Vanilla Heart Publishing generously extends donations to Deepwater Horizon Disaster Fund.

Vanilla Heart Publishing is joining with its authors to donate a portion of the sales from five titles to the Greater New Orleans Foundation Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund for their relief efforts in helping to clean up the effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill.

Three Weeks Last Spring by Victoria Howard

Nature’s Gifts Anthology compiled by Vanilla Heart Publishing

Hostage Heart by Chelle Cordero

Observations of an Earth Mage by Smoky Trudeau

The House on the Shore by Victoria Howard

Please consider purchasing one of the five titles on offer and contribute to this worthy cause.


Vanilla Heart Donates to the Deepwater Horizon Reflief Fund

I am pleased to annouce that Vanilla Heart and I have agreed to donate a percentage of all sales of my novels, to help clean up the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon Disaster.

Victoria Howard and Vanilla Heart Publishing are donating 25% of publisher proceeds on sales of The House on the Shore and Three Weeks Last Spring
to help clean up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster…

May 7 – June 7, 2010

in any format – Print, Ebook, and Kindle

Victoria Howard, author of The House on the Shore and Three Weeks Last Spring, and of the upcoming Ring of Lies and Vanilla Heart Publishing have begun a month-long promotion to benefit clean up and conservation efforts resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Especially poignant is Victoria’s romantic suspense novels each have a theme based on coastal and wetlands beauty, coupled with intensely intriguing characters and plots.

For more details visit Vanilla Heart’s announcement:

Coincidence? I think not.

As someone, who for twenty years, was involved in the offshore industry, I know what it’s like to have your heart skip a beat when the evening news reports an accident on an oil rig. My heart goes out to the families of the eleven men killed on the Deepwater Horizon.

Drilling and transporting oil comes at a high price, and there are times in our lives when we become too complacent.

We repeatedly ignored warnings by environmentalists, the Coast Guard, and other agencies that using single hulled, single-engine tankers to transport oil was asking for trouble.

On March 18, 1967 these agencies were proved correct.

The Torrey Canyon, a super tanker carrying a cargo of 120,000 tonnes of crude oil struck Pollard’s Rock between Land’s End and the Scilly Isles in the UK. Oil spread on the sea between England and France, killing most of the marine life along the south coast of Britain and the Normandy shores of France, blighting the region for many years thereafter.

Did we learn the lesson? Sadly, no.

Twenty-two years later, on the March 24, 1989, Exxon Valdez hit the Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. We were horrified at the images of dead seabirds, otters, and marine mammals covering the front page of nearly every newspaper in the world. These same images were beamed nightly into our living rooms.

For many years, the offshore oil and gas industry was convinced that it had adequate safety measures to ensure that oil and gas rigs and platforms operated with little or no risk to personnel. But on the night of the 6th July 1988, Piper Alpha, a production platform in the North Sea, exploded into a fireball, killing 167 men. To date, it remains the world’s worst offshore oil disaster in terms both of lives lost and impact to industry.

After a protracted investigation, all three disasters were attributed to human error.

I had hoped the world would never experience another disaster on the scale of the Exxon Valdez and Piper Alpha, but sadly that was not to be the case.

This week, another oil rig, the Deepwater Horizon, sank in the Gulf of Mexico, with the loss of eleven men. Unlike Piper Alpha, the thousands of gallons of oil pouring out of a fractured pipe is already devastating the marine environment and fragile barrier islands and marsh of the Louisiana coast. It will take months, if not years to recover.

It is therefore somewhat eerie that my short story, ‘Man’s Complacency,’ published in Nature’s Gifts, should be released at this time by Vanilla Heart Publishing.

Written nearly two years ago, ‘Man’s Complacency’ deals with an oil spill in Washington State’s Puget Sound, and features Joe McCabe, an important character from my novel, Three Weeks Last Spring. Joe is the head of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, which is partly responsible for the cleanup.

It’s it about time we became less complacent and developed systems and procedures that not only protect the men and women working on rigs and production platforms, but the wildlife that makes our planet so unique.

Nature’s Gifts

To celebrate Earth Day and the work of the Nature Conservancy Council, Vanilla Heart Publishing has released ‘Nature’s Gifts.’

More than twenty pieces, from haiku to villanelles, from essays to short stories, will delight nature lovers everywhere. Take a walk in a garden or hike in a national park. Reflect on the moon. Learn something new. Laugh—and cry—with our writers as they discover the beauty, the joys, and the raw power of nature.

The Nature Conservancy will receive a donation of 50 percent of the profits for every book sold in both print and e-book editions for one year. Dedicated to protecting our rapidly vanishing natural environment, The Nature Conservancy has protected more than 117 million acres of land in 28 countries.

The selected poets and authors are:

Kathi Anderson, Douglas G. Campbell, Malcolm Campbell, Sam Cash, Chelle Cordero, Helen Haught Fanick, jeglaze, S. Kelley Harrell, Robert Hays, Donna Henes, Lisa Mayers Houff, Victoria Howard, Leah Mooney, Thom Newnham, Deanne Quarrie, Connie Spittler, Smoky Trudeau, Kimberlee Williams , and Scott Zeidel

Nature’s gifts is available from and in e-bookformat from

Here’s a short excerpt from my contribuition, ‘Man’s Complacency.’

A heavy sea fog rolled in along the Strait of Juan de Fuca catching everyone, including the weathermen, by surprise. By early evening it covered the coastline from Port Angeles in the west, to Seattle and Tacoma in the east, and as far north as Anacortes. Traffic on the freeway slowed to a crawl. Planes were grounded, and ships were confined to port or instructed by the Coast Guard to keep station and wait for the fog to disperse.

Most residents of the Pacific Northwest were used to the fogbanks that settled over their cities in spring and autumn, but this fog was different. Thick and cloying, it hung heavily in the air, covering everything in a fine mist and reducing visibility to a matter of yards. Formed when a warm air mass moved over a colder area, the fog hung around for days, and resulted in a backlog of shipping. Ships’ masters, desperate to keep to schedule to avoid lost revenue and additional operating costs, often became frustrated, over self-confident and complacent.

Joe McCabe, head of the department of Fish and Wildlife, had just finished breakfast the following morning when his cell phone rang.


“Hi Joe, it’s Steve Jones from the Department of Ecology. I hope I’m not disturbing you.”

“I was just about to leave for the office. What gives, Steve?”

“Just thought I’d give you a heads up. A seine netter out of Anacortes has reported seeing an oil slick in the Rosario Strait. The skipper was about to put his nets out when he spotted it. He thought it was fairly well localized, but I’ve asked the Coast Guard send up a spotter plane to check it out. But this darned fog is making things difficult. In the meantime, I want you to take charge of any cleanup operation.”

Joe rubbed his bald head. “Why not use someone from your department?”

“Because all I have is Bryant, who only joined us a couple of months ago, and I need someone with experience.”

“I see. With any luck the slick will be small enough to disperse, but better ask the Coast Guard to fax me a list of vessels that went through the Strait in the last forty-eight hours. While we wait for news, I’ll contact the oil spill team and have them standby. Have… what’s his name? Oh, yeah, Bryant. Have him meet me in my office in an hour.”

“Her. Bryant is a woman.”

“No kidding?”

“No kidding.”

McCabe hung up without another word. The last thing he needed was some namby-pamby woman traipsing around him in a day-glow survival suit.

Thanks to a jack-knifed truck on the I-90, the drive from his home on Mercer Island to downtown Seattle took nearly forty minutes. While he waited for the cops to clear the freeway, McCabe thought about the last major oil spill he’d been involved with. Twenty five years before, the Exxon Valdez had dumped approximately ten million gallons—one fifth of her cargo of crude oil in Prince William Sound, Alaska. He’d been part of one of the many cleanup crews tasked to remove the clumps of oil from the shoreline. The memory of the devastation had lived with him ever since, which was why he’d been a driving force behind the state’s oil spill contingency plan. He just hoped he wouldn’t have to implement it now.

When he reached his office, a slim young woman with her hair up in a silky blonde ponytail stood as he entered.

“Mr McCabe?” She extended a hand. “Faith Bryant, Department of Ecology.”

McCabe paused before he shook her hand, then stepped back from the door and motioned her to take a seat. “You’d better come in. Steve Jones tells me this is your first spill investigation.”

“That’s right. I studied marine biology and wrote my thesis on the challenges facing Puget Sound. Steve thought it would be good experience for me to be part of the investigation and cleanup process.”

McCabe thought about his friend, Jedediah Walker, another marine biologist. They’d worked together on a number of investigations and projects over the years. Right now he could do with Walker’s expertise rather than this pretty young woman straight out of college. But Walker and his wife, Skye, were in China helping the Chinese Government investigate the reason why the Yangtze River Dolphin had become extinct.

“Well, listen carefully and learn. Any news on the slick or what vessel might have caused it?”

“Unfortunately, yes. The McMinnville, a tanker headed for the refinery at Cherry Point, failed to pick up a pilot at Port Angeles. At the time, the Coast Guard tried to raise her on the radio, but got no response. Around midnight, the third mate reported that the engine had failed and the vessel was drifting out of control in the Rosario Strait.”

McCabe knew that hundreds of ships and ferries passed through Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Rosario Strait every day. Add commercial fishing boats and pleasure craft into the mix, and the fishing lanes of Puget Sound were the busiest in the nation. In good conditions it could take a tanker more than a mile to stop. But with no means of propulsion, the McMinnville was at the mercy wind and tide.

Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team

My novel, The House on the Shore, set in the Scottish Highlands with its rugged terrain, has an intense scene in the rocky gorges of the moors and mountains, and when I was researching, two team members of Wasdale Mountain Rescue came to my rescue…supplying technical details of rescue in rugged terrain and helping me to create the stupendous scenes in the novel. Thank you gentlemen!

The House on the Shore


The House on the Shore ISBN 978-1-935407-24-9


Support the

Incredible Volunteer Mountain Rescue Teams

Midnight June 4th, 2009 – Midnight June 17th, 2009

To celebrate the release of The House on the Shore, a romantic suspense novel set in the remote Scottish Highlands, a deeply suspenseful novel with intriguing plot twists, and harrowing mountain rescue scenes, my publisher, Vanilla Heart Publishing and I, are pleased to announce we will donate $1 per copy sold during the time period above to the Wasdale Mountain Rescue, to see their video, which provides education, training, facilities, equipment, and more to this incredible group of rescue volunteers.

To register your purchase of Print or Kindle editions, please email with your name, email, and the info of your purchase including edition (Kindle or Print), and the last 3 digits of your order number. All Ebook sales are automatically counted by our Ebook Catalog detail counter, so no additional ‘work’ is necessary for Ebook purchases.

Every dollar donated goes to a great cause, with volunteers who make a difference and save lives, and now, …YOU can make a difference!

Friends of the San Juan Islands


Three Weeks Last Spring ISBN 978-1-935407-04-1


Supporting Marine Conservancy in the San Juan Islands

Midnight May 31st, 2009 – Midnight June 7th, 2009

To celebrate the release of Three Weeks Last Spring, a romantic suspense novel set in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, with intriguing plots and deeply developed characters and scenes, Victoria Howard and Vanilla Heart Publishing are pleased to announce we will donate $1 per copy sold during launch party week to the Friends of the San Juans, which provides education, training, and project management for the caretakers of the beautiful beaches, creatures, and waters of the San Juan Islands in Washington State.

To register your purchase of Print or Kindle editions, please email with your name, email, and the info of your purchase including edition (Kindle or Print), and the last 3 digits of your order number. All Ebook sales are automatically counted by our Ebook Catalog detail counter, so no additional ‘work’ is necessary for Ebook purchases.

Every dollar donated goes to a great cause, with volunteers who make a difference to the flora and fauna of the region, and now, …YOU can make a difference!