

 

Alyson

 

View the Book Trailer: http://bit.ly/MonaTrailer

BUY LINKS:

THE WILD ROSE PRESS (digital) — http://bit.ly/MonaLisaDigital

THE WILD ROSE PRESS (paperback) — http://bit.ly/MonaLisasRoom

AMAZON (paperback) — http://amzn.to/QQZGyD

AMAZON (eBook) — http://bit.ly/MonaLisasRoomeBook

FIND ME ONLINE AT http://www.vonniedavis.com

BLOGGING AT http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com

Vonnie’s giving away an eCopy of her book to one lucky poster! Get on it! And thanks for being here today, Vonnie!

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27 responses »

  1. Thank you for having me. Now, let’s see who will win a copy of MONA LISA’S ROOM today. I’ll bet some of your readers have had things happen to them on vacations, too. Things that would make a great story. Who wants to share?

    • Oh, Calisa, I created an even bigger stink in Berlin. It was the armed guards out front of a Jewish Synogogue that caught my attention as I ambled down the street, or strasse. Calvin was in a coffee shop, writing while I walked the streets alone, soaking up history.

      The inconguity of guns and church stopped me in my tracks, and I watched them standing guard. Then I noticed an older couple, hugging and sobbing as they also stood in front of the temple. I immediately went over to ask if they were okay–foolhearty, since I didn’t speak German. But the older man spoke broken English and through tears and hand gestures and searching for the right words, he told me their story. They were brother and sister, the only surviving members of their family. This was their family’s synogogue before they’d been taken to a concentration camp. Although they now live in Israel, they’d promised themselves they’d one day return to their synogogue. A pilgrimage before dying, he called it.

      Their story was so touching. There we stood, three strangers, hugging and crying. They asked me to go in with them, to share in their “reunion” with their memories. I couldn’t. I’d intruded enough already. I kissed Abram and Rachel good-bye and waited a few minutes before entering. It was then I learned there was a display of recently unearthed artifacts hidden during WWII. Neo-Nazis had threatened to bomb the church, thus the armed guards.

      Security was every bit as tight as in an airport. Once I passed through, I stepped onto the elevator and thought I might as well go to the top floor and work my way down. How…how was I to know visitors weren’t allowed on the fouth floor?????

    • You’ve read my book? Well, hugs, darlin’. I’m still new at being an author. My first book was released less than two years ago, and my life has been a whirlwind ever since. I’m so new, I still get “giggly” whenever someone says they’ve read my book. I can’t imagine anyone would want to read what I write, but am thrilled to pieces when I find out they have. You’ve made my day.

    • Diane, I’d love to hear your thoughts after you read the book. It was my first attempt at writing romantic suspense and I struggled getting that deicate balance between sizzle and fear.

      • Vonnie,
        I’d love to share after I read it! Please be patient; I just started Jerrie’s THE GREEN-EYED DOLL. But stay in touch…promise I’ll get there 🙂

  2. Great opening scene, Vonnie! I got my wallet stolen out of my purse on the Paris Metro on the way to the Louvre years ago and spent some time with the local police. That’s my biggest vacation ruckus, thank goodness! Looking forward to reading Mona Lisa’s Room 🙂

  3. Vonnie, I can’t imagine this is the only time you got yourself in trouble in Paris. I’m so jealous! But thank God you had the experience, because what came out in Mona Lisa’s Room was pure magic!

  4. I was at the airport in Glasgow not long after a flaming jeep was driven through the front doors about five years ago. Luckily not much damage was done but seeing the aftermath and smelling the burnt walls has stayed with me. One day I’ll use that experience in one of my books. Thanks for the memories, Vonnie. :):)

    • Oh, Christine, you should. If not a story set in Glasgow, a setting in an airport. Use the memories of the sights and smells and feelings they evoked to deepen the power of the scene. I know you can do it. I’m positive!

  5. Christine has made me remember an airport story! In October 2001, just after 9/11, I went to visit my elder daughter, Fiona, who was studying in Heidelberg. My younger daughter, Sheena, and I spent a fantastic week with F and then went to Frankfurt Haan airport to fly home to Scotland. Security at the time was extremely vigilant in airports at the time- all on alert! We were at the departure gate with only a few minutes to wait before boarding, when two armed Security policeWOMEN entered the gate area. My name was announced and I was asked to step forward. TOILET TOILET! where is a portaloo when you need one! The ‘machine gun’ toting women asked S and I to step out into a ‘secured off’ corridor where my suitcase lay on the floor. I’m not used to guns in Scotland, but they looked absolutely fearsome – the females too. Open the suitcase! they said. I knew I had nothing suspect but it was pretty terrifying. Near the top of the case was a paper bag with the logo of an ‘All Year Round Christmas Shop’ – a chain that has stores all over Europe. On demand, I unwrapped the first 5 or 6 of about 40 tiny little Christmas tree ornaments that I had bought for the 33 children in my class at school. They were little wooden figures (maybe half and inch wide) engines, cars, houses, horses and other animals. The PROBLEM was that any hinged parts had the most minute metal pins and rivets. As soon as the security police saw what they were they were so rude. The suitcase contents were stuffed in and the case locked. They marched to the door and got the flight check in girl to let us back into the departure lounge. It was as though they were almost disappointed! Of course all the passengers still thought we were suspect, especially since the flight was LATE leaving! I swear this is all true! 🙂

    • Wow, Nancy, that was a scary experience. Calvin and I were detained once in New Orleans airport and manhandled by our Homeland Security guards. They cut the linings out of my new shoes. Threw away my lipsticks–we all know how dangerous they be. And questioned me at length about all of Calvin’s meds and insulin/needles. For a while I was afriad we’d never see Virginia again. Your experience would play out well in a story, too.

  6. Hi Vonnie,
    I just started reading your book and loved your opening scene. Knowing that it stemmed from a real life experience makes it even better! Enjoying your read, can’t wait to finish it.

    • Debra, I’d be thrilled if you emailed me after you finish reading it. It’s the first book in a series of three. Book two, RAIN IS A LOVE SONG, releases on June 14th. I’m still writing book three.

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