My Christmas novella is in DABWAHA, the March Madness of romance novels! You can win prizes for playing!

YOU GUYS!! Unwrapping Her Perfect Match just got one of the coolest compliments a book can get. It’s been included in DABWAHA!

DABWAHA

What the heck is DABWAHA?

DABWAHA is a tournament to find readers’ favorite romance novels of 2014. It’s run by the bloggers at Dear Author and Smart Bitches Trashy Books, which is why the name is the Dear Author Bitchery Writing Award for Hellagood Authors. (Catchy, no?)

They start with 8 categories, each with 8 books. That’s 64 books (mostly books that were favorably reviewed on one of the sites last year, but some books are nominated by readers, too). Yesterday they announced seven of the categories, and Unwrapping Her Perfect Match is right there under Novellas!

The eighth category is made up of books nominated by readers. This week, you can nominate books you think should be part of the tournament. You just need the ISBN (if there’s a print version available) or ASIN if it’s digital only. If my other two books of 2014 are on your list of favorites, here are the ASINs:
Playing It Close B00GKBIQNG
Tempting the Player B00L7NTY7Y

Once the tournament’s live, readers make a bracket by selecting the books they want to see advance in each round. Then you vote on your favorite books in each category, and the winning books move on to the next round. Whomever has the most perfect bracket after each round wins a prize.

Unwrapping Her Perfect MatchHow can I get involved?

1. Nominate your favorite books of 2014 to be included. (till March 13)

2. Make your own bracket. (March 15)

3. Vote! (March 17 onwards)

Right now, you can only do #1. When the tournament goes live, you can do #2 and #3. And there will be lots of bribery trying to buy your vote. 🙂

I’ll be back later with bribes. I’m really hoping I don’t go out in the first round. Please help me!

Have you read any of the books in the Novella category? What do you think my chances are? (You can be honest. I know I’m up against Goliaths!)

How to read my London Legends Christmas novella for FREE!

Hands up…how many of you have heard of Wattpad? It’s an amazing website that connects readers with free stories. Millions of people visit the site, and you can find loads of great stories — including Unwrapping Her Perfect Match.

I’ll be publishing one chapter every Monday and Friday between now and Christmas. Of course, if you want to read more than two chapters a week, you can always buy it. 😉

Most people download the Wattpad app and read that way, but you can also read on the website. You can leave comments on stories, vote for them, share them, and — if you use the Wattpad app — you can even create quote art so you can share your favorite quotes from stories. As an author, I can add videos and photos, which I’ll do for a few chapters. (I’ve added a video to get you in the Christmas mood for chapter one. Click on that link and look under Media on the right-hand side.)

Whether you’re already on Wattpad or new to it, I hope you’ll check out Unwrapping Her Perfect Match and help me spread the word. I’m hoping the site will help introduce my London Legends to a whole new audience!

Unwrapping Her Perfect Match’Twas a week before Christmas, and at the auction house…

At six foot one, Gwen Chambers has felt like a giant her whole life. She’s a calm, capable nurse saving lives in a busy London hospital, but healthy men give her heart palpitations. When larger-than-life rugby player “Little” John Sheldon convinces her to bid on him in his team’s fundraising auction, she discovers how pleasurable heart palpitations can be.

A rugby player was stirring, with desire no one could douse…

John has wanted Gwen since he first saw her, but when he’s injured in a match just before Christmas he suddenly needs her too. Not only can the sexy nurse help him recover, but she might be able to help him look after his daughter—a shy ten-year-old who speaks only French.

But will it be a Happy Christmas for all, and for all a good night?

From decorating the Christmas tree to ice skating at the Tower of London, Gwen helps father and daughter open up and bond with each other—and she bonds right along with them. But when John’s agent calls with a life-changing offer, Gwen has to decide how far she’s willing to go for her perfect match. Will their first Noël also be their last?

Buy it at Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Have you read anything on Wattpad before? Do you have any favorite stories there?

Cover reveal & excerpt from Unwrapping Her Perfect Match!

Thank you all so much for giving me your feedback on the various cover possibilities for Unwrapping Her Perfect Match, my upcoming London Legends Christmas novella! Two of them were tied for first place. They had more votes than all of the others put together. They both had the same background. The only difference was the font used for the title, so I chose the one I thought looked more Christmassy (because that’s what we want for our Christmas stories, right?).

So here it is, the cover for Unwrapping Her Perfect Match!

Unwrapping Her Perfect Match

 

I love this cover. I hope you do too. Thank you so much for helping me choose it!

And here’s what it’s about.

’Twas a week before Christmas, and at the auction house…

At six foot one, Gwen Chambers has felt like a giant her whole life. She’s a calm, capable nurse saving lives in a busy London hospital, but healthy men give her heart palpitations. When larger-than-life rugby player “Little” John Sheldon convinces her to bid on him in his team’s fundraising auction, she discovers how pleasurable heart palpitations can be.

A rugby player was stirring, with desire no one could douse…

John has wanted Gwen since he first saw her, but when he’s injured in a match just before Christmas he suddenly needs her too. Not only can the sexy nurse help him recover, but she might be able to help him look after his daughter—a shy ten-year-old who speaks only French.

But will it be a Happy Christmas for all, and for all a good night?

From decorating the Christmas tree to ice skating at the Tower of London, Gwen helps father and daughter open up and bond with each other—and she bonds right along with them. But when John’s agent calls with a life-changing offer, Gwen has to decide how far she’s willing to go for her perfect match. Will their first Noël also be their last?

Buy it at Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Unwrapping Her Perfect Match will come out on November 11 — the day after Tempting the Player! That’s right, TWO hot rugby players in two days. Christmas has come early!

Right now it’s available for pre-order at all Amazon sites, and it’ll become available for pre-order at other online booksellers early next week. Also, there will be a print version! As soon as that’s available, I’ll let you know.

But that’s not all. On Monday I’ll be back to tell you how you can read it online for FREE. 🙂

Want to read an excerpt? Here it is!

The goddess wore a rugby shirt with the wrong number on it.

John Sheldon watched the woman walk through the door of the stadium’s hospitality suite, where he and his London Legends teammates would soon be auctioned off for charity. Outside, snow blanketed the rugby pitch while green and white Christmas lights strung around the stadium blazed with the team’s colors. Inside, rich people were getting pissed on mulled wine and whisky he’d never be able to afford under normal circumstances. John had been trying not to yawn when the woman entered the room.

Her height drew his notice first. How could it not, when the next-tallest woman in the room came to her shoulders? She was the only woman here who wouldn’t make him feel like a towering giant. Her face was angled away from him, and her wheat-blond locks of hair had been twisted and clamped behind her head in one of those casually elegant styles that begged to be undone, mussed up by big, clumsy fingers. Her neck was slender, her shoulders broad, and her rugby shirt had the number ten on it. His captain’s number.

An elbow jabbed him between the ribs, jostling the tumbler of Islay whisky he held and splashing the amber liquid across his hand. “I count three for me, a dozen for the skipper and nil for you, Shelly. What do you make of that?”

John set his tumbler on a table, tempted to lick the alcohol off his hand so it didn’t go to waste. Opting instead for a classiness he usually failed to achieve, he wiped his wet hand on a cloth serviette and looked down—a good eight inches down—at Matt Ogden, who’d recently become the team’s starting fullback. “Nil what?”

“Bidders.” Oggie raised his brows and nodded at the crowd gathered in the suite.

John scanned the people who’d paid five-hundred quid each to be here tonight. They’d come to raise money for several charities by bidding on a player to do pretty much whatever they wanted for a day. Last year John had been “won” to teach a kid rugby skills. That was a lot better than the year before, when he’d had to show up at a stockbroker’s office and pretend to be his best mate. How he’d got through it without lamping the arsehole was a mystery.

And Oggie was right—not a single person wore his number. At the start of the evening, guests received a replica Legends rugby shirt, and they pinned on it the number of the player they intended to bid for. It was an ice-breaker that gave the players a chance to change people’s minds before bidding started. A good dozen guests, including the goddess, wore the number ten—not surprising, since his captain Liam Callaghan was one of the best-known rugby players in the world. But why in God’s green England would three people want to bid for Oggie when he’d barely played until last month, while John had started every match?

Okay, so Oggie was a little above average height, while John was six-nine. He could see how that might intimidate people. And Oggie was apparently good looking—if you asked him—so that explained why all of his bidders were female.

“Fucking hell,” John muttered, the potential for humiliation sinking in. “I’m not standing up there and having no one bid on me.”

“Looks like that’s exactly what you’re doing. Meanwhile, I’ll have to let those three ladies down gently,” Oggie said, his voice betraying the fact that he might be here physically but mentally he was back home, shagging his best friend Libby.

The specter of a crushing defeat loomed over John, and his determination to come out on top finally kicked in. “I may not get as many bidders as you, mate, but I bet I can raise more money.”

“Really?” Oggie laughed and stretched out his hand. “You’re on. What does the winner get?”

“Pride. Bragging rights.” He held up his tumbler. “And a bottle of this whisky.”

“Done. Now go do what you do best. Knock some heads together.”

John knew right where to start. The goddess might’ve started the evening wearing his captain’s number, but by the end of the night she would be calling out his.

Read more here, or pre-order the book! And if you want to read more about Matt and Libby (in the bath!), you can read an excerpt of Tempting the Player here.

Interview with RITA finalist Kat Latham (me!) – & giveaway!

Okay, I hope this isn’t too narcissistic, but since I asked all the other RITA® nominees in my category to submit themselves to an interview, I figured I should do it too.

So today we welcome…me!

Kat Latham is a California girl who moved to Europe the day after graduating from UCLA, ditching her tank tops for raincoats. She taught English in Prague and worked as an editor in London before she and her British husband moved to the Netherlands, where they are surrounded by miles and miles of green pasture, canals and Shetland ponies. Kat’s slowly adjusting to life in a place where bicycles and cows seem to outnumber people.

With degrees in English lit and human rights, she loves stories that reflect the humor and emotion of real life. Kat’s other career involves writing and editing for charities, and she’s had the privilege of traveling to Kenya, Ethiopia and India to write about the heroic people helping their communities survive disasters.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter | Pinterest

1. Which of your books has been nominated for a RITA, and in what category?
Mine Under the Mistletoe – Romance Novella

2. How do your hero and heroine meet, and what are their first impressions of each other?
Ashley’s a San Diegan who has always dreamed of spending Christmas in London, so she arranges a house-swap through a website…she’ll stay in a stranger’s house while he goes to San Diego and spends the holidays in hers.

Except that a snowstorm shuts Heathrow down before Ollie’s flight to San Diego can take off, so he goes back to his own house and crawls into his bed exhausted, completely forgetting that Ashley is there. Oh yeah, and he’s naked. So she reacts the way you’d probably expect her to.

Here’s one of my favorite passages from their meeting.

Oh, crud. He was polite even when she’d nearly smashed his family jewels. Maybe that was a British way of coping with agony. Would he kick her out of his house? Surely he would understand that she’d thought he was an attacker. She’d saved for this trip for five years and she was finally here, ready to live her childhood fantasies of snow, figgy pudding and men who called each other guv’nor, but she’d just gouged the man’s testicles for heaven’s sake. Hospitality only went so far.

3. What are their best and worst characteristics?
Ashley is very optimistic and sunny, but she can come across as a bit naive. She’s not naive; she’s suffered a lot of hardship in her life. But she’s determined to triumph over it and not to let life’s challenges overwhelm her.

Ollie can be grumpy, but he has shouldered an incredible amount of responsibility and would do absolutely anything for the people he loves. He has made huge sacrifices for his family, but that also makes the holidays difficult for him.

4. Where is this book set, and what makes the setting special?
It’s set in East London, which is one of my favorite places – especially at Christmas. But in the last several years, London has experienced more snowy and icy winters, and it’s not set up to cope with weather like that. Every few years, loads of flights are canceled and pretty much the whole city shuts down.

But there are worse things than being stranded in London at Christmas. 🙂

5. Is this the first time you’ve been a RITA finalist? If not, what books have previously finaled?
It is, and it’s the first year I was eligible! I’m so incredibly excited.

6. Have you read any of the other books that are finalists in your category? If so, which ones?
I’ve read all but one, and I’ll be reading that one before the ceremony. I’m amazed and honored to have been nominated alongside such amazing authors.

7. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were a RITA finalist?
I was out having lunch with a friend and found out as I was leaving the restaurant, so I called my editor, Angela James, and then my agent, Laura Bradford. Then I called my husband.

8. Do you write in genres other than the one you finaled in? If not, are there any genres you would love to write in?
I only write contemporary romance, but I wish I could write historicals, too. I tried once, and it took me weeks to write five pages because I kept looking up historical facts – what clothes would they be wearing? what room would visitors be taken to? what parts of London would’ve been built-up in 18th century London, and what would still have been fields and farmland?

I totally admire historical romance authors!

9. If you win the RITA, who’s the first person you’ll thank in your speech, and why?
My husband for his incredible patience. And my mom, who has been SO supportive – though she swears that she skips the sexy parts of my books.

Speed-dating round

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
A town called Cesky Krumlov in southern Bohemia, Czech Republic. If you ever get the chance, go there!

If you were stuck on a desert island, what ONE book would you want with you?
Laura Kinsale’s Seize the Fire because it has the sexiest desert-island sex scene EVER.

If you could bring one of your heroes to life for a day, who would you choose?
Spencer Bailey from Knowing the Score (though Matt Ogden from my upcoming book Tempting the Player also tempts me).

Which of your characters is most similar to you?
Caitlyn Sweeney from Knowing the Score…which is funny because I’ve read a few reviews that say she’s really annoying.

Maybe funny isn’t the word I’m looking for. Painful? Yeah, that.

If you weren’t an author, what would be your dream career?
My other career is pretty awesome. I’m a writer and editor for charities working in the development and humanitarian sectors. It’s incredibly inspiring.

What kind of dessert are you hoping they’ll serve at the award ceremony?
I’ll be happy with anything, since I’ve been trying to limit my sugar intake to lose some weight and get healthier. Basically, anyone sitting at my table better watch out because I’ll eat their arms if they get too close to my dessert.

What’s the best compliment a reader could give you?
“Your book made me laugh out loud.”

How would you describe your books?
They reflect all the love, humor and poignancy of real life.

Thanks to a transatlantic house swap, California girl Ashley Turner is finally going to fulfill her lifelong dream of a proper English Christmas. Her holiday plans did not include a sexy stranger climbing into her borrowed bed in the middle of the night. But in the light of day, Ashley can’t help but wonder if Santa has delivered early…

Game designer Oliver Stansfeld can’t wait to leave dreary London—and all its difficult holiday memories—for sunny San Diego. But a freak ice storm and a grounded plane have forced him back to his already-occupied flat. To make up for the mix-up, the least he can do is show his pretty houseguest where to get the perfect Christmas tree before he leaves.

The more time they spend together, the more their attraction grows, and soon Ashley is tempting Oliver to give in to the spirit of the season and snuggle up for the rest of the winter. As the ice melts and flights start taking off again, he must choose between giving in to the past or risking his heart on a chance at love.

Amazon | B&N | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads

Giveaway!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Winner will be announced on Monday July 21. Good luck, everyone, and make sure you come back on Monday when I’ll be revealing my cover for Tempting the Player (London Legends #3)!

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Interview with RITA finalist Ruthie Knox – & giveaway!

Welcome to my RITA® award celebration! Hosted by the Romance Writers of America®, the RITAs celebrate outstanding romance novels and novellas. I’m so thrilled to be a finalist in the Romance Novella category, and I’ve asked my fellow RITA® finalists to come tell you more about themselves and their books. I hope you meet some new favorite authors!

Today we welcome Ruthie Knox!

New York Times bestselling author Ruthie Knox writes contemporary romance that’s sexy, witty, and angsty—sometimes all three at once. After training to be a British historian, she became an academic editor instead. Then she got really deeply into knitting, as one does, followed by motherhood and romance novel writing.

Her debut novel, Ride with Me, is probably the only existing cross-country bicycling love story. She followed it up with About Last Night, a London-set romance whose hero has the unlikely name of Neville, and then Room at the Inn, a Christmas novella—both of which were finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award. Her four-book series about the Clark family of Camelot, Ohio, has won accolades for its fresh, funny portrayal of small-town Midwestern life.

Ruthie moonlights as a mother, Tweets incessantly, and bakes a mean focaccia. She’d love to hear from you, so visit her website at www.ruthieknox.com and drop her a line.

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1. Which of your books has been nominated for a RITA, and in what category?
HOW TO MISBEHAVE in romance novella; also ALONG CAME TROUBLE in contemporary romance

2. How do your hero and heroine meet, and what are their first impressions of each other?
Amber works at the community center in Camelot, Ohio, where an addition is being built on. She has to let the contractor, Tony, into and out of the building every morning and evening, and she develops a crush on him — but probably would never have worked up the nerve to talk to him. One afternoon as she’s waiting to lock up, a tornado siren fortuitously traps them in the community center basement together. When the power goes out, things start getting interesting.

Amber’s impression of Tony is that he’s hot, adult, worldly, and would never be interested in someone like her. Tony’s impression of Amber is that she’s attractive and naive, way too young and too good for him.

3. What are their best and worst characteristics?
Tony is a hard worker, loyal, careful, and kind. He takes responsibility — to a fault — and is harder on himself than he should be. He has trouble letting go of mistakes he thinks he’s made.

Amber is very similar — smart, hard-working, kind, loyal. She’s been careful her whole life, and she’s starting to feel trapped by her choices. With Tony, this makes her reckless. She’s also, more so than Tony, had a sheltered life, and she has a fairly narrow perspective on her own gifts and failings.

4. Where is this book set, and what makes the setting special?
The story is set in Camelot, Ohio, and it is the founding novella for the Camelot Series. Camelot is a small town in central Ohio with a liberal arts college and not much else. The town itself is bucolic and charming, but the stories set in Camelot center on the Clark family, which has no connection to the college. The Clarks own an apartment complex in Camelot. The Clark family matriarch, Janet, was a reluctant transplant to the town, and all three of the Clark siblings — Amber, Caleb, and Katie — have complex and variable feelings about their hometown. The series attempts to complicate the sense of what place and family are all about in small-town romance; it considers how, because we all experience the world differently, even close siblings who grow up in a small town are each raised by different parents in a distinct place.

5. Is this the first time you’ve been a RITA finalist? If not, what books have previously finaled?
No, I was lucky enough to final last year with ABOUT LAST NIGHT (contemporary single-title) and ROOM AT THE INN (novella).

6. Have you read any of the other books that are finalists in your category? If so, which ones?
In contemporary romance, I’ve read Molly O’Keefe’s CRAZY THING CALLED LOVE, which is wonderful. I’d be happy to lose to Molly. In romance novella, I haven’t read any of the other finalists. I’d like to get a few read, at least, before the conference!

7. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were a RITA finalist?
I told my family and some friends. It was a busy day, and I didn’t really find any time or way to celebrate — that’s something that’s always hard for me. But I was honored, and I was pleased later when my five-year-old told me, “Congratulations on your book, Mama.”

8. Do you write in genres other than the one you finaled in? If not, are there any genres you would love to write in?
I only write contemporary so far, long and short. I’ve dabbled a little bit in historical, but doubt it will ever be the genre for me!

9. If you win the RITA, who’s the first person you’ll thank in your speech, and why?
Probably Serena Bell, my friend and writing partner, who told me when I was 8,000 words into this story and frustrated that I needed to throw it away and start over. I’ll thank her first because she was right, and because it takes a good friend to tell the truth in a situation like that.

Speed-dating round

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
Scotland

If you were stuck on a desert island, what ONE book would you want with you?
Gone with the Wind

If you could bring one of your heroes to life for a day, who would you choose?
Caleb from ALONG CAME TROUBLE

Which of your characters is most similar to you?
May from TRULY

If you weren’t an author, what would be your dream career?
Acquisitions editor-in-chief for a publishing house

What kind of dessert are you hoping they’ll serve at the award ceremony?
Cheesecake

What’s the best compliment a reader could give you?
“Your book made a difference in my life/day/morning.”

How would you describe your books?
Humorous but serious

What woman can resist a hot man in a hard hat? New York Times bestselling author Ruthie Knox kicks off her new Camelot series with this deliciously sexy original novella, in which a good girl learns how to misbehave . . . with all her heart.

As program director for the Camelot Community Center, Amber Clark knows how to keep her cool. That is, until a sudden tornado warning forces her to take shelter in a darkened basement with a hunk of man whose sex appeal green lights her every fantasy. With a voice that would melt chocolate, he asks her if she is okay. Now she’s hot all over and wondering: How does a girl make a move?

Building contractor Tony Mazzara was just looking to escape nature’s fury. Instead, he finds himself all tangled up with lovely Amber. Sweet and sexy, she’s ready to unleash her wild side. Their mutual desire reaches a fever pitch and creates a storm of its own—unexpected, powerful, and unforgettable. But is it bigger than Tony can handle? Can he let go of painful memories and let the force of this remarkable woman show him a future he never dreamed existed?

Amazon | B&N | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads

New York Times bestselling author Ruthie Knox’s Camelot series continues in this sizzling eBook original novel, featuring two headstrong souls who bump heads—and bodies—as temptation and lust bring nothing but delicious trouble.

An accomplished lawyer and driven single mother, Ellen Callahan isn’t looking for any help. She’s doing just fine on her own. So Ellen’s more than a little peeved when her brother, an international pop star, hires a security guard to protect her from a prying press that will stop at nothing to dig up dirt on him. But when the tanned and toned Caleb Clark shows up at her door, Ellen might just have to plead the fifth.

Back home after a deployment in Iraq and looking for work as a civilian, Caleb signs on as Ellen’s bodyguard. After combat in the hot desert sun, this job should be a breeze. But guarding the willful beauty is harder than he imagined—and Caleb can’t resist the temptation to mix business with pleasure. With their desires growing more undeniable by the day, Ellen and Caleb give in to an evening of steamy passion. But will they ever be able to share more than just a one-night stand?

Along Came Trouble is the second book in the Camelot Series.

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Giveaway!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Winner will be announced on Monday July 21. Make sure you come back tomorrow for another interview and another chance to win!

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