Welcome! So glad you're here! C.J. would love to stay in contact with you about her new release books and upcoming events! Subscribe to her bi-weekly email today! Chat with award-winning Author C.J. Peterson via email, and get to know the writer behind the words! "While the stories are fiction, the journey is real."
Carmen DeSousa currently lives in "The Heart of Arizona" with her husband of thirty-plus years and a very spoiled rescued calico they lovingly refer to as "Baby Kitty," even though she's fourteen years old, and a new rescue, a Russian Blue named Tonto after the national forest, which is now their backyard. Carmen and her husband are always looking for their next adventure, so they travel every chance they get. If you've read about a place in one of Carmen's stories, she's been there!
Her stories overflow with romance, suspense, a hint of humor and, of course, a few Kleenex moments. After all, what would a great story be without an emotional event setting the stage? All of her novels are sensual but not erotic, gripping but not graphic, and will make you cry, laugh, love, and hope. Although some of her books include supernatural elements, her stories dance on the edge of make believe.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? What/who inspired you to publish your first book?
I’ve always loved reading. From the time I could read, I knocked out a book or two a week. And…I’ve been writing since I was a child. I actually bounded a little book when I was eight years old. However, it wasn’t until 2009…when the Fortune 500 company I was working for was rearranging and wanted me to go back into full-time management that I realized I needed a change. I literally said to myself: “If you could do anything you wanted with your life, what would you do?” That was easy! Read! So I started editing for other authors. Then…a tragedy hit, and I thought life was over. I was so distraught, I started typing out an outline of everything that had happened to me, then I thought… I have enough to fill ten books. So…I sat down and started writing She Belongs to Me, my first book, which released two years later.
How much of your books are realistic? Are the experiences based on someone you know, or are they events in your real life?
Oops… I think I answered that in the last question. Yes, I write books based on my own experiences, but – and this is a big BUT – I DO take artistic license. I knew someone who mistakenly shot themselves, for example, so I saw all that entailed. My husband is a retired police detective, so I have tons of stories to pull from there. I also see injustices in life… Like a man whom I worked for who I thought was wonderful, then he cheated on his wife and kids. I had two shoulder surgeries, and the first PT was a tyrant, so when my doctor sent in the new (best there was), another story was born. One book, I literally took one line I overheard, and created an entire story of the one line. At the end of the book, I realized: I never used the line. :)
What is your current project? Will you share a little of it with us – kind of a sneak peek?
I actually just agreed to my first ever group project. A Christmas boxed set. I will have the pre-order dates shortly. Of course, they may not invite me back. If you’ve read my books, you’ll know I have a strong sense of justice, but I also know that circumstances don’t always turn out well. While I always have a “happily ever after,” I do put my characters through tough times, which isn’t always expected in a Christmas story. BUT…I write where the muse takes me.
The story is set in downtown Chicago, and our heroine is a bit down and out, but she feels a social responsibility for the children in the inner-city, so she comes up with a Dear Santa project. That’s all I can say for now.
What do you do in the ‘real world’ when you’re not writing?
Mostly… I people watch, hike, kayak, and read, which all goes back into my stories, so really, I never take time off.
What are the challenges in writing your books? (Ex: logistical, research, literary, psychological, etc)
Hmmm… Research is easy. Google makes the technical part easy. But I also move around a lot, so I write about places I’ve been. The only difficult part about writing is finding time to write! What with editing, graphic design, formatting, marketing…not to mention doing author interviews, The hardest part about writing is finding time to write!
Are there any quotes or verses you find inspiring? What are they and why?
I have a ton of favorite quotes I can spill off my tongue to motivate other writers, but my all-time favorite quote is by Robert Frost:
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
It’s so true. If I write a scene that’s supposed to make readers cry, and then I go back and I don’t cry, there’s a problem. In fact, just last night I was re-reading a novel I published three years ago, and sure enough, when I got to the sad part, I was bawling. And I literally thought to myself: “How can you be crying? You’ve read this a hundred times!”
Tell us a little about yourself. Perhaps something that a lot of people do not know?
My mother doesn’t know I’m a writer. In fact, other than a few select people, very few people know I’m an author. In fact, not one person other than my husband knows in the current city where I live.
Are you a planner or a pantser when it comes to writing? (Planner – outline; Pantser – sit down and write)
Well, that has changed…slightly. I was always a pantser. As I said above, I literally sat down and started typing my first book. Then there were books that one line set off a sequence of events. But…then something happened. I realized that I could outline a book, and still leave room for my muse. Since I’ve started writing out a book arc, I’ve found that while I leave myself wide open for change, I now finish my books faster, and they’re better. I don’t get lost in la-la land, writing “filler” because I don’t know where I’m going.
If there was anything you could change regarding your publishing experience, what would it be and why? Also, do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I would have waited for a larger publisher. I’ve learned a lot on my journey, but I’ve become very “I can do it” minded. In other words, I rarely hand over the reins. If I’d found a large publisher from minute one, I believe I would have been able to write a lot more books, as I wouldn’t be worried about all the other stuff.
10) Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you to the readers who understand that I cannot do this alone! The readers who understand that talking about books and sharing reviews is what feeds me. Typically, only one percent of readers leave reviews, and even fewer share on social media sites, so when a reader takes the time to let me and other readers know they enjoyed a book, it’s an amazing thing!
After Jana Embers divorces her unfaithful husband and quits dating the male species altogether, she decides that a career in writing, learning to whitewater kayak, and adopting a persnickety calico will keep her plenty busy during the day. And a perfectly sized and shaped device will keep her satisfied at night. But when she injures her shoulder and cannot write, she needs the help of Dr. Adrian Kijek, one very frustrating physical therapist who hates her simply because she wrote a book about not needing a man … or so she thinks.
Thirty-nine-year-old struggling actress Alaina Ackerman isn’t just down on her luck today; lady luck has packed up and left town for heaven only knows where. Instead of ending up homeless on the streets of New York City in November, Alaina accepts her mother’s holiday invitation and heads home to Pittsburgh for a much-needed break. Maybe even to give up on acting altogether.
The last thing Alaina expects is to be happy returning home, especially when fate not only tosses an abandoned puppy into her lap, but also practically embeds Markus Klein into her life. That wouldn't be so bad, if she hadn’t spent the last twenty years trying to forget him after the night they crossed the “just friends” line. Now, torn between a love she thought she lost, and one she never knew existed, that vicious harpy some call fate dangles Alaina’s dream opportunity -- a leading role -- in front of her. Her only problem… Going after her dream could jeopardize her chance at love.
As if a new puppy, love, and career aren’t complicated enough, Alaina discovers that her mother and sister are keeping a secret from her. The revelation might be just enough to get Alaina’s life heading in the right direction … or send her over the edge.
Love Like Crazy is a women's fiction / coming-of-age story for anyone who's ever had a first love, an everlasting love…
College and career are hard enough without bringing love into the mix, so the last thing Jesse is looking for is a spring break fling. His future entails getting an MBA and taking over the reins of his father's small-time plumbing company and making it successful. He doesn’t have time for a girl, especially not one who's related to the spoiled rich girl who broke up his last relationship. One week with Kayla, though, changes everything.
Eighteen and in love, Jesse and Kayla now have everything they've ever wanted--until tragedy strikes. Now, thrust into a world of heartbreak and grief, others insist they are too young. But when you find the love of your life, no matter how young you are, no matter what happens, the only thing you can do is hold on and LOVE LIKE CRAZY.
Although tastefully written, Love Like Crazy includes adult situations appropriate for readers sixteen and older.
Fine Love Like Crazy exclusively on Amazon - Audible
A fire-red BMW, a mansion on the water, a closet the size of a small department store … At eighteen years old, Charity Bauer has gotten anything she has ever wanted in life. At least she thought she had everything she wanted...
The night Charity meets Brock Ryan she sees not only a chance to spend a night with a hot divorcé, but also an opportunity to make her ex jealous. Some things aren’t for sale, though, especially not Brock Ryan. When one night of innocent flirting causes a chain reaction that will forever change her life, Charity will have to make difficult decisions that will affect her future and the ones she loves — maybe even cost her the love of a lifetime.
Although tastefully written, Love Until It Hurts includes adult situations appropriate for readers sixteen and older.
A passionate romantic-suspense of love, betrayal, and obsession, She Belongs to Me will have you falling in love and wondering if you can trust anyone right up to the last page.
When police detective Jordan Monroe finds his wife unconscious, clinging to life, he must uncover the mystery of her shooting before her past threatens both of their lives...
When two strangers have nothing left but their dreams, they must forge a relationship in Nantahala, North Carolina, a small town known as Land of the Noonday Sun.
Destined to follow in the footsteps of her father’s successful life and career, Cassandra's life of privilege suddenly shatters, and she finds herself with no home, career, or money...
Chad has overcome his tragic past and is happy with his carefree life as a whitewater guide... But all that changes when fate throws a woman in his path. Will he be strong enough when tragedy strikes and is once again in danger of losing everything he loves?
When Alexandra was a child, she thought she was a princess in a fairy-tale life... She didn't know she was one tragedy away from reality.
Now twenty-two, disaster strikes again and she's determined to change her path. Unfortunately, one night of indiscretion propels her into a situation that may cost Alexandra her life.
It'll all come down to two men, one decision, and a final encounter that will change her life forever.
Passion, secrets, murder… Welcome to Land of the Noonday Sun.
When a new attorney accepts a pro-bono case of an abused woman suspected of attempted murder, he ends up with more than he bargained for. She's the ex-wife of one of the oldest and wealthiest families in Ashville, and her in-laws will stop at nothing to conceal family secrets--even murder.
Unable to ignore his attraction, he gets closer than he should. But when all evidence points to the woman he's falling in love with, he will risk everything--his reputation, disbarment, maybe even his life to uncover the truth.
Split Decisions is the follow-up story to She Belongs to Me, a "what if" type of story that explores the questions we often ask ourselves about our life and the choices we've made. Get ready...this is not your normal romantic-suspense... This is romantic-suspense with a supernatural twist.
Sometimes you want something so badly you are willing to abandon everything you've ever known--including yourself.
Eighteen years ago, Jaynee Monroe married the man of her dreams, became the mother of four, and fulfilled her career goals. About to turn forty, she senses something is missing from her idyllic life. While Googling her name in an attempt to find herself, she unearths something so impossible, she contemplates her own sanity. Seeking answers, she embarks on a journey to discover the truth, only to end up abducted by a deranged stranger who insists on calling her Caycee.
When a bigwig fight promoter needs someone to search for his missing fiancée, he hires expert tracker Sam Belgarde and his search dogs. Sam is more than a little reluctant. His family’s company, Search and Rescue Alaska, is in financial trouble, though, so if searching for a spoiled socialite will save it, then he’s willing to break the rules—just this once.
After witnessing a murder, Nora Molina needs to get away—fast—and her best hope to escape without her passport is Alaska. A native of Argentina, Nora’s accustomed to harsh winters and high elevation, so she gets more than a little irritated when some tracker thinks she needs rescuing. Even if he is get-out sexy. And even if he’s the guy she stood up before leaving town. It’s going to be a long few days.
When an unexpected storm rolls in, Sam and Nora find themselves in each other’s arms—to keep warm. Things get a little too hot when it’s clear someone wants the two of them to stay lost—permanently.
Alex Belgarde has carried the culpability of his father’s death for more than ten years. Every year, as his family’s company falls deeper into debt, the guilt eats away more of his soul until there’s only one answer. Prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to save his father’s legacy, Alex takes off on a frigid winter day with no radio and very little fuel in his seaplane. He’s using up the last of his reserve tank, preparing to drop from the sky, when he sees plane wreckage below.
Irene Rose has spent her life chasing her dream. But after a possible terminal diagnosis, she realizes how lonely her life has become and is ready to forgive her sister and beg for her family’s forgiveness. Instead of arriving on the island of her birth, Irene finds herself stranded in the Alaskan wilderness. Unbeknownst to her, the pilot for the plane she chartered was a drug runner, so he didn’t alert authorities as they crashed.
While Alex’s illogical idea to save his father’s company is thwarted because of his obligation to help others, he finds purpose in offering aid to the beautiful and intelligent Irene. The attraction is mutual until Irene persuades Alex to tell her the real reason he can’t simply fly them to safety or call for help. Now the two castaways will have to fight the harsh winter elements, as well as the drug smugglers who lost their cargo in the wreck, if they want to make it home alive. Not easy tasks when Irene refuses to trust Alex to get her home safely. She simply can’t get over the fact that as talented, tough, and tantalizing as he is that he was going to throw his life away when hers will probably be cut short. For the first time in his life, Alex will have to face his demons instead of running from them in order to win the girl and prove to himself that he’s a real hero.
Vince Kolya inherited only one trait from his biological father: a need to be on the sea. The rest of his life he has tried to emulate what he learned from his unofficial adopted family, the Belgardes: dedicating his life to helping others instead of abusing them. Unfortunately, he’s yet to find a woman who wants the same things he does in life. It’s bad enough that his wife left him, but she also failed to make his boat payments while he was on a three-month stint. Giving up on relationships, Vince throws himself into working with his family’s search & rescue team. Highest on his to-do list, though, is saving money to buy another boat so he can get back on the water, away from the reminders of his abusive past.
Now that her father is dead and buried, Valery Yura is coming home to her beloved state of Alaska in hopes that moving her troubled son to the place where she grew up will transform him into the loving young man he once was. The last thing she needs is a distraction, especially when it comes in the form of the gorgeous man she’s loved her entire life—Vince. A few too many drinks and sexy dancing on the dock, and she’s repeating ancient history, a situation she can’t allow, so she runs from his bed. When her son goes missing after a fishing excursion, Valery feels that the authorities aren’t doing everything possible. Although she’s resigned herself to never seeing Vince again, she needs his help.
As much as Vince tries to hold onto his feelings of anger and abandonment, knowing it’s paramount to protecting his heart, he finds himself falling deeper and deeper for Valery as they search for her lost son. The only way to win her love is to be her hero and find her son, but that hope fades when the authorities call off the search. Determined to give Valery closure and win back her heart, Vince embarks on an all-out manhunt for the missing boy. What he discovers, though, might be a death warrant for him and the woman he can’t lose again.
Homicide detectives Gino Canale and Mark Waters don't believe in ghosts. Not yet anyway.
The Pit Stop (This Stop Could be Life or Death):
When a reoccurring dream implies that Detective Canale’s grandparents' deaths might actually have been homicides, he realizes he’s either connecting to the other side or going crazy. And he’s not sure which thought scares him more.
Bonus: The eBook and Print Edition Now Include:
The Depot (When Life and Death Cross Tracks)
Detective Mark Waters doesn't believe in ghosts. But when an attempted homicide mimics a murder that took place eighty years ago, and it appears someone is working from beyond the grave to right a wrong, he’s starting to wonder if life and death can cross tracks…
In 1934, the body of a beautiful, but poor young woman was found alongside a riverbank near The Depot. Beaten to a pulp, only recognizable by a tattoo on her ankle, and yet, days after the discovery, the story all but disappears.
Eighty years later, locals claim The Depot is haunted. But in all the years homicide detective Mark Waters has visited the historic 1800s train station turned restaurant, he's never seen proof. Until now.
As he sifts through evidence of a supposed suicide by train, he learns a murder that took place eighty years ago may directly affect his case.
Six months after the strange occurrences at The Depot, there's another murder. This time, The Library holds secrets of several murders, and the dead won't rest until the murderer checks out too.
Note: The Library (Where Life Checks Out) is a 50k-word follow-up novel to The Depot (When Life and Death Cross Tracks), which is included in this special edition so readers who haven't read The Depot won't miss anything.
From Book 1: Derrick's desire to save one human girl will ignite a war...
For four thousand years, creatus have concealed themselves from the humans who hunted them almost to extinction. Unwittingly, one creatus will endanger them all...
As with most of his family, Derrick Ashton knows his future and what position he's destined to fill within his unique society. Everything changes, however, when he breaks one of his family's strictest laws and falls in love -- with a human.
In his quest to protect the woman he can never have, a twist of fate propels him into a new role that will cause dissension among his family and endanger the anonymity that they've spent thousands of years protecting.
Now, he will risk everything to save the girl from humans and his own kind. The one thing he can't save her from, however...is herself.
The Creatus series is not your normal paranormal story...it's a realistic supernatural romantic suspense based on the myths you've heard your entire life. Prepare to believe...