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Four Writers, Three Besties, Two Time Periods…and a Ghost?!

Today on the blog, Julia Justiss is paying us a visit to discuss how the new Whiskey River Christmas series came to be! 

What happens when four long-time writer friends get together at a writers conference? They dream up a series!

It all began two summers ago when Eve Gaddy, Katherine Garbera, Nancy Robards Thompson and I were attending the national Romance Writers of America conference in San Diego. We had all worked on various projects for Tule, and over lunch one day, we talked about how much fun it would be to do a series together.

“Julia can write one of the ancestors, and we can write about their descendants,” Eve said.

“Why don’t we make it a Christmas series?” Kathy said.

“Yes, let’s!” Nancy said. “Christmas stories are such fun to write.”

That started us off. Kathy, Eve, and Nancy decided that the story would take place at at an inn just outside Whiskey River (a fictional town in the Hill Country of Texas set on a tributary of the Pedernales River.) Their three heroes and three heroines would be best friends, the guys “bad boys from the Barrels (the “wrong” side of town,) the girls all professional women who work together in the Whiskey River women’s charitable association. By the end of the lunch, we’d not only come up with who we thought our hero and heroines would be, we’d decided that, in a spin on Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol,” our stories would feature a matchmaking ghost. And as the “ancestor” writer of the group, we decided that I would get to create her.

Although my earlier story about Whiskey River founder “Booze Kelly” (SCANDAL WITH THE RANCHER) was set just before the turn of the 20th century, for this one, I decided to move to the next generation, just after the World War in which so many of them served. The hero would be Drew Harwood, a friend of Booze’s son, “Baron” (who plays a part in this story, but will get a starring role in his own—later.)

We had our besties and our time periods—contemporary and World War I. Now we just needed the ghost.

When my hero is wounded in the battle at Chateau Thierry, the image of the beloved fiancée waiting for him in Whiskey River carries him through the pain and months in hospital. He finally returns from France just before Christmas—only to lose Felicity, a victim of the world-wide Spanish flu epidemic.

But wait, don’t stop reading now! This tragedy has a happy ending.

Certain that warmth and joy have gone out of his life forever, Drew hires a friend to manage his ranch and turns his Victorian home into an inn, grimly ready to live a solitary life of duty to his land and family. But determined not to depart until the man she loved so much finds his way to a future full of the love and satisfaction that was denied them, the essence of Felicity remains at Harwood House.

When Red Cross nurse Audra Donaldson returns from France to stay at the inn the following Christmas to visit her brother, Drew’s ranch manager, Felicity suspects she might be just the woman to pull Drew from his misery—and bring both her beloved and this lonely widow to a happily-ever-after.

It’s not an easy task, helping a woman who doesn’t want to risk loving again and a man who’s set his face against happiness overcome the tragedies of their pasts. But, after a few subtle pushes, Felicity sees her hopes fulfilled as Drew and Audra gradually allow themselves to respond to the growing affection–and fiery attraction–between them.

Felicity’s satisfaction in seeing her love happy again is so fulfilling, she decides to return each Christmas and help other deserving couples find their way to true love.

Fast-forward to Eve, Nancy, and Kathy’s stories, in which this Christmas ghost, a charity ball, a freak ice storm and some hot chemisty create happy endings for three more lovelorn couples.

So, come along and spend Christmas in Whiskey River! I hope readers enjoy all the activities– and our Christmas ghost–as much as we did in creating them!


Christmas is Coming – It’s Time to Read!

Hello Tule readers, today we have Lynne Marshall writing a guest blog on her favorite holiday reads! 

Thanks so much, Tule, for inviting me to blog on this very special day – the release of Their Christmas Miracle, my first Christmas book in seven years. Why did I wait so long? No clue, but I’m so glad I finally wrote another.

Enough about me. Tule has asked me to blog about some of my favorite Christmas books, of which there are many, so hang on to your Santa Clause stocking caps and enjoy the wild holiday sleigh ride.

The book that first influenced me was a very short one, and it wasn’t really a book, but a poem—a poem that had all the delights, magic and excitement of Christmas from a kid’s perspective. You know what I’m talking about – The Night Before Christmas by C. Clement Moore. That small book influenced me so much, when I grew up, I used to write a new letter each year mimicking the poem, but filling in my family’s news and send it off with my Christmas cards. Isn’t copying the highest honor?

Another book that illustrates the true meaning of Christmas, besides, of course, the story of the Nativity, was The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. What better way to drive home the point of sacrificial giving and the joy it brings. Out of love Della cuts off her hair, her one prized possession, to buy a platinum fob chain for Jim’s prized possession—his father’s watch—and Jim sells that heirloom to buy tortoise shell combs for her gorgeous hair. The story taught me about the joy of giving over getting, and I am happy to report I love to give gifts far more than receive them. Though don’t get me wrong, no gift given to me has gone without appreciation!

In my tweener years, one book that frightened the dickens out of me—notice the subtle segue—was another classic, The Christmas Story by Charles Dickens. In the three stories of Christmas past, present and future, through an extremely frugal guy who hated Christmas and felt forced to give, which made him spiteful to anyone who questioned him about it, and who needed to be shown the hard way, I was riveted, frightened, amazed, and washed with emotion. Make your kids read it, not just watch the movies.

As I got older, I was so enchanted by the classic Capra movie It’s A Wonderful Life, I wanted to read the short story that inspired it. The Greatest Gift (there’s a theme here, see?) by Philip Van Doren Stern came to him in a dream. A guy so down on his luck he wants to die, but an angel shows him what life would be like without him in it. Why can’t I have dreams like that?

One December, I decided to read as many books set at Christmastime as I could. I discovered Maeve Binchy’s wonderful book of stories, This Year it Will be Different. The lovely stories ranged from widowers traveling to France to get away from Christmas, to a young woman getting stuck taking care of “the old folks” in a nursing home on Christmas Eve. Each story found its way to the true meaning of Christmas. Such a delight.

Debbi Macomber has written so many Christmas books, all of them good, but one I especially liked was Starry Night – A Christmas Novel. The story focused on romance, of course, but also second chances and finding love and the spirit of Christmas in the least expected places. In this case, Alaska!!

Which brings me to my current favorite contemporary Christmas romance book – A Bramble House Christmas by Tule’s very own C.J. Carmichael. This poignant story’s theme was love and forgiveness at Christmastime. A family’s motive isn’t a good one for sending Finn to Marietta to find out why their father gave $50,000 dollars to a woman when he died. What he discovers is a little boy named Scout and his mother Willa, with an extra special reason to celebrate this Christmas.

These are only a few books I’ve read and loved over the years. Why not leave a comment with your favorites? I’d love to hear your recommendations.

Wishing everyone an extra early fabulous holiday season!

Lynne


Where do Christmas stories come from? Barbara Ankrum explains!

I’m often asked, as a writer, where my stories come from. That’s always a hard question for me, because usually, I honestly don’t know. Sometimes they pop into my head from a scene and sometimes from something that happens to me in real life. Sometimes, I just have no idea.

My newest Christmas book for Tule, A LITTLE CHRISTMAS MAGIC, on the other hand, was not really a mystery to me. I knew the heroine, Holly McGuire. And I knew what she wanted. A child.

That goal was a familiar one to me. I have two of my own and three grandchildren now, but I remember feeling as Holly did that children would be an essential part of my life. And if I couldn’t have them for some reason, I had no idea who I would be. But I know I was lucky. Having children is not easy for everyone and I knew many of my readers would relate to her. And what better time than Christmas to think about the gift of children? So that’s where the story began.

But where it went surprised even me.

Holly and Trey were a perfect match because I knew Trey, the enigmatic P.I. from my Canadays of Montana series, had a secret and that secret was his love for his best friend’s wife. Now that she was a widow, there was only one thing that stood in the way of making her his at last: Holly. She had vowed never to fall in love with another military/ex-military man like her husband. Then again, she had her own secret about Trey, as well. That’s sort of how the story came to me. Just like that.

But I will share with you a story that inspired a crucial scene in this book so maybe you’ll understand better when you read it.

My own mother died many years ago, just after my own two children were born, and way too soon. I’ve missed her every Christmas (which she loved to celebrate) and every day, really, since I lost her, but especially when big things happen that I want to share with her. Weddings, college graduations, book sales…

It happened that an old high school friend of mine contacted me a few years ago and told me he had been having dreams about my mother and father, whom he had known. I know this sounds very woo-woo, but he wanted to let me know my mom had some messages for me. As we were talking, I lamented to my friend how sorry I was that she had never met my grandkids and that she would have loved them. He said, “You should know that she told me she kissed all of your grandchildren into the world.”

Goosebumps!

Now, whether you believe in such things or not, isn’t really important. I don’t mind if you don’t. But the very idea of it gave me so much comfort I chose to believe it and remember that for years. And because Christmas is such a magical time, I knew I had to include this little memory into my story. It’s quite personal. But I share it with you because I felt like it was a gift that might just find its’s way to the right person who might need a little comfort at Christmastime.

Holly and my hero, Trey are two of my favorites, and I hope you’ll enjoy their second chance love story. And if you recall the days when we believed almost anything was possible at Christmas, then maybe A LITTLE CHRISTMAS MAGIC will give you goosies, too. And maybe a smile. Happy Reading!


Anne McAllister on Building a Series and a Hero!

Back in 2008 Sophie Weston and I spent a week in Cornwall. We had a small flat in a three-hundred odd year old “castle” overlooking the sea above which alternately the sun shone and storms raged, and we soaked up the atmosphere as we plotted a book we’ve never written.

It had great potential as well as a manor house that was crumbling down around everyone’s ears, a sarcastic, wounded hero, an organized long-suffering heroine, a crochety earl, a host of eccentric family members, a time-traveling ghost, a parrot, and, at inopportune moments, the heroine’s rock star ex-husband, Jack.

The hero, the earl, the family, the ghost and the parrot all wandered off — in search of their own books, I’d guess. The heroine remained, a sort of shadowy version of her former long-suffering organized self. I didn’t recall much about her – except her intense reaction to Jack.

Not surprising. Jack had tried to steal every scene – not to mention the girl — in our unfinished book. Neither the heroine nor I ever forgot Jack.

When Sophie rang me to ask if I would be interested in working on the Royal Wedding Invitations mini-series with her and Liz Fielding and Jessica Hart, I said yes at once. Of course I said yes. Sophie, Liz and Jessica are three of the best writers I’ve ever read. I love their books. And even though I didn’t have a clue who my characters were going to be, I was pretty sure I’d think of something.

I needn’t have worried. I barely got off the phone and there, leaning against the doorjamb looking equal parts steely-eyed and stubborn, was a man I instantly recognized: Jack.

“Right,” he said. “So you can write my story, after all.”

“I was never going to write your story,” I told him. “You’re the ex-husband. You lost the girl. The sarcastic, wounded hero gets her this time around.”

“Not my girl.” His steely-eyes narrowed.

“Yes, well, try telling Celina that.” Celina wasn’t her name in the earlier book. I can’t remember what her name was. She was that shadowy, that vague. Except, apparently, to Jack.

Anyway, Jack took that as a challenge. He went away and, a couple of weeks later, he came back with some semblance of a plot. Fortunately Sophie came back about the same time with a whole country. And Jessica and Liz suggested that Combe St Philip might well bear a striking resemblance to Castle Combe. And I didn’t have to do much else — at first – except show up.

Good thing, too, as I broke my wrist a few days later.

So while I couldn’t type, Sophie created a currency and a history and a palace and a royal family going back at least four generations. She sent photos and family trees and royal mottos and all that good stuff. Jessica did her part, coming up with recipes that Flora would be making for the wedding. They made my mouth water.

“You could try to win her away from grumpy Max,” I suggested to Jack. “She can cook.”

But Jack was having none of it. He wasn’t interested in Flora. He was constant and determined – and in love with Celina. Not that she believed him. Or trusted him.

She trusted Liz’s hero, Fredrik, a lot more. Fredrik was reliable, dependable. Wounded, too. She had actually dated Fredrik. I was, frankly, falling a little bit in love with Fredrik myself. But sadly there was no spark between Fredrik and Celina –

“What do you mean, ‘sadly?’” Jack demanded. “Nothing sad about it. He’s not right for her. No one is right for her but me.”

Did I mention Jack was stubborn? I thought so.

But stubborn or not, he couldn’t seem to make any headway with Celina. I was starting to be able to type again, but Jack wasn’t giving me anything to work with. He was still banging his head against the wall Celina had built between them.

“Do something,” he demanded, stalking around my office while I tried to type. “We’re a third of the way through the book and she’s barely even talking to me!”

“Do something yourself,” I retorted. “You’re the hero.”

We glared at each other. I took out my copy of Jessica’s book and read him parts of Max and Flora’s story, because Jessica had actually finished hers while Jack was faffing around. “Listen to this,” I said, and proceeded to show him how it was done.

“I’m not Max,” he protested.

“Too right you’re not. Max has already got his girl.”

“Fredrik hasn’t got his,” Jack pointed out.

“No. Not yet.:” But only because Liz, in a fit of wholly unnecessary one-upsmanship, didn’t merely break her wrist. She broke her arm. So Fredrik and Ally were at a standstill.

Sophie at least was writing up a storm, but Jack knew – and I knew – that he and Jonas were nothing alike. They might be best friends, but he wasn’t going to find inspiration from Jonas’s courtship.

“You’re the writer,” he reminded me, looking expectant.

I was beginning to wonder. Obviously we needed help. A romance advice columnist. Or something.

So I did what I often do when it’s 2 a.m. and the cursor is blinking on the blank page and the hero is grumbling and pacing and knocking over things in my office. I called for help. To Australia. (They’re up in Australia at that time of day because, well, it’s not that time of day there).

And dear kind benevolent Anne Gracie actually answered her phone and listened to me – and Jack – whine. And then she said – quite sternly – to Jack, “You’re impetuous. Do something impetuous. Act in character, for heaven’s sake!”

So he did.

And we finished the book. And Liz managed to write again and finished Fredrik and Ally’s story. And Sophie wrote and wrote and wrote – multi-volumes, I think – and then chopped and cut and brought Jonas and Hope to their lovely happy ending. And of course Jessica had already sorted out Max and Flora with aplomb far before the rest of us, proving that we all do things in our own time and our own way, but that we also all get there in the end.

I loved working with Sophie and Jessica and Liz – and our wonderful editor, Kelly Hunter, who made sure that we all knew where our people were at any given time (thank God for spreadsheets, is all I can say) and gave us moral support and encouragement – even when she’d probably rather have kicked us all the way to the deadline.

Even in a series, every book is an individual project. Every one of them has its own heart, its own path and its own characters (no, Jack, there will never be another you!). And every book gets to The End in its own way. But writing them together was a treat that I will always remember. It was a joy to share ideas and frustrations – and a memorable lunch in Castle Combe. It was a thrill to see the lovely covers Tule came up with for the books. I loved working on the Royal Wedding Invitations series. Thanks to Tule – and Sophie – for inviting me to join them.

I couldn’t be happier. Neither could Jack.

Photos of Split, Croatia (by pablodebat), Castle Combe, Wiltshire (by pljvv1)and the blue-eyed, stubble-jawed hero (by curaphotography) courtesy of depositphotos.com.


RELEASE DAY! Karen Foley Shares Inspiration Behind A Hummingbird Christmas!

I am so excited about the release of my latest book, A Hummingbird Christmas! My heroine, Joy Holliday, is a young widow who sees hummingbirds everywhere—even during a snowy Montana winter. She believes they are tiny messengers from Heaven, and that when you see one, you need to pay close attention to what they are trying to say.   In Joy’s story, the hummingbird is certainly trying to send her a message—one of hope and love.

 

When I was growing up, my grandmother had a sweet little cottage in New Hampshire, with a wraparound porch that overlooked the water. During the summer months, at least six hummingbird feeders hung from the rafters. When I’d visit, we would sit on the porch and drink lemonade, and watch as the hummingbirds came in droves to drink the nectar. The beauty of these tiny birds captivated me!

My grandmother was a writer and a gifted storyteller, and a huge inspiration to me as I began my own writing journey. On those lazy summer days, she loved to tell me different legends of the hummingbird. My favorite story was—and still is—that they are divine messengers. She would often say that when she was gone, I should look for her in the hummingbird.

I was fortunate to have my grandmother in my life well into my adult years. Now I have my own little house on the water, and I’ve always kept a hummingbird feeder in my backyard in the hope of attracting these beautiful little creatures. They only visit on very rare occasions, but when they do, I think of my grandmother, and I know she is sending me a message of joy and love.


 


Karen Foley admits to being an incurable romantic.  When she’s not working for the Department of Defense, she loves writing sexy stories about alpha heroes and strong heroines. Karen lives in New England with her husband, two daughters, and a houseful of pets.


Celebrate the holidays with Scarlet Wilson!

Christmas is a big thing for me.  Some people might say I’m a little obsessed.  I have a number of traditions that I’ve developed over the years.  The biggest is my obsession with Christmas ‘tat’ as my husband likes to call it.

Ornaments of every description, pictures, tree decorations, stuffed animals, nativity scenes, anything that lights up… Yip.  I love them all.  And they are probably in my cupboard.

There is a certain famous shop in London that opens its Christmas Shop every September.  (See below).  Think of me as the proverbial child in a sweetie shop as soon as this happens.  One the traditions I’ve developed since being a published author is to buy a Christmas tree bauble with the year on it from this shop.  (Also see below!)

Although this years hasn’t made it into the photograph yet – the latest addition is silver.  I’ve already emailed them to request purple next year.  Although I have a million tree decorations, these are definitely my favourites!


 

 

Scarlet Wilson wrote her first story aged 8 and has never stopped. She’s worked in the health service for over 20 years, training as a nurse and a health visitor, and now currently works within public health. Writing romances is a dream come true for Scarlet and she’s published with Harlequin Mills and Boon, Tule Publishing and Entangled Publishing. Scarlet lives on the West Coast of Scotland with her fiancé and their two sons. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached via her website.


4 Perfect Book Kisses That Will Make You Swoon

1. Anna and Simon – A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt

“I think  maybe,” Anna said, “you should just kiss me.”

 And so he did, bending his head so his lips brushed hers in a slow, questioning sweep. Excitement zinged through her, along with a rush of something else—something warm and safe, as opposed to the physical thrill she was definitely feeling, as well. It was as if her heart was saying yes, you, at last, even as her body was crying out, more, please. More, more.
Simon’s hand came down to rest on her shoulder as he deepened the kiss, slowly, questioningly, giving her ample opportunity to back off or break away. But she didn’t. Her heart was hammering and a thousand sensations and thoughts were exploding through her mind and body, but she didn’t want this kiss to end.

 

2. Joy and Cole – A Hummingbird Christmas by Karen Foley

“Darlin’” he said, “In fifteen years, I’ve never, ever lost the toboggan race, but in less than two minutes you managed to decimate my perfect record.”

“How do you know?” Joy asked.

He grinned. “Because we never even made it across the finish line!”

And then he kissed her—a real kiss, warm and hungry, and so heady that Joy was helpless to resist. At the first touch of his mouth against her, something ignited inside her; something hot and needy. She kissed him back, sliding her arms around his neck and reveling in the taste and feel of him. When his tongue pressed sensuously against hers, she opened to accept him, feeling a response bloom low in her center. When he finally pulled back, neither of them was laughing anymore. They stared at each other for a long moment, and then Cole smiled and lowered his forehead to hers.

3. Gabriella and Luke – Texas Christmas by Holly Castillo


“Thank you,” he whispered. “Thank you for believing in me. For trusting me. And for being here with me.” He lowered his head and pressed a gentle kiss against her cheek, then released her and took a step back.

She looked flustered as she returned her medicine vials to her bag. “I don’t think you need to thank me for anything. You did a terrific job. I believe I may have misjudged you, Doctor Davenport.”

4. Rachel and Nicholas – Christmas, Alabama by Susan Sands


He lightly leaned forward and tentatively kissed her, tasting her lips for a brief instant. She didn’t resist. In fact, she surprised him by reaching out, and pulling his face toward her a second time. The pressure of their lips wasn’t so light then, and out of nowhere, as if a magnet had switched on, their bodies were instantly touching: legs, hips, chest, and lips.

Rachel sighed and pressed against him, and then she kissed him again. “This is such a bad idea.”

“It doesn’t feel like a bad idea,” he murmured against her lips.


GIVEAWAY! Tell us what you love most about winter romances for the chance to win copies of each of the featured books. Please, include your email in your response so we can contact you if you win. Thank you!


Which Historical Hottie Do You Fancy?

Which leading hero from Holly Castillo’s Texas Legacy series is perfect for you?

GIVEAWAY: Tell us which of Holly’s heroes you’d love to have as your book boyfriend for a chance to win a print copy of Texas Legacy and a $10 Amazon Gift Card! Please include your email so we can contact you if you win, thanks!

Lorenzo Delgado has fought hard to survive in the rough land of Texas under the dictatorship of Santa Anna. Placed in the Mexican Army as a convict soldier, the biggest danger he faces is losing his heart to a beautiful Texan spy. Strong, brave, and driven, Lorenzo embraces life with unbridled passion.

 

 

 

Cade Barrett will die if he doesn’t find help, and he is surprised when it appears in the form of a beautiful woman fighting to aid the Texan Army. As he is nursed back to health, he proves he is nowhere near weak, and begins to believe his healer is truly his guardian angel. Cade does everything all the way, and his desires run as hot as the man himself.

 

 

Since he was a child, Trevor has known he would become a lawman. Little did he expect the job to lead him to a petite spit-fire woman who is determined to have her way. But subduing her and claiming her for himself proves to be the sweetest challenge yet. Powerful in body and mind, his hunger for justice is the only match for his desire for love.

 

 

Luke Davenport is ready to start a new life as a doctor in Texas in 1840, and leave his past behind him in London. But with secrets and falling in love with a woman he believes he can never have, Luke learns that a Texas Christmas can cure anything. Strong-willed and passionate, Luke embraces life, and love, with equal ferocity.


Holly grew up spending many lazy summer days racing her horses bareback in the Texas
sun. But whenever Holly wasn’t riding her horses or competing in horse shows, she was
found with pen and paper in hand, writing out romantic love stories of the wild west.
Later, in her professional life, Holly worked just blocks from the Alamo in a unique
setting where the buildings were connected with basements and tunnels. The exciting
history of Texas, the Alamo, and working in a historic building dating back to the
1800’s inspired Holly to write about the Texas Revolution, and has evolved into a
series all about Texas becoming the great State it is.

Today, Holly lives in a small community just south of San Antonio, with her husband
and two children. On the family’s 80 acre ranch, surrounded by cattle during the day
and hearing the howl of coyotes by night, Holly has endless inspiration for her
writing.

 


Keeping Up with Your Favorite Authors!

Ever wondered what your favorite author does when they’re not writing and creating your dream book boyfriend? Now, you’ll know with these 5 writers you must follow on Instagram!

1. Joanne Rock

 

Joanne shares fun pictures from reader events and gives a glimpse into her everyday adventures!

2. Jeannie Moon

 

The author of Then Came You, Jeannie has some beautiful photos that depict Long Island life. She also shares the cutest photos of her Border Collie, Riley!

3. Megan Crane

Megan’s Instagram will make you want to move to the Pacific Northwest. Her scenic photos are breathtaking and inspiring.

4. Eve Gaddy

Expect giveaways, adventures with Eve and her best author friends, and the cutest baby pictures you’ve ever seen.

5. Jane Porter

Jane’s posts feature the charming beach town San Clemente, the family’s Great Dane puppy, and gorgeous photos from her travels all over the world.


RELEASE DAY! Explore Alainn and Killian’s World with Leigh Ann Edwards!

GIVEAWAY! To win a free e-copy of A Chieftain’s Wife, comment below with your email and tell us why you love Leigh Ann’s Irish Witch series

I’m delighted to be featured on Tule’s blog today. I’m also very excited for the release of A Chieftain’s Wife – Book Four in The Irish Witch Series. It’s been nearly a year since the last installment was released, and I’ve had many readers wondering when and if the series would continue. I’m so thrilled to carry on with Alainn and Killian’s story and to be re-immersed in their world.

I’m often asked how I became inspired to write the series. Firstly, I knew I wanted the novel to take place in Ireland. I’ve always been drawn to Ireland, perhaps because of my Irish ancestry, but it seemed to call to me. I chose that historical time because there was a lot of information available for the Tutor period in England. Although Ireland had some differences from England, there had already been considerable English influence as far as clothing, food, customs and language.

When I traveled to Ireland the first time, I visited two castles in particular that were the initial inspiration for The Farrier’s Daughter and the series. Blarney Castle in County Cork was definitely interesting to tour, but it was the surrounding gardens that really caught my attention and mesmerized me. It wasn’t simply the various fragrant and beautiful flowers, the ancient, uniquely twisted, moss-covered trees or how very “green” everything was, there was something more…something enchanting. The way the sun shone through the trees and the dew glistened on the grass, it will likely sound undeniably cliché, but it was completely magical.

My daughters and some of my friends are very much into fairies. They collect figurines and read stories about fairies. While I certainly thought fairies were whimsical and lovely, I’d never been one to believe in their actual existence, but in that mystical location, I was truly half expecting to see fairies appear. Hence the reason for the fairy realm in my books.

It was also in this garden that I saw the first dolmen, in Ireland. These odd, and not entirely understood rock structures intrigued me so much, I knew I wanted to include one in the storyline and to make it have relevance to Alainn and Killian.

There was a very antiquated, darkened stone staircase leading to another area of the garden. When I began the descent, the bottom was entirely hidden and that made the hairs on my neck stand on end just a little, but it definitely began to make my creativity flow. It made me think witches, fairies and demons. I immediately thought, “What a wonderful setting and premise for a supernatural romance novel!”

It was the interior of Bunratty Castle in County Clare that inspired me to create Castle O’Brien where Alainn and Killian lived. When I stood in that castle’s Great Hall, I imagined what it would have been like to actually live back then. The room was immense, and cold. It smelled old and damp. The sights, the feel, and especially the scent of the room seemed to transport me back in time. The tiny grey chambers, alcoves, corridors and dungeons, where the people slept, lived and sometimes were imprisoned, helped me get a greater grasp of what sixteenth century life might have been.

It was Stirling Castle in Scotland where I got many of my ideas for the bustling kitchen. A combination of the three castles and the garden was my basis for the beginning of Alainn and Killian’s love story.

I hope this gives a bit of insight into the inspiration behind the Irish Witch Series. I am so pleased readers will finally learn what is in store for Alainn and Killian now that they have journeyed to their castle and begun their married life together.

Book Five- A Witch’s Life is scheduled to be released January 2018. I hope to be back here with you then.

Magical Wishes from Leigh Ann Edwards


Since she was a child, Leigh Ann Edwards has always had a vivid imagination and lots of stories to tell. An enthusiastic traveler and author for over twenty years, her adventures in Massachusetts, Ireland, and the UK inspired The Farrier’s Daughter and its sequel novels in the Irish Witch series. Edwards adores animals, history, genealogy, and magical places—and Ireland is filled with many magical places. She lives with her husband and two cats in the lovely city of Edmonton, Alberta.