Winner of a banned book!

I really loved reading all of the thoughtful, thought-provoking comments people left on my post about Banned Books Week. Thank you all!

The winner of a banned book of her choice is…Quilt Lady!

Congratulations, Quilt Lady. Email me at romancingkatrina[at]gmail[dot]com and let me know: a) Which book you’d like; b) What format you’d like it in (print/Kindle/Nook); c) What address you’d like me to send a print book to if that’s your format of choice.

Everyone, this week you can win a $10 gift certificate for yourself AND a contemporary romance author.

Have a happy Tuesday!

Interview with Loretta Chase – & giveaway!

Loretta ChaseLoretta Chase is one of romance’s best-loved authors. Her sensuous, brilliantly researched historical romance novels have earned her dozens of accolades—including New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner. She’s one of my all-time favorite authors and I’m beyond pleased to welcome her here today. Welcome, Loretta!

LC: Thank you! I’m delighted to be here.

1. On your website, you mention that your husband encouraged you to start writing novels. Could you tell us a bit more about what made you switch from writing corporate video scripts to romance novels? Even though they’re both forms of writing, it seems like a big shift and a big risk to take.

LC: I’d always wanted to write a book and had attempted to, but it was like On the Road, in the sense that it spooled on endlessly and should have been written on a big roll of paper, too. This was because, despite all the mountains of books I’d read and courses in English literature I’d taken, I didn’t know how to structure a story.

But a few years’ writing video scripts gave me useful skills, like how to tell a story within given boundaries, how to find the message and stay focused on it, and so on. I had to make boring topics (diamond drill bits, safety-equipment fit testing) interesting. Dialogue I already had a handle on, but video challenged me to pack a lot into a few words. Finally, working for corporate clients gave me a sense of how a company operates, which cured my “I’m an artiste” mind set. In a nutshell, I learned professionalism.

So the dream was always there, but video provided experience and discipline and confidence—and my husband, who had more faith in me than I had in myself, urged me to follow my dream.

Lord of Scoundrels2. That’s so sweet—and I know we’re all glad he did that! In 1995, your novel Lord of Scoundrels was published, and it’s regularly topped lists of best-loved romance novels ever since. It’s one of the books I recommend to people who are curious about romance. Could you tell that it would be a special book as you were writing it? How do you feel about it now?

LC: I knew it was a strong book when I wrote it. Both Dain and Jessica took hold of my imagination with extreme ferocity, and that made it feel as though the story was there—in my brain and my heart—just needing to be written. It was a rare situation, for me, of seeing the movie running in my head, every single day as I sat down to work. Every book is a different experience, and some flow more smoothly or swiftly than others, but that one had an unusually powerful engine. I still think it’s a strong book and I’m proud of it. But I will admit, I never expected it to last so long and continue to be received with so much affection.

Continue reading “Interview with Loretta Chase – & giveaway!”

A trip to Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam

Diary of Anne FrankLike many people, The Diary of Anne Frank is the first book I can remember that gave me a hint of how unjust life can be and how cruel people can be.

I’ve lived in the Netherlands for ten months now, but other than going to the airport or changing trains, I’ve spent very little time in Amsterdam, where Anne Frank and her family hid for a couple of years during the war. When my parents told me they wanted to visit me and Smarty Pants, I knew immediately that it was an opportunity to visit the attic apartment that had lived in my imagination for decades.

The day started out in bizarre fashion. I hadn’t realized that it was Pride week in Amsterdam, or that the day we’d booked our tickets for was when there would be a Pride parade on boats down the canal in front of Anne Frank’s house.

People gather for the Amsterdam Pride parade on the canal outside Anne Frank's house
People gather for the Amsterdam Pride parade on the canal outside Anne Frank’s house

We had booked our tickets to the Anne Frank Museum several days in advance (note to travelers: DO THIS. It saves you from standing in a massive line to buy tickets, and because the space inside is small they don’t seem to let everyone in at once). When we entered, we were warned not to take any photographs, so I’m afraid the only ones I can share with you are of people waiting for the Pride parade to start outside.

The apartment was above Mr. Frank’s business—a detail I’d forgotten since reading the book as a teenager. The strange thing was that when we were in the offices and storerooms—the areas the public knew about—we could hear the thumping music from outside. Very odd looking at photos of the families who hid while “It’s Raining Men” played in the background.

But once we passed through the bookcase that hid stairs up to the third floor, there was no longer any light or sound from outside. This part is at the back of the house and feels completely isolated from the rest of the world.

Continue reading “A trip to Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam”

Bookstravaganza! giveaway for blog subscribers & Facebook friends

When I was at RWA’s National Conference in Anaheim, a lot of very generous authors gave me books to give away.

A LOT of generous authors.

So for the next few months – or until Smarty Pants sees our postage bill – I’m going to be giving away books to some of my favorite people: my blog subscribers and Facebook friends.

On the blog

Between today (August 13th, 2012) and August 31, 2012, leave a comment on any post on my blog for a chance to win three books. You don’t have to limit yourself to the posts that are published in that time period – you can comment on earlier posts.

I’ll randomly select ONE winner to get ALL THREE books. You must be a subscriber to my blog in order to win. See that email form on the right side? Go forth and subscribe.

Here are the three books you could win in August. Can you guess the theme for this month?

Devil's BrideDevil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens

When Devil, the most infamous member of the Cynster family, is caught in a compromising position with plucky governess Honoria Wetherby, he astonishes the entire ton by offering his hand in marriage. No one had dreamed this scandalous rake would so tamely take a bride. As society’s mamas swooned at the loss of England’s most eligible bachelor, Devil’s infamous Cynster cousins began to place wagers on the wedding date.

But Honoria wasn’t about to bend to society’s demands and marry a man just because they’d been found together unchaperoned. No. She craved adventure. Solving the murder of a young Cynster cousin fit the bill for a while, but once the crime was solved, Honoria was set on seeing the world. But the scalding heat of her unsated desire for Devil soon had Honoria craving a very different sort of excitement. Could her passion for Devil cause her to embrace the enchanting peril of a lifelong adventure of the heart?

Rogue Pirate's BrideThe Rogue Pirate’s Bride by Shana Galen

Revenge should be sweet, but it may cost him everything…

The Marquis de Valère escaped certain death in the French Revolution and is now an infamous privateer. Out to avenge the death of his mentor, Bastien discovers himself astonishingly out of his depth when confronted with a beautiful, daring young woman who is out for his blood…

Forgiveness is unthinkable, but it may be her only hope…

British Admiral’s daughter Raeven Russell believes Bastien responsible for her fiancé’s death. But once the fiery beauty crosses swords with Bastien, she’s not so sure she really wants him to change his wicked ways…

Highlander's PrizeThe Highlander’s Prize by Mary Wine

BASTARD ROYAL DAUGHTER, PAWN IN A DEADLY GAME

Sent to Scotland to be the king’s mistress and produce an heir, Clarrisa of York has never needed a miracle more. But the brusque Highland laird who kidnaps her is a bit too rough to be considered divine intervention.

HE’LL DO ANYTHING TO THWART HIS KING

With rival lairds determined to steal Clarrisa from him and royal henchmen searching for her allover the Highlands, Laird Broen MacNicols has a mess on his hands. Worse yet, there’s a magnetic attraction berween them, although he’s betrothed to another. But even an independent–minded lady like Clarrisa knows that a Highlander always claims his prize…

On my Facebook page

I’m also hosting a giveaway of two fantastic contemporary romance novels written by a couple of my favorite authors – Jill Shalvis and Katie Lane.

You have to answer a simple question. Even better – there’s no right answer. You will have to “Like” my Facebook page before you can vote, and you’ll have to enter your email address in a popup after voting because otherwise I won’t know you voted.

I’ll randomly select one person to win both books.

Animal AttractionAnimal Attraction by Jill Shalvis

Jade Bennett couldn’t be happier to escape her past for the quiet ranching town of Sunshine, Idaho. Plus, there’s nothing like working for veterinarian Dell Connelly. And though Dell has no intention of settling down, Jade’s strength and sass are enticements no red-blooded male can resist.

Going Cowboy Crazy by Katie Lane

Faith Aldridge wants answers. Bramble, Texas is the only place she can find them . . . as well as Hope, the identical twin sister she never knew she had. But the townsfolk reckon that shy city-girl Faith is really her long-lost sister Hope, back in Bramble at last. And they’re fixin’ to do whatever it takes to heat things up between her and Hope’s long-time flame, Slate Calhoun. Going Cowboy CrazyIf that means rustling her car, spreading rumors like wildfire, and reining in some explosive secrets, well, there’s no way like the Lone Star way . . .

But Slate’s no fool. The woman in his truck may look like Hope, yet the way she feels in his arms is altogether new. He’s determined to keep this twin in his bed and out of his heart.

Trouble is, the real Hope is headed home, and she’s got her own designs on Slate. If Faith wants to avoid heartbreak, she’ll have to show a certain ruggedly handsome cowboy that this crazy-impossible love is worth fighting for.

These giveaways are open internationally.

Enjoy! I look forward to getting to know you all better on this blog and Facebook. And a huge thank-you to the authors giving away books at RWA2012!

Winner of the Roni Loren giveaway!

Still Into YouThanks so much to Roni Loren for the interview, and to everyone who stopped by to leave a comment.

The lucky winner of Roni’s novella STILL INTO YOU is…bn100!

Congratulations, bn! I’ll email you to ask about the format you want to receive.

Didn’t win? You can buy STILL INTO YOU at Amazon or Barnes & Noble – or anywhere ebooks are sold.

Everyone, this week you can win a gift certificate for yourself and a contemporary romance author by commenting on my Contemporaries to Covet in August post.