Sunday, December 9, 2012

9th Day of Christmas: Katie Harper

Cate: Katie is here to spread some holiday cheer! Katie, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Katie: I started writing when two people showed up in her head and wouldn't leave until I told their story. They had a party, invited a few friends over. Now I spend my days doing the bidding of imaginary people. I live in a city made for sin on the edge of a desert with my husband, two daughters, no pets, and enough lemon bundt cake to give a refugee camp an obesity problem.

Cate: Love it. :) What do you love most about Christmas?
Katie: The presents. Not receiving, I don’t really care if I get something. I like to give. I like to surprise people with a gift they didn’t know they wanted but ends up being perfect.

Cate: It's a great feeling, isn't it? Do you have a favorite memory of a Christmas past?
Katie: Christmas and I have had a difficult relationship. Six years ago on Christmas Day my husband died. I was 27 and I had an 18 month old daughter. I went through all the typical stages psychiatrists like to blather on about until I reached a point where I was totally happy being single. In fact I'd decided to never marry again. Kind of an odd declaration for a romance novelist. Then I met Rogerio. It might have been that I hadn't been involved with anyone in years but I was instantly attracted to him. The fact that he had a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, was a pastry chef, sexy as hell, and from Brazil had pretty much everything to do with it. Then I got to know him and discovered that all that stuff paled when held up to his kind, compassionate nature. My daughter fell in love with him from the moment they met. He went to all her school functions, helped her with homework, taught her to ride a bike, all the dad stuff. He just needed to suck it up and ask me to marry him because I sure as hell wasn't going to do it. I knew he wouldn't do anything showy. What he did will go down in history as the single most ballsy proposal ever. On the five year anniversary of my first husband's death, on Christmas Day, he asked me to marry him. He hedged his bet by showing up with a five carat ring. How was I going to say no to that? His goal was to give me a happy memory of Christmas. And he did. One year later, two weeks ago, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter Scarlett Sophia.

Cate: Such a sweet story! And bittersweet. If Santa could grant one wish, what would you ask for?
Katie: I’d ask for my whole family to be together on Christmas morning. I have four brothers, one sister, and a whole slew of nieces and nephews so getting us all together in one place is a bit difficult. I’m kind of getting my wish this year. My youngest brother has been in Malaysia for two years and he will be home just before Christmas this year. The whole fam damily will be here the day after Christmas to see him. Almost.

Cate: What a wonderful reunion! 
What was the best gift you’ve ever received? What made it so special?
Katie: My engagement ring. It was special because the man attached to it is so amazingly wonderful.

Cate: He sounds it. :) Any favorite Christmas recipes you’d care to share?
Katie: I’m kind of known for the world’s best hot chocolate. My daughter calls it Polar Express Hot Chocolate. My husband calls it Eight Ounces in a Cup = Ten Pounds on Your Butt.

1.5 cups whipping cream
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
6 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups of milk chocolate chips

 Stir together the whipping cream, milk, vanilla, and chocolate chips in a crockpot.
Cover and cook on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot and chocolate chips are melted. Stir again before serving. Garnish as desired.

Cate: Tell us about your latest release, and where readers can find it online.
Katie: Never Say Just is about an ex mercenary/assassin whose past comes back to haunt her. When a group of Force Recon Marines show up to pull her butt out of the fire she has to learn to let someone fight beside her. You can find it wherever ebooks are sold!

Cate: Care to share a blurb or excerpt?
Katie: You betcha!

Haunted by her past of murder for hire and skinning people alive to gather vital intelligence, Kat Boudreaux wants nothing more than to hide away in her sprawling mansion with the love of her life--her daughter. But then Private Gump and his band of Bubbas land on her doorstep. Her brother and his unit of misfit Marines insert themselves with the misguided need to protect her from someone hell-bent on vengeance.

For Shooter, it's love at first sight, though he wouldn't be caught dead admitting it. When Kat is nearly fatally injured while saving his life, he knows he's found the woman for him. Together, they fight side by side to get to the bottom of the threats. Kat's daughter is kidnapped and this ex-assassin mom reverts back to old habits to save her. Saving Kat and her daughter is easy, taming the shrew that is Hell Kat Boudreaux might mean losing his favorite appendage.


Shooter leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Bar?” Oh God yes. Yeah, this evening will be brought to you by Jack Daniels and Jim Beam. I ordered a shot of whatever was closest and downed it. Shooter handed me a mint julep while he sipped his scotch. Bless that man. I scanned the room for the enemy. I had honed this skill over several missions for GSA. It’s amazing how quickly things come back to you when you were threatened.

My gaze fell on the first threat, Louise LaLourie. Why her parents had named her Louise with a last name like LaLourie was completely beyond me. Of course she had sported several other last names over the years but she always returned to LaLourie. At one time she desperately wanted to be known as Louise Boudreaux. But, I was married to my husband at the time and he had shown her the no trespassing sign right away. Louise held a flute of champagne in her hand, her cunning eyes searched for the next Mr. LaLourie. Her sights fell on me and she stalked forward. I’m not kidding, she stalked, like a lioness, toward me. I looked over at Shooter. I needed to warn him that the most bedded woman in New Orleans was on the prowl. He was busy at the bar fighting for his constitutional right to get good and shit faced completely missing my look of caution. Since I knew Louise watched me I smiled and prayed the words “die, bitch, die” were not tattooed on my forehead.

“Oh my gawd. Are you finally out of mourning?” Her accent was so thick you could cut it with a K-Bar. “I understand grieving, but honey you can’t put yourself in cold storage for the rest of your life. But you are looking great. Look at you. I was afraid you’d locked yourself up in that big ole house and either ate or drank yourself to death. I am so relieved to see you looking as good as ever. Who are you wearing, darlin’? You look positively wonderful.”

Of course her compliments were about as real as her boobs, but I smiled back and said, “Versace.”

“Donatella?” Louise asked with pity in her voice.

“No, Gianni. It went up for auction at Sotheby’s a few years ago and I just had to have it. Though this is the first time I’ve worn it.”

Edna could look forward to a big, fat Christmas bonus this year. The envy on Louise’s face was priceless. It was worth coming to this damn ho down, and I mean ho down, just to see her face turn a lovely shade of green. She would have given a lot to own an original Gianni but she didn’t and I did. Take that you nasty bitch.

Shooter took that moment to turn around and hand me another cocktail. His eyes went big and he tried to take a step back but the bar was in the way. I hadn’t taken in what Louise wore until that moment. She wore a black, too tight to breathe, strapless Dolce and Gabbana that made her boobs spill over the tops. Truth be told I had that same dress in my closet at home. But I would never choose to accessorize it with a purple leopard bra that poked strategically above the neckline. Her lecherous eyes zeroed in on Shooter. She had the sniper in her sites and he was about to feel the full force of Louise’s slut-o-matic up close and personal.

“Well, hello. You must be Kat’s brother?”

“No, Louise,” I interrupted, “This is my date.” I choked on the last word.

Louise didn’t care. She wouldn’t care if a man was in bed with his wife on their wedding night, she believed all men were available. “And what is your name, gorgeous?”

“Shooter,” he smiled and leaned into her gaze a slight come and get me smile smeared across his face. I seriously wanted to pop his eyes out with a shrimp fork but I reigned in my rage.

“And what is it that you do, Mr. Shooter?” Translation: Can you afford me? She said as she pressed herself up against his body shamelessly exposing all her voluptuous assets.

He raised his hand and extended a finger. Shooter pushed the tip of his long thick finger into the center of Louise’s forehead forcing her to take several steps backward. His gaze had gone from playful to deadly. “I kill people,” his whisper was sinister.

Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Katie: I am a military history junkie and I love strong women, you can’t get stronger than a woman who made a living slitting throats. More than military history or strong women, I like watching people change for the better.  

Cate: Anything else you’d like to share?

Cate: Merry Christmas to you! 
Woot! Katie has her Santa hat on!
Katie: I will give a copy of Never Say Just to one random commenter. Get those fingers flying people and comment away!

Cate: Thanks so much for being part of the 12 Days of Christmas! Hope you have a jolly holly holiday! And I hope all your family makes it home to see your brother. :)


Cate Masters said...

Welcome Katie! Loved your excerpt - the "voice" was very distinct. :) I love strong female characters too.

JoAnna said...

That was such a sad and sweet Christmas memory. Thanks for sharing that memory.

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