I’m a double RITA finalist!!

Friday was a day of BIG EXCITEMENT around Latham HQ (aka my couch). I got a phone call from HelenKay Dimon — one of my favorite authors — saying that I’m not only a finalist for a RITA award but that I’m a DOUBLE finalist!

One Night with Her Bachelor and Three Nights Before Christmas are both finalists in the Short Contemporary Romance category. And the best news of all is that the ceremony will be at the Romance Writers of America conference in San Diego, my hometown!

My in-laws spent this weekend with us, and when I got the call everyone in the house was busy except my almost-three-year-old daughter, Doodle Bug. I sneaked away to answer the phone away from the busyness in my living room, but Doodle Bug sought me out and crawled onto my lap as I talked (okay, babbled and cried) to HelenKay. When I hung up, Doodle said, “What you talking ’bout, Mama?”

I knew she wouldn’t understand words like finalist or contest, and she doesn’t know that I write books (she just knows that I work on the computer), so I told her, “The person on the phone called to tell me that people like the work I do.”

She threw her little arms around my neck and yelled, “Oh, Mama!” as she gave me a huge hug. It was the most amazing feeling I can imagine.

Smarty Pants went out and bought champagne, and I spent the rest of the weekend exhausted from the excitement (damn you, anemia). I actually meant to publish this blog post on Friday, but it took me four days to write it because I can only concentrate on a few sentences at a time.

Anyway, here’s more about the books that are finalists.

One Night with Her Bachelor

One Night with Her Bachelor quote

Bid on a date with this wounded warrior for an unforgettable night of adventure. Aim high—and bid higher!—because no one comes close to local hero Gabriel Morales.

Molly Dekker hates being the town charity case, but when her son Josh is seriously injured she has no choice. She lets her best friend organize a bachelor auction to help pay her massive bills and make Josh’s life more comfortable. She can’t bid on any of the men, but a surprise bidder gives her a gift she never expected: a date with the man who saved her son’s life—the only one she’s in danger of losing her heart to.

Former Air Force pararescueman Gabriel Morales made a career of flying to the rescue, until a tragic helicopter crash stole more than his livelihood. Being auctioned off like a slab of beef isn’t in his recovery plan. But one look, one touch and one night unlocking Molly’s pent-up passion make him realize how badly he needs to be rescued…and how badly he wants to rescue Molly right back.

Will Molly and Gabriel’s never-quit attitude have them rushing head-first into love? Or will Gabriel’s secret pain stall their relationship before it can get off the ground?

Read Chapter One

Buy it at Amazon.com | Amazon UK | Amazon Can | Amazon Aus | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo

Three Nights Before Christmas

Three Nights Before Christmas quote

Have yourself a steamy little Christmas…

After three years in prison, freight train engineer Lacey Gallagher doesn’t expect this Christmas to be very merry and bright. At least chopping down trees for her brother’s Christmas tree farm will help her save money to get her life back on track. All her plans derail, though, when her new job puts her in territory patrolled by the man who haunts her dreams—the forest ranger who sent her to prison.

Austin Wilder isn’t thrilled about Lacey working in his forest—but he soon realizes he needs her help. His family is depending on him to restore an old steam train for a spectacular Christmas event, and train expert Lacey is his only hope of finishing in time.

Working together challenges every assumption Lacey and Austin have about each other, and they discover a desire hot enough to melt even the deepest Montana snow. But will the season of second chances be enough to mend the most hardened broken heart?

Read Chapter One 

Buy it at Amazon.com | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo

The other books in my category are:

A Bramble House Christmas by CJ Carmichael
Tule Publishing
Sinclair Sawhney, editor

Carter Bravo’s Christmas Bride by Christine Rimmer
Harlequin, Special Edition
Gail Chasan, editor

Chance of a Lifetime by Marissa Clarke
Entangled Publishing, Lovestruck
Liz Pelletier, editor

Heated Moments by Phyllis Bourne
Harlequin, Kimani Romance
Glenda Howard, editor

His Lost-and-Found Bride by Scarlet Wilson
Harlequin, Mills & Boon Romance
Carly Byrne, editor

The Nanny Plan by Sarah M. Anderson
Harlequin, Desire
Stacy Boyd, editor

The Prince She Never Forgot by Scarlet Wilson
Harlequin, Mills & Boon Romance
Carly Byrne, editor

Tempting the Knight by Heidi Rice
Tule Publishing
Kelly Hunter, editor

I bought all the books in my category and will be reading them whenever I have the energy to read (damn you again, anemia). You can see the full list of RITA nominees here. I was thrilled to see several of my friends on the list (including HelenKay herself! Okay, I’ll stop gushing now.) and can’t wait to celebrate with them in San Diego. Have you read any of the nominated books in any of the categories? What did you think?

Winners of the RITA romance novella giveaway!

I’m so amazed by all of the lovely comments and tweets that have come in over the last two weeks, as my fellow RITA-nominated authors stopped by to chat about their books. Thank you to all of you readers who entered our giveaway, and an extra big thank-you to the authors who were so generous with their time!

Now for the randomly selected winners. Congratulations to…

RITA romance novella giveaway

$15 gift certificate to the online retailer of your choice: Cathy Phillips

The Bridesmaid by Julia London: Chanpreet Singh

A Pioneer Christmas by Shannon McNear: Virginia Horton

How to Marry a Highlander by Katharine Ashe: Maria Urbanowycz Blodgett

How to Misbehave by Ruthie Knox: Jenna Oksanen

Imagine Me and You by Maisey Yates: Bette Hansen

Mine Under the Mistletoe by Kat Latham: Robyn Heffley Lee

Take Me, Cowboy by Jane Porter: Bette Hansen

Take What You Want by Jeanette Grey: Jennifer Jones Beyer

Too Fast to Fall by Victoria Dahl: Justine

If your name is listed here, then you should soon be hearing from the author whose book you won. I’m sending the authors the winners’ names and email addresses. If you don’t hear from them soon, email me at romancingkatrina [at] gmail.com and I’ll follow up (but just be aware that most of us will be at the RWA conference over the next week, so some of us might not be able to check email every day).

In case you missed it, this morning I revealed the cover of Tempting the Player. Hot HOT rugby player, my friends! So drop by that post and enter to win a $15 gift certificate and a London Legends tote bag!

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.

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

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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