Monday, September 5, 2011

Welcome, Dana Pratola & The Covering

Every once in a while, when new author friends enter your life, a connection builds that's immediate and strong. Such is the sentiment I feel toward today's guest at A Minute with Marianne, Dana Pratola.

Dana is a fellow White Rose Publishing author who has written a book that, quite frankly, blew me away. More on that later. (Hey...rule one of great writing...keep the reader reading! LOL!)

First, all joking aside, I can tell you this about Dana: she's a 47-year-old mother of three. She's been married for 25 years (Congrats, Dana!!). The Lord is her savior, writing is her passion, and publishing inspirational books that show the grace of God is her ministry.

Want to know more? Here's her Facebook readers page:!/pages/Dana-Pratola-Author/221067454600043

Now, let's get to know her even better!

Dana, when did you first discover that you were a writer?

I wrote all my life, but until about 15 years ago I hesitated to call myself a writer. I thought I had to live, work or act a certain way to be labeled “writer.” But one day someone referred to me as a scribe because I always had a pen and paper and would jot things down all the time. So I think it mentally stuck, and I realized that if I write all the time, I’m a writer, LOL.

So true! And I can totally relate. How did your writing career begin? How did you find your way to White Rose Publishing?

God. I’ve heard over and over about how useful writer’s conferences are for making contacts in the publishing realm but those that were close enough were far too expensive. So I asked God to help. Not long after, a friend told me about a FREE online conference (Muse Online Writer’s Conference) and I signed up. I scheduled a pitch session with Nicola Martinez, and she asked for the whole manuscript.

How awesome! I love it. Sometimes, the most direct path is the BEST! What are you working on next?

I have 5 novels in various stages of completion and a dozen more stories formulating, but the one I’m focusing on is about a woman named Sophia. At the age of 22 she is suddenly gifted with an incredible singing voice and the book is about the choices she must make and the consequences they bring. Of course there is a love interest – an autobiographer named Cade (possibly to be renamed) who Sophia reluctantly allows inside her life.

Intriguing! Tell us one interesting fact about you that your readers would find interesting, and maybe even surprising.

Before I had a VCR (long time ago) I used to tape Star Trek episodes onto cassette and transcribe them. LOL. I never went into script writing but I learned a lot about pacing and dialogue.

So true! So tell me, how do you find balance between being a writer and everything else that goes on in your life?

I don’t know that I’ve found balance. There are times when writing is all I do. Then there are times when “real life” consumes everything. My husband’s schedule is flexible, which can work for or against my own schedule.

Great interview, Dana. Now, I want folks to learn more about your fabulous release, THE COVERING. Here's an excerpt:

Tessa whirled away from him toward the door.

His hand was on her arm in a second. “Where do you think you’re going?” he asked. The sudden awareness of how slim her arm was in his grasp caused him to loosen his hold.

“I won’t stand here and argue with you,” she told him.

“Then let’s not argue.”

Slowly, he pulled her closer, watching the pulse jump in her neck. She didn’t resist when he lowered his mouth to hers.

Gunnar could have sworn her bones liquefied as she melted against him, into him. This was risky. It should stop. She was like a drug, the feel of her an addiction, and he feared if he didn’t break it off now, there would be no going back. He drank in a few more seconds before levering her away.

His own ragged breathing drowned out the sound of hers, but her mouth opened and closed, evidence that she too struggled to form a coherent sentence. Desire snapped in the air between them, and he turned away before it could draw him back.

What was he thinking, kissing her that way? He wasn’t—that was the problem. He hadn’t recognized how close he was to flashpoint and had allowed emotion to rule. Normally the emotion was anger. It was familiar, safe, he knew how to direct it, what to expect in retaliation.
But this…altogether different. In the short time he’d known Tessa, she had infiltrated his core needs, forcing him to reevaluate his objectives, making him realize he still wanted things he’d long ago dismissed as impossible: a home, children, stability. Consequently, he feared things he hadn’t before: isolation, failure, dependence. It was too much, too soon.

He hadn’t lied to her mother, he hardly knew her. Yet she had already influenced him in ways he couldn’t express. What would happen over time, six months maybe, when he became more attached and unable to let her go?

When Tessa finally realized who and what he was?

“We can’t do this,” he told her, looking back. Tessa stood frozen, catching her breath. “I won’t get us into a situation we’ll regret.”


“You’re not ready for this.” The light of battle sparked to life in her eyes, dissipating the haze of longing. “Neither am I.”

“Because I’m a virgin,” she said, disgusted.

“Yes.” He snapped the word out, but hearing the harshness of it, softened his tone. It wasn’t her fault he wanted her. Nor was he pushing her away because of her inexperience—at least not in the way she thought.

“You’re innocent and I’m not. In any sense of the word.”

Tessa crossed her arms. “So it’s your plan to keep turning me on and off like a light switch until when? Until you’re bored or decide to move back to your house?”

“I didn’t mean for this to happen.”

“You want me.”

It was a simple statement. He couldn’t have said why it sounded like a threat. “I do. But it’s not going to happen.”

“Because you say so,” she said with a nod. “Interesting. You didn’t want my mother to treat me like a child, but ten minutes later you’re doing it.”

“This is different.”

“Because you know what’s best? She thinks the same thing.”

Well, what could he say to that?

Tessa raised her chin and went to the door. “Please leave.”

She’d given him his escape from the mess he’d created. But for how long? Until the next time they were in the same room together and the scent of her freshly scrubbed skin snared him? Or she walked past and sent him one of those long looks she probably wasn’t even aware of? The ones that made his heart spasm and his brain misfire? He had no intention of going through this again.

When she reached for the knob, he slapped a hand onto the painted wood of the door.
“I asked you to leave.” Her voice was laced with nerves and heat.

Patience ebbing, Gunnar hissed out a breath, took her by the arm and sat her on the bed.
“What are—”

“Sit there and shut up.”

“Don’t tell me to shut up.”

“Just…please.” Gunnar scraped a hand over the stubble on his head, then jammed his hands in his pockets.

He didn’t intend for things to spin this way. When he came into the house, it was with the desire to grab a quick shower before meeting Max and David at McIntosh’s. Almost at once, he was being lured by the sound of women’s voices singing the praises of a guy named Carter in an overt attempt to interest someone.

Entering the living room, seeing the look on Tessa’s face, it became clear she was the intended mark. She didn’t look interested, but it irritated him to think she might be. Then, to find the jerk’s card with his friendly little message…

In hindsight, keeping her mother and friends here might have been the wiser course. If they were still here, he would be on his way to a friendly game of pool. But jealousy was a newly discovered muscle, and it grew and strengthened when flexed.

He gazed out the window to where the clouds skidded away, revealing a sky of pale blue, in direct contrast to the gloomy gray of his heart. Below was a fenced in yard with thick grass, though browning, and a tall gnarled oak. The kind of yard he would have loved to play in as a kid.

Instead, he’d kept himself occupied in dim hallways and dismal rooms where he’d been forced to wait quietly while his mother entertained her boyfriend of the hour one thin wall away. It was a world away from here. A world away from Tessa.

He glanced at the fresh flowers on the table under the window, a reminder of the kind of woman Tessa was and the fact that she was far, far out of his league. He needed to stop dreaming about what he could never have and end this stupidity now before it got out of hand. And maybe the best way to do it was to force her to see the differences between them.


In The Covering, author Dana Pratola makes a stunning debut in the genre of Christian romance.

Readers and editors always say it: Give me a fresh voice, give me a unique plot and original characters. Pratola delivers on all these counts, telling the love story of Gunnar and Tessa.

On the surface, Gunner strikes one instantly as dark, tattooed, heathen biker until we discover, through Tessa’s eyes, his layers and troubled but beautiful heart. He’s tormented by no less than Satan himself—but Tessa unwittingly has his back. Tessa, who establishes the faith-center of the book, is prayerful and mindful of God's call on her heart.

Little does she, or Gunner know how powerfully God is using her prayers to literally ‘cover’ his life with divine protection.

Worlds collide—literally and spiritually—when these two meet. In a story peppered with demons and angles, salvation and a battle between good and evil, The Covering encompasses a storyline seldom explored in inspirational romance: the idea of demons and angels batting for the soul of a man destined for either spiritual greatness, or the abyss of hell.

There’s nothing clich├ęd or formulaic in the way Pratola tells their fantastic love story--and at its soul The Covering is a love story. Its power comes in the way she crafts her characters. Her style of writing is compelling, and she is gifted at plotting a storyline that keeps you flying through the pages to discover what happens next.

I highly recommend The Covering, and eagerly await Dana Pratola’s next release! Five Stars.

Here's where you can pick up The Covering:

Available in paperback or Kindle at: OR

Available in paperback or Nook at


  1. Oh my stars! I'm sitting at my desk fanning myself. THE COVERING is on my to-be-read list, but now it's moving to the top! FABULOUS excerpt, Dana!

    And great interview and review, Marianne. Dana, I can so relate to your answer about balance. What is it, anyway? You gals totally rock!

  2. Love the interview! Loved the book.
    Good luck and God's blessings to both of y'all.

  3. Hi, Dora & Pam!! I'm so glad you could drop by for a visit! :-) Appreciate the support and kind comments about the interview, and Dana's new release!!

  4. What a lovely interview, fantastic review, and excitement. I so look forward to reading this story.

  5. What an intriguing story, Dana. I love the phrase about worlds colliding. Can't wait to load up my kindle. God bless your writer's journey.

  6. Hi, LoRee & Tanya - thanks for your visit! :-D

    So glad you're intrigued by the story. It's super! God bless you, ladies, and we appreciate your support so much!!

  7. The story sounds intriguing, and thanks to your posted excerpt, so does Dana'a voice. Great idea! I don't usually see excerpts with a book review. I'm hooked! Must. Buy. Book.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Wonderful Interview, and really loved that Excerpt! I'm definitely adding this to my TBB list!

    hugs, Kari Thomas,