Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What Resources Did Danica Winters Use to Write "Smoke and Ashes" (Montana Heroes Series, Book One) #Giveaway #Excerpt

I'm happy to have Danica Winters on the blog today!!

Hi! Thank you so much for having me on your blog today. It’s lovely to be here.

You asked me what resources I used to write a book about a fire inspector—great question!

So… I grew up a fireman’s daughter. My dad worked for the local city fire department and retired just a few years ago. While mulling over concepts for the book he started talking about former investigations and incidents. We got to talking about how chemical fires work and the psychology and motivations behind them and the book’s kernel idea was born.

I ended up reaching out to my local fire department as well and reading book after book about fire investigation practices and fire behavior. I totally geeked out when it came to writing this one—though, admittedly, I enjoy the research end of my job.

Here is a photo of my local firefighter source, Mel, and myself when I gave him a copy of the book. I hadn’t told him, or the men of the department, that the book had been picked up… so it came as quite a shock when they received their copy (and saw they are named in the acknowledgments). I couldn’t have done it without the support of my community and the firefighters and law enforcement officers who gave their time and energy in making this book a reality.

I also gave my father a copy of the book that day and, though he is normally the typical firefighter type-A, super macho/alpha guy, he was incredibly proud. Smoke and Ashes was a long time in coming and I’m excited to say it was my “break-through” novel.

I’m most proud as it is a novel that eviscerates the rules of romance. The heroine is married when the book starts and she must escape the bonds of an unhappy and abusive marriage in order to find love. It’s definitely not your cookie-cutter, cupcake romance (though I do enjoy a good cupcake romance from time to time). This is a book that pushes boundaries and mirrors real life… Not all choices are easy, not everyone would do the same thing… but the characters are trying to do the best they can and live each day like it could be their last.

Last thing… To celebrate the release of this book, I’m also hosting a benefit raffle for my local YWCA. I think it is important to start a conversation about domestic violence throughout the United States. Though I live in a rural area, we have had several murders in the last few months that were directly at the hands of their abusive partners. This needs to stop. We must open up the communication about this silent epidemic so the victims of abuse can step out of the shadows and start receiving the help they need without becoming victims again thanks to the stigmas involved with the label “abused man/woman.”

Domestic violence can happen to anyone at any socioeconomic or educational level.

If you, or someone you know, needs help escaping domestic violence, call the Domestic Violence hotline (1-800-799-7233) or check out the DV website: Or you can contact your local organization, like my local YWCA. You are not stupid, you are not worthless, you are strong. If you have/are suffering at the hands of the loved one, I urge you to reach out and break the cycle.

Book Details:

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

About the Book:

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.

Read the Prologue:

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.

Purchase Links:

Harlequin Amazon BN iTunes

Meet 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.

Website | Blog | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook |

Tour Giveaway: 

$25 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Lisa Brown said...

thank you for the chance to win :)

Janet W. said...

I can't wait to read this!

James Robert said...

Thank you for both reviewing the book (sounds terrific) and the giveaway

Danica Winters said...

Thank you for having me on your blog! :)

Sapphyria said...

All of you are very welcome :)

I am in the process of reading the book (on approx. 62). I'm not going to lie - some of the passages are troubling but it's what make this book as good as it is, so far.

Natalie said...

I see the author lives in Montana and I used to go to college in Montana!

Dianne Casey said...

You are a new to me author, adding your book to my TBR list.

Dianne Casey said...

You are a new to me author, adding your book to my TBR list.

Sapphyria said...

Thank you all for participating!