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Happy-Ever-After Versus a Whodunit? C.J. Carmichael loves BOTH!

Write what you love is counsel often given to aspiring novelists. I took that advice when I focused on romance at the start of my writing career. My first novel—which I called “Love Letters From Grace” and which Harlequin Superromance titled “Jessie’s Father”—was published in 1999. After that, I wrote an average of three to four books a year and before I knew it I had thirty-five romances to my name. While proud of each of my books, I began to feel creatively drained.

So I revisited the adage to write what you love. Did I still love romance now as much as I did ten, twenty, or even thirty years ago? Truthfully, no. When I was looking to escape into a page-turning read, I was more inclined to buy a good character-driven mystery. Should I try to write one of those?

I decided yes, if only to recharge my creativity, I would give it a try. Out of that first attempt came the Twisted Cedars Mysteries, which ended up selling well enough that I was encouraged to write a second series—which I’m currently working on—the Bitter Root Mysteries.

Writing mysteries has definitely revitalized my career. But it hasn’t been as much of a departure as you might think. I’ve always been a plotter. I spend a lot of upfront time thinking about my story and my characters and planning out the sequence of my scenes. This approach worked to my advantage when I switched to mysteries, especially since I love to write multiple story lines, threading together a variety of subplots and including the sort of twists that completely change everything for the reader. Stories with that level of complexity are very difficult to write “off the cuff” or as a “pantser.”

I can’t remember ever writing a romance novel that didn’t require me to do some research, but there’s no doubt I spend more time on research for my mystery novels. Having a few good contacts in law enforcement and in the medical field is extremely helpful. (Special thanks here to my emergency room doctor brother-in-law and the knowledgeable deputy in Montana who has helped with every one of my mystery novels.) I also use the Internet…a lot! I do like to travel to the places where I set my novels, but since my husband and I love a good road trip that’s not a hardship.

Keeping track of details is especially challenging for the mystery genre, especially since my mysteries are populated with a lot more characters than my romances. It can be tricky to remember appearances and ages, not to mention what kind of vehicles they drive, what their houses look like, etc. A good Excel spreadsheet is invaluable for these details. Another necessity is a timeline. If aunt Bertha was murdered five years ago in chapter one, when you confront the murderer in chapter ten, you better remember he’s five years older than when he committed his crime.

When I was writing romances, I often included subplots of mystery or intrigue. Now that I’m writing mystery I find myself naturally including romantic subplots. Maybe the truth is I still love both romance and mystery. And I’m okay with that. I’ve always felt that as long as I’m writing something that I find interesting, there’s a good chance my readers as going to enjoy it too!


 

USA Today Bestselling author C. J. Carmichael has written over 45 novels in her favorite genres of romance and mystery. She has been nominated twice for the Romance Writers of America RITA Award, as well as RT Bookclub’s Career Achievement in Romantic Suspense award, and the Bookseller’s Best honor.

When not writing C. J. enjoys family time with her daughters and husband.  Even better are the times they spend hiking in the Rocky Mountains around their home in Calgary, and relaxing at their cottage on Flathead Lake, Montana.

 


Best Date Spots in Marietta!

Marietta fans!

Are you looking for some date inspiration? Look no further, we’ve complied the best spots in Marietta for date night, whether it’s for a first date or the 76th date!

For couple that is just getting to know each other…Sage Carrigan’s Copper Mountain Chocolates Shop! Sage’s chocolate shop has long been a go to romantic date spot.  Many relationships have bloomed and blossomed here  making this the perfect first date stop for any new couple.

When you and your significant other have been together for a while…Grey’s Saloon! When looking to add a little excitement back into date night, head to Grey’s Saloon where you can drink and stay up a little more than usual.

Celebrating an anniversary or birthday? Why not head on over to Graff hotel and treat yourself to fantastic dinner and if you’re feeling up to it, hit the bar after.  We hear bartender Shane Wilder mixes up the best cocktails.

If you are looking  to do a staycation try…Bramble House Bed and Breakfast! We love staying overnight at the Bramble House Bed and Breakfast with Willa, who offers the best hospitality in town. Not to mention, she does quite the breakfast spread and we love a good brunch.


Meet the McLaughlins!

Hello Tule Blog!

I’m so excited that Tule has given my McLaughlins series a new home with beautiful new covers, and new titles. If you’re new to the series, or here for the insight, stick around and read more about the McLaughlin family, the pub they run, and the Island they call home.

Meet the McLaughlins, or as I like to call them: Scotland’s sexiest export! The McLaughlins moved from Edinburgh to Whidbey Island
(a real island located in Washington State) with their parents when they were kids. Now we’re in the present date, where each book shows how each sibling There’s Kenzie (the youngest and only girl), Ian and Colin McLaughlin (the middle children–twins), and Alec (the oldest). The stories in this series show how each sibling struggles with life and ultimately love.

 

The series kicks off with One More Round!

When Sarah Rawlings fell for her best friend’s older brother in high school, she knew he was trouble. But she couldn’t resist his pull and the sweetness she sensed underneath his protective bad boy persona. Their relationship was everything she had ever dreamed of, until she was rocked by his painful betrayal. Eleven years later, Sarah must return to Whidbey Island following her beloved grandmother’s death. She knows she must stay away from Ian, but he’s not making that easy and every time she sees him, she’s reminded of what might have been.

One look at Sarah stirs up memories regrets that still linger in Ian McLaughlin’s heart. She was the love of his life and he still can’t understand how he blew it and how she could have also hurt him so badly in return. He plans to steer clear of Sarah while she’s on Whidbey Island, but that’s impossible when she’s often at his family’s pub. Thinking to indulge in a little casual seduction for fun, neither is prepared when the embers burst into flames.

So many years and secrets separate them. Can their powerful attraction also include understanding and forgiveness? Find out!

 


Why IN THE LINE OF FIRE’s Jett Smith-Jones Will Be Your New Favorite Book Boyfriend!



I adore my job, it’s the best thing ever and I absolutely love writing action romance, it’s such a fun way to spend my time. I mean, who doesn’t like to hang out with feisty woman and sexy, smart and capable men who can kick a$$? My hero in In The Line Of Fire, Jett Smith-Jones, has a master’s degree in kicking butt all over the globe. He’s former Delta, and a legend in the specs-ops community and, because he has more money than God, Smith Stone, the billionaire owner of Pytheon Security is the only person who can afford to pay for his particular skill set. Jett has one job, to track down The Recruiter, a shadowy international mastermind who is determined to bring Pytheon International down.

Jett’s not going to let that happen but when Stone’s sister is threatened, there’s only one person whom Jett is prepared to trust to guard her very delicious body and that’s himself. Dr Samantha Stone, however, isn’t interested in any man who chases danger. She’s too smart to hand to heart over to a man who runs into situations that normal people run from…

In between trying to outwit an international criminal, talking to killers and dodging bullets, Jett and Sam fall in love and I thought I’d share some of those moments with you…

Exclusive Excerpt

“I’m trying to keep you safe, Samantha.”

“You can keep me safe and still talk to me, Jett.” Sam said, her voice revealing the hurt under her sass.

“That’s me trying to keep myself safe.”

“Safe from what?” Sam asked.

“You. Feeling too much, wanting too much. Getting my ass kicked when this is all over.” Jett stated, resting the side of his face on her chest. Sam curled her arms around his head, the smell of sex and perfume and snow swirling around them.

Sam, as he expected, had nothing to say to that so Jett rolled off her and walked to the en suite bathroom to clean up. When he returned, Sam had turned to lie on her side, looking like Shakespeare’s Queen Titania, queen of the fairies. Her long eyelashes were smudges against her cheek, her mouth rosy from his kisses. Jett stopped, his heart stumbling. She had freckles everywhere, on her shoulders, her chest, each dot a revelation. He wanted to spend the rest of his life connecting those dots, drawing patterns in her skin.

He’d thought he could handle this, handle her… that he could cruise along in this relationship, taking it day by day, moment by moment. He was in too deep to play it that way anymore. Jett picked his pants up off the floor. He already wanted too much, felt too much. He loved her, and he didn’t know what the hell to do about it.

Or her.


Join Leigh Ann Edwards on a European Vacation!

I am really pleased to be featured on Tule’s blog today. I’m also very excited for the release of“A Witch’s Life”, book five in The Irish Witch Series. I’ve heard readers are impatiently awaiting what is in store for Alainn and Killian since the cliff-hangar ending of book four shocked even those who have followed the books since the beginning. I’m thrilled there are so many invested in my characters and their powerful love story, and while I promise there will be answers soon, in keeping with the series, there are likely to be more mysteries arise as well.

My husband and I have recently returned from a trip to the UK and Ireland. He is originally from a small city near Manchester England and still has family there. Since he hadn’t celebrated Christmas with them for eleven years, I am happy we were able to be there in December.

It was lovely to observe every pub, restaurant and historical site elaborately decorated for Christmas. I was aware the tradition of exchanging Christmas cards originated in England, but I had no idea the custom widely continues. Every home proudly displayed the cards they received. It made me decide to go back to sending more cards this year.

Our first stop was York England, a fascinating ancient city founded by the Romans. It claims some of the original cobblestones, and The Shambles, a fourteenth century street with timber-framed buildings that overhang. But the main reason for choosing York, was to see York Minster Cathedral, one of the largest in Northern Europe. It is enormous, and amazingly beautiful and I doubt mere words could actually do it justice.

Although we’d been to Scotland before as we were married there, we’d never been to the capital city. Edinburgh with it’s cobblestone streets, massive sand-stone buildings and gothic-styled monuments, as well as the numerous kilt, tartan and woolen-mill shops was wonderful to experience. The caramel shortbread, and sticky-toffee pudding were delightful, too.

In touring Edinburgh Castle, we saw the military museum, Scotland’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny. Holyrood House Palace was intriguing as it is the exact location where Mary Queen of Scots once lived.

Mary King’s Close, a street located entirely beneath The Royal Mile where people resided back in the seventeenth century, was undeniably eerie.

The renowned Edinburgh Christmas market was absolutely massive with numerous booths. I enjoyed browsing and resting my tired feet by stopping to taste the delicious mulled wine.

However, in my opinion, I’ve saved the best for last, because as always, Ireland was, is, and ever will be my absolute favorite place to travel. No matter how many times I visit that lovely country, it simply feels like I’ve come home. Between the moderate climate, the friendly people with their charming accents, the appealing Irish pubs, and being near the sea with an abundance of fresh seafood, Ireland seems to touch my heart and resonate within my soul. In learning the results of a recent DNA kit test, I was not surprised to discover I am thirty-two percent Irish.

Although we only had a few days in Ireland we made the most of our time. We went to Dublin again, a wonderful, bustling city with lots to offer. We toured Dublin Castle and the remains of the Viking settlement on the site.

Re-visiting the small town of Blarney, home of Blarney Castle and the Blarney stone was a must. I didn’t kiss the stone, but I did manage to walk up the many gradually narrowing stone steps all the way to the top. The castle and its enchanted steps, magical gardens, and moss covered trees were largely inspirational to my series and truly how I envisioned the fairy realm in my books.

Friends were kind enough to take us to Kinsale, a remarkably lovely, quaint medieval fishing village where I would be completely content to find a small cottage and stay forever, but only if I could take my family, friends and my cats with me.

It was an amazing trip, but equally nice to come home as I missed my daughters and grandchildren a lot in the month we were away.

Finally, in closing, I am happy to say books five, six and seven in The Irish Witch Series are being released within eight weeks, therefore fans of the series won’t have much longer to wait to discover many of the unanswered questions and longtime mysteries that have been building since book one. I hope you will enjoy the continued adventures of Alainn and Killian. I’d be genuinely happy to hear from you and get feedback on the books and the series. Contact me at leighannedwards.com

Magical wishes,

Leigh Ann Edwards

 


Lenora Worth: Undercover Princess is Cinderella with a Twist (or two!)

“Eleanor and Nico have fun playing a cat and mouse game of trying to figure each other out.”

I’m so excited about my upcoming Tule release of Undercover Princess. It’s a modern day version of Cinderella but with a twist or two. I have always loved Cinderella in all her many versions. Couple that with my love of shoes and well, I had to write this story.

Eleanor Castle is the only daughter of Charles and Vivian Castle, owners of the famous Castle Department Store in downtown Dallas. Castle’s is known for exquisite designer fashion and beautiful merchandise, especially shoes.

But Eleanor has been away for twelve years and is estranged from her father after he married another woman a year after Eleanor’s mother died. Eleanor has returned as Head of Security but she’s really undercover, hoping to take down her evil stepmother Caron for embezzlement and other crimes.

Eleanor has a plan but Nico Lamon from the House of Lamon in Italy has come to Castle’s for a Valentine Gala to promote the Lamon fashion line, featuring the Lamon Valentine Shoes, designed by Nico. He wants to find the perfect spokeswoman to represent the House of Lamon. He decides Eleanor is that woman. But Eleanor wants to stay undercover even though the shoes fit and she has a major crush on Nico Lamon.

Eleanor and Nico have fun playing a cat and mouse game of trying to figure each other out.

How can she stay behind the scenes when the man of her dreams wants to win her heart and showcase her to the world?

You know what they say—If the shoe fits …..

I hope you’ll enjoy this lighthearted romance with some heavy emotional moments. I sure enjoyed writing about it. I started out in retail and I do love my shoes!!


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lenora Worth writes award-winning romance and romantic suspense. With sixty books published and millions of books in print, she goes on adventures with her retired husband, Don. They have two grown children. Lenora enjoys reading, baking and shopping … especially shoe shopping.


Mallory Kane says ‘Let the Good Times Roll!’

There is a city in the United States that claims the distinction of the most unique city in the country. New Orleans has a multicultural history. The Spanish influence, the organically strong French influence, and perhaps most of all, the influence of the Acadians who settled there and are now called Cajuns have created a delicious étouffée that is called The City That Care Forgot. New Orleans has other nicknames too: The Big Easy, The Crescent City, City of Saints and Sinners, and Cut Throat City. There are more, but these are the most common. Obviously, this incredible area makes a fascinating backdrop for fiction, especially romantic suspense.

Authors love to choose particular settings for their books. It gives the books a continuity, gives the characters a sense of community, and allows the author to use landmarks and sensuous descriptions that help the reader feel at home in the stories. My setting of choice is New Orleans, for many reasons.

The historical Vieux Carré, or French Quarter, in the heart of the city on the Mississippi River, includes everything from the most elegant restaurants to the most dangerous streets in the city. I’ve used the vodun, or voodoo, shops, shotgun houses, fancy clubs, secret rooms for illegal gambling, abandoned warehouses, and the infamous Bourbon Street many times in my books.

The places are not the only things that make New Orleans such an interesting setting for romantic and suspenseful novels. The very smell of New Orleans is unique. The fishy, muddy smell of the river, combined with the pervasive scent of the spices used in Cajun cuisine, the faint odor of garbage and a slight waft of smoke from the boats in the port of New Orleans make the air in the French Quarter immediately recognizable. And, believe it or not, the odor is not disagreeable.

Ironically, the Eighth District building of the New Orleans Police Department, often called the Eighth Precinct, is located on Royal Street in the French Quarter, one block from Bourbon Street. The building is attractive and welcoming, with wrought iron decorative fences, white pillars and a lovely entrance. The fact that it’s in the middle of the Quarter is enough to spark lots of plot turns and suspenseful scenes.

The streetcars, including the famous one named Desire, named for Desire Street, run throughout the Quarter and the city–excellent for getaway scenes. Also, the idea of Streetcar Named Desire is also a provocative source of ideas.

New Orleans is a survivor. The City That Care Forgot is like an old madame who has been been through too much in her life, but still maintains a threadbare elegance that is heroic, admirable and constantly and continually unique and lovable.

I had the opportunity to write an eleven book series based on the concept of grandchildren of a prominent and infamous politician in Louisiana. In those books, the Delancey Dynasty, I explored how they coped with notoriety, love and the mystery of how their grandfather died. A real-life prominent and infamous Louisiana politician, Huey P. Long, gave me the original idea.

Now I’m writing a series called Louisiana Lawmen. These are three books featuring three honorable and hunky law enforcement officers in the NOPD who are dedicated to the people they have sworn to protect. No Hero is the first book, featuring Detective Devereux Gautier. A battered runaway child himself, he is committed to rescuing as many homeless teens in the city that he can. Reghan Connor is committed to prove that Dev is a liar and a fraud. The second book is called No Saint. Detective Rick Easterling admits that he is no saint. When he falls for a lovely waitress in a bar that’s a front for a Drug Lord, little does he know that Lusinda is an undercover cop who is out to prove that he’s on the take. Danny DeLuca is the third dedicated law enforcement officer in No Angel. He’s an FBI agent who travels to New Orleans in search of a dangerous serial killer. As he gets closer and closer to the killer, he finds himself falling more and more in love with the only victim who escaped the clutches of the New Moon Killer.

No Hero is out now. No Saint is due for release on January 29, 2018 and No Angel is scheduled for March 5, 2018. I hope you will travel with me to New Orleans, Louisiana, and that you will love these heroic lawmen as much as I do.

Mallory Kane

mallorykane.com
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMalloryKane/
@mallorykane


Our Favorite Swoon-worthy Moments!

5. Finn Surprises Willa at the Airport – A Bramble House Christmas by C.J. Carmichael 

This is probably our favorite airport scene EVER! Finn manages to surprise Willa and            Scout at the airport, proving his devotion and love to both of them.

Best line: “Finally, add most importantly, he was looking at her as if he knew her. No. Not as if he knew her. As if he loved her.”

 

4. Sutter Asks Dawson to Marry Her – A Country Love Song by Sinclair Jayne

Sutter and Dawson’s romance is one of our all-time favorites. They meet in the rain both wanting the other to commit to starting a new life with each other.

Best line: “Dawson Yates, ask me right now because you’re making me crazy and I’m freezing wet and…and I was afraid you were never going to ask, and Blue said I shouldn’t be so old-fashioned and ask you myself because I dreamed of this moment since, well, forever.”

 

3. Logan Savors His Second Chance with Arabella – Hot Mess by Amy Andrews

Logan and Arabella’s romance is so great, they had to have it twice. A reunion romance ALWAYS tugs at our heartstrings.

Best line: “I never thought I’d get a second chance at a first time with you.”

 

2. Cody’s Big Gesture – Cody by Megan Crane

Cody returns back to surprise Skylar in Marietta at Grey’s Saloon, he’s left the American Extreme Bull Riders tour to prove that he cares for Skylar.

Best line: “I ride bulls,” Cody growled. “My life is a grand gesture.”

 

1. Charlotte Steals the Deputy’s Heart – Tempting the Deputy by Heidi Rice

Charlotte runs away, worrying she’ll never be enough for Logan. The only option for Logan is chase after her, stealing a police car in the process. When he finally catches her with the sirens blaring, he tells her that she’s everything and more.

Best line: “And you made me see that what I had wasn’t living, it was existing. You made me want more, Charlotte, so much more. And that more is you.”


Patricia Rosemoor is WILD about Animals! Plus an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from Animal Instincts

I’ve always been an animal person with a special love for cats. Despite being allergic to them as a child and my parents not letting me bring in the young cat I found outside my back door, I fed it and gave it water and lots of petting any time I could. When I was away at school, I got my first cat that could come inside. Currently, I share my home and computer with Blitzen and George, cats 14 and 15. But my love for cats goes beyond house pets.

When I volunteered at Lincoln Park Zoo, every week I visited the big cats in their outdoor enclosures. I would whistle softly to entice them. Usually I got an ear twitch, but one of the cougars responded by moving closer every time, usually rubbing against the fence. I wondered what it would be like if I could talk to the animals and they could understand and respond. Yes, I wanted to be a cat whisperer, and I gave my heroine Skye Cross that ability. Skye is an animal rescuer, something I’ve done in a minor way myself, so I guess she represents me as I wish I could be.

Rather than setting my stories in a paranormal world, I like using what everyone considers a normal human world with a paranormal underground. It’s the human vs. “something else” conflict that interests me.

Even though he is half-human, Luc Lazare is part of that underground. He’s a conflicted black panther shifter. Raised by his human mother in the human world, he also spent time with his father and half-siblings. Torn in two directions, he fought a war in which he assumed his conflict would be settled for him and he wouldn’t have to make a decision that would hurt one of his parents. Instead, his panther found its true power and he did things to the enemy that he wants to forget.

I got the idea for the Kindred Souls world from researching demons. Demons led to the Nephilim, children of fallen angels and human women. The Nephilim corrupted humans and Biblical history says that God sent the flood to destroy them, which meant Noah’s Ark had to play a part in Kindred history. Now The Ark, Chicago’s first casino boat, is run by the Lazare family. Kindred are corrupting humanity as did their Nephilim ancestors. I hope you enjoy this entry into their world…

EXCERPT…

The predators moved in on me. Trying not to show the anxiety that threatened to consume me, I curled my hands into fists and edged backward. They continued to advance on me. My heart was pounding, my blood racing. Knowing they could sense my fear, I tried to control it. Futile. No escape.

The hyena broke from the pack and rushed me. If I turned my back on it, I was dead for sure. I kept putting one foot behind the other and the wolf and the lion picked up their pursuit.

The hyena’s muscles bunched and it flew through the air at me. I threw up my hands to protect myself, but it never reached me. Instead, it was as if an invisible wall stopped it cold. It shrieked and fell to the ground in a heap.

What do you think you’re doing? Go!

The predators stopped and I sensed their sudden fear.

Now! the voice in my head thundered.

The animals fled and quickly disappeared into the night.

I flipped around. At first I didn’t see him. Then I caught a movement to my right and nailed him where he stood. Dark hair whipped around features so rugged they could have been cut from granite. High cheekbones. Broad forehead. Square chin. His eyes appeared silver in the moonlight, and they glowed at me, tightening my stomach and making it hard to breathe.

Trembling, I gasped. “What just happened?”

“You got into something that doesn’t concern you.” Forget about it.

I started. He hadn’t said the last bit out loud. There was something about him so powerful I almost agreed.

I fought the desire to give in. “I’m not forgetting about anything. Who are you?”

I felt as if he were trying to push the command into my mind.

Glaring at him, I pushed back.

“What are you?” he asked.

“Someone who protects animals.”

His silence told me that wasn’t exactly the explanation he was looking for. My pulse threaded as he stepped closer. I sensed both threat and something less tangible, something that made my stomach knot and my throat tighten.


Tule’s Most Anticipated of 2018!

Hi Tule Readers,

Today we are so thrilled to be talking about which books we are MOST looking forward to in the New Year!

Saving the Sheriff by Kadie Scott.  A heartwarming, sweet, tight-knit Texas community make this one of our favorites.

A Vicarage Reunion by Kate Hewitt.  This book is equal parts chick-lit, as it is romance surrounding the Holley sisters of the Thornthwaite community.

Bitter Truth by CJ Carmichael. CJ continues her fabulous Bitter Ends series with Bitter Truth, a thrilling sequel sure to please mystery fans alike.

On the Edge by Dani Collins.  A raw, high-stakes, passionate love affair between two very determined individuals.

One More Round by Shelli Stevens.  A hot, sexy second chance romance between the local girl and the Scottish bad-boy.

Thalgor’s Witch by Nancy Holland. An exciting entrance into an unknown world accompanied by an intense love between powerful individuals.

In With the Tide by Carlee James.  Friends turn to lovers in this emotionally poignant story.

Animal Instincts by Patricia Rosemoor. A paranormal sure to thrill and satisfy both your your romantic instincts and paranormal cravings.

Which of these are YOU most looking forward to? Let us know!