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. 

Countdown to the RWA Conference – Part II – How to Schedule and What to Bring

on June 14, 2011

This is part two in the Countdown to Conference blog series.  In the last blog we talked about what to wear to the conference.  This entry is about how to schedule your time and what else you should bring, besides clothes.

Try to have a game plan before you arrive.  I go through the conference schedule, read about all the workshops, note when the spotlights and signings are and then create a FLEXIBLE schedule for each day.  Then I schedule a meeting/lunch/coffee/dinner whatever with agent/editor/pr person/pals, etc… so I can see how my days have filled out.  Then, taking note of publisher and agent parties, I look to see when the chapter parties are and if I have time to hit a couple.

    • Spotlights:  Most of the publishers will have a spotlight.  (See conference schedule).  During this time, the editors will usually talk about what’s hot, what they’re looking for, and how to submit to them.  It’s very handy.  They’ll also sometimes highlight what releases they have coming up…so you can see what’s hot.  They take questions…and I’ve seen people line up to do a quick pitch when the presentation is finished.  Also…look around the room.  AGENTS attend these spotlights.  The one you want to pitch to might be sitting next to you.
    •  Book signings:  Besides the literacy signing the night before the conference actually starts, the individual publishers also have signings.  Translation:  FREE signed books.  (Though you end up with tons of free books even if you don’t make it to the signings.)  NOW…I will be participating in Kensington’s book signing on Friday from 12:00-1:30, so I hope to see you there!
    • Workshops:  I love workshops.  Just love them.  So I create a schedule with my first choice, second, and so on…and often end up going to my third choice because it may be about craft, and the ones I’d attended already were about PR. 
    • PRO Retreat:  If you’re a member of PRO – definitely go to some this.  They have cool workshops.  (See guidelines for PRO).
    • PAN Retreat/workshops:  There’s a list up now of the workshops for PAN members – looks awesome!  (See guidelines for PAN).
    • Goody Room:  Don’t forget to check out the goody room for pens, books, notebooks, candy…
    • Free Time:  Give yourself some.  Trust me.

So, there’s a breakdown of the conference and how to schedule your time.  Now…what should you bring besides clothes? I always bring:

  • Granola bars.   You will be unexpectedly hungry and running from workshop to workshop…and who wants their stomach to growl in the middle of the presentation?
  • Emergen-C .   Some people bring that Airborne instead.  You’re in a place with a lot of people, maybe not eating right, and probably not getting enough sleep.  I drink one of these every day of the conference and haven’t come down with that ‘conference cold’ so many people go home with.
  • Comfortable shoes.  By day three, your feet are freakin sore.  Yeah, bring the pretty shoes for night and even the first day.  By day three, you won’t care how your feet look.  You’ll wear the flip flops.  Trust me.
  • Safety pins.  You’ll be a hero.  There are always wardrobe malfunctions…and safety pins are necessary.
  • Sunglasses.  You may end up venturing outside with Cynthia Eden because she wants to check out the ducks in the middle of a pond.  You don’t want to go blind.
  • Pen and notebook.  You’ll be surprised how many notes you’ll take at the workshops…you can even blog about them later.  And you’ll be getting email addresses for new friends.
  • Laptop…if you want.  I bring mine.  Many people will tell you they don’t write while attending conferences.  I do.  I’m usually inspired by something and will need to type something…but you could always just write it in your notebook.  J
  • Prepaid USPS (or Fed Ex) labels.  You’re going to get a lot of stuff.  Books, postcards, pens…so many!  They’ll have boxes and labels at the conference, but if you have your own, you can pack the boxes in your room and drop them at the mailing place WITHOUT waiting forever in line.
  • Ones.  If you’re going to the cocktail parties, you’ll want to tip the bartenders.  Bring ones—you can usually fit those with your cell phone in your conference badge so you don’t have to carry a purse.
  • Your book on a flashdrive.  If you’re pitching (see later posts), bring this.  Don’t bring a hard copy. We’ve all heard the urban legend of the author who pitched and the editor asked for a digital copy to read on her kindle during the plane ride home—loved it and bought it.  Have the flashdrive…just in case.

Okay, that list is by no means exhaustive.  But it’ll get you started.  Next time (on Friday) I’ll blog about pitching…

Interview and Giveaway with Danica Avet!

on March 7, 2011

UPDATE:  Congratulations to Yadira and Brans for winning the beautiful masks!!!

Today I was fortunate enough to interview my friend, Danica Avet, who I met in Orlando last year.  Danica is a spunky sweetheart…as you’ll see.  She born and raised in the wilds of South Louisiana (that would be somewhere around Houma) where mosquitoes are big enough to carry off small children and there are only two seasons: hot and hotter. With a BA in History, she figured there were enough fry cooks in the world and decided to try her hand at writing. For eight years she played at writing, but in 2008, she decided to get serious and began down the rocky road to publication.

Okay, admit it girl.  You like the alpha male.  And while Gerard Butler is, ah, taken, I’m sure there’s one out there for you.  What’s the draw?

I beg to differ, Rebecca, Gerard is my man! We have a connection that can’t be denied. I’m so sorry 😉  As for the Alpha male…hm. I think modern women have so much pressure on them to be just as successful, motivated, and powerful as men that the fantasy of a man who’ll make decisions and take the burden off our shoulders (in the name of love) is what draws us. To be honest, I’m not sure I could handle dealing with an Alpha male in real life. I’m too bossy and independent, but if I didn’t have to mess with it every day? Hells yeah, bring on the alpha!

Well, you know, most writers do live in a dream world.  If Gerard is in yours, I guess that’s okay.  So long as we both know that reality is a different story.  So, you will soon have two books in the wild:  RUBY:UNCUT AND ON THE LOOSE and SUCCUBUS IN WAITING.  Tell us what is different about your two heroines.  Do they share any characteristics in common?

Wow, that’s a great question! Ruby is physically tougher than Piper is. She’s an Amazon, after all 😉 Piper, on the other hand, is more open and out-going than Ruby. If they share any characteristics though, it would be their independence and ambition. They know what they want out of life and they’ll risk everything to have it.

I love an independent heroine!  Makes for such sparks when dealing with those alpha-males. How about your heroes?  How do they differ, and yet, why am I going to fall in love with both of them? (Gerard doesn’t mind.  He’s quite the free-thinker).

Again, Gerard needs no other woman when he has me waiting for him 😉 But…there are lots of differences between my heroes. Lucian is a bit wild, untamed, and ambitious. He won’t let anything get in his way (unless it’s Ruby). Connor, even though he’s a werewolf, is more cautious (except where Piper’s concerned), scholarly, and weighs himself down with responsibilities. I loved both of these guys. I don’t think I could choose between them because no matter how they act in the beginning of their relationships, they’re complete marshmallows when it comes to the women they love. And yeah, Connor was based on Gerard 😉

That is SO sweet of you to base your Alpha on Gerard.  I’ll be sure to let him know.  If you could be anyone in the world for just one day (living or dead), who would it be and why?

Mais, what a question! I really don’t know! I keep flipping through women and men of great historical significance and then I keep remembering how they died because with my luck, the one day I became them would be the day they kicked the bucket. Hm. Okay, I’d be Gerard Butler *laugh* because then I could lead him right where I want him – like to my bedroom 😉 *snickers*

Okay…I can’t think of a response to that one.  🙂  If you could’ve written any book out there (except yours or mine) what book would it have been and why?

Gah, another one! You’re killing me, Smalls! This question makes me flat out giddy to even think about. Any book…wow. Okay, it would have to be Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I had to read this damn book about a million times in high school and college and hated it, but you have to admire Mary Shelley. She was a very young woman (18) when she wrote this book and she managed to turn out a story that has survived over a century. This book has helped spawn movies, songs, games, and even more books. How could you not want to have that kind of influence on the world? And yes, I’m terribly jealous that she wrote this book at an age when I was more concerned about the drummers I was in band with in college. *cough*

With me it was the bass guitarist.  Always the bass guitarist.  Good choice with Mary Shelley!  I wonder what she dreamt about at night?  So, my friend, what can readers expect next from you?

My next book, Lifestyles of the Fey and Dangerous will be released by Siren in April. I’m really looking forward to that release. It’s about Noelani “Lani” Fayard and Malachi Cromwell – if you’ve read the other books, you’ll recognize Malachi 😉 That book is so different from the first two in the series; slightly darker, although I still have a good bit of humor in the story. It was a therapeutic book for me to write, so I hope others will experience the same spiritual release I felt when I wrote The End.

Thank you so much for being here today–this was a lot of fun!  Danica can be found at her website: http://www.danicaavet.com/ where you can link to her blog…which has more delusional dreams about Gerard Butler.

Here is a blurb for the awesome Succubus-in-Waiting:

It isn’t easy holding onto your virginity in a succubus Pleasure House, but Piper Foxgrove has managed for decades. As a rare succubus/weretiger, Piper dreams of true love to the consternation of her mother. Forced to work with a bad-tempered, good-looking werewolf looking for his nephew, she’s determined to ignore his sexiness. Unfortunately, her succubus half decides he’s the key to unlocking her powers, while her recently awakened weretiger half thinks he’s perfect mate material.

Connor Griffin needs to find his nephew. The Veil can be dangerous and worry makes him take drastic measures. His brother died because of one of the “soul suckering” succubi so he doesn’t trust them. But something about Piper calls to his wolf and has him doing things he never thought he’d do: like work with a succubus, or lust after a succubus, or fall in love with a sassy, sexy succubus with tiger-striped hair.

And…the fabulous Danica has offered to give away a handpainted Mardi Gras mask made especially for Piper’s book to one lucky commenter!  We’ll randomly draw a name in a couple of days.  Good luck!  If you’d like a question to answer…if you could be anyone in the world for just one day, living or dead, who would it be?

Bronwen Evans drops by for a Chat–and Givewaway!

on March 3, 2011

Today I was luckily enough to interview my friend, Bronwen Evans, whose debut book, INVITATION TO RUIN, was released from Kensington the same day as FATED. In fact, today I’m over on Bronwen’s blog…drop by and say hi.  In fact…we’re going to choose the name of one lucky commenter and send them BOTH books! 

Bronwen is a proud reader and writer of Romance! Any romance, but historical romance in particular, and the Regency period is her favorite. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand and is one of five sisters – and is a twin! So no surprise that her first book is about twins! She now spends her time immersing herself in love stories full of passion, desire and of course the happily ever after. But that’s not to say her characters don’t have a number of hurdles to overcome along the way.

Thanks for being here today, Bronwen!  Here are the questions…

Hi Rebecca, thanks for having me visit today. It’s so exciting to share a release day with you. Both our books were released on 1 March and it’s fun taking this journey with you.

First things first.  You live in New Zealand and just had that horrific earthquake.  How are you, your friends and family doing…and what has your experience been?

It’s been a very humbling experience. I live in Wellington 400km from Christchurch (as do all my family – so we are safe), but I have two critique partners in Christchurch who have lost their homes and livelihoods. It has been hard to celebrate knowing the death and destruction down there. But you only get a debut novel once, so even my friends who have lost everything are urging me to celebrate. I think it is a small ray of sunshine in the midst of such destruction.

It has made it difficult to write too. It’s hard to go to a happy, romantic place when you see the news each day. I’m hoping to get back into some writing this week. The Red Cross has a wonderful website if you want to donate or help in anyway.

I can’t imagine losing a home.  Best wishes to you and your friends.  Okay, down to the fun stuff now.  You’re known for writing spicy, exciting historicals.  Why are you drawn to the historical romance genre?

I love strong, dark, tortured heroes and the Regency period lends itself to creating the alpha, alpha male (as does paranormal). My voice tends to suits the formality of the Regency era and I love the history during that period – Napoleonic Wars, Colonial Wars (America and India), Smuggling, The Prince Regent and the decadence that filled their lives.

Oh yeah.  I love a good alpha male!  Tell us about your hero in INVITATION TO RUIN.  What makes him different than other heroes out there?  And, why am I going to fall in love with him?

My hero, Anthony, has had a childhood that would have broken many a man, but he survived. He survived and was strong enough to defy his upbringing. However, to do so he had to protect himself and he did that by locking away his feelings. He tries to make out that he has no heart and that there is evil flowing through his veins, but it’s so obvious he has the biggest heart of any man, and is worthy of love. You can’t wait to see him get his HEA.

There’s nothing like a struggle for an alpha to find happiness.  With the help of a heroine, of course.  So, tell us about your heroine in INVITATION TO RUIN.  Why do I want to be her?  What are her struggles with dealing with this hero?

Melissa is a woman who I’d be friends with. She is bright, savvy and compassionate. She has a brain and uses it for both herself and others. She runs the Women’s Freedom League. They buy slaves their freedom and find them jobs.

She has also had an unhappy childhood. Her brother is eight years older and her parents didn’t really want or need her (until they got sick). Her brother ignored her until he needed money and he tried to marry her off to any rich reprobate.

Melissa wants to matter to someone. She refuses to marry a man who doesn’t love her and so when she is forced to marry Anthony, she has only one option. Teach him to love and win his heart.  A formidable task when faced with a man who thinks he is evil and is unloveable.

I love that one of her key characteristics is that she wants to matter to someone…and hasn’t until she meets the hero.  So, let’s go for a question just about you.  If you could be anyone in the world for just one day (living or dead), who would it be and why?

I loved this question. I have so many people who I’d love to walk, for a time, in their shoes. As I need a bit of light heartedness at the moment and I write Regency historicals, and they have just re-released her first book, I’ve picked Dame Barbara Cartland.  She led an extraordinary life, mixing in Society as a reporter and a celebrity in her own right. She was, at one stage, Princes Diana’s step-grandmother. She always wore pink and pink is my favorite color too, although I don’t take it as far as Dame Cartland, and I would love to have the romance writing career she had.

In 1983 Cartland wrote 23 novels, and holds the Guinness World Record for the most novels written in a single year. Oh to be so productive!

Awesome choice!  I can’t even imagine writing 23 novels in one year!  If you could’ve written any book out there (except yours or mine :)) what book would it have been and why?

Wow – what a question. The mercenary in me says Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, then I could write whatever romance novel I liked.

In terms of a book in my genre, it would have to be – Whitney My Love by Judith McNaught

In terms of skill – anything by William Shakespeare or Oscar Wild (I’d love to have even 1% of his wit.)

Yeah, it’d be pretty cool to have a book not only made into a movie, but turned into a ride at Universal Studios!  So, what can readers expect next from you?

Strong alpha heroes, clever heroines and fast paced, sensual stories. Book two in my ‘Invitation to’ series is due out in early 2012 and is Rufus Knight’s story (he’s in Invitation to Ruin). I’m also currently writing book one in my new ‘Disgraced Lord’s’ series and I’m hoping the other three ‘Invitation to’ books get contracted!

Thanks so much! 

Pleasure – thanks for having me!

So, here is the wonderful blurb for INVITATION TO RUIN:

One Good Lady is About to Go Bad…

The only thing Miss Melissa Goodly has ever wanted out of a marriage is love. But any hope of that dissolves one wild night, when she loses herself in the arms of the most irresistible-and unobtainable-man in all of England. For when they are discovered in a position as compromising as it is pleasurable, she has no choice but to accept his proposal.

Avowed bachelor Anthony Craven, Earl of Wickham, never meant to seduce an innocent like Melissa. Yet now that the damage is done, it does seem like she’d make a very convenient wife. After all, she is so naive he won’t have to worry about ever being tempted. Or so he thinks, until the vows are spoken and they are left alone-and his new bride reveals a streak just as brazen and unrestrained as his own.

Don’t forget to drop by Bronwen’s blog today and say hi to us!  You can find Bronwen at:

http://www.bronwenevans.com

http://www.facebook.com/BronwenEvansAuthor

http://twitter.com/authorbevans

The Launching of FATED

on February 24, 2011

The launching party at the Gourmet Way was wonderful and I so appreciate everyone who came by and bought a book!  I thought I’d write a quick run-down about FATED’s release day…in outline form since I’m trying to get organized.

  • Got up, sent kids off to school and jumped on the internet.  Friends already tweeting about my release day on Twitter—friends rock.
  • Return ‘happy release day’ emails to both Cynthia Eden and Jillian Chantal.  Very happy to be sharing a release day with these two.
  • Run down to Hastings.  Find book.  Try not to cry.  Take several pictures, ignoring the odd looks from other people.  One elderly lady finally asked what I was doing.  Said… “That’s my book.”
  • Drove to Borders, hoping but not expecting to find book on shelf.  Not there.  (Borders filed for bankruptcy last week…lots of books not there.)
  • Drive away, get phone call from sister who just had surgery on her lower leg…sister needs a latte.
  • Take sister a latte.  Sit and listen as she calls the Spokane Valley Barnes and Noble, using a high voice with slight accent asking about my book.  Don’t know why sister is using the accent, but it’s hilarious.  Then high-five sister when she finds out that not only is FATED there, it’s on the front table.  BTW, sister’s name is Debbie.
  • Swing by Gourmet Way.  Everything is in order and I’m just in the way.  Do happy hop and take off.
  • Grab a sandwich from a deli—carbs don’t count on release day.
  • Go home, get on internet.  Lots of best wishes.  Brandie calls, has a surprise, lasts about thirty seconds before she reveals she bought some really cool cookies with FATED on them.  Am impressed Brans lasted half a minute.  Am also thankful Brandie has arranged launching party.  Brandie rocks.
  • Look outside; realize it’s starting to snow.  Think…crap.  Roads will be bad and nobody will come to launching.
  • Get text from critique partner Sayde Grace that says…”relax.”  Am happy crit partner knows me so well.
  • Go and get ready.  Hate outfit I thought I’d wear.  Try on sixteen other outfits.  Finally put the first one back on.  Husband comes home, says ‘great outfit…but you have lipstick on your teeth’.
  • Wipe off teeth.  Head to Gourmet Way.  Nearly sigh at the pretty flowers from family and nuns.  Notice Deb’s eyes dilated from the pain meds from her surgery…prop her next to table.  Notice she is drinking white wine too…figure she’ll be fine.
  • My folks show up with big smiles. My folks are the best.  Husband and kids arrive…son wants to know when the paparazzi are showing up.
  • Friend Bonnie Paulson shows up with a cool mat for people to sign.  Bonnie rocks.
  • Sister Stephanie shows up with camera…she’s ready to roll.
  • The doors open.  Spend three solid hours signing book.  Lots of family show up from the Silver Valley and all around.  The Hintz girls bring goodies and Aunt Lisa brings gorgeous flowers.  Lots of friends from town, as well as people I’ve never met walk through the door.  My entire town rocks.

 So, that’s my debut launching day in a nutshell.  It was a truly wonderful day and I’m so grateful for everyone who shared it with me-both online and in real time.