Have You Ignored an Important Call?

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Take that call next time.

Telemarketers always bug me during my writing time – afternoonish when my kids are sleeping. One or two a da. You’d think I was rich.

November 4th I sat down to write a particularly difficult scene and my phone rang. I glared at the offending buzz and shook my head.

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. I groaned and answered. “Hello?”

“Is Bonnie Paulson available?” Super sweet voice which makes it even harder to say “no, not interested”.

“This is.” Mama taught me manners and I use ‘em.

“Hi, Bonnie. This is Angela James from Carina Press. I’m calling about the manuscript you submitted.” At this point, my eyebrows scrunched together. Had I done something wrong?  I’d never heard of an editor calling an author. Maybe I’d offended someone. Still wasn’t 100% certain she wasn’t a telemarketer.

But Ms. James continued on and I realized she was offering me a contract. I’d said “Uh hunh” to her comments and she paused, asking if I had any questions so far.

My response? Yeah, she tweeted about it. I said, “I think I’m gonna throw up.”

And you know what? I didn’t, but that sense of surreality hasn’t left.

Mallory Braus proved to be as sweet and romantic-at-heart as Breathe Again needed.

Angela James has been more than accessible and supportive at every turn – even when I sent her interview questions for my own blog that were less than professional.

My cover artist took my breath away.

The copy editor made me smile and taught me a thing or three.

But Mallory worked my story over and in my developmental edits she made a suggestion that, as I worked it out, brought me to tears. I finished the scene sobbing, closed my laptop and looked around. The only think I wanted to do involved an empty wineglass (I don’t drink), a fireplace (green of course) and me looking for tissues around the apartment/house.

Mallory and the Carina Press team made me feel like Joan Wilder discovering my stories all over again.

Here’s a favorite part of mine from Breathe Again.

How could one man be sweet and genuine while the other lacked all sense of manners? Maybe the brute was raised on a farm where he never had the opportunity to see normal people and acted like a bull because he was raised among the cows. Maybe my sheep reference hadn’t been far off… Shampoo bubbles filled my hair and a chuckle escaped at the thought of Brodan in denim overalls slinging muck.

Ryan, on the other hand, seemed smooth and courteous, fun even. He’d made me laugh and that hadn’t happened in a long time.

But if I could put Ryan’s personality into Brodan’s body, it might have been just what I would be looking for, or not looking for, since the idea was strictly shower thinking. I’d gotten in trouble before, pursuing thoughts generated in the shower.

I lathered my body, trying to push the images of the men from my head. Aided by my hunger, I switched easily to considering menu items, with thoughts of pancakes smothered in syrup and crisp sizzling bacon ruling my mind.

By the time I finished washing, my stomach growled in earnest. I wouldn’t make it another two hours. Rather I left for the 24-hour one-stop shop ten minutes farther.

Beside my adorable VW van, blue with a white top from the early 70s, I drew in a deep breath. I loved when the rest of the world slept and it felt like I was the only one awake. Opening my door, I tossed my purse onto the seat beside the driver’s side. Before I climbed in, the blue paint glinted, reminding me of Brodan….

Dang. I’d have to retrain my attraction guide. The man’s similarities to Dean should have been the only repellent I needed. Add his rudeness and the fact we couldn’t be in the same room together, I should feel nauseated just thinking of him. Get him out of your head, Maggie.

I wrote Breathe Again while I was pregnant and you’ll notice I involve food a lot in my story. I’d write about the lasagna (recipe to follow) Maggie makes for Brodan and of course, finished the scene and had to make some. I ate most of it – much to my Hubs distress.

I drew my husband in with this recipe I developed – my own personal creation. You can find it at the bottom of this post. Maybe make it for you and your *wink* friend or eat it while you read Breathe Again.

Breathe Again Cover
Don’t you love this cover? Maggie leans against Brodan. The skyline reminds me of a Montana sunset. Carina Press artists captured the mood perfectly. I literally gasped when I saw it – and teared up.

I hope you enjoy Breath Again. Another book I would direct you do – well, two actually – Craving Perfect by Liz Fichera and Endless Night by Maureen A. Miller OH and Man Law by Adrienne Giordanno, so three.

They capture the essence of what Carina has to offer – exceptional authors with a phenomenal team backing them. Harlequin is so awesome I used superlatives that aren’t slang.

Knock-Your-Socks-Off Lasagna OR Dip-It Lasagna

  • Sauce Ingredients: One large can of tomato sauce, 1 large can diced tomatoes, 1 TB of minced garlic (with oil), chopped onions, italian sausage, 2 TB dry/fresh parsley, 2 TB sugar, 1 – 2 TB salt with pepper:
  • Everything but the sauce and diced tomatoes brown in a pan keeping the sausage oil. Add the tomato sauce and tomatoes. Simmer until the rest of the ingredients are ready.
  • Cheese ingredients: One small ricotta cheese, one medium cottage cheese, 2 cups mozzarella grated, garlic salt (about 1 TB).
  • Mix all and set aside to be layered.
  • Layering ingredients: Fresh spinach, fresh sliced mushrooms, sliced olives, anything else you like in your lasagna – like noodles – but don’t prepare too many, this is a less-pasta-more-fun-stuff dish.
  • Start your layers. Best to start with something like mushrooms then top with pasta, sauce then cheese. Next, olives, spinach, pasta, sauce then cheese. You should have a fairly thick dish with few layers. Cheese tops it and you’ll cook it in your pan (whatever kind you love) at 350 F for 30 to 40 minutes. This is SLOPPY and great to dip your garlic bread in. I love garlic.
  • Also, play with this recipe. You can’t ruin it because it’s a subjective dish. Like it sweeter? Add more sugar. More noodles? Add more. The sauce and the bread is the only reason I make it.

Bonnie R. Paulson

Enjoy and please! Please! Please! email me and let me know how you liked it! bonnierpaulson@gmail.com

Come find me on Twitter – @bonnierpaulson

And my blog: www.bonnierpaulson.com

I’m offering a $10 gift card to a randomly selected commenter on today’s post. To another a copy of BREATHE AGAIN – Woot!

I’d like to know who has supported you throughout your life? It’s all about people and the roles they play to our hearts. Maggie and Brodan help the other heal… Who do you have? This is your “I’d like to thank the Academy” moment. What would you say?

Oh, sorry? Did you say you wanted to know how you can purchase Breathe Again?

Carina Press (of course!), Amazon, Nook,Lybrary.com.