smoke and ashes

Smoke and Ashes Launch & Benefit Raffle

I’m thrilled to announce that I will be hosting a benefit for the Missoula YWCA through the Smoke and Ashes Launch & Benefit Raffle. My novel, Smoke and Ashes, delves into a relationship in which the heroine feels trapped in an unhealthy and abusive relationship. I felt a special need to raise awareness and funds for this organization because not only have my character’s lives been affected by domestic violence but mine has as well. This is my chance to make a difference in the lives that are still in jeopardy.YWCA-Transparent-LogoMany of my friends and family members have also benefited from the YWCA—finding housing, jobs, and the support they needed to leave abusive relationships...and make sure they and their children are safe.All money raised will go directly to the Missoula YWCA. YWCA Missoula is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.They will provide services that will change lives (including transitional housing, emergency housing, and rapid re-housing), services that will help end domestic and sexual violence (through emergency shelter, services for children, support groups, and sexual assault services), and transform our community (through GUTS—Girls Using Their Strengths), summer outdoor adventure camps, after-school groups, and community action projects).Domestic violence is a silent epidemic. Women all over the United States, in all socioeconomic brackets, are suffering.By donating today, you will be helping women break the cycle of abuse and find a place where they, along with their children, can start fresh.You can change a life. To donate to the YWCA directly, click: Missoula YWCA.Smoke and Ashes_thumbnailSmoke and Ashes will land on store shelves on April 19, 2016! It will be available at all booksellers.I’ve started to receive donations for the Smoke and Ashes Launch & Benefit Raffle. The raffle tickets will be offered at all Missoula book signing events: April 23 @Barnes and Noble from 1-3 p.m., April 30 @Hastings from 1-3 p.m., and the final day (in which I shall pick winners) is May 7 @Fact and Fiction from 11-1 p.m. I would love to see you there! (I will also be signing at several RT events in Las Vegas.)Feel free to check out the event's page on Facebook!Raffle items include books, promotional materials, wine and spirits, household goods, Baskin Robbins gift cards, a variety of awesome prizes! Thanks to Janie Crouch (a Harlequin author from Germany) we even have donations coming from across the world! J Cash donations have started to arrive including Rocky Mountain Dental Lab and Kohl’s of Missoula (who has stepped up and donated $500 for the event—thank you Kohl’s)!If you’d like to donate items to the raffle, you can contact me directly: DanicaWinters (AT sign) DanicaWinters (Dot) net.  (Sorry for the wonky spelling of the email address, but I get A LOT of spammers.) You can also get directly to me by tweeting me @DanicaWinters.ALL donations are welcome.This is your chance to make a difference.*If you or someone you know needs help escaping domestic violence, you can call the Domestic Violence hotline (1-800-799-7233) or check out the DV website:

Quick Update on 5/15/2016:

Thank you to all of you who came out and supported the Smoke and Ashes Launch and Benefit Raffle. Together we helped raise $1200 for the Missoula YWCA. I couldn't be more proud that we came together to empower women and their families within my local community.I look forward to doing something like this again!

Our Boys in Blue (and Bunker Boots)

This has been a wonderful couple of weeks. Just when I thought things couldn't get better (or crazier, depending on the angle you looked at it), I received the advanced review copies (ARCs) for Smoke and Ashes. arcsHands down--not including the birth of my children--this was one of the most amazing moments of my life. For nearly a year, I have known the day would come in which I could hold the book in my hands, smell the mass market paper and ink, stroke the cover, and drool over the artwork. It was surreal when that day finally arrived.I'm not one who cries (and I'm not really a hugger--though I make exceptions), yet this week I have been spontaneously bursting into tears and hugging strangers.I can't express how much it means to me that I get to hold my literary baby in my hands. I have sacrificed more than most know to make this dream a reality--friends have come and gone, my social life has its own headstone, and my family members knows that whatever "vacation" we take will likely revolve around a conference, book signing, or convention. And, just like any small business, I really don't have days off. There is always something that needs my attention, or word counts that are breathing down my neck.Yet, it always has been a labor of love.Through it all, the sacrifice, the writing time, the exclusion and tedious schedules, it all comes back to the reason I will always write--I want to make a difference. I want my readers to put my books down and feel uplifted--and to walk away with a feeling of hope.In writing Smoke and Ashes, I spent a great deal of my time researching the events that transpired between the pages. Want to know about chemical oxidizers and arson? How about how fires affect fingerprints? Ask this girl. Or, more accurately, ask me because I spent many an hour talking to firefighters and police officers within my community.Frenchtown Fire DepartmentThis book (really all of my books, but this one in particular), wouldn't have been possible without their support.As a thank you to my local fire department, as soon as I received my ARCs (and a bunch of swag), I bought a cake and a thank you card and made my way to their doorstep once again. I was given a gracious welcome and "How did the book turn out?"I have never had a bigger smile on my face as the moment I handed them the book that they helped to create. Up until that moment I had kept the secret... a secret a year in the making... a secret that I had been dying to tell them--They had helped to make my dreams of becoming a Harlequin author a reality.I cannot express my thanks enough to the men and women who serve our community. Not only do they put their lives at risk, but they open their hearts and their doors in doing community outreach--like helping crazy blond writers who have nothing more than a dream and a pen.These amazing men and women risk their lives to help others, and my sacrifices pale in comparison. I have no room to complain. I don't have to hold the hands of the dying or run through a burning building. I simply get to mark down the stories of those who do. They are the men and women who live through real life danger... they are (the often unsung) everyday heroes.I tip my hat to those who serve. Thank you.

Reader's Choice!

Exciting things are on the horizon and this is your chance to be involved.You may already know, but earlier this year I signed a three book contract with Harlequin Intrigue. (So cool, right?!) This awesome sauce would not have been possible without the support of you, my fans! After wracking my brain to find a way to thank you for all of your support and kind words, I decided to give back in a way that would give you the chance for your vote to be counted, and your voice to make it onto the page.If you couldn’t tell, I’m super stinkin’ excited about this, and I hope you are too.So, here’s the deal. Over the last few weeks I’ve been hitting my Facebook fan page and asking you guys to come up with the next heroine’s name (for book 3 in the Montana Heroes Series). I have picked the top names and now it’s your chance to pick the final name! Pretty cool, huh?So, here's your chance to make your mark in the world of romantic literature! Feel free to cast your vote!

A Little Extra Awesomeness

The first book in the Montana Heroes Series, Smoke and Ashes, is already available for pre-order on Amazon (to be released May 2016). Don’t forget to snag your copy!

Also, for those of you who will be attending the RT Convention in Las Vegas in 2016, I will be there and will be signing books. Hope to meet you there!

Amendment on 12/14/2015:

Just a quick note to let you know this contest has closed.

The official name you picked for the character is Alexis Finch!! Way to go, guys! I love this name. She's going to do you proud!