Author Katie Reus talks about Choices…with GIVEAWAYS!

on January 6, 2012

UPDATE:  Katie used Random.org to draw winners, and here they are:  Bonnie Paulson (His Secret Past) and Barb P (Alpha Instinct).  Congrats!

I asked my friend and fellow Darker Temptations blogger to drop by and talk about her new releases today.  Katie Reus writes sexy romantic suspense and paranormal romance. Currently she writes for Carina Press, Harlequin Nocturne, and in early 2012 the first book in her paranormal series will release from NAL/Signet Eclipse.  Being amazing and so generous, Katie has offered to give away copies of her books to commenters here!  (See below).  So…..here’s Katie!

Thank you so much Rebecca for having me here today!

Romantic suspense and paranormal romance are two of my favorite genres. This month and next, I have a release in both. I grew up reading contemporary romance but once I discovered romantic suspense I was officially hooked and devoured everything I could find. There’s just something exciting about running from bad guys, dodging bullets and hunting a serial killer while trying to stay alive. Add in paranormal elements and I’m in freaking heaven. Of course this is only exciting in fiction. I wouldn’t want to deal with what most of my heroines do.

In His Secret Past, my recent release from Carina Press, my heroine has to make a decision that wars with what her heart wants but she makes a tough choice for the sake of her child. And in Alpha Instinct, my upcoming release from Signet Eclipse, my heroine also has to make a decision she doesn’t want to for the sake of her pack/family. The choices they make change their lives in a big way.

Years ago I made a decision that changed my life. At the time I didn’t know it but this choice changed everything in the best way. After switching majors and colleges I was floundering and unsure what career direction I wanted to take or even where I wanted to go to school. For someone who’d once had every detail of college and life planned out, this was a scary thing. Instead of wasting time taking classes I might not even need, I decided to take a break. To make a long story short, my sister lived in another state (for school) and thought it would be a good idea if moved up to live with her so I took the plunge. Not long after settling in, I met my now husband. It’s possible we would have met later, but considering his military career at the time I don’t know how or where. Almost immediately after we met we were engaged and then not long after that, he was sent overseas for five months so for over half our engagement we were separated. And through the first part of our marriage he traveled about half of it and since I had no plans to travel to war zones, I honestly don’t know that we would have ever connected.

Sometimes I wonder how different my life would be if I hadn’t made that choice to move but the truth is, I don’t want to even imagine. When writing books, I love to ask the what-if question of my characters. Sometimes even innocuous decisions can change the course of our lives and the consequences can be good or bad. And more often than not, we don’t realize the effects until later.

Have you ever made a decision that changed your life but you didn’t actually realize the change until later? Or did you make one you knew would change things, but the end result still surprised you? Leave a comment about today’s blog and be entered to win a digital copy of His Secret Past and a print copy of Alpha Instinct (US only for Alpha). Don’t forget to leave your email address so I have a way to contact you!

Purchase info: His Secret Past is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Carina Press & all other major online retailers. Alpha Instinct is also available at Amazon, B&N, the Book Depository and all major retailers.

Another CONTEST alert: To celebrate the release of His Secret Past and Alpha Instinct, I’m having 7 weeks of contests with weekly prizes (books, books, books! from me and some really fab authors) and a grand prize of an Amazon Kindle. For more details on how to enter, please visit my website contest page.

A little about me: I’ve been reading romance since I discovered my mom’s hidden stash at a young age and the addiction stayed with me into adulthood. I write paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense for Carina Press, Harlequin Nocturne, and NAL/Signet Eclipse. To learn more about me please visit my website, my blog, facebook or find me on twitter @katiereus.

Thanks again for having me!

Carina Press Author Bonnie Paulson is giving away a book!

on July 19, 2011

UPDATE:  Congrats to Maw25 for winning the copy of BREATHE AGAIN!  Bonnie will contact you with details. 🙂

!I’d like to welcome my friend, Bonnie R. Paulson, whose book BREATHE AGAIN will be released next month by Carina Press.  I asked Bonnie to blog a bit about emotion in contemporary romances.

I’d love to give away a copy of BREATHE AGAIN to one commenter today–there’s a question at the end, but you can comment on anything you want.

Romantic suspense and paranormal romances own a level of intensity to their emotions. Dark, deep, dramatic feelings with highs and lows and rare in-betweens pushed with urgency and fear.

Contemporary romances have the capabilities of exploring the subtle nuances of growing love among responsibilities, day-to-day difficulties and modern conveniences without the drama of fangs, claws or mind-reading (which I’ll be the first to admit I like a bite here and there).

World-building is important in the contemporary style but word count can be used more for scene building since the reader already understands the rules and idiosyncrasies of the time period. Plus, the laws of physics aren’t altered, so we don’t have to worry about the hero sucking her neck for sustenance, instead for pleasure – hello! And the heroine is strong but not enough to break a telephone pole in half. Characters are easier to identify
with… although let’s be honest. I ripped apart a telephone pole last week and no one, not one person, was impressed. I guess it’s been done.

There are still rules in contemporaries. You don’t want to read a book where the heroine sleeps with everything male. Too much sluttiness makes it hard to believe the sexual relation with the hero is special. And the hero doesn’t want to be too roughly physical because then wouldn’t he be physical with her or in jail all the time? And, let’s face it, wooing the heroine is difficult when he’s strapped to anger management classes.

My favorite aspect of contemporaries is the chance to take a controversial subject, spin it and then make my characters live it. Maggie deals with suicide in Breathe Again.

Breathe Again will be released August 22, 2011 from Carina Press.

Maggie Lachlan is struggling to get over the death of her husband. After being overcome by emotion during a shift in the E.R., she’s suspended indefinitely. Making things worse, she needs a place to stay after the quick sale of the house she shared with her late husband.

Fortunately, her friend, Ryan Stewart, offers her a room while she gets her life in order, much to the chagrin of his brother and housemate, Brodan Steele. Brodan doesn’t want to like Maggie, not when he questions Ryan’s feelings for her.. But it’s hard to deny the attraction he feels for her when she’s sleeping under the same roof.

Being so close to Brodan awakens something in Maggie, something she never felt during her marriage. But as long as she’s haunted by the past, she can’t open herself up to the future… 

Excerpt:  

I remembered my promise to stay away. Kneeling beside the pool spotted with lily pads, I pressed my fingers into the soft ground beside the mirror surface. Numerous large fish colored with brilliant orange, white and black highlights shimmered under the water. Lazy swimmers, the beautiful creatures hid in the shadows of the random leaves, the sparkling afternoon light finding their gliding bodies in the dark.

Watching the fish, I avoided being the first to speak. Why waste my time getting familiar when I planned to distance myself the first chance I got? I bit back a laugh. Not that I’d get the opportunity while I joined him on walks to sweet
settings.

My hair escaped again from the ponytail and fell past my shoulder. I pushed the mass behind my back.

“You’re part Irish, right?” Brodan’s deep voice fit in with the outdoor surroundings, rumbly and rugged.

“Yep. How’d you guess?” I smiled, lightening the sting my words could bring.

“Your mom or dad?” He stretched his legs out, crossing them at the ankles and relaxing his arm along the backrest.

“Dad.” I stood, feeling mulish for not sitting beside him. Wandering around the water, I asked, “Brodan sounds Irish. Can you claim the luck?”

“Not a lot. Dad drank Guinness, does that count?”

Humor between us, how odd. A few steps and I was beside him, attempting nonchalance.

We sat together, studying the man-made scenery, the silence long yet somewhat comfortable. A fish surfaced, poking its mouth into the air only to disappear into the shadows once more.

“I don’t want to like you, you know?” His quiet voice shattered the calm with more impact than a scream.

My favorite part of writing Breathe Again would be the fight Brodan and Maggie put up against the attraction between them. Sometimes I would laugh and call them both idiots
as I wrote. Other times, I would actually tear up a bit – no one thinks true loves should be apart. 

I was pregnant when I wrote it and tears came easily, but writing a scene at the end, outside the hospital, tore me up, even more than the Allstate commercials I’d been watching.

When you read a novel do you enjoy sad parts throughout or do they create bitterness toward the author?

Thank you so much to Rebecca for allowing me to swing by today. I would like to offer up a digital copy of Breathe Again for a randomly selected commenter today. Thank you again and I look forward to hearing what everyone thinks about Brodan. 

BIO:  Inland Northwest bred, Bonnie has a degree in radiology technology as well as multiple experiences in the medical industry. Four children and a terrific husband ground her as they rev around the countryside on their dirt bikes. Food, reading/writing romances and family make up just a small percentage of her favorite things. 

Interview with Carina Author Bonnie Paulson

on February 7, 2011

Hi all!  Today I interviewed my friend Bonnie Paulson, who writes for Carina Press.  Bonnie and I are in a local critique group together called Sassy Scribes, which is a group of writers from the Pacific Northwest who also blog together.  So, I’d like to welcome Bonnie to the blog today!

1)      Congratulations on your sale to Carina Press!  Tell us a bit about your book.

Thanks so much! I’m very excited!  Maggie, widowed by suicide, fights attraction to Brodan and faces his brother’s fatal disease.  Can love heal what loss destroyed?

I got the idea from this book walking down to a trauma in Deaconess ER. The technologist I was with had lost her son the same way and she turned around. I wrote the first scene that day.

2)      What do you like better:  when you’ve just started writing a book or when you’ve just finished one, and why?

OOOHH!! Great question. I like starting the book the best.  But on the other hand, nothing feels quite as solid as wrapping up the story and typing The END. 

3)      Your current sale is a contemporary romance.  Do you plan to stay in this genre or do you see yourself writing in more than one genre? 

Carina Press acquired my contemporary romance (sweet) for release this August. I write both romantic suspense and contemporary. I think, for now, I’ll stay with these two subgenres. I’ve always read historical and paranormal but, let’s face it, to read a historical/paranormal versus researching and writing one are two ENTIRELY different things – one requires the love of the story and the other requires huge kahonas!

4)      What’s next for you?

My next manuscript I turned in to my agent is a romantic suspense, Broken Choices, and my current work-in-progress is a contemporary romance with a fun premise.  Just keep revving it on is my motto.

5)      If you weren’t an author, what career path would you choose?

Actually, I have two degrees, one of which is as a Radiologic Technologist.  I’d probably head back in the direction of the medical field if writing suddenly turned on me.

6)      How long did you submit work before being accepted by a publisher? 

It was less than three months.  But the call started a terrific two days.  This past November (the 4th and 5th to be exact) on a Thursday, I had just settled three of my four kids down for afternoon naps. Naptime is my writing time – literally only get three to four hours a day of this diamond time and there aren’t a lot of things I consider “worthy” enough to take away from it – this includes phone calls.

 

Most of my friends and family know this. So when the phone rang and the number was uber weird, I rolled my eyes and almost didn’t answer it.  But something told me to. So I answered – annoyed.

“Hello?”

“Hello, is Bonnie Paulson there, please?”  Very sweet voice, but way-too-professional.  Lady had to be selling insurance – only insurance salespeople are that nice on the phone.

“This is.” Another eye roll, extremely curt.

“Hi Bonnie, This is Angela James from Carina Press,” yes, you read right! “I’m calling about your manuscript Whispers of Me that you submitted.” 

“Uh huh.” Great, what’d I do?  Horribly offend someone?  Send in a virus that corrupted the entire Harlequin database?  Did I somehow and very unwittingly, but albeit totally me do something to upset someone?

“You did submit this, correct?”

“Uh huh.”  And this where I’m sure Ms. James had to think she’d gotten a loony bin on the phone. 

“Well, Mallory, one of our editors, read it, really liked it and suggested it go to acquisitions. I’d like to offer you a contract.”  Or something to that effect.  I honestly can’t remember past Mallory really liked it. I do remember saying the next line because Ms. James tweeted about it and it was very hilarious – hindsight and all that, you know.

“I think I’m going to throw up.” Me, very serious and truth be told, I’d had a hot dog for lunch and this I do not suggest!  But in my defense, I hadn’t thought I’d hear from anyone by phone – in fact assumed most things happened over email.  Anyway, back to the throwing up. 

“Okay, don’t throw up. You can cry, I’ve had people cry, but don’t throw up.”  Wow, she was so nice – and tolerant!

“I’m not the crying type, throw-up, okay, crying, not so much.”  Was I seriously debating what action to take with THE Angela James?  I was loony. 

The rest I don’t remember.  I remember floating and wanting to basically dive into some tiramisu or coconut cake but I called my writing friend first and we talked FOREVER about it.  The next morning I took that offer and contacted an agent I’d been eyeing for almost three years and signed with her.  November 4th and 5th were great days – oh, and the baby got his first tooth that day too (surprised I noticed, to be honest).

 

7)      I know you donate a lot of your time to judging contests.  Based on what you’ve seen this last year, is there any advice you have for new writers?

This is a funny question because I still consider myself new! From the contests though, I’d say work on your manuscript more than just getting it into the word processor.  More often than not, the style and quality of the writing is what grabs low scores for contestants. You need to approach a contest like approaching an agent or an editor. POLISH. And when you’ve reached the fifth edit and you feel it’s perfect, have a critique partner look at it and revise again. (I love my CPs! And CG)

8)      What’s one question you’ve never been asked yet you’d like to answer?

How do you eat your pizza?  Any toppings and I rip them and the cheese off first to eat then push the sauce to the crust and eat that. Yeah, I’m weird but it’s so good! 

P.S. Thank you so much, Rebecca, for having me. I’m so excited for the next book in your series to come out.  I loved and I mean LOVED Fated. Congratulations again!

Oh, and four-strokes rule!  (Bon is an AVID dirt biker!)

If you want to find Bonnie on the web, here’s her site:  http://brpaulson.blogspot.com/