All posts by Ruthie

SUMMER RAIN Release & An Interview with Cecilia Tan!

I’m so excited to announce that today is release day for the Summer Rain anthology!

One hundred percent of author proceeds from this volume will go to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), which is the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the United States.

If you’re ready to buy it right now, go for it! But then come back. There’s more good stuff below…

Purchase Summer Rain

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iBooksCreatespace (pbk.)

Okay, are you with me? Yay!

I talk a bit about my own contribution to Summer Rain — a short story called Redemption — in today’s newsletter (read it here, and subscribe if you haven’t).

Today, I’m pleased to be interviewing author Cecilia Tan about her story, Sacrifice, which is excellent and well worth checking out. I think a lot of you will become new fans of Cecilia’s work after reading it.

Here’s the blurb—

Summer Rain coverSacrifice by Cecilia Tan

When a tenth-century trader from the Orient sells his daughter to a Macedonian, he doesn’t ask why the man needs a virgin, little knowing she is intended to fulfill an ancient pact with a demigod who can end the crushing drought. But this demigod has sworn off his father’s rapacious ways. With the influence of the ancient pantheon waning, only love can heal them all. 

About Summer Rain

What happens when love gets caught in the rain?

In this romance anthology, RITA-Award winning author Molly O’Keefe shows us the power of a city thunderstorm from the top of a skyscraper, while Amy Jo Cousins soaks us in a rain in Spain. New York Times bestselling author Ruthie Knox’s heroine is devastated by a winter storm, while a summer thunderstorm grants Alexandra Haughton’s hero and heroine a second chance at love. Rain sparks self-awareness in the robot in Charlotte Stein’s story and allows Mary Ann Rivers’s heroine to fall in love with her hero and her own art. Rain causes romance between the college students in Audra North’s and Shari Slade’s stories, while romance causes rain in Cecilia Tan’s myth-inspired tale of a sacrifice to a demi-god. Nine romance novelettes, edited by Sarah Frantz.

Sounds wonderful, right? It is! Without further ado, my questions for Cecilia:

1. Tell me why you decided to participate in the Summer Rain collection.

When Audra approached me about it I just jumped in without hesitation. My Twitter feed every day is filled with women who have been abused, raped, or exploited. Some of them are news stories from faraway places, but so often it’ll be someone I know, a writer who fled her abusive marriage with nothing but her nightgown and bedroom slippers, the one who called the police when he wasn’t home and they came and found a gun he had hidden in her house, the one who was stalked at a writers convention. There’s only so much I can do to help. So I jumped at the chance to do what I do best–write fiction!–to help the cause and RAINN.

2. What made you want to tell this story? Were there particular elements that drove the writing process along for you?

My work almost always deals with boundaries and consent, and especially since this was a RAINN anthology, I knew I would especially want to play with that. I like challenges. I thought to myself, what would be the toughest situation I could put the characters in, with the most barriers to communication and the least amount of female agency, and still come up with a satisfying story of female empowerment and making a choice for love? The biggest power imbalance I could come up with: he’s literally a demigod with the power of lightning and thunder, and she’s been sold by her own father in a country where she doesn’t speak the language.

Also, I have a thing about lightning and thunder. I have no idea why. it comes up in a lot of my books!

3. Was this an easy or hard story to write?

It was a hard one because I made it hard! There were points where I thought to myself, scrap this one and write another where the characters can actually TALK to each other! But I kept at it, trying to find those emotional beads that when they’re strung together make a whole necklace.

4. Your story packs so much that is evocative of a different time/place/world into a compressed space. It reads in many ways like an erotic fable, hinting at lessons for the reader. What did you hope your readers would take from the story?

I wanted that fable sort of feel because I wanted to have both the ancient milieu but modern relevance. We’re still struggling with abuse of power and exploitation and disenfranchisement today. Everything from human trafficking to domestic violence plague our societies and our lives. We have to change that. We have to be the generation that changes that. I feel that fiction has the power to change the world. A story can affect our minds in a powerful and positive way, and that’s always my hope for my stories, that they help someone find strength, or see the world or their relationships in a way that makes positive change.

Thank you so much, Cecilia!

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Cecilia Tan won the RT Reviewers Choice Award for Erotic Romance in 2013 for her novel Slow Surrender. She writes passionate fiction, erotica, romance, and fantasy. She lives in the Boston area with her partner of 23 years and three cats.

If you want to learn more about Cecilia Tan, you can find her here:

Twitter: @ceciliatan https://twitter.com/ceciliatan

Tumblr: http://ceciliatan.tumblr.com/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/ctan_writer

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+CeciliaTan/posts

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And here are those links again…

Purchase Summer Rain

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Createspace (pbk.)

Laugh
Friday Giveaway: What-To-Read Edition

This week’s winner is Lisa. Thanks to everyone who commented!

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Happy Friday, everybody!

I think it might be spring. Since it’s May 9, I would say it is ABOUT FUCKING TIME, but somehow I feel more celebratory of spring’s arrival than I am annoyed by its dawdling. I think this is some kind of trick winter plays on me, up here in the hinterlands of Wisconsin. It lasts and lasts and lasts, and I shovel and shovel and shovel, and then I give up and it keeps being winter, and my hair gets greasy, and I eat a lot of cookies, and then one day without warning it is SPRING! With GREEN things coming out of the GROUND!

And I am all smiles about it, like Tina Fey, here:

 

Tina Fey gif

 

Anyway. I had a busy week in a busy travel season, and I missed Wednesday’s what-to-read post, so I’m going to do that today along with the usual Friday giveaway, because I am in charge here, in fact, and I do what I want. I will spare you the gif on that. The book I’m recommending this week is Laugh by Mary Ann Rivers. Here’s the blurb—

 

LaughDr. Sam Burnside is convinced that volunteering at an urban green-space farm in Lakefield, Ohio, is a waste of time—especially with his new health clinic about to open. He only goes to mollify his partner, suspecting she wants him to lighten up. Then Sam catches sight of Nina Paz, a woman who gives off more heat than a scorcher in July. Her easy smile and flirty, sizzling wit has him forgetting his infamous need for control.

Widowed when her husband was killed in Afghanistan, Nina has learned that life exists to take chances. As the daughter of migrant workers turned organic farmers, she’s built an exciting and successful business by valuing new opportunities and working hard to take care of her own. But when Sam pushes for a relationship that goes beyond their hotter-than-fire escapades, Nina ignores her own hard-won wisdom. She isn’t ready for a man who needs saving—even if her heart compels her to take the greatest risk of all: love.

 

Laugh is the second book in Mary Ann’s Burnside Series, which gets all up in the love lives of the four Burnside siblings: Destiny, Sam, Paul, and Sarah. I love this series for a lot of reasons. It’s brave and big, intelligent, deeply emotional. It’s about siblings who are all a little lost after their father’s death, and it’s about how they love each other and how hard they’re trying to figure themselves out and find family again.

It’s about a community and how one family fits into it, and how history is layered over the present, and how friendships form and break apart.

Sam has ADHD, and struggles with it — struggles with himself, his feelings, his love, and how difficult it is for him to put his love into action so that those he love can receive it. It is really beautiful to hear Sam’s voice, how Mary Ann brings him to life. It is beautiful, too, to see him with Nina, who really sees him, understands him, and is probably the only woman on earth who could ever tolerate a happy-ever-after with this particular lovable, awful, lovable man.

Anyway. This is me, reading from Laugh.

 

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Laugh, by Mary Ann Rivers | Amazon | Barnes & NobleGoodreads

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What have you guys got going on this weekend? I’m heading to Oshkosh for the Lakefly Literary Conference, where I’ll be at the open-to-the-public reception tonight from 6-8 and then doing a session on rewriting/revising tomorrow afternoon. Details on the Events page.

Is it spring where you are? Are your legs as white and pasty as mine? Do you go for hikes in the woods and spend the entire rest of the day feeling phantom ticks crawl all over your body, or is that just me? Do you like the Burnside Series? Tell me all the things in the comments — or one of the things, I’m not choosy — and I’ll pick one random commenter to win a $10 gift certificate to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes (winner’s choice).

Rosetti book 3
What-To-Read Wednesday: Tangled Thing Called Love

Hola! Happy Wednesday!

After a busy long weekend of travel — including the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon on Saturday, which was amazing and fun — I have all the things to say today. And I do eventually get around to recommending a book and doing a reading, so bear with me.

First, coming up in just nine days, I’m going to be speaking at the Lakefly Literary Conference in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. This is a great event for writers and aspiring writers — here’s some information about it.

 

LakeflyGain insight into the craft and business of writing at this two-day conference, May 9 and 10, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Speakers include: best-selling author Hallie Ephron, Wisconsin poet  Bruce Dethlefsen, children’s author Carolyn Lesserromance writer Ruthie Knox, novelist John DeDakis, young adult author Shelley Tougaslocal author D.B. Rouse, fantasy writer Scott Lynch, mystery writer Jon Loomis Juliet Rosetti and others!

Registration is only $60.00, with lots of great authors appearing, so please consider coming to see me!

 

Last night, Mary Ann Rivers and I finished doing a really interesting interview with Molly O’Keefe for her newsletter series, The Author Is. Are you familiar with this series? It’s really good. Here’s the scoop:

 

TheAuthorIs-Badge3The Author Is… is an interview series distributed through my newsletter. Each month I will interview a new author and send it out to subscribers. There are plenty of chances to win free books and ask the questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

May – Ruthie Knox and Mary Ann Rivers

June – Author RaeAnne Thayne
July – Susan Andersen
August – Sherry Thomas
September – Susanna Kearsley
October – Anne Calhoun
November – Elizabeth Hoyt
December – Joanna Bourne

Sign up at www.molly-okeefe.com!

 

My final bit of news is that Along Came Trouble is on sale for $0.99 for the next two weeks or so. If you haven’t already read this one, now’s your chance! This USA Today bestselling title is a finalist in the RITAs this year, and it also received a starred review from Library Journal.

Okay. Whew. That was a lot.

Now for this week’s recommendation! I haven’t actually read this book yet, because it just came out yesterday, but it’s the third book in a series I’ve been trying to make everyone read for a while now. Here’s the blurb—

 

Rosetti book 3Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum has Ranger and Joe. Now Juliet Rosetti keeps readers swooning with Mazie Maguire and her hot-to-trot boy toy, Ben Labeck.

Mazie’s boyfriend—photojournalist and sex god Ben Labeck—might be trouble on two very strong, very sexy legs, but he’s got no idea what he’s signing up for when he invites himself along to the family farm in Quail Hollow to meet the Maguires. Mazie knows that bringing a guy home is a recipe for disaster, especially when she’s not sure whether their relationship is serious or just seriously steamy. That goes double when she finds herself reluctantly squeezing back into a bikini and sash for the anniversary of a supposedly cursed local beauty pageant.

All this is wreaking havoc on Mazie’s love life. Suddenly Ben’s too busy playing gentleman farmer on the Maguire estate to indulge in a more discreet kind of play in Mazie’s bed. And when he’s not tilling the soil, he’s digging up dirt on the Curse of Miss Quail Hollow. Maybe that swimsuit competition isn’t such a bad way to get Ben’s attention back where it belongs—and get him to admit that he’s head-over-heels in love with her.

 

I’ve already praised Rosetti here (for The Escape Diaries) and here (for Crazy for You), so I’m not going to do it again. I’ll just remind you that I find this series funny and interesting and very very clever, and then I’ll make you listen to me reading the first five minutes of Crazy for You in an attempt to sway you to the Dark Side.

 

 

There. Did it work?

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Juliet Rosetti, Tangled Thing Called Love | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Saga
Friday Giveaway: Saga Edition

This week’s winner is Laurie G. Thanks to everyone who commented!

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Happy Friday, everybody!

How was your week? Mine was crap. But I’ve been reading Saga, and it’s awesome. If you’re a fan of graphic novels, read it. If you’re not, maybe read it anyway, as long as you can handle some violence/grossness. This is what it is—

 

SagaFrom New York Times bestselling writer BRIAN K. VAUGHAN (Y: THE LAST MAN, EX MACHINA) and critically acclaimed artist FIONA STAPLES (MYSTERY SOCIETY, NORTH 40), SAGA is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in a sexy, subversive drama for adults. This specially priced volume collects the first arc of the smash hit series The Onion A.V. Club calls it “the emotional epic Hollywood wishes it could make.”

 

I’m reading the Kindle version on my iPad, which is the first time I’ve done that, and I’m very pleased with the format. And the story is so good! A love story, with love! And sex, and a baby, and aliens, and spooky shit, and guns, and gore. I love it.

What small cheering thing have you found lately that made a bad week better? Tell me your things! Tomorrow morning, I’ll choose one random commenter to win a $10 gift certificate to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes — winner’s choice.

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Saga by Brian K. Vaghan and Fiona Staples | Amazon | Goodreads

Hard Time
What-To-Read Wednesday: Hard Time

Happy Wednesday! This week’s what-to-read may not require introduction — have you bought it already? What are you waiting for? — but just in case, here’s the blurb —

 

Hard TimeIn this all-new novel from the author of Unbound, a woman with a rocky past finds romance in the last place she’d ever expect… Annie Goodhouse doesn’t need to be warned about bad boys; good sense and an abusive ex have given her plenty of reasons to play it safe. But when she steps into her new role as outreach librarian for Cousins Correctional Facility, no amount of good sense can keep her mind—or eyes—off inmate Eric Collier. Eric doesn’t claim to be innocent of the crime that landed him in prison. In fact, he’d do it again if that’s what it took to keep his family safe. Loyalty and force are what he knows. But meeting Annie makes him want to know more. When Eric begins courting Annie through letters, they embark on a reckless, secret romance—a forbidden fantasy that neither imagines could ever be real…until early parole for Eric changes everything, and forces them both to face a past they can’t forget, and a desire they can’t deny.

 

That’s right! It’s Cara McKenna’s convict-meets-lady-librarian book, out at last! It’s so good, guys. Because Cara wrote it. And the hero is a convict. And I really don’t think it requires more words from me than that, but here I am reading from one of my favorite parts early on, where the heroine is at the prison teaching her literacy class and the hero asks her to help him write a letter. Gnughf.

 

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Hard Time by Cara McKenna | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Off the Edge
What-To-Read Wednesday: Off the Edge

Wednesday again, how about that?

This morning, the Romance Writers of America announced finalists for the annual Golden Heart and RITA awards, for unpublished and published romance of distinction, respectively. I’m honored to have received two nominations this year, one in the single-title contemporary category for Along Came Trouble and another in the romance novella category for How To Misbehave.

But I’m also excited to see so many of my friends and favorite writers on this year’s list, including the wonderful Off the Edge by Carolyn Crane, who is fabulous fabulous fabulous. So I decided to do today’s recommendation and reading from Carolyn’s book, because if you’re not reading her yet, you really really should be.

Here’s the blurb—

 

Off the EdgeSHE MAY BE HIS WORST ENEMY…
For deadly secret agent Peter Macmillan, language is a weapon—one he uses to hunt criminals, destroy plots, and charm enemies. Seducing information out of a beautiful singer in Bangkok hotel should be easy…except this particular singer has the power to destroy his cool façade, and with it, his last defense against a dark past.

HE MAY BE HER ONLY HOPE…
He tricked her. He helped himself to her body and her secrets. He has enemies everywhere. Laney Lancaster should hate Peter, but when she discovers him shirtless, sweaty, and chained up in the hotel’s dungeon, all she can think about is freeing him. Because she knows what it’s like to be trapped and alone. And she could use a dangerous friend.

They may be wrong for each other, but the instant they join forces, Laney and Peter are plunged into an odyssey of hot sex and dark danger. To survive, they must trust each other with their lives—and their hearts.

 

The first book I read by Carolyn Crane was one of an erotica title under her pen name Annika Martin — the hilarious, surprising, tender first book in the Taken Hostage By Hunky Bank Robbers series, The Hostage BargainI immediately needed to know WHO THIS PERSON WAS, and DID SHE HAVE AN AGENT, and WHAT COULD I DO TO MAKE SURE SHE GOT ALL THE THINGS? Because, for me, the intelligence and wit and all-around wonderfulness of whoever this woman was who’d written The Hostage Bargain just leapt off the pages right at my face.

It turns out that everything Carolyn writes is like that. Everything. Because she is like that. I met her last year at RWA, and she came along for karaoke, and she wore this skirt with deer on it? And sang this Led Zeppelin song about … blood? bones? in a low, growly voice, with a face like a hot Wisconsin kindergarten teacher.

I don’t know. It was the most awesome thing that ever happened.

Then, later, she joined me and Mary Ann Rivers for drinks and made me laugh so hard I almost puked.

So partly I want you to understand, here, that Carolyn is good people. But also, I want you to understand that when you read Off the Edge — which you should, immediately — you’re going to get what the cover looks like, which is sexy dark romantic suspense with guns and danger — and what the blurb promises, which is Bangkok and action and betrayal and sex and a linguist and a woman on the run — but you’re also going to get Carolyn Crane, who is smart and insightful and hilarious, quirky, a little bit bent, but in the best possible way.

I’m so happy she’s being acknowledged for her talent with a RITA final. I hope she wins, because she deserves to.

Here’s me, reading my favorite scene from Off the Edge.

 

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Off the Edge by Carolyn Crane | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads 

Off the Edge is the second book in The Associates series, but it’s fine to read them out of order.