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?

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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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Win RITA® Award-nominated romance novellas!

Hey, friends! I hope those of you in the U.S. had a lovely Fourth of July weekend. It’s one of my favorite holidays. Since my husband’s British, it’s the one day of the year I can brag about beating him at something. 😉

This is a HUGELY exciting month for me – and I hope for you, too! On July 21 I’m revealing the cover of Tempting the Player, then later this month I’m going to the Romance Writers of America conference in San Antonio, where I’ll be taking part in my first book signing event. I hope I meet lots of you there!

But before all that happens, I’m featuring some of my favorite authors on this site – and they’re giving you a chance to win their RITA-nominated novellas. Whoop whoop!

RITA romance novella giveaway

If you visited my blog in March, you might remember me screaming for joy when I found out I’m a finalist for a Romance Writers of America® RITA® Award. My Christmas novella, Mine Under the Mistletoe, is a finalist in the Romance Novella category. For the next two weeks, my fellow finalists will be stopping by to answer my nosy questions and giving you a chance to win their novellas.

The giveaway starts today. You can enter using the Rafflecopter form below. But first, a quick intro to the novellas you could win!

The Bridesmaid by Julia London
Defending Truth by Shannon McNear (win the anthology A Pioneer Christmas)
How to Marry a Highlander by Katharine Ashe
How to Misbehave by Ruthie Knox
Imagine Me and You by Maisey Yates
Mine Under the Mistletoe by Kat Latham (win the anthology All I’m Asking For)
Take Me, Cowboy by Jane Porter
Take What You Want by Jeanette Grey
Too Fast to Fall by Victoria Dahl in Be Mine

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Winner of the Ruthie Knox giveaway!

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by to read and comment on my interview with Ruthie Knox – and, of course, to the lovely Ruthie herself!

The winner of Along Came Trouble is…Cathy P!

Congrats, Cathy! It’s an ebook, so email me to let me know what format you’d like it in: romancingkatrina[at]gmail[dot]com

Didn’t win? Here’s where you can buy it.

Along Came Trouble by Ruthie Knox

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.

Along Came TroubleAn 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?

Read an excerpt

Buy it at: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Random House

This week, make sure you leave a comment on my interview with erotic romance author Anne Calhoun. She’s awesome and she’s giving away her latest book, Uncommon Pleasure!

Interview with Ruthie Knox – & giveaway!

Ruthie KnoxI’m super excited about my guest today. Ruthie Knox‘s debut contemporary romance novel Ride With Me was published just over a year ago. Since then, she’s published another novel – About Last Night – two fantastic novellas and her third novel, Along Came Trouble, came out last week. It’s a good thing she’s so prolific because a lot of readers – myself included – are addicted to Knox.

Ruthie’s here giving away a digital copy of Along Came Trouble to one person who leaves a comment. But first, help me welcome Ruthie Knox!

1. I was lucky enough to get to read an advance copy of Along Came Trouble, and I loved it. Can you set the scene for readers who don’t know about your new Camelot series – where it’s set and the family it’s based around?

Sure! The Camelot series focuses on the Clark siblings – Amber, Caleb, and Katie – who grew up in Camelot, Ohio, a sleepy little village that houses a liberal arts college and not much else. Their father owns an aging apartment complex, and their mother works in the college admissions office, so the Clarks are decidedly lower-middle-class Midwesterners – basically all big-hearted, helpful people, but with the usual assortment of flaws.

How to MisbehaveHow To Misbehave, the first novella, is set a decade earlier than the others so it can introduce Amber and tells the story of how a tornado and a power outage combined to throw her together with her husband-to-be, Tony—at which point the series jumps ahead to the present day, when Amber and Tony have three kids and it’s Amber’s younger siblings who are meeting their matches.

Along Came Trouble is Caleb’s book. After fifteen years in the Military Police, Caleb has moved home to help his family after his father has a stroke. He’s trying to get a fledgling security company off the ground when he meets Ellen Callahan and life-complicating fireworks ensue.

The third book, Flirting with Disaster, will be youngest sibling Katie’s. And there’s a fourth novella in the works that will bring Tony and Amber’s story up to the “present” and wrap up the Clark family saga. In the future, I’d like to do more Camelot books – some with Tony’s family, the Mazzaras, as well as at least one other family I have in mind. We’ll see.

2. One of the many things I love about your books is how human your characters are. They’re flawed yet endearing, and that helps me relate to them. But instead of asking about specific characters, I want to know about you. What would you say your most endearing flaw is? 🙂
Continue reading “Interview with Ruthie Knox – & giveaway!”

Contemporaries to covet in March – & giveaway!

Delft
Delft

How can it already be March? On Saturday, the sky over the Netherlands was covered by one thick gray cloud and it was just above freezing. Here’s a picture to prove it. Smarty Pants and I were in Delft this weekend, home of the painter Vermeer (The Girl With The Pearl Earring) and of the church where Dutch royals are buried. Here’s the tomb of William of Orange, who was assassinated in Delft in 1584 and was the founder of the current line of Dutch monarchs.

William of Orange's tomb
William of Orange’s tomb

Yesterday, there were a few patchy rain clouds but the temperature had risen a few degrees. I haven’t been outside yet today, but the sun is shining so hard it hurts my eyes – not that I’m complaining! Roll on, Spring!

Anyway, we’re not here to talk about history or the weather. Just like the first Monday of every month, I’m here to celebrate new contemporary romance releases. I’ll tell you below which March contemporary romances I’m most looking forward to. If you leave a comment and tell us which March contemporaries you’re coveting, you could win a $10 gift certificate for yourself AND the author you mention.

Giveaway details are below, but here are the books I’m looking forward to this month.

Thrown by a Curve by Jaci Burton
She thinks she knows this player—but he has a few surprise moves.

Thrown by a CurveFor Alicia Riley, her job as a sports therapist for the St. Louis Rivers baseball team is a home run—until she becomes the primary therapist for star pitcher, Garrett Scott. Out of the lineup with an injury, he’s short-tempered, hard to handle, and every solid inch, a man.

Right now, the only demand he’s making on Alicia is that she get him ready to pitch in time for opening day. Except the sexual chemistry between them is so charged, Alicia’s tempted to oblige Garrett just about anything. But both their careers are at stake—one bad move and it’s game over for both of them.

Garrett also feels the hot sparks between them, and the way he figures it, what better therapy is there than sex? Now all he has to do is convince the woman with the power to make the call.

My two cents
I’ve only read one Jaci Burton story – her novella The Best Thing in Carina Press’s 2012 Christmas anthology – but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Plus, as you know I’m a huge fan of sports romances, so this book is at the top of my I-Want list.

Release date: March 5, 2013
Read an excerpt

Buy it in print at: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Books-A-Million

Buy a digital copy at: Amazon | B&N | Kobo Books | iBookstore

Uncommon Pleasure by Anne Calhoun

From a “fresh and imaginative” (The Romance Studio) voice in erotic romance come the tales of two women, each daring to challenge the toughest of men…but in these edgy, heated encounters, the greatest thing she’ll risk is her heart.

Uncommon PleasureIn Over the Edge, after a tragic incident during Ty Hendricks’ last tour of duty he cut off all connection with anyone he cares about—until a night with Lauren Kincaid draws him reluctantly back into the world. Lauren sees a wounded man in danger of losing everything to his inner demons, but the sensual, no-holds-barred fight for Ty’s soul could cost Lauren her heart.

In All on the Line, Abby Simmons fell hard for Lieutenant Sean Winthrop, but he sacrificed their relationship when he deployed to Afghanistan. Now he’s home, full of regrets and intent on winning back the woman he never forgot. Abby gives Sean her body but holds her heart aloof, until one night of pleasure forces her to choose her U.S. Marine…or life without him, forever.

My two cents
Again, I’ve only read one Anne Calhoun story – and again it was a Christmas novella (Breath on Embers) from Carina Press. It made me cry, even though I’d been warned that it would and so I’d steeled myself against it. Anne Calhoun’s characters snuck past my defenses. I’m looking forward to that happening again.

I also look forward to having Anne as a guest on this blog. She’ll be doing an interview and giving away a copy of Uncommon Pleasure on March 25th.

Release date: March 5, 2013
Read an excerpt

Buy it at: Amazon | B&N

Continue reading “Contemporaries to covet in March – & giveaway!”