Following the success of our lists for Mother’s Day, the Tule editors have decided to bring you another two part series for Father’s Day!
My new story, The Lost Sheenan’s Bride, is about a young teacher taking a long term substitute job at one room school house in Montana’s Paradise Valley. As a former teacher, I love writing about teachers, and history and I’ve passionate about one room school houses.
Historians estimate that there were once 2,600 rural schools in Montana, and those rural schools served a multitude of purposes for each community, from education to social gatherings. Today only 62 operational one room school houses exist in Montana and on a recent flight from Seattle to Kalispell I sat next to a woman who is the school clerk for the one room school in Salmon Prairie, Montana. I told the clerk about the story I was just finishing and she answered all my questions about the school in Salmon Prairie and I loved hearing how the teacher is able to individualize lessons for his students: morning nature walks, visits to local parks (Glacier National Forest, Yellowstone, lessons in hunting and fishing. (I found a story on the school in Salmon Prairie online: Photographers document Montana’s disappearing one-room schools)
Since I’m a former teacher myself, and come from a long line of educators (my father was a history and political science professor, my brother Thom is a business professor at UNC Wilmington, and my great grandfather was a professor of refrigeration engineering at Purdue University), I am really passionate about education, and I love how these historic one room schools become the heart of rural communities from the annual Christmas play to the end of the year 8th grade graduation picnics.
One of my favorite books I bought in Montana several years ago, that probably also helped inspire my new story was Visions and Voices: Montana’s One-Room Schoolhouses.
If you flip through the book, or watch a rerun of Little House on the Prairie, you’ll see that the one-room schools were very much the same:
Some of my favorite schoolhouses are the ones I’ve visited personally, including these two in Montana’s Paradise Valley. The little red school is the one that inspired my current story, and we’ll see it again in my Christmas release, Away in Montana.
To celebrate the release of my new book, The Lost Sheenan’s Bride, featuring Jet Diekerhof, the teacher of a one room schoolhouse in Paradise Valley, Montana, I’m giving away an e-copy of the story plus fun reader swag. Interested? Tell me if you’ve ever visited a one-room school, or if you think you’d enjoy attending one.
Trying to get over a broken heart, twenty-four year old teacher Jet Diekerhof takes a gap year to travel and have an adventure. Her practical farming family is horrified until Jet’s older sister Harley gets her a long term sub position at a one room school house in Montana’s Paradise Valley. Jet’s grateful it’s 775 miles from her overly involved family—and the guy who broke her heart. She’s also sworn off men until meeting darkly handsome Shane Swan changes everything…
Thirty-four year old Shane Swan has been an outsider since birth. Raised by his maternal grandmother near Flathead Lake, Montana, until her death when he was four, meant he ended up in foster care. But ever smart, determined, and ambitious, Shane has become one of the most successful writers in America. Yet none of his success has answered the burning question: why was he the one given away, and his brothers kept? Now Shane has moved to Marietta to unravel the secrets and lies and what it means to be a Sheenan, and nobody is closer to the Sheenans than Brock’s young sister-in-law, Jet.
Normally Shane would never use a woman, but if Jet can connect him with the keys to his past, he doesn’t seem to have choice. Until he begins to fall for her. Can two strangers, who were never meant to be, believe in love again?
Get your copy of The Lost Sheenan’s Bride now!
I have a weakness for all things Christmas…candy, cookies, lights, carols, decorations, books, movies. I have so many traditions and things I love to do to celebrate Christmas with my family, including the midnight Christmas Eve service and how it always ends in candlelight with the congregation singing Silent Night.
But then, Christmas comes and the frantic weeks of preparation are done and Christmas ends so fast.
I’ve learned over the years that Christmas is the most fun before it’s actually Christmas, and in my mind there is no better way to start the holidays then with Advent…along with the arrival of Santa following Thanksgiving Day.
Not everyone loves the holidays as much as I do. We’re all familiar with the Grinch and Scrooge for a reason.
Like most American kids born in the 60’s and 70’s, I grew up on the cartoon classics…Rudolph, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Frosty the Snowman, The Little Drummer Boy. And then as an adult, I fell in love with the old musicals, White Christmas and Holiday Inn starring Bing Crosby.
I never loved It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street because both struck me as quite sad. So it was a huge surprise to me when I flew next to Santa Claus (okay, he was an old man that looked just like Santa Claus!) on a trip to Seattle last June and had an entire story come to me in a flash. I even told the old gentleman that he was giving me story ideas and he needed to stop it. The old gentleman was a psychologist and counselor and thought it was hilarious. I didn’t. Because the story that came to me in a flash wasn’t the story I’d started to write for Cormac and Whitney, and I didn’t want to change it, particularly not to a story that is an ode Miracle on 34th Street. But the new idea would not go away.
It bugged me all summer. It argued with me in the fall. I resisted it. I didn’t want to write it. Again, I started my story in an entirely different place and tried so hard to do one thing, but no, the miracle and magic of Christmas took over and made this story what it wanted….A Christmas Miracle for Daisy.
You’d think with such a strong sense of story I’d find the writing easy. No, again. I wrestled with this one, a fierce creative battle between what I wanted to do, and what the story wanted to do, and ultimately, Kris Krinkles, my kindly old man in A Christmas Miracle for Daisy, won.
You can see some of my inspiration for my new Taming of the Sheenan story here on Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/thejaneporter/a-christmas-miracle-for-daisy/ ). I had such fun setting the story in Marietta, at the historic Graff Hotel, which has been decorated for the holidays and is hosting Santa Claus every afternoon and evening until Christmas—much to Cormac Sheenan’s unhappiness. He’s not a fan of the old guy and really wish Kris would stop filling his four year old’s head with nonsense.
Do you have a favorite Christmas show or movie? I’d love to know! Please share with me in the comments below and one of you will win a festive Marietta, Montana Christmas gift that includes a hand-glazed mug made just for our Montana Born Christmas, a $5 Starbucks gift card, a collection of Montana Born holiday romances, and lots more reader sweets and treats!
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of forty-nine romances and women’s fiction titles, Jane Porter has been a finalist for the prestigious RITA award five times and won in 2014 for Best Novella with her story, Take Me, Cowboy, from Tule Publishing. Today, Jane has over 12 million copies in print, including her wildly successful, Flirting With Forty, picked by Redbook as its Red Hot Summer Read, and reprinted six times in seven weeks before being made into a Lifetime movie starring Heather Locklear. A mother of three sons, Jane holds an MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco and makes her home in sunny San Clemente, CA with her surfer husband and two dogs.
Delicious recipes straight from the kitchens of your favorite Tule authors.
Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops
Prep/Total Time: 25 min.