Subscribe to Paula's newsletter

* indicates required

Contemporary Romance

I can’t get enough of cowboys

I have a new release coming from Tule Publishing on September 21st.

Branded with a Kiss is the second book in the Sweetheart Brand series, based in Sweetheart, Montana. (Sweetheart, btw, is named for a variety of cherry—your trivia tip for the day.) It’s available for preorder!

Amazon.com http://amzn.to/2utGxMo

Amazon.ca http://amzn.to/2wM9SCl

Amazon.co.uk http://amzn.to/2vqKGBW

Amazon.com. au http://amzn.to/2vSHVME

Those of you who read Her Sweetheart Brand (book 1) may or may not remember Damon Brand’s friend Patterson Campbell. Patterson is sitting at the bar during the cherry festival dance, using his cellphone, when Damon stops to talk. What Damon doesn’t know it that Patterson is trying to reach Damon’s youngest sister Alayna.

When Patterson does connect with her, it’s not until a year later and it really doesn’t go well:

“Why wouldn’t you return any of my calls?” Patterson asked.

His father was still watching. Either Patterson hadn’t noticed or he didn’t care.

Alayna, however, was cautious and remained civil. “You’d already said all I needed to hear.”

“You stood me up for the cherry festival dance. I deserve to know why.”

She kept her jaw from flapping open, but it took serious effort. The ego. The nerve. He’d asked her to go to the dance with him before their disastrous sexual encounter. “You didn’t really expect me to show up.”

“Damn straight I did.”

The way his gaze flicked from hers for a brief, guilty second suggested otherwise.

“I didn’t show up,” Alyana said, fighting hard to display nothing but pride, “because upon reflection, you were right. I do need to use some common sense. The men I date these days treat women as equals. They accept that I know my own mind.”

She took advantage of his inability to find a response to brush past him and dive into the front seat of her car. As she backed out of the parking space, he had his hands in his pockets and a dark frown on his face.

Alayna’s not really the ‘forgive and forget’ type. She makes him work for it:

Patterson was twenty-nine years old and could think of a million things he’d rather do than discuss his love life with his father. But his father was also his boss, and the boss half was expressing a valid concern. He tried to think of what he could say that would satisfy James T. on both fronts, and yet not end up exposing laundry Alayna wouldn’t want aired.

“She and I had a misunderstanding last year,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck. “She’s still a little angry with me about it. Let’s just say she’s not the type of girl who’s willing to forgive and forget and leave it at that. You’ll have to trust me when I tell you I’m doing my best to make amends. And I’m confident she’s interested too,” he added, “so you can rest easy on that front. There won’t be any reports to file.”

James T.’s expression grew more severe. It appeared he wasn’t at all reassured by the explanation he’d been given, but accepted that it was the only one he was likely to receive. “Did she read the staff handbook?”

“She did.”

“Did she give you the message?”

Patterson weighed the merits of honesty. “Yes,” he conceded.

“She’s not a toy, son. Or a prize you can win. What if she decides not to forgive and forget?” his father asked. “Are you going to be a man about it and let her go?”

He’d cross that bridge when—if—he came to it. “Of course.”

“Then why don’t you start practicing right now. I might have some experience in the begging forgiveness department, and a little goes a long way, so pace yourself, boy. Give her some space. A thoughtful gift sometimes helps.” James T. clapped him on the shoulder. “Now help me get these steaks on the grill, or pretty soon you’ll have twenty hungry people mad at you, too.”

Patterson hated to admit it, but James T. could well be right. It wasn’t as if his current approach was gaining him any headway with her. He’d love to understand her better, but she made it almost impossible for him to get close enough. Every time he thought he’d made progress, she backed away.

So. Give her some space and a thoughtful gift. He could do that.

“One more question,” James T. said, interrupting his train of thought. “Then I’ll let it alone.” Smoke rolled off the grill as fat from the first steaks started to sizzle. He searched his son’s face, then went straight for the jugular. “Is she the one?”

“I can’t say for certain,” Patterson said, unable to contain his frustration. “You’re making it damned hard for me to find out.”

There are five books planned in the Sweetheart Brand series, and I’m working on the third book right now. It features Claire Brand, another of Damon’s sisters, and Ben Nichols, Patterson’s partner in crime. The Sweetheart Brand books are all about redemption and the main theme is forgiveness.

 

I know. They sound amazing, right?

 

On Writing Romance

 

I was on the radio earlier this week (thank you, News 95.7 and The Sheldon MacLeod Show !) promoting my Spy Games series and one of the questions was about romance writing and why I chose it. (My husband once asked me the same question, btw–“Shouldn’t you *be* romantic?!?”)

But honestly, that’s not what interests me the most in my writing.

My contemporary books come in with a fairly even mix of romance and plot. I’m as interested in my characters’ daily lives as I am in their developing relationships.

(And I don’t only write romance. I have a dystopian fantasy series—previously published as the Demon Outlaws, now rewritten and with brand-new covers!—coming in the fall of 2017, and they have much more plot to them now. They’re no longer classed as romances.)

I have a background in social anthropology however, and it’s the snapshot in time that fascinates me about romance novels in general, both from a macro and micro perspective. For example, romance novels track the feminist movement. When I started reading them in the 1970’s, heroines were secretaries and nurses, and submissive to the more powerful heroes. We then saw the rise of the “bodice rippers” which showed women asserting themselves more. Now heroines are CEOs, doctors, pilots, (and spies!) and the relationships are more of a partnership. There’s room in these books for the alpha hero, but also the beta. These trends are reflected in the other genres, but I write contemporary romances so I’m talking about what I know best.

Culturally, romances also show glimpses into today’s society and what’s happening in daily lives. They reflect what’s relevant to the Real World. Characters are using Blackberries. (ßThat’s meant to be a dated reference. Who uses Blackberries anymore?) They’re traveling to popular destinations. We now have same-sex romances and multi-cultural romances. You see a lot of romantic suspense involving Navy SEALs. A few years ago, they were all searching for Osama bin Laden… I got tired of those so I wrote about Canadian spies. (If you want to know why, then read more about me here. It turns out I have useful knowledge!)

Even the romantic relationships themselves are snapshots. “Falling in love” is the first step to a lifelong commitment. Women’s Fiction (a separate genre) often follows what happens next in human relationships–or perhaps the murkier, messier side of them.

I know I have a lot of writer and reader friends out there. What’s your take on romance? Why write it? Why pick one up to read?

Why would you not?

Thank you to Syd Gill Design

 

Interview with USA Today Bestselling Author Roxanne Snopek

Today’s interview features the incredibly talented, USA Today Bestselling author Roxanne Snopek. She’s a fellow Canadian, and although she lives on the west coast, she’s a prairie girl at heart. Between us, we’ve got this country represented.

*Go Canada.*

Roxanne and I write for the same publishers. We’ve also had a few romantic getaways together. Las Vegas, New York…  She keeps insisting they’re called “Romance Writer Conferences,” but whatever. I got to hang with her and tell complete strangers we’re buddies and that’s all that matters.

Did I mention she’s beautiful as well as talented?

Roxanne’s latest release is THE CHOCOLATE CURE from Tule Publishing.  I’m lazy as well as Canadian, so I’m offering two links to purchase (and I highly recommend you do!): Amazon and Kobo. But it’s available at other online retailers, too:

As a head’s up, the next book in the series, THE CHOCOLATE COMEBACK, releases in April. I scored an advance copy and trust me, you won’t want to miss it either:

So now we’re going to turn things over to Roxanne. She’s answering 10 nosy questions:

  1. What is your least favourite author question? And what is your response?

When are you going to write a “real” book? (Holding up my latest book) What is this? A bagel?

  1. What is your least favourite author task? Tell us why you hate it.

Updating my website. Because the entire time I’m doing it, I’m aware that anyone half my age could do it in a quarter of the time it takes me, with 100% less muttering and fist-shaking.

  1. Who’s your favourite—of your own books—female and/or male character?

I love my tortured hero Zach Gamble in HIS RELUCTANT RANCHER. He’s got the weight of the world on his handsome shoulders and, when Des, the female lead, finally FINALLY gets through to him… this tough, stoic cowboy cries. I love Zach.

My favorite female character, I think, is Carrie Logan, from FOREVER YOURS, SWEETHEART. She overcomes her fear of dogs to help the hero get his Belgian shepherd to the vet after a bear attack. You know me… I’m a sucker for people who help animals in need.

  1. Which book could you have worked on forever?

Holy smokes. I could work on them all forever. They could all be better, to my eye. But at some point, I tell myself, “Roxanne. This is the best book you can write at this moment. Stop it now or you’ll go blind.”

  1. You’re a USA Today bestselling author. Tell us about THE MOMENT you found out, and I’m feeling magnanimous (actually I just wanted to use that word) so tell us about the book too.

Okay, the moment I found out… I WAS ALONE IN THE HOUSE!!! There was no one but the pets to hear me scream! And then the phone rang and it was my hairdresser, congratulating me! She happened to be online and was one of the first to see my announcement. I’ll add that I’ve been going to her for years, and when she learned I was an author, felt duty-bound to read one of my books. Courtesy, you know. She told me later how shocked she was to discover that she loved it! Reading had never been a particularly enjoyable pastime for her and she says that I am the author that got her hooked on it again. <heart-clutch!> She reads all my books now. Oh, and the book: THREE RIVER RANCH, my very first romance novel. Wild mustangs, a pregnant heroine, forced proximity, marriage of convenience and a Labradoodle! Also (buffing nails and looking casual) this past year THE MILLIONAIRE DADDY PROJECT also hit the USA Today list. Just sayin’.

  1. Which book would you love to re-write? Why?

My first mystery novel. I love the story but it’s got some enormous problems that I’m not sure are fixable. For one thing, the worst thing that happens to the protagonist is that her dog gets sick. I mean, no one wants their dog to get sick. But great conflict this is not.

  1. What’s your favourite childhood memory and does it ever come back to haunt you? (In a good way—leave the rest for the therapists.)

Getting the Scholastic catalog at school! My parents always let me order new books, and it was so exciting. The possibilities! The choices! My parents read to me a lot as a child, and always encouraged my reading addiction. Now, whenever I get my BookBub newsletter, I feel a bit of that same thrill.

  1. We complain a lot to each other about writing-related stuff—storylines that aren’t working, characters who aren’t cooperating, when there’s no wine in the house… So why write? Why not do something easier?

I can’t tell you how often I’ve asked myself that very question. But it comes down to the same reason I’ve done anything hard, like homeschooling our kids, or Bikram yoga or resisting Cheezies: it feels so good when it’s done! J There’s nothing like seeing a brand new book with my name on it!

But seriously, despite recurring episodes of head-banging panic and self-doubt, I believe in it. I believe this is what I was meant to do, that I have something to say and that my life path is to keep trying to say it, fail, try again, fail more, succeed a little, try something new, connect with one reader at a time and keep working to uncover the essential story that lives within me.

Also, having been a human resources manager, I know a bad employee when I see one. All those ideas, you know. I’d never last.

  1. What’s your favourite pastime? And keep it clean. My kids read this.

Eating and drinking rank pretty highly, especially with friends. And I love to bake! My husband loves my cinnamon buns… oops. Too racy? Sadly, baking is not a friend to middle-aged metabolisms so I don’t do much now. Although I baked butter tarts this past weekend, during Snowmageddon 2017 and they were amazing. Between the shoveling and shivering, I figure we worked them off.

  1. And for the last invasion of privacy: What’s your favourite thing about each of your children?

Wow. Let’s see. Each of them is so passionate, in different ways. My oldest daughter is working on her first novel and is a yoga instructor. My middle daughter is a maternity nurse who likes to garden. My youngest is an artist who’s studying Psychology. I love watching their lives unfold!

Bonus question:  (OK, so maybe #10 wasn’t the last.) What’s a little-known fact about you? What’s your dirty secret? (And my usual disclaimer—I’m pretty sure CSIS stalks me on-line so keep that in mind.)

I’m a certified amateur dream interpreter. Make of that what you will, CSIS.

 

Thank you, Roxanne!

About Roxanne:

Born under a Scorpio moon, raised in a little house on the prairie, USA Today Bestselling Author Roxanne Snopek said “as you wish” to her Alpha Farm Boy and followed him to the mountain air and ocean breezes of British Columbia. There, while healing creatures great and small and raising three warrior-princesses, they found their real-life happily-ever-after. After also establishing a successful freelance and non-fiction career, Roxanne began writing what she most loved to read: romance. Her small-town stories quickly became fan favorites; print editions of her latest series were recently launched in France.

Check out her work at her website!

Step Back in Time for the Holidays

 

Pale Moon Walking is on for $0.99 for a limited time!

 Amazon.com/ Amazon.ca/ Chapters-Indigo/ Barnes & Noble/iTunes/ Kobo/ Amazon.UK

This book is one of my favourites. Or maybe I should say, Libby Mayden is one of my favourite heroines (because I love all of my books). She’s a small town sheriff and retired gunfighter who hides a whole lot of secrets–not all of them hers. And now it can be yours this holiday season for $0.99!

 

And for the contemporary romance lovers, I also have the first book in my Spy Games series available for free at most online retailers:

 

 

Amazon.com/ Amazon.ca/ Amazon.co.UK/ Kobo/ iBooks/ Barnes & Noble

I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season. We’re expecting our first big snowstorm tomorrow, which always puts me in the Christmas mood. Whatever your celebration is, have a good one!

~Paula