A Release Day Interview with USA Today Bestselling Author Melissa McClone!

ChristmasAtTheCastle_3001. Tell us a bit about the Ever After series.

The Ever After series consists of three stories (with plans for more) that involve some aspect of Reality TV. Ever After is the name of the production company, and the four person film crew appears in each story. Other secondary characters appear, too, but each romance is standalone. I recently added epilogues to the first two books, The Honeymoon Prize and The Cinderella Princess, to align the series together. It was so much fun to revisit those stories!

2. What is your favorite thing about being a writer? What is the most challenging?

My favorite thing is imagining a story in my head and seeing it come to life on the page (well, my computer monitor.) Although I must admit, wearing pajamas while I work is a close second.

The most challenging thing for me is time. My kids are still at an age where they need me, and no matter how hard I try to plan out a writing schedule and be organized, something invariably happens (often two or three things!) and I’m left scrambling to make a deadline.

3. What is your favorite scene from Christmas at the Castle?

Oh, good question. There are a couple that come to mind, but I think it would have to be one I added in, not quite at the last minute, but close to it. Kat goes sightseeing with the crown prince and a marquess. Claude who is the chauffeur/body guard is also with them. It’s a short scene but a fun one for me to write because these two hot royals are acting worse than school boys trying to impress a cute girl. The heroine wants none of it, and I love how she takes control of the situation and puts the two men in their places.

4. Do you and your family have a favorite holiday tradition?

On Christmas Eve, we each open one present, and it’s always pajamas. You’d think this might get old, but the kids still love it. The pajamas are washed before they are wrapped so they can be put on right away and worn to bed that night. In the morning, everyone has their new PJs on for pictures.

McClone-ChocolateShop-300dpi5. Do you have any other upcoming releases you’d like your readers to know about?

I’m very excited about my November 3rd release called A Thankful Heart. It’s the second book in the Love at the Chocolate Shop series set in Marietta, Montana. The heroine works at Copper Mountain Chocolates and is also a volunteer at an animal rescue—something near and dear to my heart. The hero is an architect from Seattle who is in town to care for his injured dad for the month. I’ll be writing two more books in the series. Those will be out in February and May.


Get your copy of Christmas at the Castle from your favorite retailer today!

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auth_MelissaMcClone

Melissa McClone’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University led her to a job with a major airline where she travelled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters. Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! Since then, she has published over thirty-five romance novels with Harlequin and been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA award. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim and soccer practices, 4-H meetings and dog shows. She also supports deployed service members through Soldiers’ Angels and fosters cats through a local non-kill rescue shelter. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds and cats who think they rule the house.


Madeline Ash takes over the Tule Blog!

SexySummer-FRONTThanks for having me on the Tule blog today to introduce The Playboy in the Sexy Summer boxed set! This novella is set in the peak of summer in Byron Bay, Australia – a coastal town with gorgeous surfers, sparkling blue surf, and soft white sand. This lush location had so many opportunities for sexy summer fun, and I adored writing about sea-sticky skin, salt-encrusted surfer hair, and long, lazy days (and nights) by the beach.

The hero, Parker, was a player in his teenage years: blond, gold-toned, and loaded – and arrogant to the point where he humiliated the heroine Alexia. Six years later, he’s learned humility and wants to make up for the way he treated her.

ThePlayboy-300dpiAlexia is a successful actor, but has reached a point where she needs sexual experience to secure an upcoming role. Her goals starts off simple: find a guy to hook up with. But as her failures accumulate, Alexia realizes she’s running from guys because she wants her first time to mean something. She wants connection and attraction…two things she feels very strongly around Parker, the very man who has treated her poorly in the past. There’s nothing like a rift to force the denial of serious sexual chemistry.

I hope you enjoy this hot, racy beach read!

 


 

Buy your copy of the Sexy Summer Boxed Set here:

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auth_MadelineAshMadeline has always lived in Melbourne. She is emotionally allergic to spontaneity, and yet doesn’t mind the weather that drags her into rain when she’s planned for sunshine. She likes to call this her wild side.

She’s a Virgo, vegetarian, and once had a romantic suspense-style dream in which the hero was a shredded lettuce sandwich and the villain was a cherry tomato. The tomato got away. She took the dream as a sign that she’d better stick to writing contemporary romance.

Her stories have spunky heroines, strong heroes, and as much dialogue as she can cram in. As for why she writes romance, she’s in a long-term relationship with the genre and writing such stories makes it happy.

 

 


Visit with NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author Barbara Dunlop!

UnpredictableMatchI can’t believe we’ve released Book Five in the Match Series!

I can clearly remember the holiday where my daughter and I brainstormed ideas for the zany senior citizens at the heart of the stories.  There are five of them: JW the former Green Beret, Sam who was a NASA genius, quirky, impulsive Daisy, Lizbet a highly successful businesswoman, and earth-mother Hannah.

From their Florida seniors’ residence, they invent the most successful matchmaking program in the world.  I knew right away the crew would have endless fun messing with the lives of their grandchildren.  Each story is a new match.  And each new match brings tougher challenges to the seniors who have to surreptitiously throw their heirs into the paths of their perfect mates and keep them there long enough to let the magic—or the science, depending on who you ask—go to work.

It started with An Unlikely Match, featuring a nerd and an aspiring actress in Southern California.  An Impractical Match pairs an uptight perfectionist of an event planner with slightly wild motor cross racer.  In An Extraordinary Match, a float plane pilot puts the daughter of his family’s arch-enemy in prison.  While a typo in the matchmaking program has a construction contractor reluctantly attempting to match the perfect woman with his brother in An Astonishing Match.

That brings us to number five, An Unpredictable Match.  Obviously, the crew can’t leave the brother from book four all alone and lonely.  He’s a brilliant, independent, workaholic, coerced by his grandmother into offering his mansion as a film set.  She’s a charming film producer battling a tyrannical boss.  For good measure, the seniors toss in a beautiful starlet as a red herring.

Summer’s nearly here, and I’m looking longingly outside at the sunshine.  Still, I can’t help thinking about book number six…


Buy An Unpredictable Match from your favorite online retailer!
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BarbX2015XLargeBarbara Dunlop is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fifty romance novels. A three time finalist in the prestigious RITA award, she is also a two time winner of the RWA Golden Heart award. An Unlikely Match, the first book in her acclaimed Match series, was a number one bestseller on Amazon. Barbara makes her home in Yukon with her bush pilot husband and the moose and bears that wander through their yard.

 


Teri Wilson takes over the Tule Blog!

TheArtofUs-300dpiHi, everyone! My name is Teri Wilson, and while I’m not new to writing, I’m new to Tule Publishing. I love, love, love writing romance, and I also write for a fun website called HelloGiggles.com, where I cover everything pop culture-related, from the Duchess of Cambridge’s hair to Oreos with Harry Potter’s face in the crème filling. (Seriously, I’ve written about both of those things this week.)

I’m really excited about my book for Tule, The Art of Us, which is a modern retelling of Pygmalion/My Fair Lady with a fine art twist. The heroine, Dr. Harper Higgins, is an art history professor and a Van Gogh scholar. She’s even got a one-eared dog named Vincent. (Aww, right?!) The hero of The Art of Us, Tom Stone, is a brooding former soldier. He’s also a painter.

My inspiration for Tom’s character came from a real-life initiative called The Combat Paper Project. Based in San Francisco, The Combat Paper Project helps warriors adjust to coming back home after serving their country in combat. They believe in the therapeutic process of art and creativity and help soldiers turn their actual wartime uniforms into paper pulp and gorgeous collages. Drew Cameron, one of the founders of this amazing organization says, “The story of the fiber, the blood, sweat and tears, the months of hardship and brutal violence are held within those old uniforms. The uniforms often become inhabitants of closets or boxes in the attic. Reshaping that association of subordination, of warfare and service, into something collective and beautiful is our inspiration.”

You can learn more about The Combat Paper Project at their website: www.combatpaper.org.

I do hope you’ll give Harper and Tom’s story a read. They share an emotional, romantic journey of healing and renewal, because love is its own work of art.

Thanks for reading!

Teri

TERIXWILSONXAUTHORXIMAGEXOVERX1200XpixelsXX1XTeri Wilson is a romance novelist for Harlequin Books and Tule Publishing, as well as a contributing writer at HelloGiggles.com, a lifestyle and entertainment website founded by Zooey Deschanel and now a division of People Magazine. Teri is the author of UNLEASHING MR. DARCY, now a Hallmark Channel Original Movie. She loves books, travel, animals and dancing every day. Visit Teri at www.teriwilson.net or on Twitter @TeriWilsonauthr.

 


Visit with Sons of San Clemente author Sinclair Jayne! (And enter to win a free book!)

Broken

By Sinclair Jayne

Jayne-Broken-300dpiHeading south again to San Clemente in Southern California is always a hotly anticipated journey, especially now that I live in the Pacific Northwest where this winter has been disagreeably soggy.  So there was no procrastination to write the first lines of my second Sons of San Clemente contemporary romance, Broken.  My only question as I opened a Word file, which Son? Duh.  I had to go with Lane Duke, professional surfer, Kadan Carson’s (hero of Wrecked) best friend.  Intellectually I’d like to say it was because Lane made logical sense, but really, it was his gorgeous hair.  Long, bright blonde and curly.  It had taken on a life of its own in my imagination as I wrote Wrecked, and I really wanted to hang out with him (and his hair) again.  On the surface, Lane is the antithesis of what you’d expect a surfer to be.  As CEO of a billionaire dollar plus gaming empire, he’s an ultimate Type A: intense, driven, competitive, athletic, rich, and controlling.  But he has another side.

9781943963225Who better to discover Lane’s hidden depths than the heroine, Luz De Luna, who wants nothing to do with him?  Luz and Lane have a history that Lane, the ultimate risk taker who’s never met a challenge he didn’t want to get up-in-your-face- personal with, is tempted to dig up.  Luz, who’s always taken the safe path, wants to keep their ghosts buried.  Deep.  As I began to flesh out her history and backstory with Lane in November, Willamette Valley in OR had its first snow.  I watched our leafless grapevines get shrouded in snow, and I thought of the Robert Frost poem “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening.”  What if you could go back and take the road not taken?  What if you had to, especially if you didn’t want to?

That’s what Luz is facing when she returns to her hometown of San Clemente feeling broken.   Blazing new path she creates on her own.  She’s determined to walk this one solo, only Lane doesn’t do “no” too well. Lane may look like an angel with his halo of golden hair, but he exudes temptation like a devil, and Luz has never been as immune to him as she’d like to pretend.

GIVEAWAY

Leave a comment for Sinclair to enter to win a free copy of “Wrecked” – Book 1 in the series!

auth_SinclairJayneSinclair Jayne has loved reading romance novels since she discovered Barbara Cartland historical romances when she was in sixth grade. By seventh grade, she was haunting the library shelves looking to fall in love over and over again with the heroes born from the imaginations of her favorite authors. After teaching writing classes and workshops to adults and teens for many years in Seattle and Portland, she returned to her first love of reading romances and became an editor for Tule Publishing last year. Sinclair lives in Oregon’s wine country where she and her family own a small vineyard of Pinot Noir and where she dreams of being able to write at a desk like Jane Austen instead of in parking lots waiting for her kids to finish one of their 12,000 extracurricular activities.



Holiday Recipe and Giveaway from Jolyse Barnett!

My Adirondack Christmas

I was born and raised in upstate New York, one of five children living with our hard-working, loving parents in a large clapboard house, painted white. Come December each year, our large yard, where we enjoyed Sunday summer picnics with our extended family, would be blanketed in snow. And there’d be a special magic in the air…

Most every house in my childhood Adirondack village decorated for the season, Christmas trees glowing bright through front windows and strands of lights outlining houses—from the farm homes on the country back roads to the houses huddled together in the center of our quaint little town.ChristmasXLightXCover

An evergreen wreath with a velvet red bow on our front door welcomed friends and family into our home. Our freshly cut tree would be draped with strings of popcorn and cranberries, mounds of silvery tinsel, and treasured ornaments unpacked from brown boxes stored in the attic.

On Christmas morning, my younger brother and I always woke first and would tiptoe downstairs to find our tree overflowing with presents. We’d read the tags and giggle with excitement whenever we found one of our names, but we dared not touch. Against Dad’s rules. We also knew the true meaning of Christmas wasn’t in the gifts inside those wrapped boxes, but all around us in the love we shared and in God’s love for us through his Son sent to save us.

So we quietly emptied our Christmas stockings—those we were allowed to open!—made by our mother. I can still remember mine, knitted in red and white with a green tree shape below my name. Onto the couch spilled oranges, apples, and hard candies. If we’d been extra good that year, a Lifesaver “book” would slide onto each of our piles of goodies as well.

Soon the clan would all gather at the kitchen table, talking and laughing about shared family memories and the anticipation of the day as we dug into our home fries and scrambled eggs and bacon. All seven of us would help clean the dishes before changing into our Sunday best and bundling up to brave the chilly northern air.

Our family’s church was filled to the rafters on Holy Days and especially so on Christmas. Contentment enveloped me as I sat snuggled between my brother and Mom in our family’s cozy pew. We’d smile and nod at aunts, uncles and cousins along with friends and neighbors we’d known our whole lives. When the service began, I’d gaze at the candlelit alter covered in festive red and purple linens and inhaling the spicy incense as I listened to the priest read familiar stories of Christ’s birth. When it came time for the Christmas carols, I’d belt them out loud and clear, my favorites Away in a Manger and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

The rest of our Christmas Day would be a flurry of activity. We’d open presents at our house then travel to my father’s parents’ house a few minutes down the country road, eat an early ham dinner then open more presents. Our older siblings would drift upstairs to chill with the older cousins and my father would go play pinochle with his brothers and dad at the large table in the den while my mother, aunts, and grandmother chatted close by. My little brother and I would hang out with our cousins all close in age in the living room next to the Christmas tree. Oh, how fascinated I was by the bubble ornaments as a child! We’d laugh and play and sneak into the kitchen time and again for treats until well after dark.

Thinking back to all the delicious desserts spread on my grandmother’s kitchen table brings back wonderful memories of my mother. She was an incredible baker. She made fried doughnuts from scratch, all sorts of pies (my favorite was her strawberry rhubarb pie), homemade fudge, oodles of cookies, bon bons, and more. At Christmas, her peanut brittle was my favorite.

 

PeanutXBrittleXinXaXPanXSADonna’s Peanut Brittle

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 cups granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon butter

Dash of salt*

1 cup peanuts

Throw butter and sugar in a cast iron skillet and heat until it turns liquid then cook about four minutes, stirring constantly. Add peanuts to the mixture while stirring and cook a few more minutes. Add baking soda, stirring gently until the mixture is light and foamy. Remove from heat and immediately pour mixture onto a buttered cookie sheet. Spread mixture thinly and allow to cool. Break into small pieces and serve.

*dash= 1/8 teaspoon

 

ChristmasXLightXCoverAs you might imagine, Adirondack Christmas memories such as those I shared above did much to inspire my fictional town of Starling in Christmas Light. I wanted to share my take on the spirit of a small town community, the bonds of love and acceptance that allow family members to forge through their differences—wherever they might live—and the beauty of the Adirondack region. And too, that imperfect as we may be, each of us can find the perfect mate for us…if only we’re brave enough to take that leap of faith, ask forgiveness, and believe in the miracle of unconditional love.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

 

GIVEAWAY

In the spirit of the season and the celebration of reading, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to a random commenter. All you have to do is share one of your Christmas favorites, whether it be a song, a tradition, an ornament, or whatever! I look forward to reading them. oxo Jolyse

auth_JolyseBarnettJolyse Barnett may not be able to cook to save her life, but she can whip up a delicious romantic tale. She discovered the joy of playing with words at a young age, filling notebooks with poetry and stacks of pink diaries with her teenage angst and dreams. After she graduated from high school, she developed a more practical side. She earned her degree in Writing (Of course!), fell in love with her best friend (Yes!), and now lives her own happily-ever-after (Yay!). She enjoys a fulfilling day job and explores the world one vacation at a time with her two children and real-life hero. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

Christmas gift via photopin (license)


Win a Prize Pack of Books from “Last Chance Christmas” Author Joanne Rock!

Rock-Xmas-300dpiWe’re thrilled to have Joanne Rock here with us today celebrating her brand new release from Holiday Books! Leave Joanne a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a prize pack of books! Happy Holiday reading, Book Girls!

Writing a Christmas romance is almost as much fun as reading one. And that’s really saying something as writing a book can be very challenging. But no matter what writerly obstacles a story presents, a Christmas tale is special because it contains that extra measure of holiday magic.

Of course, I’m a romantic in every sense of the word, so it’s easy for me to find a holiday romance magical. Especially one set in a fictional town like Cloud Spin, Vermont, where the weather is like walking into a snow globe.

Last Chance Christmas gave me an excuse to turn on the holiday tunes early this year. I created a Pandora station of all my favorites and the inspiration was immediate. Is there any music that can set a mood faster than Rocking Around the Christmas Tree? Or Nat King Cole singing The Christmas Song? Not for me! In minutes, I was reliving past holiday trips to Vermont where quaint towns celebrate the season with Old World charm, complete with Wassailing Weekends and Father Christmas.

But my new story isn’t all window dressing! The best part of this one is sexy hockey hero J.C. Royce, who wooed and won me early on in this story. He’s strong, driven and athletically gifted. Most importantly though, he recognizes the importance of family, Christmas, and a sense of home and community that Shea Walker has forgotten. I hope you’ll join me to see how J.C. goes about convincing Shea to stick around for the holidays… and more!

***Leave a comment for Joanne Rock – your favorite Christmas tune or movie!—and you’ll be entered to win a holiday prize pack of books.

auth_JoanneRockJoanne Rock writes romance of all shapes and sizes from sexy contemporary to medieval historical and an occasional Young Adult story. She’s penned over seventy books, appearing most often in the Harlequin Blaze series. Joanne taught English at the college level before becoming a full-time writer, and she returns to the classroom as often as possible to share her love of stories. A quiet and unassuming Virgo, Joanne married a fiery and boisterous Aries man in true opposites-attract fashion.

 


Celebrate Release Week with Madeline Ash!

Ash-Xmas-300dpiWe’re thrilled to have Madeline Ash here with us today chatting about her latest release with Holiday Books! Readers, be sure to leave a comment as Madeline and the Tule Team would love to hear from you. Take it away, Madeline!

Having not written a romance with Christmas as a key theme before, I wanted to capture every special sparkle of the festive spirit in YOU FOR CHRISTMAS. While planning, I came up with a list of things that really make the festive season stand out (for me), and to celebrate release week, I thought I’d share some snippets of those from the story!

Fairy lights (don’t be shy, the more the merrier)

He had to admit, the display impressed. A morass of fairy lights glittering golden. No music playing yet, just a gentle galaxy contained within these four walls, an indoor wonderland that would have people pointing up from the street below.

Summer sun (it’s Australia, after all)

Regan inhaled deeply, smelling home.
The festive season had never seemed right, cold and coated in snow. She’d hardly recognized it, year after year. Now, as she entered the mass of trees, the sticky clog of sunscreen on her skin and relentless heat from above felt undeniably like Christmas.

A freshly cut Christmas tree (got to love that smell)

She led the way through the bright green maze, deeming one potential tree too narrow, another too sparse, and another not nearly triangular enough. She yelped when the pine needles stabbed her bare skin, and laughed in outrage when she realized Felix had picked a small branch and had been poking her with it every time she turned her back.

Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You (because it continues to get better with age)

Regan asked, “Do you really need this many lights?”
“Possibly more,” he said without hesitation. “I’m writing a program that’ll sync the lights with music. Press play and they’ll make patterns in time with the beat, full on sound and light show style. I haven’t decided on a song yet, but I’m thinking the cornier, the better.”
“Mariah Carey,” she said instantly.
He cringed.
“How many other Christmas carols do you know with a real beat?” she asked, stepping up onto the coffee table with her arms high so he could weave through. He eased passed, dragging awareness across her chest like a heated magnet. Pulse thudding, she distracted herself by singing the opening bars of All I Want for Christmas Is You.

A dash of madness (because let’s be honest, most people stress a little at this time of year!)

Popping the bottle top off a beer, Felix slid open the door to his third floor balcony and confronted the sun. Summer hadn’t been shy this December, spilling hot over the city like a sticky latte, making the rendered outside wall almost too warm as he leaned against it, swallowing the cold brew and gazing down at the busy city street below.
Melbourne bustled with a pre-Christmas panic that frayed tempers and loaded bags with impulse buys. Horns blasted more often than usual, tram drivers dinged wildly, surely cursing the merry sound, and mania fueled the general mood seething up from the streets.
With no family, no kids, and nowhere else to be, Felix cleanly dodged this particular seasonal torture.

And (the author in me decided) a down-trodden heart in need of Christmas peace.

Regan. His memory of her was blurred. Mixed parts carelessness, attitude, and fierce generosity. She could have been anywhere, done anything in her eight years away. He had no idea what had made her steal twenty grand and split in the first place, just as he didn’t know why she was back now.
Only one thing was certain.
She’d come home looking as broken as when she’d left.

What about you? What things do you particularly adore at Christmas, or what things – if you were without them – would stop Christmas feeling quite right?
Happy reading!
Madeline x


These are a few of Ally Blake’s Favorite Things!

AllyBlake-LoveMeTender-CinderellaProject-1800x2700-FINAL (2)One of my favourite things about being a writer is the chance to pepper my stories with personal odes.

My footy team always wins. My heroines eat my favourite food. Our family cars have each put in an appearance. And I often drop in little jokes only my mum and sister would get.

I’m like Hansel and Gretel in reverse – sprinkling before me a pathway of succulent treats that make the journey to the end of the tale just that much more fun.

Here are some of my favourite things I indulged in while writing my latest story, Love Me Tender, the first book in the brand spanking new Cinderella Project series:

  • watching muscle cars being restored on Youtube (Mustangs all the way)
  • listening to a lot of Elvis (Trouble, anyone?)
  • eating M&Ms (lots and lots and lots of M&Ms)

M&Ms and tea cup

  • drinking coffee from a pretty pink tea cup (’cause I can)
  • playing ‘spot the jacaranda tree’ with my kids (we mums need car games like we need air!)
  • Googling flamingo ornaments (a girl could lose herself on Etsy.com)flamingo
  • enjoying a little vintage Italian cinema (Bud Spencer and Terence Hill, baby)
  • naming minor characters after people I know (ie a mix of two of my best friends from primary and high school)
  • laughing myself silly as friends told me wild stories about adventures on actual building sites (Chapter 6, for anyone reading along)
  • And to think I could call it all research :).

But the greatest treat of all is the chance to send Love Me Tender out into the world. So I welcome you all to the Cinderella Project – a world of match making mayhem…old-school style (and the occasional flamingo.)

Hope you enjoy the ride!
Ally
xXx

auth_AllyBlakeAustralian writer Ally Blake is a redhead, a footy fan, a devotee of the language of Aaron Sorkin, addicted to stationary and M&M’s, weak in the face of Italians and firefighters, married to a spectacular and ever patient man, mum to three beings of pure delight, and a firm believer in love, luck and fairies. She is also a best-selling author with more than twenty-five fun, flirty romance novels under her belt.