Monday, January 25, 2010

Guest Author -- Monica Burns

Monica Burns is an award-winning author of erotic romance and our special guest today! She penned her first short romance story at the age of nine when she selected the pseudonym she uses today. A workaholic wife and mother, Monica believes it’s possible for the good guy to win if they work hard enough. Her newest release, Kismet, hit shelves on January 5, 2010 and is garnering rave reviews around the net! Please help us welcome Monica to The Romance Dish!

Fate, Destiny, Kismet. Do you believe in it? I confess I do. I’m viewed by a lot of people as being weird. Although someone I met recently, told me I should label myself eccentric. I like that word. It probably is a much better description of me than “weird.” *grin* Now I share that tidbit with you because I firmly believe that everything that happens to me is destiny. That it happens because it’s supposed to. But not everyone holds my belief. Allegra Synnford, my heroine in Kismet, is one of them.

Allegra believes the exact opposite of my philosophy. Shaheen, the hero in Kismet, is a little less adamant about controlling his fate, but he too isn’t persuaded to believe as I do. But unlike Shaheen’s someone skeptical, yet nonchalant, point of view, Allegra is convinced she can control her own destiny. That inflexible conviction is why she does everything she can to regain control of her destiny when people throw obstacles in her way. That part I can understand. I don’t like it when I lose control of something, but with Kismet I did lose control. The initial draft of the book was a quagmire of bad writing, cold characters and a ticking time bomb for old wounds. To say the book was terrible is an understatement. Okay, I’m my harshest critic, but trust me, it was bad. But because I believe in destiny, I’ve come to realize that everything has a place and a purpose in the universe, and the initial draft of Kismet was something I had to put down on paper in order to write the book that was to come after it.

You see, Kismet is more than the book of my heart. It is the book of my soul. There are so many emotions in the book that I closely identify with that it scares me how deep I delved into my inner psyche to write this book. To see those stark emotions placed on the page makes me realize just how vulnerable and exposed I’ve made myself to the world at large. At the same time, it shows my leap of faith that readers will identify with the book’s intense emotions and will fall in love with my characters like I did.

I truly do believe that things happen for a reason and at the time they’re meant to happen. I believe its why, despite the fact that Berkley bought the book AFTER my first contract was signed, that Kismet is coming out first. Accepting that I have no control over anything isn’t always easy, but it does make it a little less painful to swallow harsh reviews, rejections from publishers and the muse’s stubborn inclination to leave me hanging in the wind (a rather stressful thing when one’s got a deadline to meet *grin*). Essentially, I’m giving up control and letting Kismet take the drivers seat as I anxiously await readers’ reaction to the book as they turn the pages toward Allegra and Shaheen’s HEA.

What about you? Do you believe in Kismet? More specifically, do you believe in destiny when it comes to getting that HEA?

Monica is graciously offering a copy of Kismet to one lucky commenter! (Print copy mailed to US residents ONLY – If the winner is outside of the US, they can pre-pay postage via PayPal, and Monica can send outside of the US that way.)

Be sure to check out Buffie's review of Kismet below!


  1. Hey, I get the Golden Waiter! Come to me, cutie. And bring that bottle of champagne!

    Hi Monica! Great to see you here. As you know, Kismet is screaming at me from the TBR pile but sadly, I got a few things I HAVE to read first. Sigh. It will be my reward for being a good girl. The more I hear about this book, the more delicious it sounds! Congratulations! And I loved reading about your trials and tribulations writing it - yeah, I know, it's easy for me to say that!

  2. Hi Monica,
    Congrats on the new release. I do believe in fate, but there are times where I think it's just a coincidence or accident. I believe it's fate when I meet someone who becomes a good friend and it's because of some unknown reason that we were able to meet.

  3. Congrats on the release Monica I have added Kismet to my must have list and am looking forward to reading it.

    I believe in fate what will be will be and that there is a reason for things happening I don't understand why but I believe in it.

    Have Fun

  4. Hello Monica and welcome to The Romance Dish! I finished Kismet over the weekend and truly loved it, as you can tell from my review posted below your blog. Allegra and Shaheen are a wonderful (though stubborn) couple. The banana scene had me in stitches -- so funny!!

  5. Good morning, Monica. The buzz about KISMET has been fantastic! It's on my TBB list and when I get some of my review books read, I'll treat myself to your lovely book. :) I love an exotic locale. Having lived in the Middle East for two years, I have a fondness for sheik stories. *g*

    I most definitely believe in kismet. Like you said, it's not always easy to relinquish control, but I find that the harder I try to control something, the worse it is. If I let go and let it unfold, the outcome is much better.

    Anna, be gentle with the GW! LOL

  6. Hey Miss Monica! I bought my copy of Kismet on release day and cannot wait to read it :)

    Hmmm, I do believe and I don't. I guess essentially I believe things can happen for a reason, but at the same time, we can't just sit at home waiting for them to happen. We have to get out there and experience life in order for things to come to us.

    All the best to you, hon :)

  7. Hi Monica,

    Congratulations on the release. Kismet sounds fantastic and my kind of book. It's definitely going on the TBB (to be bought) list.

    And btw, I do believe in fate and destiny too.

  8. Hi, Monica. Congratulations on your new release.

    I believe things happen for a reason, but I believe it is the Lord's Master Plan. Are there unknown reasons why things happen and would this be a "normal" course in our lives? Some of us may think no, but events happen for a reason, good or bad.

  9. Hi Mon! I'm stalking you all over the web!

    Congrats again on Kismet. You know how much I adored it, and Buffie is right, the banana scene is priceless!

    I do believe in Kismet. I believe that some people are meant to be together. That it's fated.

  10. P.S. I do believe that people need to help themselves. They can't just let things happen to them. A person needs to be strong and choose their paths and options. I just believe that, no matter how many paths we choose or don't choose, the ultimate path is God's plan.

  11. HI Monica!

    I have my copy of Kismet perched on top of my TBR. After I finish the RITA books, I'm rewarding myself with it.

    I guess I fall somewhere in the middle of your question. I do believe that certain things happen for a reason, but I also believe we control a lot of what happens to us. But my own personal HEA always felt a bit preordained, so I try not to complain when the winds of fate seem to blow me in a certain direction.

  12. Hi, Monica! I think I do believe in kismet or fate or whatever you want to call it when it comes to love or anything, really.

  13. Hi Monica, congratulations again on your book. Such a beautiful cover! I most definitely believe in fate. I've already gotten your book and look forward to reading it!

  14. Hi Monica,
    Congrats on your release. I do believe in fate an luck. Perhaps i'm a bit superstitious as well. I believe that fate has deemed tuesday to always be a bad day (every single person or animal in my life has died on a tuesday). I also believe that fate bring people together for a reason (how else can you explain the fact that there is a person living down my street that is a long lost relative and i only found about about it by a question over a phone number).

    So ya, i'm pretty sure fate exists. ^^


  15. I think most romance readers believe in kismet and destiny. I know I do, in my mind HEAs and the concept of fate are inextricably linked.

  16. Hi Everyone!! Just had a chance to pop on and WOW!! All these comments! I'm flattered so many have come to chat with me! The gals at Romance Dish were so thoughtful to ask me to come and blog. Thank you!! And thank you to Buffie for such a great review!!

  17. @Anna Campbell - I hear you on the HAVE to reads...I'm judging the Golden Heart and I've not gotten far into those as I'm on a book deadline. *sigh* I'm shooting for the end of April to read yours because you KNOWS I lubs your writing! As for T&T, I certain you know how hard writing is!

    @Jane I totally get someone who isn't quite convinced that everything is preordained. My family thinks I'm nuts. LOL But it's it wonderful to meet someone just out of the blue and realize that there's a higher power at work when it comes to our fate? *smile*

    @Helen - thank you Helen, I hope you enjoy Kismet when you find time to read. I've had some interesting experiences in the past 20 years that have solidified my belief that there are no coincidences in life, only opportunities. For me, it's a simple matter of believing because of my experiences. *smile*

    @Buffie I'm so glad you enjoyed Kismet. Thank you for the lovely review. And the banana scene is one of my favorites in the whole book. She definitely puts him in his place! LOL

    @Gannon I hope the buzz grows, because this book is so special to me. I love exotic locales too. oooohhhh yes! letting go of all control is SO hard to do, but when one does, I can testify that wonderful things DO happen. Example, when I returned to writing with the intent to publish, I used the name Elysse Quicksilver. I figured my books would fit between Amanda Quick and Julia Quinn. Thus sayeth the marketer in me. Well I held onto that name for almost three years. When nothing was working, I started thinking about what I was really writing and thought that I needed a new name. I remembered how as a kid I used to sign my name Monica Burns. So I bought the domain name, and BAM within six months I had my first ePub contract, a final in the Golden Heart and an agent. I think that was definitely Kismet! LOL

    @Stacy I hope you enjoy Kismet when you get a chance to read. I KNOW how busy you are. I definitely think you can't just sit at home, but that's part of the deal too. It's while you're out and about or doing something that connects you to things outside of yourself that make the magic happen. Hope to see you in Jun, god willin' and the crick don't rise! LOL

    @Christie Thanks for the congrats. I hope you'll enjoy Kismet when you pick it up. I think you'll see ad definite stream of fate and destiny in the book. *smile*

    @Deb Thanks for popping in to wish me well. To every thing there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven...Beautiful words

    @Kati {{{{{Kati}}}} You helped make this book special. And I still remember a couple of your one word emails. LOL Thanks. And I believe it was Kismet that we met so you force me to raise the bar.

    @ Vanessa Let me know what you think when you finish those RITA books. *grin* That's the funny thing about control. I think the universe likes to fool us and make us think we're in control when we're really not. At least I know I'm never in control, which as a control freak is REALLY scary. LOL And whatever direction those winds blow you, I'm certain they're doing so for the right reason.

    @ Margay If you think therefore you are. Whatever one calls it, I think life is what we make it with a lot of help from whatever belief structure you hold dear. I know there are a lot of unknowns in the world, and I'm fortunate to have had some wonderfully spiritual experiences in my life.

    @Maria Thanks so much for all your congrats. And the cover is definitely drawing attention. I think Mel(issa) and you were fated to meet and be the fast friends you are.

    @jedisakora I can understand why you would be superstitious about Tuesdays. hugs on your losses. Losing some one is so painful as I know full well, but the joy of having known them is a comfort nonetheless. And how wonderful that you found a relative via a phone number question!! THAT is totally awesome. BTW are you a Star Wars fan??

  18. @scorpio in my mind HEAs and the concept of fate are inextricably linked.

    I couldn't have said it better!! A wonderful line. I wish I'd written it!

  19. Hi Monica,
    Yep. I'm a big star wars fan. My favorite era of it is the old republic/prequels. I'm a die hard Anakin/Padme fan. ^^ Are you a fan as well?


  20. @jedisakora Am I a fan? Well I suppose so if one considers that I saw the Empire Strikes Back 88 times in the theater (I worked there) and I saw the 1st movie (A New hope) around 30 times (paid for those) and Revenge about 15 (paid for those too, but I didn't like it as much). LOL Yep,I'm a die hard.

    I have a lot of memorabilia from all the SW movies, and I'm a HUGE Trekkie as well. The Christmas tree in my office is filled with my collection of Star Trek ornaments Picture here

    I'll have to see if I can't post the story of how the DH doesn't know the difference between a Klingon Bird of Prey and a Klingon Battle Cruiser.

  21. @jedisakora

    Here's the link to my funny Christmas ornament story and the DH's attempt to please his wife who loves Star Trek.

    My Story

  22. Hi Monica, what a beautiful post! I love to hear how a writer's feelings are concerning their story.

    I've once seen a wonderful movie where one of the main characters consoles a woman after a friend of hers had died. He says that life is like a comic: when you put it right in front of your face, you only see colourful points, but if you look at the entire picture, it is an entire picture (he didn't express it that clumsily but I hope you get the meaning). What he meant is that things may seem senseless and bad to us but when we look at the greater whatever, it all makes sense. I think this is a very beautiful thing to say. And it means I definitely believe in destiny. I'm not one of those people who deny destiny because they want to have freedom of will. I believe it's my destiny to use my will freely and everything turns out as it should in the end.

  23. Hi Monica! We're all delighted to have you with us today. I'm eagerly anticipating finally having enough time to sit down and savor Kismet. I've heard so many wonderful things about it!

    I definitely believe in fate/kismet. I think we have control of certain aspects of our lives through our actions and decisions but I also believe that some things are pre-ordained or "meant to be."

    Wishing you all the best with Kismet!

  24. @LisaK - I totally get your statement. Seeing the big picture isn't always an easy thing to do, but when we step back from the trees we see the forest. A freeing experience.*smile*

  25. @PJ - Our actions and thoughts do have a lot of impact on our destiny, whether positive or negative. And thanks for the congrats. When you get the time to read, I hope you enjoy Kismet.

  26. Hi Monica,
    I love your tree!!! It's so awesome. I'm a semi-trekie fan. I'm mostly a Star Trek: The Next Generation fan (drool at Jean-Luc), but i loved the new movie. ^^ You story with your husband sounds familiar. lol Except for me it's usually about the the special dvd sets. My family doesn't understand why i want to new special edition of dvd's (Star wars, Trek, HP) when i already have a perfectly nice copy. ~O^

    You are a Star Wars queen! I haven't even watched the prequels that many times. I was also much too young to go to the theater a lot when the prequels came out. Did you ever go to a midnight screening? I missed that with Star Wars, but i'm enjoying them with immensely the Harry Potter movies. Though i did get tickets to the very first screening of the Clone Wars movie.

    Just a question have you ever read Suzanne Enoch? She is a major huge star wars fan as well. She has a funny debate between herself and Tereasa Mederios on her site on which is better; star wars or star trek.


  27. @Jedisakora I hear you on the DVD editions. The DH goes nuts. He doesn't get why I have to have one of each too! LOL I also made sure Baby, who is huge into Legos, got the Star Wars battle cruiser (in the beginning of the movie) to put together and it sits on top of our entertainment center. It's HUGE and I love looking at it. I'll be sorry when she grows up and leaves home and takes it with her!! *bawl*

    I have gone to several midnight screenings. I've taken my oldest to a couple, then my nephew (who's studying to be a movie director like his heroes Lucas & Spielberg) and I go to the 1st shows of movies like Indy Jones (Ford has GOT to give up the torch!!) or Star Wars. He and I totally bond on anything Lucas and Spielberg. I'll call him if I see a good movie and we compare notes.

    I've not seen Clone Wars because I was totally ticked that they made it into animated. I want to see the real deal. I'll eventually watch it because I saw some scenes and it look decent.

    Haven't read Enoch, but I have read the debate between her and Teresa. I am such a lover of each, I don't know that I could pick one over the other.

    But of ALL the captains, I'd have to say that Jean Luc is the most awesome of awesomenest captains. However, Worf has my heart forever. I am a diehard Klingon fan. They were a major inspiration for the heroes in my upcoming paranormal series this summer.

  28. Hi Monica,

    Making the rounds on your blog tour. Just popped in to say "hello" and read Buffie's review. And yup, she enjoyed the banana scene, too.

    Again, Congratulations, the buzz about Kismet is wonderful. Telling all my romance-reading friends and family all about it.

  29. Congrats on the GW, Anna! I hope he behaves for you. Or maybe not.

  30. Hi and welcome, Monica! Congrats on the release of Kismet and the great buzz it's receiving! And I'm totally curious about this banana scene!! Must get it!

    I also believe that everything happens for a reason, good and bad. It's sometimes hard to believe that when you're faced with an insurmountable task/choice, but you have to have faith.

  31. Hi Monica,

    I will definitely add this to my Wish-list!

    I believe everything happens for a reason, and we meet everyone in our lives for a reason. But, I also believe we have control over our outcomes!

  32. @Armenia. Thanks for the congrats. That banana scene sure does intrigue, doesn't it. LOL

    @Andrea Thanks for the congrats, and as for the banana scene, well, let's just say Allegra gets even. *grin* And taking a leap of faith is not always an easy thing to do. Although I can say I've walked the talk on this one. I had a job once that was REALLY bad, I was miserable. The DH said quit, and I was like where will we get the money to pay bills while I look for a job. The DH said he'd manage. So I turned my resignation in without ANY prospects. This was the Friday before Labor Day. I was scared for those three days. On Tue I had seven job interviews offered and had a new job the end of the week. Proved to me that faith in a higher power always comes through if one believes.

    @Jessica Control over outcomes...hmmm, I would have to agree somewhat because I believe that what we throw out into the universe (positive or negative vibes) will come back to us. I rely on that physics law that says what goes out comes back at least twice as fast. *grin* I love mixing science and philosophy. LOL

  33. I do believe in kismet, destiny. I've always felt like everyone has their own destiny. I have been reading a lot about this book and I really can't wait to read it.

  34. @Linda...I think everyone has a destiny that's theirs to fulfill. I'm working on mine. *grin* I'm glad you're eager to read Kismet. I hope there are a lot of readers who snatch up the book!